Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA and Universal Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story contains fairly graphic violence. It also contains a consensual relationship between two women. If this is not legal where you are, or you are not of age, then read another story.
The characters contained in this story are mine, and mine alone. Do not copy or distribute this story without my consent. Characters within this story bearing resemblance to persons dead or alive are unintended.
Another disclaimer I liked: although many of the locations mentioned in this story are real, I have taken artist license in describing them.
Thank you to my beta author Buxxer.
Thanks also to my beta reader Mercury.
All comments can be sent to email@example.com
Toni drove first. The trek out of Key West was slow. There was only one road and the only thing that was on their minds was the safety of their friends. When they reached the end of the 18-mile stretch, which meant they were on the mainland of Florida, they stopped long enough to use the restroom and grab a bite to eat. Megan drove next. About an hour and a half later, they were moving through Fort Lauderdale. Toni could see the stress on Megans face.
"Maybe we should get a hotel room?" Toni tried.
"No," Megan stated adamantly. "We need to keep moving."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I really dont need to stop this close to my family, and not be able to see them."
Toni understood perfectly because of the problems they had faced in Gainesville. She had been the one to insist on them stopping there, and it wasnt enough for Megan. She had to see her brother. And Toni knew that it was her interference that had led to that meeting, so she couldnt imagine her lover stewing in a town that consisted of the bulk of her family. Toni took over the driving at that point, continuing north on the Florida Turnpike. They were nearing Fort Pierce when Toni realized that she needed some rest.
"Meg Megan " she tried, as she gently shook her lover awake. "I cant drive anymore. Can we please stop and rest tonight?"
It took a few minutes before Megan really woke up and saw where they were. She knew she was too tired to drive, and one look at her companion spoke volumes. "Yes pull off and well rest." Megan told her, giving her blessing.
They found a Days Inn and grabbed a room. The only thing the clerk thought was unusual was that they checked in the motel around 1am.
They awoke around 8am; both of them fatigued and worried. They knew that something bad had happened in Key West, but not the details. They showered together, more from the need for closeness and comfort than for intimacy. Megan prepared herself for the phone call she would have to make to Tate while Toni studied the map, trying to figure out where to go next.
Megan started her phone call ritual and about an hour later she had Tate on the line. She returned to their room after more than an hour, the details written on her face. She collapsed in Tonis arms, all pretense of strength and stoicism gone.
"What did he say?" Toni prodded gently after Megan calmed.
"There was gunfire at Jacks bar. The one you recognized, Frankie Seldano is dead, two others were wounded and Jack Jack is in critical condition he was shot in the chest. They dont think hes going to live." That was all Megan could relay before the tears began in earnest.
They held each other and dozed uneasily throughout the afternoon. After grabbing a bite for dinner, Megan gave Toni the other details that Frank Tate had passed on. There was no sign of the other assailant, the one responsible for shooting Jack and the two others. It appears as though Jack shot Seldano in self-defense. The incident was being reported as a gay bashing, but several eyewitnesses confirmed having seen two women dash through the bar shortly before the shooting.
As much as Megan was hurting, she noticed that Tonis grief seemed to go much deeper. Megan had watched a friendship blossom between Toni and Jack that matched the one she shared with Bill. But she saw how hard it was for Toni to develop that bond with another person. When the four of them were together, Toni and Jack shared inside jokes that she and Bill were not privy to, and saw how Toni would open up to Jack, something she had only done with her. Megan decided that she needed to draw Toni out, to get her to express how she was feeling.
"Toni, Jack is going to make it I know he is "
"How can you know that?" Toni shouted, her hurt and frustration bursting through her façade. "Hes lying in that hospital bed because of me, Megan!" Her hands clenched and unclenched as she tried to control her anger. Tears rolled freely down her face. "I dont know what I would do if I have to lose another person I love to this this madness." She paced back and forth across the hotel room floor. "This isnt worth it to me anymore. I dont want to testify. I thought I was doing a good thing the right thing for once in my miserable life and look where its gotten me!"
"Toni this is not your fault," Megan tried.
"Yes it is my fault! My father, Sal, John Taylor, that Marshal in Seattle and now Jack its all my fault and and I cant do it anymore " she trailed off as she collapsed on the bed.
"You can do it, I have faith in you," Megan said quietly as she held Toni in her arms.
"No Im done because I dont want you to be next. I cant stand the thought of losing you too."
Megan felt a shiver run down her spine. It was only a couple of days ago that she sat in a bar in Key West feeling sorry for herself, because it might upset her life if she wanted to stay with Toni. Now Toni had convinced herself that she couldnt testify against the Ribisis because she was losing the people that she loved in the process. She wondered how was she ever going to bring up the subject of their future now? The last thing Toni needed to hear was that after her testimony, they wouldnt be together. Megan could barely fathom that thought herself, and she knew that in Tonis fragile state, that it would send her plummeting over the edge.
They changed hotels, just to keep on the move. It took several hours, but somehow, Megan had convinced Toni that her testimony against the Ribisi crime organization was more important than ever. She checked in with Tate the very next day and he told her that Jacks condition was still critical, but stable.
"Where do we go from here?" Toni asked.
"A place where we can be lost in the crowd," Megan replied sighing.
"Can you think of any place like that?" Toni asked again, too tired and worn down to try and come up with something herself.
Megan took the guidebook from Toni and absently thumbed through it. She browsed through a few pages and stopped. She shook her head and continued on.
"What? What did you find?" Toni asked.
"Nothing it wouldnt work," Megan responded.
Megan handed the guidebook back to Toni open to the section she was referring to.
Toni looked at the book and then up at Megan in astonishment. "This is perfect!" she exclaimed. "There would be tons of people around, no one would think to look for us here."
"Are you sure?" Megan asked.
"Dont you think it would be perfect?"
"I guess it does have what we need," she answered, then threw up her hands, "Disney World, here we come."
They found a Comfort Inn near Orlando that had an empty room. Megan checked in with Tate and found out that Jacks condition had been upgraded to serious but stable. This news provided both women with a modicum of relief, but they both knew that Jack was not out of the woods yet. Toni even found herself praying to God, something she hadnt done since her mother died.
They were amazed at the number of people who were planning to spend Christmas and New Years in the tourist town. Toni wouldnt hear of actually visiting the theme park, her heart wasnt in it, but Megan did convince her to swim in the hotel pool the evening they arrived.
By the 23rd of December, Toni was sufficiently bored, and gave in to Megans insistence on visiting at least one of the parks. In anticipation, Megan had bought them each a 5-day pass that gave them admission to each of the parks and several other attractions as well. The hotel had a bus that would take them to The Magic Kingdom, and traveled back to the hotel several times a day. Megan assured Toni that if she didnt like the park, they could return to the hotel at almost any time of the day.
Having been there many times as a child, and even a few as an adult, Megan knew what to expect. And she knew that no matter what your age, the first time you went to Disney World was magical. She insisted on taking the ferry into the Magical Kingdom, instead of the monorail, because it helped build the anticipation. And although Toni was feigning disinterest, she knew she had her hooked.
Although she didnt really want to go, Megan seemed to really want to visit Disney World, so Toni had finally given in. It seemed like such a hassle, and an expensive one at that, to visit Kiddyland. But Megan was determined so she went along. She wasnt prepared for the feelings she had when they walked through the gate onto Main Street. It was like being in another time another place, and the enthusiasm of the people around her set the mood. She allowed Megan to lead her around by the hand, all the while, feeling as though she should pick her jaw up off the ground. Why didnt they have places like this when I was a kid? she wondered briefly, and then mentally slapped herself. They did, but we never came. She had convinced herself before the day began that the park was for children, and that adults could not possibly get anything out of the experience, except to please their offspring. Boy was I wrong!
As they passed by the Main Street Confectionery, Toni stopped Megan in her tracks. "What?" Megan asked.
"Look," was all Toni said as she stared through the window like a small child, and watched the confectioner dip large, ripe strawberries in milk chocolate.
"Want one?" Megan asked, smiling. She was reminded of the time, about two years ago, when she took her nephews Tommy and Jeff here. Her brother Pat couldnt take time off of work, and her sister-in-law Susan had no interest. She and the boys had had a wonderful time, and this was one of their first stops.
"Yeah, I do," Toni said, following Megan into the candy store. Megan chuckled to herself as they made their way in line to the counter. It seemed that Toni was unable to decide what candy she wanted, so Megan purchased a half dozen of the chocolate covered strawberries. They stepped aside so that others could buy their candy and Megan watched amused, as Toni devoured four of the treats to her two.
Megan took Toni to Adventureland first. They climbed through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, until Toni stopped. "Is something wrong?" Megan asked.
"No no its just I could live here. Its so simple yet inviting," Toni smiled at Megan, wondering what this place would be like if there were no other people around. The only way you would know that it was not a real live tree was the instances of "John was here 99 and Andy + April Nov 99" scratched into the painted concrete limbs.
Their next adventure was the Pirates of the Caribbean. Although there were no real people, the Animatronics amused Toni endlessly. She especially liked the dog. The one the jailed pirates were whistling to, who had the keys to their freedom in his mouth, but stayed just one step out of their reach.
They went on the Jungle Cruise. "Can we go on that again?" Toni asked, when they disembarked.
"Yes, sweetie, we can but later," Megan teased in return, as if talking to a small child. She led Toni from there into Frontierland. They went on Splash Mountain and dried off while waiting in line for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. They went to the Country Bear Jamboree, a show which featured Animatronic bears and then headed over to Tom Sawyers Island. They wandered around the cave and, without a guide, as they had in Kentucky, Toni began to wonder if it were possible to get lost before they found the exit. They went to the hour long Diamond Horseshoe Saloon Revue and grabbed a bite to eat afterwards.
Next, they traveled to an area called Liberty Square. Megan suggested the Hall of Presidents, which, she explained to Toni, was like the Country Bear Jamboree, except, they werent bears, and they didnt sing. Toni nixed the idea, and the two headed for the Haunted House. They waited in line a while, but were amused by the tombstones lining the outside of the Gothic House. Once inside, Megan realized that Toni was uncomfortable in small, crowded places, but it was too late to back out.
Toni decided she wouldnt panic. After all, there were small children here who seemed to be taking the events okay. But, she placed her hands on Megans shoulders; to be sure she wouldnt lose her. They closed the doors of the room they had entered, and suddenly, it wasnt clear to Toni, which way they had come in. The room plunged into darkness and Toni dug her fingers into Megans shoulders. The room began to grow or were they sinking. The pictures on the walls lengthened and the narrator welcomed them in a Vincent Price-like voice. Soon after, the experience of the room had ended, the doors opened and they were escorted to waiting cars that would take them through the rest of the ride. Toni was amused by the ghosts dancing in the ballroom, but jumped, when the narrator informed them that they had picked up a hitchhiker. Sure enough, they could see their images in a mirror, with a funny ghost, along for the ride. Toni did a couple of double takes at the non-existent space between her and Megan, to assure herself that it was just an illusion, as she was enjoying the ride while tightly wrapped around her lover.
"So were you scared?" Megan asked teasingly as they exited the ride.
"What? No." Toni assured her.
"Whats that!" Megan exclaimed pointing.
Toni jumped behind her lover and gasped at nothing. "Very funny," Toni said drolly as Megan convulsed with laughter.
The duo skipped Fantasyland, which had, mainly rides geared towards young children and headed towards Tomorrowland. Megan explained to Toni, that her favorite ride in Fantasyland was now closed. It was called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and was based on the Jules Verne novel.
"I know its not much," Megan explained as they waited in line amongst relatively small children, "but I used to love this ride as a kid." They were waiting to get into tiny, track-driven racecars. They both howled with laughter, after having been seated opposite one another, and tried to get the tiny cars to get up to their maximum speed of about 7 miles per hour, one trying to beat the other, at a race neither could win.
Next, they boarded a ride called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. It wound them through the rides in Tomorrowland, including Space Mountain. "This was the ride the parents and grandparents ended up on while waiting for us kids to ride Space Mountain," Megan explained. "It used to be called something else when I was a kid I think it was called the Wedway People Mover or something odd like that." After leaving that ride, they considered getting dinner, but Megan stopped Toni. "I know youre hungry, but were going on Space Mountain even I wont eat before that ride," she said.
"You really want to go on this ride?" Toni asked uneasily.
"Yeah its great I mean it only lasts a couple of minutes, but you really feel like youre flying through space," she concluded. She noted the lack of enthusiasm on Tonis face and asked, "Havent you ever been on a roller coaster before today?"
"Yeah yeah, Ive been on a roller coaster. Ive been to Coney Island and Six Flags in Jersey but this its in the dark. How can you see whats coming?"
"Thats the biggest part of the thrill, you dont really know whats coming." Megan paused in her excitement. "We dont have to, you know. If you really dont want to Toni, its no big deal."
"No I really want to really. I mean its no big deal like you said its just a roller coaster, right?"
Toni liked the displays that kept her occupied while waiting in the prohibitive line. When they finally made their way to the spots where you got onto the ride, Toni hesitated. The ride consisted of two cars strung together to look like some kind of bullet. Each car held a maximum of three people, but since there were just the two of them, Toni insisted on riding behind Megan. They got in and were dutifully strapped down. Toni wrapped her arms gently around Megan. The car shot ahead several feet and she grabbed onto Megan for dear life, only to find the car coming to a halt in some sort of departure chamber. Employees sat on the other side of the glass, looking like NASA rejects, as they did some countdown to her eventual doom. Then the bullet car shot out into space like something out of a science fiction movie. The screams that she had been hearing while waiting in line were suddenly deafening, until she realized they were coming from her. Despite the restraints, she felt as though she was going to fly out of her seat at any moment. Although it seemed to last a lifetime, the ride lasted less than three minutes. When they exited the car, Tonis knees were wobbly.
"Lets ride again," Megan sang as she skipped ahead of her tottering partner. Toni gave her a stricken look when she caught up, but a resigned one as well.
"If you really want to," she tried, with a tiny smile.
"Honestly Toni," she said as she helped her lover away from the ride, "sometimes youre too easy," she smiled mischievously.
After about a half-hour of walking around, Tonis stomach came back to earth, and she was as hungry as her grumbling partner was. They headed back towards Main Street and decided to eat at Tonys Town Square, because they could sit down, in what resembled a restaurant, and be served by a waiter. The day had flown by and it was after 4:30pm when they finished their dinner.
"Come with me, I want to show you something," Megan told Toni, leading her by the hand.
"What?" Toni asked, intrigued.
"Youll see," was all Megan would tell her. She led Toni back to the raft that would take them to Tom Sawyers Island. No amount of prodding by Toni was able to drag Megans plan from her. After reaching the Island, Megan led Toni towards the cave. She dragged her deep inside the cave. They could still hear the childrens laughter, but it seemed to be coming from a long way. Megan pulled Toni to her and kissed her deeply. Toni felt herself responding in kind, wishing again, that they were in that large treehouse, with no one else around. They didnt break this kiss until one screaming child brushed past them.
"Wow," Toni said as they came up for air. "What was that for?" she asked smiling.
"A reminder," Megan answered cryptically.
"Of what? Our first kiss?"
"How could I ever forget that Megan?" she asked genuinely. "Its as ingrained in my memory as surely as the first time I remember hearing my mother tell me a story and the first time I remember my dad hugging me. Ill never forget that moment Megan not as long as I live, I swear it."
"Me either I just needed to kiss you today and this was the most private spot I could think of."
"Well good and bad," Toni said.
"Huh?" Megan asked, both confused and a little hurt.
"Thumbs up for the place thumbs down for the timing." Toni looked into her lovers emerald eyes to see if she comprehended. It appeared that she didnt. "Megan," she leaned close, and whispered in her ear, "I want you so much right now that if there werent a hundred screaming kids around I would take you," she finished, her voice husky.
With their bodies pressed so close together and hearing those words from Toni, Megan wasnt sure if she hadnt actually experienced an orgasm. This is so right this is so right, was the thought that drummed through Megans head. I will never give this up never give us up no matter the cost.
They stayed at Walt Disney World that evening and watched the fireworks, along with what seemed like a million people, and probably was. The trip back to their hotel was quiet. Their fellow tourists were suitably exhausted. They returned to their room and reaffirmed their commitment to one another.
Now I should tell her now, Megan thought. I should tell her that I want to go with her when she assumes her new identity. I dont want to live without her. She screwed up her courage. "Toni, I want us to be together forever " she whispered. Her response was a light, contented snore.
The next day, Megan took Toni to EPCOT Center. Toni loved the Innoventions area, where she was able to play with the latest in technology that is once she waited for the kids to leave. It was all Megan could do to get Toni away from the displays in this area of EPCOT and into the actual worlds that they presented.
They started in Canada, and quickly made their way to the United Kingdom. Although it was only 11am, Toni insisted that they stop in the English Pub. Megan ordered herself a black and tan and ordered Toni a light English pale ale. Toni was put off by Megans presumption that she wouldnt like the thicker, stouter brew that Megan was drinking, until she asked for a sip. Quickly she conceded. They found that visitors from Britain were prevalent in the pub. "So, Robert, does this simulation compare to what we might find in London, should we go there?" Megan asked one of the patrons she befriended within moments.
"Yes, tis. I feel quite at home here," he told her. As far as Megan was concerned, they could have spent the whole afternoon in this pub.
"Hey you dragged me here," Toni quipped, "now show me around."
By the time they reached Japan, both women were starving. They decided to eat at the Teppanyaki Dining Room. It reminded Megan of a chain of Japanese restaurants popular in the south Florida area, known as Benihana. They were seated with six other people around a sort of hot grill, and the chef put on quite a show. They indulged in Saki, which made the experience even more authentic, but left both women sated and stumbling from the restaurant. Outside the restaurant, Megan noticed a vendor who caught her eye.
"Come here," she insisted to Toni, who obeyed without question. Megan picked up a bandanna, which was meant to resemble the ones worn by Japanese Kamikaze pilots. She twisted it up until it was just one layer, and then tied it around Tonis head, then turned Toni towards a mirror. "I like it," Megan told her.
Toni was astounded. She actually liked the way it looked as well, or was it just the Saki talking? She wondered. "Well take it," Megan told the vendor, as she counted out her money. Toni looked at herself again in the mirror. That one tiny item seemed to alter her look entirely. That was what she liked about it, she decided.
"Of course," she told Megan, "this means I get to pick out some sort of headwear for you, you know."
"Yeah I figured," Megan responded, somewhat buzzed from their dinner drink. They linked arms and headed back the way they came. Once in Morocco, Toni stopped Megan.
"I see hats," Toni informed her. Megan dutifully trudged along. Toni grabbed a fez and fitted it on Megans head. "Yep thats you!" she proclaimed.
Megan looked in the mirror. "Is not!"
"Youre right you are absolutely right. Just wanted to make sure you were still with me, here."
They wandered back to France and Toni dragged Megan with her. "Here this is it! Voila!" she said, in the only French she knew. Megan looked at herself again, this time with a beret on.
"Nope strike two you know three strikes and youre out."
"No way! You said I could find you a hat or something like that. Youd better change the count to two balls and no strikes, or else," Toni told her, holding up what might have been a menacing fist, if she werent rocking on her heels.
"All right. If it takes all night, you get to find me a hat I give really," Megan told her, as she pushed Tonis fist aside.
By the time they reached the United Kingdom again, they realized that they should have gone the other way. They genially linked arms, and turned around. After finally passing Japan, the country that got them into trouble in the first place, they came to the American pavilion. Toni shoved a tri-cornered hat onto Megans head. "There, true blue American what more could you ask for?"
Megan regarded herself in the mirror for a moment and replied, "A flute and a head bandage."
They traveled to Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico and both agreed that they could not find a hat that suited Megan. Again, they stayed and watched the fireworks, which was a trademark of all the Disney theme parks. As they were nearing the exit, Toni stopped Megan. "Wait here," she commanded.
Megan did as she was asked. She was tired and couldnt wait to get on the bus for the trip back to the hotel. About fifteen minutes later Toni reappeared with something hidden behind her back. "I thought that I would never find the perfect hat for you, but I did," she stated, smiling. And then revealed her gift. It was a set of Mickey Mouse ears, which she promptly placed upon Megans head. Megans face lit up knowing that she looked silly but that it made her feel young and special, and that it was Toni who made her feel that way.
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