Disclaimers: Father, forgive me, for I have used without consent, characters owned by Renpic and MCA. Some of the persons depicted are in loving consensual relationships. Couples are sometimes the same sex, and if that bothers anyone, I personally think they need more exposure to it, but if you’re under 18 or live under primitive legal statutes, move on or move. If I occasionally blushed while reading it aloud, it must be PG 13.
Violence: No more than the show
This is a revised edition of the first fan fiction I ever wrote. It was directly inspired by my daughter and the bards I was devouring at the time, many of whom would later become friends and assist me in writing. For that and many other reasons, this is very special to me.
This story was originally told as a bedtime story, nine years ago, for two very special young women: my daughter Danielle and her best friend Azra. They suggested plot points and provided the names for all the original characters. They also encouraged me to post it online.
While writing this, I was thrilled to receive assistance from the very bards I most admired. I placed all of my characters squarely in the ‘Missyverse’ with the consent of Melissa Good. B.L. Miller graciously allowed me the use of Saras. DJWP checked my Amazon protocols. Gin took time out from her own writing to push me. My first beta reader, MyWarrior, deserves undying gratitude for being the first to read this and to still tell me to keep writing. Mary Morgan has always been a touchstone and guide to the characters and much more. Thank you, all.
I was also aided by Bards Thenorm, Extra, Georgia, and Advocate. During this period, Archaeobard was showing me how much fun the net could be.
Ann Dancer betad a previous posted version; Ann Braxton fulfilled that service here. Please accept my gratitude to each of you for your patience, skill and graciousness.
I cannot forget the webmistresses who also made this adventure possible. Ruth, MaryD and Lawlsfan. You made the Xenaverse a true wonder for me.
I and many others would never have written anything if Lunacy had not created her listings; many of the best stories written online and off, owe her a huge debt.
Mail is always appreciated and answered at email@example.com
Home Page: http://dreamcatching.netfirms.com/kam/index.htm
When the original version appeared in serialised form, some readers wrote to ask why it seemed to start in the middle of the story.
The answer? That’s the way it wrote itself. The previous trips by Robin and James and all other complications will eventually be explained or occur in flashbacks. Honest!
Cedar and DIRT, in her mouth? What the...? Robin groggily wiped off her offended lips, and opened her eyes.
Trees. Big trees. She closed her eyes again. There were no trees in her bedroom, were there? At least, there hadn’t been just before she’d closed her eyes the last time.
Still hoping it might be some kind of dream, she kept her eyes closed and tried to focus on only the sounds. Birds chirping. Leaves rustling in the wind. Lots of leaves. A forest? She opened her eyes again and found herself looking directly at a fern right in front of her prone body. She was lying on hard, very real ground, not in a dream, and sure as hell not in her bed, which was where she was supposed to be. She stared at the fern. It was ...different. Not alien, but the veins dividing the leaves were like none she had ever seen before, but then, the bird calls were not familiar and even the air had scents that she knew were foreign...
She tried to slow her heartbeat. Where the hell was she?
She raised her head and propped herself up on one arm to look around. Definitely woodland, but the trees were like the fern, subtly different from what she was used to. It was only then she noticed that she wasn’t alone; there was another sprawled out figure lying apart from her in this mysterious glade.
James had come to without as much disorientation, having become accustomed to awakening in strange places. He hadn’t noticed Robin because he was preoccupied with other concerns. His mind was racing: wondering why he hadn’t heard the familiar pop when he was transported, trying to analyse why this felt different from his usual trips, searching through his memory for what he called the case file, finding nothing. It was only then that he realized that he had company. His response was to first move to a defensive crouch until he identified his companion. Then he relaxed and his face broke into a grin.
"Robin! I..." he started, until he saw her expression.
Robin’s eyes widened at the sight of the familiar figure. Average height, reddish blonde hair and moustache, son of a...
"Where the hell are we? What have you done, you asshole?" She had only begun to hurl abuse, when she stopped, surprised that it had an effect. James’ welcoming grin vanished and he literally seemed to deflate. ‘What the hell?’ she thought. It was bad enough that this creep must have been stalking her for weeks; now he was hurt that she didn’t ENJOY being kidnapped?
‘Dammitall,’ James was thinking. ‘We’re back, and she still doesn’t remember. What the hell am I supposed to tell her?’
This time he wasn’t at fault, he was sure. Somebody else had transported them here. Right. All he had to do was convince her of that. Simple, enough, really. Just because he was probably the last person in this or any other world she would ever listen to was no problem, right? And hey, she still hadn’t heard the explanation.
Then she’d really blow.
He took a deep breath.
"First off, I didn’t bring you here." They were now both standing and Robin was unsuccessfully trying to brush off the forest floor grit from her clothes, when she finally noticed she was dressed in garments she had never seen before. Some sort of pastel-coloured peasant skirt and blouse. Sandals. She turned blazing eyes to James, who realized that this, this, could be very difficult.
‘Just keeps getting better’, he noted, before bracing himself to try again. “I didn’t dress you, I swear I didn’t bring you here, and I further swear on my mother’s grave, I’ll try everything I can to get you home... but you’ve got to give me some time to figure out exactly where we are."
Robin pursed her mouth and dropped her dark eyebrows over her green eyes to tell him exactly how much she believed him. Even so, she was so, damn it, cute. Short cropped black hair, smaller than average, if she hadn’t been so threatening he might have considered her pixieish. But she was blazing with anger, and she’d already hated him. Perfect. ‘I love my job’, he thought for the thousandth time.
Robin took a deep breath. ‘All I wanted’, she thought, ‘were a few guitar lessons from this guy'. That was all. He had seemed safe at first, even nice. Hardly at all psychotic. Another deep breath. ‘Panic will not get you out of this’, she told herself. ‘Start again’.
"Where are we? How did we get here? How do we get back?"
Good, he thought. She was trying to be rational. Unfortunately the only answers he had so far were guaranteed to change that for the worse. He knew by the rough weave on the sleeveless coat that was his usual costume for these visits, when they were. It was only after spotting the stone marker beside where he had been lying, that he could guess where. ‘So we start all over again,’ he thought.
"What do you know about Amazons?"