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 email@example.com
"In the secret recesses of the heart, beyond the teachings of this world calls a still, small voice singing a song unchanged from the foundation of the world. Speak to me in sunsets and starlight. Speak to me in the eyes of a child, you who call me from a smile, my cosmic beloved. Tell me who I am, and who I will always be. Help me to remember."- Joan Borysenko
Jack taken care of, dinner eaten, sorting junk put on hold till tomorrow, the two friends were once again in front of the crackling fire, Dusty inquiring as to why there were no TV's.
"Hmmm, no TV?" Alex stepped casually over to the far wall and ran her hand lightly over one spot. There was a tiny, almost inaudible click and the panel slid away to reveal a 27" color TV, VCR, and shelves full of tapes.
"My aunt's one indulgence. Couldn't live without those soaps when her little black-n-white died." Alex pulled out the remote and flipped on the TV. "What do you wanna watch? TV? Or a movie?"
"Whatever's on TV is fine with me." Dusty replied sleepily. She was comfortable on the couch, slightly surprised she was having so much trouble keeping her eyes open.
There were no battlefields or deserts this time. She was surrounded by tall, gangly trees. The air was rich with moisture and the scent of pine and the earth.
"Mi ionuin? Where are you?" The raven haired woman stepped through the tree's shadows, deeper into the heart of the forest.
"Ionuin?" She called again.
"Dorcha aon." A gentle voice called to her. "Put down the claiomh, and come to me."
"Ionuin, where are you?"
"Laoch, you reek of death. Blood stains your soul."
Why the hell are we speaking in two languages? And how do I understand Gaelic? It's just a dream, like all the others. The dark woman continued her search through the forest.
"Then why do they feel like memories, loach?"
"Whoever you are, I am not a warrior." She stood, and turned to survey the trees. Where is she?
"Then what of the claiomh?"
The woman, Dusty, looked down upon her hands for the first time. Clasped tightly in her right hand was a thick broadsword, a claiomh, dripping with blood. More blood was splattered along her arms and chest. "I don't understand." She whispered, clearly shaken.
"Tu gabh gan goil. Tu anam is docha."
A rolling mist circled Dusty's ankles and crawled slowly up her body.
"Ionuin!" Dusty cried. "I can't live without you."
The mist rose around her shoulders.
"Tu anam will aise`irigh, laoch." There was the unmistakable sound of a bow string begin released... a gasp... and the mist engulfed Dusty, but not before she caught a glimpse of startled, terrified green eyes.
Enough of this shit. Dusty ran across the frozen landscape, barren of all but craggy white mountains in the distance. Suddenly there she was. A small figure, strapped to a cross, short bangs whipping in the harsh wind.
"Alex?" Dusty stopped. It was her, but it wasn't.
The young woman didn't answer, just lifted sorrowful eyes, mouthing words that Dusty could not hear as the wind blew across the landscape and obliterated everything in a blinding swirl of snow.
"Wait! Who are you?" Dusty ran across the snow, sinking up to her knees and finally her waist. Still she pushed forward. Her body was numb, lungs aching, heart beating wildly. "Don't leave me!"
She could go no further now. The snow encased her body. Her heart ached. "Don't leave me." The last whispered breath of a dying woman.
The snow swirled and parted, revealing herself on a cross, next to the blond woman who resembled Alex so closely. This time she heard the words... "I love you.."
Dusty knew that voice. Knew she had to survive. "Even in death... I will never leave you!" And she knew it to be true. She had never left, never really died. The love in her heart had seen lifetimes. And each time...
She woke to face the woman beside her. One small hand was tucked under her chin, and soft snores passed her parted lips.
"Ionuin." Dusty jumped at the sound of her own voice, calling for her beloved. I dreamed... there was a forest, a voice, then snow, and I was searching again. It's not just my guilty conscience, right? The dream faded almost completely as she searched for the TV remote.
Alex struggled with dreams of her own. Someone was calling to her, in a language long since dead.
"Ionuin?" The voice was familiar, and desperate, as if she too had been searching a long time. She? Yes, a rich, deep voice that reached into her heart and set her body on fire.
"I am here!" Alex cried, desperate to be reunited with the other half of her soul. But it was not to be. In one second she was gazing into the pale blue eyes of her destiny, the next the whoosh of an arrow as it flew from a hidden quiver. Then darkness.
Alex woke with a gasp, clutching at her heart, sure to find an arrow piercing her skin. Nothing. Nothing but a deep ache. She shifted and stretched with a goran, realizing that she was still on the couch, and that she wasn't alone.
"You alright, Alex?" A deep voice asked and momentarily Alex was transported back to the dream. Pale blue eyes, a desperate voice seeking her beloved....
"Just a bad dream." Alex said.
"Tell me about it." Dusty replied sarcastically.
"Yeah." Dusty sighed, still flipping through channels. "I woke up about an hour ago and there's not a damn thing on TV."
Alex clenched and unclenched a square of blanket. What had her dream meant? They had never been this... vivid... this frightening before. Too weird. Maybe talking about it would help. "In my dream I was in a forest. The trees were tall and thin. It was a young forest but it felt old. I can't explain it." She paused, considering, and missed the stiffening of Dusty's jaw. "I was searching for something, or rather someone. Just before I woke up I got a glimpse of the person's eyes. Then suddenly I was dying- "
Dusty's gasp was uncontrollable. "You..." and she turned to stare into green eyes she'd seen filled with terror. The same person she had hung on a cross next to. The same... "How- how did you die, in the dream?"
Alex couldn't tear her eyes from seas of blue. Deep pools she could forever drown in. "There was this noise, like... whoosh..." She demonstrated with a slice of her hand through the air. " and when I looked down-"
"An arrow was sticking out of my chest." Alex blinked rapidly. "How did you know?"
"I have many skills." Dusty informed her dryly.
"I don't understand." Alex murmured on a shaky breath.
The dark haired woman inclined her head to the side, eyebrows furrowed in thought. "Neither do I. I had vaguely the same dream."
Alex looked up in surprise. "Tell me about it?" It was a soft, hesitant question as if Alex was afraid to know, yet something deep inside her demanded an answer. Demanded to know why her heart ached when Dusty was asleep in the other room. Why her heart pounded when those blue eyes were intent on her.
At first Dusty couldn't form the words to pass her trembling lips. "I've had other dreams, similar to it, in the fact that I'm always searching for something. I didn't realize until last night that what I was searching for wasn't something, but someone." Never before had she told these strange dreams to someone, let alone someone she'd only known for a few short days. Though somehow it felt a lot longer. "The dreams are so real, almost like..."
"Memories?" Alex supplied.
"Yeah, like memories. Of far away places, long ago... some not so long ago. Once I dreamed I was a wild west desperado, a business woman selling illegal liquor during the prohibition, and a soldier..." Her voice trailed off as she looked questionably at her blond companion.
"I always used my dreams for fiction. Some were about ancient gods, warlords, and kings. That was a juicy piece of writing, let me tell. Tthe words just flew onto the computer as if they'd already been written."
Dusty looked at Alex, startled. "Damn. Alex- Alex Casings. THE Alex Casings? Author of 'Dark Warrior?' I can't believe I didn't realize it before now." Quite frankly she looked stunned. "It hit the NY Times Best Seller List, but there was no picture, only a little biography..."
Alex's smile was self-deprecating. "I don't photograph well."
Hardly. You're beautiful. "Nonsense." She replied with a growing sense of alarm. Something was happening she was powerless to stop. Maybe I don't want to stop it. That made alarms bells start ringing clearly.
"Well, whatever. Maybe the house is finally getting to me after two years of being alone." Alex considered.
"You know I couldn't put that book down." Dusty's expression took on a far away look. "It was like- like I was there... that I was the warrior who's dark heart broke and her bloody soul was healed when she met her companion. In a way it gave me the courage to leave Marie-" She gave a startled gulp when she realized what she'd said, but Alex seemed neither surprised or repulsed, and since Howard had already let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, she continued. "We were partners in the PI business. It was small, but successful, or so I thought. I also thought I loved her and could trust her."
"What happened?" Alex gently laid her hand over Dusty's.
"We had a client... " Dusty's hand was alive with feeling where Alex touched her. "Anyway, I found out she was sleeping with him. And to add salt to the wound I also found out she was stealing from me. Marie took the company right out from under me." She shrugged finally, as if it was all water under the bridge, even though clearly it wasn't.
"I'm sorry." Was the only thing Alex could say that wouldn't sound pathetically cliched and stupid. "Is that when you packed up and left?"
Dusty gave a weary chuckle. "No. I well, I decided to get even first."
"Even? How?" Alex held her breath. Had she stepped too far? Was it really any of her business? Why was Dusty opening up now? I can handle this. I can? Yeah.
"It's a long story, Alex, and I'm tired." Dusty removed her hand from Alex's, still feeling her warmth there. It left her feeling unsettled.
Hands off then. Alex was surprisingly disappointed. "Ok. I'll see you in the morning."
Dusty was off the couch and around the coffee table before the hurt in Alex's voice cut through her own and made her turn back around. She rested on her knees and placed her hands on Alex's hands, resting on her thighs.
The simple contact sent a shiver up both their spines.
"I'll tell you while we're painting tomorrow, ok?"
Alex shrugged, trying to ignore the rising heat in her face and other parts of her anatomy. "Ok."
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