By D.virtue

Diana tried to see if she could break the chains but found that they had the
same burning sensation running through it.

“ OUCH!!” Diana yelped when she felt the burn too her chained areas.

“ Ahh....your awake, good. Now you can really see what’s going on. Oh, and by
the way, as you noticed the chains are rigged the same way the bars are,
except it only activates with the faintest amount of pressure on it, or
against it. Okay, now that that’s all said and done, let’s get on with the
questions shall we?” Callisto asked as she rubbed her hands together.

“ Why am I up here Callisto? If you wanted to ask me questions, you could have
done it with me down there?”

“ Yes that’s true, but it wouldn’t be as much fun, especially to see your

“ See my face?”

“ Yes, when you see......This?” Callisto said as she waved her hands and the
soldiers pulled a covering back from over the ground, and there below Diana
was a ground full of boiling...OIL!

“ Is that OIL down there?! Diana asked in sheer amazement.”

“ YES ISN'T IT WONDERFUL?” Callisto asked with honest appreciation of the

“ Callisto you can not be serious?” Diana asked amazed at how sincere Callisto
seemed to appreciate the scene.

“ Oh, I’m very serious, you see, I don’t really want Xena’s Realm, although I
would take it if I could find a way to make her soldiers obey me, but that’s
something I’ve been thinking about, but right now, my only purpose is to make
Xena hurt as much as I hurt.”

“ What are you talking about?”

“ Xena the Conqueror’s army attacked my homeland and my family died in a blaze
of fire, soooo....I plan on returning the favor in kind, only my way is more
creative, you will literally be boiled in oil.”

Diana saw Callisto was deadly serious, and the first thing that came to her
mind was, “ Why can’t people here just use regular weapons to try and kill
people, I know I can’t survive this, there’s a God involved, but who? It
doesn’t matter, this is just going to hurt so badly.” A shudder then ran
through her.

“ Callisto, please don’t do this?” Diana asked, trying to hold the terror she
was feeling at bay.

Callisto looked up at Diana and cocking her head at the respect in Diana’s
tone, and the innocents in Diana’s face, Callisto nodded her head for a moment
as she thought about...whatever. Then she looked back up and with a smile she

“ That was so sweet, I actually had to think about your request, and now that
I have the answer is NO. “ Callisto then turned around and walked back to her
tent, and just before she went in she went to stand in front of the cage that
held Gabrielle and she asked, “ So what do you think of my ART now Diana?
Isn’t it a glorious idea?”

“ I think your demented.” Gabrielle hissed at Callisto.

“ It’s all in one’s perspective, My soldiers think I’m a genius.”

“ Well that’s because their stupid.” Gabrielle said with anger coloring her

Callisto just laughed outloud and then went inside her tent. Gabrielle stood
close to the bars but did not touch them as she feared for what she was

“ Xena? Where are you?” Gabrielle asked as she looked around the camp hoping
to see Xena, but not really expecting to see her.

At that same moment Diana was thinking the same thing.

“ Xena? I need you, please get here soon?” Then a tear rolled down Diana’s
cheeks as she looked down into her possible fate.

“ I’m here kitten.” Xena said sending the thought to Diana.

Diana’s eyes immediately begun to scan the camp looking for Xena, and Xena saw
her and told her where she was.

“ Above the main tent.”

Diana’s eyes immediately looked above the tent into the thick trees and there
her eyes locked on Xena’s.

“ Xena?” Diana gasped in relief.

“ What’s going on?”

“ It’s Callisto, she plans on throwing me in.”

“ In what kitten?” Xena asked with her mind, having not seen what Diana was
positioned over yet.

“ You can’t see it?”

“ What kitten?”

“ Oil.”

“ Oil?”

“ Yes Xena, boiling oil.”

“ Boiling Oil!!” Xena exclaimed in her mind in sheer horror at the thought.

“ She’s bluffing kitten, she wouldn’t dare do that to you, especially knowing
your my Consort.”

“ That’s just it Xena, she thinks I’m Gabrielle, she had planned to do this to
her, and there was no way I was going to risk any harm coming to Gabrielle, so
I told Gabrielle to follow my lead, and Callisto fell for it. Xena I’m scared
please get me out of here?”

“ I will kitten, I will.” Xena said with her mind as moisture formed in her
eyes. She wiped them away quickly.

Xena then whispered to Ephiny and Questra and told them what was going on.

“ By The Gods, she’s evil incarnate.” Ephiny exclaimed at the news.

Questra’s eye had moisture in them both fro Diana and for Gabrielle.

“ I can’t understand why Callisto is doing”

“ Because she wants to move on with her life and this is her only way of doing
that, by getting even with me, she then can put her family to rest and move
on.” Xena said through her teeth as she tried to contain her temper long
enough to get to Callisto.

They jumped out of the tree and came up just a few feet from the cage that
held Gabrielle.

“Gabrielle?” Xena called.

Gabrielle turned around and saw the faces of her’s and Diana’s hearts.

“ Xena?, Questra, Ephiny...your here, I knew you would get here Xena, you said
you would always be here for Diana, and here you are. Thank the Gods. How are
you going to get us out of here?” Gabrielle asked with tears and relief
flowing out of her.

“ I don’t know yet, looking at the chains I don’t understand why Diana just
does not break them?”

“ Because, their connected to this cage some kind of way, so everytime she
puts pressure on them in anyway, the whole cage becomes hot, and if she
continues to apply pressure, then this cage will eventually get as hot as the
bars and I will end up with a REALLY bad burn. I think that’s way Diana isn’t
struggling against them.”

“ Well maybe I’ll just cut them off of her?” Xena said reaching for her

Diana was listening to the conversation from where she was and she immediately
sent Xena a thought.

“ NO! XENA, if you cut these then the cage lights up like a firecracker, and I
fall in the oil, the board I’m attached to is rigged to have more shackle type
things clamp around my legs and therefore I still go in, please think of
something else love?” Diana asked near panic.

“ Ok, ok, kitten.”

Callisto then came out of the tent and the three women disappeared, but stayed
close enough to hear.

“ Well, I’m back, are you ready?”

“ Callisto please?”

“ We already been through this, I haven’t changed my mind. Too bad Xena’s not
here, I think if she were I would probably change my mind about this......but
then again, it’s not just about Xena, it’s about you taking Questra away from

“ I didn’t know you were in love with her.”

“ Of course you didn’t, that’s because you chose not to catch y hints.”

“ Well, if you had been more honest about your feelings then I would not have
fallen head over heels in love with her?” Diana stated the feelings she was
sure Gabrielle had for Questra.

“ Well, it doesn’t matter anymore, anyway, soon you will be out of her life.”

“ But if you do this to me then she will hate you and she’ll probably spend
her life hunting you down to kill you, that’s if Lord Xena doesn’t get to you
first.” Diana stated with anger flying into her words.

“ Hmm...that’s very disrespectful of you to talk to me like that, when your up
there, and I have the power to bring you down into here?” Callisto said
pointing to the pit.

Diana’s bared her teeth at the thought and then she hissed, “ Well your
obviously going to do this, so why should I listen to a crazy woman in the

“ Let’s give her a taste of what is too come, and soon if she doesn’t
apologize for hurting my little feelings.”

Diana’s, Xena’s,Questra’s,Gabrielle’s, Ephiny’s eyes all went wide. Xena
actually stood up straight from their hiding place as she saw Diana being
lowered, with her feet leading the way into the demon pit.

Diana’s heart was beating out of her chest, as was Xena’s.

“ Diana apologize to her?!” Xena called with her mind to Diana.

“ Xena? Help me?”

“ Apologize to her kitten, and she’ll stop!”

“ No! I don’t want her telling me what she’s going to do to me, I’d rather
just deal with this than her mouth.” Diana said defiantly.

Xena knew Diana had set her mind and would not change it in time so she did
the only thing she could.

“ Callisto Stop it!!” Xena called to Callisto as she stepped out from her
hiding place.

“ Stop!” Callisto called to her men, and Diana was stopped. “ X.e.n.a.aa? Oh,
what a pleasure to see you again, Lord Questra, you too, and you ...I don’t
know, but it doesn’t matter, I have who I want here.”

“ Callisto let her go and I’ll take her place?”

“ NO!!” Diana screamed.

“ Silence Consort!”

“ NO!! Callisto don’t do it, she’s lying to you already, how can you believe
her, especially when she’s calling me her Consort, she knows if you think you
have the wrong person up here then you’ll let me down and try to put the right
one up here, your not going to fall for that are you?”

“ DIANA I said be quiet!”

“ When you call me by my name...then...and only then...will I think about
listening to you, in the meantime, I’ll talk if I want to.”

Callisto laugh out loud and then said, “ Good try Xena, but I know who she is,
and just because you tried to lie to me, I’ll finish that demonstration.
begin!” Callisto called and Diana was once again descending down.

“ Callisto I didn’t lie to you!” Xena yelled.

“ Xena?!!” Diana screamed from just a few feet from the top of the boiling

“ Well, true or not, I still have to get my apology?”

“ Apologize to her!!”

“ NO!”

“ Kitten please do this.”

“ I’m sorry Callisto.” Diana called from where she was still going down.

Everyone stood holding their breaths, hoping for Callisto to stop her men.

“ Hmm...that’s better, but I still have to teach her, don’t I?”

“Callisto I swear if you hurt her, I will tear you limb from limb, now you
stop that thing, and stop it now!” Xena shouted as her terror and rage were
taking hold of her.

“ Stop!” Callisto called to her men,then she stepped up close to Xena and
said, “ Let’s get something straight Lord X.E.N.A...if anything happens to me,
then she instantly gets a H.O.T. bath, if you get my meaning, and the other
one instantly becomes barbecue, so, let me make a little...suggestion, okay? I
suggest you rein in that temper of yours and listen up!” Callisto said with a
sneer. Then she continued. “ I will give you a choice, actually a few choices.
You can either stay and watch her die, or....leave and hear her die.”

“ I’m not leaving here without her.” Xena hissed through her teeth.

“ Well, you should let me finish before you make up your mind? Anyway, if you
stay, then I will force you too kill her sister, and if you refuse, then
she’ll die anyway, if you choose to leave, then I will allow you to take her
sister and leave without harm from my men, but you’ll hear her die, and ever
so painfully. But! At least you’ll have her sister, right? Also, If you choose
to leave then I want you to make a proclamation that there will be no bounty
hunters or anyone else out to arrest, or kill me, that includes you Lord Xena,
as Well as you Lord Questra. So, what do you say which shall it be? Stay or

“ Callisto I will do whatever you want, just don’t hurt her.” Xena stated with
fear in her voice.

“ Awww.....are you asking Lord Xena?”

“ I’ll beg if you let her go.” Xena stated factually.

“ Aw, that’s sooo..nice. But, Nope, I want your answer, now.

“ Let me talk to her.” Xena asked tightly.

“ Fine go ahead, I’ll give you a few minutes. If she tries anything, dump her
in!” Callisto called to her men.

Xena stepped up so that she could be close to Diana, and then she said, “
Kitten, I won’t leave you.”

“ Xena....” Diana said choking on fear, and hurt, and lost she was about to
experience. “ You have to, you once promised me that you would take care of
Gabrielle if something ever happened to me, well....I’m holding you to your
promise my love, please take her and love her for me?”

“ Diana I am not going to lose you.”

“ Of course not love, I’ll always be here, no matter what. You already made it
clear that you would follow me and drag me back, I’m a little more afraid of
what you will do too me if I were to leave.” Diana said trying to show Xena
she wasn’t afraid, even though she knew Xena was feeling what she was feeling.

“ How can I just walk away and let her hurt you, I can’t do it?” Xena said
with tears rolling down her face, despite the determined look in her eyes, and
her set jaws.

“ Because I’m asking you too.” Diana stated with tears in her own eyes.

Xena stood looking up at Diana for long moments until she heard Callisto’s
voice once again.

Xena then used her mind.

“ Questra and Ephiny can save Gabrielle, I’ll create a distraction, and

“ Xena there’s no time for all of that, you know that, please just get
everyone safely away, before she changes her mind?”

“ Diana I can do this?”

“ And when it doesn’t work, and I go in as a result you will blame yourself,
No Xena, I will not let that happen, please, do this for me?”

Lord Xena?!! What’s your decision?” Callisto shouted.

“ Kitten?”

“ Go, please? I love you Xena.” Diana said ignoring Callisto for the moment.

“ Haaa.....I love you kitten, don’t let her take you from me?” Xena pleaded
with her mind.

“ I won’t leave you love.”

Callisto now stormed over to where Xena stood and tapping her on the shoulder
she shrieked.

“ WELL??!!”

Xena turned around to face the shorter woman and with rage in her eyes she
looked back towards where Gabrielle stood near the bars of the cage looking
with tears in her eyes, from fear.

“ Release her, we’re leaving!” Xena commanded of Callisto.

A look of sheer joy came to Callisto’s eyes.

“ Release her! Ah...this is going to be wonderful.” Callisto purred.

“ Just do it!” Xena ordered through her teeth.

“ Okay, okay, she’s released, your free to go, go. Don’t worry, I’ll send her
body to you.” Callisto stated.

Xena leveled a look on her that actually made Callisto step back. Xena then
looked up to Diana and with her mind she told her one last time,

“ Diana I love you, I don’t know if I can do this, especially now that
Gabrielle is free.”

“ Look again Xena.”

Xena turned around and saw all of the bowmen's arrows pointing at Gabrielle.
Xena sighed and then she looked back up at Diana and saw Diana giving her a
small smile.

“ Go Xena, please? I love you. Tell Gabrielle I love her also, Also Xena put
my body in the fountain please? That’s if its not gross looking. Which now
that I think about it, never mind, it will be. That’s boiling oil.”

“ Kitten let me try? “

“ No Xena, I don’t want to risk Gabrielle. Please go and remember to tell

“ I’ll tell her kitten.” Xena then choked on her thoughts and was about to
lose her composure, she then raised her head and turning on her heels she
headed towards the others and walked past them and they fell into step behind
her, when she got to Where Gabrielle was standing, Gabrielle was looking at
her in bewilderment.

“ What’s going on?”

Xena stopped long enough to tell Gabrielle.

“ We’re leaving.”

“ Leaving?! No, we can’t leave, Diana still up there, you can’t leave her

“ We have too.” Xena said trying to explain the panicked stricken young girl.

“ NO! We’re not leaving her here with this monster!! We can’t! You know she’ll
Hurt her!!” Gabrielle screamed at Xena.

“ Gab....” Xena said trying to maintain some control over her emotions.

Questra then stepped forward and took hold of Gabrielle.

“ Gabrielle we have to go, there is no choice, if we don’t then it will be
both of you. We have to go.”

“ We can’t leave her like this, she’s going to burn her to death......”
Gabrielle lost her strength at the thought and Questra lifted her into her
arms and Xena with all of the others all headed out of the camp.

As they walked Callisto ordered Diana to be lowered into the boiling oil. A
scream of death itself pierced the air. Xena whipped around but by that time
Indite had spoken to Diana and rather than more screaming, Xena saw Diana
breathing hard but looking straight at her and chanting something.

Xena focused her eyes on Diana’s lips and read what she was saying,

“ I’ll never leave you love, I’ll never leave you love, I’ll never leave you
love.” Xena’s heart stopped and she sent a thought to Diana.

“ Kitten?” Was all Xena could manage when Diana disappeared into the pit.

Gabrielle opened her eyes just in time to see Diana disappear into the pit
also, and she fainted once again. Questra and Ephiny were speechless, along
with the few Amazons who had come with them.

Ephiny turned to check on Xena and found her staring with a look of lost in
her eyes that broke Ephiny’s heart.

“ Come on everyone we have to go.” Ephiny said moving everyone along to the
horses, everyone except Xena.

“ No, I’m not leaving.”

“ Xena we have too, there’s nothing we can do. She’s gone.” Ephiny said trying
to reason with Xena.

“ NO! No, she’s not gone, she wouldn’t do that. She loves me, I love her,
we’re suppose to be together forever.” Xena stated as she looked at the pit
expecting to see Diana.

“ Xena come on, please? “

Xena looked at Ephiny and then taking another look back at the pit, Xena then
turned and strided to her horse as did the others and they headed back to the
palace. Using the traveller, they arrived back and Xena went straight to her
chamber and poured herself a large drink and then collapsed to her knees and

The next few days were rough on everyone, Every person in the Realm, both in
Greece and Xenadia, all wore white, it was a mourning period that would last
the whole year. Gabrielle was at odds with Xena, she blamed her for leaving
Diana, and she left the palace to go and stay with Questra at her palace.

Questra was actively trying to get the two back together, using every argument
that she could to get Gabrielle to go and talk with Xena, to understand that
Xena had no choice, that she had to leave. They all did.

Gabrielle wouldn’t accept it, she just kept saying Xena promised to always be
there for her and here she was there and she left. Gabrielle couldn’t get past
that, and the fact that that death was meant for her.

While Xena was sitting in the garden just loving Diana with her mind, a
messager arrived with a delivery.

“ What is it?” Xena asked flatly.

“ It’s Her Majesty’s body.”

“ What? What are you talking about?!” Xena asked as she came to her feet.

“ She’s out in the main courtyard.”

“ My Lord?! My Lord! You have got to come and see this! Please?!” Dancea said
as she ran to find her Lord.

Xena went flying to the courtyard and just as she got there she came to a
sudden stop. There before her stood a bronze looking statue of Diana.

Xena walked up to the statue and found it was indeed Diana’s body, it was in
the same position as Diana was when she was submerged into the oil.

“ is this possible? There’s not a blemish to the skin, Xena then
spent the rest of the day and night just looking at the statue of Diana, she
had a messager sent to Questra’s to let them know that Callisto finally sent
Diana’s body home.

Xena had Diana’s body placed in the fountain, and everyday for the next few
days she would come out to talk to her. Gabrielle had come the moment she
found out that Diana’s body had been returned. She sat and spoke to Diana,
telling her how much she was hurting and how much she missed her and wanted
her back, and that she was having a hard time getting on with her life without

Gabrielle didn’t speak to Xena except to accuse her of lying to Diana. One
night a week later after Callisto’s revenge, Gabrielle was asleep and then she
heard her name being called.

“ Gabrielle, Gabrielle.”

“ Hmm....who is it?” Gabrielle asked groggily as she rolled to sit up.

Once she was sitting up, she looked around the room. Suddenly her eyes fell
upon Diana.

“ Di...Diana? Diana?/!! “ Gabrielle shrieked and jumped out of the bed and
went to hug her sister, only she went right through her and landed on the

Gabrielle’s eyes went wide. “ Diana?”

“ Yes Gabrielle it’s me.”

“ But....but , your a ghost?”

“ that what I am, I don’t feel like a ghost.”

“ Are you ....dead?”

“ I don’t feel dead Gabrielle.”

“ Are you in the garden?” Gabrielle asked knowing only her sister would know
what she meant.

“ No.”

“ No?!” Gabrielle repeated in horror. “ Your In Tartarus?!”

“ No.”

“ No?”

“Where are you?”

“ I’m here.”

“ I know, but I mean where are you when your not here?”

“ I know what you meant Gabrielle, it’s just that I’m not in any of those
places including Illusia. So you got me. But that doesn’t matter right now, I
want to know what’s going on with you and Xena?”

“ What do you mean?”

“ You know what I mean, your not talking to her, and I don’t understand why?”

“ Because she left you there to die!”

“ Gabrielle? Is that what you really believe?”

“ I was there I saw her leave you.”

“ Gabrielle Xena was ready to die to try and save me from Callisto’s revenge,
but it was me who told her to leave.”

“ Why?! She could have saved you?!”

“ No Gabrielle, she couldn’t help me, if she had tried then I would have
fallen into that pit anyway and you would have been burned alive in that cage,
and then she would have suffered not only from what would have happened, but
she would blame herself until the day she died, which in her case would be a
Tartarus of a longtime.”

“ But Diana?”

“ No Gabrielle, no buts, Xena only did what I begged her to do, she loves you
as much as I do, and there is nothing in this world she would not do for you.
Just like me.”

“ Diana that death was meant for me.”

“ What death? Gabrielle what happened to me was meant to happen, I believe
that. If I didn’t have the instincts I have about people then I would not have
been able to read Callisto’s intentions, everything happens for a reason.”

“ Aren’t you angry?”

“ Yes, I’m pissed, but that’ll have to wait until later, right now you need to
go and apologize to Xena. She didn’t do anything wrong. Okay?”

“ I will, I have behaved so badly with her, she must hate me?” Gabrielle said
with sadness in her voice.

“ Nope, that’s not my Xena, she would never hate my sister, no matter what.”
Diana said with a smile for her sister.

The next morning Gabrielle and Questra headed for Xena’s Palace, once there
she went straight to find Xena.

Xena was finishing up a meeting with some of her advisors and then she came
out into the corridor, no smile, just the stoic face of The Conqueror.

“ Xena, may I talk to you?” Gabrielle asked contritely.

“ Yes.” Xena said without emotion.

They walked back into the chamber Xena had just come out of and Xena sat in
her chair and Gabrielle sat in the chair on the opposite side. Gabrielle kept
looking at her hands and then up at Xena and then finally she spoke.

“ Xena...I am so sorry, I blamed you for something that was not your fault, I
just hurt so badly and I miss her so much, I needed someone to blame, and I
blamed you. I was wrong, and I hope you will find it in your heart to one day
forgive me.” Gabrielle blurted out as she came to her feet to go and stand
before Xena.

“ Xena stood up and without saying anything she just wrapped her arms around
Gabrielle and held her close to her, as she buried her head In Gabrielle’s
mane of hair, and Gabrielle buried her head in Xena’s chest and sobbed.

That night Gabrielle and Questra stayed at the palace and they all talked for
a while and then Xena went to her chamber and laid down and pulling Diana’s
pillow to her as she had done every night for two weeks.

This night would be different, when Xena had fallen asleep Diana came to her
and walking over to the bed Diana saw the distress in Xena’s face and Diana
smiled a sad smile and then she laid down on top of Xena and faded into her.

“ Ahh.....your so warm love, this is wonderful, I always knew you felt like
this inside your soul.”

“ Really?” Came a voice from behind Diana.

“ are you?”

“ Diana, my kitten I miss you so much.”

“ Why? I’m here.”

“ In my dreams, but not in my arms.”

“ Well, let’s just deal with one thing first, your so very tight, I’m actually
all knots because of it, so how about it love?”

“ How about what?”

“ Make love to me.”

Xena’s spirit immediately grabbed Diana and the two of them begun to love each
others souls. While they did the statue that was Diana’s begun to glow, The
more turned on Diana’s spirit got the hotter the statue got.

The two women’s spirits made love while Diana’s body was changing in the
fountain. By the time Diana and Xena were peaking for the umpteenth time,
Diana’s body now stood in the fountain not moving but back to a real body,
only it was more bronzed in tone. After Diana and Xena peaked for the final
time, Xena’s physical body was breathing hard and soaked with perspiration,
and Diana’s spirit disappeared just after she said....

“ I’ll see you soon love.”

“ Okay kitten, I miss you.” Was all Xena said before she went into a peaceful

Diana’s spirit then appeared at the fountain and she saw her body was
unharmed, but slightly changed.

“ Indite?”

“ Yes Diana?”

“ What am I suppose to do now?”

“ Enter your body.”

“ But isn’t it dead?”

“ What makes you think that? Did I ever say you would die?”

“ No, but I had to die, there was no way for even me to survive that oil?”

“ You forget, your body is not like most people, nor is Lord Xena’s as a
result of your gifts to her, as well as those that she has given you.”

“ But how is it that I survived that?”

“ Don’t you remember what I told you to do just before you went under?”

“ Yes, yes. That’s what saved me?”

“ No, it was as a result of your having been changed so many years ago, Your
body seems to arise to the occasion when it is going through extreme stress,
or should I say unusual extreme stress.”

Indite did not tell Diana anything further, she let her do the rest of the
talking herself.

“ So are you telling me, that no matter what happens to me, I can’t be

“ I can’t answer that.”

“ So you don’t know if some other crazy person will do the same type of thing
to me?”

“ No I don’t know.”

“ Indite, you just don’t know how much that hurt, I was so scared.” Diana said
as tears begun rolling down her face again as she thought of the terror of
that day.

“ I know Diana, and it won’t go away once your back in your body, as a matter
of fact you will go through a lot of the after effects of such a traumatic
event having been leveled against you.”

“ But how is that possible? I mean, if I realize that it is all behind me,
then why wouldn’t I realize that when I return to my body?”

“ Because, you won’t even remember this conversation my child.” Indite said as
she faded from Diana’s view.

Diana stood looking at her body and trying to figure out if she could handle
what laid ahead of her, she then thought of Xena, and Gabrielle, and even
Questra and Ephiny, and a smile came to her face.

Diana then took a deep breath and stepped up into the fountain and then taking
another deep breath she stepped inside of her body, and instantly she
collapsed in the fountain.

The next early dawn Xena had headed out to the fountain to talk to Diana. When
she got there she saw some of her soldiers and the healer gathered around the

Xena eyes sought for Diana’s body, but not seeing it she thought it had fallen
some kind of way and had shattered. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest
as she started walking towards the fountain with fear and anger shining in her

Just as she arrived and was about to ask what was going on, The healer stood
up and faced Xena.

“ My Lord, I don’t know how to tell you this?”

“ Out with it. What happened?!!”

“ It’s her Majesty.....she’s....”

“ She’s what?!” Xena hissed.

“ She’s ....alive.”

“ Wh....what? What are you talking about?! Move!!” Xena shouted as she pushed
the healer to the side and the other soldiers stepped aside.

There lying on the ground breathing, but unconscious, and a little more bronze
in color, was Diana. Xena went to her knees, and checking to see if it were
really Diana, and if she was really seeing what she only dreamed about seeing,
she checked her breathing. When she went to check Diana’s pulse and open her
eyes, she found Diana’s skin was hot like a fire.

“ Why is she hot like this?” Xena asked the healer.

“ I think it has to do with the color of her skin at the moment? We couldn’t
check her any further because of how hot her skin was. I even had to treat one
of my own healers as a result of being burned.”

“ I see. Go and get a litter!” Xena commanded of one of the soldiers.

He immediately ran off to go and bring a litter back. While he was gone Xena
needed to know if this was her kitten so she ignored the pain that burned her
fingers as she opened Diana’s eyes to see them. She was happy to see that they
were Diana’s with the Chestnut pupil with the Sapphire ring around it. She
then looked at Diana’s one shoulder and saw the microscopic scar from when she
threw the dagger at Diana and it caught her on the shoulder leaving a cut that
would heal but leave a scar.

“ It is you...By The Gods kitten! It is you!!” Xena exclaimed. She ran her
hands over Diana’s cheeks without touching them, and then the soldier returned
with the litter and Xena ordered her men to put their gloves on and lift Diana
onto it.

The men did as they were ordered and despite being burn still, but not badly
they all agreed that it was worth anything to have Lady Diana back. Xena
smiled at the men and the tears were forming to fall down her cheeks from the
love that the soldiers had for her love.

They arrived in Xena’s chamber and the healer with to work studying what she
should do to treat Diana. Xena then called for Shatara, and when she came in
she told Shatara what was going on with Diana.

“ That’s wonderful news My Lord!!” Shatara exclaimed as she hugged Xena, and
Xena returned the embrace.

“ Shatara I called for you because I think you may know how to help Diana, her
body is as hot as fire,literally, and she’s unconscious, do you know of any
spells or anything that could help return her body to normal?”

“ No, only time will do that. But her unconsciousness is most likely do to

“ I thought that much myself Shatara.” Xena said frustratedly, but light in

Shatara smiled and offered to sit with Diana whenever Xena wanted, but Xena
declined and told her she was not letting Diana out of her sight again.

“ If she thought I was strict then, wait until she wakes up this time.” Xena

“ Lord Xena it wasn’t her fault that this happened, what are you going ot do?
lock her up whenever your away?” Shatara asked lightheartedly, trying to ease
the tension.

“ No....she’ll be right at my side, EVERYWHERE I go.” Xena stated as a fact.

“ I believe you my Lord, I believe you. Well, if you need me just call and
I’ll be here.”

“ Alright, good night Shatara.”

“ Good night My Lord, and I am so elated that Diana is back with us, it seems
you two seem to have a guardian Moray or something.”

“ Something like that I guess.” Xena acknowledged.

Shatara left and not more than a moment later Gabrielle and Questra and Ephiny
all came running into Xena’s bedchamber without announcement.

“ Diana?!!” Gabrielle called as she ran to towards the bed to jump onto it and
hug Diana.

Just as she was about to land On Diana Xena caught her in mid air and swung
her around to a standing position. off of the bed.

“ Xena I want to hold Diana?!” Gabrielle cried.

“ I know, but you can’t touch her, none of you can.”

“ WHY?! Gabrielle whined out of frustration.

“ Gabrielle, you can’t touch her because of her body, it’s burning hot, and
it’s going to take time for it to cool down.”

“ Oh, well is she okay?”

“ I think so, but I don’t know for sure, except for what I’m feeling from her
is not pain or anything, just a little....well, anyway, I think she’s going to
be fine.” Xena said quickly.

Questra smirked and then walked over to the bed and sat down at the foot of
it, and Gabrielle sat on one of her thighs and Ephiny went and sat on the
other side of the bed.

“ Are you able to touch her Xena?” Gabrielle asked out of curiosity.

“ for very brief moments right now, I’m able to tolerate touching her longer
and longer.” Xena said as she caressed Diana’s cheeks.

“ Has she woke up at all yet?”

“ No, but I’m sure it will be soon, but it’s only been a few Candlemarks since
she’s been back. I’m sure after a few days she’ll wake up.” Xena said with

Questra motioned for Xena to step away from the bed so that she could talk to
her. Xena saw the motion and told Diana she would be right back and Gabrielle
moved off of Questra’s thigh and moved up to where Diana’s hair was, she
tentatively and cautiously stuck out her fingers to touch the ebony mane, and
Ephiny watched her and then when Gabrielle’s hand touched it, and she did not
pull it back, Ephiny smiled and Gabrielle begun to stroke Diana’s hair.

“ Xena I need to talk to you about something Gabrielle told me.”

“ What is it Questra?”

“ Gabrielle told me she saw Diana before now.”

“ Really? “

“ Yes, I’m a little concerned, do you think I should be?”

“ No. I can assure you it’s nothing to worry about.” Xena said with a
reassuring smile coming to her face.

Later when everyone sat in the sitting chamber talking, with Xena and
Gabrielle and Questra all taking turns checking on Diana, the last time
Questra was in, she heard Diana moan.

“ Xena! I think she’s coming out of it?” Questra called as Xena came into the
room to sit on the bed next to Diana.

Diana moaned again and Xena begun calling her name quietly.

“ Diana? kitten? Can you hear me?”

Xena noticed that Diana’s body was changing colors the more she woke up. Xena
touched Diana’s cheek and noticed that it was no longer hot, but a normal
temperature. Xena then let her hand run down Diana’s neck onto her torso, and
she continued and found Diana’s body had returned to a normal temperature.

“ Xena....?” Diana moaned with her eyes still closed.

“ I’m here kitten.” Xena answered.

“ Xena? “ Diana moaned again with more strength.

“ I’m here kitten, open your eyes, come on, you can do it...” Xena encouraged.

Diana’s eyes fluttered for a few moments and Xena held her breath until Diana
finally opened her eyes. When Diana’s eyes opened and then finally focused she

“ XENA!”

Diana sat up and wrapped her arms tightly around Xena’s neck and cried
violently as her body shook just as violently. Xena held Diana tightly
understanding what was going on with her and she felt the exact same way, all
she wanted to do was hold Diana in her arms forever and protect her from

“ It’s ok, kitten, your safe, I’m here and I won’t let anything happen to you.
I promise.” Xena whispered to Diana in comfort, and Diana slowly begun to calm
down, but she did not let go of Xena.

Questra saw what was needed at the moment and she moved everyone out of the
chamber and then explained to Gabrielle who wanted to be there for her sister
as well.

“ Diana needs to be with just Xena at the moment, she’s still in shock and
right now she wouldn’t even be able to really even acknowledge anyone but
Xena. In a few days, you’ll be able to see her My Bard, alright?”

Gabrielle had tears rolling down her face but she nodded her head in
understanding, and then buried her head in Questra’s arms. Questra wrapped her
arm around Gabrielle’s waist and she and Gabrielle and Ephiny and Solaris, and
Eponin all headed out of the chamber and went to do other things, together for
a bit and then separately.

Meanwhile, Xena had finally gotten Diana to calm down enough to where Xena was
able to move onto the bed and lay down with Diana holding tightly to her.

“ I was so scare Xena.” Diana admitted.

“ I know, so was I, I have never felt so helpless in all of my life. I will
never Leave you like that again! Never!” Xena swore.

“ I don’t blame you Xena. I told you to leave, but I don’t want to talk about
it right now, I just want to lay here and just feel you.”

“ I love you kitten and I am sooo...sorry. I hurt so badly I didn’t think I
was going to make it, the thoughts I had were really scary.” Xena admitted .

Xena then rolled over Diana and looking down on her she just melted into her
eyes, as Diana did the same.

“ Kitten.”

“ Yes?”

“ From now on your not allowed out of my sight, clear?”

“ You don’t even have to say it, I plan on staying right in your arms,
literally.” Diana state seriously.

Xena heard the difference, but she let it go thinking Diana was just tired,
not realizing Diana had meant what she said. Xena rolled back onto her back
and pulled Diana over with her.

“ Go to sleep kitten, you need to rest.”

‘ Your going to be here when I wake up aren’t you?” Diana asked with fear in
her eyes.

“ Of course kitten, I’ll be here.” Xena answered with knitted brows at Diana’s
tighten grip on her.

“ No, I mean right here in the bed with me?”

“ Yes kitten I’ll be here, I promise.” Xena said assuring Diana and squeezing
her to her to reassure her.

Diana laid her head on Xena’s breast and listened to her heartbeat,
eventually, Diana drifted off to sleep from it. That night was thankfully a
quiet one, Diana slept straight through, and when the morning came, Diana
awoke to find Xena was still holding her, but she was reading a scroll.

“ Good morning kitten, how did you sleep?” Xena asked putting the scroll on
the bedside table.

“ Fine. How did you sleep?”

“ Peacefully, now that your back in my arms, whole. I couldn’t have slept
better.” Xena purred as she rolled Diana on top of her and brought her hands
up to either side of Diana’s cheeks and pulled her close to her and said in a
loving but serious tone.

“ From now on, no matter what the situation is, don’t ever expect for me to
leave you or Gabrielle in a situation like that again. I died a thousand times
everytime I saw you disappear into that pit. By The Gods even now I’m bothered
by that to my very core. I won’t ever do that again, no matter what the
consequences are, if there’s the least chance of saving you or Gabrielle from
harm, I’ll take that risk, is that clear?’

“ Yes. I know it was hard to walk away and leave me there, but I would have
had a harder time dealing with what happened if you had stayed and saw both of
us. You had to leave. And despite what happened to me, I couldn’t be more
grateful too you. Thank you love for taking care of Gabrielle.”

“ Anything for you kitten, anything.”

Diana was feeling better and better after many days had gone by. Finally she
and Xena left there chamber for the first time and Diana had subtly found a
way to keep physical contact with Xena. She looped her arms in Xena’s and
strided adoringly with Xena, which of course Xena loved.

The past few days Diana had been passionately doing for Xena. Once again
trying to pamper her, but Xena tried to get Diana to let her do things for her
and Diana would let her, but when it came to Xena going somewhere other than
where Diana was, Diana would change her mind.

Xena recognized that Diana was staying close like she had told her, and she
loved it. Xena and Diana met up with Gabrielle and Questra for the first time
since, and Gabrielle ran into Diana’s arm, and the two hugged each other,
while Gabrielle cried. Gabrielle had wrapped both of her arms around Diana’s
waist and Diana wrapped one of hers around Gabrielle and squeezed her tightly
to her, while at the same time she held on to Xena’s hand.

Questra noticed it, but didn’t say anything at the moment, she decided to
watch for a while. The four of them went to the garden and Xena went to sit
among a nice shaded tree and Diana went with her. Gabrielle and Questra sat on
the grass in front of Xena and Diana.

“ How are you feeling sis?” Gabrielle asked anxiously.

“ Fine, I’ve had a few nightmares, but Xena’s always there when I do and she’s
able to calm me down.”

Diana was leaning back in Xena’s arm and her grip had tighten at the thought
of the nightmares. Xena nuzzled her neck and whispered in her ear and Diana
relaxed once again into Xena’s touch.

“ You know, I really don’t remember a lot about it, except the events before
and after I woke up.” Diana said hoping to end the subject.

Gabrielle smiled at her and touched her leg and gave a squeeze, and then said,
“ Okay.”

Diana smiled back at her and then initiated the change in subject.

“ is everything going between the two of you?”

“ Wonderful now that your back!” Gabrielle exclaimed.

Diana knitted her brows at the statement and then had to ask.

“ What does that mean?”

“ What do you mean?” Gabrielle asked.

“ Well you said now, indicating that things haven’t been going well prior?”

“ Oh, no, that’s not what I meant, I just meant that things were and are going
very well with us, but I didn’t want you to think that we had just forgotten
about you.” Gabrielle said trying to explain.

“ I understand Gabrielle, but no matter what, I always want you to be happy,
remember that okay?”

“ Okay.”

“ So when’s the big day?”

“ We haven’t set one yet, we didn’t think it was appropriate to do that right
now after what had happened.”

Diana was determined to not let the subject go back there so she asked in a
teasing type voice.

“ Okay, so what’s the excuse now sis?”

“ Xena chuckled, and Diana looked at her and smiled. Xena then caressed
Diana’s face and squeezed her to her once again.

Meanwhile Questra couldn’t help but notice the way Diana kept rubbing on
Xena’s arms or thighs, it was like a nervous type movement, as if Diana was
testing to see if Xena was real. Questra decided to test her theory.

“ Lord Xena, may I speak to you for a moment?”

“ Yes, of course.”

“ Over there?”

“ Oh, okay. I’ll be right back kitten, Xena said as she went to stand up.

“ Why are you going?” Diana asked somewhat distressed.

Gabrielle noticed the change in Diana’s demeanor and her brows knitted as a

“ I’m just going to talk with Lord Questra for a moment, I’ll be right back.”
Xena said trying to reassure Diana, who was holding Xena’s arm quite tightly.

“ Well, I’m sure Lord Questra wouldn’t mind if I go with you, right?” Diana
asked of Questra.

“ Well, I need to speak with Lord Xena alone for a moment, but you can keep
Gabrielle company, I’m sure you two can find something to talk about for a few
minutes?” Questra teased gently, seeing the tensing in Diana.

“ Kitten I’ll be right over there,you can see me, okay?”

“ You won’t leave from there will you?” Diana asked gripping Xena’s hands so
tight that her hand was blanching.

Xena felt the tightness, but not to where it was causing her acute pain, but
uncomfortable enough to tell Diana.

“ Kitten, I promise I’m not leaving, I’ll just go and talk to Questra and then
I’ll come right back, okay?”

Xena freed her hand from Diana’s and Diana brought her hand to her mouth and
stood watching Xena and Questra walk over to another area to talk. Diana begun
to shake and Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Diana and pulled her slightly
to the ground to sit down again.

“ Sis it’s okay, she’s just over there just talking she’ll be right back.”
Gabrielle said as she noticed Diana becoming more and more restless.

“ When are they coming back??!!” Diana asked, practically screaming, trying to
control the terror that was about to overwhelm her.

Diana it’s alright, I’m here?” Gabrielle said trying to find something to
distract Diana’s attention from where her eyes had stayed locked to.

“ I....I....I, know Gabrielle, I, know your here and I am so happy that you
are....really. Please believe me?” Diana said managing to take her eyes off of
Xena long enough to say that and receive a response.

“ I know, I just wanted you to relax.” Gabrielle said with a smile. Diana
returned the smile but it was strained.

Diana’s eyes then turned back to lock on where Xena was still standing talking
with Questra with her arms crossed over her chest as she was listening
intensely to what Questra was saying.

“ What is taking so damn long??!!!” Diana practically shrieked.

Gabrielle saw that Diana was about to lose her control, her hands were rubbing
restlessly against her thighs and her breathing was increasing in it’s rate,
as was her heartbeat as it begun to beat wildly against her chest.

“ Please come back Xena? please come back? Don’t leave me please Xena?” Diana
begun to chant to herself as tears began rolling down her face, and she rocked
back and forth on her heels, all the while watching every move of Xena.

“ Diana it’s okay, she’s not leaving you again, she won’t do that again.”
Gabrielle said trying to calm the now frighten woman next to her.

Questra and Xena in the mean =time were talking about what Questra was
noticing in Diana.

“ Xena I know both you and Diana are going through a lot and you want to be
close to her, but you have got to see that Diana is being very clingy with
you. “

“ Well Questra, she has been through a very traumatic experience, I mean how
many people do you know that has been lowered into a pit of boiling oil? I
think Diana has the right to be a little nervous about things? Plus the fact,
that I did walk away and let that crazy woman do that horrific thing to her, I
will never forgive myself for that, she had to be terror stricken. For Zeus
sakes I can’t even begin to fathom the depth of fear that went through that
little girl!” Xena exclaimed as she defended Diana’s behavior.”

“ Xena, I’m not saying that child has not been through a horrific event, and I
truly understand her and you wanting to stay close to one another, I mean
first you died and now we thought she had as a result of the demented mind of
a woman who I thought I knew better. Anyway Xena, if you think this is just a
temporary phrase, then that’s fine, but please do me a favor?”

“ What’s that?”

“ Just watch her behavior, see if she gets temperamental, or restless whenever
your not near her, alright?”

“ Alright.”


Gabrielle screamed. Both Xena and Questra looked over to see Diana being
physically sick and shaking violently. Xena flew back to Diana’s side as did

“ What happen? What’s going on?” Xena asked sternly.

Gabrielle was too upset and worried about Diana to speak at first, until Xena
asked yelled at Gabrielle to tell her what happened. While Xena was now
holding the violently crying Diana.

Questra was holding Gabrielle and she told her to tell them what happened.

“ I...I was trying to take her mind off of the two of you, she wouldn’t take
her eyes off of you Xena, the minute you went with Questra, she became nervous
and then it just increased she was then chanting for you to come back and to
not leave her, Xena I think she’s scared your going to leave her if your not
right here with her, Gods....This is all my fault, if she hadn’t tried to
protect me, then she wouldn’t be going through this right now!” Gabrielle said
blaming herself for what was happening to Diana.

“ No Gabrielle! I know Diana has told you it wasn’t your fault and the fact
that she would do it again. So stop it, this is not about you right now okay?”
Xena scolded as gently as she could considering Diana was now curled up in her
lap with her head buried in Xena’s arms.

Questra looked at Xena knowingly and Xena gave her look of possibly. Then she
stood up with Diana in her arms.

“ I think I’ll take Diana back to our chamber where she can rest, we’ll see
you two later. Gabrielle, are you okay?”

“ Yes, don’t worry about me, please take care of Diana?” Gabrielle said as she
caressed Diana’s hair, trying to let her know she was there for her.

“ You know I will.” Xena said as she turned and carried her precious load back
to the Palace and laid her on the bed.

By the time they had made it back Diana was more composed and so when Xena
laid her on the bed and was about to go and get something to clean Diana up,
Diana gripped her arm while staring at her with fright registered all
throughout her eyes.

“ Please don’t leave me?” Diana begged softly.

Xena’s brows knitted at the stress she saw in Diana’s eyes at the very
thought, and she smiled and sat back on the bed and Diana wrapped her arms
around Xena’s neck once again and held on to her.

“ Kitten I won’t ever leave you again, I promise. I was just going to go and
get some towels to get you cleaned up with.” Xena stated trying to reassure
Diana. As she once again started to get up, only to feel Diana’s arms tighten
around her neck.

“ Please don’t leave me Xena? I’ll do anything you say, I’ll behave, I won’t
cause you any problems, I.....” Diana rambled as her fear was about to
overwhelm her again.

“ Kitten, kitten,, I won’t leave, I’ll have the servants get the
towels ok?”

“ ok.” Came the soft reply.

Xena leaned back from Diana to look in her eyes.

“ Diana, do you think I was mad at you because of what happened?”

“ Don’t leave me?” Diana continued.

“ I’m not leaving you kitten, please believe me?” Xena said as she recognized
Diana was suffering from the shock of what happened to her, now more than

So with feeling responsible, Xena decided she would keep Diana by her side for
as long as Diana wanted and needed to be, despite the obvious problem that was
going on with Diana, and the realization that Questra had seen correctly.

Xena sat back in the bed and Diana laid her head on Xena’s lap and Xena
caressed her head and hair until Dancea and Ludmilla came back with the towels
and things to clean Diana up with.

After Diana was cleaned up and tucked in, with Xena sitting right next to her
once again caressing Diana, only this time she was caressing Diana’s cheek and neck
and shoulders.


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