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. J
The tall woman whistled merrily as she strolled down the hallway behind her 'special surprise'.
She's gonna love this, the brunette mused happily. The past two weeks had had their ups and downs, with both women trying to bridge the gap that their differences provided. But the enforced isolation they were enduring often left them moody and snappish with each other. When that happened, both women would retreat to their own little worlds; Megan to her writing, and occasional phone calls to her publisher friend, and Randi to her weights room, for a vigorous workout. The brunette also spent her time trying to clear the snow from in front of the house, as well as exploring the house, looking for minor faults to repair. It was on one of these 'expeditions' that Randi discovered her prize. The entire second story of the large ranch house was one huge attic and storage space, and the raven-haired woman was up there checking the insulation. The lightbulb in the huge room had blown out, and Randi was shining her flashlight around the room, looking for something to stand on so she could reach the light fixture. "Son of a bitch," the doctor muttered with a grin, as the flashlight's beam spotlighted the dusty frame of a wheelchair. An electric wheelchair, at that. The tall woman knelt by the chair, and ran the flashlight over it, doing a quick visual examination. I forgot this was here. This is just what Megan needs to get out of that damn room for a while.
Randi's Uncle Jake would get severe attacks of gout, and he'd needed the chair to get around. Having it motorized had allowed him more freedom of movement. After he'd passed Randi had stored it in her attic, always intending to donate it to charity and never getting around to it. Now she was glad she hadn't.
A slight frown creased the woman's full lips. Hmm, the control is on the right side, and her right arm is in a splint right now. She scooted closer, examining the wiring. After a few moments, she shrugged, no problem; I'll just switch the control to the left arm. All thoughts of the blown light bulb were forgotten, as she exited the attic with her dusty treasure. It took a few days, and a variety of colorful curses, but she was finally wheeling her cleaned, shiny, fully functional prize to Megan's door. Parking it just out of sight of the open doorway, she tapped lightly on the doorframe.
The blonde was sitting propped up in the big bed. Her breakfast tray was moved to the bedside table, and she sat with her head lying back, eyes closed.
"Was everything okay?" the brunette inquired.
"Everything was excellent…as usual," the blonde responded with a wan smile.
Randi couldn't help but notice the listlessness of the blonde's response. Oh yeah, she's been in that bed, and in this room too long.
"Are you okay?" she inquired of the melancholy blonde.
"I'm fine," she responded with little conviction as she looked over to the window. "Tell me, what's it like out there?" the writer asked wistfully.
"Well, it's white," the brunette answered coyly, earning her a green-eyed glare. "But it's really pretty. Everything looks so clean and unsullied. And the trees," the brunette paused, staring out the window, searching for the right description, "the trees look like they're wearing coats made of the fluffiest white clouds."
"Thank you for that image," the blonde responded sincerely. "I wish I could see them, for myself."
"You can, actually. There's a picture window in the livingroom with a great view."
"That's all well and good," the blonde answered with pique, somewhat hurt and annoyed at the tall woman's unthinking remark, "but in case you've forgotten, I have a slight mobility problem right now."
"Maybe," the brunette answered and, to the blonde's surprise, turned and left the room.
"Or maybe not," she smiled as she re-entered the room with the wheelchair.
Megan's eyes grew saucer wide as she beheld the gleaming black and chrome mobile chair.
"Please," the blonde whispered as she lurched forward, pulling at the covers, "please tell me this isn't a joke."
"It's not a joke," the doctor grinned proudly, before scrambling over to the bed, preparing to catch the smaller woman before she threw herself off it. "Whoa, slow down," she admonished the writer. Finally managing to get the young woman's attention, she laid down a few rules. "You're going to need my help getting in and out of this thing, at least until your arm and leg have healed more," she informed the blonde, who nodded eagerly. "No wheelies. No racing. And no chasing the dogs," she recited solemnly, and getting an equally solemn nod in return. This solemnity lasted all of five seconds before the blonde let out a gleeful yip and threw her good arm around the startled doctor.
Randi froze when the small woman wrapped her in a grateful hug. Her first instinct was to return the embrace, but fear that the blonde would mis-interpret the act, kept her still. Her caution was well founded. When the blonde, realizing her position, drew back suddenly, as if she had been burned.
"I…" The writer was flustered and embarrassed, angered at her own impetuous act. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get carried away like that."
Sensing the younger woman's discomfort, the doctor acted to dispel it. "No problem," the tall woman replied as she stood up, "at least you didn't use your splinted arm. You might have knocked me out," she winked.
Her teasing reply produced the desired results; as evidenced by a small pink tongue being playfully poked out at her.
A witty rejoinder of 'promises, promises' briefly flashed through the tall woman's mind, and was quickly discarded. She settled for a brief chuckle as she positioned the chair next to the bed and locked the wheels.
"Now, until your limbs are strong enough, it's going to be up to me to get you in and out of this chair," the brunette announced. Seeing the expected look of discomfort cross the young woman's face, she knelt in front of her.
"Look, I know that part of it doesn't appeal to you. But we both want you out of this room, and right now this is the only way that's going to happen." Capturing the green eyes with her own, the doctor inquired gently, "Will you trust me?"
Years of homophobic reasoning screamed at her to say no, to recognize this as yet another attempt to seduce her and then use her. But she has been nothing but good to me. She's given me everything, and asked for nothing. Even now she's trying to give me freedom, and is asking only a small bit of trust. How can I say no? Besides that, I…I want to trust her. I like her…God help me…I like her. Releasing her anxiety with a nervous exhale, the blonde nodded.
"Great!" the tall woman exclaimed as she quickly rose and removed the right armrest from the chair. Turning back to the bed, she finished removing the covers from the blonde's body, and with a courtly bow exclaimed, "Your chariot awaits, milady."
With a nervous snort, the blonde cautiously lifted her splinted arm, and placed it behind the tall woman's neck, and uttered a startled squeak as she was effortlessly lifted in strong arms.
In one smooth motion, the tall woman turned and gently placed her petite patient in the chair. As she set about replacing the armrest and adjusting the footrest, the doctor was mentally chastising herself for the feelings that having the young woman in her arms invoked. It felt so good, she felt so wonderful. I wish it had lasted longer. Stop it! Stop it right now! Her conscience bellowed, She is your patient! Your helpless, emotionally damaged, barely trusting,patient. She doesn't need this garbage…and neither do you. The doctor acknowledged the truth of that lecture with an inaudible sigh as she finished her adjustments, completely unaware that the patient in question was having a very similar argument with herself.
"And this," the doctor announced with a dramatic flair, "is 'The Picture Window.' From which you can see miles and miles of snow, snowcapped trees, and the occasional beautifully rendered sunrise."
The writer was speechless, as she gazed out into a world of pure, pristine elegance as far as the eye could see. Massive pine trees stood as silver clad sentinels, keeping watch over the small creatures that darted through the whitened landscape, both searching for food, and just plain romping.
"Pretty, isn't it?" came the soft, mellow voice beside her.
"Pretty doesn't even begin to describe it," breathed the author, who reluctantly tore her gaze away from the snowy tableau to study the woman squatting beside her. The writer had to admit that Dr. Randi Oakes was indeed a beautiful woman. Her high cheekbones, aquiline nose, and full pink lips were the stuff of artists dreams, but even they paled in comparison to the winter blue pools that were the woman's eyes. Eyes that, the writer observed over time, served as an excellent barometer of the tall woman's moods; ranging from an icy silver-blue when she was angry, to a soft aquamarine when she was happy; which she seemed to be at this moment. And somewhere, far back in her mind, some part of her wondered what color they were when the woman was in the throes of passion.
Deciding that the young woman had studied her enough, Randi opted for a trip to the kitchen for some hot chocolate. A course of action wholly supported by a young blonde with a weakness for chocolate.
The break to the kitchen gave the tall doctor a chance to corral the hyperactive butterflies that were throwing a party in her belly. It wasn't so much that the author was studying her, for she had noticed the young woman doing that a lot in the past few weeks. No, it was the intensity of this latest study, as if the young woman were blind, and running mental fingers over every inch of Randi's face. The scrutiny created a riot of sensations that Randi hadn't felt since….well…for a long time. And if she hadn't gotten away, she might have done something that both of them would regret.
Megan Galagher was clearly unhappy. Once the tall doctor had left the room, it was as if the young woman had snapped out of a trance. What in the hell were you doing? The homophobe screamed at her. You were ogling her like a starving man ogles a piece of steak. She's supposed to be the pervert here, but you can't seem to keep your damned eyes off her. That's not true, the writer argued. I was simply studying her. Whether you want to admit it or not, she is a classically beautiful woman. I was just noting her features…in case I wanted to use her likeness in one of my stories. the writer finished, satisfied with her explanation. Keep telling yourself that, the homophobe snorted.
She is beautiful, is she not? another small voice whispered. A gentle, knowing voice that was sounding more and more like Charly every time. Beautiful…and gentle…and kind. Everything she is not supposed to be in your somewhat narrow perception of what 'her kind' is like. It makes you wonder, doesn't it, the kindly voice continued, If you're wrong about Dr. Oakes…then perhaps you may be wrong about other things too. With that, thankfully, the voice was quiet. Leaving the young woman to sigh at the headache that these confusing thoughts were causing.
Randi entered the room just in time to hear the amused giggles of her patient. Great God almighty! the tall woman mused with a grin. She's laughing. I never thought I'd hear her laugh. Curious, the doctor hurried over to the picture window to see what her patient found so amusing. A grin split her face as she looked out and saw a small golden streak emerge from the trees; closely followed by a larger ebony body that was curiously covered with snow. The smaller creature headed, full bore, toward the house, and suddenly seemed to disappear.
"Good grief, where did she go?" the wide-eyed blonde inquired, as she watched the big black dog skid to a stop just before the stairs. The thwarted canine launched into a round of, what seemed like, canine expletives, then with head held high, sauntered back towards the woods.
"She went under the porch. She knows Xena can't fit under there," the brunette explained.
"Uh, heh, yeah."
"Let me guess," the blonde said with a smirk, "the little one is Gabrielle?"
"Yup," Randi said with a grin.
"Do I want to know how you came to call them that? Please don't tell me it's because they're both queer." The blonde cringed inwardly at the last part. It was uncalled for, but was out of her mouth before she could stop it.
If the doctor took offense, she didn't show it. "Not at all," she answered. "There were quite a few reasons. Like the TV characters, one is light and one is dark. Also like the TV characters, the small one is gentle, outgoing, empathic and loving, while the large one is stoic, aloof, and a bad ass. But very fierce and protective of those she cares for; especially the little one. I think the main reason the names fit is, again, like the TV characters, these two are the best of friends, and so totally devoted to each other that it isn't funny."
"Interesting," the blonde commented, "When you put it like that, I guess the names do fit. So, have you had them since they were puppies, or did you adopt them?"
The tall woman chuckled. "No, I haven't had them that long. And, if the truth were known, it's more like they adopted me." At the writer's quizzically raised eyebrow, the brunette settled on the floor and launched into the tale of her first encounter with the canine companions.
Megan lay in her bed, wide-awake and slightly frustrated. It was one o'clock in the morning and, by all rights, she should be sleeping soundly. But sleep was eluding her, and she couldn't figure out why. She looked down at the two furry bodies that lay sprawled on her floor in blissful slumber, and grinned in remembrance of their earlier antics. Maybe I'm just still too wired, she reasoned. It had been a full day for the writer. The good doctor was an attentive hostess as she gave the small blonde a full tour of the massive ranch house; relating little anecdotes of her growing years with her beloved uncle. The tall woman enlisted her help in preparing dinner as well. I've never been an 'official taste-tester' before the blonde mused with a smile.
She finished off the day by having a long enjoyable chat with her publisher and friend. Charly was pleased that Megan was warming to the doctor. The publisher harbored a secret hope that the writer and the doctor would establish a friendship that would last beyond their current situation. Megan was disappointed to learn that her live-in love was carrying on with his partying lifestyle as if she didn't exist. With my money, of course. Her lover didn't even bat an eyelash when he was informed of her situation. He was provided with Randi's number in case he wanted to call the injured writer, but that call never came. And, sadly, Megan acknowledged to herself that she would have to see the writing on the wall, and make some changes when she got back to her life. In spite of that situation, her verbal visit with her friend was a pleasant end to an unexpectedly pleasant day. "So, why aren't I sleeping?" she grumbled to no one in particular.
Her frustrated reverie was interrupted by a long, pained 'nooooo' that echoed down the hall. Her heart began to pound, as she looked down at the canines that suddenly snapped awake; their heads cocked to the side as they listened alertly. The pained voice came again. "Stay with me, Casey, don't leave me, baby." The writer watched as the two canines looked at each other for a moment, before the little one rose and trotted out the door and down the hall. The writer watched the small dog's departure with a mixture of confusion and concern. She knew it was Randi's voice she was hearing, but the pain in that voice had her worried. As if reading her thoughts, the ebony canine approached the bed, sat down, and placed a large, black paw on the edge of the bed. The writer eyed the beautiful, dark animal that stared at her with intense blue eyes.
"Ya know," the writer mumbled uncertainly, "I feel kinda silly talking to a dog, but, is she…I mean Randi…okay?"
A gentle, rumbling 'uurrrr' was the response, which made the young woman giggle in surprise and relief.
The small body arched stiffly for a long moment before sinking bonelessly back on the bed. Worried blue eyes looked to the nearby monitor, hoping for some variation in the lonely green line that split the screen; Nothing. "Again," she barked. She gazed down at the small, still body in the bed. "C'mon Casey, don't leave me. We've got a circus to go to, you can't leave." Picking up the defibrillator paddles, she announced "Clear" and positioned them on the small chest. A loud thump echoed through the room as the little body arched and slumped again. And still the monitor maintained it's slender green thread. The dark-skinned physician that was first on the scene looked with sorrow filled eyes to the redhead at the back of the room. "I'm sorry. There's nothing more to be done." With that, he motioned for the other two nurses to join him as they silently left the room. With tears cascading down pale cheeks, she approached the bed where the tall doctor was bent over the still form, still whispering pleas for the child to come back. "Randi" a trembling hand touched a white-coated shoulder. "She's gone. Let her go." The shoulder flinched, and watery blue eyes looked up into tear-filled amber orbs. Any professional composure the brunette had, left her, as her face crumpled and she dropped to her knees, whispering 'I'm sorry, I should have been here' over and over again.
The small golden canine sat at the foot of the bed watching her two-legged companion thrash and moan in the twisted, sweat-dampened sheets, and it made her quite unhappy. She liked this tall human. She was friendlier, kinder, and even smelled better than other two-legged ones she had come across in her travels. Even her big, dark companion liked her; and considering that the dark one didn't like a whole lot of things, that was saying quite a bit. Therefore, when the two-legged one was in distress, it was up to her and her companion to make it better.
With a smooth leap, the little animal was on the bed at the foot. Randi lay curled in a tight fetal position, with handfuls of sheet clutched tightly to her chest. The small canine belly-crawled up the bed until she was nose-to-nose with the moaning woman; and with a gentleness reminiscent of her fictional namesake, began to place little licks upon the forehead and cheeks of the somnolent woman.
Heavy eyelids opened, and groggy blue eyes met gentle cinnamon orbs. "Come to my rescue again eh, little one?" the tall woman sleepily burred. Her only answer was a little whimper and a light lick of her sweaty forehead. Pushing down the lump in her throat, the tall woman gathered the little canine to her chest. "Thank you. I love you too." She rumbled to the small creature who snuggled into her with a contented canine sigh.
"Hello?" The voice drifted faintly down the hall, causing woman and animal to start in surprise.
"She's awake?" It was a statement more than a question, so Randi didn't look for a response as she released the little animal and began to rise from the bed. "I guess we better go see if everything's okay."
The writer lay in the bed, silently cursing her inability to get out of it. I hope everything's okay. She had called a 'hello' down the hall, but hadn't received a response. But I'm sure if it wasn't, ol' dark-and-dangerous here would have checked it out by now. The canine to which she was referring sat placidly next to the bed, her head resting next to the writer's hand, allowing the blonde to idly scratch and stroke the sensitive area behind the large pointed ears. This was doggie heaven, and the big Shepherd had no intention of moving; even though she heard the quiet approach of her companions.
"I always knew you were a closet pleasure hound," the tall woman rumbled from the open doorway. Earning her a startled gasp from the blonde, and a sidelong 'so what' glance from the dark canine that hadn't bothered to budge from her cozy position.
"Randi," the relieved blonde exclaimed, "are you….I mean, is everything okay? I heard….I was…" the blonde trailed off, uncomfortable with displaying how concerned she really was.
"I'm fine," the brunette reassured as she crossed the room. Stopping next to the bed, she squatted down, meeting the shyly concerned green eyes of the blonde. "It was just a nightmare. I have them every now and then."
"Can you remember them? Do you want to talk about it," the writer inquired helpfully, and was startled by the intense look of pain that flashed across those expressive blue eyes.
"Um, no…I can't." she whispered, trying desperately to regain the composure that the young woman had nearly shattered by asking that simple but caring question. "Perhaps someday," she continued, "but not just yet. Thanks for asking though, and thanks for being concerned." Taking a chance, she reached over and gently grasped the younger woman's hand. Catching the green eyes that widened slightly, she added, "that means a lot."
And was surprised when small fingers closed over her hand in a gentle squeeze.
Return to Main Page