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
"Where to?" Cadence asked, glancing to her right at Tony's pale, shattered face, then to the mirror and the stoic face of one very grouchy Shane Delante. When she got no answer she sighed and made her way to the abandoned warehouse, Tish's Corvette hot on the CRX's tailpipe.
She drove the little car into the side alley and parked, grinding the parking brake up with a little more force then necessary. "Lock the doors," she ordered as she stepped out. Tony popped the seat up for Shane to scramble out of the back and moved off to the side. Shane locked the door and slammed it shut.
The Corvette pulled up behind them and Tish, Casey, Molly, Ripper and Dorsey all piled out.
Ripper, who Tony had only met once before in passing, held up the sagging, splintery boards for everyone to shimmy under and into the dark hallway. They made their way down the hall with Casey complaining about something or other to Dorsey. No one else said anything.
Once in the room the cooler was broken open and beers passed around. Cadence refused like she always did but Tony sat with a chilled can in her hand, studying the members of Shane's posse.
Ripper was nearly as tall as Shane, her tanned face in a perpetual frown as if when she looked at the world all she saw was the filth. She was dressed in her customary jeans ñ 505 button fly Levis ñ and her usual basic T-shirt, the front pocket crammed with a cigarette pack. Ripper was good looking, in that tom boy way. A baby butch.
Tony grinned slightly. Her gram would be astonished at all the things that had crossed her mind since moving here; her now gutter humor and her blatant cursing... And the way her heart fluttered every time Shane's eyes met hers. Which they were doing none too frequently at the moment.
The blond haired teen sighed and tucked her feet up under her thighs. She gripped the beer can tighter as she raised it to her lips and took a long swallow. Ick... guess it's one of those things that has to grow on you.
She took another swallow and turned her attention to the conversation at hand.
"So she pulled up her shirt and flashed Coach," Dorsey was saying. Chuckles went up around the room and when Dorsey turned to her expectantly she realized she'd missed a vital part of the conversation. She smiled, unsure, and Dorsey flashed her a quick grin before returning to the incident in the girl's locker room she'd been talking about.
Ripper and Dorsey, it appeared, were both on the girl's basketball team. And it appeared their dislike of the coach was mutual. Conversation flowed back and forth, Tony picking up odds and ends here and there and bantering back and forth with Casey about the fiasco in their gym class the day before the funeral.
Some rather large girl had sat out the game of volleyball the gym teacher had made them reluctantly start. The ball had gone flying out of bounds, popped the girl on the head and sent her careening back into the metal bleacher behind her. All was fine, until the girl tried to get back up. Her butt was pinned between the narrow metal bleacher and the runner board.
Before Tony knew it she had a grin plastered across her face and the constant tension in her shoulders kept rolling out with each bit of laughter. Whether it was the company of friends or the three cans of beer she didn't care.
By the fourth can she was sprawled out on the floor beside Ripper and trading dirty jokes. She had no idea she knew so many. Ripper's lean face was flushed red with laughter and Casey had already escaped once to a bathroom somewhere to relieve herself.
Shane was somewhere between her fourth and fifth can, but she had a higher tolerance. She kept an eye on Cadence keeping an eye on Tony. And finally she kept an eye on Ripper and Tony. She watched with narrowed eyes as the usual 'don't touch me' attitude Ripper worked hard to maintain diminished and she touched Tony's shoulder or knee, smiling constantly.
With a start Shane realized she was jealous. Ripper was 'out' and, as she always said, she 'planned to stay that way, even if it meant getting stabbed in some back alley for being a perve.'
Ripper was honest, to the point of being blunt. It was one of the reasons Shane liked her so much and got along with her. No bullshit. The touching was subtle though. When it came to that kind of thing the nearly 6 foot, well muscled girl was almost shy. Who the hell had decided to give her the tag Ripper?
The only thing Shane had ever seen her rip up was the court or a nasty report card.
For a long moment she nursed her beer in complete silence, narrowed eyes still watching. Then, in one long swig, she finished the beer, got up and fetched another one and plopped her long frame down right between Tony and Ripper.
Tony glanced up with a smile. Her face was flushed and her eyes glimmered in the dull light coming from between the wooden slats on the broken windows. Shane couldn't blame Ripper one bit for wanting to touch her.
Shane blushed and mumbled a 'hey.'
"Hey Shane, didja know that Ripper said I was cu-"
"Tony, Shane doesn't wanna hear what I think," Ripper interrupted with force.
"Oh." Tony turned to look at her new friend, and even through the haze of alcohol could see her discomfort. "Ok."
"Isn't your Gram gonna wonder where your at?" Shane discreetly changed the subject.
Tony's brow furrowed as she tried to remember where her Gram was. "Oh, oh no. I told her I wasn't gonna come home ta night."
One elegant eyebrow arched. "Where did you tell her you'd be?"
"What if she calls there?"
"She doesn't have the number. Neither do I for that fact." Tony's head swiveled around till she found Cadence. "Oh, there you are! Hey!"
The light, chocolate skinned girl smiled patiently. "Hey yourself." She got up and joined the little group, leaving Casey where she was, passed out cold on the floor.
More conversation, more beers and hours later everyone was either sleeping or passed out somewhere on the dusty floor. Tony being one of the ones who'd passed out, Dorsey and Casey the other two.
Tony woke with a groan, clutching her stomach. She struggled to sit up as a wave of nausea hit her churning stomach. With a dejected moan she crawled on her hands and knees over to Shane's side.
"Shane, Shane," she whispered urgently, shaking the teen's shoulder. "I'm gonna be sick. I need a bathroom. Now."
Blue eyes popped open in the semi-darkness. Shane stumbled to her feet and brought Tony up beside her. The girl moaned and clutched her stomach tighter.
"Not gonna make it..." Tony mumbled and slapped a hand over her mouth.
Shane swept her up in strong but tired arms and hurried to a door at the end of the room. She pushed it back on broken hinges, went through quickly and stepped into a tiny portal of a bathroom. There was barely a spec of light but she led Tony to her knees beside the cracked toilet and gently held the girl's hair back as she leaned over the toilet, just in time.
For several minutes Tony exhausted everything still inside her from the food at the hall while Shane absently rubbed gentle circles across her back. When Tony finally collapsed back against her chest Shane chuckled.
"What?" Tony demanded in a cracked voice.
"Bet you're not gonna do that again, huh?"
Tony just groaned and pushed off of Shane's body to stand. The room tilted and twirled dangerously and she was glad when Shane's strong, sure hands caught her up and held her tightly. She leaned against Shane, face pressed against her chest.
The smell of cigarettes, salt and shampoo that was just so Shane curled protectively around her. She inhaled deeply and pulled away, embarrassed. "Sorry," she mumbled.
"S'ok," Shane replied, slightly flustered. It felt so right holding and comforting Tony. She didn't really want to let go. But she did when she felt Tony shrugging away. "Come on, there's an old cot in the other room you can lay on and get some sleep."
The cot looked like a left over war relic, but Tony sank into it anyway, ignoring the slight smells of mold and mildew.
Shane hesitated. "I'll be in the other room if you need anything."
Tony's drooping eyes widened in alarm. "It's dark in here," she murmured.
"It's not that dark." Shane surveyed the room and her eyes landed on the boarded window on the other side. With purposeful strides she crossed to the window and reached up, tugging down a board. A neon burst of light from the bar a half block down, filtered in and sent a shaft of light across the bottom of the cot. "Better?" she asked.
"No," Tony whispered.
Shane's brow furrowed together and it dawned on her that this wasn't entirely about the darkness of the room. She realized, too late, that she shouldn't have let Tony drink so much. That the pain would come back so much harder once the alcohol was gone. She sighed and made her way over to sit on the edge of the bed.
"Stay here with me?" Tony blurted out, thanking the gods that Shane probably couldn't see the crimson blush rising from her neck to her cheeks.
"Scoot over then."
Tony eagerly scooted over as Shane settled her long legs on the small cot and laid down beside her, their arms brushing lightly together.
For a while there was only the sound of the squeaky springs as they both tried to get comfortable.
"Does... does it ever get easier?"
Loaded question. "Yeah." Shane regarded the ceiling and the shallow breathing of her bedmate. "But not for a long time."
"Will I always miss her this much?" Tony turned her head to see the darkened profile, wishing she could see Shane's eyes.
The springs squeaked as Shane rolled onto her side and propped herself up on one elbow to gaze solemnly down. "It's ok to miss your mom. You love her."
Tony regarded her silently. "I told her... I told her I hated her." Tears sprang to her eyes and she didn't bother to wipe them away as they spilled out.
"You didn't mean it. You were just angry."
"But it's the last thing I ever said to her! She killed herself... because of me!"
"Hey," Shane said, startled. "C'mere." She opened up her arms for Tony to wriggle into and held her friend tightly. "You're sorry, aren't you?"
"Yes," Tony choked out.
"Good, then she knows that." She traced her thumb down Tony's cheek and gently tapped her in the chest, right above her heart. "She knows that, in here."
"My gram, before she died, told me that the dead can hear our thoughts. She said that each night she told grandaddy she loved him and he heard her." Shane brought her arm around Tony's back and settled her securely against her chest. "So your mom knows."
"But it's still my fault," Tony whimpered.
"No. Your mom had her own problems Tony," she said forcefully. "She couldn't face things and she wimped out. Simple as that. You're the strong one. You're the one that's still here, still fighting and living..."
It was probably the most she'd ever heard Shane say in one breath before. "What if I don't want to be here?" Tony whispered and pulled slightly away, straining to see two pale lakes of blue.
Shane's heart jumped in alarm and skidded to a stop inside her chest. No! Not when I just found you! "Y-you don't mean that do you?"
"Sometimes I think I do." Tony listened intently to Shane's heart beating right beneath her ear. The way it seemed to start and stop, running a marathon in between. "But not... not..."
"But not what?"
But not when you're here.... "I don't know."
Exhausted, they slipped into sleep, a mass of tangled arms and legs.
"How are you doing today, Tony?" Anna took the opportunity to kneel beside Tony's desk, while the other students were busy scribbling in their journals.
Dull blue-green eyes glanced up at her and Anna sighed inwardly.
"I'm fine," Tony said. She went back to journal writing.
"I'm sorry about your mom," Anna stood, glancing across the room. "If there's ever anything I can do?"
"I'm fine, really." But Tony didn't look up from the paper.
Awkwardly Anna laid a gentle hand on the girl's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze before going back to her desk.
Tony's pencil stilled as the words blurred into a jumble. She looked across the row and met Cadence's frank stare. They smiled briefly at one another and went back to work.
A few minutes later Ms Stewart asked for volunteers to read what they'd written. Of course no one volunteered so she randomly called five names. Cadence was one of those names, and so was Tony. Her heart hammering against her ribcage Tony waited her turn.
Reluctantly she stood before the students who were all older then she was. Another one of those nightmares; almost as bad as standing in front of a class in just your underwear.
In a quiet, shaky voice she began. "I dreamed last night, in black and white. I have not dreamed for many years."
A few eyes turned to Tony expectantly.
"The darkness began and there, beyond the horizon, was a horse bathed in silver moonlight. Atop the stallion was a knight."
A few more ears snapped to attention as Tony stood straighter and more self-assured.
"The metal armor gleamed in the moonlight, face plate masking the rider's identity. The horse and rider sat in tandem, waitingÖ for something. A cry pierced the night air and the knight issued a war cry and they raced down from the mountain top, banner flying in the air."
Tony cleared her throat and let the paper fall to her side as she closed her eyes and relived the dream. "Darkness all around, the knight raced to the source of the scream. There, in the black and white meadow a maiden was in trouble. It was hard to tell the trees from the shadows, and the warriors from them both. Undaunted the knight rode down, pulling a sword from its sheath in the saddle."
All eyes and ears were on Tony, including the teacher and a very surprised Cadence.
"With amazing strength the knight slashed and twisted the blade, sending each and every warrior to their death. The knight jumped from the horse and knelt beside the fair maiden. Pain lanced through the knight's heart at the black blood seeping down the front of the maiden's dress. 'Shhh,' the knight said in a deep voice. 'I'm here now.' The maiden open pain filled eyes to look at the knight. 'I've waited for you,' she said. Behind the mask the knight nodded. 'I know.' And the knight pushed the mask back to reveal-"
Just then the bell rang. Several students jumped up and raced out the door while several others rang out in a chorus, "What happened?"
Tony just grinned. Saved by the bell. "The knight pushed back the mask to reveal the only splash of color in the entire dream."
"That's for me to know and you to find out," Tony smirked. They groaned and shuffled out of the room. Cadence lingered as Tony picked up her books. She was about to say something when the teacher asked if Tony could stay a moment.
"Sure, what's up?" Tony glanced at Cadence with a slight shrug, as if to say, whatever, see ya in a minute? The dark skinned girl nodded and waited in the hallway just outside the door.
A few moments later Tony emerged with a strange look on her face.
"What is it?" Cadence immediately asked.
"IÖ IÖ um, she asked me if I wrote a lot and if I had more shorts like that." Tony glanced around the hallway as if lost. Cadence grabbed her arm and led her to an empty classroom.
"What for? Why did she want to know?"
Tony plopped down in an empty chair. "She thought I should write for the school paper."
"We HAVE a school paper?" Cadence's eyebrows rose, the shock evident in her voice.
"Sort of. Apparently." Tony didn't elaborate.
"What's the problem then? It was a good story." The dark girl crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the wall to study Tony a moment. She really is a pretty girl. I can see why Ripper would like her. She's kind of got that I'm an innocent girl I need taking care of look. Of course she's really the exact opposite... Cadence shook her head and focused in on what Tony was saying.
"... never thought of doing anything like that. I only write for myself and assignments in school, ya know?" Tony looked up expectantly.
"Then do that. Write for yourself still. I, well I could help you sort through stuff you wouldn't mind sharing... if... um... you wanted that is?"
Tony smiled. "I'd like that."
"I bet Shane would like to read them too."
Wide green eyes looked up at Cadence. "I um don't think so. Not yet anyway."
Cadence shrugged as the bell rang. "We'd better get going."
I hate gym class! Tony groaned as she tried to pull up to the bar again. She glanced at Casey, showing off beside her, on her 5th pull up. She dropped a foot down to the waxed gym floor.
"Scarletti! Get your butt back up there and do five pull-ups."
No way... "I... can't." She huffed out.
"Get up there, now."
Casey glanced over the top of the bar and saw Tony breathlessly shake her head 'no.' Then she looked at the coach who was storming her way.
Uh oh. Casey slowly and quietly lowered herself down.
"Get up there!"
The coach was right up in Tony's face now, even though she was bent over, clutching her knees and trying to gain her breath and still her racing heart.
"I... I... said I... can't." Tony stood, her breathing eased slightly, but her heart beating faster as she squarely faced the short, muscular coach.
"Don't tell me you can't!" He pointed a finger at her, in full drill sergeant mode. "I will not accept can't on this floor!" He jabbed his finger closer and closer to emphasize his point.
Casey stalked up silently beside Tony. The coach blinked and turned on her. "Trevors, get back to the bar!"
"No, sir!" Casey barked and the coach glared at her. She put her hands on her hips, sleeveless tank top prominately revealing the panther tattoo on her shoulder. "Break time, girls!" she called out to her classmates. A collective sigh went up and the girls came down from the bars to stand with the others that had been waiting for their turn.
"Trevors," Coach growled, low enough that only Tony and Casey could hear. "I will not tolerant insubordination in the ranks." He jabbed a threatening finger at Casey's chest. Her eyes turned icy as he poked her.
She stepped up against his finger, bending it back and got right in his face. "And I will not tolerate..." she laid a hand on his chest and shoved him back, raising her voice at the same time, "you touching me!"
He grabbed her hand. "Enough. I'm tired of you gang girls thinking you run the whole damn school!" His grip tightened with each word.
And, if it was possible Casey's eyes got icier. She tore her hand from his grasp and swung furiously. The gym was shrouded in dead silence as the coach staggered and grabbed his bloody nose.
"You, bitch!" he cursed.
"Ok, now that was uncalled for." Casey smiled, angry but enjoying the thought of pummeling the little man senseless. That stupid crew cutÖ and the fact that he thought he was still a marine. "Stand up straight, soldier," she sneered.
Coach felt his nose for a second, making sure it wasn't broken, then put his hands on his hips. "Principal's office, now," he growled, barely keeping his anger reigned in. He wasn't going to loose his job over some damn little girl.
Casey smirked. "Make me."
"You too, Scarletti," he pointed at Tony, "go to the office." He hadn't seen a tattoo on that one.
Tony glanced at Casey, then moved to the door. The coach began to follow. "Now, Trevors."
Casey resisted the urge to kick the man in the ass. She briefly considered kicking Tony's too as she moved easily down the hall ahead of them. Instead she sighed and followed them both to the principal's office.
Everything about the principal was 'well groomed' and cowardly. From his impeccable dark tie that said 'I'm just like everyone else' to the dark suit and loafers that said he was just like everyone else.
"Coach Hester, what seems to be the problem?" the principal asked.
"Insubordination in the ranks, sir." He nodded at the girls, glaring at Casey longer then Tony. "This one," he hooked his thumb at the blond, "refused to do pullups. And this one," he pointed at Casey, "broke my nose."
"I did not!" Casey said indignitly. "He touched me."
"I did not, you filthy liar."
They were almost nose to nose before the principal held up his hand. "Enough. You, Miss Trevors have been in this office far too many times and the year has barely begun."
Casey seemed about to protest, but the principal spoke again. "You are suspended for a week for the physical mistreatment of a teacher."
Tony stood silenty, watching as Casey struggled to keep her fists at her sides and not end this in bloodshed.
"I didn't do anything wrong. That idiot was yelling and poking and Tony. Then he touched me." Casey seethed.
"Is this true, Coach?" the principal asked.
"No way. She jumped in while I was explaining to the new girl that I don't accept quiters in my class. And then she just started hitting me, for no reason."
Casey's mouth sagged open. Her fists clenched and unclenched.
"That's not true!" Tony cried increduously. "I couldn't do the pullups and coach started screaming at me. Casey was just defending me."
"By punching a teacher, Miss Scarletti? That's not the way to go about these things. I transferred you to senior classes because I thought you were mature enough to handle it." The principal crossed his arms across his chest and looked down his nose at Tony.
"I am mature enough to handle it," she sputtered.
"I don't see it that way. And since you apparently started all of this I'm going to suspend you for a week as well, so you can think this over carefully. If I decide you are mature enough you will be allowed to return to classes with seniors."
His look at the door and Coach's smug smile were dismission enough and Tony grabbed Casey's arm and pulled the glowering girl out with her.
"I can't believe he suspended me!" Tony cried as they left the school doors and headed out into the bright afternoon sun.
"I can't believe it either," Casey said, dangerously calm. After all this time that bastard principal still didn't realize just what he was dealing with when he came up against 'the panthers.' He'll learn not to mess with ME soon enough.
They walked to where Shane usually parked her bike. It wasn't there.
Tony sighed. "God, don't tell me she's disappeared again!" She threw her hands up in exasperation and slapped them down against her thighs.
Casey grinned suddenly. There, in the far corner was the coach's car. She grabbed Tony's hand and dragged the sputtering girl along behind her to the rusted out station wagon.
"Hey," Tony protested.
They pulled to a sudden stop beside the car. "Payback's a bitch," Casey muttered and slammed her elbow through the window. It wasn't the shatter proof glass so it imploded on impact. She popped the lock even as she dug into her jeans and pulled out a pocket knife. As she flicked it open she hopped into the drivers seat.
"Get in Tony."
She shook her head, blond bangs falling into her eyes. "No way."
Casey looked up with a grin akin to madness. "See ya later then," she shrugged and ducked down to splice the wires together.
Tony stepped back as the car sputtered to life. Casey pulled out in a squeal of tires and black smoke. Wide eyed Tony raced from the parking lot and ran half the way home, deciding suddenly, at the apartment doors that she couldn't face her gram, and made her way aimlessly down the streets.
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