Disclaimer: See Part 1
Authors Note: Howdy guys. Did I shock you with the last chapter? I told you at the beginning there were a lot of twists! And it's only just begun. I hope you enjoy this one and if you want to email me about it, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the show!Enjoy!
"Fuck," Xena muttered. "I'm in Tartarus."
Alexandria couldn't control the laughter that burst from her mouth: the situation was completely absurd. She was in the exact same position as the last time she entered this cave, and though her hands weren't bound, they may as well have been. She was on her knee's, in front of the Warrior Princess, unable to move or look away from the piercing gaze of the woman she had loved so much for so long.
"You're in Tartarus?" She laughed, her voice tinged with sarcasm. "No, I'm in fucking Tartarus."
Xena stared down at the red headed woman in confusion, moving forwards cautiously and frowning when Alexandria flinched away from her. She gazed around the cavern, her pale blue eyes searching for an explaination as to why she had been removed from the Elysian Fields.
"You shouldn't be here," Xena whispered, returning her gaze to her ex lover. "You don't belong in Hell. You were always good, you deserved the Elysian Fields."
Alexandria laughed again, her body shaking uncontrollably as she dropped her head into her hands. She fought to control her emotions, but they were quickly overwhelming her and soon she was hyperventilating, rocking back and forth as she shook her head.
"Neither of us should be here," Alexandria muttered as she finally gained control of her body, though her heart still thumped painfully in her chest.
"Then why are we?" Xena questioned, walking closer to the red headed woman, stopping at the edge of the pool. "Who brought me here? I was in Elysia and now I'm relieving my one of my worst memories in Hell."
"You're not in Hell, Xena," Alexandria sighed, finally looking up and gazing into the eyes that she dreamt of every night. "And I brought you here."
"What? You? Why?" Xena asked quickly, her teeth chattering as she rubbed her arms while shivering from the cool water.
Alexandria shrugged, pushing herself to her feet before pulling off her cloak and throwing it at the dark haired woman. She gazed around the room and frowed, finding them alone.
"Yeah, thanks Eli," she mumbled angrily. "Leave me here alone to deal with the neverending questions. You bastard."
"What has Eli got to do with this?" Xena asked as she pulled herself from the water and wrapped the cloak around her naked body, still looking at the red head in confusion.
"Will you shut up for a moment?" Alexandria said in exasperation. "And I thought Gabrielle asked alot of questions. Just give me a fucking second."
Alexandria's eyes widened at her unintended admission, looking at Xena to see her eyes widen also and her mouth fall open.
"Gabrielle?" Xena whispered, moving towards Alexandria slowly.
"Okay, let me explain," Alexandria raised her hands up in front of her body, causing Xena to stop a few feet away from her. "It's complicated, all right? But we're not in Hell, and Eli has a lot to do with this. And yes, I know Gabrielle, our meeting wasn't intentional, it was just luck, but we've known each other for a while now."
They stared at each other until Alexandria finally mananged to tear her eyes away from the woman she once thought was her soulmate. Clearing her throat, she motioned towards the entrance, avoiding Xena's questioning gaze.
"Let's get out of here. We'll make camp outside because I don't want to be in here a second longer than I have to."
Xena nodded, watching Alexandria turn away from her and stride out of the cavern and into the tunnel leading outside. She gazed at the small pool she had appeared in, frowning before following the woman out.
The journey out of the cave was made in silence, both women deep in thought, and Alexandria breathed an audible sigh of relief as she stepped into the cool, fresh air. She closed her eyes, taking a moment to compose herself before walking over to her horse, who was grazing at the edge of the clearing. She untied her saddlebags, dropping them on the ground before removing the heavy saddle. She stroked the horse's neck before turning back towards the woman who stood uncertainly behind her. She picked up one of her saddle bag's and threw it at the dark haired woman, nodding as Xena opened the bag and pulled out her dark brown leathers.
"I took them from Gabrielle's hut when I was getting your ashes. I thought you'd be more comfortable in those than anything else. I hope she hasn't noticed yet."
Xena nodded, running her fingers lovingly over the leather, shaking her head in wonder. Alexandria quickly made camp as Xena dressed before pulling out her wine skin and taking a long drag.
"You're going to need this," she said, throwing the skin to Xena, who caught it and just looked at her in confusion. "Or not."
"I'm alive?" Xena asked suddenly, tilting her head as she stared at Alexandria.
"Yes, you're alive," Alexandria replied with a small smile.
"You brought me back?" Xena questioned, frowning.
"Yeah, I brought you back."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, gazing into the small fire Alexandria had built. She had expected to feel angry, she had expected all the emotions that had built up inside of her for thirty years to explode once she saw the woman who had caused her so much pain. But instead, she felt nothing, just empty.
"Why?" Xena whispered, looking away from the flames and staring into the midnight blue eyes that haunted her dreams. "Why would you bring me back? After everything I put you through. After what I did to you in that cave. Why?"
"Because of Gabrielle," Alexandria replied, running her fingers through her short red hair and sighing softly. "I didn't plan it. I didn't even know that I could bring you back, but after the last couple of weeks, I had to try."
"I need to know everything," Xena pleaded. "Please, tell me. Is she okay?"
"Is she okay?" Alexandria snorted, anger starting to finally bubble up in her chest. "Is she fucking okay? What do you think, Xena? You died. You died and you left her. How the fuck do you think she is? Rainbows and fucking butterflies? Of course she's not okay, she's broken without you. I've spent the last year with her, and everytime I look into those eyes, they're haunted. You were everything to her, Xena, and you just left her, without a second thought."
Xena flinched at the harsh words, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. She stared into the eyes of her once closest friend, desperately searching for answers.
"Can you just tell me everything?" Xena begged, the first tear making it's way down her cheek. "I know you don't owe me anything, Alex, but please."
Alexandria turned away from the dark haired woman, grinding her teeth. Xena was right, she didn't owe her anything. But she wasn't doing this for Xena: she was doing it for Gabrielle.
For you, Gabrielle.
"Okay," Alexandria sighed, closing her eyes and resting her head back against the tree she was leaning on. "I guess you want to hear it from the start, right? Of course you do. I don't know much about what happened to Gabrielle right after you died. I know about how you travelled with her as a spirit on a ship for a few days, as she headed towards Egypt, but then you dissapeared. I didn't meet Gabrielle until she had been in Egypt for a few moons, I didn't even know she was there. I was travelling back to my camp after helping some men in a village nearby and I got caught in a sandstorm. I was almost out of it when I heard this woman's voice rambling on the wind, so I went back. And there she was, face down in the sand, staring up at me like I was an angel or something. I knew who she was from the second I saw her, so I threw her over my horse and brought her back to my camp."
"She freaked out when she woke up. She thought I was a Goddess," Alexandria laughed, smiling warmly at the memory. "She was lost though, and though I wasn't very enthusiastic about it to begin with, I let her travel with me through Egypt. We wandered around for quite a few moons, helping people and I tried to help her. She had so much pain, and I thought maybe I could help her through it, and maybe through some of my own. A few moons ago we were contacted by the Amazons, and so we came back to Greece. And now, here I am." Alexandria finished with a small shrug, taking another drink from the wineskin.
Xena frowned, rubbing her hands over her face as she tried to piece everything together in her mind, but there were still too many pieces of the puzzle missing.
"But, how are you here?" Xena asked, her brow furrowing as she stared at the woman she had murdered so many years ago. "And how have you not changed a single bit since I last saw you here?"
"My mother made me drink a lot of milk as a child, you know that," Alexandria laughed softly, before sighing. "No, I was brought back to life by the One True God, a few days after the Ides Of March. I never really found out why I was brought back. To fight evil? To spread the word of Eli? It was never explained to me. But I woke up in that cave, in the same place I took my last breath, and this voice echoed inside my head. It just told me, I'd been given a gift and that if I ever need anything, I could exchange it for what I wanted. I was given immortality, and I've been wandering ever since. Which explains why I still look like I'm twenty four summers old, instead of over fifty."
"You never came looking for me," Xena whispering not knowing if she should be hurt or happy about the fact.
"Why would I?" Alexandria shrugged, opening her eyes and gazing at the dark haired woman. "You killed me. You obviously didn't want me around, and I heard the stories about you every where I went. You changed: you started fighting for the Greater Good, with a cute little blonde bard as a sidekick. You didn't need me, and I wasn't exactly thrilled with the thought of ever seeing you, so I avoided you like a plague. It was especially hard after I met the Amazons, having to sneak out of the village when you showed up unexpectedly. But other than that, I never had a reason to cross your path. It was easier that way."
"I wish you had," Xena replied, her voice thick with emotion. "From the day I left this clearing, I never once stopped thinking about you, regretting what I'd done in a moment of jealousy. You were the best thing in my life, back then. The only good thing I had."
Alexandria shrugged awkwardly at the unexpected turn of the conversation. She averted her eyes from sad, pale blue orbs and picked up one of her swords and her whetstone. She started sharpening the blade, the sound soothing her as she concentrated on her weapon, hoping the conversation was over, at least for tonight.
Xena sensed the red headed woman's unease over their discussion, but she ignored it. Instead, she stood up and crossed the small camp, sitting down next to her ex lover and resting her hand over Alexandria's, effectively stopping her from sharpening her sword further.
"Alexandria," she said softly, gazing into the red headed woman's pained blue eyes. "I don't expect you to forgive me, but I need you to know how much I regret what I did. If only I had listened to you for all those years and if only I had believed you when you said I was following the wrong path. I was so angry back then, so different from who I am now, and I know that it doesn't change anything. But the day you died, a part of me died too, and I've been half empty ever since. I'm so sorry, Alex. I'm so sorry for everything."
Alexandria didn't know what to say. Her throat was tight, and she could feel tears welling in her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. It would be so easy to just give in, to forgive this woman who had hurt her, but she couldn't. After all these years, the pain was still fresh, and very much yet to heal.
"I tried so hard," Alexandria whispered, gazing down at her hands which were clenched into fists in her lap. "I tried so hard for so many years to save you. I stuck by you through everything. I took up a sword to fight by your side, I killed for you, bled for you, and eventually, I died for you. And I wake up after all those years and find that you changed your ways for a girl you saved in a village.
Don't get me wrong," Alexandria smiled. "Gabrielle is the perfect woman. She is smart, brave, beautiful and everything anyone could ever want. I could see how you fell in love with her so easily. It just hurts that I tried so hard, that I gave up my life, and in the end, I never got any of that with you. Not the way Gabrielle did, anyway."
Xena smiled sadly as she looked at the red headed woman, memories from what seemed like a lifetime ago flashing through her mind.
"I know," Xena said softly. "And to think, you didn't even want me to begin with. It was so long ago, and yet right now it feels like only yesterday that we were growing up in Amphipolis together. You were so beautiful, and all the boy's wanted you, and all the girl's wanted to be your friend, and I was this outcast, playing with swords and wanting to be a warrior. I had such a crush on you too, just like everyone else. I watched you for years, at all the festivals, in your parents front yard picking flowers. I finally got the courage to ask you to the Solstice Festival dance and you said no."
Alexandria laughed, closing her eyes as she remembered the scrawny dark haired girl, standing at the front door of her childhood home, holding a bunch of flowers. She had been truly shocked when she opened the door to find Xena there, expecting one of the young boys from the village. She had hardly known the girl who spent most of her time with her brothers, playing soldiers in the fields with wooden swords. And as a child she had hated violence, so she declined the young girl's offer, and closed the door in her face.
"But you never gave up," Alexandria sighed, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. "You started following me every where, beating up all the boys that came near me, talking to me every chance you got. You were so annoying! Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore, and I just gave in."
"The first battle I ever won," Xena grinned, catching Alexandria's eyes and was given a small smile in return. "One of the hardest, too. You let me take you to the lake just outside of town and I taught you to fish."
"And I was in love with you before the sun set," Alexandria replied, sighing once more and looking up towards the stars. "And then Cortese came, and everything changed."
"Yeah," Xena nodded somberly, turning her gaze to the stars also.
Alexandria closed her eyes, shaking her head as though trying to dislodge the memories from her mind before standing up and moving to her bedroll.
"We should sleep," she said as she laid down, pulling her blanket over her body. "We've got to get back to the Amazon's as quickly as possible. Gabrielle will be worried enough as it is."
Xena nodded, staring at her old friend before walking to the opposite side of the fire and lying down. She gazed up at the stars, a mixture of excitement and dread in the pit of her stomach as she thought about the next few days. She would see Gabrielle again, and she was happy about that. But something told her it wouldn't be easy.
Alexandria thoughts were similar to the dark haired woman's. She wanted to return to the Amazons but she knew nothing would be the same as it was before she left. Everything was different now. What would happen with Gabrielle when she returned? She wasn't dellusional: she knew that their relationship wouldn't return to where it left off, but would the blonde be able to trust her again? After keeping a secret like this from her, Alexandria doubted it. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she tried to clear her thoughts.
One day at a time, Alexandria, just one day at a time.
"Goodnight Alex," she heard Xena's soft voice from across the camp."Goodnight Xena."
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy