Cursing: A couple of ah shucks.
Spoilers for "If the Shoe Fits" Takes place sometime after.
This is mine, mine, mine. As if anyone would want to own up to this. (g)
Gabrielle was deep in thought as she walked behind Xena. It had been hard to fall asleep last night, even after much attention by her warrior. Afterwards, she had laid awake for hours worrying about the note she had received from the Queen of Cira. This morning after they had both awoke, she had decided to bring it up to Xena, she just wasn't sure as to how to tell her. Pausing to think, Ok I'm a bard. Gabrielle stops to puffs her chest out, and sticks her chin up. Why can't I just come out and tell her? Sighing she lowered her shoulders to look at her feet. I'm a bard. Xena's sidekick, and best friend, I'm her family. More determined. I can tell stories in front of total strangers in stinking taverns just so we don't have to sleep in the barn, for Zeus sakes. Breathing deeply Gabrielle focused on centering herself. Be the bard. What's the worst she could say.
Gabrielle stops, and looks up at the passing clouds. She then closed her eyes, to compose her thoughts. I can hear her now.
"What were you thinking when you said yes?"
"Ahhh hehe, The greater good . . . "
"How long have we been traveling together?"
Mentally begging now and on her knees, "But we've been through so much Xena." Gabrielle batting her eyes, and licking her lips. "Please, Xena?"
Hold it. Gabrielle you will not use your feminine wiles. You will just tell her what you know. How hard can that be?
Moving to catch up to the warrior, Gabrielle starts. "Xena."
Xena slowed a bit. "Hmm?"
"You remember the little girl from Cira?"
"You mean Princess Alesia?"
"Yes that's the one." Zeus what a memory!
"What about her?" Xena turned back to continue walking.
"I got a letter from her stepmother last week."
"Oh really." Xena stops to pulls a piece of grass to stick it in her mouth to hide her smirk from Gabrielle.
"So, what's going on in their kingdom?"
"Oh you know, the usual. It's a growing kingdom. New crops to put in, babies being born. Children learning new things " Gods this is harder than I thought.
"Well" Blowing a breath out. "How would you feel if we stopped back by there?" Gabrielle stopped and waited for the explosion. She opened one eye first, then the other when all she heard was Xena stopping in front of her.
Very calmly, Xena turns around and says "And just why would we want to do that Gabrielle?"
"Well, it seems that there is this trade dispute with their neighbors to the north, and I was thinking we could help out. I mean that's what we do. Right?" The bard crossed her finger's behind her back.
Xena flicks the grass blade away and bends over to the pull a piece of parchment out of her boot. "Yes, of course we do that. So what's the dispute?"
Huh . . . why did I say trade dispute? Great bard!
Quickly amending "Well, it's not quite a trade dispute, it's more like a promise, ah I mean project." Gabrielle mentally wiping her sweating brow.
Xena holds out her hands, weighing the statement. "Ok, on the left hand a trade dispute, on the other a project. Is that about right?" Raising an eyebrow, Xena looks hard at Gabrielle.
The bard really started sweating now, and moved back from the warrior.
"Well you see it's like this. They have this school that teaches reading and writing, and the children learn how to draw, you know, heh it's really a lot of fun." Gabrielle smiled sort of, and wincing at herself.
"Um. No, I don't. I never went to school."
Xena still with her hands out, the right one lowered
faster than the left.
"Oh well you see, Queen Mistria asked me, umm us if we would like to help out with one of Alesia's school projects."
Whew, well it's finally out, kind of. Way to go bard.
Xena's right hand stops, and she lowers her eyes to Gabrielle with that look that says out with it already.
"Oh the project is . . . well I promised, that the next time we were near their kingdom we would stop by . . . "
"that we would help out . . . "
"With Alesia's school project."
"I got that my bard." With Xena thinking let me try a different approach "What's does she want us to do?" Xena twisted the parchment into a ball.
Wincing the bard starts "Princess Alesia has this project."
"That going to happen in front of her class."
"I guessed that."
"With their parents present."
"I've been around parents before."
Xena crossing her arms now. "So what's the problem with that?"
"Well it's the more of the agreement."
"Oh, and what did you agree to Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle puts on brave front to the warrior princess. "I agreed that would let her interview the both us."
"Oh." Xena tosses the parchment ball at Gabrielle's chest landing perfectly between her cleavage.
"What's this?" Gabrielle pulls out the ball and starts to unwrap it.
"It's from Alesia's stepmother." Xena was grinning hard now.
"What!" Gabrielle reading the parchment she starts to blush so hard her ears are turning red.
"Gabrielle, how did you think they got a message to you?" Smiling Xena says "I just guess they sent two in case one of us couldn't make it." Xena moved away from Gabrielle and started to back up.
Gabrielle scrunched up the parchment in her fist, then gave Xena a menacing look.
"Hey look up there in the tree. It's a bird." Xena says.
Not looking up "A bird in a tree, how about that." Gabrielle starts toward Xena.
The warrior turns and starts running flat out, with a very mad bard hot on her trail. "XENA, you are a dead warrior princess."
Xena turned over and dropped the bard on her backside. "Ow, Xena!"
Gabrielle sits up and reaches her foot out to tickle Xena's stomach with her toes. "Oh Xeena."
"Come on I know you want to."
"I can't open my eye's." The warrior rolled onto her back.
"Won't work bard."
Gabrielle sits on Xena's stomach and starts to shake her assets in Xena's face. "Look at what your missing."
"I got a headache."
"Yeah right. The Warrior Princess with a headache, that's a first." Gabrielle snorts.
"Oh well, I guess I'll just get dressed and look at the wildlife or something. Maybe someone will come along and want to talk to me." The bard bent over to grab her top.
"Come here, you." Xena pulls Gabrielle down for a kiss.
Gabrielle comes up for air a bit later, and shaking her head. "God's, that's the Warrior Princess I know." And leaned in to kiss her on her nose, Xena groans and pulls her down again.
As the evening rolled around, Xena was scouting out to a find a small creature for the pot, while Gabrielle arranged the camp for the night.
After setting the water to boil, Gabrielle laid down on their sleeping furs and pulled out her diary. Laying on her stomach, Gabrielle set the ink pot to the side, dips her quill in and puts the other end in her mouth organizing her thoughts. She starts.
Sorry I haven't updated you lately but you know how it goes, saving villages, stopping warlords and so on.
Well I think we are in quite a pickle this time. Princess Alesia has asked us to come to her kingdom, and in front of her classmates and parents, let her interview Xena and me. I know what your going to say "What's the big deal?"
I think if most people knew us as we really are that is, we are together as a couple, and not just "The Warrior and the Bard" it would make perfect sense. I think most people who know us, know that we are very close, that's a given, and that we've spent almost every moment from the first time we met till now, together. We've been to Tartarus and back, together. The death of both of our children, and still we are together.
You know they say blood is thicker than water, but for us it's more. How and what will we say to a bunch of six year old's that they could possibly understand. I guess that's what I'm afraid of. Being that honest in front of everyone. It's a big deal. For me when we are alone, it's something that we share that is for us only. I don't think I like having to display that for everyone's approval. I just don't want feel Xena to feel uncomfortable. Or myself.
Little kids do that to her. You should see when we first met Alesia, Xena was incredible, but I could tell she was trying to work out Alesia's problem without getting to close. Maybe she thought she might break her or something. She was a tiny little thing. We had a terrible fight, and she was blaming me for Alesia running away and thinking that I was just this Goddess of Dishes, I didn't think she knew how useful I could be. It hurt. But in the end we are a family, and families stick together.
Gabrielle stops to think about that. I just hope that the questions aren't too personal, besides that and my secret. What Xena doesn't know won't hurt her. Right? She is about the most honest person I know.
Gabrielle stops writing when she hears Xena coming out of the forest, with her catch.
"Get anything good?" Gabrielle says and puts her diary away.
"Well, found a little stream up the ways and caught a few trout, got some stuff to go with it. How's that sound?"
"Yummy." Gabrielle licked her lips "You know, loving the Warrior Princess gives a girl an appetite."
Xena chuckles, and lays down the greens and starts to prepare the fish "I know what you mean, Gabrielle. I need all the energy I can get to keep up with you." The warrior winks at her.
Gabrielle shakes her head to hide her blushing cheeks "Xena, what if Alesia asks us some embarrassing questions?"
"I've fought Poseidon, Gabrielle. How difficult can six year olds' be?"
Gabrielle looking at her like she has lost her mind. I can't believe she forgot.
"Xena, six year old's are very inquisitive. Remember when you were six?"
"Gee, Gabrielle that was along time ago. Six. Well, I thought it was a fun age. You could talk and walk, start to understand things. I used to ask my mother all sorts of questions about horses and chickens and why the miller's wife's stomach was getting so big." Xena stops cutting the fish. "Oh my gods!"
Bingo. Mark one down for the Warrior Princess.
"Gabrielle what are we going to say?" Xena looking incredibly frightened as Gabrielle stood and walked over to Xena, patting her on the head she bent over to say something in her ear. "You have many skills."
Xena's head fell to her chest.
Gabrielle turned to Xena "What a beautiful market. I could get lost in the shops."
"Oh no you don't!" pulling Gabrielle by the back of her skirt. "We came here on a mission, one in which I hope we both won't regret. I want us to go over what we think Alesia might ask us."
Gabrielle thought and asks. "Well, maybe we should ask Queen Mistria what we should expect."
Xena turned to her "Do you think we should tell her about us? Maybe we can get out of it, if she knew, she might understand our problem."
Gabrielle a little shocked "You think that we are a problem?" Gesturing her hand between them.
"Yes, I mean no. I just think that we need an ally. If the Queen is aware of our relationship, she probably would be helpful with handling inquisitive little six year old's."
"Oh. I guess I understand. But I think we should we
be honest with them. I know it's not good to lie to children. They look up to
"Let's just see how it goes with the Queen. Then if she can control what questions are asked we are home free." Xena polished her fingernails on her chest.
"You sound as though this is some sort of strategy like in battle."
"Well isn't it?"
"They're six year old's Xena."
"Yeah, sneaky little . . . " Gabrielle quickly putting her hand over Xena's mouth.
"Xena, we have to be honest with our answers. We don't have to say anything that's embarrassing. We can . . . um improvise."
Xena looks at her with a lost look in her eyes, then getting it. The warrior pulled the bard's hand away. "Improvise. Yeah I like that, and if they start to get to personal I can always show them my chakrum. That should keep them happy."
"Xena, you are not going to show six years old's your chakrum." Gabrielle stopped to think. Then she poked her finger on Xena on her chest. "Or your sword, whip and breast dagger. Got it?"
Xena looking like someone just kicked her horse.
"Got it." Xena mumbles under her breath "Ah shucks."
"What was that Xena?"
"Ah ducks." Smiling and pointing at a stand.
"Ducks. Oh kay." Ducks?
Entering the castle, the warrior and bard met by the Queen's guards and were led into the Queen's antechamber. Xena was mentally calculating battle strategy and wondering how soft the corner couch was and what position Gabrielle should face if she were to . . .
"Xena, Gabrielle, how wonderful that you came."
Queen Mistria looked regal in her finery. She seems to carry the weight of being Queen and mother quite well after the last time they met.
"Queen Mistria, we got your message, and we think . . . " Xena starts to say.
Gabrielle interrupts "How is King Melos and Princess Alesia?"
Xena looks at Gabrielle. What the!
Smiling the Queen says "Healthy and happy. I have to say after you left us, we had a time with the Princess excepting me as her new mother. But I think that being with both of you that day she saw things that are where too hard to explain to Alesia. Do you know what I mean?"
"Yes, I think we do. Visually seeing families, and the different ways they interact can be helpful." Gabrielle states elbowing Xena. "We're glad everything is working out."
Ow "Yeah, what she said." Xena joined it.
Gabrielle clears her throat "We were both happy to hear from you and about Alesia's project."
"Oh well, yes. The Interview. That's all that little Alesia's has been talking about, Interviewing the Warrior Princess and The Bard of Poteidaia."
Xena and Gabrielle both swallow hard.
Gabrielle moves toward the Queen, "Yeah right The Interview, so what do you think she will ask us?"
"My little pumpkin." The Queen put her hands together. " I wish I knew, but you know that six year old's don't write to well, so I guess most of what she will ask is in her head."
Xena and Gabrielle both thinking at the same time. Never thought that.
"So, she hasn't told you anything?" Gabrielle asks.
"No. She is very private about that, and I think that being her mother now, I have to respect her privacy."
"Ah shucks." Gabrielle mumbles.
"What was that?" The Queen asks.
"Ah ducks." Gabrielle smiles sweetly.
Ducks? The Queen look puzzled and continued "Well, I set you both up in some rooms down from Alesia."
Rooms "Ah, that won't be necessary." Xena says.
"We can share a room." Gabrielle adds.
"Nonsense. We have plenty of room. It's a nice way to repay you both for coming."
"No, really." Xena getting worried.
"And one room is just fine." From Gabrielle.
"If you're sure?"
"We are." Xena and Gabrielle say in unison.
"Well, I suppose that would work. Now I have some affairs to attend to, and the Princess is due back from school shortly. If you would like to rest up, we will see you at dinner."
"You know Xena, you seem to get along pretty good with the Princess last time, I just thought of a different approach. Besides we're sharing a room, don't you think she'll get it?"
"And when were you going to tell me this?" Xena starts to pace "What are you getting at Gabrielle?"
"I'm thinking that you should talk to Alesia."
"Find out what she might ask us."
"You want me to try to influence her?"
"No, just talk to her and see if she will give you a hint of what she might ask."
Talking, yeah right. Xena shiverer "Right, I could do that." Rolling her eyes. "Or I could try sneaking into her room and see if I can find out if she does have her questions written down."
"Xena we are guests here. We can't go breaking into their rooms."
"Why not, what they don't know won't hurt them."
Hmm you got me there. "I don't like it Xena."
"You got a better idea?"
"You want to be prepared, don't you?"
"Xena, being prepared is one thing, but I promised to be honest too. I mean we." Nice slip bard, oh can I be? Oh Xena.
"I just want a little insurance. What's the harm in that?"
"You know Xena. You're relentless." Oops
"It comes from being a warlord." Xena looks down, a little hurt.
Gabrielle moves toward Xena "That's not what I meant."
"It's all right. I'm used to it." Xena sits on the bed and picks up a vase to examine.
Gabrielle moves to stand in front of her with her knees touching Xena's and taking the vase from her she places back on the table. "Xena, I'm sorry."
The warrior looks up, and sighs "Gabrielle, it's one thing I have a hard time controlling. It's all I've known for the last 15 seasons. It's an edge that if I let slip, then I think that everything else might just fall away."
"Oh Xena" Gabrielle moves closer and puts Xena's head on her chest. "You're not that fragile Xena."
Looking up at the bard "You don't think so, hmm. Well do you know how hard it is to keep up the warriors' facade. It's all I can do sometimes to keep things together. With the fighting it's easy, that's a skill I've worked hard to get. It's the other times. Like talking that I have to be careful. I'm afraid my bard that's a skill I haven't mastered."
If you only knew Xena, if you only knew.
After their meal with the hosts, Xena decides to carry out her plan.
"Xena I really wished you had talked to the Princess."
"I wasn't sitting to close enough to her to have that conversation with her, Gabrielle, but I did see she was carrying the parchments her mother said that she wasn't going to use."
"So your going to sneak into her room?"
"That's the plan."
"After the moon sets. It should be in about three candle marks. Tomorrow is the interview. So I don't have much time."
"Just get some rest, and let me take care of this. I will be in, out and back before you know it." Smiling and reaching over touch Gabrielle's cheek.
Gabrielle leaned into Xena's hand and relenting "Be careful, Xena."
"I will, see you in a bit."
Three candle marks later, Xena edged slowly across the outside of the castle to the Princess's room. Waiting till the moon set, gave her the darkness she needed to bring the panther out. She was in her element. Reaching the edge of the balcony, she quickly rises and brings herself over the edge and moved toward the window. Entering the darkness of the room, her eyes quickly find her night vision. She began to search for the parchment's. Looking around she finds them simply laid out beside the bed the Princess was tucked into. Picking them up she brings them to the window to gather the faint light coming from below the wall sconce below.
Xena squinted to read the parchment's, and almost falls over the edge the window. What the! Puzzled now, and flipping through the parchments, she pauses. They're all just numbers. She hasn't been writing anything down. Gods, what are we going to do?
She places the parchment back on the table, she turns and moves to the window not sure of what to tell Gabrielle of her find.
Coming back into their room, she whispers to the bard, "Are you awake?"
"Oh, Xena your back." Getting up Gabrielle wipes the sleep from her eyes.
Xena started to get undressed, and sitting on the bed she stops. "Gabrielle, we are in trouble." Rubbing Gabrielle's hand.
"Why? Are the questions that bad?"
"You could say that."
"What did they say?"
Moving the blankets away to move toward Xena she asks. "I don't get Xena, what's going on?"
"I wish I knew, Gabrielle I wish I knew." Xena puts
her head on Gabrielle's shoulder.
A few merchants had even opened up small stands to sell beverages and food to the waiting crowds.
"Gods, Xena would you look at that. You would think that Zeus himself was going to make an appearance."
"Yeah, sorry to disappoint, just the Warrior and her Bard. Come on let's get this over with."
Moving to the entrance and walking down the hallway. The bard and warrior found their way to Princess Alesia's classroom.
"Are you ok Xena?"
"Just a little stressed. This is different."
"I know. It's one thing when I'm telling a story in a tavern, I have it all worked out in my head." She pauses.
Not feeling the warrior behind her, she asks, "Xena?"
"Hmm." Xena answers.
"Oh Gods, you scared me I didn't know you were so close. Are you feeling better?" Trying not to swoon.
"Yeah, I think so."
"So are you ready to go?"
"You better not be leaving sweaty warrior palm prints on my butt."
Oops. Yanking her hands away.
The room was gaily decorated like the outside with colorful banners and the announcement of the interview. The parents and children were starting to find their seats. When a young woman approached the pair obviously knowing the two of them.
"Xena and Gabrielle, I'm so happy you made it. "I'm
Alesia's teacher Mara. She offered her arm to shake. "The class has been looking
forward to your interview as all of us are." Pulling her arm away to wave it
around to indicate the crowd.
"Yes, were both happy to help out." Xena says.
Gabrielle tells the teacher. "Everything looks lovely, you've done a fine job here."
"Thank you so much. Ok, well we've set up a dais, if you will both come with me." Xena and Gabrielle followed the teacher to the dias, and walked up the short stairs to take their seats.
"We will start as soon as the Princess and her family arrives."
"Oh, goody." Xena mumbles.
Xena and Gabrielle move to the left side of the dais into some very tiny chairs which seem to be made for the children and carefully sat down. A buzz of whispering started and looking up to see the crowd part, with the Princess entering in front of the King and Queen. The Royal pair where led to the front class to a special section for the event. The Queen bend's over to the Princess and whispered in her ear eliciting a tiny giggle.
"She's really cute, Gabrielle. Maybe it won't be that bad."
Mara walks over the Princess and bows in front of her
parents, taking her by the hand she leads her to the dais shows her to her chair.
Clapping her hands together to get the rooms attention she begins.
"King Melos and Queen Mistria, Ladies and Gentlemen and children. Today we have the honor of two of the most inspiring duo this land has seen for many years. Princess Alesia is a good friend of theirs, and asks them to join us today to hear of their exciting tales. I present, Xena the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle the Bard of Poteidaia."
With that the crowd gives a rousing round of applause.
Mara moves to stand next to the Princess. "I give it
to you Princess Alesia."
Standing to face the audience she begins. "Good Morning King and Queen of Cira." Bowing slightly to her parents. "My teacher Mara, parents and classmates. Xena the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle the Bard of Poteidaia."
The warrior and bard tilt their heads to the Princess.
"I shall begin."
Sitting next to the pair and looking at Xena she asks.
"Xena, what's your favorite color?"
Xena and Gabrielle grin at each other.
This is going to be than easier than I thought. The bard muses.
I know that one. "Black and blue." The warrior smirks and the crowd lightly laughs.
Puzzled Gabrielle leans over to Xena, and quietly whispers, "I thought your favorite color was green." Looking at her top.
"I like green, just not that shade."
"But . . . "
The princess interrupts and asks Gabrielle "How did you become Xena's sidekick?"
Gabrielle takes a deep breath to answer. "Xena saved me and the young girls of Poteidaia from Draco the Warlord, who wanted to sell us to slavers. After that I followed Xena to her hometown."
"But why did you follow her?"
"There was something about her. I didn't fit in where I lived and Xena was like every fairy tale come to life. She didn't have to stop Draco's men, but she did and she changed my life. If she hadn't come along . . . " Gabrielle paused to take a deep breath. " I'm not really sure what I would have become."
"Gabrielle, how old are you?"
Gabrielle brings her eyes back at Alesia.
Oh God's my secret. Praying, I'm sorry I never told you Xena. Clearing her throat. "Sorry, I um . . . I just turned 19 seasons."
Xena leaning back and scrunching her brows together and calculating, then it dawns on her. Looking sideways at Gabrielle and whispering out of the side of her mouth "I thought you were 21 seasons, are you telling me that you were only 13 when we started traveling together?"
Gabrielle smiling and answers without moving her lips. "I was almost 14, and I was big for my age." Nothing gets past the warrior princess.
"Not that big." Xena asks .
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You were practically a baby."
"Xena are you calling me a baby? I was 13 almost 14 seasons, Not a child, not quite a woman yet, you were 15 when . . . "
Alesia clears her throat to bring both of the interviewees back to her attention.
"Xena, Do you sleep with your horse?"
Caught off guard Xena snorts "No, I sleep with Gabrielle." Oops.
The children giggle.
Geez! Gabrielle puts her head in her hand's to hide her blushing cheeks.
Looking at Gabrielle Xena just shrugs her shoulders.
"It was a trick question!"
Through her clinched teeth she whispers. "Your to suppose to improvise!"
Xena is getting a little irritated with this whole thing. Xena politely crosses her legs moving away from Gabrielle.
Alesia, getting a little annoyed with being ignored, kick's Gabrielle shin.
"Ow." The bard jumps.
"Oh sorry, heh." The Princess smiles sweetly. "Gabrielle?"
If it's her real name. The warrior says only loud enough for the bard to hear.
What? Gabrielle tries to move closer to the warrior.
Alesia continues. "Who's your favorite Warlord?"
Xena leans over to Gabrielle and says with a sneer. "You want me to show them my chakrum yet?"
Hurt, Gabrielle gets up and runs from the dias.
Oh gods what did I just say? Xena gets up and starts toward the end of the dias. "Well, I guess the interview over, sorry Alesia."
Xena leaves to try and find Gabrielle. Having no luck searching the square, she finally decides to go back to their room. Stopping just outside their door, she quietly opens it and sees the bard packing her gear.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"It's okay Xena, it's how you feel. I didn't tell you how old I was, and now your probably thinking everything else is a lie."
"No, no I don't."
"Why not, that's what I would think, it's really ok. I just get my things packed, and get out of here."
"Just stop, please. Look at me."
"I can't Xena, I'm ashamed of not telling you that you were traveling with a child, barely able to keep tripping over her own shoes." Laughing sadly now. "I couldn't even make a fire, Xena."
"Gabrielle, I knew that you were young, and yes it's a little bit of a shock to find out how old you were. But you know I should have guessed it when you would ask me so many questions."
"I think so. But, these last few years gave me something back, that I didn't even know I was missing."
"What was that?" Gabrielle sniffing a little.
"A friend, I really never had."
On a roll now. "Yeah, and more than that, you gave me back a freshness to life. A way of looking at things that wasn't so black and white. You gave me all the colors of the rainbow, Gabrielle."
"I learn from you everyday Gabrielle, how to open up a little bit more, share with you. You gave me back my life."
Who's the bard now?
Xena walks over to the bard and takes her pack out of her hands and lays in the bed. Moving close to her and opening up her arms. "Gabrielle, I wouldn't change a thing."
"Oh, Xena I'm so sorry."
"Shhh, it's ok, we're ok." Backing up to sit on the bed, Xena pulls Gabrielle to sit on her lap. And Rubbing her back lightly in circles, the bard rocked with the motion, and finally looks up to understanding eyes.
"I love you Xena."
"I love you too, Gabrielle."
A soft knock at the door, and Xena untangles herself from Gabrielle to answer.
"Xena." Alesia shouts.
Bending down to her level. "Hey what's the matter kid."
Wrapping her arms around Xena shoulders and crying. "I'm so sorry, Xena it's all my fault."
Emotion ugh. "It's ok Alesia, we talked it out everything is ok."
"Yeah, see for yourself."
"Gabrielle!" The Princess rushes over to give the bard
"Hey there, sorry about running out on the interview."
The Princess hugs her tightly. "It's really ok."
Backing up, the Princess waves her hand in the air and with a pink swoosh of air Aphrodite appears before them in her temple that was once their room.
"What you!" They both shout.
"Now before you both get your panties in a bind, it all worked out."
"Aphrodite, what do you think you were doing?" Gabrielle asks.
"I'm the Goddess of Love, and it's my job to make sure the love is based on the foundation of honesty, and you weren't too honest with Xena in the beginning. I think I just needed to help you out."
"Wait a minute. You set this whole thing up?" Xena says.
"Hmm, yes a brilliant job if I say so myself, mission accomplished."
"So, this really didn't happen, I mean Alesia, and the interview."
"Nope, they are in their kingdom, and very happy I must say. I just thought that a child would bring the issue home quicker than an adult. You are so afraid of them."
"Am not." Xena pouts.
"Besides the point, Gabrielle needed to tell you something that she was afraid might lose you, and now that's out, and your still together my job is done." Dusting her hands together.
"Aphrodite!" Xena starts to stalk.
Grabbing Xena arm and pulling her to the door, "Xena, let's just get our things and get out of here."
"Meddling Gods." Xena groans.
"I heard that."
Later that evening after settling down on the sleeping furs, with Xena resting against a log, and Gabrielle snuggling next to her.
"You know Xena, I'm really glad that Aphrodite interfered this time."
"Well, she made me confess to something I was ashamed of telling you."
"You shouldn't be ashamed Gabrielle. I just shouldn't have made it so hard for you to tell me."
"We're really ok now?"
"I'd say." Hugging the bard tight.
"So, how old were we when, umm you know, slept together?"
"You know, you never did answer Alesia's last question."
Turning over to face Xena.
"Oh, you mean about, Who's my favorite warlord?"
Moving closer and looking deep in her eyes, Gabrielle slowly brings her lips down to meet Xena's. Pulling back, the bard say's "Do I really have to answer that?"
Xena chuckles. "You just did."
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