The Longer Journey Ends

David E. Milligan


Part Two


"Xena, what if I made a mistake? What if she tells Ares everything?"

"Then we'll come up with a new plan. But for right now, here's the rest of the old one. I didn't to want to say too much in front of Aphrodite, just in case."


"What do you mean? Someone's in the Cave of Hephaestus? That's been blocked off for years."

"No, you're wrong, the entrance is clear and I saw someone go inside."

"Xena! I'll bet it was Xena! She's looking for some kind of weapon to use against me!"

"No, it wasn't her, I know Xena when I see her. Do you want me to go down there and see?"

"And what could you do?  No, I'll go. You stay here."


Ares flashed in front of the cave entrance and then peered into the darkness. "There's no way I'm going into a dark cave." He said out loud. Then with a simple wave of his hand, the interior of the cave was lit up, as he had done to Gabrielle's cell in Japa.

Ares slowly walked down the passage, then paused and listened before making the first turn. He heard someone, not far ahead.  He balled up one fist, getting a fireball ready. He looked around the corner but no one was there. They had to be after the second turn. When he turned the corner he saw Gabrielle doing something with the scrolls that were in the fissures of the cave wall.

"Hey! Just what do you think you're doing?" he yelled at her.

"Oh!" Gabrielle cried out. "You scared me! I didn't think anyone else was here."

"I said, What are you doing here?" Ares repeated, becoming angry.

"What does it look like? I'm storing my scrolls here for safe keeping."

Becoming extremely suspicious, with a fireball ready, Ares demanded, "Where's Xena? If you're here, I know she's here."

"Xena? Well, let me think. I saw her sometime last night, just before we turned in."

"I've had enough of this!" Ares shouted, and started to throw the ball of fire. But before he could, Xena appeared from the entrance of the cave and with a series of running kicks propelled Ares farther back into the cave. Before he could recover, Xena repeated the kicks a second and then a third time, until he was in the central room.

By the time Gabrielle caught up to them Xena had Ares against a wall, her sword pressing against his chest, ready to plunge it into his heart if necessary.

"Go on, Xena! DO IT! Get it over with!" Ares shouted angrily. "What are you waiting for?"

Calmly, Xena answered, "You don't want to die, Ares. And believe it or not, I really don't want to kill you. But like I told you on Mt. Fuji, you can't be allowed to start your bloody reign of terror. So you have only two options -- either I can kill you, or you can stay in here as a prisoner."

"And just how do you propose to keep me locked in here?"

"The Eye of Hephaestus. I know all about how to seal the door to this cave."

"How did you find out? Who told you?" Ares demanded.

"Maybe she's just smarter than you give her credit for." Gabrielle told him.

"See that big stone bath tub with the heavy stone top over there to your right? Your OTHER right!"

"No! There is NO WAY I'm getting in there!"

"Suit yourself." Xena said as she pushed the tip of the blade through Ares' leather shirt and into his chest to the depth of one finger's width. As the blood began to trickle down over his belt buckle, Ares pressed flatter against the wall, trying to get away from the point.

"I'm moving. I'm moving." He said as he walked sideways along the wall toward the stone coffin.

"That's right." Xena encouraged him. "Now just climb right on in there. Lay down; that's good!"

"You'll pay dearly for this one day, Xena. You just wait!"

"Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Now slide the top, that's right."

"You'll never make it." Ares warned. "There's no way you can keep me in here and still get to the Eye, and then make it out of here without trapping yourself and you dear little friend!"

"Got it ALL worked out." Xena replied, as she held up the flawed Chakram.

"What? Another one? Where did that one come from?"

"Don't you worry about that. You just lay back and get comfortable. The top  --  slide it the rest of the way."

As the top was slid into place, Xena held the Chakram up for Gabrielle to see. Gabrielle nodded once and took the Chakram she carried from its clip and held it ready.

Suddenly Xena threw the Chakram. It ricocheted off one wall and then hit the Jeweled Eye. As it flew back across the room, Xena yelled. "NOW, Gabrielle!"

Gabrielle threw her Chakram and it too ricocheted off one wall, then a second. Then as the two crossed, Gabrielle's Chakram hit the one Xena had thrown, and it broke into two pieces. Each piece rebounded off the walls until they each disappeared down two separate passages.  Gabrielle grabbed hers out of the air as it flew past.

From the entrance of the cave a deep reverberating rumble could be heard -- the stone door was lowering to seal the cave.  Xena and Gabrielle raced toward the opening and managed to dive underneath it to the outside just as the heavy door crashed down, sealing off the cave for the next two thousand years.   As they were brushing the dirt off each other, Aphrodite appeared.

"You didn't -- you know." She asked fearfully.

"No." Xena answered. "We wouldn't have had to seal up the cave if I had. He's alive, mad as he can be, but alive."

"You know, I'm really going to miss him. He's the only family I have left."

"Well, we're almost like family." Gabrielle said, as she put a hand on Aphrodite's arm.

"That's true.  If I had to pick my family, you'd be it."

"To tell you the truth," Xena said, "I don't think you're going to have much time to miss anybody for a while. There are an awful lot of people out there needing that one thing only the Goddess of Love can provide."

"Thanks. You guys are the best.  I guess I better get started. You two take care. And if you ever want to hang out, just call me."

"You can count on it." Gabrielle replied. 

After two quick hugs, Aphrodite disappeared.

No sooner as Aphrodite left, they heard a voice behind them.


Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other with  here-we-go-again  looks on their faces. Then they slowly turned around to face Michael.

"You did it again, didn't you? You told me you were going to kill Ares, but he's still alive. So what happened this time?"

"This time I put him someplace that he won't be able to cause any problems for two thousand years. So as far as I'm concerned, he's as good as dead."

"But that wasn't the deal.  You were supposed to kill him. Twice you had the chance, and twice you didn't.  So it looks like you're going back to Mt Fuji."

"Wait just a minute!  All Eve ever talked about was how compassionate and merciful and forgiving this God of Eli is. So now you're telling me that's just an ox cart full of horse droppings?"

Michael tried to think of something to say, some answer, but could only stand silent.  After a few moments he said, "You're right. And since you're in such a merciful mood, then you won't need the Power anymore.

Suddenly Xena was hit with a flickering red light from above, hit with such force that if Gabrielle hadn't been there to catch her, she would have been driven to the ground. Just a quickly as it started, the light was gone, as was Michael.

"It's gone again?" Gabrielle asked.

As she began to recover, Xena said. "Yep, it's gone again." As she stood up she said, "But how many gods that need killing are left anyway?"

"Not too many I would guess."

"So, what would you like do?"

"I don't know. It doesn't matter."

"Hey, are you all right?" Xena asked with some concern in her voice. "You're not hurt are you?"

"No, I'm fine, really."

"You don't sound so fine to me. Come on, Gabrielle, talk to me. What's wrong?"

"I was just thinking about how I messed up back in Japa. Here I was going to be the Big Hero. I was going to save you and bring you home, but all I did was get beat up, get thrown in jail, got my hand broken, and what was even worse, my spirit was broken. I knew I was going to die, and I accepted it, almost welcomed it. I just didn't have the will to fight anymore. I felt like such a failure."

Xena put her fingers over Gabrielle's mouth. "That is something I NEVER want to hear you say again. You have proved yourself, over and over and over.  And I am so sorry that I haven't told you that, over and over and over. We both have our strengths and we both have our weaknesses. That's what makes us such a great team, we compliment each other. We're partners, Gabrielle, neither one of us is any better or stronger, or any worse or any weaker than the other. That's what makes us unstoppable."

With glistening eyes Gabrielle put her arms around Xena, and Xena returned the hug.

"I need you Gabrielle," Xena whispered. "Even more than you need me." And Gabrielle held her even tighter.

When they finally stepped back from each other, Xena continued. "Now, as I was saying, Partner, what do you want to do?"

"Well, I guess we should look for Eve. I'm sure you'd both like to know the other is alive and well."

"You're right. It's been too long since I've seen her."

"I wonder if she's still traveling with Hercules."

"Never can tell."

"That'd be really great if they were."

"I don't think either one could do any better."

"Me neither.  And after that, we should go see Meg and Virgil. I told her we'd bring her coat back before next winter. And I missed seeing Virgil the last time I was by."

"That sounds good, too. I'd like to see them again."

"And I was thinking I'd kind of like to go to back Amphipolis for a visit."

"Oh yes, your special someone. What was his name?"


"You kind of like this guy, huh?"

"You know, Xena, I really do. I only knew him for one day, but there was just something about him."

"Then we definitely have to go. I suppose I should check him out, just to make sure he's good enough for you."

"He has a friend I think you might like."

Xena laughed. "Let's just take one thing at a time, okay?" 

Then putting her arm around Gabrielle's shoulder she said, "Come on, Partner, let's go find my daughter."


As the two Soulmates walked away from Mt. Olympus, their laughter echoed throughout the countryside as if all was right with the world again, now that they were together ... as they were meant to be.


[[ Disclaimer:
Only the disappointment, sadness, and anger at the ending of AFIN 2  was destroyed in the production of this fan fiction. ]]


                                      THE END

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