"The silence was deafening; the whole world seemed to be waiting for something, anything to happen." Sheila paused then said, "cut." Walking over to where her camera stood precariously positioned on a tripod, she muttered, "I can't wait until I'm famous enough to rate a cameraman." Sheila reached out to hit the stop button on the camera when a flash of light surrounded her, making her whirl around.
"Oh my God!" Sheila exclaimed, willing herself not to faint at the sight before her.
"Where?" the leather clad figure asked urgently scanning the surrounding area.
Sheila looked at the strange woman who had appeared in the clearing behind her. She was tall, taller than any woman she had ever met before. Her long, black hair cascaded over her shoulders. Her sword was drawn and Sheila would have sworn that the woman had just stepped off a battlefield. Not because the woman was injured, in fact she didn't even appear to be breathing hard, but because of the splotches of blood still dripping off of the leather tunic. Sheila's gaze was drawn up the long length of the woman's body until she met the most arresting pair of blue eyes she had ever seen. As their gazes locked recognition flooded Sheila's mind and body as she breathed, "You're Xena!?"
The woman, realizing that there was not threatening god nearby, sheathed her sword and raked her eyes over Sheila, missing nothing, "Yes, I'm Xena. Who are you?"
"My name is Sheila, I'm a reporter--at least I hope to be-- could I ask you a few questions?" Sheila answered Xena as she searched her pockets for the pen and paper she always carried with her.
Xena saw the pen and asked, "What is that?" "My pen?"
"Yes, what does it do?"
"I can write with it." Sheila replied, demonstrating. "By the gods, Gabrielle would love that." Xena's eyes lit up at the thought of her bard.
"Where is Gabrielle?"
The light in Xena's eyes faded, "She's visiting her family for a few days. I miss her, but I'm glad she wasn't with me today."
"Why? What happened?"
"I had to hurt a lot of bad people today." "Why?"
"They were doing bad things to good people." "So, they deserved to be hurt?"
"Yes they did."
"Then I'm sure Gabrielle would understand." "You're right, she would." Xena paused for a moment, lost in thought. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure." Sheila breathed, still finding it hard to believe that she was talking to the real, live Warrior Princess.
"Where am I and how did I get here?
"Uhm...well," Sheila started to answer when another flash of light lit up the clearing.
"Ares, I should've known." Xena growled. "Well, what did you expect Xena? You were hurting too many of my good soldiers. Since I couldn't send all of them away from the scene, I sent you here."
"And where, exactly, is here?"
"Not important. Are you ready to go back?" "In a minute. My new friend Sheila here wanted to ask me some questions."
Ares finally noticed Sheila, "Not a chance Xena! We've got to go back now!"
"Why, what's the rush? You in some big hurry to let me knock off a few more of your thugs?"
"No! I'm not taking you back there."
"So, what's the hurry then? Sheila says she's a reporter, whatever that is, so why shouldn't I answer a few of her questions?"
"Well, uhm... you see..."
"Just spill it Ares."
"Look, I sent you to the future ok!"
"Yeah, not far, only about 20 years or so. The fact that you've been seen could mess up all sorts of timeline stuff so no questions."
"C'mon, you've gotta let me ask some questions!" Sheila cried, she figured she would worry about that little 20 year comment later.
"Yeah, Ares, she deserves to ask a few questions." "Oh, all right all right. One question and then we're out of here."
"Don't push it, or we'll leave now."
"Oh, all right." Sheila thought for a minute. "Hurry up we've got to get going." Ares fumed. "I'm thinking. I don't want to ask something silly." "Make it snappy, I'm on a schedule here. I have a lot to do today, I am a god you know."
"Yeah, well not where I come from." Sheila said softly. Not softly enough though as Ares and Xena heard her.
"What do you mean, Sheila?" Xena asked.
"Just that where I come from Ares isn't a god anymore. At least not one with any worshippers."
"What!?" Ares gasped.
"Well, I suppose there are still some people in Greece that still worship you. I know that you must have some power, after all there are still wars."
"Where, exactly, are you from?" Ares asked. "The United States."
"Where is that?" Xena had never heard of such a place. "Actually, when is that would be a better question." "What are you getting at?" Ares asked.
"I'm from the future."
"Well, duh! I zapped us into the future." "No, I mean farther into the future."
"How far?" Xena asked quietly.
"About 2000 years."
"Ares!" Xena turned to the God of War, a murderous gleam in her eye.
"Xena! Wait! I swear I only zapped up 20 years into the fuure; she must have gotten pulled to this timeline somehow. No wonder Zeus warned us about messing around with time travel."
"No wonder." Xena agreed, "you really messed up this time. It's no wonder you're not worshipped anymore."
"Ouch," Ares said grabbing at his chest, "that one really hurt, Xena. Do you want your knife back?"
"Never mind, how are you going to fix it?" Xena asked. "Easy, after I take you back, I'll take her back." "No, we'll both take her back, then we'll go back." Xena said. "I don't want to risk her."
"Oh, all right." Ares grumbled, "Let's go then." "What about my question?"
"Aaargh." Ares groaned.
"I almost forgot." Xena admitted, "What's your question?" "How do you feel about being a hero?"
"A he...," Xena looked absolutely taken aback, "I'm... I'm no hero."
"Sure you are!"
"No! I've done so many horrible things in my life. I can never do enough good to make up for the pain I've caused. I'm nobody's hero."
"Where I come from," Sheila said looking up into Xena's eyes, "the fact that you are even trying makes you heroic. The good that you've done is what legends are made of. Gabrielle's stories of your road to redemption are still told today. Your life story is truly heroic. Believe me Xena, you are a hero."
"I don't know what to say, how to answer your question." Xena replied, still looking a bit stunned at the implication of Sheila's words.
"That's ok, I think I've got my answer." "Can we go now?" Ares whined.
"Are you ready?" Xena asked.
"Ok, Ares, let's go."
Ares put one hand on Sheila's shoulder and the other on Xena's. "You're going to have to help me out here Sheila. Since I didn't bring you here, I need you to think about where you were before you met Xena in the clearing. Picture it in you mind, ok?"
There was a flash of light and the three were standing in the backyard of Sheila's home.
"Is this where you were?" Xena asked.
"It looks like it." Sheila answered turning to face Xena. "It's been really great to meet you."
"You too Sheila." Xena held out her hand and clasped Sheila's in a warrior's greeting.
Sheila held out her pen, "Why don't you give this to Gabrielle, it won't last forever but..."
"She'll love it while it does. Thanks."
"Be safe, I want to read lots more stories about the warrior princess."
"You bet." Xena smiled. Ares put his hand back on Xena's shoulder and in another flash of light, they were gone.
Sheila stood there for a moment, then walked over to her camera.
"Oh my, the camera's still running." She hit the stop button, took the camera off the tripod, and turned back to the house. Just then the back door opened and a woman stepped out.
"Sheila!" she yelled.
Sheila cringed and yelled back, "Yeah."
"It's time for bed dear. You've got a big day at school tomorrow."
"I know. I'm coming in now."
"Your father and I can't wait to see you in that play about famous reporters tomorrow."
"I know Mom." Sheila walked up the steps of the porch, kissed her mom on the cheek and went inside to her bedroom.
"Goodnight Mom." Sheila closed the door to her bedroom, set her camera on her desk, got ready for bed, and got under the covers. Reaching over to turn off the bedside lamp, Sheila muttered, "I can't wait until I'm older, being 10 is soooo boring."
"Yes, but not every 10 year old gets to meet the Warrior Princess." Ares voice flitted through Sheila's mind just before she fell asleep. "By the way, you were right I do still have some powers."
"Shut up Ares, you're not the only one with powers." Xena's voice silenced the God of War's, "let the poor girl sleep, she's had a big night."
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