A Solstice Surprise
By Ri

Disclaimer: This is the third part of my series that begin with Wishing For A Warrior and Wishing For a Warrior...for Xmas. It is not necessary to read the other two but you might so you understand the connection between the characters. No sex or violence just some threats back and forth. It's just my very late holiday tale of characters I can't stop writing about. Enjoy, Ri.

"Yoo-hoo, Esmeralda!" Samantha called in the living room her home as she made sure everything she needed was in her purse. She was dressed warmly to go to Manhattan to meet her husband Darrin for lunch and do some Christmas shopping for her family.

"Where is she?" she muttered to herself as she paced and looked at her watch worrying she would be late.

"I'm here Samantha."

"Why are you invisible?"

"Is he here?"

"No, I need to meet him; he's at work."

The middle aged witch suddenly appeared in front of the younger witch wearing an old-fashioned business suit.

"You look very nice. Why are you wearing that?" Samantha asked smiling at the shy witch.

"Oh I have a part time job working as a secretary for Mrs. Claus."

"Oh? Well, are you too busy to baby sit? I wouldn't want to interfere…"

"Oh no, Mrs. Claus schedule is nil at Christmas time. Afterwards she is very busy; she is a very social person."

"I see," Sam replied with a sweet smile. "Well the kids are upstairs and are delighted that you will taking care of them. I'll only be a couple of hours."

"No problem."

"Um, Esmeralda, there is no need for you to be so nervous so don't fade and please try not to sneeze. Ok?"

"I'll do my best."

Sam smiled and winked; "I know that." Sam picked up purse from where she had placed it on the table and the car keys. "See you later," she called over her shoulder as she left the house."

Esmeralda took off her coat and hung it up. She then went up stairs to find out what her two lively charges are up to. Tabitha and Adam were on Tabitha's bed and the pretty little witch was reading her newest storybook of The Warrior and The Bard.

"Oh? Hi Esmeralda, how are you?"

"Hello Tabitha, Adam. I'm fine thank you. How are you two?"

"Fine!" Said Adam with a big smile.

"Where great, I was just reading Adam my newest book about Xena and Gabrielle that Mommy got me."

"Who are they?"

"They're our friends. They spent last Christmas with us." She turned the book so the older Witch could see the picture. "Aren't they pretty?"

"Oh yes, very. You met them?"

"Yes, it was an accident; I wished them twice. I promised Mommy and Daddy I wouldn't do it again."

"Oh that's….a …good….little….witch …but what…a…shame…" Esmeralda sneezed.

Suddenly three very surprised people realized they weren't they were just a few seconds before.

"Oh dear."

**** *** **** ***
Xena and Gabrielle were in a beautiful glade. Xena had brought her friend there for a special Solstice surprise. They were settled in front of a warm fire cooking breakfast when Xena stiffened. She looked alert and stood quickly drawing her Chakram from where it rested below her.

"What?" Asked Gabrielle drawing her Sais.

"I'm not sure but something," Xena whispered back.

Puffs of smoke appeared on the other side of the fire and three very surprised people appeared before the two women. Xena and Gabrielle recognized two of them immediately. Xena put her Chakram on her belt as she said, "Tabitha, Adam what on Earth are you doing here?"

Tabitha looked at her two friends shrugging very confused herself, "Um, Esmeralda did a no-no accidentally."

"Oh Dear," mumbled the older witch and then vanished.

Gabrielle had put her Sais away, and now with her hands on her hips, she looked at where the woman had been and said, "Great, all we need is for someone to see her disappear like that."

"She can't help it, Gabrielle. She does it when she is scared," explained the little girl as she gave each of them hug and kiss on the cheek. Xena just pulled Adam into her arms cuddling him close as she asked, "Tabitha, What brought you here?"

"She sneezed while she was looking at a picture of you in one of my books."

"Guess she didn't like how we looked," said Gabrielle with smirk as she brought the little girl into hug.

"No, I think your both very pretty," said a disembodied voice.

Gabrielle met Xena's eyes, "Xena?"

"Are you here?"

"Of course I am. I'd never let the children out of my sight. They are my responsibility."

"How about coming into our sight. I would make easier for us to communicate with you and find a way to help you home."

"Come on Esmeralda they are both really nice."

"Oh…ok," said the now visible highly embarrassed witch.

Xena smiled and as she adjusted Adam to sit comfortably on her shoulders she said, "That's better. Now that you're all here can you explain this to us?"

"When I get nervous I fade. When I get upset or distracted I sneeze and what ever I'm looking at or thinking about appears or I go there. I rarely do it like this in reverse though. I am such a loser."

"Xena, Sam is going to go nuts when she finds the kids gone."

Xena nodded and looked at the very upset older woman, "Esmeralda, did you leave Sam any clue what happened to the kids?"

"Only the open book."

"Oh boy," said Gabrielle she had an arm around Tabitha's shoulder but her eyes met her best friends. The big blue eyes were just as worried as her own.

*** *** **** ****

"Esmeralda, I'm home!" Called Sam from the foyer of her home as she hung up her coat. She went to the kitchen and found the lunch she left untouched. Then she ran upstairs and found an empty nursery.

"Holy smokes!" She looked around the room to try to find out where her children were. She found a book and her eyes widened. "Mother!"

"Yes Dear…where are my Grandchildren?"

"I have a horrible feeling they are in ancient Greece."


"Could Esmeralda sneeze them into this book?"

"Yes but…Oh my?"

"Exactly; any other witch would just snap their fingers and bring them back home. But Esmeralda doesn't zap as well as she use to and…"

"They could be stuck? Would you like me to go?"

"No Mother, I know Xena and Gabrielle it would be better if I go. If Darrin calls tell him we are on an outing…"

"Well….its not a lie…"

"No, but it won't work for long he's smart. I hope I will be back very quickly. Wish me luck."

"Lots of luck, Love." Said Endora picking up the book and clucking her tongue at the folly of younger witches.

*** **** *** ****

Five very tense people ate Gabrielle's breakfast around the fire that Xena had set up.

Adam got up and waddled to Xena with his little hands out saying, "Pick up…Sena…Pick up…"

Xena smiled and put down her plate and tea. Then she picked up the little boy, swinging the now laughing little fellow onto her shoulders. "Ok, Little one what do you want to do now that your up there?"

"Pony ride, peaze…"

Xena chuckled and tousled the little boys hair. "Ok, Sweetheart, Giddy yup!" She started to run around the camp with the now joyfully smiling little boy. Xena had a big smile too obviously enjoying it.

"Oh dear, what if she drops…"

"Don't worry she won't; she adores Adam as much as he adores her. Would you like some more fish?"

Esmeralda took the offered plate then Gabrielle looked at Tabitha who looked a bit jealous of her brother. "Tabitha?" Tabitha turned and Gabrielle patted her lap. The little girl smiled brightly and climbed up onto her friend's lap hugging her tight. "I really missed you and Xena a lot. I promised Mommy and Daddy though no more no-nos."

"I know Sweetheart, we understand. And believe me we missed both of you as much as you missed us."

"Can we spend Christmas with you?"

"We'd love that but your Mommy would be very worried."

Xena stopped suddenly and brought Adam quickly to Esmeralda. "Take the baby and don't fade." She whispered then stood in front of them all her sword drawn protectively.

"Come out where I can see you!"

"I thought you only did that with Aries?" Discord said with a sneer as she suddenly appeared before the warrior.

"Nope I can smell all scum. What do you want?"

"Who are your new friends?"

"None of your business, get lost Discord," she raised her Chakram.

"I think that is a really good idea. These little ones are way too cute to be around such a….you know…" said Aphrodite who appeared between Xena and Discord.

Xena smiled at her friend and then looked over her shoulder at very relieved looking Gabrielle who was standing at her back with her staff at the ready the kids, and Esmeralda protectively behind her.

"Fine, for now!" said the Discord with an angry scowl as she disappeared in a flash of light.

"Wow! I wish I could do that," said Esmeralda quietly.

Aphrodite smiled at the woman and said, "Please Sweetie, you do not want to be like that…um, mean woman." She smiled at Adam waving and saying, "Aren't you a cutie pie?" She held out her hands toward Esmeralda, "May I?"

Unsure the witch looked at Xena who smiled and nodded. Esmeralda then let the Goddess take Adam into her arms.

Tabitha walked over to Xena beside Gabrielle looking up at Aphrodite she said in awe to her friends, "She is very pretty."

"Yep, she is. Come on Sweetheart I'll introduce you." She took the little girl's free hand and led her to the Goddess of Love.

"Aphrodite. I'd like you to meet a very good friend of mine and Gabrielle's, Tabitha. Tabitha this is the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite's one of the few Gods I actually like."

The little girl looked up at the beautiful vision holding her brother and held tightly to Xena's hand. Her eyes were huge, as she looked at her not sure what to say or do.

Xena saw what was happening and pulled her close, kissed her on the cheek and whispered, "She's really very nice Tabitha. I like her and so does Gabrielle we wouldn't let anyone touch Adam that we didn't trust."

Tabitha then nodded and smiled feeling better. She walked up to the Goddess and said, "Hi."

Aphrodite smiled softly and said, "Aren't you a little beauty. Two really adorable children, it's nice to meet your you Tabitha you're a doll."

"I think you're beautiful."

"Thanks Sweetie." She then looked at Xena and Gabrielle, "So are you two baby-sitting?"

Gabrielle shrugged, "Sort of. Esmeralda accidentally came here when she sneezed."

"Sneezed?" Aphrodite asked as she tickled Adam in the ribs to his delight.

"Um, yes," said the nervous witch behind them.

"Well I'd like to sneeze a certain cow out of the known world."

Xena who knew that the Goddess was talking of Discord said, "How about right out of existence?"

"I'd love to but Zeus would go nuts. So what are you going to do about the kids?"

"Can you send them home?"

"I can try?"

"Um excuse me?" Said a soft recognizable voice from behind them.

They all turned and found Sam with a very relieved and weary smile on her face.

"Mommy!" Tabitha cried as she ran to her mother happily. Aphrodite gently put the wiggling little boy down so he could run to his mother too.

"Hi, Sam," said Gabrielle softly.

"Hello, Gabrielle," replied the beautiful witch as she hugged and kissed her two jumping children.

"Nice to see ya again, Sam," Said Xena with smile leaning against a tree her sword and Chakram both neatly put back into place. "Esmeralda had interesting timing; right in time for Winter Solstice."

"Hi Xena, I'm not sure Esmeralda intended that did you?"

"No Ma'am."

"You have beautiful children," the Goddess of love said sweetly.

"Thank you, who are you?"

"Sam, this Aphrodite. Aphrodite, this Samantha Stevens Tabitha and Adam's mother and a very nice witch."

"Oh yeah, I have heard of you. Cool Man!"

Samantha was amused by the term, "Thanks, I've heard of you too of course. Nice to meet you in person."

"Thanks, you seem like a together chick, How did this one bring your kids here?"

Tabitha giggled and looked up at her mother saying, "She sounds like Auntie Serena."

"Yes Sweetheart, I noticed. Aphrodite how did you learn to speak in such a modern way?"

"Oh, I get around pretty Witch," said the Goddess of Love with a wink.

Samantha's eyes widened and she looked at Xena who shrugged and rolled her eyes.

"Ok, are you ready to come home?"

"Mommy could we bring Xena and Gabrielle pretty please?"

Adam was jumping in Sam's arms he was so excited by the thought.

"Kid's I don't think your Daddy would like that."

"But he likes them, Mommy. I know he does. He told me so."

Xena came over and kneeled beside Tabitha, "Sweetheart, your Mommy is worried about…"

Suddenly, she stood up and said quickly, "Sam, you and the kids, take Esmeralda over by Aphrodite now." She strode forward her sword out of its scabbard again. Gabrielle grabbed her staff was beside her ready for what ever was to come.

Discord appeared beside Aries. "Playing with little kiddies are we, Xena?"
"What do you care?"
"Normally I wouldn't but with these powerful ones I want an introduction."

"Aries lay off. They don't want any part of you and you know I don't either."

"Let me ask them…"

"Sam, do you want any part of the God of War?" Asked Xena over her shoulder her voice in a growl.

"No, thanks we have enough problems in our own world."

"I can be very creative…" Aries started to say.

"Just shut up and forget it. They are good people. They are our friends, which means they are off limits. Now scram!"

"Are you presuming to dismiss me, Xena?"


"Well see about that."

The dark beings disappeared and Xena looked over at her friends. She held out her arms and said, "May I?"

"Sure?" Said Sam handing her crying son to her friend.

Xena cuddled the little boy and said, "Don't worry Adam, Gabrielle and I won't let that mean man hurt you," she cooed tenderly.

Aphrodite smiled and looked at Gabrielle who smiled back. The Goddess stepped forward and said, "Don't worry Samantha. I'll talk to my father. I'll make sure he doesn't bother you. I do think you should go now though."

Xena looked over the now calm little boy's shoulder and said, "Sam, I'm rethinking Christmas. I think we should come, um, just in case."

Samantha clearly reading the worry in the warrior's eyes nodded. She waived her arms and all but Aphrodite were gone.

"I think I better go up to mount Olympus have a chat with Dad."

*** *** *** ****

The two extra people who appeared before a very surprised Endora.

"Who are these two beautiful ladies, Darling?" Asked the older witch with a smile.

Tabitha was very excited, "Oh Grandmama, this is Xena and Gabrielle! Aren't they wonderful?"

"Yes, my Dove. They are indeed."

Sam shook her head and said with smile, "Xena, Gabrielle this is my mother Endora."

Xena and Gabrielle nodded and smiled politely.

With a wave of her hand Sam changed the girls out of their warrior clothes and into modern clothes. The girls admired each other then Xena with an amused raised eyebrow said, "Didn't like our normal clothes, huh?"

"You know better then that."

Xena laughed and shrugged, "Is Darrin home?"

"No, thank heaven."

"Mother and Darrin have issues," Sam said softly sitting down on Tabitha's bed.

"Um, he really seems to be a very nice man," said Gabrielle softly.

"You are a sweet child but my problem with Derwood is he's mortal. And a typical mortal at that. My Samantha could have a done a lot better…"

"Enough mother!"

Xena watched affectionately as Esmeralda led the little ones out of the room for a very late lunch. Then her eyebrows shot up as she remembered something.

She walked over and whispered to Samantha who nodded and said, "Mother, may I have a quiet word with you?"

"Sam, remember Aries…"

"Xena believe me you'd be most amused to see a battle between my mother and the God of War."

"Oh, I think that would be amusing. Is he cute?"

Gabrielle giggled and nodded, "Yep and he has a huge crush on Xena."

"Oh, he does not!"

"Sure he does."

"Does not!"

"Does too!"


"Xena, who followed you around after you had Eve to get hooked up with you?"

"He wanted immortality."

"And you!"

"Did not!"



"Why don't you two agree to disagree?" Said Samantha diplomatically with a very amused expression on her face.

Xena and Gabrielle reluctantly nodded.

Endora was very amused and smiled wickedly as she said, "Oh he sound like fun. I love a challenge and I could teach your upstart a thing or two.'

"Not mine…"

"Yes he is."


Endora laughed enjoying them and said, "You are two very cute; I see why my Grandchildren and daughter adore you."

"Mother, Darrin loves them too!"

"Hmm, well I guess he has some taste." And she was gone in a flash of sparks.

"Wow! She is like Aries." Said Gabrielle quite awed.

Sam shook her head. "She's very powerful."

"She doesn't like Darrin I don't really understand why?" said Xena softly.

"She does have some affection for him because I love him and he's her Grandchildren's father and she of course worships her Grandchildren."

"With very good reason, your children are very special," said Xena softly.

*** *** *** ***

Xena was playing on the floor with Adam and Tabitha. They had train tracks set up around the Christmas tree and were setting up the train. Xena had never seen a train before so Tabitha got her fathers Encyclopedia so she could show the warrior what it looked like. She was very intrigued with the idea of it and enjoyed helping the kids put together the toy one.

Tabitha and Samantha had finished the tree as Adam and Xena had put the tracks around the tree. Then Tabitha had gotten the box with the toy train from Adam's room that got Xena interested in the modern form of transportation. She peppered Samantha with questions about how they worked and what people did on them as they were transported.

Esmeralda and Gabrielle were just finishing the table for lunch when Endora came down the stairs with big smile on her face. She looked her Grandchildren as she asked in a loving voice, "Are my pretty little ones having fun?" They both looked up at her nodded with huge smiles.

Gabrielle then called from the kitchen, "Lunch is ready!"

They all gathered around the beautifully done table. Samantha smiled and said, "This is beautiful. Thank you for helping me Gabrielle."

Gabrielle merely blushed and nodded. Esmeralda vanished.

Gabrielle giggled, and Xena rolled her eyes. Samantha shook her head and said, "Esmeralda, I think it would be better if you would materialize please."

Esmeralda reappeared and everyone sat down to eat the delicious lunch.

Aries appeared before them with a wicked grin and his hands on his hips. Xena and Gabrielle jumped up protectively in front of the family.

"What are you doing here?"

Oh, just trying to participate in a little mortal good cheer."

"Well go home and do it somewhere else."

"I thought this Christmas stuff was about the other cheek?"

"Unless you want yours on the other side of your head, I'd get out of here."

"Such violent threats in front of innocent children. Bad form Warrior."

"I seem to remember you letting go of my daughter into the hands of fighting army just because I turned down your proposition. I find it hard to believe you care for any child."

"You don't know me as well…"

"Oh, I do know you Aries, too well…"

"Excuse me, young man would mind leaving so our family could eat?"

"I am the God of War, not some young mortal to be ordered about…"

"Young man, when your father was still trying to figure out how to throw a lighting bolt I was the powerful witch I am today."

"Are you challenging me?"

"Yes as a matter of fact I am!"

"Darling, this Demi-God does not frighten me."

"Demi-God! Madam do not make me mad!"


"Shut up Xena…"

"Do not worry child, I am not at all scared of the upstart."

"Upstart! Listen you old cow!"

"Watch your tongue young man!"

"Enough! If you two are going on with this could you go somewhere else your scaring my children!"
"Of course, my Darling," said Endora before Aries could bat an eyelash Endora waived her hand and they were both gone.

"Wow! I have never seen anyone take on Aries like that except Xena," Said Gabrielle impressed.

"Yeah Sam, your Mother was amazing, but…"

Sam shrugged, "She loves her grandchildren and they were scaring them. Don't worry Xena, she can take care of herself."

"Where did they go?"

"The atmospheric continuum."

"Where is that?" Asked Gabrielle.

"It's between worlds, it's somewhere Witches control."

"Its like the place Aries put us when he made us fight Madigan?"

Xena nodded and asked still worried, "Will Endora be ok?"

Sam smiled, "It's more of question if Aries will be ok."

"Is Endora that powerful?"


"Wow!" Xena and Gabrielle said at the same time looking at each other in shock.

*** *** *** ***

Darrin come home shocked to find Xena and Gabrielle. He looked at his daughter who looked at her mother with big worried eyes. Sam smiled lovingly at her daughter hugging her close. She looked at her husband and said, "Sweetheart, it wasn't Tabitha or Adam this time. Darrin can I speak to privately please?"

Darrin was non-plussed but nodded his head as he followed his wife to his den.

Xena scooped up Adam and then took Tabitha's hand in hers, "Come you two lets finish the toy carriage ride we were working on…"

"Xena it's a train set," Tabitha said in a soft nervous voice.

Xena shrugged and then said, "What ever you call it. Let's play," she said with a playful smile.

Tabitha nodded she sat down with the Warrior, Bard and her brother on the floor carefully putting the train together.

"What!" was heard from the den.

All heads snapped up and Xena smiled at the kids, "I guess your Daddy is a bit upset."

Gabrielle had Adam on her lap he got closer to her as he heard his father scream. Tabitha rubbed her brother's back and looked at Xena sadly, "He yells like that when someone does a no-no. Especially Grandmama."

Gabrielle looked at Xena who shrugged then whispered to her friend. Gabrielle smiled looked at the two busy children and then whispered back. Xena winked and nodded making the bard's smile brighten.

*** **** *** ***

The formal Christmas party was in full swing when Endora appeared behind her daughter. Samantha had zapped Xena and Gabrielle into stunning cocktail dresses that had many of the men gulping down martini's to keep control of their libidos. Darrin had to warn off a couple of his more adventures friends. Dinner had been eaten and Xena was amazed at the strange subjects that were discussed.

"I believe that your Aries will be staying clear for quite a long while. He has some deep wounds to lick," said Endora in an amused tone to Xena and Gabrielle.


"I made him appear in the middle of the Coliseum in Rome with nothing on but a large diaper."

Both girls burst into a fit of giggles. Endora smiled wickedly and said, "Well if he is going to act like a spoiled baby, I thought it only right that he look like one."

"You are scary, Endora," said Gabrielle shaking her head at the older woman's power.

"Thank you my dear, that is a lovely compliment."

Surprised green eyes met very amused blue, "You are something else, Endora. I guess it's lucky you like us, huh?"

"Why wouldn't I? You are wonderful to my Grandchildren so I like you both a lot."

"But Darrin…never mind," said Gabrielle embarrassed.

"I can not take away the fact that Derwood is a wonderful father. I can not take away the fact that he worships his children and my daughter. I just can't forgive him for being a mortal."

"But he can't help that…"

"He can help that he has stopped my baby from using her birth right…"

"He did not. Mother it was my choice it was mutual choice actually. No one forces me to do anything. You of all beings should know that," said Sam softly from behind her mother. She was holding a tray of drinks which both Xena and Gabrielle smiled and accepted.

"But Samantha…"

"No Mother, enough. Here be useful and help me circulate the tray of desert I left in the kitchen."

"Humph!" Endora snorted but she dutifully went to the kitchen to get the tray for her daughter.

"Wow!" Said Gabrielle shaking her head impressed by Sam's handling of her mother.

Sam shrugged and smiled, "She is one of a kind."

*** *** *** *** ***

The next morning two sets of little feet came storming into the guestroom. Adam jumped on Gabrielle and Tabitha jumped on top of Xena saying, "Wake up it's Christmas."

Sleepy blue eyes looked up at the excited little girl. She glanced at the Window and said in a sleepy voice, "It's not even dawn yet Tabitha."

"Its Christmas so get up, Please!" The little girl pleaded with hopeful eyes meeting understanding ones. Tabitha looked so cute all Xena could was smile and say, "Ok Sweetheart, you two go downstairs and Gabrielle and I will be down in a little bit."

"Okey-dokey," said Tabitha as she climbed down and pulled her brother next to her. She took his hand and led him out of the room.

Gabrielle giggled and said, "They are adorable."

Xena nodded smiling fondly, "Yes I adore to play with them. I know it's very wrong but I am very glad that Esmeralda screwed up."

Gabrielle nodded, "It may be wrong but I agree."

"Come on lets get dressed so we can play with them." Xena eyes had become slightly misty whenever she was with Tabitha she couldn't help but wonder if her Eve was like her as small girl. She wondered where her daughter and thought of the toy she hadn't given her yet when she was ripped away by circumstances and the Gods. She impatiently wiped her eyes and got the presents from their hiding place. She smiled as she hugged it close to her. "I hope they like these."

Gabrielle understood her friend's mood and replied, "I think they will love them."

"I hope so."

*** *** *** ***

Samantha and Darrin came down well before the kids. Sam was in the kitchen and Darrin was in den working on last minute presents. The kids came running down they headed right for the tree. Tabitha looked for and found a present for Adam. She handed it to her brother and then pulled one for herself. They sat down to open them happily.

Sam came out smiling, "All ready at your gifts, huh?"

"Yes Mommy."

"Where are Xena and Gabrielle?"


Samantha shook her head with a huge smile and went back to get the food for Christmas breakfast onto the table.

Xena came down the stairs with a package hidden behind her back. Gabrielle followed with a present behind hers. Sparkling green eyes met vibrantly happy blue.

Xena kneeled beside Tabitha handing her the present. Gabrielle did the same. Tabitha was a bit surprised at how much smaller her present was then her brothers. Xena smiled and winked at the little witch reading her expression easily. "Open it, I promise you will love it."

Adam had already opened his gift. They were Amazon drums that he immediately began to beat happily.

Sam rolled her eyes as she set the table, "Drums? Oh boy."

"He's a little boy we thought he'd like them," said Gabrielle defensively.

"Oh, believe me he loves them but I'm sure that Darrin…"


"Yeash, that was too easy," she wiggled her nose and the banging noise stopped though Adam was still pounding on the drums.

Tabitha opened the gift and her eyes grew wide, "Ooooh this is so pretty."

Gabrielle smiled and met Xena's eyes who took the Amazon necklace and put it around the little girl's neck. "This is from Gabrielle's tribe it means you are now a sister. So no matter what happens we are all family."

"You are my Sister too, right?" Asked Tabitha looking at Xena hopefully.

"Yes Sweetheart, I'm not an Amazon but in my heart you are my family."

Tabitha hugged her tight and said softly, "Thank you, I love you too."

Tears fell from the blue eyes, Samantha smiled and said softly, "Tabitha is right, you are both a part of our family."

A very choked up voice said, "Thank you Samantha."

*** *** *** ***

Xena and Gabrielle were at the glade again. They were sitting side by side as Xena reached into her saddlebag and gave Gabrielle her gift. "Happy Solstice."

Gabrielle smiled brightly it was a beautiful drawing of Tabitha and Adam. "Its beautiful." Then Gabrielle reached into her bedroll and gave a small packet to Xena. "Happy Solstice."

Xena's eyes lit up when she saw it was small-framed picture of the whole Steven's family. "Two great minds huh?"


"Thank you I love it."

"You're very welcome."

"I think this has been the best Solstice we ever had."

"I do too. It's been a wonderful one, Xena."

"Yep, may Esmeralda mess up next year."

The End


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