Forgotten Way

by Tragedy88

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, 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


Chapter Eight-


"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good."- Samuel Johnson


Fingers tapped incessantly at a computer keyboard as a creative mind worked furiously. Alex's fingers couldn't keep up with the flow of her thoughts. The sun had risen when she'd finally crawled, blurry eyes into bed, fully clothed.

Dusty listened to the tap of the keys while she tossed and turned on the bed. She hadn't meant to cause that hurt sound in Alex's words and she'd regretted it instantly.

Her thoughts strayed to Marie again and noted with surprise the striking similarities between her ex and Alex. The same golden hair, intelligent eyes in that baby soft face... Both were artistic and smart, but where Marie was shallow, Alex was compassionate and caring. Marie had been a wild cat in bed and Dusty couldn't help but wonder what Alex would feel like below... or above her. Alex was a fiery spirit. Would her body burn and writhe, or was she quiet and gentle? Dusty suspected she was both, and so much more. Soft skin... hungry lips... the curve of her... goddamn, I need a cold shower.


The gunslinger hooked her thumbs into the loop of her belt and sauntered casually 
behind, waiting to see if she'd be noticed.

The tale of the wild west wrote itself as the others had, taken from dreams... memories of a past lifetime? Didn't matter.

Dusty had interrupted Alex for breakfast but was waved away. Then later for lunch and got the same response. Alex was one with the muse and couldn't be bothered with such trivial things as food and a shower.

Slowly she turned and studied the early morning crowd as the townsfolk went about their 
morning business and chores.  A glimpse of a black Stetson, the metal gleam of two 
shiny Colts... it is her.  

A tray clanked down on the tabletop and Alex looked up, startled.

"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you." Dusty apologized. "I brought you something to eat."

"Thanks." As her stomach growled Alex picked up the sandwich with a wry smile. She bit into it hungrily and chewed furiously. Thoughts were still chaotic in her mind and she had to get back to work quickly or loose the finicky muse.

"What are you working on?"

"Huh? Oh, this. Um, well..." She gestured at the screen, helplessly embarrassed. "Guess you inspired me last night."

"Oh really?"

The look on Dusty's face was priceless. Alex grinned sheepishly. "Really. You know, about the dreams you had? The wild west desperado?"

"You're writing that? Now?"

"No. It seems to be writing itself. I can't stop."

"Can I read it?"

Alex hesitated. And curse it? Alex lived on the solid belief that if a story was read while still being written it would never, in her lifetime, be finished. But well... one look at those puppy dog eyes... "Maybe when I get this chapter done?" She relented. "And then you can tell me if it's any good."

Of course it'll be good. "Sure. Hey, do you want me to go pick up some paint while you write then?"

Alex blinked. She'd completely forgotten. "Um, I forgot about it really... there... ah... the checkbook's around here somewhere. Do you want me to go with you?" Alex searched through the desk for the checkbook.

Before Dusty could reply Alex flashed the thin book triumphantly. "We never decided on what colors, did we? How about some basics and we can mix whatever for whatever?"

She's asking my opinion? "Sounds good to me."

Alex wrote out the check, signed it and left the amount slot blank. She didn't hesitate to hand it over to Dusty. Her fingers itched to return to the keyboard.

Dusty looked at the check resting in her hand, a startled eyebrow rushing to hide under dark bangs. "Um, ok... anything specific in mind?"

"Not really. Pick whatever you want, I trust you."

Trust? I don't trust myself and you're trusting me with this? Then- then I won't betray that trust. "Well, I'll be back in a few hours. Enjoy your writing." Dusty almost, almost leaned down to give Alex a good-bye kiss on the cheek.

"I will." Alex replied absently, hands already poised over the keyboard, thoughts colliding back to the past where a violent desperado was about to get the shock of her life.


An hour later Alex stretched and groaned, that chapter done. Time to take a serious break. She stood and stretched on her tiptoes, cracking her back, wiggling her shoulders and grimacing in pain. A moment later she jogging to the barn to check on Jack.

He was only slightly miffed at being ignored for so long, but quickly came around with carrots and a thorough grooming.

"My back's killing me, Jack." Alex admitted to the horse as he tried to follow her out of the stall. "We'll take a ride later, ok?" She promised as she shut the gate.

The wind pushed her roughly all the way across the drive and onto the porch. It howled through the trees and over the ancient wooden planks.

"I'm going. I'm going," she complained. But she stood a moment longer, hand poised over the door knob, eyes turning to the woods. She shrugged at the sudden uneasy feeling, turned away and pushed open the door. It was captured by the wind and slammed shut behind her.

It was quiet in the house. Too quiet, save for the eerie howls and cries of the angry wind Her shoulders ached and begged for activity. After she'd shedded her coat and placed in on the coat rack she trudged wearily into the kitchen.

Not hungry... she decided after browsing through the pantry, cupboards and refrigerator.

The silence was beginning to unnerve to her.

I wish Dusty was here. I should have remembered the paints sooner. We could be in on of the rooms right now, getting all messy and complaining about the cold.

The phone was ringing. I hope that's not Howard.

"Ms. Casings?"

It was Randy, almost as bad.

"Yes. What's up Randy?"

"There's a Ms. Sheller here. She has one of your checks, ma'am."

Sheller? Oh yeah, Dusty. Geez. "So, what's the problem?"

"She says you gave her the check."

What a fucking moron. Of course I gave her the friggin check. "I was very busy this morning, Randy, so I asked Ms. Sheller if she would run an errand and pick up some paint for the house. She was kind enough to go into town for me."

"Ms. Casings," his voice lowered to a whisper, "it's not wise to give out your checks to... strangers."

"I trust Ms. Sheller completely Randy, and I ask that you respect the check and give her the paints."

"Very well. Have a nice day."

Yeah, you too, idiot. She hung up the phone, envisioning Dusty at the counter, her eyes glaring, giving what Alex could only refer to as 'the look.' There was no other way to describe it, but intense.

And Dusty was doing just that. Giving Randy 'the look.' Of course she had anticipated the problem, but, what the hell, right? She wanted to do this for Alex. No cracking heads, she reminded herself as Randy took the check like it was covered in filth.

I'm going to break my teeth if I don't stop this. Need to relax. Marie and all that shit is far behind me now. I'm starting over.

"Ms. Sheller?" Randy repeated disdainfully. "Your receipt?" He waved the thin strip of paper in her face.

She snatched at it savagely and without another word left the Emporium.

Shoot 'em all, was the mantra as she got back in the Jeep. Shoot 'em all.

But it's a fact that wherever trouble goes, more trouble follows.

Chapter Nine

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