Disclaimer: The general stuff, I do not own any of the character from 'Xena: Warrior Princess' they belong to RT and TPTB. Lyena however came from my own imagination and belongs to me.
Spoilers: There are spoilers from the end of season 5. Most are from the ep. 'Motherhood'
FYI: This is the 2nd in the 'Welcome Home' series. It would be good to read "Welcome Home before reading this FanFic.
The tall warrior woman gently helper her elderly mother into the chair at the table. The two had just returned from visiting Toris's tomb. Xena had been heart broken to hear that her brother had died. They had never been that close but it still infuriated her when she was told how he died.
"An Infection, my brother died from on infection. What kind of healers do they have now days?" The Warrior asked after making sure her mother was seated and headed to the stove to start some tea for the two.
"It was not the healers fault. By the time your hardheaded brother went to see one there was nothing they could do. It was too late and the infection had spread." And I thought I was the pig headed one?
The Warriors thoughts then turned to her niece. Who had been a pleasant surprise only adding to the joy of finding her mother still alive. Lyena, what a fitting name for her. She truly is a mix of both of us. It's a good thing that she just got my looks. Then Xena's thoughts turned sad. That poor child.
"That must have been hard on Lyena, losing her father and mother within a year."
Cyrene sat watching her daughter, seeing the emotions that crossed her daughter's face. Anger, amusement, joy, sympathy and remembered how her daughter always did have a busy mind.
"Oh, it was but Lyena is a strong young woman. She pulled through it better then anyone thought she would." Cyrene stopped and waited for her daughter to sit next to her. "To tell the truth I think it was just a matter of time before Toris followed Rheia anyway. He slowly started to die the day she passed on."
Xena nodded her head in understanding. "They were truly in love. I'm glad, Toris found happiness."
A small smile formed at the corners of the mother's mouth, causing even more wrinkles. "That he did, he was truly happy, you should have seen him after Lyena was born. He found a good match in Rheia, she was a great woman and she loved him and Lyena so much. I loved her like a daughter."
Hearing that Xena's heart went out to her mother. "I am so sorry Mom."
Cyrene looked at her daughter in confusion. "For what dear?"
"For all that you have been through. What happened with father, losing two sons, a woman you though of as a daughter and all the stuff I put you through."
A sad smile crossed the old tavern owner's face at her daughter compassion
"Oh little one, don't be sorry." Cyrene pleaded as she took Xena's strong hand in her own. "It was just the hand that the fates dealt me. As for what you put me through, don't be sorry for that either. I admit it was hard but you have given me so much. You came back home, not just once but twice, and brought me another daughter and a granddaughter. My only regret is that we lost so much time."
She has always welcomed Gabrielle with open arms. That thought made her smile as she put her hand on her mother's shoulder.
"Me too, I love you Mom." Xena admitted as she hugged her mother close.
"I love you too little one" The old endearment easily fell from Cyrene's lips and made Xena's smile grow. Just then the teapot sounded to let them know it was ready to be drank.
"Let me go get that," Xena said pulling out of her mother's embrace and standing to retrieve the tea.
From the tall warrior woman's spot in the kitchen near the stove she got a perfect view into the main tavern area. There sitting around one of the tables was Gabrielle, Lyena, and Eve through the partly open door. Looking at the three of them together around the table Xena realized something. Look at the three of them. Gabrielle has been through so much, grown so much in the time we have been together. I forget that physically she is very close in age to those two. Actually she is even physically younger then our daughter. My how my bard has grown. 'Our daughter'' My Bard' can I even say that anymore after they way I have treated her? After I did what I did to her?
The sharp-minded old woman at the table did not miss the change in her daughter. Like any mother it hurt her to see a look of suck deep sadness on her child's face. "What is it Xena? Why the sad face?"
Xena let out a breath and pulled her eyes away from their focus point in the next room. Grabbing the tray she returned to her set with the tea. She waited tell after the warm liquid was pored and after taking a sip of her own before answering her mother. No matter what the Warrior Princess could always talk to her mom. She was very grateful for that fact right now.
"I have been thinking a lot lately and I realized that I have not been treating Gabrielle the way she deserved to be treated. We are not as close as we used to be that is my fault; I was focusing too hard on other things to even notice her sometimes. This has been going on for along time, it might be too late to fix things." She let out another breath and hung her head even lower. "I am afraid that she will leave and I don't know what to do to stop her."
Oh my poor child, every time you think you are hurting that wonderful woman you get all worked up and causes you to hurt yourself twice as much. The sad thing is half the time you are not even hurting, you only think you are because you believe you're not worthy of her love. "Give her more credit then that Xena. She knows you better then anyone and she understands how you think. I am sure that she understands that you had to focus on the baby and fighting the God's. Don't forget she was doing both those things along side you." Cyrene argued hoping to reassure her daughter.
Looking her mom right in the eye Xena stated. "I will never forget what she was doing for me, more important what she was doing for Eve. I know what she was doing and how hard she fought. That makes it worse because I know but I still treated her like shit. So I am giving her credit Mom, for the first time in a long time." With that the raven head dropped and her sky blue eyes focus on her teacup. "The way I have acted she has just reasons to leave. Gabrielle was there for me through everything. Putting her life on the line countless times. You saw how she was here when we were fighting Athena. She was like that the whole time, never thinking of herself, always putting us first."
Slumping down further and lowering her voice Xena prepared herself for what she was about to confess to her mother. "I killed her mom, the Gods used the Furies to get her to try and kill Eve. I didn't even stop to think about it, I just through my chakram at her. That's how I repaid all the love and support she gave me by cracking her on the head with my chakram. It surprises me that she is even here with me now. She has left me for a lot less then this before."
Cyrene would be lying if she said she was not shocked be what her daughter had just said. The elderly woman pondered a moment before speaking, taking the daughters hand in hers once again before she started. "Xena, I admit the I am shocked to hear that but Gabrielle is still here. I think if she was going to leave you should would have by now." The old woman stopped and started to cough loud and hard getting a worried look from her daughter.
"Are you OK Mom?" she asked rubbing the older woman's back with her free hand.
Once her body calmed down Cyrene waved her hand, as if to wave off the coughing like it was nothing. "I am fine dear." The older woman assured her daughter, patting their joined hands and smiling for good measure. "Now what I was saying was that I am sure she is hurting and torn up about what happened but if you don't talk to her about it she might change her mind. She can not go through this alone and neither can you. Instead of sitting here mopping around wondering why she has not left you take advantage of her being here. Sit down and tell Gabrielle what you just told me, tell her you are sorry and that you want to make things right. That I believe is the best method of attack in this situation." Cyrene said as the corners of her mouth turned up causing even more wrinkles in her face.
Xena allowed a sad smile to cross her lips too at her mother's attempts to lighten the mood. "Yeah, head on attach is the best method in this situation."
"Is there an echo in here?" The old mother asked. "Now go on and win this battle like all the others." She ordered as she patted her daughter's hand.
"The stacks were never this high before." The Warrior stated softly not looking up as she rose from the table.
"All the more reason to fight harder, little one, all the more reason." Cyrene smiled as her strong daughter engulfed her in a hug before she turned and walked out of the kitchen without another word. Everything will be fine; I will make sure of that.
The small blonde had felt Xena watching her for a while but chose to just keep up her conversation with Eve and Lyena. When Gabrielle finally chose to turn and meet the Warrior's eyes it was to late, she had turned just in time to see Xena turning around and walking back to the table to sit with her mother. Why did you stand there watching me for so long? You have not done that in moons? The Bard silently asked the Warrior.
Hearing her name being called brought Gabrielle out of her thoughts. "Huh? Oh sorry Lyena, What did you say?" Looking at the young woman.
"I asked if you wanted some more Cider."
"Yeah, thanks." Gabrielle smiled sweetly at the woman that looked so much like her Warrior. My Warrior? It's been a while since she has been my Warrior.
As her cousin got to retrieve the Cider Eve took a good look at the Bard and noticed the rather sad look on her face. "Gabrielle, what's bothering you?"
Greens eyes looked bore into her for a long moment before Gabrielle shock her head as if the clear it. "Oh it's nothing Eve. Just that, uh, I am wondering about my family back in Potadeia."
Eve narrowed her eyes slightly not fully believing Gabrielle's explanation but going with it anyway. "You must be really worried about what happened to them."
"Yeah I am, actually I think I am going to be heading out to Potadeia soon, maybe tomorrow."
"Oh?" Blue eyes widened with surprise. "You and mother have everything planed already?"
"Actually I have not told her yet." Gabrielle said casually
Now Eve was truly surprised and it showed in her voice. "You plan on leaving tomorrow and you have not even told her?"
Green eye narrowed in anger as Gabrielle stood up. "Eve I am an adult, I don't need your mothers permission to go see my family." She said coldly before turning and heading toward the stairs almost knocking Lyena down as she blew past her.
"What's with her?" Lyena asked with confusion.
"I have no idea, she said she was worried about finding out what happened to her family in Potadeia. Although I think there is more to it then that." Eve said, deciding it was best to leave out the other details.
"You all have been through so much, maybe it's all finally getting to her." Lyena offered as she took her seat.
"Maybe, I wish I had known them before this war with the Gods started. Reading Gabrielle's scrolls they don't even sound like the same people. In her scrolls she always wrote of their great friendship, how they worked through everything together. If you look at them now, it's like they are just going through the motions."
"Now that you bring it up, there is a difference. They seemÖ" Lyena would have said more but stopped when Xena came through the door the lead to the kitchen.
"Hey Aunt Xena." The two younger women said at the same time.
Xena raised an eyebrow at them, she knew something was up. "Hey, where did Gabrielle go?"
"She just headed up the stairs, I think toward your room." Lyena answered.
Xena nodded then turned to head up the stairs. Then turned when Eve called out to her.
"Something is bugging her, she is not in the best of moods."
Xena took in this news. "Thanks for the warning." She responded to her daughter before turning back toward the stairs.
The Warrior found Gabrielle in the room they shared every time the two visited Amphipolis.
"Hey" She said walking into the room closing the door behind her.
Gabrielle looked up from her spot on the bed to meet her friend's sky blue eyes "Hey" she said shortly then moved her gaze back to what she was doing. Xena let out a breath and lowered her eyes as well. That was when she seen that Gabrielle was packing.
A little surprised, Xena asked "You going some place?"
The Bard could tell there was hurt in the Warriors voice so she didn't look up from her task.
"Yeah, I am heading out tomorrow. I need to find out what happened to my parents and Lila. I am getting everything ready now so I can take off first thing in the morning. I'm not sure how long I will be gone but I'll send worÖ" She got out in a rush before she was cut off.
Shocked, hurt and worried the warrior interrupted. "Wait wait a minute. What do you mean YOU are leaving in the morning?"
"Just what I said." Gabrielle snapped getting impatient then raised her eyes to see the hurt in the blue orbs looking back at her. Opps.
"I meant to question you going alone because I thought when you went back to Potadeia I would go with you." Xena explained with hurt in her voice to match it in her eyes.
Lowering her eyes Gabrielle took her turn to explain. "Well, um, you're so happy here. I thought that you would want to stay and uhÖ" she stopped not able to keep going.
"Gabrielle I am happy here, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to leave for a little while to go with to Potadeia. Gabrielle, you were there for me when I feared coming back here because I didn't know what happened to mother or Toris. The least I can do is to support you when you go to Potadeia." The Warrior reasoned. Maybe I was wrong about Gabrielle giving me another chance. She does want to get away from me.
"Ah I don't know what to say. I guess my thinking was wrong." The Bard mumbled out after a few long moments.
"Yeah it was, but there's more to your thinking. It's not just because you thought I wanted to stay here, is it?" The warriors asked timidly fearing what the answer might be.
Gabrielle just looked at her for a few long moments before lowering her head again. It was now or never, she had to tell Xena what was on her mind. "No, I thought that maybe you just wanted to be with your family. With out having me in the way."
Xena was even more hurt and surprised then before. She doesn't think of us as family anymore?
"Gabrielle you are part of my family, what would ever make you think that you not." Well, that was stupid to ask Warrior, you know why she doesn't feel that way anymore. YOU made her feel that way. Xena's inner voice piped in again.
Come on Bard, what's wrong with you? Just spit it out already and get this over with. Taking a beep breath again to summon her courage Gabrielle answered. "Well things have not been the same between us Xena. We started to drift apart back in Chin." Slowing down and lowering her voice and her head she went on, saying something she knew she had to say. "Not to mention you hit me in the head with your chakram which lead to my death." There, I said it, I got it out. I admitted that my best friend killed me.
Warrior, you are so stupid. Did you really think that she would just forget about it and give you another chance? Xena chided herself. Well this might be my only chance to tell her I am sorry. Xena reached out and gently lifted Gabrielle's head so their eyes met. Xena's heart broke when she saw the tears in see green eyes.
"I know, and I am truly sorry about that Gabrielle, I was so preoccupied with being pregnant, then Eve was there and after we came back there was all the stuff with Eve again. I didn't stop to think that I was taking advantage of you. You did so much for Eve and I during that time and I didn't even see it. I repaid it all by ignoring you. That is one of the things I have been thinking about while we have been here and that's what I wanted to talk to you about when I came in." Xena admitted before continuing. Her voice full of the shame she felt for the way she had been acting. "I want to change that, and try to make things better. As for killing you, there is nothing I can do to make it right. There is no excuse for me doing that."
Gabrielle was shocked. She didn't think Xena had thought about what she had done or even seen she had done them. "Xena, I don't think I have ever heard you say that much at once the whole time I have known you." Wanting to easy the tension a bit she said it with a small grin. Well inside she was questioning. But does she really mean it?
"I have a good reason to say all of it." The Warrior returned with a grin of her own. Ok, she is making jokes, is that good or bad?
"Xena, I know you didn't plan what happened and I know you would never knowingly hurt me in anyway. I know what was going on when we were doing all that fighting to protect Eve. That was both of us because we both wanted Eve to be safe. When it comes to the fact that you killed me I know you're a warrior and when you saw me about to kill Eve it was a natural action for you. The thing is, it should not be a natural act with me. You say you love me but then the way you reacted was like you would have to anyone else. That is what hurt me the most Xena."
The warrior reached out and gently ran her fingers over Gabrielle's cheek. "I am so sorry for that, after I saw what I did I just wanted to lay down and die. I think if it was not for Eve and that fact that neither of us stay dead very long I would have lost hope did just that. I was sure that the time for hurting each other was over. Gabrielle, I want to try to change that, to make things better between us."
"Xena things are not going to change over night but we have to give it a try. We've been through too much to do otherwise." Before she could even finish the warrior had pulled her into a tight hug.
"Thank you Gabrielle, I know I don't deserve another chance but I will make good on my promise to work with you to make things better. Please believe me Gabrielle."
She is pleading with me; she never pleads with anyone. Gabrielle hugged her partner even tighter.
"I believe you when you say you want to make things better. I also know that it is going to be a challenge. You have to do more then just say things will change, or that you will try" Gabrielle smiles when she saw the twinkle in Xena's eye. "Oh yeah, you like challenges don't you?"
"Yep, I love a good challenge. I am also a woman of action, that's how I plan keep my promise." The Warrior replied as she leaned down to meet the Bards lips.
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