DISCLAIMER: Los Hombres De Paco and its characters are the property of Antena 3. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Despite the spoilers we've heard for the upcoming season, I'm writing this fic on the assumption that no cast members are leaving/that the status quo isn't really shaken. (In my perfect world, it wouldn't be, of course.) As you can see, this is going to be a somewhat long fic; I'm aiming to put out a chapter a week through January, but come February I may have to scale it back to a chapter every other week. So if you don't like reading WIPs, you should know that this one will probably not be finished for quite a while. As always, comments and constructive criticism welcome. Don't make me beg, guys! Also, thanks go out to random_flores and disturbed_muse for betaing this. I really appreciate it, you two. :)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Songs of Innocence & Experience
When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.
There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save
"Pepa, get up!"
Her lover just groaned and buried her face under the pillow. Silvia rolled her eyes and ducked back into the bathroom, applying first eye shadow, then lipstick. After a few more minutes she popped back out again. Pepa had not moved, and Silvia let a small smile drift across her lips as she crossed over to the bed and waited, arms crossed.
After a moment, Pepa turned over, opened an eye. Her brow lifted in a clear question.
"We have," Silvia checked her watch, "half an hour till the party. And you haven't even showered yet."
Pepa grunted. "They can wait."
Rolling her eyes at her lover's forever inability to get out of bed, Silvia grabbed her arm and started tugging. "And make my father start wondering what we're up to? Here I thought you liked having all your parts working."
Pepa's eyes popped open wide at that, and Silvia started laughing, and then
She shrieked as the world turned upside down, and her back hit the bed, and her now fully awake lover pinned her, smirking, big toe coming up to caress Silvia's calf.
"What is Don Lorenzo going to do, hm?" Pepa asked in her always-sexy voice, and Silvia relaxed under her, fingers twining with Pepa's, smile incandescent. "It's not like he's caught us in bed before, or anything like that." A rascally smile and bright flashing eyes and oh, Silvia loved this woman. Pepa's fingers slid under Silvia's blouse. "Probably saw more of me than he ever wanted."
Silvia considered, blinked, cupped Pepa's face with her hands.
"Pepa?" she asked, perfectly serious.
"Yes?" Pepa, breathless and distracted by Silvia's abrupt seriousness, slowed her hand.
"Don't ever mention my father again when we're in bed, okay?"
Pepa started snickering, and Silvia, grinning, tried to shove the hyena off her. But her lover was surprisingly heavyfor all that she was skinny, what there was of her was muscularand squirmy when she was laughing.
"Besides, I don't have any boy parts for him to cut off." Pepa's tone had turned back to sultry-serious, and she let her eyes drift close as she nipped at Silvia's jaw.
"Well," Silvia attempted to sound thoughtfulthe attempt ruined by her uneven breathing as Pepa branded Silvia's neck with her tongue"he could alwaysahcut off your breasts."
Pepa stopped dead again, staring at Silvia like she had four heads. Silvia snorted in laughter.
And regretted it when a massive pillow smacked her in the face.
"OW!" Silvia yelped. She scrabbled for her own pillow, shrieking in laughter.
The battle was on, and after Pepa claimed clear victory (Silvia argued it was a tie), she claimed the traditional winner's prize.
"Which is?" Silvia asked archly, still pinned under Pepa, and twisted sinuously against her. Pepa's breath caught, and she claimed Silvia's lips in a heated kiss.
"Letting the damn party wait," Pepa muttered, and unhooked Silvia's bra.
Four hours later, Silvia was smiling, moving through crowds of the people she loved most, searching for her girlfriend.
"Silvia, Silvia!" Her father waved her over from where he was speaking to Rita and José Luis, the proud papa holding their baby tightly to his chest.
She went over and slipped her arms around her father, hugging him with easy affection even as she kissed Rita's cheeks. "How are you, Cariño?" he asked. "Enjoying the party?"
"Of course, Dad," she responded, laying her head on his chest. "This party gets better every year."
"Yes, doesn't it?" Rita broke in excitedly. "I think we should go out dancing afterward, too. Like the club Pepa took us to, the bachelorette party!"
"Club? Where?" Don Lorenzo asked curiously, and "Dancing?" José Luis questioned nervously, and Silvia swallowed. She felt the blush start on her cheeks.
"Did somebody say dancing?" Montoya suavely appeared out of nowhere, a charming smile on his lips. "I haven't been dancing in weeks. Where?"
"Uh, excuse me," Silvia said. Nervous giggles erupted despite her best efforts, and everyone looked at her oddly. "I need to go find Pepa." So saying, she slipped out of her father's grasp and ducked away, headed in the general direction of Curtis, lost in memories.
The bachelorette party.
Dark eyes, darker hair, lean long limbs, and smooth skin. So mesmerizing, Silvia almost tripped multiple times watching Pepa dance with that other woman. Wouldn't that have been embarrassing. Pepa had a way of making her feel like she was seventeen again, too skinny and pale and awkward and snorting at all the wrong times, watching her much cooler sister-in-law flirt and dance with all the boys. She hadn't liked it then, had always been jealous (knew now that she'd been jealous of the boys, not Pepa) and now
Seeing Pepa smile and hug and kiss that girl was like having a dagger thrust through her heart. Silvia wanted to claw the girl's eyes out. And when the stripper had been on Pepa's lap, Pepa writhing under her
Silvia had never told Pepa this, but she'd gone straight home that night and given her vibrator such a ride that the batteries had died on her. Frustrated, she'd roughly humped her hand until she came screaming hoarsely into her pillow. She didn'tcouldn'tthink about what she'd screamed as she came (whose name, and damned if Pepa hadn't been wrongSilvia had most definitely been thinking about her at 2 am). The next day, a tense conversation with an oblivious but concerned Pepa, and Silvia had almost allowed herself to consider grabbing Pepa's hair and thrusting her tongue into her mouth and thrusting her against the wall and thrusting and thrusting into her so deeply it felt like she could never ever come out.
Almost allowed herself to consider it.
She shook herself out of her memories just as she reached Curtis.
"Hola, Curtis. Have you seen Pepa?"
Curtis, attention more on the buxom blonde he'd brought to the party than the redhead in front of him, shook his head and went back to their conversation.
If I were a Pepa, where would I be? Silvia wondered. Pepa was spontaneous, but Silvia knew she would not just leave the precinct holiday party without a word to anyone, and when she had last seen Pepa the other woman had seemed like she was having a good time. Don Lorenzo was still cheerful, too, so he and Pepa probably had not argued .
After receiving more negatives from Paco and Lola, Aitor and Sara and Lucas, she was starting to get concerned. Spotting Quique on the phone in the lobby, she strode purposefully toward him when two long arms yanked her backwards into her lab.
"Going somewhere, Princesa?" her lover's husky voice sounded in her ear, and Silvia relaxed back as Pepa's arms tightened around her possessively.
"Just looking for you," she responded, turning in Pepa's hold, nuzzling against her lover's neck. She pulled back slightly, catching Pepa's beautiful chocolate eyes. "Where did you go?"
Pepa's answering smile was sly. "To get us these," she responded, lifting two glasses of wine, and Silvia raised her eyebrows.
"Really? For an hour?" she asked the smirking Pepa, and poked Pepa in her belly button. Pepa jumped a little, and batted at her hands, and Silvia grinned. Discovering that Pepa was ticklish had been the best piece of evidence she'd ever uncovered, for sure.
Pressing her advantage, both women giggling, she backed Pepa up with more pokes until Pepa's backside hit the table against the far wall.
"Sí, the whole hour," Pepa whispered. She grabbed Silvia's hips, lifted, twisted, set Silvia gently (she was always so gentle) on the table. Silvia's legs naturally parted and Pepa pressed in between them, capturing Silvia's lips in a hungry kiss.
She's so cute, Silvia thought dizzily, when she makes that little sneer right before we kiss. Every time.
"You have a thing for this table," Silvia gasped when they broke away, one hand under Pepa's shirt, tracing Pepa's ribs. When she spread her hand out against Pepa's ribcage and felt her lover breathe under her, she felt like God.
Pepa smiled against her lips. "I have a thing for you," she whispered, and then they were kissing again, feverishly.
Silvia was not sure how, after three orgasms four hours ago, she could be this turned on by just the press of Pepa's lips against hers and the electric feel of Pepa's thumb stroking her knee, climbing higher. Damn Pepa Miranda and her charm. Gasping, arousal burning in her belly, she started pressing hot, heavy kisses to Pepa's throat
Silvia, slightly dazed, tore her lips away from Pepa's and peered around Pepa to see José Luis, back to them, staring resolutely at the wall.
At least he missed the door.
"Hola, José Luis," Silvia sighed, easing down off the table, tamping down on her libido, tugging Pepa around and sliding under her arm. Pepa gave her look that mingled laughter and extreme frustration. Silvia snorted to herself. It was almost worth getting walked in on just to see that look on Pepa's face.
"You can turn around now, Povedilla," Pepa said, and they both had to choke down laughs as he shot a quick glance over his shoulder before turning all the way.
"I'mI'mI'm sorry to interrupt, but Don Lorenzo is about to make the toast," he stuttered. "He asked me to find you."
"Congratulations, you did," Pepa responded, and Silvia dug a subtle warning elbow into her side. Pepa sighed.
"Okay, okay," she said, moving past José Luis to open the door for Silvia. She smiled at Silvia, although her smile hardened as her eyes moved toward José Luis. He gulped, and Silvia touched Pepa's hip as she passed. She heard Pepa sigh again, could almost feel her lover's glare softening.
"Well," she heard Pepa say as she exited in front of José Luis, "at least you can still use your hand this time."
Silvia, whose head had been turned to talk to Pepa, froze as she entered the bullpen. Instead of a jubilant gathering, the crowd was somber and silent. And the "crowd" was only Don Lorenzo, Paco, Lola, Montoya, Sara, Lucas, Rita, Curtis, Quique, and Aitor. Their "inner circle," so to speak, and Silvia's brow furrowed as she took in the scene.
"Okay, who died?" Pepa, ever tactless, asked as she walked in behind Silvia. Silvia shot her a look and Pepa did her best to tamp down on her always-there smile. Of course, it didn't work, but at least she tried, Silvia though with wry affection.
The crowd of officers parted to reveal three women standing with Don Lorenzo, a small space between them and the others. One, Silvia realized with a shock, she recognized. It was Pepa's friend Rocio, the woman whose party they had attended, the night Silvia had realizedno, not realized, admittedthat she was beginning to fall for Pepa.
"Rocio, hola!" Pepa, obviously stunned but just as obviously thrilled, came forward to hug Rocio as Silvia drifted to stand next to Montoya. Silvia noted with pleasure that they gave each other two kisses this time, instead of a long one on the lips, but also noted that Rocio's eyes were red and puffy. She looked as if she had been crying, and Silvia saw Pepa shoot her a concerned glance.
Then Pepa snapped to attention, and Silvia blinked. She had never seen Pepa look as serious as she did now, saluting the other two women.
"Chief López. Director Ortega," Pepa said, and the shorter womana blue-eyed blonde about Silvia's height, stocky, who also looked like she had been weepingnodded at her.
"At ease," the blonde said, and then warmly embraced Pepa. Silvia, curious and not sure if she should be jealous (Pepa never talked about her past, her friends, her fifty-two lovers), whispered a question to Montoya.
"Who are they?"
"Caterina López, the chief of Pepa's old precinct, and Director Martina Ortega, her and Don Lorenzo's boss," he whispered back as Pepa embraced the other woman, although with less emotion than she'd hugged the first. Ortega was taller and darker, with sharp cheekbones and lines carved into her face. She looked to be Don Lorenzo's age. She looked cruel.
"So why are you here?" Pepa asked, taking a few steps back until she was standing only slightly in front of Silvia, her ass almost brushing Silvia's hip. "Come to check out my new precinct?" But her tone was anything but jocular, and her look to Rocio was serious.
Rocio glanced at Ortega and López, took a deep shuddering breath. Her eyes started to water.
"Pepa," she started, and then glanced around. "You should sit down."
Pepa stiffened. "Tell me, Rocio," she said, and now her voice was low, deadly serious. Silvia had only heard that tone a handful of times. Her heart started beating faster.
"Pepa," Rocio began again, continuing to looking around, "I think we should find somewhere more private"
"Dammit, Rocio, tell me," Pepa almost snarled. Silvia could see her tensed muscles bunching under her shirt.
López stepped up and put a hand on Rocio's shoulder as tears began to fall from Rocio's eyes and she turned away from the crowd.
"Pepa," and López had a soft, melodious voice, very pretty. Very sad.
"It's Marta. She was killed yesterday."
Pepa's glass echoed like a gunshot when it shattered against the floor.
"What happened?" Pepa demanded bleakly. She was seated in the chair behind Don Lorenzo's desk; Rocio and Caterina had the other chairs while Ortega was roaming the small office like a caged animal. Ortega stopped behind her for a moment.
"Drink," the director instructed, pressing a glass into Pepa's hand. As if from a distance, Pepa did, and although the burn of the brandy brought tears to her eyes, it burned through some of the numbness too.
Marta. Dead. She shut her eyes, rested her elbows on the table, buried her head in her hands for a long moment.
Marta. Her ex-girlfriend. The woman she had dated for two years, who she had joined the police for before she realized that she loved kicking the shit out of pimps and dealers on principle. Who she had shared a dog with, until Benito had been hit by a car a month before they broke up. Marta, who had been the first one to really take a half-wild, idiot punk and start transforming her into someone anyone could take home to their parents. (Well, anyone but Silvia, anyway.) Who Pepa had known she did not love, but had kept dating for a year because Marta had been so in love with her. They had lasted until Marta, gorgeous Marta, had been down on one knee, with a beautiful ring and stars in her eyes, offering Pepa the world, asking Pepa to marry her, and all Pepa could feel was trapped. Just trapped, and horrified, and she had not blamed Marta one bit for anythingeverythingthat had happened after.
And now she was dead. Marta, with her movie star good looks and her quietly hidden emotions and her tender, boundless love. Marta, who Pepa had held in her arms countless times while she came apart, who she had slept next to almost every night for two years, who always bought a candy bar for the little boy on the street corner near their precinct house. Marta, who had possessed the slowest temper but the loudest shouts once she got going. Marta, who had loved to run but who was hopeless at football. Marta, who Pepa had, for a time, thought she was in love with.
Pepa exhaled unsteadily and rocked back, surveying Rocio and Caterina and Ortega. She pushed the burn behind her eyes away. Time for tears later. Now was for business.
Now was for revenge.
"What happened?" She was proud of how level her voice emerged.
Caterina and Ortega glanced at each other, and Caterina inhaled slowly, breaking the eye contact and focusing on Pepa.
"Do you remember El Diablo?" she asked.
Pepa's response was a snort. "How could I forget that fucker?" she snapped right back. "You had me on him for six months before you dragged me off him for Olmedo, remember?"
"Sí," Caterina sighed. "But that was over a year ago, now. Tell us what you remember about the case."
Pepa frowned. "El Diablo runs the largest cocaine and meth ring in Sevilla, specifically in the 3000," she recited. "He's known to be extremely violent, very quick on the trigger, and clearly unimaginative when picking names."
The other women snorted.
"He's also incredibly intelligent," Pepa continued. "He's managed to squeeze out all his competitors by running a smart, tight business. I was to infiltrate his inner circle and build the case against him. When Martawhen I got pulled off him for Olmedo" her eyes flickered to Caterina"we set it up so it looked like I got caught in a drug sting and was sentenced to jail time."
"Sí," Caterina sighed again. "You remember the pertinent facts. What you don't know is what happened after you transferred here. When you got reassigned, Marta took over the Diablo case, and had been working on it off and on for a year."
Pepa waited a moment, processing what Caterina was not saying, then looked up. "You can't be serious." Something horrible was rising in her throat, clawing to get out, and her breathing came faster.
"We are," Ortega's voice came from behind her; the woman was lounging against the window, blocking the proceedings from the curious view of the Madrid cops. Pepa's heart ached for Silvia, for a moment; she was sure the redhead was curious and apprehensive, and no matter the outcome of this talk, Pepa was pretty sure her lover was not going to be pleased with it.
"You sentyou sent Marta into the Diablo's nest undercover?" Pepa's voice rose on the last word. "You sent a beat officer with no undercover experience in with a bunch of killers"
"No, no," Caterina broke in, shaking her head emphatically. "We didn't. But once you left she took over the case, tried to gather as much evidence as should could. And she did a good job, cut into his business pretty well. He must have figured out who she was eventually " Her voice trailed off and her eyes went distant. "He broke into her home " She coughed and looked away.
Pepa shut her eyes. "What did he do to her?" she heard herself asking, and the distance between her and reality was back as she gripped the arms of her chair.
"What. Did he do. To her?" Pepa asked again, enunciating very carefully. She heard Rocio choke down a sob.
"He broke into her house and tortured and raped and killed her." Pepa hated Ortega for how even, how unemotional her voice was. "You were her lover. You don't need to know the details."
"I was her lover, damn you" Pepa threw the glass down, heard it break on the floor (that's two, she thought inanely), was half out of her chair, hands curled into fists so hard her fingernails almost drew blood, before Rocio was there, pushing her back down by her shoulder.
"Pepa," Rocio said quietly, "please. Please."
Pepa settled back into the chair, took a moment to breathe, buried her head in her hands again. Images played like a movie on her closed eyelidsMarta smiling and laughing in the sun, Marta laying naked in sunbeams after afternoon sex, Marta's face when she came, the way she'd been a little taller than Pepa and gave hugs that felt like being wrapped in a blanket, the patch of skin just to the left of her spine that always drove her wild when Pepa touched it.
She took another deep breath. "You want me to go in and take El Diablo down." It was not a question, and she gladly gave herself into the cold rage bubbling in her stomach.
It was better than feeling cold all over.
"He's a cop killer," and Pepa, surprised at the emotion, jerked her head to look at Ortega. There was pure fury on the older woman's face. "I want you to take him down, cut his balls off, and make him eat them before we skin him alive. Can you do that?"
"Yes." Pepa's response was instant, emphatic. Her hands balled. "Trust me. I'll make the fucker wish he'd never been born."
"Are you sure?" Caterina's eyes were cautious, and Pepa felt a slight rush of affection for her former boss. Caterina had been the first superior to truly see Pepa's potential, to push her, to take the often-troublesome officer under her wing and tell her she could do betterthat Caterina expected better from her. The first boss in a while who had not looked at Pepa as a problem, but as part of the solution. She had started Pepa in undercover work, and Pepa knew she must be dying inside at the moment.
"We know you've made a life here." Rocio must have told Caterina about Silvia.
"And I'll return to it after I deal with him," Pepa responded. Caterina nodded, looked away.
"And can you do it without making it personal?" the harsh voice came from behind her. "Without letting your desire for vengeance get in the way of the case, without your emotions interfering?"
Pepa slowly swiveled to look at Ortega, and she did not know that eyes were onyx chips and her tone was a frozen tundra. "Don't worry. I won't do anything to jeopardize the case." She bared her teeth in grin/grimace. "I'll bring the bastard in, and I'll make sure there's enough evidence to lock him up until he's a corpse."
Ortega looked at her for a long moment, and cracked a thin smile. "Welcome back to Sevilla, Agent Miranda," she said, and they shook hands.
"What's going on in there?" Curtis muttered to Quique for what felt like the millionth time, and Silvia was in complete agreement with Rita as the blonde smacked Curtis upside the head.
"Shut up and wait!"
Don Lorenzo glared. "I want to know what's going on in there," he muttered. "In my office."
Lola's head snapped around to her father. "Dad"
"Shut up," Povedilla hissed at them all. "Someone's coming out!"
The tall, severe womanOrtegawalked out. She looked composed, but there was an unidentifiable emotion glittering in her eyes.
Silvia's stomach sank. She craned her neck to look in the office, to try to find Pepa, but half the damn precinct was in the way. She had never realized how tall the men were until now.
"Don Lorenzo," Ortega addressed Silvia's father brusquely, unfolding a bunch of papers from her pocket. "Sign these, please." It was not a request.
He watched the woman for a moment before moving forward slowly. "What is it?" he asked, even as he uncapped a pen.
"Transfer orders for Agent Miranda."
The communal cry echoed for a moment as the papers fluttered to the floor. Silvia grabbed onto Lola's hand very, very hard as everyone glanced at her. She felt petrified, paralyzed, frozen in place, her tongue large and clumsy. Her eyes fixed on Ortega, and it almost seemed like the other woman's eyes softened before they moved away, pinning everyone with their laser stare.
"We're borrowing Agent Miranda for a covert operation," Ortega answered into the quiet. "Don't worry, you can have her back after it's over."
Don Lorenzo swelled up in outrage. It was, Silvia thought, rather like looking at a bullfrog. "Maria Jose is my agent," he began hotly, "you can't just take her away like that. She is needed here!"
"Oh yes," Ortega snapped back, and now there was an edge in her voice. "From looking over the recent case records, I can see you've been taking great advantage of Pepa's considerable undercover skills. You're right, she's desperately needed here."
Don Lorenzo's jaw clenched, and Silvia swore she could actually hear his teeth grinding together. She still felt faint. And slightly sick.
"Well," Quique broke in conversationally, "if we're talking about undercover skills, I think if you ask Silvia"
Later, Silvia reflected, Montoya actually hitting Quique might have been a little bit of an overreaction. Might.
But at the time, it felt damn good to see. She laughed wetly, some of the awful tension bleeding out of her slowly, and Lola slipped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Silvia put her head on her sister's shoulder and concentrated on breathing.
In the awkward silence that ensued, Ortega turned back to Don Lorenzo and shoved the papers at him once more. "Sign, please."
Don't sign, Silvia thought at him, don'tsigndon'tsigndon'tsign. She didn't care if it was an order; maybe if he did not sign them, Pepa would not have to go.
He glared, and turned purple, but eventually took them and scrawled his name across the documents. Silvia deflated, and hated her father just a little bit. "There," he snarled, turning around and stalking back to his people.
"Thank you," Ortega said smoothly, and Silvia, finally realizing what was happening, what her father had just signed, found her voice.
"Wait! Director Ortega!" and the woman, clearly frustrated, turned around and glared at Silvia.
"Why Pepa?" and Silvia hated the undignified pleading tone of her voice, but could not make it stop as the words poured out of her. "Can't it be someone else? You have other agents actually in Sevilla right now. Can you take one of them? Does it have to be Pepa?"
Ortega studied her for a beat, then nodded slowly. "It does," she answered in a measured tone. "More than that, it is not my place to tell you." Sympathy briefly flashed across her face. "I am sorry, Inspector Castro."
Then they all turned as they heard the click of a door, and Pepa followed López and Rocio out.
Silvia's heart contracted painfully. Pepa looked lost. She had not been crying, but she just lookedlost. And there was something else, something in her eyes, something that made Silvia almost instinctively shy away from her girlfriend.
Then Pepa sighed, and looked down, and just looked defeated in a way that she never had before, shoulders slumping, hands shoved into her pockets. Silvia squeezed Lola, detached from her, went to Pepa and heedless of the watching police officers, threw her arms around her lover in a strong hold. Pepa immediately returned it and buried her face in Silvia's red hair and clutched onto Silvia so hard Silvia was afraid she might bruise.
She felt like Pepa was drowning, and she herself was the only thing keeping Pepa afloat. Ironic, since Silvia felt like she, too, was going under.
"We leave at 0800 tomorrow," López said into the charged silence, eyes cutting to Pepa. Pepa nodded against Silvia's hair, gathered herself, pushed back. Her hand caught Silvia's, though, and their fingers tangled together.
"I guess I have to get packing, then," Pepa sighed. She glanced up at the watching police officers. "Paco, let's go to your place so I can say goodbye, ay?" Her brother nodded, tears in his eyes.
"One last thing, Pepa," and Silvia rounded on Rocio, almost ready to punch the other womanhowever nice she might have been at her partyif it was anything else that would upset Pepa. Rocio was holding a small envelope.
"We found these in Marta's apartment. We think you should have them."
Pepa hesitated for a moment, then reached out with her free hand and took the envelope. She put it in her pocket without opening it.
"Thanks," she exhaled wearily, then squeezed Silvia's hand and looked up at the watching police officers. "Let's go home now."
They filed out the door in silence.
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