The Deal Part III
by Paully Adams
Gabrielle, Xena and any other characters featured in the actual TV series are copyrighted to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures; just borrowing for this story. The rest of the story and other characters are mine. Please contact me before using any of my stuff. Thanks.
SPOILERS: Got this idea from reading some script pages on MaryDs Xena Aussie fan site. The script pages dealt with the baby arc in season 5. This is my take on the "Twilight," so a bit of season five is spoilt. Also spoiler for Succession.
SERIES DISCLAIMER: This is part 3 of a series. You must read Parts 1 & 2 if you want to understand what is going on.
This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
"Poteidaea?" Fear and anger filled the young Queen's eyes.
"Yes, my Queen, Poteidaea was attacked by Athena's army. Xena headed for Poteidaea as soon as she heard. She will meet you there."
Three flashes of light appeared. "Eve is safe at the village. I can take you to Poteidaea if you like." Ares stood waiting for the bard's answer.
Eponin glanced over at Gabrielle. What is he doing here? I thought that they were enemies.
The Queen nodded and in a flash of light, both Ares and Gabrielle was gone. The scout looked at the weapon master questioningly. "What was that all about?"
Eponin looked at the scout. "I don't know, but something tells me it isn't good."
Death and destruction surrounded them. The smell of burning flesh and blood filled their nostrils as the town square lied there; nothing but ashes and burning wood. "Why?"
"You know why. Even though I have to admit, this is not Athena's usual style. She must be getting desperate."
"Gabrielle?!" The bard quickly turned around and when she saw who it was, she quickly jumped off her steed. Gabrielle eyed the old family friend. "Doria, are you alright?"
The old woman nodded as tears ran down her face. Gabrielle embraced the old woman. "They destroyed everything Gabrielle, everything." Doria looked Gabrielle in the face, holding her. "When I didn't see you with Xena, I thought that ..."
"I'm fine. Have you seen Mother or Father? Lila?"
"No. Xena headed towards the farm."
Gabrielle nodded. "You stay here, okay? I'll be back."
"Be careful Gabrielle."
Gabrielle climbed on Storm. Ares could feel the fear, anger and darkness rising in her. "To the farmhouse?"
Gabrielle nodded, not sure that her voice would work at this moment.
Gabrielle saw the Amazons and Xena standing outside the house. She jumped off Storm and ran for the house. Xena grabbed her before she could get through the door. "Don't go in there Gabrielle."
"Let me go!" The scent of blood filled the air. "Let me go!"
Xena held Gabrielle tightly until she stopped struggling. "Gabrielle...I'm sorry...They're..."
"No!" Gabrielle pushed Xena away from her and barged into the house. Lying on the ground was her father Herodotus, a sword in his hand. Gabrielle bent down and reached out to her father, hoping beyond hope that he was still alive. But his body was stiff and cold. "Daddy?"
By the hearth was her mother, Hecuba. Gabrielle did not need to touch her, she knew she was already dead. Gabrielle swallowed hard as she began moving towards the back of her childhood home. Xena watched as her best friend slowly opened the bedroom door and walked inside.
On the bed laid her sister Lila and by her side was the old rag doll that Gabrielle had given to her so many years ago. Gabrielle crossed the room and sat by her sister. She pulled her sister up and cradled her, rocking back and forth. It was then that her silent tears became anguished sobs.
"Athena! Show yourself!" Apollo screamed. Athena appeared before her brother. "You Bitch! How could you?"
"Don't blame me. She went against us."
"So you've decided to borrow one of Hera's plays? If you can't hurt the one you want to hurt, so you go after their family and friends?"
"I will do whatever is necessary Apollo. Maybe if you and Artemis kept a more closer eye on her, she wouldn't be involved in this."
"Xena is her soulmate. She would choose to stand by her no matter what."
"Are you sure about that Apollo? Maybe if she knew the truth, maybe if she realized whose blood flowed through her veins, she would see the error of her ways."
"What are you saying?"
"You aren't that dense Apollo. She has already lost one family because of her alliance with Xena and that child. Do you really think if she regains her memories that she would risk losing her real father?"
Apollo eyed the Goddess of War. Apollo did not have much experience with hate, he felt it only a few times before, but right now hate filled his core. "You stay away from my daughter Athena. If you don't, your twilight may come faster than it should."
"Apollo, face facts. Your daughter holds the key to our survival. She is the only one who can get close enough to kill that child."
"That child is my daughter's heart. Gabrielle loves Eve as if Eve was her own daughter. Just as it is impossible for me to raise my hand against Gabrielle, Gabrielle could never hurt Eve."
"Not even if she knew that child meant the death of her father?"
Apollo took three steps towards the goddess. "You caused the death of the only father she knew. Besides, I would never place her in that position; I would never ask her to choose between Eve and me."
"I don't understand you."
"No you don't understand me, Athena. You have never had the blessing of holding a child in your arms and realizing that you have brought life in the world. You have never seen a child look up to you with so much love and trust that you can see it in their eyes. You have never experienced the great joy, fear and hope for your child's future. No, Athena, you have never been blessed in that way. But I have. I have." His eyes had a far away glaze over them as he remembered. "And I will die before I let you or anyone else destroy my daughter...and grand-daughter." He walked away from Athena. "You have been warned." He disappeared in a globe of white light.
"We shall see Apollo, we shall see."
The sun was making its way to the horizon, when Xena entered into the girls' bedroom. "Gabrielle?" No response came. "Gabrielle, it is time." Gabrielle nodded. They walked outside to the funeral pyres. In the crowd were a number of the villagers including Doria. Gabrielle grabbed a torch as Xena sang the death durge. Gabrielle walked over to the first pyre that held her father. She tried to raise her arm to light it, but she couldn't. She stood there, hoping that this was a nightmare and that she would wake up. Doria quietly moved next to her and held her free hand, clasping it. It was then Gabrielle realized that the nightmare was in fact reality. She took a breath and then lit each of the pyres and watched as the flames engulfed the bodies of her family. After Xena finished singing, Gabrielle walked back to the house, grabbed a sword and its sheath from above the fireplace, and started walking towards Storm.
"Gabrielle, don't do this!" Xena ran and grabbed her by the arm. "You can't fight a god!"
"Leave me alone!" She snatched her arm away from Xena. "What am I suppose to do? She killed them! You think I'm just going to sit and do nothing?!? Damn it, Xena they're my family!" She pulled herself onto Storm. "And I will get her for this, or die trying."
"Gabrielle, is this what you family wanted? For you to throw your life away?" Xena walked over to Gabrielle and placed her hand upon her thigh. "They wouldn't want you to do this."
"Xena, back off now." Her voice had a maddening calmness to it. "I'm going after her."
"Gabrielle!" Doria walked quickly to the bard. "Get down from that horse this instant! Don't think I won't pull you down and turn you over my knee!"
The Queen glared at the old woman. "Doria, this does not concern you."
"It does too. I helped raised you and I'm not going to stand here and watch as you throw your life away. What you are planning to do is suicide. This is not the way to honor your family, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle looked at her two friends. "Xena, go back home to your daughter, okay? I'll be fine. With that she took off with Storm."
"I'm going after her." Xena turned and headed toward Argo.
"Xena, wait." Doria reached out and grabbed Xena's arm. "Before you go, I have something that may help Gabrielle." Doria reached under her coat and pulled out a small wooden box. As she opened it she said, "I use to watch over Gabrielle and Lila when they were children. Hecuba gave me some things to hold on to until.... well, they wanted her to have these." She pulled out a small folded piece of parchment and two pendants. The gold pendant was rectangular in shape with cryptic symbols on it. "This is from Herodotus. It is a family heirloom. "And this," she held up the second pendant that was shaped as the sun. The center was diamond, and the rays were silver, "this belonged to her real father."
"Her real father? Herodotus wasn't her father?"
"Herodotus was her father in every sense of the word, except one."
"Does she know?"
"Yes Xena, she knows."
Xena looked closer at the pendant and recognized it. "Doria, only Apollo's high priest have pendants like this. Was he a priest?"
"Something like that. Anyway, the pendant came with a promise. If Gabrielle needs anything all she has to do is go to Apollo and he will help. And if Gabrielle is determined to go after Athena, she is going to need all the help she can get." Doria handed over the pendants and the parchment. "This is a note that explains everything. Give it only to Gabrielle."
"I will. Thanks Doria."
"Athena! Show yourself! Damn you, show yourself!"
"Temper, temper, little one." The goddess appeared in front of the young woman.
"Don't call me your little one!" Gabrielle pulled out the sword. "You murdering bitch!" She was able to take one step before she could feel her throat constricting. She fell to her knees as she began to suffocate.
"Gabrielle, I'm not here to fight. Since you are so fond of making deals, I hope you consider mine." With a whiff of her hand, the unseen hand left Gabrielle's throat, and she began to swallow great gulps of air. "Since Artemis and Ares are both protecting Amazonia and that child, you are the only one who is able to get close to that baby. So you are the only one who has a chance of killing it. Now before you say no, hear me out."
Gabrielle tried to stand up, but she couldn't. She was still too weak. Athena walked up to her. "My deal is simple Gabrielle. The baby's life for your father's."
"You already killed my father!"
"I'm not talking about Herodotus, but your real father. If the child lives, your father dies. If the child dies, your father lives. Are we understanding each other?"
"You know who he is?"
"Yes, I know who your real father is. And I promise you he will die if Xena's child continues to live. You have already sacrificed your own soul and your family for that child. How much more are you willing to sacrifice?" Gabrielle didn't answer.
"I guess I need to sweeten the deal some. Hades, can you please come here?" The god of death appeared. "Please tell the bard what you can offer her?"
Hades turned to Gabrielle. "For killing the child, I will return your family to you Gabrielle. Thats right, Herodotus, Hecuba and Lila will be alive once more."
Gabrielle eyed the two gods. "How do I know you are not lying Athena. I don't even know who my real father is. How do I know you didn't just grab some man off the road and claiming him to be my father? And even if you had my father, why should I care? He abandoned me as a baby. Herodotus was the only father I knew."
"That is not true Gabrielle. Didn't Hecuba tell you what happened?"
"That story...it was a lie. She only said that so that I wouldn't hate him."
"Gabrielle, the story is true. Your father was always by your side. But it was very difficult for Herodotus and him to be in your life. The fighting and arguments were tearing Hecuba and you apart. But Hecuba tried to work things out, since you inherited your father's powers at such a tender age and he was the only one who could teach you how to control them. But then you got very sick, and your powers became too much for your body, they were raging out of control. To save your life, he blocked your powers. By this time, things were so bad among your parents that Herodotus wanted Hecuba to choose between him and your father. Your father made the choice for Hecuba; he erased your memories and disappeared from your life."
"How do you know that story Athena?"
An evil smile crept its way on Athena's face. "Because your father told me the story."
"You bitch!" Gabrielle lunged at Athena, knocking her off her feet. Hades quickly pulled Gabrielle off the goddess and held her back.
Athena got up and looked at the bard; loving the fact she got the reaction she wanted. *There is no way she is going to let her father die. It won't be long now.* "I sympathize with your plight Gabrielle, I really do. But think about what we are offering here. The safe return of your mother, sister and both fathers to your life. Four lives for the price of one. You don't have to answer now, but I will need your answer soon. Time is running out for your father." With that the two gods disappeared.
Gabrielle sank to her knees. The day's events finally caught up with her and the sobs freely escaped from her. She didn't notice the sound of hooves coming closer.
Xena climbed off of Argo and silently came upon the bard. "Gabrielle, are you okay?"
Gabrielle looked up at Xena. "Yeah, I'll be fine. Lets go home okay? I just want to go home to Amazonia."
Has Gabrielle been pushed to her limit? Will she accept the offer, or will she tell Athena to take that deal and shove it? Stay tuned for part four of The Deal.
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