In the hands of Gaia
Author: K.M.C.E

Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me, yeah? Celesta, as far as I know, is not a figure in Greek Mythology. In Greek Mythology, it is Thanatos that is Death, not Celesta. No misrepresentation of future scientific advances is intended. And of course, if you have problems dealing with homosexuals, this is not for you. The relationship depicted here is a loving one, something that every one should have.


She paused, taking a good, hard look around herself. Even though it had been so many years, ninety odd years if she were to be exact, the sight before her still managed to surprise her. Gone were the familiar sights of lush green grass with trees springing from its midst. All that was left now were building after building, with a huge dome over head, projecting a picture of what was once clear blue skies. The dome was to protect the humans from the deadly effects their actions had on the environment. In fact, it got so bad that most of the atmosphere was gone, the ozone catalysed by the various CFCs emitted by the human race through the years into oxygen, leaving them with no choice but to construct this gigantic dome that had filters to only allow the pure oxygen to enter their biosphere. Every night, when most of the population is asleep, 80% of the carbon dioxide they produced was sucked out of the dome and deposited outside.

Annika Conner, once known as Xena, the warrior princess in a previous lifetime, was sick and tired of this never-changing landscape. She wanted out, and having witnessed multitudes of killings eons ago, she was not in a hurry to try suicide. All she wanted was to step outside the dome, to look at the world.

Her friends and family were all gone. Cyrene had long passed over, as well as most of the Amazons. Even the gods were gone, either faded into obscurity, or killed by her chakram all those years ago. Only Gabrielle, dear sweet Gabrielle; her friend, confidante, and lover, was still alive. But even then, it took the blonde more energy than required to face each passing day. It hurt Annika to think that their immortality was a curse. It had been a last gift from one of their allies (sometime friend) amongst the gods, Aphrodite, before she herself, disappeared from their lives. It happened just after Japa, after the whole convoluted event with her head getting sliced off, entering the spirit realm to give peace to those forty thousand souls, and Gabrielle trying all that she could to bring her back. She had eventually found a saviour in Aphrodite, who had, after much research, managed to get Xena her physical body back.

Well, here I am now. Annika thought sarcastically, looking down at herself, clothed in the uniform gray of the bio suit. The bio suit regulated everything, from her bodily functions to her body temperature. It was invented sometime in the late 23rd century to protect the human race from destruction by their own hand. Since then, it had been a requirement for one to exit their houses. Even their houses had been modified in some way or another. Gone were the thermostats. Instead, their inbuilt computer determines the 'correct' temperature by a complex algorithm involving one's body temperature, the temperature outside, and lots of complex mathematical statements. Not that Annika had minded much when she first heard of the implementation of such a program. It sure makes living at home less of a hassle. However, over the years, she had discovered that she was uncomfortable in such a lifestyle. She longed for the wide open spaces of her past, the freedom to roam the fields and travel the lands of Greece and its neighbours, riding Argo, smelling the natural, sweet yet musky scent that permeated her mother's inn.

It had not made sense of her to continue living in the past when everything was moving forward, so she did, trying to push all the memories she had of her past to the back of her mind, trying to concentrate on the present. And for the first twenty two and a half of a century, she had succeeded, save for moments like the World Wars where she was free to remember the battles of her past and draw on those experiences, saving both herself and Gabrielle from fatal injuries more than once.

But whenever the going gets tough, she remembered, and she longed for the simplicity of the past, where all she had to be concerned about were the bounties on her head, their food and lodgings for the night, and Ares.

"Ares…" she breathed out, in a moment of clarity. She had wondered over the years about the god, wondering what happened to him after she last saw him at the C.H.A.K.R.A.M press conference. The god brought back memories, both good and bad, of her warlord days; and despite her current convictions, she knew that if she was ever given a chance to go back, she would. It was not about the powerful darkness that Ares managed to stir up in her whenever they meet. Instead, it was because of the easy existence she had with the God despite his constant attempts to get her back. Here, she could not even socialise with another without him or her thinking that she was a spy for the government.

With a soft sigh, Annika looked up at the false sky, noting with wryness the tiny close circuit cameras that stood out against the blue backdrop. No one knew if those worked, but what they do know is that the cameras were to keep track of all those that tried to leave the dome. While Annika had never tried, she knew where the exits are, and once upon a time, would have even tried knocking out the robotic guards that stood there.

The brunette tucked her hands into her bio suit's pockets, and begun the short walk home. If not for her innate recognition of where she lived, she would have missed the building long ago. All around here were uniform blocks of black. It was easy to lose one while walking from one building to the next of one did not know where he was going. With a small smirk, she thought of the days where she had no idea whatsoever as to where her home was, and had spent hours walking from building to building before her inner self alerted her to Gabrielle's presence.

Gabrielle… the thought of her soulmate brought sadness to her. Xena could tell that her lover was slowly weakening, even though she was an immortal too. It worried Xena how the blond had stopped eating, and for a bit, she thought that she was trying to starve herself. That was, before Gabrielle told her that she just could not summon the appetite to try consuming her usual amount of food.

Her soulmate had broached the subject of escaping more than once; but Xena, having got into more trouble than she cared to remember in the past twenty eight centuries of her life, was not inclined whatsoever to risk her peace for a moment of peace and the fresh smell of grass. However, she had been considering it lately, wondering if Gabrielle was right all those years that they should have gone quietly with Celesta instead of living on this Earth that had changed so much over the centuries.

Should I? She wondered, as she began the rather long trek up the flights of stairs to their apartment. If we get caught though, the ramifications can be severe.

Are you getting soft, Xena? The voice she had come to dub as Ares resonated in her mind. I can't believe it, the warrior princess, revered and feared through Rome and Greece, afraid of challenging a measly bunch of office workers, who most likely had not exercised in more than a decade.

I'm not getting soft! I'm just cautious. She protested weakly.

Then why are you hesitating. You know that Gabrielle cannot stay here for much longer without dying.

But is it right, subjecting her to a life of running once more? Xena rebutted, sighing in frustration.

No one knows we are out of the sphere except for the government. And you know that they'd never admit that someone breached their defences and got out.

I know, she snapped as she entered the apartment she shared with Gabrielle, kissing her lover gently. But I just don't know what to do.

"Hey babe," the blond said weakly, her green eyes meeting Xena's ice blue ones.

"'Rielle," Xena said softly, walking over to the sofa to sit beside the woman. "How are you feeling today?"

The said woman smiled, though it was rather pained. "Same old, same old, Xe."

Xena sighed quietly, fingering her long dark tresses nervously. "'Rielle, remember when you said you wanted to get out of here?"

The blond nodded, a spark of hope growing in her eyes. Xena observed her quietly, all the while wondering if she was doing the right thing. Gabrielle was so thin now; Xena could count the bones in her lover's ribs if she ever wanted to, and in Gabrielle, that was not good, not good at all. Spotting the look of hope in Gabrielle's eyes shattered all of Xena's uncertainties.

I will do this. She thought firmly, as her hand traced circles over Gabrielle's emaciated one.

Good choice. The voice she had come to dub her conscience said smugly.

"Let's do this."

There was a pregnant pause, before Gabrielle let out a soft laugh, flinging herself into Xena's arms.

"Thank you, Xe." The green eyes twinkling warmly into hers proved to be Xena's undoing.

"Mind you, it took me ages to come to this conclusion. I can't say that I'm perfectly fine with it, but whatever makes you happy, 'Rielle, I'll do it."

Her only response was a deep kiss, before they collapsed onto the sofa, making love for the first time in almost ten years.

They set off at 4, just before dawn 'broke', heading for the only exit they knew. Gabrielle's blond hair was covered with a dark scarf she managed to salvage from her belongings, and she carried a bag full of the clothes they would need. Xena though, bore the heavier load, hauling a large haversack full of equipment they thought they would need.

As quietly as they could, they knocked out the two guards, before keying the access code that Xena managed to steal off a former guard. To their relief, the door swung open, and they slipped into the long tunnel, careful to swing the door shut behind them. As soon as the click that indicated the locking of the door was heard, Gabrielle set off, Xena following behind.

They stepped out to broad sunlight, green fields overwhelming their vision. Outside, it was quiet, with only the soft sounds of birds chirping. With delight shining in their eyes, the duo held hands, stepped forward and let the sun hit their bare skin, taking in the long forgotten smells of fresh air. Xena looked up, smiling ever so slightly.

"We're home."

Laughing, they ran forward, hand in hand; into the lives they longed after for all too long.



No one inside knew what happened to Annika and Gabrielle Conner. But sometimes, there were reports of sightings of a small blond running with a tall brunette reflected in the glass of the domes. Two hundred years later, the rebels managed to over throw the government, removing the dome in the process. At times, the border guards could discern the shape of two riders, astride the horses which the rest of the population never managed to catch. They seemed to be laughing, but then again, everyone knew life outside was hard. There were to be no laughter, only pain and regret.

Hidden deep inside the natural forests they've come to call home, Xena and Gabrielle watched as the humans rebuilt their homes and lives, all the while smiling softly to themselves.

"Whatcha thinking of?" Startled blue eyes turned to face twinkling green ones, a small smile growing larger every second.

"Just you, me, and peace." Xena offered simply, before taking Gabrielle's hand, walking back to their small hut where she began to show Gabrielle what exactly she had been thinking about.



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