Title: "Protective Love"
Author: Pirate Turner
Dedicated To: To all those wonderful animals who killers have murdered, To all those marvelous animals still alive in the world today, and To all those who have ever stood up to a hunter or rescued an animal, but most especially to Pirate Sparrow, whose story of the day he stopped by the roadside to protect an innocent mother deer and her baby from a heartless murderer in much the same way as this story depicts (only with a gun, of course, not with this heroine's weapon) is not only forever burned in my memory in his honor but is also the inspiration and basis for this story.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Pet Detective Kat O'Hara could never stand by and watch an innocent animal be murdered.
Disclaimer: Fire Journeys is © & TM its respective owner and is used without permission. Kathleen "Kat" O'Hara is © & TM Pirate Turner and may not be used without permission. The events of this story are based loosely on a real story but this version of the story is © & TM Pirate Turner. The author makes absolutely no profit whatsoever off of this story.

Fire Journeys played softly over the radio, the cassette's musical rhythm drifting out of the sleek, black car's windows. Gentle breezes swept into the car, running unseen fingers through the long, fiery red hair of the driver. Intent emerald eyes remained fixed on the approaching surroundings, scanning each inch of the highway ahead as well as the ditches that lined each side for any sign of the carcasses of the poor animals that had been hit during the previous night so that she might stop and give them proper burial and honor.

Without taking her eyes from their duty, her hands guided her car around the curve in the road. It was as the path straightened out again that she saw him. Her eyes flashed, and her jaw set. Fury burned in her heart as a soft growl escaped her unpainted lips before she could stop it. He stood on the side of the road, his gun pointed at something just coming out of the forest.

Even as she slid her car to an abrupt stop on the side of the road, her eyes followed the direction his shotgun was pointed at. She had fully expected and braced herself to find a proud buck standing there, but what she found instead not only enraged her heart and soul even more but also chilled her bones. A mother doe stood at the edge of the forest, her brown eyes staring in fearful expectation at the human male dressed in camouflage. A fawn, who could not have been walking all that long, attempted to hide as it pressed itself tightly into its mother's side.

As the driver's door was slung open, the hunter did not even bother to glance up from his prey. "Put that gun down now," an Irish brogue commanded. Although the voice was low, it reached his ears perfectly well.

Without even considering obeying the instruction, the hunter glanced up. He was surprised at the woman his eyes were met with but was careful to keep his gun trained on the doe. The tall, slender figure was wrapped in total black clothing with only her hair, face, and hands bare. Her long, fiery red hair hung straight behind her back, reaching to her waist. There was not a single trace of makeup on her face. Her emerald eyes burned with a fury greater than any he had ever before witnessed, and her hands were balled into tight fists by her side. She began to walk steadily toward him without moving her eyes from him; she moved with sleek grace but also confident swiftness. "What're ya gonna do, treehugger?" he demanded from her.

"Pull that trigger," she warned, her voice edged with deadly anger, "an' ye'll find oot, but it'll be the last thing ye e'er di."

His dark eyes swiftly examined her body. "I don't see any gun."

"An' ye won't. I din't need a gun."

The hunter's shoulders lifted in a slight, careless shrug. Positive that the woman could not back up her threat, he turned back only to find the doe still standing there, too afraid to move. "Touch me or come any closer," he warned the woman, "an' I'll have the law screamin' down on ya faster than ya can blink." It was then that he pulled the trigger.

She did not speak a single word more as, with one quick flick of the fingers of her right hand, fire suddenly enveloped the bullet in mid-air. It melted instantly, and its ashes were still falling to the ground when the shocked, and now pale, hunter finally managed to yell, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU, BITCH!" He stumbled backwards toward his pickup truck as he tried in vain to look at both the woman and the small fireball that still hovered in the air.

In answer, the fiery redhead moved the first two fingers of her right hand, and the fireball slammed into the man's mouth, thus abruptly silencing his scream of terror. Her right hand opened, and the fire grew immediately to engulf the hunter's entire body. She watched in silence as the fire devoured the hunter, the reflection of its flame almost appearing to lick her emerald irises. Her eyes did not move as clothes melted away first and then skin melted away to melt bone. It was only when the ashes that had once been a living human body sprinkled to the ground, that her hand passed through the air, causing the fire to vanish.

Finally, she looked around, her emerald eyes scanning every inch of everything that she could see only to find no sign that any one or thing had witnessed what had just transpired outside of herself and the deer. She then turned to look back at where the mother deer and her baby had been standing. They had stepped a few feet out of the forest now. Emerald eyes met soft, brown eyes as the mother offered her silent but eternal gratitude to her and her baby's savior.

The redhead nodded in understanding. "It's safe fer now, wee ones. Gi ahead an' I'll keep a look out fer ye 'til ye're in the forest again." The deer's ears pricked and moved slightly as they listened to the soft Irish brogue. The woman turned slowly as she watched the two make their way across the highway to the other side of the road.

When the deer reached the entrance to the forest on the other side of the road, the mother deer again looked back to the woman. Their eyes once more met, and the human again nodded in silent understanding. Finally, she spoke softly, her words barely a whisper though the animal's ears easily caught them. "Blessed Be." The mother deer turned back around to face the forest. The redhead watched as the doe gently ushered her baby into the forest and out of sight.

Her heart swelling with endless gratitude that the Gods had brought her to that spot in time to save those two innocent animals, the Irish woman's emerald green eyes lifted to the blue sky far above the trees. Her lips parted to whisper softly, "Thank ye," and then she started back to her car. In only a couple of minutes, Pet Detective Kat O'Hara pulled away from the curb and continued along her journey.

The End