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: Although it isn't absolutely necessary to read "Adventure of a Lifetime" or "Adventure of a Lifetime: The Sequel" to understand this story it might make it a little clearer. And it will make me happy that ya did! (g)
I want to thank my daughter Sue for all her help and encouragement, when I wanted to chuck the whole thing, because it was taking forever to finish, she pushed me ever so gently along till I got moving again. (Is that a run-on sentence? VBG)
Any, and all, constructive criticism is welcome. Just don't be hurtful. I'm sensitive! I can be reached at MomBard@xenafan.com
Part 1 Prologue:
Irene and Leslie had been neighbors and best friends before they became lovers. They lived next door to one another, and their children grew up playing together. So the families were close, even before Bill and Mickey decided to marry.
Their lives together, since they went on that dig to Greece, had been anything but dull. They made some wonderful and startling discoveries. They uncovered Artemis' temple, and found the Stone of Ages. The Stone somehow enabled them to travel back in time to discover that they were descendants of Xena and Gabrielle. What was even more amazing was the fact that it was no accident. Artemis had deliberately made the Stone to transport them back in time so they could save Gabrielle's life, and in the process discover that they had "many skills". But the most important discovery was the fact that they loved each other deeply.
The pair returned from Greece to their home on Long Island and realized that they would have to tell Irene's children, Bill and Nicole, and Leslie's niece Mickey of their fantastic adventure in Greece, and of their now loving relationship. This was going to be a toughy! Trying to convince them that they did indeed travel back in time wasn't going to be easy. The kids just wouldn't buy it. So, Leslie figured the best way to convince them that she and Irene had indeed gone back in time and met with their ancestors, Xena and Gabrielle, was to show them. As far as informing Irene's children of their relationship? Well! That turned out to be a lot easier than they thought it would be. Bill and Nicole had figured that one out all on their own, and Leslie had already clued Mickey in on their relationship. On the whole the kids were okay with the idea of Leslie and Irene as lovers.
With that out of the way, our now five adventurers went back in time to visit "the family" for Solstice, and another adventure had begun. Many things happened to our time travelers, such as materializing in the middle of a battle. And, Irene saved her own life by holding her backpack, up to protect herself from a run away Chakrum. When the Chakrum hit the backpack there was toilet tissue flying all around. Irene hates to use leaves. Then to add insult to injury one of the bad guys swung his sword at her and she raised her backpack again; only this time it was raining coffee. See, Irene has a thing for coffee. (Blue Mountain Coffee) What a sight that was. Irene was so furious about her precious coffee flying everywhere, that she started jumping up and down and yelling profanities, and beating the hell out of the bad guys. Every time Leslie thought of it she couldn't help but laugh.
Nicole got kidnapped by a Warlord and held for ransom, threw up all over her captors, and was considered by them a punishment from the Gods. Happily she was rescued by, Gabrielle, Bill and Mickey.
And Leslie, stabbed as she tried to protect Xena from an evil Warlords knife, just stood there for a second and then fell to the ground. All Irene could do was look on in horror as her beloved Les fell. She knelt down and started cradling Les in her arms. 'Please, God don't let her die.' At the very same moment, Xena attacked the Warlord with a vengeance. He begged for mercy, but there would be none for this evil soul. She put the pinch on him and coldly said? "You have thirty seconds to live." She turned, picked up Les, and with Irene walked calmly out of the tent.
The wound proved to be superficial, and lucky for Leslie she healed very quickly. Something she inherited from her ancestor Xena.
And last but not least? Sharing a wonderful Solstice with the family. All's well that end's well. Right? Sort of?
A year has gone by since their return to the present, and things are moving right along. Irene has moved into Leslie's house. Both hoped that at last, they would have some privacy. Bill, and Nicole remained in the house they used to share with their mother Irene, and Mickey has moved in with them. Mickey figured Leslie and Irene needed their privacy. Yeah... Right. If only Nicole held that view.
The wedding plans were progressing smoothly and Mickey and Bill were happy to have Nicole making the arrangements for the wedding. Until that is, Nicole came up with her scathingly brilliant idea!
'I sure hope I can sleep tonight. Having dreams, and I don't remember them. Shit! Maybe a nice hot shower will do the trick. The hot milk sure didn't work.' Nicole walked into her bathroom and looked into the mirror. There reflected back at her was the person she had seen all her life. Her close cropped blond hair and blue eyes. The cute, petite woman looking back was no different than before. So what was troubling her these past few months? She continued to study herself in the mirror and thought of her mom. 'Hmmm! Can't hold a candle to her. She's absolutely gorgeous. I can still remember looking into my mom's green eyes when she was kissing me goodnight, and her long blond hair falling on my face as she bent down. Hell! If I weren't embarrassed, I'd ask her to tuck me in right now.'
'She looks and acts younger than a woman in her fifties. So does Aunt Les. Now there's a beauty also! Her dark brown hair and blue eyes are always twinkling like she just played a great joke on someone.' She thought.
Then still looking in the mirror she sighed and said aloud? "Okay. Here goes. Shower time!"
Nicole was lying in bed, tossing and turning. "Uhhhh! Why can't I sleep? Every night it's the same thing. I keep having the same dream and then I wake up and can't go back to SLEEP. Damn, damn, damn. What is bothering me? What am I trying to tell my self?"
'Okay now, Nicole, relax. The beach! Yeah that's it? Think of the surf caressing the sand. That's it, just hear the sounds of the sea and feel the heat of the sand beneath my? fee? (Snoring)' dreaming, dreaming, floating? 'Oh yeah, this is sooo nice.' Nicole was having a wonderful dream. She was floating on the ocean in a very roomy raft feeling the rays of the sun warm her body. Yep! She was naked as a baby taking a bath. She leisurely stretched and opened her eyes? only now; she wasn't on the raft she was looking at Xena and Gabrielle sitting around a campfire. They looked up and smiled at her. Only something was different. They looked diff? No. Gabrielle looked different. Her hair was short, and? and Xena was holding something. A? A bundle. 'Gee. The way she's holding it, it kind of looks like... Nah? Oh? my? God. BABY!! It is a BABY.'
Gabrielle spoke to her first? "We sure could use a hand right now."
Before Nicole could respond Xena gave her a crooked grin and said: "Nice outfit."
"Huh? Outfit?" She looked down and realized she didn't have any clothes on. "Aw shit."
It was then that Nicole awoke with a start. But now, she had a plan. She was so excited about her idea that she didn't bother to get dressed. She just threw a bathrobe over her pajamas and ran down the stairs and out the back door towards Leslie's house. She knew what she had to do, and she couldn't wait to tell her two moms about her scathingly brilliant idea!
The doorbell rang 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? Oh my God! 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 pushed the doorbell again and again.
The door opened and Nicole was 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 walked 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 your 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 asked as she and Irene sipped their 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 shot 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.
"Cough, cough? sputter? cough? You can't be serious? cough, cough, Nicole." Irene said as she patted Leslie on the back so Les could catch her breath. Nicole's scathingly brilliant idea had caused our two adventurers to choke on their coffee?
"But Mom? Listen, please." Nicole was not above begging if it meant she would get her way. "But Mom, what's so terrible about Xena, Gabrielle and Cyrene coming to Mickey and Bill's wedding? After all, they are family!" Nicole had a grin a mile wide after that last statement.
"Thanks, sweetheart." Les said as she touched Irene's hand. "I thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen." She turned her attention to Nicole. She was not thrilled with her idea? Yet. "As for you young lady? Have you any idea just what would be involved?"
"Well, nooo, but I know we could do it? We all went back to their time for Solstice; so how hard would it be to bring them here?" she asked innocently. Nicole was very optimistic that all would go smoothly, and very excited at the prospect of showing Xena and Gabrielle what the world was like in the present.
Irene was speechless. There was some logic in what Nicole said, but somehow Irene knew that nothing about going back in time and visiting the "family" was ever that simple. And she was afraid of something happening to Leslie again. This time it might not be a superficial knife wound to her side? She might lose her. No. She thought the prospect of that happening was too terrible to think about.
"Nicole?I can't talk about your idea now. Les and I have to speak with one another first, and then we'll tell you our decision." She was interrupted?
"Come on Mom! We can do it. Piece a cake!"
"Excuse me! What do you mean WE? No WE, Sweetie? Us!" She said as she looked into Leslie's eyes and gently touched her hand. "There's no way in Hell you'd be coming along if we go to get Xena and Gabrielle."
That gentle touch sent shivers of passion through Leslie's body, and she had all she could do to keep her composure while Nicole was in the room.
"Maaoom! Come on. I wanna go." Amazing how a grown woman of twenty-two can whine.
"Uh? Your mom is right. If we go, we go alone; Nic. Accomplishing this task is complicated, but not impossible. As your mom said, we have to talk things thru first." Putting her hand up to silence any arguments that Nicole was about ready to throw at them both? "Nicole, no more discussion. Your mom and I will give you our decision when we have weighed the pros and cons and not before. Now, if you don't mind, I'm tired. Getting up at five o'clock in the morning is not making me receptive to any ideas. So, please go home." She said wearily.
"Oh yeah? Have you broached this idea with your brother and Mickey? Or haven't you thought of that yet? Hmmm?" Leslie asked.
"Well no. No not yet, but I know they would be just as happy about it as I would." She said without a hint of trepidation. She kissed Irene and Leslie on the cheek and headed for the door. "I'll just get on home and ask them right now. See ya later. Love ya!"
As Nicole walked across the lawn to her house, she couldn't help but smile. She knew her mom and Leslie would say no at first, but then the thought of another adventure would win out and they would go back in time to get Xena and Gabrielle and perhaps Cyrene. She just had to figure out a way to convince them that she should go with them.
The Warrior and Bard had been riding hard for hours. They had to find a safe place to stay. They had to protect the little bundle Xena was carrying on her back as she rode. Her Eve. Her daughter. She and Gabrielle were exhausted. They needed to get to the cave so they could rest and formulate some kind of plan? She had to think of something to stop the Gods from killing Eve. Luckily this was one of the caves that Xena had found during her warlord days. There was a hot spring and firewood, weapons, and it had a good defensive position. As far as food went, there were abundant game and fruit trees in the area. It wasn't very far now. She glanced back at the Bard and saw the fatigue showing on her face and yet Gabrielle still smiled at her. 'She never complains. Exhausted, and still she smiles at me. I will never find the words to tell her how proud I am of her or how deeply I love and need her.'
"There! There it is Gabrielle. The cave. We made it!" Xena said excitedly.
"I see it Xena. Yah! Come on Handsome." She said as she poked her horse in the side with her heel to get him to go faster.
Xena and Gabrielle with Little Eve finally dismount in front of the cave and lead their horses inside. The cave was large. There was the front part of the cave where they could leave Argo and Handsome and then there was the inner cave where they would make their home until they were rested and could formulate a plan to save Eve.
Xena set her sleeping child down on a fur covering, touching the sleeping child's cheek lovingly, and set about making sure the cave was safe and secure. After she did this she went outside to check the perimeter around the cave to make sure that was secure as well. While she was doing this, Gabrielle proceeded to unwrap the bedrolls and then start a fire to take the chill out of the cave. Eve needed the warmth as well as she and Xena. She took the pot she used for making soup from the saddlebag and filled it with water from the spring that ran thru the cave. She threw some dried meat and what ever vegetables they had left into the pot. They hadn't eaten since the night before, so they were pretty hungry by now. She glanced over to where Eve was sleeping so soundly and smiled lovingly at her.
She spoke softly, "Sleep well, Eve. Dream of health, happiness and all kinds of good things."
Xena returned, and closed the entrance of the cave with a large round flat stone that she could easily roll in front of the cave entrance by herself. She then braced two strong branches from a tree against the stone. Xena was pleased with her choice. 'Yeah. That ought to afford us some security while we sleep tonight.' With that done, she walked into the inner cave where Gabrielle and Eve were waiting for her.
Gabrielle looked up from her scroll and smiled lovingly at her Warrior. "Is everything okay, Xena? Are we safe for awhile?"
"Yeah. We're Okay." Wanting to change the subject, Xena said: "Mmmm! The soup sure smells good. I'm starved. Is it ready yet?" She had an innocent look on her face.
Gabrielle knew exactly what her Warrior was doing and she loved her for it. She put her scroll down and walked over to Xena and put her arms around Xena's waist and looked up into Xena's cobalt blue eyes?
"Xe, I'm a big girl now. You don't have to protect me all the time. So? Once again? Are we safe for awhile?"
"I think so. Yes? No? I'm really not sure." She sighed deeply. "Brie? I? I'm so sorry that you have to go thru this because of Eve and me. But, at the same time, I'm so glad you are here. I don't think I could do this without you?" Her voice trailed off as she held Gabrielle and started to weep. Xena was angry at herself for crying, but all the frustration of trying to keep the Gods from killing Eve were taking their toll on her.
Seeing Xena so upset and frustrated pulled at her heart.
"Xe? Don't cry. There's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here with you and Eve. We are a family. You're the other half of my soul; remember? Don't cry. Please. I love you."
She started to kiss the tears away from Xena's face. Then a soft kiss on her lips and before she knew it she felt the passion she hadn't experienced for a while now. There isn't much time for intimacy when you are running for your life. She could feel Xena responding to her kisses and knew that she felt the passion as much as she did. She wanted her warrior right here and now. Clothes went flying everywhere. They couldn't seem to get their clothes off fast enough to please each other. After they had made love for what seemed like hours; they lay satiated in each other's arms. Delighting in the warmth that seemed to surround them. But alas reality set in when the Bards stomach started to rumble. They looked at each other and started to laugh. It was time to devour something other than each other.
Gabrielle started to gather her clothing together and get dressed as she said?
"It's so good to be able to laugh again. I've missed that. Haven't you?"
"Yeah. I have." Xena was looking around trying to find where her clothes had landed. "Now how did my leathers end up there?" Looking up to see her leathers hanging from a protruding boulder. Who would believe that the Warrior Princess would be standing there giggling like a schoolgirl?
She looked at Xena and marveled at the vision of loveliness standing before her, and wondered how she got so lucky. "You are beautiful."
Xena's face flushed as she got that crooked grin on her face. "Thanks."
Gabrielle turned to go check on Eve and dinner, when she heard Xena quietly say? "You give my life meaning, Gabrielle. I love you."
Gabrielle turned her head to her Warrior and just smiled knowingly, and then went about her chores.
Just as they were having the evening meal Eve woke from her sleep. Not with a cry, but with a dazzling smile and cooing. She was hungry. Xena put her bowl down and proceeded to uncover her breast and feed her baby. Eve was suckling noisily and cooing at the same time. Xena looked at her innocent baby and smiled. "Oh, you are so hungry my little one! Take it easy. I'm not going anywhere." She began humming a lullaby to her precious gift. She looked up and saw Gabrielle just watching her and Eve.
"You know, Xe? I can't remember what it was like not having Eve around. I know she's only three months old, but it feels like she's always been with us. You know what I mean?"
"Uh huh. I feel the same way."
After Eve was fed, changed, and washed. She fell peacefully asleep in Gabrielle's arms. Xena sat on the other side of the fire doing what she always did in the evening. Sharpen her sword and thinking.
"Dinar for your thoughts my Warrior?" Gabrielle whispered, because she didn't want to disturb Eve.
"Trying to figure a way out of this mess we're in. How in Tartarus can this little baby be blamed for the twilight of the Gods?" She put her head down and slowly shook it side to side. She looked up and continued to speak? "We can't stay here forever. They are bound to find us sooner or later. And we can't keep fighting Gods that can't be killed. If only we had a way to?" Xena suddenly had an idea. "Gabrielle! The Dagger of Helios or the Hinds Blood Dagger! That's it. That's our way out!" She said eagerly.
Aphrodite had heard how the other Gods have been trying to kill Xena, Gabrielle and Eve. She is not of the same mind-set, so she appears to Gabrielle, who immediately stands defensively towards her. Placing herself between Eve and Aphrodite.
She raises both hands in a stop motion and says: "Hey! Hold on Sweet cheeks! (Giggle)." I'm here to help; not hurt. I'm a friend. Remember!" I don't believe all that Centaur dung about this little baby (pointing to the sleeping child) causing the end of the Gods. Ohhh! Look at her. She's just so adorable!" She squeals. Gabrielle doesn't know why, but she believes Dite.
But just in case?
"Just stay right there, Aphrodite. I'm not sure I can trust you just yet."
Into the cave comes Xena, who immediately grabs hold of her Chakrum. Xena growls at Dite? "Get away from my child." She says as she moves to protect her Eve from danger.
"Whoa! Chill out, Babe. I'm here to help you and the kid. What kind of a Goddess do you think I am?" She asked indignantly.
Xena answers with a scowl on her face. You know? "The Look." "The Gods have done nothing but torture and harass us for years. Why should we believe you now?"
"Look! Xena. Not all the Gods are trying to kill her." She says as she points to Eve. "We don't all agree that she will bring about our demise. Ares helped you; didn't he?" Before Xena could respond with a profanity. Dite says: " Come on, Babe, I have no hidden agenda. I just want to help. Why not let me?"
Xena looks to Gabrielle. "Xe, I trust her. She's helped us many times in the past."
"Yeah. That's true." Xena was not easily convinced. "But? I think there's more to this than you're telling me Aphrodite. So? Out with it. What's going on? How did you find us?"
Aphrodite thought for a minute, and figured she should tell them the whole truth, or they would never trust her enough to let her help them. She started to explain?
"Okay Warrior Babe. Here's the truth. Ares?"
"That Bastard! I knew it. He's got his hand in this. If he thinks? I"
Aphrodite rolls her eyes in exasperation and says: "Chill out Babe! Will you please be quiet long enough for me to explain?"
"What's to explain? That you Gods want to kill my baby." By this time Xena was yelling.
"Xena! Stop yelling and let Aphrodite finish what she was saying. If she wanted to she could have killed me and Eve before you got back to the cave." She gave Xena the "Look".
'Whoa, when did she learn to do that?' "All right! Explain. And it better be good." She snarled.
The Look was not lost on Aphrodite and she giggled at the way Gabrielle could handle Xena.
"As I was saying? Ares knew exactly where you were from day one when you arrived at the cave. Look Xena, he could have told the other Gods where you were hiding, and all of you would be sushi by now. He also knows that you can feel him when he's around and that you trust him as far as you can throw him, so he asked me to help. Which I might add I very graciously said I would." In a much more serious tone of voice Aphrodite says: "Xena? the other Gods are very close to finding you"
Xena looks at Gabrielle who moves her head slightly as does Xena. They are in agreement. Xena turns her attention towards Aphrodite. "Listen up. If you're lying, and try to hurt my child?."
A happy Aphrodite smiles at Xena and says: "Babe! I'd never do anything to hurt a kid, let alone yours. And I know the perfect place to hide."
"Where?" Xena and Gabrielle ask at the same time as they turn and grin at one another.
"Duh, my temple of course. What better place to hide?" She giggled, as she stood there with her hands on her hips.
Xena thinks about this for a minute and turns to Gabrielle. "That could work! It would give us more time to plan a course of action. What do you think?"
Gabrielle nodded her head in agreement. "Sounds like a plan."
"Okay, Aphrodite we'll go with you. Just one last thing." Xena says.
"Don't ever? call me Babe again." Xena said as she pointed her finger at Aphrodite.
"Okay! No more Warrior Babe stuff." She giggled. "How's Love Muffin grab you?"
After Nicole had left, both Irene and Leslie looked at each other and laughed. Leslie was the first to speak.
"Can you believe that kid? She sure comes up with some far out ideas, huh? Thinking that it would be "a piece of cake" to bring Xena and Gabrielle?" She was interrupted.
"Well, Babe?It's not so far out really. And?"Her turn to be interrupted.
"Wha? I don't believe my ears! You're the one who always says no. What happened?" "Ya got a fever or something?" She says as she reaches up to touch Irene's forehead. Trying miserably to stifle a grin.
Pushing her hand away Irene said: "Stop!" She giggled. "I don't have a fever, smarty-pants." Her voice took on a more serious tone. "Why are you surprised? Don't you always tell me I'm too cautious? That I should live one day at a time and be thankful God gave me that day? Don't you think I thought of all the terrible things that could happen? to you, the other half of my soul?"
She holds her hand up before Leslie could respond to her questions. "And quite frankly? I miss them. Yes. I want to bring them home for the wedding. I want to share our world with them." Irene looked at Leslie waiting for her reply. She hoped she would agree with her.
Leslie just sat there at the kitchen table staring at Irene. She can't believe that Irene is the one that wants to go back in time. It was usually the other way round. A big smile appeared on her face.
"Yes! There's the smile! I knew you couldn't resist another adventure." Irene came over to where Leslie was sitting and hugged her, and then bent down and kissed her gently at first and then kissed her again, only this time much more passionately as she slides onto Leslie's lap while still locked in that kiss. Leslie's arms are wrapped around her lover and getting ready to explore every inch of her, when the phone rings?
A really annoyed archeologist says: "Son of a bitch! What goes on around here? Does everyone we know have radar about when we are making love? Let the damn answer machine pick it up, Re."
"Les, come on it might be important." She said as she went to the phone. "Hi Bob!" She looked at Les and mouths the words?See, I told ya! "How's it going?"
Les rolled her eyes and smiled. 'The woman has a sixth sense or something!'
"Well, the darnedest thing happened a few days ago. We had an earthquake? well not really a quake, more like a tremor and the altar where you two found that thing you two call the Stone of Ages?"
Irene interrupts him in mid sentence. "Bob wait? Let Les get on the phone so you don't have to repeat it. Les, pick up the extension please." Les went into the den grumbling every inch of the way?
"Hello Bob. What's happened? You Okay, kid?"
"Yeah. Like I started to tell Irene? we had a tremor out at the dig site. When it was over we went into the cave and the altar where you gals discovered the amulet, and?" Interrupted again!
"Not an amulet. The Stone of Ages, kid." Les said.
"What eveh! Can I please finish my story without being interrupted? Huh?"
"Sorry, kid. Go ahead." Leslie said.
"Aw right. Here goes AGAIN! It seems the altar had toppled over and we made a surprising discovery." The phone went quiet and Bob didn't continue his explanation.
"Bob? Bob you there?" 'What the hell is goin' on.' "Hello? Bob? Bob?"
"Uhh, sorry Les, but I spilled coffee all over me? Where was I?? Oh yeah? We found something. Seems, under the altar was a hollowed out hole and something wrapped in a leather pouch."
Now Leslie was beginning to get really interested.
"When we opened the pouch what we found at first didn't seem to exciting, until we examined it a little more closely? Les. This knife had some dried blood on it and there was some blood in the handle of the knife. Kind of like it belongs there. There was no corrosion what so ever on it. Irene are you still there?"
Irene knew as soon as Bob described the knife; what it was. She had read about it in one of the books that Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington had written about the Xena Scrolls. "Ye?Yes, I'm still here. Have you found any thing else besides the dagger? A scroll, maybe?"
"Yeah, I did. Wow! How'd ya know, there was a scroll buried with it? I can't read it, though." He answered.
"Just a hunch. Bob, how can we get this as soon as possible? I can read it; I'm sure."
By this time Leslie was about ready to fly over to Greece and get the scroll herself.
"Okay kid, talk to me. I want that dagger and scroll here yesterday!"
"Got it covered Les." Bob says, very pleased with himself. "My friend Pat? Ya know, the guy that works for the air freight company?"
"Well, he said he'd bring it into Kennedy for me. His plane arrives at three o'clock your time today. That fast enough for ya? All ya have to do is meet the plane Boss. Oh I almost forgot? The name of the airline is Dabny Airfreight."
"Hey, you're okay kid. Couldn't have done better myself."
"Well, I agree with you there." He laughed. "Call me when you figure out what the hell is on that scroll; will ya?"
"I promise. I'll let you know as soon as I translate it. Bye, and thanks." Said Irene.
"Thanks kid. Talk to you soon." Les said as she put down the receiver.
Irene was already in the den by the time Leslie hung up the phone. "Oh my! It sounds like the Hinds Blood Dagger." Irene was so excited she was bouncing from one foot to the other.
"We can't be sure of that Re. Don't go getting yourself all riled up." Les said trying to calm Irene down. Of course, telling her not to get riled up only served to make her annoyed.
"Come on, Lesss." (Somehow, when Irene was annoyed at Leslie her name acquired more s's) "The description of the dagger is what the Covington, Pappas book describes. You read the book. You know? The story about how Xena was going to use the Hinds Blood Dagger to kill Gabrielle's daughter Hope, because she was going to bring Dayhak into the world. And how she couldn't let Xena kill her with the dagger, because if she did the fates were going to cut Xena's lifeline. So Gabrielle took it upon herself to save Xena's life by grabbing Hope and falling into the fiery pit. Xena was horrified when her love went falling into the flames, and was taunted by Callisto, laughing and saying that seeing Gabrielle die, gave her reason to live. And then Xena, enraged, turned and plunged the dagger into Callisto killing her once and for all. Les? This is the dagger that can kill a god!" Irene was breathless.
"Hon? Listen, please. I know the story as well as you, but I don't want to get all excited about it and then find out it's not the right dagger. It will arrive at Kennedy this afternoon and then we'll know for sure. Okay?"
"Oh? OKAY. Yee of little faith." Irene smiled ruefully. "I'll try to contain my enthusiasm, but I'm not promising anything!"
Being in love with Mickey was one of the best things that had ever happened to Bill. And he knew it. He marveled at the fact that she reciprocated that love. When he was with her he felt somehow complete. He couldn't explain it, but something he heard his mom say to Leslie kind of described how he felt. She had called Les her soul mate. And that was exactly how Bill felt about Mickey. When they were apart he felt empty inside.
He could not believe that this time last year he had behaved like such a jerk. Temper tantrums and all. Since going back in time, and Mickey had consented to marry him, he had become more confident in himself. She was still the tough independent, opinionated and sometimes, exasperating woman she was when they met again last year, but that only made her more attractive to Bill.
He was proud of her too. She had written her first novel about an Archeologist and her partner going back in time, and it had been published. 'Not bad for a retired cop!' He thought. There were inquiries being made by a Hollywood producer to make the story into a movie of the week. If only people knew that it was not fiction, but the real McCoy 'Ahh! Truth is stranger than fiction.' Bill mused.
He liked waking up before her. He liked hearing the even sound of her breathing and the peaceful look on her face. "Look at her. My Mickey. I hope I can spend the next sixty years making you happy." He whispered as he gently touched her cheek.
Mickey opened her eyes and smiled at Bill as she said? "Morning." Then kissed him gently on the lips. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"
Bill laughed and kissed her again and teased. "Not since last night, when you were yelling out my name in the throws of passion, my love. And telling me I was a "wonderful lover"." He chuckled.
"Oh? I don't remember saying that! You must have me mistaken with someone else." She giggled as she tried to get out of bed before Bill could grab her. Too late!
"Maybe some tickling will refresh your memory." He said as he grabbed her and pulled her down on the bed, and proceeded to tickle her and give her really wet kisses all over her face.
"Okay, okay! I give. Stop. I can't catch my breath. Yuck!! Stop licking my face. Uchh!" She was laughing so hard it happened. The dreaded Hiccups! "Now (hiccup) you've done (hiccup, hiccup) it. Ha, ha, ha, ha. William Stevens?(hiccup) ha, ha, ha? Let me go!"
Bill gave her one last wet, mushy kiss and released her. He looked at her lovingly, "Come on, Mick. Time to get up. We have to pick out the rings today. I thought maybe we could get going early. Pick out the rings and then go into Manhattan and take in a show or something. What do you think?"
Mickey looked up at Bill, who was by now standing next to the bed in the all together; being very serious when just a minute ago he was silly as a little boy. She marveled at how far he had come since last year. From the jerk he was last year to the man he was now. Hell, even Nicole hadn't hit him up the back of his head in a long time. She smiled. 'Thank you for being able to learn.' She mused.
"I think that sounds great. I think you are great and?I think I'm going to beat you into the shower!" She laughingly said as she jumped out of bed and ran past Bill as though she were dodging a football player.
"Hey! Didn't ya ever hear of two in the shower?" He said as he ran after her.
"Well it's about time you two came down. Half the morning's gone by already!" Nicole said impatiently.
Into the kitchen shuffled Mickey with Bill trailing close behind her. "Nic. Gimme a break here, will ya? It's only nine o'clock in the morning for God's sake! I was up very late last night "writing"." Mickey said as she yawned sleepily.
"What's with you anyway, Nic? Why so hyper so early in the morning?" Bill asked his sister.
"Humph! What were you writing Mickey, a porn story? There was more moaning and yelling coming from your room, than an X-rated movie. And my dears, I didn't hear any TYPING!" She chuckled.
Mickey's face turned a lovely shade of crimson as she looked to Bill for a rescue, but none was forthcoming. He chuckled and let Mickey fend for herself. He poured himself and Mickey a cup of coffee and sat down next to his sister.
"So. Like I said before? "Why so hyper?"
"Well?I had this scathingly brilliant idea."
"Well spit it out already." Mickey said, happy to change the subject.
"I thought it would be terrific if Xena and Gabrielle came to the wedding. You know, being family and all." Nicole waited for a reply?
Mickey groaned and put her head down on the table with a thud. And Bill was sitting there just staring at his sister as if she had two heads. Mickey picked her head up off the table and her long brown hair falls in front of her face. She slowly pushes it back behind her ears and looks at Nicole for a long minute before speaking?
"Nicole. We wanted a small wedding with just the immediate family. You remember the list we gave you?" Before Nicole could answer, Mickey continued. "No! Of course not, because you have a new list with every one we know or are acquainted with? Nic?Read-my-lips? ONLY? IMMEDIATE? FAMILY. Please!"
Sheepishly Nicole grinned at Mickey and Bill. "Okay. So I got a little carried away! Sheesh! I'll cross everyone's name off that isn't immediate family." She got up and went to the drawer and took out the list of wedding guests. She started to cross everyone off the list except immediate family.
"Well at last; you got the message." Bill said as he went over to his sister and planted a kiss on her cheek.
"Uh?One thing though? Correct me if I'm wrong. But, do not Grandmothers constitute? immediate family?" She asked with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on her face.
Bill and Mickey looked at Nicole, and then each other. Bill, looked at Mickey, raised his eyebrows and shrugged. There was a glimmer of a grin on his face.
Shaking her head from side to side, Mickey said? "Well. I guess Xena and Gabrielle are coming to the wedding after all."
"YES!" With that Nicole jumped up and hugged Mickey. Squishing her nose in the process.
"You know Nic?It kind of scares me when I see the logic in your ideas." Mickey chuckled and kissed Nicole on the forehead.
The three of them started laughing. What a wonderful way to start the day!
Talk of bringing the family back from the past was forgotten for the time being. All either of them could think about was getting that dagger and examining it.
Both of them were unusually quiet all morning, each deep in thought. Of course Irene was dressed early and kept pestering Leslie to hurry and dress so that they wouldn't miss the plane or it's precious cargo. Finally it was time to leave for the airport. They got to the Dabny terminal just as the plane was taxiing in.
In a panic Irene said to Leslie, as she grabs her arm, "Oh my! We don't even know what this guy looks like. How will we know him?"
"Relax Re. I know him. It's okay. He's a big guy with no hair on his head. You won't be able to miss him." Before she could finish her sentence she spotted him coming thru the gate, and so did Irene.
"Hey Pat! Pat, over here. Long time no see. How have you been?" Said Leslie as she made her way toward Pat. Irene was close behind her.
Putting out his big hand to shake Leslie's hand he said: "Been fine. How 'bout you? Whoa? Whose the knockout behind ya?" Giving Irene the once over, and smiling at her.
"Down boy. She's with me. This is my partner in business as well as in life." Turning to Irene, Leslie introduced her to Pat. "Pat, let me introduce you. This is Irene Stevens. Irene this big galoot is Patrick O'Hara. The best pilot to ever fly the friendly skies." That last remark caused all three of them to laugh.
"Okay, I suppose you want to get to the business at hand, huh?" Pat asked
"Please. Yes, most definitely." Irene answered, with Leslie nodding her head in agreement.
Out of his carry-on bag Pat takes out this neatly wrapped package. "Bobby boy said that this was very important to you guys, so he told me to keep it close and guard it with my life. Well I kept it close, but luckily for me, I didn't have to protect it with my life. The flight was a piece of cake." He started to giggle and his brown eyes twinkled.
"I can't tell you how much this means to us, Pat. Thank you so much. If ever I can do anything for you, please don't hesitate to ask." Leslie said as she took hold of Pat's hand.
"Ditto for me, Pat." Irene said.
"No biggie. Just doing a favor for Bobby boy. Well, ladies if you'll excuse me. It's been a long flight and I'm kind of tired. A thick juicy steak and a nice soft bed is what I'm in need of right now. Bye ladies." He said as he started walking away.
"Bye Pat and thanks again." Said Leslie.
Leslie looked at Irene, who was holding the package. Grabbing Irene's hand and walking to the car she said: "Let's go home and start checking this out." "
"Les, I'm as nervous as when I was a kid, and it was my first day of school! If this is the real McCoy?"
Finishing her sentence: "It will be the archeological find of the Century."
There they were, in the den, just staring at this oblong package. Wasn't more that eighteen inches figured Leslie. Bob had wrapped the original leather pouch very carefully so that it wouldn't become damaged during the flight over to the states. Leslie unwrapped the package down to the leather pouch, and was studying it for what seemed like and interminable amount of time.
Irene was becoming exasperated at Leslie because she was perusing the leather pouch for so long. "Paaleeeez! Will you start to unwrap it already. Sheeesh! The suspense is killing me."
"Okay. Give me a break here; will ya? I don't want to screw it up. All right here goes?" Les gingerly untied the leather bindings that held the pouch closed. She marveled at how soft they still were after all these years. Finally the leather was pulled away from the contents of the pouch. And there before them was just what Irene said would be there. The Hinds Blood Dagger, and of course the scroll. "Oh my! Re, you were right."
"I? I? was. Wasn't I?" She said as she laughed and cried at the same time.
Les came over and put her arms around her waist, and gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek. "You are incredible. I'll never doubt you again."
By this time both women were exhausted from expending all that energy on getting and finally confirming that this was in fact the dagger. They decided to take photos of the dagger, and then they would unroll the scroll and take photos of that as well. By the time they finished it was quite late, so they decided that tomorrow would be the best time to start deciphering the scroll.
Sweetheart? I'm having a cup of coffee. Want to join me? Would you like a sandwich or something? We haven't eaten since this morning." Irene asked.
"Thanks, Hon. Coffee sounds great. But I'll pass on the sandwich. Not hungry."
Irene brought two steaming mugs of her favorite brew? (Blue Mountain Coffee) into the living room and placed them down on the table in front of the couch where Leslie was sitting with her eyes closed. "Les? Coffee's ready. Here ya go." Leslie opens her eyes to see her lover just looking at her and grinning mischievously.
"I have this overwhelming desire to rip your clothes off and kiss you all over."
Leslie smiled and opened her arms to her lover and said? "Go with your feelings."
Almost before she could finish the sentence, Irene was "going with her feelings"!
Leslie rolled over and put her hand out to touch Re. Moving her hand back and forth and only feeling the satin sheet beneath her hand she thought in kind of a half waking haze? 'Why can't I touch her?' She opened her eyes, and looked to Re's side of the bed. Not there! 'This is strange. She's never up before me.' Jumping out of bed and throwing on her bathrobe, Les went in search of Irene. She headed downstairs towards the office. As she approached the office she heard low sobs coming from her lover. She ran into the room, and saw Re sitting there at the desk holding the translation of the scroll and crying.
She touched Irene's shoulder? "What's wrong?"
Irene turned and held on to Leslie for dear life. She was still crying and although she tried to talk; she couldn't. So she just handed the translation to Leslie, and she began to read?
I Sing a Song of Gabrielle - A woman of selfless courage, intelligence, and gentle devotion. A woman capable, through her love, of turning the Destroyer of Nations into, Xena Warrior Princess, a champion of the people. This then is her story? and as it turns out mine as well.
She came from Poteidia. Small town life was not for her. She wanted something more than being a farmer's wife. So she dreamed her dreams and put them down on her scrolls. Then one day Slavers came and attacked the village and rounded up the woman and children. This brave young girl of seventeen stood up to them and offered herself, if they would let the others go. The slavers of course, laughed at this little snip of a girl. Laughed, that is until I beat the hades out of them and sent them running.
I was impressed with the way this small woman stood up to the slavers. When I looked into her green eyes; I knew then that she would be the one to break down all my defenses, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.
And Gabrielle knew at that moment that following me was what she wanted. She wanted the adventure, and she wanted to put down all she saw and learned into her scrolls. Gabrielle knew in her heart that this was her destiny, and we were meant to be together. All she had to do was convince me of that.
She was relentless, and through the years became a great and wonderful part of my life. She wasn't the tag-along anymore. She was my partner in every way. We have? had a genuine love and respect for each other.
First and foremost, my Gabrielle was a Bard. She delighted many an audience at the inns where we stopped with her wonderful stories. She was an Amazon Princess and Queen. She learned from me the art of healing and, I'm sorry to say, warfare. And she could weld a fighting staff better than anyone the Warrior Princess knew.
This was my Gabrielle.
Oh dear, sweet, Gabrielle I miss you so much that my whole being aches for want of you. What will I do without the other half of my soul?
Leslie put the translation down and looked up with tears running down her cheeks. "Xena wrote this! She was in so much pain."
Trying very hard to catch her breath so she could speak, Irene got up from her chair at the desk and paced back and forth with her hands up to her mouth. "Les? This was Xena's way of saying goodbye."
"All the stories on the scrolls must be true then." Les said. A light bulb goes off in her mind? "And if all the stories are true? (Les said excitedly) then it also means that Gabrielle didn't die in that fall. If I'm not mistaken; there is a scroll that tells of Xena going in search of Gabrielle's soul and finding out that the Bard is very much alive, and?"
"Yeah, and that was one scary adventure. She saw Hope who was masquerading as Gabrielle?"
Les interjects? "Didn't take Xena long to figure that one out."
"She found the real Gabster roaming around the countryside sort of in a daze. Then it was just a matter of time before our "grandma's" made sure Hope would never bother them again." Irene said, feeling much better now.
"Well, I guess all's well that ends well." Les said happily.
"Yeah, I suppose so. And, yet? something doesn't feel quite right." Looking into Les' eyes? "I hate to say this, but I think we were supposed to find that dagger."
Leslie groans and shakes her head? "Shit! Here we go again."
Irene's left eyebrow went up, as she nodded her head in agreement.
Knock?knock?knock. "Hey, Mom. Open up!" An impatient Nicole was yelling.
"What gives with you? Why do you do that?!" Irene asked.
"Well, the door was locked. If the door were open I wouldn't have to knock. Nor, I might add, would I have to knock if I had a key. You never gave me one!" She said indignantly.
Trying hard not to laugh at her daughter, Irene put her hand to her mouth. Got some semblance of composure, and tried to clue Nicole in on why she didn't have a key. "Umm?Sweetie. You know how?how sometimes you just come running into the house?"
"Yeah? So? Oh!"
She laughed. "I get it. You don't want me to come barging in; in case you two are?ya, know?"
"I think you understand. I'll have a key made for you tomorrow." Irene went over to her daughter and hugged her. "I love you, Nic. Now sweetie, what's so important?"
"Mom! I just spoke to Mickey and Bill and they're all for Xena and Gabrielle coming to the wedding. Isn't that great! When are we going to get them?"
Just then Leslie walks into the room? "Get who?" She asks.
Innocently, Nicole answers, "Why, Xena and Gabrielle of course."
Both Irene and Leslie answer simultaneously. "You are not going!"
Leslie had finished dressing and was heading downstairs towards the den and into a new adventure. As she walked into the den she saw Irene busily packing their backpacks. Irene looked up and smiled at her?
"Les, I have everything we need packed and ready to go. Now all we have to do is wait for Nicole so I can tell her what she needs to do to get things ready for Xena and Gabrielle's arrival. I hope she isn't going to be a pest about coming with us."
No sooner had she spoken those words, than in walked Nicole. Holding up her hand, Nicole said? "Mom! I knocked. No one answered so I walked in. Honest!" she said breathlessly. "I brought what I needed to take with me, like the last time and?"
"I'm sorry Nicole, you can't come with us this time, sweetie." Not giving her a chance to speak she continued. "I need you here to get things ready for the family." Irene just waited for the argument that she knew would follow. But Nicole was just standing there looking calmly at her mom. Very out of character for her, Irene thought.
Knowing it would be useless to respond, Nicole mused, 'Yeah. Yeah, I am. I wouldn't miss this for anything.' Then she spoke?
"All right. I understand. Okay. I'll stay home, even though I'm going to miss a great time and all that. I'll stay right here and be bored to tears, and?"
"Oh for Pete's sake! Enough all ready." Her mom said.
Leslie felt sorry that Nicole was so disappointed, "Nic, I promise next dig we go on, you'll come with us."
"Yeah?well?okay? sounds good. I'll just put my stuff away." Not sounding at all convinced, as she fumbled with her gear, waiting for her chance.
Irene and Leslie were standing facing each other. Leslie held the Stone of Ages in her right hand and held Irene's hand in her left. "Okay, now be careful. We have to think of the same thing. We have to think of Xena, and that's where we will be transported. No distractions!" She said as she looked at Nicole. Leslie's meaning was not lost on Nicole.
"Hey, don't look at me! Not a word." Nicole said as she turns and invisible key by her lips.
"Okay let's do it, Re." Irene touched the Stone and both women feel the familiar tingling running through their bodies as the hair stood up on their arms. Just at that moment, Nicole ran over to them and threw her arms around them. "Sorry, mom. But I'm comin' with ya!"
Aphrodite's temple was large and spacious, with a garden surrounded by a high wall, that gave whoever was in the garden privacy. Surprisingly this temple was not as bawdy as were Aphrodite's other temples, around Greece. The temple seemed to be a special haven where Aphrodite could come to when she needed some down time. It was very peaceful and serene. Just what Xena and Gabrielle needed!
"It amazes me that Dite would have such a nice place. I guess this is a side of her no mortal has seen before. I never knew she could be so sensitive to peoples needs. She always acts so flighty and man hungry; but underneath all that brass and glitter there lies a Goddess with a good heart." Gabrielle said to Xena.
"Yes, but when push comes to shove, she will side with the other Gods against us."
"Xena! She's been very good to us. How can you say this?"
"Gabrielle, don't you get it? The Gods are selfish. We're just mere mortals. We are nothing to them but pawns to be played with, and then tossed aside when they tire of the game. I have a plan on how we can defend Eve and ourselves. The only thing is we have to leave here and head for Amphipolis."
"Amphipolis? What's there that could help us? We barely made it out of there with our lives."
"Artemis' temple. I buried the Hinds Blood Dagger under the altar."
"After I thought I had lost you forever, I never wanted to see it again. Even now with you here beside me, the memory of that sickens me."
"Xena. I'm so sorry. I couldn't let the fates cut your lifeline. I would rather have died, than live without you." She walked over to where Xena was sitting, and caressed her cheek. That caress, send shivers thru Xena.
Cupping her cheeks in her hands, and looking into those cobalt blue eyes she said, "Just one small problem with that. How in the world are you going to get to it? That's her favorite temple. You are good my warrior, but that's much too dangerous."
"It's a chance I'm willing to take to save you and Eve. We really have no choice. We'll go after Aphrodite leaves to make the rounds of her temples tomorrow morning." Xena kissed her Bard gently on the lips and held her in an embrace.
"I wish we had help with this one." The Bard said.
Next morning as Xena and Gabrielle were getting ready to leave, they heard raised voices coming from the main room of the Temple. Somehow the voices seemed familiar. So, picking Eve up, she and Gabrielle went to investigate. What they saw was their descendants standing there scolding Nicole.
"Aghhhh! My God! Don't you know what the word NO, means? You are supposed to be the one I can depend on?what the hell is happening to you? I'm so damn angry I can hardly speak?"
Leslie was speechless! Her face was so red; if this were a cartoon you could see smoke coming out of her ears.
"STOP?OK? Nicole yelled. Then in a softer voice she said, "I love you and Les. Mom, if you think I'm going to take the chance of never seeing you two again, ya got another think comin'. I'd rather be here with you forever than home without you. You know as well as I, that going back to see "the family" is never uneventful." She started crying and embraced her mom. Who instinctively just wrapped her arms around her daughter and started crying as well. Irene looked over at Les and just shrugged.
Tears welled up in Leslie's eyes as she went over to them and joined in the hug. "Brat, I love you too. But please don't surprise us like that again. If you had just said this before, we probably would've said okay." She kissed Nicole on the cheek. The three of them stood there crying until they noticed Xena and Gabrielle standing there looking happily surprised.
"Huh, hi. Sorry for the commotion. Just a little family misunderstanding is all. So! What's new?" Nicole asked innocently.
Before Gabrielle could answer, Nicole noticed Xena holding Eve. "Oh! What a cute baby!" she crooned. "Whose baby? You babysitting, Xena?" Nicole just stood there wide-eyed waiting for a reply.
Irene and Les walked over to Xena and Gabrielle and kissed them hello. "Hello grandma's, how's it going?" Irene asked. Not really sure she wanted to hear the answer.
Xena just looked at Gabrielle and smiled. This wasn't going to be easy. Where to begin? So much had happened to them in the short space of a year. So Xena did the only thing she could think of? "Gabrielle. Why don't you fill the family in on what's happened?"
Gabrielle's mouth opened as if she was about to say something. Then she recovered and started to tell the family what had happened to them. As she was telling them they all made their way to the garden. She figured it would be less horrific if she could tell them in a serene place.
She started by telling them of their crucifixions, and about their experiences in heaven and hell. And about being brought back to life by Eli with the help of Callisto. Then her voice became softer when she told them of Eve?
"Xena became pregnant with Eve after we were revived by Eli, and Callisto. Eve is here because a power stronger than the Gods wants their selfish, hurtful reign to end. The Gods are hunting Eve because they believe that she will bring about the Twilight. They want to kill her to stop the prophecy. We've been running ever since Xena became pregnant. We've had some very close calls, but Xena has a plan or two up her sleeve and we were just getting ready to leave Aphrodite's temple when the three of you showed up. I know this is a lot for you to take in, but there isn't a whole lot of time to explain more fully. We sure could use some help to protect our baby?"
Nicole went to Xena and asked her if she could hold Eve. Xena gave her the baby and watched as Nicole started to rock her in her arms and kiss her little cheeks.
Nicole looked at Xena with a tear running down her cheek. "Xena. There's no way I'm going to let some so called Gods hurt this baby. I'll give my life for her if I have to. She's my family too."
Irene was crying and had difficulty speaking, so Leslie, who was in more control of her emotions, told them that there was no way that she and Irene would turn away from their beloved ancestors, even if it meant that they would lose their lives. She looked at Xena with tears streaming down her face and said? "It's us against them, and we are gonna kick some serious butt!"
"Screw those bastards." Irene said as she sobbed. "We came here to bring you back to our time so you could come to the wedding." She was interrupted by Gabrielle's question.
"What's a wedding?"
"Oh. I think you call it a joining. Is that right?"
"Yes. But, who is being joined?" Gabrielle asked.
"Mickey and Bill are going to be joined."
How wonderful! Do you think we can make it back to your time?
"I don't think there will be a problem, and the best part is that the Gods have practically no power in my time. No one believes in them anymore. You will be safe and can rest. Hell, you can stay forever if you want to. We would be honored to have you." Irene was very excited about bringing them home. Especially now, when she knew the danger they were in.
"Thanks. That's a great idea. But first there is something that I need to do. I have to get to Artemis' temple. There is something I need to retrieve." She said mysteriously. She didn't want to tell them about the dagger, because she thought it would put them in more jeopardy then they were already in.
Irene spoke first?"Isn't that dangerous? I mean, after all we've heard, what could possibly be served by going back there now? Why don't we just get the hell out of here and go home. That would be the safest place for you guys right now."
"Yes, it is dangerous, but it is very important that I try. There is something there that will protect Eve and?" Leslie interrupted excitedly?
"My God! The Hinds Blood Dagger! You're talking about the dagger, aren't you??? But, you don't have to go back for the dagger, 'cause we have it!" Les was so excited she was just about jumping up and down.
"How? How is this possible?" One very amazed Warrior asked.
"We found it at the site of the temple, under the alter." Irene explained.
"How did you know there was anything buried there?"
"We didn't! There was a minor earthquake, and the Alter toppled over. Our friend Bob discovered it and sent it to us. We have it safe at our home." Irene said happily.
Xena was just dumbfounded. But she had a suspicion that there was more to this than luck. She looked at Gabrielle who had that same look on her face.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Gabrielle asked her.
"Yeah! I sure am. Aphrodite!! You can show yourself now."
In a glittering puff of smoke, Aphrodite appeared with a grin on her face from ear to ear.
"Here I am, Love Muffin. You want something?"
"You arranged for our family to find the dagger didn't you?" Xena asked.
"Why would I, a selfish Goddess, who plays with mortals like pawns, want to do that?" she said sarcastically.
"Grrrrr. It's hard for me to admit I was wrong." This was Xena's way of apologizing.
"Okay. I suppose that's the best apology I'm going to get from you. Huh, Warrior Babe?" Aphrodite asked with her hands on her hips and an impish grin.
Before Xena could answer Aphrodite, Gabrielle stepped in. "Thanks Dite. I knew you were a friend. You saved us. I can't thank you enough, my friend."
"Ahh! Forget it "little one". We're buds, pals. You know, that sort of thing. And look at this little cutey?I could never hurt her." There stood Aphrodite tickling the baby and making cooing noises.
"Xena we should get the hell out of here, while the getting is good." Irene said. She was beginning to get a bad feeling.
"She's right Warrior Babe. The family is very close to discovering where you are. And Ares can only keep them distracted, and on the wrong path for just so long, sooo?" She sadly looks at Gabrielle.
"Okay everyone. Lets get going. Got everything Xe?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yeah. Everything that's important." She says as she gently takes her child from Nicole and cradles her in her arms. And touches Gabrielle's cheek lovingly. "What do you want us to do?" looking questioningly at Les and Irene.
"Just everyone hold hands and gather round. It's very important that you think of us. That is Irene and I. That way we will end up in the right place at the right time." 'I hope!'
"Ok Everyone. Time for a group hug. Right! Here we go!"
They disappeared with Aphrodite looking on and wondering if she would ever see "little one" again. She sighed deeply, "Take care of my friend, Warrior Babe." She turned and walked back into her temple.
End of Part one.
Part two to follow?hopefully before XWP is in reruns. (VBG)