Pt 4 of 6
***New Email Address***
DISCLAIMER: Xena, Gabrielle, Virgil, Eve, 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 A VERY DESCRIPTIVE RAPE SCENE AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN! IF YOU ARE NOT 21 YEARS OLD OR ARE OFFENDED BY THESE TYPE OF SCENES OR ARE SQUEAMISH, PLEASE FIND ANOTHER STORY. I did not write this story to bash men but sought to make an accurate depiction of Gurkhan which I think the episode failed to do.
SPOILERS: Who's Gurkhan?
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I apologize that this latest part took so long to write. It was very difficult for me to write or to even face my keyboard. It is a rewrite of the episode, 'Who's Gurkhan'. To recap, I believe in this season (and the last) that Gabrielle is on a very slippery slope mentally. 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 or read previous parts. Anyway, I am interested to know what you think. Please give me feedback!
Xena anxiously paced the audience room, never taking her eyes off the door. Earlier Gabrielle had been escorted away by several guards. Xena had wanted nothing more than to stop them when they began to manhandle her but Gabrielle had made it clear with a scathing look that Xena's interference wasn't needed or wanted.
At that moment, Gabrielle stepped through the door alone. Her steps were measured and tentative. She seemed stiff and angry.
Xena came close to her but kept a comfortable distance. "Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle sat down gingerly and pulled her shawl around her. "They took me to a doctor. These women held me down while he..." Her voice broke and she stopped.
"He hurt you?! Did he?"
"No. He wanted to check my fertility." She wavered, tears beginning to flow. Gabrielle exhaled, gathering her courage and stemming her tears. "When I was a little girl I would go with my father to buy breeder mares. He was so gentle with them. People said that he'd always been better with animals than people. I think he had Clio bred so I would have a pony. Then he could teach me to ride. That was his way of reaching out. He was very gentle in his way." Then she smirked characteristically. "Much gentler than that butcher was with me. Anyway, the butcher seemed pleased. I guess I'm still able to... I guess I thought after Hope that I'd be too damaged."
Xena's heart broke and reached to stroke her lover's cheek. "Hey, remember our seasonal checks? I've never seen any evidence that you were damaged by what Dahak did to you."
Gabrielle never said anything and didn't look up.
"I think Gurkhan wants an heir, Gabrielle."
"Why me? The first wife..."
"The first wife is probably barren. Now he's looking for someone to replace her." Xena stopped in mid sentence hoping Gabrielle wasn't thinking of agreeing to become that replacement.
"So Gurkhan's ego demands that only an Amazon Queen would be a proper replacement."
"NO! Gabrielle, no!"
Gabrielle looked at Xena sharply. "This is not about me! This is about Sarah and what he did to my family! I thought you of all people would understand!"
Xena ignored the reference to her brother. "It's because I understand that I'm asking you not to do this! If you lay down with scum... I understand all right! I turned myself into a thief, a murderer and eventually a maniacal butcher because I needed to douse the rage and hatred I felt. It was revenge but I told myself it was all for Lyceus, for my family. Even when my family wanted nothing more to do with me. What are you willing to do to yourself, Gabrielle?! Have you thought about what you will become?!"
"I started this transformation a long time ago, Xena! What I'm becoming is only the culmination of the events of my life. This is just my defining moment!"
Xena was frantic. "No, Gabrielle. You've overcome so much! So much tragedy! But you came through it! Those were your defining moments!" She calmed herself and tried a different approach, knowing Gabrielle's life depended on it. "I know this has been building, since Gaul." Xena saw her lover stiffen. It was an unwritten rule between them to never speak of what happened before their crucifixion. This time she didn't back off. "You never wanted to discuss it but I know that something happened inside you that day. When you gave up your beliefs to save my life, you crossed a line. Eli saw it. Ares tried to take advantage of it. At first I thought, she's just doing this to protect Eve and me. But I've seen you become the antithesis of everything you believed. It frightens me that you're becoming more like me everyday. And if you do this, if you kill Gurkhan..."
"I will kill him! He's going to die by my hands! You can be sure of that! Everything I learned about being a warrior, I learned from you. Although you always refused to teach me to use a weapon or to kill, I learned by watching and listening.
When I came back from the dead, I was consumed and driven. I can't explain why. I couldn't write or tell stories anymore. Then I picked up my first real weapon. Not for defense or protection but for the kill! I finally felt whole! That wholeness became my life! I ate, slept, and trained. I made myself wake up before you each day and I drilled. I kept saying to myself, 'You can kill and you will kill!' I made myself ready to kill anyone if challenged. I knew what I was becoming or should I say who I was becoming.
When you look at me, you see yourself. I did too. Before meeting Eli, I was scared. I was deeply frightened of becoming some monstrous murderer. At night when I was sure that you were asleep I'd find someplace away from camp and cry myself to sleep. I cursed the day I met you, Xena. Until Eli. He gave me a way out of the violence. I didn't have to deal with the things I'd done. I could transcend people like you Xena. I embraced Eli's faith and wrapped myself in my holier than thou new philosophy of life. How you must have hated me!
Then Eli brought us back. I forbid you to touch me because I didn't want you to know that the Gabrielle you loved was never brought back from the dead. I held back and I hated myself for being unable to love you as I should. So I focused on my training like it was my lifeline."
Gabrielle softened. She reached out both hands and enveloped Xena's face. For a long moment she caressed her face until Xena relaxed and leaned in. Gabrielle met her in the middle. Their lips met.
As always Xena felt her soul seared by intense passion.
"Xena." Gabrielle gasped.
Xena moaned in reply. "Just open yourself to me. I can make it go away if you just let me." Moved by the heat, she couldn't avoid the beautiful green eyes seeking her out. The desire they held.
Gabrielle's lips lay wet, lingering kisses on her neck and breast. "I could probably let you take me away from all this. Let you make me forget. It wouldn't be the first time. But it's no longer in me to turn the other cheek."
Xena was startled. A deep fear that perhaps Gabrielle was right and that she was dealing with a carbon copy of her former self settled in the pit of her stomach. She pulled away and stared at this stranger who was the love of her life.
Gabrielle seemed unfazed. "So what will you do, Xena? How will you keep me out of his bed?"
"I guess there isn't anything I can do." Xena looked in her eyes a little longer as she got to her feet. "I won't abandon you, Gabrielle. No matter what you do." With her heart shredded, Xena left the Amazon Queen to plot her next move.
"Come in, Little One." Gurkhan took her hand sensually and drew her into the room.
She made her way to the table and sat. "I was told that I was to dine with you tonight."
"Is it not appropriate to begin a seduction with an excellent meal?" He boasted
Secretly, Gabrielle's blood boiled at his presumption that she would give in so easy. Part of her wanted to kill him now. But she had to think of Sarah. "Is that what this is, a seduction?"
He drank deeply from his wineglass. "Of course." He motioned for the servant to pour for Gabrielle.
She looked at the wine suspiciously. "Why would a man who owns so many sex slaves need to seduce anyone?"
"That is the best game!" He laughed. "Take a young girl from her home and family. Expose her to violence and brutality..."
"Then she'll be grateful to have the attention and protection of the mighty Gurkhan."
"And do anything to keep it, Little One."
Gurkhan leaned close, placing his hand over hers. Unable to stand his touch, she pulled her hand away. She couldn't stop picturing her fifteen-year-old niece, being brought here as chattel; having watched her loved ones murdered. What would she have done to stay alive? Would she have succumbed to this butcher's charms and offer of protection after he'd killed her father and grandparents? Gabrielle had mixed feelings. If she did succumb, Sarah could still be alive in his harem. If she didn't, she could have been sold or worse. Fury rose again in her again but she suppressed it once more.
"I'm afraid you'll have to think of a new tactic for me. I don't frighten as easily as the 'little girls' you're used to."
Gurkhan raised an eyebrow at that phrase but smiled. "Yes, I knew that from the moment I saw you. You were indeed royalty. No ruler permits himself to feel vulnerability or fear. You are one that must be conquered. But you haven't touched your wine."
Hair rose on the back on her neck. "I don't drink."
"You don't drink or you don't drink with me?"
"If I had wanted you dead, I wouldn't use poison." Gurkhan looked at the servant. She bowed before the Amazon Queen and took her wineglass. She brought it to her own mouth and drank.
She put the glass back in front of Gabrielle. "The wine is safe, My Queen."
"Thank you, Giselle, leave us." He directed. The servant obeyed and left them alone.
'Her lover.' She thought. 'That hasn't been true in quite awhile."
Xena looked around and saw Yo, the young woman from Chin.
"You care for her, Sophia? The Amazon?"
"In this place, you learn not to care for anyone. Gurkhan destroys your soul."
"That's why I must stop her."
"Stop her? From doing what?"
"Her name is Gabrielle. We came here looking for a girl, a family member who was sold to Gurkhan."
"Sarah. The one you were asking about?"
"Yes. But we've had no luck in finding her. Now Gabrielle has decided to seduce Gurkhan to get that information."
"Seduce him? Sophia, no one seduces, Gurkhan!"
"What do you mean?"
"Gurkhan cannot be seduced. He is an animal. He enjoys breaking a woman."
Gurkhan laughed. "I hope you don't plan to say no all night."
"Didn't you tell me that I had to be conquered? Or did you change your mind about seduction?"
"No, I haven't Little One." He smiled cruelly.
Gabrielle knew he'd planned something. But what? 'Think, think. This man is into cruelty, brutality. He's made it known that he was going to... to...'
'What was he going to... what had he planned to do? He.... He...' She couldn't remember her last thought.
Gabrielle had her answer.
"You! You... you drugged me? How?"
He simply kept smiling and leaned back and watched her. This was his entertainment.
Gabrielle started to shake her head, telling herself to just get up. She had to get out of here. She was attempting to stand when a sudden, blinding pain surprised her behind her eyes. She bent at the waist, hands coming up to clasp her head, and moaned.
The pain continued, throbbing in her head. Gabrielle squeezed her eyes shut, another moan escaping her tightly clamped lips. Still standing somehow, she felt herself stagger, nearly falling, and stumbled over to a nearby wall. She shot one hand out, groping along the wall.
'The door, just get to the door.' She pleaded with her body. Making it back into the living area, her fingers brushed along the wall, and slowly she moved forward. Each motion increased the pain in her head.
Gabrielle heard Gurkhan's chair scrape the floor as he got up. She heard and felt his laughter as he followed her.
"Are you ready to surrender, Little One?" He whispered close to her ear.
She took a swat at him and fell over, thankfully landing face down on a nearby couch. She sank into couch still bent over, hands not releasing her head and tried to quell her nausea. "Xena." Gabrielle whispered, her voice husky and confused.
She lay there, feeling the cool leather against her cheek breathing in a strange scent, intoxicating and wild.
"That won't matter. Gurkhan begins by lowering a woman's resistance."
"I need to get to her. I've got to stop this."
At that moment, the First Wife entered the harem.
Her body strangely lethargic, managing to sit up, barely. She could hear the door opening and then closing again, followed by heels clicking across his floor. Then there were hands lifting her. Against her will she was carried to another room with a large bed. The dim figures lay her down on it and abandoned her. But she wasn't alone for long. Gurkhan crouched in front of her, his cool hands cupping her cheeks.
"What have you done to me?" She said trying to twist away.
"Its' the flowers. Rare orchids from Assyria." He picked an orchid from a nearby bowl of water. As he brought it closer, Gabrielle felt more lightheaded. He only laughed. "It has a lovely fragrance, doesn't it? They are called 'Semarmis', named after a famous Assyrian queen. It is used on virgin brides on their wedding nights."
"I'm not your virgin bride!" she spat.
"Better." She heard him whisper to her. "A bride of royal blood and untouched by the hands of man. It's time to learn the ways of man, Little One."
Gurkhan looked into the beautiful sea-green eyes of his new queen. Her eyes. He could drown in her eyes. Their emerald hue drew him in, engulfed him, and mesmerized him. He stared wordlessly into them, not hearing the strange foreign name she kept repeating again and again. There were only her eyes.
He blinked slowly, heavily, and realized her lips were moving. Her lips. He kissed his way up her neck, along her jaw, before finally settling on those lips. Lips that were meant for kisses. Deep, wet, long kisses. His tongue swept inside, forcing her mouth open wider. He ignored her whimper, not caring if it was from desire or fear. His other hand left her hip to trail up her body and tangle in the hair at her nape. Holding her head still he pushed his nose into her hair and inhaled deeply. Her smell, the smell of his queen and the future mother of his sons sent a surge of lust straight to his groin.
She turned to face him fully, her hands coming up to peel his grasp from her. Of their own volition, his hands went to her hips. He clasped them firmly, bringing her body flush against his. Gabrielle gasped, and the sound sent shivers through him. He thrust his hips in reaction, pushing his sudden erection into her stomach. He began to nuzzle at her neck, breathing in her scent. She was intoxicating and untamed, this woman. His hips thrust again, and one hand slid from her hip to grab her ass, pushing her firmly into his body.
"You will be tamed, Little One. Beginning tonight!"
The guards blinked and seemed uncertain of whether they should answer.
"Where is she?" She screamed.
The leader of the two got down on his knees in prostration. "She was summoned by Gurkhan. We escorted her to his quarters. We were told she would dine with him."
In anger, The First Wife reached the other guards saber and put it's blade into the back of the kneeling guard.
Several of the women screamed and turned away in fear and disgust. Only Xena looked on. Suddenly, she got an idea. She had to find Gabrielle and Sarah quickly. No one would know more about Mogrador than the woman who ruled by Gurkhan's side.
"You will always inform me of anything concerning, Gurkhan!" The First Wife screamed at the living guard cowering over his friend. With that she walked out. The remaining guard began the task of cleaning up and removing the body of his friend.
Xena then took full advantage. She ran into the bathing room and found the secret door that Gurkhan had been observing from earlier. Quickly she moved into the passage, leading her to an outside hallway. The First Wife had just stalked by when she found a hiding place behind a pillar. Breathing a sigh of relief, she began to follow, hoping that somehow she could get to Gabrielle.
"It doesn't matter if you want this or not," he said smoothly. "You belong to me."
He placed his hand on her face again, moving it to stay connected with her even as she tried to move her head away. Letting his hand slip downward, he cupped her chin, then roughly grabbed a breast through her lightweight garment.
Gabrielle stifled a gasp, squirming to get away. Letting up the pressure only for a moment, he grabbed her white halter with the other hand and ripped it off. He fingered the edges of her harem pants for a moment, then they came off as well.
Gurkhan sat for a moment, bemusedly noting his Amazon queen. She was a fighter, this one. It would almost be a shame to break her. She was magnificent. He moved closer and she cringed unconsciously, trying to avoid his touch. But she was in no position to thwart him off - flat on her back and drugged underneath him. It turned him on immensely when their eyes screamed their helplessness and their legs were in the air and spread wide open.
He began handling himself in front of her, running his hand up and down his penis lewdly, knowing she was watching him. The orchids had rendered her immobile and he had no fear of attack. He stepped closer, and placed a hand on each side of Gabrielle's face. She tried to throw her head back and forth, but he held it tightly. She could feel his stiff penis hitting her stomach as he leaned over her.
He sat back on his heels back and rubbed himself a bit more , and grinned as the blonde became more agitated at the thought of what was to come. "No reason I should do this myself, is there?" the dark one asked, "Not when someone else can do it for me".
Gabrielle's mouth was quickly gagged with the dark man's cock - she gagged and tried to scream around it and tried to pull her head away.
Gurkhan grabbed a shock of Gabrielle's hair and pulled it back, holding her head tightly, as he rocked forward to accommodate the new position. Kneeling above her, all his weight shoved his cock in her mouth further and further until she thought she'd surely choke. He pulled out just a bit and she caught her breath, then he started up a more earnest thrusting action. Each time he shoved his cock all the way inside, as he held tightly to her hair. A steady moaning and intermittent gasping were the only sounds in the
room, except for the quiet rustle of the silk sheets.
Finally the dark man's excitement could be heightened no more. With a final groan, he came into Gabrielle's mouth, for so long it seemed to her he would never stop. There was no way she could swallow it all, so when he finally pulled completely out, her chin and chest were covered with semen escaping her mouth. Gurkhan released her head, and it, too, fell against her chest, as she gagged softly. She felt ill, thought she would surely be sick, but all she spit out was the foul-tasting fluid and her own bile-tainted saliva.
Still recovering and with her head lowered, she didn't see the now-naked warlord come around. He knelt in front of her and relaxed with a pleasured sigh as she collapsed onto her side.
"Within 30 seconds, you'll die!" She told the frightened gasping woman who clawed at her own neck desperately. "Just tell me what I need to know!"
Unable to catch her next breath and feeling the blood trickle from her nose, she nodded in acquiescence.
He looked a little more closely at Gabrielle, and his expression changed to one of concern. He became relieved to see that her chest was rising and falling with regularity.
He made his way back to the banquet table and helped himself to the more wine and roasted pork. He sat at the table stuffing himself and drinking until he heard a scrape from the bedroom.
Sure enough, his queen was awake again, albeit groggy. Her eyes met his and she tipped her head sideways, warily. What the hell else could he do? He thought she must have been thinking. 'Plenty.' He thought.
If a wife was particularly troublesome or injured him during sex he would always kill them. In actuality, he just didn't care whether he had them again or not. It was the conquest that was the thrill. Some of his victims died, some did not. He also knew most women never got over 'his special treatment'. While suicide was forbidden, it was not uncommon in the harem, especially among his favorites. He worried about this one. She had a purpose. She would have to be guarded to keep her alive.
'If she died...' He thought. But he wouldn't let that happen.
He began playing his fingers around Gabrielle's clitoris, hitting it now and then. Her head snapped up abruptly. Sitting back on his haunches, Gurkhan smiled at Gabrielle's expressions as he played skillfully around her vagina. He licked a finger and
slipped it quickly inside, eliciting a muffled moan. Pulling back out, he inserted two fingers, then three, and watched as her face changed from unwanted pleasure to exquisite pain, and the muffled groans grew louder.
Four fingers brought such pain to her face that her eyes were squinted shut, and they eased for only a moment when he slipped them out. He was very pleased. His Amazon Queen was tighter than he hoped for.
But Gurkhan would have no more resistance. It was time to introduce his wife to her first lesson. He grabbed Gabrielle firmly around the waist and pulled her to the table in the next room. When they reached it he slammed Gabrielle face down onto it.
She was foolishly hoping against hope that it was all over not in the extreme sense, but that perhaps he was finished hurting her. Hadn't he wanted to impregnate her? She prayed for him to just fuck her.
A hope not realized as he helped her to her feet and began tying her hands in front of her and across the width of the table. As he did so, she struck out with what little energy she had, nearly causing him to lose his balance. A muttered curse and then he back- handed her across the face, and she met the table once more, up-close and personal. Picking her up again, he smiled smugly. A trail of blood flowed freely from her lower lip.
The blows became regular then, like clockwork, the rhythm interrupted only when her body went lax with pain and fatigue. By the time she would regain some internal balance, another blow would send her careening. She couldn't even feel the blood that welled from the deeper cuts. Her mind was inundated, muted by the constant pain.
Just when she thought she would pass out, a break in the beating allowed her to catch her breath. Her eyes still closed, she hung limp as a ragdoll, swaying slowly. Holding her down by the back of her neck, Gurkhan kept the struggling bard firmly in place. Nudging her opening with his cock he leaned over and whispered by her ear, "Are you ready to conceive the son of your husband, my queen?"
Gabrielle's body visibly tensed, as she felt the offending appendage brush against the back of her thighs. She steadied herself for the assault as he spread her legs wide with his knees, exposing the woman's most private place, her tight forbidden entrance.
Gurkhan slapped Gabrielle hard across the back of the head. Then with an evil smirk he spat into his hand and rubbed it around the bard's tight orifice in a crude attempt to lubricate her opening.
Struck dumb with fear, knowing what was coming next, she screamed one last plea for Gurkhan to stop. Holding the tip of his cock hard against the straining opening, Gurkhan hesitated slightly as he readied his position then rammed into the helpless bard in one complete thrust.
Gabrielle bit into her lip. She wouldn't give this bastard the satisfaction of hearing her cry out again. She listened as the sound of skin slapping bounced off the walls of the little room.
Full, deep, strokes filled the Amazon's belly, stretching and tearing in their wake. Slow at first, as Gurkhan found his rhythm, then gained momentum. He relentlessly pounded into her in a frenzied assault. Finally his precipice approached, though it was taking longer than usual, Gurkhan attributed it to the effects of the rare flower. He had an immunity but it occasionally affected him.
Gabrielle managed to hang onto the table and ropes for support as her legs grew unsteady.
Not wanting to miss the best part, he raised slightly and pulled his oozing phallus abruptly from her reddened orifice. Then without any regard for Gabrielle, he picked her up from the table and ceremoniously threw her on her back , making her cry out again, from the added pain.
He slipped his engorged penis in her a little at a time, his eyes always on her face, watching. He pulled almost all the way out, then rammed all the way back in with a single thrust. He fondled her hair and her breasts as he set up a steady pace inside her, leaning over her.
So intent was he on watching her and feeling her tight vagina around his thick cock, that a particularly strong thrust almost upset their balance. He pulled out for a moment and to gain his equilibrium and considered the woman in front of him. She had since stopped squirming and only glared at him with hatred. She lay before him, her vagina was straight up, right on top, and he was sure it was begging for his return. He did not disappoint it. Leaning over and affecting a new balance, he slid his penis once more into her warmth, and sighed happily. It was harder and harder to pull back out of the wonderful warm liquid haven. But then he decided he needed to be deeper. He lifted her legs to his shoulders and his ability to enter her *more* fully was greatly enhanced. He pistoned in and out, grabbing a breast in each hand, he ratcheted up the intensity of his bludgeoning until he couldn't hold back any more.
With a blast of obscenities and other unintelligible sounds, Gurkhan cried out at the top of his lungs, gasping and grunting as the spasms wracked through his body, flinching with each aftershock he spilled himself within Gabrielle and fell atop her with a grunt.
With a self-modulated groan, he lay atop Gabrielle, his breathing still heavy, feeling
sated. He had never had an experience like this, although he had been involved in quite a few rape/conquests. It was almost sacred. Again and again he would enjoy making love to his new wife. He stood and grabbed his robe that was thrown on a nearby chair. Once robed, he decided to see to his new queen.
Gabrielle was surprised when he began untying her, and that surprise was tinged with worry. He untied each wrist one at a time, rubbing them to encourage the blood flow to her extremities. Then he rolled her sideways causing a little grunt. Carefully, he lifted her and brought her back to his bed.
He carried over a bowl of cool water and a sponge, and sat next to Gabrielle. He then proceeded to gently wash her face, neck and torso. Gabrielle studied his face and hands. Neither spoke a word. Gurkhan then began sponging her arms and hands. The cool water was soothing.
"See, I'm not so bad," he said matter of fact as he left bathed her. He did not wait to hear her reply because he didn't expect one. But he would get one.
Gabrielle stood standing stock still next to the bed. She was naked and battered. She seemed in shock and mesmerized by something on the bed.
"Gabrielle." She said coming over to her partner. Xena looked closer and notice a bump under the silk sheets in the form of a body. The sheets that had obviously been a pastel color now had large stains of blood. Quickly moving into action, she found more bed linens and threw one around Gabrielle's body. "Gabrielle, we're getting out of here!"
Gabrielle finally responded and looked up at Xena with a deep hurt in her eyes. "He killed her, Xena. He drugged me and...and he hurt me......When he finished, he, he bathed me, Xena. Like he cared for me. I thought that maybe he did have some compassion. That maybe he would tell me about Sarah. I begged him. "
Xena saw Gabrielle's limp hands become fists. She knew her friend was reliving it all again.
"I would have given him anything. Made myself into... That's when he told me I was going to be the mother of his sons. That he couldn't harm me anymore than superficially. He said he always had others to satisfy his taste for rough play. Sometimes his playmates were weak. If they were unworthy, they died. I knew then that Sarah was dead. I... I waited. I concentrated to overcome the drugs and then I... Xena, I didn't mean to lose it. I just remember hitting and then...Just like Gaul."
Xena lifted the sheet slightly and felt for a pulse. She found one but it was slight. Gurkhan was not long for this world. "He's alive Gabrielle. You didn't kill him."
Gabrielle sighed with relief. Monster or not, she didn't want to be a murderer. Still she could no longer look at Xena's teary blue eyes. "Sarah, Sarah ...is dead. Oh Eli, I have to tell Lilla that Sarah's dead!"
Xena embraced her friend fiercely and kissed her forehead. "Gabrielle, she isn't dead! I found, Sarah! I found her!"
Gabrielle was perplexed and afraid to believe her. "Alive? But he said..."
"Later. Virgil and Eve are helping us get everyone out of here. We're all leaving. All of us, including Sarah. Let's go."
"In the water." She heard her daughter say. Eve was sitting up and looking out at the sea as the sun was just rising. "She climbed down the anchor chain about a candlemark ago. I thought she was just going to bathe but I heard crying. She's in terrible pain, isn't she mother?"
Xena got up squeezed her daughter's shoulder and disrobed. Going to the edge of the ship, she made the descent herself in the dim light.
Gabrielle saw Xena coming down the anchor and watched as she slipped into the water beside her. She quickly dipped underwater to wash away any sign of tears. It was Xena who brought her back to the surface. She felt herself tremble with cold even in Xena's warm embrace.
"I had to...I had to wash him off me, out of me."
Immediately, she knew what Gabrielle's fear was by washing. "Gabrielle, washing his fluids out of you, won't keep you from getting pregnant, love."
Gabrielle looked down in shame. "It's just like before...just like Britannia."
"No!" Xena couldn't face how she failed Gabrielle back then. "We're together, this time. We'll face this together."
"No matter what, love." Xena pulled the tangles out of Gabrielle's short hair, releasing it from the tight exotic hairstyle. "You're cold. Let's go up."
"In a minute." Gabrielle pleaded. "Just hold me?"
And in the deep blue sea, they held each other until the sun rose.
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