Shattered Innocence

by Tragedy88


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 keket1976@yahoo.com


Chapter Seven


Understanding

Shane was at a crossroads. She knew it, she just couldn't face it. Not now. Tony was wrong. Her school wasn't stupid. She ran the school. She WAS the school.

Yeah, so why wasn't it fun anymore?

The growl in Shane's throat matched the rev of the Harley. She sped up and twisted the bike expertly around the sharp corner, heading back towards the school. She parked the bike under the shade of a tree on the commons and waited on the stone steps as the students piled out of school and towards the buses waiting in the drive.

Shane watched each student with a detached eye, waiting for one in particular. There. Her shining red-gold hair stood out among the crowd.

Tony noticed Shane and smiled. "Hey," she cut across the swath of students and stood awkwardly in front of the dark teenager.

"Hey yourself." Shane shifted from foot to foot and looked out over the crowd. "Want a ride home?"

"Don't you um... have to terrorize someone this afternoon?"

Shane flashed a full teeth smile and chuckled. "No, I did that yesterday." She stepped over the short wall that separated the grass from the stairs, waiting for Tony to follow. She led the way to the Harley, parked over by the tree, and kicked the stand up, straddling the bike. She held out an arm for Tony.

Tony grabbed Shane's well-muscled forearm and pulled herself over. Should have been higher... more trees... "You remember where I live?" the young girl asked, shaking away the strange dj vu.

"Yep. Hold on," Shane instructed and kick started the bike.

The back tire spun out on the soft grass. Tony gasped and grabbed Shane's waist.

Shane executed a perfect 180 pivot around her leg planted on the ground, then sat square on the seat, pushing the bike between two buses and out onto the road.

Tony just closed her eyes and hung on as they sped down the road, exceeding the limit by at least 20 mph. When they finally stopped in front of her apartment building she had to pry her fingers off Shane's leather vest.

"Um, thanks?"

Shane smiled. "See you tomorrow?"

"Sure," Tony paused for all of a heartbeat, "but um would you like to come inside. I know the other day you didn't want to and I know it's not the best apartments but you could meet my mom-"

"Sure."

"-and gram. She always makes cooki- Wait, what?"

"I said sure." Shane turned the key in the ignition and kicked the stand into place. What the hell, right? I'm always up for cookies.

"Cool," Tony said and smiled. She led the way up the stairs. "Um, it smells funky I know but if you go real quick..." she turned expectantly to Shane but didn't see the wrinkled nose and disgust she'd expected.

"Race ya?" Shane's eyes glittered in the dim overhead light.

"Ok."

"Ready?" Shane waited for Tony to nod. "1, 2... " Shane took off, calling out '3' over her shoulder.

"Hey, no fair!" Tony shouted and raced up behind Shane, all of five stairs after.

Shane paused at the second floor landing. "Up?"

"No," Tony called breathlessly, "this is it. 309." She had almost caught up.

Shane slowed and they reached the door at the same time.

Tony doubled over, hands on her knees. "Dang..." She pulled the key from around her neck and handed it up to Shane. "See if... Gram... is home... first," she was still out of breath and noticed Shane didn't seem to have even broken a sweat.

Tentatively Shane knocked on the door. Now that she was here she was nervous. Why? It's just Tony's mom and gram. Yeah, JUST Tony's mom. She was about to rap on the door again when it popped open a crack.

Faded green-gray eyes peeked out. "What do you want?" she asked harshly.

Tony's mom? "Um..." Shane started.

"It's me, mom. Open up," Tony called from behind Shane.

"Where are you at, girl?"

"Right here, mom," Tony peered under Shane's elbow. The door slammed shut, the chain rattled and the door opened wide a second later. Tony's mom stood behind the door as they entered and shut it quickly, re-locking the numerous locks.

"Who's this?" Alice waved a hand at Shane.

"This is my friend Shane," Tony smiled. "Shane, this is my mom."

The dark teenager just nodded.

Alice eyed the girl suspiciously, then turned her gaze back to her daughter. "Did you ride the bus today?" she asked harshly.

"Y-yes mom," the young girl stammered. I'm in sooo much trouble. She looked to Shane with pleading eyes.

"Oh yeah and boy was it crowded today. Tony's lucky her stop is one of the first-" Shane started helpfully.

"Tony?" Alice turned dark eyes on her daughter. "If it isn't one thing it's another with you, isn't it? Are you embarrassed by the name your father gave you?" her voice rose.

Shane's eyebrows rocketed up under her bangs and she took an unconscious step next to her young friend. The subtle movement went unnoticed by both Tony's mom and Tony, but faded blue eyes watched cautiously from the kitchen doorway before retreating.

"Mom... I- it's- not like that-"

"Did I hear my Antonia come home?" Gram called from the kitchen.

"Yes Gram!" Tony yelled, visibly relieved by the interruption. "Come on Shane, you can meet my Gram."

Tony nearly skipped into the kitchen but Shane followed at a more sedate pace, glancing warily at Tony's mother one last time.

Introductions were made and cookies and milk doled out to the girls. Gram was all smiles, gray hair and soft lines. The way a grandmother should be. Shane wondered what her own grandmother looked like. If she lived with us would I get milk and cookies? Would dad- she stuffed another cookie in her mouth, savoring the buttery flakes.

So, this is my Antonia's friend Shane. The dangerous one. She studied the blue eyes that softened when they looked at her granddaughter. Not all bad... "I'll leave you two to your snack, sweetheart." She kissed Antonia on the forehead.

"Thanks, Gram." Tony smiled around the cookie. "Gram's cool, isn't she?" Tony asked after Gram was out of earshot.

"Yeah," Shane replied absently.

"Sorry about the way my mom acted," Tony murmured. "Since dad died she's been kinda angry."

Shane nodded. "My dad's like that, sorta."

"Is your mom gone?" Ooops, the wall... "Nevermind. Hey, wanna see my room?" Tony licked the crumbs off her fingers and drained her glass of milk as she waited for Shane to answer.

"Sure."

Tony's mom was nowhere in sight. Gram was sitting at the black-n-white TV watching a snowy daytime soap.

"It's kinda small, but I didn't have that much to begin with so it all fits," Tony apologized. She'd been apologizing a lot recently. Who's more ashamed, she wondered. Me?

"It's nice." Shane stood at the window, looking through the shattered windows of the abandoned building next door. "Can I ask you something?"

"I'm all ears," Tony smiled.

"What did you mean earlier? When you said it was my school and I had to figure it out?"

The question was obviously important to Shane, to have remembered it so long. Tony tried to recall the conversation from earlier. "Well," she paced the small room, stopping next to Shane and looked up.

Shane's blue eyes met Tony's.

"I meant that this is where you live. You should respect it."

"You meant more then that," Shane looked back out the window, not really seeing anything.

"Maybe I did," Tony admitted slowly. "Your posse runs the school."

Shane nodded.

"So, why let it rot? Why scare away the teachers and harass the students? I haven't once seen the principal and there isn't even a nurse. What if someone gets hurt?"

"Anybody that gets hurt in the school doesn't usually need a nurse," Shane replied ominously.

Tony paled. Well, what did you expect? a little voice asked. "Do you like the graffiti? And the litter? And the smelly bathrooms and locker rooms?"

"No," the older teen answered honestly. "Are you saying I should clean up the school?" she turned to face Tony.

"You have the power to do it. If you wanted to."

"Maybe I don't want to," Shane mumbled as she turned and walked over to the small bed. She sat with a sigh and looked over at Tony as she sat down.

Tony remained silent. What do I say? Should I say anything at all? I'm getting out of here, I know it. Soon as mom saves enough we'll go back to Missouri and get a house...

Shane laid back on the sky blue comforter and put her hands behind her head. "Charley would want me to," she whispered and closed her eyes. Charley smiled back at her. Yeah, he would.

"Charley?"

"My brother."

"I haven't- um... where is your brother?" Tony studied Shane's face, wondering on some subconscious level if she had ever met this girl before.

"He's dead," Shane replied softly and glanced up into sad green eyes.

"I'm sorry."

"It's ok. I'm over it," Shane turned her head to stare at the ceiling, no longer able to meet Tony's eyes.

No you're not, Tony thought. It still haunts you. "What happened to him?"

"He was shot and killed in a robbery," Shane's words were monotone, as if reading from a newspaper article.

"I-"

"I don't want to talk about it," Shane sat abruptly. "Would your mom let you out of the house to go get ice cream?"

Tony stumbled over the quick change in topic and landed abruptly on ice cream. Mmmm, chocolate Marshmallow Ripple... "No, it'll be dark soon and I'm not allowed out after dark."

"There's a good two hours till sundown," Shane glanced at the red numbers on the alarm clock by the bed.

"Well... it can't hurt to ask, can it?" Tony smiled, already anticipating the creamy flavor as it melted her mouth.


Tony made sure to ask with Gram in attendance, who, she knew, would defend her right to go out and have fun with her friend.

And it had been fun. Like the two girls had known each other forever, grown up neighbors and played together every day after school. It ended much too soon.

Shane dropped her off outside the apartment's front door and waited till Tony was safely inside before revving the Harley and speeding down the street.

She didn't see Tony's mom watching out the front window. And she didn't see the anger that fairly emanated in lightning streaks from her eyes.


Tony let herself into the apartment. Wonder where Gram is? Oh yeah, bridge night with the old ladies upstairs.

"Antonia!"

Her mother's screeching voice halted Tony with her hand grasping the chain lock. "Yes mom?"

"Come here. Now!"

Tony shivered. "Where are you?"

"In your room."

"I'm coming..." she finished locking the door and went to find her mother.


Chapter Eight
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