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Near Life Experience 11/13

Title: Near Life Experience
Disclaimer: Not my characters – except for one or two. The rest of the ladies and gentleman contained herein belong to entities with a higher pay grade. Thanks for allowing li’l ole me to play; I promise to return them as I found them…just like the tools I borrowed from dad when I was a kid. Also, this is unbeta’d so…mistakes are really all me. Sorry about that.
Fandom: Nikki & Nora
Pairing: Nikki/Nora
Rating: PG-13-ish, there are some adult concepts and themes, but nothing too over the top.
Summary: Nikki's not really "Nikki" and Nora's sings a different tune.

A/N: I'm trying to get back to an every other week posting schedule, sorry updates on this aren't up to my usual consistency.

Ch. 11 – Boom of a Beating Heart

I wince, looking up to meet Nikki’s gaze.

I have no time to read her. A sharp kick lands across my left flank. Fire ignites along my rib cage as the crack of bone echoes inside my head.

Just fuck.

My head drops, causing my forehead to press against the thick oriental carpet. Tears well up and leak out of the corner of my eyes. Through the roar of blood in my ears I hear Nikki speak, "What are you doing here?" I feel her bend down to me and a strong hand grip my chin to pull my head up off the ground.

Blinking, I clear the watery vision of her and focus on her eyes. Deep, brown eyes that until a day ago I was falling for.

"You know her?" another voice asks from above me. Paula. She's the only other woman in the room.

Nikki squeezes my chin before letting it drop back to the floor as she stands. The burn along my side as I pull in a shaky breath causes another round of tears. They well and slide down the bridge of my nose to drop on the carpet.

"She..." Nikki pauses before she answers with an assuredness I've never heard. "Unfortunately, we've been seeing each other over the past month or two." I feel a shoe press into my shoulder. It forces me up and turns me onto my back. The chandelier is bright and sends a weird pattern of light across the ceiling. "We broke it off the other day." Her toe nudges my left temple, forcing my eyes to fall on the woman I came here to actually speak to.

Paula's arms are fold across her chest. She looks down at me. Her pinched face holds only wariness and anger. She'd be pretty if I didn't she was a complete and utter psychopath and monster. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a French roll. With her high cheekbones and thin lips, she reminds of a character from one of those bad after school movies of a disapproving principal chastising her students.

"She more than likely followed me here," Nikki explains. "A jealous piece of ass that didn't know when she'd served her purpose."

Paula clucks her tongue.

"Really should have known better," Nikki continues, "I'm sorry about this. I didn’t count a pathetic piece of trash to follow me around like the lost, little bitch she clearly is." My teeth grind together as breathe through the pain.

"Hmm," the other woman hums. Snapping her fingers, I look over towards the entrance as her two men stalk towards me, shoving one of the kids out of their way. They hoist me up by my underarms and begin to pat me down. The gun they easily find hidden under my jacket, but holstered to my right side. They fish the keys to my car out of my jacket and lay those on the coffee table next to my gun.

"That's a police issued SIG, ma'am," one of the no-necks speaks up.

"Car?" Paula demands an answer.

"The El Camino," Nikki answers for me. My eyes screw shut as I'm spun around to face my...well, I'm not sure what she is, but Nikki looks me over. This time her concern isn't concealed. "Where'd you get the gun?"

I shake my head. No clue what she's doing or how she's trying to play this. Her blow lands across my injured cheek.

My ears ring, a fresh round of tears sting my eyes. I try to lift a hand to defend myself, but she stops me. The hand that just struck me clamps over my mouth.

"Go search her car," Paula barks behind me.

Nikki gives a minute shake of her head, pressing harder against my mouth. The nails of her left hand dig into my bicep.

I'm screwed. So screwed. Footfalls retreat and the front door opens and shuts.

"You two go back to your room," Paula barks at the kids.

Those poor kids.

I watch as they scurry away, unfazed by the violence they've just witnessed.

"Sit down," Nikki shoves me into one of the chairs near the couch. "I can't believe you!" she rants and steps in front of me. I watch her hand raise and swing down. The sting and ache across my injured cheek blossoms and spreads to my jaw. The taste of copper wells in my mouth. "Why I shouldn't..." she trails off as Geno grabs her wrist and lowers her hand.

"We'll take care of her soon enough," he grunts from Nikki's right.

My head drops to my chest as I swallow the mouthful of blood. I probe the inside of my cheek with my tongue and feel the jagged flesh where my teeth cut in.

It's really the least of my concerns. If they find my badge, we're screwed. I focus on shallow, short breaths to prevent the pain from igniting another fire along my rib cage. I know at least one rib's broke. Maybe a few more are cracked. That bitch kicks hard.

Nikki...who knew she could hit like that? I'd try and be upset, but given the circumstances…, I'm happy she didn't rat me out.

Why didn't she...?

She didn’t tell them I was a cop. She played it off.

The thought floats through my mind. I would have thought...

"Boss," one of the goons speaks up from the doorway. I raise my head and look at him. The metal in his hand shines against the light of the room.

I look to Nikki. Her eyes are wide, lips slightly parted. She shakes her head at Paula, but...

"You knew?" the woman asks and the half second delay in the shake of Nikki's head is enough to condemn us all.

"Holy fucking hell," Geno wretches across from us. The cargo area reeks of bile and sick. All from the man who's spitting up whatever's left in his stomach. Another round of gagging sounds bounce off the steel walls as we bounce down a road to God knows where. Some place remote, out of the way. Someplace it will take days for anyone to find our bodies.

Just fuck.

"How's your head?" Nikki rasps from next to me. I turn to her, as much as I'm able, but my arms prevent me turning to her as much as I'd like. We’re all cuffed to a bar running along the top of the van. Geno's on the one opposite us, trying to muster up the last, little bit of dignity he has left. Nikki's head rests on her bicep as she looks me over.

I give a shrug. "Side hurts worse," I admit as we hit a bump in the road and a thousand hot pokers pierce my side.

"What the fuck?" Geno snaps from his bench. I watch Nikki direct her attention to him and I follow suit. "Just what the fuck, Nikki?" His face is ashen, eyes wide and fearful. "Kids! Those were fucking kids! And," he licks his lips and then presses them together. His eyes screw shut again and he grits out, "You two were fucking talking about those kids like they were fucking pieces of..." he stalls on the words.

"Me?" she responds, her voice cracking on the two letter word. "You were the one that was going through Rusty in all of this! He was the one that sent you to close that! Not me. I wasn’t there…didn’t know…oh, God,” she whimpers the plea to a creator I don’t think any one of us believe in.

"I didn't know!" he shouts, the boom of his voice echoing off our metal cage. "You think, I'd...?" Tears cause his eyes to shine. "I swear to God if we make it out of this, I’m going to hunt the sunuvabitch down and cut of his balls. I’ll chop him up and take him out to the swamp. I swear to God…”

"Don't..." Nikki starts in.

I cut her off, "He didn't know." I defend her boss. "At least, given his reaction, I don't think he knew."

“Doesn’t matter, Nora. God or anyone else for that matter isn’t going to help us. And just what in the fuck were you...?" Nikki asks me. "Why were you following me?"

"I wasn't." I answer quickly. "I was there to question your friend."

"She is not my friend," Nikki clarifies immediately, her face souring at the thought.

"Well, she's also being watched by us and the F.B.I. I was there to question her about a case I'm working," I explain not wanting to give too much information.

"So let me line all this up in my head," she says slowly, "You," she motions towards Geno, "didn't know your boss wanted you to purchase..." she stalls on the words, "Rusty wants..." The color drains from her face, but it's her counterpart that manages the dry heaves.

"Wait..." I interrupt the two 'hard asses', "you weren't there to 'buy' those kids?"

“I may be a lot of things, sugga, a…pedophile,” she chokes on the words, “I’d just as sooner eat a bullet before touching a…”

“I get it,” I say, knowing that at least that much about her I can trust. “Then why…?”

“Don’t say anything,” Geno huffs.

“What is she going to do, Geno? Haul us in? You think we’re getting out of this alive?” Her tone drives a biting pain through my chest. “I was there to sell dope.”

“What?” I ask dumbly, trying to wrap my head around the sequence of events. I figure if I’m going to die, I’d really like to know why.

“Biggest, goddamn cluster fuck I’ve ever been a part of,” Nikki bumbles.

“Nikki! How about you start from the beginning?” I try for more information.

“I was there to sale dope, Nora. What more do you want to fucking know?” She rolls her eyes at my silence and snips, “I sale coke mostly. Weed, maybe some meth if people are hard up for it, but the shits the cockroach of drugs so…” She shakes her head at me and tries to turn the table. “So what investigation were you there for? Did you know she was trying to sell half a dozen—”

Her lips press together. “If I get out of this…” she bites out. “I’m going to take a fucking torch to everything she is.”

“I work for Special Crimes,” I answer her quietly. “I was pulled into a task force that was supposed to be working on a major trafficking bust, but…” I stop myself, still completely floored by the way things are turning out. “A girl was found, dead by the lake. We traced her back to New Mexico. From there it led me and my partner…”

“Dan?” Nikki questions.

I nod the reply and continue to explain, “Dan and I started digging and found that the trafficking wasn’t only drugs. Kids. Hundreds of them yearly. The feds had an idea, but no link.”

“What girl?” Nikki stops me.

“What?” I rest my aching head against my forearm, but realize it’s a horrible idea when the van starts to spin.

“The girl—you said you found a body, a girl. Who was she?” Nikki presses me as her face finally stops swimming.

“Jamie Ramierez,” I answer slowly, trying to bite down the bile that rises in the back of my throat.

“Nora, what did she look like?” Nikki’s insistence pulls me from my nausea. Her knee presses against my thigh. It helps.

I focus on answering her question. “Young, blonde, had a tattoo on her left arm.”

“Half sleeve, on her left?” Nikki digs.

“Yeah,” I breath out.

“I knew her,” Nikki tells us.

“She was part of the ring. Kidnapped when she was young…” I explain and try short even breaths.

“Lacey? Are you talking about Lacey?” Geno speaks up.

I manage to see the two communicate with a nod from Nikki and Geno gets sick again, dry heaving off to the side because there’s nothing left in his stomach.

I want to ask more questions, but the van starts to slow down and finally comes to a stop. The three of us straighten up and wait as two doors open and shut. The back doors click open and the two guys that work for Paula fill the space. One’s gun is drawn pointing at me while the other crouches and steps inside to undo our cuffs.

I’m first. His hands are rough and grip tight as he undoes the cuff from my left hand, slips it free from around the bar, and quickly claps it back over my wrist. “Stay,” he commands as he does the same to Nikki and then Geno.

We’re led from the van in a single line. The most I can tell from our surroundings is that I can’t see the street we came from. Warehouse buildings surround us as we’re led through a rusting steel door set off to the side of the building closest to us.

Once inside, I notice a set of steps that lead to the upper level of our building and a set of double doors along the back wall of the small space we’re in.

“Take her to the back, boss wants a word.” The baldheaded goon says, shoving me into his partner’s chest. “Hurry up,” he barks at our retreating backs.

I try to look back; to see them before we leave, but a firm shove towards the doors sends me sprawling forward. My arms stop me from face planting into the concrete floor. A kick sends me further along, scurrying through them and down the hall.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Whewww!!! Nikki didn't know about the kids!!!

Okayyy, now how are they going to get out of this and where is Nora's backup!

Waiting for more :)
May. 6th, 2013 01:26 pm (UTC)
I never said nothin' about no stinkin' backup...

May. 6th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Smart cops have backup when they are questioning the bad guys. ;) Or at least let someone know where they are going and who they are talking to encase "something" happens. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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