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

The Seminar
By Ann


New Orleans

"What the hell is this?" Nora stormed into Dan's office, waving a piece of paper as Nikki raced to catch up with her partner.

"Nora! Wait!"

Nora ignored her lover's request and moved further into the room, slamming the paper down on Dan's desk. Folding her arms across her chest, she glared at her boss. She couldn't believe he was sending them away for two weeks to attend an Anti-Terrorist Training Seminar of all things. Nikki slid next to her partner and sighed; Nora and Dan had already assumed their classic 'stare down' positions.

Nikki pinched the bridge of her nose to calm herself; she'd never seen two more hardheaded people in all her life. The last time they'd had a disagreement, they'd held their 'pose' for a half an hour before Dan finally stomped out of the room.

"Um, Dan? Would you mind if I spoke to Nora alone for a few minutes?"

Dan refused to break eye contact with his ex-partner. "I don't think you'll be able to talk any sense into her."

Nora clinched her jaw and glared even harder. "If by sense, you're referring to me agreeing to go on this asinine trip, then you're right."

"Please, Dan; just a few minutes?" Nikki turned on the Southern charm, choosing to ignore her colleagues' comments. Dan stared one last hole into Nora and stood. Nodding at Nikki, he left the room, closing the door behind him.

"Nora? Did you happen to read the fine print at the bottom of the brochure that was attached to the letter of request?" Nikki stepped closer to her lover, making it a point to move into Nora's personal space.

Like a moth to a flame, Nora couldn't resist the allure as she leaned towards her partner. "No, but, Nikki, Anti-Terrorist Training?"

Las Vegas

"You're sending me where?" Sara grabbed the letter from her supervisor, immediately putting to use her speed reading ability. "Anti-Terrorist Training? I'm not a cop."

"No, you're not." Grissom stated the obvious. "But, the request was for two officers, a member of the police department and a member of the CSI division. You're the obvious candidate."

Sara glared at her boss. "Obvious? And, how exactly did you come to that conclusion?"

"I have to send a woman, and Catherine can't be away from Lindsey for two weeks, so you're the logical choice."

"And just why do you have to send a woman? Why can't you send Nick or Warrick, or better yet, Greg?"

Grissom removed his glasses, a sure sign that Sara was stuck with her new assignment. "Because the department will only pay for one room."

"Wait just a damned minute. What room? How come I can't stay at my apartment and commute to wherever this training is?"

Pleased that Sara had changed her focus to the logistics of the seminar, Grissom explained, "The training will take place at the new hotel on the outskirts of town. Every room has been booked for the seminar. You'll be expected to stay on site the entire two weeks. Food and laundry services will be provided."

"You're kidding, right? What is this Hotel California. . . I can check in, but I can't check out?"

"What? What are you talking about?"

Sara sighed. "Never mind, Grissom. Just tell me who I'm going to be holed up with for fourteen days."

Grissom frowned, still pondering the Hotel California reference.

"Grissom? Who am I rooming with?"

"Huh? Oh, Sofia. It was decided that a detective would be the best candidate to represent the police force."

Sara bit the side of her cheek to keep the smile from escaping. She was going to spend the next two weeks with her lover. They'd be sleeping in the same room, eating the same meals, and virtually spending the entire time in each other's company. Sara no longer cared why she was going to be held captive; instead, she concentrated on who she'd be held captive with.

The Seminar

"Wow, this hotel looks just like the brochure; I'd figured Dan might've fudged a little on the accommodations." Nikki climbed from the cab and smiled at the luxurious-looking hotel.

"Yeah, well since we're being held against our will, the least these seminar people could do is to put us up somewhere nice. I'm still not sure I agree that our time together outweighs all the crap we'll be put through."

Nikki stepped towards her partner and whispered, "I think I can come up with something that will make it worth your while." Smiling sweetly, she turned and greeted the bellman who'd come out to gather their luggage.

Nora's mind raced with the possibilities, and then her body raced to catch up with her retreating lover. Even the obstacle course she'd been dreading seemed much more appealing.

The two NOPD detectives stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for their floor. Just as the doors were closing, a chuckling blonde slid through, holding the door for the woman trailing closely behind. The laughing pair quickly schooled their expressions when they realized they weren't alone.

Nikki held her finger poised over the panel. "Floor?"

"Six." Sofia nodded her thanks and moved towards the rear of the elevator.

Nikki shrugged and stepped back. The two women were staying on the same floor as they were. Deciding now was as good a time as any to make acquaintances, Nikki drawled, "So, where are you from?"

Sara smiled at the warm voice. "Vegas. Can you believe they're actually making us stay here?"

Nora piped in. "You're kidding? What exactly do these people have in mind? When we checked in, I expected someone to cuff me and lead me to my room."

Nikki held her tongue. If she'd have known what her lover had expected, she would've been more than happy to fulfill her expectations. Nikki glanced over at the quiet blonde who was grinning from ear to ear. If Nikki didn't know better, she'd think the woman was sharing her same exact thoughts towards the brunette who was carrying on a conversation with Nora.

". . . so, for some reason, Dan sent us." The elevator chimed, signaling the foursome had reached their floor. Nora reached out and held the door until they'd all exited. Stepping forward, she joined the group.

"Oh, where are my manners? I'm Nikki Beaumont, Nora's partner." Nikki extended her hand towards Sofia.

"Sofia Curtis, LVPD, and this is Sara Sidle, CSI." The four women exchanged handshakes and proper greetings before making plans to dine together at their first meal.

Sofia and Sara turned towards the left and were soon followed by Nikki and Nora. Sofia smiled when she noted Nora sliding her key into the door next to theirs.

Two Days Later

Nora and Sofia walked down the hallway, discussing the day's activities while Sara and Nikki brought up the rear. The mood of the conversations couldn't have been more different.

"I'd never fired a semi-automatic before. What a rush," Nora smiled brightly. She could still feel the weight of the weapon in her hand.

"Yeah, they're fun, but not always reliable." Sofia grinned widely. "I liked blowing the hole in the door with that shotgun. Now, that was fun."

Sara wiped the sweat that was still clinging to her brow. "Why'd we have to wear our Haz-Mat suits outside? Did those guys even look at the weather report for today? It was the hottest damned day on record!"

Nikki trudged along beside her griping companion. "I bet I lost five pounds easy. Nora can forget it if she thinks I'm getting in that Jacuzzi with her tonight."

When Sara's steps faltered, Nikki's brain suddenly decided to kick back into gear. Even though she was comfortable with sharing their relationship, she never intended to out them in such a way.

"Oh crap. I can't believe I said that."

Sara's chuckle immediately put Nikki at ease. "Actually, I'd just been thinking about avoiding the Jacuzzi with Sofia."

Laughter filled the hallway, and Sofia and Nora turned to see their partners practically doubled over. The two blondes shook their heads and continued towards their rooms.

End of Week 1

Sara and Nikki sat back to back, tied to each other. Several other pairs of law enforcement personnel were stationed around the room in similar positions; however, eight others stood by the windows, looking out at the parking lot, guns in hand.

"How long do you think it'll take the rescue group to get here?" Sara glanced around at the others, noting that most were using the 'hostage' situation to take a nap.

"Who knows? Personally, I don't get this part of the training. This seems more like a S.W.A.T operation to me." Nikki turned her head towards the 'terrorists.' Two were chatting on their cell phones, three more looked like they were text messaging, and the others had moved to sit in the chairs away from the windows.

Sara leaned back against her 'rope-mate.' "So, how're you enjoying your vacation so far?"

Nikki smiled. "Well, the days are long and filled with all sorts of sucky things, but the nights pretty much make up for it."

Chuckling, Sara agreed. "Yeah, I know what you mean. Oh hey, I've been meaning to ask you, since maid service comes daily, how are you two handling the extra bed?"

"Nora pulls back the covers, climbs under the sheets, and proceeds to flip back and forth until it has that slept in look. What do you guys do?"

"Make love in one bed and then move to the other to sleep."

Nikki groaned aloud. "Damn, why didn't we think of that?"

Outside, Nora and Sofia watched the building, waiting for the commander to issue orders.

"What do you think they'll come up with this time?" Nora plopped down on the curb.

Sofia fiddled with her gas mask. "I don't know, but I certainly hope it doesn't involve tear gas. That'll put Sara over the edge for sure. She's had it with this training."

"Yeah, Nikki, too."

Sofia grinned. "But the nights are pretty damned good, aren't they?"

"Um, I don't know what you mean." Nora almost fell from her short perch.

Sofia turned towards the other woman. "Nora, Sara and Nikki have become pretty good friends this week. And, well, they've had more time to talk than we have."

Nora looked down at the pavement. "Nikki told Sara?"

"Yes, but Sara also told Nikki."

Nora's head whipped towards Sofia. "You and Sara?"

"Yep, me and Sara. Listen, Nora, I know that you're not comfortable discussing your relationship with Nikki, but I do understand your hesitation about coming out."

"You do?" Nora swiveled towards the other woman, their current assignment to eliminate the threat of the terrorists forgotten.

"Yes, I do. At work, we've only told a few people. My Lieutenant knows, but Sara's supervisor doesn't. Sara's teammates know, too, and they've been very accepting."

Nora nodded. "No one at work knows about us, but Nikki's dad knows and so does my brother. I haven't told my parents."

"Well, Sara doesn't have any family, but I've told my mother. She's not at all happy with my choice of partners; however, she's accepted it. It also helps that she's in Colorado." Sofia smiled, trying to put Nora at ease.

"I don't know, Sofia. My parents live in New Orleans. I'd have to deal with them pretty much all the time. If they disown me, I don't think I could handle it."

"My advice is to think about it. Don't do anything until you're ready though. You might want to think about telling your friends in the department, those you trust anyway."

The walkie-talkie suddenly came to life. "Everyone move into position and don't forget your gas masks. The tear gas containers will be fired at the structure in ten minutes."

"Oh, shit." Nora and Sofia had the same response to the orders.

Las Vegas Airport

"Next time you get to Vegas, we'll show you the city," Sara offered, already planning where she'd take her new friends.

Sofia and Sara had taken the couple to breakfast, and then to the airport. The security checkpoint was the only thing keeping the two from escorting Nikki and Nora to their plane.

"I'd like that," Nikki winked at Sara, adding, "maybe we can stay with you guys."

Before either Sofia or Nora could ask Nikki whose apartment she was referring to, the last boarding call was made for the New Orleans flight. Smiles and handshakes were quickly exchanged before Nikki and Nora headed towards their gate. Sara and Sofia watched their friends until they disappeared from view.

"Okay, back to the grind." Sofia sighed and turned towards the exit. Sara glanced back at the security point one last time, thinking about Nikki's advice.

Once at the car, Sofia buckled in and pulled from the space, slowly merging into the traffic. "I'm going to miss those two."

"Yeah, me, too. Maybe we can get away to New Orleans for a weekend. I've always wanted to go there."

Sofia smiled and reached for her lover's hand. "Sounds like a plan."

"Speaking of plans." Sara gripped Sofia's hand tightly. "How do you feel about looking for a place of our own?"

Making a mental note to send Nikki a thank you note, Sofia squeezed her lover's hand and smiled brightly as an airplane flew high overhead.

Nora stared out the window, watching the cars on the road get smaller and smaller. Nikki had already pulled out her book and was just getting reacquainted with the characters when Nora took her hand.

Surprised, Nikki looked up at her lover. Nora never, ever, allowed hand holding in public. Nikki waited patiently while Nora struggled with what she wanted to say.

"Um, Nikki? I was thinking, about our colleagues that is. You know, um, I think Georgia already suspects something is going on between us, and she's our friend and all, so, um, what do you think about telling her?"

Nikki treaded lightly. "About us, Nora? You want to tell her about us?"

Nora shrugged. "Yeah, I do. I trust her, and well, I . . ."

"I think that's a wonderful idea." Nikki patted their joined hands.

"Okay, then we'll tell her the first time we see her then." Nora nodded firmly; her mind was definitely made up. Turning, she moved her focus back to the clouds, never letting go of her lover's hand.

Nikki looked down at their joined hands and grinned, wondering whether Sofia would prefer flowers or chocolates. Picking up her book with her free hand, she decided that perhaps she should send the detective both.

The End

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