A Mid-Hellenic Night's Dream A.K.A Our Hero Reneé
by Les Rankins
Disclaimers: I don't own any of these characters because even the one's you've never heard of are base on real people I know. Xena, Gabrielle et al belong to Renaissance Pictures. Reneé, Lucy and Rob belong to themselves.
No sex, almost no violence but hopefully some jokes that make you laugh.
This is dedicated most respectfully to Reneé O'Connor who is a hero to a lot of people in many different ways.
It is part of the cannon of the show that in the modern day there is a television show called Xena: Warrior Princess that is based on the scrolls of Gabrielle. Have you ever wondered why when they told how Gabrielle returned from the pit in 'A Family Affair' they didn't really explain anything? Well here's why, the truth was even too freaky for this show. And that's saying a lot.
The assassin moved quietly through the busy room, ignored by all. Her weapon was a comfortable weight in her hand. As she closed upon her target she could see that he was engaged in conversation with the woman who had contracted the hit. She was a tall brunette wearing a long, heavy blue coat. He almost turned to see her but the woman distracted him with a touch on his arm and a kiss on his cheek.
At last she reached her position and was ready to strike. She waited for the woman to give the signal.
"Rob, remember when I said you'd be sorry for those rats in 'Locked Up...'"
"Well payback is a bitch."
The signal! She moved forward and struck the blow.
As the pie struck Rob Tapert's face Lucy burst out laughing. He turned to see Reneé scamper back, a grin on her face.
"Damn it! Will you two stop ganging up on me." He ran to the prop table where the pies for the fight in 'Punch Lines' were kept. "Two can play this game," he said as he grabbed two pies. Reneé had moved away so he closed on Lucy who was still laughing at his plight.
"Oh no love, that wouldn't be a good idea" she warned him. "If I have to wash that stuff of me again today someone is going to be very lonely in bed for quite a while."
Rob stopped a moment to weigh this up and then turned towards Reneé.
"Hey, no fair Lucy!" cried Reneé "Why should I be the only one to get creamed?"
She ran off with a messy Executive Producer in hot pursuit. She immediately wished she had taken that heavy coat off before starting this, it was slowing her down enough for Rob to quickly close the gap. A sharp right turn and she was moving to a possible escape, she could see one of the springboards. By using that she could jump over one of the tables on to the safety mat and escape.
Rob was closing quickly. "Stop and take you medicine Reneé or I'll have Gabrielle trapped in a room full of spiders."
"Do your worst, I'm out'a here. Yee har!" she cried as she hit the springboard and went sailing over the table to freedom.
All hell broke loose; no one was sure what had happened. Reneé had crashed onto the table as if she had fallen from a hundred feet. Her body was lying amongst a splintered mess.
As Reneé flew through the air a rock wall appeared out of nowhere. She covered her head with her hands as she hit with a thud and slid a short distance to a narrow ledge, unconscious.
Reneé was tempted to wake herself from the dream by just letting go and falling into the pit. But for some reason that didn't feel like it would be a good idea. It may have been a dream but it felt very real. The climb was about 100 feet; a lot more than she was used to when she did wall climbing for exercise. She quickly realised that keeping the coat on had been a mistake but there was no way to remove it whilst hanging from a rock wall over a bottomless pit.
Sweat poring of her and muscles aching Reneé dragged herself out of the hole.
"Climbing Kilimanjaro was less work than this" she mumbled as she lay there trying to recover.
She could see what looked like daylight from an opening in the wall, so she pulled herself together and went to see. The opening led though a short passage to a forest clearing. There was a chilly breeze whipping past the entrance so maybe keeping the coat had been a good idea after all.
"Well dream or no dream I might as well have a look around" she thought and headed of down the path that led from the cave mouth. It was quite a pleasant walk, a peaceful forest on a mild winter's day. Once she was out of the breeze it was almost warm.
From ahead on the path come the sound of shouting and screams. Reneé ran towards the sound, her interest piqued. It seemed the dream was about to turn even more interesting.
Rushing around the bend she came upon two men. They seemed to be threatening a middle-aged man and woman and a young girl. The men where armed with swords and looked like escaped stuntmen from the show.
"Get away from them" she called. The men turned towards her with their swords raised.
Suddenly the colour drained from their faces. The large one started looking around as if he expected something with large pointy teeth to jump out and bite him. The smaller one started stammering. "G-G-Gabrielle. We didn't mean it...it's a misunderstanding...we where just trying to help...where's Xena...err I like what you done with your hair."
Out of reflex she replied "My name's Reneé not Gabrielle"
The one doing the talking peered closely then a nasty grin appeared. "You know, you do look a lot like her." He came closer, his sword extended. "If you surrender now we won't hurt you...much."
"Wow, I get to play the hero" Reneé thought. "This is going to be so much fun." She drew the two sais she kept in he boots and took a defensive stance, weapons reversed. The talkative one stopped and then burst out laughing "You have no idea, do you? The pointy end goes forward."
"Of course, silly me. I'm really new at this," she said as she extended one of the sais and crossed swords with him in a fencing stance. He really was an annoying man. He had BO that could kill at 10 paces and a personality to match.
His friend was standing to the side with a bored look on his face. "Scase, just finish this off will you. We can't spend all day robbing her."
As Scase turned his head slightly to answer, Reneé slid her sai down his blade so that she could trap it with the prongs. She then whipped him across the wrist with the shaft of her other weapon. He released the sword and grabbed his wrist in pain as a quick kick to the groin finished him off.
Turning to his friend she smiled as the woman that they had been robbing hit him across the back of the head with a tree branch. Down he went with a thud. "We've just finished rescuing our granddaughter from that cult. We don't need the likes of you terrorising us as well."
The girl approached Reneé shyly. "I saw you and Xena fighting the priests before the funny man helped us run away. You where so brave. And I like the way you've changed your hair." Reneé decided to let the comment pass, as trying to explain was probably more trouble than it was worth at the moment. But she did suddenly realise that this dream was about Sacrifice II, how strange.
The woman introduced herself as Anna and her husband as Antonus. "This is our granddaughter Mellisa. We where looking after her while My son and his wife where visiting Athens. If there's anything we can do to show our gratitude you have only to ask."
"Are we far from your home" Reneé asked "because I'm a bit lost. If I could stay the night...and possibly a meal?"
"Of course lass, we'd love to have you as a guest" replied Antonus. "Come with us, it isn't to far to our village. But what are we going to do with these two?" he asked, pointing at the thugs.
After a quick thought she took their boots and weapons. "That should keep them busy for a while." The little group then headed off towards the nearby village chatting amiably.
After a meal of potato soup and coarse bread, leavened with the hospitality of her hosts, Reneé was shown to a small room with sparse furnishings where she would sleep that night. As she prepared for bed that night Reneé contemplated her options. Just wandering around may be interesting but there where some things she really wanted to see, a visit to the Amazons at the top of her list. So next morning she would say her farewells to the family and start out. "Can you dream you're sleeping?" she wondered as she drifted off.
It was almost midday before Reneé set off on her trip to the Amazon nation. With the help of her new friends she had managed to trade her watch for some much needed items. It seems Douglas Adams was right about backward civilizations and digital watches. She now had a bedroll and blankets, some food, a few dinars and a good quality staff. Plus a backpack to carry it all in.
Anna and Antoius had been able to give her some directions to start her on her way. It was a lovely day, warm enough that she stored her coat in the backpack. The air was so clear it was amazing. What a difference no industrialization made.
Reneé closed her eyes and turned to face the sun with her arms outstretched. "What a glorious day" she said and took a deep breath.
5 minutes latter after she had stopped coughing and choking she restarted her journey.
"Bloody nature..." cough splutter "...there should be a law against it..." hack spit "Nothing like breathing in a fly to kill the mood..."
The road had been very quiet and she had encountered no other traffic for some time. But after about 2 hours she heard the sound of rushing hoof beats coming from behind her. Reneé stepped to the side of the road to let the traveler pass.
As Reneé watched the horse approach she could see it was a large palomino with a woman ridding it. "Nah, it couldn't be" she muttered to herself. When the horse had almost reached her the rider bought it to a sudden stop. Reneé found herself being scrutinized by a woman warrior. She had long black hair, high cheekbones and piercing blue eyes and an uncanny resemblance to Lucy. The woman locked eyes with her and it was like her soul was open for inspection.
The warrior then shook her head slightly and Reneé could hear her mumble "I don't know you." She then wheeled the horse and was galloping down the road again.
Reneé came out of her shock with a start. "Damn...damn...damn!" She ran down the road after the horse shouting. "Xena...please stop. I have to talk to you." But the rider ignored her and galloped on.
Reneé quickly fell behind so she stopped the pointless chase. "The chance of a lifetime and I blew it." Far in the distance she could see that Xena had not slowed at all. Suddenly a group of 10 or so men jumped onto the road blocking her path. Reneé could see that they had weapons drawn. Some bandits perhaps?
All the men got for their trouble were some bruises from diving out of the way. Xena had not slowed for them at all. It was either dive for cover or be trampled to death by the charging horse. "Now that was lucky" thought Reneé "I could have walked right into that group. That's trouble I don't need."
She decided to avoid the bandits by heading into the forest surrounding the road and bypass the ambush all together. She moved through the forest as quietly as she could. It was slow going because the undergrowth was thick in parts. Luckily she could still see the sun through the trees to help her navigate. Wandering around in circles would not have been the most productive use of her time.
After about an hour she headed back towards the road confidant that she had passed the bandit group. For the last 10 minutes she had been following a game trail that seemed to be heading in the right direction. Suddenly she heard a grunting noise from up ahead. Carefully she moved closer. "I wonder if they have bears in ancient Greece?" she thought.
Peering through the brush she came face to face with a man using the bushes to do his business. There in all his glory was the bandit Scase with his pants down. What one would call a compromising position. "You..." was all he got out before Reneé jabbed him hard in the solar plexus with her staff and took of toward the road.
Reneé quickly fell into her jogging rhythm as she followed the path towards the road. After a minute she could hear that Scase had finally found his voice as he started shouting for the rest of the bandits.
The path joined with the road so Reneé picked up the pace a little, hoping to open up enough distance so that the bandits would give up the chase. The road was gently rising to a hill about 100 meters ahead. As she crested the rise she found that the next 2 kilometers of the road was in view. It was a long straight stretch down hill. The brush on each side of the road was very thick but there looked like there was a side path about halfway down the hill.
"This is not good," she thought as she started down the hill. "Why does the universe always pick on short people, there's probably a couple of long legged types chasing me who'll have no trouble catching up while running down a hill."
When Reneé reached the side path she took a quick look over her shoulder. Nobody was in sight so she decided to leave the road, hoping to lose her pursuers that way. She jogged down the winding path for some time before she came to a fork in the road. Without hesitation she took the right-hand path and continued on her way. To avoid getting lost she decided that she would always go to the right if she had a choice.
The thought of going off the path and striking out through the undergrowth didn't appeal to her either. It would be very slow going with no guarantee of avoiding her pursuers that way.
She came to a crossroads in the path and went right. It was getting close to dusk so she decided to continue on for another 15 or 20 minutes and then stop for the night. With any luck the bandits would have given up so she could return to the road tomorrow morning.
As Reneé came around a sweeping bend she saw a another crossroads ahead. It looked vaguely familiar so she slowed down for a closer look. As she was looking around she heard some strange noises coming from straight-ahead. 'Asthmatic camel' was the thought that came to mind, shuffling footsteps and the sound of uneven breathing. As she was pondering this mystery 6 or 7 bandits came staggering around the corner. They didn't look in the best of condition with unsteady movements and sweat pouring off them.
"Damn, damn, damn, damn!" she swore. "The path must have doubled back."
Reneé quickly headed down the remaining path. "This group obviously doesn't keep in training" she muttered "I should still be able to loose them as long as nothing else goes wrong."
The words where barely out of her mouth when she came around a sharp bend between two trees and the path ended in a small clearing, it was surrounded by tall trees with very thick undergrowth cutting of all exit except for the path leading in.
"Okay, I admit it, that one was my fault. BUT WILL YOU STOP SCREWING WITH MY LIFE! AARRGGHH!" "Stupid dream."
After a quick vent Reneé looked around for an idea. It looked like she was going to have to make a stand here. She jammed her staff into a couple of notches in the trees that were on either side of the entrance to the glade. This put it just above ankle height and across the path. She shucked of the backpack, drew her sais and waited.
Reneé could hear the bandits coming down the path. Suddenly a white dove landed on the staff, as it lay stretched across the path. "Oh great" she thought, "now I'm channeling Salvador Dali." The bird cocked its head as if it were listening and then it fluttered off to the side as the bandits rounded the corner.
Crash...thud...ooff...<<censored>>...get your @%^$##@@# elbow out of my eye...groan.
"Well it's nice to see something work for a change," Reneé thought as she watched the pileup. The first bandit staggered to his feet. Reneé just watched him warily, these men may be the scum of the earth but the idea of having to do real damage to them didn't thrill her at all. The bandit stared at her with eyes wide and mouth open. He then turned and took of back down the path.
Reneé stood there with a bemused look as one by one the bandits turned and fled. She looked over at the dove which was peacefully preening itself and said "There's something behind me isn't there?" It seemed to nod in reply.
"Oh well, how bad could it be?" She quickly spun around with her sais at the ready.
Four creatures with swords...bulbous eyes...multi-colored tendrils for hair...large beaks.
"Yah!" She backed up quickly from the creatures, tripped over the staff and was on her butt scrambling away in panic. One of them stepped forward and they all dropped to one knee. The lead Amazon raised her mask and with a badly suppressed grin asked "My Queen, are you all right, did they hurt you? We could pursue them if you wish."
"No...no...that's alright. Let them go...um...I'm not Gabrielle you know. My name is Reneé and I'm very pleased to see you." Looking down at herself "As hard as that may be to believe at the moment."
The Amazon leader moved closer, staring at her face. "It's a remarkable resemblance. When I saw you in the vision I just assumed it was Gabrielle." She offered Reneé a hand to help her up. "My name is Alsi and this is Natia, Febe and Cath" she said indicating the other warriors.
"Please to meet you. Vision?" Reneé replied as she dusted herself off.
"Yes, we where on a hunting expedition when I saw a vision of you climbing from a pit. Then the voice of the Goddess told me that we must follow the dove so that you could be found and bought back to our village."
Reneé was beginning to look a bit dazed. "Goddess? Dove? Village? You are Amazons...aren't you?"
Alsi smiled reassuringly. "Yes we are Amazons. The Goddess I'm talking about is Artemis, the patron of our nation and the dove is sitting over there." The bird chose this moment to flutter up and land on Reneé's shoulder. "You seem to be marked with the Goddesses favor."
"As long as that's all it marks me with" muttered Reneé, glaring sidelong at the bird.
It was getting dark so Alsi suggested they quickly return to their horses and set up camp for the night.
As they headed towards where the horses had been left Reneé noticed that Alsi was staring at her.
"Well I was just thinking that the next time I see Gabrielle I would mention to her that she should try your hairstyle. You look so much alike and it really does suit you. I think a change of look is a good thing every now and then. But by the way some people react you'd think that just getting a haircut meant you where going to die or something."
As they continued on towards the horses Alsi had to pound Reneé on the back, what with that nasty coughing fit she was having.
Extra Disclaimers: Still no sex and almost no violence but hopefully some jokes to make you laugh. In this part Reneé says a very naughty word but I think she was justified under the circumstances.
Reneé's travels with the Amazons was very enjoyable. Long discussions about their culture and traditions filled the time as they journeyed to the village. She also regaled them with tales of her home in the far-flung future. But somehow the concept of 'an actor playing Gabrielle in a television show' didn't seem to want to translate properly. But the Amazons didn't seem too worried about that or even her strange delusion that everything was just a dream. After all those who had been touched by the Gods always where a bit...well you know.
The leader of the group, Alsi, was fascinated with Reneé's sais. They spent some time sparing with each other. The techniques available with a sai, weapon block, disarm and punch, were a revelation to her. She took drawings of the weapons with the intention of showing them to her brother who lived at Manisa, a large town near Mt. Amaro. She assured Reneé that he was the best weapon-smith this side of Rome.
For here part Reneé found the sparing to be enlightening as well, whilst Alsi and the others were obviously extremely competent with their weapons she found their technique to be rather basic. It seems that 3000 years worth of martial artists had managed to make some improvements.
After 3 days of travel they arrived at the Amazon village. Alsi took Reneé to meet Ephiny so that they could work out what they should do next. They found her in the village meeting hall surrounded by a pile of scrolls with quill in hand staring off into space. She saw the pair enter and gave a double take.
"Gods Gabrielle, what have you done to yourself! I must say you look fantastic with the new hairdo and clothes." she exclaimed as she rushed over and gave Reneé a hug. "Am I glad to see you. Now we'll get some excitement around here. These trade agreements where driving me crazy. Where's Xena?"
We now pause our story as Reneé explains, for what seems like the 50th time that she isn't Gabrielle and brings Ephiny up to speed with the story so far. The audience sits, looking at their watches every 5 minutes trying not to be impatient until she finishes.
"So what do we do now?" Asked Alsi.
"Well I suppose we should go to Artemis' temple and see what happens. I'll get someone to track down the priestess, she should have some ideas as well." Said Ephiny.
Suddenly a disembodied voice spoke. "That won't be necessary." With a flash of light and sparkles a figure appears out of nowhere. Ephiny and Alsi drop to one knee and bowed their heads. "Artemis, you honour us with your presence." Said Ephiny in an awed voice.
Meanwhile, Reneé just stood there with a stunned look on her face. She gave her head a little shake and exclaimed, "That was so cool! It's amazing how accurate the effects people are."
She walked up to the figure and offered her hand in greeting. "Hi, my name is Reneé...no, wait. You probably already know that, being a goddess and all."
Ephiny jumped to her feet. "Please forgive her Artemis, she is a stranger to our lands and doesn't understand." She then turned to Reneé, grabbing her outstretched arm. "Please Reneé, you must show proper deference to our Goddess."
"Hey! I'm from Texas; we don't bend the knee to anyone in real life. You think I'm going to do it in a dream?"
Ephiny turned to Artemis. "Goddess, our visitor believes that she is dreaming everything that happens to her. We don't know why this is, she may have been enchanted or she may just be one of those poor souls who have lost themselves." "Hey!"
"I have taken no offence Ephiny, I am responsible for her being here. Gabrielle was in danger so I moved her to a place of safety, Reneé's appearance was unintended." "You did this?"
"Is Gabrielle okay, her safety is of the utmost importance to our tribe." "Hey, what about my safety."
"I believe that Gabrielle and Reneé's lives have become entangled. That is why I have appeared to you, so that this matter can be resolved." "Wada ya mean, resolved?"
"Thank you, Goddess. We are grateful for your help and guidance." "Standing right here people"
"You're belief that this is a dream is a by-product of the spell that saved Gabrielle's life. Before I recover her from your land and return you home I think it would be advisable that you properly understand what has happened to you." So saying Artemis touched Reneé on the forehead and glow enveloped her. "Let the scales fall from your eyes, wake from your dream."
Reneé stiffened for a moment then her eyes went wide, a look of shock on her face. Before anyone could react she grabbed Artemis' tunic and dragged her close so that they stood face to face. "I'm gunna murder you, you crazy woman!" she shouted "You threw me down a fucking pit, I coulda been killed!" A glow appeared in Artemis' eyes as she glared at Reneé's grip on her. "Exsqueeze me babe. The hands."
Reneé jumped back as if she'd been holding a snake then sank down to the floor muttering to herself. "Oh my god, I grabbed a goddess...it's all real...arrg thugs with swords...oh no I kicked one of them...I was in a bottomless pit...oh crap, I climbed out of a bottomless pit...all those bandits chasing me...all those bandits caught up with me... and the bird...and the Amazons...and and and and...exsqueeze me???" She suddenly stopped rambling and jerked her head around to stare at Artemis.
"Oopsie." The goddess waved her hand in the direction of the Amazons and they suddenly froze in place.
Reneé stood up and dusted herself off "Aphrodite, right?"
"Okay Sweet Cheeks, you figured it out." With a sparkle of hearts she changed, diaphanous pink robe, large blonde hair and prominent...err assets. "I'm feeling a bit better now but whether you're Artemis or Aphrodite this is still freaky. Why did you drop me down that pit and why pretend to be Artemis? This is all too strange."
"I don't want anyone to know I'm involved because well...like it's dangerous. Ares and that Dahok dude are at war with the family and besides I'm a lover not a fighter. Also Artemis gets all bent out of shape if any of us fool around with her Amazons. I don't know why she cares though, it's not like she has much to do with them any more."
Reneé was still a bit bemused by it all. "I still don't see why you saved Gabrielle. Not that I'm complaining mind you, I'd be out of a job otherwise."
"Huh? Whatever. I saved her because...because I like her." Said Aphrodite with a mildly embarrassed look. "None of the rest of the family gets her, although I think the warmongering leather boy is beginning to buy a clue. Of all the mortals I've ever met she's my favourite...she treats me like a person. Anyway, when I felt her going over the edge I just had to do something, so I cast a spell and here you are. I suppose Gabrielle's wherever you came from."
"You felt her going into the pit?"
"I'm the God of Love dearie, why do you think she jumped into a bottomless pit with the bad seed? Okay, I've got you to a safe place now so I'll have a go at swapping you back." She raised her arms and flexed her fingers.
"Wait! You don't really know where she went do you? I think you should understand that properly before you try to fix it. I know about you and your spells, you have to be careful to undo them properly. What exactly did you say."
Aphrodite looked hurt. "Move Gabrielle to safety in time. Danger becomes but a dream."
"You're kidding right. But it does explain a lot."
"Hey, give me a break! I was under a lot of pressure, you can't expect Sophocles when people are falling to their deaths."
"Okay, okay. Let me think about this." Said Reneé with a pensive look. "Right, you can't do the swap here. I happen to know that she woke up in a hospice somewhere near Poteidia. And it's worse than that; she won't wake up for...for months. God, how long was Xena away? That's the trouble with television, the storytelling can be so compressed you have no idea how much time has really passed."
Aphrodite reached out at felt Reneé's forehead. "Are you sure I removed the spell properly Sweetie, I have no idea what you're rambling on about."
The two of them spent the next half-hour thrashing out a plan. 'Artemis' would have the Amazons escort Reneé to the hospice then transfer her and Gabrielle back to their correct time. She would also put Gabrielle into a protected sleep, to awaken when Xena arrived at Poteidia. Aphrodite was certain that she could put Reneé back not too long after she had left. Being missing from home for more than 2 weeks would be an absolute disaster but a couple of days could be smoothed over. This way she could get to play tourist, a bit of a risk but it was just too grand an experience to pass up.
After they had all the details worked out Aphrodite did her disguise thing again and unfroze Ephiny and Alsi. She then explained to them what their goddess wanted from them. As the conversation concluded Reneé found herself staring wistfully at Ephiny. 'Less than a year to go?' she wondered 'She's such an interesting person, we never really did her justice on the show.'
"Reneé!" "Mmm, sorry, I just wandered off there for a moment"
"I will return to you when you reach the hospice. That's about 7 days travel from here by horse, then you will be sent home. Farewell." 'Artemis' then disappeared in a sparkle of light.
Ephiny turned to Alsi and Reneé. "You should move out at first light tomorrow, I think that the four of you who found our guest should be her escort as well. Reneé, I would travel with you but I have an important engagement with the centaurs in four days. It's my son's birthday, you understand?"
"Of course. How is little Xenon?"
"Little? He taller than me now, as this is the start of his fourteenth year this is a very important time for him. He will soon be completing the ceremonies that will make him a man of his tribe."
"Fourteen...? Ephiny, how long have you known Gabrielle?" asked Reneé with a confused look on her face.
"Um...we first met about 16 years ago I think. UHG" All the air came out of her lungs from the hug.
"This is wonderful...there could be years...oops sorry about that." Said Reneé as she released her victim so that she could breath again.
Giving Alsi a look over Reneé's shoulder "Alsi, if you could look after our guest...find her some quarters and show her around. I've still got these trade agreements to sort out."
"Yes Regent" Alsi took a strangely happy Reneé by the arm and led her out of the hall.
Reneé spent the rest of the day wandering the village with Alsi. The Amazons may be a martial people but they had their share of non-combatants - a civilisation requires more than just soldiers. In fact one of the more interesting inhabitants was the cat. Black as midnight with the most striking blue eyes. Reneé was petting it when she mentioned to Alsi "I imagine that everyone thinks it looks like Xena."
She chuckled "No surprises there, Gabrielle found it as a kitten and left it with us. It would be impossible to keep it with them, what with all the travelling they do. She named it after Xena as well."
"She called it Xena?"
Smirking. "No, she called it Feral. She said it reminded her of a look Xena gets now and then. I think it's a Bard joke but I don't really get it myself"
'Yes indeed' Reneé thought 'You know it's a weird day when you're not sure what was the strangest event. Meeting the Goddess of Love or a cat'
Reneé lay down on the hospice bed and composed herself for the trip home. The last two weeks had been such fun; she had even managed to see the king of thieves in action. But home is were the heart is and she was missing Steve terribly, not to mention Lucy and Rob and all the others.
She settled her package of gifts and said the word. "Aphrodite, I'm ready."
Everything blurred for a moment and suddenly she was in a different world. Lying in a bed with rails, with fluorescent lights overhead and that smell that just screams 'hospital'. Reneé gave a little sigh of satisfaction. Suddenly a figure loomed over her. It was Rob. "Reneé, you're back. This is great!"
Reneé reached up, grabbed him by the collar and dragged him down so that they where nose to nose. "It's all real, every damn thing we've ever put on the screen is real." "Urg..."
She let him go. "Oops, sorry about that."
"Of course it's all real" said Rob rubbing while his throat. "I've never said anything different have I?"
"But I've always thought you were just kidding. Say...does that mean that that thing we did in the present day about past lives and Ares coming back is real too?"
"Well, okay. We did make that one up." "Whew! You had me worried there for a second."
"Here just give me a minute." So saying he got out his mobile and made a very quick call. "It's Rob. She's back. It's getting late so don't bother Steve he needs his rest. We can collect everyone and come visit tomorrow."
Turning back to Reneé. "That was Lucy. Steve, her and me where taking shifts waiting for you to get back. I had someone take Steve to a motel down the road to get some rest. He's not had much sleep in the last 4 days. Boy, did he ever freak when I explained what had happened."
"Yeah, what did happen?"
"Well, as you jumped over the table you where replaced by Gabrielle. The way she hit it looked like she had fallen from a great height. It couldn't have been luck that she appeared right there because that was one of the breakaway tables we use for fight scenes. Even with her fall cushioned she was badly injured, the worst of it was a fractured skull."
"Oh that's terrible, when we were swapped back she was okay wasn't she?" asked Reneé.
"The doctor said that she was stable and would be waking up soon. An excellent bit of timing don't you think? Anyway when she hit the table we quickly worked out that it wasn't you. The different clothing and the longer hair were a dead give-away not to mention that Gabrielle has a nasty scare on her shoulder. Something about a poisoned arrow if memory serves me correctly. We've been trying to keep 'your' injury quiet. If word gets out the fans are going to go ballistic; it'll be Lucy's fall all over again times 2. And if anyone found out what's really happened I shudder to think what the reaction would be."
"What about here in the hospital what do they think is going on?"
"Oh they think it was you that was hurt and that I'm trying to keep it quiet so that it won't hurt the show. Now if that leaks out it'll make me look like a scumbag Hollywood mogul. What the hell...I've been accused of everything else under the sun, this'll be just one more to add to the list."
Reneé smirked and with a twinkle in her eye reassured him. "Don't worry about it Rob, we love you no matter how much of a scumbag you are."
"I just get no damn respect around here do I! Okay, it's getting late and we need to convince the staff that it's safe to discharge you. It'll be best if you stay the night and we can deal with all that tomorrow. If anyone asks and I'm sure they will, just say you've always been a quick healer and leave it at that."
"Um...before you go I was wondering about something. I sort of forgot to ask while I was there and I'm not certain it would have been a good idea anyway..."
"Come on spit it out."
"Okay, you have all those scrolls don't you?" "Yes" "It's about the subtext. Do the scrolls say whether the were or they weren't...well you know?"
"Ah, the perennial question. The scrolls leave absolutely no question about that subject, the two of them were..."
"Okay Mr Tapert, visiting hours are over. You'll have to leave now; our patient needs her rest. Out you go. No...no arguments from you either Ms O'Connor, your friends can come back to see you tomorrow. I'm sure your conversation can wait till another day."