At Last Part 1
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
Xena, Gabby and the rest of the crew are not mine but this story, however, is. It contains adult themes and should be viewed only by adults. If you are not an adult (18+) that means you have to go away. If you live someplace where reading things of an adult nature would get you into trouble you should also go away and do some other reading...
or just move to a different city, find a new job and start a new life<G>.
Note: This is the final story in the ‘Homecoming’
series. I was going to finish the series with ‘No Place Like Home’ but reader demand was too great that I continue it. I received many letters in regard to the last one and a few people did some pretty harsh name calling - their personal attacks against me almost prompted me NOT to write this for spite (maybe that’s why it’s taken so long<G>). But in any case, majority ruled and I listened not to the cynics but the people who really cared about the relationship I created for Xena and Gabrielle. Unlike the producers of the series, when ‘I’ killed Gabby I had a plan and a reason for her demise. As well as a
plausible way to bring her back<G>. I always loved "Clash of the Titans" with Harry Hamlin. So using poetic license I changed the tale a bit. Hey! If Xena can change history so can I!<BG>.
struggles with motherhood alone after Gabrielle's death...But
a deal from the Gods might be what they need to continue their
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Last Part
1 of 2
"I know you
can hear me, Gabrielle."
whispered as she made sure all of Gabrielle’s buckles were
in place of her queen’s armor. "I’m not sure how
I’m going to do this alone."
Terris walked into
the royal hut unnoticed to the grieving warrior. She listened
to Xena’s almost silent confession.
Xena turned and
took a startled look at Terris.
sorry," Terris said quickly. "I didn’t mean to
Xena took a breath
and ran her fingers through her hair. She was exhausted and
she looked it.
"It’s alright Terris," she
reassured the healer with a grim smile. "You meant no
summing up the warrior, wishing there was something - ANYTHING
- she could do to ease her suffering.
"The pyre is
ready," she said softly. "I’ll call the
Xena softly ordered. "Please send Lila here before they
puzzled, but she nodded just the same. Moments later, Lila
arrived, creeping in quietly.
"You sent for
me, Xena?" she asked.
Xena wasn’t sure
how to begin. She had debated this issue back and forth for
the last three days since Gabrielle’s death.
"Yes, Lila. I...
I don’t want to do this," Xena sighed with
what?" the bard's sister asked softly, slightly confused.
her," Xena began choking back tears. "I don’t want
to ‘sacrifice her to the flames’."
customary to all amazons; especially the queen," Lila
"I know that, but
I can’t do it. I want to take her to Amphipolis... to
"But Ephiny said –."
give a damn what she said!" Xena replied harshly, a blaze
of anger passing in her azure eyes. She paused a moment. Lila
didn’t deserve her wrath. The bard's sister was only being
the voice of reason. A voice that would be mimicked by the
"I can handle
the amazons," Xena finally continued. "What I need
from you is your blessing... if that’s alright."
what Xena was asking. It was going to be a ‘hard sell’ to
the amazons, but all Gabs ever wanted was Xena’s happiness.
And if taking Gabrielle to Amphipolis made Xena happy...
"You have my
blessing," she said soundly, hugging her bond-sister.
"I’ll deal with Ephiny." She grinned affectionately.
Xena pulled back
and studied Lila. She looked nothing like Gabrielle, but in
many ways they shared a certain renegade spirit.
Lila. I don’t know why, but I just can’t... "
continue. She couldn’t even say the words out loud again.
But she finished it in her mind... Burn her. She’s too
beautiful to reduce to ashes.
care of it," Lila whispered as she placed a kiss on
Xena’s tear stained cheek. "Don’t worry."
Xena closed the lid
on the coffin as Lila gave the guards orders to fetch Ephiny.
When the regent - now queen - entered Lila went straight to
taking Gabrielle to Amphipolis," the princess informed
"The pyre is
prepared. We –."
taking Gabrielle to Amphipolis," Lila repeated more
believe what she was hearing. "Do you have any idea what
you two are doing?! The council –."
"Leave them to
me," Xena said softly, entering the conversation.
"I’ll explain my reasoning to them, but either way,
I’m taking her to Amphipolis. Don't try to stop me."
No one in the royal
hut spoke - each woman contemplated what the other’s
argument would be and were considering their own words. Lila’s
voice finally broke the growing silence.
that the litter is prepared," she said making her way
outside, finishing the debate.
stood sizing each other up. Both warriors looked tense and on edge,
waiting for one of them to make the first move. Ephiny spoke
realize," she began, "her spirit will never be
released as long as she’s in that tomb."
who?" Xena argued. "Artemis? The Goddess who tried
to keep me from Gabrielle so many years ago? The goddess who
couldn’t protect us from Zagreus attack? The goddess who
"I get the
point, Xena," Ephiny said cutting her off. "You have
contempt for our goddess. That’s fine, but many amazons here
will fear her wrath if you take their queen without a proper
icy blue eyes meet Ephiny’s.
"She’s coming with me.
Send a runner to Amphipolis to warn my mother of our
unsure until Xena uttered one word.
The single, gently
spoken word made Ephiny feel totally helpless to comply. She
could hear Xena wasn’t up for the battle right now, yet she
was willing to fight if need be to see her wishes carried out.
Ephiny slowly walked over and pulled Xena into a tender
friend," she whispered, stroking the warrior's hair,
letting her know that the warrior princess would win this
fight. "Alright," she said more firmly pulling away
just a bit to face the warrior.
Xena began to cry...
for the tenth time that morning.
cheeks. Where’s your token?"
around her clothing, "I don’t have a token."
Charon looked her
up and down. "Well, sorry toots. Gotta have a token if
you wanna ride. Neeext!" he yelled.
A man pushed
Gabrielle aside, taking a spot on the boat to travel the river
the bard exclaimed. "Watch it!"
lady," Charon began. "I got paying customers here, so
if ya don’t mind move along."
raced. She didn’t want to be stuck on the docks forever and
she had to find someway across. Suddenly it clicked in her
"Looks like a
long journey," Gabrielle commented to the ferryman.
"Probably gets pretty boring, huh?"
trips feel like forever," he replied casually until he
realized he was STILL talking to the bard. "Hey! I
thought I told you to get lost!"
"Now hold on a
second. You need something to pass the time and I have just
want you need."
"And what’s that, sweetie?" he said doubtingly.
"Stories." Gabrielle grinned. "I’m a bard. A pretty good one too.
What do you say? You let me aboard and I’ll tell you some
thanks," he replied, taking another paying customer.
Gabrielle replied casually walking away, "but it’s not
everyone who has the tale of how Xena: Warrior Princess
returned Hades helmet. In fact, no one but me."
Gabrielle paused a
few beats with her back turned, her grin well hidden.
"No one knows
that tale," Charon said with amazement. "How do you
claim to know it?"
"Because I was
there," Gabrielle said triumphantly, walking back toward
Charon took all of
three seconds. "Alright. You win. Get on the boat and
don’t leave out the good parts!"
aboard with her smile of victory firmly in place.
worked - Xena, Terris, ‘the girls’ and two royal guards
had left under a shroud of secrecy. She said she would discuss
things with the council first and then later the tribe.
The team traveled
all day long. Night had just begun to fall in Amphipolis as
they arrived. As Xena directed the guard on where to take
Gabrielle’s body, Terris and the other guard offered to take
the children while the warrior sought out her mother.
She didn’t have
to look far. Cyrene and Taria were cleaning up for the night.
Upon looking up and
seeing her daughter, Cyrene began to cry.
one," she sobbed as she walked over with open arms. Xena
nearly collapsed in her mother embrace, shaking
gone," Xena whispered between sobs.
told us everything Xena. I’m so sorry," she said
squeezing her tighter. "Here," she said leading Xena
to a chair. "Have a seat. I’ll get you some food and
something warm to drink."
hungry mother," Xena answered.
"You may not
be, but I’m sure those babies are. You need to keep your
strength up for them... Am I wrong?"
Xena gave a half
grin of defeat. There was no sense in arguing with the old
woman - she’d only lose.
"Whatever you have will
do," Xena said.
Cyrene answered. "Whatever you want is what you’ll
get," she said rising, tussling Xena’s hair. It made
Xena chuckle. Here she was: a fearsome warrior; a grown woman,
nearly a foot taller than her mother. And yet she was still
coddled like a small child.
But she realized
since having children herself that no matter how big her kids
may become, no matter how powerful or how popular to the
masses - they too would still be HER little ones. Hers and
Gabrielle’s... Gabrielle... The name spoken only in her
mind opened the flood gates.
returned Xena told her all in her own sob-filled words, even
her non-attachment to Karis.
As if cued Terris
and the guards walked in with Cyrene’s grandchildren. Terris
felt Xena wasn’t quite up for introductions so Terris did it
for her. The older woman took the newborn Karis in her arms.
Lexia, Xena’s oldest, was fast asleep so Taria pointed out
the kitchen and showed the guard where to carry the baby to
beautiful," Xena’s mother cooed. They were now alone in
the dimly lit dinning room.
Xena’s face was
grim in this light, although she grinned softly. "She
is," Xena agreed. "She’s got Autolycus’ dark
hair, but that nose and those eyes are Gabrielle all the
Cyrene cocked her
head as if to say something, but changed her mind.
"Out with it
mother," Xena ordered playfully.
looks like Gabrielle," Cyrene acknowledged. "Has
anyone told you that?" she added.
Xena reflected for
a brief moment. No, she decided. They haven’t. Come
to think of it no one has said much about Karis at all.
hasn’t been time," Xena confessed, she started to tear
up. "With everything that’s happened... "
Cyrene put her hand
on Xena’s to let her know that she understood and Xena
didn’t have to finish the thought.
"She really is
quite beautiful," Cyrene whispered again. "I look at
her and I can see Gabrielle," she said trying to sound
Xena asked. "You see it too?"
absolutely!" Cyrene agreed. "Does she eat all the
time too?" Cyrene teased.
The more Xena
she began with a sincere grin of joy. "She does. I’ve
had to wean Lexia. Karis was taking all the milk for
Cyrene smiled and
stroked Karis’ face tenderly. "Gorgeous green eyes,
bottomless pit of a stomach... I bet 15 years from now
she’ll be beatin’ them off with a stick... literally!"
Xena giggled at the
comment and the mischievous look in her mother's eye.
Cyrene considered aloud in baby talk to Karis, "You’re
your mother’s daughter alright." Cyrene looked up at
her own child. "You know, little one," Cyrene told
Xena, "instead of looking at this child as the one who
took Gabrielle, maybe you could look at her as her legacy. I
can already see so much of Gabrielle in her. Maybe instead of
the negative, you can look on Karis and see all the things you
loved about Gabrielle."
She could see Xena
was strongly pondering the suggestion.
one has mentioned that to me until now."
"Good, I’m glad," she teased. "It’s nice to
know you can still only get motherly advice from your
Karis began to
bellow before Xena could reply. Cyrene tried to comfort the
child since Karis began to scream from out of nowhere.
mom," Xena said offering her arms to take the infant.
"She’s hungry. And we’ll never hear the end of it
until she eats."
before she turned the baby over to Xena. "Like I said... Gabrielle."
As Xena settled
into the chair to feed the baby, she smiled a genuine smile
for the first time in days, perhaps even weeks. She looked
down feeding her lover’s child - and for the first time, her
child as well.
Xena awoke after
breakfast feeling more rested than she did in weeks. As she
wiped the sleep from her eyes, Terris entered with Lex in her
morning," the healer said putting Lex on the bed.
"Your mother saved you a few eggs and some pork
Xena replied. The warrior watched her daughter struggle up the
thick quilt, grunting all the way. Xena waited until she was
half-way there before giving her daughter a hand.
sweetie," Xena cooed to Lex bringing her nose to nose.
Xena was met with a barrage of ‘mama’s’ strung together
mama, huh?!" Xena asked the baby. "Who’s your
With that, she laid
the baby on her back and began to tickle her feet. Xena found
herself giggling along with Lex and felt a pang of guilt
strike her hard. She could play with Lex. Gabrielle never
Xena’s happy expression fall in an instant and recognized
to play with your daughter and enjoy it Xena." Terris
smiled warmly. "Gabrielle would have wanted it that
way," she added sincerely.
Xena smiled again
and they watched as Lex awkwardly tried to get herself upright
again. She soon was on her knees again, crawling into Xena’s
Karis?" Xena uncharacteristically asked.
surprised. Usually Karis was brought to Xena. The warrior
never asked for the child.
early. Your mother is downstairs with her now."
her breakfast?" The breast-feeding warrior grinned.
"We gave her a
bottle of goats milk and decided to let you sleep in."
Terris waited nervously. She wasn’t sure if Xena would be
upset since the action was done without approval. "It was
Cyrene’s idea," the healer added, hoping to lessen any
alrrright, Terris," Xena drawled as she chuckled. She
stood up and stretched, working the kinks out of her
over-rested muscles. "Please tell mother I’ll be down
after I get cleaned up."
Terris nodded as she reached for the baby.
okay," Xena said stopping her. "I’ll bring Lex
downstairs with me."
Xena noticed Terris’
shock for the second time that morning and Xena knew she had
to address it.
Xena began, "Gabrielle is gone. And these kids need their
mother. It’s time I got on and started ‘being’ their
mother instead of just playing the role."
Terris insisted. "You’ve done the best you could under
these circumstances. No one blames you for filling only their
"No one but
me," Xena argued. "I miss her... but I can’t
stop living because she’s gone. Because these kids need
their mama." She grinned.
Lex made her
presence known again with her mama repetition all over again.
Xena said in baby talk. "You tell her Lex!"
Terris chuckled and
walked toward the door. "I’ll let your mom know
you’re on your way down."
Xena called making her stop. "Thanks," she said
sincerely. "Thanks for everything. I don’t think I
would have made it through this as well without you."
Terris nodded her
‘welcome’ and closed the door leaving mother and child
Gabrielle? The amazon queen?"
the bard replied as she shuffled along with the crowd leaving
"I am Nices.
Servant to Lord Hades. He requests I meet you here. Please
follow me," she said softly.
Nices was a
beautiful blonde woman, but small in stature - smaller than the
bard in fact. She was dressed in white and glided gracefully
as they moved along.
After a short walk
down a corridor they reached a room filled with lush tropical
Elysia?" the bard asked innocently.
"No Gabrielle. Elysia is much more beautiful... Have a
seat. Lord Hades will be with you shortly."
around. There was no furniture but there was a fallen tree by
a beautiful stream. She took a seat and played with a fray in
Gabrielle." The God of the underworld smiled.
Gabrielle shot to
her feet at the sound of his voice, looking quite startled.
frighten you... You have nothing to fear here, my dear. Please
have a seat."
Gabrielle did as he
instructed and he took a spot next to her.
probably wondered why you’re here," he said
did cross my mind," the bard admitted with a nervous
Hades soothed again. "You’ve done nothing wrong."
Gabrielle took a
deep breath to calm her racing nerves. "Well, it’s not
everyday that Hades singles you out on a boat load of people...
At least, I don’t ‘think’ it’s normal... Is
correct," he agreed with a nod. "But you have
hard and recalled her last earthly memories. Xena... the kids...
Oh gods, the kids! ... And Xena, left to tend to
doing okay," Hades assured Gabrielle, sensing the bard's discomfort. "Would you like to see her?"
Gabrielle answered immediately.
Hades took her by
the hand and led her to a reflection pool. Slowly an image
formed in the pool, becoming clearer and clearer. It was Xena
at her mother's inn. She was taking turns between combing
Lex’s hair and her own. As she finished, she heard Xena ask
if they should go find her sister, Karis.
knowing that Xena was doing alright, but she couldn’t help
feeling jealous at the same time.
okay," Hades said with a strong hand to her shoulder.
"She misses you greatly, Gabrielle, but she wants to make
you proud by raising happy, respectable daughters."
"I should be
helping her," Gabrielle said feeling angry with Hades.
Soon, she was poking him in the chest as she spoke. "I
should be with her now and instead you took me and stole me
away from her and our children!"
Hades looked down
at his chest the bard was recently jabbing before he answered.
"I have my reasons," he answered coolly, walking
Well, clue me in ‘cause this I gotta hear!"
"Does the name
Perdicus sound familiar?" he taunted. "The one that
showed you the ‘true meaning of love’," he mocked.
"You’ve forgotten him, haven’t you?"
away. "I’ve never forgotten Perdicus," she
answered. "But... "
love him," Hades offered. "At least not like Xena
anyway... It’s a shame too because you still wed him,
although you knew your heart was for Xena."
her eyes. Hades wasn’t lying. And the truth hurt.
was I supposed to do?" Gabrielle whispered. "I never
thought she loved me... at least not in the respect that I
change the past. I can only help you deal with the future...
Like I said, you have unfinished business. Perdicus waits for
you... Is he the one you want or is it Xena?"
considered the ramifications her love with Xena would cause in
the after life. And she remained silent. Hades voice pulled
her from her thoughts.
going to be?... If you want Xena, I’ll send you back to her.
If you chose Perdicus, you will stay. It’s your choice,
Xena," Gabrielle answered without reservation.
"So be it." Hades
smiled and added, "but there’s a catch... "
The gods could be petty and cruel. And she held her breath as
"... You must
tell Perdicus who owns your heart. Once, and only if, you have
HIS blessing may you return. Do you understand?"
This was not what she expected - not at all. But she knew what
she had to do.
"Take me to
him," she whispered.
Hades took a moment
to admire the bard's courage and her undying love for Xena.
"As you wish."
Cyrene felt it was
her grandmotherly right to spoil the girls rotten. She told
Xena to go for a walk, get a hair cut or do whatever warriors
do with their free time. The kids were in good hands so Xena
decided to visit Argo.
girl," Xena called softly as she entered the barn.
Argo whinnied her
response, happy to see her mistress.
feeling neglected, huh?" Xena began. "I know you have, but
it couldn’t be helped... " Xena started to think
of all the events of the past moon, but she pushed her sorrow
down and continued. "That will change now," she said
getting the brush and going to work on Argo’s mane. As Xena
worked on the mare's coat she could tell she was being watched.
"You can come
out, Ares," she announced with a smile.
As she turned she
watched a gray-haired man transform before her. "Ares
didn’t lie. You really can sense us," he chuckled.
meet?" Xena asked, irritation heavy in her voice.
I am Zeus."
Xena looked him up
and down, unimpressed, and turned back to Argo. With a little
persistence, she knew that pesky knot would come out of the
cream colored mane.
"I said ‘I
am Zeus’," he repeated.
"Heard you the
first time," Xena answered. "Am I supposed to be in
Zeus smiled at the
defiant warrior and moved around the mare to be face-to-face
with Xena. "I guess you really are disenchanted with
there’s where you’re wrong." Xena grinned wickedly.
"To be ‘dis’ enchanted would mean that - at some
point - I WAS enchanted with you. And to be honest, I haven’t
met many god types I’m impressed with... including
Zeus rested his
hands on Argo’s back. "What if I could give you what
you most desire?" he questioned, hoping to peak her
"What I most
desire is gone. Even you can’t get that back," Xena
answered. "So kindly get your hands OFF my horse and
LEAVE!" she added hotly.
He maybe the king
of the gods, but in any case Zeus’ hands shot away. He looked
deep into Xena’s eyes realizing he had to form a new
"Yes... I know...
With the mention of
her name, Xena looked up and studied the aging god.
"I can bring
her back," he said meeting her gazing, knowing he had her
interest now. "If you succeed in a task I need
the warrior asked unsure if she heard the king of the gods
Zeus sensed her
confusion. "Yes. You heard me correctly... See to this
task I need and Gabrielle will be yours forever."
task?" Xena asked skeptically.
"My son needs
your help –."
"Ares now has
you trying to win me back?! Of all the low down –."
My mortal son, Perseus... He loves a princess, Andromeda, but Thetis
has unjustly deemed her for sacrifice. The Kracken
will be released in 20 days. I need you to meet Perseus at the
Ferryman’s Docks to travel to the Isle of the Dead.
catch?" Xena asked, knowing the gods all too well.
Zeus smiled. This
mortal was quite smart, and determined and angry. No wonder
Ares loved her so.
bring back the head of Medusa to defeat the Kracken."
Xena chuckled in
misery. "Oh boy," she muttered.
"It’s a lot
to ask... I realize that... But think of the reward, Xena!
You’ll have your Gabrielle back, the mother of your children...
She will be able to watch them grow as you do.
She’ll support them and raise them at your side... I’ll
return to you when you have your answer. Think hard, Xena.
I’ll only offer this once since time is a great
With that, Zeus
vanished. And after several minutes of brushing Argo absently,
she made up her mind.
Xena found her mom
and Terris in the living area, playing peek-a-boo with Lexia.
"I have to
leave," Xena announced to the room.
Cyrene and Terris
looked at each other, confused by the urgency in Xena’s
Xena explained her
conversation with Zeus and as she finished Cyrene expelled a
you think you can trust him?" Cyrene questioned.
"And what ... what if you don’t return? What about the
She’d considered these fact before even stepping foot in the
raise the children," Xena replied convincingly.
"And if Zeus
lies?" Cyrene pressed, still unsure of her daughter's
chance I have to take," Xena said softly.
uncertain of Zeus' deal. She already lost one
daughter - Gabrielle. The older woman didn’t feel any
comfort in the fact her blood daughter was heading into
unspeakable danger. But she also knew Xena had her mind made
up. And when her stubborn offspring was determined...
Cyrene said, trying to muster up enough pride in her voice to
inspire Xena. "Bring her back and have your family
together once more."
Xena hugged Cyrene
tight to her.
she whispered. "Thank you for understanding," she
added with a kiss to her cheek.
Cyrene shooed her. "Get packed."
Xena started on her
way, but stopped in the doorway, looking back at the four of
them now in front of the fireplace.
Guilt washed over
her for leaving them and a familiarly haunting feeling. The
sting grew the longer she watched and she recognized it - she
felt it the night she gave Solon to the centaurs.
different, she told herself. You’re not leaving.
You’re bringing their mother back.
Cyrene could see
little one," she said softly comforting the warrior.
"Go and get your bard," she added with a grin.
With a quick nod,
Xena turned and made her way up to her room.
it really you?"
warmly, masking her discomfort well. Perdicus rushed over to
greet her with open arms. He picked her up and twirled her
I’ve missed you," he sighed before pulling her into a
deep kiss. "How long has it been?" he asked pulling
away, looking deep into her eyes.
"What do you
mean?" Gabrielle asked.
long?" he repeated before pausing. He realized she
didn’t understand the concepts of Elysia yet. "Oh, time
here has no meaning - a year could be as short as a day."
Gabrielle took a
deep breath. "It’s been about... ten years."
years?" he replied. "That’s a long time." He smiled. "But you’re here now and that’s all that
Oh boy, the
bard considered, this is going to be harder than I
"Well, a lot
changes in a decade," Gabrielle informed him as
diplomatically as possible.
Warning flags went
up in Perdicus' eyes.
"Like what?" he asked pulling
back from her embrace.
answer. She didn’t know where to start. Perdicus, however,
knew what the indecision was about. After a few moments of
silence, he asked, "What’s his name?"
Gabrielle gave a
nervous grin before answering.
uncertain of what he was hearing.
princess?" he asked, astonished, turning away.
"I didn’t know what to make of it at first
either," Gabrielle sympathized. "But as the years
went by - with all we had been through - I realized she was my
heart's desire. Perdicus, I loved you. I always did, and in many
ways I still do, but that love... one that a ‘spouse’ has...
well, that love is reserved for Xena."
his eyes from his feet to Gabrielle’s face.
"Xena?" he asked again, still trying to take
nodded this time and held her tongue, which wasn't an easy task for
her. She waited for him to continue. The second she saw the
look of hurt and anger in his eyes she wondered if she had
made the right choice.
"Where is she
now?" Perdicus asked. "Is she in Tartarus?" His
voice held a burning acidity that Gabrielle didn’t challenge
at the moment.
She held back
defending her bondmate, thinking it better to just answer the
still alive," Gabrielle answered.
happened?" Perdicus taunted. "Did an old enemy of
hers run you through with her sword too?"
Gabrielle said staying remarkably neutral. "I died after
complications in childbirth... We have two daughters, which
she’s now raising alone."
shocked. Xena was doing all the things with his Gabby that he
dreamed of for so long.
"I guess a lot has changed,"
he said with a touch of sorrow.
"If you give
me time, I can explain everything," Gabrielle insisted.
Gabrielle’s hand in his. The more he thought about it the
less selfish he became. What was she supposed to do? Wait
to be with me again? he considered. It was obvious to him
that, for whatever reason, Xena made her happy. Gabrielle left
the village - left him - for Xena years before. Why would they
NOT be together now.
Gabrielle," he said sympathetically. "Tell me
everything. I’ve got an eternity."
packed?" Cyrene asked from the doorway of Xena’s
Xena nodded briefly
as she fastened the latch on her saddlebag, not able to face
her mother. She felt selfish and spent most of her packing
time second guessing herself. Was she making the right
decision by helping Zeus? Was it worth the risk to perhaps
leave her daughters motherless? Cyrene’s voice interrupted
"I’ve got a
basket for your journey," she said walking over to her
daughter. "Dried meats, cheese... some bread... It’s
not much, but –."
Mom," Xena whispered sincerely yet still not looking
Cyrene cocked her
head and Xena could feel her mother's examination of her.
"Do you think
I’m making the right choice?" Xena said almost too soft
to hear. When Cyrene didn’t reply, it forced the warrior to
meet her mother's eyes.
opinion matter?" Cyrene asked with a warmth in her voice.
It always has deep down... and now more than ever,"
Xena admitted freely.
like a daughter to me - no, she was my daughter," Cyrene
added in afterthought. "When we got word... I cried in
Taria’s arms for hours... I still cry, but I try to be
strong for you," Cyrene said choking on her words as she
thought of the bard's death.
motionless as she listened to her mother continue.
"But you have
the chance to bring her back again. You have the chance to
allow her to see the kids grow... I always regretted that about
your father... "
As she paused, Xena
watched her swallow hard, trying to continue.
want to lose my other daughter." Cyrene sniffled.
"But taking this chance... it’s for the greater good.
For yours, for the girls; for all of us."
Xena let her
mother’s words rattle in her head a few moments.
"So you think
I’m making the right decision?" Xena asked tentatively.
Cyrene stood on her
tip toes and brought Xena’s head down to her lips, lightly
kissing her forehead.
one," she whispered into Xena’s over grown bangs.
Xena smiled despite
the unshed tears in her eyes. She wrapped her arms tightly
around the older woman burying her head in the dark hair that
matched her own.
Cyrene stroked the warrior's
back as they held each other, comforting each other
for many reasons; not just the bard's death and Xena’s soon
departure, but for the sins both mother and daughter inflicted
upon each other over the years. They both said they forgave
each other often, but for the first time both finally felt it.
on," Cyrene said, taking one of the bags. "Say
Goodbye to your daughters."
Taria hugged Xena goodbye and took the bags to the door. The
warrior walked over to Terris in the living room. Both
children were sleeping soundly for their afternoon nap,
despite the sounds of the lunch rush.
Terris rose and
lightly stroked the warrior's arm as she left the room, letting
Xena know she was giving her some privacy.
Xena put her pinky
down to Karis’ fist and watched the infant grab it
reflexively. She felt the small tug on her finger go all the
way to her heart. Carefully, she raised the tiny hand and
kissed the even tinier knuckles. Lightly, she stroked the dark
hair that was beginning to thin. With a small chuckle, Xena
softly disengaged herself from the vice grip her daughter had
on her. She’ll be a strong one, Xena thought proudly.
Next, she looked
over at Lexia. She looked so much bigger by comparison when,
only months before, she was Karis’ size. Xena smiled as Lex
opened her eyes, seeing her mother's appreciative gaze. She
senses me, Xena thought before she whispered,
"You’re so much like your Mama Gabby like that."
Lex popped her
thumb from her mouth, but Xena replaced it. "Shhh, sleep
sweetie," she whispered softly. "When I come back...
I’ll bring your momma home again. I promise."
Lexia’s eyes grew
heavy again and soon closed. Somewhat reluctantly, the warrior
rose and walked out of the tavern. But not before turning
back, getting one last look. When she did she saw Zeus give a
brief nod before vanishing. The deal was set.
Terris and the
amazon guards were talking at a table. Cyrene walked over and
offered a wordless hug before going in to sit with the
Terris went to the
door and handed Xena her bags.
CARE," the healer ordered sternly with a warm smile.
"We’ll see to the children."
Xena forced the
tears down. She didn’t think leaving would be this hard. She
knew in an instant her days of travel were over. Her thoughts
went out to Terris who had become not only a trusted ally, but
a good friend.
plenty of goats milk for them, right?" Xena asked.
"Yes, Xena. They’ll be alright."
Sometimes Lexia gets that rash –."
Terris said with a chuckle. The warrior had to smile too.
Could she help it that she was a protective mother?
"Between the years of experience of me and your mother,
we’ve got it covered, okay?"
Xena fell into her
‘stoic mode’ as Gabrielle had called it and she nodded.
She was almost out
the door when she stopped and turned around.
question," Xena said. Terris walked over with a huge
Xena," she said with mock irritation, teasing the
Xena just grinned
and brushed it off.
been losing her hair. Could she have some kind of... condition or illness-."
"No." Terris smiled. "It’s quite natural for
children to lose their ‘birth hair’ before the real stuff
comes in. Some babies keep their ‘birth hair’, like Lexia,
and some don’t, like Karis."
not doomed to baldness?" the warrior chuckled as
embarrassment flushed her cheeks.
"Far from it." Terris smiled. "I know your experience with
children is ... minimal... at best. But trust me -
everything will be fine."
Xena smiled, happy
with the answer. "Thanks, Terris."
what I’m here for."
Neither woman said
a word more. Terris made the first move and brought Xena into
"Come home soon," she said softly.
too," Xena said returning the gesture. Without so much as
a backward glance Xena finally left the inn.
Xena camped for the
night. That evening as she sharpened her sword she looked
across the campfire. For a brief moment she expected to see
the bard working on a scroll - her tongue slightly protruding
to one side, looking at the parchment deep in thought.
But tonight she was
alone. Without her friends, her family or her daughters...
Xena felt truly alone for the first time since the bard's
death... for the first time in years, in fact.
She thought maybe
sleep would be the best solution, but as she lay still she
found sleep wouldn’t come.
traveled to the bard and how Gabrielle felt tucked away safely
at her shoulder. The way her hair smelled. The way her skin
felt. Xena’s mind replayed their first couplings on Lesbos
so many years before. And with the memories her hands began to
wander over her body.
The way Gabrielle
sounded in rapture. The way she kissed so deeply. The way she
tasted. The way she was always wet; always ready for her
warrior. As wet and ready as the warrior was now.
Xena closed her
eyes. Her fingers and her palms - they were Gabrielle’s now
in her mind. Touching her; loving her; soothing her.
Xena teased her sex
and in her mind’s eye she saw the coy bard, smirking from
between her legs offering release, but ‘all in good time’.
Xena smiled at the
memory before ‘Gabrielle’ gave her the release she craved.
The warrior's hands worked frantically now as she felt herself
approach her climax.
The name broke from
Xena’s throat strangled, but surprisingly loud.
As the quakes began
to die down the warrior opened her eyes to find herself still
alone, truly alone.
Xena finally did
But not before
wrapping her arms around herself, coiling into a ball with
silent tears staining her cheeks.
stay," Gabrielle said as she held Perdicus’ hands in
hers. "But my heart belongs to Xena. You would be cheated
and you deserve so much more."
her words. He had the power to make her stay. Gabrielle told
him of her conditions to return to mortality. But he didn’t
want the power - he wanted her love. He wanted her to stay by
choice and not force. He wanted her to be his and his alone.
Finally after hours of conversation he realized what he had to
do - not just for her, but for himself as well.
"I think you
should go back and have a wonderful life with Xena," he
said as heart-felt as possible.
Gabrielle disbelieved what she heard at first, but she knew
Perdicus well. He didn’t lie.
honestly," he said trying to smile. "This hurts like
Tartarus, but I think you’re right... We should both
As soon as he
finished, Hades materialized behind the bard.
what you need Gabrielle," Hades said proudly of the bard's
give us a minute?" she asked.
understand. She had what she wanted. What more could she want?
Confusion played clearly on his face, but he gave them the
space she asked for.
The two former
lovers encompassed each other in their arms. "I love you,
Perdicus. You were always my best friend in Poteidaia."
Gabrielle," he whispered and pulled the bard away
slightly. He raised her chin and placed a loving kiss on her
lips. "Go find your happiness."
Gabrielle had the
strangest feeling she was being watched. She turned to see a
brunette looking at the two of them.
that?" Gabrielle asked in a teasing voice.
"That’s Sara. We met a time ago."
really?" Gabrielle continued to tease.
Perdicus could feel
his cheeks grow warm. "Hey! I waited for you," he
him this time before turning serious again. "Perdicus,"
she said nudging her head toward the woman. "Go find your
it a moment and smiled.
"I think I will," he said
stroking Gabrielle’s cheek.
As he walked away,
Hades returned to the bard's side.
"Are you ready?"
Gabrielle smiled as she watched the two figures in the
distance. "Take me home."
yet," Hades answered as they started to disappear
together. "You have more work to be done."
The God and the
bard had vanished, but those in the fields could hear a
frustrated Gabrielle’s reply loud and clear.