Disclaimer: I own nothing except for plot and any original characters. Xena belongs to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement intended.
A/N: THIS IS A POST FIN STORY! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE XENA SERIES FINALE!!!!! (If you haven’t, I suggest you keep it that way.) This story is my way of dealing with the not-so-positive FIN ending, if you don’t like the ending there are other FIN/Post-FIN stories out there to satisfy you. *g*
Also, this is my longest story so far (18 pages as of yet) so bear with me. As always, please read and review. Constructive criticism: OK Flames: NOT OK May also include spoilers from other episodes.
Subtext: THIS STORY CONTAINS MEDIUM TO HEAVY SUBTEXT, AND F/F KISSING. IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THAT, DO NOT READ.
Violence: Some violence
Sex: None (only loving snogs between our two favorite soul mates, Xena and Gabrielle.)
For comments or questions, I can be reached at: email@example.com
Ok, I’m done with the warnings and everything, enjoy the story! ^_^
Everything was calm as the waves hit the ship, but Gabrielle’s heart wasn’t one with the ocean as she headed for Egypt, land of the pharaohs.
It’s time for me to pick up where Xena left off. Somehow, I knew this day might come, but I was hoping for Xena and me to die together, as it should have been. Gabrielle thought.
Just as she finished, a golden shower of sparkles flashed before Gabrielle’s eyes as Aphrodite appeared before her. Although, instead of her usual fluffy pink clothes, she was dressed in all black and a carrying a very depressed expression.
“Oh, honey, I heard what happened. Are you all right? I hope I had got here before Ares, who knows what he is thinking now that Xena is…” Aphrodite’s throat caught on the last word as she embraced the bard in a full emotional hug.
“I’ll be alright… in time. Aphrodite, can I ask a favor of you? It’s nothing huge or anything, just some quick transportation.” Gabrielle responded.
The goddesses’ frown turned back into her charming smile quickly as she replied,
“Sure, anything for you sweet pea.”
“Well would you mind transporting me to Amphipolis, so I can bury Xena’s ashes next to her brother? It’s what she wanted.”
“No problem!” Aphrodite chuckled as the two friends disappeared in a flash of golden light.
Screams sounded as Aphrodite and Gabrielle appeared in Amphipolis. Quickly, the active bard handed the ashes of her warrior princess to the goddess.
“Protect Xena’s ashes while save the town. I’ll call you when the coast is clear.” Nodding in understanding, Aphrodite hurriedly took the urn and disappeared.
Arming her sais, Gabrielle headed towards the mayhem. Blood was everywhere as the soldiers added up the damage.
“These villagers are innocent; the one you want is me.” The battling bard yelled at the pre-occupied fighters.
Just as expected, the small army charged at Gabrielle. Then, suddenly, she saw a familiar face charging at the soldiers. Following him, she recognized the villager. “Virgil!” Gabrielle exclaimed, while her sais met a soldier’s head.
“Thought you could use some help!” Virgil exclaimed as he knocked out a remaining attacker.
Smiling, Gabrielle had new determination from seeing her old friend. Using this to her advantage, the bard sent the cowardly army home running.
Chuckling as he watched this sight, Virgil strolled over to Gabrielle. “You clean up nicely. Tell me, where’s Xena?”
Gabrielle choked back tears as she answered, “I’m here to bury Xena’s ashes next to her brother. Speaking of, Aphrodite!”
With a confused expression, Virgil muttered, “the Goddess of Love…?”
As if to answer his question, Aphrodite, the goddess herself appeared in front of his very eyes. However, her depressed tone was back in place, and she held Xena’s ashes close to her heart. “You ready, Gabrielle?”
Slowly, Gabrielle nodded and disarmed her sais. “Yes, and he’s coming too.” The bard pointed Virgil out to Aphrodite. “He was a good friend of Xena’s.”
The goddess nodded in agreement as the three of them vanished together into oblivion.
Reaching the tomb of Xena’s brother, Gabrielle placed the urn of her lover’s ashes next to her brother’s coffin.
“We should all say a few words for Xena. First, I have a song I would like the Warrior Princess to here in her name.”
Aphrodite watched sadly as Gabrielle broke into a sad, Xena version of Joxer’s “Joxer the Mighty” song. Next to her, Virgil was reminded sadly of his dear old father, Joxer, while tears slithered down his cheeks.
When Gabrielle finished, she sat down on the table next to her best friend.
“Xena, where do I start? When I met you, I knew there was something special about this warrior that saved my village and me. You and I bonded instantly, and somehow my heart know that we were soul-mates. Ever since I started traveling with you, I treasured every moment of our time spent together. Eventually I realized that we could die on our adventures, this made everything more worth while. You made me what I am Xena, you complete me, in life and death, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Tears started streaming down Gabrielle’s face as she finished. Squatting down next to the table, Gabrielle unsheathed Xena’s sword from its scabbard on the bard’s back and she placed it next to the warrior’s urn.
Walking past Aphrodite and Virgil, she choked, “I’ll be at the local tavern.”
A slam echoed throughout the room as the voice of Gabrielle could be heard, “10 dinars for your strongest stuff.”
Sitting down at the bar, she laid her head on the counter. “Here ya’ go miss. Aye, but ya don’t need to worry about paying for that. It was you that saved the village after all! Drinks on the house, in this warrior’s favor.” The barkeeper growled.
“I’m a bard.” Gabrielle informed the man at the sound of clinking glasses and cheers of free drinks.
Gabrielle twitched as she felt a warm hand on her shoulder. “Honey, are you okay? You seemed a little down when you left the family tomb.” Aphrodite smiled sweetly at her friend as the bard looked over her shoulder at the goddess. Noticing she was back in her usual pink garb, Gabrielle managed a slight smile.
“I’m fine.” She managed to spit out. “Why don’t you and Virgil join me for a couple of rounds, drinks are on the house.”
Aphrodite laughed at this invitation. “And ruin my good composure? I suppose Virgil will want to join, he seems like one that kind of thing. I’ll go see if I can find him.”
Gabrielle was sure she heard the goddess mutter ‘mortals’ before vanishing. Laughing slightly as this, the bard took a sip of ale.
Xena, I know you heard me back in the tomb, so hear this: I want to talk to you, I need to ask something of you, a small favor.
The bard opened her eyes to find them meeting those beautiful blue ones of her soul mate’s.
“Gabrielle, what you said…. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard escape those soft lips of yours. Now… about what you wanted to ask me.” Xena remarked before Gabrielle could get a say in.
Seeing Xena almost made the depressed bard break down again, but she held her emotions under control.
“Actually, I was wondering if it was possible if you could teach me how to use the chakram.” Gabrielle asked plainly.
Expecting something larger, Xena smiled, “You don’t NEED lessons, Gabrielle. All you need is trust.”
A bemused expression crossed Gabrielle’s face as she stared at the warrior princess, hoping she would offer a more detailed explanation. When it became apparent that was all Xena had to say on the subject, she asked, “Trust? That’s it?”
“That’s it. Nobody can win a fight if they don’t trust their weapon. Although I suppose I could supervise you’re training. We don’t want another unplanned haircut.” Xena teased, ruffling up her bard’s hair with her strong hands.
“You always know just how to cheer me up.” Gabrielle said as her soul mate disappeared.
To think we are so close, yet so far…
Seeing Aphrodite and Virgil enter the tavern, Gabrielle called out to them, “Let’s sit over here.” As she took a seat at a table in the corner, away from the bustling chatter.
Perfect for private conversations… Virgil thought, sitting down.
“One ale for the virgin… I mean, Virgil.” Aphrodite called out tipsy.
“Aphrodite, are you sure you don’t drink this stuff?” Virgil asked, with an expression wrought with anger and amusement at the goddesses’ condition.
“So I took a few big sips, what’s the fuss about?” Aphrodite replied playfully, slapping Virgil’s arm lightly in the process.
“Well, we need you sober when we head out to Egypt in the morning.” Gabrielle said, half-serious.
“Egypt! Land of the Pharaohs!” Aphrodite said, holding up her glass in toast.
“No, to Xena.” Gabrielle replied, also raising her glass.
“To Xena!” they all called out in praise, as their glasses clinked together.
The bard was tensing up as she got ready for her first big adventure without her soul mate by her side.
Xena, I hope I got some of your wit. I’m going to need it when I get to Egypt. Gabrielle thought. Packing up her things, she snickered. After traveling so long with Xena, how could she NOT have picked up anything?
A knock came at the door just as Gabrielle finished packing. “Come in.” Gabrielle said. The door clicked as Virgil entered.
“Ready?” Virgil asked the bard.
“Yeah. I just need to get some breakfast.” Gabrielle replied.
“Alright. Aphrodite and I will be waiting for you at the dock when you’re ready to set sail.” Virgil informed her as he left the room.
Gabrielle collapsed on the bed after Virgil left. “Xena, I don’t know if I can do this without you.” Gabrielle stammered emotionally.
“Yes you can.” A reassuring voice sounded in Gabrielle’s ear. The bard turned and saw
Xena sitting on her bed. “I know you can do this Gabrielle. You’re a strong person. You don’t need me to do everything. Understand?” the warrior told Gabrielle.
The bard moved closer to her soul mate, then slowly, began to engage in a passionate kiss. When they broke apart, Xena noticed a fire burning in the bard’s eyes that wasn’t there before.
“I understand. I can do this.” Gabrielle stated confidently. Saying bye to Xena, she walked out the door and headed for the boat dock.
“Everyone ready?” Aphrodite asked when Virgil and Gabrielle had met her at the dock. They looked at each other and nodded, then boarded the ship.
Setting her stuff down, Gabrielle felt a lump in her throat form.
It’s time she thought as she walked over to Virgil. Placing a hand on his arm, Gabrielle smiled sweetly, holding back tears.
“It’s time you learned how Xena died.” She stated dully.
Unwelcomingly, a memory floated to the top of her mind:
Gabrielle, if I only had 30 seconds to live, this is how I would want to live them, looking into your eyes. Always remember, I love you. A dying Xena said as she released the pinch using Gabrielle’s hands.
“Gabrielle?” a distant voice said from far away, as if in a dream. “Gabrielle!” shaking the bard, Virgil saw her come back to Earth. “Are you alright?” Virgil stammered worryingly.
“I’m fine… just distant memories.” Gabrielle responded. Shaking her head to clear of the depressing memory, the bard made Virgil sit down with her.
“… and that’s it. She didn’t want to come back because it would mean condemning the 40,000 souls to death.” Gabrielle finished.
“You must have really loved her to, to respect her choice to not come back. It must have been a very hard thing for you to do.”
A smile escaped Gabrielle’s tear-stricken face. “Virgil, we’re soul mates.” She made sure to put emphasis on the last word. “We will be together in every life. Our souls are connected.”
Night had come and the stars were shining brightly in the sky. “Do you know the constellations? Xena showed me some at night when we used to travel together.” Gabrielle said as she lay back next to Virgil, observing the night sky. Virgil shook his head as Gabrielle used her hand to point out some of her favorite constellations.
She sure is beautiful. Virgil thought, not taking in a word Gabrielle was saying to him. And smart too.
Sleep overcame the bard as the wore on and dreams filled her head.
Listen to not just the sounds, but what’s behind the sounds.
Bring me her head! Gabrielle’s voice boomed through the thick night air.
Gabrielle jolted upright in bed, covered in beads of sweat. “Xena!” she called out desperately.
Her soul mate and best friend appeared before her, head and all. Seeing her intact, Gabrielle swiftly ran over to her partner’s arms. “Xena…” she muttered.
“It’s alright Gabrielle. I’m here. What happened?” Xena asked, worry showing on her face.
Tears ran down the bard’s frightened face. “I dreamed… about when I had to collect your body from the samurai.” Gabrielle managed to choke out.
Xena’s expression turned to one of horror as she realized what the words meant. “Oh Gabrielle, it must have been torture for you to have to collect my decapitated body. I’m so sorry I put you through it.” The warrior hugged her bard tighter as she finished.
“I wasn’t blaming you, Xena. Thanks for coming. It makes things so much easier that I can talk to your spirit. Your voice soothes me Xena, I feel much better now.” Gabrielle responded.
The bard pulled up her hand and wiped away her tears as Xena disappeared. “I love you… soul mate.” Gabrielle whispered after her.
“Want some breakfast, Gabrielle?” Virgil’s voice came from below docks. The bard hadn’t even heard him wake.
“I hope you cook better than your father, otherwise, I think I’ll pass.” Gabrielle replied with a smirk.
Smiling, Virgil said, “Actually, Aphrodite made it. She thinks we need some good food in our stomach before we get to Egypt.”
Gabrielle laughed, and then followed Virgil below docks. “Over her, sweet hearts! It’s getting cold!” Aphrodite called out near the stove.
“Well this is a site. The Goddess of Love working a stove. I’m definitely recording this in my scroll tonight.”
Aphrodite chuckled as a smile passed over her face. “Hey, I’m not totally worthless!”
Everyone gathered around the table as the goddess gave Virgil and Gabrielle their food.
“I’ll go check our course.” Aphrodite stated as she vanished to the ship’s top deck.
Shy glances were exchanged between the two friends as they nibbled on the breakfast.
“This is really good food…” Gabrielle offered, trying to start up some conversation.
“Gabrielle… I know you just lost your soul mate, but I REALLY like you.” Virgil said unexpectedly, putting his hand on the bard’s face.
Passion was burning like fire in his eyes, Gabrielle noticed. A noise sounded in the corner, and the bard saw the spirit of Xena appear. Her face was carrying expressions of surprise, jealously, but also, acceptance and happiness.
She doesn’t like it, but she wants us to be happy, Gabrielle realized.
Smiling thoughtfully, Xena chuckled. She can read me like a book.
“Gabs, are you still here?” Virgil asked.
Shaking her head, Gabrielle asked Virgil, “I’m sorry, where were we?”
Virgil’s response was cut short as Aphrodite bounded in the room.
“We arrived at Egypt, and guess who is waiting for us?”
“What took you so long? Brushing your hair, wanted to look good for Egypt?” Aphrodite questioned Gabrielle.
Eyeing the goddess, Gabrielle gave her a quizzical look. “Something like that…” Gabrielle responded, although she had to turn her head to hide the smile.
“Gabrielle, there is someone who wants to talk to you.” Virgil called out as he ran up to the bard.
A twinkle aroused in his eye when he saw Gabrielle in all her beauty. “You’re beautiful!” he gasped, taking hold of Gabrielle’s hands and killing her on the cheek.
Indeed she was. The Bard had adorned her hair the way she last had it when in Egypt, and she also was clothed in a white toga, and she had her sais hidden in her boots. Gabrielle was wearing her usual silver gauntlets and had Xena’s chakram attached to a hook on the toga. One day I will use it, when I’m ready. She thought.
A few hours later…..
“….so, we have to stop the two pharaoh’s armies from fighting, AND find a new pharaoh to rule Egypt?” Gabrielle asked.
It was late at night, and Eve had found Gabrielle, Virgil, and Aphrodite and led them to their temporary house in Cairo. After a while of small talk, Eve had relayed the problem to the others over dinner.
Nodding slowly, Eve’s expression turned to that of worry. “Where’s mother?” she inquired, knowing something was wrong.
Gabrielle placed a hand slowly on Eve’s arms, looking at the others. They nodded in agreement, and the bard stated, “Eve, there is something you need to know. A week ago, Xena was called to Japa to help out and old….friend.” Gabrielle stumbled on the last word before she continued. “Her friend, Akemi, needed Xena’s help to kill Yodoshi, a ghost who condemned 40,000 souls. Before Xena could kill Yodoshi, she had to become a ghost herself. When fighting Yodoshi’s army, she…allowed them to kill her so she could become a ghost and defeat Yodoshi.” By this time, the room was filled with the sounds of everyone fighting back tears. Ignoring her own, Gabrielle forced herself to go on. “Then, I found out that if I brought back Xena’s ashes to the fountain on Mt. Fuji, before the second sunset after her death, Xena would be brought back.” The nightmare the bard had a couple of nights ago came back to her, but she shook it off angrily. “When I gathered the ashes I met Xena on the mountain, where she would fight Yodoshi. After watching her kill him, I prepared to pour the ashes in the fountain. Unwillingly, Xena stopped me, and explained.” At this, Eve held out her hand and stopped the bard short.
“Stopped you? You mean, after Xena allowed herself to die, and killed Yodoshi, she still wanted to stay dead?”
“Please, let me finish.” Gabrielle pleaded as she wiped Eve’s streaming tears from her face. “When Akemi, her friend, died, Xena was on her way to bury her ashes. Drunk and depressed, Xena was attacked by the villagers, who didn’t like that Xena was honoring a dead soul who had killed someone, even though that someone happened to Akemi’s father, Yodoshi.” Eve could tell that having to tell this story was causing Gabrielle as much pain as Eve had to face hearing it. Unwillingly, she forced herself to listen as Gabrielle continued on. “Defending herself, Xena sat the village on fire and accidentally killed 40,000 people. The same 40,000 that Yodoshi condemned.” Virgil was staring at Gabrielle, his mouth open slightly in awe. During the whole story, he had noticed and angry fire burning in the back of Gabrielle’s eyes. “At the fountain, Xena explained that if she was brought back to life, those 40,000 souls wouldn’t be released into a state of grace, because she killed them. Xena said the greater good was for her to stay good, for the good for the lost souls.” The bard finished.
A long silence followed from the group after that story. Apparently, everyone was in too much shock to do anything but sit and think. Finally, Aphrodite stood up and said, “Let’s get some sleep; we can deal with this whole “pharaohs” problem after a little rest.”
Agreeing, Eve showed everyone to their rooms. “There is also a bath in each room, and sleeping clothes.”
Gabrielle went into her room, and then stared at the bath, remembering all the nice times Xena and her shared together.
Just this one time Gabrielle considered as she unclothed slowly and stepped gracefully into the bathtub. “How many times am I going to have that tell that story Xena?” the bard heaved with a sigh as she watched her soulmate join her in the soaking.
“Just once, when you finally decide to have some sense and write in on one of your scrolls.” Xena responded, feeling a chuckle escape her, in spite of her partner’s negative vibes. “Then, instead of having to relay it again, you can just whip out the scroll.”
Smiling slightly, Gabrielle said, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”
Xena could tell the bard felt uneasy. She slowly slid over to her and rand her fingers carefully through Gabrielle’s soft blonde hair. The passion between them was like a heat wave you could feel a mile away. Tears of joy and sadness collided with each other as they cascaded down Gabrielle’s face, but Xena kissed them away with soft, careful, pecks of her lips.
“It’s amazing Xena. How can we still interact physically, even though you’re…?” Gabrielle’s remarks were stopped by the touch of Xena’s lips meeting hers. Memories flooded through each others brains as Xena’s tongue begged for entrance. Let me in it seemed to say as it pushed across Gabrielle’s moist lips. Finally, it was allowed entrance and showed Gabrielle the full extent of pleasure.
After what seemed like hours, the two broke apart. “Don’t question it, embrace it.” Xena said with a smile at Gabrielle’s stunned face.
“Tell me why we didn’t do this when you was….you know?” she questioned, as she started to bath herself again.
“We were too busy Gabrielle.” Xena reminded her with a smile and a sparkle in her eye.
“But I didn’t come here just to play with you in the tub like an infant.” She remarked.
“What is it Xena?” Gabrielle asked her partner, worried what her response would be. She had never showed such passion before.
Let’s hope she doesn’t jump ten feet out of the bathtub…Xena thought with amused worry as she began to massage her bard.
“Well, after I killed Yodoshi and released the 40,000 souls, Akemi decided I should be with true soulmate…” Xena revealed.
“Are you telling me Akemi decided whether you come back to life or not?” Gabrielle flamed, her eyes burning with intense anger.
Xena gave Gabrielle a quick sideways glance before whispering, “Don’t worry about, I’ll be back soon.”
Before Gabrielle had even realized it, Xena had gone. “She’ll return to me soon.” She said with renewed confidence.
I better get out of the tub before I turn into a prune…Gabrielle thought with a chuckle as she climbed out and clothed herself in her eveningwear.
The young bard settled herself in bed before having a quick midnight snack of squid. Before she even knew it, Gabrielle’s thoughts had fled into her dreams.
If this is our destiny, then let’s see it out together. Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you. Xena said as she took hold of Gabrielle’s hand.
I’m going to head south, to the land of the pharaohs; I hear they need a girl with a chakram. Wherever you go, I’m by your side. Xena smiled and kissed Gabrielle softly on the head.
“Wake up, sweet pea! We have a problem!” Aphrodite’s yell came, echoing into the bard’s dreams.
Gabrielle jerked out of bed hearing Aphrodite’s words. Throwing on her clothes, she asked the goddess of love, “What’s happening?”
“The two pharaohs have formed armies, and engaged in all-out war.” She replied, watching the bard arm her Sais.
“All right, while I find the pharaohs, wake up Virgil and have him meet up with me later, we need to have a talk with these pharaohs.”
The two left the room, separate goals in mind.
Maybe there is a way to resolve this without bloodshed, the bard thought.
Absentmindedly, Gabrielle’s hand fell to the chakram. Taking it off the hook, she raised the round killing thing to her face.
Trust, the Amazon thought, closing her eyes. With a flick of her wrist, that familiar whizzing filled Gabrielle’s ears as the chakram took its course. Boulder, wall, and then amazingly, back to her hand.
Trust, Gabrielle remarked, placing Xena’s dangerous weapon back on the hook.
“The right of pharaoh is mine! My whole family was pharaohs.” A yell came from up ahead, followed by the clash of metal against metal.
What now? Gabrielle thought irritably, running to resolve the problem, sais in hand.
Just in case…
“What is the problem here?” Gabrielle yelled at the two armies.
Noticing the appearance of the beautiful woman, the warriors ceased the fighting and just starred in awe at the traveler.
Taking advantage of the current situation, the pharaoh who had called out earlier stepped forward.
“Look at you. Even though you hold weapons in your hands, and despite your anger, you shine with radiance and beauty.”
Not quite sure how to respond to this, Gabrielle stammered, “Thank you… I-I’m Gabrielle, Battling Bard of Potedia.
The pharaoh clasped the arm Gabrielle offered. A twinkle in his eye appeared as he said, “Atokamen, future pharaoh of Egypt.”
“Now you see, that’s a problem.” She fixed him with a new Xena-like stare she had been practicing. “We need to talk.”
Gabrielle grabbed Atokamen’s arm and lead him to a private tent nearby where they could chat.
“I’ve got a proposition for you.” Gabrielle remarked as they entered the pharaoh’s place.
“Just what would that be?” Atokamen asked politely.
A wicked smile passed Gabrielle’s lips. “Atokamen, you and the pharaoh both have strong forces. If you combine armies, and you both rule the land of Egypt, nothing could stand in your way.” Atokamen looked doubtful. Wringing his hands, the pharaoh began to pace the room, thinking intensely. “I don’t know…”
Gabrielle could just see the battle raging in Atokamen’s mind as his pacing increased. Finally, “I’ll run the idea by the other pharaoh.” Atokamen stopped in the middle of the room, his mind made up.
“Great!” Gabrielle replied back as she left the tent, waving her hand in the air at Atokamen.
Outside, A sensation ran down the bard’s spine as she felt Xena’s spirit placed her hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder. “I have to explain something to you, Gabrielle.”
The bard nodded as Xena led her to a private area.
Let’s hope she takes this well… Xena thought worryingly.
“What is it you want to tell me Xena?” Gabrielle asked calmly.
The warrior shifted her feet uncomfortably as she started to explain, “When I heard you
Retell our adventures in Japa to Virgil and Eve, I realized something. You see, Akemi is the one responsible for the death of those 40,000 souls.”
Tears formed in Gabrielle’s eyes. Holding her hand up to silence Xena, she did her best to contain the mixed emotions inside her. “Wait a minute. How is Akemi responsible? What does this mean?”
A twinkle kindled in Xena’s eyes when she continued, “Remember when Akemi met and we traveled together?”
The bard felt a lump form in her throat that had since became familiar since Xena’s death. “I remember. She asked you to teach her and the pinch, and you agreed. Then, she used the pinch to…”
“…kill her father, yes. The only problem with this is she killed herself and asked me to take her ashes.”
Realization hit Gabrielle like one of Zeus’ thunderbolts when Xena finished her statement. “Akemi knew the villagers would be angry because she killed her father! She knew they would attack you when you brought her ashes. Akemi had planned this from the beginning!”
That evil conniving bitch…Gabrielle thought with resentment, If she wasn’t already dead, I would kill her.
Xena placed her hand on Gabrielle’s cheek. “There’s more. Because she is responsible for the souls, Akemi has to take her rightful place.” Strong fingers ran through sun-bleached blonde hair. “Do you understand?”
The tears that had been threatening to fall finally streamed down Gabrielle’s face like two rivers. Rivers of joy, Xena realized with happiness.
“So, how do we get you back?” Gabrielle asked with newfound determination.
“First, we have to travel to the underworld, and then get Akemi to admit everything. I can only come back if she confesses.” Xena kissed Gabrielle on the head before saying, “I have to go Gabrielle.”
Embracing each other in a hug only soulmates could give, Gabrielle whispered, “I won’t let you leave me again.” Breaking apart, Gabrielle and Xena stared into each other’s eyes until the red sun set, and the bard’s lover disappeared.
It was nighttime, and Eve, Virgil, Aphrodite, and Gabrielle were in the pharaoh Atokamen’s guest bedroom after a long dinner. Eve was praying to the God Eli, Virgil draining his cup of ale leftover from the feast, Aphrodite lounging casually on the bed, watching Gabrielle pace around the room, swinging her sais impatiently in the process.
Apparently, Gabrielle was waiting for something. “Why is it taking him so long? Atokamen said he would be right back with a reply from the other pharaoh.”
Aphrodite was worried about her favorite bard. “Gabrielle, are you alright? You seem antsy.”
The irritation was obvious in the bard’s reply. “Do I?” In truth, Gabrielle just wanted to leave Egypt and start on her new quest: Getting Xena back into her arms, flesh, blood and all.
Gabrielle ran to the door as soon as she heard the familiar knock. “Finally…” Virgil heard her mutter as the bard turned the handle.
“Hi Atokamen.” Gabrielle greeted the pharaoh with a wide smile. “Any news?”
Atokamen extended his hand, in which it contained a small scroll.
“The pharaoh extends his thanks.” He said politely, before turning and walking away.
Everyone watched for the answer as Gabrielle unrolled the scroll and began to read.
“Well…?” Aphrodite asked impatiently when the bard finally rolled up the scroll and placed it on a nearby table.
“He says Atokamen and himself would be proud to join forces and rule Egypt together.” Unable to hold back a smile, Gabrielle thought, In a couple of days I can go and find that bitch Akemi and make her pay for what she made me lose…and return what I deserve…what Xena deserves.
Gabrielle took a quick bath, then she put her night clothes on and slipped into the soft bed. Immediately, dreams overtook the bard.
This is my soulmate…Xena introduced Gabrielle to her former lover, She is a poet like you Akemi.
Clouds formed in Gabrielle’s mind as the dreams changed.
A bard’s lips met a fallen warrior’s as water passed through them. Allowing the water to enter Xena’s lips, Gabrielle gently moved her tongue inside the spirit’s. Nudging her lip against Xena’s, the bard broke the kiss and smiled when her soulmate opened her eyes, refreshed and ready for battle.
The bard smiled at these dreams while the goddess of love shook her awake.
“Gabrielle honey, you have to get up.”
Realizing she was asleep, the bard reluctantly opened her eyes. Her hand quickly flew to her head as a sharp pain coursed through her whole body. Memories of the conservations between the bard and Xena flashed painfully in her mind.
Suddenly remembering what she had to do, Gabrielle rand outside to call Xena.
“I have to bring her back!”
Meanwhile, Xena was in the spirit world, watching memories of Gabrielle and their adventures together.
The warrior watched, amazed, as the most amazing girl stepped into her view. The hair was radiant, and the girl shined with a glow of goodness unlike anything she had ever seen before. “Take me, let the others go!” the girl cried to the slaver as she ran forward, offering herself in place of the other villagers. Xena could hear a girl cry out, “Gabrielle!” as she watched the brave young woman run forward. I can’t let these people die Xena decided, as she stared, almost entranced, by Gabrielle’s warmth and beauty.
“You’ve got to take me with you. Teach me everything you know. You can’t leave me here in Potedia, I’m not like everyone else.” Gabrielle requested enthusiastically
“You talk about trying to find your way, but to me you are my way.” Xena said shyly to a confused Gabrielle in the vicinity of Gabrielle’s barn after defeating Hope and the Destroyer.
“You’re my source, Gabrielle, don’t you know that by now? When I reach down inside of myself and do things I’m not capable of, it’s because of you.” The warrior explained to a dying Gabrielle.
“Xena, if something happens to me, promise me you won’t become a monster.” A serious Gabrielle urged her soul mate as they sat around the blazing campfire.
“I-I just couldn’t stand the thought of losing you.” Gabrielle stammered as she argued with Xena about her daughter Hope.
The voice of her soulmate brought Xena back to harsh reality. “Xena! I need to talk to you!” The warrior disappeared with haste to find Gabrielle.
No matter how much the bard tried to hide them, her emotions always managed to shine through her eyes. Placing a hand on her partner’s shoulder, Xena starred into Gabrielle’s eyes and could the worry she tried so hard to hide.
“Words, Gabrielle.” Xena assured the bard.
Seeing where the warrior was going with this, Gabrielle countered with some words of her own.
“Akemi’s a poet, Xena, we think the same.”
Somehow, Xena knew she was going to say that. She placed both her hands on Gabrielle’s shoulders this time.
“I know you can do it.” The warrior stated confidently to her soul mate.
With you beside me, I feel like I can do anything. The bard thought in response to Xena’s words.
A fire grew in the bard’s eyes when Xena started to kiss her on the neck. Her soft pecks were delicate at first, moving up her lover’s skin. The pleasure too great, Gabrielle savored the taste of Xena’s flesh when she softly bit sown on her neck. Finishing with a light, but passionate kiss, the two joined souls broke apart.
“I will get you back.” Gabrielle promised to the both of them as she watched Xena disappear with the slowly rising sun.
Now the hard part, explaining what I have to do the bard thought as she made breakfast for everyone.
“This is good food Gabrielle. Xena wasn’t lying when she said you were an excellent cook.” Virgil complimented, but quickly went back to his plate when he saw tears form in at the mention of the warrior’s name.
“Listen, about Xena…”Gabrielle began, looking for the best way to explain things. “There is something I have to do. Something that will bring Xena back.”
At these words, everyone turned their heads towards the bard, expressions wide with shock. How can I bring her back, you’re wondering? Yeah, I’m starting to wonder that myself…
“How is that possible?” Eve asked curiously.
“Remember Akemi and those 40,000 souls?” Seeing everyone nod, the bard continued, “Turns out that Akemi was responsible for Xena’s death…so she can take Xena’s place in the underworld. The only problem is getting her to confess her crime.”
Virgil, Eve and Aphrodite looked at each other with a confident smile on their faces after hearing Gabrielle’s announcement.
“We are coming with you.” All three stated in perfect unison.
Immediately, Gabrielle refused this idea. She could already see visions of them dying before her. Everyone except for Aphrodite, of course.
“I’m not allowing this. There is no way I’m going to take you with me when there is a high chance of you dying.” Gabrielle shook her head fiercely. Nobody is dying because of me, not again.
“I know you care about me Gabrielle, but this is my mother we are talking about. No matter what, I’m by your side.” Eve replied seriously.
Sighing, Gabrielle knew she was right, Eve was by her side, like she was with Xena. At this thought, Gabrielle cleared her throat loudly, ridding her mind of painful memories.
Chuckling, Gabrielle realized, Eve is just as naïve as I was in those early years.
And still am…a voice in the back of her mind reminded her.
“Alright, Eve’s coming, but what about you Virgil?” Gabrielle turned to him, eyebrows raised waiting for what she knew would be the same answer as Eve’s.
If only she knew how much I cared for her…Virgil thought as he took Gabrielle’s hands in his.
“Gabrielle, I love you more than you will ever know. Even if it meant intimate, I would follow you to the ends of this earth to help you achieve your goal.”
Speechless at this proposal, Gabrielle could just nod her head and mutter out a few words.
“Guess you’re coming then.” After gathering her breath, she glanced at the goddess.
“Don’t count me out, honey! Just because I’m a goddess doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart.”
Grinning from ear to ear at the great friends she had, Gabrielle stood up and gathered her things.
“Ready?” she asked everyone.
They all nodded, then followed their new leader out the door.
“Gabrielle? Are you prepared for what you have to do?” Xena asked a somewhat shaky bard dressed in her old Japa war armor, sais in their place and chakram at her waist.
Nodding, she told everyone to close their eyes so they could enter the spirit world with her and Xena.
“See you on the other side then.” They said to each as they clasped hands and lips together.
When Gabrielle opened her eyes and reluctantly broke apart from Xena, the first thing she noticed was Eve, Virgil, Aphrodite and herself were surrounded by swirls of fog and smoke.
“Ugh I much prefer the Elysian Fields to this.” Aphrodite stated in disgust.
Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle looked back at her soulmate.
“Where to now Xena?” the bard asked softly.
After a few quick glances in different directions, Xena pointed east.
“This way, follow me, everyone!” she called out to the others.
“They can see you here?” Gabrielle asked amazed.
“Look around you, Gabrielle. The dead are everywhere here.”
Sure enough, a few quick glances and Gabrielle saw what she somehow missed before, thousands of dead moping around. Behind her, she heard Virgil cry out a familiar name.
“Joxer...I mean father!” Virgil embraced a young looking Joxer in a full-body hug.
“Hey my boy!” Joxer said as father and son broke apart. “What brings you to this neck of the woods?”
Gabrielle and Xena ran over to the others as Virgil engaged in the explanation.
“Oh, he’s just helping out an old friend.” Gabrielle interrupted.
Turning around at these words, Joxer the Mighty gave who used to be someone he truly loved the greatest hug imaginable.
“I want to thank you Joxer, for saving my life. You died a hero.” Gabrielle told him, placing a hand on Joxer’s shoulder.
“Nah, it was nothing…” Joxer replied shyly, averting her gaze as he started to blush a deep red color.
“Come on you two, we have a deadline to meet.” Xena broke apart the love fest, urging everyone forwards.
After a few hours of walking, everyone came to a door. On it there hung a sign, which Gabrielle began to read:
All visitors beware, ye may not return
I can do this, Gabrielle told herself, After all, everything led up to this moment, and there is no way I can fail.
Sensing her soulmate’s hidden worry, Xena placed a hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder.
“We will go with you wherever you lead us.”
Looking around at the others, they all smiled confidently and encouraged the bard to go on.
All right, let’s rock this bitch. Gabrielle thought, turning the handle and opening the door.
A/N: Okay, I know Gabrielle would probably never say that, but I couldn’t resist saying it…don’t hurt me.
“Only, the Battling Bard of Potedia may pass through to the Japa Underworld.” A loud voice sounded as everyone started to step over the foggy threshold.
“Either we all go, or nobody is going.” The bard replied, trying hard to control the anger in her voice.
“Fine, you may bring only your soulmate.” The voice retailed.
Joxer, Virgil, Eve, and Aphrodite all glanced at each other at this response, then encouraged Gabrielle together.
“We understand Gabrielle. You two make a great team. Xena will be back in no time.”
You sure?” the bard asked worry and happiness etched on her face.
They all nodded in unison as Gabrielle hugged them all in turn.
“I will see you soon, my friends.” Gabrielle told them.
Taking Xena’s hand in her’s, the bard stepped with her soulmate into the unknown Japa underworld, ready to face the challenge that awaited them.
I won’t let you leave me again Xena. Gabrielle whispered to herself as she looked up at her silent companion. You’re with me forever.
“Akemi! You and I have some things to sort out!” Gabrielle called out to the empty air around her and Xena.
“You sure don’t waste any time.” Xena chuckled.
“Xena…whatever happens, I just want you to know…”
“Gabrielle, I know what you’re going to say.”
Xena placed two fingers on the bard’s lips, silencing her, then interlocked her soulmate into one of their most passionate kisses.
“Am I intruding on anything?”
Why did you have to see us like this? Xena thought helplessly as she broke apart from the kiss and turned to the face of her ex-girlfriend Akemi.
“Let’s skip the formalities, Xena.” Gabrielle interjected.
Heh, you could always read my mind Xena couldn’t help hiding the smile that formed at Gabrielle’s words.
“Why did you do it, Akemi?” Xena skipped to the point, staring at her ex-lover with misunderstanding in her icy blue eyes.
For some reason, Akemi avoided Xena’s glare as she gave her response. “The answer is quite simple, really. I love you.”
A ferocious rage of jealousy began to kindle in Gabrielle’s eyes at these words.
“And you express you love by having her think she is blamed for those 40,000 souls, and she has to die for them to be in a state of grace?”
“I knew…if she died…I could be with my love forever.” Akemi sated running her fingers through Xena’s hair.
We will just see who is with Xena forever…the fire blazed dangerously as she watched Akemi continue to flirt with her soulmate.
“Akemi…there is only way I love you.” Xena stopped the young girl’s caressing of hair, grabbing her hand and squeezing it a little harder than she meant to. “You have to take responsibility for the souls that you condemmened by taking my place.”
At these words, Akemi stared into Xena’s blue eyes, then into Gabrielle’s hating green ones. Releasing herself from the warrior’s grasp, she stared back into Xena’s eyes once more.
“If that is the only way for you to love me, then I suppose I give up.” Sighing, she continued. “It took time, but I could see that this bard from Potedia is the only one you will ever truly love.” Glancing at Gabrielle to make her point, she went on. “ I will take your place in the Underworld.”
Akemi and Xena took hands, then closed their eyes as Akemi muttered some words in her own language.
The world went spinning around Gabrielle, and she had to close her eyes tightly to keep from throwing up on herself.
When she opened her yes, Gabrielle was back in Egypt, sprawled on her bed.
That was quite a wild ride. The bard chuckled to herself as she stood up slowly.
What she saw made her happier than Joxer going away on holiday.
Lying on the ground nude, covered by silk sheets, was her soulmate.
Lips meet, sheets wrapped around joined souls, and the two very happy people were engaged in a passionate welcome-home make-out session.
“Let’s get these clothes off of you, bard!” Xena urged her soulmate as they tussled around the floor.
“30 minutes and I thought you would never ask!” the bard giggled as she threw her unwanted garments on the floor and rejoined Xena nude.
A knock on the door interrupted the party. “Hey! We got to have a feast for our favorite warrior and bard!” Virgil exclaimed impatiently from behind closed doors.
“We’ll be there in a minute!” Gabrielle replied.
“He always knows how to ruin a girl’s good time…” Xena complained, watching the bard urgently throw her clothes back on.
“Let’s just eat and hang out with everyone, then I will us a private spot. Agreed?” Gabrielle asked her partner, tossing the warrior her clothes.
“All right…but you owe me one bard.” Xena muttered angrily as she followed Gabrielle out the door.
“I’ll make sure you enjoy it.” The warrior’s soulmate whispered naughtily in Xena’s ear.
Delightful smells met the warrior and her companion’s nose as they entered the kitchen. Bacon, eggs, and sausage mixed with fish and chips, just how my mother use to make it. Xena thought hungrily. Maybe this won’t be too bad…
It’s nice to not have to cook anything for once. The bard thought as she sat herself at the table, waiting to dig in.
“Well, it’s nice of you to join us, sweet peas.” Aphrodite giggled from a corner in the room.
Xena smiled, seating herself down next to Gabrielle. She had picked up the nearest piece of sausage and took a large bite.
“Well, it’s not Gabrielle’s cooking, but anything can taste great after being dead for about a week.” She remarked with a smile after she finally finished chewing her food.
“Thanks X!” Gabrielle replied, rubbing her partner’s leg secretly under the table.
The warrior shivered at the soft touch of her bard’s hands.
“Shall we?” Xena motioned her hands toward the table, signaling they should all dig in.
The bard nodded enthusiastically and joined Xena in finishing off the feast within 10 minutes.
“Where do you put it all, Gabrielle?” Virgil asked, amazed at the bard’s eating abilities.
“I don’t know, but I do know I have to let it all out.” Gabrielle replied.
Me too. Shall I join you?” Xena asked, winking behind the other’s backs.
The two skipped merrily out of the house to find a place to “let it all out”
After searching for five minutes, Xena managed to find a nicely hidden sand cave.
“Perfect.” The bard said with a big, evil grin when the warrior showed her partner what she had found.
The two quickly helped each other get their clothes off, kissing madly in the process.
Gabrielle blushed uncomfortably just when the warrior’s stomach rumbled angrily.
“I think we need to ‘let it out.’” They both agreed, chuckling.
After using the bathroom, the two soulmates engaged in another passionate kiss.
“You’re going to give me my chakram…now that I’m back, right?” Xena asked randomly after an hour of love-making.
Gabrielle glanced up at Xena, that evil smile back on her lips
“I think there is something we can do with it first.”
“Does it have to do with what you owe me?” Xena asked, a curious look in her eye.
“Oh…that’s only part of it, my warrior princess.”
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