Disclaimers: Well, well. I see that you have decided to venture further with me. Great! Thanks for sticking around. Let's see.....um all the regular things. No they don't. Nope, I most certainly am not. Yes there is, after all it is. Yes, they will eventually. If you're not or it is, go. Yes there are, so be careful. Yes, they do, well, Janice does. If you can't, sorry. And last but not least, lesbians and Amazons. I think that about covers it all. UgoXena@aol.com blahblah...Let's get on with this..OH wait...One more thing.....I guess now would be a good place to let you know that I took great liberties with Greek Mythology. Then again if you ask TPTB, I ain't the only one!..:D

2000 (cool huh?) kglasgow

Convergence

Part 2

 

Pounding sound assaulted the eardrums of the sleeping woman, bringing her up from her sleep in a not so pleasant way. Her mood, unfortunately, was going to match the unpleasant fashion of her waking. About that there was no doubt.

"Damn fucking Rap music. Do they need to play it so loud this damn early in the morning? The small woman reached over to prod her partner into wakefulness and poked at sheets full of nothing. Without opening her eyes she yelled, "MEL! Go out there and tell those assholes to off the music already!" She huffed and turned back over.

"What a sweet way to ask me, love. But the music isn't stoppin' anytime soon."

"Why the hell...............not. Where are we?" Green eyes perused her surroundings with an irritable scope.

The tall older woman stood at the only window in the small hut looking out over the scene. "That is a very good question, Dr. I think we ah, well........with the Amazons?"

"Is that a question or a statement?"

"Both?"

"Fuckin' great. How the hell did we get here?" Grumpy was a mild way of describing her mood and Mel was not going to let her get away with it.

"Janice Covington! You get your mouth in check this instant or I will walk out this door and expose your nakedness to the entiah Amazon nation."

"I double dare you, Belle. You're as naked as I am." She smirked at her lover with a devious grin painted across her face.

"You would let me wouldn't you?" Mel sighed heavily and smiled at the woman she had spent the better part of fifty years with. *Ah will nevah win.*

"Well, maybe not you, but I don't give a rats ass if they see me I my wear-with-all. I'll try to behave for you. I just need some coffee and some time to get my bearings."

"There are two things for certain, love; theya's no coffee and barein's ah in short supply."

"No kidding. Are those drums ever going to stop?"

"Doubtful. It appears that we have a full fledged funeral going on out there. Maybe it's the beginning of one. Seven days of mournin' are in order. Whoever it's for seems to be extremely important. The Royal Guard is standin' watch over at the queens hut."

Janice stretched and sunk deeper into the soft cloth that covered her body. "Mel, just how do you know which hut is the queen's?"

"Janice, if you would get your lazy self outta that bed, you could see how for yourself."

Reluctant to excavate her 'lazy self' from the cocoon of warmth she instead curled a tad tighter and beckoned to her lover. "Tell you what, come back here," She patted the bed lightly, "and join my lazy self and I'll look at the queen's hut later." Emerald eyes shone with a fire that had been burning for half a century. "I'll make it worth your whiiiiile." Wiggling her eyebrows she gave her lover a crooked grin.

Melinda Pappas smiled at the bravado of her partner. "Why Janice, are you coming on to me?"

"Honey, you can call it whatever you like. I want that naked bod of your's over here playing find the pearl with mine."

"My God Jan, you could use a modicum of couth."

"Why start now? I love ya honey! I really want to shoooow you." She ran her finger in a small circle no top of the sheet.

The tall gray headed beauty sauntered to the bedside leaned in and laid a passionate kiss on the lips of her lover. "This is not figuring out how and why we are in Amazonia."

"Maybe it's a dream and you'll wake up having had the best sex ever."

Melinda reached out slender fingers and pinched the small woman.

"OW! What the hel...eck was that for?"

"It's not a dream."

Short arms reached out and grabbed a still slender waist, "No, sweetheart, but you are."

The tall blue eyed woman fell the short distance to the waiting arms of Dr. Janice Covington, giggling all the way.

Wrapped in sheets and each other, the two older women failed to note the entrance of two very serious guards.

"Ahem!"

Green eyes burning with angry fire peered over the top of her lover's head. "This had better be the best fucking, OW! Mel!"

"Janice, I would suggest that you keep a civil tongue in your mouth when speaking to the Queens Royal Guard." Mel turned and gave the guards the sweetest southern charm smile she could muster. It had to look good as it was all she was wearing.

"Please come with us." The tallest and most threatening looking of the two spoke. Janice couldn't help but note the interesting color of the woman's eyes. Light jade green framed by hair the color of chocolate. Something nagged at her concerning the features of the tall warrior. Suddenly it clicked.

"You're Julisa! Mel! It's Jules. Candace's Jules. Remember? You know, deaf daughter, Commander of the Army....You know?"

"How do you know me?" The question came out more like a threat than an inquiry.

"Mel? How do we know her?" Melinda was a great storyteller and this could be interesting.

"We are...uh...were friends of Candace." Then again it might not be that interesting at all.

"You knew Candace?" Jules let her gruff attitude slip and allowed her curiosity to surface. "How? When...I mean...."

"If you let us get dressed, we'll answer some of those questions for you." Janice smirked.

"Of course. Please." The Commander motioned for the other guard with her to step out. "We will be right outside."

"Julisa! Deah, before you go. One little problem. We don't have proper attire to be seen in. Well, actually, we have no attire at all." Mel held the sheet up around her neck for the sake of propriety.

"How did you get in here, anyway? And naked at that." Julisa had heard a commotion from just a few feet away. Any further and she never would have heard them over the drums. *Good Gods! They have to be loud to be heard over that racquet.* The warrior stifled a laugh at the thought of these two seemingly fragile older women screaming like banshees. Older maybe but spry for sure.

"Honestly, we don't know. Puhhlease! Do we look like a threat to you? Coupla old ladies, naked old ladies too boot. Get us some clothes, take us to your leader and we'll answer all of your questions then, OK?" Janice looked to the warrior for reply.

"We cannot take you to our leader at this time as she is in mourning. You will be taken before the council to answer questions."

"Your leader is in mourning?" Janice panicked at the thought. Gabrielle was queen as far as she knew. If it were her in mourning that only meant one thing. Xena had died. "Gabrielle?"

"No. Queen Ephiny. Gabrielle is our Regent. She has been since Candace....um...left."

Mel looked back at the woman behind her. The sad eyes told of her understanding.

"Senar." Mel almost spoke in a whisper.

"Yes." Jules held her tears in check. "The queen's Consort was killed in a small skirmish with a start up warlord name of Creighton. His army is not large but they excel in battle. I believe that Ares God of War has a hand in his rise to power. But we will find a way to avenge Senar's death." Her jaw set in determination and fire burned cold in her gaze.

Mel shivered at the look. One thing she determined at that very moment was to never ever make this woman angry in any fashion.

"Right. Well, we are right with you. Right, Mel?"

"Yes, we ah so sorry for your loss. She died as a warrior and with honor. It is as it should be."

"Well spoken. I will get your clothes and then we will see how it is that two naked strangers were able to infiltrate the security perimeter of an Amazon compound." Jules nodded and exited the hut.

As soon as Janice was sure the warrior was gone, Janice started in, "Mel, Senar isn't supposed to die is she? Ephiny is killed by Brutus and then Senar remarries five or six years later to, uuh, what's her name...."

"She married Kimi five yeahs aftah the death of Ephiny. Somethin is rotten in Amazonia that's for certain. Perhaps this is why we are here."

"And why is that?"

"I'm not sure. Could be a different time line. Could be....well, I don't know." The southern professor stared off into the distance.

"Mel. Hello, Mel! If you could join me back here on Earth maybe we could think this through."

"Sorry, love. I was tryin' to recall a Creighton in the scrolls. I don't. At least not in the time we appear to be in."

"OK If this changed, what else isn't right? Better yet how will this one death change history hundreds of years down the road?"

"Sorry, love. I was tryin' to recall a Creighton in the scrolls. I don't. At least not in the time we appear to be in."

"OK If this changed, what else isn't right? Better yet how will this one death change history hundreds of years down the road?"

"What was that?" Janice raised an eyebrow and made sure that Mel had experienced the same thing she had. Time had just repeated itself.

"You felt that? Maybe a hiccup?" Mel's sweet voice was filled with indecision.

"In time? That can't be good. I wonder if it was just us or if anyone else noticed it."

The Doctor and the Professor looked at each other with that 'this is very bizarre' look. They both loved a mystery, but this was more than that.

Jules knocked at the door and waited for admittance. She did not want to intrude again as she had earlier. *Who knew that they weren't torturing small wild animals in there? That's what it sounded like.* Jules smiled slightly at her own thoughts. Normally her grin would have been a bit wider but the mood over the camp did not promote frivolity and she really wasn't in the mood anyway.

"Come in." Jules heard the soft voice of the woman with the blue eyes. *Those eyes. I've only seen one person with eyes like that. Maybe they're related.* She stepped into the room and placed a stack of clothes on the pallet. "Something in here is bound to fit. If not most of it is adjustable. You can make it fit."

"Thank you, Jules."

The tall woman started to exit when she was stopped by the sound of her own name.

"Hey there Jules, before you go, may I ask you a question."

"Of course."

"Did you notice anything unusual happening in the last few minutes?"

"Unusual?"

"Yeah."

"No. I went to the seamstress and asked her for some extra clothes and then walked back over here. I had no opportunity to witness anything odd. Why do you ask?"

"No reason. Just had a thought." Janice climbed out of the bed naked as the day she was born and proceeded to search for clothing

"Are you a seer?" Jules was surprised but not shocked at the lack of shyness from the small woman.

"No not on the sense of the word. I know how things are supposed to," A long leg shot out from under the covers of the bed and connected with the archeologists backside, "Mel you don't need to kick me." Jules covered a snicker with a cough.

Mel continued for her partner, "Jules, we really need to speak with Ephiny. It urgent. You know it's not a normal thing for two naked women to suddenly appear in the middle of the camp, right?"

The warrior nodded. *Those eyes again.*

"Well, we think the Gods have something to do with why we are here...."

"And you know that can't be good." Janice interjected.

The warrior grinned, "It never is."

"We would never disrespect the mourning period, but we need to see the queen." Ever the one for formalities, Mel tried her best to recall all the Amazon rituals concerning mourning and funerals.

"I have been rude, you know my name but I don't know yours." Jade green eyes stared intently undecided as to whether she could trust these two very odd women.

"I'm Dr. Janice Covington this is my partner Melinda Pappas."

"Doctor. Melinda." The dark head nodded. "I can not take you to the queen without cause. Have you cause."

Janice sighed heavily. They couldn't give good cause without going into great detail. She looked to her partner who shrugged and put up her hands. "Can you give us a minute to finish dressing, then we will come up with the best reason we can."

Julisa looked at them with suspicion, "Do you mean to make something up? Do NOT lie to me! I will have your hide." She glowered at them.

Mel wanted to cower under the gaze but stood firm, "No, deah. We want to make sure we explain to you as best we can without......betraying a confidence."

"Very well. Trinda and I will be right outside. When you are decent, let me know."

"Janice is nevah decent, but we will let you know when we are dressed." The professor smiled at Jules and the warrior was certain that the smile belonged on the face of another. Xena to be exact.

Jules nodded and stepped out.

"Just what in the hell are we going to tell her?"

"If she is a membah of the Guard she is sworn to secrecy about anythin' that might threaten the security of the nation. The only person she may report to is the queen, regent or head council membah. They then decide the best course of action. After the Kayla fiasco they made certain there would be no further breeches of security. We tell her the truth and then let her decide."

"You know best, Belle. How do I look?" She was attired in soft kid leather pants and a light brown knee length cotton tunic covered with a green mid-waist vest. A long sash adorned her waist and calf high boots sat nicely on her feet. The outfit was smashing.

"Quite lovely, Janice. How about me?" Mel was stunning as ever in a simple long-sleeved blue linen dress cinched at the waist with an ornate belt of brown leather and brass. Simple sandals delicately adorned her feet.

"Every inch a woman, Mel. You're beautiful."

Melinda kissed her lover sweetly and held her close. "Thank you, sweetie. Could you let Jules know we're dressed please?"

"Yep."

Doctor Covington stuck her head out the door and summoned the waiting warrior. Jules stepped in and stared at Melinda. Dressed in blue, her looks were unmistakable. "Melinda, that dress becomes you, or perhaps I should say you become the dress." The older woman blushed at the sincere compliment. "May I ask you a strange question?"

"You are welcome to ask anything you like. Of course, that doesn't mean I will answah." The professor gave her a winning smile along with the teasing.

Jules smiled at the older woman. She didn't care how they got in here, she liked them and trusted them without reason. "Are you by chance related to Xena? You look so much like her." She looked over at the doctor, frowned and tilted her head, "Now that I think about it you look like Regent Gabrielle." She thought for just a second more. "OK. What is going on here? This has something to do with why you need to see Queen Ephiny, correct?"

Green eyes met with blue and Janice shrugged at her lover. Mel motioned for Janice to 'go ahead'.

"Honestly, we're really not sure. I am not sure how much you know about the time when Candace was here, but this it seems is similar."

"How so?"

Janice rolled her eyes and rubbed just above her eyebrow. *Did she have to be so damn inquisitive?* "We," she motioned between Mel and herself, "Are not from this.......um....well. we're not from around here."

"That much is evident. It still doesn't explain how you got in her, why you are naked, or what this has to do with Xena and Gabrielle."

"How to use 'Duh' in a sentence." Jan wasn't getting far with this.

"I'm sorry?"

"Nothing, Jules. OK here it goes. We are not from this time. We are from the future. We are descendants of Xena and Gabrielle. We don't know what this has to do with them, if anything. Last but not least, Senar should not be dead. There. You figure it out."

Jules sat quietly for a short period of time before she spoke, "How did you get in here?"

"Always the warrior, huh?"

Jules gave a slight smile and a nod.

"We don't know. We went to sleep last night in December of 1999 and woke up here and now in our birthday suits."

The brown-haired woman shook her head. So many odd words all at once threatened to confuse her. "What is December? 1999 is the number for what and birthday suit?"

Mel smiled at the warrior. It was not their intention to befuddle their captor. "Janice, may I?"

"Please." The good doctor was exasperated.

"Months are how the lunar cycle is measured in the future. The twelve divisions have names and December is one of those names. The number 1999 stands, well mistakenly stands for the number of years after the birth of a man, who many claim to be the prophesied Messiah of the Israelite scriptures. Birthday suit is your naked self. That which you were birthed in. Your skin. Is this close enough?"

"One last thing. What do you mean when you say Senar should not be dead?"

Archeologist and Professor looked at each other. In unspoken agreement they nodded.

Janice tried as best she could to answer with sincerity, "In the future, we have Gabrielle's scrolls. Senar does not die for another 25 years. We don't have more than that. Is it enough?"

"It is....interesting. I will take you to Ephiny. She knows more about the situation with Candace and Xena than I do. You had better know what you are doing. And if I find out you have lied..."

"Just exactly how many times in an hour do you think you need to threaten us?" The green eyed spitfire was close to blowing up.

Mel moved quickly to her lovers side and place a calming arm around her shoulder, "What Janice means Jules, is that we have no reason to lie to you. We appreciate the need you feel to protect the queen. I promise we have no motives other than to correct what is wrong."

"And trust us, there is SOMETHING very wrong."

"Very well. Trinda will take you to the dining hall while I speak with Ephiny. IF she wants to see you I will escort you to the queens hut. Trinda will instruct you on proper conduct in the presence of royalty while you eat. "

Mel smiled and almost let go a laugh. She received a soft elbow in the ribs for her trouble. She cleared her throat while regaining her composure. Janice glanced up at her lover and shook her head. What they really needed to learn, it seemed, was how to control themselves.

"We would be honored." Mel bowed slightly.

Jules did not miss any of the interaction between the two older women but decided to ignore it for now. *They act like children at times. Maybe it comes with age. I have never seen anyone so old before. Perhaps there is something in the water where they are from.* The warrior nodded and exited the hut.

Trinda remained outside waiting for the researchers. Inside Janice was fit to be tied.

"I will not be treated like a hooker at a Baptist convention! Wait bad analogy. You know what I mean Mel."

Melinda couldn't help but laugh at the doctor. "Sweetheart, we are in the middle of an Amazon camp uninvited. They ah just protectin' the queen during her time of mournin'. I can't imagine losin' you. I would be devastated. I hope someone would be lookin' out for my interest durin' that time. We need to convince her that this present is not the correct one and then find out why."

"Find out why. And how do you propose we do that?"

"Your guess is as good as mine. Ah you hungry?"

"Are Amazons lesbians?

"Well, no."

"But, I'm hungry. Let's go."

For the next two candle marks Janice and Mel learned more about Amazon ritual than they could ever forget. No matter how hard they tried. When to speak. When NOT to speak. Bowing properly. Speaking while bowing and when to do it. Walking backwards while bowing and speaking or how not to fall over when walking backwards while bowing and speaking. Janice refused to curtsy until she was once again threatened with physical injury or imprisonment. She was almost to the very edge of her patience when the instruction was finally over.

Janice picked up a drumstick and began to wave it angrily, "Mel, I swear to God! Let's just leave Senar dead and get out of here before I find a sharp object and perform unanesthetized surgery on the closest warrior I can tackle."

"She should be all of ten, but I'm sure her mother won't mind." She said flippantly, placing a bite of bread in her mouth.

"You are so funny. You know, I don't even have my damn golf clubs."

"And if you did, where do you think you could play?"

"I'd go to Scotland and teach 'em early."

"Yes, you would wouldn't you? Love, I know this isn't your kind of situation, but we are here for a very important reason. When we talk with Ephiny we can try to get the big mean warriors to leave you alone. Then we can get to work on what's up."

"Big mean warriors, humph! Whatever. Listen though, I have an idea about this time problem......."

"Ladies?"

Two sets of eyes, one of emerald and one of lapis, turned to face the tall solid warrior that had addressed them. "Ephiny will see you now."

Both woman took a deep cleansing breath and stood up. Jules led them through the byways of curious stares and comments. Once they were outside Janice stated the obvious;

"Damn, those girls are nosy!"

Jules smiled in spite of herself. She couldn't agree more!

The group arrived at the steps to the queens living quarters. Jules held up her hand for the two women to wait outside. She Disappeared through the elaborate entrance and was but a few moments in returning. She pulled the curtain and beads aside and held it for the women to enter.

Melinda and Janice stepped across the threshold and into the dimmed light. The ornate trappings of the room were all but lost in the darkness. Squinting, Melinda glimpsed around the darkened room for some sign of the monarch. A slight sniffling sound from the corner gave Ephiny's position away. Kind blue eyes turned to take in the shadowed form of a truly broken woman. The tall lithe professor moved toward the queen with arms wide.

"You are not allowed to touch me in this time." The haggard voice struggled out through swollen sinuses.

"Poppy cock! You need a hug. Come here."

Ephiny bowed her head and the ringlets on the monarch's blonde shook in her grief. At this time to her it really didn't matter what customs she broke. She allowed herself to be enfolded in the arms of a stranger as sorrow wracked her soul and tears flowed in streams of anguish from her already swollen eyes.

The professor held the Queen of the Amazons as the queen sobbed and screamed in her torture.

For a long while no words were spoken. The tremors slowly subsided and tears for a moment began to abate. Melinda rocked back and forth while she whispered softly into blonde curls.

"Shhh. Sweet girl. It's all going to be OK. You're alright baby. You're safe."

Ephiny pulled away, angry in her heartache. "NO! NO! It's not alright!" She pushed away from Melinda with a jerk. Wringing her hands she paced without purpose.

Janice stepped in front of her and grasped Ephiny's wrists in her small hands. "Stop! Look at me." Tears filled eyes stared into familiar green. "Ephiny, I know you don't know us, but we are here to help you.

"Help is too late in coming. Senar is dead and I mourn once again." The bitterness dripped as venom.

"That is where you are wrong." Janice tried as kindly as possible to address the hurting woman.

"WHAT? I have heard your story. Personally, I think you are crazy."

"We have been called that more times than you can imagine and we're not quite sure that we are sane in general, but this is a no brainer. Senar is not supposed to be dead." The doctor was stating the facts.

"How can you think that? She is dead! Look outside. Do you see the pyre? DO YOU SEE IT! My wife, my love, my Champion is atop it. SHE IS DEAD!" Tears burned an angry path down the monarch's fair cheeks. "Why do you wish to torture me?"

Melinda addressed the queen in soft tones, "Ephiny, we have no wish to hurt you. You are seeing us now because somewhere in there you think we have the answer you seek as to why did this happen. We don't know why. What we do know is that it's not supposed to be this way. You remember Candace, correct?" Ringlets bobbed affirmatively, "She is a friend of ours." Melinda allowed the comment to sink in.

"From another time?" Ephiny was starting to piece 'something' together.

"Yes."

"You are from the future? The same as Candace's future?"

"Yes."

There was a long silence while Ephiny's mind struggled in light of this new information. "Alright, let us say that you are from this distant future, I still don't understand how you would know that this one incident is not supposed to occur."

"It's in the scrolls."

"The Amazon scrolls survive?" She was incredulous.

"Not the Amazon scrolls. Gabrielle's scrolls, although some are one in the same. We have them in ah possession at........home?"

"You question where they are?" Ephiny scowled.

"No, no. It's difficult to explain. They ah where we live in the futuah. Our home then in the futuah. Never mind this. We have those scrolls and know what should and shouldn't be as fah as the Amazons are concerned. Gabrielle kept a more extensive history than most of you yet realize. After she and Xena began having children they settled heah in the village and Gabrielle along with the historians chronicled in minute part the history of the Amazons. We have studied that history in great detail. The things that are happenin' now are in opposition to what we know. Senah_should_ not_be_dead." She left out that Ephiny herself would die in the near future that they knew.

The reigning Queen of the Amazons closed her sore eyes, placed her aching head in her hands and contemplated the words that the professor had spoken. *Stranger things have happened. Xena died. Gabrielle died. Well, we thought she had died, and look now they live.*

"Let us say I believe you, what next. How is the wrong made right?"

Janice spoke the truth from behind Melinda. "That is what we don't know......yet."

"You spout strange stories and make claims of knowledge but you don't know what to do about it? Why am I wasting my time? GUARDS!" Two large women entered quickly with weapons drawn looking for all the world like they were going to kill the older women. "Take these two out of here."

The guards crossed their swords in front of the doctor and the professor and began to push them out. From behind the weapons Melinda bored into Ephiny with ice blue eyes and spoke with the authority of age and knowledge, "Your Majesty, the fact that we don't know now is not indicative that we will be unable to ascertain the answers. We simply do not have enough information at this time to be making you promises." They had almost backed all the way out while Melinda was speaking. Ephiny stared coldly back at the older woman but Melinda knew she had said the right thing. The queen sighed heavily.

"Your Majesty, would you like us to take them to the keep?" The taller of the two guards spoke.

The queen contemplated for a moment. "No. Take them back to the hut where they were found. I'll decide what to do with them later. Place a guard outside of their door and make sure that they are fed." Gazing directly at her charge she gave specific instructions, "Do not harm them in anyway or you will answer for it. Do I make myself clear?" She was in no state of mind to deal with 'accidental' injuries to visitors no matter where they said they were from. The emotions of the warriors were running toward the angry side and the incidents of fighting amongst themselves, was becoming epidemic.

"As you wish, Your Majesty." She was amiss in hiding her disappointment.

"I would suggest that you don't forget that particular point, Reska. I am soon to make an example of someone. I would hate for it to be you. Dismissed."

The warrior exited with a curt bow and allowed the curtains to float closed before her. "Consider yourselves lucky." The guard glowered at the two women.

Janice turned quickly on the guard belying her years. Poking a short finger into the chest of the tall warrior she stood up for the honor of her and her companion, "Listen ya walkin' attitude problem, you're the lucky one! I may be old but I got a move or two I could show you. So BACK OFF!" She threw her hands up in frustration, "God! What I wouldn't give for my nine iron right about now!"

The guard stared at the mature woman in wonder and absolute disbelief. Janice didn't back down and finally stared the other into defeat. The young strong warrior shook her head and flashed a lopsided grin. "Well, said. I apologize. You may not be Amazon, but you have the heart of one."

"And your mother raised you very well." Melinda was more than relieved that her lover's temper didn't cause an 'incident'.

Reska beamed. "Thank you. She would be pleased to hear that. She might argue the fact with you, however."

"I'll let her know if I evah get the chance. What is her name?"

"Delmar. She is the healer in this village."

"Delmar? Cyrene's Delmar?" Janice piped up.

The guard stopped and the group stopped with her. "You know her? How is this?"

"We don't know her. We know of her. Melinda is related to Cyrene's family but we have never met her." Janice peeked up at Melinda to see her reaction to this stretch of the truth. It wasn't a lie per se, just a convenient twisting of the reality. Mel shook her head at her lover. It was close enough

"Then we are family."

Melinda looked shocked and then reluctantly accepting. "Why yes, I guess we ah." She wasn't exactly sure what to do with that information.

The party reached the hut and Janice and Mel were escorted in. "Please try not to cause any trouble ladies. Trini will be right outside if you need anything. I'll let Cyrene know you are here. I am sure she would love to see you."

Mel felt a slow crawl of panic sneak across her insides. As calmly as she could she spoke to her relative, who wouldn't really be her relative for another 2500 years, "You don't need to do that. I doubt she even knows who I am."

"There's a given." Janice rolled her eyes and tried not to laugh. Mel tossed her a silencing look and the doctor deftly caught it as she had learned to do over the many years of their relationship.

"It's no trouble," came the reply of the warrior, "she loves company."

Faking a smile all she could say was, "Great."

"I trust that you will make yourselves at home. Good day." The warrior bowed slightly and returned to her duties.

"Good day, Reska." The two older women waved their farewell.

Mel let out a heavy sigh and sat heavily on the bed. "Could this have gone any worse at all?"

"Doubtful, love. Do you think Ephiny will calm down enough to talk with us again?"

"I gave her a little somethin' to think about at the end there, but we need ideas and we need them toot sweet."

Janice sat next to her lover and spoke, her hands moving with her ideas as they flowed, "OK. This is a time thing. Somewhere on the time line something got whacked out. Now these are just my thoughts on this so bear with me; Who is in charge of time?"

"Well if you want a who, I'd say God."

"God who? God of the Israelites? God of the Aztecs? Which God right now?"

"Well, we have the Fates."

"No they do the life line thing. They can do time but it has to connect to a certain person. We are here so my guess is that it's bigger than that."

"What about Zeus?" Janice suggested.

"I don't think so. He's powerful, but it's not his style to mess with the affairs of mere mortals. No, this is not him."

"Chronos." Mel knew the minute she said the name that she had hit on the right track.

"Yep. My guess exactly. But why he would do this is beyond me." The doctor's mental wheels were turning quickly.

"Unless it isn't him." Mel put the brakes on gently.

Janice sat dumbfounded, "But, who then, and how?"

"Who I don't know, but how is easy. Steal the hourglass and learn how to use it." Mel was pleased with herself.

"STEAL the hourglass? How could anyone do that?" The thought was baffling.

"Well, Hades had his helmet stolen, why not the hour glass?" The professor knew the scrolls and all the details of the theft of the Helmet and the second death of Marcus. It was so sad.

"So what we are going to suggest to the Queen of the Amazons that some nut stole The Hour Glass of Chronos and is running amok up and down the time line?"

"Do you have a bettah idea?" Bright blue eyes gazed into green with amused curiosity.

"Well........not as far as this whole timeline thing goes, but I can come up with an 'idea' or two if you like." Once again green eyes danced with passion for her soulmate.

"They did leave us in here alone......with a guarded door. Ah you suggestin' that we conclude ah earliah rendezvous?" Melinda grinned at her enthusiastic lover

The small doctor slid close to her lover and whispered softly in her ear, "I believe that would be what I am suggesting." She placed a gentle kiss on the ear at her mouth and and nipped at an unadorned earlobe. "I love you, Professor. With all my heart I do."

Melinda turned to face the woman she had given her life to, "You know that's the way to my heart love. You whisperin' sweet nothin's in my ear." Her soft hands caressed the face of the doctor and her lips caressed her forehead. Kissing a light trail she made a path to the lips that had captured her attention forever ago. Softly lips met. The taste and texture of the other woman's mouth on hers sent trailing down her spine to her toes. Breaking the kiss she searched deeply the green that gazed back at her. It was amazing to her even now that her love for the archeologist knew no depths or boundaries. She moved her lover back onto the bad with her, crawling as they went. They may be older but the very passion that gave them love gave them youth as well. The fact that they looked in their early fifties and were more fit than women half that testified to it.

Janice relaxed on her back as she watched the taller woman crawl over her body. She wondered at the sexiness of the movements as she watched herself being stalked. Melinda still moved with the stealth of a predatory cat. Blue eyes of fire burned into her soul leaving her breathless. When the professor got that look in her eye there was no mercy in her desire. Not that she was complaining, but had she known, she would have gotten more sleep the night before. Sure hands with long fingers slowly uncovered the already heated skin hidden in fabric and leather. The warm touch of her lovers hands on Jan's flesh caused a hiss of want to escape her mouth. A very warm mouth caressed her skin and the fire in her heart moved quickly south carrying a wetness with it. It was not a wetness that would ever quell that fire.

Still fully clothed, Melinda leaned over her prey and touched her mouth to Janice's collarbone. The doctor writhed beneath her touch and it caused a moan to escape her own throat. The greatest pleasure for her in the lovemaking they shared was in taming the wild woman beneath her. She knew the very spots to touch and kiss that made putty out of Janice. She felt small hands run up her sides and undo the belt around her waist. Exploring fingers and palms ran up her legs to her butt, giving it a gentle squeeze parting her slightly. She was privately pleased that the clothes they had been given had not included underwear. The cool air hitting her heated sex made her flex and squirm, pressing back into the hands that controlled her. The smile on her lovers lips acknowledged her desire. Suddenly she was the putty. Small fingertips delved further in toward the heat that emanated from the center of that desire. When those fingers touched her wetness and gently probed the swollen folds she methodically rocked on her knees with instinctive movements. Through half-lidded eyes she peered down at Janice.

*God, I love that look.* "That's it baby, close your eyes and feel what I'm doing to you. Feel me touching you." It came as a whisper. Janice watched as the heavy arc of Melinda's breasts swayed before her eyes. Taut nipples strained against the fabric, begging for release. Janice brought one hand up and pulled the blue fabric down over Mel's shoulder and freeing one breast, to Melinda's great delight. How this had changed course she didn't know but wasn't truly concerned about it at the moment. Janice's soft mouth captured the gently swaying orb, pulling the swollen nipple with a light tug. Melinda moaned again and a wash of increased wetness coated the probing fingers of her lover.

Janice moved her other hand around to the front of her partner for better access to sensitive flesh. Her finger lightly brushed a very swollen nub of flesh causing a moan from her lover and a miniscule twitch from the bundle itself. Janice smiled at the flicker of desire under her touch. They still had it.

Continuing with her oral ministrations to her lovers breast, she pulled the loose fabric of Mel's dress into a rough bundle at the southern woman's waist with one hand while the other's fingers drew swollen outer lips apart. Janice poised her fingers to the entrance of Melinda's deepest secrets and gently pressed down enlarging the opening bits at a time.

Melinda moaned above her lover's head. She loved the full stretching sensation Jan's fingers were producing in her heated center. The exposure caused liquid fire to seep from her. Her woman's fingers pushed down and in filling her with the love she owned. Slow friction teased her with a promise of thundering release. Janice moved with her, thrusting at her pushing, pulling while she withdrew, only to be impaled again and again. Deeper and deeper the touches came causing the tingling of desire to build from her very toes. Raging fervor crept up her calves to her thighs she shook with the anticipation of her outpouring. She sensed a small hand reach behind her and touch her most delicate opening. Small circular movements at the puckered opening shot heat coursing through her veins. The small fire was now an uncontrollable inferno. A quick flicker of a tongue across her swollen nipple unleashed the power of her passion. Screaming into the Amazonian air she let go her lover's name while her soft walls pulsed around the fingers that pierced her soul. Slowly she became aware of the small arms that held her close and the lips that softly kissed her face.

Breathlessly, Melinda gathered her thoughts into sentences. Peering into her loves emerald eyes she declared, "I don't know wethah it's bein' around the Amazons or the change of venue, but that, my love, was the very best you have ever felt." She bent to Janice within a breaths width of the doctors lips and whispered seductively, "Best I have ever felt as well."

"There is nothing close to the way I feel about you, love." Came the soft reply.

"You still love me? Aftah all these yeahs?" Mock surprise occupied her voice.

"Ah, Belle, you know I love you more than my Callaways." Janice smiled sweetly.

"You romantic fool you." The tall woman laughed and then the two became serious.

"Melinda, I love you more now than I ever have. I don't know why we're here, but at least we're together. Nothing I have in this life, or any other for that matter, is equal to you." She kissed her partner sweetly as a soft knock came at the door. "Damn. Ain't it always the way. I am left hanging again."

"Have no fear, ma sweet. You shall be devoured in short order soon enough." Melinda reassured her doctor.

"A'right. WHO Goes there?" She raised her voice to the person who would dare interrupt their rendezvous.

"It's Cyrene. May I come in?"

"A moment if you could. Lord almighty. What could be next?" Mel rolled her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose.

"She could see me naked." Janice grinned wickedly.

"I think not, Janice Covington. Put your clothes on and I'll go out and greet Cyrene."

"Whatever. I think she might get a thrill though." The older woman laughed at her thought.

"You would think that. That thrill is for no one but me, and YOU had best not forget that." She shook a warning finger at the smirking doctor and turned to the door.

Janice shook her finger back in humor filled mockery, mouthing the words her lover had just imparted to her. It was a good thing Melinda's back was turned or she would be bound to get an ear full of southern hospitality. "Get my clothes on, humph. Whatever."

Just outside the doorway, the voice of her lover and another woman could be heard. It was then that Janice realized that they should not be able to understand let alone speak the language. Even Candace had pointed out that Gabrielle was the one that did all the 'understanding' in her experience. *Great! Just what this situation needs. More questions* It was not an issue that she would spend much time on. She could understand the language. She didn't need to understand why.

Melinda ushered her relative into the small room, "This way, Cyrene. We have heard so much about you. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

"I wish I could say the same. Honestly, I have no idea who you are. Rude as it may seem."

"Oh not rude at all. I....we live quite a....'distance' from here." Melinda was hard pressed to make up anything better.

Jan muttered under her breath, "No shit Sherlock."

"I'm sorry, did you say something?" Cyrene looked at the doctor seated on the bed, trying to place the familiar face.

"Who me? Um... Just talking to myself. I do that." Mel rolled her eyes at Janice but kept her thoughts to herself.

"You look so familiar. Have we met?" Cyrene stared at the doctor.

"No. I think I would have remembered a lovely lady like yourself." Janice flashed a winning smile at her and hope that would be enough to change the subject.

"You are very kind, but really I swear I know you." Cyrene squinted in thought and stared at Janice. The wrinkles faded in her sight and it came to her, "Gabrielle. You look like Gabrielle." She turned to the taller woman behind her and gasped, "You look like my daughter. NO! No, you don't just look like her, you could be twins. Well, a much older twin." Cyrene crossed her arms in pride and smiled smugly. She loved solving a puzzle. The problem here was that she didn't get the question.

"Well, we ah all related." The southern professor wanted reason to win out in the conversation. No such luck.

"Good effort, Melinda, but no, this reeks of Gods and such. You two just show up in the middle of the compound from straight out of nowhere, looking like identical twins to my daughter and her wife. Nope. This is more than a relational thing." She gave them the 'mom' stare and was firm in her intonation, "Spill it."

Unable to fend off the effect of 'the look', Mel looked to her lover for direction. Janice didn't know east from west most of the time so was unable to offer a suggestion. She just shrugged and indicated that whatever her lover did would work for her. Mel was grateful to her lover for all the help and turned her cerulean gaze to her great-great-great a whole bunch more greats grand mother. Or aunt. Or cousin.

"Fine. If that's the way you want it. How much did you know about Candace?" Melinda paced and gestured as if she were lecturing a class.

"Candace? I don't understand." A confused student indeed.

"What do you know about her?" Restate the question to make it more obvious.

"Well, she married my daughter and then..just...disappeared." She wasn't sure where the tall woman was going with this.

"O.K. What else?" Draw out the student to assist them in coming to a conclusion.

"Short, blonde, Green eyes. Absolutely gorgeous. One of the most pure hearts I have had the chance to experience." Descriptive, but not concise.

"Yes, that's her all over." Close, but no cigar.

Cyrene squinted again. "How would you know?"

Janice saw an opening and squeezed in, "We know her." Come on. Think it through.

"Know her? How can you know her? She went back.....to, well forward to.....," Her eyes widened in realization. "Ohhhh. You..." She pointed at Melinda," and...she.....ohhhhh. Ohhhh." Education at it's finest. "But....why?"

"Your guess is as good as ours, sweets. All I know is I went to sleep just shy of the year 2000 and woke up here." Janice spread her arms and looked about the room to indicate where exactly here was.

Mel shook her head again and looked at Cyrene. "She is not exactly being honest with you, Cyrene. We have an idea what is wrong, but why we ah heah is a mystery."

Cy thought and paced at the same time, her brows creased in concern. "If this has to do with you and you are related to Xena. This must have to do with her."

"Let's not forget that I am related to the good for nothing little tag-along." Janice knew now that Gabrielle contributed more than side kick service to the lifestyle of the Bard and the Warrior, but it didn't stop her from thinking the Bard was less than Xena and because of it, that she herself was less than Melinda.

Melinda rolled her eyes thinking that if her lover kept it up her eyes would soon roll out on to the floor. Much worse than losing a contact.

Cyrene was confused once again, "Good for nothing tag along? Who is that."

"Well, Gabrielle of course." Janice was totally matter of fact not knowing that she had thrown a rock at the hornets nest.

There is nothing more dangerous in the entire known world than an Amazon mother whose child is insulted and Janice had done just that. Cyrene's eyes became nothing more that two slits and her face reddened considerably. She walked determinedly to Janice's position and bent to no more than an inch from the older woman's face. Her voice told tale of the fury within. "If I ever hear anything like that come across your lips again you WILL NOT live to see the next candle mark. How dare you!"

"Geez! Touchy." Janice looked surprised and didn't know whether to be frightened or amused.

Xena's mother poked a finger at the good doctor. "When it comes to my daughters you can bet your last dinar I am and with good reason I might add!" She stood straight up and crossed her arms firmly. "I can't believe that you might be of the same stock as Gabrielle. You sure look like her but it ends there, I think." The two women began a staring contest that would have made Medusa jealous.

Melinda took this moment to step in. "Ladies, sweetheart, this is ridiculous. We need to all be friends heah." She waited looking at both in a pleading manner. Throwing up her hands she proclaimed. "Pahdon meee! For some unknown reason I THOUGHT we were grown women. THIS will END NOW!" She spoke through clenched teeth and glared at her lover while speaking to both. "Do I make maself cleah?" She gazed at the women with the same look that an exasperated Xena used often. It was enough to bring the two back from the precipice to which they were clinging.

Cyrene nodded in agreement. Being angry would get them nowhere. "Alright. You are both related to 'them'. It has to mean something."

Janice nodded and let her Irish go for a minute. She stood and gazed thoughtfully out the window, "I think that if we could get to the library and do some research we might be able to find at least a beginning to the mystery." She turned to face the two blue eyed women, "What we really need is to talk to Xena and Gabrielle. If they have been experiencing any of the same things we did, we can narrow it down to a reasonable assumption that it has to do with them and the future..or us in the past..or them in the past and us in the future...or..and oh boy. See what I mean?"

"Uh yeah. You have to have Ephiny's permission to get into the library. Good luck. BUT, Xena and Gabrielle have been summoned and are on their way to attended Senar's funeral. They should be here in two or three days at the most." Cyrene twisted her hands together out of habit and tried to think of a way to convince Ephiny to open the library to the scientists.

"Wow. We're gonna meet them! We are going to meet THE Xena and Gabrielle! Wow!" Janice had sweaty palms. What a rush!

Cyrene ceased her thoughts and looked dumbfounded at the doctor, "You're kidding, right? The way you were talking a minute ago you would have thought you would rather not be seen in the same room with the," Cyrene made little quotes in the air with her fingers, '"useless tag along" let alone be excited to meet her."

"Yeah, well. I didn't mean it. Sorry." Janice shrugged one shoulder and grimaced. She was truly apologetic.

"Apology accepted. You might want to apologize to yourself, you are related after all." Not giving Jan a chance to answer she continued, "I'm going to talk to Keli, head of the council. Maybe she can get you into the library." She stood to leave.

Melinda stopped her before she got to the door, "Cyrene, before you go, how long has it been?"

"Since Candace?" There was still a very soft spot in Cyrene's heart for the small blonde and the pain of her loss was evident in her eyes. The woman from the future had given a heart to the warrior she called daughter and for that she would be forever grateful. "It has been almost six seasons I think. I sure miss the rascal." She paused a moment. "How is she? Is she happy?"

Mel held the hands of her ancestor and peered into her eyes showing the honesty of her statement, "Yes Cyrene, she is very happy. It was a difficult transition for her at first, but love brought her through."

The older woman smiled all the way to her heart. "Good! That has been a thought in the back of my mind for a very long time. Good. Yes. Well, I must be going."

Just as the woman got to the door a small knock was heard outside.

"Were you expecting someone?"

Mel and Jan looked at each other with a frown and then back to Cyrene shaking their heads.

"Come in?" As new as they were to the village, it seemed busy in their little hut.

A shocked look crossed the faces of the three women as a very disheveled monarch was escorted through the small entrance. Surprisingly enough, Janice was the first to remember the bowing and speaking trick.

Bowing slightly she welcomed the queen to their humble abode, "Your Majesty, be at peace in our home."

Melinda beamed at her lover and curtsied. *Well done, Jan!*

"Thank you doctor, although peace seems to be the one thing I am in ere to find as of late. But to complain of my lot in life is not why I am here." She paused momentarily gathering her thoughts to express her desire. "Janice?"

"Yes, your Majesty?"

"What can we do? I should say what do we do?"

"That is a difficult question. Melinda and I have discussed what we feel to be at the heart of the situation, but must have access to research materials to be sure. Any steps after that all depends on what we find and what the center of the problem is."

"Very well. How can I help?"

Melinda stepped forward and addressed the queen, "Your Majesty, we would like access to the library."

"Granted. Anything else?"

"Just the answah to a question." The monarch nodded. "Why the change of heart?"

"I want my wife back. If you can find a way to do that, I am willing to do what I must."

"All we can say is that we will do our best." Jan pulled her brows tight together as she spoke. This was a serious situation, she hoped they could find answers that would bring Ephiny the peace she sought.

"I guess that's all I can ask." Pulling together what modicum of regal manner she had remaining and stood straight. "I know better than to place all of my hope in this endeavor. I won't plan on Senar coming back to life before my eyes though that would be the thing to eliminate the sight of her dying in my arms." Her voice hitched and a single tear spilled down her cheek. "I want my wife back."

Melinda gazed at Janice with determination written in her face and gave her a slight nod and then returned her blue eyes to the queen. "We will do what we can."

"I know. I don't know you, but I know Xena and Gabrielle. That is enough for me to trust you. The Keeper will give you anything you need."

"The Keeper?" Janice had never heard of or read of the title.

"The one who keeps and orders the records."

"The Librarian. Of course. Thank you your Majesty. I pray we find you answers."

"As do I." Looking down she sighed heavily and the weight of her loss sat hard on her shoulders. She needed to go home. "I must return to my hut. Good days ladies."

Ephiny gritted her teeth and turned to her escort. She didn't really want to go back there. All of the things there that had given her joy before now haunted her heart. She couldn't even dream of sleeping in the bed so she laid next to it and sleep was a stranger. *Please let them find the answer.* If Artemis were listening, she prayed for help. She let herself be led back to her torture and her haven.

Cyrene looked up after Ephiny had gone. "You have got to figure this out."

Janice stared and Xena's mother, "Yeah. And I think for more than just Senar. I have a feeling this is much bigger than what we are seeing. Much bigger."

They had no idea.

=/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>

Cont.......

Continued - Part 3

 


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