DISCLAIMER: Not mine. These ladies and some of the other characters belong to Nancylee Myatt and Co.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This takes place in the Why Don't You & I A.U. but no spoilers really.
FEEDBACK: To whedonistic.tendencies[at]gmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

One Percent: II. City Slum
By Whedonist


"Nora," Nikki grumbled against warm skin as she prodded her lover's bare hip. "Gettup. Door." Her eye cracked open as the weight on the bed shifted and Nora fumbled at her lover's request. She buried her head into the freshly vacated pillow in an attempt to block out the light that seeped around the heavy, light green curtains. Nikki would have gotten up to answer the door, but they ended up back at Nora's. It only served the blonde right.

Nora rubbed at her eyes; her hand slid down her face and pinched her chin, trying to brush away the gauzy web of sleep. She stood and reached for a shirt sitting next to the dirty clothes hamper and a pair of jeans puddled next to it. She casted a quick glance back at the bed; Nikki had already rolled over to expose her bare back to the room and snuggled into the warm spot she'd just left. Sighing, Nora ran her hand through her hair and padded out to the living room.

"Coming," she called out to whoever was breaking up the sorely needed sleep she'd been trying to catch up on. After Ron and the murder, they had managed a shower, left a message for Dan, and then crawled into bed shortly before five a.m. As she passed by the kitchen, Nora glanced at the clock on the microwave, it was barely eight.

"Nora," Charlie called out from the hallway behind the door.

"Yeah," Nora grunted and flipped the lock on the dead bolt. She swung the door open and propped herself in its frame. "This better be good," she mumbled through a yawn, covering her mouth to prevent blasting Charlie with morning breath.

"I thought you'd be at your desk this morning." Charlie smiled a bit sheepish. "I swung by, Dan said you'd be home."

"Where's the fire?" Nora asked, relenting and finally letting him passed the threshold and into the kitchen.

Charlie shuffled towards the kitchen and plopped down at the small table resting against the right wall. Nora went immediately to the coffee maker and pulled out the requisite paper filter and canister of grinds. She flipped the lid and plopped the filter in place. "What's up?" she asked over her shoulder as she measured out the coffee.

"Like I said," Charlie finally spoke, "I thought you'd have been at work by now. I got an I.D. on your vic from this morning."

She turned towards him just in time to see a brown file folder plop on to the table, the M.E.'s office seal printed in the center. The file was thicker than she expected. Usually, I.D. reports came back thin with the two or three top sheets identifying the vic. The rest was medical speak that Nora never cared much to learn. The one Charlie plopped down held enough to be about a quarter inch thick.

She let her curiosity simmer in deference to getting some type of caffeine in her system. She turned back to the maker and grabbed the carafe, started the cold tap and filled it to appropriate levels. Pouring the water into the reservoir, she closed the lid, replaced the carafe, and hit the start button before sitting down in the chair across from her friend.

He nudged the folder toward her and she flipped it open. The first thing she saw was a mug shot of their vic. She glanced at the basics: twenty-two years old, Caucasian male, five-foot-ten, one-hundred-eighty-three pounds, medium length brown hair and brown eyes. Below the basics were what held the items of interest.

Block lettering told her that he was part of a small time gang out of the Seventh Ward, the Bokoo Boys. She racked her brain trying to recall more than the blurb that she'd read about them in a briefing ages ago. Bokoo was a small group of tight-knit, neighborhood boys, some older now, that stuck to theft, assault, and armed robbery. Really, calling them organized enough to be a gang was stretching the legal definition. Everything she recalled never spoke to murder or even pissing off any rival groups. Especially, enough for anybody they could consider a rival wanting to murder one of them.

She flipped the first page and inhaled the aroma of brewing coffee, feeling slightly more alert at the scent. The second page held the cause of death, asphyxiation, not really a surprise as the report indicated he drowned in his own blood. There was a list of one residence and the next of kin was listed at the same address. Charlie had done a fair bit of work for them. Nora flipped to the next page and realized that she was looking at the vic's, Michael DeSalvo, R.A.P. Sheet.

She closed the folder and tossed it on to the table. "Coffee?" she asked and stood.

"I was gonna go," Charlie stood to leave as he answered, "I just wanted to get that to you, but you should go back to sleep a bi…" his words trailed off as Nikki shuffled into view. He looked the brunette over with her closed eyes, messy hair, white tank top, and blue panties. His cheeks reddened as he went to stare at her bare feet and purple painted toe nails.

"Baby," Nikki shuffled up to Nora, not noticing Charlie, "No coffee. Bed." The cup in Nora's hand hit the counter top as she spun around and lost her voice.

The noise did enough to make Nikki open her eyes as Charlie found the sense to make himself known and cleared his throat. "Excuse me," he tried, "I…"

Looking back over her shoulder, Nikki's mouth dropped open as she registered the site of their M.E. "Oh, shit."

The El Camino idled at the curb of Fifteen-Eighty-One North Dorgenois Street as Nikki played with the ring on her right thumb. It spun around the appendage as Nora's grip tightened along the steering wheel. Nikki suppressed her first inclination, saying something to get her in trouble, her second, saying something to make Nora's mood worse, and her third, a heavy sigh and roll of her eyes. She opted instead to keep quiet. She opted instead to unbuckle her seat belt and make her way outside to the curb. Sometimes, being with Nora, Nikki'd learned it was better to just keep her mouth shut and let her stay in her piss poor mood.

From her new position, she watched Nora stare ahead and couldn't help but wonder what was going on in her lover's very busy, very stubborn head. Charlie seemed to take the revelation of their relationship well. He had even extended an invite to dinner over the weekend, which Nikki promptly accepted as Nora stormed from the kitchen. The only real problem was Nora just hadn't said a word to her since then.

The engine shut down and Nora climbed from the vehicle. Nikki squared her shoulders and Nora met her on the sidewalk. It was time to quiet and lock away the personal aspects of their life. A young man had been murdered last night and as Nora finally spoke, she at least acknowledged that, "We're here for Bonnie or Curtis DeSalvo. This has been the vic's address since he was twelve."

"We have anything else on the parents?" Nikki asked to Nora's back as she started up the driveway. She looked past her partner's shoulder and saw the tail end of a truck sticking out behind the back of the house.

"Nope," Nora answered as she approached the truck and continued, "this, though, this is a 'Sixty-nine Chevy C10." The admiration in Nora's voice was clear, not near enough to be considered a slight against her precious June Lee, but Nora did have a thing for cars older than her. Nikki watched on amused as her partner slid her right hand along the shiny, black paint of the bed.

"Hey!" a deep voice shouted right before the springs on the rusty back porch door protested. Nora's hand fell from the truck as a tall, broad shouldered African-American stepped outside. With the hood of the truck open and the black grease marring the otherwise pristine A-shirt stretched across the man's muscular frame, Nikki figured touching the truck was probably a bad idea.

"Sorry," Nora apologized and took the lead in the introductions, "I'm Det. Nora Delaney and this is my partner, Det. Nikki Beaumont. We're looking for Mr. or Mrs. DeSalvo."

"DeSalvo...?" The man's face soured at the name and slowly, it relaxed, "Y'all lookin' for Tard?"

"Tard?" Nikki piped up needing something more.

"Tard, Mike..." the man rolled his eyes and clomped down the steps. "That's Mike's last name, DeSalvo. We all just call him 'Tard' on account of him being a few eggs short of a dozen. What the hell'd he get into now?"

Nikki recovered a little bit ahead of Nora and said, "We have this address listed as Mr. DeSalvo's home address since the age of twelve."

"You would. He's been living here since he was ten," the man snapped. "You two want to tell me what the fuck's going on?" The muscles along his jaw bunched and a vein in his neck popped and throbbed.

The detectives exchanged a look before answering the man's question, "Mr...?"

"None of your fucking business 'till you answer my question," he snapped and replanted his feet.

The message clear, Nora rubbed the back of her neck, delivering this type of news was one of the worst parts of the job. Over time, the Band-Aid method was the best. "Michael was stabbed last night in the Quarter. I'm afraid he was pronounced dead at the scene."

In testament to the man's brick like build, the news caused only the briefest flash of pain, like a bullet ricocheting off stone, he flinched, but stayed quiet for a moment before evenly asking, "You catch the killer?"

The two women shook their heads. "Do you know why he was down in the quarter last night?" Nikki asked.

The man shook his head. "Nope. Know shit about shit."

Another look was exchanged between the women. This time Nikki's back straightened using the bit of height she had over Nora and what the heeled boots she had on to her advantage. "I understand this is a lot to take in, but any information you have could be useful to our investigation. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated."

"And I ain't got nothin' to say. You ain't gonna find shit around here. Tard went and did some stupid shit and got his-self popped. Ain't the first person to do it. Won't be the last." The man began to walk towards the open hood of the car, declaring the impromptu meeting over.

"We'd like to see his room," Nora tried.

"Fuck off and come back with a warrant if you want in my house," the man muttered from under the hood.

Knowing it was definitely time to throw in the towel for now, Nora turned first and started down the drive way. Nikki stood a moment more, tempted to try one more time, but a softly called, "Nikki," caused her turn and follow Nora back to the car.

They slipped into June Lee together. Nora looked at her, cranking the engine over and asking, "Now where?"

Nikki shrugged. "We'll start with the usual paper trails. See if we can see anything there."

Nora tilted her head and asked, "It bug you as much as it bugs me that nothing on DeSalvo was taken?"

Nikki's fingers drummed along her thigh, choosing her words carefully before giving the idea churning in her head voice. "I think that if it was anything else than a calculated hit, it would have been messier. That was a prison style hit. Swift, precise, and as clean as it can be considering. DeSalvo pissed the wrong someone off."

"So, back to the precinct then? We should have an A.D.A. start on a warrant for a search," Nora offered.

Nikki bit her lip and wondered, "You think there's going to be anything in that place when we get back here with a warrant?"

To Be Continued

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