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
Riding on the Harley behind Shane and holding onto her waist felt so familiar yet so odd at the same time, Tony reflected as she walked up the cracking cement stairs to the rundown apartment she now shared with her mom and Grandmother.
They hadn't bothered going back to the school since it had been out for well over an hour by the time they'd headed back.
Tony had given Shane her address and watched silently as Shane's shoulders tensed and her eyes became dark once again on the race here. Was Shane disgusted by where she lived?
She shrugged now as she jogged up the two flights to the apartment. She still hadn't got use to the moldy smell in the hall or the way the stairs creaked ominously beneath her feet. And she certainly didn't like the broken lights and the shadows lurking in every corner.
Tony hesitated with her hand on the doorknob. Mom was gonna be mad.
Sure enough, she'd barely gotten a foot inside the doorway when her mother stormed out of the small kitchen and invaded her personal space.
"Antonia, where have you been?" Her mother leaned down, hot breath right in Tony's face.
Tony backed up a step. "I walked home," she lied, suddenly remembering Shane's tense shoulders and her subtle disgust.
"Antonia!" Her mother cried, horrified, and spun her daughter around to check for any signs of mortal injury. "You are to ride the bus, girl. I never want you walking home in this neighborhood. Is that understood?"
Tony shrugged off her mother's frantic arms. "I'm fine mom," she replied through clenched teeth. "I can take care of myself."
"Not here you can't." Alice bored icy eyes into her daughter.
"Mom," Tony wailed, "I'm not a little girl anymore!"
"You are the only thing I have left Antonia and I will not loose you too." Alice latched shaky hands onto her daughter's shoulders and held tightly. Her eyes were filled with a deep pain.
Oh mom, when are you going to let me grow up? Why is everything about death now that daddy is gone? Tony flashed belligerent eyes at her mother. "You're not going to loose me, mother."
"How do you know that? How?" Alice cried, shaking her daughter.
Tony's eyes widened with alarm. "Mom?"
"How, Antonia? How do I know that? Your father-"
"Mom, stop, you're hurting me." Tony tried to shake off her mother's latching, panicky hands.
Two sets of eyes riveted on the gray haired woman who walked through the open door of the kitchen.
"Let Antonia go, Alice. She's a big girl and it was her first day of school. How will she ever make friends here?" She touched Alice's shoulder with gentle understanding. "Come on, help me finish dinner."
"But-" Alice let her daughter go reluctantly as her mother's relentless gaze raked over her.
"Go on, child, go do your homework," Gram said gruffly.
Tony raced through the small living room to her even smaller bedroom. She slumped onto the single bed and stared out the barred window. Oh mom... she felt tears threatening and angrily brushed them away.
I wish we'd never come here, she screamed silently out the open window. She laid her forehead on the cold metal bars.
A knock came at her door.
"What do you want?" Tony couldn't stop the anger that seeped out of her voice.
"Can I come in?"
It was Gram. "Yeah, sure." Tony slipped from the window over to the battered desk on the other side of the room where she hastily began pulling books out of her backpack. She didn't have any homework but she certainly didn't want to face her mom right now either.
Gram stepped inside and shut the door behind her. "I'm sorry about your mother, sweetheart," Gram began sadly.
"It's all right Gram, she's just angry." We're both angry but mom can't see that.
Alice hadn't seen anything since she'd blindly stumbled by her husband's graveside screaming, 'Don't leave me here, Rob! Don't you dare leave me here all alone!'
"I know honey, but things will get better, you just wait." Gram sat on the bed and patted the space beside her where, after a moment, Tony sat, smiling tiredly at her Gram. "So, how was your first day of school?"
Tony just screwed up her face and gave a small snort.
"That bad, huh?" Gram chuckled, wrapping an arm around Tony's shrugging shoulders.
"It could have been worse," Tony admitted after a silent moment. Gram was so easy to talk to and before she knew it her whole day came pouring out, minus skipping school, of course.
"You be careful around that one," Gram finally said, after the story was complete.
She was referring to Shane but Tony already knew that. "I will Gram, I promise." Was it a promise she could keep? Every bone, every cell in her body cried out that she could trust Shane, that Shane would never hurt her. Another part cried out, just as loudly, that Shane was dangerous, a loose cannon.
"Dinner will be ready soon." Gram stood and made her way wearily to the door, watching as her granddaughter stared out the window, apparently lost in thought.
"Mmm," Tony mumbled in reply.
Gram closed the door behind her, shaking her head on the way. My little dreamer, she smiled. The smile faded as it always did because reality was reality. Dreams grew and died here in the slums. Alice had been lucky enough to get away, to find a dream somewhere else, but now she had returned and brought Antonia with her.
To the place where dreams died and innocence could be shattered in the blink of an eye. Not for the first time Gram feared for the safety of her naive young dreamer.
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