Disclaimers1: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renpic. And, this being an Uberish tale, the main characters will bear a physical resemblance to them, but thats as far as is goes. Oh, and two supporting characters will be named after them. But its meant strictly as a tribute; nothing more. J
Disclaimers 2: There will be a tiny bit of violence scattered through the story, including one piece dealing with domestic battering and attempted rape. Nothing really intense though. There will also be some swearing scattered throughout the story.
Disclaimers 3: This is an adult alternative romance, which means that there will be sex between two consenting adult females later on down the line. If this bothers you, or is illegal where you live, then please read no further. You have been warned!
Copyrights: All characters mentioned in this story belong to me. Please do not use them, or any portion of this story without talking to me first. The song "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart" belongs to MCA Nashville, Garth Fandis and Trisha Yearwood.
Thanks: I would like to offer sincere and heartfelt thanks to the bestest <g> beta reader a bard could ever ask for. Thank you, Maggie Sheridan. Without your skills, patience, gentle guidance
And boundless encouragement, this story would never have seen the light of day. JChapter Twenty-Six
"No!" Randi yelped as she lunged to catch the smaller woman's body before it hit the wooden deck. and succeeding only partially, as, with one arm around the smaller woman's shoulders, she was forced to descend with the limp body.
The raven-haired doctor hadn't gotten a good look at the blonde before she was forced to catch her, and subsequently hissed in horrified surprise when the writer's slack head fell back and her battered face was revealed.
"Dear God, what happened to you?" the brunette whispered brokenly as she took in the bloody, bruised and swollen flesh that was three quarters of Megan's face. "Who did this to you, Megan…why?"
Randi shivered as an unfamiliar rage seared through the pit of her belly, and in the depths of her soul, an ancient warrior screamed her displeasure to any who would hear.
Pushing aside her emotions, the tall woman tucked her arm under the unconscious woman's knees and, gathering her close, rose and headed for the infirmary.
Randi laid the unconscious woman down gently, her physician's mind automatically making observations and rattling off treatments and procedures as the tall doctor began the task of stripping and carefully examining her patient.
The brunette froze as she reached Megan's pants and noticed their partially open state. Her heart hammered triple time against her chest as she considered the ugly implication. Oh, God, please…no. Randi ruthlessly pushed down her dread and continued her task, dismally mindful of the additional examination she would have to make.
An hour and a half later, the doctor was gently swabbing away the traces of blood from the blonde's face and speaking gently to her, even though she was fairly certain the still-unconscious writer couldn't hear her. "It wasn't too bad, sweetheart," she murmured softly, oblivious to the endearment she'd uttered. "You just needed a few stitches to a cut on your temple and a couple to your split lip. Your nose was pretty bloody but, thankfully, it wasn't broken. Your ribs are bruised, and they're gonna be really sore for a few days, but nothing's broken." You weren't raped either, love. And I thank God for that. She laid down the stained gauze and tenderly brushed aside damp, blonde bangs. "You're gonna be really tender for a few days, but you're gonna be fine, Megan, just fine."
"Course I am," the raspy voice mumbled, startling the tall woman. "I've got you taking care of me, don't I?" Puffy eyelids slid open and hazy green eyes focused on the beautifully sculpted features of the woman who, Megan was slowly coming to realize, owned her soul.
"You scared me," the brunette accused, unable to conceal the tremulous tone in her voice.
"I know. I'm sorry," the blonde returned contritely. "Couldn't be helped."
"Who did this to you?" The brunette's tone was just shy of a growl.
"My ex-boyfriend. Long story," the blonde supplied her sentences shortened by painful, throbbing lips and protesting ribs. She closed her eyes briefly to reign in the pain. Opening them again, she gasped at the glacial blue orbs that now beheld her. Ooh, boy, Eric, I think you need to be really glad that you're not here right now. She reached out and covered the hand that rested on the bed beside her. "It's all right," she reassured gently. "I'll tell you everything later. I promise. But right now, can you…ah…can you do me a favor?"
"Anything," the doctor promised.
"Can you call Charly for me? She knows what happened, and she knows I was on my way here. She was…um… she was worried that I wouldn't make it, and I promised her that one of us would call her. I think she's probably ready to call out the National Guard by now," the blonde quipped with a tiny smile.
The brunette turned her hand palm up and gently squeezed the smaller hand. "I'll be right back." I need to get a hold of myself anyway.
Megan watched the long, lean figure exit the room, craning her neck to let her eyes linger as long as they could. When Randi was finally out of sight, the small blonde let her head fall back onto the flimsy, generic "pillow" that doctors' offices always employed. Closing her eyes, she let a small, happy thought run it's tickling fingers across her heart. She doesn't hate me. She doesn't hate me. She doesn't hate me. Megan's eyes snapped open, as another thought demanded to be heard. She called me sweetheart! I didn't imagine that…I know I didn't. She closed her eyes again as a wave of giddy warmth slid through her being. She called me sweetheart.
Megan was drawn out of her blissful reverie by the sound of Randi's voice as the tall woman entered the room, still talking on the phone.
"Yes, ma'am," the doctor's tone was calm and reassuring as she addressed the person on the other end. "I'll see to it that she gets plenty of rest…even if I have to tie her to the bed," the doctor winked at the goggle-eyed blonde who was now blushing furiously. "Yes, ma'am," she responded to another unheard question. "She's right here; would you like to speak to her for a moment?"
Randi held out the cordless phone. "Here you go. Not too long though," she counseled, "I want to give you something for the pain, and then get you into a regular bed so you can rest."
Acceding to the doctor's wishes, Megan kept her conversation brief, promising that Charly and she would speak again in a day or so.
As soon as Megan disconnected the call, Randi handed her two small, white tablets. "It's just Tylenol 3," the raven-haired woman volunteered. "It'll help with the pain and allow you to get some sleep."
Megan smiled her thanks and popped the pills into her mouth, following up with careful sips from the cup of cool water that Randi held for her. When she was finished, Randi put the cup down. "I'm gonna go turn down the bed in your room," she announced with a teasing wink, referring to the room that the writer had spent copious amounts of time in, mere months ago.
"Yeah, you do that, smartass," Megan snorted to the retreating brunette.
Within moments, the doctor returned. "All set," she announced as she moved to the examining table and tucked one long arm beneath the blonde's knees and the other behind her shoulders, preparing to lift.
"Randi! I'm too heavy," the blonde squawked as her backside left the bed, her arms instinctively circling the bronzed neck.
"Yeah, right," the brunette snorted as she cradled her precious burden. "Either of the dogs is heavier than you. Now hush and enjoy the ride."
The "ride" ended entirely too soon for the young blonde as she felt herself being lowered onto the cool softness of the bed. With grudging slowness, she removed her arms from around the smooth, strong neck and had to bite her lip to keep from crying at the loss of that wonderful warmth.
The sentiment was shared by the quiet doctor, and she found herself wishing that the distance from the infirmary to this room were a little greater. Like a mile or so, maybe. Randi pulled the covers over the too-quiet blonde. Misinterpreting the distress on the younger woman's face, she leaned over and brushed back an unruly lock of fair hair. "You'll feel better soon, Meg. I promise," she whispered reassuringly.
As she turned to go, a small hand darted out and captured hers. Randi turned back to the bed and cast a quizzical look at the reclining blonde.
"Don't go." Megan's voice was ragged with emotion, her eyes a misty plea that Randi was helpless to deny as she allowed herself to be guided down to a sitting position next to the blonde.
Ignoring the intense throbbing in her torso, Megan reached up and placed a trembling hand against the achingly soft cheek of her savior. Tears welled in her eyes at the wonder and adoration in the azure orbs that beheld her.
"I've missed you," she whispered brokenly. "So very, very much."
Randi's eyes fluttered closed; her heart reached out with gossamer fingers to gather in this moment and lock it away. Forever.
Opening her eyes, she lightly grasped the hand on her cheek, turned her head and placed a feathery kiss on the soft palm. "I've missed you too, little bard," she murmured. "More than I can say."
Megan bit back a sob. She knew that her injuries and her exhaustion were playing havoc with her emotions, leaving them too raw, too close to the surface.
Knowing this, however, didn't change the way this woman, this sweet, gentle, beautiful woman, made her feel.
And very, very lucky.
So rather than give in to the tears that her overstressed emotions demanded, the young woman chose to bury her face into the living, loving warmth of her doctor's shoulder and…
Randi's lips curled into an indulgent smile as she felt the small blonde slide into the arms of Morpheus. Her sensible mind suggested she detach herself from the sleeping woman and allow her to rest in a position more conducive to healing.
Her heart and her arms were having none of that. Randi looked down at the face that, even swollen and bruised, rendered her mindless with its innate, wholesome beauty.
A face that, at this moment, radiated a childlike contentment so pure that it almost made her cry. I put that look there.
Is this what you meant, Uncle Jake, when you told me that story about soulmates? And that when I found mine, I would know what forever meant?
Randi settled back against the headboard and placed a whisper-soft kiss on fair hair. You were right, Uncle Jake…you were right.
Having decided that she, indeed, wasn't moving from her newly discovered favorite position, the brunette heaved a contented sigh and let her eyes drift shut.
Only to open them moments later when she heard the subtle clicking of canine toenails on the hardwood floor. She watched as the small, golden canine she had dubbed Gabrielle nimbly leaped up onto the bed and began a cautious but thorough nasal inspection of the sleeping blonde.
Randi knew that her colleagues in the medical profession would have a fit over what she was allowing to take place, and, under normal circumstances, she might agree.
But there was nothing normal about these two animals.
They possessed a wisdom and intelligence that far outstripped most creatures, both the two-legged and four-legged kind.
More than that…they cared.
Which is how the raven-haired woman knew that the subtle growls the little canine emitted during her inspection were born of outrage and the tiny whimpers the golden dog emitted when she finished were pure, unabashed empathy.
"I know, little bit," the tall woman consoled. "But she'll be all right. We'll make sure of that."
Mollified, the little animal eased off the bed and joined her midnight-hued partner, who sat beside the bed. Randi watched the two animals as they briefly nuzzled before turning to look at her with a smug "are you happy now" look.
The proverbial lightbulb flashed above Randi's head, and she turned narrowed eyes on the two.
"You knew, didn't you?" she accused in a whisper. "That's why you were so restless. You knew she was coming."
Their answer was as eloquent as it was understated as two sets of eyes, one cinnamon and one electric blue, captured the tall woman's own and held them for a long moment before both animals slid down and stretched out on the cool wood.
Randi looked down at the resting animals and shook her head. God, you two are spooky.
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