Xena: Warrior Princess is copyright MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. All original content of Xena: Warrior Princess 2.0 is copyrighted by the author and is not to be used or modified without permission. All rights reserved.
INT. ISLE OF BARACCHUS KEEP'S GREAT HALL EARLY EVENING
The wall of wooden debris circling the great hall is deliberate and Callisto proves it. She kicks the unstable construction and it comes crashing down, blocking the exit behind her. For good measure, Callisto drops her torch on the obstruction and walks towards Xena as flames erupt in the dry wood. Xena appears to be in shock.
Callisto, crying, sadly
Remember the cabin in the woods? Remember what you did to my wife? Remember the ashes you left me again?
Callisto, screaming tearfully, more pain than anger in her voice
You cut out my child, bitch!
Xena unhooks her chakram as emotion slowly drains from her expression and eyes.
Poor, defenseless infant; reminds me of another innocent. Remember Cirra? How many does that make?
Callisto, switching tactics, taunting Xena with the question she wants the most
What's under the sheet, Callisto?
Callisto is unarmed, hitting Xena with words. Her answer comes in the swift throw of the chakram, right at her neck. Xena expects a decapitation or a dodge; she gets another shock. Callisto catches the deadly weapon, despite the power behind the action and makes it look easy.
Callisto, playing with the chakram, carrying on as if nothing happened
Did the baby cry when you ripped it from its mother? Did you break its neck or smother it? Did you make Gabrielle watch? Did you enjoy it?
Callisto hooks the chakram onto her belt and pats it in obvious insult and Xena draws a sword.
What's under the sheet, Callisto?
Xena closes the distance and they come together in a clash of steel. Callisto disengages shortly, unable to match Xena's raw strength behind the strikes. She circles Xena wearily and Xena tracks her movement but does not attack.
Oh, Xena you crazy thing. Why do we keep running into each other? You burn my family, then you try to kill me, then you burn my family again, and then another attempted murder. People are starting to think you are obsessed with me.
What's under the sheet, Callisto?
Xena backs up and Callisto stalks her. It nearly proves her undoing. While Callisto advances with her guard up, ready to defend, the attack comes in an unexpected way.
Xena enters the area around the bed, strewn with burning oil lamps and red roses. Making it look effortless, she picks the lamp with her blade and kicks it. It breaks on impact, dousing Callisto with oil. More clay missiles follow and few hit Callisto before she backflips out of danger. Unfortunately for her, the fire has spread and now surrounds the great hall in a ring of fire. Temperature is rising and burning embers and sparks are multiplying at an alarming rate.
Callisto, picking up where she left off when Xena catches up to her, happy
I think you want me to return your love. No, you need to. You get me the best gifts, you shower me with attention, and what do I get you? Cyrene? Toris? Argo? Hmm, who to butcher first?
What's under the sheet Callisto?
Xena has regained her balance and she attacks smartly, measuring her strength. They exchange, parrying and blocking, as Xena begins to relentlessly drive Callisto towards the inferno. While a master swordswoman, Callisto is not Gabrielle: she can't match her in evasion, speed, or finesse. Against Xena you need to get out of the way and counter and Callisto' style is not built for that. She, like Xena, is a brawler.
Predictably, Callisto's armor starts smoking oily and she has to take a chance lest she burn alive. Feinting, she dives the other way and Xena's sword is there to exact a toll. A gash on the left arm starts the bloodletting.
Abruptly Callisto turns and takes off. She runs up to one of the wooden pillars and breaks it with a flying sidekick. She takes aim at the second one and Xena moves to intercept. Callisto avoids Xena and catches the round beam in passing. She swings horizontally, driving both boots into Xena's chest when she kicks out and staggering Xena back. Callisto adds a few rotations to build her speed up as Xena recovers and then she lets go and flies like a human missile at Xena, feet first. Xena impacts a column with her back and crashes to the floor. She looks hurt and is slow to get up.
Callisto takes advantage and starts going after the other supports. She gets three more before Xena gets up and picking up her sword, hobbles after Callisto. Obliging, Callisto engages, confident that the injury evened the odds. Xena, visibly in pain, clenches her teeth and they dance.
Now Callisto is the faster one, pressing the action and Xena the one defending by necessity. They weave around the remaining columns, ignoring the fire, blades intent on harm. Callisto marks Xena bloody on her arm and leg and Xena gets a piece of Callisto's neck.
The damage is too extensive for the structure and it slowly begins to die. Xena and Callisto, intent as they are on killing each other, ignore the signs. Only when a part of the ceiling comes down, bringing more fuel to the fire and rocks raining down, do they awaken to the danger; in Callisto's case opportunity.
Callisto, keenly intent on making this a grave for three - her, Xena, and the body on the bed charges another post. She catches it, spins, builds momentum, and does her human cannonball impression again. This time Xena is ready.
Incredibly, bad back notwithstanding, Xena catches Callisto in midair as Xena's blade hits the ground, dropped. She immediately adjusts the hold on Callisto and overhead presses her.
Let's play Xena says.
Xena brings Callisto down on her knee and breaks her back. Undaunted, this being a fight to the death, Callisto unhooks the chakram and slices Xena's side. The leather armor is no match for Hephaestus' steel and Xena drops her and scrambles back to avoid further injury. Clutching her bleeding side gives Xena a reason to forget the murder that is her lower back.
Callisto, with her legs useless, begins to crawl towards Xena, who gets up in a hurry. Both women look like Tartarus and feel like it.
Xena, kicking Callisto hard in the ribs, spitting out
Xena says: down bitch.
Callisto immediately drops to the floor and sprawls there, recovering.
Xena says: stay.
Xena goes back to retrieve her sword and chokes back a scream when she bends to pick it up. Hefting it, she closes on Callisto who, unable to move, begins a throwing motion. Xena is faster. Closing lightning-fast, she cuts off Callisto left hand and then pries the chakram from the dead fingers, breaking them. She tosses the hand back to its owner.
Xena says: don't play with her toys.
Xena sheaths her sword and goes to one of the broken beams. Lifting it with a grunt, she charges one of the side doors. It buckles slightly but does not give. Encouraged, Xena smashes the impromptu battering ram again and again until she wins and the path to freedom opens. She throws away the heavy support and returns to Callisto. Her reward it a dagger to the chest.
Xena easily catches and tosses the weapon aside. Callisto has found some cloth and covered the stump. Out of weapons, she lies there, making no move to escape or attack, hysterically laughing her head off.
To the soundtrack of Callisto mad laughter, Xena methodically destroys the supports until the whole great hall is seconds from collapse.
Xena, pronouncing a sentence on Callisto, gravely
Xena says: die.
The creaking grows louder and the place starts shaking. Xena swiftly vacates the room, leaving Callisto to her fate. She makes it to the door and thru it as the remaining ceiling drops into the flames and the only sounds after that are the flames feasting.
INT. ISLE OF BARACCHUS KEEP'S GREAT HALL EVENING
Morpheus appears in the room and the fire parts around him. With a wave of hand he parts the stone, wood, and debris. Broken, battered body of Callisto lies on the floor; such is her will that she is still alive, barely breathing. He moves right up to her and crouches, picking up Callisto's discarded hand. Morpheus then grabs a handful of blonde hair and lifts her head to face him.
Callisto, suffering, begging pitifully
Let me die
Morpheus, smiling as he pats Callisto on the head with her own hand
There, there, that's the spirit.
He attaches the missing hand to the arm and the injuries vanish; Callisto's body is restored to normal.
Morpheus, enjoying himself immensely, cheerfully
Oh, but the dreams we will share, precious Callisto.
END OF TEASER
EXT. ISLE OF BARACCHUS KEEP'S GREAT HALL NIGHT
Xena stumbles outside, wearing her underwraps. Her tunic has been recruited for bandages and it covers her numerous wounds. Her weapons are bundled in the leather armor she carries. Slowly, she begins to make her way out of the keep.
Ares appears, cradling a BODY completely wrapped in a bloody, white sheet.
I did not know
Xena looks at him without a word, silently accusing him.
Ares, trying again, unable to meet Xena's judging eyes, ashamed
I did not think
How could you?
Callisto brings out the worst in you. Once he saw you destroy Callisto, witnessed what you really are, he would give up his pining. And if she won
Ares, admitting quietly
I did not want that.
The calm unsettles Ares more than raw anger ever could. Like warlord Xena, he refuses to face or acknowledge the consequence of his actions. That would make him human and fallible. He is a God and by definition perfect. Problem is: Ares does not feel that way. His doubts and the discomfort are growing with each passing second.
Xena, using that maddening, even tone of voice
You hand him over to that madwoman and expect rationality?
Ares wishes Xena would scream or hit him, anything but this lack of emotion. If he is dead to her, he has lost everything.
I can transport you, Argo, and him.
Ares gets his wish.
Xena, her voice cutting Ares to the bone, strongly
Say his name.
Ares, hanging his head even lower, trying to disappear without actually vanishing
Xena, eyes burning into Ares, commanding
Look at me. I said look!
Ares, head jerking up and eyes snapping to her, opens his mouth but unable to speak
There are no excuses, not to what Ares sees in Xena's eyes.
Xena, slowly and with emphasis, words dropping like heavy stones
Who is responsible for Sophus' death? Who killed my husband?
Long second pass in silent, mutual stare. Xena can't help Ares anymore; she took him as far as she could. The rest is up to him.
The wait grows longer and the wind picks up, howling thru the carcass of the keep. Xena and Ares are locked in a showdown; she is free, he is not. Nothing traps us like the truth, mortal and God alike.
After interminable amount of time, Ares reaches a decision. Strangely, the voice that comes out of his mouth is his but it's not him speaking.
Ares, hollow, guiltily
I am. I did.
Lend me your shoulder to camp. And don't dare set Sophus down.
Xena puts an arm around Ares and leans heavily on him; they leave together. The God of War shoulders his twin burden and supports Xena stoically and without protest. Ares is numb.
EXT. ISLE OF BARACCHUS CAMP NIGHT
Xena sits, propped against a tree trunk. A blanket had been placed behind her back to sooth the bite of the bark. Fresh, proper bandages dress her wounds. She remains in her underwraps, dirt, dried sweat, and dry blood coating the flesh. Next to her is her healer's kit, closed and ready to be put away.
Argo is not in her usual spot. She is next to Xena, looking for all intents and purposes as if she is either standing guard or being a friend. Probably both.
Argo nuzzles Xena's hair and snorts, sending it flying. Xena smiles and whispers to Argo as she dispenses pats and scratches.
Times passes in amiable companionship until both the woman and the horse turn their heads in choreographed motion at the approach of Ares. The God of War has a bowl of water in his hands and a piece of linen. He kneels on the side opposite Argo; she does not appear of mind to leave.
Ares then dips the linen and looks at Xena, who nods approval. Slowly and gently, he begins cleaning her, starting with her face. Argo watches protectively.
Ares, uncertain of the reception, throwing it out there, uncomfortable
I visited Hades.
Ares, getting it out quickly, rushing words
Sophus was judged for Elysian Fields. He was given memories of your time together in another life and awaits you.
Xena's right hand shoots out and catches Ares' in a grip of steel. Her eyes demand an answer.
Ares, explaining hastily, nervous
You have seven days to say goodbye. I will stay here.
Xena, releasing his hand, genuinely surprised
You would send me into the arms of another man?
Ares, shaking his hand to restore feeling and blood flow, woodenly
He is your husband.
Ares, trying to hide his pain, softly
Xena nods understanding and sympathy and then looks away, lost in thought. Ares resumes the hand bath; a touch unsteady in his motion but not from anything Xena has done. Rather, what it cost him to offer her this.
EXT. ELYSIAN FIELDS XENA & SOPHUS' HOME - DAYLIGHT
Xena appears in a field of grass and flowers. The sun is shining and the air is warm. There is a feeling of peace. Ahead of her is her house in Amphipolis, just the way she remembers it. There is nothing else around and wherever she looks, the distance seems to dissolve into a hazy emptiness.
The front door opens and Sophus steps out. They stare at each other - Xena apprehensive, Sophus uncertain. Taking the initiative, Xena begins to move towards him, seeing the husband she left behind. This spurs Sophus into action and he reconciles the memories he was gifted by giving into them. They fly into each other arms and hug, their feet toe to toe. Tearful yet joyful reunion ensues.
Pulling back their heads, still in embrace, they grow awkward again. Xena again leads, leaning forward and he copies. Their foreheads touch and they pause, locked in gaze.
Are we married or is it a dream?
Do I feel real?
You feel good.
Xena finds his mouth and they kiss. It is familiar and slow, a leisurely hello after an absence. It is as if no time has passed for Xena away from the Sophus in the other life.
Xena, pulling back, smiling
Sophus, wonder coloring his tone
There is my life apart from you, waiting and hoping for your return. And then there is this dream where we are married and prodigiously blessed by Hera. I reconciled; I know and believe, nay I am drunk with joy at this development, but there is this tiny, nagging seed of doubt. I believe that I am happy
Xena stops his musings with another kiss, this one passionate. She signals her desire by threading her right hand thru the hair on the back of his neck and pressing closer. To drive home her need, Xena alters her stance, pushing her leg between his, putting both their centers into contact with a partner's thigh.
Sophus, slow in getting the message, rambling as he reconciles the memories
Am I me? The shy boy who lost his tongue, the inexperienced stableman who gave away his heart, the young man who loved and waited in faith, or the foolish man who hoped. Am I your husband? The father to your children, the confident lover, the what are doing?
Xena, going for direct, releases the hug. She grabs a handful of Sophus' tunic in each hand and rips it down the front. She swallows his protest with hungry kiss as her hands stroke his bare chest.
You have grown impulsive.
You talk too much and we have little time.
Done being subtle, Xena picks Sophus up and throws him over her shoulder.
Xena, heading inside by kicking the door open, wickedly
I am going to have my way with you and you will like it, husband!
Sophus, going with it, affecting meek
EXT. ELYSIAN FIELDS XENA & SOPHUS' HOME - NIGHTIME
Xena lies on top of Sophus, dressed in lightweight, plain tunic. Sophus, wearing only trousers, rests on his back, his joined hands pillowing his head. Xena supports her chin on her right forearm, which in turn sits flat on Sophus' chest. Her right hand roams his upper body, neck and face, lightly caressing and tracing. It is almost as if she is trying to unconsciously memorize his features by touch. While her fingers are busy moving, Xena's eyes study Sophus' face; his are closed but he is not sleeping.
That surpassed the memories. And an entire day.
Xena, kissing Sophus' chest, giggling
It was long in coming.
Sophus, barely holding it in, seriously
Then he can keep a straight face no longer and bursts into laughter.
Sophus, one arm going to cover his eyes, groaning
Long . coming . Xena, you are horrible.
Xena buries her face in his chest and judging by the shaking of her shoulders, she is in throes of same. Sophus does not help things by tickling her sides. In mock retaliation, Xena blows a raspberry on his skin. The ensuing merriment brings tears to both their eyes and they exhaust themselves in giving to it.
Laughed out, Xena shifts. She places a few small kisses and then rests her cheek on Sophus' heart. Her hands find familiar places to hold her husband close and his reach and gently rub her back. It's about comfort and connection.
You, in my arms, fitting perfectly; you, in my heart, always. I love you.
Xena, returning the sentiment, capping it with a kiss on his chest
You, in my dreams, real; you, in my loss, found. I love you too.
Times passes in sharing the emotions expressed.
We had a daughter?
Xena, lighting up, smiling
She is beautiful, yours and mine. Gabrielle recorded the memories and she lives on. I carry copies.
I hand Gabrielle the scroll and close my eyes; she spins the tale and I am there, with our daughter.
God Ares offered to take me to you. Was it true?
Xena, placing another kiss, sincerely
Gabrielle knows me so well it scares me sometimes. She secretly inquired and your whereabouts and feelings were discovered, by enemy and friend alike. Rest, well
Xena, openly and honestly
Sophus, when you returned to Amphipolis this time, I would be waiting for you.
Sophus pulls Xena up and she scoots up his body until her face is above his.
Don't you see? It has come to pass, promised wife.
They kiss and he rolls them, ending on top of her.
Xena, reaching up to frame his face, surrendering to him again, affectionately
Take me and make me yours, given husband. Until I trust we won't be apart again.
And he does, starting with the claim of her lips.
EXT. DREAMSCAPE MORPHEUS' PALACE LIGHT
Arrogant, Morpheus sprawls on the rebuilt throne, in his open, airy palace. His superiority does not last long.
The twelve Olympians, led by Zeus, appear. The others are Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, and Poseidon. The Gods and Goddesses are all dressed in their finest and wield accoutrements of office. They are joined by Gabrielle, standing next to her wife, resplendent in her blood armor and highly polished gear. Athena has her arm around the bard in a show of support and unity and they are at the center of the group, behind Zeus. The message could not be clearer.
Zeus, addressing the still, terrified figure, grandly
Suffer Morpheus, your throne the sacrificial altar and eternity the earned penance. Ages will pass, Gods will come and go, and here you will stay, unmoved and unchanging yet alive. Watching. Impotent.
Zeus, the very air vibrating with the power of his curse, voice booming in the stillness
I take away your brides and leave you alone. I take away your presence and leave you forgotten. I take away your dreams and leave you empty. I take away your hope and leave you in despair. I take away everything and leave you in the void.
Morpheus sits on his throne, wide-open eyes frozen in a scream. He will sit there till the end of time.
END OF ACT ONE
EXT. ELYSIAN FIELDS XENA & SOPHUS' HOME NIGHTIME
It is the twilight of dawn and Xena and Sophus' time together is nearly up. They stand in front of their house, home for the last week. Their eyes and minds are not on the quickly drawing parting; not until the last possible moment.
With the rapidly diffusing light heralding the truth, facing each other, the lovers bow to the inevitable. Rather, Xena does; Sophus remains a rock. And with his wife he shares the truth she does not see.
Sophus, taking Xena's right hand, firmly
This is not a goodbye.
Xena, sliding into depression, morosely
Tartarus claims me, for I am damned. Worse, I am taking Gabrielle with me. This
Xena, pointing at the terrain around her with her other hand, tearfully
This is not to be. She showed me love; you showed me Elysium. I count the time in the other life and here as the happiest of my wretched existence, rivaled only by the bard. Think of me, dear husband. I will; often and always.
Sophus embraces Xena close, wrapping her in his love. He brings their lips together and they join, reaffirming their bond. When one is weak, the other is a rock; when one doubts, the other stands tall. For better and worse are not empty words. In this life they were not joined yet they are. Xena accepts the labels of wife and husband. Now comes the rest.
Sophus, lending Xena his strength and conviction, strongly and with utter faith
Walk with the Gods, beloved wife. Believe in Gabrielle, the other half of your soul. I have faith in your redemption, I have faith in us, and I have faith in your eventual salvation. You and Gabrielle belong here and here you will rest in eternity.
Sophus pours all his love into one kiss. They break on the birth of a new day.
Sophus, with utter faith
This is not a goodbye.
Xena swims in Sophus' eyes, searching intently. She finds what she is looking for.
Xena, believing, affectionately
It's a promise then, beloved.
Xena seals her oath with a kiss as she slowly fades.
EXT. ISLE OF BARACCHUS CAMP NIGHT
Xena comes to in her bedroll and opens her eyes. First at the stars and then Argo, who trots into view and whuffles. Xena reaches up and pets her, whispering endearments. Reassured, Argo returns to her spot - close by yet not too close.
Xena stretches to creaks and pops and stiffly sits up. She looks down at herself and the blankets pooling on her lap. Her eyes meet Ares' and hold them, reprimanding.
Ares, gruffly, slightly offended
I dressed you in a fresh tunic and made you comfortable. I did not take advantage of you.
Xena acknowledges with a curt nod.
Ares, standing up and moving to Xena, handing her a waterskin as peace offering
I will take you to them when you are ready.
Xena drains a good amount then examines him. Ares shrinks under her scrutiny.
How did you know?
Morpheus. The Gods perceive things in mortals but not their undirected thoughts or memories. Faith is the source of our power and the mortals are free to choose their deity. The catch is that the divine beings can court them. How then? The God of Dreams doesn't either, normally. However, you visited his realm and you and Gabrielle are an open book.
Zeus visited the Fates in the Centaur incident with Chiron and again on behalf of Sophus. There is a balance and order to consider and maintain.
Xena, prioritizing, practically
How do we get and keep him out?
Morpheus ... is done.
Zeus took away his dreams; all of them, leaving nothing. You and Gabrielle are safe.
Xena starts to stand up and Ares offers a hand, only to hastily withdraw it when the glare hits him.
Ares, backing up, raising his hands up, worried over her rejection of any help
One word of warning: the Elysian Fields suppress the bad and elevate the good. The effect wears off and your loss - there remote - will return here. It is a reward for life well lived and a reason for one way policy.
Ares, genuine in his regret
No one is meant to experience that and return. It will hurt more for it. I am sorry.
Xena, building her walls again, dismissively
I pay the price willingly. The week with Sophus was a gift and I accept it in that spirit.
Ares, unable to avoid it any longer, pointing at the body, shakily
Xena walks over to the bloody sheet covering her husband.
Xena, picking up Sophus with utmost care, somberly
Take us home.
Take me to Gabrielle.
EXT. WILDERNESS - CAMP DAWN
Xena rests by the fire, in Athena's close embrace. Athena dozes, her back against a large tree trunk. Xena is huddled to her bosom and a blanket covers them both. Xena is lost in troubled sleep and her twitching increases. Woken by the signs of distress, Athena tightens her hold and rocks Xena slightly. It helps and she settles down.
Gabrielle appears like a ghost but does not startle Athena, aware of her approach all along.
Morning, love. Sophus' body is prepared and the herbs should be wearing off. How is she?
Athena examines the temporarily peaceful face on her chest and kisses Xena's head; her friend taken care of, the Goddess looks up at her wife. There is a smile and affection for Gabrielle in her eyes and voiced worry for the woman in her arms.
Restless. I am surprised she took it willingly.
She trusts me and it was a light dose. You okay?
Athena, test stretch of the spine resulting in a wince and a hiss, ruefully
After half the night sandwiched between overgrown Warrior Princess and an unyielding tree, my back has officially quit.
Gabrielle in on her knees by the Goddess' side in a flash, resting her forehead against Athena' head. Her right hand finds room between the bark and tunic and her expert fingers start the assessment and soothing of angry nerves. Athena practically purrs at the bard's touch, discomfort forgotten.
Poor baby. Let me take Xena to the clearing and do a patrol. You prep the salve and I will meet you in the bedroll. I'm exhausted: between the reunion and the burial rituals, I got little left.
I can heal.
Gabrielle, insistently and firmly yet with a softness that takes the edge off
Don't; I want to take care of you. Please?
Only if you let me do the all the chores and provide when we wake up. For however long the need.
We will stay here for a week.
Athena, lightening the mood, joking
I will be the best camp wench ever; your skimpily clad camp wench.
Gabrielle nuzzles Athena's hair, searching for her prize. Finding and uncovering it, she barely grazes Athena's ear with her wet lips for a few seconds. Stopping, she slowly exhales on the ear. Athena gasps.
Gabrielle, pleased with reaction but not showing it, innocently
Oh? How skimpily?
Your list of chores just doubled.
Chuckling, Gabrielle and Athena kiss and then the bard gently shakes Xena awake.
Xena, groggy and disoriented, offers no resistance. She obediently takes to her feet when prompted. Gabrielle puts an arm around Xena's waist and guides her into the forest.
EXT. WILDERNESS - STREAM EARLY MORNING
In a small clearing beside a large brook lies Sophus. The body is clean and wrapped in linen. The cuts on his face are excellently sutured and disguised to a degree. Lots of love and care went into this labor.
Xena enters the space in a daze but quickly regains her faculties. She lets Gabrielle settle her down and only then does she look at the body directly, only to look away.
Gabrielle goes to the stream and comes back with a bowl of clear water and a clean piece of linen. She sets those near Xena and then adds a full waterskin. Xena watches the bard the entire time.
Kneeling, Gabrielle takes Xena's hand, turns it palm up, and then places an obolus in it. The bard delicately folds Xena's fingers to secure the coin. Gabrielle hugs Xena warmly and kisses her on the temple. Departing, she leaves her to her grief. Xena's voice stops her.
Xena, voice cracked and rough
If I call ?
Gabrielle, without turning around, quietly
I will be there.
Gabrielle starts walking again, expecting to be stopped. She is right.
Xena, growing desperate
Love you too.
Gabrielle knows that Xena is trying to keep her here but this is something that has to be faced alone. She resumes her exit.
Gabrielle does not stop and continues on her way.
Gabrielle, halting at the edge of the clearing, loudly and convincingly
Xena you have the strength. Trust yourself. And remember, if you call
Xena, whispering, more to herself than Gabrielle
You will be there.
A small, sad smile and the forest swallows Gabrielle.
Xena brings her attention to Sophus. She leans down and kisses him tenderly, then places the obolus on his lips. She lies her head down on his chest, mimicking the position from the Elysian Fields. Tears start to fall, slowly, then gathering in numbers. Keening escapes her constricted throat. Still she fights it, clenching her fists and trying to shove the feelings back.
It is the realization that there is no heartbeat that breaks the dam and she howls her forlorn wail at that truth. With this small, necessary step, Xena begins to grieve for her husband.
EXT. WILDERNESS - STREAM EVENING
Xena sits cross-legged next to Sophus, her mind far away. Gabrielle enters the clearing with bedroll, blankets and a plate of food. Moving quickly and efficiently, she spreads the bedroll and arranges the blankets on it. She puts the plate with fresh food next to it. Picking up the bowl and linen, she goes to Xena.
Gabrielle kneels in front of her best friend. Red and teary eyes gaze back, filled with sorrow. Gabrielle cleans Xena's face, neck, and then her hands. She gets a tiny smile of gratitude for her good deed and she answers with a bright, full smile. Xena, depressed as she is, can't resist and her own widens in response.
Gabrielle, going for levity, puts the linen over Xena's nose and orders
Xena clears her nose on command. Gabrielle wipes Xena's nose and then uncorks and hands her a waterskin. Xena dutifully drinks her fill and hands it back.
Gabrielle, pointing at the plate with fresh food
Eat something? For me?
Xena nods. Satisfied, Gabrielle gives her a warm hug. She kisses Xena on the cheek before she takes her leave.
Gabrielle goes to the water to dump the plate with old, uneaten food and to refill the waterskin. She makes one more trip to refill the bowl and wash the linen, which she hangs on a branch to dry.
Everything in order, Gabrielle gives a once over to things, and catches Xena's eyes. She smiles at Xena and mouths I love you. Turning, Gabrielle departs.
In slow motion, as if waking from a dream, Xena stretches her body. She stands up and goes to sit on the bedroll. Xena picks up the plate and looks at it without much interest. Abruptly, she cocks her ear as if listening to something.
Xena, next time you decide to give up on life, wash and eat regularly to the end.
Gods, we must be married. I hear her nagging even when she is not here.
Guiltily, Xena checks around for the bard. Then, aptly chastised, she digs into her food.
EXT. WILDERNESS - CAMP NIGHT
Xena enters the camp with bedroll and blankets in hand and finds Gabrielle watching.
Xena, mumbling apologetically
Xena goes to the side across the married couple and spreads her bedding. She crawls in and turns away, towards the forest. It is not long before she is sobbing.
Shortly, there are steps that stop at her head. A hand turns Xena on her back and then tugs her upright. Gabrielle takes Xena's hand in hers and leads her to the double bedroll.
Xena does not have to be told twice. Soon, she is tucked in, squeezed between two warm bodies which cuddle her. Xena finds sleep easier after that.
END OF ACT TWO
EXT. WILDERNESS - CAMP EARLY MORNING
Xena wakes up on her back. She opens her eyes and looks down to find Gabrielle snoring softly on her chest, cheek to tunic. Confused she lifts her head and looks around the camp. Only to shut her eyes and slam her head back down. Cautiously, she opens them again, making sure to remain fixated to Gabrielle's face and not to stray from it. Xena brings her right hand up and grasps Gabrielle's chin. Lifting and turning, she is soon looking at sleepy eyes blinking at her. This throws her off even more. Gabrielle does not sleep in and she wakes up in a fraction of a second, ready to rumble. One mystery at a time, Xena thinks.
Xena, keeping her voice low, urgently
Gabrielle, eyelids drooping, disinterested
Xena, trying to get the point across, panicky
Wife is not wearing anything.
Gabrielle looks at Athena and Xena has to restrain herself from following her gaze. She closes her eyes to avoid giving in to temptation and possibly getting killed by jealous bard. She only opens them when she feels Gabrielle turn head back to her.
Gabrielle, returning her eyes back to Xena, grinning
I know. She makes a fine wench.
To the consternation of Xena, Gabrielle promptly falls asleep.
Xena, stumped, shaking Gabrielle awake by the chin in her hand
Could she put something on? It is cold in the morning. Very cold.
Gabrielle takes the chance to openly admire and whistle at her wife in appreciation as Xena repeats her earlier accidental glance avoidance routine.
Gabrielle, sagely, as if she was announcing some great wisdom
True. She wears that body well.
Gabrielle winks at Xena.
Xena, rapidly catching on to the fact that she is being played, miffed
You are evil.
Gabrielle, hugging Xena from her position, as much as is possible, proudly
I have my grey moments.
Wife lost a bet?
Talked her into it; she offered.
I take it back. You are pure evil.
Gabrielle giggles and slides off Xena. She sits up in the bedroll next to her.
Okay, she is decent.
Xena breathes a sigh of relief as the Goddess in question runs up to them, wearing a tunic. Athena dives under the blankets and snuggles up to Xena.
Yikes! Cold hands! Cold feet! Cold n
Xena, bolting from the bedroll, distraught
I have to go!
Xena sprints to the saddlebags and taking a few items, she disappears into the forest.
Gabrielle worms her way back under the blankets and lies on her side. The bard and the Goddess face each other, faces close.
Hi, I'm pure evil.
Hi, I'm a camp wench.
Gabrielle and Athena laugh.
Think it helped?
Life is joy and pain. Xena had too much of the latter lately.
How come I am the one running around naked, freezing my assets? I could have lost something important, you know. What with not healing, it could be terminal.
Gabrielle, pouncing on top of Athena and pinning her, pronouncing gallantly
I will save you!
My last visit was disappointingly short.
Gabrielle, hamming it up
Alas, I am afraid this procedure will take at least till noon.
Athena, her attitude visibly changing, eagerly
That is a healing touch I can get behind.
Oh, you have no idea, my willing and beautiful patient.
But you will find out. Yes, you will. After all, I am pure evil.
EXT. WILDERNESS - STREAM MORNING
Xena sits cross legged next to Sophus' body. Several scrolls are in her lap. She reaches out and caresses Sophus' face and then runs her hand thru his hair. Xena kisses him on the forehead as fresh tears drop on his face. Composing herself, she turns to her task.
Xena, picking up a rolled up parchment, amiably
Hello Sophus. I want to share my life with you. You already know about the time in Amphipolis. Let me go back a year earlier to Potidaea so you can meet the person who changed everything. Yes, it's Gabrielle, but you already guessed that. Don't be jealous, I love you both.
Xena unrolls the scroll.
Xena, reading out loud
I sing of villain's cowardice and hero's courage. I sing of two lonely daughters who each lost a home only to find one together. I sing of friendship and adventure for the ages. I sing the tale: Sins of the Past.
INT. AMPHIPOLIS INN KITCHEN 2 DAYS LATER/MORNING
The outside door opens and Xena enters, followed by Gabrielle and Athena. All three are wearing white, high quality tunics. Cyrene is dressed in same. Only Hecuba wears a normal tunic, since she is staying behind.
Gabrielle's smile rises sun-like and brightens the kitchen. She runs to her mother and they embrace.
Cyrene approaches and hugs Xena, who rests her head on her mother's.
Cyrene, sympathetically, comforting
I am sorry for your loss, my daughter. Sophus was a good man, hardworking, honest, and loving. I see shades of Atrius when I think of him; with him you had what I shared with your father, may he rest in Elysium. You and Sophus were right for each other. The fate was cruel and unfair to snatch him away from you.
Cyrene then holds Xena at arms' length so she can worry and fuss over her appearance. It is a sacred mother's right.
Cyrene, feeling Xena to see how thin she is, critically
Xena, don't tell me you are not eating. Child, you can't starve yourself of heart's pain.
Cyrene, in her best no nonsense tone, stern
You are staying after the funeral and I won't hear no. You will fade away if we don't get food into you.
Athena smirks and goes to join her wife, ignoring the silent plea for help in Xena's eyes.
Return to the Academy