Disclaimer: I didn't make up Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington. They belong to RenPics just like all the other Xena: Warrior Princess stuff. I'm just borrowing them to further my dastardly plot to subjugate the masses to my will. But I'm not making any money off of them. Just, you know, furthering a dastardly plot. I don't think that counts.

Love/Sex/Videotape: Ummm ... well, it's an Alt piece, but there really isn't any sex in it, nor is there any videotape. 'Cuz I mean - really. What's the point of videotape without sex? If girl/girl love bothers you, go play somewhere else. Oh, and this story contains nudity. And lots of it.

Violence: No, not really.

Sequel: Yes, this is a sequel to a very short little piece called "What Dreams May Come." Reading it first would likely be a good idea, but I'm not your mother, so if you want to read this one first, that's totally fine with me.

Feedback: You can write to me at myparanoia@yahoo.com

What Dreams May Come II: The Wrath of the Khan by Paranoia

"In Xanadu did Kublai Khan

A stately pleasure dome decree

Where Alph the sacred river ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea."

-Samuel Coleridge

Melinda Pappas stretched lazily, enjoying the smooth feel of the satin sheets, her eyes still firmly closed as she tried to recapture the last remnant of a pleasant dream. But as often happens, the details proved elusive, and so she merely let the warm, fuzzy feeling of the dream linger before she let her eyes drift open and track to the window. The tall, glorious tree outside housed birds that were singing happily, flitting about from branch to branch as the wind shifted the perches beneath them. Melinda let a small, contented smile cross her face before sitting bolt-upright, her eyes wide with shock. Window!?!? She bolted out of the bed, staring about her and shuddering against the sudden chill of the wind against her bare skin. Bare skin!?!?

She dove back under the covers, pulling them up to her chin and looking all around to determine if anyone had seen her naked.

The room was, she realized, empty. A bed and a window surrounded by four gleaming white walls met her eyes. No other furniture, no dresser, and no clothes, she realized with a sinking sensation in her gut.

"Whatever is going on?" she mused aloud, her agile mind turning away from the situation there was no readily apparent way out of, to trying to figure out how she had gotten into this situation in the first place.

The last thing she remembered was going to sleep in a tent shared with Janice on the dig. "No," she told herself silently, "I remember waking up from an odd dream." She was being held hostage by some sinister archaeologist who wanted Janice to hand over the Golden Fleece. Where they had gotten ahold of it in the first place, or exactly why a sinister archaeologist with five goons was holding her hostage, she didn't know. But she knew the gun against her temple had felt very real, and that she had fainted.

And in that odd way dreams have of ending in strange places, she had awakened. After a few moments, she had heard Janice in the grips of what sounded like a nightmare. She remembered accidentally dumping her from her cot, talking awhile, then going back to bed. Had they been drugged, perhaps? Drugged then kidnapped and taken to this place unawares and unable to stop their captors?

If so, Janice was in trouble, Mel realized, sitting upright in bed, the sheets pooling about her waist. Despite being alone, she hastily grabbed the sheets, pulling them up over her chest, blushing lightly. She needed to find Janice, but she needed clothes.

Standing awkwardly, clutching the sheets to her chest, Mel looked around the room once more before pulling a sheet completely off the bed. After a bit of fussing, she had all the vital areas covered in a reasonable facsimile of a toga, and while she was showing more skin than she was comfortable with, it would have to do. She had to find Janice.

Frowning, Mel considered the walls around her, and the rather glaring lack of a door. Moving to the window, she noticed her glasses sitting primly on the sill. With a sigh of relief, she put them on, looking down at a gentle slope below her, then craning her head up, seeing that the outer wall of the building she was in continued sloping upward to what she presumed to be a large dome.

"Well," Mel said aloud in her soft drawl, breaking the silence. "Clambering out the window won't work. But there has to be a door ... " she mused, moving about the room, her nose pressed to the cool surface of the white walls as she ran her fingers over the surface.

"What would Xena do?" she asked herself as she found a hairline crack that might or might not be the edge of a door. Following the crack, she found that it extended to the floor and up above her head, making a sharp right angle. "Xena wouldn't be waking up in a strange bed naked having no idea how she got there," she finally decided, following the crack down the other side.

"This must be the door, now however do I open it?" she wondered.

The door went flying outward, and Melinda jumped back with a small shriek, one hand fluttering against her satin-sheet clad chest. Two naked women peered at her quizzically from the other side.

"Whatever do you have covering your body, and why are you still in your room?" one asked. Her long red hair hung down in front of her shoulders, covering her breasts modestly, but lower ...

Mel jerked her eyes up to the woman's face, blushing furiously.

"Well, I - " she stammered.

The second woman, tall and blonde scowled at her, and Mel nearly fell over when she realized that this woman's hair was very short, and that nothing was covered at all.

"Just take that silly thing off, so we can get to the lecture. You don't want to be late for the lecture, do you?" the blond asked sharply, reaching for the knots of cloth at Melinda's shoulders.

"No!" Melinda said stumbling backwards and out of reach. "I'm, ummm ... cold," she explained.

"Fine," the blonde said. "Leave it on, but let's go."

The two naked women flanked Melinda, each grabbing an arm and walking her through the strange building, around so many turns and up and down so many stairs, Melinda had to wonder how her two guides could remember the way.

Her guides chattered, and Melinda automatically made noncommittal responses, her ingrained manners taking over as her mind took in the smooth white walls. Every once in awhile, a corridor the moved through curved slightly, with one inward sloping wall, indicating they traveled near the edge of what Melinda assumed to be a dome-shaped structure.

Finally, they came to an ornately carved set of double-wooden doors. Melinda peered at the carvings, head turned quizzically as she tried to puzzle out some meaning in the pictures. Then, she blushed.

The doors opened, and her guides stepped through, pulling her along, into a room that had to be at the top of the building, for it had a high-domed ceiling, painted to represent a beautiful sunny sky. There were couches and pillows all around the room, filled with unclothed people. Melinda tried to look away, but there was really nowhere to look that didn't have a naked person.

Towards the back wall was a large dais, replete with a splendid throne, and surrounded by pillows. A standard scholar's desk currently sat in front of the dais, seeming totally out of place. And perched on the desk, wearing a hat and a smile, was Janice Covington.

Janice didn't seem to notice Melinda's entrance as she continued speaking about Ancient Greek poetry, the naked denizens of this strange dome structure captivated by her words.

Melinda's mouth hung open, and though her upbringing demanded she look away, she stood and gawked at Janice's gloriously naked body.

A thousands thoughts jumbled into her mind, none of them repeatable, causing the blood to rush to her face. After a few more moments of open-mouthed staring, Janice's head turned, her laughing green eyes meeting Melinda's. A beaming smile broke across Janice's face at the sight of her friend, and she stopped mid-lecture and began walking towards her.

"Uhh... ," Melinda stuttered.

"Mel!" Janice cried, throwing her arms around the stunned woman, hugging her close, nothing but a thin satin sheet separating their bare bodies. "You're awake!"

"Well, I, umm ... of course I'm awake, Janice," Melinda managed in a strangled drawl.

Janice pulled back, a concerned look on her face as she laid one hand against Melinda's forehead. "Don't you remember being sick?"

"Sick? Well, no, I ... " Melinda said, her face mirroring Janice's confusion. "What is going on, Janice? And why are you ... umm ... naked?" she asked, her voice dropping to an embarrassed whisper on the last word.

Janice laughed, a light, musical sound that Melinda got to hear far too seldom. "That's how everyone is here. It's a part of their culture," she explained.

"But why are we here?" Melinda asked in a low voice.

Janice's expression sobered. "You were very, very sick. I was so worried," she said, a lost look entering her eyes. "These people - they helped you. You're going to be all right now," she finished, in a tone of voice that made Melinda wonder which one of them she was trying to convince.

"So we can leave now, right?" Melinda asked, looking around her uncomfortably.

"Leave?" came a deep male voice from the end of the room. Seated at the throne was a large, bearded man, with a jolly face and easy smile, his lower extremities blocked by the conveniently placed desk upon which Janice had been previously perched. "You can't leave, ladies. Not until you have contributed to the Pleasure Dome," he said ominously.

"Contributed to the Pleasure Dome?" Melinda repeated incredulously.

Janice blushed, looking down sheepishly. "Umm, yeah, well, that's the condition for being here," Janice said.

"Janice," Melinda said. "Just exactly where is 'here'?"


"Xanadu? Like 'In Xanadu did Kublai Khan ... ' THAT Xanadu?"

Janice nodded, looking away.

"Janice, that is just a myth," Melinda burst out.

"So was Xena until we found those scrolls," Janice replied testily. "Look, Kublai Khan here and his followers were the only people who could cure you. You were dying!" Janice said bluntly, an unfathomable look upon her face.

"Janice, we can't stay here, and I don't like the sound of this 'contributing'," Melinda said, a trickle of fear sliding down her spine.

"Oh, but I like it," Kublai Khan said from his throne, grinning lasciviously at the two women.

"I do not care what you like, sir," Melinda said, standing straight, her eyes burning. "Janice and I WILL be leaving." With that, Melinda turned on her heel, only to have her path blocked by two naked women.

"Fine," Kublai Khan said, a smile in his voice. "Guards! Take them to the dungeons to await my pleasure. I will schedule their execution shortly."

"Execu - " Melinda began, only to be cut off when two large naked men grabbed her and started dragging her off.

"Now, wait just a minute, Khan," Janice said, struggling against the two guards attempting to drag her away.

"Yes? You have something to say for yourself?" Kublai Khan said, leaning forward on his throne.

"She's been sick," Janice pleaded. "I'll contribute. Why don't you just let her go?"

An interested gleam entered Kublai Khan's eye. "Will you contribute ... twice?" he asked, intrigued at the suggestion.

"Yes, just let her go."

Melinda wrenched herself out of her guard's grasp and moved next to Janice. "You can't do this, Janice!" she said softly.

"I am not going to watch you die," Janice said, her voice tight with emotion. "Anything is better than that."

"I'd rather die than let this happen," Melinda responded, knowing it for the truth.

"Well, I'm just not ready to let you go," Janice said fiercely. "I'll contribute twice," she said, turning to the Khan.

"No," Melinda said, also turning to the Khan. "What exactly are the terms of this 'contribution'?" she said, her distaste for the concept evident in her soft drawl.

"You must contribute to the dome's pleasure," the Khan said simply. At Melinda's confused look, he explained further. "You must make love to someone in the dome."

"Someone in the dome? Not you?" Melinda asked.

"That is correct, though I am certainly available. But if you want to escape my wrath, you will choose someone in the dome."

"Anyone in the dome?" Janice asked, visibly starting at this new information.

Kublai Khan frowned at Janice. "Yes, anyone," he said sternly. "I have already told you this."

"I think I've got a way out of this," Janice whispered out of the side of her mouth, leaning in towards Melinda, her eyes never leaving the Khan.

"How?" Melinda asked, mimicking Janice's actions.

"I choose you and you choose me," Janice explained.

"But wouldn't we have to ... ummm ... " Melinda said, looking at her friend in shock.

"Would you rather 'ummm' with someone else here?" Janice asked, looking away from the Khan and waving her hand around the room.

"Well no, I wouldn't, but - "

"No 'but', Melinda. It's the only way we get out of here alive without sleeping with a stranger. If that's what you want, I did offer twice, and I'll live up to that if I have to."

Melinda's eyes grew round at the prospect of Janice suffering that indignity not once, but twice in order to save her own life and honor. "You would do that for me?" Melinda asked.

"Yes, I would," Janice said seriously.

"I can't let you do that," Melinda whispered, unbidden images of making love to Janice flashing in her mind's eye. She found the idea ... exciting, actually, and her reaction caused a deep flush to creep along her skin.

"Then come on," Janice said, taking Melinda's hand in her own, a suddenly shy look crossing her features. Gently, she tugged on Melinda's hand, leading her from the room.

"Guards, stop them!" the Khan said, not having heard their conversation.

"I choose her," Melinda and Janice said in unison, glancing shyly at each other before smiling tentatively, each one's smile growing bigger at the sight of the other's.

"Come on, then," Janice said, grinning and tugging harder on Melinda's hand. Melinda followed her naked friend through the halls of Kublai Khan's Pleasure Dome, a giggle bubbling up inside her she had to let out. Melinda practically skipped down the hall, eyeing Janice's strong, naked body, and coming to the realization that she didn't mind - no - she WANTED this. A shiver of anticipation crawled up her spine.

"Come on!" Janice said, her voice impatient.

'That's odd,' Melinda thought. 'I'm following as fast as she's going'

"Come on, Mel!"

Melinda blinked, as her body was shaken roughly.

"Come on and wake up!"

Melinda looked around, no longer in the Pleasure Dome, but in her tent on the dig, a tired and disheveled worker rousting her from her sleep. Janice groaned on her bed.

"Just ten more minutes?" she asked groggily.

"No, the rest of the men are ready," the worker said sternly.

"All right. We're up," Melinda said, still disoriented by the sudden change of location. The dream had been so real.

She rolled over and pushed herself up, sliding off the bed gracefully as the worker left the tent.

"I can't believe she fainted AGAIN," Janice muttered, still half-asleep.

"Who fainted?" Melinda asked, moving away from Janice's bed as the memory of her dream hit her, and what had almost happened.

Janice sat up, a look of total frustration on her face. "I had the weirdest dream."



part 3

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