Out of the Darkness
Into the Light
Disclaimer; This story was born out of strange thought after reading some fanfic stories. Xena has such a perfect memory what if she lost it? It takes place right after Vanishing Act but before Sacrifice. There is a loving committed same sex relationship and violence. As usual I don’t claim any thing other then my joy of playing with my favorite Warrior and her Bard. I’d like to thank my good friend Webwarrior for all her help on this tale.
Gabrielle was dressed as a courtesan, her head bowed as she followed her friend that was pretending to be her employer through the Pleasure House. She searched from under her eyelashes for a face that she desperately wanted to find. Sadly the face was not among the many woman that they passed.
“Please follow me to your suite, you can rest and then we will talk business.”
“Thank you, my companion will have a room of her own, yes?”
The man looked at the little courtesan and nodded, “If you wish it of course.” He opened the door to a large suite of rooms. Elegantly done in the most modern style of Chin. It had two bedrooms, a small room to change and bathe in and a very large bedroom that they were now gathered in.
“My servants will attend you,” said the man clapping his hands. Three slaves came in their heads bowed in complete subservience to the Warlord and owner of the Pleasure Palace.
Gabrielle’s eyes widened when she recognized one of the slaves. The slave in question was a woman who was slumped over with tangled black hair and a very familiar musculature. The Warlord bowed to the man and left the chamber. Gabrielle’s eyes went to her friend’s and then to the slave girl.
“You two stay here and help me. Young lady, you go with my companion.”
The slave’s head still bowed nodded and waited for Gabrielle to precede her. Gabrielle said softly, “Go ahead please,” the slave girl reluctantly went first into the bedroom. Gabrielle closed the door and turned toward the slave girl. She took off the black wig and allowed her blonde hair to tumble down around her shoulders. The slave girl looked up and shocked green eyes widened, “Xena?” Her voice was full of love and hope.
Hazy red rimmed blue eyes narrowed. She tilted her head and carefully studied the green eyes. She knew those eyes. She knew them really well; they comforted her at night during her dreams. She saw her in flashes of memory that interrupted the drudgery of her daily life. She knew in her heart that this was someone she trusted but she couldn’t quite touch her name. She quietly replied, “I don’t know my name. They call me girl.”
“You do know me Xena, don’t you?”
She nodded, “Yes, I don’t know your name but I do know you. You comfort me in my dreams and in my memory. I believe you will free me.”
“Yes Xena, that’s why we’re here. What happened to you? What is the last thing you remember?”
Xena sank down on to a chair and closed her eyes her head in her hands. Very quietly she said in an emotion filled voice, “I woke up on the floor of the basement here. I didn’t know who or where I was. Chang had me chained to a wall and beat me up with a whip. When I ran out of energy fighting back he started to use me as a punching bag till I was slumped against the wall. I have some broken ribs…” tears started to fall, “I broke out of here four times. The last time his enforcer Chun had me torn apart by his pet dogs until I couldn’t move. I’m a torn up mess under these rags. I knew I could fight and fight well from the times I used my instincts to do just that but I decided that this time I would wait for my chance. I decided to act docile until an opportunity presented itself.” Red rimmed tear filled blue eyes met Gabrielle’s and in tiny hopeful voice she asked, “Will you help me?”
Gabrielle wiped the tears from her own eyes and kneeled in front of her friend. She took the scarred hands into her own and gently kissed each palm bringing them both to her heart. She looked into the tired eyes and saw recognition. It broke her heart because she could see Xena was struggling to try and figure out who she was.
“Of course I will. I have been looking for you for months. We’re here to take you home.”
A very tiny smile came to Xena’s face and she replied softly, “I feel like I’m home already.”
Gabrielle smiled back which brought great joy to Xena. She didn’t know her name but this woman was a part of her heart she was sure of that. “I feel like I’m home too now that I have you back.”
A knock on the door brought both heads up with a snap. Gabrielle stood up protectively in front of Xena. “Yes.” When the door opened Gabrielle felt nothing but relief.
“Yes, she lost her memory and Chang has beaten the crap out of her. The bastard even had her ripped apart by dogs…” Gabrielle was almost foaming at the mouth herself she was so mad.
“Calm down Gabrielle. Our mission is to rescue Xena.” He looked past the angry blonde into the curious hazy eyes of the dark woman. She was tilting her head staring at him, then she blinked and asked him, “Were we on a boat?”
Autolycus smiled and said, “Many times, which one did you just see?”
“Um, you were being held in chains and I was pulling your ear,” she replied with a smirk.
“Oh yeah, that was an interesting adventure…”
“Yeah, but lets get you safely out of here first. How exactly are we going to do that, Gabrielle?”
Gabrielle stood up and sat on the arm of the large chair Xena was sitting in. She put her arm around Xena’s shoulders; Xena pulled her onto her lap and hugged her tight. Gabrielle smiled and hugged her back kissing her cheek.
Autolycus was about to leave when tear filled green eyes met his, “No, don’t go. I just…I need to touch her… hold her…having her back means everything to me…”
Xena rubbed her cheek against Gabrielle’s and said, “Even if I don’t know who I am?”
“I know who you are. I do have an idea. Do you think Chang would sell you to us?”
Xena shrugged, “I don’t see why not. I am a lot of trouble. I killed two of his men trying to escape last time. I have been quiet for three weeks though ever since the dog attack.” Xena was drinking in Gabrielle’s scent and her hands were under the silk tunic reaching up to feel the soft skin. She barely remembered a thing but one thing she did know now with utter certainty, she loves Gabrielle and she knew that Gabrielle loves her.
Gabrielle gently kissed Xena’s cheek then looked across at their friend, “Make a deal with the bastard. Say you like her. Send one of the servants for some healing salves and bandages then dismiss them saying they are not needed.”
“What excuse do I use for the healing stuff?”
“Make one up.”
“Gee, thanks Gabrielle,” he said sarcastically then rolled his eyes making both women smile. Then he closed the door behind him muttering to himself as he left them alone.
“He is very nice. He seems to be a good friend to you.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“I’m deeply in love with you aren’t I?”
“Goddess I hope so, ‘cause I’m head over heels in love with you.”
Xena smiled brightly, then she pulled Gabrielle closer. She brought the soft lips to hers and kissed them tenderly. The kiss naturally deepened and as it did Xena was flooded with memories and images of their life together. When she pulled back her eyes sparkled with happy memory, “I know you my love, I really know you.”
“Thank the Gods,” Gabrielle gently reached up and dried Xena’s cheeks as she asked, “Did you get hit on the head?”
“I don’t remember it but I have an ugly bruise right here by my temple.” She pulled her hair back to show the smaller woman the still purple bruise.
“How long has it been there? Does it still hurt?”
“I don’t know how long it’s been there. It does hurt sometimes but to be honest I have so much pain through out my body I hardly notice it. I guess not knowing who I was really hurt the most. I also…I missed you…I felt a part of me was missing. You kept coming to me in my dreams making me feel better then when I woke up you’d be gone.”
“Well I am not going anywhere. In fact I’m not letting you out of my sight if I can help it. I wonder if I can get us a bath?”
“There is already a bath set up in the changing room. Chang had us set it up it for you two. He thinks our friend out there is really rich and he will make a great deal of money from him.”
“He will get some money because we are going to buy your freedom. It won’t last long though. As soon as your safe I will make sure he gets justice.”
“I think you will be proud of me…”
“I already am and all I remember is that I love and trust you.”
*** *** *** ***
Gabrielle and Xena bathed together in the elaborate tub that Chang had set up for his guests. Gabrielle gently cleaned all the bruises and cuts on Xena’s back. She grunted and cursed under breath.
“You know I lost my memory Gabrielle, not my hearing.”
Gabrielle gently kissed her just below her ear and then moved so she could face her. “Sorry, this is just making me so mad. Is Chang doing this ‘cause he knows who you are?”
Gabrielle was gently washing Xena’s stomach; the blue eyes were closed from the joy of it. Gabrielle smiled and gave her string of kisses along her jaw line making the tall woman purr. Then she pulled Gabrielle onto her lap and kissed her hungrily. When she pulled back she cleared her throat and answered her loves question. “I have no idea. He knows I fight well but I don’t know if knows my name or the reputation you told me about.”
“How much do you remember?”
“From my own memory, I know who you are and that we love each other. I know I was once very bad right here in Chin. I also remember that I now fight for good thanks to you. I know Autolycus is a very good friend to both of us and that were not from here were from Greece. From you, I know we are soul mates and that knowledge made me very happy. I know everything about my reputation. Who I was and who I now am.”
Xena tenderly washed her loves arms as she went on, “My own memory is still pretty sketchy, Love. Except for one fact that is as clear as a bell.” She pulled Gabrielle so close that they were barely a kiss apart and she looked into the now clean face all that white make up she had on was scrubbed off so the beautiful skin just glowed. “I love you more then life itself and I feel safer in these arms then I would anywhere else in the known world.”
“Right back at you. You don’t know how scared I was that I would never see you again. I have spent six months in pure agony wondering if you were alive or not. Everyone told me you were dead and yet in my heart I knew you were alive. The only person who believed me was Autolycus. I am so grateful he helped me I don’t think I would have been able to get in here so easily without him.”
“I’m grateful too. Gabrielle…”
“Nothing, I just love to hear the sound of your name.”
Gabrielle blushed as Xena kissed her love with a deep need.
*** *** *** *** ***
Xena was fast asleep Gabrielle was carefully checking the sleeping woman looking at the wounds inflicted on the otherwise magnificent body. She was mentally trying to figure out how she could have Chang pay for every bruise, cut and scar he’d inflicted on her love.
Suddenly Xena sat straight up, eyes closed screaming at the top of her lungs. Gabrielle pulled her into her arms whispering directly into her loves ear, “I’m right here Sweetheart. Your safe, everything is ok. Shh, I’m here.”
Xena’s heart was pounding but she felt soft hand tenderly stroking her hair and caressing her cheek. In her ear was a sweet voice that was grounding her to the here and now. She felt herself gain strength from that she opened very frightened eyes to meet compassionate green.
Gabrielle tilted her head drying the tears on the frightened woman’s face, “Why are you apologizing Sweetheart?”
“’Cause I have a very bad feeling that you’re going to have put up with this for quite a while.”
“So, you have always had bad nightmares. We don’t apologize for that in our family.”
Xena slowly lowered her head onto Gabrielle’s shoulder and asked with a slight smile, “We don’t, huh?”
Gabrielle kissed her forehead and replied, “Nope. Can you tell me about it?”
Xena closed her eyes and nodded slowly, “Yes, I am in a fortress. I’m fighting an army…all of the sudden…something is attacking me from the air…I can’t see what…then…then…nothing…”tears fell from beneath the long black eyelashes.
“Have you been having this nightmare since you came here?”
“I think that was the battle you were in when you lost your memory. Could you describe your opponent for me?”
Xena opened her eyes and looked deeply into her loves, “No…they are all shadows…sorry…”
“Xena,” growled Gabrielle.
Xena rubbed her cheek against Gabrielle’s and whispered with slight smile, “I love you Gabrielle.”
“I love you too and I’m never letting you out of my sight again. I promise.”
*** *** *** *** ***
They were gathered in the living room waiting for a meeting with Chang. Gabrielle was back in her courtesan disguise and though she was now clean, Xena was sitting on the floor at Gabrielle’s feet dressed in the simple tunic that was common for slaves to wear. Autolycus was pacing in his rich silk robes very nervous about Gabrielle’s plan.
“Xena, what are you planning to do if Chang won’t sell you to us?”
“I will kill him and we fight our way out of here.”
“That’s a heart-warming thought.”
Xena shrugged and cradled her head on Gabrielle’s lap. The small hand automatically began to stroke the now soft clean black hair.
“Let’s try and get him to fall for our con so we don’t have to fight our way out, ok?”
The tall man simply shook his head and paced nervously. A knock on the door brought all three heads up with snap. Xena looked at the door with narrow angry eyes. In the short time since they had found her she had changed in appearance. She was no longer filthy, lost and vacant eyed. Though still dressed as a slave she was now clean and her eyes were bright and sharp.
Very worried the tall man said, “Please Xena, remember you’re still supposed to be a slave. Keep your head down and your temper in check.”
Xena smiled wickedly, “Oh, I will. Remember, I have been doing just that for weeks since Chun had those damn dogs of his tear me to pieces but as soon as were out of here I want to take part in Gabrielle’s plan. I want to make sure that rat gets justice and I have a few questions for him too.”
“Yes Sweetheart, you will but right now we both need to be quiet and let Autolycus do the talking. I promise you will get justice.”
“I know, I trust both of you.” Xena took a deep breath and lowered her head back onto Gabrielle’s lap letting her gentle stroking relax her anger. She closed her eyes so she wouldn’t see her enemy because if she looked at him, he would know she was no longer the lost soul she was before Gabrielle came.
Autolycus answered the door for Chang, Chun and several servants and guards. Chang glanced at Xena and his eyes widened. “What is this?”
“My companion likes your slave girl. I love her so I want to buy the girl for her.”
“Your courtesan dictates your wallet!”
“No my heart does!”
Unable to argue his eyes went to Xena again, he knew exactly who the dark woman was. He wanted to destroy her, break her spirit till she not only lost her memory, but all will to live. To be sold as a slave with no memory pleased him very much, but this little courtesan seemed to like her very much and that made him want to keep the bitch away from his guests. “I have others who are more worthy. She is a broken down nothing not capable of any work.”
“My companion chose her and how I treat my slaves is my business. Now is it a deal or not?”
“Why don’t you just steal her?”
“I still might. Remember, what I offered you last night is surely worth pleasing my companion and filling your pockets. It must be worth more then one slave girl.”
“Of course it is. That miserable guttersnipe is worth nothing at all.”
Xena was gnashing her teeth to keep from growling in anger. Gabrielle’s finger went to a place on her loves neck she knew would distract her. Then she looked up into her friend’s eyes who nodded and looked at the warlord.
“My girl wants her. Do we have a deal?”
Chang looked at Chun who shrugged. Chang looked at the slave who was practically purring in the little courtesan’s hands and growled out, “Deal.”
*** *** *** ***
Once outside Chang’s Palace for the first time in months Xena looked around to admire the beauty of this part of Chin. She didn’t remember if this was where she had been with Borias but she thought it was incredibly beautiful.
“Do you two have a plan? And where exactly are we going?”
“Yes we do have a plan. It’s a bit of surprise for old Chang now that you’re safe,” replied Gabrielle with a smile.
“Oh? What did you plot out in that wonderful mind of yours?”
“Well your Bard of Potadeia incited the good people of this farming community to rebel against the Warlord Chang. She has them all organized all they are waiting for is the signal that you are now safe.”
“Gabrielle!” Xena stopped in her tracks her hands on her hips looking very much like the Xena that Gabrielle loved.
“Xena, he is a monster! He treats these people like slave labor. I talked to several people while we were looking for you and I got so mad. He is a horrible tyrant. He gives his men incentives to rape and steal. He actually promotes any soldier that rapes some innocent girl! If he enslaves her the animal becomes an officer!!”
“I understand and agree. He is a monster. But Gabrielle these people are not soldiers and Chang has a trained army.”
“Um, I kind of…”
“Figured away around that?”
“I see,” Xena shook her head and put her arm through Gabrielle’s as they began to walk again. She was feeling stronger and more herself the farther away from Chang’s fortress she got. She knew who she was and with Gabrielle’s help she would remember the rest. “Ok lead the way, my little strategic genius.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“I would,” Xena said softly as they walked toward the fortress that Gabrielle had helped the farmers to create.
*** *** *** ***
The tavern of the small farming village was the headquarters for the planned uprising but Gabrielle had to first take care of her warrior. She had a nice room with a fireplace for them. She was sitting in front of it working on some healing herbs to take care of the scars that the Chang had inflicted on Xena.
Xena was fast asleep. She didn’t know it but at dinner the night they arrived, Gabrielle had the tavern owner’s wife, Ying slip some sleeping herbs into Xena’s soup. The son of the tavern owner Hsu had helped bring up the sleepy woman and settle her in bed.
Blue eyes blinked open and the bright woman immediately figured out what her love had done. “You are a sneaky one, ain’t ya?” She croaked her voice still a little rough from the torture she had gone through at Chang’s Palace.
“I learned from the best. I know you felt better but you need to heal and the best healer is sleep. It did you a lot of good you look a lot less pale then you had when we first came here.”
A surprised expression came onto the warrior’s face, “How long have I been a sleep?”
“About 24 hours.”
“You need to rest with out interruptions from nightmares. Lay back so I can put this lotion on your scars.”
“Is there some sleeping potion in it that would seep through my skin?” Xena asked archly.
Gabrielle sat on the edge of the bed and kissed Xena’s cheek, “ It’s some salve I mixed to take the redness away and maybe ease some of that pain.”
Two arms curled around Gabrielle’s waist and pulled her down and Xena kissed her love deeply. Then she pulled back smiling saying, “That is the best healer for me.”
Gabrielle smiled and said, “I’m very glad but let me put this on you…” Xena ignored her and pulled her back for seconds. When they pulled back Xena smiled at the closed eyes and dazed expression on Gabrielle’s face and licked her nose.
Green eyes flashed open and a slim eyebrow arched in a familiar manner, “You are such a brat. Come on Love, this will ease your pain.”
“Just being back with you eases my pain but ok,” she released her love to do her healing. She closed her eyes as Gabrielle gently spread ointment all over her body. When she was done and about to get up, a stong hand gripped her wrist and blue eyes flashed open again. “Put that down on the table and cuddle with me. I really need to feel you. I missed you so much.”
Gabrielle smiled and nodded. She put the ointment on the end table and then cuddled with her love under a blanket that she pulled over them. Xena pulled Gabrielle close and then whispered, “Thank you, Gabrielle. Thank you for looking for me even after all hope was gone. Thank you for helping me through all this pain. Thank you for loving me this much.”
“There’s no need to thank me…”
“I know I just…I am so grateful. I know you love me as much as I love you but it took a lot of courage to do what you did. I am so proud of you.”
“After everything we’ve survived together, I’d go to Tartarus and back for you.”
“And I would do the same for you.” Suddenly terribly tired again she fell asleep against her loves shoulder. Gabrielle smiled, she had remembered an herb Xena had taught her about that would ease pain and gently lull a difficult patient back to sleep. She smiled lovingly as she watched it work.
*** *** *** ***
Xena was dressed in her own battle clothes 4 days later after Gabrielle’s tender care she felt better then ever. She was in the tavern at a table studying the plans that Gabrielle had worked very hard on. The beautiful blonde was now in her own Amazon clothes pacing nervously waiting to see how the Warrior reacted to her timetable and plan of attack.
Xena glanced up at the pacing woman and tilted her head studying how she was chewing her nails as she nervously waited for her verdict.
“Breathe Gabrielle, I really don’t want you to faint on me.”
Xena chuckled, “Ok, ok I think this is a very well done, doable plan. Would you allow me to make some suggestions or would it hurt your feelings?”
Gabrielle had stopped and was sitting down across from her love very relieved. “I’d be very grateful for any help you can give me.”
“That’s my girl.” Said Xena with a huge smile as she began to make notes for the changes to the already very good plan.
*** *** *** ***
Chang was sent a message that a meeting was requested with him by some of the local villagers under his rule. The warlord arrived with his second in command Chun and a battalion of his men. They were gathered for show because he didn’t expect anything much from the rabble he was about to meet.
He arrogantly strode down center of the ramshackle barn that acted as a town hall to meet a collection of old men and women. He walked up to an old farmer who was in charge of this group and said in growly voice. “You asked for a meeting?”
The older man bowed respectfully and said quietly, “Yes, Lord Chang.” He straightened up and looked the tyrant in the eye as he said with much satisfaction, “We wish to be free to live our lives with out fear and have decided to ask you to leave us in peace.”
The Warlord laughed at him, “Yo, have you lost your mind! How on earth do you expect to fight me and my men?”
“Yes, we are prepared to do just that.”
All the soldiers laughed at the old man. They looked around the barn at the old stooped men and women like they were all mad. Chang looked like a man unable to control his merriment, “Are you out of your minds? This is a rabble…”
“We are determined.” The doors to the barn were closed and locked and from under the straw came weapons that had been well hidden. Yo drew a knife from under his tunic and held it at the Warlord’s throat and yelled, “Now!”
Hidden in the rafters were several young men and women well armed with swords, knifes and staffs. Gabrielle came from behind a haystack with a staff. Xena swung down on a rope from the rafters with a familiar battle cry that made Chang shiver in recognition.
She flew through the air landing right in front of Yo and Chang. With a wild look in her eyes she said looking at Chang, “I’ll take over Mr. Yo.”
The old man simply handed her the knife, which she put in its sheath on her belt. She smiled wildly at Chang saying, “Hi, Chang, did you miss your old punching bag?” She punched him right in the nose, then slugged him the gut. When he bent over she elbowed him on the neck making him fall to his knees in agony. “Begging won’t help you now, you Bastard!” She kicked him right on the chin making his head richoet back and knocked him out cold.
She looked around and saw Gabrielle holding her own
against Chun. She had a debt to pay him back too, so she smiled at her love and took over.
She kicked him in the jaw knocking him back on to his butt. “What? No women
chained up for you to beat to a pulp? You must be slipping.” She pulled him
up and slugged him across the face. “Where are your dogs? Don’t you
need their help to tear innocent people to pieces?” Then she kneed him
in the stomach sending back down to his knees. “I’m
trying to remember; did I kick in you in the head like you so enjoyed doing
to me? Well, since I can’t remember…” she said as she kicked him right on the
chin. He was the source of so
much pain for herself and everyone else under Chang’s roof that she had a lot pent-up anger to get rid of. Since he was the source of all that suffering
she felt no guilt in beating the crap out of the man till he slid from her fingers
The other soldiers who were still standing threw down their weapons and slid to their knees.
“Well the first wave went down rather well. I wonder how the second wave is doing?” asked Gabrielle after she tied up Chang and walked over to Xena who was tying up Chun.
“I think Autolycus has it handled.”
Xena smiled and stood up saying as she looked around, “I’d say things are tied up around here wouldn’t you? Shall we complete your plan?”
“Yep, I think it is too. I loved your touches especially the part where you flew through the air.”
Xena chuckled nodding; “Yep, I bet I was the last sight Chang expected to see.”
*** *** *** ***
Autolycus and the farmer’s daughter with friendly smiles brought some delicious cake for the soldiers on the castle walls as a special treat. The guards slowly fell asleep from the drug that Xena had given the farmer’s wife to put in with the tasty ingredients.
The third wave was now on route to the Pleasure Palace and Chang’s castle for the final assault. Chang and Chun were being transported by donkey cart tied and gaged. Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus were on horseback riding toward the compound behind the cart.
“Xena, what are we going to do about the guards and the battalion of soldiers inside Chang’s fortress? Are we just going to walk in?”
“What about all the damn soldiers?”
“We’ll fight them.”
“Um, Xena are you up to this?” Asked Gabrielle suddenly concerned for the just recovered woman.
“Oh yeah, I am more then up to it, I feel great! I’m fighting on the side of the innocent and I have you back in my life. I am thinking that it will be a really good day of fighting.”
“I know that but…Sweetheart I’m more worried about you physically…”
“I’m fine. Really. I have had several days under your tender loving care and I had a whole bunch of sleep and good non-drugged food. I am more then fit. I am itching to be a cog in your brilliant plan.”
Gabrielle giggled, “Xena come on…”
“Hey, you are the one who figured this all out. I just added a few little touches.”
“Like the weapons under the straw and hidden in the stacks. All the fighting able men and women hiding in the rafters…”
“Yep, like that,” said Xena smiling with a tiny shrug. They were in the forest outside of the palace. She looked at her dear friends and asked, “Are you two ready for this?”
They both nodded and Gabrielle said, “I feel great too. Better then I have for a long time.”
Xena’s smile broadened and she winked at her love, “Me too.”
*** *** *** ***
Chang’s power was now crushed and the people ruled themselves. He and his men were now imprisoned in their own dungeon.
Xena had taught the people how to build defenses against any warlords who heard that Chang was now deposed and would feel the villages were now easy pickings. Autolycus helped in that regard too. He showed the carpenters and craftsman how to build traps that would stop an attack by any rogue villain or warlord.
Gabrielle worked with the village elders to help them form a town council and to now have a system of justice and balance. She introduced committee work that she learned among the Amazons and helped to come up with fair rules and how to go about enforcing them justly.
To look at Xena, she was back to being fully herself. She looked strong and confident. She knew that it was having Gabrielle back and knowing who she was that led to that appearance. She was still troubled every night with horrible nightmares. She also had large chunks of memory that she could feel but could not quite reach and it made her mad at herself every time it happened.
Gabrielle was gentle and would always be there to hold and talk to. She knew with her help she would get back her memory fully in time. She was just happy to be back with her love and know the most important memories were with her and in tact.
She confidently entered the dungeon that housed Chang and his men. She smiled at the young man in charge and he returned it in full.
“How goes it, Hsu?”
“Really well, how are you?”
“How do I look?”
“Then that’s how I am. I want to say goodbye to Chang. You have in him and Chun in separate cells, correct?”
“Yes…Chun is acting like a crazy man. He threw a tray of food against the wall and broke his cot to bits.”
“Don’t go in there Hsu, he may planning on something.”
“Yes, we feel that way too. We have been feeding him through a slit in the door. He can throw it out in a bin if he wants to but he seems to like his garbage.”
Xena wrinkled her nose at the thought of that cell. She nodded and said, “Good man, you did well with him. And Chang? How is he behaving?”
“He is very quiet and cooperative. We are treating him just as you said. We only go in twos to clean and always with weapons drawn.”
“Excellent. Where is his cell?”
“Just down the hall. I will go get an escort for you if you’ll just wait a moment, please…”
Xena pulled out her Chakram and threw it casually toward the top of the guard’s chamber. It hit several points with amazing speed and seemed to go right to her hand that she had causally out waiting for it.
“No need for an escort I can take care of myself.”
“I’ll be fine, Hsu, I just want a quiet chat with the bastard. I am quite capable of taking care of myself.”
The young man remembered what Xena looked like when Gabrielle first brought her back to the village, he saw she was much better but he was worried. “Um, can’t I go get Gabrielle at least…”
“She’s working with the elders on the final plans. We leave for home tomorrow. Come on, I only want to talk to him, my friend.”
He looked into the now clear blue eyes and confident smile of his friend. He took a deep breath and nodded. The smile on Xena’s face brightened, and she said, “Thanks lead the way.”
Hsu nodded and led the way down to the cell at the end of the hall. Xena could see the warlord through the window. Hsu opened the cell door and stepped away only out of earshot but he wanted to be there if his friend needed him so he leaned against the stone wall across from the cell.
“Good morning, “ Xena said crisply as she entered the cell.
Cold gray eyes looked up angrily at Xena as the man replied softly, “It seems the slave is now the warlord.”
“Nope, I’ve been there done that and I didn’t like it. I am merely one of many freedom fighters freeing innocent people against a tyrant."
“You have your memory back I see.”
“Yep, I want to know who sold me to you.”
“I just found you and took pity on you…”
“Give it a rest Chang, you knew exactly who I was. Who sold me to you.”
The man on the cot merely stared up at her. Xena growled and jabbed his throat and in a soft voice she said in an angry whisper, “I just cut off the flow of blood to your brain now it is your choice are you going to chat or die?”
His eyes were tearing up and he was having trouble breathing. He felt blood trickle from his nose and he looked up into ice cold angry eyes. “Chat.”
A grim smile formed on her face, “Now I have dilemma…which do I want more? Do I want to know who did this to me in the first place? Or do I want to watch my torturer slowly die? Hmm, tough choice huh?”
“Xena!” He pleaded.
He pointed to his throat she growled again but released the pinch. Then in a low angry growl between clinched teeth, “Who?”
“It was a woman, she was crazy and torn. She didn’t know whether to sell you helpless or to torture you herself.”
“Who was it or I’ll…?” she readied her fingers to reapply the pinch.
**** *** **** ***
Gabrielle paced in her room waiting anxiously for Xena. When she saw her, she was ecstatic; she had been so worried. But, one look at the angry face made her expression change back to worry again.
“It was Calisto that did this! I don’t remember very much about her. I know two things though. She helped to kill my son and she killed your husband. I hate her. I want to tear her to pieces…”
“NO! Xena she’s a Goddess…”
“I don’t care if she’s Zeus!”
“Xena please don’t…”green eyes filled with tears.
Xena’s eyes softened and she pulled Gabrielle into her arms cuddling her close. “Why are you crying love?”
“I’m so scared. Please don’t go after her. You don’t remember all she can do but I…please I can’t loose you again…”
“Oh, I remember her all right. I don’t remember everything but as soon as he said her name every thing she’s done to us came flooding into my head. I don’t know how she pulled this off, but I am going to get her. I remember her torturing you and Joxer. I remember your screams as Perdicus lay in your arms dying and I couldn’t do anything because bitch got him in the heart. I remember what she did to my Solan. I hate her more then anyone. I want to….” Gabrielle put her hand to her mouth; she had to stop her, she was getting sick she was getting so mad. She could see it in the angry blue eyes.
“Please Xena, don’t go after her. She’s a Goddess, she could kill you with a thought…I couldn’t…I mean I can’t…”
Xena was looking deeply into the eyes of the most important person in her life and knew she had to do what Gabrielle asked. There were several more scattered haunting memories of blonde bitch but she would put them aside for now. The rage would have to wait for the moment Gabrielle needed her. She gently brushed some hair out of the tear filled eyes and said, “Ok my love, for now I won’t do anything. When we get home and if she gets in my way then….well let‘s just say I will not hesitate to fight back.”
“I know. I just…well after finding you again, it will torment my soul to lose you so soon….”
“Love, you will never ever lose me. I promise you that.” Xena tilted her head and gently kissed her love pulling her as close to her as she could. Then she pulled back and dried the tears with her fingers as she carried Gabrielle to bed.
*** *** *** *** ***
They were on a boat finally on the way back home to Greece. Gabrielle was very seasick so Xena mixed up some soup with medicine that would ease her stomach and gently coax her into a deep sleep.
Xena was on the deck; she had just worked out and was now sitting on a crate sharpening her sword. The King of Thieves was watching her from a distance. He finally got the courage to walk up to her and ask quietly, “How are you feeling Xena?”
Xena glanced up but continued to work on her sword, “Fine.”
The warrior stopped and put the sword in its sheath with a mixture of annoyance and gratitude. “I am fine.” She sighed and then looked into the compassionate eyes of her friend, “I just…I still hurt and I still have annoying junks of memory that are missing. It is there, I just can’t seem to grasp it and it bugs the hell out of me. I think it will all come back in time but I am really ok. I think all I needed was to be with Gabrielle. Once I was with her, I felt…real…stable again. Before you two showed up I felt so lost. So deserted and alone. It wasn’t just my memory, I felt like a large piece of me was missing too. I yearned for her soul. I dreamt of her every night. Her face was my only light. I didn’t know who she was or why I trusted her but I knew she would come. I knew she would save me.” She looked up again at the tall man with such raw emotion he had to take a step back in pure reaction. She smiled slightly at the reaction and wiped the tears with the back of her hand. “If she hadn’t found me I may have survived but I would never again really live.” She smiled brighter as she stood up and stretched. She walked over to the bow and looked out to sea as she continued, “Now I have her back. I know who I am and what I am. I feel stronger and more secure. My memory will come back when it comes, but I am content.”
“I will get even with that bitch!”
“I know she is a Goddess. I have never feared the Gods who were born that way, why the hell should I fear her? I will take her out when I get my chance.”
“But what does Gabrielle think?”
“She is worried about her powers; I promised I will only go after her in self defense, but knowing her obsession with me the opportunity will come in time.”
“Is Gabrielle ok?”
Xena smiled brightly at just having thought of her love and knowing exactly who she was. She nodded and said, “Yeah, she had a real bad bout of sea sickness because were going against the current. The numbing of her nerve is just not working with this much movement so I slipped some healing and sleeping herbs into her soup. She won’t be up till were out of our current course.”
“You remembered how to do that?”
“Sure, I remember most of the good things in my life. I have problem with details of some stuff and unimportant facts.”
“So you’re really ok?”
Xena chuckled and playfully patted him on the cheek, “Yes, I am just fine what kind of proof do you want?”
“None…I just…well I ….”
“It’s ok, it’s our secret,” said Xena as she winked at the blushing man and crossed the deck to pick up her sword to begin the rhythmic sharpening again.
*** *** *** ***
Xena came into their stateroom to find Gabrielle sitting up in bed. She looked like she was still sleepy but her big green eyes were wide open as they met hers.
Xena sat on the edge of the bed and asked, “How’s your stomach?”
“Better…Xena…are you…um, coming….?”
Xena smiled playfully as she gently brushed the bangs away from her loves confused eyes, “Coming?”
“In bed huh?” asked the warrior softly as she gently guided the bard back under the covers and settling her against her pillows.
Hmm….need you…sleepy…” she said as she drifted back to sleep.
Xena kissed her tenderly on the cheek and replied softly, “And I need you more then anyone else in my life.” She brushed the hair away from the pretty face and it was captured by eager hands bringing it under her chin.
“Hmm, I guess I’m coming to bed,” said the dark woman as she curled around the already fast asleep bard.
*** *** *** ***
They were a day out of from home and Gabrielle fully recovered was sitting at the dressing table in their stateroom brushing her hair. Xena was relaxing on the bed her eyes closed.
“Once we get home, what would you like to do?”
Xena opened one eye and said, “What ever you want to…”
“Xena, don’t do that!” Cried Gabrielle rolling her eyes in frustration.
“What?” Both eyes were closed again and there was quirky smile about the mouth.
“Don’t make me make the choices for us.”
“Why ever not?”
“ ‘Cause if you don’t like what ever I choose, I will never hear the end of it.”
“Really, so sorry I don’t remember ever doing that.”
Gabrielle slammed the brush, “Xena!”
Eyes still closed biting her cheeks to keep herself from laughing, Xena purred, “Hmm?”
Gabrielle shook her head and kneeled on the edge of their bed, “My poor Xena can’t remember,” she then pounced tickling the tall woman with out an ounce of mercy.
Now laughing uncontrollably Xena freed her hands bringing them around Gabrielle and pulling the still attacking blonde into a tight hug. Gabrielle stopped and pulled back slightly so she could look into the happy blue eyes. “I love you, you brat!”
Xena kissed her nose and replied softly, “I’ll do anything you want to do, my Love. All I want is to be with you. Everything else can just go hang itself.”
Gabrielle nodded looking deeply into the clear loving gaze and said, “All I want is to be with you too. As long as we can. Forever if possible.”
Xena smiled and kissed her love passionately. Then she pulled back and whispered into her loves ear, “Forever sound just perfect to me.”
The EndReturn to the Academy