Standard Disclaimers: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Eve, Virgil, Ares, Palaemon, and Argo the 2nd belong to Renaissance Pictures, and Universal Studios. For the hit syndicated show Xena: Warrior Princess. No copyright infringement was intended. All writing is done in fun. And pure speculation for the finally 4 episodes of the Sixth Season. This was suggested on the Merwolf Pack list Friday May 26, 2000 by Ana to pass the time, and keep us from being bored.
Violence: None in this first episode, but in Ares Time, Hope Everlasting, and Historical Remembrance there will be some. No worse then in one of the Xena shows.
Subtext: You decide! I was striving to be ambiguous, but they do love one another. That's stating the obvious I know. Best friends and family to each other always.
Misc.: My first posted Fan Fiction, so here's my email addy at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your time.
June 5, 2000 Salina R. Cousins
It's late evening in Amphipolis, just after the Vernal Equinox, but before the next full moon of the next month. Inside the inn that Cyrene had owed, but left to her granddaughter Eve who of course had been wed to Virgil before winter Solstice, and who was carrying their child. A situation had developed that required the many skills of one Warrior Princess.
Located at a table in the back of the inn sits a short-blonde haired woman steadily draining mugs of ale. Normally a very loquacious person by nature. Tonight her body language spoke volumes and said stay away. The other villagers noted she seemed troubled about something, and had drunk a lot of mugs of ale. The slight glazed look in her eyes spoke of her indulgence. Virgil and Eve both had tried to speak to the bard, but were met with shrugs, and it's nothing.
Virgil and Eve took one last look at Gabrielle before entering the kitchen. "We'll just have to wait until Mother gets back to handle this." Eve says as Virgil leans down to kiss her, and to rub her slightly extended belly. "Hope she gets her soon!" "Me too!" With that said Virgil goes to run an errand for his honey.
' I can't believe I'm pregnant! Xena's gonna flip. And I don't even know if Palaemon and I did anything in our drugged states that night. When Xena left to go see the City council members we were fine, but when she returned about four candlemarks later. She found Palaemon and I in bed together, fully clothed. My tongue felt three feet thick, my head pounded, and I had a crick in my back (Xena got rid of the last two for me) Of course by the end of that day we had discovered our meal had been made with henbane, and another substance still unidentified. Even by Xena who knows herbs, and such. Arrgh... what will she say? Palaemon and I had to have done something, even though we neither had a memory of it. What will she do? I guess knowing that I was drugged should ease my guilt, but it doesn't.
Gabrielle's hand clinched around the mug as she picked it up and drained its contents. Waving the server over that helped out Eve and Virgil at the inn, especially during the evening hours. As those were very busy and with Eve pregnant she needed the help. After bringing a fresh mug and the whole pitcher of ale. Gabrielle once again dropped into silent musings. Steadily she kept drinking falling into a deeper and deeper funk.
The palomino walked towards the stable. The Warrior on her back gazed at the town of Amphipolis and was glad the last three days were done. Although what was coming was gonna be hard too. After grooming and stabling Argo the 2nd Xena headed for the inn, glad to be back.
Xena stepped out of the kitchen door letting it close softly behind her. A concern frown settled on her face as she gazed at her best friend. Xena watched as Gabrielle finished her mug then poured what was left in the pitcher into her mug. 'Well if she's finished that pitcher I know she's drunk. And according to Eve she's had way more than that.' Xena walked over to the table getting Gabrielle's attention as she sat down on the bench next to her.
"Hey" The blonde head swiveled around, and glazed eyes tried to focus on the warriors' face. Dropping back to her almost empty mug. "Hallow...sh...sh...sheena..." Gabrielle's less than eloquent speech telling Xena her companion needed to be in bed asleep. "Gabrielle?" Xena's mellifluous voice caused Gabrielle to teeter, and slowly slide towards Xena until with a bump she was leaning against Xena's left shoulder.
" Come on, you need to go to bed" Just as Xena stood Gabrielle up and they got around the table. Gabrielle stopped Xena. "Ww.a..ait...Zing..in...Na...I'ves gots...to tells...you...somshing!" Amusement danced in the bright blue orbs that watched the bard swaying back and forth as she made her stuttered speech.
" You can tell me tomorrow my bard. You need rest now, come on" Gently Xena coaxed Gabrielle around the stairs, and down the hall towards the family rooms at the inn. Just as Xena released her partner and stepped back to remove her boots. Gabrielle's eyes closed and she fell back against the bed. " Ohhhh...hmmm...gonna...beee....schick...sheen...na" 'Uh oh' thought Xena.
Once Xena half carried, half dragged the bard to the chamber pot and cleaned her up. Then undressed and redressed her for bed. She let her lay down, in moments she was passed clean out. Xena was concerned, it wasn't like Gabrielle to abuse herself by getting intoxicated. 'She sure will be feeling this in the morning. I'd better get the water and head and stomach powder ready before morning. She's gonna need it, bad!' As Xena finished what she was doing, and turned back towards the bed. She stopped to stare at the gently sprawled bard/warrior. She was laying somewhat on her right side, but really more on her stomach. With her right arm pushed up under the pillow her head rested on. Her left arm was lying between both pillows elbow, forearm, and hand was actually stretched above the blonde head. Her right leg was laying straight toward the foot of the bed, but the left one was bent at the knee, and it was drawn upwards towards her chest. And her breath rattled thru her slightly open mouth. Xena's eyebrow inched up in amused regard. As a warm tender smile crossed her face. 'Well I'll guess we'll get this figured out in the morning. I'm sure Gabrielle's pregnant. My instincts are too good to not know. The bards loyalty was without question, so I guess she'll tell me who the father is tomorrow.' With that final thought Xena blew out the candle and lay down. Leaning over to kiss the bard's forehead and whispering sweet dreams, before closing her eyes and falling into a questionable sleep.
The early fingers of dawn were reaching across the sky. When Xena's eyes opened to revel ever alert blue eyes. She noticed the room was a little cool, nothing she was bothered with. But she noted one female bard was flush against her back. 'She musta got cold.' Getting out of the bed, and retucking the covers around Gabrielle. She stoked the fire up then proceeded to dress. Barely getting her leathers on before she heard the little moan from the bed. Looking over she saw the painful grimace cover Gabrielle's face, as her body stretched under the covers.
"Mmmm...Ohhhh...Ugh..." One eyelid opened questioningly before slamming shut. Hands reached to cover her eyes. " Xena?" At the croaked whisper Xena walked over to the bed. " Yes, Gabrielle?"
Still in a croaked whisper " The light...hurts...so...I guess...I'm not...Dead?!" Chuckling at the absurd statement. Xena offers Gabrielle some water. " Gabrielle you need some water to help re-hydrate you. And I have powders for your head and stomach too."
A pitiful 'Noooo' then a reluctant bard sitting up was Xena's answer. Dutifully Gabrielle eased over to the side of the bed and squinted at Xena. " Wipe that smirk off your face, Warrior Princess...Owwww...my head...!" Silently the bard took the offered powders and water skin from Xena. After what seemed like days, but was only moments Gabrielle's face took on a more natural flush. And life seemed to sparkle in her misty green eyes.
"Better?" Questioned the Warrior. Who decided to pull a chair over close to the bed, directly in front of the bard.
"Much" Smiled Gabrielle as she looked at Xena. Then dropped her gaze to study the floor closely. Xena waited.
"I guess you're probably wondering why you found me in such a state like you did last night? Huh?" Glancing at the Warrior all she saw was a patient warrior waiting for her to continue.
So taking the bulls by the horn. She took a deep breath and spoke. " I'm pregnant!" Looking directly at Xena. Gabrielle could see her flinch, but she didn't look completely shocked.
" I...I went to the healer...yesterday Xena. You know the way I've been the last moon or so. More tired and run down, and sick in the early evening. And my cycle...since just after Solstice. I guess it must have happened when you found me ..." Gabrielle's voice trailed off as Xena's eyes narrowed slightly. Then she abruptly stood up, and walked to the window.
'Knowing I was right, doesn't keep it from being a blow. Gabrielle was with some one when? I really didn't think her and Palaemon did...anything. Hmmm this is weird.' "You think Palaemon might be the father?" The Warriors deep voice startled Gabrielle as she spoke. " Gab-ri-elle...You told me that...you didn't...Nothing..." Rushing over to Xena. Gabrielle grabbed he arm as she stepped in front of her. " Xena, As far as I know nothing, Nothing did happen. I danced with him once right after you left to see the council, then we ate some cherry tarts, and I drank some cider, and then the next thing I remember you waking us up. And it was four candlemarks later. We were both fully dressed, and feeling like death warmed over. Similar to what I felt this morning. Only my head hurts actually less, and then I wasn't nauseous" Gabrielle fell silent as she watched Xena assimilate this information.
Silence settled over both the women like the shroud of a heavy fog. Gabrielle watched Xena in apprehension, waiting for her to speak.
A quirk of her lips, and a tender light sparkled in her eyes. Xena drew Gabrielle to her for a much-needed hug. " Even though I'm surprised. I kinda already suspected."
Gabrielle was reveling in the smell that was Xena. Hyacinth and cinnamon it seemed always permeated her, and her leathers. It was very, very comforting. And since she was doing that she almost didn't catch what Xena said.
Pulling away from the Warrior and looking at her in shock " But...Xena..."
Placing two fingers against the bards lips to silence the bard. " Let me finish"
"OK. I've been pregnant twice. I know the symptoms. I wasn't positive, but I knew what I was looking at." Xena fell silent as Gabrielle registered this information.
" Besides your early evening sickness, and you haven't cycled like you said. We've been together six years Gabrielle. I do know how regular you are!"
A smile blossomed on Gabrielle's face, as she hugged Xena tightly.
Xena smiled in response to the bards, and she couldn't help but think that Gabrielle was like sunshine, and you know how a brook babbles, and gurgles? Well that was Gabrielle, all sunny, bubbling, and earthy. Her best friend.
"Xena? Will both have another daughter to raise, or son"
Gabrielle leaned back to gauge Xena's reaction, and was pleased with that smile that she only got from Xena. " Our son, or daughter! Gabrielle you'll be a great Mother." Xena's smile faltered a little as she spoke again. " Gabrielle, you do know that if Palaemon is not the father, then it was divine intervention?"
Gabrielle's brow furrowed for a second, as she thought about what that might mean. 'The last time I was pregnant I gave birth to the demon child Hope. Will this one be like that too? No! I feel different this time. I feel...good.' " I know that I feel good this time Xena. I'll take that to mean this child will only be good."
Xena nodded her head understandingly. " Oh... One more thing" And here Xena frowned down at Gabrielle, and stared at her intently. "My bard you will NOT drink ale again. I can't believe you would abuse your body like that"
Gabrielle flushed in embarrassed guilt. " I wouldn't wake-up feeling like this again for anything. I know I have to take care of the baby." With an impish grin "Mom"
"Funny!" " Come on lets go eat breakfast " Gabrielle's stomach answered enthusiastically.
As they walked out the door Gabrielle's voice drifted back "What are we gonna do about Ares?"
The Warrior stood silently staring at the sarcophagus in the underground cavern in Macedonia. It was to be the place of her and Ares last confrontation. One or the other would leave this tomb, but not both.
'Gabrielle had argued with her for the last three days, but she wouldn't be swayed. Ares was for her, against her, and she had more than she could handle of his manipulations and come ON's. At least he hadn't had anything to do with Gabrielle getting pregnant. Who do I thank for that?'
Xena's lip curled as the God of War made his appearance. That feeling that Xena always got right before he materialized face to face was making her skin itch. " I know you're here Ares, show yourself"
In a coating of blue sparks there he was. Ares the God of War. " I still can't figure out how you do that." Looking around with an almost bored expression " Well Xena! You sure picked an interesting place to carry out a challenge, or confront me if you will?" He paused to flash that smarmy smile that always made Xena's skin crawl. "Were did you leave Gabrielle at? She against this battle, hmmm. I'll console her...after you're done!" The last word was spat out as the God of War's countenance changed from smarmy to hard, and cold. It didn't faze Xena in the slightest.
" I'm glad this sarcophagus is here Xena. Someplace nice for your final rest!" Ares slowly drew his sword.
Xena's eyebrow arched sharply as her lips curled in a sneer. " Yesss...Someplace nice for your final rest, my thoughts exactly"
With a great roar of rage, Ares attacked.
Gabrielle stood and watched her best friend walk towards the caverns to the archway with a stone pillar slid off to the side of it. She couldn't help but worry about her. 'Gods Xena, I know you can stand toe to toe with any man or god, but knowing that you left all your possessions to me and our child, or children makes me want to disobey this order. I can't live with out you Xena.' Tears coursed down Gabrielle's checks as Xena paused at the doorway and turned stared back at the bard. Bringing her fingers to her lips Xena kissed them then blew it towards Gabrielle. Trying to smile despite her heartbreaking.
Gabrielle raised a shaking hand back to her, and made to take a step towards Xena, but turned instead and mounted the horse. Grabbing Argo the 2nd reins Gabrielle looked one more time at Xena. Then watched as she turned and headed down into the cavern to what Xena said was gonna be Ares Tomb for eternity.
Turning the horses and heading to where they had a campsite picked out. Gabrielle listed to the sound of the horses' hooves on the ground each clop taking her further and further away from were she wanted to be. Thinking about the Archangel Michael, Gabrielle looked up into the dark early morning 'Please watch over her, and help if it's possible. She needs you.'
Xena had walked back to watch Gabrielle ride off. As she became a speck on the horizon, Xena turned and headed into the caverns.
To be continued in Episode 20 Ares Time
Well this is my ESP, Karma, and Kismet working to see in the future for this episode, and the next 3. <<<beg>>> Hope you found this entertaining like it was meant.
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