Pandora sat in her office, her feet resting on her desk and her eyes watching the spinning of her ceiling fan. It had been over a year since she and Nikolai had made their deal to tell each other how they felt and he was gone. He had flown to Japan to catch a serial killer at his boss’ behest and had not even thought twice about doing it a week before the deadline they had set. He had not answered her calls or her text messages and it felt like she was being ignored. There was a tapping on her office door, but she continued to stare off into space. She heard it open and Hardy stepped in.
“Come on miss gloomy, we’ve got a job.” He said.
She sighed and let the front legs of her chair drop to the ground then took her feet off her desk. “What is it?”
“Serial killer, he escaped from prison and is heading for Southern Oregon. He’s already killed five people.”
She got to her feet and opened the locker next to her. She grabbed her shoulder holster and slipped it on then grabbed her gun and checked that it was completely loaded before sliding it into place. She slipped her jacket on the closed the locker and turned to Hardy. “Lets get going before things get worse.”
They headed out, Pandora making sure the door was locked then following Hardy around to the back of the building. “You doing okay sis?”
“Not really, I’m pretty pissed actually. That jerk won’t even answer my calls.”
“Maybe he’s busy.”
She rolled her eyes. “He always answered me before, anytime we needed to work a job together he wouldn’t hesitate to pick up his phone. He even came over for the holidays when I asked.”
They stopped at her motorcycle and put their helmets on. She handed him her keys. “Well it’s been a year right, maybe he’s just scared.” Hardy climbed onto the motorcycle and she got on behind him.
“Over a year and him scared, yeah right.”
“Come on Pan, he may be kind of cold and untouchable, but he is human.”
“If he hasn’t called me back or returned by the time we get back I’m going to Japan to confront him.”
“Uh don’t you think that’s a little…”
She continued talking, “I’ll ask that boss of his for his exact location and if he doesn’t give it to me then I’ll hunt him down and smack him.” Hardy just sighed and started the motorcycle. He knew it was no use arguing with her. Once she got an idea in her head, it was pretty hard to talk her out of it.
The adrenaline pumping through Pandora due to how pissed she was at Nikolai fueled her and helped them find, kill and hand the body off to the police. “You really are getting pissed” hardy said as they were driving back to their own town. “Immensely, I thought he was more of a man than this. I don’t care what you say, it’s pretty damned pathetic he can’t face me.”
“Maybe he just doesn’t think you love him and he loves you”
“Better to know, whats he planning? Avoid me forever so he doesn’t have to hear that I don’t love him if I dont? I fucking do but I cant tell him that if he’s not around to let me.”
“Even a tough man is weak when in love Pandora. Don’t be so harsh” she laughed “if he wants to be with me he knows what he’s in for”
“Yeah, a lumpy head.”
“You better watch it before I give you a few.”
Nikolai paced back and forth in his hotel room, his brain working as he thought about the serial killer. He was close, he knew it. He had mapped out where each body was found and found that they formed a pentagram. It was irritating that sickos like the man killing all of these people thought that using that symbol was in any form accurate. They made it into something evil which further caused misconceptions about the practice of witchcraft. The sound of his phone vibrating pulled Nikolai out of his thoughts and he quickly picked it up off the table. It was another message from Pandora. He sighed, ignoring it yet again. At first he had told himself he was too busy to answer her calls, but now he knew that wasn’t it at all. An emotion he had not dared to feel had crept its way into his heart and mind, triggering his fight or flight response so instead of acting like an adult and tackling the issue head on, he was hiding. As soon as he captured this serial killer, he would make it up to her.
“Alright, he’s been warned.” Pandora said as she clicked out of her messages and went through her contacts to find Nikolai’s boss’s number. “Now time for that bastard who sent him away.” Hardy just groaned and shook his head.
“Yeah?” Nikolai’s boss answered on the fourth ring.
“Don’t you yeah me, tell me where you sent Nikolai.”
“Oh, hello Pandora. He’s in Japan.”
“No shit, where is Japan?”
His boss chuckled. “Oh I see what this is, it’s about that deal of yours.”
“You know about that?”
“It’s not like Nikolai has many people to talk to so of course I know. He’s avoiding you isn’t he? I knew this would happen, he’s so unemotional and you’re just emotional enough for two people. His location will cost you Pandora.”
She squeezed her phone. “You do know they call me the Executioner for a reason right? I will find you and kneecap you if I have too.”
He chuckled again. “Come now Pandora, you did wake me up from a dead sleep, at least give me something in return.”
“Oh fine.” She grumbled. “What is it?”
“When you get back I need you to make a trip to Germany to execute a group of human traffickers. They’re going to be moving a shipment of people next month. Kill them all and we’re even.”
She snorted. “Alright, I’ll do it. I won’t leave a single one breathing.”
“There’s a good girl. Nikolai is in the Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro, room eighteen. Tell him I said hello.”
“Don’t you dare warn him I’m coming.”
“You’re his problem, not mine, besides it might be nice to see him a bit rattled.”
“Hardy’ll be staying here in America so if you have any other jobs just call him.”
“Goodnight Pandora.” She hung up, knowing he was probably laughing, but not caring in the least.
Pandora was frustrated when the earliest flight was the next morning but it was the quickest she could go and hand that thoughtless jerk his tail for ignoring her. She was almost pissed she loved him too because he was acting this way. He would get a piece of her mind, especially if he didn’t love her too. Loving her and being afraid was much more understandable than being too big a pussy to say I haven’t developed feelings. Pandora packed her bag and set her alarm before falling into bed.
Morning came and she quickly readied herself before jumping in her car and picking up breakfast on the way to the airport. She was finished by the time she got there so only had to check her luggage, go through inspection and board the plane. It all seemed incredibly slow but airports had a way of making minuets feel like eternity. It was only worse now because she had an ass to chew and a head to punch.
Her mood was so horrid she was making everyone around her uncomfortable. She exuded if you piss me off I’ll kill you as she took her seat. Once they were going she was able to relax a little while listening to her ipod. The moment of truth was coming and at this point the nervous butterflys were gone. He did or he didn’t and either way he’d pay for being such a dick about this.
Nikolai walked through the area he had marked on his map, looking for any suspicious activity. The killer was intelligent, but they always made mistakes, especially when they realized they were being hunted. He hoped whoever was doing this spotted him searching and got clumsy. This area was a good place to torture and mutilate people, it was mostly warehouses so there was never anyone around to hear the screams of innocent victims. That meant the killer knew this place well or had purchased a building here. He spotted a man throwing out fish guts and waved him down. He didn’t really speak Japanese so he gambled on the man being able to speak English.
“Excuse me sir, can I ask you something really quick?” The man stopped what he was doing, looking Nikolai over. “Sorry to disturb you, my name is Leviticus and I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions?”
He breathed a sigh of relief, the guy spoke English. “Have you seen anything weird going on here lately?”
“You a cop?”
“Sort of, I was hired to solve the murders going on.”
“Oh uh not really?”
“No bad people or people who don’t belong?”
The man seemed to think then his eyes brightened up as he had a thought. “One man, uh young like you and like this.” He held up his hand to indicate the strange man was taller than himself, but shorter than Nikolai. “Red bag and uh glasses.”
“Was he nicely dressed or was he dressed like me?”
“Does he come by at the same time every time you’ve seen him?”
“About seven every evening.”
“Okay, thank you very much.”
The man nodded with a huge smile. It would be hours before seven but he didn’t want to leave incase the man got there earlier. It would keep him unable to call Pandora anyway so that wouldn’t weigh on him. He’d have to know sooner or later but he was opting for the pure cowardess way of waiting until later. That was even if she would still speak to him after ignoring her for so long. Pandora wasn’t one to be ignored and in this situation he could see her being angry.
Part of what he loved about her was she took no crap. He knew her way in general would lead to a rocky relationship at times. Especially when you combined it with how he could be but somthing with her would actually be worth the risk. He just hoped she wanted it too or still wanted it after he ignored her.
Pandora sighed and stuck the magazine she had been reading back in the back of the seat in front of her. An eleven hour flight was not something she had been looking forward to. She checked her phone seeing there were still no messages from Nikolai. She was already an hour and a half through her flight and she wished she could do something. Sitting still and being angry was making her antsy. “Ma’am, are you alright?” She looked up at the flight attendant who had stopped to talk to her.
“Yeah.” She sighed, knowing the woman thought she was off for being so fidgety. She pulled her identification out of her pocket and flipped her wallet open, showing the woman who she was.
“Oh, I’m sorry ma’am, I didn’t realize.”
“You weren’t meant too.” The flight attendant left her alone and she had to force herself not to laugh. It always amused her when she could send people running. She felt a little better and tipped her seat back a little, deciding to take a small nap to make the time go by faster. She woke up an hour after lunch and got the flight attendant to bring her a sandwich and some juice. She ate slowly, staring out the window, thinking of what she was going to say to Nikolai when she saw him.
Nikolai sat behind a stack of wooden pallets beneath the overhang of one of the buildings on the same street his suspected killer had been spotted. It was raining hard, the sound of water hitting metal loud. He knew this would not deter a serial killer from coming out. It was like an addiction for these people, it was a need that gnawed at them until they saw the red of blood flowing over their hands. He sat as still as a statue, the other workers in the are not even noticing him. He was like a ghost, invisible to them. He had been sitting out here since six in the morning, ready to spring up at the first glimpse of the man he was after. When six thirty rolled around he became more wary. The rain had finally let up and he knew soon his prey would make an appearance.
It was just after seven when the man described came into view. As always he could see right away all the horrible things this monster had done and gotten away with. It was ending now. Nikolai pulled his gun on the man and arrested him, taking him to his car and then the police station. He was happy to get that scum off the streets even though it meant he had no more excuses to ignore Pandora without making a bigger undeserving ass of himself than he already was.
He went to his hotel and hopped in the shower. He had no idea how to even begin to tell Pandora he loved her, especially now that he had been such a pansy. Once clean he changed clothes then looked through all her sweet then concerned then angry messages. He sighed, unable to type any response to her and definitely unable to call.
He was about to click on the last message when there was a knock at his bedroom door. This stuck him as odd since it was far too late for the housekeeping staff to be around. He sat his phone down and grabbed his gun and moved slowly towards the door. When he peeked out the peephole he didn’t see anyone so he slowly unlocked it and pulled it open. The moment he stuck his head out he was slapped with such force his head was jerked to the side. “You son of a bitch.” His eyes jumped to the woman standing just to the side of the door, widening in surprise.
“Pandora?” He couldn’t believe it was actually her. “What are you…” she slapped him again and this time he was actually knocked back a couple of steps. He sat his gun on the chest of drawers as she stepped into the room, bag in hand, and slammed the door.
“So you can feel something.” She hissed. “You’re nothing but an inconsiderate prick.”
He had never seen her this angry before, like she was ready to commit murder. She dropped her back on the floor and balled her hands into fists. “Pandora, I’m…”
“Shut up, I am so angry with you right now, I just want to wring your stupid neck. I called every day, I sent you message after message and got nothing in return.”
“Sneaking up on me like that could have got you shot.”
“I warned you, but I guess you didn’t read that message either.” She felt herself choking up and she told herself not to cry. “Now, I have to do a job for your boss all so I could come here and give you hell over being an asshole and…and a coward.” He reached out for her and she slapped his hand away. “Don’t touch me, you’ve already strung me along enough, a year, I gave you a year and then you run off and hide from me and use your work as an excuse. I trusted you, I opened myself up to you, I told you I didn’t care about your gift or your eye or the fact you can’t get me pregnant and then you go and act like I don’t even exist. I…I hate you, is that what you want to hear? I hate you.”
He reached for her again, this time grabbing her shoulders and pulling her into his arms. “Pandora, I’m sorry.”
“I don’t believe you, I think you’d ignore me again if I gave you the chance.”
He squeezed her tighter. “Please believe me, I’m sorry. I know I’m a coward, I should have manned up and said something, I’m really sorry Pandora.”
“You’re an idiot.”
She hugged him back and pressed her forehead against his chest. “I won’t forgive you again.”
“I fucking love you jerk”
“I love you too, please calm down”
“I’ll try, maybe after this job I have to do now”
“Let me help you. We work so well together” she wanted to give another bitchy retort like “so now you want somthing to do with me” but she held it in. “sure” he rubbed her back “I’m so sorry Pandora.” she sighed “I guess I’m the one who fell in love with you. I know all about you but I seriously wont tolerate that again. It was so rude and disrespectful to me. i know you wouldn’t have liked it.”
“as I know you you know me so i’m going to try to tone down the bitch but once I’m pissed off its hard to come down” he nodded “I deserve it anyway”
“You’re obviously sorry so you don’t. Besides, i got to smack the hell out of you as payback” he smiled “I hope i don’t get slapped but I’d really like a kiss”
“if you’re going to twist my arm” she teased, it barely coming across that way since she was still trying to calm herself. Their lips met and it sent a shock through them both. “I love you Pandora” he said when they parted lips. “I love you too idiot. I’m also hungry.” he gave a laughing smile “I can help you with that”
“anything to order in?’
“Nothing good, theres a nice place not far though”
“then lets hurry because I really am hungry”
They went to a place called Konaya where they both ordered a bowl of soba noodles and shrimp tempura and rice cakes. They sat there in silence, slurping noodles, Nikolai not sure what he should say now. Usually Pandora was easy to talk to, but now that they were in a relationship, he worried he might drive her away. He knew he was insensitive, hard to talk too, and did things instinctively, without thinking and that could lead to her feelings getting hurt. “Something on my face?” She asked and he blinked.
“No, just thinking.”
“Hmm, about what?”
“How I’m going to keep from hurting you.”
“Um, why would you think you would hurt me?”
“I already did didn’t I, I upset you and made you want to cry. I know I said I wouldn’t do it again, but I will and I won’t even mean too.”
Pandora reached across the table and grabbed his hand. “Nikolai, I love you, do you know what that means? It means I won’t give up on you, no matter how pissed off I might get. I want you and only you.” He kept frowning and she moved to sit next to him. “Do you think I’m lying?”
“I know you’re not.”
“Then what’s the problem.”
“I’m scared and that in itself is scary. I’ve never felt so afraid before, like I might fail at the first word that comes out of my mouth. I don’t want to disappoint you, ever. I’ve already gotten off to a horrible start and now I feel like it will only go down hill from here.”
She cupped his cheek and brushed her thumb over the scars on his face. “You’re just going to have to trust that I won’t walk away, I really, really love you Nikolai.”
He placed his hand over hers and closed his eyes. “I know, I really love you too.”
“And just remember that I said I was okay with everything that you seem to think is wrong with you, you’re perfect for me.” She leaned in and kissed him, sending his heart into a frenzy. He could stay like this forever, could easily get swept away by her warmth and love.
“Lets finish eating.” He said when she pulled back.
“Okay baby.” She moved back to her chair and smiled as she took another bite of her noodles.
He was now able to manage small talk but he was still gripped by fear. She was already the best thing to ever happen to him and he would do his best to keep her happy. They finished their food then went back to his room to rest for the night. “when do you have to go on your job?”
“as soon as we get back so we’ll go home tomorrow then the next day we’ll talk to your boss.” He kissed her shoulder “we’ll get this done quickly”
“I didn’t even explain what we’re doing”
“with us working on it it will be quick” she smiled “One of the perks of being with you. You aren’t some pansy. Maybe somwhat when it comes to me but its nice that you have my back during work.” he smiled “I knew you liked that about me”
“well you seem to want to concentrate on the bad so I guess I’ll have to point out why I love you. You have balls and you have to respect a man with balls like yours” They changed into pajamas then laid in bed together “Night” Pandora said and Nikolai answered ‘Goodnight” They slept soundly and woke feeling refreshed. Things felt so much better now that everything was resolved between them. They ordered tickets that would thankfully get them leaving in a few hours so they took turns showering and getting ready before Pandora followed Nikolai to a nice place for breakfast.
It was actually the very same place they ate at last night and the breakfast was just as good. “tell me about your trip”
“it was a job”
“did you do anything besides work”
“You know me so know the answer and you cant talk. You’re all about work when on a job too” she shrugged.
“What do you usually do after a job, you know when Hardy and I aren’t making you celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas?”
“Nothing interesting, my life was pretty boring up until I met you and Hardy.” She started laughing and he gave her a confused look.
“Oh yeah because chasing down psychos is just so mind numbing.” She laughed harder and he cracked a smile. “There, I like that, you have a sexy smile.” They finished eating, paid, then made their way to the airport where they checked in their luggage then boarded their flight. “We’re going to have to come back here some time and bring Hardy, he’s never been to Japan.”
“We can travel anywhere you like.”
She smiled. “Good, oh and I’ve decided something.”
“You’re moving in with me.”
“You heard me, it’ll be nicer that way. We can wake up together, fall asleep together, traveling will be easier, and neither of us will have to wait for each other on the holidays. Plus, it’ll give you a taste of what being in a nice, loving home is like. I also very much enjoy cuddling with you.”
He tried finding a reason to make her wait, but he really had none. It was just simply overwhelming to him to have someone want to give him so much. He didn’t really know what to do with all of the unfamiliar emotions welling up inside him. He finally sighed and said, “If you think that would be best, then okay.”
It stung how little interest he seemed to have living with her. She was opening up again and he was deflating her balloon. She reminded herself that she was the one who allowed herself to love such a cold man and he was trying so she just didn’t say anything atall. She would just end up fussing at him since her feelings were wounded yet again and nowhere near the last time in her life.
He was observant enough to see he hurt her feelings so after awhile of her not speaking to him he took her hand and rubbed it with his thumb, hoping it made her feel any better. She fell asleep with still no words exchanged between them and he hoped they were still okay. She said she was never going to leave but they had only just gotten together. He was a nightmare and knew that just might change if he couldn’t improve.
He ended up falling asleep aswell with his head on her shoulder. Pandora smiled and kissed his head when she woke “I know you love me” she whispered then went back to looking out the window. She had gotten over it enough now to be able to have conversation with him again whenever he woke.
Nikolai jerked awake as the plane hit a little bit of turbulence and sat up, yawning. “How long was I sleeping?”
“Well it’s past lunch.”
“You were tired so it’s fine.”
“And I’m sorry for hurting your feelings, I love you, I just need time to adjust.”
She smiled and kissed his cheek. “You’ll get there.” He wasn’t so sure about that and doubted himself more and more. “Are you hungry Nikolai?”
The way she said his name made him feel like he had butterflies in his stomach. It was such an odd sensation, one that he was beginning to enjoy. “No, I can go quite some time without eating before I get hungry. Part of my conditioning when I was being used as a lab rat.”
“I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged. “It was nothing.”
“Don’t say that, what was done to you was torture and then to be betrayed.” She reached up and ran her fingers gently over his scars. “Those people were monsters, you could have died.”
“Don’t sound so sad, I’m here now.”
“I know, but just thinking of never meeting you, it breaks my heart.” He wrapped his arms around her and stroked his hand up and down her arm.
“If you had never met me, then you would have no reason to be sad.”
She punched his chest. “Idiot, don’t say such insensitive things.”
“I’m sorry, I just hate seeing you upset and I don’t know how to help you, please forgive me.” He tipped her head back and kissed her, feeling her lower lip tremble against his. “Please don’t cry, I hate seeing your tears. I’ll do anything to make you happy, move in with you, cuddle with you, anything.”
“Just don’t say such stupid things ever again or I’ll beat you up.”
“I’ll try my best.” They stayed like this with her head resting on his shoulder and his arms holding tightly to her. They landed a few hours later and were quickly allowed to disembark. They retrieved their luggage and walked hand in hand to the parking lot where Pandora’s car was waiting. “I love you Pandora.”
“I love you too, lets get to the office then you can call your boss, that ass. I should just find him and kick his ass.”
“You love ridding the world of horrible people. I don’t want to get punched but you’ll be happy once we do the job” she had to admit he was right. She was who she was to help innocent people. She knew people would suffer no matter how many sadistic, uncaring people she killed but it brought her comfort to know she could atleast remove a good amount from the earth and prevent them from making the good people suffer. Every kill she was saving tens, maybe hundreds of people from traumatic events and nothing made her prouder.
They drove to the offive where Nikolai got on the phone and instantly had an irritated tone “You made her take a job”
“She wouldn’t have had to if you werent being a baby” That comment pissed him off but his boss was right. He could have told her himself if he hadn’t been hiding. “Details and make them fast. I don’t feel like talking to you” It made Pandora feel good Nikolai was so upset over his boss. It was nice in little moments like this when he unknowingly showed he loved her.
She watched her boyfriend take notes then hangup “when are we leaving?”
“We have our own jet leaving tomorrow. Hardy coming?”
“Of course. We three are a team. You and Hardy are the most kick ass men I know” Nikolai smiled again, melting her so she waled over and hugged him.
“Pack for Germany Hardy.” Pandora said as they were leaving the office.
“Got it, lots of warm clothes, it should be cold there this time of year.”
“Be here by six, we’ll pick you up.”
“Oh, I almost forgot.” She went over and hugged Hardy. “See you in the morning.”
“See you in the morning.”
Nikolai didn’t know why her relationship with Hardy suddenly made him feel jealous, maybe it was because they were so much closer to each other than he was with Pandora. This hadn’t been the first time these thoughts had plagued him, it was something he wished he could drive out of his head. “Yo, Nikolai, are you coming to my place or am I going to yours?” Pandora asked for the second time.
“Oh, we can go to your place, I still have my suitcase so I’ll just wash everything.”
“Come on then.” They both waved bye to Hardy and climbed into Pandora’s car where he stared silently out the passenger window.
“You okay broody?”
“Long flights will do that. We’ll just cuddle and watch somthing”
“anything you want but um, why does Hardy go everywhere?”
“He’s a part of the team. He’s been my right hand man for a long time. Now you’re my left hand man. I’m a lucky girl. Get to work with my best friend and my boyfriend”
“do you have some sort of problem with him?”
“No, I was just asking. Cant I ask a question?”
“sheesh, you are tired. You started that conversation. He’s my best friend Nikolai”
“ok” Pandora would roll her eyes if she wasn’t driving. They drove to her place in strained silence then went in. “I’ll wash your clothes” Pandora offered, sucking up her pride again from him being annoying. “thanks”
“Pick somthing on TV”
“and please stop brooding. Did somthing happen between you and him suddenly?”
“Drop it Pandora”
“fine, whatever, be that way. Just please be somwhat nice by the time I come back from my laundry room” she walked off trying to keep her cool whle Nikolai went to sit down. When she came back she settled in his lap and he wrapped his arms around her “I love you” he whispered “I love you too”
“Of course, lets not fight. After such a long flight and needing to work tomorrow I just want a nice evening.”
She sighed and he rested his head against her chest while she stroked her fingers through his hair. He usually kept his head shaved, but lately he seemed to have forgotten. “You need to buzz your head again.” She said softly.
“You made me forget, see what you do to me? I’m just not myself.”
“Want me to shave your head?”
“If you really want to.”
She smiled and hopped off his lap and grabbed one of the kitchen chairs and dragged it away from the table. She patted it and he got up and went to sit down in it. “Take your shirt off.” She ordered and he obediently complied as she got her clippers and a towel. She draped the towel over his shoulders then plugged in her buzzers and switched them on. He sat completely still as she shaved his head, enjoying the feel of her fingers running over his scalp. He felt a little disappointed when she finished, a deep frown pulling at his face. She cleaned and wrapped up her buzzers then pulled the towel off of his shoulders and dusted as much hair off of him as she could. “Go ahead and shower while I clean this up.”
He sighed, grabbing her wrist as he got to his feet and pulling her into him. “Will you shower with me?” She looked at him quizzically. “Please, I’ll tell you why I was acting like such an ass.”
“Alright.” He followed her into the bathroom and watched as she got the water started. She smiled at him when she turned around and he suddenly felt very nervous. “You can’t shower in your pants.” She said as she pulled her shirt and then her pants off. Her bra and panties soon followed and he just stared at her. She was gorgeous, her pale skin reminding him of alabaster. “Well, your pants.”
“Yeah, sorry.” She grinned as she stepped into the bathtub and he took a moment to study the black snake that was slithering its way up her spine. It was so lifelike that he swore it moved. He pulled off his jeans and climbed in after her, finding himself reaching out to touch her.
“So, tell me what you have against Hardy.”
He stopped, his fingers barely brushing her skin. “I don’t have anything against him.”
“Then why were you angry?”
“I wasn’t angry, I was jealous.”
Her lips twitched. “Jealous? You were jealous?”
“yes, I’m sorry. You two are just so close, much closer than we are” She turned and kissed his chest “I dont love him like I love you Nikolai. If you’d open up more we could be as close as I am with him. He’s just always there for me and we talk about absolutely everything. With us living together we can become that close in no time, you just have to open up. Regardless YOU are my boyfriend and while I’m not willing to kick my best friend off the team you are higher ranked than he is.”
“I..I wasn’t really asking that”
“You want it”
“But I wasn’t asking”
“I know, I love you. Thank you for telling me what was wrong. We’re already making progress in this relationship” he smiled, letting his hands trace her sides “you are breathtaking.” she smiled in return at his caress “and all yours. I’ve never thought of Hardy romantically” that seemed to relieve him more and he kissed her supple lips. Even just a small kiss sent his heart racing. She was so soft and sweet like cotton candy. He pulled her into him and let his tongue explore her mouth.
She gaving a laughter filled smile “we going to shower or have sex because I’m game for both or either” he laughed “You are so amazing. I’ve repeatedly upset you and you still get in this shower with me and are happy to have sex with me”
“I know you’re trying. Things will get smoother as we go and you learn to open up. You just have to keep trying for me. Thats all it takes to keep me happy”
“I’m already trying, so hard Pandora”
“I can feel that”
He smiled, the act taking her breath away. His lips were against hers again, his teeth tugging at her lower lip as his hands drifted up her sides to cup the weight of her breasts. “You feel so good.” He whispered, his voice quaking. He pushed her against the wall, his lips drifting over her chin and down her neck to the scar on her shoulder. “My beautiful goddess of war.” He let his hands drift down, his mouth moving to suck at her breasts. Her arms went around his neck and she arched into his mouth. His hand pushed between her legs, his fingers pushing past her folds to probe her slick heat. Her breaths came out in ragged gasps, her legs feeling like jello.
“Nikolai.” She whimpered and he slid his hands around to grab her bottom and lifted her off her feet so she could wrap her legs around his waist. She felt his hard length press into her and clung tightly to him as he filled her.
The breath rushed out of his lungs and he just stood there for a moment, taking in these new and exciting sensations he was feeling. He moved, pulling out and sinking back into her warmth, his entire body shaking at the immense pleasure he was feeling. He had never felt this way with anyone, had never been so overwhelmed with love and lust that he was stunned by it. He pressed his lips against hers, his mouth feasting on her honey lips as he drove into her harder. She quivered and pulsed around him, his loud moan parting their lips as he ejaculated. He pressed his forehead against hers, his arms holding tightly to her as they caught their breath. “I love you so much.” He whispered. “I’ve never felt so…so complete.”
Pandora just hugged him, her eyes filling with tears of joy. He kissed her shoulder and lowered her to her feet. He tipped her head back and brushed away a tear that was rolling down her cheek. “I’m not upset so don’t worry, I’m happy I promise.”
“Good, I worried I had hurt you again.” He gave her a gentle kiss. “I’ve never felt this way and it’s kind of…”
“Yeah, but it’s a good thing.”
The rest of their evening was jocund and their morning relaxed as they got ready then boarded the jet with Hardy. “You two look like you’re in a particularly good mood. Even tall dark and gloomy looks fairly happy.”
“we had a really good night”
“Finally banged it out to relieve the sexual tension” Pandora laughed “yep”
“good, that heat needed to be toned down” she laughed again causing a smile to tug at Nikolais lips. Hardy dominated the conversation with Pandora causing Nikolai to struggle so he didn’t show jealousy. She had already explained it to him but he knew he would bare atleast a little jealousy until he was bonded with her like Hardy was. He was going to put all of his effort into being open with Pandora to achieve that goal.
He also knew if wasn’t fair to be mad at Hardy for talking when he himself wasn’t a huge conversationalist. It would be ridiculous to ask them to sit in silence because he couldn’t think of what to say. Plus vicariously through their talks he learned more about Pandora so she was happy and he was getting closer to knowing everything there was to know about her.
Pandora pulled a soda out of the small fridge “its so nice when we get to fly this way”
“I know, so much space and no annoying noises. This is the only way to fly” Hardy said back to her.
“Maybe you two should consider working for us.” Nikolai suggested.
“Oh yes, because your boss and I are just the best of friends.”
“Come on Pan, how hard can it be to get along with someone?” Hardy actually sounded like he was pouting.
“Are you trying to guilt me?”
“Well yeah, is it working?”
She rolled her eyes, making Hardy laugh. Nikolai grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips, making her feel all warm and fuzzy. “You don’t have to if you don’t want too, but I thought since we’re dating then working all of our jobs together would be more efficient.”
“Well, what I mean to say is…well…”
“He misses you when you’re apart.” Hardy finished for him.
“Exactly, I missed you in Japan so if you worked for the organization I work for then you could come with me on all of my jobs.”
“You men and manipulating me.” She sighed. “Fine, I’ll consider it and give you an answer after we finish this job.”
“She’s going to say yes.” Hardy said as he hugged her. “Right Pandora, you’re going to say yes.”
She wrapped her free arm around him, giving him and squeeze before letting him go so he could drink his soda. The rest of the flight was spent with Hardy jabbering away about how amazing the jet was while Pandora sat with her head resting on Nikolai’s shoulder. She was so happy when they finally landed and were allowed to get off. She stretched and took in a breath of fresh air. “Man it’s cold.” She said as they made their way into the airport.
“It’s not so bad.” Nikolai replied.
“Says the guy who has had more physical conditioning than a gymnast.” She shivered. “Lets hurry and get a hotel.”
He smiled, inwardly chuckling at her. A car was waiting so they were quickly seated again. Despite not being in the chill of the outdoors Pandora still wasn’t thrilled to be sat right back down after only just being able to get off the jet. It took them to a nice hotel where they got two rooms “shower then meet to find food?” Pandora asked Hardy who nodded a little too roughly causing his blonde hair to fly everywhere much like a dogs fur does when it dries off. She laughed “what is with the men in my life and not getting haircuts lately? Do that when we get home. Yes thats a command” Hardy shrugged then went to his room.
Pandora took Nikolai’s hand as they went to their own room. “You don’t cut his hair?” Nikolai asked as they stripped for the shower. “No” Nikolai smiled and they went into the bathroom. They had a quick shower then Pandora texted Hardy to meet them in the lobby when he was done before she put on clean clothes. He wasn’t there when they arrived so Pandora cuddled up to Nikolai as she had on the jet. This was a new behavior he was already adoring.
“You know, I used to cut Hardy’s hair, when we were teenagers. His dad was neglectful and his mom wasn’t around. He didn’t have any money for a barber and at one point his hair was to his shoulders. He had to pull it back in a ponytail. One day I asked him if he wanted me to cut it, I guess he didn’t want to impose, but once I offered he let me chop it off.”
“I said I don’t cut it, I just have to remind him every now and then to get it trimmed or he starts to look like a sheepdog.”
“Who looks like a sheepdog?” Hardy asked as he came up behind them.
“You do.” Pandora said as she got to her feet and pushed his hair out of his face.
“I said I’d get it cut, I’ve just been busy is all.”
“More like forgetful.” She messed his hair up and he narrowed his eyes at her as he brushed it back. “Don’t make that face, it’s very unbecoming of someone your age.”
“So is sitting in your office, staring at your ceiling fan and pining over someone.”
She punched his shoulder then put him in a headlock. “Jerk.”
“You started it.”
She laughed and let him go then they all left, hailing a cab. Nikolai asked the driver to take them to the best restaurant he recommended, showing off his ability to speak German. Pandora smiled, knowing he was doing it for her. She slipped her hand in his and he once again brushed a kiss across her knuckles. It made her heart flutter. “After we eat, we need to get on finding our traffickers. It’s important to stop them before they move their victims. We’ll never see them again if they do.” Nikolai said.
“I know, I wouldn’t have suggested food if we didn’t need it.”
“I know” When they were seated they all made quick selections and hailed the waiter. It seemed like an eternity got their food to be set in front of them but they ate in a civilized manner since they were in such a nice place. When they were done they split the bill three ways and Nikolai left the tip. Now it was time for business and they were anxious to get this taken care of before it was too late.
Hardy spoke “I’m following you twos lead. Kind of out of my element here”
“same job as if they all spoke english Hardy”
“still, I need to learn a few more languages like you and baldy here”
“I’ll teach you when we’re back but you’ll have to cut that hair first”
“I am I am”
Pandora laughed at them teasing each other, happy that Nikolai was making an effort to be more friendly and open. “So Hardy what did the boss man say about the traffickers?” Pandora asked.
“There are many places in this city where you can ask to buy humans, Nikie’s boss gave me the address of one of them so we can pound the information out of him.”
“Nickie?” Nikolai said questioningly.
“It is a pretty cute name.” Pandora added.
“Not you too.”
“Awe, my sweet, adorable, loving Nickie.”
“Since I have to be Nickie, what should I call you?”
“Peter Pan.” Hardy answered and Pandora blushed as she was hailing a cab.
“Hardy, you ass.”
“Why Peter Pan?” Nikolai asked.
“Because when we were in high school she played Peter Pan in a school play. She was so cute in her green tights and hat.”
“Not funny Hardy.” She grabbed him by the ear and he laughed and she only let him go when a cab pulled to a stop in front of them. “Fine, I won’t call you Nickie, so please don’t call me Peter Pan.”
“Deal.” Nikolai kissed her cheek and her heart gave a little flutter, how she loved this sweet side of him. “Unless I need to that is.” He whispered in her ear.
She smiled, a small blush tinting her otherwise white cheeks. They told the driver where to go then continued making lighthearted conversation all the way there. People were suffering but when you deal with suffering and pain as often as they did somtimes you needed to be laughing together at the wrong times to make it through. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it or how rewarding it is to know the horrible things you prevent from happening.
The building the cab driver stopped in front of said sleaze. There was a man at the door and a few scantily dressed women on either side of the street. It was freezing outside tonight. Nikolai paid the driver and they all climbed out, both Pandora and Hardy giving a small shiver. They approached the building and the man at the front door held up his hand, a sign for them to stop.
“Wir sind fur Unternehmen.” Nikolai said, staring straight into the doorman’s eyes.
“What business?” The doorman asked, his voice thick with a German accent.
“The business of flesh. We were told we should come here for the best deal.”
“I need to pat you down before I let you in.”
Pandora wrinkled her nose in disgust and Nikolai immediately noticed her reaction. He knew there was no way she was going to let this man touch her. “That’s not going to happen.” He replied.
“Then you can’t go in.”
Nikolai smiled and shook his head. “I was really hoping to do this the easy way.” He grabbed the man by his throat and punched him in the solar plexus. “Get the door.” Pandora pushed the front door open and Nikolai forced the man inside. “Now, where is your boss?”
“Upstairs, we just go new girl in and he likes too…” Nikolai kneed him in the face then took off upstairs as the man slumped to the ground.
“Stay here and keep watch Hardy, find something to tie that man up with.” Pandora ordered as she followed Nikolai.
Hardy quickly obeyed, already feeling disgust in his stomach. Crying and muffled screams filled Pandora and Nikolai’s ears before they had finished going up the stairs. Nikolai bust through the door the distressed sounds were coming from and ripped the bastard away from his victim. The woman was still terrified, not knowing if Nikolai was going to start raping her next. When Pandora came in she began freeing her, trying not to look in those terrified eyes.
Pandora helped her up “you ok?” her voice was barely audible over the grunts and ruckus of the men fighting “Nikolai don’t kill him! We still need to talk to him!” she yelled at her lover. Pandora looked at the woman again “you okay?’ she shrugged, honestly not knowing if she was. Pandora wished they had a car Hardy could sit with her in but they didn’t so she had to sit on the bed while they interrogated this low life.
The man had a broken nose and already had signs of deep bruises along with a busted lip. He was sitting on the floor, already pathetically submitting to Nikolai out of fear. These men were so rarely anything more than cowards who abused women because it was the only way they felt power at all.
“Now you listen to me, you’re going to tell me everything I want to know and if you lie I’ll break one of your fingers and I’ll break another and another until you decide telling me the truth is a good idea.” Nikolai’s voice was an angry growl. “Do you understand?”
“Y…yes, but my English…”
“That’s alright I can speak German just fine.” The man just nodded his understanding. “Uns wurde gesagt, es ist ein Deal hinunter , dass ein paar Leute würden verkauft und verschifft werden. Wo ist das stattfindet? ”
“Es ist ein Lager , wo wir auf der Südseite der Stadt halten die Waren. Niemand da geht , weil es ist heruntergekommen . Sie bereits gekauft haben, sondern weil es zwanzig von ihnen müssen wir bis zum nächsten Monat warten, um sie zu bewegen. Wenn Sie dort gehen, werden Sie sie finden. Der Mann, der die Stelle benannt Abbo Uhren , kann er Ihnen, unseren Chef zu lenken.”
“Thank you. You can do your job now Pandora, I got what we need.”
Pandora moved away from the woman and pulled out her gun. “May you suffer the same torment in Hell that you put these women through.” She pressed the barrel of the gun to the man’s head and squeezed the trigger. He slumped to the floor and Pandora spat on his corpse. “Nikolai please carry that woman.”
Nikolai turned to the young woman sitting on the bed and she flinched away from him. “It’s alright, Ich will einfach nur , um Sie von hier.” She nodded and Nikolai wrapped a blanket around her before lifting her off the bed. Hardy was standing by the front door, watching out the window for anyone who might try to get the jump on them.
“Where’s the guy who was tied up?” Pandora asked.
“In the living room.” Pandora went into the living room and killed the doorman. “So where to now?” Hardy asked.
“After we get this woman to a hospital, we need to go to a warehouse on the South side. We’ll be looking for a man named Abbo and releasing twenty innocent victims.”
“Should we call the authorities?”
“After we have captured Abbo, killed any with him and rescued the men and women who have been kidnapped. We don’t want them getting killed because Abbo and his men heard sirens.”
At the hospital they couldn’t take her straight away so Pandora asked “it’s okay if it’ll be too much but can just Hardy wait here with you so we can go ahead and save those women. I swear he’d never hurt you. Hardys a good man so you don’t have to be afraid of him” she didn’t look like it was what she wanted but she still told Pandora she could go with Nikolai to help the other girls. Natascha knew she would want help as fast as possible. As they ran out Hardy said “somtimes hospitals can be really slow. You want a drink or anything at all let me know. I’m sure those men slapped you around quite a bit, especially if you spoke out of turn but I want you to tell me if you need anything.” she nodded, wanting to say thank you but her vocal cords offered nothing.
Pandora and Nikolai paid the next driver to speed until they got close. They would have done the same on the way to the hospital with so many lives at stake but they didn’t want to scare Natascha or get in an accident and cause the poor woman more trauma. Pandora hoped the woman spoke as much English as she seemed to since she had left her alone with Hardy. She wished he had decided to learn more languages sooner.
Natascha was called back, but refused to go without Hardy. She grabbed his hand and wouldn’t let go until the nurses said it was okay for him to come back. The nurses talked to her in German and she only looked more and more terrified. “What are you saying?” Hardy asked.
“We wanted permission to do a rape kit on her, to find the man who did it.” The nurse explained.
He looked at Natascha, her face was a mask of fear. “If she doesn’t want too then don’t make her.” He couldn’t tell them the rapist was already dead, that justice had been served for not only Natascha, but for the other women that had been victimized. The nurse asked her if she was sure and Natascha just nodded. “Can she get a shower and something to eat?”
“Yes of course, we’ll get her a room.”
“Thank you.” She gripped his hand a little tighter. “I’m sorry I can’t speak German, but I’ll learn okay?” She gave him a small smile and nodded.
Nikolai and Pandora approached the warehouse, both of them looking like they meant business. The two armed guards tried to stop them, but she shot one and Nikolai broke the neck of the other and took his weapon. He kicked the door open, startling the men sitting around the table drinking and playing cards. “Where the fuck is Abbo?” Nikolai asked angrily.
“I am Abbo.” One of the men stood. “What business do you have here?”
“We need to talk to you.” Pandora added.
Abbo chuckled. “Töten den Mann, die Frau zu nehmen .” The men with Abbo pointed their guns at Nikolai.
“Do you really think I’d let you have my beautiful little Peter Pan.” Nikolai said and she felt herself blushing. “You can shoot me, but I will not die until every single one of you has been wiped off this earth.” She could see their fingers tightening on the triggers so she raised her gun and opened fire. A bullet from one of their guns clipped Nikolai’s shoulder, but she managed to dispatch of all of them except Abbo. “Good job baby.” Nikolai said, quickly crossing the room and grabbing Abbo by the throat. “Please search for the prisoners while I interrogate this man.”
Pandora rushed on without another word. Seconds had to be hours for these poor people. Thats always what she heard from the victims if she interacted with them. A smile pushed its way onto her face when she heard that asshole who shot her boyfriend and was selling these girls howl in agony over whatever Nikolai was doing to him. “fuck” she cursed when she heard the frightened noises of what even sounded like children and there were chains and a large lock keeping them in. She hoped it was her over worrying about child victims that made her think they were also selling children and that there weren’t seriously any little ones being sold.
She was horrified to find that she had heard right. She didn’t know their exact ages, but the youngest looked to be about six years old. Her stomach twisted and she felt a knot forming in her throat. They all backed away from the front of their cage, hiding behind the oldest children who looked like they were not much older than fourteen. There were men and women, ranging from ages twenty to thirty years of age. All of the women looked terrified and some of the men just looked pissed, they were the ones who had refused to be broken. “I’m here to help you all, please don’t be afraid.” She said, keeping her voice calm.
The all looked at her skeptically so she holstered her weapon and looked around the room for the key. She found it a few minutes later hanging near the door and went to the first cell, unlocking it. She pulled the door open and gestured for the women inside to come out. They tentatively got to their feet and moved slowly out. She went from cell to cell, letting everyone out. The children were the most terrified, but she managed to get them out. The six year old ran to her and she lifted the little girl off the ground. “Home.” Was all she said and Pandora gave her a squeeze.
“We’ll get you home, I promise.” They went back upstairs, running into Nikolai. “Abbo?”
“Dead and I have his boss’s location.”
“Call the cops then so these people can be taken home. Some of them are from countries other than Germany.” He nodded and pulled out his phone while she rocked the little girl in her arms. “Did they do anything to her?” Pandora asked one of the older children.
“They don’t touch anyone younger than twelve because the people buying them like virgins.” The oldest boy answered. Her stomach turned again and she held the girl a little tighter.
Pandora and Nikolai stayed with the victims until the very last group was taken. Pandora wished she could stay with that little girl until she was actually home with her parents but she had a job to do and social services probably wouldn’t allow that anyway. Pandoras mind stayed on that little girl as they drove to kill Abbos boss. She knew she’d have to use her connections to keep checking on her until she was back home. The boss had bodyguards but they didn’t stand a chance against Nikolai. He took care of them while Pandora blew that bastards brains all over the walls “fuck you you vile piece of shit” she seethed.
They called in to inform Nikolais boss the job was done then Nikolai pulled Pandora into a hug “you okay?”
“I will be. How the hell can anybody sleep at night and do what these sickos do” Nikolai kissed her head “lets go to the room and shower before we see what’s going on with that girl and Hardy.”
“I’ll text him on the way there so he knows it’s all done” They let go of eachother and and called the local police for a ride. At this point a cabbie would probably be too afraid of them to pick them up. They really should have just used the car that they drove to the hotel. Pandora honestly wasn’t sure why they had hailed a cab instead of using it but she blamed it on her mind being busy considering working for Nikolais boss, It was nice working with her boyfriend so if his boss would hire both her and Hardy it wouldn’t be a bad change.
Nikolai had it much better with his jets and cars waiting for them to use.
Once they were back in their room Pandora called Hardy. He answered immediately with a whispered, “Yeah?”
“Hey Hardy, how’s the girl?”
“She’s sleeping, I’d step out of her room, but she’s gripping my hand pretty tight. So did you find what you were looking for?”
She sighed. “And then some, there were children there Hardy, boys and girls.”
“Damn, are they okay?”
“As okay as they can be in a situation like this.”
“I’m just glad you two saved them.” Hardy grew silent for a moment. “Hey Pan, lets talk later, Natascha’s moving around.”
She smiled. “Alright, stay safe.” She hung up and placed her phone on top of the chest of drawers.
“You okay?” Nikolai asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind.
“Just exhausted and I feel so sick.”
“I’m sorry my love, how about we take a shower.” He kissed her cheek. “Then we can order some food.” His lips moved down to her neck, causing goosebumps to rise on her skin.
“Sounds good baby. Then later, way later, I think I’ll call your boss and ask to start working for him.”
He smiled against her skin “thank you”
“I hate flying with other people and working with you would be nice. Next time we cant let the fact we have our own car slip our minds” He chuckled “I figured you calling a cab was habit and left it alone. Plus it gave me a shot right away to show off my german and impress you”
“so you admit to that huh?” he smiled again. “well you’re observant. You knew that anyway” Nikolai began stripping her and she just enjoyed it. His hands ran smoothly down and over her body in a way that made her want him but she still felt too sick over those children. In any other situation she would have been putty in his hands. She needed to remind herself that none of their decisions should be made while his hands were on her body.
When she was naked she stripped him and they took a long shower together, ending up just holding one another under the hot spray. When they were done Nikolai ordered food while Pandora dressed in somthing comfortable. When he hung up he only put boxers on before pulling her into bed. “aw you want to cuddle” she said teasing and he didn’t answer. She kissed his chest “I love you Nikolai”
“I know, I don’t deserve it.”
“Now why would you say that?”
“Because I don’t know how to be human, I can torture a man for information, I can go days without food or water or sit in the snow and not feel a thing, but ask me how to love someone or show affection and I’m totally at a loss. The truth is, you are not my first relationship, but you are the first woman who has been willing to give me everything. There were a couple who hated me because I wasn’t emotional enough, then there were those who couldn’t be with a sterile man, they hated I wouldn’t talk, they hated me suddenly disappearing. I just don’t want to screw things up, I don’t want you to see me as a monster or think I hate you.”
She snuggled closer. “I already know that you’re probably going to piss me off, you’re not used to all of this, but I can deal with being pissed, I can breathe or count my way through being pissed. My love for you will only grow.”
“I really love you Pandora, only you.”
She gave a soft laugh. “I know you’d never cheat on me, you’re far to serious and honest for something like that too happen. You’re not the type to deceive someone, I mean you look murderers and rapists and kidnappers in the face and tell them exactly what you think of them. You are the most amazing man I know.”
There was a knock on their room door and he kissed her cheek before getting up, grabbing his wallet, and opening the door. He paid for the food and then brought it over to Pandora. “Whatever’s in here smells really good.”
“I’m serious about loving you Nikolai, you are the love of my life so stop doubting yourself so much.”
“I’m sorry you had to witness something so terrible, seeing those people locked up like animals…I can tell how horrible it made you feel even without you saying anything. That’s another thing that was bothering me, was how horrified you were. I just want you to understand, that that sort of thing is common with my work and if you work with me you may see worse.”
“I can handle it. I’ve seen a lot of horrible things before this. Stop worrying and eat with me”
“Its hard to help Pandora.”
“I love you too now lets eat” He smiled and handed Pandora her food. They ate and talked, all the while Nikolai loosening up and just enjoying the fact their job was over and he could just be with Pandora. He was still surprised she wanted to be with him after ignoring her in Japan. He knew he’d never find another woman like Pandora so he was going to do his best to keep her happy with him. That night she fell asleep in his arms while he stroked her back. He followed Pandora into sleep looking forward to all these nights to come.
~ The End ~