by C. J. Kelly
Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, Callisto, Hope, Joxer, Argo, and Dahak all belong to MCA. (no their not mine, sigh)
This story has scenes of two women intimately involved. If this offends you, then don't read it. Although maybe you should so you can get some culture in your life. Sheesh. If this is illegal in your state, then when and if you are old enough, get the hell outta there man!!! And if you are under 18, well I warned you not to read it, so its not my fault if you get caught. If none of this applies to you, then enjoy!!!!
This story takes place right after Sacrifice Part 2.
Xena walked slowly out of the temple. Callisto's body was behind her and so was her dear Gabrielle's. Joxer followed slightly behind her. After she crossed the threshold of the outer door, Xena looked back. Part of her wanted to run right back in and rescue Gabrielle, but she knew it was a hopeless act. Gabrielle, her Gabrielle was gone. Xena turned away and never looked back again.
Xena and Joxer traveled together in silence for several hours. Neither one wanting to say anything, neither one knowing where they were going, neither one cared. Normally Xena would be annoyed that Joxer was tagging along, again. But for some reason right now was different. Even though she wanted to be alone, somehow Joxer's presence was needed. This bumbling simpleton who had truly loved her Gabrielle was a comfort. She didn't know why. She tried not to think about it, she tried not to think about much at all.
"Joxer", Xena said suddenly.
"Yes", Joxer replied startled. It was the first words either of them had said in hours.
Sounding a bit solemn, Xena stated, "I'd like to ask you for another favor."
"Sure Xena, anything"
"Would you mind traveling with me for awhile?", she asked.
Taken slightly aback, for Xena had never asked this of him, he replied, "Of course I will. For however long you need me."
They traveled for a couple of days. Neither one saying much. They avoided the towns and only stopped to camp at night when traveling in the dark became too dangerous. Finally on the third night when they had made camp, and while Joxer was away collecting firewood.
Joxer waited patiently outside the clearing with the firewood for Xena to finish. When he saw that she was pretty much done he entered, purposefully making alot of noise. As he pretended to accidentally stumble on a rock that wasn't there, Xena quickly wiped her tears away and rolled her eyes at him. He picked up the wood and asked, "So Xena, what are we going to do?".
"Do about what?" she asked confused. "You already got the firewood, so now we eat."
"No, not that.", he sighed. "I mean about Gabrielle."
"What do you mean? There's nothing to do about it. Gabrielle is dead." Xena said in a slightly hateful tone.
"Well, I thought that you would have a plan. I mean you came back from the dead and all."
"Well, that was a totally different circumstance."
"Well you do have a plan don't you?" he asked hopefully.
"I've been thinking about that and for the life of me I haven't a clue as to what to do." she admitted.
Joxer looked shocked. Xena with no plan. That never happened. She was the one with all the plans. The one who always pulled everyone else out of a jam. And now what were they to do. Well I guess its up to me now he thought.
Joxer fell asleep right after they ate. Xena however, could not. She had too many thoughts racing through her head. "Why did she have to die? It was suppose to be me who died. I know she did it to save me, but did she have to sacrifice herself in the process? If only I had been a little faster, if only Ares hadn't made that deal with the fates. Ares, this was all his fault. Oh if he thought I hated him before, well now I hate him even more. If I could just get my hands on him, why I'd....why I'd what? It was partly his fault, but what about me? I am as much to blame as him. I should have made her stay at the hilltop. Then this wouldn't have happened. Yeah right like I could make Gabrielle do anything after her mind is made up. Oh Gabrielle how I miss you so. I never told you...well I never told you how I really felt about you. I know the dead can hear our thoughts so if your listening. Gabrielle, I never told you how much I loved you. I know that you know I loved you beyond anything, but I never said how much. If I only had more time with you. If only I hadn't been so afraid of losing you. I thought that if I told you how I really felt, you would leave me. I never wanted that, so I never told you. But I'm telling you now, and I hope that you can hear me. Gabrielle all I ever wanted was to hold you forever and love you forever. Now that you are gone...well I don't know what to do. I guess I will go on living, and try to be the person you taught me to be. I know someday we will be together again. Gabrielle I will always love you." Xena fell asleep, part of her at peace, but she knew that it would be along time before she was completely healed.
As they were traveling along the next day, Joxer asked, "So where are we going?"
"Well I thought that we would go to the Amazon camp and then to Potedeia. Gabrielle's family will want to know what happened. And of course the Amazons need to know that their queen is dead. The camp is on the way so I thought we would stop there first."
"OK that sounds like a good plan for now." he said.
It took them about another day and a half to reach the Amazon's camp. Ephiny was there to greet them.
"Oh Xena it is so good to see you again and you to of course Joxer."
"I'm surprised you're glad to see me." Xena commented.
"Why is that?"
"Well I wasn't very nice to you or the other Amazons the last time I was here."
"Oh that. Well you were grieving. I know that that wasn't really you. I forgive you."
"Thank you." Softly Xena added, "Ephiny, I have some bad news."
Ephiny reached out and touched her shoulder asked in a concerned voice, "What is it Xena? What's wrong?"
Xena took a breath and said, "Gabrielle is dead."
"What? What are you...Oh! You don't know? Xena, Gabrielle is here."
"What?" Xena asked wide eyed and confused.
"Yes, she showed up outside of the camp a couple of days ago. She was a little weak and disoriented. But she rested and is feeling much better now. She told us what happened. I assumed you knew she was here and that was why you are here now. I'm sorry if I had known I would have sent word to you right away."
"That's alright. Where is she now?" Xena was so excited it was hard to control herself. Yet she was also a little suspicious. After all what if it wasn't really her. She didn't want to get her hopes up to much. At least not yet.
"Can we see her?" asked Joxer extremely excited.
"Of course, of course. Right this way, she's in the royal hut."
They walked toward the hut. Xena couldn't believe it. Gabrielle, if indeed it was Gabrielle. . . was alive. She was so happy she wanted to run to the hut and find out for sure. If it is her, I swear I won't hide my feelings this time. I'm getting a second chance and I'm not going to blow it this time, Xena thought to herself as they arrived at the entrance to the hut.
"Gabrielle." Ephiny called as she started to open the door. "I have some guests for you." There was a grin on her face as she opened the door wide to let in Xena and Joxer.
Gabrielle turned to see her two friends entering. Her eyes widened and a huge smile took control of her face. She rushed toward them. "Xena, Joxer! Oh its so good to see you both," she exclaimed as she squeezed them both in a fierce hug.
"Oh Gabrielle its so good to see you too." Joxer said, squeezing her back just as fiercely. "We thought you were gone for sure."
"Yeah Gabrielle what happened?" Xena managed to breath as she was being squished to death by her friends.
Gabrielle let go, and Joxer finally did when she and Xena pried him off.
"Well. I'm not exactly sure what happened Xena. One minute I'm falling in the pit with Hope, the next I find myself outside of the Amazon's camp."
"Well I'm just glad you're back safe and sound." Joxer said giving her a small hug.
"Thank you Joxer."
"Yes I am glad you're back too." said Xena. "If it really is you."
"What do you mean, if its really her?" exclaimed Joxer shocked.
"No, no Joxer it's alright. I understand her hesitance. I would wonder if she was the real Xena if she wasn't. I mean after all, the last time you guys saw me and Hope, we looked alot alike."
"Try exactly." challenged Xena as she crossed her arms over her chest. "So if you are Gabrielle, what were we doing the last time we were here?"
"Well as I recall, you were dragging me across the country side behind a horse. I think I still have the bruises to prove it." Guiding Xena by the shoulder, Gabrielle lead her away from the others, out of earshot. "Look Xena, do you remember the time I was dying from the poisoned arrow and you wanted to leave to get me some help? I told you no because I had accepted death long before that. You told me that even in death you would never leave me. That meant a lot to me and it was those words that kept running through my mind as I fell into the pit. I knew that no matter what happened you would always be there."
Reaching out to embrace her Xena said, "Oh Gabrielle it really is you." There was a slight quiver to her voice.
"So I take it everything is fine?" asked Ephiny.
"Yes it is." Xena said as she turned, still keeping an arm around Gabrielle's shoulder. "Now, I could really use a bath. And so could Joxer, I'm not traveling another step with him until he cleans up."
"Well you have to admit, you both are kinda ripe" laughed Ephiny. "Baths have already been drawn for you both. If you are finished here I'll show you to them."
"Lead on," they said in unison.
They left the hut with Ephiny and as the door shut a familiar voice said, "Well that was interesting."
"Yes it was Callisto, but I think it went rather well don't you?"
"Yeah, Yeah. So now what. I mean now that you have convinced them that you're Gabrielle, though I'm not sure how you accomplished that, what are you going to do with them."
"I am to keep Xena as far away from my father as possible until he arrives to rule this world. And as for how I did it, well it was quite simple really. Father transferred Mother's memories to me so I could complete my task. Although this goody goody stuff is driving me crazy."
"You're telling me? I thought I was going to be sick back there. Of course I can't really get sick can I? I would need a body for that."
"Don't be so snide Callisto, be glad that you get to serve Dahak one last time. You don't need a body for that."
"That reminds me. What exactly did you do to me. And when are you going to let me go so I can finally have some peace. I mean I went to all that trouble to get Xena to kill me, and now I have to serve you as this spirit form."
"Your body was dead, but your spirit was still available. You may not be able to be seen or felt, but you can be heard and you can hear. You are to be my eyes and ears. And you will have oblivion when I am done with you."
"Fine, fine, then lets just get this over with."
Joxer lounged in his tub. This was the life, a hot bath, beautiful women, and Xena, Gabrielle, and him back like it was supposed to be. Yes he was very happy right now. Of course now that Xena had no need for him to travel with her, would he still be able to hang around with them? Well I will just have to make sure that I can, he thought.
Xena was relaxing in her warm tub. She had not felt this happy in a long time. When Gabrielle was poisoned I thought I was going to lose her then. It was all I could do to stay there and fight the army. But she insisted and her words and courage gave me the strength to overcome the army. I really didn't think I could. At best I thought that we would just delay them long enough. But the thought of losing the one person who means the most to me in the world was too much. I don't think I've ever fought with that kind of passion ever. And I hope I never have to again. I swore to myself then that if we got out of that mess alive I would tell Gabrielle how I felt about her. But of course I didn't. There are so many reasons I didn't, so many excuses, but the simple fact is, I chickened out. And then I did lose her. All those things I should have told her, all the things we missed out on. If only I had been honest with her. I thought I would never see her smile again. Or the way the sunset would shine off of her hair at dusk. Or even the way she insisted on helping me remove my armor. By the Gods she would fawn over me so. Does she feel the same way about me as I do her? Maybe, maybe not, but that doesn't matter now. This time I will not mess up. I will tell her how I feel and to Tartarus with the consequences.
Xena stood up to get out of the tub when she heard Gabrielle outside of the door.
"Xena can I come in?"
Hope walked in and saw Xena standing there naked. My but she was a beautiful woman. I wonder if Mother ever knew that. She searched through the stolen memories and found something she didn't quite expect. Well now this is interesting. Mother did have feelings for her, but never told her. What a thing to waste. Look at her, she is gorgeous. Well, this might be fun after all.
"Did you have something to say? Or are you just going to stand there staring at me?" Xena asked as she dried herself off.
"Oh sorry. I just came to ask you when we were leaving?"
"You know, to go wandering around righting wrongs. It's what we do right? Or have you changed that while I was gone?"
Putting on her clothes, Xena replied. "No, nothing's changed. I just thought you might want to stay longer in the camp to rest."
"No I feel fine now. And I have this urge to get back to the way things were, you know, before."
"Of course Gabrielle. Anything you want. We'll leave tomorrow at first light."
Leaning over and kissing her on the cheek, "Thanks Xena. I'll go tell Ephiny." Hope turned around and left the hut.
Xena stood there a moment longer savoring the sensation of the kiss. Smiling to herself she finished getting dressed and left the hut.
The next morning they said their good-byes and gave their thanks to Ephiny and the other Amazons. Xena lead Argo as Gabrielle and Joxer followed. They started traveling in a northernly direction.
After a few miles, Hope asked, "Xena, I was wondering if we could go south instead."
"Why do you want to go south?"
"No reason. I just have this urge to go that way."
Xena had a thoughtful look on her face, "OK, we go south." She mounted Argo, turned her around and headed off. They traveled on through the day and made camp by a small brook. Joxer went to gather firewood and Xena stared to remove her armor.
"Here let me help you with that." Hope stated when she realized that this was something her mother use to do.
"Thanks Gabrielle." Xena took off her bracers as Hope undid her breast armor. "That feels better. Now what's for dinner?"
Oh no this was something Hope hadn't thought about. Her mother was the one who always cooked, but Hope didn't know how. After Joxer had started the fire she went to work. The meal didn't come out all that bad in her opinion. But after Xena finished it was clear that it wasn't what she was use to getting.
"Sorry about dinner. I guess I'm not fully recovered from my recent ordeal." She hoped that that would be enough of an explanation.
"That's ok Gabrielle. It might take awhile for you to fully recover."
The next day as they were traveling along, Hope started to fall further and further behind. She would act like she was smelling flowers or tying her boots or anything that looked natural. When she was out of earshot she called for Callisto.
"Callisto are you here?" she asked in a low voice. After a few moments, "Callisto come here right now!"
"What are you in such a fuss about?" Callisto asked finally. "Are you finally tired of the warrior bitch? Too bad I can't kill her for you. But at least I can watch." she stated in a mischievous voice.
"No I am not going to kill her. Yet. Father has plans for her. What I need from you right now is a distraction. Xena might be getting suspicious again and we need something to occupy her."
"And just how am I suppose to do that. I don't have a body remember?"
With a sigh of tolerance Hope replied, "Go to the town ahead of us and stir up some trouble. Get some warlord to attack the town or something. You CAN do that without a body can't you?"
"Oh what fun. Death and destruction- my two favorite subjects. Especially when they involve Xena. Is there anything else Auntie Callisto can do for you?"
"Yes. When you are done, go check on the progress of my father's awakening. Then report back to me."
"And just what are you going to be doing while I am away?"
"That is none of your concern right now. Your only concern is distracting Xena. Now go."
Once Callisto had left Hope hurried to catch up with Xena and Joxer.
"What were you doing back there?" Xena inquired.
"I was. . .um. . .well I had a call from nature." Hope stammered.
Xena gave her a look that showed she understood, but there was also a bit of suspicion in that look. They continued to travel along. As the day was starting to wind down, a man came running up the road toward them. He looked like he was in a great hurry and there was a look of sheer panic on his face. As he drew near he noticed them. His eyes got wider and he attempted to run around them.
"Hold friend." Xena said as she casually yet expertly stepped toward him giving him no option to continue on. "Why the hurry?" she asked.
The man looked at the three of them, seemed to realize they posed no threat to him, and relaxed a little. Then turning toward Xena he answered, "There is a warlord threatening my village. He said that if we didn't give him what he wanted and obeyed him, he would attack us and kill anyone who tried to get in his way. The rest of the village is planning on fighting him. I don't want to die so I am getting as far from here as possible."
"Coward." Hope replied to his last comment. Xena flashed her a quick look, but she saw enough of it to realize that she better remember who she was suppose to be and to watch what she said. Callisto works fast, she thought with a conniving smirk on her face. She noticed Xena still looking at her and quickly turned her head to hide the smile.
Xena turned back to the man who was obviously wishing they would hurry so he could go, and asked, "Where is your village?"
The man pointed back the way he had come, "About a half a day that way. Why?"
"I think I would like to have a talk with this warlord. I think he needs a new occupation in life." Xena answered off-handedly.
"It's your funeral." the man replied. "But you'll never make it before dark. And he has his warriors out there looking for anyone who might try to escape. I barely got out of there in time. Now can I please go."
"You can come with us." Joxer said, puffing himself up. "We'll protect you."
The man looked at Joxer, laughed, and said "No thanks. I'd rather take my chances on down the road." And with that he was gone, running as fast as he could.
Xena and Hope both rolled their eyes at Joxer.
"What?" he asked.
They traveled as far and as fast as they could, but within a couple of hours it was too dark to continue. They made camp keeping the fire low so as not to attract the warriors who were undoubtedly roaming the forest. After they ate, Joxer left to get more firewood.
"Be careful out there." Xena told him as he was leaving.
"I can handle those fools. I am Joxer the Mighty." he replied.
"Just be careful, ok." Xena said.
Once he was gone Xena looked to her friend. She was sitting across from her staring into the fire with a far away look in her eyes. The light from the fire was dancing on her face and was causing her hair to look aflame. Xena's eyes softened as she watched her. By the Gods she is beautiful. Oh how I love her. That last thought reminded Xena that she had not yet told her friend how she truly felt. I guess I'm putting it off again. But then we really haven't been alone yet. I really don't think it would be right to tell her while Joxer is with us. He might not like it very much.
Hope looked up to see Xena looking at her with adoration in her eyes. "Now how in Tartarus has Mother never noticed that?" she thought. Hope decided it was time to have some more fun. She smiled at Xena, got up and walked toward her. She saw the questioning look on Xena's face and smiled to herself. Placing herself behind Xena she sat down and started to massage her shoulders.
"Gabrielle. . .what are you. . .?"
"Shhh. Just relax, you looked like you needed this. We don't want you going and pulling a muscle at a crucial moment tomorrow do we?"
"No I suppose not." Xena said as she leaned into her friend, enjoying the way her hands felt on her. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the warm tingles that were shooting through her body. Desperately wishing for more, but happy with what she was receiving. Xena was suddenly brought out of her quiet musing as she felt hands start to move down the front of her chest toward her breasts and lips touch her neck.
Joxer was humming the Joxer the Mighty song to himself as he collected firewood. He was having some trouble finding any in the dark and so he wasn't paying much attention to what was in front of him.
"Excuse me?" came a voice out of nowhere.
Joxer was so startled he almost jumped out of his shoes. Looking up he saw Gabrielle standing in front of him.
"What are you doing out here? Don't you know its dangerous out here?" he asked. "Why aren't you back at the camp with Xena?"
"Xena? Camp? What are you talking about?"
Joxer gave her a confused look. "Huh? The camp, you know, back there. Wait, are you testing me? Nice try but it won't work."
"I'm sorry sir, but I really don't have any idea what you are talking about. And why are you acting as if you know me?"
Joxer looked at her again, harder this time. She sure looked like Gabrielle. He would never mistake anyone for her darkness or no darkness. But if this was Gabrielle then why was she acting like she didn't know him? Suddenly a thought occurred to him. Drawing his sword he said, "Alright Hope stay where you are. Don't come any closer. Xena is right behind me and I can have her here in seconds if you try anything."
"What are you doing?" Gabrielle asked confused. "Who is Hope?"
"Oh so your going to try to play that game. Well it won't work."
"You think that I am this Hope person?"
"Who else would you be. No one else looks like Gabrielle and she is back at the camp. So you must be Hope."
Gabrielle thought about that for a minute. She seemed to be having trouble with it. Finally she stated, "No I'm sorry I don't think I am this Hope person. I'm not really sure who I am, but I am sure that my name is not Hope."
"What do you mean you don't know who you are?"
"Well I'm not sure. I don't really know much of anything right now. All I know is that I woke up a couple of days ago in a nice farmers house with no memory of anything. The farmer said I must have taken a knock on the head to lose my memories like that, but my head doesn't hurt. Well not on the outside anyway. Um, can you please put your sword away? It's making me nervous."
Joxer, who was beginning to doubt that this was Hope, put his sword away. "Sorry, but just remember, I can still call for help if I need it. So you claim you have no memories."
"Well at first I didn't, but they have started to come back to me. I try to remember things, but it hurts. So I try not to as much as possible. Besides they seem to be coming back on their own."
"Do you know who I am?" Joxer asked.
"No, I mean I can't remember your name but I do seem to remember that I know you. I think it was that song you were humming that did it. As soon as a heard it memories started to come back to me. That's why I came to you, I was hoping that seeing and talking to you might bring more back."
Joxer started to sing, "Joxer the mighty, he's very tidy. Roaming through the countryside, with Gabby as his sidekick. . .."
"Yes that song." Gabrielle replied as he was singing. And then with a look of recognition, she threw her arms around him and gave him a big hug. "Oh Joxer! I'm so happy to see you." Then she grabbed his nose and twisted it.
"Ouch! Why did you do that?"
"I don't know. It just seemed the thing to do."
"Gabby!", he exclaimed. "It is you." And then he returned her hug enthusiastically. "But if you're the real Gabrielle, then that must mean that it's Hope who is back at the camp with Xena. Oh no and I left them alone too. I must go save Xena."
"Wait. Do you mean Hope, as in my daughter Hope?"
"Yeah. Hey you remember!"
"Sort of. It just came to me. And these memories aren't good. Is she a bad person?"
"Yes, yes she is. Sorry to remind you."
"How come you didn't know it was her until just now?"
"Well she has been posing as you. Wonder why she would do that? Maybe I need to think about that before I go charging in there." Joxer sat down and started to reflect on the events that had occurred since arriving at the Amazon camp. "Lets see...she convinced us that she was you. Then she wanted to leave the camp right away. And then she insisted that we go south. Hum what is she up to?" he pondered.
Gabrielle, who had been sitting beside Joxer thinking suddenly asked, "Joxer, who is Dahak?"
"Dahak! Of course. That must be it."
"What must be it?"
"Dahak is Hope's father. And he needs her to get into this world. That must be why she wanted to go south. Dahak is coming here in the north. We must go stop him."
"We? As in you and me?"
"Yes. We can't tell Xena because then Hope would know what we were up to and try to stop us. We need to keep her away from her father as long as possible. I'll go tell Xena that I need to leave, you stay here."
Not understand much of what he was talking about Gabrielle simply replied, "Ok."
Back at the camp, while all of this was happening, Xena turned slightly to look at the person behind her. "Gabrielle? What are you doing?"
Hope's reply was to take Xena's head in her hands and draw her to her. Hope placed her lips to Xena's and fiercely tried to kiss her. For the first few seconds Xena was too stunned to do anything. Then once she realized what was happening, she returned the kiss just as fiercely. I can't believe this is happening, Xena thought as she felt soft lips start to descend toward her neck. I guess I should have known she felt the same way about me as I do her. But you never notice the looks when they are directed toward you. I just hope Joxer doesn't come back right away. She moved her hands around Hope and started to caress her back.
Hope nibbled on Xena's ear and then moved back for another kiss, her tongue exploring Xena's mouth, tasting her, wanting her. She bit Xena's lower lip drawing it into her mouth, giving it a quick suck and then she moved her lips down to continue her assault on Xena's neck.
When Hope took her lip like that, Xena felt a sharp tingle run up her body. She could feel the wetness between her legs increasing. Hope was methodically kissing and biting her neck and lips. Gods this was too much. She arched her head to allow Hope access to more.
My goodness she has soft skin and her smell is intoxicating, Hope thought as she moved her hand to cup one of Xena's breasts. As Xena dug her nails into her back in response to this, Hope felt her own wetness grow. She marveled at this, even Ares hadn't caused her to get this aroused. She playfully squeezed and fondled the breast, teasing and pinching the nipples under the shift she wore. She reached up to move a strap down off of Xena's shoulder, then slid her hand down under the shift fondling the breast with renewed vigor.
Xena was going crazy. Every nerve ending was screaming for release. Leaving one hand to support the body straddling her lap, she reached around with the other to begin fondling her friend's breast. After all, why should Gabrielle have all the fun, she thought.
As the two women played with each others breasts, Hope leaned her head down and started biting Xena's neck again. Xena's fondling became more aggressive and the hand on Hope's back began to dig into her flesh. Hope's response was to bite harder. When she moved down toward Xena's shoulder, she bit down so hard that she broke the skin causing Xena's blood to flow. Hope, with a moan of delight, started to drink the blood. When suddenly Xena pulled away. Hope looked up at her and immediately realized from Xena's expression that she had gone too far. Great how am I going to cover this up, she thought. "Xena I'm sorry. I..." she started to explain when Joxer entered the camp. He looked at the two women with a puzzled expression. Hope was sitting in Xena's lap.
Getting up Xena replaced her strap to conceal the wound she had received. "Joxer there you are. I was wondering where you had gotten to. I was just showing Gabrielle here a defensive move. I think she's got it down don't you?" she asked quickly. No need for him to know what really happened. He doesn't need to be hurt that way. Especially if my suspicions are correct.
"Oh. Oh I get it. Yes very well done Gabrielle," he said eyeing her. "Whew boy am I tired. I think I'll go to bed now. Got to be rested for tomorrow." Joxer laid down on his bedroll and began to feign sleep.
"I think we all should get some sleep." Xena stated. She laid down on her bedroll, being careful not to put too much weight on her aching shoulder.
When Joxer was sure they were both asleep, he got up and quietly left. Retracing his steps, he found Gabrielle sitting and waiting right where he had left her.
"What took you so long?" she asked.
"Sorry. I thought Xena would never go to sleep. Shall we go?"
They both traveled quietly and carefully headed north. Once they were clear of any danger from the warriors lurking in the woods, they began engaging in idle conversation. Joxer tried to talk about things that might help Gabrielle's memories come back. He claimed that he had done this before for her. In fact her memories had started to come back faster and faster after she had first run into him. This wasn't simple amnesia she realized. This was something else all together. It was about midday, when the memories were coming back so fast, that she reeled from the impact and collapsed at Joxer's feet.
"Gabrielle!" he exclaimed kneeling down. "Are you allright?" he asked with a great amount of concern as he helped her sit up.
"I'm fine Joxer. Thanks. The memories just became too much." She shook her head, trying to regain her senses. "I think they are all back now. I should be ok."
"That's great. I'm happy that you're going to be yourself again. If we plan on going up against Dahak, we're going to need it." He hugged her and helped her to her feet.
"Now lets go stop him. He and I have some unfinished business." Gabrielle said with a determined expression.
At dawn, Xena and Hope awoke only to discover Joxer missing.
"Now where could he have gotten off to?" Xena wondered outloud. Shrugging, thinking he had just run off to avoid the fight, she mounted Argo and the two of them left for the village. As they got closer, they could hear the sounds of fighting going on. "Meet me there Gabrielle." She spurred Argo and raced toward the village.
"Well was this what you wanted deary?" Callisto asked.
"Callisto, where did you come from? And where have you been?"
"I was following your orders, what else?"
"It shouldn't have taken you this long."
"Well a girls gotta have some fun."
"Just stick to the plan. I don't want you to mess things up. What did you find out about my father?"
"Everything is going according to plan. He just needs one more priest, and they almost have all the sacrifices they need. Oh and one other thing, mommy dearest is back."
"What? I thought Father had her trapped."
"Well I guess he was just a little too busy to keep an eye on her. She and that annoying Joxer are on there way to try and stop him."
"This changes things. I wondered where he had gone off to. Go see what you can do to slow them down, I'll get Xena."
"What and miss all the fun I've caused for her?"
"Just do it!"
"Ok, ok, don't get so worked up about it. Hum, maybe I can cause even more trouble with that annoying little blonde. Ta ta."
Hope arrived at the village to find total chaos. There were warriors lying on the ground every where. She looked around for Xena and found her confronting what could only be the warlord Callisto had brought in.
"Talon, its been a long time," Xena said as she parried a downward thrust.
"Too long Xena." He smirked while blocking a blow from her.
"Last I heard you were keeping rats company in a dungeon."
"Well I got tired of that place and decided to leave." He kicked at her stomach.
Xena catching the offending foot laughed, "Didn't you learn anything last time we met?" She twisted his leg while pushing back, causing him to fall. He rolled to the side as she swung her sword down at him. He got up and they exchanged blows back and forth. Both of them blocking the others blows. It was obvious however, that Xena was the better of the two and that this scrimmage would soon be over. Talon came at her with a fierce blow to the side, but it was just slow enough for Xena to block and knock his sword out of his hand. "Give up yet?" she inquired.
"Never!" He charged at her intending to take her down, but as he got close she punched him in the face with the butt of her sword. He went down like a rock. Binding his unconscious form, Xena then turned him over to the local authorities along with his other henchmen.
"Well that went smoothly." Hope said as the men were being carried off.
"Yes it did. Not too many villagers got hurt either. Well now that that is over with lets go. I don't want to get stuck here by the villagers wanting to thank me." She mounted Argo and started heading back the way they had come.
"Xena, why are we going back north?"
"Oh no reason really. I just thought we might try to find that man we ran into yesterday and tell him its save to return home. Is that alright with you?"
"Of course." Xena eyed her then spurred Argo ahead.
Joxer and Gabrielle crested a hill and saw large groups of people moving down in the valley.
"What are they doing I wonder?" Joxer asked.
"It looks like those people are prisoners." Gabrielle supplied.
"Oh no not again. They must be sacrifices for Dahak. I think we better hurry, but lets be careful and circle around them."
They made a wide arc around the groups being careful not to be seen. As they rounded a bend they heard a voice say, "Well, well what do we have here?"
"Callisto?" Gabrielle and Joxer said together.
"Aw, so good of you to remember me."
"I thought you were dead." Joxer stated.
"Oh but I am." From around a boulder stepped a man brandishing a sword. "But as you can see, I have many skills too." The voice came from the man, but it was clearly Callisto talking.
Screaming, she advanced on them. Joxer tried to keep her away from Gabrielle, but Callisto took him out quickly with a blow to the head. Stepping over Joxer's unconscious form, Gabrielle swung at Callisto with her staff. Laughing, Callisto kicked her staff away. Gabrielle managed to avoid Callisto's attacks for awhile, but finally Callisto knocked her to the ground. As Callisto was about to kill Gabrielle a shimmering form solidified between them.
"Callisto stop!" Hope said.
"Oh come on. Don't tell me I can't kill them either?"
"No you can't. Take them as prisoners. Father has plans for them as well."
Callisto screamed in frustration.
"Just do it Callisto." Hope demanded.
Gabrielle awoke with a throbbing pain in her head. She realized immediately that she was bound and gagged. Turning her head she saw Joxer tied up next to her, along with several other prisoners. They were in some sort of holding room with guards at the door. A priest was inspecting the prisoners at the other end of the room. She closed her eyes and tried to act like she was still unconscious. Once he had left, she opened her eyes and tried to nudge Joxer awake. After several tries he finally woke up. And then after several failed attempts of communication, he realized that she wanted him to help her get out of the bonds they were in. They first removed each others gags, then back to back, worked on the ropes that tied their hands together.
"Joxer we have got to think of a way out of here. I think they are about to start sacrificing people," she explained, struggling with his bonds. "A little to the left. There now you've got it."
"How are we suppose to stop Hope?" he asked.
"I don't know. We'll think of something, but first we have to get out of this cell. There, you're free, now get me untied."
With his hands free he was able to work on her's much easier. Once Gabrielle was free, they snuck up on the guards. Gabrielle motioned Joxer to take the one on the left, leaving the one on the right for her. Just as they were about to clobber them, the guards suddenly fell to the floor. Looking up, Gabrielle saw Xena standing there.
"Oh Xena!" Gabrielle exclaimed as she flung her arms around Xena's neck, giving her a big hug. "I am so glad to see you." Tears were starting to form in her eyes and she wiped them away with one hand, still leaving the other around Xena's neck.
"I'm so glad to see you too Gabrielle," Xena said returning the hug. "I thought I had lost you forever."
"Never Xena. I will never leave you."
"Glad you could make it Xena," Joxer said.
"Yes, and just in time it seems. I had wondered where you had gotten off to Joxer."
"Yeah, well I found Gabrielle and we thought it would be best not to tell you, what with Hope around and all."
"That was wise I suppose. Just next time try and tell me these things. I almost didn't figure it out in time to stop this."
"So you know that it was Hope all along then?" he asked.
"Yes I thought something was up. And then when she just disappeared yesterday, I knew for sure."
"Yesterday? Were we out that long?" Gabrielle asked. "Xena we have another problem along with Hope."
"Callisto is here as well."
"Callisto? I thought I killed her for good this time."
"Well, we didn't actually see her, but she was able to posses a soldier and take us captive."
"We'll just have to deal with her when the time comes. You guys untie these prisoners, I'm going to go try and stop Hope and her followers." Xena turned and left.
"Joxer you help these people. I have to go keep Xena from killing Hope. For all we know, Ares may still have that deal with the Fates."
"Ok Gabrielle, but be careful this time."
"I will." She smiled at him and ran after Xena.
Xena ran down the hall and entered a large room. Standing at the other end was Hope surrounded by four priests. There were guards along the walls.
"Xena, so good of you to join us. Now you can witness the coming of a new God, my father."
"Not if I have anything to do with it Hope."
"That's too bad Xena. I was really hoping I wouldn't have to kill you. You would have made a great soldier in Father's army. Guards kill her!"
Yelling the guards ran at Xena. Crying her warcry, she flipped into the air, landing in the middle of them. She kicked one down and punched the next. Grabbing him she turned him around to receive the sword thrust from the guard coming up behind her. She flung the dead guard forward, knocking the other one to the ground. She then turned to face the next guard coming for her, but he was suddenly knocked to the ground as Gabrielle swept his feet from under him.
"Thanks," she shot toward Gabrielle as she moved on to the first guard she had kicked down, who had now regained his feet. Xena drew her sword and ran him through.
Hope watched all this and grew angry. She turned to her priests and sent three of them into the battle. Gabrielle was there to head them off.
"Oh good. I was wondering where you were Mother. Kill her for me!"
The priests advanced on Gabrielle. She swung high sending one spinning to the ground. Then she came low and cracked the next one's knees. Thrusting the end of her staff behind her she jabbed the last one in the stomach. By this time Xena had finished off the last of the guards. They were all either dead or unconscious on the floor. Heading toward Hope she said, "Now that all you're flunkies are out of the way, its just you and me."
Hope smiled and said, "No there is one other." Turning to the priest that had stayed by her during the battle, "Callisto, now you can kill her."
A smile spread on the priest's face and Callisto's voice said, "About time. Don't worry Xena I'll make it quick." Screaming Callisto flipped into the air to land in front of Xena.
As they battled Xena said to Hope, "How did you manage to bring Callisto back?"
"I didn't Xena, Father did."
Callisto kicked Xena in the stomach. "You better concentrate on me Xena. I want this to be a little fun."
Xena ran at Callisto, running up the body and flipping back, kicking her in the face. "I thought you wanted oblivion Callisto? Why are you back helping Hope?"
"I did want to die. But her daddy had other plans. Once he is here I will finally have peace."
"Is that what Hope told you?" Xena asked ducking the punch coming at her face. "Hasn't she made that same kind of promise before and welched on it?"
Callisto shot a look at Hope, then turned back to look at Xena. "Oh very good Xena. But I know what you're trying to do."
"Come on now Callisto think. If Dahak brought you back, how is Hope going to be able to reverse it?"
"Enough!" Hope shouted. "Finish her Callisto!"
"Why the hurry Hope? Are you afraid of what she's saying?" Callisto asked.
"Just finish her."
"I don't think so deary." Callisto stepped back from Xena. "You finish her."
"Callisto do as I say!"
"No, no, this might be fun to watch. I wouldn't want to take any fun away from you."
"I'll deal with you later Callisto." Hope then thrust her arm out and sent a serge of energy at Xena, causing her to fly into the wall. Xena got up with pain clearly showing on her face. Yelling, she ran and flipped toward Hope. But Hope just Caused Xena to fly into a wall again. Xena got up slower this time. She saw Hope getting ready to send another wave of energy at her, then she noticed the priest the Callisto was inside of draw a dagger as he stood next to Hope. Wanting to keep Hope distracted, Xena yelled and ran at Hope again. Just as Hope was about to hurl Xena through he air again, Callisto ran the dagger through her back, into her heart. It was the Hinds blood dagger.
Hope looked up at Callisto as she fell to the floor. "Why?"
Shrugging Callisto answered, "I was getting tired of you." And with that said, Hope died. Turning toward Xena, "Well it was fun, wasn't it Xena? Apparently you were wrong. The power holding me here is fading Xena. Bye now."
"No, wait!" Xena ran toward Callisto, but it was too late. She was gone.
Gabrielle walked to Xena. "How did she get the dagger?"
"I guess the priest had it all along."
"You mean you didn't get it back?"
Looking ashamed, "Well no, I guess I had other things on my mind at the time."
"Oh Xena!" Gabrielle hugged her friend. Xena looked at her stunned. Then understanding, she hugged her back.
Later that day, they stood outside an inn talking to Joxer.
"Thank you Joxer for all of your help. And for getting those people out of there unharmed," Xena said to him.
"It was nothing Xena."
"Aren't you going to stay at the inn with us? The towns people said they would put us up for the night in thanks for rescuing them."
"No, thanks all the same. But I think I should move along."
"Take care then Joxer. And thank you again," Gabrielle said as she hugged him. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. Joxer almost fainted.
"Farewell chums," he said as he turned to leave.
Xena turned to Gabrielle. She hadn't had the opportunity to greet her lost friend properly yet. "Gabrielle it's so good to have you back."
"It's good to be back Xena."
"Gabrielle there is something I've been wanting to tell you."
"Later Xena, first I need a long, hot bath. And so do you."
Sighing Xena followed her friend into the inn.
Xena entered the room they were sharing. Gabrielle was already there taking a bath in the adjoining room. Xena had been stopped by the villagers and got stuck receiving their thanks for what seemed an eternity. Gabrielle had slipped away, leaving her alone with them. She could hear Gabrielle humming to herself as she bathed. Xena planned on telling her friend how she felt about her that night. I don't know how she will take it, but I'm not going to wait any longer. She went to go sit on the bed to wait her turn in the bath, when she noticed a scroll laying on it. Gabrielle must have been writing before she went to take her bath. I wonder what she's writing about? I'll just take a quick peek. She'll never notice. Picking up the scroll, Xena unrolled it and read the title. It was entitled "My Warrior". Smiling, Xena read on.
The sweet smell of your skin fills my nose making my thoughts of you much more enticing. I lick my lips and I long to taste the slight taste of salt from your flesh. The tender touch of your fingers glide over me with the tingling caress that races through my body. Each time you stop I extend my body to reach for your hands awaiting for you to move ever so slightly closer to the direction of where I yearn for it most. I ache at the thought of your skin next to mine rubbing our bodies fiercely against each other. Clothing covers the floor surrounding our bodies. All you see is the creamy flesh color moving as if it were one. The rhythm of the movement flowing like a great masterpiece. Each stroke much stronger than the first. As our lips meet our tongues intertwine. I feel the wetness of your tongue slide over my neck slowly moving to and fro stopping just for a slight suckling just below the ear putting me into an orgasmic frenzy. My breathing grows deeper and faster, then to my surprise, I feel you gently bite down and I moan in ecstasy. Finding it hard to contain myself I explode into dimensions of nothing I've ever experienced. My entire body quivers with excitement. I feel a strong deep pulse pounding within my chest. My head becomes light and airy as if I were in a daze. I sense the hunger I feel for you as I stroke my hand over your back and buttocks slowly turning it to glide up your inner thigh. I stop just close enough to make your pant become stronger. Moving back and forth sending you into madness I gently place my hand on quivering curves. Throwing my head back as you're arching your back awaiting my next move. I hear you wail "Please touch me" I hear those words echo in my mind. This feeling flow my every breath. My eyes are fixed deep within you. I can't hold back any longer. I put my lips gently against your neck slowly running my tongue up to your earlobe. I gently nibble on your ear. My breathing grows heavier the hunger for you is so strong. I touch your nipple and it immediately becomes erect. My lips cover your nipple and my tongue slowly laps at it like a cat to milk. I raise your arm above your head then the other. I reach to the bedside table for a silk scarf and bind your hands to the bed. Then I reach for another silk scarf and cover your eyes with it to blindfold you. As all scarves are in place I glide my hand lightly over your entire body.
Xena sat staring at the unfinished work. She almost couldn't believe what she had just read. Shifting slightly, she noticed the wetness between her legs. She looked at the room where Gabrielle was. Getting up she approached the room.
"Xena is that you?"
"Yes Gabrielle." Gabrielle noticed that there was a hint of sultriness in Xena's voice. Smiling she realized that the warrior must have found the scroll she had purposefully left out in plain sight.
"Why don't you come in and join me Xena. I need my back washed."
Xena entered and began to strip her clothes off. "Gabrielle there is something I want to say to you."
"Why don't you come in the water and tell me."
Xena stepped into the water and moved toward Gabrielle. "Gabrielle I just wanted to tell you that I love you."
"I love you too Xena." Xena took her friend's head in her hands and kissed her.
"Now, about that story you're writing," Xena said with a smile. Gabrielle's response was to return the kiss.
That night they finished the story together.
This is my first attempt at a story. I hope you all liked it. I would first like to acknowledge the fact that Gabrielle's scroll, "My Warrior", was not written by me. The author of that lovely tidbit is known as Tamberina. She is a dear friend and after I had read it, I just couldn't past it up. So I added it in the story. If you liked it, let me know and I will send along the message.
I would also like to thank three very special people who were a big help to me while I wrote this. My wife Katie and my dear friends Di and Po. Thanks guys.
Please let me know what you thought of this story. I hope to write more in the future and your feedback will help alot.
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