FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
There and Back Again: Xena and Gabrielles Warlord Of The Week
DISCLAIMER: I dont own these characters (except for the couple I made up), mean no harm and am making no profit. Extreme Silliness Alert do not read if you are averse to sarcasm, or what I sincerely hope passes for it. <g> No foul language, subtext moments, Gods of War or unwarranted violent acts were harmed in the making of this completely motionless body of text.
THANKS: Im very lucky and grateful to have these three people to thank Lawlsfan for her kind words, the terminally amusing Joanna, and especially Kamouraskan, who is quite possibly the silliest of us all! (Although it remains to be medically and/or scientifically proven, Im convinced its only a matter of time) J Feedback is welcomed and always answered at: firstname.lastname@example.org " May 2000
Gabrielle and Xena were riding down a long road that looked somehow familiar. Gabrielle would have been singing if she could, but since she cant, she wasnt. Instead, she decided to do the talking.
"Yes?" Gabrielle inquired sweetly as the large, sweating man who had been following them for the last half a league finally caught up with them.
The sweaty stranger leaned over with his hands on his knees, gasping for breath. "I I need ."
Gabrielle tilted her head, one hand on her hip. "No no, let me. Okay first of all ." She indicated her companion with an airy wave. "Yes, this is Xena, the Warrior Princess."
The man stared. The tall warrior woman sat unmoving on her horse, a faint smile playing across her lips. A brisk breeze that was not touching him blew picturesquely through her longer-than-last-time hair.
"Well?" prompted the smaller woman on the smaller horse. "That was going to be your first question, right?"
"Uh yis ectually "
"I knew it," she muttered to her companion. "They never ask for me. Never. Why not?"
"Theres no need to take it personally, Gabrielle."
"Its not like I dont fight unaccountably well all of a sudden."
"Youve seen me." She waved her sais around. "Even Ares told me that I was getting pretty good with these things. Twice. Used the exact same words and everything. I mean, Im always there, right next to you! Unless people are saying thank-you, then Im behind you for some reason. Why doesnt anyone ever want my help?"
"How do you know he needs help, Gabrielle?"
The bard rolled her eyes. "Oh please, Xena." She turned back to the man. "Your village is over in the next valley, right? Even though weve been riding through flat terrain for half a day?"
"And its under attack by an evil warlord?"
"Uh, yis, but-"
"Called let me see Conquestador?"
"Er, no, ets-"
There was a snort. "Come on Gabrielle, thats stretching it, even for us."
"Is it, Xena? Is it? You," she said, prodding the taller woman in the chest, just missing the important places, "died." There was a pause. "Three times."
"Whats your point, Gabrielle?" asked Xena, placing a calming hand on her shoulder for no apparent reason.
"I dont have one, Xena," explained Gabrielle softly, staring soulfully into the warriors eyes. "I never have a point. Points are your job. I do all the thinking and then you summarise it briefly for the people who didnt understand what I meant."
"Gabrielle, is it your time of the moon or something?"
"Thats right, fob me off with a sarcastic comment. Go right ahead."
"Youre being awfully pissy lately, you know," drawled the warrior. "Maybe we should find someone so you can slit their throat. That seems to calm you down."
"Hey, maybe youre right!" Gabrielle exclaimed, doing her best imitation of Xenas Evil Glare. "What about him?" She pointed at the man, who wasnt sweating anymore but was wearing eyeliner.
"No no, you cant," said Xena. "Hes had seven lines."
"Because thats more than an extra but not enough for a guest star. You can only kill extras or guest stars. The other people are plot developing." Xena turned to the man. "Isnt that right?"
The man, who had very white teeth and didnt look much like a villager, remained quiet, because he had no lines.
"I suppose youre right," mused Gabrielle, "but that doesnt change the fact that I can do it if I want to."
"Now that you mention it, why are you so violent all of a sudden? That was you that was on the peace kick last year, wasnt it?"
"What? Oh, yeah yeah, I think it was. Have you noticed that the shorter my hair gets the better I can fight?"
"Actually, I did notice that, but I chose not to say anything because youre my sidekick and therefore beneath my praise."
"Maybe I should shave my head?"
"Nah. Even if you did I wouldnt comment on it, so wheres the fun?"
"Id be able to kick your ass. Thatd be fun."
"Shes not normally like this," Xena explained to the man. "But she hasnt had a romantic interest for like, three years. Must be frustrating."
"Oh," said the man, nodding enthusiastically in an overly-interested fashion.
Gabrielle suddenly invaded Xenas personal space. "Actually," she murmured with hooded eyes, "I do have a romantic interest, its just that OW!" She glared off to the left and rubbed a reddening spot on her arm. "Quit it!"
Xena turned Argo around until Gabrielle was behind her and stared moodily into the distance at nothing in particular. "Whats gotten into you, Gabrielle?" she questioned breathily. "You havent talked this much all season."
"Like youve noticed," muttered the bard sulkily.
"Whats that supposed to mean?"
"Why havent you latched onto Whatisname here, and " She tapped the man on the shoulder, breaking his adoring gaze at Xena. "Whats your name again, fella?"
"Oh uh Pythag, Pithy Pyreus," he stammered. As if he couldnt help himself, her looked at someone off to the left.
" Pyreus here and discovered what were meant to be doing yet?" went on Gabrielle, twirling her sais and flexing her biceps moodily. "Then you can spend the rest of your time with him instead of me, until he dies or leaves or something."
"Dont be silly, Gabrielle, Pyreus is only the messenger. The important person wont show up until we get to the village."
"Oh yeah, I forgot."
Xena turned to Pyreus. "So?"
"So what?" asked Pyreus with a big smile.
Xena slapped him for no reason. "I WANT AN ANSWER RIGHT NOW!" she roared loudly, frightening Gabrielles horse, who twitched a bit.
"Whoa, calm down, Horse, whatever your name is! Steady!" screeched Gabrielle frantically, bobbing, ducking and flailing her arms madly as the horse slowly shifted his weight from one side to the other and back again. "Horse! Steady! Steady boy! Ease down!"
The horse lifted its tail and farted.
"Horse! Its me! Its Gabrielle! Calm down, boy! Thats it! Thats it! Thats it!"
The horse dropped his tail again.
"PHEW," said Gabrielle loudly, wiping her forehead.
Xena raised an eyebrow. "Are you all right, Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle sighed. "Im a little tired all of a sudden. That was quite harrowing."
"Why dud you slep me?" Pyreus asked, his hat on a different way than earlier.
Gabrielle rounded on him. "Be quiet! We dont have time for improvisation - the teasers nearly over. Do you want to save your village or not? Just say your bit so we can get moving."
Pyreus looked to Xena for permission. Xena nodded regally and Gabrielle growled to herself.
Pyreus cleared his throat. "Um sivarel seasons ago, a warlord came to our vullige," he began, sounding a lot like he had rehearsed it over and over and over again in front of his bedroom mirror. "He demended all the vullige women for for for a ."
"Secrifice," hissed a voice from the left.
"Secrifice, yis," continued Pyreus. "And we dudnt give thim all to hem the fust time. Jest the old ones. So hes come beck, cemped outside of town and thus time he siz hell-"
"Burn the village and everyone in it unless you give up the women by sundown," chanted Xena and Gabrielle together.
Pyreus looked mildly surprised. "Yis," he said. "But thet was my line."
Xena narrowed her eyes dramatically. "And whats the name of this-"
"Can you see okay when you do that?" interrupted Gabrielle bluntly. "Ive always meant to ask."
Xena ignored her. "And whats the name of this warlord?" she said in a Very Dangerous Voice. "I bet he used to ride with me, or me with him, or both of us with somebody else entirely, or perhaps we even passed each other in the street once in one of the many foreign countries Ive been to, even the ones too far away to really go to in Ancient Greek boats. Doesnt matter. Ill know all about him. Whats his name?"
Pyreus cleared his throat. "Evil Jummy," he said.
"Ha!" shouted Gabrielle loudly, and then when there was no answer, "Ha!" again with a little less confidence.
"Be quiet, Gabrielle," said Xena sternly. "Only I may say I told you so. Now, Pyreus, where is your village?"
Pyreus pointed vaguely towards a lot of scenery and some trees. "In thet gineral duriction for about three hours. I could-"
Xena cut him off with a wave. "Well find it."
"I said," she purred breathily, pausing for effect, "well find it."
"But ets ectually quite trucky - theres thus ruver, end a-"
"Look," growled Gabrielle, "if Xena says she can find it, she can. Only I get lost. Why dont you just run along now before I slit your throat to demonstrate my newfound confidence as a warrior?"
"Okay, okay," flapped Pyreus and moved three steps to the left. "Is thet far enough?" he asked someone, before his voice suddenly became inaudible.
"That warlord wont know what hit him. Well ride in and-" snarled the warrior, only to discover that Gabrielle was staring at her soulfully again. "Gabrielle, I wish you wouldnt do that," she confessed. "It makes me nervous, like theres something on my face."
"Oh, like you staring into the distance or at cave walls and the sides of tents and gods know what else is fun for me?" fumed the bard. "Do you know how often I have to talk to the back of your head?"
Xena ignored her and dug her heels into Argos sides, but only enough to make her jump and plunge around on the spot a bit, because she didnt plan on leaving just yet. It just looked kind of warrior-ish.
Gabrielle watched wistfully. "I wish I could do that," she ventured sadly.
Xena took one hand off the reins. "Try it. You probably can."
The bard booted Horse hard, and found to her delight that indeed she could. "Look, Xena!" she cried triumphantly as Horse bucked and kicked and slewed around from one side of the track to the other. "New skills! New skills! Thats it, Im shaving my head."
There was no answer.
"Xena? Xena, pay attention to me! Pay attention to me!"
"I cant, Gabrielle, I have to look over here now." Xena was staring icily out across the suddenly rolling hills. "Were going to make this scum wish hed never been born. Yah!"
She kicked Argo to a gallop and rode off unerringly in the vaguely general direction of the village.
Gabrielle watched soulfully for a little while and then rode off after her, not quite as fast, not quite as well and not quite as prettily as Xena.
A while later Xena and Gabrielles stunt doubles were riding across a lot of unconnected scenery, and Gabrielle was wearing her peasant outfit again.
Gabrielles stunt double, carefully facing away from view, waved her arms and moved her head up and down. When she caught Xenas stunt doubles attention, she pointed vigourously towards a familiar cave as they rode up to it.
Gabrielle was confused. "How did I get here all of a sudden?" she asked, as she passed the cave in close-up, wearing her leathers again. "I was on the hill before. But look, its the cave."
"So it is," said Xena, cantering alongside her and not fazed for an instant. "What fond memories, and horrible ones, and fond and horrible memories I have of that cave. Lots of things have happened in there, havent they?"
"Huh?" said Gabrielles Voice as her stunt double jumped Horse over a log. "I missed that."
"Never mind," said Xena, pointing ahead. "I think the village is just over that somewhat familiar ridge."
"How could you see the village?" asked Gabrielle scornfully. "Theres nothing but trees up ahead."
"Dont argue with me, Gabrielle," Xena tossed back over her shoulder curtly. "Sometimes I just know things and am not required to give a logical explanation for such."
"Lucky guess," grumbled Gabrielle as the village all of it came into view three seconds later.
Xena reined Argo in and sat majestically atop the ridge, looking down at the little village. Gabrielle tried to rein in next to her, but there was only enough room for one person, so she contented herself with looking at the back of Xenas head.
"Gabrielle," purred the warrior, "today is a good day to fight the good fight. A good fight will save lives. And thats what I do. Save lives with good fighting. Its about being the best warrior I can be, the best way I know how. Its about-"
"Im cold," interrupted Gabrielle, fidgeting with her leather thingy. "This dress is cold. Its cold up here, Xena. And I dont have my long coat with me, or anywhere in my saddlebags, because theyre too small to hold something so bulky. It must be with the rest of our things that are kept somewhere until we need them. Can we go down now?"
Xena stared icily into the distance for a moment. "Gabrielle, I only care how you feel when theres no-one else to worry about. There are lives at stake here. Im going down." She rode off, screaming "Aiyiyiyiyiyiyiy " for no apparent reason. She paused to cough, then resumed. " yiyiyiyiyi!"
Gabrielle shook her head, smiling in a fond manner and then her stunt double rode after Xena.
In the village there were about twenty people and five houses. Gabrielle and Xena walked into the village square, because their horses were suddenly gone. Despite the threat of the looming Secrifice, it appeared to be festival time, or a lot of people were doing brightly-coloured laundry all at once.
"Do all these people live in the same houses, Xena?" asked the bard, simply assuming Xena would know the answer.
"Yes," assured the warrior, assuming she was correct.
"Whats this town called again?"
"Appalachia," said a woman from nearby.
"Dont I know you?" asked Gabrielle slowly.
"No," said the woman, quickly pulling something red up to her chin.
"Yeah yeah I do, you were in that village that was getting plundered last week!" Gabrielle clapped her hands and laughed. "You were the one who was Screaming and Running Away!"
"No I wasnt," said the woman, edging behind a market stall that had tomatoes, kiwi fruits and other New World produce on it. "I dont know what youre talking about."
"Gabrielle, we dont have time for this," called Xena urgently.
There was a silence.
"Why not?" asked Gabrielle.
"Why dont we have time for this? Nothings happening right now."
Xena considered this for a second. "We dont, because I say we dont."
Gabrielle considered that for a second. "Good enough for me."
They walked off in a business-like fashion. Xena went straight up to a man who looked exactly the same as every other man there.
"Are you the leader of this town?" she asked with an unnecessarily scary voice.
"Yis, I mean ye-es," replied the man. "I was chosen because I am invariably stupid and unable to take decisive action at any time under any circumstances. Also I will immediately distrust you for no apparent reason."
He looked around suspiciously for a while, then yelled to the people. "I immediately distrust these women, especially the tall one! Stone them to death! Stone them to death!"
"Whats your name?" asked Gabrielle, ignoring his outburst.
The man looked panicked for a second. "I dont know. Um Pyreus?"
"Taken," Xena barked. "How about Milos?"
"Fine," said Milos. He turned to the large crowd of seven people and raised his voice louder than was necessary. "Xena the Warrior Princess is here with a blonde woman and shes going to save our village from Evil Jimmy, because as weve all heard she has changed her ways and now helps people in need!"
"Yay!" shouted the seven people, waving farming implements and hats and things.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," yelled Gabrielle. "That was a rather quick turnaround. How do you know who she is?"
Milos looked uncomfortable. "I dont know."
"And how did you know shes going to save the village?"
Milos glanced nervously off to the left. "I I dont know that either."
Gabrielle made an explosive sound. "Well I can see that were going to have to take over here."
She strode off towards the biggest building, which came up to her shoulder.
Xena turned to Milos, who was standing with some other people muttering Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. "Milos," she said urgently again, "I need you to get all the weapons in town and bring them here."
"I dont know. I only ever use my own weapons anyway, but it sounds like a good idea, doesnt it?"
"Get cracking," she commanded. "Im gonna set up a command hut over there somewhere to command from."
She straightened her shoulders. "Im in command now," she drawled, staring intensely at a point midway between the sky and the ground. Then she said nothing at all for quite a long time.
Gabrielle came running into the tavern with overstated panic. "Right!" she shouted, clapping her hands. "You, you and you, go and get some rags from the rag supply place. You and you, start putting these tables together, were going to need places to put the wounded. You and you, boil some water and get some needles, twine, hollow reeds and inflatable things like goat bladders only real ones this time."
She stood framed in the doorway, hands on hips. "Lets get moving people, this is war, we dont have a lot of time." With that, she was gone.
"Who was that?" asked one of the men.
"Dunno," replied another. "But I feel strangely compelled to do what she says."
As they all stood up and began hurrying in random directions, Xenas voice became clearly audible, even though she was nowhere to be seen.
"Right, Gabrielle. People are doing what you say and I have a hut with maps in it. I think thats everything until Evil Jimmy makes his move."
She and Gabrielle were in a hut. There was a table, some chairs and maps. It didnt look like the kind of hut that was used for anything other than commanding from, which made it uncannily perfect for the present situation.
"Ahem. Excuse me. Xena? Arent you forgetting something?"
"I dont think so "
"My thankless task?" prompted Gabrielle. "You havent rudely given me one yet."
"Oh right, right uh go and boil some water."
"Thats all?" complained the bard. "You cant think of anything more pointless than that? Boiling water might actually come in handy and then wed be all over the place."
"Youre right," mused the warrior, staring at the wall of the hut. "Split some rocks."
"Yeah, lotsa rocks. And then move them all to the north end of town."
"Okay!" Gabrielle ran off with a newfound sense of purpose, then stuck her head back in. "Xena? Which ways north?"
Xena shook her head in irritation. "Do I have to tell you everything, Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle looked hurt. "Yes."
"Okay." Xena pointed. "That way."
Gabrielle disappeared. A little while later she came running back. Xena had a map in front of her and was pointing at it randomly with a dagger that was so curvy it didnt even put a hole in the parchment. "And if I put people here here and here well, then, I might be able to trick Evil Jimmy into thinking I have people in all of those places." She paused and clenched her fists dramatically. "It might be risky, but at least its ridiculously foolish."
"Xena?" piped up Gabrielle. "Ive split all the rocks. It took me hours and hours and I hurt myself in the process, too."
"Thats great Gabrielle," said Xena with a dismissive wave, "but we dont need them any more. Look, see? Ive got people on all the green parts."
"You are so smart."
Xena smirked. "I know."
At that moment, Ares appeared in the hut with an X-Wing fighter noise. He smirked a bit.
"What do you want, Aressss?" said Xena flatly, as Gabrielle mouthed it along with her.
"Want?" asked Ares sarcastically. "Im a GOD. We dont want anything. We already have everything."
"Then what are you doing here?" inquired Gabrielle sweetly.
"Here?" asked Ares sarcastically. "What is here, anyway? How do you know where here is? You dont know anything."
"Is there anything in particular youd like to say?" drawled Xena, arching both eyebrows at once.
"Say?" asked Ares sarcastically. "How about, I really like Xena, but in a pinch either of you will do? Is that enough saying for you?"
"Do you have a point?" asked Gabrielle, cleaning her fingernails with a sai.
"A point?" asked Ares sarcastically. Then "Hey, youre getting pretty good with those things. Way to clean."
"Wanna be a god with me?"
Gabrielle laughed. "Of course Id like to, but you cant just rush off and do everything youd like. The Greater Good and all that. Plus Id need Xenas permission. Xena?"
"No way," growled the warrior. "Im getting jealous just seeing you two in the same room, even though I dont find Aressss attractive at all and you and I are not in any kind of relationship but a really, really, good, close, binding, close, good, good friendship, except for all the kissing stuff, but that was ages ago and now we pretend it never happened."
"Jealous?" asked Ares sarcastically, then altered his tone. "Wait a minute. Kissing stuff?"
Gabrielle blushed furiously. "Forget it, Ares," she said between her teeth. "It never happened, okay?" She glanced off to the left and winked, then studied her boots. Xena hummed and looked out the window.
Ares strutted across the room, folded his arms, and presented the two women with the back of his head. Gabrielle elbowed Xena. "See how annoying it is?" she whispered.
"Just so you know," Ares spat, "I dont usually take matters into my own hands, unless it involves either of you, in which case, I always take matters into my own hands and since this show is about you, no-one ever gets to see me not take matters into my own hands, which is why Im explaining it all to you." He paused dramatically. "You got me?"
"Just barely," drawled Xena. "And now if youll excuse me, its time for Guest Star Number One, usually a warrior who for some reason or another lives in a small village in the middle of nowhere and can fight as well as me but cant look after the village on his own, because," she broke off and gazed intensely at the bard, "he doesnt have a Gabrielle."
Gabrielle blushed again. "I couldnt do it without you, Xena," she said adoringly. "I couldnt do anything without you." She paused and cut her eyes to the left. "What?" she hissed. "Oh. Right." Her voice became loud again and she draped herself girlishly over a table, exposing a generous amount of thigh. "Except for a romantic interest. Oh how I wish a man would notice me!"
Ares snorted and turned to face them again. "If I had seen what you were just doing, I might be able to comment on it, but I was looking the other way for dramatic effect, so I cant," he growled. "Either way sweet dreams."
He paused and they both blinked at him. "Youre gonna need them," he drawled.
He paused again. "Because Im your worst nightmare!"
"The worst one youll ever have."
"And Im really, really bad, too."
Xena and Gabrielle just stared at him.
Ares shuffled his feet a little. "Well, I am," he whined. "You just wait. Evil Jimmys large army is outside the city walls, and if you think you can beat him as easily as youve beaten all the other thousands of warlords exactly like him, then think again, Xena. Think again."
He disappeared in a loud flash of light. Xena stared intensely at the spot he had left and raised an eyebrow.
Outside the village, close enough to see the town and be seen by them, Evil Jimmys large army of twelve men in Roman armour stood around and grunted.
Evil Jimmy came walking past in an authoritative manner. "I am an Evil Warlord," he growled. "Yaaaaaaaaaaaah!"
To prove it he hit one of his own men very hard, but the man didnt seem to care. Certainly the thought of leaving Evil Jimmys large army never crossed his mind.
Evil Jimmy clenched his fists in an overly hostile fashion. "So Xeeena, the Warrior Princess thinks she can stop me, does she?" he growled very loudly. "I dont know her, except by reputation of course, but Im sure that I can beat her in a fight, even though everyone who has ever gone up against her has been killed. Yaaaahhhhhhh!"
He picked up a spear from a rack next to a tent and threw it fitfully at the ground. "I can see the village and I know they arent ready for our attack, but I choose not to press our tactical advantage, because sundown is a picturesque time to attack a village!"
The men all said, "RAHHH!" and waved their swords. What no one seemed to notice was that the swords waved back. Some of them looked distinctly droopy.
Evil Jimmy continued his ranting. "By sundown, that village will be OURS! And the women will be OURS! And Xeeena the Warrior Princess will be OURS!" He paused for a second. "Also, the blonde one whose name I do not know, but for some reason know she is Very Important to Xeeena. She also will be OURS!"
The twelve-man army all laughed loudly and slapped each other on the back. When they had finished they stood around and waited some more.
A tall man with a ridiculously long sword walked up to the command hut, frowned, looked about in both a suspicious and heroic fashion, then went inside.
Xena and Gabrielle looked up from the maps as the man walked into the hut as if he owned it. "What are you doing in my hut?" he asked rudely, then stared. "By the gods," he said. "Arent you-"
"Xena the Warrior Princess, YES SHE IS!" shouted Gabrielle with red spots rising in her cheeks. "Go on, go ahead and fall in love with her! We dont have much time left!"
The man drew himself up to his full height, which was taller than Gabrielle, but not quite as tall as Xena, so she could retain an air of domination. "Actually," he explained, "I was going to say, arent you Gabrielle, the on-again, off-again Amazon Queen?"
Gabrielle blinked. "Why yes," she said, looking absurdly pleased. "Yes I am, although Im guessing you knew that because half the women of my tribe are also the women of this village."
The man smiled slowly. "My name is Redshirt." He turned to Xena. "By the way, I immediately resent your obvious superiority, both as a leader and a warrior. Nevertheless, I am sure I will come around eventually."
"Good for you," said Xena, not paying him any attention. There were maps to be looked at.
Redshirt focused his attention on the bard, who had been following their exchange with more interest than was necessary. "Gabrielle," he said softly, "I am a brave warrior who has something missing in his life, and I can tell you with sudden bravado that I think Im in love with you."
This caught Xenas attention, and she stepped in front of him. "Wait a minute, wait just a minute," she interrupted, as Gabrielle blushed and batted her eyes. "Arent you Guest Star Number One?"
Redshirt shrugged. "Yes."
"Then youre supposed to be enamoured of me," Xena snarled with irritation.
"No no," explained Redshirt quickly. "I die in the battle. That makes me Gabrielles love interest. If I were yours, youd kill me yourself. And wed probably have sex," he concluded, looking ruefully to the left for a second. "Anyway, how about it, Gabrielle?"
The bard smiled. "You do seem to fill a rather empty place in my heart very quickly," she admitted with a sisterly pat to his hand. "All right, I love you too."
"Glad thats settled, because its sundown and Evil Jimmy is on his way," said Redshirt, putting a platonic arm around Gabrielles shoulders.
Xena, who was suddenly sitting down, stood up very slowly and stared intensely at the wall of the hut. "Then weve got a battle to fight and I always fight my battles by fighting," she drawled, narrowing her eyes. "Time to fight, Gabrielle."
Evil Jimmy and his large army had arrived unchallenged and were standing in the middle of the village square. All the villagers were hiding, except for one scantily-clad teenage girl who had fallen over as she walked slowly along. She was now Evil Jimmys prisoner and therefore squealed loudly to let everyone know it.
"Give up the women, Xeeena!" shouted Evil Jimmy. "Or my men shall set fire to the whole town with their torches, and as you know, these Ancient Greek villages burn really, really fast!"
Xena, Gabrielle and Redshirt walked importantly into the square, but Redshirt looked the most important of all, because this was his Big Moment. Xena pushed Gabrielle a few steps behind her and unsheathed her sword.
"Evil Jimmy," she drawled, stepping forward.
"Xeeena," growled Evil Jimmy, "youve met your match this time. I am your match and now we have met."
Xena smiled a Feral Smile. "Care to dance?" she snarled, whipping her sword in a figure of eight, then a figure of nine and so on up until fourteen.
Evil Jimmy looked confused. "I dont dance, actually," he confessed.
Gabrielle sighed. "It was a metaphor for fighting, you big oaf," she explained, as Xena began waving her sword erratically above her head, frightening Redshirt. "A one-liner. Xena puns. Expect a few more of them as she now fights other people first, then comes back to you for the Big Showdown, which she will win, after one-lining some more."
"And what will you be doing?" asked Evil Jimmy.
Xena pointed at Redshirt. "Cradling him in her arms and screaming Noooooooo for a bit and then kicking everyones asses. And maybe slitting some throats. So Id watch out if I were you. Gabrielles very smart, but dont tell her I told you so. I reserve my praise for places she cant hear me."
"Noooooooooooo!" screamed Gabrielle towards the sky, cradling the suddenly dead Redshirt in her arms. "Whhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy? I loooooooooooooooved hiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmm!"
Evil Jimmy held his hands up in panic. "I didnt do it! I didnt do it!" He looked off to the left. "Oh." He cupped his hand to his mouth. "Were running overtime," he whispered to Xena.
"Then lets do it, you slime, you scum, you snake, you, er, slime and other non-offensive-to-children-descriptive-words Evil Warlord!" shouted Xena. "Im gonna drag your ass to Tartarus, Im gonna knock you five ways from Solstice, Im gonna bury you so deep youll wish you were dead, Im gonna " She looked left. "What? Oh."
She turned her back on Evil Jimmy and then turned around again. Very, very slowly, glaring fiercely.
"Im gonna make you wish youd never been born," she purred, dragging each word out at long as she could, and then narrowed her eyes some more.
Xena waved her sword around. "Im gonna make you wish youd never been born," she purred at Evil Jimmy, dragging each word out as long as she could and then narrowing her eyes some more.
"You already said that," pointed out Evil Jimmy with a frown.
"Yeah? So?" demanded the warrior "Come on you big, ugly warlord," she sneered. "Remember all the other things I said to you before the break? I still mean them now!"
And so the battle was on. Evil Jimmys army attacked Xena and Gabrielle in two orderly straight lines and some other people ran around and panicked in the background.
"Dont you know its rude to chew with your mouth full?" screamed Xena as she swung her sword at someone, missed by a good two feet, yet somehow killed him.
"Didnt you ever learn not to play with other peoples toys?" she screeched as another one unnecessarily flipped over many times and bit the dust.
"If I had a dinar for every time I heard that one!" she howled while charging another soldier.
"Heard what?" gasped the luckless thug as the sword swung for his head. And missed. But he died.
"DIDNT YOUR MOTHER EVER TEACH YOU HOW TO TREAT A LADY?" roared the furious warrior, turning her back on three charging men, tying her boots, polishing her chakram and slapping them down with her pinky.
Gabrielle, who had stopped crying, was kicking people. She kicked them and they fell down dead. After a while, she turned to Xena.
"Even though this is an inappropriate time and we could possibly get killed for turning our attention away from the battle Xena, I have to ask you something."
"What is it, Gabrielle?"
"Why do you say my name so much?"
"What do you mean, Gabrielle?"
"Its only the two of us talking. Why do we always say each others names so much, Xena? Are we afraid that well forget them if we dont?"
"I dont know, Gabrielle. All I really know is that I love you more than my own life and if it wasnt for you Id be doing bad things right now. Badder even than killing a bunch of soldiers who never did anything to me."
"Oh, thats so sweet, Xena," cooed the bard, staring soulfully into her eyes. "And if it wasnt for you, Id still have long hair, heterosexual tendencies and a love for humanity."
At that point a bunch of men ran past in the background, shouting.
"Xena, what are they doing?"
"I dont know, Gabrielle. It must be all a bit confusing, what with there only being the two of us to attack and all. Perhaps they got lost."
The men ran back again the other way, shouting.
"Oh look, there they are again," said Gabrielle. "Im gonna go kill them."
"No, oh no," protested Xena in a flat, bored voice, studying her fingernails. "Oh please dont kill them Gabrielle, what about your Reverence for Life?"
Gabrielle stared. "My what?" she bleated incredulously. "What did you say, you potty mouth?"
"Just kidding," chuckled the warrior. "Do whatever you like Zeus knows I wont notice. Unless you happen to die again," she added brightly. "Then Ill tell everyone how great you are!"
The soldiers who had been waiting respectfully for them to finish their conversation (and those who had been running about aimlessly) now renewed their attack.
Gabrielle ran off and began flipping people four times her size with minimal effort. Xena stood there and waited for men to charge her and dispatched them summarily. Within three minutes the battle was over and all the dead men were on their feet tied to a large pole that stood in the middle of the village square, apparently made to serve just such a purpose.
Evil Jimmy was the only one left. He was on the other side of the square now, holding the squealing hostage girl in front of him.
"Dont even think about it, Xeeena!" he shouted. "Ive heard all about your chakram and the amazing things it can do! Dont even think about trying to use it, for even your luck must run out one day and this is that day!! THIS IS THAT DAY, XEEENA!"
Xena stepped forward and the wind blew her hair around madly, the firelight glowed on her face, her armour glinted dully, she narrowed her eyes and pushed Gabrielle behind her.
"DONT HATE ME BECAUSE IM BEAUTIFUL!" she roared, and threw her chakram, which bounced off a pole, the ground, a market stall, a sword hanging on a wall, the ground again, some unidentifiable stones which were in broad daylight, a tree, a fence, Milos, changed direction in mid air and buried itself in Evil Jimmys stunt double.
Evil Jimmys stunt double flew backwards, upwards and sideways, died in the air and then landed on the ground. He lifted his head weakly.
"Ill get you next time, Xena," he croaked, red food colouring dribbling from his lips. "Next time ." Then he died again.
The teenage hostage was helped away by several other people, even though she could walk fine all by herself.
The market square filled up with the town people. Milos walked up to Xena and Gabrielle, pushed Gabrielle behind the warrior and then turned to face the crowd.
"We would all like to thank Xena, and only Xena, for her help here today!" he bellowed much too loudly.
"Yay!" cheered the crowd.
"If it were not for Xena, and only Xena, we would all be dead!"
"Yay!" cheered the crowd.
"So now let us wish Xena, and only Xena, a fond farewell and the gods speed to her travels! Because now that she has done what she, and only she, came here to do, let none of us speak to her again!"
"Yay!" cheered the crowd.
Gabrielle looked ruefully at the body of Redshirt. "You didnt know him like I did, Xena," she said, a tear running down her cheek. He could have been the love of my life."
Xena slapped her companionably on the back and stared into the distance at nothing at all. "Gabrielle," she said breathily, "you already are. You already are. You already are."
Xena looked left, then back again. "I have no idea."
A while later, The two Very Good Friends were back on their horses, riding down a familiar road.
"So what did you learn, Gabrielle?" asked the warrior.
"What do you mean?" muttered the bard.
"Well, ordinarily I wouldnt have to ask you you usually vocalise your thoughts in a logical summary about what youve learned during the day. I kinda miss it."
"You do?" asked Gabrielle, eyes shining.
"Yeah," admitted the warrior, gazing intensely at her Very Good Friend.
"Is this what people refer to as a subtext moment?"
"I think so, Gabrielle. I think so."
There was a cough from the left. Xena looked over her shoulder. "I mean, no! No," she corrected hurriedly. "Not subtext. At all."
Gabrielle sighed. "All right then, lets get on with riding away until our voices fade out."
"So, you dont find Ares attractive, eh?"
"Uh huh. So what do you think people thought when I put my hands on your "
Thanks for reading! J
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