It was strange, Deirdre thought, as she and Lady Grace…or "Gracie" as she repeatedly asked Deirdre to call her…marched through the festival. Recent events had been unusual enough for her when she'd thought that…Gracie…and her family were strangers from another land. Now…Deirdre's mind absolutely buzzed with questions about the future that her new friend and companion came from. What…what wonders had she witnessed? What wonders could Gracie tell Deirdre were yet to come?

Unfortunately, answers to those questions were very few. Apparently, the miracle that had brought them here was something that those in the future had spent a great deal of time speculating about. They'd arrived at the conclusion that to travel through time was in fact quite dangerous. While intentions may be noble, only the Gods could say for certain what your efforts could produce. If Gracie were to answer Deirdre's many questions… who was to say how the revelation of that knowledge could affect Gracie's own time.

Gracie did find herself freer to speak about herself and her family, though, which Deirdre found nearly as fascinating. Strangely enough, her new friend's life seemed not that different from Deirdre's own; most days were spent in studies and lessons, the rest spent in a mixture of her many interests such as fighting music, and this strange game of "basket ball". There seemed to be very little that Gracie didn't have at least some interest in.

Deirdre had felt a well of sympathy rise up when Gracie had mentioned what had brought them to Kells…or what she had referred to as "Ireland". She spoke of a sweetheart, a close friend since their childhood days, who she'd hoped would one day father her children…and the miserable dog broke her heart. Until that point, it'd seemed like the kind of love one heard about in stories and legends and…

…and her interactions with Ivar suddenly took on a whole new meaning. She fancied Ivar! While she'd never thought of the man as anything more than a friend, Deirdre could still certainly understand why. He was brave, loyal, strong. She'd seen enough women in the village make eyes at him…and often heard the comments they made when the girls thought she was out of earshot. What's more, from what Deirdre had seen…it looked an awful lot like Ivar shared Gracie's feelings. Even if it was something quick and brief, she couldn't help but think that it would be good for both of them.

The pair came to a halt in the village square where a collection of musicians had begun playing. The pair of ladies began clapping along to a lively tune that Gracie particularly seemed to enjoy. Deirdre had a decent appreciation of music. She was a fair dancer and if she was honest with herself, she was BARELY fair on the lyre. Gracie, however, appeared to be…well…"passionate" didn't quite seem to go far enough. Stranger still, she seemed to go far enough. Stranger still, she seemed to know more about this style of music than Deirdre herself knew.

The song came to an end and the crowd began cheering and clapping.

"Hey," An idea had suddenly struck Deirdre. "Why don't you sing something?"

"Me?" Gracie actually looked bashful!

"Of course," Deirdre darted behind her friend and began pushing her up towards the musicians.

The performers' eyes grew and they bowed. "Princess Deirdre," One of them stammered out. "You honor us with your presence."

Deirdre smiled. "The honor is mine for hearing such splendid music. I wonder if I might ask your group a small favor."

"Anything," He assured her.

Deirdre glanced at her friend and savored the color in her cheeks.

"I was hoping that you might be generous enough to let my friend sing a song with you."

"Deirdre…you really don't…"

"Don't listen to her," Deirdre interrupted. "She has the voice of a lark."

The leader looked back towards his band, gauging their reaction. None seemed to be against it so the leader turned back and happily agreed.

KPKPKPKPKPKPKPKPKP

Princess or no, Gracie was about ready to slap her companion. The band seemed eager enough to give her a chance but what the heck was she supposed to sing? She'd started mentally running through songs as quick as she could. A lot of her repertoire had at least some Gaelic in it but…how far back did these songs go?

She took a deep breath and hummed a few bars of Nil se'n la and heaved a sight of relief when two of the band members recognized it.

One of the band members who didn't recognize the song appeared to be holding what looked like some form of a bodhran.

"Would you mind if I borrowed that?"

Gracie took the drum and on the count of three began tapping a beat.

Níl sé ina lá, níl a ghrá
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go maidin
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go fóill
Solas ard atá sa ghealaigh

Tell me that the night is long
Tell me that the moon is glowing
Fill my glass, I'll sing a song
And will start the music flowing

The crowd began clapping along. Gracie subconsciously began moving into her practiced dance steps for the song.

Don't go out into the cold
Where the wind and rain are blowing
For the fire is flaming gold
And in here the music's flowing

As the song continued, she began to relax a little. This was just another show.

Fill my glass, I'll sing a song
And we'll keep the music streaming
Until all the songs are sung
Níl sé ina lá, níl a ghrá
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go maidin
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go fóill
Solas ard atá sa ghealaigh

She loved this part. The drum wasn't exactly the same as her trusty bodhran back home but her fingers went into a solo

Níl sé ina lá, níl a ghrá
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go maidin
Níl sé ina lá is ní bheidh go fóill
Solas ard atá sa ghealaigh

The instruments fell silent and cheers erupted from the crowd that appeared to have doubled in size from the time Gracie started. She looked back at the band, smiled, and motioned for them to step up and take a bow. She looked around the crowd of faces and saw Deirdre, clapping harder than anyone…

…and standing behind her was Ivar, a…a devastating smile plastered across that gorgeous face. Was that why Deidre had made her sing? Was she trying to…I mean…Momma had found out and that had taken up much of Gracie's focus but…she'd never really thought about…had she been so obvious that…?

Gracie wanted to shout in unyielding white hot fury as she began to feel her damn cheeks turning purple! It felt like taking vile-tasting medicine but Gracie returned the drum and walked up to the pair.

"What…what did you think?"

"You were divine," He breathed.

Gracie's cheeks grew even hotter. She couldn't tell for sure but she'd have guessed they had to be bordering on black. She glanced over at Deirdre. Well…in for a penny, in for a pound. She leaned up and planted a kiss on his cheek.

"I'm…glad you're talking to me again," She smiled as she settled back onto her feet. "We never really talked after Finvarra…said what he did. Deirdre, could we have a few moments in private?"

"Oh," Gracie wanted to smack that smug grin right off of her face. "Gladly!"

Gracie rolled her eyes at the Princess's retreating back. Dear God, Hollywood couldn't write this any better if they tried. She had a thing for a guy she'd met…in the past. On one side she had someone from her own time trying to keep them apart and now…now she had someone from the past trying to shove her right into his arms.

"I think I owe you an apology, Lady Grace," Ivar bowed his head. "It was never my intention to make you think that I was avoiding talking to you."

"Ivar, I think we're to the point where you can call me 'Gracie'," She took a seat on a nearby crate and motioned for Ivar to sit next to her. "I know what Finvarra said had to be a lot to work through. I was only teasing but…all of you did so much for us and…you and I kind of…I'm just a little unsure about…where you and I stand right now."

Ivar took the offered seat.

"I…meant what I said back there," It'd taken all the nerve that Gracie possessed to get those words out…but it seemed as good a place to start as any. She still felt like strangling that little fly of a fairy but… "I like you, Ivar," She stated. "I…didn't think I'd feel this way for a while but…I sure didn't expect it to happen here."

"My…mother often said that…well…I can't translate it exactly but it was something like…the greatest moments for one's soul often can be the briefest."

That was very poetic. Gracie found herself wishing she could meet the woman…and couldn't believe that she was thinking about meeting the parents already…but it was opening enough for the pair of young souls to settle in for a long talk. After hearing Finvarra's words, once he'd come to terms with the truth of it, Ivar was expecting that Gracie would return with her family to their own time when they found an opportunity; and Ivar was committed to helping them in any way that he could; but he confided in her that he couldn't help but think about her family staying. He honestly felt the same way about Gracie and not just because she'd saved his life. She'd been a little surprised to learn that, at least in terms of her personality, she hardly would've stood out in his kingdom. As he put it, women in his lands were as gentle as the sunshine…and as fierce as a spring storm. Gracie couldn't help but blush again. He thought that she was the first sign of home since he'd arrived on this island.

"Gracie…if it is only to be moments between us, then it will only be a few moments," His hand slid on to her knee. "Better to sacrifice forever with strangers for even a few moments with a…a loving…"

Gracie felt a quiver as Ivar leaned in and planted a kiss on her lips. Even as she felt herself kiss him back, that phrase echoed through her head. "Loving". What did…how did…did Ivar…love her? Gracie couldn't see how. She considered herself about as romantic as the next person but she didn't really know if…well…she didn't LOVE him, no…at least…not yet. She was honest enough with herself and liked to think that she was mature enough to know that…

…Gracie had to suppress a laugh. If only Momma could hear her thoughts right now…

…but a part of her really DID want to stay wrapped up in Ivar's arms, even if it was only for a few moments.

She pulled away, breaking the kiss.

"Ivar…are you sure about this?" She still had to catch her breath, raising her hand to her chest to feel her heart trying to beat right out of her ribcage. "I…the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt you. Are you sure that…I mean…I'm not prepared to…go that far. I've never…" The words were sticking in her throat like molasses. "The first person I'm going to…be…with is the one I'm going to marry. I've promised my parents and…and my God. Are you…can you…be okay with that?"

Her eyes remained riveted on his face, looking for even the slightest cues. Gracie hadn't really known exactly HOW to say something like that to Ivar. She didn't think that Ivar would've pushed it but…that guard leering at her wet clothes kept sneaking into her mind. She felt her left hand twitch in anticipation of forming into a fist.

Ivar looked like he'd been caught more than a little off guard. His eyes had gotten big…and Gracie almost thought she saw a hint of a blush…

Please be okay with this, Gracie pleaded internally.

Ivar finally seemed to come to his senses, turning to face her. He didn't LOOK angry or disappointed. He didn't LOOK like Gracie was going to have to get physical or anything. He heaved a sigh and his hand snuck in to hers.

"Yours…is a strange time, to say the least," He breathed, squeezing her hand tightly. "But so be it." His almond eyes locked with hers. "You are a very beautiful woman, Lady Grace Possible, and that beauty is far more than merely the physical." He smiled and planted a kiss on her cheek, sending a jolt of pleasure down Gracie's spine. "Now…would you care to dance with me?"

KPKPKPKPKPKPKPKPKP

Shego heaved a sigh as she saw Gracie get up and haul the Prince back towards the square to start dancing. She'd seen the pair sitting together, discussing SOMETHING. Shego would've given anything to be able to listen in over all the chaos going on around them.

The entire village seemed to be near fever pitch since the return of Gracie, Em, and Prince Ivar and the festival had become quite the jubilant celebration. She couldn't help but feel an enormous swell of pride as Gracie had gotten up and started singing. For a few moments, she almost felt like she and the family were back in Enniscorthy.

God, if Kimmie were here, she'd know what to do with Gracie; she, with the exception of Gracie's accident…always knew what to do with this stuff. Shego…Shego missed her so much! She wanted to hold he precious redhead in her arms, to hug her daughter. If…WHEN…WHEN they got back, she was going to take Nicky up into her arms and never let him go, even if she had to bring him into the classroom. She'd find a way to make it work. She…she just wanted her family back!

"May I join you?"

Shego jumped to her feet, the chainmail shirt clinking. She must've been in one hell of a trance. She turned to see a smiling King Conchabar. She gave a bow and ushered for him to sit next to her.

"It's strange."

"What is, your majesty?"

"It seems that no matter the age we come from," Shego followed to Gracie and Prince Ivar. "We continue to worry about our children."

Shego felt her cheeks heat up in a blush. She probably hadn't been as subtle as she should've been.

"My wife and I were trying to help her forget about a miserable pig that broke her heart…"

"You need not fear that Ivar would ever take liberties with…"

"It's not…exactly…the Prince I'm worried about," Shego took a deep breath and rubbed her temples. "She will always be my little miracle baby."

"Miracle?"

She looked at him. "Her mother saved me…in almost every way that a person COULD be saved," Shego turned back towards her daughter. "I was in the service of…" How the hell did she describe Drakken to an ancient Irish King? "I guess you could call him a dark wizard…but that would be being generous. He was actually a bumbling fool. My wife Kimberly FREQUENTLY made him look like an even bigger fool…so unknown to me, he and a cohort had put a spell on me so that at our next meeting, if we so much as touched each other, she could conceive a child." The King's eyes grew pretty big. Shego couldn't help but smile at how she'd half-assed an explanation of how Drakken's sick and despicable plan had played out. "Because of my abilities, I couldn't have children of my own…and I would never have done something like that to my worst enemy. I…let's be honest, I was a criminal…but I still had a code that I lived by. I tracked Kim down and gave her my word that I would provide for her and the baby…and…by the Grace of God, we made it work. It was like we both finally realized something that was obvious all along. We loved each other! We had Gracie, and then Emily and her twin sister Zoey…and Nicky…my baby boy Nicky…"The thought of Nicky made her trail off, looking towards the horizon. She didn't know how long she stared but began to feel a small tear roll down her cheek.

"Lady Possible," The words were like a lightning bolt. "I give you my word, swear to whatever Gods brought you hear, that we will find a way to send you back to your family," Before Shego could react, King Conchabar drew a dagger sheathed at his belt and ran it across his left palm. "So mote it be!"

KPKPKPKPKPKPKPKPKP

Rowan tightened the straps on the armor they'd had made or Lady Grace…or Gracie, correcting himself. He fought to suppress a laugh, not at…Gracie…but just at the situation in which they now found themselves. His dream seemed like a lifetime ago. He'd dreamed of strange visitors…and now he was securing the armor of a girl from the future, a fairy…at least in part, to be sure…that could heal even the gravest wounds, saving the lives of many that Rowan counted as good friends. She was the daughter of a…the only phrase Rowan could think of that would do justice was "Warrior Goddess"…that could wield flame the same way that Rowan wielded a sword…and who many in the ranks were saying that she had beaten back Maeve with her bare hands and personally hunted down the Temra soldiers who tried to kidnap…Gracie…and her young sister. The Gods help anyone else who had to stand against the woman.

"Everything feel alright?" he asked, stepping back and allowing the woman to turn and get a feel for it. Rowan watched as the girl, scarcely younger than himself, checked the armor with a precession that spoke of years of experience. In the name of the Crone, what sort of world had this wonder come from?

"It'll take some getting used to," Gracie grunted. "But I think I can make it work," She smiled back at him.

Rowan returned the smile and motioned for her to follow to the other side of the armory, coming to a stop in front of the racks of weapons. He'd seen Gracie practicing with Princess Deirdre the day before. Her style of fighting was strange to say the least. He could see bits and pieces of his own style but the majority of it was much more fast paced and aggressive, something she referred to as "kendo".

She hefted up a bow and a quiver of arrows. At Rowan's suggestion, she also belted a shortsword around her waist and strapped a bronze buckler around her left forearm.

"How do I look?" She gave a little laugh as she turned to face him.

"If the Temrans didn't already quake with fear at the sight of you," Rowan replied. "By Dagda, they will now." He motioned her towards the doors. "Let's find you a mount."

In addition to being more than fearsome with a blade, Rowan had already seen that his new charge was quite adept at horsemanship as well. The pair entered the stables and she stepped up to a brown mare and proceeded to check its hooves and teeth like any Master of horse. There seemed to be nothing that this Lady didn't excel at.

"Does this one have a name?" She asked.

Rowan's eyes narrowed on the horse. Most of the horses in this part of the stable were set aside for the Mystic Knights and other commanders in the King's army. A few of them had been given names by officers that were especially partial to them but the one Gracie'd chosed didn't have a name that Rowan could recall.

"Well…we'll just have to fix that," She turned towards the horse. "You know, you kind of remind me of a horse at my Uncle's ranch. You look like an 'Andromeda'. We can call you 'Romy' for short. How's that sound?"

As if to answer, the horse nuzzled Gracie's shoulder and gave a whinny.

"I'd say she approves," Rowan smiled as he went to get a saddle for his own horse. "An interesting name; where did it come from?"

"An old legend," Gracie answered as she began helping with the straps. "Andromeda was a princess who was to be sacrificed to a sea monster, all to appease the God of the Sea. Her mother had angered the God by bragging of her daughter's beauty, saying she was as beautiful as his daughters. The kingdom's priest abducted her and chained her to a rock in the harbor. At the last moment, she was saved by Perseus, a great hero and a half-God. When he freed her, the pair destroyed the sea monster. The Father of the Gods was so impressed by their bravery that he made pictures of them in the sky."

That was quite the legend. Gracie continued to explain that the name "Andromeda" loosely translated to "Ruler of Man". Rowan gave a laugh. Princess Deirdre would certainly appreciate it.

Speaking of the Princess, the doors opened to reveal her, leading the remainder of the Knights and Lady Possible.

The task before them was rather unusual. According to King Finvarra, without Lady Emily's twin sister, Lady Emily's magic wasn't strong enough to bring her family back. Their only hope was to recover a stone, not unlike the one that stood atop Maeve's scepter. If it had been a question of stealing the scepter…it would've been a challenge but one that Rowan might actually have enjoyed…but the stone they needed would need to be bigger…MUCH bigger…and the Possibles were the only ones who could sense it…and could be anywhere on this island.

In the end, the only plan they could do was split up. The only other information that Finvarra or Aideen could give them was to look in places of great magic, not unlike the locations where Maeve had summoned dark creatures…or the lairs of the Sentinels of Temra. To that end, the Knights would split into pairs. Gracie would accompany Rowan and Princess Deirdre while Ivar and Angus would be responsible for protecting Lady Possible. The Princess had seemed…well…wary of Ivar guarding Lady Possible but Ivar had assured both that it wouldn't be a problem.

It had to be something beyond him and right now he had more to worry about.

"So where do you think you will look first?" Rowan asked as he began saddling his own horse.

"Ivar and I thought we might pay the old Rock Hound of Temra a visit," Angus boasted as he slung his mace over his shoulder and led out an already saddled horse. The thief always was one to avoid work. "Seems as good a place to start as any. Temran patrols should be light in that area this time of year so we should be able to sneak in with none the wiser."

Angus knew the place well enough. Rowan had discussed it with Deirdre the night before and thought they would start with Pyre's cave. If nothing else, they would be able to enlist the dragon's aid in the search. If that failed, his gut was saying that the next place should be the Lightning Bat's lair.

"Are you sure Emily will be safe if she stay's behind?" Lady Possible looked back towards the castle.

For years, Rowan had reckoned the castle as the safest place in Kells but recent events had given Lady Possible's fears some justification. There was no other way; the Possibles HAD to accompany them…but the journey would be no place for a child like Lady Emily. King Conchabar vowed that he would do anything in his power to protect her but…Aideen had agreed to stay by her side. The little fairy was as brave a person as Rowan had ever known and if anyone could protect the child, it was Aideen.

"I would trust Aideen with my life, Lady Possible," Rowan assured her. "She'll be safe."

KPKPKPKPKPKPKPKPKP

Shego kept feeling like she was going to throw up. How the hell did she end up in situations like this? They had a chance to get back…but to accomplish it, she had to either bring her eleven year old daughter on a wild goose chase through enemy territory…or leave her behind when those same enemies had already come within an inch of abducting both her daughters already. Every fiber of her being cried out at leaving her daughter anywhere but under Shego's protection…but if they were going to stand any chance of this scheme succeeding, she had to be out there looking…and trusting her eldest daughter to do the same. There were zero good options.

"Momma?"

Shego heaved a sigh and turned towards Gracie.

"Hey, muffin; you ready for this?"

"I think the better question is if YOU are ready."

Shego could only imagine how she must look. She…wasn't thrilled with Gracie going off on her own but…once again, it wasn't like she really had much of a choice. Gracie was the only other experienced meta-human…well…in this century and keeping them together would be too limiting. Gracie had, through nothing more than God Almighty's sense of humor, been training for close to two years for a situation like this. If anyone could handle themselves in a place like this, Gracie Possible could.

"I'll be okay," Shego assured her. "I just…I don't feel right about leaving your sister."

"She'll be okay," Gracie pulled Shego into a hug. "And Princess Deirdre will keep me from making too many mistakes."

Shego gave a small laugh and pulled out of the hug.

"I'll see you back here in 4 days, young lady; and so help me, if you are even an hour late…"

"Yeah, yeah; I know. I'm grounded!"

Author's Notes:

After moving in to a new apartment, I've finally managed to unpack my notebooks and begin writing again! It feels great to be working on this again!

I'm almost afraid to speculate on what Ivar will go through out on the trail with the mother of the girl he got caught necking with!