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.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 69 (S4,E1): http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/adven1.html
Xena has just finished killing the Beserker. Her new Amazon friends come to help her off her horse. “You alight?” they ask.
“My legs still feel broken. It doesn't make sense. The power that was making me relive my past seemed to be coming from the Beserker.” Xena said panting and wincing in pain.
“But you killed him.” Otere replied.
“I know.” Xena stated. “And that should have released me from” she pauses as she looks at the horse. She draws her sword and Alti's spirit comes out of the horse.
“Her spirit was in the horse! She seemed afraid of you.”
“Now maybe. But as we get closer to her stronghold, she'll get stronger and stronger. This new power she has, the one that makes you relive your past. It's a toughie.” Xena says as she drops off the horse.
“Can we beat her?” they ask.
“We've got to.” She replies.
Back in the woods, Xena and the Amazons are wandering towards the power emanating from Alti. Xena is in the lead. Everyone in the group is sullen and quiet, not quite sure how to perceive this new leader. Xena doesn't notice though. She is lost in thought.
Oh Gabrielle. I can't do this without you. I'm not holding up well. I need you. As soon as I'm done helping them, I'll find you, I promise. I'll do whatever it takes to get to you, my love. I made you a promise that death would not separate us. I intend to keep that promise. This world is darker without you in it. My world is darker. I feel like I'm lost. I'm scared. I am forever falling down an endless abyss. My heart cries out for you. I long for your touch on my skin once again. I want to hold you in my arms. Just to hear your voice again would bring hope to my battered soul. What I wouldn't give to kiss you again. I'm void of life, as you are. Why did you leave me? I love you, Gabrielle.
“Xena, hold up a minute.” Otere calls to her. Xena waits for her to catch up.
“Will you tell me about your friend? The one you were after in the land of the dead?”
Xena smiles softly, “Sure. Her name is Gabrielle, she's a bard. The best bard I know, actually. She is the smartest and most beautiful woman I know. She's funny, full of life, light and love. She's the other half of my soul; my life. Without her, I have no meaning. I would never have become the woman I am today without her. She saved me from certain death. I cannot live without her.”
Otere soaks the information in. “You speak of her as though you know her intimately.”
“Well she is… was my best friend.” Xena replies.
“That's not what I mean. Are you in love with her?”
Xena looks down at the path in front of her as a tear drops down her cheek. “Yes. She was my lover.”
Otere thinks about that for a few moments. “I'm sorry you lost her Xena. I hope that you can be with her again someday. I've never known love the way you describe it. I hope that someday I do.”
Xena smiles and wipes her tear away as they continue to walk through the forest. “I'm sure you will, Otere. Just don't let it go when you have it. Cherish it.”
“Did you let her go once?”
Xena thinks back to the time with Perdicus. She shakes her head, berating herself once again at the memory of her stupidity. “Yes. She married a man from her hometown because I didn't tell her how I felt about her. I didn't tell her how much I loved her and wanted to be with her. She was in love with me too, but couldn't be around me anymore without having me as her own. So she left and married him to escape.”
“So she was married when she passed on?”
“No. Her husband died the morning after their wedding. She came back to me. It wasn't for another three months that we confessed our love.” Xena thought back to the time she died, leaving Gabrielle behind to mourn.
“Otere!” Otere yelled, “Come here I want to show you something.”
Xena walked on in silence.
Beginning of Episode 70: Moments later…
“Xena!” Otere called.
Xena looked behind her, “Nice job.”
“What is it?” Otere looked at a hut behind them that the Amazon were building.
“Be patient. You'll find out soon enough.”
Where the Hell Am I?
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 70 (S4,E2): www.whoosh.org/epguide/adven2.html
The Amazons are dancing around the fire celebrating the liberation of their Amazon sisters in the Land of the Dead. “Xena!” Otere yells, running to catch up to her friend.
“Otere. Tonight your destiny is fulfilled. You'll take my power as leader of the Amazons” Xena replies.
“Where are you going?” Otere asks.
“Home.” Xena smiles. She holds up her hands which are stained with blood. “She's alive.”
Xena pats her friend on the shoulder and takes off to Greece.
A/N: Warning! This has spoilers for Season 6, Episode 20, since the two episodes timelines happen simultaneously. This post episode has flash-backs as well as flash-forwards to that season 6 episode. This is my humble attempt to tie the two together and fix the mistakes that the show made. Be warned, hopefully it's not too confusing. If it is, oh well. I tried.
FLASH-BACK to Season 3, Episode 22 Season Finale – Gabrielle and Hope have fallen down pit:
The heat is excruciating, making her skin feel as though it's on fire. The fine hairs on her body wither and melt. She is still yelling for Xena. Suddenly she lands with a thud on something solid; not the lava she was expecting. It's a rock ledge, just big enough for her body. She looks over into the pit to see Hope being engulfed by flames. Gabrielle lays her head on the rock, writhing in pain from the heat. Her body is struggling to bring the hot air into her lungs. It's suffocating. She curls up in a ball as her body begins to shake. Each breath becomes more and more painful than the last. Her heart is pounding in her chest, sending sharp pains throughout her body. All she can hear is the hard, intense beating of her heart. Her vision becomes blurry, and then goes dark. Her mind's eye envisions her soul mate. I love you is her last thought. The bard breathes her last breath.
Hope's body is being held up by the flames of Dahok. Suddenly Ares appears next to her. “Need some help, love?” He asks as he holds out his hand. She laughs wickedly and then takes his hand. They both disappear.
Ares and Hope appear on the outskirts of Potedia. Not a soul is around to spot them. “Home, sweet home.” He says to her as they both look around at the small farming town.
“This will be perfect to raise our child in.” She says to him. Her hands claps together in front of her as the wheels in her mind turn. “My grandparents will be so glad to see me, ‘Gabrielle'.”
He smiles back at her, “Ok, so the plan is that you pose as the annoying blonde. Her family doesn't know the difference. You make them hate Xena even more because you tell them how bad she is to you, ‘Gabrielle'. Then, you eventually tell them you are pregnant, since you won't be able to hide it. Our baby is born, the Destroyer is brought to earth. Does that sum it up?”
Hope's eyes brightened with every word. “Yes. Excellent.”
“Well, I have fun. I'm off. I've got a small war to lead over in Corinth.” He snaps his finger and is gone.
She turns towards the town and snickers, “Yes, this is the perfect place to raise the Destroyer.”
Ares is back in the lava pit, standing in air next to the ledge where he last saw Gabrielle. He has a dumbfounded look is on his face as he gawks at the bard. She is completely dead, no sign of life, no breath; nothing. Shit. I need her to use against Xena. Better get her to a healer. He says as he picks her lifeless form up, which hangs limp in his arms. He vanishes with her, only to show up at the outside of a hospice. He lays her on the front porch, then touches her forehead. His touch brings her back to life, but not completely back to full health. And let's just erase some of those memories too, shall we? He touches her head again, then knocks on the door. Before the door is answered, he disappears.
A healer steps outside and finds the body of a small woman. Looking around he sees no one that could have dropped her off. The woman appears dead, but he brings her inside and tends to her. After working on her for a few moments, he brings life back into her body. She wakes up, coughing as she urgently pulls air back into her lungs. The healer immediately gives her water to drink. After an hour or so, she finally seems coherent enough for him to talk with. He asks her name, to which she replies, “I don't know.”
“You don't remember your name?” He asks, skepticism in his voice. Gabrielle thinks for several moments. She shakes her head from side to side. He gently cups her hands in his, “I'm sorry. I wish I could help you.”
“Where am I?” She asks as she looks around. Why can't I remember anything at all? I feel so blank.
He sighs as he stands up, “You are in a hospice. Someone left you on the front steps. Oh my dear, I'm sorry to tell you but you were dead. Asclepius has smiled down upon you this day, little one. You miraculously came back to life.”
Gabrielle is staring at this man, disbelief heavy on her heart. I was dead? “Thank you, for saving me. Can I stay here until I am strong enough to leave?”
“Of course you can. Rest easy.” He leaves her to her thoughts, which are filled with a heavy void.
THAT SAME DAY:
Gabrielle's spirit is in a dark place. She doesn't know how long she has been here. It feels as though she has just woken up, like this is the first thought she's ever had in her life. She realizes that she is definitely not in the Elysian Fields. Where am I? I should be in Elysia like last time. She can't see anything, not even a hand in front of her face. She decides to try meditation. Maybe if I think hard enough I can be where I really want to be. She instantly thinks of Xena, focusing all her attention there. In front of her eyes, the darkness disappears. It's as if she is looking at a crystal ball, viewing another place on earth. The landscape is one she does not recognize, but the person she knows like the back of her hand. “Xena!” she shouts to the vision. To her surprise, Xena does not hear her. Her warrior is talking to a group of young women. I have to get to her. How can I get there? An idea forms in her head, m aybe I can possess one of them like Xena did Autoclyus. She tries with everything in her being to possess one of the women. It doesn't work. This is hard, how did she do it! Oh yeah, ‘many skills.' She spends the next few moments just watching her lover. Xena is covered in strange furs, beads and blood. Her eyes have dark rings under them and she looks like she has lost quite a bit of weight. After several minutes of watching, she realizes that Xena seems to be trying to find something, or someone. She has a determined look on her face, like when she is on a mission. “I hope you are not looking for me, my love. I'm dead.”
Gabrielle sighs, then decides maybe she can possess Autoclyus since it's worked on him before with Xena. Thinking of the man, she suddenly finds that he is in front of her in the viewing window. He is in a bar drinking. With all her determination and will, she throws her mind towards him. It doesn't seem to work. She tries again, but this time she is so lost in concentration that she doesn't realize her spiritual body is moving toward the window. Suddenly she feels a pop as she enters the realm Autoclyus is in, then her spirit is sucked into his physical body, leaving the blackness behind. She is now looking through the eyes of the King of Thieves.
Autoclyus stands up, aware that something has happened. The feel of it itches a memory of his. “Xena?” he asks. No answer. He runs outside to find a trough of water. Looking down in he is shocked to see the face of Gabrielle staring back at him. He jumps and screams, “Ahhhh!!!”
Gabrielle realizes that she is in fact in his body and he has just noticed. “Autoclyus, calm down. It's me, Gabrielle.”
“I know who you are dammit, how did you get in my body!” He yells, causing townsfolk around him to stare.
“I don't know. I'm dead. I need your help to find my body. I need to get back to it.” Gabrielle pleads, praying that the man will help her.
Autoclyus sighs, “Seriously? Why does this keep happening to me? Fine. I'll help.” To himself, he thinks Hm maybe I can get a little action with the warrior princess. I think they have the hots for each other.
“Autoclyus! I can hear your thoughts, stop it!” the bard yells at him. He growls at her as they wander off in search of her body.
TWO WEEK LATER:
Autoclyus and Gabby have not found her body anywhere. They had been through every village near the Dahok's temple, but no one had seen anyone that matched her description. Then they went back to the pit, it wasn't there either as far as they could see. “Autoclyus, I think we need Xena.”
He kicks a rock into the lava pit, “Yeah, I agree. She'll know what to do. At least she needs to know you are alive in spirit, right? Actually, why didn't we just do that to begin with?”
“Well, before I possessed your body, I saw her in the place I was in. It was dark all around, but I was able to see into this world like through a window. Anyway, I saw her. She was not in Greece. She is somewhere else. I figured it was best to get my body first.” She sighs, “I guess I was wrong.”
Auto thought about that for a moment. “Alright, well do you know what country she is in?”
“No. Maybe I can try to find her again, like I did before. Hold on.” Gabrielle closed her spiritual eyes and focused all her thoughts on Xena. A few moments tick by with nothing. As she was about to give up, a spark of light entered her vision. Suddenly, she could see her warrior! The town she was in looked very familiar. It was a town they had been to before, in Greece. “Autoclyus, I know where she is. She's back in Greece, we have to find her.”
A WEEK LATER:
After periodic check in's with Xena's whereabouts, they finally arrive in the same area that Xena is camped for the night. Auto, with Gabby's guidance, finds her quickly in the forest. As he approaches, he steps on a twig and it snaps. He winces as he realizes that he will have a sword at his throat in moments.
“Move and I'll slit your throat where you stand.” A cold hard voice says to him as steel presses against his jugular.
“Xena, it's me Autoclyus.” His voice is shaky.
Xena re-sheathes her sword. “You shouldn't sneak up on me like that. What are you doing here?” She turns to head back to her fire.
He sighs and walks with her back to her camp, but he doesn't speak until he sits down. “Well, I came to find you actually.”
She interrupts him, “How did you know where I was? I've been on the move and staying away from civilization.” I can't have interruptions like this, I need to find Gabrielle. Please don't have some stupid mission for me to help you on.
“Yeah, well I have a good explanation as to how I found you.” He says, then Gabrielle speaks to him in his thoughts. Tell her I'm in here!! In answer to her, he blurts out loud, “I know dammit! I'll tell her. Simmer down.”
Xena looks at him with an eyebrow quirked, “Huh?”
He laughs nervously, “Sorry. I have some news about Gabrielle.” Xena eyes quickly dart back to him away from the fire. “It appears that you both are able to take over my body whenever you want.” He taps his head with his finger.
Xena sits up on her knees and puts her face an inch from his. “Gabby?” she says with a slightly hopeful smile as she gazes intently into his eyes. He pulls back away from her. Xena pulls away also, slightly embarrassed. “Sorry, I thought you meant she was in there.”
“She is. But she doesn't control me, she just talks to me. We haven't tried letting her talk.”
Xena can't stop staring at him. “Let her talk.”
“Ah... ok. Gab?” he asks, then rolls his eyes as if looking into his head for her. “Yeah, not working. Look, why don't I just translate for you?”
Gabrielle says to Autoclyus, “Tell her that my spirit is separated from my body. I haven't crossed over to the afterlife.” Auto repeats to Xena.
Xena breath catches as she tries to inhale. “Oh Gabby.”
“Tell her she needs to help me get back to it somehow. I don't know if it will work the same as it did with her, but we have to at least find my body and try.” Gabrielle says, then he dutifully repeats.
Xena nods her head, “Of course. We'll leave at first light. Gabrielle, do you think you can try to talk to me, like I did with you that one time? I want to see you.”
Gabrielle speaks to Autoclyus, “How did it work last time? Did you have to totally blank out so that she could take over?”
Autoclyus thought for a moment, then answered her, “Yeah, I can try that.” Then to Xena, “I'm going to try to let her take over. Good luck.”
“Gabrielle, when I did it I had to really use all my strength to make it happen. It took a lot of energy.” Xena smiles, then closes her eyes. “I'm ready.”
Gabrielle plunges herself into a deep meditation so she can concentrate her energy where she needs it. She visualizes being Autoclyus and using his mouth to speak. Soon, it begins to happen and words form on her mouth. She opens her eyes, “Xena?” She looks at her own hands, which are definitely not man hands. “Xena, open your eyes.”
The warrior opens them to find Gabrielle's body a foot away from her own. “Gabby!” she rushes to pull her into a hug, squeezing her bard tight. “I've missed you so much.”
The bard laughs as she keeps her arms wrapped tight around the warrior. She feels so real, everything feels real. “I love you, Xena.”
Xena pulls back just enough to see Gabrielle's eyes. She stoops her head down and captures the bard's lips in a searing kiss. “I'll get you back, sweetheart, I promise. I was on my way to Potedia to see if you went there. I had a feeling that you might still be alive.” She doesn't want to tell Gabrielle about the vision Alti gave to her. But she knows that Gabrielle will be back in her body, otherwise they could not die on the cross together as in that vision.
“I know you will figure it out. You always do, honey. So did I just kiss you or Auto?” Gabrielle chuckles.
“It was me, I promise.” Xena winks, then her smile quickly fades as Gabrielle begins to fade away.
“Xena! What's happening!”
“I don't know. Hold on to me in your mind Gabrielle!” Xena began to panic, afraid to again lose the one person that means more to her than life itself.
“I can't. Xena, I can't hold on. Something is tearing me away!! I love you! I'll find you!” she screamed, suddenly she was gone.
Xena and Autoclyus stood facing each other, wrapped in each other's arms. Immediately they stepped away from each other. “Did it work?” Autoclyus asks.
“Yeah, it worked. Is she still in there?”
Autoclyus is silent for a moment. “I can't feel her. I think she is gone.”
A tear falls from Xena's eye, she quickly wipes it away as she sits back down by the fire. “Thanks for letter her use your body. It means a lot to us.”
“Well I am not exactly happy about it. You guys owe me.”
Xena stares at him in disbelief. “You told me after I helped you with Pax that if I ever needed to
use your body again that I could.”
“Yeah, YOU. Not her.”
“Well, close enough. She is as much a part of me as I am her.” Xena says somberly. After a few
minutes trading stories from the past few weeks, they both decide to go to sleep.
Sleep does not come easily for the warrior princess. What if she died? What if her spirit died and she's gone now! Oh gods, please don't let that be the case. I have to find out for sure. I have to see if she reunited with her body in that lava pit.
FLASH BACK TO WHEN GABRIELLE'S SPIRIT LEAVES AUTO:
Suddenly she is in darkness again. “NO!!!!” she screams at the void. There is no echo in response, just silence. She begins to sob, screaming in agony as her soul is in tremendous pain. Once her voice is hoarse with use, she falls into a disturbing slumber.
INSERT POST-EPISODE 68, “DARKNESS” - Gabrielle awakens in the hospice with no memory, as usual. Later that day, her memory hits her in full force. Gabby's whole being is back; body, mind, spirit, and soul. She doesn't remember her journey in Autoclyus' body. She doesn't remember her journey in darkness. All she remembers is falling into the pit and waking up in the hospice. Her first stop Potedia, then on to Amphipolis.
SAME TIME AS “DARKNESS”, FLASHFORWARD TO SEASON 6, EPISODE 20 - Xena and Joxer look for Gabby together. She agrees to marry Ares, but only if he leaves her and Gabrielle to finish their lives together in peace:
Ares is in the middle of coitus with a random woman. He suddenly stops his thrusting, “She's alive.” He pulls out of the woman and kicks her out of bed. He is distraught, not quite knowing what to do next. Well, my deal with Xena is almost sealed. I could use this to get her to put her print on that contract. I'll tell her that Gabrielle wanted me to save Hope. That will make her angry at Gabrielle, so she'll want to marry me. Ha, that could work.
That day, Xena signs the marriage contract.
FLASH BACK TO XENA LEAVING AUTOCLYUS AT CAMP:
The next three days are a blur for Xena. She has pushed herself and her horse too hard. In a nearby town, she spots Joxer in a bar. After much discussion, she convinces him to go with her to the temple to see if Gabrielle is there still. When they finally arrive to the temple, Joxer cannot get himself to go inside. “Xena, I can't see that place again. I just can't do it. I was there a week ago, and I swore to myself that I wouldn't come back. I left her flowers.” He starts to tear up.
“It's ok, Joxer. I'll go in. I'll be back in a bit, huh?” she pats him on the shoulder then enters the trashed temple. She slowly walks to the pit, fighting strong emotions every step of the way. “Gabrielle? Are you here honey?” As she approaches the pit, she stumbles to her hands and knees as the memory of her beloved's death haunts her vision. She crawls to the edge of the pit and looks down at the lava river below. Slowly, she begins to lower herself down, climbing carefully down the heated rock.
Meanwhile outside, Joxer has collected some new flowers. With a new resolve, he forces himself to face the fiery tomb once more, for Gabrielle's sake. He approaches it slowly, experiences the same emotional waves as Xena. Oh Gabby. I miss you so much. I never got to tell you how much I love you. Sitting on the edge of the pit, he starts to talk to his friend.
After several minutes of climbing, Xena gets to a point in which she can go no further. The heat is torture against her skin making her feel as though it may blister. The heat is unbearable and is causing her body to shut down, each breath becoming too painful to bear. She is hanging on to a rocky ledge. As she puts her hands on it, she notices drops of blood pooled on the rock. “Gabrielle.”
Beginning of Episode 71: (A COUPLE MINUTES LATER)
Joxer is sitting over the pit, playing with flowers. “I brought your favorite; daisies. They're in bloom now, so I can bring them fresh to you every day. Gabrielle.” He sniffs a flower then puts it over the opening to the lava pit to release it to Gabrielle's place of rest.
Suddenly his arm is grabbed violently from inside the pit. He screams in horror and fear. A voice says, “She's alive!” Xena pulls herself up Joxer's arm.
“Xena? What are you-What are you doing? Gabrielle's alive? She's alive?” he says urgently.
“Yeah. I had a vision. I couldn't be sure until now.”
A Family at Peace
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 at g mail
End of Episode 71 (S4,E3):
Gabrielle is sitting by herself on a bench in her parent's barn. She is staring off into nothing. Xena approaches her and sits next to her. Gabrelle looks at Xena, “It's over.” Xena does not respond, she just bows her head. “Or is it?” Gabrielle ponders aloud. Xena looks over to her as she gets up, “Xena, do you ever – Do you get the feeling that sometimes nothing is really over? You know? It just – I just keeps coming back around, but its wearing a different face. It's the same underneath. Do you know what I mean?”
“Sure. I was trapped in a cycle of violence and hatred. And no matter how I tried to break free, something always pulled me back. Until you.” Xena said with all sincereity.
“Xena…” Gabrielle begins in an unbelieving voice.
“No. It's true. You talk about trying to find your way, but to me, you are my way.” Xena is overcome with some emotion, she turns her head.
“How can I be your way when I'm lost myself?” Gabrielle explains, exasperated.
“I'm searching for answers too. But how we look for them doesn't matter. As long as we look for them together. You and me.” Xena says. Gabrielle sits next to her and puts her arm around Xena. She lays her head on Xena's shoulder, they both smile softly.
A/N: THERE IS A GRAPHIC SEX SCENE IN THIS STORY.
The barn is getting very dark, as it is now night. Xena looks at the top of Gabrielle's head then leans over to kiss it. She puts her hand on Gabrielle's knee, “Ready for bed?”
“Mm hmm. I'm exhausted.” Gabrielle yawns but stays in the exact same position.
Xena chuckles, “Well come on sleepyhead. Let's get you to bed.” She stands up, but Gabrielle stays on the bench. Xena kneels down in front of her, grabs her hands and kisses her knuckles. “Want me to carry you?”
Gabrielle smiles, “No that's ok. I don't think my parents would like to see you carrying me across their threshold.” She finally stands up and stretches, then holds out her hand to Xena, who stands up and laces their fingers together. They walk to the house together, hand in hand.
I opened the door for Gabrielle to walk through into her parent's home. It was quiet in the house, her family is sitting around the fire drinking tea. Gabrielle looks at me and without words asks me if I want to sit with them. I know what she is saying, I don't need words. “Actually I want a bath then bed. Why don't you come with me?”
“I thought maybe we could sit just a couple minutes. I really want them to get to know you like I do.” She says, pleading visible in her eyes.
I never can resist her eyes. She is so beautiful. I'll do anything she wants, I just got her back. I respond, “Ok, let's sit for a few minutes.”
We walk over to the fire and greet her family quietly. Everyone is in a somber and reflective mood, including me. The past couple days have been a nightmare, on top of an already big nightmare of Gabrielle being dead. Dead. Gods I can't believe she was actually dead at one point. I look over to my lover, she is quietly chatting with her mother and sister. Her father is silent, brooding almost. I decide to try and talk with him. “Herodotus?” he looks over at me slowly, “I was thinking that I could help you patch things back up here. The barn is quiet a mess from that creature. I'd hate to leave that all to you to clean up.”
He looks at me a grunts, “Sure.” Then he stands up and catches his wife's eye. He nods toward the back of the house, as if to say let's go to bed. Gabrielle's mom ends their conversation and kisses both of her daughters goodnight.
Gabrielle hugs Lila goodnight as well, then stands up as her sister walks out of the room. I stand up as well and catch her eye. “Bed time?” I ask, excited to finally settle down with my bard. She nods, making me smile. I bid Lila goodnight as well, then we head into the back room that is used for bathing. I grab one of three buckets of water that is sitting over the fire. “It's not much water, but if we add it to some cold water we should have enough.” While I'm pulling the three buckets over to the tub, she grabs some room temperature water that is sitting off to the side. Her father gathers some daily for the family to use. I begin to pour all the water together in the tub, while she is undressing.
“Xena?” The way she says my name gives me chills, good chills. Oh how I've missed the sound of her sweet voice.
“Yesss?” I drawl as I look up at her. She is naked, the site takes my breath away.
“Are you getting in with me?”
I smile back at her, “I wouldn't want it any other way. You sure you are ok with that, what if someone walks in?” I glance at the door.
“I don't care if they do. I need you.” She dips her foot in the tub to test the temperature. Apparently the temperature is acceptable because she quickly submerges her whole body. I walk over to the door and put a chair in front of it so that if someone opens the door it is at least blocked. I undress as I walk to the tub. I can feel her eyes on me.
“gods I missed you, Xena.” She whispers, as I glide into the tub. Her hands are on me the second I'm in the water, not in a sexual way, but in a desperate grasp. She pulls herself into my body, as I drape my arms around her. She feels small in my arms, but just right; just like I remember. I hold her like this for a few minutes, then I grab the soap and sponge. I begin to wash her back, arms, and everything else. When I'm done, she takes the sponge from me and does the same. I am filthy. I have blood on me, dirt, and who knows what else from that creature. I know tomorrow is going to be rough. I have to clean up the remains of that monster. I have to do something with Hope's body. I have to—
“Xena? What are you thinking about?” She interrupts my planning, which I'm grateful for. I shouldn't even be thinking about that right now, when I'm naked in the tub with the love of my life.
“Sorry. I was thinking about all we have to do tomorrow.”
“Tsk tsk. Think about that tomorrow. Will you wash my hair?” she asks, with my favorite smile of hers. It's the smile that causes her nose to crinkle.
“Of course.” I make quick work of washing her hair, then she does mine next. Once we are done, we get out quick because the water has cooled too much to stay in. “So do I need to sleep on the floor?” I ask, not sure where I'll be allowed to sleep. The last couple nights I stayed in the barn, her dad didn't want me inside. I grab two towels, handing her one. I begin to dry myself off.
“Where did you stay the last couple nights? I assume they let you stay at least in the house, right?” She now doubts her family's hospitality.
“No. The barn. I actually was surprised I got that much.”
Gabrielle gasps, “Of all the terrible things they could do! I can't believe them. That makes me sick. There is no reason you couldn't have at least stayed on the floor by the fire to keep warm!” She keeps on ranting, I start tuning her out. Not because she isn't important to listen to, but because I know exactly where this is going. It's going to cause a fight, not with me, but with her parents. I know she just needs to vent, so I let her.
“Gab?” I say, after a moment, trying to get her attention. She finally stops and looks at me. “Let's go to bed, please?”
Her features soften, the mask of anger dissipates. She leans into me and we kiss. I wrap her towel securely around her, then I snug mine to my body. We both walk to her room that she shares with Lila. Our bags are on the floor with our night shifts. We both get dressed, then I begin to lay out blankets on the floor. I assume that I can't be in the same bed, otherwise her family would hate me all the more.
“Xena, what are you doing? Get in bed with me.” She whispers as to not wake Lila. I pick up the blankets off the floor and bring them to bed with me. Her bed is small, but I plan on being wrapped up in a Gabrielle-blanket all night anyway. I secretly love being her pillow. I slide in next to her, and my thoughts are fulfilled. She wraps her legs and arms around me in an instant the holds me close. I bend my head down and capture her lips in a goodnight kiss. Tomorrow will be a new day, a glorious day, no matter what it brings. I have her back; I am once again complete.
I hear birds chirping outside my bedroom window. It's peaceful. Huh, my bedroom. I haven't been able to say that in a long time. I can feel the sun coming in through the window. I am lying next to a warm body; my warrior princess. Usually she is not still in bed with me. Once the sun is up, so is the WP. I can tell she is awake, though. I open my eyes and look up at her. Her blue eyes are fixated on my eyes. I smile and tilt my chin up offering my lips for a kiss. She complies, moving her hand around my cheek to cup my face. It's an amazing kiss. Not in the same way most other kisses are amazing. It has no sexual energy behind it, just pure love. “Hi.” My voice is a little hoarse from sleep.
“Hi.” She says as she strokes my cheek. I close my eyes and lean into her touch. She leans down and kisses me again, this time on the nose. I crinkle it and smile at her. Her blue eyes warm while her lips curl into a pleasant smile. “I love you, Gabrielle.”
“I love you too, Xena.” I burrow my face into her neck, gently kissing it as my lips come into contact with her skin. “I don't want to get up.”
She lets out a chuckle, “Then don't Love. Stay in bed all day if you want. I, however, need to get up and help put this place back together. Honey, is there anything in particular that you want me to do with Hope's body?”
I groan, “No. Just do what you think is best.” I can't believe Hope was alive. How crazy was that? I'm glad it's over now though. I just hope she stays dead. I don't think I could deal with her again. She just keeps destroying everything. Xena crawls out of bed and quietly gets dressed. She kisses me, then walks out of the room. I follow her with my eyes, but once she is gone my eyes fall to the bed across from me. Lila is still there, looking right at me. “Morning, Lila.”
“Morning.” She curtly replies. I can feel tension emanating from her body. She is stiff and is having a hard time looking into my eyes.
“I'm surprised you are still in bed. I thought you'd be up by now.” I truly am surprised. More than that, I'm a little miffed that she was sitting there eavesdropping on my conversation with Xena. I know this is why she is mad. She heard us speak as lovers, rather than friends. She saw us kiss multiple times. I can imagine this is a bit of a shock to her. Growing up we had heard of women being in love, but we never knew any. Father always talked about them as if they were an abomination. I never agreed with that of course. I don't know if Lila did, but she usually follows whatever my dad says. I honestly don't know my mother's feelings on such matters as she never commented when my dad would refer to them as sinful beings.
Lila gets out of bed, but never responds to me. She quickly gets dressed then turns to leave. I hop out of bed and grab her before she walks out. “Can we talk?” I ask gently, trying not to sound forceful. I don't want to start a fight. She nods and allows me to sit her down on her bed. I sit next to her, trying to organize my thoughts. “Lila, I know that you heard Xena and I talking just a moment ago. I want to know how you feel about me and her being together.”
Lila looks away from me, “I don't like it. I don't know how you could love her like that. All she ever has done is get you into trouble. She's almost gotten you killed many times! How could you be ok with that?”
I can feel my anger rising at her tone of voice. It's boiling, ready to explode. I take a deep breath, knowing that anger won't get me anywhere with her. She is just as stubborn as I am. “Lila, she is my best friend. I have chosen to be with her, chosen to follow her. I love my life. Yes it is dangerous. But we help people every day, Lila. Besides loving my life, I have grown to love her more than I thought possible. First it was just as friends, but it quickly grew into something more. I would truly love if you could get along with her and get to know her like I know her. She's funny, smart, charming, and can be very silly sometimes. I know that may seem odd, but it's true.”
My sister takes a deep breath and looks me in the eye, “You really love her?”
“With all my heart.”
“Ok. I'm not promising anything, but I will try to get to know her a bit. I want you to be happy, and if she makes you happy then I guess I can't complain too much.” She smiles and hugs me.
“Thanks sister. I don't expect you to love her. I just ask that you try to get along.” I release our hug then lean back. “Alright, now. What are we going to do today? Maybe we can help mom clean up a bit around here. I know Xena is going to be busy fixing up the barn for Dad.”
“Well, mom wanted me to gather some herbs today. I also need to go to the market. You can do all that with me if you want?”
“Sounds great!” I say enthusiastically. We leave the bedroom behind. I seek out my mother and tell her everything we have planned for the day. She gives me a few more chores to help out with.
“Gabrielle, do you think you and I could spend some time alone together? I'd like to talk with you.” My mother is in a pensive mood this morning. I know that she needs time with me, and I with her. I want to tell her about Xena and I.
“Absolutely. When do you want to do that? How about after lunch?”
She leans over and hugs me close to her, “That's perfect.” She squeezes me tight, then kisses me on the cheek. “I've missed you.”
“I've missed you too Mom.” We break apart, then I head outside to get some fresh air. The day is warming quite nicely. It's sunny, not a cloud in the sky. I can still hear the birds chirping. A perfect day to be alive. I look around and spot Xena in the barn. She and my father are actually working together. She is holding up a board of wood while he hammers a nail through it. I watch her for a moment. I think she can feel me watching because she turns her head and spots me instantly. She breaks into a brilliant smile, the kind that lights my insides on fire. I smile back and wave. She turns back to help my father with the next section of the barn. It doesn't appear that they are talking at all, just focused on the work.
I walk over to them and greet them. “Hello you two.” I walk over to father and kiss him on the cheek. “Looks like you are getting quite a bit done.”
He looks at me, then motions to Xena. “Thanks to her help. Otherwise I'd be doing it all myself. It would have taken me a lot longer.”
Xena looks at him and smiles, “No problem. I am happy to help. Besides, I caused most of the mess fighting in here anyway. The least I could do is help repair it.”
I am standing next to her, as she is kneeling on the ground getting the next nails ready to hand to my father. I ruffle her hair, causing her to look up at me with a startled, but pleased look on her face. “I'm glad you are helping. My dad is getting too old to do this all himself.” I wink at my father. He laughs, which surprises both me and Xena. I walk away leaving them to their work.
I eat my lunch way faster than I should. I didn't eat breakfast, because Gabrielle's father didn't eat. I figured I should follow his lead today. It's been rather pleasant working with him, actually. I figured he would leave me to my own devices, but he actually suggested we work together to repair everything. I moved Hope and her son's bodies away from the house. I covered them in the back of Herodotus' wagon. Later he and I are going to take them out into the field to burn them.
Gabby is sitting next to me, eating a healthy portion of food. She is eating at an abnormally slow pace. For a moment, I thought maybe something was wrong. Then I realized that she would just be pushing the food around and not eating if that were the case. Maybe she just wants the food to last longer than normal. I reach under the table and put my hand over hers. She looks at me and smiles. Her mom and dad are discussing the chores for the rest of the day. Her dad mentions that winter is coming and they need to start stocking up on food. That grabs my attention, as I know I can help.
“I can help hunt for you, if you would like? I could bring in a few deer to help with your storage.” I look him and Hecuba in the eyes. They look at each other and her dad shrugs.
“Thanks Xena. That would be great if you could help out. I'll go hunting with you, if that's ok?” He is done with his meal, so Hecuba picks up his plate, then mine and takes it to the sink.
His suggestion of coming with me surprises me. I can tell it surprised Gabrielle too, because she squeezed my hand under the table. “Sure.” I reply. “Let's go tomorrow. I think with the pace we are going on the barn, we'll have it done by the end of the day.” He nods his consent then motions for me to follow him outside. He walks out the door and I look around to see if anyone is looking. Only Lila is in the room, but she is staring at her food. I lean down and kiss Gabby on top of the head. “See you later.”
“Xena, wait. Can you come into the bedroom for a minute?” She gets up and I follow her into the back. When we get into the room, she sits me on the bed. “I wanted to let you know that I'm planning on telling mom about us today. She wants to talk to me, so I figured it's a good chance to get it out in the open. Lila already knows.”
I look at her in shock. “What? When did you tell Lila?”
“She was awake this morning in bed. She heard everything we said and she saw us kiss. I talked to her about it and she said she just wants me to be happy. She said she is willing to give you a shot.” Gabrielle said as she smiled about the last few words.
I lean over and kiss her on the lips. “Alright, Love. That's ok with me. I hope that it doesn't mess up our hunting plans tomorrow though. I really want to be able to provide some help for them.”
“It won't. I promise it will be ok.” She leans into me and hugs me tight.
After we clean up from lunch, my mother and I go for a long walk. As we walk, we gather berries and anything else for the household. The conversation is very light, mostly about village gossip. After a few moments of silence, my mother asks an unexpected question. “Gabrielle, tell me about yourself. I only knew the girl that left here, but I don't know the woman that is before me today.”
I was a little shell shocked. “Well, I am a traveling bard. I love telling stories and traveling around with Xena has given me many stories to tell. Together we help people in need. I do a lot of fighting, but it's usually defensive. Sometimes it's offensive, but only to help others. I fight with a staff, so it's not easy to kill someone if I hit them. However, it can be done.”
“Have you killed someone?” She asks, as my jaw drops to the ground.
I am silent for a moment, not quite sure what to say. I don't want her to know this about me, but it's the truth. I whisper, “Yes.” It's her turn to be silent. She looks at me with fear in her eyes. I continue to talk, “But again it was in defense of another person. I didn't go out a murder someone in cold blood. I was saving the life of a friend.” Or what I thought was a friend.
“Oh dear. And how do you feel about that?” she inquires.
“About how anyone would feel, I suppose. It ripped me apart at first. I went to a dark place for a long time. It was that same day that I got pregnant with Hope. I know you don't know that story, but to sum it up: I was raped by the god Dahok. He wanted me to bear his child, who was Hope. She was pure evil, trying to bring him into the world. She also brought that creature, the Destroyer, here, so that he could destroy the people of the world. It's been a very dark time for me, the last couple years. There has been ups and downs, but Xena and I are finally coming out of it.” I stop talking realizing that all this was news to my mother. She probably had never heard any of this, so I'm sure she was in shock. I look over to her, and indeed, her face was pale. “I'm sorry Mother. I didn't mean to dump all that on you.”
She is quiet again for a few minutes, then she stops and sits on a log near the path we are walking on. I sit next to her, waiting for her to speak again. “Gabby, I'm sorry you have gone through so much pain. I wish that you had never left here. Please tell me that it has all been worth it? That traveling with Xena is worth all of this. I want you to be happy.”
“I am happy. Xena makes me happy. Mom, I might as well tell you now. I am in love with Xena. She and I are together...romantically.” I blush a little at the admission in front of my mother.
My mother looks at me, bringing her hand up to cup my cheek she replies, “I think she is your soul-mate; you seem to fit together perfectly. All I care about is that you are happy. I want you to be safe as well, but I know that it's dangerous out there, in your line of work. I know that Xena is the best person to protect you and keep you safe, if you are going to continue doing what you do. Do you two have plans of settling down ever?”
I let out a nervous chuckle, “No. I don't think we would ever really want that. We love life on the road. Helping people fight evil has brought more joy to my life than I would have thought possible. It gives me meaning and hope.”
Mother smiles at me and pulls me into a tight hug, “I'm happy for you, daughter. Please don't tell your father. I want to be the one to tell him, ok?”
I nod my consent and we head back to the house. I finish telling her about me, but I quickly divert the conversation to Xena. I tell my mom all about who she is and what she stands for. I tell her all the things I love about her. I never thought I would get to talk to my mom about these types of things. It's a relief to do so now.
The next day, Herodotus and I go hunting, leaving the girls behind to finish cleaning up the mess. Since most of it was already done, they take half the day off and just sit in front of the fire to catch up on life. At the end of the day, we come back to the house with two large bucks on our shoulders. We spend the evening cleaning them up and cutting up the meat. Gabrielle and her mother cook all of it, well into the night.
Once it's all cooked, we retire for the night; it's already extremely late. After a warm bath with Gabby, we get into bed. It feels wonderful to lie down. I've been on my feet all day. I wrap my arms around Gabrielle and snuggle next to her. We weave our legs together and lie on our sides facing each other. I stroke her cheek with my finger, lightly tickling her skin. “So tell me about your talk with your mom yesterday. We didn't get to talk about it.”
“Yeah, we didn't, did we? Well it was exceptional. I mean, she expressed some of her worry, nothing I didn't know about. But in the end she said she was happy for me. She actually said that she thinks you're my soul-mate and that we belong together!” Her face lit up with happiness at that final statement.
I smile back and lean down to kiss her. At first, my kiss is chaste, but I quickly change the tempo. Lila isn't in the room yet, so I take the opportunity to put a little more passion into it. She begins to get into it as well, running her hand up under my shift. Her dainty fingers caress my stomach, sending shivers across my body. After a moment, I have to stop her hand, because it's sliding down my panties. “Hey… we can't do that here.” I say in a whisper.
She buries her face into my neck and kisses me softly. “Sorry, I got carried away. I should ask Lila to sleep in the other room.” She whispers seductively in my ear, “I want you.” Her tongue sneaks out and plays with my earlobe.
I get chills again. Damn this woman can drive me crazy with lust. I almost agree to her terms of kicking Lila out, but as I'm about to speak the door opens. I grunt in response. We are quiet, Gabrielle has stopped kissing my neck and licking my ear.
“Gabrielle?” Lila whispers across the room.
“Oh. I didn't think you'd be awake. Do you want me to sleep out in the other room?”
This is a surprise to both of us that she would offer. It's almost as if she had read our thoughts. I'm not sure what Gabby is going to say. She will probably be embarrassed because then Lila will know what we are doing without her in the room.
“That's up to you. It would be nice to have some time alone.” Gabrielle pinches my stomach lightly and giggles. We can hear Lila gathering blankets to take with her. “Thanks Lila.”
She bids us goodnight then closes the door. Gabrielle is instantly attacking me. Her hand begins to wander again, while her lips and tongue go wild on my neck. I let her have her way with me. Tonight, I'm under her control.
After a few moments of passionate kisses, and wandering hands, she ducks under the covers. She puts her head under my shift and begins to kiss my belly. Her lips are soft and smooth against my skin. Oh how I've missed this. Her tongue circles my navel, then she slides down further. Her lips nip at the rim of my panties. I reach down to take them off, but she slaps my hand away. Her mouth wanders lower, grazing the top of my slit on her way down. She buries her face into my center, with my panties on. Her breath is hot against me, I can feel it through the material. Her tongue hooks around the edge of my panties, grazing my lips. My hips rise with the touch. I hear her giggle. This frustrates me, in a good way. I sit up unexpectedly and pull the covers back. She looks up at me with big green eyes and a mischievous smile. “Come here.”I say. She complies and crawls on top of me. She straddles my lap, our bodies are pressed together. I lean in and kiss her passionately, with all the love I have to give. My hands move to her ass, cupping it and massaging it as she begins to grind against my belly. Soon I realize I have to have her skin touching mine. I pull her shift up and over her head. The site of her nude body again steals my breath. I love the way her skin feels, looks and tastes. Her breasts are soft and full, I can't wait to get my lips on them.
First, she removes my shirt for me. Then she puts her hands around the back of my head and pulls my face into the valley between her breasts. I kiss and lick my way around, loving the feel of being surrounded by my favorite breasts. It brings me a sense of peace. I move my hot mouth to her nipple, gently sucking one into my mouth. My tongue plays with it for a moment, circling around and around until it is as hard as I desired. Her moans encourage me. “Oh yeah, that feels good Xena.”
I can feel her wetness against my stomach. My right hand moves to her panties. My fingers rub the outside, pushing just enough that she can really feel it. I slide one finger inside the material. It is met with a hot, wet river of her juices. I groan at the feeling of it, “Oh you are so wet love.”
She pushes me back on the bed, then removes her panties. She takes mine off as well. Then she flips her body around so that she is offering me her treasures. She is hovering above mine as well. I open my legs to her and she eagerly dives in. She doesn't waste any time, she goes right for my clit. It's swelling with excitement. She takes it into her mouth and sucks on it hard.
While she is doing this, I am dipping my tongue into her hole. It's hot and slick with her desire. I love the taste of her, my bard. I've tasted many women and men, and none have I ever enjoyed. But her, I love. Her taste is not bitter, nor too salty. It's slightly sweet. I can feel that she is nearing her peak. I replace my tongue with my finger and move my tongue to her clit. I move in and out of her quickly, excited to get her to come.
The faster I get the faster she gets. Her tongue is moving rapidly against my clit. She places two fingers into my vagina. The muscles inside me clench around the welcome intrusion. Gabrielle begins to pump in and out of me. Soon we are both at our peak. I cry out softly to her, “I'm coming baby!”
She comes at the same time. “Oh Xena!” she says, loud enough for me to hear, but hopefully no one else hears. Her muscles tighten around my finger and she comes into my mouth. She plops down on top of me, exhausted. Her goods are in my face, which I don't mind at the moment. It's a beautiful sight, who am I to complain? The remainder of her juices are dripping onto my chest. After a moment, she sits up and moves off of me. She gets out of bed and grabs a towel, then begins to wipe me off. “Sorry you are all wet.”
I still her hand with mine, “Don't ever be sorry for that, Love. It was amazing.” I pull her down onto the bed and bring her into my arms. I grab the towel from her and wipe off my face completely, then I wipe my lower body. She takes the towel and does the same. After we are cleaned up, she relaxes in my arms and we fall into a deep sleep, completely sated and completely whole once again.
The next day we decide to leave. I bid farewell to my family and thank them for everything. It was nice to see them and spend time with them. I'm comfortable with how we left things. They are happy about me and Xena, even my father is ok with it. I think we are all at peace for the moment.
As we walk down the road, a thought strikes me. “Xena, where is Argo?”
She looks at me then down at the road, “I left her up north before I left to go look for you. She's probably really mad at me about now. We need to go find her.”
“Find her, you mean you didn't leave her in a stable or something?” Xena glares at me. “Sorry I asked.” I move next to her and grab her hand. We walk like that for most the day. Xena caught me up on her adventure with the northern Amazons. I'd never even heard of them.
When we finally settle down to camp for the night, the air is heavy with moisture, and it stinks. “What's is that smell?” I ask Xena.
“It's a swamp. We are getting close to it. I hate to tell you this, but we have to walk through it to get where I left Argo. It's going to be important to keep your feet dry, ok? Otherwise you'll get foot rot.” Xena begins to sharpen her sword. We talked for a couple more hours about the past few weeks. I am happy to be back with Xena, out under the stars where we belong. She seems at peace, finally content because we are together again. I know the last few weeks were very hard on her. She told me how rough it was. I wish I could have been there for her. I hate to think of her in pain. We finally fall asleep in each other's arms as we stare up at the stars.
Beginning of Episode 72: A week later
A beautiful dawn morning arises, Xena is still asleep in her bed roll. “Xena wake up.” Gabrielle calls in a sweet voice.
“Hmm, what is it?” Xena replies sleepily.
Gabrielle sticks her foot in Xena's face, “Foot rot!”
“Whoa! Yeah that's foot rot all right!” Xena is repulsed and backs up.
Gabrielle begins itching it. “It itches like crazy.”
“Well there's nothing I can do for you now. Maybe if you had kept it dry like I told you.” Xena accuses her.
“No, no no it was your idea to traipse through a dozen swamps to get to this god forsaken place. Why couldn't you just leave your horse in a barn like a normal person?”
“Argo doesn't like being cooped up! Besides, this valley's her home. It's got plenty of space to run, lots of grass to eat.”
“Plenty of bugs – lots of infestation.” Gabrielle throws a chunk of her skin off to the side.
“Hey, I didn't stop looking for you. And the same goes for Argo.”
She's Gay Too?
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 at g mail
End of Episode 72 (S4,E4):
Xena and Gabrielle are leaning against a pole next to the town well. They just watched Joxer give reward money back to the town mayor. He joins them a moment later. Gabrielle looks at him, “That was a nice thing you did.”
He looks back at the town, “Hmm. You know Gabrielle, it's moments like that that make a warrior's life worthwhile.”
Xena scratches at the lice in her hair. “If you think about it, you brought down the entire Scythinan army without spilling a single drop of blood.”
“Hmm. True.” Joxer responds.
“Yeah, you have talent.” Gabrielle giggles. “It's contagious.”
“Yeah. Joxer the Mighty, immune to all diseases.” He breaks into his song, “O Joxer the Mighty, never gets a fever. He's eager as a beaver. He's Joxer! Joxer the-“ He stops in the middle of his song and grabs his stomach and runs off.
Xena and Gabrielle both laugh. “How are you feeling?” Xena asks the bard.
“I'll live.” She smiles.
“This week's been kind of tough on everyone, I guess. But you know, I'm always there for you, and you're always there for me, so-“ She stops mid-sentence because Gabrielle is snoring. “Friends.” She picks at a louse, “Ooh, I got all the friends I need.” She flicks the lice and rubs Argo on the nose.
A week later…
As Xena finished her bath in as stream, she heard loud clanking and cursing coming from Gabrielle in camp. She quickly dressed and jogged off towards the raucous. Upon arrival, she found that their belongings were strewn about camp. Gabrielle was up against a tree rubbing her back against it.
“What are you doing?” Xena asks.
Gabrielle keeps rubbing against the tree. “Scratching my back.”
Xena approaches slowly and looks around. “Ok… And why are our belongings all over the place?”
“I couldn't find the ointment to put on my dry patches. Do you know where it is?” Gabrielle finally stopped moving up and down against the tree. She walked over to Xena and stopped in front of her. “Look at my back please? Is it bad still?”
Xena bends down and examines the bard's red, dry skin. “Not that bad. Definitely better than when all that fungus was on it. Are the other spots still bothering you?”
“Yeah, especially without that ointment. I'm dying today. Where is the nearest town, and can we go?” Gabrielle put her hands together in front of her face, begging the warrior.
“Of course. I don't think we are too far actually. Come on, let's pack up and get on our way.” Xena started gather up all their clothing and stuffed them back into the saddle bags. Gabrielle rolled up their bed rolls, then lastly put out the fire.
“Alright, I'm ready. I want to ride Argo with you. The sooner we get there the better.” She jumped up after Xena and they took off down the road.
Upon arrival Abdera, they quickly locate the healer's hut. The hut is very small, likely only meant to keep medicine, not hold people for care. The women dismount, then Gabrielle leads Argo to a nearby water trough. Xena walks into the healers hut, “Hello? Anyone here?” A very old man, waddles to the door of the hut. He just looks at her, but doesn't say anything. After looking her up and down, he stares at her sword. She watches him stare, then decides he doesn't like her being armed. “I can take this off if you prefer?” He nods. “Hey Gabby! Will you hold these for me?”
Gabrielle jogs over to grab the weapons, giving Xena a bit of a questioning glance. After taking the weapons, she decides to walk around for a moment. There is a small store that has general merchandise, perfect to restock their supplies.
In the healers hut, Xena explains to the man about the skin fungus that Gabrielle has recovered from. “You see, the skin is very dry and itchy now. We had some ointment, but we are out. Do you have anything?” The man begins to look around on his shelves of medicine. After a few minutes of searching, he finds a bottle of ointment. He hands it to Xena, who takes the lid of and sniffs it. Her face scrunches in distaste, “Yup, that's the one. How much?”
Finally, the man speaks, “Two dinar.”
Xena stares at him, surprised he actually spoke. She quickly thanks him after handing him the proper coinage, then heads out the door. “Gab?” she looks around for the bard, then spots her window shopping at the store. “Hey, I got some. Come here and I'll put it on you.”
Gabrielle meets Xena near Argo and quietly says, “Have you noticed there are no children around?” She looks around to stress her point.
Xena looks around as well. She had not even paid the least amount of attention to the town yet, she had been more focused on Gabrielle's skin problem. After a moment of gazing around, she looks back to the bard, whose green eyes are patiently waiting an answer. “Hmm. I noticed now. But that's not so weird is it? Maybe they are all in a school class or something.”
“Hm. Maybe.” Gabrielle turns away to walk into the store, a look of curiosity and determination on her features.
“Hey! I thought you wanted this medicine.” She calls after the bard, whose response is to wave her away. Xena turns to Argo, “Hmph, see if I try to help her again.” She watches her bard walk into the store, “Dammit wait up.” She says, even though she knows the bard cannot hear her.
The store is much larger than the healer's hut. It seems to carry a large amount of inventory, everything from sewing materials to farming equipment. Gabrielle is looking through a random assortment of supplies. Xena sneaks up behind her and tickles her ribs. “Yow!! Xena!” Gabrielle scolded her love.
“Sorry, looked like you could use a good tickle. What are you looking for? I didn't think we needed anything.” Xena combed through a stack of miscellaneous furs and blankets. “Hm, maybe I should replace the one that had lice in it. Yeah.” She selected one to her liking and looked around for the shop keeper.
A pudgy woman entered from the back when she heard Gabrielle scream at Xena. “Hello there. May I help you?”
Xena took a step towards the woman and opened her mouth to speak, but Gabrielle beat her to the punch. She said, “Yes, I was walking around town and couldn't help but notice that it's very quiet around here. My home town was always so noisy with all the kids running around chasing goats and chickens. Do you find that this town is often so quiet? We are trying to find somewhere to settle down in the future.”
Xena looked over at Gabrielle like she was insane. She quirked her eyebrow then crossed her arms and leaned up against a wall to observe her bard in story telling mode. I wonder what she is up to now.
The shop keep began to tell Gabrielle that the town is normally a very nice place to live. Then she added, “But no, it's not usually so quiet. We've had some hard times lately.”
This piqued her interest, “Oh that's too bad. Do you mind me asking what has happened?” Gabrielle could see the woman becoming saddened at the thoughts running through her head. She walked over and placed a comforting arm around the woman. “I'm sorry. I don't want to pry. You know, Xena and I help people through hard times a lot. Maybe it's something we could help with.”
At the sound of Xena's name, the woman perked up. “The Xena? As in Warrior Princess?”
Gabrielle pointed at the subject of the conversation, “Yup, that's her right there. Can we help you in some way?” Xena smiled softly at the woman.
The older woman just stared for a moment, then excused herself. “I'll be right back.” She ran out the front door as the bard and warrior watched her. Across the street she ran and began pounding on the door of a house. A man answered and listened to the woman as she excitedly talked with her hands flailing through the air. He looked towards the shop and spotted Xena and Gabrielle staring at them.
“Uh oh. He's coming this way. He doesn't look happy.” Xena said. “Get ready for a fight.” She grabbed her weapons off the table that Gabrielle had set them on.
The man entered, his demeanor looked much more amiable now. “Hi. You're Xena?” She nodded. “I'm Cylon. Irene here tells me that you may be able to help us.” He reached forward and to shake the warrior's hand.
Xena stepped forward and shook his hand, “We might. What's the problem?”
“Well, we have pretty big problem. Our children have gone missing.” He stopped there, not really knowing what more to say. It was pretty simple.
“Missing?” Gabrielle asked. “How many of them?”
Irene piped up, “All of them. The last one went missing last week. The town council has been trying to figure out what to do, but we have no clue where they are or where they would have gone.”
Gabrielle looked over at Xena, who nodded, then back at the two people. “We'll help. Can you gather the whole town together immediately? We need to gather as much information as possible.”
A few hours later, Xena and Gabrielle settled down into an extra bedroom of the shop keeper. “Xena, I don't understand what is happening here. Let's go over the facts.” Gabrielle began to pace in the room as Xena sat on the bed, legs and arms folded, leaning against the headboard. “Seventeen children are gone. On average, two went missing per month over the last eight months. There really is no pattern other than they are all children; no adults or adolescents were taken, just children under ten seasons old. There have been no strangers around, other than us. I don't get it.”
Xena picked at her finger nails for a moment with her dagger. She looked up at her lover, “I don't either honey. I'm not really sure what to say or do. I mean, there is absolutely no trace of anything. Where do we begin?”
“Well if you don't know, I surely won't! You are always the woman with the plan.”
“Oh stop it. You have lots of good ideas, honey. Maybe what we need is more children here so we can lay a trap.” Xena became silent as she contemplated that.
Gabrielle stopped her pacing. “You want to use children as bait! Xena, we can't do that!”
“Well what do you want to do then? I don't know how else to track them. We also should pretend to leave then watch from a distance. If the kidnappers happen to have seen us here, they may not strike our bait.”
“You mean they may not steal the CHILDREN.”
Xena sighed then got up and approached her bard. “Gabby, I know it's not ideal. I know it seems foolish, but I can't think of a better solution. I think we need to do it like this. I just don't know where we are going to get the kids.”
Now it was Gabby's turn to sigh, “Fine. I've got an idea.”
A week later…
“Xena, they have arrived.” Cylon announced to the warrior and bard. “They arrived about an hour ago. We got their tents set up next to town.”
“Good. Please give this to Ephiny.” Gabrielle requested as she handed him a scroll. “Remember, everyone in the town must think we've left. Tonight we'll start a stake out to watch for intruders. Ephiny and the Amazon children are here as they are ‘passing through on their way to Thessaloniki'.”
“Right. I'll get this to the Regent right away.” He bowed and started running back to town.
Xena approached Gabrielle from behind, wrapping her arms around the small waist, “Alright love, it's time to plant ourselves in the trees. I'll take one end of town, you take the other. It shouldn't be too hard to see anyone entering. We are not to attack, just watch and follow. Use bird calls to talk to each other.” She leaned in and kissed Gabrielle on the cheek. “Ready?”
Across town, Gabrielle was in a tree. The one she picked had several branches close enough together that she could sit across them and be fully supported, with her legs spread out. Besides keeping vigilant on watch, she also found herself doing a lot of thinking. It's ironic to me that the more I try to end the cycle of hatred and violence, the more violent my tactics have become. I know that sometimes we have to do violent things, like for defending people… but it doesn't make a lot of sense. I wish I could just stop having to use my staff. I wish Xe didn't have to use her sword and Chakrum. How can we accomplish peace while at the same time saving people from harm? Our mission is really two fold; saving people and trying to turn people from evil. Two completely separate things. Sometimes they conflict. Gr. I wish things were simple.
The tree branch Xena was crouched on was about as comfortable as one could expect. There wasn't enough room to really sit without tipping over; the branches were all somewhat small in girth. They were just strong enough to hold her though. She balanced on the balls of her feet as she watched the surrounding area with keen eyes. She had positioned herself as close as possible to Ephiny's tents. The Regent had arrived with ten small Amazon girls. Gabrielle's plan is a good idea , she thought. Amazon girls know how to fend for themselves if they get into any dangerous situations; apart from being kidnapped that is. They also are great bait because the kidnappers won't know that about them.
Ephiny exited the tent to relieve her bladder in the bushes. She heard an Amazon bird call, it was Xena. She called back, then decided to go for a little walk into the woods. She quickly found where Xena was perched, then climbed up to sit next to her. “Hi Xena.”
“Hey. You didn't have to come over here, ya know?”
“I know. Thought I'd talk with you about the plan, make sure we are on the same page still. Besides walking away from the tent will be a good chance for someone to take our bait. I trained the kids on what to expect. I also told them what to do in case of a dangerous situation. I think this will work out well. I'm glad Gabrielle thought of it.”
Xena grunted, “Me too. She's smart like that.” She smiled at the Regent, who nodded her agreement.
“Can I ask you something, Xena?” Ephiny looked at the warrior who just nodded in response. “Are you planning on marrying our Queen?”
Xena shot her a weary stare. “Why?”
“Well, many women in the village have been asking me about it. They really want their Queen to get married. I think they are hoping that you both come and settle down with us.” Ephiny smiled at the thought.
“I take that as a no?”
“Uh. Take that as a ‘none of your business'. No offense. I'm definitely not discussing that with anyone but Gabrielle. She'd be the first to know. Anyway, I feel married to her already if you must know.”
“I see. Well I'm not offended. I should not have asked I suppose. I guess I'm just as curious as the rest of the tribe.” She chuckled to herself. “Can I ask you opinion on something?”
“Sure.” Xena replied noncommittally.
“What do you think of Eponin?” She asked with a somewhat whimsical tone, especially for an Amazon.
Xena cocked her eyebrow and smiled to herself. “She seems to be a great Amazon. She's great with weapons, which you already know otherwise she wouldn't be your weapons master. She is smart and great warrior.” Ephiny just sighed, causing Xena to take a chance “She's a great catch in my opinion. She'd be lucky to have you.”
The Regent eyes shot up at Xena. What does that mean! I don't like her like that! “Uh, yeah I suppose. If you are into women.”
“And you aren't?”
Ephiny just stared at her then looked away, deciding not to respond. After a few moments of quiet, she decided to climb down. “Night Xena.”
The warrior watched the Regent walk back to the tent. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught movement heading towards the tent. She looked over, squinting to see better in the dark. The figure stopped walking when it spotted Ephiny. Jackpot. She continued to watch as the figure drop down into the surrounding bushes to watch. After a few moments, the person retreated back the way they came. Xena gave a bird call loud enough to sound across the small village. The message was ‘stay here, I'm moving out.'
Morning hit the village in all its glory. The sun warmed up the air quickly to a very ambient temperature. People in the town began their daily chores, as Ephiny and her Amazons emerged from their tent. The kids began to play around the village. They brought a leather ball with them and tossed it around. Ephiny found Cylon and told him all the children were accounted for, then he left to find Xena and Gabrielle to see if they had spotted anything in the night.
Upon arrival to their camp, Gabrielle was alone cooking over the fire. “Good morning, bard.” He greeted her with a wave then sat across the fire from her.
She smiled at him, “Morning. Are all the children safe?”
“Yes, they are all still present. Where is the warrior?” he looked around then back at the bard.
“She signaled me last night and told me to stay put. I think she is on to something. I'm sure she'll be back soon.” As she said this, they heard someone walking through the trees behind them. Gabrielle grabbed her staff and stood in a defensive position.
Xena walked out of the trees with her hands in a surrendering position. “Don't hurt me, I am not guilty.” She said with a grin. “Hello Cylon.” She walked to the fire and sat on Gabrielle's log next to her.
“What did you find?” the bard asked immediately.
“Well I spotted a figure walking towards the Amazon tent last night. He saw Ephiny outside and stopped to watch her. After a moment, he turned around and headed the way he came. I followed him back, about five miles down the road. He ended up at a small farm with a barn. It's completely fenced in, but I climbed the wall and looked around for a bit from on top. I would have gone into inspect but they have guard dogs. They spotted me and started making a lot of noise, so I took off so they wouldn't know I was out there. I'd like to inspect it further, but we need to get some things together before we do that. Cylon, do you know anyone that lives up that way?”
The man thought for a moment, “No I don't. I'll ask around and see if anyone knows.”
Gabrielle handed Xena some food she had been cooking. “Are you thinking about getting something to put the dogs to sleep? Maybe coat a dart or something and knock them out?”
“Yup, exactly. Then I can jump in there and take a look around. First, I want one of our kids to get kidnapped though. If it is this guy, then we'll know for sure by him taking one of the girls there. Plus the girl can talk with the other kids and let them know to be prepared for us to break in there. I also need to know if they are armed and how many adults are in there. I think we can get one of the Amazon girls to leave messages for us somewhere. That's about all I have planned so far.”
Gabrielle chuckled then sarcastically asked, “That's it huh? Is that all you got, warrior?” Xena nudged her on the leg, to which she replied by sticking out her tongue.
“Well, that sounds like a good plan. I'm going to fill Ephiny in on it. Do you think they'll be more likely to take a girl if we make sure they see Ephiny leave the tent? Maybe she shouldn't be there.” He asked.
“Yeah, that might be wise. Let's get her away from there. Could you have someone go invite her to their place for dinner or something? Make sure they talk loud enough for an eavesdropper to hear. I think we'll have some tonight as soon as night falls. Then she can leave with them.” Xena took another bite of her food.
“No problem, I'll take care of it. Good luck.” He waved then took off back to town.
Gabrielle leaned over and kissed Xena on the cheek. “I missed you last night. Can we take a nap today so we have some energy for the mission tonight?”
“Absolutely.” Xena finished her food, then swept the bard up in her arms.
“So what was Eph doing out of her tent last night?” Gabrielle asked as Xena set her down on their bedroll.
“She had actually been visiting me.”
“Oh? What did she have to say?”
Xena was leaning on one elbow, slightly over Gabrielle. She bent down and kissed her on the nose. “Well, I think I discovered something about your Regent. I think she is interested in Eponin. She asked me what I thought of her, which normally wouldn't seem too weird. But the tone she asked it in was interesting, to say the least. Reminded me of you when you are being all poetic and sappy.” Xena poked the bard in the ribs.
“Hey! I do not get sappy. I thought Eph liked men? Or, well, centaurs.”
“Maybe she likes both. It would be hard to be an Amazon Regent and not settle down with a woman. It's either you leave the village so you can be with a man, be celibate, or you settle for women.”
Gabrielle thought about that for a moment. “I can't imagine Ephiny bedding a woman just so she doesn't have to be celibate. I think she would only do that if she was legitimately interested in the women. Don't you?”
“I don't know. I told her Ep would be lucky to have her. She looked at me in shock. Guess she wasn't expecting me to assume the conversation was about romance.” Xena laughed then laid her head down on Gabrielle's shoulder.
The bard put her arm around Xena as the warrior snuggled against her side. “Maybe I'll see if I can get more information out of her.”
“I knew you'd try, my love.” Xena yawned then snuggled closer and fell asleep.
Ephiny followed the trail that Cylon had told her would lead to Xena and Gabrielle's camp. It was hidden very well, off any beaten path. Ephiny was in a bad mood since last night's discussion with Xena. I can't believe she would imply that I would be interested in Eponin. What's her deal? Gr. As she approached, she made sure to make noise so that she would not get her head cut off by Xena. She stopped as she sighted the couple; they were laying on their bedrolls. Gabrielle had her arm protectively around Xena, while the warriors arm was wrapped over the bards tummy. Hm I would have expected them to be in the opposite positions. She decided to clear her throat to make her presence known. Before she did, Xena spoke up.
“Oh. Hi. Didn't know you heard me.”
Gabrielle spoke next, still both women had their eyes closed. “We always hear.” She nudged Xena to sit up. “What's up?”
“Sorry to wake you. I didn't think you'd be asleep.” Ephiny suddenly became unsure of herself. She had wanted to chew Xena out, or at least rat on her to Gabrielle, but now didn't think that was a good idea. She began to doubt her motives.
Gabrielle stood up, stretched then hugged the Regent. “It's good to see you. Thanks for your help in this. Are you sure the girls are up for it?”
Ephiny sat down and sighed. “Yeah, I think it will work out just fine. I'm putting the strongest next to the door. That way they are the easiest targets.”
Hm. My Regent seems a bit glum. Maybe I ought to see what's really up with her. She looked over to Xena and without words seemed to communicate for the warrior to leave. Xena stood up, grabbed her bow and mumbled something about going hunting. Gabrielle put some water over the fire and got it boiling for tea. “So how are you Ephiny? We haven't seen you in quiet a long time now.”
The Regent smiled as she watched the water boil. “I'm doing alright. I wish you'd come live with us and run the tribe. I'm tired. I think I should retire.” She laughed.
“Ha, I'm not sure I'm up for running the tribe. I would miss being on the road too much. I like what Xena and I do every day. What's so tiring?” She asked in a concerned tone.
“Besides running a tribe of women. Hm, let me see.” She paused and scoffed, “It's complicated.”
“Women are complicated.” Gabrielle wasn't sure if Ephiny would understand her double meaning.
“Tell me about it. I don't even understand myself, let alone other women.” She picked up a rock and threw it. “I don't understand why they can't just say what they want. Instead they beat around the bush and expect you to know what they are thinking.”
“Are we talking about women in general, like the tribe? Or someone in particular?” Gabrielle asked. The Regent sighed, yet again, then shrugged. Gabrielle moved to sit closer to her, putting her hand on her arm she asked, “Eph you can talk to me. Tell me what's bothering you.”
The Amazon looked up with tears in her eyes. “I'm confused. I didn't think I would have feelings for someone again after Phantes. In fact, I was set on not ever feeling romantically towards someone ever again. But I think something has changed. I can't…” She paused.
“Can't what? Let yourself feel for someone else?” Gabrielle noticed the use of the gender neutral word ‘someone'.
“Gab, when you were younger, did you ever have feelings towards”
Gabrielle finished her sentence, “other women?”
Ephiny looked at her, “Yeah.” She shook her head then looked down again.
“Honestly I didn't have any crushes when I was young. I was too busy seeking out intellectual conversations and sneaking into the local tavern to listen to traveling bards. I studied the philosophers and always had my nose in a book. It wasn't until I started out on the road with Xena that I started thinking about romance. I knew about Sapphic relationships and Sappho was my favorite poet. I never thought that there was anything wrong with it in anyway, unlike my father. When I first started thinking about boys being cute, I remember thinking ‘Whoa, why all of a sudden do I care?' Then I noticed myself thinking about how beautiful Xena was; she stirred something deep inside of me. Deeper than any thought I had about the boys we would meet along the road. It didn't take me too long to realize that I wanted her to love me romantically.” Gabrielle poured hot water over some tea leaves and offered a cup to Ephiny.
“I'm not sure what's going on with me. All of a sudden I'm finding women attractive. Well, I guess I should say ‘woman'; singular.” She sipped on her tea, but didn't offer any more information.
“Well, like I said I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Not just because I'm in love with a woman myself, but because I think that all people have soul mates out there. Sometimes they find them right away, other times they search their whole lives and never find them. Sadly, I think that a majority of people end up with someone that isn't their soul mate. Usually their relationships aren't as strong as they could be. Sure they may last, but there is something different when the person is the other half of your soul. You feel complete. Did you ever feel complete with Phantes?”
Ephiny thought for a moment. “I loved him deeply. I still do, always will. But I can't say for sure he was my soul mate. Ya know, I never really gave much credit to that theory, until you and Xena. I can tell a difference between you two.”
“So, tell me something. How do you feel around this other woman?”
She smiled, “I don't know if I can put it into words.”
“Ok, let me ask it another way. Say this woman was taken hostage and her life was threatened. How would you feel?”
“Gut reaction would be pure hatred and anger for whomever touched her! I think I would fall to pieces if anything happened to her. I honestly don't think I could live without her in my life.” Ephiny took a deep breath, trying to tame the emotions the thought had inspired.
“How does she feel about you?”
“No idea. That's one reason I'm so frustrated. I wish she would tell me how she feels. And before you ask, no I have not asked her. I didn't even know what I was feeling, so I didn't think I could or should ask her. I'm a mess, Gabrielle. What do I do?”
“Well, you could do what Xena did to me; just kiss her. See what happens. OR you could just talk to her and tell her that you are in love with her.”
“In love? Is it really love??” Ephiny asked in wonderment.
“Oh Yeah, you got it bad sister. I would bet my life on it.” Gabrielle smiled and playfully punched her Regent in arm.
That night Xena and Gabrielle executed their plan to perfection. Everything fell into place. A girl was kidnapped, then they followed them back to the farm. After waiting a couple hours, the girl was able to slip a note over the wall. It told them that there were around five adults that she had seen so far. All seventeen children were there. It also said that the adults were armed, but it appeared that no one had been hurt. In fact, it seemed that the children were taken very good care of. After reading the note, they waited until the middle of the night to infiltrate. The dogs were sedated, so they hopped over the fence. No one appeared to be on guard duty, so they easily got inside the home. It was quiet and dark, no candles or fire burning through the night. Luckily the full moon out brought some light in through the small windows.
Armed with more darts, they made their way through the house. Upon finding each adult, they sedated them so that they didn't have any trouble. On their way to the last bedroom, they heard heavy footsteps. Xena signaled Gabrielle to stand back, as she crept forward ready to stab the person in the neck with her last dart.
A large set man appeared in the door way, metal glistening from his hands. He was armed and ready to attack. Xena crouched to the ground and made a noise to draw him out. He came out of the doorway and immediately slammed his sword to the height of a human head. His sword stuck in the wood of the wall. As he tried to remove it, he was attacked from below. He felt a sharp pain in his neck as he was stabbed with the dart. He quickly sank to the floor. All the adults of the home were out for the count.
Gabrielle ran to Xena, “Think that's all of them?”
“If Rhea's count was correct, then yes. Let's round up the kids. Wake them up, I'll keep watch. We'll take it one room at a time.”
Gabrielle began the task and told the kids to keep quiet. Room by room she woke them all. Once they were all outside, they quickly ran to the gate. Ephiny and Cylon were there waiting with a wagon. The children quickly and quietly climbed aboard, all heads accounted for. One child squealed in delight at seeing her father, Cylon. He scooped her up in his arms and wept for joy for having her in his arms again.
“Gab, will you and Cylon get all the kids back? Eph and I are going to tie these guys up. We'll wait for you to come back with the wagon.” Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. “Good work in there.”
“You too. We'll be back soon.” She patted Xena on the side then hopped in the wagon to get the kids to safety.
Once they were out of sight, Xena looked at Ephiny and said, “Well, got the rope?” The Regent held it up. “Ok. Let's go tie up some bad guys.”
Dawn rolled around as Gabrielle and Cylon entered town with the wagon of children. “Alright kids, your parents are probably asleep. Why don't you all run home and surprise them?” She smiled as their faces lit up with excitement. The kids began to run wildly around town to their homes, giggling the whole way. Gabrielle watched in amusement, then turned to Cylon. “I'm going to get the wagon back to Xena and Eph. See you in a bit. If possible, see if the council can judge them first thing this morning. I think Xena and I would like to get on the road soon.”
“No problem. Thank you for everything Gabrielle.” He walked over and gave her a solid hug, smiled and walked away.
As the wagon approached the homestead of the kidnappers, Gabrielle noticed that the prisoners were thrashing around on the ground. Xena and Ephiny were laughing at them. When they heard the creak of the wagon wheels, they looked up. Xena's eyes were sparkling in the sun as she smiled at her bard.
“Hey! There's my bard.” Xena approached Gabrielle and helped her jump off the driver's bench of the wagon, even though she didn't need help. Xena immediately pulled Gabrielle into a hug.
Gabrielle returned the hug, but was a little startled about Xena's sudden display of affection, especially around criminals. “Hey, is everything ok?” she whispered to the older woman.
Xena pulled back and leaned in to kiss her. “Everything is perfect. I love you.”
“I love you too. Now let's get these guys back to town.”
The sun was just above the horizon when Gabrielle, Ephiny and Xena arrived with the criminals. Cylon told them that the hearing was scheduled to be immediately upon their arrival. The kidnappers were taken to the center of town and tables were set up for the council to sit at. The entire town was present for this. Cylon headed up the council, “Citizens, we are here today to judge these people before us. They kidnapped our children right out from under us. How do the accused plea?”
One man spoke for the group, “We want you to understand why we did this. Several months ago, our tribe was reduced in numbers due to a sickness. It took our children and some of our adults. We are all that survived. We didn't want our tribe to die off in number, so we needed children. Most of us are barren, so having more children on our own was not the option. The gods wants our tribe to survive, so we did what was necessary. Even though the children are not our blood, we can still raise them in the ways of our people so that they can carry on our traditions.”
Shortly after he finished speaking, another spoke, her words completely nonsensical. Then another started in, with the same type of nonsense in their speaking. To the town folk, these people began to sound very crazy. They also seemed to be almost radically religious in their thinking.
Finally, Cylon stepped forward and silenced them. “Enough! We have heard all we need. We will take a moment to decide your fate.” He and the council huddled together to discuss the matter. The Cylon spoke again. “It is the judgment of this council that you be sentenced to prison for five years. Since we do not have one, we will turn you over to the nearest major city in our region, Thessaloniki.”
After the announcement everyone dispersed and went to their respective homes. Xena and Gabrielle approached the man. “Cylon?” Xena called. He turned his attention to them. “We would like to volunteer to take these men to Thessaloniki for you.”
Cylon sighed a breath of relief. “Thank you both. I wasn't sure how we were going to handle that. We aren't soldiers or warriors. We wouldn't be able to keep them in line.”
Gabrielle spoke up, “No problem. We'll head out in the next couple of hours in fact.”
Once Xena and Gabrielle were packed up, they saw Ephiny and the young Amazons off. Then they tied all the kidnappers together and headed off to their destination.
Beginning of Episode 73:
Romans are destroying a small Greek village. They decide to kill the town's people. Xena and Gabrielle step in to save the day. They find out that Rome has invaded Greek; Caesar and Pompey are battling each other.
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 at g mail
End of Episode 73 (S4,E5):
The funeral pyres are burning for those lost in the war. After Xena finishes singing, Flanigus' wife approaches Xena. She says, "Thank you."
Xena replies, "Your husband gave his life for peace-- so that your son could live without fear."
"When he asks me what his daddy used to do-- I'm gonna tell him he was a simple fisherman. That's what he was to me." She turns and leaves.
Xena approaches Gabrielle, who says "I could have saved him. How do I get over that?"
Xena's face is full of thought and worry. "I can't answer that question-- maybe `cause there's nothing I can say that can take away that feeling you have. You wanna know that what you did was for all the right reasons-- but with that pain in your gut and the weight on your shoulders, the best you can come up with is that it was a good day of fighting. I've seen so many changes in you-- things I could never have expected-- but as hard as the changes have been, you've gotta know that it's for a reason. All this is for a reason. Otherwise, what's the point? I was asking myself that same question when I first met you."
With tears in her eyes, Gabrielle responds. "I should talk to Temecula. I should tell him that—that what he did was for the greater good, and there is a reason for it. It was a good day of fighting."
After a week of assisting the village in rebuilding, the people are rather settled into their new homes. Xena and the men of the village had a two day hunting trip in which they collected plenty of food to get the town back on their feet. Xena and Gabrielle said their goodbyes to the people.
“Xena, can we go stay with the Amazon's? I'd like to spend some time there, maybe find some quiet. I'm tired.”
Xena put her arm around her lover and kissed her on the top of the head. “Sure. I'm good with that. I think we could both use it.”
Two days later they arrived to the border of Amazon territory. Xena could hear the border patrol in the trees, so she put her hands up in the air and clasped them in the sign of peace. Gabrielle quickly followed. Two Amazons swung down from the trees on ropes and both immediately went to their knees. “My Queen, welcome back.” the tallest of the two said as she removed her mask, it was Solari.
The second woman looked up and took off her mask, it was Eponin. She stood up and embraced Gabrielle in a hug, then she smiled and clasped Xena's arm in a warrior handshake. “Welcome back, you two. We'll send word ahead that you have arrived.”
Xena responded, “Thank you Eponin. It's good to see you. When are you two off duty?”
Solari answered, “We are both off in about an hour. We'll find you when we are, I'd like to catch up and hear how things have been going for the two of you. Ephiny had an interesting story a few weeks ago from helping you guys out.” She grinned, then put her mask back on, and started to climb her rope back into the trees.
Eponin watched her go, then looked at her friends. “I'm really glad you guys are here. We just had a small battle on our northern border. We are trying to restructure to figure out how to better prepare for those types of attacks. We could use both of your military minds. See you later.” Eponin put her mask on and followed her Amazon sister.
Xena and Gabrielle began to walk along, hearing the bird calls move from the border to the inner Sentries with the message that their Queen was back. “Xena, I really hope they finished the battle she is talking about, because I am not ready for another. I came here for some time away from that.”
“Yeah. I know, me too. However, they are Amazons; warriors. If it's too crazy, we'll leave.” She patted Gabrielle on the shoulder then mounted Argo and put her hand down to pull Gabrielle up.
The Amazon village was busy with activity. The sparring area was full of soldiers training with swords in hand to hand combat. Ephiny spotted them from her hut and immediately headed their way. “Hey! Welcome! I wasn't expecting to see you guys again so soon.” Ephiny wrapped her arms around Gabrielle then grasped Xena's forearm in a warrior's greeting.
“We weren't expecting to come here either, but we needed to get away. I haven't seen the tribe in a long time, so I decided this would be the best place to be.” Gabrielle smiled.
“Good! I'm glad you came here. We've got a lot going on though, hopefully that doesn't bother you. I actually could use your advise on a couple things, but if any of it is too much for you, just tell me to deal with it.” The Regent said with a cheesy grin. “Well why don't you head to your hut and get settled. I'm going to be meeting with the defense council shortly, I'd love it if you could both join.”
Gabrielle looks at her mate, who nods, “Yeah we'll be there.” As they walked separate ways, Xena reaches down to hold Gabrielle's hand. They walked in silence for a moment, then Gabrielle spoke up, “Are you going to take Argo to the stables?”
Xena looked over at her, then back at Argo. “I forgot. Yeah, be right back.” She bent down and kissed Gabrielle on the lips.
An hour later they joined the defense council in the meeting hut. Eponin, Solari, Ephiny and some of the elders were there. They smiled as they greeted each person, then sat in the open chairs around the table.
Ephiny stood up, “Thank you to everyone for coming on short notice. As soon as I heard that our Queen and Xena were entering our territory, I realized it was the perfect time to get them to join us. As we all know, they both have extensive knowledge of helping build defenses. I'm grateful for their advice.”
Gabrielle replied, “We are more than happy to help with whatever you need. And we are happy to be here to visit. We hope it's not all business, we'd like to have a little fun while we are here.” Everyone chuckled in response.
“I think that means the Queen is willing to let us have a party.” She smiled and nudged the bard. “So that you are up to speed, our northern border was attacked yesterday. Our defense didn't hold very well, they got past the border and attacked two of the Sentry outposts. Two sisters were killed and five were injured. We do not suspect that our warriors did anything wrong, we just don't feel that we adequately know how to keep the border tight and under control for surprise attacks. We'd like to work through that and see what we can do to fix it.”
Xena spoke up, “Can you show me on this map the layout of the Sentries as well as any Patrols?”
Ephiny rolled out the map of their territory and pointed to the X's, “These represent the outposts. As far as Patrols, we have four pairs of two women that patrol the border throughout each night and day. They are on a rotating schedule and are replaced every six hours.”
“What is this?” Gabrielle pointed to what appeared to be a large ridge dividing the outpost and patrol path.
“That's a small gap in the landscape. Our patrol goes to the top of the ridge, then turns around and heads back the other way. Same with the patrol on the other side; it should be completely covered.” Eponin answered.
“Is it a steep grade to the top?” Xena was forming an idea in her head.
Solari piped in, “Yes actually. It's very steep and the gravel is loose so it's rather dangerous to hike up. I've heard more than one Amazon complain about patrolling the area.”
Ephiny looked at her, anger flaring in her eyes and voice, “Why didn't you tell me that people were complaining?”
“I didn't think it was worth bothering you about. The ones that complain do so about everything. I tell them to shut up and just do their jobs.” Solari became defensive.
Gabrielle interrupted, feeling the tension building. “Solari, no one is blaming you for anything. We are just trying to figure out what's going on. Xena, do you think it would be a good idea to walk the routes? Maybe it would help figure out if there are any places we can fortify better, possibly set up another outpost.”
Xena nodded, “Yeah. I'd be happy to. Eponin and Solari, will you show me the ropes?” Both nodded their consent. “Alright, let's head out. I say we re-adjourn when we get back. Then I'll have a better idea of how we can help.” Everyone stood up, as the three headed out the door. A moment later Xena walked back in up to Gabrielle, she pulled her into a hug. “Bye.” She said as she smiled down at her lover.
“Bye.” Gabrielle blushed at the affection shown in front of the Amazons. She turned to Ephiny as the rest of the Amazons filed out of the hut. “So, let's go to my hut. I need to talk to you about something.”
Ephiny raised her eyebrow, “Am I in trouble?”
“No!” Gabrielle laughed. “Of course not, I just have some things…I need a friend to talk to.” Her face sobered and became somewhat sad. The Regent put her arm around her shoulders and guided her out of the hut.
The Amazon outposts were lacking at best, in Xena's opinion. The people running them were paying attention, but they didn't have very many weapons in their arsenal. They were all armed with long bows, arrows, and daggers. None had swords or anything useful for hand to hand combat. “Ep, is there a reason none of the Sentries have carried swords so far?”
“Hmm. Good question. I honestly never noticed or thought they would need them. Most of these women are better with bows, I guess that's why.” She replied, suddenly feeling embarrassed that they hadn't thought of that.
Solari spoke up, “I think that if they had swords at the outpost that was attacked, then they probably could have defended better. The Patrols carry swords, at least most of them.”
“Yeah, but if something was happening with the Sentries, the Patrols would have to get here quick to be of any help. If they happen to be on the farthest side of the attack point, then they would be of no use, right?” Xena had a feeling she was making them feel like idiots. She didn't mean to do so, but this was obvious to her. Solari and Eponin looked at each other but were silent. “How good with bows are all your Sentries?”
Eponin finally spoke up, “They are all in the upper division. But I think I see where you are going with this. If the attackers happen to be good at dodging arrows or blocking them with shields, then what good does it do? They need to be able to defend past that.”
Xena nodded, “I'm going to go follow your Patrols. I need to see how they are working, especially near that gap. I have a feeling that may be how the attackers got through.” She started jogging away from them and left them watching after her.
The two Amazons looked at each other, both silent in defeat. They slowly started walking back towards the village.
Ephiny sat in the front room of the guest hut where Gabrielle and Xena were staying. “What's on your mind Gabrielle?”
The bard sat next to her as she took a sip of wine from a cup. “I don't really know where to start. I guess I should tell you about the war we were just in with the Romans.” Gabrielle continued to describe the situation. After ten minutes, she sighed, “I feel responsible for Phlanagus' death. I could have stopped it, but I missed by a long shot. I've thrown my staff long distance before and hit my target every time. But somehow, I missed. I don't know how that is possible.”
“Gabrielle, it's not your fault. I've seen that happened to warriors before. In the heat of the moment, something causes them to flinch and miss their target. I am willing to bet it's because even though you have killed before in defense of yourself, this was your first preconceived thought to kill someone.” The Regent put her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder as the bard began to weep.
“I don't know if I'm built for this Eph. I can't handle all the death and violence. It's tearing me apart! I can't go on.” She was now sobbing into her friend's arms.
“Shh… its ok Gabrielle, let it out. Have you told Xena all this?”
“No. I don't thinks she would understand. Her path in life is all about violence, even if it is for the greater good. I just want to help people without having to hurt anyone in the process. Everywhere we go, it seems like she has to draw her sword.” Gabrielle began to gain control of her emotions, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“I think you should talk to her about this, she would want to know. Have you thought about other ways you could maybe help people?” Ephiny asked. Gabrielle shook her head no. “I've got an idea that I think you'd be good at. Why don't you spend some time with the healers here in the village? They could use a hand right now. Maybe that's a way that you can help people?”
Gabrielle sniffed, “Maybe. Thanks Ephiny, I really needed someone to talk to. Helping the healers is a good idea, I'll try it out. First I'm going to take a nap, I'm exhausted.”
The Regent hugged her then walked out leaving Gabrielle alone in the hut. The bard pulled out her diary and began to write. I haven't written in a very long time. So much has happened, I don't even know if I want to repeat any of it. I'm starting to think that I'm on the not on the right path in life. That's hard to admit, since I've always believed that being with Xena is my path, no matter what. I don't want to leave Xena, I know that for sure. There is no way I'd leave her. It hurts just thinking about that. I have to figure out what to do if our paths diverge. Is there a solution? Gabrielle roller her scroll up and put it away as evening was breaking to dusk. She leaned back on her bed and the curled up in a ball and closed her eyes.
Xena arrived back at the hut just after the sun had set; the air was becoming quiet cold. Xena looked around at the other huts; everyone had a fire going inside, all but hers. Walking in, she noticed that there were not any candles lit. She felt around on the table and found one, along with a striker and flint. She quickly lit the candle, then held it up in front of her to illuminate the room. She found Gabrielle curled up on the bed, outside the covers. The bard was shivering, so Xena walked to the bed and set the candle down. She pulled back the covers on her side of the bed, then gently rolled Gabrielle over into her spot as she pulled the covers back up and over the bard. Gabrielle blinked her eyes open slowly and smiled up at her lover. “Hi.” She said in a scratchy voice.
“Hi, you look cold.” Xena began to stroke her face with her hand. I'm going to strip then I'll get in with you, ok?” She stood up and took off her armor and leathers, then changed into a clean night shirt. She went over to the fire place and threw some logs in with a bit of kindling. After she got it started, she slithered into bed with Gabrielle and cuddled up behind her, wrapping her arms around the bard and pulling close. “I love you Gabrielle.”
“I love you too, Xe.”
The next morning Gabrielle left the defense council to their jobs, trusting that they can figure it out with Xena helping. She headed over to the healers hut. Upon entry she was immediately saddened by the sight of the injured Amazons in front of her. Spotting the healer she immediately started talking, “Is there anything I can help with here? I'd like to get a little training, if I could.”
The healer was surprised to see her Queen in the hut, “My Queen! I didn't know you were interested in learning the trade of healing. I could use your help over here on Chilapa. I was just about to change her dressing.” They both walked over and found that the wrap around the torso wound was soaked in blood and yellow puss. “First we prep the new bandage, then we'll pull the old off, clean the wound, then wrap it back up.”
The healer went to work showing Gabrielle step by step on how to do the bandage change. The bard followed the instructions perfectly. Afterwards she was talking to the healer about her job and if she found it rewarding. She replied, “It's very fulfilling. I believe it's my calling, so I'm glad I was trained in it when I was a young Amazon. There are two things I do not enjoy about it; seeing those I care for hurt, and seeing sisters die. It's never easy to handle death, I never seem to get use to it.”
Gabrielle took compassion on the healer, knowing exactly how she felt. “I understand, that's how I feel. I never seem to get use to the death I see on the road. I can imagine how much worse it would be if you were treating family, like Amazon sisters.”
“Gabrielle, it's time to let them all rest. Would you like to accompany me to the dining hut for lunch?”
Gabrielle smiled at the slightly older woman, “I'd love to.”
The defense council adjourned late, they had been meeting all morning. Eponin and Ephiny immediately parted ways from each other and the group. Xena then saw them reappear near the Queen's hut instead of to get lunch. Xena raised her eyebrow at this, not sure what to make of it. Then she saw Ephiny enter the hut, and a few seconds later Eponin looked around then snuck in as well. She turned to Solari, “What's with them?” She pointed toward the two women.
Solari laughed, “Want my opinion?”
Xena smiled, “Sure, what's your opinion?”
“I think they have the hots for each other and they slip away every chance they get to have sex.” She laughed at this.
“Seriously? Have they not announced it?”
“Nope. They have been completely quiet about it, but most people suspect. It's hard not to, seeing how they behave around each other.” Solari opened the door for Xena.
“They acted normal in the meeting. Now where is my woman?” Xena asked, looking around. “Ah, found her. See ya later Solari.”
Gabrielle looked up from her food to spot her warrior. “Hey there!” she got up out of her seat and threw her arms around Xena, who hugged back with just as much enthusiasm. “I've missed you.” She whispered in her ear.
“Mm.” Xena nuzzled Gabrielle's neck and kissed it. “Right back at you! Are we going to get some time together while we are here?”
Gabrielle leaned back, “Yeah as long as you can get away from those meetings. Go get some food then come sit by me. I want to hear what you guys have been figuring out.”
Xena quickly loaded a plate with food then sat by her bard. “Well, I found out that their Patrols suck at their job. They haven't been going all the way up to that gap, instead they just go to the foot of it. I found tracks at the bottom of it. It appears they climbed up the rock wall and got into the territory that way. Also, the Sentries haven't been carrying swords at all. They only carry bows and short daggers. Basically they've been doing a crappy job. I don't know how they've survived this long, or if something recently changed.”
“Wow! I can't believe it's so bad. What's Eponin been thinking? She should have a handle on this.” Gabrielle was frustrated at the Weapons Master.
“About that… I think that Ephiny has happened.” Xena took a bite of food, then looked at Gabrielle whose face was full of confusion. “They are sleeping together.”
Gabrielle shook her head quickly as if to try and understand, “What? How did you find that out?”
“Solari said that everyone suspects it. In fact, on the way here they both ran off to Ephiny's hut like a couple of teens.” Xena ate more food, not really chewing.
“Hm. Wonder if I should talk to them? They shouldn't put the tribe in danger like that, it's not right.” Gabrielle pushed her food around on her plate. “I'm going over there.”
Before Xena knew it, Gabrielle was half way out the door. “Wait!” She got up and ran after her lover. She caught up to her and grabbed her by the elbow turning her around. “I'm not sure it's a good idea to just walk over there, interrupt them, then chew them out, my bard.”
“Yes, it's the perfect time. Come on.” She pulled her arm out from Xena's grasp and soon arrived to the door. She knocked really loud and heard cursing behind the door. “Ephiny, its Gabrielle and Xena. We need to talk, now. Open up.”
After a minute of more curses and some loud sounds, Ephiny opened the door. Her hair was in complete disarray, with a towel haphazardly thrown around her naked body. “Gab, Xena how can I help you?”
“I'm coming in.” Gabrielle reached behind her and grabbed Xena's hand dragging her behind. They all sat at Ephiny's table. Gabrielle noticed that there were two sets of leathers on the floor and all the bed covers were missing. Lastly, the room smelled of sex. “Eponin? Come out, I know you are in here.”
After a moment of silence, they heard the floor boards creek in the other room. Ephiny hung her head and Eponin walked out of the bathing room. “Yes, my Queen. Sorry I was going to the bathroom when…”
“Cut the crap. Sit, we need to talk to you two.” Xena said, trying to help the Queen get this over with.
Gabrielle looked at her mate thankfully then began. “Look, I'm happy that you two are together. It truly brings me joy to see it. I hope you are both happy and that you find peace in each other's arms. I don't think you should hide it from the tribe. That's your decision though. It is my prerogative to make sure that you realize that you are both slipping in your jobs. There is no easy way to say this. Things are falling apart on the defense and from everything I've heard, it seems like it's due to a lack of leadership. I think you are both distracted. Starting immediately, I'm relieving you of your duties Eponin. I'm also relieving Solari. I'm putting Meslena in charge of all the defense systems and weapons training.”
“Gabrielle! You can't do that!” Eponin shouted as Ephiny reached out to hold her lover back.
Xena stood up to meet Eponin, she put her hands on her shoulders. “Listen, Gabrielle is right. You and Solari both have been letting things slip. The first and easiest solution to the border defense is having swords on all the Sentries. You should have seen that Ep.”
Eponin squirmed free of her lover and ran out the door in the furs she was wrapped in. As she ran out the door, she ran right into Solari. “Whoa, sorry Eponin. What's going on? I heard shouting.” She did not answer, she just ran off towards her hut. Solari stepped inside the hut and looked at everyone. Xena's face was tense, as was Gabrielle's. Ephiny had her head hanging down, not looking anyone in the eyes. “Uh, is everything ok in here?”
Gabrielle looked at Amazon, “Solari, I'm glad you are here. Come in and sit.” The Amazon sat and tried to catch her Regent's eye, but was unsuccessful. “I just relieved Ep of her role as Weapons Master.”
“What!! Why?” Solari was in shock.
“She has not been keeping up with her duties, it's been quite clear to me. Unfortunately, I'm also relieving you of your duties. There have been too many obvious mistakes regarding the Sentries and Patrol. You have not keep Ephiny informed of all the issues, which is solely your responsibility. Meslena is taking over for both of you until you have earned your way back in.” Gabrielle stood up to leave, but her hand was grasped by Ephiny.
“Gabrielle, can we talk about this?”
“Sure. Xena and Solari, please excuse us.”
Both warriors left, leaving the leaders in the room together. “Gabrielle, you should have talked to me about this first. This was not the right way to approach the subject.”
“I'm sorry you feel that way. I did what I thought was right. You've let things slide, Eph. It's not right that the tribe has now suffered because of this. I truly am happy for you and Ep, but you both need to pay attention to the world around you. I've seen too much war going on lately to let this slide. Tomorrow Xena is taking command of the training sessions tomorrow, to show Meslena how she wants them trained so they are full prepared.” Gabrielle got up to leave again, this time getting all the way to the door.
“I'm sorry we failed you my Queen.”
Gabrielle stopped then looked back, “You failed your sisters. I'll make a formal announcement of the changes tomorrow, unless you want to? Maybe that would help restore their faith in your leadership.”
“I'll do it. I'm the one responsible for the errors.”
Gabrielle walked outside and found Solari and Xena in a heated debate. She rolled her eyes then approached the duo. “What's going on?”
Solari looked at her, “I'm sorry Gabrielle. You are right, I've failed at my position. I didn't realize things were as bad as they were. Can I announce my resignation tomorrow in front of the tribe? I'd like to apologize to them.”
Gabrielle smiled, “No you may not. Solari, you may have made some big mistakes, but your reaction to the news is what I would hope for from an Amazon. You've accepted the rebuking and are willing to admit it to the tribe. You are a good woman, Solari. You are going to maintain your position. Thanks for your integrity in this situation.”
“Seriously? I can keep my position?”
“As long as you listen to Xena's advice and pay better attention to what's going on. Has something been going on lately that has your mind elsewhere?” Gabrielle asked, hoping that she could solve any distracting issues.
“It's personal, Gabrielle. I appreciate your help, but I think I can take care of it on my own. If I can't, I'll let you know.” She smiled at Gabrielle then hugged her. “Thank you for whipping me back into shape.”
“Not a problem. Glad I got your attention.” She replied as Solari took off towards her hut.
“Gabby, I can't believe you did all this. I had no clue you would go in there and just fire them like that. It's not really your style.” Xena said as she took Gabrielle's hand.
The bard chuckled, “Yeah I know. Ephiny said the same thing to me. I knew I had to get their attention, so I decided to play the bitch. Besides, I knew that Ephiny wouldn't want to have to do that to Ep since they are lovers now. I figure it's better for me to be the bad guy since they don't see me that often.”
Xena stopped and looked at her, “You are a clever little bard, aren't you?” Xena pulled Gabrielle into a sloppy kiss. “Sorry, let me wipe my spit off your chin.”
“Ew, Xena!” She slapped Xena's hands away then wiped her own chin off. “I'm going to go find Eponin, see if she wants her job back.”
“What about Meslena?”
“Eh, I never even asked her if she wanted to do either job. I just threw her name out there. I didn't intend to keep either of them fired. I honestly just needed to get them to listen to me.” Gabrielle smiled as she slapped Xena's butt. “Bye, love. See you later.” Xena watched her leave shaking her head at her silly bard.
The next day, everything was back in order as Eponin had been reinstated to her position. Xena had trained all the Sentries to use swords and encouraged Eponin to continue to train them. They decided to leave the next day, realizing that they were never going to get much rest here with the drama of the Amazons.
As they walk out of Amazon territory, Xena finally brings up the subject that has been on her mind for several days, since they left the war zone. “Gabrielle, I'm really sorry about everything that has happened. I feel terrible about leaving you to lead those men into war. I always seem to get you hurt.” She reached over and stroked Gabrielle's cheek with the back of her hand.
Gabrielle sighed, “Xe its ok. We were fighting for the greater good. I did what I had to do, so did you. I just wish we could avoid so much bloodshed, you know?”
Xena nodded her head, “I know. I know how much it hurts you to see all the pain and suffering. Unfortunately, I'm use to it. Sometimes I forget how hard it is on you. I need to be more sensitive to your feelings.”
Gabrielle sighed, “I know my path is to do what's right and help people. Sometimes I just wonder if it's through violence or not. Maybe I should help some other way.”
“Maybe. You know that I wouldn't stop you from trying something new, right?”
Gabrielle pondered that for a moment, “Even if it meant a different path from you?” Xena was silent for a few minutes. “Xe?”
“Do you mean that you would leave me?”
“No…I don't know what I meant. I'm just thinking hypothetically here: If our paths diverge, how do we continue being together? Your life is bound to have violence, it's how you help the world. I don't know if mine is meant to have violence in it any longer.”
“So you are thinking about leaving me.” Xena stated, rather than asked.
“No! Xena, I said ‘hypothetically', not literally. I'm trying to sort through my feelings. I do not plan on ever leaving you! I'm just trying to figure out how we can always be together. I mean, would settling down somewhere work for both of us? Maybe in the Amazon village?” Gabrielle asked.
Xena furrowed her eyebrows but didn't answer. “I don't know the answer Gabrielle. I do know that no matter what, I'm with you. I'll support you however you need me to. Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it. I love you with all that I am. For me, you are my path.” She glanced over to see tears in the bard's eyes.
“Thanks Xena. I'm here for you too, you know? I love you.” She pulled Xena into a tight hug, as Xena kissed the top of her head.
Beginning of Episode 74:
Xena and Gabrielle are walking in the desert. Gabrielle is reading from one of her scrolls. "`The despair of winter-- is followed by the hope of spring. The infernal heat of summer, abolished by a gentle autumn breeze. Life's brutal truths-- are softened by its tender mercies.'"
Xena looks at her, "You know, I like that."
Gabrielle starts to lift up here hair off her shoulders, its very hot outside. "Thank you. Oh. My writing has allowed me to express my most inner feelings. I don't know how I'd survive without it. I wish you had something like that, Xena."
Xena responds by lifting up her Chakrum, "Are you kidding? I got this."
Gabrielle looks at her, "It's perfect. More hot sand. Touring the world is sure tough on shoes."
Xena replies, "Yeah, I gotta get Argo to a blacksmith in the next town."
The bard looks at her, "Actually, I was talking about my shoes."
End of Episode 74 (S4,E6):
The town was gathered around listening to Xena blame Istafan the Magistrate for staging the assassination of Phillipan the Reformer. Istafan was stumbling over his own words, trying to deny the accusation. "You're lost for words? That's somewhat outta character, don't ya think?” she asks. Then she addresses the crowd, “Istafan wanted Phillipan dead `cause he thought he could scare you into thinking change would bring anarchy. This man would do anything to remain in power-- including lying--
murdering, and brutalizing your children."
"It's-it's all lies. Everything I've done was for the sake of the children." The Magistrate tried defending himself.
Xena smiled, "Then it'll be interesting to see how you deal with this." Xena pointed out into the crowd at Gabrielle, who begins snapping to the beat of a song. She begins to tap dance as Istafan gets pissed. Suddenly all the teenagers of the village join Gabrielle and begin dancing around.
Istafan shouts, "Hmm-- militia! Militia! Arrest them all!"
Xena jumps out in front of the kids, "Come and get some!" she says to the Militia.
Phillipan the Reformer shouts, "Wait! I have seen the light! Calliope has spoken to me! The scales have fallen from my eyes!” He jumps out into the crowd and begins dancing with everyone including Xena.
Two days later…
“Her blue eyes twinkle in the light under the moon as she stalks towards me like a panther hunting prey. Her movements are deliberate, her muscles moving under her skin. I get chills over my own skin as the anticipation builds in my gut like water behind a damn. My breath catches as her fingertips lightly touch my upper arm; she walks around me, eyes covering every inch of me. As she circles, her fingers glide over my skin around my body, across my back, chest and finally come to rest against my hip as she stops in front of me. Her right hand rests in place on my left hip, her left hand moves to rest behind my neck. She begins to hum a traditional Greek tune. I feel her gently pull me towards her, pushing my hip with her hand in an effort to move my hips from side to side. We begin to dance.
“Our heads fall forward, foreheads coming to rest together in the middle. Our eyes lock as we continue to move in rhythmic steps to the tune resonating from within her. I can't help but smile at her as she and I break the law of this town. Her lips turn upward as she smiles back, still humming our tune. Her hands are gentle as they slide around my back, encircling me and pulling me closer to her body. After a moment her hands glide down and cup my cheeks. I moan a little then lean forward more and kiss her, putting a stop to the hum and movement of our bodies. Her tongue breaks the seal of my lips and presses inward to deepen our kiss, to show me her love.”
Gabrielle sighs as she rereads her description of dancing with Xena, during their stay in that god forsaken desert. She isn't completely satisfied with it, but rolls up the scroll and sets it down. The pot of stew is boiling over the fire, so she stirs it hoping it hasn't burned on the bottom. “Xena, dinner is ready.”
Xena lays her sword and whetstone down next to the saddle bags. Standing up, she stretches her back out hearing it pop into place as she does. “Oh yeah! That was nice. Whatcha writing about?”
Gabrielle dished out some stew and handed it to her lover, “I was writing about our dance the other night. I was suddenly inspired to relive it.”
Xena cocked her eyebrow as she sat down with her bowl and spoon. “Mm. We could relive it for real ya know, no need to write it down.” Xena smiled widely at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle scrunched her nose up, “I know. It was just so beautiful I had to write it down. I want to remember it forever.” She took a bite of her stew as Xena patted the spot next to her on a log. Gabrielle sat with her and leaned her head over to rest on Xena's shoulder as they continued their meal. She finished hers first, keeping her bowl in hand as she stared at the fire.
“What are you thinking about?” Xena asked, knowing that Gabrielle must be in pretty deep thought to remain so quiet.
“Do you remember the time we helped those children in the orphanage for Solstice?”
Xena chuckled, “Yeah I do. That was fun seeing you swinging in the air by that rope, pretending to be a ghost.”
Gabrielle smiled and laughed, “Then to have Tobias drop me! I was so worried we blew it right then!”
“I know! I thought for sure that King Silvas would catch us and ruin our whole scam.” Xena couldn't help but smile at the memory.
They were silent for a moment, both lost in thought about the past expedition. Gabrielle finally broke the silence, “I wish we could do more missions like that. I really like helping people without anyone getting hurt, or worse, killed.”
Xena stiffened a bit then stood up, “Unfortunately this world is full of hatred and violence. We can't always combat that with good acting and a lot of talking.” She picked up her bowl and Gabrielle's then walked over to her water skin and rinsed them out.
“I know that. I just…I don't know. I just keep thinking about our conversation the other day, about our paths in life.” Gabrielle wanted to test the waters to see if Xena was willing to discuss the matter. It had been weighing heavily on her conscience.
“Mm, I've been thinking a lot about that too.” Xena mumbled as she put the bowls away in t he saddle bag.
Gabrielle waited for her to finish, but she didn't. “I don't know if I can fight anymore, Xe.”
Xena stopped shuffling around in the saddle bag. “What are you going to do?”
“Settle with the Amazons.” She replied bluntly.
Xena was quiet for a moment, then she spoke, anger edging her voice. “You're going to leave me?” She didn't let Gabrielle respond, “How could you do that after everything we've been through together! I would do anything for you, Gabrielle!”
Gabrielle got up and put her face in Xena's personal space, “Cool it! I was hoping you'd come with me.”
“What about the greater good? What about my redemption, Gabrielle?!” Xena shouted again, fear underlining every word she spoke.
The bard thought for a moment, “I don't know. How do we even know that what you are doing is going to help redeem you anyway? You could die any moment and Hades may still throw you into Tartarus just because he doesn't like you! I believe that you've redeemed yourself. I also believe that you don't have to travel around Greece, and gods know where, just to do it.”
“So everything we've done the past few years is a joke to you?” Xena asked quietly.
“Of course not. I believe that was your path, but that doesn't mean it will always be your path. Xena, you say that I'm your path. If my path is no longer to follow a warrior, will the warrior follow me?” Gabrielle sighed as she sat back down near the fire.
Xena took a deep breath trying to calm herself, “Gabrielle. I would follow you anywhere. I can't live without you and I would never leave you. You are my path, I know that's true. If you want to settle down somewhere, then let's do it. I'll find something to occupy me. I can't say that I agree with you about being redeemed. I truly believe that it's going to take a life time of putting others before myself before I'm redeemed. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I'm so lucky as to escaped prison all these years.”
“Well, you are sort of hard to catch.” Gabrielle said with a small smile. Xena sat back next to her lover and sighed, remaining quiet. After a few minutes Gabrielle broke the silence with another question. “Whatcha thinking about?”
Xena looked up from the fire, then over to the bard. “I should be in prison for the rest of my life Gabrielle. I have sent so many people there because they murdered, or stole, you name it. I have always thought ‘they deserve it for what they did'. I'm a hypocrite. I deserve it just as much, if not more. I've killed so many people in my life. I've wronged so many. How is it that I have not had to pay for that?”
“You pay for it every day, Xe.” Gabrielle replied, as she stroked Xena's arm. “With your guilt,” she added when she could tell that Xena didn't completely understand.
“Not good enough.” She grunted in return. “Do you really want to settle down with Amazons?”
She thought for a moment before answering, “I don't know. Sometimes I think that I would get wanderlust and wouldn't be able to stay in one place for long. One part of my life with you that I have enjoyed is traveling, seeing new places. I just wish we didn't have so much trouble to fight on our way.”
Xena leaned over and put her finger under Gabrielle's chin, lifting it up. “I love you, my bard. I go where you go.” She leaned in and kissed her soundly.
Beginning of Episode 75: the next morning
Gabrielle is massaging Xena's shoulders, "I can't find it.” She says as she digs down into Xena's leather dress.
Xena replies, "It's there."
The bard is still searching. "I-- got it. I got it."
"Gabrielle, stop searching with your eyes."
"All right-- no eyes.." the bard says as she continues to feel around.
"Find it? Ahhhh. You found it." Xena says.
Gabrielle replies, "I learned from the best."
Escape from the Path
End of Episode 75 (S4,E7):
In the Commandant's office, Thalassa addressed Xena, "Now, I owe my life to you. The gods certainly love playing with our fates, don't they?"
Xena replied, "Thalassa, I can't ask your forgiveness. I wronged you terribly. But there's one thing I know. When I met you, you were a wonderful, loving person. And if you continue to let that love be buried under bitterness and anger, evil wins."
The woman responded, “What you say-- it's true. Your friend here, she helped me get back in touch with something these last few days; my soul. My ability to do good had been crippled. The evil Xena she did that to me. Don't let her do it to you.” Then she looked at the bard, “Thank you, Gabrielle." Then she turned and walked out.
Gabrielle walked in front of Xena and handed her the Chakrum, "So, how about it?"
"How about what?" the warrior replied.
"Gabrielle, that's not for me. But I won't let that monster that I used to be, the one that's sleeping so close to my heart, destroy all the good I can do now."
The bard smiled, “Not as long as I'm around."
The sea was calm as the boat made its way back to the mainland. The voyage would take about three days from Shark Island. Gabrielle and Xena were below deck sitting on their separate beds. Xena was sound asleep, recovering from being in the pit. She had cleaned off before she got on the ship, due to Gabrielle getting nauseous due to her smell.
The bard was sitting up in bed, leaning against the wall of the ship. She had a scroll laying on her lap, but she was not reading or writing. Her eyes were glazed over as she stared at the floor boards, deep in thought. I really thought I could forgive her and just move on with our lives. I want to, but I can't stop thinking about her leaving me. She was right, she IS a hypocrite! She told me she would never leave me, then what does she do? Leave, just like that. It took her all of two minutes to decide that. Did she involve me in the decision making? No. Just on her own, without the person she loves.
Gabrielle looked down at the scroll in her lap; it's one she wrote a week ago when Xena left on the prisoner's boat. She read the opening verse, a poem by Sappho: “ Set are the Pleiades; the Moon is down; And midnight dark on high. The hours, the hours, drift by, And here I lie, Alone.” I sit here, in this seaside town, lost and alone. Xena has left me, for life. She has ripped apart my heart and fed it to the sharks that surround that damned island. She claimed another path, one that is not me. A path, not of redemption, but a path that will lead her to“completeness”. I thought I made her complete; was I fooling myself? Or had she told me that? She has shattered my mind, my soul. How am I to live without my warrior?
Gabrielle skipped ahead on the scroll to read the entry before she decided to learn healing. Again, it started with a poem, ‘ My anger thought you too ignoble for my love, and close examination finds you too magnificent, and only equals are joined together smoothly.' I'm coming for you Xena, no matter if you want out of that prison or not. I have to at least face you and ask you why you would do this to me. Why you would leave so easily when you had just told me how much I mean to you? I need to know what you want me to do now.
Now, as she sat dwelling on these feelings, her anger continued to burn inside her guts. She bore holes into Xena from across the room with her fierce gaze. The warrior began to awaken, turning to face the bard. The blue eyes turned upon her, a smile forming across Xena's face. “Hi.” The warrior greeted the bard.
Gabrielle couldn't get herself to reply. The overwhelming emotions raging inside her made her deaf to any sounds of the world. It was as if Xena had lost her voice, Gabrielle couldn't hear her. Her vision became somewhat blurry as her hate consumed her.
Xena noticed the lack of reaction from the bard so she sat up and started waving her hand in front of Gabrielle's view. Her mouth was forming words, but none that the bard registered. The warrior got off the bed and kneeled down next to Gabrielle's bed. She was eye level with the bright green eyes that were covered in unshed tears. Xena reached out to touch Gabrielle on the cheek but Gabrielle pulled her head away, looking the opposite direction as Xena.
“Gabrielle?” Xena pleaded with her friend. “Please talk to me.” She put her hand on the bard's hand, only for Gabrielle to pull it away with a jerk. Xena saw Gabrielle's jaw clenching, her whole body ridged with malice. Finally Xena had enough, her own anger at the treatment getting to her. She grabbed Gabrielle by the shoulders and forced her to look at her, turning her shoulders and body so they were facing one another.
Gabrielle snapped as she yelled, “What! Are you planning on trying to fool me again into thinking that I'm your path!? HA! What a fucking joke, Xena! You lied to me, you betrayed me! ‘I'll follow you anywhere', isn't that what you said to me just the other day? Then the SECOND you have the chance, you leave me! When it suits your purposes you do what YOU want. When did it go from ‘us' to you, Xena?”
Xena's eyes filled with tears, both sorrow and anger warring against one another. “I love yo” She was stopped mid-sentence by a slap across the face from the bard.
“HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT TO ME! You don't leave people you love. Haven't we been over this before?” Gabrielle got off the bed and ran out of the room to the deck of the ship. She went to the bow and leaned over the edge, puking her guts up into the sea. By the gods, what's come over me?
Xena was still kneeling on the floor by the bed, staring at the space Gabrielle previously occupied. Her face is stern, but a tear escapes her right eye. She's never felt so vulnerable in her life. I have forced our paths apart. She hates me, the one person that means more to me than all the world, actually hates me.
An hour later, Xena wraps a blanket around her shoulders, then grabs Gabrielle's blanket from her bed. Walking out onto deck, she takes a deep breath. Gabrielle is on the bow, staring out to sea as the sun sets in brilliant colors of oranges and reds. Xena approaches from the side and leans backwards against the gunwale, facing the opposite direction as Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is first to break the silence, “You know… I look back and realize that maybe you have never really understood me. I guess I was fooled into thinking you did. For some reason, you thought that my spiritual quest was about feeling complete.” She pauses then sighs, “It's never been about that, Xe. I have felt complete since you and I declared our love for each other. You complete me, nothing else does.” She chokes over the next few words, “You ripped my heart into pieces.”
Xena's eyes were on the deck of the boat, head down. She quietly asked, “So…what is your quest about?”
Gabrielle scoffs, then whispers “I knew it.” She pauses and shakes her head. “I'm just trying to find the right way for me in life, Xena. I'm trying to find where I can help people in the best way possible and still feel like I'm not betraying who I am inside. I just feel like I'm on the wrong path, but that does not mean you are wrong.” A few moments of silence ensue between them, only the sound of the water hitting the hull. “Be honest with me? Did you really mean it when you said that you needed something to feel complete? That giving yourself up to the justice of prison would make you complete?”
Xena thought for a moment, knowing that she hadn't really meant that. The only reason she had said that was to give Gabrielle a chance at a better life, a peaceful life; without her. “I don't know.” She replied, images of the crucifixion premonition flashed through her mind. She would not lead Gabrielle to her death. She would rather give Gabrielle the opportunity to escape from the path of violence than lead her to that kind of tortuous death.
Gabrielle walked away, back to their cabin and into bed. She faced away from Xena's bed, her body language clearly showing her feelings. She did not want to be talked to or touched. She wanted to be left alone.
Beginning of Episode 76:
A person on horseback stops next to a man walking up a hill. The man says, "Around the hill-- a warrior's destroying our men!"
The rider urges her horse on, "Yah! Yah! Yah!" She comes upon an open field where two women are fighting her men. She pushes her horse towards Gabrielle, knocking her to the ground. Then she flips onto the side of the horse and kicks Xena to the ground. When she pulls her horse back around, Xena jumps up and kicks her off the horse.
Both she and Xena pull out their swords and begin to fight. After a few moments, Gabrielle runs up behind the woman and tries to hit her from behind. “Gabrielle, No!” Xena shouts.
The woman, Najara, does a flip over Gabrielle's head and knocks her to the ground from behind. Najara lifts up her sword to end the bard's life. Xena pulls out her Chakrum, when suddenly Najara stops. She looks up into the sky and smiles, then sighs in relief. She lowers her weapon as she kneels on the ground.
Xena helps Gabrielle off the ground as they watch this woman close her eyes and nod her head. She is whispering to herself. She begins to cry, then says to the bard and warrior, "I'm so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?"
End of Episode 76 (S4,E8):
Gabrielle approaches Najara, who is handcuffed around a column. "The slave traders are going to get a fair trial."
Najara replies, "They'll probably bribe their way out of it."
"The soldiers say that you wiped out a village last year-- and many innocent people died."
"They lied." The crusader said with conviction. "Those men were pirates. They sunk many passenger ships for sport. They had to die. But you believe what you want, Gabirelle. Be happy." Gabrielle walked away, to wait for Xena by Argo.
Xena approached Najara, "Well, these people aren't your biggest fans."
"Can't please everybody." She replied with an air of cockiness.
Xena became a little worried, "Did you tell her about the vision?"
"No. That would hurt her-- and I don't ever want to do that. That's your job.” She replied, frustrating Xena. The warrior walked away and left with Gabrielle. Najara spoke to herself, “I forgive you, Gabrielle."
A/N: SEND ME A PM IF YOU ARE STILL FOLLOWING THIS SERIES. I FEEL MY WRITING IS GETTING STALE, BUT I NEED FEEDBACK FROM ANYONE READING IT. DON'T HOLD BACK, CRITICAL FEEDBACK IS GOOD.
The moon is full, radiating light onto the camp, whose fire has just been restoked. Gabrielle is wrapped in a blanket, but sitting up next to the fire. Her scroll and quill are out on her lap, but she is watching Xena. The silence of the night is being disturbed by Xena's whimpering in her sleep. The warrior is tossing and turning, then settles down for a few moments.
Gabrielle goes back to writing: I think I have forgiven her for leaving me when she volunteered to go to prison, but at the same time I'm worried she will try to leave me again. She doesn't seem to get it through that thick skull of hers; my life belongs to her. It's simply, really. We haven't talked about our fight, nor have I told her that I've forgiven her. I think we are just both avoiding confrontation with each other altogether. We haven't made love in weeks, we haven't even kissed. Yet there really is no tension between us. I think that our relationship is past that; we are so close that we avoid awkwardness. The first week we didn't even touch each other, not even in friendly ways. This week, well I have made an effort to be more affectionate. You know, touching her arm here, her back there etc. It actually reminds me of when we were still just friends. I still love Xena, I always will. Things are just different. I don't know how I feel about it. She's been letting me make decisions about everything we do. I find it strange. I look to her to when a decision needs to be made and she just stares back at me, so I make a decision and she nods her consent and we move on. It's already very apparent to me that I don't know how to read people well anymore. I trusted Najara and shouldn't have.
“NOOOOO!!!!!” Xena screamed out in her sleep. She quickly sat up from the ground and began wiping her tears from her eyes. After a moment, she looked over to where Gabrielle's bedroll was; it was empty. Her eyes darted around, finally landing on the bard near the fire. This seemed to calm her tremendously.
“Xena? Are you ok?” Gabrielle set her diary down and walked over to the bedrolls. She sat down on hers and touched her hand to Xena's. The warrior's hands were clammy and sweaty. “Xe, do you want to talk about it?”
Xena laid back down, images of the crucifixion flooding her mind. She closed her eyes tight, willing them to go away. She is watching as a nail is driven through Gabrielle's hand, the bards face contorting in severe pain. Xena quickly opened her eyes back up, staring into green eyes as Gabrielle was leaning over her. The warrior looks away, not able to look into the eyes of the one that is put to death with her, the one she loves. “I can't talk about it.” She whispers as she rolls over away from Gabrielle.
Gabrielle sighs, but lies down next to Xena, she gets under the covers and snuggles up against the warriors back. They fall asleep like that for the rest of the night.
The next morning, they are about an hour down the road from where they slept for the night. A man is running down the road towards them waving his hands in the air. Xena and Gabrielle look at each other as he approaches, then they look back at him. “What is it?” Gabrielle asks the man when he is close enough.
He bends over trying to catch his breath, “We were attacked.” He takes deep breath before continuing. “Some of us are injured. Do you know where we can find a healer?”
Gabrielle looks at Xena, who just shrugs; the bard suggests, “We can help. Lead us there.”
About a half hour down the road, the man leads them off onto a small path. Xena's eyes dart around looking for danger, always prepared with her hand on her Chakrum. Gabrielle is ahead of her, talking with the man about the attack and what happened. The man didn't seem to know much, which made Xena leery.
The tree branches and shrubbery around them opened up into a small campsite. The area looked like a storm had blown through. There were clothes and camping gear strewn everywhere. Several men sat around the fire, holding linen to the wounds on their bodies. Two men were completely passed out with blood loss. The man leading them, Xavier, spoke up, “I was the luckiest one. They hit me once and thought I was out. When they weren't looking, I ran.”
Gabrielle touched Xena's arm and looked up into her eyes. “You can help, right?”
Xena's expression softens when she looks upon Gabrielle's pleading eyes, “Sure.” She begins to walk around the camp and after a moment spots the man that she thinks is in the most critical condition. Gabrielle does the same, checking on some of the men with minor cuts and abrasions. She pulls Xena's healer kit off Argo and begins to get out the supplies they will need.
By night fall, all the men had been treated. One passed away, his wounds too great for Xena to save him. Xavier offered for them to stay with the camp for the night, which Gabrielle agreed that they would. Gabrielle began to lay their bedrolls about thirty feet away from the rest of the group. Xena approached her and stopped, “What are you doing?”
“I think we should stay the night, don't you? It's too late to find anywhere else.” Gabrielle began to put some kindling on the ground and build a rock ring around it for a fire. Xena didn't answer, so the bard looked up. Xena was glancing around the camp, her movements made her seem like she was on alert. Gabrielle whispered, “Xena, what is it?”
Xena looked down at her, “Not sure. I'm probably just imagining things. Hey, I'm going to go hunt down a rabbit or something. I'll be back.” With that said she turned and left, thinking to herself I really don't trust that Xavier guy. He seems very squirrely.
A few minutes later Xavier walked up to Gabrielle and sat next to her. The fire was now roaring to life, warming the air around them. She smiled warmly at him and welcomed him. “Hi, how is everyone doing over there?” She put a pot over the fire with water and tea leaves in it.
“Ah, they are well. Thank you for helping us; I don't know what we would do without your help.”
“It was Xena mostly. I'm really not that good of a healer.” Gabrielle stirred the pot.
“I think you are. You have a good bedside manner and you have beautiful hands, Gabrielle. A man would be lucky to have those hands touch him.” He said, putting the emphasis on the word touch.
Gabrielle shifted uncomfortably, not sure if he realized the double meaning to the words he spoke. She nervously chuckled, “Hm thanks.” She stood up and grabbed a cup out of her bag then poured the hot tea into it.
As she was pouring, she felt a hand snake around her stomach and pull her hips backwards. Prodding her lower back, she could feel a partially erect penis. She pushed her hips backwards, trying to push him off her. She didn't want to risk spilling the super hot water on herself, otherwise she would have landed an elbow in his nose or ribs. Xavier took the backward hip thrust as her enjoyment of his touch, so he slid his hand down to her crotch and crudely grabbed at it. Realizing that he didn't get the hint, she spoke up in a firm voice, “Let me GO!”
“Oh come on, I know you like it. You've been flirting with me all day. Let me show you a good time, to repay you for your help today.” He replied as he moved his other hand up her stomach to her breast. She jerked back again, this time dropping the pot of water onto the fire. It sizzled and caused the fire to almost go out.
“Stop it!” she yelled as she elbowed him in the stomach, causing him to push off her. He landed on the ground holding his torso, gasping for breath. Gabrielle ran over to grab her staff, but he reached out a hand and lunged for her. His hand hit her ankle, tripping her to the hard ground. She landed flat on her stomach, not even her hands reacted in time to brace her fall. “Xena!”
Out in the forest, Xena was on her way back from hunting when she heard Gabrielle call her name. She immediately noted the panic in her voice, so she began to sprint back to camp. When she arrived, she found that Xavier was lying on top of her bard; Gabrielle was on her stomach. Xavier had his pants unbuckled and Gabrielle's skirt was raised above her butt, exposing her to the world.
Xena didn't even think about it before she was flying through the air in a prone position, straight at him. She knocked into him about at his shoulders, flattening him to the ground behind. She found herself on top of him, beating him senseless. Within a few seconds, he was completely knocked out and barely breathing. She stayed on top of him, fighting the rage inside her that told her to beat him until he died. The only thing that snapped her out of it was Gabrielle crying behind her.
She whipped her head around to see Gabrielle sitting on the ground with her legs tucked up under her. She was rocking a bit and sobbing. Xena quickly stood up and ran over to Gabrielle, pulling her into her arms. “Oh Gabby, are you ok?” She stroked the long blond hair and kissed the top of her head.
Gabrielle snuggled into Xena's arms, “I think so. Thank you for saving me.”
“Shh let's get you by the fire. You are shivering.” Xena stood up with Gabrielle in her arms and carried her to the fire. She set her down then wrapped her in a blanket. She quickly grabbed rope off Argo and tied Xavier up and stuffed his mouth with a dirty towel. After that was taken care of, she sat down next to Gabrielle and pulled her onto her lap, holding her tight. “Are you ok? Did he hurt you?”
“Well, I hit the ground hard and he gra- He touched me through my clothes. But he didn't get to touch me once I was on the ground.” Gabrielle's voice was shaky, but she seemed to be done crying.
“I'm going to cut off his balls!” Xena said through clenched teeth. “And his dirty rotten hands.”
They were quiet for a few more minutes, then Gabrielle spoke up. “Xe, why do I so easily trust people?”
“I think it's because you are filled with so much light and goodness that you project it onto others. You inherently believe that everyone is good, until you find otherwise.”
“That almost sounds like it shouldn't be bad, but it always ends badly.” She whispered.
“Not always. You believed in me and have helped me work though my darkness. You help me fight it every day. Don't sell yourself short, love.” Xena kissed the top of her head. “I'm going to get you into bed, ok? Then I'm going to return him to his group.”
“Ok. Please come back quickly.”
Xena smiled at her and kissed her gently on the lips. It was their first kiss in weeks. “I will, I promise.” She stood up with the bard in her arms and deposited her in her bedroll on the ground.
She walked over to Xavier, who was now awake. He flinched when she approached him and reached down to pull him up. “Get up bastard.” She yanked him to his feet and pushed him ahead of her. She did not head towards the camp though, she pushed him the opposite direction. When they were about ten minutes walk from the camp, Xena unleashed hell on him. With her Chakrum, she sliced his pants so they fell to his feed. Then she took out her dagger and pressed it into his genitals. “Tell me one reason why I should castrate you.”
He tried to talk but the gag was still in his mouth. His eyes were frantic and his mumbling was quick. She reached up and cut the gag with the dagger. “It will never happen again, you have to believe me! I thought she wanted me!!!” the gag was stuffed back into his mouth.
“Was that after she ran from you that you still thought she wanted you? Here's a tip, if they are running or fighting you, they don't want you!” Xena bent down and lifted up his manhood to reveal his testicles. “Hm seems that you will never have children.” She quickly ran the knife across each testicle at the top, dropping them to the ground. He screamed in pain as she wrapped him up with a cloth. She cut his bound hands and stuck his hand on the cloth. “Hold this or you'll bleed out.”
She picked up his removed body parts and wrapped them in a cloth then pushed him forward forcing him to walk to the camp. She pushed him towards his comrades and threw the bundle at one of the men. The man opened it and immediately threw it on the ground. “Ah! What's that?!” he screamed.
“His most treasured possessions. Seems he likes to rape women. If anyone touches us tonight, their fate will be worse.” She turned and left back to Gabrielle. The men were in shock, whispering as she left.
The next day, they were back on the road. Xena had not revealed her midnight surgery to Gabrielle, afraid of what Gabrielle would think of her for doing so. She was quite tired, due to staying up to guard all night. She did not want any retaliation to happen. She had, however, been quiet cozy sleeping with Gabrielle in her arms. It had been a long time since they slept like that.
“Xe, what are you thinking about?” Gabrielle asks from the ground next to Argo.
“Uh, just how nice it was to hold you last night.” Xena said with a slight blush.
Xena continued thinking to herself when it was apparent Gabrielle wasn't going to say anymore. Gods did she even enjoy it? I wonder if she cuddled with Najara at all… maybe she didn't have such a lonely time like I did. Gods what if they… no. There's no way Gabby would do that. Even though she was pissed at me for leaving her. Right? She wouldn't do that. gods I'm so insecure it's crazy. It's been a long time since I've been this insecure with my relationship with her. What's worse is that I tried to leave her twice now. She seemed so happy with that wench. I think they would have become lovers if I had really left. Ugh lovers. I don't want anyone touching Gabby! I should be the only one. Is that fair of me to ask that though after all I've put her through? I don't own her. She's not my wife. Yet. She would never marry me, I'm sure of it. Who would want to? I've got to shut off my damn mind, I'm driving myself crazy!
“Gab do you want to spar for a bit?”
Gabrielle stopped walking and shook her head no. “I'll pass, but if you want to stop and do some drills, be my guest. I could fix us something to eat from our rations.”
Xena jumped off Argo, “That would be good. Thanks.” Xena smiled at her and almost bent to kiss her but refrained.
Gabrielle noticed the hesitation and the quick withdraw. She smiled at Xena trying her best to reassure her that it was ok to kiss her, but Xena seemed nervous. The moment passed them up and Xena got her sword out and began to drill in the field next to the road. Gabrielle watched for a moment then grabbed the bag with food in it. She took out some dried meet and nuts and set them aside. “Well that's an easy lunch.” She got out her quill and scroll and began to write.
Xena seems hesitant to kiss me. She did last night, but that was after that man tried to hurt me. I think it was a reflex for comfort more than anything. I still don't feel like we are strained. I think she is just nervous to do anything without my permission… or it's like she wants me to initiate anything and everything. I'm not sure I understand why. It could be because I slapped her and told her she doesn't understand me. Wow, I was such a bitch. We haven't talked about Najara yet. I'm kind of surprised she hasn't brought it up. She hasn't even tried to rub it in my face that she was right about her. I didn't tell Xena this, but Najara kissed me the day I was ‘initiated into the way of the light'. I can't believe I fell for that religion. It seemed to right at the time, so perfect for me. Anyway, back to the kiss. We had been talking about what the ‘light' was and how to stay in it and not fall away. She told me about a time that she felt she was falling away, but the Jinn brought her back. She was emotional, so I hugged her from the side. She looked over at me and leaned in to kiss me. Our lips connected for a brief moment, but I pulled away. All I could think about was Xena. At the time, I had wished she had been there to see the ceremony, rather than going after Marat. I'm glad she wasn't though, because she wouldn't have found out how bad Najara really was. I wonder what Xena would have done if she had seen Najara kiss me. Would she have attacked her? Or would she have let it happen, convincing herself it's what I wanted? Probably both. She seems to assume that she knows what I want or what I'm thinking. It's another thing I'll never understand. I know that Xe knows me very well, but sometimes she assumes too much.
As I watch her now, drilling with her sword, I can't imagine being with anyone else. Yes, I admit that a hospice sounds amazing. I would love to start something like that and help people heal. It seems much better than beating the tar out of people. I think that if I asked Xena, she would build me a hospice and support me one hundred percent. I can't just think of me all the time though. I keep doing that instead of thinking of us as a partnership. I'm in this with her, so I need to remember that. I seem to lose track of that regularly.
Xena finished her drill and walked over to sit next to Gabrielle. “Whatcha writing about?”
“Us.” Gabrielle replied as she handed Xena some nuts and dried meat.
“Mm. Anything good?” Xena asked a slight tease in her voice.
“Yeah, just some samples of our love making.” She said this as Xena took a drink of water.
She immediately spit out all the food and water in her mouth. “WHAT!?”
“Kidding, Xe. I was just catching up on my diary, the past few weeks of activity.” She nudged Xena in the ribs. “It's ok, I'm really not writing about our sex life.”
Xena was quiet for a moment. “Maybe if I gave you something to write about you would have material.”
Gabrielle looked over at her, Xena was completely serious. “Xena, it's ok that we haven't made love. We've had a lot going on, I don't blame either of us.” Gabrielle reached over and guided Xena's face and eyes to hers. “But it's ok if you kiss me once in a while, you know.”
Xena gently smiled, “Sorry.”
“Don't be sorry. Just improve.” Gabrielle repeated a line Xena had used on her in their early days. She pulled Xena by the neck and pressed their lips together in a passionately loving embrace. After a few moments of kissing, they separated and both smiled. “I love you, Xena.”
Xena's smile faded. “If I say those words are you going to hit me again?”
Gabrielle wasn't expecting that. “No and I'm sorry about that.”
“Good to know. I love you too, Gabrielle.” Xena leaned down and took her time kissing the bard, reacquainting herself to the love they share.
Beginning of Episode 77:
Xena and Gabrielle were picking up their belongings at camp, it was still dark outside. Gabrielle said to Xena, "Are you sure I was dying? Xena, the gods know that I have been tied to a cross before. You helped me then. What makes you think this vision is different?"
Xena said, "It was so real-- the way you looked-- the mountain in the background. It's true, or it could be."
"Well, I'm not going to believe it. It's almost dawn. Come on-- better get moving if we're gonna warn the people of Actus about that army." Gabrielle began to fold up her blanket.
"No sense in us both going. Stay here. Catch up on some rest. I'll go to Actus." Xena said with a smile on her face, trying to make the situation light.
The bard began to get mad. "No, you won't. The threat of a battle does not mean I'm going to end up like your vision. Xena, you're expecting Medusa behind every tree! Y-y-you can't look left! You can't look right! You just-- "
She gritted her teeth, "All right. We're not staying long. Actus has its own army. Once we warn them, we're out of there." Xena began to get Argo's bridle ready to put on.
"That's fine. This conversation is over-- right?” She looked over at Xena who was not responding. “Deal?"
Xena looked at her and laughed, "Gods forbid I'd ever bring that subject up again. Hmm."
A Queen's Retreat
End of Episode 77 (S4,E9):
In a flashback, young Xena is walking towards Kaleipus the Centaur, "Stop there, Xena!"
She keeps walking towards him as his sword is pointed at her throat. "You got my message. I just wanna talk to you."
The Centaur lowers his weapon, "As you did before, when you tried to kill me? It doesn't matter. You won't get the Ixion stone. Borias, the friend of the Centaurs, has told us everything. We found his body in your camp. But his legend will live on forever with our people."
Xena unwraps the baby from inside her fur cloak. She holds it up to Kaleipus, "Take this child. He's my son-- the son of Borias. If he stays with me, he'll become a target for all those who hate me. He'll learn things that a child shouldn't know. He'll become like me. Please."
The Centaur hesitantly takes the baby, then looks him over. "The son of Borias-- shall be raised as my own."
Xena is crying next to a campfire, Gabrielle is holding her leaning her head against Xena's.
A/N: This episode contains somewhat graphical sexual content. Be advised.
“Xena, where are we going? I feel like we are in the middle of nowhere.” Gabrielle said, she is sitting on top of Argo in front of Xena. Xena squeezes her arms around Gabrielle and whispers something into her ear. “Hm. Not going to tell me, eh? I bet I could get it out of you.”
“My lips are sealed.” Xena replies. They continue in silence for a moment, both with smiles on their faces at the playful banter. Xena looks down at her thigh as she sees Gabrielle's hand sliding up from her knee. She raises her eyebrow, but loses her smile. “Ahem. What do you think you are doing?”
“Nothing.” The bard replied, her smile growing on her face. Her hand continued it's upwards movement along Xena's smooth, firm leg. “Mm so soft.” The couple had not touched each other like this in a very long time.
Xena began to squirm in her seat. “Gabrieeelle.” Xena stopped her hand right before her fingers reached her underwear.
Gabrielle brought her hand back onto her lap in a huff. “You are no fun.”
“I am, I just don't think we should do that while on horseback in the middle of nowhere. You never know what could surprise attack us.”
“First of all, we've done that on horseback before. Second of all, we are in the middle of nowhere…it's not likely that ANYTHING is out here that would ‘surprise attack' us.” Gabrielle growled at Xena.
Xena smiled at Gabrielle's reaction, “Frustrated?” She received no response. A moment later they reached a cross roads. Xena stopped Argo and hopped off, stretching her back. She looked up at Gabrielle and said, “Are you getting down?”
Gabrielle looked around and sighed, “I suppose.” She swung her legs over and landed firmly on the ground. “I sure wish you would tell me where we are going. Or don't you know?”
“I know. I am just not telling you.” Xena said with a teasing grin, which apparently was not registered by Gabrielle.
Gabrielle was visibly angry, she took her staff from Argo's saddle and walked off down a path through the bushes. “Wow, just wow. Why is she keeping secrets from me? And why is it pissing me off so much?” she asked herself as she found a spot to relieve her bladder. She found a nice spot and squatted down. “Am I really this pissed because I've gotten use to her letting me take the lead?” She grabbed a leaf and wiped herself. After pulling up her underwear she walked back toward the road. As she walked, she tried to change her attitude. Upon arriving at Argo and Xena, she stood on her tip toes and kissed Xena on the lips. “Ok, let's go.”
Hm, that's not the same angry woman that just walked away. Maybe she is starting her cycle? Crap, that could put a damper on my plans. She jumped up onto Argo then hoisted Gabrielle up behind her. Oh, bad decision. She thought, as Gabrielle's fingers were automatically traveling along her inner thigh again. “Gabby, can you wait until we find a place to camp or something? Then we can do it proper?”
The fingers stopped and Gabrielle said, “Sorry. I just haven't touched you in so long. It's really driving me crazy being this close to you.”
Xena patted the bard's hands, “Good to know I drive you crazy, my bard.”
An hour later, they reached a very secluded town. As they entered, everyone was extremely friendly. There were only a handful of buildings and the air smelled a little of minerals. Xena spotted a young woman and walked Argo over to ask a question. “Excuse me? Can you tell me the way to Nikaia's place?”
The girl smiled in response, “Yes, I'll lead you there.” She turned around and began to walk towards the other end of town. Xena and Gabrielle dismounted and followed on foot.
Gabrielle whispered to Xena, “Who is Nikaia?”
“An old friend.”
“Oh great, that's usually bad news. Probably some old girlfriend.” Gabrielle chuckled, but Xena did not. She looked over at the warrior, who had an embarrassed look on her face. “Are you serious right now?”
Xena didn't answer because they arrived to a somewhat large house that looked as if it was more of an inn. “Thank you for bringing us here. We appreciate it.” She said to the girl, who smiled and walked away.
Xena took a step towards the door but was pulled back by Gabrielle. “Xena? Is she really an ex?”
Xena leaned down to look Gabrielle in the eyes, “No.” She smiled and stood back up straight then knocked on the door.
“Whew. Did not want to deal with that right now.” Gabrielle said under her breath.
The door opened and a beautiful woman stepped out to greet them. She was a few inches taller than Gabrielle, with dark brown hair and a honey golden color eyes that made you look twice. She had a beautifully shaped body, curves in all the right places, yet not overweight. Her facial features were striking, beautiful smile, slender nose, and perfectly arched eyebrows. The woman also had incredible dimples when she smiled. Gabrielle realized that she was gawking. “Xena!” the woman recognized the warrior immediately and stepped out to hug her tight. Xena returned the hug, though not quite as tight.
“Nikaia, it's good to see you.” Xena said, then she released the woman and turned to Gabrielle. “This is my partner, Gabrielle.”
The woman took Gabrielle in with a smile and shook her hand. “It's nice to meet you. Come on in.” She waved both women inside then yelled out the door for her son to take the horse. A small ten year old boy ran out from the stables and did his duty. As they settled in the living room, Nikaia gave them both some tea with cheese and bread. “It's so good to see you so well Xena. The last time I saw you…”
“I know.” Xena cut her off. “Things are better now.” the warrior said this as she looked at Gabrielle and smiled. The bard smiled back.
The woman caught this exchange and decided she wanted to know exactly who Gabrielle was to Xena. “So, you said you are partners? She doesn't look much like a warlord, Xena.”
Gabrielle choked on her tea, then wiped her mouth of the drool. “No, I'm definitely not a warlord.” The bard set her tea down and looked to Xena to answer the woman.
“She's my life partner, and my partner in my new life mission.”
“Which is?” the woman asked as she looked at each woman waiting for an answer.
“Xena doesn't like to brag about it, so I will for her. She has turned from her warlord days and decided to fight for good. We roam throughout the country, and sometimes abroad, to help those in need.” Gabrielle smiled at Xena.
“I see. Well that's sure a far cry from where I last knew you to be. Does it make you happy, my friend?” the woman asked as she sipped on her tea.
“It makes me feel like I'm worth something. What makes me ‘happy' is the woman sitting next to me.” Xena looked over to watch Gabrielle blush. “She is the only reason I've been able to continue fighting at all. She has saved my life multiple times and in multiple ways.” Xena reached over and held the bards hand.
“Well, I'm glad to know that. I think that answers my next question as to why you are here to see me.” She looks at Gabrielle, “Do you know why you are here?”
Gabrielle shook her head no, “Xena kept her mouth shut the whole way. I couldn't pry anything out of her. Hopefully you'll tell me?”
“It seems that she wants to give you a few days worth of total relaxation and rejuvenation. I'm a healer of the spirit and body, but no in the same way as most healers. I do not stitch up wounds or heal stomach ailments. Through massage, stretching and mineral baths, I help the body to heal itself from stress. Does that sound like something you need?”
Gabrielle's jaw went slack as she looked between her lover and this woman. “Gods yeah. I could use that for sure.” She squeezed the hand that was holding hers.
“Good! Well let me take you up to your room. I'll have my son bring your saddle bags in immediately. I've got a pot of duck stew on the stove, it should be ready soon. I'll let you know when it is. Meanwhile you are welcome to roam around my home, in any room you wish so long as it is not locked. You are welcome to walk around town or anywhere you please. Make yourself at home.” She stood up, smiled and began to walk away.
The bard and warrior followed her down the hall to a large room, complete with a bath tub and sitting area. “Oh this is lovely. Thank you, Nikaia.”
“My pleasure, Gabrielle. I'll see you two in about a half hour for dinner.” With that, the woman closed the door behind her.
Xena leaned up against the door and watched as Gabrielle took in her surroundings. The room was nicely decorated, not a wall was bare. Normally it would be too much décor, but in this case it seemed to fit. Several pieces of art hung on the wall, all were showing people in various stages of relaxation. One painting was of two naked women lying in bed together. It wasn't as provocative as one might think, it was very tasteful.
Gabrielle finally turned around to find Xena. She had been in her own little world and totally forgot that Xena was in the room with her. She spotted the warrior near the door, with a very sexy yet bashful look on her face. “Hey.”
“Hey to you.” The warrior replied.
The bard approached her with a sway of her hips, which drew Xena's attention downward. Gabrielle smiled watching the warrior ogle her. “Xe?” she said as she stepped next to her. “Thanks. This is going to be really nice. I think we need this.” She put her hand on Xena's cheek and cupped her face then kissed her lightly.
“Mmm” was all Xena could say in response. She moved her hands to the bard's hips and pulled her closer. Gabrielle's hands went to the back of her neck, deepening the kiss. After a moment, Xena gently pushed Gabrielle away. “Hon, I'd love to keep going but we don't have that long before dinner. Should we wash up and finish this later?”
“Gr. Ok, I guess you are right.” Gabrielle ran her hand through her hair as she let it out of the clip. “That felt good to kiss you like that Xena. I've missed it.” The bard walked over to the pitcher of water on the counter and began to pour it over her whole head.
A knock at the door, broke Xena's gaze from the bard. She opened the door and the little boy was standing there with several buckets of water lined up behind him, as well as their saddle bags. “Mom asked me to bring you hot bath water.”
“She did, huh? Perfect timing. What's your name?” She asked the boy as she reached down and helped him carry the buckets.
“Exekias, ma'am. You can call me Ky.” He responded. The boy was very friendly and had a good hospitable manner about him.
“Gabrielle, this handsome young man is Ky. He brought us some hot water for bathing.”
“Oh good!” Gabrielle's hair was dripping wet. She bent down to shake the boys hand. “You can call me Gabby. It's nice to meet you, Ky.”
“Thank you Gabby. I'll just fill the tub for you and then be on my way.” He hefted one of the buckets up on the side of the tub to dump it over. The women both noticed that he was struggling to hold the heavy water bucket.
Xena shook her head at Gabrielle, who was itching to walk over and help him. Xena poured her bucket in at the same time as him. “You are a strong lad. I think Gabby is a little cold, so I'm going to help you here just to make it quicker. She gets a little impatient.” She whispered to him, then looked up and winked at the bard.
Gabrielle shook her head and went to the saddle bags to retrieve their cleaning supplies.
After washing the road dust from their skin and hair, the couple wandered down the hall to the dining room. A pot of hot stew was sitting on the table along with bowls, spoons, bread, cheese, fruit and wine. Gabrielle began drooling on the spot, literally. Xena reached over and wiped her mouth for her. “Suck it in babe.” She said with a grin.
Gabrielle blushed and swallowed the excess saliva from her mouth. They took a seat together on one side of the table. Soon Ky joined them. He began chatting without hesitation, asking them who they were, where they came from and everything in between. He was a very charming boy, and instantly had the bard wrapped around his finger.
Nikaia entered the room with cups for the wine. She set them down and filled each of the three goblets, then handed them to the two women at her table. “A toast! To old friends and new.” She raised her glass, as did the others and they drank. The stew was quickly served out by Ky, serving the guests first, his mom next and himself last. After everyone was comfortable and had all the food dished out, the conversation began. “Tell me how you two met Gabrielle.”
Gabrielle swallowed the large bite of bread and cheese that she had in her mouth. “That's a good story. It all began when”
“Let me stop you right there, Gab.” She looked at Nikaia, “Just a warning, she is a REALLY good bard. If you ask for a story, you are going to get one. If you want short simple answers, ask me.” Xena looked back at Gabrielle, “Sorry, go ahead.” Gabrielle set her food down, crossed her arms, and stared at Xena with an appalled look on her face. Uh oh. Didn't mean to piss her off. Save yourself Xena. She leaned over to Gabrielle and whispered, “I meant that as a compliment, it didn't come out right. I love how you tell stories, you know that.”
Nikaia and Ky looked at each other, uncomfortable in the middle of a lovers' quarrel. Finally, the woman cleared her throat, “I'd love to hear the bardic version. If I remember right, Xena's ‘short simple answers' don't give me any information.” She smiled at Xena then looked back to Gabrielle who smirked in satisfaction at Xena.
Gabrielle went into the story of how they met and what they had been doing since then. She hadn't meant to tell the mother and son about their past four years together, but she didn't want to stop. Nikaia seemed to encourage her along the way, prodding with more questions. Before she knew it, she had told of most of their adventures together. Everyone had finished eating and drinking.
Xena began to clear the table to help Ky. They moved the dirty dishes into the other room and began to clean them. When they left, Nikaia motioned to Gabrielle to follow her into the living room. They sat on sofa's near the fire, hot tea in hand. “So you left out some of the good stuff. Like how did you and Xena fall in love?”
“Ah, yeah I did leave that out. It was a gradual thing, actually. Our friendship just kept growing closer and we just started falling in love. We were in love for many months before either of us knew the other's feelings. In fact, I had gotten married to a man from my home village. I did that to get away from Xena and my feelings for her. I couldn't stand it anymore, not being with her. Anyway, we ended up spilling the beans after she came back from the de” Gabrielle stopped, realizing that most people would not believe it if she said it.
Xena walked in at that moment, “Dead. When I came back from the dead.” She sat next to Gabrielle and put her arm around the bard. “It's ok, Gab. Nikaia knows that with me, nothing is normal. I'm willing to bet she isn't at all surprised.” They both look at the woman in question.
She smiled back at them, “Not at all. So it took you dying for you to finally confess your feelings for this beautiful woman, huh Xena? Tsk Tsk.”
“Yeah, it's one of the few times in my life I can easily admit how stupid I was.” Xena squeezed Gabrielle's shoulder then smiled. “I think it's time for me to go to bed. I'm pretty tired. Join me when you are ready?” She said to Gabrielle.
“Mm hm.” She looked up at the warrior as she stood to leave. “Be there in a bit.” After they heard the bedroom door close down the hall, they continued their conversation.
“I'm impressed with you Gabrielle. I did not think anyone would ever tame her.”
“What do you mean? I don't feel like I did anything.” Gabrielle took a long drink of her cooling tea.
“What was she like when you first met her?”
“Suicidal, almost. She had decided to give up fighting altogether. She went back to her home to see her mother, I followed her. It wasn't a good scene to find myself in. Xena was surrounded by the people in her home town; they were getting ready to stone her to death. She was going to let them. I stepped in and talked them out of it. The rest is history.”
“And now? I'm betting she is over the desire to die?”
“Yeah, she is. She realizes all the good she can do in her life. I think she's found her path. She says I'm her path. That scares me a bit, seeing as how I don't know where I'm going.” Gabrielle chuckled then drank the rest of her tea. “Well, I better get to bed. It was very nice talking to you. Thank you for everything.”
“No problem. Have a good night.”
When Gabrielle entered the room, only one candle was left burning by the bedside. She locked the door behind her and began to take her clothes off. After slipping into a night shirt, she pulled back the covers and wiggled onto the bed next to her lover. “Xe, you awake?”
“Thank you for bringing me here. Nikaia is really great and easy to talk to. I think this is going to be a good retreat.” Gabrielle snuggled up behind Xena and put her feet in between the warrior's legs.
“Aaa! Gab, your feet are freezing!”
“Why do you think I'm doing that? They need to be warmed up.” Gabrielle leaned her head forward and smashed her face against Xena's back. “Mm this is nice.” She placed a gentle kiss on the warrior's skin.
“I'm glad you like it here. I had a feeling you would get along with Nikaia. She's a good woman to talk to; I know she helped me a lot when I last saw her.”
“When was the last time you saw her?”
“Right before I was kicked out of my army. I stopped in here a few weeks before I began my attempt to take the region of Arcadian. She and her son are the ones that inspired me to change my rules in my army. I decided that women and children shouldn't be hurt, no matter what. Before that, it didn't matter to me. I often used them as war fodder. But when I spoke with her, she told me of a warlord that had recently torn through this town and hurt them. Her son's leg was broken and she had been beat rather badly. I had already known her before that, so they were already as close to me as I would let them. She explained to me why the warlord did what he did to them; it was the same reasons I use to hurt women and children. I guess it hit home.”
Xena's breathing changed slightly while she was talking and Gabrielle could feel it. She leaned up on her elbow and pulled Xena onto her back so they could face each other. The warrior princess had tears in her eyes; she couldn't look at Gabrielle. The bard leaned down and kissed the tears away. “Xena, I love you very much, you know? Nothing you could do, now or the past, could scare me away from you.”
“Why? I'm not worthy of your love, Gabrielle. You deserve someone better than me. Someone that will always treat you right and not hurt you.” Xena was still not making eye contact with her lover.
Gabrielle sighed, “Xe, look at me please. I love you because you are the most amazing woman I know. You are strong inside and out. You are compassionate and caring especially towards those that need it. You are smart and funny. Most of all, you are my soul mate. We are destined to be together forever, in every life. I, for one, am glad that I happen to be in love with my soul mate. You make me a better person, whether you believe it or not. Yes, sometimes you hurt me but what do you expect? When two people are as close to each other as we are, we are both bound to get hurt at times. That's not a bad thing, it's normal. If we didn't want to hurt each other ever, then we wouldn't be able to travel together. Even if we weren't lovers, we would still hurt each other somehow. It's human nature. All that I care about is being with you for the rest of my life. I don't care where this life leads us, as long as it's together.”
“I love you, Gabrielle. You are the best thing in my life.” Xena put her arms around her and pulled her into a tight hug. Gabrielle moved her whole body so that she was on top of Xena.
After breakfast the next morning, Nikaia led them to the hot springs behind her house. The smell of mineral was prevalent. “This must be why the town smells like this.” Gabrielle stated.
“Yes, it is one reason. There are actually several springs like this in the surrounding area. I think that's what drew Xena here the first time, isn't it?” She looked at the warrior.
“Yup. I heard about this place and knew I could use it before I began my campaign. Definitely worth the ride to the middle of nowhere.” Xena grinned as she stripped her clothing and dropped down into the hot liquid. “Oh that's nice. You coming in Gab?”
“Right behind you.” Gabrielle stripped off her clothes as well and sunk down into the water. “oh this is bliss.”
“Aright, I'm going to go get you some of my special facial cream. It will make your skin feel great!” Nikaia wandered back into the house and came back with a bowl of cream. “Gabrielle, you first.”
The bard swam over to the edge and allowed the healer to apply the cream everywhere but on her eyelids. The cream had a pleasant odor, like lavender. It began to tingle on her skin. “Whoa, is it supposed to tingle?”
“Yes.” Xena swam up behind her. “My turn.” She gently nudged the bard out of the way.
“Oh this oughta be good. The WP in a cream facial mask. Ha ha, funny.” Gabrielle let out a huge smile.
“WP?” Nikaia asked with a confused look on her face.
“Warrior Princess. Makes it easier and doesn't make her ego as big.” Gabrielle immediately regretted saying that as Xena attacked her ribs with her fingers. “No!! Xena, stop! That tickles.”
“That's the point, woman!” Xena kept tickling her until Gabrielle announced that her bladder was going to let loose. “Whoa, aright I'm done. No peeing in the pool.”
Nikaia sat on the edge for a moment admiring the playfulness between the two women. “Well, I will leave you two alone. Enjoy your soak. Make sure you rinse that off before you get out.” She gathered her belongings and walked back into the house.
The heated pool was surrounded by a privacy wall made of rocks. It stood higher than the average man, so that it was harder for anyone to spy. The view above them was of a canopy of trees. The two women sat against the wall of the pool and leaned their heads back on the edge. Both felt the tension easing out of their muscles as the hot water began to relax them.
About ten minutes later, Gabrielle had dozed off to sleep, while Xena stayed awake. Nikaia came out and delivered a jug of wine and two cups. Xena smiled at her and nodded her thanks. The healer just smiled and winked. While swimming over to retrieve the cups, Xena laid on her back and stretched out in the water. She took a deep breath and went under the water to scrub the cream from her face. When she rose out of the water, the skin on her face felt lighter and softer. Ohh Gabby is going to like this! She poured the wine then took a cup to Gabrielle. She set them on the ledge behind them and woke the bard with a few well placed kisses; first behind her ear, then to her neck, then she continued her way down until Gabrielle began to moan in pleasure at the sensation on her collar bone.
“That's a good way to wake up.” Gabrielle said in a somewhat husky voice.
“Mm hmm. Here I brought you some wine.” Xena handed her the cup, then continued to kiss the bard. She kissed her gently on the shoulder then put her hands on her hips. She guided the bard to sit in between her legs so she could rub her back. The massage began at the shoulders and worked its way down to her lower back. It was accompanied by small kisses to the back of her neck and shoulder blades.
“I thought it was Nikaia's job to massage.” Gabrielle stated.
“Don't think I want her touching you. Mine.” Xena kept kissing, this time moving her hands around to Gabrielle's front side. She ran her fingers up and down the bards toned stomach muscles. “I love your body.” She whispered into Gabrielle's ear, sending shivers across the bard's skin as her hand traveled lower down. She began to gently play with the small amount of silky hair covering Gabrielle's sex.
“Xe, can we go to bed?” Gabrielle panted.
“I thought you'd never ask.” Xena immediately pulled Gabrielle up and out of the pool. She grabbed the wine as Gabrielle grabbed their discarded clothing.
The second they were in their room, Gabrielle pushed Xena onto the bed and climbed on top of her. She was straddling the warrior's waist while she leaned down and took Xena's tongue in her mouth. Their muscles battled for territory with pent up passion. Xena's hand cupped Gabrielle's butt as the bard started moving her hips in rhythm with Xena's. “Take me Xe.”
Xena needed no further requests, she immediately put her hand in between her own stomach and Gabrielle's hot wet vagina. She began to rub her fingers over the bard's swollen inner lips, causing Gabrielle to moan in pleasure. After a few minutes of building up the sensations, Xena sat up into Gabrielle's arms and plunged two fingers into Gabrielle. The bard jerked her head back and cussed at the erotic stimulation. Encouraged, Xena pulled her fingers almost all the way out, but then plunged them deeper inside the bard sending a shudder through her lover. Xena put her thumb onto Gabrielle's clit while moving in and out of her. Their bodies were pressed against each other tight, Gabrielle's breasts in Xena's face. She kissed and licked them every chance she got.
As Gabrielle was approaching orgasm, Xena took a nipple in her mouth and began to suck hard. The sensations through Gabrielle over the edge; she put her hand over her mouth to muffle the sounds of her screaming Xena's name. As she was coming, Xena gently bit on the nipple, which intensified the orgasm for Gabrielle. “oh gods Xena!!” she shouted into her own hand, causing it to be a little more quiet than it normally would be.
When her insides stopped spasming, she pulled herself off Xena's fingers, whimpering at the loss of contact. “Xe that was amazing. I've never felt so full before.” She plopped down on the bed next to her lover and let out a huge sigh.
“That's because I've never gone that deep before.” Xena said with a smile that could be heard through her town of voice. “And I made sure to get your G spot this time.”
“G spot?” Gabrielle asked, never having heard of it.
“Yeah, it's this one area inside of you that can make it more intense.”
“Yeah, I think you must have hit that then, because…by the gods that was amazing.” Gabrielle rolled over and put her arm around Xena's stomach. Her fingers began to stroke the warrior's skin then moved up and circled her nipples. Gabrielle sat up, leaned over and began to take a nipple in her mouth. Her tongue moved in circles around it, flicking it every once in a while until she felt Xena's hips begin to sway. Gabrielle stopped sucking and got off the bed to dig through their saddle bags. “Gab what are you doing?”
“Looking for the dildo. Hang on.”
“Mmm sounds good to me.” Xena reached down to see how wet she was, her fingers easily slipped inside herself.
“Hey, get your hand out of there. That's my zone.” Gabrielle swatted her hand as she got back into bed. She didn't have the dildo strapped on her though, she had it in her hand with no harness. She looked down at Xena's lower lips and realized that the foreplay was over; Xena was more than ready. She grinned wickedly at Xena then dipped her head down to lick Xena's lips. Her labia was swollen and soaking wet, begging to be sucked on. Gabrielle pulled it into her mouth and sucked gently. She made several laps around all of Xena's sex, getting her more turned on. Finally, she prepared the dildo to enter Xena. She held it ready for a few moments, while she began to suck on Xena's clit.
A moment later, Xena began to push her hips towards Gabrielle, which caused her to feel the tip of the dildo against her hole. Xena cried out, “Oh yeah honey. Please put it in.” Gabrielle did exactly as she was told, gliding the dildo into Xena's entrance. She pumped it in and out slowly at first, while she continued to feast on Xena's hot vulva. The pace escalated quickly from there; in moments Xena was clenching the sheets between her fingers and biting the pillow near her head. She moaned into the pillow as her hips rose off the bed, taking Gabrielle's face with them. Her stomach was taut and her legs flexed as the orgasm swept through her body.
After the waves of pleasure left her, she fell back down to the bed. Gabrielle continued licking at her for a moment, as if to savor the moment. “Honey, please stop now. It's really sensitive. I can't take any more.” She put her hand on Gabrielle's blond head and moved the bard's bangs from her eyes.
“Sorry, I couldn't help it. You taste wonderful tonight.” Gabrielle smiled at her then climbed up the bed to lie next to her lover.
“Mm can I hold you?” Xena asked as she opened her arms for her love.
“All night please.” Gabrielle quickly snuggled against her and they fell asleep in each other's arms.
The rest of their week went pretty much the same. They made love many times in between relaxation treatments that Nikaia gave to them. By the time they were done they truly felt like they could take on the world again. Fortunately, their next stop was to help Meg, Joxer and Autolycus fix a kidnapped baby situation. They had heard about it through a traveler that came through town. At least they wouldn't have to fight anyone, or so they thought.
Beginning of Episode 78: (during post episode 77)
Autolycus has just stolen a jewel when he runs into Meg and Joxer. They are on a mission to steal the crown of Athena.
Wedding Bells Chiming?
End of Episode 78 (S4,E10):
Meg is looking over the baby's empty cradle, her face is sad. Xena approaches her from behind, "Meg?"
Meg turns her head, "Oh, Xena. Well, everything worked out all right. Everybody's happy. But then I really thought I had somethin' in there."
"You do. You've got a warm, caring heart with a lotta love to give." Xena replied.
"For the right price. Everyone knows, that's Meg."
Xena walks towards her, "Who do you think you're fooling, huh? You've got so much depth that it scares you when it comes out."
"Well, look who's talkin'. There's a million little lights in the sky, and a million cozy homes, and I ain't never gonna be part of one of `em." Meg replies, her face growing even more sad.
Xena walks around the woman so they are face to face, "Meg-- one day it's going to happen for you-- and you'll have a family of your own-- not a borrowed one-- a family of your own."
Meg quickly says, "I can't have children."
Xena is speechless for a moment, then she says, "You did a wonderful thing here, Meg. You helped a lot of people because you were able to love one child. And I can't believe that with all the little lights in the sky, that there isn't one waiting for someone like you."
King Cleades observed Meg and Xena from the doorway. After he sensed a pause in the conversation, he stepped forward, “I'm sorry to interrupt, but Gryphia and I would like for you all to stay the night here in the castle, as our thanks for your help.”
Xena smiled, “We'd love to. Thank you.”
“Perfect. I'll send someone to show you to your rooms and care for your horse outside, Xena.” The King turned and left them in the room.
Meg turned to Xena, “Well, guess we get some good food!” she rubbed her hands together greedily then walked out of the room with Xena behind her.
Xena and Meg walked down the hallway back to where they left Joxer, Autoclycus and Gabrielle. “Hey, where is Autolycus?” Xena asked the bard.
“He left, muttering something about a gem that he had to get back. We ready to go?” Gabrielle put her hand on Xena's forearm. “I'm anxious to set camp, I'm pretty tired.”
“Actually, Cleades has offered us a night's stay here. I told him that was a good idea because you are starting to stink and could use a bath.”
Gabrielle's face went from excited to blushing in anger. “Xena!”
“What?! I'm just looking out for your hygiene.” Xena laughs.
“I – DO – NOT – STINK!” Gabrielle yelled.
“Calm down, I'm joking.” Xena grabbed the fist that was flying at her stomach. “Ah, gotcha!” Xena pulled Gabrielle close into her and wrapped her arms around her waist. She leaned forward and whispered, “Naughty little bard. What am I going to do with you?”
Despite her resolve to be pissed at Xena for the bad joke, Gabrielle could not prevent the shiver than ran over her skin at Xena's breathy words on her ear. “Uh, we'll think of something.” She gently pushed Xena away from her, then looked at Meg and Joxer. “Are you two staying as well?”
Joxer nodded his head, “Might as well! I'm not going to pass up free food, drinks, a bath, a bed…I'd be crazy! Especially if Meg shares my bed.” He nudged her in the ribs. Meg swatted him then walked across the hall and leaned against the wall chewing on her fingernails.
A man walked into the hall and looked each of them over, “King Cleades asks that you follow me to your rooms. This way.” He turned on his heels and led each couple to their perspective rooms. “The bathing chambers are inside the rooms. Water is already heated over the fires, should be ready to go. Dinner is in an hour, a servant will be at your door to escort you to the dining hall.”
Gabrielle smiled warmly at the man, “Thank you for your assistance.” He bowed and walked away. Gabrielle waved at Joxer and Meg then turned and entered her room with Xena right behind her. “Wow this is beautiful and big! I'm going to get in the bath since I apparently stink so badly.” She scowled back at Xena who just grinned.
“Bard, I promise you don't stink. Lighten up.” Xena stripped her clothing off and began to fill up the tub with hot water. She noticed scented salts sitting next to the tub, so she added some into the water; it smelled of jasmine.
“So did you talk to Meg?” Gabrielle asked as she took off her boots and clothing.
“Yeah. I don't know why you send me to do those things. You know I'm terrible at them. I didn't help her at all I'm sure of it. Maybe you should try.”
“Well what did she say?” Gabrielle was now standing naked next to the tub, dipping her hand in to feel the temperature. “Ooo that's too hot! We need some colder water in there too.”
Xena walked over and retrieved a new bucket of water that was colder. “Well, Meg surprised me a bit. She said that she can't have kids. I was caught like a deer in a hunter's sights.”
Gabrielle stopped the motion of stirring the water that Xena added. “Wow, that's unexpected. That poor woman! I think I will talk to her. I can't imagine how painful that must be.” The two women hopped into the bath and cleaned themselves of the grim.
Xena laid back against the wall of the tub and pulled Gabrielle between her legs, her arms were against Gabrielle's as they held hands. As they laid there, eyes closed and relaxing, Xena let go of the bard's right hand and began to draw on her skin with her finger. Slowly the finger worked its way all the way up Gabrielle's arm, then stopped at the base of her neck. It began its decent to her chest, slowly tickling it's way to her breast. “Xe, I'm not in the mood.” Gabrielle didn't change positions, but she did look back at Xena.
Xena stopped her finger's motion, extended her arm out and laid it flat on Gabrielle's stomach. “Sorry. I just wanted to touch you.”
“It's ok, maybe later. I am just too tired right now. Just hold me for a bit?” Gabrielle pulled Xena's arms around her so she was held tight. “I love you Xena.”
“Mm, I love you too.”
After a half hour of relaxing in the warm water, they dressed. As soon as they were done, a knock was on the door. Xena opened it to find a servant there to take them to dinner. “Gab, let's go.” They followed him down the hall, as they passed Meg and Joxer's room, Xena heard some serious moaning. Oh gods that's gross.
King Cleades' table was packed with fruits, vegetables, savory meats, cheeses and wines. Gabrielle had never seen so much food on one table. The aroma in the air was causing her to salivate. She was so mesmerized by the site of the exquisite dinner that she didn't even realize Xena was staring at her from beside the table. After a moment of Xena waving her hand in her vision, she finally looked up and snapped out of her lust. She walked forward and took a seat next to Xena. “Wow, I think I'm speechless!”
“Never!” Xena teased her bard. “You are just having a moment in which your passion for food has taken over your passion for talking. Simple.”
As they were discussing food, Cleades and Gryphia walked into the room, hand in hand. He smiled at them, “It's a pleasure to have you as guests in our home. Please, go ahead and help yourselves to anything you'd like on the table.”
“Should we wait for Joxer and Meg?” Gabrielle asked Xena.
Xena looked at her with a look of amusement on her face. “Did you not hear what was going on in their room when we walked past?” She arched her eyebrow at Gabrielle .
“Um, no I didn't hear anything. Were they fighting?” Gabrielle sipped on some wine.
Xena just stared at her, waiting for it to dawn on the bard. Receiving no indication that Gabrielle understood, she leaned over and whispered in the Gabrielle's ear. Gabrielle's face dropped and she choked on her wine. “Hey, breathe!” Xena patted her back.
Once she had resumed her normal breathing rhythm, she began to put food onto her plate. Her face was flushed in embarrassment. During the course of dinner, Joxer and Meg walked in with big smiles on their faces. “Evening, sorry we are late. We err…got a little tied up.”
Xena slapped her hand to her forehead and held back a chuckle, which caused her body to shake in silent laughter. Gabrielle smacked her leg under the table.
“Oh that food looks great!” Meg said as she plowed forward and began to load food onto her plate. “This girl is starved!”
After dinner, they all retired to another room for the evening entertainment. The room was full of lounges, sofas, oversized chairs and tables to hold food. The edges of the room had several sections that were separated by sheer red veils. Inside there were more lounges, which closely resembled beds. The art on the walls was of highly erotic sexual scenes. Xena leaned over to Gabrielle and whispered, “You can definitely tell this room is for entertainment.”
Gabrielle elbowed her in the ribs. “Be good. I think I'm going to try and get Meg alone so we can talk. Will you keep Joxer distracted?”
They all took seats, while the entertainment, dancers, filed in. Instead of sitting in the main area, Gabrielle led Meg to one of the outer bed areas. She pulled the curtains back so that everyone could see them, just so no one thought any funny business was going on. “Meg, I have wanted to catch up with you all day. How are things for you?”
“Can't complain too much ya know? I don't have a roof o'er my head or bed under my butt regularly, but can't do nuthin ‘bout it.” Meg began to pick at her teeth, trying to get left over food out.
“Joxer told me what you did for the King. That was very nice of you to try and care for the baby. He was lucky you stepped in to help. I don't think he could have gone back to normal if you hadn't.” Gabrielle put her hand on Meg's arm. “I'm really happy to know you Meg.”
Meg looked up at Gabrielle and quirked her eyebrow, just like Xena does. “I hope ya ain't flirtin with me! Xena would kill me!”
Gabrielle quickly removed her hand from Meg's arm. “No, I'm not at all. I was just being nice. Besides, I think Joxer would kill me if I flirted with you. He sure likes you.”
Meg looked over at the man in question, who happened to be staring at her. He smiled a goofy grin then looked away. “Yeah, he does. I like him too.”
“Do you think you might love him?”
Meg scratched her head, “Might, don't know. It'd be nice to have me a regular man, though.”
Gabrielle smiled, “Yeah, there is definitely something to be said about having someone you love with you at all times. It's very secure.”
The conversation paused for a few minutes as they watched the dancers parade around the room creating provocative images for the viewers. One dancer was particularly sexy; the way she moved her half naked body was stirring Gabrielle's sex drive. Gabrielle began to blush as she watched her dance. Bad bard, you shouldn't be looking at anyone else like that!
Meg cleared her throat, “I wouldn't mind havin a home with him, ya know?”
Gabrielle took her eyes away from the dancers and caught Meg's eye. “I think that's a good idea and you should suggest it. I think that you would be much happier with a life like that, and he's a really good man.”
“What ‘bout you? Do ya ever think ‘bout having a home and kids? Getting married?”
The bard looked over at Xena and sighed, “I don't think too much about that. Xena and I are meant to do something different with our lives than most people. Sure, I've thought about it before. I was pretty certain that I wanted to settle down, not that long ago actually. I honestly don't know what's in store for us. I just know that I love her and want to spend my life with her. As for marriage? I honestly never thought about that with her. And I'm not sure why.” Xena looked over at Gabrielle and winked, causing Gabrielle's nose to crinkle with her own smile. Why haven't I ever thought about marrying her? Shouldn't that be the logical next step in our relationship? I mean, we are practically married now I guess; does a ceremony actually mean that much?
“You look happy.” Meg said as she picked at her finger nails.
“Relationship wise, I'm happy. I'm still working on having peace in the rest of my life though. Sometime's I'm sure it will never come. However I know I have to have hope, otherwise what's the point in living? Do you know what I mean?” She looked over at Meg who looked deep in thought, silently chuckling at how fidgety the woman was; always picking at something.
“Yeah, I suppose it's better to be hopeful. Sure feels better.” She smiled then stood up. “I'm gonna go sit with Joxer. Ya comin?”
“Nah, I'm going to stay her a minute longer. Thanks though for talking to me.” She watched Meg walk away and sit on Joxer's lap. Gabrielle sat by herself for a few minutes, thinking about the marriage idea. By the gods, I do want to marry Xena. I can't believe it's just now hitting me. It's almost like I never thought it a possibility. Maybe that's because I don't think she'd go for it. Hmm
Xena saw that Meg came back without Gabrielle so she walked over to pay the bard a visit. “These dancers are something, huh?” When Gabrielle didn't respond she changed subjects, “So, how did the talk go?”
Gabrielle waggled her hand, “So so. She didn't talk about her infertility or anything. We mostly talked about Joxer. I think they are pretty crazy for each other.” She replied and set her hand on Xena's leg. “Xe, have you ever thought about” she paused, not quite sure how to bring it up.
Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's, “Yes I have.”
“How do you know what I was going to ask?” Her brow furrowed in confusion.
“I have many skills.” Xena chuckled. “Marriage right?” she said quietly. Gabrielle just nodded the affirmative, too nervous to talk. Come on Warrior, don't chicken out. This might be a good chance! Xena squeezed her hand, “Of course I've thought about it. I mean I think that Meg should definitely marry Joxer.”
Gabrielle quickly looked up at Xena, shock evident in her face. Oh gods she thought I was talking about them!! “Yeah, they should.” She replied, barely a whisper.
Dammit Xena!! You blew it. Xena knew that Gabrielle was not referring to Joxer and Meg. “He seems to make her happy. That's important.” I can't do it. I can't talk to her about marriage. We aren't ready. I'm not ready. But WHY!?
Gabrielle sighed and leaned her head against Xena's shoulder, “Yes, that's definitely important to be happy if you are going to get married.” She began to chew on her lip. “I'm very happy.”
Xena leaned her head against Gabrielle's, “So am I my love.”
They sat there in silence for the rest of the evening, holding hands watching the dancers. Both were lost in thought, not paying much attention to their surroundings.
Beginning of Episode 79:
Xena is standing on the shore of a river, flashbacks coming to mind of when she fought the Horde with her men. Gabrielle broke her thought when she said, "That was a lifetime ago."
Xena replied, "It feels like just yesterday. I lost over half my men to those…” She paused, not sure what to say. Looking around she finished talking, “There's a northern route. It'll take us around all of this."
"Xena-- you're not the same person that you were then. Now, you know more about yourself, now. You know about the Horde." Gabrielle said as she tried to reassure Xena.
"I know they have a code of combat, and I know one word--`Kaltaka', but do I understand them? Come on. They'll be around us by dark. They'll never know we were here. Come on." Xena leads Gabrielle away, when they hear voices in a foreign language. They see three men with a small blonde girl walking towards the river.
Gabrielle stops in her tracks, "Xena, look. Have you ever seen a blonde Horde girl?"
"She looks familiar. I don't know from where but-- .” Xena paused as two battle axes fly over their head and land in the back of one of the Horde men. A man with two more axes runs out from behind them to attack the other men, “Stop! They'll kill you!"
That's a Tight Space
End of Episode 79 (S4,E11):
"Now that we can cross the river, it'll save us at least a day's travel." Xena said to Gabrielle as they walked towards Argo.
"Good." Gabrielle replied.
Xena looks at her, "You still thinking about Raul?"
"I wonder if he'll ever get past his hatred?" The bard asks.
"Maybe. I did. And now, thanks to you, he'll have Vanessa to help him." Xena grabbed Argo's reigns and they began to walk through town.
"Thanks to me?"
Xena nodded, "Sure-- if you hadn't insisted that we go after Vanessa, then I would _never_ have crossed that river. It was your faith in love and family that convinced me it was right."
"It was wrong." Gabrielle replied with a shake of her head.
"No, Gabrielle, because of you, Raul and Aja now know that their daughter is alive and happy-- instead of dead like they thought. And because of you, Vanessa now has two loving homes and-- and because of you, for the first time ever, there's peace between us and the Hor-- the Pomira." Xena smiled at her correction.
Gabrielle tilted her head and smiled, "I did all that?"
"Mm-hmm." Xena smiled back at her.
"And they call you the hero? Hmm."
Xena chuckled, “You wanna switch? Fine. You kick butt, and I'll take notes."
“Are you saying I don't kick butt? Come on Xena, I do my share.”
“Yeah, but mostly you just write about it.” Xena smiled.
“Whatever. I'll stop fighting, see how you like it. Maybe I'll just let you be on your own.” Gabrielle buckled her staff onto Argo, then continued walking.
“So just like that, you are going to stop fighting? Not even defend yourself?” Xena chided.
“Yup. I'll just write, apparently that's all you want me to do.”
“Hey, I didn't say that.” Xena now looked concerned as it seemed the joke had turned into a more serious thing. When Gabrielle didn't answer back for a moment, she chuckled. “Come on, I was playing around. You kick a lot of butt, all the time. You've saved me before, remember?”
“Mm yeah. Oh I meant to ask you something. What were those caves like underground where the Pomira live?” Gabrielle turned the conversation.
Xena shuddered involuntarily. “Uhg terrible. I guess they like it though.”
“What was so terrible?”
“Closed spaces. I hate closed spaces.” Xena's teeth were clenched.
“I didn't know that. Like claustrophobia?” the bard asked.
“Promise me you'll keep that out of the scrolls. I don't want everyone knowing about that. The last thing I need is someone throwing me in a tight space as revenge.” Xena kicked a rock in front of her.
“How come you never told me about that? It actually surprises me that it hasn't come up when we do….other things.”
“Other things?” Xena's brow furrowed in confusion.
“Yeah… like we did two nights ago?” Gabrielle's eyes bored into her.
Two nights ago?? What did we do two nigh---ohh we had sex. But what does that have to do with tight spa—oh. That's right, she was sitting on my face. “Oh yeah.” Xena scratched her cheek while a blush rose under her skin. “I'm not sure why that doesn't bother me but it doesn't.”
“Hm, well that's good I guess.” Gabrielle looked over at Xena and noticed the flush of her skin. “Did I embarrass you?”
Xena shot her a quick look, “What?! Nah, not at all.”
“Mm Hm. I'm sorry you had to kill Milo. He was an ass. I really wish he wouldn't have been so hateful.”
“It happens. I didn't like killing him, in fact it made me kind of queasy. I've never been queasy before like that.” Xena stopped to grab the water from Argo's saddle.
“Yeah, I saw the look in your eyes after it happened, when you were looking for me. It was definitely a different look than the normal one.” Gabrielle watched Xena drink, then she took the water and squirted some into her own mouth.
Xena froze and put her hand on her Chakrum. Gabrielle put the water back on Argo, then turned around and saw Xena in a defensive stance. She watched as Xena looked around in the trees nearby, wondering what it was that she had heard. Xena looked over to Gabrielle and made an Amazon signal to her that told her to stay put. Then she walked off into the trees, leaving Gabrielle alone.
As Xena wandered through the trees, she looked back to see Gabrielle. She was not holding her staff, and did not look like she was planning on using it. Dammit Gabrielle, now is not the time to prove a point! Grab your staff! She kept walking and looking back to keep her eye on Gabrielle. Suddenly she saw a man jump out from the bushes by Argo. The man had an axe in hand and ran around Argo towards Gabrielle. “Gabrielle!!!” Xena yelled to get her attention. “Your staff!!” Xena released her Chakrum, but it was taken out of the air by something else. She began to run back towards the bard, hoping she could get there in time.
Gabrielle moved out of the way in time to avoid getting an axe in her skull. She made no move to grab her staff, but was now too far away from it. The man came at her again, slashing with his axe. She moved from side to side, dodging the best she could. She drew him around Argo, then whistled. Argo kicked backwards and hit the man squarely in the chest, sending him flying through the air twenty feet away.
As Xena was running back towards Gabrielle, a man jumped out of the bushes swinging two chobos. Xena pulled her sword out, twirled it then began to parry his attacks. He was quickly out maneuvered by the Warrior Princess and fell to the ground on his butt. He was completely unconscious.
Xena looked over to find Gabrielle and saw a man standing above her about ready to strike with his sword. “No!!!” She ran as fast as she could and jumped headfirst towards Gabrielle, her back facing the man standing above. As the sword came down it landed on Xena's back, it's sharp point going down into her scabbard. She lay on top of Gabrielle for a second, then realized the sword did not go through her body. She quickly swept her legs sideways, hitting the man's ankles. He dropped to the ground with a thud. As soon as he hit the ground, Xena was on top of him stopping the flow of blood to his brain.
Instead of getting information from him, she stood up to make sure there were no other men coming at them. Then she turned to Gabrielle and helped her up. “You ok!?” She pulled Gabrielle into a tight embrace.
“I'm ok.” Gabrielle panted into her chest. “Xena, I can't breathe. You are squeezing too hard.”
Xena lightened up a bit, “Sorry.” She stroked Gabrielle's face and hair, “That scared me. I thought that he…”
“I know. Its ok, I'm alive. You better take care of him though; he only has a few seconds before his brain explodes, or whatever.”
Xena kissed her on the forehead then turned her attention to the man with blood dripping out of his nose. She released the pinch, then hit him with her palm to his face. He passed out cold to the ground. Xena stood up and wiped her bloody hand on her dress. “Come on, let's get out of here.” She jumped up on Argo and pulled Gabrielle up behind her.
They rode in silence for about an hour before Gabrielle finally spoke up. “Are you mad at me?”
“I told you I wasn't going to fight. Didn't you believe me?” Gabrielle asked, but received no answer. “Xena, I asked you a question.”
“Gabrielle, I don't want to talk about it because it will turn into a fight.” Xena spat out the words in anger. Gabrielle sighed behind her. “Look if you want to talk about it fine. It's one thing to stop fighting because you don't believe it's your path, but it's a whole other thing when you do it just to prove a point. I can't believe you did that!”
“Xena! I have been telling you for the past few weeks that I don't think I'm on the right path. I have to find out what I'm supposed to be doing so I'm trying things out!”
“Well, try them out when it's not your life on the line! I am not ok with you just risking your life like this. You need to defend yourself.” Xena stopped Argo and slid down. “We'll camp here for the night.”
Gabrielle dropped off after her but didn't respond. She set to work getting camp ready for the night. Neither women spoke for the entire duration of setting their camp up. Finally Xena began chuckling to herself as she was sharpening her sword.
“What are you laughing at?” Gabrielle asked her.
“I was thinking about that asshole Milo. He asked me to marry him, can you believe it!?” Xena shook her head in amusement.
Gabrielle swallowed hard, “Mar..Marry him? Doesn't he know you are taken? Please tell me you told him you are taken!” the bard began to get huffy.
Xena looked over at her and raised her eyebrows, her expression serious. “No, I didn't.”
“XENA! Did you not have the guts to say that you were with me!?” Gabrielle stood up and started to walk into the forest.
“Gabby!! I just ignored him!” She hollered after Gabrielle, who continued to walk away. Xena looked down at her sword, “Oh boy.”
Gabrielle was in the dark forest pacing around muttering to herself. “Sometimes I really wonder what she thinks of me. First she implies that I don't help in the fighting. Now she tells me that she didn't tell someone that we are together! I don't get it, why wouldn't she tell him that? She should have immediately told him.” She stopped walking and plopped down against a tree. “I'm losing my mind.” She picked up a piece of long grass and began to tear little pieces off. “gods when did I become so insecure? Maybe when she started letting me make all the decisions. I keep messing up and making the wrong choices. First Najara, then Xavier, and now the situation with Pilee.” She continued her thoughts in her head, She thought that the Pilee thing was the right decision, but it really wasn't. I should have seen that the girl was happy where she was, instead of forcing her to live a life she didn't want to be in.
A half hour later, Gabrielle walked back into camp. Xena looked up from squatting next to the fire, stirring tea in a pot. “Hi.”
Gabrielle sat down on the log behind Xena. “Hi. I had to clear my head.”
“It's ok. I made you some tea, thought it might help calm you down.” Xena poured the tea into a mug, then walked over to sit next to Gabrielle. “Here you go, it's really hot.”
“Thanks.” Gabrielle blew on it, then sipped it a little. “Ouch! I burned my lip.”
Xena pouted in sympathy. “Oh no.” She leaned forward and kissed the burned lip. “I can put some aloe on it when you are done drinking; it will help it heal up.”
“Ok. Xena can I ask you something?”
“How come lately you've been letting me make all the decisions about what we do, where we go, and who we help?” Gabrielle touched her sore lip with her tongue, trying to sooth it.
Hmm. Good question, my love. Because I'm afraid you'll leave me? No, better not say that one. “Gabrielle, you have good ideas and you know what you are doing, so why not let you make decisions?”
Gabrielle took a sip of her tea, then looked up at Xena, “I don't make good decisions, though. I make naïve ones that get us into trouble.”
“I disagree. You see good in people and hope for the best to come out of a situation. You give people a chance, I don't. For so many years I've been in decision making roles that I forgot how to let someone else take the lead. I've forgotten how to follow.” Xena took the mug from Gabrielle and took a drink.
“But Xe, I don't trust my decision making abilities. I don't know why you would.”
“You are the only person in the world that I will let make decisions for me, Gabby. You are the only person I trust that much. I love you with all my heart and soul. I trust your instincts.” Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's chest, “I trust where your heart will lead us.”
Gabrielle sighed heavily, “I don't know Xena. I would rather work as a team than have me lead us.”
“Maybe I want a break?” Xena smiled.
Gabrielle laughed, breaking the seriousness of the conversation. “Alright, you take a break. Just promise me that if you think I'm doing something wrong, you'll stop me.”
“I will try, but sometimes we all make mistakes and have to make those mistakes to learn our way in life. I'm willing to bet that your decisions are going to lead us to find your path in life, honey.” Xena put her arm around the bard and brought her into a warm hug.
“Maybe… We'll see. I hope you are right about that. I'd really like to get all these questions figured out soon. I've been so insecure lately.”
“We'll figure it all out, Gabrielle. I promise. We just need to stick together, because we are better together than we are apart. Do you agree?” Xena leanded her head down to catch Gabrielle's eyes.
The bard smiled, “Yeah, for sure.” She leaned forward and kissed Xena passionately. “I love you Xe.”
“I love you too, Gabrielle. Hey aren't we supposed to meet up with Joxer tomorrow?”
“Ugh, yes. I really don't want to!” Gabrielle stood up and stripped her clothing off. “I can't walk around naked when he is here. He would probably jump me.”
“I'll jump you.” Xena sprang from the log and pounced on Gabrielle, landing them on the ground on top of their bed rolls. “See, told you. You can't walk around naked in front of me and expect me to not attack. That's just rude.”
Gabrielle laughed, “I was hoping you would do that. Since we will have company tomorrow night, do you want to fool around tonight?”
“Why do you think I'm on top of you?” Xena leaned down and kissed Gabrielle's neck from her jaw to her collar bone. “Now, keep quiet tonight. I don't want an audience of animals.”
Gabrielle giggled, “Shut up! That's never happened.” She slapped Xena on the butt.
“As far as you know.”
Beginning of Episode 80:
Two days later…
Gabrielle is taking a shower under a pot with holes (Seriously?). She is humming as she washes herself.
Over at camp, Xena and Joxer are sleeping. An eagle screeches over head, waking Xena. "Uh. Oh, I hate that.” She sits up, “It's late. Gabrielle? Gabrielle?” After receiving no response, she begins to get her armor on. “Oh, the one morning I ask you to wake me up for a change. Just when I get Zantar right where I want him-- I go and oversleep. Well, thank you very much!”
She stands up and reaches for a rope, which is only a couple feet long. “Rope. Rope."
You Are Mine
End of Episode 80 (S4,E12):
Xena, Joxer and Gabrielle are walking away from the castle. Xena says to Joxer and Gabrielle, "So-- anyone heard any good stories lately?"
Gabrielle brightens up, "Actually-- I've been working on one. It's a story of a wooden boy. And every time he tells a lie-- "
Alesia yells, "Bye!"
Xena interrupts Gabrielle, "Goodbye, Alesia."
The bard continues her story as they walk away "His nose keeps growing and growing-- until it's really long."
Joxer adds, "Or he could be a monkey-- and his tail gets smaller."
A month later, Xena and Gabrielle come across a large city as they head east through the Persian Empire. The streets are crowded with people and animals, street vendors and shoppers alike. “Xena, maybe I can finally find some good material for a new shirt!” Gabrielle says excitedly as she looks around.
Xena flicks her finger at the sack that Gabrielle is still wearing. “As if all the towns we've been through in the last month didn't have anything? You are just too picky.”
“Xena! That color was perfect for this skirt. I'm not kidding! I haven't found one just right yet, and I won't go for anything less perfect.”
“You realize that every day you've been cutting bits and pieces of it off, right? It's almost the same size as your bra.” Xena wiggled her eyebrows.
“I know, that's why I'm really hoping to find something here today.” Gabrielle moved forward into a booth with various scraps of material and began to thumb through them.
“Hey! I'm going over there!” Xena pointed across the road and Gabrielle nodded. Let's see what can I buy? Hmmm a new knife would be nice. She approached a weapons store and began to browse. She looked at many weapons, but one drew her attention the most. It was a light battle axe called a Sagaris. It was made of a razor sharp iron axe head with a secondary side that was melded into a sharp point. I could do some serious damage with this. Xena stepped out into the open and began to swing it around to get the feel for it. Oh I like this! She thought as she did a wide variety of battle moves with it. “Hey how much for this?” she asked the shop keeper.
“Fifty dinar.” He looked at her and smirked. “I don't think your husband would want you using that kind of weapon, dear.”
Xena narrowed his eyes at him. Husband, ha! It's a nice weapon, I really like it. I think I'm going to get it. Wait till Gabrielle sees me use this, she'll think it's sexy. Ooo yeah.
“Don't you even think about spending fifty on that Xena.” Gabrielle said from behind her in a scolding tone.
Xena rolled her eyes then turned around and forced a tight smile “Yes dear.” She turned her head to the side and stuck the axe back onto its holder. She walked out of the booth to where Gabrielle was standing, with her arms crossed. Xena smiled, this time a little more genuine, “What did ya get?”
Gabrielle smiled bigger than she had in a long time, “I found it!”
“Found what?” excitement was evident in Xena's voice because she was unable to resist the excited feeling that was radiating off Gabrielle.
“The material! It's exactly like the kind my last shirt was made from! I knew it would happen, I just had this feeling I'd find it here. Will you help me sew it?” Gabrielle unfolded it in front of Xena to show her.
Xena shrugged, “Sure I suppose. But we need to get some thread and a needle. I've worn our needle out finally. Let's stay the night and then we'll move on tomorrow, ok?” She put her arm around Gabrielle as they walked around.
“Sounds like a plan!” Gabrielle said as she leaned into Xena's side. “Oh, look at that!” she pointed towards a woman who was sitting on the ground with her legs up against her body, crossed so that her feet were near the opposite hip. The woman was in a deep meditation. Gabrielle walked over to her and just watched the woman, who seemed to be in a state of total tranquility.
After observing for a moment, the woman opened her eyes and smiled at Gabrielle. “Hello.”
“Hi, sorry I didn't mean to stare at you. I was just curious about what you were doing.” Gabrielle looked over at Xena who was not paying any attention.
“I'm meditating. Have you ever tried it?” The woman asked, then patted the ground next to her indicating for Gabrielle to sit.
The bard looked over at Xena again, who was now looking back at her. Gabrielle shrugged and smiled, then sat next to the woman. “So what do I do?”
“First, cross your legs like mine, then set your hands on your knees palm down to calm your mind. Next, scan your body and relax any tension you feel. Let your spine rise from the base of your pelvis. Draw your chin slightly down and let the back of your neck lengthen.” The woman explained in a calm soothing voice.
“Like this?” Gabrielle asked as she did what she was told.
“Exactly. Now, bring your awareness to the center of your chest. At this point, some people prefer to hum softly to draw your mind into the meditation. You can do this silently to yourself, or aloud. Breathe deeply and slowly with each breath and just release all the tension in your body. Let yourself completely relax. That's it.” The tension in Gabrielle's face began to fade away as she succumbed to the calming meditation. The woman watched Gabrielle as she followed the instructions, then she looked up at the warrior and winked.
Xena broke the bard's trance, suddenly feeling anxious to move on. “Gabrielle, let's go.”
Gabrielle's eyes opened quickly, her face clearly showed that she was not happy at the interruption. “Xena, I was meditating. Why don't you go find get us a room in that inn over there, and I'll meet up with you later.” She said this through a clenched jaw. Xena rolled her eyes and left.
“There seems to be a lot of tension between you two.” The woman observed.
Gabrielle began to feel that she could talk to this woman, “Yeah I know. It's been really bad lately, since I've started my spiritual quest.”
“Spiritual quest? What exactly do you mean?”
“Well, I'm looking for something, I'm not really sure what. But I feel like I'm on the wrong path in life and I don't want to feel that way.” Gabrielle looked down at her hands as she fidgeted.
“Sounds to me like you need to find peace inside your soul.” The woman gently touched her hand. “Do you seek peace?”
“Yes, that's it exactly. I need peace. Where did you learn how to meditate like that? I started to feel something there.”
“I learned it in India. I just came from there not long ago. My husband and I traveled there together. I didn't know that there was so much to offer there in ways of spiritual healing. I was wrong, I learned so much about myself there. It's a magical land really.” She mused and smiled to herself as she thought of some of the good memories she had there.
“India? I've never been there. Look, it was really nice meeting you. I wish I could stay and do more of this, but I need to meet up with Xena before she comes looking for me.” Gabrielle stood up and shook the woman's hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise.” The woman shook her hand back then they waved goodbye.
An hour later Gabrielle finally found Xena; she was at the bar next to the inn drinking. A group of men were standing around her talking as she showed them a new knife she bought. Gabrielle stood to the side and watched, waiting for a good moment to break up the crowd. “I could slice a man from navel to throat with one swipe of this blade.” She said with a huge dollop of arrogance in her voice. Gabrielle rolled her eyes at the statement. She's a big softy and they have no clue. A man standing very close to Xena leaned down and whispered into her ear, causing the warrior to giggle. Xena, giggle? What the crap is going on here? Gabrielle thought to herself as a bubble of jealous began to form.
“Alright, everyone go sit back at the table.” The man commanded to his men. They immediately complied. Gabrielle scurried around the corner to continue watching without being seen. She observed the man flirting with a tipsy Xena. “So, Xena…what else can you do with a blade like that? I'd love to see you in action. I bet you can do amazing things with those sexy hands of yours.” He said as he leaned closer into her. Xena seemed completely oblivious to his flirtatious attentions.
“Oh I have many skills.” She replied with her usual sexy tone, causing the man to lean in further and closer to her body. With his hand, he brushed some of her hair back over her shoulder, his finger softly touching her skin.
Gabrielle had enough, she stepped around the corner and walked right up to Xena, pushing the man out of her way. “Xe, let's go to OUR room.” Her tone was filled with jealousy and anger.
The man grabbed Gabrielle from behind and pulled her out of the way. “Get out of here you little whore!” he yelled as he tossed her aside.
Xena jumped up and had the knife to his throat in less than a second. “Don't you dare touch her again! If you do, you'll find out EXACTLY what these hands can do with this knife. Got me!?” She yelled at him, mere inches from his face. He nodded then she violently pushed him to the ground.
Gabrielle had already got up off the ground and was holding her left hand to her right forearm. Xena looked over at her after she pushed him to the ground and became instantly worried. “You ok?” she asked as she rushed to her side.
“Yeah, I got cut on something.” Gabrielle moved her hand for a moment and blood began to gush from the wound.
“Put pressure back on it, let's go upstairs. I need to stitch it.” She looked around the room to make sure no one was about to pounce on them, then she guided Gabrielle up the stairs.
Once in their room, she sat Gabrielle on the bed and brought over the saddle bag with the healing kit. “Here let me see.” She said as Gabrielle moved her hand from the wound once again. “There is a lot of blood, you're going to have to come over here so we can run water over it as I stitch it up.” She led the bard over to the table that had a pitcher of water on it. Gabrielle poured the water over her arm slowly as Xena stitched it up. After it was closed, the warrior put some ointment on it then wrapped it in linen. “There, it will be good as new soon.” She leaned down and kissed the outside of the linen, then smiled at Gabrielle. “Now, why did you decide to push that huge guy out of the way? You could have been hurt worse.”
Gabrielle jumped off the table and shrugged. “I don't know. I didn't like how he was flirting with you.”
“Flirting? He wasn't flirting.” Xena replied.
“Oh yes he was Warrior Princess. He wanted you and I was not ok with that. So I put stop to it since you were oblivious to his advances.” Gabrielle smiled and poked Xena in the chest, “You are mine.”
Xena laughed, “Yes that's true; I am yours.” She pulled Gabrielle's body hard into hers and kissed her on the lips, roughly shoving her tongue into Gabrielle's moist mouth. After a few moments of passionate kissing, Xena pulled back so she could look the bard in the eyes. “So did you have fun meditating?”
“Mm Hm, though I didn't get to finish like I wanted to. It was nice there for a minute. I really think I would enjoy doing that every day. You should try it with me sometime, I think it could really calm you down.” The bard winked at the warrior.
“Calm me down, huh? Ya ready to work on your shirt, little bard?” She grabbed the cloth off the bed where Gabrielle had set it. “I picked up a needle and thread on my way back.” She put the cloth up against Gabrielle's back, sides and front to get a measurement, then set to work cutting the material. An hour later, Gabrielle was back in business with her green top.
As she put it on, Gabrielle said, “Perfect! Now we can go to India!”
Xena stared at her with her eyebrows raised. India?
Beginning of Episode 81:
Inside a cave, Xena and Gabrielle are talking during a lightening storm. The warrior states, "Gabrielle, I'm all for your spiritual quests, and India is a fine place to go, but-- remind me why we decided to take the scenic route."
Gabrielle chuckles, "Come on. Local legends say that these mountains are a holy place."
"No, no, no, no, no. I don't care about the local legends. I'm talking about the local thugs who tried to cut us up in the pass."
Gabrielle strings a sharp piece of bone with dried gut, "Well, I'd apologize-- again. The truth is, I think you enjoyed it." She walks over to Xena and kneels down on the ground near the warriors leg.
"Having my leg gashed open?" Xena says in disbelief as she lays her good leg out in front of her.
"No, having a good reason to bust some heads.” Gabrielle said as she begins to stitch the wound closed.
"That's ridiculous." Xena said in exasperation.
Gabrielle looks up at her with a smirk, "You smiled."
“What?" Xena asks with her jaw hanging open.
The bard smiled as she explained, "When that big guy came at you, and you tossed him at the other three-- you smiled."
Xena was taken back with a look of guilt. "I winced. He was big."
"You smiled." She responded with a light hearted accusation.
"I was relieved!" Xena said in frustration.
“You still smiled." Gabrielle said with a matter of fact tone.
Xena grabbed the bone needle from her, "Oh-- give me that. You got hands like a sailor.” Gabrielle walked away and began to undress as Xena finished stitching her own leg. “It was a thing of beauty. Did you see how they fell over? Just like a game of dominoes."
End of Episode 81 (S4,E13):
Gabrielle and Xena watch as Garr wanders out of the cave. Gabrielle is wrapped in a fur with Xena standing behind her. "I learned something about myself-- and you?" She glances at Xena over her shoulder.
Xena replies, "Yeah?"
"I sometimes talk about your darkness like it's some sort of disease. But without it, neither one of us would be here. It's kind of ironic." She turns around and fully looks Xena in the face.
Xena looks at Gabrielle, “Yeah." They both turn back to the mouth of the cave.
Gabrielle asks, "Do I really have hands like a sailor?"
Xena's eyebrow raises and she purses her lips into a smirk, refusing to answer.
“Xena? You going to answer me?” I turn around and step closer to my warrior.
“Huh? What was the question?” she plays dumb, trying to egg me on.
I step closer, but Xena steps away from me. I try again, with the same result. Then we walk several steps in the same manner, finally I stop trying. “If I have the hands of a sailor, then what does that say about yours? You have over a decade on me in the callus building department.”
“My hands are soft as a kitten's paws. You know that.” Xena reaches out and strokes my cheek with her finger tips.
“Mm hm, nice and pokey like a kitten that cannot retract its claws.” I say as I slap her completely rough and cold hand away.
“Aw common. They aren't that bad. Besides, you don't complain when I…” I stop her sentence with my hand over her mouth. Her hot breath is making my palm wet, so I remove it and wipe it off on the fur that is wrapped around my body.
I walk over to the pit that held our fire the previous night, or was it a few nights ago? I have no idea how long we were in that dream like world. “Xena, can we stay in the cave another night?”
“Whatever you want, Gabrielle. I'll go outside and hunt down some dinner for us. Get the fire going again, would ya?” She hugged me from behind and wander out of the cave, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I gather wood and smaller kindling for the fire, then light it easily with my flint. After the fire is roaring, I sit next to it with my quill and diary scroll. What to write?
I am in shock at how I once again trusted someone too easily. Aidan seemed like such a good guy that really had it all together. Even though he ended up using me for his evil purposes, I still feel like the meditation and stretching exercises were a good thing. I truly felt lighter afterwards, like I could move on through some of the emotional pain and actually release it like he said. I am really excited to get to India. I am starting to realize that this whole spiritual mediation and inner peace is a big focus there. I think that I may finally find some answers to my questions.
I'm still in shock a little bit about what happened. How did I snap out of that trance? It seems as though no one else ever had. I don't quite know how to describe it. Being a bard it should be simple but I'm lacking words. I just know that I could feel Xena's spirit somehow. It's like it was calling out to me that she was in danger; in this case it was that she was going to harm an innocent person. I think our bond runs deeper than I ever thought. I know that we are meant to be together, but I think we are connected on a much more intense level than I've ever known to be possible for two people.
I roll my scroll up in my lap because I hear Xena's entering the cave. She is so beautiful to me, my heart jumps when she smiles. “I found us some fowl. Want to help me clean them?” She asks as she begins to pluck their feathers out.
“Sure.” I reply as I put the scroll back into my bag. I take off my fur and get back into my skirt and favorite green top. After dressing, I join her next to the fire to prepare our meal. It's funny to observe Xena lately. She seems to have this nervous energy around her when I'm not talking. I've been finding that she more often asks me questions about what I'm thinking. Is she feeling insecure? Tonight is no exception, I can see it in her facial expressions that she is trying to form a good question to me.
“So, I was thinking about this inner peace thing. Do you think that Aidan's way is your answer?” Xena asked, somewhat hesitantly.
I smile at how cute she is when she is unsure of how to start a conversation. My big, tough warrior is shy at times. “I was just writing about that actually. Even though I was deceived once again by someone, I really enjoyed what he did for me. I feel cleaner after all of this.” I stand up and get our pan out for frying the meat.
Xena is cutting the meat and handing it to me as she finishes so I can get it cooking. “Cleaner, huh? That's a good thing. I wish I had the same feeling after everything that happened. It's hard for me to imagine that someone that was actually doing a bad thing, ended up being good for you.”
“What do you mean, good for me? Because his methods were working?”
My warrior shrugs, “Yeah I guess so. I'm sorry that I couldn't see… how did you put it? ‘How right' it felt for you? I wish I could have seen that and enjoyed it with you. You said it was freeing, right?”
I thought for a moment, trying to process everything to word my next thoughts carefully. “Yes, it felt right and freeing. I do wish you could have experienced it, Xena. I really do. But at the same time, if you hadn't been skeptical, maybe we both would have fallen prey to him. Maybe we wouldn't have gotten out of there alive. You always seem to be my balance in life. I don't want that to change.”
Xena stood up and knelt next to me, as I was leaning over the pan cooking our food. As I looked into her eyes, I could see she was in some sort of emotional distress. She tried speaking a couple of times, but stopped herself both times. Finally, she said “I have to tell you something. Promise me you won't yell at me. I already regret what I did and I'm telling you now that I'm sorry for it.”
Oh gods, what now? “Ok?” I replied as my mouth went dry.
Xena looked down at the ground as she blurted her words to me, “I was going to leave you there.”
If my face didn't show my shock, then certainly my lengthy silence did. WHAT! How could she do that again!! When will she learn to stop leaving me and just deal with the fact that things aren't perfect but we are best together? I swear to the gods she just told me that not that long ago.
“I don't understand.” I whispered to myself, more than to her.
“I can't stand to see you hurt because of me.” She began to explain, but I had to stop her.
“No. That's not what I mean. I understand why you leave, it's the same reason every time. You don't want me to get hurt and you'd rather me be safe and alive than to risk my death. I get that. What I don't understand is you. Gods Xena, it's like I keep telling you the same thing repeatedly and every time I do that, you forget. It's like the conversation never takes place. Sometimes, I feel like I'm with two different people. I'm with the Xena that reassures me we are best together and we can face anything together. Then the next minute I'm with the Xena that is willing to never see me again to keep me alive.” I sigh, not sure how to get both Xena's on the same page.
“I'm terrified.” Xena admits to me, a tear rolling down her cheek. I don't respond, but look at her hoping she will continue. “When I get scared like this, I can't seem to think right. It's like you said, I'm a different person. All I can think about is how scared I am to hurt you and lose you, so my reaction is to leave you in a safe place. I thought Najara was safe and I thought Aidan was safe. And you said you were not a good judge of people lately, look at me!! I trusted both of them like you did.”
“Xena, I need you to stop doing this. I have to be able to trust you to not leave me every time you are scared. It brings too much instability to our relationship and our life.” The scent of burning food enters my nostrils and I quickly turn back to the fire and take the pan off the flames. “Shit, I burned it.”
“It's ok, we can still eat it. It's not that bad.” She is looking over my shoulder.
“Yeah, will you grab the bowls?” I move the meat around ensuring that it all cooked, even though most of it is fairly black.
Behind me, Xena sits down with two bowls that I turn around and fill with meat. “Gab?”
“Yes?” I look up at her cool blue eyes, sparkling with firelight.
“I promise to try harder. If it's ok with you, I think that the next time I begin to freak out about you getting hurt, I will tell you about it. Maybe talking about it will help me.” She takes a bite of meat and looks up at me with a look of disgust, then spits the food back out.
I can't help but giggle at the look on her face. “Sorry, you don't have to eat that.” I lean over and wipe up some spit on her chin. “I think talking things out will help, Xe. I think that you bottle up those emotions because you don't know how to deal with them, which causes you to panic. I love you and nothing could hurt me worse than you leaving me. No matter what the situation is, you leaving me would be worse. I promise you that's the truth. Now, let's stop talking about this and move on.”
“Good idea. Also, I can't eat this, it tastes like centaur poop.” She sets her bowl aside and crawls over to me, removing my bowl from my hands, setting it aside. She continues crawling over me, pushing me to the ground. “Now, I plan on using MY sailor hands on you, little one.”
“Mm I like sailors.” I reply with my best attempt at a seductive grin. It must have worked, because she viciously attacked me with kisses.
Beginning of Episode 82:
"India is so different-- and yet, there's this connection, too-- you know? It's so exotic-- so mysterious-- so-- look. Maybe that's India's way of rolling out the red carpet." Gabrielle said to Xena as they walked into a city and observed a man walking on red hot coals.
"That's gotta hurt." Xena winced at the sight.
Gabrielle continued with her commentary as they watched some of the strange happenings on the streets. "India is completely different. It's such a strange place. It's-- "
"Well, it ain't Greece." Xena smirked.
The bard spotted a man on a table in an extreme yoga position, his feet behind his head. "Look. Now, do you see why I do yoga every day?"
The warrior replies, “So you don't end up like that?"
"Xena, he's a master. I can only hope to achieve that kind of power."
"Don't get me wrong-- the gods know I've done stranger things, but yoga's just not for me." She laughs a little bit.
Gabrielle smiled and patted her on the back, "That's all right. When you're crippled and old, and I'm doing headstands, I'll remind you of this."
"Oh, I bet you will."
The Normal Life
End of Episode 83 (S4,E15):
Xena and Gabrielle were walking out of a town after their experience with the Mehndi and Alti. Gabrielle says, "Xena, Alti was evil. Why should we believe anything she showed us? The Mehndi contains the truth. I wish there was some way that-- that we could do that again, just-- just to really know."
"Naima could have told us." Xena responds.
"Yeah. There's so many questions I wish I had asked her--about what this all means. You know what she said? She said that your karma-- and mine-- they're intertwined." Gabrielle smiled at this.
Xena smiled in response and pointed at the road ahead of them, "Well, maybe it's not the first time we've walked down this road, huh?"
"Maybe it won't be the last. How would I recognize you?" the bard asks.
"We need a sign.” Xena grabs the paint from the box Gabrielle is carrying. She lifts her foot up and paints a cross on the circle that is on her foot. “This way, no matter how we look, we'll always remember the women we were. Like it?"
Gabrielle smiles, "I love it.
Gabrielle was replaying the events of the past day. In her head, she was writing the story from start to finish. She remembered something Xena had done that she wanted to ask about. “Xena, how in the world did you turn that piece of cloth into a staff?” Gabrielle asks as they walk along the road.
“Huh? Oh you mean before we were sent to the future?” Xena chuckled, “Our lives are so farfetched, aren't they?”
Gabrielle giggled, “Naw they are perfectly normal. So how did you do that?”
Xena paused for dramatic effect, then replied in a sexy voice, “I have many skills.” Gabrielle glared at her and punched her in the arm. Under her breath, Xena very quietly finished her answer, “I have no idea.”
Gabrielle tilter her head, trying to hear Xena. “What was that, Xena?” Many skills my ass! Maybe she knows magic like Eli.
Xena raised her arms in the air in a shrug, “I'm Xena!” I seriously have no clue how I did that. It was a piece of wet cloth for crying out loud!
“So that explains it all, does it? If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were part god.” The bard shook her head. “Oh, that feels so weird to move my head around with such little hair! It's so light.”
“Yeah, it sure is different.” Xena smiled and mussed her short blond hair.
“You don't like it, do you?” the bard asked as she ran her hand through it, trying to straighten it back out.
Oh boy, white lie or truth? She replied, “It will take some getting used to.”
“If I had a say in the matter, I wouldn't have gone this short. I like long hair. But the lady told me that it was too uneven in the back so she had to shorten it this much.”
“Sorry about that. Just saving your life, is all.” Xena winked at her and grabbed the bards hand to hold it as they walked. “So I was thinking that maybe it's time you learned to use a sword.”
Gabrielle stopped walking, causing her to pull on Xena's arm as the warrior kept walking. Finally Xena stopped and turned around. Gabrielle face was one of curiosity, “Why now?”
“Well, I think it would be good for you to learn in case you ever need it. Of course, only if you want to learn. It was kind of funny watching you swing that sword like a staff.” Xena laughed at her blond companion.
“Ha ha, funny. What did you expect, I've never used one? Let me think about it, ok?” She walked up to Xena and hugged her. “Thank you?”
Xena hugged her tight back, “For what?”
“For everything you do for me. You are my best friend and I love you dearly.” Gabrielle tilted her head up and kissed Xena on the lips.
“What do you say we stop for the night, huh? I think I see a little trail over there that may lead to a nice secluded spot. I think I smell water too.” She pointed towards a faint path to their left, leading off into some bushes and trees.
Gabrielle began to walk that direction, pulling Xena by the hand. As they walked the path, they were unable to hold hands because the trail was only wide enough for one person. This simple thing sparked a thought in Gabrielle's bardic mind. “Interesting.”
“What's that Gabrielle?” Xena asked while staring at the sway of Gabrielle's shapely hips.
“I was just thinking about something Naima said to me. She said that we walk a path together. And that we are like the lines of the Mehndi, separated but forever connected. This path just reminded me of that.” Gabrielle made a noise of bemusement.
“Not sure I follow.”
“Well, this path we are on, physically right now, is a good representation of what she was talking about. We are on the same path, separate, but still connected. Our souls are connected forever, Xena. No matter where we are in a future life, we are still connected. I have a much better understanding of soul mates, now.”
Xena was frowning, trying to follow Gabrielle's thoughts. Her own thoughts were confusing her. I'm still stuck on the separate thing. I mean I get what she is saying about right now, because I see that we are walking separate. But I don't ever want to be separated from her. If our souls are somehow still connected, does that mean we'll find each other in every lifetime? Or will we go some lives without reconnecting physically? In response to Gabrielle, she just said “I have no answers, honey.”
“I have lots of questions, I wish we could have asked her.” The trees opened up before them next to a river. “Aww, this looks nice.”
Xena stood behind her and put her arms around Gabrielle's waist. She whispered in her ear, “You look nice.”
The bard turned around in her arms, “You look nice. I love these clothes on you, so sexy.” Gabrielle bit her lip and pressed her body closer to Xena's.
“Sexy, huh? Well I was thinking about switching back to my normal stuff.”
“No!! Please stay in these for a couple days.” She begged as she got down on her knees and held her hands up to Xena. “I beg you, Warrior Princess.”
“Wow, that's different. I've never seen you beg me like that before. Well except when I..” Xena's sentence was muffled by Gabrielle's hand.
“Why do you keep bringing up things I do in our sex life? First you remind me of my adoration of your amazingly agile hands, now it's about me begging. You better be careful WP. I'm on to you.” Gabrielle turned and sat next to the river on a boulder.
Xena followed her, laughing at the situation. “I just like to remind you of things every now and again.” She smiled brightly at her bard. “Besides, you are beautiful when you beg.”
“Xena! Enough of that, now fix me dinner.” Gabrielle demanded with a sly smile.
Xena stared at her, “What am I, your slave?”
“Yup. I'm going to take a bath in the river. Now go.”
“Well, I'm going to catch fish in the river before you pollute it with your body odors.” Xena started undressing and looked over to see Gabrielle racing her to be the first one naked and in the river. She picked up the speed on shedding her clothes.
Gabrielle began to giggle so hard that it slowed her down and she got tangled in getting her top off. It was around her face when she heard the splash of Xena entering the water. “Dammit!” She took a moment to untangle herself then dropped her shirt to the ground. Xena was standing up in the water, leaning over listening for fish. She was completely naked, giving Gabrielle a good view of her backside.
“You're too slow, Gabrielle. You have to be quicker!” She said as her hands darted into the water and pulled out with an eel. Xena turned around and ran on shore, throwing the eel to the ground. She grabbed a rock and smashed it against the eel's head. “Dinner is served.” When Gabrielle didn't respond, she turned around. The bards face was twisted in a look of disgust. “What? You said you wanted dinner; here is dinner.”
“Xena…” She sighed, “Never mind.” She turned, walked into the river, then dived under the warm water. When she came up, she shook her head and sprayed water from it. It settled into a crazy style, short bits of hair sticking out everywhere like a small child's.
“Cute hair, Gab.” Xena lit a fire and put the eel on a spit as Gabrielle was washing up in the river.
After a few moments passed, Gabrielle got out of the river. The water ran in rivulets down her body, shining in the setting sun. She caught Xena staring at her body, making her smile. “Yes, you can teach me the sword.”
Xena looked up to her eyes, finally. “Really?”
“Yeah, really. Let's start tomorrow.” Gabrielle leaned down and kissed Xena. “Tonight, I want to make love to the future ‘Mother of Peace'.”
“Didn't you say that the leader of peace would be like a goddess to you? What would you do to please a goddess, huh Gabrielle?” Xena stood up, and as she did she ran the back of her hand up Gabrielle's body; from her hip, over her stomach, across her nipple and stopped at the back of her neck.
Gabrielle leaned in and began what would be a night of passionate love making between two confirmed soul mates.
Beginning of Episode 84:
Gabrielle and Xena are walking along a river. The bard is talking, “I love rivers."
Xena's voice is unenthusiastic, "They're all right, if you don't have to get to the other side."
Gabrielle continues in her whimsical voice, "There's a certain-- inevitability to a river. Nothing stops it from finding its way."
"You ever hear of a dam? Beavers?" Xena replies sarcastically.
Gabrielle becomes annoyed, "Why do you do that?"
"What?" Xena asks as she plays with a stick.
"You shoot me down while I'm doing my philosophical stuff."
"Xena-- since I met you, I've been on this spiritual quest. I've been looking-- for the meaning to it all. Why don't you ever ask those questions?" Gabrielle continues to move ahead of Xena.
Xena pauses, “As a matter of fact, I've been thinking a lot about reincarnation since we came to India."
"You see? Maybe being a warrior isn't the right karma for you. Maybe you should look to peace." Gabrielle stops in her tracks.
Xena runs to catch up, "Hmm-- maybe violence isn't the answer to anything.
End of Episode 84 (S4,E16):
Xena is watching as Gabrielle throws her staff into the river. Gabrielle smiles with a sense of satisfaction and peace. Xena walks up to her slowly, "So, it's the way of love for you, huh?"
Gabrielle replies, "Yeah. Yours is the way of the warrior. I think I've always known that."
"And I've always known that it was wrong for you. I'm sorry I took you so far from your truth." Xena says with a pained expression on her face.
Gabrielle puts her hand on Xena's arm, "Don't be sorry. Xena, do you think I could have understood the power of selfless love if it weren't for our friendship?"
Xena smiles, then looks out at the staff floating in the water. "Still, I think maybe you should travel with Eli for a while."
The bard just smiles at her friend, "No. You and I stay together."
"Gabrielle, we're headed in opposite directions in life."
"All rivers run to the sea. We'll end up in the same place; I'm sure of it.” Gabrielle says as her and Xena both look out at the river. Xena puts her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. “Thank you." The bard says to her.
"For what?" Xena asks with a smirk.
Gabrielle chuckles, "For not mentioning dams."
A month later….
The second the ramp was lowered from the boat to the dock at Paraeus, Gabrielle ran off with her belongings. She threw herself to the ground and kissed it. “Home! Oh how I love you!”
Xena slowly walked off the boat after her, biting back a smile. She glanced around noticing that Gabrielle was drawing quite the crowd. “Uh, Gabrielle? You might want to get up. People are staring.”
The bard looked up from the ground, then sat back onto her heels. “Do I look like I care? I'm so glad to be home!!! I love Greece.”
“Yeah, me too but you don't see me kissing it. Come on, I'll help ya up.” She said as she reached out a hand.
Gabrielle took the offered appendage and immediately threw her arms around Xena. “Can we go eat? I'm dying for some normal food.”
“You and me both! Let's go. I think I've lost enough weight this trip.” Xena chortled.
Gabrielle was leaning over her plate, the steam rising to her nostrils. She waved the scent of the food into her face and breathed deeply. “Mmm oh that smells divine.” She picked up a piece of fish and slowly bit into it. Her eyes closed and she sank back in her seat. “By the gods.”
Xena had a piece of bread next to her mouth, but had paused to watch the bard during this sensual display of eating. Huh, who knew food could be that enjoyable. She thought to herself, then decided it was time to quit watching and start eating. She quickly inhaled her fish and lentils. “Oh, that is good. Why can't the food in India be like this?”
Gabrielle looked up from stuffing her face, “Uh” she swallowed her mouthful. “Because then they wouldn't be exotic to us?” the rolled her eyes then continued eating.
“How did you go from an agonizingly slow eating process to stuffing your face in less than ten seconds?” Xena asked, baffled at the craziness of the situation.
Gabrielle swallowed again and smiled, food stuck to her teeth, “I have many skills.”
Xena laughed out loud at that, sending pieces of food flying across the table at her mate. “Oh gods! That's was so cute.”
Gabrielle wasn't smiling anymore. She wiped her face and flicked the food back at Xena. “I'll get you for that, WP.”
“No, little one, you will not be getting revenge. It's not the way of love.”
“Oh shut up! You can't use that against me.” Gabrielle kicked her under the table.
Xena jumped, “Ow!! Hey, no violence.”
“No violence WITH hatred. I am committing violence through love. Besides, it doesn't count when I do it to you.” Gabrielle smirked then continued eating.
“No fair. So where do you want to go next?”
“Don't know yet. I was thinking we could stay here a day or so. Did you see the market area? It's huge!!” She became really excited thinking about all the things she could buy.
“Gabrieellllee.” Xena drawled, “We already carry enough crap with us. We don't need anything else. It's not like we have a place to store it all.”
The bard stuck her lip out and began to whine, “Xena! I need more scrolls, a new quill, you need a new whetstone, I need to come up with something to help defend myself. There is much to buy!”
“Whoa, wait. Defend yourself? What about that whole getting knocked down over and over thing, and never defending yourself? Isn't that Eli's way?”
“Well, yes it is. I guess I don't mean ‘defend' myself. I'm not going to hurt anyone, I just want to figure out a way to distract them, or confuse them.” Gabrielle finished her food and pushed the plate aside. “Any ideas?”
“Nope, but I'll think about it.”
“Ok, while you do that, I'm going shopping. Are you coming, or do you want to meet me later?” Gabrielle stood up and waited for Xena to answer.
“I'll go with you, but only if you let me take you to a play or something.” Xena stood up as well and looked down into the bards green eyes.
“A play? Do you honestly think I'd pass that up? What's the catch?”
“No catch, just thought you'd like to do that.” Xena reached out and gently pushed her towards the door. “I hear Sophocles is in town.”
“Alright, it's a date!”
The theater emptied out at a very slow pace. Xena was getting very annoyed at the crowds. Drunken upper class citizens were talking in obnoxious tones. One man mentioned that the ‘filth' of Greece should not be allowed to come see plays; they should only be for the elite like himself. This royally pissed off both Gabrielle and Xena.
“Xena, don't do anything, just calm down.”
“Gab he's being a royal ass! Someone needs to set him straight! I want to pummel him!” Xena's fists were clenching tightly, knuckles turning white.
Gabrielle stepped in front of the warrior, putting herself between the man and the dangerous woman. She put her hands on Xena's face and forced eye contact, “Hey, please just calm down. He's drunk, not that it's an excuse, but just leave him be.” She backed away from Xena, but kept her eye on the fuming warrior. Xena kept listening to the conversation as it became more and more demeaning. Gabrielle realized she had to take drastic measures, so she put herself in front of Xena, this time with her back against Xena's front. She grabbed Xena's hands and wrapped them around her own waist. Leaning her head backwards, she turned her face and rubbed her lips against Xena's chin and jaw. As she did this, she felt the tension slowly dissipated from her lover, but not melt away completely.
“Gabby, what are you doing?” She whispered in her ear.
“Nothing, I just wanted you to hold me.” She kissed the warriors neck and gently sucked on it, causing Xena's breath to catch. Good, she's losing focus on the drunks. Good bard. “Hey, that play really inspired me. I thought of a new scroll I want to write.”
Xena grunted in response.
“It's going to be a more intimate look at our relationship and life together.” Gabrielle was hoping that the topic would distract Xena, since she knew the warrior didn't want to announce their relationship to the world.
“Are you listening to me, Xena?” They finally stepped outside and away from the crowds. She pulled Xena to a side street. “Xe? Do you have a clue what I said back there?”
“Yeah, you are writing a new scroll about us.”
“That doesn't bother you?” She asked, confused as to why Xena would all of a sudden let her do this.
“Why should it? We have a very close partnership in fighting evil. An intimate look at that would be cool for some people to read.” She shrugged then turned Gabrielle around back towards the street. “Now, let's go get some dessert.”
“Mm sounds good to me.” Gabrielle said as they entered the main street and headed towards the area of town that held most of the restaurants.
That night as they lay in bed, Gabrielle was busy working on her new scroll. Xena was staring up at the ceiling, twiddling her thumbs. “I'm bored.”
Gabrielle sighed and looked over at her mate. “Xena, you need to find a hobby or something. What about that wood puzzle cube thing I bought you?”
“I solved it in like two seconds! I need a harder one. What are you writing about?”
“Same thing I was writing about five minutes ago when you asked me the same question.” Gabrielle responded, then looked back to her scroll.
“About our relationship?”
“Well, no not quite yet. I mean, yes that's what the scroll will be about, but I haven't gotten to the part about that yet.” She continued writing, biting her bottom lip as she did so.
Xena turned onto her side facing Gabrielle. She tucked her hand under her head and just stared at Gabrielle.
Without looking up from her writing, the bard said “Xena? Please entertain yourself somehow.”
Xena frowned and rolled back onto her back. She got a wicked idea in her head. She reached under the covers and lifted the hem of her shift up to above her navel. She laid her hand on her stomach, then lightly began playing her fingers over her skin, gradually making her way southward. The closer she got, the heavier she breathed with her eyes closed. She was only a fingers width away from touching herself when she paused. She glanced over at Gabrielle, who was still focused on her writing. Alright, I'll go all the way then. She flattened her palm against her lower stomach and glided it down to her lips, gently stroking them. After a moment she slipped her finger into her slit causing her to forget about her little shout for attention. She moaned as she touched her clit, tipping her head back slightly. In her mind's eye, she pictured Gabrielle's tongue playing with her, creating glorious feelings. She moaned again, this time a little louder.
Gabrielle put her quill down and focused her full attention on the woman next to her. She had been watching out of the corner of her eye since Xena started her finger dance. Now her eyes were one hundred percent on focus. She licked her lips after watching for a few minutes, then finally decided to speak up. “Xena?”
The warrior didn't flinch, “Gabby.” She said in a whisper, her voice filled with desire and need.
Gabrielle smiled and set her writing materials aside. She turned toward Xena and laid on her side with her head propped on her elbow. She wanted to join in, but first wanted to watch what would happen.
Xena's fingers continued their stroking, the pace becoming faster. Xena had heard Gabrielle call her name, but to her it was all part of her fantasy. In which, Gabrielle's tongue was working magic. “Gab, please. It feels so good.”
Gabrielle stifled a snicker as she watched her lover pleasure herself. She wasn't quite sure if Xena was doing this on purpose, or if she was really lost in fantasy land. The warrior was getting closer and closer to orgasm when the bard's hand wandered down to the apex of her own legs. She was wet, very wet. Oh gods, I want her right now.
Xena's body went ridged as she bit into a pillow to stifle her cry of Gabrielle's name. About ten seconds later, her body relaxed onto the bed. She flopped her hand down on the bed and tried to calm her breathing. After her mind cleared, she realized she was being watched. She looked over to see Gabrielle's face full of lust and need. The bard's hand was busy working on her own clit, which reignited Xena's arousal. Xena smiled at her lover as she positioned herself over Gabrielle. “You're in trouble now, little bard.” Gabrielle swallowed hard.
Beginning of Episode 85:
Xena and Gabrielle are in a field doing Yoga. Gabrielle loses her concentration and says, "It's no use. I can't get it out of my mind, even with yoga."
Xena smiles, "Well, ya can't say thatcha didn't try. And ya can't say that I didn't try."
"I appreciate that. But, Xena-- it was one of my favorite scrolls-- a new one-- charting our history through the prism of time-- it was-- "
They say together, "-- a more intimate-- "
Then Xena finishes, "-- examination of our relationship and on and on. You've been talking about it ever since we left Paraeus."
Gabrielle sighed, "I can't recreate the beauty-- the essence."
"Then, Gabrielle, go back for it."
Xena replies, "Gabrielle-- the prince needs my help in Arcon. I'm gonna go ahead. You go back to Paraeus and catch up with me when you can."
Gabrielle crinkles her nose and smiles, "Are you sure?"
"Sure, I'm sure. Go on, make us both happy." Xena smiles again.
"Thank you." Gabrielle quickly turns and leaves.
"Don't mention it." Xena says dryly.
"OK." She says as she walks away.
"Well, when I say, `Don't mention it,' I mean-- you can mention it. It's just a figure of speech. You don't have to take it literally. It wouldn't kill ya to maybe to look back or something. Aw, rats. All right, Argo, it's just you and me."
The Hot Tub Scene
End of Episode 85 (S4,E17):
Minya and the girl that played Xena run out of the theater, "Gabrielle, I wanted to thank you! I never would have met Pollener if it wasn't for you! In fact, the two of you made me realize something deep down about myself that-- I guess I always knew, but-- just didn't dare admit. Yes-- I'm a--thespian."
Xena's eyebrows shoot up and she smiles, "Oh. Hah. Congratulations.” The two women grab hands and run away. Xena and Gabrielle walk off, “You managed to touch someone."
"That's not exactly what I had in mind. I wanted to change violent people into people of peace, not actors. That is what she said, right? Deep down, she's a thespian?” Gabrielle asked.
Xena replied, “Yeah, um that's what she…said. Yeah. Why? What'd you think?"
xxxxxxxx A/N: if you watch closely in this episode, during the hot tub scene rehearsal, Gabrielle and the woman playing Xena are kissing as the curtains open. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Gabrielle continues, “I honestly thought she was going to say Lesbian. Did you see them hold hands and run off?”
“Yeah, that's what I thought she would say too. I always thought Minya had a thing for women.”Xena laughed at this, “Poor Hower.”
“Yeah, Pollener had no issue kissing me, so I'm sure she's into girls.” Gabrielle commented.
“What?!” Xena yelled and stopped walking, staring Gabrielle down.
“We kissed, for the play. It was the hot tub scene.” Gabrielle said casually, like it was no big deal.
“WHAT hot tub scene?!” Xena demanded, her face flushing with anger.
Gabrielle walked back over to her and put her hand on her face, “Xe calm down. It was just acting.” The warrior moved her head away from Gabrielle's hand. The bard put her hand back down by her side and resumed, “When everyone was demanding more sex and violence, Joxer recommended a hot tub scene. So I wrote one in.”
Xena turned and stormed off ahead of Gabrielle on the road. Gabrielle sighed and rolled her eyes, “Warriors. Xena!! Wait up!” She ran to catch up to Xena, but when she did Xena wouldn't look at her or talk to her. They walked the rest of the day in silence.
When they finally stopped for the night, they set up camp in the same haunting silence. Xena was still stewing that Gabrielle had kissed someone else. Gabrielle began to get huffy and take her anger out on their camping gear when her pans got caught in some rope. “ARGG I hate cooking!!” Gabrielle threw the pot back down the ground. “I'm not making dinner tonight, we'll just have to deal with it.” The bard grabbed her scroll bag and sat on a log.
Xena completely ignored the outburst, focusing instead on sharpening her sword. I can't believe she would do that to me! I don't care that it was for a play and that it was ‘acting'. She still kissed someone other than me. She probably slept with her too. Xena sheathed her sword and began to remove her bracers and armor. Once she was down to her leathers, she glanced over at Gabrielle who was staring at a blank scroll with a faraway look in her eyes. “How could you do that?” she asked with venom in her voice.
Gabrielle looked up at her, “It didn't mean anything! I was acting, that's it. If you can't deal with that, it's your problem, not mine.”
“I would never do that to you.”
Gabrielle laughed, “Whatever Xena. You HAVE done that to me. Remember Rafe?”
Xena became immediately defensive, “You knew about that plan the whole time, don't even try to turn this around on me!”
Gabrielle stood up and threw her scroll down and pointed her finger at Xena, “Well stop being so hypocritical!! Gods I can't stand you when you get jealous like this. It meant NOTHING to me! You have done this kind of thing to me more than I have to you. Remember Ulysses? At least what I did was during a play and for the sake of acting! You did it to hurt me.”
Xena clamped her mouth shut. She knew how much she had hurt Gabrielle over that whole thing. Xena stared into the flames of the fire for a moment, while Gabrielle paced around camp. She was so bitter inside, she struck out with the first thing she could think of in revenge, “What about Perdicus! You used him to hurt me!”
Gabrielle stopped in her tracks, she whispered, “What?” How could she say that to me? Gabrielle began to walk out of the camp, but stopped when Xena grabbed her and whirled her around. Xena's face was full of anger and resentment, no apology was forthcoming. They stood in silence for a moment then Gabrielle grasped at her last straw, knowing it would sting. “I kissed Najara.”
Xena looked as if she had been stabbed in the heart. Her face fell into pure grief at first, then quickly turned to righteous anger. She pursed her lips and turned on her heals. She quickly put her armor back on, grabbed her sword and left camp without a word.
As the night wore on, Xena had not yet returned to camp. Several hours had passed, causing Gabrielle to worry that Xena had left her for good. She lie in her bedroll staring up at the starry night sky. What have I done? She may never come back now. I hadn't meant to tell her about Najara, at least not like that. Now she won't even know that I stopped Najara from continuing said kiss. What will I do without Xena? She's my life. I feel like my insides have been slashed into pieces, my heart ripped out. I can't imagine how she feels. She thinks I purposely cheated on her, but I didn't. I shouldn't have said that, I shouldn't have let myself get caught up in that petty argument. We were just looking for ways to hurt each other. After several hours of lying awake, she finally dozed off to sleep.
Xena is in the trees, not far from the camp. She knew that no matter how mad she was at Gabrielle, she couldn't leave her completely alone and defenseless. This stupid way of love is way too dangerous. I hate it, and I hate that she ever learned about it. She picked at the bark on the tree as she watched Gabrielle pace the campsite until she finally laid down in her bedroll. She heard muffled cries as Gabrielle lie there looking up at the stars. Xena remembered back to when they use to watch them together and point out constellations. Xena looks up at the sky and whispers “It's a dipper.” Gods things use to be much simpler then. Sort of. I guess nothing has ever been that easy for us. How could she kiss Najara? I hate that woman. She is so devious and….crazy! Bat shit crazy. I don't understand how Gabrielle so easily falls prey to these insane people. She's a smart woman, but sometimes she just…. I don't know. Is it because she's such a loving person that she thinks everyone is good and not out to get her? I wonder if they had sex. No, no way. Uhg the thought makes me want to puke. The warrior got her knife out and began to carve things into the tree trunk. Her thoughts became darker and darker, until she finally broke down crying and stabbing at the wood. Finally, she leaned herself back against the tree and fell into a half sleep.
The morning sun was bright and warm. Birds were singing nearby and flies were buzzing around camp. Gabrielle cracked her eye open, hoping that last night was a dream and that Xena was sleeping next to her. She rolled over to look, but Xena wasn't there. My life is over. She curled into a ball and pulled her blanket back over her head. She began to cry again, tears wetting the blanket around her.
Xena entered camp and heard Gabrielle crying. She was approaching quietly, but decided to announce her presence. She stepped on a stick and it made a loud crack in the stillness of the morning. The bard stopped crying and froze under the blanket. Xena had stopped walking and just stood there, waiting for Gabrielle to get out from under the blanket. Finally, Gabrielle pulled the fur back and peeked her head out. She immediately spotted Xena. “Gods you scared me!”
“My bad.” Xena continued walking into camp and sat down on a log. She stoked the fire and threw a new log onto it.
Gabrielle sat up and rubbed her eyes dry. “Where did you sleep?”
“A tree.” Xena mumbled.
“A tree? Xena you could have slept here in your bedroll.” Gabrielle looked over to the empty space. “But I guess you probably never want to sleep by me again.”
Xena didn't look at her or respond. Instead she began to look around them in the trees and spotted something. She grabbed her Chakrum and threw it, sending a squirrel to its death on the forest floor below. She quickly retrieved the kill and brought it back to camp. After skinning it and cleaning it, she put it on a stick and began to cook it over the fire.
Gabrielle stood up and straighten out her clothing. She walked over to the saddle bags and grabbed the pot that she threw down last night. She dusted it off and filled it with water and tea leaves, then set it over the fire to heat up. Instead of sitting on the log by Xena, she crouched on the ground close to the fire, warming her hands.
Xena watched her out of the corner of her eyes, “Cold?”
“Yeah, I'm not use to sleeping without my warm warrior.” Gabrielle tried to smile, but failed.
The food was done cooking and Xena began to munch on the meat. She picked a few pieces then looked over to Gabrielle as her stomach growled loudly. “Come here.”
Gabrielle walked over to the log and sat down. She took some of the meat that Xena offered her and began to eat in silence. When they were close to finished, Xena finally spoke up.
“Why did you kiss her?”
The bard sighed, “I didn't really. Actually, she kissed me, but I stopped her right away. I just told you I kissed her to hurt you.”
Xena looked over at her in disbelief, then sighed and looked down at her feet. “I was a bitch to bring up Perdicus. I don't really think you married him to hurt me, I just said that.”
“I think I knew that.” Gabrielle said as she reached out for Xena's hand. “I'm sorry about everything. I was just so mad that you freaked out over the kiss in the play. I wish you would believe me that it didn't mean anything to me.”
Xena thought for a moment, “And I'm sorry that my first reaction was to not trust you. I should know better. I guess I just get jealous too easily.”
Gabrielle leaned her head on Xena's shoulder, “Well, you better stop that. I'm not going to cheat on you. I love you, Xena.”
“I love you too, Gabrielle.”
Beginning of Episode 86:
"No! No!" A woman cries out as a man kicks someone on the ground.
The man yells, "I said answer me! Tell me who sent you! Last chance-- either you tell me-- or tell it to Hades."
Xena steps up, "There's a thought. Why don't you tell him yourself?" Xena begins to fight the man, as Gabrielle runs to the person on the ground.
The bard bends down and tries to help the woman up, "Najara?"
The fighting continues but Cryton runs into Joxer, who is holding a knife out. It enters the man's chest and he falls to the ground.
His soldiers cry out, "Cryton's dead!" "Come on! Let's get outta here! Move!" "Run! Run!"
A/N: Sorry it's taken me several weeks to post a story. I've had a bit of writer's block, which is still with me. :( If anyone has any story ideas that they feel I could incorporate into this series, feel free to shout them out to me in a PM. xoxo
End of Episode 86 (S4,E18):
Xena and Gabrielle are watching a nurse tend to Najara's wounds. Gabrielle asks, "Do you think she'll ever wake up?"
"Who knows? Maybe her voices will call her back home. In the meantime, the sisters will keep her comfortable as long as she lives." Xena said as they turned to leave.
The bard said, "I really thought she had changed. You did."
"So did you." Xena added, then continued, “You've changed in ways that have shown me choices I'd never have known without you."
"Thanks. It's funny, it seems that when push comes to shove, sometimes the only choice is to shove back. But with this path that I'm on, I can't do that." Gabrielle and Xena begin to walk out of the prison.
Xena responds, "With me around, you won't have to. Hmm.”
Moments later, Xena and Gabrielle walk out the front door of the prison. Neither has spoken for a few minutes. Gabrielle looks at Xena, feeling tension radiating off the warrior. “Xe, are we ok?”
Xena doesn't look over, but her jaw tightens. “I don't know yet.” She walked over to Argo and hopped on, then put her hand down to Gabrielle. “You coming?”
Gabrielle nodded her head and allowed Xena to pull her up onto the horse. After settling in with her arms wrapped around Xena she asked, “Where are we off to now?”
Right in time for my birthday! I wonder if she has anything planned, besides practical jokes that is... “ How long do you think it will take us to get there?” She asked the warrior.
“Five days.” Xena replied curtly. She knew that she wasn't being very nice to her bard, but she couldn't get Najara out of her mind.
Gabrielle could feel Xena's tension, not only in body but in her voice. She wasn't quite sure what to do, knowing that she had been the cause; her and Najara that is. The bard sighed, then gently kissed Xena's shoulder blade. She whispered, “I love you.”
Xena sighed and looked down at the saddle horn. She began to pick at it, something she has noticed she does when she is nervous or scared. Gabrielle's hand reached forward and stilled her hand. Xena knew that Gabrielle could sense her turmoil. “Why do you love her?”
“I don't love her!” Gabrielle spat, disgusted at the thought. “How could you even think that, Xena?”
“Then why do you find her so attractive?” Xena spat back.
Gabrielle stammered over a response in her head, not sure how to reply to that. After a moment she gathered her thoughts, “The first time, I was drawn to her because she was so comfortable with her life and who she was. She seemed to have found her way, and I was looking for my way. I thought that starting the hospice she mentioned was the way for me to go. You say attracted like I thought she was sexy or something. It was never anything like that. There was no sexual attraction for me.”
Xena was quiet for a moment, “Well that was one sided then, because she sure wanted you.”
“I know. I didn't realize that at the time until she kissed me. I should have listened to you and never trusted her.”
“Yet you trusted her again, even after all of that. I don't understand!” Xena sighed in frustration.
“You're right, I did. I just kept thinking that maybe she was like you; that she had reformed. Like I told you before, I think that this whole ‘seeing the good in others' thing is a fault in my personality. All it seems to bring is disaster. I wish I didn't automatically want to see the good in everyone and hope for the best. It just seems to be part of who I am and I can't seem to change it.” Gabrielle said, as she began to cry.
Xena stopped Argo then reached up to pull Gabrielle down to the ground. As soon as the bards feet hit the ground, Xena pulled her into an intense hug. “Shh shhh.. Don't cry little one. I'm so sorry. I don't think it's a fault. Like I told you before, if you hadn't seen the good in me by being yourself, then maybe I wouldn't have stayed ‘good' for very long.”
“You keep forgetting that it was Hercules that set you on the path of good, not me.” Gabrielle sighed then snuggled into Xena's chest.
Xena kissed the top of her head, “I know he did that. But I honestly don't know how long I could have been a good person. I was tempted to start up an army so many times before I found you. It's the only life I knew. The biggest thing I don't understand with you and Najara is that even after the first time when you and I found out we couldn't trust her, you did trust her again this second time. Why?”
“I think it was because of Eli. She had heard the same teachings we heard and everyone that follows his teachings becomes good and trustworthy. Or so I thought. I guess I am just really bad at judging people.” Gabrielle pulled away and wiped her tears dry. “Sorry, I got your chest all wet.”
Xena wiggled her eyebrows, “I love when you get my chest wet.”
The bard slapped Xena's shoulder, “Xe! Gross.” I guess that's the segue into the conversation being over…
The warrior laughed then jumped back onto Argo. She rode while Gabrielle walked towards Amphipolis. “Hey Xena, would it be ok if I stopped to see my family? You don't have to come if you don't want to.”
“Ugghh… I really don't want to. How about you go on to see them when we come to the path that splits? I'll go on to moms and you can meet me a couple days later.”
Gabrielle sighs, “Alright. I guess that will work. Is your mom expecting us?”
“I sent word a few days ago that we might come by for your birthday. Thought it would be a good time to take a break.” Xena smiled down at the bard.
“Mmm. I like the sound of that.” She began to whistle while they walked into the sunset.
Beginning of Episode 87: Several days later…
Joxer jumps in startled surprise, "Surprise!"
Lila, Minya, and Cyrene all yell with him, "Surprise! Oh-h-h-h."
Joxer looks disappointed, "Oh!"
Xena replies dryly, "Well, gee, glad to see you, too, Mom."
Cyrene walks up to Xena and hugs her, "Of course we're glad to see you, dear, but it's not your birthday."
"No-- and it's not Gabrielle's either-- not until tomorrow." Xena says in question.
Joxer replies, "That's why it's a surprise! Get it?"
Lila adds, "It was Joxer's idea."
Xena deadpans, "No surprise there.”
The Inn Keepers
End of Episode 87 (S4,E19):
Gabrielle approaches Xena as Cyrene walks away. "You know? When it's all said and done, it seems everyone behaved like they did for one reason, love. For you, for family."
"I guess you're right." Xena says as she watches the group of friends and family plotting Gabrielle's party in the kitchen.
As Lila walks past, Autoclyus makes a noise at her, "Psst!" She quickly runs into the kitchen.
Gabrielle continues, “So, do you still think they're capable of anything?"
Xena replies with a serious face, "Absolutely anything."
"Now!" Autoclyus whispers to everyone.
Everyone runs out and yells "Happy birthday!"
Gabrielle turns to them and smiles as they bring out a cake with candles. Lila kisses her on the cheek as everyone begins to sing the Happy Birthday song.
The same night, very late into the night, Xena and Gabrielle were sitting at a table in Cyrene's tavern. Gabrielle was telling everyone a story that did not make any sense because she was completely drunk. Xena was laughing hysterically as she watched Gabrielle try to talk and not slur words. Her eyebrows would scrunch together as she tried to speak clearly. Finally she had enough, “Xe! What arehh you laffin at?!”
Xena composed herself the best she could, “I don't think anyone knows what you are saying, bard! Come on, let's go to bed. You are too drunk.” She reached over to grab Gabrielle's mug, but missed it as the bard pulled it away.
“No! I want to finish this first.” She quickly chugged the brew as Xena tugged at her arm but she resisted.
“Come on! Hurry!” Xena yelled, then leaned down and whispered something in her ear.
Gabrielle quickly put the mug down and within seconds was heading up the stairs. Xena looked around at everyone, who all had shocked looks on their faces. Lila asked, “What in the world did you say to her?”
Xena just smiled and turned to follow her lover. When she entered their bedroom, she spotted Gabrielle exactly where she expected; on the bed, naked. Her pose, however, was not exactly sexy. She was laying down on her stomach with her legs spread completely out. “Xena, I'm ready!” the bard called in a sing song voice.
“Uh…” oh dear gods, no you aren't woman. She pulled off her armor and boots then pulled the covers back and over Gabrielle. “I think you are too drunk, my love.”
Gabrielle sat up, “But..but you promised.” She poked Xena in the chest with her finger. “You can't break your promise. I got up here faster than you said I had to.”
Xena looked down at the finger that was still pounding into her chest, leaving a bruise. She grabbed the finger and held onto it. “Gab, you are too drunk. I didn't realize you were this bad. Can I fulfill my promise in the morning?” She smiled sweetly at Gabrielle, trying her best to convince the stubborn woman.
Gabrielle scowled at her, then suddenly was on top of Xena in her lap. She pulled Xena's face down in between her breasts and began to moan. “Seehhh I'm not too drrrunk.”
Xena sat there in stillness, not fighting it. Meh , m ight as well enjoy it I guess. After a few moments, Gabrielle stopped wiggling around and looked down at Xena. The warrior pulled her head back and looked up into green eyes. “Time for bed, Gabrielle.”
“Ahhhh Xena!” Gabrielle pouted as she fell off the warriors lap to her side of the bed. “You are no fun.”
“I will be in the morning. Now get under the covers.” Xena tucked Gabrielle in and kissed her goodnight.
The next morning, Gabrielle woke up with a pounding headache. She rubbed her eyes thoroughly before opening them. “Oww it's so bright!” she rolled over to cuddle with Xena, but the bed was empty. “Figures.”
“Mom, are you sure about this?” Xena asks as Cyrene gets into a wagon with Joxer, Lila, and Minya.
“Positive. You too will be just fine.” Cyrene smiles at her daughter as the wagon begins to move down the road.
“Rats.” She turned and walked back into the inn taking in the scene before her. There was only one employee, the waitress. Her name was Leto, she was Gabrielle's height and age. Unlike Gabrielle, she was not fit at all. She was chubby, but very beautiful. Xena had seen many people flirt with her the other times they had been here. “So what do we do next?” Xena asked the woman as she was loading plates onto a tray.
Leto stopped and looked around, “We clean up after the daily breakfast rush and we prepare for our small lunch crowd.” She smiled at Xena growled. “It's not so bad, really.”
“For you maybe. This is not what I had in mind for a vacation.” Xena sighed and got to work cleaning up some of the tables.
Gabrielle woke with a start. “gods!” she said under her breath. She felt the weight of something laying at the foot of the bed. She pulled the covers off her head and peeked out. “Xena?”
“Hmm?” the warrior moaned and rolled over on to her stomach, then inched her way up next to Gabrielle.
“Why do you smell like food and sweat?” Gabrielle asked as she took in the haggard appearance of her mate.
“Mom left.” She replied as if that explained everything.
Gabrielle sat up all the way and looked down at her lover. “Ok… but that doesn't tell me why you look and smell like this. Where did your mother go?”
“Oh.” Gabrielle's eyes opened wide in realization. “Oh dear. She didn't happen to leave you to run the inn, did she?”
Xena growled and pulled the blankets up over her shoulders. Gabrielle got up, got dressed, then headed downstairs. She smelled something awful being cooked in the kitchen. “I hope that isn't Xena's cooking. The inn will be closed in no time.” She walked in and found Leto sitting in a chair staring at the pot on the stove. “Leto?”
The waitress didn't look up, she just kept staring. “I couldn't fix it.”
“Fix what?” Gabrielle walked over to the pot and looked in. She immediately pulled back in disgust. “What is that!?” When she did not get a response, she looked over at the waitress, raising her eyebrows in question.
“I tried to stop her, but she was determined. I told her to wake you up so you could make something for dinner, but she said you needed your sleep. I argued with her that we can't kill people off just because you need your sleep.” Leto paused, “then she just left.”
Gabrielle shook her head, “Wow. I can't believe she would even try to cook this. She doesn't know how to cook anything really. In all the years I've known her, she's only cooked me like two things that I liked. And they were simple!”
Leto walked over to look in the pot, “Think you can fix it?”
Gabrielle nodded then grabbed the pot off the stove. “Open the back door please.” She walked through the door and off into the woods behind the inn. She dumped the nasty food onto the ground and walked back to the inn. “Yep, now I can fix it.”
Xena walked down stairs, rested and cleaned up after a bath. She could hear the dinner crowd and immediately became worried. The closer she got to the tavern, the more she could smell the aroma of a good meal. She headed towards the kitchen and noticed that everyone seemed to be enjoying their meal. As she opened the kitchen door, she took in a beautiful sight. Gabrielle was in an apron dishing out food that was actually appetizing. “Oh thank the gods.”
Gabrielle looked up and smiled. “Yes, thank the gods I saved your butt. I wish you would have just woken me up to begin with.”
“Well you needed your rest.” She leaned down and kissed Gabrielle on the lips. “Need help?”
“Nooooo not in here. Go help Leto please. Clean up plates and whatever else she needs help with.”
Xena slapped Gabrielle on the butt as she walked back out to the dining hall. She quickly found Leto and was given instructions on what to do.
That night Gabrielle and Xena crashed onto their bed at the same time, both moaning at how tired they were. “Think we can last a whole week?” Gabrielle asked.
“Uhh you would hope so. I can't believe it takes so much energy to run this place!”
“All I know is that I have a whole new level of respect for your mother. I mean, we walk all day long…wait I take that back. I walk all day long, you ride. And I'm still not in shape to be on my feet in this damn tavern all day.” Gabrielle sat up and began to rub her feet. “I'm so sore. Xe will you rub my feet?” She stuck her foot on Xena's stomach and wiggled her toes.
Xena lifted her head off the pillow and looked at the wiggling toes and scrunched her face. “You need a bath first.”
“Hey! I don't stink.” The bard said as she lifted her foot to her nose. “Eww, never mind I do. I'm too tired to bathe though.” She quickly undressed and got under the blankets on their bed.
Xena followed suit and cuddled up next to Gabrielle, closing her eyes to sleep.
A week later, Cyrene returned to the inn with a bounce in her step. She looked rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. As she walked into the tavern, she was quiet satisfied with the amount of customers attending lunch. The food smelled good so she decided to sit down and order a plate for herself. Leto took her order to Gabrielle, then sat down to talk with the innkeeper.
“So, how did they handle the place?” Cyrene asked as she sipped on some cider.
Leto smiled, “Well the day you left was a little rough. Xena decided to let Gabrielle sleep all day so she cooked.”
“Oh gods… How did we have any customers left?!” Cyrene covered her mouth with her hand as she gasped.
“Well, Gabrielle woke up about twenty minutes before the dinner rush and saw the disaster that Xena had made out of dinner. So she threw it out and started from scratch. She wasn't even late serving it either! It was delicious too, we got a lot of compliments.” Let smiled and looked around at the tables to see if anyone needed anything. “I'm going to run and grab your plate.”
“Thanks” Cyrene said as she watched the woman walk away.
“Mother.” A deep sinister voice said from behind her.
Cyrene smiled into her mug of cider, “I hear you ruined dinner that first night and Gabrielle had to save your butt.”
Xena walked around the table and sat across from her mom. “I'm going to kill Leto. She wasn't supposed to tell you.” She scowled as said woman approached the table. “You are dead to me.” Xena deadpanned to the waitress, who just shrugged it off and walked away.
“How is Gabrielle?” her mother asked with a smile.
“First couple days were rough on both of us. I don't know how you do this mom. But we are doing much better now, we sort of got the hang of it for a while. Why did you decide to leave spur of the moment anyway?” Xena grabbed her mom's mug and took a swig of cider.
“Hey Cyrene!” Gabrielle approached the table and sat on Xena's lap. She grabbed the mug of cider and chugged it down. “I was so thirsty!”
“That was mom's.” Xena grinned at the bard's shocked eyes.
“Sorry Cyrene. I'll go fill it back up.” She started to get up but Xena held her back.
“Stay, mom was just about to tell me why she decided to ditch us here.” Xena wiggled her eyebrows at her mom.
“Well, I just needed a break. I saw an opportunity and I took it!” Cyrene laughed, “Ya know I never get a break from here. I've done this since I was young raising you little terrors.”
“I wasn't a terror.” Xena responded and had to pinch Gabrielle to get her to stop laughing.
Gabrielle sighed, “Well I for one enjoyed it, at least after the first couple days. Made me get a taste of what a normal life would feel like.”
Cyrene perked up, “And? Did you like it? Maybe you two could settle down here.”
The warrior and bard looked at each other and both shook their heads and smiled, “Nah…” They laughed and continued chatting with Cyrene for the next hour.
Beginning of Episode 88:
Ephiny and a group of Amazon warriors are wandering through bodies of fallen soldiers and Amazon women. Ephiny approaches the body of one woman on the ground, "Solari."
"They've gotta be on the other side of the trees, my queen. Let's go." Amarice says to the Regent.
"No. Amarice-- you follow behind me. We look first, and then we attack."
The young woman responded with an attitude, "In my tribe, looking first is like giving a warning."
"What does your tribe think about following orders? Let's go." The Regent led her group to assist the other Amazons in a battle against Roman soldiers.
Smoke Blowing Thing
Disclaimer: See the main story disclaimer, it applies
Content Warning: See the main story warning, it applies
Goal: See the main story goal, it applies
End of Episode 88 (S4,E20):
Amarice approached Xena and Gabrielle as they watched Ephiny's funeral pyre. "Well, when do we leave?" she asked nonchalantly.
Xena replied, "I thought you were staying here with the tribe."
"I gave it a shot, long enough to know it's not my place. I mean, they're all great and everything, but they treat me like a kid." She said dryly.
Gabrielle strongly emphasized, "You are a kid."
Amarice opened her mouth in shock, "Right, and you're a warrior. Besides, I need to see more of the world. I was thinkin' about what you said, Xena-- about-- not finding my answers at the end of a sword-- and it seemed to make sense.” She said sincerely. Xena nodded her head in agreement. Amarice continued in a provocative manner, “Then I started thinkin' about-- old Pompey, and it seems to me he found an answer at the end of yours."
"Amarice, did you not find any philosophy behind those words?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yeah-- kick butt and take names later." She replied with a tough attitude.
Xena turned to Gabrielle, "It's gonna take some time."
"So-- where are we headed?" Amarice asked as she looked around.
"That way.” Xena motioned with her head.
"Perfect, exactly where I was thinking we'd go." She said as she walked away from them.
Xena looked away, "Trouble.” She pursed her lips, “So, you ready to-"
Gabrielle walked away from the warrior, towards Ephiny's funeral pyre. Xena followed her and wrapped her arms around the bard as she broke down crying for her friend.
“I just don't get it! So she doesn't defend herself in any way? Would she defend you?” Amarice asked Xena as they sat next to the fire, the night after Ephiny's funeral.
“She doesn't defend herself, in the way that you would. I mean, she uses a smoke blowing thing to confuse people if they get their hands on her.” Xena sheathed her sword and set down the whetstone.
Amarice laughs, “Smoke blowing thing? What is that?”
“It's a device she made that has a powder in it. She blows into one hole and a smokey dust comes out the other hole. It seems to work. As for your other question, I'm not sure if she would defend me or not; I think she would, but I don't know how she would do it without violence. One thing I'm sure of is that she would find a way. But luckily she hasn't had to.” Xena gets up and picks up another log to throw on the fire.
“Sounds selfish to me.” The young girl replied indignantly.
“Well, it's her path in life. I'm happy if she is happy.” Xena sighed, almost inaudibly.
“But?” The girl prodded.
The warrior looked at her and shrugged, “But nothing.”
“Oh come on! You can't tell me it doesn't bother you at least a little bit that she stands there while you get attacked. It's completely self-centered. All for some ‘way of love' bull crap!” Amarice rattled on while poking the fire with a stick.
“Amarice, you are so young. You don't know what you are talking about! For most people, fighting isn't the answer. It's not self-centered to do your part in ending the cycle of violence. She's doing the right thing for the world and for herself.” Xena's tone was full of love and understanding.
“But-“ Amarice stopped talking as Gabrielle walked back into the camp.
“Wow it's a beautiful night, huh girls?” The bard said to her warrior travel mates.
Xena smiled at her as the bard sat next to her and snuggled against her. “It is. The stars seem exceptionally bright tonight.”
Amarice watched the exchange, noticing the close physical proximity of the two women. She chose not to comment, for once, but was definitely curious. “Do you guys sleep outside on the ground every night?”
Gabrielle looked at her, “Pretty much, yes. Sometimes we stay indoors if we are near an inn or a town in which we know people.” She looked up at Xena and smiled.
“Yeah, we like roughing it. A bed is nice once in a while, but there is something serene about being out here. It's peaceful.” Xena said as she continued looking into Gabrielle's eyes. Oh gods I'm being sappy in front of another warrior. Not good.
The two women were practically mesmerized looking into each other's eyes. Amarice became uncomfortable, feeling like an intruder. She cleared here throat, “Ahem, I think I'm going to go to bed. Do you two want me to camp elsewhere?”
Xena's eyes snapped up, “No, it's ok. I think we are ready for bed too.” She grabbed their furs as she and Gabrielle crawled into bed. Xena lifted the blankets up and over Gabrielle's shoulders, “Night sweetheart.” She whispered in her ear.
Gabrielle whispered back, “I love you.” Xena kissed her on the cheek in response.
The next morning Amarice was up before her companions. She stirred the fire and put a new log on, then went hunting for breakfast. As she was hunting she had time to think about her new friends. Either they are REALLY good friends or there is something more there. I never heard any of the Amazons talk about a relationship between the two. I know Xena is Gabrielle's Champion, but they never said anything about Consort. That was so awkward last night, watching them stare at each other. I would never have guessed Xena to be a love sick puppy. Hopefully that hasn't made her too soft.
Xena woke up to the sound of Amarice walking back into camp. She opened one eye and watched the young woman begin to skin the rabbit she brought back with her. Xena leaned up on an elbow and stretched her body out, causing Gabrielle to moan at the loss of heat and contact. Amarice looked up and saw Xena watching her. “I got breakfast.”
“I see that.” Xena said quietly as she watched Gabrielle stir in their bedroll. The bard turned over so she was facing Xena and pulled Xena back down to the ground.
“Sleep.” The bard mumbled into her neck as she lightly kissed the warm skin.
Xena glanced up and saw Amarice avert her eyes and blush. Screw it, I don't care what she thinks. I'm still a bad ass warrior. Xena put her arm around Gabrielle and kissed her on the forehead. They lay there for a few minutes before Xena decided to get moving. “Hey let's go for a walk.” She said to Gabrielle, who had fallen back into a light sleep.
Gabrielle looked up at Xena, with only one eye open and her lip pouted out. “I want to sleep.”
Xena pulled the covers off both of them and stood up. “Come on, up. Let's go for a walk and get the blood flowing. We have a long day of traveling ahead of us to get to the coast.”
Gabrielle stretched out her body then stood up slowly. “Fine.” She looked over at the Amazon that was cooking breakfast. “Morning Amarice.”
“Morning. Breakfast should be ready when you get back.” She smiled at the couple then looked back to the roasting rabbit.
Xena took Gabrielle's hand and they walked about a half a mile to a cold stream. The walk was quiet. Gabrielle lost in her thoughts about their last couple days. She missed Ephiny greatly and wished that she didn't have to say goodbye. Xena noticed her melancholy mood and decided to ask about it. “Gab, you want to tell me what's on your mind?”
She sighed and looked at her partner. “I wish I could have prevented Ephiny from being killed. I feel like I've failed my nation.” I know I did.
“You didn't fail anyone. She was Regent leading the Amazons into battle to protect their lands and people. She didn't want anyone else to be taken as slaves.” Xena squeezed her hand to reassure her.
“I know all that.” she replied quietly. For a moment there was silence then Gabrielle spoke up again, “Xe, do you think that the Amazon's think I'm a joke because I won't fight? They probably think I'm pathetic.”
Oh boy, what do I say to that? The answer is probably yes, they think that because all they know is fighting and war. I can't say that though, it will crush her. “Gabby, they just don't understand it. All they know the way of the warrior. It's like second nature to them.”
“I guess it doesn't matter anyway, Chilapa is Queen now.” Gabrielle's voice sounded sad.
Xena stopped and pulled Gabrielle into a hug. “You are and were a great Queen to them, honey. I know you don't believe that, but you are. It takes courage and strength to do things a different way than they've been done forever. I look up to you for that.”
“Seriously?” The bard's eyebrows shot up, crinkling her forehead. Xena nodded her head yes. “You know, Xena. I can't explain to you how much I appreciate everything you've done for me. You are my biggest supporter.”
Xena looks around them then back at Gabrielle, “Who me?”
Gabrielle giggles and replies, “Yes you!” Gabrielle laid her head on Xena's chest. After a moment of silence, Gabrielle sighed. “I had a dream last night that we died.” The bard's voice cracked on the last word as she inhaled a deep breath.
Xena pulled away from Gabrielle slightly so she could look her in the eyes. “Go on…”
“It was so real, Xena. It was us being crucified, just like your vision. But, I am trying to stay positive that because I think we can avoid it.” Gabrielle's voice faltered slightly, as if she was unsure.
“But?” Xena questioned, concern painting her features.
“I don't know. When I woke up something really hit me hard…it was, well…profound.”
“What's that?” Xena asked softly.
“Xena, I want you to know that I don't regret any part of my life with you. If I die, I will die happy and complete. We've been through some really hard times, but I would not take of them back.” Gabrielle tilter her head up and kissed Xena on the chin. “Also, I don't blame you for anything bad that has happened to us. I know you blame yourself, but I don't blame you.”
Xena leaned down slightly and brushed her lips lightly against the bard's. “I love you, Gabrielle. You are the best thing to ever happen to me.” She gazed into green eyes for a moment, then pressed her lips harder into her partners softness. “Now, are you ready to go back to camp?”
Gabrielle nodded her head as they headed back to eat breakfast. “Hey, do you think we could head to Athens? I heard rumors that Eli is there. I would really like to see him.”
Xena smiled, “Yeah, that sounds good to me.”
Beginning of Episode 89:
In hell, a man yells "I wanna die! Please! Ple-e-e-ease! I wanna die!"
Callisto is crouched down on the ground with a sword. Gabrielle appears before her, "Who's suffering now, Callisto?” Callisto charges the bard pulls draws her sword back to strike. Gabrielle points to her throat and laughs as her form disappears.
Callisto yells, "No-o-o-o-o-o! Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h!"
Suddenly Xena's form appears across the cavern, "And you thought you were getting oblivion. Well, this place makes Tartarus look like a day at the beach. How long ya in for? Eternity? That's gotta smart.” Xena makes a face as Callisto's sword slices through her ghostly form, then she laughs as she disappears.
Pillars of Faith
Disclaimer: See the main story disclaimer, it applies
Content Warning: See the main story warning, it applies
Goal: See the main story goal, it applies
End of Episode 89 (S4,E21):
Caesar is dead.
Xena and Gabrielle have been crucified. Xena's spirit leaves her body behind. She floats toward Gabrielle and reaches her hands out to cup the bard's cheeks. She softly speaks, "Gabrielle. Gabrielle." Gabrielle's spirit leaves her body and she smiles upon seeing Xena.
“Xena, where are we?” Gabrielle asks as they both look around them. One moment they were above their crosses, the next they were sitting on the top of a red pillar of rock.
Xena looks around curiously and shakes her head. “I'm not sure. Some sort of afterlife.”
“It's not the Elysian Fields, or Hades.” Gabrielle remarks as she slowly turns in a repeating circle.
Xena walks up to her and stops her from turning, “It's neither. I've been to both; this is nothing like them.” She leans forward and kisses the bard on the lips. “I'm just glad I'm here with you.”
Gabrielle smiles at her and then moves out of their embrace to sit down on top of the pillar. She pats the rock next to her and watches Xena sit down. They wait for something, anything to happen. After what seems like both minutes and days, they finally see something appear in the sky above them.
AN: this would now connect to Episode 91, skipping 90 altogether.
Beginning of Episode 90:
Flash forward episode that I don't care to repeat. Something about Xena reincarnated.
Disclaimer: See the main story disclaimer, it applies
Content Warning: See the main story warning, it applies
Goal: See the main story goal, it applies
End of Episode 90 (S4,E22):
Flash forward episode that I don't care to repeat. Something about Xena reincarnated.
Flashback to the time of Cecrops ship…
Gabrielle is on Cecrops' ship, while Xena is trying to get away from pirates. The warrior jumps off a tree branch and aims for the ship. She is flipping through the air, about ten feet into the 300 foot jump. She thinks to herself, oh crap did I remember to put the fire out?
“Yaiiiahhiii ha ha” she laughs as she is sailing through the air. Dammit I took off on the wrong foot!
“Yaiiiahhiii!” How am I going to land right? Did I oil my leathers this morning?
“Aiyayayaya!” I hope my sword is sharp enough for these bastards. She lets out another hoot and laugh.
Gabrielle looks so good naked. Come on Xena, focus! Gotta land right. Oh I know, I'll just land on this rope here!
Xena lands on the rope, on the ship, perfectly to rescue her damsel in distress.
Beginning of Episode 91:
Joxer is walking along a cold pathway in the snow. Suddenly a woman lets out a battle cry and kicks him down to the ground. The woman is Amarice and she pulls a sword on him, "Move and you die, Roman!"
Joxer is on the ground wincing in pain, "I'm not a Roman."
She looks at him with disgust, "Yeah, I guess you're not."
He wipes his mouth, "You an Amazon?" he stands up next to her.
She responds, "Yeah."
"Then you know Xena and Gabrielle." His voice is hopeful for information.
The young Amazon gets defensive, "Who wants to know?"
"I'm their best friend. My name's Joxer.” He takes a breath, “I've been having nightmares that they're in some kind of trouble, so I thought I'd better see if they needed my help."She replies sadly, "They're not in trouble, anymore."
TO BE CONTINUED IN: XWP Post Episodes Series - Season 5
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