DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess and its characters are the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To thedatajunkie[at]gmail.com
SERIES: Part 1 of the Guardian series.
By The Datajunkie
Kiera cursed vividly as explosions continued to erupt around her, relentlessly reducing the warehouse into smoking rubble. She felt the searing heat increase as the fire spread around her and absently wiped the sweat from her forehead as she reloaded her weapon. The power cell slipped home with a familiar click that was almost obscured by the cacophony of sound. She noted that the crate she was hiding behind had begun to burn and then grimaced as she read the warning labels that decorated the container. Jesus! They just had to run into a God Damned fireworks factory. Kiera hadn't even known that there was one in the city.
Gripping her gun in one hand, Kiera pushed off the crate with the other and sprinted across the warehouse. She felt, rather than saw the fugitive break cover to target her and fired almost casually, knowing she would not miss.
The red beam that emerged from her weapon illuminated the surprised on his face a split second before his body collapsed to the floor in a cloud of red dust.
Kiera didn't drop her guard. She had seen two figures fleeing from the ship and she was aware that time was short. Already she could hear the sounds of sirens in the distance. "Shit." She could not be here when they arrived, but then, neither could her prey. "Little bastards. Couldn't have stayed the hell where they're supposed to could they?" Kiera muttered as she ducked a stray roman candle that went spinning past her head. "One God Damned night! That's all I wanted. A little beer. A little football. But noooo." The hairs on her neck prickled and she didn't think she moved. Muscles bunched and she was leaping into the air, flipping up and backwards to land on top of a large crate behind her. She found herself face to face with a Zok. "Fuck."
Four feet tall and completely hairless, the Zok was more commonly known as a Grey. The large black eyes and pale dull skin were distinctive, but that was not what had made Kiera curse. It was the fact that this Zok had been traveling with a Bruer, the creature she had just killed. "What the hell are you doing with a Bruer?"
The Zok declined to answer, as it's thin arms whipped out with lightning speed. Kiera fired as she felt the sharp flare of pain across her stomach. It trilled wildly before it disintegrated, but Kiera was already turning and jumping to the floor below. She ignored the ache in her ribs and raced out the back of the building as the first fire trucks arrived in the front.
She crouched low and kept to the shadows as she moved away from the gathering crowd. At the edge of the river she stopped and looked back at the inferno lighting the sky behind her. Multi colored bursts filled the air and the rainbow off pyrotechnics was reflected off the calm waters of the river. Kiera pushed the left sleeve of her jacket back and tapped the face of her watch in a complicated series. The air shimmered around her and she vanished.
Jordan Howell sighed deeply and let her head fall forward to land on her keyboard with a clattering thud. The computer began to beep at her irritably but that was fine with her as she was quite irritated with it as well. Well that wasn't fair to be honest. It wasn't the machine's fault that she was suffering from a monumental case of writer's block. Jordan relented under the machine's continual complaints and raised her head. The clock on the wall in front of her read a little after nine and she glared at it before standing and moving out onto the deck. The night sky was overcast but she could still see that hulking shadows that were slowly making their way on the river.
The crisp tang of autumn was in the air and she shivered a little as the breeze skimmed over the water before sweeping over her in a cold caress. She briefly considered going in for a sweater but decided against it. As she leaned against the rail and watched the lights across the river in the industrial area, she spotted a flare of light near one of the buildings. The distinctive glow of flames appeared in the large windows of a warehouse, moving like a living thing.
Jordan dashed back into the apartment and grabbed her binoculars from the bookshelf and the cordless phone from the table. She focused on the distant building and inhaled sharply as her fears were confirmed. Fire was spreading rapidly through the building and she dropped her eyes long enough to dial 911 before looking again. Jordan gave her name, reported the fire and then set the phone on the deck rail.
She studied the progress of the fire through the powerful lenses and was wondering why it seemed to be spreading so quickly when the first explosion sounded and she jumped. "Whoa!" The windows shattered outward and the night sky was suddenly filled with a riot of small colorful explosions. It took a second for what she was seeing to register and when it finally did, Jordan laughed. "Fireworks!" She dropped the binoculars and ran back inside to retrieve her camera bag. She assembled the camera with agile fingers and mounted her strongest lens. Checking to make sure there was film, Jordan focused on the burning building again.
She could see the stacks of crates inside now and she snapped a shot off automatically. A shot of the stray fireworks over the water and then she zoomed back in on the building. Jordan blinked hard as something rose into view and her finger trigged automatically even as she told herself that she was not seeing what she thought she was.
Someone was inside the warehouse. Her gasp was cutoff as the person turned and Jordan dimly heard the shutter fire rapidly as the creature slipped from view. "What the-?" She swept the camera back over the building and saw the figure again in another window. Jordan snapped another picture as a light flared and keep clicking until the creature disappeared from view. That had looked like She swung the camera back and jerked as someone else appeared in her range. She was running on automatic now, taking pictures as the scene unfolded between her. A small, pale figure and a taller one that had to be a woman.
Were they shooting a movie?
It was the only thing that made sense but as the small alien disappeared in another flash of red, Jordan reminded herself that those kinds of special effects were usually added later .not filmed on scene. She heard the sirens across the water and glanced at the approaching fire trucks. When she looked back and the woman was gone.
The glow of the chamber was a soft blue and Kiera sighed in contentment as the wounds inflicted by the Grey were slowly erased. She reflected on the events of the night, analyzing what she had done and could find no fault. The threat had been discovered and neutralized within an hour. While it wasn't her best time to date she knew that she would be hard pressed to beat her record of ten minutes.
Argo moved around the room, checking whatever it was that she checked and Kiera studied her companion as she worked. Level with her own six feet, Argo still managed to seem somewhat fragile to Kiera. Nothing could be further from the truth though. She was special.
A chime sounded and a low feminine voice echoed through Kiera's chamber. "Repair cycle complete, Kiera. You may now exit."
The roof of the tube slid down and Kiera stepped from the container and stretched mightily, ignoring her nakedness. "So is there anything else on the table or can I go finish watching the game now? The Cowboys are on the ropes and I want to cheer as they go down."
Argo smiled slightly and shook her head as she held out a thin black robe. "There have been no other reported breaches, Kiera."
Kiera grinned and slipped her arms into garment, belting it tightly. "Great! Well I'm off then."
"Just a moment Kiera."
Cursing silently, Kiera turned to the shifting geometric form that hovered over the holotable. "What is it now Aries?"
The computer chose to ignore the exasperated tone. "You terminated a Bruer and a Zok that were traveling together?"
Kiera knew that that was going to be a problem. "Yes. I don't suppose that those races have mended their fences?" She knew she was wasting her breath with the question but hope sprang eternal.
There was a pause and Aries chuckled. "Four thousand years of war are not easily 'mended' Kiera."
"Crap. Then that leaves us with a question."
Jordan gently washed the picture in the neutralizer and then hung it up to dry with the others. She turned the red light off and switched on the overhead. Twenty-seven pictures hung in rows around the room, blown up to 8x10's.
The fire had worked against her in some of the shots and with her in others. That didn't change the fact that she had no idea what she was looking at. One of the best pictures had been of the woman, right before she disappeared. Jordan studied the face in front of her and felt a strong sense of familiarity. I know her. Dark hair flowed down over broad shoulders and in the fiery lighting; pale eyes became lit with an unholy glow. Jordan took the picture with her as she left the dark room and pinned it to the board over her computer. She settled herself into her chair and turned on her machine.
The pale eyes missed nothing as they swept the room, seeking her prey. They had known the risks when they had crossed her and now they would know the price.
Starbuck's was crowded this morning, but Jordan didn't mind waiting and she stood patiently in line as she indulged in one of her favorite hobbies: People watching. The sharp dressed business types jostled their way through the crowd, impatient to be on their way while the college students that made up the majority of the crowd claimed the few tables as they tanked up on caffeine while pouring over their text books with an almost fanatical zeal. Jordan bit her lip to hide a grin. Ahh, midterms.
Considering that Jordan was one of the causes of their panic, she really shouldn't laugh. Teaching English Lit was something that she enjoyed and it gave her something to do in between writing her own books. With three under her belt now, she had been seriously thinking of giving up her teaching position to write full time. Unfortunately right after that thought she had been struck with writer's block.
She finally reached the counter and was digging into her purse for money when the strap broke, sending the contents flying across the floor. Flushing brightly, Jordan bent to retrieve the collection of pens and other miscellaneous items that had escaped. She was searching for her wallet when it appeared in front of her. Jordan saw the tanned hand gripping it and looked up into the eyes of a hunter.
The world ground to a halt as Jordan found herself face to face with the star of her most recent erotic dreams and she felt her face heat again. Oh God! It's her!
Kiera watched the color rise in the small blonde's face and wondered at its cause. "Got everything?"
"Y-yes. Thank you." Hearing the stammer in her voice, Jordan forced herself to calm down. She smiled shyly and stuck out her hand. "I'm Jordan."
Kiera felt the touch race up her arm and barely managed to keep from exclaiming at the exquisite sensation. "Kiera. Nice to meet you."
Jordan paid for her coffee and tucked the remains of her purse under her arm as she willed her blood pressure to fall to a less alarming level. "Join me?"
Knowing that she shouldn't Kiera nodded and they managed to find a table. They sat down and each took a moment to assess the other. After time, Jordan realized that they couldn't sit here staring at each other all day and spoke. "So what so you do Kiera?"
Kiera shrugged and sipped her latte. "I'm in security. How about you?"
"I teach English at the college and when I can find the time I write a little."
"Really? What kind of stuff do you write?"
"Science fiction/fantasy." Jordan frowned in concern as Kiera choked slightly. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just went down wrong." Kiera cleared her throat and smiled ruefully. "So tell me truthfully. Why the invitation to join you?"
Jordan tapped the side of her cup and stared into the contents before answering. Truth? Or Evasion? She met Kiera's eyes. "Three reasons actually. One, you're gorgeous, Two, my blood is still racing just from shaking your hand." She smiled wickedly at the color that now touched Kiera's cheeks and continued. "And Three I saw you the other night."
Kiera paused, her expression going carefully neutral. "I don't understand."
Jordan leaned forward and spoke softly. "I saw you take out the Grey and that other, fuzzy creature."
Shit! Aries's going to throw a fit! "I think you have me confused with one of your stories."
"I don't think so. It took me awhile to figure out what I actually saw but I think I'm getting a pretty good idea." She reached into her jacket and pulled out a picture, laying it on the table in front of Kiera.
Kiera looked briefly at the picture of herself and grimaced at the demonic gleam in her eyes. "Jesus."
Jordan was quick to reassure her. "Don't worry about it. I'm not saying anything to anybody." She tucked the picture away and waited to see how Kiera was going to react.
Several options had sprung to mind but somehow the idea of terminating Jordan just wasn't clicking for her. Kiera sighed. "So what do you want from me for your silence? Assuming that is, that there's something to be silent about."
Hurt by the assumption, Jordan glared at her. "I don't want anything from you. I was trying to be honest before-." She broke off and gathered her things. "Obviously I was mistaken."
Kiera caught her arm as she stood and pulled her back down into her chair. "Wait. Before what?"
Jordan was mad. The reckless streak that tended to rear its head when she was angry flared and she tossed caution to the wind. "I wanted to be honest so that when our relationship grew there wouldn't be any deceptions between us."
Kiera blinked, nonplussed. "Relationship? I just met you!"
Jordan nodded and stood again. Kiera didn't stop her this time and the small blonde leaned over the table and gripped the back of Kiera's neck. Kiera had an instant to tense and then she felt Jordan' lips against hers. Electrified by the contact, Kiera gasped and Jordan took advantage and deepened the kiss, oblivious to their surroundings.
The sound of clapping finally penetrated and Jordan broke the kiss. "Yes. Our relationship. Oh well. It would have been incredible Kiera. Goodbye." She turned on her heal and left the dark haired woman staring after her blankly.
Jordan dismissed the class and erased the chalkboard before leaving the lecture hall. She wandered aimlessly across the campus, reluctant to go home to her empty apartment. Grabbing a drink from a machine, Jordan strolled across the grounds, her feet shuffling in the fallen leaves. It would be Thanksgiving soon and she wondered if she should even bother to do anything special. What's the point? Why waste time and money just so I can eat leftovers for the next two weeks?
Having decided to celebrate the feast of food with a pizza, Jordan turned and started back to the faculty lot where she had parked her Honda. The lemon yellow Civic stood out among the drab blues, greens and reds around it and she cheered a little just by looking at it. Then she realized that there was someone leaning against it and her steps slowed.
Kiera watched her approach, wondering again what the hell she was doing here. She should have high tailed it out of the area, not go chasing after a woman who had the potential to seriously impair what she was doing. But here she was and there was Jordan. She straightened and waited for the blonde to draw closer before speaking. "Hi."
Jordan eyed her warily. "Hi. What are you doing here?"
Kiera wanted to shrug but found that she was unable to treat this lightly. "I had to see you again."
Harsh laughter made the dark woman wince as Jordan shook her head. "No, I don't think so. You think I'm going to blackmail you or expose you somehow, don't you?" She jabbed the air in Kiera's direction with a finger. "So are you going to kill me?"
Kiera blanched. "No! For God's sake woman! Don't be daft!" Her distress pulled her heritage to the fore and Jordan blinked at the lyrical turn the other woman's voice had taken.
"Then what are you doing here?"
Frustrated and not sure of the answer herself, Kiera stepped close and gripped Jordan's shoulders, pulling the smaller woman against her. "Damned if I know lass." She caught the teacher's lips in a rough kiss as a low moan echoed between them but there was no telling who it had come from.
Jordan felt Kiera's lips soften against hers and sighed as she relaxed into the kiss. The rich smell of leather and cinnamon surrounded her and she could feel her blood begin to heat as the kiss deepened.
Her ears were roaring as Kiera's control began to slip and she didn't realize that she had pushed Jordan up against the car until her leg slipped between her captive's and she felt the heat against her thigh. My God can she kiss!
The sound of someone clearing their voice didn't register at first and when it did Kiera chose to ignore it in favor of gripping Jordan's thighs and pulling her closer.
Jordan was burning up. Every nerve in her body was on fire and she was cheerfully throwing gasoline onto the blaze as her hands slipped under Kiera's shirt to the warm skin underneath.
Kiera heard Aries's voice echoing loudly through her head and flinched. Damned machine. Can't you see I'm busy?
"There's been a breach."
SHIT! Kiera groaned and slowly broke the kiss, every part of her screaming in protest. "Jordan." She trailed kisses across her face and then moved back to look in her eyes. "I have to go."
Jordan blinked as she found herself back on her own, unsteady feet. She slumped against the car and stared at Kiera blankly. "Wha..what?"
Kiera's resolve almost crumbled at the sight of passionate fog that surrounded Jordan. Damn. Damn. Damn! "I have to go."
Jordan shook her head to clear it, but it only made her dizzy. "You're leaving?"
Wincing at the incredulous tone, Kiera nodded. "I'm sorry. Believe me, if it wasn't important then nothing in heaven or hell could move me." She bent and quickly caught her lips again. "Can I call you tonight?"
Jordan nodded absently and watched the tall woman stride away. Well Hell.
Kiera was not happy.
This was made rather apparent to the Kirtlyan that had decided that Cleveland would be a nice obscure spot to harvest food from. As the reinforced hull gave way under the furious human's onslaught, the leader had a split second to regret his choice before Kiera stormed the ship and proceeded to open fire on everything.
Smoke began to fill the small ship and the low grunts of the aliens added to the noise of the ship's systems being destroyed. As Kiera made her way through the cargo hold she began to rant. "I cannot believe this! Dragged across the damn country because you got the ridiculous idea that we're happy meals! Do you have any IDEA what you interrupted?! I was in the arms of a beautiful woman for the first time in five damn years! You have seriously pissed me off!"
Kiera paused long enough hit the release switch on the holding pen and she shooed the five terrified people that the Kirtlyan had captured toward the hole she had made in the hull. "Run! Don't look back and don't stop for anything!"
She waited until they had cleared the bulkhead and then reached into her fanny pack to retrieve a small orb. Glassy blue and glowing faintly, the ball gave off a slight hum. "Okay baby. Sic'em!" The orb rose into the air and shot towards the wall at an astonishing speed. The instant before it made contact, the ball glimmered brightly and passed through the metal.
Kiera grinned evilly and tapped her wrist unit to wide broadcast in Kirtlyan. "Goodbye boys!" She dived through the opening as the seeker reached the engines and detonated.
Aries watched Kiera as she paced restlessly around the command deck. She had been in a foul mood since the Kirtlyan incident and Aries could almost guess what would happen next.
With a frustrated growl, Kiera shoved a chair out of her way and scowled at the hologram. "I need a break."
She shrugged into her jacket and was reaching for the transmat bracelet when Aries spoke. "You are needed here."
Kiera gritted her teeth. "For what? There's no activity and it's not like you can't reach me in an emergency." She muttered softly, "Like there's anywhere I could get away from you."
"Please remain onboard Kiera."
"Damn it! Why? Give me one good reason why I should not be on my way out the door."
"You have more important things to think about than your love life."
Kiera froze at the computer's words. "You silicone bitch." She threw the bracelet at Aries and glared as it passed harmlessly through the light image.
"You know I am right." Aries disliked the need but someone had to remind Kiera of her destiny. "You have a-."
Kiera made a sharp chopping motion with her hand. "Don't you dare say that I have a destiny! What I have is a curse!"
"You were chosen-."
"I was handy! Anybody that dense would have been the 'Chosen'! I was just unlucky enough to be the loser."
Aries sighed mentally. "It was your choice."
"Well I made a mistake!" Kiera clenched her fists as the memories arose in her mind, as sharp and clear as when they were made. She bit back a scream of frustration. "What do you care Aries? This doesn't stop me from being the Guardian. You've never cared about my dalliances before. Why the hell won't you let me go?"
"Because this woman has the power to hurt you. Because I don't want you to suffer again. Like you did with Elizabeth."
Kiera's breath hissed out and she closed her eyes. So long ago.
Lady Elizabeth Montejoy had been visiting America the summer that Kiera had met her and theirs had been a whirlwind romance. The gentle British lady hadn't stood a chance against Kiera's charms and she had left the wealth and position of her family behind to stay with Kiera. She had never really understood what is was that Kiera did but she had been content to live with her lover in their home in Louisiana for over twenty years before things started to change between them.
Memories of that final night pounded against her senses and suddenly Kiera was back in that moment.
"Damn you! You're a devil!"
The vase barely missed Kiera's head and she scowled at Elizabeth in dismay. "What's wrong? What has upset you so?"
Elizabeth laughed wildly and pointed to the gray hairs at her temples. "I am old!" She turned the finger at Kiera in accusation. "Yet here you stand as fresh as the day we met. What are you? A demon?"
Kiera flinched. She had never reveled her true identity to her lover and now she was very much afraid that she had made a grievous error. "No. I am I am immortal."
"Of course you are!" Her tone was scathing. "I gave you my life! I wanted to grow old with you and now you tell me that only I will grow old. Only I will die. While you," She lobbed another pot at Kiera and smiled in satisfaction as it connected, blood spilling across the taller woman's forehead. "You will live and find another whore to fill your bed!"
The warm flow of blood was ignored as Kiera watched the woman she loved spiral into a destructive rage. Furniture was thrown about the room, china smashed, windows broken. Kiera stood silent in the midst of the storm, unsure how to rectify this. Elizabeth finally began to wind down and threw herself onto the divan, sobbing. "Out! Get out!"
That was the last time that Kiera saw her alive. Three days later they fished her body out of Lake Pontchartrain.
Kiera had been numb at first, lost in the guilt and grief that were threatening to consume her. She began to drink and her behavior grew more and more violent until she had become an almost unstoppable force of chaos. Aries and Argo had been unable to comfort her and in the end they could only try and keep her from joining her lover.
Time had been the only cure and after ten years spent looking at the world through the bottom of a glass, Kiera poured her last drink one night and never looked back.
It had been New Year's Eve, 1889.
Kiera shook her head and glared at the computer. "So I'm supposed to spend the rest of my considerable life alone?"
"Would you risk another's life?"
"Damn it Aries! You know I wouldn't." She rolled her head, feeling the tension in her shoulders and neck ease a little but not enough. "But I have to see her again."
Jordan heard the bell and peered through the peephole before reached up to unlock the door. Her hands were trembling slightly and she fumbled with the chain a bit before finally succeeding in releasing the lock. The door swung open and she met Kiera's icy blue eyes. "Hi."
Kiera smiled, warming the ice and making Jordan' heart jump. "Hi back. Can I come in?"
"Absolutely." Come in. Stay. Forever if you like. Jordan wrenched her mind back on course with difficulty. "I, uh, you didn't call."
Kiera nodded sheepishly. "I got held up. It was late by the time I was through and I didn't want to wake you."
Jordan gestured to the couch. "Please sit down. Can I get you something?" Me?
Kiera shook her head and settled onto the long couch. The view caught her attention and she smiled. "Wow. I guess you had front row seats."
"It was a little hard to overlook, especially when the fireworks started going off."
"Ouch. Don't remind me. It wasn't much fun inside, believe me."
Jordan wondered how long they were going to tiptoe around the subject. It was a little like the elephant in the corner that everybody saw but no one was rude enough to mention. She grabbed the bull by the horns. "What are you?"
Ignoring Aries's words of caution in her ear, Kiera patted the space next to her and waited until Jordan was seated before speaking. "That's not something easily explained Jordan."
"A long time ago.."
"In a galaxy far, far away." Jordan bit her lip as Kiera scowled at her teasing.
"Hmph! A long time ago I was not a very nice person, in fact I was pretty evil. I guess you could say I fell in with wrong crowd but in the end it was my choice and I had to take responsibility for my actions. I ran wild for a few years and earned myself a nasty reputation and a price on my head. They say that you reap what you sew, but when the reaper came he barely knew where to start. I had laid a harvest of dark deeds in my wake and then watered it with the blood I spilled." She saw the disbelief in Jordan' eyes. "I'm not joking. I was a monster."
"So one day I found myself sitting in a cell awaiting execution and wondering how I had managed to fall so far. The night before I was to be hanged I had a dream. I was surrounded by a brilliant light and a voice boomed around me I was terrified, but too proud to show it. I was offered a chance at redemption. If I would agree to become a force for good then I would be spared."
She ran a hand through her hair and grimaced. "Always read the fine print when you sell your soul to someone. I woke up in the strangest place I had ever seen and there was a woman standing over me. She had white hair and pale skin, but she looked to be about my age. She said her name was Argo and she would teach me what I needed to know."
"I quickly found out what I had agreed to and was torn between being excited and being terrified. The white light had not been God as I had supposed, but a being from another world." Kiera paused to gauge Jordan' reaction.
Aries sputtered wildly in her ear. "Are you mad?! You can't tell her this! It's forbidden!"
The mistake I made with Elizabeth was in not being honest with her. I refuse to make that mistake again! Now go away!
Jordan smiled reassuringly. "I saw you kill a Grey I kinda figured that this had something to do with aliens."
Kiera laughed and continued her story. "Right. So, now I had become the defender of the planet Earth. A Guardian. Apparently there were a lot of races out in the universe that were somewhat unscrupulous and would love to take advantage of a developing culture. The aliens that had tagged me for the job were hoping that by providing Earth with me, the planet would be able to evolve without too much interference."
"So you what? Stop alien invasions?"
"Yep. That and basically keep the aliens off of this world. Which has not been easy lately with all the damn invitations that these goof-ball scientists are sending out! It was easy for the first couple of centuries but now I'm swamped with work."
Jordan blinked. Centuries? Did she just say centuries? "Um Centuries?"
Kiera shrugged and looked sheepish. "Yeah. Almost three now."
Flabbergasted, Jordan could only stare at the woman seated next to her. Three centuries! She cleared her throat. "So you're creeping up on the big, uh three-oh-oh?"
"Actually I was born in 1699. I became the guardian in 1720. So I've already hit that milestone."
"302? You're three hundred and two years old!"
Kiera shifted uneasily. "Let me guess, you don't like older women?" She deflected the pillow that Jordan tossed her way and waited for a reply.
"I have no problem with older women just means more experience in the bedroom." Jordan slapped a hand over her mouth as she realized what she had just said. "Oh God! Just kill me now!" She buried her face in her hands and didn't see the wicked look cross Kiera's face.
Kiera scooted closer and scooped the smaller woman into her arms, twisting her so that she was lying across her lap.
Jordan' eyes popped open in time to see Kiera's dark head descend to capture her lips. The kiss was tentative at first but Jordan quickly reached up and gripped the back of Kiera's head, holding her close as the kiss intensified. She ran her tongue across the edge of Kiera's mouth, making her growl and then she was moaning as a large hand slid under her shirt and up to cup one perfect breast.
Kiera pulled the silky bra up, out of her way and began to stroke the soft flesh she had uncovered as Jordan trembled in her arms. When she caught the turgid point between her fingers and tugged it slightly Jordan' cried out and arched her back, moving closer to the touch. Kiera lifted Jordan up and moved her into a position straddling her. She whipped the shirt and bra off and bent to take Jordan' breast into her mouth.
Clutching at Kiera's shoulders for support, Jordan threw her head back and her voice rose as the guardian began to show her, in detail, just how much experience she had acquired in three hundred years.
Hours later they shared a pizza for dinner in bed and Kiera tried very hard to finish her story while ignoring the way her shirt looked on the tousled blonde.
"-so there I am, in a long dress, chasing a nine foot Gorsh through a damn corn field." Kiera's animated telling had Jordan in stitches and she gasped for breath as the guardian continued. "I realize that we're getting near town and I know that I have to stop this guy before he gets there because there is just no way to explain something that big. Not to mention the fact that it's bright green and covered with long fur! I start firing at him, but he's a nimble thing despite his bulk and I settle for steering him towards a barn, which he obligingly runs inside. Now what I didn't see was the bunch of humans across the field on the road and what I didn't do was scan that barn for life signs before I went in."
She shook her head ruefully. "Learned my lesson that day. Always gotta scan for the civilians. Anyway, I follow the Gorsh in just as this head pops up over the edge of the hayloft. He spots the Gorsh and damn near swallows his tongue. Then I realize that he's got a musket as he shoots the thing! Now that only pissed the Gorsh off and when it howled the guy in the hayloft fainted."
"I shot the Gorsh and figured the guy would probably think he'd had a nightmare, so I started to leave the barn. Only then I realize that I can hear gunfire a lot of gunfire. I creep out and spot the bunch on the road, who are happily trying to kill each other. Seems like it was a stand off and the sound of the gun in the barn set everybody off!"
Jordan wiped her eyes and tried to get her breath back. "Oh no! It started a fight?"
Kiera shrugged, "It would have happened anyway. It was only a matter of time."
"What year was this?"
Jordan almost dropped her slice of pizza. "But that You mean .Kiera! Do you know what that was?!"
"That's incredible!" She sighed. "You've seen so much!"
"Too much at times." The flat tone of her voice made Jordan shiver.
"I hadn't thought of it like that. You've seen three hundred years of history. Not all of it good. How do you cope with that? Seeing the world evolve?"
Kiera wanted to brush it aside as if it was nothing but it wasn't. "Sometimes I'm not sure that I have coped with it. I just keep doing what I do. My sense of humor has turned rather morbid though."
"Well when you find yourself laughing at the charred body of a Hurhbrt that was caught in mid golf swing then its time to find a new job."
Argo entered the command deck and found Kiera staring blindly at the carpet of stars laid before her. She knew exactly what who she was thinking about. Argo wasn't sure how she felt about Kiera's new love interest but she knew that Aries was worried. Kiera had been so lost after Elizabeth's death, but the depth of emotion that she seemed to feel for Jordan really had Aries nervous. She replayed their earlier discussion in her head.
"This is very bad Argo. She is in love with her."
"She's been in love before Aries. She'll survive."
"Not like this. The bond between them is so strong that even I can sense it at times."
Argo paused. "Then there's nothing we can do."
Aries was quite for a moment. "You could visit Jordan."
Shock held her frozen for a second and then Argo erupted. "No! I can't believe that you would even suggest that!"
Impatience thrummed in Aries's voice. "No, you misunderstand. Just see if you can convince her to stay away from Kiera for the greater good."
"There's a problem with that Aries. I don't think it would be for the greater good."
"No. Listen to me for once. Kiera has given up her life for this calling. She protects the humans at the cost of her own happiness. How much longer do you think she'll be able to keep doing this resenting the humans?"
"Resent the humans? Why?"
Argo's laugh was not pleasant. "They have what she cannot. They waste their lives in the pursuit of foolish gains and they sacrifice love for pride. They don't live long enough to learn the lessons that Kiera has Aries. They waste what they're given and she knows that she wouldn't."
"You make it sound as if she resents them already."
"She does. My job is to watch her. To monitor her well-being and her performance. Kiera's losing it."
Argo wondered how to define what she had been seeing evolve in the last hundred years or so. "She's losing her ability to care."
Kiera glared at the hologramatic representation of Aries and cursed her roundly. "You bloody bitch! You steel hearted, tin platted soda can! You can't do this!"
Aries let the torrent of abuse wash over her waited until Kiera paused for breath before speaking. "There is no choice, Kiera. You will not see her again."
"And how do you plan to stop me?"
"If you will not agree to stay away from her then I will be forced to use extreme measures."
Kiera froze as the machine's implication became clear. Her voice dropped to a deadly range. "You wouldn't."
"Don't try me Kiera. You are the Guardian of Earth. I am here to help you, but also to make sure you stay focused."
Trembling with unspent rage, Kiera clenched her fists and tried to bring herself under control as her heart screamed in denial. She couldn't risk Jordan, but could she live without her? "For the first time in three hundred years you've finally shown your true colors. I'll come to heel but I want to say goodbye to Jordan first."
Aries watched her disappear and asked herself again if she had made the right decision. She was no longer sure.
The light outside Jordan' bedroom widow was growing and Kiera knew that she would have to go soon. She held Jordan tightly and breathed deep, wanting to implant the memory of her scent into her mind for the rest of her life. "I love you, Jordan. More than I had ever thought possible." She pulled back slightly and gently traced the smaller woman's face, committing her to memory.
Something in her voice alerted Jordan that all was not well. "Kiera you're scaring me. What's wrong?"
"I've been ordered to stay away from you. The powers that be have decided that you're too big of a distraction from my work." No way was she telling her what was at stake.
Jordan sputtered, furious. "What?! That's crazy! They can't just run your life like that!"
"Actually they can."
"But I love you " It's not supposed to be like this!
"Oh God baby! I wish there was another way but there isn't." She pressed a kiss to her forehead and tried a reassuring smile. It failed miserably. "It'll be okay Jordan." Kiera pulled a small black box from her jacket pocket on the floor and held it tightly in one hand. "I can erase your memories of me so you won't " She trailed off as a glare bloomed across the other woman's features.
"No! It's bad enough that you're leaving, but now you want to take my memories?!" She shoved Kiera away and climbed out of bed, donning her sleep shirt with angry motions. "They'll be all that I have left of you!"
"I don't want you to hurt, Jordan! I can stop that from happening. You can get on with your life." Kiera was dressing as she spoke and she laid the device on the nightstand as she pulled her boots on.
Jordan scowled at the innocent looking box that was capable of stealing the memories of her beloved. "No. Take your magic machine away. I wouldn't give up one moment of the time we spent together. My memories of you are precious to me."
Kiera could feel the hot splash of tears spilling across her cheeks but could do nothing to stop them. "Jordan I love you."
"And I love you Kiera. I always will." She stepped close and planted a soft kiss against Kiera's lips. "Be safe."
Kiera watched her face shimmer away and found herself back on the command deck of the Aries. She didn't look at Argo as she left the deck and headed for her quarters.
Argo glared at the ship's computer before spinning around and heading for the engine room.
Kiera felt the blast impact her thigh and found herself falling as the momentum carried her over the edge of the roof. She fired as she went down and had the split second satisfaction seeing the Nertoj die before the ground welcomed her into its unforgiving embrace several stories below.
Argo watched the still face of the Guardian as the regeneration tube worked frantically to heal the multitude of wounds. She's trying to kill herself.
"Aries? We need to talk."
"So you're speaking to me now?"
"This can't go on."
"This will pass."
"She's dying!" Argo smacked the wall with her fist, denting the metal.
Aries checked the medical tube. "She will survive these injuries."
"You know damn well what I mean! Kiera's given up. It's finally happened. She no longer cares."
"Better to go through a little pain now then a lot when the human ages and dies."
"You're so wrong. I only hope you realize it before we lose her completely."
Aries watched Kiera stare blindly at the ceiling and sighed. I hate it when Argo is right! But what to do?
She's despondent if she's not with the human and she'll be even more so when the human dies dies. Aries paused as she considered the bond between the human and Kiera. It's strong but is it strong enough? The cost of the cure could be worse than the disease.
Accessing the ship's archives, Aries searched for another approach to the problem.
Jordan watched the colorful fish float across her computer screen, not realizing that she had been sitting there for quite sometime. She couldn't seem to get motivated enough to do anything. It had been two months since Kiera had left and Jordan hadn't slept a full night since. Nightmares of Kiera's world haunted her dreams and she woke up each night screaming her lover's name. Pushing away from the machine, Jordan stood and wandered out onto the small deck.
The remains of the warehouse had finally been torn down and she could see the signs of new construction even without her binoculars. "I miss you."
She laughed bitterly and turned to go back in. Jordan halted abruptly as she spotted the large ball of light floating in her living room. "What the..?"
"Don't be afraid." The orb shifted into a series of geometric shapes as it spoke and Jordan watched the colorful display warily.
"What are you?"
"My name is Aries. I am Kiera's ship."
Jordan gasped and stepped closer. "Is she alright?"
"Physically she is. Emotionally she is grieving for you."
"Why are you here? What do you want?"
"I've come to make you an offer."
"What kind of offer?"
Aries heard the scorn and accepted it as just. She had handled this situation wrong and had wound up hurting Kiera in the process. "You profess to love Kiera . Do you think that your love is strong enough to last?"
"How dare you? You come into my home uninvited and then have the nerve to ask me that?" Jordan was furious and her voice trembled with the effort to keep from screaming at the hologram. "I will love Kiera for eternity! And nothing you do will stop that!"
"Good." Aries accessed the transmat and Jordan felt a brief moment of disorientation before she found herself lying in a small coffin-like tube.
Panicking, she shoved against the clear lid, trying to free herself. A faint hiss reached her ears and she smelled something sweet as the chamber began to fill with a light haze. The last thing she saw before she lost consciousness was a pale, white-haired woman peering at her through the glass.
Kiera tossed the ring across the room and watched it ricochet from wall to wall before it hurtled back in her direction. She held up a hand and caught the razor sharp blade with a casualness that belayed the skill involved. She held the circle over her wrist and mentally sent the command to it to close. Ram.
Shrinking instantly, the weapon now resembled a wide silver bracelet. Argo was so proud of her invention and Kiera had to admit that she loved it. Silent and deadly, it would be a much-welcomed weapon to her arsenal.
She turned her hand palm up and commanded the weapon to open. Chak. The weapon expanded and fell comfortably into her grip. Kiera sent it flying again and then caught it on the rebound. Ram. She continued to practice until the motions felt comfortable and then left the training deck.
Making her way to the infirmary, Kiera spotted Argo at the regen tube. "Hi. You know you really out did yourself with this weapon Argo. I have a new favorite toy."
Argo had spun around at her voice and the look of apprehension of her face made Kiera pause. "What's wrong?"
"I think you should see this." She pointed to the chamber and Kiera moved closer, trying to see through the smoky mist. Her heart rocketed into her throat as she realized who was inside and Kiera gripped the tube with intent.
Aries's voice stopped her from ripping the case open. "If you interfere now she will die."
"What have you done to her?"
"I solved both our problems."
Kiera had the ring in her hand in an instant and she gripped it tightly as she spoke. "What have you done?"
"I am making her like you."
Kiera flinched and the ring fell from nerveless fingers. "What? You " She sagged against the tube and stared at the computer uncomprehending.
Aries's voice was patient and gentle. "I made a mistake Kiera, for that I'm sorry. I was afraid for you and in my haste to protect you I failed to realize that your love for Jordan didn't weaken you, but instead made you stronger."
"I searched the data banks and discovered that there was no reason that the procedure used on you wouldn't work on Jordan." Her tone turned teasing. "I hope you were right about loving her Kiera, because she's going to be around for a very long time."
Sinking to the floor in front of the regen tube, Kiera buried her face in her hands as she wept.
Jordan opened her eyes and found herself staring into a familiar face. "Kiera?"
Kiera swept her up into her arms and out of the chamber, ecstatic to be holding her lover once again.
Still trying to get her bearings, Jordan realized that she was naked a second before she spotted Argo. She blushed and ducked her head into Kiera's neck.
Kiera grinned at Argo. "Argo this is Jordan. Jordan, Argo. She's my chess partner and gizmo provider."
Jordan waved weakly as she felt herself flush. "Hi."
"Welcome aboard, Jordan. Kiera? Why don't you take Jordan and find her something to wear."
"Whoops! I'm sorry love, I wasn't thinking." She carried her out of the infirmary and towards her quarters.
A few moments later Jordan felt herself being lowered onto a soft surface. She looked around and saw that she was now lying on a low, shapeless couch. The room was lit with soft blue light and Jordan wondered if it were ultraviolet as there was a multitude of plants scattered throughout the quarters. She could see a bookshelf lined wall in an adjacent room to her left and what had to be the largest bed she had ever seen in the room to her right. The furniture was formless, inviting and Jordan realized that she felt completely comfortable here.
Kiera had gone to a recessed terminal in the wall and Jordan heard a series of beeps before the dark haired woman turned back to her with a thin emerald robe. "Here. This is a start." She helped her into the garment and then pulled Jordan into her lap.
Kiera buried her face in the short blonde tresses and sighed. She was home.
Jordan was more than happy to stay like this forever but she had some questions. "What happened to me?"
"Didn't Aries explain what she was doing?" Suspicion filled her voice and Kiera wondered if she was going to have to kill a certain ship after all.
"I had no idea what was going on. One minute I'm in my apartment arguing with that machine and the next thing I know I'm in a coffin. I thought I was dying."
Kiera held her tightly, rubbing her back in firm soothing motions. "No, love! That was the regen tube. It repairs wounds."
Jordan frowned in confusion. "Was I hurt?"
"She " Kiera grimaced. "She didn't explain what she was doing to you." What if she doesn't want this? Oh God. "Jordan she made you like me."
Jordan was silent for a moment and then she smiled hesitantly. "Does this mean we can be together?"
Kiera laughed in relief. "Yes! Forever literally!"
A few days later
Jordan glared at the tall warrior and resisted the sudden impulse to stamp her foot. "I think we better get one thing straight Kiera: I am your partner not your sidekick. I want to learn this."
Kiera wasn't happy with this sudden interest in her work but she had to agree that it would be unfair to treat Jordan as someone unable to protect herself, "Okay, okay. Let's head to training deck."
They spent the next weeks training together and Kiera was impressed with Jordan's learning ability. Except for a few minor setbacks (Jordan's painful discovery that not everyone could catch a razor disk had resulted in a trip to the infirmary to have her right hand re-attached) she was becoming very comfortable with her weapons of choice.
Kiera watched her and Argo spar, offering pointers as the battle escalated. The speed of Jordan's staff work was increasing and Argo was beginning to rely more and more on her android strength to keep a firm grip on her own weapon as the spirited blonde forced her back.
Jordan had been uneasy at first around the android, feeling somewhat jealous of Argo and Kiera's obviously close relationship. But she had managed to get past that when she realized just how happy Argo was that Jordan was here now. "Now I have someone else to help me worry about her."
A sharp clang and Argo's staff went spinning across the room. Jordan grinned and wiped the sweat from her forehead as she retracted her own weapon. The gleaming shaft shrank into a small five-inch cylinder and Jordan slid it into the small case on her hip. Lightweight and invisible to metal detectors, the staff had another feature that was only to be used in an actual hunt. Either end of the weapon housed a laser spear tip that could be activated by Jordan' mental command.
Kiera handed her a towel and dropped a pleased kiss on top of the blonde's head. "Excellent love!"
Jordan leaned into Kiera's embrace and peered up at her. "So when do I get to go with you?"
Kiera grew serious as she considered this request. It was the first time that Jordan had asked to go with her and she didn't want to refuse without careful consideration. There were so many dangers on a hunt that part of Kiera would like nothing better than to keep Jordan on the ship where she would be safe, but she knew that her lover would not tolerate that. Kiera brushed the damp strands of hair away from Jordan's forehead and sighed. "I guess you can go on the next level one hunt. Just to observe though, understand?"
Jordan nodded happily, having not really expected Kiera to agree. "You're the boss."
"No, I'm your partner, but you're still a rookie."
Return to Xena and Gabrielle Fiction
Return to Main Page