of Heart Pt. 5
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!
warlord Siscerus lays tries to lay siege to a small village
but not if Xena, Gabrielle and Eve have anything to say about
it. Also, Gabrielle learns that Eve is physically her daughter
Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Changes of Heart
Gabrielle paused a
moment, watching Xena giving instructions to the archers that
stood on the wall, pointing left and then right. She watched
as the men nodded and Xena gave her Ďwell doneí grin
before she walked away. She still looks damn sexy up there
bossing the troops around. But should I meet her now or just
wait? Gabrielle paused a few more moments as she watched
Xena conversing with the soldiers. Go on Gabrielle. Get up
there. Donít second-guess yourself now.
Xena saw Gabrielle
starting to make her way up the ladder to the top of the city
on," the warrior called down to the bard.
With one leap and a
flip, Xena landed a few feet from Gabrielle on the ground. She
stumbled a bit, but never lost her footing. "Still havenít
gotten adjusted to the arm problem yet." Xena grinned
bashfully at her lack of coordination. "But Iím getting
better these last few days. I donít fall on my ass
"All black and blue?"
herself. "You know Iíd offer to show you, but that
might be pushing my luck a little too much." Gabrielle
smiled in response. "Iím glad you came over here,"
Xena added when Gabrielle didnít interject more.
well," Gabrielle answered as her toe dug into the dirt
nervously. "I was in the neighborhood."
Xena cleared her
throat. "I want you to know that what I said earlier...
about Eve being your daughter... Itís not a ploy of any
kind, Gabrielle. I just thought you deserved to know the
truth. And as for Ares, the reason I believe him is because it
makes sense. I mean Eveís your daughter because of the meld
he did by putting us in one body. That, along with the fact
that her gestures are so similar to you itís unnerving at
Gabrielle nodded, but
still continued to look at the dirt on her boot instead of
meeting Xenaís eyes. When she did muster the gumption to
look up she was meet with the grinning warrior who took a few
"Thank you for
telling me," Gabrielle said sincerely. A few moments
passed and Gabrielle pondered, "Does Eve know?"
"She knows." Xena grinned.
"In fact, sheís asked me lots of questions about you;
about us. I told her everything. I was completely honest with
completely," Xena answered soundly. "It wasnít
easy because itís not all pretty. She read your scrolls
about Ďthe great warrior princessí. I think it was
difficult for her to see that her mother isnít that great.
Her motherís done some pretty painful things to her mom at
times. But I thought she deserved the truth."
not a monster," Gabrielle answered upon hearing the
warriorís regret. "You can be harsh, stubborn and over
reactive at times, but... Hell like I should talk,"
Gabrielle said with a light laugh as she rolled her head
around to relieve her growing tension. "Point is... You
Ďareí a good person. I just hope you told her about the
good times too."
"I did." Xena grinned.
"In fact, Iíve become quite the bard since youíve
departed," she teased. "Itís a position I hope you
will fill again since you do it sooo much better than I do...
but I realize you have a new life and a new... lover... So Iím
trying to walk a very thin line here... I mean, she is your
lover, isnít she?"
long it would take you to ask. "I really donít
think thatís any of your business, Xena." Gabrielle
The warrior looked
down in shame. Sheís right. Itís not. Sheís the one
whoís free here ... Iím the one whoís holding on.
see the pain in Xenaís eyes, but everything else conveyed an
utter defeat - the pouting lip, the slumped shoulders. Oh
enough is enough. No more games.
my lover," Gabrielle answered breaking the silence,
relieved by the fact she was being truthful. "Eponin
wants the job, but ... " But what? I still love you. I
still want to be a family. I still- "it just doesnít
feel right." Good answer. Truthful yet non-committal.
Oh thank you
Eli. "Then what DOES feel right?" Xena asked,
trying her damnedest not to smile at the news. "What
would make you happy?" Please say me. Please say me.
Gabrielle gave a
deep sigh. You. Like we were. Long ago. "Iím not
sure. I just remember the first few years that we were
together... All the faith. All the trust. I miss that. We
havenít had that for a long time. In truth, I think thatís
what bothered me most about the whole incident with Antony. I
watched you Ďfalling in loveí all over again. But this
time it wasnít with me. You undressed that man with your
eyes. And I couldnít remember the last time you looked at me
that way... But itís more than just sexual longing."
"What else is
there?" Xena asked. When Gabrielle raised her eyebrows at
the question, thinking she was treated as a sex object and
nothing more, Xena shook her head and hands to try to curb
another shouting match. "Sorry, came out all wrong." Xena grinned.
"I mean... what other things do you miss when you say Ďmoreí?"
"What is it
that you think I miss?" Gabrielle countered.
Xena shook her head. "If I put my foot in my mouth it
might end this peaceful discussion in a hurry."
Gabrielle answered. "How about right now, for example? I
ask a question, but I canít seem to get an answer. Thatís
happened quite a bit over the past year. You seem Ďafraidí
to talk to me. And that really hurts me, Xena. There was a
time when we could talk about ANYTHING with each other and we
Xena considered it
and nodded her agreement. "I think thatís true. We
havenít talked to each other for a long time... For quite
awhile I felt we couldnít relate to each other. It seemed
easier to be quiet than to Ďrock the boatí. We were
changing - growing apart instead of together."
Xena paused a
moment. "Because... you werenít the girl I fell in love
with any longer."
"And you fell
out of love with me? Why didnít you just tell me that Xena?
Why go on together?"
Xena sighed as she
noted the rise in the bardís voice. Things were heating up
again and she had to find a way to cool it.
stopped loving you Gabrielle... I just felt Ďdifferentí
from you. We both fought for the greater good at one point.
The key word is Ďfoughtí. You no longer wanted to fight
and felt peace was the key to happiness... I couldnít see it
that way. I felt belittled when you talked about all the
violence in the world. I started to feel like part of the
problem instead of the solution. Iím not sure you understand
and Iím not sure how I can explain it... All I know is that
I was scared. The woman I love and respect more than anything ...
no longer respected me."
stopped respecting you," Gabrielle answered on the verge
"No, but you
disrespected everything I stood for. Iím a warrior. I make
war upon people who harm others, like this village. I had no
place on your path."
"I gave up
that path," Gabrielle countered.
"Yes, I can
see that now," Xena agreed. "But that worry was
still there for long time - the worry that perhaps youíd
realize that peace really was the way. And weíd drift apart
even further than the first time. But I did realized that you
did choose the path of the warrior, like I did, and then that
unhappy that I became a warrior?" Gabrielle asked,
getting a little lost in the conversation. "Iím sorry, but
I donít understand. Weíre on the same path again,
unhappy really," Xena replied looking above to the stars,
trying to form the proper words. "I felt... worried...
that something would set you off. Somehow you would use your
warrior talents against the greater good. Somehow you would...
become me, or at least what I ONCE was. And when Ares took a
sudden interest in you, that didnít make me feel any better.
He saw it too - that spark, that fire - and that weighed on my
mind. So instead of coming together I felt pulled apart. Torn.
I wanted you to have a place in Eveís life... But I needed
someone I could depend on."
Gabrielle felt her
jaw drop and quickly closed her mouth. I canít believe
this. She needed someone she could depend on?! "How
many times did I tell you I couldnít love Eve more if she
were my own? How often did I tell you I would die for that
"Yes, but what
if you changed your mind again, Gabrielle? What if you decided
you didnít want a family? Or that live on the road wasnít
for you? What if we did decide to settle and you wanted to go
back on the road?"
talk about it, Xena, like we always did," Gabrielle
answered. "Iíve told you before I understood what life
with you would be like and I accepted it all. I still accept
it today... what I canít accept is being shut out. I canít
accept it and I wonít stand for it."
blame you, Gabrielle," the warrior answered truthfully.
"I told Hercules Iím surprised you stayed as long as
you did... I could say I didnít mean to do it, but thatís
a lie. I did mean to shut you out. I didnít want to get hurt
by you. So little by little, I pulled away. I didnít,
however, intend to hurt you in the process. I wasnít being
Ďvengefulí. I only wanted to protect myself... and
Gabrielle gave a
small nod. "I think I understand what youíre saying.
And I know weíve both been through so much these last three
years. Dahok, India, Eve - it just seems like itís one thing
after another. I canít remember the last time it was just
about Ďusí and us alone. I guess I just missed you too
much to stay with you. It hurt to be in your life, but be a
Take her hands.
Do it now or you might not ever get the chance again.
"Gabrielle, listen," the warrior said pulling the
bardís hands to her until their fingers locked. Xena let a
small grin creep out when she felt Gabrielleís fingers
squeeze around them instead of pulling away or staying limp.
"I love you. I will always love you. I never wanted you
to feel unwanted or unloved... All Iím asking for here is a
chance. Give Ďusí this chance to get to know each other
again. If you donít think we can go on together, Iíll bow
out gracefully. Iíll see to it that you get to know Eve, if
thatís what you want, with no arguments from me. I think itís
important you two get acquainted, regardless of what happens
daughter. Another daughter I tried to kill. Gabrielle felt
herself tearing up and she quickly wiped them away. "Iím
not sure if Eve would want that. After all, I did try to kill
Xena said smoothing the back of her fingers over the bardís
cheek. "She understands. She knows it wasnít really you
at the time."
Gabrielle held up
her finger for Xena to pause. Take a deep breath and try not
to cry. Sheíll get sympathetic with you and thatís not
what you need right now. "Iím sorry that I tried to
kill Eve. I tried to apologize to her in the throne room on
Olympus, but she cut me short and I never did finish. So I
want you to hear me out, alright?"
Xena only nodded,
giving Gabrielle the chance to continue.
"I know I was
under the influence of the furies, but I could have said
something beforehand. I could have warned you somehow. I mean
the furies went after you and you still managed to trick them
and beat the stuffing out of Ares to boot. If I had said
something, told you of my murderous thoughts, then I might
have been able to overcome it. But I stayed quiet and it cost
both of us our lives. Iím sorry, Xena. I donít think Iíll
ever be able to make that up to both of you... Iím not even
sure if you understand."
"Iím not so
sure about that," Xena answered. "For months now, Iíve
thought about many things I could have done different at Joxerís
that night. I think about how ĎIí could have stopped you
without relying on the chakram to do it. I could have tackled
you. I could have knocked the sai away instead. I replay that
moment over and over and every time I think of something
different I could have done."
Gabrielle gave a
small grin. "Perhaps you do understand," she
answered, giving a nod.
I do." What I wouldnít give to kiss this woman right
now. Xena licked her lips subconsciously. But donít
do it. Sheís not ready. Be happy to hold her hand. With
that thought, Xena gave it an extra squeeze. She could have
sworn she saw stars when she felt Gabrielle returned the grip
again as she did earlier.
coming! Theyíre coming!"
The runner yelled
as he ran through the town, warning the village. The sound
interrupted their conversation to both of their relieves.
Neither woman wanted to say too much nor did they want to make
rash comments of love. It was far too soon for either of them.
Gabrielle took a
deep breath. "Looks like itís show time," she said
looking at the wall, knowing Xena planned on staying with the
archers while she took her spot with the armed villagers in
way." Xena grinned. "You be careful."
Should I do it?
Is it false hope thinking weíll build a future together
again? We might not survive this attack though and Iíd
regret it if I didnít do it. I know I would. Oh what the
hell... Gabrielle slipped her hands out of Xenaís and
pulled the warriorís head down, planting a slow, delicate,
compassionate kiss on her cheek.
too," Gabrielle whispered giving the warriorís injured
arm a light pat. "Go easy on the flips," she teased
before she quickly darted away.
Before Xena could
open her eyes, which closed upon the gentle assault, the bard
was already on her way, traveling deeper into the heart of the
village. Her hand gently touched the flesh Gabrielle had just
graced with her lips. One kiss. Thatís all it was, but it
spoke volumes to the warrior. That one kiss meant so much, but
above all-else it meant purpose. She had a purpose in
defeating this army. Yes she would save this town, but the
true purpose was to move forward... with Gabrielle.
going?" Eponin asked.
going," Gabrielle said mustering a grin. "She
ready?" Gabrielle asked nodding over to August who sat
nervously on a bench.
"Yeah sheís got butterflies, but sheíll be
Gabrielle said skeptically. She looks borderline terrified.
"Okay, so she
threw up twice," Eponin confessed, "but sheíll be
should take her out of town," Gabrielle suggested.
"Is that an
order commander?" Eponin asked with a smirk as she used
the title that some of the villagers had bestowed upon
Gabrielle answered returning the grin. "Just looking for
"Then I think
she should stay," Eponin remarked. "I think it would
do her good. Let her get her feet wet a little. Let her see
what life outside her village can be like. She handled the
staff well today and like before Iíll stand by her."
Gabrielle gave a
confident nod. "Okay, Iím gonna talk to her. Iíll be
back in a few," Gabrielle answered, giving Eponinís arm
a light squeeze before she left.
August darted to
her feet when she saw Gabrielle approaching, but she said
"How ya doing,
sweetie?" Gabrielle asked.
okay. I just hope I donít disappoint you," August
replied. Gabrielle could hear the shake in the girlís voice.
Eponin, okay? Sheíll take care of you. And if something
happens to her, make sure you come to me, okay? Iíll be
right there in the square of town holding that position. Iíll
either be walking away once the army is defeated or carried
away to a funeral pyre. But know that I wonít be leaving
that spot. And if Iím gone then go to Xena. Sheíll get you
"You said to
run when you get outnumbered. I donít understand,"
did," Gabrielle replied. "And thatís the best
course of action if itís just you and you alone. War is
different. If my line falls, then the army will take the
village for sure. Theyíll reap the bounty and burn it to the
ground. Hopefully, Xenaís line with the archers will take
out most of them. Do you understand? My line has to stand or
the village falls."
August took a deep
breath as she nodded. "Yes, I understand. And Iíll do
as you say. I promise."
all I can ask." Gabrielle grinned, giving the young lady a
chuck on the shoulder. "Remember - Eponin, me, Xena.
reply vocal. She just nodded.
fine," Gabrielle said confidently. She was going to
continue, but she heard Xenaís voice boom out.
line... Fire! Next line... Fire! Next line!" Xenaís
voice repeated over and over. Gabrielle couldnít see what
was happening because of the darkness, but she was well aware.
Xena had three rows of archers firing one at a time so the
army was met with a continuous onslaught of arrows.
heard Xena call out to their daughter. "Eve! Go north! Go
North?! Oh no!
The north was too rocky so we didnít guard it as heavy. Gabrielle
pushed past her men to stand front and center. She watched Eve
and her Ďtroopsí dash across the courtyard and scurry up
the ladder to defend it from the attackers. As she and her
troops arrived, the army began to come over the wall. If Eveís
forces had moved just a few minutes slower the army could have
overtaken the city. But as it stood now, Eve and her men went
toe to toe with the attackers, hoisting them back over the
wall and into their comradeís path.
"I need some
archers now!!" Eve called out from across the square to
A man from
Gabrielleís unit stepped up to her. "We should go help
her," he insisted.
Gabrielle snapped much harder then she intended and she
softened her voice. "No, we stay here."
why?" he argued. "What good is just standing here
when my brother over there needs help on the wall?"
as Xena sent a line of her archers down the ladder and over to
Eve for reinforcement. As she turned back she looked eastward
above! More of them?! When Xena looked westward she gave a
sigh to see that no one else was coming. At least thatís one
good sign. Xena pointed toward the back of the town. "To
the east!" she shouted to Gabrielle.
around, but she couldnít see anything coming... at least,
why." Gabrielle smirked to the man. "Come on!"
the bard shouted as the villagers followed her lead as she
went through town.
"I though you
were going to stay in the square no matter what!" August
shouted from the water brigade as Gabrielle raced by her
plans. Gotta be flexible. Comes with the job," Gabrielle
retorted as she raced along.
Gabrielle came to a
stop when saw about 20 men on horseback, riding hard toward
them carrying torches. Trip the horses. Cause a back up.
Joseph! Get a rope! Wrap it around the hitching posts so itís
in the riderís path. When I say pull, raise the rope and
trip the horses! Go! Now!" Gabrielle yelled.
The men dashed
inside the corral and returned seconds later. Jacob wrapped it
around once and ran across the street to the other post and
wrapped it once as well. Both men picked up their ends and
looked to Gabrielle who was watching the army.
"Okay, you six
on one side, you six on the other," she called to the
rest of her men. They too obeyed and formed what looked like a
wide tunnel as Gabrielle stood at the end. Closer the horse
came, their hooves sounding like thunder as they tore up the
earth behind them.
They were almost
within the city when Gabrielle called out.
Both men heaved
with all their might and they watched as the rope got as taunt
as a bowstring, tripping the horses and sending their riders
headfirst into the dirt. The men directly behind them got
tripped up in the mass of human and horses scattered about.
When the next wave came inside, they managed to by pass the
commotion, going right into the Ďtunnelí of Gabrielleís
men where they were dragged from their steeds and pummeled.
As the invasion
from the east began to subside, Gabrielle looked to Eve who
now had her archers in place and doing a good job of defending
that side. Xenaís team, however, didnít seem to be fairing
as well. And Xena herself seemed to struggle as more men
managed to climb the ladders and the wall. She was wearing
down; getting tired and Gabrielle knew why. It was the arm.
Her stance was off and what she was lacking in skill she had
to compensate with harder blows. Blows that began to take
their toll on Xena now as the warrior moved slower and slower.
Gabrielle knew she
couldnít leave her men so she prayed. She prayed hard. Keep
her safe. If anyone is listening please donít let me lose
her. Not now. Give her strength. Gabrielle squeezed her
eyes shut for a moment, almost as if she were straining to
give Xena whatever strength she had within herself.
One more to go...
One more to go... Xenaís mind chanted as she faced each
man, taking them one at a time in her imagination. She didnít
feel quite as tired with this approach. She wasnít as
susceptible to give into her exhaustion if she examined the
battle in such a Ďsingularí fashion, keeping that as her
Xena stumble against an attacker who, in all likelihood, was
not that much of a warrior. Thatís it! Iíve gotta get
up there. Gabrielle took two steps when she felt a light
hand on her shoulder.
a voice told her.
as Aphrodite disappeared from behind her to instantly appear
at Xenaís side. Dite blew something in the attacker's face
and Xena watched as the man got a sappy look on his face and
stumbled a bit. Dite released a giggle and took three strides
to push the man off the wall with a poke of her index finger.
that arm," Dite said returning to Xena. She placed a
light grasp on it and Xena could feel the throb that got worse
from the battle melt away. "Good as new," Dite said
with a wink, making the split and sling disappear.
worried about the Olympian order holding that against
you?" Xena asked with a smirk.
bitter-sweetly. "There is no Olympian order anymore,
Xena," the goddess retorted. "All I have now are my
friends," she added, as her head nodded toward Gabrielle.
"Least I can do is answer their prayers."
Aphrodite," Xena began. "I didnít want to harm
Hephesteus, or anyone, but they didnít give me much choice.
I hope you realize that," Xena offered.
men." Dite grinned as she began to tear up. "I told
him not to go... but he didnít listen. I told Artemis too.
And Athena. None of them listened." Xena watched Diteís
mind going elsewhere, but she came back with a shake as if
clearing her thoughts. "Did this conversation turn into a
real bummer or what?" she said trying to grin.
"Anyway, sweet cheeks, do right by the bardly one, okay?
Thatís all I ask."
"You got a
deal," Xena agreed with a smile.
word, the goddess vanished and Xena found herself face-to-face
with a solider charging her as he screamed a battle cry. With
two quick swipes of her sword, Xenaís attacker fell to the
ground below quiet and lifeless. Xena gave a brilliant warcry
and Gabrielle gave a sigh of relief as she watched the warrior
do a double summersault before landing in the thick of the
Eveís troops gave
a cheer, but the victory of the North end didnít last long.
The army at Xenaís line had worked its way deep into town
and as Gabrielle suspected they fired flaming arrows to the
rooftops in the hope of burning the village. The bucket
brigade of woman and older children began to extinguish the
fire while Eponin and her team kept guard over them. A few
soldiers managed to make their way toward them, but the
villagers took them out fairly quick.
Eponin beamed with
pride as August gracefully kept her own against the intruders.
She never left the young womanís side, and unlike the battle
earlier that day, she didnít once have to go in for the
save. With the remained of the army inside the village, now
was the perfect time to lay siege. All four women Ė Eponin,
Gabrielle, Eve and Xena all looked at each other, all of them
knowing the same thing. If they all converged at once there
would be no escape, the army would be surrounded.
The army noticed
this as well when they realized their numbers were dwindling
instead of growing now that they were inside the city.
Siscerus, their leader, looked around and saw the deviation
this Ďlittle towní had done to his troops and he started
to scream his retreat.
Fall back!" he yelled from atop his war-horse.
back?" Xena taunted him as she menaced closer toward him.
"Well, if you insist." With that Xena leaped up into
the air, knocking him backward off the mare he rode. "Howís
that for falling back?" She smirked.
He scooted along on
his butt, trying to move away from her. Cat and mouse,
Gabrielle thought as she took in the sight. I have to admit
I love watching her play cat and mouse. Men from the army
began to rush past her trying to leave town. She could have
stopped them, but since they posed no real threat anymore she
let them go without harm. Besides, watching Xena work was too
interesting to look away.
congratulated August on a job well done, she turned to see
Gabrielle studying the warrior intensely. Her eyes then
focused to Xena and then back to Gabrielle. Iíll never be
able to compete with that, Eponin considered as she
watched how captivated Gabrielle looked. Never.
Siscerus began to
plead to the warrior.
me! Donít kill me," he answered in a timid voice.
"Iím begging you. Donít kill me."
not?" Xena taunted. "You were ready to kill these
people in this village."
Iím sorry. I just-."
Thought it would be easy pickings? Thought you could take what
you wanted although it wasnít yours?... Oh donít worry." Xena grinned.
"I wonít kill you. Thatís up to the people of this
village to decide."
With that, Xena
pulled the man to his feet and a group of villagers began to
disarm him of any weapons and tie him up. Some townsfolk began
to chant for his immediate death, but it didnít go on very
long until the village leader stepped up.
approached with a battle-ax in his hand to calm the crowd.
"Everyone please listen," he began. "This man
will not be harmed until heís stood trial for his crimes
tomorrow. He will be handled within the laws of this town.
Justice will be served... Is that understood?"
A few of the
villagers screamed for a hanging. A few others for a
decapitation. The majority, however, agreed peacefully.
"We have no
time to argue tonight. This warlord will go to the village
jail. We have to attend to our wounded so I urge anyone who is
not injured to please escort those who are to the tavern so we
can give them the care they need," he offered instead.
Those words hit
home and the protesters quickly went to work on finding people
that needed care as Siscerus was taken to the village holding
August and Eponin
have seen it!" August said proudly, "I put one
warrior right on his backside. It was great! He never saw it
coming," she added.
Gabrielle grinned. I
remember the first time I did that. Xena looked so proud of me
for being able to defend myself that I was in heaven... At
least until the next battle when she had to save my ass.
Gabrielle chuckled at the memory as she congratulated August,
"Well done. Iím glad youíre both in one piece."
She smiled warmly.
"I have to
admit though," August replied. "It was exciting, but
Iím glad itís over."
began to slip away.
"Sorry sweetie, but
itís not over yet. Weíve got to make choices now --
difficult choices of who needs the greatest help,"
Gabrielle answered as she nodded toward two men who were
carrying a third into the tavern. "In fact, the hard part
is just beginning."
holding up, sweetie?" Gabrielle asked coming to Augustís
believe it," August answered in a low voice as she
cleaned a manís head wound. "Look around."
Gabrielle did just
that. It was a long time since she actually LOOKED at the
effect war brought. It had almost become routine for her in a
sense. Hearing the despondency in August voice took Gabrielle
back to the many battle she and Xena faced - especially the
early ones when she was Ďfresh off the farmí herself.
Despite all the
heartache and pain floating through the tavern tonight, one
"It was a good
day fighting," Gabrielle answered.
What did she
just say?! "A good day fighting? Thatís what you
call this?" August said, trying not to raise her voice in
her anger. "Look at all the people that are hurt!"
"And look at
all the ones who are still alive. We havenít lost anyone yet
tonight August. Trust me. In the end, if you can walk away -
if you live to see another sunrise - youíve done a good job...
Believe me, it was a good day fighting. It could have been
worse... much worse."
"I guess I didnít look at it that way," she
only way you can look at war and move on. Itís a senseless
necessity," Gabrielle answered.
about it... . If that army had turned back and walked away
none of this would have happened. Thatís senseless. They
chose to return and the villagers had to defend what was
theirs Ė it was a matter of survival... a necessity. The sad
part is no one really won today. The warlord lost his army.
Tomorrow heíll probably lose his life. And as for the
villagers, theyíve harmed human beings. Theyíve taken
lives. And those images will stay with them for all their
Gabrielleís words as she began to unroll the clean bandage.
"Can you ... ?" August nodded to the unconscious man
for Gabrielle to lift his head.
Gabrielle answered. But first she felt for a pulse in his
neck. Next, she went to his wrist. Gently, she put his head
back down. "Save the bandage for someone who needs
it," she told the young girl. "Itís too late for
August eyes got
wide and her lower lip started to shake. Yes, Gabrielle wanted
to give the girl a dose of reality, but perhaps not this
Gabrielle said taking the bandage from her. "Go outside
and get some air for a little bit, okay? Weíve done about
all we can here tonight anyway."
make eye contact with Gabrielle. She simply nodded and rushed
outside. Xena watched the young woman dart from the tavern as
she was stitching up one of the villagerís arms that had a
nasty gash. The smile Xena had as she conversed with the man
fell when she watched the young girl flee.
better in no time," Xena said as she rose, patting his
knee. She turned to make her way over to Gabrielle when the
man stopped her.
he told her sincerely. "Thanks for everything."
mention it," Xena answered with a warm grin.
Gabrielle looked up
from the dead man when she felt Xena approach.
"Do you know
him? Youíve been in town a bit longer than I have,"
mayorís brother," Xena answered as stoic as ever.
pulled a sheet over his body.
years ago... I told myself that I would never get used to
this. The death. The destruction... But now it seems like just
another part of life - a Ďgivení. So whatís the use in
crying over it?... Do you think that makes me
"I think that
makes you practical," Xena replied. "If you took
everything youíve seen in your journeys to heart then youíd
be half crazy by now. Youíre not insensitive," Xena
added. "Youíve just learned when to care and when to
walk away. And thatís not a bad thing."
caring," Gabrielle said, mustering a grin. "I still
havenít had the chance to speak with our daughter. Is she
still up and around?"
"No, I sent
her back to the inn to get some rest," Xena answered.
"She was pretty beat."
grew into a smile and Xena cocked her head in
thinkin' about bard?" Xena grinned.
daughter." Gabrielle smiled. "I havenít really had the
chance to examine that fact or enjoy it... I like the way that
sounds... Our daughter."
be delighted to hear you say that," Xena offered.
"Sheís been hoping for awhile now that youíd learn
the truth. She even calls you mom when she refers to you.
Perhaps we can head to the amazons and you can show her Ďthe
ropesí so to speak." Xena realized that she might have
just made a wild assumption by including herself in Gabrielleís
travel plans. "I mean thatís if you want me there. If
not, then the two of you could go. I donít-."
Gabrielle began, stopping the warrior from rambling any
further. "Relax. Sheís our daughter. Iím sure sheíd
want you there."
you? Would you want me there?" Xena asked.
Gabrielle knew what
she had just said, but she didnít think it all the way
through. If Xena were there, then that means they would be
traveling together again. Was she ready? She looked up into
Xenaís azure eyes and saw the warriorís soul aching for a
Gabrielle said confidently. "I would... I have missed you
ya know?" Where the hell did that come from? she
thought silently unable to look at Xena any longer.
Nah ah, the
warrior thought. I canít let her look away this time and
hide her heart away from me. Xenaís fingertips gently
pulled up Gabrielleís chin forcing the bard to meet her
you too," Xena answered. "And I donít ever want to
miss you again."
Gabrielle had the
urge to hide her joy at Xenaís words, but quickly gave up,
realizing it was useless. The warrior would see right through
her anyway. So Gabrielle gave into her temptation and gave a
bashful, red-faced grin. I feel like a sappy, love struck
teenager again, Gabrielle thought as she looked into the
warriorís eyes. But I have to admit... it feels pretty
Damn. I wish the
timing were better. Iíd whisk you away from everyone and
everything if I could. But duty calls. Xena rose, the
warmth of her fingers leaving Gabrielleís cheek.
to find the mayor and break the bad news," Xena told
Gabrielle. "Why donít you head back to the inn with
August and get some rest? We could talk more there if you
like," she offered.
The spell Gabrielle
felt was momentarily broken and she looked around. The wounded
had been tended to and many of them were asleep. Xena was
right. It was time to call it a day so she nodded her
"Okay." Xena grinned
warmly. "Head on over and Iíll be there in a few."
then," Gabrielle answered.
Xena turned and
walked out of the makeshift healerís station to go in search
of the mayor. Gabrielle for her part walked outside into the
early morning air, searching for August. She found the girl
hunched over by a well across from the tavern.
sweetie," Gabrielle began, running a hand over the galís
back in comfort. "Letís call it a night, okay? You and
I could both use the rest, alright?"
August could only
The bard knew that
the girl had gotten sick again just like she did before the
attack. She put her arm around the girlís shoulder in
support. Once at the inn, the two went to the grand room
located downstairs. Since the rooms were all filled, they had
to use the Ďliving quartersí for shelter. It had a decent
sized fireplace and the room felt cozy and warm.
Eponin and Eve were
already asleep on opposite sides of the room. Gabrielle helped
August to bed and took the boots off the exhausted girl.
"Did you need
some mint or something to settle your stomach?" the bard
asked, keeping her voice low as to not wake the others.
thanks," August answered. "Sleep is all I
need." A moment after the girlís head hit the pillow
she was out.
Gabrielle took a
moment to examine the young woman. She grew up a little bit
today. Perhaps Eponin was right. Perhaps she did need this in
some way. Gabrielle rose and looked at the room. For the first
time since seeing Xena again, she felt torn. Should she sleep
on Eponinís side like she did the last few months or should
she sleep on Xenaís side as she did the last few years?
Ha. The irony,
she joked to herself as she looked at the empty spaces she
could take. Iíll sleep by Eve, the bard decided as
she picked up some blankets and pillows that lay near the
fireplace. Hmm. Warm, the bard thought as she snuggled
into them feeling sleep begin to take her over almost as
quickly as August.
She heard a door
open, but didnít raise her head. By the footsteps she could
tell it was Xena. When she heard the breastplate come off she
knew for a fact it WAS Xena and released a content sigh.
Well, so much
for talking tonight, Xena thought as she looked at the
bard with a grin. At least sheís on this side of the room.
The warrior came
over and took a spot next to Gabrielle so the bard was now
sandwiched between her and Eve. As Xena lay on her back,
trying to unwind from the day, she felt Gabrielle roll over
and cuddle into her shoulder without saying a word.
Xena didnít know
if it was intentional or force of habit. All she did know is
that she enjoyed it and she wasnít going to question it too
Iím still here,
Xenaís mind thought before falling asleep. Sheís here.
Eveís here. It was a good day fighting.
opened her eyes to find August giving a light snore next to
her. She wiped her eyes of the sleep and rolled over to face
Gabrielle. But the bard wasnít there. She canít be up
already, can she?
Slowly, Eponin rose
to rest her weight on her elbows. Thatís when she saw three
sets of feet across the room. Quietly as possible, she rose
and walked over to the other side of the room. Gabrielle was
still nuzzled in the warriorís arms. Xenaís cheek rested
on the top of Gabrielleís blonde crown.
Admit it, Ep. They
look perfect together, the ex-amazon told herself. She
needs her. They both need each other. Sure you want a lover, but
you want THAT. You want exactly what youíre looking at -
that kind of love and connection. And youíre never going to
find that with Gabrielle. Yeah you could build your world
around her, but sheíd never love you like that in return.
She couldnít because she already gave her heart away.
opened her eyes, but she didnít move. Xena could have
smirked at the amazon and threw it in her face that Gabrielle
had chosen her as a sleeping mate this evening. But Xena
recognized that Ep did love Gabrielle deeply by the pain that
showed on the amazonís face.
never love her the way I do, Xena thought as she looked
treat her right," Eponin warned the warrior in a whisper.
"Or next time you might lose her for good."
Xena didnít reply
vocally she gave a slight nod to Eponin fully understanding
what Eponin was saying and knowing that statement was very
true. That single nod also conveyed that Xena would in fact do
right by her. She wouldnít give Gabrielle any reason to
doubt her has a mate again.
Eponin gave Xena
the Ďwarrior nodí that Xena recognized well. It was one of
respect for being Ďbestedí by someone. It was one she
herself had never given to anyone. She had never been bested.
Nearly killed - yes. But never Ďbestedí.
word, Eponin left the room, closing the door behind her.
jarred awake by the noise and darted her head up. When she
didnít find anyone standing above her, she took notice that
someone was below her. She felt a bashful grin come to her
face as she watched the smiling warrior.
Xena said tenderly pulling her back down to her shoulder.
slightest bit of hesitation Gabrielle put her head back down
and gave a sigh. "Morniní," she echoed in a sleepy
voice. After she became more awake she asked, "Who
awake? Then that means she saw me... with Xena. Oh shit!
"I better go
talk to her," Gabrielle replied as she sat up, rubbing
her eyes to focus.
read me the warrior riot act," Xena answered.
hear her," Gabrielle replied.
"Well, it was
one sentence actually... You know how us stoic warriors are,
Gabrielle. We donít say much, but when we do we make it
lord," Gabrielle sighed, "What did she say?"
the bard asked, dreading the answer.
"She warned me
to treat you right or next time Iíd lose you for good."
Gabrielle looked to
Xena to continue. When she didnít add more Gabrielle asked,
need to say more. I knew what she meant. And I know itís
true." Xenaís fingers unconsciously found the bard's
arm and began to rub it up and down. "I want to give it
another chance... but you have to want that too,
Gabrielle." Please say yes. Lord, let her say yes.
Do I want to
give it another chance? Gabrielle considered. Do I want
to risk being hurt again? Am I strong enough to walk away
again if I have to? Or will we find that connection we once
had where we spoke our minds and led with our hearts? Gabrielle
felt the grin pull at the corners of her mouth. It was useless
to resist it.
"I think I
want that too... but slowly... I need to take things
Inside the warrior
was doing cartwheels, but on the outside she gave a tender
grin. She moved to her elbows as she sat up.
"Do you have
any idea how happy that makes me?" Xena asked.
"Real happy?" she teased.
happy," the warrior replied, moving closer still until
she was sitting directly in front of the bard. Her hands made
their way to Gabrielleís face. "So very, very
happy," Xena added in a soft whisper.
She gonna do it,
Gabrielle thought as Xena moved in even closer.
Just as Gabrielle
had suspected Xenaís lips tenderly captured her own. The
kiss was tentative at first - a few light pecks that lingered,
causing Gabrielleís blood pressure to rise. Suddenly,
Gabrielle could feel her pulse in her head before traveling
the length of her body. For the first time in months, she felt
a torch within her ignite. The kisses that Eponin gave her now
and then warmed her like a campfire. Xenaís scorched her
like a blazing inferno through a thick forest. And she loved
it... missed it... wanted more of it.
Damn, this woman
knows how to kiss, Gabrielle thought merrily as more force
came in the kisses that followed - a confidence growing
between both women.
Neither woman was
sure how it happened nor, in truth, did they seemed to care,
but at some point Xena ended up lying on her back again. But
this time, she had Gabrielle sparing kisses back and forth
with growing speed as she hovered over her.
said in her mind. Take it slow... But she feels so damn
good... To Hell with slow. Itís been too damn long. Xenaís
hands were on the verge of leaving the bardís mid-section to
cup her breast.
They would have
continued, but a voice brought them to a halt.
There are children in the room for crying out loud."
Xena and Gabrielle
both stopped the reacquainting of their lips to giggle like
guilty teenagers at Eve.
"Should I kill
her now or later for stopping us?" Xena asked Gabrielle
with an arched eyebrow to Eve.
kill her. Not yet anyway. We havenít had the chance to talk
yet - mother to daughter."
Eve couldnít help
but grin. "She told you, huh?" Gabrielle simply
nodded. "And youíre okay with that?" Eve asked
with a bit of uncertainty.
wonderful with that," Gabrielle answered without
"Told you not
to worry." Xena winked to her daughter. "And as much
as Iíd like to lay on this blanket kissing you all
day," she added to Gabrielle, "I think it might be
better if go check on the villagers and see how things are
Xena began to rise, but
Gabrielle stopped her.
she called softly.
warrior found her lips coveted again by the bard's, and she
couldnít hold back the hum of pleasure at the sensation.
When they broke apart, Xena took an unsteady breath to stand
on even more unsteady legs.
Xena told her daughter. "I pray someday you find someone
who can kiss like that," she added as she smiled to
Gabrielle. The three of them chuckled loud enough to roust
August from her slumber. "Hey sleeping beauty is
up," Xena teased. August gave a yawn and sat up
stretching. "Come on, kiddo," the warrior told the
young lady. "A new day has dawned and itís time to go
out into the world so grab your boots."
August gave another
yawn as she fumbled with her footwear. Once in place, Xena
helped pull the girl to her feet.
back later," she told Gabrielle and Eve, who were sitting
in the piles of blankets, looking quite cozy. Xena was almost
to the door when she stopped and strode back to the bard,
shaking her head. "I canít leave just yet," she
said as she leaned down and pointed to her lips. "One
more," she said with a sexy grin.
up and stroked the warriorís cheeks as her lips made a very
delicate impact upon the warrior.
that?" the bard teased.
bad," Xena replied, "But I think we should practice
more later," she added with a stroke to the bardís
With that, Xena
rose and walked with August who stood momentarily slack-jawed
by what she just witnessed. Oh, she knew Xena was Gabrielleís
lover at one point in their lives, but she didnít realize
that things had changed... literally... overnight.
Once alone, Eve
turned to Gabrielle who was beaming like a lantern.
months to say this," Eve began with a huge grin.
the bard asked truly intrigued by what her daughter had to
Eve took a deep
breath and released it slowly, savoring the moment with her
eyes closed. When she opened them she smiled at the bard.
"Mom... Will YOU
tell me one of your stories."
to Part VI