of Heart Pt. 1
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!
after the 'Gabchak' at the end of Season Five 'Motherhood',
Gabrielle decides her relationship with Xena is too abusive
and she decides to leave. Xena is left finding a way for them
to reconcile while also getting to know her daughter, Eve.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes of Heart
I know what I have
to do. I have to leave. Now. This wonít wait until dawn. If
morning comes and Iím still here... I know sheíll talk me
out of it, the same way she has many times before. Too many
to make sure her sais were in place and with her old satchel
in one hand and her bedroll under her arm she walked out of
the camp they set up at the beach that evening. Only thing she
left behind was a parchment. Scribed inside was a simple
statement, ĎI love you, Xena, but my life has no place in
yours any longer. I see that now. Goodbye and good luck.í
The chatty bard has
finally become the stoic warrior, Gabrielle thought
bittersweetly as she had placed the scroll beside Xena.
thereís no need to ramble on. She knows. Sheís known for
quite sometime now where things were heading, but she did
nothing to stop it.
And Eve... if
sheís not the spiting image of BOTH her mothers... How many
times did I wish I had the power to creating another human
being with the great warrior princess? How many? 1000? 2000?
The honor, however, went to Callisto, the woman that killed my
husband... Xena has her daughter alright and I played no part
No, Xena didnít
acknowledge that I had a place in Eveís life. I spent months
defending that child, laying my life down for that child, gave
her my rite of caste. And what did Xena do? She scoffed at my
every attempt in trying to create a family... She said we got
OUR daughter back today. But today was just a little too late...
Today, like many days this past year, was a living Hell. I canít
live in Hell any longer.
her journey down the beach lost in her thoughts.
I should have
left sooner. I should have left in Egypt. Her attraction to
Antony was almost more than I could handle. And her betrayal
of him... well, letís just say it didnít seem all that
different than what Caesar had done to her years before -
winning her affections and stabbing her in the back. If Caesar
was evil for doing that, what did that make Xena? Maybe Najara
was right... In fact, maybe I should have left then; made
Najara see the err of her ways and build a life together with
continued to walk, she saw another figure heading toward her
on the beach. She picked up her pace and within a few 100
yards she recognized the figure.
And just when I couldnít
feel any worse.
Gabrielle. Howís the head?"
Are you really
up for chitchat now, Gabrielle?
she replied. "I didnít get the chance to thank you
earlier. You didnít have to heal me too, but you did."
Gabrielle looked at the former god of war and began to grin. Look
at that. Heís blushing. Ha ahh.
nervously with the scruff on his face.
"Yeah, well ...
You and Xena are a package deal and I accept that now. In
fact, I think it sounds pretty damn interesting."
Gabrielle thought as she watched Aresí mind going off...
imagining... well... she didnít want to know precisely what
he was imaging, but she had a fair assumption of what Ares
found Ďinterestingí. She wasnít going to stick around to
find out more.
up," he shouted and began to walk after her. "Where
are you going?"
you're coming back, right?"
good? Just like that? Does Xena know?"
learn soon enough. Especially when you go back there, fall on
one knee and propose. Sheís gotta thing for bad boys Ares,
but between you and I, I donít think Xenaís the marrying
kind. Youíll just have to make do as her love toy - the
position is official open now."
It took a lot to
stun the now mortal god of war, but he looked truly mystified
as Gabrielle continued along the beach.
minute," he called jogging up after her. Gabrielle
stopped again releasing a long sigh. "You canít just
can," Gabrielle countered. "Watch me."
said as he grabbed her arm halting any movement. "Look Iím
not good at these sensitive chat things... Whereís Dite when
I need her?" he muttered under his breath.
Gabrielle and Ares
turned to see a glittering shower quickly transform into the
Goddess of Love.
following you for awhile, Ares. You look pretty pathetic by
the way," she jabbed.
"Can we put
the sib rivalry on hold a moment here?" he asked.
her head and examined Ares. He was actually being... sincere.
up?" she asked taking a new interest in the conversation.
leaving Xena," he stated flatly looking for support.
blame her," was the response. Ares eyes widened and
Gabrielle pointed to Dite in a ĎSee? She agreesí manner.
you," Gabrielle nodded to Aphrodite. "Iíll be on
my way now."
"If you go, it
will kill Xena," Ares argued.
on her way as she spoke with the siblings who were following
her. "Xenaís a strong woman. She hasnít needed me for
sometime now. I, however, will die if I stay with her. You can
only survive so many chakrams to the head before you realize
enough is enough."
protecting Eve," Ares argued.
"I noticed you
didnít get an open head wound for going after Eve so donít
give me that shit, Ares! I donít believe it for a
Gabrielle picked up
the pace while the two of them continued to follow.
different," she heard Ares whine behind her.
Gabrielle countered as she spun around.
looked to Dite, hoping sheíd toss him a line. The goddess
just folded her arms and smirked.
waiting," Dite ribbed her brother.
Ares ran his
fingers through his hair in frustration.
he yelled. Gabrielle slapped him in the chest with the back of
her hand as they heard the noise vibrate through the area.
"Keep it down.
Youíll wake her up," Gabrielle said pointing back to
Ares got a glimmer
in his eyes and Gabrielle regretted putting the idea in his
head. She pulled her sais as Ares took a deep breath to yell
"Do it and
your life as a mortal will be reallllly short."
between them, placing a hand on each of their shoulders.
"Settle down boys and girls. Nobodyís gonna start
yelling like a child for their warrior princess and nobody is
gonna slit the throat of an ex-god, okay? Sheesh!"
it," Ares muttered like a spoiled child.
"This is so
idiotic," Gabrielle sighed. "Can I go now?" she
Dite began speaking to Gabrielle, "I donít blame you
for wanting to leave. There have been many times lately when
sheís barely acknowledged you. There have been times when
sheís been... less than attentive-."
attentive? She was willing to walk away from me because I
wanted to rule a village and all because she was Ďboredí.
Another amazon wanted to be her new Ďsidekickí and Xena
took advantage of that by turning her into a maid for the
afternoon, all the while misleading me into thinking she
wanted to settle down with me. You call that less than
"No. I call
that stupid." All three of them turned around to see Xena
standing in her battle dress, armorless. "I canít deny
I did all those things. But I also read your scrolls as I had
promised. And I came to my senses and realized... I need you
in my life."
need me, but you donít want me," Gabrielle argued.
"I donít think a Ďneedyí relationship is best for
either of us, Xena. I want a lover who WANTS me in her life
and frankly Iíve felt like a nuisance. Iím tired of
feeling like Iím asking too much of you. Iím tired that
every attempt I make to get closer is seen as trying to
control you or manipulate you. Iím tired of watching you and
Eve and feeling like an outsider... Thatís a terrible way to
live. I canít live that way any longer."
"We can change
"You said that
after we left the amazons remember?... What did I get in
return? Huh? A ringside seat to watch you fuck Antony and a
chakram upside the head? Pardon me if Iím a little leery
with the Ďchange thingsí attitude. Itís been months,
Xena, and nothingís changed."
want you to leave," Xena said trying to step closer.
matter if I left," Gabrielle retorted. "Thatís the
problem. My exist... it doesnít mean much when it comes to
my soulmate," Xena tired in a final attempt.
soulmates. But we havenít been soulmates in a very long
time. Apparently souls can have a change of heart too...
Donít do it.
Donít start crying now. Just turn and walk away. Keep
walking. Thatís it. Keep walking. Left. Right. Left. Right.
looked at Dite for help, but the goddess showed no sign that
she would intervene. Xena realized sheíd sealed her own fate
and all the potions and spells and arrows werenít going to
change that fact. Besides sheíd always wanted the bard's
love and not an illusion.
sorry," Dite offered sincerely before transporting away
in a flash of light.
The wind picked up,
leaving Xena and Ares alone on the beach. Finally, Ares spoke,
"Mind if I camp with you tonight? Iím kind of stuck for
a place to stay and Iím not quite sure where Iím going
on." She motioned him to follow her. "That makes two
Eve was sitting up
in her bedroll as Ares and Xena walked back into the camp.
"What is HE
doing here?" she asked unable to show her disgust.
remember he saved your life," Xena retorted.
okay," Ares said breaking into the conversation between
mother and daughter. "Sheís got every right to be
right I do," Eve said as she stood up poking a finger at
the former God. "Why in Eliís name do you keep
defending this jackass?" she asked Xena.
Why do I? Xena
considered. Heís done more damage than good in my life.
on his luck right now," Xena answered with a sigh.
"Weíre gonna give him a hand."
huh?" Eve replied sarcastically. "And what does
Gabrielle have to say aboutÖWhere is Gabrielle?" Eve
said looking around, finally putting her anger with Ares on
hold long enough to notice the bard was not present.
gone," Xena answered softly.
"What do you
mean sheís gone?! What happened?!" Eve exclaimed.
Xena opened her
mouth to speak, but nothing would come out. She didnít know
where to begin her explanation.
dead?" Eve asked, terror beginning to fill within her
eyes at the thought.
Xena said quickly to calm Eve who was beginning to shake.
"She just doesnít want to travel with us anymore."
Xena didnít add more. Instead, she chose to wait for Eveís
reaction to the news.
Eve thought. How can she be gone? How can she just walk
away? I spent 25 years without a mother to finally discover,
in truth, I had two... And now one of them is suddenly gone?
Perhaps the responsibility was too much? Perhaps...
"Is it because
of me?" Eve asked softly. "Is she leaving because Iím
Xena could have
sworn her heart broke at the sob she heard in Eveís
sweetheart, no. She left because of me."
Ares said piping into the conversation. Xena looked over to
Ares when she heard the less than proud response. "I
havenít been a staunch supporter of your moms'
relationship," he told Eve, avoiding eye contact with
either woman. "Iíve been very much the adversary more
times than I can count."
figure," Eve replied tartly and rolling her eyes.
Xena replied moving closer to her daughter. "Gabrielle
loves you very much and it wouldnít surprise me if one day
she comes back. If not to see me, then at least to see you...
Did she tell you that youíre an amazon? That sheís a queen
and gave you her rite of caste?"
widened at the news and she shook her head no.
true," Xena continued with a proud grin. "Gabrielle
couldnít have loved you more than if she had given birth to
you. I was too preoccupied or blind or... whatever... to see
that. She said it often, but it fell on deaf ears and now Iím
paying the price."
mother, but it sounds like Iím paying the price too. I might
not get the chance to know her now." Eve mentally kicked
herself for the way the remark came out so insensitive. She
hurts bad enough right now and you gotta go lay her on a guilt
trip. Real smooth. "That came out all wrong,"
Eve added, taking a spot back on the ground again at her
bedroll. "I just mean it would be nice to get to know the
woman behind all those scrolls I read... but that chance might
It might be too late but then again... "I know
Gabrielle pretty well. I donít think sheíll stay gone
long." Xena grinned. Ares cleared his throat and Xena
snapped her head around. "You have something to
add?" she asked clearly annoyed with the ex-god.
"I think youíre
fooling yourself, Xena," Ares answered. "That look
in her eyes and conviction in her voice - I think sheís gone
for good," he concluded quickly.
"Yeah, well, I
really donít give a damn about your opinion, Ares,"
Xena retorted. "I still say I know Gabrielle better than
you." Ares smirked and shook his head in disbelief, but
said nothing. "What?!" Xena answered, her annoyance
turning into anger.
Ares and Xena faced
off for a moment, sizing each other up.
right. Gabrielle was right," Ares sighed. "I stood
on that beach and tried to convince her to stay with
you." That news obviously startled both mother and
daughter. "Yeah, I know, hard to be believe, but true...
Why? Because I see how much she means to you, Xena, and I know
how difficult it would be if she left; even if you donít see
it. And Iíll tell you what else I see." Ares didnít
pause to find out if Xena wanted to hear. He just continued.
"I see exactly why she left. Gabrielle isnít the same
woman you knew years ago. She will no longer follow you
blindly into battle. Sheís a warrior and a woman in her own
right. You never recognized that."
"This from the
man that views her as the irritating blonde," Xena said
"At one time,
yes, absolutely," Ares answered. "She irritated the
hell out of me and I know why now. She could love you
unconditionally. She had the POWER to make you see the
goodness inside you... but somewhere along the way, you both
lost sight of that. And itís funny because her loss should
be my gain. Right now though it feels like a hollow victory. I
won by default because, in the end, I didnít cause this
breakup. You did."
did." Xena nodded. "But you played a very big hand
in it Ė telling me to seek vengeance for Solanís death,
making a deal with Gabrielle by using her jealousy over LaMao,
offering to train Gabrielle as a warrior when she was grief
stricken over Eli-."
not the one who dragged Gabrielle cross country behind a
horse. Iím not the one who left her standing on the dock
feeling helpless. And Iím not the one who condemned her for
not interfering when a friend asked her to look the other way...
You did all those things on your own, Xena. You made the choice
in the end, not me."
Xena could feel her
pulse in her head. Sheíd been angry with Ares many times
over the years, but at this moment it far exceeded anything
she could imagine. Iím looking at a dead man, her
mind hissed. She was ready to pull her breast dagger and slash
Ares throat in that second and she would have if she didnít
hear Eveís voice.
"I never read
any of that," Eve said looking at Xena for conformation.
"Did you do those things?" Eve asked, almost
pleading that it wasnít true. It canít be true, Eve
thought silently. All those scrolls never mentioned anything
like that. They sang of all the people that she saved, all the
good sheíd done. How could she hurt Gabrielle? Gabrielle
risked her life by walking into my Roman camp just to say that
they loved me.
How could mother
hurt anyone that brave and daring and noble? It canít be
But the longer Xena
didnít answer, the more Eve realized that yes it was true.
Gabrielle just never mentioned it in her writings. Eve began
to wonder why.
Was it out of
love? Was it too painful to put on parchment? Why?
Xena began, "I was a terrible person for a very long time...
and sometimes," Xena began to tear up but quickly
swallowed them down. "And sometimes itís hard to fight
my Ďdark sideí. Thatís what Gabrielle called it. She
understood it. And sadly, there were times that she felt the
wrath of it. Iím not proud of that because I love Gabrielle
very much. I do. And itís hard to see that sometimes in
light of all the things that have happened to us."
"You mean in
light of all the things youíve done," Ares corrected
"You are this
close to deathís door," Xena said narrowly spacing her
thumb and index finger in front of him.
right," Ares said. "That was a cheep shot, but if
you want the bard back Xena youíll have to start seeing the
things that have happened and accepting responsibility for
them. If you donít... youíll never get her back...
suddenly the god of love, huh?" Xena rebuffed.
suddenly mortal with eons of experience with humans. I see
things a lot more clearly now... I just wish you did
stomach made an atrocious churning noise. All three looked to
Ares belly and at each other, thankful for the break in the
Eve poked fun.
"Is that why
my stomach hurts and makes hideous noises?" the newly
mortal god asked.
Xena grinned and
shook her head. Boy oí boy does he have a lot to learn about
mortality. She reached into the saddlebag next to her bedroll
pulling out some bread and cheese, tossing it to the former
she offered. "That should quiet things down so we can get
some rest tonight."
Ares took a bite
and turned to Xena with a wince.
me all food doesnít taste this bad."
Eve and Xena
grinned at each other and nodded. This is gonna be some
road trip all right, Xena thought.
yeah," she replied,"Some of itís even worse. In
fact thatís the best of the best youíve got there,
pal." Whatís the harm in making Ares believe all
food is terrible? Besides itís just desserts for his
antagonism tonight. "Come on, letís try to get some
rest. Itís been a long day," Xena offered.
Xena gave Ares her
bedroll and shared Eveís. As mother and daughter lay next to
each other, Eve turned to Xena. "Will you promise to tell
me more tomorrow? Things I didnít see in the scrolls? Maybe
things about Gabrielle?"
Can I really do
this? Xena considered. Yes you can. You have to. Eve
deserves the truth.
"Yes, but only
one story at a time," Xena considered.
tonight?" Eve said snuggling closer. "Just a small
Xena smiled. Story
time with her daughter. She missed much in Eveís growth, but
perhaps some moments could still be saved and experienced.
Xena cleared her throat to speak.
"I sing of
Gabrielle. The girl I met... the woman I love ... "
Ahhh ... is will
Gabrielle picked up
the last log she found and examined it after a brief toss in
her hand. Quietly, she made her way back to the fire pit where
her bedroll lay for the evening. She carefully stacked the
wood in a triangle shape with plenty of kindling below.
Normally she would just go to sleep, but this evening was
chilly as a result of being so close to the water. She needed
the warmth if she was going to get any rest.
With a few clicks
of the flint the tiny twigs caught the spark and within
moments a fire was blazing. The feeling that she was being
watched suddenly draped over her like a wet blanket and she
looked over her shoulder unsure and nervous of what she might
pretty good at that," her visitor said pointing to the
Yeah, now. There
was a time when I wasnít, Gabrielle thought as she
turned around. "Well, the first night I took off after
Xena I ended up in her camp because I couldnít start a fire
to save my life."
remembering how helpless she felt back then. She was going to
be the great adventurer, yet she couldnít make twigs smoke. It
took all the courage I had to walk into her camp that night.
The next night she showed me just what to do in case I ever
got lost or separated from her... Separated... The smile,
formed from the remembrance of how young she was back then,
slipped from her face as a feeling of melancholy took hold of
brings you out here, Aphrodite?" the bard asked, hoping
to clear her mind of the painful thoughts.
up on you, I guess," Dite answered. When neither woman
said more, Dite continued, "Sheís taught you a lot, I
know. Itís hard to let that go," Dite sympathized.
Gabrielleís eyebrows scrunched in examination of the
How could she
possibly know what I-.
little one," Dite continued, "when it comes to love
I can see right into any mortal."
"I thought all
the goddess of love cared about was her temples and her Ďeveningí
wear." The bard grinned.
airhead, huh?" Dite remarked. "Guess thatís why Iím
still around and half of Olympusí most powerful are gone,
"Very true. Wanna have a seat?" The bard offered
patting her bedroll. Dite took the invitation and without
physically moving appeared beside the bard. Gabrielle grinned
and shook her head. "You only had to move 5 strides. Was
it really necessary to Ďpoofí beside me?" she teased.
"What good are
powers if you donít use Ďem?" Dite countered.
Gabrielle continued to grin and poked a stick in the fire for
distraction until Dite continued. "Speaking of power... I
tried to sway Athena from using the furies on you, but I had
little control over it. I didnít-."
Gabrielle interrupted. "thatís not your fault. If you
hadnít stepped in when you did things would have been much
worse. Iím just glad that Xena didnít overreact and harm
you." Gabrielle rolled her eyes in disgust with the
thought of the warrior.
"Thatís kind of you to say. But I knew that Xena wouldnít
harm me if I approached to offer help. Besides, I didnít
need to fight her. I had nothing to lose, so why battle her.
The mortal world only needs two true gods. Only two factors
play such a role in humanity - death and love. People donít
need wisdom to survive. They donít need Ďhobbiesí. They
certainly donít need war... But love... humans will always
need love. And humans will always need death."
"I never knew
you could be so philosophical," Gabby replied
lot you donít know about me, Gabrielle. Not many mortals do.
I show them what I want them to see and the rest well... I
kinda keep it under wraps." The goddess winked. "But
I donít think my immortality is weighing on your mind
tonight. And I thought perhaps I could share some insight with
you - like things you didnít know or might not have realized...
But thatís only if you want to. If not, Iíll just Ďpoofí,
as you say, and be outta here," she added snapping her
"No need to
Ďpoofí." Gabrielle smirked. "Iím just not sure
where to start I guess."
see," Dite said looking up to the star filled sky in
thought. "Would you like to know when Xena was first
attracted to you?" Dite wiggled on the bedroll, beginning
to get into this little Ďgameí. "This could be
fun," she squealed. "Wanna play?"
Guess the warriorís heart?" Gabrielle retorted.
Dite said enthusiastically.
Do I really want
to do this?... Oh what the hell..."Okay, what do I
do?" Gabrielle sighed.
Dite began before planning things in her mind. "We could
do a Ďtruth or dareí kinda game or I could ask you a
personal question and give you the right answer."
confused," Gabrielle answered, playing with her earlobe
as she considered what Dite had in mind. "What do you
mean by the right answer?"
just start and youíll see. Okay? Now ... When did Xena first
realize she was attracted to you?" the goddess asked.
When did Xena
first realize she was attracted to me? Hmmm... "After
I got kidnapped by Baccus."
wrong answer, sweet cheeks. Would you like to try again?"
Dite grinned. This could actually be fun, Gabrielle
considered with a growing smile. "Of course itís
fun," Dite said, reading Gabrielleís mind. "Itís
my game... Now would you like a second guess or not?"
"No. Tell me.
When did Xena realize she was attracted to me?"
"The first day
she saw you."
Both women erupted
into a fit of the giggles like two gals at a sleep over.
true!" Dite said soundly, confident in her answer.
peasant dress and the barrettes?"
yeah," Dite smirked. "In fact, she was so distracted
that Dracoís scrub solider managed to knock her down during
there?" Gabrielle asked in amazement. Aphrodite simply
nodded. "Why? Wait! You didnít put a spell on me to
follow her, did you?"
You did that all on your own darliní... I was there because
Herc asked me to keep an eye on Xena for a little while
to make sure sheíd be okay. And itís hard for me to say no
to the big guy." She grinned.
be," Gabrielle stared at the fire mesmerized by this
piece of news.
question," Dite said bringing back Gabrielleís
"Can I ask
this time?" Gabrielle questioned excitedly. Dite grinned
and nodded enthusiastically. "What did Xena think after
our first time... you know... together?"
Dite cocked her
head as she thought about the question.
she answered after a few moments of consideration.
afraid of me?" Gabrielle answered. Why in the world
was she afraid of me? Didnít she trust me? I gave her
everything that night - all that I had.
Dite answered. "and thatís what scarred her. She wasnít
sure if she could measure up. She wasnít sure that she could
be everything you needed. That worried her because she didnít
want to lose you."
changed?" Gabrielle asked as a sob threatened to spill
forth. Playtime was official over now and Dite took a deep
breath to steady herself for it. "How did she get so far
from what she wanted that night? Why did she just let me
go?" Gabrielle added.
going to say something, and I need you to understand it. Youíve
got a temper on you bard and I donít want you reaching for
the sais, okay?" The goddess paused to see if Gabrielle
would agree. Once she got the nod of acceptance, she
continued. "Xena isnít the only one whoís done damage
to this relationship, Gabrielle. Youíve done your share too.
And when trust is betrayed it is soooo hard to get that
"I know I did
wrong by betraying Xena in Chin. I know that now. Hell, I knew
that then and I made every effort to show her that she could
have faith in me."
Najaraís cult to start a hospice? Like deciding that people
who waged war werenít worthy and that peace and light are
"I never said
that," Gabrielle countered. "I just wanted to
examine other courses in life."
"Yes. I see
that. But did you ever consider that maybe the examination
would have its toll on Xena? You were choosing courses that
would take you farther away from Xena - opposite ends, in
heard that opposites attract, Aphrodite?" Gabrielle said
trying to defend her actions.
"Yes, and itís
true... but opposites donít make lasting relationships. The
sparks are great at first, but then it just kinda fizzles
away. You canít stay together if youíre walking down
separate roads - thatís a fact. And by the time you Ďcaught
upí to her again... she was already gone. Not physically,
but emotionally. She couldnít have you play a part in Eveís
life because what would happen if you changed your mind again?
What if you decided that you wanted to go the bard academy or
find a husband to settle down with or perhaps just go back
home to the little hick town of yours for good? Xena couldnít
take that chance... And I donít blame her."
are you on here?" Gabby asked.
side," Dite answered firmly without hesitation, "...
Iím not on your side or her side. Iím on loveís side.
And the only way love will survive for you or Xena is if you
BOTH take the time to realize you werenít completely honest
with each other... perhaps even honest with yourselves... Once
you find acceptance of the role youíve played will you find
love - be it with Xena or someone else. Ares top babe might
not be the gal for you, but youíll never move forward until
you acknowledge your part in all this. So take it one day at a
time, Gabrielle, and youíll survive."
Gabrielle took the
wine skin from her pack and took a deep long swig. She turned
to offer the goddess a drink, but she had vanished. Gabrielle
looked around the perimeter of the camp, but Aphrodite was
right, Gabrielle considered as she laid down on the
bedroll looking up at the stars. How many times did Xena
and I star gaze together?... Itís not the same without her.
But then again whenís the last time we did take time to do
this? The amazons ... I tried to touch her arm that night and
she moved away. Like sheís been moving away for months. Damn
her! Truth is Iíve been without her for months but itís
only now that Iíve left... Go to sleep, Gabrielle. Donít
do this to yourself. Just wake up. And move on tomorrow. One
day at a time.
on! Hold on!"
Xena and Eve
dropped their offensive stance and lowered their swords. They
both looked at each other and rolled their eyes as the former
war god called a truce for the third time in their sparring
session that morning.
pebble in your boot?" Eve taunted to Ares. What a
"It wasnít a
pebble. It was a rock - a very big, pointy rock," Ares
Two weeks had gone
by since Gabrielleís departure. Many nights Xena felt the
overwhelming urge to start out to look for her, but she always
fought the temptation. It was best if she just left well
enough alone for now. She had to get herself in order before
she went searching. She had to prove to Gabrielle that things
would indeed be different. At this point, she couldnít make
that promise. Too much had happened.
But the more she
was around Ares, the more tempted she was to find Gabrielle.
The bard had a way of cooling her temper when she needed it
most. Besides, to see Ares at his worst would certainly bring
a smile to Gabrielleís face. The former god was always
finding some Ďailmentí during their drills, which broke
the flow of the practice sessions and it was annoying Xena to
yeah," Xena sighed. "You realize that your opponent
is NOT going to let you call Ďtime-outí during a battle,
donít you?" Xena warned. "Youíve got to stay fit
if youíre going to survive."
know," Ares replied defensively, "but look at my
hands, would ya? Iím getting bumps," he added
outstretching his palms.
Xena inspected them
and tried to hold back her smirk. She and Eve looked at each
other and then back to Ares.
serious than I thought," Xena replied as straight faced
is it?!" Ares asked looking at his hands in terror.
Eve couldnít hold
back her laughter any longer. Xena would have loved making
Ares think his condition was terminal, but she just couldnít
pull it off. The harder Eve laughed, the more anger Ares
became. And the angrier Ares became, the more Eve laughed.
Ares raised his sword to strike the laughing young woman, but
Xena put a stop to it with a quick grab to his wrist.
"Oh no you donít,"
Xena warned. "Go to the saddlebag and get some ointment
and bandages. That will help. Go on." Xena pointed.
Ares gave Eve a
menacing glance on the way past her. But Ares was finding he
couldnít intimidate Eve any more than he could intimidate
Once Ares was out
of earshot Eve asked, "What are we going to do with him?
We canít keep traveling like this."
sure," Xena replied. So far itís worse than I
expected. He whines. He moans. Heís interrupting every
conversation. Itís worse than owning a pet.
"We need to do
something," Eve replied.
always make him a god again," Xena offered with a
chuckle. Eve chewed on her lip in thought. "That was a
joke," Xena added when she noticed Eve was giving the
idea serious consideration.
"I know you
meant it as a joke, but think about it. We-."
want to think about it. The answer is no. Heíll do more harm
Eve considered. Having the god of war back would only make
more trouble. But then again ...
"What if we
just made him immoral?" Eve suggested. "He wouldnít
get older. He wouldnít get hurt and he wouldnít have to
travel around with us anymore."
not a bad idea. It would certainly get him out of our hair and
we wouldnít have to worry about him using any Ďgodlyí
powers against us someday. Besides with Ares out of the
picture I can finally get back to focusing on things that
matter, like getting to know Eve... and if Iím lucky...
"So what do
you say?" Eve asked interrupting Xenaís thoughts.
Xena began, "Iíve got a friend that might be able to
help... if heís still alive that is."
Xena grinned. Umm
... Guess sheís heard of him. "Yep, thatís the
one. In fact, you might not be here if not for him. He battled
Zeus while your mom helped me give birth to you."
"Is that how
Zeus died?" Eve asked as her eyes widened. Iíd heard
the stories about it but I never knew that ĎIí was the
child he fought to protect.
yes," Xena sighed. "It was very hard for Hercules,
but he knew he made the right choice. After it was over, he
took Gabrielle to the side and told her to protect her family
and if she ever need him heíd give her a hand... He was a
really good friend... In fact, he tried repeatedly to reason
with Zeus, but he couldnít get through to him. And in the
end it cost Zeus his life."
fulfilling prophecy," Eve muttered as she thought about
the story Xena told.
ironic that Ares was the only god who saw it as such. Even
Athena in all her wisdom was near sighted to that fact...
Anyway, should we find Ďthe big guyí as some folks call
Eve chuckled. The
big guy. Her attention was turned however to Ares who was
cursing because he couldnít get the bandage on the right
way. She shook her head vigorously, "By all means yes. Iím
not sure how much more of this I can stand," she answered
pointing to Ares, who at this point was fighting to get the
lid back on the ointment tin.
Xena corrected. "How much more of this WE can
stand." After a few moments of watching him struggle,
Xena sighed. "Go give him a hand, would ya?"
next time itís your turn." Eve winked and then she
jogged over to the ex-god.
As Xena watched Eve
with Ares, the warrior smiled. Too bad you didnít stick
around to see this Gabrielle. Ares struggling with being Ďaverageí...
up close and personal. Xena took a deep sigh. I donít
miss you until Iím alone like this. Hell Iím not even
ALONE right now and I miss you. Someday, someway weíll get
back on track. One way or another I promise. Right now I just
hope youíre safe and warm and well fed... Then again when
are you NOT hungry. Xena chuckled out loud drawing Eveís
attention, whom had already walked back to be at her side.
it?" Eve asked. "Still chuckling at Ares?"
Xena said slightly startled. "Oh no... I was just
thinking about your mom... Did I tell you the nutbread
Eve grinned as they
began to walk down the road with Ares several yards in front
of them now. She liked the stories her mother told about
Gabrielle, or her mom, as she was now being referred to her.
The longer more formal title of 'mother' had been given to
Xena. The shorter, more playful term had gone to Gabrielle.
Instead of being upset by Eveís idea of how to tell them
apart, the warrior shinned like a lantern at Eveís
"No, you havenít,"
Eve replied, hoping it would prompt her mother into another
"Well, it wasnít
long after our Titan trouble I had told you about," Xena
began. "A father was going to sacrifice his son to the
god?" Eve asked to clarify. Xena nodded.
that it wasnít the one god that was doing the Ďcommandingí
but his older son, who was jealous. Anyway, I told Gabrielle
to stay with the young boy while I went to see his mother,
just to get some inside information on the situation. When I
got back to the cave they were hiding in, I found Gabrielle
face down and not moving."
happened?" Eve asked. This is getting good.
seems the brother had been poisoning the family. Gabrielle ate
all the boyís nutbread. which had been tainted with henbane.
Anyway," Xena continued with a smile, "Gabrielle ate
it all. Every last crumb and she was so stoned." Xena
chuckled. "That was the first day she told me I was
beautiful. As much as I would have like to believe it at that
point I couldnít. Especially after she started talking to
the cave rocks... and they started talking back... At least
thatís what SHE believed."
Eve erupted into a
fit of giggles, "Was she okay? I mean I know she survived
"Oh yeah. Your
mom is pretty damn tough. The headache she got afterward
however rivaled an ale hangover, but she still came through
when the going got rough." Xena chuckled. "She was
so young then," she reflected. "But she was still
the most gorgeous creature - inside and out - Iíd ever seen...
Somewhere along the way I lost sight of telling her just how
much she meant... And it costs me," Xena said
things will change someday and youíll get the chance
again," Eve offered optimistically.
They walked down
the road in a bit of silence until Eve spoke again.
"So how did
you and Gabrielle finally... get together?"
together?" Xena teased, knowing full aware of what Eve
was hinting at.
Eve blushed. "You know what I mean."
"It was after
I died the first time," Xena replied nonchalantly.
"Iíve been dead a few times, but I seem to keep coming
back," she added with a grin as she explained. "We
had just gone on an ambrosia quest with a crazy, power hungry
amazon after us who wanted your momís throne. We succeeded,
of course, and after I came back we just Ďhooked upí."
"You just Ďhooked
upí," Eve mocked teasingly. "Just like that?"
Xena paused a
moment, "Yeah, just like that."
what?" Xena asked.
know, but it seems kinda... boring. I mean after all the
adventures and stories Iíve heard I figured your coupling
would be more Ďexcitingí." Xena laughed heartily at
Eveís appraisal of how she and the bard became lovers.
"What?" Eve asked, not quite sure of what caused the
outburst from her mother.
"Trust me Eve.
That night was anything, but boring," Xena informed her
with a chuckle still firm in her voice. "Besides, I
already knew what was in Gabrielleís heart. When I was dead
I could hear her thoughts. In fact, sheís the reason I
fought so hard to come back. Yes, the world needed me around
to help those that couldnít help themselves, but, in truth,
the main reason was your mom. I couldnít leave her yet...
not with so many things left unsaid and unfinished. I think
thatís why Iím having such a hard time now... it still
feels Ďunfinishedí... Iím not sure if you
Eve didnít have a
chance to reply. Ares came running back up the road toward
trouble ahead," he said winded, pointing behind from
where he came. Six snarling highwaymen stood before them
looking anything but friendly.
do." Xena smirked as she unsheathed her sword. Eve, in
turn, did the same. "I love trouble." She grinned
menacingly at the men as she proceeded forward. "Can we
help you?" she asked the men.
"You can start
by emptying your purses," the apparent leader of the gang
"Look fellas, I havenít been in the best of moods
lately. Iím trying to reunite with my daughter I havenít
seen in many, many moons while listening to a crybaby 24 hours
a day. Add to the fact that my bard of five years recently
left me. What does this mean to you, gentleman? It means youíre
in for the WORST ass kicking of your life, if you donít step
aside now. So whatís it going to be?"
A collective and
sarcastic ĎOoooooí noise went around the small circle.
her sword and ran into the group of men with a thunderous
charge. She could end this fight in a matter of seconds with
the blade, but there wasnít a real sense of satisfaction in
that in the moment. She wanted to feel her anger expressed...
repeatedly... flesh against flesh. Besides death was too easy.
Perhaps after today these men would learn a lesson and they
could find another occupation less hazardous and more human
She head butted the
closest man to her and he fell limp instantly. The next got a
right hook that sent him into the fellow behind him. The next
one charged at Xena and she gripped him by his sword wrist,
snapping it with such force it looked as if his hand would
fall completely off at any moment. Two others charged her from
the left and right. When each was close enough she grabbed
each by the back of the head, slamming their faces together
until they too, like their comrades, were sobbing masses on
the dusty trail.
"Boy, do I
still love to see her work," Ares whispered to Eve.
The only one left
standing was the leader who was now left quaking in his boots;
boots that Xena was sure probably were stolen. She motioned
him toward her. "Come on pal," she taunted,
"Letís see what you got."
For a second, it
looks like he actually considered taking her up on the offer.
But common sense prevailed and he chose flight instead of
fight. As he took off away from the group, Xena reached for
her chakram and sent it hurling at the man. Eve took an
unsteady breath. She couldnít believe her mother would kill
an unarmed man as he ran away. The tried to move faster but he
realized he was going to be struck.
And struck he was...
in the belt.
Promptly his pants
fell to his ankles and he tried to pull them back up and run
at the same time. With a mighty whoosh, the weapon returned to
Xena and she secured it on her hip as she walked back and
gathered Argoís reins. Eve gave a sigh of relief. Her mother
upheld the warrior code by not killing a fleeing man.
clear," Xena replied in a chipper voice. "After
you," she said with a wave of her hand to her traveling
companions. Ares and Eve stepped around the men who were
moaning on the ground. As one tried to get his legs back, Xena
gave him a boot to the butt that sent him head first into the
road again. "I hope the next groupís a bit tougher.
That was barely a workout," she told her travel party
with a wink.
to Part II