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
"All people smile in the same language" - Wings of Silver
Alex woke before the sun, buried deep in a pile of blankets. With a groan and a body length stretch she popped her head out into the chill of the room.
Why do I get up so damn early? With another groan she pushed back the blankets and set her feet on the cold hardwood floor. She pulled on jeans over her long johns, picked up her flannel shirt from yesterday and padded in thick wool socks to the kitchen. With brisk, practiced ease she set up the coffee machine. With a small grin she made the coffee for two.
Then she bundled up to go check on Jack.
On her way out the door she stopped to gaze upon the sleeping form on the couch. Dusty's head was uncovered, except for the protective arms wrapped around her head.
Jack stretched his powerful stride at his rider's request, exhilarating in the early morning run.
The sun was up in the crisp blue sky as they walked back to the barn. It had been a long ride this morning, far from the past, the present, and anything else Alex just couldn't handle. The wind and the trees took it all in a whirlwind of colors and song.
Dusty was up as well and going through the kitchen cupboard when Alex returned. "Hope you don't mind. I'm starving."
"No problem. Help yourself. I got eggs, sausage... um, bacon in the fridge I think." Alex ambled over to the refrigerator, grabbing various breakfast items.
Soon the kitchen was filled with the rich aroma of fresh coffee, sizzling bacon, sausage and eggs. Over bites of breakfast the conversation focused on small chit chat.
"What do you do for a living, Dusty?"
"I've done many things," she replied cryptically, "but right now I'm kinda retired."
"You're too young to retire."
Dusty grinned. "So everyone tells me."
"Then what are you doing in Bluerock? It's not exactly retirement heaven."
There was silence as Dusty contemplated her answer. Ah, what the hell, she's a nice kid, and it's not like I'll ever see her after today anyway. "I sold everything I could, packed up the rest and started to drive. No plans, nothing, just went. Got away from it all."
Alex watched the play of emotions across Dusty's face over words said so stoically. Sadness, anger... was that fear? "What are you running from?" Alex asked softly, then bit her lip.
"I- uh- just trouble." Dusty didn't look up from her eggs.
"Well then, I'm afraid you haven't run far enough." Alex grinned at the confused look and raised eyebrows. "My family always said my middle name was 'trouble.'"
They ate in silence for a few moments, the only sounds that of the chickadees in the snow.
Well I could... I mean I've got all this room going to waste... "Um, Dusty?"
"Yeah?" She lowered her coffee cup and glanced into suddenly serious eyes.
"You said you didn't have any plans- I mean- you were leaving town and... um, I've been thinking about renting out some rooms..." Ah shit. Alex's voice trailed off as she met Dusty's eyes expectantly. She looked like she needed convincing. "If you wanted to stay on a bit I could fix up a room? It's quiet here, no one comes out this way."
Dusty contemplated a dust mote drifting by the sunlit kitchen window. It was nice, quiet, out of the way...
"Couple of days, whatever." Alex continued. "I know you aren't too popular in town right now, but I thought-" Shitfuckingshit, what was I thinking? Alex mentally smacked herself in the head.
"I don't know." Dusty was surprised by the suddenly crestfallen look on Alex's face. "I heard there was trouble here."
"Oh, well of course there's trouble here. I'm here." Alex smiled.
And I'm so glad you are. "How 'bout $400 for the week?" Dusty was ready to pay anything to stay just a little bit longer.
Alex's jaw dropped slightly.
"Not enough?" Dusty was ready to offer more.
"No! I mean yes, er I mean that's more then enough. A week?" God, I'm not making sense. Alex gave herself another mental slap. Gonna get a headache if I keep this up.
"I can catch up on some sleep." Dusty rationalized, more to herself then anyone else.
"Settled then. I'll fix up a room after breakfast." I'm grinning from ear to ear like a schoolgirl asked to her first dance. Alex hastily finished her breakfast, mumbling something about sheets and curtains, and excused herself.
Dusty let her own ear to ear grin surface as Alex left.
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