Go To Season 1
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters; I just made up the stories. The beginning and ends of episodes are quoted from the actual TV series.
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it. This has a graphic sex scene, ye be warned.
Goal: To fill in the rest of the story of Xena and Gabrielle that I felt the series left out. This is more how I would have wished the show to go. I strive to make it a realistic love story of how the two get together and share their lives together. Please feel free to email me with constructive feedback Jinxie2013@gmail.com
End of Episode 47 (S3,E1):
“I never really knew him,” Xena said. “The hardest thing for me was giving up hope.”
“Hope?” Cyrene asks.
“I kept hoping that I'd run into him somewhere. Understand him, to understand myself. I know that will never be.”
“Can you ever forgive me?” Cyrene cried to Xena.
“There is nothing to forgive. You saved my life! I owe you my life.” Xena assures her mother. “I'm just sorry you had to carry this alone all these years.” Xena gets up and moves over to the rock her mother is sitting on. She puts her arm around her mother and pulls her in for a hug. “We'll go on. We'll be stronger than before.”
Gabrielle walks back into camp and sees Xena hugging her mother. She sets the extra fire wood next to the fire pit. Grabbing her flint, she lights the fire. “Xena, sorry to interrupt. But we need something to eat. Would you mind hunting?”
Xena kisses her mom on the head and smiles. “I'm going to get us something to eat ok? Gabrielle is a good listener if you want to talk some more while I'm gone.” Cyrene nods as Xena gets up. Xena walks past Gabrielle and smiles lightly.
Gabrielle puts her hand on Xena's arm. She mouths “Are you ok?” Xena nods and leans in to kiss Gabrielle but then stops and takes a quick peek at her mother. She isn't watching, but Xena decides not to risk it. Although her mom knows that she loves Gabrielle, she doesn't know about their relationship yet. Xena wants to tell her rather than have her just find out.
“I'll be back soon, ok.” She squeezes Gabrielle's hand.
“Ok.” Gabrielle sits by the fire. “Cyrene, the fire is really going now. It's going to get cold soon, you should come on over.”
Cyrene wipes her eyes, and then joins Gabrielle. She sits across from her. “So Gabrielle, tell me about you. I don't know a whole lot about you, other than you are good friends with my Xena.”
Gabrielle smiles, Ha ‘friend'. “Well, I'm from Potedia. I was raised on a farm. I couldn't stand my life anymore, so when Xena came by I jumped at the chance to go with her. She didn't exactly invite me, but I followed her anyway.”
“Why didn't you like your life at home?” Cyrene didn't often hear of runaways.
“Well, I guess I just felt like there was so much in the world that I was missing. I really love philosophy, astronomy, and poetry. I could only learn so much in my village. I had to get out in the world to experience life. Xena has helped me with that. She's been my inspiration to follow my passion in life.”
“What's your passion?” Cyrene is enjoying the conversation. This girl has a lot more behind her than I thought. No wonder my daughter loves her so much.
“Being a Bard. I love to tell stories, and living with her has given me more stories than I could ever have imagined. It's funny, when we first met I was trying to come up with my own fictional story. After a few months I gave up on it because every day with Xena produced a new story for me to tell. Everyone thinks I'm making up some of the more crazy parts; but I'm not. It's been a lot of fun.” Gabrielle laughs at some of her memories. Cyrene watches the bard's eyes light up. “Your daughter is amazing.”
Cyrene smiles, “She definitely has turned into quite the woman, hasn't she? I still see her as my little girl though. That's why it's always been so hard for me to accept her after she turned into a kil” Cyrene stops in mid sentence. Her eyes lower.
Gabrielle gets up and sits next to her. “Cyrene, she has changed so much. She doesn't kill anymore unless she absolutely has to. She protects so many people. She saves people, including me. Did she ever tell you how we met?”
“Why don't you tell me?”
“Well, my sister and I were with a group of villagers. We were down doing laundry at the river. Draco's men were nearby and they rounded us all up. The intended to sell us into slavery. All of a sudden, a woman with dark hair and piercing blue eyes walks out of the bushes. She stops the slaver from whipping me. Then she proceeds to beat the crap out of all of them. She saved all of us, even after getting hit in the head with the hilt of someone's sword. I never thought that I would be best friends with the Warrior Princess. At first I sort of idolized her, but then I learned she was just human like the rest of us.” Gabrielle smiles to herself, “She's the best friend I've ever had.”
Cyrene smiles at her, “Well I'm glad she has someone in her life to keep her out of trouble.” Cyrene winks at Gabrielle. They both laugh knowing that no one can keep Xena out of trouble.
“What are you two laughing at?” Xena walks into the camp with two rabbits in her hands.
Gabrielle looks up at Xena with a gleam in her eye, “You. I was just telling your mom how we met.”
Xena rolls her eyes. “Gabrielle could you boil some vegetables, please?” She pouts her lip.
“No problem.” She gets up and grabs a pot, some potatoes and other miscellaneous vegetables.
“Xena, why didn't you tell me that you saved Gabrielle and her village from a life of slavery?” Cyrene eggs her daughter on. “You are such a hero.”
Xena rolls her eyes, “I'm no hero. I was just in the right place at the right time.”
Gabrielle gets the water and vegetables boiling while Xena prepares the rabbits. Xena finishes the rabbit and stands up with blood all over her hands. “I'm going to go down and wash up. Mother, would you like to walk with me?”
“Sure.” Cyrene gets up and walks along side Xena. When they are out of hearing distance she asks, “So Xena; you and Gabrielle are sure close. I haven't heard from you since you came to visit me so long ago. Did you ever tell her how you feel?”
“Mom! You are sure nosey.” Xena complained but then couldn't help but smile. “Yeah I did. Well sort of.”
“What do you mean, sort of? Are you together?”
“Yeah we are. She's perfect.” Xena actually sighed and her eyes glazed over with a dreamy look.
“Perfect, huh? She is definitely an amazing young woman. She's very pretty too.” Cyrene commented. Xena smiles again. They arrive at the river and she bends down to wash off the grime. “So what do you mean that you ‘sort of' told her how you feel?”
Xena is quiet for a moment, then she stands up, “I mean that she knows how I feel about her. I've made it clear that she means a lot to me.”
Cyrene guessed the rest, “But you haven't actually said the magic three words to her, have you?”
Xena gives her mom the look, “How do you always guess so accurately?” Xena shakes her head. “Nosey woman.” Cyrene laughs. They begin to walk back. Before they are all the way back to camp, Xena is stopped by Cyrene's hand.
“Xena, don't wait too long to tell her. I know you probably show her every day, but she is the kind of woman that thrives off words. You need to tell her so she can be assured of your love. Just think about it, ok?” Cyrene walks away to camp. Xena follows feeling slightly chastised, but mostly ashamed because she knows her mother is right. I should tell her I love her.
The next morning Gabrielle wakes up cold, again. It seems that lately this is becoming a habit when they have a guest. She sits up and sees Xena warming up by the fire. Xena's eyes catch the bards'. She smiles and brings her a cup of hot tea. Sitting down by Gabrielle, she says “Morning beautiful. How'd you sleep?”
Gabrielle takes the tea and sips it. She looks over and sees Cyrene still asleep. Then she looks over to Xena, “Cold.” She scowls at her lover.
Xena looks at her sheepishly, “Sorry.”
“Are you going to tell her about us?” Gabrielle whispers. “Or do you think she won't accept it?”
Xena looks at her mother then back to Gabrielle. “Gabrielle, I don't care what anyone thinks as far as accepting us. Besides, she already knows.”
Gabrielle spits out her tea. No longer trying to keep quiet, she says “You mean I was cold all night for no reason! You are in big trouble warrior.” Gabrielle gets up and paces around muttering to herself.
“Gabrielle, sit down.” She gets a scowl in response. Xena whispers, “Look, I didn't know if she would be comfortable with us sleeping in the same bed next to her. She is ok with us being a couple, but I didn't want to make her feel awkward. Sometimes things that are a little different take awhile for people to get use to.”
Gabrielle stops, “Oh.” She sits back down. “Sorry I overreacted. I was just really cold all night, which makes me grouchy. I wish you were there to keep me warm.”
Xena pulls her over into her arms. “Sorry sweetheart.” It was the first term of endearment Xena had ever used with her. Gabrielle smiles.
A few hours later, they are well on their way back to Amphipolis. When they arrive, Cyrene asks them to stay for a few days. “You girls need a good rest. You never take a break, I bet.”
Gabrielle nudges Xena and gives her a pleading look. “Alright.” Xena sighs. “Just for a couple days.”
Gabrielle wakes up to a snuggly warrior next to her. They are in a comfortable bed. It's well past dawn and she is surprised that Xena is still asleep.
“I'm not asleep if that's what you are thinking.” A blue eye peeks at her.
Gabrielle giggles, “Good guess. Why are you still in bed? It's way past time for you to wake up.”
“Like I said, I'm awake. I'm comfortable, so I decided to stay put, next to my girl.” Xena says quietly.
You're girl? Gabrielle is amused by this. She's been so sweet lately. I wonder what's going on with her. She leans up and kisses Xena on the bottom lip. Then she kisses her on the chin and down her neck. Xena moans lightly. Gabrielle smiles then nibbles on her ear for a moment. “Gabrielle…”
“What are you doing?” Xena moans again. Her breathing is becoming heavy.
Gabrielle's kisses move lower to Xena's chest. She glides her tongue in the valley between Xena's breast. Xena moans again then she sits up. “Xena, what's wrong?”
Xena looks at her and gets a menacing smile on her face. “Nothing.” She pushes Gabrielle backs and takes over applying the same actions of love that she just received. Now it was Gabrielle's turn to moan and squirm beneath Xena's hot lips. Xena takes Gabrielle's shirt off, then softly kisses Gabrielle's nipple.
“Oh gods!” Gabrielle pushes Xena's head away for a moment. “Xena? Can I make love to you first? I really, really want to.”
Xena pouted her lip, then smiles. “I suppose. Have your way with me bard.” Gabrielle smiled back and pushed Xena off onto her side of the bed. “Alright princess, where is your whip?”
“My…whi…whip?” Xena swallows hard.
“Mm hm.” Gabrielle gets off the bed and looks through their bags. Finding the whip she brings it back to bed.
“What are you going to do with that?”
Gabrielle didn't answer, she just straddled Xena. She grabbed her hands and put them up to the bed frame and tied them to it with the whip. “There. Now you can't have any control over this situation.” Gabrielle giggles.
“You're evil. You know that I can get out of these with no problem, right?”
“But you won't.” Gabrielle doesn't start in the normal place, Xena's lips. Instead she starts on Xena's flat stomach, kissing all over her soft skin. For a moment, she licks from her belly button up to her right nipple. Xena squirms. Mm squirming warrior. She plays with Xena's nipple for a moment then moves her attention back down. She begins to kiss Xena's inner thighs, which causes Xena to squirm even more. “Xena, hold still please.”
“Sorry, I can't help it.” Xena smirks to herself. “Your lips feel so good, honey.”
As she was speaking Gabrielle begins to kiss Xena's lips, which are already very moist. Gabrielle licks each lip slowly, getting loud moans from the warrior. She takes her fingers and spreads Xena's folds open so she can have full access. The warrior is a beautiful shade of pink, her flesh swollen from excitement. “I love it down here.” She comments idly. “So beautiful.” Not being able to resist any longer, the bard attaches her mouth to Xena. She quickly sticks her tongue in and out of her lover, causing Xena to moan quite loudly now. After a moment she turns her attention to Xena's clit and begins to alternate sucking and hard licking. Xena's climax is coming quick so Gabrielle puts one finger into her love and begins to pump back and forth in rhythm with Xena's hips. Not long after, Xena's back arches and her body rises into the air, Gabrielle desperately trying to stay with it.
“Oh gods!!” Xena shouts as she reaches the top of her orgasm. After a few seconds her body falls to the bed. Gabrielle crawls up to her lovers side and puts her head on Xena's shoulder. “That was amazing.”
“Thanks. I'm glad it was good.” Gabrielle smiles.
An hour later they walk down into the inn, hand in hand. Both of them are radiating happiness. Cyrene spots them and smiles. “There's my girls! Breakfast is ready, take a seat.” They look at each other and giggle. They find a good spot next to a window. Cyrene brings breakfast over to them and then sits next to Gabrielle. “How was your night girls?”
“Oh it was amazing, Cyrene! It's so nice to have a comfortable, clean bed to sleep in. I wish I had one every night.”
“Hey, you are the one that wanted to live on the road with me, stop complaining!” Xena shook her head in amusement.
Gabrielle glared at her then returned her attention to Cyrene, “Anyway, thank you. This was a wonderful idea. I'm looking forward to the day. It's like a mini vacation.”
“Good. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Maybe Xena can show you around town. Xena, don't forget to go see your brother.”
“Where is Toris living?” Xena asks.
“I didn't mean Toris. I mean Lyceus. But now that you mention it, Toris now owns the house that old Mr… what's his name? The man you three use to terrorize when you were children.”
“Oh I know where you are talking about. Ok, well I always plan on visiting Ly when I'm here. I should probably visit Tor too. Gabby do you want to go with me?”
Gabrielle loved it when Xena called her that, which was not very often. “Yeah, I'll go wherever you want to. I'd love to see some of the places that use to roam as a kid.”
“Alright, well I need to get back to the kitchen. Our regulars are starting to pour in. Enjoy your day, girls.”
After breakfast, they first wandered over to the tomb to pay respects to Lyceus. “I remember the first time I was in here.” Gabrielle said. “Do you remember that?”
“Of course. You told me I wasn't alone anymore. How could I forget that?” Xena smiled and pulled Gabrielle over to her. She put her arm around her shoulder and walked inside. The tomb was a little worse for wear, but Lyceus' tomb was spotless. “Look like mom and Toris have been keeping it nice for Ly.” She dropped her arm from around her lover and put both hands on his sarcophagus. “Hey Ly. It's me. Sorry it's been awhile since I've come to see you. We've been busy. This is Gabrielle, my soul mate and partner.”
Gabrielle stepped forward and put her hand on his coffin, “Hello Lyceus. It's nice to meet you. You would be proud of your sister, she's an amazing woman.” Xena smiled at her and pulled her into a hug. After a few moments they separated. “I'll leave you two alone for a few minutes ok?” She stood on her tip toes and kissed Xena on the cheek.
Ten minutes later, Xena came out and found the bard on the steps to the mausoleum. “Ready to go?” Gabrielle popped up and started walking along side Xena. “Alright, next stop, let's go see Toris.”
“Sounds good to me.”
On their way there, they came across Xena's childhood friend Kyra. “Xena! Hey I didn't know you were in town again! She runs up and gives Xena a very personal, touchy hug.”
The return hug Xena gives is very awkward and stiff. “Yeah, I'm here.” She pushes away from Kyra as quickly as possible. Oh dear. Ex lover meets current lover.
“A hem.” Gabrielle fakes clearing her throat after a long silence.
“Oh, Kyra, this is Gabrielle.” Xena makes the introduction. There is a lot of weird tension in the air coming from Xena that Gabrielle can feel.
“Hi, Kyra. It's nice to meet you.” She puts out her hand and they shake.
“Likewise. So is this the Gabrielle that I heard so much about the last time you were here?” Kyra looks at Xena, batting her eyelashes.
“Yep, that would be her.”
“That would be me.” Gabrielle repeats. She feels like there is an elephant in the room, so to speak. Another long silence.
“Well, we ought to get going, right Gabrielle. We are on our way to see Toris.” Xena starts moving and pushes Gabrielle to start moving as well.
“Oh, I was just on my way over there actually! I'll come with you.” Kyra smiles brightly.
Xena sighs, “Oh. Ok.”
They all begin to walk on the path, when Kyra decides to start the conversation. “So Xena, with all the adventures you are into now, how are you ever going to settle down?”
“I'm not.” Xena's replies are short and to the point.
“Well, that's not the Xena I remember. What happen to all the talk of settling down with someone you love and making a life for yourself?”
Gabrielle looks at Xena and lifts her eyebrows up in question. “Yeah Xena, what happened to that?”
Xena grumbles under her breath, “Well, that was before Cortese. Besides, I don't know if I ever really wanted to settle down per se.”
Gabrielle chimes in again, “What about finding someone you love?”
“Yeah.” Kyra adds.
Xena is really getting annoyed at this conversation. Suddenly Xena spots Toris. “Toris!!” She runs up to him and almost gives him a big hug but he ducks thinking she was going to clobber him. “Hey, I'm not going to hurt you.”
“Xena! Sheesh, how was I suppose to know? You were running at me like a crazy person. I heard you left here a little loony the other day. You ok?” Toris spots Gabrielle and waves.
Xena and Toris walk off into the field and start talking, leaving Gabrielle alone with Kyra. Gabby looks over a Kyra and Kyra looks back. Gabrielle lets out a awkward chuckle, “So you knew Xena as kids then, huh?”
Kyra looks over at Xena and lets out a very dreamy sigh. “Yeah, I knew her VERY well.”
That catches Gabrielle's attention. “VERY well? How well?”
Just then Xena and Toris walk back over. “Alright Gabrielle, let's go. I want to finish showing you around town. Bye Kyra.” Xena rushes Gabrielle away.
“Uh… ok. Bye Xena.”
Toris walks over to Kyra, “Would you like to come in for a drink?” She is hypnotized by Xena's backside. Toris rolls his eyes. “Kyra?”
“Huh? Oh, bye Toris.” She wanders off in a daze.
“What was that about, Warrior Princess?” Gabrielle asks Xena in a non approving tone.
“Huh? What are you talking about? She was annoying me so I asked Toris to distract her while we made an escape. You didn't want her following us around did you?”
“Well no.” she hesitates. Very well huh… Xena is acting very strange. I better find out about this girl. “Where are we off to now?”
After a full day of wandering around town and out into some of the surrounding area, both bard and warrior are exhausted. “Xena this was supposed to be a vacation. I'm more tired than when we do our normal routine.”
“Sorry, I thought you wanted to see where I grew up and visit all the places I use to play as a kid.”
“Well, it was nice, don't get me wrong.”
Xena opens the door to the inn and they find a seat just in time for dinner. A waitress comes over and brings them food and drink. “Ah, I have to go to the bathroom. Be right back.”
As Xena leaves, Cyrene takes her spot. “Hey, cutie, how are you? Did you have a good day?”
“Yeah, I'm tired though. She ran me ragged all day going from here to there and back again. All the while strategically avoiding some girl.”
“What girl?” Cyrene has a pretty good idea who it was.
Oh!! Maybe Cyrene would know about her! “A girl named Kyra. Heard of her?”
Cyrene shakes her head yes. “I do. She is an old friend of Xena's.” Hm, I probably shouldn't say much more. This is something Xena needs to tell her.
“Really?” Gabrielle asks innocently, then gets an idea. “I got the distinct impression they were lovers.”
Cyrene spits out the water she had just taken a gulp of. “Uh…”
Exactly. Thank you Cyrene. I knew it! “Uh is right. I don't know why she didn't just tell me.”
“Gabrielle, this isn't a conversation I should take part in. Why don't you talk it over with her?” she gets up to leave as Xena is coming back. They stop and talk for a moment. Cyrene said something to her that alerts her.
As Xena sits down, she looks at the bard carefully. “Hey you. How are you feeling?”
Hmm let's see. I feel like my girlfriend has left out quite a bit of information today regarding a certain good looking brunette woman.
After Gabrielle's non response, Xena bends her head down to try and catch Gabrielle's eyes; it works. “Honey, what's the matter?”
“Who is Kyra?”
And there it is. “She's an old friend from when we were kids.” She pauses seeing that Gabrielle obviously wants to hear all of it. “She was also my first…lover.”
“Oh. Is that why it was so awkward today? She clearly still has a thing for you.” Gabrielle pushed her plate away, not feeling much like eating.
“Yeah, it appears she does. That's why I was trying to get away from her. I didn't want us to get into any awkward situations. She tends to flirt a lot.”
“When you last came here, when I was in Athens, did you and her…”
“No! We didn't do anything. She sat with us at dinner for awhile but that was it. Besides, you were all I could think about. Mom caught on really quick to that and was badgering me to make a move on you.” Xena smiles at the memory. “I didn't listen very well as you know. It took me way too long to kiss you. But I'm glad I finally did.”
Gabrielle smiles at her, “Me too. So I have nothing to be worried about with this woman?”
“Not from me you don't. That doesn't mean she won't try to be all over me. Which is exactly why I plan on avoiding her. But no, I am not even remotely interested in her. You are the only person I want to be with. You know that right?”
“I do now.”
The next day as they are headed out of town, they run into Joxer. Luckily they are both well rested and ready to take on the world. The last couple days at the inn has done them well and brought them closer than before. “Hey guys! I'm glad I found you. I am dying to find a mission. Got anything good going on?”
Xena looks at him and rolls her eyes, then shoves Gabrielle towards him. She whispers in her ear, “You deal with him. I'm in too good of a mood.”
Gabrielle turns and glares at her. “Hey Joxer.” She grits her teeth. “Alright, you can come with us. And no we don't have anything going on right now. But I'm sure we'll find something.”
Beginning of Episode 48:
“Rise and shine everyone! Rise and SHINE!” Joxer walks into a barn with a silly grin on his face.
Xena and Gabrielle both sit up. “I'll rise but I refuse to shine.” Gabrielle says grouchily.
“Eh, well I got us breakfast.” He holds up an egg. “Goose eggs!” Just then something hits him on the head and splashes in the eggs sending them all over Joxer's face.
A man in the loft of the barn looks down. “Sweet equestra. I… I hope I didn't hit anything.”
Xena smiles as Gabrielle chuckles and says, “Nothing important.”
I Love You?
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters; I just made up the stories. The beginning and ends of episodes are quoted from the actual TV series.
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it.
Goal: To fill in the rest of the story of Xena and Gabrielle that I felt the series left out. This is more how I would have wished the show to go. I strive to make it a realistic love story of how the two get together and share their lives together. Please feel free to email me with constructive feedback Jinxie2013@gmail.com
End of Episode 48 (S3,E2):
“Rise and shine everyone! Rise and SHINE!” Joxer walks into a barn with a silly grin on his face.
Xena and Gabrielle both sit up. “I'll rise but I refuse to shine.” Gabrielle says grouchily. Xena looks confused. She thought she already fixed the day from repeating itself.
“Eh, well I got us breakfast.” He holds up a turnip. “Turnips!”
“Turnips?” She stands up hurriedly, “did you say turnips?” She walks over and grabs the turnips out of his hat. She hugs Joxer than kisses him. Xena is staring at the turnips in utter happiness.
“Now there's a woman who really likes her vegetables.” Joxer said.
Gabrielle approaches, “Xena, are you alright? Alright, what's going on?”
Xena smiles at Gabrielle, “Life Gabrielle! Life is going on at last!” she pulls them both into a hug, then moves over to just Gabrielle. She puts the turnips in front of Gabrielle's breasts, “Gabrielle, you gotta um…seize the day! Cause who knows, tomorrow may never come!”
A month later…
“Gabrielle! Stop moving!” Xena yells. This has been going on for an hour.
“I can't! I'm soaking wet. This stupid bedroll has a hole in it. Grrrr!” Gabrielle flips out and throws the bedroll across the campsite. It's the middle of the night. Gabrielle is shivering and very angry. She walks over to her bedroll and kicks it and screams at the top of her lungs.
“That's it! I can't take it anymore!” Xena jumps up and runs over to Gabrielle. She scoops her up
in her arms and takes her back to her own bedroll and puts Gabrielle in it. “Lie down and go to sleep!” Gabrielle doesn't argue. She turns her back to Xena and pulls the covers up. Xena lies down on the grass next to her, not caring if she gets wet from the recent rain. A moment later Gabrielle is tossing again. “Now what!” Xena is losing it.
“Don't yell at me.” Gabrielle says in a timid voice.
Xena tried to soften her voice, “Well, what's wrong?”
“My clothes are wet and I'm freezing cold, IF you even care.”
Xena sighed, realizing that she was being way too harsh on Gabrielle. She gets up onto her knees and bends over the bard. “Come here, up.” She helps her sit up. “Take off your clothes. I'll grab you a spare shirt, ok?”
“Thanks.” Gabrielle takes her wet clothes off. She finishes as Xena walks back with a shirt. She takes the shirt and puts it over Gabrielle's head and arms.
“There. I'm going to get the fire going again, then we are going to move the bedroll closer to the fire. Is it ok if I squeeze in there with you? I think I could warm you up.” Xena moves both eyebrows up and down suggestively.
Gabrielle smiles warmly, “I'd like that.” She watches Xena add several logs to the fire, enjoying the way the fire light played on her skin and in her eyes. She opened her mouth to speak, but something stopped her. I love you Xena. She wanted to say it but couldn't. Why can't I say it?! I'm a bard and I don't seem to be able speak what comes to my mind. Am I still afraid of rejection after all this time?
Xena walks back over and lies behind Gabrielle and pulls the cover over them both. She spoons her body around the bards and breathes into her ear, “What are you thinking about?”
“Hmm? What about me?” Xena asked curiously.
How much I love you. “I was just thinking that you are beautiful.” Gabrielle said cursing herself for not saying her deepest thought, yet again. What if I say it and she bolts. Actually saying the words brings on a whole new reality for her and I think she is afraid of that.
Xena sighed and snuggled up even closer, if possible. Come on Xena, you can do it. You can tell her. What are you so afraid of?
Gabrielle felt Xena's breathing falter slightly, which is unusual for the warrior. She could also feel Xena's heartbeat; it was powerful and faster than normal. What is going on?
Do it. You have to tell her. She loves you back, come on. Xena squeezed her tightly and opened her mouth to whisper in the bard's ear, “Gabrielle… I Lo”
Suddenly there was a loud crash in the woods nearby. Xena jumped up quicker than lightening. She already had her sword in hand and was poised for a fight. She looked down at Gabrielle who was sitting up. She put her finger to her mouth telling the bard to be quiet. Gabrielle nodded.
Xena carefully watched in the direction and surrounding area from where the crash came from. She stealthily began to move towards the noise, which was now non-existent. After a moment, she disappeared in the woods.
Gabrielle was scared, which was rare lately since her and Xena started keeping their bedrolls together. Ok, Gabrielle get your mind off being scared. I think she was about to say it. That sure sounded like it the word love was coming out next. Gods I wish whatever just happened hadn't happened so that I could hear those words on her lips. A loud noise of steel on steel snapped her attention back to reality. A moment later Xena appeared dragging someone behind her.
“Sit!” Xena yells at the man that is half unconscious. She grabs her whip and ties him up against a tree. Then she walks back over to Gabrielle and squats down next to her. “You ok?” Gabrielle shakes her head up and down slowly.
“Who is he Xena?”
“Not sure, but I'm going to find out. Lie back down and try to rest.” Xena gently pushes the bards shoulder to encourage her to lie down.
She resists Xena's push. “No. I'm going to help you. We're a team remember?”
Xena smiles at her, “How could I forget?” Xena jogs over to her saddle bag and grabs a cloak. She brings it to Gabrielle and helps her stand up, then she drapes the cloak over the bard. “There. Come on, let's go get information.” She gently squeezes her on the shoulders.
Xena walks up to the man and gives him the look. “Alright. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Tell me what I want to know, or you get tortured. You choose. Hmm?”
“Easy way. I have nothing to keep from you Xena.”
“So you know who I am? What do you want?”
“I was sent to find you. Ares is raising an army.” The man said.
“That's nothing new.”
“The army has a new metal. It's impenetrable; swords break against it, arrows bounce off it, and shields are split into two. They are unstoppable. You have to stop them. They just killed 6000 men with only a few hundred.”
Xena takes a deep breath. “You've seen this for yourself?”
“Yes, I have.”
Xena reaches down and unties him. “Sorry but you shouldn't sneak up on us like that.” The man nods. Xena turns to Gabrielle, “We need to get some sleep. Sounds like we've got a long few days ahead of us.”
Gabrielle lies back down on the bed and looks up expectantly at Xena, waiting for her to come back to bed. Xena shakes her head to say no. She sits by the fire and sharpens her sword. Gabrielle is very unsure of why Xena isn't laying down to rest. “Xena?” she whispers.
Xena looks up and gives her a gentle smile then winks. Gabrielle feels a little better. She gets comfortable and closes her eyes. Xena keeps watch over the man that is now in their camp. After she is sure he is asleep, she moves to the bedroll. “Gabrielle?” she whispers. Gabrielle opens her eyes, she hadn't fallen asleep yet. “Hey. Let's move closer to the fire, ok? Then we'll go to sleep.” Gabrielle gets up and helps Xena move everything, then they lie down together. Xena positions Gabrielle nearest the fire, then slips into bed behind her. Her sword is right next to her the whole time, just in case she needs it.
The next morning, Xena is awake first, as always. She stays in bed though, holding Gabrielle for a few moments longer. This is not going to be fun. What am I going to do? I do not want to deal with Ares. Gabrielle began to stir, rubbing her eyes to wake up. “Morning.” Xena purred in her ear.
“Morning, you are so warm.” Gabrielle pulled Xena's hand up under her chin and kissed it.
“Mm. It's time to get up.” Xena pulled away and got up. Gabrielle stayed tucked in and nestled further under the covers.
An hour later, they had a plan and were ready to begin their mission. The man had left, back to where he came from. “Alright, my bard. Let's go.” Xena held out her hand to Gabrielle.
Beginning of Episode 49:
A bloodied soldier is running away from a fight. He slides to a stop on his knees. “Athena! Why? 6000 men, troops of Athens, my men…all gone.”
Ares appears next to him. “He's behind you.” Ares points. A man in an all metal armor is standing behind the Athenian soldier. The soldier is now terrified.
“What are you? Where did your army come from!?” He stands up and begins to charge, “For Athena!!” He hacks his sword at the armored man. His sword breaks. The armored man strikes back and cuts the Athenian shield in two, then runs the man through with his sword.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters; I just made up the stories. The beginning and ends of episodes are quoted from the actual TV series.
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it.
Goal: To fill in the rest of the story of Xena and Gabrielle that I felt the series left out. This is more how I would have wished the show to go. I strive to make it a realistic love story of how the two get together and share their lives together. Please feel free to email me with constructive feedback Jinxie2013@gmail.com
End of Episode 49 (S3,E3):
“You started off with four and redeemed two. All things considered, it's not bad odds.” Gabrielle said to Xena.
“Ain't that somethin'.” Xena replies back. “I've got that answer to your question. Are you who you are, or are you who I made you?”
Xena turns to face the bard, “You're Gabrielle; Bard, Amazon Princess, Best Friend. Nobody made you who you are, it was already there. Question is, who would I be without you?” Xena turns to walk away.
Gabrielle follows, “Hmm. I can answer that. You'd still be heroic Xena. You were on that path when we met.”
“You crazy? Without you to keep me on the straight and narrow” Xena replied.
“You'd manage. Just not as well.” Gabrielle laughed.
They are still teasing each other back and forth. Gabrielle stopped and grabbed Xena by the hand. “Xena, come here.” Xena stepped into Gabrielle's space. Gabrielle stood on her toes and kissed the warrior on the lips.
“Hey, we need to fix your bedroll. I don't want another wet bard incident. Well…not wet like that anyway.” Xena smiled, as Gabrielle blushed.
“Xena! You're awful.” Gabrielle playful smacked her on the shoulder. “Are you saying you don't want to share a bed with me every night?” She pouts her lip out.
“Hey now! We share a bed; it's just a bigger bed made of up two bedrolls. I get up a lot at night and I don't want to wake you because we are snuggled so closely. It's nothing against you, sweetie.” Xena stroked Gabrielle's cheek.
“Ok, so how do we fix my bedroll?”
Xena whistles loudly for Argo, who comes running out from some trees. “There's my girl. Hey baby, how are you?” she pets Argo's nose.
Gabrielle mutters under her breath, “Wish I got that much lovin.”
Xena keeps petting Argo, “I heard that. And you get WAY more lovin that poor Argo here. She gets ignored practically compared to the Queen.”
“I heard that.” Gabrielle grabs her shabby bedroll off Argo's back and lays it down on the grass. It has holes all over it. “What happened to this thing anyway?”
Xena peers over her shoulder, “Looks to me like you sleep on way too many rocks. That and your constant tossing and turning make a bad combo.”
“I don't toss and turn, do I?” Gabrielle has a confused and slightly irritated look on her face.
“Yeah, you do. And you snore. Ok, I think that we need to do a different type of bedroll for you. You see, here? You may have got a fabulous deal at the market for this hide, but it's a terrible quality. I should have made you take it back that day. We need to get one made of cow skin, not this…whatever it is.” Xena tosses hide part of the bedroll into the bushes and rolls up the blanket and fur. She sets it back onto Argo, then jumps into the saddle. She looks down at her lover, “Are you riding or walking?”
Gabrielle looks up at her and shelters her eyes from the glare of the sun. “Um… Well where are we going and how far?”
Xena looks at the sun then her surrounding area. “I think there is a town not far from here that sells cow hide. It's probably a couple hour's walk, or an hour ride.” Gabrielle offers her hand up to Xena. Xena grabs her and pulls her up. “Good choice. I like having you next to me.” Gabrielle hugs Xena tight from behind.
They arrive in town earlier than expected. Xena pulls Argo up to the nearest post and ties her up. “Alright girl, we'll be back soon.” Argo knickers at her and butts her in the back with her nose. “Hey!”
“Xena you forgot to put her oat bag on. She's hungry.” Gabrielle grabs the feed bag of oats and ties it to Argo's nose.
“Oh. Whoops.” Xena gets behind Gabrielle and pulls her in for a hug. “Good catch.” She murmurs in Gabrielle's ear.
Gabrielle's skin is attacked by goose bumps. “Xena, that gave me the chills.” She turns around in Xena's arms. Xena looks around and sees that no one is looking. She bends down and gives her a huge dramatic kiss.
“Now that should give you chills!” Xena says with fake arrogance. “I'm amazing. I know. I know.”
Gabrielle chases her into the street trying to swat her butt. As soon as they arrive to the street Xena stops running and puts on her warrior face. Gabrielle accidentally runs into the back of her and is knocked flat on her back. “Xena!”
Xena turns around and sees the bard on her butt with a very angry scowl. She reaches down and helps her up. “Sorry. I have an image to uphold, I can't be seen running from a short little blonde girl.”
“That's it, you're in trouble.” Gabrielle stomps off ahead of Xena.
Xena sighs, “What's new.” She walks slowly after Gabrielle, not in any hurry to be yelled at again.
Gabrielle completely avoids Xena the whole time they are in the towns market. Xena was following her, but after being ignored for an hour, she decided to go her own way and find a hide for her love. After purchasing the perfect hide, she heads back to find Gabrielle. She spots her bartering for a cheap sheep skin hide. Xena jogs over quickly to stop the sale. “Hey. I already got you one.”
Gabrielle looks at her angrily. “Xena, I can get my own cow hide, thank you very much.”
“But Gabrielle, that's now cow hide.”
“Yes it is. This nice gentleman here, Howard, told me it is.” She gestures to the man she is bartering with. He is very smarmy looking and smiles at her. He has “rip off” written all over him. “Now how much did you say?”
“Only 50 dinars.” The man bows his head to her like he is offering her the closing deal.
Gabrielle thinks for a moment. “Well that's better than what we started off at.”
“But Gabrielle.” Xena started in.
Gabrielle put her hand up in Xena's face to silence her. “I've got this.” Gabrielle pulls out 50 dinar and hands it to the man. “Thank you sir!”
Xena cannot believe her eyes and ears. Gabrielle brushes by her and heads back to where they left Argo. Xena looks at the merchant and glares. “Thief.” She turns and runs after Gabrielle. Once she catches up, she jumps in front of her. “Gabrielle, why are you ignoring me?”
“I'm not ignoring you.”
“Then why are you angry?”
“I'm not angry. I just want you to know that I can buy my own hide. See?” she holds it up in front of Xena's face.
“Honey, look. You've got to listen to me. That man just ripped you off, big time. That is a sheep skin! It's not cow. I promise. And he sold it to you for two times what it's worth.” Xena grabs the skin and starts pointing out its flaws. “See right here, how thin it is. This is going to get holes by tomorrow morning.”
Gabrielle's face drops then she blushes in embarrassment. “I guess I really messed up, huh?”
Xena pulls Gabrielle in and kisses the top of her head. “It's ok. I'll get him to give us our money back. Come on.” Xena holds her hand until they get to the street, then she tries to drop it. Gabrielle won't let her. Xena looks down and sees that the bards face is set. Heh ok my love, we'll keep holding hands.
When they get to the merchants shop, they find it closed for the rest of the day. “Dammit! Why is everyone open but him?”
“Probably because he knew we'd be back.” Gabrielle suggested. “You did call him a thief ya know.”
Xena looked around to see if she could spot him. “Well damn. Let's camp outside of town and we'll come back tomorrow. He probably won't be expecting us to come back.”
They found a nice place to camp in a field just outside of town. While Gabrielle cooked, Xena prepared everything she needed to make Gabrielle's bedroll perfect. “Alright, let's eat first. Then I'm going to show you how to make this, ok?”
“Oookay.” Gabrielle smiled.
Xena grabbed her bowl and sat on the ground next to Gabrielle. They ate in relative silence. Hmm she is not talking. This is unusual. Maybe she is still mad at me. I should probably apologize, though I don't really know what for. “Hey, why were you mad at me earlier? I haven't been able to figure out exactly what I did wrong. I was joking when I made that “short blond” joke.”
Gabrielle finished chewing, “I think that you could figure it out if you tried.”
“I have tried, and I can't figure it out. Please just tell me so I can fix it.” Xena's eyes pleaded.
Gabrielle sighed and set her empty bowl down. “I don't like it when you go all stoic warrior on me. I wish you could just.. I don't know. When we are alone you are so different than when we are in public.”
“I'm the same person both places. Gabrielle, if my enemies find out that you and I are romantically involved, then you are at more of a risk than you are now. I have to keep my image of hard nosed warrior that no one wants to mess with. If people saw how mushy I am with you, we'd both be dead. Don't you know that you are the most important thing in my life?”
Gabrielle looks at her like the thought had never occurred to her. “No, I didn't. I mean, I guess I assumed that but you've never really said.” Gabrielle said sadly. How would I know, you don't tell me what I most desperately need to hear. Just three damn words Xena!
“Oh.” A long pause. “Gabrielle, I'm sorry. I thought I made that clear to you. I am truly sorry if you didn't know that.” Another long pause. Xena puts her arms on Gabrielle's shoulders and turns them so that they are completely face to face. She puts both hands on Gabrielle's face and their eyes lock. “I love you, Gabrielle. You are everything to me. I don't know how I would go on without you.” Gabrielle breaks into a happy sob, tears are streaming down her face. Xena pulls her into a tight hug while stroking her long blonde hair. She kisses her on the head several times, then gently pushes Gabrielle away so she can look into her face once again. She dries the bard's tears with the palm of her hands. Then she leans in and kisses her on the eyelids and then her cheeks. “I love you, sweetheart. Don't ever doubt that, please.”
“I love you too Xena.” Gabrielle tilts her head up so that their lips meet. The kiss lingers for a few minutes until Gabrielle needs to catch her breath. She chuckles nervously and begins to dry her tears on her arms. “Sorry about being mad at you.”
“It's ok, love. Come on, let's get your bed ready, shall we?” They move over to the grass and Xena teaches her how to sew the leather hide to the furs. After a half hour, it's completely finished. “There, that was easy huh?”
“Sure, though I think I prefer my normal chores.” Gabrielle jumps Xena and pushes her down on the furs. She gets on top of her and lays flat, stretching out along her whole body length. “Mmm this is a comfortable bed.”
Xena chuckles as she puts her arms around Gabrielle and holds her tight. After a few moments Gabrielle slides off Xena and lands next to her side. They lay together and look up at the stars for hours until they nod off to sleep. Both were content that the words had finally been spoken.
A month later…
Beginning of Episode 40
“What is a mountain, but a bunch of boulders? And what is a rock, but a large grain of sand? And what is a large grain of sand… you see my theory here?”
Xena shakes her head, “No!”
“And that doesn't bother you at all?” Gabrielle is exasperated.
“What possible use is this information to me?”
“I haven't the slightest idea, but well hey it gave us something to talk about since the last town, right?” Gabrielle shrugs trying to blow off her frustration.
“Ah towns, which are made up of houses, which, after all are just large huts. Which are made out of wood, which are made out of trees, and trees are bigger than huts so…” Xena snaps, “there goes that theory.”
“Stop. You can be so frustrating sometimes.”
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it.
End of Episode 50 (S3,E4):
After the temple of Dahok has blown up, Xena and Gabrielle sit together amongst the rubble. Xena is holding Gabrielle in her arms. The bard is crying, devastated about what happened to her. She lost her blood innocence and was raped by Dahok.
“Xena?” Gabrielle whispers.
“I'm here Gabrielle.” Xena holds her tighter.
“It hurts inside.” Gabrielle whispers.
Xena gets a pained look on her face. “What?”
“Everything's changed. Everything.” Gabrielle's face reflects her inner turmoil and devastation.
Xena eyes grow wide. She is in shock. After a moment she hears Gabrielle begin to sob. She pulls her in tighter, “hey… it's going to be ok. I promise.”
The next day…
Xena is staring into the flames of a fire. They are in the woods in the country of Britannia. Gabrielle has not spoken to me since we left the temple remains. What am I going to do? I've got to get us to the next boat to home. That's the only thing I can do. I'm worried about her so much. How is she going to overcome this? I knew this would happen to her; her blood innocence is lost and the light has gone out inside her. I've got to encourage her to get it back. I have to be her light now, as she has been mine.
“Xena!!” Gabrielle screams from her bed. She sits up and looks around everywhere, “Xena!!”
Xena runs over to her and kneels down, “I'm right here.” She puts her arms out to pull the bard into a hug but is pushed over by Gabrielle lunging for her. Gabrielle clings to her as if in a panic for her life. “Hey, it's ok. I've got you.” Gabrielle begins to sob. “I've got you, sweetheart.”
After ten minutes has passed, Gabrielle finally settles down. She leans back out of Xena's arms and lies back down. Xena just stays in the same position, not sure why Gabrielle moved away. She opens her mouth to speak, but the words aren't there. She grabs a set of furs and lays them on top of the bard. She leans down and kisses her on the cheek. “I love you Gabrielle.”
The next morning Gabrielle wakes up from another nightmare. This time she doesn't call for Xena. She sits up and doesn't see her warrior anywhere. She wipes sweat off her brow then stands up and moves to the fire ring. She puts some wood on it and just stares into the flames. I've never felt so empty…and angry. I'm a murderer. How could I have done such a thing? I had no right. I'm evil, I deserve to die. Where is Xena? Did she leave me again? She left me to go after Caesar. If she hadn't have left me, this wouldn't have happened. She is supposed to protect me. What kind of love is that? It's not love. If you love someone and swear to protect them then you don't leave them when they need you most! Dammit Xena why!!
Xena walks into camp and sits down next to Gabrielle. She brushes Gabrielle's sweaty hair out of her face. “You look like you've seen a ghost. Are you ok?”
Gabrielle pulls away from Xena. “As if you care.”
Xena's face expresses shock. “Of course I care. Why would you say that?” Gabrielle doesn't respond. “Gabrielle, please don't shut me out. I want to know how you are feeling. I'm here for you.”
Gabrielle whips her head around toward Xena, her expression is that of anger and hurt. “Here for me now, sure. Where were you when I really needed you Xena!? Where were you when he took me! Why weren't you there to stop me from murdering?” She stands up and points an angry finger at Xena. “I'll tell you why!! You left me for Caesar! You are so caught up in your own revenge that you didn't even know what was going on with me. It's all your fault!” She ran off into the woods.
Xena was too shocked to say anything. Her head was getting fuzzy and she realized she had been holding her breath. She let it out and took a deep breath. “Gabrielle!!” She got up and ran after her. After a few moments she caught up to the bard, who was on the ground on all fours. She was throwing up. “Oh Gabrielle.” She knelt down next to her lover as she finished retching. Gabrielle didn't push her away this time. Xena pulled her into a hug. “I'm so sorry Gabrielle. You're right, it's my fault. I should have been there for you.”
Gabrielle began to sob in her arms. “Why did this have to happen Xena? It's so dark in my soul. I don't know what to do. What do I do?”
“You have to fight the darkness. You cannot let it win, do you hear me? Fight Gabrielle. Remember when you died in Thessaly and you fought and came back to me?” the bard nodded. “It's the same here. You have to fight to bring back that light of life. If you let it win, it will devour you whole. I can't promise that you will ever be the exact same again, but you can get through this and come out the other side whole.”
“I don't know if I have any fight in me Xena. I just want to give up. I'm evil, I don't deserve to live.”
“Don't you say that Gabrielle!” Xena yelled this time to snap some sense into her. “You do not deserve to die.”
“Yes, I do!! I'm a murderer Xena!”
“So am I! But you always told me that I deserve to live because I'm a good person. So are you!! You are the best person I know. If you think you deserve to die, then I must deserve it too! Don't be a hypocrite, Gabrielle. You will get through this and you will live life. You will be happy again, love.”
Xena's words seem to sink into Gabrielle. She lays her head against Xena's shoulder. After a few moments, Gabrielle speaks up. “Xena? I don't think we can be together anymore.”
“What?” Xena says in a half whisper.
“I…I can't be with you. I can't…I can't forgive you yet..” Gabrielle stands up to leave.
“But Gabrielle…I told you I'm sorry. You were right, I shouldn't have left you. I made a huge mistake, one that I'll never forgive myself for. Please, forgive me.” Xena stands up and tilts Gabrielle's chin up so that they make eye contact.
Gabrielle closes her eyes and pulls her chin out of Xena's hand. “No. I just can't right now. I'm too angry at you. I feel so… betrayed Xena.” Anger flares up in her voice. “You betrayed me!” Gabrielle walks away back toward their camp.
Xena watches the love of her life walk away. No. This can't be happening. What am I going to do? What can I do? I can't make her forgive me. She's got to work through this first I guess. No matter what, I'm going to be here for her, by her side as always. I'll help her through it whenever she will let me.
A couple days later…
Beginning of Episode 51:
Gabrielle is sitting in a field, smelling a flower. She smiles as she sees something; she stands up and walks over to it. It's the girl that she had killed. They begin to hug each other. Suddenly, the knife is floating into Gabrielle's hand. She takes it and pulls away from the girl. Her face goes from serene, to angry. She stabs the girl in the stomach repeatedly while screaming. She holds the knife up, it's red with blood. The girl is dead.
Gabrielle is dreaming. She is crying in her sleep, but is woken by Xena. She hugs Xena and clings to her. “I had that dream again.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Gabrielle turns around the throws up.
My Soul's Hope
End of Episode 51 (S3,E5):
Gabrielle sits up from bed. She checks to make sure Xena is a sleep. She gets out of bed and goes into the forest. She kneels on the ground, “I know you're out there. Somewhere. My love, my Hope, please…be good.
A week later…
Gabrielle is sitting on a rock with her journal across her lap. She is staring at the parchment, nothing is written. I'm just blank. She thought to herself. I don't know what to write about. I have nothing. I can't even write about Xena. Or maybe I can.
She dips her quill in ink and begins to write: It's been a very difficult time. Several days ago, I was so furious at Xena about Caesar that I told her we couldn't be together. Then, things changed dramatically from that. Hope was born. And my soul's hope died when I had to send her down the river to protect her from the one I love. Do I still love Xena? I honestly can't say; my emotions are so unreliable at the present. I feel so betrayed. She wanted to kill my child. Even now I'm furious about everything that's happened. Xena has no clue that I'm still angry. In order to get her to stop fussing about me, I've began to fake happiness. To fake that things are back to normal. I pretend that I don't hate her for what she tried to do, what she did do. I pretend that we are a couple again, even though I told her we couldn't be. Why am I pretending at all? Why don't I just tell her and move on with my life? I can't do that. I don't know why. The few times I've been so sick of faking it that I want to puke, I talk myself out of confessing to her that I hate her. I love her still, I guess. That's the only reason I can think of for my inability to come clean. It's infuriating to have such contrasting emotions. This is all I live with lately. Love, hate, peace, violence… when is my torment going to end? I think that Xena believes things are back to normal. I may have misled her… Ok I know I did. I've even let her make love to me again. I faked that too. I feel nothing but pain inside me, and darkness. I'm in a hole, an endless void that I cannot find my way out from. Where is the light? Where is freedom?
Xena arrives back from the pond with fish in her hand. “Hey, I've dinner. You're favorite, Salmon.” Xena wiggles a fish in front of Gabrielle, who fakes a smile.
“Yum. You clean it, I'll cook it.” The bard says with as much fake enthusiasm as she can muster.
“Deal.” Xena bends down and kisses Gabrielle on the nose. As Xena cleans the fish, she watches Gabrielle out of the corner of her eye. The bard is staring at her parchment, not writing. She seems to be staring through it. “I see you're writing again. How's it coming along?” Gabrielle doesn't hear her. “Gabrielle?”
“Hmm?” Gabrielle looks up and realizes she's being asked a question.
“I said, how is your writing coming along?”
“Oh. Its ok, I guess. I'm a little out of practice.” She fakes another smile.
Oh my dear Gabrielle. I know that's a fake smile. Why can't you just be honest with me about what's going on with you? “Yeah, I guess you'll have to get back into the habit, huh?” Xena replies.
“Mm. Yeah, I suppose.” She rolls up the scroll and sets it in her bag. She grabs two sticks and holds them out for Xena to put the fish on. “Looks good. Those are big fish.”
“Yup. Perfect for your appetite.”
“Or lack thereof.” Gabrielle deadpans.
“Still having trouble with that?” Xena has been concerned. Gabrielle has lost some weight due to her lack of eating.
“Yes. Not much sounds good. But I'm sure it will turn around soon enough.” Another fake smile.
Xena lays out their bedrolls side by side, like they have been for many months now since they became a couple. Xena lies down and stares up into the stars, while Gabrielle is on a small walk to the pond. Alright, ‘Warrior Princess' when are you going to let Gabrielle know that you know she is faking her happiness? What are the facts? She's not happy with her life still. The major thing is that she is acting like she is over the whole rape and demon child thing. For gods sakes, she had to kill her own child! She shouldn't be ok, and I know that! If she wasn't faking it, she would be super depressed still; I know her. She and I are good though, right? We seem to be. She's talking to me, that's a good sign. She's sleeping next to me still. She let me make love again to her again, which is a little… I don't even know. Different? Definitely different than before; she didn't make love to me, but that's ok. I can do without. I just want to make her feel loved. I can't quite put my finger on it other than things just might be different from now on. She's changed now. I still love her with all my heart, soul and mind though. I hope we get through this.
Gabrielle comes back to the camp and lies down next to Xena. “Looking at the stars?” She asks.
“Yeah. They are very bright tonight.”
“That's because it's a new moon. No extra light in the sky, so the stars appear super bright and the sky really dark.” Gabrielle informed her.
“Is it actually called ‘new moon'?” Xena asks.
“Yeah. I learned that from a book I had when I was younger. I loved that book.” Gabrielle grew silent in remembrance of her youth, back when she had light in her soul.
“Sounds like we should get you another one. What do you think?” Xena suggests.
“Maybe. If we have the money. I'm going to go to sleep, I'm tired.” Gabrielle pulls up the cover and rolls over, her back away from Xena.
“Night. I love you.” Xena says.
“Night, love you too.” The bard said in a strained effort.
The same night…
Beginning of Episode 52:
It's the middle of the night. Xena rolls over and puts her arm out onto Gabrielle's bedroll. Gabrielle isn't there. Xena realizes this and opens her eyes and begins to look around. “Gabrielle?” She stands up and grabs her Chakrum. Gabrielle is sitting in the woods awake, but with her eyes closed. She is smiling softly. Xena finds her and walks over to her. “Everything alright?”
Gabrielle's smile turns fake, “Yeah. I'm fine. Just thinking. Thank you.”
“You stuck by me through everything.”
Xena tries to brush off the compliment, “Likewise I'm sure.”
Gabrielle lets out an odd laugh, “I hope I never disappoint you Xena.”
“Impossible.” Xena is sincere.
Gabrielle loses her fake smile, “I've learned that anything is possible. There's someone in the shadows by the Poplar tree.”
Xena rolls her eyes, “I know.”
A Moment in Chin
End of Episode 52 (S3,E6):
Xena pulls back the covers of Ming T'ien's bed. Gabrielle is there. Xena's eyes grow wide in shock. “I'm sorry Xena. I couldn't let you do this.”
Ming T'ien walks in and grabs Xena's blade. He wipes the dark grease off her face with a look of disgust. Gabrielle stands next to him, opposite of Xena. Xena's eyes look over at her lover; her eyes betray her inner pain and hurt at Gabrielle's betrayal. “Lao'Ma said you'd return one day. Lock her up.” His guards grab Xena and take her away.
Xena's eyes move back over to Gabrielle. Her lips quiver in anger towards her. Gabrielle's expression is a mixture of sadness and indignation.
Gabrielle is in the castle of Ming T'ien. She is in bed with her quill and parchment. Her cheeks are stained with tears. What have I done? I've betrayed her, knowingly. The look in her eyes; I'll never be able to get that image out. Oh gods, please let Ming T'ien be a man of his word. He promised to let her go as long as she promises to never go after him again. Xena, I want to go back to Greece and start our life over. How can we start it over? How can we go back to before Britannia? Everything has changed; I don't like it. I am so angry with her still though! How could she be willing to throw our relationship away, the past few years of progress for an old promise! Especially one that was about murder! It's like she didn't even care that she's turned from all that.
Gabrielle sets the quill and scroll aside and gets up to look out the window. She takes a deep breath of the cool night air. “What are we going to do, Xena? I don't know what to do. I need you.”
Xena is taken to a room and beaten for the assassination attempt; Ming T'ien is watching the entire scene. You bastard. I will get out of this and I will kill you. She is struck again, this time it knocks her out cold.
Xena is unconscious, dreaming; She is in a room, surrounded by darkness. A bright light moves towards her and pulls her into a room filled with light. The surrounding darkness is gone. She feels free, full of hope and love. Suddenly she feels a stabbing pain in her heart. A strong point of light is digging into her chest. The light goes out around her, save the point on her chest which keeps burning. Then she is in complete darkness once again.
She begins to stir, coming to consciousness once again. She can barely speak, but she whimpers “Gabrielle, no.”
The next day..
Beginning of Episode 53:
“I want to see Xena.” Gabrielle demanded of Ming T'ien.
“That would be impossible.” He replies.
“Our laws say a prisoner charged with a capitol offense cannot see visitors. And I am a man of the law.” He stands and walks past her.
“Your Highness, you said you would let Xena go!” Gabrielle is getting angry.
“Gabrielle, I owe you my life. Anything in this kingdom you wish, is yours. But if you think banishing Xena will keep her from returning to kill me, you don't know her as well as you think.”
It's Not 100%
End of Episode 53 (S3,E7):
“You were right. I didn't have to resolve this with murder. I finally understood Lao Ma's message. And I made him small again.” Xena said to Gabrielle with conviction.
Gabrielle puts her hand on Xena's hand. “Xena, you're not killing him made you what Lao Ma wanted you to be.” They begin walking out of the ruins of Ming T'ien's castle.
Xena pulls the Lao Ma's book from under her arm. “A memento of Lao Ma.”
Gabrielle puts a hand on Xena's back and on the book. “We'll take good care of this.” She nods her head to reassure. Xena is still looking at the book. Gabrielle puts her hand on Xena's hair and says, “I love you Xena.”
Xena's face expresses a mix of emotions. “I love you too Gabrielle.” As they walk out of the rubble, Xena's face turns dour with disgust and self hatred.
An hour later, Xena nearly collapses. “Xena!” Gabrielle grabs her arm and holds her up. “That's it, we have to stop. You cannot keep going like this.” Gabrielle pulls Xena over to a tree and leans her up against it. “I think I see a small town up ahead. Lets rest for a minute, then we need to find a place to stop for the night, ok?” Xena nods. She hasn't spoken since they left. She is weak and not thinking very clearly. After a few minutes of rest, and getting Xena to drink some water, they proceed on their journey.
They arrive in the town a short while later. Gabrielle doesn't speak the language but manages to find an inn for them to rent a room. “Well, it's not the greatest place we've ever stayed, but it least it has a bed and a bath. I'll go get some hot water for us, ok?” She strokes Xena's cheek, getting very little response.
Awhile later Gabrielle has the tub filled with hot water. She helps Xena get in. Xena's body is battered and bruised. Xena sinks into the tub and lets out a sigh. “That's nice.” Gabrielle smiles, happy that Xena finally said something. “Are you getting in with me?”
“I uh.. sure. I didn't know if you wanted me in there.” Gabrielle said sadly, looking down at her feet.
“Well, you need a bath too.” Xena said matter of factly .
Not exactly where I was going with that, but ok. Gabrielle took off her robe and undergarments. She gingerly stepped into the small tub and squeezed in behind Xena. She grabbed soap and a piece of linen and began to scrub Xena clean. Uhg what is this grease on her? It does not come off easily. She was practically digging a hole in her skin.
“Easy, Gabrielle.” Xena said, while stilling the bard's hand.
“Sorry, this stuff won't come off very well.”
“Yeah, it will probably take a few washings before it comes all the way off my skin.” Xena's voice is tired and sad.
Gabrielle moves her scrubbing efforts away from that spot and cleans a more wide spread area. “Here, turn around. I want to clean your face.” Xena does as she is asked. Gabrielle cleans it softly, while trying to look into Xena's eyes; but Xena's eyes avert hers. “Xena, I'm so sorry for everything.” She begins to cry, feeling the distance between them.
Xena pulls Gabrielle into a friendly embrace. “Shh, it's ok.” They break apart and Xena gently kisses the bard's on the top of the head. “We'll get through all this, I promise.”
Xena is lying in bed that night, turned away from Gabrielle, who is sitting up in bed writing in her scroll. Xena's eyes are not closed, they are staring into nothingness. I'm a murderer again. First Callisto, now Ming T'ien. Worse part is, I lied to Gabrielle about both of them. I can't tell her I killed him. She was so proud thinking that I beat my dark side. She would leave me if I told her the truth. I can't live without her, she is my life. But I don't think things will ever be the same. I'm not sure
Gabrielle puts down her scroll and quill. She blows out the candle and snuggles up behind Xena. Xena tenses up as Gabrielle lays her face against hers, “Xena, I want things to go back to normal.”
Xena turns over just enough to see Gabrielle's face. “I know.” Gabrielle strokes her face. Xena grabs Gabrielle's hand and kisses it. “Let's go to sleep ok?” Xena pulls herself away from Gabrielle towards the edge of the bed.
Taking the hint, Gabrielle rolls back over to her side to give Xena space.
Gabrielle tosses and turns all night. She cannot sleep. She keeps envisioning her betrayal of Xena. Why did it seem so right at the time? Now I've divided us further. First she betrayed me with Caesar, then I lie to her about Hope. Now the cycle is beginning again. I betray her…has she lied to me about something major? I can't believe she was willing to throw her last few years of fighting for good away for a past promise to an ex-lover... That really hurt when she so easily said she would throw it all away, even our relationship just to satisfy an old promise. It felt like she was stabbing me in the back…no…the heart. Lao Ma must have been very special to her…more special than me. Gabrielle begins to cry at that thought. She doesn't really love me anymore. Maybe that was the big lie…when we were leaving the rubble behind, she said the words but maybe she didn't mean them. Is this what our lives have been reduced to? A cycle of hate and betrayal, rather than love? This is so far from where I envisioned us being at this point in our relationship.
Xena wakes to Gabrielle's whimpers and sniffling. She doesn't know what to do. Comfort her or not? Everything in my body screams at me to hold her and love her. My mind doesn't see it that way; all it can see is her turning me over to execution. Dammit, I do love her. I want to erase everything that's happened. Xena rolls over and puts her arm around Gabrielle. “Hey, shh…Come here.” Xena gathers the bard into her arms, and pulls her head against her chest. She begins to gently rock Gabrielle.
“Xena, is our relationship over? I need to know.”
“I don't know.” Xena is void of emotion.
“I don't want it to be. But I'm still very hurt by so many things.” Gabrielle let out a quiet sob.
“I think we are both hurting right now. Maybe we should just…see how things go.” Xena gets a tear in her eye. “I do love you Gabrielle, I want you to know that. I always will.”
Gabrielle looked up at Xena and both of them had tears in their eyes. “Ok. We'll see how things go. I think we could use some repair.” She lets out a nervous chuckle, trying to lighten the mood. Then she gets serious again, “I love you too Xena. More than you may realize.”
Xena guides Gabrielle into a laying position and they fall asleep in each other's arms.
The journey home by sea and then land took 1 ½ months.
A week after their return…
Beginning of Episode 54:
“Last chance.” Xena says to a guy she is taking to prison. “Where is Melcroy headed?”
“Well, you'll just have to figure that out.” He responds. She grabs him by the back of the neck and pushes him into the prison. On her way out, she finds Joxer.
Something Like That
End of Episode 54 (S3,E8):
“The local regent has offered to try Jett here in Meramos. That is, with your permission.” Xena is addressing Cleopatra.
The queen stands up and walks toward Xena. “I owe you my life. That's not something I soon forget. Though I don't understand why the assassin can't be executed here.”
“Sadly, execution isn't recognized here in Meramos. He'll be in prison for life.” Xena responds.
Cleopatra looks seductively at Xena. “Hm. Are you ever coming to Egypt, Xena?” Xena's eyes go wide and she looks out of the corner of her eye at Gabrielle. “If you do, send word. I'll plan a reception the world won't soon forget.”
Xena smiles and nods, then looks over at Gabrielle with an expression of surprise on her face.
A week later…
As Gabrielle walks into a restaurant, she gets pushed out the door by a man that's being evicted by a waiter. “And don't come back!” the waiter yells after the drunken man. “Oh, my lady. I'm so sorry to have bumped you. Are you ok?”
Gabrielle looks at him strangely, “Uh yeah. I'm fine.” She straightens her top and skirt.
“Come on in, Miss. Do you need a table for two?” the man guides her inside.
“Ah, no. Just me tonight.”
“Well you can have this table right here.”
“Thanks. I'll just have your special, and a glass of wine, please.” Gabrielle gives the man a small smile.
“Coming right up.” The man hurries off to get going on her food.
The restaurant is in pretty good condition. It looks clean and the food smells great. There are quite a few people in the room dining, most are groups of friends or couples. The town they are in is quaint. It doesn't appear to have any problems with raiders or war. The people are friendly. Across the room, there is a man that has been checking Gabrielle out. She knows this, but chooses to ignore it.
The man walks over and kindly addresses Gabrielle. “Evening Miss. Is this seat taken?”
Gabrielle looks at him and smiles politely. “Uh, no it's not.”
The man thinks that means that he can sit. “My name is Andras. Are you just visiting out town?”
“Yeah, I am. My name is Gabrielle.” She holds out her hand to shake his.
“Welcome. We have a dance tonight in the town square. Would you like to join me?”
Gabrielle isn't quite sure what to say. Of course she doesn't want to lead him on, because of Xena. But she wants to get her mind off the warrior at the same time. He is looking at her expecting an answer. At that moment, Xena walks into the restaurant. Gabrielle can feel her presence. “No, thank you.”
The man looks a little shocked. He thought for sure he would be able to get her to go with him. “Oh I see. Are you married or something?”
“Something.” Gabrielle replied. “Thank you for the offer Andras. If you don't mind, someone will be wanting your seat.” She looked up to Xena who was walking towards them.
He followed her gaze and stood up when Xena arrived. “Oh, sorry Miss. Have a good evening.”
Xena stared him down with beady eyes, she didn't say a word but he looked frightened. She looked down at Gabrielle. “Hey.” She said gently to the bard. “Mind if I join you?”
Gabrielle didn't smile, she just nodded her head. The waiter came over with her food. “Oh I thought you were alone tonight.” He looks to Xena, “Can I get you something to eat and drink?”
“I'll have what she's having, except I'll have ale instead of wine.” He nods then walks off to take care of her order.
“I thought you weren't coming.” Gabrielle says quietly.
“I thought better of it.” Xena replied. “I'm glad I came, otherwise that guy would have been all over you.”
Xena gives her “the look”. Then she looks down and her expression softens. “Yeah, I guess so.” She admits.
Gabrielle raised her eyebrow, “Least you admit it.” The waiter interrupted with Xena's food, but sensing he interrupted something, he just bowed out and walked away.
“I can't help it.” Xena began to pick at her food, then took a big gulp of ale. “What did he want anyway?”
“He asked me to a dance they are having in town tonight.”
“Are you going?” Xena tried to sound curious rather than more jealous.
“Not with him. But I might go just to check it out.” Gabrielle was also picking at her food. “Would you want to go with me?”
Xena quirked an eyebrow, then chuckled. “Me, dance? Are you crazy!”
“I didn't say you had to dance. I just wondered if you would go with me.” The bard seemed upset.
“Oh. I thought… never mind. I'll go with you.”
Gabrielle looks up quickly, “Really?” she smiles a little. “Good.”
After their finished their meal in relative silence, they get up and head to the town square. There is music playing and people everywhere. Xena looked very uncomfortable. “Ug there are so many people.” she said under her breath.
Gabrielle heard her, “I know you don't like crowds much. Thanks for coming.”
As they were walking, their hands brushed a few times. After a moment, Xena tried to hold Gabrielle's hand. At first Gabrielle pulled away, but then she reached back for it again. She looked at Xena and the corner of her mouth twitched as if to smile, but it didn't quite make it into a full blown smile.
Xena leads her over to a bench that is partially empty. “Want to sit here?” Gabrielle sits, as does Xena. They are still holding hands. “I'm thirsty, do you want something to drink? It looks like they have a bar over there that might have some wine.”
“That would be nice, thanks.”
Xena gets up to fetch their drinks. While she is gone, Andras spots Gabrielle sitting alone. He walks over to her and smiles. “Hey Gabrielle. I thought you weren't coming?”
“I didn't think I was. But I changed my mind.”
“Could I interest you in a dance?” He asked as he held out his hand.
From behind him, a deep threatening voice said, “Could I interest you in my fist in your face?” he turned around and was met with an icy, dark stare.
“I meant no harm. It's not like she's married, she even said so.” The man became a little defiant, not understanding why this woman was trying to keep him from the beautiful Gabrielle.
Xena looks down at Gabrielle, then points with her eyes to Andras; she is trying to tell Gabrielle to speak up about the situation.
“Andras, I'm not married. But this is my…girlfriend.” Gabrielle hesitated over the word.
Andras has a look of complete confusion on his face. Girl friend? All girls have girl friends. Why would that matter if I wanted to dance with her? “I don't really understand why you can't dance with me. But I'll take it as you just don't want to dance with me. Sorry to have bothered you.” He sulks off in the opposite direction, with Xena staring daggers into his back.
Gabrielle reaches up and grabs Xena's hand with the wine cup in it, surrounding both the hand and the cup with both of her hands. Xena pulls her stare away from the retreating man and looks down at Gabrielle, who is smiling. She hands Gabrielle the cup, then sits next to her. After a few moments, Gabrielle said, “Well that was a bit awkward. Did you have to be so mean to him?”
Xena is looking at the people dancing. “Yes.” She says as she is taking a sip of ale.
“Well, I don't like being put on the spot like that, just because you have an issue talking to people to get them to do what you want.”
Xena looks at her, “Sorry I didn't mean to do that. I just needed… help I guess. I am not a talker. You are the talker.” Xena smiles at her. After a moment's pause, she said “I miss it.”
“You talking. You don't talk so much anymore.”
“I didn't think you liked it when I talked so much. I thought you would welcome the peace and quiet.” Gabrielle finished off her wine and watched the dancers with a wishful expression on her face.
Xena is watching her. “You thought wrong.” Xena stands up and extends her hand to Gabrielle. “Come on, let's dance.”
“You don't dance.” Gabrielle takes her hand and stands up.
“I do for you.” Xena guides her out to an area that isn't as packed with people. After a moment of watching the others, they pick up the moves of the traditional folk dance and begin their attempt at it. Gabrielle begins to laugh as she messes up repeatedly. Xena seems to pick it up rather well.
“I thought you couldn't dance, warrior!” Gabrielle pokes Xena in the arm.
“I can't. It's an illusion.” Xena replied in jest as she smiles the kind of smile she use to with the bard. Xena grabs her and brings her in close. “You need me to give you lessons in magic so it will look like you know what you are doing too?”
Gabrielle scowled, “Watch it Xena. Don't forget that I know how to pay you back.” She poked Xena in the chest, then pulled herself in closer to her body. They were no longer dancing, rather they were just standing still. Their bodies were pressed together. Both of them became a little flushed. Gabrielle looked longingly at Xena's lips.
Xena knew where her eyes were looking. Xena cleared her throat, “Uh… do you want to keep dancing… or uh..”
Gabrielle grabbed her hand and led her away from the town square back to the inn. When they got into their room, Gabrielle pushed Xena against the wall with force, then pressed her body into Xena's. Their body heat came together like fire. Xena ducked her head down and kissed the bards lips gently. Gabrielle put her hands around Xena's neck and pulled her down hard into her. Xena groaned as their kiss deepened. After a few moments, Xena pulled her head back and leaned it against the wall behind her. She took a deep breath, “Whew. Wasn't expecting that.” She smiled.
Gabrielle blushed. “Sorry I don't know what came over me.” She moved back away and went over to the table that had a wash basin. She splashed water on her face and neck.
Xena didn't expect her to walk away like that. She hoped things were going back to normal, now she wasn't so sure. “You ok?” She said, barely above a whisper. She saw the bard tense. “Hey, I'm sorry. I thought you wanted me to…”
Xena walked over to Gabrielle, who turned to look at her. “Then what's wrong?”
Gabrielle's eyes teared up and she looked away, then walked over to the window. She let out a deep breath and breathed in the cool night air. Xena joined her at the window, resting her elbows against the sill. “I don't know what's wrong. I guess I'm not ready.”
Xena thought for a moment before responding. “Take as long as you need. I'm not going anywhere.” She reached over and laced her fingers with Gabrielle's. “I miss…us.”
Gabrielle looked over, the tears still in her eyes. “So do I, Xena.”
Xena pulled her over and put her arm around her shoulders. “I love you.” Gabrielle leaned her head against her firm shoulder.
Gabrielle didn't respond, she just closed her eyes. I love you too. Gods what was I thinking. I so wasn't ready for that. It's been how long now? I think it's been 5 months since we made love for real; where we both actually wanted to.
The next day…
Beginning of Episode 55:
Xena is walking into a town where a bunch of military men are fighting. Someone says, “Xena?!”
“You Dexon?” She starts to walk towards him.
“You looking to die?” A voice says behind her. She turns around and pulls out her sword and throws it on the ground. “What is this? Some kind of a trick?” he says.
“I come in peace.”
“Right. And I'm Cupid spreading love everywhere I go.” All the men laugh. “What do you want?”
“To see you give up your wawrrior ways. The violence that you thrive on is a disease Dexon. It gwrows inside you and rwobs you of your humanity.” Xena's voice sound a little different.
“You say that like it's a bad thing.” He responds.
“It is, but it doesn't have to be that way. We can put aside our difwence. We can bwary our weapons. We can learn to live together in peace.”
Rocky Mountain High
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it. This has a graphic sex scene.
End of Episode 55 (S3,E9):
Everyone is standing around looking at Leah, the Priestess. “I just wanted to show my gwratitude. I know that I may have misjudged you.”
Gabrielle speaks up with a smile, “Maybe a little.”
The Priestess responds, “Maybe a lot. I guess I never thought there was anything worthwhile outside the temple. But you pwroved me wrong and I'm glad. Thank you.” She looks to Gabrielle and whispers, “I still think you'd make a great virgin!”
Gabrielle laughs nervously. Xena looks at her out of the corner of her eye with a knowing grin.
Five days later…
Xena and Gabrielle are walking through a mountain pass. The forest around them is made up of evergreen trees. They are at a high elevation, which is making it a little harder to breath. “Xena, can we stop soon? I'm really tired for some reason.”
“Yeah, sure. And you're tired because you aren't use to breathing in the air up this high. For some reason it's different up high.” Xena sniffs the air. “I smell water. Let's see if it's over here.” She points and leads the horse and Gabrielle down a path.
They come to a beautiful mountain lake. There are deer drinking water on the shore nearby, fish are jumping in the water, and an eagle soars over head. “This is beautiful!” Gabrielle exclaims. “Have you been this way before?”
“No, never. You are right, though. It's gorgeous.” Xena looks around for a minute longer then looks at Gabrielle, who is taking off her boots. “Are you getting in the water?”
“I'm going test it first. It might be cold.” Gabrielle walks over the rocks on bare feet carefully. She dips her toes in and wiggles them around. “Hey, it's not bad! It's cooler than some of the streams we are use to, but I think this will be refreshing.”
Xena smiles, “Do you want to camp here?” Gabrielle's smile her gives her the answer she is hoping for. “Ok, I'll unload, you relax.”
Within a few moments, Gabrielle has gathered enough wood to last them the night. “Hey Xena, check out this butterfly I found. Isn't it pretty?”
Xena examined it, “It is. Not as pretty as you though.” She touched the tip of the bard's nose with her finger. “Do you want fish for dinner?”
“Oh yeah! I bet they taste great out of here. Want help catching them?” Gabrielle's face lit up in excitement.
“Sure. Let's go.” They both striped off their clothes and dove into the water. Gabrielle turned around and splashed Xena in the face several times. Xena ducked under the water and Gabrielle couldn't see where she went.
“Xena?! Don't you dare pull me under.” Gabrielle threatened. She felt something brush her foot. “Xena!”
Her partners head popped up, along with her hand which held a plump fish. “Got one!” She exclaimed.
“Oh, gods. I though you were going to pull me under or something. Alright, my turn.” Gabrielle sunk under the water and in a minute she popped back up empty handed. “I suck.”
“No you don't, just keep trying. I might have scared them away. Move around a bit, maybe you'll find a school of them.” Xena suggested.
“School? Is that a word?”
“It is now.” Xena splashed Gabrielle in the face.
“Hey!! Alright, I'm going over here. Would you mind grabbing some soap so we can get cleaned up after this?”
“Sure, be right back.” Before Xena returned with the soap, Gabrielle walked ashore with two fish, twice the size of Xena's. Xena's jaw dropped. “How did you catch both?”
Gabrielle cocked her eyebrow, “I have many skills.” She laughed and threw one fish at Xena, who caught it effortlessly.
Xena tossed her the soap, then took the other fish from her. “You wash up, I'll get these ready for cooking.”
While their food was cooking, Gabrielle got out her quill and scroll. Things are going better with Xena and I. We are starting to play again, which is good. It relieves some of the tension that builds up. I am not quite sure if I can completely forgive her yet though. It's still there in the back of my mind. I want to move on though, despite that. Hopefully we can. I want to be with her again, physically. I know that now. I am just not sure how to make that transition again. I almost did a while ago, but I wasn't ready then. Maybe here, at this secluded lake, we can try. I hope she wants that too. She sets down her writing gear as Xena hands her a plate of fish and some vegetables.
“How is the writing coming along?”
“Oh, I was just writing in my diary. It wasn't a story or anything.” Gabrielle replies.
“I know.” Xena deadpans.
“What do you mean you know? You knew it was my diary, rather than a story scroll?” Gabrielle is curious now.
“Yeah. I know. You make a different face when you are writing a story versus in your diary.” Xena demonstrates each face.
Gabrielle laughs, “I had no idea I did that.” Her heart warms at the fact that Xena knows her so well. “Hey after dinner would you mind popping my back for me? I'm kind of stiff.”
Once they were done, Xena gathered their plates and utensils and took them to the lake to clean them. When she returned, Gabrielle was laying her bedroll next to Xena's. They hadn't slept next to each other outdoors since before Chin; only sleeping indoor had forced them to sleep in the same bed. Seeing this brought a warm smile to her face. Gabrielle laid down and looked up at Xena. “Hey.”
“Hi. I um.. I'm ready for that back…um.. adjustment.” Gabrielle stuttered over her words.
“Lie down on your stomach.” Xena instructed, Gabrielle complied. Xena got on top of her and began to massage the bards back. She felt Gabrielle's muscles relax under her attentions. “Take a deep breath and let out slowly, then I'll pop as you let out ok?” Xena pushed down and popped a lot of Gabrielle's vertebrae. “There we go.” Gabrielle thought Xena was done so she started to get up. Xena pushed her back down, “I'm not done.” Xena kept massaging her muscles. “Your muscles are very tight. You been stiff for awhile?”
“Yeah, I have been. I think I have a few knots in there that have been bothering me.” Gabrielle sighed.
Xena found the ‘few' knots and worked them out. “I wish you would have told me about these so I could take care of them. I don't want your body being so tense.”
“Yeah, well that's what happens when…” Her voice trailed off and she finished her thought to herself, you and your lover don't trust each other and you have a hard time just being together.
Xena finished. “All done. Let me know when you need another massage, ok?” Xena started to get up from her straddled position on the bards back.
Gabrielle reached back to Xena's leg and said, “Stay. I'm going to turn over.” Xena lifted her hips enough to let her turn underneath so she was facing up. Now Xena was straddling her stomach. Gabrielle put her hands on Xena's thighs and began to gently caress them. Their eyes were locked together for a moment, but Gabrielle's hands wandered up Xena's inner thighs. Xena closed her eyes and let out a soft moan. Gabrielle smiled, then let her hands go up further. She softly put her finger inside Xena's underwear, against her lips. She gently stroked as Xena let out a louder moan. As she touched Xena, she began to moan as well. “You feel so good.” She whispered.
Xena bent down and crushed her mouth into the bard's and kissed her with an intense passion. Gabrielle met it with harder strokes against Xena's lips. Soon her finger slipped in to find Xena's clit. Xena was very hot and wet. They both moaned in unison. “Gabrielle, that feels so good.” Soon Gabrielle was pulling off Xena's clothes in a hurry and Xena did the same to Gabrielle.
Xena laid Gabrielle back down on their furs and began to kiss her way down Gabrielle's body. Her kisses left a hot trail on the bard's skin. She made her way down until she arrived to Gabrielle's vagina. She kissed her inner thighs, then moved her way to her outer lips. After a minute of soft kisses, she spread Gabrielle's lips with her finger and dipped her tongue to the bard's clit. Gabrielle cried out in pleasure, as she reached down and put her hand on Xena's head, running her fingers through her long dark hair.
Suddenly Gabrielle woke up. She had been dreaming. Xena was asleep next to her. Gabrielle rolled over to look at Xena's face, which was peaceful as she slept. Gabrielle wiped the sweat off her brow and laid back down. Damn, that was nice. I wish that really happened. That massage must have knocked me out! She reached down and touched herself, her underwear were soaked. I didn't think I could still get that turned on over her. Hm. Gabrielle got out of bed and found their bag that had spare clothes. She changed her underwear then looked up at the night sky. The stars were brilliant. A couple stars shot across the sky. Gabrielle closed her eyes and made a wish.
“What did you wish for?” a soft deep voice said behind her.
Gabrielle opened her eyes and smiled softly as she turned to Xena. “You are supposed to be asleep.”
“I don't sleep when you are not in bed.” Xena looked up at the stars. “It's so beautiful here.”
Gabrielle looked at Xena and said, “You're beautiful.”
Xena lowered her gaze to the bard's eyes. She walked over to Gabrielle and gathered the smaller woman into her arms. She turned Gabrielle so they were both looking out over the lake. “It's amazing that we can see the stars reflecting off the lake, isn't it? I like it here. It's peaceful.”
Gabrielle just sighed, “Mm Hmm.”
Xena snuggled her face in the bard's neck and starts kissing her gently, from the base of her neck to her ear. She takes her earlobe in her mouth for a moment and sucks gently on it. Then she whispered, “I love you sweetheart.”
Gabrielle looks backwards up to Xena. She closes her eyes and leans her head back. Xena kisses her gently at first, then deepens it. Gabrielle takes Xena's hand from around her waist and guides it to where she wants it most; in her skirt.
Xena is surprised by the move, but if her lover wants her hand there, then she won't ask questions. Her fingers play with Gabrielle's soft lips as they both groan softly. Xena breaks the kiss and moves her lips to her favorite neck once again. Gabrielle hand moves down and pushes Xena's harder against her. Xena knows what she wants. She spread Gabrielle's lips and found her finger covered in moisture and heat. “Oh Gabrielle.” She whispered. “Why are you so wet?”
Gabrielle removed her skirt and turned around, Xena's fingers still in place. “Take me to bed Xena.”
The next morning, they woke snuggled together for the first time in quite awhile. Both were content and genuinely happy. Gabrielle opened her eyes, face to face with Xena's breasts. She snuggled her face into them and sighed. She knew Xena was awake due to the low chuckle that came to her chest. “What?” Gabrielle asked mocking a defensive tone.
“Mm it's a good morning.” Xena stated as she wrapped her arm tighter around her lover. “Do you want to hit the road today, or...”
“Can we stay like this forever?” the mumbled question came.
Xena chuckled, “I wish.”
“Maybe we could stay here a few days? Since it's so peaceful. I like it here.” Gabrielle looked up and kissed the bottom of Xena's chin.
“That's ok with me, love. There is plenty to eat here. We could even hike around a little if you want, and see what's around this lake. How does that sound?”
“Mm Hmm. Perfect.” Gabrielle said as she put her face back in its cradle. She began to kiss Xena's breast sensually. When she reached the nipple, she felt a hand on her forehead pushing her backwards.
“Don't start if you can't finish.” Xena said, her blue eyes friendly, but serious. Gabrielle pouted. “Ha I knew you didn't intend on finishing. You know that when you play with my nipples I really get going. That's not fair.”
“Ok, you're right. Can I just kiss this one, just once?” Gabrielle asked with a pouting face. Xena nodded, so she gently kissed it.
“Alright, let's get up. I'm hungry, which means you must be famished.” She poked Gabrielle in the tummy. She got up and found her clothes strewn across the ground. She couldn't find her underwear. “Hey, where did you toss my underwear?”
Gabrielle looked up at her sheepishly. “Um.. I …Uh”
Xena's voice went low as she dragged out her name, “Gab..rei..elle.”
Suddenly she is hit in the face with her underwear, which she snags before they hit the ground. She starts to question the bard, but decides better of it. She puts them on then wanders over to the fire to get it going again. “Alright, what do you want for breakfast? Fish, foul, deer, rabbit…I think the possibilities are endless up here.”
Gabrielle finished getting dressed as she thought about it. “I thing deer sound amazing. We could dry some of the meat and keep it for a long time, right?”
“True. Good idea. Alright, I'm off. I'll be back shortly, ok?” She leaned over and kissed Gabrielle on the mouth. “Be good.”
“Uh huh.” She replied.
While Xena was hunting, Gabrielle made sure the fire was burning well. She prepared a place to lay out the venison so they could dry it properly. After that, she got out her diary and quill and sat next to the lake. After a few minutes of just watching, she began to write. I think things are almost back to normal with Xena. I'm still not 100% over everything that has happened, but I'm getting there. I love her too much to not push past it however I can. We made love last night, for real. I didn't fake anything. She was wonderful with me. She made sure that she wasn't hurting me and kept checking to make sure I was ok with it. Which I was. It felt so good to touch her again. I've missed making love to her. I feel so much closer to her already. I wonder if this place has anything to do with it? This lake is surreal. The mountains around it are sharp and covered in green pine trees. The lake is so blue, it almost matches the beauty of Xena's eyes. My favorite thing is being able to see the quiet reflection of everything from the surface of the water. Xena just walked back into camp. She smiled that “heart-stopping smile” at me. It's good to see that smile again. I've missed our relationship. I'd better go now, I've got to help get this venison drying.
She put her stuff away and stalked over to where Xena was hacking up the deer. She ran her hand along Xena's head. “Want me to put your hair up?” she grabbed a leather tie and put Xena's hair up behind her so it wouldn't get messy with blood and guts. “That's a nice sized deer.”
“Thanks. I felt sort of bad killing it, but we need the meat. Could you set up a place to dry the it?”
“Already did, see?” she pointed and Xena smiled.
“That a girl.”
They spent the next week in that same spot, not able to drag themselves away back to the reality of their normal lives. When they left their safe haven, they were almost as close as before Britannia and Chin.
Three weeks later…
Beginning of Episode 56:
Kids are writing graffiti on Aphrodite's temple. The writing claims Xena as a god. Aphrodite appears in the temple and screams, “Delinquent losers! I've got half a mind to hit you with”
“A Love bolt?” Ares appears. “Hardly seems a threat. “My, my. They've certainly made a mess here.” He looks around.
“Back off Air, I'm bummed out enough.” She groans.
“You know what your problem is?” He asks, ready with the answer.
“Duh, your little Xena!”
“Eh! Gabrielle her friend.”
End of Episode 56 (S3,E10):
“I guess everything's fine now.” Gabrielle said.
“Hmm I guess so.” Xena replied.
Joxer pointed to the scroll, “Hey look! You've still got some extra space at the bottom of the scroll.”
“I guess that means there is something else to write.” Gabrielle put her quill to the scroll.
“Try, The End.” Xena ordered.
“Hmm ok,” Gabrielle started to write. “I personally think that sounds a bit”
Fade to black.
“Bye Joxer! Be safe.” Gabrielle called to him as they parted ways. She turns to Xena, “Uhg. I love Joxer, but I hate him too. Is that right?”
Xena shrugs, “I feel the same way, so it must be ok.” Xena wraps her arm over Gabrielle's shoulder. “So, where do you want to go now?”
“You're asking me? Since when do you ask me?”
“I've asked you before. Remember up in the mountains a few weeks ago. We stayed a whole week. Best week ever.” Xena commented.
“Mm that was a good week. Can we go back there someday?” Gabrielle's eyes glazed over just thinking about it.
“Sure. Next time we need a vacation, let's go there. Sound good?” Xena's eyebrow went up as she waited for her answer.
Gabrielle smiled, “Mm hm.” She wrapped her arm around Xena's waist as they walked along the path.
A week later..
“Gabrielle, we are close to Amazon territory. Did you want to drop in and say hello?”
Gabrielle's eyes lit up, “Can we? That would be great!”
Xena smiled and led them towards the Amazon forest. When they were about an hour from the village, sentries dropped from the trees and held out their swords. Xena and Gabrielle held up their arms and clasped their hands to give the peace sign. The lead sentry removed her mask, “Queen Gabrielle! Xena! Welcome.”
Gabrielle recognized Solari as the one talking. “Solari! How are you?” she hugged the Amazon.
“All is well. Are you here for the peace treaty?”
“What peace treaty?”Xena asked.
Solari looked to her, “Caliapus has made a treaty and is meeting tomorrow to finalize it. Ephiny has gone to help.”
“We didn't know.” Gabrielle replied.
“Oh. So the scouts we sent to find you didn't find you?” Xena and Gabrielle both looked confused. “Ah. We sent out two scouts to ask you to come for the treaty signing. Caliapus and Ephiny wanted you both there. I assumed that they found you.”
“Nope, we wandered here on our own.” Xena deadpanned.
“We'll escort you to the village. Ephiny is already with the Centaurs, but you can meet up with her tomorrow, as it's already quite late. Dinner should be served here in a few minutes.” Solari mentioned. “I'm sure our Queen is starving.”
Gabrielle rolls her eyes at Solari, then glares at Xena since she has a big smile on her face. “Not a word Warrior Princess.”
Their arrival to the village was well accepted. Amazons swarmed Gabrielle hugging her and asking questions about recent adventures. Many commented on how much she seems to have changed. She nodded and told them she has a few stories she would tell tonight by the fire. When she got out of the cluster of people, she tried to find Xena but couldn't. Solari saw that Gabrielle looked almost lost, so she grabbed her by the elbow and started leading her to the dinning house. “She's in here, my Queen.” Solari smiled and let go of her elbow. “So how are things going between you two?”
Gabrielle blushed, “Pretty good, considering. We've had a really rough last six months. But we survived and are doing much better. How are things around here?”
“Things have been well. Ephiny has been spending a lot of time with the Centaurs helping Calaipus. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Xenan is there as well. She loves spending time with her son.” Solari opened the door to the dining room for Gabrielle.
“Thanks.” She went in and spotted Xena at a table. She was surrounded by teenage warriors. She looked pissed. “I better go rescue her.” She walked over to the table and just watched for a moment as the girls asked Xena question after question on warrior topics. They didn't even give her time to respond. “Ladies!” Gabrielle rose her voice over the sound of the babbling girls. “How about you all go take a seat somewhere and eat. Xena and I are hungry and we would like some time to just relax. Ok?”
The girls all had slacked jaws as they watched their Queen chew them out gently. After a moment, one spoke up, “Queen Gabrielle, you are amazing.” All the girls giggled and they ran away. Gabrielle rolled her eyes.
“Amazons.” Xena stated. “Let's get some food.” Xena stood up and grabbed Gabrielle's hand and then gather food from the main table. “Gabrielle! Look they have those pastry things with the red filling! I love these.”
“Tell me about it. I know how much you love them, Xena.” Gabrielle sighed.
“Nothing. Just wasn't expecting nonstop chattering from everyone. I'm already worn out.” Gabrielle leaned her head against Xena's shoulder.
“Come on, let's eat then we'll go to our hut and have a moment of quietness.”
“Mm that sounds nice.” Gabrielle stated.
After eating, they walked out of the dining hall and were met with the stares of all the teenage warriors. The girl that had spoken to them earlier walked up and asked Xena “Can you teach us some new moves? Old Eponin never learns anything new to teach us.”
Xena quirks an eyebrow, “You better not let her hear you call her old. How about I show you some things tomorrow, ok? After the treaty signing. Right now, the Queen needs some rest.”
The girls all groan, disappointed in the answer from Xena. They sulk and walk away. “That was cruel Xena.” Gabrielle says.
“What, it's true right? You wanted to get some peace and quiet, so that's what we are doing.”
“Yeah, but I can do that on my own. You could have showed them a thing or two.” Gabrielle reaches down and grabs Xena's hand. Come on, let's go.” They walk to their hut and enter, not to be seen the rest of the night.
In the hut they both get cleaned up in the bath, then they sit by the fire and chat for a little while. “Gabrielle, I'm nervous about seeing Solon. I think I hurt him the last time we were there, because I told him that being a warrior wasn't a good thing. What if he has gone back to hating me?”
“He could never hate you again Xena. You and he left it as friends. That's a good thing. He saw a different side of you when we were last there. He loves you.” Gabrielle snuggled up under Xena's arm.
After a few minutes of silence, Xena hesitantly asks, “Do you still think I should tell him he's my son?”
Gabrielle begins to stroke Xena's chest with her finger. “I think that it's ok if you don't and it's ok if you do. As long as he knows that he has you as a friend and that you love him. That's what he needs most.”
“What about you? You are his friend and you love him too.”
“That's true, I do. I'll make sure he knows that from me too, then.” Gabrielle looked up and kissed Xena soundly. “I love you Xena.”
“I love you too.”
The next day.
Beginning of Episode 57:
Xena and Gabrielle walk into Centaur territory. “Remember how it looked the last time we were here?” Gabrielle asked. “What a difference a year makes, huh?”
“One year, two months, and twelve days. But who's counting?” Xena says.
“It'll be fine, you'll see.” Gabrielle comforts Xena.
“After all Caliapus has done to make this happen, I certainly hope so.” Xena said, while looking around.
“I'm not talking about the treaty, Xena.” Gabrielle says with a sigh.
Xena puts up her hand to quiet the bard. Solon jumps out of a tree and grabs Xena.
End of Episode 57 (S3,E11):
Xena and Gabrielle are watching the funeral pyres of their children burn. Gabrielle has tears running down her face; Xena does not but her eyes are glassy.
Gabrielle looks over at Xena and composes her words carefully, “If I had just done what you said when you told me to do it, then they would still be alive; Caliapus and Solan.”
Xena finally decides to speak. Her words are full of hurt, “No. Don't you even speak his name.” Her voice is weak. She turns back away from Gabrielle.
Gabrielle shakes her head slightly. “Xena.”
She turns her head back to Gabrielle, “No. No you lied to me. I trusted you and you lied to me. And now Solan is dead.” She looks away again. “My son is dead because of you.”
Gabrielle chokes back a sob that threatens to escape. “I love you, Xena.”
Xena doesn't respond, her hard expression finally breaks. She begins to let tears flow as Gabrielle walks away. Xena walks the opposite direction.
Gabrielle has not stopped crying since she left 20 minutes ago. She has wandered somewhere, she doesn't know where. Finally she collapses on the ground. She cries out in anguish as she grabs handfuls of dirt and dumps them on her body. She thought that killing Hope and grieving Solan would be the only torment she had to deal with. She was wrong. Now Xena hated her. She couldn't even look at me. After several minutes, she passes out; completely unconscious to the world.
After leaving the funeral pyres, Xena found Argo and rode into the night. She couldn't think. Her mind was in a fog. She felt like she was in a nightmare that she couldn't escape. She rode so long that Argo finally had to stop. Xena fell off the horse and passed out on the rocky soil.
Gabrielle woke up, covered in dirt. Her face was stained with streaks of tears. She could barely breathe due to the excessive crying. Her heart hurt so bad, she felt as though she was going to die. Her stomach was gurgling, but not from hunger. She bent over and threw up. She didn't have much in her stomach to begin with, so she mostly ended up dry heaving. After a moment she sat back against a tree. Where am I? She thought to herself. What do I do now? I don't want to live. I want to die…I deserve to die. Why didn't I just listen to Xe… Sobs wracked her body. She began to shake violently as the tears streamed down her face once again. She clutched her legs to her chest and began to rock back and forth.
Xena woke up on snow covered ground. She didn't know where she was. She stood up and looked around. Snow covered everything. She was on the top of a jagged peak, overlooking a lake. Our lake. She looked towards the opposite direction; it was overlooking the Amazon territory. Her anger began to burn inside her. She began to cry out into the void, sobbing at what has happened.
Gabrielle found herself wandering into the Amazon village two days later. She hadn't eaten in three days. She was barely alive. Her body was cold due to sleeping outside with no fire, or fur to cover her. She stumbled the last few steps and fell flat on her face.
She vaguely heard the Amazons yelling. Ephiny came to her and scooped her up into her arms. She whisked her away to the healers hut. They got her into a warm tub to get her body temperature up. Gabrielle didn't know what was going on. She just stared into nothingness. The voices around her were but murmurs. They put food into her mouth, but she didn't chew. They ended up having to pour juice and water down her throat and forced her to swallow. It was the only way they could get any nutrients into her body. After they had treated her, they put her in her hut. Ephiny and others traded off staying with her.
The next day, she finally came to. She tried to call out, but no sound came from her mouth. Ephiny ran to her side and gave her some water. She drank thirstily. She could finally speak, “Xena.” She whispered.
Ephiny was taken back. She wasn't sure what to do or say about Xena. “It's me, Ephiny. Xena isn't here.”
Gabrielle's eyes finally made contact with Ephiny's. The memories of the past few days flooded back into her mind. Her face filled with horror as she remembered killing her daughter. “Eph”
“I'm here Gabrielle.” Ephiny grabbed her hand and held it.
Gabrielle swallowed hard. “Please… Please kill me.”
Ephiny's eye released a tear, “No. I won't do that.”
“Please. I don't want to live anymore. I have nothing to live for.”
Ephiny released her hand and stood up. “No. I won't do it! You can heal from this Gabrielle. You will make it and move past this.”
Gabrielle stared up at her friend, “But I don't want to. I can't live without her.”
Gabrielle shook her head. “Xena.”
A while later, Gabrielle sat up in bed. Eponin jumped up from the chair nearby, “Gabrielle! Can I get you something?”
“Ep, is there any type of ritual to cleanse me? I feel so…dirty inside.”
“Yeah, there is. But I wouldn't recommend it in your condition. You need to get well first.” Eponin sat next to her. “There is a lot to heal from. The cleansing ritual can be very…trying.”
Gabrielle thought for a moment. She was at the end of her rope. “Get it prepared. I want to get started right away.”
“Now Eponin. That's an order.” Gabrielle's voice and face were stern.
Eponin left the hut and sought out Ephiny. “Ephiny, she wants to do a purification ritual…now. She ordered me to get it ready.”
“What?! Is she crazy? Did you tell her that it's not simple?”
“Of course…that's when she ordered me!”
Ephiny sighed, “Fine. See to it that it happens…quickly.”
After four days of anguish beyond words, Xena came off the mountain. She didn't know where to go or what to do. Her instincts guided her back toward the Amazon village. It must be where she is . I should kill her. Yes, kill her. Ares was right, this is her fault. She deserves to die; my son didn't. How could she have done that? She sent Hope right to him. Hope. Dahok. Gabrielle. I want them all dead. I want the pain to end, the betrayal.
Beginning of Episode 58:
Gabrielle is getting a cleansing in a hut of the Amazon village. “Three days now. She's been undergoing the purification ritual for three days.” Ephiny is frustrated.
Joxer walks over to her, “That's crazy! Look, we have to get her out! She could be dying in there.” He moves toward the hut.
Ephiny grabs him by the arm. “She was dying out here! You didn't see her after the death of her child; the pain she was in, the despair. When she and Xena parted, she came to us.”
“If we leave her in there, she's gone.” Joxer says with emotion in his voice.
“She's already gone. Her only chance is to work through the pain.”
After a few moments Xena storms into the village and captures Gabrielle. She drags her to the cliff and tries to throw her over.
So Long, Illusia
End of Episode 58 (S3,E12):
In Illusia, Xena is hugging Solan. Suddenly they are no longer in Illusia and it's not Solan she is holding, but Gabrielle. They part and look at each other. The expressions on their faces are showing uncertainty. Gabrielle finally speaks up, “We're home.”
“At last.” Xena smiles softly.
Gabrielle sighs and breaks into a big smile and hugs Xena.
That night, they lit a fire on the beach. Xena collected dried palm branches and other leaves to make beds for them. Gabrielle tended to the fire, and cooked some fish that she had caught earlier. Neither had said much, both lost in thought about the past hour, or days. They weren't sure how long they were in Illusia.
Xena walked back into camp with an arm full of more branches. She threw them into the pile she had been collecting. “That should do.” She began to organize them, building a bed in one spot next to the fire. Then she began to build one several feet away.
“You can build one big bed if…if you would be interested.” Gabrielle said softly, not sure what Xena's reaction would be.
Xena looked back down to the beds. She gathered all the branches from one and moved them over to the other, and put them all together. “Better?”
Gabrielle smiled, “Yeah. I think so.” She sighed. “Do you?”
Xena stood up and walked over to her, “I agree.” Gabrielle patted the log next to her. Xena sat.
“Xena, Are we ok?”
Xena pursed her lips together and though for a moment, “We are. I think we still have some things to work through, hurt and pain. But…” she paused. “I forgive you Gabrielle. I love you still, very much.”
“I love you too Xena.” She leaned over and put her head against her partner's strong shoulder. “I'm glad to finally be home…”
“Uh, we aren't quite home yet Gabrielle.”
“You are my home Xena.” Gabrielle smiled softly.
“Ah. Right back at you.” Xena put her arm around Gabrielle. That night they stayed awake staring at the stars and holding each other. They talked, wept, and comforted each other. Finally, near dawn they fell asleep wrapped around each other.
A month later…
“Hey sleepy head. Wake up.” Xena knudges Gabrielle with her foot. She is standing over the bard, it's about noon.
“Just a few more minutes?”
“Honey, its noon. It's time to get moving. I'm going to go for a jog, want to go with me?”
“Uhhg. No. I want to sleep.” Gabrielle is extremely grumpy.
Xena squats down on the ground next to her lover. “Why are you so tired today? Did you not sleep well again?”
“No. I just can't seem to sleep throughout the night. I wake up all the time, mostly because of bad dreams.” Gabrielle sits up to face Xena. “When will it all stop hurting?”
“I don't know, baby. I wish I could stop it. But I can't. Come on, get up. Exercise sometimes help relieve stress. Lets go for a jog.”
Gabrielle pouts but then gets up and stretches herself out. She gets a drink of water then is ready to go. They jog for about twenty minutes, making a loop back to their camping spot. Along the way, Xena decided to work out a few extra kinks by doing flips. “Arg I hate that you do that so easily. I wish I could do that!”
“Trust me, it takes a ton of practice. And you are not into practicing that much.” She winces as she says that, it comes out completely wrong.
“Excuse me? I practice. I practice my staff with you all the time, Princess!” Gabrielle stops running. “Just for that, you need to teach me to do your flip.”
“No way.” Xena turns around and walks back to the bard. “You'll get hurt. I started off with a bar anyway, and we don't have one of those.”
“We could make one, couldn't we?”
“Well, yeah if we found the right stuff.”
“Ok, well let's find the right stuff then.” Gabrielle is smiling at Xena, she knows she has her.
When they arrive back at camp, their stuff is scattered everywhere. “What the Tartarus happened here!” the bard screeched. Her scrolls were thrown every direction, her ink laying on the ground pouring out. Xena's extra set of clothing was missing.
“Shit. They took my clothes. Is any of your stuff missing love?” She wandered over to Gabrielle, who was now in tears. She was sitting on the ground with scrolls in her lap. “Oh no. Did they ruin any of them? Are they salvageable?”
Gabrielle looks up at her with tears, “I don't know. Maybe. I don't have the right stuff to fix the ones that are torn. And now I don't have any ink.”
“Well Thessaly is not that far away; a couple days. Let's go there and get this fixed up, shall we?” Xena reaches her hand down hoping Gabrielle will take it. She does. They bend down and gather everything up, then they pack up camp.
The next day Gabrielle is still determined to learn the flip. Xena has shown her how to set up a bar to practice on. She finally found two trees to set up her staff in between.
----- a moment later
Beginning of Episode 59:
Gabrielle is getting ready to flip over her staff. She is trying to do Xena's flip. She runs and flips over it, then lands perfectly. “Terrific, now can we head to Thessaly before you hurt yourself?” Xena says.
“No no no. You see. I've worked out the mechanics.” She pulls a stick doll out of her cleavage. “The speed, trajectory, and finally the arc of the spin.” Gabrielle says.
Xena grabs the doll. “Good, what's the point?”
“Your flip. Basically I've broken it down into its relatively simple steps.” Gabrielle says.
“Oh yeah, what foot do I start on?” Xena begins to pick her teeth with the stick figure.
She grabs the doll from Xena. “Don't confuse me. This time, no staff. Watch.”
Xena grabs her and turns her back around, “Gabrielle, before I tried the flip without the staff, I made 300 attempts with it.”
Gabrielle pats her on the arm, “Slow learner huh Xena? I had that problem with basket weaving.” Gabrielle runs back to take the staff down.
“It's the right foot, but I'd rather you didn't.” Xena says a little annoyed.
“It's not like it's gonna kill me. Let me try it one time. Ok? That's all I need. One time.” Gabrielle attempts it again and takes off on the wrong foot. She lands on her back and sprains her ankle.
New Pair of Boots
End of Episode 59 (S3,E13):
Gabrielle is lying in the armory, she looks as though she is dead. Xena appears with the antidote. She tries to rouse her friend.
“Are we dead?” Gabrielle says.
“No.” Xena is relieved that she is alive. “Here drink this.” She pours the liquid into Gabrielle's mouth.
Gabrielle jokes on the liquid, then says “I thought you said those guys were tough.”
“Must have caught them on an off day.” Xena lies down, exhausted.
“No, I'm all right. You just get some sleep. We'll be heading out in a few hours.”
“When we get to Thessaly you still owe me a new pair of boots.” They fall asleep together.
The next morning, Gabrielle wakes up feeling quite a bit better. Her arrow wound is still very much there and it is very painful. She is still having trouble breathing, but it feels as though the poison is out of her system. The antidote worked. Thank the gods. She looks over but Xena is not next to her. “Xena?” she calls.
“Yeah, I'm down here. Be right there.” A second later Xena climbs up the ladder. “Hey how are you feeling?” She sits next to her lover and caresses her face with her thumb, as she has done many times in the past day. “You look a little better.”
“I feel a little better. I think the antidote is working. I guess I know its working otherwise I'd be dead.” Gabrielle looks into Xena's eyes. “You saved me once again.”
“I don't want to make a habit out of having to save you, so stop getting into trouble. Ok? Truth is, I'd spend the rest of my days saving you as long as it means we can be together. I love you Gabrielle.” Xena leans down and places a kiss on her lips. “So, we need to get out of here and get some better herbs for your wound.”
“Ugh. I don't want to move Xena. Can we use that litter you made? Or did you have to use it as a weapon?” Gabrielle chuckles then starts coughing.
“Easy honey. Yeah we can use the litter. I pull you behind Argo. Let me go get it ready, ok?” Gabrielle nods. An hour later Xena has her on the litter and they are completely ready to go.
The next day they arrive to Thessaly. The market is crowded. Xena gets off Argo and walks back to Gabrielle. “Hey how are you feeling?”
“I've been better. I've been worse. Sounds busy up there.”
“Yeah, in fact I can't drag you around on this litter. Do you think you could sit on Argo?”
Gabrielle ponders the question. “I really don't know Xena. I don't think I can hold myself up.”
Xena looks around then back down at her with a concerned face. “Ok. I have an idea. If I can at least get you up there, then I can sit behind you and hold you up. We just need to go a little ways, enough to find an inn to stay in. Then I'll go find the right healing herbs.” Xena gets up and unties the litter, lowering it to the ground. She helps Gabrielle sit up and then after a moment she lifts Gabrielle up into her arms. “Argo, come.”
Argo follows Xena to an alley way. There she tells Argo to stand against a wall. She lifts Gabrielle up onto the saddle, then leans her against the wall so she doesn't fall. Xena hoists herself up, behind Gabrielle and then leads Argo out into the street. “There we go. That wasn't so bad, was it?”
“Mm smooth move. Please find me a bed. I'm gonna pass out soon I think.”
Xena pushes Argo a little faster until she finds a suitable looking inn. She doesn't quite know how to get down without risking Gabrielle falling over. “Ok I've got to get you into my arms, ok? Pull your legs over to this side. That's it. Now I'm going to hold you, then I have to jump off Argo, ok? It's probably going to hurt.” She secures her precious cargo, then jumps out of the saddle and lands on the ground.
“Aa! Xena that didn't just hurt it almost killed me!”
“Don't joke about that.” Xena pushed the inn door open with her foot. She spotted the innkeeper and asked for a room. She set Gabrielle on the counter, so she was sitting upright on it. Gabrielle began to sway and fall over, but Xena grabbed her. As she tried to keep her balanced, she also tried to pay the innkeeper. It was not working very smoothly. In the end, she got it worked out Xena style.
The room was very clean, complete with a private tub. After setting Gabrielle in the bed, she kissed her on the forehead and went out to find some herbs. It didn't take her long and when she returned she made an herbal tea for Gabrielle. “I know it's bitter but you need to drink it all. It will help with the pain.”
Gabrielle drank the whole thing. When she was done she looked lovingly at Xena. “I love you. Thank you for everything. You stink though, will you please go bathe?”
Xena laughed, just what she needed after all the tension. “Absolutely my Queen. I need to get you cleaned up too though. Can I give you a bath first?”
“Mm hmm. I won't be much help though. Why don't you take one first.”
“It's ok. I can handle one little bard by myself. But ok, I'll get in first then your turn.” Xena left to fill up the tub and prepare everything for her bath, then for Gabrielle's. After a few minutes, she stripped out of her leathers and got into the tub. The water was warm, which soothed her achy muscles. She scrubbed off the blood and gore from her fight. The gash in her arm was pretty deep, it needed stitches. The hot water and soap broke the clotted blood and it started to bleed freely again. “Damn.”
“Yeah, I just started bleeding again. I'm going to need stitches.”
“Xena, I don't want you to ever be willing to give up the greater good for me. I can't believe you almost did that.” Gabrielle's voice was slightly angry.
Xena sighed, thinking they'd already worked through this. “I would do anything for you. No matter the costs.”
“I don't get it. You wanted to save my life and put me before the people of Greece. Why didn't you do that, no matter what I babbled to you?”
“Because you asked. If you would have asked me to not fight all those men and take you out of there I would have. If you would have asked me to take my life right after you die, I would have. Gladly. Like I said the other day, you are my source. You are the only reason I can do anything that I do. I can't lose you, Gabrielle.” Xena gets out of the tub, and walks over to the bed. She kneels on the floor so that she is eye level with the bard. “I love you.”
Gabrielle smiles, “I love you. You smell much better, my warrior.” She strokes Xena's cheek. “I'm ready for my bath too. Will you help me?” Her answer is a gorgeous smile from Xena.
A week later…
Xena and Gabrielle are finally out of their room at the inn. It's a bright sunny day in Thessaly. “Alright, so we need to get you a new pair of boots. I think the market is just around this corner.” Xena grabs her hand and leads her around the crowds.
“Xena slow down, my ankle still hurts a little. Oh there is a place that sells boots. Come on.” Gabrielle takes the lead now, dragging Xena behind her. “Here we go. Oh these are cute! What do you think, Xena?”
Xena is staring at another booth. “Huh? Oh, yeah nice.”
“What are you looking at?” Gabrielle steps over to see where she is looking. It's a weapon booth. “Xena! Pay attention. I want your opinion on these boots.”
Xena looks at her lover. “Alright. I liked your old ones.” She idly sifts through some boots on the shelf.
“Yeah, well SOMEONE ruined those. Ok, so what about these, do you like them?” They were black and taller than her last pair.
Xena checks them out, but not the same way as her partner. She looks at the bottom, examines the stitching and the laces. “Hmm not that great. Why don't we just get your other ones fixed, huh? Those were good. AND they made your legs look sexy.”
Gabrielle sets the boots down with force which creates a thump. She is not pleased. “Gr warriors. Xena, I would use them but you completely ruined that one. Besides, I already threw them on the side of the road before we got to that stinking armory.”
“Oh. Hey I'm going to go look at knives. I need a new one.” Before she can be stopped she takes off toward the other booth.
“Xena! Arg… why I oughta… fine. I'm going to pick the most frilly, un economical pair of boots I can find. Just to piss her off.” Gabrielle looks on every shelf and spots the perfect pair. They have leather fringe, thin soles, terrible stitching and little bells on them that jingle when you take a step. “Perfect. I'll take these.” She slaps them down on the counter and pays for them. Meanwhile, Xena is so enamored in the weapons booth that Gabrielle knows it's hopeless to get her to leave. She walks over and taps Xena on the shoulder. “I'm going back to our room. Bye.”
“Huh, yeah ok Gabrielle. See you in a bit.” Xena doesn't even look at her, but reaches out her hand and pats her on the head. Gabrielle rolls her eyes, and steam is practically coming out of her ears. She is furious.
Two hours later, Xena finally comes back to the room. Gabrielle is sitting on the bed writing in her scrolls. As Xena enters, she looks up then ignores her and goes back to writing. “Hey.” No response from the bard. “Uh.. I said hello. Gabrielle?”
“Huh?” Gabrielle grunts.
Xena senses the hostility and wanders over to the bed. She sets a bag down on the floor. “You are mad at me, huh?”
“Did you buy a new knife?”
“Yes I'm mad at you.”
“Because I bought a new knife! Oh come on sweetie! Why would you be mad about that?!” Xena gets up and stomps across the room to the table and grabs an apple. She pulls out her new knife and slices it. She grumbles to herself.
“What was that? I can't hear you behind your new knife.”
Xena rolls her eyes but just keeps eating. After a few minutes of silence, “You know… I think I'm regretting that I bought you a present.”
Gabrielle looks up from her scrolls finally. “A present? Why so you could get me to feel bad about being mad at you? Xena, you were supposed to go boot shopping with me.”
“I did go boot shopping with you!”
“Yeah for two seconds, then you left. I don't know what to look for in boots. But I think you'd be proud of me. I think the pair I bought is really good and will last a long time.” Gabrielle is hoping that Xena will ask to see them.
“Good.” Xena gets up and washes her hands and knife. Then she gets out her whetstone and sharpens the new blade methodically.
“Did that apple dull your blade?” Gabrielle asks sarcastically.
“Har Har. Funny.”
After two hours of sharpening every weapon she owns, Xena starts pacing. “I'm bored.” Gabrielle doesn't respond, she is busy writing. “What are you writing about?”
Xena rolls her eyes for the umpteenth time that day. “You aren't going to tell people the story of our boot shopping today are you?”
“No. Because there was no boot shopping involving you.”
Xena has had enough. She sits next to Gabrielle and waits for her full attention. “Honey, I'm sorry about today ok? I don't want to fight about this anymore. I should have helped you. Please forgive me?”
Gabrielle considers this. “Fine. But next time I expect you to help me 100% ok? Although I may have done so good on this purchase that I won't need your help. I'm hungry. Can we go to dinner somewhere?”
Xena's face softens, “Sure. I think I saw a little restaurant you might like. Oh, and I got you a new shirt, so you don't have to wear one with an arrow hole and blood in it.” Xena reaches down and picks up the bag then hands it to Gabrielle.
The bard pulls the top out of the bag, staring at it. “Xena, it's exactly like the one I had.”
“I know. We just have to trim it up here on the sleeves and torso so that it fits like your other one. Gotta show off your arms and abs. They are so sexy.” Xena waggles her eyebrows at her lover.
Gabrielle smiles, “Alright. I guess it doesn't hurt to have the same shirt as before. You must really like this outfit; you got me the same shirt, you want me to have the same boots.”
Xena nods, “Yep, I like you just the way you are. Now common, get dressed. Let's go eat.”
Fifteen minutes later Xena is waiting for Gabrielle to get out of the bathroom. “Xena, I'll just meet you downstairs, ok?”
“Yeah, I'll be there in a few minutes.” She hears Xena leave, then she peeks out into the room. She steps out with her new boots on. They are hideous. “Oh this is perfect. She'll hear me coming a mile away.” Gabrielle takes a few steps; the bell and the smell of the leather, which is heavily perfumed, really annoys the senses. “Wah ha ha.”
Xena is standing at the bar with a drink in hand. She is watching an arm wrestling match between two thugs. I could beat them both. Terrible form. Gods what is taking that bard so long? Xena sniffs the air, something is out of place in the tavern. Perfume? Oh that's terrible. Must be a prostitute trying to cover up her stench. Is that bells? I didn't see any ‘ladies of the night' in here. She looks around and doesn't spot anything out of place, other than her girlfriend who is standing at the bottom of the stairs. “Hey Gab, over here.” Gabrielle sees her and starts walking towards her with a small limp. Ding, ding, ding with each footstep. Xena looks around trying to figure out where that sound is coming from. She looks back to Gabrielle and smiles. “Ready?”
“Sure.” They begin walking out of the tavern. Gabrielle notices Xena looking around a lot. “What's wrong?”
“Do you hear those bells?”
“Nope, I don't.” Gabrielle snickers to herself.
When they get outside, Xena expects it to be gone. It's not. She is now really aggravated. She stops and puts her hand behind her to stop Gabrielle. That's when she notices that the sound is coming from her. She slowly turns around. “Gabrielle…Do you have a bell on? And” she sniffs, “Perfume?”
Gabrielle's face is serious, “Why no Xena. OH! You must be talking about my new boots! See!” she lifts a leg up, which Xena grabs.
Xena examines the boot. “Hm.” She actually liked these! Good purchase my ass.
Before she can continue Gabrielle rambles, “I knew you would like them. They are perfect, don't you think! I think they are going to last a long time too. Not like the last ones.”
“Hey, I picked out the last ones and they DID last a long time. It took my Chakrum to mess them up.” She flips the bell with her finger. “You really like these boots, huh?” she isn't sure whether the bard is serious about them or not. She can't seem to believe that she would be dumb enough to think a bell on boots is ok in their line of work.
“Yes. They are pretty.”
Xena drops her boot. “You can't wear these sweet heart.”
Gabrielle pouts, “Why because YOU didn't choose them!” She feigns anger. “Only the mighty Warrior Princess can pick out boots, is that it?”
“I didn't say that. Do you really think its ok to wear boots that make this much noise and put off this much smell? Our enemies are going to hear you a mile away.”
Alright, gig is up. Gabrielle lets her smart ass smile come to her face. “I bought them for a specific purpose and I'm glad to know its working.” Gabrielle begins walking the direction of the restaurant.
Huh? What in Tartarus is she talking about. Oh…. Bad bard. “Hey!” she runs and catches up with Gabrielle, stopping her. “You did this just to annoy me, didn't you?”
“Slow learner, huh Xena?”
“Alright. You proved your point and you got back at me. Even? Now promise me we can take those back in the morning?”
“Oh I don't know. They are kind of growing on me.” She shakes her foot to jingle the bell.
Xena reaches out and tickles Gabrielle on the ribs, “Come on bard, give! I'll keep going all night.”
“Xena, please stop! Ha ha please…ok ok. You win. We will take them back in the morning. Ow, you are hurting me.”
Xena stops the tickle fight, “Sorry. Did I hurt your wound?”
“Yeah a little. Its ok, I'm fine. Let's go eat, I'm really hungry.”
One month later….
Beginning of Episode 60:
The Urn of Apollo is stolen. X & G meet Tara, an obnoxious young kid that wants to take Gabrielle's place.
End of Episode 60 (S3,E14):
Gabrielle and Tara are anointed by the priest of Apollo. “You are forgiven your past misdeeds. Go now, and do good.” They turn around to see Xena standing in the door. “What's Xena doing? Doesn't she want to be forgiven?” Tara asks Gabrielle. Xena looks at them, sadness in her eyes, then walks away into the sunset.
When morning comes, they say their goodbyes and leave Tara in her home village. As they get to the outskirts of town, Gabrielle says, “Nice girl.”
Xena slowly looks over at her friend, then cocks her eyebrow. “You really mean that?”
Gabrielle smiles, then shrugs. “Yeah… she just did some…” Gabrielle changes her voice to mock Tara, “really BAD things.”
Xena starts laughing hysterically. “Oh gods Gabrielle! That was perfect!” she continues to laugh so hard tears start falling down her face. “BAD THINGS! HA how did you do that so good?”
Gabrielle is laughing now too. “I spent a lot of time practicing the last two days. Gods she annoyed me.”
Xena finally settles down. “Yeah, well I hope she doesn't go back to that kind of life. Hopefully she learns something from us.”
“Yeah, like…” Gabrielle thinks for a minute, “I did GOOD!” she nods her head and imitates Tara perfectly again, with a really cheesy smile. Xena looks at her and tries to hold back a laugh. Her face contorts until she can't hold it any longer. “Oh come on honey, I'm not that good.”
Through her laughter, Xena squeaks out, “Yes you are…so good.”
Half of the day has now gone by in their travels. Xena is on horseback, Gabrielle walking beside her. Xena senses something out of place in the world around them. She carefully begins to scan the area, looking both forward and backward. She spots a bush that looks sort of odd. Finally, her eyes focus and realize what it is; Tara's spiky hair poking up. Oh no. She's stalking us again.
Gabrielle notices Xena's change in demeanor. She looks around as well but doesn't see anything. She whispers, “Xena is everything ok?”
“Hm? Yeah, fine.” She jumps off Argo then grabs Gabrielle and brings her into a hug. She whispers, “Tara is stalking us again. Don't look. I've spotted her. Let's just pretend she is not there ok?” She releases Gabrielle just enough to give her a kiss on the lips. “I love you.”
“Mm... Yeah. You better. I don't know if I can deal with this again.” Gabrielle turns to keep walking, reaching back to hold Xena's hand. “Least now she knows why I am supposed to sleep by you at night; and why I'm not replaceable.”
“Even if you weren't my girlfriend, you still would not be replaceable, Love.” Xena puts her arm around Gabrielle and brings her into a side hug. “Hey there is a nice camping spot over here. Let's get settled down, ok?” They make their way off the open road over to where Xena indicated. It was a small lake surrounded by trees. There was not much of a shore line, but they did find enough of an entrance to the lake to be able to use it. “Hey Gab, check this out.”
Gabrielle walks over to where Xena is; hanging from a tree there is a rope hanging over a small ledge above the lake. “Do you think that's for swinging into the water?”
“Yeah, the water looks deep enough for it. Want to try?” Xena starts stripping off her clothes.
“Xena! Not when we have a stalker.” Gabrielle's eyes go wide. “I don't want her seeing the WP in all her glory! Mine.”
“Oh. Ok, well then I'll wear my shift. Does that work?” she finishes taking off her armor and leathers. “Come on, take yours off too.” She starts untying Gabrielle's top.
“I don't have a shift on under this. I'm not comfortable being naked in front of anyone but you.”
“Well, the problem is this; if you go get a shift from the bag, she is going to wonder why you are covering up. Whereas with me, I already had it on. We need to pretend she isn't here. Besides, she will just get jealous that you have such a nice body. It will help her understand even more why you are MINE.” Xena continues taking off Gabrielle's top, with a smile on her face.
“Urgh. No.” Gabrielle walks away and begins tying her top again.
“Alright, your loss. Here I go! Watch me!!”
Gabrielle turns around and watches Xena take a running leap off the cliff, grabbing the rope to launch her over the water. When she releases the rope, she does a triple flip then into a perfect dive. “Show off.” Gabrielle starts unpacking their gear and laying out their bed rolls. “I hope she brings back dinner.”
A few minutes later, Xena shows up with two big trout. “Dinner is served.”
That night they lay cuddling by the fire. Xena is whispering funny things to Gabrielle, making her giggle constantly. “I know this is bad, I shouldn't say it. Please don't think I'm horrible for this…”
“I won't. What?” Gabrielle smiles at Xena.
“Ok, so the other day when she told us the story of when her mom was being buried”
“I know where you are going with this.” Gabrielle starts laughing.
In unison they say, “Mom they're throwing dirt on you!” and they start laughing together.
“Xena, we are horrible, aren't we? I can't help it though, she is just so…”
Xena covers Gabrielle's mouth. “Shh. So my precious, sexy” Xena licks Gabrielle's earlobe “bard. I want to make love to you.”
“Mm Xena. We have an audience. That's just weird. I'm not that kind of girl.”
“Well I'm not either, but maybe it will make her go away.”
Gabrielle pats Xena's hands and kisses her nose. “I don't think so. Maybe you should just go get her. I'm betting right now she is cold and hungry. We have a little fish left she could eat.”
Xena cusses under her breath then gets out from under the covers. She walks over to the fire and puts a new log on it. Then she sets out a new blanket. She puts the left over fish in a pan over the fire to warm it back up. “Tara you can come out now. There is food and a blanket here for you.” Xena walks back over to bed and lies back down behind the bard. They are both facing the direction of the fire and Tara's blanket. After a couple minutes, they hear footsteps and twigs breaking. As she gets near, Xena snuggles closer to Gabrielle and spoons her. Her face is nestled close to Gabby's ear. “Mm I hope she doesn't try to keep us awake by asking dumb questions.”
Gabrielle slaps Xena's hand. “Tsk. Xena be nice.”
“Oh like you were earlier.” They get quiet because Tara has sat down next to the fire. “Hi.” Xena says.
Tara looks embarrassed. “Hi. Thanks for the food and blanket.”
“No problem.” Gabrielle responds. She notices that Tara won't look at her. “Night Tara.”
“Night.” Tara eats quickly then moves over to her blankets. Xena watches her as Gabrielle is drifting off to sleep with Xena wrapped around her. Finally Xena closes her eyes and falls asleep.
The next morning, Xena is up at dawn. She stirs the fire and puts two new logs on it. She fetches water from the lake and puts it in a pan to heat it up for tea. She sits down next to the fire to ponder the situation. Ah, what to do about this girl. She can't follow us. Gabrielle would leave me. And I would probably kill her. But I don't want to be so harsh on her that she wants to turn away from doing good. She apparently looks up to me. I better ask Gabby. She'll know what to do. Xena moves over to their bed and lays back down. She snuggles her face up to Gabrielle's, who has a line of drool running down her chin. Xena wipes it up, then resnuggles. “Honey? Wake up.” To help wake the bard up, she begins to kiss her face all over.
Gabrielle stirs, “Mm. That's nice, but it's way too early to be awake…for this bard.” Xena continues kissing her face, then moves to her neck. “Xena. I haven't even had my morning tea yet.” Immediately Xena hops out of bed and makes her some tea. Wow she's all over it today.
“Here.” Xena hands her the tea. “Now, will you get up? I need to talk to you.”
Gabrielle sits up, and sips her tea. “Uhg.. ok, what's up?”
“Not here. Come on a walk with me.” Xena looks over and Tara is still asleep. Gabrielle follows her gaze.
“Oh. I see. Ok, but you might have to carry me.” Gabrielle teases. Suddenly she is lifted up by Xena and cradled in her arms. “I was joking, but this is nice.” She continues to sip her tea as Xena walks out into the surrounding forested area. When they were far enough away, she asks, “Ok, so what's up?”
Xena sets her down and kisses her forehead. “I need your advice again. I'm not sure what to do to get Tara to go away. I mean, I don't want to turn her away so harshly that she doesn't want to do good deeds. But I also don't want her following us anymore. I'm not good with words, and this falls into the sensitive chat area. I don't want to pass it off to you, but I don't know what to say.”
“Hm. Well why don't you just be honest? Tell her we don't have room in our life for another person and that's it's nothing personal. No scratch that. Tell her that we hope she will stay behind and help people in need in her own village or the surrounding areas. Yeah, that would be a good way to say it. Make her feel like we need her here, because we can't be everywhere at once. So we need someone just like her to do the right things and help people. Do you think that will work?”
Xena smiles and kisses Gabrielle passionately. After a few moments, they are both having to catch their breath. “You are so smart. How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?”
After the conversation with Tara, she decides to leave. She feels as though Xena really needs her here, instead of on the road with them.
Beginning of episode 61 (ten days later):
Joxer is gambling in a casino. He wins a lot of money, then walks away. The casino owner has him followed, suspected as a cheater in the game.
The Trust Factor
End of Episode 61 (S3,E15):
Rafe and Xena bump into each other. “So are you setting out?” he asks.
“That's right. I just wanted to thank you for all your help. I know I didn't give you much choice.”
“Well, you're welcome. So, maybe we will see each other again sometime?”
Xena responds, “Yeah. Maybe.”
Rafe looks happy, “Well, take care of yourself.”
The same day…
The camp fire is burning low, as Gabrielle, Xena, and Joxer are going about their own activities. Well, Joxer is actually laying down recovering from injuries, but Xena is tending to him and Gabrielle is sitting on a rock, writing in her scroll about their most recent adventure. I can't believe Joxer even won so much money to begin with! What luck. I'm glad that Rafe and his buddy ended up being good guys at the end. The con wouldn't have worked without them I don't think. Xena did a great job too. I've never seen her con someone as well as she did Rafe and then Titus. Rafe actually thought she really wanted him. HA! Can you imagine? She definitely did not. But she sure knows how to seduce a man. Oh, that reminds me. I forgot to finish the conversation with Xena about why she has so many bad boys in her past, but all the women in her past have been good. Interesting. I'm really glad Xena did talk to me about the bet that Rafe had going about her. She told me she was well aware of it and that he had no chance in Tartarus with her. She used his desire for her as part of the plan to keep him interested in the con. Even after she told me that, she reassured me constantly about it. She is so good to me. It was so thoughtful of her to do that, because honestly if she hadn't then I probably would have doubted her loyalty to our relationship. I know that's awful to say. But it's true; I mean she almost kissed him when they were alone! I would have worried about her cheating on me. I do trust her, but for some reason I don't trust her when she is around bad boys like that. Maybe she sensed that, which would explain why she was constantly reassuring me. Aww.. I better talk to her about it.
Looking up from her scroll, she watches Xena clean up more of his wounds. “Xena, is Joxer doing ok?” Several of the cuts are still leaking fluid because the scabs haven't fully formed yet.
Xena looks up from her duties, “Yeah. He is. Aren't-cha Joxer?” Joxer mumbles something resembling the affirmative. “Don't worry, we'll get you back on your feet in no time so you can find some bad guys to take down.” She combs her fingers through his hair and smiles sweetly at him.
Gabrielle's heart softens as she sees this compassion coming from her partner. She sets her quill and parchment down, then gets up to join her next to Joxer's side. Putting her hand on Xena's causes her to stop cleaning the wounds. “Here, I'll take over for a little while. Why don't you go get some rest?” Xena smiles softly at the bard as she hands over the towel. Before she stands up, she kisses her on the cheek then goes to the other bed to lie down. Gabrielle watches her warrior for a moment, then turns to the injured man next to her. “Hey Joxer. I've got the perfect story for you. It's about boot shopping.” She launches into her tale, until Joxer falls asleep under her care. After a few minutes of final clean up around the camp, she joins Xena in bed. It doesn't take long for her to fall asleep.
The next morning Gabrielle is preparing breakfast with their frying pan. All that is in the pan is a few duck eggs. Joxer is awake and talking to Gabrielle about how to gamble as well as he did. Xena observes from behind a tree. I'm glad she understood the situation with Rafe. I would hate for her to think that I was really interested in him. I only have eyes for her these days. I can't even fathom being with someone else. She's it for me. I wonder if she realizes? I'm not very good at making sure she understands things like that. I don't want anyone else for the rest of my life, no matter how long or short that may be. She snaps out of her thought when Gabrielle looks her way and smiles. She smiles back and walks over to the fire. “Hey you.” She says directly to Gabrielle, then looks to Joxer, “Hey buddy, you feeling any better?”
“You know me Xena, I'm tough. I feel great!” he says as he tries to sit up, wincing in pain he plops back down. “Never better.” He adds somberly.
“Here let me take a look at all your cuts this morning. I want to put some more salve on them to make sure they heal properly. We wouldn't want any big ugly scars on your handsome face, would we?” Joxer shakes head and cooperates with Xena. “Gabrielle, could you put a clean rag in that hot water?” She smiles at her mate.
“Sure.” Gabrielle does as asked, then gives it to Xena. Their hands brush and they smile at each other. “How was your morning walk?”
“Really good actually; I did some sword drills, which felt great. Nothing like sword drills to warm up sleepy muscles. What do you have there for breakfast?”
“Ah, I cooked some of the eggs I found yesterday and we have some berries. That's about it though. So hopefully that can feed all three of us. I'm not use to cooking for three.” Gabrielle shrugs.
“Well, Joxer can have my portion. He needs it more than I do.”
“Xena, you need to eat too.” Gabrielle wants to scold her but knows that won't go over well.
“I'll live. He needs his strength. But maybe I can go find something else for us to eat.” Xena finishes cleaning the now sleeping Joxer's cuts, then puts salve on them. “These are finally scabbing over.”
“Oh good! Do they look infected or anything to you? I didn't think they did.”
“Nope. Looks like he is on his way to a good recovery.” Xena puts the rag down then covers Joxer with his sleeping fur. “Yeah, I think I'm going to go hunting. You want to come with me?” She says this to Gabrielle.
“Uh… is it ok to leave him?”
“Yeah, he'll be fine. He's out of the worse part. His reflexes seem to be ok, and his eyes respond normally. I was worried he would have some issues in his head, but it seems fine so far.”
“Well, ok. I'll come with. I could use some Xena time.” Gabrielle lets out a small gasp realizing what she said.
“'Xena time'?” Xena raises her eyebrow as she releases a sideways grin.
Gabrielle's face turns bright red. She had not intended to let Xena know what she called it. Hastily she said, “Alright, so let's go!” she gets up quickly and starts walking into the forest. Xena fetches her bow and arrows, then runs to catch up with Gabrielle. As she catches her she slaps her hard on the butt, then pulls to a stop next to her.
“It's time for ‘bard time'.” Xena tells Gabrielle with a smirk. “I like ‘bard time'. Mm hmm I do.”
Gabrielle back hands her across the stomach. “Shut up. You are so evil.”
Xena gets serious, “Not since you came into my life.” She grabs the bard, twirling her around and pulls her in close so that their noses are touching. “You are the only person for me, you know that right?”
Gabrielle whispers, “Yeah, I know.”
“You don't have any doubts about me and Rafe, do you? Please tell me if you do, I need you to be honest.” Xena pleads, concern apparent in her eyes.
“I don't have a doubt.” Gabrielle sounds like she is going to say more but doesn't.
“Do you trust me?” Xena asks.
“With my life.”
“I know you trust me with that, but what about with your heart?” Gabrielle pauses, then tries to push away. Xena holds her tight. Now very concerned, she asks “Gabrielle, please tell me what you are thinking?”
“Xena, I just… Sometimes I worry that you can't help the seduction of, for lack of a better term, ‘bad boys'. I know that with Rafe you told me that nothing was going to happen. I did trust that. But I worry about the future.” She pauses hoping that Xena doesn't storm off, or worse, start yelling at her. “I hope you don't hate me for saying that.” Gabrielle pushes away successfully this time and keeps her head down.
Xena immediately steps forward and lifts her chin up. “Gabrielle, it's alright, really. Thanks for telling me, I know that was probably hard for you to say. Know this: I will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to reassure you that you are the only one for me. Bad boy, bad girl, good boy, good girl; none make me happy and none make me complete like you do. I want completeness. If it's not you, it's nothing.”
Gabrielle smiled, while a tear streamed down her slightly dirty face. “I love you, Xena.”
“I love you too, sweetheart. Now let's find something to eat. I think if Joxer is feeling better tomorrow then we should head home.”
“Home? We have a home?” Gabrielle raises her eyebrow.
“Uh, well I mean Amphilpolis. My home… I guess it's not yours. I didn't mean to infer that, sorry. I think we should leave him with mom for a while until he feels better.” Home? Xena she isn't your wife, it's not her home. Xena turns back to the forest to start ‘hunting' again.
Gabrielle smiled listening to Xena stumble over her words. Hmm wonder if she wants it to be my home too? I think I'll have to find out about this. “It's ok. It's not like Potidaea feels like home anyway. Really my home is with you…so. Yeah.”
Xena looked up and smiled. At a loss for words, she pulled Gabby back into another hug, this time holding her tighter. She kissed her lips gently and finally said, “You're my home too.”
The next day they pack up and left their camp behind. Joxer is doing better and is ready to travel on Argo, as Xena and Gabrielle walk. As they head toward Amphipolis, they have to walk through Philipi. Upon arrival in Philipi, they are stopped on the road by the Roman military. “Halt. What is your business in Thrace?”
Xena stepped forward, her posture indicated that she was ready for a fight if need be. “I am Thracian. I don't have to have business in order to be here.”
“Are you military? Why do you carry weapons?” the young soldier squared his shoulders hoping to appear more daunting.
Gabrielle stepped up, she was getting annoyed with where the conversation was going. “No we are not military. We are just trying to get our friend to our mother's inn so that he can heal.”
Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder and pulled her back. She whispered in her ear, “Let me take care of this, ok?” Gabrielle nodded. Xena turns back to the soldier, “Why are you stopping people, is something going on?”
“Rome doesn't answer to you, woman. Pay the tax and you may pass. But if you wish to keep your weapons then you must pass directly through Philipi with an escort. You cannot stay here.”
Gabrielle couldn't stand holding her tongue, “What tax? That's ridiculous. We aren't paying a tax just to pass through here!”
“Gabrielle!” Xena turned and glared at her, then looked back at the soldiers. “Fine, how much is the tax?”
The man gave Gabrielle a dirty look. “Ten dinar.”
Xena reached into her saddle bag for her coin purse. She counts out ten coins then grabs the soldier's outstretched, dirty hand. She slaps the money into his palm and closes his fist around it, tightening her squeeze until the man winces. “Now let me pass. We are going straight through, not stopping. So don't EVEN think about touching my weapons.” She grabs Gabrielle's hand and Argo's reigns in the other then pushes through the men. Two soldiers join them as their escort until they reach the other end of the city.
Once they were out of the city, which had been over crowded with people, Gabrielle speaks up. “Xena what is going on? Why would you pay them for something so stupid?”
“Because I don't want to fight Rome right now. If those soldiers find out who I am, then Caesar could get wind of it. I'd rather not have him at my throat right now. Especially after Britannia. I'm sure he's still pretty pissed at me.” Xena pulls them off the side of the road to get a drink out of river. She helps Joxer off Argo so he can stretch his legs.
“Xena, we should stop them from taxing people. That's not right!” Joxer coughs from expelling so much air at once.
“No it's not. But we can't do anything about it right now.” She splashes her face with the cool, clean water then takes a big drink. “Gab? Are you thirsty?”
Gabrielle finally kneels down next to the water and scoops up some water. “You didn't have to yell at me back there.” She looks to Xena. “I have a right to speak my mind, ya know.”
Xena sighs then leans her head down in between her knees. After a few deep breaths, she addresses the bard. “Yes, you do have a right to do that. But I couldn't risk a big scene. I really didn't want them to take me into custody or something. What would happen if Caesar found out they had arrested me? He would probably have me hung on a cross. I know that neither of us wants that, right?”
“Of course not! I just don't like being told to be quiet, you know that.”
“I know. Look, we'll talk more about this in Amphipolis. I'm hoping mother has heard some kind of news. Maybe she can fill us in.”
After another half days journey, they arrive in Amphipolis.
“Xena? Gabrielle?!” Cyrene runs out of the inn and pulls them both into a long hug. “What are you doing here? This is a surprise. I hope you can stay longer this time.”
“Mom, let's talk inside.” Xena turns her around and gently pushes her towards the inn door. “I have to help Joxer down.”
Gabrielle hooks her arm around Cyrene's elbow and they both head inside together. The inn smells of fresh baked bread and something spicy. “Mm smells great in here.” Gabrielle's stomach growls right on cue. Cyrene smiles, sits her friend down at a table, then walks into the kitchen. She brings out a few plates of food and a pitcher of spiced cider.
“Gabrielle, how are you doing? You look tired, dear.” Cyrene gently brushed a strand of hair out of Gabrielle's eyes.
“Well, as good as can be expected I suppose. We've been through quite a bit lately. Not too much fun.” The bard didn't want to say too much, not sure how much Xena would want her mom knowing. It felt as though they'd been through Tartarus and back since they'd last seen Cyrene. There was Britannia, Hope, and then Chin; not to mention their relationship had gone through really bad times. Xena almost killed her for crying aloud.
“What's not fun?” Xena entered the inn at that moment. She helps Joxer inside to sit at the table.
“I was just letting your mom know that we've had some trials lately that haven't been fun. No details yet.”
“Good, no details. I don't want to relive them.” Xena sat next to Gabrielle and kissed her on the cheek. “This food looks great, I'm starving. We missed lunch.”
“Oh Joxer! What happened to you?” Cyrene gets up and starts examining his face.
“Oh, ah.. well you see.” Joxer stumbled, feeling slightly embarrassed about the situation that caused him to be in his current condition.
“Joxer was helping us take down a thief and got caught six against one. Huh Joxer? I don't think I could even have gotten out of that kind of tumble without a scratch.” Xena winked at him.
Joxer sighed in relief, “Yeah, that's what happened.”
Gabrielle reached out and squeezed his hand. “He's doing really good though. He's a tough guy.”
“So how long are you staying this time, Xena?” Cyrene sat back down and stared pointedly at her daughter.
“Not long. Something is going on in Rome. Not sure what. We were stopped in Philipi and taxed for being on the road. Do you know anything about it?”
“I heard rumors of that going on. Didn't know it was for real. Any guesses as to what could be happening?” Cyrene pressed on. Xena just shook her head ‘no'. “Well, I'm going to go get your rooms ready and get the bath water hot.”
Gabrielle finally looked up from her food. “Hot water? I'm so ready for that!”
After dinner, Xena took Joxer to his room and helped him get settled. Gabrielle got out their bathing gear and headed towards the bath room. In the hallway, she ran into Xena, who looked very tense. “Hey. You ready to get naked, warrior?” She whispered to Xena with a silly grin on her face, trying to cheer her up.
Xena looked at her with a very serious expression. She sighed, “Yeah I guess. I am rather dirty.”
“Well don't look too excited or anything.” Gabrielle responded sarcastically. She could tell that something was bothering Xena. Ever since they ran into the Romans, she had been in a somber mood. “Come on. I'll help you relax. You look like you could use it.” She grabbed Xena's hand and led her into the room. Shedding her clothes as soon as the door closed, she turned to help Xena out of her armor. “Honey, are you worried about this thing with the Romans?”
“Yeah, I suppose I am. What bothers me most is I don't even know what is going on. It doesn't make sense for them to be in Greece right now. We need to figure this out.”
“Why do we need to figure anything out? It doesn't concern us, Xena. I don't want to go looking for trouble. I'm sick of trouble.” Gabrielle was now in the tub, Xena stood outside it. The water was hot, and had relaxing herbs in it. The ache in her muscles began to dissipate rather immediately. After a minute, Gabrielle looked up, “Are you going to join me or not?”
Xena snapped out of her thoughts and got into the tub. “I'm sorry that everything we do ends up being trouble. I don't know why you keep following me into these situations.”
Gabrielle's head whipped over to look at her lover, her eyes narrowed, temper swelling. “I'm here because I want to be here! I just wish we could not go looking for something to do. If we are needed, I'm sure someone will send for us. I guess I don't see the point in solving a problem that isn't even ours.”
Xena stared dumbfounded at Gabrielle. Her face turned red in anger as she quickly scrubbed herself clean then stood up to get out. Before she stepped out, she felt Gabrielle's hand on her wrist. She stopped in mid step over the edge of the tub. At first she wanted to pull away, but knew that it would not go over well with her companion. After a hesitation, she sighed, “You're right Gabrielle. We'll stay out of it.” Her voice was stern, but quiet.
Gabrielle pulled her back down into the tub. “Hey. Come here.” she pulled Xena into an embrace and stroked her still dry hair. “I'm sorry I got angry. Let's just stay the night and tomorrow we will ask around town see if anyone has heard anything. Maybe some of the merchants have news.” She kissed Xena on the temple. “Now, let's get this hair cleaned, shall we?” She gently pushed Xena under the hot water, feeling some of the tension melt from her shoulders. There we go, warrior. Just relax.
The next morning a messenger arrived at the inn. He was young, and looked like he hadn't eaten in weeks. His skin was practically hanging off the bones. He smelled like he hadn't bathed in weeks either. “Excuse me! I'm looking for someone named Xena. Have I come to the right place?”
Xena stood up from her table, “I'm Xena. Who is asking?” She had her hand resting on her Chakrum.
The messenger looks over to her. “I have a message from Vercinix of Gaul.”
Xena's tension is now clearly visible to all. “Follow me.” She leads the man into the back room. “What's the message?”
“His wife sends word. He has been captured by Caesar and is to be put to death in the coliseum once they return from Gaul. She asks that you go to Rome and rescue him. That's all she told me to tell you. I must return now so that she knows I've delivered it.” He turns to leave and Xena follows him out.
“Thanks. Before you go, please take some food with you? You look like you could use a good meal.” He bows graciously.
2 weeks later….
Beginning of Episode 62:
The Gauls are fighting the Roman's. Xena and Gabrielle kidnap a Roman officer and hold him for ransom against Caesar.
Not the Past
End of Episode 62 (S3,E16):
Gabrielle is staring at a ring on the edge of a boat back to Greece. Xena approaches her with a worried look on her face. “I don't know what's happening to me, Xena. I did something that I never thought I'd be able to do. I played Judge, Jury, and Executioner.”
“You only did what I told you to.” Xena replied, trying to reassure her.
“You said Crassus living or dying wasn't the point. I had a choice. I made it.”
“Gabrielle, I put you into a situation I had no right to. I expected you to understand my logic and ignore your heart.”
Gabrielle looks at Xena now, “But I know you were right.”
“It wasn't right for you. That's not who you are. If I had to do this all over again”
Gabrielle interrupts her, “You'd still do it.”
Xena sighs, “If I couldn't find another way, I would. But I wouldn't include you.”
“Yeah, but I'd be hurt if you didn't.” Gabrielle contests.
Xena leans down lower so she is more eye level with Gabrielle. “How many more times are you gonna follow me into battle, huh?” Gabrielle looks away. “How many more time am I going to hurt you?” Xena cups Gabrielle's head in her hand. “You are the most dear thing to me in all the world. Yet instead of protecting you”
“I'm here because I want to be here. I love you Xena.”
Xena reaches down to hold her hand, “I love you too Gabrielle.”
A few days later, after Rome:
The sun rises in the glorious city of Athens. The streets are relatively empty, but will not be for long. Merchants begin lining the streets, waiting for the throngs of people to come purchase their goods. The merchant carts hold exotic goods as well as domestic.
Down a dusty alley, lined with buildings, a stable holds Argo. The stable is built into a building, at the foundation. Argo is awake, as always by dawn; just like her owner. She is chewing on some hay, happy and content to be still. The other horses in the stable begin to stir, ready for the day and having high hopes that they can leave the stable soon.
Above the stable is a window to a room in the inn. Xena is sitting on the edge of the bed listening to the sounds of the morning. Gabrielle is still asleep next to her; she begins to mumble something in her sleep. Xena turns around and watches her lover as she begins to cry in her sleep. Do I wake her? I hate when she has bad dreams. She's been having too many lately. Xena decides not to wake her just yet. She strokes Gabrielle's cheek, then bends down to kiss her. My poor bard. Xena rises off the bed, then walks over to the water bowl and splashes her face and runs her fingers through her hair. Gabrielle is still whimpering in the back ground, obviously a very bad dream.
“Ares, take me to Chin.” Gabrielle's voice is firm despite that she is asleep. A moment later, “Xena! How could you leave me for someone else?” Gabrielle screams out in her sleep. Tears are streaming down the bards face, her fists clench the pillow she is laying on. Xena doesn't know what to do, she wants to wake her but the content of the dream has paralyzed her. Very quietly, the bard says “How could you love someone more than me?” After a moment, Gabrielle calms down, her eyes blink open slowly. She looks at the pillow clenched in her fists. Releasing the pillow, she reaches up to wipe the tears from her eyes. Her throat is scratchy from the violent screaming. Looking up, she sees Xena standing across the room staring at her; Xena's face is pale. Gabrielle sits up and grabs her stomach, her eyes clench. She runs to the bathroom and vomits. Immediately Xena is at her side, holding her hair back. “Thanks.” Gabrielle says as she wipes her mouth. Xena hands her a cup filled with water, which she takes and drinks it all to wash out the taste.
“You ok, honey?” Xena asks quietly as she helps Gabrielle stand up.
“Mm. Been better.” Gabrielle replies as she leans into Xena's chest, feeling Xena's arms wrap around her. She feels a soft kiss on the top of her head.
“Want to talk about it?” Xena asks, scared senseless to actually talk about it.
Talk about what? Does she know about my dream? I hope I didn't talk in my sleep. Shit. “I was just feeling a little sick for some reason. Thanks for the water.”
Xena closes her eyes as Gabrielle pulls away to go get her clothes on. “Gab, I know you had a bad dream. You seemed pretty upset. If you don't want to talk about it, that's alright. Just know I'm here for you. Ok?”
Gabrielle avoids eye contact as she puts her belt on. I don't even want to remember the dream, why would I want to talk about it? Please just drop it. “Ok. Can we go now? I'd like to pick up a couple things at the market.” Xena wanders over to the chair that is holding her battle dress and armor. She slowly puts it on, concern apparent in her features. After they are both dressed, the head out for the market. Neither are hungry, so they do not mention breakfast.
The streets are already starting to bustle with busy shoppers. The smell of fresh baked goods is in the air, making the aroma of the streets easier to bare. Xena follows close behind the bard, but senses that Gabrielle needs some space. Gabrielle looks back occasionally to make sure she hasn't lost Xena. The first cart she stops at is full of various herbs. Gabrielle looks through them and picks out a few for cooking. Without looking back, she calls “Xena? Do you need any medicinal herbs?”
Xena steps forward to take a look. “Yeah.” She rifles through some of the herbs and quickly finds what she is looking for. “This will do.” She hands them to Gabrielle, who takes them to the merchant and begins to haggle the price. She quickly gets the price down about twenty percent, to the dismay of the merchant. He bags up the herbs and hands them to her, shooing her away.
With a satisfied smirk, she hands them to Xena to hold onto. “He wanted way too much money for those. Will you carry them for me?”
“Just call me your mule.” Xena smiles, hoping to help Gabrielle cheer up even more.
“Ok, Mule. Follow me.” Gabrielle grabs her hand and pulls her along. The next cart they stop at is making fresh pastries. Her stomach growls even though she didn't think she was hungry after her morning sickness. However, getting outside and focusing on shopping has helped to take her mind of her dream. Her queasiness has gone away complete, so she decides maybe she should eat. She buys two pieces, one for her and her partner.
“Hey, let's go sit down to eat these, ok?” Xena quietly asks. Gabrielle complies and they find a nice bench off the main road to sit on. Xena eats hers quickly, then looks over to see that Gabrielle has only taken one bite. Oh dear. She's not eating. “That was delicious. Do you not like it Gabrielle?” Gabrielle is staring at the ground, lost in thought. Xena nudges her, “Hey.”
Gabrielle looks up, “Huh? I guess I'm not hungry like I thought. Here you eat mine.”
Xena gives her a look, “You need to eat.” Soon she realizes Gabrielle isn't going to eat it no matter what, so she takes it and saves it for later.
A few hours later, they return to the inn. Gabrielle is visibly tired, dark circles under her eyes. As soon as they get to their room, Xena helps Gabrielle take off her boots then she tucks her in bed. “Take a nap, ok? I'm going to go visit Argo, then I'll be right back.”
“I don't really want to sleep Xena.”
“Why not? You are exhausted. I don't think you slept well enough last night.”
Gabrielle gets very quiet and still. She pulls the covers up under her chin and closes her eyes, resigned to resting. Before Xena leaves, she kisses the bard on the forehead then leaves the room, leaving the bard to cry herself to sleep.
The inn is practically empty. There are a few guests eating an early lunch, but the rest seem to be out and about. Before she heads to the stable, she grabs an apple off the bar for an Argo treat. She walks out to the alley way, which is completely empty. She walks into the stable to visit her beloved horse. “Hey Argo. How are you doing today girl?” Xena puts her hand out with the apple in it. “Want a treat?” After Argo eats the apple, Xena grabs the horse brush out of the saddle bag on the ground. She starts grooming her mare, resigned to talking to the mare about what's going on with Gabrielle. “Girl, I'm not sure what to do with Gabby. She doesn't want to talk about the dream she had, but she can't seem to shake it. I can't believe it was Ares that helped her betray me. Actually I can believe it. I just don't want to. I wish I could erase everything that's happened. I bet she does too.” Just then an idea pops into her head. The temple of Nemisine! That's not that far up the road. Maybe that can help her get through this process. When she was done grooming Argo, she stepped back into the alley and spotted a familiar face. “Joxer!”
Joxer looked up as he was walking and his face lit up. “Xena! What are you doing here?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing. We just got back from Rome; had a little run in with Ceasar.” Xena replied.
“I hope everything is ok? Where's Gabby?” Joxer started looking around.
“She's upstairs sleeping. Hey, Joxer…I need your help. If you aren't busy, can you travel with us for a little bit?” Xena put her hand on his shoulder, “I could really use ya.”
“Sure! I'm always up for traveling with you and Gabby. What do you need my help with?”
Xena quickly thought up a story, “Well, a few minutes ago someone came by asking for my help. A town up by the temple of Nemisine is being bothered by a small time warlord. It's not a huge deal, I can handle it myself. But could you stay with Gabrielle until she wakes up? Once she is up, you two can head to the temple and meet me there.”
“Sure. Not a problem.”
“Thanks Joxer, you are a real pal.” She patted him on the back then took him to their room. When they entered, Gabrielle was awake. “Hey sleeping beauty. Did you have an ok nap?”
Gabrielle just stared at her, then noticed Joxer was in the room. “Joxer, what are you doing here?”
“I ran into Xena down by the stables.” Joxer walked over to hug is friend. “Xena does this change the plans now that she is awake?”
Xena was over packing her bags, “No. I think-”
Gabrielle cut her off, “What plans?” She starts to sit up.
Xena finished, “I asked Joxer to stay with you while I went to help out a small town that's got a few trouble makers. I think you should stay here a little while longer, then meet up with me.”
“Xena, I'm going with you.” Gabrielle stood up to get ready.
Xena walked over and sat her back down. “I'm going to do this one by myself ok? I want you to stay and rest a little while longer. Plus we still need a few more supplies that I forgot about earlier today. I wrote them down for you. Can you get them, then just meet me at the temple of Nemisine?” Xena was stern in her resolve.
Gabrielle looked confused, but could tell Xena would not let her argue this. “Fine.”
Xena looked at Gabrielle, who looked a little hurt. “Joxer could you give us a minute?” He left the room as Xena sat on the bed next to her lover. “Hey, it's ok. I'll see you tomorrow. I'm worried about you and I want you to get more rest, ok?” she leaned over and pulled Gabrielle into a hug. “I love you.”
After a moment, Gabrielle returned the hug. “I love you too.”
Beginning of Episode 63:
Gabrielle wakes up from a dream. The dream was about the time Gabrielle lied to Xena about killing Hope. Deciding that she cannot stand the pain anymore, she goes to the temple of Nemisine to consider erasing her memories.
Aphrodite is Pissed
End of Episode 63 (S3,E17):
“Gabby! Your back!” Joxer yells in excitement as Gabrielle pinches his nose, causing him pain.
“Yes she is.” Xena walks towards them.
Gabrielle stops beating up on Joxer. She walks toward Xena. “Xena. You knew all along. That's why you wanted me to wait at the temple of Nemisine, right?”
“I wondered how you made it to Chin ahead of me. I figured Ares might have a hand in it, but what I couldn't understand was why. Nightmares can tell you a lot of things. Thank the gods you talk in your sleep. I knew this was one journey you had to make without me.” Xena is on the verge of tears as she reaches out to stroke Gabrielle's cheek and hair. “I'm just glad you made it back.”
Gabrielle sets her hand on Xena's arm. “If I didn't have the painful memories, then I wouldn't know what the good ones were, right? I just couldn't let it go, Xena, no matter what the pain. I'm sorry.”
“No. No it's over. Welcome home.” Xena says as she pulls Gabrielle into a tight embrace.
Later that night:
The sun is setting as the trio stops for the night under a canopy of trees. Both Gabrielle and Xena have been quiet, both lost in thought about all that has happened with Gabrielle. Joxer has been running at the mouth the entire time, explaining to Gabrielle how she needs to write more stories with him in it. Only she should be “nicer” to him.
“Let's stop here, I think this is a good spot.” Xena calls out, trying to get her voice above Joxers. Everyone stops and begins to set out their camping gear. Xena collects rocks to make a fire ring, while Gabrielle wanders off to collect fire wood. Joxer does nothing, he just sits down on a tree stump talking to himself about maltreatment in scrolls.
Xena sets out two fire rings. One where she has also laid out her and Gabrielle's bed rolls, another where she plans on Joxer sleeping. It's about thirty yards away. “Hey Joxer.” She says as she approaches him. “I got your fire pit ready over there. You will have one all to yourself.”
Joxer looks at her as if she has lost her mind, “But I always share with you and Gabby. Why would you put me so far away?”
Xena squats down next to him, “Joxer. Gabby has been through a pretty rough ordeal. She may need to have a girl talk about it and I don't want her to hold it in just because you are around. Get it?” Xena pats him on the back, without waiting for him to respond, “I knew you'd agree. Now shoo.”
“Bu..But what about dinner? Am I supposed to get my own dinner too?” Joxer begins to mumble under his breath about more mistreatment. “I guess I won't eat.”
Exasperated, Xena sighs, “Fine. I'll bring you some of whatever I catch ok. Just go over there now and stay there.” Joxer leaves in a huff.
A moment later Gabrielle approaches with her arms full of fire wood, she has leaves in her hair and dirt smudged on her face. She pauses as she gets into the camp area, her facial expression becomes one of terror. “XENA!!!”
Xena pulls out her Chakrum and whips around. Her eyes dart around the forest, but she doesn't see anyone around her bard. “What? What is it?” she runs over to Gabrielle.
“There is a huge spider on me. Get it off!” Gabrielle shrieks.
Xena rolls her eyes, then spots the spider. It's no bigger than her thumb nail. “I thought you said huge?” She flicks it off then takes some of the wood out of Gabrielle's arms. “Here, lighten the load.”
“It was huge! Besides what if it bit me and I got sick? Hey, where did Joxer go?” Gabrielle asks as they approach the fire ring. “I hope he isn't trying to find us food for dinner. I do not want gas all night.”
That brought a hearty chuckle out of Xena. “Same here. No he is going to have his own fire over there. I asked him if we could have some time alone. But I promised him we would fix him dinner.” Xena tosses the firewood down. “I'm going to go hunting. Would you mind starting the fire?”
Gabrielle smiles, “Sure. I'm surprised he agreed to sleep away from me. He is usually so protective after something has happened.”
“I know how he feels. I hate when anything bad happens to you. Especially if I'm the cause.” Xena stepped closer to the bard and drew her in for a hug. After a moment, Xena leaned back to look into her favorite green eyes, “I love you so much. I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”
Caught a little off guard, Gabrielle lets out a small gasp. She can't seem to look Xena in the eyes anymore and she can't figure out why. Instead, she just leans back into Xena and gently kisses her on the lips. “I love you too.” Feeling a little unsure of herself, she pats Xena on the side and pulls away. “Now, how about finding us a rabbit or something delicious to eat?” Not getting the reaction she was looking for, Xena is at a loss for words. She lets out an uncomfortable smile and heads off into the woods to hunt. Dammit Gabby, what was that! The woman of your dreams, love of your life, tells you she wants to spend her life with you…and you have nothing to say to that?
Gabrielle sits on the ground next to the fire pit and begins to stack the wood in a neat pile inside the ring. She puts small tinder and some dried grass on the bottom and bigger wood pieces on the top. After it's arranged just right, she lights the fire with her flint and striker. Immediately the grasses catch fire and start a nice warm flame. Once the bigger logs begin to catch fire, she decides to visit Joxer. He is sitting on his bedroll sharpening his sword. He looks extremely depressed, that is until he looks up to see who is visiting him. “Hey Joxer.”
“Hi. Did you come to apologize for her?”
“Are you mad at Xena for asking you to sleep over here?” Gabrielle is pretty good at figuring him out.
“No. Well, yes. I guess I understand though.”
Gabrielle knows that they haven't officially told Joxer about their relationship. But recently they haven't exactly hidden it completely. They have been more touchy feely around him and Xena has even kissed her on the cheek. They've also slept cuddled together, but he was still recovering from his gambling situation at that time. “What do you understand?”
“That you probably don't feel comfortable talking to me about your feelings and stuff. I'm sure Xena is easier to talk to because she is a woman like you. Although sometimes I question how woman like she really is, ya know with all the fighting and stuff.” Joxer picks up a stick and begins to pick at the bark. “I just don't know why you guys always try to avoid me and leave me out.”
Gabrielle sighed, not quite knowing what to say. Joxer wasn't quite ready to know about their relationship, she could tell. “Joxer, I care about you very much. You know that. Xena is my best friend. We are together every day and every night. She knows more about me than I know about myself. That's why I can talk to her so easily. And sometimes I just need to be able to talk to her when stuff happens. She knows that, which is why she sent you over here. Don't be too hard on us for doing that, ok? I know Xena is rough around the edges when it comes to dealing with people, so she probably wasn't very nice to you. But please realize we still care about you. You are like family to us.” She reached over and hugged him.
Returning the hug, he smiled. “Thanks Gabby. Sorry to be so glum about it.”
“Gabrielle!!” Xena called from across the camp site. It was getting dark now and she hadn't told Xena that she was going anywhere.
“I'm with Joxer. I'll be right there!” she yelled back. “Ok, well I'm going to go over there and cook us all dinner. I'll bring yours to you in a little bit when it's done, ok?”
“Ok. Thanks again. You are a good friend.”
“So are you, the best.” Gabrielle smiled at him. Since it was getting dark it was hard to see the path back to her fire. She stumbled a few times over branches and rocks, but once she was within the light of the fire, she moved quicker. Xena was finally back in her view, “Hey, sorry about that. I wanted to talk to him; make sure he wasn't too mad at you for sending him away.”
Xena looked up from the meat she was slicing. “I don't give a damn if he is mad at me. We need time alone and so I made sure it happened.” She scratched her nose with her shoulder, since her hands were bloody. “This is ready to cook.” She indicated the meat.
“I know you don't give a damn, but he is our friend and we love him. That means we make sure that he understands things we say and do so he doesn't get hurt. Don't worry, I'm the one that does the sensitive chats so I'll just keep cleaning up after you.” Gabrielle knelt down next to the warrior as she looked over and smiled. She nudged Xena in the ribs, “Now go wash up so that you can hold me without getting blood all over me.”
Xena glared at her for a moment then took her advice. She grabbed their bathing soap and headed to a nearby puddle of water. So, how do I tell Gabrielle that I want to settle down somewhere? I don't want her to get hurt anymore because of me. Now that she's accepted everything and is ready to move past all the betrayal and pain, we should stop getting into those situations. Maybe we can build a home in Amphipolis, or somewhere else. Anywhere, I don't really care anymore. I just want her safe. After cleaning up she walked back to the fire and sat next to Gabrielle on a log just big enough for two. Ok, do I bring it up now, later, just spit it out? “Can I ask you something?”
“You know you can. What's up?” Gabrielle said lightly. She looked into Xena's eyes and saw something resembling trepidation.
“Um, well I.. Uh. Ahem. Sorry let me start over.” Xena started blushing at her stuttering. “Gabrielle I was wondering if you would want to settle down with me somewhere. Ya know, have a home, stop roaming, stop getting into trouble. Be safe.”
Gabrielle was clearly not expecting this, her face was a mask of confusion. Her chest and throat suddenly felt very tight. She cleared her throat to speak but nothing came out. She looked at the fire for a moment, the silence becoming awkward. Just when she was about to speak, Xena continued.
“I'm sorry if that scares you. I'm not scared. I know what I want and that's you for the rest of my life. Please say something.” Xena begged.
She cleared her throat again, “Xena, that's a really big deal. I mean, I don't know if...if I am ready for that. I like traveling around and righting wrongs. I'm happy with my life how it is.”
Xena looks into the blackness of the surrounding forest, a tear forming in her eye. She sniffs, then looks back at Gabrielle. She manages a small reassuring smile, “Ok. I just thought I'd throw that out there so that you know I'm willing to do that.” She stands up, “I'm going to take a walk to make sure that there is not anyone out there. I'll be back in a minute.” She leans over and kisses Gabrielle on the head.
Gabrielle immediately walks over to her scroll bag and takes out her diary parchment. Xena all but asked me to marry her just a moment ago. By the gods! She wants to settle down and have a house together somewhere. I just don't think we are ready for that. I know she thinks that traveling less will keep us out of harm's way, but who is she kidding? It's me! I attack trouble. She has forgotten that she met me when slavers came to my home town and tried to take me! The truth is, I do want to settle down with her. But I don't think she is really ready. If I admit to her that I want to settle down and we do it, then she will probably get bored in a month! Then we will just be back out getting into trouble again. What if she dies on me again? I shudder just thinking about it. If feel like if I make that commitment to her, then something bad is bound to happen. It never fails, just when things are going well, something tears us apart. I can't lose her. But I do want to be with her forever, I just don't think I can say that to her y et.
Xena broke into a jog as she headed out into the woods to survey the area. Shit. Now I really screwed this up. Maybe not… Dammit! I really didn't think she would hesitate. I thought she would be so excited to stop wandering and risking our lives. What does this mean if she doesn't want that? Is she unsure about our future together? Does she plan on not being with me her whole life? Maybe she is just with me out of loneliness. Oh gods, please don't let that be it. There is no way that could be it; with everything we've gone through surely she would have left me by now. She loves me deeply, she has to. But maybe she thinks that she will end up with someone else eventually. Maybe this is more of a casual relationship for her…short term, not long term. Gods I just don't know. Probably figure I will die soon, with all the crap I get us into.
Her loop around camp came to completion, she was almost back to the camp. Stopping to catcher her breath she squatted down to finish thinking. Alright, play it cool. Don't let this ruin what you've got with her. If she wants to end the relationship, or slow it down, just let her. But take it easy and go with the flow. Taking a deep breath, she stands up and walks back to the fire pit. Gabrielle looks up from her scroll. “Hey, everything looks ok out there.”
Gabrielle smiles at her, “Good.” After a moment she decides to continue, “Xena, are you ok? I'm sorry if I didn't give you the answer you wanted. I wasn't expecting any of that.”
Xena sat down next to her lover, “I'm fine. I'm sorry that I just dumped that on you. I hope you forgive me.”
“There is nothing to forgive. I love you Xena, I mean that every time I say it. I hope you know that.” Gabrielle leaned over and kissed Xena on the lips. “Now I'm going to deliver Joxer's food and then we can eat, ok?”
The rest of the night was rather uneventful. They fell asleep wrapped around each other, as the stars twinkled over head.
Up on Mt Olympus, Aphrodite is pacing around with her hands over her ears. “Arrg!! I can't stand it anymore! Those two lovebirds have to put a stop to this.” She snaps her finger and appears at Xena and Gabrielle's camp site the next morning. They are still asleep, as it is just barely dawn. She admires both of them snuggled with each other. “So cute. I'm so good!”
Xena's eye snapped open when she heard that. She drew her sword and within a second had it at the goddess' throat. “What are you doing here!” Xena is still partially on the ground, kneeling above Gabrielle in a protective stance.
“Whoa, warrior babe. Put the steel down. I need to talk to you both.” She leans over and pushes Xena out of the way so she has access to Gabrielle. Xena tries to get in her way again but is pushed back once more. “Lay off.” Aphrodite leans down and runs her fingers down Gabrielle cheek, “Rise and shine, little one.”
“Mm Xena… this is a nice way to wake up.” She snuggled her cheek closer to the hand that was stroking her face. Xena quickly snatched the goddess' hand away.
Aphrodite laughed, “Oh Xena. Don't worry, she only has eyes for you. Now please, wake her up.”
Xena glared at their visitor, then leaned over and kissed Gabrielle on the lips, “Honey wake up. We have a visitor.” She gently nudged the bard on the shoulder.
“I don't want to wake up. And Joxer doesn't count as a visitor. Why do I smell rose petals?” Gabrielle cracked one eye open. Her eyeball started on the ground at the visitors' high heels, then slowly worked its way up to the face. “That really is a visitor. Hi Aphrodite.”
“Hiya, sweet pea. Time to get up, we need to talk.” Aphrodite snapped her finger and three chairs appeared. “Sit.”
Xena helped Gabrielle get off the ground and into a chair. Instead of sitting on her own chair, she sat on Xena's lap. Gabrielle still had her blanked wrapped around her. “What's going on?” She asked pleasantly.
“Here is the deal. You two are in love, which is totally rad. Problem is, you've left a whole bunch of ex-lovers and ex-romances in your wake. These people keep pleading to me to reunite each of you to them. They have their hopes up that you will be with them again someday. Some of these people are still alive, some aren't. I need you warrior babes to make this stop. I can't stand the constant whining.”
Gabrielle and Xena had their mouths hanging open. Gabrielle spoke first, “Uhh.. How do you expect us to do that if they are dead? And if they are alive, how are we going to find them?”
Xena spoke up, “Better question: Are you out of your gods be damned mind?! Why is it our problem to go tell them that they can't have us?”
“Because it's your responsibility, not mine, since you are the ones that broke their hearts, or will be breaking their hearts once you tell them. I'm not in the heart break business.” Aphrodite responded. “I'll send you to each of the places to talk to them. Here are the lists. Xena: M'Lila, Lao Ma, Hercules, Ulysses, Darius and his children, and Draco. Caesar is on the list too, but he no longer pines for you in that way, he just wants to kill you. Marcus already seems to know about you two and that he doesn't stand a chance. And my brother, well he just won't listen, so scrap him too.
Ok, Sweet Pea, your list: Iolaus, Perdicus, Talus “Boy with heart problem”, Phillius “Giant resurrector”, and Draco.”
“Draco! That's not fair; your grandson put that spell on him to fall for Gabrielle. She shouldn't have to say anything to him because he is still under the spell!” Xena yelled.
“Oh fine, scrap Draco for both of you. Replace Draco with Joxer for Gabrielle. That little bitch is whiny as a cat in heat about Gabby.” Aphrodite snapped her fingers and two scrolls appeared in the women's hands with the list of names on them. “Good Luck. Remember, the goal is to shut them up and make sure they realize there is no longer hope for them to be with you.”
“Wait, I have one more question that I need answered. For the dead, can't they hear our thoughts? Don't they know that Xena and I are together?”
“Apparently they don't want to listen… maybe they are too busy thinking about you that they can't really hear you like they should be able to.” With that news, she snapped her fingers and disappeared in goddess like fashion, leaving behind a pile of rose petals.
Both women slowly look at each other, eyes wide. Xena mouths the word “Wow.” Suddenly the chair they are sitting on disappears along with the other two and they go crashing to the ground. “Ow! Damn gods!” Xena yells.
Gabrielle rolls over so she is laying directly on top of the warrior. “Oh I don't know, it didn't hurt me none. And I like where I ended up.” She waggles her eyebrows, then leans in and kisses Xena thoroughly. After a moment, she pulls back to catch her breath “If your butt hurts, I could kiss it better.”
Xena laughs, “Not necessary, it's already back to normal.” She puts her hands on Gabrielle's lower back and begins to massage it. “You know, this is going to be a difficult task, my love.”
Gabrielle sighs, then lays her forehead against Xena's. “I know. Perdicus is going to be the worst part.”
“We don't have to do this ya know? It's not like she can force us.” Xena's hands moved up Gabrielle's back, massaging tense muscles, working out the knots.
“I didn't think of that. But maybe she is right; we should probably let them know. Is it right to not tell them? I know how I would feel.” Gabrielle sat up, rolling off her human pillow.
Feel about what, keep going Gab. “How would you feel?” Xena attempts to prod the conversation along.
Gabrielle looked around the forest, sun now pouring in through the canopy of trees. She stood up, “Well I just know that it would suck to know that you held out hopes for someone that didn't love you anymore. I think I'm going to do it. Not for Aphrodite's sake, but for theirs.” She looked back at Xena, “What about you?”
Xena was hoping that Gabrielle would do it for her as well, as a way to say that she did want to be with the warrior forever, as a way of committing her life to her. “Yeah.”
“Yeah, what? You will do it for them?” Gabrielle asks, somewhat wanting to know exactly what Xena's reasoning is.
“I'll do it for you.” Xena stood up and walked over to stoke the fire. “I'm going to eat something then call Aphrodite to send me to the first place. I think I'll visit Darius first.” She grabbed left over meat from the night before and put it over the fire to reheat. “What about you?” She looked up at Gabrielle, who was looking up into the sky lost in though. “Gab?”
Gabrielle looked down slowly, staring at the dirt around her feet. Then she looked up at Xena, “I think I'll start with Joxer since he is here. Then I'll head to Phillius. I had no clue he would be so hung up on me after all this time.” Gabrielle turned to leave, heading in Joxer's direction. Whoa boy. This is going to be hard. She felt a hand grab her arm and turn her around.
“No goodbyes?” Xena asked.
“Sorry, I guess I'm a little distracted. Bye and good luck with everything. I love you.” She put her arms around Xena's neck and pulled her in for a long, sweet kiss. Their lips met together with a passion that surprised them both, full of pure love. Gabrielle's body started to press further against Xena's, her body heat rising as the passion stirred in her body.
Xena broke the kiss after a moment, struggling to stop herself from laying Gabrielle down to make love to her. “Whew, honey… I want to finish this later, ok? I want to make love to you so bad right now, but I think we both have too much on our mind. Gods you are sexy.” She bent her head down and began to kiss Gabrielle again, still struggling to resist the urge to touch her where she wanted to most.
This time Gabrielle broke it, “Ok, you're right. Let stop before we can't. I love you so much warrior. I hope you find all the right words to say to the people on your list. Don't be too harsh on them, just think of how I would say things.” Gabrielle smiled brightly.
“Good luck to you too. If you want me to come with you to any of them, let me know, ok? I'm worried about you with Perdicus. That's going to be really hard on you.” Xena cupped Gabby's cheek in her hand and pulled her in for one last hug.
After they broke apart, Gabrielle headed over to Joxer's camp. Her friend was up, cooking himself breakfast. “Hey Joxer. Did you sleep ok?”
“Yeah, I slept pretty well. How about you?”
“Pretty good, considering. Can I talk to you about something?”
“Sure Gabby, I'm always here for you.” Joxer smiled and patted the spot next to him. She sat down and picked up a stick to play with.
“Joxer, this is really hard to talk about, so please bare with me. Look, I know that you have feelings for me, romantic feelings.”
Joxer interrupts, “No. I don't at all, I don't know what you are talking about. Feelings, what are those really but mmph” he is stopped by a hand over his mouth, green eyes looking directly into his.
“Let me finish, please. As I said last night, I care about you like family. You are like a brother to me. I want to encourage you to get over me, because there will never be anything between us.” Gabrielle released his mouth.
Joxer was silent for a moment, “But Gabby, you can't know the future like that.”
“No, but I do know that I'm in love with someone else, and I plan on it being forever.”
Joxer couldn't believe his ears, he did a double take at Gabrielle. “What? Who..where? How?”
Gabrielle looked to the sky, not sure how much information to give. “I don't expect you to understand completely, but I do hope that you can respect my decision. I hope that you find someone for yourself, Joxer. I know Meg seems really into you. I think you could have a good, exciting life with her. Don't you?”
Joxer stands up and starts kicking the dirt. “I really do care for her. But I don't know if I'm ready to settle down yet. She already is settled with the bar she owns. She could have any man she wants, I mean look at her! She looks just like Xena! Any man would be crazy to pass that up. Yet here I am, roaming around pining after someone I can't have; you. I need to go for a walk. Later, Gabby.” Joxer walks away, his head hanging, shoulders slumped.
Gabrielle takes a deep breath then stands up and unrolls the parchment with the list. “One down, four to go. Aphrodite, please send me to Philius.” With a flash of light, she disappeared.
Xena is standing outside the door to Darius' home. She isn't really sure what she is going to say as to why she is there. Oh hey, here I am after three years and boom…don't love you and never did and stop thinking about me. Oh yeah and I'm in love with someone else. Just as she was about to knock, she heard noise behind her. Flipping herself around, her eyes caught the eyes of Darius.
“Xena?” He was in shock. His kids were with him, all of them wide eyed at the visitor. “What are you doing back here?” his lips edged into a happy smile.
She smiled back, “Hi. I thought I'd stop in and say hello. If that's alright.” Oh boy, this is going to be harder than I thought.
“Of course that's alright! Come on in, we were just getting back from a walk.” Darius pushed the door open for her then leaned over to kiss her on the cheek in greeting. “Have a seat.” He immediately shooed the kids into their rooms. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Sure, that sounds great.” Xena moved around a little, trying to relax. After a few moments he handed her a cup of tea. “Thanks. I guess I will just jump into why I'm here.”
“Uh, ok. I thought you were just visiting.”
“Yeah, well there is a little more to it than that. Listen, I'm not very good with words, but I have to ask you to not hold out for me. I have heard that you are still in love with me, and you are hoping that I will come back to you someday. Today isn't that day, that day will never be.”
At a loss for words, he just stared at her. After a moment of staring into his tea, he cleared his throat. “Wow, um. I really don't know what to say to that Xena. I guess I have sort of been holding out hope that someday we could be together. My children talk of you often, so it's been hard to keep my mind off you.”
Xena nodded her head, “I hope you can work through it. Aphrodite visited me, she wanted me to talk to you so that you didn't have to keep praying to her about it, only to be disappointed.”
“Well what about you, didn't you have feelings for me as well? I thought you were interested.” Darius drank more of his tea.
She shook her head, “I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. It was nice feeling so wanted back then, but I wasn't really interested in having a relationship with anyone. Now however, well lets just say that I plan on being in this relationship for the long haul.”
“What relationship is that, Xena?”
Xena looks at him, “With my best friend and soul mate, Gabrielle. I've never been so in love. We've been through so much together the last few years and she has stuck by me. She is my guiding light, the only thing that keeps me on track to do the right thing.”
“A woman?” Darius shakes his head. “That's disgusting and unnatural. I think you need to leave.”
Xena stood up and handed him the tea cup. “Fine by me. Sorry Darius, I hope you will find someone soon.”
He didn't reply, just stood up and opened the door for her, then slammed it behind her.
Gabrielle walks into the quaint village that once had Titans walking around. Many memories came flooding back to her about the time she spent here. Huh, I was such an arrogant kid. I can't believe they believed I was a god. I can't believe I almost lost my virginity to this kid, all to make Xena jealous. Gods I'm such a bitch sometimes. I wonder if that really hurt her?
“Gabrielle?” a male voice calls out. “Is that you? Really you?” He runs up to her and draws her into a hug.
Surprised at how quickly she found him, or he found her, she didn't quite hug him back. She sort of just patted his back. “Philius, how are you?”
“Great now that you just walked into town. What are you doing here?” He asks as he guides her towards the town tavern, his hand on the small of her back. His thumb is gently rubbing her skin.
A little more than uncomfortable, she moves away from him slightly, just out of his reach. “I'm here to visit you, actually. I have some news that I need to share with you. Can we sit somewhere quiet so we can talk?”
His smile gets even wider if that's possible. He has changed quite a bit, growing from a pubescent boy to a man. His hair has been cut shorter, his face has a few more lines of wear. “Sure, we can go over to my house.” They chit chatted until they arrive in his home. He gave her a drink of water and brought out a plate of bread and cheese. “So, what is the news you wanted to tell me?”
“Well, a lot has changed since I last saw you. I don't know about you, but I've changed a lot and moved on from my adolescent ways. I fell in love.” Gabrielle said softly as she thought of Xena.
“Love? I'm guessing that you are probably over me then huh? I would be a fool to think otherwise.” He said, somberly.
She looked up at him and put her hand on his shoulder. “You guessed correct. I felt like I should let you know this, so that you don't keep hope that we could ever be together. I plan on being with this person for the rest of my life, and eternity if that's possible. We are soul mates.”
He thought for a moment about that, “Its Xena isn't it?”
She looked at him, a little shocked that he guessed. “Yeah, it's Xena. How did you know?”
He stood up and started pacing, “Well as I think back, it was pretty obvious you were trying to make her jealous. I guess I convinced myself that you really did care about me though.”
“I wasn't just using you, I did think you were a really great guy. I hope you can forgive me though. I didn't mean to hurt you.” She stood up and stopped his pacing. “I've got to go now. I hope you find someone to spend your life with, Philius.” She kissed his cheek and headed toward the door.
“Thanks Gabrielle. I hope your life is filled with happiness.” He waved good bye to her as she walked out of his life for good.
Gabrielle looked up into the sky, “Aphrodite, please take me to Xena.”
Hercules and Iolaus are walking along a dusty path, sweat dripping down their bodies. It's extremely hot outside, they are in a desert region. The stumble into a small village in which they can stop to get a drink. Suddenly, Herc stops dead in his tracks. “Xena?”
Xena turns around and spots him. “Hercules! Where are we?” she asks, completely expecting to still be in Greece, but she is not.
The men walk the rest of the way to her and both hug her hello. “We are in Egypt. How do you not know where we are?”
“Your sister sent me here. I…I need to talk to you Hercules. Alone if that's ok?” Xena wiped her brow, sweat already forming and dripping into her eyes. “Let's find some place inside that's cooler.” They start looking around and soon find a smelly bar.
Hercules leads the way into the bar and stops dead in his tracks. He looks back at Xena, “You brought her with you?” He shakes his head and chuckles.
Xena looks at him as if he has gone crazy. She steps around him and looks to where he had been looking. “Gabrielle?” She rushes over to her lover and gives her a big hug. “Hey what are you doing here? Is it your turn to visit Iolaus or something?”
Gabrielle breaks away slightly, her hand resting on Xena's forearms, “Uh actually I just wanted to see you so I had Aphrodite send me to wherever you were. Guess I could kill two birds with one stone, eh? Have you told Herc yet?” Gabrielle leans around Xena and waves at them both. Xena shakes her head no. “Well I guess we could do this one together?”
Gabrielle walks over to her friends and gives them both a big hug as Xena heads to the bar and orders a round of drinks. “It's so good to see you guys again! How is everything? And where are we, anyway?” she asks.
Hercules gives Gabrielle the same look he gave to Xena. “Egypt. Did my sister bring you here too or something?”
“Uh actually yes she did. We need to talk to you both.” Gabrielle accepted the mug that Xena handed to her. Xena handed the rest of the mugs out then sat next to Gabrielle. They were sitting very close to each other, a little more than they normally would be around their friends. Xena had her arm wrapped around Gabrielle's waist.
“Well, get the bad news over with so we can move on to catching up on each other's lives. What does my sister have you two involved in now?” he asked as he took a swig of the frothy beer. He did not fail to notice the touches going on between the two women.
Gabrielle looked at Xena then back at the two men. “Who says its bad news? We happen to think its good news and since you are close friends of ours, we wanted to share it with you guys. I think you'll be happy for us.”
Iolaus looked a little confused and nervous about this news. He scratched his face, “Ok I can't take the suspense. Please just spit it out.”
Gabrielle looked into Xena's eyes, “We are in love.” Xena smiled back at her. Then they looked back at the two men. Iolaus spit his beer out and started coughing. Hercules just eyed Xena. “Iolaus you ok? Breathe.” She reached over the table and patted him on the back.
“I'm ok, Gabrielle. But did I hear you right?” he said as he wiped the beer up from his face.
Xena spoke up, but looked directly into Hercules' eyes. “Yes, you heard right. I love Gabrielle more than life itself.” She looked back at Gabrielle, “And nothing can ever change that.” she reached under the table and held Gabrielle's hand.
After a moment of silence, Hercules stood up and ordered another round of beer. He brought them all back and made a toast. “To the best two women I know. May your lives together be filled with happiness and love.” Everyone drank to the toast, Iolaus hesitated a moment, but then drank.
“Oh and your sister wanted us to ask you both to stop begging her for us. Ain't gonna happen.” Xena stated matter of factly. Now it was Gabrielle's turn to spit out the beer.
Ithica is as beautiful as ever, but standing on its shores sent a chill down Xena's spine. This place is all bad memories. I was such a bitch to Gabby. I honestly don't know how she forgave me for this one. As she approached Ulysses castle, she tried to figure out what to say to the man she so harshly used as a weapon against Gabrielle. Do I just be quick and get it over with? ‘Hey I totally used you and I never wanted you. I was just making my girlfriend jealous and push her away?' That would be so much easier. I think if said girlfriend heard me say that she would kill me for being so straight forward. But I can't help it that I'm not a bard…cutting bullshit is my style.
The gates to the castle opened and Ulysses was there to greet her. “Xena! It's great to see you. What brings you to Ithica?” He approached her with a friendly enthusiasm and gave her an all encompassing hug. She slightly patted his back, but definitely did not hug back.
“Ah, I'm actually here to talk with you about something. I really don't want to make a big deal of it, so I'm just going to get it out there and over with.”
“I see. At least come in and sit.” He said as he turned to lead her inside.
Xena didn't budge, “No thanks. I'm sorry but I just need to get this done. Look, Ulysses. Aphrodite approached me and told me that you are still in love with me. I feel obligated to let you know that nothing can ever happen between us again. It won't ever happen again. You need to forget about me.” Xena scratched her nose as she looked around, trying to avoid his eyes. She felt terrible for bringing it up so nonchalantly but she still had people on her list to check off; more important people.
Ulysses stood there with a half smirk on his face. “The way we left things… Xena you and I were in love when you left. The only reason you didn't stay was because of my wife; whom is still do not love. You could settle down with me here; we could be happy.”
Oh boy, gotta pull out the bigger swords I guess. “I'm sorry, but you are wrong. I'm in love with Gabrielle and we have been in a relationship since before we met.”
“Gabrielle? But…” He scratched his head trying to figure out how that was possible. If they were together before we met, then why did she act like we could have a relationship. She led me on! “You used me.” He finally blurted out as it dawned on him. “Some sort of lovers spat, you were trying to make her jealous.”
“Something like that. I'm sorry to just throw that at you, but you need to let me go. Nothing will ever be between us, because there never was anything there to begin with. I'm sorry I used you, I'm a terrible person in reality. Gabrielle deserves better than me, but for some crazy reason she loves me. I'm not going to screw it up with her again, I love her too much.” She took a deep breath, “Bye Ulysses.”
Ulysses started shaking his head and was about to respond, but suddenly Xena disappeared before his eyes.
Gabrielle's second to last person on the list is Talus. For her, this is one of the hardest because she really cared for this boy. Aphrodite's teleporting sent her directly to the Elysian Fields, as she expected. It was beautiful! Everything was rich in color, the most perfect outdoor landscape one could imagine. The scent of flowers was in the air and a low hum of voices as people talked and laughed with one another. She wandered around for a few minutes before coming upon a group of people that were having a picnic. There was an older couple, a small child, a young adult female, and Talus. Gabrielle watched them for a moment, partially froze at seeing him again. “Talus?” she called so softly she wasn't sure he would hear, but he did.
He turned around and slowly stood up. A smile rose on his face, “Gabrielle? You've finally come!” He ran to her and caught her up in a hug while swinging her around. “I didn't think I would see you for a long time.”
Gabrielle waited for him to set her down, she couldn't help but smile and giggle at his enthusiasm. “Hi Talus. How are you?”
“Oh it's wonderful here Gabrielle! I don't even think about how my life was before here, other than you of course. I am still so sorry about not telling you I was sick. That was a rotten thing for me to do. But you are here now and I can't wait to show you around!” he reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her with him.
She dug her heels into the ground and her face sobered. “Talus I can't stay. I'm not dead yet, I'm actually alive. I was sent here by Aphrodite to give you a message.” He kept hold of her hand, but his smile faded. He didn't say anything, so she continued. “She asks that you stop waiting for me. You and I are not meant to be together. I found my soul mate, my one true love; it's not you, Talus.” He dropped her hand slowly, and turned away as a tear started down his cheek. He slowly walked back to his family and sat down, his back to her. He didn't even look back. “Goodbye Talus.” Gabrielle walked away, in search of Perdicus, her last and most difficult mission.
“M'Lila, I can't believe it's actually you.” Xena said to the young woman that had died for her. Xena reached out and touched her cheek. “I can't tell you how much it meant to me when you helped me get back to Gabrielle.”
M'Lila looked saddened at hearing that name. “You are still in love with her, aren't you? I was hoping you would come back to me, Xena.”
Now it was Xena's turn to be saddened. She appreciated this woman so much, after all she had saved her life twice; from Caesars cross and at the end, when she took an arrow for her. “I am in love with her and her with me. She is my last, M'Lila. My future is with her. I'm so sorry.”
M'Lila turned her back on Xena, softly crying. “So there is no hope that you will be with me when you cross over?”
Xena shook her head even though the young woman could not see her. “I'll be with Gabrielle, no matter what. I would do anything for her. Good bye M'Lila.” She did not wait to hear from the woman again, she turned and left with a tear in her eye.
Gabrielle wandered through the Fields for what seemed like hours. She was looking for Perdicus, but she also was avoiding finding him. “Aphrodite, I can't do this. I can't look him in the eye after everything that happened.” Her eyes were brimming with tears, when suddenly she was standing in front of Xena.
Xena saw the tears in Gabrielle's eyes and immediately pulled her into a hug. “Oh honey, are you ok?” she kissed her on the top of the head. She breathed in deeply the scent of her bard, soaking in the closeness they shared. After no response, she gently leaned back and looked down into Gabrielle's eyes. “Talk to me.”
“I have Perdicus next. I can't do it Xena, I can't look into his eyes. I can't tell him that it was all a mistake.” Gabrielle started to sob, leaving her speech incoherent.
She pulled Gabrielle back into a tight hug, kissing her forehead every few seconds. “It's alright. You don't have to. I will go with you if you want me to?”
Gabrielle didn't respond, but she started wiping her eyes and breathing deeply to calm herself down. “No, I have to do it alone. Bringing you would probably just anger him. I have to be strong and do this.”
“Ok, honey. I just want to make sure you realize that you don't have to do it. I won't judge you if you don't. Aphrodite probably won't punish you for not doing it, it's not really her style. But I know that you are strong enough. You are such a beautiful person inside and out; you have so much inner strength that you have been the only thing carrying me on at times.” She kissed her one last time and sent her off. “Good luck. I've got to go see Lao Ma. See you back here soon, ok?”
“Alright. Bye Xena. I love you.” Then Xena was gone.
The afterlife for Lao Ma was different than for the Greeks. Xena did not fully understand it, but she nevertheless pushed forward to find her old friend. She was walking down a dirt path in the land of Chin. It was completely vacated, not a sole in site. She heard the sound of water moving and decided to see what it was; a small river appeared next to the path. Following the water, she came across a field of flowers. She picked a few as she strolled, not sure where she would end up. After a few minutes she found who she was looking for; Lao Ma. She was sitting near the stream, singing a soft melody. The scene brought a tear to Xena's eyes, for the song was full of sadness.
Once she was able to stop the tears, she quietly spoke, knowing Lao Ma would hear her, “Hello friend.” Xena said in a voice softer than she thought possible. “I've missed you.”
The woman stood up and turned around slowly. Her eyes were misty with unshed tears. She began to move toward Xena, never taking her eyes from her. “My dearest Xena. What brings you to see me here?”
Xena smiled as the woman was finally standing within her grasp. She reached out and cupped the woman's face with her hand. “Oh how I wish you were still alive.” She stroked the cheek with her thumb. Lao Ma closed her eyes and leaned forward to kiss Xena, but at the last movement Xena turned her head.
“What is it? What is wrong, my love?” Lao Ma asked, confusion written on her face. She reached up to wipe a tear that fell from Xena's eye.
“My heart and soul have been freely given to another; she is my source for everything I do. Without her, I would have been dead several years ago. I came to say goodbye to you, Lao Ma…forever.” Xena removed her hand from the cheek of her former lover.
Lao Ma let out an audible gasp as her eyes began to leak a steady stream of tears. “Believe it or not, I'm happy for you Xena. Of course, I wish we could be together. I think about it all the time, but I know that it could never be.”
“Then why do you pray to Aphrodite? I want you to be at peace without me.” Xena asked softly, compassion showing on her face.
Lao Ma turned her face, embarrassed that Xena knew about her prayers. “I guess I have just been selfish, desperately wanting to be reunited with you. I miss you terribly, Xena. You died awhile back, didn't you? I saw your spirit, Xena. You have become the woman I always hoped you would. I wish I could get to know the woman you are today.” Lao Ma faced Xena again, “On a happier note, tell me who is this woman that has captured your heart and soul?”
Xena smiled, breaking the tension. “Her name is Gabrielle. She's a bard, poet and she helps me fight evil for good. She's kind, compassionate, and pure. She's everything to me.” Xena's face had visibly brightened as she spoke.
“Ah, then I'm even more happy for you. Please, put me in your past as I will you. I will never forget you, but I will not longer wish for you to be mine again. Be the best you can be for her, Xena. Be the person she needs you to be.”
“I will. Goodbye, my friend.”
“Gabrielle!” Perdicus ran to her and scooped her up in his arms. He hugged her fiercely. As he brought her down to the ground, he leaned in and kissed her on the lips. She did not push him away, but did not encourage the kiss either. After a moment they broke apart. “It's so good to see you, my wife.”
Gabrielle was not prepared for him to call her ‘wife'. Shit this is even worse than I expected. “Hello Perdicus. You look happy here.”
“Of course! It's the Elysian Fields! No violence, no evil; just purity, joy and happiness. It's only missing you, which now it's not.” He hesitated for a moment. “How did you pass on to the other side?”
“I'm not dead. I'm alive. I was sent here by a goddess so that I could speak with you. Is there somewhere we can sit down?” she asked. Her voice was quiet and unsure.
“I hope everything is ok?” He asked, now very concerned. He sat her next to a river that ran through the Elysian Fields. They were both silent for a moment until he reached over and tilted her chin towards him with his finger. “Gabrielle?”
She already had tears on the verge of release, but when he said her name she broke down sobbing. Her face became soaked with salty water, causing her additional frustration. She violently wiped at her face, trying to clear up her vision. Meanwhile he had put his arm around her.
Then he spoke, “This is about Xena, isn't it?”
Gabrielle started at his voice and words. “What?”
“You've come to tell me to not wait for you anymore.” He said as a statement, not a question.
Gabrielle shook her head, trying to clear it. “How did you know?”
“I've heard your thoughts many times. I just kept hoping, AND praying that it would change. I've been fooling myself though. I know you didn't marry me because you loved me. You married me to get away from her. It's funny, I knew that, but I kept pushing that fact to the back of my mind because I loved you so much, Gabrielle.” He looked down at the grass between his legs and picked at the blades.
“I'm so sorry I hurt you.” She said, her voice strangled with tension.
“I just want you happy. Does she make you happy?”
“Yes, she does.”
“Do you want to be with her for the rest of your life.”
“I do.” She replied.
“Good. Then I'm happy. Goodbye Gabrielle.” He said as he leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. Then he walked away for the last time.
She sat next to the river for several hours, just thinking about it all.
Xena and Gabrielle both appeared back at camp at the same time. Joxer was at their fire looking around like he was waiting for them. “There you guys are!! Some messenger came by with this for you.” He handed Xena a scroll. She opened it and read it.
“Uh Crap. While we were out and about, Aphrodite stole the Mystic Diamond from the temple of Athens. This is big trouble. It says if the diamond isn't returned by tonight, the North Star will go out. Let's move.” They all ran to gather their gear and head out to save the day. “Hm, wonder if I can do some fishing while I'm there.”
A week later
Beginning of Episode 64:
Aphrodite casts a spell of Obsession on Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer while they try to return the North Star to its place in the sky.
Better than Sex
Content Warning: This is a series that takes place between episodes. The stories build upon the TV series and it is advised that you watch the episodes then read the post-episode (this story) in between. Many references by the characters are very specific to the episodes, so you may not get everything unless you watch at the same time or have the episodes memorized. The series does lead to a romantic relationship between two women, so if you don't like it don't read it. THIS STORY CONTAINS SEXUAL CONTENT, BE ADVISED. PRETTY MUCH ALL OF IT'S ABOUT SEX.
End of Episode 64 (S3,E18):
X&G are laying on the ground looking at the stars. “Yep, definitely looks like a fish. But which one is the North Star?” Gabrielle asks.
Xena points, “The big one.”
“Mm. It's a good thing you figured out all that insight stuff, Xena. Who knows how long we'd be under that spell?”
Xena looks over at her friend. “I couldn't have done it without you. The only reason I do any good at all in this world is because I do it with you. You make an important contribution every day. I'm gonna make sure that people know that from now on.”
Gabrielle shakes her head and smiles, “You don't have to do that. But it's nice to be reminded that you feel that way.” They both chuckle.
Two days later…
“Xena, I don't know how you could have enjoyed that sweet bread. It was terrible! It would have tasted better covered in…dirt!” Gabrielle throws her hands up in the air as they walk back to their room at the inn. “You have such barbaric taste in food.”
Xena's eyebrow raises, “Are you kidding? Dirt? Nah. It was good. I'd never had that kind before. What was it called again?”
“Crap, that's what it's called. I could make you something so much better! If only I had all the ingredients, utilities and an oven.” Gabrielle boasted with a smile on her face. When they approached their room she reached out to open the door but was stopped by Xena grabbing her. She looked at Xena behind her and Xena shushed her with her finger. Gabrielle backed up to let Xena in first, worried that there was a stranger in their room. Xena opened the door cautiously, ready to defend off any trouble. As soon as she had the door opened, she turned around and grabbed Gabrielle, tossing her over her shoulder, then kicked the door shut behind her. She heads straight to the bed, with Gabrielle kicking and screaming. “Xena! Put me down!”
Xena tossed her on the bed with a huge smile on her face. She kneeled on the bed, then began to crawl like a predator towards Gabrielle. “Don't worry, you are safe.” As she reached Gabrielle's feet, she pulled her red boots off and tossed them over her shoulder. She scrunched her nose and waved her hand in front of her nose. “Whew, you need to wash those sexy little feet.”
“Xena!” Gabrielle glared at her. “It's your own fault, you took them off.”
Xena began to kiss her ankle, then moved to her calf. “I love your legs.” She said as she continued up said leg. Reaching the knee she decided to examine a small cut that the bard had on there. It was dirty and a little red. “Honey this looks infected.”
“Stop picking at me. Continue kissing.” Gabrielle says as she swats at Xena's hand.
“Yes, my Queen.” Xena kisses the cut, then moves slowly up Gabrielle's leg. She gets to her mid-thigh and stops her progression upward. It's smooth and silky against her lips. The muscles under her skin twitch slightly, tensing then releasing. It turns Xena on to an incredible degree. “Your skirt is in my way,” she growls as she unbuckles the bards skirt and tugs it down with a little trouble. Gabrielle begins to help, all too eager to get it off, her breathing getting a little erratic. As they are struggling to get it off, Gabrielle's foot hits Xena in the chest. “Ow!! My boob!” Xena sits back on her heels and holds her breast.
“Oh crap! I'm sorry honey. You ok?” Gabrielle sits up at the same time that Xena is leaning down to resume her kissing. Gabrielle's head hits Xena square in the nose. “Ow!” they both yell at the same time. Gabrielle lies back down on the bed, holding her head.
Xena is sitting up again, this time she's turned around and has her head down. “I'm bleeding, Gabrielle. Bleeding. Not cool.” She pinches her nose and walks over to the wash basin.
The bard puts her skirt back on all the way, then gets out of bed to assist her warrior, she states the obvious, “We are really off today, aren't we?” She sets her hand on Xena's back. “Here let me see.”
Xena turns around, still pinching her nose. In a nasally voice she replies, “There is nothing to see.”
“Actually there is; it looks like you are bleeding on the outside too. Yeah, there is a cut on the bridge. Oh I'm so sorry, Xena.” Gabrielle gets a wet linen cloth and gently wipes the blood off Xena's face, above her lip and on her chin. After a few minutes she requests, “Here unpinch, let's see if it's still bleeding.”
Xena does as asked, but no blood drips. “Finally. Do I look like I was in a fight?”
The bard shrugs, “Eh, sort of. Want me to give you black eye too so it really looks like it?”
Xena ponders this possibility, “Let's wait and see if it turns black on its own. Sometimes that happens. Here give me that cloth.” She takes it and wipes Gabrielle's forehead off. “You have a little blood on ya.”
“Thanks. Wow that was a mood killer, huh?” She laughs. Just then she is swept off her feet and tossed on the bed once again. “Oof. Seriously! I have a head injury here woman!”
Xena pounces on top of her. “Head injury, pft. I think I can get you in the mood again love. Just watch, learn and don't make any sudden movements.” She winks at her lover, then looks down at the skirt. “Seriously, you put it back on after it took us that much pain and suffering to get off!?” Xena gets off the bed and stands next to it. “Take it off, oh Queen of mine.”
Gabrielle blushes, realizing that she is going to be stripping for Xena. She lifts her butt off the bed, causing her toned abs to flex. The candle light casts a warm glow over them, causing Xena to heat up just watching. Soon she slides them to her knees, then lifting her feet she pulls them all the way off. “There, off. Now what?” She cocks her eyebrow at Xena.
Xena gets back on the bed and starts from the beginning, working her way back up to her lovers thigh. Instead of kissing her way to the inside, she stays on top of Gabrielle's firm leg, kissing up to the crest of her hip. For a quick teaser, she licks downward and in along the slight crevasse that leads to Gabrielle's center; however she stops at the top of her lips. Her lover's hips lift off the bed, then go back down. She tilts her head up and looks at Gabrielle.
The bard glares at her, “That was mean.”
Xena chuckles, then licks her way up to the bards belly button. The licking stops and the kisses take back over. Gabrielle flexes her abs, soliciting a groan from Xena, who opens her mouth more and gently bites down.
Gabrielle gasps, then says “Xena, why are you dressed still. This is not fair.”
Xena sits up and quickly removes her battle dress. “There, you'll have to remove the rest…later.” She says, referring to her under dress. “Now, relax and let me make you feel good.” Gabrielle relaxes again as Xena moves to her mouth. She gently glides her lips over the bards, the heat of their mouths colliding. Dipping her tongue out, she caresses the lips in front of her, creating a moan in both of them.
Not being able to hold back any longer, Gabrielle pulls her tongue into her mouth. Their passion stirs to new heights as Gabrielle puts her arms around Xena's lower back. The bard begins to take control, pulling Xena's hips down into hers.
For a moment, their bodies grind against each other, until Xena takes control back. She pulls her hips out of Gabrielle's grasp and begins kissing down her throat, alternating between sucking, licking and kissing. Gabrielle begins to pant harder, anxiously awaiting for Xena to move down further. Soon, her wish is granted and Xena begins kissing the tops of her breast, along the line of her green top. Xena growls again, then sits up. “Remove.” The bard shakes her head no. “No? Hm. Didn't expect that.”
Gabrielle looks at her coyly and says, “You've gotta work for that Princess. You have two hands, use them.” The second the words were out she sees the mischievous look cross Xena's face. “No, don't you dare WP.” Xena's begins to wiggle her fingers, imitating tickling, as she moves them towards Gabrielle's ribs. Gabrielle reaches up and grabs both of her hands and fights to keep them from landing on her tummy. She is able to keep Xena back, but only because Xena is not trying very hard. “Ok, you win. I'll take it off.”
“That's what I like to hear.” Gabrielle slowly unlaces her top, trying to be sexy. “Faster.” Gabrielle stops. Xena shrugs, the leans down and begins to unlace it with her teeth. After a few moments, she has it completely off her woman. Her breasts are soft, perky and smooth as silk. Her nipple is already slightly hardened in anticipation of what is to come. “Much” she kisses near one nipple. “Better”, she kisses near the other.
Gabrielle gasps both times, then cups the back of Xena's head and pulls her down directly onto her right nipple. “Please, honey. Suck on it.”
Never one to turn down that request, Xena immediately takes the nipple into her mouth, gently sucking. Gabrielle's back arches into it, offering more of herself to her lover. Xena's tongue begins to slowly, methodically circle her hard nipple. After a moment, her head is moved to the other breast, least she not forget it. As she continues to work on each nipple, arousing them both to a greater level, she slides one hand down Gabrielle's stomach. It stops at the top of her slit, softly stroking the area. She moves it down further along her outer lips, causing Gabrielle to moan and writhe in pleasure.
Soon, she cannot take it anymore, her body feels as though it's going to burst. She needs release, now. “Oh Xena, please make me come. Please, I need you.” She begs her soul mate. Xena stops. Gabrielle groans in frustration. “Please!”
“Hold on, my Queen.” Xena reaches to the other side of the bed and digs around in her saddle bag. She pulls out the dildo that Gabrielle purchased over a year ago. So far, they had not used it on Gabrielle; but Gabrielle had used it on Xena. Unfortunately, they had not been able to use it on Gabby because it was a little too large for her. She had never purchased one before, nor did she realize how much bigger it was than her own body was at that time. They had slowly been working on preparing her to use it. “Is it ok if we try this again? I think you are ready.”
“Yeah.” She replied hesitantly.
“I'll be very gentle, ok? Let me know if it feels too uncomfortable for you to stand. Promise?” Xena calmly looked into her eyes, hoping to convince her lover that it would be ok.
“I promise. Please Xena, I am really struggling here. I need you on me again.”
Xena strapped the dildo onto herself, then leaned back over Gabrielle, who accepted her between her legs. Xena first kissed her lover, reassuring her that everything would be ok. She ran her hand back down Gabrielle's body, first over her nipple, then down her abs, ending in her wet folds. “Oh, you feel so good.” Xena let out a moan, then dipped her finger into Gabrielle's core, slowly moving in and out. Gabrielle's hands wrapped around Xena's back as she pushed into the touch. After a moment, Xena pulled her finger out and coated the dildo with Gabrielle's lubrication. She gently guided the head into place, then pushed in slightly. She looked to the bards eyes to see if everything was ok; she got a nod. She continued to enter Gabrielle, slowly, until it was in about half way. Gabrielle gasped in pleasure. Not sure how much the bard could take, she stopped there and began to glider her hips, back and forth, forming a steady rhythm.
Gabrielle's eyes were closed and Xena's body rocked her hips in the most erotic fashion she'd ever seen. She watched Xena as she moved inside her. Her body glistened sweat, muscles flexing as she moved. The sight caused Gabrielle much lust, making her even wetter as her lover drove her to orgasm. It started as a slow, burning deep inside, building with each stroke. She pulled herself up against Xena's body and her fingers dug into Xena's back, as the sensation exploded within her. Her whole body went still, her breathing stopped as Xena continued to pump in and out. After a moment, her orgasm was over, causing her to go limp and fall gently back onto the bed.
Xena pulled their toy out, then crawled up next to Gabrielle on the bed. She kissed Gabrielle's cheek, then chin, then eye lids and finally her mouth. “I love you.”
“I la wo too.” Gabrielle couldn't even speak coherently.
The next morning was a surprise, it was pouring rain outside. Xena was up at the crack of dawn, watching it come down in sheets through the window. “Lousy weather.” She mumbled under her breath. She turned towards the bed as she heard Gabrielle stirring.
“Xe?” she sleepy mumbled.
“Morning.” She said, as she ambled back over to the bed. “Sleep well?”
Gabrielle stretched herself out, making mewing noises as she did so. Then she smiled, “How could I not after last night?”
“Mm, good point. It's raining…hard. We might have to stay here today.”
Suddenly her partner was throwing her fists in the air, “YES!! Oh I'm so excited. I want to stay in bed with you all day. Wont' that be awesome?”
Xena's eyes widened. “All day? I mean, being with you all day is always awesome, but bed? You know me, I get a little restless.”
“Well we wouldn't be sleeping, ya know. If you remember, I passed out last night and didn't get to play with you. My turn.” She said as she pawed at Xena's naked body.
“Mm, don't worry. I took care of it.”
Gabrielle sat straight up, “What do you mean y you took care of it?” A hint of jealousy in her tone.
“Relax, would ya? I took care of myself, is what I meant.” Xena stood up and started getting dressed. “Come on, let's go eat. I'm starving.”
Gabrielle moped around the room getting dressed. “Took care of yourself? Why didn't you wake me and let me do it?”
Xena finished putting her boot on, then pulled Gabrielle by the hand over to her. “Hey, you were totally out. I actually did try to wake you, but I didn't try too hard because you were so peaceful. Besides, it's ok. Maybe you can get me later, huh?”
They wandered down to the dining area of the inn, which had absolutely no business during the rain. It did not smell as if the kitchen was even cooking any breakfast. Gabrielle went to the counter and talked to the man in charge. “Hello, we are wanting breakfast. Is the kitchen open today?”
“Nope, we don't open it on days like this. Not enough business. I have some cooked oats and honey left over from yesterday. Would you be interested in those? Oh, and I have some figs.”
Gabrielle got an idea, “What would it take for me to convince you to let me use your kitchen today? You see, it's her birthday and I wanted to make her a cake to celebrate.” She pointed over her shoulder at Xena, who was now standing in the door way watching the rain flood the streets. “I'll even pay you a couple dinars to let me use the ingredients.”
“Alright, I don't see why not. Have at it. I'm going to lock the front door though. I'll be in my home out back behind the inn. Let me know if you need something.” He walked to the door and asked Xena to step aside, which she did. Then he locked the door.
Xena looked at Gabrielle with a questioning stare. Gabrielle's reply was a smile, then she motioned for Xena to come over to her. “We've got the place all to ourselves. I'm going to make you a cake that is better than sex. Ok well, not better than OUR sex, but better than most people's sex.”
“Oh yeah? This should be interesting. Lead the way.”
“You'll like this stuff, I promise. It's called Plakous; ever had it?” Gabrielle asked as they walked into the kitchen. “No? Good. Help me find wheat flour, spelt flour, oil, goat cheese, and honey.” They both began to search the cabinets, finding most of the ingredients. “Did you find the cheese?”
“Nope, there is none where cheese normally would be.”
“Dammit, we have to have that. Xe could you go ask the innkeeper if he has any?” Gabrielle pouted her lip in sexy manipulation.
“Arg… yeah. Be right back.”
While Xena was away, Gabrielle got the oven lit and located a pan to bake with. She found all the mixing spoons she needed and was set to go; except for one thing, Xena and goat cheese. About ten minutes later, a soaking wet warrior comes through the back door. “gods what happened to you?”
“Well, the dear old innkeeper didn't have any, so I went down the road and bought some.” Xena handed her the bag. “This better be a damn good cake.”
Gabrielle reached up and cupped Xena's head, bringing her down into a soft kiss. “Thank you. You are my hero. And this cake will be worth it. If it isn't, I'll make it up to you in other ways.” She waggled her eyebrows. “By the way, I'm teaching you how to make this so pay attention.”
“Why in the world would you want to teach me how to bake something? I'm terrible at cooking, remember?”
“Well, baking is different than cooking. Plus I'll be here to make sure you don't mess up. Now, mix the spelt flour with some water and let it rise. While that is going on, I'm going to lay out the wheat flour.”
“So how much water?” Xena asked as she stared at Gabrielle.
“Pour some in slowly, I'll tell you when to stop. Stop!” Gabrielle yelled. “You did not pour that slow WP.”
“Sorry. Slow is fast sometimes. Now what? Let it rise?”
Gabrielle nodded her head. “Ok, come over here, we need to get the cheese worked. We need to make it into a cream, so you get to use your strong muscles. Yay. K, take this spoon and beat the crap out of the cheese. I'm going to add a little milk into it as we go so that it turns into a creamer substance.” Xena began to churn the soft goat cheese until it began to form a paste of sorts. Gabrielle added milk as Xena stirred until the texture was just right. “Ok, now ad honey.”
“Until I say stop.”
“So how is this teaching me anything? You aren't measuring anything so that I can remember it.” Xena smirked at her cute little bard.
“Uh.. hadn't thought of that. Just pour, we'll figure it out later. Oh, the flour is ready. Pour the honey…honey.” Gabrielle smiled, chuckling at her own pun. “Stop. Alright, now over her WP, it's time to kneed the dough.” Suddenly Xena's hands were on her ass, massaging. “Whoa! What are you doing?”
“Kneeding.” Xena smiled then laughed at herself. “I'm so funny. Ok, now get serious Gabrielle.” Her face went dead serious. “Kneeding. Put my hands wherever you want them to kneed.”
Gabrielle decided to play along. She grabbed her hands and moved them towards her breasts, then stopped. Xena's smile faded. Then she moved one hand down to her crotch, then stopped. Xena's smile again faded. Xena growled. Gabrielle leaned into her and whispered in her ear, “Ok this time you won't be disappointed.” She guided her hands directly, and quickly, into the dough. “There. Now kneed.
“That was cruel.” Xena laughed, “But nice job. You had me fooled.” Xena kneeded the dough after Gabriele showed her the proper technique. “This is a workout.” She said. Gabrielle didn't respond, so Xena looked over, feeling eyes on her. “Yeess?”
Gabrielle was staring at Xena's arm muscle's flexing repeatedly as she kneeded the dough. “Huh? Oh, sorry. I can't stop staring at your arms. Gods I want you.”
Xena ducked her head down and kissed her. “Later. Lets finish this cake, I'm hungry.”
After the dough was finished and divided into several sections, they baked it for a few minutes. Once it was baked, they layered it with the goat cream and honey mixture. They alternated the pastry and the cream until there were several layers. Xena took it to the oven and put it in for its final bake.
Gabrielle was cleaning up, when Xena put her hand in the left over flour. She stared at her hand, which was now white and got a terrible idea. “Oh Gabrielle?” she sung the bards name. Gabrielle looked up just in time to see the hand splat on her face. Xena started to laugh.
Gabrielle blinked several times then wiped her eyes. “Oh that wasn't funny, Xena of Amphipolis. You are in big trouble now.” Gabrielle grabbed a fist full of flour and threw it at her soul mate. “ha! gotcha!”
Xena quickly walked around the table and grabbed at Gabrielle's hand as she was taking another fist full. Xena tried to wrestle her to the ground, but Gabrielle slipped from her grasp. She chased her around the kitchen for a moment, then caught her. “Hey.” She said as she pulled Gabby tight against her body. “I love you Gabrielle. You know that right?”
Gabrielle is taken back by how serious Xena suddenly became. She whispers, “Yes.”
“I want you to know something. You are ‘it' for me.” Xena almost continues but she doesn't. She is visibly choked up by her own words.
After a moment, Gabrielle responds, “How can you be so sure?”
“Because I don't want anyone else. I know I never will. You complete me in ways I never thought possible for anyone to do. I'm committed to you for the rest of our lives.” Xena brushes the back of her hand across Gabrielle's flour covered cheek. Gabrielle is paralyzed, in a good way. She isn't sure how to respond without crying, so she does just that. A tear streaks down her face, forming a trail through the floury mess on her face; she almost forms words but then she can't. She swallows hard then decides to just kiss her. It gets deeply intense as they are both very emotional.
After a few moments, Gabrielle breaks away. “Xena, I don't know how to say what I want to say.”
Xena freezes inside, still unsure if Gabrielle plans on spending the rest of her life with her. “Just say whatever is on your heart, Love.”
Gabrielle thinks for a moment, carefully picking her words. “You're everything I could ever want; ever DO want. There can only ever be one person for me; that's you.. I can't fathom living without you; I know I could not survive. You are my heart and soul. ‘I love you' doesn't cut it for me. It doesn't fully express what I feel; nothing ever could. I could try my whole life to explain it to you, or show you how I feel but none of it would come close to describing it accurately.”
Xena barely finds the appropriate response, she is giddy with delight. “That's all I needed to know, Gabrielle. Thank you, for loving me like that. I will spend the rest of my life making you happy. No matter how much shit we go through, I will do my best to be the best for you.”
Gabrielle chuckles, “You look funny with flour on your face.”
Xena smiles, “So do you. Maybe we should grab the honey and head upstairs.”
A look of confusion took over her face. “Honey? What are you talking about?”
Xena grabbed the honey off the table and drizzle some on Gabrielle's neck. She bent her head and licked it slowly off.
“Oh gods. Let's go.” Gabrielle got up quickly, “Bring the honey.” They disappeared into their room for the rest of the day.
The next day…
Beginning of Episode 19:
“You're going on a long voyage. I see a man on this voyage.” A palm reader is telling Gabrielle her future in a seaside town.
Xena interrupts, “Let me guess. Tall, dark and handsome, right?” She smirks. Gabrielle glares back at her.
“As a matter of fact, he is.” The palm reader is annoyed.
“Right. Come on, Gabrielle.”
Gabrielle turns around again, “Give her a chance.” She turns back to the palm reader, “You see, we're not going on a voyage. We just needed some supplies. We're passing through.”
The palm reader looked dismayed, “Perhaps I misread.”
Xena looked pleased with herself. “Perhaps.” Gabrielle glared at her again. Xena backed away saying, “Sorry. Your dinar.”
Gabrielle turned to the reader again, “Have another look.” The reader studied her palm, then gasps. “What?” Gabrielle asked as she pulled her hand away. The woman didn't answer. “What is it?”
“All right, Gabrielle, that's enough. Come on, please.” She said with a firm voice.
Gabrielle got up, then started walking toward the door. The reader yelled, “No!” She turned back to the reader. “There's danger…great danger…and death!”
Gabrielle walked toward Xena, “Did you hear that?” she paused, “She just described every day of our lives.
End of Episode 65 (S3,E19):
“He doesn't get it, does he?” Gabrielle asked Xena after their talk with Macon.
“Not a clue.” She replied as she put her arm around Gabrielle.
“So, what do you think of that palm reader now?”
Xena smiled, “Like you said, just another average day.”
The sand was warm under Gabrielle's now bare feet. Her boots were soaked, causing raw spots to form on her skin. She, Xena, Autoclyus, and the remaining group from the ship wandered along the beach until they found a place to hike up the nearby cliffs. Their clothing was drying out quickly, due to the clear skies and sunny disposition of the day. Great day to be alive! I cannot believe…wait I CAN believe that Xena's wine skin and geyser trick worked! Although I did think my head was going to explode from the pressure. That reminds, me I need to slap her up the back of the head for showing up so late on the beach! Zeus that scared me! I am not sure what happened with Macon, but I have a feeling it was bad. I'll have to ask her later. Damn, my feet hurt!
After an hour of wandering, Xena finally spotted a path up the side of the cliff where they could make their way to the plateau above. “Everyone, over here!” she shouted at the group, who came hobbling over. Most of them had taken off their shoes for the same reason as Gabrielle. As the group was within ear shot, she pointed to the path, “There is a path here that will take us to the top. Everyone, get your boots back on. The path will probably rocky.” Groans came out of everyone's mouth. Xena walked over to Gabrielle to see how she was doing. “Hey, how are your feet?” she asked the bard as she was getting her boots back on.
Gabrielle looked up from tugging it on. “How do they look? I hate wet boots. Are you sure there isn't a more gradual incline that this?”
Xena looked up at the path and squinted her eyes against the blazing sun. Looking back at Gabrielle she shook her head. “Sorry. You can hang onto me like last time we did a path like this. Ok?” While everyone was getting ready, Xena thought back to that time. It was a mini vacation that she took Gabrielle on; to a cave at the beach. It was one of their first times really flirting. I wish that would have lasted longer. I couldn't even give her a full day of vacation. “Alright, let's get going everyone. Auto, you take the lead, I'll take the rear.”
“Hey, how come you get the rear?” He asked, then mumbled under his breath, “I'd take the rear too if I had Gabrielle in front of me.” As he started up the path he was pulled backwards by the ear. “Ow!!”
Xena was in his face, “What did you say about Gabrielle's rear?” She still had his ear pinched between her thumb and forefinger as she pulled it away from his head.
“Nothing! Let go! Ow!”
“Xena! Let him go, we need to get up this damn hill.” Gabrielle broke the attack up by putting herself in between the warrior and thief.
Xena let go, then said through clenched teeth, “You better watch what you say. I'll cut your tongue out. Now MOVE!” Autoclyus began to almost run up the path away from Xena. When he was far enough away from her wrath he slowed down to a walk, looking back every few seconds to make sure she wasn't coming after him. The rest of the group followed at a leisurely pace as they still had an injured man with them. Xena watched him closely with a deadly glare. Don't even think dirty thoughts about my bard.
Gabrielle had not yet taken her first step to follow the rest of the group. She was standing at the foot of the path, looking up at the daunting task. I hate heights. Why, oh why, did we have to end up here! She felt a hand on the small of her back as Xena bent her head down next to Gabrielle's ear.
Xena's warm breath and strong hand helped to calm her. “It's going to be ok. You can do it. I'm right behind you and if you want, I'll keep my hand on your back the whole way.” Her hand was still on Gabrielle's back as she took Gabrielle's left hand in hers. She gently tugged the bard to begin walking. “That's it, it's alright honey. I've gotcha.” She reassured her.
“If it was any other situation I might think you were patronizing me. Either that or I would say that you must think I'm Argo, talking to me like that.” Gabrielle quipped trying to get her mind of her fears. She kept Xena's hand as she fell in line in front of the warrior. Xena was now following closely in Gabrielle's footsteps, moving agonizingly slow.
When they were about half way up, far off the ground on the small footpath, Xena froze stopping them both in their tracks. She turned and saw several men following them with swords. “Pirates.” She stated under her breath.
Gabrielle turned and spotted them too. “Uh Xena… What are we going to do?”
“You? Well baby, you need to… RUN!” She shouted as a crossbow bolt went sailing past her head. “Gabrielle, go! You need to move faster.” Gabrielle did as instructed and moved as quickly as she could, praying to the gods that she wouldn't fall. Xena stayed behind her, moving up the path backwards to keep her eye on flying arrows and the speed of their pursuers.
The rest of their group heard the shouts and began to move quicker as they saw what was coming after them. Thadeus was moving very slowly with his broken leg and splint. Autoclyus rushed back down the path to help move him along. The path was narrow, so the task was troublesome. “Thadeus, I need you to put your arms over my shoulder and hang on! I'm going to try and use my back to move you quicker.” He did as asked, leaning up against the thief's back so that it was a semi-piggy back. Auto leaned over to take most of the man's weight onto his back, then he moved his feet quickly. It was working, getting them to move about double the speed as before.
Meanwhile, Xena had deflected a couple of arrows, but soon the pirates gave up shooting at them. Instead they just ran up the hill gaining on the group quickly. “Gabrielle, I'm standing ground. I can fight them off one by one like this. There is no way we are going to make it to the top before they get to us. You get the rest to safety, I'll fend them off here.”
“No way, Xena! Where you go, I go!” Gabrielle stopped and turned around to face Xena, who was still facing the pirates. Her angry eyes left no room for argument. Xena looked at her with a pleading look, then huffed as she realized that the bard was not going anywhere.
“Fine. Give me your staff, I can knock them off easier with this than my sword.” After getting the staff, the pirates descended on them within seconds. The first nasty looking bastard came at her, sword drawn. He swung at her, landing his sword in the wood of the staff. Xena twisted the staff, unarming the man, then came back with a swing that pushed him off the cliff to the rocks below. She didn't even have time to watch the satisfying splat as the next man arrived. She jabbed him in the gut with the staff, then swung it up to crack him in the jaw in an uppercut. The crunch of his bones was heard as far ahead as Xena's group, as he fell to his rocky grave. The next man was suddenly hit in the face with a rock, his nose broke open, spraying blood everywhere. Xena looked behind her as she heard a shout of triumph.
“Yes! Score one for the Amazon Queen!” Gabrielle shouted with a smile as she picked up another rock getting ready to aim. However the man she had hit did not fall off the cliff, he was kneeling on the path blocking the rest of the pirates. As he howled in pain, Xena turned around and pushed Gabrielle up the hill. “Oh come on!! I want a piece of them!” She shouted back to her warrior.
“Calm down Hercules. Let's get out of here.” They made their way up to the rest of the group as the pirates threw off the injured man and kept moving. Xena turned around to face them again, even though she was now well ahead of them. This time she drew her sword, “Come on fellas. Think you can take me?” She laughed in delight as one of them tried to take her on. “Haha, take that you disgusting, smelly, no good excuse for a pirate.” After disemboweling the fourth man, the rest stared at her in fear. “Come on.” She begged. They looked at each other then turned around and headed back to the beach. She put her sword back in its sheath. “Cowards.” She snorted then caught back up with her friends.
Gabrielle was with the rest of the group, but waiting back a little for Xena. “That was gross.” She said as Xena approached.
Xena sniffed and wiped her nose on the back of her hand. “What's gross?”
Gabrielle looked at Xena's hand, “Well that was gross too. But what I was talking about is that last guy back there. I did not need to see that.”
Xena looked back at the man's guts and body on the ground. She shrugged then looked back at Gabrielle. “Don't look. He had it coming.”
Gabrielle shook her head as she turned around and started walking again. She seemed to forget how high up she was. That was so gross. I feel sick to my stomach. Usually I don't get to see it all that much because I'm so busy fighting. After a few minutes more, they reached the top of the cliff. The path led them to a well used road, not far from the cliff edge. Gabrielle led them over to a nearby tree to rest, where they all immediately plopped onto the cool grass beneath it. All except Xena, of course. Gabrielle called her over and patted the ground next to her. “Xena, how are we going to get Thadeus to a healer? There is no way he can walk much further.”
Xena looked around at the group then back to her bard. “I'm thinking.” What I really need is a horse. Where am I going to get a horse? I could make a litter for him, but I don't think we could drag the litter without said horse; especially since we have no water with us. We'd die of thirst before we would reach help. Crap. Xena looked around again, all eyes were on her. “Alright, here is what we are going to do. This is a main trading route for the coastal towns. We are not that far from one of those towns. I'm going to walk from here to the town to bring back help.” Xena nodded to herself affirming the plan in her head as the best scenario. As she looked around, she found that most of them seemed relieved, except of course, Gabrielle.
Gabby leaned over, “Uh what about water? We can't go that long without water, Thadeus especially. I am worried about his leg.”
Xena got onto her knees at the base of the tree. She started digging into the soft coastal soil until the soil turned dark with moisture. “Soraya, I need to cut off some of the material at the bottom of your dress. Is that ok?” the woman looked at her as though she were crazy, but she nodded her consent. Xena took out her breast dagger and cut a large portion of the dress off, then cut it into several smaller pieces. She scooped a handful of wet soil into the rag, then twisted it closed. She kept twisting it until beads of moisture formed at the bottom of the rag. She dripped it into her mouth. “It'll do. Everyone grab a rag and start digging. You can get quite a bit of water out of the soil, especially around the tree.” Xena watched as they did as she instructed, Gabrielle included. “Does anyone still have a wine skin?”
“I do, Xena. Here, catch.” Soraya threw it to her.
Xena quickly dug up more dirt into her rag and began to squeeze it into the wine skin. Gabrielle saw what she was doing and decided to help. As one dug, the other squeezed, then they switched back and forth like that until the wine skin was about quarter full. The further down they dug, the more wet the soil became. After about two feet down one hole, the bottom filled with water. Xena scooped it up in her hand then dumped it into the rag to filter it as it went into the wine skin. Now that she had found so much water, it only took a couple more minutes to fill the skin at least three quarters of the way. She stood up and handed Gabrielle a dagger. “Use if you need to, ok?”
Gabrielle stood up as well and wiped her hands off. She grabbed Xena's hand and took her out of ear shot of the group. “I am coming with you, no arguments.”
Xena put her hands on her hips. “Gabriellllle” she drew out the name. “You need to stay and help them. You are the only one that knows a little bit of healing, plus you know how to trap animals in case you need to get some food while I'm gone. I shouldn't be gone that long, but just in case. You will be fine. They need you.”
Gabrielle looked at the group as she thought about what Xena said. “Hm. Why don't you send Autoclyus? Actually, he knows how to hunt right?”
Xena put her hands on the bard's shoulders. “Gabrielle, look at me. I need you to stay here. Please.” Gabrielle shrugged her hands off, then turned to stomp away. Xena's hand darted out to stop her, then she pulled her back to face her. “I love you, Gabrielle. I know you are mad at me, but it won't take long. I should be back before dark.” Gabrielle looked up at her, anger clearly radiating out of her expression. “I love you too, Xena. I'm going to miss you.” Xena says in a different voice, trying to imitate Gabrielle.
The bard chuckled, her anger melting a little. “I love you too.” She said as she turned to walk back to the tree. When they got there, Xena grabbed her wine skin and hugged Gabrielle goodbye.
The sun was fading quickly on the western horizon over the sea, three hours after Xena had left the group. She arrived to the outskirts of the small fishing village, walking past deserted homes. Gods I hope this place isn't a ghost town. I know it was always small, but hopefully something is left. When she arrived into the heart of the town, she was not too disappointed, though it had a lot more activity many years ago when she was last here. She quickly found a stable and its owner. “Hi there.” She greeted the man.
He looked up from his work as he wiped his brow. “Evening. Something I can help you with?” He took the opportunity to sit on a bale of hay to rest. He was a portly man, defiantly not starving by any means.
“Maybe. I am in need of a wagon and a horse to pull it. I have a severely injured man that I need to bring to a healer. We were ship wrecked about three hours north of here. He can't walk to make it here.” She sat on a hay bale across from him.
“Ah. I see. Well I think I can help you out. As for the healer, well we don't have one here. He left last moon when some pirates raided here. I guess he was sick of getting robbed. But I do have a wagon and horse you can rent from me. Do you have the dinars?” He asked, hoping that she wouldn't convince him to let her use it for free. His wife would kill him, because he was always too nice helping people out.
“Unfortunately, I don't have any on me right now. When we wrecked, we had to swim quite a ways to get to shore. Anyway, I lost it in the swim. Look if you can't let me borrow it on good faith, maybe you could come with me to ensure that I don't steal it.” Xena said, hoping he would accept this. Damn, should have brought Gabrielle. She is so much better at this than I am.
The man looked off into the distance to think. “Ah, fine. I'll go with ya.” He said, knowing that if he didn't he would never hear the end of it. “My wife would kill me if I let some stranger borrow a wagon and horse.” He smiled at her. “Alright, come on. I'll help you get it all ready. But I have to let my wife know that I'm leaving.” About an hour later they were on their way.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle and the group had built a fire and made themselves nests of grass and leaves to sleep on. Gabrielle was worried that Xena wasn't back yet, as it was now dark, about five hours after she had left. Her hunting didn't go so well, which meant they had nothing to eat. I sure hope she thinks to bring some food. My tummy hurts. Come on Xe, get your cute little warrior butt back to me.
As she was lost in thought, Autoclyus sat down beside her, “So Gabrielle, tell me some more about yourself. I really don't know a whole lot. For instance, do you have a boyfriend?”
She laughed, “Ha ha, funny. If I did, do you really think he would let me travel across Greece without him?”
“What about Joxer?” He asked as she was taking a drink of water.
She quickly spit out the water and started choking. After she cleared her throat of water, she replied with the ‘Xena look'. “Yeah, right. Joxer. Pft. That's a funny joke.”
“So no boyfriend, huh?” He leaned closer to her and put his arm around her, “I can't believe a woman as beautiful as you is still single. Me? Oh well I don't have a girlfriend.”
“Funny, I don't remember asking. Besides, who says I am single?” She replied, watching him out of the corner of her eye. Ha didn't see that one coming did ya big guy.
“Wait. I'm confused.”
She pushed his arm off then looked at him and smiled, “Night Auto. If you aren't out of my bed in two seconds, I'll stick Xena on you when she returns.”
He immediately jumped up and over to his grass bed. “Night.”
An hour later, Gabrielle woke to the sound of a trotting horse. Her reflexes had her grabbing her staff before she had even registered what was coming. Once she shook her head a few times, she realized it was a horse getting closer and closer. She prepared her staff, just in case, but was hoping it was Xena. After a minute, the sound was right next to them and it came to a stop. She grabbed a large branch out of the fire and directed it to the area the horse had stopped. “Who's there?” she called into the blackness.
“It's me Gab.” Xena said as she walked into the light. “I brought a wagon.” She looked at Gabrielle then at the campers. “We should be able to get everyone in it comfortably.” Gabrielle sighed as Xena weeded her way through the group, all of whom were still sleeping. Gabrielle put the branch down as Xena pulled her into a hug. Xena stooped her head down and gently kissed Gabrielle. “Ready to go? I brought you some food and clean water.”
“Yes. I'm totally ready. Did you bring nutbread?” She asked, only slightly joking.
“Hmm, nope forgot the nutbread. Sorry.” She nipped at Gabrielle's nose with her lips. Then she released her and turned to the campers. “Alright, do I yell to wake them up, or do it your way?”
“My way? And what would that be?” She asked skeptically.
“Softly rousing them from their dreams.” Xena smiled. “Come on, help me get them up.” They walked around waking each person up one at a time. Xena squatted down next to Thadeus as she shook him awake. “How you feeling?” She put her hand to his forehead. “Shoot. You have a fever. Come on, let's get you into the wagon.” He mumbled something she could not understand. Shit, we gotta move now. She looked around and spotted Autoclyus, “Auto, come help me out over here. We need to get him into the wagon. Is everyone up?”
He ambled over to help her, “Yeah everyone is up.” He grabbed the man's legs as Xena grabbed under his arms. Together they carried him to the back of the wagon. Once everyone was loaded, they settled down and passed out some bread and cheese that Xena brought with them. Gabrielle went to take a bite of her bread, when it was snatched out of her mouth by Xena.
“Hey!!” Gabrielle squealed at her. “Give me my bread! I'm starving.” She tried to grab it out of Xena's hand.
“Ah ah ah… You don't get this bread. I'll eat this one.” Xena took a bite as Gabrielle gawked at her. Gabrielle handed Xena her chunk of cheese to. Xena shook her head no. “You can have that.”
Gabrielle punched her in the arm. “And why don't I get bread?!”
“Ow… I didn't say you don't bread. I said this bread.” Xena smiled as Gabrielle looked at her befuddled. Xena dug into the sack next to her and pulled out a wrapped bundle, then tossed it to her.
Gabrielle dropped her cheese as she caught the bundle. She gave Xena a strange look, then unwrapped the bundle. To her delight, there was a loaf of nutbread! Gabrielle's eyes lit up and she once again squealed. She looked at her mate and smiled. “Sorry I punched you.” She leaned over and gave Xena a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks honey.” Xena smiled back.
The next day they part ways with Autoclyus.
The next day….
Beginning of Episode 66:
Gabrielle and Xena are walking with Argo, “Now are you sure you don't want me to come with you?” she asks Xena.
Xena replies, “And miss Adar's speech? Please.” She laughs, “Send my regrets. I'll be there first thing tomorrow.” They split ways.
End of Episode 66 (S3,E20): http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/vanish.html
“Autolycus, tell me you don't feel a little bit happy that you've given the people their statue back.” Gabrielle asked the King of Thieves.
“I'll tell you what makes me feel a little bit better-knowing that the crown of…” he bows he head.
Gabrielle finishes for him, “The King of Thieves”?
“Has been restored again. And if these people want to feel happy, well that's ok too.” He turns to face Xena. “Xena.”
Xena faces him and says in her Ezra voice, “Autolycus, baby.” She smiles at him.
“I tried to thank you back there at the castle, but you're not an easy person to thank.”
She replied, “I don't need any thanks.”
“I'm sure you don't. And I don't have gems or money or anything else of value to offer you, except this.” He leans over and kisses her on the cheek. Xena's eyes move over to Gabrielle as he kisses her lightly. Gabrielle cocks her eyebrows. “You are the second-best thief I've ever met. And if you ever need to get inside my body again, you just look me up.”
“Thanks.” She smiles awkwardly as she turns back to face Gabrielle.
Autolycus turns to her as well, “Gabrielle.” He takes her hand.
“Yes?” she says, as she moves her face in position to get a kiss on the cheek.
He doesn't kiss her, “You'll miss me.” He taps her hand as he runs off to visit some women calling his name.
Gabrielle moves over to Xena, “How's it feel to be a thief?”
“Second best? He's got some nerve.” She replied with a chuckle.
As they leave the seaside village, they walk along the grassy hills overlooking the ocean. The waves are calm and soothing to Gabrielle's ears. She stops and closes her eyes for a moment, just listening. The gulls overhead caw at each other, swooping down to the beach to find food. The sound of Xena walking back towards her draws her out of her lull. She peeks one eye open to see her soul mate. “Hi.”
Xena smiles, then walks behind Gabrielle and puts her arms around her waist. “Hi.” She sets her chin on Gabrielle's shoulder as they look out at the ocean. “It's nice here, huh?”
Gabrielle slowly exhales, “It sure is. I love the ocean. It reminds me of that vacation that we took. The one that didn't last a full day.” She chuckles. “I wish we were at our lake.”
Xena turns her head inward and kisses Gabrielle on the cheek. It's not that far, maybe we could go take a mini vacation there. That's definitely the place to relax. “Gab, let's do that.”
“Go to our lake. I think we could both use a rest. What do you say? It's not that far from here.” Xena nudges Gabrielle's neck with her nose and softly kisses her jaw.
Gabrielle sighs contentedly, “Mm yeah. I like that idea.” Oh yes! I could really use this. We need some time alone, no ships sinking, no pirates, and best of all, no thieves. Just me and her.
The craggy mountain peaks tower above the peaceful lake. The wet spring has caused a wealth of green growth down to the edge of the water. Pine trees surround the area, perfuming it with a fresh scent. Gabrielle, Xena and Argo arrive at moments before dusk. The sun is beginning its journey behind the mountains as the sky colors with red, orange and pink hues. Gabrielle hops off the horse and stretches her arms skyward, causing her back to gently pop. “I almost forgot how beautiful it is here.”
Xena is taking off Argo's saddle and their gear. She stops and looks at her bard. “its beauty pales in comparison to you though.” Xena snapped her jaw shut as soon as she said it. Wow that was cheesy! I can't believe I just said that!
Gabrielle smiles, “Hon, that was…interesting. I've never heard you say anything like that before.” She walks over to her warrior and hugs her. Noticing that Xena's face was flushed with embarrassment, she adds “It's ok. I was thinking the same thing about you.” She tried to make her feel better. “Now let's get settled in before dark. I can't wait to lay under the stars here. They are so much better looking this high up.”
“They don't look any different, silly. You just think they do.” Xena finishes with Argo, then sends the mare off into the grass to eat. She watches Gabrielle as she is crouched down on her feet, breaking sticks into kindling, for the fire. Xena's heart melts at the simple sight in front of her. I love the routine we have. It's so comfortable. I keep feeling like I want to get closer to her, let more of myself be available to her. But I am not sure how. I keep telling myself I just need to open up to her and tell her things she doesn't know about me. But would she be scared? Does she even want to know?
As Gabrielle finishes the fire, Xena heads out to hunt down some food. Wow, I haven't written in my scrolls forever. I think it's about time. She grabs her parchment, quill and a fur to sit down on, then begins to write: It's been about 3 weeks since I've wrote. We have been so busy lately, it's crazy. Aphrodite sent us on a crazy quest to tell all our former lovers that we are never going to be theirs again. That was really hard. It was hard to see Perdicus, but he took it better than I thought he would. Believe it or not, Xena and I haven't even discussed what happened that day. I have no idea how it went with anybody except Hercules since we were both there for that one. I should probably ask her. Xena and I are doing well. I think our relationship is really maturing. We've been through Tatarus and back, together. Several days ago we discussed our feelings about our future together. I wish we could have talked more about it, but it wasn't the time or place. Maybe this is, here at our lake. The one place I feel at complete peace, without worry of violence. It's our sanctuary. Maybe we should build a home here. Ha, a home. I wonder if I'll ever have a physical home. I say Xena is my home and I do mean that. What if we were able to build a home somewhere, just to come to when we needed time away from our busy, often dangerous, lives?
Xena walks into camp with a few squirrels. “This is all I could find tonight. It seems every other creature is hiding.” She bends down to kiss Gabrielle on the lips, then turns to begin to prep their food. Gabrielle puts her scroll away to help Xena prep everything.
“Hey, Xe? I keep forgetting to ask you how it went with your part of the quest Aphrodite sent us on. Was that hard for you?”
Xena looked up from chopping meat, “Uh some were hard, yeah.” Good answer, Xena. Not. This would be a good chance to try that whole “opening up” thing. “I mean, yes. Lao Ma was the hardest for me. I had such a deep connection with her all those years ago. Granted it's nothing like you and I have now. You and I are soul mates, I have no doubt about that. I wasn't right for Lao Ma, though. She needed me to be someone I wasn't capable of being then. I'm actually that person now, but it was only because of you that I am this way.”
“I'm sorry that was so hard for you. I hope she can be happy for us.”
“She is! She asked me about you in fact. She said she was glad that I was happy.” Xena smiled at the memory. “I am too. What about Perdicus? How did that go?”
Gabrielle sighed, “It hurt. I hurt him bad Xe. I can't believe I did that. It was so unfair of me to do that to him.”
“Do what to him? You married him because you loved him, right?” Xena asks, slightly confused.
Gabrielle scoffs at the thought, then breaks into tears, “No. I did it for the wrong reasons.” She begins to sob, thinking back to some of the most confusing time of her life.” Xena puts her arm around the bard to pull her close.
Kissing the blonde's head she asks, “What reasons did you do it for?” I cannot believe we never talked about this? How could I have been so insensitive and never ask her how she felt about the whole thing! I guess I just wanted so badly to put it behind us.
Gabrielle looks up at her through tears, “I did it to get away from you. I couldn't stand not being with you anymore, I loved you so much Xena. We kept getting so close to each other. I kept praying that you would tell me how you felt. The night he showed up to propose, you and I almost kissed, remember? If we would have, I would have said no to Perdicus.”
“But I left you sitting there alone.” The statement was dour and filled with self hatred. “I've regretted that moment for a long time. I don't know how I could have been so foolish. I wish you would have told me the next day! Why didn't you speak up?” Xena's emotions began to twist on her, pulling her in different directions; first anger at herself, then at her lover.
The anger and hurt were evident in the response, “I tried! I tried to find you, but you weren't around the camp that night. You kept avoiding me. The next day you gave me your blessing to marry him! What was I supposed to think? I'll tell you what I thought, I thought you didn't love me!”
Xena was quiet, a tear running down her cheek. She took the minced meat and threw it into the pot of boiling water and vegetables. Gabrielle followed suit, adding spices. The silence was awkward. In the distance an owl hooted, echoing around them. They both walked down to the water's edge and washed their hands clean. Xena reached over and grabbed Gabrielle's hand. “I'm sorry, honey. I wasn't thinking clearly then. I thought you didn't love me either. To be honest, I was scared shitless. I've never been so scared. I knew I was losing you forever that day you married him.” They stood up and embraced.
“I'm sorry too. I guess it doesn't matter now, we are together and everything is good.” She squeezed her lover as she looked up into her blue eyes. “I love you Xena. With all my heart.”
“Right back at you. I can't believe we've never talked about all this. I should have been more sensitive to your emotions Gabrielle. I should have been checking on you and asking you how things were. I'll try to be better at that, ok?” Leaning down she captures Gabrielle's lips in a passionate, love filled kiss.
They walk back to the fire and sit down next to it warming their hands. Gabrielle was lost in thoughts of the past when Xena spoke. “Hey, I want you to know… if you ever have any questions about my past or anything that you don't know about me that you want to know, you should ask.”
“Xena, I know you better than you think. But this could be a fun game anyway. Let me think…questions for the WP.” Gabrielle smiled as a thought came to her, “What is your favorite childhood memory?”
Xena smiles at the memory as she recalls it, “Remember when we went fishing a couple weeks ago? I think my favorite memory is of Lyceus and I fishing for that huge fish. We fished there a lot. It was one of the happiest times of my life. What about you?”
Gabrielle thinks for a moment, “When my mother taught me how to make those little pastries with red filling that you like. That turned out to be good for both of us.” She winks at Xena. “My mom hadn't been spending much time with me. I sort of thought she didn't love me anymore. Her and my dad had been fighting a lot so I guess her attention was elsewhere. One day she asked if I want to learn how to make a treat. The recipe had been handed down from her mother, and her mother before her. Mother had never told me much of my grandmother, but that day she told me all about her as she taught me how make the treats. It was really good.” Gabrielle sighed in memory. “What is the craziest thing you've ever done?”
Xena laughs as she gets up to stir their stew. “That's a loaded question! There are so many crazy things I've done in my life.” She pauses for a moment as she ponders the question. “I think the craziest is when I tried to kill you. I don't know how I could have been so stupid?” The fun they were having is quickly replaced by bad memories. “Sorry, I shouldn't have brought that up.”
“It's ok. I asked the question and your answer was honest. The craziest thing I ever did was trying to push you off that cliff. We share the same crazy moment.” Gabrielle chuckled nervously, “Boy am I glad we overcame all of that. I wouldn't have survived without you.”
Xena sat next to her again and took her into her arms. After a few moments of holding each other, they ate their dinner and retired to their bedrolls for the night. They made love several times throughout the night, content to just be in each other's arms resting in between sessions. Both were glad they had talked through some things from their past, happy that they can look toward their future together.
Beginning of Episode 67:
A temple ruin is overshadowed by dark skies. A portal opens as Callisto crawls out of it. She looks around at the world around her and sees a pig sniffing the ground. Looking back where the portal had been, she says, “Just weren't meant to hold a real god, were you?” She looks at the pig with a crooked look, “Go away.” She waggles her finger and the pig runs.
A Few Seconds in Time
End of Episode 67 (S3,E21): http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/sacri1.html
Xena, Gabrielle and Callisto watch as Hope emerges from her cocoon. She looks exactly like Gabrielle. As Callisto begins to laugh, Xena and Gabrielle look at one another in horror.
(NOTE: Since episode 67 was a “to be continued” and episode 68 picked up where it left off, this will be a short interlude. These are the thoughts of our main characters when they see Hope emerge from her cocoon.)
Xena is filled with a raw black energy, sopping with hatred and disgust. I can't believe Gabrielle protected her! How could she betray me like that again? I thought she was on my side, the right side this time. Her thoughts turn back to the problem at hand, Hope. I have to kill Hope. She must die, no matter the costs.
Gabrielle is in shock, seeing her own face looking back at her. By the gods! What have I done! I should have let Xena kill her. She shakes her head at the thought. No, I can't live without Xena. If she kills Hope, then she dies. I can't let that happen! Why couldn't this demon just stay dead? I already killed her once, I will kill her again. I must!
Watching from a distance, through a portal, the god of War chuckles to himself. “Gabrielle is playing right into my trap. Soon, Hope will be dead, I will be released from my pledge to Dahok and his daughter. But Xena will be alive; Gabrielle won't let her die. Instead, Gabrielle will kill Hope, again. Xena will be so devastated, she will fall right back into my hands and fight for me once again. She will be my Goddess of War.” He chuckles to himself again, excited that his plan is perfect.
Beginning of Episode 68:
Taking off where Episode 67 left off, Xena, Gabrielle and Callisto are staring at the goddess Hope, standing before them. She is an exact replica of Gabrielle. Callisto laughs hysterically at the situation.
End of Episode 68 (S3,E22): http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/sacri2.html
Gabrielle has fallen into the lava pit with Hope in her arms. Xena and Joxer are staring into the pit, shock clearly on their faces. Callisto approaches them, laughing to herself. “I never thought I'd feel so good again. Seeing poor, dear Gabrielle sacrifice herself makes it all worthwhile. It finally gives me a reason for living and I have you to thank for it, Xena!” She continues with her high pitched childish laugh.
Xena's face quickly turns to fierce anger as she lets out a yell. She turns around with the Helios dagger in her hand and stabs Callisto in the gut. Her eyes are brimming with tears at the loss of her friend. “No more living for you.” She says to Callisto as she falls dying to the ground. Xena's face is etched with pain and devastation. She turns back toward the pit and begins to weep.
A month later…
A healer runs into the room of her patient. The patient is screaming in her sleep, sweating so bad the sheets are soaked. The woman tosses and turns, becoming violent in her nightmare and in reality. The healer doesn't dare to wake her, afraid that she herself will be hit by the young woman in front of her. Suddenly, the patient's eyes fly open. She is awake, as if for the first time in months; though she was awake only a few hours ago. The healer approaches the patient and offers her water and a towel to dry off. “Thank you.” The young woman says. The healer leaves the room.
Gabrielle strips her clothes off and leaves them in a pile on the floor. They are completely wet with sweat from her nightmare. She towels herself off, then puts on a new sleeping shift from a nearby closet. Her mind is deeply disturbed from her dream. All she remembers from it is falling for what seems like eternity. She remembers pain and suffering, mostly emotional; some physical. That was it, that was the dream. She picks up a scroll and quill next to her bed. For some reason, writing helped her cope with the frequent nightmares.
It is said that darkness is the absence of light. For me, it is worse than that. Darkness surrounds me like its alive, consuming my mind and soul. I have no idea who I am, where I am, what I am. I do not know anything. I am void of all memory. I don't seem to know what to do. I haven't left this hospice yet, because I have nowhere to go, that I know of. How can my life be this? Surely I once knew who I was, where I belonged? Every night my nightmares are the same. I wake up the same. I write the same. Is this what my life is; every day repeating itself? Do I just stay here forever? She set her scroll aside and took a long drink of water. Snuggling down in the bed, she fell back asleep.
Her dreams were different this time. This time, she dreamed of a tall woman in warrior's armor. The woman has long, black hair and piercing blue eyes. Her smile was as bright as the sun, warming her heart at the sight. The woman is speaking to her, but no sound hit her ears. She cannot understand what the woman is saying. After a moment, the beautiful woman approaches her, touching her cheek with her hand, cupping it gently. She leans down and kisses her softly on the lips.
The dream ends, waking her once again. “Xena?” Gabrielle whispers to the empty room. I
remember that touch. I remember those eyes, which look deep into my soul. That smile which calms my heart and speeds it up at the same time. Xena! Where are you? I have to find her.
She gets out of bed at dawn, stepping out into the crisp early morning air. She walks to the local messenger establishment in the town in which she's been recuperating in for a month. Her mood is happy and light as she now has all her memories back. However, she misses Xena dearly and knows that she has to get word to her. “Hello. I need to get a message sent out to Xena of Amphipolis.”
The manager looks at her and lets out a little squeak. “Xena? Um, alright I suppose. What do you need with the Warrior Princess?” He has only heard of her in stories.
“She's a friend of mine, I need to let her know that I'm…” She pauses, “Alive. She thinks I'm dead.” The man gives her the parchment to write her note. “Can you show me where we are? Like on a map?” The man pulls one out and points. “Thanks.”
Xena, I miss you. I somehow survived fall into the pit. I am coming to find you. I will be going through Potedia first, then Amphipolis. If you get this note, please stay at your mom's inn so I can find you. Love, Gabrielle. After handing the man her note, she leaves the town in search of her life.
Beginning of Episode 69 (Season 4):
Hades is walking through a village that has been burnt to the ground. Dead bodies are strewn about. “Tartarus. Elysian Fields. Tartarus. Elysian Fields.” He is pointing to the bodies as he goes.
“Hades!” Xena yells as she approaches him. “My friend Gabrielle. Where is she?”
“Gabrielle? Well if she's dead, she didn't come to me.” He says as he walks off to resume his job.
“I saw her die! She had to come to you.” Xena is upset, desperately seeking an answer.
“Why would I lie to ya?” He replies. “Look, if you'd like to see Solan, I could arrange a few moments.” He stops as she cuts him off.
“No, no, no. You leave Solan out of this. He doesn't need to know about my problems. It's Gabrielle I want to see. Come on! You owe me!”
“Xena, not all the world's dead come to me.” He says as he begins walking again.
She chases after him, “She was Greek. The Olympian gods control her destiny.”
“I admit it does seem like she'd be mine, like these people. Charon and I are gonna be busy.”
Frustration consumes her, she yells at him “I'm not interested in your workload, Hades!” She pauses and softens her voice, “Look, I just wanna know where my friend went after she died.”
“Did she, uh, belong to any spiritual orders?”
“No.” she replies, then a thought hits her.
“What is it?”
“Do Greek Amazon's come to you?”
He replies, “No.”
“Then that's it. Gabrielle's initiation into the Amazons meant she went to a different land of the dead.” Hades walked away from her.
“Well I can't help you then.” He gets onto his chariot. “I don't know where that is.”
TO BE CONTINUED IN: XWP Post Episodes Series - Season 4
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