Disclaimers: These are my characters, all mine, even if they bear a striking resemblance to a certain warrior and bard. Sorry MCA/Universal you should know by now that I can't resist. But, so ya know, in no way do I make money from this. It's just my own sick, twisted fun.
Sex/Violence: Lots. More then the usual eps of Xena, and more then my usual stories. This is a tough city, a tough neighborhood where just about anything does and will happen. This story depicts love between two members of the same sex, so if this is illegal or offensive, read elsewhere. This story also depicts an act of rape, but no graphic sex scenes. Sorry folks, just not my style.
Anything else? Don't know about that yet. Guess this story has an R rating because of the violence and potty mouth language. Um, that'd be all now. Go ahead and read. Delve into my twisted mind, if you dare! :)
Feedback most welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bright rays of the morning sun woke Shane momentarily and she blinked blurry eyes around the unfamiliar room. Something warm and heavy rested against her side.
Oh yeah, Tony. Tony's room. Her eyes slid shut once again, then snapped open. Tony's room!
"Tony, Tony, wake up," Shane whispered urgently. "It's morning." If your mom finds us here we're both in big trouble. Shane grimaced. Tony would be in a lot more trouble then Shane cared to visualize.
Tony's warm breath raked across Shane's neck. She shivered and gently slid out from under the young girl. "Guess I'm going to have to sneak out of here, somehow."
"Tony!" Alice shouted, knocking on the bedroom door. "Wake up or you'll be late for school." The knob turned slowly.
Shane's heart skipped a beat and froze in her chest.
Alice turned the knob and stepped into the room. "Get up, girl. I'm off to work and you're going to be late." She waited a moment till one sleepy green eye peeked open.
Tony sat bolt upright, seeing her mother in the doorway. Frantically she looked around the room. Shane? "W-what time is it?" she stammered.
"Time to get up," Alice slammed the door shut as she left to grab a last cup of coffee before work.
"Shane?" Tony whispered. "Shane?"
The door to the adjoining bathroom was open a notch. Tony jumped out of bed and ran to the door, flinging it open. "Shane?" Her eyes landed on the small window above the toilet. Tony climbed up and peered out the opening. Shane was nowhere in sight.
Damn, that was close, Shane cursed as she pulled herself all the way up the fire escape. She crossed the black-tarred roof and went down the ladder on the opposite side, into the alley where she'd discreetly parked her bike.
Silently she led the bike out of the alley and down half a block before she popped the key in the ignition and went home to change.
Alice had left for work already and Tony was sitting at the kitchen table gulping down her orange juice, toast and eggs. If she didn't hurry she'd miss the bus and Gram would have to walk her to school.
She dashed out of the apartment with a quick kiss on Gram's cheek and made it to the bus stop a split second before the driver shut the doors behind her. She shuffled down the middle aisle looking for a seat.
There were none. Half a dozen kids were already standing or leaning on the ugly puke-green sides of the seats. She stifled a tired yawn and leaned against one herself. The bus bumped down the pothole filled road to the school and the students exited in a mass of yelling and mock fighting.
One of the faux fights turned to an all out scuffle and Tony just barely made it out the door of the bus before she was shoved down the bus steps by an angry elbow jabbing into her back.
She turned with an angry scowl on her face that quickly vanished when she saw one of the boys sporting a box cutter. Tony gulped and backpedaled quickly to the stairs and up through the school's front doors.
Even though she left the fight far behind she could still hear the shouting and taunts of the other kids and she hurried down the halls and up the stairs to the second floor and her first period class.
I hope Shane's all right, she pulled out her textbook after she had taken a seat in the back of the classroom. What if she hurt herself climbing out the window? Don't be stupid, Tony, she chided herself, Shane can certainly take care of herself.
Tony tried to focus on the teacher's lesson plan, but thoughts of Shane wouldn't go away.
She was ready to fight for you, an awed little voice remembered.
Fighting's not right, Tony countered.
So, the little voice said,
Still it's not ri-
"Tony?" The teacher had been going up and down the rows, checking homework.
She was one of the few teachers in the school that actually seemed to care about her students and had a good turn out in her classes. Some of the students even tried to pass.
Tony looked up with slightly glazed eyes. "Hmmm?"
"My homework?" Tony repeated, trying to focus on the present and the teacher standing at her elbow.
"Yes, do you have it?" Anna Stewart regarded one of her most promising students from behind slightly narrowed brown-gold eyes, noticing the violent, purpling bruise on Tony's chin.
"Oh, oh yeah..." Tony rummaged through her textbook and backpack. "Somewhere," she mumbled. Geez, I'm usually so much more organized. Triumphantly she held up the crumpled piece of paper she'd found at the bottom of her bag. "I got it."
Anna took the paper from Tony's hand and looked it over. She glanced back down at Tony's slumped head and restless tapping of her pencil against the desk. She knelt down at the side of the desk and clamped her hand over Tony's, stilling the incessant tapping. "Not up to your usual quality," she said gently, returning the paper to Tony's desk.
Tony uncomfortably shrugged her hand out from under the teacher's and looked away. "Sorry," she mumbled.
"May I speak with you after class, Tony?"
The young girl looked up startled. "Am I in trouble?" she asked wearily.
"No," Anna stood. "I'd just like to talk to you for a minute."
"Ok," Tony shrugged and her long pale hair cascaded around her shoulders and veiled the side of her face. She hid behind the curtain of hair as Anna smiled sadly and turned her attention to the rest of the class, half her thoughts still on Tony and half on the lesson plan.
The bell rang and Tony bolted from her seat. It appeared she'd forgotten all about her teacher's request to talk to her as she saw a dark head waiting by the doorway. She was halfway to the door when the teacher called out her name.
"Tony? Can I talk to you?"
Tony sighed, catching Shane's raised eyebrow look before turning back to the teacher and walking over toward her desk. "Sorry," she mumbled again, "I forgot."
"Have a seat." Anna pulled one of the student's graffitied chairs up next to her cluttered desk.
Tony hesitated and glanced at the door. Her tired eyes sought out Shane's and for a timeless second the two shared an understanding smile. Then Shane leaned against the doorjamb to wait and Tony turned slowly around and sat in the offered chair.
Anna Stewart didn't miss the dark haired girl by the door. No one ever could. She was a beautiful young woman. A dangerous young woman. Her concern for Tony grew by leaps and bounds. She cleared her throat and spoke softly, "How are you liking the school so far?"
"I'm not," Tony shrugged. What would it matter if the teacher knew the truth or not? There was nothing she could do about it.
"I saw your records from Missouri, Tony. They're excellent."
Tony looked at the teacher now, her interest piqued as to why she would bother. "Top in my classes," her smile was a bitter one.
"I'd like to speak to the principal on your behalf," Anna paused to let that first bit sink in, "and see if we can move you to classes that will better suit you." She waited and watched as Tony silently regarded her. It was hard not to just stare at that bruise or to come right out and ask what the hell was going on.
She wants to speak to the principal? Really? "Ok," she shrugged, as if it wasn't all that important.
But Anna didn't miss the small sparkle in the girl's eyes. "You'll probably be placed with most of the seniors. Is that a problem?"
A problem? No way... The inane thought that she might even be in one of Shane's classes made her smile. "No, not a problem at all."
"Good," Anna smiled back. "I'll talk to Mr. Walthers on my lunch break."
So that's his name. Another thought occurred to her. "Will I still have you as a teacher?"
"You betcha. I teach all the senior English classes, as well as the freshmen's."
"Cool," Tony glanced to the door to see if Shane was still there. She was, albeit stamping her foot on the floor impatiently. "Can I go now?" she turned back to Ms. Stewart.
About that bruise... "All right, see you tomorrow."
"Thanks Ms. Stewart." Tony fairly leapt out of her chair and raced to the doorway. She paused and glanced up shyly at Shane.
"So, you in trouble? Need me to bust some heads?" Shane asked.
Tony blinked, realizing even in the joking way the words were said that Shane would knock heads together for her, if Tony was so inclined to ask. "No trouble. I'm going to be taking some classes with the seniors."
"No kidding," Shane sounded impressed.
They began to walk down the hall, jostled from one side of it to the next as they made their way around groups of stand-still students.
"Where's your next class?" Shane asked, putting her hand on the small of Tony's back, guiding her around the students protectively.
"Math, room 407."
And so the day continued, with Shane popping up now and then after a few of Tony's classes and walking her to the door of the next. They received more then one set of curious looks and Shane shot them down with a curled lip and menacing eyes. Tony barely noticed, simply basked in the unexpected attention, wondering how long it would take for Shane's defensive wall to go back up and she'd be left alone again. Out in the cold.
As the day ended and Tony prepared to get on the bus to go home Anna Stewart waved in her direction and beckoned her off to the side.
"I talked to Mr. Walthers. He's willing to test you out in a few of the senior classes and when you're ready move you to the rest. How does that sound?"
Tony shielded her eyes against the sun and smiled up at the teacher. "That'd be fine. When?"
"Tomorrow." Anna impatiently brushed long, straight brown hair behind her ears. "I was thinking-"
"Tony!" Another voice called out and Tony turned to the source. "I've gotta go, Ms. Stewart." She turned back for a second, before she raced off. "Thanks."
Anna sighed as she watched the bright eyed girl walk over to meet the leader of 'The Panthers.' Trouble... her tired body cried. Why am I wasting my efforts on Tony if she's going to end up in a gang and maybe end up dead somewhere? Her mind balked at the idea. She's a good kid. I'll be damned if I'm going to let Shane Delante scare me away from this one too. Her mind made up, Anna Stewart, decided that Tony wasn't going to end up in the gutter, not if she could help it.