Journey of Love and Life Pt 21
Two days later Zeus seemed nowhere closer to finding them than he had a few days ago. His frustration was plain to see by any of the gods that had chosen to take his side. He regularly threw things at his proxidicae and half his temple had been destroyed by stray thunderbolts as he’d vented his anger at their incompetence. How two human women had managed to not only avoid his searches but gotten his wife to turn her back on him, he didn’t know but he did know that when he found them he would make them and his wife pay for the anger and frustration they had caused him.
A hesitant proxidicae approached him and cowered at the raised hand of his master indicating he was likely to throw a thunderbolt directly at him.
“This had better be good news” Zeus said menacingly, his hand still trained on the proxidicae waiting to strike if the news were bad.
“We’ve found them sir, they are locked up in Hera’s castle, we have proxidicae fighting their defences as we speak, they have a lot of Gods with them but we are confident we should be able to breach the castle’s defences in a matter of candlemarks” The proxidicae told Zeus happy at least that his life wasn’t going to be taken by this news. Finally they’d had good news to deliver to their lord.
“Finally, victory is almost at hand!” Zeus exclaimed triumphantly and stalked off to sharpen his weapons, the battle ahead would be hard but he knew he would prevail, he was the King of the Gods and Kings of Gods do not fail.
“Gods Gabrielle can’t you do anything right!! I wanted warm oatmeal not bread for my breakfast!!” Xena exclaimed annoyed, knowing she was venting her anger at her bard for no reason but staying in the one place when she was so big was driving her to distraction as were the niggling little practise contractions she kept experiencing, all of this turning Xena into a very frustrated and annoyed warrior princess.
“But- never mind” Gabrielle said tears almost welling in her eyes. She was sure xena had asked for oatmeal, but then Xena’s mind seemed to change at least five times a day these days. Her lover was getting increasingly uncomfortable and having not had a change of scenery in the last few days had to be driving her crazy.
“Gabrielle, I’m sorry I don’t know what’s going on with me, I keep losing my temper so easily and my back is killing me” Xena said as she grimaced again as another practise contraction gripped her.
“I can tell you what’s going on my child” Hera said, surprised that Xena didn’t recognise the first signs of labour. She has been through a lot lately but still she is a very gifted healer she should be able to recognise that she is going into labour, unless it doesn’t work that way with human women, maybe they can’t recognise the signs when it is happening to them.
“You’re in labour, very early stages but nether less your time has come my child, the baby has decided now is the time to make it’s entry into the world” Hera told Xena seeing disbelief on the warrior’s face. She was the Goddess of childbirth and a little buzz in the air told her exactly what she needed to know. She was immensely pleased that today would be the day the child arrived, Zeus knew of their location and his forces were already fighting their way through the castle, it would only be a matter of candlemarks before they breached all of their defences and Zeus would be lead straight to them. The only problem they faced was how long Xena would be in labour for. If it was a long labour they may come into difficulty.
“I think I’d know if I was in labour-oh!” Xena said as a stronger contraction gripped her and the pain that had been coming and going in her back radiated to her stomach. She felt water gushing between her legs and knew her waters had broken. She looked up at Gabrielle, fear, joy and determination mixed up on the warrior’s face.
“It’s okay sweetheart, it’s all going to be okay” Gabrielle said as she helped Xena up from her spot on the furs. She felt fear herself knowing Zeus was close and knowing that Xena’s labour hadn’t come on suddenly. She herself had been wondering if Xena was in labour when Xena had been so cranky with her. She’d seen her lover rubbing her back quite a lot and noticed the light sheen of sweat that had been developing on her lover’s forehead. She led Xena to the bathroom so her lover could clean herself up and waited, not far out of reach should Xena need her.
The next contraction came a few candledrops later, the contractions not too painful at the moment, and Xena knew the labour wasn’t going to be a quick one. Her heart sank as she realised there was every chance the proxidicae would breach Hera’s defences before the baby was born.
“Don’t worry Xena we will do everything possible to keep Zeus away from you while you have the baby” Aphrodite told Xena, knowing it was going to be impossible for Xena to fight Zeus while heavily in labour. The best thing they could do right now was get Xena into the most protected room they could and pray that the baby would be born before Zeus could find her.
“We are going to take you to the highest room in the castle, the room will be heavily fortified and you will have as many gods and goddesses as we can muster protecting the room. We will protect you with our lives Xena, this baby has to be born and none of us will rest until she is” Hera told Xena seeing the fear in her eyes and vowing that she herself would fight Zeus if necessary to hold him off. She took both Gabrielle and Xena into her arms and transported them to the room. Xena watched in disbelief as a dozen God’s and Goddesses stood outside weapons drawn ready to fight in her defence.
“Thankyou, all of you for laying down your lives so that my child may live” Xena said, tears welling in her eyes as she thought of their sacrifices. She had never liked the Olympian Gods, but she had gained a new respect for the Gods standing outside her room on this day, knowing each and every one of them would lay down their life to protect her child.
“Let’s go Xena” Gabrielle said watching as Xena experienced another contraction, this one a little stronger than the last, she hoped desperately that the contractions would start coming quicker and stronger, that the baby would be born before Zeus reached them. She laid Xena down on the bed that was waiting for them and stroked her lover’s forehead, seeing all Xena was feeling in those beautiful blue orbs.
“It’s going to be okay sweetheart, the baby will come and Zeus won’t be able to hurt her, I just know we’ll be okay” Gabrielle said, feeling worry as she began to hear battle sounds coming from outside the castle. She went and grabbed some hot water and some cloths ready to wrap the baby in when she came. Xena looked so beautiful it was hard to believe that this would be the day their child was born. She watched as Xena gripped the bed sheets, another contraction, this one much stronger than the last and admired her lover’s courage as she didn’t utter a sound at the pain she must be experiencing.
“That one was a little stronger” Xena said struggling to slow down her breathing as her fear began to rise at the sounds of the battle around them. Oh my beautiful child, why must you be born into this, why can’t I have you somewhere peaceful where you deserve to be born, I can feel you are a strong child, but you are a child of peace, why must you be born into battle?
“Are you okay baby? I know that a million things must be going through your head at the moment” Gabrielle asked starting to rub Xena’s back smiling as the warrior leaned into the contact and decided that she would try and make her warrior feel as good as she could until the baby was ready to come. She knew it would be hard to see her lover in pain, but she knew that in order for the baby to arrive safely Xena needed to go through some pain. She knew it wouldn’t be easy to distract her lover from the sounds of the battle raging outside and keep her focused on the battle that was going on in her body but she knew she would do her best to keep Xena from thinking about what was happening outside and keep her focused on this moment, the moment their child came into the world.
“All I want to think about right now is the fact that in a few short hours our child will be here and she will be safe from Zeus” Xena told Gabrielle taking her into a kiss that made them both forget that Xena was in labour and the battle outside.
“Don’t you think you’re a little too pregnant to be having sex right now?” Aphrodite asked laughing at the looks of outrage on both Xena and Gabrielle.
“What?? Hera asked me to come and check on you both and let you know that Zeus was inside the castle but that she had caste a no magic spell so his powers are useless in here, so he has to reach you the old fashioned way, she said you should still have a few candlemarks before he can get up here and then he will have to fight all of us before he can get to you” Aphrodite told them hoping the news would make them feel a bit better. She watched in sympathy as Xena cried out at a new contraction. This one was much stronger and was actually painful, so much so it had caught her off guard. She gripped Gabrielle’s hand joy mixed with pain in her eyes that the labour was progressing quickly.
“Okay leave us then I don’t want us to be disturbed again, it looks like this labour isn’t going to be as long as we thought, each contraction seems to be stronger, I want it to be just me and Xena bringing the baby into the world, she deserves at least that, can you please leave our weapons by the door just in case though” Gabrielle asked, shocked at seeing her stoic lover display pain in front of Aphrodite and knew that the contraction Xena had just experienced must have been painful.
“As you wish, good luck girls” Aphrodite said as she left their presence, worried about the warrior princess, and how she would cope with this labour. She was also worried about the little bard who seemed to be coping quite well with the stress at the moment but how long would it take the little bard to crack.
“The contractions are getting stronger and closer together, I’m going to check your dilation, see how things are going” Gabrielle said knowing this would be the hardest part of delivering the baby, to see how much pain her partner was in and to know that she was in control of keeping both the baby and Xena safe. She looked down at the place were their child would soon make her entrance into the world and saw that Xena was coming along nicely, she was almost 4 fingers dilated and she knew that soon she would see their baby’s head appearing from inside Xena.
“That’s good because this has got to be the suckiest part of having a baby – Oh Gods!” Xena cried out as another contraction came and she didn’t utter any more words, her world becoming about pain and contractions, each contraction stronger and more painful until she was screaming with the pain.
“That’s it sweetheart, keep breathing, almost over” Gabrielle soothed, dabbing Xena’s forehead with a cold cloth, trying to keep Xena as calm as she could but knowing she couldn’t do anything to keep Xena from the pain she was experiencing.
“I- I can feel the head Gabrielle, she’s coming” Xena cried out feeling an uncontrollable urge to push. At that moment the door to the room burst open and their Zeus stood before them, rage in his eyes, Xena screamed more from pain than fear as she bore down unable to stop herself from pushing. Gabrielle threw herself in front of Xena hoping the thunderbolt she knew was coming would hit her and not Xena. She closed her eyes in the certainty of her death and heard the fire erupt from Zeus’ hands but was completely surprised when she felt nothing. She quickly looked up to see Zeus staring in disbelief, with what looked like a bone protruding from his abdomen.
“Gabrielle, the baby is coming!!” Xena screamed in agony, the pain becoming unbearable as the baby began to rush forward, she bore down and cried as she felt more of the baby leaving her body. She looked up and saw Hercules standing in disbelief over the dying body of his father and felt whatever emotion she had left inside her go out to him. She hadn’t even known he was here, but in a lot of ways she knew how hard it would be for him to accept that he’d killed his father no matter how right the action may have been. All thoughts of Zeus and Hercules flew out of her mind as another contraction gripped her this one seemed to be more painful than all of the contractions she’d experienced.
“Gabrielle!” She called out as she pushed and pushed and then all of a sudden she felt empty and she knew the baby was born. She looked up to see Gabrielle holding up the most beautiful baby girl she’d ever seen and tears filled her eyes. Gabrielle handed the baby to her and she fell instantly in love. The baby was so tiny, blood still all over her body but to Xena she was the most perfect child she’d ever seen.
“Gabrielle, our daughter, she’s here” Xena exclaimed, tears falling down her face at the miracle they’d just witnessed. She reached for Gabrielle’s hand to bring her towards their little miracle and smiled at the tears in Gabrielle’s eyes.
“Oh Xena, she is so beautiful, so perfect, I can’t believe she’s finally here” Gabrielle cried and for the first time looked over to see Hercules standing over the now dead body of his father, she caught Hercules’ eyes and tried to send him good thoughts. She hoped to convey a thankyou in her eyes, she knew he had saved her lover and child and at a personal cost to himself.
“Hercules, I am so sorry my baby’s birth caused the death of your father, I wish we’d been able to convince him that she was the future and he didn’t need to die right now.” Xena said sadly and watched as he walked over to her and stroked the baby’s forehead. She saw the tears in his eyes and fresh tears formed in hers at the thought of his pain.
“She’s beautiful Xena, I am glad I was able to play my part in saving her, my father knew the risks, he knew if he didn’t stop her from being born that he would die, I wish it hadn’t had to be me that killed him but I am glad she’s here, I know you are going to be a wonderful mother” Hercules told Xena, and then walked out of the room, taking one last look at the spot where his father had taken his final breaths.
“Let’s get the baby cleaned up and you, and then we can start letting the survivors come in and see what they were fighting for, the precious miracle of life” Gabrielle said as she began sponging Xena down, it took a while but finally she got the bleeding to stop and she’d sewed up any of the cut’s the baby’s head had made. She took the baby from Xena and softly placed her in the basin she’d filled with warm water and watched as the baby squirmed in surprise at the feel of the water, she gently cleaned off all of the blood and parts of the sac that she’d been swimming around in for the almost nine moons she’d spent inside her mother.
“Do you know what you want to call our daughter?” Gabrielle asked, knowing that earlier on in Xena’s pregnancy she’d made the warrior promise her she would pick the name, it made sense that the woman that was giving birth to their child be the one to name her.
“I have, it came to me in a dream of Solan that I’d had not long ago, but I wasn’t sure the name would suit her, but now looking at her it’s perfect for her. Her name is Eve” Xena said simply the name rolling off her tongue as though it was meant for her beautiful baby girl.
“That’s beautiful Xena, it suits her, now are you ready, she’s ready to go back to her mamma” Gabrielle said as she wrapped the baby in the cloth they’d had for her and watched smiling as the baby squirmed, probably getting hungry and let out a small cry. It was the most beautiful sound she’d heard and although she knew in a few short months they would probably begin to dislike the sound, the fact that her daughter was alive and crying was music to her ears.
“I think she’s hungry” Gabrielle said as she handed the baby to Xena and watched as Xena held her, allowing the baby to root for her breast and then watched in awe as their child took sustenance from her mother for the first time. She couldn’t remember a time when Xena had looked more beautiful and knew that this memory would stick in her head for a very long time. She smiled as Xena beckoned to her and she took her place at her lover’s side, gently stroking their daughter’s head as she suckled on her mother greedily and smiled again when the suckling stopped and she had dropped off to sleep.
“Can we come in?” Aphrodite asked standing at the door taking in the scene. She’d never seen the two women as happy as they were at that moment and it warmed her heart. She had wanted to be one of the first Gods to see this beautiful scene, she knew that most of the Gods had died in their defence and both Xena and Gabrielle would be saddened by their losses, but she knew that this child’s birth was worth it.
“Of course, she just fell asleep” Xena said her eyes going straight back to her beautiful daughter. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the beauty of her. She couldn’t believe she was finally here, she’d been feeling her move for months, felt her restlessness in the last few seven days at how cramped she was in there and now that she was finally here she couldn’t be more happier. She looked over at the woman she loved more than her own life and knew she was feeling the same as she was.
“God’s she is a beauty, I can see her hairs going to be lighter than yours Xena but I bet she still has those baby blues” Aphrodite said, wishing she could keep the moment like this for a while, but knew that both Xena and Gabrielle would want to know the casualties they’d suffered.
“Where’s Hera?” Xena asked and saw the sadness in Aphrodite’s eyes and knew the Goddess had perished along with quite a few other’s from the fact that their weren’t people lined up outside their room waiting to see the baby.
“She’s gone, the only God’s that survived were me, Ares and Athena, Athena was hurt badly, I’m not sure if she will make it, she’s in the room next to yours, she told me to tell you she was happy the baby was born safely and that she was sorry she nearly failed you” Aphrodite said. Her heart was heavy from the loss of so many people she cared about, her husband, Atermis, Hera; the list was a long one.
“When Xena is stronger we will go see her, who knows maybe one of my new powers includes healing” Gabrielle said happy that Aphrodite had survived but saddened by the deaths of all the other Gods. She knew the Amazon’s would honour Atermis’ sacrifice and that she would write about all of their sacrifices in her scrolls.
“She is a beautiful child, and we were glad to fight for her” Athena said as she walked slowly into the room, she knew she was dying but she had to see Xena one final time, she had to tell her to cherish her child, to cherish the love she had with Gabrielle, to make the most of the time she had left on this earth.
“It’s okay Athena, I know what you want to tell me, and I will cherish them both for all time, I will make the most of my time here and give all of my love to the beautiful women in my life, my love and my child” Xena told Athena, sensing that the beautiful Goddess didn’t have much time left with them.
“Go rest, we are safe, you need not fight anymore” Xena told Athena and watched sadly as the Goddess walked out of the room knowing that would be the last time she would see Athena’s face. Her heart broke for the suffering of all the Gods who had fought to save her baby’s life but she knew that Eli’s God would honour them all and make sure they all never suffered again.
“That he will Xena, he will honour them all and the sacrifices they made” Eli said as he appeared in the room. When he had heard the child had been born he’d begged Abba to be able to see Xena, he had to know she was safe and well.
“She’s beautiful Xena, and so tiny, little Eve, you don’t at this moment realise how important you are to the world but one day you will, sleep beautiful child, your mother will be there when you awake” Eli said as he stroked the child’s tiny feet, poking out of her blanket.
“Why Eli? Why did you have to leave?” Xena asked almost angrily, she loved this man, as much as she’d ever loved any man and she couldn’t understand why he had taken on Ares. Why he had let Ares kill him. She’d wanted to share this moment with him, a moment of triumph for the God of Love and the moment of her child’s birth.
”It was time for me to join Abba, the people needed to see that the Gods were no longer the ruler’s of this earth, they needed to see that Ares, and the other Gods that would survive were not good for them, by making me a martyr Ares made sure my message would survive, I’m sorry Xena if I could have stayed I would” Eli told her hoping she would understand.
“I understand, go be with your God, we will be okay” Xena said, looking at the man she’d loved and understood why he had to leave, she looked at her wife and knew her place was with the woman she loved and the child they’d together brought into this world. She looked over to where Eli had been standing and saw he was gone. She felt the lingering light of his presence and knew he would always watch over her.
“Are you ready for some sleep my love, it’s been a big day and this little one will be awake in a few hours demanding food” Gabrielle said, smiling at her yawning partner. She helped settle the baby between them and wrapped her arms around them both.
“I love you and I love our child, thank you for having her, you were so brave” Gabrielle whispered to Xena, seeing the tears in Xena’s eyes and felt her own eyes well up with tears. They both looked down at their sleeping child and smiled at each other, neither able to believe she was finally here, alive and asleep in their arms. They grasped each other’s hands and fell asleep like that, bound together through their love and the love they felt for their child.
The end.Return to the Academy