Eternal Destiny

Part 3

By this time, Eli and Amarice had gotten Xena and Gabrielle's bodies down from the crosses and had taken them inside the prison compound and laid them on a table in the guard's quarters.

   As Amarice silently stood looking upon Xena's body she said, "Xena. Eli's gone to pray. I don't what that'll do. but I do know now that I shouldn't have run. I should have stayed with you. If I had, maybe you wouldn't be . . . well, you know?"

Amarice took a deep breath to compose herself then continued. "I'll never let you down again. I didn't know you for long, but you were the best friend I've had since . . . well, since I was a kid."

At that moment Aphrodite and Joxer appeared across the table from Amarice. The Amazon quickly drew her sword and shouted, "Who are you!?! Where did you come from!?!"

Aphrodite stepped in front of Joxer and said, "Like, I'm Aphrodite and this is Joxer. Who are you?"

Amarice rolled her eyes sarcastically. "Aphrodite? The goddess of love? Yeah sure and I'm Artemis goddess of the hunt."

Aphrodite rolled her eyes. "Oh please, you don't even look Artemis."

Joxer then pushed Aphrodite aside and said, "Are you an Amazon?

Amarice nodded. "Yeah, and lemme guess, you're Joxer?"   

Eli then entered the room and said, "Xena and Gabrielle had a friend named Joxer."

Amarice turned and looked at Eli as he approached her. "Yeah but how do know this is really him? And the goddess of love? Puleeeze! Xena never said anything about Knowing Aphrodite."

Eli grinned. "Gabrielle did to me. She used to let them stay in her temples . . . put your sword away Amarice."

Amarice shook her head in defiance. "No way!"

Eli then placed his hand on Amarice's shoulder and said, "Has what happened here taught you nothing?"

Aphrodite nodded. "That's right. You should listen to your long haired friend."

Amarice looked at Eli and nodded. "OK." She then reluctantly sheathed her sword. "OK. but If you're the goddess of love, then prove it."

Aphrodite put her hands on her hips in frustration. "Like, I'm a god . . . I don't have to prove anything to you."

Joxer nudged Aphrodite with his elbow. "Just do it."

Aphrodite sighed, "Huh . . . OK!"

Aphrodite then pointed her finger at Amarice and zapped the Amazon with a bolt of energy which knocked the young Amazon to the ground.

Amarice slowly stood up.   She then gazed at Joxer and seductively licked her lips. "So, Joxer . . . How would you like to go and . . . you know?"

Aphrodite giggled as Joxer nervously looked at Aphrodite and coughed. Ahem! That's enough"

Aphrodite then zapped Amarice with another bolt of energy and Amarice shook her head violently. "Ugh! How revolting! OK, so maybe you are the goddess of love. But how do we know he's really Joxer?"

Eli then grabbed Amarice by the arm. "Come on Amarice. I think they've proven who they are. Joxer's known Xena and Gabrielle longer than both of us, let us give him some time alone."

Amarice defiantly shook her head as Eli lead her through the doors and out of the prison.

Joxer then turned and looked at Aphrodite. "Thank you Aphrodite . . . for telling me. I'm glad I heard it from you and not some drunken warlord in a tavern."

Aphrodite nodded. "Sure thing."

Aphrodite looked at Xena and Gabrielle as she took a deep breath. "I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused you guys."

Aphrodite then pulled out a handkerchief and wiped her eyes. "I'm gonna miss you!"

Aphrodite then on the verge of breaking down looked at Joxer and said, "I have to go now. If you need anything, just get to one of my temples and Ill be there."

Joxer nodded as the goddess of love disappeared.

Joxer then glanced at the table where Xena and Gabrielle laid.

He slowly approached the table and whispered "Xena," Joxer paused for a moment then took a deep breath. "I will carry out your last wish Xena. I will take you home to be buried with Lyceus. I promise."

Joxer then glanced over at Gabrielle as he wiped the tears from his eyes. "Gabrielle, I know you didn't think much of me . . . but . . . I would have died for you."

Joxer then closed his eyes just as Xena and Gabrielle's bodies began to glow for a few seconds then faded. Joxer reopened his eyes and looked back down at Gabrielle as he whispered. "I love you Gabrielle."

Joxer then began to walk away as a faint, raspy voice whispered. "I thought you weren't going to tell her?"

"Well, it doesn't do me any good now . . . Xena?"

Joxer rubbed his eyes in disbelief, As Xena slowly sat up on the edge of the table. Joxer shook his head and screamed. "Xena!

"Eli, Amazon, Amr, who ever get in here."

Xena began to shiver uncontrollably as she looked at Joxer. "Gabrielle?"

Joxer circled the table and looked at Gabrielle who was still laying on the table but seemed to be shivering as well.

Amarice then stormed into the room with her sword drawn ready for battle. When she saw Xena sitting up, she dropped her sword at her feet. Eli slowly walked in with his eyes to the ground and said, "What's happening?"

Eli paused in mid sentence as he looked up and saw Xena sitting up. "You're alive!"

 Joxer waved Amarice over. "Amarice, grab those coats hanging on the wall!"

Amarice quickly grabbed two fur coats that the Roman guards had left hanging next to some weapons. She quickly covered Xena with one coat as Joxer covered Gabrielle with the other.

As Gabrielle sat up she pulled the coat tightly around her and scooted across the table next to Xena. "Xena," Gabrielle said in between shivers, "are you all right?"

  Xena then looked at Gabrielle and smiled. "Yeah! Looks like we made it huh?"

Gabrielle grinned. "Yeah, I guess we did."

As Xena rubbed her hands together for warmth she turned to Joxer and curiously said, "Wait a minute. Joxer, what are you doing here?"

Joxer shrugged his shulders and said, "Huh? Oh, a few days ago I found out about the decree Caesar put on your head and I knew you'd be going to Rome."

"But how did you know we were here?"

"Aphrodite told me about . . . what happened."

 Gabrielle then looked at Joxer and asked, "Did Aphrodite help you guys get past the guards?"

Amarice looked at Eli then looked towards Gabrielle and said, "Huh? What guards? When we found out about the assassination we decided to wait until they left."

Xena looked at Amarice curiously and asked, "Assassination?" Xena's eyes then widened as she whispered to herself. "Brutus!"

As Xena then gazed over towards Eli she curiously said, "Wait a minute. How did we survive on the crosses for so long?"

Amarice looked at Eli, but before she could utter a word, Gabrielle in a panic stricken voice said, "Xena, Oh Xena! Look at your hands."

Xena shook her head. "What? My hands?"

"Just do it!"

Xena then pulled her hands out from under the coat and saw what Gabrielle must have seen, a scare on each hand that appeared to be years old.

Xena silently stared at her hands as she whispered. "What is going on here?"

Joxer placed his hand on Gabrielle's shoulder and said, "You guys were dead when I got."

"What?" Gabrielle whispered in a fearful voice.

Xena looked at Eli for confirmation. Eli gazed into Xena's eyes for a moment then nodded. "It's true Xena. Amarice and I came back this morning, and got you down, no, I should say got your bodies down from the crosses."

Xena's pulse began to race as she no longer trembled from the cold, but from fear.

After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, Gabrielle looked at Joxer and broke the silence. "Joxer, I could use something to drink."

Amarice nodded. "Yeah, me too."

Eli chuckled. "I think she means something to help warm her?"

Amarice nodded in embarrassment. "Oops! Sorry!"

Eli then gazed into Xena's eyes and said, "We'll figure this out Xena." Eli then approached the Warrior Princess and gave her a hug. Eli then walked over to Gabrielle. As Eli brushed his hand against Gabrielle's cheek she hung her head in a regretful manner. "Eli, I . . . I departed from my way. I hated those Romans so much. I actually felt pleasure in killing them. I'm sorry."

Eli placed his hands on Gabrielle's shoulders as he grinned. "it's all right Gabrielle. We'll talk about it later. The important thing is you and Xena are OK."

Gabrielle smiled as her and Eli embraced. Eli slowly stepped away from Gabrielle. "Come on Amarice, let's see if we can find them something warm to drink and maybe some clothes."

Amarice looked at Xena. "Xena, I . . . ."

Eli then said, "Come on Amarice."

Amarice took a deep breath as Xena said, "Amarice. What ever it is, we'll talk later OK? I promise!"

Amarice nodded, then followed Eli to find supplies.

As the other two left the room, Joxer looked at Gabrielle and nervously stuttered, "Uh, you didn't hear what I said earlier did you? Just before you woke up?"

Gabrielle turned and looked at Xena who shrugged her shoulders. Gabrielle then looked back at Joxer and shook her head. "Hear what?"

Joxer silently looked at Gabrielle with a bit of regret. He took a deep breath and nodded. "Never mind."

Joxer then began to slowly back away from the table as he said, 'I'll go see if I can help Eli and Amarice."

"Joxer," Xena said as she waved for him to return to the table, "Come here."

Joxer slowly approached Xena and Gabrielle. He then quickly extended his arms and hugged the both of them tightly. "Oh, I thought I lost you guys."

As Gabrielle patted Joxer on the back she jokingly whispered, "No such luck on your part."

Joxer grinned as he stepped away from the table. "I'll go help those two." He then turned and left the room.

After Joxer left the room Gabrielle pulled the coat tightly around her as she slowly got up from the table. "Did I hear Joxer right? Did he say he loved me?"

Xena just shook her head nonchalantly. "Uh, well . . . I don't know. It probably was your imagination."

Gabrielle thought for a moment then shook her head. The bard then took a deep breath and slowly approached Xena.

Gabrielle placed her hand on Xena's shoulder and gazed deeply into Xena's eyes. Xena grinned as she brushed her hand against Gabrielle cheek and whispered, "Are you all right?"

Gabrielle swallowed, then nodded. "Yeah . . . Listen Xena. what's going on? If we were dead, then how come we don't remember going to the Underworld?

Xena shook her head. "I don't know."

Xena then shifted her eyes away from Gabrielle and began to look around the room as if she were looking for something.

Gabrielle curiously asked, "What is it?"

Xena smirked as she looked upwards and whispered, "Ares!"  

As Gabrielle looked around the empty room a familiar laugh echoed throughout the room as Ares appeared. "So nice to so you too Xena."

to be continued . . .

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