At Last Part 2
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 2 of 2
presume?" Xena asked as she dismounted, noting the man in
a dark red cloak.
That morning Zeus visited
her camp and told her what she was looking for - a man in with
a strong build, dark hair and very handsome. If it wasn’t
for the red cloak Zeus said he’d be wearing, Xena might have
missed him this afternoon. He wasn’t quite what she was
expecting. As she approached, Xena wondered just what she did
expect. Hercules perhaps? She wasn’t sure. One thing was for
sure. This young man was no Hercules.
"Yes," he said
suspiciously, "And you are... ?"
warrior said offering her forearm in a firm, yet friendly
The warrior was taken back
when all she got was a ‘humph’ and a view of his back as
he walked away. What a little snot! Xena stormed inside
angrily. Zeus failed to mention his son acted like a
spoiled brat, she added as she began to follow him.
"Look!" she said
making him and his entourage of four soldiers stop. "I
came here because I have a job to do."
"You can go home,"
he said firmly. "I don’t need any help."
Xena considered his words a
moment. "So he told you I was coming?" she asked trying to confirm.
"Yes he did, and like I
said... I don’t need any help. I’ve got all the help I
need here," he said pointing to his soldiers.
Xena strolled up to him, an
evil grin fully in place. She, as politely as possible in
warrior princess style, spun him around, keeping her arm tight
around his shoulders.
"Let’s take a walk, shall
It wasn’t a question. He
knew that. Xena could feel the man beginning to sweat. Great, Xena considered silently as they made their way a
few feet away from his men. A snot and a coward. Am I in
for a trip here or what?
"I wish I could just
walk away," Xena began. "Nothing would bring me
greater pleasure than to be home right now with my daughters...
But you see, your daddy tends to think you’re a little in
over your head and could use my help. I’m not doing this as
a ‘favor’ to him. I’m not doing this for you. There’s
something in it for me - something more important than fame or
fortune... So I’m going to get that Gorgon’s head. I’m
going to stop the kracken and win your princess for you. Do
you understand? Here’s a tip: Say yes."
Xena watched the young man
wipe his sweaty upper lip with the back of his hand. She
raised her eyebrows to say without words she was waiting for
an answer. Finally, he gave the briefest of nods.
"Good!" Xena said
pulling away. "Let me get a few things and... we’ll be
She sounded cheery, but
Perseus knew she was anything but happy. This was not a good
beginning, but perhaps the warrior could be of some service.
With the terrain being too
tough for the horses, the party then walked together for two
candlemarks west without words - not even small talk to pass
the time. Xena’s thoughts, as always, turned to the bard. If
Gabrielle wasn’t trying out a new story on Xena they were
playing ‘questions’. She was always thankful Gabrielle was
there to cut the silence.
She remembered the last time
they had played their favorite game and she smiled at the
memory. The answer was the bard herself and she remembered how
Gabrielle buried her head in the pillow upon giving up that
night in bed. Xena laughed as Gabrielle groaned protesting
that using ‘her’ was not fair. "We never said
anything about using ourselves," Xena countered as she
petted the bard’s overgrown belly. Gabrielle just smiled and
looked over at her bondmate. That’s all it took. Watching
those green eyes sparkle was all the warrior needed and the
two of them spent hours making love to each other that
As they approached the
junction point that would take them to the isle of the dead,
Xena pushed herself back into warrior mode. Focus Xena,
she told herself. Focus.
Perseus’ captain sounded
the horn that hung by a post on a small dock. In the distance,
she noticed a piece of land. Another soldier walked up,
handing Xena a coin.
the warrior asked.
At that moment, a small,
unseaworthy vessel appeared out of nowhere. "For Charon,"
the soldier told. "The ferryman. You’ll need this to
travel across the river Styx."
Xena looked at the coin and
then at the skeleton aboard the rickety boat. That’s not
Charon! Xena thought shaking her head. It amazed Xena that
so many mortals couldn’t separate legends from reality. Oh well,
Xena said brushing it aside. As long as it
takes me where I need to go.
Everyone climbed aboard,
silently handing over their money... except Xena. "This
is the boat for the isle of the dead, isn’t it?" she
asked the cloaked skeleton. He simply nodded. "Medusa’s
place of residence, right?" He nodded again. "Bet you
don’t get many return passengers, do ya?" she joked as
she handed over the money and stepped aboard. The skeleton
didn’t reply. Not that Xena cared. She knew she was heading
in the right direction now and that’s all that mattered.
Soon, they landed with
everyone on edge. "Everybody knows the rules, right?"
she asked. "No looking directly at her? No getting any
gorgon blood on ya?"
Everyone nodded, but still
looked frightened out of their good senses. "Stay
calm," Xena said trying to inspire. "She’s mortal
and she can be defeated if you all stay focused... Now,
That seemed to ease the
tension a bit in the group. They approached a marble structure
with large decaying steps and stone statues. The place
hadn’t been cared for in quite awhile and it showed -
overgrown ivy and plant life. Some of those marble statues
included other humans. Xena pushed the fear down and steadied
The group split into two
groups when they got closer to the top. Xena glanced to her
right for the briefest of moments. Seconds later, she heard a
growl deeper than any beast she’d ever heard.
alive," she said as softly as possible to her comrades.
"Medusa’s got a friend." She grinned wickedly,
getting ready for the battle to begin.
"What is that
thing?" the captain of the guard asked, stepping closer
behind Xena. "Is it a dog? A wolf?"
"I’m not sure,"
Xena mused, "but whatever it is... I’m sure it’s
No one replied. The animal
darted from the darkness and began to feast on one of the
soldiers next to Perseus. The soon to be king froze at the
sight - a two headed beast with razor sharp fangs and the
demeanor of a harpy. The other soldier pushed Perseus aside
and tried to defend his comrade although it was already too
late. His sword was only making the creature madder.
It pounced with lightening
fast speed. The other soldier soon met the same fate as his
friend, a bloody mess of what once was a man. Xena’s team
charged over and began to do battle. The captain and Xena wore
the animal down with swift, forceful and well aimed strokes.
"Go for the neck!"
Xena yelled as she battled on.
The captain nodded without
diverting his eyes from the animal. As he and his other
soldier took on one set of snarling, snapping teeth, Xena and
the remaining guard took on the other. The captain saw his
opening and took it. He shoved the blade deep into the animals
throat, watching the head slump down in death. That’s all
Xena needed. The face she was battling turned to see what
happened. On swipe, long and deep, forced the blood from the
The creature slumped to the
ground in a heap of teeth, fur and blood. Xena re-sheathed her
sword and wiped the perspiration from her upper lip and neck.
She surveyed the damage.
two," she said seeing the dead men before her. "Keep
your eyes open. He might have another friend someplace around
here," she warned.
She cast her glare on
Perseus, who was behind them the whole time. She’d swear the
son of Zeus would need to have his underwear changed. Perseus
was of no use to her, or anyone. He just stood by and watched
two of his men die. He didn’t even lift a sword to help
them. Some hero, Xena considered silently. A discussion
of his inept nature, however, wouldn’t help them. Xena need
the morale of the remaining men. And calling Perseus a coward
would do no good. Besides her mission was not for HIS benefit.
Carefully, the troop
traveled on. Xena poked her head inside the building first
taking a quick look around, using more of an ‘inner sense’
and her other senses and not so much her eyes. She pulled her
sword again and waved the men to follow her. More statues of
once human bodies littered the room. People who thought they
could have the honor of killing the most dreaded of creatures.
Xena felt her worry rise
again. Thoughts of her daughters entered her mind but, once
more, she pushed her personal feelings aside. She WOULD see
her daughters again... and her bard. Xena took a deep breath
and started deeper into the dimly lit hall. Large pillars
held the structure up, a perfect hiding place for them... But
for Medusa as well, Xena noted.
The sound of their footsteps
and burning torches filled the large room but soon another
sound caught Xena’s ear, a slither noise of something very
large, getting very closer. Xena took the pillar nearest her
and silently instructed the others to do the same. Everyone
reacted, taking Xena’s lead although they didn’t quite
understand why. Few mortals had Xena’s amplified senses.
Soon, however, when they heard a large rattle, much like a
snakes, did they understand.
At the noise, Perseus dropped
his sword and his shield. He fell to the ground, cowering like
a scared child; shaking in a heap of flesh. Oh brother,
Xena said silently closing her eyes for a moment. I do NOT
need this right now, she thought in frustration.
The remaining guard moved
two pillars up toward the sound. Xena tried to stop him but it
was too late. She couldn’t go after him. She was sure the
gorgon would be around the corner at any moment and she
wasn’t going to take that chance. Xena knew the young
man’s over-zealousness meant his demise. She heard a battle
cry and glanced around the pillar.
It was over in seconds, the
man’s body beginning to harden as soon as he saw the
creatures eyes. And an ugly creature she was - snake hair,
disfigured body. Xena realized that some legends are reality.
Xena knew that looking was a
big chance, but she had to establish the gorgons position. Xena
closed her eyes and used her ears now. Her eyes gave her all
the information she was going to get for now and she
concentrated hard. But soon she felt someone else in the room
besides the four of them. Someone... she knew quite well.
Quickly, she opened her eyes.
Ares winked and placed his
finger over his lips as he stood in the isle of pillars.
"Oh Xena... the things
we do for love, huh?" he teased. "Dad told me about
his little plan to get you to help... " Ares paused as
he observed Perseus, shaking uncontrollable in the corner,
"the valiant one over there... I thought I’d give you
a hand. Looks like you could use it about now."
Xena was getting frustrated.
She couldn’t sense Medusa with Ares babbling. She shooed him
away with her free hand.
"Me?" he asked
with a smug grin. "Oh no... I’m gonna help whether you
like it or not."
"NO," Xena mouthed
"Why not? You want all
the glory for yourself, Xena?" he asked before pausing...
"Oh, I get it," he said scratching his beard.
"You think I’ll make you owe me if I help... Let’s
just say this one’s a freebee, shall we? If I ever have any
plans of getting my favorite back ,it’s not going to do me
any good if she’s a lawn ornament. Catch my drift?"
Xena grinned. She didn’t
want to grin, but she did. Ares had brought her so much pain in
her life, but she had to admit that when she needed him...
really needed him, like now... he was there for her. She had
to take the bad with the good she figured. Plus, Ares had a
wicked sense of humor that she admired and mimicked herself
from time to time. Like father, like daughter, she
"I told you. I am NOT
your father," he said as he read her thoughts. Xena had
to smile again. Her smile fell quickly, however. She heard
Medusa approaching closer and closer. Ares for his part got
back to the matter at hand as well.
"Okay," he said
making the warrior pose to strike. "Almost there,"
he said holding his hand up as Medusa crept closer.
"Almost there," he said again. Xena closed her eyes,
her knuckles turning white from the death grip on her sword.
After a few moments she heard Ares yell.
Xena swung with all her
might. Ares grabbed Xena and pulled her away from any of the
gorgons blood which was pouring from the stump of her neck.
"She’s face down Xena," he told her. "You can
Xena wasn’t sure if she
should trust him, but she watched the captain peek at the
corpse with no harsh effects happening.
amazing," the captain said as he wandered out, looking at
the destruction of the gorgon.
"Now get chicken
boy’s cloak and wrap up the head," Ares instructed.
Xena walked over and leaned
down to Perseus, ripping the red cloak from his body without
comment. She went back as the captain walked toward her,
"Now what?" he asked.
"Now we wrap this head
up," Xena began. "And we get the Tartarus back to
Joppa as soon as possible." Xena spread out the cloth and
grabbed the mass of snakes to lift the head. "Why don’t
you... collect... Perseus and wait for me outside?"
The captain nodded and
pulled Perseus to his feet. She watched as they left, turning
"Thank you," she said sincerely.
"‘Twas nothing." He smiled. "Like I
said... I still have hope."
Xena rolled up the cloak and
stood to face Ares with a gentle grin.
"You know... I’m probably going to regret saying this,
but... I enjoy
‘sparing’ with you from time to time... But as far as me
ever coming back - well, that’s just not going to
Ares smiled and began to
"We’ll see my warrior. We will see."
They had two more night
before they would arrive in Joppa before the sacrifice of
Andromeda. Xena and the captain spoke often during their
travel back to the city. Both had a lot in common besides the
art of war. He had a wife; he had children. The evening before
last Xena had confessed to him why she was helping Perseus. He
told Xena about his sense of duty to Andromeda and the queen
that lead to his involvement in the mission.
Perseus had said little
about the events that had transpired and gave very little
information about his life. He was kind of a ‘loner’, much
like Xena was years before. How he ever won the princess’
heart was beyond her. But she didn’t really care to know.
She just wanted to see the plan through and eventually see the
bard again. She also looked forward to the girls. That night
as they bunked down Xena had a smile on her lips as she
thought of her daughters. Her reminiscing didn’t last long
before sleep over took her.
When she did finally escape
Morpheus’ hold she found her hands and legs bound. With a
growing sense of alert confusion she saw the captain tied to a
"I’m sorry" he
called to Xena, "I fell asleep on watch."
All of them had pushed it
extra hard to get back in time; all of them exhausted. A man
that resembled a horned, hunched-back beast towered over the
"I am Calabos," he
said with an evil grin. "Andromeda was rightfully mine
until pretty boy came along. Did he tell you my story?"
Xena shook her head no,
thinking it better to let him do the talking for now.
execution you know? I could kill you all, but instead I think
I’ll let you live with the fact you’ve failed," he
said turning to Perseus. He menaced toward the prince.
"You’ll have to go the rest of your life knowing she
died and there was nothing you could do about it."
Perseus fought his
restraints. Xena was amazed that he wasn’t running scared
like usual. He actual wanted to confront this unknown foe.
Calabos mounted the captains
horse upon setting the other horses free. "I told you
Perseus... If I can’t have her, no one will have her."
With that he set the horse into a gallop. Once the cloud of
dust dissipated. Xena turned to Perseus. "Who was
that?" she asked in a friendly yet mocking tone.
"His name is Calabos.
Zeus disfigured him for killing all but one of his flying
stallions - A stallion I befriended called Pegasus. The gods
gave me ‘gifts’ so I could win Andromeda’s hand from
Calabos, which I did... He’s not very happy if you can tell." Perseus smirked.
replied before giving a whistle, "Looks like our time is
limited. Too bad you don’t have the flying horse now -
we’re going to have to push it too make it to Joppa on
"What do you mean? We
can’t possible get there in time even if we have Pegasus.
We’re still bound."
Argo came into view.
"Your horse!" the
captain exclaimed. "Why didn’t he run away?"
corrected. "Because she’s well-trained."
"Argo," Xena said
trying to wave her hands. The mare leaned over and worked on
the knot until it was lose enough for Xena to finish it. Once
free she released the captain and then, only then, Perseus.
"Where’s the flying horse of yours?" she asked.
"In a glen not more
than a candlemark from here, I’d say," Perseus answered.
"She’s not very good to travel with over land in
daylight. She tends to attract attention." He grinned.
called as the mare came over. "I want you to go to Joppa
with the captain okay? He’ll be real nice and get you some
carrots once you’re there. Then we’ll go home and see
Gabrielle. What do you say?"
The mare whinnied and the
captain had to laugh.
"She understands you?" he
grinned and added, "and if you don’t treat her right, I’m sure
I’ll hear all about it when I get back, so behave. Don’t
ride her too hard. We’ll meet back at the palace
The captain nodded and took
off. Xena went over to the tree line and behind the first tree
began to dig up the buried head of Medusa.
"That was a good
idea," Perseus complimented the warrior.
"I’m just glad it’s
still here." She grinned. "We’ve got a lot of
ground, or should I say ‘air’ to cover, so let’s get
"Right behind you." Perseus grinned as they started to walk down the
Cyrene was cleaning up from
the breakfast feast when I group of female warriors burst
through her door.
"What in Tartarus?!"
Terris, who just finished
feeding the girls, walked out to see the commotion.
"We want our queen
now," a tall warrior announced.
"And just who do you
think you are barging into my inn?"
pushed her way
through the crowd. "I tried to hold them back for as long
as I could, but they want Gabrielle’s body to sacrifice to
"Well, you can’t have
it," Cyrene answered calm yet firm.
The tall one spoke again.
"We can and we will. Search the area!"
"Hold on!" Cyrene
yelled making everyone stop in their tracks. "This is MY
home. This is MY land. And that queen of yours also happens to
be MY daughter - if not by blood then by love. I will NOT let
you take her from here... Besides, Xena is trying to bring
her back through a favor for Zeus himself... So unless you
want to end up on the business end of a... " Cyrene
paused and pulled Terris closer to whisper. "What’s
that round killing thing called?"
"Unless you want to end
up on the business end of a chakram I suggest you sit
peacefully and wait for her return or kindly get the Tartarus
Terris had moved over to Ephiny.
smiled and relaxed as
she saw her subjects fall in line with the queen’s
‘mother-in-law’. Now I know where Xena gets that temper
"Look," the regent
began. "Everyone is tired and hungry. Let’s just do as
Cyrene asks. Once Xena returns, we can discuss this. I don’t
want to take the chance of harming the queen’s body if
there’s a chance of her return. Perhaps this is Artemis’
will and if you sacrifice her to the flames you will be doing
the very thing you fear most, angering our goddess."
Ephiny’s speech worked.
The amazons began to take their seats with little commotion.
By this time, Taria came out to see what the shouting was all
about and walked over to Cyrene.
"Are they staying?"
she asked her lover.
Cyrene smiled. "Looks
like it," she replied.
"Where are we going to
put them all?" Taria pressed.
Cryene thought a moment and
decided, "I have no idea."
pulled Terris aside.
"Now tell me what Xena has up her sleeve. And don’t
leave anything out."
"Come on," Terris
said pulling Ephiny away from the group. "Let me go check
on the girls and we’ll discuss it."
"You said if I spoke to
Perdicus I could leave!"
Gabrielle paced back and
forth in front of the God of the Underworld. The comfortable,
lush, tropical room where she began her journey here was
anything but comfortable at the moment.
"I know," Hades
began. "And I have every intention of keeping my word.
But you aren’t the only one who has loved Xena. She has
someone one waiting for her as well. And although she is not
bonded to him, he waits for her."
Gabrielle paused a moment.
"Marcus?" she wondered out loud.
"Yes, Marcus," he
answered. "I can’t hold you here because of him... but
I would appreciate it if you would speak with him before my da-
my warrior princess comes to the fields."
princess?" Gabrielle muttered. He saw the wheels turning
in the bard's head. And Gabrielle sensed his nervousness. She
fumbled the phrase and the sound in her mind.
Hades jaw almost dropped
when realization washed over Gabrielle’s face.
daughter," Gabrielle whispered. "It makes sense now...
All of it."
began quickly but slowly trailed off. He was on the verge of
denial but he knew the perceptive bard would see through him.
"Yes," he whispered back. "She’s my
Gabrielle stopped. She had
so many questions, but she didn’t know where to start or even
how. The truth hit her hard and she had to take a seat on the
fallen log behind her.
"Let me start at the
beginning," he said taking a spot next to her. "When
I saw Cyrene many years ago she was the most beautiful woman
in the world –."
"Let me guess,"
the bard jumped in. "You made yourself look like Xena’s
father while he was away, right?"
Hades nodded. "It was
an old trick reserved only for Ares, but I made a deal with
him. One night with Cyrene with one condition. If by chance an
offspring was created... well... he would the ‘guardian’
of the human... So as you see Gabrielle –."
"Xena was always
destine to belong to Ares," Gabrielle said finishing his
"Yes... About 8
mortal years after Xena’s birth, Ares finds Cyrene’s
husband in his temple. Being the big mouth that he is..."
Hades took a moment to grin before getting back to his story.
"Ares tells him that only he is Xena’s ‘true’
father and guardian. He tells him of the destruction Xena will
bring to the world - world order through chaos."
"And so Xena’s father
goes to insure that it never happens?" Gabrielle asks.
Hades nods again. "When
he arrived back home, it was I who went to Cyrene, although
she never knew. I gave her the courage to... to save Xena’s
Gabrielle took a few moments
to digest the confession. "That’s why Xena’s sent so
many to you."
answered meekly. "That’s my girl. My pride. My
Gabrielle could see Hades
sorrow. And she realized that the gods couldn’t control
everything. Hades knew just what she was thinking.
he began. "I would have been quite content in her leading
the life she has now. A wife. A family. A sense of the greater
good... But I couldn’t do that. All I could do was let her
cheat Celeste as many times as possible."
"I should have know by
the many times she’s diverted death - escaped situations
that for a ‘normal’ person would mean their mortality... I don’t know why I never saw it."
smiled. "You weren’t looking for it. You didn’t know
she was a demi-god. You just thought she had many
skills," he chuckled before turning serious again.
"I can say something now about Xena that I never could
before... I’m proud of her. She still keeps me ‘busy’
now and then... but it’s the betterment of man, not its
destruction... And if you don’t mind me saying, she has
wonderful taste in women."
Gabrielle had to blush at
the compliment. As Hades rose, he offered his hands to the bard
and brought her to her feet.
"Now, will you speak to
Marcus?" he asked.
Gabrielle answered. "On one condition." She grinned.
"You have to tell her
the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Hades ran his fingers
through his slick hair. "You sure do drive a hard
"When it comes to
bartering, I’m one of the best... Deal?" Gabrielle said
offering her forearm.
Hades smiled and took it
"I thought you said
that damn horse was in this glen?" Xena said hostile.
"We’ve spent half the day looking for your winged
stallion... We’re never going to make it on time."
"Let’s just try over
this hill again," he insisted.
"You try," Xena
announced, picking up the head. "I’m running to
"You can’t run back
to Joppa. It’s too far!" he announced.
"I’ll take my
chances. You stay here and look for the horse. I’ve got a
Kracken to kill."
commanded. "You must stay here!"
"Excuse me?" Xena
said sounded quite offended. "Look pal, I take orders
from one person - ME... and occasionally a cute little
strawberry blonde whose resurrection depends on me killing
your monster. So if you mind - Tartarus, even if you do mind -
With that, Xena started down
the dirt road. Maybe I’ll find a horse along the way,
she thought as she paced herself. All Perseus could do was
watch the warrior move swiftly up the trail before continuing
Marcus peeked into the
jungle room and saw Gabrielle smelling the beautiful orchids.
asked not quite sure if memory was serving him correctly.
Gabrielle said walking over with a gentle smile. "How
have you been?" she added as they embraced.
"Good," he said.
"You’ve finally made it to Elysia I see."
"Hades called me
here," Gabrielle said vaguely. "He needs me to
‘straighten’ a few things out."
"What do you
mean?" the handsome, well-toned man asked.
Gabrielle sighed. "Where do I start?"
"Hold on," Marcus
said putting his hands on the bard's arms. "This is about
you and Xena, right?"
Gabrielle looked shocked.
"How did you know?"
Marcus laughed. "I may
be in Elysia, but I’m not without my moments."
"Care to explain?"
Marcus had a warm smile and
she could see just what Xena had loved so much. "Although
it’s not permitted, I tend to look at the reflecting pool
areas now and again. I wanted to see Xena. See how she was
doing... Let’s just say I saw her at a time when she was
doing... quite well in your care."
Gabrielle buried her face in
her hands to shield her embarrassment.
"It’s okay," he
said. "She seems very happy."
Gabrielle gave him a look
that said ‘enough already’. Marcus was confused for a
moment then quickly added, "I mean, she’s in love -
deeply in love, and I’m happy for her... And you. I could
see the light you bring to her life Gabrielle... I loved Xena
and she did love me, but... honey, you got what she
Hades materialized behind
Gabrielle. "Reflecting pools, huh?" Hades scolded the
whispered to Gabrielle with a sly grin.
"Go easy on him,"
Gabrielle insisted to Hades. "He’s a good man."
smiled before turning back to Hades. Maybe it’s best I
slink away, he considered. while Hades is preoccupied
"I’ll see ya around,
Gabrielle," he said also giving a nod to Hades.
"Well, since I’m going
back to her again could you ‘see me’ at a more
‘convenient’ time next time?" Gabrielle wasn’t
pleased to know dead people were watching while she and Xena...
"Will do," he
assured with a smile and a wave goodbye.
"Are you ready?"
ready," she said with a smile. "Take me home."
Gabrielle could see nothing.
She felt a tingling sensation all over her body. Slowly, she
managed to open her eyes and upon which was met with total
darkness. She blinked a few times letting things come into
focus. She was in an sarcophagus. But most importantly, she was
alive. She pushed with all her might to force the lid open.
Suddenly, Gabrielle had help.
Two guards aided in removing the restrictive cover.
"My queen?" one
guard asked, yet both, disbelieving what they were seeing.
"That would be me." She grinned. Stiffly, she sat up as one guard ran to
get the regent.
Moments after Gabrielle
stepped shakily from the wooden box, Ephiny showed up, Cyrene
trailing right behind her moments later.
"By the Gods," Ephiny
Gabrielle grinned. "He said I had some matters to take
gently and planted a soft kiss on the bard's forehead. Cyrene
walked over gingerly touching the bard to see if she was in
fact real. Once she was convinced she pulled the bard into a
she sighed. The woman was overjoyed. Gabrielle was back.
"She did it," Cyrene whispered to no one but
herself. "She did it."
"Who did what?"
Gabrielle asked pulling back. No one answered and Gabrielle
found herself asking, "Where’s Xena?"
When Ephiny and Cyrene
looked at each other without saying anything, Gabrielle’s
heart began to beat out of her chest.
me!" the queen demanded. "Where’s Xena?"
"If you're back,"
Cyrene said taking the cue, "then she’s alright."
on?" Gabrielle asked.
"Come on," Cyrene
said helping her to her feet. "We’ll explain everything
on the way to the inn."
wondered. Must be in Amphipolis... But just what is going
on? she asked silently. She felt at ease however with
Cyrene nearby. It may not be her warrior, but the older woman
had the special gift at comforting too. Gabrielle nodded and
the trio headed back to the gatherers that waited the
Xena ran most of the day
until she highjacked a horse - well, she didn’t quite
highjack it. She offered the rider the return of the horse
when she got to Joppa. That plan however wouldn’t work
because the horse fell lame halfway there. With no one around
once more she was forced on foot to return to the city. It was
harder when night fell. Without torchlight and cloudy
moonlight she could only see a few feet in front of her at
best. Her knees and shins took the heaviest tolls. But she
still continued to run.
She made it to the amphitheater
around sun up. She was in the outskirts of Joppa
now, but her legs wouldn’t take her any farther. As she
started to collapse, she had only one thought. I’m sorry
to fail you Gabrielle.
At that point, in the middle
of the dusty theater, she collapsed.
Back at Zeus’ throne room Thetis
smirked as she looked at the slumbering figurine of
Xena in the looking chamber. The gods often used the
‘arena’ to keep tabs on their mortals. This time being no
"So the son of Zeus and
the daughter of Hades has failed... The time is almost at
"That it is," Zeus
confessed grimily. "Per our agreement Thetis you may go
to Poseidon and tell him to release the Krackin."
nodded in respect and
victory as she walked down the great steps to see the water
god. Once she was at the landing, Zeus casually reached down
and carefully put the figure upright. He didn’t know if Xena
would have the time she needed to get to the sea.
in the hands of mortals, he decided.
Xena wasn’t sure how much
time had passed, but she wasn’t going to waste anymore
thinking about it. She ran again; this time with renewed
strength. As she crested the hill, she saw the crowds of people
gathered for the sacrifice. She ran with all she had, trying
to keep an eye on the princess who was being lead out to the
Xena pushed her way through
the crowd of people without apology, fighting the tide of
humans. She was almost clear when she was tripped by one of
the on lookers. She looked up to see Calabos safely cloaked as
an old beggar man.
"If I can’t have
her," he muttered. "No one can have her."
He pulled a dagger and
hurled it at Xena. The warrior rolled so it just missed her
"I really don’t have time for this," she
A few people next to them noticed the commotion, but
so many were too caught up in the creature that was appearing
from out of the water.
Calabos pulled another
dagger and tried to impale Xena. But this time Xena
was prepared and caught it with ease. She sent it straight
back to its owner, burying it deep in his heart.
"Right back at
cha," she replied as he fell face first to the ground.
Without giving another thought, she scrambled to her feet. The
monster was at his full height.
"By the gods,"
Xena whispered, stutter stepping, upon seeing the beast.
"This better work."
He was huge. Three times as
tall as the Roman Coliseum and almost as wide. Plated skin
than no sword could break. And a snarl that rivaled a
harpy’s. This guy was trouble. Xena shook her head to clear
her thoughts and charged out to the peninsula. She didn’t
stop until she met Andromeda.
going?" Xena asked casually with a cocky grin.
"Oh fine," the
princess said sarcastically. "I have to admit I’ve been
better... And you are?"
Xena wasn’t sure what a
lovely woman like this saw in Perseus, but after all love is
blind as Gabrielle once said. She could only figure that Zeus
made a deal with Cupid so Perseus would have the princess’
hand. It couldn’t be a choice of free will.
The Krackin began to close
in on them. Xena, on reaction, threw her chakram. She was
surprised when it became imbedded in the monster’s finger.
She was surprised and pleased. It didn’t do any real damage.
It was more of an annoyance to the beast, but it bought her
enough time to fight the wrapped cloak.
Ohs and ahs began to filter
across the crowd as well as people pointing their fingers. Xena looked up to
see that Perseus had finally arrived on his flying stallion.
The Krackin swiped at the horse and it’s rider, sending both
into the tide below. Perseus surfaced and swam quickly to the
"Give me a hand,"
Xena said as she began to cut through the rope holdings. Once
free, Perseus felt around inside the sack, finding the location
of the gorgons eyes. Finally certain of how to hold the
‘weapon’, he quickly brought it out. The evil eyes glowed
and the Krackin was helpless, but to focus. Quickly, the beast
began to moan, growing harder and harder as the seconds
passed. Soon he was stone and Perseus began to pull the head
instructed. "Leave it there... Let’s see what
He did as she said and the
crowd watched as the monster began to crack apart, tumbling
rock over rock into the sea. Once the bay was empty he drew
back, tossing the head as far as he could.
The guards unlocked the
princess as the crowd cheered. As Xena rested against the
rock, trying to catch her breath, she felt the princess pull
her into her arms.
"You saved me,"
she said breathless into her ear. "How can I ever repay
There was no mistaking the
tone. She knew just what prize the virgin princess wanted to
give her and she felt herself grow red.
"I’ll tell you
what," Xena said giving her hand to Perseus. "Have a
wonderful life," she said with a smile as she started to
walk away. She turned around and saw the Prince and Princess
wrapped in each other's arms. "There is one thing... A
man might be coming to claim his horse. I had to put her down
so could you please see that he gets another one."
"That’s all you
want?" Perseus asked. "A horse for a stranger?"
Xena nodded. "All I
ever wanted waits for me in Amphipolis I hope... Take
care." Xena gave a final wave, which was returned. As she
made her way to leave, bystanders congratulated and thanked
her. One in particular was real nosy with a list of questions.
Finally, after answering about ten of them she stopped walking
and turned to face him.
"Why are you asking me
all this?" she questioned him.
"I’m a bard. I have
to write the story of who saved Andromeda ."
Xena grinned. Bards,
she thought warmly, shaking her head. "Nahh, this is his
story," she said pointing at Perseus. "Whatever you
don’t have... just make it up... All the bards I know are
pretty creative and tend to stretch the truth anyway. I’m
sure you’ll come up with a fine tale without me."
Finally, Xena was able to
leave the crowd behind. With two days travel she and Argo
could be in Amphipolis just after night fall.
Thetis and Zeus sat in the
arena. He beamed proudly. She looked utterly defeated, but he
could tell thoughts of revenge were taking seat in her mind.
"No harm will befall
Perseus or Xena from this day forward," he warned.
"They have done well."
Reluctantly, Thetis nodded
When Xena lead Argo into her
mother's stable she found a litter of amazons sleeping in the
hay. Not wanted to wake them, and wanting to see if the bard
had returned, she simply pulled Argo’s saddle from her back.
"I’ll brush you
tomorrow girl," she told the mare quietly.
As she made her way up to
the house she found two more amazons on the porch. Once inside
the tavern, three more were on the floor. ‘What in Hades...
?" Xena wondered with all the amazons around her.
Taria walked out from behind
the kitchen door. "I thought I heard someone come in." She smiled.
"Is she –."
Taria nodded and gestured to
the living area with her head. Without haste Xena opened the
By the fireplace, the bard
slept. Karis on one side. Lexia on the other. Xena put her
hand over her mouth to stifle her sob. She never thought she
would see this sight again. Taria came behind her and placed a
gentle hand on her shoulder. Too wrapped up in her thoughts,
Xena didn’t feel her approach and jumped a little.
apologized for sneaking up on Xena. "She’d been awake
for almost two days waiting for you."
"I should let her
sleep," Xena whispered.
Taria shifted her head to
look Xena in the eyes. "Don’t you dare." She smiled warmly. "Go on," she encouraged. "I’ll
let your mother know you’re home and we’ll see you in the
morning... You are fine, right? I’m sure she’ll ask."
Xena felt her bottom lip
quivered. Her eyes grew moist. Almost too moist to see.
"I’ve never been better," she whispered in a
"Go on," Taria
said giving Xena an extra nudge into the living room.
Carefully, Xena crept inside.
She picked up Karis first. She’d only been gone for a short
time, but still her daughter looked like she had changed so
much - her pudginess starting to become leaner. She gave her a
gentle kiss as not to wake her. Xena went back and did the
same for Lexia as well. Finally, Xena had her bard to herself.
She looked at her in the fire light for a long time, soaking
up the beautiful features silently thanking Zeus for returning
Xena couldn’t wait any
longer. The back of her fingers ran down the baby soft cheek
of her lover.
called softly. "Beautiful? I’m home."
Gabrielle’s eyes shot open,
but she wasn’t sure if she was dreaming. "Xena?"
The warrior broke down into
tears and the two women clung to each other, nestled tightly
together. The harder Gabrielle hung onto Xena, the more the
"I never thought I’d
hear you say my name again," Xena confessed once she
began to settle down. "I missed that," she added
beginning to cry again. "I missed you so much."
"I’m home now,"
Gabrielle said, starting to sob just as loud as Xena.
Xena began to calm down. She
wiped both their tears away before giving her light kisses
over her face. Finally, Xena reached her lips. Gabrielle buried
her fingers in the warrior's black hair as she deepened the
kiss. Reluctantly, Xena pulled away to see her lovely bard.
"I’m so glad Zeus
kept his word." Xena smiled. Her smile soon fell though
when she felt the bard tense up. "What is it?"
"He didn’t bring me
back," Gabrielle confessed. "It was Hades
"You were played by the
Gods once again, Xena. Regardless of whether you helped
Perseus... I still would have returned."
"Why that no good
said with a smile, putting her fingers over Xena’s lips.
"You’ll wake the children... I’m back now. You’re
back now. That’s all that matters."
Xena had to agree. That’s
all that did matter. Whether it was Zeus or Hades, it wasn’t
relevant. But now she did wonder...
"Why did Hades bring
you back? Did you talk your way out of it?" Xena asked
with a sly grin.
"In a manner of
Explain." Xena said sternly.
Gabrielle didn’t want to
be the bearer of unexpected news. Besides Hades agreed to
speak with Xena himself. She had to come up with a diversion
and since she hadn’t seen Xena in so long... and she knew
the warrior’s ‘appetite’ rivaled her own in certain
"Let’s forget the
gods for the rest of the night. Okay, Xena? I mean I can think
of much better things to be doing, can’t you?"
Xena smiled. Oh yeah.
Gabrielle was back for sure. "And what did you have in
"Well, first you’ll
have to lose that armor," Gabrielle began with a sexy
Xena rose and in record time
was stripped ‘defenseless’. "Is this better?"
she asked, looking for approval.
"Oh yes," the bard
said quite pleased. "Much better... but you could make
it really, really better."
Xena asked with mock ignorance.
Gabrielle met Xena’s eyes.
"Lose the leathers."
Xena felt Gabrielle’s
words reach her ears and settle in her pelvis area. Xena did
Gabrielle’s bidding so she soon stood cloaked only in her
"Your turn," Xena
Gabrielle asked, looking innocent. "But dear warrior all
I have is this shift. I shall be bare if remove my sleeping
attire." She fluttered her eyelashes for emphasis, making
the warrior chuckle.
"I think that’s the
point," Xena replied, starting to lose the last of her
own clothing. Xena lifted her camisole and took off her
britches. She heard the sharp intake of breath from the bard
below her. "Nice to know the naked sight of me invokes
such a strong reaction," Xena teased.
"It always has,"
Gabrielle said growing serious. "It always will,"
she added as she pulled her own shift over her head joining
Xena. Upon seeing Gabrielle’s bare breasts in the firelight
Xena’s sound of approval mimicked Gabrielle’s earlier
"Nice to see it works
both ways." Gabrielle smiled.
She held out her hand which
the warrior was more than willing to take. For a moment, Xena
got her barring and realized just where they were.
"Don’t you think we should take this little party
upstairs? I mean, aren’t you afraid someone will find
Gabrielle stood up and
closed the doors, placing a chair under the handle.
"There you go, Warrior Mine. Feel better?" Gabrielle
Xena simply smiled as
Gabrielle made her way back to the furs; her eyes never
leaving the bard, gazing admiringly.
"I love the way you
look at me," Gabrielle confessed as she started to nibble
on Xena’s neck. "I feel like the most beautiful woman
in the world in your eyes."
"You are," Xena
She cupped the bard's face
and brought her to her lips. Then she brought her to the furs.
Then she brought her to ecstasy. After two hours of gentle and
fiery lovemaking they fell asleep in each other's arms. Xena
awoke once during the night to find the bard safely tucked in
her shoulder. She literally pinched herself to make sure she
She wasn’t and she smiled
as she cried. Silent tears cascaded down her face from her
overwhelming joy. She was safe. Her bondmate was safe. The
children were safe. Finally, all was right with the world
Xena awoke first thanks to a
toddler tugging on her bangs. She opened her eyes to see Lex
perched across Gabrielle’s back.
We’ve got company."
replied groggily. She tried to turn but felt the weight upon
her. "Ohh, I thought that was you." She smiled.
Lexia cooed happily.
"Yeah," Xena said
picking the child from Gabrielle’s back. "Your mamas
are both home, huh?"
Karis began to make her
presence known as well with a few grunts and protests.
Gabrielle rose and kissed Xena on the cheek, making sure Lexia
got a kiss too. She reached over and gathered Karis in her
"Hi there, Beautiful," Gabrielle cooed. "How’s my princess
Karis let everyone know with
a blood-curdingly yell that she wasn’t happy and breakfast
was needed. Once at Gabrielle’s breast she fussed a little,
but got the point. She’d been used to bottle feedings and
this ‘breast’ thing was making her work a whole lot more.
She protested a little at first, but she found she liked
mother’s milk much more than her grandma’s goat milk from
After Karis was settled and
nursing, Xena quickly donned her cami and britches. She
rounded up a new diaper and went at changing Lexia’s soggy
garment. As she cleaned and powered the toddler, Xena could
wait no longer.
"Well, since it’s
officially tomorrow, do you mind telling me why Hades brought
you back?" Xena asked.
Gabrielle stiffened. Damn
Hades! she cursed silently. He said he’d talk with her
himself. At that moment, the God of the Underworld
materialized behind the warrior and Gabrielle smiled.
"Maybe you should ask
him yourself," the bard offered, motioning with her head
Xena finished with Lexia and
turned around to see Hades watching the family with a sense of...
pride? He looked awfully happy for someone who goes
around collecting dead souls. It was then that Xena became
concerned. Hades sensed it.
"No, Xena," he said
answering her silent thoughts. "I didn’t trade the
children or anyone else for Gabrielle’s return."
That put the warrior at ease
and her sigh of relief was audible. "Why are you here
then?" she asked.
Hades considered what to
say. Cut straight to the point, he decided. She’d
admire that more.
"I’m not going to
sugar coat it, Xena. You’re my daughter."
He paused a moment, making
sure that the warrior took a breath. Once Xena decided to
remember to breathe did he continue. "I made a deal with
Ares. One night of love with Cyrene... and a Destroyer of
Nations for Ares."
father?" was all Xena could manage. Her mind wasn’t
sure what direction it should take. Should she be angry?
Should she ask why? Should she be glad to finally know of her
Hades began to address
everything but his remorse rang through the loudest as he
"I wish things had been
different," he said sincerely. "I wish you were born
with free will, but you weren’t. But that doesn’t mean that
you can’t make different choices now because you can. Your
debt to Ares has been fulfilled." He paused and pointed
to Xena’s family. "You’ll always fight that ‘dark
side’ as you call it. But you can succeed and have power
over it. You can show your children what darkness brings
without them having to go through it firsthand. If there was
any wish I could give you - as a father to a daughter - that
would be it - Knowledge of the difficulties in mortal life...
but the ability around them through perseverance. I didn’t
have that chance Xena... I’m begging you... Don’t waste
it with my grandchildren. Teach them all you know - the
darkness and the light - so they are prepared to handle what
the fates throw at them."
He smiled bittersweetly and
bent down to tassel Lexia’s hair. "She’s beautiful
like her mother," he announced to the room. "Like
BOTH her mothers," he corrected himself. "Two
lovely children, Xena. And a loving wife... Don’t blow
it," he said chucking her on the shoulder. He stood to
make his exit, but Xena stopped him.
"Hades... I know you
can’t tell me when... but... "
Hades put a gentle hand on
her shoulder. "You and Gabrielle will live for many years,
Xena. I can insure you that... And your children will live as
well under guidance and care... As for their paths in life,
one will be a... well, guess there should be some
mystery," he teased. "I will say this though...
There will be no more warlords in your family, Xena, well, if you
heed my advice. Rest assured, you will always have children
that make you proud... not that you won’t want to strangle
them from time to time." He grinned as he paused.
"But still, they will be fine, upstanding
Xena sighed and she had to
admit she liked not knowing EVERYTHING.
Xena said with a sincerely grin. "Thank you for...
"If ever you need
anything, Xena, I’ll try my best to help you. I know I
haven’t been there in the past - a condition of Ares, I
might add - but nothing will stop me now that you’ve grown.
You’ve chosen your destiny and I’ll do my best to see that
"There is one
thing," Xena smiled. "My chakram is sunk outside the
coast of Joppa. Any chance I might get a new one?"
"I’ll look into
it," he said with a loving wink. Moments later he was
gone. Slowly, Xena turned to Gabrielle.
"You knew all
along?" Xena asked.
"Well not ALL ALONG." Gabrielle grinned. "I kinda figured it out
when Hades slipped up about his dau–... warrior
"Nothing gets by you,
huh, Beautiful?" Xena smiled.
"Not usually. I have my
moments of lacking foresight, but my average is pretty good on
the whole." She grinned.
Xena settled down next to
Gabrielle and rested her head on the bard's shoulder. Gabrielle
switched nursing sides as Lexia crawled back into Xena’s
lap, fascinated once more by her mother's long hair and how it
twined around her small fingers endlessly.
Gabrielle caught a twinkling
reflection on the blocked door and followed the source of the
light to a position over the fireplace.
she whispered, pointing at the mantle. A perfect, shiny
chakram balanced perfectly between two candlestick holders.
"Looks like he kept his word," Gabrielle answered
with a smile. When Xena didn’t make a move toward it the
bard asked, "Aren’t you going to get it?"
"Not now." She grinned. "I’m comfortable right where I’m at.
Besides, not like a need it right this minute."
After Gabrielle finished
burping Karis she gave the infant to Xena as she dressed in
her shift. "Mom will be up soon. Did you want to visit
everyone?" she said motioning to the door.
"Not right now,"
Xena said reaching for the standing Amazon queen. "At
this moment, all I want is to sit here with you and watch the
kids, if that’s okay?"
"Sounds like a wonderful plan," she agreed kissing
the warrior affectionately on the lips as she made her decent
back to the sleeping furs.
"It’s good to be
home," Xena sighed.
answered, snuggling into Xena’s shoulder. "Home at