Come, Sisters, Come
by FC Barnes

Disclaimers: Copyright: The characters belong to me, though they do resemble our

two favorite characters of Xena and Gabrielle. The location does

really exist, but I changed the name of the camp to protect the

innocent squirrels that reside there.

Sex: yes, but nothing graphic f/f and their will be a m/f

relationship that is very mild.

Feedback: All feedback is most welcomed. Please send to . Thank you to everyone who takes the time to drop me a line and help make this story better.

Chapter One

She closed her eyes and breathed in the cool air that early summer brought to northern Idaho. The soft breeze gently rippled through her black hair, as she smelled the scents of pine and wet soil. She heard the annoying buzz of a distant boat on the lake. Her blue eyes snapped open as she glared at the object of her disdain-a water skier and powerboat enjoying the calm waters and late morning sunshine.

Nudging her horse a bit closer to the edge of the overlook, she took in the view of Coeur d'Alene Lake, the part she could see from Windy Bay. At least the summer would be tolerable from a locale point of view. But how she let her friend talk her into working at a summer campˇ.she shook her head in amusement.

The promise of ten weeks of room and board, a small paycheck and the chance to work again with horses was too much of a good thing to pass up. "Nobody gets rich at summer camp." she was warned, but a small income was better than nothing, and perhaps trying something new would be a good challenge. Horses she knew, and the string of thirty leased horses that would arrive in two days would put her skills to work. Working with kids, and working with thirty-five other staff, most of whom would be women; that would be the true test.

'Enough feeling sorry for yourself.'

There was a heap of work to be done down at the barn and riding area if she was going to be ready for the rest of the riding staff who would arrive in the afternoon.

Turning away from the lake, now silent of motorboats and jet skis, she headed back down the trail from Smuggler's Overlook.

The camp was beautiful- two hundred forty acres of forested woodland right at the edge of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Deciding she was hungry, she turned left on the only road in camp and headed down to the main camp area.

Main camp, as the bottom portion of camp was called, included the directors' office, the lodge and dining hall, the main flagpole, and the waterfront area.

Sailboats, canoes, paddleboats and windsurfing boards all stood as quiet sentinels of the waterfront. Three camp powerboats were tied to one of the three boat docks, which were six feet wide and twenty feet long, jutting out into the bay.

Down a small trail to the left a path lead to the swimming area. U-shaped wooden docks created a swimming space in the lake. A 20x20 wooden raft was floating outside the swimming docks. Silent now, the swimming and boating areas would be filled with laughter and noise in less than two weeks.

She was filled with immense relief that she would be working on the other end of camp, in the stables. Gorgeous as the lake was, running a waterfront program was not her forte. Hell, she could barely swim. Never wanted to, never needed to.

She dismounted her horse, a gift from her parents five years ago, and tied Samba up to the rail by the Lodge. She kicked her boots on the edge of the stairs, dislodging mud and pieces of horse dung. Wouldn't do to piss the cook off on the first day. Entering the Lodge, she ambled down to the kitchen area, and there had her first experience with Jojo, the camp cook.

Her back turned to the counter while she mixed up the brownie mix, Jojo never heard her coming. The radio blared songs from the 80's. That, combined with the sounds of the mixer, masked the noise of the presence of another person in the Lodge. As Jojo turned around, bowl of brownie mix in hand, the sight of the tall woman in front of her caught her by complete surprise. "Shit!" she exclaimed, dropping the bowl of brownie mix to the floor and managing to splatter it on the cupboards and the steel table where she was working.

"Where the hell did you come from?" Jojo demanded, as she wiped her hands on her apron, leaving large brown smudges of what was going to be dessert that evening.

Jojo took a deep breath, turned down the radio, then stuck out a fairly clean hand and offered it along with a contrite smile. "Sorry 'bout that, you just surprised me. The name is Jojo, and yours isˇ?"


"That's your camp name?"

"No, that's my real name." the tall women who smelled of horses stated.

"Well, I'm sure that Silver told you we all go by camp names here, right?" Jojo inquired.

"Yes, Samantha, er, Silver, did tell me that, but I prefer to go by my real name thanks."

"Did Silver tell you what happens to staff who don't come up with their own camp name? The rest of the staff get to 'help' them pick one. It can get ugly. Two summers ago one of the counselors got stuck with Ducky 'cause she was wearing yellow rain boots at the time. You're better off picking one out yourself, trust me."

"Well, since you seem to be an expert at camp names, why don't you suggest some to me?"

"Tell you what, let me get some food out for lunch, and that'll give me some time to come up with a good name for you." Jo disappeared into the storage area and returned a moment later with a variety of sandwich ingredients. "Help yourself and make sure you put your dishes on the counter over there when you are done, Shadow."

"Shadow?" She smirked "Is that the name you came up with for me?"

"Yep, you came in like a shadow and scared the living daylights out of me. That, plus the fact that we'll smell you before we see youˇ I think it is a fitting name for you." She laughingly added.

"Hmm, Shadow. Yep, that will work. Shadow it is. Thanks."

"Hey, Shadow." Jo pointed to the counter "Don't forget your dirty dishes go there. See you at dinner with the rest of the support staff."

Shadow finished up her sandwich and chips, washing them down with three small glasses of milk. You'd think that they could have glasses bigger than ten ounces. Grabbing a chocolate chip cookie and placing her dirty dishes on the counter as directed, she headed out the Lodge ready to work.

Samba nickered as he heard Shadow's boots coming down the staircase. His black mane shook as he lifted his head up and snorted. "I see ya boy, and yes, I brought you a treat." Showing him the carrots she had snagged from the kitchen counter, his head bobbed in approval. She fed Samba the carrots and ran her hand over his dark brown coat. Untying and mounting him, she turned back towards the main road and headed to the stables at the upper end of camp. Riding along at a fairly quick clip, she let Samba set the pace and just enjoyed the feel of being one with her horse.

Home. She felt it as soon as her blue Jeep Wrangler drove past the sign and through the gate onto the camp boundaries. Seven summers at Camp Echo had not dimmed her enthusiasm for working with the kids, meeting old friends and the having the chance to make new ones. Here she was wanted, loved, nurtured, respected and accepted. All the things that she often didn't get in her "real life" outside of camp.

Perhaps it was her height, which at 5'3" made her look up at people, or her youthful appearance, complete with blond hair and green eyes. At 24 years old, she looked 16 and though she looked innocent and cute, some of her past had been anything but. Safeˇthat was the most important part of camp for her. The safety it brought to her and to the kids. Like being enclosed in a bubble; camp was a place she was protected. She was home.

She drove her jeep down the main road, heading to the main camp area. Past the signs stating the names of the camp unitsˇSmugglers, Sequoia, Swagman, Sherwood Forest, Singing Pinesˇ only Sky Meadow which was above the directors office on another hill in camp, was not mentioned. Canvas tents on wooden platforms, each designed to sleep four campers on metal bunks with mattresses, were placed six to a unit. Each unit also had one tent, also made of the same golden yellow canvas, that would house the unit staff, camp counselors, assigned to watch over their group of campers for the week. Driving into camp, she slowed her jeep on Singing Pines hill, a steep hill that had sharp turns and limited vision. As the rider and her horse came into view around one sharp bend, Scooter was glad she had the good sense to drive slowly. She stopped her jeep and let the rider go passed, a smile and a quick wave offered from the jeep as an apology. Her greeting was met with a nod of the rider's head and that was all.

Hmm, doesn't look like the warm fuzzy kind. Could be a long ten weeks of summer for her if she doesn't loosen up a bit. Scooter slowly let the clutch out and continued down the hill towards the director's office. Stopping her jeep, she heard the slam of the door from the office and the squeal of delight from the director. "Scooter, you made it!" Enveloped in a hug from the camp director, she reveled in the feeling of being home.

"Silver, I wouldn't miss this for the world. I'm so happy to be here!" A smile from ear to ear graced Scooter's face. She remained in a loose hug from Silver as they both felt the threads of friendship lace together once again.

"Well, go say hi to Jojo and grab some lunch. Then you can unpack your gear in your tent and get settled. Pax won't arrive until tomorrow, so you should have plenty of time to take a look at things and make a list of what you need repaired and what new supplies you'll need to go to town and buy."

A mock salute accompanied her smile as she turned and walked up to the lodge, hearing the door of the old wooden office slam shut behind the director. They really should put something on the door to stop that slammingˇ.nah, it's as much a part of camp as the seagulls are.

Scooter was always amused that this far from the ocean, the seagulls had decided to make the lake their home. They were useful, however, as an increase in the number of seagulls indicated a storm coming in out of the west. The birds flew inland to escape the storm and served as a forewarning of a summer storm brewing a day away.

A loud yelp from the kitchen, audible all the way across the lawn to the directors' office, was evidence that Jojo and Scooter had seen each other.

Jojo had worked at camp for over five years, and though they didn't correspond over the rest of the year except the occasional e-mail or postcard, their friendship was solid and real. A typical camp staff friendship that took backseat to real life of school, work and life outside of the camp gates during the rest of the year, but quickly rebonded the moment summer came around. Years of memories and laughter would seal out the rest of the world as if the friends had never been apart and time had never passed.

Scooter quickly made herself a sandwich and grabbed a Dr. Pepper, a rare treat that would disappear from the dining hall once the campers arrived. Jojo also grabbed her lunch and sat on one of the wooden benches at the table with Scooter.

Jojo started in her usual enthusiastic way "How are you? And how was your year? And how is school? And are you seeing anyone special? And, and, and tell me everything!"

"Good. Fine. Fine. No. And that's it." Scooter teased back

"Come on now, you know I want details, Scoot."

"Well, I'm doing fine, really, and only one year left of college, so that is good. No, I'm not seeing anyone special. How about you?"

"Same old Scooter, well you look good. I'm so glad you are back this summer, now I know for sure that all of my grilled cheese sandwiches will be eaten!"

"Hey! I can't help it if I love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially at camp."

Jojo laughed and tapped Scooter's flat stomach. "Well, I don't know where you put it all, but as a camp cook I really appreciate your, um, healthy appetite."

"I work hard enough to eat as much as I want at camp, so you'd better order extra this year, especially of grilled cheese sandwich fixings. Well, the waterfront calls, I best be getting unpacked and set up. Who else is back this year on staff?"

Jojo thought for a moment. "Let's see, Silver of course is directing, Pepper is assistant camp director, Spike is program director, Doodle is arts and crafts specialist, Copper is in charge of planning trips, Ranger Bill is still here year round as the camp ranger, Pax is assistant waterfront director, Pony is riding director, and there's a new barn manager-Shadow. Sort of the tall, dark and silent type. Some of the camp counselors are returning, but I haven't heard yet who's back."

"Wow, that's a good group coming back then! I can't wait till they get here. So, is Indy back? I think I missed her the most, no offense."

"Oh yeah, Indy's back and she missed you too. I can tell- she spends most of her day hanging out by the waterfront looking for you."

"Well, I'm going to go find her and spend some quality time with her before I get working."

"Sounds good. And Scoot, you know where dirty dishes go, right?" Jo raised one eyebrow and cocked her head towards the counter.

"Of course my liege, I know where to put my dirty dishes. And I know where to recycle. So no worries about me, you just go back to planning your menus and getting dinner ready for tonight. We gonna have brownies for dessert?"

Jojo laughed. "Of course, though this is the second batch I've made today. Shadow scared the hell out of me and I dropped the first one. But no fears, oh waterfront director, you shall have your brownies tonight."

"Better watch your potty mouth, don't want to scare the new staff, and can't let the kids hear you swearing. Thanks for lunch." She said over her shoulder as she quickly made her way back to her jeep and to look for Indy.

Indy saw Scooter before Scooter could see her, and the next thing Scooter knew, she was knocked to the ground, her face covered in wet kisses. "Hi girl! God, I've missed you." Rolling around on the lawn and hugging Indy, Scooter once again felt safe and home.

A sharp whistle interrupted their play, and Indy jumped up immediately and ran towards Silver. "You know better that to knock people down. Don't make me put you on a leash girl. You fuzzy faced dog." Indy at least had the good sense to break eye contact with Silver and only slightly wag her cropped tail.

"Go on, get out of here then. And don't be knocking Scooter down anymore."

With that, Indy the Bouvier des Flandres was off and running on four paws back to her best summer friend. She was a big bundle of black fur, her eyes visible only because of the wind created from her running. In no time at all she was back at Scooter's side and engulfed in a hug from the blond.

To be continued...

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