The dish network installer
handed the clipboard to the petite blond. "I need your full signature
She took the proffered
pen and signed her name on the line. AJ Armstrong. "I said I needed
your FULL signature, Miss." He'd gotten burned before by not following
the rules to a T.
AJ took a deep breath
and released it slowly, not really wanting to go off on this guy. It
wasn't his fault her parents had named her with the initials of their
first names, Alyssa and Jack. "Believe it or not, that is my full name."
She flashed her driver license at the man and noted he tried hard not
to react to the photo. It wasn't her fault the woman at the DMV had
caught her in the middle of a sneeze and then refused to retake the
"Umm, okay. Here's your
new remote control, Ms. Armstrong, and an instruction booklet in case
you have any problems with the new system."
"Hey thanks. And thanks
for getting this installed so quickly I was hoping to get it in time
to watch all the Halloween movies on tonight." A bag of microwave popcorn,
scary movies and of course Chase. A perfect night.
"No problem. Enjoy."
He left quickly before she asked him to show her how it all worked.
He'd heard the stories of the installers who'd stayed too long at other
sites and were never heard from again, that wasn't going to happen to
The blond didn't have
a chance to play with her new toy because she needed to get dinner ready,
Chase would be coming over soon. Okay, in truth, she was just ordering
Chinese, but someone had to cook it, right?
She placed her regular
order and then took a large bowl out of the cabinet and poured in a
couple of bags of Halloween candy incase she had any Trick or Treaters.
She had made sure she'd gotten the "good stuff", aka chocolate. AJ had
heard enough horror stories from fellow teachers at school who had given
out those cheap, peanut butter flavored candies wrapped in the orange
and black wrappers, only to discover the candy smooshed and smeared
all over their windshields the next morning.
The teacher was placing
the bowl of goodies on a table close to the door when she heard a key
turning in the door lock. Chase didn't actually live with her, but she
spent enough time there that AJ had given her a key.
The door opened and a
tall brunette walked in carrying a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice and a tube
of blue prints, which she leaned against the wall. AJ's face lit up
when she saw the woman. She didn't know how she'd gotten so lucky to
have Chase in her life, but she was thankful it had happened. "Hey short
stuff." AJ was a good six inches shorter than her own 5'10" frame, and
Chase liked to tease her "How was the field trip?"
"Oh you know, the usual.
A hundred trips to the bathroom, lectures on why we don't kick the seat
in front of us and of course the obligatory throwing up on the bus ride
back." AJ stood on her tiptoes and kissed the woman.
Chase returned the kiss
and then shook her head as she walked into the kitchen to put the six-pack
in the fridge. "Just another trip to the planetarium." The blond nodded
"Yeah. But it got us out of the school for a little while."
"Hey, it's Halloween."
The taller woman suddenly realized. "Shouldn't you guys have had a party?
Have the munchkins march around in a costume parade or something?"
AJ rolled her eyes. "No.
The school board announced there would be no Halloween parties this
year since they feel the holiday is nothing more than a chance to celebrate
the devil and evilness in general."
"You're shitting me.
If you ask any Kindergartner what Halloween is, they'll tell you they
get to dress up and get candy." "I know, it's just another batch of
bureaucratic b.s." She opened the cabinet, took out two plates and placed
them on the counter.
Chase's eyes roamed across
the living room and stopped on the silver, mini satellite dish that
sat on top of the large screen television. "What the hell is that monstrosity?"
AJ walked over and wrapped
an arm around her partner's back as she stood next to her and took in
her new prize. "That, is the Mega Dish 2000. Guaranteed to pick up over
1000 channels." She announced proudly.
Chase raised a lone,
questioning brow at this information. "And why would anyone need 1000
channels? You'll get carpal tunnel channel surfing through them all."
She warned. "Ha ha, very funny smartass." The blond quipped back. "That's
Ms. Smartass to you, thank you." The taller woman shot back smiling.
"And do you have a copy of the contract, I'd like to see what exactly
you got yourself into here."
AJ looked down sheepishly,
"Umm, well, no. Guess I forgot about that." "And what if something goes
wrong with it?" "I'm sure it'll be fine." The teacher announced. "No
worries." The architect sighed dramatically. "What am I going to do
with you?" "I can think of a few things." AJ smiled and waggled her
eyebrows suggestively. "I bet you could." She pulled the smaller woman
into an embrace when the doorbell rang.
AJ leaned her head against
Chase's chest and groaned. "That's the food, shit." "You ordered shit
for dinner?" The taller woman teased, "Boy, you sure know how to treat
a gal right."
AJ stuck her tongue out
at Chase before she retrieved some money from her wallet and answered
The empty cartons of
take out food sat on the coffee table, along with a few bottles of Smirnoff
Ice that had been drained of their contents. Chase was lying down on
the couch, her head and shoulders propped up against the arm, AJ rested
against her comfortably.
The blond held the television
remote, examining all the different buttons on the object. Chase had
refused to let her play with her new toy until they had finished their
dinner, but now they were done, it was playtime. She felt a low rumble
as her partner laughed. "What?"
The taller woman chuckled
again. "Well, the way you're fondling that remote control, I was just
wondering if I'd been replaced." AJ gave Chase's leg a light slap. "Never,
unless I find a special girl friend feature or something on this thing."
Now it was the architect's
turn to retaliate. In a flash she sat up, flipped AJ over, and pinned
her to the couch. She began tickling the smaller woman mercilessly.
"What was that you were saying?" "Ahhh, ahhh." The blond squirmed trying
to get out from under her larger partner. She tried to think of a way
to make the playful torture stop. "I
I love you."
The tickling stopped.
"Awww. I love you too, honey." Chase paused as she gazed into the sea
green eyes focused on her, then a wicked smile pulled at her lips. "But
you used that line last time, sorry." The assault began again but ended
a few minutes later when the taller woman took pity on the blond and
Her face red from the
tickling session, AJ sat up and glared at the architect. Unfortunately,
her glare was about as menacing as a Tellytubby, and Chase had to try
hard to keep from smiling at the cute teacher.
"Okay, you find us something
to watch out of the 1000 channels you have to chose from, and I'll get
us something to drink." Chase stood and headed for the kitchen while
AJ flipped through the channels at break neck speed.
"Don't you just love
this movie," AJ commented as she watched Jamie Lee Curtis stand next
to Donald Pleasance looking down at the area where the killer's body
had lain a moment earlier. "This scared the hell out of me when I watched
it as a kid." "Oh yeah, and that music is just plain creepy." Chase
The next movie on was
a groaner so the blond began surfing again, pausing now and then to
check the status of a program.
"Do you even know what
half those buttons do?" The taller woman questioned as she looked at
the large remote control. "I know the important ones. On, off up, down,
volume." "Uh huh. I don't suppose the thing comes with an instruction
"Okay, you want to know
what each and every button does? Let's try them all out and see." She
began pressing random buttons and various menus and features popped
on and off the screen. Chase smiled. "You may want to write down what
you're pressing so when you break the thing you can tell the repairman."
"yeah, yeah, very funny." She continued pressing buttons until she hit
the red one located on the last row.
The satellite dish began
whirling around and flashes of colored light began shooting out of it.
One of the beams struck AJ and Chase, and in an instant the couch where
they were seated was suddenly empty.
AJ glanced around wide
eyed at the arena she unexpectedly found herself standing in. Chase,
right beside her, learned over so her mouth was at the shorter woman's
ear. "Where the hell are we? And why do I look like a reject from chef
school?" She whispered.
AJ glanced down at her
own clothing and was surprised to see she was also dressed in a chef's
uniform. "Umm, well it would appear
" She was interrupted when
an Asian man, dressed like he'd raided Liberace's closet, began to speak.
"Welcome to Kitchen Stadium."
The man announced in Japanese, fortunately this was dubbed into English
by an unseen person so the two women could understand what was being
said, although AJ had a pretty good idea since she'd seen this many
"I don't know how, Chase,
but it looks like we're the challengers on the show Iron Chef." AJ informed
her partner in a low voice. "In just a moment they'll reveal the secret
ingredient we'll make our dishes out of."
The brunette shook her
head. "Uh, okay. But exactly how did we get from your living room to
She paused a moment as she tried to remember what the funny dressed
man had called the place. "Kitchen Stadium" AJ supplied. 'Yeah. That."
"I don't have a clue." The blond answered honestly. "But maybe if we
complete this we'll go back home."
The bodiless voice announced
in English they were going to unveil the main ingredient. And with a
little pomp and circumstance, the black cover that was hiding the surprise
component was drawn back, revealing two tanks of water filled with giant,
AJ and Chase stood in
shock at the sight. "Okay, and what exactly are we supposed to do with
those?" The taller woman asked. "Uh. We cook them." She saw the other
contestant was heading up to pick out his eels. "And I think you'd better
go get ours before he picks all the good ones."
Chase placed her hands
on her hips. "And exactly why do I have to go get the eels?" "Umm."
AJ paused a moment in thought. "Because I'm the Head Chef and you're
my apprentice, so it's your job to obtain all the ingredients." It sounded
good to her anyway.
The brunette's eyebrows
moved together in a frown before she turned and climbed the stairs to
their tank. She glanced over at the other cook trying to get the eels
out of the water with some kind of apparatus. Chase rolled up the sleeves
of her costume, and with lightning quick reflexes, she didn't know she
possessed, she slammed her hand into the water and pulled out a squirming
AJ watched as her partner
stared in surprise at the eel in her hands. Damn, she always said she
had many skills, I guess catching eels must be another one. I wonder
how she would do catching fish in a lake?
Her thoughts were suddenly
interrupted by an eel flying straight at her head. "Oh shit!" She awkwardly
caught the tossed water creature, its tail hit her in the face. "Ewwww."
She placed it in a container on the counter and turned just in time
to capture another precisely flung eel.
"This is pretty fun."
Chase commented as she plucked a third eel from the tank and launched
it at the blond, she let this one go a little high on purpose to make
the shorter woman really work on catching it. "Okay, enough eels!" AJ
shouted as she wiped her face off. The brunette shrugged and strode
over to her partner. She watched as the woman pinned an eel down with
one hand and picked up a cleaver with the other. "Okay, now do your
AJ looked down at the
eel squirming on the counter and back up at Chase. She really didn't
want to kill the creature, hell, she had trouble killing spiders if
they were too big. "Try not to cut your hand off or anything." Chase
remarked in a smartass tone. "Ha ha, very funny." AJ raised the cleaver
and closed her eyes as she brought it down towards her target
"Buffy, you need to focus!"
A man with a British accent chided her. "You're no match for the master
if you don't focus." AJ opened her eyes and saw Giles standing in front
of her. He had the usual pensive, uptight expression on his face that
she was used to seeing on the show. Oh great, now I'm stuck in a Buffy
rerun. She glanced around. But where's Chase?
Chase stood in front
of a motorcycle with a helmet in her hands. She had no idea if she'd
just gotten there or was getting ready to ride the bike. Her eye was
drawn to her reflection in the side mirror, but it wasn't her face she
was looking at. She raised a hand to touch her cheek and the figure
in the mirror did the same. Her eyes locked onto the bracelet on her
wrist. She frowned.
"Hey Pez, where've you
been?" A voice behind her asked. "We've got a homicide on 5th Avenue
we need to check out."
The brunette turned to
see an Asian man standing there looking impatient, but concern showed
on his face as well. "You okay, Pezzini?"
Chase set the helmet
down on the bike. "Uh, yeah Danny., just fine." Her eyes panned around
the area as she wondered where the heck AJ was and how she'd gone from
being a chef to being Detective Sara Pezzini, the bearer of the Witchblade
in a matter of seconds.
"So are you ready to
roll?" Her partner asked, still wondering what was bothering the tall
"Uh yeah. Let's go."
Chase answered as she took one last look around for AJ and then followed
Danny to the car. I guess I'll run into her soon enough.
After another half hour
of training with Giles, and AJ was sent out to patrol the graveyards
of Sunnydale. The blond was relieved to discover, during her sparing
session with the librarian, that she seemed to have acquired some of
Buffy's fighting skills. Something she was sure would come in handy
during her search for vampires and other creatures of the night.
AJ walked slowly around
the dark cemetery, wishing she had someone to talk to. She paused in
front of a fresh plot with her stake at the ready as she waited to see
if anything would emerge from the fresh dirt that covered the grave.
When nothing happened, the teacher turned vampire slayer's thoughts
turned to her missing girlfriend.
The blond silently hoped
Chase hadn't been zapped into a home improvement show like Trading Spaces.
The gorgeous brunette was a great architect and could build things like
nobody's business, but when it came to decorating, she was out of her
element. Just let her be Amy Wynn Pastor if it happens. Her mind was
suddenly filled with images of Chase in a leather toolbelt and dark
safety glasses, wearing a black tank top and shorts that showed off
her tanned, toned body.
The sound of a twig breaking
behind her snapped AJ out of her little fantasy world. She spun around
quickly and found herself face to face with a large, angry vampire She
raised the stake up only to have it knocked away by the man. . "Oh crap."
Her body seemed to get
a mind of its own, and her arms and legs began administering kicks and
punches without mercy. She dropped to the ground and rolled away from
the vampire as he lunged at her. Her fingers felt the smooth wood of
the stake and they curled around it. "Later." She announced as she jumped
to her feet and thrust the object into the left side of her opponent's
chest. The man exploded into a cloud of dust. AJ's heart beat fast as
the adrenaline continued to course through her body. "Wow, what a rush,
I think I need to look into those kick boxing classes"
Evil laughter from behind
alerted her to the fact that she wasn't alone. She sighed. "Can't you
guys just give a girl a break?" She turned her head to see another member
of the undead community standing there, but this one wasn't a newbie
like the one she'd just dispatched. "Prepare to die, Slayer." He growled.
Chase stood next to Danny
at the hotdog cart waiting for her order. She replayed the events of
the day in her head. She'd knelt next to the woman's body and tried
to tell herself to just play her role, and she'd hopefully be out of
there soon and back wherever AJ was. She'd reached out the arm that
wore the bracelet, like she'd seen Sara do on the show, and placed her
hand on the woman's arm.
Sudden flashes of visions
had shot through her mind and she'd tried to grab a hold of them before
they vanished. The experience had left her off balance and physically
a bit dizzy.
How the heck does Sara
do that all the time? She paused as she accepted her hotdog from the
vendor, and a barely noticeably grin pulled at her lips. Hmmm, maybe
because she's a TV character? The sarcastic portion of her brain answered
before she took a bite of her lunch.
"So what do you think,
Pez?" Her partner asked after taking a sip of his Coke. "Good hotdog."
Chase replied. "No, I was talking about the homicide." He explained.
"Do you think it could be related to the other ones?" "Uh, it could
be. I think we need to wait for forensics to come back with a match
before we can add it to the killer's list." Who knew watching all those
real crime shows on the Discovery channel would come in so handy.
She suddenly had a strange
feeling that something bad was about to happen. Chase looked down at
the bracelet on her wrist and saw the red stone in the center of the
metal begin to glow.
The architect heard the
car before she saw it. Its tires screeched as it sped around the corner.
Chase saw a man with a gun lean out the window and take aim at them,
and in an instant, she pushed Danny out of the line of fire as she felt
the Witchblade take over her actions.
The first thing AJ noticed
was the sun was shining, where only a moment ago it'd been night and
she'd been fighting off a vampire. Well Toto, I guess we're not in Sunnydale
anymore. Which was probably a good thing since she wasn't doing too
hot fighting off the evil undead, Buffy skills or not. She decided to
leave vampire slaying to a professional.
Okay, where am I now?
She looked down at her clothing, the boots, the skirt, the ever shrinking,
green, sports bra. Oh gawd, I'm the sidekick! But if I'm Gabrielle then
does that mean Chase is
She didn't get to finish
her thought as two things happened, she realized she had red and green
patches of skin on her body that were really itchy, and she had a very
sudden urge to answer the call of nature. She grabbed her stomach and
rushed further into the bushes.
Chase looked down at
her wrist and saw the Witchblade had been replaced by a leather gauntlet.
She took in the rest of the leather and armor she was wearing and nodded
her head slowly. Yep. I'm Xena, the Warrior Princess. She glanced around.
Now where's my cute little sidekick? Hope she hasn't gotten herself
The tall brunette walked
in the direction she was facing, guessing that's the way she'd been
headed in the first place. She unconsciously scratched her scalp as
she strode down the path. Chase rounded a corner and saw Joxer standing
there with a partially unrolled scroll in his hand.
She asked the man. "Nature called." He explained as he nodded towards
the bushes. "No, it screamed like a wild banshee." AJ commented sourly
from the bush as she reached a hand up and tore off a scrap of the parchment.
A moment later the small
blond popped out of the bush. She was thrilled to see Chase standing
there, but her enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by her stomach, which
felt like Monday morning in Tartarus. But she gave her partner a small
smile while she scratched a patch of fungus covered skin. "It's good
to see you." Chase gave her a lop sided grin. "Same here. I missed you."
Joxer looked from one
woman to the other and shook his head. "What are you talking about?
You just saw her 5 minutes ago. Sheesh, the lice must be eating your
brain." Chase stared at him, looking more than a little menacing. "Why
don't you go scout ahead." She told him in a low voice. "And I don't
"Umm, okay." He started
to walk away but Chase stopped him and grabbed the scroll out of his
hand. "Thanks." She spat out before she lunged behind a bush with the
scroll. "Don't hog the toilet paper." AJ called out as she rushed behind
the bush next to Chase's.
AJ and Chase realized
they were in the Xena episode "In Sickness and in Hell", and things
pretty much followed the story, so the two women were now at the village's
hot spring trying to cure their inflictions. AJ was in the water combing
a cream through her lice infested head, after already having endured
the goat poop facial for her fungus.
The brunette, now covered
in the brown dung mixture and not real happy about it, looked down at
her partner. "Okay, so you got tossed into Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
while I was sent to Witchblade." AJ nodded in agreement. "And now we're
both here as Xena and Gabrielle." "Sounds about right to me." The blond
smiled, her nose wrinkling adorably, as she flicked lice off the comb
at Chase. "And may I say I kicked much butt as Buffy."
The architect rolled
her eyes. "You are enjoying this way too much." "What I'm enjoying,"
AJ voice took on a seductive tone, "is you in that leather. Too bad
you're covered in that sheep dung
" "Goat poop" Chase corrected.
"Whatever." AJ continued. "Or I'd be tempted to do something naughty."
"Oh really?" The taller woman lifted a questioning eyebrow. "Like what?
Maybe I'll wash this stuff off early." "Well, first I'd
"Okay, now here's your
next task. You're going to shoot arrows at the target using this crossbow."
The man pointed to the weapon sitting on the table. "The ring you hit
decides how many pieces of raw squid you'll have to eat. The numbers
go from zero for a bull's eye to eight if you totally miss the target."
He looked around to make sure the contestants understood, and noticed
two of the women were looking a little confused. "Do you need me to
repeat that?" He asked them.
"Uh, no., we got it."
Chase assured the man and he went on with the preparations. "Welcome
to Fear Factor." AJ whispered next to her.
AJ watched in disbelief
as Chase's arrow hit dead center in the bull's eye. The brunette walked
past her and waggled her eyebrows. "Yeah, yeah. I know you have many
skills." She sighed it was her turn now.
The teacher had had a
bad experience with archery at summer camp when she was 12. After which,
she'd been forbidden from even looking at a bow and arrow. Like it was
MY fault the arrow ricocheted off the tree and into the counselor's
behind. She donned her protective eyewear and placed her toes on the
line as the host handed her the crossbow. Okay, you can do this.
Chase watched as AJ aimed
the crossbow at the target, she'd heard about the woman's traumatic
experience at summer camp and decided to support her partner the best
she could, while still protecting her own butt, literally.
Who knew an arrow could
bounce so well. Unfortunately one of the other contestants hadn't been
quick enough to avoid the flying projectile and had been injured. The
paramedics assured the man he'd be able to sit down in about a week
"Okay. Since you obviously
missed the target," the host announced, "you have to eat eight pieces
of raw squid in order to move on to the next round. Otherwise you'll
be sent home." AJ nodded her understanding as a plate containing eight
large sections of pasty gray, raw squid was set in front of her.
"You don't have to do
this." Chase told the smaller woman. "Don't let her psych you out."
The host instructed AJ. "You can do this. Are you ready?" What if the
only way we get out of here is if I complete this task? She took a deep
breath and nodded her head. They began the clock. "Okay, AJ, just suck
it up and pretend you're eating gummy worms or something."
Chase watched as AJ picked
up a piece of the squid and placed one end between her teeth as she
tugged on the other end trying to pull a smaller piece off. The small
blond seemed to chew forever she before she swallowed the first section.
You know, this really
isn't as bad as I thought it would be. She picked up another piece,
a little chewy though.
"Okay, you have 10 seconds
left, swallow that last piece and you're finished." The host announced
three minutes later. The brunette looked on in disbelief as her partner
chewed rapidly on the final piece of squid. I swear that woman must
have a cast iron stomach. She couldn't help but smile when she remembered
how AJ had beaten three men in a pizza-eating contest. She was little,
but she could out eat just about anyone. "Okay, five, four, three two
The two women looked
at each other and then at their surroundings. "We're home." AJ announced
sounding very relieved to be sitting on her own couch. She was afraid
they'd get sent into Baywatch. It wasn't that she wouldn't like to see
Chase in a swimsuit, but knowing her luck, her partner would have become
Without a word, Chase
stood and walked over to the new satellite equipment. "What are you
doing, Chase?" AJ questioned. The brunette ignored the inquiry and picked
up the electronic device. She threw it to the ground and proceeded to
stomp on it till there were no pieces bigger than a quarter.
"What the hell? I hope
you feel better now. Do you know how much that thing cost me?" AJ complained.
Chase just starred at the blond in astonishment. "You do remember what
we just went through, right?" "Like I could forget something like that?"
The short woman answered. "I ate raw squid for goodness sake." "Oh yeah,
thanks for reminding me about that. I need to pick you up some extra
An evil grin crept onto
AJ's face. "Oh, is that right? Do you have something against squid breath?"
She slowly moved towards the brunette. "And if I say yes, what are you
going to do?" Chase questioned as she stood her ground. "Shoot me in
the ass with an arrow?" "Like I'd want to damage such a cute ass." AJ's
grin turned more seductive as she checked out the part in question.
The taller woman felt
her heartbeat increase at the look in the green eyes. Well I always
said I wanted to try sushi. In one fluid motion, she leaned over, picked
AJ up and threw her over her shoulder in a fireman carry. AJ was surprised
by the sudden turn of events, but didn't fight as Chase carried her
into the bedroom. I guess I watched too much TV anyway.
to the Academy