The Winds of Change
By L. Crystal Michallet-Romero

Copyright  © Nov 19, 2001 L. Crystal Michallet-Romero
All Rights Reserved

All feedback welcomed at:

* Xena Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures.  No infringement intended. All other characters are mine. 
* The X-Files, it's characters, and all related materials are the property of Chris Carter, Fox, 1013 Productions. No infringement intended. All other characters are mine. 

Rated: NC-17


Sexual Violence
: None


Notice from author:
This post FIN story is a work which is separate from any other writings which are either complete, or are in the works. The plot and outcome of this story, The Winds of Change, should not be construed as being the outcome of the other, longer FIN story which began before The Winds of Change was conceived.

Shannon McMahon felt the icy cold waters chilling her to the bone. As her teeth chattered, she fought against the current until she felt the soft sand below her feet. The pain in her mid-section coursed through her being. With a grimace, she broke through the crushing waves until she reached land. Void of energy, she fell to her knees then toppled face first on the sand.

As the ocean waves brushed over her drenched form, her mind replayed all that had occurred in the past few months. There was nothing more she could do, she reasoned as she closed her eyes, her labored breathing hardly heard over the crashing of the waves. From the darkness, the sounds of footfalls reached her senses. With an inward smile, she sighed until the feel of two strong hands helped her to her feet.

With a grateful smile, Shannon leaned into the smaller body as she was lead from the beach. When she felt the sand turn to cement, a loud boom shook the ground. She glanced back in time to see the explosion of the ship across the bay. Frowning, she shook her head as she lowered her gaze, hopeful that no one was hurt.

“Were you able to…?” her friend's question drifted into silence as they gazed at the flames that licked into the dark night sky.

“I-I….don't know,” Shannon shook her head as she turned away from the destruction, “I only hope they have enough information to help them find the ones behind this.”

Alone in her solitary thoughts, the taller woman allowed herself to be lead to the car. As she leaned against the red coupe, the second person opened the passenger side, reached in, and removed a large blanket that was quickly wrapped around Shannon's shoulders.
At the sight of blood, Shannon's friend quickly lifted the shirt and examined the now healing wound. With a slight tsking sound, the blonde shook her head as she lightly touched the flesh that was already regenerating, then, with a slight smile, she dropped the shirt and gave a quick nod of understanding to Shannon. Neither one spoke of the injuries or what might have caused it, instead, they remained in the comfortable silence that could only have existed after years of being together.

When the sounds of the emergency vehicle's siren was heard across the bay, the taller woman entered the luxurious car and leaned back against the soft white leather seat as her companion pulled the seat belt and fastened it around her bundled form. Glancing up through the thickness of the blanket, she caught the look of concern from the blonde woman. With a grateful smile, Shannon sighed as she leaned back into the seat. Reassured by this, her companion returned the smile, then closed the door securely.

With eyes closed, she heard the sounds of chaos across the bay as her soul mate moved around the car. Shannon took a moment to glance at her lover through the rear view mirror. Her lover was always stylishly dressed. Even when all she wore were black boots, faded blue jeans, a man's white tee shirt and a tight fitting black leather jacket, she was always pleasing on the eyes.

“Ready?” Shannon's friend asked as she climbed into the driver's seat and fastened her belt, before glancing up. The smaller woman's green eyes seemed to sparkle even in the shadows.

“Yeah, let's go,” was all the wet and weary form could say.

As if on cue, the smaller woman started the engine. Then, with a slight smile, she gunned the gas, before shifting the gears. The powerful roar of the Jaguar XKR rang out in the empty parking lot. The tires screeched against the pavement as the two-door coupe tore down the road.

With an amused smile, the wet form gazed over at her lover and saw the pleased smile across the delicate features. At her glance, the smaller woman turned slightly to her, her brow raised quizzically.


“Gabrielle, you never cease to amaze me,” the warrior woman chuckled.

“Why, Xena? Because I like fast cars?” Gabrielle chuckled as she reached down and turned on the CD player, the music of Tina Turner suddenly blared from the speakers. With a sheepish smile, the blonde lowered the volume before returning her attention to the road.

“Not only that, but….” Xena shook her head, “Everything! I mean, look at what you chose to drive this time around,” Xena/Shannon gazed around the compact interior, the grandeur of the vehicle not lost on any passersby.

Gabrielle glanced momentarily at her companion, then leaned back into the seat, a comfortable sigh escaping her delicate lips. “Xena, after all of this time, I'm finally getting something back from all of those patents that I filed, and my royalties for the books are finally starting to pay off, so please don't say anything about my choice. Besides, I happen to think that a Jaguar XKR was a prudent decision! It has good gas mileage and hardly ever breaks down, not like that beast you chose back in the 70s!” the bard released a slight chuckling snort.

“Hey, how was I suppose to know that the pinto's weren't safe! I just liked the name…it reminded me of Argo,” Xena pouted, then added, “besides, I was mostly referring to the fact that this car is fast!” the dark haired woman shrugged under the blanket.

As if on cue, Gabrielle smiled wickedly as they entered the freeway, her foot slamming down on the gas. At the sudden acceleration, Xena's eyes grew wide as she was pulled slightly forward, and then slammed back against the cushioned leather seat. With a slight arch of a brow, Xena glanced over at her lover.

For a moment, the dark woman had a mental image of the first time her lover was behind a steering wheel. While Xena was in the front cranking the old model T, Gabrielle accidentally pushed on the gas, nearly running over Xena. Thankfully, the warrior managed to jump out of the way in time to hop into the passenger's side. With a slight smile, Xena remembered how her heart had beat so fast each time Gabrielle nearly ran them off the road or into a tree. Thankfully, the bard's driving abilities had improved considerably!

“Xena, since when do you not like speed? Besides, I know that's not what you were talking about,” Gabrielle mischievously grinned as she easily maneuvered her way past the cars, her left foot and right hand working in unison as she shifted the gears.

“Yeah, you're right, I was referring to the fact that its cherry red and a two door coupe!” the wet one snorted as she leaned her head back on the head rest, “what woman doesn't notice you driving around in this babe magnet?”

“You're just jealous because you didn't think of getting one,” the blonde bard shook her head as she made her way from the bright lights of the city toward the distant mountains. While Gabrielle's concentration was on driving, the bard absently sang along with the words to the song that was playing, the blonde head periodically weaving as she emphasized the words to the song.

“I'mmmm, so in love with you….whatever you want to do…is alright by me!” the smaller woman sang slightly off key. When she felt the warrior's gaze on her, she cast her a side long glance, then winked as she continued to sing. Her fingers tapped out the beat of the song on the steering wheel. “…loving you forever…is what I need!” the blonde smiled, not at all concerned that she was half an octave off.

The tall, dark woman only sighed as she listened to her lover's voice that always brought a warmth to her heart. It never mattered to Xena what came from her lovers lips, to her, both her stories and her version of singing were a comforting presence in the warrior's life. As she remember all of the times that she had heard Gabrielle's sweetly melodic, slightly off key voice, she watched as the blonde continued to sing the song while her head bobbed up and down.

“…loving you whether, whether…times are good or bad…happy or sad…”Gabrielle's voice belted out the words as she easily shifted the cars gears. Feeling Xena's eyes on her, she glanced at her for a moment, then returned her attention to driving.

“What?” Gabrielle finally asked.

Xena smiled at her lover as the warmth from the heater began to settle into her cold bones. Throughout their time together, their love only grew stronger. With a wry smile, Xena shook her head.

“I love you, you know that?” she said to her bard. Gabrielle's eyes crinkled as she smiled, her eyes still on the road.

“Yeah, I know, but even after all of our years together, it's still nice to hear,” the blonde's soft smile could be seen through the occasional light cast from the freeway light poles.

With a contented sigh, the taller warrior settled herself down for the short ride. Shannon McMahon, just one of many names Xena had chosen to use whenever she had to go incognito into a dangerous situation. In the past, her stealth form of conduct always helped to protect her identity from anyone who was smart enough to trace her identity. If anyone were able to follow the trail back to her home, she would be forced into protecting what was most valuable to her. At this thought, Xena glanced over at her lover. She took in the blonde's beautiful features through hooded eyes.

Gabrielle was not only her lover, but she was her friend and the only family that Xena had left. Throughout their travels, their bond had deepened as their love grew stronger. With an inward smile, Xena thought back to the early years with her beautiful bard. She allowed her memories to wander as images from her past replayed in her mind. Xena smiled when she thought of her bard, quickly scribbling down the tales of their adventures together. 'And what tales those were!' the warrior princess thought as she opened her eyes to the road ahead of them.

As the freeway disappeared to a road, she watched the car's headlights shinning ahead of them. Just like their time together, the road seemed like a metaphor of the paths they walked down together. The pavement turning and twisting around steep mountain rock as it climbed up the mountain to their home. Although Gabrielle had chronicled their time together, she always managed to use poetic license with her tales.

At this thought, Xena remembered the last story of their adventures that her bard had written. For whatever reasons, the smaller woman chose to set it aside and write different stories that had nothing to do with their relationship rather than continue with their tales, and Xena never questioned her bard's decision. Instead, she preferred to wait for her lover to explain the lack of desire to write about a warrior and her bard. But Gabrielle had never explained her decision to Xena.

Xena turned to the bard, her eyes narrowing as her mind ran over various possibilities. At the intense scrutiny, Gabrielle glanced for only a moment at Xena, then returned her concentration to the road as the queen of rock and roll's voice filled the car.

“What?” Gabrielle finally asked.

“Gabrielle, in all of our time together, you've never explained one thing…” Xena's voice trailed off.


“How come you killed me at Higuchi?” the dark warrior asked.

Gabrielle chuckled, sighed, then shook her head. “Xena, are you still upset about that?”

“Well, yeah! Wouldn't you be?” Xena asked as she pushed a bit of the blanket away, her clothes were slowly drying in the warmth of the car.

“I'm sorry Xena, but it had to end that way. I thought I told you that?” Gabrielle said as she slowed the car down, turned her right blinker on, then drove the car up a private driveway.

“I know, it was more dramatic, you said, but gods, Gabrielle! Why just totally kill me off?” the warrior princess couldn't help but sound hurt.

“Xena, I can't believe that still bothers you. I mean, that was a long time ago! But, if you really need to know… what else could I do?” Gabrielle asked as she stopped the car before a gate. After she rolled down the window, she placed her hand on the black pad that was fastened to a metal pole. As the electronic scan ran over her plan, then registered her voice patterns, the green light clicked on that signaled it recognized her. Once the gate opened, the bard rolled up the window, and continued to drive up the narrow path.

“Xena, think about it. After all of the scrolls that I wrote, who would ever believe that we gave in to our basic desires and shared Odin's golden apple with Aphrodite? I mean, come on Xena! Throughout all of the tales, we were the selfless heros. What would people think if they suddenly realized that we were actually selfish? People might not be able to understand it and all of the good that you did would be pushed aside because of that one fateful decision that we made!” Gabrielle's voice was firm as the car turned the final bend toward their home.

Their home was nestled in between trees. The front lights lit up the immaculate landscape of their front yard. As the garage door automatically opened, Xena saw the single form of their servant waiting by the interior door. As if she were driving through a tunnel, Gabrielle roared the jaguar into the garage then slammed on the breaks at the last minute. With a slight smile, Xena glanced at her lover, then over at the yellow Defender Land Rover that sat in the double garage.

“You're lucky you didn't hit my car,” Xena's voice was firm, yet the slight humor seeped through her words. At her words, the blonde looked over shoulder at the parked SUV.

“Xena, I was a mile away! You are such a fuss,” she shook her head as she reached down and turned the ignition key. Only when the engine was silenced did Gabrielle turn to her, a serious expression on her face.

“Xena….I'm sorry that my scrolls ended with your death. You know how much it hurt me, remembered how long I cried? But it was the way it had to end, for good or bad, I simply couldn't see it ending any other way….a-and, I can't help it. I am selfish! I didn't want us to always have to travel the world with people watching our every move, to always be there to save everyone. If people thought you lived, we would never have had any time to ourselves! Xena, I wanted my time with you! Only you, do you understand?” green eyes gazed into blue, imploring to be understood.

With a slight smile, the warrior princess nodded understanding. “So that's what that year long honeymoon was about?”

“Oh, Gods no! I was just needing you really bad! I mean, with all of that traveling, there wasn't that much alone time for us, if you know what I mean!” Gabrielle answered, then, with a slight smile, she leaned forward and placed her lips against Xena's. For what felt like an eternity, their lips embraced as their tongues danced a familiar rhythm. Reluctantly, they pulled away. “If you shower up, we could relive some of those honeymoon moments!” the bard's voice whispered.

Xena felt her body instantly responding at her lover's promising words. With a slight smile, she wiggled her eyebrows as she began to undo the seat belt. “You just keep your engines running, my bard!” she said as she climbed from the car.

“Thought you'd feel that way!” Gabrielle chuckled as she followed the blanketed form into the main house.

Xena only nodded at Achala, their servant as she made her way into the main house. As she began to wiggle from her damp clothes, she dropped the blanket at her feet. With each step she took, Xena managed to discard an item of clothing. Behind her, she heard Gabrielle softly speaking to the young woman as she gave her the keys to the car, then followed behind the warrior princess.

“Xena! Why do you always leave a mess?” Gabrielle asked as she picked up the blanket, and each item of clothing that her lover had tossed to the floor.

“Huh? What?” Xena glanced back as she made her way to the stairs. Seeing the trail of wet clothes, she ducked up the stairway as she hollered down, “I'm sorry!”

Gabrielle only shook her head as she carried an arm full of wet clothes. With a slight chuckle, Achala moved behind the bard and quickly took the damp clothes from her arms.

“Thank you!” the bard mouthed to the young woman as she followed her lover to the second floor.

The East Indian woman remained silent, her black pants and white immaculate shirt becoming drenched from the wet bundle she carried. Ever since the warrior and bard had returned from Japa and stayed awhile in India, Achala's family had chosen to serve the two strangers from Greece. Although Xena and Gabrielle had never held a claim over them, each descendent chose to willingly serve them with discretion, secrecy and loyalty. In exchange, the two lovers made certain that their servants never wanted for anything.

As the tall warrior made her way to the showers, she reached behind her neck and pulled at the prosthesis on the back of her neck. With a yank, she pulled the bump from her skin then yelped at the pain. “Damn, Gabrielle, did you have to put so much glue on it?” she asked the bard as she rubbed the sore skin.

The blonde woman only laughed as Xena deposited the plastic item in her hand. “Don't complain, I've gotten better with the make up over the years. Besides, you're the one who wanted to be able to pass, not me. I thought you'd be fine just telling them what they wanted to hear so that they would investigate the water source.”

“I told you Gabrielle, I had to be able to fool them,” She explained as she stripped off the last remnants of her clothes and entered the large glass shower.

“Did it work?” Gabrielle asked as she moved to the computer in their master bedroom.

“I don't think that Scully believed me….she's way too paranoid!” the tall woman shouted out as the warm water fell over her form. When she turned her back to the wall and gazed out at her bard, she smiled as she saw Gabrielle putting on her gold rim glasses that had a zero magnification rating. Even though she had no use for them, the bard had insisted that they made her look more bardly.

With a shake of her head, Xena turned away from the scene. She sighed contentedly as she soaked in the warm water. When she felt refreshed, she reached up and took the nearby bottle of fragrant shampoo. As she lathered up her hair, she felt an all too familiar sensation behind her. The dark woman smiled and waited for her lover to wrap her arms around her. Like a mind reader, Gabrielle snaked her arms around Xena's waist as she lightly kissed between her shoulder blades. Turning, the taller woman smiled down at the blonde.

“Any news?” the warrior asked absently. Understanding her unspoken question, Gabrielle smiled slightly.

“The Lone Gunmen said that everyone got out….unfortunately, they didn't have any time to remove evidence,” the bard explained. “But, I wouldn't consider it a failure. At least now they know what their government was planning to do. As for Scully's baby, I just hope….” Gabrielle shook her head, a look of concern crossed her features.

“She's strong. I know she'll be able to protect him,” Xena explained.

“So the gunmen didn't have any other news?” the warrior asked as she basked in the feel of her bards closeness.

Gabrielle smiled slightly as she reached up and pushed a wayward lock from Xena's face. “No, nothing but they did ask again for my identity,” she chuckled.

“Do you think they'll figure out who sent them the phone conversation or who delivered the obituary to Reyes?” the taller woman felt suddenly alert as she pondered her lover's words.

Gabrielle grinned up at her lover, “Xena, don't worry! With some of my software and all of the coffee/internet shops popping up all over Washington, it was a piece of cake. Even if they manage to trace it back to that location, they will not be able to connect it with me.
The blond replied, “and no one even noticed when I was in the FBI building. Once I made an employee badge for myself, it was easier this time around than when I went in back in Hoover's day. That's the funniest thing, Xena. People don't tend to notice service workers. I walked right through the back door wearing the janitor's uniform and picture badge. When I go in as a janitor, I become invisible to everyone!”

“Such stealth! It's a good thing I let you watch all of those Mission Impossible shows back in the 60s!” Xena's teasing brought a smile to the blonde's lips.

“Hey, you know I'm good at accomplishing a task,” Gabrielle's voice was soft and tender, yet filled with confidence.

To anyone else, her confidence would have sounded like a boast, but to Xena, she knew that her lover's words were sincere. Ever since the new technological break through, Gabrielle always made it a point to embrace and understand their science fully. While Xena was occupied with the new weaponry and medical discoveries, Gabrielle made it a point to understand everything from the science of machines, space, the computer world and even the world of culinary delights.

With a sigh, Xena returned her thoughts to the subject at hand. “Aside for the news from the gunmen, nothing good going on?” Xena smiled down at her lover in an attempt to put her at ease, then she wrapped her arms around Gabrielle's naked shoulders.

“Nah…the boards are quiet…as for the bards,” Gabrielle shrugged, “well, you should see what some of them are having us do!”

“Humm….First time stories? Some hurt, comfort plots? Maybe a conqueror episode or two? Or more feats of love that are not humanly possible?” the tall woman chuckled as Gabrielle reached up and began to lather the shampoo into her hair.

“A little bit of everything, but a lot of the last one! I'd end up having to do yoga 24/7 just to be able to maneuver into some of the positions they have written!”

“Yeah, we'd have to be contortionists just to accomplish their descriptions….but, Gabrielle, hasn't it been fun trying all of their maneuvers?” Xena purred seductively as the palms of her hands roamed down the bard's slender back until she cupped Gabrielle's firm buttocks. “How about it, my bard? Want to try some more?”

Gabrielle smiled up at her, greens eyes sparkling as she smiled up. “One track mind!” the smaller woman softly said as she pushed Xena's head back under the water, the warm rays washing the shampoo from her dark locks. When the soap was removed, Xena opened her eyes and gazed down at her lover. She felt her heart skipping a beat as the bard smiled up at her, the intensity in her eyes, the depths of her love evident by the single glance.

Reaching over, the blonde took a bar of soap and began to lather the taller body as her eyes fell over Xena. At the sight of the prominent bruise on the tall woman's abdomen, Gabrielle grimaced as she lightly touched it. Glancing down at herself, Xena gazed at the purple, bluish wound, remembrance of the earlier pain still fresh in her mind.

“I'll be ok, Gabrielle. I always am,” Xena chuckled knowing that even though she may have experience an initial wound, she could never be permanently hurt due to the magical properties of Odin's apple. Like Aphrodite and Ares, she and Gabrielle would go on living forever despite the minor wounds that may occur from their various exploits

Gabrielle smiled slightly; the tips of her fingers lightly traced the bruise. “Yeah, you always are ok,” the bard echoed, then glanced up at her tall lover. “We'll always be ok.”

“Yes,” Xena smiled, her wet hair plastered to her head as the warm water cascaded over their bodies. “No matter what, we will always be alright, and we'll always be together!”

“Thanks to Odin's apple….and Aphrodite's encouragement,” the warmth of Gabrielle's words seemed to wrap itself around her heart.

With an inward sigh, Xena leaned back into the warm streams from the shower. As she held the bard close, her mind recalled all of their years together, the images still fresh in her mind. Although the winds of change would fall over the land, there would always be people who needed their help. As they had done in the past, they would always do what they could to help the innocent victims. At this thought, Xena glanced down at her smaller lover.

“The winds of change will only cause me to love you more with each passing day,” Xena stated firmly to the bard. Gabrielle smiled up at her before she reached up and pulled her down into a kiss.

“And I will always love you, my warrior princess,” the bard vowed with a soft whisper.

The End?

The following song can be found on the Tina Turner, Simply The Best, CD.

Let's Stay Together
Published by Irving Music,
Inc./Al Green Music, Inc. (BMI)

Let me say since, babe
Since we've been together
Loving you forever
Is all I need
Let me be the one you come running to
I'll never be untrue

Oh baby
Let's, let's stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad
Happy or sad

I'm so in love with you
What ever you want to do
It's alright with me

Let me be the one you come running to
I'll never be untrue
Oh baby
Let's, let's stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad
Happy or sad

Why, oh tell me
Why do people break up
Then turn around and make up
I just can't conceive
You never do that to me
Would you baby?
Just being around you
Is all I see

So baby lets
We aught to stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad
Happy or sad
Let's, let's stay together

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