of Heart Pt. 4
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
These characters arenít mine. They belong to Mr. Tapert and
Co. Iím just borrowing them to vent. Itís not a happy tale
and it involves two women who once loved each other deeply. If
either of these facts disturb you donít read this tale. Also
it contains spoilers for the last few eps of season five.
Note: Like most Xena Gab shippers season five was a joke
and the ender, with Xena hitting Gabby in the head with her
chakram was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wrote
this series in response to my anger and the total character assignation
of season five. Enjoy!
their break-up, Xena and Gabrielle have to work together to
defend a village from a siege.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes of Heart
"She is I tell
A group of patrons at the
tables of the tavern laughed louder the more August protested.
"Well, if she is who
you claim little girl," a man called out. "Perhaps
the great bard of Poteidaia will favor us with a tale
Why couldnít she just
let it go? Gabrielle thought. Her fingers worked their way
through her growing hair as she sighed in frustration.
Gabrielle," August coaxed toward the stage. "Get up
there and show Ďem."
Gabrielle looked to Eponin,
who tried to hide her grin by taking a quick swig of mead.
Reluctantly, Gabrielle rose
from the table and made her way to the stage as the man who
had been teasing August began a round of applause.
"Give it up for the Ďbard
of Poteidaiaí," the man teased as he clapped, certain
that the young woman was pulling his leg.
The barkeep put a stool on
the small platform, which was used as a stage.
"Go on honey," he
said warmly to the bard.
As Gabrielle looked out into
the audience, judging the crowd, she wondered what kind of
tale would do well with them. The longer she looked the more
she realized something. Every tale she had was about Xena. Her
Ďlifeís workí consisted solely of the warrior princess.
Could she possibly pull of a tale of bravery and passion since
she was so undecided about her former lover?
The longer Gabrielle sat the
more hecklers joined in. She felt herself beginning to sweat.
Stage fright. Youíve never had stage fright, Gabrielle.
Just calm down and take a deep breath. Think damn it. Think!...
What the hell. Just do it!!
"I sing of Xena,"
Gabrielle said loud enough to be heard over the crowd. The
boldness of her words brought the chatter to a halt.
"Destroyer of Nations, Tigress of Amphipolis... the
I came to know the warrior
known as Xena in my 17th year. I was an idealistic farm girl
who craved adventure... something more in life than someoneís
wife and mother... On my journeys with Xena, I managed to
become both... But this story, this adventure if you will,
took place long before I took a bond oath, long before I had a
daughter. Itís the story of bravery, heart wrenching
decisions, pride of ones homeland and the power to change the
world. That day came when the Persians landed at Marathon...
Soon, the words flowed from
Gabrielleís mouth. It was second nature to the bard. All
eyes and ears were fixated on the petite blonde woman telling
the powerful, moving story. Women wept when hearing how torn
the warrior felt for serving the Ďgreater goodí instead of
the woman she prized. Men cheered as the listened to how Xena
took on Persian after Persian unwilling to surrender. By the
time Gabrielle finished, the crowd was on its feet applauding
the tale as the man who began the heckling came over to her.
"My apologies great
bard," he said with a warm grin as he kissed her knuckles
softly. "Thank you for the tale."
Gabrielle smiled in kind.
"It was my pleasure."
Augustís grin was as wide
as the staff she now carried as Gabrielle returned to the
their table. Eponin, however, didnít look as pleased.
"Are you okay?"
Gabrielle asked upon seeing her friendsí condition.
"Yeah, I just need
another mead," she said rising, going to the bar.
August and Gabrielle
exchanged looks and August gave a shrug unsure of what was
"I thought it was a
beautiful story," she said as Gabrielle rose to follow
Gabrielle replied sincerely. "Iíll be right back so
stay out of trouble," the bard teased.
"Who? Me?" August
grinned, knowing full aware of the havoc that she could wreak.
Gabrielle gave a light
chuckle, but said nothing as she took a spot at Eponin's elbow
at the bar.
"Come here often,"
Gabrielle teased as she wiggled her eyebrows.
That got a small grin to
appear on the amazonís lips. "You know for a bard you
have some lousy pick up lines."
"I should work on that
area, huh?" Gabrielle grinned. When Eponin did nothing
more than drink from her mug, Gabrielle pressed on. "So
whatís wrong, Ep?" the bard asked.
"Just feeling sorry for
myself, if you donít mind," Ep answered with a forced
asked genuinely confused.
"Because... you love
her... and youíll always love her. And I know in my heart of
hearts youíll never love me that way - or anyone for that
tried to say as she sighed.
Eponin said, cutting her off. "I saw it in your eyes
tonight when you spoke of her. The emotion, the gestures...
You still love her."
"And I will always love
her," Gabrielle argued. "But that doesnít mean I
wonít be able to love someone else."
Gabrielle would have
continued, but a man burst into the tavern, letting in what
was left of daylight.
"Does anyone know where
I can find Xena, the warrior princess?!" he asked loudly,
short of breath.
Everyone seemed to stop what
they were doing and looked at one another. In unison, all the
fingers in the tavern pointed back to the bar where Gabrielle
Oh boy, Gabrielle
rolled her eyes.
The man rushed back to the
amazon pair, still trying to catch his breath.
"Are you Xena?" he
Eponin shook her head at the
irony of the comment. No, but I wish I was, she thought
silently. The bard would be mine then.
"Iím Gabrielle. Is
there someway I can help you?"
"Gabrielle? The bard
Gabrielle finished in a bored tone. "Yeah, thatís me.
Whatís the problem?"
"Well, my village sent
me to find Xena, but it looks like I might have found the next
best thing." He grinned.
"Next best thing?"
Gabrielle grinned to Eponin.
Realizing his error, the man
tried to make up for it.
"A thousand apologies.
I meant no disrespect. We would be grateful for your
Gabrielle put her hands up
to stop his rambling. "Itís okay. Tell me whatís
"An army is going to
attack our village. Our elders sent four of us out to the four
corners to find the warrior princess. Rumor has it that she
still travels the countryside after all these years. It was a
long shot, but we thought if she did still live she could come
to our aid."
Gabrielle nodded at the manís
story and cleared her throat. "Well, last I know Xena was
babysitting the god of war. Iím not sure where she is, but I
think weíd be willing to lend a hand. Wouldnít we?"
she added as she turned to Eponin.
"Iím up for it."
The amazon grinned.
"Thank you so
much," the man said as he profusely shook Gabrielleís
hand; nearly making her whole body vibrate.
Gabrielle chuckled. "You look tired, friend. Why donít
you grab a drink and some food? Rest for a few candlemarks and
weíll head out before daybreak to your village. Okay?"
The man nodded and bellied
up to the bar. "Weíll be forever in your debt,
Gabrielle. May I call you Gabrielle?"
Gabby, Gabs - Iíll answer to just about anything," she
teased as she patted him on the back. "Rest now and weíll
head out in a bit."
As the man sat down to his
stew, Gabrielle motioned Eponin toward the table where August
"Do you think sheís
up for it?" Eponin asked, looking at August.
"Werenít you the one
that said she needed a good dose of reality," Gabrielle
answered. "But seriously, when the battle begins-."
"Youíll stick to her
like glue," Gabrielle answered. "Donít confront
anyone. Just watch our backs in case anyone gets by us.
"So now I have to
baby-sit?" Eponin teased. "Who knew Xena and I had
so much in common?" she added in regard to Gabrielleís
"I promised Augustís
parents I get her to Athens and I intend to keep my
promise," Gabrielle replied. "So donít go in there
acting the hero on me tomorrow. Keep the kid safe."
captain," Eponin saluted as the pair neared the table.
August was already on her
feet when she saw them approach.
"What was that
about?" she asked pointing to the man at the bar.
"Well, August, my dear." Gabrielle grinned.
"Looks like weíre not going straight to Athens. Are you
up for a little diversion?"
"Are you kidding?"
August said excitedly. "You mean like a Ďrealí
adventure? A mission of some kind?"
"You could say that,
but you have to promise me to stick by Eponin at all times, no
matter what... Promise?"
August crossed her heart
with her pinky. "Promise!... This is toooo cool!"
"Thereís two more!!
Where in HELL are they coming from?!"
Eve kicked one away with the
heel of her boot while striking another one down with her
"We canít keep this
up much longer," she shouted.
To say that Xena was in full
warrior mode was an understatement, despite the fact her arm
was in a sling from the recent topple on the mountain. She
parried a sword from an attackerís hand and gutted him
before he had the chance to re-arm himself or flee.
"Donít tell me your
getting tired already, kiddo," Xena teased. "Ahhrrrrahh,"
the warrior grunted as she took out two more men approaching
behind her with a quick swipe left and then right.
The men of the village took
up arms for the battle as well. Xena looked over to find one
solider from the warlordís army out fighting a group of
villagers. The odds were purely in his favor because of his
pointed to the thug.
Eve didnít need an
explanation. She knew what her mother meant. She had to take
the man down and do it quickly to spare as many villagers as
possible. As Eve left, Xena found that four men had worked
their way around her.
And Dite said this would
be easy. I gotta remember to never trust the goddess of love
again, Xena considered sarcastically as she watched them
with smirks on their face as they closed in. Xena let out a
powerful war cry that bought her enough time for a distraction
as she somersaulted over the soldiers. Her back was empty
after she landed and she could fight them head on.
And fight them head on she
did. One by one they met Xenaís blade and fell. As the last
one tumbled to the dirt, Xena looked over to check on Eve. She
had managed to take out the target and a few of his cronies it
appeared. For the moment, she was getting some of the walking
injured inside to safety.
Xena didnít see the attack
coming, but she felt it Ė a hard blow to the back. She
groaned in pain as she fell to her knees. Next, she felt her
sword knocked from her hand a moment later as she tried to get
her breath. She ducked and rolled toward her sword, but she
came up inches short. As the man raised his sword, Xena knew
this was it. Eve wasnít there to back her up. Her time had
And I never got to see
her again, Xena realized as she still struggled, reaching
as far as she could to get a grasp of her sword. Her first
reaction as soon as she hit the dirt was her chakram, but the
sling prevented her from reaching it in time or with any
accuracy. It had to be the sword and she stretched with all
her might, coming up two inches short.
She closed her eyes when she
watched his muscles bulge, knowing the strike would come. When
a moment passed, and she didnít feel the blade upon her, she
quickly looked up.
A dagger appeared in the manís
Xena took a more intense
look and realized...
Thatís not a dagger. Itís
Xenaís head shot back for
a brief moment to see the bard standing behind her. The
momentary shock wore off as the man began to fall toward her.
Xena rolled to avoid him and in the process put more weight on
her injured arm than she should have. She groaned loudly and
clutched at her arm, but not before picking up her sword.
Behind Gabrielle, Eponin and
August battled a man with an ax. When it looked like he was
about to get the best of August, Eponin took him down with two
quick sword strokes.
The advancing army began to
scatter and make their way back into the woods. The villagers
began to cheer loudly in celebration of having defeated the
army. Women and children started to come out of their hiding
places. And all the while, Xena and Gabrielle locked eyes
oblivious to the things around them.
Xena watched as the older
woman and young lady came up to Gabrielle. Their arrival broke
the eye contact as Gabrielle had a brief conversation and
pointed to the local tavern across the street. The older womanís
eyes met Xenaís and Xena could have sworn she saw a scowl on
the womanís face as she departed with the young lady.
Gabrielle knew she had to go
over. If not to offer her greetings, at least to retrieve her
sai. Xenaís mouth suddenly went arid as the bard strolled
over confidently. What do I say? What do I do? The bard
was coming closer, watching her with every step. At least
until she was near the fallen man.
nodded. Oh yeah! That was real poetic warrior. Think of
something before she just walks away!
"Xena," came the
short reply, void of emotion.
She pulled the dagger from
the manís chest and used his own shirt to clean the weapon
off before putting it back in her boot. After all these
months all she can say is my name? Of courseÖitís XenaÖWhat
the Hell did I expect?
Gabrielle turned to catch up
to Eponin and August in the tavern.
Gabrielle stopped her
strides, but took a deep breath before she turned around. Here
it comes, Gabrielle thought. She wasnít quite sure what
Ďití was, but she was certain it probably wouldnít end
Xena still didnít know
what to say as Gabriele turned around, but it seemed a little
gratitude might help.
"Thank you," Xena
said once she had Gabrielleís attention. "You saved my
it," Gabrielle answered quickly. Just keep walking.
Donít turn around again no matter what.
"Donít walk away. Not
yet. Hear me out first," Xena pleaded.
Gabrielle paused. You
stopped anyway, didnít you? After you said you wouldnít,
huh? Damn it Gabrielle! Get a backbone!! Tell her that this is
it. Tell her she canít play with your heart. Tell her itís
over and move on.
Gabrielle had lots of
answers to give, but instead of voicing any of them she simply
"I want to talk to
you," Xena said going on pure instinct. Act, donít
react. Go with your gut. "Iíve realized quite a bit
since youíve been gone and I want the chance to tell
Gabrielle chuckled in her
growing misery. "Thatís just it, Xena. Youíve been
telling me things for years. Not talking to me, but TELLING
me. Iím tired of being preached to. When you decide you no
longer want to lecture me, look me up."
Sadness was Xenaís first
reaction, but in the seconds that followed it became replaced
with frustration and then anger. How dare she?! After all
these months apart Ė after all the years together Ė she
OWES me a real conversation about this. Sheís not just gonna
walk away. Not again.
"Hey!" Xena called
out as she began to jog after the bard. "We need to talk
about things here. I gave you space," she added as she
grabbed Gabrielle gently by the arm.
That was it. The bardís
temper boiled over.
"And what are you gonna
do if I donít Xena, huh? Are you gonna drag me behind a
horse? Fall for some Roman while I watch? Or perhaps youíd
like to take the back of my head off with your chakram?... Oh
wait," Gabrielle paused in her sarcasm. "Youíve
done all those things already. What do I have to fear?"
the bard concluded throwing her arms up in the air.
"Iíve been paying for
my sins every day weíve been apart and I would spend my life
making it up to you if I could, but thatís a little tough
when you wonít speak to me for more than 10 seconds...
Besides there are other factors at play here that Iíve
learned about. Things that you should know."
Gabrielle answered growing angry herself.
Like the fact Eve truly
is YOUR daughter. No, donít say it like that. Not when youíre
mad. Xena took a deep breath. "Things that I think
you should know... but not discussed while weíre yelling at
each other. Please let me talk with you. If you want to leave
me and keep going your own way, Iíll support that decision.
Iím not your keeper. I never wanted to be your keeper. I
only wanted to love you Ė the way you loved me. Iíve
prayed to Eli that it isnít too late and that we can repair
things, but if you feel that isnít possible," Xena said
feeling a lump form in her throat before quickly swallowing it
down, "you can walk away and never look back... All I ask
is that you talk with me first."
The sob in Xenaís voice
almost brought the bard to tears herself. She didnít want to
hurt Xena. She truly didnít. She was only looking out for
herself and trying to avoid what had become a very damaging
relationship Ė both emotionally and physically. Perhaps Xena
was right. Perhaps this is something they both needed in order
to Ďroll up the scrollí so to speak, a final chapter in
the story of the warrior princess and her bard.
Gabrielle sighed, trying her best not to sob as well.
"Alright. Weíll talk, but first things first. That army
isnít going to stay away for long. These villagers are
thinking they are in the clear, but you and I know better.
Theyíre gonna plan a counter strike."
Xena smiled as she nodded in
agreement. Sheís good... Sheís grown up... Why on earth
didnít I see it before. "True. What do you
Did she just ask my
opinion? Yeah, I guess she did. Ha. "Well, weíll
need to put some bucket brigades in place. Just in case he
attacks with fire. And weíll have to put some scouts up
high," Gabrielle continued as she looked up. "Those
trees would be a good place Ė lots of limbs and plenty of
leaves to hide behind to go unnoticed."
"Leave it to an amazon
to take to the air," Xena teased. Gabrielle grinned
slightly. "Iím just teasing. It sounds like a wonderful
idea so far," Xena added when she reconsidered that her
comment might be taken in the wrong context. "May I add
Did she just ask me to
give her opinion? Oh lord I think Iím gonna have a stroke.
"I noticed that his men
arenít heavily armored. We could bring out more villagers to
fight if we gave them something more solid to strike with. The
staff is an easy weapon Ė no offense-."
Gabrielle teased. "Iím sorry. Go on." She grinned.
Sheís grinning. This is
a good sign. "Anyway, if we armed them with staffs,
mallets, anything they can strike hard and fast with it might
be enough to take the majority of the army out once they make
it inside the village."
Gabrielle considered it.
"Very true... Okay. Letís get some things in motion. Do
you know who the leader is here?"
"Sure do." Xena grinned.
"Okay then. Letís get
everyone to the tavern and tell them what we have planned so
"And as for the
rest?" Xena asked
"Weíll do what we
always do... make it up as we go along while trying to look
brilliant in the process," she teased.
Xena laughed out loud
heartily and Gabrielle found herself chuckling as well. Soon,
Xena cleared her throat and a perplexed look over washed over
"What is it?"
Xena smiled and shrugged it
"Nothing really... I
just... I havenít laughed like that since youíve been gone...
It felt good is all." Xena grinned warmly. "Anyway, Iíll
find the mayor while you organize the tavern, okay?" Xena
replied becoming Ďstrictly businessí. Gabrielle simple
nodded as Xena walked away.
As the warrior strode across
the village street, Gabrielle felt the tears well up in her
eyes as she thought of Xenaís laughter comment.
"For what itís
worth," she whispered knowing the warrior couldnít hear
her. "Neither have I."
Gabrielle made her way to
the tavern to catch up with Eponin and August, but she stopped
mid-stride as Eve burst out from one of the buildings.
chuckled as she steadied Eve by the shoulders before they both
fell to the ground in a tangled mess. "Slow down
there," the bard teased.
It took a moment, but Eve
realized it really was Gabrielle in front of her. She proceed
to lock Gabrielle in a bear hug that brought a chuckled of
delight from the bard.
"I missed you too,
Sweetie." Gabrielle smiled, pulling back to see the brunette.
Eve commented as she looked around the village square.
"Itís over... for
now," the bard answered. "How have you been,
daughter grinned. I wonder if mother told her yet.
"Have you seen, Mother?"
"Yes, sheís going to
talk to the mayor, so we can prepare for the counter
strike," Gabrielle replied as she began to move to the
tavern, taking Eve along by the arm. "Care to join me in
rounding up some village elders and such?"
replied with a growing smile.
Gabrielle looked different
from the last time they had meet. Her hair was longer, but
something else, something more settled appeared over the bardís
face. To Eve, it seemed she Ďglowedí in a way she hadnít
good," Eve complimented.
Gabrielle answered. "You look as beautiful as your
mother," Gabrielle added with a grin. "Speaking of...
what happened to her wing."
At first, Eve was unsure of
what Gabrielle meant. Ohhhh her arrrrm! "She broke
"She broke it?
"Ares said it was
because motherís been too distracted by you." Eve grinned.
"But she lost her footing trying to get to the Tree of
Gabrielle studied Eve a
moment as they walked, "Sheís immortal now?"
"No, we went there for
Ares... But he wouldnít eat the fruit once we got there. He
thought he could win mother over as a mortal, but mother laid
down the law," Eve chuckled.
"And what would that
Ďlawí be." Gabrielle grinned.
"She belongs to
you," Eve answered honestly. "And you alone."
Gabrielleís grin fell and
she was stumped for a reply. She wasnít as certain as Xena
was in regard to their relationship. And in a way, she wished
that she had such convictions.
"I love your
mother," Gabrielle began. "I do Eve, but-."
"But nothing," Eve
stopped her and faced her. "You love her. She loves you.
Whatís the problem?"
What IS the problem?
Gabrielle considered. It should be easy. You love someone
and they love you and you live happily ever after. Isnít
that what itís all supposed to be about? Of course thatís
not real and sometimes love just isnít enough.
"The past is the
problem," Gabrielle answered. "There are a lot of
"That are in the past.
Weíve ALL done things in the past we regret and are ashamed
of, Gabrielle. Believe me, I know... All Iím saying is that
if you do love mother then tell her. Try looking at the
future, because if the past is all youíre going to use as a
judge, I think youíre not seeing whatís happening here and
Gabrielle scrunched her
eyebrows in examination of Eve. "Did she put you up to
saying that?" Gabrielle asked.
"No." Eve grinned just
as cocky as Xena. "Mother doesnít need anyone to speak
for her. Sheís been doing a damn good job of that on her own
lately... And if you could look beyond the past... You might
see that yourself. I hope you do because it would be a shame
if you missed it."
The two women looked
wordless at each other and Gabrielle gave a deep sigh. Can
I really do it? Can I look beyond the past? There was an
unspoken plea in Eveís eyes that Gabrielle couldnít quite
put her finger on. Why is this so important to her?
Gabrielle firmly told Eve, who promptly broke into a grin.
"She asked to speak to me later and I agreed. I donít
know what will come of it, but I will try my best to see
things differently - not so... jaded."
"Thatís all I can
ask, mo-Gabrielle," Eve said changing her statement at
the last minute. "Iíll round up the folks here in the
east and send them to the tavern. Howís that?" Eve said
hoping to change the topic.
nodded. "Iíll see you there. And Eve... Itís
wonderful to see you again."
Eve gave a bashful smile, but
still made eye contact.
"You too," she
replied in a shy voice. "Gotta go," she muttered as
she turned away.
She looks a lot like Xena
when she blushes.
Gabrielle grinned and
stepped up her pace to the tavern. Once inside, she saw the
people lifting mugs in celebration.
"I wouldnít do that
just yet!" Gabrielle voice boomed through the
establishment. Everyone stopped to meet her eyes. "Allow
me to introduce myself. Iím Gabrielle and your messenger
brought me here to help defend the village. You all gave a
wonderful front in the first attack... but note that I said
FIRST attack. You can bet all your farms that this warlord,
Siscerus, wonít give up that easily. Heís going to
re-group and odds are heís going to return."
The silence that took hold
as Gabrielle began her speech slowly crumbled as people
nervously talked among themselves about the impending doom.
Gabrielle yelled getting the roomís attention again.
"Xena is meeting with the mayor and weíre putting plans
into motion as I speak, but we need you folks sober if itís
going to work. So put the mead and wine down and hear us
At that point, Xena walked
inside with the mayor of the town with Eve behind them.
"Iíve spoken with
Xena everyone and we have lots of ideas to turn back this army, but
we all have to work together. Weíve come this far and we can
go farther, right?!"
A course of cheers went up
"In a few moments,
everyone is going to meet in the square and from there weíll
put everyone on Ďpostsí - weíll tell you were to go and
what youíll be doing... Is that understood?"
Everyone voiced their
agreement as nods went around the room.
"Okay then, file out
and weíll give you the orders once weíve set things
Chairs and table screeched
along the wood floor as people got up, making their way
outside. Instead of heading out, Gabrielle weeded her way
through the departing traffic to Eponin and August who were
now on their feet as well.
The look on Eponinís face
was anything but approving.
"Did you speak to
her?" were the first words out of the amazon's mouth.
Gabrielle could tell Eponin
was trying to be neutral, but failing miserably.
"Yes I did. I told her
we could talk more later," Gabrielle answered unable to
look Eponin in the eyes.
From across the room, Xena
was taking in the unheard conversation with a great deal of
interest. Who is that woman and why does she look so damn
familiar? Xena considered. She also looks... irritated...
And she certainly has Gabrielle fidgeting quite a bit. Perhaps
I should walk over and...
"Xena," the mayor
said gently tapping Xenaís shoulder, "The village is
getting assembled outside so anytime you're ready."
"Of course," Xena
nodded. "Weíll be right out."
She watched the mayor give a
nod and follow his constituents outside. What the hell? Go
over and say hi. Where's the harm in that? she thought
with a smirk.
Gabrielle could Ďfeelí
Xena behind her before she ever caught sight of her.
"Hi there," Xena
said in introduction to the group. "Iím Xena and you
are?" the warrior began as she extended her hand to the
young woman first.
pleased to meet you," August stammered. "Iíve read
all of Gabrielleís scrolls and Iíve heard the tales about
your adventures for years. I canít believe itís really
you," the girl gushed. "Boy I can see why Gabrielle
was so smitten." Reflexively, August put her hand on her
mouth for letting the last comment slip out. "Iím
sorry," she quickly added offering her hand again for a
more Ďformalí introduction. "Iím August. A poet.
Gabrielle is helping get me to the Academy in Athens."
"Ahh, I see. Itís a
good school," Xena complimented. "Gabrielle was
accepted there once before. If youíre half as talented as
she is then Iím sure youíll have no trouble fitting right
in." Xena held her grin in place as she turned to the Ďtrueí
reason for her arrival. "And you are?" she asked
traveling companion... and former subject, Eponin... Itís
been a few years, Xena." The ex-amazon grinned as she saw
Xenaís reaction to the term Ďtraveling companioní.
Stay gracious. Stay
gracious. Donít take the womanís head off, Xena
repeated in her mind as she shook the hand grasping hers. It
would be so easy to ground this hand into powder and snap it
off at the wrist. Traveling companion, huh? Iíll show you
traveling when I send you to the moon.
"And just how long have
you been traveling with Gabrielle?" Xena asked.
Everyone noted the way that Xena said the word Ďtravelingí
and it left little to what Xena was trying to refer to with
Oh my gosh! She thinks
Eponin and I are lovers! Gabrielle realized. I would
never intentional mislead Xena, however, if her overactive
imagination is playing out scenarios...
"About three, perhaps
four, months now," Gabrielle answered before Eponin
Eponin picked up on what
Gabrielle was doing by evading the subtle unspoken question as
to the nature of their relationship. She decided to join in.
"Yeah, thatís about
right," Eponin agreed. "And itís been a wonderful
ride. Gabrielle is really great to travel with."
Eponin added, making sure to stress the word travel like Xena
had done moments earlier.
Why you little... Xena
grumbled in her mind
"Well, itís good that
sheís had support," Xena said instead. "Not that
she needs it, but every little bit helps. The reason I came
over was because the mayor is ready," she added. Yeah
right. Wonder if she bought it, Xena thought to herself.
Yeah, right. I ain't
buying that, Gabrielle echoed in her own mind. Youíve
come to check up on me and we both know it. "Okay, weíll
be out in a few minutes. Why donít you see if August can
help with the water preparations?" Gabrielle suggested.
nodded. "Eponin," Xena said offering her forearm.
"Nice seeing you again."
Like Hell. Eponin
couldnít say the same so she only grinned and gave a
friendly nod as she grasped Xenaís arm a little harder than
As Xena and August made
their departure, August asked the warrior, "Can you show
me how to use your Chakram?"
Xena chuckled. "That weapon is mine and mine alone. Only
the most skilled warrior could use it. But I might show you a
new move with that staff if we have time," Xena offered
Once the duo had left,
Gabrielle turned back to Eponin.
companion?" Gabrielle prodded.
Eponin laughed out loud,
"Hey, thatís what I am, arenít I?"
Gabrielle sighed, but she
couldnít help but smile as she did.
Eponin wiggled her eyebrows, but
Oh boy. The battle is
just beginning, Gabrielle thought... with Siscerusí army
being the last thing on her mind.
Gabrielle crouched on a limb
next to a young man high above the tree. He canít be much
older than the boy from the village when Xena pit Caesar and
Pompy against each other. So young and already getting a taste
"Not yet, maíam,"
he answered politely.
"Well, keep watch. Iím
sure theyíll be back before sunrise," she told him.
"Just remember to release that yellow scarf when you
first see them and the red one when they are within a league.
Okay? The runners down there will take care of the rest."
"I will, maíam,"
he answered confidently, proud with the trust the town was
putting into him. His warning was key to the townís plan of
both heard a voice call up. It was Xenaís.
"On my way,"
Gabrielle hollered down. "Youíll do just fine,"
Gabrielle commended the boy with a pat on the back before she
scurried down the tree.
Moments later, she was on
the ground next to the warrior.
"Yes, everythingís in
place," Xena answered. "Now it seems we wait... I
thought it might be a good time to talk."
Gabrielle felt a little knot
in her stomach that came up unexpected. She knew that she
promised to converse with Xena, but she still was unsure of
what to expect.
"Okay," she said
as carefree as she could muster. She didnít want Xena to see
the depth of her nervousness. "Where would you like to
"Letís go check on
the water brigade and make sure things are in order,"
Xena suggested as they began to walk through the town. "Iím
not sure where to start." Xena grinned. "Iíve learned
some things that you should know... Iím just worried you
might think Iím holding it over your head as a way to get
you back. Itís not. I assure you... but then again Iím not
quite sure if my Ďassuranceí means anything to you,"
Xena said honestly.
Give her a break. "Look
Xena, I spoke with Eve earlier today and I promised her Iíd
try to look at things from a different perspective. Youíve
kept your word to me on more occasions than not. Iíll just
have to go on faith and say that whatever you tell me Iíll
believe," Gabrielle interrupted. "So out with it...
What have you learned?"
Should I just blurt it
now or do I put a little scenario to it first? "Eveís
your daughter." Well, that ended that debate, didnít
"Yeah, you told me that
the last day we were together. ĎWeíve got OUR daughter
Xena stopped her, giving a slight look of apology. "I
mean sheís YOUR daughter. Your flesh. Your blood...
Ares told me and although I donít put much faith in Ares as
a god, he had no reason to lie to me as a mortal. Besides, he
didnít come right out and tell me," Xena chuckled
slightly. "I had my suspicious after spending weeks
watching Eve. She reminded me of someone - then one night it
hit me. That someone was you. I rousted Ares awake and
threatened to rearrange his face if he didnít Ďfess
"So you threatened him
until he told you what you wanted to hear?" Gabrielle
asked, the condescension hung in her voice.
"No," Xena said
quickly. "It wasnít like that," she added.
"No, it wasnít and if
you were there youíd understand what I mean," Xena
Gabrielle released a sigh of
impending frustration. "Yeah, I know I wasnít there,
Xena. You didnít leave me much choice."
"I didnít leave you
much choice?! Who left who here?" Xena countered.
"Who was willing to talk about things and who tried to
sneak away in the middle of the night?"
"Look, Iím not gonna
get into this now. We have an upcoming battle to face
"And what?!" Xena
replied getting louder. Both women looked around them when
they noticed a few heads turning in their direction at the
noise. "What else is going to come up, Gabrielle?"
Xena asked, her voice lowered again. "How many more
things can we manage to put ahead of this relationship? If itís
not this battle then it will be some other excuse, some other
thing that needs your attention; everything except us,"
Xena hissed. "Well, Iím sorry Gabrielle, but Iím not
buying any more of your Ďreasonsí. You want to blame me
for all of this thatís fine, but youíve got a long list of
sins too so donít you dare stand there and play the martyr
for me. You might have moved on with Eponin, but I need some
kind of closure here."
"Look Iím not saying
Iím perfect Xena."
"No,, Gabrielle, youíre
just saying Iím completely wrong. Thatís not much of a
difference if you ask me."
Gabrielle didnít respond
and she noticed that Xena was actually walking away.
"Where are you
going?" Gabrielle called out. "I thought you wanted
"Talk, yes," Xena
stopped as she turned around to face the bard. "Yell, no.
Iím not going to get into a shouting match and thatís
where this is heading. Iím willing to take responsibility
for the wrongs Iíve done, Gabrielle, I am. But I refuse to
be the only one here thatís to blame for our problems. Once
we cool down then perhaps clearer heads will prevail. Until
then, Iím checking on the archers."
What the hell does she
want from me?! Gabrielle screamed in her mind as Xena
continued to walk away from her. Why does she do this to
heard a voice say behind her. "She does it because of
love. And as much as I hate to admit it, sheís right... I
thought you were ready, but looks like even the Goddess of
Love still makes mistakes."
Gabrielle turned to see
Aphrodite behind her, a pitiful look on her face.
me," Gabrielle groaned. "I have enough torment going
on in my life at the moment."
Aphrodite cocked her head as
she looked at Gabrielle standing defiantly, with her hands on
her hips. "You reap much of the heartache that you sow
with your shortsightedness."
Gabrielle shook her head
trying to comprehend what Dite was saying. "Huh?"
was all she managed to get out.
Dite chuckled. "Sorry,
let me put it in simple terms - you feel bad because youíre
not looking at the whole picture, which is partially your
"Iím not looking at
the whole picture?" Gabrielle challenged. "The woman
took the back of my head off with her chakram."
"After you stabbed her
daughter," Dite pointed out.
"I wasnít my doing
Aphrodite," Gabrielle answered. "That was your
sister and her friends the furies, if you fail to
"Yeah, I know... but
did YOU ever apologize to Eve or Xena for those events. Did
you ever explain why? Iím sure they understand the
situation. But did you ever voice your regret over it all...
at least once?"
Gabrielle threw her hands up
in the air. "I should apologize for Xena striking ME with
HER chakram? Oh thatís rich."
answered. "You should apologize to both of them for
playing a part in the stabbing... unintentional or not... Of
course thereís more, much more, that you need to make amends
for, but weíll take it one step at a time Ďk?" Dite
Why is it so hard to stay
mad at her? Gabrielle thought as her anger began to give
way to understanding.
grinned. "Iím adorable. Admit it."
"Yes Dite, you are adorable."
"Well, at least we
agree on one thing... Think you could give the warrior another
shot before the impending battle? I donít think either of
you want to go into this thing with all that Ďunresolvedí
daughter stuff. Do you?"
No I donít,
Gabrielle considered. In fact, I never did really give
voice to the news that Xena told me. Eve is my daughter - MY
daughter... No OUR daughter. Gabrielle gave a small smiled
and took a breath to speak to the goddess.
"Save it," Dite
told her. "Youíre welcome. Now go find that warrior of
yours already?" she added with a shoo of her hands.
"Iím all over it." Gabrielle grinned
as she began to jog toward the archers.
to Part V