Disclaimers: Xena:Warrior Princess and all characters therein (except the actual Greek Gods) belong to Renpics (because even I wouldn't pretend to own a God, and I'm a closet megalomaniac. Ooopsie - guess I just came out, huh?). No copyright infringement intended. Random pop culture references might appear throughout - those aren't mine, either. And, umm... the rest of it is mine, yes. But I still consider myself blameless for anything that may or may not appear in this short work.

Love/Sex: Yes. And no. Sort of. Maybe. But - what's there is the girl/girl kind, so ... go away if that bothers you or you're a small child who shouldn't be on the internet unsupervised anyway.

Violence: Well, yeah. But it's fairly mild this time.

Random Acts of Silly: Writing this in the first place can be considered a Random Act of Silly. But it gets worse. I really REALLY needed some silliness right now, y'know?

Sequel: Yup - this Bad Boy is a sequel to "What Dreams May Come" and "What Dreams May Come II: The Wrath of the Khan." Both are stories that can be considered 'cute'. Personally, I like the second one better, but that's my opinion. You're entitled to your own.

Speaking of Opinions: You can share yours with me at myparanoia@yahoo.com Of course, you don't HAVE to, but it would make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Uber: This is a Mel/Janice piece, but if you read the first two like you were supposed to, you'd already know that. Monkey.

What Dreams May Come III: Return of the Red-Eye
by Paranoia

Janice stopped cold, the hair on the back of her neck raising as a chill passed through her. She turned ever so slowly, her eyes scanning the roughly hewn rock walls as her hand dropped cautiously onto the butt of her gun. Hat low over her eyes, she squinted into the shadowy darkness, but saw nothing.

Still, something was there. She could feel it - and she hadn't lived this long scouring the Nazi-infested Greek countryside by ignoring her gut.

She sneered into the darkness, balancing her weight on the balls of her feet and shifting her shoulders uneasily beneath her brown leather bomber jacket. Something wasn't right.

Carefully, she took a step, then another, her eyes alternating between the potentially treacherous ground and straight ahead where she was sure the danger lay. Another step. And another.

And one more, the stone floor giving away slightly as she shifted her weight onto her forward foot. She froze - knowing she had sprung some sort of primitive, yet curiously effective and diabolical, trap - just waiting to see what form her demise would take.

She took a breath, sweat forming on her brow.

Nothing happened.

She let out a breath as a bead of moisture trailed down her face.

Still nothing.

Closing her eyes briefly and wiping her forehead with the back of one hand, she slowly pulled her foot back.

A loud grinding noise screamed through the cavern, and her head snapped up. A low rumbling filled her ears, the bass tones so overpowering she could feel them reverberate in her chest. Her arm moved, and her whip was in her hand, then snapping up, wrapping around an outcropping.

She took a breath and climbed as the rumbling got louder. Whatever was coming was getting closer.

Up and up she climbed, until she was clinging to the top corner of the corridor, barely able to hang on as the walls shook.

And then, with a loud crash, it stopped.

Opening the eyes she had shut tightly, she looked around again. There, not four feet in front of where she had been standing, was a large boulder-sized hole in the floor. The eerie red light pulsing from the cavernous depths cast an unearthly glow upon Janice's features, highlighting the devilish gleam in her eyes.

Retrieving her whip, she clambered down, peering into the hole, her head moving to the steady big-band swing beat issuing forth.

A predatory grin appeared, and she dropped into the hole, landing easily on top of the boulder. She squirmed through the narrow opening between the ceiling and the top of the boulder, and looked around with satisfaction at the seedy bar she had just entered. Yes! Her mind chortled. She had found the fabled Mos Eisicus - the legendary bar of Forgotten Greek Heroes.

Forgotten and extremely bitter Greek Heroes, she silently amended, her narrow-eyed gaze taking in the stony visages all around her.

No, wait - those are the statues, she realized. Her eyes scanned the room, taking in the rough dark wood tables and chairs, the extraordinarily large bar, and the stage where a dozen musicians played swing music on harps and lyres.

She stepped forward into the red pulsing light and stepped up to the bar, looking around at the scowling faces and sighing happily. This was her kind of establishment.

"What can I get you, Janice?" the bartender asked, though his accent made the name sound more like 'Han-iss'.

Janice paused, her mind playing with the idea that she was surprised that she wasn't surprised that the bartender knew her name. Shrugging off these pesky thoughts and getting back to the reason she had searched for this bar in the first place, she squinted against the thick clouds of smoke in the air and curled her lip before rasping out one word: "Whisky."

The bartender nodded and turned away, picking up a glass. Janice sat on the rough wood stool, placing her elbows on the bar and hunching forward. Her fingers thrummed against the top, her patience wearing thin. Nowhere in Greece was there a decent glass of whiskey to be found. Everywhere she turned, there was nothing but ouzo and wine, and while both would get the job done, she longed for whiskey.

Like a blazing inferno, the need had settled deep in her gut, driving her to work like a madman once she had discovered the existence of this bar where any drink ever invented could be found.

At last! The whiskey was placed before her, and her fingers reverently touched the glass, her eyes drinking in the way the light refracted through its amber depths. Gingerly, she lifted the drink, her eyes drifting shut with anticipatory pleasure.

The glass grazed her lips - ever so softly - and she groaned throaty and low. A loud bang and a bright flash of light shattered the moment, and she froze, before setting down the drink and turning slowly as a voice from the back of the room shouted out, "Awww, shit - who let HIM in here?"

Ares stood, arms crossed over his chest, smirking at the room with a smug and superior expression. "Well, well, well," he said, swaggering forward. "If it isn't the biggest bunch of LOSERS I ever did see!"

"Han ... you'd better get out of here," the bartender said, leaning in close under the pretense of wiping down the truly massive bar.

"Not without my whiskey," Janice said, her jaw tightening.

"Leericus, old pal," Ares said, sneering down at a beefy man in a toga - who looked exactly like Janice's Anthropology professor - and laughing. "Now you - YOU had potential. But copping a feel off a Princess? You're lucky all the King did was write you out of the history scrolls."

Leericus growled, but remained seated, his large and clumsy-looking hands clenching into fists.

"And you - Nostrillius. Didn't I tell you to plug up that ... thing," he said, gesturing to another man and his VERY prominent nose, "before trying to fight that bog monster who was running amuck through the sewers of Athens?"

"And you -" Ares sneered, turning and pinning the bartender with his dark gaze. Ares opened his mouth to speak again, but a high-pitched grinding noise stopped him, and then he disappeared.

"What - ?" Janice said, looking around the room, her gaze finally falling onto the stage.

"Nice job, sweetheart," the bartender called, waving merrily to the woman who was turned from the room, her arms still wrapped around the pillar supporting the Eye of Hephaestus - which Janice realized was the source of the really neat pulsing red light effect. Then she realized something else - that woman was gorgeous and wearing the hottest red dress she had ever seen. Those legs - that backside!

"It's simple, really, Han," the bartender explained, tearing Janice's attention away from her impure thoughts. "The Eye of Hephaestus keeps Greek Gods out. You turn the eye towards them, and - poof!" he said with a dramatic gesture. "We had this one turned towards the entrance, but it seems someone created a back door," he finished, jerking his thumb towards the large boulder sitting in the back corner of the room, bits of wood sticking out from underneath.

Janice shrugged, not really caring about Ares - now that he was gone, at least - and turned back to her whiskey. The second her eyes fell upon the beauty of the liquid, an explosion went off low in her belly, and she bit her lower lip to stifle a thoroughly uncharacteristic whimper. Trembling, she picked up the glass.

"You gonna' drink that?" a low voice sounded in her ear, the smooth southern accent sending chills down her spine as the glass was deftly removed from her hand.

Janice turned slowly, her head lowered. Her eyes trailed up the silky lines of the woman's leg, past the pumps, up to the skirt, and pausing a moment to consider what lay beneath. Her slow once-over continued, trailing up the rich red and shimmery dress to the scandalous neckline. Though why they called it a neckline when it was NOWHERE near the neck, she had no idea. Shrugging mentally, she continued, subconsciously gulping along with the woman as she swallowed, her head tilted back.

The woman brought her head back forward and licked her lips. Slowly. Then, she dangled Janice's glass between two fingers before lazily depositing it back onto the bar.

Janice wallowed in her haze of lust for a few moments before realizing two things. First, this woman had just stolen her whiskey. Second, she looked exactly like Melinda Pappas.


"Hello, Janice," Melinda said, in that smooth-as-whiskey voice and slinky accent. "Thank you kindly for the drink, but I must return to the stage."

And as quickly as she had appeared at Janice's side, she was gone.

Janice looked around, spotting Mel making her way gracefully through the crowd and back up onto the stage. She took the steps slowly, running one hand down her hip to smooth out the dress, every eye in the room watching the path it blazed. Janice whimpered.

The music started again, slower this time. Though only three musicians sat on the stage now, the orchestration was lush and full, and Janice's breath caught when she recognized the opening bars of the song.

From somewhere, a low blue-tinted light fell over Melinda as she stood before the microphone, her hands resting lightly on the stand, and her eyes cast downward. The introduction finished, the music pausing expectantly as Melinda raised her head and sang, the rich tones of her voice rolling over the audience, capturing each of them in her spell.

"There's a saying old, says that love is blind.

Still, we're often told - Seek and Ye Shall Find."

Everyone in the bar was silent and still, leaning forward on the edge of their seat.

"So I'm going to seek a certain girl I've had in mind."

A low heat crawled up Janice's neck to her face, even as she was dimly aware of another patron muttering in his deep voice, "Aww, well, shit," and another patron shushed him.

"Looking everywhere, haven't found her yet.

She's the big affair I cannot forget.

Only girl I ever think of with regret."

Melinda's eyes made a lie of the first few words, zeroing in on Janice with a heat and a promise that stole Janice's breath away.

"I'd like to add her initial to my monogram.

Tell me where is the shepherd for this lost lamb."

The plaintive tone and moving lyrics reached into the ears of the listeners, plucking at the heartstrings - and then Melinda continued and every breath caught.

"There's a somebody I'm longing to see.

I hope that she turns out to be

Someone who'll watch over me.

I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood.

I know I could always be good -

To one who'll watch over me."

Janice sniffled, then surreptitiously wiped at her eyes. Good Lord - who had known Melinda could sing like that? And that she was singing to Janice was unmistakable. A bit guiltily, Janice recalled how she had treated the fine southern woman upon their meeting. How could Melinda possibly feel this way about her?

"Although she may not be the girl some would think of as handsome,

To my heart she'll carry the key.

Won't you tell her please, to put on some speed?

Follow my lead - Oh - how I need.

Someone to watch over me.

Someone to watch over me."

The music faded, and Melinda stepped back from the microphone. The audience sat in a stunned, appreciative silence for a moment, before breaking into a thunderous applause.

Janice shook her head to clear it. When that was a resounding failure, she tried shaking her whole body. A little better, she mused, before motioning to the bartender and her glass.

Smiling an understanding smile, the bartender refilled the glass. "Yeah, that's some woman," he agreed, referring to the unspoken words lingering in Janice's eyes. "Pity she doesn't remember," he finished as he topped off the glass.

"Doesn't remember what?" Janice asked, lifting the glass to her lips.

"That she's a hero," the bartender said, wiping a beer glass out with a clean cloth.

Janice sprayed her drink all over the bar, the taste of the whisky making her taste buds do a little happy dance, even as her stomach let out a string of curses that it hadn't gotten its share.

"A hero?" Janice gasped out, spluttering.

"Mmm," the bartender uttered. "You too," he said casually. "You both belong here, you know. You wouldn't have gotten in otherwise."
"What in Hades are you talking about?" Janice growled, then stopped. She had meant to growl, but the words had come out a little more ... perky ... than she had intended. And she had certainly never used a word like 'Hades' as a curse when she had such an extensive swearing vocabulary to choose from.


"No, tell me."

"It's nothing, really."

"But I want to know."


"Tell me, or I'll -"

"You'll what?"

Janice huffed, then glared at the bartender.

"Easy now," the bartender said, a laugh in his eyes. "That glare is so searing, it just might ... toast bread."

"Toast!?" Janice said, outraged.

"Very, very light toast," the bartender agreed.

Janice stood, knocking her stool back and glared for all she was worth, but the bartender only laughed. Looking over his shoulder, she found the mirror behind the bar, stunned by what she saw. Gone was the hat and the jacket - gone the whip and the gun. In its place was the ugliest green top she had ever laid eyes on, and for a woman who had seen the tackiest prostitutes the world had to offer, that was saying quite a lot. But even more shocking was the expression on her face. Gone, too, was her steely-eyed glare. The dangerous glint and confident expression had been replaced by a look that could only be called non-threatening and cute.

"Whiskey. Now," Janice ground out, her voice still subtly different.

Despite the cute tone, the bartender hurriedly carried out the order. His memory was a long one, and he knew every single face and story in the bar, and so he knew that crossing this woman wasn't wise, no matter how cute and non-threatening she seemed.

With a sigh of relief, Gabrielle picked up the glass, then stopped, frowning at the strange liquid and wondering why she was so grateful to have it. Gingerly, she sniffed it, then brought her head back, waving her hand in front of her nose.

"Oh, ugh!" she said, putting the glass down. "What is that stuff?" she asked.

"Whiskey," the bartender said, a gleam of satisfaction entering his eye.

"Janice! What are you wearing?" a scandalized Melinda said, approaching the small blonde woman.

Gabrielle looked over, her eyes slowly trailing up the body before her, drinking in the sight of the beautiful statuesque woman. Those legs. That dress. The hair. Ooooh, the eyes!

"Xena?" Gabrielle squeaked, getting a good look at the woman's face in the odd lighting. "By the Gods, you are beautiful," she managed. "But what are YOU wearing?" she asked, tilting her head slightly and squinting.

"Gods, Janice. How many of these have you had?" Melinda asked, her tone disapproving as she picked up the once-again-full glass of whiskey and stared down at Janice. How had Janice had time to change her clothes? And where had she gotten that outfit? Not that she was complaining, Melinda thought wickedly, blushing even as she took advantage of Janice's seated position and peeked down her top.

"I haven't had any of those!" Gabrielle protested. "And who in Hades is Janice?" she asked, scowling up at the warrior.

"YOU are Janice," Melinda said, confusion coloring her face. Somehow, she remembered Janice's scowls as being a little more ... weighty. This just seemed ... adorable.

"No, I'm Gabrielle. After all this time you don't even know my name?" Gabrielle yelled incredulously, standing up and drawing every eye in the bar. The room went silent, even the musicians ceasing to play to better listen to the altercation.

"Jani - Gab - errr ... Gabrielle," Melinda said slowly. "Why don't you just take a nap, and we'll talk about it in the morning?"

"Oh, I get it!" Gabrielle responded, incensed as she pounded her hand against the tabletop. "You forgot my name, and now you're trying to cover up by pretending that it's MY fault because I'M drunk!"

"Tell her, honey!" came a high-pitched, but still masculine, voice from the back of the room.

"Right. You're drunk, so how about - " Melinda tried to break in, only to back away from the furious smaller woman as she wagged a finger in her face.

"Oh, no, Warrior Princess! I'm not leaving you alone in this - this - "Gabrielle looked around, trying to find a suitable term. "This wretched hive of scum and villainy!"

"Hey, I resent that!" came another voice from the bar.

"But Janice," Melinda said, shocked by Janice's extremely bizarre behavior.

"There! You did it again!" Gabrielle interjected. "After all we've been to each other!" Gabrielle wailed, on the verge of tears. "We SLEPT together!"

"Oh, Gods, I'd pay to see that," a voice from somewhere whimpered.

A loud whistle sounded from the corridor, and Melinda straightened, her bearing changing as she looked towards the main entrance. Her eyes narrowed at the sound of booted feet, and then three men in Nazi uniforms burst in, waving guns and shouting.

"Xena?" Gabrielle asked, looking to the warrior. Sure, she was still pissed, but this was obviously dangerous, and she knew Xena could take care of it. She'd yell at Xena some more later.

Melinda stepped back, a hand fluttering to her throat as the Nazis powered past the musicians, throwing a blanket over the Eye of Hephaestus and ending the red pulsing light. They stood around it, every person in the room frozen as Ares appeared on the stage in a showering sparkle of light.

Xena's hand drifted to her chakram, and she sneered at Ares as he sauntered over.

"Xena?" Gabrielle asked again, tearing her eyes from the men and looking back at the Warrior Princess. "When'd you change your clothes?" she asked confusedly.

"What's going on, Gabrielle?" Xena asked, her eyes tracking Ares' movements as he pushed through the crowd towards her.

"But - you were just wearing this dress ... and it was red," Gabrielle rambled, looking the warrior up and down. "And slinky," she continued, helpless to stop the grin from spreading across her face as she wrinkled her nose.

Xena tore her gaze away from Ares at Gabrielle's words and looked at her strangely. Then her eyes fell to the full glass on the bar. "How many of those have you had?" Xena asked indulgently.

"I haven't had ANY of those!" Gabrielle said. "Which, I might add, I already told you."

"No, you didn't," Xena said, smirking. Yup. Gabrielle was definitely drunk.

"I hate to break up this little lover's quarrel," Ares said, stopping in front of Xena. "Oh, wait, I love butting in between you," he corrected, that smug expression settling over his face again. "I have a proposition," Ares went on, raising his voice so he could be heard across the whole room. "You may all be losers, but you all had potential." He lowered his voice. "Except you, of course, Xena. You're the best." He winked broadly at the warrior princess, then went on addressing the room.

Subtly, Xena shifted so she was standing between Ares and Gabrielle, but Ares ignored her to give his little speech.

"I'm giving you each a chance. History has forgotten each and every one of you - but if you join with me, you will always be remembered."

"That's twisted and sick, even for you," Xena said, the disgust evident in her voice. "Don't listen to him," she went on loudly. "He always makes promises he can't keep."

"Is that any way to talk about your dear old dad?" Ares asked, looking his daughter up and down, and ignoring the gasp from that annoying little blonde twit standing behind Xena. "That's right," he went on, enjoying the pole-axed expression on Xena's face. "Join with me again. We'll rule the world," he said silkily. "I wouldn't give you another chance, but I've always had a soft spot for you. I am your Father, Xena."

"NoOOooOOoOOOOOoooOOOoo!" Xena exclaimed, pushing Gabrielle back so she, too, could back up a few steps. "You're not my father! I'll never rule the world with you!"

"Give in, Xena. Give in to your Dark Side." Ares said, advancing on his daughter. "You can feel it, can't you? It's calling to you," he went on, speaking soft and low.

Images flashed through Xena's mind. Images of death and destruction at her hand. Visions of men following her every order, and chanting her name. Yes, she had tasted power, and it was delicious.

"Xena?" Gabrielle said softly, her hand brushing against her arm. A thrill shot through Xena's body, and she laughed, a low dangerous laugh.

Yes, she had tasted power, but by the Gods, she had tasted Gabrielle, too, and there was just no contest.

From perfect stillness, she exploded into movement, a well-placed kick to Ares' chest knocking him back long enough for her to throw her chakram across the room. It bounced from statue, to pillar, knocking out one Nazi, then the next, bouncing again and again, before finally knocking out the last Nazi. As the last one fell, he hit the pillar holding the Eye of Hephaestus, knocking the blanket off.

Ares disappeared.

"Are you all right?" Xena asked, turning back to Gabrielle, doing a double take at what she saw. "When did you change your clothes?" she asked, staring at her bard's odd attire.

Janice remembered everything. She remembered her view of life, and herself, altering completely until she WAS the blonde bard who had been her ancestor. With a sigh, she sat back down and lifted the still-full-glass, downing it in one gulp.

Xena reached out, but Janice was faster and had the drink down before Xena could stop her.

"Gabrielle, you've had way too many of those," Xena said sternly, her hands on her hips.

"I am NOT Gabrielle," Janice said, glaring up at the warrior princess. Xena took a step back, a look of confusion on her face. There was something ... dangerous ... in Gabrielle's glare. Something she had never seen on the bard's face before.

"All right," Xena said, shaking away the thought. "It's bedtime for bards."

"I'm an archaeologist," Janice growled, motioning the bartender over for another drink. The bartender moved to comply, only to stop at Xena's own intimidating stare. Trapped between two steely gazes, each promising pain and humiliation if he didn't do their bidding, he froze, whisky bottle in hand, totally undecided.

Xena narrowed her eyes.

He slowly moved to put the bottle down.

Janice growled.

He slowly started raising the bottle again.

Xena smirked.

He slowly moved to put the bottle down.

Janice snarled.

He slowly started raising the bottle again.

Melinda sighed.

"Well, that was just about the strangest thing I have ever experienced," Melinda said softly.

"What?" Janice asked, looking over her shoulder, relieved to see her southern beauty back, safe and sound. "Being Xena?"

"Why, no, Janice. I was Xena before, remember?" Melinda asked.

"Yeah, I remember," Janice said, downing another whiskey and winking at the bartender. "Then what?"

"Seeing you in that short skirt and tight top," Melinda said, her eyes burning as she looked over Janice's body.

Desire coursed through Janice's veins at Melinda's bold appraisal, but she just sighed and shook her head.

"What's the matter, Janice?" Melinda asked softly.

"You realize we're not going to have sex, right?" Janice said.

"Well, I'd prefer the term 'making love'," Melinda said softly, a blush crawling up her cheeks.

"Whatever," Janice said, waving a hand through the air. "My point is, this is the THIRD night IN A ROW that I've dreamed of you, and every blasted time it starts getting good, I wake up," Janice shouted, downing another glass. Gods, that whiskey was good.

"I think it's important, Janice. Don't say 'whatever' when I tell you I would 'make love' to you, not 'have sex' with you!" Melinda said, her eyes flashing.

"Fine. It's 'making love'," Janice said, downing yet another glass and motioning for another one, winking again at the bartender who was standing by, bottle in hand, engrossed in the conversation. "But my point is, this is the first whiskey I've had in months, and I'm not ready to stop drinking yet, so no hanky panky," Janice went on. "Don't get me wrong - I'd love to do some really REALLY naughty things to your gorgeous body in the name of love, but if we start, this dream ends, and I'll end up frustrated," Janice finished.

Melinda's face softened, and her eyes filled. "Oh, Janice, do you mean that?" she asked, her lower lip trembling.

Janice downed yet another glass and looked at Melinda, a slightly goofy expression on her face. "Mean what?"

"Do you ... Um. Do you love me?" Melinda asked softly.

"Of course I do, sweetheart," Janice said, spinning on her stool to face the taller woman, resting a hand lightly on her hip, and using the other to take another drink.

"You do?" Melinda asked again, stunned.

"What's not to love?" Janice asked, her gaze warm and tender. "You're smart, beautiful, cultured, kind. You nag me about my drinking and smoking, so you must care." Janice shrugged helplessly. "You had my heart a long time ago.

"Oh, Janice. I love you, too," Melinda said, taking the drink out of her hand and ducking down, intent on capturing Janice's lips with her own.

"Nuh-uh," Janice said, pulling back. "I'm not kidding. I refuse to get all hot and bothered, and then wake up," she said, frowning at Melinda.

"Then kiss me when we're awake. Tell me you love me," Melinda said, pulling Janice to her feet.

"I can't do that," Janice said, shaking her head emphatically. "Sure, in my dreams you feel the same way, but when we're awake? You'll break my heart," she finished wistfully.

"I won't," Melinda said sternly. "I'll cherish it."

"Mmm," Janice said, wrapping her arms around Melinda's waist. "You're my dream girl," she said softly. "But someone like you doesn't love someone like me - not in the real world."

"I will. I do. Don't you think I dream about you, too?" Melinda asked, reveling in the feel of Janice's strong arms around her.

"Do you?" Janice wondered aloud.

"I do," Melinda answered softly. "Promise me."

"Promise you what?" Janice asked warily.

"Promise me that when we wake up, you'll come kiss me and tell me you love me."

"I can't."

"Promise me. Please," Melinda pleaded, wrapping her arms around Janice's neck.

Janice buried her face in the hollow of Melinda's throat. "All right," came her muffled voice as she nuzzled the available skin softly. "I promise."

"Thank you, Janice," Melinda said, leaning in and brushing her lips against Janice's.

"Last call," the bartender yelled out, pushing the glass towards Janice.

Janice pulled back, reaching out with one arm and grabbing the glass, her eyes never leaving Melinda's. She drank down the whiskey, then placed the glass back on the bar before leaning in, pressing her lips to Melinda's in a kiss of love and devotion that stole her breath away.

Melinda gasped, waking up and looking blearily around the tent. It wasn't quite dawn, but there was a bit of grayness in the air - a slightly lightening of the darkness. A groan issued forth from the cot across the way, and Melinda rose, the dream still fresh in her mind.

Quietly, she padded over to Janice's cot, sitting on the edge and brushing her golden hair back with her fingers.

"Not again," she heard Janice mumble groggily, as her eyes started fluttering. Those glorious green eyes opened and looked around, still heavy with sleep. Janice's eyes locked into Melinda's, then Janice sat up, yawning hugely.

Before Melinda could so much as blink, Janice's arms were around her and she was resting her head on Melinda's shoulder, still half-asleep.

"Love you, Mel," she mumbled, taking a deep breath and lifting her head. Melinda froze, her heart hammering in her chest as Janice leaned in, pressing her warm lips to hers.

No dream had ever come close to the real feeling of Janice's lips on hers. Nothing in her life had prepared her for the growing warmth spreading through her body and the strength of the love welling up in her heart.

Slowly, Melinda pulled back, looking tenderly into groggy green eyes.

"You kept your promise," she said, smiling tremulously.

"'course I did," Janice said indignantly. "I always keep a promise I make to a pretty lady."

"Oh, Janice," Melinda said, leaning in to kiss her again. Janice returned the kiss briefly, reveling for a moment in the feel of Melinda in her arms, before pulling back.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Janice asked slowly.

"I don't think I know any really REALLY naughty things to do to your gorgeous body in the name of love," Melinda stuttered out, her face burning.

Janice grinned up at the other woman, before falling back in the bed and howling with laughter. Melinda watched for a moment, frowning, before a fit of giggles overcame her, and she too was laughing. Janice rolled around, holding her sides as she laughed. Just when she thought she had it together, she looked over at Melinda, sitting demurely on the edge of her bed, giggling, and she lost it again.

"Oh, Lord, Melinda," Janice managed to get out, pulling Melinda down next to her, and laughing again at Melinda's startled squawk. "That's not .. quite... what I meant," Janice explained, leaning over Melinda and kissing her lightly.

"Oh," Melinda said, her blush returning. "Whatever did you mean, then?"

"I meant," Janice said, punctuating her words with light kisses across Melinda's mouth. "I was wondering if you were forgetting to tell me something?" she finished.

"Oh?" Melinda said, her brows drawing together in confusion. "Oh! I love you, too, Janice."


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