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Attention!  Warning!
Achtung! Warnung!
Attenzione!  Avvertimento!

Okay? Got your attention have I? now on with a bit of information: The following story is YAOIish and/or SLASHY in nature (mildly so in my opinion, but you can never tell...such a fuss!). Now, if you don't what YAOI or SLASH means, it probably means you really don't want to be here, so hit your back-button and go on surfing elsewhere, or go here or here (although if you at this page you probably came through that last one, still it has lots of nifty-keeno stuff I bet you haven't explored yet, so go on back and have a good time!). IF you know what it means, and it either squicks or offends you I suggest you hit the back-button, or go here or here again! IF you're under eighteen, or whatever the age of consent is in your patch of the world, or if such material would be consider illegal in your area, this is probably not a good idea, so heed my advice given to the last two parties and vamoose. IF you choose to ignore all my warnings and continue on and find yourself offended by something you've only YOURSELF to blame. And any and all flames shall be ridiculed, then fed to our pet giant tarantula, Henry.

Well, still here?
Can't say I didn't warn you....
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Last chance to bail, Mis Amigos

Notes and Disclaimers: This is set during the episode, Snowcone, rendering it AU, (well, in so far as it messes around with established events in the series) and a bit after the series is finished; and may well be a prequel to another story someone else is writing (*prod, prod, nudge, nudge* get going you idiot!)... Also Jesse lies about a couple of things in this story. I make no claims to any of the characters, so far as I know they belong to WEP (who'd prolly have a collective heart attack if they read this); Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd belong to Warner Brothers, and the song Jesse sings a bit of is definitely copyrighted to someone other then me. Oh and yes Jesse's digitized image of April is based on Trostinka's picture; may she forgive me.

A Fragile Mask of Bitterness

If I tried, and you tried,
Perhaps we could shatter
This fragile mask of bitterness


On second thought, maybe he did have an idea of what to do to that idiot, Fireball.

Jesse turned around and walked back to the containment cell, brushing past two Outrider guards. For a moment he just stared up at Fireball. Ordinarily, Jesse despised anyone looking down on him for any reason, even if it were just a matter of physical logistics, but at the moment he found the situation almost comical. He turned to the nearest guard.

"Shut down the cell; I wanna talk with raceboy," He ordered, then returned his attention to Fireball.

The cell platform sank to the floor, and there was a crackle of energy as the force-field evaporated. The Star Sheriff was left glaring up at Jesse.

"So, talk," Fireball snarled, lurching forward as if he could do any damage with his wrists shackled behind his back.

Then again, he probably could, Jesse mused. He reached out and seized Fireball's arm just above his elbow.

"In private, tin-star," Jesse smirked, "I don't think the lady involved would enjoy becoming the latest subject outrider gossip."

"You..." Fireball attempted to head-butt Jesse, but all he got was a hard knee to his chest and his breath knocked out of him. His brown eyes watered and and his upper arm hurt, despite his armor, from the increased pressure of Jesse's grip.

"Stow it, Fireball," Jesse muttered, as he dragged the gasping sheriff towards the door. Two guards broke away from their posts to follow, but Jesse glanced back and growled, "if I need you, I'll call for you."


Fireball found himself being slung down into a chair. He barely had time to realize Jesse had let go of him before tight coils of rope were being wrapped around his shoulders and torso. He attempted to bolt up and out of the chair, only to have a vicious, ringing cuff delivered to his head. His only consolation was a faint, "Ouch!" and one of his arms being pulled up, out of the ropes. The other arm as tied down to the arm of the chair.

"Now behave yourself, until I get back," he was ordered with a trace of amusement.

And Jesse seemed to vanish from behind him. Fireball struggled for a moment to try and get out of his bonds, but not even having one arm and hand free helped much. Whoever had taught Jesse to tie knots had done an excellent job.

Fireball finally took a good look at where he had been dragged to by the Outriders' human commander. It looked like a quite ordinary apartment, an ordinary lived-in apartment. And Fireball had a good view of the living room. The furniture was nothing to write home about, probably had been put in the apartment when it was built regardless of whoever would eventually inhabit it, but there had been some attempt to make it reflect that an individual lived there, and not some drone. Some holographic posters for long ago movies were being projected on the walls. The couch had a truly ugly orange and blue afghan draped over its back. Books, manuals, and magazines were scattered over a table. Fireball would have bet his soul that no Outrider had designed the screen saver scroll across the wall screen at the far end of the room; someone with too much time on their hands, a movie editor, and truly twisted sense of humor had to have created that. He was certain he would have nightmares for years to come from the digitally altered image of Daffy Duck (made to look like him) getting his head blown off by Elmer Fudd. And it wasn't the usual nonsense of a merely blackened face with the skewed duck-bill, it was a bloody gush of brain and skull splattering the screen. There were other images, but Fireball quickly decided not to look.

What the hell is that bastard planning? He wondered.


Back in the brig, the two guards carefully patrolled the room until they met up with one another and started to patrol together.

"What now, Top Sword?" one whispered.

"I'm not certain," the other murmured back, "we wait."



Jesse returned after a half hour carrying two mugs of something steaming. He paused, and looked pointedly at Fireball's free hand.

"You're either going to take this and drink it, or wear it," he warned, as he held the mug within reach of Fireball.

Fireball defiantly shook his head.

"All right then," Jesse leaned over and prepared to pour the hot liquid over Fireball's head.

The scent of the liquid caught in Fireball's nose...

"Wait, all right," Fireball reached up his hand and took the mug. He didn't drink any of it though.

Jesse shrugged, "it's perfectly safe; I'm not going to poison the first decent coffee I've managed to get my hands on in months," and sipped from his mug, "I didn't know if you liked cream or sugar, so I put both in. Along with a healthy dose of Irish whisky"

Fireball stared at Jesse. He wondered if Jesse had finally lost his mind. He had been expecting...well, expecting torture, torment, beatings, shouting, yelling, not coffee. Weighing his options, taking a deep breath, he took a sip. His eyes began to water again. Even with the addition of cream, sugar, and the whisky, the coffee was entirely too strong. Fireball was surprised that the coffee hadn't crawled out of the cup of its own volition.

Pacing back and forth in front of Fireball, Jesse drank his mug of coffee down. He turned and faced Fireball, "I admit, I'm a bit shocked, I would have never thought April would have the bad taste to dump TinStar senior in your favor you. Of course, from what I've found out about the lot of you, I'd say the best bet she would have for a steady relationship was with the cowpoke. Or me. I'd be my first choice for her to have a stable relationship."

"Right, like she would want anything to do with the man who tried to trick her in to thinking that we were going to have to shoot her father," Fireball snorted.

"Commander Eagle should be shot," Jesse shot back, "the man's a jerk...did you know he really wanted a son? And he's never really been happy with April? He's so obsessed with establishing his legacy that he..." Jesse paused, "I don't like that man."

Fireball shook his head, "like that makes a difference."

"Anyway, we weren't talking about that bastard," Jesse said, "we were talking about why April would pick you over me."

"I thought it was why April picked me over Saber? It's obvious why you didn't make the final cut," Fireball tossed in a verbal barb.

He expected Jesse to throw a punch, not just stick out his tongue and make a face.

"I think she might have found out about his dubious past," Jesse smiled mischievous, and began to sing...something... "I've been makin' a man...with blonde hair and a tan...and he's good for relieving my..." Jesse's eyebrow quirked up in a manner that could only be described as lascivious, and gave a short pointed laugh, "...tension...."

Fireball gaped, "Huh?" it almost sounded like Jesse was attempting to come on to him.

With a snort Jesse, chuckled, "It seems your fearless leader ran away from home when he was sixteen for a summer. He hooked up with a traveling theater group, that specialized in twentieth century musicals. Went under the alias Lancelot. Which I suppose was funny when he actually played Lancelot in "Camelot," but the picture I dug up has in him the role of Rocky," Jesse turned towards the wall screen, watched for a moment as some miscellaneous image of cartoon carnage ran through it paces, then called out, "Bring up image 973-B."

For the second time in thirty seconds, Fireball's jaw dropped open. On the screen there was a picture of a teen aged Saber Rider. Posing like a weight-lifter. Wearing nothing but a pair of gold leather briefs. That had the letter "R" picked out in rhinestones on either hip. There was a bulge. And standing beside him was a heavily-made-up man(?!?) dressed in a sequined merry widow, black satin briefs, torn fish-net stockings and with a leering smile on his face as one of of his hands seemed be creeping down to...

Jesse reached over and gently pushed Fireball's jaw up and shut.

"I know how you feel," Jesse sympathized, "and you can imagine my further surprise when I found out that he had slept with the entire company! I mean everybody! I was scandalized. I mean this is the good, heroic, legendary, saintly Saber Rider?"

"That has to be a fake," he croaked out, when Fireball finally found his voice,

"I wish it were," Jesse said suddenly sour.

Fireball tore his eyes away from the screen to look up at Jesse. Jesse seemed to be shifting from foot to foot a uncomfortably. An undefined, unconscious suspicion started to grow in Fireball's mind.

"Bring up image 671-G," Jesse ordered, "Now this is definitely a fake," he explained happily.

On the screen now was a picture of April in a backless red dress, with a slit high up the thigh, displaying a very lovely set of legs that traveled down to the floor to end in a pair of high heeled pumps.

"I spent the better part of one of Nemesis' staff meetings creating that one," Jesse smirked, light danced in his eyes as he looked at the picture, "you have to admit, it's perfect."

"It''s disgusting!" Fireball managed to get out, although the rest of him was screaming that it wished he had a copy. Well, one part of him at least, which was now making him very uncomfortably aware that his armor was fitted a bit too tightly from his waist on down. He shifted as much as he could in his bonds to try relieve some of the tension.

Jesse shrugged, "whatever. Anyway, as you saw Saber might be fun for a roll in the hay, but as steady guy for April? Nah. Now Colt, he's make a good candidate, if he weren't so bloody stupid. Did ya' know that the cowpoke's a virgin? Well, most likely a virgin. He plays a good game, but he has an annoying habit of leaving his ladies wanting."

"You mean he can't get it up?" Fireball blushed furiously as the words left his mouth; he hadn't meant to ask that. Jesse had to have put something in the coffee.

It was Jesse's turn to gape, then giggle (again raising questions about his sanity in Fireball's mind; most grown men don't giggle. On the other hand, he thought, Jesse might just be drunk). He went from the giggle to gales of laughter, and ended up collapsing on the floor in a fit.

"ohh, ohh, I must admit," Jesse said finally calming down, "I hadn't thought of that. Never thought I'd hear you say that. I mean I sorta believed what his Exs said when he told them that he wanted to wait for marriage, but you know, you might be on to something," Jesse suddenly looked up at Fireball, "Say, don't you share quarters with him on Ramrod? I mean, doesn't he jerk off now and again? When he thinks everyone's asleep?"

He had just recovered from his first blush and now a second blush crept over his features, "I wouldn't know," Fireball stammered, "it's not exactly something, I'm on the look out for."

"Hmm, maybe, but I'm betting that he had to a done what seemed like some unnecessary laundering of his sheets, right?"

"Ah, not that I remember," Fireball admitted, and saw Jesse's face blossom into a satisfied grin. Why did I tell him that, Fireball silently groaned.

"Thank you, Raceboy, that should come in handy the next the cowpoke and I run into each other," Jesse yawned and the stretched out on the floor. He closed his eyes, and was still for a long time, making Fireball think that perhaps he had fallen asleep, "you know, Fireball, I'm still trying to figure out why April would pick you. Even with his past, Saber doesn't match yours."

"What do you mean?"

"Clarissa, Sarah, Bunny, Buffy, Tina, Sh'na, Tanya, Penny, Lisabet, Deborah, Wilma, Fiona, Raquel, Murasaki, etc. There are just too many to remember," Jesse informed him.

Fireball found himself blushing yet again, and willing to bet even his brown eyes had turned scarlet, "well, it's not as if I encouraged any of them."

Jesse opened one eye, "riiiiiight, you just drive a giant phallic symbol in competitions to determine who's got the faster car. Uhuh, yeah, sure."

"There's more to it than that!" Fireball shouted, throwing the mug at Jesse, who rolled to dodge it.

"That was a waste of good Irish Coffee, you know," Jesse muttered reproachfully, as he rocked himself up onto his knees, "can you deny that you had anything to do with them?"

"I.." Fireball opened and shut his mouth, "that's not any of your business."

"No, it isn't," Jesse admitted, "but there has to be something about you. Something that isn't readily apparent. I want to know what that is."

Fireball laughed, "maybe she just has good taste."

"Or maybe you just taste good," Jesse countered, then blinked, "I didn't say that, did I?"

"Just how much whisky was in your coffee?"

"Probably too much, and there was the bit of it I drank in the kitchen," Jesse answered, scooted across the floor on his knees until he was in front of Fireball, "how does April like to be kissed?"

Well, there's a non sequitar, Fireball thought, and I'm not about to tell him that we haven't kissed yet.

"Wouldn't you like to know," he taunted.

Jesse placed his hands on the armrests of the chair, his clear blue eyes blinking innocently as he leaned in to Fireball. .

"Yes, I would."


"You okay, old chum?" Saber asked Fireball after they escaped the Outrider base, "We were worried when Jesse took you away."

"I'm fine," Fireball shrugged as he slid into his saddle unit, "all he wanted to do was rant about April."

"Ah, nothing's changed with little boy Blue," Colt scoffed as he began to target the renegade unit.

"No, nothing's changed."


Nothing had changed, except the dreams in the night and the tedium induced daydreams, when long golden blonde hair bled and shifted in to soft short sea-coloured hair, and imaginary kisses that tasted of Irish Coffee.

"Damn him!"


Fireball groaned, tossing and turning in the unfamiliar bed, and finally gave up trying to sleep. He flopped on his back and stared up at the canopy of the bed. Again, he felt an unwelcome sense of awe at Saber's ancestral castle. It was so large he and Colt had gotten lost twice so far and April had been joking with Sincia that Sincia would get lost marching down the aisle at her wedding.

So why can't I get up the courage to ask April? He pondered, watching the play of the fire's shadows in the ceiling. Fireball let himself drift in the warmth of the room and bed, as he tried to envision scenarios of how he would ask April to marry him. He had fallen into that pleasant state of half-awaking, half-dreaming, when the room suddenly seemed to have gone cold. Under half-shut lids, he saw Jesse drift close to his bed.

Damn, haven't had one of these dreams in a long time, he silently cursed as he tried to force himself to full consciousness, but it was in vain. Jesse tilted his head sadly, then leaned down. Fireball closed his eyes, trying to ignore the reaction these damned dreams had on him.

Something cold melted and soaked him. Then sweet warmth rose up and flowed through his veins. He sighed contented, and snuggled down into the bedclothes and slept until dawn.

It was the soft, early morning rustle of the servants in the corridors that woke him.

He watched the rose coloured sky of morning through the diamond latticed windows, the sun's early morning flames dancing through his blue eyes. He sat in bed, yawned and stretched. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up. He looked into the wall mirror, and smiled through his mask. He had to get dressed, then...then he would go find his beloved.


Comments? Questions? Feedback? Email Me: Mischief Maker

Lyrics from "Sweet Transvestite" by Richard O'Brien