Disclaimers: See part one. Also, this chapter gets ugly. Very ugly. Violence; implied non-consensual sex; blood gore so if this isn‘t your cup of tea I would suggest you hit the back button.

Also if you're not over 17 get out of here. To everyone I met at the convention thank you.

To Lucy, Renee and Adrienne thank you for continuing to give so much of yourselves to your fans. Lucy you rocked girl!

Amazon Jungle South America

Xena sat quietly watching; waiting. She could feel something just outside her senses but was not sure who or what it was. Whatever it was it was making her senses prickle like crazy. Over the centuries, she had met many incarnations of her former enemies or their descendants. Tonight though was unusual. Whatever this was or whoever it was, was watching, waiting. The energy she felt from this was dark; foreboding; cold and she could swear it was out to harm with the intent to kill. She shifted and stood looking around; sniffing the air. She smiled as she felt her soul mate move towards the fire. No matter what was going on, what the situation was she could always sense her soul mate’s presence.

Gabrielle (running her fingers through her tousled hair): You were supposed to wake me.

Xena (pulling her into her arms): It’s ok. I can’t sleep anyway (kissing her softly.)

Gabrielle (nuzzling Xena’s neck and shoulder): Why?

Xena (shifting so Gabrielle sat in her lap): Something about this, well, this presence unsettles me deeply. I don’t know why and I can’t explain it but something’s very wrong love.

Gabrielle (agreeing with her lover and nipping her neck): I know and I feel I too. What ever it is we’ll find out eventually. Right now, though I want you to come to bed and keep me warm.

Xena (very much wanting to, but not trusting whatever it was that was making her jumpy): Brie I want you so much right now and I want to be with you believe me you have no idea but I want to keep an eye on things. Especially with Mel and Janice here. I’m more concerned for their safety because they haven’t survived what we have. They don’t have the training we do. I don’t want them to get hurt or be caught in whatever is going on.

Gabrielle (understanding): I know, and I understand. I don‘t like this. You will be making this up to me though love (kissing her softly.)

Xena (returning the kiss): I’ll be more than glad too.

Gabrielle (shifting): I’ll stay with you.

Xena (hugging her tightly): You don’t have to….

Gabrielle (softly): No, I don’t have to, but I want to, I want to be with you. Besides, I don’t feel comfortable with whatever is out there.

Xena (shifting): We’ll figure it out Brie. Let me add some more wood to the fire and we’ll be set.

Abandoned Temple

She stalked around the remains of magnificence. The beautiful temple had crumbled and fallen to ruin many years ago. She was planning and plotting her revenge. It had taken so long, but soon she’ll have what she wanted. What she always wanted and no one would be able to stop her. For far too long Xena and her partner Gabrielle had been nothing but a pain in her side as well as their descendants. Now the tables would be turned and the tide of battle shifted. Laughing she walked around the temple once more and vanished in a thick cloud of smoke. She had to find her pet and make some more plans.

Amazon Jungle South America

Janice (sipping her coffee): You two seem pretty dam tense. What’s wrong?

Xena (folding the blankets): Not sure. But, something’s not right. For one it’s too quiet. Two I feel like something is watching us. Waiting for the right moment to spring.

Gabrielle (flipping the fish over): We both sensed it last night. We didn’t want to make you nervous or upset you.

Janice (defensively): We can take care of ourselves (patting her gun.)

Xena (squeezing her shoulder): I know you can. But until I know what we’re up against I would rather you two stay out of the way…

Mel (standing up): Now you wait a minute…

Gabrielle (trying to calm everyone down): Hold it. Mel I know Xena just wants to keep you both safe. And if this were just a band of scalpers or poachers, we wouldn’t worry so much. But we have no idea what this is or what we’re up against.

Xena (looking at Gabrielle then at Mel and Janice): And until I do, you two are to stay out of it.

Janice (grumbling): And what if we don’t want to.

Mel (groaning): Janice…

Xena (smirking): Then I’ll just tie you to your horse or something.

Janice (arching her eyebrow): Try it…

Gabrielle (breaking things up before her partner did just that): Ok. Breakfast is ready put your egos aside and get over here.

Mel (helping her with the dishes): If they can put their egos aside. (Under her breath) although I would love to see Xena try to tie her up.

Gabrielle (thinking along another line): So would I.

Xena (sitting next to Gabrielle): Brie just whose side are you on?

Gabrielle (mockingly): Yours darling.

Janice (taking her plate and kissing Mel softly): Always said she was the brains of the pair.

Xena (swallowing her food): I’m surprised you made it as far as you did then Janice.

Gabrielle (rolling her eyes, she knew they were playing but they were going to drive her crazy): Finish your breakfast. You can wrestle later (seeing Xena about to protest) don’t even think about it Warrior Princess.

Janice (finishing her food): I still say she’s an overgrown pain in the ass (ducking as Mel attempted to swat her. Sticking her tongue out) missed me.

Mel (shaking her head): And you’re not (slapping her arm) and there I got you.

Xena (laughing): Hah (pouting as Gabrielle cuffed her head lightly.)

Gabrielle (arching her eyebrow): Behave the both of you.

Xena and Janice in unison “She started it.”

Mel (taunting): Right you both started it. Finish your breakfast we have to get moving. Once we’re there you two can beat each other up later (seeing Janice about to protest) Janice don’t start.

Janice (biting her lip): But it’s her fault…

Xena (nearly dropping her food): My fault. Listen, you pint-sized shrimp.

Gabrielle (reaching around and smacking the back of her): Watch the name-calling or you can cuddle by yourself tonight.

Janice stuck her tongue out as Xena relented. Xena flipped her off and they resumed her breakfast mumbling and trying to avoid their partner’s threats.

Portal to the Mortal Realm

Varia (shifting her pack): I’ve never done it this way.

Eve (looking around; the swirling lights; the pulsing energy and the shapes shifting reminded her of something from long ago but she couldn’t put her finger on it): It’s no big deal. We just walk through and go find my mother’s. (Taking her hand) come on.

Varia (nervously): I just hope your mother’s don’t kill me.

Eve (teasing and yanking her through the portal): She hasn’t yet (laughing evilly, knowing her mother wouldn‘t after all this time,)

South American Jungle

A tall dark figure laughed evilly. Things were falling into place better then she had hoped for. Finally she would be rid of her biggest thorns and get what she always wanted. Then she would bring the world to its knees. Llicking her lips, she vanished in a cloud of smoke intent on finding her help and her prey.

Mel (shifting on her horse): Can you finish your story. I know it’s hard in some parts but I would still like to hear how love overcame so many difficulties.

Janice (looking around): And your ceremony.

Gabrielle (taking a deep breath; watching her partner tense and look around): Alright but we need to stay alert.

Amazon Village 2000 Years Ago

Eve (handing Varia a wineskin): You know we can just leave. Right now with no turning back. We never have to set foot on Amazon land again.

Varia (looking into sea green eyes): Eve I can’t. Not unless they intend to harm you then I’ll take out a few before I do (pulling Eve into her arms.)

Eve (smiling and resting her head on her shoulder): That’s romantic. Romantic but foolish. I love you for that you know.

Varia (kissing the top of her head softly): I know. I never ever want to see you in pain or cause you pain (leaning down for a kiss which Eve gladly returned.)

Xena (stomping across the campground): No child of mine is going to sleep with that Amazon Warrior Princess wannabe.

Gabrielle (running after her partner’s long strides): You’re being irrational Xena.

Xena (whirling around; noticing several Amazons gathering): I’m being irrational. That bitch tried to kill her then you then tried to seduce both of us.

Gabrielle (arching her eyebrow): I’m sure you weren’t complaining when she had her tongue in your mouth.

Xena (wide eyed): What? Brie what in Hades domain are, you talking about?

Gabrielle (putting her hands up): You liked the fact that someone showed interest in you. Because I wasn’t paying attention to you very much at the time.

Xena (puling her against her): That’s bullshit.

Gabrielle (changing tactics): Maybe or maybe not. Or could it be the fact that you wanted her to stay away from your child (pushing away from Xena.)

Xena (angrily): That does it Brie. I’m going to settle this once and for all (storming off.)

Varia (shifting and pulling Eve tighter to her): Feel so dam good.

Eve (nipping her earlobe): So do you.

Varia (flipping them over and kneeling above her partner on all fours): What do you want love (trailing her hands down her lover’s body?)

Eve (moaning at the sensual caresses; further igniting the fire in her body): I want you…

Xena (grabbing Varia by the back of her shirt and hauling her off Eve): Not going to happen (dragging her out the door and throwing her in a water trough.) Cool off in there you wannabe slut.

Eve (running out): Mother. How could you? It’s none of your business who I’m in love with.

Xena (growling; she noticed several Amazons gathering around and saw Gabriele leaning against a post with her arms crossed): It is if it’s that bitch.

Eve (yelling): She’s changed and she loves me.

Xena (trying to control her anger): You’re not seeing her again.

Eve (stepping toe to toe with her mother): You’re not telling me what to do. I’m an adult or have you ignored that fact completely. Just like everything else, you do in life.

Xena (flexing her hand): Don’t push me Eve…

Eve (arguing; defiant): Or what. You going to hit me. You can do that really well can’t you?

Xena (taking several deep breaths): Eve…

Eve (shoving her back): Get out. Just get the hell out of here. I’ll do what I want with my life and you have no say so in it.

Gabrielle (walking in, she could see how much control Xena was exercising and how much Eve was pushing her partner): Both of you back off. Xena go outside and cool off. Eve get dressed.

Eve (arguing): This is none of your concern mom (spitting.)

Xena (reaching for her): Don’t you talk to her like that (this kid was pushing every button.)

Eve (whirling around): It’s ok for you to talk to her like that (and found herself slammed into the wall with her mother glaring at her.)

Gabrielle (grabbing the first thing she could find): Xena back off. Eve just shut up (tensing.)

Xena (growling): Eve I won’t hesitate to put you in your place. You do not talk to Gabrielle like that.

Eve (unafraid): You do and get away with it. You claim to love her…

Xena reaching back; she wanted to strangle her; she kept pushing and pushing and suddenly all she saw was darkness.

Gabrielle (smashing the vase over her partner’s head): I’m sorry. That was bordering on abuse. Guards (yelling) get her over to our hut. She’s not allowed to leave. I’ll be there as soon as I settle things with my daughter (noticing Varia hovering in the doorway.) Varia get in here the rest of you shows over (watching as several Amazons picked up her partner and carried her out.)

Eve (sinking to the floor): I can’t believe her (leaning into her lover as strong arms wrapped themselves around her.)

Varia (caressing her face and noticing the bruise on her chest): I don’t blame her…

Eve (wide eyed): I can’t believe you. Don’t tell me you agree with her.

Varia (softly): I do and I don’t. I love you, I know that hell I feel it but she is your mother…

Eve (shaking her head): She’ll either accept us or she won’t.

Varia (looking at Gabrielle): I don’t want to be the cause of a divide or pain between you two.

Eve (softy): I love you and she’ll have to accept that.

Varia (kissing her softly): And I you (kissing the top of her head.)

Gabrielle (watching; noticing the love between them, she couldn’t deny it): Varia I’ll only say this once you hurt her and I’ll personally kill you. Get some rest I’ll see you both in the morning.

Eve (standing slowly with Varia’s support): Mom thank you. I know how hard it must have been for you to do that.

Gabrielle (kissing her cheek): Don’t worry. I’ll talk to her. Both of you get some rest tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Back in the Present

Mel (interrupting): You mean to tell me Xena was going to hit Eve for being with Varia.

Gabrielle (thinking): Yeah. Xena is very protective of those she loves. At the time, Eve and I were the only ones that fit. In time though and do to Eve knocking some sense into her she became a little more accepting.

Janice (looking around): They still had to deal with the council’s sentence though.

Gabrielle (shivering): Yes. I got Eve and Varia settled then went back to our hut to take care of a certain dark haired Warrior Princess.

Back in the Amazon Village

Xena (shifting as she felt Gabrielle come in): I can’t believe you would go against me like that…

Gabrielle (moving behind her): I’m not going against you. They love each other. And we can’t stop it…

Xena (angrily): Oh yes I can.

Gabrielle (grabbing her and turning her around): My father thought the same thing about you. ..

Xena (pulling her arm away): And he tried to kill me if I remember correctly.

Gabrielle (closing her eyes; remembering a time when her father had indeed tried to kill her partner; futile attempt as it was): Yes. But it doesn’t mean its right for you to do it to Varia.

Xena (squeezing the bridge of her nose): And well guess what you’re Amazons are trying to kill me too (turning around and storming out the door.)

Gabrielle (sinking to the floor, it seemed as if everyone had one nuts or something): What is going on here. Dammit…

Aphrodite (appearing beside her): Hey little one. She’s being a real pain isn’t she…?

Gabrielle (waving her hand): I don’t know what’s gotten into her. She doesn’t want to listen to the voice of reason.

Aphrodite (kneeling down next to her): If you want, I can get you all out of here. Spare her from whatever they plan on doing to her.

Gabrielle (fighting tears): I can’t believe she accepted it like she did. I thought she would argue or something but she didn’t.

Aphrodite (pulling her to her): It’s her code. And her love for you. She’s beating herself over this, over everything. I’ll see if I can talk some sense into her for you.

Gabrielle (mumbling): Good luck.

Aphrodite (smiling): If you change your mind, you just call me. I’ll go see if I can find tall dark and stubborn (vanishing.)

Xena threw another hail bail then pulled out her Chakram. She was so dam frustrated; so dam worked up. Her lover had gone against her and knocked her out. All because of that bitch’s feelings for her daughter.

Aphrodite (dodging the Chakram): That’s because you refuse to listen to the voice of reason (dodging another shot.) Knock it off go find some one to play with that actually wants to play.

Xena (growling): Get out.

Aphrodite (defiantly): What’s wrong with you? Is Varia being with your daughter so bad that you were ready to hurt her?

Xena (angrily; quickly losing her patience): Stay out of matters that concern you.

Aphrodite (moving closer to her): Your family does concern me. Considering Gabrielle is my friend and so is Eve. And you are too…

Xena (yelling): This is your fault you know. You and your dam interference.

Aphrodite (rolling her eyes): Right. Ok blame moi. Their love like yours and Gabrielle’s was meant to be. I had nothing to do it.

Xena (clenching her fists): Get out.

Aphrodite (folding her arms across her chest): No. Something’s bothering you and until you talk about it, it won’t get any better.

Xena (tiring of the bullshit): I said leave.

Aphrodite (moving toe to toe with her): No. Not until you tell me what’s wrong.

Xena (turning around and hitting the post with her fist): I’m losing patience with you.

Aphrodite (shaking her head): What so that means you going to hit me too?

Xena (whirling around): Get the hell out of here now or so help me (the slap to her face shocked her; one it was the Goddess of Love doing the hitting; two she hadn’t been prepared.)

Aphrodite (biting her lip): Get over it. I won’t allow you to harm Gabrielle or Eve or even Varia. You’re my family too but until you stop acting like an ass then I’ll interfere all I want. When and if you want to talk I’ll be here (vanishing.)

Xena sank to the floor resisting the urge to tear the barn apart. Taking a deep breath, she leaned back against a hay bale and closed her eyes.

Gabrielle woke to pounding on the door and someone yelling. Sitting up she looked for Xena or any sign she had been there. She hadn’t.

Rayne (yelling): Queen Gabrielle they’re getting ready. Xena’s already over at the temple and so is Varia.

Gabrielle (grabbing her robe, putting it on and opening the door): Give me about ten minutes and I’ll be there.

Diteria (trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach; she hated this political shit; there was no need for this): You know what is required…

Xena (ignoring her daughter and that wanna be): Yeah let’s get on with it.

Lidia (priestess in training): We must wait for the Queen and the council (the doors banged open and in walked the members of the council followed by Gabrielle; Lin Chi and Cleis followed by several members of the Royal Guard.) Well now that everyone is here, we can begin.

Xena threw her hands up growling.

Varia (kissing Eve softly): I’ll be fine. No one on the council is allowed to participate in this. Only priestesses and trainees are allowed in (leaning in for another kiss) and I have you to take care of me afterward.

Eve (caressing her face): You bet I will. After this maybe we can get away for a few days just you and I (leaning against her.)

Gabrielle (approaching Xena slowly, she could feel the anger radiation off her and something else): Xena…

Xena (looking into soft green eyes; so full of love and compassion she could hardly believe this woman held for her; and what did she do to deserve it): Brie I’m sorry for getting angry with you (gentle fingers caressed her lips; silencing her.)

Gabrielle (trying to convey what she felt): We have a lot to talk about after this. I love you, Xena, all of you, that never changes. I just wish you weren’t so stubborn sometimes.

Xena (fighting her anger): I love you too Brie more than words can ever say but (taking a deep breath) I just want to have a chance with my daughter and not have to worry about looking over my shoulder or yours.

Gabrielle (understanding): I know and we’ll talk but right now (wrapping her arms around Xena’s neck and kissing her tenderly.)

Lin Chi (growling): The priestess are waiting for you and Varia.

Eve (holding onto Varia even as some guards tried to pull her away): I love you.

Varia (understanding): It’ll be over before I know it. Don’t cry Eve please (noticing Xena walking up to her.) It’ll be ok love (reaching out and caressing her face as the two priestess pulled her into the other chamber.)

Gabrielle (grabbing Eve before she fell over and to anchor herself as well): It’ll be ok. They’re both strong stubborn and hard headed.

Eve (fighting tears): I know it’s just I can’t believe she’s doing this let alone for me….

Gabrielle (tightening her hold as one of the council members announced the crimes and sentence and nearly fell over as the door was slammed shut.)

Back In The Present

Janice (shaking her head): No one else was allowed in their that was a good thing. Cause from some of those council members it seems as though they wanted blood and lots of it (clamping her mouth shut when she realized what she had said) Sorry….

Gabrielle (biting her lip): It’s ok. I knew what Xena was going through even though she tried to block our link. I could feel her pain and anger and Eve she was crying so hard I just held her.

Mel (shaking her head): Did you have to go and get them or did they come out on their own…

Back in The Amazon Village

Gabrielle (remembering the doors opening and Xena trying to be strong and hold herself up afraid to look weak in front of the women that wanted her blood): Xena and Varia walked out on their own. Both of them pale and weak. Ten lashes will do that to just about anyone. Although Xena being as strong as she is helped a lot. I knew she was hurting could see it in her eyes and her features. And Varia my heart broke for her she tried so hard to reassure Eve and everything she ended up passing out cold.

Eve (kneeling next to her): Varia come on baby. I need to get you back to our hut so we can take care of those wounds.

Gabrielle (helping her partner sit down; noticing the pain etching her features): Let me help her then we’ll go to our hut (Xena grumbled and looked at Eve then at Gabrielle.)

Gabrielle (moving next to Eve): I’ll get a few Amazons to help move her ok. Then your mother and I will be in our hut. You call me if you need anything. (Standing up) Rayne get a few other Amazons and a litter and take Varia to her hut.

Rayne (bowing her head; she hated this; hated that her friends were hurt because of some political bullshit): Of course Queen Gabrielle. I’ll see to it myself (motioning to two other guards) you heard her let’s move it.

Eve (backing up as they helped her lover onto the litter and carried her out of the temple): I’ll be right there love (moving beside her mother. She went to brush the long dark locks out of her eyes but her mother recoiled.) I love her can’t you be happy for me.

Xena (fighting nausea and pain): She’s not right for you Eve (biting her lip.)

Eve (angrily): I don’t care what you think I love her and she loves me. Why can’t you see that?

Gabrielle (trying to calm the both of them): Eve go see to Varia I’m going to take Xena to our hut and get her cleaned up. Come on Warrior Princess…

Xena (standing weakly): Once this blows over we are going to have a long talk…

Eve (moving to face her; wishing she could help her with whatever it is that was bothering): No we aren’t (turning and storming out.)

Tasha (holding out a scroll): Their sentence has been carried out. We’ll meet tomorrow to discuss privileges and status in the village.

Gabrielle (throwing the scroll aside): I don’t have time for this. Come on stubborn (helping her partner out of the temple.)

Diteria (walking out of the chamber with two other priestesses in tow): Are you happy now? Their bloodshed was for nothing.

Lin Chi (stepping forward): Don’t take that tone of voice with me priestess.

Kira (moving in front of Diteria): You have no authority here. And you show no respect to our High Priestess.

Marquesa (scowling): Watch your tongue. You’re in training I can have you removed from your position.

Diteria (placing her hands on both of the guard’s arms): Kira you and Micah go on and get yourself something to eat. I’ll clean up in here.

Micah (not moving): Priestess…

Diteria (shaking her head): Go on (waiting for them to leave.) Listen to me this is my temple you three are not welcomed here at this time. Cleis if you should need guidance I will be waiting (turning around and walking into another chamber.)

Tasha (hissing): That bitch just dismissed us.

Cleis (rolling her eyes): Perhaps if you didn’t act like an ass (looking at the other three Queens.)

Lin Chi (angrily): If you are going to side with either one of those bitches…

Cleis (angrily): They have proved themselves more than once to this nation. I won’t stand by and watch you punish people for their love and their mistakes. We’re all human. Get your head out of your asses before you make an enemy out of our allies.

Gabrielle (applying a poultice to the brand; she was thankful it was her Queen’s insignia and no one else’s): How you feeling (brushing her lover’s hair aside to treat a lash mark?)

Xena (groaning): Better. Have you eaten yet (hissing as the poultice was applied to a deep lash?)

Gabrielle (fighting tears at the sight of her lover in pain): No. Xena how bad are you hurting love. Be honest (gently applying some bandages to the worst of lashes.)

Xena (wincing): Not too bad. I’ve had worse (growling as Brie secured the bandage.)

Gabrielle (leaning down and kissing the top of her head): I know. Rest I’m going to go see if Eve needs any help then get us something to eat ok (running her fingers through her dark locks gently.)

Xena (mumbling): Love you Brie.

Gabrielle (drawing the sheet over her gently): I love you my strong Warrior. Now rest.

She walked to the door and looked at her soul mate one last time to make sure she was resting. Satisfied that she was she turned and walked out into the afternoon sun.

Eve (pulling the sheet over Varia): Rest now (noticing how Varia was still out.) I’m sorry you had to go through this love. (Hearing the knock at the door, she went to answer it to find her mom standing there.) Hi. How’s mother?

Gabrielle (noticing the tension in her features): She’s resting. How’s Varia doing?

Eve (glancing towards the bed): Resting. She held herself together for me and still (biting her lip.)

Gabrielle (wrapping her arm around her shoulder): I know. Come on let’s take a walk. Leave her to rest for a bit.

Back in The Present

Mel (shaking her head): My God for them to go through that…

Janice (deep in thought): Were things any better and did Eve and Xena make up?

Gabrielle (smirking): Well sort of. We still had to deal with the joining and all. And Xena was still angry with Varia for seducing Eve and a couple council members still were a bunch of asses.

Xena (coming up the trail): There’s a spot where we can rest up for a bit.

Gabrielle (smiling at her lover): We should be at the sight by later afternoon, right.

Xena (glancing around): Should be. This area’s grown a bit over the years.

Janice (moving next to her): Centuries you mean.

Me (rolling her eyes): Let’s get that rest stop in and you knock it off before she beats your bum and I hold you down.

Janice (wiggling her eyebrows): Promises, promises Mel.

Xena (laughing): She got you good ouch hey (as Gabrielle slapped her thigh.) What did I do?

Gabrielle (shaking her head): Don’t encourage her.

Xena (hearing something coming from up ahead): Heads up. We got company (reaching for the guns on her hips.) Mel, Jan get over near those trees and stay there (kicking her horse into a gallop) yah.

Gabrielle (shaking her head): I thought it was wisdom before weapons Warrior Princess.

Mel (waiting): Whatever it is doesn’t seem to be moving too fast.

Janice (pulling her own gun out): Well let’s join em (kicking the horse into a gallop to catch up with Xena and Gabrielle.)

Mel (rolling her eyes): You are going to get yourself in trouble one of these days love (kneeing her own horse to catch up to her lover.)

Eve (looking around): I don’t like this. It’s too quiet.

Varia (withdrawing her gun): Well I hear hoof beats coming this way fast.

Eve (smirking as she recognized the tall figure on the horse): Well there went peace and quiet…

Xena (stopping the horse): I thought I told you two to stay put.

Eve (smiling as Gabrielle rode up next to Xena): She doesn’t listen very well…

Varia (smirking): Runs in the family. You never listen and neither does she.

Eve (smacking her playfully): I listen…

Xena (shaking her head): Ok hold it. Why are you here?

Varia (looking around; noticing the stillness): Something’s not right. We felt it back in the fields. So we decided to join you. You know like old times.

Gabrielle (chuckling, those old times had been over a thousand years ago): Yeah when you two were still doing the Karmic thing (tilting her head as another horse pulled up.) Well now, that everyone is here.

Eve (staring wide-eyed; the blonde on the horse was an almost exact duplicate of her mom and oh shit another one): How the… What the…

Janice (looking at them noticing the family resemblance): Xena she’s a chip off the old block (pointing at Eve.)

Varia (shaking her head): Your their descendants I take it.

Xena nodded and looked up at the sky. They wouldn’t make the temple until tomorrow at this rate. Oh well it might be better that way. Or maybe not. Something didn’t feel right.

Mel (dismounting and looking at the two other women): Hi, I’m Mel and you must be Eve (looking at Eve) and Varia (smiling at her. Varia for some reason seemed more dangerous.)

Eve (extending her hand): Yeah and you’re Dr. Pappas and you must be Dr. Covington (remembering her mom’s words but believing that someone could look so much like them.)

Mel (smiling and shaking Varia’s hand): You can call us Mel and Jan honey. You look so much like her and you (glancing at Varia) unbelievable.

Janice (shaking both of their hands): Nice to meet you.

Varia (wrapping her arm around Eve; the air seemed cooler somehow): Same here.

Xena (looking around; something or someone was coming at them fast): Janice, Mel get the horses and get out of here. Find some high ground or something…

Janice (arguing): No way. (Watching as Gabrielle pulled her gun out moving closer to her partner and noticing Eve and Varia doing the same thing.) We’re not leaving.

Mel (wanting to do just that but drew her weapon and waited): Like she said.

Varia (watching intently): What is it?

Xena (taking a deep breath): Does anyone listen to what I have to say anymore?

Gabrielle (listening; it sounded big and heavy but was moving very quickly towards them): Later honey.

Xena (wide eyed): Move over to those trees. Get those horses out of the way (as a large figure on an even larger horse thundered toward them. The figure wore armor and she couldn’t place her finger on it but had seen it before somewhere.) Son of a bitch.

The figure growled noticing its prey. It was told to go after the one called Xena. Searching their auras, he found her easily. He was not to hurt the others just get Xena. Growling it charged at her knocking her off her feet.

Xena landed hard a few feet away and watched as Gabrielle and Eve readied for its next attack.

Janice (firing a few shots; she noticed the shots hit the figure but didn’t even phase him): What the hell is that thing?

Eve (thinking back to a long time ago): The Berserker. It feeds off a shamaness’ energy…

Varia (dodging a swing): Ok enough playing. (Reaching behind her and unsheathing her sword; throwing the gun down) come on off that horse.

The Berserker didn’t recognize this one and since it had no orders decided to move it out of the way along with the others.

Xena (getting up): Gabrielle my sword get Mel and Janice out of here (watching as Mel dived out of the way of the attack just in time.)

Gabrielle (running to the horses noticing how they didn’t seem to be bothered by what was going on; finding Xena’s sword strapped to the saddle she removed it and then her own; turning she watched as the Berserker charged at Varia and Eve): Varia get the hell out of the way. Eve move…

Varia (growling): Nuh huh. (Raising her sword) Eve you ready…

Eve (nodding and tensing): On three…

Just as they were about to jump as the Berserker charged past they were both hit with something and sent flying.

Janice ducking as Varia and Eve flew by then yelling at Mel to check on them and then found herself flying threw the air.

Alti (materializing and stretching): Like my new pet. His old form was to weak so I recreated him.

Gabrielle (moving to defend Mel; Janice; Eve and Varia): Alti I thought…

Alti (laughing and pointing a finger at Xena; she imagined a few times where Xena was thrown helplessly into a wall or a tree or some other immovable surface and proceeded to do just that; seeing Gabrielle charge her she shoved her back slamming her into a tree): I’m back. Stronger now than ever. (Seeing Xena about to get up) uh huh you have a lot to pay for (envisioning the time that Xena was thrown from her horse and smiled as it happened.) Give it up I’m stronger more powerful now (striding toward Xena.)

Xena fought to get up; she felt the blood dripping down her back and face. She knew she had to protect her family and her friends. She noticed the Berserker sitting on the horse never moving.

Eve (helping Gabrielle): Come on mom. Get up…

Varia (holding Mel and Janice back): No. This is our fight. Get out of here (looking up in horror as Xena was suspended by her throat reliving whatever nightmare she had suffered; watching wounds appear even though no one was attacking her; grabbing her sword she charged): Xena (running full tilt then falling back as though she had been punched even though no one touched her.)

Alti (smiling; loving the struggle): I think you better sit put Amazon.

Xena (struggling): Let them go.

Gabrielle (getting up weakly): Eve get everyone out of here (falling back as she saw in her mind a time she had been blindsided and thrown through a room.) Son of a bitch.

Alit (throwing Xena to the ground): You know you’re as weak as I remember Xena (conjuring up another image this one not of pain but of pleasure and watched as Xena thrashed helplessly.) Bet that feels good. See I’m not so bad (turning around as Eve charged at her) and you the Messenger of Eli in your former life. Remember when that village tried to crucify you (laughing as Eve fell to her knees screaming.)

Varia (rushing to her partner’s side): You bitch (watching as nail holes appeared in her lover’s hands.)

Alti (grabbing Xena and calling the Berserker to her side): I have what I want and oh one more thing (turning around and blasting Gabrielle with an energy bolt.) Let’s go (vanishing along with Xena and the Berserker.)

Gabrielle (weakly): Xena…

Janice (panting): Who or better yet what the hell?

Gabrielle (spitting out a mouthful of blood): Alti…

Mel (wide eyed): Alti. I thought you and Xena had killed her.

Janice (rolling her eyes and helping Gabrielle sit up): Well apparently, she didn’t stay dead.

Varia (holding her lover tightly): Baby I’m here (looking at the wounds on her hands and face.) What did she do to you?

Eve (weakly): Uses our memories against us. Things that have happened in battle…

Gabrielle (sipping some water): Or life…

Mel (kneeling down next to Varia): Here. Drink some water.

Varia (holding the skin to her wife’s lip): We have to find some place to camp and treat these injuries. Mel do you think you…

Mel (standing): Yeah. Stay here I’ll go find someplace to lay low for the night then I’ll come back for you.

Janice (handing her; her gun): Take this.

Mel (understanding): Be careful

Janice (nodding): You too (leaning up a for a kiss.)

Abandoned Temple

Xena rolled to her side spitting up blood and bile. Then she noticed the chains around her ankles and she was naked as well. Just great, she thought leaning her head back.

Alti (walking in; they were in the back of the abandoned temple; Xena lay on a stone slab manacled to it): You’re awake. Now the fun can begin.

Xena (weakly): You’ll never win Alti. Never….

Alti (laughing): That’s what you think Xena (leaning over her.) Surely, you remember that I always win (conjuring up a vision of Xena being beaten by the soldiers when they were crucified in Rome.) That should keep you occupied for a while (laughing evilly as wounds and marks became visible on Xena’s already battered body.)

Campsite Jungle South America

Eve (wincing as Varia cleaned out the puncture wounds): Ouch (flinching.)

Varia (fighting tears): You never told me you were almost crucified.

Eve (shaking her head): It wasn’t important. And besides what could you have done.

Varia (looking up into soft blue): Nothing but that’s not the point. Do you remember what happened?

Eve (shaking her head; she had maintained most of her memories from her karmic experiences but blocked out some of the more painful ones): No. It was before I met you.

Varia (rolling her eyes and stitching the wound closed lightly): Obviously. Cause even though I didn’t always agree to Eli’s teachings I would have never allowed you to be crucified or hurt in any manner.

Eve (smiling): I know.

Mel (brushing back Janice’s locks): Thank God, you have such a hard head.

Janice (untying her boots): And thank God you don’t always listen when someone tells you something. Wonder where Gabrielle went. She shouldn’t be moving around too much.

Mel (smirking): She is your ancestor you two don’t know enough to sit put. Watch dinner I’ll go see if I can find her.

Gabrielle sat by the stream focusing on the bracelet Xena had given her so long ago. It was almost another night like this; the clear cool night sky and nothing else around. It was the time after they had revived her from the nightmare in Jappa. Closing her eyes she tried to focus on her lover’s energy to find her but nothing had been forthcoming.

Mel (walking up behind her; being careful so as not to startle her): Gabrielle…

Gabrielle (turning around): Hey, have a seat.

Mel (noticing the tear stained face in the moonlight; the slumped shoulders): We’ll find her.

Gabrielle (nodding): I know. This is the first time we’ve had knowledge of being separated.

Mel (quizzically): What do you mean? I thought…

Gabrielle (placing her hand on top of Mel’s; partly for comfort and partly to make Mel understand a few things that maybe could help): Xena and I are soul mates. We’ve been together since even before our time in Greece. When we enter our new life, we have no knowledge of the one before or what lesson we are to learn in that life. All we know is that our other half the one that will make not only our life but our hearts complete is out there. When we do find each other then everything becomes clear. We learn our lesson and move on. Sometimes we get time off and get to spend time in our home in the Elysian Fields. Other times we don’t even get time to reflect we just come and go. But we always find each other always. And never once in over 2,000 years have we been separated without it being a cause for something. She’s gone off to war or I have or family or whatever.

Mel (understanding): I’m sorry.

Gabrielle (sniffling): I know.

Mel (thinking): What about Eve and Varia? They said something about not being out in a long time…

Gabrielle (laughing): Can you see why? They’re not required in that manner. Just every now and then. And they don’t always learn. So instead of causing them that pain and frustration the venerable guides usually let them be.

Mel (shifting): Does it happen a lot?

Gabrielle (shaking her head): No but sometimes.

Janice (walking up): Sometimes what?

Mel (smiling; noticing that Janice had changed into clean clothes): You look better.

Janice (kissing her softly): Dinner’s ready and Varia’s about to chew through her boot if she has to wait any longer.

Gabrielle (chuckling): That’s another reason why. No patience (reaching for Mel’s hand to help her up and with surprising strength hauled her to her feet.) Whoa (feeling a wave of dizziness hit her.)

Mel wrapped her arms around her and held her steady. Janice brushed back the long bangs and moved to help her back to camp. They realized then they might not be leaving camp tomorrow.

Eve (trying to drink from her mug of tea but failing miserably): Dam…

Varia (sitting beside her): Hold still. Here (trying to take the mug of tea from her watching as Eve resisted.) Eve your hands are pretty messed up. Let me help honey.

Eve (sighing): I know. It’s just that…

Gabrielle (walking up to her): You’re stubborn just like your mother (smirking.)

Mel (mumbling): So that’s where you get it from huh (teasing Janice.)

Janice (waving her hand at her wife): Keep it up.

Eve (leaning into Varia): I’m not stubborn just independent.

Janice chuckled and kissed Mel briefly barely stepping out of the way of a playful swat.

Gabrielle (dishing out the food): We’re going to rotate watches tonight. No one is left alone. I don’t know if the Berserker is still out there and that’s why I’m taking precautions. The rest of us will sleep closer together near the fire. I don’t know what Alti has planned and it’s better to keep an eye out.

Varia (feeding some of the stew to Eve): I’ll take first watch.

Eve (swallowing her food): We both will…

Varia (protesting): I can take care of myself and…

Eve (growling): No. I’ll sit with you. Even with my hands tied up as they are I can still keep you company.

Mel (taking her own bite of food): I think she gets that from you Gabrielle.

Janice (laughing): Maybe…

Gabrielle (chuckling): No that’s all Xena. I remember a time (stopping as everyone listened to her tell a tale of one of their earlier adventures.)

Abandoned Temple

Xena lay panting; gasping for breath; her body felt like it was on fire. She couldn’t move much to get comfortable and avoid the worst of the wounds on her back.

Alit (opening the door and carrying in a small bowl): I’ve forgotten how strong you (setting the bowl down.) All that fire and inner strength (running her hands up Xena’s legs noticing the glare coming from her prisoner.) It wouldn’t take much now would it. You’re so wound up and angry (moving her hands higher) I can see what the blond bitch saw in you but what did you ever see in her. Was she that good in bed, mmm (putting her hands between Xena’s legs.)

Xena (growling): I’ll kill you…

Alti (moving so they were face to face but never moved her hands): No, you won’t. You’ve lost this time Xena (teasing her gently.) See Gabrielle will do anything to protect you or save you. So either she tells me (teasing her opening with the tip of her thumb) where the Ambrosia is or (shoving her thumb inside smirking as Xena fought her) she sees you die (laughing as her captive struggled helplessly.) I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be with you (pushing another finger in as Xena growled and fought some more) oh the conquest will be that much sweeter (laughing evilly then dragging her nails down Xena’s thighs leaving deep scratches.) Maybe the next time you’ll be more open to my companionship.

Xena panted and tried to move as she watched her enemy come back over to her with something in her hand. Alti sat the bowl down then adjusted her chains, double-checking them to make sure Xena wasn’t going anywhere. Alti fed her slowly bits of bread dipped in broth and Xena never once let her guard down. She was to weak to fight but kept her vigilance up.

Xena (coughing): You won’t win no matter how long it takes or wherever you go. We’ll stop you.

Alti (laughing): Maybe, maybe not. Tell me Xena, how is she going to feel when she finds you battered and bleeding (yanking Xena off the altar and dragging her across the chamber.) What will she be willing to do to protect you from more harm (throwing her against a wall?)

Xena weakly saw the tub filled with steaming water and knew that with all the open wounds and bruises this was going to hurt. Add to the fact Alti was planning on humiliating her and whatever other sick twisted games she had planned death would be a welcome factor by the time this was over. She struggled only briefly before she was thrown in the tub and held down by invisible hands as Alti began washing her. She had grown to weak to fight and succumbed to touches to stay alive one more day to as least see Brie one more time.

Campsite, Jungle South America

Gabrielle woke up screaming for Xena. She saw part of what was happening to her lover but couldn’t figure out where they were. Strong arms wrapped themselves around her.

Eve (rocking her gently): It’s ok. We’ll find her, we’ll get her back.

Gabrielle (leaning into Eve; noticing the bandages were gone on her hands): What happened?

Eve (shaking her head): Not sure. I thought I felt something but I don’t know. I woke up and my hands were fine. I think someone is looking out for us (watching as Gabrielle grabbed her weapons and began moving around.) What are you doing?

Gabrielle (running her hands through her hair): I can’t sleep anyway. You and Varia go get some rest. I’ll keep watch.

Eve (shaking her head): No. Mother will kill me if anything happens to you. You need to rest too. You’ve already taken the watch earlier.

Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): I insist Eve. I can’t sleep I keep seeing her in pain and knowing I can’t help her, it hurts Eve.

Varia (walking over with a cup of tea): Then we’ll stay up together. I guess with Eve’s hand healed we can get to the village tomorrow.

Gabrielle (accepting the tea): You’re right. There’s no way I’m going to try and talk you two out of since you two are all set.

Eve (kissing her mom on the cheek): Nope. You’re stuck with us.

Gabrielle looked at Varia who just folded her arms across her chest.

Gabrielle (knowing she was outnumbered): Ok. Let’s go sit down. Maybe I can tell you a story (yawning.) Varia what’s in this tea (losing her balance only to be caught by Varia and Eve before she fell over?)

Varia (softly): you need rest. You won’t be any good to us. I’m sorry mom but we need you. Xena needs you. And so do Mel and Janice.

Eve (helping Gabrielle back to the sleeping bag): She’s going to kick both our asses.

Varia (pulling the blanket over her): Oh don’t I know it. I remember that one time she got mad at us for something. Dam even your mother didn’t want to interfere. Come on we got a little while before we wake them up (wrapping her arm around her partner and walking back to the fire.)

Two pairs of eyes watched one in pain that they couldn’t do anything to help them.

To Be Continued

Xena’s Girl

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