A Journey of Love & Life
She walked over to the spot, where she had once played with her brother Lyceus, tears still glistening in her eyes, knowing she was in no condition to be having a counsel of war with Athena. She felt rather than saw Athena appear and wished with all her heart to be anywhere else at that moment.
“Xena, are you alright?” Athena asked knowing the answer but she respected this mortal so much, she had to ask, she had always wanted her as her champion, but knew Xena didn’t respect the Gods the way most mortals did and given her dealings with her brother Ares, she couldn’t blame the woman.
“You know damn well how I am, I’ve just had what should have been a joyous discovery for me, turned into my worst nightmare, you knew didn’t you?” Xena asked, not really caring most of her thoughts were with Gabrielle, wondering how much she hated her, and would she ever forgive her.
“Yes I knew, but I wasn’t allowed to reveal it to you” Athena told Xena, knowing the pain this must have caused both her and Gabrielle, she was well aware of Xena’s feelings for Gabrielle and vice versa.
“What has Zeus got to do with me being pregnant, which God has decided to interfere with my life this time?” Xena asked growing impatient wishing Athena wasn’t a God so she could drive her sword into her chest. She took a deep breath trying to keep herself calm, and tried to be as objective as possible.
“Zeus has nothing to do with this baby nor do any of the other Gods, the one that gave you this child is the God known to your friend Eli” Athena told Xena, seeing the shock on her face, looking worriedly at the colour of her face, she was well aware of the fact that Xena had fainted twice today, and did not want to repeat that.
“Eli’s God made me pregnant? Why? I am really not mother material” Xena told Athena, not sure whether to feel good about this or bad. She still wasn’t sure how far a long she was but figured she’d have to be at least 2 moons gone to be experiencing morning nausea already, she didn’t feel any evil inside her, but with Gods you could never be sure.
“Yes Xena, this child is very special, Eli’s God chose you because you are so strong, you would protect this child with your life, and because of Solan” Athena told Xena, seeing her face soften at the mention of her son, knowing this more than anything would help her see that this child was good, not evil and that it was essential for her to have the baby.
“If he knows about Solan, then he’ll know that I couldn’t protect him even though I tried with everything I had to protect him, couldn’t he have just asked me?” Xena asked feeling her anger fade as she thought of her son, and her failing of him, she wasn’t sure if she could do this, become a mother again and risk losing all that again.
“Xena every mother faces losing their child one day, whether its to their child’s death or their own death, Solan doesn’t blame you for his death and you shouldn’t either, you fought bravely, but you were up against something you had no control over, Xena please just love this child, be a mother, Gabrielle will see that you did not betray her, she has to because Eli’s God really wants her to help you raise this child” Athena told her, hoping that would help her see that this was something she couldn’t change, it was done, she was pregnant, and the child she was carrying would fulfil its destiny.
“ This complicates things, I can’t fight a war pregnant, especially in my hometown, my mother would kill me” Xena told Athena, silently accepting her role in this child’s life, but feeling so tired and overwhelmed that she wanted this meeting with Athena finished so she could just sleep.
“ We don’t need you to fight, my men can do that, what I need from you is your strategic mind, I still want you to command my army, you did such a good job of it when you fought the Horde, but you will not fight at all, I can’t risk you losing this baby Xena, you need to take it easy, rest when you can, you are in for a rough time during these first few months, let others take care of you” Athena advised her, seeing how tired and pale Xena looked knowing she had to keep the rest of this short and sweet, she would protect her at all costs if need be, so important was this child the warrior was carrying.
“I’ll be fine, now that my mother knows I am pregnant she wont let me refuse help from her, I only hope that Gabrielle will want to help me too” Xena told Athena, irritated by the tears forming in her eyes at the thought of not having Gabrielle with her through this.
“Gabrielle loves you Xena, she will be here, now back to business, the man you are up against is Lothar of Corinth, he is under my brothers favour, so he will be difficult to defeat, there is something behind his belief in Ares, and his desire to wage war, you need to find out what that is, it could be his undoing and might stop us from having to fight at all” Athena informed Xena, watching her face go from tearful to the unreadable mask she always wore when she had her strategists cap on.
“ I haven’t heard of this Lothar but he made a big mistake declaring war on my home town, I know that you are mainly helping me to stop Athens from falling to this Lothar, but thank you anyway, it means a great deal to me that you are behind us” Xena told Athena, feeling the tiredness begin to rush up on her again knowing that if she didn’t cut this short and get into a bed she was going to faint for the third time today and she was afraid that would harm her and the baby.
“Ah Athena would it be possible for you to-” Xena started unsteadily as a wave of nausea rode over her and she knew if she didn’t get to her mothers inn soon her fears about fainting again were going to be realised. She was so engrossed in trying not to throw up again she didn’t notice the setting change until she heard Gabrielle’s voice, she looked around to see they were in their room in her mothers inn and sent a silent thankyou to Athena for knowing her needs.
“Gods Xena you look terrible come and lay down please before you fall down” Gabrielle told Xena forgetting their problems for a moment when she had seen how pale her partner looked and knew no matter what was going on between them at the moment she wasn’t going to let that come before Xena’s health.
“Thanks, I never felt this bad with Solan, I’m so tired I feel like I could sleep for weeks” Xena admitted sheepishly wanting desperately to be able to stay awake so they could talk, she could see the distance between them and it was tearing at her heart to feel that.
“Xena, if you feel that way you should sleep, its not good for the baby for you to deprive yourself of something you need, I know we need to talk about things but your health takes top priority now, I’m not going anywhere, I’ll be right here when you wake up” Gabrielle told Xena wanting to tell her that they were fine so that her stubborn warrior princess would close those beautiful baby blues and sleep, she knew there were a lot of issues there for both of them, this pregnancy had come at the worst time for them but she was determined she wasn’t going to lose the woman she loves to it.
“But-”Xena began but was cut off by a warning look from Gabrielle as she closed the distance between them and slowly lead Xena to the bed and they climbed in together. Gabrielle began to lightly massage Xena’s head knowing her gentle touch would soon lull the warrior into hopefully a deep sleep.
“It’s okay we have plenty of time to talk, you sleep now, it will all be okay” Gabrielle told Xena gently smiling as she heard Xena’s breathing deepen, glad it had taken a matter of seconds for the warrior to succumb to sleep. She wanted nothing more than to hold Xena while she slept, knowing at least some of her reserve would be stripped away by the safe feeling she always felt when she was surrounded by Xena’s safe, strong body, but she knew that she couldn’t give in to that urge just yet, she had some serious thinking to do so she could give Xena honest answers to the questions she had seen in Xena’s eyes when she’d appeared in their room. So she sat in deep thought for what felt like hours her gaze drifting to Xena’s peaceful face every now and again, smiling at how soft Xena’s features became in sleep, and with every glance she felt her love for the warrior princess cancel out any reserves she had about this baby and its parentage.
She was hurt that I didn’t trust her straight away, Gods I wanted to so badly but something stopped me, I guess I really have moved beyond trusting her implicitly, just when did that happen? Is it that getting pregnant involved physical activities she was sure her partner hadn’t engaged in for quite some time and the thought that she might be wrong on that point kept her from trusting Xena. She knew Xena would have to admit that this was a very strange situation, women just didn’t get pregnant on their own and the fact that she couldn’t explain it made it harder for her to believe her, but now looking at that beautiful face she remembered all that they’d been through and that she had willingly killed to save this woman, how could she not have faith in this woman? It had to be the Gods! They were constantly meddling in their lives, she was suddenly sure one of them was involved in this. She knew the one thing that hade made her want to believe Xena without a doubt was that Xena had been as shocked about this as she was, that much she was certain of, that in itself helped her with her resolve to believe Xena hadn’t lied to her. She finally decided to put her trust in the woman she loves and have faith in her, she was certain that Xena loved her and would never lie to her other than to protect her.
Once Gabrielle had made her decision she decided to just lay there and watch Xena sleep, she wanted desperately for Xena to wake so she could apologise to her and tell her that she believed her, but she knew the longer Xena slept the better, so she sat there watching Xena’s beautifully peaceful face, patiently waiting to see those baby blues flutter open. When Xena did finally open her eyes Gabrielle had fallen asleep sitting there while waiting for Xena to wake up. Xena looked at her and smiled at how beautiful Gabrielle always looked when she was asleep. As she slowly came into consciousness she groaned as her body reminded her that she was pregnant, and the nausea began to overcome her again, she knew it wouldn’t be long before she couldn’t keep it down so she got up and stumbled over to the wash basin, her mother kept put in every guests room. The nausea finally made its presence felt and she began to retch, but since she hadn’t eaten anything it was a dry retching, that made her head pound with its intensity, she felt her knees buckle as it continued and felt warm arms envelope her holding her up. When the nausea finally subsided she collapsed into those arms exhausted, unable to move, her strength at the lowest she’d ever known it to be. She closed her eyes, and started as she felt soft lips press into her head. Opening her eyes she looked up at Gabrielle, seeing the love that they shared clearly on the bards face.
“Gabrielle I-” Xena said as she was silenced by a gentle kiss on her lips from the beautiful woman who was holding her. She felt her beautiful soft fingers trace the side of her cheek and wondered just when her luck was going to run out with this woman, all of her actions were telling Xena that she had forgiven her and believed her, and Xena felt all of the stress of the last few days leave her, making her feel lighter than she could have believed possible.
“Xena, I’m sorry, after all that we’ve been through, after all that you’ve done for me, sacrificed for me, you think I would have an easier time trusting you huh?” She laughed quietly, knowing Xena would never blame her for her insecurity, and she knew that was what had made her not trust Xena. “I had finally accepted that I was in love with you and that I wanted to be with you and this happened, I know it’s no excuse for not trusting you and believe me that was my first instinct, but I felt all my insecurities about your love for me come out then and I was almost powerless to stop myself from hurting you, and I know I did” Gabrielle told Xena tears trickling down her face as she put herself in the place of her partner for the first time and knew how hurt she would have been if Xena had not trusted her.
“Gabrielle, you are the most important thing in all the world to me, all I care about is your happiness, I’ve loved you for so long, I could never have betrayed my love for you by being with anyone else, but the thing I care about most is that your first instinct was to trust me, that makes it hurt less, I hate to think that you don’t think you can trust me to tell you the truth always” Xena said sadly feeling tears run down her face, and feeling her heart well with love for this beautiful woman who she planned on living the rest of her life with.
“Xena that’s what I love about you the most, you are always willing to forgive and see the situation from the other persons point of view, it was only when I looked at things from your point of view that I saw the big picture, coming from where you’ve come from in your life its an impressive skill, one of your many” Gabrielle told Xena wanting her to not only see that things were ok but to here the words that she knew would reassure her partner that they were going to be fine. “Xena I love you, I always will, you are my soul mate and I hope someday soon you will be my lover, I’m so in love with you it hurts to not be able to show you how much, and if you’ll have me I’d like to raise this baby with you, our baby” Gabrielle told Xena, seeing the tears running down the warrior’s face at her words, and she leaned in and kissed her beautiful warrior, a kiss filled with love and admiration, and felt the tears flow harder from Xena as every dream she had was fulfilled in that moment.
“I love you too, and I’ve been in love with you so long I never thought you would feel the same way about me, I want nothing more than to raise this baby with you, it is our baby, I just wish we weren’t learning about our love while I’m pregnant, all I want to do is make love to you, but I’ve been so sick I’ve hardly got the energy to get up” Xena told Gabrielle knowing that they had plenty of time for that but wanting her to know that this pregnancy was going to present a problem at time for them, especially when she felt as sick as this.
“I have all that I want right now sweetheart, I have you in my heart and I know I’m in your heart and I’m sure we can wait to express that love physically until you are feeling better, speaking of which, do you want to go to see Ryane and try and get some herbs for your morning sickness?” Gabrielle asked seeing the paleness of Xena’s face and the clear exhaustion in those beautiful blue eyes, wishing they weren’t in the middle of a war, this was the worst time for Xena to be this sick, and she knew the sickness was only going to get worse.
“Yeah that would be a good idea, I need to be able to eat something I feel kinda dizzy” Xena said as she struggled to get up almost fainting again as the dizziness overwhelmed her. She fell into Gabrielle’s arms and they struggled to get her onto the bed where she sank into the pillows gratefully feeling her eyes close involuntarily as the exhaustion she felt took its toll.
“How bout I go see Ryane get you some herbs and you sleep, we need to take good care of you and the baby now, I’ll go see mum too and let her know that you are okay and see if I can rustle us up something to eat, I love you Xena” She told the beautiful woman who merely nodded before sleep claimed her unable to fight the exhaustion any more.
Gabrielle slowly walked out of the room, feeling better and brighter about the future than she had ever felt possible, as she started to think about the baby and what it would mean to them, she had a feeling Xena knew something about her pregnancy that she wasn’t telling her but also knew that she was too exhausted to think straight, she hoped this morning sickness wouldn’t last too long, she hated seeing Xena so vulnerable, it always made her think of the times she had almost lost Xena to death. She quickly walked over to the healer’s cabin, smiling at the woman as she asked for some herbs for Xena, taking in the sigh of relief from the healer as she went about getting the herbs, but she didn’t feel like getting into the whole story with her so she just quietly told her that things had worked out and that they were looking forward to being parents. As she said that she realised that for the first time since Xena had found out about the baby, that she was truly happy about her pregnancy and excited about its arrival. After she had gotten the herbs she wanted she walked back to Cyrene’s inn, to get something that she thought Xena would be able to stomach knowing Xena’s mother would know what would be best for Xena.
“Hello Cyrene” Gabrielle said as she spotted the woman, happy to see that she smiled back at her and motioned her to a seat.
“How is she?” Cyrene asked hoping for Xena’s sake that she was feeling better, pregnancy could be rough on women and she hoped that her instincts that Xena was in for a rough time were very much off the dinar.
“Worse I’m afraid, I just went to see Ryane, for some herbs I hope will help, but she is as weak as a kitten, and I know she hates being sick, but she’s asleep now, lets hope she sleeps for a few hours” Gabrielle told Cyrene knowing the woman wanted to know if they had worked things out so she decided to put her mind at ease. “We are fine mum, I should have believed her, for someone that loves her I didn’t do a great job of showing that, I’m just glad she forgave me so we can get down to raising our child together” Gabrielle said knowing she was being very subtle with Cyrene, but she didn’t know if Cyrene was against relationships like theirs.
“So you finally told her you were in love with her? I assume she came clean to you too otherwise you wouldn’t be standing there with that goofy grin telling me you were going to help raise my grandchild with my daughter” Cyrene laughed, happy to see Gabrielle join in too, she was glad for them both but most importantly glad for her daughter, it would have broke her heart if Gabrielle had left her. Hearing footsteps on the stairs she shook her head as Xena shakily walked down the stairs.
“Xena what are you doing up, you should be sleeping, let me get you back in to-” Gabrielle said but was silenced by soft lips capturing hers gently. Xena slumped into a chair gratefully, silently willing the nausea she was feeling to stay down.
“I was until I got woken by nausea again, barely made it to the basin, and then I figured I was probably throwing up so much because I haven’t eaten so I thought I’d come down see if you were here and have some chicken broth, hopefully that will calm my churning stomach” Xena explained, feeling so drained even talking was hard.
“I’ll go get you some sweetheart but I don’t want to see you move from that spot or Gabrielle and I will carry you upstairs again.” Cyrene warned startled by the pallor of her daughter’s beautiful face, and by the obvious exhaustion that settled over her features.
“I give mum, I don’t even know how I got down those stairs, I’ve never felt this wiped before” Xena told them both looking at their startled faces at this admission. She knew it wasn’t like her to admit how bad she was feeling, but the more they knew the more they could help and she had someone else to think about now, unconsciously her hand moved to her abdomen, and she gently stroked the area where their child grew, a single tear trailing down her face as she thought of the second chance she was being given.
“You okay sweetheart?” Gabrielle asked worriedly, she’d never seen so much emotion come out of her strong warriors face as she had the last few days. Once again she was struck by how much Xena was changing, and the love she obviously felt for the baby already even though its presence had already caused them problems, the hand gently stroking the area that their child grew was almost too much for her to bear and she realised another reason why she had been upset at Xena’s pregnancy. It was because of Solan, she still felt guilty over her death and she had promised herself that once she and Xena were more settled again together that she would do what she could to convince Xena to have a baby, so she could almost give back what she had taken from Xena and now some god had taken that from her.
“Yeah, I know its silly but I love the baby already, I just want to be a good mum this time, I don’t know what I’d do if I lost this child too” Xena told Gabrielle, seeing the tears in her partners eyes wishing she could take away Gabrielle’s guilt from her over Solan’s death. Hope had never loved Gabrielle, she just wanted to use her to get to Xena, and Gabrielle in getting caught up with that had taught her a lesson that had almost destroyed them both. She wished she could see that Hope had taken Solan, that she had no blame in that, her only crime had been that she loved Hope and for that Xena couldn’t be angry with her.
“Sweetheart I wish you could forgive yourself over Solan, I don’t blame you for his death I didn’t then and I never will, I just hurt so much I took it out on the closest thing to me, I know now that I did everything I could have done to keep him safe, this was out of our hands, please believe that” Xena told Gabrielle taking her into a gentle hug, hoping to show her just how much she believed that. She took in the smell of Gabrielle’s hair and slowly bent to kiss it, slowly moving to her face to kiss those beautiful lips and show the woman she loved with all of her soul, heart and body that she was not to blame for her son’s death. As their lips touched she could feel their pain lessen and their love take over, and when they stopped for a breath Xena looked deep into Gabrielle’s eyes trailing her hand down her cheek savouring the beautiful face in front of her.
“Do you think I could trust so completely someone who had intentionally put my son in danger?” Xena asked simply begging Gabrielle to not deny her logic. “Do you think I could fall, truly, madly, deeply in love with someone who had played an intentional role in his death, sweetheart you were just along for the ride, Hope used you, she used your love for her to try to drive you from me, knowing that would be all it would take to destroy my soul, you are my life Gabrielle and without you I couldn’t bear living, I felt that way then and I still feel that way now, you are my source Gabrielle, my love, my life” Xena told Gabrielle leaning in to capture those beautiful lips again, savouring the moment of love building between them.
“Xena, you just make so much sense that I have to believe you, I love you too, and I want to build a life with you, so we can raise our child and let our love for each other grow, it feels so right to kiss you and hold you, I only wish I hadn’t taken so long to tell you how I felt, I was missing out on some pretty good stuff, you know even as sick as you are, you are still a hell of a good kisser” Gabrielle laughed wanting to inject a little humour into things, she could see that Xena’s energy was fading fast and hoped that Cyrene wouldn’t be much longer with the soup.
“Ok one bowl of chicken broth for you, and some bread, you need to eat more than broth sweetheart” Cyrene told Xena as she walked in with a tray with the soup and bread on it, and almost wished she hadn’t, as soon as Xena smelled the soup her face paled even more and turned a little green. Getting up with more energy than she thought Xena was capable of she watched amazed as Xena raced to the rest rooms.
“Poor thing she is having a rough time of it, I think its time we got some of those herbs into her, she needs to eat something, maybe if we put a peg on her nose so she cant smell?” Cyrene asked seeing Gabrielle choke down a laugh.
“Gods I never realised her super sense of smell would be this bad for her, I cant imagine she will be happy walking around with a peg permanently attached to her nose but we will have to do something, she is so weak, its scary” Gabrielle told Cyrene her earlier laugh stilled by her fear that this was going to be too much for Xena.
“This wont last forever honey, just the next month or so, and with these herbs she should feel a bit better, the best thing we can do is try as hard as we can to get her to eat, she and the baby need food, and lots of sleep, although with trying to stop this war I don’t know how we are going to do on the sleep part but Gabrielle we have to try very hard to take care of her she wont always be happy with it, but I know how important it is to her that this child is born healthy even if she hasn’t told me yet” Cyrene told Gabrielle fearing for her daughter, and the path they were on at the moment.
“I will mum, I promise I will, now that we’ve gotten past the shock of Xena being pregnant, I’m really looking forward to having this baby, I can’t wait to see her eight moons gone and struggling to get her boots on, she is so beautiful now, but I’m sure pregnancy will make her just that much more beautiful, I love her so much mum” Gabrielle told Cyrene, as a big smile broke out on her face signalling that Xena had just walked back in to the room. Gabrielle immediately got up and helped her to a seat seeing how shaky Xena was, and vowed that as soon as they got some tea into her she was going to bed for the rest of the night.