Copyright: Most of the characters are owned by many other people and/or organizations (this is a “crossover” fiction after all) but the story is entirely from my imagination. The story is written purely for enjoyment and not for profit. (I do not have any ownership in the various businesses mentioned either, however no infringement was intended.)

Violence: Not in this one, sorry if that bugs you.

Subtext/sex: Only a little subtext, no sex involved in this story

Teaser: The bard and the warrior take a stroll down memory lane.

Started: June 30, 2007

Once in a Lifetime

By Akiela Xal

Most Pairings - Bard's Challenge #17


Music blared from the speakers of the blue Mustang convertible as it sped down the coastal California highway. Both passengers enjoyed the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces as they traveled.

No longer able to contain he excitement, the driver glanced at her companion and chirped, “This is sooo cool!” Her straw-colored blonde hair whipping in the air, dark designer sunglasses covering her verdant green eyes.

Turning toward the driver, the passenger arched an eyebrow and lowered her own designer sunglasses slightly allowing her icy-blue eyes to peer over the rim at her long-time friend before stating, “If you say so… It’s a bit difficult to keep a low profile if we are forever immortalized in wax.”

The driver snorted, “Yeah. Like playing ourselves on TV for six years was keeping a ‘low profile’? Whose idea was that again? Hmmmm… Oh, I remember, it was yours! Geez Xena, we’ve been in ‘the Game’ for over 2000 years no one’s gonna come after us just because we’re part of this brand new ‘Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Hall of Fame.’ It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and everyone’s gonna know who we are.”

“No, they’re not gonna know who we are, they’re gonna know who our current alter egos are. But I still say it was a bad idea to agree to let ‘what’s his name’ put us in the Hall of Fame in the first place, and going to the grand opening is an even worse idea… It’s been all over the net just who’s ‘being inducted’ in this gala today, and I can only imagine just how many immortals might be showing up to claim one or both of our heads! We should not be going.”

“Spoil sport,” pouted Gabrielle. “I still say this is cool. Generations of mortals will come to the Hall of Fame and will know who Xena/Lucy Lawless and Gabrielle/Renee O’Connor are. It doesn’t matter if they think of us as Xena and Gabrielle or Lucy and Renee, it’s still us. Just relax and have a good time.”

“Bring your katana just the same. You never know who might be lurking,” Xena instructed.

Sticking her tongue out, Gabrielle replied, “Oh, I’ll just put it in my magic pocket. C’mon, where am I gonna stick it in this outfit?” She lifted a hand to emphasize her minimal summer attire. “It’s in the trunk. No one’s gonna fight inside anyway so give it a rest.” To take the sting out of her words, the petite blonde placed a hand on her soulmate’s thigh and began caressing it gently.

A few moments later the car was exiting the interstate and making its way toward its final destination a huge newly constructed building that housed the vast new “Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Hall of Fame.” Its most noticeable feature, aside from the size, was its marquee shaped like an oversized digital movie scene marker with the name of the museum and the current number of guests showing. Xena let out a low whistle at the sheer size of the building. “Impressive,” was all she said.

Getting out of the car Gabrielle flashed a 1000-watt grin at her soulmate and said, “C’mon ye of few words. Let’s par-tay.” Giggling like a schoolgirl, she skipped and twirled toward the front door drawing a bemused chuckle from her companion who followed at a more sedate pace.

Passing into the cool interior from the almost oppressive California summer heat, Xena took a moment to get her bearings. She spotted Gabrielle off to the left near the entrance to the ‘motion picture’ side of the museum and ambled in her direction. “So, are we gonna stand in the foyer all day, or d’you wanna head on in?” joked the tall warrior.

“Mmmm, since we know we’re on the TV side, I thought we’d save the best for last and check out the movie side first. By the time we get back to the center here we’ll probably be ready for a snack and then we can check out the TV exhibits. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Xena deadpanned before breaking out into a grin at her partner’s infections enthusiasm. She held out an arm and the two women strolled toward the entrance to the movie side of the museum.

The two women walked companionably through the movie exhibits, which were arranged in roughly chronological order beginning with silent films with stars such as Charlie Chaplin and progressing toward more modern films. In front of each exhibit was a sign shaped like a ‘movie clapper’ displaying the title of the movie with a brief description of the movie and scene displayed.

By the time the women hit the 1970’s section of the movies even Xena was noticeably enjoying herself. She got a kick out of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon set complete with the main cast in a scene right out of the movie.

A few exhibits farther along found them in the 1980’s section with quite a few popular movies including ET showing the scene of the three kids trick or treating. Then there was an exhibit of the refit Enterprise bridge from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan with all the main cast during an exciting battle sequence. Just past that was a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade featuring, of course, Harrison Ford.

Gabrielle started to chuckle, and when Xena asked her what was so funny, the bard replied, “I wonder if this counts as a case of split personality?”

“Hey, watch it, I might be in here twice too, ya know, and I sure don’t have a split personality!” Icy blue eyes mock-glared at verdant green ones.

“Twice? Did they use one of your Battlestar Galactica scenes?”

“I don’t know if they did for sure or not. ‘What’s his name’ told me they were thinking of using one of my scenes from ‘Final Cut’, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why… I mean I was never in a scene with the majority of the cast, just one or two here and there… it would defeat the purpose, don’t ya think?”

“Mmmm maybe, but I suppose they could create a scene that your D’anna Biers character is filming even if it wasn’t actually in the show. They’ve done stuff like that already just to get more people into a couple of these exhibits. I guess we’ll just have to see what they did when we get there.” Gabrielle lightly punched her soulmate’s arm.

“Mff guess you’re right. They never did get back to me on that one. Doesn’t really matter anyway. We’re in the most important one together,” Xena said casting an affectionate glance at her best friend.

Just then, they heard someone calling, “Lucy, Renee, can I have your autographs?” The pair shared an amused look before acquiescing to the request.

After the impromptu autograph session, the pair wandered farther into the exhibit. “You know, for as much actual violence as we’ve seen in our lives, I really don’t like this movie,” stated Gabrielle pointing ahead. The scene in front of the pair was from Silence of the Lambs and showed Clarice Starling interviewing the still incarcerated Hannibal Lecter. “It just gives me the creeps.”

“Aw, but it’s a psychological thriller, and a classic.”

“Thriller, schmiller. It makes my skin crawl, no pun intended. Let’s hurry and get past this one before it gives me nightmares.” The bard grabbed her soulmate’s arm to emphasize her point and practically dragged the warrior down the corridor.

Continuing through the 1990’s the pair passed the Jurassic Park, Men in Black, and Titanic (among other) exhibits marveling at the detail in each scene. “It really is amazing what they can do with wax,” mussed Gabrielle.

“Yup,” replied Xena, “these scenes are amazingly lifelike.”

Not far into the 2000’s the pair found themselves facing a scene from the movie Charlie’s Angels with Dylan Sanders and the other Angels getting ready to dive from the helicopter before the missile makes contact. Beyond that the pair viewed scenes from movies such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fellowship of the Ring, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

When the pair came to the Spiderman exhibit Gabrielle joked, “Hey, you were in this movie too, too bad they didn’t use your scene.”

“Yeah, well, my ‘punk rocker’ hardly captures the epitome of the movie, now does it?” answered Xena rolling her eyes. “This is a much better scene anyway.”

Gabrielle was indeed hungry once the pair finished perusing the ‘Motion Picture’ side of the Hall of Fame, so they headed to the food court just off the central foyer. Gabrielle made a beeline for Sbarro’s while Xena took more time before finally deciding on Panda Express. Securing their meals, the two women met back in the seating area of the food court to enjoy their late lunch.

The pair looked up to see a tall dark-haired woman of non-descript age, as a third chair at their table was pulled out. “Diana,” squealed the bard when she recognized the lanky Amazon joining them.

Diana Prince glanced around her to make sure no one else was in earshot before greeting her longtime friends. “Queen Gabrielle, Xena, it’s good to see you both well. I was hoping I might run into you here, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“Too long my friend,” replied Xena.

“Yes, too long. How long have you been off the island?” asked Gabrielle.

“Only a today,” said Wonder Woman. “I was picking up mail at my ‘other’ residence a few months back and found the invitation to attend today’s gala, and thought it might be fun. I see that you two decided to ‘take a page out of my book’ by playing yourselves on TV,” grinned the superhero.

“Well, learn from the best, right?” smirked Gabrielle. “Actually, it was Xena’s idea. She was living down in New Zealand and heard about Hercules, and decided to audition for a part even though it wasn’t as the Warrior Princess. She called me up here and told me about it, so when I heard about the second Herc TV movie I auditioned and got a great part. From there, we both had an in when we heard that they were gonna do the ‘spin-off’. Geez. I had to laugh about that one. Turns out they found copies of my scrolls and really liked the concept of Xena: Warrior Princess. Funny thing is both of us originally lost the part to other actresses,” said an innocent looking bard. “Ironic that both of the other women were unable to take the rolls for one reason or another.”

Xena backhanded the petite blonde’s arm and both burst out laughing thoroughly confusing Diana. Relenting, the warrior princess told her, “Um… we actually had a small part in the other actresses inability to take the parts. I’m ashamed to admit that I put something in the food of the one who originally got ‘my’ role and Gabrielle talked to the boyfriend of the actress who got her ‘part’ and convinced him to get the other actress to not leave California.” Xena smiled at the memory. “I know we were bad, but we couldn’t let anyone else play us. You’d have done the same thing in our shoes.”

“You’re probably right, but I didn’t have to, so we’ll never know,” answered the lanky Amazon princess. “So where are you two headed after you finish your lunch?”

“Well,” started the petite blonde, “we’ve already done the movie side, so we’re headed into the television exhibits next.”

“Oh, too bad,” Diana sighed, “I’ve already finished the TV side… by the way, X:WP's got a great exhibit. Really captures the moment if you know what I mean. A lot better than mine,” Wonder Woman rolled her eyes. “I guess I’ll leave the two of you to finish your tour then. Maybe we’ll meet up again later?” With that the lanky Amazon gracefully rose from the table and bid her friends adieu.

Finished with their lunch, the soulmates got up from the table and headed into the TV half of the museum. Just as on the motion picture side, these exhibits were in roughly chronological order beginning with the earliest days of television progressing toward recent popular hits including shows such as I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons, Star Trek, and The Brady Bunch.

Entering the 1970’s the pair saw The Walton’s and Little House on the Prairie before seeing Jamie Sommers in an exhibit from The Bionic Woman. Jamie was in her classic warm-up suit racing across an open field.

A little farther on was an exhibit from the original Charlie’s Angels including the first three Angels. “Oh, what’s her name? I can never remember the third Angel. Jacqueline Smith was Kelly Garrett and Kate Jackson was Sabrina Duncan, but what was Farah Fawcett’s character?” asked Xena.

“Now that you’ve put me on the spot, I can’t remember either,” frowned the petite blonde. “Oh, look there’s Diana’s exhibit… I see what she means. It’s not really very good even if it is right out of the opening credits.”

Xena glanced in the direction her soulmate was pointing and saw the Wonder Woman exhibit. It depicted Diana as Wonder Woman holding up the back end of two cars to keep the ‘bad guys’ from escaping.

Strolling through the rest of the Seventies and most of the Eighties exhibits the women found themselves in front of the Facts of Life exhibit. This one featured the wedding scene near the end of the series and had Blair Warner resplendent in her wedding gown as well as showing Jo Polniaczek, Natalie Green, and Tootie Ramsey in attendance.

As they finished the 1980’s and entered the 1990’s they passed Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine before finding themselves in front of the Babylon 5 exhibit. It was apparently a scene from the first season as it had Susan Ivonova as a Lt. Commander and the telepath Talia Winters instead of Lyta Alexander.

Moving on, they noticed the X-Files exhibit which just showed Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in their office buried in the depths of the FBI building. Next to this was a scene from Star Trek: Voyager with a still ‘Borgified’ Seven of Nine and Captain Kathryn Janeway from the episode “Scorpion”.

As the soulmates were perusing the Voyager scene both suddenly felt the ‘buzz’ signifying the approach of another immortal. Turning this way and that Gabrielle’s expression turned from sheepish at having Xena be right that an immortal would attend the gala to one of delight at seeing their longtime friend Duncan MacCleod (or as he was recently known on TV – Adrian Paul) approaching.

Duncan and Gabrielle hugged briefly before the Highlander broke away to offer an equally enthusiastic hug to Xena.

“How’ve you been doing, kid?” asked the warrior princess.

“Kid? Ouch. Not many can still call me that Xena,” said a winking Duncan. “I’ve been well. Haven’t done much since Highlander went off the air. Tried another sci-fi series called Tracker for a while, but it didn’t pan out. Just been laying low for a while. What about you two?”

“Oh, you know us. Keeping out of trouble,” answered the grinning bard.

Both Duncan and Xena scoffed at that before Duncan said, “You keep out of trouble? Since when? One or the other of you is always in some kind of trouble.” He quickly dodged the double punches headed his way from the warrior women.

“So, I gather that since you’re here, Highlander got in the Hall of Fame too?”

“Aye. It should be right around here somewhere. ‘What’s his name’ said that he was going to do a scene that included Richie, Methos, Joe, and Amanda. I was glad to hear that.”

“Sounds like the essence of the show to me,” said the petite blonde.

The three friends continued on their tour of the Motion Picture and Television Hall of Fame talking about the various exhibits. Including the exhibits for Jag with Sarah MacKenzie and Harmon Rabb and Stargate: SG-1 with a scene showing both Samantha Carter and Janet Frasier.

“Adrian, Mr. Paul, can I have your autograph?” asked an excited fan.

The Highlander grinned and said to his friends, “My public waits. I’ll see you later, excuse me,” with a slight dip of his head and touching his fingers to his temple in farewell.

Xena and Gabrielle shook their heads and laughed at their departing friend before turning to continue their tour. As they approached the end of the 1990’s the tall warrior said, “Hmmm, I was expecting to have come across our exhibit by now. You don’t suppose that they changed their mind about including us, do you?”

“No, they wouldn’t have done that to us. I admit, I was expecting the ‘That’s what friends do’ scene from ‘Sins of the Past’, but our show did run through the first half of 2001, maybe they picked something from fifth or sixth season. Much better costumes if I do say so myself,” replied the bard with a grin.

“For you maybe,” grumbled the warrior princess. “Diana said that it really captured the essence of the show. Which scenes from the last two years do that?”

“Dunno. We’ll just have to wait I guess.”

Just a few exhibits away they found what they were looking for and both women stood in awe at the scene before them awash in memories. Memories from the actual event as well as remembering filming the scene in front of the Fountain of Strength on Mt Fuji as the pair watched the sun set and thought that they would never see each other again. It was immaculately executed, but unlike other exhibits there was an incongruous mirror placed in the scene to show off the incredible detail of Gabrielle’s dragon tattoo.

Noticing the tears in the petite blonde’s eyes, the blue-eyed woman encircled her soulmate in her loving embrace. “Shhh, it’s ok, I’m here. They made it right and brought me back.” Xena brought up a hand and brushed away an errant tear. “Don’t cry, love.”

Taking a deep breath to collect herself, Gabrielle said, “I’m sorry Xena. This just caught me off guard. I hated this both times it happened even thought the second time it wasn’t real, it still hurt. And now, we’re immortalized this way… I dunno, I’d almost rather not be in here than have them use this scene. I wish they’d used the ‘Sins of the Past’ scene.”

“Me too, Gabrielle, but you’ve got to admit that Diana was right. The sunset really epitomizes the message of the show…”

“Yeah,” sighed the bard. “It does, it’s just hard – even two thousand years later I still have nightmares about that day sometimes… Can we keep moving, now?”

“Sure, Gabrielle, we can head out now.” Xena was perplexed, she hadn’t realized that her soulmate still had nightmares about Japa all these centuries later.

The pair walked in silence for a while passing the ER exhibit with Kerry Weaver and Abby Lockhart and approaching the CSI set. It was a scene in the lab with all the main cast hovering around Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle hunched over the computer screen.

A little farther along they found themselves in front of the Battlestar Galactica exhibit and to break the tension, Xena playfully said “Aw, shucks,” and snapped her fingers.

“Huh?” asked Gabrielle, breaking out of her thoughts.

“They didn’t use my D’anna Biers character after all,” replied the warrior princess pointing at the scene in front of them. It depicted Kara “Starbuck” Thrace’s return from Caprica in the Cylon raider with several of the main cast in the hanger bay.

This made the bard laugh, much to Xena’s delight. “Xena,” said the petite blonde with a jab to her friend’s arm, “sometimes you’re just too much.” More seriously, she continued, “Thanks, I needed that.” She looked up at her soulmate with a genuine smile.

“Anything for you, Gabrielle.”

Continuing their tour the pair found themselves in front of the Cold Case exhibit with Lily Rush. “You know Xena, it really is amazing just how much Kathryn Morris looks like Najara. You don’t suppose that she could be a descendant, do you?”

“Hmmm, I can’t picture Najara ever willingly having a child, but anything is possible, I guess. Hey… looks like we’re almost finished with the museum, wanna get some ice cream before we head home?”

“Ice cream?” asked the bard perking up. “Perfect. You always know exactly what to say to make me feel better.” Gabrielle grabbed Xena’s arm and led her through the last few exhibits and back into the food court barely registering her soulmate’s next comment.

“After two thousand years, I’d hope I would have finally learned how to make you happy, my bard.”

After stopping at Russell’s Ice Cream and getting cones in their favorite flavors the pair headed out to the Mustang. “Hey, Gabrielle, do you mind if I drive? I’ve got somewhere I’d like to stop before we go home if you don’t mind.”

Digging out her keys and tossing them to her friend, the petite blonde said, “Sure. Where do you want to go?”

“I’m not telling. You’ll just have to wait until we get there.” Xena hopped into the driver’s seat and started the car before Gabrielle could respond, so the bard just hurried into the passenger seat to keep the warrior princess from ‘accidentally’ leaving without her.

The convertible was once again speeding down the coastal California highway when Xena took an unexpected exit and headed to a secluded beach before parking the car again. “C’mon Gabrielle. Let’s have some fun and play on the beach,” called the tall warrior as she jumped out of the car.

Laughing the bard followed her running across the sand. She paused only briefly to remove her shoes and socks before dashing into the waves after her soulmate.

The End

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