DISCLAIMER: Mutant X belongs to Tribune, Marvel Comics and probably some other people. Charlie's Angels belong to the lady from Colombia Pictures, and of course to Charlie (isn't he one of the luckiest men alive?). If I forgot to mention someone, I'm sorry, but, unfortunately, I don't own anything here, except the plot.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wanted to do three things with this story – 1. Actually finish a story I'm writing. 2. Keep it under 10 pages. I have an awful tendency to give Jean Aual like descriptions. 3. Write something with a character played by Lucy Liu. The dance scene in 'full throttle' that got me worshiping the woman's balance signed the deal. This is my first try to write a story in English, that doesn't end up in my drawer, so I'd appreciate comments.
FANDOMS/PAIRING: Charlie's Angels – the movie / Mutant X   Alex Munday / Shalimar
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It Started With a Blade
By Shadower


'Thank god I'm not late…' Thought the woman as she took her seat in the arena. Less than two minutes later, the light went out, and the shaped and colored spotlights lit the rink. As the music started she could feel the excitement that beamed off the woman sitting next to her.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" the speakers above her head boomed "Welcome to Torino, home of the 2006 Winter Olympics!" The crowd cheered, and the blonde smiled. Looking around her she could see people of all ages and races, all coming to the rink tonight, having parted with a healthy sum, because they have something in common. She could feel the adrenaline coursing through the air, the heart beat intensifying and the pulse quickening.

"With no further ado, lets get the real stars on the ice." That said, the door opened, and the skaters went out and took their positions on the rink. Each in a different costume, the colors on the ice varied from hot pink to black. The first round or two were quick, with the skaters doing quick laps around the ice, more in order to be seen than for any other actual purpose.

Then, the lights went black again and the skaters left, only one staying behind. The announcer introduced the Canadian solo figure skater and the music started. The woman flew on the ice, turning, pivoting, spinning, riding the fast music as if her life depended on it. 'In a way, it does...' thought the blonde . The Canadian was followed by a Russian, a Ukrainian, and an American, and throughout all of their performances she couldn't get over the sound coming from her side. At first she took it for the background noise made at every competition: the people in the stands being people. But as the moments moved on she focused her hearing on the sound and was surprises to find that it came from the woman next to her. 'How come I didn't figure that out sooner?' she wondered. The woman's voice was so low that it was barely a whisper, if it wasn't for her extraordinary hearing, the woman was sure she wouldn't have heard it.

"Axle jump... Slide Chasse..." She was mumbling the movements of the skaters even before the commentators had the chance, ignoring the segments needed to get the momentum. "Split..." She looked at the woman next to her for a moment, her Asian features stood out even in the semi-darkness. The blonde smiled to herself 'She probably did this before when she was younger.' "Great flight!..." The next few competitors flew by while getting comments from both the official commentators and the black haired woman next to her.

When the lights came up and announcer called for a 15 minute break, she decided to say something to the woman. She turned to face the raven haired woman and stopped in her tracks. The woman was gorgeous. Even in the ponytail that supported her hair one could see the fullness and richness of the coal-black hair, her strong cheek bones, and the impossibly black eyes. She had to blink, clear her mind, before she could speak to the woman.

"Hi," one of her trademark smiles lit her face

"Hi," replied the woman.

"You know a lot about figure skating. Did you skate?"

"You heard me?" she was clearly shocked as the blonde nodded "My friends don't like it when I do that, I thought I've gotten to a level where I can't be heard."

"You're probably not by anyone else, but I have... a cat's hearing." replied the blonde, half laughing at the semi-private joke. The woman next to her raised an eyebrow in a manner that the blonde found cute. "So, did you skate?"

"No, I'm just a keen follower when I can be."

"Not too often?"

"Work comes in the way... Thank god for VCRs."

"And DVDs." The raven haired woman nodded. "I'm Shalimar Fox." She said extending her hand.

"Alex Munday, nice to meet you." The rest of the competition passed on rather quickly with Alex commenting here and there on this skater and that, and on their moves. Especially on the moves. Shalimar couldn't help but be amazed at the knowledge the woman next to her held. And she commented on that as they left the arena together.

"I did gymnastics for many years," replied the woman at her side "I understand movement better than most." The statement was made matter-of-factly, without the slightest bit of ego.

"You'd be surprised..."

"I might," agreed Alex "but it would have to be someone really special, and that just proves my point even more. What about you? What brought you to the Figure Skating Olympics?"

"I had a tough assignment from work. Afterwards my friends chipped in and got me a present. You?"

"Ditto I guess, only the gift is from my boss." Alex answered. Shalimar looked at her new friend, clearly impressed

"Nice workplace..." Shalimar commented. Alex smiled.

"Yeah. We like it." The sun was just setting as they were leaving the arena. Shalimar followed its progress with her eyes.

"I think I'll be heading back to my hotel, I'm staying at the 'Hilton'. You want to share a cab?"

"Sure, it's my hotel too." They hailed a cab and spent the short drive chatting and generally getting to know each other. Upon reaching the hotel they discovered that they were actually hungry and decided to eat in the hotel's restaurant, instead of going out again.

They ordered food and a bottle of wine. As they talked and the wine flowed they became closer, bonded by their mutual interests and a little too much alcohol. After a few hours they moved up to Alex's room on the 10th floor. Alex sat on the edge of her queen sized bed fumbling with the edge of her pant leg trying to find the zipper in her boot. Shalimar sat back in an overstuffed chair and just looked around.

"Argh!" grunted Alex, "I don't think I should have had that 2nd vodka, I can't even take my boot off!" She emphasized her point by wiggling her leg at Shalimar. Shalimar did the only think she could think of in her state – she laughed. When she could control herself enough she stood up and got down on her knees in front of Alex. 'What is that smell? I know I smelled it before...' She reached up Alex's' leg and found the evasive zipper on the almost knee-high boot and gently pulled it down. 'It's getting stronger... It's like...' She took off the offending piece and reached up the other leg doing the same to the other boot. 'Pheromones! Trace-elements, but still pheromones. What is it about this woman that makes me come to conclusions ages after I usually would? Wait a moment...' She slowly placed the second boot by the first and then lifted her gaze to the other woman. Her face was slightly flushed, and she was looking down at the blonde woman at her feet with a half smile grazing her lips. "Thank you."

"Sure," she smiled as she got up.

"No, I mean it. If it wasn't for you..." she broke off in mid sentence and turned to look out the window "Well, let's just say that this evening wouldn't have been so much fun."

"Hey, you ok?" she asked, sitting down next to the raven haired Asian.

"Yeah" she replied, sounding very unbelievable, not turning her head. Shalimar reached to cup the other woman's chin and turn her head to her. After some resistance, Alex relented and the blonde could see the single tear that was coming down her face. Without thinking much, Shalimar wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and held her close. After a moment's hesitation, she could feel Alex returning the hug, enjoying the feeling of, for once, getting help, being the weaker one, and even if for a couple of moments – not needing to carry it all on her shoulders.

The two didn't know how long they sat there, saying nothing, for nothing needed to be said. Just enjoying the company of each other, and letting Alex get what she needed. When Alex finally pulled out of the embrace Shalimar just sat there.

"Thank you." She paused "I'm saying that a lot lately, aren't I?" Shalimar laughed at Alex's repetition.

"There's nothing to be thankful for. Besides, you would have done it for me too, right?" Alex nodded and Shalimar reached up to stroke her cheek. Alex closed her eyes at the contact and bit her lip, showing a half smile. Reaching up, she grasped Shalimar's wrist softly and turned her head in to the palm, her lips barely touching. After what seemed like a moment's hesitation she kissed the palm. As she opened her eyes and looked up, her hand slipped from its former grip. She blushed and lowered her gaze.

"I'm so sorry..." she said, getting up and walking to the window "I don't know what got into me..." She felt her arms, almost on their own account wrapping themselves around her. Shalimar sighed and got up.

"Alex," she turned the smaller woman to face her "It's ok. We didn't do anything... yet." Alex looked up at the woman holding her and just rested her head on her chest. "Alex, do you want me to leave?"

Alex's head shot up, her eyes almost pleading "Please don't, stay." Shalimar nodded silently. At that Alex smiled and rested her head against the taller woman's chest again. Shalimar put her cheek against the dark haired woman's head. Standing like that, the two women looked out the window at the bright lights of the Olympic celebrations. When Alex moved her head, Shalimar's head almost shot up only now feeling the hand that rested on the base of her neck 'How can I feel this way towards a woman I've just met? Be so comfortable with her?' Twin sets of dark orbs met and locked and both women could feel themselves being pulled in, just inches separating them from each other.

"SHALIMAR! Come in! It's Brennan." Shalimar huffed pulling away from the embrace and lifted the com-link closer to her mouth.

"This better be important Bren." She hissed.

"It is. Go to the roof, we'll be there anytime with the Helix. We'll update you when you're on board."

"Can't you do this without me?"

"Would I call if we could? Come on Shal." She turned to look at Alex, not able to form a smile.

"I have to leave..." she couldn't look her companion of the last few hours in the eye "Duty calls..." An ironic smile formed on her lips, it was the thing she loved doing most. Not only her job, but her life, and now, what was it that pulled her to this woman with such force? Without so much as another glace back Shalimar ran out of the room, leaving a very puzzled Alex behind her.

On the roof, she entered the Double Helix, in its stealth mode in a very bad mood.

"Good, morning, Angels!"

"Good, morning, Charlie!" Chorused the girls, with Bosley, as usual, half a beat behind

"We've got a new case on our hands girls. This is Adam," The black screen on their side came to life supporting an image. "He has contacted me earlier today regarding a lost artifact that he needs retrieved. Now I know we don't normally do things like that, but this artifact is special. His team is coming over as we speak to meet you and brief you girls on the matter."

"And girls, you'll be working with Adam's team on this one." The girls and Bosley exchanged questioning glances, but the speaker box was already quiet.

"Why would Charlie say we needed to work with them?" Natalie was the first to wonder out loud. Bosley, as well as the other two Angels, shrugged

"Maybe they just can't handle it on their own?"

"Charlie wouldn't have just rented us out as backup. He gives us cases. Things that need to be solved, maybe there's some connection that they can't make and we..." Dylan's sentence was cut off by the door bell.

"I'll get it." With that the three Angels were left to their thoughts

"Do you think that's them?" Natalie wondered aloud straining her neck to get a view of the doorway with no luck.

"I still don't understand - 'why?'." Alex muttered

"Because you three are the only ones outside the safe-houses that can help us. And we won't risk the people in the safe-houses." came the reply. Alex could feel the blood draining from her face. She had to turn around, to see if this was really who she thought or if the two months that have passed played tricks on her memory. As the other two Angels were already on their feet, she couldn't postpone the meeting if she tried.

The dark haired Angel shifted her position on the couch and faced the 4 new people in the Townsend Agency. There were two men, and two women, but the only one she could see was the blonde . It took great effort to put a smile on her face 'Why am I still hurting?' "Hi Shalimar, it's been awhile." The blonde tried not to meet the dark eyes that conveyed the emotion their owner felt.

"You two know each other?" asked Brennan and Natalie speaking as one. Shalimar nodded, her eyes still not willing to meet the others' gaze.

"We met at the Olympics," offered Alex.

"At the Olympics..." Natalie mumbled after a moment of silence.

"Good morning, Angels!" the box once again came to life again.

"Good morning, Charlie" answered the girls without a second thought, Bosley, half a beat behind. Jesse and Brennan exchanged looks.

"I see you've all met. Good. That will defiantly make things easier."

"Actually Charlie, we only know one name – Shalimar." The other woman, standing next to Shalimar, smiled. "I'm Emma, and these are Brennan and Jesse." She offered

"Natalie Cook" answered Natalie, pointing to Dylan "Dylan Sanders, and apparently Alex is known." She bent down to the still sitting Asian, "We need to talk." She whispered. Alex gave her a short, wry look.

"Let's get down to business." offered Bosley, while showing the standing group to the couch in front of the Angels. "What is it that you need?"

"Basically, it's a computer program, on a silicon chip." Answered Jesse "If it gets to the wrong hands then life, as we" as he said the last word he gestured at his friends and himself "know it, will never be the same again."

"What's in the program?" asked the always-curious Dylan.

"We'll show you something, it will be easier to explain this way." Emma replied in a soft voice, and Alex could feel herself relax, as if she knew that nothing is wrong, that nothing could go wrong. Emma nodded at Jesse and he got up, as he did so the four detectives exchanged looks. Walking to the nearby wall, Jesse took in a breath and walked through it. The Angels once again exchanged looks, and Dylan was the first to speak.

"Did he just go through the wall?" she got a nod from each of her friends "He... You just went through the wall," she directed the sentence at the returning Jesse "Why are we so calm about it?"

"That would be me," answered Emma "I can sense, and alter, people's feelings. I thought it would be best if you were, ah... artificially calm. It's easier to predict movement when you know this. Brennan can create and control electricity," He punctuated her point by opening his palm and showing them the current running through his fingers before he removed it. Alex could feel the calmness gently stripping away from her, in its place came curiosity "And last but not least, Shalimar, she is a Feral with a cat's DNA mixed with her own."

"A cats hearing..." Mumbled Alex "So that's why you said that?" Shalimar nodded with half a smile, "So... you're basically superheroes, why do you need us?"

"Like Shalimar said when we came in – you three are the only ones who can help us. We need your touch, and besides, Adam told us you are the best, and we need the best."

Within two hours all where acquainted to the basics, a plan was formed and Emma and Jesse were on their way back to Sanctuary to aid in the technology department. The Angels, along with Shalimar and Brennan were heading out to their first lead, at the loading docks. Deciding to split up, since they can't all fit in one car anyway, Dylan took off first with Brennan, followed by the rest. After riding in silence for a few minutes, Natalie turned to Shalimar from the back seat

"Do you mind if we talked? It's about you."


"Alex, it's been two months, you broke up with Jason, why didn't you tell us?" Alex tried not to swerve into a nearby ditch.


"I mean it! When you came back from Torino you almost sent Jason flying across the room before you broke up with him. You do flip him a lot, but I saw your eyes when you did that. I always thought it was another guy, especially from what we managed to gouge out of you, but I never expected this..."

"It's nothing like that." Alex tried to keep her cool. 'This CAN NOT be happening.' "We met at the figure skating show and had a nice time. That's ALL." Natalie rolled her eyes, knowing better.

"Roll out the carpet, Daddy's home." The blonde spy declared 5 minutes later when the group arrived at the dock.

"It's the freaks! Attack!!" Came the cry from a nearby storeroom. Alex could swear she saw dark eyes flash yellow a split second before the blonde at her side jumped up and out of the car and into the coming crowd.

"The element of surprise would have been good here..." muttered Brennan throwing a bolt of electricity and fending some of Shalimar's attackers. Without a moment to lose, the Angels entered the fight. Less then 5 minutes later the fight was over and Natalie and Dylan had the thugs' leader pinned to a wall.

"Let me," said Brennan flexing his fingers "you'd want to move." The girls immediately backed off, joining their teammate and Shalimar. "Where is the chip?" He emphasized each word with a jolt of electricity sent to a limb of the man in front of him. The thug didn't budge. "I'll ask you again – where – is – the – chip?"

"I don't know!" cried the man, sinking to his knees, as the blows got increasingly stronger.

"Then who does?" The raven haired detective zeroed in on the man and grasped his throat. Her eyes conveying a fierce anger. The thug gasped for a breath he couldn't take.

"J.. James C... Carrere. He... he hired us to keep you away..." Alex threw his head back against the wall as she got up. As Brennan wired the information to Jesse, Natalie took Alex aside and was accompanied by Dylan within a matter of seconds.

"Not upset at all, ha?"

"What has gotten in to you?" remarked Dylan.

"It's nothing!" Alex hissed, well aware that the feral wiping off the dust from her long coat can hear them. "Yeah, we met there," she directed her gaze at her blonde friend and partner "but that doesn't mean what you think it does." She huffed out.

"Then look her in the eye." Natalie threw the challenge and Alex seemed unable to pick it up. After a few moments she turned her head back to her blonde friend "Alex," Natalie's tone lost its confrontational edge, giving in to a more reassuring tone "We have known each other for how many years now? We love you. We're friends, we trust you with our lives. Trust us with yours."

"We're moving on!" Brennan declared, in a victorious tone. "There's only one James Carrere that can be behind this, and he is on the island of Oahu, Hawaii."

"I always wanted to go to Hawaii..." smiled Natalie.

On board the 'Double Helix' Brennan has spent the last hour or so explaining to Natalie how to use the controls and was now watching her as she closed the distance to their destination. Dylan was in the midst of a football conversation with Jesse, and Alex was trying her best to keep looking out the front and not back at the feral and her friend engrossed in a quiet conversation. Seeing the woman nearly fly from a second story window to tackle an attacker coming at her hadn't helped her confused state. But to Shalimar, it was so clear she could smell it. The slight tinge of pheromones that she sensed while they were both drunk was stronger now. And the woman was sober.

"You know, you need to talk to her. Soon, too. If you have these blockages it might affect you when we least want it too." The blonde looked at her telempathic friend.

"I don't think she wants to. Her eyes have been shooting daggers at me since we came through their door."

"Not true. At first she wanted to jump on you. Then it turned to anger."

"Thanks a million for clearing that up..." She remarked sarcastically.

"Sweetie, I love you," Shalimar could almost feel a certain pair of ears zoom in to their conversation "but you need to do what's right between the both of you. If you have feelings for her, tell her. If not, tell her. But whatever the case is – do it soon." At that point Alex got up and relieved her blonde teammate from the helm. Exhaling sharply, the feral looked at her friend.

"It's not going to be easy is it?" Emma smiled at her friend and hugged her.

"Break a leg."

"Isn't that good only in the theater?"

The two groups stepped out of the now camouflaged Helix and onto the roof "Remarkable."

"I know a wolf who used to say that a lot..." remarked Shalimar receiving a smile from all but the dark haired woman who made the comment.

"Let's move."

Gaining access to the building was an easy affair between Alex and Brennan's lock picking abilities. The hard part was locating Carrere, even with Emma at their aid. When Emma could be of no more assistance, at a hallway that divided into 3 corridors the groups split with Natalie and Brennan going right, and Emma grabbing Dylan and going straight forward, disappearing behind a turn.

"I guess we go left." Shalimar remarked and headed down the hall. They head down the hall, stopping at doors that seemed occupied and trying them, just to discover they had an extra problem – there where innocents in the building. Shalimar broke in to a fit at that discovery. Her step was relentless and the yellow in her eyes was a permanent feature. Alex had to jog to keep up with the woman's long, swift stride. But, at last they came to some success as they crossed a corridor to find a man with a gun guarding a door. Shalimar held out an arm to stop Alex and signaled to her. Nodding, Alex got ready as Shalimar jumped up and advanced silently towards the sole guard using the wooden beams that were put in the ceiling to give it a country look.

Putting her fingers into the small space between the wood and the ceiling gave her the hand positions and she kept her footing solely by pushing her weight on them. 'Thank heaven they're close enough for this...' When she dropped down on the guard he went out like a light. "All clear" smiled the feral, her viewer tried not to laugh as she came out and into the hallway. "Let's see what he was guarding?" she gestured at the door.

"Wasn't that a little too easy? I mean, he's guarding a freezer..." Shalimar shrugged in response.

"It must be important enough if they had an armed guard for it." Alex gestured her in and followed closely. They didn't take 5 steps into the room when the heavy door banged shut. "No!" Shalimar ran to the door and tried to open it. "It's locked..." she backed away a few steps and tried to kick the door open, with no luck. The feral attacked the door again. It didn't budge. "No!" Again and again she lashed at the heavy door that made their retreat impossible.

"Shalimar," Even through her fear and rage of being caged she had no trouble hearing the voice, and looked back at its owner "lets see if we can find another exit, the only thing you're doing now is ruining a nice pair of boots." She had to accept the logic and followed the smaller woman around the walls of the freeze-room. They finished two full circles before they accepted that there is no way in or out other then the door that locked them in.

Shalimar's eyes flashed around the room trying to find something that she could use to open the door. It had to be something with an edge to it; sharp would be a plus.

"Give me your boot." Shalimar demanded.

"We are locked in a freezer, this is the time you find to ask me to borrow something?"

"I want to see if the heel can penetrate the door." Alex could only mouth 'oh' before an idea sparked in her eyes and she turned and kicked the door with all her might.

And again.

"Let's try something else. Can I have your boot?" Shalimar asked nicer this time. Alex stopped.


"It's the closest thing to a crowbar I saw here." The smaller woman shook her head

"I can get it on my own this time." She remarked as the light haired woman took a step towards her. Shalimar stopped dead in her tracks. The Angel pulled off the boot and handed it to Shalimar standing with one foot on top of the other, her hands on her hips. "Come on, MacGyver."

The feral raised an eyebrow at the woman in front of her and huffed, her breath appearing in vapor in front of her. 'I think I'm in over my head...' The blonde turned her back and tried to push the heel into the side of the door that was open before them not too long ago. It took her a few tries to accept that it wasn't sharp enough to penetrate the small crack. "Even that's not working?! Now this is a cheesy way to go..." Shalimar mumbled, throwing the boot at the far wall.

"That was MY boot that you just threw away!" Shalimar made a face in response.

"Sorry..." She quickly retrieved the item and after brushing it with her sleeve handed it back to the smaller woman.

"Thanks." Came the reply, as Alex bent down to put her boot back on. Upon getting up again she crossed her arms. "Can Emma find us here?" Shalimar thought about it for a moment

"God I'm dumb! Emma, Jesse, Brennan, can you hear me?" She said loudly, speaking into her com-link. The only response was silence. "Guys, come in! We're trapped in a freezer on the 3rd floor. We need help. Emma! Jesse! Brennan!" Still silence. Shalimar shivered slightly, a slight move, but it didn't go unnoticed.

"You're cold." Before Shalimar knew what was happening she was being hugged from under her coat. She looked down, a question in her eyes. "Body heat... maybe it can keep us a bit longer. Don't worry, they'll find us." Shalimar showed her companion a half smile

"I'll bet you $50 it'll be my friends." Shalimar offered. Alex smiled back.

"Sit. You're on."

"Did you just say sit?"

"Yes, the smaller surface we have the less heat escapes." The blonde could do nothing but comply. She sat cross-legged, the smaller woman sitting in her lap. After an initial shock the blonde moved and adjusted their positions so they'd be a bit more comfortable and covered them with the edge of her long coat.

"Are you always this practical?"

"Usually I don't get into things like this... I feel like I'm in a third rate spy movie..." The feral had to smile at that. It felt nice to hold the little Angel in her arms again. The two sat in silence for a while, the chill getting more pronounced as the seconds move on.

"Why are you mad at me?" Shalimar was the first to break the silence. Alex moved her head to look at the woman behind her

"I'm..." she couldn't finish the sentence, trying to speak once again just led to an irritated huff. "I just don't want to open up again and have you disappear to wherever, like last time." She looked down before she could continue "I tried to find you, you know? There's no address, no phone number, nothing. It's like you don't exist. I thought... I didn't know what to think." Shalimar looked at the woman in her arms, her face portraying nothing

"We have no address. We live in a place where we don't want people to know about if they're not meant to. That's part of the reason why you couldn't contact me."

"Part of the reason? What's the other part?"

"I got called away before we got to the point where we can exchange details." Alex looked at her companion again, a smirk settling on her face

"You're very sure of your self aren't you?" Shalimar smiled back.


"Cocky, too."

"Now, I wouldn't call it cocky..." replied the blonde . The dark haired Angel laughed

"You really hurt me." That was all it took to wipe the smile from her face. She looked down, but Alex wasn't finished yet. "I followed you to the roof that night. Only now I understand why I couldn't find you. You went up in the Double Helix, didn't you?" Shalimar nodded.

"We had a lead that day on a mutant, one that I was tracking down for nearly a year. We had to get her out of where they held her, quick." She shook her head

"Did you get her?"

"Not in time." Shalimar didn't understand how it happened, but a second later the woman in her lap changed her position, not even bothering to get up, or even move the coat, and she was facing her, her legs crossed behind the feral's back.

"What happened to her?" The concern in her voice was genuine. Shalimar cringed, her grip around Alex tightened instinctively. Her gaze shifting to a far away corner of the room

"I'd rather not talk about it."

"You cared about her." It was more of a statement than a question. Shalimar's head slowly came back to meet the eyes of the woman in her lap.

"I didn't know her, all I had was bits and pieces about her. She was an elemental, like Brennan, only she could control water. They..." she had to expel a breath before she could go on. "They burned her." She wasn't looking into her companion's eyes anymore, trying not to see the images that lurked in her nightmares again.

Alex was stunned. All she could think of doing was to hug the woman in her arms. So she did, while resting her head on the other's shoulder. After the initial surprise the light haired feral rested her head on the smaller woman and closed her eyes as tears appeared in the corners of her eyes, blurring her vision.

It took Shalimar a few moments to regain her composure and raise her head. "Thank you." She smiled "I guess we're just about even."

"Just about?"

"When we first met we had something like this, only warmer..." the last two words were said with a shiver. "You were the one needing the hug." Alex smiled and nodded. "You also had a 'deep dark something' that you wouldn't talk about." She received another nod in response.

"Like I told you, we just finished a case before I came to Torino. You saw what our job is like, people get hurt. Usually it's the bad people. But this time someone we didn't expect came to help us. And died. Dylan and I saw him fall and land on a fence made from those barbed wires." Shalimar gave the understanding nod this time. "We were... it was a pointless death."

"Did you care for that guy?" It was the feral's turn to ask.

"I went from fearing the guy to gratitude less then five minutes before that. I was confused... it was... charged. Did you ever see something like that happen?" Shalimar shook her head. "I hope you don't. It's not a pretty sight. Getting the man down was worse." It was Alex's turn to shudder.

"You're cold..." Shalimar remarked absently and tightened the embrace, Alex couldn't help but smile at the semi-unconscious gesture. From her place on the shoulder of her companion all she could do was turn her head slightly and see a bit more of the light hair and tanned skin, the expanse of it so close to her. The feral was experiencing the same problem. 'Her hair smells like lavender and apple. Oh lord, kill me now... Think of something else! I'm not that cold... Not a good thought!' She brushed one hand against the other and then it came to her - 'The com-link!' "Emma, Jesse, Bren, can you hear me?"

"Shal?" The two women sighed in relief, the vapor clinging to the other woman's hair

"We're in a freezer on the second floor, left from the split-up point. We're locked in. Come soon..."

"We're on our way." The air expelled from their lungs has already turned to ice.

"We're ok... They're coming..." The blonde could feel the relief wash over her

"Yeah..." came the half hearted reply, as the other woman rested her head on the close shoulder. Shalimar could do nothing but rub her hands on the smaller back, trying to keep her companion and maybe herself warm as she felt the body in her hands begin to shiver once again, more violently than before.

"Alex, talk to me. We need to keep warm. They'll be here s..soon. Come on, warm thoughts... When was the last time you went to the b..beach?" She could feel her body starting to suffer from the same effects as the smaller body in her arms. The other woman shifted a little in her arms, finding a way to get even more of their bodies to touch, their body heat growing less and less in intensity.

"It wa..was a couple days ago... we went t..together, Dylan, Nat, and B..Bosley. We were trying to teach him to s..surf." Alex smiled at the thought. "He isn't very good, and he wanted to im..press this girl, so Nat tried to help him out... D..Dylan was checking out some guys, and I was t..trying to work out some kinks..."

"Sounds like I should have b..been there." The light haired woman smiled as she cut her off.

"You didn't strike me as the t..type to like surfing..."

"I don't really, b..but the thought of you coming out of the ocean all wet does have its appeal..." replied the feral, her voice turning into a soft murmur as she continued her sentence. The Angel chuckled softly. "Hey, at le..least I'm honest." There was a short pause as the women laughed. "When we get out of here, l..let's stay a day. We sure as hell need it, and we could spend some time with you. B..Besides, how often do you get to be in Hawaii?" The smaller woman nodded in answer.

"I think I'll l..like, as well as n..need that..."

"W..What do you mean by 'need'?"

"Remember the way we s..sat before?" The feral nodded. "The t..tip of my foot was in some water. I can't f..feel my toes... I think they f..froze along with the water..."

"That would explain why you're sh..shaking so much." She sighed. "They will be here soon. Don't worry."

"It's a good thing y..you have your coat, I don't think t..the cold floor would have been too k..kind on us."

"Mmm..." They sat a few moments in silence, occasionally moving, more to let the other know that they're still awake than for any other functional purpose. Head rested beside head, shoulders against shoulders and all the way down to their bellies, their feet still crossed behind the others' back.

The scent of the other woman's body sent shivers down the feral's back that had nothing to do with the freezing air around them. Her body, craving the heat given off the woman in her arms made each one of them try to pull even closer, as if redemption could be found if they melted together. 'I AM doing this only for body heat.' Her inner dialogue almost laughed at that. 'You're doing this because you want to feel her in your arms, keep her safe.'

Her musing was cut short by a popping sound as the door opened. The two women turned their heads to see a puzzled Dylen and a half smiling Emma at the doorway. "Are we interrupting anything?" Dylan smirked. Alex used her arms to lift her legs out of the position they were in.

"V..very funny, help me up." Dylan came in and gave the sitting woman her hand pulling her up, only to hear a breaking sound as she did so. Her face flashed with concern, as Alex looked down at her raised leg. The raven haired woman turned to Shalimar and forced a smile. "I thought my toes froze, I think it's more like half the foot... look." She pointed at where her foot had just rested, which supported a soft symbol of her boot made of ice.

"I think we need to get you two out of here."

"What about Carrere?" Dylan shivered.

"Emma got to him, I got the chip, and Nat and Brennan are on their way to the roof." Alex gave her friend a puzzled look. "Don't ask. I don't know what she did but he was a quivering mess when we left... Let's go."

The End

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