Disclaimers: This is yet another uber tale of my making. Technically the characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal, but since it's not REALLY X&G here... well anyway, these uber characters belong to me, me memememe....so, copyright 1999 Tragedy88 and all that.
Violence/language: Um, some violence, some bad language... maybe a pg-13 so far?
Subtext: You betcha! Oh, if it's illegal where you live or love between members of the same sex offends you please read elsewhere.
And last but not least: How, you ask, can so many of my characters exist within the same timeline? Easy, I write what I know. In this case I know farms, horses, and the hardships of being alone. In anycase it's a divergence from my usual cops, gangs, lusty/evil uber Callistos' etc., etc. etc... :)
Feedback is very welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
"When you come to the edge of the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."- Barbara J. Winter
Alex vaulted off the fence onto Jack. Goddamn, how could I have been so stupid?
Jack's restlessness had turned to anxiety as the anger and desperate sadness of his owner touched him. He pranced and sidestepped, waiting for her commands.
Stupid! I thought.... ok, yeah, I miss Mark...
With a nudge, none too gentle, Jack bolted, stretching his lean body into a full out run across the fields.
...and I've been attracted to women before.... just nothing that felt so... right. And I thought Dusty felt it too.
The icy wind ripped the tears from Alex's cheeks, pulling them into ice. Her body shook with sobs and she hunched down until her face was buried in Jack's tousled mane.
What the hell was I thinking? There was defiantly something between us. But now I've destroyed a valuable friendship in one moment of unbridled passion...
Jack topped a low rise and stopped, snorting wearily.
I never once felt like that with Mark. Not once...
She realized suddenly that Jack had stopped. With a loud, exhausted sigh she lifted her head and looked out across the snow covered landscape. It sloped down a little, ending in a sudden, violent crack of the earth.
Alex and Jack had explored the area several times in the last two lonely years, but there were still many miles left uncharted.
She headed to the unknown with a much more gentle nudging against Jack's flanks, and a red hot fire still racing in her belly.
The snow became deeper and deeper. First to Jack's knees, then suddenly his belly and finally to his chest, and he refused to move any further.
"Come on, babe, just a little further, ok?" But Jack refused. "Fine," she was angry beyond belief at everything. If the wind had chosen that moment to turn on her, she would have cursed it too.
Scowling, she slid off Jack's broad back and into waist high snow.
"Goddamnsonofa-" She plowed through the snow like a swimmer through water. The ground began to shift and snow caved in around her body. The ground cracked in one ear shattering moment and she screamed.
Jack reared and bellowed, helpless.
All became darkness as the snow closed over her head and she fell into nothingness.
She should be back by now. Dusty paced the length of her room, then hurried down the hall to pace in front of the livingroom's front windows. It was too dark now to even see past the porch rails.
God, I can't even remember what I said now. All Dusty could see were those wide green eyes and trembling lips before Alex had turned and stormed out of the house.
Dusty struggled into boots, coat and hat, nerves shaking her to the core. In the last few minutes of pacing a dark premonition had settled over her like a storm cloud.
Jack was waiting for her beside the rail.
"Oh God..." Dusty whispered.
The stallion pawed the earth and shook his massive head.
Nick at Nite reruns played oddly through her mind, and the inescapable image of "Lassie" crossed her mind. 'Where's Timmy, boy? Where's Timmy?'
"Where is she, Jack?" It never hurt to try.
Jack snorted again, tossing his head side to side. Dusty glanced to the field and the mountains, so much distance, so little time.
She ran into the barn, grabbing the first bit of sturdy rope she could find, then crossed the drive back to the horse. She threw the coil of rope over her head and one shoulder, and with one look to the field then a look to Jack she vaulted up onto his back. Oh god, hang on.
She'd barely twisted her fingers in his mane and wrapped her long legs around his torso when he took off at breakneck speed.
No one had ridden him before, but he was willing to let this woman, who smelled so familiar, help save his master. And surely she could save her?
When Alex opened her eyes the cold was all she could feel. Darkness surrounded her, terrified her, till she remembered vaguely what had happened.
She tested her arms and legs, satisfied she was all in one piece, and tried to reach up, grab onto something and pull herself out of the darkness. There was nothing but cold snow that crumbled at her touch. She slid farther in her panic, till she slammed her heel into the snow and punched her arm through, making two temporary ledges to hang from.
"Help!" Her voice echoed back, and died in seconds. No one would hear her. If there was anyone even searching. Dusty would have left, she was sure of that.
At the moment a cold, lonely death seemed suitable. Born into the world alone, die alone.
No, a little voice screamed, it's not suppose to be this way. Can't you see that?
"Dusty," she sobbed. Alex slipped another inch in the crumbling snow. The Fates decide our future, her aunt use to say. Was this Fates destiny? To die alone? So close yet so far away from the one she loved?
No! She punched her other arm through the snow, and held on.
As Dusty had crossed the fields a light snow had begun to fall. Now it swirled madly and obliterated everything more then a few feet in front of them. Jack stumbled and fell to his knees in the snow.
"Whoa, easy boy." Dusty jumped off as he struggled to regain his footing. "Easy." She backed off a few steps as he thrashed in the snow and finally stood, breath heavy and labored.
"Alex!!" Dusty cried, heart racing wildly. The wind carried her voice up and down, filling every hollow, and everything heard. But nothing answered in return. She patted Jack's neck absently as she searched through the blinding glare of white.
There! Something moved. Alex? Dusty pushed through thigh high snow towards the misty white. But it was white in a sea of white and she lost it. She cupped her hands to her mouth and yelled Alex's name till her throat was raw.
To her left the white shadow moved again. She leapt towards it, sinking into snow up to her waist. The image of an almost forgotten dream came to her. Another snow covered landscape... dying. "Alex!"
Suddenly she stopped as the tiny hairs on the back of her neck raised in alarm. She whirled around, sure something was breathing down her neck. Nothing.
Dusty turned back, taking one more step before hesitating again. The whispers of the wind teased her ears and for a moment she thought she heard a small voice calling her name.
"Alex?" The ground was open before her, footprints barely visible in the snow storm. Another step and she was sliding. She turned quickly and scrambled back.
A half strangled sob escaped Dusty's lips at the barely heard voice. "I'm here. Just hang on!" She lifted the rope from her neck, and uncoiled it. "I'm sending down the rope, grab it."
Dusty tied one end to her waist then sent the remainder into the hole. She braced her feet in the snow as best she could and waited. There was a small tug, then another.
"Got it." Alex's voice carried slightly through the opening.
"Hang on." With every ounce of diminishing strength Dusty had she pulled. She slipped and slid but before long Alex's head peeked over the snow. Dusty kept the rope taught and made her way to Alex's arms clamoring for a hold at the top. She grabbed gloved hands and pulled Alex up into her arms.
Dusty held her tight for an impossible second, then pushed her back. "Are you alright?" She got a glimpse of pale lashes, with snowflakes precariously balanced on the edges.
"You didn't leave?" Alex gazed into pale blue eyes, trepidation clear in her voice.
"No," Dusty whispered, "I didn't leave." Once again she pulled the smaller woman into her arms.
Alex's teeth were chattering, but she had to know. "Why?"
"Why what?" Dusty held the shaking woman tighter.
"Why didn't you leave?" Tears ran unbidden down her ice cold cheeks, and she pushed away from the embrace to see Dusty's face.
"Because I had to... "
"Apologize?" Alex pushed further away. Apologies weren't necessary. They meant nothing.
"No, because I had to do this... " And Dusty pulled the woman close again, bending her head to touch icy lips against icy lips.
Alex responded, tangling her fingers in Dusty's dark hair, passion rising in one heated kiss, till they pulled breathlessly apart.
The snow was soaking through their clothing, and both women were shivering. Jack snorted somewhere in the distance, impatient.
"Let's get you back and get you warmed up." Dusty helped Alex to her feet, drew her in close, and kissed her solidly on the mouth, a promise of more to come.
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