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The Bond

The Bond [1]
Leonie — 15 Sep 1998, 8:04 AM

After a quick glance of the summary, I guess that this can still fit.

Written after Sevenita's trial and definately before the dance.
Writers dibs on the dance wrt to Miss Kate, Lee-Marie and Chakotay.

Lee-Marie woke up and stretched. She was a lot sore these days and it was no wonder, with all the goingons of the days before. She had come to the Delta Q to be an assistant For(wo)man, but instead she ended up in "Shootout City". She could wield a gun with the best of them, but in truth her weapons of choice was sharp knives. They had never been in close-up, hand to hand combat so she never got to use "good ole Joe", whom she always kept in a special compartment in her gun belt. She wore pants. A lot of the men grumbled when they saw, saying that no woman should be wearing "man's" clothes but Lee-Marie took it in stride. She didn't care what the men of the town thought. She was only interested in what one man thought. Sighing, her mind drifted on him and what had happened to him in the past few days, and what had happened to her in the past few days.

Her mind came upon an unpleasant memory. She groaned. 'Damn the *Woman's Curse*', she thought. 'What do I have to do to get rid of it? Grow.......' She sighed once again. 'The last thing that I need is more flesh on my body serving no useful purpose'. 'That's a particularly ornery thought'. 'Yeah, well be glad that no man will hear it.'

She did that sometimes, argue with herself, it was a way to diffuse embarrassment. 'I can't believe that I grabbed a perfect stranger's butt, two days ago. What was I thinking? I have to ask Sevenita to ask Doc if he knows of a better treatment for the 'Curse' than these here herbs, they don't do squat. Maybe she'llknow of a better cure, she was with an Indian tribe for a long time, maybe some herbs I haven't tried yet. I sure hope that I don't see Quai-Chan Kim again. But knowing my luck I probably will.'

Lee-Marie felt dispirited. Woman's Curse was over so she knew that there was no feminine ailment that was causing her mood. It was all her, and as usual, she wanted to take some action rather than lying in bed and feeling sorry for herself.

'What I need is a ride.'

She bolted out of bed and began to get dressed. She made herself a cup of Joe and drank it while she threw on her clothes. It was one of her favorite activities, a ride just as the sun was about to rise. Delta Q had some beautiful inclines that faced the East and the sunrise was absolutely gorgeous. Lee-Marie loved to sit and watch it. It was her time alone before the BROTD (The Bad Ranchers of the Day) came to upset the quiet in the Delta Q and Voyager City. She named them that because she had had to deal with them daily since she had taken the job with Miss Kathryn. She used the time to think, to plan, to reflect on what was happening to the people around her and what was happening to her. She needed a lot of time to think about the latter, because she knew that she was falling for the Foreman of the Delta Q.

The Bond [2]
Leonie — 15 Sep 1998, 8:05 AM

Lee-Marie began to walk out to the stables in order to prepare JTM for the ride. Since she had ridden him the first day she was on the Ranch, Lee-Marie had never mounted another horse in Miss Kathryn's stable other than JTM. They understood each other. When she had first ridden him, she knew that they were a good pair and had felt no need to get comfortable with another mount. They had some kinks that they had to work out in their riding relationship. Lee-Marie liked control, in fact she craved it. JTM indulged her once and then she had found out the hard way that he liked her to ease up on the spurs and just give a light touch on the reigns. He seemed to want her to trust him to get her to where she wanted to go. It was hard, Lee-Marie did not trust easily, but she learnt to, and she found that JTM usually knew where he was going, unlike a lot of other horses that she had ridden.

Lee-Marie stopped short. She had reached the stable and JTM wasn't there. She felt the panic rise from her stomach.

"Where was he!?!"

His stall door was opened. She didn't think, she just reacted.

"B'Elanna, TOM?" Her voice rose as she failed to keep her emotions under control. How could she, JTM was gone. He must have been stolen. Lee-Marie knew that B'Elanna was very careful in locking the stalls for the night, so there was no way that JTM could have wondered off.

B'Elanna came into the stables,

"Lee-Marie, what's wrong?"

"JTM.....he's missing..." her breaths were in pants as her stomach churned even harder.

B'Elanna gave a knowing smile, she understood the bond between horse and rider and she could relate to what Lee-Marie was feeling now.

"He's not, Pa took him out this morning."

'No that can't be right, Lee-Marie is looking more alarmed than before.'

Lee-Marie caught B'Elanna's puzzled look. She forced herself to 'fix her face' as her mama had always told her.

'There, it's gone now. I must have just been imaging things.', B'Elanna thought.

"Do you know where he went?" She did indeed fix her face, even her voice had returned to normal tone. But she was anything but calm. Chakotay Torres was on her mount. Lord only knows what could happen to JTM while he was riding him. She had a brief thought that it should be the other way around, that she should be more concerned about Mr. Chakotay instead of JTM. But from the things that she had seen, he seemed to be able to ease a lot easier than the horses he was riding. By this time she felt as if she could bring up the coffee that she had before she got to the stable, her stomach was churning so hard. Normally, when the Coffee hit her stomach, it went straight to her blood to bring her caffeine content back to the 'work setting.' Only God could make it leave her body. Now with the mere thought Chakotay Torres on her mount made it seem like it was possible to accomplish the separation of body and caffeine without divine intervention.

"He went over to the North Pasture." Lee-Marie moved to straddle Boston-Rick whom she saw was saddled up and ready to go. B'Elanna must have just returned from somewhere.

"Don't forget to button your shirt, it could get nippy this early." She was talking to the wind.

The Bond[3]
Leonie — 15 Sep 1998, 8:57 AM

How on earth Kes rode Boston-Rick was a mystery to her. The horse began with all good intentions and lots of power, but would literally burn out in the middle of the stretch. He just could not make his performance endure. Lee-Marie had to allow him to slow down twice so that he could catch his breath and there were times when he was just plain uppity. She had to dig in her spurs a lot to get him to go where she wanted to go for the length of time that she desired. She supposed he just preferred Kes to her, as she had seen how well she rode him. Well each to her own. Her own. JTM.

She missed JTM. She missed the feel of the raw power pulsing underneath her. She missed the stamina and spirit coupled with intelligence. With Boston-Rick you had to literally draw a map with the reigns and the stirrup for him to figure out where he was. Lee-Marie gave a sigh of relief as she came through the clearing that signaled the beginning of the North Pasture. She could barely make out a man sitting on the slope and the horse grazing nearby.

She gave an audible sigh of relief. JTM was fine. She heard him neigh. It seemed as if he was confirming it to her. She dismounted with a little less grace than she was accustomed to, in her haste to really make sure that JTM was OK. He was. She walked up to him and began to stroke his head. He nuzzled against her arm. She was finally convinced.

"Hey boy, happy to see me. Why on earth did you let that man mount you. Don't you know how dangerous he could be" Lee-Marie said all of this softly to JTM. He neighed.

'Nothing I can't handle'. He seemed to say.

"You're good, but you're not that good." JTM neighed loudly and bucked just slightly as if to throw her hands off his reigns and head. Lee-Marie held firm.


He neighed loudly in protest. "Fine, smart-horse"

Chakotay was watching all of it with an amused grin.

"Whatcha doing up so early Miss Lee."

He was the only one who could call her that and get away with it.

"Sunrise" Lee-Marie said succinctly.

"Well now, what a coincidence, so am I, join me?"

Lee-Marie sat. She tried to focus on what she had wanted to think about that morning, but his presence was short-circuiting her. Every time she was near him, all of her concentration normally went out the window. It was only when she gave a little effort, she was able to lose herself in the things that she was doing when she was around him. Except when she was being shot at. He was a handsome, solid man, but she was not that airheaded. When her life was in danger, that was what she was tending to. Fortunately for her chores, she was doing a lot more shooting than working. She thought in time, this crush that she had would pass. But it hadn't, in fact it had increased. She knew it wasn't the best thing. Lee-Marie had seen Miss Kathryn and Mr. Chakotay together and she knew that in spite of their bickering, there was some interest on his part towards her. But she knew the type of woman Miss Kathryn was. It was the type of woman that Lee-Marie was struggling not to be. She had missed a lot of opportunities in the past and if this was one, she wasn't going to let it slip by her fingers.

The Bond [4]
Leonie — 15 Sep 1998, 9:00 AM

But that would have to be his decision. She would show her interest, and then it would be up to him. There was another wild horse in this race. Cowgirl Vickie. She and Mr. Chakotay had a past, she could see it when they looked at each other. Longing was a look that Lee-Marie recognized easily, even if it was as cleverly disguised as Cowgirl Vickie wore it. Being part of a triangle was bad enough, but a square!!

Just then the sun bust forth from behind the forest range. It was dazzling, the brilliant yellow, the streaks of blue just fading from midnight into sky blue. It kept getting lighter and lighter. In the corner of her eye, she could things becoming more visible to her as the light increased. Lee-Marie concentrated. She always tried to pinpoint the exact minute that dawn gave way to day. It was her way of capturing the magic and the beauty that was happening around her. Of being open and present to the gift that was the dawn, of this golden moment, because....

Nothing gold can stay.

It was day.

Chakotay turned his attention to the woman who was sitting besides him. Since she had ridden up in such a hurry, he thought that something had occurred back at the ranch. But she seemed to have come out just to see the sunrise. She must have been in a hurry because she thought that she would have missed it. He had stole glances of her while she was taking in the sunrise. She had a look of wonder on her face that he had never seen before. He found that she was indeed competent and she had helped them to get out of a lot of scrapes since she had come to the ranch, but he was honest, he never gave her that much thought. She just functioned so much like a man, he forgot that underneath the jeans and the oversize shirts, she was very much a woman.

Very much a woman. His eyes wondered down from her face.

Lee-Marie chose that time to look at Chakotay and she followed his eyes down to the source of his attention.

The Bond [5]
Leonie — 15 Sep 1998, 9:04 AM

'Oh sh*t" She thought silently. She had forgotten to button her outer shirt and it was open, revealing her inner, form-fitting shirt. She knew what he was staring at. It was the reason why she wore oversize shirts, so that men's attentions would not be diverted when they were talking to her. Sometimes, they got so much attention, she thought that she should name them; Admiral Right and Captain left. She felt like saying,

'What?, you think that they just *sprung* overnight, I've always had'em ya know"

Instead she diverted his attention.

"Oh it's still a mite bit chilly out here" and Lee-Marie buttoned up fast as if she was fighting off an on coming cold.

At least Mr. Chakotay had the decency to look away and blush a little in shame, knowing why she had said what she had.

"We should get going, got a lot of things to do before the dance tonight."

"Yeah" Lee-Marie, began to mount JTM.

"I rode JTM out here."

"Ah'm riding him back, problem pardner?" She exaggerated her slang just a bit with a crooked grin.

*D*mn, now I'm flirting with him*

He grinned. The dimples alone nearly made her faint. "No MAM!!" he said as he straddled Boston-Rick

"You know he is a difficult stallion to ride. So much raw power, surprising for his age, sometimes it's difficult to control him."

"It isn't once you know how." He guided Boston-Rick to her side

"How's that"

"He's a typical stallion. All showing off his strength and power, all that blustering and attention getting, deep down, he's still a colt. Looking for a little attention and lot's of love. You just need to be gentle with him and of course teach him what your body means. JTM is more perceptive than most, I normally only have to give the slightest of hints and he knows what to do"

"Oh, really now." *D*mn, she's flirting with me*

"He can read the slightest change in my body and respond rightly."

"Better than any other horse" There was a mischievous grin on Mr. Chakotay's face as he asked the question

"I wouldn't know, I haven't ridden him long enough."

They were way too close now and every fiber of Lee-Marie's brain was screaming to get away from that Mr. Torres before she ended it with Miss Kathryn and Cowgirl Vickie to deal with. But her heart was firmly in charge and there was no going back.

They stared at each other for a long time. Finally Mr. Chakotay said

"Come with me to the dance."

"Yes" He didn't have to ask her twice.

Chakotay gave a wide carefree grin. "Race you back to the Ranch."

"You're on."

They galloped away. Of course Lee-Marie would win. If Mr. Torres made it home without running Boston-Rick into something on the way, she'd eat join the herds and graze for a day

Lee-Marie felt JTM's power coursing underneath her as they continued onto the ranch. It felt soo good to be on top of him again.

Personal Note:
Grabbing strangers' butts indeed!!! Terry, I hope you see that I am indeed a "Formidable Woman."
Just remember, you drew First Blood.