Partners by Cheeya

Partners
by Cheeya

Part I

“Thanks, Harry!”

Jordan West winked as she took her coffee. A slow smile spread over her face and she nodded with satisfaction as she slowly inhaled the aroma.. “Perfect,” she purred and then turned to leave the cafe. Harry grinned as she flipped a coin back at him.
“Seeya tomorrow!”

“Seeya, Jordan!” he shouted after her.

**********

Jordan winced in the bright sunlight as she walked toward her black convertible. It was a warm day but she was comfortable in her black trousers, white shirt and black leather jacket. The young woman pushed her short, blonde hair away from her eyes and slid a pair of dark Raybans on, frowning as two men stopped to look her up and down as she walked by. Wolf whistles followed but she ignored them and kept walking, rolling her eyes in exasperation. “Typical,” she muttered as she opened the car door and slid in behind the wheel. Jordan looked at her watch, nodding when she found she was still early, shifted gears and headed out into the Los Angeles traffic. She was halfway to work when her cell phone rang, startling her out of her thoughts.

“West. Yes, Sir, I’m on my way. Another fifteen minutes or so. Another one? Aww come on, Tony. I… But… Hold on a second…” Jordan slammed her hands onto the steering wheel in anger and then took ten deep breaths before bringing the phone back to her mouth. “Ok, Sir. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” She hung up and tossed the phone onto the seat beside her with a long groan. “Great,” she murmured as she shook her head. “Another one.”

**********

Twenty minutes later, Jordan was standing in her superior’s office with her arms folded across her chest. She was shifting from foot to foot, unable to keep still while she was that mad at her boss. Assistant Director Anthony Quaid entered and sat behind his desk, ignoring her until she cleared her throat.

“Why does it have to be me?” Jordan asked.

“Because I need someone who’ll be a good influence on her. She’s reckless and needs to be taught some patience. I thought you’d be perfect for the job.”

The blonde woman flopped into a chair.

“I’m getting pretty sick of babysitting wayward agents, Tony. I’m a Special Agent, not a kindergarten teacher.”

“I know that, Jordan, but you’ve done it before. You know what you’re doing.”

Jordan sighed and then scratched at an itch on her chest.

“Alright, but you owe me for this, Tony,” she stated, wagging her finger at him.

“As always,” he replied with a grin. Then he pressed the button on his intercom. “Maureen, please send Agent Pierce in.”

“Yes, Sir,” came the tinny reply and then there was a soft knock on the door.

“Be nice,” Tony commanded and Jordan stood to be polite. The door slowly opened and Jordan reflexively gripped the edge of the desk as the most beautiful woman she had ever seen entered the office. Tony held out his hand and the woman stepped closer. “Special Agent Jordan West, meet Special Agent Alexandra Pierce, your new partner.”

Jordan couldn’t speak as her eyes moved over every inch of her new partner. Pierce was stunning – pure and simple. Her long, raven-black hair framed her face. High cheekbones resided under tanned, olive skin, and she was just about six feet tall. Pierce wasn’t just pretty… she was classically beautiful… but what captured Jordan most were her eyes. They were the most piercing blue the young agent had ever seen and they almost seemed to shimmer, like crystal. She was momentarily transfixed by them but managed to save her dignity by smiling as Agent Pierce held out a hand.

“Pleased to meet you, Agent West,” Pierce said, her voice low and almost melodic.

“Likewise,” Jordan replied, her mouth quirking into a tiny grin as she took the proffered hand and gave it a firm shake.

Their boss nodded.

“Well, now that the introductions are over with, here’s the deal. Jordan, I want you to show Agent Pierce the ropes. You’re gonna be together for a long time so be nice, ok?”

Jordan perched her hands on her hips and scowled.

“Hey! I’m always nice, Tony. You should know that by now.” She heard a snigger and glared at Pierce but her face softened when she saw the genuine smile on the tall agent’s face. She rolled her eyes and grinned. “C’mon, Pierce. Let’s get some breakfast.”

Tony smiled as he watched them leave the office. He’d had the feeling that they would get on well and his instincts were being confirmed. The two women walked in silence to Jordan’s car and the younger woman slid in behind the wheel as her partner sat in the passenger seat.

“So what’s the deal?” Pierce asked as they pulled out of the car park.

“Sorry?” Jordan asked, as she looked in the rear view mirror.

“What did you do to get stuck with me?”

“I’m stuck with you?” the younger woman asked. “I thought we were partners.”

“Surely they told you why I was suspended?” Pierce went on. Jordan sighed and pulled over to the kerb. Then she turned to give her partner her full attention.

“Pierce, I don’t know anything about you at all. I only heard about you twenty minutes before I arrived at the office so if there’s something I need to know or if there’s something you want to tell me, now is a good time.” Jordan raised an expectant eyebrow as her partner just looked at her. She got the impression that Pierce was trying to figure out if she was to be trusted. “No? Well, ok.
I don’t believe in judging people for their pasts. As far as I’m concerned, what happens from now on is what’s important, agreed?”

Pierce’s eyes softened and she smiled briefly.

“Agreed,” she replied, her voice slightly husky. “So, what’s for breakfast?”

Jordan grinned.

“We’re FBI Agents. What do we always have for breakfast?”

“Coffee,” they said together and then chuckled, both women instantly warming up to each other. The atmosphere was suddenly relaxed and Pierce sat back in her seat with a sigh. “Let’s get some then,” she said and as Jordan pulled back out into the traffic…

“I know the perfect place,” she said.

Part II

Jordan watched carefully as her partner walked to the diner to get some coffee to take away. Pierce almost moved like a panther… She was graceful but her entire body seemed to radiate a kind of power that the younger woman couldn’t quite put her finger on. Jordan got the feeling that this woman was not to be trifled with. Once again, she was startled out of her thoughts when her cell phone rang.

“West. Yes. The Valley? Ok. Hmmm. Got it. We’re on our way.”

She hit the horn and saw Pierce look out the window at her. She waved at her partner and the dark woman nodded and quickly headed back to the car, two plastic mugs of coffee and two blueberry muffins in her hands. She jumped into the passenger seat and balanced their breakfast on the dashboard while she clicked her seatbelt into position. Jordan did the same and then headed out towards the highway.

“What have we got?” Pierce asked as she unwrapped a muffin, split it and handed one half to her partner, making it much easier for her to eat and drive at the same time.

“Thanks,” Jordan replied, almost surprised by the woman’s thoughtfulness but shook it off quickly. “A homicide in the Valley.”

Pierce chuckled.

“A homicide? Can’t the local boys in blue handle it?” she asked.

Jordan smiled at her and then turned her attention back to the road.

“Normally, yes, but this time it’s different. They think it might be related to those serial killings that went on this time last year. They never caught that guy.” Jordan glanced at her partner again but she did a double take when she saw the expression on her face.

“I know,” Pierce growled. She slowly turned to look at her blonde partner and Jordan was almost afraid of the anger and hatred she saw in the woman’s eyes.

“Pierce? What is it?” she asked softly but the woman just looked down at the muffin in her hand.

“It’s nothin'” she replied and knocked back the end of her now lukewarm coffee. Jordan was curious but she let it go, not wanting to push her partner into telling her anything she didn’t want to tell.

“Ok. Um… so how long you been an agent?”

She saw Pierce’s body relaxing considerably and felt herself relax too.

“Ten years. I graduated in ninety-one and worked in Washington for a while. Then I was assigned to a field office in North Dakota before coming to L.A. How about you?”

“Three years,” Jordan replied absently as she watched a jeep in her rear view mirror. “I graduated and came here straight away. I’ve worked in this office for my entire tour so far.”

“How long have you been seeing the boss?”

Jordan almost choked on her coffee.

“What?” she asked, her face a picture of shock.

Pierce half smirked.

“The boss. Come on, West. There aren’t many agents who call their bosses by their first names. Are you sleeping with him or what?”

The young woman collapsed into helpless laughter. It took her a while to get herself back under control and Pierce looked slightly miffed.

“It wasn’t that funny,” she muttered and Jordan immediately felt guilty.

“I’m sorry,” she replied. “It’s just… I could never sleep with Tony. He’s my uncle!”

Pierce rolled her eyes and slapped her own forehead.

“Duh! Way to go, Pierce. I’m sorry, West. I didn’t mean to insult you or anything.”

“Forget it. I actually needed that laugh. It’s been a rough few weeks.”

Pierce grinned, flashing even, white teeth and her eyes sparked with mirth. Jordan felt herself captured by them once again and had to tear her gaze away to stop herself from crashing into something.

“So, is there anyone special in your life then?” the older woman asked.

Jordan shook her head.

“Hasn’t been for a while. My last boyfriend treated me like shit. It was at Quantico. He was a trainee there too and we were seeing each other but he didn’t want what I wanted so he dumped me.” Jordan frowned as she felt the familiar pain in her gut
and mentally slapped herself for being stupid. She wasn’t, however, prepared for the rush of emotion she felt when a gentle hand rested on her shoulder.

“I’m sorry to hear that, West,” Pierce said softly and once again, the young agent was imprisoned by eyes more vibrant than the bluest summer sky. This time, it was Pierce who looked away self-consciously and stared out of the window. They drove on in silence, each woman lost in her own thoughts until they reached the scene of the homicide. Pierce got out of the car and stretched her long legs, very aware of the fact that Jordan was grinning.

“What?” she asked as she turned.

“Must be a bitch to have such long legs, huh?” Jordan teased. She didn’t know why but she felt very comfortable with her new partner. Pierce winked at her and smirked.

“Better than having to stand on a box to see over the crowd,” she replied as she indicated the large crowd of rubberneckers and reporters which was gathered around the crime scene. Jordan couldn’t help but smile.

“Ha ha,” she stated flatly and walked away, followed closely by her partner.

Part III

Pierce closed her eyes and just listened. She had missed the sound of a crime scene… in fact, her suspension had been the most boring, useless time of her life so far. She did, however, understand and accept the reason for her suspension. Hell, she knew she deserved it. She slowly turned, pinpointing the individual tasks being performed around her… dusting for fingerprints, suctioning hair, dust and fibre particles, the slow, methodical search of the area. She could even see the frowns of concentration on the forensic team’s faces in her mind’s eye… and then she… felt it… and it scared her half to death.

“Pierce?”

“West,” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper.

“You ok?”

“Yeah, just been a while since I was at a crime scene like this.”

“How long?” Jordan asked carefully. She saw Pierce’s body stiffen and then slowly relax.

“Almost a year,” the older woman replied and then walked away. Jordan worriedly watched her leave, sighed and went to talk to the head of the forensic team. When she returned, she found her partner standing toe to toe with another agent. Pierce’s teeth were gritted in anger and the other agent was squaring up to her with a dangerous expression on his face.

“You’ve got a nerve showing your face here,” he growled.

“At least it’s not butt ugly, like yours,” the dark-haired woman replied, her voice low and controlled. Jordan’s eyes widened as she saw the other agent pull back his jacket to expose his holstered gun. She immediately stepped in, a nagging sense of fear for her partner turning her stomach into knots. She knew in her heart that she couldn’t let Pierce get hurt. The younger agent placed a hand on her partner’s chest, feeling the trembling of her body as she strove to contain her anger, and gently pushed her back.

“Alex,” she said softly. “He’s not worth it.”

Very slowly, blue eyes turned to her emerald green and Jordan saw the coldness begin to drain away. Pierce nodded almost imperceptibly and took a step back of her own accord before walking away. The man took a step to go after her but he felt a strong hand on his own chest. Jordan looked up into his eyes and spoke slowly and concisely.

“You touch her and I’ll make you sorry you were… ever… born,” she said. He tried to face her down but, despite his considerable height advantage, he found himself engaged in a losing battle and just turned on his heel and walked away. Jordan sighed with relief and immediately went to find her partner. The older woman was outside, sitting on the porch swing and just staring into space. She smiled though when the blonde agent sat down beside her.

“How did you know that people call me Alex?” she asked.

“I kinda figured that Alexandra was a bit too long for a woman of few words,” Jordan replied, mirroring the smile. Then her face turned serious. “Alex, what was all that about?”

There was silence for a while and Jordan was just about to change the subject when Alex began to speak.

“It was over a year ago. I was working a serial killer case, the one you earlier compared to this one. We got an anonymous tip off about where the Monk was going to show up next so we set up surveillance around four square blocks. It was a huge operation… almost forty agents… all under my command… but shortly after we spotted our man, things went to shit. I gave the order to make the arrest, but I didn’t take into account the fact that he had some buddies with him. It was all a set-up. They had semi automatics and sawn-off shotguns…” Alex trailed off briefly and took a deep breath as she tried to stop trembling. “I lost twenty-three agents that night including that guy back there’s partner… and my own partner.”

Jordan was stunned. She had heard about the failed operation but hadn’t realised that it had been her new partner in command.

“What happened then?” she asked softly as she placed her hand on the older woman’s forearm. She was pleasantly surprised at the tingle she felt when their skin touched. However, if Alex had felt it, she gave no indication.

“There was a formal enquiry into the entire thing and it was found that I had been incompetent in my duties. They suspended me for ten months. I’ve just got my shield and weapon back.”

“They busted you down from Special Agent in Charge to Special Agent?” Jordan asked, her eyes wide with disbelief.

Alex’s head shot up and she locked her eyes with the younger woman’s emerald green.

“I don’t care about the rank, Jordan,” she replied bitterly. “I got those agents killed.”

The blonde agent shook her head.

“Alex, you’ve gotta move on. You may think you made a mistake but there wasn’t anything else you could have done. I read the report. You tried to pull them back but they didn’t listen and kept going in. They disobeyed your orders, Alex. If they’d listened to you…”

A single tear spilled over from the dark-haired woman’s eyes and Jordan instinctively reached up to brush it away. “It wasn’t your fault, Alex.” Their eyes locked once more and Jordan brushed her fingers gently across her partner’s cheek. Then she suddenly blinked and pulled her hand back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be making you talk about this… I…” she stammered, but Alex just smiled.

“It’s ok. I had to tell you sooner or later, Jordan. Better now, I guess.”

“Yeah,” the younger woman agreed. “Well, there’s nothing more to do here. We just have to wait for the reports to come in. Why don’t we get some dinner and head back later on? I could do with a beer or two.”

“I don’t drink,” Alex replied with a smile. “I’ll drive, you can have a few beers.”

“You’re sure?” Jordan asked.

“Sure, I’m sure. I never say anything I don’t mean.”

“Fair enough,” Jordan grinned and an hour later, they were attacking two platefuls of steak, fries and vegetables.

**********

“You’re kidding me!”

Alex’ eyes sparkled with humour as she listened to Jordan’s story unfold.

“Nope. Deadly serious. I’ll show you.”

The blonde agent looked around and then lifted her shirt. Alex’s eyes grew wide at the sight of her partner’s muscular stomach but she forced herself to take deep breaths. A long scar ran from just below Jordan’s breasts, down to her navel. Alex winced in sympathy.

“That had to hurt,” she said, scrunching her nose up.

“Quite a bit actually,” the younger woman laughed. “Took almost eighty stitches to close it. I bled like a stuck pig.”

“I’m sure you did,” Alex replied matter-of-factly as she licked some meat juices from her fingers. “Ok, wanna see mine?” she asked.

“Sure.”

The dark-haired woman opened the top three buttons on her shirt and pulled it back to reveal her right shoulder. A bad, circular scar was very clearly visible.

“38 at close range. Damn near blew my shoulder apart. I got metal pins and stuff in there.”

“How close?” Jordan asked as she munched on a baby corn.

“About two inches,” Alex replied with a smile.

“Shit.”

“Yeah.”

They grinned at each other and then Alex rubbed her hands together.

“I’m beat and you’re drunk. Lets get you home, huh?”

Jordan stood up shakily and placed a hand on her partner’s shoulder to steady herself.

“I think you’re right,” she replied and smiled as a strong arm encircled her waist to steady her. “Thanks, Partner,” she chuckled.

“Don’t mention it,” Alex replied and helped Jordan to walk to the car. Once there, she leaned her against the convertible and, still holding her close, leaned in to open the door. Jordan inhaled slowly as their bodies pressed together.

“Alex,” she said softly as the dark-haired woman pulled back slightly.

“Yes?”

“It wasn’t your fault. Please don’t feel guilty.”

At first, Alex was stunned but she recovered quickly.

“You’re pissed, Jordan. Let’s get you home and into bed, huh?”

“Ok,” came the tired reply. Alex got her partner into the car and drove her home, finally finding it after an hour of looking. Jordan had been less than helpful with directions in her drunken state. Alex grinned as she waved to her new partner. The younger woman waved back, walked into the door frame and then managed to get herself inside as her partner laughed helplessly.

“You’re crazy,” she whispered but found herself really drawn to this woman… like she had known her for years.

Part IV

“Good Morning,” Alex grinned as Jordan slipped into the passenger seat.

“Yeah, right…” came the gruff reply. There was silence for a moment… then… “Shit, I’m sorry Alex. My head is bad.”

“Forget it. Anything planned for today?”

“Coffee? I have to introduce you to Harry.”

“Harry?” Alex repeated, her eyebrow raised in question. The sunlight sparkled in her eyes, reminding Jordan of the ocean on a clear summer’s day.

“Harry’s an old friend of mine. Well, when I say old, I’ve stopped off for coffee at his café almost every morning for the past three years.”

“Cool. So we go to meet Harry. What then?”

Jordan grinned.

“Then, Partner, we hit the Valley and get nosy.”

**********

Two hours later, Alex pulled over to the side of the road. She glanced at her partner but then got out of the car and paced up and down, stretching her legs. She was trying to hide her restlessness but Jordan got out and went to her, stopping her with a gentle hand against her chest.

“Talk to me,” she said, looking her partner right in the eye.

“Jordan, I… I can’t… it’s not that I don’t trust you or anything… I… I just…”

Once more, their eyes locked and Jordan suddenly felt a need to touch her partner. She reached up and brushed a strand of hair away from her eyes.

“Alex, talk to me. I can see it. I can feel it. It’s killing you. You can tell me.”

“I know, Jordan. I’m just not ready,” came the low response so the blonde agent nodded and sat down on the ground, leaning her back against a rock and looking out over the sea. Alex sat beside her and took off her jacket, rolling it up and using it as a head rest… for Jordan’s aching head. Once again, the blonde agent was surprised by her partner’s thoughtfulness and she smiled gratefully.

“Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it. Ten minutes here and then we’ll get back on the road, ok? We should be there in about fifteen minutes.”

“Cool,” Jordan replied and then leaned back against her partner’s jacket, inhaling the scent of her perfume and the scent that was all Alex. She must have drifted off because when she awoke, she was safely tucked in and belted in the front seat while Alex hummed along to a song on the radio.

“You carried me?” Jordan asked, half in shock and half in horror. “How did you do that?”

Alex arched her eyebrow at her partner and smiled.

“I have many skills,” she purred and then turned her attention back to the road. “You were tired and hung over. I thought you needed the rest, besides you’re not heavy at all. You’re very light in fact.” Alex trailed off as her mind went to those taut abs beneath her partner’s tanned skin. She unconsciously moistened her lips. “And beautiful,” she said softly.

“Pardon?”

“Oh… uh… nothing, Jordan. We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

Part V

Alex crossed her arms and watched in amusement as her partner faced off against a man a head and shoulders taller than her. The agent was looking at her notebook, a frown on her face.

“So you’re telling me,” she said. “That you were here all night, but yet, you didn’t hear any gunshots?” The man leered at her but she took it all in her stride. “Well?” she demanded.

“I couldn’t hear a fuckin’ thing over the noise of my girl screaming in ecstasy,” he said, in a slow drawl. Jordan gave him a disbelieving look.

“I’ll believe that when I hear it,” she mumbled but Alex caught it and almost collapsed into laughter where she stood. “Well, thank you, Sir, and if you remember anything more, please give us a call. Have a nice day.”

Alex followed Jordan down the porch steps, doing really well at holding a straight face until her partner turned to her and grinned.

“What a dick!” she said with an exasperated eye-roll and the two women laughed until their sides hurt. They went door to door until they had covered most of the neighbourhood and later on in the evening, after darkness had fallen, they decided to call it a night. They walked back to their car, discussing what they had found out during the day, but Jordan suddenly stiffened as she heard a sound behind her. She spun, her senses on full alert but she couldn’t see anything. There was no sound or movements nearby so she relaxed again.

“Weird,” she said with a shrug. “I could have sworn…” She trailed off as she heard the rustling of bushes to her right. Then she saw it… the muzzle of a gun protruding from the bush, pointed right at her partner. Jordan had barely even got her hand to her gun when a shot sounded out and then she was lying on the ground, blood running from a wound in her side.

“Shit,” she cried out through gritted teeth, applying pressure to the wound with one hand while drawing her gun from the holster at the small of her back with the other.

“Jordan!” Alex cried as she crouched in front of her partner a split second later with her gun drawn. “Is it bad?” she asked as her piercing blue eyes darted around them. She hadn’t even seen the muzzle flash so she couldn’t pinpoint the attacker.

“I’ll be ok. We should get to a hospital though before I bleed all over you.”

The last sentence was said in a light tone, but Alex could hear the underlying fear in the younger woman’s voice. She could see the beads of sweat forming on her forehead and upper lip as she fought to control the pain and stay conscious. Suddenly Alex was very afraid for her partner. She quickly checked for any sign of the shooter and then gathered the younger woman into her arms and carried her to the car. She opened the back door and was about to put Jordan onto the seat when she suddenly stopped and sat down on the seat herself, cradling the smaller woman on her lap and holding her tightly in her arms.

“Jordan, listen to me. I need you to fight,” she said softly. “I’m not losing you. Do you hear me? I can’t lose you.”

Jordan’s eyes fluttered briefly but then she fixed her emerald green gaze on beautiful blue.

“Alex,” she whispered.

“Yes?” The tall, dark woman brushed a lock of blonde hair away from the younger woman’s eyes.

“I don’t want to lose you either.”

**********

Jordan woke to bright sunlight and throbbing pain. She moved her arm to cover her face and regretted it immediately when her pain jumped another notch. She groaned and pressed her hand against her side.

“Easy, easy,” came a soft, husky voice and Jordan smiled as she immediately recognised it. “How’s the hero doing?”

“Hero?” the younger woman repeated, an expression of confusion on her face. Alex couldn’t believe that her partner didn’t remember.

“Jordan, you leapt across me and took the bullet in your side. Someone was trying to kill me. You saved my life.” She sat down on the edge of the bed and took her partner’s hand. “There are a lot of people out there who think I deserve to die but you saved me. Why?”

The blonde agent found that she couldn’t meet her partner’s eyes.

“I don’t… I don’t know,” she stammered. “I saw you were in danger and I just reacted. I couldn’t let you get hurt.”

Gentle fingers stroked her cheek and then raised her face so that Alex could look into her eyes.

“Thank you… but don’t ever scare me like that again. I thought… anyway… Doc says you’ll be out in a few days. The bullet didn’t do any permanent damage but it’ll leave another nice scar.”

Alex winked and Jordan rolled her eyes before shifting a little to get more comfortable in the bed. “Is there anything I can do to… um… help?” the older woman asked.

“I’m thirsty. How about a glass of water?”

“Your wish is my command,” Alex joked as she poured. Jordan held out a shaking hand to take the glass and then smiled sheepishly.

“Sorry,” she said softly. “I’m just…”

Alex shook her head as she took the hand and squeezed it gently.

“Don’t apologise. It’s natural after what you’ve been through.” The older woman sat on the edge of the bed and scooted back to sit with her back against the headboard and her legs crossed at the ankles. Then she helped Jordan to sit up and lean against her for support. “Now try some,” she went on as she helped her partner hold the glass. A soft sigh floated up to her and she felt the younger woman relaxing back into her chest, her head sitting just under her chin. They spent the following hour like that and Jordan smiled as she felt gentle fingers stroking her hair, however, when a loud knock sounded on the door, Alex quickly got up and went to the window.

“Come in,” she called and smiled as Assistant Director Quaid entered the room. He nodded a greeting at Alex but went immediately to his niece’s bedside. He took her hand and touched her face.

“How are you doing, Jordan?” he asked. He saw her eyes flick to her partner and then focus back on him.

“I’m fine… now,” she replied and smiled as Alex turned to look at her, an expression of confusion on her face. The tall agent sucked in a deep breath and turned back to the window, leaning on her hands against the frame and willing her heart to stop pounding.

“Well, that’s good. I was worried. So was your Mom.”

The young agent stiffened.

“You called my Mother?” she asked in a tone that made Alex look at her again. “Tony, you know I don’t want her anywhere near me. She’d better not be coming here.”

The man stood up and paced back and forward in front of the bed.

“Jordan, for God’s sake. Will you not give her another chance?”

The woman laughed.

“Me give her another chance? Tony, she kicked me out of the house when I told her I wanted to be a Federal Agent. I’ve been studying for years and I’m not gonna give up everything to be her proper little girl. Dammit, Tony, I’m a grown woman. I make my own decisions now.” By now, Jordan was shaking and her eyes were filling with tears. She almost lost it totally when she felt a hand rest lightly on her shoulder, the thumb rubbing slowly and gently but she forced herself to look up. She was almost blown away by what she saw in those expressive blue eyes. Alex understood… she knew it.

“I think it’s time Jordan got some rest, Sir,” the older woman said softly. “I’ll stay with her for a while and make sure everything’s taken care of.” She didn’t take her eyes off her partner but smiled as the man stood up and kissed his niece on the forehead.

“If you need anything…” he said and Jordan nodded.

“Thanks, Tony.”

Alex waited until he was gone and then sat down on the edge of the bed again.

“Ok, now it’s your turn to talk,” she said as placed her hand over her partner’s. Jordan shook her head slightly and then sighed.

“It’s your typical run of the mill story. Rich girl wants to become something her parents don’t approve of and ends up having to run away to get it. My mother has never forgiven me for joining the FBI. When I was at Quantico, I tried to call her but she hung up on me. That was four years ago now but… but it still hurts, you know?” Alex nodded slowly.

“Yeah, I do understand, Jordan.” She replied sincerely. She frowned as she saw tears rise and spill over from her partner’s eyes. “C’mere,” she whispered. Jordan leaned into her and was encircled by strong, warm arms which held her tightly. Neither woman understood how or why, but there was a connection between them that made them feel safe and loved in each other’s arms, even though they had only met for the first time the day before. Holding each other like this seemed like the most natural thing in the world to them both. Alex brushed her lips against her partner’s forehead and smiled as she nuzzled her hair.

I’m losing it, she thought. God, she’s so beautiful. I could stay here forever.

Meanwhile, Jordan was trying desperately to ignore the heat that was rising in her body. Being this close to her partner was having a startling effect on her but she couldn’t pull away. It just felt… right.

Part VI

“I can walk, you know,” Jordan pointed out as Alex wheeled her to the front door of the hospital. The older woman shrugged, a mischievous grin on her lips.

“Hospital policy. You gotta get wheeled out. I thought you’d prefer me to do it, rather than the nurse.”

The blonde agent sighed but allowed herself to be pushed to Alex’s car, a black Cherokee jeep. Once there, they both shook hands with the accompanying nurse and watched as she pushed the wheelchair back toward the hospital.

“Not bad,” Alex muttered as she unlocked the door.

“Not bad at all,” Jordan replied with a smile and chuckled as her partner’s head snapped around to look at her. “I can appreciate that she’s attractive,” she said and the older woman smiled.

“I wasn’t sure if you knew,” she said softly. “I didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”

The younger woman nodded slowly.

“I figured it out,” she replied. “And please don’t worry, Alex. I could never feel uncomfortable around you.”

The tall agent reached out to squeeze her partner’s shoulder.

“You know, I’ve never met anyone like you before, Jordan West,” she said softly. “Where did you come from?”

Even though she knew it was a rhetorical question, Jordan grinned and winked.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied and then climbed into the jeep. Alex chuckled as she pushed the door closed and walked around the jeep to get into the driver’s seat.

“You ARE crazy,” she said.

“Yep, I’d have to be to hang around with you.”

They laughed and Jordan relaxed back in the seat as Alex pulled out in the afternoon Los Angeles traffic.

**********

“Tony, I’m telling you. That bullet was meant for Alex and I think I know who did it too although I don’t have any proof.”

“Who did it?” the A. D. asked as he leaned back in his high backed leather chair. He indicated for his niece to sit down but she was too restless.

“Alex had a run in with an agent at that crime scene the day before. I checked him out and it turns out that he has a record of violence. He’s been suspended twice for starting fights with fellow officers and he was under investigation for unlawful use of his firearm… the charge was dropped though.”

Tony nodded slowly and played with his pen, twirling it between his thumb and forefinger.

“Alright, Jordan. I’ll look into it. You keep an eye on Alex, ok?”

“Thanks, Tony,” the blonde agent replied and then left to meet her partner. She found Alex sitting on a bench outside the building. Her eyes were far away and she jumped slightly as the younger woman sat beside her. “You ok?” Jordan asked, worried when she saw the tears shimmering in the older woman’s eyes. Alex sniffed and forced a smile.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I was just thinking.”

“Feel like thinking out loud?”

“Um… I was just thinking about my partner who was killed last year. I thought that we were tight… you know?… but…” She trailed off as she held Jordan’s gaze.

“But what?” the blonde asked softly.

“I feel… close… closer than anyone before… to you. I’m scared of losing you, Jordan. You’re the one who got me through the past couple of weeks. I can never thank you enough for that.”

The younger woman smiled as she felt her own emotion rise.

“I’ll always be here for you, Alex,” she whispered. “And, you know, you’ve helped me a lot over the past two weeks too.”

“I got you shot,” Alex stated flatly.

“I got myself shot,” Jordan corrected and then placed a finger against her partner’s lips as she prepared to protest. “I got myself shot,” she repeated as she found she couldn’t take her eyes off those beautiful lips or the tiny pulse beating under them. Her finger moved of it’s own accord, tracing the outline of those lips as she tentatively raised her eyes to meet expressive blue.

“Jordan, I don’t think…” Alex began uncertainly but the younger woman shook her head.

“Alex, don’t… please,” she replied softly. “Not now. I just… I need…”

The older woman nodded and pulled her partner into her arms, holding her tightly and knowing exactly what she needed… closeness. She kissed her on the crown of her head.

“You’re coming home with me. I’m gonna cook you dinner tonight, ok? I don’t want you being alone.” she said.

“Thanks,” Jordan smiled. “I’d like that.”

Part VII

Agent Pierce frowned as she climbed the steps to another front porch. She glanced behind her and saw her partner do the same across the street. It had been a long, hot day and she was looking forward to getting home and just relaxing with Jordan. She knocked loudly on the door in front of her, impatient to finish up and get out of the Valley again. When the door opened, she couldn’t help but smile at the elderly lady who peaked out at her through the crack.

“Yes?” the woman asked.

“Good evening, Ma’am. I’m Special Agent Alex Pierce of the F.B.I.” She held up her id and the woman squinted at it. “I’m investigating the homicide that took place here two weeks ago. Could I please ask you some questions?”

“Of course. Would you like to come in, Dear?”

“No, thank you, Ma’am,” Alex replied. “I won’t take up much of your time.”

Alex ran through the questions, taking notes as the woman answered. A smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she felt her partner’s approach. Jordan waited quietly at the bottom of the steps and then smiled as Alex thanked and said goodbye to the old woman.

“Your people skills have improved,” she teased.

“I’ve been watching you,” the older woman admitted with a sheepish grin.

“Good,” came the cryptic reply. “Let’s go. I’m starving.”

Alex arched an eyebrow in puzzlement but followed her partner back to their car.

**********

“TA DA!”

Jordan laughed as Alex carried their meals to the table. The older woman held out a chair for her friend and put on a French accent as she spoke.

“And ‘ere we ‘ave ze speciality de jour from ze very fine chef, Alex Pierce. Eet ees called…. wait for eet… cheecken and fries a la Alex!”

The two women collapsed into helpless laughter.

“You are crazy!” Jordan chuckled, poking her friend gently in the chest but Alex caught her hand and locked eyes with her before bringing the hand to her mouth to kiss it gently. Jordan’s breath was stolen and she inhaled sharply at the feelings that ran through her but she didn’t pull her hand away… she just didn’t want to.

“Maybe I am,” the older woman whispered and then leaned in to brush the lightest of kisses against her friend’s lips. She was pleased when, instead of Jordan pulling away, she responded by wrapping her arms around her partner’s waist and pulling her closer. They kissed again but it quickly deepened and both women moaned simultaneously as their tongues met for the first time to move languidly and passionately against each other. Jordan was unsure that her knees were going to hold her up as a wave of desire moved through her body, making her tremble gently but Alex felt her weaken and wrapped one arm around her waist to steady her as she cradled her head with the other. The kiss was slow and sensual, setting every nerve in their bodies ablaze and they were both breathless when they parted.

“God,” Jordan whispered as she rested her head against her friend’s chest, hugging her tenderly but Alex pulled back a little.

“Jordan, I’m sorry. That was very presumptuous of me. I know you’re not gay and I shouldn’t have…”

Alex was cut off when soft lips possessed hers again with a fiery intensity that ignited a passionate flame right within her soul.

“Don’t apologise. I want you,” Jordan almost growled as she broke their kiss.

“What about dinner?” Alex asked with a carefully innocent smile.

“Later,” Jordan replied as she began to open the buttons on her friend’s shirt but gentle fingers lifted her face so their eyes locked again.

“Jordan, I love you,” Alex whispered. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before but I know that you’ve never been with a woman so maybe you should take some time to think about….”

Jordan quickly shook her head.

“No. I don’t need time to think. I haven’t stopped thinking about you over the past two weeks. When you’re not with me I feel… alone… even in a crowded room. Alex, I love you so much that it almost scares me.”

She received a wide grin.

“Well, I’m glad it’s not just me then,” the older woman replied and leaned down to capture those babbling lips for herself. “I love you,” she whispered again as she nibbled on a convenient earlobe. Very soon, they were lying on the couch together, touching and kissing as they learned each other’s bodies but Jordan needed more.

“Let’s go upstairs,” she whispered. “I want you to make love to me, Alex. I want you to teach me how to make love to you.”

Two seconds later, she was cradled in Alex’s arms and being carried up the stairs. She smiled up at her soon-to-be-lover and found that her eyes were glowing with love… something she knew was mirrored in her own eyes. Alex gently deposited her on the bed and lay down beside her.

“Jordan, I want you to be really sure,” she said softly as she touched her face. “I don’t want you to have any regrets about anything that happens between us.”

She received a wide smile and Jordan responded by sliding her arms around the older woman’s neck and pulling her down for a long, sweet kiss. Alex’s hands began a slow exploration of her young love’s body. She exhaled slowly with pleasure as her fingers felt the taut bands of muscle under the skin of her abdomen and then moved higher to cup her breasts. Jordan moaned softly as her lover’s fingers brushed against her nipples through the silken material of her bra. “Sit forward a bit, Love,” Alex said softly and when Jordan complied, she lifted her top off over her head and removed her bra. They returned to their kissing and, very soon, different items of clothing lay scattered about the room and their bodies were intertwined as one. Jordan felt as if Alex’s hands were everywhere at once. Her body ached with passion and her entire being was throbbing and begging to be touched.

“Alex,” she whispered, a strained expression on her face. “Please…”

The older woman nodded slowly and settled her hips and legs between her young lover’s thighs. Jordan immediately wrapped her legs around Alex’s waist, lifting her hips to press herself against the woman’s stomach. Alex felt the warm wetness and moaned softly with pleasure.

“Oh god,” she whispered as her own passion jumped another notch. Gentle fingers ran through her hair as she lowered her mouth to her lover’s breast, sucking the nipple until it became hard and sensitive. Jordan whimpered and entwined her fingers in raven-black hair, holding Alex’s head in place as the pleasure shot up and down her body, eventually settling at her groin. Her hips began to move, grinding her sex into her lover but Alex smiled and gently extricated herself from the blonde’s hold. She slid further down, licking and kissing her way over hard abs and over that scar that told of a dark chapter in her lover’s life. She paused to look up at Jordan and saw that her head was tipped back slightly and her eyes were closed but very slowly, those eyes opened and Alex was met with a smoking green gaze.

“Alex, I love you.”

“And I love you,” the older woman replied. “Are you ready?”

“Please…” was all Jordan could say and her head fell back again as Alex nudged her thighs further apart and lifted her legs over her shoulders to rest along the length of her strong back. She trailed tiny kisses along her love’s inner thigh, stopping just short of where Jordan wanted her to be, before moving to the other leg. The younger woman groaned.

“Alex!” she cried as she raised herself up on her elbows to look disapprovingly down at her love. A deep chuckle floated up to her and she couldn’t hold herself up when Alex’s tongue began to trace her intimate folds. She fell back onto the bed with a long groan. “Oh dear God!” she cried out as the tongue slowly slid inside her.

She grasped a handful of raven-black hair but forced herself to relax as she heard a gasp of pain from her lover. “Sorry,” she giggled and received a broad grin as her partner looked up. Then Alex’s head lowered again and she began to stroke slowly and gently with her tongue, upwards first and then circling her love’s clitoris languidly. Jordan’s moans of pleasure increased with each stroke. Alex paused to wet a couple of fingers and, as she returned to her stroking, she slowly entered her lover, pushing easily in and then curling her fingers a little to find that spot inside that would drive her over the edge.

Jordan gasped and dug her nails into her lover’s shoulder. Her hips thrust upwards with every stroke and her moans became longer and louder as Alex picked up her pace. Jordan’s heels pressed into the dark-haired woman’s back as she tried to raise her hips even higher. Alex reached up with her free hand and began to massage her breast, barely touching the nipple but feeling it peak against her palm. Jordan reached down and pressed her hand over her lover’s forcing contact with the nipple and moaning loudly as incredible sensation streaked through her.

She could feel the pleasure building inside her and she thrust her hips harder and faster. Alex felt muscles clamping around her fingers and knew that Jordan was right on the edge of release. She took her clit directly into her mouth and sucked hard, thrusting her fingers mercilessly inside. That was it. Jordan’s body exploded into a million sensations all at once. Her hips rose high off the bed and a loud cry ripped from her as her release stormed over her.

“Ohhhhhhh GOD! ALEEXXXXX!!!!”

Her body shuddered and lurched but Alex was relentless, bringing her almost immediately to a second climax, pushing her as far as she could…

Eventually, the waves subsided and Jordan lay quietly, her breathing slowly returning to normal and her pounding heart slowing down to its regular rhythm. Alex had to admit that she was tired and she rested her head, using her young lover’s stomach as a pillow. Jordan immediately began running her fingers through her partner’s hair. They were both soaked with sweat; their bodies glistened in the weak light of the bedside lamp. Jordan smiled as she looked around the room. It was exactly what she had expected… sparsely furnished and crisply neat… except for the colour scheme. The walls were painted a soft peach with a peach and green stencilled border running around the middle of each wall. The carpet was pale green, to match the border and the curtains were peach and green with a touch of yellow.

“It’s not you,” the young woman pointed out.

“What?” Alex asked, raising her head slightly. Jordan pressed her head back down and chuckled.

“The room, Alex. It just doesn’t seem to have your personality.”

“That’s because I didn’t decorate it,” came the mumbled reply.

“Oh?” the blonde said. “Then who did?”

“Um… an old friend,” Alex said, suddenly not feeling very comfortable with the subject. She felt Jordan stiffen.

“You mean an old girlfriend,” the blonde agent replied in a low voice.

“Jordan, I…” Alex began but her partner shook her head.

“It doesn’t matter,” she replied. “It’s none of my business.”

She tried to slide out from under her partner but Alex held on to her.

“Jordan, wait,” she said. “It’s not what you think. It wasn’t an old girlfriend… well, not in the sexual sense. I shared this house with a woman I used to go to high school with. She was my best friend all through childhood.”

Jordan settled down and began stroking Alex’s hair again.

“Where is she now?” she asked softly.

The dark-haired woman sighed and rolled over, pulling her lover over to lie on her. Jordan snuggled into her chest and draped her arm over her ribcage.

“She died,” Alex replied, her voice barely above a whisper. “She was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and died six months later. She left us…me… the house in her will. I was the only family she had. That was almost seven years ago.”

“I’m so sorry,” Jordan whispered and placed a gentle kiss on her love’s chest as she traced tiny patterns on her stomach with her fingertips.

“Thank you,” Alex replied as she tightened her hold on her partner. It was always difficult for her to talk about Sam but somehow, having Jordan there made it a little bit easier.

“Alex?”

“Hmmm?”

“Who do you think tried to kill you. I thought it was that other agent you had a run in with but now… I don’t know. I just can’t rationally see him doing it, you know?”

The older woman nodded.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. Jordan, I…” she paused uncertainly and then took a deep breath. “I have some enemies… I…I… It might be… aww shit. I just don’t know.”

She got out of bed and walked to the window, leaning her palms against the frame and lowering her head. Jordan padded to her and wrapped her arms around her waist from behind, placing a delicate kiss on her shoulder.

“It’s going to be ok,” she said as she rubbed her cheek against her lover’s warm skin. “We’ll face it together.” Alex turned slowly and shook her head.

“You don’t understand. Jordan, I don’t want you getting involved in this. It’s something I have to work out on my own.” She looked down. “I’m good at that and it’s for the best,” she added bitterly.

She felt it before she saw it.

Sudden anger radiated from the smaller woman’s body. Jordan was furious. Her emerald green eyes were flashing and she released her partner, taking a step closer to square up to her.

“Don’t you say that, Alexandra Pierce! Don’t you dare say that to me! You are not alone and you should never be alone. I’m here and I’m NOT letting you take this on your shoulders!”

Alex felt her own anger rise and glared down at her partner.

“This is MY problem, Jordan!” she yelled. “Besides, if you knew the full story…” She shook her head.

“Tell me then!” Jordan yelled back.

“NO!”

“Tell me, Alex!”

“N… no… I… I can’t!”

“WHY? LOOK AT YOU! THE BIG, BAD AGENT! WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?”

Alex grabbed her lover by the arms and held her, ducking her head to look her in the eye.

“LOSING YOU!”

There was a stunned silence between them for a long moment. Then Alex released Jordan and turned back around to lean against the window again. When she spoke, her voice was so soft that Jordan had to strain to hear her. “I’m afraid that if you know exactly what I did, you’ll hate me and leave me.”

Jordan ducked under her partner’s outstretched arms and stood in front of her, leaning back against the window as she gazed up into her tear filled blue eyes. Her hands hovered for a moment and then captured the older woman’s face to tilt her head down.

“Alex,” she said softly. Alex’s eyes flitted around, unable to meet her lover’s gaze. “Alex, look at me… please…” Blue eyes slowly lowered and focused and a tear spilled over. Jordan brushed it away with her thumb, still holding the older woman’s face in place. “Do you have any idea how much I love you?” she asked. “Do you know that I’ve been waiting for you all my life? I’m twenty five years old and I feel as if my life only began two weeks ago. It began the day I met you in Tony’s office for the first time. Alex, I need to know if you feel the same way. We’re soulmates… I can feel it. Please tell me you feel it too.”

Tears were creeping down both women’s cheeks now.

“Jordan, I’ve never loved like this before. I do feel it. I think I’ve always known it was you, even before I met you. We’re destined to be together.” She leaned down and kissed her young lover gently and passionately. “I’ll tell you everything,” she finished. “But not now. In the morning. Right now… I need…”

Jordan held out her hand.

“Come back to bed, My Love,” she whispered. Alex nodded, accepted the hand and climbed back into bed.

“You’re so beautiful,” she whispered as she traced a line from Jordan’s eyebrow to her jaw with a fingertip.

“As are you,” came the husky reply. Hands roamed and Alex felt the heat rise in her body once again.

Hours later, two soulmates lay peacefully in slumber, their bodies and souls intertwined as one as the first rays of sunlight began to colour the inky, black sky.

Part VIII

Sergio Dittori frowned as he lowered his army issue field binoculars. He hadn’t been made aware of the fact that his target was no longer living alone. Then he snorted in disgust.

“Probably some whore she picked up in a bar,” he muttered as he finished the last bite of an oatmeal cookie and then washed it down with lukewarm orange juice. It was early… only six thirty… but both Pierce and the blonde woman were up. He raised the binoculars again, grinning as he realised that the two women were kissing just behind the thin curtain on the window. He felt a stirring in his groin as he focussed the view more clearly but was disappointed when both women disappeared. “Shit!” he murmured but then sighed and settled back in the seat, unfolding a paper and reading the headlines disinterestedly. He didn’t have long to wait. At seven, the door opened and the two women left the house. He watched carefully as the blonde said something and then Pierce tossed her the car keys, laughing lightly. Dittori’s eyes narrowed when the wind caught the blonde’s leather jacket as she leaned in to unlock the car door, revealing the holstered gun sitting comfortably at the small of her back. He smiled tightly.

“So,” he murmured. “She’s not just some easy pickup. Looks like you got yourself a new partner, Alex… in all senses of the word.”

**********

Jordan smiled as she glanced at her lover. She felt really at peace for the first time since Quantico. She had found her home. Alex looked happy too, although her forehead was furrowed a little, as if she were in deep thought.

“Dime for them,” The blonde agent said softly, not wanting to startle her hair triggered partner.

“Not worth that much,” came the reply along with a shrug.

“Ok,” Jordan replied, faking hurt. “I just hope you weren’t thinking about our wonderful night last night.” She sniffed and gazed out through the window but she couldn’t stop the grin from rising to her face when a gentle hand rested on her thigh and began stroking lightly. She placed her hand over the larger one, only breaking contact briefly to change gears.

“Believe me,” came a soft, husky voice very close to her ear. “I will NEVER forget last night. It was the most incredible night I’ve ever had.”

The sexy growl sent shivers down Jordan’s spine.

“Me too,” she replied as she received a quick kiss. They drove on for a while in comfortable silence but Alex noticed that her partner’s eyes kept straying to the rear view mirror.

“Jordan, what is it?” she asked as she adjusted her wing mirror to see behind them.

“I think we’re being followed,” the younger agent replied. “Black Honda, about three cars back.”

Alex frowned and then nodded.

“Let’s find out. Turn left here, go three blocks and then turn right.”

Jordan shifted gears and turned left, making sure to slow down a bit. When the car finished the turn, she checked and found that the Honda was coming around the corner.

“Still there,” she said.

“Keep going,” Alex replied as she drew her gun and made sure it was loaded properly.

Jordan looked at the gun in her partner’s hands.

“Alex?”

“Just being prepared,” the older woman growled, her eyes flashing. Jordan nodded and reached under her jacket for her own gun. She handed it to her partner.

“Will you check this for me, please?” she asked, briefly locking eyes with her and silently telling her that no matter what was going on, she was there for her.

“I promise I’ll tell you later,” Alex replied acknowledging the look for what it was. Jordan nodded once and made a right turn. They both waited with bated breaths and then both frowned as the Honda made the same turn. “Shit!” Alex exclaimed. “Ok, speed up, take a left and drop me off. Then take the next right and leave the car. Double back to meet me, ok?”

The younger woman nodded.

“Ok,” she replied and accelerated. The Honda fell a little behind as she took the next left. She jammed on the brakes and then watched as Alex jumped out of the car and ducked into an alley. Then she took off again, taking the next immediate right turn. She stopped, jumped out of the car and settled her gun in her right hand, feeling its comfortable weight and shape. Then she went to find her partner.

**********

Alex peeked her head around the corner and smiled grimly as the Honda made the turn. Jordan had been right. The car was almost to the entrance of the alley when she ran into view, stretching her gun in front of her and holding it with both hands.

“Federal Agent! Stop the car!” she yelled as the driver looked at her. The shock on his face nearly made her laugh. She didn’t laugh, however, when he pointed a revolver at her and pulled the trigger. Time slowed down as Alex reacted. She dove and rolled, feeling the air displacement as the bullet passed her ear. Then time returned to normal as she hit the ground, rolling immediately to her feet and ducking behind a trash can. He fired another three shots at her and then accelerated.

**********

Sergio Dittori saw his target rolling and ducking behind a trash can. He cursed under his breath and fired another three shots at her, hoping to at least wound her.

“Fuck!” he cried as he saw her head peek up and accelerated as he looked in the rear view mirror. Then, Sergio almost wet himself with shock as he looked back to the road. He slammed on the brakes as he saw a blonde woman standing in the middle of the road, her legs slightly parted, her leather jacket flapping gently in the breeze, her dark Raybans glinting in the sun and her gun aimed right between his eyes. “Jesus Fuckin’ Christ!”

**********

Jordan’s heart was pounding in her throat. The black Honda was speeding toward her but she stood her ground, her gun held securely in her two outstretched hands. She felt a trickle of sweat run down her back, even though the breeze was gently lifting her jacket. She was determined that she wasn’t going to let this bastard get away… not when Alex’s life maybe depended on the information he could provide. Jordan swallowed deeply with relief as the car screeched to a halt about three feet from her. She was moving a split second later.

“Federal Agent! Place your hands on the steering wheel where I can see them!”

**********

Sergio waited as the blonde agent slowly approached the car. She looks mad as Hell, he thought as she took every precaution during her approach.

“Ok, step out of the vehicle and raise your hands above your head,” she commanded. Her aim hadn’t wavered in the slightest and Dittori knew that she would be able to shoot him dead before he had even completely raised his revolver. He did the only thing he could.

**********

Jordan nodded as the driver of the Honda opened the door and stepped out into the street.

“Hands above your head,” she said again but scowled as he raised them to shoulder level. She took another step toward him.
“I said ABOVE!” she ordered. The driver once again complied. Jordan grabbed him and leaned him forward over the bonnet of the car. She kicked his legs apart and patted him down, finding that he was unarmed except for a Swiss Army knife. Then she pulled his arms down one by one and handcuffed him.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used as evidence in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?” There was no answer so Jordan grabbed him, spun him around and brought her face to within inches of his. “Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?” she repeated, this time in a growl.

“Yes,” he replied after a deep swallow and she let him go. Just then, Alex appeared. She reminded Jordan of a force of nature. She was radiating anger as she grabbed the man by the front of his shirt.

“You son-of-a-bitch!” she cried. “You just killed a child!”

Jordan’s eyes widened with shock. She could see that Alex was covered in blood and shaking hard. The blonde agent went to her, looking for signs of injury.

“Alex? Are you ok?” she asked worriedly.

“I’m fine. It’s not my blood. I tried to save her. This bastard killed her,” came the harsh reply. Alex picked Dittori up by the throat and slammed him down on his back onto the bonnet of the car. She was distraught and as much as Jordan wanted to comfort her, they had to keep things professional. Alex drew back her fist to punch the man and he winced in expectation but Jordan put her hand on the fist, gently lowering it.

“Alex, don’t,” she said softly. “You’ll get into trouble again and he’s not worth it.”

**********

Sergio Dittori saw the crazy F.B.I. Agent pull back her fist and winced, feeling the trickles of sweat running from his brow and down between his shoulder blades. He waited but nothing happened. He opened his eyes and saw that the blonde woman was holding Pierce’s fist and telling her he wasn’t worth it. He sighed with relief as the dark-haired woman lowered her arm but she didn’t release him. Instead, she pulled him back up closer to her and he felt, as well as saw, her ice-cold, blue eyes bore into him.

“You’d better hope you have a good attorney,” she growled. “Because I’m gonna nail your ass to the wall for this, you Bastard. That little girl died because you were taking pot shots at me. I oughta kill you where you stand…” She paused and for a heart stopping moment, Sergio thought she might still do it. “But no.” She raised a finger, her eyes wide and maniacal. His eyes glued to it. “That’d be too easy. I’m just gonna sit in that courtroom and cheer when you get life imprisonment for assault on a Federal Officer and murder of a little girl. I’m gonna laugh with glee every time I think about you getting ass-fucked by some big, hairy, tattooed biker! Enjoy Hell!” Just then, the police and paramedics arrived. Alex dropped the man and almost spat on him with contempt as she released him into the custody of the L.A.P.D. Then she ran back to the little girl and sat on the ground beside her. Jordan watched as tears ran from her lover’s eyes when the paramedics confirmed that the child was indeed dead and there was nothing they could do for her. Alex got up and walked away. Jordan let her go.

Part IX

Jordan was frantic with worry. She hadn’t seen Alex for the rest of the day and now it was almost eight thirty. The blonde agent had gone home that afternoon after writing her report on the morning’s events. She was badly shaken and once inside her house, she had collapsed onto her knees and cried her eyes out. After ten minutes of sobbing, she finally stood up shakily and went to shower and change. She closed her eyes and leaned her arms against the tiled wall, just letting the hot water run down her back. All she could see in her mind’s eye was Alex’s stricken face as she told the man that he had killed a child and all she wanted was to be in her arms. She sighed. But if Alex needed time and space, she’d give it to her gladly.

**********

Alex walked away. From the little girl’s body, from the police, even from Jordan but what she was really trying to get away from was her guilt. Another child dead because of me, she thought as she just walked. Finally, when she thought her heart was going to die, the anger rose. She ran to the beach, picked up a piece of driftwood and proceeded to beat the hell out of a ‘No Loitering’ sign. Her grunts turned into cries… her cries turned into screams and, finally, her screams turned into sobs that wracked her tall, thin frame as she fell to her knees. She lay on the sand on her back then and looked up at the sky. She knew what she needed. She needed Jordan.

**********

Jordan sat staring at a plate of microwave-cooked macaroni and cheese. It stared back at her and she slowly turned the plate to see if there was possibly any angle from which it would look at least edible.

“Who gives a shit,” she suddenly said, picked up the plate and flung it across the room. It hit the wall and slithered down, leaving a lovely macaroni and cheese mark on the new paint work. “Shit!” she said again and went to get a cloth to remove the mark before it did permanent damage. Just then, there was a knock on the door. Jordan threw the cloth halfway across the room and through the door to land in the kitchen sink. She tore across the living room and flung the door open. The sight that greeted her broke her heart. Alex was standing in the porch. Her hair was damp with sweat, her face was dirty and tear streaked and her eyes… Jordan blinked and looked again… her eyes looked dead.

“I’m dying inside,” Alex whispered. Tears rose in Jordan’s eyes and she opened her arms. Alex stepped into her but her exhaustion overcame her and she sank to her knees, pulling them both down. Jordan broke the fall and held her partner close, stroking her long, dark hair and whispering words of comfort and love to her.

“You have to tell me what’s happening, Alex,” she said after a long time. Dull blue eyes slowly moved to look at her.

“That child today. She reminded me of…” she stopped as her body began to tremble violently. She clutched at her lover and Jordan held her tightly.

“Reminded you of what, Alex? You can do it. Just say it.”

“My daughter. They killed my daughter,” she said huskily. Jordan’s eyes widened as a cold hand gripped her heart.

“Oh God, Alex. I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

An hour later, Jordan had managed to get her partner to shower and eat a slice of toast. Then she had led her to bed, holding her in a warm, comforting embrace.

“It was five years ago,” Alex began and Jordan held her tightly, trying to give her the strength to go through the painful time to come. “Nicki… my daughter… and I had just moved from North Dakota to L.A. At first she hadn’t wanted to come but when she got here she fell in love with sun, sea and sand. We lived in my house with Sam until she died.

Nicki was devastated. She had loved Sam like another mother. You see, I was only nineteen when I had her and Sam was a tower of strength during the pregnancy. It was her who finally made me realise that I was gay but anyway, things kinda fell apart. Nicki started acting weird and I put it down to Sam’s death. She didn’t want to go to school and cried every night when she came home but no matter how much I questioned her, she didn’t want to tell me anything. I knew she was scared.

Finally, the day of her seventh birthday, I came back early from an assignment and went to pick her up from school, you know, as a surprise. I pulled up outside the school and I saw…” Alex voice broke and she swallowed deeply. “I had been working on a huge operation. We were trying to nail a powerful cocaine dealer, Julio Davidos and I was one of the key agents working the case. When I pulled up at the school. I saw one of Davidos’ men holding my little girl by the arms and shaking her. I lost it and jumped out of the car, running at them with my gun drawn and screaming for him to let her go but he… he…” Tears streamed from her eyes and Jordan tightened her grip. “Tell me, Alex,” she whispered. “You have to tell me.”

“He shot her…” Alex whispered. “Twice in the head at close range. She didn’t have a chance.”

Then the older woman collapsed into sobs as five years of repressed emotion finally surfaced. Jordan cried with her, feeling her pain and grief as if it was her own. After a long time, Alex wiped her face.

“After that, things just went to shit. I didn’t care anymore. I was reckless and stupid and I drank a lot. I spent the following years leaping before looking. People thought I was brave… they gave me medals for acting beyond the call of duty and made me an S.A.C. but it wasn’t that I was brave, it was because I didn’t give a damn whether I lived or died. I had lost Nicki. I didn’t want to live anymore. The final straw came last year. After that operation failed and it was found that I was responsible, I knew I had to get a grip and change my outlook on life. I stopped drinking and got myself back on track… and then I met you and my life was suddenly filled with love again.” Alex looked up and Jordan was relieved to find that her eyes had lost their dull appearance and now shone brightly in the light from her reading lamp. “Thank you, Jordan.”

“For what?” the younger woman asked softly.

“For loving an old, washed up has-been who used to have some good sense.”

Jordan shook her head and leaned in to kiss her lover gently on the lips.

“Don’t say that, Alex,” she said. “You’re not a has-been and I know for a fact that you still have good sense. You listened to me today and didn’t beat that guy into a pulp.” She paused thoughtfully. “You must have been so lonely… I mean… after Sam and Nicki died.”

“Yeah,” Alex sighed as she felt herself get her emotions more under control. “It was tough coming home alone to a house full of memories. Now I have you to make more memories with.”

Jordan grinned and tickled her partner, making her squirm indignantly. Alex retaliated and they rolled in the bed, squealing now and again as one or other of them found a very ticklish spot. Finally, they just wrapped themselves around each other and made love late into the night. As Jordan and Alex climaxed together, they felt their souls touch and knew that they would be together forever.

Part X

Alex is in a great mood, Jordan thought as she watched her partner. The older woman was driving, beating her hand against the steering wheel and singing along with a ‘Guns ‘N’ Roses’ song on the radio that made Jordan’s head hurt.

“Alex,” she protested. “Can we please have some decent music?”

The older woman feigned shock.

“What do you mean decent music?” she demanded with a raised eyebrow. “Are you saying that Guns ‘N’ Roses isn’t decent music?”

“Let’s just say I was never a fan,” the blonde agent replied diplomatically and Alex laughed.

“You’re probably too young to remember them anyway,” she pointed out. Jordan frowned as she thought about that. “More of a Britney Spears kinda gal, huh?” Alex teased.

“Ha ha,” the younger woman replied flatly. “No, I’m only six years younger than you, Alex. I’m twenty-five and you’re…
thirty-one, right?”

“Right,” the dark-haired agent confirmed.

“I remember them alright but I WAS too young to go to any of their concerts. Besides, I was never a rocker. I always preferred dance music.”

Alex smiled and they drove on together in companionable silence.

“Hey,” Jordan said softly after a few moments. She smiled as Alex glanced at her. “I love you.”

“Love you too,” the dark-haired agent replied, a broad grin lighting her face.

“Feeling better?”

“I haven’t felt this light since before Nicki died. Thanks for last night.”

“You’re welcome.”

**********

A.D Quaid paced slowly around his office, waving a report now and again.

“His name is Sergio Dittori. He’s a small time gangster who can’t even afford to pay for his hits. He does them himself… hence the incident yesterday.” He paused to look at Alex, who was scratching her cheek thoughtfully. “We questioned him for a long time yesterday and eventually he cracked. He told us that he was looking for revenge against the agent who sent his brother-in-law down.” Alex eyes snapped up to look at him and he nodded. “Does the name Julio Davidos mean anything to you, Pierce?”

Alex stood suddenly, her body rigid and angry.

“I know who he is,” she replied coldly. “This Dittori, does he work for Davidos?”

“No,” Quaid replied. “Although he probably has some interest in the family business now that Davidos is behind bars. You put him there, didn’t you, Alex?”

“Yes,” came the terse reply and Alex looked down as a gentle hand stroked her back in small circles. Tony noticed but said nothing. She looked at Jordan and received a caring smile.

“Why don’t you sit down, Alex,” the younger woman suggested. The light and love in her eyes melted Alex’s heart and made her want to make love to her right there on the A.D.’s desk but she just nodded and seated herself back in her chair.

“What’s going to happen, Sir?” she asked.

“He’s been charged with attempted murder of a Federal Agent and for second degree murder. Judging by the number of witnesses there were, he’s going down for life.”

“Good,” Alex nodded slowly.

Quaid stood up and indicated towards the door.

“Well, that’s it, Ladies. If I hear anything more, I’ll let you know.”

Alex and Jordan got up and walked to the door but Tony waved at his niece.

“Jordan, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure,” the young woman replied. “I’ll see you downstairs,” she told Alex. Her partner nodded and headed down the corridor to the elevators. Jordan took a seat opposite Tony at his desk. “What’s up?” she asked.

“I was going to ask you the same question,” the man replied.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jordan replied.

“Jordan, what are you doing? She’s dangerous. You shouldn’t be getting involved…”

Jordan was on her feet instantly, her eyes flashing with anger. She leaned forward on the desk and spoke slowly and concisely.

“She is NOT dangerous. She’s hurting… worse than you’ll ever know. That Davidos guy had her daughter murdered. She lost it for a while… that’s why she got the reputation for being dangerous but now, she’s found herself again.” She paused and took a deep breath, trying to calm down. She walked to the window and then turned back to look at her uncle. “I love her, Tony,” she said simply. “Everything I am tells me that we’re meant to be together.”

The man slowly stood and walked to his niece.

“Does she feel the same way?” he asked.

“Yes, she does. We’re soulmates. We can both feel it.”

Quaid pulled Jordan into his arms and hugged her.

“Then I’m very happy for you both,” he chuckled.

Part XI

Jordan’s eyes narrowed with desire as she exited the F.B.I. building. She took in the stunning view that was her lover and a wave of need moved slowly through her. Alex was sitting in the corner of a white bench with her legs crossed. She had removed her jacket and was leaning one elbow on the back on the seat as she absently ran her fingers through her raven-black hair. Her full lips were slightly pursed and every now and again, the tip of her tongue peeked out to moisten them. Jordan eyes rested on the muscles that were visible through the sleeve of her partner’s light cotton shirt and then moved to her breasts which were straining slightly against the tightness of the blouse and the way she was sitting. An idea came into the blonde agent’s mind and she was suddenly right beside her lover on the bench. Alex jumped with fright and her hand moved instinctively to her shoulder holster.

“Don’t do that!” she scolded but Jordan grabbed her jacket and took her hand. “Jordan, what… where… ?”

“I want you and I’m going to take you right now,” the young woman growled.

“But…” Alex began to protest but Jordan stopped and looked into her eyes. The desire there was plainly visible and the older woman just grinned and allowed herself to be dragged along. Ten minutes later, they were confiscating a lifeguard tower on the beach, using surveillance as an excuse. The lifeguard looked at their ID badges, shrugged and then went to patrol his stretch, his red buoy swinging happily in his hand. Jordan raised a questioning eyebrow at her partner.

“You are good,” Alex growled, despite her better judgement. Then she laughed as she was suddenly knocked over by a laughing, blonde agent.

“Of course I am. That’s why you love me,” Jordan grinned from her position on top of her partner.

“No,” Alex disagreed. “I love you because you’re kind, smart, loving and beautiful… but this is definitely an endearing trait.”

“God, I love you,” Jordan whispered as she lowered herself onto her lover’s long, strong body.

“I love you too,” Alex replied as she wrapped the smaller woman in her arms and kissed her neck. An hour later, two very happy and dishevelled agents emerged from the lifeguard tower. The lifeguard spotted them and ran back to meet them.

“So,” he said. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

Jordan and Alex exchanged glances.

“Yes, thanks,” Jordan replied with a quirky grin. “I found EXACTLY what I was looking for.” She looked at her partner again and was surprised to see a delicate blush creep into her cheeks. She chuckled lightly. “We should be going, Agent Pierce.” They walked back to their car and once inside, collapsed into helpless laughter. Jordan shook her head. “Your place or mine?” she asked. When she didn’t receive an answer, she looked over at Alex to find a strange look on her face. “What is it?” Jordan asked, worriedly.

“It… it was just the way you… you said ‘your place or mine’ as if you just expected that we’d be going home together.”

The younger woman felt her stomach knot up with sudden fear. She turned slightly in her seat to face her lover.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I did assume that we’d be… I mean… I guess I have no right to… we only know each other a few weeks…” She shrugged and waited for her partner to say something. Alex was quick to jump in.

“No… that’s not what I meant… I… shit… I’m always messing up when I try to say how I feel.” She took a deep breath. “Jordan,
I love that you just assumed that. I want to spend EVERY night with you in my arms.”

“I want to spend them with you too.” Jordan whispered and hugged her partner close. The lifeguard watched them from his tower and scratched his head in confusion.

“Boy,” he muttered. “F.B.I. Agents seem to be very close.”

He shrugged, hung his can up on the hook above him and leaned back in his high chair to ogle the three-quarters-naked girls lying on their multicoloured beach towels. What was going through his mind was echoed in the minds of two soulmates as they shared a kiss.

Yep, life is good.

**********

Jordan grinned into her pillow. She was trying not to wake up but since Alex was trailing little kisses up and down her naked back, she didn’t have much choice.

“Jordan?” Alex said in a singsong voice. Jordan didn’t move. “Joooorrrrddddaaaaaaannn”

Alex straddled her lover’s hips and ran her fingers along her ribcage, making her squirm. Jordan sighed and closed her eyes as she felt her partner’s warm wetness against her back.

“You’re doing this on purpose,” she complained as she raised her head.

“Doing what on purpose?” the dark-haired woman asked as she nibbled her way across her partner’s shoulder.

“This… this seduction tactic that you’re so fond of. Alex, I’m really tired. We only got two hours sleep last night, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” Alex purred in her ear. “And I remember exactly what we were doing for the other six.”

“So do I,” Jordan giggled as a warm tongue traced her ear. “Alright, My Warrior. You win!” Jordan suddenly felt her partner pull back.

“What did you call me?” she asked in shock. The blonde agent flipped over to face her love.

“Alex, I was kidding… I…”

“No, what did you call me?” Alex pressed needing to hear it again.

“My… my Warrior.”

The older woman leaned in and looked deeply into her lover’s emerald green eyes.

“Gabrielle?” she said softly. She saw Jordan stiffen as she heard the name her dreams had repeated all her life. Flashes of memory hit the blonde woman and she shook her head, pressing her hand to her temple.

“Xena?” she said confusedly but the pictures stopped just as suddenly. “Whoa! What was that?”

“I… I… don’t know,” Alex replied, her face twisting into a scowl. “I saw someone… a blonde woman. She looked exactly like you except… except she was… dammit, I’m losing it. I can’t remember now.”

Jordan frowned with concentration.

“I saw you too. You were dressed in leather and you had armour and weapons… a… a… sword and another weapon… hooked at your hip… round metal… um…” She looked up at clear blue eyes. “You were a warrior, Alex and your name was Xena.”

Alex suddenly got another flash and she grinned widely.

“You were a storyteller… a bard… and your name was Gabrielle…” Then she frowned. “We weren’t…”

Jordan nodded.

“I felt that too. We were soulmates but we were never lovers,” she replied.

Alex disagreed.

“No, we may not have been lovers in a physical sense but Xena and Gabrielle were in love with each other. I can feel it. It was unbelievably strong… like you and I.”

“Like you and I.” Jordan nodded and was enfolded into strong, warm arms. They stayed in bed late that morning, reaffirming their love and devotion, while they relived memories from an ancient time. It was incredible for them both.

Part XII

“I love the weekend,” Jordan sighed as she leaned against her lover. They were strolling along Santa Monica pier hand in hand.

“I haven’t really distinguished it from the other weekdays in a long time. When Nicki was small, we used to go to the beach to play ball or to the park for a picnic…” Alex trailed off as the memories returned and then shrugged back to reality. “But after she died, I just worked and drank. That was all that was in my life for four years.”

“It must have been so awful,” Jordan replied softly, squeezing her partner’s hand.

Alex’s eyes glazed over and she stared out over the ocean.

“Things happen, Jordan,” she said softly. “I may have lost Nicki but I’m grateful for the time I had with her. She was such a beautiful and happy little girl. I don’t know why it happened… no one does… but you just have to keep telling yourself that everything happens for a reason.”

“I wish I could have met her,” Jordan sighed.

“You would have loved her… and she would have loved you. I know it.”

They ate a light lunch at a tiny, open-air restaurant overlooking the beach and then discussed their thoughts on the murder enquiry, spreading reports and photographs out on the table.

“Do you think it’s the same guy?” Jordan asked as her partner sifted through the photographs. Alex examined them carefully.

“I don’t know. I can definitely see similarities but…” She looked through them again. “I don’t see any of the crispness at the murder scene that was present at the others.

“Crispness?” the blonde agent repeated, looking over the top of her sunglasses. Alex chuckled.

“You look cute when you do that… um… yes, crispness. We called this guy the Monk because he left everything meticulously in order. There was never as much as a hair out of place.” She picked up a photograph and pointed at it. “See that sock lying on the floor. That probably fell out of the laundry hamper. The Monk would have picked it up.”

Jordan frowned thoughtfully.

“Maybe he was in a hurry,” she suggested. “Maybe he didn’t have time to pick it up.”

The older agent shook her head.

“Unlikely. Considering the guy next door claimed to have not even heard the shots… No, the neighbours wouldn’t have wanted to get involved and even if they’d called the Police, which they didn’t, he still would have had plenty of time to clean up and leave before they arrived. No, this is a different killer.”

“What about the victim?” Jordan asked as she sipped at a Diet Coke. She saw Alex staring at her and shook her head. “Focus, Agent Pierce.”

Alex grinned.

“I was just thinking about that lifeguard tower. You know, technically, we’re off-duty.”

“No, don’t go there, Alex, please,” Jordan replied. “We need to get some work done today.”

The dark-haired woman nodded and then sighed heavily.

“Right, the victim.” She pulled out another portfolio and leafed through the pages until she came to what she was looking for. “Nothing out of the ordinary. The guys name was Jack Butler. Aged forty-six. Six foot two inches, two hundred and forty pounds. Yada, yada, yada… oh wait!” Jordan waited patiently as Alex read through the report. “This is interesting,” she finally said.

“What is it?” the younger agent replied.

“It says here that Butler was arrested in ninety-six for possession of six kilos of cocaine.”

“And?”

“And, he was linked to Julio Davidos. It was never proven and he was released after a year. His record is clean then, up to the time of his murder.” Alex leaned back in her chair as she stared out over the sea again, steepling her fingers in front of her face. “Jordan, that guy who was murdered in Hollywood yesterday? What was his name?”

“Um… Sands, Freddie Sands,” the younger woman replied. “He was shot at close range, almost like a revenge killing.”

“Sands,” Alex repeated. “I think there’s a pattern here. There was a Freddie Sands working for Davidos when I was working his case five years ago. I think someone is going around executing the men who worked for Davidos.”

“It’s not a serial killer at all,” Jordan went on, her eyes wide with admiration for her partner. “It’s just someone making it look like the Monk. Alex, you are a genius!”

The older agent blushed slightly and grinned.

“Nah, I just know my scumbags,” she replied with a wink. She looked away but she suddenly stiffened and leaned forward in her seat. “I don’t believe it!” she growled. “Come on!” She was up off her seat and sprinting down the pier before Jordan could even respond. The younger agent tossed some money on the table, stuffed the reports and photos back in her briefcase and took off after her partner. Alex loped down the pier like a panther. She could still see him, even though he was doing his best to keep low.

“Dusty, Dusty, Dusty,” she muttered. “Will you ever learn not to run?”

Alex slowed as she reached the end of the pier and cursed under her breath. There was no sign of the kid. She was about to turn to walk away when she spotted ten fingers hanging on to the edge of the pier. The agent smiled grimly and walked to the edge. She leaned on the guard rail and slowly looked down.

“Having a nice day, Dusty?” she asked casually. “Sun’s nice, huh?”

There was silence for a minute but then a voice floated up to her.

“That’s real funny, Pierce. You gonna help me up or what?”

“Nope. You got yourself down there, you can get yourself back up. I’m an F.B I. Agent, not a forklift truck.”

“Again, real funny, Pierce. Where’d you get your sense of humour? Dorks-R-Us?”

Alex chuckled at the cheap shot. She looked down again.

“How you been, Dusty? I haven’t seen you in a while. You keeping out of trouble?”

“Uh… Pierce?”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve got a bag here. I can’t get it up.”

“Figures,” the agent replied with an exasperated eye roll. “I’ll bet you say that to all the girls. Here, give me your hand.” She reached over the rail and dragged the young man up onto the pier just as Jordan arrived.

“Hey, Speedy Gonzales. Give me a bit of warning before you take off like that again!”

Alex winced.

“Yeah, sorry about that. Agent West, meet Dusty, my eye in the sky.”

“Eye in the sky?” Jordan repeated, arching an eyebrow at her partner and running a hand through her short, blonde hair.

“Yeah. I called him that because he used to keep an eye on the drug scene for me. Dusty was a messenger for the dealers around the area. I was always hoping to get in on one of Davidos’ deals. Didn’t happen though, right Dusty?”

The young man nodded as he eyed Jordan up, his eyes lingering on her legs and then her chest. Alex wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“Come with me while I explain to you that it’s not nice to stare at a pretty lady like that. It’s called ogling.”

Alex led him away and Jordan almost collapsed into laughter when Dusty received a clip around the ear for his trouble. The dark-haired woman stopped a short distance away and began to talk to the young man seriously. He nodded every now and again and then glanced at Jordan. He then said something to Alex and the agent nodded quickly. After a few more minutes of conversation, Alex handed Dusty her business card, patted him gently on the cheek and jerked her head. He immediately took off.

“What was all that about?” the blonde agent asked as she followed her partner back along the pier.

“I was worried about him,” Alex admitted. “He got a raw deal when the Davidos bust went down. I heard he was beaten pretty badly, poor kid.”

“How old is he?” Jordan asked as she looked back in the direction he’d gone.

“Right now, I’d guess he’s about sixteen,” the older woman replied sadly. “He was just a kid. Those guys were using him.”

“Jesus,” Jordan said softly. “Poor kid.”

“Yeah. I asked him to do me a favour. He’s still pretty well in on what’s going on so I asked him to try to find out if there’s a hit out on Davidos’ men.”

“Isn’t that dangerous for him?” the blonde woman asked with a worried frown.

“He knows what he’s doing. He’ll be fine. So what do we do now?”

Jordan smiled impishly.

“Why don’t we go for a drive and find a secluded spot somewhere so I can show you exactly how much of a genius I think you are?”

“I think that’s a great idea,” Alex replied throatily. “Race you to the car!”

She took off running again and Jordan rolled her eyes as she hefted her bag.

“Hey! I said give me some warning!”

Part XIII

“How about you let me cook for you tonight?” Jordan asked as she traced tiny circles on her partner’s stomach. Alex squirmed a bit at the tickling sensation and pulled the younger woman tighter against her.

“Well, I suppose it can’t be any worse than my cooking,” she deadpanned and then laughed as Jordan scowled.

“I’ll have you know, Agent Pierce, that my lasagne is well known for being the best in the United States of America!” she exaggerated.

“I’ll look forward it to it then,” Alex replied with a grin and then stood, dusting down her trousers and straightening her shirt. She fastened the three buttons that Jordan had undone to slip her hand inside, locked fingers with her soulmate and walked back to the car. Alex drove while Jordan went back over the reports, sharing titbits of information with her partner every now and again. The older woman nodded as she processed the information and made a few suggestions.

“We have the names of Davidos’ men on file. Most of them are in prison, so it should be easy enough to find the others. Let’s get started first thing in the morning but, right now, we should call the bureau and get them to start on it.”

Jordan nodded and pulled out her cell phone. She spoke to A.D Quaid and he arranged for the men to be found and put under surveillance. Then silence fell as the two agents thought about the case.

“Do you need to pick up some groceries?” Alex asked as they came to the mall.

“Yeah,” Jordan replied after brief thought. The older woman dropped her off and waited with the car. Jordan was only gone a few minutes but she returned with two bag loads of groceries. Alex raised an eyebrow at her. “There’s nothing in the house,” the blonde admitted with a sheepish grin as she put the bags on the back seat of the car. The older woman chuckled. “Hey,” Jordan went on. “I’m a single gal, living alone. What do you expect?” There was silence for a moment and then Alex smiled.

“Maybe we should change that,” she said softly.

“What do you mean?” the blonde agent replied in surprise.

“Jordan, move in with me.”

“What?”

“Move in with me. Would you like to? I mean, it’s your choice…”

Alex didn’t need to say anymore. Jordan was suddenly straddling her hips and kissing her deeply. When they finally broke apart, Alex laughed.

“I take it that’s a yes,” she teased.

“Oh that is definitely a yes!” the younger woman exclaimed. “Thank you, Alex.”

The dark agent hugged her close.

“No, thank YOU,” she replied.

**********

“Want some more?”

Alex blew out a long breath and leaned back in her chair.

“That,” she said with a broad smile, “was amazing! You weren’t kidding when you said you made the best lasagne in the US, however, I’m stuffed, so no thanks.”

Jordan grinned and chucked a thumb toward the kitchen door.

“There’s a bottle of red in the kitchen if you want some.”

“I’d better not,” Alex said softly.

“You’re right, you have to drive,” Jordan replied, her smile dropping and her eyes lowering. Alex stood up and moved to crouch beside her.

“Hey,” she said softly as she tilted the younger woman’s face down to her. “Why the long face, huh?”

“You’re going home tonight,” the blonde agent replied as she reached out to caress her lover’s cheek. Alex chuckled.

“Is that all? Come on, Jordan. You don’t think I was actually going to go and leave you to sleep all alone, do you? Who would keep you warm? Or do you have some other woman hidden in the closet to look after you?”

Jordan giggled and shook her head. Then she winked.

“Oh no! I’ve only room for one person in my… closet… and that’s you.”

The older woman laughed and offered a sexily raised eyebrow.

“Closets, huh? Kinky!”

When Jordan rolled her eyes and grinned, Alex stood up.

“If you’re finished, pack an overnight bag and let’s get moving. I have a nice, soft, king size bed at home with our names on it!” She looked at the clock. “And you know, it’s almost bed time.”

“Alex?”

“Hmmm?”

“It’s eight-thirty.”

“I know, so why don’t we bring some of your stuff over to mine now? Start the ball rolling, so to speak?”

Jordan hugged her lover close.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked.

“Sure about what?”

“About me moving in?”

“Of course I’m sure! Jesus, Jordan, nothing would make me happier!”

And Alex wasn’t lying. For the first time in years, she felt as if maybe she had some hope of a happy life with the woman she loved.

**********

“Jordan?”

“Hmmm?”

“You still awake?”

“Nope.”

“Can we talk?”

“I’m awake. What’s up?”

Jordan forced her eyes open and kissed Alex’s chest before tightening her grip on her ribcage.

“I was just thinking about those guys who worked for Davidos.”

“Yeah?”

“It was a man like them who killed Nicki.”

“Go on.”

“I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for them.”

The young agent nodded.

“I can understand that. Alex, have you thought about maybe asking to be taken off this case?” Jordan felt her pillow stiffen and began gently stroking her stomach. “Take it easy,” she went on. “It’s something you should think about. I don’t want you any more upset than you already are.” She heard and felt a whoosh of air as Alex breathed out and relaxed.

“I guess you’re right,” she replied. “I don’t think I can just forget about this case though. Jordan, there’s something I’ve been thinking about and you’re not going to like it.”

“What is it?” the younger woman asked, sudden fear knotting her stomach.

“If the killer is taking out anyone related to Davidos, well…” She paused to gather her courage. “I could be on the list.”

Jordan’s head shot up to look her partner in the eye.

“Alex, what are you talking about?”

The older woman sat up and pulled the sheets up over her chest, needing to feel a little less exposed.

“Um… I wasn’t exactly truthful with you… no, I was but I left out something… that I should have told you but… couldn’t.”

Jordan nodded and once again, her stomach knotted.

“Tell me.”

“I was undercover and trying to get close to Davidos. I was trying to find out about his deals and I had to gain his trust so I… um… well, we kinda…”

The younger woman’s eyes closed and she shook her head.

“You broke the first rule of undercover work, didn’t you? You got involved with him… sexually.” She shook her head again. “That’s why he had Nicki killed. It was payback for betraying him. Oh, Alex.”

There was silence between them for a long time as Jordan fought to come to terms with what Alex had told her.

“Does this change the way you feel about me?” the older woman finally asked, her voice husky and low. Jordan sighed.

“Just tell me one thing.”

“Anything.”

“Would it make you feel any differently if it had been me?”

Alex shook her head.

“No, I love you,” she answered from her heart, knowing it to be the truth. Jordan smiled then.

“Well, then you have your answer. I love you, Alex and, I told you before, I don’t care about what you did in your past. It’s what happens from here on out that makes a difference to me.”

The dark agent slid down in the bed and pulled her lover over to lie on top of her.

“Let’s get some sleep,” she whispered. “We can talk more in the morning. I love you more than anything, Jordan.”

“I love you too, Honey,” the young blonde replied as she kissed the hollow between Alex’s neck and shoulder. Alex’s grip tightened and they fell asleep together in a loving embrace.

Part XIV

“Shit!”

Jordan shook her head in exasperation.

“What? What is it?” Alex asked as she looked over her partner’s shoulder. The blonde agent waved the report she was holding and then flung it down on her desk.

“The boys in blue have dubbed Jack Butler’s death a serial killing. Assholes!” She leaned her hands on the desk and shook her head again.

“Calm down, Agent West,” Alex replied. She sat on the corner of the desk and shot her partner a dazzling smile which Jordan found to be contagious. “We have jurisdiction on this case because it’s been dubbed a serial killing so it don’t make no difference!”

Just then, Alex’s cell phone rang. She flipped it open and made herself comfortable on Jordan’s desk.

“Pierce… Oh, hey, Kid… Yeah… Ok… Yeah, I’ve heard of her… She is? Great… Yeah, just tell me where and I’ll be there… Fifty bucks? You’re killing me, Kid! Alright, fifty bucks… Seeya… Be careful.”

Once she had hung up, Alex looked far away. She chewed absently on the covered aerial of her phone until Jordan placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“I take it that was Dusty,” she said.

“Yeah, it was. He had some interesting information. Gave me a contact and said he’d organise a meeting.”

“When?”

“Tonight. He said he’d call back with the details. Jordan, you ever heard of Stephanie Johnson?”

The blonde agent frowned as she tried to place the name.

“I think so. Isn’t she that professional killer that the Bureau’s been trying to track down? Wait, is she the one killing Davidos’ men?”

Alex shook her head and smiled sheepishly.

“Um… no… she’s not the killer… but she IS my friend and she owes me a favour for keeping her out of jail.”

Jordan’s eyes widened with shock.

“You’re kidding me! You know where she is and you haven’t told anyone?”

“No, I don’t know where she is… exactly… but no, I haven’t told anyone that I know her either. We were in high school together. She was my friend.”

“Ok,” Jordan sighed. “I’m sworn to secrecy. Does she have information for you regarding the killings?”

“I hope so,” Alex replied. “Otherwise, I’ll have blown fifty bucks for nothing!”

**********

Jordan and Alex waited for Dusty to call back, but in the meantime, they went to check up on the other men who were in danger and under protection. One of them greeted Alex in Spanish as she entered the room.

“Hola, Signorita Maria.”

“Hola, Manuel.” she replied. “But my name’s not Maria. You know that.”

“Yeah, but I prefer to remember you before you pulled that shit on us,” he replied. “I trusted you, Pierce.”

The dark agent shook her head.

“I was doing my job, Manuel.”

“You killed my best friend!” Manuel exclaimed as he stood angrily. Alex was on her feet just as quickly and she grabbed him by the front of his jacket.

“And your fucking best friend killed my daughter so don’t you try to make me feel guilty, you son of a bitch!”

Jordan was almost scared of Alex at that moment. Her partner was white with rage and she was shaking violently. Her piercing blue eyes were ethereal in the light from the window, giving her an almost inhuman look.

“Alex!” she said, placing her hand firmly on her partner’s chest and pushing her back. “Let him go. Now!”

The dark agent looked at her and then looked back at Manuel with disdain before dropping him and walking to the corner of the room. She leaned one hand against the wall and the other on her hip as she ducked her head and fought for control over her anger. Jordan left her alone while she sat down and pulled out her notebook.

“Alright, Mister…” She looked at the report on the table in front of her for his name. “Garcia.” She looked at him and he nodded slightly. “I have some questions for you.”

Alex watched from her place in the corner. She was now leaning back with her arms folded across her chest and her legs crossed at her ankles. Every now and again, Jordan would smile over at her and she’d just scowl back. Jordan knew she was in a bad mood and didn’t really blame her. She had only just met this man and she already held a healthy dislike for him. She was almost finished questioning Garcia when Alex’s cell phone rang and she left the room to answer it. Only a minute later, she ducked her head in the door and beckoned to her partner. Jordan, closed her report, thanked Manuel Garcia and hurried out of the interrogation room.

“We’ve to meet Stephanie at a bar in the Valley so we’d better leave now,” Alex explained. “We can grab some dinner on the way. Sound ok?”

Jordan nodded and followed her partner out to her jeep.

“You doing ok?” she asked softly, once they were on the road.

“Yeah,” the dark agent replied. “I’m sorry about what happened back there. I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that.” Jordan reached over and rested her hand on Alex’s hand which was sitting on the gear stick. The older woman moved her hand slightly to grasp her partner’s fingers, silently taking strength from her presence.

“This is very hard on you, isn’t it?”

“It hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park,” Alex admitted. “But I can handle it…” She smiled at her partner. “As long as you’re here with me.”

“I’ll always be here,” Jordan replied, returning the smile.

*******

After a quick dinner at McDonalds, Agents West and Pierce pulled into the parking lot of a small, but brightly lit bar. To Jordan’s surprise, Alex checked her gun to make sure it was loaded.

“Are you expecting trouble?” she asked as she checked her own gun and then slid it back into the holster at the small of her back.

“Not expecting it, but I like to be prepared for it,” the dark woman replied as she fastened her shoulder holster. Then she opened the door and slid out of the car. Jordan joined her in front of the jeep and took her hand, squeezing it gently.

“Let’s go in as friends rather than agents. We’ll attract less attention that way,” she said. Alex nodded her agreement and locked their fingers together as she led her partner across the parking lot and into the garish interior of the bar. The first things that hit them, as they swung the door open, were the loud music and the smell of stale beer.

“How are we gonna find her with all these people?” Jordan yelled.

“Don’t worry, she’ll find us!” Alex yelled back. Then she pulled out a chair at an empty table and indicated for Jordan to sit down. She laughed when she saw the younger woman’s eyes widen as a topless waitress rollerbladed by. “Not a bad view, huh?” Alex chuckled.

“Not bad at all,” Jordan replied, although I’d much rather it was you rollerblading to me with a drink. You have much nicer breasts than any of these women!” She chuckled as she saw the blush creep up her lover’s face. “I’ll have a beer,” she said sweetly and watched as her partner made her way through the crowds to the bar. Jordan scanned the room, her eyes unconsciously watching for trouble and she winced when a man flew across a table and practically landed on his head. She chuckled and then stood up suddenly, jumping out of the way as another man crashed down onto her chair, breaking it into a hundred pieces.

“Hey!” she cried as she ducked an errant fist and then pushed a man back as he tried to grab her. Within a few seconds, there was a brawl going on around her and she shook her head, looking for a quick escape route. She spotted a gap and headed for it, leaping over a table and diving as she saw it narrowing. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it and another man caught her mid-flight, swinging her around and then slamming her into a tabletop on her back.

“Fuck!” she yelled as the pain travelled all the way to her neck. “Son of a bitch!” She was sure that she would have a gun imprint in her back for the next few days, so hard had she hit the table. Jordan suddenly saw a chair heading for her head so she rolled and hit the floor on her hands and knees. She stood up painfully and saw Alex engaged in a fist fight with a man who was shorter than her, but about twice her weight. The tall agent was dodging blows easily and landing a couple of good ones and Jordan winced as she saw her partner’s foot connect soundly with his groin. He doubled over and then dropped to his knees, clutching his injured manhood.

Alex shrugged and then grinned at her partner. Jordan smiled, knowing that her lover was in her element but she ducked again as a beer bottle threatened to connect soundly with her head. All around her men and women pummelled each other and now and again, Jordan spun and took a couple out with a spinning heel kick or a roundhouse. Suddenly, she saw Alex waving at her. She was with a small, blonde woman. She pointed at the back door and held up her hand, indicating for Jordan to meet her around back in five minutes. The blonde agent give her partner a thumbs up and then made her way to the jukebox before pulling the plug and drawing her gun. She fired a shot into the air and all at once, everyone froze and just stared at her.

“Federal Agent!” She held up her badge. “Everyone sit the fuck down! NOW!”

Within seconds, every man and woman was sitting on the floor, on half broken chairs or scratched tables and Jordan nodded in approval. “That’s much better. Now stay there and don’t move.”

Part XV

“It’s been a while, Alex,” Stephanie said as she sat on the low wall near where Alex had parked he jeep. The dark agent nodded.

“Too long, Steph,” she replied. “I miss you.”

The blonde woman sighed and ran a hand through her shoulder length, curly hair. She was very attractive and was about the same age as Alex. She had a no-nonsense air about her and was a natural leader, radiating confidence and authority.

“I miss you too, Hon. Pity our lives turned out the way they did. I heard about Nicki. I’m so sorry, Alex.”

The dark-haired agent looked down.

“Thanks, did you hear about Sam too?”

Steph nodded and scuffed the ground with the toe of her boot.

“I was at the funeral but I had to stay in the background. I’m sorry I couldn’t…”

She waved generally and Alex nodded.

“I’d glad you were there.”

They locked eyes and then both moved to hug each other at the same time.

“I really did miss you,” Alex whispered. “I was lost for a long time.”

“So was I, but thanks to you, I’m doing better. I’m completely out of the game now.” She looked down sadly. “All I have to do is elude the F.B.I. for the rest of my life.” She chuckled. “Where’s that partner of yours?”

Alex grinned at the mention of her love and then blushed.

“She’ll be here. She’s cleaning up inside.”

Steph placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder and leaned in close.

“I do believe that my dear friend, Alex the Ice Queen, is in love!” She laughed delightedly at the dark woman’s scowl.

“I wouldn’t ever call her an Ice Queen,” came a silky voice. Both women turned to find Jordan standing with her hands perched on her hips and a smile on her face but, when she locked eyes with Steph, she had a flash of memory that made her unsteady on her feet.

“I… I know you,” she said, trying to clear her mind. Steph nodded.

“I was wondering if you’d recognise me, My Queen.”

“Ephiny?”

“About two thousand years ago, yes, I was her and you were Gabrielle, Queen of my Amazon tribe. I’ve known Alex here all my life but she didn’t remember me. I remember her though.” She smiled. “I mean, who could forget the Warrior Princess?”

Alex chuckled.

“Me, obviously. I don’t remember being her.”

“You will,” Steph replied with a knowing grin. “So anyway, you want information on who’s been doing the hits on Julio Davidos’ men.” She sat back down on the wall and Jordan took a seat beside Alex, placing a possessive hand on her thigh. Alex looked down and Jordan removed her hand with an embarrassed smile. Steph just laughed. “Alex, do you remember James Orlando?”

Jordan immediately felt her partner’s discomfort and moved a little closer to her. Alex’s hand automatically reached for her and entwined their fingers.

“Yeah, I do,” she replied. “He was the guy who testified against Davidos at his trial. He was our best witness.”

“That’s right,” Steph replied with a nod. “What you probably don’t know is that Davidos wiped out Orlando’s family a week later, only a month after he had your daughter killed. He had a bomb planted in the family car and blew it as they pulled out of their drive… on the way to meet Orlando himself. It was never proven that it was one of Davidos’ guys who planted it, but Orlando knew. It was a message to him, just like Nicki was a message to you.”

Alex nodded blankly.

“It’s Orlando who arranged for the hits.”

“No,” Stephanie replied with a shake of her head. “It’s Orlando doing the hits.”

“But how?” Jordan asked. “He’s not a hit man. How is he getting in and out without being seen.” Stephanie looked down.

“It’s my fault,” she replied. “He came to me and I…” She trailed off when she saw the look on Alex’s face. “I did it for Nicki, Alex.”

The dark-haired woman stood up suddenly.

“No, no, you… Jesus, Steph! You’ve been giving him pointers?”

Stephanie looked suddenly uncomfortable.

“I gave him everything he needed. He’s even using my gun. I figured, what the hell. I’m already wanted. What are another few hits? I’m going down anyway.” She shrugged but her eyes grew wide as Alex went for her and grabbed her by the front of her
T-shirt.

“You stupid, stupid woman!” she cried, tears streaming down her face. “You’re so stupid!” She shook her friend hard. “Stupid!” she shouted again and then pulled her hard against her for a hug. They held each other fiercely.

“I loved her too,” Steph said quietly. “She was our child… yours, mine and Sam’s. When she was killed…” She shook her head.
“I wanted those bastards to suffer.”

Alex held her face in her hands and stroked her cheeks.

“I killed him, Steph. The guy who killed Nicki… I killed him at the scene. He shot her and I shot him straight away. One bullet right in the centre of his forehead. I took him down before he pulled the trigger for the second shot.”

Steph was shaking now.

“I didn’t know,” she whispered. “I thought…” She collapsed onto the wall, a quivering mess of emotion. Alex knelt in front of her.

“Jordan,” she said, wiping her face. “Could you get the blanket out of the back of the jeep please.”

The younger woman nodded and went to get the blanket. When she returned, Alex was holding Steph in her arms. Jordan wrapped the blanket around them both and then went back to sit in the jeep. This was something she knew Alex and Steph had to go through alone. She thought about the pain her lover and her friend had gone through and felt the tears rise in her own eyes. One man… a man called Julio Davidos… had destroyed so many lives, poisoned so many hearts and caused the deaths of so many people. He should be called Lucifer, she thought bitterly. She closed her eyes, slid down in her seat and sleep reluctantly came.

Part XVI

Jordan awoke to gentle fingers stroking her hair.

“It’s ok. It’s me,” said a soft voice. “We have to go, Love.”

The young agent blinked to clear her vision and then smiled as she received a kiss.

“Where’s Steph?” she asked.

“She’s gone… for good,” Alex replied, her voice shaking with emotion. Jordan pulled her in for a hug and ran her fingers through her raven-black hair. “She gave me everything we need to nail Orlando.”

Jordan nodded slowly.

“But?” she prompted.

“But I… I don’t know if I want to…” Alex sighed and slipped into the jeep beside her lover. “When I took my oath as a federal agent, I promised to uphold the law but now…” She shrugged. “Now I know that the law isn’t black and white. It’s many shades of grey. Is sending Orlando down for the rest of his life the right thing to do when all he wants is revenge for the deaths of his wife and kids?”

Jordan took Alex’s hand and brought it to her mouth to kiss it.

“Do all of those men deserve to die on the off chance that one of them is the man who planted the bomb that killed Orlando’s family? He could already be in prison.” Alex looked up to meet Jordan’s steady emerald green gaze and then shook her head.

“No, they don’t. You’re right,” she admitted. Then she started the jeep. “Let’s go stop Orlando.”

Part XVII

Agents West and Pierce climbed out of their jeep and headed for an abandoned warehouse on the corner of 43rd and Mason. They were both dressed in navy jackets, with the F.B.I initials in yellow on the back and matching baseball caps. Alex was carrying a twelve gauge pump action shotgun with a built in light and Jordan was armed with a flashlight and her 16mm Burette. When they reached the door, Alex tested the handle. It wouldn’t move so Jordan crouched to pick the lock. A few moments later, she turned the handle, wincing as it creaked loudly and then pulled the door open. It swung toward them and both women ducked in the door, crouching low and scanning the interior office area.

“Clear,” Alex whispered.

“Clear,” Jordan replied and then slowly stood up. The blackness was thick and inky and the air was stifling, as if the area hadn’t been ventilated in years. Alex fought the urge to sneeze as she felt the rising dust tickling her nose and pointed at the door that led out onto what would have been the factory floor. Jordan nodded and followed her partner to the door, her eyes constantly on the move for a glimpse of Orlando. Alex pointed at Jordan and indicated right. Then she pointed to herself and indicated left. The younger woman nodded and took a firm grip on both her gun and her flashlight. The entrance was a sliding door and, when Alex pulled it a little to test it, it moved with very little sound… as if it were well used and well oiled.

Jordan gave Alex a thumbs up and then waited. Alex smiled and held up three fingers. She turned the first one down with a nod, then the second and then the third. On her three count, Jordan pulled back the door and the two Agents ran into the room, Alex going left and Jordan going right. They scanned the area again and then moved away from each other in search of Orlando. On the far side of the warehouse, Alex could see Jordan’s flashlight probing through some stacked up crates and she smiled as she heard a tiny sneeze, muffled against a sleeve no doubt. It was a split second later when she realised that the sneeze had come from closer to her than Jordan could have been. She spun, raising her rifle and flipping the switch to turn on the light. She saw a man dash out from between two huge rolls of paper and make a run for the door.

“Freeze, Federal Agent!” she yelled. “Stop where you are!” She could hear her partner’s boot steps coming toward her and as she tracked the man with her light, she saw him change direction and head straight for Jordan. “Jordan, he’s headed right for you,” she cried and she saw her partner’s flashlight go out. She also couldn’t pinpoint where she was because she had stopped moving. Alex was afraid to search her out with her lamp in case she lit her up and gave the man a clear shot at her. “Shit,” she cursed under her breath and then nearly died of fright as a hand came out of the blackness to cover her mouth.

“It’s me,” said a whisper in her ear. “He’s coming up behind us but he doesn’t realise I’m here. I doubled back on him.” Alex nodded mutely. She could feel the trickle of nervous sweat run between her shoulder blades and Jordan’s hand felt clammy against her overheated skin. The hand suddenly left her mouth and moved to her shoulder, urging her to stand. The tall agent complied and then felt Jordan take her hand and place it on her shoulder. Then the younger agent led them away toward what was, as far as Alex could make out with her shaky sense of direction, the west wall. She squeezed Jordan’s shoulder briefly and when she turned, Alex whispered in her ear.

“Lure and pinpoint?” she asked and Jordan nodded.

“You pinpoint, I’ll lure.”

“Cool,” came the tight reply and Alex headed off again into the blackness.

Jordan still had a fair idea where the man was so she turned in that direction.

“James Orlando, put down your weapon and identify yourself.”

She took five quick steps to her right and then listened. Nothing.

“James, my name is Jordan West. I’m a federal agent. Why don’t you come to me and hand over your gun, huh?”

Again she took five steps but this time to her left. A shot rang out and she dropped into a crouch. Alex saw the muzzle flash and headed silently forward.

“James,” Jordan went on. “I understand why you wanted to take out Davidos’ men.” Once again, a shot rang out and she rolled, landing easily on her feet. Alex moved even closer to Orlando.

“Listen to me, James. The men you’re killing have families too. Do you want their wives to go through what you went through? Think about it, James.”

Another shot sounded and Jordan moved again. Alex was, by now only a few steps from Orlando. He was crouched by a low crate, his attention completely focussed on Jordan. She could barely make him out in the almost complete blackness but she could see his gun trembling. She immediately felt sorry for him. This man was no killer. He was just a man trying to heal his broken heart by getting vengeance for his family. Alex shook her head and hardened her heart. She was there to do a job and she was going to do it. She stepped right up to him and held her gun against his head.

“Don’t move,” she growled. “Federal agent. You’re under arrest. Drop the gun and raise your hands above your head.” Very slowly, Orlando dropped the gun on the floor. Alex kicked it away and then nodded approvingly as he laced his fingers together on top of his head. “On the floor,” she ordered. “Face down.” He complied and Alex knelt on his back. She called to Jordan and the young agent came running. Alex handed her the rifle and then pulled her handcuffs out of the pouch attached to her shoulder holster to cuff his hands behind his back. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used as evidence in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?” she said as she tightened the cold, metal cuffs around his wrists.

“Yes,” he said, his voice low and frightened. Then Alex helped him to his feet.

“It’s gonna be ok,” she said. “It’s over now, James.”

Tears ran down the man’s face, shimmering in the light of Jordan’s flashlight as he nodded and released a long breath. They walked him to the door and released him into the custody of the just arriving LAPD. When everything was sorted out and explained, there was nothing more to do but go home. Two exhausted agents climbed into their jeep and headed back toward the city. Both women were quiet on the way back, extremely shaken by the turn of events and Jordan felt that Alex needed some time to think… so she gave it to her.

**********

As soon as they stepped in the door of the house, Alex pulled Jordan into her arms.

“It’s over,” she whispered into her short, tousled, blonde hair. “It’s finally over.”

Jordan rocked her partner slowly and then looked up at her.

“Let’s take a shower and go to bed. We’re both exhausted.”

The dark agent nodded and allowed herself to be led up the stairs. Jordan ran the shower and then undressed her partner, dropping her clothes on the floor in a small pile. Her own clothes soon followed. They stepped into the shower and held each other as the hot water caressed their tired and sore bodies.

“How did I get so lucky?” Alex mumbled sleepily.

“Lucky in what way?” the younger woman replied as she ran her hands over the soft skin of her lover’s back.

“I’m the luckiest woman in the world to have found you,” came the quiet reply and Jordan felt tears rise to her eyes.

“I love you, Alex,” she whispered.

“I love you too.”

An hour later, they were curled around each other in bed, two bodies entwined in sleep… but together, two halves of a single soul.

Part XVIII – Two months later.

“Tony, I want you to be the first to know.”

A.D. Quaid looked up as his niece bounded into his office. He smiled and sat back in his chair, taking off his glasses and placing them carefully on his desk.

“The first to know what?” he asked.

“Alex has asked me to make a lifetime commitment with her in a special ceremony.” The petite, blonde agent was practically jumping up and down with excitement. “I said yes!”

Quaid stood up and went to hug his niece tightly.

“My little Jordan, getting married. Oh god! I feel old!”

Jordan laughed and then went to the door.

“Alex, come in here.”

Quaid held out his hand and Alex shook it, a broad smile on her face.

“Welcome to the family, Alex,” he said softly and then drew her in for a hug. When her released her, Jordan took Alex’s hand and then looked at her uncle.

“Tony, I… we… want you to be our witness, since it was you who introduced us to each other originally.”

The A.D. looked surprised, but nodded emphatically.

“It would be my honour,” he replied and then sat down again behind his desk. “Ladies, now that you’re no longer partners, I have assigned new partners to you both.” They looked at each other and then rolled their eyes as the A.D. grinned.

“Jordan, you’ll be pleased to hear that you’ve got a rookie to look after. Alex, you’ve got a wayward agent to take under your wing. I need someone who’ll be a good influence on her. She’s reckless and needs to be taught some patience. I thought you’d be perfect for the job.”

Jordan smiled as she thought back to the day Tony had told her she was going to have a new partner. He had said almost exactly the same thing to her about Alex. She looked at the love of her life and squeezed her hand gently, feeling the light return of the gesture and once again, thanked whoever it was who had brought them together. Partners forever.

The End
Continued in Partners Plus One

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