Another Clip Show

by Alan Plessinger


Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Another Clip Show" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.

Chapter 1

Gabrielle kept herself hidden while Xena took out the last of the two thieves. It should’ve been no problem for her. The one with the sword was big, but no real threat, and the one coming at her with the chobo was clumsy. He tripped, and the chobo came flying out of his hand.

Unfortunately, it hit Xena at just the wrong spot. It pinched a nerve in her sword arm, rending her arm useless. Her sword fell to the ground.

The attacker realized his advantage right away. He kicked at Xena’s head, and Xena dodged, but without her arm for balance, she fell to the ground, and her head hit an undisclosed rock. The attacker kicked her directly in the forehead, and Gabrielle winced at the sickening crunch as her head cracked like a walnut, trapped between a rock and a hob-nailed boot.

He laughed as he raised his sword for the killing blow.

Gabrielle decided to take a small detour from the Way of Love, just for a few minutes. She rushed the attacker, slipped in under his sword, and hit him in the eyes with the smoke from her compact. He swore, and grabbed his eyes. She grabbed the chobo and hit him in the shins as hard as she could, then rolled out of the way as he fell. She hit him in the back of the head several times until he was out.

The other attacker reached her, and threw a fist at her. She didn’t hesitate to smash his hand with the chobo. He cried out in pain, and then again as she hit him in the side of the neck and once in the head.

"Eli, forgive me," she said, not so much for what she’d done as for enjoying it so much. She ran over to Xena.

"Xena, we’ve got to get out of here. Oh, this is not good."

Water was nearby, thank the gods. They had been drawing water out of a well when they were attacked. Gabrielle grabbed the bucket and threw the water on Xena. Xena came back to consciousness, looking confused.

Gabrielle quickly ripped a piece off of her sari and tied it around Xena’s head.

"Xena, we’ve got to get out of here, now. You look terrible."

Xena looked around.

"OK…um…the horse," she said.

"The horse?" thought Gabrielle. Her first indication that something was not right.

Xena mounted Argo, and Gabrielle climbed up behind her.

"Which way are we going?" asked Xena.

"Straight ahead. There’s a healer we can reach by nightfall."

Xena dug her heels into Argo, and Argo galloped ahead.

"Not so fast, Xena. It’s not safe, with your injury."

"Sorry," said Xena, and slowed down.

"Are you OK, Xena?"

"I don’t know. I guess so. It would help if I remembered what ‘OK’ was."

"Great. Is there anything else you don’t remember?"

Xena thought.

"It would be quicker to tell you what I do remember. I guess I remember how to ride a horse. I remember my name, but only because you told me."

"Do you remember me?"

"Just barely. Your name is…"

"Gabrielle. Pleased to meet you."

They reached the healer, but there was not much he could do for Xena other than properly bandaging her head. He examined her sword arm, which was in good shape. He said that Xena was OK to travel, but strenuous activity was to be avoided for at least a month. Her memories might come back in a day, or they could take six months to come back completely. There was no way of knowing.

Gabrielle went in to see the patient.

"What’d he say?"

"He said you need at least a month to heal. Xena, I think we should head to the temple of Mnemosyne to get your memories back."

"NO! No temples!"

Xena looked surprised at what she had said. She put her hand to her forehead.

"Sorry. But that’s what Xena would say, right? She wouldn’t want any help from the gods."

"Right," said Gabrielle reluctantly. "OK, how about we visit your mother while you heal? She can put us up for a month."

"My mother? OK, I can do this. I can remember this. I’m a grown woman, I should know my own mother’s name. Don’t tell me."

Xena thought, and Gabrielle waited expectantly.

"Damn it!"

"Take it easy, Xena. Rest. The memories will come. You can’t force them."

Xena had a sudden flash of memory, and looked at Gabrielle quizzically.

"Gabrielle, have you ever had a song in your head that you just couldn’t get out?"


"I just had a bizarre memory. Something about the two of us singing…

We’ll overcome our damaged past!

And we’ll grow stronger side by side!"

Gabrielle joined in, even though she couldn’t sing quite as well as she did in Illusia.

"To stand together through the storms!

We’re safe ‘cause love will be our guide!"

Gabrielle laughed.

Xena asked, "Will all my memories be this strange?"

"No, I think you’ve tapped into the strangest of them all," Gabby said, and smiled. She got up to leave.

"Gabrielle, could you do that again?"


"Just…what you did. You know. Smile."

Gabrielle smiled, and asked, "Does it make you remember anything?"

"No. I just like it, is all."

Chapter 2

They spent the night in the healer’s cabin, and the next day they were on the road. They camped that night on the side of a mountain. Gabrielle waited to see if Xena needed to ask her any questions about their nightly duties, but Xena went right into them instinctively, which was a good sign.

They were sitting about the campfire, finishing dinner, when Xena suddenly shouted "Cyrene!"

Gabrielle smiled. "Yes! Way to go, Xena!"

"Don’t patronize me, Gabrielle. I’m not a three-year-old."


Xena had another flash of memory. The two of them before a campfire, and as Melas sat nearby, Gabrielle made Xena promise never to allow herself to become a monster.

Xena shook her head, but gently.

"No, I’m sorry. I’m realizing that you’ve been with me through a lot of painful times in my life, and I shouldn’t snap at you now just because I can’t remember."

Another flash of memory. Xena weak and helpless, lying on the ground. A warlord named Talmadeus about to kill her. Gabrielle throwing a staff through the air, knocking the sword from the warlord’s hand.

"I owe her my life," thought Xena. "I wonder if I’ve ever saved her life?"

And there followed more flashes of memories. A bizarre fight involving ladders. Xena saving Gabrielle from being burned at the stake. Xena tying a rope around her waist and leaping off a cliff to save Gabrielle.

Xena said, "I keep getting these little flashes of memories. They feel like messages from the real Xena. I feel like I’m taking care of her life and her body and her soul for her until the real Xena shows up."

"You are the real Xena."

"I have to take your word for that."

"But at least you’re starting to remember."

"Yes. But it doesn’t add up to an identity, not yet. Every time I think I have a handle on who I am, I try to focus on it, and it eludes me."

"You can’t force it. Let it happen when it happens."

"I’m trying. I have a feeling that letting things happen is not what I do."

"No. You’re Xena. You make things happen. Are you sure you won’t go to the temple of Mnemosyne?"

"I’m sure. The real Xena wouldn’t seek the help of the gods, and I don’t want to betray her. Gabrielle, tell me something. Tell me the truth."

Xena moved closer to Gabrielle and looked at her with something like pleading in her eyes.

"Gabrielle…am I a good person? Am I good?"

"Oh, Xena, you’re a very good person. You’ve risked your life to save whole towns from destruction, and never asked for a word of thanks. There’s no one more brave and honorable than you. No one."

"Gabrielle, please, tell me the truth, because it doesn’t sound right. Tell me the whole truth."

"OK, you might’ve done some things you’re not proud of, but that’s not who you are now. Now, you’re a good person. Do you remember saving someone named Lord Seltzer?"

The name ignited another flash of memories. Xena smiled.

"You mean Salmoneus?"

"The one and only."

"Why are you mentioning that? You were more of a hero than I was."

"Xena, you were dying, and you still didn’t think of yourself for a minute. Your thoughts were with the villagers, and Salmoneus. You inspired him to find the courage he needed. You’ve inspired a lot of people. You inspire me."

"Gabrielle, I feel like, whoever I am, I’ll never be as good as I want to be. I’ll never be as good as you. I’ll never care for people the way you do. I wish I could act out of compassion or forgiveness or love the way you do, but with me it will always be shame and guilt."

"Xena, you’ve helped so many people, you’ve done things that no one else could do. What difference does it make why you did them? I refuse to believe you’ve never acted out of compassion or love. You have compassion, and you have a pure love of justice."

"If I have, it’s only because of what I’ve learned from you. Gabrielle, tell me, what is our relationship? What are we to each other?"

"We’re friends."

"Is that all? There’s such a powerful connection between us. I feel such love for you, Gabrielle. Please don’t tell me I’ve never said that to you before. Is that all we are? Just friends?"

"We’re friends, Xena. What else would you call us?"

Xena thought. She had another flash of memory. Xena over an unconscious Gabrielle, beating her on her chest, begging her not to leave.

"Soulmates?" said Xena.


"That’s a puzzle I’ll leave for the real Xena. Whenever she decides to show up."

"Xena, you’re not two different people. You’re a woman with a tremendous, aching need to do good and to be proud of your life. Don’t you feel that in you?"

She nodded.

"I do. But I feel like I’ve got such a terrible dark side, and it scares me. Doesn’t it scare you?"

"Sometimes. But we can face it, together."

"Xena needs you, doesn’t she? She can’t face it alone."

"Stop talking about yourself like that."

"OK. I need you, don’t I?"

"We need each other."

"Right now I think I need you a lot more than you need me. I have a feeling there are some bad memories still to come. Whatever happens, you’ll be here, won’t you? You’ll help me?"

"Oh, Xena, I would never abandon you when you need me. I thought you knew that."

"I do now."

They embraced, and Xena closed her eyes and tried to call up a memory of when they first met. She had a flash of Gabrielle captured by slavers. A first eye contact. Then Gabrielle standing up to an angry mob that wanted to stone Xena.

"She’s so lucky to have you," said Xena. "I’m lucky to have you."

Chapter 3

They slept out under the stars, that night. Xena carefully placed her damaged head onto a makeshift pillow, looked up at the night sky, and tried to get to sleep. She was remembering more and more, but they still felt like messages from a stranger. She wondered why she kept feeling she was better off not knowing who she was. Maybe she could fashion a new identity, a new life for herself. Maybe they’d both be better off with a new Xena.

She looked at Gabrielle sleeping.

New life, old life, there was no life without Gabrielle.

Xena began to hear the soft rumblings of thunder coming from the east. She lifted her head slowly, carefully, and looked at the storm clouds.

The real Xena should’ve seen this storm coming from a long way off, and found them a nice cave to sleep in. She peered up into the hills, looking for someplace to protect them and keep them dry. There was a full moon, but the storm clouds were bringing darkness with them.

A flash of lightning illumined the countryside, and Xena thought she spotted a place. The storm was coming in fast. Xena shook Gabrielle, and before she could get her awake, the rain came.

"Gabrielle. Wake up. We need to find shelter."

Gabrielle awoke, and looked at Xena sleepily.

Another flash of lightning, and a flash of memory with it. The memory made Xena leap backward in terror. The shock left her breathless.

Xena saw Gabrielle’s face and body beaten, pounded to a bloody mess. She had done this, and she felt satisfaction when she did it. She had wanted to do more. She had wanted to kill Gabrielle.

"No," she said.

She backed further away from Gabrielle.

"No. No. Oh, please, by the gods, NO! I WAS RIGHT!"

She turned and ran.

"XENA!" cried Gabrielle, and ran after her.

Xena ran through the woods, and her memories would not leave her alone. They assaulted her with every horrible thing she’d ever done. Every tree was an innocent man she’d murdered, every stone a decapitated head, the face consumed with terror. Terror she’d delighted in.

"I was right! I’m a monster! I am a monster!"

"XENA!" yelled Gabrielle, chasing her in the rain.

An old, broken tree trunk jutting from the edge of a cliff invited her. She ran to it, and started climbing to the top.

"Xena! Get down from there! What are you doing?"

"Killing a monster."

A flash of lightning gave Gabrielle a glimpse of her face, and Xena did look monstrous. Her face was twisted and contorted in self-hatred and agony.

Gabrielle started to climb after her.

"You are not a monster!" she yelled.

"I tried to kill you, Gabrielle!"

"And I forgive you!"

"NO! You have no right to forgive me! How dare you forgive me?"

Gabrielle’s tears mixed with the rain as she pleaded with her.

"LISTEN to me, Xena! You are not a monster, and you’re not the real Xena, either! You’re not in your right mind! The real Xena would never give up like this! And I won’t let you take my soulmate away from me! How dare you! How DARE you!"

She grabbed hold of Xena’s ankle with both hands and wouldn’t release her grip.

"LET GO!" shouted Xena. "You want to die with me?"

"YES! I go where you go! I won’t live without you!"

"That’s crazy! I don’t believe you! No one would sacrifice herself for…"

A flash of memory exploded in Xena’s mind, a sight of Gabrielle grabbing her daughter and plunging into a lava hole. Xena cried out her name in agony, because she couldn’t believe anyone would sacrifice herself for a monster like her.

"Xena!" cried Gabrielle, "please, you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not in your right mind! Please just come down here, Xena! You have to trust me! I swear that you are not a monster! Please, please just believe me! If you just come back down here, I can help you! I don’t know how, but we’ll figure it out together! Between the two of us, there’s nothing we can’t do! XENA, LOOK AT ME!"

Xena looked at her soulmate, and Gabrielle tried to force a smile through her tears, as though it were the biggest joke in the world that Xena would ever kill herself.

"PLEASE, Xena!"

The one smile unlocked a flood of memories, a lovely panorama of beautiful smiles from the adorable Gabrielle. Lying under the stars, looking up at the big dipper. Splashing each other in a hot tub. A lovely smile given in exchange for a Solstice present. Dancing a wonderful dance of freedom in a very restrictive town.

And Xena realized that the love she felt for Gabrielle wasn’t one-sided. She realized that Gabrielle really did love her.

She didn’t know how or why Gabrielle could love her, but she did. Gabrielle had given her so much happiness, stayed with her through the worst times, shared her happiness in the best times, filled her life with so much playfulness and joy and tenderness and love. How could Xena do this to her?

If someone like Gabrielle loved her, maybe she really wasn’t a monster after all.

Slowly, Xena backed down the broken tree trunk, Gabrielle coming down with her. When they were safe, Gabrielle wrapped her arms around the love of her life.

"Damn you! Don’t ever scare me like that again!"

"I’m sorry."

She pulled back and looked at those beautiful green eyes.

"Gabrielle. You’re my salvation."

"I know. And you’re my life. I love you, Xena."

They hugged each other again, and neither had any desire to move from the embrace. The rain began to let up. The full moon came out again.

Xena looked around in surprise.

"Gabrielle," she said, "I think I know this place. I’ve been here before."

"No. We haven’t."

"I know we haven’t, but I have. Come on, there’s something I need to show you. I can’t remember what it is, exactly, but I know where it is."

She took Gabrielle’s hand and led her to a cave. They went through a small passageway, stepped over a stream, and made their way into a large cavern. The moonlight was seeping in from somewhere above their heads.

"Wow," said Xena, before Gabrielle could say it.

"Wow," repeated Gabrielle.

The cavern was covered with multi-colored crystals. All the jewel-tones covered the walls. Amethyst, indigo, ruby, violet. Refracted light filled the entire cavern with breathtaking beauty.

"Xena, this is incredible!"

"Yes, it is. I always wanted to show you this cave. The last time I was here was six summers ago, and I wanted to take my sword and trash the entire place."


"I just didn’t want a place this beautiful to exist. I already decided that the world was ugly and horrible and people were no damn good, and the only way to survive was to be more horrible than everyone else. That was before I knew there were people like you in the world."

Gabrielle turned from the beautiful crystals to Xena’s beautiful eyes.

"Xena. You’re so wonderful."

"No, I’m not. Don’t lie to me, Gabrielle. I’ll never be worthy of you, and I know it."

"Stop it. You didn’t take your sword to this cavern, did you?"

"No. I didn’t want to admit that it affected me and touched me as much as it did. Besides, who are we kidding? Smash every crystal in this place? It would take days."

"You already had the makings of a wonderful person, even back then."

"Gabrielle, if you really think I’m a wonderful person, maybe I should stop arguing with you. You make me want to be wonderful."

"How does this place make you feel now?"

"Happy. If I could look directly into your soul it would look just like this."

Gabrielle turned back to look at the view, and Xena wrapped one arm around her.

"Gabrielle, not that I’m complaining or anything, but how in Tartarus did we get here?"

"You brought me here? Don’t you remember?"

"The last thing I remember…ow," she said, touching her head. "So I guess I didn’t imagine the head injury. But how did we get from there to here?"

"Xena! You’re back!"

Gabrielle hugged her, being careful not to knock her over.

"Yeah, I’m back. But where have I been?"

"Oh, you had a little memory problem to go along with your head injury. Nothing you couldn’t handle. I knew you’d be fine. Come on, let’s head back. We should still get some sleep."

They were silent leaving the cave, allowing Gabrielle to consider some of the unfortunate things she had learned about her soulmate. She always knew there was something in Xena that still thought herself a monster, but she always believed that Xena was too stubborn to try to kill herself. At heart she still thought this, and she was sure that Xena would never have gone through with it, whether Gabrielle was there or not.

A comforting theory, which Gabrielle really did not ever want to test.

They headed back to camp, and on the way they passed the broken tree trunk. Xena stared at it.

"Phallic, isn’t it?" said Gabrielle.

"Yeah. Did something happen here?"


"I didn’t think so," said Xena.



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