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Legal Disclaimer: All characters from the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess are the sole property of Universal/Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. This is me having my way with them, the only way I can. :)

Violence Warning: Yes... in a few scenes.

Sexual Warning: Two women attracted to each other not your cup of tea? Well, I'm not forcing you to read this, you know.

Author's Notes: Well, here I am again. Even though my first two stories aren't even close to completion, this was bugging me a lot. So I had to pen it quickly before I blew myself up. Total uber this time; you won't even hear the mention of Xena or Gabrielle's names here. You might however, recognise a few other characters that make a guest appearance, as well as the two you know and love.

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Unions In The Night by Wolfsword 

Prologue

"Good afternoon, Tanya," smiled the blonde, slender psychologist as the young, coloured woman walked into the room. 

"Hello Dr. Whitman," replied the dark haired woman, taking her seat on the long, leather couch.

"Tanya, I thought we cleared this up last time?" the woman admonished gently, setting her glasses down on the desk behind her as she swivelled on her chair to face her patient. "I think we know each other well enough for you to call me Tara."

The African woman, about eighteen, blushed at the attractive woman sitting in front of her. It still amazed Tanya at how the thirty-something doctor could still look so damn good. "I'm sorry, Tara." She stressed the name in order to make her point, grinning. 

"Okay," Tara scanned her notes before looking up. "According to my records, this is your last session. Your release is set for tomorrow. You won't ever have to see the inside of this room or me ever again," smiled Tara.

The experienced doctor didn't miss the look of sadness that fleetingly passed over the young offender's face. Just a couple of months ago, the young woman in front of her had been a callous, unapproachable delinquent. Tara felt the satisfaction that she had made a difference in someone else's life settle in her stomach, as she looked at Tanya. It made her remember why she had chosen a job as a psychologist in a young offenders' institute. Hundreds of young people, some as young as thirteen had passed through the juvenile prison, only to wind up back in the adult jails, with adult sentences. It broke Tara's sensitive heart, when she found out that one of the kids from the place she had worked in for almost fifteen years, had been sent away for life imprisonment. But it raised her hopes when just one of the many patients she saw each week, found a new purpose in their lives and the knowledge that when they left the Juvenile Prison, they would not go back to the life they had led. Tanya was one such offender. The doctor had listened to the young girl's story and helped her come to terms with the death of her family. Behind each offender, there was almost always a sad story of betrayal or heartache that sent the easily impressionable child into the life of crime. It was just a matter of getting the story out, and helping them cope with their problems. 

"I know." Tanya took a deep breath. "I wanted to ask you something. It's kinda personal, so I'll understand if you don't wanna answer it and I won't be offended," she babbled.

"Of course, Tanya. Ask away." Tara sat back in her comfy chair, knowing that there was not much else she could do for the young woman.

"Well, I was wonderin'... how comes you're here? I... I mean.. how come you chose to do this job. It can't be fun, right?"

Tara sighed, a pang of sadness touching her heart. She got up and went to sit beside Tanya on the sofa. "That's a long story."

"I don't mind hearing it. I mean, we got two hours to kill, right?" encouraged Tanya, getting comfy, kicking off her shoes and crossing her legs.

"Yeah, I guess we do." Tara's gaze turned inwards as she recalled the week which had set her on the path to her career. "Hm, I guess it's because of love."

The confusion was apparent on the teenager's face. "Love?" The young woman's face clouded over. "What's it like?" she asked in a small voice.

Tara smiled, wistfully. "It's the greatest feeling you will ever have in your life. And don't lose hope, because once you do that, love will elude you forever."

"Tell me about it, please?" 

"Well, if you really want to hear it, I'll tell you. But I'm trusting you to keep this between me and you, okay."

Tanya nodded her head solemnly. "Of course."  She grinned, looking straight into Tara's emerald green eyes. "Doctor-Patient Confidentiality."

Tara laughed, then took a deep breath, and began her story. "I guess it all began on a Friday night in a pub. I was at University at the time, studying 'hard' for my psychology exams. It was, let me think, somewhere in May, or summertime at least. I was twenty-one." Tara laughed. "In the prime of my life. I was in the pub with a few of my mates from my halls of residence. I was in good spirits, pardon the pun, that night and I had had quite a few to drink and it was still early. Anyhow, we were attempting a conversation about our young days, for some reason. God only knows how we got on to that topic. I was telling them about an old friend of mine; my next-door neighbour to be exact. I had known her basically since she was born, because our families had been close. She was three years younger than me, dark-haired and had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. Or ever will see."

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Friday Night

A young, petite woman laughed easily as she felt the alcohol running through her veins. It was good to feel so relaxed and at peace. I wonder if my life could get any better, Tara thought.

"So tell us more about your little childhood friend," said a curly blonde-haired woman next to her, grinning.

"Yeah, what happened to her?" chimed a chestnut haired man, sitting next to the woman. His wavy hair flopped down in front of his eyes as he turned to look at Tara.

Her friends felt the change in mood that came over the attractive woman. "She disappeared," she stated, swirling her drink around in her glass. "Her parents and younger brother were mugged and killed when they were in London. She wasn't with them at the time, and I guess she blamed herself. She took off a week later, after she found out that Social Services were going to put her in a foster home. She was only twelve," she revealed quickly. "Never saw her again."

"Oh, honey, I'm sorry," said the curly haired woman, her light brown eyes full of comfort and moving to hug her friend.

"It's okay, Kerri. I'm over it," Tara said, but the three friends around the table didn't believe it.

"I know what you need... another drink!" said a well-built man, across the table.

"Shuddup, Jake!" smirked the other man. "Don't you know? Alcohol is a depressant. You wanna make her suicidal?"

They all laughed at the friendly banter, Tara's good humour slowly being restored. "Actually Kyle, I kinda feel like getting slammed. It's what Friday nights are for isn't it!" laughed Tara. "Same again?" she asked as she got up from her seat to buy the rounds. All three held up their empty glasses in cheer, collapsing into fits of laughter again as she left the table.

Tara smiled, shaking her head as she approached the barman, leaning on the counter to get his attention. It was quite busy at that time of night, and Tara sighed to herself as she waited for a bartender to become free. She pulled out a packet of Marlboro Lights from her pocket and took one out of the packet. Damn I gotta quit, she thought, knowing she wouldn't. Holding the cigarette in her mouth, she searched for her lighter. She blew a sharp breath through her teeth as she realised she had left it in her jacket that was hanging over her chair at the table. Real smart, Tara. Bring the cigarettes and no lighter! she thought. Suddenly something came sliding towards her on the counter and she looked down to see a silver lighter in front of her. Tara looked to her right and saw a tall woman, dress from head to toe in leather motorcycle gear. Her dark tresses fell over her shoulders, slightly windswept. By her side on the counter was a black helmet, complete with a tinted visor. 

"Thanks," she managed, as she picked up the offered lighter and lit her cigarette, putting the ornate object down again. 

The stranger didn't seem to hear as she looked up at the bartender standing directly in front of her. "Another?" asked the barman. The dark woman nodded, as her glass was refilled.

Quickly, Tara seized her chance and ordered her drinks. She could really feel the effects of the alcohol now, and felt lightheaded. "So, what's with the get-up?" she asked casually, running her appreciative gaze over the woman's sleek body. The woman didn't reply, and Tara missed the strange, almost worried look that the stout bartender threw her, as he listened in. "Hello? Anyone home?" Still the woman said nothing to her, and Tara was becoming increasingly irritated. She watched as the woman knocked back her glass of whisky, exposing her long, slender neck. Tara felt the stirring of desire within her at the sight. 

Suddenly, she was aware of a small framed man making their way to them through the pub. He came to stand on the other side of the tall woman, quickly darting his eyes around, nervously. The woman seemed unaware of the man, as she knocked back another glass of the potent drink. Tara leaned over, trying to seem inconspicuous, as she watched the man reach into his jacket pocket and pull out a thick brown envelope and place it on the counter. The stranger's jaw twitched slightly; the only indication that she had seen him do anything. She moved her gaze from the glass, up to the bartender, who seemed to nod his understanding. Then she turned her eyes to Tara, and she froze. The woman seemed to blink twice as she looked into Tara's green eyes. Tara was amazed at how pale the taller woman's eyes were, almost like her old friend's. Truly icy.

"Hey! Are you gonna count it or what?" came the man's quivering voice, breaking their gaze. The woman's head snapped round to look at the man, who moved several inches away at the movement. "Sorry," he mumbled.

She picked up the envelope and unzipped her own jacket, placing it in a safe compartment, before zipping it back up. She went to drink her refilled glass again, without further acknowledgement, looking like she had forgotten about him already. The man looked around again, before making a swift exit. 

"Jumpy guy, right." Tara tried again to make some conversation with the striking woman. "What's your name?" Tara didn't notice the barman cough loudly, as he began to clean some glasses.

The black-garbed woman stared at her whisky, then sighed. "Emily." The voice struck a chord in Tara's soul; a deep, soulful sound that she knew she recognised from somewhere.

"That's funny. You don't strike me as an Emily," commented Tara. "Are you alone? Why don't you come and sit with me and my friends?" Tara couldn't help but want to spend more time with the enigmatic woman.

"No, I'm alright," the woman replied, a hint of amusement entering her voice.

"Oh, come on. You'll have much more fun than if you stand here by yourself all night." Tara quickly gripped the sleeve of the dark woman's jacket and tried to pull it off the counter. She was shocked to find that it didn't even budge. The woman was unperturbed and drained her glass again with her other hand. Tara was just about to yank the arm again, when they heard a muffled scream come from outside the entrance. The woman's head shot up, as she tried to see what had happened. Three heavily built men were entering the doors, looking around for someone. 

"Shit." Tara heard the tall woman mutter under her breath. The men seemed to connect looks with her, and they began to move towards the bar. She turned her head slightly towards Tara. "Let go of me, Tara. Turn away from me. You're not talking to me," she said quietly, but the command was evident. As the men came closer, Tara did as the woman said.

"Where is it?" asked a man, obviously the leader in the threesome as he came to stand next to her.

"Where is what?" she asked.

"Don't play games with me, Jordan! Give me the money and I'll go."

"Where's Henric?" she asked, ignoring the outburst.

"Somewhere where he won't cause me any more trouble!"

"What did the guy do to you?" She nodded to the bartender for another refill. Tara watched them out of the corner of her eye.

"Bloody idiot tried to rip me off! Now, I want my money back!" 

"You know the drill, Stevens. Once it's out of my hands, it's not my problem anymore." The man snarled and moved his hand to his jacket pocket.

"Hey! Take your fights outside," came the voice of the bartender, looking squarely at the newcomer. "I don't want to have to clear up after you guys."

"With pleasure," replied the woman, a feral smile on her face. She grabbed her helmet and stalked outside, quickly followed by the three men.

Tara wondered what had just happened, as a few thumps were heard over the din, then a motorcycle engine revving up and speeding away. She looked back at the bartender, who was half smiling. "What happened?"

"Oh, she gave them a good hiding, that's what," laughed the stout man, as he finally finished serving her drinks.

"You mean... she beat all three of those men up. By herself?!" she knew she was asking a stupid question, but her mind was still reeling.

"No one tries it on Jordan Woods and gets away with it," replied the man, darkly.

"Jordan Woods??" she asked, not believing what she had just heard.

"Yes, love. You'd do well not to get involved with that lady. Danger just follows that one everywhere."

"Where can I find this Jordan Woods again?" she asked, a million thoughts racing through her mind.

"Er, I don't think it's such a good idea running after her." The man looked at her closely. "She's wild and she won't be tamed, you know."

Tara avoided the man's perceptive gaze and looked down at the counter, seeing the lighter there. She picked it up, running her fingers over the intricate design on the surface. "I'm not running after her. I just... want to give her lighter back, that's all."

The man's eyes softened, then he sighed. "Alright. Let's see, tomorrow's Saturday. You can probably go to the Pool House up on Terrace Road. Know the place? She might be in there tomorrow night around ten."

Tara smiled. "Thanks!" She pocketed the silver object and picked up the tray of drinks, walking carefully back to her friends' table.

"My God, woman! You could have taken an hour longer," commented Kyle sarcastically, as she sat down. 

She stuck her tongue out at him in reply. She watched as each of her friend's broke into silly grins. "What?" she asked, a little bit worried.

"Who's your friend?" smirked Kerri, taking a sip of her drink.

"Friend?" 

"Yeah. You know, tall, dark, gorgeous body, kinda friend," said Kyle, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. What Kyle lacked in stature, he more than made up for with his sense of humour.

"Hey, watch it, stud," warned Kerri, a glimmer of humour in her eyes. "It's not smart to comment on other women when you're out with your girlfriend." Everyone laughed at Kyle's puppy dog face, as he pouted. "Damn, you're just too adorable to be mad with," she said, kissing him on the cheek. She turned to Tara. "So, who's your friend?" she asked again.

"She's not my friend," she started. Although I wouldn't mind if she were, she thought. "She just gave me a light." Tara shrugged.

"Uh huh," said Jake. "Your body language was so blatant towards her, even a gay man could pick it up." They all looked at him funny. "What!" he exclaimed, defensively, as they all started laughing. "Oh, you know what I meant!"

"Did you get her phone number?" asked Kerri, fishing for more information.

"No."

"Address?"

"No."

"You didn't give her yours, did you?" asked Kerri, slightly worried.

"No!" Tara replied, getting exasperated and throwing up her hands in defeat.

"Alright, alright. Just curious." Kerri shared a knowing smirk with her boyfriend.

"Who were those guys that were talking to her?" asked Jake, as he took a gulp of his beer. Tara raised an eyebrow at her friend and Jake held up his hands. "Hey, I'm just asking."

"I don't know. Some acquaintances, I guess. Look, she left her lighter on the counter. So I'm going to the Pool House tomorrow to give it back," she said, knowing she would have to tell them sometime and deciding to get all the fuss over and done with now.

"Really!" commented Kyle. "Can I come?" he asked, laughing. "Ow!" he exclaimed, as he got a swat in the chest from his girlfriend.

"Yes, really Kyle. I don't know, there's something familiar about her. I sorta have a feeling about it, but it's too wild to be true. I'm sure I must have her mixed up or something."

"Well, I'm glad to see you're doing something about it," said Jake, supportively, crossing his muscled arms over his chest. "Who knows, you might end up finding the love of your life."

She smiled her thanks at her friend, as Kerri and Kyle started a crisp battle, that initiated a war on the whole table. By the end of it, they were all laughing hard, covered in bits of crisps.

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Continued... Saturday Night

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