by Cath, Bard
The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others belong in their entirety to Universal/MCA , Renaissance Pictures, and all the other powers that be. No copyright infringement is intended. I wrote this story at the urging of my muse; it should never be used for profit. Please do not copy or cite elsewhere without express permission of the author.
This story does not depict acts of violence and/or their aftermath. It is a love story.
This story involves a loving friendship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something else.
May contain spoilers for the 5th season episode, God Fearing Child.
The infant sleeping between her two mothers stirred and began to whimper. It wasnít every child who spent the night protected by a Warrior Princess and an Amazon Bard, but Eve had the needs of any newborn, and she chose to express them whenever she pleased.
Xena cuddled her daughter. Wearily, she summoned the energy for another round of walking, changing, and maybe feeding.
"Youíre definitely a night person," muttered Eveís sleepy mother.
Before Xena could rise, she heard a soft voice in the darkness.
"Let me," Gabrielle whispered tenderly.
The Bard knew her partner was sore and tired. Giving birth in the midst of a battle with the Greek gods really took something out of a person Ė even if that person was the Warrior Princess.
The young Amazon rolled from beneath her sleeping furs and reached for the tiny form that Xena held up to her. She took the child in her strong, gentle arms.
"Thanks," murmured Eveís exhausted mother. She closed her eyes.
The Bard checked to see if the little one needed a swaddling change.
"Nope. Still dry," she stated with a small sigh of relief. Changing was not her favorite activity.
Xena had just finished breast feeding, so the babe could not be hungry.
"Maybe you want to stargaze for awhile," the Bard suggested. The infant stared up at her face in the firelight. She thought she saw Eve smile.
Gabrielle strolled to the edge of the camp, beyond the fireís glow, and looked to the sky. The heavens glittered with countless diamonds.
"Hey, Eve, thereís the bear." Gabrielle pointed out a glowing constellation. Infant and Bard gazed into the vast darkness. "Your mother thinks it looks like a big dipper, but itís really a bear."
Gabrielle turned in a slow circle, allowing the shining night to caress them both.
"When you grow up, Iíll teach you all about the stars, and how to tell a good story, and use a staff, andÖ."
The Bard yawned and began moving around the camp to keep awake while she tried to convince the little one to sleep. Eve appeared alert and attentive, but had ceased whimpering.
The infant turned her head toward Gabrielleís breast and instinctively attempted to suckle. The Bard gently moved Eve away from that sensitive area, but not before a wave of grief rippled through her. Hope. The name of Gabrielleís own daughter, long dead, rode the waveís crest. As quickly as it came, the wave rolled away into the night.
Gabrielle brushed back a tear.
"You are my second chance Ė our second chance," she pledged to the tiny girl in her arms. "I swear to Artemis that you will be the most loved, most cherished child in this world. My heart belongs to you, and to your other mother."
She looked over at Xena, now resting peacefully beneath the furs. Had Eve been old enough, she would have recognized deep affection and serenity in the other stargazerís expression.
The infant closed her eyes. Gabrielle felt the small body relax. Soon, she snored sweetly in the Bardís arms.
The Amazon carried Eve to the sleeping furs and laid her beside her mother. Without opening her eyes, Xena extended a sheltering arm and pulled the baby to her breast. Gabrielle remained standing, gazing down. She paused to memorize this moment, then slipped into their bedroll, trying not to disturb mother and child.
"Gabrielle?" the Warrior Princess murmured, reaching for her companionís hand.
"Yes, Xena?" replied the Bard.
"Itís a dipper."
As she drifted back to sleep holding Eve in a protective embrace, Xena heard her soulmate giggling softly beside her.
Comments? Questions? Constructive feedback gladly accepted at: MsCL@ix.netcom.com
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