Do They Know its Christmas
Disclaimer: These ladies arent mine. Just borrowin em for a brief bit of storytelling levity. Please enjoy. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate the writer, as I am broke and do not taste so great with ketchup.
Assumptions, presumptions and other umptuous words: This story presumes that Xena and Gabrielle are lovers. This story also presumes that somehow, Gabrielle was able to revive Xena the Soul Savior of Japan and return her to the state of being also known as life. Of course, Gabrielle is just thrilled to have her honey buns back, and Xenas just as thrilled not to have to smell one more demonic fart. Those things really stink, you know?
It was a clear, cool day, full of the kind of rare sunshine that makes winter mornings gleam like a thousand jewels. Three companions slowly meandered their way up a road, their breath painting foggy patches in the air before them.
"Brr. Ive never seen it so cold without a recent snowfall, Xena," Gabrielle commented as she rubbed her arms. Dressed warmly in a long patchwork coat, heavy brown tunic and thick linen breeches, the bard still shivered involuntarily.
Stopping to rub down the horses quivering flank, Xena grunted brusquely in agreement. The warriors clothes were as warm as the bards heavy tunic, leather breeches and a fur cloak were worn in place of her usual battle dress.
"I hope we find a town soon," Xena said as soon as Argo was ready to walk again. "Argos so cold, shes barely able to keep moving, and I really dont want to see her founder."
"Do you want to drape her in our bedroll? I can stand a little horsiness if itll make her warmer," Gabrielle said, moving to untie their roll of blankets.
A thin smile creased the warriors mouth. "Sure, cant hurt." Together, they wrestled with knots stiffened by cold, untying and unrolling the blankets. Argos ears twitched as the two women settled the blankets over her flanks, but otherwise, she did not move.
Almost immediately, there was a change. Argo let out a pleased whuff of air and whickered lightly, as if thanking them.
"Guess that did the trick," Gabrielle said, smiling slightly. Wish I could be so easily warmed. I am so looking forward to a warm inn and a soft bed tonight.
"I guess so," Xena replied, reaching out to ruffle the bards short blonde hair. "Thanks. Guess I forget sometimes that fur isnt everything." Shes really cold. I hope this next town has something more than a taproom and a weak fire.
Gabrielle patted the warriors stomach lightly. "Its okay, Argo forgives you," the bard said in a syrupy tone, trying to look as serious as possible.
"Ha-ha, funny, Gabster," Xena replied evenly, tilting her head down until her nose brushed the bards. "Real, real," she licked tip of Gabrielles nose, earning a squawk of surprise, "funny." Chuckling wickedly as the bard clapped her hands over her nose and began rubbing it furiously, Xena winked at Argo, who was observing the proceedings with her usual indifferent patience.
"Ew! Ewww! Xena! Ew! That was my nose you just put your tongue on!" The bard was still rubbing her nose, making goofy faces that the warrior was hard pressed not to laugh at.
Xena shrugged nonchalantly. "Yeah, I knew that. Doesnt take a warrior princess to recognize a bardic nostril." Im not going to laugh. I swear, Im not going to laugh.
Gabrielle glared at Xena. Xena only raised one dark eyebrow as if to say, go ahead, I dare ya. The bard rolled her eyes, sighed and turned away to begin walking down the road once more.
"Heh. Xena: one; bard: zero," Xena whispered, then began to whistle a jaunty tune. I got you, babe, the warrior thought as a smirk rippled across her face.
"I heard that, warrior princess. Dont plan the victory celebration yet," Gabrielle called back warningly. She got me! Again! Thats twice in one week! Who would have thought that shed be so into joking around?
"Oh, I wouldnt dream of it," Xena replied lightly. The warriors smile grew larger as she imagined a cloud of fog around Gabrielles head growing bigger, as if steam were venting out of the bards ears. Hmm, cute, shapely, sweet little ears that Im going to spend all night nibbling on... she mused, as her smile took on a decidedly wicked edge.
As they traveled, the day warmed by increments, and though their breath still wreathed visibly around their faces, it was not as thick a fog.
"I need new mittens," Gabrielle complained sourly, rubbing her hands together to try and chafe some warmth into them. "My fingertips are numb."
Xena stopped and took the bards hands into hers, kissing the cold extremities softly. "Better?" she asked, smiling as she looked down into Gabrielles half-closed eyes.
"Mm, yeah, much," the bard murmured, leaning into Xenas warmth.
"Good," the warrior replied, letting go of her lover.
Gabrielle let out a shriek of outraged surprise as she staggered into Argos flank. "Ooo, Xena! You insensitive beast!" She tackled the warrior, knocking her down.
They rolled about on the cold ground, laughing and tickling each other senseless, until they were both breathless.
"Whew," Gabrielle said, standing and brushing herself off. "Thats one way to warm up," she finished, reaching her hand out to help the taller woman stand.
"Works for me," Xena said nonchalantly as she unlimbered their waterskin from Argos pack. Thoughtfully, she weighed it before drinking. At the rate were sucking up this water, well need to find a stream if we dont reach a town soon, Xena mused as she sipped slowly. "Drink?" she offered, as they started walking again.
"Sure," the bard replied, accepting the skin. With deft hands, Gabrielle squirted the last of their water into her mouth. "Damn, Im sorry. Ill dip next time," the bard said as she handed the empty skin back to Xena.
Xena shrugged it off. "When you thirst, drink, Gabrielle."
"I know, I know," the bard said. "Its one of the first things you taught me about the trail, Xe. I just didnt want to seem like a little piggy."
Xena gave the bard a long, lingering look, letting her gaze follow Gabrielles every curve. "Small chance of that, love. Its no worry. Well either find a town or Ill go find us a stream. Either way, well have plenty of water."
"You know something, Xena? You can be rather useful sometimes," Gabrielle said offhandedly as they wandered down the road.
"I try," Xena replied dryly.
They had walked for another five miles when suddenly, Gabrielle stopped and put up a hand. "Hey, Xena, do you hear what I hear? " They had just crested a rise and were looking down on the beginnings of a small village.
"Yeah, sounds like a real party," Xena replied.
The bard shook her head ruefully, and laughed. "Well, at least its not yelling, and screaming."
"You got that right. I need a vacation," the warrior quipped.
"A vacation, you? Now why would you say that?" Gabrielle asked, slipping her arm into Xenas as they headed for the village.
"Oh, I dunno death, resurrection, death, resurrection, death... sensing a pattern here, dear?" Xenas tone was light and teasing, but Gabrielle could sense an underlying tension.
"Mm, could be. Or maybe its just that someones trying to tell you something," Gabrielle suggested lightly. Hug your sweetie, Gabrielle. Shes feeling each and every one of those resurrections today. The stray thought caught the bard off guard, but looking into her lovers eyes, she realized that it was true.
Xena pondered that one for a moment before shaking her head. "Naw, Ive been losing my religion for so long now that I doubt anyone out there would bother trying to talk to me." The warriors shoulders drooped just slightly.
"Theres always Aphrodite," Gabrielle said warmly as she wormed her way under Xenas arm and gave her a snuggle. "She likes talking to us."
"No, Gabrielle. She likes talking to you. Im sure shed rather not have to deal with tall, dark and deadly any more." Xena held no illusions about how the goddess of love felt about her. But then, she supposed she wouldnt like herself much either, if shed been the one responsible for the deaths of most of her immediate family, as well as several distant cousins. Being a godslayer did that to a person, you know.
"Oh, dont be such a pooh-pooher Xe. Tell you what, next temple we see, Ill go in and ask her," the bard promised, giving the taller woman a sturdy hug. "Believe me, its true," she whispered. "Aphrodite doesnt hate you."
Xena pulled the bard against her tightly, kissing the top of her head. I only hope youre right, my love. It took Argo turning to her mistress with a reproachful look and a soft whicker before Xena murmured, "Shall we get going? I can hear a warm bath calling our names, followed closely by the familiar voices of the soft bed and the hot meal."
Gabrielle cocked her head toward the village and listened. "Nah," she said after a moment. "Its just the partiers."
Xena laughed and they made their way into the village.
The entire community was festooned as if for a festival. From every eave, fence post and tree hung a myriad of brightly colored bits of twisted fabrics, and ropes of sparkling beads. Wreathes of woven branches graced every door and every other bit of free space was taken up by tinkling, chiming and jingling bells of every shape and size.
Even the animals were adorned. Collars and harnesses dripped with tiny silver ornaments shaped like little stars.
Only one building stood out from the chaotic blizzard of festivity the inn. Set off to the side of the road, with not even a single candles flame glowing in the window, the sturdy two-story building seemed almost deserted. A sign tacked to the front proclaimed that the place was the Cracked Kettle, and that Fyne Spyryts could be had within.
From the center of the village, the women could hear the strains of brightly cheerful music and laughter. By silent consent, they passed up the inn in favor of seeking out the people. It didnt take long to find them, laughing and dancing joyously in the village square. The entire town appeared to be a part of celebration. Groups of four to six dancers formed a spinning wheel and each wheel turned and spun around the others gaily. Along the edges of the square were vendors from all over the known world, hawking everything from raw wool to fine parchment.
Oh boy, shopping, Xena thought dryly as she and Gabrielle passed several older women as they roamed the merchants row. Betcha Im gonna have to dig out the dinars later.
"Pardon me, but, what are you doing?" Gabrielle asked a young man who stepped out of one circle of dancers to catch his breath.
"Why, were celebrating, of course," the teenager replied, blinking in surprise. "Youre free to join us."
"Celebrating what?" Xena asked. There were so many different decorations in the village, she couldnt tell if they were about ready to sacrifice a twin headed goat to Odin or sing paeans to Hestia.
"The twelve days of Christmas!" the villager replied promptly, smiling brightly. "Theres only three days left."
"Until?" Gabrielle drawled the word slowly, smiling prettily.
Cocking his head to the side, the man patiently said, "Why until Santa Claus comes and brings us snow. There must be snow for the kids to play in or it will not be winter."
Xenas eyebrows shot up and she quickly asked, "Is Santa Claus some new god or something?
The young mans gaze slipped down the warriors body and landed on her chakram with an almost audible thump. Swallowing heavily, he said, "Oh no, no, no. Santas not a god. Hes just a, guy, who, um, you know, comes once a year and dumps a bunch of snow on us. Sometimes, he um, even, brings neat things to the kids. Toys, clothes and the like."
"How nice of him," Xena remarked drolly. "I suppose he does all this for a modest fee?"
"I, um, hes never charged anything that I know of," the youth said helplessly. Just then, a young womans voice called out.
"Fidello, come dancing!"
Gabrielle caught sight of a curly haired, apple-cheeked girl who had both hands on her hips and one foot tapping along with the beat of the music.
"Be right there, Elda, my sweet," he called back. Nodding politely at Xena and Gabrielle, Fidello turned and jumped into the circles of dancers, executing a neat twist and slide maneuver.
"Hey, that was pretty good. I should see if I could use that sometime. Might work well for a disemboweling motion," Xena muttered softly. Gabrielle only rolled her eyes. The warrior nodded to herself. "Jump, then the twist, followed by a long slash and slide, yeah, thatd work," she murmured thoughtfully.
"Why dont we go see about stabling and a room? Im a little bit hungry and I bet Argod really like to get out of the cold," Gabrielle suggested, taking one of the warriors hands and tugging her away from the town square.
Still working out the new move in her head, Xena calmly allowed herself to be led back to the inn.
After Argo was seen to, the women settled inside the Kettles dim, chilly taproom, waiting for service. Xena actually allowed a full quarter candlemark to pass before searching out the innkeeper.
No one was behind the counter, so she slipped under the bar and headed for a doorway outlined in the pale glow of lamplight. The warrior stopped just outside of the door and listened. From inside, she could hear the rhythmic sounds of dough being kneaded.
"This must be where the owners hiding out," she muttered to herself, and pushed in the door.
Warmth and light spilled out of the room. Xena stood in the doorway and observed the interior. Standing in the room, staring morosely at a table full of rising bread dough, was a thin, pale woman whose dark circles had dark circles. The warrior cleared her throat noisily.
"Excuse me, but wed like "
She was rudely cut off. "Sorry, no vacancy, no ale and no food today," the woman said, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
Taken aback, Xena frowned. "Your common room is bare, your stable is empty and youve a table full of food. Dont turn me away before I can show you the color of my money."
The woman shrugged listlessly. "Im the owner of this place and I say theres no room at the inn. Now get out!" The first real emotion the warrior had seen from the innkeeper erupted with extreme vengeance in her final statement.
"Wait just a mark here lady," Xena said, stepping into the room. "I dont want to argue, but were paying customers, not some drifters come to wreck your taproom. Weve got good dinars to trade for a room, stabling and meals." The warriors voice was soft and even, yet there was an underlying edge that made the innkeeper look up and meet Xenas gaze.
Pale, colorless eyes met cerulean blue. "I said, theres no vacancy. I dont do holidays. Theres nothing here to deck the halls, and no place for you to do it either. This is my time, warrior. Now please, go."
Time for a strategic retreat, warrior, before you get angry too. Seeing no other alternative, Xena turned and stomped out of the kitchen. "Cmon Gabrielle. Well have to find our shelter elsewhere. The inns closed for self pity."
"Do you want me to see if I can do something?" Gabrielle asked softly as she stood. "See if I cant sweeten the deal?" And I really dont feel like going back out into that cold, either.
Xena shrugged indifferently. Taking the bait again, love. You know I hate the sensitive stuff. "Dunno. Shes pretty much all gloom, doom, and leave me to my little room. Im not sure that soft and fluffys going to make her any more likely to let us stay, love. Im sure one of the villagers would be more than happy to let us sleep in their barn."
Gabrielle looked at Xena, turned a longing eye to the stairs that led up to the second floor and then looked back at her lover. "Give me a shot at least, hmm, Xe? Id really like that bed." All right, Ill do the sensitive thing, honey. The bards eyes sparkled merrily.
"Whatever you want, love." Xena gestured toward the kitchen. Thanks, love. I owe you one. "Shes in there. Waify sort with colorless eyes. Cant miss her. Im just going to sit here, and brood." Fitting actions to words, Xena slid back into the chair, set her feet on the table and crossed her legs. Adopting an appropriately morose expression, the warrior folded her hands behind her head and settled in to wait.
Gabrielle chuckled, ruffled her lovers hair and headed for the kitchen. The door was still slightly ajar, so she knocked on the frame, catching the attention of the woman inside.
"Go away. No vacancy," came the sullen, toneless response.
"Thats what you told my partner," Gabrielle said as she walked into the room. "But I really wanted to talk to you." She favored the woman with a sunny smile. "You see, its really cold out there, and weve been traveling for quite some time. Wed really like to stay here, please?"
The woman silently eyed the bard as she spoke. The day candle burned for a long while before the woman said, "I dont want anybody around right now. Its a bad time for me."
A puzzled look crossed Gabrielles face. "Really? Id think with the festival..." Here fishy, fishy, fishy. Take the nice bait now, please.
"I dont do the festival," the woman barked, her voice taking on shades of feelings that had been lacking before. She shuddered involuntarily. "My grandma got run over by a reindeer at one of these crazy festivals."
"Gee, thats kind of a drag," Gabrielle admitted. "How long ago was it?"
"Ten winters ago," the woman replied acidly. "Ive mourned her for ten long winters and Ill do it for ten more if I feel like it. Now please, just leave."
Oh gods, not the dreaded ten winters curse. Oy, Gabrielle. Time to whip out some bardic magic. The bard whipped out her super-duper, extra friendly, bursting with mega-watts, dimply smile. The one that endeared her to children and goddesses of love and had the power to make even the evilest of warlords turn into puddles of mush. "Well, you know," she turned up the wattage, "maybe its time for you to let the past be the past. Go with the flow, and get into the now of things. I mean, it is a holiday celebration out there. Lots of people who look like they have plenty of money to spend on good food, good drink..." the bard let her voice fall into a cadence, lulling the woman with her words.
The innkeeper drew in a single, shuddering breath. Gabrielle stepped closer to her, reached her hand out and laid it on the womans shoulder. "It really is okay to let it go. Im sure she would understand," she whispered.
"Gramma!" the innkeeper wailed sadly, collapsing in the bards arms. Tears quickly soaked the fabric of Gabrielles tunic as the woman sobbed. "Whyd you have to go hunting on Christmas eve, grammy, why? Santa needs all his reindeer," the woman whispered brokenly.
Not knowing anything else to do, Gabrielle just held the woman and let her cry.
That they were allowed to stay at the inn was a given. The fact that their stay was free was a bonus that both women were only too happy to accept. As flush as they were with cash now, each knew that somewhere along the road, they would need those extra dinars.
Added to their bounty was all the oven fresh, dripping with seasoned olive oil bread that they could stomach, as well as warm baths and the promise of a hearty stew for supper. All of this was pressed upon them by an overly grateful, somewhat embarrassed innkeeper named Hilda.
The woman had cried for nearly a candlemark, but when she was finished, she had stood, wiped her face and solemnly thanked the bard for her forbearance. Gabrielle had only smiled and offered the innkeeper a gentle hug.
In the morning, Xena and Gabrielle found the innkeeper buried up to her knees in piles and piles of ancient holiday decorations.
"So this is what you do for the holidays around here?" Xena asked sardonically as she helped Hilda scoop up a pile of garland and dump it onto an empty table.
"Yes, of course. The bright decorations draw the attention of Santas favorite elves," Hilda explained patiently. "Then they send the snow and keep track of which children are good and which ones are bad. The bad children get stones in their stockings while the good children get toys and new clothes and sometimes, coal for their fires."
"Thats similar to what we heard yesterday," Xena said as she sat down at another table.
"Yes, we also heard that there was a special Christmas festival happening right here, right now, and that there were just three days left," Gabrielle added as she gathered a handful of decorations and began untangling them.
Hilda smiled sadly. "The snow must be pretty thick out there, then. Im sorry I was so bestial to you, yesterday."
"Snow? Theres no snow out there," Xena said bluntly. "Is there supposed to be?" Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. Her butt kicking alarm went off and she got ready to put on the warrior princess attitude.
"No snow? But, theres always snow!" Hilda jumped up and ran to the door, throwing it open. Outside was clear and very cold, but not one flake of snow drifted inside. "Oh, this is bad. This is very bad. The children will be so sad if there isnt a white Christmas."
The rapid fire popping of knuckles cracking filled the common room. "So, I take it that this is an unusual situation?" Xena asked, as she stood, drew her sword and gave it a practice twirl. There was a gleeful, feral grin spreading on the warriors face as she worked the blade around her in flashing, metallic arcs.
Hilda, mesmerized, only nodded.
"Well then, I do believe I hear that shouting and screaming you were missing yesterday, Gabrielle." The women exchanged gazes Xenas anticipatory and Gabrielles amused. "Shall we?" The warrior indicated the door.
"We shall," Gabrielle replied, taking up her staff. "Keep decorating, Hilda. Well look into the missing snow."
"Okay," Hilda agreed as the two women stalked out into the daylight. "Whod steal our snow?" the innkeeper wondered as she shut the door.
In another realm, parallel to Xenas Ancient Greece, but not quite a part of it.
"Mm, I just love fresh snow cones, dont you, Cerby?" Ares said as he took a big bite of a brightly colored pile of flavored ice. Cerebus, his favorite dog, only whined happily as he chomped his way through a monstrous bowl of the stuff. "Yeah, the humansll never miss this stuff. Who needs a buncha snow anyway?"
Cerebus growled softly.
"Of course, we do!" the god laughed. "Snow cones, slushies, and snowball fights are just a few of my favorite things!"
"Rah-roo!" one of Cerebus heads barked in agreement.
"Of course, I also enjoy a good disemboweling, beheading and who doesnt love to watch the Romans crucify people? Not me, thats for sure!" Ares threw back his head and laughed uproariously.
Back in Greece.
Xena and Gabrielle stood outside of the temple doors. Gabrielle looked up at her lover and smirked impishly. "Guess Ill get the chance to ask sooner rather than later," she said as she pushed open the door to Aphrodites abode.
"You dont have to," Xena protested softly as they entered.
"Of course I do, Xe. I promised and a promise is a promise," the bard replied tartly.
Inside, the small, but lavishly appointed temple reeked of expensive incense. Xena coughed at the overpowering smell, but did not say anything.
"Hello? Aphrodite? Can we talk?" Gabrielle called out softly.
In a glimmering shimmer of sparkling motes of light, the beautiful goddess appeared. "Gabs! By myself honey, its been too long. Dont you look so deliciously winterlicious in that coat." The goddess and the bard embraced warmly.
Xena coughed again. You know, I love Dite, I really do, but sometimes shes just a little too friendly for me. Especially when it comes to my bard!
"Oh and hey, its tall, dark and deadly. Xena, youre looking marvelously murderous today," said Aphrodite as she looked over the warriors leather and fur outfit. "Near barbaric, in fact." She considered the warriors appearance for a long moment. "You know, I think that I might like it, but really, my favorite is that lovely little two piece number you got in Jappa. Any chance you could model it for me?" The blonde goddess batted her eyelashes prettily.
"Its ashes, Aphrodite. I was cremated in it," Xena replied evenly.
Aphrodite clapped her hands to her mouth. "Oh, thats right. I forgot. How silly of me. Well then, now that the pleasantries are done, whatd you bring me from Jappa?" She looked at the women expectantly. "Come on, I know you brought me something, so Ill be good and close my eyes I promise I wont peek..." she closed her eyes almost all the way, "too much, at least."
Gabrielles laughter filled the temple. "Yes, Dite, I found something for you." The bard rummaged around in her satchel for a moment and then withdrew a single round cake of a dark material. Reverently, the bard handed it to the goddess.
Aphrodites eyes snapped open. Inquisitively, she looked at the cake, which was pressed into a palm-sized circle and embossed with a strange, curving design. It was slightly flaky and very aromatic. The blonde goddess brought it up to her nose and inhaled. "My, that smells divine, Gabs. What is it? Soap?"
"Tea, Aphrodite. That is one full cake of Golden Dragon Tears. Im told its a delicacy," the bard said. She did not mention the fact that she had taken it from the body of one very, very dead ronin. Just the thought of him sent chills of remembered anger over her. Its over, Gabrielle. Shes not dead and he is, and thats all that you have to worry about.
"Its a lovely gift and I shall enjoy it always," the goddess promised. "Now, what brings you two here?" Aphrodite meandered around her temple, perusing her offerings absently.
"Theres no snow," Xena said succinctly as she rubbed watering eyes. What the hell do you call this mishmash of odiferous odors? Essence of temple? Bah, more like stench of Hades!
"Well, bully for you," the goddess said. "Im guessing the roads are mondo easy right now."
"That may be," Xena said, "but this town relies on its yearly snowfall to mark the passage of one of their holidays."
"Christmas, I know," the goddess said, nodding quickly, making her curls bounce prettily. "Its always so much of a blast. On the twelfth day of Christmas, theres toys and dancing and feasting and an ice sculpture contest... I always enjoy this place. Its almost like going home for the holidays."
Gabrielle smiled warmly. "Well, it hasnt snowed around here for four weeks, Dite. Do you have any idea why?"
"No, I dont think so," Aphrodite replied absently as she fingered a bunch of dried flowers.
"Is there anyone you can ask?" Gabrielle suggested.
The goddess laughed. "You mean like Santa? What should I do, hop a wave to the North Pole and knock three times on the door to his workshop and say something like, Heya Santa baby, can you like, make it snow?"
Xena rolled her eyes. "No, Dite. Wed just like a little hint a direction to go. Are you sure you dont know who might have taken the snow?"
"Well, I..." the goddess chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully. "Hmm. No, it couldnt be. He should have gotten his fill by now..."
"Who should have?" Xena asked darkly.
Aphrodite made a moue. "I think you can guess. Hes tall, dark and deadly kind of like you, only more into the leather."
Xena rolled her eyes. "You two chit chat. I need to go find me a god and kick his ass."
"Should I watch?" Gabrielle asked, her eyes sparkling merrily.
"Nah, youve seen me do it so many times Im sure that you could call out the moves blindfolded," Xena said, stepping up to give her lover a hug and a brief, but fierce kiss. "Im not planning anything new this time, he seems to fall for the same double flip and strike trick every time, anyway."
"Okay, but hurry back. That bazaar out there is just calling my name. I need to shop, Xe," Gabrielle said, shaking a finger at the warrior. "Im almost out of ink."
Aphrodite perked. "Shopping? Like, for presents? For me?"
"For all of those that I care about," Gabrielle assured the goddess. "And maybe for some decorations. Im not so sure that Hildas are going to make it in time." The bard briefly described the tangled mess of things that the innkeeper had strewn about her common room.
"Bells," the goddess said. "You should buy her some jingle bells. Jingle bells rock."
"Of course. Well have plenty of bells with all the bells that are in the village, youll be able to hear the carol of the bells for miles."
"Oo, I wonder if I can ring them bells?" Aphrodite mused impishly, stroking her chin with her thumb and forefinger.
Xena stepped out of Aphrodites temple and jogged into the woods. When she felt that she was far enough from the village, she stopped, caught her breath and called out, "All right you worthless lightening slinger, get your butt out here or Ill have your chestnuts roasting on an open fire!" The warrior projected her voice both inward and outward, visualizing her old nemesis as she shouted.
It took only moments for him to respond. Wildlife scattered as a brilliant flash of light filled the forest glade. Reality bent, tearing open a hole large enough for Ares to appear directly in front of Xena.
"You rang, my sweetness?" he murmured sexily, oozing up to the warrior. Now here is someone Id gladly trade all of my snow cones for, forever.
Xena eyed the god. His face and chest were glistening wetly with a pinkish substance. "No, I called, you came. Now, clean yourself up and listen good. Youre hogging the snow. Give it up or Ill teach you how to sing in a whole new octave," Xena said, her eyes flashing darkly.
Ares smiled gamely, licked his lips sensuously and said, "Xena, Xena, Xena, I just love it when you talk dirty to me."
"I dont have time to play around, Ares. This town needs the snow go fetch yours elsewhere," Xena ground out from between her teeth.
"Or? Come on Xena, hit me with your best shot," the god taunted.
"Ares..." Xena growled. Then, the warrior moved. Faster than the wind, she stepped into Ares personal space and shoved her sword up under his chin. "I said, I dont have time for this." Two gazes locked as a battle of wills ensued.
A heartbeat later, Ares looked away. "Damn it, Xena," he growled and his body flickered as he used his powers to move away from her. "You know what that does to me."
Xena smirked. "Yes," she purred, "I do. Do I look like I care?"
The god cupped his chin thoughtfully, appraising the warrior. "Come with me, Xena and Ill go anywhere you tell me to," he offered sincerely. "And then this place can have all the snow it wants."
Once again, Xena stepped toward the god, menace oozing from her posture. "Ares," she snarled, lowering the blade to belt level. "I think weve had this discussion before..."
The saturnine god blanched and began to back away. "Now, wait a minute here, Xena. Lets talk about this..."
The warriors sword inched closer to the gods belt. Ares swallowed convulsively. Yeah, he could probably fight her. He might even beat her, but one thing for sure was the fact that by the time he was done throwing his favorite warrior around, she would be extremely pissed off and every last drop of his double cherry-pineapple-mocha snow cone would be melted. Maybe I should just pretend to have mercy on this backwater little place? And then, when they least expected it, bam! Slide in and steal all their excess snow. Yeah, thats it. Ill just let her have some now, and take it all back when shes gone...
"Meanie! There he is, get him!" Tiny voices echoed through the forest. Suddenly, the god was pelted by dozens of large, wet globs of thick, viscous mud. Stunned by the surprise attack, Ares could only stand there while the wet earth dribbled from his body.
"Take that, you snow hogging meanie!" One of the voices called, pegging Ares in the face with a particularly large clump of mud.
"Hey!" Ares said, flashing from one side of Xena to the other. "Stop that this instant!" He got hit again. "Do you have any clue who I am, you crazy little bastards?" Sparks fizzled from his clenched fist.
Tittering laughter echoed all around him. More mudballs peppered the air, liberally coating the god.
Roaring with anger, Ares threw lightening bolts all around him, flattening several trees and scorching a bush or two. Conveniently, he avoided hitting Xena. Not even a good temper tantrum was worth blackening her hide. Angry bard was not something that even the god of war was keen to handle today.
"You know, if it was snowing, itd be snow they were hitting you with, not mud," Xena pointed out solemnly, though a smile tried to fight its way onto her face.
Ares rolled his eyes. "No, its mine, all mi-glurk!" A well timed mudball caught the god with his mouth wide open. Spitting and coughing, he snapped his fingers twice. "Fine! You win. Let it snow! I wont stop it anymore."
"Yay!" tiny voices cheered. Suddenly, the forest was full of little people running, jumping, laughing and dancing.
Xenas eyes bugged out at the sight of the elves. Each was dressed in a green tunic, green hose and green cap. Tiny, curly-toed shoes decorated their feet and each of the little people carried an instrument. Even the smallest of them carried tiny drums.
Ares growled at the elves. Fastening his eyes on one of them, he stepped toward it.
"Hey, you little drummer boy yeah, you. Move, kid, before I turn your sticks into charcoal." The god of war glared at the elven child until he burst into tears and ran to hide behind the trees. Ares smirked. "Yep, still the biggest bully on the block."
"Oh yeah, thats you, Ares. Notorious. Get outta here before I sic my girlfriend on you." Xena sheathed her sword and began cleaning her nails with her breast dagger.
Ares sighed. "If you could just see your way clear of that whole girlfriend thing and come back to me, Xena. I swear, Id be so good to you..."
The warrior sighed. "Not a chance, Ares. Im done with that life, too many times over now." She looked into Ares eyes and smiled wryly. "Go home, enjoy whats left of your snow and cuddle up with Cerebus," Xena said without rancor.
"After I bathe," he said, wrinkling his nose at the mud that still liberally stained his clothes. In a flash, he was gone, leaving a large pile of mud behind.
"Well, that was easy. Thanks for the help guys," the warrior said, addressing the frolicking elves. "I could have handled him, but it was nice not to have to get all sweaty."
"Our pleasure," one of the elves piped up shyly.
"Great fun," said another.
"Oh yes, wonderful, wonderful. Now there will be snow for the children," chimed in a third.
Xena smiled as the three elves tumbled and danced around her. "So, who are you guys, anyway?"
"Im Noel the third," piped one impish little man as he pirouetted on the tip of his toes.
"And Im Noel the second," said another, doffing his cap and grinning a gap-toothed smile that made the warrior chuckle.
"Which makes me," said a third, slightly taller and much heftier elf, "the first Noel." He executed a deep, back breaking bow.
"Were the Snow Noels," the three said in unison.
"We make the snow for Christmas," Noel the first said proudly, indicating the other elves who were still celebrating their victory.
"Well," said the third Noel, "at least until his big meanieness came along."
"But its okay now, because you helped us make him stop," said the second Noel.
"And now we can do our jobs," added the third Noel. He turned to Xena and said, "Wed like to stay and play, but we have work to do. Theres so much to catch up on, you know."
"But wait... what about Santa Claus?" Xena asked. "I thought he made the snow?"
Noel the third smiled mysteriously. "There is no Santa, warrior. Only the generosity of parents and friends. Santa is everyone."
"Of course," said the warrior numbly as, suddenly, the forest was no longer filled with elves, but with flurries of snow.
Gabrielle and Aphrodite were power shopping. Merchants from far away had come to this little village to peddle their wares and Gabrielle was bound and determined to find something special for Xena.
In the middle of the shopping trip, the two women stumbled upon a garishly dressed young man.
"Hello, ladies. I am Percilious and I am a professional shopper, and I guarantee that no loved one is too difficult for me to please with a gift," the youth declared proudly.
Gabrielle had instantly snagged the mans arm. "Youre hired. Ive got to find a gift for an ex warlord with redemption issues and a penchant for resurrection, got any ideas?"
Percilious rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. "Hmm, thats a toughie, but not impossible." He linked his arms with the bard and the goddess. "Now, shall we raid this bazaar?"
Aphrodite laughed, a marvelous tinkling sound. "I like him already."
They stopped at a booth that was filled with bolts and bolts of exotic fabrics. Aphrodite was instantly entranced by reams of whisper thin silk while Gabrielle was drawn to a heavy emerald brocade. Percilious pranced through the entire booth, holding up one bit of cloth after another.
"Holidays in color so much more entertaining, dont you think?" Percillious asked, holding up one vibrantly hued piece of fabric after another. "Green, pink, orange, ah, here we are!" He draped his find over his shoulder and strutted up to the bard. "Isnt a blue Christmas just my color?"
She laughed and shook her head. "I dunno, Percilious, I kind of liked that purple one," she said, touching the fabric that was a pale echo of her lovers eyes.
He sighed and let the fabric drop to the table. "Ah well. Another holiday, I suppose. Now, lets see about your warrior friend, shall we?"
He meandered away from the fabric and over to the weaponsmith.
"A story! Tell us a story, will you Bard Gabrielle?" one of the children in the crowd called out.
Xena had returned and with her came the snow. After telling the bard what had happened, the two lovers had spent an afternoon browsing the wares of the marketplace. Though she had been asked to join them, Aphrodite chose to "catch a white wave" and magically flashed away. Later, several of the towns children reported seeing an incredible sight a beautiful woman riding a board down the side of a mountain! No one believed them, of course, but it made for an entertaining story.
Near evening, Gabrielle dragged the warrior to the town square. When the warrior had protested, saying that she was tired, the bard smiled and said, "But Xena, I want to dance with you first."
Unable to resist her lovers request, she had laughingly jumped into the snow covered circle. So they danced cheek to cheek until the snow liberally coated them.
Now everyone was packed into Hildas newly decorated Cracked Kettle Inn. Not one inch of space was bare of a smiling customer. At the very front of the common room, right next to a warmly crackling fire, was Gabrielle, telling story after story.
Gathered in front of the fire were the towns children, all dressed in their favorite sleepwear as they eagerly listened to the bards tales. This was the night before Santas fabled visit and all were impatiently waiting, driving everyone wild with their antics. It was the warrior who had suggested that Gabrielle entertain them with stories until their parents were ready to go home.
Gabrielle laughed at the childrens enthusiasm. "In a bit, perhaps. I need to get something to drink. Maybe someone else would like to give it a try?"
"Oh! Me! Me! Me!" one child practically vibrated out of his skin.
"Go for it, Thadeus," Gabrielle said, stepping away from her spot to allow the child to take it.
He began to speak shyly, telling the story of Rudolph, a brave young reindeer whose nose was bitten off by the fearsome monster, Thistlehair the Christmas bear and had to be replaced by a magical, glowing red jewel. Of course, Santa thought this was just wonderful and hired Rudolph to help tow his magical sleigh around the world.
"Now, I didnt always believe in Santa," Thadeus said softly. "But then, I saw it!"
"Whatd you see, Thaddy?"
"I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus," the boy whispered gleefully.
A gasp, followed by much giggling met his statement.
"It was last winter I woke up cuz I was thirsty and there they were, next to the hearth!" He gazed out at his circle of round-eyed friends.
"What happened?" One little girl asked fearfully.
"Nothing, I crept into the kitchen and got some water and by the time I went back to bed, no one was there," Thad said, shrugging. "But I saw him!"
The children cheered.
The boy then sat down and another child took his place. Nervously, he began to speak.
Gabrielle, snuggled up next to Xena, listened to the second child for a moment and then just shook her head, covering a laugh with a fake cough. "Hell be better with practice," she commented softly, indicating the child who was stuttering his way through a story. "But young Thads got the makings of a good bard in him. I bet that sometime in the future, silver and gold will fill his hat."
"Yes, I suppose a story should have a more auspicious beginning than, It came upon a midnight clear, in a town without any cheer," Xena said just as softly, then brushed her lips over the bards forehead.
"Mmhmm," Gabrielle murmured, tipping her head up so that her lover could kiss her. They stood there, in the shadows, exploring each others lips gently. "Nice," the bard said, a little breathlessly. "I love your kisses," she said, which promptly earned her several more.
Gabrielle was called to perform several more stories before the night was over. Because of the heavy snow, Many of the townsfolk decided to stay at the inn, filling it to capacity. Gabrielle and Xena helped the innkeeper hand out all of the extra bedding she had, making the warrior and bard grateful they had plenty of their own in their travel supplies. Even the common room floor was covered in drowsing bodies.
In the very front of the room, lying down by the slowly flickering fire was the boy, Thadeus. He had curled onto his side, facing the flames. A tiny cloak was balled under his head for a pillow and he had pulled his arms inside of the body of his tunic.
"Here you go, Thad," Gabrielle said, kneeling to give the boy a heavy blanket. "Are you here by yourself?" she asked, when she didnt see anyone near him.
Thad sat up and pushed his arms out through his sleeves, then tucked the blanket around himself. "Uh huh. My mom stayed home tonight with my sister Rana. Shes got the cough and cant go out for two more weeks."
"Oh, Im sorry." Gabrielles smile flickered into a frown. "Are you okay here? Or do you need someone to walk you home?"
"No, Im fine. Mom knows Im here," he assured her with a sleepy smile.
"Okay, if youre sure. Do you need anything else?" the bard asked.
"No, but... would you tell me a story? One for just me?" He looked so hopeful that the bard couldnt deny him. Softly, she told him the tale of her first Solstice with Xena.
"So the orphans got the toys they wanted?" he asked dreamily. He was lying on his back, looking up into the blonde bards eyes.
"Yep," Gabrielle said, brushing stray hairs from the boys face. "And I got this really neat little wooden lamb." The bards hands shaped the size of the lamb.
He smiled. "I really want a Rudolph. Trapper Jay makes them out of fur scraps, but because Ranas sick, my mom cant afford one." He sighed sadly.
"Well, maybe things will change," the bard said, as a plan germinated in her devious little brain.
The boy began to nod off and Gabrielle moved to stand.
"Is it true?" Thads sleepy voice halted the bard.
"Is what true?" she softly asked.
Yawning mightily, the boy mumbled, "That Santa Claus is coming to town."
A gentle smile lit the bards face. "Of course it is, Thadeus. Just you wait itll be a nice, silent night and all of the silver bells will have grown still and then, hell be here. With a whoosh and twinkle, up on the housetop and down through the chimney hell go, leaving..." Gabrielles voice trailed off as a soft snore reached her ears. "Plenty of special toys for special boys," she finished with a whisper. Tugging the blankets over the sleeping child, the bard stood and went upstairs to join her lover.
Xena was more than amenable to Gabrielles little plan. The very next day, several of their hard earned dinars found their way into the pockets of many of the towns merchants. Not even the sudden advent of a storm had shut down the busy marketplace. The streets were swept clean of snow and heavy canvas tarps were hung from booth to booth, creating a covered walkway for shoppers to stroll under and still remain dry.
At even intervals, heavy tripod pits put out spheres of warmth. Next to these fires were vendors selling everything from spiced cider to meat pies.
For most of the rest of the day, the two lovers wandered the streets of the little village, which they had learned was named Hercatea. The Hercateans were a bright, friendly people. The snow which had been absent for so long now flew in thick flurries, but that did not keep them from celebrating their holiday. At each of the houses, the two women stopped and dropped off a small package, saying only that the gifts came from Santa Claus.
When pressed for an explanation, Xena smiled mysteriously and said, "I helped him out with a little problem." While she was speaking, Gabrielle would scoop up a ball of snow and toss it back and forth in her hands. That was all it took for the happy villagers to accept their story.
All day, the town square was transformed from a dance circle to a playground filled with strange and wondrous snow-creatures where the children played for candlemarks. Only when their parents called them home for supper did they reluctantly abandon their new snowy wonderland.
That evening, the inn was vacant, except for Xena, Gabrielle and Hilda. The innkeeper was already fast asleep, leaving the lovers to sit by the fire, enjoying its warmth.
"Think shes sleeping deep enough now?" Gabrielle asked softly.
The warrior cocked her head, listening. With a little chuckle, Xena said, "Yeah. Shes sawing some pretty hard logs in there."
Gabrielle snickered and grabbed her satchel. Out came two good-sized bundles of fabric which she placed on the mantle above the fire. In the dim light the fabric glittered. Heavy silk brocade in hues chosen to enhance rather than detract from Hildas pale features had been the bards choice of a gift to thank the innkeeper for her hospitality.
"I hope she likes them," the bard said, touching the fabric one last time before stepping away from the hearth.
Xena slipped up behind her and wrapped her arms around the bards waist. "I think she will. If not, she can always use them for rags."
"Xe!" Gabrielle elbowed the warrior. "Those are heavy brocade silks, not washrags."
"Then she will surely love them, my bard," Xena said, trying hard to keep from laughing.
"Ooo, Im gonna get you..."
"Yes? You got me something?" Xena purred into Gabrielles ear as she slid her hands up to cover her breasts.
"Uh, never mind. I think we have a bed somewhere around here, right?" The bards head lolled to the side as the warrior began to nibble gently on her very, very sensitive ears.
"Oh, I think so..." the warrior murmured.
"Find it, now," Gabrielle ordered, as she spun around and kissed the warrior hard on the mouth.
"Right away, maam," Xena said, saluting saucily as she ran up the stairs to their room.
"Gods I love her," Gabrielle said to no one in particular.
The next day was Christmas day and it dawned clear. The town came alive with children who were delighted by the miracle of a gift from the real Santa Claus.
Xena had left Gabrielle to sleep in, with a special note attached to the bards gear. She had plans for later, but for now, she wandered Hercatea and enjoyed the laughter of the children.
"And the big bad monster comes up and bites his nose off! Run, Rudolph, run!" Xena recognized the voice of Thad, the junior bard. From around a pile of snow came the little boy, clutching a comically overstuffed reindeer tightly. A bright red glass stone demarked the toys special nose while tiny bells tinkled on the animals harness.
In his other hand was an even bigger stuffed bear. Fake claws that had been painted a lurid red matched the wide open mouth that was filled with several fierce looking teeth. Xena smiled indulgently. No bear that she had ever seen had appeared so monstrous, but the story of Rudolph required a beast to eat the poor animals nose, so the villagers had decided that it was a giant bear.
Setting his toys on a stretch of snow, Thad knelt and started making the bear chase the reindeer. The boys normally high pitched voice changed dramatically as he took on the monsters persona. "Im gonna eat you up, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!" he growled deeply.
"No! No! No! Dont eat me up, Im Santas friend!" The boys voice had switched into yet another tone, and Xena had to laugh, thinking that this is what Gabrielle mustve been like at this age.
"Yeah, you tell him, Rudy," Xena said softly, watching the boy run through the play area with his toys.
"Okay, over the river and through the woods, around the stump and to the whoa! Cave, very, private cave. Good call, Xena, good call," the bard said, smiling warmly as she ducked inside of the caves entrance. A single icicle hung from the ceiling, slowly melting in the warmth generated by a merrily flickering fire.
As if Christmas day signaled some unseen gatekeeper to leave his post, Hildas inn had become so busy, that neither Xena nor Gabrielle had time to think, much less spend time with each other. In short order, the town was overrun with people. Relatives from outlying farms, travelers from nearby towns and villages as well as a group of priests on their way to Athens had all but pushed the two women out of the overflowing inn.
So Xena had arranged for a little getaway for the two of them a true vacation. Argo would remain boarded at the Kettles stables while the women had some alone time.
The note Xena had left earlier that day contained directions, which the bard had followed to this point. On the edge of the forest between the village and the mountains, was a small river. It was here that Xena had found the cave. Candlemarks of work had made it a nice little home away from home.
Inside, candles lit the darkness and a small but warm fire pushed back the cold. As soon as the bard cleared the entryway, Xena pushed a large stone over the opening, blocking them from view without cutting off their air.
"There," she said, brushing her hands off. "Privacy, security and you. I could not ask for more."
"How about a present?" Gabrielle teased, drawing a cloth wrapped bundle from her satchel.
"Oo, I like presents," Xena drawled, accepting the gift with a smile. They moved over to the fire where the warrior had set up a thick pile of furs and easily settled down, Gabrielle leaning against Xena.
"So open it," Gabrielle prodded impatiently.
"Im getting there," Xena said as she carefully untied the twine that held the wrapping in place. With two deft twists, the string came free and drifted onto the bard, who tossed it aside. Inside of the cloth was a miniature portrait of the warriors daughter, Eve. Xena gasped. "Whered you find this?"
A grin crept over Gabrielles face. "Nope," she said.
Perplexed, Xena repeated, "Nope?"
"Not gonna tell ya. Just enjoy it." I owe you one, Percilious. The power shopper had, indeed, lived up to his word. Tucked away in the back of a curio seller from Indias booth was this little portrait of the woman that Gabrielle had grown to think of as her own child. Painted by a deft hand, the bard had know that this was the perfect gift for her lover.
"I will, I do. Gods, I love you, Gabrielle," Xena said, drawing the bard into her arms for a long, sweet kiss.
"My turn," Xena said when they parted.
"Oh Xe, you didnt have to," Gabrielle said as the warrior handed her a package wrapped in brightly colored paper. "All I want for Christmas is you." This earned her another lengthy kiss. "Pretty paper," the bard commented moments later. "Almost too pretty. But, Im just too curious." With gleeful abandon, she ripped into the package, catching her breath at the sight of an ebony writing box. "This is gorgeous," she whispered, turning the box over in her hands. Inlaid with spiral patterns of mother of pearl, the box was smaller than a travel desk but large enough to house the tools of a bards trade.
"Open it," Xena suggested softly.
The bard slowly lifted the hasp and opened the box. Inside were inks, pens and nibs, all ready for use. Tucked into little pockets in the lid were a stone for mixing the ink powers on and a tiny knife for trimming feather nibs. "I love it honey," Gabrielle said, turning her head up for another kiss.
"I thought you might," Xena said, smiling gently.
They snuggled close and Gabrielle sighed contentedly. "Well, another weeks work well done, Id say. Everything turned out all right in the end. Santa visited the town, the children got their winter wonderland and we have this nice, cozy fire to share. Cant really complain about that."
"Happy Holidays, Gabrielle," Xena said, kissing the bards temple.
"Happy Holidays, Xena. Now, whats for dinner? Im starving!"
All I Want for Christmas is You Contest # 01
Blue Christmas Contest # 02
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Contest #03
Deck the Halls Contest # 04
Do You Hear What I Hear Contest # 05
The First Noel Contest # 06
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer Contest # 07
Home for the Holidays Contest # 08
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Contest # 09
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Contest # 10
Jingle Bells Contest # 11
Jingle Bell Rock Contest # 12
Let it Snow Contest # 13
Little Drummer Boy Contest # 14
Over the River and Through the Woods Contest # 15
Pretty Paper Contest # 16
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Contest # 17
Run, Rudolph, Run Contest # 18
Santa Claus is Coming to Town Contest # 19
Silent Night Contest # 20
Silver Bells Contest # 21
The Twelve Days of Christmas Contest # 22
Up on the Housetop Contest # 23
White Christmas Contest # 24
Winter Wonderland Contest # 25
Again Janet Jackson
Alive Pearl Jam
All the Way Earth, Wind & Fire
Amused Grapes of Wrath
Anger Marvin Gaye
Anything Seven Mary Three
Aphrodite - Ash
Around the World Red Hot Chili Peppers
Bare Heather Nova
Believe (2) Cher
Between Mercedes Lackey
Blanket Imogen Heap
Bother Stone Sour
Bounce System of a Down
Bound and Determined Marshall Tucker Band
Breathless The Corrs
Bully 7 Seconds
Carol of the Bells Traditional
Celebration Kool & the Gang
Change Melissa Etheridge
Cheek to Cheek Fred Astaire
Circles The Who
Closer Nine Inch Nails
Clue - Frente
Cold Annie Lennox
Come Dancing The Kinks
Cracking Suzanne Vega
Crazy Patsy Cline
Crucify Tori Amos
Cry Angie Aparo
Dance With You Live
Dancing Wang Chung
Dare Willa Ford
Daylight - Coldplay
Deal Grateful Dead
Dont Turn Me Away Bryan Adams
Do Something Macy Gray
Do They Know its Christmas Band Aid
Down Stone Temple Pilots
Dream The Everly Brothers
Dress Treble Charger
Drifted - Symphorce
Easy Lionel Richie
Echo - Incubus
Elsewhere Sarah McLachlan
Emotion The Bee Gees
Empty Janet Jackson
Entranced - Discarnate
Essence Lucinda Williams
Evening Pat Benetar
Expression Salt N Peppa
Feelings Morris Albert
Fingertips They Might Be Giants
Fire Pointer Sisters
Free Alana Davis
Fresh Kool & the Gang
Giving Collective Soul
God Tori Amos
Go Pat Benetar
Go Ahead Tina Turner
Go Away Crux Shadows
Goddess An Pierle
Goddess of Love OMD
Go with the Flow Queens of the Stone Age
Have Mercy The Judds
Hair The Cast of the musical, "Hair"
Happy Holidays Bing Crosby
He The Righteous Brothers
Heartbeat Don Johnson
Heavy Collective Soul
Hello Lionel Richie
He Said Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians
Hiding Out Pete Townshend
Hit Me With Your Best Shot Pat Benetar
Honey Mariah Carey & Puff Daddy
Hungry Eric Clapton
Hurt Nine Inch Nails
Icicle Tori Amos
I Could not Ask for More Edwin McCain
Ill Be Edwin McCain
I Got You Babe Sonny & Cher
I Guess Crystal Lewis
Illusions Destinys Child
I Love You Heart
Im Here - Kai
Impossible Nat King Cole
I Need Meredith Brooks
Insensitive Jann Arden
Inside Peter, Paul & Mary
In Particular Blonde Redhead
In the Crowd - Jam
In the End Linkin Park
Into the Woods From the Musical, Into the Woods
I Owe You One Aaron Neville
I Swear All 4 One
I Try Macy Gray
Its Over Run D.M.C
Joking Indigo Girls
Jump Van Halen
Kind of a Drag The Buckinghams
Kiss (2) The Lovemongers
Knock Three Times Tony Orlando & Dawn
Lamplight The Bee Gees
Laugh The Monkees
Laughing Goo Goo Dolls
Leather Tori Amos
Let the Past be the Past 25 Ta Life
Long Ago Mariah Carey
Longer Dan Fogelberg
Losing My Religion R.E.M.
Lover Ella Fitzgerald
Magic Olivia Newton John
Maybe Janis Joplin
Mesmerized Celtic Frost
Miracle Whitney Houston
Missing - Evanescence
Money Pink Floyd
Motion Front 242
Move Away Culture Club
My Favorite Things Julie Andrews
My Time Warrior Soul
My Turn - Madcap
Need Leslie Fish/Mercedes Lackey
Needs Collective Soul
No One Marc Anthony
No Room at the Inn Anne Murray
Notorious Duran Duran
Now Days of the New
Now (2) The Carpenters
On the Edge of the Forest Meg Davis
Open Meg Davis/Mercedes Lacky
Outside - Staind
Parallel Bad Religion
Pardon Me Incubus
Patches B.B. King
Patience Guns N Roses
People Barbra Streisand
Please Elton John
Pleasure - Nightfall
Pockets The Beautiful South
Promise Violent Femmes
Promised The Walkabouts
Puzzled Nasty Savage
Rapid Fire Judas Priest
Resist Melissa Etheridge
Retreat Luscious Jackson
Right Here, Right Now Jesus Jones
Ring Them Bells Heart
Sacrifice Elton John
Santa Baby Madonna
Security Vanessa Williams
Self Pity Lucifer
Shimmer - Fuel
Shut the Door - Fugazi
Silently Caught in the Act
Silver and Gold Burl Ives
Sincerely The Moonglows
Situation - Godsmack
Sleep Imogen Heap
Slide Goo Goo Dolls
Smile Eric Clapton
Softly Lone Star
Something George Harrison
Somewhere Along the Road Cathie Ryan
Soon Tanya Tucker
Sparks - Coldplay
Special - Garbage
Spinning Wheel Blood, Sweat & Tears
Stand (2) - Jewel
Stay Shakespeares Sister
Stop Meredith Brooks
Storm Blackmores Night
Suddenly Olivia Newton John & Cliff Richard
Surprise (2) Luscious Jackson
Talk Dirty to Me Poison
Talk to Me Scandal
Tangled Maroon 5
Tell Me A Story Hillary Duff & Lil Romeo
The Beat Elvis Costello
The Gift Annie Lennox
The Temple From the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar
The Trees Rush
The Twist Chubby Checker
The Warrior Scandal
Thistlehair the Christmas Bear Alabama
Three Days Janes Addiction
Tired Toby Keith
Together Connie Francis
True Spandau Ballet
Vacation The Go-Gos
Vengeance Carly Simon
Voices Electric Light Orchestra
Wait White Lion
Wait a Minute - Ginuwine
Waiting Chantal Kreviazuk
Walk Gary Barlow
Water Take 5
What Happened The Unseen
When Shes Gone Hootie & the Blowfish
Why Annie Lennox
Warrior Meg Davis
Winter Tori Amos
Without The Exies
Women Def Leppard
Wonderland Angie Aparo
Wreck Paradise Lost
Yesterday The Beatles
Zero Smashing Pumpkins