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
"I'll take Tony home," Shane said as she led Tony to her bike and glanced over her shoulder at Cadence. "Make sure Case gets up the stairs without falling on her ass, will ya?"
Cadence chuckled. "I'll get her home, but I dunno about the falling thing. It might actually teach this one a lesson."
"I doubt it," Shane grinned. "She'd just enjoy it."
"True. See ya tomorrow, Shane."
Tony clung desperately to Shane's waist as they flew down the back streets. One of these days she's going to get us killed! Her mind was still reeling from earlier and she barely noticed when Shane pulled the bike up to the apartments.
"We're here," Shane said.
With a barely contained groan Tony loosened her fingers and dismounted the bike. Her knees trembled and her chest still vibrated with the roar of the engine. "Do you always have to go so fast?" she grumbled.
Shane's eyebrows shot up. "I thought I was going slow." She caught Tony's elbow as her steps faltered and led her to the edge of the curb. "Sorry, I'll go slower next time."
"Don't worry about it," Tony mumbled.
The dark haired teen shrugged and said nothing. The silence extended but it was comfortable, neither feeling the need to invade on the almost peaceful moment.
Till a cat in heat decided to yowl like a mad thing. Then a dog jumped in with an eerie whine, a car screeched around the corner and a baby began to scream.
Tony sighed. "Guess I should get upstairs." It was later then she thought it was, but not late enough that her Gram would worry or her mom be home yet.
"Yeah," Shane replied but didn't move either.
"See ya tomorrow?" Tony offered.
"Yeah, tomorrow." Shane smiled softly and returned to her bike. She revved the engine as she watched Tony's lithe form walk up the apartment steps. She smiled all the way home.
Tony wasn't in school the next day, but it wasn't noticed till lunch and all the girls were gathered together. All, that is, except Tony.
"Where is she?" Casey asked the obvious.
"Hell if I know," Shane replied, dark eyes roaming the cafeteria.
"It's not like her to miss school," Cadence said as she unpacked her lunch of carrot sticks and yogurt.
"Oh God, Cadence, don't eat that stuff in front of me!" Casey made a show of disgust. "I don't know how you live off that stuff."
"It's good for you," Cadence bit into a carrot stick and offered one to Case.
"Not on your life," she said, wrinkling her nose.
"Where is she?" Shane wondered aloud, as if the question hadn't been poised just a moment ago.
"Dunno," Casey responded vaguely.
"You usually know everything, Case, what's up?" Shane asked darkly.
Casey blinked and looked at her friend. She seemed really worried. "Sorry, Shane, it's not like I keep tabs on every fucking thing that goes on."
The dark haired girl growled low in her throat and stood to leave the table. She stopped abruptly when Casey stood and looked up at her.
"What?" Shane growled.
Casey swallowed nervously. "She's a big girl," she said quietly.
Yeah, she's a big girl. She can take care of herself. So, why am I so worried? The memory of a darkened bedroom and silent sobs came to mind.
Shane tossed her leather jacket over her shoulder and plowed through the chaos of students in the cafeteria.
"Shane!" Casey called after her.
"Leave her be," Cadence said softly and pulled Casey back down to the table. "Here, have a carrot."
Casey stuck out her tongue.
Cadence grinned and resisted the sudden urge to stuff the carrot up Casey's nose.
Shane rapped lightly on the apartment door. She was trying for casual but it didn't succeed when no one answered. So, she pounded a little bit harder. Her head swung around as the neighbor's door popped opened.
"Hey!" Shane called.
The graying head began to disappear and Shane rushed to wedge her foot in the doorframe. "Hey, where are they?"
Wide frightened eyes stared back at the teen even as the old lady tried to forcibly shut the door; Shane's foot be damned.
"Where are they?" Shane demanded again.
"H-hospital," the neighbor stammered.
Oh my God... "Which hospital? What happened?"
"Get out of here. I don't know anything."
Shane pushed her hand against the thin door and stared menacingly at the elderly lady. "I said, which fucking hospital, lady?"
She gulped audibly and stammered out, "C-county."
Growling, Shane whipped her foot from the door, turned on her heel and raced down the stairs. Please be all right Tony, please. I'll kill that fucking bitch if she hurt you...
County hospital was a joke. It was understaffed, overworked and underpaid. It hosted the worst of the worst; drug deals gone bad ñ cops and perps on gurney's right next to each other ñ gay bashings, malnourished, starving children, gang fights and drivebys...
Shane searched through the chaotic ER for a familiar blond head. There! In a crowded waiting room Tony sat, feet pulled up to her chest and face ghostly pale.
Relief swept over Shane so suddenly that it left her dizzy. Oh thank God, she's not hurt... "Hey," Shane called.
Tony looked up with pain filled eyes. For a moment she didn't register the vision standing in front of her. Slowly her puffy eyes focused. Shane! She jumped from the chair and flung herself at the girl.
"Great to see you too," Shane chuckled as she did her best to keep the both of them from falling to the linoleum.
Overwhelming emotions coursed through Tony and all she could do was bury her head in Shane's chest. Tears that she'd thought she'd cried out hours ago came pouring out again.
"Hey, hey, shhh." Shane shifted the weight anxiously in her arms and led them back to the chairs. She pulled Tony down next to her. "What happened?"
The tears continued and there were no answers. "What the hell happened?" Shane finally demanded when she couldn't take the silence any longer.
Tony just shook her head. Shane pushed her back and tilted her head up. "I was worried when you didn't show up at school." She gazed deep into pain filled eyes. "So I came over to the apartment looking for you. Your, uh, neighbor said you were here."
"Mrs. Fallinsworth," came the barely audible reply.
"Who? Anyway... She didn't know what happened. You gonna tell me?"
Tony looked into the eyes of her friend and her lips trembled dangerously. "Momma didn't wake me up this morning. She always does..."
"And?" Shane prompted after a long, shaking silence.
"I went to see if her alarm didn't- " Tony hiccuped, "didn't go off... and she, she wasn't in her room. S-so, I looked..." she drew in a deep breath, nearly choking as the tears threatened to consume her, "in the bathroom..." She couldn't continue.
"It's ok. Shhh," Shane whispered as she unconsciously nestled Tony closer in her arms. Wild thoughts ran through her mind and she was terrified by how well the young girl fit in her arms. "What happened then?"
"She was in the tub and there was... blood-" she sobbed and returned to choking silence.
Oh God... Tony shouldn't have seen that. "It's ok now. I'm here." Shane realized it seemed a rather lame statement, but what else was there to say? "I'm here," she repeated softly.
For a brief moment, before the haggard doctor rounded the corner and called her name, Tony knew that Shane would and possibly could make everything OK.
Tony looked up. And, if it was possible, blanched even more at the look on the doctor's face.
"Is your grandmother here?" the doctor asked.
Shane suddenly realized who was missing.
"S-she's getting c-coffee," Tony stammered and cast imploring eyes at Shane.
"Your father then?" the doctor asked patiently. A young girl should not have to hear this kind of news without support.
"My father's dead," Tony said bluntly.
Shane's eyebrows skyrocketed up under her bangs. This was news to her. Last she'd heard he'd left. But you never really bothered to ask, did you, Shane? She looked at Tony's suddenly calm face.
"She's dead, isn't she?" With a direct look at the doctor Tony knew it was true, even before the doctor spoke.
"We should wait for your grandmother to get-" The dark haired girl sitting beside Tony was up and in the doctor's face before she could even blink. A cool, blue gaze raked impassively over the doctor's face.
"Tell her," Shane demanded.
Nervously the doctor turned to Tony who had come to stand beside the dark teen and said, "Your mother lost too much blood. By the time she got here there was little we could do for her, and without her will to live, if there had been more to do, it would have been up to her..." The doctor let the sentence trail off delicately.
The rest didn't have to be said.
Tony nodded silently. She stared off into the distance for a moment then cleared her throat. "What now?" She caught site of a graying head. Gram. Her lip quivered with relief and her brief composure was close to breaking.
From down the hall Gram caught site of Tony's shattered, pale face. With a gasp she dropped the Styrofoam cups of coffee and raced to engulf her only grandchild in a terrifyingly fierce hug. "It's gonna be all right, sweetheart." It's gonna be all right, was her mantra as she talked to the doctor over the blond head.
Arrangements would be made later with the help of one of Gram's friends. Her friend's son was a lawyer and by the time the phone call was made everything was out of their hands. Neighbors came and went through the apartment, dropping off condolences and trays of food.
Shane stayed by Tony's side the whole time. Not that Tony would let Shane out of her sight or consciously let go of the audible relief she felt each time Shane casually touched her arm or got her something to drink.
The long shadows of twilight were shading the apartment when the others finally left and the place settled into silence.
"How ya holdin' up?" Shane asked as they sat side by side on the couch, watching a stupid comedy through the specks of TV snow.
Tony shrugged. "All right, considering."
Yeah, considering... Shane remained silent for a long moment. What now? "I've got to head home now," she said reluctantly.
After a second Tony looked up through long, pale lashes. Eyes unfocused she simply stared at the blurry image of Shane's figure.
"I've got to go now."
"Yeah, ok." Tony turned back to the movie playing, not even realizing it was now over. As the credits rolled past she heard Shane stand.
"Will you be in school tomorrow?" the dark teenager asked.
"I'll come pick you up in the morning?" It was going to be a statement, but tumbled out as more of a hesitant question. Helplessly Shane buried her clenched fists in her pockets.
"Sure," Tony murmured. "I'll see you then."
Shane left Tony sitting despondently on the couch. How she wanted to stay... to comfort Tony... but there was nothing she could do. The girl just needed time, needed to come to terms with the situation.
And the situation was pretty damn grim from Tony's perspective. She was now an orphan. And the last moments Alice and Tony had together had been an all out fight. Tony's last words to her mother had been words of hate. She regretted each and every one of them now. But there was no taking them back.
It was better to forget. Easier to become numb. Silently she padded across the worn hardwood floor and shut her bedroom door behind her.