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
Casey's actually being nice. Ok, not nice but she's trying. I think. She doesn't fling daggers at me anymore.
"Stop staring," Tony hissed under her breath.
Casey glared. "I'm not staring."
Tony stuck out her tongue.
Casey flashed hers and phhfftted.
Tony laughed and Casey smiled. This isn't so bad. At least the cafeteria is tolerable now on rainy days.
It had rained the last week and a half. Endless pattering and sudden downpours. Thunder. Lightning that blew out the grid for five blocks, flooded the subways and left more then one rat floating paws up in the raging gutters.
And left the students edgy and depressed, especially Shane.
For some reason Casey was trying to make up for Shane's absence by inviting Tony to sit with her at lunch.
Nothing had been said about the missing phone call. Their silence had stretched and Tony found herself floundering in the dim halls, till Casey walked beside her and asked her to lunch. That was almost a week ago.
And it had almost been a week since anyone had seen Shane. Casey and Cadence had assured Tony that Shane did this often. That she disappeared for days and re-appeared as if nothing had happened. They had all learned to live with it, and Tony, she supposed, would have to learn to live with it as well.
But that didn't mean she had to like it. "Are you sure Shane's all right? Has she called you or anything?"
"She's fine and she hasn't called," Casey sighed. Learning to like Tony hadn't been as hard as she thought but at times she still wondered what the fuck Shane saw in her.
"Then how do you know if she's fine?" Tony crumbled up her empty lunch bag. "I mean if she hasn't call-"
"Tony, she's fine." Cadence peered at the young girl across the table with a reassuring smile. "Really."
At the deep voice right next to her ear Tony nearly leapt out of her chair. "Shane!" she cried as she whirled around and grabbed her friend in an impulsive hug.
Shane just shrugged as she looked with challenging eyes around the lunch room table at the startled faces of her posse, then wrapped one arm around Tony's shoulders, gently hugging her back before releasing her.
"So, where were you? What were you doing?" Tony asked as she sat.
The questions started before Shane had even sat down. She grinned wryly. "Nowhere. Whatcha'll been up to?"
"Well-" Casey started.
"How could you have been nowhere, Shane? You must have been somewhere?" Tony looked expectantly at the dark teen.
Shane was about to snap at Tony when she saw the barely disquised worry in her eyes. "I was out of town," her icy eyes begged with Tony to drop it, that if she could she'd tell her later.
Tony was silent a moment before she shrugged, mistaking Shane's inability to tell her as a sign of anger. She focused her attention on Casey as she re-hashed the last week's goings ons, interrupting now and then with her own version of the events.
Shane caught Tony's elbow on the way out of the cafeteria and pulled her behind the others. They slowed down and stopped as the others rounded the corner.
"What?" Tony asked, not bothering to look at Shane, afraid of what would be clearly written on her face.
"I didn't want to say anything in front of the others." Shane hastened to explain without really explaining.
"Doesn't matter," Tony replied offhandedly. She started back down the hall, not really wanting to go to class but not being late was really the only excuse she had.
Shane touched her elbow again, and Tony turned back to her, eyes blazing with fury.
"I was worried," Tony whispered harshly.
"I- I didn't mean to worry you. I leave like that all the time," Shane cast her eyes down to the ground as she shuffled her feet, startled by Tony's apparent vehemence.
"You could have told me, at least." Tony tried hard to hold back the tears, but they threatened at the corner of her eyes. She blinked rapidly and looked off down the hall. Through the diminishing throng of students she found Casey waiting at the corner. Watching.
"I realize that now," Shane said softly and gently touched Tony's chin and turned to look into her dark green eyes. "I should have told you I was going. I- I'm sorry."
The warm fingers on Tony's chin sent a tingle down her spine and nervously she stepped out of reach. Why is Shane being so÷ what's the word? Gentle? No, that's not it. Maybe she really is sorry. Maybe she really does care if we have a friendship or not. "It's your life, Shane. It's not like you have to report to me or anything."
"I know that. It's just that÷ well um no one's really ever worried before. Er, I mean it's not like I ever needed to tell anyone÷" Shane trailed off, at a sudden stuttering loss for words.
Tony sighed slightly. "It's ok, really." And it was ok, because Shane was here. Now.
Shane smiled widely. She shoved her hands in her pockets and leaned back against the wall, fighting the urge to brush the hair out of Tony's eyes. Again.
"Wanna walk me to class?" Tony asked, by way of truce.
Casey watched from down the hall. She couldn't see everything that was happening as students passed back and forth between them, nor could she hear, but for almost a full 30 seconds the hall cleared out. Right at the moment that Shane touched Tony's chin.
With narrowed eyes Casey saw the dark depths of Shane's soul and compared it to the almost÷ tender ÷ girl down the hall. What the hell? She wondered. But her sudden insights were gone as Shane leaned back against the wall, hands in her pockets, with her usual feline grace.
"Room 234?" Tony asked. The second half of her day was now to be filled with senior classes. She didn't know yet if Shane was in any of her classes because she had not permitted herself to ask, or even hope.
"This way÷" Shane took the stairs two at a time and Tony struggled to keep up.
"Hey Shane?" Tony paused to catch her breath. Shane hadn't heard her. "Hey Shane," she shouted, "wait up!"
Shane turned, then went down a few steps. "Come on, slow poke," she teased.
"Well if ya didn't go so fast I could keep up," Tony griped goodnaturedly.
The dark teen grinned. "If your legs were longer, you mean. Then you could keep up."
Childishly Tony just stuck out her tongue. "Yeah, yeah, yeah÷ whatever." She adjusted her pack across her shoulders and they made their way back up the stairs, this time keeping pace with one another.
The new classes certainly weren't challenging, but at least now she wasn't two years behind. They had the same problem with books and supplies as the lower grades but Tony was satisfied, at least for now, to be back in the academia she was use to.
Classes went by in a blur and for the first time Tony actually had homework she needed to take home, because she actually had to study some of the material this time. She didn't see Shane at the bus stop, but as she was looking her gaze found Casey's.
She gave the spikey haired, nose ringed girl a shy smile and waved. Casey waved her over to the grass.
"What's up?" Tony asked when she was close enough.
"Nada. What's up with you?" Casey shifted nervously from foot to foot and fingered the stud pierced in her eyebrow. So many questions÷
"Gotta get on the bus and go home." Tony shrugged.
"I was gonna get a ride with Cadence, you wanna come?" Casey asked.
Tony sighed. Her mom would kill her. "I, um, I'm not allowed." She blushed to the roots of her hair.
Casey graciously stepped around the uncomfortable topic. "Bummer. You could ride the bus home then like ask if you could hang with us?"
How much I want to do that you have no idea. "I can ask. But ya know my mum is pretty strict. Ah, she'll wanna meet you n stuff." Tony colored, totally embarrassed. How cool must Casey and Cadence's moms be if they were allowed out and about?
"No problem. We can always kidnap you," Casey grinned wickedly.
Tony laughed. They parted after Tony gave Casey her address. Cadence would drive them both there and come upstairs to ask if Tony could 'come out and play.'
Tony prayed her mom wouldn't freak when she saw Casey's piercings.
Pure luck would have it that on this particular day Tony's mom had called Gram to say she was working double shift and wouldn't be home till 1am.
Cadence had the presence of mind to keep the studded and spikey Casey in the car while she skipped up the stairs two at a time and rapped gently on the apartment door.
"Who is it?" An elderly voice called through the door.
Tony's voice could be heard in the background, calling something unintelligible, then the door was being pulled open and Tony appeared, bright eyed, at the door.
"Where's your mum?" Cadence asked as she stepped inside.
"She's working doubles," Tony grinned. "Gram!" she turned and called.
"Right here, darlin', no need to shout." Gram stood in the doorway to the kitchen, quietly assessing the dark skinned girl in her front room.
"Hi ma'am," Cadence stepped forward and extended her hand. "My name's Cadence. I was hoping Tony could hang out with us for awhile?"
Gram took the proffered hand and shook it with surprising strength. "Hang out?" Gram asked skeptically. Another one, she mused. My Antonio sure is the social one. But where is this Casey she was talking about? And where is Shane?
"Yeah, we weren't sure what we wanted to do yet. We thought maybe a movie, but we can never all agree on the same one." Cadence smiled through the tiny white lie. It was true, if they did go to the movies they never could decide.
"Where's Casey?" Tony asked, voicing her Grams' unspoken question.
"She stayed in the car. You know this neighborhood; I wouldn't trust my car alone out there," Cadence said lightly. Partly true, partly not.
Gram nodded, understanding. "You have a good time with your new friends Antonia, darling, ok?"
"Thanks gram," Tony wrapped her Gram in an impulsive hug.
"Now, I don't wanna worry so you call your old Gram at least once and let me know what's going on." Gram ruffled her granddaughter's soft hair and pushed her out to arm's length, looking into eager green eyes, and begging silently for Tony to understand as well.
Tony nodded. "I will. Is there anything you want me to pick up at the store or something on the way home?"
"No darlin' you just go and have a good time. Be home before your mother."
Tony nodded silently and made her way to the doorway with Cadence a step ahead of her. Yes! Her mind sang with excitement as she jogged down the stairs behind Cadence. Yes! Freedom, for at least one afternoon, was hers.
She settled in the middle, with Casey to her right and Cadence to her left, in the driver's seat.
"Hey Case," Tony grinned.
"I take it your mum said yes," Casey grinned back.
Tony chuckled. "Mum wasn't home, Gram was. That's how I got out."
"Hope you don't mind that I didn't come upstairs. Mom's always got a problem with me." Casey swiveled in the seat to face Tony.
"No problem. I figured." Thank you, she added silently, knowing that Casey would accept the sentimental thank you but they'd take a step back in the tiny bond they'd formed. "So, where to?" Tony asked, with an unabashed ear to ear grin.
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