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 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 3

The smoke was getting thicker and Clia had started to cough. Once they got back into Cassandra’s apartment, Alex stopped a moment and put Clia down. She had a death grip on Alex with her little arms locked around her neck. It took a few moments to pry the tiny hands apart and she told her she wanted to give her some oxygen to help her breathe easier. She had her take long deep breaths.

Alex keyed her mic and after several seconds was speaking to Susan at Incident Command. She told her that they had found Clia and Inky and were exiting the building as they spoke. She also requested an ambulance to be standing by at the ladder truck. Susan replied, "Clia’s mother and sister were waiting at the Incident Command Center and she would let them know she had been found and was okay."

Alex turned to one of the fire fighters and said, " Take Sparky, Clia and Inky with you now before the smoke gets any worse. I just want to look at something here and I’ll follow you right out." As one of the crew members bent down to pick Clia up, she threw herself at Alex’s body and started crying, "I think Inky needs air too, she isn’t moving." Alex reached for the black form in Clia’s hands never realizing until just now how calm the cat had been through all of the excitement. There was very shallow breathing on Inky’s part. Alex signaled for the fire fighter to pick Clia up and get her out of there. Smoke was really starting to billow in through the door jam now.

Alex gave Inky some oxygen and then checked for a heartbeat. Not really sure if cardiopulmonary resuscitation worked on animals, she started some gentle chest compressions. She gave her some more oxygen and repeated the process again before stopping to check for breathing and a pulse. Inky was starting to rally and consequently was scared out of one of her nine lives. Her front claws dug into Alex’s fire coat and took a strong hold. Alex braced the cats back with her right hand trying to calm her with gentle stroking on her head with her left hand. Inky finally started to relax some as Alex talked to her gently. She was able to get her inside her coat and out of the smoke which was now coming in the room at a pretty good clip .

Alex was finding it difficult to see and edged her way over to the desk against the far wall. The fire would break through the door and into Cassandra’s apartment shortly and she had to get out of there. Suddenly her scott air pack alarm went off telling her that the oxygen was almost gone. Alex started pulling drawers open in the desk, and her hands came across what she was searching for and she stuffed them in her fire pocket and edged to the doors on the balcony.

By now the fire had broken through Cassandra’s apartment door like an uninvited intruder. The smoke was now surging out on to the balcony. Alex could hardly make out the outline of the ladder truck platform. The fireman at the deck gun was yelling something to her but she could not hear him over the constant ringing of the scott air pack alarm and the noise from the street below. He was pointing to something behind her and as she turned to face what he was looking at her green eyes grew wide and she mumbled "Oh shit." It looked like a fireball coming straight at her. Before Alex had time to react, there was a loud pop of glass as the balcony glass doors blew from the quick combustion of heat from the flames in the apartment. The force of the blast caused Alex to lose her balance and fall to the balcony floor, taking Inky with her. The firemen assigned to the deck gun immediately started a spray of water in Alex’s vicinity and then sweep back to the fire inside the apartment.

Alex hit the cement hard. She had managed somehow in the fraction of a second that she realized what was going to happen, to turn herself partially away from the glass. Her mask protected her face from any shattered glass and her nomax hood protected her neck and hair from any flames and heat. Inky had had lodged all ten toenails solidly into Alex’s’ chest so she knew she or he was okay. In the few seconds it took her to hit the cement floor, Alex felt something hit her in the side and then there was a sharp pain. She could feel the blast of the water sent her way from the deck gun. The pressure from a charged line was awesome.

Alex knew she was in a dangerous situation and needed to get herself out of there. Alex rose slowly to her knees. Her speaker on her portable radio was crackling to life and she recognized Bud’s voice on it. He was yelling into his speaker, "Alex, what the hell are you doing up there? Get down here." Alex keyed her mic and said, "That’s what I’m trying to do" and with that she raised herself to her full height. She walked painfully over to the ladder truck platform and got on. The fireman who was at the deck gun, grinned at Alex and said, Boy Lieutenant, that was something to see." Alex replied, " Glad I could entertain you."

Bud and Cassandra were waiting for Alex at the ladder truck. Clia had been transferred to the hospital just to be checked out, but it looked like she would be fine. Bud asked Alex, "What happened?" Alex answered that the force of the explosion had knocked her off her feet. Luckily, she had put Clia under her coat and she had been protected. Bud said, "Alex you had a pretty good fall I want you to go get checked out by the paramedics and then go home. The fire is mostly under control and I’ll stay and finish up." Cassandra had said nothing up to this point. Alex looked at her. Her hair was disheveled and her face was pale. Her pinned striped suit that had looked so crisp this morning was wrinkled and creased. Her face showed fear as Clia’s had earlier. Alex felt sorry for her. She would most likely loose all her possessions, if not from the fire directly, then from water damage.

Alex started to open her fire coat. Inky was still attached to her chest like ink to paper. Cassandra’s face lit up as she reached for her cat. She leaned in towards Alex so she could talk to Inky and stroke her fur. After several minutes she was able to remove the cat from Alex’s sore chest. As Cassandra pulled Inky off Alexs’ chest she gasped and said, "Alex, you’re bleeding!" Alex looked down to her white dress shirt. It did have fresh blood stains on it. Well chalk that one up to garbage she thought. Alex replied, " Relax, it is just where the cat scratched me. It was scared and couldn’t help it. No big deal."

While Cassandra was cuddling Inky, Bud pulled Alex aside. "Alex," Bud started. "Cassandra will need a place to stay tonight." Alex responded, "Yeah. She will for quite a few nights. Her place has to be totaled. Isn’t the Red Cross set up yet for the ones that lost their homes?" Bud replied," Yes, Alex they are but so many have lost their homes, they are probably going to put them up at the high school gymnasium until tomorrow. I don’t think that Cassandra can take much more. She really is a nice person once you get to know her." Alex looked at Bud suspiciously and asked, "So you want me to drop her off at a hotel on the way home, right?" Bud cleared his throat and looked at Alex’s feet as he spoke, "Not exactly Alex. Mackenzie McGuire called when she heard about the fire and wanted us to give her the VIP treatment. She said it would be great publicity for the department and would work to our advantage if you offered to have her stay at your apartment for the night until Red Cross could take care of the families first. Alex just looked at Bud. He looked years beyond his age tonight. She sighed heavily before speaking. "Okay, Bud…I don’t have the energy to argue any more tonight." Alex turned towards Cassandra and walked over to her. Alex spoke, "Cassandra, I’m very sorry about the fire in your apartment. We don’t know what is salvageable until we can access your apartment tomorrow if it is safe. Red Cross has their hands full with all the people that were evicted. Why don’t you come home with me tonight and you can deal with all of this tomorrow?"

Cassandra glanced at Alex and replied, " I don’t have anything to wear, only the clothes on my back." Alex stared at Cassandra unsure of how to comfort her, but for some strange reason she wanted to comfort her. Alex replied, " It’s gonna be okay. I have some stuff that will due for tonight. It might be short on you, but will cover the most important parts." Alex gave Cassandra one of her special grins. Cassandra looked at Alex shocked at first, and then broke out with a chuckle. " Okay Alex, I’m too upset to care." Alex took Cassandra’s elbow and whistled for Sparky. "Let’s go home.", she said as she guided Cassandra back to the Incident Command area and her car. As they started to walk away, Alex’s portable radio crackled to life. " City Car 88-1 to Car88-L1 come in." Alex keyed her mic and answered, " Car 88-L1 on the air, start your transmission." Bud simply stated , "Don’t forget the check up with the paramedics before you go home. We wouldn’t want to break any department rules….now would we Alex?" Alex swore softly under her breath to herself. Alex replied, " Okay, just gonna get Cassandra and Inky in the car. Be right back. Over and out." Alex’s side was hurting and so was her chest but she was not going to be put out on medical leave now. She would let them take her blood pressure and pulse and listen to her lungs and that was it. No clothes were coming off. She had a sweatshirt in the car. She’d put that on after she got out of her gear and they wouldn’t see the blood on her shirt and start probing.

Alex and Sparky stepped out of the paramedic triaging area. She had let them check her out, as much as she wanted and was pronounced in excellent health. Sparky and Alex returned to the car to find Cassandra and Inky dozing. Cassandra’s face was a bit more relaxed, but was still quite pale. Alex’s’ heart ached for her knowing that she had most likely lost everything in her apartment.

Inky was nestled in a tight ball on Cassandra’s lap with her motor running contentedly. Alex started the car engine and Cassandra jumped, caught her breath and looked around dazed. Alex put her hand on Cassandra’s’ arm, " Hey, it’s okay. I should have woken you up when I got in, but you and Inky looked so cute sleeping… I’m sorry I scared you." Cassandra smiled weakly, " That’s okay. I’m just a little nervous."

The drive to Alex’s apartment was quiet. Each one was lost in their own thoughts. Alex pulled up into the driveway and turned the car off. Alex commented, " Here we are, home." Alex and Sparky got out and after waiting a moment for Cassandra to get out, she walked to the passenger’s door and opened it. Cassandra and Inky still sat inside. Alex slowly reached in and took Cassandra’s hand.

Continued in Part 4

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