of Souls Part 5 of 5
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
The following story contains spoilers from season six episodes. It takes
place after my Changes of Heart series. You don’t
have to read it, but you might enjoy it. It’s an alt story,
which means women in love with women, so beware. These
characters belong to Ren Pics. I think that about covers it.
stories are accompaniments to the season six episodes of Many Happy
Returns through Friend in Need.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonding of Souls
Part 5 of 5
New Heights (set after 'Many Happy Returns')
The warrior kept a
firm grasp on the bard’s hand as they flew through the air.
me, Xena!" Gabrielle laughed.
Xena smiled and
tightened her grip for a moment. "I won’t drop you. I
promise." She grinned. She pointed out over the horizon.
"Right there. What do you think?"
The bard didn’t
answer. She simply grinned and excitedly nodded her approval.
Xena pulled the bard close to her so she could gather the
smaller woman in her arms as they came to their landing. With
one foot cocked and one foot flat, they touch downed softly.
The warrior gently brought the bard to her feet.
"What do you
think?" Xena asked.
know what to say," Gabrielle said looking around her,
taking it all in. "It’s absolutely beautiful. And
this…did you do this?"
"Told you it
wasn’t over yet." Xena grinned as she took off the
The warrior looked
quite proud of herself as Gabrielle pointed to the blanket and
wicker basket that contained their evening meal. Never to be
someone who got the meaning of ‘romance’ she did try her
best this year. A little wine, a little Sappho… She thought
the bard would enjoy both but still it wasn’t enough.
That’s when she decided to scout out a location for some
festivities later in the evening. So far everything had gone
according to plan and it was obvious that the bard admired her
efforts by the grin that played on her lips.
"I know one warrior princess who’s gonna get lucky
Xena smiled and
pulled Gabrielle’s hands up to her lips. She kissed the back
of each one gently before meeting Gabrielle’s eyes.
"I had no
expectations," she answered. "Nothing aside from
making you happy. You’ve brought me so much joy, Gabrielle.
It’s only right I celebrate the day you came into this
jokes? What’s the purpose of that?" Gabrielle quipped
with a raised eyebrow.
started to do that better than me.
jokes…What’s life if you can’t laugh now and then?"
Gabrielle retorted. "Well, just remember that what goes
around comes around warrior princess. So this winter you
better be on your toes." She started to kick off her
boots. Next, came her top and finally her skirt. Xena lost her
voice for a moment as she watched her bard, mesmerized by
Gabrielle’s naked form. She managed to get her senses back
for a moment and cleared her throat.
"Is that a
The bard reached up
and pulled the warrior’s head down so her lips could meet
"No… it’s a
the most delicate of kisses on Xena’s earlobe before darting
away and jumping into the crystal water pool behind them. Xena
walked to the edge and watched as Gabrielle resurfaced, her
short blonde locks, darkened by the water and slicked back.
in?" the bard called to her on the shore.
you’d never ask," Xena replied, stripping herself as
well before jumping in headfirst.
around but Xena still hadn’t surfaced yet. She did however
feel a pair of hands grab her ankles. Instinctively she held
her breath because she knew what was coming next. Not more
than a second later her body was tugged under the water with
such force the splash reached their clothes on the shore. She
twisted around under the water’s surface until she felt
Xena’s shoulders. With her arms getting tangled around
Xena’s neck and her legs around the warrior’s waist they
both broke the surface together.
Gabrielle smiled at
her warrior. "You’re wicked," she answered.
"But very predictable."
Without a notice,
Xena tipped Gabrielle back so quickly the bard got a mouthful
of water for her trouble. Knowing she startled the bard, Xena
pulled her up quickly. Gabrielle began to cough and gasp for
huh? Didn’t see that coming, did ya?"
couldn’t speak yet, but she splashed the warrior as hard as
she could, which only made Xena all the more amused.
funny," Gabrielle croaked with a scowl planted firmly on
sorry," Xena answered her bottom lip sticking out more
than necessary, hoping it would lighten Gabrielle’s mood.
me the pout because it’s not gonna work," Gabrielle
answered as she pulled away.
Gabrielle," Xena said, taking a single stroke to catch up
to her. "Look I promise, no more jokes, okay?"
slid under the water to hook the back of Xena’s legs. The
bard tugged with all her might and the warrior fell. Gabrielle
closed her eyes against the splash and began to laugh but she
realized quickly she better move like Hermes. She got about
half way to shore when she felt Xena closing in on her from
under the water. She tried her best to tread through it. And
she almost made it but suddenly the warrior popped up in front
Gabrielle tried to
hide her laugh behind her fingers but she wasn’t succeeding.
Xena looked far from amused.
"I have to
admit," Xena replied with a stone face before cracking a
grin. "I didn’t see THAT coming."
"Threw you for
a loop, huh?" Gabrielle replied, relieved that Xena
bard. Everyday since we met it seems there’s always
something you do or say that throws me off balance." Xena grinned as she picked the bard up into her arms. She gave her
light kiss on the lips as she carried her to the waiting
picnic blanket. "Thank you for keeping me on my
"And off them
from time to time it seems," Gabrielle jabbed.
"Well, I can
think of much better ways to keep me off my feet than dunking
me under water," Xena retorted as she laid the bard down,
proceeding to blanket her with her body. "Hmm, like this.
This is nice. Wouldn’t you agree?" she added.
The water from
Xena’s hair dripped down tickling the bard’s neck as she
rested on her forearms above her.
"Who am I to
argue," Gabrielle replied, rising just slightly to
capture the warriors lips.
Xena took the
opportunity to cup the back of the bard’s head, pulling her
closer as she deepened the kiss. She felt rather than heard
herself groan as the bard’s hands slid down her wet back to
cup her bottom. The feel of the bard’s nails across her
backside fueled her kisses even more and soon she felt her
hips beginning to keep pace with Gabrielle’s prodding
back and rested her head on the blanket, just soaking in the
rhythmic motions Xena engaged in above her.
she’s beautiful, the bard considered but not vocalizing
the thought. She knew, as Xena looked into her eyes, she
didn’t have to say it. Xena could read her thoughts
especially when they made love. She rarely had to make a
request of faster or slower, harder or softer. Xena just knew.
They just fit together perfectly.
Gabrielle gave a
small whimper as Xena started to pull away.
close," the warrior confessed. "I want you reach the
pinnacle first….After all, it’s your birthday."
She was going to offer some kind of smart aleck retort since
that’s pretty much how they had spent their whole weekend so
far. But any thought she had fell silent when Xena’s lips
immediately claimed her center. She felt her lower body leave
the blanket in an instant straining to get closer to the
warrior’s mouth. She loved it and she wanted it so much but
even her delight at the moment wasn’t enough. She wanted
more. She wanted Xena. She wanted to feel her and smell her
and taste her.
way," Gabrielle called down to her, gesturing that the
warrior swing her body the other way.
"Whatever birthday girl wants, birthday girl gets."
Xena didn’t waste
any time lingering or drawing it out. She promptly straddled
the bard allowing her any access she wanted to her body at
all. If Xena was willing to give it, Gabrielle was more than
happy to take it. With the echo in the small valley Gabrielle
was sure their noises were probably heard for miles in every
directions. The thought drove her desire even higher and when
she heard Xena approaching closer – a series of grunts and
whimpers – it was all she could stand. She let go and she
felt every nerve ending explode against her skin. She cried
out the warrior’s name as she shook beneath her. The sight
of Gabrielle in utmost release soon freed Xena and she too
joined in calling out the name of her lover. Her best friend.
Her soul mate.
Spent, the two lay
side by side but on opposite ends of each other until Xena had
the strength to rise up to snuggle into the bard’s shoulder.
Gabrielle gave a light chuckle.
Xena asked softly.
"You big, bad,
cuddly warrior," she chuckled as she stroked Xena’s
hair. "Were you always a cuddler?"
"No. Sex was a
weapon or just a release. I’d never felt secure enough to
let myself be held like this. Not until you."
Xena let out a sigh
and moved up to give the bard a tender kiss.
you for letting me in."
YOU," Xena replied. She got a distracted look on her face
and rolled over to the basket.
"What are you
doing?" Gabrielle chuckled watching the warrior take the
basket toward some nearby bushes.
see," Xena called out over her shoulder.
When she reappeared
she had a small loaf of nutbread and a small burning candle as
she began to sing ‘For she’s another year older’. As she
finished she knelt down to the bard.
"Make a wish,
Gabrielle," Xena said, holding out the treat.
and felt her eyes tear up. The warrior always did have a way
of surprising her. She inhaled deeply and blew out the candle
"I have no
more unfulfilled wishes. You’ve made them all come
true," Gabrielle answered honestly.
(set after 'Soul Possession')
think that’s the last of it.”
walked back up to the stoop of Harry’s front door. Carefully
he took her hands in his. “It was fun while it lasted,” he
moved to the top step and stood on her tip toes giving him a
light kiss on the cheek. “I admit it feels rather odd for
me. I can only imagine what you’re feeling.”
I’m not sure what to tell my mother. We fit perfect she
said,” he began. “I have all these memories. Memories of
me, of Annie, of Xena, of Joxer – it’s a big jumbled mess
at times. I’ve got all these people inside me. All these
emotions and memories. It feels like I’m losing my wife but
I know…She’s never been my wife. And someplace in my
heart, I know she never will be…Sure it’s all on paper.
And sure we have to see a lawyer now but…it’s-.”
Mattie nodded in agreement.
gave a despondent nod as well. “Yeah…But know this Mattie
– if you need a friend I’m here for you. You and Xe-Annie
both. I mean that.”
rubbed Harry’s arm before pulling him into a tight embrace.
“You too my friend. You too.” Slowly she pulled back. “I
better get going. She’s waiting for me,” Mattie said
pitching a finger toward the Escort that was now pack to the
gills with her belongings.
any more conversation Mattie made her journey to the car. As
she climbed inside she watched Harry slip inside the house
that they had called home for the past 2 years. It
is an odd sensation, she agreed silently. But she realized
that her true spouse, the one she’d fallen in love with time
and time again was waiting for her. So without further delay
she shut the door and made her way across town.
as she expected Annie was sitting on the steps of her
apartment building waiting for her return. Her face seemed to
light up when the blue car came into view and she rose to her
feet quickly, walking over to meet Mattie even before she
could get the car into park. She opened the door for Mattie.
this the last of it?” Annie asked.
came home early.”
tightened her grip on the box of books she was holding. “Oh
yeah? How’s he holding up?”
when I told you about Joxer – when he said he was in love
with me. He and I talked about how we don’t choose to love
the people we love. Or more to the point, how we choose to
love certain people in different ways.”
nodded. “Yeah, I think I remember… You couldn’t love him
the way he wanted – as a lover.”
was the same conversation all over again. But this time he
gets it… I really feel torn here I have to admit,” Mattie
put the box down on the hood of the car. “Mattie, I would
never make you choose. If you want to continue your life with
I married Harry because of the soul inside him. I married you.
Not the package. I mean, look at us. You’ve never involved
with a woman in this lifetime. It’s been years since I’ve
even considered my life with a woman... However, we do have
an advantage since our last lives were as women also. We were
intimate then remember?”
closed her eyes and concentrated. “That’s right. The
digger and the southern belle,” she said opening her eyes.
“Mel kept Janice very happy and I’m sure I’ll do the
have no doubt of that,” Mattie nodded. “And although I’m
a bit ‘out of practice’ in this arena I promised you
forever – no matter what. That’s why I married you in this
life. And I did marry you Annie. Or course, according to the
state of California I married Harry and that’s another
matter to resolve but…you get the point.”
do,” Annie answered. “And I can understand what Harry is
going through right now. Living two lifetimes at once and
being joined to hundreds of others it’s…it’s a bit mind
boggling but like I said – Ares is not going to break us up
– and neither is anyone else for that matter. I promised
forever too and I meant it.”
ran her hand down the length of Annie’s arm and briefly
locked fingers with her. “Come on, let’s get the rest of
this stuff inside.”
a few minutes they sat the last box down. They looked around
Annie’s living room, which was completely filled with boxes
and bags of various sizes and shapes.
think we need to find a bigger place,” Annie said as she
surveyed the room. “I’m not sure how you managed to keep
all this stuff.”
know Xena used to tell Gabrielle the same thing and could
never figure out how she stored all that stuff in Argo’s
saddlebags,” Mattie chuckled.
much has changed it seemed,” Annie quipped.
playfully bumped into Annie for teasing her. “I’m not THAT
much of a packrat.”
reached into a box and pulled out a comic book. “Oh yeah?
When did you get this? The third grade?”
happen to be collectibles. They are worth quite a bit.”
Let’s sell ‘em and buy a house,” Annie replied.
just teasin’,” the brunette smiled.
started to look through another box and found a report card
from her freshman year in high school. Annie said nothing. She
just studied Mattie. “Okay,” Mattie gave in. “I’ll
agree to go through this and get rid of the things I really
don’t need any longer.”
leaned down to one of the boxes and held up a badge. “Scouts
took the Girl Scout badge from Annie with a laugh. “Hey! I
agreed with you. What more do you want?”
turned and pulled Mattie into her arms.
“Kiss me,” she
first, Mattie looked hesitant but Annie held her ground. If
this was going to work they would both have to put aside
anything they might have believed about this lifetime behind
them. Annie never felt drawn to another woman before. But when
she looked at Mattie she had a connection that she’d known
for centuries. She had to know if Mattie felt the same way; if
she could get past the fact her soulmate now had a new
Mattie stood on her tiptoes and planted a very delicate,
cautious kiss on Annie’s lips. Annie knew she would have to
press the advantage here so she went back and returned it with
much more confidence and conviction. That confidence allowed
Mattie to relax and soon she found herself not only receiving
Annie’s kisses but initiating them as well.
a few moments, Mattie felt Annie working her backward until she
felt the wall behind her. The kisses didn’t stop. In fact,
they became more feverish than before and both women were
beginning to breathe hard. As Annie pulled back to look at
Mattie she found a smile on the blonde’s lips.
that answers that question, huh?”
I ask a question?” Annie replied.
you want to know if we can still burn after all these years. I
think the answer’s yes.”
realize that this might take a lot more experimentation just
to be sure. It might take days and days of research to be
sure.” Annie grinned as she took Mattie by the hand leading
her toward the bedroom.
two navigated their way around the boxes cluttering the living
room, heading toward a back hallway.
tells me you’re gonna love that,” Mattie chuckled.
moment of it,” Annie purred.
paused a moment. “Damn, does that sound familiar? When did
you say that before because-.”
didn’t finish. Annie silenced her with a passionate kiss
before breaking away and picking her up to take her to the
now. Analyze later.”
Studios owns these characters. Thank you to Rob Tapert, Lucy
Lawless, Renee O’Connor and a cast and crew of favorites for
entertaining us for 6 wonderful years. I wouldn’t have ended
things THAT way. I would have done it this way as,
hopefully, you’ll read. ‘We never really die because we
were never really born’ – I think Gabby put it best. This
is the final story in the Bonding of Souls Series set after
Friend In Need. Let me know your thoughts if you would.
of Souls: Friend Indeed
"You have to
eat Gabrielle. You need your strength."
Xena had been
urging the bard repeatedly to take nourishment, but it
continued to fall on deaf ears. She always loved Gabrielle’s
independent nature, but at times like this when they would butt
heads it was also what she liked the least.
hungry," the bard answered. She rolled away from Xena on
the small bed she’d been laying on in the cabin, the urn
tight in her grasp.
it’s been three days."
me how to live!" The bard darted from the bed coming nose
to nose with the warrior. "You are the LAST person to
offer advice on survival!"
Xena sat in a chair
in the ship’s cabin, unmoving. Besides, what could she do?
What could she say? As always, Gabrielle had a point. Who
am I to offer tips on living? She made the choice not to
return in her solid form to the bard. Once more she chose the
‘greater good’ of others over herself; over Gabrielle.
"I guess I
deserve that," Xena muttered.
reply. She simple clutched the urn tighter and made her way
above deck. As Gabrielle walked to the rail Xena appeared in
front of her, startling the bard.
"Listen to me,
that! Quit popping up in front of me!"
A few of the
shipmates looked on as Gabrielle talked to the wind. They
noticed on the first night of their journey to Chin that the
young woman sat up all night talking to herself – laughing
and crying, her voice rising occasionally, but becoming even
again. But just her voice – no one else. The small warrior
woman didn’t seem to be a threat at first but on this last
leg of the journey, the more yelling they heard, the more they
feared for their safety. It was obvious that the young woman
had lost her senses.
One of the deck
hands pointed this out to the captain who now took an interest
in what his sailors had told him. He watched Gabrielle
carefully as she paced his deck, having a heated conversation
with no one but herself.
about you," Xena told her.
worst that will happen if I don’t eat, Xena? Death? Obviously
death can’t be too awful. You seem to be handling it just
Gabrielle turned to
see the captain walking toward her. Her mood calmed a bit.
"Yes, captain. Can I help you?"
depends…my men have noticed that you often…talk to
yourself. They fear for their safety. Since the first
him by holding up a finger. She knew where he was going with
the chat but she turned to Xena first.
"You see this?
They all think I’m nuts. Are you happy now?"
captain looked to see to whom the bard was speaking but saw no
one. Gabrielle quickly turned to the captain.
bondmate was killed on Japa," she told him.
sorry," he answered quickly.
be," Gabrielle answered. "She’s dead but she’s
not gone. I had the chance to restore her, but because of some
misplaced guilt for an ACCIDENT years ago," Gabrielle
said, making sure to flash Xena her ‘look’ of displeasure,
"she decided death was the best route for her. Of course,
when ‘I’ accidentally killed someone in Africa it was
perfectly FINE to see that I stayed alive. But SHE, however,
has to be the MARTYR, choosing the ‘greater good’ over US
yet again. She told me years ago she was DONE paying for her
past. She said I was all that MATTERED. But OBVIOUSLY she
still has debts ALL OVER the world she feels the need to
repay!" Gabrielle calmed down a moment after her rant,
closing her eyes. When she opened them she turned back to the
captain, "I know you might not believe it, but please tell
your men not to worry. I’m no threat to them. I’m only a
threat to myself at this moment."
you, young lady. I hope you work through your grief."
didn’t add more - he just walked away. Gabrielle turned
toward the railing to watch the waves sailing by.
see that? You’ve got everyone thinking I’m a
my intention, Gabrielle," Xena answered.
leaving me a widow was," Gabrielle retorted.
couldn’t argue so when Gabrielle’s stomach began to
grumble the warrior changed the subject.
"Now I know
you’re hungry. Will you please eat?…For me?"
"Oh for love
of Eli….Fine!" Gabrielle yelled up to the captain.
"Got any food around here for the slightly insane? My
ghost friend thinks I should eat," she added pitching a
thumb to Xena, totally aware of the fact that no one could see
her. No reason I can’t have a little bit of fun with my
descent into madness.
The ship docked not
more than a few hours later. Gabrielle walked through the
port. Any other time she would have stopped and haggled here
and there, rounding up supplies along with some things they
didn't ‘really’ need, much to Xena’s frustration.
They’d laugh, they’d banter. But this time, Gabrielle made
her way through the marketplace in silence until she came to a
me," she began.
Care to trade today?"
I’m wondering if you’ve heard of someone. Her name is Eve,
she’s the messenger of Eli."
Xena warned. "Don’t do it."
perhaps, if we make a trade I could tell you," he
Xena’s comment and concentrated on the vendor. "I’ll
make a trade if you tell me what I want to know,"
"No. First you
buy. Then we talk."
heel. "Thanks anyway."
"Hold on! Hold
on!" he said starting after the bard, who had turned
toward the next stall.
"What do you
know about her?" Gabrielle asked.
Long dark hair? Very pretty green eyes? Your nose."
her?!" Gabrielle answered.
town two days ago. Headed North she said."
"Do you have
the name of a town?"
"Look, we make
a trade and I’ll give you town’s name. Deal?"
considered it a moment. "Deal."
When all was said
and done, she had the name of a town and a beautiful red silk
scarf around her neck. Of course, she was sure it cost her more
than what it was worth, but if his information was correct on
finding Eve then it was worth it.
sure this is a good idea," Xena interjected as they
"Oh, I think
it’s a very good idea. I think Eve should know how her
mother senselessly martyred herself."
"You know, I
promised that even in death I wouldn’t leave, but I’m
starting to wonder if I stayed too long," Xena quipped.
go," Gabrielle answered. "Go fly off with all the
other souls you freed. Go find your ‘first poet love’
Akemi. Not like you’re doing much good here besides making
everyone think I’m crazy."
"Do you really
mean that?" Xena asked sincerely, not taking a step
and faced Xena as she considered the question.
sure. I love you, Xena, but this hurts so much. Having you here
but NOT here… Besides, how do I know you’re not just a
figment of my imagination? How do I know that I’m not really
crazy with grief here? It’s obvious that I’m the only one
who can see you. What if you’re just an illusion?"
"I’m not an
illusion, Gabrielle. I’m still very real."
"Oh yeah? Then
take your Chakram back," Gabrielle said pulling it from
Xena looked at it
sadly and then the bard. "You know I can’t touch
anything in the physical world except you."
can’t be as real as you claim."
A small silence
passed between them. "I’m hurting here too, Gabrielle.
I did plan on growing old and gray with you, as idealistic as
remember. But I also remember you saying people in our line of work
don’t live to be that age... I guess I’m just not ready to
travel alone. And don’t tell me I’m not alone Xena because
that’s how it feels sometimes."
Xena heard the
pitch in her bard’s voice and she knew better not to argue.
Gabrielle was close to her breaking point.
enough," Xena nodded. "Should we continue
Gabrielle gave a
small grin and put the Chakram on her hip. "Come on
warrior princess. Let’s go find the messenger."
The bard started to
walk, heading north. At nightfall, she made it to a little
tavern where the town seemed to be gathering for a meeting.
Quietly, she crept inside and heard a man asking a question.
saying you should just walk away?" he asked.
As Gabrielle moved
deeper into the candle lit room she watched her daughter on a
Eve answered. "It’s far too easy to let your rage make
your decisions. But sometimes the best form of action is to
turn the other cheek." As Gabrielle took a seat, Eve
noticed her. "I would love to continue this, but I have an
unexpected visitor. But please feel free to see me tomorrow.
I'll be happy to answer any questions you have then."
As Eve moved from
the stage over to her smiling mom, the townsfolk went back to
their conversations and their meals. She rushed over and
wrapped herself in Gabrielle’s embrace.
believe it," Eve began. "You came all the way to
Chin to visit me?"
exactly, but since I was in the area I thought I should stop
Xena watched the
two embrace and for the first time since her death she
realized just how truly distant she was from the real world.
Eve couldn’t see her. That was obvious. Xena couldn’t talk
to her. She couldn’t hug her or kiss her. She was an
outsider, looking in and for the first time she ached for her
Gabrielle knew the
question would come up.
"She’s here," Gabrielle
told her beginning to tear up. "…In spirit," she
added. Without saying more, she pulled the jar from her travel
bag, setting it on the table.
understand," Eve said starting to whimper.
Gabrielle knew that
Eve understood, but couldn’t bring herself to say it.
don’t think I understand it all yet myself, Eve," the
bard offered. "But she’s gone. This jar is what’s
covered her mouth in shock. At first, she didn’t cry. She was
too floored by the news. Her mother was the best of the best. How
could she be dead? But soon the fact Xena was dead took
hold of her and she began to sob. Gabrielle pulled Eve into
her arms and kissed her on top of the head.
sweetheart," Gabrielle told her. "You have me.
You’ll always have me. And a part of your mother will always
be with us."
touch Eve no matter how much she tried. Her hand just slipped
transparently through girl’s head so Xena did the only thing
she could. She put her arms around Gabrielle and wept softly
into her back.
Later that night,
as Gabrielle dressed for bed, she heard Eve call out behind
"Did you get
that in Japa?" she asked.
At first, Gabrielle
wasn’t sure what Eve meant but then she remembered. Ahh,
the tattoo. Yes, my artistic scar for life to remind me of
"Yes, it was a
gift to help me in my task… Do you like it?"
interesting. Beautiful in fact," Eve said stepping closer
to examine it.
you," Gabrielle answered.
After a small
silence, Eve spoke. "So you can still see her?"
"Yes, I see
her. I can hear her. I can touch her."
I’m here, Gabrielle," Xena coached from one of the beds.
now actually," Gabrielle replied. "She’s sitting
on the bed."
Eve looked over.
"I can’t see her…Hello mother."
You’ll look beautiful, sweetheart – you glow like you’ve
found your calling."
you’ve found your calling. You look beautiful,"
amazing," Eve replied excitedly as she smiled.
"Think of all the people that lose those they love. Those
that never see each other again. It’s a gift, Gabrielle.
It’s a gift that you can see her in your times of
"Glad you have
such an optimistic appraisal of the situation," Gabrielle
sighed making her way to the bed.
considered the question. "I suppose there’s a benefit
to having her with me, but…I still miss her…It’s not easy
to describe. And the looks I get when I speak to her,"
Gabrielle chuckled. "I wonder if everyone else is right
and I’m wrong. I wonder if I’m losing my mind."
believe," Eve answered.
Gabrielle chuckled. "That I’ve finally flipped?"
responded in like with a small laugh. "I believe you can
see her… The love that mother has for you is undying,
Gabrielle. It will always be that way."
"I suppose so."
seem convinced," Eve remarked.
"At some point,
I’ll be without her. I guess I’m just waiting for that
time to come and not being sure when that will be so
it…makes it difficult."
true with everyone, Gabrielle. We never know when we’re going
to lose the ones we love."
"Well, for most
people death is the answer. But for me – I’m in limbo… Xena’s
dead. But she’s not gone and I have the feeling that one day
I’ll wake up and she’ll be gone. She’ll never return
again and I’ll spend my time wishing and hoping for
something I’ll never have again. Like I said before, it’s
difficult. It’s like there’s no finality to it and there
not glad she’s here?"
The question stung
Xena because it took her back to the conversation in the
marketplace. Maybe I should go. Gabrielle could live her
life in peace; perhaps move on with her life.
Gabrielle answered. "I do want her here. I just want to
know when I’m going to lose her for good."
"Well, like I
said, Gabrielle, no one knows that for sure."
you’re right, Evie… Look it’s late. We’ll talk more in
the morning before I head out."
leaving so soon?" Eve replied.
"Yes, I was
going to head to Egypt, but… I think I’m just gonna go home
instead. Maybe visit Lila and Sarah…Goodnight, sweetie."
Eve could see that
Gabrielle was exhausted so she didn’t press. "’Night
Eve and Gabrielle
bid a tearful farewell to each other but promised that
somehow, someway they would get together again in the next
year. Before she left, Gabrielle wrapped her new scarf around
Eve’s shoulders and kissed the girl goodbye twice; once for
her and once for Xena.
The warrior and
bard walked all day long arguing, laughing, teasing… just
like old times. But still, something was missing. Gabrielle
couldn’t put her finger on it. She didn’t understand but
she couldn’t shake the feeling that Xena SHOULD be alive.
Night was beginning to fall and they decided to search for a
place to make camp.
right," Xena admitted.
I’m glad you told her. She deserved to know."
A small silence
passed between them. "You know, Xena," Gabrielle
answered. "She’s a lot stronger than you give her
you," Xena replied. "I have to say Gabrielle
you’ve been taking all this better than expected. I honestly
life goes on, right?" she replied bumping her shoulder
into the warrior.
glittering shower appeared in front of them and Gabrielle
grinned as she saw the shape form within.
she called as she ran up the path to greet her. The bard and
"Oh sweet pea,
I’ve been looking for you. I knew you headed east, but I
wasn’t sure where. I got the god thing going on, but it
doesn’t click quite as well in parts where I’m not widely
known. But I’m glad I found you… Hey there warrior
princess, what’s shakin?"
Gabrielle’s happy expressions dropped and they looked at
"You can see
her?" Gabrielle asked.
I’m not blind you know?"
"See?! You’re not crazy, Gabrielle! It’s just other
mortals who can’t see me."
"Why? You a
ghost or something?" As soon as Dite said the words a
torch lit behind her eyes. "That’s it! The tremors I
felt! I knew something really bad had happened to you, but I
couldn’t pin point what it was. That’s why I started
looking for you, Gabby. But I had no idea that…"
Dite stopped as
Gabrielle pulled out the urn. "Xena’s in here. But her
spirit’s stayed at my side."
Dite got a little
misty eyed. "Awww that is soooooooo sweet. You promised
her, huh? That even in death you won’t let her go? That’s
just so romantic."
demise was far from pretty," Gabrielle answered.
"And the reason she CHOSE to stay dead is another story
"You know the
love goddess IS on the clock so you can tell me all
about it. So grab an elbow toots we’re outta here."
Gabrielle and Xena
both hooked Dite’s arms and moments later they were in a
temple in Greece.
sweet home. So," Dite began. She snapped her fingers and
suddenly a huge bed appeared. She transported herself onto the
bed getting comfortable. "Tell me alllllllll about
night we talked about leaving Greece when a monk showed
Having to tell the
tale of Xena’s death, yet again, drained Gabrielle –
emotionally and physically. The bard slept with a light snore
that brought a grin to Xena’s face. Dite noticed as the
warrior, ever watchful, kept a close eye on the bard.
struck me as an idiot, Xena. But after that story
tonight," Dite began, "I have to wonder just WHERE
you see your guilt in all this."
the best," Xena answered.
"For whom? For
you? For her? For those 40,000 souls?"
wouldn’t understand," Xena answered.
"Well, make me
understand. My best mortal bud is in tears here. She might not
show them on the outside, Xena, but I can feel her pain – far
worse than you are imagining at the moment. But she loves you,
so she supports you. She puts on a brave front… So tell me
how you could feel responsible here? Those townsfolk that
attacked you got what they deserved. That man was a monster
that your friend Akemi killed. I’m surprised they didn’t
have a banquet in her honor instead of stopping you from your
task. And how are all those souls on your shoulders when you
were just defending yourself against them? Now call me the
dumb blond if you like, but it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t
make sense. You freed the souls so I still can’t see why you
say I died for Gabrielle and leave it at that, okay?"
not okay. You know why? Because Gabrielle is dying inside,
Xena. Every day. Every hour. She’s dwindling away. She needs
you in her life, not just in your death. Do you
understand that if I could come back I would?!" Xena
hissed. "I couldn’t let her revive me on that mountain
Aphrodite! She would’ve….It wouldn’t have worked."
Dite knew the
warrior well. She knew she was hiding something and her eyes
scrunched in examination. "Out with it," she
what?" the warrior replied evasively.
more to this story than what you’re telling me. And more
than you’ve told her. So what is it?"
tell you," Xena answered. "I don’t want her to
"I won’t say
anything," Dite answered. Xena didn’t look convinced.
"Goddess’ honor," she said holding up her hand.
"The honor of
a god means little to me," Xena replied.
"Oh come on,
Xena. What’s the catch? You can tell me. Perhaps I can find
a way to help."
Of all the gods
they dealt with Xena had to admit that Dite was the most
honest. Sure, she made a few mistakes here and there but never
anything that was malicious. Xena sighed, What the hell?
"When I died,
the ghost killer asked if Gabrielle would give her life to
save me, like I had done for her by battling the army
alone," she began. "Her answer of course was yes but
he failed to give her all of the information. I found out
later from Akemi, after Gabrielle and I parted ways, that if
Gabrielle revived me, her soul would perish. She would live
the rest of her life with me but after that her soul
would… disappear… And I couldn’t let that happen."
"So, in truth,
you died twice for her. Once when you faced the army and the
second time by not letting her bring you back," Dite
remarked. "You decided to stay dead because it wasn’t
about 40,000 souls. It was about Gabrielle."
Xena nodded sadly.
"If she knew it was just about her, she might have done
it. She would have dumped those ashes. But if I made her
believe it was about someone else, about helping the
innocents, she’d honor my choice. So I -."
her?" Dite interrupted.
Xena hung her head.
"Yes, I lied to protect her…To save the one spirit that
means everything to me. I love her so deeply and one lifetime
is not enough to show her how much. I’ll need thousands
Xena," Dite answered honestly. "Truly… You really
died for her."
gift a teacher can give a student I’ve been told…. Well
anyway, I need her spirit to go on. Her spirit deserves more
than just this life and her past lives. THAT’S the greater
good in all of this – insuring that Gabrielle’s spirit
keeps going and going, brightening the world."
Dite paused taking
it all in. "So let me make sure I understand this. Those
souls are free-no strings attached?"
couldn’t bring you back because it would mean her end -
Xena nodded again.
nothing to say you can’t come back by other means, correct?"
sure. I suppose so but without a set of lips it’s not real
easy to eat ambrosia." Xena grinned.
Dite considered. "You gals stay put. I’ll be back in a
flash." She prepped herself to snap her fingers, but Xena
are you going?"
can’t bring you back. I don’t have THAT kind of power.
Besides, if I tried you might come back missing a leg or an
arm or an eye. I think I might have someone that could lend a
hand, though. There’re lots of deities around Xena. And you
came to the right goddess because I’ve got connections. Let
me do some diggin. See what I can find, okay? I owe you guys
that much. Agreed?"
"Thank you, Aphrodite."
But no promises either, Xena. I’m a goddess, but I can’t do
ALL miracles. Athena could… but we both know what happened to
her, don’t we?"
Xena looked guilty
as she played with her fingernails.
"It was a
joke, relax. I’ve gotten over it. They went after my gal
after I asked them not to. They got what they had coming to
them. But like I said, I know lots of gods so give me a few.
I’ll be back by morning. Toodles!"
Without waiting for
a reply, Dite snapped her fingers and vanished leaving the
warrior to sit with the sleeping bard.
transported herself to a grand banquet hall. Casually, she
strolled up to the large table.
"Oh no! Not
on," Dite began. "I need a favor, goatee god. It
won’t take long. It’s about Xena."
god rumbled, rising from his throne.
"Just a few
moments of your time, Odin. That’s all I ask," Dite said
following him down the length of the table in front of his
the conversation and walked over to Odin’s side.
"Perhaps you should hear her out," she suggested.
"After all, Xena did help both of us, you know."
Odin gave a
reluctant sigh. With the two of them ganging up on him he knew
his options were limited. "What is it?"
and I need to bring her back to life. Got any of those
‘room’ things that might do the trick?"
They’re called Runes," he corrected her. "I might.
Where’s her body?"
"In a little
jar," Dite replied with an unsure grin.
she’s been cremated?" Odin asked.
Dite gave a quick
Can’t help," he answered, starting to walk away.
pal!" Dite said angrily. Odin stopped and turned around
as the room grew quiet. "I owe her and I owe Gabrielle.
If I’m not mistaken she lent you and winged hat gal over
there a hand, too."
"She’s got a
point," Grinhilda told Odin.
right I got a point! If you can’t do some RUINES then
perhaps you can lead me to some other gods who might have more
‘expertise’ with reviving the dead from ashes." Dite
was actually breathing hard as a result of her anger. Damn
this is turning into much more work than I expected.
"Are you gonna help or not?"
be someone who can help," Odin finally answered. Dite
watched as Odin and Grinhilda conversed quietly between
themselves. Grinhilda nodded and turned back to the love
goddess. "Grinhilda will accompany you, but first you’ll
need Xena’s ashes."
they?" Grinhilda asked.
Greece with Gabrielle. She’s crashed at my pad. Huge temple
on the highest hill in Athens. Can’t miss it. Big statue of
yours truly out front."
Grinhilda nodded. "Let me round up my steed and I’ll
meet you there in the morning. Okay? It’s not more than a
few hours travel by air."
"Well, I can
just zap you there," Dite offered.
"We might need
my steed for this mission, but I’ll make sure I’m there
before the sun is high."
Dite gave a sigh of
relief. "Thanks so much. Really. I mean that."
"They mean a
lot to you. I can see that." Grinhilda smiled.
"Let’s try our best, okay?"
Dite gave a giggle
and in a matter of seconds disappeared into a glittering
Gabrielle sat up
with a yawn as she rubbed her eyes. "Where’s
Aphrodite?" she asked Xena.
Xena walked to the
bed to sit beside Gabrielle. "She had some goddess things
to take care of," Xena replied with a grin. "She
should be back shortly… How did you sleep?"
Gabrielle answered. "You always kept me warm. I miss
Xena could have
sworn she heard her heart break at the confession. They
learned the first night that spirits don’t generate much
body heat and they don’t require sleep either.
sorry," Xena whispered sincerely.
Gabrielle looked at
the warrior and mustered a grin. "I know you are, Xena. I
A brilliant flash
filled the room. "Okay, I got things in motion,"
Aphrodite announced walking over to the bed. "Glad
Sleeping Beauty is up…Now, an old friend of yours will be
stopping by today and we’re going to see if we can get this
whole ghost warrior thing taken care of for ya."
obviously confused. "What do you mean?"
been sworn to secrecy," Dite told the bard. "I
promised Xena I wouldn’t say anything so I won’t. However,
there’s nothing that says SHE can’t explain things to you.
You got a few minutes to kill tall, dark and… dead… So you
better give her the low down," she added motioning to
Xena hissed. "You said you’d keep your mouth
Dite answered. "And I will… because you’re gonna tell
her – not me."
Gabrielle rose from
the bed. "Tell me what?"
Aphrodite made a
zipping motion over her lips and folded her arms across her
chest, not saying a word.
"Son of a
baccaee," Xena swore. Gods, I KNEW I shouldn’t have
"Ah, but trust
me you did, Xena," Dite replied reading her thoughts.
"And believe me, it won’t be a mistake." The
goddess walked over and put her hand on Xena’s shoulder.
"She deserves the truth – the whole truth," she
"What is going
on?!" Gabrielle was past the point of playing games.
"Well, I gotta
bolt. Catch ya later!" Dite vanished without a trace.
Gabrielle spun Xena
around to face her. "What is she talking about?"
Gabrielle. I’ll tell you… I didn’t want to tell you, but
she hasn’t left me much choice."
"Tell me what,
are free, Gabrielle. I chose to stay dead."
me out," the warrior answered.
The bard began to
pace back and forth shaking her head.
asked. "Why didn’t you choose to come back to me?"
you dumped the ashes then your soul would have been condemned.
You would have lived out your natural life with me, but
then… you’d never exist again because you revived me. I
couldn’t let you do that so… I tried to protect you the
best way I could."
"By lying to
me? By making me think your soul was trapped?"
Gabrielle. If you knew it was about you and you alone would
you have dumped the ashes anyway. Be honest."
"Why should I
be honest? You weren’t," Gabrielle retorted.
evasive. Please answer the question. Would you have dumped
Gabrielle was still
mad, but she considered the question a moment.
I don’t know, Xena."
don’t know if you would have done it or not. But what I do
know is that I want more than just this life with you. I want
as many as I can get. But if you brought me back… I would
lose you forever. I couldn’t take that chance."
"So you died
for me?" Gabrielle answered.
"I died for
you. And I’d do it in every life from here to eternity if
know whether to kiss her or slap her. She sat down on the bed.
"Why didn’t you say anything?" she asked.
want you to live with any guilt over it. I didn’t want you
to think that you had the power to bring me back, but didn’t
Gabrielle wrung her
hands together in frustration.
"I’m not sure if I
should feel honored that you’d sacrifice your life for me,
Xena, or if I should be devastated by not trusting me to
make the right choice."
"I do trust
you, Gabrielle," Xena answered. "Please don’t doubt
should have told me the truth. You should have
‘trusted’ that I would have made the right choice and live
out this life alone until we could meet in the next one."
is perfect vision," Xena answered. "I see that
now… At the time I was just too worried that you’d…"
stupid?" Gabrielle offered.
out of love," Xena replied. "I don’t think
you’ve ever done anything out of stupidity."
Gabrielle gave a
small grin of thanks and was about to say as much but the
doors of the temple opened. They both looked over to see
"Looks like I
finally made it," she told Gabrielle as she walked
What are you doing here?" Gabrielle said, giving the
woman a hug.
came to see Odin. She said you had some problems with
Xena." She looked over at the urn on the nightstand and
pointed. "I’m assuming that’s her." She grinned.
Gabrielle gave a
nod and watched as Grinhilda picked up the urn carefully. The
bard wasn’t sure why the Valkerie had a smirk on her face.
worry," she told Gabrielle. "We’ll find a way to
fix this. Where’s Aphrodite?"
sure," Gabrielle answered. "She was here but-."
Before she could
finish, Dite reappeared behind them, making them turn.
toots," the goddess told Grinhilda. "Are we ready to
"Just say the
word," Grinhilda said, handing Gabrielle the urn.
Dite winked. "Just tell me what you need."
"We need someone to stake things out. Kristna’s palace
is heavily guarded. Very few make it passed Mara’s soldiers
that he has in place out front. We’ll have to find a back
way inside. That’s where my steed will come in handy. I’ll
get Gabrielle to the top and we can work our way in from
"What should I
do?" Dite asked.
"Check it out
and wait for us a mile due south. We’ll see you there and
you can tell us what to expect – how many men, where they
are located, everything."
Dite answered. "You take blondie and I’ll bring the
warrior with me. Got it?"
Grinhilda looked at
here," Gabrielle answered pointing to Xena who was
standing beside the goddess. "Her spirit hasn’t left me,
but she can’t – look it’s a long story. Just trust us.
She’s still around."
then," Grinhilda answered. "Give us about two days
to travel. We’ll meet you by sunset tomorrow night,"
she told the goddess.
luck," Dite nodded.
to make her way out, but stopped when Gabrielle didn’t
follow. She turned and watched as Gabrielle wrapped her arms
in a wide circle, resting her head to one side.
care," Xena told her, kissing her on the forehead.
Gabrielle told her. "And don’t worry. We will succeed.
"I know you
will. You were trained by the best," she said with a wink
as she pulled back.
away and began to follow Grinhilda. "Let’s go. We’ve
got a warrior to revive."
Grinhilda and Gabrielle made camp in a secluded area.
Gabrielle released a long sigh as she poked the fire with a
your mind, warrior bard?" Grinhilda asked.
huh? How did you know I write?"
there’re plenty of stories around about you, you know? They
call you the battling bard in some parts." Grinhilda smiled.
it with one of her own. "Yeah and it always surprises me
when I hear that. I'm not sure why. I wanted to be a warrior
and I loved being a bard – guess I got everything I always
far from happy and Grinhilda knew what was weighing on her
everything," Grinhilda replied. "But we’re working
on getting your warrior princess back," she added.
"Do you think
it will work?" Gabrielle asked with sincerity. "Do
you think Kristna will help?"
sure," Grinhilda answered. "But based on what
you’ve told me… it sounds like if anyone CAN help it would
be him. I don’t think it’s Xena’s time and if Kristna
thinks that’s the case then I’d say yes. He should restore
her… But getting there will be the problem."
"What do you
know about Mara?"
‘death’ in that region. He’s an evil demon with an
equally evil following. I’ve heard that some of his soldiers
are hideously grotesque with thousands of eyes. Their mere
appearance has been known to scare men to death. He tried to
battle Budda, but failed… So now he’s after Kristna."
seen some scary stuff in my time. I don’t frighten easily." Gabrielle grinned.
think you’ll get scared, huh?"
Gabrielle answered firmly. "I know what I fear most -
losing Xena. And I’m living with it now."
you’re confident. Make sure you keep that mind set when we
go in there tomorrow."
you’re gonna need it."
The concern in
Grin’s voice made Gabrielle falter for a moment, but she’d
never let it show. Grin rose and walked over to the woodpile,
throwing another log onto the fire.
some rest. It will be a long day tomorrow," Grin offered.
As they both
climbed into their bedrolls, Gabrielle cleared her throat.
"Thank you," she said softly. "Thank you for
pleasure," Grin answered. "I just hope it won’t be
answer and Grin didn’t add more. The bard stared at the
flames dancing in the fire until sleep finally over took her.
Gabrielle and Grin
sat under cover in the trees watching Kristna’s temple.
Mara’s demons surrounded the place like locus drinking,
eating, and laughing.
"It looks like
they’re having a good time," Grin gave a light chuckle.
"Think we should crash the party? I haven’t seen
Aphrodite around yet."
them a little more time."
As soon as
Gabrielle spoke the words, Dite appeared beside her.
shaken, toots?" She grinned at the bard.
babe is on the roof top now. She’s found a way in but that
pesky problem of not being able to touch the physical world
has left her unable to get a solid grip on things," she
answered. "She thinks the south is the best option –
why you can’t just zap me in," Gabrielle said.
"Told you. My
god thing doesn’t work that well in other lands. I’d never
get past Kristna’s mystical block. I can only walk in like
you guys. And since that’s the case, Xena thinks it’s best
I wait out here until you ladies come out. So who am I to
"Well, thanks for everything you’ve done so far,
always here for ya. You’re one of my favorites you know."
Ihe goddess smiled.
ready?" Grin asked the bard.
she answered. "Let’s get that steed and do some
They climbed out of
the tree and walked a short distance to where Grin’s flying
horse was waiting. After they both mounted, Grin motioned the
horse onward. They took off through the air as quickly as
possible. As they made their descent toward the top of the
building Gabrielle spotted Xena. But the demons had also
spotted them. They tried to move into position up the walls to
stop them from entering. Gabrielle directed Grin on where to
land. Once on the roof top and dismounted, Grin sent the steed
away to safety. She pulled her sword as Gabrielle pulled her
entrance?" she asked Xena.
Xena motioned her
over as Gabrielle called to Grin.
here," she answered as she pointed. It looked like a trap
door but it was securely fastened with a lock. "It must
have a magical power or these ghouls would have busted
back," Grin told the bard. With a mighty swing her
mystical sword she severed the lock in two. But before either
of them could open it five of Mara’s demons managed to make
it up to the wall and charge them.
Gabrielle sucked in
a breath at their appearance. Grin wasn’t kidding.
They were uglier than Gabrielle imagined and she heard Xena
call out behind her to ‘focus’. With that, she tightened
her grasp on her sais and charged to meet them. They had
thousands of eyes with warts and moles all over their faces.
Their hands were made of fur with the sharpest claws she’d
ever seen. And they were tall, too. The smallest one of the
group had to be as tall as Xena, if not taller.
Three of them
surrounded Gabrielle while the two others went to take on
Grin. The Norse took them down with ease and went to aid Gabrielle.
The bard battled the first one head on – charging into him
until she landed on top of him. Her sai plunged deeply into
his chest and a green goo erupted from the wound.
the bard exclaimed jumping off of him. The smell was
disgusting. And she thought she might actually vomit for a
moment, but Xena’s word came back to her – focus. As she
began to focus, she realized….these monsters could be killed.
They weren’t just evil spirits but actual beings.
Gabrielle had things in hand, Grin went to the ladders where
more were trying to make their way up. She used all her
strength to tip the ladders back, making the climbers tumble
to the ground.
As the second demon
charged Gabrielle, she dropped on her backside. As he tried to
grab her she rolled back and kicked him over the ledge to his
comrades below. Only one remained. He wasn’t about to fall
for the same trick as his fellow demon and he used his reach
to his advantage. He swung out, slashing open a gash in
The bard cried out
in pain and dropped one of her sais to clutch the flesh wound.
He reared his hand back and backhanded her across the face.
That move sent Gabrielle flying into Grin’s path, knocking
the two of them down. Grin scrambled to her feet first and
More were coming
up. They could both hear them and Gabrielle struggled to her
feet. As Grin went blow for blow with the demon Gabrielle used
all her strength to pull open the door.
Gabrielle called out. "Now!"
Grin tried to work
around the demon but he clotheslined her with his arm, sending
her flat on her back. Gabrielle knew she had to go back out as
he raised his hand for the deathblow. Without thought to her
own safety, Gabrielle jumped onto the demon’s back. But
before she could get the sai around to slice his neck, he
tossed her over his shoulder. Grin and Gabrielle now lay next
to each other, each trying to catch her breath and move. And
all Xena could do was watch.
As the demon closed
in he seemed to taunt them, flicking his razor nails and
giving off what could be considered a laugh. Gabrielle managed
to rise to her elbows and reach one of her sais, but she still
couldn’t get a grip on it.
damn close to give up now, she told herself.
Xena had enough of
watching. She closed her eyes and summoned up all the energy
she could. As the monster reared back to strike the deathblow,
she grabbed his arm and swung him around with such force that
he lost his balance. He teetered close to the edge, but
didn’t fall. Xena fell instantly to her knees. Her spirit
was totally spent. Gabrielle couldn’t believe that Xena
could actually ‘touch’ something, but she soon pushed her
surprise aside to finish the job. Scrambling to her feet she
jumped up in the air delivering a solid kick that sent the
demon over the edge. She landed hard on her hip and Xena
winced as she watched her fall.
okay?" Xena asked short of breath.
inside," Gabrielle said hauling herself to her feet. Grin
managed to get her footing at this point and pulled Gabrielle
along until they were inside the temple.
to block it," Gabrielle answered. "Otherwise
they’ll get it."
that," Grin answered. She reached into her boot and
pulled out a lock and chain. Odin’s lock. No way would they
be able to break it. They tied the inside latch to the frame
with the chain and she secured the lock. Seconds later, they
could hear the banging on the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
"That’ll hold them," she said hopping down from
Grin took in her
surroundings. "It’s beautiful in here," she
Silk of many
brilliant hues lined the walls as candles burned throughout
the temple. A small statue of the god Kristna sat in the
middle of a table. They walked deeper into the room taking it
all in when suddenly they heard a voice behind them.
"And to what
do I owe this visit," they heard.
They turned to see
a man, blue as the sky and the sea, watching them. There was
merriment on his face as he held a wood wind instrument.
He didn’t reply
at first. He gave a simple bow and a grin. "You are under
much distress. I can see."
my soulmate, Kristna and I’ve come to ask you to restore her.
Her name is Xena and you helped her many years ago. I
"Are you the
one who killed her? Did you bring about the death of your
soulmate and came here in remorse to change it?"
Gabrielle answered. "I would never harm, Xena. She was
killed by a Samurai and -."
could not return to the land of the living. She trusted a
woman who did nothing but betray her in times past. I sense
this woman has betrayed your soulmate again."
the three women said in harmony.
a selfish woman. She wanted your soulmate to stay with her.
She was the first bard you loved, was she not, Xena?"
the dead warrior nodded.
"But she is
not the bard you love best?" he said with a teasing grin.
Xena gave a broad
smile in response. "No, Lord. She is not… She told me
Gabrielle would be lost if she restored me."
"Did you ever
think that this girl had lied to you yet again? Just as she
had done during your first journey with her?"
Xena answered. "But I wasn’t going to take that chance
with Gabrielle’s soul."
them a moment. He strolled around the three of them.
is not your time," he told Xena. "Where are your
Gabrielle said opening the pouch she had on her hip.
Compact. Easy to carry," Kristna teased as he took the
bag. "I’ll restore your soul to your body, Xena."
you," she sighed.
this… when it’s your time to go you must accept it. You
must both accept it," he told Xena, as well as Gabrielle.
"If not, your Karmic cycle won’t continue and you could
be lost to each other forever. Do you understand?"
"But how will
we know when that time comes?" Gabrielle asked.
He grinned. "You will know."
With that, he took
the ashes and spread them over the altar. A brilliant light
filled the room, making Gabrielle and Grin turn their heads.
Xena felt herself begin to swirl around in the air along with
the ashes that were beginning to rise. An instant later it was
over and she felt herself lying against the table. She opened
her eyes and quickly felt her body. She was back. She was
together. But she also realized… she was naked. Kristna
grinned at the warrior who suddenly seemed bashful and snapped
his fingers. Suddenly, she was dressed in her warrior leathers
again. But something was wrong. There was dirt all over them.
Xena wasn’t sure what was going on at first. She didn’t
much care when she felt Gabrielle wrap her arms around her in
a tight hug.
time," Kristna told Xena. "Don’t bury them."
Xena had to
chuckle. Not often that a god makes me laugh.
"Oh, I’d let
you ladies use the front door but I’ve got a small demon
problem I’m sure you’re aware of," Kristna told them.
"Well, as a way
of saying thanks, why don’t we do a little house
cleaning?" Xena grinned as she pulled away from
sure if I can go through anymore roof top battles just
yet," Grin spoke up.
got gonna go through the roof. We’re gonna open the front
door and let them in."
gonna do what?"
Gabrielle had a
look of confusion that mimic Grin’s question, but soon she
started to smile. "The Persians," she muttered.
are Persians?" Grin asked. "I get the feeling I’m
missing something here."
the Persian Army in an armory," Gabrielle began.
"She couldn’t battle that many men in an open field but
in an enclosed space-."
"She had the
advantage. Only so many could enter at once," Grin
answered with a grin and a nod. "I get it. So what do we
Kristna’s blessing, we have him lift any mystical blocks he
has on the place and let them through the front door. Only so
many can enter at a time and when they do-."
"We take them
out," Grin finished.
Xena nodded and
grinned. "That’s exactly what we do… if that’s
alright with Kristna," Xena added looking to the god.
"You’re a noble warrior Xena. You’ve found your way
and that’s the best any mortal can achieve. You have my
then," Xena said giving her companions a feral grin and
pulling her sword. "Let’s get to it, shall we?"
Grin and Gabrielle
went to the double doors and each grabbed a handle. When Xena
nodded they both flung the doors open. Immediately two
entered, just squeezing through given their size. Grin and
Gabrielle took advantage of it and stabbed the trespassers
quickly, making them tumble to the ground lifeless. Quickly,
the two women darted behind Xena, waiting for the next wave to
Again, two more
followed suit. Then two more entered. And two more. Pair by
pair the three women worked until demon upon demon lay at
their feet. When no more entered, Xena motioned Gabrielle and
Grin to stand back while she went outside to inspect.
Carefully, Xena looked around. Nothing was in the area and she
listened carefully. She didn’t see anything, but someone was
on the roof. Perhaps a few demons, in fact, but she couldn’t
pinpoint an exact number.
Only one way to
draw them out I guess. She walked outside backward,
leaving the safety of the building, making sure to face the
structure. Grin and Gabrielle waited inside the doorframe. An
instant later, Xena watched a group of archer’s stand up and
take aim on her.
"Oh no! Not
again!" she muttered.
Arrow after arrow
narrowly missed her as she zigzagged her way back toward the
temple. Enough of this, she considered. Instead of
bolting back inside, she gave a powerful warcry and leapt up
to the wall. From there she dove on top of the archers,
creating a domino effect before she scrambled to her feet.
her eyes and let out a sigh before grabbing Grin’s hand.
"Come on!" she said, leading her inside and up to
the door they had used to get in. Grin unlocked it and the two
hoisted themselves up on the roof. Xena was already in the
heat of a battle, having taken on the archers that managed to
right themselves. Grin and Gabrielle jumped into the action.
"The roof was
not part of the plan," Gabrielle shouted to Xena.
flexible," she answered before striking down another
Comes with the job," Gabrielle mimicked her, taking out
the last demon herself.
Grin looked around
at the litter of demons at their feet. "Well, I think
Mara might think twice before going after Kristna again."
She grinned. She gave a whistle and her steed came to her,
stopping on the roof. She walked over and hugged Gabrielle.
you succeeded," she told her.
have without your help," the bard replied. "And if
you need anything-."
hesitate to ask." She grinned.
Grin offered Xena
her hand and the warrior took it, pulling her into an embrace.
"Thank you," Xena told the valkyrie.
welcome. One good turn deserves another. You two be good to
"We will, I
promise," Xena replied.
Grin mounted her
horse and smiled down to the women. "I’d offer to take
you home, but I can only fit one at a time. And I’m sure you
two don’t want to be separated."
"Not by a long
shot," Gabrielle replied. "Take care."
too," she nodded. With a twitch of the reins and a click
to her cheek, the horse was off and flying.
we go find that goddess friend of yours?" Xena offered
before she did a somersault from the rooftop to land on the
mean 'friend of ours'?" Gabrielle answered, following suit.
Xena nodded her
approval of the bard’s jump.
"Nice form. Landing was a
little wobbly, though. But don’t worry - we can work on
She grinned as she took the bard’s hand and went
into the forest in search of Dite.
50 years later
A woman on
horseback raced through the forest as if the Grim Reapper was
on her heals and gaining fast. When a group of amazons stepped
into her path from the trees she brought the horse to a halt.
She leapt from the mare and gave the symbol of peace, placing
her arms high above her head with her hands locked.
Quickly, the masks
"Am I too
late?" the young woman asked.
yet," the amazon guard answered. "Varia waits for
you," she answered. "Hiloto, please lead the
princess to the quarters at once."
Hiloto nodded and
whistled for her mare. As the horse emerged, the stranger to
the village jumped back onto her steed to follow. Moments
later they were in front of the queen’s hut where Varia
the young woman called as she dismounted.
Varia was 70
summers old now but her mind was still has sharp as ever, even
if her reflexes were not. She took the young woman into a warm
embrace. "She’s inside. She’s been waiting for
you," Varia told her.
The woman nodded
and pulled away. She walked inside the hut, making her
presence known as soon as she entered.
"Grandmother," she called out.
The old woman that
lay on the bed gave a brilliant smile and summoned the girl
closer with a wave of her hand. "That’s great
grandmother to you," she teased. "I didn’t think
you would come Little Xe," she smiled.
"I came as
soon as I got word," she answered.
mother?" the old woman asked.
she answered. "She’s still running the tavern in
Amphipolis after Grandma Eve couldn’t handle it alone. In
fact, she’s on her way here now."
you? How are your studies coming along?"
"Good. Not as
interesting as your stories, but… I’m doing okay at the bard
The old woman
smiled but a coughing spell took over. She pointed behind the
young woman to a vial on the window ledge. "Be a dear and
get that, would you?" she asked.
The young woman did
as she was told and handed it to her great-grandmother. The
gray haired woman settled back and motioned the girl closer.
"I want to
tell you a story," she began. "The story of how your
Grandma Xe died. It’s a story I’ve never told anyone
heard the story," the woman answered. "Grandma Eve
said she got an infection after a fight with raiders and she
didn’t get better."
that’s the story that’s out there," the old woman
said. "But that’s not the real story. Do you want to
hear the real story?"
The young woman
gave a curious nod. Slowly the old woman cleared her throat
and began to speak.
25 years before
It was a harsh
winter and it wasn’t getting any better. The food supply in
Amphipolis was getting smaller and smaller every week it
seemed. When they expected the weather to break more snow
arrived, making it difficult to hunt any game that was still
in the area. Gabrielle, however, wasn’t as concerned about
their next meal as she was with getting the drugs she needed
from the chemist.
She made her way
into the tiny house behind the tavern that Eve now ran with
her eldest child, Mary, as manager. She hurriedly took off her
winter coat and boots to the sound of Xena’s moans through
the bedroom. The trade routes were slower than normal given
the weather and the opium that Xena had come to depend upon
made her way to the bedroom with bottle in hand. She paused in
the doorway looking at the bottle and at Xena’s turned back.
The warrior was curled into a tight ball, crying from the pain
that flooded inside her. The healer said that it seemed
something was eating Xena from the inside out but he didn’t
know what it was and he didn’t know how to cure it. The odd
part was that Xena looked healthy for much of her illness but
she was actually weighing less and less. Gabrielle could
almost pick her up on her own without any help.
the warrior cried out.
The sound of her
name startled her and the bard moved out of her thoughts and
over to their bed. She pushed her long honey and white hair
over her shoulder as she made her way down to Xena.
Xena," Gabrielle told the warrior. "Here. Drink
Xena hesitated at
first, giving a slight sniff. She looked to Gabrielle and gave
a tiny grin before downing the bottle.
"Will you lay
with me?" Xena asked softly.
course," Gabrielle replied. She walked around to the
other side and settled herself against the headboard, pulling
Xena into her arms.
lost in her thoughts but said nothing. Xena knew she’d have
to start any conversation between them.
out there?" Xena asked.
"Yes, and it
feels like it’s going to start snowing again," the bard
joints?" Xena asked.
"You know it." Gabrielle grinned.
"If I got you
off the road sooner you might be in better shape," Xena
"I was the one
who wanted to keep traveling," Gabrielle retorted.
"How soon we forget warrior," she teased.
Xena paused and she
licked her lips. The taste and the smell were very familiar to
her. She wondered if she should say something. After a few
moments she knew she had to get it out in the open.
"Remember what I told you years ago in Japa? That if I
only had 30 seconds to live I’d want to spend them looking
into your eyes. Do you remember that?"
"How could I
forget is the better question," Gabrielle answered.
got a few more minutes, don’t I, Gabrielle?" Xena
mentioned off-handedly. The tone surprised the bard. She
didn’t think Xena could tell there was a difference in the
medicine she’d just given in relation to all the others.
bottom lip started to quiver. But Xena hushed her with soft
tones of sympathy.
"It’s okay," she told the bard.
"I know this last mix has nightspain. I know it’s time
to go. I’m not going to get any better and being here just
hurts you more each day."
"Having you in
my life has never brought me pain, Xena... But seeing you
like this... it’s hurting you," Gabrielle explained.
Xena gave a brief
nod and snuggled in closer to her lover.
what?" Gabrielle answered.
every day showing me what’s good in life. For raising a
family with me. For everything... Even for this: For taking
me out of this world and having the courage to do it since I
don’t have the courage myself."
Gabrielle began to
cry and she tightened her hold on Xena. The warrior, for her
part, tried to hold the bard with all the strength she had
left inside her.
Xena teased. "Of all the kings, all the warlords, all the
warriors throughout the known world – you were the one that
did it. You ‘offed’ the warrior princess," she
Gabrielle shook her
head fiercely. "Don’t even joke about that, Xena,"
she warned as she continued to sniffle. "It’s not
"Oh come on." Xena grinned. "You know I’m not going to
leave you. I’ll be back. In every lifetime I’ll come back
to you and I promise I’ll always be with you. Always. This
body, this identity of the warrior princess – it’s just
one of many that I’ll use to find you. There have been other
times we’ve come together. There will be many more ahead of
Gabrielle asked, stroking Xena’s face.
promise," Xena replied. "It’s time I moved on –
completed the circle as Kristna said years ago... He knew
it would come to this someday. That’s why he asked if you
killed me. Remember? And that’s why he brought me back... He said we’d know when the time really came – and we both
know that this is it, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle teared up,
but she wasn’t going to cry. Instead, she smiled down at
Xena, planting a soft kiss on her forehead.
"You are the
best thing that ever happened in my life," she whispered.
"I love you,
Xena’s eyes were
open, but Gabrielle felt the body go limp beside her. The
warrior princess was dead and on her journey to her next
"But that was
25 years ago," old Gabrielle told Xena’s namesake –
the daughter of the son of Eve. Upon hearing all his
mother’s tales about his grandmother, Xena, he knew he had
to make sure that this name lived on in his family. "And
no one has heard that tale until now," Gabrielle added.
couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t even imagine loving
someone so much that you’d be willing to take her life. But
then she often thought of the animals on the farm. The pets
she’d had throughout her life where it was best to ‘put
them out of their misery’ instead of watching them suffer.
The longer she thought about it, the more she considered that
perhaps her great-grandparents had done the most humane thing
of all for each other.
"But there is
a reason I tell you this... I, the battling bard of
Poteidaia, took out the Warrior Princess. And now you, the
scholarly bard of Amphipolis, have to help take out the woman
who killed Xena."
Little Xe was
confused at first, but then she looked at the vial that she had
just given Gabrielle. Oh no, Little Xena considered. I’ve
got to get Varia! I’ve got to-.
out, sensing the young woman’s distress. "It’s
okay," she told her. "It’s my time. Just like it
was Xena’s... After Xena died – about 10 years later
– I came back to the Amazons. Varia had just lost a bondmate
a few summers prior. We connected and I loved her
tremendously. She’d grown into a fine woman and a great
leader... But she was never ‘Xena’... And she
understood that. She could never be my true soulmate, nor I,
hers. So it worked out... We had fun... We had fights... We loved and laughed...
We enjoyed the grandkids and
the great-grandkids," Gabrielle said winking.
"I’ve led a good life Little Xe, but now it’s my
turn. Now I have to jump and I know that Xena will keep her
word. She’ll find me in the next life. Just like she did in
this one. Just like she will in many. So please don’t be
sad. We can never die because in a way – we are never
Little Xe let out a
deep sigh. "Well... Is there anything I can do?"
her head, "Two things – first help me sit so I can
drink." Little Xe hesitated a moment, but she realized
that this was what her great-grandmother needed. When that
task was finished and the vile drained, Gabrielle made her
second request. "Tell me one of the story ideas you’re
Little Xena asked. "I mean, all things considered Grandma
doesn’t stop for anyone," the bard warned pointing a
stern finger. "So come on, tell me. What’s going on in
your life? What’s your new story?"
Little Xe licked
her lips before clearing her throat. "Well, it’s about
a young virgin who frees the Titans on accident." She
"I like it
already." The old bard nodded. "Go on…"
As little Xe
started to recite her latest work she rose and began to pace
the room. Gabrielle smiled as she watched. She often paced,
too, when she told a story and she could see so much of
herself in the young girl. But little by little, second by
second, her eyes grew heavy and she found them closing, unable
Little Xe was
working up to the climax of the piece when she turned back to
get Gabrielle’s reaction. That’s when she saw the old
woman’s eyes were closed and slowly she crept over. She
pulled the blankets away and watched the bard’s chest. No
movement. None at all. The young woman tried to hold back her
tears but failed. She wept hard and long, wrapping her arms
around the old woman, stroking the long gray hair. She knew
what she had to do now. She had a long journey home to
Amphipolis. She knew it was Gabrielle’s wish to ‘go
home’ and home is where she’d take her. She said it
herself. She belonged with Xena and that’s where she would
stay... for eternity.
30 years later
going over this again!" The loud male voice boomed
through the palace.
but I just don’t understand it, Shantese," the small
Indian adviser told his ruler. "You could have any woman
in this kingdom-."
Shantese replied pointing his finger. "I choose this
mother of peace is twice your age. There are many beautiful
women who would be happy to do your bidding. They would make
obedient wives for years to come. This woman is -."
"The finest in
mind and spirit I’ve ever known. I’ve searched my entire
lifetime for her, Raul. Many lifetimes in fact. You have to trust my judgment. I
choose to wed her today not because of power or status. I
asked for her hand because she’s a part of me. Haven’t you
met someone that you’ve known forever? That’s what I feel
when I look at her... She’s the one."
Raul just shook his
head and scratched his beard. "I hear what you’re
saying, Shantese. I do. But-."
nothing," Shantese interrupted. "I love her. And as
my friend that should be enough to gain your support.
There’s much more to love than appearance. For a young
virile man like myself I know it seems odd. But trust me when
I say that she is the one for me. She’s my destiny."
Raul looked into
Shantese’s eyes. He was dead serious. He knew he couldn’t
persuade Shantese’s decision and for the first time since
the wedding announcement he realized he shouldn’t. Shatese
truly did love Arminestra. He wanted to join his life with
hers and who was he to say differently.
With a warm grin
and a nod Raul agreed.
"All right my friend," he
said confidently. "Your bride is waiting."
600 AD - England
"I love my
God. I love my Country. I love my King."
"I love them
too. But I’d trade them all to have you," the soft
feminine voice whispered.
Sir Lancelot turned
from Guinevere’s light embrace, making his way to the
window. He gave a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his
short, curly blond locks. He looked out over Camelot where the
torches were still burning bright in the evening sky,
desperately hoping for some sign to show him what he should
"You are my
queen," he told her in a half-hearted argument.
Guin stepped closer
behind him, running her hands seductively down his back before
wrapping them around his hips. She was a tall woman, nearly
his height. Their bodies seem made for each other. "You
are my champion," she whispered.
you are the King’s wife and I his first knight,"
Lancelot retorted in another weak attempt to dissuade the
woman he had grown to love.
Many knights loved
the ladies whose colors they wore into battle but never did
they bed them. The honor that they fought for was often the
honor of other men’s wives and not their own. The code of
Chivalry was highest in all knights. And Lancelot knew he was
the highest knight of them all. He had never been bested. Not
even by Arthur himself with the help of Excalibur. But as he
turned and looked into the crystal blue eyes of his queen he
knew his resistance was weakening day-by-day, hour-by-hour and
minute-by-minute. He did love his God. He did love his
Country. And he did love his King.
But he also knew
his passion for this dark haired beauty was great. He admired
her from the moment he agreed to escort her from the
neighboring village to become Arthur’s bride. Arthur – his
king, his leader and even his best friend. He couldn’t love
Arthur any more than if he were blood. But this woman, this
queen, this wife... was more tempting with every moment he
spent with her.
There was already
talk in the circle. Other knights and court members could see
the shy smiles and longing looks that Lancelot and Guin often
gave each other when they thought no one was watching. They
learned that some folks had been watching and talk was
spreading throughout the kingdom. They had committed no evil
toward anyone other than themselves - just two souls who had
no right being apart.
Lancelot had asked
the queen to his chamber high above the city so they could
discuss their attraction. He had to lay it to rest. He had to
tell the queen his feelings but make sure they understood the
consequences of the actions if they were to go any further in
their attraction. The longer Lancelot stood and stared into
those aqua globes the more he realized what a mistake bringing
her there, to his bed chamber, had been. His reasoning was it
was private, secluded from listening ears. He failed to
realize that yes it was very private and very far from
listening ears. No one would hear their cries of passion.
ran the back of his fingertips down Guin’s cheek. The woman
soaked up the gesture by closing her eyes and letting her head
fall back as if begging him to work his hand farther south.
Lancelot, against his better judgment, fulfilled the request
by letting his fingers linger down Guin’s neckline and
travel down to her breast. Instinctively, Guin’s body surged
forward begging for more contact.
The sight was too
much for Lancelot. He had to have this woman and the
consequences be damned. One hand hooked into Guin’s long
black lock’s pulling her head back, further exposing her
throat. The other hand took possession of her hip pulling her
closer. Guin moaned upon feeling Lancelot’s excitement. And
as Lancelot’s lips captured the flesh of his queen’s neck,
Guin expelled a primal noise that only fueled Lancelot more.
After only a few
kisses, the queen was begging Lancelot to take her. She told
him she was his – that it would always be that way, no
matter what. She would love him for all eternity, come what
may. That was all Lancelot needed to hear. He told her he
would protect her. He would champion her for all her days. He
would die for her if that was what she wanted. Besides, a life
without her would be useless he told her.
That night they
made love for hours and fell asleep exhausted. A pounding
noise woke them up from a sound sleep. They knew the voice. It
was Arthur. He yelled about someone stealing the queen. Yes
someone had stolen the queen. And it would not have a happy
1100 – Paris
pretext of study we spent our hours in the happiness of love,
and learning held out to us the secret opportunities that our
passion craved. Our speech was more of love than of the books,
which lay open before us; our kisses far outnumbered our
reasoned words – Peter Abelard
Peter was a tall,
dark scholar - a handsome man of mind and body. His insight
was known over Europe and few had an intelligence that could
rival his own. However in his student Heloise, he found a
soulmate and a rival. She was bright and young and beautiful
and everything that Peter could want as a man. She could make
the perfect companion had he not dedicated himself to his
studies – the studies of which he was willing to give up for
"I will not
marry you Peter," Heloise sobbed.
together. Your uncle be damned. The city be damned. The church
be damned! I care not what they say or they do. You carry my
child because of the love and passion we found. I refuse to
walk away for anyone’s sake."
own?" Heloise questioned. "You know as I do Peter
that if you were to marry your standing as a scholar would
fall. You have so much to gain by not taking me as your wife.
I can’t have that burden on my shoulders. I can’t go on
knowing that I held you back."
"You make me
strong – of mind and body and spirit. Can’t you see that
"And if you
lose your position at the University? Then what
Peter?…Besides, your life is your studies. You are a
thinking man – a warrior of wisdom. I urge you to think
about what you’re asking."
logic shouldn’t prevail," he told the small woman.
"Sometimes you have to follow your heart. I didn’t go
looking for a mate Heloise. I went looking for experience –
the need for physical love I’d never felt before. But what I
have now is so much greater. I’m begging you please…marry
me, raise our child together…and let logic float to the
can’t," Heloise cried. "Because I love you far too
much Peter. With time you’ll see it’s for the best."
turned heel and began to walk away through the outskirts of
the Parisian neighborhood. Peter called out to her once but
didn’t follow. She’d made her choice. She’d sacrifice
all for him, even the idea of having him all to herself
because it would hinder his success.
But I’ll never
be much without you, he thought silently as he watched her
walk away. I’ll never be complete with you gone. And
someday, I will win your favor Heloise. I promise.
the young woman’s voice called. "William?" She
watched as the man sat quill in hand writing feverishly.
That got his
attention and he nearly knocked over his ink blotter before
turning around. "Yes my dearest Anne," he said
putting down the quill and turning to face his wife of two
husband, do you work on that has you so engrossed…this
He gave a bashful
smile. Many nights he found himself engrossed but Anne had
come to expect it. It was the price she had to pay for living
with the ‘First Bard’ and she accepted with a bit of
amusement – even today.
notes at this moment. A play about a Prince…From Denmark. He
returns to find his father, the King, has been murdered by his
the first act? Moving up a few acts aren’t we?" she
everyone will be gone by the end…except for the student and
the solider. They will live on."
fitting for some reason – the scholar and the warrior,"
he shrugged. "What did you need dearest?"
actually," she began. "First, I’ve heard rumors
about you and the Queen."
"You heard me.
She’s a patron of the arts and some folks say much more. You
remain faithful to me, don’t you William?"
dear," he said reaching out to stroke his wife’s
stomach, which was nine months round with their first child.
"I can assure that Queen Elizabeth’s interest in me is
wondering," she said casually.
"What was the
other issue my sweet?"
pause your writing for this evening."
for?" he said looking concerned.
"You need to
fetch the mid-wife."
went from shock to a large smile in a matter of moments.
"Right away my dear," he said shooting up from his
desk. He started to look around the room sporadically.
"You should lay. Come off your feet. I’ll get some
sheets. We need some fresh water. And a larger fire. I’ll
get wood. And-."
Anne gently put her
hand on his shoulder. "First you need to relax and get
the mid-wife dearest husband." She reached up and placed
a delicate kiss on his cheek.
course," he nodded. He started to make his departure but
stopped and walked back to his wife. He pulled her closer and
gave a light kiss to her lips. "I love you Anne
"I love you
1783 – Monticello
Plantation, Virginia, United States
Jefferson? Why me?"
The young black
slave was at a loss as to why her company was being requested
to accompany him to Paris. He was one of the most powerful men
in the newborn country and to travel at his side as an
ambassador confused the young woman. That’s not to say she
didn’t want the opportunity. It would be a thrilling
adventure – no doubt. And as for Mr. Jefferson himself he
was a tall, proud man; widowed and not looking for remarriage.
He had a confident edge to him and many skills. Aside from
that she found their conversations engaging – many of his
true thoughts and views he kept hidden from most of Virginia,
especially those of slavery.
me Thomas," he told her. "I need someone I can trust
to look after my affairs for me while abroad. I trust you
sir-." The American statesman gave a disapproving look
and Sally quickly corrected herself. "Thomas," she
began again. "There are many people far more qualified
"But not whose
company I enjoy as much... I can’t define it. I can’t
explain it. But there’s something here I don’t want to
leave behind in Monticello. Please say you’ll accompany me.
I could make you come but I would never want to force you into
"I’m a slave
Mr….Thomas. You could face sharp criticism from the party
"To hell with
don’t mean that."
do," he countered with a nod. He rose from his desk and
walked over to where the young woman stood, nervously flexing
and releasing her fingers at her side. Without a word his
fingers traced the line of her jaw until coming to her chin.
With two fingertips he raised her head so he could meet her
deep brown eyes.
never been a more lovely woman in mind, body or spirit. I have
met many in all my travels but none quite like you," he
told her softly. "Please do me this honor. I cannot court
you – we both know that. But if you let me, I’ll devote my
life here at Monticello serving you as I try to serve the
people of this new nation. So I’m asking Sally, please say
you’ll travel with me to Paris…away from prying eyes and
lightheaded and gave a small grin. "I don’t know what
to say Thomas." Her smile widened in pride for
remembering to use his first name.
simple. Say yes," he grinned.
She knew if anyone
were to discover his offer it could mean the end of everything
for him – perhaps even is life in some parts. But she also
understood what he meant about a ‘connection’. She could
feel it too. "Yes," she answered firm yet softly. It
was her destiny.
1966 – Mercy Hospital, South Carolina
opened her eyes to find Janice Covington sleeping in the chair
beside her hospital bed. She gave a light smile. I told her
to go home but she doesn’t listen. She never listens. The
smile soon faded as a coughing spell took over waking Janice
from her slumber.
The blonde quickly
opened her eyes and shot to her feet, coming over to the
woman. As it subsided Janice pushed the bangs away from
Mel’s forehead. In doing so she could feel how warm the
woman was. She quickly went to the bathroom for a washrag and
rinsed it with cold water. Without hesitation she returned and
began to wipe Mel’s brow.
care of me?"
the archeologist grinned. "Always will."
Mel reached out and
pulled Janice’s hand down to her lips. She placed a delicate
kiss on the back before releasing her embrace. "Thank you
for staying but I did send ya home if I remember correctly. Ya
need your rest Janice."
"You need me
more," the blonde countered.
stop it Janice. We both know how sick I am."
"Which is why
I’m staying. I’m going to spend as much time as possible
"I told ya.
We’ll find each other again. We always find each
other." Mel smiled, resolved in her fate but knowing that
this end would be just another beginning. Janice tried to
match her smile and have the same confidence but couldn’t
muster it. Mel reached out again and squeezed the small
woman’s hand. "You’ll be okay Janice. You were a
strong woman when I met ya. You’re stronger now than
you. You make me strong Mel. When I do things I think I’m
not capable of it’s you that gives me that strength."
being strong for me Janice. Keep the faith that we’ll be
back together again someday. Promise me?"
The plea was too
much for Janice to take and she felt herself starting to tear
up. I’d give you the world if I could sweetheart.
"I promise," she whispered.
A moment passed and
Mel felt a chill pass over her. "I’m cold," she
told the archeologist. "Will ya come keep me warm?"
Janice had spent 25
plus years keeping Mel warm. But never in a public place.
Their love was always kept behind closed doors or closed
tents, depending on where they were. To the scholar society
they were the best of partners. To a few close trusted friends
they were also the best of lovers. But at this point Janice
didn’t care about appearances. She took off her bomber
jacket and climbed into the small bed pulling Mel into her
arms. Slowly she began a rocking motion as she stroked Mel’s
"I made all
the right choices," Mel said softly. "If I had it
all to do over again…I wouldn’t change it."
Janice continued to
hold Mel in silence when she felt the body on top of her go
She didn’t get a
response. She knew she wouldn’t. Her partner. Her best
friend. Her soulmate was gone. And she felt the familiar ache
her ancestor felt millenniums before. Mel Pappas was dead. But
one day…she’d be back. And somehow Janice knew that
she’d find her again.
2000 – First Methodist Church, Los Angeles, California,
The Reverend held
out the bible before them. "The rings?"
They each turned to
the best man and maid of honor, getting the rings for the
exchange and placing them on the bible before turning back to
the reverend began. "Please repeat after me: I
Harry." Harry gave a brief shake of the head to clear his
thoughts as the room gave a small chuckle. Only a few of their
close friends were in attendance but that didn’t matter.
They had what they need – each other. "Sorry," he
whispered in an apology along with a bashful grin to the
reverend and his bride.
The reverend simply
smiled, knowing how nervous some grooms can be, before
continuing. "Take you Mattie to be my lawfully wedded
Mattie to be my lawfully wedded wife," Harry echoed.
"For richer or
poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall
for poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both
shall live," Harry said as he slipped the ring onto
The reverend then
turned to Mattie. "Mattie repeat after me-."
Before he could
finish Mattie began. "I Gabrielle-Mattie. Take you
Xena-Harry to be my lawfully wedded husband – for richer or
poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall
The reverend tried
to hide his surprise and Mattie felt the overwhelming need to
explain. "We’ve done this quite a few times," she
said casually. "With each other," she clarified
quickly when she realized how terrible that sounded out loud.
"I mean this is the first time in THIS lifetime
though…I’m gonna shut up now."
silently. When he saw the blush on Mattie’s face, he leaned
over and kissed her softly out of pure instinct.
the reverend said getting their attention. "I didn’t
say you could kiss her yet."
dropped his hands, which were cradling Mattie’s face, and
stood upright again. "I’m sorry."
gun like always," Mattie teased with a wink and an air
kiss. Harry gave her a smile and a shrug.
The reverend knew
he should just wrap this up as soon as possible.
"By the power
vested in me and the State of California, I now pronounce you
husband and wife…Now you may kiss the bride," he teased
Harry before gesturing to the bride with his hand.
As the kiss ended
Harry pulled back. "I promise I’ll make you happy
Mattie took his
hand in hers and faced the small gathering as the reverend
announced ‘Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cavender’.
"I know you
will," Mattie told him with the playful grin he’d loved
through the ages. "You haven’t let me down in 2000
years – you won’t start now."
Author Note: Want
to read a little more about the uber Xena and Gabby’s listed
here? You might find these links interesting.