This is part two of Truths in Paradise and I would give this section an R rating for sexuay implied situatons and language.
The sun was high and the air warm with the smell of the ocean. Two dark haired figures made their way through the market place trying to avoid their other halves. They were heading down the street just to check things out and see if something caught their attention for a bit.
Varia (following Xena): So you are not going to kill me.
Xena (chuckling): Come on Cupid (pulling her into a tavern.)
Varia (taking a deep breath): I thought we were going to...
Xena (ordering two mugs of ale): Nope, we are going to sit here have a drink and a little chat.
Varia (sitting down): Xena listen, please...
Xena (softly): Varia I'm not mad at you for anything. I'm happy that you love my daughter as much as you do, just hear me out ok (Varia nodded.) Since the incident that ruined my left hand, I've realized a lot of things. And one of those things is that life goes by quicker than we like to think. Don't make the same mistakes I did with Brie. Settle down somewhere and make a life with her. I think if I did that with Brie then maybe, no I know things would have been different. Maybe she wouldn't have suffered so much pain. She deserved better in a lot of areas and dammit, I'm going to give it to her. With Eve, it's the same thing. You're a Warrior, an Amazon Warrior with a lot of responsibility. You have choices that I didn't. Just love her and treat her right.
Varia (nodding): I will you have my word. And Xena you and Gabrielle have a special love anyone can see that. You give her more than anyone I've ever seen. That's where I learned the meaning of unselfish love. You and Gabrielle taught me its ok to open my heart and show my emotions.
Xena (tensing): Thank you and remember that. Because if I ever find out you did anything to hurt her, Gabrielle and I will make you wish that you were never born. On that note, I want you to know you can always come to us if there is a problem. Don't let things blow up and get out of hand. I know Eve, she can be stubborn hard headed and determined, (smirking) but she comes by it honestly. She may not always realize what dangers may be in front of her. She's got a gentle soul and a heart of a warrior. She follows two paths and that's where you're going to have to be patient with her.
Varia (understanding): Yep I can see that and I'm proud of her it takes a lot of strength to do what she does. I know she'll defend herself and anyone else who might be in danger but she doesn't always result to violence as I do.
Xena (smiling): And remember that, she might need to be protected but never sheltered or coddled. She's a lot like Brie in that regard.
Varia (confused): What do you mean? I'm not sure I follow you.
Xena (thinking): Ok you know that Gabrielle can hold her own with almost any opponent right (Varia nodded.) Well sometimes though she likes to let me handle it then just hold me after. She's a Bard/Warrior/Amazon Queen and deep down inside she's still the little girl that left Potedeia. Do you see what I mean?
Varia (nodding): Yeah I do. Eve has tough exterior but on the inside she's very gentle and she might need someone just to hold here and be there for her, right? (Xena nodded) I'll be there for her in whatever aspect she needs.
Xena (finishing her drink): Good. Make sure that you do.
Varia (finishing hers and waving the bartender for another): So when can I call you mom?
Xena (putting two dinars on the table for their drinks): As soon as you tell me about the joining ceremony. What plans you've made that type of thing
Varia gulped and tried to come up with some sort of explanation.
Eve was laughing as Gabrielle bartered with the merchant. He deserved it though he was asking too much for the pieces of leather that she had picked out.
Merchant (rolling his eyes): Here take them but 15 dinars is as low as I'll go.
Gabrielle (putting the money on the counter): Thank you. (Turning) ok where to next?
Eve (thinking): I want to get Varia something special.
Gabrielle (smiling): I got you. Ok let's see between Varia and Xena they're both a walking armory so...
Eve (looking around): Weapons are out so what can I get her?
Gabrielle (steering her towards a toolmaker): I've got it. You know how Varia has that one wrist guard on her sword arm well how about making it more personal.
Eve (nodding and thinking): Like add something to it from me right.
Gabrielle (wrapping her arm around her shoulder): Exactly. Come on.
Eve (shaking her head): And did you do something like that for mother (smirking?)
Gabrielle (arching her eyebrow much like Xena): Well not exactly...
Eve (puzzled): What do you mean not exactly?
Gabrielle (trying not to blush and scratching her head trying to come up with an explanation): Well um, it's like this...
Eve (understanding and putting her hand up): Never mind. I don't want to know (chuckling.)
Gabrielle smiled as they began talking with the merchant explaining what they wanted.
Xena and Varia were making their way towards the docks stopping when they noticed two ships anchored in the water. These two ships had three masts and large sails.
Varia (looking at Xena who was taut like a bow string): What's wrong?
Xena (snarling): Persians. I hope they're here for trade and not trouble.
Varia (looking around): Seems quiet. But that doesn't mean anything.
Xena (shaking her head): No. Ok here's what we're going to do you go towards the other end see what's what. What the talk is that sort of thing? I'm going to go around the other side and do the same. I'll meet you back at that tavern we were at.
Varia (nodding): Be careful.
Xena nodded slapped her on the shoulder and took off down the dock. Varia walked towards the other keeping an eye out.
Eve and Gabrielle had gotten Varia's gauntlet made and were walking toward a tavern for a drink.
Xena and Varia met back at the tavern with nothing to report on the Persians.
Varia (taking a deep breath): So we just keep an eye on them right (Xena nodded.) Xena (noticing she wasn't really paying attention) hey what's got you oh dam (seeing Eve and Gabrielle walking towards them but paying more attention to Eve.) Dam she's...
Xena shaking her head): Yep that she is (referring to Gabrielle.)
Gabrielle and Eve noticed their partners standing in front of the tavern watching them; they both looked a little dazed.
Gabrielle (biting her lip to keep from laughing): Look at that, two of the toughest Warriors in Greece their tongues hanging out. So un warrior like.
Eve (laughing): Yep should we...
Gabrielle (nodding): Oh yeah we should. (They got closer to both their partners and for that moment, the world around them ceased. For Gabrielle all that existed was Xena her power; her beauty; her strength, her passion. For Eve it was the same with Varia.
Xena (extending her hand out): Hi, did you have fun?
Gabrielle (taking the larger hand in her own): Yes what about you two (smiling as Varia moved to pull Eve closer to her. She could see the tenderness and compassion Varia held and displayed towards Eve.)
Xena (walking her partner in the tavern to give Eve and Varia some time alone): Just looked around talked with Varia a little bit that sort of thing.
Gabrielle (leaning against the bar): Xena...
Xena (ordering two goblets of wine): I just told her to treat Eve right. That's all I swear.
Gabrielle (seeing the sincerity and compassion in her lover's eyes): You are so bad but I love you.
Xena nodded and handed Gabrielle her goblet just as Eve and Varia came in laughing about something. Xena could see a lot between the younger couple and knew that despite Varia's reputation she would treat Eve well and take good care of her. That's all she wanted for her daughter someone to make her happy.
Eve (approaching the bar): Have we decided on a place for dinner (leaning back into Varia as she wrapped her arms around her waist from behind.)
Gabrielle (sipping her wine): No. But here's an idea I can get something for dinner and you two can come to our cabin and have dinner.
Xena (pursing her lips in thought): That sounds good. Why don't I...
Gabrielle (grabbing her arm): Oh, no you don't Warrior. You are going to help whether you like it or not. (Although in all likely hood she didn't see it happening.
Varia (chuckling): Sounds like your in trouble...
Eve (playfully elbowing her in the ribs): Come on Varia we have some shopping to do. We'll bring dessert.
Xena (smacking Varia on the shoulder): Have fun.
Eve (turning around): When do you want us to come by?
Gabrielle (rubbing Xena's arm): Around sunset. (Turning to face her partner) come on stud. We have to get dinner.
Xena (groaning): I've got something I've got to pick up. Can I meet you back here in a little bit, please (licking her lips seductively.) I'll make it up to you I promise (her eyes pleading.)
Gabrielle (rolling her eyes, she knew she wouldn't get Xena to go shopping with her): All right be back here in a half an hour. But you owe me big time got me (Xena nodded and she watched her partner walk away admiring the lanky strong physique.)
Aphrodite (walking up to her in disguise): Gabrielle can you come with me. I want to talk with you about something.
Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): Well it's nice to see you and thank you for our vacation (following her into a long alleyway.) Ok what's going on?
Aphrodite (changing her outfit to her usual pink diaphanous gown): Well I know Apollo has been by to talk with you both. And I know that you both don't want to listen but can you do it for me. It would mean a lot, please.
Gabrielle (pacing with her arms folded across her chest): Aphrodite what's this really about? There's more to this than just Xena and I finding out about our parentage isn't there.
Aphrodite (fidgeting): Yes but I don't want you to get upset or angry about what I'm going to tell you.
Gabrielle (thinking): This has something more to do with Xena than me right? (Aphrodite glanced nervously the other way) oh, this is great. This is unbelievable. Somehow someway Xena is the heir to the Underworld and Persephone wants no responsibility for it and neither does Celesta, right?
Aphrodite (nodding nervously): Dam your quick girl.
Gabrielle (angrily): That's it though right? Please tell me that's it.
Aphrodite (sensing her anger): Well now, you can see why I didn't want to tell you. I don't want to upset you.
Gabrielle (raising her arms): Of all the rotten things that we have to find out is that Xena has the right to rule the underworld if she chooses which would make her a full God.
Aphrodite (placing her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder): Lets go to my place for a bit. I have to show you something.
They arrived in Aphrodite's palace and Gabrielle looked around with wide-eyed wonder.
Gabrielle (looking around): Nice place. So what did you want to show me?
Aphrodite (walking to a large table): When Athena died in battle, I learned a few different things. Right now things aren't stable because no one is down in Tartarus running things full time. Persephone has done what she could; Charon does what he wants and Cerebus is more grumpy than usual. Ares is nowhere to be found and it's a mess trying to help people heal. It's impossible to do it no matter how much those of us who are left stretch our powers.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): Aphrodite no. Absolutely not. Xena and I have our lives to live out; things to do. Eve and Varia are getting joined. Xena holds no reverence for any of the Gods (thinking and looking at her) sorry but you know what I mean.
Aphrodite (nodding her head): It's ok little one. But if things aren't taken, care of and soon things could get real chaotic. Do you remember when there was no love in the world? Do you remember how things were so out of control? (Gabrielle nodded) well if we don't get some things taken care of soon things could get real bad, real quick and get real ugly.
Apollo (materializing): Aphrodite you didn't give me a chance with either of them.
Aphrodite (rolling her eyes): Listen bro. You have to know how to talk to them. You weren't doing so hot and you were only making more of a mess of things so I took matters into my own hands (she picked up a small sphere and handed it to Gabrielle) that's the problem. With all this upset and unbalance, things are getting worse. The cosmos is unbalanced causing a lot of instability. You see the grey dark clouds there (Gabrielle looked) well that's the underworld separating from the rest of the planet. Its happening slowly and if it continues well poof (snapping her fingers) so goes the rest of things.
Apollo (softly): We don't have much time.
Gabrielle (putting the sphere down): So unless some takes the throne then we're all doomed. (This sounded familiar) that's why some souls can escape and cause havoc on the mortal realm right. Just like when Cesar trapped the Fates and changed history and ruined so many lives. Dammit why now (she picked up a dish and threw it.) Haven't we suffered enough because of you (picking up another plate and throwing it?)
Apollo (holding his hands out): Now Brie...
Gabrielle (whirling around): Don't call me that....
Aphrodite (moving away from her): I'm going to get Xena here and now.
One minute Xena was standing in the middle of the market trying on her new gauntlet and glove then turning around to find something for Gabrielle one minute then the next she was ducking something that went whizzing by her head.
Xena (yelling): All right, what the hell is going (seeing her soul mate visibly upset and Aphrodite and Apollo trying to explain) on? Never mind. Brie put that down (pointing to the large decorative urn in her lover's hand.)
Gabrielle (angrily): No Xena. Do you have any idea what they hey (as the urn was removed from her hands by her partner quick moves.)
Xena (putting the urn down): Now what's got you so upset?
Apollo (breathing a sigh of relief): Thank you.
Xena (growling): I didn't do it for you.
Aphrodite (nodding): Ok here's the problem. You are the heir to Hades throne and Persephone needs help and...
Xena (advancing towards her): I don't care who or what the heir I am too. I'm not taking over and having more interference from any of you (feeling Brie's hands on her chest restraining her.) This is what got her upset well guess what you got me pissed.
Apollo (raising his hands): Xena be reasonable. The fate of the world rests in your hands. Things are chaotic as it is and if you don't assume the throne of the underworld or if someone doesn't then...
Xena (firmly): Reasonable my ass. I've heard I'm not putting the greater good before my partner any more. I learned that in Jappa. I'm sorry but you can find yourself another God of the underworld...
Aphrodite (softly): And what of healing people. He (pointing to Apollo) can't do it himself and neither can I. Think about it please.
Xena (wrapping her arm around Gabrielle's shoulders): Isn't it enough what you put us through. No more. I'm done. The Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard are retired. Now send us back to Lesbos.
Apollo (pleading): Won't you think about it. You're both Demi Gods. You both can save the world end suffering and...
Gabrielle (shaking her head): When its convenient to you, you come to us for help. Where were you, any of you when we really needed help? Aphrodite no offense. As far as Xena and I are concerned, our fathers abandoned us when we needed them the most. Now send us back.
Aphrodite (closing her eyes): For what it's worth I'm sorry (she flinched at the twin glares directed at her) ok I'll send you back (she snapped her fingers and they were gone.) That went over really well.
Apollo (stroking his chin in thought): She made several valid points.
Aphrodite (looking around): We need help. Things cannot continue on like they have. We need help here.
Apollo (watching the orb): She's reluctant and so is Gabrielle. (Taking a deep breath) we'll try another approach after they've calmed.
Aphrodite (nodding): I only hope we have more time.
Xena paced and listened to her partner rant. They were both upset over the latest turn of events.
Xena (wrapping her arms around Gabrielle): Listen I've got to wear off some of this energy and maybe practice a little with this new glove. I'll be back before dinner then we'll talk about this.
Gabrielle (nodding and understanding her partner's mood): Just be careful. I'll see you later (leaning up for a kiss which Xena gladly obliged.) I love you.
Xena (stroking her face): I love you too.
Gabrielle watched Xena walk towards the beach; her heart aching at the possible responsibilities and pain her partner endured. The Lord of the Underworld. Escorting souls to their last place. Handing out punishment or paradise. And she herself a healer with the gift to save someone or end their suffering. Shaking her head, she walked down the busy market street to get dinner.
Xena walked along the cliff looking for a quiet spot to practice that wouldn't frighten any other tourists. But too many thoughts clouded her mind. Lord of the Underworld and Gabrielle a Healing Goddess (although in her opinion Gabrielle was already a Goddess.) She shook her head and tensed with the energy crackling in the air.
Hectate (materializing in front of her): So many questions but you do not look to one place for answers.
Xena (turning around and unsheathing her sword, she knew of Hectate Goddess of the black moon and dark arts and the continual balance between good and evil): This is beginning to resemble something akin to a party. Though I'm not interested (growling.)
Hectate (moving closer to her): Perhaps but you still have many things on your mind. Your left hand for one; you and Gabrielle's paths and destinies; your after life and karma are among the few.
Xena (feeling the dark pulsing energy): I'm not interested. And leave Gabrielle out of this.
Hectate (gently): But Gabrielle is already involved. More than you know.
Xena (upset and angry): So help me if anything happens to her I'll tear Olympus apart and whatever Gods are left I'll bring them down.
Hectate (conceding): Xena please I didn't come here to fight...
Xena (rolling her eyes): Then what did you come here for. To plead with me about the greater good. I will not put the greater good before Gabrielle ever again. I learned what that did to her in Jappa. I know the pain she suffered still suffers at times. I promised her never again.
Hectate (holding out her hand): Then you will stand idly by while things fall apart; as a rein of chaos descends bringing darkness.
Xena (yelling): Don't preach to me about darkness. Remember I went head to head with Dahok; Ares; Callisto; Alti; Hope and losing Gabrielle. Never again. This conversation is over. (She began walking away angry and edgy. They had some nerve calling to her for help.)
Gabrielle had gotten a roasted lamb and red potatoes and vegetables for salad. It would be a simple dinner she only hoped Xena would be back in time. Since Xena had left, she had this nagging feeling in the back of her mind.
Hectate (appearing in front of her): Your other half is fine, just a little angry.
Gabrielle (setting the wrapped parcels down): What did you do to her? And just who are you?
Hectate (leaning against a tree; such purity for someone who had been through so much; her soul was gentle and pure; but she had fire and rage): Hectate, Goddess of the black moon and...
Varia (walking up behind her with her sword drawn): Black Arts. It was you I saw shortly before we left the battle with the Vikings. (She remembered looking around at the carnage and saw a dark tall figure watching intently. What she remembered the most was the dark energy surrounding the figure.) I've heard of you. You were Artemis' counterpart.
Gabrielle (softly): Varia I'll be fine. Take these and go back to your cabin and have Eve cook dinner if she would. I'll explain later.
Varia (shaking her head): No. Eve's upset and she knew something was wrong. That's why I'm here.
Hectate (holding up her hand): I give you my word I mean no one any harm. Please Gabrielle you and I need to talk.
Gabrielle (facing Varia): Go on. It's alright. I'm more worried about Xena at this point. Take the stuff and go back to the cabin. Things will be fine (eyeing the Goddess.)
Varia (nodding and sheathing her sword): You know Eve and I will both be here if you need us (picking up the parcels.)
Hectate (watching as Varia walked away): She's strong and deeply in love with your daughter. Their bond is similar to yours.
Gabrielle (pointing): Yes I see that. Why are you here? To try and talk me into talking to Xena about taking her throne in the Underworld. This seems a little familiar. The last time she had to assume the throne of hell or well I'm sure you know what happened there.
Hectate (shaking her head): That was when Mephistopheles was killed on earth. This is entirely different. By assuming the throne to the underworld, she assigns souls to the Elysian Fields or Tartarus. She won't be trapped their forever. And she can see relatives and friends who have gone on before you both. Give you both chances at things. Also, if she assumes the throne by your joined blood you both will receive your powers and become full Gods.
Gabrielle (looking at the scar on her left hand): But what about our future lives. And what about this one God Eve is the messenger for? There's a whole lot of things that aren't making sense.
Hectate (shifting as Apollo appeared): Apollo it's been a while.
Apollo (eyes wide): Where have you been?
Gabrielle (watching the two Gods interact; they were so different from Ares direct with no hidden again; but then again when someone wanted your soul mate as ruler to the afterlife you couldn't get more direct than that): Listen you know our positions. I have things to do so if you'll excuse me.
Apollo (pleading): Gabrielle please wait. I know what you and Xena both desire. If you both take your places then those things, can and will happen.
Gabrielle (laughing at his audacity): You've resorted to bribery. You're as low as Ares.
Gabrielle began walking back to her cabin her thoughts all over the map. First trickery; then bribery then (dropping to her knees as images assaulted her mind. These images weren't painful just powerful with the emotions they invoked. The first time she and Xena had kissed (not the time Xena was in Autolocus' body); the first time they made love; the many nights under the stars; Xena finding out she was pregnant with Eve; their first Solstice; the couple of days just being together after she had jumped into the lava pit; finding out that her and Xena were soul mates for eternity and so many other memories flashed through her mind. Gasping for breath and looking up at the sky she wondered where they had come from and why.
Xena walked slowly back to her cabin. She was getting tired of all the dam interruptions from unwanted Gods and Goddesses. She just wanted to enjoy some time with her soul mate and her daughter and Varia.
When she got to her cabin, she opened the door and walked in to find Gabrielle sitting by the fire lost in thought.
Xena (kneeling on the floor at her feet): Baby you alright?
Gabrielle (smiling): Yeah I've just been thinking a bit about everything. I had a run in with Hectate and Apollo and some things started adding up. Making more sense if you know what I mean.
Xena (arching her eyebrow): Like what?
Gabrielle (considering things): Xena maybe we should listen to them. Think about it we can end unnecessary suffering and pain. Show mortals that even though the time of the many gods is gone that we can still comfort and ease their pain.
Xena (eyes wide; unbelievable): Gabrielle are you out of your mind? What are you talking about? You actually want to consider this after all they've done to both of us or allowed to happen. Your own father abandoned you in your life.
Gabrielle (looking up into stormy blue eyes): I know how you feel love. I've questioned a lot of things since we came back from Valhalla. But they made several points. Apollo and Aphrodite never tried to trick us or hurt us. Sure, some of her spells have gone awry but she's always had good intentions. And she stayed out of the mess when the other Gods wanted us all dead. They're not perfect and they're time has come and gone but at least they've tried unlike Ares and Athena and Zeus.
Xena (taking a deep breath): Unbelievable. This is just un fucking believable.
Gabrielle (caressing Xena's face): I know how you feel love it's just I've done a lot of thinking. The Fates put us together and we are destined to be together. You said we make our own destiny in life and maybe this is ours. I want to do something with my retirement. Help people more without the fighting and violence. You said it yourself with your left hand as it is...
Xena (shaking her head): Brie you've really considered this haven't you. (Gabrielle nodded) and what about everything else we have talked about. We have a home; we have a daughter whose joining ceremony is coming up. We have several friends that rely on us and you wanted to see more of the world.
Gabrielle (running her fingers through the dark locks): I realize all of that but you and I always have had a home with each other. It doesn't matter where we are as long as we're together. Eve getting joined is fantastic and you know we'll be there when the time comes. And this way we can help those we care about more.
Xena (taking a deep breath): I've got to think this through. All our lives we have had interference from one god or another and now I have to accept that you and I are one of them. It's a lot to swallow.
Gabrielle (pulling Xena's head into her lap): I know. We'll handle this together. I want to try Xena if we can help people I want to try.
They sat there like that for a while each absorbed in thought and each other. It was true what Gabrielle had said as long as they had each other that was important.
Eve had left Varia sleeping contentedly in front of the fire. She wanted to talk to both her parents about what had happened. Knocking on the door she waited till someone answered. Not surprising there was six feet of upset Warrior.
Xena (motioning for her to come in): I take it Varia told you (Eve nodded) we're sorry. We know it's your mission in life to teach people about Eli's God. There's just so much suffering and so much pain. Then those souls that want to come back to this life and wreak havoc.
Eve (understanding and leaning against the counter): Mother you don't owe me any explanations. I know what you have to do and why. I just don't understand the what and how part of it.
Gabrielle (coming out of the bathing chamber): I don't either. I think maybe Apollo feels as though he owes me something. I don't know.
Xena (taking a deep breath): Never mind the fact that they abandoned us but look at what Hades did to you both in that awful mess.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): Because they were blinded by fear and hatred.
Eve (looking at the both of them, they both looked like they had been crying): What else is going on?
Xena (biting her lip): We're not sure how this affects you and I don't want you getting in the middle of it...
Eve (angrily): I spent my whole life searching for meaning and I found you both then I found the best thing in my life and that's Varia. We both told you we would stand beside you no matter what decisions you made. I never knew love until I met you and saw the unconditional unselfish bond between you. There's some energy around the both of you that even when your looking at each other you can see it.
Gabrielle (thinking she got her temper from both of them): Eve all we're saying is maybe until things are settled that you should just enjoy some time with Varia. Plan for your future. You're still the Messenger of Eli...
Eve (defensively): And a Warrior. I follow both paths just like you mom.
Xena (pointing her finger at Eve): Eve watch your tone.
Eve (whirling on her mother): I didn't mean it like that. I'm telling you both I can take care of myself and Varia will be beside me.
Gabrielle (squeezing Eve's arm): We know you can honey but we're just concerned.
Xena (softly): It would kill me if I lost either of you because of a decision I made.
Gabrielle (gently leaning up and caressing Xena's cheek): Xena don't...
Xena (angrily): Gabrielle if it hadn't been for me you would have been a famous author or play right. And f I had swallowed my foolish pride then Eve wouldn't have gone through what she did. She would have known our love and not have become what she did following in my bloody footsteps.
Eve (poking her finger in her mother's chest): And if you hadn't given me so many chances, I would have been dead or worst.
Gabrielle (agreeing): And if you hadn't saved me, I would have met the same fate. So knock off the shit Warrior Princess.
Eve (agreeing): Yeah Warrior Princess you're stuck with both of us and where I go Varia goes so there.
Xena (rolling her eyes): I can't win. Do you two know you're the only ones alive that have stood up to me and walked away? And do want to know why (both heads shook though they knew the answers) because you both are my greatest gifts and my greatest blessings.
Varia (knocking on the door): Xena, Gabrielle is Eve with you.
Xena (winking): No. Why what's wrong (motioning for Eve to move aside as she opened the door. Eve rolled her eyes knowing what her mother was about to do.)
Varia (looking up at Xena): Well I took a nap and I woke up and Eve was gone.
Xena (arching her eyebrow): Gone. You mean to tell me you lost your intended. That doesn't sit well with me Varia.
Varia (pleading; wondering how she got herself into this in the first place; oh yeah the blue eyes): You know how Eve is. She just (trying to swallow) and well eh um uh....
Eve (feeling sorry for her partner): It's alright. I'm here. Mother just likes to torment people.
Varia (hugging Eve tightly): One of these days, I'm going to keel over.
Eve (kissing her softly): My mother likes you.
Varia (softly): How do you know?
Gabrielle (jokingly): Because you're still breathing (smirking and cuddling up to Xena and watched as Varia went a little pale and Eve tried to calm her, casting them both glances that would freeze a raging river.) Just kidding. You love her that's what matter to both of us.
Xena (smirking): And as long as you treat her good, you'll live.
Eve (shaking her head): Mother, mom. Why don't you two start for our cabin we'll meet you there. Meanwhile I'll try and calm my girlfriend down.
Xena (stretching her arm and wrapping t around Varia's shoulders): No need. Come on stud. You can start by telling me about the ceremony (playfully dragging her out the door towards their cabin.)
Eve (smiling): Thank you both for so much.
Gabrielle (walking out with her): All we want is for you to be happy.
Eve (nodding and linking her arm with Gabrielle's): Thanks mom.
Gabrielle and Eve smiled watching Varia and Xena walking down the path the sun setting and casting a golden glow around the both of them and Gabrielle thought as long as we have each other it's what matters.
Xena turned around and smiled and continued taunting Varia.
Eve (yelling): Hey wait up (and she gently pulled her lover into her arms.) Mother thank you but I think mom wants to see you.
Xena (turned around and it was like deja vu; Gabrielle stood there smiling; her hair rustling in the breeze; the sun painting her in a golden glow as she approached): I love you.
Gabrielle (wrapping her arm around Xena's waist and following Eve and Varia into their cabin): I love you too.
They were inside Eve and Varia's cabin sitting around a glowing fire thinking about the things to come and the decisions to be made.
Eve (softly): So if you accept this then you both become Demi Gods or full Gods?
Gabrielle (nodding and stroking the back of her lover's hand with her thumb in an effort to calm her, she could feel the tension and energy beneath the skin): Yes. There's a lot of what ifs and why's but we'll talk to Aphrodite about everything sooner or later.
Xena (her voice low): After our vacation. This is a time for us to relax and just be together.
Varia (kissing the top of Eve's head): And I can't thank you two enough for inviting us along. So, what happens after the vacation? What do you want us to do?
Gabrielle (hoping that Eve would understand): You two can either go back to the Amazons or go to the cabin. We'll come and get you once everything is settled.
Eve (pointedly): Wait a minute. After all this you just expect us to go back to our lives while you two do whatever it is that you're going to do.
Xena (gently): Eve you know that the time of the many Gods has come and gone. We're not going to be too popular until it's straightened out. And I don't want you or Varia to get caught in the crossfire.
Eve (angrily): What about what I want? I spent my whole life believing someone else's lies then I find you both almost to lose you and now after everything that has happened you expect me to walk away cause you don't want me to get hurt.
Varia (trying to calm her partner): Eve...
Gabrielle (understanding): Eve it's only for a little while. Until Xena and I can figure out what's going on and how to best handle the situation. We just don't want you two to get hurt.
Eve (rolling her eyes in annoyance): But it's ok that you two take off and only Eli's God knows what happens. I wait another year to hear from you both. Is that it? I'm a grown woman not a child.
Xena (pointing her finger): You're our child.
Varia (biting her lip): Calm down. Listen Eve I think you're parents are right. And besides, it's only temporary.
Eve (glaring at her): Don't you start.
Gabrielle (holding her hand up): Eve she's only looking out for you.
Eve (taking a deep breath): I know. I jut hate the fact that you two are facing so many different things and you're going into a unfamiliar situation. And you have no one to back you up if something goes wrong.
Xena (standing and moving to add another log to the fire): Yes but we both know what we're up against. I'll be taking over the underworld and Gabrielle will be healing people or helping them greet Celesta. It's for the best Eve. It's not meant to undermine you or hurt you (moving next to her daughter and squeezing her shoulder.) Besides, you have a message to spread and a joining ceremony to get ready for. And you know your mom and I can take care of ourselves but we appreciate the thought sweetie.
Gabrielle (smiling): We'll visit as much as we can. And once things are settled, I'm sure you two will stop in for a visit. This is only temporary Eve and besides someone has to keep Varia on her toes (smiling.)
Varia (rolling her eyes): Hey now wait a minute it seems she does a great job at that. But it's her that can't keep out of trouble for two minutes.
Eve (playfully smacking her arm): Right. What about you I seem to recall a hunting trip where you were covered in mud and nothing to show for it.
Varia (facing her partner): That's because I had four young Amazons with me and they weren't listening. You weren't helping any either.
Xena (grinning and moving back to her partner's side): You two can argue about this later. For now, let's enjoy the rest of our vacation and worry about what to do after ok. Like I said it's only temporary and you know, we'll be there if you need us.
Varia (looking up at Xena): Thank you again for everything.
Xena (glancing at her and Eve's entwined hands): You're welcome. We're going to take a walk before heading back to our cabin. You two have anything planned tomorrow.
Eve (shaking her head): No but I might want to go to the library though so (pleading...)
Varia (looking to Xena for help then Gabrielle): Um well uh I that is...
Gabrielle (laughing at the uncomfortable look on Varia's face): All right, all right I'll go with you.
Eve (looking at Varia who was sighing with relief): Thanks mom. And what do you two plan on doing while we're perusing the library?
Xena (rubbing her neck and looking at the ceiling): Well um, that is...
Gabrielle (looking up at her partner): Sure, you two will probably sparring and giving the rest of the tourists a show and scarring away all the wildlife.
Varia (trying to look innocent): Now would we do something like that?
Eve and Gabrielle in unison „Yes.‰
Xena (shaking her head): See what hanging out with you has done?
Varia (pointing a finger at her chest): Me what about you? Miss I'm too tough for my leathers. Pointing a Chakram at me when you saw me kissing Eve.
Gabrielle (arching her eyebrow, just wait to she got Xena home): Really. Was this before or after we talked to you both when we met at the border.
Eve (folding her arms across her chest): Mother tell me you didn't.
Xena (biting her lip; she knew she was in trouble with the only two people who could give her a hard time and get away with it): Well I didn't know what her intentions were and I was just looking out for your best interest.
Eve (standing up): Mother you pointed a weapon at my girlfriend and you failed to tell me this. And you didn't tell me (glaring at Varia.)
Varia (gulping looking to Gabrielle for help): Eve it was just a little misunderstanding. Things are much better now between your mother and I.
Gabrielle (holding her hands up): Hey, calm down. Xena you and me later are going to have a very long talk. Varia I'm sure that if you had felt you had a problem with Xena you would have talked to Eve or myself, right. (Varia nodded) Eve, it was just a misunderstanding and I'm sure if she felt she had a problem well you know she would have talked to you. So anything else you want to share Varia about my partner's behavior or lack there of.
Eve (tapping her foot): Varia, (Varia shook her head) mother (seeing light blue eyes look at her apprehensively) all right I appreciate your concern and looking out for me but if I have a problem I will come to you, both of you.
Xena (softly): I just don't want to see you get hurt. I made a lot of mistakes...
Gabrielle (understanding): Xena it was out of your hands.
Eve (realizing what her mother meant): Mother don't go there. (Seeing Varia getting up) you sit right there. What happened wasn't your fault, either of yours. So let it go and let's take one day at a time. Like you said in Valhalla ok.
Xena (reaching out and hugging her daughter tightly): I just...
Eve (kissing her mother on the cheek): I know. Thank you. But somehow I knew when I walked back into the Amazon village that Varia and I shared something. I didn't know what it was then but I know what it is now. You and Gabrielle taught me that.
Xena (nodding and kissing the top of her head): You're welcome.
Gabrielle motioned to Varia for her to follow her and they went in the kitchen giving Xena and Eve some time to talk.
Varia (cleaning up the dinner dishes): You know it's kind of cute that a tough ass warrior like Xena can be...
Gabrielle (smiling and nodding helping her with the dishes): Cute; gentle emotional. I know. When I first met her, she seemed so intimidating; independent. Like nothing could hurt her or touch her.
Varia (filling the sink basin with warm water and soap): But she let you in and you tore down her walls one at a time.
Gabrielle (smiling remembering those first few months with the woman who became her best friend; the love of her life and her soul mate): Yes, it wasn't always easy and I was afraid that I would do something wrong and she would send me back to Potedeia. But as time went by, I realized she had come to depend on me and in a sense need me. And I needed her too. She taught me so much other than fighting. That is the last thing she wanted me to learn. But eventually I did and I became her equal in a lot of things.
Varia (setting the dishes aside to dry): I can see that (smirking playfully.)
Gabrielle (wiping off the table): And I wouldn't want it any other way.
Varia (agreeing): No. Just like Eve and I. We balance each other in so many ways. And I've never known love until her.
Gabrielle (squeezing her shoulder): Just make her happy Varia and don't make the same mistakes Xena and I did (Varia gave her a questioning gaze.) What I mean is don't always think there's tomorrow for this or that. Make the most of each day and never be afraid or ashamed to tell her you love her. And never be afraid or embarrassed to apologize.
Eve (walking in): Mom, mother went out for a walk. (Kissing Varia on the cheek) she told me to tell you goodnight and thank you.
Varia (understanding Xena's actions): You ok love.
Gabrielle (smiling she could see how much they loved another and a bond similar to hers and Xena's between them): Eve I'm going to join your mother for that walk. Thank you for dinner, you obviously got your cooking skills from me. We'll see you two tomorrow (kissing them both on the cheek.)
Varia (softly): Your welcome. Good night.
Eve (following Gabrielle to the door): Anytime. I'll find you in the morning then we'll go to the library.
Gabrielle (stepping out into the cool night air): Definitely.
She walked out into the cool night admiring the stars and looking for her partner.
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