Double Trouble


The Merpup Collective

These characters belong to MCA Universal, and whoever else pays the big bucks for the Xena:Warrior Princess show. Also, this story is based on the premise that two women love each other in more that just a friend to friend manner. If this bothers you, kindly move along. There is nothing graphic involved


Part I (By Laura Nielsen and Redback)


Gabrielle sighed as the last ripples of pleasure slowly faded away. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up at her still sleeping warrior lover. She felt so... satiated? ... fulfilled?... no, surprised. Gods, moments like these were great but this time was... incredible. Well, I guess practice makes perfect, she thought.

It had been the end to what had begun as a rather tumultuous evening. They'd been attacked by a small band of thugs and Xena had followed the last one off into the woods to insure that he wouldn't bother them again, ever. Battles always brought Xena's emotions to their peak and she came back a short time later needing to vent. Gabrielle had been only to happy to "help" her. As they now laid closely together, Xena slept deeply, so deeply she didn't hear the rustle of the underbrush nearby, followed by approaching footsteps. Gabrielle raised herself up to see... could it be?... *Xena* approaching...

No that was a silly thought wasn't it? She was sleeping beside her wasn't she? Gabrielle looked back down at her lover and reassured herself that it was Xena but, something was making her hairs stand up on the back of her neck. The footsteps were getting closer now; they had that same rhythm that Xena has always had to her walk. The bushes parted, and she gasped when she saw the person in front of her. "Oh my god," she said to herself in a whisper, disbelieving even her own eyes. She looked back to the figure on the sleeping furs and started to back away from both of the figures. "This is not happening," she kept repeating to herself as she picked up her staff and moved further back looking between the two figures.



Part II (By Tovi and Cie)


"Xena?" the bard whispered, staring at the leather clad warrior standing in front of her. She continued to back away and raised her staff defensively.

Xena looked herself up and down and then sniffed under her arms. "What's wrong, Gabrielle? Do I smell bad or something?" she grinned, blue eyes lasciviously raking the nude form of the bard as she stepped closer. "I got rid of those guys, they won't be back anytime soon," she drawled, reaching a hand out to touch Gabrielle.

The bard blocked the warrior's hand with her staff and stared back at the bedroll in confusion. Xena frowned and opened her mouth to speak. Then her eyes followed Gabrielle's to the still form on the bedroll the bard had just vacated.

The warrior's quick reflexes sent her chakram flying through the air. The chakram bounced off two tree limbs, scaring a squirrel family as it headed for the blanket and its occupant. It skipped across the skins, not unlike a stone across a quiet lake, hitting the reclined body in three places before it whirled higher and returned to the sender. At this show of skill, Gabrielle hurled herself into the arms of the standing warrior and began to cry.

"Gabrielle", the tall woman started, "Why are you crying and who is that in my bed?"


Part III By Stephanie


Gabrielle couldn't answer. Who was it she just spent the last hour with? "Oh Gods, Xena" was all she could manage between sobs.

Xena walked over to the sleeping figure and grabbed the bedroll. With a jerk, she exposed the still form. What she saw lying on the ground even startled Xena. It was...well it was her! "Meg? Diana? Leah?" Xena stuttered.

The body sat up with a start and a sword poised ready to protect herself and her partner. The standing Xena also had her sword ready for action. Each woman looked at the other two in a state of confusion. Gabrielle began to cry even more. "Oh Gods Xena, what have I done?" Gabrielle choked out.

Both Xenas looked over to Gabrielle and in unison and in that low, sultry voice that normally would cause Gabrielle's skin to turn to goose flesh said, "Gabriellllllllllllllllllllle"

Gabrielle practically was gasping for air now. "Xena", Gabrielle said, unsure of who she should be speaking to, "Xena" the blonde said again looking at the other Xena, "This has to be my fault. I missed you so much. I am always so worried about you. When you left me behind to go fight, I found a temple to Artemis. After having a little chat with her in the temple about protecting you and the amazons, I made a comment. That is all it was Xena, just a comment. I didn't think she would really do anything about it........."


Part 4 By Carla


The eyebrows of both the Xenas went sky-high. As on command they spoke simultaneously. "As I've told you so often, Gabrielle, never, ever mess with the Gods. They seem to take sheer pleasure in granting what you wish, especially when they can get some fun out of it. So always be careful with what you wish, even with Artemis."

Gabrielle was totally confused. She rubbed her hair frantically. "Alright. I can do this."

What we have to now is a way to determine who is the real Xena. Maybe you can fight each other?" she asked hopefully.

"Uhuh, no way", came the answer from two mouths. "Even if one of us kills the other, which we doubt, there would always be doubt in YOUR heart. Was the real or the fake Xena killed? How can I tell the difference? Even in bed, Gabrielle, even in bed... you didn't know."


Part 5 (By Cy)


"Oh gods. Xena, how could I not have known? You're my soulmate and even I couldn't tell you apart. What are we going to do?" Seeing Gabrielle's tears both women started towards her and then froze as they saw the other's motion. Finally both Xenas said, "Gabrielle what exactly did you say to Artemis?"

"Well, I just asked her to keep you safe and then, let's see, how did I put it..."

"Think Gabrielle how did you word it exactly?"

"Well, lets see... I asked her to protect you twice as she would any favored warrior, because of our connection."

"Which means that she decided to accomplish this extra protection by creating a double."

Both Xenas rolled their eyes, turned on heel, crossed to opposite sides of the fire, and sat.

"Well this isn't really such a bad thing is it? I mean Xena, you always said that you wanted a sister."

"But I didn't mean this way. I could handle sharing everything else but I just can't share you, Gabrielle. If we can't figure this out you'll have to choose between us."

"How can I do that? Both of your are my soulmate, the one that I share everything with. Either way one of you ends up being hurt."

She looked into the deep blue eyes of her soulmate, both of them, and said "Xena, I just can't do that to either of you."


Part 6 by Snic


Almost in tandem the Xenas looked at each other, the type of look that might have spelled ''danger'' if either one of them were anyone other than Xena.

The Xena's shrugged as if to say 'What are we going to do with her?' The moment of shared amusement was over almost before it began. Gabrielle could have only one of them. Both were determined to be the one.

As every time before when Gabrielle looked into Xena eyes, she felt herself melt inside. 'What am I going to do,' she thought. Gabrielle sank to her knees in remorse, tears streaming down her face. Neither Xena dared move. Both sat there tense, with muscles twitching, looking at her.

Unknown to both the warriors and the young Queen they were being watched closely. High up in the trees sat the goddesses Artemis and Athena. The two Xenas were Athena's idea, which at first Artemis wholeheartedly agreed with, thinking it brilliant. After all, who better to protect her young Amazon Queen than another Xena? It was perfect.

At least until the young Queen started crying. Artemis hated it when Gabrielle cried. Artemis was not happy that, as her young Queen knelt there in tears, the warriors both sat there, doing nothing. She thought her Queen would be happy that her prayer had been answered. After all it's not every day that you have two Xenas at your beck and call.

Artemis looked at Athena. Athena in the mean time was looking back and forth between the two Xenas with an absolutely sappy smile on her face. Artemis, thoroughly disgusted with her sister by now, slapped her upside the back and said, '' This is all your fault!!!''


Part 7 by Gin


"MY FAULT!" Athena pushed her sister off the branch. "It was your little Queen who wanted double protection for Xena." She pointed an accusing finger at the Goddess of the Hunt. "And you agreed!"

"Well this is obviously not what she had in mind." Artemis rolled her eyes at the grin on her sister's face. "Why..... why would you......" Her eyes narrowed at the woman she was so casually teasing only a moment before. "WHO are you?" Then she snorted as the figure next to her morphed into it's true form. "Ares.... I should have known."

Laughing at his little sister's gullibility. "That irritating little blonde has ruined my plans for the last time." His eyes glittered at the thought of having two Xena's at his side...well one on each side, he thought, but he knew that wouldn't happen. "And it was her own words that caused it." His pride was still wounded by that scroll incident. Knowing the Bard's own words were working against her now was sweet revenge.

Artemis thought back to the conversation she had held with Gabrielle. "Please, protect her because of our connection' she had said....." and the Goddess' eyes widened. "You don't mean....."

Grinning his most evil, Ares stroked his beard. "Oh yes... as long as they are bonded... there will be two Xenas.... "

"But the only way to break the bond would be..." Artemis was furious with her brother. Gabrielle was her Chosen.

"There is nothing you can do about it, little sister." He smiled at the thought. "Death is the only way to break the bond. Then the duplicate Xena will go away.. and I will be there to console the grief stricken Xena that is left."

Artemis was heartbroken at the thought of losing her Chosen and Ares was estatic that his plan was working so well. Both Gods turned their attention to the clearing to watch their favorite mortals struggle with the dilemma that faced them.

"Xena..... Xena... I'm sorry... I didn't think Artemis...." Gabrielle was beside herself. Well Xena was beside herself, but Gabrielle was terribly upset.

"It's not your fault." The simultaneous voices of Xena reassured her. "This stinks of Ares." Both warriors scanned the treetops for the God of War, knowing he was nearby, watching. "He does like his little jokes..."

"This is no joke Xena!" Gabrielle was alarmed at the warrior's sudden nonchalance. "This is serious."

Sighing, both Xenas looked at each other for a moment, then moved to comfort Gabrielle. One put her arm around the bard's shoulders and the other around her waist. The Bard heard her lover's low voice speak in each ear. "We'll get through this." They lay back on the bedroll, each Xena finding a way to hold Gabrielle without too much contact with her counterpart.

Gabrielle was still horrified that her casual comment had caused such trouble....but lying there practically wrapped in a Xena blanket was too much and the tired bard quietly drifted off into the realm of Morpheus. Only vaguely aware of the soft 'I love you' in each ear, she unconsciously responded, "I love you too."


Part 8 By Cat


Artemis was furious. "How did he dare?" She is my Chosen, he had no right to do such a thing!" Pacing furiously, Artemis was trying to find a flaw in Ares' evil scheme... In the early hours of the morning, a slight smile appeared on her lips. "Bingo!".

From his watchpoint, the God of War could see the two Xenas turning in their sleep and moaning as if in pain. "In pain, indeed. They should be happy to have only half a bard each to suffer from now!" Grinning evilly he was considered leaving when someone appeared in front of him.

"ARES! You will regret having used my name this way!" shouted Athena, sending bolts of fire in the direction of her brother. Ares quickly bent, avoiding his sister's attack, but he missed seeing Artemis, who sneaked behind him and knocked him out. Happily smiling, the Goddess of Wisdom took the unconscious God in her arms, and left to drop him as far away as possible.

Now that her way was free, the Goddess of the Hunt turned towards the campfire and she began to apply her idea. First, she created a corpse looking in every detail like Gabrielle, or rather as Gabrielle would look like if she was to die at this very moment, in her Xenas' arms. Then, trying to breathe calmly, she prepared herself for the most difficult part. Everything had to be done very quickly to delude both Xenas' extremely fine senses and make them believe the bard was really dead.

Whoosh... in a blink, Gabrielle was placed in a coma so deep even Artemis could not reach her Chosen soul anymore, and the exchange was made between the look-alike and the bard, letting the Goddess free to leave with her precious bundle just before the two Xenas woke up howling their distress.

"NOOOOO!!" shouted their simultaneous voices.

Facing themselves, each of them could see the anguish in the other's eyes. "Gabrielle, wake up, please!" cried the warriors, refusing to face the reality and this awful sensation of void that was beginning to eat their guts up.

"The duplicate did not vanish!" gasped Artemis "yet he said that as soon the bond was broken only the original Xena would stay!" Frowning, the Goddess of Wisdom was watching the two warriors holding dearly the look-alike corpse. "Their bond was so strong that they probably still can feel some of its energy in her... but this should not persist for a long time. The only problem is that, in between, you will have to deal with two Xenas in pain from losing their bondmate and furious against Ares and you for messing once again with their lives. And I don't mention a dear brother who should soon recover consciousness. My dear, who said you virgins had dull lives?"


Part 9 By Stephanie


Hours ..turning to days passed by. Both Xenas continued their vigil over the bard's body. Neither wanted to be the one to say goodbye to the other half of their soul. The only positive thing that came out of this whole ordeal was the two Xenas started to work together. One would sleep while the other kept watch, and vice versa. When they were both awake, their conversation was usually along the same lines.

"Xena", said Xena

"Yesssssssss?" the other Xena would growl

"Her body isn't decomposing." Then ultimately the conversation would end with both Xenas pointing their fist to the sky shouting, "Damned Gods!", both fully aware this was the work of one of the gods.

Ares had been hanging around, watching and enjoying both Xenas mourn Gabrielle. While he didn't know what to make of the bard's current state of health, who was he to question it? "Soon, very soon, that irritating blonde will be out of my hair and Xena will come looking for me. All I have to do is wait," Ares said to himself, almost drooling at the thought of Xena being back in his fold.

Athena and Artemis had been watching as well. The Goddesses had gone over and over the situation and could find no solution to offer. Artemis was heartsick. She just had to fix her Chosen One's life. For at least the 1000th time since this whole thing started, she sighed heavily.

Just when the two Goddesses had lost all hope, there was the distinct smell of perfume that got both of their attention. Out of the trees came a sight neither of them expected. It was Aphrodite, falling to the ground with something attached to her ankle.

"Aphrodite!!!" both Artemis and Athena yelled, "Watch out!". When Aphrodite almost hit the ground, she bounced right back up into the trees. Again and again she bounced from the tree, being held by what appeared to be a giant band. After a few minutes, Aphrodite was able to maneuver herself to the ground.

"Yo, chicks", Aphrodite said adjusting her almost see through pink robe, "I am tired of watching you two be so bummed. I have the 4-1-1. I know how to fix your problem........."


Part 10 By Ciegra


Ares was beside himself as he watched his sister bounce through the trees."Why did she have to show up?" he growled to no one in particular. "I thought for sure that little rubber band thingie would keep her too busy to get involved."

Ares knew that, when you got three women together, there was nothing that couldn't be solved. Of course the "Even in death, I will never leave you" statement from Xena was still bugging him. 'And why wasn't the little blonde harpie starting to smell up the forest?'

From the first whispered words of Ares, the two Xenas arched in cat-like response and a chill ran up their collective spines. "Ares", they chimed.

Xena One began to pace as her clone took out the sword to sharpen it to the hilt. They knew that soon they would be confronted with some hair brained scheme concocted by Gods who had too much time on their hands and too much Xena on the brain.

"We've gotta decide for ourselves how to get out of this mess," declared Xena One.

"My thoughts exactly," stated Xena Two.

"Besides, we have many skills," they echoed.


Part 11 by tovie


"It's, like, so easy, girrrls, I can't believe you don't see it," Aphrodite purred, sauntering over to stand in front of Athena and Artemis. The other two goddesses exchanged baffled looks.

"Uh, Aph, what's so easy?" Athena muttered, looking back at the goddess of love with a puzzled expression.

"Oh, come on, you're the goddess of wisdom." Aphrodite rolled her eyes and twitched her hips. Finally, when both Athena and Artemis continued to stare at her with hopeful expressions, she made a little moue of disgust and went on. "It's that oath Xena made. You know, that "even in death, I'll never leave you" thingie?"


"Pu-lease," Aphrodite moaned. "I don't have time to spell everything out for you. Things to see, people to do... You know what it's like." She sighed in resignation. "Okay, it's like this. Just *killing* Gabrielle won't work, you have to..."

"Wait, wait!" Artemis shouted, clapping her hand over Aphrodite's mouth and scanning the trees with narrowed eyes. "Ares, I know you're there," she snarled. "Show yourself."

Low laughter echoed in the clearing for a moment and then the dark god of War shimmered into existence. "Well, well, ladies. Plotting my downfall?" he smirked. "Seems your plan is failing..."

"No, it's your plan that's..." Artemis started. Then she stopped and whirled around as the sound of Xena's voice echoed and re-echoed in the clearing and a swirling wind wrapped itself around them.

"Damn you to Tartarus, Ares. Ares, you scum, show yourself," both warriors shouted in unison, shaking their swords at the sky. "I know this is your fault," one of them added as they whirled around, scanning the empty space about the camp. Empty space that suddenly exploded in a bright flash of light, depositing four very confused immortals at their feet.


Part 12 By the FIV committee


Zeus appeared before his quarrelsome offspring. "Enough!" he roared as thetwinnie Xenas came racing into the clearing.

The lead Xena, unwisely not intimidated, challenged Zeus, trying to brush Him aside to get to Ares. "Ares, you cowardly swine! You've meddled with us for the last time." The Thunder God responded by lifting a finger, tossing the warrior across the clearing.

Her twin managed to reach her target, her sword homing in on a portion of the god's anatomy that Ares did not want to see rearranged by Xena in full cuisinart mode. At Zeus' raised finger, the irate warrior stopped just shy of injury and stood there, seething. "I get the point," Zeus commented sympathetically, "but I can't have you..ah..injuring my son." The father of the gods shifted uncomfortably, having no doubt as to Xena's probable intentions.

Ares, pulling back from the warrior's onslaught, squeaked out, "Ah, Xena, I see you still can't keep your hands off of me." She reponded by unceremoniously poking him with the business end or her sword. The war god grunted and wisely shut up.

Artemis was enjoying the show till she looked up into the other pair of angry blue eyes. "What happened to Gabrielle?" Xena demanded.

"How dare you!" the goddess said as she started to rise from her placein the dirt.

Aphrodite smirked and remarked, "Ain't love grand? You go grrl!"

Xena snarled back at the goddess, "You were supposed to be looking after her. She's your Chosen. What kind of centaur cra-- Uff!" Artemis had dumped the warrior soundly on her butt.

"Silence!" the goddess demanded.

Meanwhile, twinnie Xena poked the smirking Ares, who had forgotten his predicament in his enjoyment of seeing Artemis and Xena hiss at each other. He was just about to make meowing noises when he felt the unmistakable reminder of Xena's sword in an intimate way.

"Now, I know why you're here," the warrior growled, giving Ares another poke. "But that doesn't explain the rest of you." Xena's disdainful gaze swept the group, her eyes finally locking with Zeus'.

The lesser gods all began to talk at once, creating a din that shook the surrounding mountains. The chaos was finally ended when a thunderbolt arched down from the sky, accompanied by a resounding boom. Zeus spoke into the shocked silence that followed.

"I am here at the Fates' request, to resolve this situation.Someone...," and here his angry gaze rested equally on Ares and Artemis "...took it upon herself to create a duplicate of the Warrior Princess, knowing she was one half of a soul-bonded pair. The resulting imbalance has disrupted the life threads for all three women - and threatens the coherency of the larger weaving. Gabrielle's thread cannot support a bond with two Xenas - not at a single point in time."

The twinnie Xenas look at each other. Irreverently still in the dust, Xena shook her head in disgust, "Leave it to the gods to make such a mess of things. Even a donkey could do better."

Artemis was indignant, "I suppose you think *you* could do better?"

The Xenas answered in unison, "I *know* I could do better! Gabrielle would still be alive, for one thing! Before you lot got involved we had one bard, one warrior - everything was as it should be. Now there's just us and the entire weaving is in danger."

Twinnie Xena with the sword pointed at Ares said earnestly, "It seems obvious. One of us has to go. I would gladly give my life if it would bring Gabrielle back."

"So would I." said her twin in heart as well as body.

Zeus rolled his eyes at Aphrodite's cooing pleasure and thundered, "That won't help - the bond transcends death. The problem is the imbalance!"

"Well, if we just need things to be in balance, I can fix that, 'cause my Chosen isn't really dead." Artemis waved her hand and smirked over at her scheming brother. 'Let's see who gets the last laugh,' she thought. Her reverie was soon disrupted by screams back at the campfire.

Hearing what sounded like Gabrielle's scream, the Xenas raced back to the campsite. They knew the sound of that scream in many moods and this one was not happy.

Sitting on the sleeping furs where there had been only one deceased Gabrielle, there were now two of the bard, having screamed at waking up next to each other. Apparently, they each had thought they were lying next to Xena, causing them to want to snuggle and well, it was a shock to find that they were pleasing themselves, but not alone.

"What have you done?" Zeus yelled at his offspring. The clouds rolled in and the smell of ozone filled the air.

The Xenas could hardly believe their eyes, "Gabrielle? "Are you really here? ...both of you?", the last asked in confusion.

Athena asked her father, "So does this resolve the imbalance?"

He shook his head as he answered his favorite child. "I'm afraid not. Their bond still exists twice over in this time. It is meant to be unique."

Ares put his head in his hands and moaned, "This is a nightmare. I can't believe it. Now there're *two* of her!!" The goal was for there to be fewer annoying blondes, not more!"

The Xenas rushed to the Bards and each took one into their arms as they enjoyed a sweet reunion. "I thought you were dead." the Xenas cried softly. Each Gabrielle melted into those loving arms and laid her head on one of the Xena's shoulders, where they could see each other before them...........

The Gabs pulled back from their warriors and turned on each other, "Hey, you stay away from her!" they each said, green eyes blazing.

With eyebrows raised, the Xenas looked first at each other and then at the women who held their hearts. At least there were two, this couldn't be too bad could it? "What's the matter Gabrielle, and Gabrielle?"

The two blondes were now squared off toe to toe as they argued and tried to explain their jealousy to the warriors. "It's just that until we know," one began, "which of you is which," the other continued, "I don't want her touching either one of you!!" They both finished.

Oh no, thought the two Xenas. Things were taking another bad turn. Now there were enough Gabs to go around, but apparently warriors were not allowed to touch. This was going to lead to two very cranky warriors, and made Aphrodite pout.

The Xenas turned angrily towards Ares and Artemis. "What are you going to do about it?"

The goddess had been challenged once too often, Chosen or no. "You said you could do better, here's your chance," and she disappeared.

Ares, not wanting to be pinned down by the Xenas' glare or anything else they had at their disposal, followed his sister's example and vanished in a flash of light. Aphrodite, seeing that no one was going to be getting any action around here, picked up her rubber-band thingie and headed home.

Athena stepped in front of her glowering father to advise the warriors and bards. "You must each find your true bond. Only then can we put things right." Then she and her father disappeared into a flash of lightening, leaving Xena and Xena and Gabrielle and Gabrielle alone.


Conclusion by the FIV committee


Dawn cast its first rays over the campsight, as Xena returned with fish from the stream. Her twin was hunched over the fire, reviving its heat from banked coals with fresh tinder. "Guess it will be a while before they're awake," she said, inclining her head toward the stubborn blondes sleeping facing each other, vigilant even in sleep.

They had argued 'til late into the night, agreeing on only one point: neither of them was to be left alone with either of the Xenas. The warriors both sighed and hoped their dilemma could be concluded quickly. The resolve of the bards to not sleep with them, coupled with the doubled visual pleasure, was driving the Xenas to distraction.

The Xena near the fire nodded her agreement, "I've been thinking about this mess....." stopping momentarily when her twin snorted a mocking coherence. She wondered how the bard had put up with her all these years if this imposter was really her true mirror. Unknown to her, the mirror was thinking the same thing.

"It seems that our memories are merged..... so are theirs, so we can't remember which of us was here with her, and which was off on a mission."

"Yeah, yeah," mocked her unwelcome partner, "and we aren't getting any as long as this lasts, so get on with it 'cause I'm a little "itchy," if you catch my drift."

Xena raised her eyebrow and lowered her voice, the effect lost on her duplicate, "And you propose....... what exactly... an appeal to the gods... a fight to the finish... an all out orgy?" Four eyebrows rose at this last idea, then lowered as two raven-haired heads shook.

Another snort of disapproval, "We can't test ourselves 'cause we seem to be sharing all the memories, we don't behave differently, at least Gabrielle says we don't. One of us could sacrifice ourselves so there wasn't the pressure on Gabrielle to support our bond with us both......"

"But it wouldn't do any good according to Zeus, and besides, there would still be two of her," the other said looking fondly at the sleeping, golden-haired women. "And we're not......." began one, "sacrificing one of her," finished the other.

The Gabrielles awoke to the stench of burning fish and the clash of swords as the Xenas sparred. One of her ran to the fire to salvage some breakfast before it was too late as the other stood transfixed by the vision of Xena sparring with herself at a frightening speed, but with an awesome grace. Her twin approached and offered her the salvaged fish, "They're beautiful, aren't they."

"Yes, and I can't wait to write about this in my scrolls..... her beauty mirrored, no other sight, could rival the grace of my loves in fight...."

"Oh gods, that's awful......"

"Hey, not everything you write is great, you know........ where are my scrolls?"

"Your scrolls?? Don't you touch my scrolls."

The Xenas were drawn away from their sparring by sounds of hissing and grunts as the Gabs wrestled over the scroll bag. "My loves in fight?? Get over yourself.....ugh"

The Xenas pulled them apart with a pair of wry smiles, "Creative differences??" one asked. The Gabs pulled against the restraining hands, eager to continue their "debate."

"Whoa, hold it there," said the other.

"We need to all calm down and figure out how to know who belongs with who.... whom..... whatever." said her twin.

The Gabrielles each shrugged off the warriors' lingering hands, uncomfortable with the sight of the other Gab in a Xena's arms. "Just don't write that crap on my scrolls," Gabrielle taunted as the other Gab replied, "or I'll show you the business end of my staff."

"Your staff?? You womanizing, bard wannabe, I'll make centaur droppings out of you, I'll........."

The Xenas regarded each other as the bards chased one another, one with the scroll bag, the other with the staff. "You'd think they could get along......."

"Yeah, well, I'll get Argo and......"

"Don't you touch my horse you fake......"

"Your horse?? I'll have you know that horse and I go way back......."

"Alright, we'll let Argo decide."

Two furious warriors stomped off to the meadow where they'd last seen the mare. Argo peered out from behind a nearby boulder and shook her head before she snorted and trotted off in the opposite direction.

Instead of the reluctant blonde mare, they found the two strawberry blondes bickering and poking each other in the shoulder to underscore points of their argument. Both warriors sighed and were about to continue on with the search for Argo, when Xena grabbed the arm of her twin, "Look!" she whispered, her eyes locked on the bards. The index fingers of each woman were passing through the surface of each Gabrielle before meeting resistance. It was like the edges of each Gabrielle were becoming indistinct. Blue eyes regarded each other, "We don't have much time." one said as the other nodded grimly.

"Gabrielle" they each called, and the bards' knees became weak. The sound of one Xena saying her name was enough to melt her, the sound of two was ...... her eyes snapped back open to regard awakening green before her. Her twin seemed to shimmer in the morning light, like a heat wave seen from far off. She'd always thought it looked like water in the road, but Xena had insisted it was just a trick of Apollo.......

"Gabrielle, move away from her......" Xena called again. Curious, each Gabrielle retreated from her nemesis and the shimmering ceased. Her definition returning to normal.

Each Xena sighed, "Close." one of them said.

"What was that all about?" asked a Gabrielle.

"I'm not sure, Gabrielle, but it looks like you are fading when you touch each other. We might not have much time."

"Well, then I won't touch her, I mean it's not like I get any pleasure from touching myself......" each bard realizing what she just said, began to blush crimson. Each Xena raised an eyebrow and tried not to think about touching the bard herself. Yeah, right, each Xena thought about touching the bard.

Their reverie was interrupted by a showy flash of light and the arrival of a smirking Ares, "I see things are progressing nicely." He crooned as he circled the bards. "A little more of this and you might just, shall we say, fade away?? hhhhhhhhhaaaaaaa"

"What do you want, Ares." Xena said as her twin circled the God of War and drew her sword. Ares hopped back a little and reached to cover his crotch 'til he realized what he was doing. "Now, now, no need to get nasty... just came to offer you a proposition that could save your little annoying blondes........."

"Why would you do that, Ares?" Xena spat as she leveled her sword at him.

"Oh, let's just say for old time's sake." he swarmed.

"Let's not." replied Xena.

"Xena........... and Xena........ listen, one of you join me and you can keep your little brat with you....... and I'll let the other one go......... simple..... one Xena to rule the world with me....... and one to traipse around with the mouthy blonde......."

"She's mine you pathetic excuse for a god," said a Gab as she rushed towards Ares. "You can't have her I'll......" said the other as she flanked him from the other side........"recite bad poetry??" said her twin, still smarting from the attack on her verse this morning. "Yes, if that's what it takes to get rid of a tin-horn god......"

"More like a tin-ear if he thinks our poetry is bad......" said the other.

Ares covered his ears and screamed, "AAArrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh, two of her!!!! Think about it Xena!" he commanded and disappeared.

Xena clenched her jaw and stared off into the distance. "Xena, you aren't considering his offer......" argued one of the Gabs.

The other Xena gazed at her and answered, "Oh course not Gabrielle, we're just trying to figure out which of you belongs with which of us."

"We could flip a coin," said Xena, looking back from the horizon she had studied for answers.

"Flip a coin!!???" shouted the incredulous Gabrielles in unison. "You'd decide true love on the flip of a coin?" one questioned moving to within a hairs breath of Xena.

"Guess not." snorted the Xena who had been lucky enough not to have suggested that, though she'd been thinking it as well. As she watched Gab approach her counterpart, she saw the outer edges of the bard grow fuzzy. "Stop!" she called. The snorting Xena turned toward the closest Gabrielle, saw the fading, and quickly retreated. "Looks like we can't get close to them either. Hades." wishing she wasn't feeling so "itchy."

"I don't know......" Xena said as she walked slowly towards the same Gabrielle. Gabrielle's heart rate quickened at the sight of Xena advancing on her so deliberately, watching her skin 'til the bard thought she could feel it tingle as if caressed by a hand instead of a look. Xena stepped into the bard until their bodies were almost touching, her breath brushing against golden hair. Gabrielle looked up into blue eyes and lost herself in a tender kiss. Xena felt a warm, solid lip between hers and nipped it playfully. Pulling back she smiled, "Hello, my bard." Gabrielle pressed herself against her Xena, pulling her into an embrace. "Hello, my warrior." she whispered in return.

The twin Xena and Gabrielle were just as happily reunited. With her arm across her rightful partner's shoulders, Xena asked, "What do you all say to a little visit with the fates?"

The foursome had made the half day trek without releasing their partners, not knowing if the fading would get worse if they touched the wrong one again or their twins. Argo, slightly daunted by two of the blonde woman, and two Xenas, had followed cautiously behind. When they entered the fates temple, they were greated by the three faces of fate: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.

Clotho spoke in her sing-song chant, "It is well........" "you have come........ " continued Lachesis......"your threads are growing weak....." Atropos said as she stepped forward holding her shears. "We see....... you have found......... your true mates." they chanted together.

Xena nodded her head and finally said, "I figured you would know where we all belonged." When the fates nodded, Xena continued, "Before you do that, um, well, I just want to know that wherever you send us, we stay together."

"Your threads....... are woven......... together.......... it is not............. for us.... to sunder them." replied the fates. "Step forward...... and touch..... the threads." beckoned the three, indicating threads corded together in the weaving.

All four reached forward, hands mingling over the threads, and then looking into their partners eyes, touching their own destinies. Two smiled broadly, knowing they belonged here in Greece with each other. The other two gazed quizzically at each other and said out loud, "Miami??" as they disappeared.

Xena tore her eyes away from Gabrielle long enough to question the fates, "Will they be alright?"

"It is not........ for you..... to know." they said sternly, but then added, "but they... will be... together." as they faded from view, leaving a bard and her warrior finally alone.

"Xena?? What's a Miami?" Gabrielle asked as they made their way out of the temple and on with their lives.



Gratefully, the end


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