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 copyright infringement is intended. This story was written for fun only.

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

Subtext: Yes. 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.

Comments? Email nanook88@hotmail.com

Part 12

Mackenzie closed her apartment door and walked back to the kitchen to pour herself another cup of coffee. As she sat on the sofa, her mind drifted…..Yes, this was going to work out just fine for me.

Alex was out of the office most of the day in department meetings. Cassandra had stayed at Alexs’ to work on her articles for the newspaper. It had been an exciting week being with Alex. She grinned to herself as she remembered the first time they had met. Now things were different, and she was anxious what would happen once her articles were done. She knew she loved Alex and wanted to stay with her, but that meant a commitment on both their parts. Cassandra knew she was ready, but was Alex?

The phone rang startling Cassandra. Alexs’ voice was on the other end. " Hi honey. How’s your day going?" Cassandra smiled as she answered, " I’d be better if you were here darling." Alex blushed. She had never felt this way about anyone before. Her stomach did this little flip-flop thing when she thought of Cassandra or heard her voice. Thoughts of Cassandra had kept Alex awake during these boring meetings and had almost not been able to cover for her day dreaming. Bud had kicked her under the table and whispered to her out of the corner of his mouth the answer to the question she had just been asked.

" Yeah, I wish I was there with you too, but then you wouldn’t be working on your articles that are due on Sunday" Alex answered with an evil grin. Cassandra chuckled on the other end. Alex said, " I only have a minute to talk before I have to go back to the meetings, but wanted to know if you wanted to go out tonight or stay home." Cassandra responded before she knew the words were out of her mouth, " Oh Alex, I think we can find something to eat right here." Alex almost dropped the phone. My God, does she really care for me as much as I do for her? She hoped so. She had a very important question to ask her tonight. " Okay, I’ll stop and get us some Chinese take out in case we run a little low on things at home to eat." "Sounds good Alex", Cassandra responded. "Okay, I’ve got to get back the break is over." Alex stated. " I uhmmm….missed you today". Cassandras’ heartbeat quickened. " I missed you too Alex. I’ll see you later."

Chad looked in his rearview mirror as he pulled away from the curb. He had just enough time to swing by his house, unload the truck and get to work on time. Everything was set for later.

Cassandra had gotten a call from her editor asking her to come down to the office. He wanted to go over the articles she had finished so they could pick out the pictures to go with the layouts. The feature would be coming out in three days and her work here was almost done.

Alex kept shifting in her seat. When the hell was this meeting going to be over? She had been sitting all afternoon in this hot, stuffy room with only time enough to give Cassandra a quick call. Bud reached over and put his hand on Alexs’ shoulder. He turned slightly towards her and whispered softly, " For God’s sake, sit still. I’ll buy you a drink right after this question and answer period."

Forty minutes later Bud and Alex sat at a table in the bar. Bud looked tired and Alex looked antsy. Bud broke the silence first. " Alex, what’s wrong with you today? You’re so nervous." Alex popped a few peanuts in her mouth and chewed before she answered.

" Well Bud, I’m just anxious to get home tonight. It’s been a long week. I’m going to stop and pickup some takeout Chinese. Cassandra and I are just gonna relax tonight. It’s the first day in about a week that we haven’t spent at least part of the day together. Guess I just miss her being around." Bud grinned, " I knew you had it bad for her. You love her don’t you Alex?" Alex blushed and replied without hesitation, " Yes, I do. I’m just worried about what’s going to happen now that her articles are almost finished. I don’t want her to leave and if she does…I’m not so sure I want to stay here." Bud was shocked after that last statement. Christ what would he do if Alex left the department?

Chad was sipping on a cup of coffee in the kitchen at the firehouse when he received a call. The conversation was short and to the point. Was everything all set for later? Yes it was and is your end covered? Don’t worry about my end, just stick to the plan and we’ll both get what we want. The sound of a click and then the dial tone sounded in Chads’ ear. He grinned to himself as he put his cell phone away. There was going to be just one slight change to the plan they had agreed upon.

Cassandra looked at her watch for the fifth time in the last ten minutes. It did not go un -noticed by her boss. He smiled to himself. He had seen such a big change in her this past week. Usually she was very business-like, but pleasant and never in a hurry to go home. There was a reserve about her that keep people at a distance from her. Now she smiled, was more out going and worked mostly at the firehouse or at Alexs’. He could hardly get her in to the office any more. One would almost think she was in love. Oh my goodness, could that be it? Was she finally smitten by someone at the firehouse? He hoped so. She deserved to be happy, but he didn’t want to lose a great writer. He had thought her a little condescending at first and maybe all looks, but she had quickly proved him wrong. .

Cassandra asked after she looked at her watch once more, " I think we are just about done, don’t you? I just have the last article to write and we’ve already picked out the pictures for the layouts. Is there anything else you can think of ?" The editor chuckled and said, " I get the feeling that you would rather be some other place than here right now." Cassandras face flushed a bright red. " Well, it’s not that exactly. I just have plans for dinner later and I have a few things to do before that." The editor closed his folder and said, " I think we’re all set except for that last article you’re writing. Let’s call it a night." Cassandra gathered her things up as she said, " Okay, sounds good to me."

As Bud and Alex got into the car to drive back to headquarters, tones came over the fire radio that there had been an explosion and subsequent fire at their fire station. Alex turned the lights and siren on as Bud pulled his car out of the parking lot. Alex was on the radio talking to the Assistant Chief at the scene. It had been a pretty slow night and most of the crews had been out in the truck bay playing cards or polishing up their engines. All of a sudden there had been an explosion that shook the firehouse and he had the crews get the equipment outside before they started investigating. A fire had broken out on the top floor in the kitchen. Teams had suited up to investigate but small explosions and heat from the fire prevented a search right away until the propane was turned off outside.

Alex asked if anyone had been hurt. The Assistant Chief responded, " Not as far as I know at this point. What’s your ETA to the scene?" Alex replied, " You should be able to hear our siren now. It will take us a few minutes to walk up to the command post."

By the time Alex and Bud reached the Assistant Chief, it had been discovered that Chad had been reported missing by his partner. Chad had said he was going up to the kitchen to get something to eat and that was the last he’d seen of him.

The propane had been turned off and the fire was contained now to the kitchen area. The firewalls built into the building as well as the sprinkler system had stopped the fire from spreading. Once they were sure all the propane that had been in the line was dissipated, they would be able to do a search in the kitchen area for Chad. Maybe he had gotten out somehow. While they waited for final word from the search teams, the Arson Squad arrived to investigate.

Alex was fidgety and stepped out of the command unit. She walked back up the street to Buds car. Once inside it she dialed her home number to let Cassandra know what had happened. The answering machine picked up and Alex left a message. As she closed her cell phone, she thought it was strange Cassandra hadn’t answered, but maybe she had let Sparky out or was indisposed.

Cassandra answered the doorbell and found Chad standing there. Sparky was at her side and growling softly. Cassandra reached down to pat Sparky on the head and he edged his way closer to her and slightly in front of her. Chad spoke first, " I was just looking for Alex. Mackenzie was down at the station and asked me if I’d drop some papers off to Alex for her. I was going by this way anyway and said I’d be glad to." He reached out to hand them to Cassandra when his pager went off. He looked at the message and asked if he could use the phone a minute to call the fire station. She hesitated a moment and then stepped back and let him come in.

Sparky was at Chad’s legs as soon as he moved to come in. He snarled and snapped at him. Chad stopped in his tracks afraid Sparky would pitch into him. Cassandra talked softly to Sparky and started stroking the back of his head and he raised and turned it to look at her. His look asked the question, Do you really want to let this jerk in while Alex isn’t here? Cassandra gently took his collar and said, " It’s okay Sparky. Alex will be here any minute now." Chad stepped into the house, staying at a distance from Sparky.

Mackenzie could see from her car parked down the street that Chad had gotten inside. She would wait fifteen minutes and then set her plan in motion. That would give Chad plenty of time to start his part of the plan. The only thing he didn’t know was that Mackenzie had changed the outcome of the plan that had both agreed upon.

Alex walked back to the command unit and found that things were under control . The fire had been knocked out and the Arson Squad was checking the upstairs scene out right now. The fire and rescue vehicles were being moved to an adjacent empty parking lot until it was deemed safe they could be housed back in the firehouse. The crews were also moving their personal vehicles from the street near the firehouse to the same parking lot. Later it would be decided if the firehouse was safe to house the equipment. Otherwise a temporary command post would be set up out back in the parking lot with the vehicles.

Alex asked one of the drivers if Chad had turned up anywhere and the answer was no he hadn’t as far as he knew. The driver then asked Alex if she wanted to know something strange. Alex said, " Yes, what’s so strange?" " Well, I heard when they went to move all our private vehicles from the street, that Chads’ truck wasn’t out there. As far as everyone knew he never car pooled with anyone to work." Alex felt a cold shiver run down her spine as she walked back to the command unit to tell Bud she was leaving.

Chad walked over to where Cassandra had directed him to use the phone. She had taken Sparky out to the kitchen with her as he was so agitated by Chads presence in the house. Cassandra had put Sparky outside and was at the kitchen sink filling his water dish when she felt a presence at her back and then hands at her waist. At first she thought it was Alex and then as the body pressed closer to her back, she knew it wasn’t her. As she tried to pull the hands away from her waist, they gripped tighter around her. Chad leaned down to snuggle his face into Cassandras hair. " Oh baby, you’re gonna like this. You’re gonna feel a real man and that will cure you of any feelings for women for good." Cassandra was starting to panic as she struggled against Chads size and strength. She was sorry she had let Sparky out and that she had turned her back on Chad. The phone rang three times and the answering machine picked up. She couldn’t hear if who had called left a message or not as the machine was in Alexs office.

Alex had to wait until the Arson Squad team leader had finished with his initial findings of what had been found at the fire scene. It was a propane leak, but the fittings had been loosened. There were marks made by a wrench on the fittings. There was no way those fittings came loose on their own.

Alex pulled Bud aside as soon as she could. She told him that Cassandra didn’t answer the phone when she called and now Chads’ truck wasn’t at the fire station. There was possible foul play and Chad hadn’t been seen since before the explosion. Alex had a terrible feeling about things. She was leaving and going home. Bud had known Alex long enough that even with the crazy circumstances, when she had a hunch it was best to follow up on it. "Do you want me to go with you Alex?" Alex said as she walked out the door, " Yeah, and I think we should call the police from the car. I have a bad feeling about this"


Continued in Part 13

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