The Return Of Unity

Part 7

They awoke feeling refreshed and very happy and spent the morning affirming their love to each other. When they finally came down for breakfast they ignored the slight snigger from Lila and just basked in their love. Neither of them had ever felt as happy as they did at that moment and it seemed like nothing could go wrong at that moment. They both knew eventually something would happen to break the perfectness of the day but they resolved to revel in it until that moment happened.

“So you two go a good sleep, its very important for pregnant women you know” Lila asked laughing at the look on Gabrielle's face, she knew it was going to take some time for Gabrielle to get used to how much she had changed and that she was probably the more experienced one now. She knew that when Gabrielle looked at her she still saw her baby sister and it was okay with her because she recognised how much her sister had lost and that in some ways she needed to not face that just yet.

“We slept like baby's if you'd like to know and I'd appreciate it if you knock of the slurs about our sex life which is pretty good if you ask me” Gabrielle grinned knowing she'd shocked her sister a little bit, she knew she was always going to be the more modest of the two of them, it was something Xena teased her about mercilessly and she knew it probably wouldn't change, but there were times when she could come out of that and knock people off their boots.

“Score one for Gabby” Eve said as she walked in having heard most of the conversation. She herself had slept in too and was glad to see some family banter taking place when she had walked into the kitchen. She looked over at her mother seeing the amused look on her face and wondered if this is how she would have spent her mornings if her mother had been able to raise her. Her childhood had been full of studies and etiquette, not much room for playing and happiness.

“Sorry about that Eve but sometimes you have to put sisters in their place, a lesson for you if Xena has a girl”Gabrielle laughed at the look on Xena's face. She knew her love would like to have a boy, they'd talked about it last night and many nights before, and while she wanted a girl Xena had told her she secretly wanted a boy. It had been a big confession for Xena, she had told her that even though she hadn't gotten to raise Eve as a baby part of her still wondered what it would have been like raising Solon if she had kept him and for that reason she wanted to experience raising a boy.

“Thats okay Gabrielle, I didn't get much of a chance to laugh and joke with my adopted parents in Rome, I guess I was being groomed for great things from the beginning, I still wonder what it would have been like, what you would have been like as my mother, would this have been what we would have been doing or would I have grown up on the road” Eve said sadly knowing she would never have the answer to those questions, a part of her knew that Xena was nowhere near ready for settling down when she had been born, but would her mother have given all of it up for her, her redemption, her fighting for good, to raise her.

“Yes Eve I would have, I never told Gabrielle this but I had planned to settle us down somewhere between Amphipolis and the Amazons, after you turned one, I knew the road was no place for a child and I knew I wanted to marry Gabrielle, and I was ready, fighting was something I had to do, I loved you and Gabrielle, you were both more important to me then my redemption” Xena told them both tears shining in her eyes as she tried to help both Eve and Gabrielle understand that they were her life and that she would have done anything for them.

“I love you both so much” Xena said taking Eve into her arms, and then Gabrielle hoping to cement them as a family, and smiled as she felt Gabrielle pull her closer knowing that Gabrielle had always felt as though Eve was a part of her as well and she had always chose to believe that. Eve's hair was suspiciously lighter than her own and sometimes she thought she could see a slight tinge of green to her daughter's eyes. She realised it didn't matter if they wanted to believe that Eve was theirs than that was all that mattered.

“And we love you, I think we make a great family” Gabrielle told them both wanting them to both know that they were her family, as much as Lila was and that she would love them both forever. This baby had brought up a lot of thoughts about Eve and her conception and she had been silently wondering if there was a possibility Eve was really a part of her, she had always felt a strong connection to Eve as a baby, it was that connection that had convinced her to give Eve her right of caste, and make her an Amazon Princess, and she had always wondered if that connection was because Eve was a part of her as well or was it just because she was Xena's daughter.

“Thank you both for being my family, I know Gabrielle that you may not be a part of me by blood but you have always been there for my mother and for that I think of you as my mother also, I know it was you that gave me the right of caste for the Amazons and that you have always treated me as your own, you helped my mother fight to save me, and you risked your life to try and stop Mother from doing the unthinkable, being forced to kill me and for that I will always be grateful and will always think of you as my other mother” Eve told Gabrielle wanting her to understand the connection she had always felt for Gabrielle, even when she had been pleading with her for Xena's sake when she had been the Champion of Rome Livia, something inside of her had wanted more than anything to believe this woman and accept what she said about Xena, her mother. When she had finally come to know Gabrielle that connection had only grown stronger and she felt a tie to Gabrielle that she couldn't explain.

“Well sorry to break up all this loving but is anyone hungry?” Lila asked looking at the three of them and smiling knowing they were all going to be fine and a closer family than most normal families because of all the adversity they'd faced trying to be a family. She looked over at Xena and saw her looking more peaceful than she'd ever seen her and knew that Xena was finally allowing herself to have the things she'd dreamed of and not question why she deserved it.

“I think I could eat enough to last a few lifetimes” Xena laughed not really joking until Lila had mentioned breakfast she hadn't really realised how hungry she really was. She smiled ruefully, knowing this was the calm before the storm, if her last two pregnancies were anything to go by morning nausea would be an experience she would not relish. Then again I could get lucky I might not end up hanging my head over a bucket a few hours a day she thought remembering being in Spamona when she'd found out she was pregnant with Eve and hanging her head over quiet a few buckets while there.

They settled in and ate breakfast and then talked about their plans and both Gabrielle and Xena thought it would be best if they headed for the Amazons before Xena began experiencing morning nausea so she wouldn't be travelling at the same time. Gabrielle decided she wanted Lila to come with them and had laid a very convincing argument for Lila's presence which Lila couldn't dispute so she gave in with little fight knowing how much it meant for Gabrielle to have someone who was a part of her family with her, she resolved to talk Sarah into coming as well when she finally got back from her trip. She was about to suggest that to Gabrielle when she heard someone walking into the house and smiled when she heard Sarah calling out for her.

“Mother? Are you here?” Sarah asked wondering where her mother had gotten too, she knew they had visitors by the horse that was stabled in their stables and the house was a little more untidy than usual. Judging by the horse that was stabled in their stable she hazarded a guess that it was Gabrielle and Xena that had come to visit and felt a little thrill of anticipation at meeting the warrior princess again. Although she knew her Aunty Gabrielle and Xena were an item there was something about the Warrior Princess that excited her and she knew that it would be really nice seeing them regardless.

“I'm in the kitchen Sarah, we have guests” Lila called out hoping her daughter would be civil, she didn't know how she would take seeing Xena and Gabrielle again, although they'd parted on good terms her daughter had changed since then and was still a little reserved when it came to people.

“Hello mother, Xena, Gabrielle and I don't know you?” Sarah asked as she took in the tall stranger almost as tall as Xena but a few years younger, she wondered if she was related to Xena, she had the same crystal blue eyes as the older woman and there was a likeness in her features although her hair was much lighter and wavy unlike Xena's.

“I'm Eve Xena's daughter and you are Sarah am I right?” Eve said calmly trying to get herself under control, something had struck her about Sarah as soon as she had walked into the room and she wasn't sure if she liked the feeling. Her heart had started pounding and she had felt a heat come over her as she looked at the beautiful Sarah.

“You're daughter? But she can't be more than 5 or so years younger than you how is that possible?” Sarah asked wondering what else the warrior princess was capable, maybe this Eve was a Goddess, she was incredibly hot just like her mother and she had seen the slight widening of Eve's eyes when she had walked in and wondered if the daughter of Xena was like her mother in every way or not.

“Eve was born before we ended up in that cave for 25 years, she was about nine months old when we were separated” Gabrielle told her niece knowing how incredible a story it was and marvelled that it was true, that the incredible story was her life and that she had lived it. She looked over at Xena and saw an amused look on her face and wondered what that was about and wondered once again how she could have been so lucky as to have been able to find her soulmate in this beautiful woman standing before her. She took in the tunic, dark blue this time and the slightly baggy pants that hid her shapely legs and couldn't wait to see her soulmate obviously pregnant with their child, she had been extremely attracted to Xena when she had been pregnant with Eve and remembered how her soulmate had just got more beautiful as the pregnancy progressed. She smiled at her soulmate and knew that Xena asked the same questions she did about how lucky they were.

“Wow thats incredible, so she really is your daughter and now you are only what 8 years apart in age?” Sarah asked missing the looks between Gabrielle and Xena as she looked over at Eve and saw just how beautiful a woman Xena's daughter was and resolved to get to know this woman who was such a mystery to her.

“Yeah it's an incredible story one that I'm sure Eve could fill you in on because I'm really hungry and I don't think waiting to eat is going to be a good idea” Xena said with a little smile on her face even though she was beginning to feel a little nauseous from not eating yet and wondered if this was an early appearance of morning nausea or if it was just because she was really hungry. She allowed Gabrielle to bring over some food for her as she grasped the table as a wave of dizziness came over her and vowed not to go without food for this long again if this was any indication of what she was going to have to go through. She looked up at Gabrielle gratefully when she finally had something in front of her and dug in with gusto knowing the sooner she got food into her the sooner the dizziness would stop.

“You alright love” Gabrielle asked worriedly she had seen Xena grasp the table as she sat down and thought she looked a little pale. She knew that in her pregnancy with Eve Xena had experienced pretty bad morning nausea and also knew it was a little early for that, which increased her worry for her soulmate. She knew it wasn't uncommon for women in early pregnancy to miscarry and she hoped that wouldn't happen here, that would devastate her soulmate.

“Yeah just a little dizzy from not eating, I think we resolve to get up earlier from now on, seems that my morning nausea is going to start a little early I think” Xena smiled at Gabrielle wanting to reassure her that she was okay, just a little dizzy and feeling better with every mouthful she ate. She looked over at her daughter and smiled watching her daughter explain the circumstances of her birth and the obvious pride she took in the telling. Something told her that he daughter had been captivated the moment Sarah walked into the room and she vowed to spend some time talking to her daughter to get to know what she thought of love and its many mysteries.

“Maybe we should head off earlier then, I don't know if its a good idea for you to be travelling when you are sick” Gabrielle asked knowing Xena wasn't always too fond of her protective side, but knew that ultimately Xena would do what was best for the baby. She'd seen it when they'd been in Chin, although the warrior in her wanted to fight more than anything she had taken a step back at Gabrielle's askance knowing that really was what was best for the baby.

“How bout we see how I go, this could just be because I had a late breakfast, if it starts to become a frequent occurrence then we'll head off for the Amazons okay?” Xena asked knowing the question was asked out of love and worry for her, she really didn't feel like travelling when she was experiencing morning nausea as they had when she was pregnant with Eve, maybe it was because she was older or she realised they could take it easy and she no longer had the desire to fight, she would if it became necessary but the thrill of battle had seemed to leave her for the moment, replaced by this sense of family, one she'd only felt with her mother. Oh mum if you could only see me now, I know you would be happy for me, for us she makes me so happy mum and i promise you I will do my best to make her and our children happy Xena promised her mother knowing she would always keep that promise and that her mother would be happy to see her as she was now.

“Okay sweetheart but the moment you start getting sick in the morning we are outta here” Gabrielle told Xena letting her know that there was no negotiating to be done with this, she really didn't want Xena to be travelling while experiencing morning nausea. She wanted them to leave in the early stages of it at least, if they couldn't before, it was at least a three day trip to the Amazons and she wanted to take it easy the whole way there so she would reach the Amazon's refreshed and not too weary, because knowing the Amazon's they would be all over her to teach them this or that, or testing her reflexes. She hoped this would not be the case this time but with Amazon's you never knew.

“Cross my heart and hope to die, thank you sweetheart for caring about me and for giving me so much joy” Xena said as she took Gabrielle into a sweet kiss wanting to show her through that kiss just how much she loved her and how happy she made her. Xena couldn't imagine life without Gabrielle in hers and knew that they would never survive without each other and hoped that they would die together or within days of each other, because she couldn't imagine Gabrielle going through what she knew she must have when she'd died in Jappa.

“I think I like this new romantic Xena, especially if she keeps kissing me like that” Gabrielle smiled and then kissed Xena letting all of her love flow through the kiss into Xena and felt their souls melt together as they did every time they kissed. It wasn't long before they both became lost in the kiss and were only called back to earth by her daughter asking them to stop being so mushy and laughing loudly.

“I guess we should leave this till later, I love you beautiful” Xena told Gabrielle taking her hand and  kissing it knowing she would love this woman forever and their souls would never part. She decided today would be the day to buy Gabrielle's ring and shortly announced that they were going shopping which got strange looks from both Gabrielle and Lila, who remembered that shopping with Xena was like pulling teeth, very painful and then were joined in with their laughter by Eve and Sarah who couldn't help but laugh at the stunned looks on Gabrielle and Lila's faces.

“I have a very special gift I need to buy so we are going shopping” Xena whispered into Gabrielle's ear and felt rather than saw the smile on her love's face and knew they would be shopping for two rings today, which didn't bother her because she had been saving for this day ever since she had admitted her love for Gabrielle and she had a bag full of dinars to spend on this ring.

“Well if we are going to hit the markets we better get ready to go, some people I know spent a little too much time sleeping this morning” Lila laughed enjoying the blush that spread over Gabrielle's features and shrugged her shoulders at the look on Xena's face which had formed into a mock glare on Gabrielle's behalf.

They spent the better half of the rest of the day looking for the perfect ring and Xena was about to give up her search when she saw it. It was a plain gold band woven in knots that never seemed to end and knew she had found the perfect ring for her love, the ring seemed to call to her and she knew it would say everything she felt for Gabrielle, it was the personification of their love, endless. She went up to the smithy who had forged and smiled when she realised where he was from, the Island of Eire and she realised it was a Gaelic symbol that she had seen before in her travels through that land earlier in her sea voyaging years.

“Do you have more than one of those rings?” Xena asked the smithy and was disappointed when her replied that he didn't. She knew that she wanted their wedding rings to match, and this ring was everything she wanted in a wedding ring, simple yet symbolic.

“I could make yer another one for the same price, they ain't that 'ard to make miss” The smithy told her when he saw the disappointed look on her face and then saw her look at the woman he was sure the ring was intended for, the love unmistakable in her eyes. At that moment he knew these rings were meant for them and it would be a pleasure to bring them the joy by providing the rings that symbolised their love.

“I would really appreciate that, how long will it take to make it, we are heading on a journey in a few days and we'll need them before we leave” Xena asked smiling at the smithy's obvious accent and remember how much she had loved the lilting voices of the people of Eire. She had always been interested in other languages and other cultures wondering how they had become so different to each other.

“I reckon about two days I want to do a good job for you and your missus” The smithy told her seeing the quiet strength in the woman before him and knew she was not someone to deal lightly with she had a way about her that was much more than just a simple village woman and would bet his life she had seen very much of the world.

“I'm sure you will, and as a guesture of faith I will give you the money for the rings now, as a man of Eire I know I can trust you to do a great job, I'd also like them engraved do you have the tools for that?” Xena asked the smithy seeing his obvious delight that she knew where he was from, and he nodded quickly and she knew she'd made the right choice. She motioned for Gabrielle to come over so she could tell the smithy what she would like engraved on her ring knowing her love's love of romance. She smiled as she heard what her love asked to have engraved on her ring and knew it echoed what she had planned on engraving on Gabrielle's ring.

“Thank you miss, I will have 'em ready for you in two days, you can pick 'em up from the store or I can get my apprentice to deliver 'em to you're place” The smithy told them and then nodded as Xena gave him some more instructions. He smiled as she walked away knowing he would never meet a woman more intriguing than her and hoped that she and her love would be happy forever.

“Well that was a pretty full and fruitful day, are you tired my love?” Gabrielle asked looking over at the woman she loved who was looking pretty happy with herself at that moment. She loved the rings Xena had found and knew they were what they were both looking for. For her it was as if the rings had called to them and she knew she would treasure hers forever.

“A little, more hungry than tired though” Xena remarked looking at Gabrielle and wondering where Eve had gotten too, and then smiled as she saw her daughter talking animatedly with Sarah obviously telling her some kind of story, and she knew that her daughter was heading into unknown territory with Sarah. It hadn't escaped her attention that Sarah had been attracted to herself when they had rescued her and she knew that her daughter shared some of her features and wondered if Eve knew what was going to hit her.

“What are you smiling at?”Gabrielle asked wondering what had tickled her love's funny bone. She followed Xena's line of sight until she saw Eve talking with Sarah and saw the light shining from Eve's face and finally caught onto what was amusing Xena. She smiled wondering if Eve would share her mother's taste in lovers and whether she had any idea that Sarah was attracted to her.

“What do you think?” Xena asked still smiling, it still felt like yesterday that they had left Egypt and had headed off to visit the fates, the last time she had ever seen her daughter as the baby she'd been then. It still hit her hard sometimes how much she missed, she was never going to know what her daughter had looked like as a child, she would never know what her daughter's first word was, how it had sounded and when she'd taken her first steps. Suddenly all the joy she'd felt moments before left her and she struggled with the emotion threatening to overwhelm her as she let out a quiet sob, as the full weight of what she'd lost hit her again.

Gabrielle heard the quiet sob and turned around just in time to see Xena's face fall and all of her emotions rise to the surface and she quickly placed her arms around her love wanting to help her bear whatever it was that had overcome her, she felt Xena begin to cry in her arms and knew this was serious and looked around for a quiet place to take Xena so she could cry in private. She looked up and saw the worried look on Eve's face and silently indicated that she was going to leave with Xena and get her somewhere she could let out these emotions she still had some control over.

“Come on sweetheart lets get you back to Lila's so you can let all that you've been holding out” Gabrielle whispered as she gently lead Xena back to her sister's place and was relieved when she finally had Xena in their room. She looked over at Xena and smiled at her letting her know it was okay to let go, that she would be here to hold her up. She held out her arms and felt Xena crash into them and held on through the storm of tears that seemed to be an endless flow of emotion coming from Xena. She whispered little words of encouragement, as much wanting to let Xena know that she was there as to calm her. She knew it was important for Xena to let out her emotions when she could, her love was much too prone to holding her emotions in and when they did finally make an appearance it was often like this, a sea of emotion threatening to drown Xena in its intensity. Xena's cries were finally reduced to little sobs and she began to calm down from the storm. Another candlemark passed and Xena was asleep in her arms, spent from the emotion that had poured out of her.

“Sleep well my warrior princess, hopefully these changes I can sense in you will include you letting out your emotions more” Gabrielle sighed as she lay down with her warrior princess and joined her in slumber.

Continued in Part 8

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