Subtext Reports
Those crazy posts about the episodes originally posted to the nutforum and saved here for posterity in their error riddled entirety (since they were written 'on the fly'). 
Homecoming Series
A series of five (not so short) stories about Xena and Gabrielle building their life together as a couple. 
Magic Series
Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas find love as they uncover more writings of Gabrielle about her warrior princess. 
Conversations by Campfire Series
Set during Season Four, parts of the episodes are worked into chats between Xena and Gab, particularly the subject of Najara and the bard. 
Changes of Heart Series
My take on what happened after Gabby got Chakram'ed upside the head by Xena in the Season Five ender. 
Bonding of Souls Series
This series picks up where 'Changes of Heart' ends with Xena and Gabby back together. Each 'episode' is an expansion of the episodes of Season Six.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
How DID Ares get stuck in that tomb from the Xena Scrolls? This story answers that question. 
The Play
Xena and Gabrielle have to play the leads in a performance for a ruthless king to save Salmoneus' neck. Unexpected consequences and confessions are the result. 
The Queen, the Regent, the Warrior
Xena leaves Gabrielle in the care of the amazons, only to have Ephiny and Gabby fall in love. Xena does return and chaos and secret confessions follow.
The Contest
Ares and Aphrodite battle over Xena's spirit. 
Loss of Virginity
Romantic musings from one of our gals. 
Moment of Truth
Gabrielle does anything it takes to keep Xena out of a battle that's foretold to take the warrior princess' life. 
Thank the Gods For Henbane
At an Amazon festival Gabrielle has one too many henbane brownies, which results in a funny and sexy night for Xena. 
As It Should Be
The Queen gets taken by the Warrior Princess at the Amazon Village.
Family Ties
Xena takes Gabrielle back to home to spend a little time with the 'in-laws'. 
Dueling Cousins
Xena's look-alike cousin, Sappho, has always been competitive but now the Tenth Muse wants the ultimate prize - Gabrielle. 
The End
Alternate 'demise' of Xena and Gabrielle based on the Season Four crucifixion. 
Truth or Dare
Sexy romp between Callisto and Gabrielle set during 'A Necessary Evil' 
November 29th, 1942
A little romance fic between Janice and Mel. 
Inside Outside
Set after the events of 'A Family Affair', it's a scene told through the eyes of four people - Gabrielle's Father, Mother, Gabrielle herself and Xena.
Something To Talk About
Xena and Gabrielle's friends are all surprised that the pair aren't lovers so they consider why not.
Henbane, Horsenappings and Other Obstacles
A 'murphy's law' comedy where everything that can go wrong for Xena and Gabby but, of course, they still end up saving the day.
All That Matters
During Gabrielle's birthday party in' Takes One To Know One', Xena reflects on her love for the bard.  
What if Gabrielle was actually the one behind all the folks who influenced Xena's journey toward good? 
Have Yourself a Merry Little Solstice
A little Winter Solstice tale that's available in general (not lovers) and alternative (lovers). .
Little Moments: A Day in the Desert
A tale told through the eyes of Janice and then Mel while on a dig.  
Candy or Chaos
'Classic Xena' general Halloween story with Xena and Gabby return for the Potiedaia Harvest Festival.
Conquering Heroine
Gabrielle is the Conqueror in this piece. How exactly? Give it a read and find out. 
Watching and Waiting
Set after FIN II, Xena watches from afar as Gabrielle moves on with her life. 
Police Office Carol and Protestor Erin clash but find they're fighting for the same things. A short story based on my novel, 'One Belief Away'. 

Title: Home At Last Part 2

Author: CN Winters

Fandom: Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction

Rating: R

Disclaimers: 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>.

Author's 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>.

Synopsis: Xena struggles with motherhood alone after Gabrielle's death...But a deal from the Gods might be what they need to continue their lives together. 

Feedback: Drop me a line at

Home At Last Part 2 of 2


"Perseus I 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... ?"

"Xena," the warrior said offering her forearm in a firm, yet friendly manner.

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 we?"

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 off!"

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 evening.

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.

"What’s this?" 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, let’s go."

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 her breathing.

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.

"Look 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 not friendly."

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 remaining head.

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.

"We’ve lost 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 silently.

"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 thought silently.

"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 look now."

Xena wasn’t sure if she should trust him, but she watched the captain peek at the corpse with no harsh effects happening.

"That was 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 to Ares. 

"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 happen."

Ares smiled and began to vanish. 

"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 tree.

"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 warrior.

"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.

"Tomorrow’s her 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.

"Well," Xena 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 time."

"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?"

"She," Xena 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.

"Argo," Xena 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 asked amazed.

"Yeah." Xena 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 tonight."

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 moving."

"Right behind you." Perseus grinned as they started to walk down the road.

Cyrene was cleaning up from the breakfast feast when I group of female warriors burst through her door.

"What in Tartarus?!" she exclaimed.

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?"

Ephiny 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 the flames."

"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?"

"Chakram," Terris whispered back.

"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 outta here!"

Terris had moved over to Ephiny.

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 of hers.

"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."

Ephiny 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."

"Your warrior 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.

"She’s your daughter," Gabrielle whispered. "It makes sense now... All of it."

"Gabrielle," Hades 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 daughter."

"But.. ."

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 statement.

"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 life."

Gabrielle took a few moments to digest the confession. "That’s why Xena’s sent so many to you."

"Yeah," Hades answered meekly. "That’s my girl. My pride. My joy."

Gabrielle could see Hades sorrow. And she realized that the gods couldn’t control everything. Hades knew just what she was thinking.

"Yes, Gabrielle," 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."

"Easy." Hades 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.

"I will," Gabrielle answered. "On one condition." She grinned.

"What’s that?"

"You have to tell her the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Agreed?"

Hades ran his fingers through his slick hair. "You sure do drive a hard bargain."

"When it comes to bartering, I’m one of the best... Deal?" Gabrielle said offering her forearm.

Hades smiled and took it firmly. "Deal."


"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 Joppa."

"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."

"Xena," Perseus 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 - I’m going."

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 his search.

Marcus peeked into the jungle room and saw Gabrielle smelling the beautiful orchids.

"Gabrielle?" he asked not quite sure if memory was serving him correctly.

"Marcus," 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.

"Oh boy," 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?" Gabrielle pushed.

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 needs."

Hades materialized behind Gabrielle. "Reflecting pools, huh?" Hades scolded the former warlord.

"Oops," Marcus whispered to Gabrielle with a sly grin.

"Go easy on him," Gabrielle insisted to Hades. "He’s a good man."

"Thanks," Marcus smiled before turning back to Hades. Maybe it’s best I slink away, he considered. while Hades is preoccupied with Gabrielle.

"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?" Hades asked.

"I’ve been 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 cried.

"Hades actually." Gabrielle grinned. "He said I had some matters to take care of."

Ephiny hugged Gabrielle 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 tight embrace.

"Oh sweetheart," 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.

"Someone answer me!" the queen demanded. "Where’s Xena?"

"If you're back," Cyrene said taking the cue, "then she’s alright."

"What’s going on?" Gabrielle asked.

"Come on," Cyrene said helping her to her feet. "We’ll explain everything on the way to the inn."

Inn? Gabrielle 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 queen’s arrival.


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 different.

"So the son of Zeus and the daughter of Hades has failed... The time is almost at hand."

"That it is," Zeus confessed grimily. "Per our agreement Thetis you may go to Poseidon and tell him to release the Krackin."

Thetis 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. 

It's now 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 rock peninsula.

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 head. 

"I really don’t have time for this," she muttered. 

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.

"How’s it 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?"

"Name's Xena."

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 ledge.

"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 away.

"No," Xena instructed. "Leave it there... Let’s see what happens."

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 you?"

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 her agreement.


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 door.

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.

"Sorry," Taria 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 cracking voice.

"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 the bard.

Xena couldn’t wait any longer. The back of her fingers ran down the baby soft cheek of her lover.

"Gabrielle?" Xena 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 warrior cried.

"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. "We’re home."

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 doing."

"But –?"

"You were played by the Gods once again, Xena. Regardless of whether you helped Perseus... I still would have returned."

"Why that no good –."

"Shh," Gabrielle 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 speaking... yes."

"Alright bard. 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 matters... 

"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 mind, Beautiful?"

"Well, first you’ll have to lose that armor," Gabrielle began with a sexy grin.

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."

"How’s that?" 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 shift.

"Your turn," Xena grinned.

"My turn?" 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 noise.

"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 us?"

Gabrielle stood up and closed the doors, placing a chair under the handle. "There you go, Warrior Mine. Feel better?" Gabrielle asked sincerely.

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 replied honestly.

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 wasn’t dreaming.

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 again.


Xena awoke first thanks to a toddler tugging on her bangs. She opened her eyes to see Lex perched across Gabrielle’s back.

"Uhh... Beautiful? We’ve got company."

"Huh?" Gabrielle replied groggily. She tried to turn but felt the weight upon her. "Ohh, I thought that was you." She smiled.

"Mamamamamama," 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 arms.

"Hi there, Beautiful," Gabrielle cooed. "How’s my princess this morning?"

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 the bottle.

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 toward Hades.

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."

"You’re my 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 half-godhood?

Hades began to address everything but his remorse rang through the loudest as he closed.

"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 individuals."

Xena sighed and she had to admit she liked not knowing EVERYTHING. 

"Thank you," Xena said with a sincerely grin. "Thank you for... everything."

"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 it’s fulfilled."

"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 princess."

"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.

 "Look Xena," 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?"

Gabrielle smiled. "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.

"Yes," Gabrielle answered, snuggling into Xena’s shoulder. "Home at last."

The End


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