DISCLAIMER: Nikki & Nora are the property of Nancylee Myatt and Warner Bros. Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

New Beginnings - Nikki's POV
By Ann


Nikki Beaumont strode into the police station with her head held high. She'd heard good things about this particular precinct and was desperately hoping for a change of luck. The tall brunette knew she was good at her job, but her old precinct operated on the good 'ol boy system and Nikki was definitely lacking the necessary equipment to fit in.

Not that she wanted to be a part of the group so badly that she wished for that particular part of the male anatomy; in fact, the treatment she'd received from the boy's club only served to further validate her decision to finally come out of the closet and, now that she was out, there was no way she'd ever step back in again.

The detective glanced at her watch and noted she had a few more minutes before her meeting with the chief of detectives and, spying the nearby locker room, Nikki headed for the doors. The condition of a precinct's locker room was usually a pretty good indicator of the type of people working there, and the brunette couldn't wait to get the inside track on her new co-workers. Pushing inside, she was pleased to find a nice tidy dressing area, so she walked further in the room, heading towards the mirror to check her makeup.

Nikki removed her compact and lipstick and began her touchup. She truly hoped this transfer would turn the corner for her and her career. She was tired of getting all the assignments no one else wanted; she just wanted to be given a chance to prove herself. Sighing, Nikki reached for her lipstick.

The doors to the locker room suddenly flew open, and a blonde limped towards the sink adjacent to where Nikki was standing. She nodded towards the brunette before turning her focus back to the other mirror. Nikki continued to apply her lipstick while she watched the blonde from the corner of her eye. It was apparent that the other woman had been injured; judging by her ripped shirt and jeans, not to mention the dried blood caked to the material, but Nikki kept silent, waiting for the blonde to speak first.

Silence prevailed, so Nikki just continued to touch up her makeup while continuing to observe the blonde. When the other woman peeled off her shirt, Nikki took in the compact, fit body and smiled inwardly; however, when the blonde turned and removed her jeans, the tattoo of a Phoenix was revealed along with a pair of toned, muscular legs, and the inward smile turned outward as the brunette gazed upon the other woman with quiet appreciation. Placing her items back into her purse, Nikki turned and left the room, deciding that if nothing else, the eye candy was sure going to be nice.

She continued down the corridor until she finally found the chief's office. Knocking on the door, Nikki waited for acknowledgement, and then entered with a smile any New Orleans debutante would be proud of pasted on her face. She was very pleased to find someone much younger than she expected. Things were definitely looking up.

Dan was everything Nikki had hoped for in a boss. He quickly detailed everything that was expected of her, and the brunette couldn't help but grin. For once, she was treated as an equal, and Nikki truly couldn't wait to get started, but she sat patiently while Dan made a phone call to someone named Nora, requesting her presence.

A few moments later, a knock turned both their attentions to the doorway, and the short blonde from earlier stepped into the room with an obviously painted on smile gracing her face. Nikki wondered why the other woman felt the need to pretend, but she decided to push that thought away until later.

"Hey, Dan. You needed to see me?" Nikki found herself enamored with the blonde and her voice. She smiled warmly at the other woman, noticing the newly forming black eye.

"Nora, this is Nikki Beaumont. She'd going to be your new partner."

Nikki stood and extended her hand, and Nora reached out and took it. The touch seemed so familiar, so warm to the brunette that she felt a bit of a shiver run down her spine. Nora only nodded her greeting, so Nikki graciously nodded back and released the blonde's hand, instantly missing the contact.

Dan's voice broke the quiet moment. "Today, I'd just like for you to show Nikki her new desk and acquaint her with your current cases. Tomorrow, you two can go out and nab the bad guys."

Nora seemed to be coming out of a trance, stuttering her simple reply. ""Um, okay."

The blonde gestured for Nikki to exit first, so the brunette thanked Dan and walked out into the hallway, stopping just outside the doorway for Nora to take the lead. The detective smiled and motioned towards a line of desks, and Nikki silently followed behind. She couldn't believe she was being partnered with a woman, a beautiful woman at that.

Later that night, Nikki dined with her father in the French Quarter. She was so excited, the older man smiled throughout the entire meal.

"Oh, Daddy. I just know this transfer is going to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. My boss is young and expects everyone to pull his or her weight. I don't think he knows such a thing as favoritism."

Arthur Beaumont grinned at his daughter's enthusiasm. "That's nice, honey. Now, what about your partner? Is he young or old?"

Nikki took a sip of her wine. "She, Daddy. My partner's a she."

"What? Who's going to take care of my baby?"

The brunette reached over and took her father's hand, giving him a wink for good measure. "Well, first of all, I can take care of myself. And, secondly, I think Nora will be quite capable of watching my back."

The older Beaumont pursed his lips, but held his tongue. He'd seen that look in Nikki's eyes before, and it only spelled trouble with a capital 'T'. He sure hoped that his daughter didn't do something stupid like fall for her partner.

Back at her house, Nikki crawled into bed and stared at the ceiling. She didn't know how in the world she was going to get to sleep as wound up as she was. The perfect opportunity had dropped into her lap, and she was damned certain she wasn't going to let it go to waste.

Forcing herself to close her eyes, the brunette was mildly surprised that the first image she conjured up was that of her partner. Nora was a beautiful woman and had all the attributes Nikki found attractive. Problem was the brunette had no idea if Nora was gay, and a bigger problem was that she knew it was a very bad idea to get involved with a partner.

In the police force, a partner was the most important person in the other's life. Partners trusted each other to always be there, no matter what. Nikki knew that in a detective's life, partners were even more important, so getting involved with Nora would not be good for either of them.

Turning on her side, Nikki tried to relax and was actually managing to do so when another image made itself known. This time, it was the tattoo of the Phoenix that Nora had on her lower back. Several times during the day, Nikki had wanted to reach out and touch the ink so badly. It was as if the bird was calling to her, but the brunette had resisted.

Nikki's breathing finally began to even out, signaling sleep, and she gladly gave in and slowly drifted off. The last image to pass through her thoughts before she succumbed to sleep was one of the Phoenix building its nest of twigs and then igniting the nest. Both the nest and bird burned fiercely and were reduced to ashes as the new Phoenix prepared to rise from the flames. Nora's face slowly rose above the flames, and Nikki smiled in her sleep.

The End

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