Hope For Hope Part II
by Marion D Tuttle
Standard Disclaimers: Same as Part One, I don't own the characters. But the idea and story setting they find themselves in is mine, with a little inspiration from friends.
Sex Disclaimer: Yes their in love, 'nough said
comments are always welcome Hope you enjoy the story.
"Apparently not." Xena's arms supported Gabrielle. The warrior could
tell she was all that was holding Gabrielle up at this moment. "And if
Hope is alive, I wonder if...."
"Oh Gods Xena no! I can't go through that again!"
"Ssshh, it's going to be alright..." Just as she spoke she noticed Hope
began to stir. She drew her sword, knowing even as she did it was a
useless gesture. She couldn't hope to inflict any damage with it. If
Hope was in the mood for a fight they would be in a very bad position
indeed. Still it was never a good strategy to let your enemy know you
were nervous. Xena summoned every skill she had ever used to put a mask
on her raging emotions. Her first concern was for Gabrielle and what
this was going to do to her.
Hope sat up and looked around as if she were lost. Xena wasn't buying
into the confused act for a second. She was just about to speak when
Hope turned and caught sight of Xena, sword poised and at the ready.
Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in her head Hope waved her hand
weakly. "Put your sword away Xena, I'm not here to fight you."
"Oh that's right Hope, I forgot your my biggest fan. Or maybe you just
wanted to drop by to say hello to Gabrielle. You remember her don't you,
your Mother, the woman that brought you into this world, tried to
protect you. And how do repay that? By trying to kill her!"
Hope gave brief thought to provoking Xena into killing her, maybe that
would end the suffering her life had been. She dismissed the idea just
as quickly, she wasn't sure she truly wanted to die, and even if she
did, the warrior probably could not end her life. It appeared that she
still had her Godly powers, so short of a thrust from the hind's blood
dagger, Xena would be powerless to end her life. She decided the truth
was her best route. "Yes Xena, as a matter of fact I did come to see my
Mother, but not for the reasons you are thinking. I have no wish to
bring harm to either one of you."
Gabrielle, who had been shocked into silence at the sight of her
daughter, finally found her voice. "Then why are you here Hope?"
"Stay back Gabrielle." Xena was not going to let Hope anywhere near the
bard if she could help it.
Hope knew that convincing Xena of her motives was not going to be easy,
the warrior did not trust her and with good reason. She had to find a
way to make her understand... She thought about that for a moment. 'Make
her understand what? I don't even know myself what I'm really doing
here.' Knowing that her powers were weak, but not wanting to let her
Mother and Xena know that just yet she marshalled her strength. Looking
past Gabrielle she picked a tree that was far enough away not to do any
damage. She pointed her finger and watched as the tree burst into a ball
of flames. Turning back to Xena she attempted a smile. "I am a Goddess
Xena, if I wanted to hurt my Mother do you think a few feet, or the fact
that you are standing between us would make a difference?"
Xena sheathed her sword, she hated the fact that she was defenseless in
the face of whatever Hope might do. She was used to being in command of
the situation, but in this case there was nothing she could do and she
knew it. "All right Hope you have made your point, now what do you want?
It's not like you to be this straightforward."
Gabrielle and Xena were both surprised when Hope sat down on the rock
next to them, she had tears in her eyes. "I didn't know where else to
go... Father has banished me, he has claimed a human's body and no
longer needs me to enter into the world...."
"Not that I am saying I belive you, you understand." Xena started. "But
just who's body has Dayhok claimed?"
"I don't know the man, but he was a friend of Hercules, he died fighting
The breath left both women's bodies as they gasped in unison "Ioulus!"
Hope remembered having heard that name. "Yes, I believe that was the
Xena's eye's flared in anger at the fact that their friend was being
mentioned in such a careless manner, as if he were no more than a body
to be used at Dayhok's discretion. "That mortal, as you call him was a
dear friend of ours."
"I meant no disrespect, but this is all new to me."
Gabrielle felt a lump growing in her throat, was it possible? Did she
see a hint of humanity in Hope that had not been there before? Could she
dare wish that her daughter did have a chance to turn from her dark
side? "What is all new to you Hope?"
"I told you father has banished me, I fully expected him to kill me, but
he didn't. I still don't know why not to tell you the truth. I came to
find you Mother because I have so many questions...."
"Is this a new approach Hope, sincerity?" Xena couldn't keep the sneer
out of her voice.
What Hope said next did surprise her. "I know you hate me Xena, I can't
say that I blame you for that. You certainly do have reason for it."
Gabrielle stepped forward, "Hope, I would love to believe that you
really are here for answers and not to create havoc. But it is very hard
to trust you, I'm not sure that I can, there has already been so much
Both woman stood in awe as they saw the tears shine in Hope's eyes. "I
don't even know if I can trust myself." She began, "My father always
told me that the weakness I had came from you, from my mortal side. But
I have seen you commit acts that have taken untold bravery. I wonder
what my life would have been like if you could have loved me Mother."
This admission brought tears to the bard's eyes. "I did love you Hope, I
tried to protect you, I lied to save you and when you did come back I
tried again but you reverted to Dayhok's wishes to do evil. I had to
face the fact that you were evil, you had to be stopped...."
Seeing the pain her Mother was in Hope began to understand. "I don't
remember the event's that happened when I was an infant. I only had what
father told me to go on. He had told me that from the moment Xena found
out you were pregnant with me, she tried to destroy me. He said that she
was jealous of me, She feared that once I was born you would choose to
settle down and raise me and leave her and she was not going to let that
The warrior was at a loss for anything to say it was true that when Hope
had killed the soldier Gowen, Xena had surmised that the baby was evil
and had no chance of being saved. But she had tried in the beginning to
The lie forced a strong response from Gabrielle. "That is a lie! Xena
was the one that delivered you. She fought to protect you from the
warriors that wanted to kill you. She would have gone on protecting you,
but when Dayhok used you to kill Gowen.... I still insisted you were
innocent, even when in my heart I knew that Xena was telling the truth.
The point is Hope, that as long as Dayhok controlled your actions you
were going to be a threat to this world. It broke my heart to admit that
my own child could be so evil, worse yet that the only way to stop you
would be to destroy you. Even then I couldn't bring myself to do it
though. I put you in the basket and lied to Xena about killing you, a
lie that cost her son's life. When you came back for Solan I should have
told Xena the truth, but I lied again, all to protect you. It took the
death of my best friend's son to make me know I had to end your life.. I
tried but failed. If there had been any other way...."
Xena could tell that Gabrielle's emotions were on the ragged edge. She
had been through so much, there was no way she was going to permit Hope
to bring her any more pain. She wanted to end this, her mind told her
that there was no way that Hope could be telling the truth. But looking
at the woman that was a mirror image of her bard, she had to admit she
was having doubts herself. Hope had made no moves to harm either one of
them. She could tell Gabrielle was wavering, that she wanted to believe
that her daughter was telling the truth. "Tell me Hope, what if anything
was the point of killing my son?" There she had said it. She had not
wanted to drag all this out again, but she needed answers and if Hope
truly was there to make peace she would finally have her answers.
Hope's head hung sadly "I wish I had the answers you are looking for
Xena, I really do. All I can tell you is Father saw you as a roadblock
to his plans, he wanted you and Mother both destroyed. I had told him
once that I didn't know if I could kill my Mother and he called me a
weakling. After that I never said anything about it. One day he came to
me and said he would spare Mother if she agreed to turn to his way, but
you had to be eliminated first,as long as you were together Mother would
never come with me willingly...." she felt a shiver go through her frame
"He saw killing your son and then revealing that it had been me as a way
of driving a wedge between the two of you...it almost worked."
Xena and Gabrielle both stood looking at the huddled form before them.
They knew all to well the danger of trusting Hope, but what she was
saying seemed to have a ring of truth to it. "Gabrielle, can I talk to
you for a minute? In private." One more look at her daughter and
Gabrielle turned to follow Xena a little further into the woods. The
warrior wanted to stay close enough to keep Hope in sight but be far
enough to stay out of earshot. "What is it Xena?"
Xena wasn't quite sure how to broach this subject, she had seen the pain
and turmoil the bard had suffered because of her perceived failure to
help her child. She was having some serious doubts as to the validity of
Hope's story, but what if she was telling the truth? What if all the
evil had been from Dayhok's control and now that he had cast Hope out
she might have a chance. The warrior thought back to Seriphin,
Gabrielle's friend had been under this evil influence and ready to do
any unspeakable act that was asked of her, but when the hold over her
had been broken she returned to what she truly was. The only thing wrong
with that theory was all Hope had ever been was evil, she knew nothing
else. This brought another stab of guilt and remorse to Xena, had
Gabrielle been right? If they had kept Hope with them as a baby would
Gabrielle's goodness and Xena's teachings been enough to turn her from
her Father's evil will?
All these thoughts running through her mind she braced herself for what
the bard's reaction might be. "Gabrielle, I am going to say something to
you, you may not like parts of it, but I want you to hear me out before
you say anything. Don't interrupt or ask me any questions until I'm
done. Can you promise me that?"
Gabrielle nodded her head, not quite sure of what Xena was going to say,
but she was prepared to hear her out. We both know that the only thing
that will kill Hope is a wound from the Hinds Blood Dagger. After you
fell into the pit with Hope I used it to kill Callisto."
A small gasp escaped the bard, she had wondered what had happened to
Xena's nemesis but had not wanted to bring up a subject that was going
to generate any more pain for either one of them. She had just assumed
that Callisto had made one of her last second escapes.
Seeing that the bard was trying to hold in her reaction so that she
would not interrupt as promised, Xena moved on with the story. "I was
devastated when I watched you fall. I very seriously considered turning
the dagger on myself, but amazingly enough Joxer was a true hero that
day. He told me that I had no right to dishonor your memory and the
sacrifice you had made by ending my own life. He said if I truly loved
you I would go on and try to make the world a better place, that is what
you would have wanted." Xena tenderly touched the moisture that was
forming in the corner of Gabrielle's eyes and running down her cheeks.
"I gave him the dagger and told him to take it to Hercules, I knew he
would keep it out of the wrong hands. I'm telling you this because I
want you to know there is a way to get rid of Hope for good, but before
we do that there is something else I want you to consider. I sense
something about her, the pure evil that always surrounded her, it seems
to be gone. I know it's a big risk, but I think we should try and see if
she is telling the truth before we take any action."
A world of emotions collided in on Gabrielle, she had so desperately
wanted to believe in her child and as a result there had been so much
death and destruction. The last time she had hidden her daughter's
presence from Xena had ended in disaster. It had very nearly shattered
them both. She was torn between wanting to believe there was a chance
after all this time to save her child and the fear of what would happen
if they did. She could only manage a one word response that came out
sounding strained. "Why?"
"Because I see what it has done to you to feel like you have failed her,
that you betrayed your own child. I can't help but wonder if you had
been right.... What if you could have turned Hope from the darkness. I
feel like I pushed you into a decision... a decision that set a whole
chain of events into motion."
"Xena! After everything that has happened and all we have been through I
will not have you blaming yourself!" in a softer voice she continued on.
"You were right and if I had listened to you sooner..."
Gathering Gabrielle into her arms she tried to sooth the over wrought
woman. "I know what your trying to say, and believe me I am not
interested in starting that cycle of blame again. But what if I was
wrong? I owe it to you to give you that chance, something seems
different about Hope. I'm not convinced that we can trust her, but right
now we don't have much choice. It will take at least four days to get to
where Hercules hid the Hind's Blood Dagger, until we have that we are
basically defenseless against her if she really wants to cause trouble.
I say we should go get the dagger and use the time to watch Hope, see
how she reacts and what she does. If she even gives the slightest hint
that this is a trick I swear I will destroy her, I will not let you be
hurt by her again. At least if this is a trick we will both know you did
try everything you could to save her and then maybe you can put this
guilt to rest."
The tears were shining in Gabrielle's eye's "Do you really think there
is a chance Xena?"
"I'm going to be honest with you Gabrielle, I don't know. I wouldn't
count on it but I want to see you find some peace if it means spending a
few days with Hope I'm willing to take the risk."
Looking back towards her daughter "What do we tell Hope?"
"As little as possible. We certainly don't want to tell her we are going
after the dagger."
After agreeing on what their course of action would be, both woman
headed back towards where they had left Hope sitting. Xena decided she
should be the one to do most of the talking at first, true Gabrielle was
the bard, but in this instance she was worried that her emotions might
overwhelm her. "Alright Hope, You say you want answers about your life?
We are traveling towards Thebes. If you want the chance to get to know
your Mother for the loving person she truly is come with us. But keep
this in mind, I love Gabrielle and would give my life to protect her so
if your thinking..."
Seeing the direction of Xena's thought Hope interjected her comments.
"No need for warnings Xena. I am well aware of what you and my Mother
mean to each other." There was a trace of sadness in her voice at this
admission. " You have nothing to fear from me..."
"Well then, as long as we understand each other let's get packed up, we
have a long day ahead of us." Xena and Gabrielle moved around the camp
in their familiar routine, each doing the specific jobs that had become
a pattern for them. Xena gathered her weapons and saddled and fed Argo
while Gabrielle packed their cooking utensils and her writing quills and
parchments. The bard was surprised to hear a voice behind her. "Is there
anything I can do to help?" She turned and saw for the first time that
even though her daughter might occupy the body of a full grown
woman...her body. In many ways she was still very much a child.
"Thank you Hope, but we have it taken care of."
She was even more surprised to hear Xena speak "If you really want to
help Hope you can go to the top of that ridge and look ahead into the
valley to see if anyone is there. I would like to avoid contact with
anybody for a few days, especially any armies." Seeing the raised
eyebrow on Hope Xena explained further. "Gabrielle and I have both been
through a lot lately and we could use a break. I'm not up to any
confrontations, that's why we're headed to Thebes."
This explanation seemed to be enough for Hope and she set of on the task
of scouting the valley they were to go through. Gabrielle was still
confused by her friends actions. "Xena what?... I have never known you
to run from a confrontation. And since when are you to tired to deal
with a problem that might come up? Running away is not your style."
Raising a finger to her lips Xena signaled for the bard not to speak.
When she was sure Hope was out of sight she said in a low voice. "We
will never know if Hope is planning to betray us unless we give her a
chance to do it. I know there is an army in that valley I planned to go
ahead that way anyway. It's Garren's army, he is an old friend of mine
and we wouldn't have any troubles. But I want to see if Hope will come
back and tell me that there is an army there or if she will try to lead
us into what she thinks might be a trap."
Time seemed to stretch on forever while they waited for Hope to return.
Gabrielle found herself hoping that her daughter would do the right
thing. She hated the fact that they were trying to trick her, but Xena
was right the only way to find out if Hope was going to betray them was
to give her the chance to do it.
Hope finally returned, both women realized they were holding their
breath while waiting for Hope to speak. "I saw a small contingent of men
Xena, it looked like there was a major camp there but most of them
appear to have moved on."
Xena was a bit confused at this, she had seen the entire army for
herself just last night, there had been at least three hundred. That was
no small contingent, and yet Hope had not out and out lied and said
there was no one. Not wanting to tip her hand just yet she decided to
play along. "Well if there is only a few then we can probably cut
through the valley without even having to encounter them. It is a
Looking towards Gabrielle she was reassured that the bard knew exactly
what she was doing. She planned on giving Hope just enough leeway to
catch her in a lie, if she was in fact lying. A slight nod from her gave
the warrior the assurance that she was looking for. Xena wanted to give
Gabrielle every chance to save Hope and clear her conscience of the
guilt that had weighed her down, but in her heart she feared the outcome
would be Hope's death. They headed towards the crest of the hill where
Hope had gone to scout the valley. The closer they got the more Xena's
confusion grew. She expected to hear the sounds of a bustling army camp,
men practicing the arts of war, going about the daily business of an
encampment the size of Garren's was not a quite undertaking. The only
sounds that greeted them as the reached the top of the crest were birds
singing and the very muted tones of a small group of men in normal
conversation. Hope had not lied, she had told them exactly what she had
As they moved closer Xena noticed that some but not all of the men wore
Garren's colors. Approaching the man that seemed to be in charge at the
moment Xena asked him. "What has happened to your commander?"
At first the man took exception to the fact that he was being questioned
by a woman, until he looked closer and realized that he was being
addressed by the warrior princess herself.
"Xena, We had heard you were in the area."
"Do I know you?"
"No we have never met, but I do know you by reputation." Gesturing
towards the man he had been speaking to he continued on "I am Zachary,
this is Darrius, one of King Malseron's royal guard. They came to find
us this morning to ask for our help in fighting an evil that has invaded
their kingdom. Garren took most of the army this morning to go to the
king, he instructed the rest of us to stay in the area and to find you
and bring you, under the king's banner to Malseron's castle to help
fight this threat."
This was the last thing they needed right now, it wasn't like the didn't
have their hands full with trying to get to the bottom of Hope's story.
Now Xena had been presented with a problem it didn't seem like she would
be able to turn her back on. "Who is Garren fighting against?"
Darrius answered this question. "It isn't a who, it's more like a what.
We have been attacked by the power of Dayhok...."
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