Disclaimer: Alphas is not mine, nor are the characters. I am borrowing these characters for entertainment purposes only.

This is set in season 2 after 'the kiss.' I think it was a big mistake that the writers did so little to follow that up because by ignoring it, they pretty much made the kiss a superfluous attempt to grab ratings and there was so much potential. So I wrote this. I hope people like it.

"You kissed Nina."

Rachel's eyes flew up in shock to meet Gary non-judgmental but extremely curious gaze. "What?"

"You kissed her. I heard Bill talking to Hicks. Though, I thought Nina was kissing Hicks before," he frowned trying to make sense of everything he'd learned recently, "but he was her boyfriend. You're a girl so you can't be her boyfriend."

Rachel sighed. Gary was a tenacious young man but she knew he couldn't help it. "Gary I really don't want to talk about it."

"Bill said she made you kiss her. That you didn't want to. Did you?

Rachel closed her eyes., accepting her young friend was not going to let this go. "No I didn't but…"

"She made you do something against your will. That's illegal so I'll go arrest her now."

"No Gary, you can't do that."

"Yeah, I can," Gary said animatedly. "She ...she used her powers to do bad things and hurt people and she needs to be arrested. I can do it. I'm a Federal Agent, so she'll have to go with me," Gary said confidently.

"Gary please, leave it alone," Rachel said desperately. She was finally starting to come to terms with what happened that night and was nearly ready to reach out to her friend again. When she'd had her hallucination of Nina lying dead at the bottom of the pool, she was forced to accept that Nina meant far more to her than she'd ever realized and that was part of the reason why she'd made the offer to have a drink with her. She truly missed her but she also needed to know if Nina had ever truly respected her.

"No Rachel. Nina can make anybody do whatever she wants. Well, she can't do that to me because I'm amazing but anyone else she can. That's bad. She's bad."

Rachel had no idea what to say. She knew in her heart that Nina Theroux wasn't bad. She wasn't the shallow, self indulgent bitch she'd been acting like when she had left the team or even when she'd pushed her, but until she could actually talk to Nina and find out what she had been thinking or feeling, she couldn't defend her either.

"I know Gary," she said, fully aware of what made the older woman such a dangerous threat, still she'd also seen how gentle Nina could be, especially with Gary and it broke her heart to hear her called bad. "She is dangerous, but…"

"Oh, hey Nina," Gary greeted calmly. "I was just saying that you assaulted Rachel and that makes you a criminal so I have to arrest you now."

Nina looked from Gary to a guilty Rachel, hoping Rachel wasn't able to pick up how much their words had hurt her. She'd arrived outside the break room just in time to hear Gary call her bad and Rachel agree and it was if the last tiny flicker of hope died inside of her.

After they'd stopped Jason Miller and his possessed mob, Rachel had come to her with an offer of drinks and Nina had hoped it meant that Rachel was willing to let her start to fix what she'd broken. Unfortunately, she'd had to decline and Rachel had never brought up rescheduling. Still, Rachel had been talking to her more and more and Nina kept hoping.

Now she finally accepted that Rachel had never stopped hating her and any interest she had in redeeming herself was gone.

"Fine. Go ahead and do what you have to, Gary," she said numbly. She had thought that…no, it didn't matter. If the one person who's opinion mattered more than anyone else's couldn't forgive her, it didn't matter. Nothing did.

"You have the…the right to um…to be quiet," Gary recited distractedly as he patted his pockets for his handcuffs. "You have the right…. where are my handcuffs? Who took my handcuffs?"

"Gary stop," Rachel said, her horrified eyes watching Nina's expressionless face. She could only imagine what Nina was thinking when she'd heard them talking and it shook Rachel to know she'd hurt her.

"No. No Rachel, people aren't supposed to touch my stuff," he muttered in irritation.

"They're probably in your desk," Rachel said patiently, "but you're not going to arrest Nina."

"I have to, it's my job and people shouldn't touch my stuff," he muttered irritably.

"Gary, I don't want her arrested," Rachel said her eyes firmly locked on Nina's, willing her to say something…anything, but she stayed silent.

"But she assaulted you," Gary muttered moving around to approach the taller woman.

"No, she didn't assault me. She made a mistake."

"Yeah but..."

"Gary please. Nina is your friend, right?" Rachel pulled her worried gaze from Nina's,

"Sure, but that doesn't matter. Criminals have to go to jail."

"Not Nina," she interrupted shortly and then realized how what she said would be perceived. "I mean she's not a criminal. Just…leave it alone. Please."

Gary scratched the back of his neck. This wasn't how it was supposed to work. Someone does something bad they go to jail but Rachel said it wasn't bad but if the victim didn't press charges he couldn't arrest her. He shrugged.

"I'm going to my office," he said abruptly and left the breakroom.

"Nina," Rachel said softly and stepped toward the woman who had yet to say anything.

"I suppose I should thank you for your generosity," Nina finally spoke, her voice devoid of any emotion.

"Oh come on Nina," Rachel urged. "It's Gary. He didn't mean anything."

"No, Gary always means everything he says. That's one of the things I love most about him. He always says exactly what he's thinking."

Rachel looked away, knowing that was aimed at her. "How long were you there?" she finally asked in resignation.

"Long enough," Nina stated before leaving the breakroom and heading back to her office.

"Nina wait."

Nina stopped in her tracks and turned around almost angrily. "Wait for what Rachel? It was pretty clear you share Gary's opinions, so what else is there to say?"

"Gary doesn't understand. You don't understand," Rachel argued.

"Right. Gary only thinks I'm a criminal but you know I'm really a monster, right?"

Rachel's stomach clenched violently. "Oh my god, Nina. No. I don't think that."

"Sure. I'm just dangerous. Hell, maybe you and Senator Burton can compare notes," she stated and then offered a pained smirk. "On the plus side, at least when I assaulted you, I didn't nearly kill you. That's something, right?"

Rachel gasped at the revelation. She had no idea Nina had been so tormented by what had happened to the Senator and she should have. Nina had been willing to risk exposure to provide the medical records Burton's doctors needed to save her because of what she'd done at Rosen's request. The fact that she had let herself be talked into pushing that hard was enough to show how hard Nina had been trying and then to walk in and hear herself being called 'bad' and 'dangerous'…

Rachel left her thoughts when she saw Nina walking away again and suddenly she was angry.

"No, you don't get to walk away Nina," she called following the taller woman into her office and closing the door.

"What do you want from me Rachel?" Nina said desperately.

Rachel's heart hurt seeing the slight flush on Nina's pale cheeks and the dampness in her sad eyes but she wasn't going to let this go. Not anymore.

"I want you to finally face up to what you did. Not just to me but to…"

"Jesus Christ Rachel, what the hell do you think I've been doing?" Nina shouted, lowering her voice at the slight flinch from the sensitive woman.

"I've done everything Rosen and everyone else wanted me to even at the risk of Burton's life but when I tried to fix that I get my ass chewed. When I try to talk to you, I'm shut out. I'm sick of being a tool that's only worth acknowledging when I'm useful. I'm sick of being reminded what a threat I am until somebody wants something. I'm sick of all of this. Yes, I made some horrible mistakes. Mistakes I'll live with for the rest of my life, but I've owned up to them and I've apologized. Well I tried, but it seems like none of the alpha's here were given the ability of forgiveness. You will never forgive me and you'll never let me forget. So, what's the point in even trying?"

Rachel didn't like the way the usually formidable woman seemed to be giving up. "Nina come on, that's such a cop out," she argued.

Nina felt her abilities kicking in and the words ordering Rachel to leave and forget the conversation were on her tongue and she knew Rachel could sense it. The flash of fear in the dark eyes caused her to stop. She wouldn't push Rachel ever again. She wouldn't push anyone unless it was HER choice ever again.

She turned her eyes to her computer, pretending that whatever was on it was the most interesting thing in the world. "Maybe it is," she agreed. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting a headache and still have work to do."

Rachel felt sick. Something was terribly wrong but Nina had shut down. She'd put her walls firmly back up because of her and she didn't know how to fix it. She opened her mouth to say something but Nina's blatantly false attempts to ignore her told Rachel the conversation was closed.

She sighed and left the office, wondering if she should talk to Dr. Rosen, but deciding that she couldn't put Nina in that position, especially since her current mood was her fault.

"Where the hell was Nina," Bill complained, entering the lobby to their offices, and holding a handkerchief to his bloody forehead. "We needed her today."

"You shouldn't cuss Bill, it's unprofessional," Gary commented as they walked through the unwelcome agents that had taken up residence in his home.

"Yeah, well so is failing to be there to back up your team," Hicks grumbled, holding his bruised side.

"We don't know what happened," Rachel said, worry for the other woman flooding her mind.

"I do," Hicks said as they entered the lounge and closed the door. "She's been out of contact for a week and she failed to show again today when we needed her. It's pretty damned obvious she ran off again. It's what she does."

Rachel stiffened. "That's uncalled for," she said angrily.

Cameron either ignored or didn't hear the barely repressed anger in her voice. "I know her Rachel. She gets bored or stressed and she runs. She did it before." He hissed in pain as he shifted on the sofa.

"Sleeping with her doesn't mean you know her," Rachel snapped, ignoring the unwelcome flash of jealousy that went through her. "You've been on this team what…a few months? I…we've known her for over a year. This isn't like her. I'm sure she had her reasons for not being there." She wished she felt as confident as she sounded but she was painfully aware she'd hurt Nina badly and whatever happened was on her.

"Rachel…" Bill was as shocked as the rest of them by Rachel's outburst.

"She's right," Lee interrupted stepping into the lounge. "Nina is on a private assignment for me."

"Burton?" Kat asked, placing a bandage on Bill's forehead.

"No. She won't be doing that again," Lee said, fighting the shame of what his desperation had caused for both his friend and the unwitting Senator.

"Then what?" Bill demanded. "We have the right to know."

"Not on this you don't Bill," Lee replied firmly. "It's a private matter and I hope you will respect that."

Bill didn't like it. He didn't like working in the dark but he'd come to trust the older man despite some questionable decisions, so he'd give him some leeway. For now. "Fine," he conceded grudgingly.

"No, it's not fine," Hicks shouted. "We need to find her and make sure she's not off mind-raping someone else."

Rachel's hand was across his face before anyone could stop her. "Never say that again."

"Rachel, you hit Hicks. Why did you do that?" Gary asked growing agitated. "We're teammates. You aren't supposed to hit teammates." He hated fighting.

Rachel ignored him and stared at her hand as if it had taken on a life of its own.

"Rachel, what's the matter with you?" Bill asked stepping between the small woman who rarely raised her voice much less struck someone.

"Maybe Nina put the whammy on you again," Kat suggested with the bluntness that was still difficult to get used to.

"She didn't," Rachel protested fervently. "Maybe she's gone because she got tired of all of us judging her for using the same abilities we depend on."

"She deserves it," Bill retorted.

"Oh really? Because none of us have ever used our abilities to hurt someone else, right?"

"Not like that," Hicks said. "How can you defend her Rachel? She hurt you worst of all."

"That's right, she did," she said but unsure of how to finish that sentence.

"Ok everyone that's enough!" Lee said firmly. "This was my decision and one that needed to be made. I am counting on all of you to keep this within the team."

"You mean not tell Agent Cley? That's lying," Gary stated plainly.

"Not exactly Gary," Lee said calmly. "Just please everyone. Keep this quiet. This assignment…it's a private matter and not one that effects National Security."

The team reluctantly nodded but Rachel had sensed the lie. Doctor Rosen's pulse sped up and his temperature increased and that made her even more anxious. Had Nina gone rogue again? Or worse, had something bad happened to her?

"Thank you," Lee was saying. "Rachel, I'd like to talk to you in my office about what you were able to pick up in Levy's apartment."

Another lie. "Alright," she said and followed the older man out of the lounge.

"Why was Dr. Rosen lying?" Gary asked.

"What makes you think he was lying?" Bill asked sitting straighter.

"I've been practicing. I can tell," Gary shrugged. "He shouldn't lie to us. We're a team."

"Yeah," Cameron agreed. "Though it's not really the first time, is it? But why is he covering for Nina?"

"Maybe they're, you know doing a little horizontal mambo," Kat threw out casually.

"Why would they be dancing Kat? That's just stupid," Gary replied distractedly as he searched the electromagnetic waves that only he could see, for something interesting.

"Forget it Gary," Cameron snorted, not about to get into the birds and bees with the younger man.

"It is stupid. We're Federal Agents. We don't dance. Oh hey, I could hack into Dr. Rosen's office and see what he's talking to Rachel about."

Bill weighed his thoughts for a long moment and made a decision he hoped he wouldn't regret. "No thanks Gary. I think that for now we need to take him at his word. If Nina has gone bad again, I trust him to tell us."

"What is it?" Rachel asked as soon as the door closed behind her. "Is Nina okay?"

Lee smiled. "I should have known you'd realize I wasn't being entirely truthful. She's alright. Well, she's not injured or in imminent danger at any rate."

"Please Dr. Rosen, what's going on?"

Lee took a seat behind his desk and gestured for Rachel to do the same.

"She's gone Rachel," he said bluntly.

Rachel's heart jumped into her throat. "Gone?" she choked out. "Where?"

"She came to me last week and told me she was leaving the group."

"No. No, that's not right. Bring her back," Rachel ordered urgently, fear and guilt threatening to make her sick.

At any other time, Lee would have praised Rachel for her sudden assertiveness but he could hear the desperation in her voice.

"I can't Rachel and I don't think I would even if I could."

"But…. why? She needs us," Rachel felt the tears falling down her cheek and she didn't care. This was her fault.

Lee sighed heavily and ran a hand tiredly over his face. "You're right. She does. She needed us before but we weren't there for her so she ran off to try and find some peace the only way she knew how. Then she comes back and everyone, including me, treated her like an enemy until she became useful."

"Oh God," Rachel breathed. Rosen was right.

"Then I go and ask her to push Burton harder than she'd ever pushed anyone. She didn't want to do it but she felt…guilty for what she'd done and that she had no right to say no. It took a toll on her," Lee said sadly. "Not just mentally but physically as well."

"Wait…how?" Rachel asked with growing concern.

"She started having headaches but I couldn't allow her to let up. Not until Burton did what we wanted with those Photo stimulators."

Rachel frowned. It had taken days before she could even look at Nina after what had happened, but when she had, she'd seen something was off. Nina had been pale and drawn but Rachel had assumed it was just her guilty conscious.

"Well now we definitely have to get her back. She needs treatment and someone who will care for her and make sure she rests," Rachel insisted, her mind already refocusing to see if she could pick up anything thing from Nina.

"No. Stop Rachel," Lee said interrupting her before she could lose herself. "Nina needs to be alone. She swore on…well she convinced me that she wouldn't push anyone unless absolutely necessary but she needs this and as much as we can use her abilities, I've forced her enough. She finally deserves to try and find some happiness and that's why we're not telling anyone about this. Not even Cameron."

"But…" she has me, Rachel thought and her stomach tightened. No, she didn't. Rachel had seen to that.

"She asked me to give this to you," Lee said breaking into Rachel's thoughts.

Rachel saw the envelope Dr. Rosen was holding out but made no move to take it. She could see the words even inside the envelope but she didn't want to know what it said.

"She is more sorry than you'll ever know for what she did Rachel. I just hope that one day you'll give her the chance to tell you in person."

Rachel could feel the tears of guilt and regret stinging her eyes as she took the letter. "I know," she whispered and then fled the office needing to be alone and she could only think of one place she wanted…needed to be.