A Fire Ignited Within



Disclaimers: These characters are made up from bits and pieces of personal experiences. They bear resemblance to Xena and Gabrielle property of MCA Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copy right infringement is intended. This story was written for fun only.

Violence: Some violence, although nothing out of the ordinary for life as a human being.

Subtext: That’s what I was trying for. Any way, it does eventually involve women who grow to care and love each other.

General: There are mild obscenities used occasionally. This is my first attempt at fan fiction, so don’t be too rough on me. Thanks.

Part 1

Alex rolled out of bed as the first bells sounded and hit the floor with a thud. Jesus, it seemed as if I just got in bed. John, who had been coming up for the night to sleep had just made it in time to see Alex hit the floor. He chuckled lightly and said as he made a bee-line back down the way he came, "Alex, you might as well ride along with us since you are up anyway or should I say down?" Cursing lightly as clothes and boots were found and then struggled into, Alex ran to the fire pole and jumped on sliding down to the bay floor. The trucks were already manned and waiting to roll. It had been such a hectic and long day, that Alex had not bothered to go home to the apartment, deciding rather to crash at the station.

The sirens blared their song into the night as the fire trucks responded to the call. Flashing lights luminated the night air as the trucks burst through the streets to the scene of the fire. Alex would normally respond to the scene in the departments red Ford Explorer, but since she was officially off duty, she rode the truck as an observer.

Six hours later, the big red trucks rolled back into service and quarters. Alex was beyond exhausted and was now sorry she had gone on this call. She had a meeting with some of the top brass of the department, and would need to be on her toes with an otherwise all male board of directors and officers. The start of a headache in her temples signaled that this was not going to be a good day.

After five cups of coffee, (and it wasn’t even Dunkin’ Donuts coffee) and two and a half hours of arguing, Alex walked out into the hall way rubbing her tender temples. Much more of this day, and she would probably have her first migraine. Alex had been fighting for more benefits for her guys at the station. The shifts were long, and the rotation of the days on and off left something to be desired. Separations and divorce rates were way up, the stress of having a significant other whose profession was a paid fire fighter. What else could go wrong today? Oh… she knew she should not have had that thought! Murphy’s Law would get her, and before she left work that day, she would know first hand that it had come true.

Alex knocked on the Chiefs’ door. After waiting a moment with no response from inside, she opened the door and stuck her head in. The Chief was on the phone and he motioned her to take one of the two chairs in front of his desk. The Chief was in his late fifties with graying hair at his temples and a receding hairline. Alex sat down and her eyes wandered to various awards, recognition’s and accommodations that graced the walls of the room. They represented over thirty-five years of distinguished duty for the Chief at this station.

Battalion Chief Bud Brewster had been close friends with Alex’s Father. They had joined the company at the same time, meeting at training school. They had become fast friends and had remained so until the sudden death of Alex’s Father three years ago. Bud had kept an eye on Alex, as he felt as if she was his adoptive daughter. Growing up Bud and Alex’s families were always doing something together. Bud’s children, Alex and her brother Michael were about the same ages and had been close friends growing up together. Bud’s daughter had married and moved to another state, but John, Bud’s son, Alex and Michael had all followed in their Fathers’ foot steps, inspite of their respective Mother’s complaints.

Alex ‘s thoughts turned back to the present as she heard Bud say "Yes, thank you for this opportunity. I am sure it will work out just fine. In fact she’s sitting right in front of me as we speak. I am sure it will be her pleasure to do this as a personal favor to you. Thank you again sir." After a brief pause, Bud slammed the phone down on the receiver. Damn, he hated politics! A few more years and he could retire and move somewhere warmer, get his boat and fish to his hearts' content.

Alex’s eyebrows furrowed together in a question, and when the Chief offered no immediate response, she asked, "What’s going on? Who was that on the phone?" Bud leaned back in his chair and said, "That was Fire Commissioner Raymond Burke. It seems he is getting pressure from the Mayor for some good public relations stories for him considering it’s election year. It came to his attention, that we have a token celebrity in our own ranks here that the personal assistant for the mayor figures can help him get votes at the coming elections." Alex just looked at Bud trying to figure out who it could be. After a few moments of silence from them both, Alex asked, "So who is the unlucky sap Bud?" Bud replied, "You." Alex mumbled, "What? Me? I’m no damn token celebrity." Bud grinned, "Yes you are Alex. You are one of a very few female firefighters/EMT’s in the state. You also are a fourth generation family firefighter. You were in the top 10 of your graduating class for firefighting and in the top 5 in the EMT graduating class. Shall I go on? You are something special." Alex replied, "Yeah.... well what does that have to do with the Mayor and his re-election?"

Bud explained, "The Mayors’ new personal assistant did some research and came up with this idea of having a newspaper reporter come and spend time with us at the station to write several articles on the fire service and emergency services to help push support for the new bill to give fire personnel credit for years of service for volunteer people. Then they did a check of all fire and EMS personnel both paid and volunteer and then broke it down further into male and female. It was then that they saw they hit the jackpot when they came across your name. Not only do you work as a paid fire firefighter with the distinguished rank of lieutenant here, but you volunteer as an EMT/firefighter at the town in which you own property in the country. How much more American can you get? Plus you are a woman."

Alex shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Her headache was back. Alex spoke, "So what exactly did you promise commissioner Burke that it would be my pleasure to do?" Bud cleared his throat before looking at Alex. Boy, was she going to throw a hissy fit over this, and I do not blame her he thought to himself. Bud started, "Alex, they want a newspaper reporter to come and spend time with you. To actually see what you do everyday. The exciting as well as the dulls stuff you deal with on a daily basis. The paperwork, the calls you respond to, the training drills, how we rotate turns at staying at the firehouse, the kitchen duty and your volunteer duties. What you do to relax and what makes you tick."

Alex shifted to the edge of her chair and leaned her arms folded together on Bud’s desktop. Her green eyes blazed at him. She spoke with her anger barely controlled underneath. She started, " Let me see if I fully understand what you are asking of me. You want me to have a stranger, someone I do not know, and probably do not want to know, follow me around every second of every day, writing down every detail of what I do, act, say and think? Knowing me, do you think that is a sane idea? You know I do not mince words. I call them as I see them I don’t think it is in the departments best interest to have me as their role model and spokes person." Bud shifted in his chair and finally pushed himself away from the desk and stood up. He walked around to the side of the desk Alex was leaning on and sat on the edge of it. "Alex" he began, "It doesn’t matter what you or I think, it has already been decided and is out of our hands. This could play a very important part in your fight for the volunteer fire person and their getting a monetary pension from the volunteer service in their community. You know as well as I do how many smaller communities are struggling to keep their ambulance and fire departments voluntary. The added tax burden to senior citizens and young couples with young children just starting out in life can be devastating. Isn’t that why you originally became interested in the volunteer service? You wanted to give something back to your community and help take care of the older people whose children had moved away for better job security."

Alex started to object, but Bud cut her off short. "Alex, you are always trying to make light of what you do and feel. That you don’t care about anyone but yourself, but I know better. Please just do this. I have a feeling something good will come out of this. Alex let out a huge sigh, before she replied, "Okay, I’ll try and do it.. I guess I can manage an 8 hour day. At least I’ll have my evenings free."

"That’s right Alex" Bud continued, "It won’t be that bad, a couple days here and it will be all over. Meet me here in the office tomorrow at 9AM and we will make our introductions. The Mayors’ personal assistant and the newspaper reporter will be here also to fill us in on the details. Go home tonight and get a good nights sleep. See you in the morning." Bud stood up and shook Alex’s hand. "Thank you. I know this is an inconvenience, but it will be well worth the outcome." Alex got up and turned to leave to go home. Bud pulled her into a big embrace. "Thanks honey" He whispered softly into Alex’s’ hair.

Part 2

Alex did not sleep well. She tossed and turned most of the night and groaned into her pillow before gently rolling out from under neath the body half sprawled on top of hers. She gazed over to see what time it was. It was 5Am and she had roughly gotten 3 hours sleep as the last time she remembered looking at the clock was 2AM. She reached over to stroke the head that now lay nestled on top of her shoulder. Alex thought about how long it had been since she had loved someone and someone had loved her back. She shook her head. All she needed was Sparky. He wouldn’t let her down and with that thought, she got up and pulled on her sweats. She whistled to Sparky who lay stretched out on the now vacant bed. He jumped off and ran to Alex. She attached his leash and out the door they went. Five city blocks later they arrived at the firehouse. They went through the double doors to the side and up the stairs that lead to the gym. The facilities were wonderful. There was a small heated swimming pool, treadmills, stair masters, bicycles, weights, bench presses and anything else you could think of to exercise with. There even was a small boxing ring to one side where Alex had had a few matches.

Two of the things she really enjoyed though were the sauna and whirl pools. Alex looked around. She and Sparky had the gym to themselves. It was great. Alex pulled off her sweats to leave her standing in her red checked flannel boxer shorts and a black sleeveless tank top. She approached the weights and grabbed a couple and returned to the bench press, sliding and locking them in place. She lay down on the bench and started pumping. Sparky came over and lay underneath the bench out of the way, but faced the doors keeping a watch out of any intruders to his masters quiet time. Alex worked out for about a half an hour using different weights and machines for a full body work out. By the time she finished, her body had a light sheen of sweat on it. Alex thought for a second and then stripped her body of the remaining clothes, and dove into the pool. The warm water felt great on her tight muscles. She proceeded to do 10 laps around the pool before getting out and drying off. She had just managed to get her tank top and boxers on before a growl by Sparky signaled someone else had come into the gym.

Alex stood there in her tank top and boxer shorts, her wet hair dried as best she could by the saturated towel. She allowed her gaze to settle on the unexpected guests. One was John and the other was a tall dark haired woman. She was dressed in a gray pin strip business suit, white oxford shirt with a conservative dark blue tie. The skirt ended at mid thigh and the legs went on forever until they stopped at her black pumps. She was beautiful physically but Alex was getting a bad vibe from her. When John was finally able to get his jaw off the floor and his mouth closed, he paused for a moment before speaking. Alex, I didn’t know anyone was up here, least of all you." Alex responded, "I couldn’t sleep so I decided to take a jog and then work out before that stupid meeting later." John winced and put his hand over his face before relpying, "Alex, I would like to introduce you to Ms. Cassandra Hall, the newspaper reporter that is going to be observing us, you in particular." Alex was quick to take her foot out of her mouth so she could answer, "Oh." As Alex moved towards John and Ms. Hall she could feel the color rising up her neck to her cheeks.

Ms. Hall was tall, probably about 6 feet tall. Alex was 5’6" and was always a little conscious of her height. As Alex and Ms. Hall ‘s hands met in a handshake, their eyes locked in on each other. Dark condescending blues meet stubborn green. Neither would break away first until John’s voice brought both of them out of their battle of the eyes, and glared at him. It was then that they both realized that their hands were still clasped in a handshake. Alex stepped back from Ms. Hall and said to John, "What was it you were saying? John replied, "Alex, Bud’s been trying to get a hold of you since around 5:30 this morning. The meeting has been changed from 9 AM to 7AM. The Mayors’ personal assistant has to fly out on business for him later today and asked if the meeting could be moved to an earlier time today, rather than canceling it all together. When he couldn’t located you by phone or your cellular and people started arriving here for the meeting, Ms. Hall asked if she could have a tour of the firehouse while we waited for you to show."

Ms. Hall said sarcastically, "Little did we know we’d find you up here in your underwear. Do you always work out in them?" Alex replied nonchalantly, "No, sometimes I don’t wear anything at all. In fact, if you had been a couple minutes earlier, you would have had the pleasure of seeing me do laps in the buff." And with that she picked up her sweats and strode through the doors with Sparky following her down to her office.

Alex was still muttering and sputtering about the "tall" condescending woman when she arrived at her office door. She unlocked it and they both went in. She went to the back where there was a small bathroom and a couple lockers. Luckily, her dress uniform was clean and pressed in her locker. She would take a quick shower and change. They wanted a show…she could give them a show.

Alex was talking to Bud in his office fifteen minutes later. She stood in full dress uniform, complete with all her medals of accomplishment and her bars of rank placed proudly on her shirt collar. Her short blond hair glowed under the florescent light and her green eyes were alert, in spite of the couple hours of sleep she had gotten. The almost daily workouts that Alex performed showed in how the tailored dress shirt and pants hugged her slender form. She looked good and she knew it.

John had called Bud and filled him in on the scene upstairs in the gym. Bud was trying to calm Alex down without drawing attention to them. He was saying, "Alex, look, I know you got off to a bad start, but please, please try to relax. She’s just a smart-ass reporter and probably doesn’t want to be here any more than you want her to be. It will all be over in less than a week. Please be patient." Alex shifted her weight in her black high gloss polished dress shoes and put her hands up in front of her. "All right Bud" she replied, "I’ll try to compose myself, but she had better watch it. I’m not taking any sh….." Alex felt a warm touch at her elbow which caused her to stop in mid sentence and turn to see the prettiest doe like eyes gazing at her. The woman was talking to her but all Alex could do was stare into those brown eyes.

Alex finally got a grip on the situation after a poke to her ribs from Bud got her attention. Bud was introducing the Mayors personal assistant Mackenzie McGuire to her. Mackenzie took Alex’s’ hands in both hers and squeezed them gently. Alex could feel the heat from Mackenzie hands radiating to hers and she felt a chill go down her spine. Alex stepped back and broke contact with her as she cleared her throat to speak. "It’s a pleasure meeting you Ms. McGuire. Bud has told me all the research you did on the department here." Mackenzie smiled and said "Thank you. It was interesting material to research. I’m looking forward to doing a more personal search on you at a later date, if you’re up to it." And with that she smiled, turned and walked away. Alex just stared after her with her mouth partly open. Bud leaned in close to her ear and said, "Wow, Alex. I think she just hit on you. Be careful and close your mouth. I’ll start the meeting."

Bud walked to the back of his desk and asked everyone to take a seat. Out of the corner of Alex’s eye she could see Ms. Hall and Ms. McGuire talking. As the two women turned to take their seats, they looked at Alex. She could feel the two sets of eyes give her the once over. One pair of eyes had what looked like a simple case of lust while the other one's eyes narrowed into dark blue slits. Yep, she thought to herself as she took her seat, she was going to be in big trouble, one way or the other, no doubt about it.

Continued in Part 2

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