The Long Journey Back



Eve put her hand softly on Gabrielle's shoulder. "Gabrielle, if she wouldn't come with you then, what makes you think she would now?"

Gabrielle shook her head, not knowing how to answer.

"Gabrielle," Ares continued. "I'm sorry I couldn't bring Xena back. I mean, I want her here as much as you do. But since I couldn't do that, maybe this will do."

Ares pointed his finger and in a flash of light Hercules appeared, puzzled and then angry when he saw Ares. But before he could say anything, Ares pointed to Gabrielle, who was running for Hercules' arms.

Hercules held tight to Gabrielle, sharing her pain. Then he looked up and saw Eve, who also was crying. Hercules put out one arm to her, and she went to him. She, too was suffering a great loss.  As Ares stood around uncomfortable, not knowing what to do, Hercules, Gabrielle and Eve continued to cling to each other.  Then slowly they backed away from the embrace.

"So what about Xena?" Hercules asked softly, "Do you think you can tell me what happened? Or would you rather not talk about it?"

"No, I don't mind, too much. I knew you'd want to know what happened."

Once again Gabrielle told the story of the defeat of Yodoshi and Xena's end. For a while after Gabrielle had finished her narrative no one spoke, each remembering Xena in their own way.

"But now I don't know what else to do," Gabrielle finally said. "I swore to myself I'd find a way to bring her home, but I'm lost. I just don't know."

"Even I tried to get her  back." Ares said to Hercules, "But she wouldn't let me near her."

"You said." Eve added.

"What? You think I made it all up?" Ares asked angrily.

"I believe you." Gabrielle said, "And thank you for trying."

"Well, I guess I should check up on Aphrodite. She's not doing too good since she found out about Xena."

"Tell her - tell her not to worry, I'll think of something. Everything will be all right." Gabrielle told Ares.

With a nod, he flashed out.

Gabrielle looked around as if searching for something, anything to take her mind off Xena.  Then she had a thought. "Eve, what about Michael, you know, the Archangel?  Couldn't he do something?"

"He might, but it will be up to you whether he helps or not."

"What do you mean?"

"Before you ask him for help for Mother, you will have to purge yourself of all the rage and anger and hatred you have in your heart."

"I'm not angry, and I don't hate anyone."

"Yes you do, Gabrielle.  You feel hatred toward the samurai who took Xena's life. And you are angry at Mother."

"No, you're mistaken, Eve, I love Xena, and I miss her terribly. I'm not angry at her."

"You ARE angry at her.  You're angry because she allowed herself to be killed.  And you are especially angry because she didn't allow you to bring her back to life at the Fountain of Strength. You feel she betrayed you and broke her promise to you that she'd never leave you."

Several times Gabrielle opened her mouth to answer, but didn't have the words. She knew Eve was right. She WAS angry!  "But what can I do? How do I change the way I feel?"

"You must find a place of peacefulness. And you have to find a way to cleanse away all the anger and hatred. Gabrielle, you must return to The Way of Love. Only then will Michael speak with you."

"But how? Do I fast? Or meditate? Or do some kind of pennance? Or. . . ? "

"You must do what is right for you. If you think fasting is the right thing, then do it. Or meditation.  No one can tell you. Only you can decide what is the best way for you."

"Will you stay and help me?"

"No. I wish I could, but this is your journey. You must take it alone. But the first thing you should do is to put the Chakram and your sais in a place you cannot see, and cannot get to. Bury them if necessary. While you are seeking peace, you cannot have implements of war with you."

Gabrielle nodded her head, then asked Hercules, "So will you help me?"

"I think Eve is right, this is your journey. Besides, I'd like to travel with Eve for a while. We've never had much of a chance to get to know each other, and right now I think we both would like to share the stories we have about Xena." Hercules looked over at Eve with an inquiring look and she nodded and smiled back at him in agreement.

"But how long will it take?" Gabrielle asked, almost in desperation.

"That will depend on you, Gabrielle," Eve said "And how quickly you can rid yourself of the damaging emotions. Concentrate on your love for Mother, not the betrayal and anger you feel. I know you can do it."

Gabrielle walked with them until they came to a river. After hugs, tears, and goodbyes, Eve and Hercules turned upstream, toward the north, and Gabrielle went downstream, south.

As she walked along the riverbank, Gabrielle tried to sort out her feelings.  They were so mixed up she didn't know how she felt about anything.  Eventually hunger made her decide to stop to eat. And as she was, she realized she was at the right place.  There was plenty of shade, soft grass, and the river made a gentle, tranquil gurgling sound.  As she sat, she closed her eyes, hearing the peaceful sounds of nature - the chirp of crickets, the hum of the bees, the swish of the leaves in the wind.

"Oh, Xena, why couldn't you be here? You would love this place, I know. It is so restful, so peaceful. I bet there are plenty of fish in the river. And I saw signs of deer, so the hunting would be good.  You promised me, you know. So many times you swore you'd never leave me. How could you break your promise? I trusted you!"

((Gabrielle, I'm still here, in your thoughts, and in your heart.))

"No, Xena, it's not the same. It's not good enough! I want to see your face and hear your voice. I want to touch you. I have no one, Xena. No one to talk to, no one to laugh with. No one to -- no one to HOLD me. Oh, Xena I miss you so. Why can't you be with me?"

((Gabrielle, don't you think I want to be with you? But I can't, I just can't.))

"But why? Why can't you?"

((It's for the Greater Good.))

"No! No! Stop it! I don't want to hear about the Greater Good!  I don't CARE about the Greater Good!"

((But that's what this is all about, don't you see?))

"The Greater Good for who, Xena?  For who?"

Before Xena could answer, Gabrielle ran into the river, struggling to get to the other side, struggling to run away from herself.  As she stumbled onto the shore, she fell to the ground, and remained there, and cried herself to sleep.

When she woke up the next morning, Gabrielle crossed back over the river to her campsite. As she fixed breakfast she tried not to think. Because her thoughts always returned to Xena, and thinking about Xena only brought her pain.

"Eve said I must return to the Way of Love. If I'm going to do that, I must clear my mind of all negative thoughts."

Gabrielle found a comfortable spot in the grass, closed her eyes and began to slow her breathing, trying to relax.


Gabrielle clinched her teeth, took an irritated breath, let it out slowly, and tried once again to relax.


"I don't want to talk to you, Xena. Leave me alone."

((We have to talk, Gabrielle.))

"NO! We don't have to talk. It hurts me too much when we talk, and then I get angry."

((Do you think you're the only one who's hurting? Don't you think that I ache just as much as you do?))

"I -- I don't know."

((Yes you do, Gabrielle. You know.  If you want to find your way back you have to face the truth.))

"But if it hurt YOU so much, why did you leave me?"

((Gabrielle, we make choices everyday. Sometimes they're easy and sometimes they're hard.  And sometimes they are unbearably hard.  But we have to make them, Gabrielle. That's what life is all about. Do you think I wanted to leave you? Do you think I cared so little about you, or the promises I made?))

"But. . . ."

((After everything we've been through these many years, how can you even begin to think I don't love you?  Gabrielle, we have laughed and cried together. We've fought side by side, saved each other's life.  We even died together, and we came back. What else could happen to make you realize how much I love you and want to be with you?))

"But you . . . ."

((But if that isn't enough, think about Eve.))

"Eve? What about Eve?"

((Gabrielle, I love Eve as much as any mother could love her daughter. But you're the one I chose to live my life with. I chose you, not Eve.))

"But you left me." Gabrielle said weakly.

((Gabrielle, do you remember the day I came to Poteidaia? You couldn't wait to leave with me even though I told you that you should stay.  So what did you do? You sneaked away in the dead of night. Do you think your parents were hurting any less then than you are now? At least we were able to say goodbye. You didn't even give them that.))

"But I came back, eventually."

((Do you think that made the hurt any less for them when they discovered you were gone?))

"No, I suppose not."

((But you made the choice to leave, just like I made the choice I had to make.  Your parents forgave you for leaving.  You forgave Callisto for killing Perdicus.  Can't you find it in your heart to forgive me?))

Gabrielle tried to answer, to tell Xena how sorry she was for her anger and resentment, but instead she could only curl into a ball and cry, again. How long she lay  on the river bank she had no idea, but when Gabrielle finally got up it was late afternoon.  She ate a light supper, bathed, and sat watching the sun as it slowly set. 

"You're right, Xena, as usual. I know you did what you felt was right, you always do.  It's just that I was so scared. Without you I felt the world was closing in on me, you've always been there to protect me, to care for me.  But we'll be together again, I promise you, with or without Michael's help."

As darkness finally covered the earth, Gabrielle lay next to the fire letting a peaceful sleep overtake her.  "Tomorrow I'll head east again, back to Japa. I'm coming to get you, Xena."


Gabrielle slowly rolled over, stretching herself awake.  The sun was starting to show through the leaves of the tallest trees.  "What a beautiful day this is going to be." Gabrielle thought to herself. "A good day to begin a journey, right after breakfast."

As Gabrielle busied herself packing up her bedroll and other essentials, she noticed how bright the morning sun seemed to be. "Must be a good sign." She thought.


Gabrielle jumped at the voice. Even though it is was somewhat familiar, it was unexpected. She turned and saw a familiar face.

"Michael! You came! I didn't expect to see you."

"Eve told you I'd be here when you were ready."

"But I, I mean, I thought it would take longer."

"For some people it does.  You made peace with yourself and you didn't even realize it."

"I was just about to leave, to go back to Japa."

"I know. But before you do, there are some things you may want, may need, to know."

"Such as?"

"What questions do you have?"

"Are you kidding? Where do I start?  Why did Xena have to die?"

"She died in order to fight and defeat Lord Yodoshi."

"That I know! Why couldn't she have come back to life? Why couldn't she come back with me?"

"Xena has done many evil things in her life, things she must atone for."

"But she's been trying. Ever since I've known her, everything she's done has been to make up for all the wrongs she had done."

"Gabrielle, one good deed doesn't make up for a hundred evil ones.  Xena has much to answer for."

"But we died and went to heaven. Doesn't that mean she was forgiven?"

"Yes, she was forgiven for the death and destruction at Cirra. Her death and ascent to heaven was needed to allow Callisto to become the good and pure soul she was meant to be.  Although, I must admit for a while  we were afraid we were going to lose all three of you.  But things worked out like they were supposed to.  So, why do you think you and Xena were returned to your bodies?"

"I don't know."

"Because it wasn't your time. And Xena had so much more to do."

"We died together and we were reborn together. That means we are soul mates, doesn't it?"

"Gabrielle, what does that mean to you, soul mates?"

"I guess it means that two people are meant to be together, forever."

"That's a pretty good guess. When someone finds a mate, they believe he or she is the only one for them. But the truth is, there are probably hundreds of others they could be just as happy with, but they just didn't meet them first.  But once in a thousand years or so there are two souls created that are destined to become so close, so entwined that they are almost as one, as if one soul is sharing two bodies. Yours and Xena's are two such souls.  That is why you feel such pain at your separation.  But as agonizing as it is for you, Xena's anguish is many times more than yours."

"But why should she suffer more?"

"Because she has more to make amends for.  Gabrielle, when you and Xena met, your soul was innocent and pure, but Xena's was damaged and flawed.   Only with the blending of her soul with yours could hers begin to heal.  But be warned! Xena still has many personal demons to fight. When you return to Japa, and when you find the way for her to be forgiven for the lost souls and she returns to her body, you two will still have many battles to fight for the redemption of her soul. There will be danger and there will be heartache. The question I have for you is,  are you willing to undertake this perilous ordeal without reservation? Is the life of Xena, and her salvation, worth the effort?"

"Michael, I will fight as many of Xena's demons as I have to. I will do anything, whatever it takes, to bring her back to me.  Xena and I WILL be together again!"

Michael smiled gently at Gabrielle and softly put one hand to her cheek as he began his ascent to the heavens. His parting words were faint, but so clear,

"As you were meant to be."


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