Disclaimers: Please see Resurrection
I would rate it PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Melinda Pappas sat in the large roomy tent on the dig site outside of Salonika pouring over ancient scrolls scattered about the makeshift table and floor. She held a P.H.D in Archeology and a Master's in History. She knew seven different languages and could speak them all fluently and could even translate Ancient Greek; Syntax and Latin a rare feat for anyone but especially a woman in the 1940's.
Turning as she heard the footsteps approaching the tent she almost fell over in shock at the dirty sight of her partner Dr. Janice Covington but then smiled at the toothy grin Jan gave her. They had been partners over a year starting out as colleagues; then building a strong friendship which developed romantically. Like their ancestors they were soul mates and their love deep and binding.
Mel (shaking her head): Janice Covington I swear you got more sand on ya then the pyramids themselves.
Janice (smirking; even though Mel had come a long way since being the shy demure woman she first met she still had some ideas on where dirt belonged and didn't along with a few other ideas): Well you won't mind why I'm dirty when I tell you what I found. How was your morning (removing her tattered fedora and throwing it across the tent to land on another crate that served as a dressing table?)
Mel (holding up a bunch of notes): Well it seems that yes Xena was resurrected after the incident in ancient Japan; finding out through hold on (leafing through the notes) ah the Goddess Aphrodite that they were lied to by Xena's ex-girlfriend. And they were taken to Mt. Olympus to rest and figure out what to do with their lives. Eve was also brought there for the reunion.
Janice (removing her jacket and lighting a cigar): So what was the ex's name?
Mel (looking through her notes): Gabrielle doesn't really say some of the references are very colorful (looking at one in particular) oh my goodness.
Janice (laughing at her partner's expression): What, what did she say?
Mel (shaking her head): No way am I going to repeat that. I tell you she had some temper worst than Xena's at times. Anyway sorry what did you find of interest that's got you so excited (watching with intensity as Janice removed her shirt.)
Janice (opening up her pack): Two scrolls, very private they were in a leather bag with a bracelet of sorts.
Mel (taking the scrolls): Why don't you go take a shower and change and I'll see what I can find out (leaning down and kissing the soft lips gently only to be pulled in tightly by her partner and her mouth ravished with intensity and passion that left her mind reeling.)
Janice (grabbing their bathing supplies): Sure thing sweetheart (getting a slap on her ass for the sarcasm.)
A half an hour later Janice came back to find Mel pacing the tent lost in thought. Janice put her gear down then went and hugged her partner. It was the only way to calm her at times like this.
Janice (pushing her partner's long black hair out of the way): What did you find?
Mel (mumbling and continuing her pacing): I swear…
Janice (facing her partner and putting her hands on her shoulders then slowly brought them down to a more pleasant surface): Mel what did you find? Is everything ok? What happened?
Mel (focusing on her partner): Did you know Gabrielle and Xena separated?
Janice (shock): What?
Mel (shaking her head): I read the first scroll you found and Xena made a promise it seems that after they left Mt. Olympus they were to find a place to settle down. It didn't happen and it made Gabrielle unhappy and she left Xena.
Janice (holding up her hand): But you read only one of the scrolls what did the other one say?
Mel (taking a deep breath): I can only imagine. I can't believe she would do something like that.
Janice (guiding her partner over to the table): Well let's read the first one again and see if we miss anything. You know in all the time they spent together Xena never intentionally hurt her soul mate. She loved her maybe something happened and Xena needed time. I mean look at what they went through. I bet Xena could be a real romantic when she put her mind to it.
Mel (arching her eyebrow): You think so huh?
Janice (nodding): Yep I think she could be (remembering their discussion last week about the very same thing.)
Mel (holding out her hand in an attempt to make a deal): Alright you're on. If you're right then I uh…
Janice (smirking): I get you a leather jacket like mine (she already had Mel wearing the Khaki pants and thigh high boots) deal.
Mel (nodding): And if I'm right I buy you a dress and you wear it to dinner one night (she had already gotten her love to wear something other than boots around the house.)
Janice (shaking her hand): Deal (then grabbing a bottle of Scotch and two glasses) well read on.
Mel (picking up the scroll): Ah yes it was two weeks after…
We came back from Mt. Olympus Xena and I were doing our usual routine with a slight exception she was more careful when it came to a fight. Something inside her changed and part of me welcomed it and a part of me wondered what was going through her mind. She had made a promise when were staying with Aphrodite that she would find us a place and settle down. That had yet to happen. Then on the day of our seven year anniversary (of traveling together) she came back to the camp site a day late covered in filth and smelling of liquor.
Gabrielle (standing looking at the sight that was her soul mate): Xena what the hell happened to you?
Xena (cringing): Sorry I got distracted by some kids who fell into a river; their father offered me a place to stay and we ended up sharing some stories. You would never believe who it was.
Gabrielle (holding up her hand): Wait a minute you mean to tell me you forgot what yesterday was?
Xena (looking sheepish; oh shit I got her a present but I forgot what day it exactly was): I didn't forget I just…
Gabrielle (angrily): You forgot either way you put it you forgot.
Xena (shaking her head; Gabrielle had been acting a little out of sorts lately this outburst wasn't unlike her but losing her temper so quickly was): Baby listen I'm sorry I did get you something.
Gabrielle (throwing a log on the fire): Why don't you take a bath in the river first? Then you and I can sit and talk ok.
Xena (opening her pack and handing a wrapped object to her partner): Why don't you open that while I clean up? I missed you (kissing her lips softly; then grabbing her bathing supplies and a clean shift went down to the river to clean up.)
Gabrielle opened the package and found a beautiful intricately carved dagger inside and burst into tears. It wasn't the gift it was everything. The mess in Jappa; the fucking bitch of an ex-girlfriend; the change in them both something inside her snapped and she was angry really angry but at who she was angry with the list was long. How could Xena be so thoughtless and careless she had forgotten yesterday; came back with a meek apology and something frivolous as a gift. This was too much. She needed time to clear her head before things got out of hand. She needed to sort through the past month and a half and all that has happened. She grabbed her pack and put a few things in it then went down to the river to find her love sitting on a rock fresh from a bath.
Xena (turning her head): I figured you would come down here. I was just enjoying the quiet. (Noticing the look on Gabrielle's face) baby what's wrong? What's got you upset?
Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): Xena I need some time away from all this (gesturing with her hand.) I need time to think and put things in order.
Xena (standing up and moving to her partner who put her hands up to stop her; this was a first): Love what's going on? I'm sorry about yesterday. Gabrielle what are you doing with your pack? Talk to me.
Gabrielle (shaking her head fighting back the tears): Xena I can't, I can't do this right now. It's too much (she was shaking.)
Xena (she didn't understand what was going on but whatever it was it was serious): Gabrielle come on come and sit next to me and we'll figure it out together.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): No I have to get out of here. I have to spend some time by myself figure things out.
Xena (feeling as though she had been punched in the stomach): Are you leaving me? Baby what did I do? What happened?
Gabrielle (softly): I just can't anymore it's too much.
Xena (confused; usually when she did something wrong she knew about it): What's too much? What's going on?
Gabrielle (seeing how upset and confused Xena was): Do you know I still have nightmares and flashbacks over what happened; over what they did to your body; of seeing your headless body brutalized; do you know I still get sick to my stomach even at just the thought. I'm still not over that and I don't think I ever will be I just can't go on like this anymore.
Xena (understanding they never really sat down and talked about what had happened): Gabrielle what is it you want me to do? I'll do it.
Gabrielle (shaking her head moving back as Xena advanced on her; she wasn't afraid of Xena but if Xena got a hold of her now it wouldn't be worth it): No stay right there (holding out her hand.) Do you remember what you said to me one night while we were staying with Aphrodite (a nod) well I want you to honor that promise but I won't force you. I never would.
Xena (clenching her teeth her heart beating rapidly in her chest): Sweetheart we can call Aphrodite down here and take care of things.
Gabrielle (looking at sad blue eyes): No I want some time to sort things out. Some time to figure out what I'm going to do.
Xena (softly): You're leaving me. You're saying it's over between us…
Gabrielle (shaking her head): No it's not over between us. I just need time to get my head together. I've gone through a lot in the past year. I just want some time alone can you understand that?
Xena (fighting back tears): Where will you go? How will I find you?
Gabrielle (as much as it hurt her): I'll send for you.
Xena (biting her lip): Can you at least tell me where you're going? I'll worry about you.
Gabrielle (reaching inside her boot and removing the joining anklet Xena gave her so many years ago): You'll find me (handing her the anklet) now give me yours.
Xena (reaching down and unclasping it from her ankle): Can we at least talk about this before…
Gabrielle (tucking Xena's anklet inside her top): Xena I'll be ok. I need time and so do you. You'll find me. (She started walking away but turned) I love you that never changes and it never will.
Xena (watching as Gabrielle walked away feeling as though her heart and soul were ripped from her chest tears fell heavily as the best thing in her life walked out. She dragged herself back to camp and searched through their bags. She found the bottle she was looking for and after adding a few logs to the fire sat on a fallen log and drank herself into oblivion it hurt less; everything hurt less. Her reason for living had just left her and she didn't know what to do.
Gabrielle traveled two days her head and heart hurt terribly and she finally collapsed inside a cave. That was how Aphrodite found her. She tended to her and healed the large bruise on her face. She knew what had happened and was shocked it could come down to this between the two soul mates. She hadn't seen the warrior yet but knew Xena was in as bad as shape if not worst then Gabrielle. Butin her mind it was Xena's fault so let her suffer for a while.
Gabrielle (opening her eyes and looking around): What the hell?
Aphrodite (moving into view): Welcome back to the land of the living.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): How long have I been out?
Aphrodite (handing her a cup of tea): About four days give or take on. Your pretty bad off little one. What happened?
Gabrielle (shaking her head): I don't want to talk about it.
Aphrodite (rolling her eyes; mortals): Fine have it your way (she leaned forward and put her hands on Gabrielle's head; she read some of the thoughts; other were emotions and she knew part of the problem.) Dam things got out of hand didn't they?
Gabrielle (lying back down): Aphrodite I just…
Aphrodite (rolling up her sleeves): Don't you go giving me that horse dung. I know a lot has happened to you two but you've got a wonderful thing going. What in my name happened to cause you two to separate like this?
Gabrielle (closing her eyes): Let me get some sleep and I'll tell you after I promise. It just hurts right now.
Aphrodite (nodding; well she had another individual to look out for): Ok you just call me and I'll come and get you. (She vanished but left her mark of protection on the cave.)
Xena lay in a fetal position fitfully sleeping when Aphrodite showed up. As far as Aphrodite knew Xena was the cause of Gabrielle being upset and wanted answers and now and she wasn't going to take no for an answer.
Aphrodite (loudly): Get up now Warrior Princess. (Two bleary bloodshot blue eyes opened followed by groaning and clasping her head) oh great you've been partying while your other half is hurt and heartbroken.
Xena (weakly): She left me.
Aphrodite (almost falling over from the obvious statement): She left you. Well what in Tartaurus did you do for her to leave you?
Xena (hoarsely): Nothing, everything you name it I did it. Now if you don't mind let me go back to sleep (she rolled on her back and found herself dragged to her feet by one angry looking Goddess.)
Aphrodite (holding Xena up by the straps of her leathers): No you don't Warrior Babe; we're going to get to the bottom of this and you're going to fix this. Now what happened?
Xena (trying to get her bearings together): Let me get some water and I'll tell you.
Aphrodite sat with Xena and listened to everything Xena had to say about the matter at hand. When she finished Aphrodite noticed tears welling in the soft blue eyes and she reached out comfort her only to find Xena tense and back up. She pulled a reluctant Xena in her arms feeling the strong body struggle, she held on tighter.
Aphrodite (shaking her head): I don't care you're my friend and your hurting. Whatever happened can be fixed but drinking and feeling sorry for yourself isn't the answer, you know that and that isn't the Xena I know. We need to get right to the root of the problem here, do you have any idea what that might be (she needed Xena to admit to certain things then she could help fix them.)
Xena (hoarsely): She's the best thing in my life. I'll do anything to get her back. I just can't go on; a part of me feels as though its been ripped apart (slamming her fist into the wood) dammit.
Aphrodite (jumping up): All right hold that temper right there. First things first we're getting you out of here and someplace where you can take a bath and get a hot meal in you and (reaching for the wineskin Xena was grabbing) no more drinking.
Xena (growling): Aphrodite…
Aphrodite (shaking her head): Here that should hold you for a bit (snapping her fingers and Xena found herself paralyzed.) Where to put you ah I got it (with a wave of her hand Xena and her gear were transported to one of her temples.) In the back there's a hot tub with lots of soap get cleaned up and I'll be back (she vanished in a ray of pink light, leaving Xena alone with a bewildered look and walked slowly to the back of the temple to take a bath not caring if it helped one way or not.)
Gabrielle was sitting up drinking some water when Aphrodite returned.
Aphrodite (looking at the little blonde; she looked as bad as Xena; she couldn't believe this happened and she realized just how much they were a part of each other. She vowed to get them back together and fix whatever was wrong): Hi how you feeling?
Gabrielle (putting the mug down): Lost; empty; alone but I have to do this…
Aphrodite (sitting down on some pillows she popped in): Why? What are you doing? What's going on Gabrielle? Why did you leave Xena? I mean I know you two have had some rough times and that she can e a real bitch at times but she loves you.
Gabrielle (taking a deep breath fighting back tears): I keep seeing her body in my dreams…
Aphrodite (not understanding): Well that's a good thing…
Gabrielle (shaking her head): No, not like that. When we were in Jappa; what they did to her body; what I found and what I had to do. I keep seeing that over and over. I know when your husband was killed you didn't see it but I know how much it hurt cause I felt the same only it was much worse; I had to cut her down; they strung her up like a fucking side of beef dammit (she slammed her fist into the cave wall; crying out.)
Aphrodite (wincing she hoped that Gabrielle hadn't broken her hand): Hey easy it's ok let it out.
Gabrielle (sobbing): She promised me when we were staying with you that things would change. That I wouldn't have to fear facing that; fear facing being without her. She hasn't done nothing to change that and I can't do it anymore.
Aphrodite (moving next to her; pulling her in her arms, noticing that Gabrielle didn‘t struggle like Xena did): Shh. We'll deal with this one step at a time. It'll be ok little one I promise. So you want Xena to find a place to settle down with you is that it?
Gabrielle (nodding): That's a big part of it; but there's more. It's like she's changed or something. She's more careful in a fight and I guess that's part of her promise to me even though it may subconscious. But the times when were alone she's different.
Aphrodite (encouraging her): Like how? I mean…
Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): She's so gentle with me afraid I'll break and she hasn't allowed me to touch her like that since a couple of days after we left your place. I don't understand. She's amazing in bed but she's withdrawn.
Aphrodite (bug eyed; this she couldn't believe; here she had two of the hottest mortals in love and one was withdrawn): So let me get this right; she's more careful in a fight; she's more gentle and she's withdrawn. And you keep having nightmares?
Gabrielle (standing up): Is it me? Is she bored with me? Bored with us? Is it something I've done or didn't do? What's going on?
Aphrodite (thinking that if she wasn't witness to all of this then she wouldn't believe it): I don't think it's anything to do with you. I think something inside her has changed and she doesn't know what to do? Ok first things first let's deal with the issue of your nightmares.
For several hours Gabrielle talked and Aphrodite listened. The Goddess had a few ideas of her own on how to help her favorite couple. But it would take some work and a whole lot of trust; with Gabrielle that was no problem; with Xena that was like asking a raging bull not to charge. When Gabrielle finished she sat there tears running down her face and the Goddess' heart broke for her. She was in so much pain but it was something that could be fixed once she talked to tall dark and dangerous.
Aphrodite (wiping the tear stained face): You love her still don't you (a vigorous nod); things need to change though for both of you. Listen I want you to come to one of my temples and stay there; you'll be safer; there'll be food and you can relax and not worry about anything. It would make me feel better.
Gabrielle (shrugging her shoulders): Yeah I guess so (though her voice lacked enthusiasm.)
Aphrodite (noticing the lack of enthusiasm and also the lack of emotion in the woman's voice): Alright gather your stuff and I'll take you there. (Within a fifteen minutes Gabrielle had packed what she had and held onto the Goddess' arm as she flashed them out of the cave and into her temple. Unbeknownst to Gabrielle it was the same temple Xena was staying in but thanks to magic they would never know the other one was there until the time came to bring them back together.) Alright back there (pointing to a small room) is a bathing chamber with a hot tub; go on relax clean yourself up. I'll send someone in later to bring you some food.
Gabrielle (looking around at the marble columns; the pieces of art reflecting erotic poses; depictions of the Goddess): Thank you for helping me and coming after me. I just need some time to deal with this.
Aphrodite (smiling): Anytime little one. You take all the time you need and if you need anything just call me ok. I'll see you later (and she vanished in her usual array of pink sparkles only to pop in on a sweaty dirty Warrior Princess who had just finished doing some drills with her sword and startling several of the priestess that were nearby.) It's alright chill out (pointing to one) you go on the other side and get the blond one some food; this one here and I need to talk. (Clearing her throat) Xena I need to talk with you about Gabrielle. (At the mention of her soul mates name Xena's ears picked up and she put her sword down.)
Xena (wiping her face with the back of her hand): Is she alright? Did anything happen to her? When did you see her?
Aphrodite (holding out her hand): Whoa chill blue eyes (actually that said a lot to her Xena obviously was missing her beloved; not that she thought otherwise.) She's fine. We need to talk though you and me.
Xena (rolling her eyes): Why?
Aphrodite (softly): Because she and I talked and there's a lot a going on.
Xena (sitting down): When did you talk with her?
Aphrodite (sitting next to her): That doesn't matter what matters is Gabrielle is hurting; there's a lot of things she's dealing with. She's in a lot of pain and things need to change. But you both need to heal and get past this.
Xena (testily): And she chose to talk with you after she left me and wouldn't say a word? That's a huge pile of centaur dung.
Aphrodite (worrying about Xena's temper): No it isn't. This happens to couples all the time and you losing your temper because your pride was hurt isn't going to help.
Xena (her voice getting louder): My pride is not in question. What is in question is my relationship with my partner.
Aphrodite (smiling well that was one way of getting to the matter at hand): Exactly (Xena's look of pain and confusion urged her on) you two have been through a lot over the years and you remember what I told you one night that you could hurt her the worse by leaving her; by abandoning her well you did. You went on a suicide mission and what she put up with; dealt with is giving her nightmares; then to add to the crux of the problem your withdrawn; your not yourself and I can see it myself. So my question Warrior Princess is do you want to help her and bring you two back together. Or is it just easier to admit defeat (a sword was pointed at her chest; she remembered this was no ordinary mortal.)
Xena (angrily; very close to losing control over her emotions; without Gabrielle in her life, her mind, her heart, her soul was lost): I never admit defeat and would give anything if it would make Gabrielle happy.
Aphrodite (using an edge): Well didn't you do just that in Jappa (that sword was precariously close) you can point that thing all you want. I'm not afraid of you Xena; your problem isn't me; it isn't Gabrielle it's your emotions and your heart that you're afraid of. That's always been your biggest problem.
Xena (yelling): I fear no one and nothing.
Aphrodite (defiantly): Yes you do. Don't deny it Xena, feeling your emotions does not make you weak but that isn't the total problem with you is it?
Xena (walking towards the other side of the courtyard): It doesn't matter Gabrielle left me; I'm on my own and I don't think she's coming back and I wouldn't blame her. I've caused her more pain; more heart ache than anyone; I don't deserve her I never did. She lost her innocence because of me. She should go to Athens and become the Bard that she was meant to be. Not hanging around with a Warrior who doesn't know what she wants.
Aphrodite (understanding; slowly the pieces were beginning to fit; she had an idea but it would take a lot of effort on Xena's part): Xena I have something to ask you (a weary look cast her way but still she pushed on) to get Gabrielle back would you trust me?
Xena (fighting the part of her that said not to trust anyone but Gabrielle and Eve; but for Gabrielle): Yes (softly.)
Aphrodite (sighing in relief): Here I want you to read these (three scrolls appeared in her hand) and just sit here and relax. We have a lot of work to do and you and I are going to sit down when I get back and have a serious chat, ok (not waiting for a response) good (and she vanished.)
Xena sat there dumbfounded no one, well except Gabrielle told her what to do and now not only was she doing what someone told her; she had to have a sensitive chat with a Goddess; she had no clue where Gabrielle was or if she was coming back but in her heart the part that was Gabrielle she knew she was alright. But her heart knew for Gabrielle it would be worth it.
Aphrodite's plan was three fold easy well when you compared this plan to stopping an army. She had the basics down but to put them into action might take a little persuasion nothing short of a frying pan wouldn't help she thought. She planned on using Xena's grandparents cabin and turning it into a home for them (that took care of the settling down part) but the place was in terrible shape nothing a little magic and elbow grease couldn't help; then hopefully Xena read those scrolls she had handed her (one contained an Amazon tradition that explained a submission ceremony of the Queen's champion); then the other one explained some ideas on more open communication within a couple's relationship using a very old meditation technique, it opened a person's mind to their partner letting them feel their emotions; their thoughts and so on. The other well that would help Xena deal with a few things and help Gabrielle to deal with a few things as well.
When she walked in to check on Gabrielle she found her reading a scroll and a few more sat beside her.
Gabrielle (looking up): Tell me the truth Xena's close isn't she (a nod?) What did she say? Is she alright?
Aphrodite (kneeling in front of her and caressing her face gently): You two have a lot to work out little one but you have a special love and I swear I had no hand in it you two came together on your own cause your soul mates. But now your both hurting and you have a lot of things to do if you want it to work; if you want her back.
Gabrielle (tears forming in her eyes): I want her back but I'm not sure if she wants me back and I wouldn't blame her. I know I've hurt her.
Aphrodite (seeing the whole picture in vivid clarity; they were so connected that they not only felt the other‘s feeling but seemed to sense where the other one was): You're both hurting and you both need to work this out…
Gabrielle (softly): If we can. We have been through a lot and I don't want to hurt her anymore.
Aphrodite (pulling her into her arms): You can and you will. I have faith in both of you because you love each other. Not because she's the Warrior Princess and you're the Battling Bard but because you honestly love each other heart and soul. And you're eternal soul mates. You'll see little one it will work out.
For the first time since Gabrielle had left Xena there was hope. They had a lot to work out but she believed the Goddess and she believed in them, in their love and their bond.
Mel (wiping the tears from her eyes): My God that has to be one of the saddest things she's written.
Janice (shuffling through the scrolls): Well where's the second part; they just have to get back together. And it still doesn't answer my question about Xena being romantic. (She felt strong arms wrap around her waist and relaxed into the warm body behind her.)
Mel (softly (tracing her ear with her tongue): I think that's enough sad stories before bed I want a happier one and then in the morning we can find and translate the second one. I know it's in that pile.
Janice (turning and looking into soft blue eyes): Do you think they worked things out? (Mel nodded) because they're destined to be together from everything we've read (another nod.) Well then I say let's work on something less (unbuttoning Mel's shirt) depressing and more (pushing the shirt open and admiring the beautiful body revealed to her) delightful (kissing the spot between shoulder and neck) pleasing (feeling warm strong hands slide under her shirt.)
They knew in their hearts that their ancestors did work things out but that is another story right now they had their own story to write.
Continued in Release
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