Hope For Hope Part I
by Marion D Tuttle
Standard Disclaimers: Ok here we go, I do not own Xena, Gabrielle, Hope or any of the here to for mentioned characters. They are all they property of the folks over at Universal Studios. The plot line however is mine. No profits were received from the writing of this story, with the exception of my mind getting some exercise.
Sex Disclaimer: Yes it's there, This story depicts a relationship between two women that are very much in love with each other. There are scenes of consensual sex between two consenting adult women. If that is not to your liking this may not be the story for you.
Authors note: I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Hawk 35 from the Xena Forum. In a reply he made to one of my post he raised some ideas that planted the seeds for this story in my twisted little brain. So thank you Hawk, your words were indeed thought provoking.
As always I look forward to any comments you may have. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, on with the show.
It had been the perfect plan, or so she had thought. Her mother was not
dead, that was true. But it would be a long time, if ever before the
woman recovered from the injuries she had sustained. All she needed was
a little time to get close to the family, her family, and draw the dark
warrior in. She knew that sooner or later Xena would show up to see
Gabrielle's parents and tell them what she believed were the events that
had led up to their daughters death.
True she still suffered from flashes of confusion when she thought of
the ultimate sacrifice her mother had been willing to make to save her
friends life. 'If only she could have loved me like that...' She had
thought to herself, but she shook her head to clear the images. She had
never told her father of these thoughts. He was already convinced that
she was weak. He had told her before that she was a disappointment to
him. To think that his daughter, his chosen child could be bested by
mere mortals made him sick.
She pulled her mind back to the present, her father would be here soon.
Something inside her told her this time there would be no escape from
his wrath. He had already found another vessel in which to enter the
world himself, through the body of Hercules' friend Ioulus. He no longer
needed her, and she knew it.
The door to the chamber swung open and in stepped a small blonde man, he
was short in stature but well built and had obviously led an active life
from his muscle tone. Hope surmised that this was the mortal form her
father had assumed, somehow she had expected a much grander entrance.
She stood looking at the man, waiting for him to speak. He walked around
her in small tight circles several times before coming to stand directly
in front of her. He regarded her with a cool gaze, much like that of a
farmer when considering a prize cow. "Whatever am I to do with you
She felt her heart begin to beat faster, she knew he was toying with
her. She had been born for the sole purpose of bringing chaos and
destruction to the world and had been stopped at every turn. She wasn't
sure if she should hate Xena for bringing her to this end with her
father or thank her for finally stopping the pain. It was something not
even her father knew, but underneath it all Hope did feel pain. She had
pushed it so deep inside of her that at times, she had even managed to
forget it was there. But it never went away completely, now she prayed
that it would.
The silence seemed to stretch on forever, it was a mind game. She knew
her father was waiting for her to speak, to offer some form of
explanation as to why she had failed him, again. She stood stoic, she
would not beg his forgiveness for her failures not this time. She had
learned he had no forgiveness in him. It was ironic that her mother had
chosen to name her Hope and at this moment she knew she had none.
"No answer my dear? Should I take that to mean that you have run out of
excuses to feed me about why you, the daughter of Dayhok, are seemingly
unable to rid the world of one tiresome mortal?" His voice was
deceptively calm. His tone appeared to be that of a father simply trying
to correct an errant child, but Hope knew there was more there.
"I have no defense father, I did fail...."
He looked at her, this was the first sound he had heard from her since
he had entered the chamber. He may have assumed the body of a mortal but
his eyes still burned with a demonic fire. His voice raised at her
admission. "Yes you did fail! You leave me no choice, you are not worthy
to rule this world in my name. I had such plans for you my child, but
you have ruined them all. There is but one course open to me now..."
Hope closed her eyes and waited for the darkness of oblivion to engulf
Staring into bright orange flames, Gabrielle searched for some inner
peace. She felt as though she had been in a sense of turmoil for the
last year now. The trip to Brittania and subsequent birth of her
daughter had been enough to make any mortal doubt their life's choices.
But there had been so much more, the death of Xena's son, at her
daughters hand. She had poisoned her daughter after that, seeing the
shattered expression on her friends face she finally realized what
placing trust in her evil offspring had cost.
She and Xena had become bitter enemies for a time because of that. Each
blaming the other for all that they had lost. It had taken a trip
through another world, literally to bring them back together and repair
the damage that had been done to their relationship.
When Hope had reappeared with the help of Callisto, Gabrielle held no
reservations as to trying to find any goodness in her daughter. She had
resigned herself to the fact that Xena had been right and that Hope was
nothing more then a vessel for Dayhok's evil. Upon hearing that if Xena
were to kill her demon child, she herself would die. She made the
decision to sacrifice herself in order to save her friend. She was still
mystified as to how she had survived that fall, she remembered nothing
about it at all.
When Xena had found her wandering through the woods and told her that
her daughter had managed yet another return from death and was with her
family, her heart was torn out again. Not because she harbored any
illusions about her daughter's evil ways, she was just not sure if she
could go through this again. They had come up with a plan though and
both Hope and her child had died in the barn that night.
Gabrielle still felt an emptiness inside from all of this. She had begun
to wonder since her return if she was on the right path in her life, she
felt like she had made so many mistakes. Some of them nearly costing
Xena her life as well as her own. When they had first started traveling
together, Xena was the one worried about her choices and that the way
she had lived her life would cost the bard her own life. Now it almost
seemed to Gabrielle like the tables had been turned and because of
things she had done Xena had been the one to suffer.
Her mood continued to be pensive as Xena approached, their dinner in her
hand. Truthfully she had been back from her hunting expedition for quite
some time. She had just stayed under the cover of the trees just beyond
the light of their camp fire watching the bard. Emotions raced through
her as she thought 'What is she thinking now?' It always amazed her that
in battle she had the courage of a legion of soldiers, there was nothing
she would not face, sword in hand. But this gentle young woman had
managed to do what no warlord with an army at his command had ever
archived. She had managed to get inside the warrior princess' heart and
soul, with that came the fear. Fear that she may one day leave and take
away everything that she had brought into the warrior's life.
Softly she walked up behind her friend. "A dinar for your thoughts?"
"Xena, I didn't hear you..."
Not wanting to sound like she was scolding but wanting to make sure
Gabrielle understood, she said to her. "Gabrielle, you really should be
more alert when your in camp alone. If that hadn't been me...."
She was a little surprised when instead of offering an argument for her
distracted state, Gabrielle simply held up her hand and said, "Your
right, I know. I haven't been myself lately."
Xena waited for her to say more, she wanted to help Gabrielle but she
was afraid of what she might hear if she pressed for an answer. Deciding
that her friends welfare was the most important thing at the moment, she
did ask though. It felt strange to her that she would be the one
pursuing conversation. Usually it was the other way around, the bard
being the one with a gift for words. "It might help if you talked about
it." Xena placed a comforting hand on Gabrielle's shoulder.
The gesture was not lost on the bard. Before her "Death" She and Xena
had finally admitted the feelings that they had been holding back from
each other. They had not acted on those feelings, They thought they had
plenty of time. Since Gabrielle's return, things had been different. The
bard had seemed more reserved, almost as if something inside of her had
been broken and she was at a loss as to how to fix it. "If I knew what
'it' was, that's part of the problem. I don't know how to explain it to
you other than to say that I have more questions than answers about my
life right now and there isn't much that makes sense to me any more."
Xena could feel a tightness in her chest, she had been prepared to leave
Gabrielle behind before for her own good. She was still haunted by the
visions she had seen of their crucifixion. If Najara had turned out to
be all Xena had believed that she was, she would have left Gabrielle and
never looked back. Now she knew that she never could do that, in the
back of her mind she couldn't help but wonder if she hadn't hoped that
the blond crusader with the high ideals wouldn't turn out to be a fake
She pulled her mind back to the matter at hand. They had spoken at
length about the events that had taken place in Najara's camp and
Gabrielle had assured Xena then that through it all, even though she may
have felt unsure about many things, the one thing she never doubted was
her love for the warrior. She had said that, but they still seemed to be
at an impasse as far as moving forward in their relationship. "Well
let's start with what you do know." Xena suggested. "Tell me what, if
anything you are sure of."
A small smile touched Gabrielle's features, she raised her eyes to look
at Xena. "Well like I just told you, the one thing I know for sure is
that you and I do belong together. I know it didn't always seem to you
like I felt that way, but I do."
Xena felt some of the tension leave her body. 'At least she is not going
to tell me she wants to go off on her own.' She thought to herself.
Trying to keep the conversation going so that Gabrielle might feel
better she went on. "I'm glad to hear that, because I happen to feel the
Gabrielle placed her hand over the strong one that had still been
resting on her shoulder. "I also know that what we do is important Xena,
I know we help a lot of people, but...."
Fearing the worst, Xena was sure she was going to say that she had
finally had all of the violence she handle. The bard had always made it
clear from the start that she preferred the ways of peace. She had
become an accomplished fighter with her staff, but if she could avoid a
fight she would. "There is more than one way to help people Gabrielle."
"I know what your going to say, you think what you heard me say to
Najara is still bothering me but that is not it. Even if you could
settle down long enough to start a hospice Xena there would still be
times when we would have to defend it from raiders. We would still have
to fight. I'm not the idealistic little girl I once was." There seemed
to be a slight hint of sadness at this admission but the bard pressed
on. "What we do is right Xena, we try to help as many people as we can,
I told Najara I didn't think you could settle down long enough to start
a hospice. But the truth is, I don't think I could either. I've come to
love the life we lead, the adventure, it's just...."
Xena was beginning to understand where the bard's thoughts were going.
She felt the flesh start to crawl on the back of her neck, hearing this
was going to be worse than hearing Gabrielle wanted to leave her.
"Tell me what it is Gabrielle."
"It's Hope." There it was now that she had said those two words her
emotions about her daughter sprang forth like a spring. "Don't get me
wrong, I know that we did what we had to do. Hope was evil, she had to
die. Sometimes I feel like I help everyone else in the world, but I
failed my own child. Why couldn't I help her Xena?"
The tears were streaming down the young woman's face. The first reaction
Xena usually had when Hope's name was mentioned was one of anger. She
knew in this case though she had to react differently. Gabrielle was not
questioning her motives as to why she had fought so hard to kill Hope.
She was not even offering the argument that she could have turned Hope
from her dark side. She had accepted after Solan's death that there was
no hope for her child, she was pure evil.
Still she felt a sense of failure. There was the nagging feeling that if
she had just done more....
"I hate to see you beat yourself up like this. You and I both know that
Hope was not like a normal child, she was conceived and born for the
sole purpose of being evil. You were used because of your innocence."
"Innocence or ignorance? I made it so easy for them Xena, they told me
what I wanted to hear and I just blindly accepted it. How many times
have you told me that things are not always what they seem on the
surface?" her heart felt like it was being wrenched out of her as all
the old feelings about everything that had happened began to surface.
"No! We have been through this! It doesn't do any good to look back. It
won't change anything." Seeing that the bard was still upset Xena tried
a different approach "Look Gabrielle, I know that you wish things could
have been different, I do too, but the point is we have to deal with
things as they are...."
Gabrielle realized Xena was right, it wouldn't help anything to sit here
and wish things had worked out any other way than they had. Looking up
at her friend the bard's mind began to go to other subjects that they
had been starting to discuss before they had been caught up in the drama
of stopping Hope. She could feel her heart rate increase whenever she
looked at the warrior, she had known for a long time now that the love
she felt for Xena went far beyond that of one friend for another. She
loved her in a way that one would their spouse, Gabrielle wanted to be
with Xena as her lover. She was sure in her heart that Xena wanted the
same thing, but they had not had the time they needed to talk about it
and the days following her return had been filled with one problem after
another. Now in the quiet of the evening Gabrielle began to think about
the conversation they had started before her plunge into the fire, the
end of wich was long over due.
"There is something else Xena." Gabrielle eyes were lowered to the
ground. If this conversation had taken place before all the events of
the last few months had taken place, Gabrielle would have felt sure of
the warrior's response. Now she wasn't sure of anything and it scared
"What is it Gabrielle?"
"Before everything happened....We were talking about something, do you
Xena was unsure of where this was headed, when she had first seen
Gabrielle, or more to the point Hope as Gabrielle she had been elated at
the thought that her bard had been returned to her. Then when she
discovered that it was not Gabrielle but in fact her daughter her heart
broke all over again. When she did find the real bard wandering
aimlessly through the woods she was overtaken by a whirlwind of
emotions. Joy at being reunited with the woman she had come to think of
as her soul mate. Fear that it might be another trick. Anger at the Gods
that they had been put through all of this in the first place and
finally disgust with herself for letting her own hatred of Ceaser put
her friend in a position that had brought her so much pain.
Her first reaction had been to take Gabrielle into her arms and pour her
heart out to her but it had seemed almost like Gabrielle was holding a
part of herself back. Xena had not wanted to press the issue, she had
caused her love enough pain. She couldn't remember when she had begun to
think of Gabrielle as her love, all she knew was she could not remember
a time when she hadn't felt that way. She had sworn that any moves that
were made in the direction of taking their relationship to the next
level were going to have to come from Gabrielle. At a loss for anything
else to say Xena told her "Yes I remember."
"I've been thinking a lot about that. I want you to know my feelings
have not changed, I still want.... I just need a little time, with
everything that has happened I need to sort a few things out. I just
needed you to know that you are not a part of the problem I am having
right now. What I mean is... I'm really screwing this up." She looked
back down at the ground unsure of what to say next.
Xena moved to comfort her. "Hey it's OK, I think I know what your trying
to say and it's not a problem. Your right a lot has happened and I want
you to be sure of any decisions you make, so take all the time you
Gabrielle placed a light kiss on her cheek "I do love you Xena."
"And I love you Gabrielle, now why don't we see about getting some
Hope opened her eyes and looked around, unsure of where she was. She was
sure that in his wrath her father was going to end her existence. He had
said she had failed him, that she was no longer of use to him. So it was
no small surprise to her that she seemed to be whole and breathing,
still alive, but in what form?
She made her way to a pool of water, in the clear depths she could see
her image reflected in the moonlight. She still looked the same, a
carbon copy of her mother. But was she still the same, something she
couldn't name felt different. Had her father made her mortal? Stripped
her of her powers and sent her to live in a world he intended to destroy
as punishment for her short comings? She aimed her finger in the
direction of a small bush, after a few moments of intense concentration
it burst into flames. She still had her powers, they had been weakened,
most likely from the ordeal she had been through but she still had them.
What was it that was making her feel differently? Everything seemed to
be as it had been before, suddenly it struck her. She did not feel the
compelling hatred and desire to destroy every living thing she
encountered that she had carried with her through her entire life. For
the first time in her life Gabrielle's demon child knew what it was to
Emotions that were foreign to her seemed to crash in on her all at once.
She felt fear, loneliness and a desire to be held and comforted by
someone that could love her. She knew in her heart there was only one
place she would have any chance of finding that. She rose from her
position on the forest floor and went in search of her mother.
The sun had barely appeared over the horizon before Xena was up and
checking the perimeter of their camp site. She had been having an uneasy
feeling for the past couple of days, but last night as the hours
stretched on it had intensified. It was not because of the talk she and
Gabrielle had the night before. Something was wrong, and the closer
morning got the stronger the feeling became. When the rays of the sun
began to cast the glow of morning throughout the clearing she saw it. At
first it seemed like just a lump on the forest floor, maybe an injured
animal that had been partially covered by leaves when it laid down. On
closer inspection though Xena realized it was a human being, Xena
approached, sword drawn. She knew this person was injured, but she was
not sure how badly, or if she would find a friend or foe when she
reached the prone form.
Kneeling beside the woman she reached down to gently turn her over,
being careful not to make any sudden moves that might increase the
seriousness of any injuries. She saw no wounds or blood on the womans
back, it didn't appear that there were any. The color of her hair was
obscured by mud, she rolled the woman over and gasped for breath when
she looked down into the face of Gabrielle. "Hope...."
Waking up and noticing that Xena was not in the bedroll next to her,
Gabrielle sat up and looked around. From her vantage point she could see
that Xena was kneeling beside someone that had been hurt. The warrior
had her back to her and she could not see her face. Thinking she might
need assistance with the person she was helping, Gabrielle moved towards
"Gabrielle stay back!" Xena had not meant for her voice to sound so
harsh, she just wanted to make sure she kept the bard as far away as
possible. She didn't know what was going on but she was not going to let
down her guard long enough to give Hope a chance to hurt the bard.
"What is it?" Gabrielle asked, the concern clear in her voice. "Xena!
Talk to me!"
Trying to keep her voice at a level that would not arouse more concern
in the bard Xena told her. "Just stay back Gabrielle, I want to check
something I'll be there in a minute." Brushing some of the debris away,
Xena checked for a pulse. Pressing her fingers against Hope's throat she
detected a faint beat. Her breathing was shallow and barely noticeable.
Whatever had happened to her had definitely taken a toll.
No broken bones, from what she could see. There were no visible
injuries, which just served to reinforce Xena's belief that this was
some kind of trick. Slowly, she lowered Hope's head back to the ground.
Standing she turned and looked at Gabrielle, there was no easy way to
say this. Gabrielle had just been telling her about the turmoil she had
been dealing with because of Hope and now here she was. It was the last
thing in the world the bard needed, but there was no help for it, once
again, her daughter had to be dealt with. Xena moved closer in order to
give Gabrielle the support she knew she would need when she uttered two
little words. "It's Hope."
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