Disclaimer: Uber Star Trek Voyager, JAG and X-files. No infringement intended since this is an original story. Among other things it is about same gender love between consenting adult women and if that is illegal where you are or offensive to you in any way - please hit your back button! 
Rating: Chapters vary between G - NC-17
Revised May 2, 2001

As always - I owe so much to Pol.

Back to "Finding Shelter From The Storm" - part 5


Finding Shelter From The Storm

© GB

 

Part 6.

When arriving on the scene, Dawn had parked behind what was left of Vincent’s Toyota.

She was returning to the car when she heard the roar of an approaching vehicle.

Raising her head she saw a large van speeding towards their position. Dawn immediately recognised the similarities between it and the vehicle that had tried to force them off highway days earlier. 

Quickly, she turned to Joan to warn her but the brunette had already noticed that van and was running towards her.

Realising Joan was too far away Dawn frantically ran to the car.

Yanking the door open, grateful that the key was still in the ignition, she turned it, slammed the car into gear and pushed the gas. With wheels spewing gravel she manoeuvred the car between Joan and the van.

The van raced towards them.

Joan reached out as Dawn stopped the car. Wrenching the passenger door open, she threw herself inside.

“Go!” she shouted as she slammed the door

Dawn throttled the engine, shifting the car into gear; they skidded onto the road, tires screeching. The rapid motion nearly tossed Joan into the backseat.  Franticly she grabbed hold of the dash.

 Dawn floored the accelerator just as the van hit them from behind, lessening its impact.

“Are you all right?” Dawn shouted over the screaming tires.

“Fine! Just drive!” the brunette yelled back, turning to see their assailants.

 “I’ll worry about these guys. You focus on driving,” said Joan as she pulled her revolver from its’ holster

Dawn concentrated on the road ahead letting their car fly through the curves. The small car was fast but it didn’t have the van’s horsepower.

Suddenly the rear window exploded in a million small beads of glass.

“Joan!” Dawn screamed.

“We’re under fire.”

The next shot took out the rear view mirror.

“Damn it Dawn, keep you head down!”

Dawn ignored her.  If she was going to get them through this she had to keep her eyes on the road.

Tearing through the curves at a murderous speed Dawn fought for control as she felt the rear end fishtail. Desperately, she tried to compensate.

The car spun out of control.

Screeching tires and burning rubber engulfed them as the car revolved several terrifying times careening off the road until it came to a shattering halt against thick brush.

Dawn’s head slammed against the window to her left.  The taste of blood filled her mouth where she had bit her tongue.

Pushing herself up, she squinted through the haze and watched as the van rushed by them before its’ driver applied the brakes.

Dazedly she looked up as Joan flung the door open and grabbed her.

“Dawn, get out! We need to get out of here now,” the brunette said hurriedly. Come on, there is no time! Dawn?”

She leaned into the car and hauled Dawn out.

The redhead tried to remain standing on unsteady legs. She attempted to focus on the van and saw two men jump out as the driver started to back it towards them.

Joan dragged her away from the car. Nausea rose in her throat and she swallowed it down, over and over.

Together they slid through the mud and the wet autumn grass.

Dawn heard footsteps behind them and realised that their chances of outrunning their pursuers were unlikely.

“Joan,” she gasped, still dizzy and slightly disoriented. “Leave me here and go on … I have my gun, I can hold them off.”

“Don’t do this to me,” Joan growled and took a firmer grip of Dawn, one hand strongly around her upper right arm and one arm circling her waist. “We do this together or we don’t do it at all.”

Dawn hung on as the determined brunette dragged her.

The redhead turned her head and saw the two men who were quickly closing in on them.

Suddenly the ground gave way and both the women fell.

Tumbling and sliding they plummeted down a steep precipice. Obstacles in their path bumped and bruised their bodies as they descended at a neck breaking speed.

It seemed to go on forever but eventually Dawn landed with a groan on the bottom of the ravine. She had banged her head again and now her vision was impaired. She tried to focus her eyes to find Joan but all she could make out were some blurred bushes and trees.

“Joan!” she called, her voice a mere whisper since all the blows to her back caved her lungs in. “Joanie …”

She coughed.  That hurt like hell too.

“Joan …”

“Dawn, I’m here,” a breathless but familiar voice said. “Are you all right?”

“I … I can’t see … it’s all a blur,” Dawn answered, loathing the tone of panic in her voice. “Joanie …”

“I’m here, don’t worry,” her partner said soothingly. “You’re pretty banged up, you know. Just rest for a minute, okay? When we’ve caught our breath, we can start moving again.”

Dawn felt Joan pull her to the side.  Slowly she rested her head on Joan’s lap. The brunette’s breathing was as shallow and quick as her own, but she didn’t seem to have hit as many obstacles on the way down.

“Shh … breath in and out slowly,” Joan cautioned and the doctor felt herself being cradled and stroked over her head. She closed her eyes and tried to breath evenly.

When she opened her eyes a minute later, her vision was back and she sighed in relief.

“I’m better now,” she stated and rose from the other woman’s lap. “Let’s go. They can’t be far behind us.”

Dawn gazed at the dishevelled woman in front of her.

There was blood trickling from a small gap in her lips and on the left side of her face was smudged with dirt. She could see several tears in the black trench coat.

Dawn reached out and gently caught the blood with her thumb, removing it.

Joan regarded her carefully then nodded, “I can’t hear them, but they’re probably close by. We better get a move on.”

She rose and extended a hand to Dawn, pulling her up.

The doctor stifled a groan. Her back and head ached and there was something wrong with two of her fingers on her left hand.

“How are you doing?” Dawn asked, determined not to let any signs of her aches and pains show.

“A bit sore, but other than that I’m fine,” Joan reassured her.

They began to walk south keeping a good pace, trying to get as far away from the men as they could.

*****

Joan had clutched Dawn’s right hand in hers.

She could hear the shallow breaths coming in tormented gushes from Dawn.

Joan wanted to stop and let the other woman rest but there were not time for that. They had to move on.

After half an hour the terrain cleared up and they were on a gravel road.

“This will be a little easier for us,” she said encouragingly to Dawn.

The doctor nodded and briefly closed her eyes.

“Good,” she gasped.

Joan regarded her for a second and then she put her arm around the smaller woman’s waist again and as they began to walk again.

 It was getting colder. Even if they had several hours of daylight left, it was safe to assume that the temperature would continue to drop.

For another hour they kept walking along the small road never seeing any traffic or houses.

“I can’t go on,” Dawn suddenly said, turning a pale face towards her partner.

Joan knew that Dawn must be at the end of her rope.

“We can rest,” Joan agreed casually, locating a fallen tree and guided the shivering redhead there.

They both sank down and to Joan’s surprise, Dawn leaned against her, resting her head on Joan’s shoulder. The brunette put an arm around her partner’s narrow shoulders, squeezing them reassuringly.

“Relax a little,” she said, “we need to find shelter and take a look at your bumps and bruises.”

“I’m so dizzy,” Dawn said quietly. “I think I have a concussion.”

Joan put a gentle hand under the other woman’s chin and examined her eyes.

“Pupils are equal in size and reactive to light,” she said allowed the doctor to rest her head again. “We better keep an eye on you though. That was a nasty crash and an even nastier fall. The reason I wasn’t hurt in the car is because I ended up on the floor.”

Dawn nodded.

“I am glad that you’re all right. You might need to go on alone and get help.”

Joan huffed and hugged the weary redhead closer.

“I don’t think so,” she growled. “I’m not leaving you.”

They sat on the log for another ten minutes until the cold became unbearable.

“We need to move on,” Joan said carefully, nudging Dawn who was almost asleep on her shoulder.

“Huh? Oh, yes, you’re right,” the agent replied and stood up on shaky legs.

Then there was the sound of an approaching engine and they both stiffened. Joan squinted in the direction the sound was coming from. To her dismay it was a large, black van speeding towards them.

“Dawn! Run!” Joan shouted and pushed the doctor ahead of her and then grabbed her arm, dragging her into the forest. Dawn groaned in pain but followed her partner in, small branches whipping at her cheeks and getting tangled in her hair as she ran.

Joan glanced over her shoulder but there were nobody there, not yet. She knew they had no chance to outrun them. They had to hide, but where?

When Dawn fell for the third time and rolled over clutching her knee, Joan knew they couldn’t run anymore. Frantically scanning the area she noticed a large spruce tree twenty yard from them. If she could get Dawn and herself under its, hanging branches …  

Fatigued beyond anything she had ever felt, she still managed to lift Dawn up, half carrying and half dragging her to the tree.

Joan shoved the branches aside and pushed the smaller woman inside. Quickly rearranging the branches they way they were before, she then flung herself to the ground, next to Dawn, holding her close, trying to share some warmth.

“We need to stay here and be really quiet,” she explained, noticing the unusual haze in Dawn’s eyes. “Can you stop moaning, Dawnie … please?” she begged, worried sick that the men would find them.

She pulled out her gun, checked the clip inside and then did the same with Dawn’s weapon.

Dawn seemed to get a grip and nodded to her partner, clamping a hand over her trembling lips, stifling the moan of pain that rose from her vocal chords.

“I don’t hear them yet, perhaps they didn’t see us?” Joan though out loud.

Dawn groaned. “I’m guessing they did.”

The words had just left her lips when they heard approaching footsteps.

They aren’t exactly sneaking around, Joan thought.

Cocking her weapon, sliding the safety off, she regarded her partner, more worried about her than anything else.

Dawn met her gaze with something of her usual determination.

“Don’t fire unless it is your last option,” the redhead cautioned in a hoarse whisper.

“I won’t,” Joan answered menacingly, knowing she would defend Dawn at any cost.

The men came closer, searching in a frighteningly methodical way.   Their muted voices and the noise their steps made on the wet ground allowed Joan to follow their movements. She moved stealthily to the right, carefully looking through the branches. A tall, heavily built man stood about ten yards away with his back turned against her. There were two more men to the left and one to the right of him, all of them carrying long sticks to push the undergrowth away with.

“Here!” the man to the left called. “I’ve found something.”

Two of the men walked over to him and studied the ground where Dawn had fallen earlier.

 Joan studied the men as they moved in circles, widening their search parameter little by little.

With a sinking feeling, realising how utterly thorough they were, Joan assumed a steady kneeling position, anticipating that they would have to shoot there way out.

Dawn frantically signalled her partner to wait.

Joan nodded as she grimly observed her targets. 

Silently she brought her left hand to her face pointing two fingers at her eyes.  She then raised three fingers in the air and pointed in the direction where each man stood, silently signalling to her partner the number of assailants and their positions.  

The large man was still standing only ten yards from their position.  The other two had resumed their search on the other side of him.  Suddenly he turned and started to randomly poke through some bushes to the right. This put him out of Joan’s field of fire.  If he decided to approach their position from this angle she would have to shoot to her right and then roll to her left in order to take out the other men who undoubtedly would be firing blindly into their position. 

Motionless she let her narrow eyes follow every movement outside the thick branches as continued to assess the situation. She didn’t dare shift firing positions.   Any noise might give her and Dawn’s position away. The tree offered good concealment but little cover.

Dawn was so quiet beside her; she feared that her partner was unconscious. She didn’t dare take her eyes off the men, but wanted desperately to just glance down at her partner.

Then the man to her right moved within one yard of the spruce, making her clutch the gun tighter before willing herself to relax the grip. Raising it to eye level she held him in her sight, forcing her breaths to become long and even. Resting her right hand in the palm of her left she let the barrel follow the target.

*****

Sunny woke up, glancing at her watch and the luminous hands. She realised that she had only slept for an hour. She felt Laura lying tucked up against her from behind, her armed draped over her, a hand on the blonde’s stomach.

Sunny moved her feet a little, trying to find a more comfortable position and right away the older woman’s hand pressed her back against a firm, compact body.

Possessive, aren’t we, Sunny thought. That’s fine with me.

She let her hand follow Laura’s arm, stroking it gently.

The way the auburn haired woman had touched her last night, caressed her until the trembling magic had reached her every nerve and made her gasp for air had frightened and excited her all at once. Yet, she had trusted Laura to know what to do.

I’m glad that I told her the truth, Sunny mused. I’ll have to tell her why I have withdrawn from this kind of intimacy. She deserves to know.

Laura’s hand moved upwards a bit, ending up just beneath Sunny’s breast, making the blonde shiver. The touch was very light, almost tickling her and she smiled into the darkness.

If you could have seen your face when you touched me before, Sunny mused. How it glowed with tenderness … and I guess, with your own suppressed desire. Your lips became fuller, your eyes glistened and they were the brightest colour of blue. The passion made my eyes close but I really wanted to watch you as your hands and lips moved across my trembling body. I am so sorry that I couldn’t look at you when everything exploded inside me. There was just no way I could make myself do that, I lost control.

Sunny shifted and Laura moved onto the younger woman’s shoulder. Long slender arms embraced the sleeping woman, carefully holding her as to not wake her.

“Laura,” Sunny mouthed soundlessly into the night. “Is that really your name?”

*****

The man came closer and quickly turned his head when one of the other goons, an emaciated blonde man of indefinable age, whistled hard.

“Hey you! Get a move on!”

The large man, now only a couple of inches away from the branches separating him from Joan and her gun, sighed exasperatedly and stomped over to the others.

Joan kept him in her sight.

She quickly stole a glance at Dawn and was sickened to see the redhead shivering in a foetal position. Her eyes were half closed, the whites of her eyes barely visible.

“Hang in there, Dawn,” Joan mouthed to her partner as she forced herself to concentrate on the task at hand.

The men moved away about twenty yards, widening their search. 

Joan silently shifted her weapon to her right hand as she used her left hand to unbutton her trench coat while she watched the three men.  Shrugging out of the coat she threw it over Dawn, making the other woman flinch a little.

It was getting dark.

Darkness would work to their advantage, but it would also make it that much colder and Joan did not think Dawn could tolerate much more.

After thirty minutes the men were out of sight.

The ground was cold and uneven; making Joan’s left knee ache. Dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt she had little to defend herself from the bitter cold temperatures. She had lost all track of time.

Placing the revolver on safe, she holstered it. Quickly she reached for Dawn’s weapon that was lying on the ground next to her and tucked it beneath the band of her jeans.

Careful not to make any noise, she leaned over her partner, touching her forehead.

Dawn was cold but not as cold as she feared. The trench coat had prevented what little warmth the doctor possessed from leaving her too quickly.

“Dawn,” Joan whispered, cautiously covering the pale lips with her hand.

It took a couple of attempts from the increasingly desperate Joan before Dawn’s eyes fluttered open. Misty blue eyes looked questioningly at the brown pair hovering above her.

“Shh … they‘re gone; for now at least. We need to move; they are bound to come back, something tells me they only went to get flashlights. These guys want us dead. They’re adamant about finding us,” Joan whispered and removed the trench coat.

She helped Dawn up, steadying her while the shorter woman regained her bearings.

“How will we find our way without a flashlight?” Dawn mumbled. “It is going to be pitch black soon.”

“There is almost a full moon, so we should be able to see something. We aren’t the ones looking for somebody, we just need to keep going.”

She pulled on her trench coat and then carefully buttoned Dawn’s shorter coat all the way up to her chin.

“Can you manage?” the brunette asked quietly.

Dawn nodded and allowed Joan’s arm to circle her waist for support.

“Let’s go.”

They moved as quickly as they could in the opposite direction than the men had taken.

Finding the abandoned log cabin had been a strike of unforeseen good luck. Dawn regarded the small room she was in. There were an old cast iron stove, a bench along the far wall and a broken chair. It wasn’t much, but it was a roof over their heads and a place to hide.

She glanced over at Joan who was still standing in the door, her narrow eyes searching the terrain outside the cabin.

The moon was casting a ghostlike light over the trees, making the shadows move. More than once during their two-hour walk the brunette had thrown Dawn behind a tree or behind a large rock, thinking she heard or saw something.

Dawn frowned and embraced herself.

There were not much left of Joan’s casual, almost cool, image this evening. When she had woken Dawn up and removed the trench coat there had been something new and indescribable in her brown eyes, something wild.

Dawn sank down on the bench, rubbing her throbbing temple.

Joan closed the door and came over to the bench. Sitting down next to the smaller woman she reached out and gently touched her left temple.

“You have a bruise there. How are you feeling?” the brunette asked quietly.

“Oh, I’ll live,” Dawn mumbled wryly.

“I’m sorry, I pushed you so hard tonight.”

“You did what you had to. What I would have done had the circumstances been reverse,” Dawn said, smiling faintly. “I would love to make a fire in the stove, but we have no way of knowing if they will spot it … or if the chimney will explode. The place looks like it’s been abandoned for years.”

“Oh, you haven’t seen my place, then. It makes this look like the Ritz,” Joan grinned with something of her usual relaxed attitude. “I think the roaches have a field day in my cabinets now that I am gone.”

“You have roaches?” Dawn asked incredulously.

“No. But if I did, they would be in roach heaven.”

That did her in. Despite the headache, her bruised knee, the cold and the hunger, Dawn laughed out loud. Bending over and clutching her side her laughter burst out and made her lose her breath.

“Dawn? Dawn, it wasn’t all that funny? … Hey, stop it …” Joan rolled her eyes but smiled at the teary eyed agent. “You really have no sense of timing, you know.”

“Oh, dear lord … you just sounded so funny …” Dawn wiped her cheeks, unknowingly smudging even more dirt across her pale complexion.

She looked at Joan and was relieved to see the brunette looking a little more like her usual self. “Are you as hungry and thirsty as I am?” she asked quietly.

“Probably worse. Haven’t seen a diet coke all day,” Joan muttered. “I could go without food, no problem, but the coke …” She shrugged.

“I think we passed a well outside,” Dawn thought out loud. “Shall we see if it still has drinkable water?”

“That sounds a bit adventurous, but I guess we’d better. You rest here, I’ll go.”

“No way. I am not letting you go out there alone. Give me my gun, I’ll cover you when you have your head down there.”

Joan complied grudgingly and removed the gun from her jeans.

Dawn took it and the warmth of it made her fingers greedily circle it, knowing it had rested against Joan’s stomach.

The well was as old as the cabin, perhaps even older, but in good shape. The bucket was still attached at the end of a rope and Joan lowered it carefully, grinning at Dawn when it landed with a muted splash.

She pulled it up and cautiously tasted the water, dipping her finger in it.

“I think it’s okay,” she said, “but I don’t know if it’s full of germs or metals or anything. I don’t taste anything funny, though.”

She lifted the bucket and carried inside. Dawn glanced around her and listened into the night but only the normal forest sounds could be heard. Still no sign of the men.

Inside Joan had put the bucket on the bench and Dawn was pleased to see that it wasn’t leaking. She cupped her hand and scooped up some water, drinking it thirstily. After repeating the manoeuvre five more times she leaned back and closed her eyes. Even the headache subsided a little as the cool fluid entered her system.

Joan was gulping down water just as eagerly, being less careful than Dawn and spilling it all over her chin and down her sweatshirt.

The doctor stared at the glistening drops of water that ran down that tanned complexion. There was hardly any light in the cabin, only what the moonbeams streaming in through a very dirty window provided. She could barely make out Joan’s soft features but the water enhanced the lines and the sheer beauty of the face before her made the agent’s heart ache.

“You are beautiful,” she whispered huskily, her voice almost inaudible.

Joan’s eyes widened as she shot Dawn a look.

“What?” she whispered.

“You are beautiful,” Dawn repeated, her eyes caressing the brunettes glistening features.

The doctor extended an unsteady hand and wiped away the drops of water. Joan closed her eyes and leaned into the touch.

“We will get through this,” Dawn said, cupping her partner’s chin in her hand. “We will get through this and I will prove to you just how beautiful you are.”

Joan’s eyes opened and she smiled that soft, shy smile she so seldom gave anyone.

“Is that a promise, Dawn?” she asked gently.

“Yes, it is.”

“I know you always keep you promises.”

“I do.”

“We need to rest,” Joan pointed out, holding Dawn’s hand against her cheek. If you rest first, I’ll take the first shift. Okay?”

Dawn really wanted to take the first shift and let Joan rest, remembering the look of wildness in her eyes, but she was exhausted and fearing she would fall asleep made her nod gratefully.

“Wake me in three hours, all right?” she asked.

Joan dipped her head and scooted to the farthest end of the bench, a place giving her full view out of the dirty window. She patted her lap, indicating for Dawn to lie down.

The doctor hesitated for a couple of seconds and then slowly sank down to rest her head on the brunette’s lap. Feeling suddenly utterly safe and very sleepy, she pulled her coat tighter around her and closed her eyes.

*****

Joan kept her eyes gazing out the window.

She was in a situation where she had to stay focused on the mission a hand but the warmth head resting on her lap moved her in ways she never thought possible.   She knew then that she would do anything to protect this woman.

Nothing moved outside the window and she allowed herself to quickly glance down at the woman sleeping with her head on her lap. With her face buried against the brunette’s stomach and she laid curled up in her coat. The cabin was cold and Joan carefully touched Dawn’s cheek to check her temperature. She was cold but not as much as her partner feared, perhaps because they were huddled so closely together.

She resumed her position and kept her eyes locked on the silent forest outside.

The hours passed and when she began to yawn as she checked her watch and realised that almost four hours had passed. Dawn had slept right through them, not even stirring once. Joan had checked her temperature and breathing several times but as far as she could judge there were no complications.  Dawn was but exhausted sleeping soundly.

“Dawn,” she said and carefully shook the agent’s slender shoulder.

First there was nothing but then the redhead stirred and moaned quietly. Turning her head and blinking up at Joan in a surprised and drowsy manner, she smiled, taking Joan’s breath away.

“Is it my turn now?” Dawn whispered hoarsely. “Or are we in trouble?”

Joan realised that the doctor was joking, knowing that she would have pushed her off her lap and already be at the window with her gun in hand if there was any sign trouble.

Joan watched in astonishment as an impish grin formed on her still not fully awake partner.

“Take your time,” the brunette managed. “Nothing much going on here.”

Except for my heart going berserk, she thought and tried to look casual.

Dawn shook her head a little and sat up. Swinging her feet onto the floor, she grimaced a little and grabbed her knee.

“Is it bad?” Joan asked, motioning for the knee, visible through the tear in Dawn’s trousers.

“No, not especially, but I am sore for being in the same position for … what time is it?”

“Four-fifteen.”

Dawn frowned.

“You were supposed to wake me over an hour ago.”

“I know, but you were sleeping and I thought you needed that more than I did, for now. How is your head? Still got a headache?”

Dawn glared at her but then relented.

“It is better,” she said softly. “The bruise is tender, but the nausea is gone.”

She rose and drank some water from the bucket. Then she went back to the bench and looked down at Joan.

“I wonder if this cabin has an old outhouse or something?” the redhead said, blushing faintly.

“You have to go?” Joan asked. “That has been on my mind for two hours now.”

“Really? Well, should we take a look, since you won’t be able to rest if you’re in this state?” she smiled wryly.

Joan nodded and they stepped outside after checking through the window.

They found a dangerous looking outhouse that had lost half of its roof.

Joan carefully pulled the narrow door opened and gazed inside.

“Hey, we struck gold,” she said, smiling broadly, “it even has some newspaper here … from 1971. I guess we could use that …” Her voice trailed off as Dawn laughingly shook her head and pushed the brunette inside.

“You go first, I’ll keep watch,” she grinned.

Joan was relieved; not only physically but also that Dawn was so casual about it. The stuck up, distant Bureau Bitch was not at all as detached or as posh as everybody thought. In fact she was down to earth and extremely caring and practical, Joan decided and arranged her clothes to go back out.

Dawn waited for her and with a crooked smile she entered the outhouse, pulling the door closed behind her.

“Oh, it’s dark in here,” Joan heard her mutter.

“Trouble finding the zipper?” the brunette teased.  

“Funny. I hope there aren’t any spiders here. I hate spiders.”

“Really? What about snakes?”

“There is a snake in here?” the doctor asked with apparent concern.

“No, I just wondered if you hated them too. Guess you answered my question.”

There were some inaudible mumbling and then the agent came outside, zipping her trousers and buttoning them.

Joan fetched the bucket and they took turns rinsing their hands while the other one poured from it.

Joan reached into her pocket and hauled out a handkerchief. She rinsed it and then carefully cleaned Dawn’s face, mindful of her bruise.

Without a word the redhead let her do it and then she surprised her partner by returning the favour.

Joan closed her eyes, her heart missing a beat as she relished in the gentle touch and shivered at the touch of the cool handkerchief and Dawn’s cold fingertips.

“Let’s go inside,” Dawn decided and pulled at Joan’s arm. “I will let you sleep for two hours and then we will move on. We need to find our way back to a populated area today.”

Joan nodded as she sat down on the bench.

Dawn closed the door and then took the same position her partner had had earlier. She smiled faintly at Joan and patted her lap.

“Lie down, Joan,” she said simply.

The brunette complied, sighing softly as her head ended up on her partner’s thighs. She closed her eyes and inhaled Dawn’s own scent, mixed with the earthy smell of the forest clinging to both their clothes.

Then there was a small, soft hand in her hair. Over and over it stroked her dark brown tresses, all dishevelled from yesterday, soothing her no end. It only took her a couple of minutes to fall asleep.

*****

Laura woke up with her arms full of one delicious blonde.

She regarded the tousled head on her shoulder and then became acutely aware of the hand resting on her breast.

Closing her eyes she felt her entire body go rigid and then a soft fire began to sweep through her veins.

She tried to pull away but Sunny was so much taller and heavier than she was, it was impossible to untangle herself without waking the younger woman.

Oh, my … she thought frantically, what do I do now? If I wake her, she might be embarrassed or she might think …

Chastising herself for blowing this way out of proportions Laura decided to just lie still, hoping for Sunny to shift before waking up.

Laura thought about the night before. How she had laughed at Sunny’s attempt at being casual about all the aliases they used, how the old man, John had greeted them with a baseball bat and then decided to trust them simply because of their gender.

Laura grinned. Being a fugitive together with this amazing blonde sure made it more interesting. Then her smile faltered. She might have to put plan B in motion since there was no ride in sight.

Unaware of it, she pressed her lips against the blonde hair in a moment of regret and tenderness. This caused Sunny to stir and her hand on Laura’s breast moved involuntarily, causing the older woman to gasp.

“Mm … Laura?” Sunny whispered.

“Shh. You sleep some more,” Laura tried, her voice huskier than usual.

“Are you all right?” the blonde persisted, although in a very sleepy voice.

“I’m fine.”

“What time is it?”

“I don’t know, I can’t reach my watch, but it is still dark,” Laura answered feverishly trying not to think about the warm hand making little movements around her breast.

Sunny seemed to realised how she was positioned and where her hand was at that same instant. She inhaled and raised her head to glance at Laura but she didn’t remove her hand.

“Laura …” she whispered uncertainly.

“It’s okay, don’t worry,” the older woman reassured her.

“It’s okay … if I touch you?” Sunny asked, her voice unsteady.

“Sure it is. But you don’t have to, only if you want to … only if you want,” Laura managed, as feeling in close resemblance to fear choked her voice.

Sunny only looked at her, her hand making careful little circles on the outside of Laura’s tee shirt. The older woman bit her lower lip to stifle a moan and close her eyes, afraid to let her passion show.

Her nipples reacted with an aching hardness and Laura involuntarily arched her back to get closer to Sunny’s cautious touch. This encouraged the younger woman to stroke more firmly, more insistently which made a moan of pleasure escape from Laura’s throat.

“Does this feel good?” Sunny asked, her voice only a whisper.

Laura gazed up at her, nodding wordlessly. It felt good, very good.

Then Sunny’s hand slid down her stomach, found the soft skin under the tee shirt and moved upwards again. Shivering now, having this wonderful creature so close to her, the auburn haired woman extended an arm and pulled Sunny closer.

“Kiss me,” she mumbled against the blonde’s cheek.

Sunny turned her head and found Laura’s lip in a tender kiss that turned passionate within seconds.

“Oh …” Laura moaned into the softness of the other woman’s mouth. Their tongues danced, tasted each other and the kiss went on and on while Sunny moved her hand to Laura’s breasts, this time finding only soft and pliant skin.

She caressed and pinched the nipples and Laura could only kiss her and shiver in her arms.

“Mm … you are incredible,” Laura groaned.

“It’s you who are wonderful,” Sunny said huskily, planting kisses along the other woman’s neckline. “I love kissing you, touching you …”

Laura’s head was spinning, from passion but also from fear.

This is going too fast, she thought frantically, and I’m not sure I can stop this …

She caught Sunny’s busy hand in hers and pulled the blonde in for a hug.

“Sunny … Wait,” she pleaded breathlessly. “This is going too fast … and we have to get going, darling.”

The younger woman’s eyes glazed over and she blushed faintly.

Reading her mind, Laura hugged her even harder.

“No, you didn’t do anything wrong,” she explained tenderly. “I just want us to take it slow … you know … we are in a lot of trouble and we never … I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“How can touching you like this hurt me?” Sunny asked flatly.

“It can. Trust me it can,” Laura sighed. “If we get seriously involved, if we really make love, it can become hard for you later on …”

“But why will making love change what I am feeling already?” Sunny objected and sat up on the bed, swinging her feet over the edge. “I already … care for you … more than I can say. How will making love or not alter that?”

Laura groaned inwardly and propped herself up on her elbow.

“Because making love adds to all that,” she stated firmly. “We have feelings for each other, strong feelings. And if we make love, we will strengthen the bond even more. If something happens to me … and it very well could, you would have given me something …”

Her voice trailed off and she sank back down onto the pillow, regarding the weary young woman.

Sunny was quiet for a moment, lowering her head, avoiding Laura’s gaze. Then she smiled enigmatically and rose from the bed.

“I’m taking a shower,” she said casually and got up. Patting the sleepy dog in the other bed she entered the bathroom without looking at Laura.

The older woman lied speechless in bed, staring at the half closed door.

What was that all about, she asked herself and sat up. She just … smiled and accepted it.

Shaking her head she rose from the bed and couldn’t help but smile at the drowsy dog, snuggling into the pillow on the other bed.

“You are one lucky dog,” she mumbled and scratched his ear.

His wagged his tail lazily, licking her hand.

“You like me, huh?” Laura smiled crookedly. “You are crazy. I’m nothing but trouble for you and your mom.”

She walked over to the window and noticed the sun rising. It was going to be a cool, clear day. At least it wasn’t raining anymore; this would make their trip a little easier.

I don’t look forward to stealing another car, she thought wearily. A little flame of fear, it was seldom acknowledged but often present, couldn’t be ignored.

She stood motionless in the doorway to the bathroom. Her mind raced with scattered thoughts of all the lonely years. Moving in and out of the periphery of peoples lives, but never belonging …

Sunny was in the shower behind an almost transparent shower curtain. She moved and hummed, her luscious, slender body turned into a milky white under the cascading water.

Laura swallowed hard. The sight was once again sheer beauty and her heart ached.

Not really thinking she pulled her tee shirt and panties off and then checked the wound after removing the bandage.

As if in a trance she stepped into the shower next to the young woman who didn’t even flinch.

She just regarded Laura with that enigmatic smile again and grabbed the shampoo bottle. Pouring some in her hand she washed the auburn hair with tender hands.

She then shifted a little, grabbed a soap, worked up lather and started to wash Laura’s stiff shoulders, gently massaging them and by doing so, making the older woman relax into her touch. Gentle hands traced aching muscles along Laura’s back, as she casually washed her legs and then turned her around.

Sunny looked questioningly at her and when Laura nodded a bit shakily, the blonde ran her soapy hands down her chest, washing her breasts, her quivering stomach and then only brushing lightly against the auburn hair beneath it, she moved up again. With lingering strokes she washed Laura’s arms and hands and then she surprised the other woman again by moving in behind her, holding her close to her own slippery body.

“Sunny,” Laura gasped but leaned her head back onto the blonde’s shoulder.

“Shh …” Sunny hushed and let her hands caress Laura’s now aching breasts. “I’ve got you.”

She kept her hands there for a long time as the hot water cascaded over them, rinsing the soap away, only leaving the glistening wet bodies there.

Laura closed her eyes and let go of her thoughts and her fears. Caught up in the moment she allowed herself to just feel, to just be. It had been so long … so frightfully long since someone had touched her.

Sunny pulled her closer to her ample chest, the hard nipples poking into Laura’s back, making the older woman moan a little. Sunny’s right hand followed the softness of Laura’s stomach down to the soft hair at the apex of her thighs.

“Allow me, Laura,” the younger woman whispered. “Please let me …”

Laura could only nod; her voice was gone.

Carefully, long fingers started stroking her swollen folds, easily sliding in between them. She jumped when they brushed against the aching nubbin there.

“Oh …” Laura groaned and her hips moved against the soft touch. “Oh, Sunny …”

“You are wonderful, Laura,” Sunny whispered through the water coming from above. “Relax against me … I’ll hold you.”

Laura moaned and let her body lean against the taller woman. Spreading her legs a little to allow easier access she blushed faintly at how ready she was, how wet she had become just by waking up next to this amazing young woman.

“Yes …” she groaned and undulated against the intrusive fingers. “Yes …”

Sunny let her fingers pick up a slow, steady pace and it was not long until Laura started gasping and tremble.

“Hold me,” she breathed, “I think I’m falling.”

“Shh … I’ve got you,” Sunny reassured her and kept her fingers playing.

Then it was over her. Like a whirlwind, the ecstasy flowed through her, sending little bolts of lightning wherever Sunny’s hand touched her, into her thighs and her stomach.

Laura groaned and convulsed against the younger woman who supported her.

After descending and shakily pivoting in Sunny’s arms to hug her, to hold her, Laura hid her face against the long, white neck of the young woman.  

“Oh, darling,” she whispered.

“Are you all right?” Sunny asked quietly, holding Laura close.

“Very all right,” Laura said throatily. “You … you must have felt that.”

Sunny nodded and kissed the auburn hair.

“I did.”

“I’ll be fine,” Laura stated, “just let me … rest a little.”

“We better move, the water is getting colder. I think we just used up all of their hot water,” Sunny said regretfully.

“We have? Oh, that will be hard to explain.”

They moved out of the shower, still holding each other. Sunny turned off the water and then wrapped them both in a large towel, making a cocoon of them together. She put a finger under Laura’s chin and tipped her head back to brush a kiss over her lips.

“What was that for?” Laura smiled, secretly pleased by the younger woman’s desire to keep touching her.

“I guess, a sort of thank you.”

“I should be thanking you, darling,” Laura smiled crookedly.

Sunny just shook her head and hugged her close, nuzzling the wet hair. “This is what I mean, Laura,” she whispered uncertainly.

Laura leaned back to gaze into the icy blue eyes.

“What are you talking about, Sunny?” she asked.

“I still feel the same. I felt the same for you before you touched me last night … and I feel the same for you after holding you now. The love is the same.”

The words reverberated within Laura, making her both cringe and become deliriously happy. She knew, that the young woman had strong feelings for her, maybe even loved her … but to hear that usually so cool and matter-of-fact voice tremble and declare it so openly took her by surprise. She simply wasn’t prepared for it and cursed herself for not being more perceptive to the signs leading up to this.

To dump this beautiful creature at Malachai’s; it would devastate her. Laura closed her eyes and leaned into the embrace.

Just two minutes more and then we have to thank our hosts and move on, she thought wearily. Then I will have to break somebody’s heart – again.

*****

They left the cabin at daybreak.

They had quenched their thirst at the well and now Dawn felt confident that she would at least manage a couple of hours, crossing the forest.

They had decided to follow a small, almost overgrown dirt road lead from the cabin. It would make the walk easier than stumbling over rocks and roots like yesterday.

Joan had surprised Dawn by tucking the doctor’s hand on her arm and by doing so, wordlessly suggesting that she accept the support.

Dawn had sighed but relented, after a while grateful for the help. She was weakening but tried to hide it by just placing one foot in front of the other. With sheer power of will she kept walking.  They had to get out of there and she knew there was no way she would ever be able to convince Joan to leave her behind.

Had things been the opposite, she wouldn’t have either.

She locked her gaze at the narrow road ahead of them, knowing that Joan was covering the peripheral, carefully looking for any signs of their followers from yesterday.

“Are you okay?” the brunette asked, changing her grip and letting her other arm circle Dawn’s waist.

“Yes,” Dawn lied, trying to smile. They had only been walking for a little more than an hour and she was ready to lie down and rest on the closest log.

“You are walking a bit unsteadily,” Joan said casually and pulled her closer. “Put your arm around me and I’ll hold on to you. We need to keep walking.”

“I know,” Dawn grimaced and complied.

They moved on and after an additional half hour the doctor’s feet ached so badly she had to bite her lip not to moan from the pain.

They came out of nowhere without any signs or warning.

Three men stood before them brandishing weapons, pointing them the two tousled, exhausted women.

“Well, finally,” the skinny blonde man said, carefully moving closer and smiling broadly.

“What took you so long, ladies?”

Dawn let her arm slid down Joan’s hip and move slowly behind her back, trying to not be too obvious.

“No, no, no,” the blonde man cautioned, waving his gun warningly. “Don’t move.”

He motioned to the other two men towards the women. He maintained cover as the other two frisked the two women, unbuttoning their coats and removing their guns.

Then, one of them stepped behind Joan and yanked back her arms, slipping a small plastic clamp over her wrists. Dawn could see the brunette bite her lip and wince at the pain of having her circulation cut off.

Dawn’s hands received the same treatment and she felt her left shoulder ache from the violent abuse.

Brutal hands forced them to kneel. Dawn knew without a doubt; this would be a downright execution, all the signs were there. She glanced over at Joan, knowing by the thin lips and the narrow eyes that she knew it too.

The two men moved away, leaving room for the blonde man to approach them, a revolting smile playing on his lips.

He let his gun slide under Dawn’s chin and forced her to meet his eyes.

“Not so posh, nor so bitchy now, Doctor Morrison?” he taunted triumphantly.

“You have the advantage,” Dawn said through clenched teeth. “You know who I am but I don’t recall you.  What?  No introductions?” She managed to sound as condescending as she could, hoping to throw him a little, buying them time.

He hid it well, but she thought she could see him frown.

“I don’t see the need since you are at the end of the road, literally.”

He let his gun slide along her jaw line, up her cheek and then pressed into her temple, making her bruise ache and she couldn’t withhold a groan of pain.

“Hm … hurts, doesn’t it?” he said in mock sympathy. “Well the good new is, it won’t for much longer.”

He nudged her again with the gun and then there was first one shot fired and then one more only a second later.

The thin blonde man stumbled and fell. He nearly knocked the two women over, landing on his stomach several yards away. The other two men just stared at his motionless body.

Then there was the calm, throaty voice of Laura Carter.

“Now, gentlemen, is that any way to treat a lady?”

*****
Continued in part 7
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