by RI


Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, Cerene, Torris, and Argo all belong to Renpics. I only borrowed them for a short time. I'll return them when I am done. No copyright infringment is intended!

Cerene was sleeping. Sheíd been in bed for a week with the flu and felt very weak, but at the same time restless. Torris came in and put the blanket higher on the sleeping womanís form. He was worried this time. The flu really knocked his mother out more then any time in his memory.

Suddenly he heard a horse gallop up to the tavern. With a relieved look on his handsome face he went to greet his expected visitors. Before he could walk all the way into the barn his visitor asked, "How is she?"

He smiled at his beautiful sister and her best friend and replied, "Iím fine thank you, sis. And you?"

Xena rolled her eyes,"Torris, your message said urgent!"

"That was three days ago. She was alot sicker and I was scared. Sheís much better now, Xena. Iím fine by the way. Thanks for asking."

Iím sorry Torris. Gabrielle and I really pushed ourselves to make it here on time. Iím very glad you're ok and Iím relieved Momís improved."

She gave her brother a bear hug which he returned happily and then playfully slapped his arm, "You scared the hell out of me!"

Torris smiled and made a show of rubbing his arm. Then he turned to comment on his treatment from his sister to Gabrielle and his eyes grew wide at the changes that had taken place in her. Gone was the little girl he had last met to be replaced by a beautiful woman with short hair and warrior garments and pretty soft coat on top.


Xena again rolled her eyes, "Yea, yea, you two get reacquainted, Iíll go check on Mom." Xena shook her head and went toward the tavern.

A red faced Gabrielle smiled at Torris and said "I havenít changed that much have I?"

" Oh yes, except for your color, everything else is different. By the Gods kiddo you're a woman!"

"Torris, do you realize you just called me a kid and a woman in the same sentence?"

Torris turned six shades of red. It was the first time he saw her as anything other then his sisterís friend. He wasnít sure he liked it and he knew Xena wouldnít.

"Go say hi to Mom, Gabrielle. Iíll take care of Argo."

"Oaky dokey pokey," she replied with a smirk and thought ĎLet's confuse the hell out of him.í

* * * *

Xena entered her motherís room and was relieved to see her sitting up and looking better then she thought she would. "Hi Mom," she said quietly.

"Xena, What are you doing here, sweetheart?"

"Well lets see you were really ill and Iím a healer and that adds up to...?" She asked with a smirk on her face.

"Sweetie," she laughed hitting her daughter lightly on the arm as only she and Gabrielle can get away with.

"You look a lot better then I was thinking you would, Mom. Have you been able to eat anything?"

"A little soup. Torris hoped I could keep it down."


"Yes Xena I ..."She replied but suddenly she noticed something. "Xena, are you... are you..."

"Pregnant is the word I believe you're searching for and the answer is yes, quite pregnant. To answer the other question we were on the road home from Chin when we got word from Torris about your illness."

"Come here," Cerene held her arms to give her only daughter a hug. Gabrielle walked in just then. Xenaís eyes were closed but she could see her best friend's face light up and she was glad they came. Xena needed this. Cerene patted Xenaís head and suddenly Xena looked so young. It touched Gabrielleís heart deeply.

"Xena slowly opened her eyes and saw Gabrielle watching them with tears gently falling from her pretty green eyes. Xena smiled and winked, "Come here you."

Cerene turned and smiled reaching out to give her adopted daughter a hug as well. Cerene could not get enough of this. To have them both back home in one peice after hearing all the horrible rumors that people whispered behind her back. And to see them both home and Xena with life within her was almost too much but not quite.

"You two look wonderful to see! You know this is a blessing after all the rumors Iíd been hearing...."

Xena and Gabrielle locked eyes and a silent decision passed between them to say nothing to Xenaís ill mother. They felt guilty but they knew it was in her best interest.

But Cerene caught the look and her eyes widened in horror, "Xena?" she cried shakily.

"Shh...we're ok Mom. You just said how good we look. Everything is fine we're back and here with you," She cooed gently to her mother.

"By the Gods you mean you were up on those..." Cerene couldnít bring herself to complete the sentence.

"Mom, why donít we talk about this when you feel better, huh? Now lie back, thats it. I want to get a look at you. Gabrielle would you get Mom something cool to drink?" Gabrielle gave her a little nod and headed toward the kitchen while Xena gently eased her mother back and tried to calm the now panting woman down.

Gabrielle was blocked on the stairs by Torris, "Iím not sick. Those horrible rumors were true?"

She nodded and looked him sadly in the eyes.

"But..." he raised his hand in gesture to indicate her obvious state of well being.

"It's a very long story and we are still unsure of parts of it. We are both alive and healthy . Torris, let it rest till we can get our emotions under control, ok?"

Torris nodded sadly and watched as she left to get his mother the water. Then he watched as his beloved sister tenderly examined their prone mother.

Tears fell from his eyes as he met his sister's, an elegant eyebrow rose and she smiled gently. He nodded and left to the kitchen to prepare for the lunch crowd.

* * * *

Cerene was lying in a hammock out in the sun feeling much better. She didnít know if it was the herbs Xena had been giving her or just the fact that her daughter was alive and well and at home. She knew that their time together was once again coming to a close. With that in mind she was determined to talk to her stubborn child about what happened to her and Gabrielle in Rome.

Xenaís face reflected a sad smile as she came out to her mother. She and Gabrielle were on their way to Athens to meet Joxer and get Gabrielleís horse. She knew her brother was very capable of caring for her mother but she always felt funny when they parted from each other.

Xena was startled by her mother's greeting to her, "By the Gods Xena, you and Gabrielle were almost taken away from me forever. I may never of seen you again...How would I...?"

"Mother," Xenaís eyes were moist with tears as she replied gently, "We are here. As a matter of fact we donít know exactly what happened. We can piece little bits together but we are both pretty much in the dark. We were dead then Eli brought us back..."

"Eli, Gabrielleís mentor from India?"

"Yes. Our friend really. Gabrielle left that path but we are his friends forever. Even Eli doesnít know exactly how he did it." Xena paused then looked down and touched her stomach gently. "As for this, Mom, it's like our being back; it doesnít make much sense but it's true and it's good. This was a natural thing.. well I didnít.. I mean I havenít..."

Cerene was amused at her daughter's stuttering, "Honey, I know where babies come from; I had three."

Xena smiled and her face lit up making her look like she was truly glowing. "Anyway I really donít get this either, but we decided to take this one day at a time. You know business as usual and to just go on with our normal life. Mom, if you relapse please call us. Wherever we are we will come back to you...I love you." She said quietly bending to give her mother an embrace.

Her mother returned the embrace and said, "I love you too sweetheart. Iím fine. You and Gabrielle take care of yourselves and this life within you and you write me as soon as the child is born. I will come to you."

Xena nodded quietly as the tears silently fell from her eyes.

* * *

Xena and Gabrielle were headed toward Athens to meet Joxer. They were both quiet, deep in thought.

Xena looked at her best friend and smiled saying, "Thank the Gods sheís ok. Um...After the baby's born I would like to ..."

Gabrielle smiled back at her best friend, "Check on her?"

Xena glanced down peeking up slowly through her eyelashes she replied,"Silly, huh?"

"No, it's sweet. Just like you."

"I am not sweet. There is no definition of that word that would refer to me!"

"Convince yourself , my friend. Youíll never convince me. I have seen every side of you there is and I have been to the other side and back with you and I hate to inform you of this small fact but you are a sweet soul."

Xena didnít answer she merely shook her head and walked beside her best friend.

They both were thinking how lucky it is that they had each other. They glanced at each other and smiled.

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