How Gabrielle Survived
by Alan Plessinger
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "How Gabrielle Survived" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
Hope realized that the best chance she had of saving them was the robe she was wearing. Telekinetically, she ripped it right off her body. There was no other way to get it off as she clung to her mother. Holding one sleeve, she threw the material at the side of the cliff, and the hem caught on some mineral deposits jutting from the rock face. The two swung right into the side. Gabrielle cried out as she slammed into the side of the cliff, then her body went limp.
"Sorry, mother," said Hope.
She felt the fabric begin to rip. She took a look at the rock face, and decided that if she could burst through the stone at the temple looking for the Hind's blood dagger, she could probably make a dent in this igneous rock. She created a niche in the rock, just to the left of her hand, then let go of the robe and grabbed the handhold as quickly as she could.
Telekinetically, she started clawing huge chunks of stone out of the face of the cliff. She had to work fast. Her lungs were close to inflamed from breathing this terribly hot air, and she was in a panic.
Finally she had a spot large enough to hold both her and her mother, but she couldn't afford to rest. They had to get away from this heat. Heat rises, so telekinetically she burrowed down and at an angle, dragging her mother's body as she went, dust and bits of rock flying above her head and landing behind them. She wished she could've been given a bit more of her father's power, but power had to be sacrificed in order for her human appearance to be maintained.
Finally, completely exhausted, she had to stop. They were far enough away from the heat, in fact the stone was a little damp and cold. She squinted into the near-darkness, trying to see if her mother was OK.
Why had she saved her mother?
Blood doesn't reason. Blood just is.
She checked her mother's breathing and pulse. Other than bruises, her mother would be fine.
Hope touched her abdomen, hoping the trauma hadn't affected her child, the Destroyer. She was already starting to show. It was the only difference in appearance between mother and daughter. They were even dressed the same, now. Under her robe she had still been wearing the green top and dun-colored skirt favored by her mother.
Hope put her face to the damp, cold stone. She heard the sounds of rushing water. It could be dangerous to continue. If they were heading right into a river, or even a lake, the waters could force them back the way they came. She decided the sounds of water were far enough away to chance it.
After resting, she was finally able to burst through the stone and into the next cave. The river was running only about ten feet below them, but there was a source of light just above. She cautiously peeked out and saw a cave opening up above them and to the right, but there was no way to get there. She would have to carve her way up there.
Hope was so exhausted. She looked at the river running below. Cool, crystal clear water.
Could she telekinetically lift water? She had never tried, but
She lifted a few handfuls of water and let it rain down on her mother and herself in a fine spray. Gabrielle's eyelids fluttered. She awoke and peered at her daughter.
"Hope?" she said. "Are we are we dead?"
"Nope. Sorry to disappoint. I know you'd been looking forward to making a martyr of yourself."
Gabrielle sat up and tried to focus her vision on her daughter.
"I saved you, mother. You owe me your life."
Gabrielle looked away.
"If you want to go on living," said Gabrielle, "you'd better kill me now, because the next chance I have I swear I will finish you for good."
"You're welcome, mother."
"Damn you, Hope. Damn you to Tartarus."
"I don't understand you, mother. I would never do anything to hurt you, and all you ever seem to do is cause me harm. You have so much love for so many people, why can't you love me?"
"I loved you, Hope. I lied to Xena to protect you. And when we found each other again I so wanted to be a mother to you. By the gods, I ACHED to be your mother. But then you had to kill Solan."
Gabrielle looked into her lap and held her hands together tightly.
"And why?" asked Gabrielle. "WHY? Because you could! I loved you, Hope. Don't you ever tell me that I didn't love you. But I had to stop you."
"Why? Because Xena said so? Xena was the first person I ever saw when I entered the world, and the very same day I was born she tried to kill me."
"You killed that knight."
"I was a baby. It was a reflex action. I was scared. But killing Solan I make no apologies for. I wanted Xena to suffer for what she tried to do to me. I wanted to torture her. I still do. If I can, I swear I will kill her mother and her brother and everyone she holds dear, and I will raze Amphipolis to the ground and salt the earth so that nothing ever grows there, nothing! And wait until she finds out that the woman she loves most in all the world was saved by me! She owes me more than she can ever repay."
"I'll never tell her you saved me, and if you say that I'll deny it."
"You will? What'll you tell her when she asks how you survived?"
"I'll make up something. I'll tell her I don't remember. But I don't ever want her to think she owes you anything. She carries enough guilt, and if I could take all that guilt on myself I would, if I thought it could give her a measure of peace. Do you know, when she let Callisto die she felt such guilt I thought she could never go on. I tried to help her, but there was nothing I could do. And I knew I should feel it was wrong to let Callisto die, but I just couldn't make myself believe it, not after all the innocent people Callisto killed and all the ones she had yet to kill. Hope, Xena is such a good person."
Hope indicated by the expression of her face that nothing could ever make her believe that Xena was good.
"She is, Hope! No one who feels the kind of guilt she feels could ever really be evil. I wanted to kill Callisto myself, and I know that Xena did it for me so that I wouldn't have to go through what she went through. Well, no more relying on Xena to fix my mistakes for me. I will kill you any way I can, any way I have to, Hope. Dahak will never enter this world, I swear it."
"Mother," said Hope, "you could be a part of the glorious rebirth of this world into something wonderful. You and Xena have been fighting against the gods for so long. Father and I offer you a chance to start this world over again without any of the Greek gods. From violent chaos will come form, beauty, unity, order. No longer will kings gather riches while peasants starve. Everyone will work their fare share. No more violence. Everyone's needs will be met."
"Oh, you're making it sound really tempting," said Gabrielle with sarcasm. "You're talking about the death of freedom. The death of free will."
"Free will allows murder, rape, torture, war "
"And heroism. And kindness. Nobility."
"Mother, we want to create a world in which violence plays no part. We want to remove the violent impulse from mankind and create a new race of good and pure and perfect people who never resort to violence again. Isn't that the world you've been dreaming of?"
"A world in which Xena is useless? A world of slaves to Dahak? People with no say in their lives or their destinies? No thank you. I hate violence, Hope, but I've come to see that it has its place in the world, and that some things are worse than violence. Some causes are worth killing for. Even dying for. And the greatest of these is freedom, even greater than love. Freedom is scary, and it causes problems sometimes, but it's always preferable. I'd rather be dead than live in a world with no freedom, a world where Dahak rules all."
Hope had a contraction. She winced and placed her hand on her distended belly.
"Are you OK?"
"Why?" asked Hope. "Afraid I'm not gonna survive long enough for you to kill me?"
Hope turned to the rock face, and with a loud crack she telekinetically clawed out a large portion of rock and let it fall into the river.
"I've got to get out of here, mother," she said. "Ares little boy is coming fast."
"Hope, stay with me. I'll help you," said Gabrielle. She tried to get up, but she was too weak.
"You want me to hang around so you can kill us both? No thank you. I've got to get out of here now, mother. I have a feeling this is going to be a very difficult birth."
Hope pulled out another large chuck of rock at the same time as another contraction came.
"Let me help you, Hope."
"Mother, you are either the worst assassin in the world, or the best. Kill me or help me, make up your mind."
Hope carved another large piece of rock from the side of the cliff. She almost had a clear path to the cave entrance, now. Bit by bit she was carving a nice little staircase up to the light.
"Hope, please listen to me. If you turn against Dahak now, there could be a chance for you. A chance for all of us. Join us, Hope. Turn against your father. Turn towards love. You loved me enough to save me. Do you really love Dahak as much as you love me?"
"No. But I am what I am, mother. I can't change that, and neither can you. You might've been able to change Xena, but not me."
"How do you know if you don't try?"
Hope finally broke through to the cave entrance.
"I know," said Hope. "And anyway, Xena would never believe I'd changed. And she'd be right."
"You leave Xena to me."
"No, you leave Xena to ME," said Hope. She began crawling up toward the cave entrance.
"Hope, where will you go?"
"I don't know. I think I need some time to rest and be with my family. I need to be around people who love me."
"No, not Dahak. Goodbye, mother. I've said too much already."
She reached the cave entrance and looked down at Gabrielle.
"Rest, mother. As soon as you're able you can follow me out. I wish things could've been different between us. I love you so much, mother. I forgive you. And I don't blame you in the slightest for wanting me dead. You're right to consider me your enemy. But you could never be mine."
She left, and Gabrielle yelled her daughter's name, and begged her to come back. No response.
How had this happened to them? Hope was so evil, but it seemed that she didn't even want to be evil. She was in the grip of forces she couldn't control. Gabrielle once told Xena that love is helpless in the face of cruelty. But sometimes even cruelty is helpless to change itself.
Could things have been different if Gabrielle had only had the chance to raise her as a daughter? To influence her? To love her? There was a time when Gabrielle thought it would've made all the difference in the world. Now she wasn't so sure.
And yet, Hope had a weakness for her mother, and as much as it hurt Gabrielle, as much as it went against every instinct she had, she would have to use that weakness in any way she could to stop Hope. To kill her, before anyone else got hurt.
What had she meant about family? The only family
Oh, no. By the gods, no.
"HOPE!" yelled Gabrielle.
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