Disclaimers: We all know to whom these ladies belong to. No copyright infringement intended. Although this storyline is my own.
To the Readers: Thank you so much for reading, I'd love to know what you think – good or bad. I can be reached at AmazonWriter79@yahoo.com with any comments and/or suggestions.
* * *
After not finding any peace and solace in Egypt, Gabrielle traveled back to Greece. Where she was pleasantly surprised to find Eve arriving in the same port. They found an Inn where they had some semblance of privacy and Gabrielle told Eve all about her and her mother's plans to travel to the Land of the Pharaohs but were intercepted by the Japanese monk pleading for Xena's help. Eve was devastated by the news of her mother's death and took it very hard. Since it was nearly Winter Solstice, they decided to go to Poteidaea to spend it with Lila and Sarah. They were about a day and a half's ride away from Gabrielle's home village when they stopped for the night and made camp. It wasn't long after supper that Eve turned in and Gabrielle sat beside the fire watching the young woman sleeping. I can see whom she gets her skills from . Gabrielle smiled gently. Oh how I wish Xena were here and that Eve was a little girl again! The blond woman thought as she settled down to sleep on the opposite side of the fire. Little did she know that her wish was heard by Aphrodite who had just been about to pop in for a visit.
Two days later Gabrielle and Eve arrived in Poteidaea as evening fell. Townspeople watched them as they rode their horses through town heading towards the old homestead. Gabrielle paused for a moment remembering the last time they had been there after rescuing Sarah from Gurkhan. Eve sensed Gabrielle's uneasiness and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, “It's okay Gabrielle. They're your family.”
“They're yours too, Eve.” Gabrielle smiled. “Thanks.”
Eve returned the smile. “Anytime. C'mon, let's go see the family.”
Just then the door opened and Sarah came out carrying an empty water bucket. When she caught sight of her aunt she dropped the bucket and raced over to embrace her. “Aunt Gabrielle! Eve! What a surprise. Mother will be happy to see you as I am.”
“It's good to see you too Sarah.” Gabrielle said as she returned her niece's embrace. “How are you two doing?”
“We're doing well, thank you. Come on in and get warm by the fire.” Sarah led the way into the house calling her for mother, “Look who's here, Mother.”
“Gabby!” Lila's eyes widened. “Eve!”
After another round of greetings and embraces, the four of them settled down in front of the fire to enjoy the rabbit stew that Lila had prepared. The laughter and tales grew quiet and the mood became somber. Lila looked into her sister's eyes and noted the sadness in them, knowing what caused it since Eve had the same look in her eyes. “I'm sorry to hear about Xena.”
“Thanks. It's been a rough past few months, but we're getting through it.” Gabrielle replied quietly, laying a gentle hand on Eve's shoulder.
Eve smiled at the gesture and yawned, “I think it's time I retired for the night.”
“Yes, I think it's best for all of us.” Lila agreed. “You two can share Sarah's room and she'll bunk in with me.”
Gabrielle began to protest, “We wouldn't want to put you out…”
“Nonsense Gabrielle!” Lila scolded. “It's not a problem, trust me.”
“If you're sure.”
“Yes! Now go, get some sleep. Looks like you haven't had any decent sleep in ages.”
Gabrielle put her hands up in defeat, “All right, all right. I'm going. Good night.”
Eve chuckled, “Mother always said you had a problem with doing what you were told.”
“Hush!” Gabrielle gave Eve a gentle push in the right direction. “I wouldn't talk if I were you.”
Eve rolled her eyes and headed into the bedroom she would share with Gabrielle.
The next day was Solstice Eve and the four of them decided to go into town to do some shopping. Or rather Gabrielle and Lila decided, and dragged the younger two with them. They ended up going different directions; Eve and Sarah went off towards the weapons shop while Gabrielle and Lila went to the food vendors to purchase things for Solstice dinner.
Sarah, who had no need of weapons, followed Eve anyway, enjoying the company of her friend. In one particular shop something caught the corner of her eye. What she saw made her gasp, she grabbed Eve's arm and pointed to the object.
“Eli above!” Eve gasped as she picked up the sword. “It's my mothers!”
“How can you be sure? Surely there were others made like it.” Sarah reasoned.
“I'm not sure about that, besides Mother had carved her initial into the hilt.” Eve said quietly as she looked over the sword. There it was! The letter “X” carved into the hand guard on the right side. “Sarah, it is!”
Sarah took the sword from Eve to take a look for herself and nearly dropped it. “How in the known world did your mother use this thing? It's heavy as a horse!” She exclaimed as she handed it back to Eve.
Eve shrugged and smiled proudly, “She crafted it.”
Sarah grinned, “Figures. Say! What about the scabbard?”
Eve frowned, “I don't know.” She walked over to the shopkeeper. “Where's the scabbard for this sword?”
The man scowled, “Don't know, don't care! Gonna buy it? If ya ain't, put it back where ya found it.”
Eve grabbed the man by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground. “Tell me where the scabbard is…or I'll make a new one out of you!”
“Eve!” Gabrielle's voice called out from behind. “Put the man down.”
Eve reluctantly did as asked, “Where is it?”
“Where's what?” Gabrielle asked as she came to stand next to her daughter. If she had any reaction to the sword Eve held in her hand, she gave no sign of it.
“The scabbard to Mother's sword!” The young prophet growled.
Gabrielle recognized the old man from her youth, “Hello Philos.”
Gabrielle nodded with an internal sigh, why does everyone here insist on calling me that? “Yes, it is me. That's Xena's sword. Do you happen to know where the scabbard to it is?”
“Uh under the c-counter.” Philos stammered.
“Get it!” Eve growled.
The man scurried to do as he was bid.
Gabrielle took the moment to reprimand her daughter. “And you talk about me not doing what I'm told? What would Eli say?”
Eve had the good graces to look abashed, “I'm sorry. I just reacted to seeing Mother's sword sitting there, I guess.”
“That'll be two hundred dinars.” Philos said quietly.
“Two hundred dinars! Are you outta your mind?!” Eve yelled.
Gabrielle growled, “Go wait outside!” the look in her eyes told Eve this command was not one to disobey. When she was gone Gabrielle returned her attention to the situation at hand. “Now then, two hundred dinars is a bit steep.” Though I would give ten thousand times that to get the person this belongs to back. “I'll give you one hundred and fifty dinars.”
“One hundred and twenty-five.” Gabrielle bargained.
“One hundred and fifty.”
One hundred and fifteen! Final offer!”
Gabrielle nodded and counted out the coins, dumping them on the counter and grabbing the sword with scabbard, then strolled out of the store. Once outside she found a pacing Eve making a path in the dirt. She handed over the cherished weapon. “Here, Happy Solstice.”
Eve blinked. “You're giving it to me?!”
“It's your mother's. You should have it.” Gabrielle smiled.
“But…but…but.” Eve sputtered. “What about you?”
“I have her Chakram. It's only right that you have her sword.” Gabrielle smiled wistfully. “The only thing she treasured most, after you and I.”
Eve smiled and uncharacteristically threw her arms around Gabrielle, “Thanks Mom.” She whispered in her ear.
Gabrielle smiled and gently patted Eve's back. “You're welcome. C'mon, let's go back home.”
That evening, after supper, Gabrielle went for a walk to spend some time alone and found herself in the glen where she met Xena for the first time so many years ago. She took a deep breath as she sat down on the grass, she unhooked the treasured weapon from her hip and held it gently in her hands. “Well this is where it all started. I can't believe it's still here, Xena. What, with all the new buildings and adding on Poteidaea has done, I'm surprised. I was a skinny, chatty kid that day when we met…now look at me…I've gone from kid to bard to warrior. I carry one of the deadliest weapons in the known world. Well I asked you to teach me everything you knew, and you did. Taught me how to fight for the greater good, how to be strong and independent.” Here she paused as her voice cracked as the tears began. “I just never thought you'd…” She took a deep breath and screamed in pain. “WHERE ARE YOU?” Gabrielle let her tears fall, wishing someone was there to hold her. Moments later she felt arms wrap around her. Xena? No, it wasn't her touch. She opened her eyes and looked up, “Aphrodite?”
“I'm here Sweetpea.” The Goddess of Love whispered while rocking the bard turned warrior. “I know I'm not the one you wanted it to be,” I'm working on it Little One . “But I hope I can be some comfort.”
Gabrielle smiled weakly, “Thanks Aphrodite, you're a good friend.” With a sniffle she wiped away her tears. “Guess I kinda lost it for a little bit.”
“That's okay, we all do.”
“Maybe with it being Solstice and finding Xena's sword again is what triggered it.” Gabrielle pondered. “I…uh…when I left Japa, I was attacked by thugs in Egypt. It wasn't until too late that I realized that they had stolen Xena's sword. But today, Eve found it in the weapons shop. I don't know how it got here…”
Aphrodite smiled, “Sweetpea, that was me. I stole it back from those thugs you talked about. Took me a long time to find them though.”
Gabrielle was speechless. Aphrodite hunted down the very sword that had killed her husband. This rendered her speechless, all she could manage to squeak out was, “Thank you!”
“You're very welcome,” The Goddess smiled and helped the young warrior off the forest floor. “Now, go on back home…your family is waiting for you.”
Gabrielle nodded and with a smile for her friend, she headed off for her childhood home. As she did so, she let her thoughts wander once more. Xena, you once asked me what I wanted for Solstice, and I told you about that silly little lamb. Here it is Solstice once again, and the only thing in the world that I want, I can't have. I always thought the greatest gift of all was family, and while I might have our daughter, and my sister and her daughter, I don't have my family. I'm not so sure anymore.
“Gabby! Where ya been? We were beginning to get worried.” Lila exclaimed when Gabrielle walked in the door.
“Just went for a walk is all, no need to worry.” She replied as she poured herself a cup of water. “I think I'm gonna go to bed, I'm feeling tired.” Without another word she headed into the room she was sharing with Eve.
An hour or so later, Eve crept into the room intending on climbing into bed. Her heart just wasn't in this holiday. Since she had been raised in Rome, she never had celebrated Solstice as a child, but after hearing stories of her mothers' past holidays, she had been looking forward to it. But now, with her mother gone, it no longer held such attraction. With a sigh she curled up in her blankets and fell asleep.
The next morning, Gabrielle woke up with the sun warming her back. She glanced over at the other bed, only Eve's dark head poked out of the blankets, she was still sound asleep. With a yawn, she rolled out of bed and headed into the living area to make a fire. Once that was done, she set about cooking up a breakfast for her family. She smiled when her sister and niece joined her in the kitchen, “Happy Solstice.”
“Back at ya, big sister.” Lila whispered as she embraced her ‘older' sister.
As they sat down, Sarah glanced over at the doorway to her room. “Should we wake Eve?”
“No, she had a rough night last night.” Gabrielle said quietly, following Sarah's gaze. An hour later as Gabrielle went through her saddlebags, she realized that Xena's urn was missing. “No!”
“No, what?” Sarah asked from the corner where she was reading one of her aunt's scrolls. “What's wrong?”
“Xena's ashes are missing! I know I left them in here.” Gabrielle whispered as tears formed in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.
“Do you really need them if you have the real thing?” Came a light voice from behind Gabrielle.
The bard looked up, “Aphrodite!”
“I have a Solstice gift for you.” The goddess smiled softly as she wiped away Gabrielle's tears. “So answer my question.”
“I…I s-suppose n-not.” Gabrielle stumbled. “What are you saying?”
“Why don't you go have a look for yourself?” Aphrodite pointed to Gabrielle's room. “Go on, Little One.”
Meanwhile, Lila and Sarah stared at each other and the goddess. Completely stunned that the goddess of Love was in their home.
Gabrielle slowly walked across the floor and lifted the handle on the door. Her eyes flew wide open at the sight she saw before her. There stood her warrior in her glory. “XENA!” She shouted and leapt into the warrior's arms.
Xena merely wrapped her arms around her sobbing soul mate and whispered sweet words to her.
“Where have you been?” Gabrielle demanded as she squeezed Xena tightly.
“I'm sorry I haven't been around, been working on something with Aphrodite.” Xena whispered and at that moment the Goddess appeared in the doorway.
“Happy Solstice, Sweetpea!” Aphrodite squealed from the doorway.
Before either of them could say anything, there was a loud scream that came from the occupied bed. Lila and Sarah rushed into the room to see what the commotion was all about. All were surprised to find a dark haired child sitting in the bed where Eve had originally been sleeping. All except the goddess that is. The child screamed again.
Gabrielle's eyes grew wide and she turned on the Goddess, “What in HELL is going on here?”
“I heard your wish, Little One. So I made it come true.” Aphrodite smiled widely. “I repeat, Happy Solstice!”
Gabrielle gasped, “What wish?”
“The one you made three nights ago. You wished that Xena was here and that Eve was a child. So I granted it.”
“But…but…but…” Gabrielle alternated between staring at Xena, the child, and the Goddess. “How?!”
“Gabrielle, you were right.” Xena said quietly. “Akemi wanted me to stay dead for her own reasons. The 40,000 were released into a state of grace the moment Yodoshi was killed.”
“So I pulled a few strings and…was able to put things to right…not to mention I changed another small thing.” She motioned to the scowling child.
“Eve?” Both warriors muttered at the same time. Aphrodite nodded.
The child saw that all eyes were on her and screamed again, then yelled at the top of her lungs. “Where in Ares' name, am I?”
“Pipe down! And watch your mouth!” Xena scolded.
“Looks like you've got your work cut out for you, Warrior Babe.” Aphrodite giggled. “Gotta go! Toodles!”
Gabrielle looked over at the two standing in the doorway, “What?”
“Th-that w-w-was Aphro- why is…how did she…Xena?” Lila stumbled.
Gabrielle nodded. “Yes, that was Aphrodite, she's a good friend of ours. And you know damn well that's Xena. I don't know how to explain it but she's here, she's alive, and I for one am not going to question it. Any problems?”
“Yeah, where are my clothes?” Xena asked quietly.
Gabrielle blushed furiously when she realized that she had left Xena standing there in front of everyone without a stitch of clothing. She grabbed the blanket off her bed and wrapped it around the warrior's shoulders. “That'll have to do for the moment.”
“Will someone pay attention to me?!” Yelled the infuriated, and also completely naked, child.
Xena rushed to her child's side. “Oh Eve! I'm sorry.”
The child scowled at Xena, “My name is Livia.”
Having heard a familiar story like this before, Lila realized the situation and thought it best to let her sister and Xena handle it. So she offered quietly, “Gabrielle, I have some clothes that might fit both of them until they can get their own.”
Gabrielle smiled, “Thank you Lila, that would be great!”
“Where am I? Who are you?” The angry child demanded.
Gabrielle sat down on the bed, opposite Xena. “You're in Greece, in Poteidaea. I'm Gabrielle, and that's Xena, your mother.”
“ Rome is my mother!” The girl snarled, with her arms crossed over her chest.
Xena gasped, “Eve, that's not true. You're Greek, not Roman.”
“I told you my name is Livia !” Eve growled. “This is unbelievable! How can you be Xena and Gabrielle? They died a long time ago! Yes, Octavius told me about them, about the mother who abandoned me.” The child was bitter. “If you are truly who you say you are, then I hate you! I hate both of you! Now leave me alone.”
Xena stared at her child in shock, “I will do no such thing!”
There was a knock on the door, “Gabby?”
Gabrielle opened the door to find her sister had the mentioned clothing and smiled, “Thank you.”
Xena gratefully slipped the cotton shirt and pants on, realizing that she would have to go barefoot until they went to the market later in the day. However, Eve was another story. She refused to put on the dress that had been brought for her to wear.
“I refuse to wear that!”
“Eve, be reasonable.” Gabrielle pleaded.
The child sat on the bed with her arms crossed over her chest, “I demand to have my own clothing!”
Xena was beginning to grow frustrated with Eve's blatant refusal of the clothing, whispered a few choice words in her ear. Grudgingly, Eve reached for the dress and slipped it over her head. “Good girl.”
* * *
Gabrielle was still in shock as the three of them walked through the market together, purchasing necessary items such as new clothing and boots for both Xena and Eve. Gabrielle relished the feeling of her Warrior's fingers intertwined with her own. She kept alternating between smiling from ear to ear and tears, desperate for this to be honestly and truly happening. Although she was finding that having a young Eve was a bit disconcerting. Especially since the girl was adamant about being called 'Livia'.
Xena decided that since her original battle gear was in much need of repair after being riddled with arrows, a change was in order. She settled on a pair of black leather pants and a white shirt for herself and for Eve she had found a pair of brown cotton short-pants and a green tunic.
Once back at Lila's, Xena and Eve immediately changed into their new clothes, both feeling much more comfortable.
Eve handed the borrowed clothes back to Lila with a small smile, “Thank you for allowing me to wear this until I could find something else.”
Lila smiled back at the girl, “You are more than welcome Child.”
To be continued...
Author's Note: I fully intend to continue this story but as for when I don't have a clue. My time for writing has be extremely limited over the past couple of years, so I take what time I can get out of my crazy schedule. My advanced apologies if I take a long time to update.
Return to the Academy