A Risk Worth Taking

Gabrielle looks depressed and lonely as she sits at the campfire holding the urn in her hands talking to Xena, who cannot be seen. A figure appears before her announcing she has the ability to bring Xena back to her. But Gabrielle must show prove that the love between them is true and meant to be.

Gabrielle is skeptical and wants to know who the person is. The woman answers, "Do you want to waste time asking questions or get back the woman you love?"

The visitor states she has the ability to send Gabrielle back into the past, before Xena had even heard of Akemi. Once there, Gabrielle would have to get Xena to kiss her within 2 days. If she did then both soul mates would be reunited in the present like nothing had happened, no problems with Akemi and the trouble she started. BUT if the bard fails to get Xena to kiss her, then the blond would be doomed to live as an immortal, never to be reunited with her soul mate.

Gabrielle of course jumps at this opportunity and the stranger has her drink this potion and the bard falls asleep/passes out. When she wakes up it’s morning and she’s in a different place. She hears fighting nearby. Fortunately she still has her sais tucked into her boots and she picks up the sword next to her and goes to investigate.

She sees Xena and her army ransacking a village. The warrior is on horseback while her men fight around her. The villagers are trying to protect themselves from the warlord, but it’s a losing battle for the untrained men. Many fall to the ground dead or injured. Gabrielle is torn between helping the people and getting her soul mate back. How much would she give to get her back? Would she kill an innocent person to prove her love for Xena?

The bard then sees a soldier about to kill a woman who is covering her injured, teenage son to protect him from one of Xena’s men. Gabrielle knows Xena’s convictions about killing women and children so she springs into action, and with her sword, she battles the man and kills him, saving the woman and her son.

Xena’s eye falls on the action and she calls for her men to bring the trio over to her. With swords drawn, the soldiers usher the three people over to the waiting Xena. The Warrior Princess is intrigued by the small blond who just killed one of her men. She asks the woman her name and then announces since Gabrielle is so interested in protecting the villagers she had a proposition for her. The young man she’d rescued had killed or injured several of her soldiers, so he had to die. But if Gabrielle ran the man through with her sword, then Xena would leave the rest of the village intact. If not, she would kill every man and beast there and burn the place to the ground.

Gabrielle is extremely disturbed by this, the old woman is hysterical and the soldiers grab her to keep her from interfering. Gabrielle glances up at Xena and tries to reason with her in hopes the warlord would change her mind. Xena gives her a bored look and tells Gabrielle she’d better hurry and do the job or she’d take matters into her own hands.

The bard levels her sword at the young man who gazes at her with big, innocent eyes. Gabrielle’s trying to think of a way to get everyone out of this alive. But before she has the chance, Xena gives her a hard kick in the back from on of top her horse and Gabrielle impales the boy, he dies in her arms.

The Warrior Princess thinks Gabrielle could make a good servant so she motions to one of her men who uses the hilt of his sword to knock out a grieving Gabrielle. The unconscious bard is then laid over Xena’s horse.

Gabrielle wakes up and is still in disbelief over what happened in the village. But she reminds herself that her Xena is not like that anymore, and it’s up to her to bring her back.

Xena has a bit of fun humiliating and abusing Gabrielle. But she makes sure not to go too far, there’s something about the woman that she enjoys being around. The bard attempts to get inside Xena’s emotional barriers every chance she gets. The women appear to get friendlier and Xena’s second in command, Briarcles, decides this could be his opportunity to defeat Xena. He plots with a few other soldiers to kill Xena and take over the army.

Gabrielle’s second day is ending and she’s getting nervous, they are battling a rival warlord and his men over the right to pillage a town. Xena is battling along side her men. Gabrielle is also in the melee but is fighting defensively, only wounding and defending when she can and killing as the last option.

The bard is near Xena and sees the Warrior Princess is deep in battle with 3 enemy soldiers. She spots Xena’s second in command about to take advantage of the situation by killing Xena when she’s occupied.

Xena senses Briarcles at her back but believes he is fighting off the enemy as well, so she concentrates on the men before her. The traitor raises his sword to strike. Gabrielle fears if she calls out, Xena will turn to fight off Briarcles and the two enemy soldiers still standing would take her out instead.

Gabrielle lunges in front of the man’s sword and is run through the stomach. She falls to the ground. Xena realizes what has happened and, after killing the last enemy soldier, she spins around and kills the traitor.

Xena kneels next to Gabrielle and holds her in her arms trying to comfort the dying woman. Gabrielle gazes into the blue eyes and tries to lose herself in them, very aware that she is dying and the sun is setting. Time has run out.

Xena questions Gabrielle why would she sacrifice herself for her, when she’d treated her so badly. Gabrielle smiles sadly, her teeth red with blood, and whispers, "Because I love you."

The warrior focuses on the green eyes that are staring unseeingly at her. She bends her head and kisses Gabrielle softly and apologizes, then closes the bard’s eyes as the sun sets.

Gabrielle opens her eyes slowly, the sun is rising and the bard squints as the rays bathe her face in light. She quickly glances around for Xena, but the warrior is nowhere in sight. Gabrielle slouches in defeat then turns her attention to the sword next to her. She begins to reach for it when a voice stops her dead in her tracks.

She looks up to see her soul mate kneeling next to her. Gabrielle isn’t sure if she’s real or not and asks Xena.

Xena gives her an arched eyebrow in response and asks Gabrielle if she’d eaten some of that funny nutbread again.

Gabrielle wraps her arms around Xena and hugs her tightly, closing her eyes to fully appreciate the feeling of being back in her soul mate’s arms. When she finally pulls back, Xena asks her what that was for.

Gabrielle answers she missed her.

Xena frowns and places her hand to Gabrielle’s forehead to check for fever and states she was only gone a moment to get some berries for breakfast.

Gabrielle smiles and playfully pushes Xena’s hand away and leans in and kisses the Warrior Princess.

Xena remarks if that’s the reaction she gets for picking berries, they’d be having them for every meal.

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