Warrior Kat
[Uber] [Alt PG-13] [Modern]
Part III of the Minerva/Terry Series

Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, and Alti are property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

This is Uber. These characters resemble our favorite heroines, but are situated in a different time, different place (in this case, modern times in California), in different enviroments. If you haven't tried it, try it. You just might like it.

Subtext: Yeah, it just so happens to be maintext in this story. Nothing graphic, about a PG-13 rating. You're going to find more sex at an actual high school than this story. (And if you don't believe me, walk onto any high school campus and you'll understand.) But since some people get their panties into a wad over the issue, if you are underage or intolerant of it, please find another story.

Disturbing content: The (fictional) KKK comes marching into town in this story. If that bothers you, you might want to read another story. But remember, in real life, no town is safe. Your town could be next. (About 10 years ago the real KKK tried to move into my town. No joke.)

More disturbing content: I detailed a cruxificion of a "criminal" in Roman times. If that bothers you, or you have heart or lung problems, read something else, or read the alternate version of my story here.

Violence: Of course! Got to keep up with the original spirit of Xena!

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the end of Season 4, I recommend you read my altered, non-spoiler version of this story.


Chapter I

"Minerva, that doesn't fit in there."

"Yes it does, Terry," the dark haired girl growled back playfully.

"That's a border piece in your hand, and that's not the border."

"Yes it is."

"No it isn't. See? They're two different colors." Terry pointed to the jigsaw piece in Minerva's hand and then to the puzzle.

"They're the same color. See the edge?"

Terry took it out of Minerva's hand and squinted. "You're right." A triumphant gleam spread across Minerva's face. "Damn," Terry growled.

"Chalk another one up for the Great Garcia!" Minerva said jokingly.

"Dinner!" Terry's mother called out. They left the jigsaw puzzle they were doing to go eat.

The lights were out, both girls pretending to be asleep, but neither of them were.

"That was potent chili," Minerva said offhandedly.

"That was tame. You should eat the stuff my dad makes in the rare moods he feels like cooking."

"I'll decline, thank you." Silence, then a muffled thump, followed by Minerva shaking the bed covers up and down, a silly grin creeping up on her face, even though she did her darndest to stop it.

Terry looked over to see why Minerva was shaking the bedcovers. "Minerva!" she chastised.

"I told you it was potent chili," Minerva guiltily mewled. Terry flopped back on her backside and rolled her eyes. Definitelly Princess Charming, she thought sarcastically.

Morgan fought her way through the morning crowd, a cluster circling around something, probably someone, like a flock of vultures. She shoved people out of the way, and saw two boys bullying a small East Indian girl.

"Leave her alone," Morgan hissed at the boys.

The taller boy, skinny and his boyish head shaved like a skinhead wannabe, turned around and glared at her. "Oh look, it's Morgan," he mocked.

"Morgan Keir defending a non-white. I suppose its raining cats and dogs in Hell right now, isn't it?"

Morgan walked between them to get the girl out of there when the smaller boy grabbed the back of her shirt. "Where do you think you're going?"

He froze when he heard a deep, sexy voice growl in his ear, "And what do you think you're doing?" Turning his head around, he was caught in the glare of Minerva's ice cold blue-grey eyes that had him pinned.

"Frank, let's get out of here," he said, his voice going up several octaves in fear. The two boys scattered like chickens. Morgan watched them; the little boy looked like he was about to pee his pants out of fright.

"Assholes," Minerva swore under her breath.

"Hey, it's over, Minerva," Morgan said, trying to calm down her beautiful but deadly friend. She motioned the girl to come over with them.

"Thanks," the girl said shyly.

"I'm Morgan," she said. "Nice to meet you," extending her hand.

The East Indian girl took her hand and shook it. "I'm Chandra."

"That's a pretty name," Morgan commented.


"And this brooding beauty is Minerva." Minerva, who was looking at something else, snapped her head around, having missed the whole conversation.

"Nice to meet you," Chandra said, shaking her hand too.

"Hey, Minerva, where's your shadow Terry today?" Morgan asked.

"Home sick." The chili beans the previous night had been too much for her digestive system to handle. Minerva wasn't exactly feeling like a bed of roses, either, at the moment.

A knock on the O'Roarke door. Terry's mother opened it. "Oh, hi, Minerva. Come on in."

Minerva knocked on Terry's door. "Come in." She popped her head in there.

"Feeling any better?" she said, sitting beside Terry on the bed.

"Not really," she muttered, resting her head on Minerva's shoulder and interlacing her fingers with Minerva's. "It started," she whispered, bringing her knees up towards her chest.

Minerva was about to ask, then she figured it out. Oh, yeah, that. Poor girl. Every woman's favorite day. Terry relaxed, shutting her eyes, a smile on her face. I think we're going to be here for a while. "Hey, scoot over," Minerva said quietly, Terry obliging, then resuming to the position she was in before, long, silky honey-blonde strands of hair spilling onto Minerva's shoulder. Minerva scooted back to rest against the bedframe, stretching her long legs out, yawning, then shutting her own eyes.

"One more game and volleyball's over," Morgan remarked.

"What sport are you doing next?" asked Terry, sitting on the bench between Morgan and Greg.


"Too bad. I'm doing soccer."

"I heard Coach Mendel already made cuts."


"Which team did you make?" asked Morgan. Hopefully she didn't get cut.


Jumping to conclusions, aren't we, Morgan? I didn't know she was an athlete. I just presumed.... "Whoa. Pretty good. Did Minerva make varsity too?"


"I heard the soccer team has a chance to capture League this year. All the more impressive that you two made the Big V."

"Any hope for basketball?"

"We're not favored. All the good players graduated last year."

Morgan was looking down. "Hey, what's wrong?" asked Terry.

"Just thinking about how much time basketball consumes. Late games, don't get home till ten at home, twelve when away, weekend and holiday practices, it's one heck of a commitment."

"That is quite a bit," Terry said.

"My dad's going to have a fit if I don't make varsity," Morgan added.

"I'm sure you'll make it," Terry said optimistically.

I love her naive, optimistic outlook on life, Morgan mused.

Coach Mendel ran a one on one drill, eliminating those who lost the ball (and those who were not trying very hard) until the top two competed. Terry managed to make it through two rounds, until she competed with Minerva, whose intricate footwork with the soccer ball was confusing, but she almost managed to get it away from her. Running back, she reversed the ball behind her foot, but slippery Minerva managed to extend her long leg in to kick it away.

Minerva gave everyone a run for their money. No one else had come close to kicking her ball away, and she stole the ball from every competitor so far. Soon it was narrowed between her and a shy halfback named Haley.

Haley, a sophomore, was about as tall as Minerva, with short brown hair that was parted in the middle, giving her the look of a little boy. Coach Mendel had made a comment earlier about how unusual it was for a soccer team to have so many tall girls. They were usually awkward amongst shorter girls, and snatched by basketball coaches who needed the height advantage. However, what was usually considered a handicap in this fast and furious sport had been turned to each girls' advantage.

Minerva was on defense first. "Ready, go!" Deftly Haley weaved the ball around, keeping Minerva at a distance with bursts and hanging back to keep her off balance. After about ten yards Minerva saw her chance, and went in for the kill. Haley kept the ball to the other side and shot around, forcing Minerva to commit to one direction; however, Haley noted she wasn't going to be able to get by if she continued, so she slowled and reversed, going to Minerva's other side, passing her and running full speed to the end.

The competitive fire flared in Minerva's eyes. She didn't like it when people made a fool out of her, even if it wasn't deliberate malice. Determined to get by Haley on offense, she began to weave the ball around, analyzing her weaknesses so she could break by.

What weaknesses? Haley kept low to the ground in a crouch, body weight centered and ready to dash either direction, and seemed to be able to backpedal was fast as she dribbled, or so it seemed. She didn't quite see her opening to fly ahead at full speed.

Haley analyzed her opponent. She has that ball under control. She can move any way in a flash. Keep on your toes. She's a live one. Suddenly, Minerva made her offensive, gauging the tad bit of distraction in Haley's eyes. Attention directed at her opponent, she lunged over, careful not to commit her weight yet like Minerva did. Minerva dropped back suddenly, and quickly crossed over, kicking the ball slightly in front, ready to keep it away, but the moment it was out in front, Haley switched directions and lunged for the ball, catching Minerva off-guard. Usually she was fast enough not to give her opponent this break, and her opponent too slow and stupid to take advantage of it. The ball rolled away, pushed away by Haley's toe. She darted off, Minerva on her heels. She was not going to give up without a fight.

Haley could feel her breathing down her neck. Suddenly reversing and turning around, Minerva overshot her opponent by about three feet.

Damn, damn, damn! Minerva thought. Get your head out of your ass and pay attention!

Haley easily dribbled the ball back to the coach, winning the competition. Steam came out of Minerva's ears; losing was something only the other guy did.

"Run a lap," Coach Mendel told everyone who was knocked out of the competition.

Running their quarter mile lap, Terry could see how dangerously agitated Minerva was. She had beaten everyone else on the soccer team by about a quarter of a lap, Terry coming in second. Minerva looked even madder than before they started running, so she ran over to her friend and put her hand on her back. Minerva flinched.

"Hey, calm down," Terry said, trying to soothe her agitated girl.

"Don't---" Minerva shook her head. Don't touch me? You are WAY too mad if your girl can't even touch you on the back, in a buddy sort of fashion. "Sorry," Minerva muttered, exhaling. "I get pretty intense during competition.

No shit, thought Terry. "Don't take it out on that Haley girl. She's just doing her job."

"I would not do such a thing---" Minerva started to protest.

"C'mon, I know you better than that." Terry stopped and turned her around. "I can read your little brain," giving her a little poke on the forehead.

"Er," Minerva sighed. "Vengeance is my style, isn't it?" she admitted sheepishly.

"Realizing it is the first step to dealing with it," Terry chimed.

"This is soccer practice, not one of those 12 step programs for alcoholics."

"Same principle," Terry countered.

Chapter II

Terry sauntered over to the locker room after practice, having left all her school clothes in her locker like a total idiot. Wouldn't you know, it's all the way across the campus from the soccer fields. Walking over the dusty driveway near the track, sandwiched next to the tennis courts, then up the open halls, permissible in a mild climate, meandering through a maze of classrooms, until she reached the locker rooms.

Haley was in her row, setting the last digit of her locker combination, then pushing it in a tad to make the spring snap the door open. The short haired brunette saw Terry, and turned around.

"Hi," she shyly said, grabbing her backpack and streetclothes out of her locker. Sitting down on the bench, she unfolded her clothes. Damn she's cute! Oh no, did I just think that??? I better get out of her before she changes. I can't believe I just thought that. I just sold myself the ticket to social damnation.

"Hey," Terry said, having opened her locker quickly and beginning to change.

So much for leaving before she changes. Look the other way, NOW! She tore her eyes away from the adorable little blonde reluctantly. She's straight, she probably has a boyfriend, she doesn't need a perv like you checking her out. Got that?

"Hey, what's wrong?" Terry asked.

Oh no. Caught. She squeezed her eyes shut, tilted her head back, and let loose her startlingly realistic fake sneeze.

"Bless you."

"Thanks," Haley said, mock wiping her nose. Hope she forgot her question.

"What grade are you in?"


"Hmm. I thought you were older."

"What grade you in?" asked Haley.


"Whoa. I think you're the only one. This team is pretty much all juniors and seniors."

"I'm not the only one. Minerva is too."

Haley whirled around, hazel eyes looking at her. "You're kidding me," she said in all seriousness.


"Holy cow. She can play. You sure? I swore she was a senior."

Terry laughed. "Always selling herself short on her looks. Trust me, she acts like a little kid sometimes, though."

"Don't we all."

"What? Sell ourselves short or act like little kids?"

"Both, actually. I heard nothing but complaints from pretty girls about how 'ugly' their school pictures came out," Haley said.

"Same here," Terry sighed. "The same girls who go into the bathroom at every break to touch up their mascara, dab a little more powder, spiff up their hair." Terry zipped her backpack shut. "Who the hell has time for that? I just brush my hair and don't give a damn how it looks for the rest of the day."

"Certainly works for you."

"I'm not about to walk around Rockwell High looking like a Tammy Faye Baker wannabe. Someone from PBS should come here and make a documentary on 'The Racoon Girls of Rockwell High.'"

Haley busted up laughing. "That's rich," she said, laughing so hard her eyes were watering. This cutie has a humorous personality, and isn't a silly lipstick femme like every other girl on campus. Maybe there's hope.

She didn't like running errands for her parents, especially if they involved walking next door to their neighbors, the Guthries. The old miser Mr. Guthrie had told her she was going to burn in Hell for being gay, she was a shame to her parents, and thought they should have either kicked her out of the house or sent her to an ex-gay camp. Naturally, she loathed having to walk over to listen to Mr. Guthrie get on his invisible pulpit and lecture when all she was trying to do was run an errand for her parents. Some neighbors are just plain unneighborly.

She knocked on the door, shaking, but trying to hide her discomfort. She was startled when the door opened suddenly, without the clonking steps or loud, audible grumbling of Mr. Guthrie.

"Hello, child," Mrs. Guthrie said. "Come in."

She seems to be nice. Terry walked in the door, Mrs. Guthrie shutting it behind her. "Have a seat, relax. The old fart went into town to church. I didn't feel like going."

Terry grinned at the Mrs.'s terminology for the (un)lovable old geezer.

Mrs. Guthrie brought in a plate of cookies, and asked her if she wanted anything to drink. "Water's okay," Terry said.

The woman brought the water and sat down across from her. "I'm getting vibes," she croaked, fear etched on her face. "You are in the acquaintance of a certain tall, dark haired woman, aren't you?"

Minerva. "Yes."

"She's impatient, ruthless, and determined."

Ruthless to get the job done, determined not to let anything distract her, but she gets impatient. Yep, that's Minerva. "Yes." The woman shook. "Mrs. Guthrie, what's wrong?"

"Visions," the woman said, her voice no louder than a whisper. She shut her eyes slowly. "Can you see them too?"

Her vision clouded, and upon the gray misty canvas images of snow covered hills, patrolled by men in armor (they looked like the illustration of Roman soldiers out of a book). She was lying on her back, the side of her face throbbing a tad bit. Her hands and ankles were tied to something with splinters, and she shivered in the late winter cold.

"Turn your head, little one," the woman whispered. In her vision, Terry turned her head, and saw another person beside her, hands and ankles tied to a cross. And she looked like Minerva, expect so much more...feminine. Not butchy like Minerva.

"Who is that, little one?" the woman asked.

"I don't know," Terry whispered back.

"Xena," the old woman said. "And do you know why you're being crucified beside her?"


"She was too preoccupied with trying to kill Caesar in order to protect Gabrielle."


"She was seeking vengeance for the time Caesar tried to kill her a decade earlier."

"Wait a minute. How could Xena live in a world with both Hercules and Caesar? There is a thousand year difference between their two lives."

"Let's say it was just one of her many 'skills,'" the woman explained vaguely. "And this was not the only time she hurt you in the quest to kill Caesar."

Suddenly, her image changed to being catapulted towards the top of the dome, flames circling her and violating her. Terry began to cry.

"That's how Gabrielle got raped. Because Xena was too preoccupied with trying to kill Caesar."

The image faded to gray, back to the cruxificion. She felt the cold point of a nail press against her hand. She heard a voice, and turned her head.

"You're the best thing that ever happened to me," Xena said, from the bottom of her heart.

"I love you Xena," Gabrielle whispered back. Then she felt a stabbing pain go through her hand, then the other hand, then her ankles, as the nails secured her to the wooden cross. She felt men lift the cross upright, and immediately it became hard to exhale. She pressed against the nail in her foot, pulling herself up to exhale.

Oh gods, this hurts really bad, Gabrielle had thought. Feels like I'm dying. No, I am dying. So is Xena. At least we shall be united in death.

The nerve endings in her hands began to tingle unpleasantly, and she lowered herself, having a hard time breathing again. Choking, she pulled herself up again, her hands aching.

Over and over, she brought herself up, each time more painful, until the cold had numbed her limbs too much to pull herself back up again. The carbon dioxide began to accumulate in her lungs, choking her badly....she wanted to exhale so badly....eternal minutes passed, and her vision began to spot. More and more black specs filled her vision, then it went totally black as she shut her eyes and died.

"Wake up, little one," the woman repeated. Terry shook herself out of the trance, shivering uncontrollably.

"Why did you show me that?"

"Whoever is of the line of Xena carries her blood, the blood of a monster. They are not to be trusted, little one. Be very careful."

She could hazily recall finishing running her chore and dragging her feet back home, the flashback to the cruxificion still fresh and painful in her mind.

Chapter III

"Terry, did you deliver the zucchini to Mrs. Guthrie?" Terry's mother asked.

"Yep." Terry tried not to grimace at the smell of her mother's breath. She's been drinking again. I thought she had decided to be sober.

Wednesday, two days away from the soccer scrimmage against Rockwell High's archival from across town, the Henderson High Grizzlies. They were notorious for being snobby rich preppies. A classic sterotype? Of course, but this sterotype seemed to ring true with the Grizzlies. Morgan had gone to school with quite a few of them, and didn't like most of them.

Terry glanced at who was where in the field. Minerva was placed at left forward, mainly because of her aggressive handling of the ball, Terry herself had been put at halfback because she could run and put pressure on the opponent's offensive, usually resulting in sloppy play; and there were rumors that Maria might be moved up to varsity, since the varsity team was lacking strength in the backfield.

A simple scrimmage was enough to get school spirit rallying. It was that time of year when the football team was to play their last game against their crosstown opponents, so patriotic spirit was becoming noticeable.

"You going to the football game on Saturday?" Haley asked Terry.

"Yeah, Minerva, Morgan, and I are planning to go."

"You better get there early. The bleachers fill up very fast."

"How early?"

"No later than the middle of the JV game."

"Are you going to be there?"

"Er, I don't have anyone to go with," Haley sighed.

"You could come with us. More is merrier!"

"Thanks," Haley said gratefully. Who couldn't love that friendly, charming little spirit of hers? "We better head to practice now or Coach Mendel is going to get her panties in a wad and make us run two miles instead of one today."

They continued to chat, weaving through the vacant hallways that were usually crammed shoulder to shoulder during the day.

"How good is the Henderson team?" asked Terry.

"They're going to be tough competition," Haley answered. "Our main threats are going to be Henderson and Borden East. Borden has some big girls on their team, they're very physical. And I wouldn't count the other high school from Borden, Washington High, out of the race, either."

Minerva's going to have a blast kicking some Borden East ass, Terry mused to herself, grinnng.

"What's that smirk for?" asked Haley.

"Just thinking how much fun Minerva is going to have playing Borden East."

"I've seen Minerva play. Hopefully she won't get red carded in that game. However, that's doubtful, since Coach Mendel encourages rough behavior from her players."

Patriot fevor increased across the entire town of Rockwell as the two crosstown games got closer and closer. Everyone dressed in Rockwell Viking colors, green and yellow. The entire soccer team wore their jersey and black jeans.

"My, don't you look spiffy," Morgan teased Terry.

"Hey, scoot over. Your big butt's hogging the bench," Terry teased back. Morgan scooted over.

"Give it a year of weightlighting and you'll have a bad case of weighlifter's butt too."

"You mean weightlifter's ass."

"That's a coarse way of referring to it," Morgan said. "But yeah, same thing."

Terry noted Morgan had the build to gain a lot of muscle. Her arms, shoulders, and legs were covered with muscle, like a guy. Minerva and Terry simply didn't have that same type of genetic tendency to gain thick, bulging muscles. Few had that tendency, and even fewer were able to keep the natural body fat from obscuring it.

Minerva sauntered over to their seat from the bus loading zone. "Hey, scoot," she said, sitting down in the vacated part of the bench. "What are my two hen friends up to?"

"Nothing, really," Morgan said casually.

"Ready to kick some Henderson butt?" Minerva asked Terry.

Terry nodded. "Yeah."

"Volleyball's over, and basketball doesn't start until Monday," Morgan said. "I'll be at the game."

"Cool," Minerva replied.

"Hey, you got a haircut," Terry said, coming over and ruffling Haley's hair. "And you dyed it blonde."

"It's just temporary. I'm going to spike it a little before I go out. Like what the Celtic warriors of old did." Haley tied her shoes, and sighed, noting the bunch of girls flocking around the mirror, doing their makeup before they rode the bus home.

Soon enough, the locker room cleared out, and Haley spiked her hair while Terry put her honey-blonde hair in a pony tail. She felt a warm hand on her back. Glancing up in the mirror, she saw Minerva behind her.

"Oh, hi," Terry said, putting her hairbrush down and fussing with a few wayward strands.

"Ready to kick some butt?" asked Minerva. "I heard the Henderson team needed a good spanking."

"You got that right," Haley uttered, applying black paint under her eyes to keep the glare out of her eyes. Minerva turned around, then turned back.

"Some people getting out the warpaint, I see."

"Hey, could I use some?" Terry asked Haley.

"Sure." The tin that held it came scooting over towards her. Terry took a dab and swabbed it under her eyes, Minerva doing the same.

"Put on your meanest look, Minerva," Terry said. Minerva scowled. "I feel sorry for those Henderson players. They'll never know what hit them."

The sidelines were crammed full of Rockwell and Henderson students watching the game, a crowd that was beginning to get rowdy. The first half was scoreless, but not without some close calls for both sides. Half of the second half had already passed, the roughness was escalating, but Minerva had managed to keep her calm, not even getting a yellow card.

Maria had been pulled up for the game, and Mendel decided to try putting her in. Henderson began a particularly aggressive offensive drive, sending most of the Rockwell girls scattering. Terry got in front of the Henderson opponent, slowing her down so the rest of the team could race back to assist. She tried to block, managing to knock the ball out of control of the Henderson defender, but only momentarily as she passed the ball to a teammate on the left.

After a few more passes, Maria noticed the ball was coming to her opponent. Lunging, she intercepted the ball and dribbed away from the Henderson cluster, kicking the ball upfield to Terry, who then passed it across the field to Haley, who was upfield, who then nailed a perfect pass for Minerva to kick into the net. Suddenly, Minerva felt an elbow in the back, a shooting pain.

Terry's eyes narrowed. That bitch just clipped Minerva in the back just because. The play was over.

Boos echoed from the Rockwell crowd, having witnessing the red-card offense, and the referee not noticing it incited the crowd further. The Henderson crowd booed back, telling them they were a bunch of wusses.

The ball was placed in the middle, to resume play. The girl who had clipped Minerva in the back was now the girl Terry had to guard against.

"Stupid Mexicans play dirty," she heard her opponent growl.

"You better watch what comes out of your mouth," Terry hissed back.

"Shut up, bitch. I wasn't talking to you," the Henderson player, a toe head blonde, spat.

"Excuse me?" Terry snarled. The ball came their direction, and they both raced for it, Terry ahead by a stride. The Henderson player lunged at Terry, shoving her very roughly. Barely keeping the ball under control, Terry circled around, and the Henderson player grabbed the back of her jersey. Responding with an elbow to get the offending hand off her jersey, Terry then kicked it across to Haley, who dribbled skillfully upfield to set up the offense.

Suddenly she found herself spinning the ground, the Henderson player having thrown her to the ground, and the Rockwell crowd began to get noisy. I will not be indignified like that! Terry thought, getting up and racing towards the Henderson player, who was about to get the ball back. It took her opponent by surprise, who then elbowed her in the ribs. Ticked, Terry slammed her shoulder into the Henderson opponent, heading up the center to pass the ball to Minerva when her feet were taken out from under her by a slide tackle. Haley rushed by and picked up the ball, leaving the attack essentially worthless from a technical standpoint.

But from an emotional standpoint, Terry was mad and ready to play super dirty. The ball was kicked towards the Henderson player, and Terry lept in front of her, heading the ball. Her opponent blew a fuse, shoving Terry on her face in a very aggressive manner.

The Rockwell crowd, having witnessed it, was getting very vocal about the poor referreeing skills. The Henderson crowd reacted, pouring out their own insults.

Terry spun around and managed to trip the girl who shoved her to the ground. The referee blew his whistle, but neither girl heard it. The Henderson player got to her feet quickly, lunged at Terry, who skillfully ducked out of the way and let the Henderson player shoot by. The girl then whirled about and swung her fist, nailing Terry in the nose.

That did it. The Rockwell crowd went ballistic. Fans stood up, pumping their fists in the air, insults thrown about with a poisonous vengeance. The Henderson crowd came to its feet, a few obscene gestures escalating the scene further.

The referee separated the dueling girls, and red-carded both of them for fighting. Terry walked over to the bench, looking back and noticing the Henderson girl was glaring at her. "Bitch," she mouthed, inaudible. Play resumed.

Coach Mendel pulled a towel out of her sports bag. "Here. You did a heck of a job out there," she congratulated her battered halfback. Terry took the towel, walked over to the bench, and sat down, dabbing her nose with the towel, then tilting her head up to stop the nosebleed.

"That was an intense game," Morgan remarked, putting her arm around Terry's shoulders.

"No shit," Terry said, voice muffled by the towel.

"Poor thing, you really got nailed there."

"And we were all worried about Minerva getting red-carded." A smirk on Terry's face. "No one figured it would be me."

"Minerva doesn't look too good. Looks like her ribs are bothering her."

"Speaking of Minerva..." Haley and Minerva joined up.

"We're going to Heidi's house to celebrate. You coming?"

"Sure," Terry said.

"You can come too, Morgan," Minerva added.

It's going to be a party. I shouldn't, but maybe I should keep an eye out on Terry. "Sure."

They all walked to the parking lot, and jumped into Haley's truck. Shifting it into reverse, they left the school grounds.

Chapter IV

Just as Morgan suspected, there was beer at the party. Minerva and Haley grabbed a can. "Hey, Terry, want one?" Minerva asked.

Morgan looked over at Terry. She looks mad.

"No," Terry declined, weaving her way towards Morgan. "Morgan, I really don't want to be here."

"I figured that."

"What do you mean?"

"You didn't seem to be the type who drinks. I'll call my parents and you can spend the night at my place instead."

"Good idea."

Morgan looked Terry. "You're mad that Minerva's drinking, aren't you?"

"Yeah," Terry whispered, not wanting her concern to be heard by anyone else. They sat on the curb outside, waiting for Morgan's dad to pick them up.

"I've just seen so many lives ruined by it," Terry said, her voice cracking. Morgan put an arm around her friend. "I'm not even going to bother starting."

"I know my family has a problem with alcoholism," Morgan said. "That's how it got split into the drinking and non-drinking branches of the Keir family."

"That would be embarrassing to be said, 'Oh, you're one of the drinking Keirs.'" Terry put an arm around Morgan, and whispered, "My mother started drinking again."

"She hasn't---"

"No, she hasn't hit me or anything like that. But that's how she lost her job in LA."

"Ouch," Morgan said in sympathy.

About 15 minutes later, Morgan's dad drove up to the driveway and picked them up.

"Morgan, why didn't you tell me it was going to be a drinking party?" Mr. Keir asked. At least my daughter is upright enough of a person to call if it involves alcohol.

"I wasn't sure. And I had a feeling Terry wouldn't want to be there. I was right."

Morgan looked back, to see Terry had fallen asleep, heading leaning against the seatbelt. She's such an adorable little girl. Morgan leaned back against the seat and shut her eyes too.

Beer cans were all over the place. Minerva was on her fourth, Haley on her fifth. A couple people had already passed out. And the fun hasn't started yet.

The few who weren't drunk decided to go out and cruise town. Minerva and Haley declined.

"That chick's cute," Haley said, her normal cautiousness for revealing her preference having been washed down a couple of beers ago.

"No, no, she's hot."

Haley turned around. Dark, tall, and beautiful is gay too. That must piss off all the guys.

"Oh, look, here's Hercules." Haley took another swig of beer. "Hey, that Xena chick's pretty hot."

"She's a slut," Minerva sighed.

"That's true. They do dress her a little skimpy, don't they?"

"You seen the Xena Scrolls episode?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Did you know they based it on real people?"

Haley turned around. "No."

"Well, in real life, Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas were lovers."

Haley spit out her beer. "You're kidding me."

"Nope. I found their books at the Lowell city library."


"Everyone kept telling me I looked like Melinda. If you ask me, they have overactive imaginations."

"They said Melinda was Xena's descendant."

"Yeah. I read the real account of what happened at the tomb of Ares. Melinda was possessed by the spirit of Xena, true, but she made mincemeat out of Ares."

"That's not how the story goes," Haley said.

"I guess Janice and Melinda are dead. Else Hollywood would have the biggest lawsuit on its hands for slandering the names of two people." Minerva took a swig of beer. "I don't see the semblance of me to Melinda, but Janice and Terry are dead-ringers for each other."

"Really?" Haley got up and opened up another beer, and took a big sip.

"I'm surprised you haven't had to go to the bathroom yet," Minerva said, getting up. "Because this stuff is going through me like a sieve." Then she shut the bathroom door behind her. When she came out, she noticed Haley had passed out on the floor, half finished beer can in hand. Lifting her up, she settled her on the couch.

"Suppose the party's over." Minerva sat in the La-Z-Boy, propped up the footrest, and went to sleep.

Minerva popped open one eye, and flinched at the sunlight. I have the world's worst headache. And my stomach hurts. Great. Hangover.

She glanced at the couch and noticed Haley wasn't there. Glancing over to the bathroom, she noticed the door was shut. Ah. She leaned back against the headrest, and shut her eyes.

The bathroom door creaked open. "Think I'm going to die," a voice rasped hoarsely, walking over to the sofa, flopping down, and curling into a ball.

"Bad hangover?" Minerva quietly asked.

"Oh, you're awake," Haley whispered back. "I always hate the morning after."

The bathroom door shut again as one of the other girls went in to go vomit. "Good thing the football game isn't until this evening."

"No kidding," Haley said, tightening further into a ball.

"Hey, Minerva, what's up with the sunglasses?" Terry blurted out.

"Don't ask," Minerva replied.

"Ah." Terry shook her head. "I thought you'd be more responsible than that." Minerva looked down sheepishly, Haley hanging a tad bit behind. "Morgan and I are going to get something to eat. Want to come?"

The thought of putting food in her irrate stomach made her abdomen hurt. "No thanks."

"Haley?" The shy butch looked up.

"Uh, no thanks."

"Bye. See you in a little while," Terry said, Morgan walking away from her.

"Guess I'm in the doghouse today," Minerva grumbled to herself, forgetting she had company.

"Doghouse, not good," Haley said.

Minerva blushed a few shades of red. Shit! I forgot someone was around.

"Hey, hey, it's okay," Haley said. "Looks like you're in trouble with the misses there, my friend." Minerva blushed even more.

"Is it that obvious?" the tall, darkhaired beauty asked.

"Not really," Haley said. "It's just the way you two look at each other." Minerva blushed more. "Minerva, if you blush any more, you're going to make a tomato looked deathly pale!"

Minerva smiled. "Can't help it," she ceded.

Haley signalled her to follow along. "If it's any consolation, I'm gay too, so it's not like you're the only one."


Morgan and Terry had decided to walk over to the hot dog stand that was still operational in the midst of the pirahna chain stores. It never ceased to amaze Morgan how much food Terry could pack away, and yet be able to keep nice and skinny. There was a slight jagged gaze along the side of Terry's nose when the Henderson girl socked her the previous night.

Sitting at one of the outdoor tables, Terry took a bite of her chili dog, then chowed down three fries at once. "I'm so disappointed that she could do something so asinine," she sighed.

"Could be worse," Morgan said. "A couple years back the president of the student body came to school drunk as a skunk. That was a scandal. Didn't get to attend the graduation ceremony because he had gotten suspended during the second semester."

"That is pretty bad," Terry admitted. "I don't want to be going out with her if she's going to be that irresponsible."

"Tell her so. But what's been done has been done. If she needs help, be willing to help her get help."

A sentimental look came to Terry's eyes. "Thanks, Morgan, for being such a good friend. You don't know how much it means to me."

"Ditto. Just because everyone knows my name around school doesn't mean I have tons of friends. Just acquaintances, if that. True friendship is a rare, and very special thing."

Haley invited Minerva to spend the day at her house, since Wilton was so far away, and there was no point in going home only to have to turn back around to go the game. She had met Haley's mother, a petite, generous woman. She decided she liked her.

"Can I call my mom? It'll be real quick," Minerva requested.

"Sure." Haley pointed her to the phone.

She punched in the seven digit number, then listened to it ring. "Hola," Callida said.

"It's me, Minerva. Is Mama home?"

"One moment." Silence. "Hola, mija," Dolores said. "Todo está bien?"

"Sí. Yo llamó porque voy a estar en Rockwell por todo el día. Está bien?"

"Sí. Ten cuidad, y te amo."

"Le amo tambien, mama." Then she hung up.

She came out to the kitchen, noticing that Haley was fixing something to eat. "Want anything to eat?" asked Haley.

"Hmm," Minerva thought.

"We got sliced turkey, last night's meatloaf, lasagna, peanut butter and jelly---"

"Peanut butter and jelly is fine with me," Minerva said.

Neither girl ate much, their stomachs still sore from the hangover.

Chapter V

Haley and Minerva met up with Morgan and Terry at the football stadium during the first quarter of the JV football game. Minerva dragged Terry aside and asked, "Still mad at me?"

Terry turned around and looked her in the eyes. "What's done has been done. But Minerva, promise me you won't do that again? Please?"

Minerva looked into her eyes, and saw concern, out of love. I was acting like an ass, you're right, Terry. Never again. "I won't."

"Cross your heart?" Terry said.

"Cross my heart," Minerva replied.

Terry grabbed her arm and threaded hers through. "Let's go watch Henderson get their butts kicked again!"

Minerva was glad she brought her jacket. It was getting really chilly in the early November evenings. Morgan and Terry shared a blanket, propping their feet on the seat backs in front of them.

The Henderson stands opposite were filling up fast, Minerva noticed. The metallic glint of trombones and trumpets of the Henderson band cut through the haze that covered the field. Cheap plastic horns blared, making irritable Minerva jump. About a fifth of the home stand was partitioned off for the Rockwell band.

Haley opened her jacket and dug out a paperback novel and began reading, oblivious to all the people milling around, with drinks and food in hand, and little children darting about, screaming like banshees with delight.

Haley's smart. I wish I thought of that. Now I have to listen to whatever nonsense chitchat Morgan and Terry concoct. She dug the rumpled up schedule out of her jeans pocket and began to read.

Haley glanced over and grinned. Guess I'm not the only one who doesn't like idle chit chat, eh? She resumed to reading her book, looking up when someone stopped at their isle.

She was a pretty Mexican, with dark brown hair, a light brown skin, and a hefty amount of weight on her hips and thighs. I think she's hitting on me, Haley guessed.

The girl cleared her throat, getting Minerva's attention.

"Go away, Letitia," Minerva growled. Two heads beside her turned, Morgan shooting daggers and Terry's face turned into a possessive snarl. Haley caught their looks.

Maybe not, Haley thought with disappointment.

The girl stomped off down the stairs hastily, slipping on the third stair and sliding down the remaining stairs on her rear. Four hands went up simultaneously to muffle giggles. Letitia turned her head around, shooting daggers at all four of them. Minerva busted up laughing. Humiliated brown eyes shot themselves into Minerva's blue, trying to make her feel guilty. Terry didn't miss the look. The hellcat turned around and walked away, black lines across the backside of her tight white flare jeans.

Minerva bent over, still laughing, Terry and Morgan giggling alongside. "That did wonders," Minerva gasped, side aching. "Like salve on some old wounds," she quietly admitted.

Down in a dark basement, where no normal human could observe, a large group of men and teenage boys were gathered around, most of them farmers. A man with a scraggly salt and pepper beard stood up and went up front.

"It was brought to my attention that Propositions 592 and 593 are declining in popularity in this state. Once again, the godless heathens in the Assembly have shot down our bill."

Grumbles echoed in the room.

"Brothers, we must not give up. We will make this a White Christian nation once again. Starting here. Tonight. Long live the Klan!"

Cheers echoed in the room.

The varsity game had just begun. The Rockwell football players were much smaller than the mainly white Henderson football players, had lost many more games, and therefore were not favored to win. Each band tried to play louder than the other, the stands were ablaze with green, yellow, and black. In the Henderson stands, fanatic Grizzlies waved grey and red around, some goths having dressed up in grey and red clothes, painted their faces white and wore vampire teeth with fake blood running down their chins.

Haley and Terry decided to run down the concession stand to buy food for the gang. By the time they had bought four soft drinks, two nachos, a slice of pizza, a burrito, and two bags of chips, they had spent thirteen dollars. It was funny to watch Haley juggle the soft drinks in their carton and the two nachos.

She's smiling at me. Omigosh, Haley thought. Don't drop the food!!!

There were a few close moments, but all the food managed to arrive intact. Terry dug into her boat of nachos with much gusto, Morgan taking the burrito and nibbling on it.

"Good grief, girl, slow down!" Morgan teased. "You're inhaling it!"

Terry stopped in midchew. "Sorry," she mumbled, nachos in her mouth.

Minerva carefully picked off her burnt pepperoni and put it to the side. Looks like pure grease, anyways. Taking a bite, she skimmed the soft dough and sauce with her teeth, then took another bite to eat the tasty crust. Terry watched her, mesmerized by the play of muscles in her jaws.

Two sips of soft drink registered with Minerva, and she got up to go to the bathroom. "I'll be right back."

Terry scooted over on the bench to talk to Haley. "Having fun?"

"Having a blast, really. It's kind of weird to be part of a group."

"You hang out by yourself a lot?"

Haley turned to face her, the stadium lights behind her making her angular face glow at the edges. "Yeah," she sheepishly admitted. "I'm too tomboyish to fit in anywhere. People take one look at my hair and freak out."

"You got a strand of nacho cheese hanging off the side of your mouth," Terry said, wiping it off for her.

Is she flirting with me? Haley tried to concentrate on breathing. If she is, I'm going to be in deep shit with Minerva. She turned her eyes back to the football game. Why do crushes have to be so inconvenient?

"I must admit, it was much easier for me to fit in back in LA," Terry admitted. "I stick out like a sore thumb around here."

Then why do you hang around with the popular Morgan Keir? What would Miz Popularity want to do with me here? Maybe she was forced into it. "I wouldn't know it."

"Er, try hanging out with Morgan's so-called "friends" and you'd figure it out."

No thanks. They're a rude mob, I've ran into them a couple of times unwittingly. "What do you mean, Morgan's 'so-called friends?'"

"They aren't too terribly nice to Morgan either."

You're joking me. "Never would have figured."

Morgan scooted over towards them. "What are you spring chickens talking about?" she asked kindly, feeling left out of the conversation.

Haley glanced around as the two hens began chattering. Turning around, she was captivated by the long, smooth strands of sunstreaked brown hair of the girl standing on the top row, her friends shouting and jumping around noxiously. The girl, who was a little taller than Morgan, looked back at her, and Haley quickly turned around blushing. Whoa.

The crowd began to roar, and three heads turned around to see a Rockwell running back break through the intimidating Henderson defense and run full speed to the goal line. He was tackled at the two yard line, and the din died down.

Minerva had a habit of looking at everything around her. Looking down one nook towards the stadium, heading back from the Port-a-Potties, she saw a couple kissing. The girl leaned against him, his arms around her, doing some very intense personal exploration.

Get a room, Minerva thought to herself, turning her attention back to where it belonged. Two little kids dashed in front of her, chasing each other; had she rubbernecked a little longer, she just might have tripped over them.

She climbed up the stairs, and found her seat taken, her friends having scooted over. Sitting beside Morgan, she sat down on the cold metal bench and shivered.


Morgan turned around. "Took you long enough," she remarked, unfolding the blanket and spreading it over her lap and Terry's. Haley sat hunched over, holding her hands together to try to keep them warm. The dark haired girl felt quite cold herself, shivering.

Morgan scooted over. "There's room for three," she said.

Minerva glanced at Haley. She looked more miserable. "That's okay. Share it with Haley."

Haley seemed quite grateful for the offer. The sacrifice to see someone else happy seemed worth shivering in the cold. The score was 6-7, Henderson leading by one point because the Rockwell kicker missed the goalposts on the point after. No one in the town of Rockwell had expected the game to be so close.

"Shit, Haley, your hands are ice cold," Terry exclaimed. "Here, let me warm them up."

Oh great, Haley thought. And off-limits, too. Argh!!! She felt Terry's little hands rub against hers. No sparks, though, Haley thought to herself, letting out a breath. Perhaps there's hope this will go away.

The Rockwell team punted, the kicker managing to punt the ball to the one yard line before going out of bounds. The two minute timeout came up, leaving a decisive play hanging in the balance.

"In all likelihood Rockwell will try a blitz against Henderson. If they can tackle the quarterback in the end zone they'll score two points," Haley pointed out.

"And we'd be ahead," Terry added.

"I'm sure Henderson is aware of that," Morgan mentioned. "Only a horse's derriere wouldn't think of that."

The two football teams resumed their positions, a second tight end added to the fray of the Henderson team. The ball was handed to the quarterback, who dropped back and his teammates made a horseshoe wall around him to protect him while he tried to pass the ball. The Rockwell defenders were short a man on the line, having a safety and two cornerbacks in the back and two wide receivers to worry about.

The right wide receiver was plainly open, and the quarterback passed the ball to him. The strong safety ran full speed towards the ball and managed to deflect it, the ball crashing and knocking down the paper cups filled with water on the Henderson sideline. Second down and ten, the Grizzlies were still vunerable.

"Hike!" the quarterback yelled, four receivers dashing forward. The cornerbacks followed their men, the safeties rushing in to sack the quarterback. Number 34 sommersaulted over the heaping mess, rolled over and took out the quarterback, falling him with ungrace flat on his butt in the end zone. The Rockwell stands went wild as the score became 8-7 in favor of Rockwell.

The kickoff landed deep in the backfield, but a spectular return to the fifty put everyone on the edge of their seats. One minute left. Another shotgun formation, Henderson dashed like mad gazelles in the African savannah, darting around. One of the safeties lept and nearly intercepted the ball, but his short height was to his disadvantage as his fingers came within an inch of nabbing the ball in mid flight. The Henderson receiver caught it and ran for five more yards before being downed.

"This is sure close," Terry said under her breath.

"Even a field goal will give Henderson the game," Haley remarked.

Plastic horns blared, people pounded their feet on the floor, girls screamed. The play was set in motion, but the pass went out of bounds. The players ran back to their position, determined to get another play in. Despite running around the backfield, being chased by two burly linemen, the quarterback shot a pass off to the wingback, who caught it out of bounds. Third and ten, a running play up the middle nabbed them five.

"They're close enough to kick," Haley remarked. The special teams came out, a well-placed kick would knock the win out of Rockwell's hands. Both stands became noisy, school colors and streamers swirling around in the November night sky. The ball was snapped, veering to the right. The placeholder had to shift, the kicker wasn't going to be able make the game saving kick. Rockwell defenders rushed in before the placeholder could dispose of the ball.

"Wow," Terry said loudly, trying to be heard over the screaming of the Rockwell fans, head leaning on Morgan's shoulder. Rockwell wasted the time, the center taking a long time to snap the ball, until the last minute, then snapping it to the quarterback who took a knee. Time ran out before they had to execute the third down play. Rockwell fans went ballistic. Their football team had made an embarrassment out of the league champion Grizzlies, marring their shut out record.

Chapter VI

The parking lot was jammed with cars. All four rode in Haley's truck, having decided to cruise around a little before heading home. Policemen directed traffic through the narrow, congested, pothole ridden streets near Rockwell High.

"Anyone hungry?" Terry asked innocently.

Haley and Minerva turned around. "We are."

"Where should we stop?" asked Haley, slowly proceeding through the intersection.

"How about Taco Bell?" Terry suggested.

"Taco Smell?" kidded Minerva.

"Paco smells?" Terry teased back. Haley changed lanes, the old man she just passed deciding to speed up because he didn't want to be passed despite the fact he was driving only twenty miles per hour in a thirty five zone.

"Oh, quit it you two lovebirds," Morgan teased. Terry blushed a deeper shade of red, compared to Minerva who looked a tad bit rosy on the cheeks.

"Morgan!" Terry shrieked, then dropping her voice. "Now she knows!"

"I knew already," Haley said, hooking a left turn across traffic.

Terry was without words. "How.... Minerva, you didn't tell her, did you?"

"No, she saw you chastising me like a little ol' wife nagging her husband," Minerva said.

Gaydar? Terry asked herself. Their fight wasn't that vocal, was it?

Quite a few teens were already in line at Taco Bell when they arrived. Being in the middle of town, the crowd was a mix of Rockwell and Henderson students. Not a good mix tonight, Morgan cringed to herself.

Terry ordered one of the combo meals, the other three girls shared another combo. Haley watched her little friend inhale two bean burritos and a soft taco.

"You must eat your mom out of house and home," Haley teased.

"Er, that's what my mom says," Terry mumbled between bites, without missing a beat.

Morgan noticed a lot of name calling going on, crude, immature remarks centered around the "f" word and certain other slang concerning human anatomy. She turned around, to see two guys shaking gestures at each other. "Ah, guys, we better get out of here. It's beginning to get nasty here."

Haley whirled around. A guy was walking over, fist raised, at the guy who was yelling at him. "Yeah, we better. Take the food along."

Eating on the run wasn't what they had planned, but sitting outside on the toolbox and tailgate of Haley's truck in the park was much safer than where they were before. And it was dark enough so no one else could see Terry and Minerva holding hands. Terry sighed when she felt Minerva's larger hand envelope hers, warming it up in the November chill. She leaned her head on Minerva's shoulder, taking another bite of bean burrito.

"Damn, you're hot," Terry muttered. Two heads turned around, and Terry blushed. "Not like that, sillies! She's as warm as a toaster oven," Terry exclaimed.

"Toaster oven?" Morgan said. "You been watching "Ellen" reruns?"

Terry hid her head on Minerva's shoulder.

"C'mon, give her a break, you're embarrassing her," Haley said, finishing off her burrito supreme.

Minerva glanced at Morgan, and noticed she had a mischievous gleam in her eyes. "Spill it, Morgan," Minerva softly, gently growled.

"How about we talk about first dates," Morgan suggested. Minerva moaned.

"Bad idea," she grumbled.

"I think it's a good idea," Terry said. "You first, Morgan." Morgan blushed. "Well, it is your idea."

"Okay," Morgan said. "For some strange reason, all the boys in my sixth grade class developed crushes on me. Including my friend Zeke. We decided to try going out, you know."

"Did you kiss him?"


"Was it fun?"

"No, it was gross. Swapping spit is not my can of bean, thank you," Morgan said.

"What happened to you guys?"

"The class clown accused us of like, 'doing it' in the bathroom. We decided it was better to be 'just friends' after that. I still talk to him, though."

"Does he go to Rockwell?" asked Haley.

"No, Henderson. Believe it or not, there is a couple of nice people there, but not too many." Morgan folded her hands and put them in her lap. "And you, Terry?"

"This one guy named Kirby got a crush on me, asked me out sometime in middle school. He was disgusting, and a BAAAAD kisser."

"Iw," Morgan said. "I know what you mean. Minerva?"

"The first date? Er, it was with that bitch who keeps stalking me," she grumbled. "I can't believe you guys would be so insensitive as to remind me of her," she griped.

Whoops, I knew something was wrong with this idea, Morgan thought to herself. "Haley?"

I hate these games, and I'm not the only one here. It was a girl. And they can't force me to tell. "I don't like talking about these things," Haley said.

"Come on, it's just us girls," Morgan said.

Well, I guess maybe I should buck up. It's not like my preference is unusual here. They're a cool bunch. "Okay." Haley was at a loss for words. "She looked like a little girl, I met her in the eighth grade. Small, charming, laughed at all my jokes. But we never did go out. I don't think she even knew I was gay. Perhaps it was just a well," Haley admitted.

I'm surrounded by dykes! Morgan realized. Good thing these three don't bite. And good thing I can accept that. I can't imagine not being here with my loyal friends here. It would be so....empty.

Haley's gay? Terry thought to herself. If I knew that I wouldn't have touched her, even if it was just a 'buddy-buddy' thing. Don't want to piss off Minerva.

"Hello?" Minerva and Haley said, waving their hands in front of their faces. "Earth calling Terry and Morgan."

"Oh," the honey-blonde and her friend replied groggily.

"How about we cruise town? It's getting cold sitting out here," Haley said.

"Inspired idea," Terry replied.

The light was red near the Taco Bell. Haley's truck came to a stop in the right hand lane. "Good thing we left. It looks pretty ugly out here right now, people all over the place in their wolf packs," Morgan commented.

Suddenly, the glass shattered on Haley's side and a rock landed in Minerva's lap. "What the----" Minerva said, startled, looking over at Haley, who had a lapful of glass and blood running down her face. "Haley, pull over."

In the parking lot across from Taco Bell, they stopped.

"What the heck happened?" asked Terry.

"Ditto here," Morgan added.

"Someone threw a rock at the truck," Minerva explained, turning on the light. "Haley, look at me."

A blood streaked face peered at her, but Haley didn't complain. A small crowd of girls walked over. The sunstreaked brown haired girl knocked on the door. "Everything okay?" she asked, concerned. She had seen the whole thing.

"No, she better go to the hospital, Taryn. She's pretty gashed up," Morgan responded.

Taryn, the basketball player? Oh no, I need to stop getting crushes on unavailable girls, Haley thought to herself.

She staggered out of the truck, nearly collasping from shock. She felt the basketball player's arms go around to steady her. Haley felt a jolt of electricity pass through, and she jumped.

"Am I hurting you?" Taryn asked, concerned when Haley jumped.

"No," Haley said, shuffling over and collasping on the sidewalk.

"I'm going into McDonalds," Minerva said, pointing to the building on the other side of the parking lot, "and go call for an ambulance."

"No, no, I'm alright," Haley insisted.

"The hell you are," Terry said. "This is not the time to act all macho, got that?"

A tan Toyota Camry drove alongside. "Here, I'll drive her," one of Taryn's friends said.

"I'll come along," Minerva said, giving Haley a hand to help her get up. Haley grabbed her hand and tried to pull herself up, but her legs went out from under her.

"Shit," the shy butch cursed under her breath.

"Here," Minerva said, tucking one arm under her knees and the other under her arm and lifting her up effortlessly, carrying her to the car, everyone staring at her in awe of her strength. Taryn ran ahead and opened the car door, and Minerva sat her down on the seat, closing the door and hopping in the back.

"May I follow you in the truck?" Taryn asked.

"Sure," Haley said, limbs tingling from the blood flowing back into the extremities.

Haley came out of the office, cleaned up and with a few small stitches. "Good as new," she told her four new friends.

Terry walked over and put an arm around Haley. "You had us scared there for a while."

Terry invited Minerva over to her house for the night. She dropped Minerva off at her own house to get a few things, such as a change of clothes, pajamas, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, and other necessities.

"Mija," Dolores said. "Como fue el juego?"

"Nosotros ganamos."

Dolores continued to darn the torn socks without looking up. "Ay, nadie piensan que Rockwell habia ganado."

"Mama, me permita ir a la casa de Terry?" Minerva crossed her fingers. Please let me go to Terry's house.

"Sí," she said. "Seas buena!" she called out the door to Minerva, who hopped in the sedan.

"I'm exhausted," Terry said, collasping on her bed. "That was a long day."

"I'm pretty tired too." Minerva sat down beside her. "I can't believe someone would be mean enough to throw a rock at us. That's plain messed."

Terry yawned, then shut her mouth again. "Oh my," she said, lying down on the bed with one arm propping her head up. "I'm so tired I'm not even going to bother with a shower tonight." She shut her eyes, and felt herself going into dreamland. Better wake up. Forcing herself to open her eyes, she changed into her pajamas and laid back down on the bed, scooting behind Minerva who was still sitting up.

"Well?" Terry asked.

Blue eyes focused on her. "What?" Terry sat up and tugged her down, wrapping her arms around her bigger companion's waist. "Night, Minerva."

"Night, bardling."

"Why did you call me that?"

"Just felt like it." Silence, as both girls immediately dropped off to a dreamless sleep.

A scratchy, evil voice purred into Terry's ear, "I may be an old woman this time, but I'm still Alti, the sorceress."

"Alti. Never heard of her."

"That descendant of Xena's going to be the death of you yet. She's perverted you with her godless homosexual ways, led you astray, cast you into the fire. Is that what you aspire to in life?"

Time to throw you off balance, Mrs. Guthrie--'cuse me, Alti. "You're just jealous."

The woman turned around, and the old woman transformed into a younger, more wicked looking woman. "Jealous?" She began to laugh, it sounded more like cackling. "Someone here has some awfully weak flesh to let herself aspire to such low means."

Alti circled her prey, and Terry trembled. "Remember the vision at Mrs. Guthries' house?"

"Yes, I..."

Alti grabbed Terry by the throat. "That was Gabrielle's fate. And yours is not a pretty picture, either."

Hooded men in white robes circled around, a burning cross illuminating their demonic activity. She felt the raw threads of a rope around her neck. Turning her head, she saw Minerva with a noose around her neck too. The bucket she was standing on was beginning to crack under her body weight. Minerva turned her head, her entire right side of her face littered with bruises.

"That's your fate, little one. Unless you repent now, you will die like a dirty dog too."

Minerva felt sobs coming from behind, awakening her. Terry's crying. Better see what's up. Rolling over, she wrapped her arm around her lover. "Everything okay, Terry?"

Teary green eyes fluttered open. "Bad dream," she said, then crying all over again when she saw the blue of Minerva's eyes.

"Want to talk about it?" Minerva quietly asked, tracing gentle circles on her companion's back. The sobbing quieted down a little bit.

"I had this dream that this weird woman named Alti told me my future," Terry said, clutching to her best friend for dear life.

"Go on," Minerva gently urged.

"And she showed me a picture of us both about to get hanged by the KKK," Terry cried, burrowing her head on her companion's chest. Minerva kissed Terry on the forehead and simply held her.

Chapter VII

Monday morning, the gods' curse to the human world. Terry was still shaken up very badly over the dream, even though it had occurred just over twenty-four hours previous. It felt so....real.

Haley managed to pick her out of the huge crowd, and came over.

"Iw, it's The Dyke," one of Brandy's friends spat at her. Haley ignored her. Everyone called her that because of her haircut and non-slutty attire.

Thankfully Brandy was no longer there. "Don't get too comfortable," Minerva had warned. "She'll find a way back to raise hell at this school."

"Good morning," Terry said to Haley.

"Terry, you're a magnet for all the lesbos at this school," another one of Brandy's friends insulted. "You must be one yourself."

"Homosexual trash," yet another one of Brandy's friends hissed.

"Hey guys," Morgan said, striding over to where Haley and Terry were sitting. "Let's go."

"Go where?" asked Haley.

"Just follow," Morgan said. When they were a considerable distance from the gossiping young biddies, Morgan said, "We meet Minerva at the bus stop. Sorry you had to listen to all that crap. I had no idea they were going to pull that."

Minerva got off the bus, her sportsbag slung over her shoulder. "Good morning, gals," she told her friends.

"Mornin'," said Terry.

Greg Collins caught up to them. "Where you ladies in a rush to?"

"From the vipers in the campus center," Morgan sighed. "You think they find something better to talk about than hurtling insults at Terry and Haley," she said, annoyed with them. "Obviously I was wrong to presume they weren't so shallow."

"Who's Haley?" asked Greg innocently, then seeing the unfamiliar face. "Oh, you must be Haley."

Haley extended a hand, and shook Greg's. "Nice to meet you."

Another girl in the club? The more the merrier. "Nice to meet you, madame," he said, bowing.

"Oh, ignore him. He's just a big flirt," Morgan said offhandedly.

"You're telling her to refuse my charms?" Greg said with mock indignation. "Or are you wanting to reserve them all for yourself?" Morgan blushed.

"Whoa, Morgan, you're getting flushed in the face," Minerva noted cooly.

"Morgan loves Greg, Morgan loves Greg," Terry chimed.

"Oh hush," Morgan said, hiding her head in her hands. Terry put an arm around her buddy.

"I'm just teasing." Morgan unburied her face from her hands, her face the shade of a weightlifter straining to finish the benchpress.

The second bus from Wilton dropped Maria, Raquel, and Mirabel off. "Here come the class clowns," Minerva sighed.

"Howdy all," Maria said. "Greg must be going crazy being surrounded with all these girls," she teased.

"Just doesn't know what do with all this estrogen," Raquel added, egging on Maria.

"Must be so hard to choose just one lovely dame to date," Maria taunted playfully.

Greg watched Minerva's friends tease him mercilessly. They were certainly a lively bunch. No wonder Morgan didn't hang around the crowd from Gaston JS up in the mountains. These girls were much more fun. "Well, the Mormon church let husbands have multiple wives," Greg said, getting elbowed in the ribs by Morgan.

"They'd be real cute together," Maria told Minerva.

"Terry agrees," Minerva answered back.

"What are the Three Fates saying now?" Morgan asked, suspicious.

"Nothing," they said at the same time.

Soccer practice was grueling like usual, plus they had to run an extra mile because some of the girls came to practice late.

"I'm exhausted," Terry said to Minerva, walking over to her mother's car, agreeing to carpool with Minerva.

"We got a letter from my dad yesterday," Minerva said. "Dad's supposed to be back within three weeks."

"Where is he?"

"After the horrendous orange tree freeze this past winter, he's been wandering around the Valley trying to find odd jobs."

"That must have been hard on your mother."

"Very hard. They love each other dearly. Mom was crying when he left."

They cut through the halls, chattering away, unaware of what lied around the next corner....

"Say, want to come over to my house? We're having pizza tonight," Terry offered.

"Count me in," Minerva replied, passing a hallway perpendicular to the hall they were walking down. "You know I can't resist pizza."

"And we're having breadsticks with that, too," Terry added. "Fresh from the...."

Two pairs of gloved hands reached out and grabbed them, muffling their cries. "Time to prepare for your eternity of burning in Hell, ye godless homosexual trash...."

Chapter VIII

Terry woke up to darkness and the smelly of a musty basement. She could feel the damp cold of the concrete soak through her torn clothes. Her throat was parched, each move of her head reverberating her brain like jello. "Minerva?" she hoarsely whispered.

"What?" another voice rasped. Terry crawled, over there, and found a warm body. "Minerva?"

"Yeah?" the voice rasped again. "Terry?"

"Right here," the honey blonde said, laying beside her love and stroking a few wisps of hair she could only feel in the dark.

"I feel like crap," Minerva groaned softly.

"Where does it hurt?"

"My ribs," she croaked.

"Shh, take it easy," Terry said, wrapping her other arm around Minerva and pulling her into her lap. "Don't talk."

Minerva shut her eyes, and let her head rest on Terry's chest. Both sides of her ribs hurt, her knee throbbed, and she could not remember how it happened. All she knew was they were both trapped in a dark, smelly basement in the middle of who knows where.

Light filtered through the opening door, and a gruff farmer with a bushy mustache came in. "Up, you two whores. Now!" he threatened, a whip in his hand.

Terry got up and tried to help Minerva up when he growled, "She can get up on her own."

"Her knee----"

"Agents of satan have amazing powers, you know," he gruffly rebutted. "That's why the witch trials were such a failure." He shook his whip at Minerva. "Now up, you devil spawn!"

Minerva grimaced and tried to brace herself as she stood up; however, the knee would not hold up, and she collasped back down on the ground. "Get up, you fucking whore!" he growled, getting ready to strike her. Terry ran over and pulled her up quickly.

"I told you not to interfere!" the man growled, unfurling his whip and smacking Terry with it. "You listen to me when I tell you something, insolent child!"

Minerva's eyes were filled with fury. She tried to take a step, but her knee gave out and Terry was by her side to keep her from falling. The whip was unfurled and this time struck Terry across the face. He walked over and grabbed Terry roughly by the arm, and waved his whip at Minerva with the other to make it clear she better not get in the way.

Minerva grabbed the man before he could whip her, and threw him to the ground. "You son of a bitch, you don't touch her. Got that?"

Another man walked through the doorway, with a club in his hand. Seeing his friend thrown to the ground, he rushed over and slammed his club into Minerva's ribs, sending her sprawling to the ground. Terry tried to run over to stop the beating, but the first man got up and hauled her out of there.

"Minerva!" she cried as the first man dragged her out of the basement.

Minerva laid there, pain shooting through, she could hardly breathe. "Now get up," the man growled. She tried, but couldn't get up, her knees sinking back to the ground. "Good for nothing piece of shit. I said 'GET UP!!'" he yelled at her, swinging his club over her back, shattering shattered ribs. Minerva collasped, unconscious.

"Damn. The torture will have to resume when she wakes up."

Terry didn't know there was such a thing as a Klanswoman. Wasn't that an oxymoron?

"You have been dragged into unnatural ways by that girl," she said. "It is time we get you out before it is too late." She sat Terry down in the chair. "Homosexuals don't go to Heaven. They prey on children, watch porn, and like to have a lot of sex partners. Is this the lifestyle you want to live?"

"Gays have life partners," Terry countered.

"Oh, honey, you've been brainwashed. You see, homosexuality is a disease. They aren't completely with it upstairs. So 'life partner' is at best a silly label to convince Congress to legalize their filthy ways." She fixed a mug of hot chocolate for Terry. "We see hope for you. We're going to help you overcome this, undo all the damage."

"What about Minerva?"

"It's too late for her," the woman replied. "The seeds of satan have sprouted roots within. Death is the only way to rid her of the problem."

Terry sat there, staring at her mug. I'm not going to leave you this time, Minerva. Even if it means I die too. She wrapped her cold hands around her mug. Why does everyone hate us? Hopefully someone will find our corpses and report the atrocities so our deaths are not in vain. She remembered the time when Morgan showed her a homepage featuring Matthew Shepard's head in flames 1 She was sure Morgan felt badly for showing her that now, but hindsight is always 20/20. Would her head be next to bounce in the flames graphic? That was not a pleasant thought. I love you Minerva. Forever.

It had not been a fun night for Haley. She had seen the whole incident, reported it to the police, and spent hours with paperwork, not that it bothered her as much as the fact two sickos abducted her newly found friends. How could they?

Morgan had come over straight from basketball practice when she saw a slew of patrol cars come in, lights flashing and all. What the hell happened? She walked over, and saw Haley standing there, surrounded by police officers, crying and shaking. Oh no, this does not look good.

When the police were finished interrogating Haley, Morgan walked over and gave her a big hug, she needed to know someone was behind her.

"They took them away," Haley sobbed. "Grabbed both of them and dragged them away."

"Shh," Morgan said, tightening her grip around her badly shaken friend. O my God, they've taken Terry and Minerva! Dear God, please let them be safe. I pray for your mercy.

Haley rested her chin on Morgan's head. Hmm, perfect fit. She shut her eyes and let her fears pour down her face, a cleansing shower before one has to prepare themselves for the worse. "Why do I have to lose them just when I've gotten to know them?" she cried.

Morgan looked up, tears in her eyes too. "That's what I'd like to know. Why they took away my best friend and her dark and beautiful shadow too."

They stood there, embraced. Haley was usually not one for hugs, but she needed the reassurance at the moment. She felt another pair of arms circle her, from the back, and another head rest on her back, between her shoulderblades. "It's going to be okay," she whispered into Haley's ear.

Taryn. Well, bless her little heart.

It was a long, boring, and corrosive morning, Terry decided. The Klanswomen, Mrs. Sutherly, had showed her Christian videos condemning the gay lifestyle, and the tragic, terrible fates of famous homosexuals in history. She didn't really bother listening; she loved Minerva regardless, and speaking of Minerva, gods know what was happening to her now.

"Morris, she's coming around," a gruff masculine voice growled.

"Time for the fun to start," a higher pitched, more sophisticated male voice chuckled. "Ready, Garrick?"

Minerva stirred, opening her eyes to try to figure out where she was. She recalled little from earlier; just a blur of excruiciating pain.

"Get up, bitch," Garrick said, grabbing her by the shirt collar and dragging her up. "Now walk. Now!"

She shuffled one foot in front of the other, in a haze. "Faster!" the gruff voice of Garrick growled. When she didn't move fast enough, he grabbed his whip and smacked her in the pits of her knees, bringing her to her knees.

"Get up," Morris said, billy club in hand. "Move your filthy ass, harlot." Minerva tried to get up, struggling to stand. If I don't get up I'm going to get more bones broken. GET UP! she screamed to herself, biting down on her lip until the blood ran as bolts of pain shot up her leg from her knee. "Now move along, no moseyin' around. Got that?"

She bit the insides of her cheeks too, trying to drown out the pain in her knee. They escorted her out of the basement, up stairs that proved to be even worse for the sore knee, and shoved out the door. She jerked one knee to keep from tumbling over; unfortunately, it was her bad knee and she gasped.

"Shut up, wuss," Garrick spat in her face, his smelly stale cigarette and garlic breath exhaled in her face.

She noted it was late afternoon; what day of the week it was she didn't know, or particularly care to know, since it didn't really matter right now. She was in the hands of sick men who were probably conjuring some perverse plot of how to torture her in her last hours on this earth. I hope nothing bad's happened to Terry, she thought to herself.

Through foxtail infested fields and past sad like oak trees, she walked as a prisoner: one misstep meant a brutal beating. She fell twice; Garrick pointed to a lone tree across a field and said, "There."

She had twisted her ankle a while back in a ground squirrel hole, almost got bitten by a startled rattlesnake, and slapped in the head with a few wayward branches. They came closer to the tree, and then to the base of the tree. They tied her hands behind her back, and Morris whacked her in the leg, bringing her to her knees.

"Your kind is an abomination, a freak to nature," Garrick growled. "God's nation will not tolerate filthy harlots like you. You were never welcome here. Your parents are illegals. You should have stayed in Mexico with all the other subhuman species. I guess we'll have to teach her the hard way, aren't we, Morris?"

"Yeah," he said, slapping her in the face repeatedly, both cheeks stinging equally, a harder slap and she could taste blood in her mouth. When he got bored with doing that, he stopped.

"What a pity such a beautiful woman has to be gay," Garrick said, ripping her shirt open and running his finger on her breastbone. It took all she had not shudder. This is a game to him. Don't give him the satisfaction of my fear at this minute. "What a pity she has to be Mexican, too. She looks like she could pass off for being white."

How dare you desecrate my Mexican heritage! I'm damn proud of that, thank you! At least I don't come from a line of pompous, pasty white bastard English asses! She swallowed her rage; she could not afford to lose it now. I come from a proud warrior line, from the Black Knight of Thrace, Juanita de Gonzales, the woman who settle sail to the Americas and started the American branch in the mid 1700s, and Florentia "Black Wolf" Mendez, who fought bravely to keep our stake in Alta California. I'm quite sure all you come from a cowardly line of unsophisticated rednecks, perhaps even originating from common English criminals.

"Garrick, you better not touch her. We'd have to execute you for defiling yourself with a dog here."

Garrick turned around, his bushy mustache animated as he said, "Damn!" he cursed. He was wishing he could have one taste of the tempting, forbidden fruit, but Morris had managed to convince him it was sinful to eat of it.

Mrs. Sutherly was getting very agitated. Her ward was not converting, had no intention of even trying to convert to heterosexuality. If the disease ws curable, there would have been some sort of progress by now. But not a hint of progress had been achieved. Terry wasn't her first ward; usually she was able to 'cure' every other misguided teen that came her way. I must have presumed her to be more innocent than she actually was. She has developed a full blown case of satanic roots. She must die. Nothing else can be done. She approached Terry from behind with the skillet, then swung it over her head and hit Terry, knocking her out. "Time to eradicate God's kingdom of two more filthy worms."

Night had began to settle when Mrs. Sutherly's battered Chevrolet pulled up to the live oak beside Garrick and Morris. A third man was there; for all the world it looked like the Reverend Huntley.

"I have come to witness the defeat of two of satan's soldiers this holy night," Huntley said. "Proceed as you wish."

Chapter IX

The Klansmen circled the tree, a wooden cross doused with gasoline and set on fire to illuminate the battered faces of their next two sacrifices. Donned in white robes, Huntley with a red, gold, and purple sash around his shoulders, they chanted various slurs at Terry and Minerva.

They were lead to a bucket and instructed to stand on top of it. When Minerva refused, Morris took his billyclub and began to beat her, smacking her on the knees, arms, and abdomen. She sunk further into the ground, praying the torment would end soon. After long minutes, Morris stood back and admired his handiwork, his beautiful victim marred, bruised, and bleeding.

She felt a heavy weight settle on the back of her neck, and the stray, rough, scratchy stands of rope tickled her throat. She glanced over and saw the same happening to Terry. Garrick yelled in her face, making her turn her head straight. "You're going to die for corrupting that girl, you motherfucker!" he screamed in Minerva's face. "And she's going to have to die because she is beyond redemption. All because of you and your evil kind!" Then Garrick turned around, stomping around. He loved these executions, just like the good old days.

Terry felt the raw threads of rope around her neck. Craning her head to look at Minerva one last time, she shuddered to see the noose of death around her love's neck too. It was just like the dream....

Minerva turned her beautiful head around, her entire right side of her face bruised and swollen. A gleam came to her eyes when she saw Terry, and Terry smiled back. Minerva mouthed, "I love you. Through light and dark, you are my light, my reason for living....and worth dying for."

Terry began to cry. "I love you too, even though I have not been the nicest person you've known...."

Garrick caught Terry talking, and swung his club all the way around, bashing Terry's ribs, and she screamed. He brought the club up and stopped right before her chin. "One more peep and I'm going to dislocate your head from your neck." He gave an unfriendly shove up just to make clear how painful it would be.

Minerva could hear the bucket crack under her weight. It's over. Soon I shall be free. She shut her eyes, meditating on the thought.

Terry's knees were shaking. How can Minerva be so calm?

Huntley came forward. "There comes a time when God demands a service. Leviticus 19:23 requires us to execute the homosexual dog. This Tuesday night, it is time to do our Christian duty, soldiers of Christ, and do the right thing. Ready?" he asked the man who had a rope attacked to each bucket.

"Ready, sir."

"God is waiting." Huntley shut his bible, and put it over his heart with his right hand. "Prepare to burn in the fire built for satan and his demonic spawn. Ruddick, now!"

The man yanked the buckets out from under them, and they both felt the noose close around their throats, choking them. Their world faded to white, away from the world.

Suddenly, an avalanche of cop cars surrounded the field, machine guns and tear gas canisters were shot into the scene to stop the Klansmen from proceeding. SWAT team members ran in.

"You're too late," Huntley said. "We executed them." All the other Klansmen were gasping for air, sprawled on the ground choking, making it easy for the SWAT team to arrest.

"Hands up in the air, NOW!" a cop shouted at Huntley. How can he withstand this nasty stuff?

"God, one, satan, nothing." Then Huntley snapped his fingers, and disappeared into space.

"What the....omigosh, he just vanished into thin air!" the cop told his coworker.

"I saw," the other officer said. A definite X-files. He ran over to the victims and freed them from their bonds.

"Hartley, get ambulance here NOW!" the cop shouted, his coworker giving CPR to the other girl. "One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five, BREATHE!" He blew breath into Terry's battered lungs. "One thousand one...." he continued his mantra. God, don't let them die. They are still children.

The golden tan grains of sand contrasted against the clear blue sky and wispy cirrus cloud in the distance. A garden sat on top of the dune; Terry turned around to see what else was in this magickal land.

Down further on the slope, she saw Minerva walked towards, and felt a tear come to her eye. She ran down the sand dune, crying, "Minerva!"

The dark haired girl looked up. "Terry?" she gasped. "Terry!" She raced up the sand dune, and they met halfway, Terry jumping into her companion's arms, knocking Minerva backwards in the soft sand.

Both girls sat there, arms and legs tangled together, close, crying. Their earthly torture was over. Terry lifted Minerva's chin up and tilted her head to the left.

"Your bruise is gone."

"How are your ribs?" asked Minerva.

"They don't hurt."

"Terry, we're dead."

The honey-blonde looked at her friend. "So where are we?" she asked. "This is not Hell, I know that. There's a garden up ahead, and it's pretty pleasant out here."

"We're in offwhite robes," Minerva said, getting up and brushing the sand off. Terry looked down at herself, and smiled.

"Let's go see what's here."

It was about a ten minute walk to the garden oasis, a pleasant walk. At the top of the dune Terry turned around, to see the tide of the ocean crash against the beach.

"Wow," she said. "This land is so beautiful."

"Let's go see what's in the garden," Minerva said impatiently. Meandering past trees, they came to a fountain. Terry scooped her hands and drank of the fountain, her companion doing the same. Continuing on their path, she saw a lion teaching a lamb how to stand on its hind legs and beg. Terry smiled.

"How cute," she said, pointing to the scene. They continued on their journey, turning the bend, when they saw a man sitting on a bench, crying.

"What's wrong?" Terry asked the man. He looked up; he was about thirty, with a Semitic face and dark brown locks with a splash of red that his ancestors were noted for in Hebrew mythology.

The man looked at them. "Why do they hurt the Father? Why do they kill in my name? Why do they insist on killing people who have done no wrong?" He wiped his tears. "These things must pass. It will only get worse before it gets better. Hate will take you nowhere. Love will take you to places you never thought were possible."

"Go, my children. The world needs to know the Truth. Anyone who tells you to hate is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Do not let them deter you. They will slander my holy name. Stay strong, little ones. The world needs you to show them the light of unconditional love."

"But we're dead."

"Momentarily," the wise young man said. "Look," he said, walking over to the fountain. SWAT team members were administering CPR to their lifeless bodies. "Go forth. And do not look back!" Then the man mysteriously disappeared, the dreamscape disappeared, and they were back in the darkness.

"Hartley, it's not working," the cop said.

"Once more." He did his last set of chest compressions when Terry bolted up, gagging on a clot of blood in her lungs.

"She's breathing!" the fireman told the cop.

"Other victim is breathing too," the other cop said.

Red, blue, and headlights illuminated the haunted backcountry, where two lives were lost and found.

Chapter X

Terry's eyelids were too heavy to open, but she could her the beep of the heart monitor in her room. A mask was placed over her nose and mouth, cathodes attached to her brain and body, and a tube was stuck in her nose. Struggling to open her eyes, she finally suceeded.

The fluourescent lights were too bright in the hospital room. She turned her head, careful not to disturb the IV line, stomach tube, or oxygen mask, and saw her love in the next hospital bed, hooked up to an assortment of machines, her normally tanned skin looking palid and dark circles around her eyes.

She turned her head back, shut her eyes, and let her exhausted body rest. After a while, she felt warm lips on her forehead, eyelids sputtering up. She smiled when she Morgan there.

"Feel any better?" her friend asked. Terry nodded, shutting her eyes.

"Poor thing. They really got you doped up there."

Terry pointed to Minerva.

"Hasn't woken up?" Terry shook her head. "You both just got out of surgery. Give it some time."

Terry gave her a thankful smile, unable to talk through the oxygen mask. Morgan held her hand. "Stay strong, bud."

Two weeks passed since their abduction. Minerva was very frustrated to have to hobble around in a knee brace with crutches, griping about them at every opportunity, which got on Terry's nerves very fast. But at least her love was alive.

Getting down the bus stairs were treacherous in the morning. The steps were steep, and there was no room to carry the crutches. She finally made it down the stairs, and walked on towards the campus center.

"Hey, there, Minerva," Haley greeted, Terry trailing right behind.

"That woman walks a million miles a minute!" Terry gasped, panting. "You tall girls with your long legs are lethal to us short people."

Minerva chuckled. "At least you won't have to worry about me outwalking you any time soon, will we, my bard?"

"Bard?" asked Haley and Morgan simultaneously.

"Er, one of Minerva's pet names for me," Terry griped.

"Oh, the Gabrielle thing," Morgan said. "Duh."

"Gabrielle thing? What are you guys talking about?" asked Haley.

Greg joined up with the gang. "Yeah, you better explain that Xena thing, guys. After all, she did possess you to stop that hellcat Brandy."

"Don't remember," Minerva grumbled. "I woke up the next morning feeling sore all over."

"Okay," Morgan said. "Us three---" she pointed to herself, Minerva, and Terry, "---went to the Lowell library looking up the Xena Scrolls when Terry and I had weird dreams about being Amazons."

"Dreams about Amazons?" Greg asked. "Ooo."

"Don't get any silly ideas about half naked warrior women running around a campfire in grass skirts," Morgan growled.

"Ooo ooo!!!" Greg said, getting elbowed lightly in the ribs.

"Stop it!" Morgan said. "On with the tale---"

"Sounds like you're the bard here," Minerva teased. "Go on."

Morgan gave her a dirty look for interrupting. "Minerva was out and about cruising the library when she saw another book by the same two authors and decided to check it out. I came over, and when she pulled the book out, I saw the two authors on the back covers, who just so happened to be dead ringers for Minerva and Terry."

"And you should have seen the bright red lipstick Minerva's look alike wore!" Terry butted in, making Minerva blush.

"Granted I'll never touch that shade in a million years."

Morgan continued. "Of course Little Miz Skeptic there laughed at us when we pointed it out."

Terry decided to take a turn. "I wonder if she still laughs after being possessed by Xena there in the cavern at Brandy's house. It was only fair, since Brandy got possessed by Callisto herself." Haley made a face at the name of Brandy Creighton.

"That bitch on wheels is the descendant of Callisto? No wonder she's so nasty!" Haley spattered, having remembered getting kicked in the shins and shoved around in AYSO when they were little kids. Opposing coaches had nicknamed Brandy as "The Red Card Magnet" for her malicious play. "Ah, isn't Xena Callisto's lover in Greek mythology?"

Minerva grimaced. "It's false," she declared. "It was Xena and Gabrielle."

Morgan put on that "Matchmaker" face, getting groans from Minerva and Terry. "See? Xena and Gabrielle, reunited again! Isn't that cool?"

Minerva and Terry blushed.

"You got a smug look your face, Haley," Terry noted after soccer practice. "Spill it."

"Uh, umm..." Haley warred with herself whether she should tell Terry. "Taryn wanted to go out with me," she finally managed to eek out.

"Taryn the basketball player?"

Haley shook her head, silly grin on her face. "Yep. Taryn, the buff, beautiful basketball player."

"Haley, you're in head over heels, you know that?" Terry noted. "Even the mention of her name brings a twinkle to your eyes."

"I know," she said. "The day of the Rockwell-Henderson football game I accidently glanced at her, she looked back, we were fated."

"Well, good luck, Haley."

"Thanks," the shy butch responded.


That's all, folks. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

1. Yes, there is actually a web page up on the internet with this graphic. I'm not going to reveal the URL because that will put another hit on his counter and inflate his ego, encouraging him to expand his hate ministry further. Bad enough he has his church picket funerals, which did receive national attention.

Started August 6th, 1999

Finished August 9th, 1999

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