Stranger things…



Disclaimer: Some characters mine. Story mine.

The mounted police officer drew to a stop on the busy street in Auckland, slid off her horse's back and quickly tied the reins to a sign post. Then she turned and sprinted down a narrow alley.

The blonde's green eyes watched the tall officer disappear and, without really knowing why, followed her.

Twenty metres in, she saw the officer, surrounded by three thugs, defending a frightened woman. Glancing around she picked up a discarded metre-long piece of two-by-two and quietly approached the thugs who had their backs to her.

Without hesitation she whacked the first across the side of his head, swung the stick down onto the weapon-holding arm of the second, hearing a loud crack as the bone gave way, then sidestepped, dodging the third and cracked him smartly on the back of the neck.

It was some time later before the thugs had been carted off, under guard, to the hospital and statements had been taken.

"Thank you, Miss. We have everything we need for now. We'll be in touch if we need anything else." The kind-faced, male police officer said.

"You're welcome officer." Replied the blonde.

At that moment the mounted police officer walked over intending to speak to her blonde rescuer for almost the first time since the incident. As she approached, her colleague turned and noticed her. "Hey, Zee, you okay?"

"Yeah!" she replied. "No worries." She was left alone facing the blonde and caught herself staring as she looked properly into her face for the first time. "Ah, I just wanted to thank you again for…" she held out her hand. "Name's Fran by the way."

The blonde took the offered hand seeing her own swallowed up in the larger one. "I'm Gay." She replied, with a gentle smile. The officer's eyes' widened in surprise and her jaw slackened slightly. The blonde's lips parted in a dazzling smile. "I'm sorry, I just can't resist doing that. My name is Gay, Gabrielle actually, but that's such a mouthful, I always think."

Fran's eyes slitted as she took control of her expression again, but a small smile betrayed her true reaction as she made a single, exaggerated nod of understanding.

"That other guy called you Zee. Where does that come from… if you don't mind me asking?" A small frown crossed Gay's forehead.

Fran rolled her eyes. "Short version… I mentioned, ages ago to a bunch of the guys, that I used to watch a TV programme called 'Xena' and…" she waved her hands up and down in front of her, and then raised her eyebrows.

Gay scanned the tall, well-built frame in front of her, looked at the blue eyes six inches above her own and at the dark auburn hair above them. "I used to watch that too, and I see what you mean." The two women shared a chuckle.

The police officer broke the short silence. "What you did back there… that was pretty impressive." Eyebrows hiked upwards again.

The blonde shrugged. "Texas State Kendo champion, a few years back."

"Kendo? Isn't that the martial art that uses… um…?"

"Big sticks, yeah. Shinai actually."

"Well, you certainly know how to use one. Glad you were on my side." The blonde flushed slightly and looked down. Fran's eyes glazed as she thought back to the earlier events. "That was pretty stupid of me actually. I should know better than to go into a situation like that, alone." She mumbled in disgust, almost to herself.

Gay looked up into the glum face. "You weren't alone. Besides, that lady was in trouble. What you did was good. You protected her."

"I guess so." Fran's eyes cleared as the truth of the blonde's words sunk home. "Regular little Xena and Gabrielle we are, huh?" Her voice trailed off as she looked into the face in front of her, taking in the long, blonde locks. "Uh, you're not from a town called Potidaea, are you?"

Gay snorted. "That would be just too weird. No, I'm from just outside Houston actually. You?"

"Born and bred around here. What are you doing over here? Vacation?"

"Partly, but I'm here mainly for the folk festival."

"A fan?"

"Um, no, I'm a singer."

"Get outa here! A folk singer! You're a bard."

The blonde giggled. "Well, I suppose you could say that. Equally, I could call you a warrior." The two laughed with each other, then fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts. Gay spoke quietly after several long moments. "Xena and Gabrielle… did you think they were…" she broke off suddenly wishing she hadn't verbalised her thoughts.

"Too right! No question." Fran's instantaneous reply betrayed where her own thoughts had been. Silence fell again.

"You don't suppose we…" Gay whispered, shyly. Their eyes locked.

Fran took a deep breath and opened her mouth, then closed it again shaking her head. "Nah! If they had been real… Nice idea though." She gave the blonde a crooked smile.

"Yeah, of course. What was I thinking. Sorry!" she smiled.

The two were quiet again for several seconds and the silence was just starting to get a little awkward when Fran cleared her throat nervously. "Erm, would you like… I mean… oh bugger… look, can I buy you lunch or something… by way of a thank you of course." She added hastily, fidgeting uncomfortably.

Gay looked at her new friend affectionately and placed a small hand on the tall officer's forearm causing her to glance up into warm, friendly green eyes. "I would like that, very much… Xena." She grinned.

Fran returned the grin. "Choice! Come on then… Gabrielle." She said, draping her arm across the folk singer's shoulders and turning them towards where her horse stood patiently at the roadside. "Argo awaits."

The two women laughed heartily as they strolled off together.

Somewhere, on the ethereal plane, a high-pitched voice rang out. "YES! Am I just totally good, or what!"


Story by: IAN HAYES
Have you thanked your Bard today?  Please Feed The Bard.

Back to the Challenge

Back to the Academy