Eve and Hope
by Alan Plessinger
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Eve & Hope" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
This is set just after "Amphipolis Under Siege". It might contain some spoilers for that episode.
Gabrielle held Eve and cooed sweet little sounds to her, rocked her back and forth, loved her.
"Sheís so wonderful, Xena."
"So are you. Eve is so lucky to have someone like you in her life, Gabrielle."
"I canít wait to hear her first words. See her first steps. I feel so blessed, almost like sheís my daughter, too. Almost makes up forÖ"
Gabrielle trembled, and looked away. Xena looked down. Soon Eve began to give out her "Iím hungry" cry.
"Dinnertime for my daughter."
"Iíll get your armor off."
Xena took Eve while Gabrielle undid the clasp holding her armor. Then Gabrielle took Eve back while Xena finished removing her armor. Xena pulled down her leather garment, leaving her breasts ready for Eve.
Gabrielle usually enjoyed watching Eve breastfeed, but this time she looked away.
"Iím sorry," said Xena.
"You havenít done anything to be sorry for," said Gabrielle. "Iím just wondering what it must be like to be always right all the time, like you are."
"Iím not always right."
"You were right about Eve. Sheís the most wonderful little girl Iíve ever seen. Everything I thought my own daughter would be."
"Iím just wondering how you know these things. How did you know all that stuff aboutÖmy daughter?"
"Gabrielle, are you really sure you want to have this conversation?"
"Weíve been Ďnot having this conversationí for too long, now. We get up in the morning and we donít talk about it. We get Eve ready to travel, and we donít talk about it. I have to watch Athena standing over a little faux baby with a sword, ready to strike a killing blow, and still we donít talk about it."
"Xena, I donít blame you. You were right. My daughter had to die. Iím just wondering how you always know the right thing to do."
"I donít, Gabrielle. If I knew that, I would never have tried to do it right in front of you."
Gabrielle looked at Xena in surprise.
"You mean, you wouldíveÖ"
"Gabrielle, you had been through so much. I should never have forced you to choose between me and your own daughter. If only I had thought, if only I had waited until you were asleep, it wouldíve saved so much pain and heartache between the two of us. And I know you wouldíve forgiven me, eventually."
Gabrielle looked down at Eve, suckling contentedly.
"Of course I wouldíve," said Gabrielle.
"Gabrielle, I blamed you for so many things that were not your fault. Iím sorry. And believe me, I donít know everything. I have no idea how in the world this little babyÖouchÖmy nipple is under siegeÖI have no idea how little Eve is going to bring about the Twilight of the Gods."
"Well, even Hercules didnít know that, Xena."
"No, he didnít. He just knew that he had to protect this little one at all costs. Even if it meant killing a member of his own family. He did what needed to be done. Same as you, withÖyour daughter."
"Itís OK to say her name, Xena."
"I havenít heard you mentioning her by name either, Gabrielle."
"Hope. Her name is Hope. Her nameÖwas Hope."
Gabrielle trembled again. She struggled to control herself. She tried to think of something else to say.
"I think," said Gabrielle, "itís just a trick of the fates. The gods will kill themselves trying to get to this little baby. Itís a self-fulfilling prophesy."
"Maybe youíre right. I wish I knew. It would make it easier to make plans. I wish there was someone I could leave her with. It isnít right, carrying her all over the country, exposing her to danger."
"Maybe so, but who could you leave her with? Who could protect her but you, Xena? The gods are after her! Even the Amazons canít be trusted any more."
"I wonder what life will be like without the gods."
"I donít know. I know Iíll miss some of them. Aphrodite, for instance."
"Of course youíll miss her. She has the hots for you."
Gabrielle smiled and playfully nudged Xena with her shoulder.
"Oh, donít try to deny it. Come on! Hot tubs? Chocolate Aphrodisiac? Cute little pink pajamas?"
"Oh, that was justÖ" said Gabrielle, and started to giggle uncontrollably.
Xena looked at Gabrielle in surprise. All the sour moods that Gabrielle had managed to coax Xena out of, and now Xena had returned the favor.
Eve finished her meal. Xena gave her back to Gabrielle, and covered up her breasts.
"Gabrielle, Iíll talk with you about Hope any time you like, but whatís the point? We both made mistakes, and we have to live with them. We canít go back and change what we did. The important thing is, we stayed together. Whatever else Hope mightíve done, she never succeeded in splitting us up. No one could do that."
Gabrielle smiled, looking at Eve yawning. She looked up from Eve and into Xenaís azure eyes.
"I love you so much, Xena. And I love this beautiful little kid. No one will ever harm her, I swear. Sheís going to grow up to be strong and beautiful and courageous, just like her mother."
"Xena, quit kidding around."
"Gabrielle, if I have anything to say about it, youíre her mother, too. Look how comfortable she is with you. Look how much she loves you."
Gabrielle looked at Eve, asleep in her arms.
"Sheís incredible," said Gabrielle. "She does make up for Hope. She more than makes up for her."
Gabrielle tried to give her back, but Xena stood up.
"Why donít you keep her awhile longer," said Xena. "Bring her back in whenever youíre ready. Iím going to go to bed."
"No, take her with you, Xena. Itís getting cold out here. Iíll be in soon."
Xena took the baby and headed back inside. She put Eve in her crib and looked down at her sweet face.
"Little Eve," said Xena, "there are only two types of people in the world. Those who fall in love with Gabrielle immediately, and those who take a little time. I took a little time. You look like youíre one of the smarter ones. Good for you. Donít worry Eve; Gabrielleís not going anywhere."
Gabrielle stayed outside and watched the sun set. She stood up and headed indoors, and practically ran right into Xenaís mom.
"Cyrene!" she said. "If you want to see Eve, sheís inside."
"No. Itís you I want to see." Cyrene threw her arms around Gabrielle in a big hug.
"Thank you," said Cyrene.
"What? What for?"
"Just everything. For taking good care of my daughter. For bringing her home safely. For believing in her and loving her and helping her when her own mother couldnít. For everything. Just everything."
"Cyrene, I really didnít do that much."
Cyrene let go and looked deeply into Gabrielleís beautiful green eyes.
"Call me Mom," she said.
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