DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to Shed Productions. I am borrowing them for entertainment purposes only and not for financial gain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the authors.

Silent Assassin
By Nico

Part 1

It was a dark, rainy night and the rain fell relentlessly from the clouds that scudded across the sky. The moon periodically visible through the bare branches of the trees, gave a little light before the clouds covered it again.

The house up ahead was large and secluded; it had a ten foot high brick wall all around the perimeter. The house was accessible only from the long driveway that was guarded by large unyielding gates that opened electronically. There was a state of the art security system in place.

The dark figure outside knew the security system wasn't going to do jack shit, it was now disabled. The figure crept stealthily around the perimeter to a spot that was covered from view on both sides by trees. The figure struggled to climb the tree; it wasn't easy to get a purchase on the wet slippery wood. Eventually they managed to do it and quickly hopped over the wall.

All was quiet as the figure moved quickly and quietly across the lawn towards the house, suddenly the noise of a car moving down the driveway towards the gates was heard. The figure quickly jumped back into the shadows breathing heavily and waited.

The sole occupant of the house was now making her way to bed. She was exhausted and had had one hell of a day. She stepped into the shower and then fifteen minutes later settled into bed, little did she know that someone was moving around silently downstairs. She read for half an hour and then no longer able to focus on the words on the page anymore, put the book down and turned out the light. She was just drifting off to sleep when she heard a creak on the landing; she shot up in bed but didn't turn the light on. She listened, there was no further noise and she relaxed a little, feeling safe in the knowledge that the security system was armed.

Shit! The figure on the landing cursed silently, and prayed that the sound had gone undetected. Waiting for a further twenty minutes stood rigid in the same spot was torture on the muscles. The figure silently wiped the river of sweat from its forehead and eyes, and then got on the move again. There was no light coming from under the door so the figure was fairly confident they hadn't been heard. They checked the gun one last time, to make sure it was ready to fire and that the silencer was on tightly. They made it to the bedroom door and gently and slowly turned the door handle.

She lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, as she heard the creak of the door handle. Her breathing became ragged as panic welled up in her chest. She heard further creaks as the door was opened wider. She suddenly went for it and threw herself onto the floor as the gun went off. She half screamed and then tried to remain still.

She saw a pair of boots next to her as the lamp was clicked on; the room was now bathed in soft light.

"Shit!" the figure exclaimed. This wasn't the target, something had gone horribly wrong. Nikki Wade wasn't usually one to panic, but laying on the floor knowing there was a person carrying a gun in the house gave her a pretty good reason to panic in this instance.

"Get up!" a voice ordered

"Alright, just calm down. I'm going to stand up now" Nikki tried to talk as calmly as she could. She stood up and turned around to face the person stood there with a gun in their hands.

"Did I say you could look at me?" the voice growled in an accent that Nikki recognised as Scottish.

Nikki dropped her head, hoping to god that she wasn't going to get shot.

"No point in dropping your head now love, it's too late. You can already identify me."

Nikki lifted her head again and looked in to a pair of green eyes that belonged to a small woman with dark blonde, shoulder length hair.

"Where the fuck is Thomas?"

"He isn't here, he left a while ago"

"I won't ask again, where the fuck is he?" the woman was now getting impatient.

"I don't know where he is, he said he had business and not to expect him back for a few days."

"Alright, lay face down on the bed and put your arms behind you."

Nikki did as she was told and then the woman came up behind her and tied her hands together with the belt from her dressing gown. She was told she could sit up but couldn't quite manage it, so the woman helped her. She roughly grabbed hold of her and threw her over on her front and then pulled her into a sitting position. Despite her size she was very strong, and Nikki was surprised by her strength.

Her heart pounded in her chest, this wasn't how it was supposed to go down. She had wanted to get in there, put a bullet in the guy's head and leave as quietly as she had arrived. Charlie Atkins her boss was going to be very pissed off, Helen Stewart was now very rattled.

"Who are you?" Nikki asked quietly

"None of your damn business, I'm asking the questions around here, who the fuck are you?"

"My name is Nikki Wade, I'm Thomas's cousin" Nikki said quickly.

"And you really don't know where the bastard is?" She could see that the woman was probably telling her the truth but asked again.

"No, I really don't know where he is. He disappears a lot and then turns up days or a week later, that's all, I know."

"What are you doing here anyway?"

"I'm staying here for a few days because I needed a break from work." Nikki lied quickly she wasn't about to tell the truth, especially not to a gun toting mad woman who looked like she was on the edge.

"Bollocks!" Helen slumped onto the bed and fished in her pocket for her mobile phone. Nikki wondered what the hell was going on but was too afraid to ask. She knew what Thomas got up to was far from on the level but decided not to push her luck.

"Keep quiet while I'm on the phone, one word from you and I put a bullet in you, understand?" Helen sounded menacing, and Nikki was totally convinced she meant what she said.

"Yes, I will, I understand."

Helen dialed the number and waited for an answer.

"Hiya boss, it's me. No luck I'm afraid, the bastard isn't here. No, there isn't anybody else in the house. Of course I'm sure, I took a look around and it's empty. He was here before but he must have slipped out without me noticing. Yes ok, I'll be in touch soon bye."

Nikki was astonished; she didn't expect the woman to lie about her existence. For all intents and purposes she expected the woman to hand her over without a second thought.

"Why didn't you tell them about me?" Nikki dared to ask

"I'm not a total bastard. You aren't involved in Thomas's business and I know that because I have never seen you before. And believe me, I know every scumbag within a 200 mile radius."

"So what happens now?" Nikki was feeling slightly calmer.

"For now, we get out of here. I think I'm going to keep hold of you for a few days while I decide what to do, don't worry though, I won't kill you. That is unless you give me a good reason. Are we clear on that?"

"Yes, very."

"Good, get your things and let's go. My car is outside. No need to bother with yours, it's too easy to trace." Helen pointed the gun in Nikki's direction and ordered her to move.

Part 2

Ten minutes later they were driving away in Helen's car, Nikki drove while Helen kept the gun pointed at her. Nikki tried to concentrate on driving but was finding it slightly difficult. A million and one thoughts swirled around her head; she knew she had to keep calm.

They drove for another twenty minutes until she was told to pull over. She did as she was told and then turned the engine off.

"This is going to hurt you far more than it hurts me" were the last words Nikki heard before the butt of the gun was brought down swiftly on to the back of her head and then all went black.

Helen popped open the boot and dragged Nikki from the driving seat. She wasn't really that heavy, but her height in comparison to Helen's made it slightly awkward to handle her properly, but Helen managed eventually to get her into the boot.

She then got into the car and drove to a location where she knew they could stay without being bothered. This was her house, not even Charlie knew the location as she normally stayed in her flat while she was working for him. She opened the boot and found Nikki was still out cold, she dragged her out of the car and towards the house.

She deposited her on her bed, and then went downstairs for a drink. She decided to rummage about in Nikki's bag and gave a harsh laugh when she discovered just who the woman upstairs really was.

Nikki came to just a short while later and sat up as her head pounded. She had a lovely lump on the back of her head from where the gun had connected with the base of her skull. She stood up unsteadily and decided to leave the room.

Helen sat on a chair facing the stairs and watched as Nikki slowly came down them. She took another mouthful of her brandy and then set the glass down on the coffee table.

"Finally woke up then"

"Yeah, no thanks to you though! What the hell did you hit me for?" Nikki was now feeling pissed off.

"I had no choice, I didn't want you to know where we were going." Helen replied matter of factly.

"Bullshit! You could have blindfolded me and chucked me in the boot, you didn't have to rearrange my brain cells" Nikki sat down and pressed a hand to her head in a weak attempt to get it to stop pounding.

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry. Shouldn't have been so heavy handed but then I like to make sure I do things properly."

"Yeah whatever!" Nikki couldn't give a damn.

Helen stood up and went into the kitchen and got a glass of water and some painkillers for Nikki's headache. She came back in and handed them to her and sat down.

"They're painkillers. I'm not trying to poison you." Helen looked faintly amused.

"Yeah well why would you, especially when you could blow my brains out any time you wanted." Nikki said bitterly as she threw the tablets back with a mouthful of water.

"We really are feeling grumpy aren't we?" Helen's voice held a trace of mocking amusement.

"Fuck off." was all Nikki said in reply.

"You want to watch that temper of yours Detective Constable Nikki Wade, it could land you in deep shit one of these days." Helen then stood up and disappeared into the kitchen leaving a stunned and slightly panicked Nikki sitting on the sofa.

Nikki then remembered the warrant card in her bag and groaned. She really was in deep shit now if the woman knew who she was.

"So what are you going to do?" Nikki asked Helen as she walked out into the kitchen to find Helen cooking.

"I'm not sure yet, I haven't decided. Let's just say that since I found out what you do for a living it complicates things slightly."

"If you are going to kill me then just get it over with, I don't want the agony prolonging ok, I feel bad enough as it is." Nikki was resigned to the fact that her life was coming to an end; it was something she had come to terms with while being a copper knowing that every call could be potentially the last one you ever responded to.

"I told you, I'm not a total bastard. I'm not going to kill you unless like I said you give me cause to, so shut up, sit down, and eat this." Helen threw a plate of stir fry in front of Nikki.

They ate in silence glancing up occasionally at each other. Helen wasn't sure what she was going to do. She couldn't tell Charlie because he would kill Nikki and then would kill her, he didn't like being lied to. She wondered if she could let Nikki go but then after all she was a copper and she didn't trust the police.

Helen decided they could both do with getting some sleep, and showed Nikki back up to the bedroom. Helen didn't have a spare bed so she told Nikki they would have to share.

Nikki had butterflies in her stomach, she couldn't believe it. Here she was being held hostage by some mad Scottish woman and all she could think of was how beautiful she was.

They settled into bed and Helen told Nikki not to bother trying to escape, because the house was secure and she would never find the keys.

"I don't even know your name." Nikki tried tentatively to start a conversation.

"It's Helen, but that's all I'm telling you."

"That's a pretty name, it suits you." Nikki couldn't help herself.

"Are you serious? I'm holding you captive against your will and you're treating this like a bloody sleepover." Helen was incredulous.

"I'm just trying to be friendly that's all; no harm in us talking to each other is there?"

"Yes actually there is. I don't want to know a thing about you because frankly I'm not interested and secondly I'm not going to tell you a thing about myself so you can give up now. Just do us both a favour and shut up and go to sleep." Helen growled.

There was silence for ten minutes and then Nikki sat up.

"What's the matter now?" Helen said getting tetchy again.

"I'm sorry I can't sleep."

"Oh for god sake, you're worse than a bloody kid!" Helen exclaimed.

Nikki started to giggle, she couldn't help herself. Helen looked at her as if she was mad and then her face crumpled and she started giggling too.

"Sorry, its just I'm not much of a hostage am I? I'm supposed to be all scared and everything but to be honest Helen; I'm not the slightest bit afraid of you." Nikki spoke honestly.

"Yeah well maybe you should be." Helen was all business again.

Nikki lay down and turned towards Helen.

"I've seen you before, I recognised you last night." Nikki looked directly at Helen as she spoke.

"What!? How the hell do you know who I am?" it was Helen's turn to panic.

"You're one of Charlie Atkins gang, don't worry its not common knowledge, up until that point I had never seen you before. The only reason I recognised you is because I saw you in a car with Yvonne one night, while I was on surveillance. I assumed at that point the two of you were friends."

"So what are you going to do?" Helen realised that the shoe was on the other foot now.

"I don't know I haven't decided yet." Nikki said grinning.

"touché" Helen said smiling back.

They talked for a while longer, and Helen discovered that Nikki was undercover; she was working as one of Thomas's goons while they were investigating him for dodgy business deals amongst other things. Helen was still reluctant to tell Nikki anything about herself.

Nikki only knew her first name and despite being able to recognise her knew nothing else about her.They eventually drifted off to sleep and Helen woke next morning to find Nikki was no longer in bed. Helen didn't worry too much, as she knew Nikki wouldn't be able to get out of the house.

Part 3

Helen wandered into the kitchen to find Nikki cooking breakfast.

"Morning, I didn't want to wake you, you looked peaceful" Nikki said she carried on cooking.

"Morning, look you're a copper and I work for Charlie, lets not forget that. The friendly chats have to stop. Quite apart from the fact Charlie would kill me in a heartbeat; I don't want you knowing anything about me. So until we figure out what's going to happen, lets just keep things simple" Helen poured herself a glass of juice and then sat down.

"While we are both here, I'm not a copper and you don't work for Charlie, we are just two normal human beings having breakfast." Nikki handed Helen's breakfast to her and sat down, they both began to eat.

"Yeah ok I can handle that but I'm not telling you a single thing about myself ok?"

Helen looked pointedly across the table at Nikki.

"Fine. Anything you say." Nikki shrugged and carried on eating.

The rest of the day passed almost in total silence. Helen was unwilling to talk, even on neutral subjects and Nikki soon gave up trying. She had tried watching TV but as usual there was nothing on, so she switched it back off again and sat staring up at the ceiling.

She sat thinking about the mess she was in at the moment and how she was going to get out of it. Her first thought was that as soon as she did she was going to shop Helen but on a second thought, she knew she couldn't do it. She didn't know what it was about her but there was something Nikki just couldn't put her finger on. She knew deep down if it came to the crunch she just wouldn't be able to turn Helen in.

At 8pm that night, Helen disappeared upstairs and came down dressed as if she was going out; Nikki wondered what she was up to.

"You going out then?" Nikki was now starting to think something was going on.

"None of your business. Fancy a cuppa?"

"Yeah sure, that would be nice" Nikki sat there wondering what the hell was going on, as Helen disappeared into the kitchen.

Helen switched the kettle on and quickly checked to make sure Nikki was still in the living room. She quickly took two sleeping tablets from her pocket and ground them up before putting the powder into Nikki's cup. She made the tea and then carried it in handing Nikki's cup to her before sitting down.

Nikki drank the tea, and then made an excuse that she was feeling tired and said she would go up to bed. Helen just nodded and watched her go. Smiling to herself she sat sipping her tea.

Nikki went straight to the bathroom and made herself sick. She hated it but it was the only way to get rid of whatever was in her system, she had correctly guessed Helen had spiked her tea and wanted her out of the way for some reason.

She drank some water from the tap trying to neutralise anything that might have already worked its way into her system and then quickly undressed and got into bed. She lay there in the dark with her eyes closed, and thought about what Helen was up to. Half an hour later, she heard movement on the stairs and quickly closed her eyes feigning sleep.

A chink of light slowly appeared across the bed and Helen looked in to see if Nikki was asleep, satisfied that she was she closed the door again quietly. A couple of minutes later Nikki heard Helen start the car and jumped out of bed to watch the taillights of the car disappear into the dark.

"What are you up to Helen?" Nikki was thinking that maybe she had gone to see Charlie.

She wondered if she was going to tell Charlie about her but she hadn't handed her over so far, but then again she didn't know she was a copper at that point. Nikki tried to rationalise that if Helen wanted her dead she would have killed her by now.

It still didn't stop Nikki from panicking slightly. Taking the opportunity to have the house to herself, she wandered round searching in cupboards and draws trying to find anything that Helen might have left hanging around. An hour later Nikki was thoroughly frustrated. Other than clothes, and shoes the house contained sod all to tell Nikki who Helen was. She couldn't find so much as a letter or a phone bill. There was no way of contacting the outside world either because Helen didn't have a computer or a phone, and her mobile had been confiscated. Nikki had tried finding a way out of the cottage but it was all to no avail. She was locked up tighter than air tight; there was no means of escape.

Helen had just come off the slip road and made her way into London. She now knew where Thomas Waugh was, she had called one of Charlie's thugs the previous night as Nikki slept and found out that he had been sighted hanging around the east end. It didn't take a mind reader to know that he would be frequenting his favourite brothel there. Helen parked up and waited in the road opposite the house that was used as a brothel. She waited a couple of hours and was almost resigned to the fact that he wasn't there when he stepped out of a doorway with one of his minders and they both sauntered to his car.

Helen switched on the ignition and then followed. She followed them for close to forty minutes and was pleased to see that he was heading back to his own house. For the second time in only two days, she climbed over the wall again and was thankful for the fact that it was no longer raining. She snuck up the lawn and waited behind a bush that was close to the house.

It was getting close to 3am and she waited until she was fairly certain Thomas would be in bed. She gained entry to the house and crept quietly upstairs remembering the part of the landing that squeaked so she could avoid it. She went to the same room Nikki had been in and opened the door, it was empty. That only left 3 bedrooms to check. The second one was empty too. The third one she tried was occupied by Thomas's goon that she had seen him with earlier. She decided to leave him; after all it was Thomas that she had come for. She was now breathing heavily and tried to keep calm; she opened the door and crept into the room. Thomas was in bed and was sleeping. Helen was shaking and the sweat was pouring down her face. Maybe once this was done, Charlie would consider the debt paid. She hoped to god he would finally let her go.

She slowly walked up to the bed, and aimed the gun at Thomas's head. She couldn't keep the gun steady no matter how hard she tried; it shook back and forth rapidly. She took another deep breath willing herself to stay calm. She raised the gun and fired it, it missed. Thomas shot up in the bed and quickly clicked the light on. She saw his look of surprise at finding her standing there change to one of total fear. She once again aimed the gun at his head, and still couldn't keep it steady. It seemed like Thomas had frozen and couldn't move. He managed to find his voice.

"What's going on? Who sent you?" the fear in his voice was evident, and Helen didn't answer him because she didn't want the memory of speaking to him before she killed him to haunt her.

She steeled herself and tried to stop the gun shaking, as she aimed and fired. This time she was on target and Thomas fell back onto the bed, with blood trickling from his head all over the sheets.

She immediately gagged and desperately tried to stop herself being sick. She quickly made her way back downstairs and thankfully Waugh's minder hadn't heard anything. She made her way back across the lawn and back over the wall, running the last few hundred yards to the car as fast as she could. She drove trying not to draw attention to herself, to a deserted spot a few miles away that overlooked a lake and threw the gun as far as she possibly could out into the middle of it. The gun wasn't traceable and she had wiped the prints off it but she didn't want the gun in her possession any longer. It would be dangerous if she kept it because they would undoubtedly be able to match the bullet in Thomas to the gun, and she was taking no chances whatsoever.

Just as she was about to leave, her phone rang. It was Charlie, he was pleased with the job she had done, but evidently not pleased enough. She set off back to the cottage and when she got there, she switched the engine off and rested her head against the steering wheel. She felt sick inside, felt sick that she had taken the life of another human being. The image of the bullet entering Thomas's head kept swirling around in there, and she couldn't get rid of it, it was haunting her already.

Part 4

She stepped inside the house and locked the door before hiding the key, and then plodded upstairs to the bedroom. She went in and found Nikki fully awake sitting up on the bed.

"Where the bloody hell have you been?" Nikki demanded.

"That's none of your damn business. For god sake just shut up and leave me alone." Helen replied in a weary tone, and then disappeared into the bathroom.

Nikki heard Helen being sick and then heard the tap running before the shower started up. Nikki thought she had already figured out what Helen had done, and cursed herself for not stopping her. Those kinds of images weren't the ones that anybody wanted in their head and she knew that better than most. Half an hour later, Helen stepped from the bathroom toweling her hair dry, and Nikki sat on the bed watching her. Helen refused to make eye contact with Nikki and carried on what she was doing. After drying her hair, she grabbed some clothes and went back into the bathroom to change for bed. She pulled back the covers and sighed heavily before sliding down against the pillows and closing her eyes.

"You killed Thomas tonight didn't you," Nikki asked but she already knew the answer

"Just leave it will you I'm tired and I want to sleep," Helen turned her back to Nikki but Nikki leaned across Helen and flipped her back over.

"Just tell me, you killed him didn't you?"

"Yes alright I did, happy now?" Helen was starting to get angry despite feeling the way she did.

Nikki just stared at her and she stared back. Nikki wanted to say something but she couldn't quite get the words out. Helen just looked back wondering what she was going to say. Eventually she managed to get her brain into gear.

"I know its horrible now, and it will take a while to get rid of the picture in your head but eventually it will get easier," Nikki said softly

"How do you know?" Helen asked surprised. It wasn't what she had expected Nikki to say at all.

"I once had to shoot somebody in the line of duty, it wasn't pleasant and it bothered me for a long time, but it got easier eventually. It's always there but you don't think about it so often." Nikki knew Helen was having a hard time with what she had done.

Helen just lay there looking into Nikki's eyes. What Nikki had said made her realise what she was feeling given time, would ease. It helped her to know that Nikki understood.

"I....didn't want to do it, I had no choice" Helen's face suddenly crumpled and she began to sob.

Nikki instinctively took Helen in her arms and let her cry. She gently rubbed her back until the sobs subsided and it was replaced with the sound of regular slow breathing. She knew that Helen had fallen asleep, it was no wonder, she looked exhausted.

Nikki slid down further in to the bed and keeping hold of Helen, closed her eyes. They would have a lot to talk about in the morning. Helen would need to, whether she wanted to or not.

Part 5

Helen had woken up a few times in the night, crying out with the nightmares she was having about killing Thomas. Nikki tried to comfort her as best as she could but Helen pushed her away. They got up next morning both feeling tired and drained.

Nikki made some breakfast but Helen wouldn't eat. She fished out some cigarettes and began to smoke, something she hadn't done in a long time. She offered one to Nikki and she took it. Nikki hadn't smoked since the night Helen had crashed into the bedroom and frankly had been gasping.

Helen finished her cigarette and topping up her mug with coffee went into the living room and sat down on the sofa. Nikki came in a while later and sat beside her, Helen didn't acknowledge the fact she was even in the room. Helen was still too busy thinking about the situation she now found herself in, and the phone call that she had had from Charlie the previous night.

"You're going to have to talk about this you know, it doesn't help bottling it all up."

"I don't want to talk about it, just drop it" Helen replied in a monotone.

Nikki sighed and leant forward and took the cup from Helen's hands, placing it on the coffee table.

"Start at the beginning, how did you end up working for Charlie? And carry on right to the end" Nikki wanted to know, and she wasn't going to be fobbed off.

"That's none of your business and I'm not telling you a damn thing alright!" Helen started to stand up but Nikki dragged her back down.

"Look Helen, I know you didn't kill Thomas of your own volition because I can see it in your face. I want to know how you got dragged into all of this"

Helen stood up and wordlessly left the room, leaving Nikki sitting alone and frustrated. No matter what she tried Helen just wouldn't open up to her. She decided for the moment that there wasn't much else that she could do.

Helen stood leaning over the sink in the kitchen. Tears were threatening to break free and it took all her strength to compose herself. She sighed heavily and put the kettle on to boil, she had to figure out what the hell she was going to do. She couldn't keep Nikki there forever, and she just didn't know which way to turn.

Nikki was now pacing back and forth in the living room deep in thought. Should she try and get Helen to talk? or should she just forget about it and write her off as a lost cause? Nikki knew the second option was impossible, for some strange reason she cared about Helen and just couldn't do it.

Helen came back into the room and noticed Nikki's distracted state.

"What is the matter with you?"

"What? Oh nothing I'm fine" Nikki responded

"You don't look fine to me" Helen found herself concerned about Nikki despite telling herself she didn't care.

"Don't think you are in a position to comment on that, do you?" Nikki said more sarcastically than she had meant to.

Helen flashed her a hurt look and raced up the stairs before slamming the bedroom door. She collapsed on the bed heavily and tears threatened. It wasn't long before all the built up tension was flooding out as the tears coursed down her face. Nikki now felt terrible, she shouldn't have said that because the last thing she wanted to do was hurt Helen.

She opened the door and put her head into the room and saw Helen on the bed sobbing softly.

"Helen, I'm sorry"

"Piss off!" Helen managed to say through her tears.

"I said I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you" Nikki felt her heart ache at the sight of Helen crying.

"Please Nikki, I just need time on my own" Helen's voice had softened.

"Ok. If you need me I'll be downstairs."

She went down and sat on the sofa, she closed her eyes and sighed when she thought about how stupid her comment to Helen was. She had never felt this guilty before, and she had certainly made worse comments to people. She supposed it was a measure of just how quickly and how much she had come to care for Helen. She sat with her thoughts in turmoil, before long her breathing had slowed and she sank into a deep sleep.

A few hours later Helen had composed herself enough to go back downstairs. She saw Nikki sleeping on the couch and sat down beside her. She gently stroked the hair back from her forehead and Nikki stirred slightly in her sleep. Helen gently rubbed the side of her face while telling Nikki to wake up. Nikki slowly opened her eyes and saw Helen smiling at her.

"So am I forgiven for being an arsehole then?" Nikki grinned

"Yes you are, God knows why though. You are the biggest pain in the arse I have ever met" Helen was still smiling down at her.

"That's something we have in common then"

"Oh and what's that?" Helen said with a questioning look.

"I'm the biggest pain in the arse I have ever met too!" she replied and they both giggled.

Helen suddenly got serious, and Nikki noticed the change in her face. One minute she looked normal and the next all the worry seemed to cloud her expression again.

"If I tell you why I killed Thomas, will you promise me that I can trust you?"

"I promise. I won't ever tell anybody I know it was you, it can be our secret" Nikki replied sincerely.

Helen looked at Nikki and despite her being a police officer, she felt somewhere deep down even though she couldn't explain it, that she could trust her. She explained that it had all started when she was eighteen. Her father had borrowed some money from Charlie and couldn't pay it back, and he had gotten a beating and was told to pay or else.

Her father still couldn't make the payments and she naively went to Charlie and asked him not to hurt her father anymore that they would do their best to pay him back. Charlie seeing an opportunity to exploit the situation made Helen an offer she couldn't refuse. He told her that if she worked for him then she could repay the debt.

Now at age 30, some twelve years later, she was still paying off the debt and doubted whether Charlie would ever let her go. He had told her that if she bumped off Thomas, then the debt would be repaid in full. However, after the telephone conversation she had with him last night, she found out that this wasn't the case.

Charlie had told her the original debt was paid, but now she had to pay off the interest which was 3 times as much as her father had originally borrowed. She knew that Charlie was never going to let her go. Nikki sat and listened as Helen told her that she had started off running the odd errand for Charlie then as she got older, he gave her more responsibility and sent her off on the protection money collecting trips.

Eventually he decided that he wanted her to look after his wife and daughter and she drove them places, ran errands for them and basically made sure that nobody went near them. She had learnt enough along the way to be able to spot potential trouble, she was very observant which is why Charlie trusted her to bodyguard his wife and daughter. She admitted that she usually carried a gun which she hated and that she had never used it, up until last night.

She then told Nikki how Thomas had double crossed Charlie on a business deal and Charlie wanted him dead so he approached Helen about it, and she told Nikki that she knew not to refuse, that nobody ever refused him anything and lived to tell the tale. When he told her that the debt would be repaid if she did it then she felt she had no choice in the matter.

She went on to recount the events of the night before and did so with some difficulty. Nikki listened patiently, and didn't say a word until she had finished.

"That's one hell of a life you've had"

"Tell me about it. I just want out, I want a normal life." Helen placed her head into her hands and sat quietly.

"What are you going to do?" Nikki asked although she already knew that Helen didn't have much option.

"Not much I can do, just resign myself to the fact that the bastard has won and I'm never going to be free of him." Helen sounded detached

"There is the witness protection program, you could testify against him and they would give you a whole new identity somewhere else."

"Yeah and we both know that the last guy who testified against him enjoyed two whole weeks of freedom before Charlie found him and slit his throat. Not to mention that I would get thrown in the slammer for murder before that. No bloody way!"

Nikki tried to find other options but had to admit there wasn't one. Helen had clammed up and didn't want to talk anymore so she left her to it. She wandered into the kitchen and rummaged through the cupboards, gathered some ingredients and began to cook. When it was finished she called Helen through to the kitchen and tried to get her to eat.

"I'm not hungry" she said flatly.

"Oh come on, not even a little bit?"

"No" came the monosyllabic reply

Nikki wasn't to be put off.

"I made it especially for you, you haven't eaten since yesterday. I've slaved over this bloody cooker for the past hour." Nikki took a mouthful on the pretext of telling Helen how wonderful it tasted only to take a mouthful and pull a face before spitting it out.

"Eurgh! Bloody hell that's horrible" Nikki exclaimed, then she looked at Helen who was now trying to keep a straight face. She looked over pleased to see that she was laughing.

"Who are you laughing at?" Nikki said with mock severity

"You! Honest to god you can't do anything right can you? Crappy hostage and crappy cook!" Helen was laughing. It was a deep dirty belly laugh and Nikki thought it was wonderful.

"Right that's it, you are in big trouble now!" she went for Helen who raced out of the kitchen and into the living room. She chased her around the coffee table and managed to catch her.

She started to tickle her furiously, and Helen giggled uncontrollably. She begged her to stop and Nikki showed mercy.

"Bitch! I hate being tickled" Helen managed to say through ragged breaths.

"It's your own fault, you deserved it."

They stood close together in front of the coffee table and they both looked into each other's eyes. Time seemed to stand still before Nikki took the initiative, and drew Helen into her arms before gently kissing her. To her surprise Helen didn't push her away but clung on. Breathless they drew apart and continued to look at each other.

"Am I in big trouble now for kissing my captor?" Nikki quipped

"No I enjoyed it. Just don't expect too much from me Nikki, I'm not in a position to give you the things you deserve." Helen looked sad.

"Hey shhh, I'm sure we will figure something out" Nikki said quietly before drawing Helen into her arms again.

Part 6

They finally decided it was time to eat. Helen called for a takeaway on her mobile and made sure she was out of Nikki's earshot before she gave the address. When it finally arrived Nikki was upstairs in the bathroom but had seen the address of the restaurant on the side of the van from the bathroom window. Nikki smiled, she now knew where she was but didn't care anymore, she wanted to stay with Helen.

They ate and talked about various things, both discovering a shared passion for music and books, and strangely enough they read and listened to mostly all the same things.

After having a restless night the night before they were both tired and went to bed early. They now felt shy in front of each other since the kiss, and didn't know how to act about sharing the same bed.

They got in and snuggled closer together and just held each other, gradually the shyness dissipated and they both felt more comfortable. They kissed a few times and both felt the passion welling up inside them. Nikki wanted to make sure this is what Helen wanted.

"Helen are you sure? I want you to be absolutely sure before we do this"

"Totally sure, please just make love to me Nikki, I need you"

That was all the confirmation Nikki needed and proceeded to make love to Helen slowly and softly. They gently explored each others bodies, and took each other to heights of passion that neither had experienced. Afterwards they both lay in each others arms, exhausted but fulfilled.

Helen started to cry softly, and Nikki put a finger under her chin and pulled her face up so she could look at her.

"Sweetheart, what's the matter?" Nikki was concerned.

"It's just" Helen faltered.

"Just what?" Nikki said softly

"I think I've fallen in love with you and I know we can't be together. I've never felt like this about anybody before and now it's all over before it's begun. You should leave tomorrow Nikki; you've been here long enough. I trust you not to say anything, I think it's time we stopped this before it gets any harder."

Nikki pulled Helen closer and kissed her tears away.

"I love you and I'm going to fight for you, we solve this problem together. I'm glad you trust me because I would never do anything to hurt you. Come here and close your eyes, I'm not going anywhere sweetheart I swear." Nikki kissed the top of Helen's head and pulled her closer.

"I love you too Nikki" Helen murmured

"I know you do darling, I know you do." Nikki closed her eyes and held on tight to Helen and they both eventually drifted off to sleep.

Nikki was woken next morning by Helen. Helen told her to get dressed and that they were leaving. Nikki tried to reason with her but Helen wouldn't listen. She blindfolded Nikki and made her get into the boot of the car. Eventually when they were closer to London, she pulled over in a quiet road and let Nikki out. She then carried on driving with Nikki in the passenger seat.

"Why are you doing this?" Nikki wanted to know what was going on.

"I told you not to expect too much from me Nikki. We both know it wouldn't work." Helen was trying to keep her emotions in check.

"Just give me one reason why? If we love each other then there's no reason why it can't work."

"I can give you several reasons why. One you're a copper, two I work for Charlie Atkins and I'm stuck with it, and 3 we hardly know each other."

Nikki was lost for words. Helen seemed cold and distant towards her, which is the total opposite of the way she was last night. Nikki continued to think. As they were nearing the end of their journey, she couldn't keep say silent any longer.

"Helen, I love you. I know you love me too. Why can't we fight to be together? Why throw it all away before it's started."

"It's just too difficult Nikki. If things were different then maybe we could make a go of it but they aren't. Let's not try and pretend that these aren't the facts." Helen replied in the same flat unemotional tone as before but inside she felt like she was dying.

"So that's it? Just chuck it all away because things aren't quite how we would like them to be?"

"I'm sorry Nikki."

"Don't bother being sorry Helen. You coward! I can't believe you won't fight for us. You're just running away."

"If that's how you wanna see it then fine, hate me for it." Helen now had tears in her eyes. She pulled up to the kerb and Nikki got out slamming the door. She stormed off and didn't bother to look back. Helen took off in a squeal of tires, and was soon out of sight.

Nikki went into the nearest shop to buy cigarettes. She furiously chain smoked all the way back to her flat. When she got in and checked her answer phone, there were dozens of angry messages from her DCI Karen Betts demanding to know where she was and why she hadn't been in contact. She erased all the messages and went to the fridge for a beer.

"You can all fuck off," she said aloud to the room as she sat down heavily on the sofa.

Part 7

Helen could hardly see through the tears that were coursing down her face. She had to pull over and sat with her head against the steering wheel. She felt like her heart was being torn in two. She had needed to be cold towards Nikki, she had to get rid of her before Charlie found out, she couldn't put Nikki in danger.

Helen had a few relationships before Nikki, none lasted more than a couple of months, but Nikki had been the only woman. She realised now that she had pushed that part of herself deep down and denied it. She had never wanted to acknowledge the fact that she was gay, but being with Nikki had changed all that.

She knew she wanted Nikki, that for the first time ever in her life she had fallen in love but the situation was impossible. While she was still tied to Charlie, she had no choice but to let Nikki go, even though it was destroying her. She wiped her eyes and told herself she had to keep it together, and then she phoned Charlie.

DCI Karen Betts was in full rant mode, she stomped around the office demanding to know if anybody had seen Nikki. Nobody had seen her and it didn't please Karen. She tried phoning her again but there was no answer, then she decided to go around to her flat. She knocked on the door and her face changed colour as Nikki opened the door.

"Where the bloody hell have you been?" Karen demanded angrily "Not now Karen, I'm not in the mood ok?" Nikki went to close the door but Karen barged in and went into the living room.

"Come in." Nikki remarked sarcastically

Karen lit up a cigarette, and waited for a response from Nikki. When none was forthcoming she spoke again.


"You know I haven't found out much that we didn't already know. I was staying at his place for the last few days while he was away on business then yesterday morning I came back here, I didn't call in because I had nothing new to tell you ok? That's all there is to know"

"Bloody hell Nikki you're a better copper than that. What happened to Thomas?"

"I told you he went off for a few days on business" Nikki wasn't about to tell Karen a thing.

"He's dead Nikki; somebody shot him in the head, what the bloody hell happened?" Karen wasn't going to give up.

Nikki sighed and disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a beer and a cigarette.

"I didn't know he was dead. The last time I saw him was when he went away, that's all I know."

"Don't you watch the news? It's been big news since they discovered his body this morning, and if you had bothered to do your job properly then you would have known." Karen was raging.

"I'm sorry alright! You know what it's like when you're undercover. You lose track of time. It won't happen again."

"It better hadn't Nikki because if you pull a stunt like this again I'll make damn sure you are kicked off the force. You know better and I'm disappointed in you. Pull yourself together for fuck sake."

Karen stood up to leave telling Nikki to make sure she was in work on time the next morning. As soon as the door closed Nikki went to the freezer and got out a bottle of vodka and promptly set about getting pissed.

Helen walked into Charlie's living room and was told to sit down. He handed her a glass of brandy and she took it thankfully, needed something to take the edge off how she was feeling.

"Good job on getting rid of Waugh Helen, took a little longer than I would have expected but at least it's done."

"I'm sorry about that boss." Helen said nervously taking a swallow of her drink.

"I'm sure you are darlin'. Not to worry anyway, it's all done now. I'd like you to start paying off the interest now so, get back to looking after my two favourite girls for me."

"Of course boss." Helen drained her glass taking it as her cue to leave and shook hands with Charlie before she left the house to pick up Yvonne and Lauren from a health spa.

Nikki sat at her desk with a pounding headache. She was smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of what was supposed to be coffee. It was the usual sludge the station churned out.

"Right you lot listen up. There have been no further developments in the Thomas Waugh murder case. Forensics turned up nothing, whoever killed him was a pro. So we start looking to the obvious suspects, Charlie Atkins gang for one."

Nikki tried to keep her face neutral, trying not to let on that she knew more than she told Karen. Her heart twisted at the mention of Charlie Atkins, it only reminded her of Helen. Karen waffled on for a while but Nikki wasn't listening.

"Nikki? Did you hear what I said?"

"What? Sorry Karen. What did you say?"

"I said I want you to go undercover at Atkins place. You have the most experience on the team."

"No way Karen! I can't." Nikki didn't want to do it; she didn't want to have to come face to face with Helen. It could get them both in to trouble.

"You have no choice in the matter, it's an order. You know what you have to do, get started." Karen put an end to the matter and Nikki stalked off out of the office.

She wondered what the hell she was going to do.

Part 8

That night Nikki wandered into a bar, she knew was frequented by Charlie's thugs. She walked over to the bar and ordered a vodka, lime and soda, and then lit a cigarette. She was wearing jeans and t-shirt and an old leather jacket that had belonged to her father.

She unobtrusively glanced around the pub and nearly choked on her drink when she saw Helen sitting in a corner with Charlie and Yvonne.

She felt her stomach sink but knew she couldn't let it interfere with what she was going to do. She had thought out various plans and none of them seemed to work but then she had hit on one and she supposed it was a bonus that Charlie was there to see it first hand.

She wondered if Helen had seen her, and thought that she must have. She carried on as if nothing had happened, as if she didn't know Helen at all. Helen meanwhile had noticed Nikki and her heart was pounding and her mouth had gone dry. She wondered what the hell Nikki was doing there. She knew if Charlie found out Nikki was a copper then she would be dead quicker than she could blink.

Nikki waited another twenty minutes, and she swore she could almost feel the tension coming from Helen. One of Charlie's goons arrived at the bar to get more drinks for Charlie's table and she took this as the perfect opportunity. The man was large with a shaven head and was wearing a suit that was evidently far too small for him. Just as he stepped back from the bar with the drinks on a tray, she subtly bumped into him and he tipped the drinks all over her.

"Oi! Watch it you fucking idiot. Your brain so small that you can't watch where you're going without knocking your drinks over everyone?" Nikki went straight for the throat.

"You better watch who you're talking to bitch!" the man growled menacingly

Nikki's heart was hammering, but she was confident that no matter how big the guy was that she could drop him.

"No you better watch who you're talking to, you moron!"

The guy was now really pissed off, he didn't care if he punched her face to a pulp, after all she was only a woman and he had hit a woman before. He dropped the tray on the floor and went after Nikki, he threw a punch and she ducked before punching him in the windpipe. Then she followed up with a right hook, smacking him straight in the nose.

The guy fell onto the floor struggling to breathe, and clutching his broken nose that was now dripping with blood.

"Watch out who you mess with next time arsehole." Nikki turned back towards the bar and carried on sipping her drink. She knew Charlie had noticed her and she knew it was only a matter of time before he wanted to speak to her.

Five minutes later, another one of his goons approached the bar and told her Charlie wanted a word. She took her drink and went over to the table and then Charlie offered her a chair, she sat.

"What's your name?" he asked

"Nikki Harper"

"Well Nikki Harper, do you treat all men that way when they piss you off?"

"No not always, the last one who really pissed me off ended up in intensive care for six weeks." Nikki tried to sound tough

Charlie started to laugh, and patted Nikki on the back. Helen was too stunned to think straight, she wondered what the hell Nikki was up to.

"I like your style Nikki. You just decked one of my best men. Bruno will never live it down that he was chinned by a woman. How would you like to do a little business with me?"

Charlie looked at her with an expression that told her she couldn't refuse.

"What kind of business?" she dared to ask

"You've got some set of balls I'll give you that" Charlie said to her, he wasn't used to people questioning him.

"I'd like you to work with Helen here, she bodyguards my wife and daughter but I've been thinking about getting somebody to help her, Fancy it?"

"Yeah why not" Nikki shrugged outwardly seeming cool but inside she was glad she had gotten in so quickly, however she wasn't so fond of the idea of working with Helen.

Helen's heart sank. She didn't want to have to work with Nikki, she missed her badly enough as it was without having to see her everyday and not be able to go near her.

"Good that's settled. Start tomorrow" Charlie said it wasn't a question but a statement of fact.

"Of course boss" Nikki answered and Charlie shouted for more drinks.

Before she left the pub that night, she had written her address down for Helen, and she picked her up the next morning. Nikki was now dressed in a black pinstriped Armani suit with a simple white shirt underneath. Her shoes were also black and highly polished.

Helen was dressed similarly in a steel gray suit and lilac shirt. Before she left the flat she had checked her reflection in the mirror, the bruises looked awful and she didn't even try to cover them up with makeup. It would have been pointless, they would still have been plainly obvious. She got into the car put her seatbelt on and remained silent. The gun Charlie had given her was digging into her side uncomfortably, and she could tell by the bulge in Helen's jacket that she was carrying a gun too.

Helen saw Nikki's bruised face and cut lip. She was immediately concerned.

"Nikki what the hell happened to you?" she demanded

"Charlie wasn't happy. He sent one of his friends round last night. Just to let me know that even if he seemed ok about me decking one of his blokes last night, that it won't be tolerated again"

"Shit! See Nikki this is what happens when you get involved with Charlie Atkins. I warned you" Helen couldn't help but be angry even though she was upset about Nikki being hurt.

"Look, you made it clear you don't give a shit about me fine! So just do your job and let me do mine" Nikki carried on staring straight through the windscreen as Helen drove, not looking at her.

"If this is some sort of attempt to try and have a relationship with me then you can just forget about it now, we already discussed all that."

"Don't flatter yourself darlin' I'm here for reasons that have sod all to do with you. I seem to remember that you wanted to keep things simple, so follow your own advice and let's just get on with the job in hand." Nikki was hating the situation already, Helen was sat less than foot away and she might as well have been a thousand miles away because Nikki couldn't get anywhere near her.

"So you're undercover then, are you bloody stupid? If Charlie finds out you know what he will do, and not just to you either. If he finds out about us, then I'm dead too." Helen was still angry

"That's on a need to know basis and you don't need to know, I'm not going to tell you a bloody thing. As for us, there isn't an us, so he has no reason to touch you."

Nikki shut up and Helen knew she wasn't going to talk to her so she continued on to Charlie's house in silence. They picked Yvonne and Lauren up and then were informed that they had to drive them both up to Charlie's farmhouse in Scotland. Helen sighed, this job was shit.

They got onto the M1 and drove north. The journey was silent between them except for Yvonne and Lauren jabbering away in the background. They stopped off at the services in Manchester and it gave Nikki the opportunity to call Karen and let her know what was going on, on the pretext of visiting the bathroom. She got back to the car and noticed that Helen was sitting in it on her own.

"Where are they?"

"Inside having lunch, I was instructed to stay out here. They wanted to be left alone for a while." Helen said matter of factly, not looking at Nikki even though she wanted to.

"Are you hungry? I could go get us something from the shop" Nikki asked, she suddenly wasn't feeling as hard hearted towards Helen as she wanted to be.

"I'll get it you stay here. I need to stretch my legs anyway" Helen got out of the car and walked off.

She was back five minutes later with sandwiches and coffee. They ate in silence, both wanting to hold each other and both knowing they couldn't. Over an hour later they saw Yvonne and Lauren coming out of the services in the rearview mirror.

"Want me to drive for a bit? You look knackered." Nikki asked softly

"Yeah thanks, I could do with a break from driving for a bit. Are you sure you are up to it?" Helen smiled faintly at Nikki, and her heart leapt.

"Perfectly sure" Nikki smiled back.

They got out of the car and swapped places, while Yvonne and Lauren settled themselves in the back seat. Nikki swung the car out of the car park and got back onto the motorway. They continued on in silence the same as before until, a conversation in the back seat, pricked Nikki's ears up.

"Are you going to ask her or what mum?" Lauren looked over at Yvonne.

"Yeah ok, won't do no harm I suppose" Yvonne shrugged.


"Yes Mrs. Atkins?" Helen replied.

"Do you know a woman by the name of Renee Williams?"

"Yes, she is the wife of Jimmy Williams. One of Mr. Atkins business rivals." Helen didn't dare say anymore than that.

"Is she having an affair with Charlie Helen? I want a straight answer." Yvonne had suspected Charlie was playing away and she knew that Helen would know.

"I don't know Mrs. Atkins." Helen closed her eyes and hoped Yvonne would let it drop.

"Bullshit! You occasionally drive him places, I know you know if he is shagging her or not."

Nikki was uncomfortable; she knew Helen would be in deep shit if she said anything.

"Yes Mrs. Atkins, Mr. Atkins is having an affair with Renee Williams." Nikki decided to cut Helen from the loop and take the plunge herself. Helen looked over sharply at Nikki, but Nikki wouldn't look at her. Yvonne was quiet for a minute. She and Lauren looked at each other, and then Yvonne spoke to Nikki again.

"How long have they been at it for? And how do you know?"

"About 3 years now Mrs. Atkins and I'm sorry to say I know because it's common knowledge. Anybody who mixes in the same circles knows." it was true, the affair was common knowledge and the police had known about it for a while.

"Bastard! Why didn't you tell me Helen? 3 bloody years and you never said a word"

Yvonne's face was like thunder.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Atkins it wasn't my place to say, I......." Helen was cut off mid sentence by Nikki.

"You can't blame Helen Mrs. Atkins. Everybody knows what happens if you cross the boss. If I had been in Helen's position I would have done the same thing. You have to look at it from her point of view. I'm sure she didn't want to have to upset you either."

Yvonne looked thoughtful.

"Is that why you didn't tell me Helen?"

"Yes Mrs. Atkins. I've kept quiet about it because I know the boss wouldn't be happy and I really didn't want to upset you, and thought it best to keep quiet." Helen lied through her back teeth. She had made sure she kept her mouth shut because she knew Charlie would give her a set of concrete boots.

"I don't blame you love, I wouldn't want to tell me anything like that either. I know how Charlie can be when he is crossed, and I don't blame you for not wanting to get on the wrong side of him. Just leave it with me and we will say no more about it. I promise I won't tell him ok?" Yvonne meant it; she didn't want to get Helen into trouble with Charlie, because in her own way she was fond of Helen.

"Yes Mrs. Atkins, thank you" Helen breathed a sigh of relief. She knew that once Yvonne had given her word, she stuck to it.

Part 9

They stopped off along the way a few more times and Helen and Nikki shared the driving. Towards the last half an hour, Nikki swapped with Helen again because she knew the way. They eventually pulled up outside the farmhouse and Nikki and Helen carried the bags in. It was getting close to 1am and they all went straight to bed. Nikki and Helen were forced to share the only available bedroom that was left and both set about showering and getting changed.

They both jumped into bed, and lay there as far apart as possible. They didn't speak. Apart from the fact they may have been overheard, they didn't trust themselves to even look at one another. Helen wondered if Nikki was ok, she had noticed her wincing a few times as she moved around. She finally got up the courage to see if she was ok.



"Are you ok? I've noticed that you have been a bit uncomfortable moving about. Have they hurt you really badly?"

Nikki pushed the covers aside and lifted up her t-shirt, giving Helen full view of her badly bruised stomach and breasts. Helen gasped in shock; she felt a sharp stabbing pain deep in her heart that the woman she loved had been beaten in this way.

"Oh Jesus Nikki! The bastards must really have laid into you, I'm so sorry" Helen felt like crying at the sight of her lover hurt but tried desperately to keep her emotions under check.

"It's not your fault Helen. Besides I've had worse kicking's than this, I will be fine" Nikki made light of it but if the truth be known it was hurting like hell.

Nikki was about to reach over to turn the light out when Helen leaned across the bed and gently kissed the side of Nikki's face before leaning her forehead against her neck.

"Thank you for what you said to Yvonne. I know I don't deserve it, and I'm really grateful" Then she moved away back onto her side of the bed.

Nikki turned the light out and lay staring into the darkness. She just couldn't figure Helen out, one minute they were together, the next she was telling her it was over and now she had just kissed her. She wondered if Helen was finding things as difficult as she was, and if they would ever be able to sort things out between them. Both were lost in their own thoughts before sleep finally claimed them.

For the rest of the week Nikki and Helen barely spoke. Each night they lay in bed next to each other and the tension was unbearable. Things had gotten frosty again which wasn't helped by the fact that each morning when they woke up they found themselves wrapped around each other.

They would disentangle themselves and then it would be business as usual. They were both bored in the farmhouse, because there was nothing for them to do. Yvonne and Lauren frequently took the car and went out shopping and didn't invite either of them to go along, so they spent most of the day alone in each other's company wishing they were somewhere else.

One Sunday afternoon over a week after they had arrived, Yvonne told them that she was taking Lauren to Edinburgh overnight so they could have a bit of a sightseeing tour. Helen wasn't happy about it knowing that Charlie would go mad if they went on their own but Yvonne assured her that he would never know. They packed an overnight back and left, leaving Nikki and Helen alone and stranded at the farmhouse.

"Well this is really nice isn't it? I'm stuck up here in haggis land and haven't got a bloody thing to do" Nikki said sarcastically.

"Haggis land? I hope you aren't taking the piss Nikki" Helen found it amusing even though she didn't show it.

"Whatever made you doubt it? So tell me how do you catch haggis here? Do you set little traps for them? Or run after them and when you've caught them bang the little bastards over the head with a hammer?" Nikki kept a straight face.

"Shut up" Helen knew she was playing with her and didn't want to be drawn in because she knew where it would end up.

"No really I'm interested. Tell me are they naturally oval shaped? Do you cut their little arms and legs off once you've caught them?"

"Find haggis interesting do you?"

"As a species yes. I think I've seen one running about in the back yard. It's wearing a little kilt, and it's got bright red hair." Nikki smiled over at Helen as she burst into fits of giggles.

They both sat their laughing, the ice was finally broken. Then when they stopped, Helen sighed and turned to look at Nikki.

"You're never going to let me go are you?"


"Why bother? Why waste your time with me when you could have any woman you wanted"

"You don't get it do you? You are the only woman I want. I love you." Nikki took hold of Helen's hand.

"I wish I could say the same Nikki but I cant." Helen looked sad

"Meaning that you don't love me and you lied to me?" Nikki felt sick

"No that's not what I meant, you know how I feel and I wasn't lying when I said it. If I say it again then it only makes it harder. It's hard enough as it is, wanting something I can't have" Helen tried to pull away but Nikki wouldn't let her.

"That's just it Helen, I don't know what you want. Tell me, tell me what you want and how you feel" Nikki pleaded with her.

Helen sighed and looked at the floor, she wanted to tell her but she didn't know if she could handle it.

"Please Helen tell me"

Part 10

"I want you Nikki, that's what I want. I want to be able to live my life with you like a normal person. I want to be able to hold your hand and go places with you. I want a house of our own so that we can do what we want, when we want. I want kids running around the place. I love you Nikki, you know how I feel, and you must be able to see it every time I look at you."

"I can but I wanted to hear you say it"

"These feelings are new to me. I don't mean being gay, I've had feelings like that all my life" Helen was interrupted by Nikki

"You're gay? I assumed you were straight" Nikki was surprised

"Yes I'm gay, but didn't admit it to myself until I met you. We had amazing sex and you have to ask me a question like that? Wasn't it obvious?" Helen was smiling again, trying to wind Nikki up.

"Don't even go there, I know you're trying to wind me up. But yes I thought you were straight. Am I the first woman you were with?" Nikki smiled back

"Yes you were. Anyway getting back to what I was saying. These feelings are new to me, I've never dreamed of having a house and kids with anybody else. I've never experienced the depth of feeling that I feel with you and it scares me because we haven't known each other very long?"

"So you want children with me?"

"Yes I do. Never wanted kids before but I find myself thinking about it often. Also find myself thinking about what it would be like to be married to you, to have our own place and our own life away from all this shit."

"You don't half move fast don't you Helen! I'm kidding but yes I know what you mean, never even contemplated any of that stuff until you burst into my bedroom and tried to shoot me" Nikki smiled but then immediately regretted what she said, she had only been joking but could see Helen was struggling with it.

"I'm sorry; it was stupid thing to say"

"No it's not your fault. I'm still having a hard time with dealing with the fact that I killed somebody. I'm still having the nightmares but I know you already know because you see it happen every night."

"Let me help you, we both need each other. I want this relationship Helen and you just admitted you did too. After all now I'm working for Charlie too it's easier for us to see each other. Let's worry about what happens after that. Like I told you before if we stick together then we'll find a way."

"I don't know, just please let me have some time to think about it. There is a lot at stake here and I don't want either of us landing in the shit because of it." Helen still didn't think it was a good idea.

"Ok, I can deal with that" Nikki lifted Helen's hand and kissed it. She was surprised when Helen responded in the same way.

They stayed at the cottage for another two weeks and were almost climbing the wall with boredom. It wasn't as bad as it had been because they were now talking to each other but Helen still held back from talking intimately with her like they had on the afternoon when she admitted she still wanted Nikki. They went to bed every night and went to sleep apart and woke up holding each other in the morning, but Helen didn't pull away anymore. The nightmares gradually eased a little and she let Nikki comfort her, they talked about it and she found the pain easing a little with each passing day.

They packed up to leave early and then drove south. Yvonne and Lauren seemed agitated about something and neither Nikki nor Helen had any idea what was wrong with them. Unbeknownst to them, when Yvonne and Lauren had gone to Edinburgh, they took a flight to London to see Jimmy Williams. Yvonne told him about Charlie and Renée and he wasn't best pleased. She had taken a chance on meeting him because he could have had her bumped off anytime he wanted to get back at Charlie, but to Yvonne's surprise he thanked her for telling him and had let her go. They both knew that Charlie was in trouble now.

Part 11

Things between Helen and Nikki were a little better now; they were friendly and didn't try to avoid each other anymore. They still hadn't slept together again and every time Nikki tried to get close, Helen would pull away and tell her that they couldn't. Nikki could tell it was hard for Helen having to push her feelings to one side all the time but she understood where Helen was coming from. It was torture for the both of them not being able to be together properly. Helen came over to Nikki's flat one morning to pick her up for work.

"Morning Nik. You look like shit this morning" Helen said smiling

"Thanks very much, I love you too!" Nikki said sticking her tongue out at Helen.

"Sorry! What I should have said was is you look knackered"

"Yeah I am. Didn't get much sleep last night" Nikki didn't elaborate on the reason why and Helen decided not to ask.

"Coffee buggerlugs?"

"Yeah go on, got plenty of time haven't we" Helen laughed at Nikki calling her buggerlugs.

"Yes because you are early this morning. Missing me so much that you felt you had to get here over an hour early?" Nikki flirted and was surprised by what Helen said next.

"Yes I do miss you Nikki. I love you so much, come here give us a cuddle" Helen stepped closer to Nikki and was enveloped in her arms.

"I love you too sweetheart. What brought this on?"

"Just wanted to let the most special person in the world know how much I love her that's all" Helen sank into Nikki and was loving the feeling of her warmth and softness.

They stayed like that for as long as they could and then they had to break apart to go to work. The conversation in the car was livelier than it had ever been; they laughed and joked like an old married couple. Nikki was convinced that maybe Helen was starting to come around to the idea of them being together at last.

They pulled up in front of Charlie's house and were both summoned into his office.

"Morning girls! I want you two to run a couple of errands for me today. Yvonne and Lauren won't need you until tomorrow, that ok?" Charlie looked over his desk to where Nikki and Helen were standing.

"Yes of course boss" Helen said respectfully.

"Good! Just hang on five minutes until Davey gets here and then you can toddle off" Charlie turned his attention to some papers on his desk while Nikki and Helen stood there.

A short while later a man roughly about Nikki's height with dark blonde spiky hair entered Charlie's office. The man would once have been good looking if it wasn't for the obvious marks on his face from being an ex-boxer. Nikki felt sick as she recognised the man she had previously arrested when she was in uniform about 5 years ago. She prayed he wouldn't recognise her.

"Ere ya go! The information you wanted is in this envelope. All the addresses are written down so shouldn't be a problem Gov" Davey handed the envelope to Charlie.

Just as he was about to turn around and leave, he noticed Nikki and his eyebrows knotted together as he tried to remember where he had seen her before. She seemed so familiar but he couldn't place her.

"Ere darlin, where have we met before?"

"You mean to tell me you don't remember Davey? You're such an unromantic sod!" Nikki thought quickly she had to buy herself sometime while she thought about what she was going to say. The last thing she wanted was for the guy to remember her because she would be in deep shit.

"Eh?" Davey was plainly confused

"Nikki Harper ring any bells?" Nikki said as Davey shook his head looking puzzled.

Nikki walked over to him and planted her lips on his, kissing him as passionately as she could without wanting to be sick. She squeezed his bum with one hand and then stepped back.

"Ah I think I remember you now darlin, how could I forget a woman who kisses like that?" Davey was smirking while Helen looked on trying to keep her face neutral, even though she was seething.

"Pity you were too pissed at the time to remember love, because it got so much better than that" Nikki smiled and raised her eyebrow sexily at him.

Davey seemed satisfied where he remembered Nikki from and Charlie handed the envelope over to Helen who took it without a word and marched out of the office with Nikki following behind. Helen was angry and felt sick at watching Nikki kiss Davey, she didn't want Nikki kissing anybody else except her. Jealousy was starting to eat away at Helen Stewart.

Part 12

"Nikki what the fuck was that all about?" Helen's eyes were blazing with anger.

"Helen I can......" Nikki was cut short when she felt an overwhelming urge to pass out.

She stood and tried to breathe slowly, as her heart raced. She went pale and broke out in a cold sweat, and put one hand on the roof of the car to try and steady herself as her knees went weak. Helen rushed over to Nikki despite feeling angry with her.

"Nikki, what's the matter?"

"That bloke in there Davey, I arrested him five years ago. If he remembers me then I'm in deep shit" Nikki wiped her brow and tried to calm down.

"What the hell did you kiss him for? You made damn sure he knows you now!" Helen's jealousy was bubbling beneath the surface.

"You're jealous!" Nikki said triumphantly.

"Oh grow up!" Helen snapped and jumped into the car.

They made their journey in silence until they got to the first address. The guy owned a restaurant and hadn't paid his protection money for the last three months. He obviously had the money but didn't want to pay so Helen had to threaten him; he paled as she pulled out her gun and pressed it to his forehead. She hated having to do it but it was Charlie's instructions. The man obviously got the message and handed the money over. They got back into the car and drove off towards the next location.

"Don't envy that bloke! Wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of your temper" Nikki remarked.

"You already have been remember?" Helen replied back, her mood hadn't improved.

"Look, I kissed Davey to get out of a tight spot. I didn't enjoy it"

"Don't care if you did" Helen said childishly.

"You do care, and that's why you are jealous"

"I'm not jealous, you can go and shag him for all I care" Helen was acting like a child and she knew it but she was hurting.

"Helen, the only person I want to make love with is you" Nikki reached over and stroked the side of Helen's face.

"What's the next address?" Helen dismissed the subject.

"That's right just change the subject. Here is the bloody paper, find out yourself" Nikki said as she threw the list into Helen's lap in disgust.

"Look we can talk later" Helen said realising she was being too hard on Nikki.

"What's the point?" it was Nikki's turn to be childish

"The point being is that I don't want to argue with you, I don't want to spoil what happened this morning"

"Too late for that, just drop it" Nikki turned her head to look out the window, leaving Helen to draw the conclusion that she had gone too far.

The rest of the afternoon passed in almost complete silence and after Helen had dropped the money off at Charlie's, she took Nikki home. Nikki wordlessly got out of the car and Helen drove off. She kicked her shoes off, popped open a beer and settled down on the couch in front of the TV. An hour later, there was a knock at the door and Nikki sighed as she went to open it.

"Helen, what are you doing here?" Nikki said as Helen barged in.

"Nikki you are the most infuriating woman I have ever met" Helen's eyes blazed with anger but Nikki noticed a look of desire there too.

"Bollocks, that honour should go to you Helen" Nikki was torn between standing her ground and jumping on Helen to drag her to bed.

"You aren't going to make this easy for me are you?" Helen now smiled seductively

"No, don't see why I bloody well should. I'm going to bed so see yourself out, you know where the door is" Nikki stomped off towards the bedroom leaving Helen stood in the living room.

Helen abruptly turned around and marched off towards the bedroom, flinging the door open in time to see Nikki getting undressed.

"The front door is at the other end of the hall" Nikki remarked as she took off the last of her clothes and got into bed.

"Sod that Nikki, I want you" Helen's eyes were clouded heavily with desire and she began to undress slowly, determined to drive Nikki wild.

"What if I said I didn't want you?" Nikki was still angry; she was so fed up of Helen pissing her about from one minute to the next.

"I'm sorry, I'll go" Helen said pulling her t-shirt back on, and walking towards the door. Nikki's heart almost broke at the look on Helen's face; she looked so dejected at what Nikki had said.

Nikki jumped out of the bed and raced after Helen. She caught up with her and pulled her around to face her, she noticed Helen had tears running down her face.

"Sweetheart I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it. I want you, you know I do. You know how much I love you" Nikki pulled Helen in for a hug and held her as she sobbed.

"Coming here wasn't a good idea Nikki, I should leave" Helen's head told her to go but her heart told her not to move an inch.

"I'm not letting you go Helen. Stay with me, I want you here with me and we need to talk"

Helen grudgingly agreed and Nikki led her back to the bedroom where she gently and lovingly undressed her and then lay her down on the bed. She lay down next to Helen and took her in her arms.

"I'm sorry Nikki, I should have trusted you. I do love you, you know?"

"I love you too, and you have nothing to be sorry for. I'm just as much to blame"

"Make love to me Nikki, we can talk later but right now I just want to be close to you" Helen looked at Nikki with such a look of longing that Nikki immediately took her in her arms and proceeded to make love to her, to prove just how much she loved Helen.

A few hours later they both lay in bed listening to the sound of the rain as it tapped against the windows and the creaking of the branches of the trees in the garden below as the cold wind tossed them about. Helen lay with her head on Nikki's chest, and listened to the slow steady rhythm of her heartbeat.

"Do you really want to be with me Nikki, no matter what?" Helen quietly asked as Nikki ran her hand up Helen's naked back.

"Of course I do. I wanted that all along but you were afraid of Charlie finding out" Nikki replied.

"I know. I'm not saying its going to be easy but I can't live like this anymore Nikki. Its killing me having to keep hiding my feelings from you all the time but we have to be very careful because I don't want Charlie to know"

"He won't know, we can be very discreet and he never has to find out"

"What about when your boss comes to pull you off the case?" Helen was worried Nikki would suddenly disappear and leave her.

"Then if that happens we still see each other, we will find a way sweetheart"

"So that's it then? You and I are officially together?" Helen smiled at Nikki in the soft lamplight.

"Always has been official sweetheart, just taken us a while to realise it" Nikki smiled back and leant over to kiss Helen, before wiggling her eyebrows at her and pulling her under the duvet.

Part 13

Three months later

Yvonne was getting tetchy. Williams so far hadn't done anything about Charlie, and she knew Charlie was still seeing Renée because Helen kept her up to date on when they both met up. She wondered what was taking so long but Williams was waiting until the time was right. He wanted Charlie and it needed planning, he didn't want anything to go wrong

Nikki and Helen had been getting along fine, outwardly they were colleagues but when shut away from the rest of the world they were lovers. Nikki didn't know how long she would be working undercover, Karen told her to keep going until she was told otherwise. Nikki was still waiting for something substantial to tell her and so far no information was forthcoming. It was a constant worry for the both of them that Nikki would either be found out or dragged off the job, and the thought of being separated was heartbreaking for the both of them.

They carried on chauffeuring Yvonne and Lauren about and Nikki kept in touch with Karen, feeding her little bits of information that was previously unknown to the police. It was a Thursday afternoon and Nikki had just picked Yvonne up from the hairdressers. Then they went to pick Helen and Lauren up from town where Lauren had been shopping. They were on their way back to the house when Yvonne's mobile rang. When she had finished the conversation she looked over towards Lauren.

"That was you know who, its going ahead tomorrow"

Lauren just nodded and carried on looking out the window. Nikki wondered what was going on but it sounded like something big, she would find out soon enough though.

When they got back to the house Charlie was there and wanted to talk to Nikki, she went through into his study and sat down.

"I've got an important meeting tomorrow afternoon with Williams, its gonna be in a warehouse down the docks. I'm taking a few of the lads down for protection and I want you and Helen to come too" Charlie handed her a glass of brandy.

"Sure boss no problem, but Helen is busy tomorrow. She has to take Mrs. Atkins out." Nikki wanted Helen out of the way; she didn't want her caught up in the middle of everything if it turned nasty.

"Yvonne hasn't mentioned it to me" Charlie regarded her suspiciously.

"Maybe she forgot boss but she definitely is going out tomorrow because Helen told me when I got here this morning." Nikki prayed he would believe her.

"Ok if you say so, must have forgotten to mention it. Anyway seeing as Helen is busy then I'll settle for just one of you. Make sure you're here and ready to go by 12 tomorrow lunchtime."

"Yes boss, I'll be here" Nikki drained the rest of her glass and stood up and left the room.

Shit! She needed to find Yvonne and talk to her, she found her in the kitchen with Lauren and Helen.

Charlie picked up the phone and rang Davey.

"Ok Davey it's all on for tomorrow. I have told Nikki I want her there, and she will be. As for Helen, she can't make it because she is taking Yvonne out. Nikki will be taken care of tomorrow and I can take care of Helen anytime. Thanks for passing the information on Davey; I will make sure you are rewarded for being so loyal to me"

"My pleasure boss"

Charlie put the phone down and poured himself another drink. When Davey had told him a couple of days ago that he remembered Nikki now and that she was a police officer, he could hardly believe it. Then Davey dropped the bombshell about her and Helen being a couple, and he wondered just how much the police knew now about his dealings. He decided that Nikki and Helen had to go; the thought hadn't even occurred to him that Helen may not know she was a police officer, or that she hadn't told Nikki anything she didn't already know. Charlie didn't care, he had been crossed and he would get his revenge.

He also knew Nikki would have informed the police of the meeting but it didn't bother him. It was a bonus as far as he was concerned because he was so sure they couldn't pin a thing on him, and as for Williams, well if he got picked up, it was his own fault. He then picked up the phone and rang Renée; he wanted her to do a special job for him.

"Excuse me, Mrs. Atkins can I have a word with you?"

"Yeah Nikki sure"

They left the kitchen and went into one of the living rooms.

"Spit it out then" Yvonne said

"I know I'm asking a lot of you Mrs. Atkins but could you please do me a favour?"

Yvonne raised her eyebrows and wondered what Nikki wanted.

"Me? Do you a favour? Go on then what do you want?"

"The boss just informed me that he has a meeting with Williams tomorrow afternoon. He specifically wanted Helen and I to go with him for protection as well as a few of the lads. You and I both know that things could get a little, how should I say? Heated. I really don't want Helen caught up in all that, so I told him that she wasn't free, that she was taking you somewhere."

"You want me to keep Helen out the way?"

"Yes please, I know it's a lot to ask but I couldn't think of another way."

"Alright, but I'm only doing it because I know you two are close. I'm not stupid I can see the way you look at each other. I'm fond of you both so a word of warning Nikki, be careful tomorrow, things could get ugly pretty fast"

Yvonne then left the room and Nikki knew she had been warned that things would very definitely go arse up.

Later on that day when they had finished work, Helen drove them home. They sat talking and Helen mentioned to her that they would be needed in the morning to take Yvonne out.

"I'm afraid you will have do it on your own sweetheart, I can't make it"

"Why? What are you doing?" Helen was puzzled; Nikki was always with them when they went out.

"Charlie wants me to do something for him. So I can't make it, sorry"

"Oh yeah? Anything interesting?"

"Not really no, he just wants me to run a few errands for him that's all" Nikki didn't go into any detail.

They both lay in each other's arms later that night after they had made love talking quietly. Helen knew there was something on Nikki's mind but she wasn't sure what. Nikki was worried about the next day. What if something happened to her, where would that leave Helen? Then she thought sadly that if something happened to her then this would have been the last time they made love.

"Nikki sweetheart, what is it? What's the matter?" Helen asked as she softly stroked Nikki's face.

"Just thinking about us, I wish things weren't like this and that we could be together away from all this" Nikki was only partly telling the truth.

Helen sighed, she knew how much this was hurting Nikki, it was hurting her too.

"I know, I wish we could do that too. I hate not being able to be free to live a normal life with you." Helen leant over and kissed Nikki.

"Me too sweetheart me too. It won't be forever, I will try and find a way of getting us both out of this mess, and then we can do the things we have always dreamed of together" Nikki hugged Helen tighter.

"I love you Nik"

"I love you too baby"

Nikki woke up next morning and looked at Helen sleeping in her arms, she marveled at how peaceful and beautiful she looked. The bad dreams had finally petered out and Helen now seemed to be back on an even keel. She hated to do it but she had to wake Helen up, they were due at Charlie's in an hour. They both got up and showered, and shared a final kiss before they went out the door.

Nikki drove over to Charlie's and then Helen went in search of Yvonne so they could leave. Nikki hung about the house chain smoking in the kitchen until it was time to go and find Charlie. She had phoned Karen Betts the night before while Helen was in the shower and told her something big was going down on the docks. Karen was elated to find that it was both the Williams and Atkins gang in the same place, she was sure they could get quite a few arrests out of it. Nikki noticed Karen was more interested in her arrest rate than any danger Nikki might be in.

Eleven o'clock finally came and she drove Charlie and some of his goons to the docks with all the rest following in a few cars behind. They pulled up to the warehouse and all was deathly quiet, it didn't look like Williams and his lot had arrived yet.

They waited for nearly an hour but there was still no sign of him. Charlie started to get twitchy; he didn't like being stood up. He was just about to give the order to leave when Williams and his group turned up.

"Where the fuck have you been Williams? I hope you realise I could have your balls on a silver platter for making me wait" Charlie's face had gone purple with temper.

"In your dreams Atkins, besides not my fault you got your times mixed up is it?" Williams smirked; he had deliberately given Charlie the wrong time to make him stew.

"One of these days Williams I'm gonna wipe that supercilious smile off your bloody face" Charlie was not a happy man.

Nikki looked around the warehouse, there were 15 of the Atkins lot including herself but they were slightly outnumbered, Williams had brought about 25 men by the looking of it and they were all packing guns, the same as Charlie's lot. She hoped Karen hadn't messed things up and that she had the place under surveillance.

Nikki scanned the surroundings looking for possible places to shield herself for when the gun battle broke out; she knew it was only a matter of time because she could tell Williams and his men all had itchy trigger fingers. She cursed herself for forgetting to put her bullet proof vest on. She told herself how stupid she was and that mistakes like that cost lives but she had been so wrapped up in thinking about Helen that she hadn't remembered to do it.

"So Williams, are you gonna tell me what this little party is about?" Charlie got straight down to it.

"My pleasure. A little bird tells me that you have been knocking a slice of my wife. Not only that but the whole of London seems to know. See the thing is Charlie boy; I'm pretty pissed off about that. It doesn't do my reputation any good, and I need to be seen to be handing out punishment where it's needed." Williams kept his cool for the moment.

Nikki groaned inwardly, Yvonne was right. The shit was going to hit the fan and when it did they would all be covered in it.

Part 14

Helen had gone off to get the car and pulled up outside Donna Karan and picked Yvonne up who was waiting with her bags. They then made their way to a little quiet restaurant a few miles down the road that Yvonne often went to. Yvonne invited Helen to lunch which she normally didn't do and Helen was surprised but she accepted. Yvonne was wondering how Nikki was, it was her fault that Williams had found out and she felt guilty that Nikki was caught up in it.

Two hours later, they had finished lunch and made their way back to the car. Leaning up against it was Renée Williams.

"Well well if it isn't the slut who's banging my husband" Yvonne said straight off without any hesitation.

"I've got a bone to pick with you Atkins."

"You're shagging my husband and you've got a bone to pick with me?" Yvonne was incredulous

"You do realise what Jimmy will do don't you? He will kill Charlie and then he'll come after me and anybody else he thinks knew about it. All because you couldn't keep your trap shut you silly cow!" Renée was getting agitated.

"This is all because you couldn't keep your legs shut; it's your own fault. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get in the car and go home so why don't you piss off?"

"Sorry can't do that, Charlie knows it was you now, I told him. He also wanted me to do a little job for him."

"Don't you do enough for him already? Aren't you woman enough to satisfy him?" Yvonne smirked; she knew she was getting under Renée's skin.

"Shut it bitch! I was supposed to take care of your dyke friend there, she has been telling tales to her girlfriend who is an undercover cop, and since Charlie now knows its you who told Jimmy about us, he wants you gone too."

Renee suddenly whipped out a gun from her bag and shot in their direction but she missed as Helen dragged Yvonne down behind the car. She quickly pulled her gun out from the shoulder holster and was about to shoot when Yvonne took the gun from her and started firing at Renée herself. A round struck her in the chest and she fell onto the floor.

"Should be more careful who you mess with Williams, you are no match for me" Yvonne snarled at Renée who was quickly bleeding to death from the wound on her chest.

Yvonne left her lying there and they got into the car. Helen drove off in a hurry and tried to control her breathing. Yvonne was sat in the passenger seat and turned to face her noticing she was pale.

"You all right?"

"Yeah I'm fine, I just didn't expect that" she was having flashbacks to Thomas and started to sweat.

"Its all right calm down, don't worry about a thing ok? I'll get rid of the gun."

"Yeah Ok" Helen managed to say through deep breaths and she wondered why Yvonne hadn't mentioned Nikki, but she had a feeling she was about to.

"Is Nikki a copper? And have you been telling her things?" Yvonne asked pointedly

"Yes she is a copper and no I haven't told her anything, she didn't ask" Helen wished she could protect Nikki but she knew Yvonne would find out whether Nikki was in the police or not if she really wanted to.

"Don't ask me why but I believe you"

"What are you going to do to Nikki?" Helen was worried Yvonne would hurt Nikki.

"I'm not going to do anything to her. Look Helen, who you choose to sleep with is your own affair, I'm not going to hold it against you. Despite the fact that Nikki is a member of the fuzz, I like her and since she was after Charlie and not me, no hard feelings eh? And besides it won't matter anymore anyway" Yvonne said.

"What do you mean?"

"He is down the docks now meeting with Williams; I told him Charlie and Renée where having an affair. If Charlie isn't dead already, he soon will be"

Helen was shocked at what Yvonne had said, she knew she could be calculating but was only just beginning to find out how much.

"Oh shit!" Helen exclaimed when it hit her

"What?" Yvonne demanded.

"Nikki is with him, she said she had a job to do today. Oh fuck what if she gets hurt, or worse?" Helen was frantic now.

"I know, Charlie wanted you there too but she asked me to get you out of it. She clearly loves you a lot Helen."

"I know she does, I love her too. Oh why the hell didn't Nikki tell me where she was going?" Helen was beside herself worrying about Nikki.

"She loves you and wanted to protect you that's why, try not to worry too much because I'm sure she can look after herself" Yvonne patted Helen on the shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.

"I hope to god that she can, I don't know what I would do if I ever lost her" Helen said as tears rolled down her face.

Helen pulled up outside Yvonne's house a short time later and Yvonne was thankful that they made it back to the house in one piece after a few near misses. They went into the kitchen and Yvonne got her a drink of brandy to try and calm her down. She wanted to go and find Nikki but Yvonne talked her out of it, telling her they should sit tight until they knew more. Resigned to the fact that she could do nothing, Helen sat and waited.

"Look Williams if you believe I have been having an affair with your wife then you will believe anything. Don't waste my time eh?" Charlie tried to bluff his way out.

"Nice try Atkins but it won't wash, I have evidence of the two of you together" Williams said as Charlie's face went paler by the seconds. Williams pointed his gun at Charlie.

"Wait! I wondered if you might be interested in a little deal." Charlie thought fast.

"I don't do deals with you Atkins"

"Yeah but you might like this one, see her over there? She is a copper, been working undercover at my place for months. She will have informed the fuzz about this meeting, so how about we finish her off and get the hell out of here before the cops show up?"

Nikki now started to worry big time, she felt sick at the realisation the Charlie knew who she was, she quickly looked over to Davey who was smiling smugly at her. She shot him a disgusted look that only made him smile, and which made her want to kick him around the warehouse.

"I told you I don't do deals, and besides I came here to take care of you. I have no argument with her, my argument is with you" Williams didn't want to add cop killer to his list of crimes, killing a copper was one thing when you had a chance to get away but killing one when there were other coppers about to show up was a big no no.

Karen was on the roof of a building nearby and had a good view of the warehouse, she had seen the two gangs go in, and decided the time was right to deploy the armed response teams before all hell broke loose.

"This is team leader 1 to all squads, get ready to go on my word" Karen waited while all the teams responded.

"Get ready, go go go!" Karen hollered into the mouthpiece of her radio and then rushed down to ground level.

Meanwhile all hell had broken loose and there was gunfire echoing loudly around the warehouse. Charlie was dead; Williams had fired the first shot. It had turned into a raging gun battle between the two sides with them each taking frequent pot shots at each other. Nikki was suddenly thrown to the floor as a bullet hit her in the shoulder. She noticed it was Davey who had fired at her, and she immediately without thinking fired off a shot at him, catching him in the forehead as he got ready to shoot her again.

She crawled behind some packing cases and tried to stem the blood flow. She wondered what the hell Karen was doing in taking so long. What seemed like hours to Nikki was literally only two minutes. The police eventually came bursting in and the armed response guys joined in firing at them all. It soon came to an end and there were casualties on all three sides. The ambulances arrived and Nikki was taken away in one, her last thought before she blacked out was of Helen.

Part 15

The phone rang at Yvonne's house and she listened into the receiver as she was told what had happened. She then put the phone down, and told Helen who was obviously desperate to know what had happened.

"What's happened? Is Nikki ok?" Helen fired off rapidly with the questions

"Calm down, let me tell you. Charlie is dead and so are quite a few of the lads. Nikki was injured but they don't know how she is. She was taken away in an ambulance to Saint Mary's that's all I know"

"Oh god!" Helen put her head in her hands and started to cry.

"Come on lets take you to see Nikki, I'll drive. You aren't in any fit state"

They left the house driving as fast as they could to get there. On the way there Yvonne told Helen that she was free to do whatever she wanted now that Charlie was gone. Yvonne assured her that her father's debt was more than repaid and she wouldn't hold it against her if she wanted to leave. Helen couldn't believe at last that she was finally free but it didn't mean much to her now that she didn't know whether Nikki was badly hurt or not.

They arrived at the hospital to find that Nikki was indeed ok. It was just a flesh wound in the shoulder and she had been lucky. Helen was allowed to see her shortly after. They hugged and kissed with Helen being careful not to hurt Nikki.

"Thank god you're ok, I thought I had lost you" Helen was still very visibly upset.

"Don't worry, I'm fine sweetheart really. It hurts like hell but I'm ok"

"Yvonne told me on the way over that now Charlie is dead, I'm free to go" Helen smiled

"Oh babe that's great!"

They were interrupted by Karen who popped her head in to talk to Nikki but seeing she was with somebody smiled and said she would come back later.

"Who was that?"

"That was my boss Karen Betts. She was in charge of the operation that stormed into the warehouse today."

"When did you tell them about it?"

"I phoned them last night while you were in the shower, I had to it's my job, you knew I was working undercover."

"I'm not bothered about that, what I am bothered about is that you told your boss but you couldn't tell me." Helen was getting upset again.

"I did it because I wanted to protect you. I didn't want you there" Nikki tried to hold onto Helen's hand but she wouldn't let her.

"I know Yvonne said, but you still could have told me. Last night after we made love I knew there was something wrong with you. What's the matter Nikki? See me as one of the enemies and couldn't trust me enough to tell me?"

"Helen it's not like that you know I trust you! I didn't want you to worry and I know you would have tried to stop me going" Nikki was getting exasperated, what was wrong with Helen, why didn't she understand?

"I would have because I love you so much. What's wrong with that?" Helen was really angry by this point.

"Nothing is wrong with that but it's my job and I had to do it Helen, why can't you understand that?"

"Look Nikki, this isn't going to work. If you can't trust me enough to tell me things like that, then we have nothing if we don't have trust. Its over Nik, I can't do this anymore" Helen said as the tears started to flow.

"Hang on a minute, that's not bloody fair! You know more about me than I do about you. I don't even know your last name Helen or where you were born other than I know it was in Scotland. It was ok for me to tell you about myself but you couldn't trust me enough to let me in, it works both ways Helen" it was Nikki's turn to be angry, Helen was so frustrating at times.

"My last name is Stewart and I was born in Stirling. I'm sorry" Helen ran from the room crying, and Nikki was left with the distinct feeling that she was never going to see her again.

Karen came in a short while later and wanted to talk to Nikki but she wasn't in the mood. Nikki felt like her heart had just been ripped out and stamped on.

"Who was that woman in here before? She looked really upset when she left" Karen sat down on the edge of Nikki's bed.

"My ex girlfriend. Look Karen I really am not in the mood for talking ok, I just want to be left alone" Nikki's heart wouldn't stop aching; she already missed Helen so much that it was tearing her apart.

"I need to know what happened in the warehouse Nikki, once you tell me then I can go otherwise I'm not moving" Karen didn't sense Nikki's mood was deteriorating.

"KAREN! I just said I don't want to talk, just leave me alone for a while will you? Come back tomorrow and I will tell you then. Oh and another thing, as soon as I'm out of here expect a letter of resignation on your desk. I fucking quit, I'm done" Nikki exploded.

"Why on earth would you resign Nikki? You are far too good at your job to let it all go" Karen just couldn't understand why Nikki was being like this.

"Easy! My fucking job has just cost me the only person I have ever loved in my entire life, she just walked away from me and it hurts Karen. I don't want this job anymore, I'm tired of it. Please just leave me alone" the tears started to fall and Nikki turned away from Karen and buried her head in the pillow

Nikki sat and waited for a week after Helen had run from the hospital for a call or a knock on the door but heard nothing from her. She waited until she could take no more and decided to try and find her and put things right if she could. It was tearing her apart that she wasn't with her. She rang Yvonne and asked her if she had seen Helen but Yvonne hadn't seen her since the day at the hospital. Nikki tried her flat next and the landlord told her than Helen had moved out two days previously.

The only place left to try was the house. She rang up the number that she had memorised from the side of the takeaway van and was asked if she was a new customer or whether her details were on their computer. She replied that she was ordering food on behalf of a friend and that her name was Helen Stewart. The person on the other end of the phone located the name on the computer and read the address back to her to confirm it was the right one; they then found themselves talking to a dial tone.

Nikki jumped into the car and made her way to the house now that she had the address. She pulled up and her heart was in her mouth, she hoped she could make it right with Helen. She got out of the car and knocked on the door. There was no answer she then tried the door but it was locked. The curtains in the living room were drawn and she then went round the back to try the back door. It was also locked, so she decided to break a pane and gain entry that way if that's what it took to make Helen talk to her.

She quickly unlocked the door and made her way to the living room. The living room was empty, all the furniture had gone. The rest of the house had been emptied too; Nikki sat down on the stairs and cried. She knew she had finally lost Helen and there was no way back.

Part 16

2 Years Later

Nikki was walking through the park, it was a lovely day, and the sun was shining down on her. She thought of Helen, she remembered how her heart was torn in two at the realisation that Helen had gone. She felt desolate when she realised that she had lost the only woman she had ever loved.

She wandered over to a park bench and sat down. She just wanted to forget the past and look to the future. She had rebuilt her life, had gotten married and was happy. Her thoughts of Helen were interrupted when her phone rang.

"Hiya! You nearly finished? Yeah I'm waiting here in the usual place, ok see you soon" she put down the phone and smiled.

She quickly gave herself a mental shake and stopped thinking about the past. Soon her wife came walking along the path and she smiled as she sat down beside her, they kissed and hugged then held hands.

"All done then?" Nikki asked smiling

"Yes, handed my notice in and told them I wouldn't be going back"

"I love you Helen" Nikki pulled her closer.

"I love you too Nik"

Six weeks after she had gone looking for Helen, Helen turned up on her doorstep one night. She apologised to Nikki for leaving her. She knew she had been in the wrong but the shock of finding out Nikki was hurt left her unable to think straight. She knew she had behaved irrationally and that she had always kept Nikki at arms length, never quite being able to get rid of the barrier and let her in.

They sat down and talked about it and Helen was delighted that Nikki still loved her and wanted to try again despite what had happened. Nikki was just so happy to have Helen back finally and would have forgiven her for anything. They both promised each other that from then on there would be no secrets. Over the passing weeks, they ironed out all their problems and it was as if they had never been apart.

They had moved up to Scotland, to Helen's home town and had married soon after. They moved into a lovely house, and had taken part in an experimental program 3 months ago when they both decided the time was right to try for a baby. The baby would have both Helen and Nikki as its genetic parents. Nikki gently reached down with one hand and rubbed Helen's stomach, she felt the small bump beneath Helen's clothes.

"When our baby grows up, I wonder what we are going to tell them when they ask how we met?" Helen said smiling.

"Oh I can just be semi honest and say you took my heart hostage!" they both giggled.

"If it wasn't for you sweetheart I wouldn't be so happy now. Thank you for giving me a second chance and making all my dreams come true." Helen reached over and pulled Nikki into a hug.

"I have a wonderful wife who loves me as much as I love her, and a baby on the way that I thought we would never have, thank you darling" she leant forward and gently kissed Helen on the lips. Nikki then stood up and took Helen's hand, and they made their way home.

4 years later

"Are you ok sweetheart?" Nikki asked as she gently brushed Helen's hair back from her forehead.

"Yeah, the pain isn't too bad at the moment. Is Sophie ok?" Helen asked referring to their 3 year old daughter.

"She's fine, she is having a wonderful time with Barbara" Nikki had left their daughter with their neighbour and close friend Barbara Hunt.

"Oh god here it comes" Helen said through gritted teeth as another contraction hit and she squeezed the life out of Nikki's hand.

"Steady on Helen! You're breaking my fingers" Nikki wailed.

"It's your bloody fault I'm pregnant Wade! It's nothing compared to what I'm feeling at the moment" Helen snapped at Nikki as the medical staff looked on and smiled at the both of them.

The time passed quickly and the new addition to the Wade-Stewart family came into the world crying and kicking its legs.

"It's a little boy" the midwife announced smiling.

"He's got a fantastic pair of lungs on him, definitely takes after you Helen" Nikki giggled as Helen shot her a look.

"I'll forgive you for that, seeing as how I have you to thank for my two gorgeous children" Helen smiled as Nikki leaned over to kiss her.

The baby, who they decided to name Christopher, was passed over to Helen and as she took hold of him she felt her eyes moisten with tears.

"He's gorgeous, he looks so much like you Nikki, I hoped that he would" Helen said looking up at Nikki. It was true, he was the spitting image of Nikki but he had Helen's green eyes. Sophie on the other hand was the image of Helen but had inherited Nikki's colouring.

"He's beautiful Helen. Thank you, for giving me two wonderful babies" Nikki was overcome with emotion and she took Helen in her arms as they both cried.

Helen was allowed home soon after and she was sat on the sofa cradling the baby, when Nikki came in carrying Sophie.

"Is that my little brother mum?" Sophie asked as she struggled to get a better look at him.

"Certainly is sweetheart, what do you think?" Helen asked smiling as her daughter looked thoughtful.

"He's cute. He looks like you mummy Nik. Can I go and watch the Tweenies now?" Sophie had already lost interest.

"Go on but not for too long, dinner will be ready soon" Nikki called out after her daughter as she bounded upstairs.

"I've seen her more excited over having fish fingers for tea!" Nikki laughed.

"She's at that funny age, she'll get better as he gets older" Helen said smiling over at Nikki.

"I will go and finish off the dinner, and then we can put the kids to bed and have a nice relaxing bath together, how does that sound?"

"Mmmm sounds wonderful sweetheart. I love you Nik" Helen leant forward and kissed Nikki gently on the lips"

"I love you too" Nikki kissed Helen back.

Helen lay against Nikki in the bath whilst wrapped tightly in her arms; they lovingly caressed each other as they talked.

"Mmmmm this is perfect" Helen said as she stretched out in the water and turned her head upwards to kiss Nikki.

"I would have to agree, the peace won't last for long though, I'm sure his lordship will wake up screaming before too much longer" Nikki smiled at the thought of their newborn son lying asleep in his cot.

"I don't think he is going to be as bad as Sophie was though, I've noticed he is a bit quieter than she was when she was first born" Helen remarked turning around so that she could cuddle Nikki.

"Thank heaven for small mercies! I love the kids but it does have its downside"

"What's that then?" Helen asked although she knew what Nikki was going to say.

"Lost sleep for one, no lie-ins for the foreseeable and its put a stop to wild rampant sex anywhere in the house except the bedroom!" Nikki grinned.

"Yep that's two major downsides! But now that we are parents the only place we have the energy to have sex in is bed" Helen giggled.

"True, still it won't be forever, only another eighteen years before we can go back to having sex anywhere the mood takes us" Nikki tickled Helen on the stomach and she giggled again.

"Mmmm I can't wait!" Helen replied as she took Nikki's face in her hands and proceeded to kiss her passionately.

They now had everything they had ever dreamed of, and they looked forward to a bright future together. They had waited so long, and gone through so much to get there. Life was as perfect as they hoped it would be.

The End

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