The boat was rocking along with the movement of the waves. Inside the little cabin Dar was keeping a concerned eye on Kerry, who still was moaning with her hands held tightly to her stomach.
"Honey, you should have told me about your seasickness before we set sail to Aruba. Tis nothing to be ashamed of. Really. We could have bought you some of that medicine and you would have been home free."
Kerry, with a faint greenish tinge to her cheeks, looked at the long dark figure bent over her. How could she explain to her lover all she wanted to do was to live up to her standards. Giving in to her seasickness was something she found utterly embarrassing. She had hoped for the best of it, just like on the days when they went out for their little fishing trips. Everything went fine then. But this journey was different. Not only because they had to stay much longer on the boat, but also because she miscalculated the effects Tropical Storm Melissa had on the Atlantic Ocean. Sure, she expected a little movement, but she thought she could handle it. Boy was she ever wrong.
Kerry opened her mouth to answer Dar, who still was eyeing her. Just at that moment the boat made another huge roll over one of the white-capped waves. Dar leaped forward to find herself snuggled up next to Kerry, who smiled wryly. "Well, if it takes this to get you in bed with me, I can live with seasickness."
Dar shook her head in disbelief. "Kerrison Stuart. You are impossible. But come here, if it makes you feel better, I am happy to perform some pillow duty."
"Nah, don't worry", the tall woman understood the unspoken question. "We have plenty of sea-miles ahead of us and besides, the automatic pilot will take us wherever we want to go."
Another lifting of the boat and Kerry was glad she could lay her head on a welcoming arm. "My head feels like it is filled with gas and my stomach, ugh, seems to be ripped apart by a Gryphon."
Dar chuckled softly. "Wait a second. I'll find you a little sleep helper. This will do the job for some hours."
Kerry didn't have the guts to complain, so she just let Dar hold up the cup with cool water to her lips and swallowed the little liquid gel.
After a couple of minutes the drug had its effect and Dar heard Kerry's breath steadying. "Happy dreams, my love."
Dar also leaned back in the softness of the cushions and let sleep take over as well.
It was already dark when Dar woke up. The dark-haired woman could feel Kerry was still fast asleep. Her younger lover was sprawled over her and was snoring contently.
" Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wake up." Dar poked her playfully between her ribs
and got the awaited reaction.
"Is it time for supper yet?"
"I bet you are feeling a lot better", Dar grinned.
"Actually, I do. It seems like the ocean stopped rocking. Or maybe it is just the position I am in. Anyway, my stomach reacts like as we are already on shore."
Dar shifted carefully to the side of the bed and swung her legs over the
edge. As soon as her feet hit the floor, she felt it. "Yikes, this is cold."
"Come on Dar, don't be a wimp", Kerry replied. "I know we are a
bit out on the ocean, but it is not like we are back in that cabin in the
mountains. It can't be that cold."
"Check for yourself", Dar rumbled, trying to find her way in the dark. "Hey,
cut that out", she gulped, when someone pulled at her shirt.
"What?", Kerry asked questionably.
"Boo?", a tiny voice startled the two women.
Hours later, Kerry and Dar were still in a state of shock.
Although the discovery of the little girl was a surprise, what the sun brought with the birth of the new day went far beyond what the two women had ever experienced. They no longer were on the boat. Instead they found themselves back in a wooden cabin, much like the one in North Carolina, but much simpler.The floor was made of rough wood, but colorful rugs and woven cloths brightened the place up.
"Hmm, someone did a really good job on those." Dar pointed appreciatively at the little hand-carved animals on the top of the shelf near the fireplace.
"Sure did", Kerry replied. "I kind of like this one." She lifted up a little turtle from a place where it seemed to have been nested for ages. "Do you guess it belongs to the little girl?"
At the sound of her voice a small figure tumbled over the edge of her crib. "Bck"
"Oh Dar, she is ever so cute. She has the most beautiful green eyes. And hey, look at her hair. It is as pitch dark as yours."
Dar didn't really take notice of the girl, who now was eagerly pulling her shirt again. "Hey, I told you to leave that."
"Boo! Up!", the baby replied, not letting go of her target.
Kerry was amused at the sight. "She likes you, I'm sure she does."
At that moment the baby decided to change tactics. She poked her tongue out at Dar and waggled over to where Kerry was standing.
Dar choked. "Is she saying what I think she is saying?"
Kerry stared in disbelief at the child, who lifted her arms, wanting to be raised. "Eh, I, eh. nah, can't be."
"Mommy!" Again the little girl scowled, this time a bit more emphatically.
"Oh, see that look. Just like you always do, when we are out of chocolate ice cream." Kerry giggled and lifted the girl, who eagerly wound her arms round her neck. "Isn't she cute?"
Dar looked at the two and couldn't withhold a smile. "Mmm, that really is a pretty sight."
At that moment the door of the cabin burst open and a face behind a swirl of blond locks took in the scene before her. "Oh hi. Glad you are up already."
Again the two women looked at each other with an unknowing expression on their faces.
"Hi to you too, but I don't think we have had the pleasure of meeting you before", Dar took the initiative. Let us introduce ourselves. The one in the Tweety nightshirt is Kerry and you can call me Dar."
The blonde stared one second at both Dar and Kerry and started to grin the other second. "Okay I get it. The moment I saw you I figured you were up to something. Why else would you be wearing those strange clothes. You are playing a little role model game, aren't ye? Kinky! But okay, for now I play along. Dar, Kerry it is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Ephiny."
"We are not plffff", Dar was starting to say, but was stopped by Kerry who put her hand over her lover's mouth.
"Let's go along with this and see where it ends. I have a strange feeling about this."
Dar just shrugged and turned to Ephiny. "At least can you tell me why you burst in here like you did?"
"Gabrielle is wanted in the Amazon Village. We have problems."
"Gabrielle... Amazon Village.... Right... Next you are gonna say I'm Xena", Dar snorted.
"Of course you are, silly." Ephiny rolled her eyes and handed over some clothes to Kerry.
"Now stop the crap and move your cute little butts out of here. You wanna change first, though".
Changing clothes had been.... fun. After Ephiny left taking the child with her. Dar had found her way to a vaguely familiar chest, which after opening contained not only a shiny polished armored breastplate, but also some different colored leathers and a neatly folded cloak.
"I think I like this one best." Kerry held out the deep blue leather before Dar, who on the other hand stroke the soft black one.
"This one feels more.... right. I can't come up with an explanation, but I think I am going for this one. You, by the way, look stunning."
Dar moved over to where Kerry was standing and touched the bare skin under the small green bra. "I thought you looked good in black leather during that High School reunion, remember? But this is definitely more you."
The taller woman stroked her hand gently across Kerry's exposed stomach and heard the fair-haired woman's breath quicken. "No more sea sickness for you, huh."
Dar let her mouth find Kerry's ear and nibbled on the little lobe.
Kerry moaned and slid her hands under the shirt Dar was still wearing. "Come on, let us get you in these leathers and go over to ask that Ephiny woman, who and where the little girl is." "
Are you sure?" Dar again let her fingers play with the contours of Kerry's ribs. Kerry was just about to give in, when, once more, they were interrupted.
"I can't believe this." Dar was a little overwhelmed by the weight of a black animal, which wagged his tail enthusiastically while standing with his paws on her shoulders.
"What is it, is it a dog?", Kerry asked inquiring.
"Don't think so. More like a wolf. But not a completely grown one."
"Oh, a pup. Can we keep him?"
"I more or less think he keeps us", Dar replied wryly.
Together they stepped out of the cabin and stopped right after they closed the door. Before them stretched a muddy courtyard. Across, they saw the curly-haired woman waving at them from what seemed to be an inn.
"I bet they don't serve a cappuccino over there", Kerry stated with an amused smile round her lips.
"We may be lucky if we can get breakfast at all", Dar scolded, feeling her mouth water at the thought of a Krispy Kreme donut. Sighing, she shifted the cloak round Kerry's shoulders. "Let's go."
The moment Dar and Kerry entered the inn a sturdy woman separated herself from the crowd.
"What do you think this is. A friggin' Merpups Den?"
"Huh", Dar lifted both her eyebrows and raised her hands.
"Oh no, don't you lift these eyebrows at me, young lady."
Dar felt like she was a kid all over, instead of the CIO at one of the most powerful companies in the world. "Now, hold it."
The woman who had confronted her took a deep breath, but had no intention of stopping her verbal assault. "I am very happy to be a grandmother and I love that kid of yours as no other gran would, but this time she has gone too far."
"My kid?", Dar stumbled.
"Who else would pull aside my shower-curtain when I am just in the middle of a... a...."
"Shower?", Kerry filled in with a twinkle in her eyes.
"Of course, what else?" Cyrene, owner of the inn, turned away from the astonished Dar to the younger woman who in the mean time had draped her cloak over one of the chairs in the inn.
"Come on, honey. I can hear your stomach growling. Breakfast time for you. Let tall, dark and dangerous, also known as my daughter, take care of your kid."
The tall executive let her eyes drift to where Ephiny was standing together with a happily bouncing girl. "Our kid, huh..." Dar played with that thought for a while and took a closer look at the little girl, who now threw herself at Ephiny, clamping both hands in the curly hair.
"Dori.....! Xena.....!", the amazon shouted in despair.
With two long steps Dar made it to the other side of the inn. She got hold of the little menace that let out a joyful "Boooo". Dar looked straight into a pair of so familiar green eyes, it almost took her breath away.
"So Dori", Dar lowered her voice to the amusement of her single audience. "You have been quite a scamp, huh."
Dori giggled and pinched Dar's nose. "Bck."
"Bck you too. Come on, let's find mommy, eh Kerry."
In the kitchen, not only did they find the subject of their search, but also a wolf, who had his head deep into one of the pots on the floor.
Dori wrestled herself free of Dar and crawled over to the unsuspecting Ares (you knew that, didn't you?). She harshly pulled on one of the wolf's ears while gingerly dipping her hand into the same pot. The wolf found himself being harshly pulled by one of his ears by the girl, who with her other hand gingerly dipped into the same pot.
"She is definitely something else, isn't she?" Kerry made a place free for Dar who couldn't take her eyes off of Dori, who know now was licking her fingers, letting out little smacking sounds.
"Oh Dar, you must try these. Cyrene, she expects me to call her mom, made these specially for Xena, but I think you will like these cakes as well. I just had the most delicious nutbread I have ever tasted in my life. It had a little cinnamon, a bit of honey..."
Kerry stopped when she saw Dori crawl back to her lover. The black-haired kid seemed to have picked something up from the floor and handed it over to Dar.
"Prl", she said with a serious tone.
"Well, thank you." Dar accepted the gift from the intense looking girl and put it away in one of her pockets. "You were saying...," she said to Kerry.
After they finished breakfast Ephiny came through the kitchen door. "If we leave now, we can still make good time. Your presence is much needed, my Queen." Ephiny shifted to Dar. "I already packed your travel-gear and stacked it on Argo."
Out in the little courtyard, Xena's horse was indeed ready to go. When Dar approached, the mare seemed startled and whinnied nervously.
"Easy girl," Dar said. "Couldn't fool you, huh?"
The mare relaxed under the soft strokes on her nose and pushed Dar a little aside.
"So, we are friends now, right?"
Kerry looked around to see what kind of horse Ephiny had prepared for her. She couldn't find one. "Where is my horse?"
"Well, I assumed you would ride with Xena, just like you always do." The Amazon was surprised by Kerry's question.
High above her, Dar stretched down an arm, inviting her to mount. "Just like you always do, my Queen," the boardroom warrior teased.
Kerry found her way up, grateful for the fitness lessons she had taken over the past months.
At least she made it look easy and graceful. She nestled herself close to Dar and wound her arms round her dark-haired lover. "Kiddy up go", she chuckled.
Ephiny mounted her horse and headed out. Before leaving, Dar turned Argo around and steered towards Cyrene who was holding Dori. "Thanks for taking care of her. You will never know how much this means to us." Dar nodded towards Xena's mother and turned Argo in the direction of the Amphipolis' gates.
"Son of a Bacchae," Cyrene stared after Dar and Kerry until they had gotten past the guards. "What do you know?"
After two candlemarks Kerry felt snoozy by the rhythm of the horse's pace and the warmth of the sun. "Mmm, I could get used to this", she said to Dar, who also found Kerry's body pressing against her back exciting.
"Try to get some sleep", she advised Kerry. "This probably is going to take a while."
Kerry didn't argue and it was not much longer when Dar felt the body of her lover go limp.
"Hey, sleepyhead, wake up."
"Are we there yet?" Kerry yawned, realizing she was no longer on the back of a horse. Instead she was back in the little cabin on the boat.
"You have been out quite some time," Dar spoke affectionately. "How is your seasickness?"
"Pretty good, actually. I feel a lot better. Wait until I tell you about the dream I had."
"What dream," Dar asked curiously.
"Well, we ended up in an ancient little Greek village. I was some Amazon queen and you were my consort. And Dar, we had a kid. You should have seen her. Not only did she have your black hair and my green eyes, she also had some of your tricks. Do you know what she called you? Boo."
"Kid, huh. Must have been some dream you had."
"Wait until I tell you what she did with your mother's shower curtain." Kerry disappeared into the small bathroom.
Outside, Dar rumbled through one of her pockets, surprised to find a sticky raisin.
"Wonder how this dried grape ended up here?"
She took the raisin between her thumb and her finger and tossed it in the air, catching it neatly between her white teeth, before swallowing it contentedly.
The End (for now...)