The Winds of Change

by L. Crystall Michallet

Disclaimers: * Xena Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement intended. All other characters are mine.

* The X-Files, it's characters, and all related materials are the property of Chris Carter, Fox, 1013 Productions. No infringement intended. All other characters are mine.

Rated: NC-17

Violence: None

Sexual Violence: None

Subtext: Yes

Overview: This story takes place after the X-Files episode, Nothing Important Happened Today (Parts 1 and 2) in which Lucy Lawless was a guest star. This is also how I would like to think that the Xena show ended.

For more Xena Fan Fiction by L. Crystal Michallet:

For non-fan fiction/original works:

All feedback welcomed at:

Shannon McMahon felt the icy cold waters chilling her to the bone. As her teeth chattered, she fought against the current until she felt the soft sand below her feet. The pain in her mid-section coursed through her being. With a grimace, she broke through the crushing waves until she reached land. Devoid of energy, she fell to her knees then toppled face first on the sand.

As the ocean waves brushed over her drenched form, her mind replayed all that had occurred in the past few months. There was nothing more she could do, she reasoned as she closed her eyes, her labored breathing hardly heard over the crashing of the waves. From the darkness, the sounds of footfalls reached her senses. With an inward smile, she sighed as the feel of the two strong hands helped her to her feet.

With a grateful smile, Shannon leaned into the smaller body as she was led from the beach. When she felt the sand turn to cement, a loud echoing boom shook the ground. She glanced back in time to see the explosion of the ship across the bay. Frowning, she shook her head as she lowered her gaze, hoping that no one was hurt.

"Were you able to…?" her friend's question drifted into silence as they gazed at the flames that licked into the dark night sky.

"I-I….don't know," Shannon shook her head as she turned away from the destruction, "I only hope they have enough information to help them find the ones behind this."

Alone in her solitary thoughts, the taller woman allowed herself to be lead to the car. As she leaned against the red coupe, the second person opened the passenger side, reached in, and removed a large blanket that she quickly wrapped around Shannon's shoulders. At the sight of blood, Shannon's friend quickly lifted the shirt and examined the now healing wound. With a slight tsking sound, the blonde shook her head as she lightly touched the flesh that was already regenerating, then with a slight smile, she dropped the shirt and gave a quick nod of understanding to Shannon. Neither one spoke of the injuries or what might have caused it, instead, they kept a comfortable silence that could only have existed after years of being together.

When the siren's of emergency vehicles' were heard wailing across the bay, the taller woman entered the luxurious car. Tiredly she leaned back against the soft white leather seat as her companion pulled the seat belt and fastened it around her bundled form. Glancing up through the thickness of the blanket, she caught the look of concern from the blonde woman. With a grateful smile, Shannon sighed as she leaned back into the seat. Reassured by this, her companion returned the smile then closed the door securely.

With eyes closed, she heard the sounds of chaos across the bay as her soul mate moved around the car. Shannon took a moment to glance at her lover through the rear view mirror. The small woman was always stylishly dressed. Even when all she wore were black boots, faded blue jeans, a man's white tee shirt and a tight fitting black leather jacket, she was always pleasing on the eyes.

"Ready?" Shannon's partner asked as she climbed into the driver's seat. She fastened her seat-belt before glancing up. The smaller woman's green eyes seemed to sparkle even in the shadows.

"Yeah, let's go," was all the wet and weary form could say.

As if on cue, the smaller woman started the engine. Then, with a slight smile, she gunned the gas, before shifting the gears. The powerful roar of the Jaguar XKR rang out in the empty parking lot. The tires screeched against the pavement as the two-door coupe tore down the road.

With an amused smile, the wet form gazed over at her lover and saw the wide grin that spread across the delicate features. At her glance, the smaller woman turned slightly to her, her brow raised quizzically.


"Gabrielle, you never cease to amaze me," the warrior woman chuckled.

"Why, Xena? Because I like fast cars?" Gabrielle chuckled as she reached down and turned on the CD player. The music of Tina Turner suddenly blared from the speakers. With a sheepish smile, the blonde lowered the volume without taking her attention from the road.

"Not only that, but…." Xena shook her head, "Everything! I mean, look at what you chose to drive this time around," Xena/Shannon gazed around the compact interior. The grandeur of the vehicle was not lost on any passersby.

Gabrielle glanced momentarily at her companion before leaning back into the seat, a comfortable sigh escaping her delicate lips. "Xena, after all of this time, I'm finally getting something back from all of those patents that I filed, and my royalties for the books are finally starting to pay off, so please don't say anything about my choice. Besides, I happen to think that a Jaguar XKR was a prudent decision! It has good gas mileage and hardly ever breaks down, not like that beast you chose back in the 70s!" The bard released a slight chuckling snort.

"Hey, how was I suppose to know that Pinto's weren't safe! I just liked the name…it reminded me of Argo," Xena pouted, then added, "besides, I was mostly referring to the fact that this car is fast!" The dark haired woman shrugged under the blanket.

As if on cue, Gabrielle smiled wickedly as they entered the freeway, her foot slamming down on the gas. At the sudden acceleration, Xena's eyes grew wide as she was pulled slightly forward, and then slammed back against the cushioned leather seat. With a slight arch of a brow, Xena glanced over at her lover.

For a moment, the dark woman had a mental image of the first time her lover was behind a steering wheel. While Xena was in the front cranking the old Model T Ford, Gabrielle accidentally had the throttle-lever set at high at the same time as she had hit the floor shift pedal thinking it was the brake! As the engine caught, the car had jumped forward into gear and took off, nearly running over the surprised Xena. Thankfully, the warrior managed to jump out of the way in time to hop into the passenger's side as the vehicle was rolling in first gear. With a slight smile, Xena remembered how her heart had beat so fast each time Gabrielle nearly ran them off the road or into a tree. Thankfully, the bard's driving abilities had improved considerably! Of course, she thought with a fond grin of remembrance, as drivers of the Model T had always said: At 5 mph the bumpers rattled, at 10 the headlights rattled, at 15 the fenders, at 20 the hood, at 25 the windshield, and at the top speed of 30 mph the passengers rattled! It wasn't anything like the speed of cars now, but coming on the heels of horse and buggy days, it had sure seemed like it! Her attention came back to the present as the bard spoke.

"Xena, since when do you not like speed? Besides, I know that's not what you were talking about," Gabrielle mischievously grinned as she easily maneuvered her way past too slow cars and trucks, her left foot and right hand working in unison as she shifted the gears.

"Yeah, you're right, I was referring to the fact that it's cherry red and a two door coupe!" the wet one snorted as she leaned her head back on the rest, "What woman doesn't notice you driving around in this babe magnet?"

"You're just jealous because you didn't think of getting one," the blonde bard shook her head as she made her way from the bright lights of the city toward the distant mountains. While Gabrielle's concentration was on driving, the bard absently sang the words to the song that was playing, her blonde head periodically weaving as she emphasized the words to the song.

"I'mmmm, so in love with you….whatever you want to do…is alright by meee!" the smaller woman sang slightly off-key. When she felt the warrior's gaze on her, she cast her a side-long glance, then winked as she continued to sing. Her fingers tapped out the beat of the song on the steering wheel. "…Loving you forever…is what I neeeed!" the blonde smiled, not at all concerned that she was half an octave off.

The tall, dark woman only sighed as she listened to her soul mate's voice that always brought a warmth to her heart. It never mattered to Xena what came from her lover's lips. To her, both the petite woman's stories and her version of singing were a comforting presence in the warrior's life. As she remembered all of the times that she had heard Gabrielle's sweetly melodic, slightly off-key voice, she watched as the blonde continued to sing the song while her head bobbed up and down.

"…loving you whether, whether…times are good or bad…happy or sad…" Gabrielle's voice belted out the words as she easily shifted the gears. Feeling Xena's eyes on her, she glanced at her for a moment, and then returned her attention to driving.

"What?" Gabrielle finally asked.

Xena smiled at her lover as the warmth from the heater began to settle into her cold bones. Throughout their time together, years and decades and centuries, their love only seemed to grow stronger. With a wry smile, Xena shook her head.

"I love you, you know that?" She said to her bard. Gabrielle's eyes crinkled as she smiled, eyes still on the road.

"Yeah, I know, but even after all of our time together, it's still nice to hear," the blonde's soft smile could be seen through the occasional light cast from the freeway light poles.

With a contented sigh, the taller warrior settled herself down for the short ride. Shannon McMahon, just one of many names Xena had chosen to use whenever she had to go incognito into a dangerous situation. In the past, her stealth form of conduct always helped to protect her from anyone who was smart enough to try and trace her true identity. If anyone were able to follow the trail back to her home, she would be forced into protecting what was most valuable to her. At this thought, Xena glanced over at her lover. She took in the blonde's beautiful features through hooded eyes.

Gabrielle was not only her lover, but she was her friend and the only family that Xena had left. Throughout their travels, their bond had only deepened, as their love grew stronger and deeper. With an inward smile, Xena thought back to the early years with her beautiful bard. She allowed her memories to wander as images from her past replayed in her mind. Xena smiled when she thought of the eager young woman, quickly scribbling down the tales of their adventures together. 'And what tales those were!' the warrior princess thought as she opened her eyes to the road ahead of them.

As the freeway disappeared to become a road, she watched the car's headlights shining ahead of them. Just like their time together, the road seemed like a metaphor of the paths they had walked down together. The pavement turning and twisting around steep mountain rock as it climbed up the mountain to their home. Although Gabrielle had chronicled their time together, she always managed to use poetic license with her tales.

At this thought, Xena remembered the last story of their adventures that her bard had written. For whatever reasons, the smaller woman chose to finally set their story aside and write different stories that had nothing to do with their relationship rather than continue with their tales, and Xena had never questioned her bard's decision. Instead, she preferred to wait for her lover to explain the lack of desire to write about a mighty warrior and her bard. But Gabrielle had never explained her decision to Xena.

Xena turned to the bard, her eyes narrowing as her mind ran over various possibilities. At the intense scrutiny, Gabrielle glanced for only a moment at Xena, then returned her concentration to the road as the queen of rock and roll's voice filled the car.

"What?" Gabrielle finally asked.

"Gabrielle … in all of our time together, you've never explained one thing…" Xena's voice trailed off.


"How come you killed me off at Higuchi?" the dark warrior asked.

Gabrielle chuckled briefly, then sighed, and shook her head. "By the gods, Xena, are you still upset about that?"

"Well, yeah!" The warrior was a bit surprised at her own vehemence and continued more calmly. "Um, I mean, if you were this great story hero who got killed off, wouldn't you be?" Xena asked as she pushed a bit of the blanket away, her clothes slowly drying in the warmth of the car.

"I'm sorry Xena, but it had to end that way. I thought I told you that?" Gabrielle said pensively as she slowed the car down, turned her right blinker on, then drove up a private driveway.

"I know. You said, 'it was more dramatic', but gods, Gabrielle! Why just totally kill me off?" Despite her resolve to remain calm, the warrior princess couldn't help but sound a bit hurt.

"Xena, I can't believe that still bothers you. I mean, that was a long time ago! But, if you really need to know … what else could I do?" Gabrielle asked as she stopped the car before a gate. After she rolled down the window, she placed her hand on the black pad that was fastened to a metal pole. As the electronic scan ran over her palm and beeped, the bard cleared her throat and spoke into the waiting pickup microphone.

Her voice was firm as she said, "Argo, was a great horse." The machine compared it to the copy of her voice stored on the computer. In a moment, it registered her voice patterns and the green light clicked on, signaling that it recognized her. Once the gate opened, the bard rolled up the window, and continued to drive up the narrow path.

"Xena, think about it. After all of the scrolls that I wrote, who would ever believe that we gave in to our basic desires and shared Odin's golden apple with Aphrodite? I mean, come on, Xena! Throughout all of the tales, we were the selfless heroes. What would people think if they suddenly realized that in one instance, we were actually … selfish? People might not be able to understand it and all of the good that you did would be pushed aside because of that one fateful decision that we made!" Gabrielle's voice was firm as the car turned the final bend toward their home.

Their home was nestled in between trees. The front lights lit up the immaculate landscape of their front yard. As the garage door automatically opened, Xena saw the single form of their servant waiting by the interior door. As if she were driving through a tunnel, Gabrielle roared the Jaguar into the garage then slammed on the brakes at the last possible split-second. With a slight smile, Xena glanced at her lover, then over at the yellow Defender Land Rover that sat in the double garage.

"You're lucky you didn't hit my car," Xena's voice was firm, yet the slight humor seeped through her words. At her words, the blonde looked over her shoulder at the parked SUV.

"Xena, I was a mile away! You are such a fuss," she shook her head as she reached down and turned the ignition key. Only when the engine was silenced did Gabrielle turn to her, a serious expression on her face.

"Xena….I'm sorry that my scrolls ended with your death. You know how much it hurt me to do it that way! Remember how long I cried? But it was the way it had to end, for good or bad, I simply couldn't see it ending any other way….a-and, I can't help it. I am selfish! I didn't want us to always have to travel the world with people watching our every move, to always be there to save everyone. As it is, we do plenty keeping an eye on things from behind the scenes now. If people thought you were still alive, we would never have had any time to ourselves! They would have always called on you, never learning to do for themselves. Xena, I wanted my time with you! Only you, do you understand?" Green eyes gazed into blue, imploring to be understood.

With a slight smile, the warrior princess nodded understanding. "So that's what that year long honeymoon was about?"

"Oh, gods no! I just needed you really bad! I mean, with all of that traveling, there wasn't that much alone time for us, if you know what I mean!" Gabrielle answered, then, with a slight smile, she leaned forward and placed her lips against Xena's. For what felt like an eternity, their lips embraced as their tongues danced a sweet and familiar rhythm. Reluctantly, they pulled away. "If you shower up and get some of that harbor-water fish-stink off you, we could relive some of those honeymoon moments!" The bard whispered, her voice a throaty pledge.

Xena felt her body instantly responding at her lover's promising words. With a slight smile, she wiggled her eyebrows as she began to undo the seat belt. "You just keep your engines running, my bard!" She said as she climbed from the car.

"Thought you'd feel that way!" Gabrielle chuckled as she followed the blanketed form into the main house.

Xena only nodded at Achala, their servant as she made her way into the main house. As she began to wiggle from her damp clothes, she dropped the blanket at her feet. With each step she took, Xena managed to discard an item of clothing. Behind her, she heard Gabrielle softly speaking to the young woman as she gave her the keys to the car, then followed behind the warrior princess.

"Xena! Do you have to always leave a mess?" Gabrielle asked as she picked up the blanket, and each item of clothing that her lover had tossed to the floor.

"Huh? What?" Xena glanced back as she made her way to the stairs. Seeing the trail of wet clothes, she bounded quickly up the stairway as she hollered down, "Oh... sorry!"

Gabrielle only shook her head as she carried an arm full of wet clothes. With a slight chuckle, Achala moved behind the bard and quickly took the damp clothes from her arms.

"Thank you!" The bard mouthed to the young woman as she followed her lover to the second floor.

The East Indian woman remained silent, her black pants and white immaculate shirt becoming drenched from the wet bundle she carried. Ever since the warrior and bard had returned from Japa and stayed awhile in India, Achala's family had chosen to serve the two strangers from Greece. Although Xena and Gabrielle had never held a claim over them, each descendent chose to willingly serve them with discretion, secrecy and loyalty. In exchange, the two lovers made certain that their servants never wanted for anything.

As the tall warrior made her way to the showers, she reached behind her and pulled at the prosthesis on the back of her neck. With a quick yank, she pulled the bump from her skin and yelped at the pain. "Damn, Gabrielle, did you have to put so much glue on it?" She asked the bard as she rubbed the sore skin.

The blonde woman only laughed as Xena deposited the plastic item in her hand. "Don't complain, I've gotten better with the make-up over the years. Besides, you're the one who wanted to be able to pass as something weird, not me. I thought you'd be fine just telling them what they wanted to hear so that they would investigate the water source."

"I told you, Gabrielle, I had to be able to fool them," She explained as she stripped off the last remnants of her clothes and entered the large glass shower.

"Did it work?" Gabrielle asked as she moved to the computer in their master bedroom.

"I don't think that Scully woman believed me….she's way too paranoid!" The tall woman shouted out as the warm water fell over her. When she turned her back to the wall and gazed out at her bard, she smiled as she saw Gabrielle putting on her gold rimmed glasses that had lenses with a zero magnification rating. Even though she had no use for them, the bard had insisted that they made her look more bardly.

With a shake of her head, Xena turned away from the scene. She sighed contentedly as she soaked in the warm rushing water. When she felt refreshed and the sea smell was finally washing away, she reached up and took the nearby bottle of fragrant shampoo. Damn, the world certainly has changed, she thought with a grin. There are some great inventions nowadays. Like body lotion and electricity and fast cars and always warm showers … and yeah! Tampons! Then her face fell as she sighed. But it used to be that a dip in the ocean didn't leave me smelling like dead fish and garbage and people didn't run flying machines into buildings. Some of the changes are not good at all. Then, as she lathered up her hair, she felt a sweet, familiar sensation behind her. Then again, she thought wryly, some things never change at all, and how glad I am for that! The dark woman smiled and waited for her lover to wrap warm arms around her. Like a mind reader, Gabrielle snaked her arms around Xena's waist as she lightly kissed between her muscled shoulder blades. Turning in the embrace, the taller woman smiled down at the naked blonde and kissed her nose.

"Any news?" the warrior asked.

Understanding her soulmate's ambiguous question, Gabrielle smiled slightly. "The Lone Gunmen's email said that everyone got out….unfortunately, they really didn't have any time to remove the evidence," the bard explained. "But, I wouldn't consider it a failure. At least now they know what their government was planning to do. As for Scully's baby, I just hope…." Gabrielle shook her head, a look of concern crossing her features.

"Scully seems a strong person. I know she'll be able to protect him," Xena assured her.

"So the Gunmen didn't have any other news?" The warrior asked as she basked in the feel of her bards soft skin and closeness.

Gabrielle smiled slightly as she reached up and pushed a wayward lock from Xena's face. "No, nothing but they did ask again for my identity," she chuckled.

"Do you think they'll figure out who sent them the phone conversation or who delivered the obituary to Reyes?" The taller woman felt suddenly alert as she pondered her lover's words.

Gabrielle grinned up at her lover, "Xena, don't worry! With some of my software and all of the coffee/Internet shops popping up all over Washington, it was a piece of cake. Even if they manage to trace it back to that location, they won't be able to connect it with me." The blond replied. "Heck, no one even noticed when I was in the FBI building, once I made an employee badge for myself. You know, that's the funniest thing, Xena. It was easier this time around than when I went in back in Hoover's day. People just don't tend to notice service workers. I walked right through the back door wearing the janitor's uniform and picture badge. When I go in as a janitor, I become invisible to everyone!"

"Such stealth! It's a good thing I let you watch all of those Mission Impossible shows back in the 60's!" Xena's teasing brought a smile to the blonde's lips.

"Hey, you know I'm good at accomplishing a task," Gabrielle's voice was soft and tender, yet filled with confidence.

To anyone else, her confidence would have sounded like a boast, but to Xena, she knew that her lover's words were sincere. Ever since the new technological break-throughs, Gabrielle always made it a point to embrace and understand their science fully. While Xena was occupied with the new weaponry and medical discoveries, Gabrielle made it a point to understand everything from the science of machines, space, computers and even the world of culinary delights.

With a sigh, Xena returned her thoughts to the subject at hand. "Aside from the news from the Gunmen, nothing else of interest going on?" Xena smiled down at her lover in an attempt to put her at ease, then she wrapped her arms around Gabrielle's naked shoulders.

"Nah…the boards are quiet…as for the bards," Gabrielle shrugged, "well, you should see what some of them are having us do!"

"Humm….First time stories? Some hurt-comfort plots? Maybe a conqueror episode or two? Or more feats of love that are not humanly possible?" The tall woman chuckled as Gabrielle reached up and began to lather the shampoo into her hair.

"A little bit of everything, but a lot of the last one! I'd end up having to do yoga 24/7 just to be able to maneuver into some of the positions they've written!"

"Yeah, we'd have to be contortionists just to accomplish their descriptions….but, Gabrielle, hasn't it been fun trying all of their maneuvers?" Xena purred seductively as the palms of her hands roamed down the bard's slender back until she cupped Gabrielle's firm buttocks and pulled the petite woman against her. "How about it, my bard? Want to try some more?"

Gabrielle gazed up at her, green eyes sparkling as she smiled. "One track mind!" the smaller woman softly said as she pushed Xena's head back under the water, the warm spray washing the shampoo from her dark locks. When the soap was removed, Xena opened her eyes and gazed down at her lover. She felt her heart skipping a beat as the bard smiled up at her, the intensity in her eyes, the depths of her love evident by the level glance.

Reaching over, the blonde took a bar of soap and began to lather the taller body as her eyes fell over Xena. At the sight of the prominent bruise on the tall woman's abdomen, Gabrielle grimaced as she lightly touched it. Glancing down at herself, Xena gazed at the purple, bluish wound, remembrance of the earlier pain still fresh in her mind.

"I'll be ok, Gabrielle. I always am," Xena chuckled knowing that even though she may have experienced an initial wound, she could never be permanently hurt due to the magical properties of Odin's apple. Like Aphrodite and Ares, she and Gabrielle would go on living forever despite the minor wounds that might occur from their various exploits.

Gabrielle smiled slightly; the tips of her fingers lightly traced the bruise. "Yeah, you always are ok," the bard echoed, then glanced up at her tall lover. "We'll always be ok."

"Yes," Xena smiled, her wet hair plastered to her head as the warm water cascaded over their bodies. "No matter what, we will always be all right, and we'll always be together!"

"Thanks to Odin's apple….and Aphrodite's encouragement," the warmth of Gabrielle's words seemed to wrap itself around her heart.

With an inward sigh, Xena leaned back into the warm streams from the shower. As she held the bard close, her mind recalled all of their years together, the images still fresh in her mind. Although the winds of change would continue to blow over the land, there would always be people who needed their help. As they had done in the past, they would always do what they could to help the innocent victims. At this thought, Xena glanced down at her smaller lover.

"The winds of change will only cause me to love you more with each passing day," Xena stated tenderly to the bard. Gabrielle smiled up at her before pulling her soulmate down into a kiss.

"And I will always love you, my warrior princess," the bard vowed with a soft whisper as their lips met and the warm torrents of water and sweet shared passion washed away their cares and worries for another night.

The End? .... (Or is it the beginning?)

The following song can be found on the Tina Turner, Simply The Best, CD.

Let's Stay Together


Published by Irving Music,

Inc./Al Green Music, Inc. (BMI)

Let me say since, babe

Since we've been together

Loving you forever

Is all I need

Let me be the one you come running to

I'll never be untrue

Oh baby

Let's, let's stay together

Loving you whether, whether

Times are good or bad

Happy or sad

I'm so in love with you

What ever you want to do

It's all right with me

Let me be the one you come running to

I'll never be untrue

Oh baby

Let's, let's stay together

Loving you whether, whether

Times are good or bad

Happy or sad

Why, oh tell me

Why do people break up

Then turn around and make up

I just can't conceive

You never do that to me

Would you baby?

Just being around you

Is all I see

So baby lets

We ought to stay together

Loving you whether, whether

Times are good or bad

Happy or sad

Let's, let's stay together

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