DISCLAIMER: Xena, Gabrielle, Virgil, Eve, Lilla, Sarah and Gurkhan belong to MCA/Universal/Renaissance and are used here without permission in this fan fiction. This story is not intended to infringe on their copyrights. It is solely for entertainment purposes.
WARNING: This story contains some violence, nudity and explicit love scenes between two women. If you are not 21 years old or are offended by either type of sex then this story is not for you. Please stop reading and leave this site.
SPOILERS: Who's Gurkhan?
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I want to thank you for the feedback received. Keep it coming! I am a first time fan fiction writer and it was really helpful.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get this out, but I've been caught up in the 'Battle for the White House.' I meant to finish the Gurkhan episode but other duties in life were suffering. So the next ep will be out next week.
This latest part to my story is a rewrite of the episode, 'Who's Gurkhan'. It was a good episode but my reaction was that the writer just didn't understand Gabrielle. I believe in this season (and the last) that Gabrielle is on a very slippery slope mentally. Personally, I think she's suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This rewrite of 'Gurkhan' will reflect this. You'll have to pay attention because it skips around a lot. It might be helpful to watch the episode again. Anyway, I am interested to know what you think. Please keep feedback coming!
Gabrielle picked up her gate into a full gallop as she ran through the once small village of Potadeia. She ran through the town as though she were a little girl again. She passed the old bakery; the same smells still wafted from the old shop. She saw Old Pamplonious and his son, Young Pamplonious at the blacksmith shop. She remembered Old Pamplonious teaching his young son to shoe horses, now the ancient old man watched as his son taught his own sons. And the colors! She'd forgotten that it was nearing Harvest Festival time! Already market stalls were decorated to attract shoppers. Children howled with laughter as they watched the puppet master perform their favorite shows. She could still remember helping to tell stories with the puppet master. So much was the same in Potadeia! The things she always hated about her home village, she now took comfort in. She ran out of town, into the surrounding farm country.
Gabrielle got a sinking feeling as she neared the boundary of her family's farm. There were no sheep grazing in the north pasture. Wool had always given their family the best income. Her father would never give up that income. But other things were wrong too. When she had passed the neighboring farms, the threshers were harvesting the wheat. Her father's fields were bare, never having been tilled or planted. Finally, she could see the house. She stopped at the corral and leaned against the fence post. The house was so... Her mother was so house proud. If a roof shingle were out of place, Father would have to give up a day in the fields to fix it. But now... It was the same but the dilapidated condition made her fear that maybe her parents were dead. Maybe Lilla was no longer in Potadeia. What would she do if a stranger answered the door? Gabrielle was reminded she wasn't alone when she felt Xena' hand stroking the small of her back.
"It looks so rundown." Gabrielle said fearfully.
Virgil tried to lighten her mood. "Nothing some paint couldn't cure."
Eve rubbed her second mother's arm to encourage her. "All that matters is that the people inside are alright."
All along, Xena prayed to Eli that Gabrielle wouldn't be hurt again. But Gabrielle had to know. She had to let her go. "Go on."
Gabrielle took several uneasy steps but pushed herself to walk purposely to the front door of the farmhouse. Fear struck her before she could knock. What would she say? What if Father told her to leave again? She pushed those ugly thoughts away. She needed to see them. "Here goes."
A lovely woman opened the door. "Lilla..." Was this her sister? Her beautiful teenage sister was a mature beautiful woman. Gabrielle was speechless.
A rage had taken over Gabrielle. A fierce burning flared in her heart as she stomped to the barn.
When she was a child and upset or angry, she would run to the barn and bury herself in the hay. Many times, her father and mother had scolded her for daydreaming or for saying or doing things they considered outrageous. As extreme punishment, which she got when she involved Lilla, Perdicus or Serafin in her childhood antics, she'd be sent to bed without dinner. Gabrielle would wait until the lamps went out and climb out of the window. She would head for the barn to sleep with the animals. Only the animals seemed to listen to her or take her seriously. Or so it seemed to her, because they stared at her intently when she performed her stories for them. After having her say or getting it all out, she would lay down in the hay with Clio, her father's plough horse. Clio had birthed her pony, Tympani. And after her colt had died the year of the Great Blizzard, had become her new best friend. Clio had always nudged her to lie in the stall and watched over her as she slept. Each time she slept in the barn, she would wake up the next morning wrapped in a blanket. After awhile she found out that her parents would bring out a blanket and check on her. One night, she stirred from sleep and watched them. Her father was telling Clio to take care of 'his fiery-tempered little girl'. Her mother, who had just covered her, giggled and reminded her husband that it must be hereditary as he had a similar temperament. She remembered watching them through hooded eyes, as they walked arm in arm back to the house and feeling that they really did love their 'odd little girl'. That thought had given her comfort.
She wanted that comfort now.
Gabrielle walked into the barn. She stood in a building that held little resemblance to her memory, dilapidated and filthy. She saw a few horses. No Clio, though. She was long dead. Now, her parents were too.
She couldn't think. All she could feel was cold. Her clothes were soaked through. She was so cold. So cold. Slowly Gabrielle walked forward into the barn looking for that comfortable place to lay her head.
Her blind rage was turning into hard tears of grief. She made her way to the loft and climbed up. Once there, she fell into the freshly strewn hay and buried herself in it, burying herself in grief and thoughts of revenge.
Xena had watched her go. There was fear in her heart for her friend. Gabrielle was being swept up in fearsome emotions that soon she would have no control over. Xena knew firsthand what she was feeling, having watched her brother, Lyceus killed. What drove those emotions was the certainty in your mind that you could have changed events if only you had done something differently. Or in Gabrielle's case, thinking that if she had stayed at home instead of following Xena.
She wanted so badly to go to the Bard. But she knew that Gabrielle would except no comfort now. Instead she went back to house.
Xena could see the worry in Eve's eyes.
Virgil immediately went for a blanket and put it around Xena. "How is she?"
"Gabrielle's in the barn. She..." Xena bowed her head in frustration.
Lilla sighed. "She always went there when she was upset. I'm sorry, Xena..."
Xena went to Lilla and hugged her. "I'm sorry. I wish we could have been here for you then. We'll leave for Mogrador in the morning."
Lilla inhaled sharply. "But Sarah's been gone for so long."
Xena looked into her eyes intently; " We will find her. Believe that."
"Thank you, Xena. Thank you all."
Just before daylight, Xena and Eve crouched in an open field near the farm.
"Look for small buds like this." Xena said as she held up a small green plant. Eve nodded and continued to look among the shrubs on the ground.
Too quickly the sun came up, and Xena and her daughter made their way back to the farmhouse with a fresh bag of herbs.
"Where have you been?" Gabrielle yelled. She and Virgil were in the corral, saddling the last of four horses.
Xena ignored her tone and question. "Are you sure that you want to take all of Lilla's horses?"
Gabrielle the eyes narrowed at Xena's question. "I want to get to the coast as soon as possible. We can get a ship there, going to North Africa."
At that moment Lilla came out carrying a small bundle. She walked over to the corral and put it in Virgil hands. "This should be enough food for the next few days."
Virgil smiled encouragingly at her and began to pack it away in his saddlebag.
Then Lilla turn her back on him and went to her sister.
Gabrielle stiffened at her approach, survivor's guilt filling her soul. At first, Gabrielle did not know what to say. But finally she faced her sister. "Lilla, I will make this right."
"You give me hope after so many years. I should have known. Even when we were kids, you've always made things right, Gabby." Lilla threw herself into her sister's arms. "Be careful."
Gabrielle nodded. She was choked with emotion but turned to the others. "Let's go!"
"You're right, Xena. Today, I'm not an assassin. Tomorrow..."
Her stomach finally lost its battle to seasickness and Gabrielle ran for the side of the ship.
'Some assassin!' She thought.
All morning her blood had been pumping through her at a furious rate as she did drills with her sais. Memories of her parents and visions of their death plagued her. In her dreams, she heard their cries for justice. Tomorrow they would be in Mogrador. Now she had to turn her thoughts to the blood she would shed. Already she felt the longing for Gurkhan's blood on her hands. Gabrielle had long ago lost her blood innocence and since that time she'd fought and led many battles, taken many lives. One conversation suddenly came to mind.
She stood on the bow of a Roman ship, heading into battle at the mouth of the Nile. She tried to keep calm by staring at the darkened water. She knew that she was about to cross a line. There would be no turning back from what she was about to do. She could only take comfort in thinking that Brutus had already crossed that line, when he killed Caesar. Killing him would be difficult, but necessary. It would be justice. Still, she feared for her soul.
Brutus stood nearby, watching anxiously for a sign that would begin the impending battle with Antony.
"Once we engage Antony, you'll give Xena the signal?"
"Yes." Gabrielle hated this. She wanted to believe that Brutus too was a victim of circumstance. As much as Cleopatra.
"Then we'll see who'll become Rome!"
She closed her eyes in defeat. Her inability to read the true motivations of people was proved once again. "You've become an ambitious man, Brutus."
"People change, Gabrielle." Brutus smiled slightly. He seemed proud. Proud that he'd embraced the violence. When she had first met Brutus, she remembered thinking that he seemed to be a man of honor, too honorable to be a friend of Caesar's. This man seemed to have an understanding and empathy for his enemies. Now his only understanding was of the acquisition of power. "I remember when you spoke only of peace. Now you're a warrior." He condescended to her.
"And you're a murderer!" She returned the insult. He had touched her sore spot.
He seemed surprised at her outburst and immediately his defense mechanism kicked in. "I killed Cleopatra for the good of Rome!"
"How many people need to die for the good of Rome?"
They never spoke again. And then they engaged Antony. When Brutus had finally realized that he'd been betrayed, his face changed. He attacked her, unleashing incredible brutality. She managed to dodge two strikes of his sword but was surprised by a backhand, splitting her lip. Gabrielle was knocked off balance but was able to regain her stance. She turned back again to attack him, only to be assaulted with the hilt of Brutus' sword in the face. This time she could feel a crack in her facial bones and blood spurted from her mouth and nose. While she tried to focus past the agony, Brutus threw her to the deck. He kicked her in the face and went for the death strike. Gabrielle's own rage bubbled up in her and she vowed that she would not die without a taste of Brutus' blood. She turned to the deck where she felt the blade of an abandoned sword. Without thought, she grasped it and swung upwards with all her might and fury. A fierce cry came from her and the blade and point cut across Brutus' throat. Instantly, Brutus covered the fatal slash with his hands trying to stop the inevitable. His eyes became large and unfocused. Death descended on him, and he fell backwards to the deck.
At first, Gabrielle was filled with great satisfaction at having defeated her enemy. Never before had she felt so sated. And then she knew. She was experiencing bloodlust! Suddenly she was horrified.
She'd crossed the line.
Brutus' last breath called out to her lover, who had destroyed him and his beloved Rome.
Gabrielle had never wanted to delve that deeply into that experience. She fought with herself for months about recording those events but finally felt she owed it to Cleopatra's memory. She felt that bloodlust coming up in her now. It simmered in anticipation right below the surface. She threw up again and laid her head on her hands. Perhaps it wasn't the seasickness.
That evening, Xena heated some broth for her seasick partner and brought her inside the makeshift cabin.
"I won't be able to keep it down!" Gabrielle argued.
"I put some herbs in it that will stop the queasiness."
Too sick to put up a fight, she let Xena lead her to the pallet. "I hope this tastes better than your cooking." Gabrielle grumbled before she started drinking.
"Ha, ha! Just drink it all." Tentatively, Xena reached out and combed Gabrielle's bangs with her fingers. When she didn't flinch away, Xena sat behind her. Xena was rewarded when Gabrielle instinctively leaned back into her arms.
After a few moments of fighting her stomach clenching, she relaxed. "It's working I think."
"Told ya. Now lay back."
"It's the middle of the day, Xena. I don't need to take a nap."
"Hey, this is part of the remedy. Just lie down, ok?"
Gabrielle obeyed and Xena lay on her side next to her. Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's stomach and began to stroke the flattened abdomen.
"Is this part of the remedy too?"
"Shhh." Xena quieted her.
Gabrielle looked up at the cabin ceiling. Soon the rocking of the ship that had been turning her stomach now rocked her into a hypnotic state. Her eyes felt so heavy.
"I know." Xena stroked her smooth cheek. "This is the best way, Gabrielle.
Xena kissed her partner as she fell further into a sedated sleep. "I hate deceiving you. I know you Gabrielle. You had no intention of surviving Mogrador, did you?" She picked up Gabrielle's hand and kissed the delicate fingers. "I can't let you. I owe you so much. So let me do this for you."
Xena spent the rest of the night lying next to Gabrielle, praying for her forgiveness.
Gabrielle opened her eyes suddenly and grabbed the back of her head that throbbed fiercely. She sat up slowly and took in her surroundings.
The large garishly decorated audience room that she had danced in was now cleared of people. She lay on the pillows that Gurkhan and his henchman had sat. She had no idea how long she had been out.
Gabrielle got up quickly.
"It's about time." Came a female voice from across the room.
She turned to find the finely dressed woman who had announced Gurkhan's acceptance of her dance, walking towards her.
"My lord, Gurkhan thought that he might have lost a valuable gift."
"I'm no one's possession!" For that Gabrielle received a hard slap to the face, but barely blinked.
"Look around you slave! Your circumstances disagree."
"Who are you?" The woman went to hit Gabrielle again but the little Amazon grabbed the strange woman's hand in mid air. "I belong to no one! I am a Queen of the Amazons of northern Greece!" Gabrielle released her hand and stood regally and defiantly.
"I am the first wife of the great Gurkhan! You will remember that!" In a surprise move, the first wife swept Gabrielle's legs from under her.
Although Gabrielle fell to the ground she immediately flipped backwards to right herself. She came up swinging. Gabrielle delivered 2 devastating blows to the woman's mid section. Not allowing her to catch her breath, she thrashed her to ground. When the first wife seemed stunned, Gabrielle relented in an act of mercy. She got up and began to look for an exit.
The first wife brought her head up and glared. She pulled a long sharp pin from her hair, let out a shrill scream and attacked. Gabrielle disarmed her handily. Taking her weapon, Gabrielle held it to her throat.
"Guards!" The first wife called. Suddenly from every doorway armed guards poured into the room.
Knowing she could not win and still accomplish her goal, she raised her hands in surrender. She did allow herself to smirk in triumph. The guards surrounded Gabrielle and bound her hands. At that moment, a tall dark man with a mustache entered the room. She recognized him as one of the men she'd danced for.
"I think 'the little flower' has proven her skill as a warrior."
The first wife bowed low. "My lord."
Gabrielle realized this was Gurkhan. He came very close to her. As though she were a fine animal, he looked her over. Sniffing her, undressing her and finally caressing her. She could take no more and fought her bonds to attack him.
He simply laughed. "You are truly an Amazon!"
"Come closer, so I can show you how much of an Amazon I am!"
Instead of being wary, Gurkhan seemed thrilled. "O little one! You are everything the pirate said. I will have great fun taming you."
Gabrielle tried again to loosen her bonds with no luck. "I'm no pet!"
"No, you will be my Yasmin. My little flower." He directed the guards. "Take her to the wives' quarters."
Gabrielle was dragged out by the guards, which left Gurkhan and his 1st wife alone.
"What do you think of her?" He asked.
"She is fine stock, My Lord." She replied noncommittally.
"She is indeed. Take special care with her, my wife. I have special plans for her."
Brutally, he grabbed her by the throat. "Yes, plans. It is time for an heir."
"No! I am the first wife!" She screamed until he smacked her to the floor.
"You are what I make you! I've waited far too long for you to give me a son, Aliyah. It is fate that has brought the Amazon Queen to me! Through her my sons will be fierce warriors of a royal blood line and heritage!"
Gurkhan picked his wife up from the floor. In stark contrast to his earlier behavior, he kissed her forehead. "I will not tolerate any further attacks on her. Am I understood, Aliyah?"
"Good. Now, I must check in on the new wife who attacked my Yasmin."
Aliyah nodded and watched her brutal husband leave the room.
Xena hung helplessly upside down. Although, she could only see from one eye, she clearly saw her lover sway in a seductive dance. She no longer cared if the figure of her love was real or not. She would do anything for Gabrielle. "I want to be first wife."
Gurkhan laughed. "I have another in mind to replace my first wife. But you are an impressive woman. I will call you Fatima."
Days later, Xena was recovering near the pool and having her bruises attended to by a servant.
Gabrielle had just come in from her nightly ritual of scouting. Looking for some sign of Sarah's presence. Tonight she had looked across the courtyard and saw a man being dragged to a small stone block. Guards put his head down and raised a long saber above his neck.
When she saw that, she ran away, unable to face the horrifying spectacle. She thought of her poor parents. Her mother, whose heart had been weak since Lilla's birth, must have died of the fright alone. Her father had always been stoic but would he have screamed like that poor man tonight? Dejected, she made her way back to Xena.
"Are you thinking about Sarah?"
"Yes. And Mother and Father. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to them Xena." Gabrielle felt herself falling again into grief. She was near her breaking point. "I don't think Sarah's here..."
"She's here! Believe it!"
"Do you think she's in another cell?"
"I don't know." Xena winced and took back her sore arm from the servant. She dismissed her.
When they were alone, Gabrielle caressed Xena's arm lovingly. Xena was immediately alerted to Gabrielle's emotional state. For the first time since they had left Potadeia, she noticed a crack in Gabrielle's veneer.
'It was now or never.' She thought. Gabrielle was vulnerable. She might listen to reason. She might still be able to save her friend from doing irreparable harm to herself.
Xena brought Gabrielle close, in a tight embrace and kissed her eyes closed.
"We'll find her. I promise."
"I'm so sorry this happened to you..."
"Shh." Xena didn't want her apology. She wanted Gabrielle safe. Away from Gurkhan.
"Let's go for a swim."
Gabrielle was unsure. "Maybe we should get back."
"No one will see us." Xena said as she let her towels drop, revealing her nudity. She saw Gabrielle swallow hard and knew she was fighting desire. Xena brought her lover into a deep wet kiss, totally disarming her.
Gabrielle's body curled around Xena's. She closed her eyes and moaned. She felt Xena's hands all over her, freeing her from her costume. Her limbs felt heavy and her skin was so hot.
"Swim with me." Xena urged again and pulled Gabrielle with her. Together they fell back gently into the water.
Gabrielle managed to cling to Xena as they moved through the water smoothly. The water should have cooled their passion but only stimulated it. Finally coming up for air, Xena brought Gabrielle over to the stepping stones beneath the water and laid her back against them. "You're so beautiful, Gabrielle. I'm so lucky to be with you."
Gabrielle brought Xena close and they lay touching and caressing. Soon she felt Xena's hand slide down her abdomen to play in the golden down that surrounded her core.
"Xena." She cried out and urged her lover inside her. She didn't have to wait long. Long, sleek fingers found their way into her. She let herself be swept away on old familiar emotions and sensations. She climbed higher and higher. It had been so long. She couldn't get enough of those talented fingers and she rocked harder against them.
Xena's kissed all over her face. "Don't give this up, my love."
Gabrielle could barely concentrate on what she was saying. But Xena continued to push her higher.
"Love is so special, Gabrielle. To feel this way."
"Nothing is worth giving this up for."
"I couldn't give you up Xena." She whispered her reassurance. Her body was on fire. She could feel her orgasm ready to blow her apart. She gripped Xena's hand, trying to push the long fingers deeper insider her.
"Gabrielle, losing this would be like losing your life."
She was so right. At the moment, Gabrielle pushed into Xena' cupped hand and was sent over the edge of the world. She lay there shaking from the intensity while Xena gathered her up into her arms.
"I know you plan to seduce him, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle eyes flew open and she pulled away from the warmth that held her body. She was confused. "What?"
"I know what it's like to use your body to get something you want. I've done it since I was a teenager. It's the emptiest feeling there is."
Gabrielle was barely able to move, but she climbed out of the pool. She felt betrayed. "How dare you! You of all people..."
"Yes, I can say this to you! I know what it takes! To purge your heart of any love or feelings, to allow a stranger to touch you where you would only want someone who really cared for you to touch you! I know what that's like! Don't become like me, Gabrielle. You're the only one who's ever made that emptiness go away."
Without saying a word, Gabrielle dried her body and got dressed and left.
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