Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Cyrene , Herodotus, Hecuba and Lila do not belong to me. They belong to MCA/Universal/Renaissance.
The lyrics to the song aren't mine either, they are a combination of the following songs:
Celine Dion – My heart will go on (from Titanic)
Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram – Somewhere out there (from An American Tale)
The Bangles – Eternal Flame
Far longer than forever (from Swan Princess)
I just combined these lyrics to form this beautiful song.
It was a morning like any other, when three travelers woke up and broke camp to continue their journey to the small town of Potidaea . One of them was a tall, raven haired warrior, the other was a shorter, blond bard and the third was shorter and younger than the other two, a light brown haired warrior. Many bandits who tried to attack them first thought these three would be easy to rob, but how wrong they were…
After an encounter with some bandits, the young warrior sat down on a rock and the taller warrior was attending the wound on her left eye.
“Ouch, Xena that stings”, Exl said and jerked a bit when Xena cleaned the wound.
“Hold still, you want me to fix it don't you?” Xena tried to keep her friend still so she could treat the cut Exl had got on her eye when she had fought Zabor. He had scratched her face and left a cut from above her eyebrow to below her left eye. The wound hadn't properly healed yet, and nearly every time they were in a fight, Exl somehow managed to make the wound open and start bleeding.
“When we get to Potidaea, we have to get a healer to stitch that up and to get more healing herbs, ointments and other things”, Xena said, she had finally stopped the wound from bleeding.
“Thanks Xena. I wonder why the wound hasn't healed yet”, Exl said, thinking of the moment she got the cut.
“I don't know but I do know that it will leave quite a scar”, Xena smiled and gave Exl a pat on the back. Then she went to Gabrielle to see if she was hurt.
“Gabrielle, are you okay? Did you get hurt?” Gabrielle brushed her wife's upper arm and said:
“No, they didn't even touch me. I'm fine, are you okay? How's Exl?” Xena smiled and answered:
“I'm okay, the wound on Exl's eye was bleeding again. It's fine now.”
“Great, are we ready to continue?” Exl nodded and so did Xena.
After traveling for a few days, Gabrielle, Xena and Exl had finally arrived at Potidaea .
It was a beautiful place, just like Gabrielle had described. The people smiled as they walked in the market place and talked with other people about the usual things.
Exl stopped for a moment to look around her, when she saw a weird figure quietly walking behind Gabrielle and Xena. He said with a deep voice:
“Xena, Gabrielle, we meet again…” Gabrielle and Xena turned to see who was talking to them, the voice wasn't familiar to them. Behind them was a man, dressed in ragged clothes, a self made armor, he had a sword and a pointy helmet. He was about move closer to the two friends but was suddenly swept of his feet and he fell on his back. Exl was right in front of him with an axe drawn. She said with a fierce voice:
“If you try to hurt Xena and Gabrielle, you'll have to get through me first.” Gabrielle was startled and quickly ran to the man's side and asked:
“Joxer, are you alright? Exl, it's okay. This is Joxer, he's a friend of ours.”
”Gabrielle? Yeah I'm fine. Sorry I creeped behind you like that“, Joxer said looking at Gabrielle. Exl quickly put away her axe and went to help Gabrielle get Joxer up on his feet.
“You're Joxer? Joxer the Mighty? Gabrielle and Xena have told me so much about you. I'm sorry, if I had known who you were…” Exl tried to apologize her overprotective behavior Xena laughed a bit, and told Exl:
“Exl, Joxer is a good friend of ours. He'd never hurt us. Joxer, I'd like you to meet our new dear friend, Exl. Also known as Exl, the Loyal. The Guardian. Queen Exl, the Valiant.” Exl was embarrassed by this introduction of her Xena gave Joxer. Joxer took his helmet off, kneeled before Exl and took her hand. “Queen…? Your Royal Highness…” Joxer tried to give Exl's hand a kiss, but Exl quickly got her hand from Joxer's grip.
“No, I am not Queen. At least not here, and back home I am a former Queen. Joxer, please just call me Exl”, Exl said to Joxer. Joxer rose and looked at Exl from head to toe.
“Let me guess, you're a warrior.” Joxer said noticing Exl's weapons.
“Fast learner” Gabrielle whispered to Xena. Then Joxer noticed Exl's eyes, at first he saw the wound on Exl's left eye, but was then staring at the beautiful blue-green eyes of the young warrior.
“Wow, may I say you have beautiful eyes”, he said then turned to look at Gabrielle's and Xena's eyes. “Thank you Joxer. I've been told that by many people”, Exl said, blushing a bit.
The four went to the tavern to sit down, have a drink and talk.
“So, are the rumors true?”, Joxer asked Xena and Gabrielle.
“Depends on the rumors”, Xena answered taking a gulp of her ale. Joxer took a sip of his drink and continued:
“I heard about an Amazon wedding. The wedding of the Queen of the Amazons and a warrior.” Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other and smiled. They both showed Joxer their left hand and the rings they had on their ring fingers. Joxer smiled and said:
“Congratulations you two. I'm so happy for you.”
“Don't forget to congratulate Exl, she is our Guardian”, Gabrielle said smiling and taking Exl's hand. Joxer looked at Gabrielle, not understanding what she meant.
Exl then told Joxer her homeland, the tradition of becoming a Guardian and all three told about the wedding ceremony. Joxer understood what it meant to all three women to be together. He was truly happy for them, even though in his heart, he would always love Gabrielle.
“So why are you here in Potidaea ? Are you here to see your family Gabrielle?”, he asked. Gabrielle nodded.
“Yes, we're going to go and tell my parents and Lila about my joining with Xena and about Exl.” Xena and Exl smiled, and Joxer said:
“You three look very happy. I must be on my way, the people need a hero, and Joxer the Mighty is here!” Then he left. All three laughed and Exl was finally able to say:
“He really is funny, just like you said.” Gabrielle said:
“Yeah, Joxer might be silly sometimes, but he has the heart of a lion.” Xena said joking:
“And the brain of a chicken…” Finishing their drinks, they went to explore more of the town before going to meet Gabrielle's parents and sister Lila.
Gabrielle's mother, Hecuba heard a knock on the door and shouted:
“Coming.” She went to open the door, thinking who could it be. She was happily surprised when she opened the door, it was Gabrielle! Hecuba said:
“Gabrielle… It's so good to have you home…” And gave her daughter a big hug. Xena and Exl stood a few feet behind Gabrielle, wanting to give her a moment with her mother.
“Mother, it's good be here.” Another woman's voice was heard asking:
“Mother who is it?” The woman came to the door, it was Lila, Gabrielle's younger sister.
“Gabrielle!” Lila shouted and wrapped her arms tightly around her sister to hug her. Gabrielle said: “Lila, how I've missed you so much.”
“How are you?” Lila asked very enthusiastically.
“I'm just great.” Gabrielle answered. Hecuba and Lila then turned to look at Gabrielle's companions who silently stood still behind Gabrielle.
“Xena, it's nice to see you again. Who is your young friend?” Hecuba asked. Xena answered:
“Hello Hecuba. It's a pleasure to see you too. This is Exl, a very dear friend of ours.” Exl saluted Hecuba and Lila and said:
“I am honored to meet the mother and sister of Gabrielle. I am Exl.” Hecuba and Lila were also pleased to meet Gabrielle's and Xena's new friend, she was kind and very polite.
“Come in, let's sit down for a while.” Hecuba invited the travelers inside.
They sat down and talked. Well, at least Gabrielle, Lila and Hecuba talked. Exl and Xena mostly just sat there and listened to the three just talk and talk.
“It's nice you decided to come and visit.” Hecuba said.
“Where's father?” Gabrielle asked, looking around her.
“Father is out cutting wood. He should be here any moment”, Lila answered, right when Herodotus came in the back door.
He had a pile of wood and an axe in his arms and he nearly dropped it when he saw his family around the table. His whole family, his wife and both his beautiful daughters. He couldn't see Xena and Exl, who were sitting in the living room, but they were only a foot or two away from the three chatting women. Herodotus felt very happy seeing Gabrielle, he thought she had finally come to her senses and come home, leaving Xena to travel by herself. He put down the pile of wood, and then the women turned to look at him. Gabrielle stood up and walked to his father, saying:
“Father…” Herodotus embraced his eldest daughter and said:
“Gabrielle, I'm so happy you're… home” When he saw Xena and Exl, he just froze. Gabrielle noticed that his father wasn't very happy to see Xena, so she went and stood next to her wife and her Loyal. “What are you doing here? In my house?”, he asked Xena.
“Hello Herodotus, it's nice to see you too”, Xena answered trying to stay calm. Exl thought now was her chance to introduce herself and walked to Herodotus, bowed her head and said:
“I am honored to meet the father of Gabrielle. I am Exl.” First Herodotus just stared at this young warrior, not knowing what to say or do. Then she took a quick glance at Exl, and then saw her eyes. Like many others before, he was also amazed at the color of Exl's eyes. He said:
“I am Herodotus, Gabrielle's and Lila's father.” Then Exl walked back to her Couple and stood there beside them.
“Father, Xena, Exl and I came here to tell you some news“, Gabrielle said to her father.
“What is it Gabrielle, tell us”, Lila said. Exl and Xena looked at Gabrielle, they wanted her to do the talking, she was the bard.
“Mother, father, Lila, I'm married”, Gabrielle started. Hecuba's and Lila's face got bright and Herodotus seemed amazed.
“That's not all, so is Xena.” Gabrielle continued. Lila, Herodotus and Hecuba didn't understand what Xena being married had to do with Gabrielle.
“Mother, father, Xena and I, are married… to each other”, Gabrielle finished. She and Xena showed their wedding rings to Gabrielle's family. Lila was the only one who seemed truly happy, Hecuba seemed happy and confused but Herodotus seemed very, very angry.
“We got married in Amazonia , and Exl became our Guardian. In her homeland, far north from here, there is an ancient tradition. When a couple is married, they are consecrated a Guardian, who will always be there for the couple. To guard their love, their hopes and dreams and their lives. If something were to happen to me or Xena, Exl be will there to keep us safe. We are a family.” Gabrielle had finally finished and was now waiting for the reaction they would receive from Lila and her parents. Lila walked to Gabrielle and hugged her, and said:
“Congratulations, to all three of you.” Then Hecuba walked to her daughter and looked into her emerald green eyes and asked:
“Gabrielle, are you sure you know what you're doing?” Gabrielle took her mother's hands and said:
“Of course I'm sure. If I love Xena with all my heart, why wouldn't I marry her? Xena smiled hearing her wife's words.
Exl turned to look at Herodotus, she just stood there. Then he turned and walked to the pile of wood he had just carried and picked up the axe. He took a few steps and stopped right were he had been standing before. Only now Gabrielle, Xena and Hecuba turned to look at Herodotus.
“You… you have brainwashed her. You've turned my daughter into a total stranger”, Herodotus said looking at Xena. He raised his axe slightly and was about to take a step, when Exl quickly positioned herself between Herodotus and her Couple drawing one of her axes, ready to protect her Couple. “Herodotus, what are you doing?”, Hecuba asked her husband.
“I am making my point clear. Leave my family alone Xena. Go and never come back. And take your little Guardian with you. You are not wanted here”, Herodotus said, looking angrily at Xena. Then he just walked out the door, striking the axe to a piece of wood in the pile.
“Father!”, Gabrielle shouted. Then she just started to cry and ran into the room that used to be hers and Lila's.
“Gabrielle!”, Xena called for her wife, but when Hecuba and Lila went into the bedroom after Gabrielle, she simply couldn‘t move. She felt somehow broken inside, because Gabrielle was so sad. Exl put her axe back in its place and walked beside Xena and asked:
“Xena, what was that all about? I thought Gabrielle's father would have been happy to see you and Gabrielle.” Xena shook her head.
“No, Herodotus has hated me since the day I first came here and saved Gabrielle and the other girls from being taken as slaves. After that Gabrielle left home, to travel with me. Herodotus has ever since blamed me that I have taken Gabrielle away from him.”
Exl saw Xena feel sad for Gabrielle. Xena had thought that going to Gabrielle's home and telling Gabrielle's family about their joining would have turned out well, but she also feared something like this would happen.
“Xena, when I find Herodotus, I'm going to give him a piece of my mind…”, Exl said with furious look. “It's no use. You heard what he said. I have to go away and leave his family alone”, Xena said very unhappy and slightly confused. Exl had never seen Xena this crushed. She tried to talk sense into her warrior companion:
“Xena, he told you to leave his family alone. His family is his wife and Lila. Gabrielle is a part of OUR family now. You, me and Gabrielle, we are a family, that's what you told me.” Xena knew that Exl spoke the truth and she also knew that looking into the eyes of two people would make her feel safe and loved. To look into her wife‘s emerald green or into the blue-green eyes of her young warrior companion. Xena looked deep into her Guardian's eyes and her heart started to beat steadily. She felt how a wave of calmness and tranquility swept over her. She closed her eyes and sighed. She opened eyes to see Exl smiling in front of her.
“Feel any better?” she asked the Warrior Princess, knowing that when Xena or Gabrielle looked into her eyes, they wanted to feel safe, to feel loved of to find answers.
“Much better, now we have to go and see Gabrielle.” Xena said and pulled Exl with her to the door of Lila's and Gabrielle's bedroom.
Xena knocked. Lila came to open the door.
“Xena, it's good you're here. Gabrielle wants to talk to you. Xena entered the room and Lila and Hecuba exited. Gabrielle was lying on the bed on her stomach, she had crying for some time. Xena sat on the bed next to her wife and started to softly stroke Gabrielle's blond hair. Gabrielle rose up and said:
“Oh Xena…“ and embraced her beloved dark warrior.
“Shh… It's okay Gabrielle, I'm here.“ Xena said and gave Gabrielle a kiss on the cheek. Exl was standing in the doorway, ready to close the door and leave her Couple to talk in private. But just as she was about to close the door, Gabrielle said:
“Exl…” Exl closed the door behind her and quickly kneeled in front of the sad bard saying in a soothing voice:
“I'm here Gabrielle, I'm here.” Gabrielle gave Exl her hand and signaled her that she wanted Exl to sit next to her. Exl sat next to Gabrielle and put her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder to comfort her friend.
“Are you okay Gabrielle?”, Exl asked.
“I'm sorry your father hurt your feelings. He had no right saying the things he did.” Gabrielle said:
“I'm sorry he said bad words about you. I guess the only choice we have is to leave, I can't stay here without you two.”
Xena had her arm behind Gabrielle's back and was holding her tightly to her side.
“Something Herodotus said made me think. He told me to go away and leave his family alone. And when Exl reminded me of something important, I realized I can just to what he wants and feel okay about it.” Gabrielle looked at Xena not understanding what she meant. Could Xena just leave Gabrielle with her parents and Lila?
“Like Exl said, WE are a family now. Gabrielle, you, me and Exl, we are family of our own. If Herodotus wants me to leave, I'll leave, with MY family.” Gabrielle looked at Xena, then at Exl, both warriors smiled. Gabrielle felt relieved, now she understood Xena's point. Her father's family is Hecuba and Lila now and Gabrielle's family was Xena ad Exl. The two most important people of her life were there with her, and would always be with her.
“Gabrielle, the family you are born into will always be important to you, so will the family you gather around you. Choosing between them isn't easy, but you have to make the choice someday. Always remember to listen to your heart. That is something people in my homeland say”, Exl said to Gabrielle. Gabrielle put her hand on her heart and closed her eyes for a moment. Exl and Xena just looked at each other thinking what Gabrielle was doing. Then she opened her eyes and said:
“My heart told me that it belongs with you two. If my father won't accept this, it's his loss.”
The trio went for a walk, to see if they could find Herodotus. But they didn't, so they decided to go back to Gabrielle's home to say their goodbyes to Hecuba and Lila.
Exl and Xena stayed outside, they didn't want to cause anymore trouble to Gabrielle and her family. They heard Gabrielle talk with her mother and Lila.
“Gabrielle, why are you leaving so soon, you just got here?” Hecuba asked. Gabrielle gave her answer: “Mother, I can't stay here knowing that father won't accept my marriage with Xena.” Lila said:
“Father only wants his family to be here, at home.”
“If you ask me, his family is home” Gabrielle said with a serious voice. Lila and Hecuba thought Gabrielle had lost her mind, what did she mean? Herodotus came barging in the back door, and when he saw Gabrielle, he was on his guard, holding his axe.
“Gabrielle, where's your dear “wife” and that “Guardian” of yours? Did you finally make the right choice and leave them? You know your place is here, with your family”, Herodotus said. Gabrielle looked around her, then she looked into her father's eyes.
“Yes father, I know my place is with my family, but it isn't here.” Herodotus asked his daughter:
“What do you mean Gabrielle?” Gabrielle walked to the door and said:
“This is not my family father, this is yours. Mother and Lila are part of your family. MY family is Xena and Exl. My place is with them. If you can't understand it, it is your own loss.” Herodotus put down his axe and said with a cold voice:
“You're right Gabrielle, in my family, I only have my wife and ONE daughter. Go with your family and leave mine alone.” Gabrielle felt heartbroken by her father's words.
Outside, Exl was so frustrated, that if Xena hadn't held her still, she would have barged in and told Herodotus what was on her mind.
“Exl, no. There is nothing you can do”, Xena said. When Gabrielle walked out the door, she seemed so broken on the inside. Exl and Xena also felt and looked very sad and when Gabrielle walked over to them, the warriors took Gabrielle into a warm embrace. They knew that what Herodotus had said had a very deep effect on Gabrielle and she would be emotionally broken for some time. Taking one last look at Gabrielle's former home, the threesome left Potidaea , with a feeling of disappointment in their hearts.
Stopping to set up camp, Exl and Xena did all the work and let Gabrielle sit down and to have a moment for herself. After cooking their dinner, Exl took some food to Gabrielle and kneeled next to the bard.
“Here Gabrielle, I brought you some food, I hope you like it”, Exl said giving Gabrielle the plate. Gabrielle took the plate and just stared at the emptiness.
“Exl, why?”, Gabrielle asked. Exl said:
“Why what Gabrielle?”
“Why can't my father understand? Why can't he understand that I love Xena, I love her with all my heart. Why can't he understand that I want to spend the rest of life with her? And I love you as well, you are important to me and Xena”, Gabrielle said, turning to Exl, with her eyes filled of sadness and sorrow.
“Gabrielle, I think that when you left home to travel with Xena, your father didn't want to see his little girl grow up and leave home. So to cope with the situation, he decided it was easiest to blame Xena for filling your head with this warrior nonsense. And when he saw you today, I saw that he was very happy to see you, but when he saw Xena… his paternal instincts kicked in and he wanted you to come back home. In some way I understand his feelings, but I don't understand or accept his ways of getting you to stay home. Threatening Xena and saying those things about us, did he think that would work?”
Gabrielle listened to Exl and thought to herself, could that be the reason her father hates Xena? Because Gabrielle willingly left home?
“Exl, I have never thought of it that way…”, Gabrielle said, taking Exl's hand.
“Gabrielle, I never want to hurt you, but when I heard your father throw you out, I just saw red. Like some dark part of me just wanted to attack your father and make him take back his nasty words. It scared me, but now I know what it was. It had to be my heart, it never wants any harm to come to you or to Xena, but at that moment… it felt like something I have never felt before. If Xena hadn‘t held me, who knows what would have happened.” Exl's head sank down in regret. Gabrielle lifted Exl's chin and looked into the beautiful eyes. The ice blue and emerald green eyes were filled with love, as they usually did, but also had a slight bit of fear and insecurity in them. Gabrielle knew that her two warriors would always protect her, no matter what. Gabrielle remembered that when Exl was fighting Zabor and he was about take Exl's Guardian pendant, she was the one who had to hold Xena, who would have otherwise attacked Zabor and saved Exl. Gabrielle brushed Exl's cheek and said to her Loyal:
“Exl, I know that when you love someone and they are in trouble or in danger, your heart makes you do or say things you'd normally never say or say. I know your heart is kind, loving and brave and that you would do anything to help me and Xena.” Exl smiled and asked:
“What if I go too far? What if my heart just turns me into something I'm not? I could really hurt someone.” Gabrielle shook her head and said:
“Your heart won't do a thing like that, I know it for sure. You have the heart of a warrior, and I know that a warrior‘s heart would never let the warrior hurt someone they loved.”
“Yes, and a warrior's heart always knows what is the right thing to do”, Xena said, approaching Gabrielle and Exl. Exl stood up and asked Xena:
“Sometimes I wonder, am I really a warrior. My heart doesn't sound like the heart of a warrior.” Xena walked right in front of Exl and took hold of Exl's hands.
“You are a warrior, and a great one. Ever since we first got to know each other, I've had a feeling that says: “This young one is a true warrior.” And you've proved it, many times. First you saved Gabrielle from the bandits, even though you yourself were hurt, then you fought Zabor, won and gave your cousin your place as ruler and today you almost took out Joxer thinking he was about to harm us and later you stood against Herodotus. That sounds like a warrior to me”, Xena said, turning to look at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle walked to Exl and Xena and said:
“Yeah, that sounds like a warrior to me too and a true friend.” Exl looked at Gabrielle and Xena, and finally said:
“Thank you my dear friends. Whenever I need guidance, I just have to remember to always listen to my heart.”
Exl wanted her Couple to have some time for themselves so she went to check the fire and take care of Argo. After she left, Xena looked at Gabrielle and said:
“Gabrielle, my dear, what Exl said about your father…it's my fault you left home, I'm the one to blame. Your father shouldn't have taken it out on you, he should take it out on me.” Gabrielle looked into her wife's loving cerulean eyes and felt safe and loved.
“Xena, if I hadn't left with you back then, I know I would have never had experiences like the ones we've had or met people like the ones we've met. Xena, without you, I would have never found the other half of my soul, you complete me, my love. I couldn't imagine living without you, no matter what other people say or think.” Xena loved her wife so much, no-one in this world or in any other that could make her feel otherwise.
“Tomorrow we'll go to Amphipolis and see mother. I'm sure she'll be happy for us and accept our family as it is.” Xena said taking her wife's hand and kissing her on the lips. They went back to camp to get some rest finding Exl who had fallen asleep sitting against a tree near the fire. Xena went to roll out their bedrolls and Gabrielle went to get a blanket and wrapped it around Exl to keep her warm for the night. Gabrielle smiled seeing the sleeping young warrior, then ruffled her hair just a bit and whispered:
“Good night Exl.”
“She sure has my gift of sleep. Good for her”, Xena said when Gabrielle came to their bedrolls and looked at their Guardian.
“Xena, we sure are lucky to have her. She is young, but still very wise. And she has a heart of gold”, Gabrielle said smiling and then placed herself next to her warrior. Xena wrapped her arms around Gabrielle and kissed her neck.
“We truly are, and I am very lucky to have you”, Xena said and yawned. Xena pressed herself against Gabrielle's back and Gabrielle could feel Xena's heart beat against her back, that beat was music to her ears.
“I am extremely lucky to have you, my love”, she replied. And soon all three were sleeping and the fire slowly faded out.
As usual, Xena woke up first of the three. She managed to get loose of her wife's tight squeeze and rise to catch them some breakfast. On her way to the stream, she decided to wake Exl. She softly touched the sleeping warrior's shoulder and said:
“Exl…Exl wake up.” First Exl gave a grunt, then she opened her eyes and saw Xena.
“Xena, is it morning all ready?”, she asked, feeling quite sleepy.
“Yes it is. I'm going to the stream to catch us something to eat for breakfast, I need you to get up and get a fire started. I won't be long”, Xena said waiting for Exl to get up.
“Go on Xena, I'll be up in a moment.“ Xena left, Exl got up, did a few stretches and went to the fireplace to make a fire. In a few minutes she had a fire roaring, so she decided to start packing some of their things and get the cookware so they could cook their breakfast. Xena arrived in about a half a candle mark and Exl started preparing their breakfast. The scent of food cooking reached Gabrielle, who slowly got up and asked still nearly sleeping:
“What's for breakfast?” The breakfast tasted wonderful and soon they were on the path leading to Amphipolis.
Amphipolis was only about another candle mark's travel away.
“Xena, what is your family like, in Amphipolis?” Exl asked Xena. Xena thought what she would tell Exl about her family.
“Well, my mother is called Cyrene and she is the inn-keeper, and I have two brothers, Lyceus and Toris, well actually Toris is the only brother I have left.” Gabrielle continued:
“Xena's younger brother Lyceus died in battle. But he is never forgotten.” She said the last sentence looking at Xena, she knew that Lyceus was very important to Xena. Xena then asked Exl:
“Exl, you haven't told us about your family. Well, at least not all about it.” Exl looked into sky and said: “Swyther and Nali have always been like a brother and sister to me, I don't have any siblings of my own. I can't remember anything about my parents, I lost them when I was very young…” Gabrielle and Xena had never heard Exl talk about her family, maybe this was why, she had lost both her parents at a very young age. Exl continued:
“My grandfather raised me, he raised me to be a warrior. He gave me my axes the same day he gave Swyther his sword. He chose these weapons for us and taught us with great wisdom. He never told me how my parents died. I remember when I was a child, I hoped and dreamed, that someday I'd find my parents or that someone would become my new parents. But the day never came, I've always had to take care of myself. I never really had a family before, until… you came into my life.” Exl seemed so happy to be there with Gabrielle and Xena.
“Exl, you're like a daughter to us, we love you. You don‘t have to wait for the day you find your family anymore, we‘re right here”, Gabrielle said.
“You two have shown me love like no-one has ever shown me before. My heart is filled with joy knowing that I have people who love me for who I am and people I can love with all my heart. You are the best family anyone could wish for”, Exl said, holding her hand to her heart.
Xena took Gabrielle in one arm to embrace and waved Exl to come to them and that's what Exl did. All three were in one big embrace, and then Xena kissed Exl on the forehead, so did Gabrielle, then Gabrielle kissed Xena on the cheek and Xena kissed Gabrielle back. This was one loving family.
“Exl, I remember the day we met. That night when we came back to camp, we found you sound asleep and watching you sleep, it was like watching a child sleeping. A child of our own”, Gabrielle said breaking the silence.
“And your eyes and some of your features, they're a mysterious combination of features from both me and Gabrielle…”, Xena continued her wife's words
“I've noticed the same exact same things. It feels too good to be true, but I'm glad it is. My people have a saying that the home is where the heart is, and I've found my home”, Exl said, almost in tears. “We should be in Amphipolis soon, and we should hurry if we want to be there before dark”, Xena said, wanting to get to her hometown and tell everyone how she loved these two women with every bit of her existence.
End of part 1
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