Violence: Yep! There is some. But nothing that wouldn't be seen in the TV show.Love/Sex Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two women. If this bothers you, don't read it. If you are under 18 years of age or live in a state or country where a story like this is illegal, please don't read it. There are many stories out there for you to read.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to my first story, "Adventure of A Lifetime". Although it isn't absolutely necessary, It might be a good idea to read it first, before you read this. Again I want to thank my daughter Susan for her help and suggestions. I was very encouraged by all the wonderful emails of praise I received. Thanks to all of you. If not for those emails, I probably wouldn't have dared to write another story. Writing this has been my adventure... I hope you all enjoy reading my story.
Any, and all constructive criticism is welcome. Just don't be hurtful. I'm sensitive! I can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org
As Irene and I boarded the plane, I couldn't help but reflect on our adventure this summer at the dig site. It was just unbelievable!! That we could go back in time just by touching the Stone of Ages... Who would ever believe that anything like that could happen. I certainly wouldn't believe it if it hadn't happened to me!!! Gods! To have had that incredible experience and not be able to share it with anyone... Thank the Gods I have Irene to talk to about this. I'd go bonkers if I had to keep this all to myself. So much has changed for us. We are not the same as when we arrived at the dig site. We have grown stronger in so many ways. Amazing what a little time travel will do for you! With that last thought Leslie smiled as she boarded the plane with her new love.
"Re? Do you want an isle seat? Ya know... for your little problem?" Leslie asks as they were taking their seats on the plane.
"Nope! Not this time. I'll just do the wrist poke that Gabrielle taught me. I won't get sick this time." said Irene confidently. Irene kept poking her wrist.
Well, the flight was rather uneventful, except for what happened when our flight attendant asked Irene....
"Hi There! I'm your flight attendant Liz. Is there anything else you would like with your dinner?"
"Well, now that you mention it... I sure could go for some raw squid!" Irene responded.
The look on the flight attendants face was priceless. I couldn't stop laughing... until I started to choke on my food, and Irene had to do the Heimlich Maneuver on me. If Xena could only see us now!
The rest of the trip went rather smoothly and we both dozed off for most of the flight back home.
'Home. What a great word. My own bed to sleep in, and Re right beside me. Uh! OH! Re's kids! Shit! What should we tell them first?!? Alright! They're adults, they can handle us being lovers, but they will think we're certifiable if we tell them we traveled back in time!' "Oh my!" she said out loud.
"Huh! What did you say sweetie? I must have dozed off."
"Re... Hon... We have a problem we hadn't thought about. What are we gonna tell Bill and Nicole. How are we going to tell them we traveled back in time?! And last but not least, my love, how the hell are we gonna tell them about us!!!"
"Oh my!" Irene just sat straight up in her seat with a perplexed look on her face. After awhile a smile crossed her lips as she said: "Les, I know my children, they will be very supportive of us and the lifestyle we've chosen to live. All they need is some time to get used to the idea. You'll see, hon, it will be fine. Just have faith and trust me on this one."
Irene was smiling at me and I suddenly felt better. I don't know why I felt better, because we still had the problem, but that smile was all I needed. "I love you, Re."
"And I you, Les. You know, the real problem will be getting them to believe us about our "little" adventure this summer."
Yeah! I know. That's gonna be a toughy!" Leslie said.
Home! It sure was good to be back! Leslie and Irene were happy to be home. Leslie because she could start working on the artifacts they had found on the dig and Irene because she could see her children. She got a chill every time she thought how close she came to never seeing them again. But that was over and she never had to worry about that happening again. She hoped!
It was morning and Leslie had gone over to Irene's to discuss a theory about the Stone of Ages, that the two women had brought back with them. Leslie was sitting at Irene's kitchen table enjoying a cup of tea and talking to Irene about the Stone, when they were interrupted by Bill and Nicole coming down for breakfast...
"Hi Leslie. Glad you guys got back in one piece. Can't wait to see the stuff you found." Bill said.
"Morning. How are the two globe trotters this morning? Mom! Don't go away again for awhile huh? I really missed you." Nicole said.
"Sweethearts, I missed you both, but I have to tell you I had a great time. Didn't we Les?"
"Uh yeah! It was interesting. We have a lot to tell, er explain to you both... Kinda..." Les was interrupted...
"Oh jeez! I'm late mom. Gotta go! We have a big job at the construction site today to take care of. No time for breakfast! Love ya..." Bill kisses Irene and waves to Leslie as he hurries out of the house. "Bye brat! See ya at the office." he says as he passes his sister's chair.
"Bye big brother... and don't call me brat!" she laughed.
"So. You were saying Leslie..." Nicole asked.
"Oh umm, it can wait till we have you both together. No sense repeating everything that happened; ya know?" Leslie just looked over at Irene and shrugged.
After Nicole had finished breakfast and left for the office, Leslie asked Irene to come over to her house. She wanted to tell Irene about the theory she had developed about the Stone of Ages.
"Why can't you tell me here, hon?"
"Because, Irene there are too many distractions here. I really want to be alone with you so I can have your undivided attention. I'm very excited about what I have found out."
"I'm excited also..." Irene replied as she gave Leslie a very passionate kiss. "Your lips are sooo soft and sweet. Do you suppose we could discuss "my theory" before we talk about your theory?" she teased.
"Oh yeah!" Leslie said in a husky voice. "Come on! Let's get to my house. So much to do and so little time." She smiled as she grabbed Irene's hand and practically ran to her house.
As Leslie and Irene were snuggling next to each other in bed; Leslie was struggling with the thought that was running through her mind. She looked over at the face of the woman she loved and decided that now was the time to come right out and tell her of her feelings about informing Irene's kids of their relationship. Funny thing was, that Irene was thinking the exact same thing!
"Re I love you so much! I'm not happy with all this sneakin' around. It's time we told Bill and Nicole about us. We have to tell them... and tell them soon. We have nothing to be ashamed of, and I want you here with me all the time. And I don't care who knows it."
"Oh Les... please don't be unhappy! I don't much care for all this sneaking around either. Why not tell them when your niece Michelle comes home for a visit next week. That way we can just sock it to 'em all at once and get it out of the way; so we can concentrate on telling them the really important stuff like our traveling back in time. You know, they'll never believe a word of our adventure."
"Yeah! I guess you're right, but there has to be a way to convince them.'' Leslie said. But what she thought was entirely different... 'They would believe us if we showed them!!!'
"Umm... By the way, Re... we um, don't have to worry about telling mickey. She sort of knows."
"What do you mean she sort of knows?" Irene asked.
"Well... now don't get angry that I told her without you, but I did tell her!" Leslie said.
"Oookaaay! How did she take it?" Irene asked rather anxiously.
"Well I'm not quite sure... she seemed okay with it, but you can ask her when she gets here. I spoke with her last night and she said she needed to talk to me. The kid wouldn't tell me why.
"Yeah, I guess I can. When is she due in?" 'How did everything get so complicated', Irene thought.
"Saturday." Leslie replied.
"Great! We can pick her up and then go out to dinner."
"Uh, Re she's coming in a wee-bit earlier than that." trying to stifle a giggle.
Irene says suspiciously... "What's a wee-bit earlier, Les?"
With a crooked smile and her head bent, so as not to make eye contact, she mumbled... "nine in the morning." Leslie had all to do to keep her composure and not laugh out loud when she heard Irene groan. Early rising was not among Irene's favorite things to do.
"Well I'm glad that's settled! You know, I feel much better now that we've made up our minds to let them know about us. Jeez, I was feeling like a teenager sneaking around like that. Although... I... kinda found it exciting. Didn't you?" Irene asked teasingly as she proceeded to tickle Leslie.
"Uh Re! Don't go there now! I have something I wanted to tell you that is very important about the Stone of Ages, and you're making me lose my train of thought!!" Stop tickling me (she laughed) or I will retaliate." With that Leslie easily grabbed Irene and rolled over pinning her body underneath hers and proceeded to tickle her until Irene was almost breathless... "
Okay, okay! I give. " she giggled and gave Leslie a kiss.
"Okay now... let's get dressed, if we can still find our clothes, and go to the library. I want to tell you my new theory about the Stone of Ages. I think it'll knock your socks off, Re. I know I was amazed!"
"Okay Les, you've got my undivided attention... What's this new theory of yours?"
Leslie took a deep breath before she started to explain, because she knew that Irene might not respond to well to what she was going to tell her...
"The other night I was working on some of the artifacts we brought home with us and I accidentally dropped the talisman that holds the Stone of Ages. I gra..." Irene interrupted her...
"Oh no! Did it break?!! How are we ever..."
"Hey... Re... Will ya give me a chance to tell ya what happened before you start interrupting me. It would be wonderful if I could just once finish a sentence! Okay!"
Irene just looked at Leslie and tried really hard not to laugh at the frustrated and annoyed expression on her face. It didn't work... she laughed anyway. "I... I'm sorry... (she giggled) I promise not to do that again. Go ahead hon... I won't say another word till you are finished." She made a mock gesture of putting her hand over her lips and turning an invisible key.
"Alright! Here we go again... As I was saying... I dropped the talisman, but before it could hit the floor and do what ever damage to itself... I lunged for it and luckily I grabbed it. And as I grabbed it , I touched the Stone. No Re! Not a word till I'm finished with my story!!! Well the same thing happened to me that happened in the cave. It was like a waking dream sort-of. Only what I saw shocked the hell out of me. Seems that just before the stone fell I was thinking of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas and how if not for them I never would have gotten interested in archeology... Well, when I grabbed the Stone I didn't see ancient Greece, I saw Janice and Mel, looking very young, working on a scroll in a some fancy library, which I could only assume was Melinda's... Anyway! I fell and the talisman rolled out of my hand, the connection was broken and the dream ended. Isn't that great?!"
By this time Irene's mouth was agape.
"Listen, nothing can happen unless we both touch the Stone. You know that. Think! Artemis made this Stone especially for us so we could travel home... But she also made it so we could go back to see our ancestors again, with one really great improvement... which, I might add, she neglected to tell us! All we have to do is think where we want to go in time and that's where we'll end up... if... we both touch it.
Irene just sat there for a minute digesting everything that Les had told her. She was literally speechless. Which for Irene was quite an oddity.
"Irene! Please... say something!"
"Okay! Let me see if I have this right in my mind... We have to think of the same time for us to get to where we want to go... Am I correct in that assumption, Les?
"Yeah! That's it in a nutshell Re! I think though, that it will only work if who we think of is an ancestor. I don't think we can just go traipsing around unless we have a familial connection. Sooo, if you and I had been touching the stone and thinking of Janice and Mel, we would have been transported there instead of ancient Greece." she waited for Irene to respond to everything she had just told her.
"I don't mean to be nit-picky, but there is one small point you have overlooked... What happens if we don't think the same thing?" she looked at Leslie, pointedly.
"Oh my!!" Leslie hadn't thought of that. "Wait... wait... we can easily overcome that... we just decide ahead of time to think of Xena and Gabrielle and we'll be transported to them or near where they are." she said. 'I hope!' is what she thought.
"Hold it. Hold it... I'm getting this awful feeling that you want to go back to "visit the family"? Irene was getting a wee-bit upset.
"Yes. Take it easy! Listen! I wouldn't go back if I thought we'd be in danger. I thought we might go back for winter solstice. I kind of miss everyone. And to be perfectly honest with you... I miss the adventure."
Now it was Irene's turn to say: "Oh my!" It looked like they were heading into another adventure. "Okay Les, lets do it, but we have to tell the kids before we go. "
With a wicked gleam in her eye Irene says: "Les, we are going shopping!" It was now Leslie's turn to groan.
Xena watched as Gabrielle walked along and noticed that the Bard did not have that bounce to her step that she was used to seeing. Xena knew that the last few months had been hard on both of them and the strain was actually starting to show.
"I'm feeling the strain of the road so I can just imagine how she is feeling. I hate to see her wilt under these conditions. I'm really looking forward to some peace and quiet with my Bard and my family." thought Xena.
Aloud, Xena said, "You know, we could stop and visit your family and still make it to Mom's before Solstice."
Gabrielle turned and smiled, "Hmmm, spend time with my family or get to the Inn sooner to relax. I don't know, sounds like I'd rather go to the Inn instead of dealing with my Mom and Dad right now."
"Brie, you really do need to visit them once in a while, they are your family. Don't you miss Lila? Wouldn't it be nice to go shopping with someone who is as crazy about it as you are. Think of all the bargains you two could get together! "
"I can see your point there and I would really like to see them, but I really want to relax for a bit. Maybe we could go and visit them on the way out. Sound good?"
Xena smiled, "Of course that sounds good! So, come spring, we will leave via Poteidia and have a nice visit with your family."
The Bard smiles, turns away and continues to move along the road. Deep in thought she chuckles to herself.
Hearing Gabrielle chuckle, Xena asks, "Dinar for your thoughts?"
Gabrielle turns and Xena can see that gleam in her eye that had been missing for a couple of weeks. Xena knows that her bard is thinking some devious thoughts and can't wait to hear her response. Xena prompts, "Well?"
"Oh, well, I was just thinking. Visiting my folks just before going back on the road will definitely be an advantage to us and a disadvantage to the warlords."
"Well, let's see. We will have just had a nice quiet winter at the Inn with your Mom and Tor. Then we will spend a day or two on the road till we get to my folks house, unannounced of course. We will spend a couple of days with them and by the end of the second day we will both be chomping at the bit to be getting out of there."
Argo neighs and shakes her head at this. Gabrielle laughs and says, "No offense Argo."
"So why does that give us an advantage over the warlords?"
"Well... I figure by then we will both need to release some pent up energy, and if they are crazy enough to get in our way then, they are going to get what they deserve, don't you think?"
"Brie, they're your family and..."
"I love them but they can really drive me nuts! Admit it, every time we go back there I get treated like a little girl again. They just don't seem to realize that I've grown up and that I can take care of myself."
"OK. I know when I'm defeated Brie, but really, it will be nice to see Lila. I know the two of you can TALK for hours and it gives me a chance to just watch you together. I never had a sister, so I never really got to be a part of that."
"Oh Xe, you could always just join in but you are so reserved sometimes. Always playing the Stoic Warrior, just jump on the bed and start talking. Trust me, you will always be welcome to join in."
Silence reigned for a while as they both continued along the road. Xena resumed one of her favorite pastimes, Bard Watching.
'Well, she has a bit more bounce in her step now, but I think it's really time to get moving. OK my Bard, time to get you up on Argo,' thought the Warrior.
"You know it's about three weeks till Solstice, and we still need to pick up a couple of things and get to Mom's. We will be cutting it close and that's provided the weather holds. I was thinking about a quicker way to get there. Are you game?"
Gabrielle turned around and said, "Game? Xena, you know I can do anything once I've set my mind to it."
Xena smiled. She loved when the Bard showed her competitive streak. "Well, I don't know Brie, you may not find this as easy as..."
Gabrielle's eyes flashed like green fire. Xena could see that look that said 'I can do anything you can do Warrior Princess.' and knew that she had her.
Gabrielle stated, "Look, I can do what ever it takes to get there early, just try me!"
"Okay then, just follow my lead OK?"
"Give me your hand, we're riding!"
"Come on, you heard me. Now give me your hand."
"You tricked me! Fine, but you are driving!" says Gabrielle as she reaches for Xena's out stretched hand.
"No, problem," says Xena as she pulls the bard up in front of her.
"Uhm, Xena, if your driving, what am I doing up front?"
"You are going to take a nap."
"Yep, that way, when we get to town, the poor merchants will have a chance to make some dinars, since you will just be waking up!"
"Oh you" says the Bard as she lightly slaps at the Warriors knee and then makes herself comfortable.
"Comfy," purred the Warrior.
"Very, thanks" murmured the Bard.
"Good," said Xena as she kicks Argo into a gallop, "Yah Argo!"
All that could be heard was one very surprised Bard yelling "XeeeeNAAA!!!" and one very happy Warrior laughing as she held on to her precious cargo.
That night as they went about their chores setting up camp, Xena could not help but feel concern for her precious bard. She looked so weary.
Gabrielle I think I'll try and catch a rabbit for our evening meal, that is unless you think you'd like to do it? she said, teasing her bard.
"Funny, very funny Warrior Princess... I think I'll pass on this one. You catch it and I'll cook it." She couldn't stop herself from giggling. Last time she tried to catch a bunny it nearly caught her!
Gabrielle set about getting the vegetables out of the saddlebag and into the pot to be ready for the rabbit when Xena came back. She was so very tired! 'Why am I so exhausted? This is no different that any other trip we've taken. Maybe Xe is right, maybe I need a rest from the road. I sure do miss Cyrene, and it wouldn't hurt to eat some of her delicious nut bread ...' her thoughts were interrupted when Xena came strolling back into camp triumphantly carrying their dinner. She had skinned it and prepared it so all Gabrielle had to do was throw it in the pot.
After the evening meal was finished and cleaned up, they found themselves around the fire, as was their custom, talking about going home.
Waking up was always a pleasant experience for Leslie, but since returning home it was even better when Irene was snuggled up next to her. They couldn't do this very often, because Re had to sneak over to Les when ever the kids were asleep or away. This weekend both Bill and Nicole had plans that took them away from home, thereby giving Irene and Leslie some space for cuddle time. It was getting increasingly tense for the two lovers. They wanted nothing but to be together all the time. She marveled at how truly happy she was and how much she adored Irene. Unfortunately though, they couldn't stay in this position for much longer this morning, because they were due at the airport to meet Leslie's niece, Michelle, or Mickey as Leslie called her, she was arriving at ten this morning, so they had to hustle if they wanted to get there on time.
"Come on Re... Rise and shine. We have to pick up Mickey at the airport and I don't want to be late."
Snuggling even closer to her lover Irene pleaded: "Pleeease! Just five more minutes!"
Leslie started to chuckle and just gave her love a hug and told her to get up again. "Come on Re, you gotta get up. You would not want Mickey to be standing around, alone at that big airport waiting for us... would ya? Why she could get lost or worse!" Les couldn't help but smile at that last sentence.
"You're worried about Mickey!!! She's a police officer and was an MP... why, she could take on the Army and not break a fingernail. Your niece is one very capable young woman." she said this as she swung her feet onto the floor and got out of bed in one fluid motion. "Now if you don't mind, I have to brush my teeth and shower before we go pick up Robocop. Want to join me... or... are you chicken?"
"Last one to reach the shower has to give a back massage for a week!" Leslie said as she vaulted out of bed and passed Irene as she headed for the bathroom. She of course, reached it first and did a little happy dance. All Irene could do was stand there laughing so hard that she couldn't catch her breath. Oh, how she loved this woman!
" There! There she is Re! Mickey... Over here, sweetie!" Leslie was waving her hands so Mickey could see them at the gate.
Mickey is drop dead gorgeous, tall, with brown hair and blue eyes, and a smile that could knock your socks off. She is a very independent, strong, take charge kind of woman. "I can hold my own doors open, thank you!" She was fond of saying. Mickey is also very kind, loving and protective of the people she lets get close to her.
Mickey saw her two favorite people right away, and waved back at them. She adored her Aunt Leslie and her friend Irene. She had been around them both many times and always wondered if they were a couple or just friends. She was not surprised then when her Aunt Les had told her of her relationship with Irene. She was happy for her aunt, because Les finally found someone to share her life with and wouldn't be alone anymore. It was awful to be lonely, she thought.
"Hey, you two! How are my two favorite people, today? Thanks for picking me up and letting me stay at the house aunt Les." She hugged them both. She didn't wait for a reply and just continued to speak... "Irene! You look great. That vacation to Greece really did wonders for you. You look better than before... Whatcha been doin'?" Before she could realize what she had said, both women just cracked up laughing. When she realized her mistake she too laughed. "Ummm! That didn't come out like I meant it, but you know what I mean."
"Uh! Thanks for the compliment... And yes, I know what you mean." Irene said as she giggled.
"I'm very happy for the both of you." Michelle said.
"Wow! That's a relief! I can't tell you how much tension there is around here, trying to find the right way to tell Bill and Nicole about us. It's really starting to create problems for us. We feel like a couple of teenagers sneaking out of the house at night to meet each other. I didn't do that when I was a kid, and look at me now!!" She grabs Leslie's hand and gives it a loving squeeze.
"Irene, it will all work out. I don't want to butt in, but you should just tell them. It's really not fair to them either. They probably are putting two and two together by now, anyway! You are both pretty affectionate women. Just standing here talking to you both, I can see that you can't be next to each other without some kind of touching. I think it's wonderful that the two of you have found each other to go through life with." she said very sincerely.
Both women hugged her again in a big bear hug.
"How did you get so much wisdom is such a short amount of years? Why, of course, you are right! We'll have to tell them as soon as we can. However, there is another problem... we... have to discuss with all three of you. But that will have to wait for awhile, until we figure out the right way and time to do it." Irene said as she looked at Leslie for approval. Which she got in a nod from her love.
"Okay you two, lets get your luggage Mickey and get some breakfast. Re must be starving by now. Come to think of it... You didn't have your coffee this morning! And your not grouchy! By the Gods! This is a first! I'm rubbing off on you. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
"Very funny!" I've been on my best behavior for Mickey. Now, lets get that coffee!" Irene said trying to stifle a giggle. "Come on my stomach is starting to growl."
What a great weekend! Leslie and Irene took Mickey sight seeing, and shopping and of course to as many restaurants as Irene could think of. Irene sure did like to eat. The weekend was coming to a close and soon Irene's children would be home from their travels. Actually Mickey was looking forward to seeing them again. She got along pretty well with Nicole, But thought Bill was a bit of a stuffed shirt.
"Mickey! Now that all the sightseeing is out of the way and we've hit every restaurant imaginable, why don't you tell us what's on your mind. You've been rather quiet this weekend... How come this surprise visit? You know we are here for you..." Leslie said.
"Well... It's simple really. I... I want to resign from the police force. I just don't want to do it anymore. If the truth be known, what I'd really like to do is write... I have all these stories running around in my head just waiting to come out. So I thought I'd give it my best shot. I came here to... you know Aunt Les... kind of get your approval. When my parents died in that car wreck, you were right there for me. You helped me finish school, and you gave me a home.... I just love you for taking care of me and keeping me on the right path. Always encouraging me to be the best I could be."
Looking at her aunt she saw the tears rolling down her cheeks. "Please don't cry Aunt Les. I didn't want to make you unhappy... Oh damn! Please not you to, Irene."
"Unhappy! Oh no! I'm not unhappy... I'm so very proud of you. I love you. What you just said was just... just... wonderful. I'm right behind you my dear sweet Mickey in any thing you choose to do." said Les as she dried her tears.
"Ditto for me, Mickey. I think this needs a group hug." said Irene as she gathered the two women in her arms.
Irene was happy the weekend was over, because now she and Leslie could tell Bill and Nicole about their relationship and their adventure. She didn't know how the kids would react to it. The only thing she knew for sure was the fact that she loved Leslie with all her heart and wasn't about to let anyone or anything get between them. She could only hope that Bill and Nicole would be there for her and Leslie. Anyway! They would find out Tuesday evening, because that was when Leslie was going to invite everyone over for dinner. She was coming over to ask the kids today... Just as Irene was about to pick up the phone and call Leslie the doorbell rang...
"Bill! Would you answer the door dear? I think that's Les and Michelle."
"Sure mom." Bill answered.
Bill went to the door and swung it open. What he saw, was the most beautiful vision he had ever seen. 'Boy! Has she ever changed!! What happened to the tomboy... Has it been that long since I've seen her?" Bill thought. He didn't even see Leslie standing next to Michelle.
"Oh! Uh! Hi, Leslie. Boy! Michelle... you look great! When did you grow up? Where's the tomboy that used to beat the hell out of me?" he asked.
"I grew up; and I can still whip your butt kiddo." she laughed. "How have you been? You turned out pretty cute... you used to be kind of a geek if I remember correctly." said Mickey.
"Thank you. I think?!" Bill said.
"Hey! You gonna let us come in or what?!" Mickey said laughing. She always made Bill feel a little off center, but couldn't for the life of him figure out why.
"Oh for heavens sake! I'm sorry! Sure come on in. It's so good to see you again Michelle..." Bill said as he started to close the door. When suddenly he heard Leslie's voice...
"Me too Bill?!!"
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry Les, I kind of forgot you were standing there." He said rather embarrassed.
Irene walked into the hall and greeted Les and Michelle with a hug and kiss. "Bill, what is taking so long to let our friends into our house. Talk to Michelle in the Living room for heaven's sake! "
"Mickey!!! Oh God! You look great! You stinker it's been to damn long since you've been back home. You gotta fill me in on what's been happening... I know you were in the Army for awhile... any boyfriends? I missed ya!" Nicole said giving Mickey a great big hug. "Nobody has beat Billy up since the last time you were here!" Everyone laughed at that last statement.
"Whoa! Slow down! I really missed you too... my little shadow. No boyfriends to speak of... you know. I'm a police officer, but not for long. I'm going for a new career. Police work was becoming, for me anyway, very depressing... so I thought I'd try another field. I want to write fiction. I thought I'd come home and give it a shot." Mickey answered.
"Mickey... no one has called me that since you left! Was I really a pest?" asked Nicole.
"Nic... you were never a pest... I liked having you follow me around. Only at the time I didn't realize it." she laughed.
"Okay everyone. What I wanted was to invite you all over on Tuesday for dinner. Irene and I have something we'd like to talk to you all about. Shall we say about six o'clock. That Okay with you Re?" Leslie said.
"Yeah...That's fine. Bill, Nicole is that time good for you? It's rather important you know." Irene said.
Both Bill and Nicole Nodded their heads in agreement.
"Say, Michelle! How about going to the movies and dinner tonight? I promise to be Sir Galahad and hold your door for you... Or do you still insist on opening your own door?" Bill could not believe he just asked Mickey out on a date.
"I'd love to, Bill. And yes... I'm a nineties kind of gal. I can open my own door thank you. Oh, by the way Bill... call me Mickey... Hey Nic! Why don't you come with us. It will be like old times." 'I don't think he's a geek anymore... More like a fox! Oh! Boy! I think I'm in trouble here.' Mickey thinks.
"Alrighttt! Sure that will be great." Nicole tried hard to stifle a giggle. She knew her brother wanted to go out with Mickey alone, but this was to good to pass up. It was get even time for all the times Bill had teased her about her dates.
"Yeah, sounds like a plan to me." Bill said not to enthusiastically. 'I can't believe I'm so attracted to the brat that used to beat me up!! She's going to be a handful... " he thought.
Leslie and Irene just looked at one another with a surprised smile on their faces.
After Les and Re were alone they spoke about the obvious attraction between Mickey and Bill...
"Well, what do you know! Who would have believed that those two would be attracted to one another." Leslie said.
"Tell me about it! They used to fight with each other at the drop of a hat! Ummm... This could complicate things, Hon." Irene said.
"I don't think so Re. If there is truly a connection there nothing we tell them will make a bit of difference. If it does, then they weren't meant for each other, anyway. It'll be fine; I'm positive. Now let's get that shopping done for our 'trip', Okay?"
"Right! Let's shop till we drop!" Irene says as Leslie shakes her head.
"Re, please! We've been shopping for hours! Please lets stop and go home. Surely you have everything you need?!"
Irene was a little miffed. "Les, I told you I needed to go shopping for our trip... If we're going to see our family for Solstice I want to bring presents and some... essentials for me."
"I can understand you wanting to bring something to our family, but really Re... a set of stainless steel pots and pans for Cyrene. How are we going to take it with us? Not everything gets transported with us...REMEMBER!" Les was losing her patience.
"I've got it covered, Hon! We're going to pack everything in Bill's old Flexible Flyer red wagon that he used to play with when he was a kid! It will get transported back with us like our backpacks." she said proudly thinking she had thought of everything.
Leslie just stood there with her mouth hanging open. When she regained her ability to speak... she said: "Let me get this clear... You think that because our back packs were transported back with us that the red wagon will as well. Am I correct in that assumption, Re?" Not giving her a chance to respond she added: "And you don't think that we will stand out pulling a little red wagon, huh!?!" she said with an exasperated wave of her hand.
"Come on Les! It's a good idea! Where's your spirit of fun. Lighten up, will ya! This is all part of the adventure, so just relax and go with it." Irene said smiling.
"Okay! I'll lighten up! Can we please go home now? I have to paint something."
"The little red wagon!!" Leslie answered. ' With our luck, we'll materialize in front of a god damn warlord or a bull with that damn red wagon!!! ' she thought.
"Not to bad even if I do say so myself. I managed to get a great deal on the gifts for Cyrene and Toris. I also managed to give my Warrior the slip so that I could get her a gift as well. I really hope she likes it. I know it is not very practical like a whetstone or a knife but I think she will like it and I can't wait to see how she looks in it."
Gabrielle continued to walk up the street looking at the different booths and wondering what else she should get. "Hmm, OK, I gave her the slip but I have no idea where she is now. I wonder if she actually gave me the slip. It's time to become the Great Warrior Bard and go hunting for Warrior Princess heh heh heh."
"Hey, that could make a great story!" she says aloud.
"What would make a great story?" whispers a voice right next to her ear.
Xena chuckles as she sees Gabrielle jump several feet to the left and spin around.
"Xena, would you please stop sneaking up on my like that? You scared me."
"I know, but you had such a cute smirk on your face and I just could not help it. Besides, some little bard was trying her best to put some distance between me and herself and I just thought it was time to close that distance. Did you find everything you were looking for, hmm?" Xena eyes the number of packages and says, "You did give the merchants a chance didn't you, or at least let them think they had a chance for a little while. You know, who has to carry all of that stuff, don't you? Argo, may not be too happy about this."
Gabrielle smiles and informs her partner, "Not to worry, I have that all worked out." Gabrielle draws out a nice big shiny apple from one of the bags and displays it proudly to the Warrior.
"You think you can bribe her with an apple? This I have got to see!"
"Ye of little faith, Argo and I have an agreement, and I'm sure we will not have any problems from our four footed friend."
"Okay Brie, if you say so, but it will still be fun to see what happens. So, what do you have in all of those packages?"
Gabrielle looks at the warrior through her bangs and said, "Oh, you know, just some gifts for Mom and Toris and such. I was wondering if there was anything we need for the road before we start the last leg of the journey home. Any ideas?"
"Not really, we have about a weeks worth of supplies for the road and there are enough villages along the way that we can stop and pick things up as we need them. How are you on your writing supplies? There may not be many places between here and Mom's that have scrolls readily available."
"Good point. The last time we were in Amphipolis for more than a couple of weeks we needed to purchase some scrolls from that caravan that came to town. I'll see what I can do about that and some ink too."
"OK, you do that and I'll check and see if I can find a new bridle for Argo, unless you got her a gift as well."
"No, I just got her some apples," said Gabrielle.
"Well meet back here in say half a candle mark. Will that give you enough time to bargain for you writing supplies?"
"Sure, then how about Lunch!"
"It's not even midday and already you need to feed the beast?" Xena says as she points to Gabrielle's stomach.
Gabrielle smirks and says "Hey, is it my fault that shopping makes me hungry?"
"No problem Brie, Lunch it will be. See you at the Tavern in half a candle mark," says Xena as she heads down the street.
Come on Nicole, I don't want to be late picking up Mickey. Hurry up; will ya?" Bill said impatiently.
Give me a break! She lives right next door for Gods sake. How late can we be picking her up. You're just annoyed because I'm coming along with you on your date. Looks to me like your smitten with our Michelle; huh big brother?" Nicole teased.
"I AM NOT SMITTEN!!" I just thought it would be fun to go to a movie and dinner. That's all! I didn't expect to have a chaperone either!!
Just then the doorbell rang.
"What now! I'll get it." said Bill. As he opened the door, there stood Mickey even more beautiful than before. "Oh?! Uh Hi, Mickey! What are you doing here? Wasn't I supposed to pick you up?"
"I was done early so I thought I'd come on over... That's Okay isn't it, Bill?" she asked innocently. Hoping he wouldn't see her devilish smile.
Nicole, on the other hand could not contain herself and started to giggle.
"Okay then! Let's get going we don't want to be late for the movie." Bill knew by now he didn't stand a chance. He was outnumbered.
After the movie the threesome decided to get something to eat. On the way to the car the were approached by two thugs giving wolf whistles at the girls and passing snide remarks. When they got close enough, they made a very big mistake... they threatened the trio with a gun and told them that this is a stick-up and to hand over all their money and jewelry. Bill of course, put himself in front of the girls and made a lunge for the gun and he was pistol whipped for his effort. Down he went like a ton of bricks not really sure where the hell he was. He was on his knees when Mickey sprang into action. She kicked the gun out of the first thugs hand and proceeded to kick the hell out of him. Nothing like that army training to teach a girl a thing or two.
"Come on shit head; come and get your ass kicked." She had this feral smile on her face.
At the same time Nicole was putting to good use the karate lessons her mother had forced her to take. She was punching the hell out the the other thug as he tried to pick up the gun that had fallen to the ground. He finally got the best of Nicole by giving her a solid punch in the stomach. She doubled over and could not catch her breath.
Seeing this Mickey started in on the thug that had just punched Nicole.
"Oh! So you want the same as your stupid friend here huh?" Mickey yelled at the thug. Then all the thug saw was a fist coming straight for his face and then the lights went out. He was down for the count and so was his partner.
"Nic... You okay!" Mickey said as she helped her friend to her feet.
"Yeah... Boy! That was some punch. I saw stars, but I'm Okay." Nicole said rubbing her stomach and looking for her brother.
Mickey was already by Bill's side, "Bill, are you alright? Come on Bill talk to me... Come on... Do you know where you are?" Mickey was trying to figure out if Bill needed to go to the hospital or not. He finally starts to respond to Mickey's questions.
Bill... God damn it! Answer Mickey." Shouted Nicole, who was starting to panic.
"I... I'm... alright... I think. I have a terrible headache. The guy hit me in the head, right?" As Bill said this he looked around and noticed the two thugs sprawled out on the ground.
"Who the hell did that??!" Bill asked.
"Mickey did it, Bill. It was fantastic! She just kicked the shit out of them. I never saw anything like it in my life. She saved us!" she turned to Mickey and said: "Mickey you were great! You have to teach me some of your moves."
"Mickey did it??!! You... you saved us? Bill said. 'Shit! How fuckin' humiliating. The girl I'm interested in, and my kid sister , decks two thugs and saves me!! I am supposed to take care of you two, not the other way 'round.' he thought.
"Yeah! I guess I did! But that's my job... I'm a cop. Which reminds me, I better call the police here and have these goons arrested.
Bill, I don't think you should drive after that whack in the head you took. I think maybe you should go to the hospital." Nicole said.
"I don't need a hospital... I'm perfectly able to drive." he says as he tries to get to his feet and doesn't quite make it.
"Bill, I really think driving is a bad idea and maybe we should think about taking you to the hospital." said Mickey as she closes her cell phone.
"Jeez, who could be calling now? Les, can you get the phone..." as she is pouring them a cup of coffee.
Les picks up the phone and says "Hello.."
"Hi Aunt Les..." says Mickey. "Sorry for bothering you, but we are going to be a little bit late tonight."
"Mickey, you don't have a curfew, so what are you worried about.?" said Les.
"Well, after the movie..." said Mickey.
"Oh, how was the movie?" asks Leslie.
"Actually, it was pretty good, but we can talk about that later. What I called to let you know is that we ran into a bit of a problem after the movie and never made it to dinner."
"Oh, was there a problem with the car. All fixed I take it. Just go to the all night diner, they are open 24 hours a day and you can order anything you want."
"Ah, Okay Aunt Les. Can I speak with Irene?" asks Mickey.
"Sure dear, she's right here. " Les turns to Irene and says, "Re, it's the kids and Mickey wants to talk to you."
"Hello Mickey, what's up, how was the movie?"
"Movie was fine... the after movie entertainment was not as much fun."
"What do you mean?" asks Re.
"Well, there was an attempted mugging, and not to worry, we are at the hospital and everything is fine. The only one who got hurt was Bill. He just got a goose egg for trying to be a Sir Galahad. The doctors don't think there is a problem but we are waiting for the x-rays to come back to confirm that he has a hard head." Mickey paused to catch her breath and then said, "We should be home soon."
Re says, "Mickey, if you think I'm going to wait here while you kids are at the hospital..."
"WHAT!" Says Leslie, "Who said anything about a hospital!"
"... You better think again. What hospital are you at?"
"No, really Irene, it would be better if you just stayed there. Like I said, the doctors are reading the x-ray even as we speak and we will probably be leaving shortly. We just didn't want to worry you guys because we were late."
"Hmmm, I don't know, I want a call as soon as the doctors speak with you. If they even think about keeping my Sonny-boy over night I'm coming down! I can't believe that all the Karate lessons were wasted on that kid."
"Um, Ah, Okay. I'll speak with you soon," mumbles Mickey. "Bye."
As Irene hangs up the phone, she looks at Les and says, "It's a good thing your a morning person because you were a little slow on the uptake this evening." Irene then proceeds to fill Les in on what Mickey had told her.
The drive home was a quiet one. Nicole had fallen asleep in the back seat and Mickey was driving with Bill sitting next to her in the front seat. Needless to say he was not a happy camper.
"I told you I didn't need to go to the hospital! But NO! You insisted! It was humiliating enough to be rescued by a girl, but you had to insist I go to the hospital. You bullied every nurse and doctor that was on duty. They were positively afraid of you. In case you haven't noticed... I'm a grown man and I can speak for myself thank you!" Bill said.
"Hold it Bill. Enough! I've heard you do nothing but bitch and moan all night. What's the big deal about me taking those two thugs out. Should I have let them kill us? They weren't playing ya know... they had a gun for Gods sake! And as far as you being humiliated, well that's just plain ignorant. What have you got to be humiliated about? You went after those guys to protect us. When he hit you with that gun you went down and then Nicole and I took over. Do you really want some helpless, prissy girl or do you want a woman who can be your equal?" Mickey said, and then added: "I thought you did a very brave thing tonight. So you played Sir Galahad and came up a little short. That's no reason to be so grumpy, I'm on your side; remember?"
They continued on for awhile in silence and then Mickey turned around and asked Bill: "How's the headache?"
"It hurts, but I'll be Okay. I just need some aspirin or something and to get some sleep and then I'll be right as rain in the morning."
"Don't forget we have to face you're mom when we get home."
"My headache just got worse."
As soon as they drove into the driveway, Irene and Leslie were out of the house and running to the car...
"Billy are you alright?" she asked as she grabbed him in a hug. Not seeing Nicole right away she said: "Where is Nicole?"
"I'm fine mom, really... just a little headache and tired that's all. Don't get all crazy on me. Okay!" Bill said.
Nicole hearing the commotion sat up in the car. Realizing the commotion was her mom, said: "Right here mom... just fell asleep on the way home. It's been an exciting night mom. You should have seen Mickey! Whoa! She was great! Les, she kicked some serious butt tonight." she said excitedly.
"Can we go inside now before we wake all the neighbors." Leslie said.
Everyone was sitting around Irene's living room and had settled down when Irene looked up from her coffee and spoke to Mickey.
"Mickey thank you for your help. I'm forever grateful to you." with that she hugged and kissed Mickey on the cheek and started to cry.
Leslie was by her side as soon as she started crying. "Okay Re... It's over and their both fine. Please don't cry..."
"I can't help it... the thought of losing them... just... it's too horrible to imagine." and hugs Leslie.
"Mom! Please! We're Okay! You know the Karate lessons you made me take? Well, It worked mom. Tell her Mickey!!!" Nicole said.
"Yeah, it did... she really walloped that thug, Irene."
Irene turned to Bill and asked with a mischievous smile: "I sent you both to the same karate classes... Weren't you watching??!!"
Bill groaned, and everyone laughed at his expense. "Mom, come on, give me a break!"
"Okay! It's very late and I'm sure everyone is ready for bed. Come on Mickey, let's go home. Re, I'll see you in the morning... " as she caught the look she got from Re. "uh! Okay! Around noon. Oh Yeah! Don't forget dinner at my house tomorrow night everyone." Everyone hugged and said their good nights...
Mickey walked over to Bill and whispered in his ear... "Good night, Sonny-boy!" kissed him on the cheek, and laughed all the way home.
"Maaooom! How could you tell anyone your nickname for me??!! I'm so embarrassed! This has been the worst night of my life." he said as he stomped off to his room; like he used to do when he was little.
Irene and Nicole just looked at him. Both mother and daughter just burst out laughing till their sides hurt.
"Something is not right! Mom is somehow different. I can't put my finger on it, but something's up." Bill said to Nicole.
"Are you nuts!! She's happy as a lark. This trip was a great experience for her. Leslie and mom are closer than ever... they do everything together. Mom is over there more than she's at home... Leslie was even humming the other day. I... wonder? No! That's impossible! No! Couldn't happen... Could it?!!?" she asks Bill.
"NICOLE!! You can't be thinking what I think you're thinking!!! Not our mom. She's never shown any interest in women. Why now? Leslie is just her best friend. That's all!... Although... they are very touchy feely with each other... And they are always finding excuses to be together as much as possible... Mom's over at Leslie's house at all hours of the night with some excuse or another. They can't be working on the artifacts all the time; can they?... So, what could they be doing?" Bill said scratching his head.
"Hellooo!! Anybody in there?" Nicole said, as she hit Bill in the head. "Wake up, Bill...
They are lovers!! I'll spell it out for you! L...O...V...E...R...S... We must be the stupidest two people that ever walked the earth not to have noticed before this!"
"We have to do something! This can't happen... I can't handle this... What if... if someone found out? My God they would be the talk of the town! We have to put a stop to this. Now."
"Hold it right there, Bill Stevens. Mom brought us up not to be prejudiced against anyone or anything. That includes alternative lifestyles. Mom is no kid ya know! She's old enough to make her own decisions as to how she wants to live her life. And no one is going to stand in her way or hurt her as long as I'm around. That, my dear brother, includes you. She was alone for all those years after daddy died. She was always there for us, even when we screwed up. Now it's our turn to be there for her. All ya have to do is look at her to know that this is the right decision for her. She positively beams when she is around Leslie, and it's the same with Leslie. Frankly, I'm happy for them. They found something with each other that I wish I could find. They love each other." she starts to cry...
"Oh Nic! Come on, don't cry." Bill goes to his sister and hugs her. " You know I love mom. I'd never do anything to hurt her or Leslie. It's just kind of shocking, ya know? I was brought up in the same home as you were little sister and I hope I'm not prejudiced. It's... it's... a little overwhelming is all. I never would have thought that mom would be attracted to a woman. I just need some time to get used to the idea. Okay!"
"Okay, big brother. I knew you'd come through. You always do."
"Nic... I don't think we should tell them that we know about them. It should be their decision to tell us when they are ready."
"Yeah! I guess you're right." as she starts to giggle.
"What's so funny?" said Bill.
"The thought occurred to me... When did we get to be the parents and mom & Leslie become the kids?"
"Okay let's get our act together. We have to be at Leslie's house tonight for dinner. They said it was important. Do you think they are gonna tell us about... you know what?... I wonder if Michelle is going to be there tonight. You know, I could really go for her, if she wasn't such a pain in the ass." With that last remark both siblings start to laugh.
'Well dinner has gone very smoothly this evening... I didn't burn anything.' Leslie thought. "
Leslie and Irene were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and Leslie said: "I'm so nervous, Re! If we don't tell them soon... I think I'm going to be sick!! They are never gonna believe us, I just know it. Their gonna think we are certifiable, when we tell them we've gone back in time and met our ancestors..."
"I know exactly what you mean. Let's get it over with and just tell them... I'm more concerned about how they'll take that, then about our relationship... which I might add we haven't told them yet either!"
"Okay hon! Lets do it! Lets go into that living room and tell'em right now." Leslie said as she grabbed Irene by the hand and headed towards the living room and the toughest crowd they would ever have to face.
"Uh hey! How did you kids enjoy dinner? Les worked very hard on making things just perfect for you guys. Wait till you taste dessert!. Mmmm, can't wait! But we thought we would tell you a few things first... Umm, Les..." Irene looked at Leslie...
'Oh shit, here it comes... don't want to hear this....' thought Bill.
"Ummm, we have two very important and very different things we would like to discuss with you. We want you to hear us out first, then you can ask us anything you want. What we are about to tell you may sound fantastic, but it never-the-less is one hundred percent true. Everything we tell you today happened to us in Greece when we were on the dig. It all started when we were excavating the site of Artemis' Temple. We discovered a sealed entrance to a cave with many natural rooms and in one... "
Irene interrupted Leslie.... "And we found this room with an altar, and a talisman with the Stone of Ages embedded in it, and a scroll with a poem written on it... we found out it was a warning to the descendants of Xena and Gabrielle. Then Leslie touched the stone and had a waking dream, kinda, saw Amphipolis until I pushed her hand away from the Stone... We should have listened to the message on the scroll, but I didn't believe it and it was all my fault we got transported into the past.... " she said this all in one breath.
"Mom, mom... slow down. For a minute there, I thought you said you got transported into the past... What did you say?" Bill asked rather confused.
Irene just looked at Bill helplessly then turned to Leslie. "You better explain. I'm not doing so good."
"Bill, she did say we were transported to the past to our ancestors Xena and Gabrielle." Seeing Bill about to speak she held up her hand and started to explain further... "We were transported back in time because we both touched the Stone. Only descendants of Xena and Gabrielle can be transported back. It has to be one of each of their line or it doesn't work. We never in our wildest dreams believed we were related to two of the greatest women in ancient history, but by the Gods, we are!" She proceeded to tell the three of them of their adventure and how they tried to get back home.
"You see... it was no accident that we were sent to that specific time and place. It was Artemis' plan to send us back to save Gabrielle from being assassinated by Ares henchmen. He thought if he killed Gabrielle then Xena would go back to her warlord ways and come back into his grasp. Artemis found out and devised a plan to save her.
We met up with them outside the cave and proceeded on to Amphipolis... On the way we were attacked by bandits. There were too many for Xena to protect Gabrielle, but that wasn't necessary, because Re bashed this bandits head in, and I shot the other one dead as he was about to kill Gabrielle and Re. You might...."
"Jeez!! I'm the one that got smacked in the head... And you two are having delusions. ARE YOU CRAZY!! Bill was shouting by now. He looked over to where Nicole and Mickey were sitting and shouted... "How the hell can you just sit there and listen to all this drivel. Something terrible must have happened to them in Greece. They must have been in an accident...Yeah! That's it! They got hit in the head or something."
"BILL! SHUT-UP!! Calm down! They asked us to wait till they finished their story before we asked any questions. And that means no yelling at them also. Your out of line, so calm down and let them finish. I'm just as floored as you are." Nicole said.
"Go ahead Aunt Leslie... finish the story." Mickey said, giving Bill a dark look.
After Leslie had finished the story of their journey back in time. She and Irene just sat there waiting for the expected response from the kids. They didn't have to wait long...
"Mom!! Gimme a break! You expect us to believe you were hanging from some rock bridge and Leslie saved your life?! That you met Artemis? I think we should take you both to the hospital to see if you're having visions or hallucinations, for God's sake! This is so outrageously nuts." Bill says.
"Aunt Leslie this is kind of far out. How do you expect us to believe this tale. I deal in facts, this is too ludicrous for me!" Mickey says softly.
All Nicole could do was shake her head in agreement with Mickey
"Listen everything we told you is the truth, and we can prove it to you. We have the Stone of Ages and the Scroll. We will show you them both if you wish. Uh! We also are planning a little... trip... so to speak..." Irene was about to tell them what the trip was they had planned, when Leslie reminded her that they had one other thing to drop on the kids before they explained about the trip.
"Re... before you go any further about our trip, I think we should tell them about us. They think we're nuts anyway so why not sock it to'um and get it out in the open. Do you want to tell them or should I?"
"I'll do it." Irene went over to Leslie and held her hand. " Bill, Nicole... I... I want to tell you that... Oh this is hard... I want to tell you that we are very much in love and want to spend the rest of our lives making each other happy." She anxiously waited for a response, but the one that came was a complete surprise to both Leslie and Irene.
"Mom! Why don't you tell us something we don't know. That's no big news to us. All anyone has to do is look at the two of you to know that." said Nicole.
"Yeah damn it! All the sneaking around at all hours of the night. Did you really think we believed you were working? The touchy feely stuff... I have to admit it will take getting used to, but I'm here for you." Bill said as he hugs his mom.
"What did you do; tell us that crazy story to lessen the shock of you two as a couple?" asks Bill.
"No!... Everything we told you was the truth, and we can prove it to you all." said Irene.
Leslie is looking down at the floor and then looks up at the kids and says, "Look, I know this is hard to believe, and if it weren't for the fact we both experienced this, I would say we were ready for the rubber room. But it did happen." Leslie pauses to gather her thoughts... "We will prove it to you. We are going back in time to see the family for Solstice... and... we invite all of you to join us, so we can prove to you that we are not "nuts". Seeing is believing, and I have a feeling that's the only way you will believe us."
"Oh my!" was the only thing Irene could say as she raised her hand to her cheek.
Bill, Mickey and Nicole just sat there trying to take in everything that Leslie had just said. Mickey was the first to speak. "Aunt Les... I have never known you to lie, and I know you are not crazy, so I can only assume you and Irene truly believe you traveled back in time... O.K. Count me in. When do we leave?"
Next it was Bill's turn... "Mom... Les... I didn't mean to be obnoxious, it was just that I was floored by what you told us and unfortunately when I am scared I act like a jerk. I'm sorry. But I'm still having a hard time believing this; but hey... if Mickey can do it so can I. Count me in also."
"Mom, what kind of clothes should I pack? I'm coming along. If they aren't afraid neither am I. And mom..."
"Thank you for making me take the karate lessons. I think it's gonna come in handy." Nicole said.
'Finally! Everything is in place.' thought Leslie. 'I never did get to paint that damn red wagon, though. Re is right, we fit everything we are bringing to our family in it. Boy, she sure is going to gloat about that. Now all we have to do is pack our back packs and we are good to go. I'm so excited about going on this adventure; I just wish Re wasn't so apprehensive. She hasn't voiced her feelings yet, but I know she's not all that happy about bringing the kids with us. Just look at her! Packing her back pack... wait a minute... what the hell is in that pack anyway?'
"Re... Why is your back pack so lumpy? What's in it love?"
"Ahh, uh... Okay! I might as well tell you... it's toilet tissue. I refuse to use leaves this time! I'm just lucky I didn't get a rash last time!!"
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha... I... ha, ha, ha, I... just... can't... believe you still can't get over that.
Ha, ha, ha, ha..."
"Excuse me!!!" she tried to sound indignant. "Enough laughing at me! It's not funny ya know... Oh damn, It is funny; but I can't help it. I'm taking the toilet tissue with me, and that's that!" she giggled.
"It would be even more funny if you were bringing coffee along. I know how you are about your coffee in the morning, and how miserable you were not being able to have any back there and..." she looked at Re and saw that sheepish smirk on her face... "You did!! You packed some; didn't you??!!"
"Well yeah?! So what is so terrible about bringing a few pounds of coffee with us? The family might like to try it and... " seeing Leslie's raised eyebrow and smirk, she said: "Okay, I'm lying! I want it for me."
"Re..." trying desperately not to laugh at her lover, she asked: "How many pounds of coffee did you bring?"
'Shit! She would have to ask that!' she thought. "Les, don't even go there! Does it really make a difference?"
"No. Not really... But... it would satisfy my curiosity, if you told me... I promise I won't laugh..."
"Ten pounds." she knew what was coming...
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." So much for promises!
"Les, I'm not sure it's such a good idea to take the kids with us." Irene said.
"They don't believe us, Re. They think we've lost our marbles. This is the only way I could think of to really convince them we are telling the truth." Les said.
"Why can't they just touch the Stone of Ages like you did? That should convince them we are telling the truth and not crazy."
"Darlin', we could try, but the way Bill reacted to our story, I doubt he would even believe his eyes. He will never believe us unless he experiences it. Hell, he's having a hard time just dealing with us being a couple; let alone time travel"
"I suppose you're right, but... I have this uneasy feeling... "
"Look Re, maybe we shouldn't take them with us. Let's just go ourselves and let them watch as we disappear. I think they'll believe that, don't you?" Leslie said with a giggle.
Before Irene could respond, they heard Mickey's voice, behind them, coming from the doorway of the den.
"Just wait a second Aunt Leslie; I couldn't help but overhear what you just said, and I'd sure like to touch that Stone of whatever..."
"Ages... It's called the Stone of Ages, Mickey." Les said in an annoyed tone.
"Yeah, okay... the Stone of Ages. I want to see if I have one of those dreams Irene was talking about."
Irene looked over at Leslie and nodded her head as did Leslie. They both turned and looked at Mickey, and without a word, Leslie walked to the desk and opened the locked drawer with the key she carried around her neck. She very carefully removed a brown velvet pouch and just as carefully placed it on the desk. She opened the pouch and took out the Stone and placed it on the desk.
"Oh! Aunt Leslie that's beautiful! Why, It must be worth a fortune. Mickey couldn't stop looking at it. She had this uncontrollable desire to touch it...
"Yes, it is incredibly beautiful... Look here at the inscription--- how intricate, and of course the red crystal in the center is stunning." Looking at her niece, she said: "It's pulling you towards it; isn't it?"
Before Mickey answered Irene asked her: "Are you sure you want to do this?" She didn't like it when Les touched it, let alone Mickey.
"Yes. Yes I am. You'll both be here to make sure I'm Okay so now is as good a time as any; don't ya think?"
Both Irene and Leslie nodded their heads in agreement. Then Mickey touched the Stone... She got that far away look that Leslie got when she had a waking dream.
"Oh God! There's that look! I wonder what she is seeing?" Irene said as she watched her excitedly.
The power that Mickey felt go through her body when she touched the Stone kind of surprised her, but it was nothing compared to the "daydream" she was having... She saw two women, oddly familiar, fighting what looked like some very dirty looking thugs... yeah... that's what they looked like. The women looked over to her and looked extremely surprised and then smiled and started to say something. She never got to hear what they were going to say though, because just at that moment, Irene pushed her hand away from the Stone.
"Mickey... Mickey snap out of it. Damn! This was not one of my better idea's." Irene scolded herself.
"I'm okay Irene... Wow! What was that?! It was so real... I'm hooked! Just try and stop me from going with you... When are we leaving??"
"I thought we could leave this evening when everyone was packed. We want to go over what everyone is taking. You really don't need much though, because Re has thought of everything." Les looked over to Irene and winked. "Now come on to your room and show me what you want to take with you, and then I'll tell you what you really need." she laughed as she and Mickey left the den.
Once in Mickey's room, Leslie's got more serious as she asked Mickey, "Tell me what the dream was about, Mickey. I didn't want to ask you in front of Irene... didn't want to worry her if the dream was not good."
"Gee... Aunt Les... It was an incredible experience. I can just imagine how you must have felt... Really weird kind of feeling, ya know. I saw a battle and somehow I... no... I think we were there. There were also two women fighting off a whole group of warriors, and, Aunt Les, funny thing was that the women seemed to know us. At the time I kind of thought they looked familiar, but after looking at you and Irene I realize they look like you two!"
"Oh my!" was all Lesley could say as she sat down on the bed and covered her mouth with her hand. "How am I gonna tell Irene this. She's gonna freak!"
"No Mickey, we look like them. They're our ancestors." came Irene's voice from the doorway. Les turned around with a start to see Irene standing there with her hands on her hips just giving Les that look she gave her every time she under-estimated her.
"Les, hon... You should really learn to shut doors if you don't want to be overheard."
"Re, please don't be angry! I just wanted to protect you and... well... I know how worried you've been..." Leslie's voice trailed off.
"Look! I can, as you know very well, handle myself... thank you! There is no reason why you have to protect me all the time... I'm not some fragile prissy woman. Do I look like I'm freakin' out to you? Huh?"
"Nooo... you don't, but I could've sworn you were going to. I guess I was wrong... I'm sorry... I won't do that again my love. From now on what I know you'll know, but I can't promise I wont want to protect you again." Les goes to Irene and gives her a kiss on the cheek and a hug and whispers in her ear... "I love you so much!"
"Love you too. Now don't worry, Les this trip is just a visit to "the family" for Solstice; nothing more." Irene thought... 'I hope! Please Artemis, no surprises this time. '
That evening everyone was packed and ready to go. Everyone that is except Bill. He was packed, but was still not convinced. Every time Irene spoke about going on this adventure of a lifetime, as she called it; he would just snicker. This time Nicole was sitting next to him, and hit him on the back of head, as was her habit with Bill...
"Ow! Hey... cut that out" he said rubbing the back of his head.
"Duh!! Have a little faith Bozo! They are not crazy or stupid. Mom and Leslie wouldn't do this if they thought they were going to fail. Big brother, the only one who is going to have egg on his face is you."
Mickey just sat there taking this all in. 'God! What a jerk. It amazes me that anyone that is such a jerk, can be so damned attractive. I'd just like to go over there and kiss... STOP! What in the world am I thinking? He's such a pompous ass sometimes...'
"Okay you two, knock it off. Bill, you don't have a clue. Why don't you stop acting like a jerk and get with the program. Everything they told us is true!" Mickey said sternly.
"How do you know, Mickey?" asked Nicole.
"Because I touched... "
"Oh what baloney! She doesn't know anything we don't know, Nic. She's just being her old take charge bully type person again; like when we were kids." said Bill in a very petulant tone.
Mickey just gave Bill a look that could freeze a volcano, and continued to respond to Nicole's question... "As I was saying... I know it's the truth, because I touched the stone and had an... experience..." she was interrupted again.
"So! So, you touched the Stone... BIG DEAL! That doesn't prove anything, ya know."
"Boy! Your mom and my aunt were right about you being so thick that you wouldn't believe it unless it happens to you. You... You... Oh never mind!!! Let's just drop this conversation before I clobber you. You are the most stubborn man I have ever met. Aaaahhhh!" She stomped out of the room.
"Nice goin' Bill." Nicole said sarcastically, "That didn't win any points with her."
"Damn it! What a pain in the ass... That woman is so infuriating...."
"Oh yeah! Like the time she saved you from that gun wielding thug... Or took you to the hospital to make sure you were Okay... Hmmm, sure is a pain in the ass; isn't she? Bill, there's something I'd like to know..."
"Who are you, and what have you done with my brother; because he would not be acting like a horse's ass!"
Bill looked at Nicole for a few seconds, before he spoke... "Horses ass, huh? ... Yeah, I guess I have been acting rather badly. My ego reared it's ugly head; didn't it? It's just that I felt so helpless when we were mugged. I'm supposed to take care of you Nic and any one else that's with me. She just beat the hell out of those guys like it was nothing at all..." His eye clouded over... "She was magnificent... now she'll never speak to me again." he said.
Leslie and Irene picked that moment to walk into the living room... "I don't think you have to worry about that now, Bill, we have other more pressing things to think about. This is no joke... it's deadly serious, so you had better take this adventure... seriously. It's time to stop insulting your mother's and my intelligence... we know exactly what we are doing and I won't have you or anyone else upset her or my niece. Ya got that, Bill?" Leslie said, as she put a protective arm around Irene.
Bill lowered his head and then very slowly raised it and said: "I'm truly sorry. As Nic pointed out to me, I've been behaving like a horses ass. I'll try to be more supportive. No more horses ass for me, I promise." With that he went over to Irene and gave her one of his bear hugs and then pulled Les into it. As he looked up he saw Mickey leaning against the door frame, with her arms folded, just watching. Bill thought he saw a tear rolling down her cheek. He knew then that he was falling for Mickey in a big way.
Everybody had taken their gear to the den and were waiting for Les and Irene to check out what they were taking with them. Les had told the kids to take jeans and two warm sweat shirts, heavy boots, toiletries and whatever else they needed. Les of course was taking her gun and ammunition. She hadn't forgotten how it came in handy last time. Only this time she would wear it on her belt with her sword slung over on her back. Of course the first aid kit was there as well. She hoped she wouldn't have to use it this trip. Irene's kids could hardly believe their eyes when they saw Irene standing there with her staff in her hand and that very large Bowie knife.
When Les checked Mickey's pack she looked at her niece and started to laugh. "Are you sure you need these?"
Mickey responded, "What?! Just a pair of handcuffs and brass knuckles! You never know when you might need them." She then proceeded to check her gun and put it in it's holster and place it on her belt..
Leslie just smiled at the answer that Mickey gave her. She had heard that very same answer from Re many times, and more times then not she was right.
Irene looked over to Leslie and nodded her head.
"Okay everyone... it's time to go!" Leslie said, smiling at Irene. Let's gather around the wagon and..." she was interrupted. She was getting used to it by now.
"Mom! That's my red wagon!" Bill said.
"Yes dear it is. We need it to carry the presents for the family." Irene replied.
"But mom I..."
"Bill! Don't even go there. This is what she wants." Leslie said.
"Alright, listen up... Here's what we're gonna do. Irene and I will touch the Stone in the talisman and all of you will hold on to us. That way, we should all be transported to where we want to go. All you have to do is think of holding our hands and we will do the rest. Is everyone ready?" Leslie looked to each of them. They all nodded in agreement. "Okay then! Let's do it."
Xena and Gabrielle had made good time on their journey home to Amphipolis. Thank the Gods the trip had been a rather uneventful one. 'Just one more day and they would be home in a nice comfy bed. Now if only things would continue to go smoothly... But did anything ever go smoothly for these two women? No... Why should this journey be any different?...
"Xe. How much longer till we reach home?"
"Oh... we'll probably be home tomorrow, given no surprises or "distractions" she said as she smiled coyly.
"I see... I'm a distraction huh." she teased.
"The best kind." Xena drawled caressing the bards arm that was wrapped around her waist as they rode atop Argo. 'By the Gods! How I love this woman!' she thought. "Brie lets stop for lunch. I'm kind of hungry."
"Yes my Bard..."
"Can we have dessert first?" she teased as she hugged her warrior.
"That was my plan woman!" Xena then turned in the saddle so she could give Gabrielle a very passionate long kiss. Before Gabrielle knew it she was off Argo and still locked in that kiss. When the kiss ended all Gabrielle could do was swoon as she slowly opened her eyes.
"By the Gods, Xena!! That kiss was... was... incredible! Is the rest of dessert going to be that good?!"
Xena just looked into the passion filled green eyes of her lover and swept her up in her arms. Kissing her lips ever so gently she said: "Come on my love, lets find a secluded spot and I'll give you all of your "dessert."
"Oooohhh yeah!" said the Bard in excited anticipation of what was to come.
After they had each other for dessert the two lovers lay in each others arms enjoying the closeness and warmth of each others body... when Xena heard an all too familiar rumbling sound emanating from the Bard's stomach, she could not help but chuckle.
Sheepishly, Gabrielle looked into cerulean blue eyes and said: "Uh... Sorry about that. Not very romantic I know; but I am Kinda hungry..."
All Xena could do was laugh and hug the Bard to her. "Okay Brie. Lets eat."
The Bard and Warrior were walking down the road to Amphipolis with Argo in tow just talking... well, Gabrielle was talking and Xena was listening to her story and giving an occasional grunt to show she was in fact listening to her Bard, when all of a sudden Xena stops short and cock's her head to the side as if she hears something.
"What is it Xena?"
"Shhhsh, Gabrielle be quiet a second... I hear something from up the road and it doesn't sound good." As she said this she jumped up onto Argo and extended her arm to Gabrielle... "Come on Gabrielle... give me your arm... Hurry! There's trouble up ahead."
"Of course there's trouble! Why wouldn't there be trouble when we're around? " Gabrielle extended her hand to Xena and was up on the horse in an instant and headed into the fray...
When they rounded the bend they saw what the trouble was... Looked like raiders attacking two wagon loads of people. The people on the wagons were helplessly outnumbered and outmatched. Xena observed that there were ten warriors and knew that she and Gabrielle would be able, with the help of the people on the wagons defeat these ruffians. So... into the fracas she and the Bard flew. Making sure the Bard was off of Argo she flipped and did one of her war cries and landed right in the middle of the fray with sword drawn and a feral smile on her lips she said: "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" The foolish man attacked and Xena ran him thru.
At the same time that Xena was slashing her way through the raider, Gabrielle was taking on two very mean looking guys with her staff. She took one down with a jab to the head and with her staff she spun around and hit the second man on the back of the legs; and down he came. She quickly followed with a blow to his head. Gabrielle looked to where Xena was fighting and saw she was being flanked by more raiders; so she worked her way to Xena's side to cover her back.
"Thought you might need your back covered Xe. There seem to be more raiders than we first thought, huh..." She smacked another fool in the head and down he went.
"I know! They must have been hiding in the woods and showed themselves when they saw we were wiping the floor with these asses..." Xena throws her Chakram effortlessly, and takes out four more raiders.
"By the Gods!" Yells Xena. "Gabrielle! Do you see what I see? Look... look over there."
"Sweet Artemis!! It's Leslie and Irene! Oh oh, they're right in the middle of the bad guys; and who in hades are those people with them?!"
"Never mind that now Brie, we have to get to them... come on." Again Xena throws her Chakram, only this time it's to protect her family. It hits it's mark and then another, and then it is deflected by a sword and heads straight for Irene... Xena yells for Irene to watch out... Irene reacts quickly to this warning, but all that can be heard after the Chakram hits is....
"SHIT!!! Not the God damn toilet paper!" Irene yells. Seems she grabbed the closest thing to her to protect herself from the out-of- control Chakram. Which was the back pack she was holding. Just as she was jumping up and down cursing... a raider came at her and swung his sword, which she successfully deflects, using her back pack again; only this time there is a mass of ground coffee flying everywhere. It was snowing coffee! Her precious coffee! This was the last straw for Irene. She snapped....
"You son of a bitch!! I'm gonna knock your block off you asshole..." She picked up her staff that had fallen to the ground and proceeded to knock the tar out of the poor fool that dared to mess with her coffee!!!
Leslie and Mickey had their guns drawn and were shooting at the raiders, and Bill and Nicole were using the karate on the ones that dared to go near their mom. Although, she looked like she could take care of herself; they marveled.
Within a few minutes Xena and Gabrielle worked their way over to where the "family" was fighting. After Leslie and Irene and company showed up, the odds were once again in Xena's favor and they made quick work of the raiders. Those that were not dead had run away; except... for the one that Xena put the pinch on...
Looking down at the man she had just put the pinch on, Xena said coldly, "I just stopped the flow of blood to your brain. In thirty seconds you'll be dead. Unless. . . you tell me everything I want to know... Who are you working for?"
"Aaahgg... Okay, okay! I ride with Cranus. Uhhgg, now take this pinch off." the slaver said.
"Why pick on these people?"
They... Uhhgg... looked like easy pickings... till you and that crazy woman came along." he said pointing to Irene.
"You son of bitch! Crazy huh! I'll show ya crazy tomorrow morning when I don't have my coffee!!" she yelled at the almost dying man. Les had to restrain her from smacking the guy.
"Xena! ... Xena! ... take the pinch off." Gabrielle said.
"Oh yeah... Next time I see you you will die. Nighty night!" she said as she took the pinch off and then punched him in the face and knocked him out cold.
Xena walked over to where the travelers had congregated by the wagons. When she got closer she recognized some of the people as being from Amphipolis.
"Sentius, are you alright?" Xena asked.
"Yes, Xena. I'm so glad you came along. We would surely have been killed or worse." he said as he looked at his children.
From behind Xena a voice said: Yeah,... the warrior business must be in bad shape if those bastards pick on poor defenseless women and children. Thank the Gods you are home for Solstice. Maybe now we can have some peace. The vermin wont attack if they know you're around, my friend."
Xena turned and smiled broadly at the woman who had just spoken. "Kara! she grabbed the woman in a big hug... "I haven't seen you in years! How are you?"
Getting Gabrielle's attention... "Gabrielle! Come here... There's someone I want you to meet"
"I'm fine Xena. answered Kara, "I came home for good with my daughter. I want her to know her grandparents. Antia... meet your Auntie Xena. Xena this is Antia."
Xena looked into two very large brown eyes. "Hello Antia. I'm very happy to meet you." she said as she gently touched the child's cheek. "How old is she Kara?"
"Lo AuntyThena. Mommy theez you thaved us. Mommy fightth also, ya know." she said proudly.
"She's three years old, and not in the least bit shy as you can see. Thank you Xena... I could have lost her today if you..." she tried to hold back a tear that was starting to form in her eye.
"Don't cry. It's over now. Seems to me you were doing some pretty good fighting yourself... Brought back memories of when we were kids."
"Xena there is something I need to tell you. I... I... know these people." The name of their leader is Cranus. The worst kind of evil vermin there is. He's a slaver and he's ruthless." Kara said as she looked into her friends questioning blue eyes.
"How do you know them? Don't tell me you rode with them."
"No... No... I didn't ride with them... I uh... I married... one of them. I married Cranus' son Angelos. I thought Angelos was a simple farmer! How could I have been so stupid. I just believed everything he told me. When I found out the truth, Antia had come along and I begged him to change his ways. He said he would, but the first time his father called him he ran and left us. So I..."
"Came home to Amphipolis and your family. He's after Antia; isn't he?" Xena asked.
"Yes... yes he is. I won't have my child growing up with those animals! Antia and I were out riding and those idiots attacked when the wagons were passing us. That's why the wagons were attacked today... Not for what they were carrying, but for the fact that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank the Gods you happened by Xena. Please, please help us." Kara said as she started to cry.
"Kara don't cry anymore... I'm here now and I promise we will help you."
"Oh Gabrielle! I want you to meet an old friend... " she said as Gabrielle walked over to them. Xena introduced Kara and Antia to the Bard. Of course, Gabrielle fell in love with Antia immediately, and then began a conversation with Kara.
"So. Kara, tell me about growing up with Xena..." Gabrielle said.
"Okay my cue to leave. I think I'll go and find out how our family is. Don't give away too many of my secrets Kara." she laughed and headed in Les and Irene's direction.
After the fighting ended and Irene and Leslie had gathered their kids together to check that all was well, it suddenly dawned on Bill what had just occurred.
"Well, I'll be damned!!" Bill said, not speaking to anyone in particular. "It was all true! Here we are in the middle of a battle in ancient Greece, watching my mom kickin' some serious butt." With that last statement he just sat down on the ground, shaking his head in amazed disbelief. He looked up and noticed this tall raven-haired beauty walking over to where his mom and Les were standing. At the same time Nicole and Mickey walked over to see if he was okay.
"It's good to see you both again. We missed you." she said as she hugged her two descendants. "Cyrene will be happy you're home for Solstice. Ahh, I'm assuming the three over there are related to us?!"
"The kids didn't believe us about our adventure to the past, sooo... we had to prove it to them. And yes, they are ours. You're a grandma again!!" Les laughed.
"Xena! I'm... sorry. I kind of lost it there for a while. That son of a bitch destroyed my Blue Mountain coffee! It's all gone! Nothing left... gone, gone, gone..." Irene whined with her head in her hands shaking her head from side to side. Les had to try very hard not to laugh. She knew how upset Re was about the coffee, but she looked so funny when the coffee was flying around her that every time the coffee was mentioned Les just wanted to laugh.
The three "grandchildren" walked over to where their parents were talking to Xena,
and at the same time Gabrielle walked over to greet her family as well.
"Irene that's okay! As a matter of fact it was great! You scared the tartarus out of them." Xena giggled.
"You two are a sight for sore eyes. It's so good to see you again" Gabrielle said as she hugged and kissed Irene and Les. "Are you here for Solstice?"
"Yes, and we brought our kids this time. Come on we want to introduce you to more of your family...." Irene said. Forgetting about her precious coffee for a while.
"This is Mickey, Leslie's niece, and this is Bill and Nicole my children. Kids meet your "Grandmothers"! " she said as she waved her hand towards Xena and Gabrielle.
The utter shock on their faces was priceless. The four women just looked at each other and started laughing. It was good to be back again. Our two adventurer's couldn't wait to get to Amphipolis and Cyrene.
I wonder where my girls are? They were supposed to be home yesterday. Oh well! No sense worrying about those two. If anyone can take care of themselves they can... Although... half the time, I really don't want to know the scrapes they get into. It would probably turn my hair white if I knew!' she thought.
As the group of exhausted travelers entered the inn, they heard a scream of delight emanating from Warrior Mom. "I knew it! I knew you two would come home for Solstice... You both look wonderful." she said as she hugged Irene and Leslie.
"Oh Cyrene... we've missed you." Irene said.
We wouldn't miss sharing Solstice with all of you. And by the way... these three tired looking people are our children." Leslie said as she motioned the kids to come forward and meet another grandmother.
"Excuse us if we have a dumbfounded look on our faces, but this is one incredible experience!!" Mickey said as she shook Cyrene's hand. "Happy to meet you."
"Xena, my daughter, I was getting worried about you and Gabrielle. You were supposed to be home yesterday. What happened?" She said this as she was kissing her girls hello.
"Long story Mom, but I think it's important for you to hear this one. I want to take care of Argo, and then we'll all sit down and figure out what to do next. Gabrielle would you take our things to our room, please?"
Before Gabrielle could answer her Love, Cyrene looks very seriously at her daughter and says: "I'm not going to like this am I, daughter?"
Xena just shrugs and smiles that half smile of hers and says: "Probably not mother, but it's important that you know what's going on."
"That's what I was afraid of..." Cyrene said.
"Come on Mom it really isn't bad, just something you need to be aware of." Looking around, Gabrielle asks Cyrene... "Where's Toris? I thought he would be home for Solstice."
He's helping a friends family patch their roof. You know them Xena... It's Kara's parents. She's come home for good, you know."
"I know Mom. We met her on the road." With that Xena turned and left the inn to take care of Argo.
"That was a strange reaction... you'd think she'd be happier?!" Cyrene said.
"Uh Cyrene! Can we have a couple of rooms for us and the children?" Irene asked.
"Oh sure Irene. It's very quiet this week. So we have plenty of space. Do you want to stay in the cabin you rebuilt or..." she was interrupted...
"You built a cabin?!" Bill said.
"Yeah. We all did. No biggie!" Irene said. "Yes..., Cyrene that would be fine. Thank you."
"As for Mickey and Nicole, I think they can share a room and Bill needs his own." said Cyrene.
"That would be great! Thanks Grandma." Nicole says enthusiastically.
"Yeah, thank you, Cyrene." Mickey says. " If it's okay with you Aunt Les, I'd like to lay down for a bit I'm very tired. Come on Nicole, let's take our gear to our room. Uhh! Can you point us in the right direction, please..."
"Grandma huh." Cyrene laughed. "Okay you two follow me. Oh, uh... Bill, is it? You come with us also. Might as well put your things away to."
"Right! Thank you for your hospitality, Cyrene. This has been quite a day!! It's not everyday you meet your ancestors!" Bill smiled. "Right behind ya."
Leslie and Irene turned to Gabrielle with smiles on their faces. They had indeed missed the Bard and her Warrior.
After having put their things in the room, Gabrielle went out to the barn to speak with her love. She was concerned that her Warrior was so ill at ease. When she walked into the barn she saw Xena brushing down Argo and walked up behind her and wrapped her arms around her waist...
"I love you Xena. It will be sooo good to share a nice warm bed with you tonight." she whispered into her lovers ear.
Xena turned around to face Gabrielle... "Mmmm... Yes that sounds very inviting my Bard." As she bends down and kisses her love on the lips.
Gabrielle noticed a hint of sadness in her Warriors eyes. "Xe... What's troubling you? You seem to be preoccupied since we had the fight with the slavers."
"You're right I am. I'm trying to figure out how I can take them out without endangering the village. The slavers weren't after the wagons Brie; they were after Kara and Antia."
"Why were they after them, Xe?!"
"Seems Kara married this guy Angelos. Who just happens to be the warlords son!" Seeing the shocked look on Gabrielle's face, Xena continued: "She didn't know he was a slaver till well after they had been married. When she found out, she left him and came home. Gabrielle... They're want to get Antia back! I'm afraid they will stop at nothing to achieve this even if it means attacking the town to do it."
"So that's why you have to tell Mom! What's your plan, Xe?"
"Not much of a plan Gabrielle. I have to take them out. I have to help Kara."
"No!" Gabrielle said in a raised voice. Something Xena was not accustomed to.
"No! What do you mean No?"
"Just what I said! No. We! We will help her. We are a team remember?"
Xena's eyes filled up as she gave her Bard a hug and kissed her deeply. "Oh! I love you my Bard."
"And I love you, my Warrior."
Toris came running into the barn and gave his sister one of his bear hugs and then turns his attention to Gabrielle. "Hi, Gabrielle! Keeping my sister out of trouble?" he laughed as he looked at his sister.
"Hey! What am I? Invisible?! I do not get into trouble! It's not my fault if things just happen to me!!!" she grins.
"No chance of that, Tor. I've missed you, you big goof." Gabrielle declares as she hugs him.
"Xena, I was at Kara's house, when she came home today. She was visibly shaken... What happened on the road? She wouldn't speak about it and said you'd fill me in." Toris asked.
"Tor... What do you know about Kara after she left here?"
"Just that she married, had Antia and left her husband and came home. She won't speak of that time. Xena... I... I care for her. Always have... What's going on."
Xena filled him in on everything she knew about the situation. "Well, there you have it, Tor. I..." looking over to where Gabrielle was standing... "We are going after those slavers. Maybe we can show them the error of their ways. If not... " she ended her sentence by running her hand across her throat. One picture is worth a thousand words.
Les and Irene walked into the cabin and both of them remembered how much fun rebuilding it was. They looked at each other and smiled. Then Leslie walked over to Irene and kissed her with a passion that took her breath away. The kiss was long and deep. When their lips parted both partners were weak in the knees...
"Wow!! That was some kiss! We should get into more battles." Irene said breathlessly.
"Huh! What do battles have to do with that kiss?!" asked Les
"I think it's what Xena calls battle lust..." Irene giggled.
"Nah!... Ya think?!!"
"Yeah, I do."
Leslie smiled lasciviously and said: "Well, what are we waiting for then?" as she jumps on the bed and opens her arms to Irene.
"Ooooh yeah!" Irene just flings herself into the open arms of her lover.
After they were finished making love, both women drifted off to sleep snuggling up to each other as if they were one body.
Then came a knock on the cabin door... "Hey! Mom, Leslie are ya in there? Time for dinner. Come on, rise and shine. We've been helping Cyrene cook... Well, Mickey and I were helping and Bill and Toris were watching. Maaoom, wake up!"
"OKAY!... Okay dear, we are up. We'll be right there sweetheart. Thanks, Nic." she said.
"what? Who... was that Re?"
"Nicole. Seems we fell asleep my love. Come on... we have to get up. Dinner is ready and they are waiting for us."
That night as everyone was seated around the table, eating, laughing and just in general enjoying each others company...
"Tell me Cyrene; how did you know we would come back for Solstice?" Irene asked.
"Because you are my family and I knew no matter where or when, you would come home for Solstice. I saw the look in both your eye's when you were last here. Like the look I see in Xena's eyes when she's off on another adventure." Cyrene then turned her attention to her daughter.
"Okay, daughter, tell me what's going on. Let's get that over with!"
"What's going on?! I don't understand... Are we talking about that skirmish we materialized into?" Leslie asked.
"Yeah, it is." Xena answered. "Okay, here it is in a nutshell." she said as she rolls her eyes. She was getting tired of telling the story. "The wagons and the villagers were not the object of the attack today. Kara and Antia were. Seems that Kara married this guy she thought was a simple farmer, had a child by him, and then found out he was a warlords son. A son who did as his father bid him to do. His father is Cranus. When she found out, she left her husband, took Antia and came home. They have been trying to take Antia back. Gabrielle and I are going to prevent this from happening." She looks around the table and says: "Any questions?"
There was a stunned silence for a minute...
"Dear, I think you covered it all!" said Cyrene. "Gabrielle! Do you see any white hairs yet?" With that last remark, the tension was broken and everyone just started to laugh.
Leslie looked over at Irene and both nodded. "Xena, you're not going to leave us out of this one. We are going with you guys. We wouldn't miss this for the world."
Mickey, Bill and Nicole were just about to jump in when Irene turned to them and said: "Don't even think about it. You are not coming with us, and that's that!"
"Look, Irene I would be of help on this one. I'm a cop, for God's sake! Xena, count me in." Mickey says in a determined tone of voice.
"Mom... Come on! We're adults. We aren't going to let you go without us, so get with the program." Bill laughs..."Someone has to protect Mickey anyway!"
Mickey just looked at Bill and smiled. 'Yep! This guy has potential!' she thought.
Mom, no damn pig is going to hurt that little girl if I can help it. I'm going also. I'm not asking permission here, I'm just going." Nicole says as she averts her mothers eyes.
Irene just looked helplessly at Leslie.
"Re... I guess we're going to have company on our new adventure." Leslie put her arm around Irene's shoulder and whispers in her ear... "Don't worry love. It will be Okay."
"I don't know what to say..." Xena started to say...
"Xe... Don't say anything but "Thanks." Now what's your plan?" Gabrielle asks.
Next day, Xena sent word to Kara to come to the inn and bring Antia with her. Xena wanted to make sure Kara and Antia were safe and secure while our band of adventurers went after Cranus and son. The Idea was that Toris would protect them while Xena and company took out the 'bad guys' as Nicole called them. That was the plan...
When Kara showed up, everyone gathered in the kitchen and began to discuss the plan Xena had worked out. Gabrielle noticed Antia listening to the adults talking and told Xena that it might not be such a good idea for a small child to hear such things. Xena was in total agreement with Gabrielle.
"Nicole, will you please take care of Antia while we discuss things? Maybe... take her upstairs or outside and play for a while?" Xena asked, as she looked to Kara for an okay to her suggestion. Kara agreed.
"Antia! You wanna play with me?" Nicole asked the little girl. "I'll show you how to twirl your hoop around your waist. Come on sweetie lets play!"
"Oh goodie! Yeth, yeth. Letth play!" laughed the little girl as she ran out the back door, with Nicole running close behind her.
"Hey! Wait for me!!" Yelled Nicole.
"Antia! Watch me and learn girl... See you take the hoop and step into it and twirl it around your waist... and swing your body... like this... Wheeee.... Isn't this great?"
Whoopy! Let me do it, pleath!! Ha! ha! ha!" Antia pleaded "Yippy! Thith ith fun! I can do it, Nicole! Look! I can do it!!" Antia said excitedly..
"Okay Antia! Way to go little one!"
After they finished playing with the hoop both new friends sat down on the tree stump and were munching on an apple. Nicole gave Antia hug and it was returned in kind by the giggling little girl.
"Where ith you mommy Nic?"
"She's inside talking to your mommy, sweetie. My mommy is Irene."
"Oh... Do you have a daddy?" Before Nic could answer Antia continued... "I don't have a daddy anymore..." she said as she wrinkled up her face in a pout.
Nicole felt a tear fall from her eye, before she answered this sweet little girl. "No sweety, I don't have a daddy."
Antia scooted up onto Nicole's lap and gently touched her face with her little hand... "Thath okay Nic, I'll be you friend foreva!"
"Thank you Antia, and I'll be your friend forever." She hugged the little girl and kissed her on the cheek. From the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of three raiders coming out of the bushes towards them. She jumped up and immediately pushed Antia towards the back door. "RUN ANTIA, RUN!... GET HELP! HURRY, HURRY!!!"
Antia ran as fast as her little legs could carry her just missing being caught by running between one of the raiders legs. In the mean time Nicole was knocking the hell out of the other two henchmen. Before she knew what happened the raider that missed catching Antia came up behind her and knocked her on the head and down she went...
"Come on, lets take her with us." one raider said.
"Why don't we just kill her and be done with it. She knocked my tooth out; the bitch." he said as he kicks her.
"No! We can use her to barter for the brat that Cranus wants so badly. Maybe this way he won't kill US for failing to get the brat. Now lets get out of here...Fast!"
Antia ran into the inn to where everyone was discussing the plan. She ran right to Kara.... "Mommy... Bad Men... Bad... Nicole... Hurt her..." she starts crying and that's when all hell breaks loose. Kara cradles her child in her arms and runs out back along with everyone else.
Xena was the first to reach the back. By the time they got out there Nicole had already been taken. Irene went ballistic. She just started to run in the direction of the tracks the raiders horses made. Les was right behind her and grabbed her. "Stop! Stop! You can't help her this way... We'll get her back... Xena! Please?!" Looking to her some help.
"NOOO! Let go of me! I have to save my daughter, NOW!" Irene was hysterical.
Mickey and Bill just looked at each other helplessly.
Xena came up to Irene and placed her hands on her shoulders and held her firmly... "Listen to me Irene... They are not going to hurt Nicole... They need her!"
"How the hell do you know that?" trying to struggle free of Xena.
"Irene, listen to me, I said!... If they didn't need her she would be lying here dead. They need her ALIVE to barter for the child." she said as she glanced at Antia.
Feeling Irene relax some Xena release her hold on her shoulders. Gabrielle and Les came over and helped her back into the inn. Irene could barely walk she was crying so hard.
"Irene trust Xena... In matters like this she is never wrong, and you know she would never let anyone she cared about come to a bad end. She'll get Nicole back. I promise you we all will do everything in our power to do this."
Irene just looks at Gabrielle and nods her head. "If anything happens to her...." She look at Leslie. "Please Les, please!!!"
"I'm right here. We will get her back safe and sound. She's tough, hon. She will be able to take care of herself until we rescue her." Les wanted to believe what she had just told Irene.
When everyone was back inside and gathered in the kitchen, Xena began to tell everyone what the plan was. Of course now it was quite simple really... She was going to take Cranus out. How dare he harm her family!
"Okay everyone, listen up! I know where their camp is." Xena says.
"How? When did...." Gabrielle questioned.
"Early this morning. I went back to the road where Kara was attacked and followed the trail. Wasn't very hard to find them. Now can I get on with the plan?" she says as she looks at her Bard.
Gabrielle nods her head.
"Alright here's what we are going to do... Tor... You're staying here to protect Kara, mother and Antia. I don't want to have to worry about their safety while we are busy kicking ass..." again she was interrupted...
"Xena I'm not staying here. This is my fault. If it weren't for me and Antia none of this would have happened. I'm coming along to help!" Kara said.
"NO! No you're not. What would happen to Antia if anything were to happen to her mom. She's your first concern, Kara. And... It... wouldn't do for her mother to kill her father... Would it?"
"I suppose not. Alright! I stay here." she went over to Xena and hugged her.
"Now! Can I please finish without being interrupted again?" Xena relayed her plan to free Nicole and take out Cranus and Angelos. Everyone knew just what was expected of them. At dusk they would ride out and proceed with their mission.... Cranus would never expect an attack at night, Xena hoped. "Let's try and get a few hours rest before we head out." She looks over to Irene and says: "Irene... I promise you, she'll be okay."
Mickey and Bill were sitting by the fireplace. Each with their own thoughts...
"Uh Mickey... I... uh... Mickey I... Look! I care about you and before we go off to get our asses kicked, I'd like you to know that... I think, I love you!" Bill could not believe he said that. He just knew she was going to laugh at him...
In a very soft sensual voice Mickey said: "I love you too. What took you so long, Sonny-boy?" she says as she leans closer to him and plants a gentle kiss on his lips.
"Wow! This is wonderful! I'll try not to be too much of a jerk sometimes." he laughed.
"Does that mean I can save you every now and then?" Mickey says in a teasing tone of voice.
"Yes... As long as you don't call me 'Sonny-boy' in front of anyone but my Mom!"
"Okay, it's a deal." Mickey says touching Bill's cheek lovingly.
Irene and Leslie went back to their cabin. Leslie was cradling Irene in her arms just holding her until she fell asleep. The pain Leslie felt for her love was almost unbearable.
Then came a knock on the door... Les put Irene down on the bed and got her gun. "Who is it?"
"Xena." Les opened the door holding her gun in her hand. "How is Irene?"
"She finally fell asleep... Xena! Is Nicole really not in danger or are you just saying that to keep Irene from going ballistic?"
"I believe she'll be okay until they realize we are not going to trade Antia for her. That's why we are going after her tonight. They will never expect an attack at night, and it will afford us protection as well."
"Shit! This is all my fault! I had to go and prove we were telling the truth about going back in time. All I wanted was to have our kids meet their ancestors and see what great people they came from. I should have known! How could I have been so stupid?"
From behind Les and Xena came Irene's voice... "Hold it right there, Les. This is not your fault. You did nothing to make this happen! So why don't you stop beating yourself up, huh? The only people to blame are the bastards that took her." Turning her attention to Xena she says: "I'm okay now. When are we leaving?"
"As soon as it's dark. I won't tell you what to bring, you already know from the last time." she smiled.
"Xena... Thank you." Irene said.
Xena just nodded and then left.
Nicole came to wondering why she couldn't move her arms. She was groggy and her head hurt something awful. Slowly she got her bearings and realized that not only her head hurt, but her body as well. She groaned as she tried to move. It was then that she realized her arms were tied behind her around a pole and she was sitting on the ground. When she tried to raise up from a sitting position she felt every bruise and bump... "Ow! Ow! Oh, God... I feel really sick. What have I gone and gotten into this time?" she said to herself.
A guard came running into the tent... "Who were you talking to wench?" he snarled.
"Myself, asshole. Do you see anyone else in this tent?"
SMACK! The asshole hit her across the face. "No wench talks to me like that!"
"I just did!... You f. . . Oh, oh! I think I'm going to be sick." She said in a whisper. Her stomach was doing flips.
"What did you say?" he couldn't understand a word she just said.
She motioned with her head for him to come closer... As he came closer, she said: "I said.... I thiiink I'm gonna be sickkkk... Blaaach!" She then preceded to throw up all over the the guard.
The guard stood there just dripping with vomit.... "Ugh!!! What are you? A punishment from the Gods!!" he said as he started to gag.
There they were on the hill crouched in the bushes looking down on Cranus' camp. Xena could see three campfires. That would give her enough light to see which tent was guarded. That would be the one they were holding Nicole in. And the tent with the flags was probably Cranus' tent.
Suddenly Xena saw a guard go into the tent that she thought Nicole was in and not come out. 'Oh, oh! Time to move.' she thought.
"Okay listen up! First order of business is to make sure Nicole is out of there and safe with us. Gabrielle, take Mickey and Bill and go get her. Leslie and Irene you're with me. We'll make sure Cranus and his son won't bother us again." Taking Gabrielle on the side a moment she said: "Be careful. A guard went in there and didn't come out."
"Don't worry about me, you just take care of yourself." the bard said.
"We'll regroup back here." Xena said.
Gabrielle, Mickey and Bill made quick work of the remaining guard. Mickey laughed as she whispered to Bill... "I told Aunt Les these brass knuckles would come in handy.heh, heh, heh."
Bill just looked at her in amazement. 'Wow! What a handful she is going to be! But our kids are going to be beautiful.'
"Come on you two, lets get in there and get Nicole." Gabrielle said.
Before they could get inside, Gabrielle heard what sounded like someone throwing up.
"Did you hear that?"
"Yeah... That's my sister! I'd know that sound anywhere. Come on let's get in there."
Before Mickey or Gabrielle could say anything, Bill was inside the tent... What he saw was one very dirty guard, gagging, with vomit dripping from his face. "Oh boy! Nic has struck again! She used to throw up on me like that all the time."
He ran up to the guard and proceeded to hit him with punches and karate kicks. The guard never even struck back at Bill. He couldn't... He was too busy gagging! While Bill was taking care of the guard, Mickey and Gabrielle were cutting Nicole free.
"Are you alright, Nicole?" asked Gabrielle
"Uh... Kind of woozy... I feel sick to my stomach... and... my head is killing me, but other than that I'm good!" Then she fainted.
"Mickey looked to Gabrielle and just shrugged.
Okay... We'll do this the hard way." Mickey said as she picked Nicole up and put her over her shoulder. "Come on Bill... Stop 'playing' with that guy and let's blow this joint."
At the same time that Gabrielle and company were rescuing Nicole; Xena, Leslie and Irene were making their way toward the warlords tent. Xena was trying very hard to move quietly down the hill, when from behind her she heard a thump and then what sounded like an Oooph! Before she could turn around Leslie and Irene tumbled into her. There they lay sprawled out on top of her. Needless to say Xena was livid.
"Get off of me... Now!" she hissed. "We are trying to sneak up on them, not announce our arrival!!!"
"I... I'm sorry. It's my fault..." Irene whispered. "When I get nervous or scared I get very clumsy. I tripped on a... something?! So... I grabbed onto Les for support and pulled her down with me. I'll do better..."
"Yesss... That would be nice." Xena hissed, as she rolled her eyes and looked at Leslie scrambling to her feet. "Is she always like this?"
"Only when she's nervous or scared." She had to stifle a giggle. "You don't have to worry about her she always comes shining through." she said proudly.
They made it down the hill to the tent without anymore mishaps.
"Okay here's the plan... See those two guys in front of the tent?..."
"Yeah? What do we do with them?" Irene asked.
"Watch and learn." With that said Xena did a flip and landed right in front of them kicking them both in the face at the same time. Down they went like rag dolls. As this was happening Les and Irene were running to keep up with Xena. They reached her side and just as Irene was about to say something, Xena put her hand over her mouth and and finger to her own lips for Irene to be quiet. She motioned that they were going to crash the tent. In they burst through the opening of the tent. They were greeted by a filthy looking man, which Xena could only assume was Cranus, the slaver.
"Cranus, I presume" Xena said as she circled the slaver with her sword pointed at his heart.
"Well, well, well! If it isn't the great Warrior Princess. Come to visit?" he sarcastically said. "Hmm, need back-up; I see." when he noticed Irene and Leslie.
"You and Angelos will stop trying to take Kara's child and you will leave this valley and never return... If you want to live."
"Antia belongs to me not Kara! She's my daughter, and I won't stop till I get her back; even if I have to kill Kara." Angelos said from behind the women as he entered the tent with sword drawn, and four slavers by his side.
"Why would you want her to be brought up with dirt? Do you want her to end up with something like that?" Leslie said, pointing to Cranus.
Before Angelos could answer....
Xena realized there was no talking to these fools. Turning to Cranus she said: "Enough!! You will never have the chance to harm anyone again!" With that she gave her war cry and started fighting with Angelos, and the slavers. Cranus drew his sword and started for Xena. Irene saw this and smacked him in the head with her staff... he staggered but didn't go down. He sneered at her and made a lunge at her with his sword. Seeing this, Leslie decided it was time to use her gun instead of her sword. She shot at Cranus... He looked shocked, and staggered backwards and then just fell to the ground in a heap. The fighting suddenly stopped...
Angelos, seeing his father laying on the ground dead, became enraged... He started to scream and then charged at Leslie and the fighting again resumed. Irene tripped him with her staff as he charged past her to attack Leslie. That was enough of a delay to give Leslie a chance to fire off another shot... Angelos took a bullet in the shoulder and fell to the floor. Xena decided to stop playing and took out three of the four remaining slavers. The fourth slaver made the mistake of thinking Irene was easy pickings. He lunged at her with his sword, which she easily side stepped. She twirled around and smacked him on the back of the legs and down he went. Then she quickly hit him in the chest and then the head. One more down for the count.
"Okay! Let's get out of here!" Xena said as she pushed her descendants towards the tent opening. When they turned their backs on Angelos to leave, he grabbed his knife and charged at Xena! Leslie reacted quickly and pushed her out of the way as Angelos' knife found its way into Leslie's side. Xena quickly turned and and punched him in the face. He fell to the ground, and before he could get up... Xena put the pinch on him. "I've just cut the flow of blood to your brain... You will be dead in thirty seconds." She gave him a feral smile, turned, picked up Leslie, and walked out of the tent with Irene. They would never be bothered with them again.
There is laughter here at the inn this Solstice eve night. Cyrene just looked at her extended family and thanked the Gods that all of them were safe. Bill and Mickey were sitting next to each other holding hands while they talked to Nicole... Toris and Kara were playing with Antia... Her two daughters were laughing and enjoying each other,and Irene and Leslie... Well they were just being Irene and Leslie...
"What were you thinking?!!" You could have been killed." Irene said frantically.
"I'm okay! Stop fussing over me! Xena... please... tell her I'm fine!" Leslie pleaded.
"She's fine." Xena says dryly.
Leslie groans... "Well, thank you for your help, "Grandma". "
Xena raises her eyebrow at the Grandma thing and smiles. She goes over to where the Bard is sitting and sits down next to her. Putting an arm around her she says, "Kids!! What can you do with them?"
"Okay! That's it. I think it's time for me to go to bed. There are parts of my body that hurt, I didn't even know existed till I came for this visit!" Leslie said.
"Come on... I'll help you to the cabin." Irene said as Les put her arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. As they were walking out of the inn... Les grimaced in pain and Irene said... "I told you, you weren't fine."
Leslie looked up to the heavens and asks: "Oh God! Why are you doing this to me?!".
Once they were in the cabin and had gotten comfortable, Irene came over to sit on the side of their bed. "You scared the hell out of me. The thought of losing you... Nicole... I didn't know..." she puts her head down and starts to cry...
"Don't... don't cry Re! Look at me. I'm here and I'm fine. Nicole is fine." Les raises Irene's head up and kisses the tears streaming down her cheeks. "I love you, Re. It will take more that a superficial knife wound to get rid of me. Now come and snuggle close to me. I can't sleep unless you're by my side."
Irene laid down next to Leslie and snuggled close to her. It amazed her how their bodies melded so perfectly together.
"Thanks for coming to my rescue you two." Nicole said to Mickey and Bill. "I already thanked Gabrielle. It was so terrible to see Leslie wounded like that."
"Yes. It was! I love her. She's been a mother to me. When I saw Xena carrying her... and the blood... God! I don't even want to think about what might have happened. Thank God she's okay." Mickey said.
"You're welcome, Nic. What's a brother for anyway? You know Nic... I wouldn't have missed seeing the look on that jerk's face. Vomit just dripping off his face.... Nic it was your crowning achievement. You never threw up on me like that!" Bill said as the three of them laughed.
"And you Mickey! Gabrielle told me you just tossed me over your shoulder and walked right out of there. Mickey you are just so cool. Thank you so much!" Nicole said.
"You're welcome, Nicole. Any time!"
"Hmmm... Why don't ya marry my brother so you can stick around and protect me?" she joked.
"You know Mickey that might not be such a bad idea. You could protect the both of us!" Bill said as he took Mickey's hand. "I love you, Mickey. Will you marry me?"
Mickey just sat there for a minute with her mouth hanging open staring at Bill.
"Say something! Please! I'm hanging in mid air here." Bill begged.
In a very low voice she replied... "Yes."
"What? Did.... YOU SAID YES! OhmyGod!... She said yes Nic,... she said yes!" he said excitedly. "I'll be the best husband I can be... I'll take care of you and... never mind. Scratch that... We will take care of each other. See Mickey, I'm learning." he laughed. They hugged and kissed each other and then, of course, Nicole joined in.
Xena and Gabrielle came over to the trio and congratulated them. Although why they were congratulating Nicole was not quite clear. "We couldn't help but hear the good news. My my Bill, you sure do get excited. Don'tcha?" she laughed.
The Bard was kissing everyone and getting a little misty eyed. "When are you going to tell the girls?" she asked.
"I don't know. Might as well tell'em now. Come on everybody let's go bring them the good news together." Bill looked at Xena and Gabrielle... "Aren't you coming with us to break the good news."
"No... I don't think so. You should do that yourselves..." Gabrielle said.
"Come on Brie... This is going to be good. Let's go!" Xena chuckled.
"OhmyGod! What a Solstice present this is gonna be when we spring this on our moms. Hurry up! I can't wait!" Nicole said excitedly.
Knock, knock, knock..." Mom...Mom... It's us!" Knock, knock, knock... "Come on, wake up you guys..."
"Les, Les honey. Wake up! The kids are knocking at the door. Come on... get dressed."
"Shit! Why doesn't everyone leave us alone? I'm so tired!" she whined.
"Don't whine Les. It's unbecoming, hon." Irene giggled. "Just a second. Be right there."
"Oh this is gonna be good!" Xena said.
"Okay! What's so important that couldn't wait until we were awake?" Leslie asked.
"Mom... Aunt Leslie... Umm... Mickey and I... uhh... well we..." Bill just couldn't get the words out and Mickey was laughing so hard she couldn't speak.
"Oh for heavens sake!" Nicole says; as she hits Bill on the back of the head... again!
"Ow! Will you stop hitting me on the head!!"
"Mom, what he's trying so badly to say is that... He just proposed to Mickey, and she accepted..."
Irene looked to Nicole and then to Bill and Mickey... "Oh my! That's great!! I'm so happy. Les... Les?" she looked over to Les, who was now sitting on the bed, with a bewildered look on her face.
"When did this happen?" she said looking over at Mickey.
"Got me, Aunt Les! I can't tell you when it happened, I can only tell you that I love him very much, and I hope you will be happy for us."
Leslie got up from the bed and went to Mickey. "Sweety, I'm very happy for you!" giving her a hug and kiss on the cheek.
"Going over to Bill, Leslie hugged him and whispered to him... "You are going to have your hands full." she laughed.
"I know." he said and smiled lovingly in Mickey's direction.
"Xena. You have a silly grin on your face." Gabrielle teased her Warrior.
"Isn't it wonderful? This is just the best Solstice!" she said as she kissed the Bard tenderly.
After dinner that evening when Leslie and Irene had retired to the their cabin... They finally were able to speak of the days events as they lay in bed.
"Can you believe it, Re! Bill and Mickey. They used to fight all the time!"
"Yeah they did. Did you see them tonight? They could not stop holding hands and touching each other. Looks like love to me!"
"Uh huh. Just like us." Leslie smiled at Irene. "I love you, Re."
"Love you too... Um, how's that wound of yours?" she said as she ran her hand down Leslie's arm, playfully.
"Oh! It's much better, my love. I don't know what it is, but I've always healed rather quickly. From what I gather from Xena, it's a family trait." she said innocently.
"Oh... that's nice... but what I actually meant was; do you think you're up toooo, ah... ya know... a little "cuddling." she said wide eyed.
Leslie laughed lovingly at her partner and pulled Irene to her, kissing her so passionately, that when their lips parted Irene was breathless, but not speechless!
"Yeah, yeah!.... That was good!" she said as she proceed to kiss Leslie all over...
That!... Was wonderful!" Leslie said.
"Re, I have a Solstice gift for you. One... I think you will jump my bones for... again!"
"A present! What... what is it!"
"Whoa! Just a sec, let me get it out of my back pack." Putting on her tee-shirt, Les walks over to retrieve the small present from her back pack. It's wrapped with red metallic paper and a pretty small green bow. And the small card says... 'I thought you might need this--just in case. Love, Les.' Leslie hands it to Irene with a devilish glint in her eyes. "Happy Solstice my love." and kisses her gently on the cheek.
"Thank you Les." she says as she accepts the gift from her partner. "I have something for you as well." She hands her a small box that is equally wrapped as prettily as the one that she just got from Les. "I hope you like it!"
"You first Re, please." Les says, taking the gift from Irene.
Irene proceeds to tear the paper from the small present that she has just gotten from her love.... The look of surprise and delight on her face lets Leslie know that this gift was a success.
"Oh... my... God! Les I love you. Coffee! It's a jar of Folger's instant coffee! At last a cup of coffee. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!" she says as she runs to her and lavishes kiss after kiss on Les.
"I guess you like it then?" she giggled. It always amazed Leslie how little things made Irene the happiest.
"You bet I like it! Now you... come on open your present..."
Okay, okay. My turn..." Leslie opens her present and then looks at Irene. "Oh Re! It's the necklace with the two entwined hearts on it. You don't know what this means to me." she said as she reads the inscription. Here, now open your "real" present..." Les was trying very hard not to get all teary eyed.
"Oh my! Les, it's the same necklace!!" she turns it over and reads the inscription on hers. It's... it's the same inscription I put on yours!..."
"I know. My soul...My Love...Forever" Les said. They hugged each other as tears of happiness ran down their cheeks.
When Cyrene entered the kitchen on Solstice morning, she was greeted by a strange sight. There, on the table, sat a gleaming set of stainless steel pots and pans. She touched the pans as though they were going to disappear. Then... she broke out in a smile from ear-to-ear and all that was heard was... "YES!!"
The "present fairy" had struck!
When Xena and Gabrielle came downstairs and walked into the great room of the inn, they were greeted by a strange sight indeed. There, hanging from wooden hooks, on the mantel of the fire place, were two red felt stockings with their names on them and presents inside. On the side of the fireplace was the red Flexible Flyer wagon with presents neatly stack inside it. All was ready...
The "present fairy" had struck again!
'Well! Finally! Solstice day and everyone is in one piece.' thought Cyrene. There in front of her was her family. Her dear daughters and her son... Who knows! Maybe soon she would have another daughter. Her great, great, etc. etc. granddaughters and their children. How wonderful to know that her family will go on and on.
Everyone was opening presents and having a wonderful family time. Everyone, that is except Antia...
"Antia, sweetheart, what's the matter? Don't you like your new dolly." Her mom asked.
"Yeath... Mommy! Whoth pretty red wagon ith that?" she said as she longingly looked at the red wagon.
"Hmmm! I don't know! Why don't you ask Aunt Irene or Aunt Leslie? Maybe they know!"
She went to where Irene and Les were sitting by the fireplace, having a cup of coffee, and climbed onto Leslie's lap..."Umm, excuthe me Aunt Lethie." she said tugging on Leslie's sleeve.
"What is it Antia?" Leslie asked.
"Red wagon. Ith it yourth? Huh?"
"No precious it's not. It belongs to a nice little girl named Antia!" Leslie said as she smiled at Antia.
Antia's eyes grew wide and a smile graced her face making her even more adorable than ever. "Wow! Thath me! Thath my wagon!" she yelled as she jumped off Leslie's lap and ran to the wagon climbing into it.
All eyes were on Antia as she ran to her wonderful present. No one in her known world, had a wagon like it.
Bill, Mickey and Nicole went over to where their mom's were sitting.
"Mom, if I had to give up my Flexible Flyer... It couldn't have gone to a sweeter kid than Antia. I remember being as excited as she is.... Hey, Mickey! I want lots of kids... eight or ten and...."
"Whoa! Eight or ten! I don't think so Sonny-boy! How 'bout three... maybe four. The boys have to be handsome like you or we give'm back." she joked.
"Okay, I give. I know when to retreat. For now anyway." he laughed and started to tickle Mickey.
Nicole went to hug her mom and Leslie. "You two are the best. I hope someday I can find someone who will love me like the two of you love each other."
"Oh Nicole! You will. It's just a matter of time." Irene gave her daughter a hug and kiss. This was the best holiday she'd had in quite awhile. Everyone she loved was here in this one room.
Irene looked up and saw Cyrene just watching the Solstice scene unfolding with a very satisfied smile on her face. She walked over to Cyrene, hugged her and said "Thank you."
At the same time Xena and Gabrielle walked over as did Leslie. Yep! Time for a group hug. After all! This was the season for mushy stuff, as Xena called it.
All good things come to an end and so did this adventure. It was time to go home. Everything was packed and the kids were milling around waiting for Irene and Leslie to say their goodbye's to their "Grandmothers."
"Xena, Gabrielle what can we say... Thank you for everything." Irene says as she holds Leslie's hand.
"Same here. As always you two were great!" Les says.
"we love you both... but you already know that. Don't you?" Gabrielle says as she hugs the girls.
Both Les and Irene nod their heads, finding it difficult to speak without weeping.
"Come back and visit us soon. We will miss all of you!" said Xena trying to be stoic, but failing at it.
"Granddaughters!" Cyrene chuckled... "Come over here and give me a hug goodbye!"
Both women went to Cyrene and hugged her saying their goodbye's.
Then Leslie and Irene walked over to their children and took out the Stone of Ages. Everyone held hands and then Irene put her hand on the Stone. They disappeared as quickly as they had appeared during the battle.
"Ya know! That always amazes me. One minute they are there and the next they have returned to their own time. I miss them already..." sighed Gabrielle.
"Yeah, me too, my Bard. Me too!" Xena says as she puts her arm around Gabrielle's shoulder.
A year has past since their adventure, and many things are happening in their lives. First and foremost are the preparations for Mickey and Bill's wedding.
Mickey has resigned from the force and is writing a work of "fiction" about two archeologists going back in time and meeting their ancestors. She already knows what the sequel will be, of course.
And Nicole is happy as a lark! She's helping with the wedding plans, and she still hits Bill on the back of the head when he does something stupid. She keeps telling Mickey she should try it. She might like it. Mickey doesn't think so, though.
Irene and Leslie have moved in together. Finally!! Although they don't have as much privacy as they thought they would have...
The doorbell kept ringing, again and again. "Who the hell is that at this time of the morning?" Leslie said annoyed. "Re... Re... Get up hon! Someone's at the door. Damn!"
"Wha?... Who?... OhmyGod! It's five o'clock in the Morning!!" Irene groaned and got out of bed and put on her robe following Leslie downstairs to the front door.
"Open up, mom. I have a scathingly brilliant idea!" Yelled Nicole as she was pushing the doorbell again and again.
The door opens and Nicole is face to face with two very annoyed Moms.
"Do you have any concept of time young lady? It's five o'clock in the morning! It's not even light out, yet!!" Irene's voice was rising. "Come in for God's sake, before you wake the neighbors."
In walks Nicole, not a bit perturbed by her mom's obvious irritation at her. "Hi Les. How come you're up so early?" she teased.
"This had better be good! Why couldn't you have waited till later to tell us you idea?" Les said.
"I was having trouble sleeping and I suddenly came up with a..." she was interrupted by Irene.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... a scathingly brilliant idea... Before we hear it; let's go into the kitchen so I can make some coffee. I don't think I can take a "scathingly brilliant" idea without one, this early in the morning."
The three women sat around the kitchen table having coffee. With Nicole just fidgeting in her chair.
"Okay, Nic... What's the idea?" Leslie asks as she and Irene were sipping the coffee.
"It's just this! I thought it would be great if Xena, Gabrielle and the rest of the family came to the wedding!! Brilliant isn't it??"
Both Irene and Leslie had a mouthful of coffee when Nicole told them her idea. The coffee came shooting out of their mouths, and their noses at the same time...
"What?... What?! ... Was it something I said?... Nicole said with a glint in her eyes, and a devilish grin on her face.