Legal disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and MCA/Universal studios, the concept of immortality belongs to Highlander that belongs to Davis/Panzer Productions. Rickie Gardner and Emil Holt belong to Redhawk. Mustang is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. The disaster of Titanic is a historical event. Use of real historical persons is coincidental. The rest belongs to me.
Subtext/sexual/violence disclaimer: There is always a chance of subtext. Xena and Rickie are lovers, but Ive concentrated more on the story than on depicted lovemaking. As for violence, long swords are not used for cutting bread.
Timeline/continuity disclaimer: The events in present day take place some time after the Oktoberfest by Redhawk. The official timeline so far tells that Xena was secluded from the world from 1790 to 1940 and no records exist from that period. That doesnt necessarily mean that Xena did not have any adventures during that time. With blessing from Redhawk Im giving it a try, so rest of the story takes place in 1911-12.
Thanks: To Garnet for beta reading the story and Redhawk for all the information.
Constructive criticism is always welcome and can be sent to Protek.
Prologue: Amazonian jungle, 1911
Xena stared at her sword. The blaze from the fire reflected from the shiny blade. It felt heavy in her hands. Slowly, she lifted the sword onto her shoulder, the blade gently pressing against her neck. One long stroke would do it. One stroke and the pain would be gone. One single movement was keeping her away from her beloved bard.
Oh, Gabrielle! Life has no meaning to me nowadays. Not if youre not sharing it with me.
Xena straightened her arms, both hands holding the hilt firmly. She inhaled slowly and closed her eyes. She could feel the blood trickling down from her neck where the blade had cut through the tanned skin.
Give me strength to do this, she pleaded no one in particular. One single stroke, how hard was that? The blade was sharp and she was perfectly able to do it neatly. She was still holding her breath and every single muscle in her body was prepared to do the stroke.
Xena bit her lower lip and a single tear appeared from the corner of her eye. Then, as if all the will power in her body had been taken away, she let go of the sword and fell on the ground, sobbing.
Im sorry, Gabrielle. I just cant do it. I just cant! Whatever I might have become, I am still a warrior and this is not the right way to die.
She stood up slowly and looked around her hut. On the shelves there were all kinds of herbs that she used as the tribe healer. There, between two shelves, was her breast plate, the only thing left from her original armor. Almost two thousand years of traveling and battles were gathered in the bumps and bruises of the brass plate. Xena had lost interest of maintaining it a long time ago so the once shining piece of armor had darkened to a piece of scrap metal.
The moment, Xena saw the plate, she knew what she had to do. She took the plate in her hands and grabbed a piece of cloth. The warrior sat by the fire and started polishing the dark brass.
The next morning the members of the tribe realized that their long time healer was gone with her personal belongings. The tribe elder gazed in the woods and nodded as an approval. The time has come for the warrior to meet her greatest challenge.
Portland, Oregon, present day
The doors of the Broadway movie theater opened as the people exited the building. Among them, there was a tall, raven haired woman wearing black leather jacket and black jeans. The sapphire blue eyes looked at her companion. The reddish gold hair landed over the forest green jacket the smaller woman was wearing. Deep green eyes looked back at her with a gentle warmth.
"Well, Rickie, howdya like the movie?" Xena Amphipolous asked.
Rickie Gardner gave an impish grin to her. "Leonardo diCaprio is an absolute hunk!"
"Oh, is he?" Xena lifted her eyebrow.
"Well, hes nothing compared to a certain warrior, I happen to love." Rickie took the taller womans hand.
"It was a sad story, though. With all those people dead," she continued.
"It sure was," Xena gazed in the distance.
They walked towards the parking lot where Xenas Mustang. The black ragtop was standing calmly under the light. Xena unlocked the doors and they both slid inside.
"You know, this must be the first time ever that Ive seen you crying in a movie." Rickie looked at the shadowy figure on the drivers seat.
Xenas expression went darker. "I suppose this movie makes an exception, since Ive experienced it for real."
It took a moment before the meaning of the words hit Rickies mind and she looked at the pale blue eyes. "Y- you mean that you were on the Titanic?"
The dark haired warrior merely nodded.
"You mean, you were there that night, she went down?"
"I was on the Titanic when she went down," Xena stated almost matter-of-factly when she started the car.
"Wow.." Was all Rickie could say.
Emil Holt arched his back as he stood up from his office chair. Marjorie would really let him have it this time. It was the third night in a row that he had to do overtime at work. Well, no one said that being a cop was going to be easy. He was walking away from his desk when the phone started ringing. Dont answer it, he said to himself. He took a couple of steps and stopped. It could be Marjorie. Aww, shit! Holt turned around and picked up the handset.
"Holt," he said in a grumpy voice.
"Its me. Ive got some new information about the warrior," low voice said on the other end.
The tiredness shook off from Holts face. "Go on," he said.
"Well, it appears that she has been on the Titanic."
"But thats impossible! She was in South America back then and she didnt came out until the forties."
"Looks like she took a vacation and went for a cruise, then. I dont know how she has managed to do this without us knowing it but this appears to be the case."
"How did you find about this?" Holt asked.
"We were working on the background of one of the immortals. We traced him on that ship and thats where the warriors name came up."
"Any chance, that its just a someone else by the same name?"
"Well, what do you think?" A sarcastic tone.
"Yeah, one in a million." Holt was silent for a moment. "Okay, fax me everything you got there and Ill start digging."
Holt hung up and sighed. I guess I cant call it a day after all. Better call up Marjorie.
Xena parked the Mustang inside the warehouse. The ride home had been quiet. When they came up in the apartment, the dark woman walked to a drawer and pulled out something that looked like a scrap book. She put it onto living room table and opened it. "I want to show you something," she said to the younger woman sitting next to her.
In the scrap book was an article about the disaster that had happened on April 15th, 1912. Illustration of the gigantic oceanliner going into the depths of the Atlantic and people in life boats and water. "Here, take a look at this." Xena pointed something in the article. Rickie looked at the list of names and made out one name. Xena dAmphipolis was printed on the paper.
"Is this the name you used back then?" Rickie turned to raven haired woman who nodded in response. Rickie took another look at the names and gasped. T- these people on this list. They all went down with the ship." Another nod.
"But this means.. " Rickie started.
".. that one Mme Xena dAmphipolis of France died on that horrible night," Xena finished. "On the other hand, you dont have to believe everything that you read in the papers."
"Why havent you told me about this before? I thought you were secluded from the world at that time." Rickie put the book back on the table.
Xena stood up slowly, and walked to the liquor cabinet. She poured some scotch in the glass and took a sip. "I havent told this to anyone, until now. That was a period in my life that I would rather forget." The dark woman looked down.
Rickie walked to her and wrapped her arms around the warriors waist.
Holt took a sip of his coffee and grimaced at the taste of the cooled liquid. He poured the rest in the sink and went for the coffee machine. He had spent two hours looking at the paper sheets that had been sent to him via fax and he started feel pretty pissed. He poured a fresh cup and went back to his desk.
According to passenger lists, one Xena dAmphipolis had boarded the Titanic in Southampton on April 12th, 1912. She had been traveling in the first class. Figures.
Holt took another piece of paper. Xena dAmphipolis name was among the 1500 victims of the disaster. Well, the Xena he knew was alive and well in Portland, so that spoke against the theory that the warrior had been on that ship. On the other hand, since Xena was immortal, drowning and hypothermia would not kill her. She would have survived that. Why wasnt she among the people rescued on the Carpathia, then?
Holt dropped the sheet on the desk. It would be easy assume that this was merely a coincidence and ignore it but Holt had stopped to believe in coincidences a long time ago. Especially, when he looked at a photograph that had been faxed among other information. The copy was of bad quality, but still clear enough to make out the object on the picture. It had been found on one of the expeditions to the Titanic. It had preserved amazingly well despite the fact that it had been underwater for over seventy years. The object in question was a brass breast plate.
Holt took the phone and dialed a number.
"Its Emil. Can I come over? Theres something I need to show you."
A moment later Emil Holt was on his way out. The officer on call smiled at him over his desk. "Off to spent some quality time with the family, hey, Emil?"
"Wishful thinking. Have to run a couple of errands. Marjories probably gonna kill me when I get home." Holt smiled tiredly as walked out the door.
"It was Emil. Hes coming over. Hes got something to show me," Xena said as she hung up the phone.
"What could be so important that he has to come over at this hour. Its past midnight," Rickie mumbled sleepily under the pillow.
"Dunno, but it had better to be good. Otherwise Ill throw him out of the window," the dark woman answered grumpily.
"Maybe it has something doing with the Watchers," Rickie said and lifted her head.
"If its about that shit. Im going to throw him down twice." Xena pulled out a cotton T-shirt and put it on.
She thought about the secret society, whose members had dedicated their lives to keep an eye on the immortals and keep record of their events. Those guys really needed to get a life.
She grabbed a pair of slacks and went to the kitchen. Might as well make some coffee. I have a feeling that were not going to get any sleep tonight.
"Okay, give me one good reason I dont beat the crap out of you for waking us up in the middle of the night," Xena said to man sitting opposite to her.
Holt passed the picture to her. "This good enough?"
Xena looked at the picture then she glared at Holt. "Where did you get this?"
"What is it?" Rickie asked the dark woman.
"Its a brass breast plate. It was a part of my armor. Im still waiting, Emil."
Holt cleared his throat. "I got it today among some other papers via fax. Your plate was salvaged from the Titanic in the late eighties. The real question is, how did it get on the Titanic in the first place? I was kind of hoping you could fill me in with that."
The warrior still glared the man before her. "I suppose, you know by now that I was on that ship," she said with a dark voice.
"Well, I got the passenger lists with the picture and added two and two together," Holt stated. "What I would like know, is how you got on that ship and how did you get out?"
Rickie wasnt sure if Xena was going to kill Holt right there. She had seldom seen such anger in her lovers eyes. She could almost hear the mug crunching in the warriors grip. She placed her hand on the tensed muscles of Xenas arm. Almost simultaneously she could feel the muscles relaxing and hear the warrior releasing a long sigh.
"Very well, I suppose you have a right to know." Xena stood up and turned over to the coffee machine. "You guys might want to freshen up your coffee. Its going to be a long story."
Southampton, April 12th, 1912
The harbor was crowded. All kinds of people from different nations and society classes were rambling around the terminals and warehouses. Cars and carriages were wriggling between the masses of people. One of the cars let out its passenger. The tall, raven haired woman stepped out and let her glance examine the vessel by the harbor.
The RMS Titanic was indeed a ship well worth her name. The White Star Line vessel was the biggest oceanliner ever built. Between stem and stern was nearly 900 feet of steel. The white and black finish was bathing in the sunshine.
Xena dropped her glance and adjusted the hem of her dress. The black dress was practical and simple, yet stylish. She watched as the driver unloaded the two trunks she had with her.
"Madame dAmphipolis?" A young man wearing a White Star Line uniform addressed her.
"Oui, cest moi," Xena answered in perfect French and continued in English, "you are here to help me with my luggage, yes?"
"Yes, Madame. If you will follow me. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin."
"All right, lead on, please." She followed the man towards the stairs.
The dark woman thought about the last year. She had left her tribe to find an immortal, who could win her in the game and give her a chance to be reunited with her beloved bard. She had traveled from South America to Asia, from there to Africa and finally to Europe. She had met five immortals during that time and beheaded them all. It would have been so easy to just forfeit but that just wasnt in her nature.
She posed now as a French widow, who was doing her mourning. In her case, that wasnt far off the truth. During the centuries, her grief over Gabrielle had become overwhelming. The widow act also kept the too eager gentlemen at an appropriate distance.
Nowadays, however, it wasnt easy for her to satisfy her sexual needs. The attitude towards unmarital relationships and especially homosexual relationships was very strict. That didnt bother her too much, though. She had spent her seclusion in almost total celibacy and she had gotten quite used to it.
Suddenly, the sharpening of her senses shook her off from her thoughts. She could feel the symptoms of the quickening. There was another immortal on this ship. There was something familiar in the feeling. As if she had met this immortal before.
"Madame, are you all right?" The voice of her guide got her attention.
"What, oh yes. I was just a little carried away by my thoughts, thats all."
"Well, this is your cabin, Madame." The man opened the door.
Her cabin was one of the smaller cabins in the first class. Quite roomy and comfortable, though. There was a small door leading to the bathroom near the huge pole bed. On opposite wall was a soft couch and a chest of drawers.
"Merci beaucoup," Xena said to the young man and slid a five pound note in his hand.
"Thank you, Madame!" He bowed and closed the door behind him.
Xena looked out from the window. If there was an another immortal on board, she would fight him or her. Maybe this time she would meet her match.
Suddenly she felt that the ship was in motion. She left her cabin and headed towards the deck, where people were waving at the others left on shore. She was about to go to the edge when she felt the quickening again. This time it was close and she turned towards the source of it.
"Well, hello there, Xena! Long time no see," a tall red haired man addressed her.
"Seamus ORiordan, is that really you?" Xenas face went to a warm smile when she recognized the other immortal.
"Aye, its me, lass," the tall Irishman answered. "It must be over hundred years since the last time."
"More like one hundred and fifty," the raven haired woman corrected. She recalled the first time she had met the kind Irishman. It had happened during the naval war between Britain and Spain. They both had ended up in the same jail after a fight in a tavern in London. Their paths had crossed a couple of times since then.
"I still remember the time you threw Sir Francis Drake overboard and then went after him." Seamus chuckled at the memory.
"Well, for a brilliant naval commander he really could be a pain in the ass," Xena said.
"He would probably never had beaten the Spanish Armada, if he hadnt had you on his side."
"Aww, I just prevented him from doing a couple of fateful errors. He really was a good tactician."
"But enough about Drake. How are you? Are you still in the game?" ORiordan asked the dark warrior.
"Actually Ive spent over hundred years in seclusion. I returned to civilization about a year ago. How about you?"
"A little bit of this and that. Had myself a couple of fights during the years. Im going try my luck in the States. Looks like yer traveling with style."
"Well, after spending a century in the jungle, one is entitled to a little luxury," the warrior said.
"Im pretty down below for my part. Quite comfortable though, if you dont mind sharing the room with three Finns," the Irishman smiled condescendingly. "Well, gotta be headin downstairs. Nice talkin to you. Dont be a stranger now."
"I wont." Xena watched the sturdy man heading for the stairs. After he was out of sight, she let her mood go down. Seamus ORiordan was a competent adversary, but they had agreed a long time ago not to fight against each other. Even if he accepted the challenge, there was a chance that Xena would win and she did not want to take her friends life in vain.
The dark woman watched as the coast line moved further away.