Standard Disclaimer: As always, the characters of Xena and her buddies don't belong to me, I'm just borrowing them.  Ren Pics has all the rights, and the bucks.

Violence Disclaimer: None, zip, nada.  Only peace and love.

Sexual Situations: The following pages, will from time to time, contain references to sex of a lesbian nature.  There might, God forbid, be references to heterosexual situations.  All of this activity will be consensual in nature, between adult personages.  I should point out that Becca and Stace are middle aged now, so there probably won't be too many instances of rip snorting, no holds barred sex.  They have mellowed considerably.  Still, they are partners, and will occasionally hug and kiss.  If this bothers you, please don't read any further, and if you are not 21 years of age, please do not read my stories.  If you are 21, don't read them at work.

If you haven't noticed, I haven't done anything in quite some time.  I began "Whatever..." in November of 2002, and is a continuation of my new series, "Lost and Found: Generation Next."  After having finished this third installment, I have decided to change the name of the series to "Lost and Found: The Golden Years."  The two stories mentioned above still lead into this story.  Therefore, you should probably read "Retirement" and "A Changing of the Guard" first, and now that I think about it, you should read the original series "Lost and Found" to figure out who all the characters are and how they fit together.  If you have any questions or comments, you may reach me here at the ranch.  Please note a slight change in the email address  By the way, my URL is Enjoy!

"Whatever Will We Do, Now?"



November 16, 2002

Chapter 1: From the Frying Pan into the Fire...

Here I am again; the sea continues to draw me back.  The sea is always constant, but at the same time is continuously changing, renewing itself.  The enormity of it simply amazes me, and, I should think, probably will do so as long as I live...

Yeah, I know what you mean...

On the other hand, some things never change.  You're back again, I see.

Of course!  After all, it's 5:00 am, Saturday morning, and the sun is just beginning its ascent.  You're here, with that black gunk that looks more like crankcase oil than coffee; where else would I be?  We've been doing this now for...let's see...'76, '77...twenty-five, twenty-six's become a habit, a words have a negative connotation...a tradition.  Yes!!  That's it, a tradition!

Oh brother.  You really are a piece of work, ya know?

That's me, a masterpiece, truly a masterpiece...  

That isn't the word I would have chosen to describe you.  The word would be more like...

Ah, Ah, Ah, let's not be nasty...

Forget it!  Incidentally, it has been exactly thirty-three years, and six months, exactly: May 16, 1969...

No way, you weren't here then...

No.  Not at this particular beach, but a beach nonetheless.  Remember, Becca and I were together, the night before graduation on the beach outside Bannock?

I guess I wasn't invited...I don't remember.

You're never invited, but since when has that ever stopped you?  Anyway, we sat on the hill overlooking the sea.  That night we admitted, out loud, what we had always known.  We were meant to be together, we were more than infatuated kids, and more than lovers, even.  We were...

Soul mates...

No, that has become such a cliché.  Whatever Becca and I are, it certainly isn't a cliché.  But, I guess for want of a better word, soul mates will have to do.  But, it was that night we made a commitment to each other.  Our love would cement us together forever, maybe even after that...uh what comes after forever?  I wonder...

Oh God, now you're going to wax philosophical...this should be rich

Well, think about it?  What happens after death?  Do you know?  I doubt it!  I know sure as hell I don't know.  Maybe we will go on after forever.  Maybe we just vaporize, become mist, mingled together (truly become one) and just sort of float way.  How's that?

I have no earthly idea. Shall we return to the point?  Now, what are you doing out here in the first place?

Oh, okay.  I can do that, sure...

This otta be good...

Ha Ha.  Actually, I was thinking about what, now that I have retired, and left the trauma

center in good hands, Becca and I will do now?  I mean, we certainly have all the money we need...

Yeah, you and Midas...

...shut do whatever we want.  I wonder.  We could travel...

You don't hate it, remember?

Yeah, too true...Well, we could...uh...we could...let me think...

I don't believe it!  You haven't a clue what you're going to do next!  You have spent the better part of your fifty-one years working, in some form or fashion, and you haven't the slightest idea what to do next!  My God!  This is incredible!  I simply don't believe it!

I do so know what we'll do!  It's just that we have so many...uh...options...yeah that's it...we have so many options, it's hard to decide.  There, now you know.

You haven't even discussed this with Becca have you?  You have simply done what you always do: jump from the frying pan into the fire without even thinking about the consequences, and Becca will have to clean up the usual...  You're incredible you know that?  Incredible!

You're repeating yourself.  That's when I know you're going to make your usual mundane, banal threat...

I'm through; I'm outtta here.  You. Are. On.  Your.  Own.  From.  Now.  On.

See, told ya...

This time, the threat is a promise; I'm gone...

If only that were true...  Still, could my annoying little voice be correct?  I did have a penchant for doing this kind of thing.  I mean, after all, I always had my "ace in the hole."  Becca would always fix my messes.  Like the time I punched out that scum Faraday (Casey and Lilli's father), nearly losing my privileges to practice medicine.  Or the time I dented Harley's Harley (that was the first time).  Then there was the time...oh hell, I could go on and on.  I had done it again.  What the hell did I think I was doing? 

Feeling sorry for yourself that's what.

I thought you were through; I knew it wouldn't last.

I'll ignore that cruel, hurtful remark...besides, here comes Ms. Fix-it now...

Hmmm, almost as if on baby was amazing...maybe we are indeed

mind, one body, one soul...

"Hi there!" my world called from down the beach.  "I see some things never change," she smiled, "how's the woman of leisure, this fine day?"

She's right.  My daily ritual...a run on the beach, then coffee here in my, no our spot.  Becca sat down between my legs and leaned into my chest; I leaned back against my favorite log.  She's right; some things never change, and hopefully never will.  I am so addicted to these quiet times with my love, my life.  The feel of her warm body next me, fills me with a contentment I could find nowhere else.  The thought of not having her with me is so foreign; it's totally unfathomable.

"Um...well...I've been told..."  I stuttered.

"You're little voice again, I suppose?" Becca laughed.


"Yes, well, it does have an irritating way of intruding at the most annoying times..."

It!  I resent that!  I am not an it!  I am your alter-ego, your mother confessor, your conscience, your...

All right! Enough, already!

"...but, in this case, it has been pointed out that...I mean by my little voice...uh...I think our present situation, you know the situation we find ourselves in...uh...that I put us in... well ummm...may have been arrived at...uh...without enough thought and foresight into the consequences retirement would bring...kinda...sorta." I stammered.

Oh, what a wonderful soliloquy!  Don't stop now you silver tongued devil...

I'm ignoring you.

"Hon," Becca began, "are you having second thoughts about retirement?  It's a little late now don't you think?  I mean you've already made the decision to retire..."

Yeah, like when you decided to sell that horse and then ended up buying her back later.

That wasn't my fault!  I was coerced into buying Dusty back.

"...I mean, you can't very well tell Rachel and everyone, 'Stop! I take it back; I was only kidding...retirement is for old people.'"

"I have no intention of taking my retirement back," I protested.  "I'm just thinking I probably should have talked to you more before I did what I know...retired...

uh...quit working...full time working..."

"Full time...just what does that mean?" Becca demanded.  "You're not thinking about working part-time are you?"

"Oh no, I just don't know what we should do," I finally admitted.

"Look, we are still young.  Baby, we can do whatever you want to..."

Becca took me in her arms, and as always, fixed the problem...the problem of my making.  She reassured me once again that whatever I did, she would be there to love and support me.

"No darlin', not what I want, but what we want," I corrected.  "I think we should talk things over, and do something we can both enjoy for however long the good Lord gives us to be together.  How's that?  Deal?"

"Absolutely, sweetheart," Becca whispered in my ear, "that's a deal I'll be more than happy to enter into."


July 8, 2005

Chapter 2, Who Would Have Ever Thought...

Time marches on, and one can only marvel at the twists and turns one's life can take.  It's hard to believe three years have passed since Becca and I sat on the beach and contem-plated what retirement would mean for us.  How would our lives change?  Would they stay the same?  What's the old saying?  "The only thing constant in life is change."  I don't know who said it, but it applies for Becca and me.

Case in point: the sea isn't an everyday part of our lives any longer, although we do visit from time to time.  The simple beauty of the rolling hills and valleys of the Pacific Coast Range have replaced the enormity and vastness of the sea.  We have moved on to a new location and the next chapter of our lives together...but not necessarily a new chapter.

What the hell are you talking about?

Did I say constant?  You are the one thing in my life that has never, and probably will never change.

Lucky thing you...

Luck, no.  You're more like a curse...may I continue?

Please do.

Thank you.

Sometimes it takes a good deal of time to learn how to get along in this old world.  If my father was happy, I was less likely to get the crap kicked out of me.  I wasn't very often successful; the hidden bruises that covered by back and ribs attested to my failure.  Still in all, there was one thing I did well, and grudgingly, earned my father's very limited respect: horse training.  I had and still do have the ability to do just about anything I wanted to with them. Of course Arlan would never tell me he was proud; he'd tell his drinking buddies at the bar...

"My kid's been spending time out at McIntyre's place again.  The best thing Guy ever did was hire my kid to work his worthless Appaloosas.  'Course I taught her all she knows."   

You're talking about Alee and Dusty?

Yes. The only time I was of any value to the old man was if he could use my talent to make himself look good.  But there was always the piper to pay.  I remember the first real beating he ever gave me...

"Dad I don't know why I can't have Alee. Guy said I could keep her at his place; he'll even let me work off her board."

I hated begging to that old man, but I thought I'd give it a shot...when that didn't work, I got angry.

Big mistake...

...and it wasn't my last.

Yep! Some folks live and learn...

...and some folks just live.  I know, took a little while; I'm a bit hardheaded.

"I told you no; now let it be!  Do I have to get the razor strap?" Arlan growled.

"Give it your best shot!  After all, isn't that what Arlan McGregor is renowned for—beating up women and kids?"  I shouted at the top of my lungs.

Then he proved his renown--- big time.

It's a wonder I survived. 

True, and as I recall, it was our first meeting.

Yes, the birth of my little voice.  A day that will forever live in...

Stop it.  Now, tell me something; how long are you going to let that part of your life fester?

Never mind; that's my to continue.

I could communicate with horses better than most people.  I'm not talking about that 'horse whisperer' garbage either.  I'd ride Guy McIntyre's horses and worked on his ranch nearby our house.  Over the years, I became a really good rider, and eventually broke and trained a few colts for Guy...

I remember you liked to show off for Becca when she came out there with Harley.

Well it worked didn't it?

Anyway, a dream of horse ownership was one thing, reality was quite another.  I knew if I ever wanted out, and away from my father, I had to develop a little more practicality.  Horses were expensive, even then, a baseball glove wasn't.  I simply developed my athletic skills, and softball provided me with a college scholarship and eventually freedom to do what I wanted.  Yet, the idea of owning and working with horses always stayed somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind.  My work in the trauma center would never afford me with the time necessary to work full time with horses.  Even one horse, taken care of properly, is a day in day out, year in year out proposition.

Like kids...very big kids...

For once we agree...a horse ranch is a full time occupation.  But, undaunted, I launched headlong into my plan.  The day I broached the subject with the family was quite an occasion...

Yeah, like the live in infamy thing...

Just nearly...fortunately I had the good sense to talk with Becca about my plan, and she was all for it.  Unfortunately, she seemed like the only one who was...

"Have you lost your mind?"  I thought Irish was going to have apoplexy.  "You are just going to go off to some God forsaken place and play with horses?"  Irish shrieked. 

"Honey, calm yourself," Gil was rubbing his wife's back gently. "Remember what the doctor said.  You shouldn't get so upset; it's not good for your heart.  And after all, Stace and Becca have their lives to live anyway they want.  We have little to say about this."

"The hell with what the doctor said.  Besides, I'm in the process of getting a second opinion.  I have very little faith in the "doctor's" opinion," Irish retorted.  "This is worth the stress Rachel.  Please, don't tell me you are okay with this are you, Syd, Scott?"

"Well excuse the hell outta me!" Rachel interrupted Irish's tirade with one of her own. 

"By all means, get as many second opinions as you want.  I'll be grateful to have you off my hands.  Just don't blame me when your heart implodes on itself and you croak over!"

Remember when you said some things never change?


I must say, you were dead bang right on.  These two will fight 'til the day they die.

Could be you're right; the death certificates may read: Cause of Death:  MASSIVE CEREBRAL HEMMORAGE brought on my severe stress.

Are you going to stop this?

No, the younger generation has not yet spoken.

"Well, Irish," Syd began, "it seems like my parents have made up their minds, and I know from experience once a decision has been made, no amount of arguing will change their minds.  Right, Scott?"

This should seal the deal.

We can only hope.

"I agree with Syd.  Irish, there is no point in going ballistic over this.  Besides we can always visit them in...uh...where is this property you bought?"

"Property!!! Becca, you let her buy property?" Irish was truly beside herself.

"Irish, Stace spent her own money, and she is after all, the head of the family.  It was clearly her choice," Becca's voice was soft, but her tone took on a serious note.

There everyone had put in their two cent's worth.  The only one who said not word one was Margie.  What's she waiting on?

Not to worry, the gears are grinding; it won't be long before...

"In case any of you were wondering what I thought about all this, and evidently you weren't; I have just one thing to say and I'll say no more," Margie remarked flatly.

"It seems to me that none of you are aware of one important fact.  Stace and Becca are simply offering you a courtesy telling you their plans.  It's really none of your business one way or the other what they do.  You all are more concerned about yourselves and your happiness than theirs.  Sure you'll miss them; we all will.  You've just gotten too used to having them here to solve all your problems for the last twenty years.  It's high time you started taking care of yourselves and leave them to their golden years in peace and quiet!  There, I'm done."

Golden years?  That's rich!

Don't be so smug; if they're my golden years, they're yours too.

Smart ass.  Don't you think it's time to take control of this situation?

S'pose so.

"Listen, I don't know why you are all getting your undies in such a bunch.  We're not moving to the other side of the world.  I mean it isn't like we'll never see each other again."  I tried to sound reassuring.

"Okay," Rachel ventured, "just where are you going?"

"Yeah," Irish asked pointedly, "just what piece of godforsaken prairie have you decided to squat on.  Surely not back to Bannock?"

"No, and I wouldn't call the Santa Inez Valley godforsaken prairie.  Shoot, we'll be only thirty minutes or so from Santa Barbara," I replied. 

"Stace is right.  The property we bought is in a lovely valley.  There is a stream, several stock ponds, and lots of trees.  It's really quite beautiful."

Way to go, Becca!  You've done it again, saved my butt.  And she wasn't finished yet.

"Frankly, I agree with what Margie said, with one exception.  Margie, we planned on you moving with us, if you'd like."

"Whoa, I just took that for granted.  I mean, I never will come with us, won't you?"  I stammered.

"Well a girl does like to be asked.  I suppose you'll be taking those mangy dogs."  Margie growled.

"Uh...well...yeah, they're family too."  I replied sheepishly.  "Does that make a difference?" I asked.

"No, but a girl can dream."  Margie was certainly something.

"Does this mean you're consenting to the move?"  I ventured.

"Of course.  You don't think I'd leave Becca to deal with you and your animals alone do

you?"  Margie seemed genuinely put out with me.

And you're surprised with this? 

This is me ignoring you.

"I believe the occasion warrants a celebratory drink," Becca called.

"Several, I think," Irish whispered.

"What?  Since when did you need an occasion?" Rachel answered quietly.

"Didn't you know?  If scotch is involved, Irish doesn't need an occasion," Gil teased.

"You're damn right!" Irish said.  "Now, let's get to it."

Becca fell into the role of the perfect hostess and made sure everyone got what he or she wanted to drink.  I was left to my own devices of course, I went for a beer.  As I returned from the kitchen, I noticed Syd alone on the patio looking at the sea.  It was obvious she needed one of my famous 'pick up the spirits stories'.

Saints and angels defend us...

Go away...

"Hey baby girl," I walked behind Syd and put my arms around her.  "What's up?"

"Nothing," was her terse reply.

"Think about who you're talking to here." I could read her like a book, always could.  "Now would you like to try again?"

"Oh mom, it's just that I'll miss you and mother so very much." Syd sobbed.  "You've always been such a huge part of my life.  Our family has always been my world."

"Look, sweetheart," I reassured, "we're still a family and always will be.  You should know that.  But don't forget, you have Scott and Sharley now; it's time for you to build a new world with your husband and child."

And as if on cue, the youngest member of the family came rushing out of the house to join us.

"Grammy, Grammy!" Sharley cried excitedly.

Grammy, my God I feel old...

Grin and bear it girl; it could be worse.  You could be alone and old.

"Yes, darlin'," I said as I scooped the three year old up in my arms.  "What can I do for you?"

"Gramma said you were moving.  And there would be horses. Does that mean I could have a pony?" Sharley's eyes were alive with hope.

This child will never suffer the disappointment another girl endured a long time ago.  As God as my witness she won't.

"That's a deal.  Sweetheart, you can have all the ponies you want," I promised.  Becca had joined us in time to here our conversation.

"I gather everyone is okay about our impending move?"  Becca smiled as she brushed my cheek with her lips.

"Yes ma'am," I replied.  "I guess there's nothing left to do now except do it...that is if you're ready."

"Oh baby, I am more than ready.  Are you?"  Becca's voice sent chills, good chills up my spine as she turned and slinked away.

Wait a minute.  What just happened?

You were asleep at the switch again.

"Uh baby?  Are we talking about the same thing here?"  I asked.

"Does it matter?"  Becca replied.

"I guess not...I just don't want to get left behind."  I teased.

"Believe me, my darling; you will never be left behind."  With that Becca took my hand and we rejoined our guests inside.

The celebration went on deep into the night.  We recalled the happy, and not so happy, times we had shared over the years.  All of us brought his or her flavor to the stories that had enriched our lives together so much.  There was no doubt this is a turning point for all of us; our lives will not be the same again.  We will try to stay as close as possible, but there is no doubt, our time together, in this place, is coming to an end.  Change is inevitable, and that is how it should be.  But for Becca and me, there is one constant, and that is our love.  We are simply moving into a different phase of our life together, and we're both okay with that.

There you have it; I hope you enjoyed the third installment.  As always, let me know what you think, good or bad.  I'm open to positive suggestions to improve my writing.

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