Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others resembling those from the
TV show, belong to Studio USA and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is
intended. All other characters are of my own creation and belong to me.
Subtext Disclaimer: This story refers to a loving relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.
Shock Factor: 5. Plan D #32.
Note: Medical procedures and Im guessing. Go with it.
Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy, I hope.
BUNDLE OF JOY
Written by FlyBigD
"What the hell?" Pulling into the hospital parking lot, Xena saw four ambulances lined up outside the emergency room. "Dammit." Banging the steering wheel, she turned into visitor parking, then turned again heading for the doctors only section of the lot.
In the middle of a contraction, Gabrielle wasnt enjoying being slung around, but she was too preoccupied to complain at the moment.
Celine had seen the same thing and was still ahead of the truck. Bypassing the open visitor spots, she pulled her Volvo into her parking space, hopping out as the truck went by. Grabbing only what she needed at that time, she slammed the door and took off at a run to follow the Jeep.
Aiming for her old parking space, the warrior whipped the truck into the empty spot with a sigh that it hadnt been reassigned yet. "Were here. You just sit tight."
The bard was breathing a little on the hard side and she had no intention of going anywhere until the pain stopped.
"Xena!" Shouting, Celine waved the warrior down.
"What?" Looking up from grabbing the suitcase out of the bed, Xena spotted Celine.
"You stay here. Ill bring a wheelchair out to you. We may have to go through the main entrance." Waving again, the doctor turned, running for the hospital this time.
"Gotcha!" Shouting at the retreating figure, the warrior went around to the passenger side. Opening the door, she set the suitcase on the ground. "How ya doing, Gabrielle?"
For the first time since they had left the house, Gabrielle opened her eyes. Turning her head, she smiled at her wife. "This sucks, but Im okay."
Xena chuckled. "Is it worth it?"
"Oh, yea." She nodded and took several deep breaths as the contraction subsided. Staring out the windshield, the bards brow knitted. "Whats going on over there?"
The warrior glanced across the road at the ambulances. "I dont know. We may have to go through the main entrance."
"Xena, you should go check it out. They may need you." Gabrielle said as she turned in the seat, swinging her legs out the door.
"Whoa." Putting up a hand, Xena shook her head. "You sit right there until Celine brings us a wheelchair. If they need me, theyll beep me."
"Xena, Ill wait for Celine here. You go see whats going on." Protesting, the bard gave her wife a gentle shove. "Go."
"If they need me, theyll beep me." The warrior repeated with more seriousness.
Gabrielle leaned into the back of the seat with a heavy sigh. "Im not an invalid. Cant we start walking?"
"No and you get out of that truck before Celine gets here and you will be an invalid." She said, waggling a warning finger at the bards pout. "You go down and Ill have to call T to get you back up again. No offense."
A raspberry cut the air and the bard slapped the finger in her face. "Smart ass." Smiling despite the insult. "Once I have this baby, youll pay for that remark."
"Think youre gonna bounce back, huh?" Xena asked, then she backed up a few steps to shadow box in front of her wife. "Think youre gonna have what it takes to be a contender?" Throwing punches that landed well out of range.
"You keep putting your hands in my face and youll be calling T go get your butt off the pavement." Gabrielle growled, her mouth screwing into a tight pucker as she slapped at the flying fists.
Celine didnt want to know what was going on as she trotted across the road pushing the wheelchair and as she came up, she rolled her eyes when what was going on became obvious. "Ding. End of round one."
The warrior dropped her arms, turning toward the doctor. "Front door or back door?"
"Front door." Smiling, Celine rolled her eyes. "You wont believe whats going on in there."
"Xena, help me out." Reaching for her wifes arm, the bard slid out of the truck. "Whats going on?"
The chuckles started before the doctor got the first word out. "Two pee wee football teams got into a fight. There are padded little pipsqueaks all over the place. Julie is going nuts. She begged me to bring you in through the main entrance so she could get away from them."
"I bet." Xena laughed out loud as she helped her wife over to the wheelchair. "So nobody needs my services?"
"Not unless you brought a tranquilizer gun with you." Shaking her head, Celine smiled down at the bard. "Ready?"
"Wait a second." Kneeling down, the warrior flipped out the foot rests on the chair. "Okay, let me lock up the truck."
"Dont forget the camera." Gabrielle reminded as she tried to get comfortable.
"Camera." Shaking a finger, Xena ran around to the drivers side. Rolling up the window, she pushed the lock down, then grabbed the camera bag before closing the door.
"Keys. Dont lock the keys in the truck." Another reminder from the owner of the vehicle.
"Keys." Sighing, the warrior retrieved the keys from the ignition on the passenger side. Then she gave the passenger door the same treatment as she shoved the keys in her jeans pocket. She picked up the suitcase once the door was closed and turned to sigh again. "Lets do it."
A warm smile crossed the bards face and she nodded. "Lets. Lead on Montague."
Xena started forward, the pulled on Celines sleeve. "That means go."
"Oh." Wincing, Celine turned the chair around. Walking to keep up with Xenas slow pace, she smiled when the warrior took her wifes hand. "Ya know. After reading about you two all my life, I guess I never thought it could be that real until now."
"What could be that real?" Gabrielle asked, rolling her head back to look up at the doctor.
"The love." With a smile and a shrug, Celine rolled her eyes when they both gave her a strange look. "It was too good to be true, I guess."
The warrior smiled down at her wife. "My sentiments exactly."
"Is that everybody?" Ares asked. His hands on his hips, he was looking around the disheveled living room.
"Thats everybody." Aphrodite confirmed, then plopped down on the couch. "Im beat."
T walked in the front door and blew out a puff of air. "Thank you, Ungara."
"Ive planned wars before, but Ive never had to organize chaos." Shaking his head, the God of War joined his sister on the couch. "Those women were nuts."
"They were excited." T corrected and took a seat in one of the chairs. Looking around at the mess left behind, she didnt even consider cleaning it up the old fashioned way and snapped her fingers, putting everything back to its normal place. "Wheres Gabriel?"
Poking his head from behind the other chair, Gabriel smiled.
"There you are." Smiling back at her son, the god clapped her hands. "Come here, big boy. Come to Mama."
Gabriel made a few faces, most of them smiling ones, as he reached up for the arms of the chair. Pulling himself up, he teetered a little bit, taking exaggerated steps as he held on. When he got to the end of the chair, he let go and stood there.
"Ares." T whispered, holding out her hands expectantly.
Both Aphrodite and Ares sat up. Watching the baby, the held their breaths.
"Come on, Gabriel." Still whispering, T was grinning from ear to ear.
Looking uncertain for a second, Gabriel let lose a burst of laughter and made a mad running dash for his mothers arms, giggling all the way across the living room, arms flying.
"Look at him go!" Aphrodite squealed with delight.
"Go, son. Go." Daddy cheered, raising his arms over his head when his son made it to Ts arms without falling. "Yes! My son is walking!" Hopping up, he began jumping around the living room.
Sweeping her son up in her arms, T held his wiggling body over her head. Smiling up at his smile, she shook him gently. "Are you my boy? Yes, you are." Bringing him down, she kissed his forehead, then cradled her son in her arms. "Wait till the girls see this."
"You know what?" Gabrielle asked as she was being undressed by her wife.
"What?" Looking up, Xena lifted the bards foot out of her pants.
"When I get out of here, Im designing a hospital gown that doesnt give you a draft up the wahzoo." Holding her gown out in front of her, the bard shook her head. "This is absolutely shameful. You might as well walk around naked for all this covers."
The warrior chuckled as she got Gabrielles other foot out of the pants. Tossing the pants on a chair, she stood up and eyed the garment in question. "Its functional."
"Its ugly." Handing the item over to her wife, the bard reached around to unhook her bra.
Waiting silently, because she didnt have a real defense for the gown, she held it out for her wife to slip on when she was ready.
"Gods." Her bra joined her other clothes on the chair and Gabrielle slid her arms into the arm holes. "Make sure nobody takes a picture of me in this thing."
"Yes, maam." Smiling, Xena held back a chuckle and tied the gown in the back when it was on all the way. "You ready to get into bed?"
Now the bard eyed the bed with disapproval. "Could that thing be any smaller?"
The warrior sighed. "Get in there." Giving her wife a little push, she smirked when Gabrielle growled at her. "You do that again and you can climb up by yourself."
Another growl and Gabrielle held out her arm for assistance.
Xena took the arm, laying it across her shoulders as she bent down to lift her wife into bed.
"Xena!" She shrieked as her feet left the ground. "Put me down!"
Straining, the warrior got the bard into bed and laid her down as gently as possible. "Youre down." Panting, she smiled. "Sorry, I couldnt resist."
"Try harder next time." Huffing, the bard pulled her gown over her legs. "Gimme the covers." Wiggling her fingers, she pulled the sheet and blanket over her when she got a hold of them. "Wheres Celine?"
"Hiding, I suspect." Managing a soft chuckle, Xena moved away from the bed when she was growled at again. "Ill go find her."
"You do that." Huffing as she tucked herself in.
She found the doctor at the nurses station and pulled her aside. "Okay, Celine. Listen up. I know you think you know us pretty well, but there are a few things that never made it into the history books. One. Gabrielle hates needles, so no IV unless its absolutely necessary and you can forget about an epidural. Ill put the pinch on her if the pain gets too rough. Two. Dont let those short legs fool you. One wrong move and shell kick the brains out of her head. Three. If she says stop, you stop whatever youre doing, or youll be scraping your brains off the nearest wall. Four. Talk to her as little as possible. Keep it professional and short. Ill be keeping her calm, so you just concentrate on the baby. You piss her off asking her how shes doing and youre on your own. Five. Dont take anything she says personally. Understand?"
Celines eyes were large and round. "Okay."
"Good girl." Patting the womans shoulder, Xena smiled. "Last thing. Nobody but T gets into that room. Family and everybody else can wait in the waiting room. If somebody has a problem with that, come get me and Ill handle it."
"I understand." Nodding slowly, she got another pat on the shoulder and she stared after the warrior as she walked away. "Gods. What have I gotten myself into?"
"Oh, yea." Spinning around, the warrior held up a finger. "Ill shave her."
"Works for me." Smiling for an unknown reason, Celine agreed without question.
"Right." Nodding, Xena turned again to go back into the trenches.
Gabrielle looked at the razor, then at her wife. "Youre kidding me."
"Nope." Shaking her head, Xena shrugged. "Its gotta be done."
"Since when?" She asked incredulously.
"Since two hundred or so years ago, Gabrielle. Its more sanitary for the catheter and the fetal monitor. Theres no telling what might be growing down there." Letting her smile show a hair, she bit it back.
"You ought to know. Youre always sticking your face down there." Folding her arms across her chest, the bard glared at the warrior.
"Trust me, Gabrielle. If this wasnt necessary, I wouldnt do it. I dont enjoy razor burn." Smiling again, but sadly this time.
"Gods." Closing her eyes, Gabrielle tossed the covers down towards her feet. "You make one snide remark, Xena." She warned.
"I wont say a word." Free to smile now that her wifes eyes were closed, the warrior moved closer to the bed, pulling the covers all the way down.
Without being asked, the bard spread her legs, keeping them bent, so she could kick in a flash. "This sucks."
Day turned into night and Gabrielle had settled down for the long haul after running through the dirty word dictionary with Xena adding more subdued calming words to the mostly one sided conversations. Xena, for her part, had not suffered any injuries and changed into a pair of scrubs to get comfortable. Laying in the bed behind her wife, her back pressed into the bed railing, she whispered gentle words, talking Gabrielle through each contraction and held her hand when the bard napped in between painful bouts. Celine heeded Xenas advice, staying out of the room the majority of the time and when she did come in, she did so quietly to check the fetal monitor, then left the same way she entered. The only other person to disturb the couple was Jim, who came to check on his favorite non-patient when his shift started.
Knocking before he entered, Jim smiled when he stuck his head into the darkened room. "Hi." Whispering and waving, he got the okay from Grace to come in and walked over to the bed. "You look comfortable." Keeping his voice low, he leaned on the railing facing the couple.
Drifting in and out of sleep, Gabrielle was awake, but barely. Smiling she spoke with her eyes closed. "You want to take my place?"
He chuckled. "Are you talking about sleeping with Grace or experiencing child birth? Oh wait. Theyre the same thing, arent they?"
"Snot." Xena whispered, propping up on her elbow so she could glare at him properly.
Running his fingers lightly over Faiths arm, he tilted his head when she opened her eyes. "I know this is a stupid question, but how are you feeling? Is Celine treating you right? Is there anything I can get you?"
"Im okay." Still smiling, she rolled backwards a little into Xenas body and folded her arm under her head. "You just starting your shift?"
"Yea. Im a very busy guy since you stole Grace from me." Leaning down further, he smiled at Faith warmly. "Wanna give her back?"
Gabrielle tightened her hold on Xenas hand, bringing the combination up to tuck under her chin as an answer.
"Darn. I could use a day off." Chuckling softly, he looked at Grace. "And how are you doing back there? Want a pillow or something? I can have another bed brought in." He offered
"Im good." Shaking her head, the warrior smiled at him. "Thanks for asking. Hows it going with the interns?"
"Not bad." Jim answered honestly. "They get a little shaky when the emergency room gets hopping, but theyre coming around. I think you picked a couple of winners."
"Good. If you need any help breaking them in, you can always schedule some kind of training for the days Im on." Xena offered with a wink. "I think once they get a good dose of me, they wont be so shaky when the shit hits the fan."
"Hmmm, Ill take that into consideration." He nodded. "I know, for me, nothing was as scary as you when you were on a roll."
The warrior rolled her eyes. "Ill take that as a compliment."
Gabrielle chuckled. "Youll never live that reputation down."
"Good." Snorting once, Xena kissed her wifes shoulder. "You remember that."
Glancing over her shoulder, the bard shook her head. "I never said you scared me. I know better than to believe that line, thank you very much."
"Hush." Rolling her eyes when Jim laughed, the warrior laid back down. "Youre ruining my reputation."
"Dont worry, Grace. Your secret nicer side is safe with me." Giving her a sympathetic thump to the arm, he stood up straight. "Okay, Ill let you get some rest, but if you need anything, you call me. You understand?"
"We will." Gabrielle whispered and smiled. "Thanks, Jim."
"Alright then. Ill stop back by later to see how youre doing." Rubbing Faiths arm, he smiled at her. "See ya."
"Ill be here." Sighing, the bard closed her eyes.
Jim gave Grace a quick wave, then left, closing the door behind him.
"I hope this one turns out as good as him." Xena smiled as she closed her eyes.
"I hope this one turns out as good as you."
In for her hourly check, Celine was called over to the bed and went to Xenas side. "Whats up?" She asked quietly.
"Has T shown up, yet?" Xena asked over her shoulder.
"I havent seen her, but I can check the waiting room." The doctor offered. "Do you want me to call her? Is there a problem?"
"No. No problem." Shaking her head, the warrior laid it back down. "I was just wondering where she was."
Celine was silent for a moment, then she tapped Xenas shoulder. "If I see her, Ill send her in."
"Thanks." Xena nodded, then closed her eyes.
Saying nothing more, the doctor checked the monitor then left the room.
Opening her eyes once Celine was gone, the warrior sighed. "Where are you, T?"
"Ive been a little busy." T whispered as she popped in by the door.
Looking over her shoulder, Xena glared at her friend. "Busy?"
The god put a finger to her lips, then pointed at the bard. "Shhhh. Ive got someone else who wants to see you. Someone really really big, who is throwing an unholy fit."
The warrior relaxed as she realized where and what T had been doing. "If you can lock the door, you can bring him in."
A big smile on her face, T snapped her fingers locking the door and popping Bud in at the same time. "Easy, old man." Grabbing him by the scruff of the neck when the tiger tried to bolt for the bed, she walked him over to Gabrielles side slowly.
"Gabrielle." Stroking her wifes arm, Xena tried to wake her gently. "Gabrielle."
"What?" The bard asked, seeming irritated to be awakened.
"Somebody is here to see you." Pointing over her wife, the warrior smiled at the huge striped head peeking through the safety rail.
Opening her eyes grudgingly, Gabrielle smiled as soon as she focused on Bud. "Bud." Reaching through the rail, she scratched his head. "How did you get in here?"
"He has friends in high places." T chuckled. "Hold up Bud." Holding him down as he tried to raise up for a better view, she went to the other side of the room, bringing back a chair. Placing it beside the bed, she patted the seat. "There ya go."
Putting his front paws on the chair, Bud lifted up, sticking his head over the rail to nuzzle the bards shoulder.
"Thats my boy." Wrapping her arm around his neck, the bard kissed his fuzzy head. "Were you worried about me?"
"Hes been driving us all crazy." Sighing, the god stood beside the tiger, leaning on the rail. "I would have been here sooner, but Ares and Aphrodite couldnt keep him from trying to swim the Atlantic to get here."
"Im okay, Bud. Pretty soon youre gonna have a cousin to play with." Speaking with very little conviction, Gabrielle sighed. "Hopefully."
"Well make it, sweetheart." Xena said encouragingly.
"I see Xena hasnt gotten to the part where she threatens you with a rusty Swiss Army knife and a plunger yet." Chuckling softly, T looked pointedly at the warrior. "Gabriel still has nightmares about that, by the way."
"Oh, he does not and I was joking." Sighing herself, the warrior propped up on her elbow again.
"You threatened him with a knife and a plunger?" Gabrielle asked over her shoulder. "Xena, how could you?"
"It was a joke and I was threatening T, not Gabriel." She laughed. Looking up at her friend. "And it almost worked, as I recall. You almost went into labor right there and then."
"True." T admitted with a nod. "It was quite a performance."
"Still." Dissatisfied with the answer, the bard rolled her eyes. "There wont be any jokes like that around here."
Bud sniffed the bards belly, then moved back off the chair.
"What?" Looking at him strangely, the god glanced back at Gabrielle. "Oh."
"Oh, boy." Letting go of Xenas hand, Gabrielle grabbed for the rail and got Ts hand instead. Squeezing it hard as the contraction started, she tried to let go.
"Its alright, Gabrielle. You do what you have to. You cant hurt me." T said softly as she held on to her friends hand.
"Easy, Gabrielle. Breathe . . . breathe . . . breathe." Her voice dropping down to a whisper, the warrior had her head close to her wifes. "Let it come. Dont fight it. Breathe . . . breathe . . . breathe, Gabrielle."
"Xena." Groaning out her wifes name, the bard curled into a ball. Her eyes squeezed shut, she panted. "Gods."
"Im right here, Gabrielle. Im right here. Its okay. Breathe. You can do it. Dont fight it, Gabrielle. Im right here. Ive gotcha. Ive gotcha." Talking slowly and methodically, Xena worked the bard through the contraction.
After an eternity for Gabrielle, the pain went away slowly and she relaxed, though her breaths were still coming in short pants. "Have I mentioned how much this sucks?"
The warrior smiled. "Once or twice." Drawing up close to her wife, she kissed Gabrielles cheek. "But it wont last forever."
"Thats right, Gabrielle" T put in. "Pretty soon your wish will come true."
The bard opened her eyes, looking up at the god. "I forgot. You did this to me. I cant even blame Xena for this, can I?"
"Oh, no." Shaking her head, the god shook a finger too. "I didnt pick you and you are both to blame. All I did was fulfill your mutual wish. If thats coming back to haunt you now, its not my fault."
"I think shes trying to weasel out, Gabrielle." Xena chuckled. "What do you think?"
"I think Ive been cursing the wrong person." Gabrielle agreed and gave Ts hand a healthy squeeze.
"Fine. Be that way. See if I ever do this again." Pretending to be insulted, T turned up her nose. "Come on, Bud. Lets go find some people wholl appreciate us."
The bard tightened her hold so T couldnt get away. "Get her, Xena."
"Ha! At last." The warrior shouted, then wiggled her way up so she could jump from the bed onto T. "Now, Ive got ya."
T looked around with her hand out, palm up. "Is it raining? I thought I felt something. How about you, Bud? Did you feel something?"
Bud ignored them and went back to the bed. Going up on the chair, he nuzzled Gabrielle.
When Xena was finally too exhausted to fight anymore, she crawled back into bed with Gabrielle and T left with Bud, the fight of eternity unresolved, but enjoyed by all. Not long after that Celine came in for another check and was going to inform Xena that she hadnt seen her King in the interim, but she stopped short of telling when she saw the condition the warrior was in. Rumpled, wrinkled and looking like shed been in a fight, the doctor stared at her with intense curiosity.
"What happened to you?" Celine asked.
"T showed up." A playful smile on her lips, the warrior shifted in the bed.
Given no more information, the doctor had to fill in the blanks herself and relied on her knowledge of Ungaran history to make a summation. "You two were fighting in here, werent you?"
"Something like that." Her smile growing, Xena looked over her shoulder. "Gabrielle told me to get her, so I did."
Celine glanced at the sleeping bard and shook her head. "So its true. She really is as bad as you and my King."
Gabrielle turned her head to smile at Celine. "Theyre a bad influence on me."
"Dream on." Shaking her head, the warrior waved off the accusation. "She started it. I was just laying here, minding my own business."
"Hmmm. Thats the other thing Ive read. It seems that true blame is as hard to find as scales of a dragon, where you three are concerned." Sighing, she nodded. "Im learning a lot today."
"Have we burst your bubble?" Smiling, the bard raised her eyebrows.
"Hardly, Gabrielle. Its just very interesting to see history jump off the pages, so to speak." Clutching the chart she carried, Celine smiled. "At the shower, when you went into labor, it was like living the history Ive read."
"How do you mean?" Somewhat curious, Gabrielle rolled back a bit to look at her better.
Celine took a moment before she answered and walked around to the other side of the bed. When she did answer, she had a distant look in her eyes. "Ive read the stories. The ones that try to describe how close the three of you are and I guess its something you take for granted until you see it in action. When you went into labor, the room was filled with people Xena could have called on for assistance, but she didnt. She called out for my King and T was there faster than Ive ever seen anyone move. It was like the three of you were in your own world, working as a whole and when Xena left you to go outside, she did so without questioning what my King would do." Looking at the warrior, she smiled bigger. "You knew she would carry Gabrielle out and it didnt matter to you that it wasnt you doing it. Am I right?"
Xena nodded. "When it comes to Gabrielle I dont ever have to ask if shell protect her."
"And dont let them fool you, Celine." The bard added. "They may fuss and fight, but T doesnt play when it comes to protecting Xena either. If you dont believe me, ask Draco, if you can find all the pieces."
"And vice versa." Celine continued. "My King isnt the only one whose put her life on the line to protect the ones she loves. You two get a little testy when someone hurts her, too."
"The bottom line is u nuru u kara. You hurt her, you die. End of story. We may pick on each other, but nobody else better try unless they have a death wish." The warrior concluded.
"Were best friends, Celine." Gabrielle said quietly. "Sometimes I think people dont know what that means anymore. People will call each other friends when in truth, they arent any more than close acquaintances. The loyalty, the reliability, the unquestionable trust isnt there and thats what makes a true friend. Knowing you can call on someone because youre stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire with no spare isnt the same thing as knowing that that person will stand behind you, by you and in front of you when your nightmares come calling. Friends arent people you hang out with, theyre people you hang onto and will hang on to you when youre dangling over a cliff." Feeling Xenas arm tighten around her, she smiled. "Best friends are people who will never let go. Never."
Celine nodded. "Its true. Friendship isnt what it used to be and I think even in your early days, the one you shared with my King was special. The Ungara are very lucky to have you three and I consider myself very lucky for being able to say, thank you. Your friendship has helped mold my people and I believe we are much better for it." Bowing slightly, she turned and walked out without another word.
"Xena." The bard whispered.
"What?" Raising up, the warrior looked down at her wife.
"After this baby is born, I want to get more involved with the Ungara." Turning her head, she stared up with a serious expression. "Theyve lost so much. They deserve more from us than ancient history."
Xena smiled warmly. "Yes, they have and they do. Ill talk to T first thing."
It was close to ten oclock at night when Gabrielle went into hard labor. With her contractions stronger and coming more frequently, Xena moved her to a sitting position, then took her place behind her, continuing to talk to her wife softly as Celine and a volunteering Jim set up the room. The two doctors being the only other two people in the room for now, Xena talked to Gabrielle in Greek, coaching her on her breathing and massaging tight shoulders when the bard relaxed against her. Once the equipment was set up, two nurses came in and Celine covertly told Xena that they were Ungaran also.
"Gads. You people are everywhere." Xena joked and shook her head. "Thanks." She said more sincerely.
Hearing the same message, a slightly sweaty bard nodded her gratitude. "Thanks. Now I can use my whole vocabulary without worrying." She said rather sarcastically.
"I do my best." Celine smiled. "Okay, Im going to check and see how dilated you are." Moving to the foot of the bed, she gave two powerful legs a quick worried glance before she sat down, putting her head between them.
The warrior caught the look and held back her chuckle. "What do we got?" She asked instead.
"Eleven centimeters. It wont be long now." As the words came out of her mouth, Gabrielles water broke. "When Im right. Im right." Sighing, she got up. "Ill be right back."
"Good shot." Laughing, Xena wrapped her arms around her wifes shoulder.
Jim shook his head at the mess. "Now I remember why I wanted to be a surgeon."
"Ill get it." One of the nurses laughed.
"Hello! Woman in labor here." Gabrielle growled. "Would somebody like to remember that please?"
"We havent forgotten you." The warrior chuckled. "You keep yelling at us."
Growling just to be growling, the bard switched to a groan as another contraction started. "Gods!"
"Oh, shit. Jim!" Doing her own yelling, Xena pointed between Gabrielles legs. "Get down there."
Without hesitation, he stepped over the nurse to take Celines spot between Faiths legs. "Okay, Faith. Push."
"Im pushing, you moron." Gabrielle yelled in Greek.
Xena didnt feel the need to translate. Putting her hands on her wifes back, she pushed away from her, helping support the bard. "Breathe, Gabrielle. Breathe."
Gritting her teeth, the bard was squeezing the railing in both hands, as her knuckles turned white with the effort. "GODS!"
"A little bit longer." The warrior whispered. "Just hold it a little bit longer. Thats it. You can do it."
Jim checked the monitor. "Okay, you can stop pushing."
Gabrielle slumped into the warrior. "Xena, wheres that plunger?"
"Youre doing fine, Gabrielle. Just relax." Rubbing her thumbs into the bards shoulders, Xena looked at the mirror over and behind Jim to see what was happening. "Jim, whats on the monitor?"
"Its normal, Grace. The baby is fine. No stress." Rolling the stool back, he stood to see over Faiths legs. "You want to do this?" He asked sincerely.
"Youre fine." The warrior shook her head. "Just watch out for those legs. She kicks like a Georgia mule in a bad mood."
"Wonderful." Giving the legs a look, he sat back down. "Thats what I get for volunteering." Mumbling to himself, he stared at the monitor.
Minutes passed and Celine made it back with a new pair of scrubs on for the next contraction. Letting Jim stay where he was, she watched over his shoulder. "We need a big push here."
"Youre both morons!" Shouting at the top of her lungs, Gabrielle pushed as hard as she could. Head thrown back with a grimace on her face, she leaned forward as the contraction went on.
Behind her, Xena did what she could. "Keep pushing. Thats it. Hold it. Hold it. Breathe, Gabrielle. Push. Push."
"Okay." Breathing nearly as heavily as Faith, Jim relaxed.
Easing her wife back into her arms, the warrior whispered in her ear. "Do you want me to put the pinch on you?"
Moaning, Gabrielle shook her head. "Not, yet. Not, yet."
"You say when." Massaging again, she was working up a sweat as well. "What do we have now?"
"Everything is normal." Replacing Jim, Celine sat down on the stool. "A few more contractions and we should be able to see the babys head. How are you doing up there?"
"Celine, dont make me have to kill you." Panting, the bards tone was completely serious.
Xena smiled because she could see Celine cringing in the mirror. "You were warned."
"Scary down there, isnt it?" Jim asked with a chuckle.
"Ill kill both of you if you dont shut up!" Opening her blood shot eyes, Gabrielle glared at everybody in turn.
Suddenly the room go very quiet, except for a muffled chuckle from the warrior and she stifled it when an elbow came in contact with her ribs. Waiting in silence, everyone tried to pretend like they werent there until the next contraction came.
Seeing the monitor wiggle, Celine took a deep breath. "Okay, here comes another one. I need a real big push with this one. Here we go."
As if on cue, Gabrielle groaned, grabbing for the rails as she curled forward.
"Push, Gabrielle. Come on, come on." Watching the mirror, Xena supported Gabrielles back with her hands. "You can do it. Thats it. Youre doing good. Just a little bit longer. Hold it. You can do it."
Sweat pouring down her face, the bard screamed in agony.
"Its coming! Its coming!" Celine shouted with excitement. "Push, Gabrielle!
Another scream and the pain started to subside. Tears streaming down her sweaty face, Gabrielle fell back, whimpering. "Xena."
"Im right here." Xena said softly, wrapping both her arms around her wife. "Im right here. Were almost there, Gabrielle." Raising one hand, she cradled Gabrielles head against her shoulder.
Celine reached inside, feeling for the baby. "I can feel the head. The next one should do it. Youre almost there."
The bards chest was heaving from exertion and her only response was a soft moan.
Hovering right behind Celine, Jim watched his friends. "Youre gonna make it."
"Oh, gods!" Wincing, Gabrielles jaw clenched and she began breathing in sharp bursts as the next contraction began. Veins bulging in her neck, she curled forward once more.
Shifting forward as well, Xena put her hands over her wifes on the rails. "Push, Gabrielle. Come on. Thats it. Thats it. You can do it."
"I can see the head!" Cupping her hands, Celine cradled a small head as it began to emerge. "Keep pushing. Give me one hard push!"
Strained to her limits, the bard pulled her body forward with her hands.
"Thats it! We got it!" Tears streaming down her face from happiness, Celine held the head of a very unhappy baby in her hands.
Leaning even further forward, Gabrielle hung her head in exhaustion, letting her hands slide off the rail at will.
Mesmerized, the warrior stared at the mirror looking down at the face of her child. Her eyes filling with tears too, she let them fall unchecked. "Almost there, Gabrielle. Weve almost got our baby."
Head still low, the bard leaned back, wrapping one hand behind her wifes neck. Taking deep breaths, she could feel the next contraction coming. "I dont want to do this anymore."
"One more push. Just one more push." Holding Gabrielle close, Xena began to rock gently. "One more. One more. One more."
Gabrielle picked up the chant. "One more. One more. One more."
"Alright. This is the big one. Everybody get ready." Her words quieter, Celine adjusted her hold. "When you feel it, Gabrielle. Give it everything youve got."
"One more. GODS!" Forward again, the bard held her breath, putting all her energy into the push.
"Thats it. Thats it. Come on. Come on." Xena growled in an edgy tone. "Come on! You can do it! You can do it! Come on! Come on! Come on!"
"A little bit more." Taking the head in her left hand, Celine pulled gently, wiggling the shoulders from their confines. "Come on. Keep pushing."
Her heart pumping, Gabrielle took one deep breath and screamed over Celines shout.
"We got it!" Celine juggled the slippery body. "Its a girl."
With the announcement, Jim went running out of the room and by the time the bard collapsed a loud cheer could be heard resounding through the halls.
"Its a girl, Gabrielle. Weve got a baby girl. Look. Look. Shes beautiful." Very nearly sobbing, Xena pointed at the mirror. "Theres our daughter."
"Xena, do you want to cut the cord?" Celine asked hurriedly.
"No, you do it. Im not leaving Gabrielle." Shaking her head, the warrior held onto her wife.
Opening her eyes, Gabrielle watched the mirror as a flick of the wrist separated her daughter from her.
When the umbilical was cut, the baby began to wail, shaking tiny arms and legs in anger.
"Listen, Gabrielle, listen. Thats our baby. Thats our daughter." Like music to her ears, the warrior hugged her wife tighter. "You did it. You did it."
The bard laid her head back on Xenas shoulder completely exhausted, but with an overwhelming sense of happiness. "We did it."
Kissing her wifes sweaty cheek, the warrior cradled Gabrielle in her arms. "Thank you, Gabrielle. I love you."
A weak smile working its way past her fatigue, Gabrielle began to chuckle. "I love you, too and you can pinch me now."
Hugging the bard even tighter, Xena burst into laughter.
Celine took the baby over to a table, handing her to over to the nurses for the post birth procedure, then she returned to the table. "You know we arent done yet, right?"
Gabrielle closed her eyes. "Yes. Lets get this over with."
Moving to the side of the bed, the doctor smiled apologetically, then pressed down on Gabrielles stomach with both hands.
In between the bards legs, the afterbirth came rushing out.
"I hate this part." Grimacing, she held her breath until Celine finished.
"Itll be a few more minutes and then Ill be all done." Another sad smile and Celine walked back to the foot of the bed.
With Gabrielles head against her shoulder again, Xena held it gently. Watching Celine in the mirror, she saw the nurses start to walk out with the baby. "Hey! Hey! Where do you think youre going with my baby!"
Both nurses hesitated and looked at Celine.
"They have to take her to the nursery to be weighed, measured and cleaned, Xena. Theyve got to start the paperwork." Working as she spoke, the doctor froze when the thighs on either side of her head moved.
"Why cant they do that in here?" An almost feral look on her face, the warrior glowered at the nurses.
"Go with them, Xena." The bard said, sitting up slowly. "Make sure shes got all her fingers and toes."
Out of the bed in two hops, Xena strode over to the nurses. "You drop her, you die."
"Xena, be nice. Theyre only doing their job." Laying back, Gabrielle sighed.
"Yea, well Im gonna make sure they do it right." Pointing down the inner hallway to the nursery, she snarled at the nurses. "Move."
Celine gulped, then went back to work. "Once Im finished, youll be moved into another room with another bed and you should have time to change before they bring your daughter back to you. After that, its up to you how long you want to wait to allow your family to come in."
"You think you can stop that stampede." She smiled.
"If I cant, I know somebody who can." Chuckling to herself, Celine shook her head.
"Ill keep that in mind." Smiling a little more, Gabrielle began to relax. Listening to the noises that made up a maternity ward, she heard Xenas voice issuing threats in the distance. "You go girl."
When Xena rolled their little bundle of joy into the room, the baby was all clean, wrapped tightly in a green and blue blanket with a strangely familiar insignia on it, with a little knit cap to keep her head warm and was met by the Riley-Morgan contingent with a whole lot of greedy hands wanting to hold her, and a lot of flash bulbs going off. Slapping the hands and shielding her daughters sensitive new born eyes, the warrior growled her way to the bed where her wife was not resting quietly, like she wanted her to be. "Daddy, you put your hand in there again and youre gonna lose it." She warned, then muscled her way around the cart to gently lift her daughter out, so she could put her into the two waiting arms of Gabrielle, but not before she gave her wife a soft kiss. "You look beautiful and I got somebody for ya." Virtually beaming, Xena stuck her tongue out the side of her mouth as she passed the small bundle to the bard.
Gabrielle was beaming as trickles of wetness trailed down her cheeks. She cradled the baby in her arms, looking down at her daughter for the first time. "Shes beautiful." Whispering amongst the ohs and ahs, the bard looked up at the warrior. "We did it."
"You did it." Shaking her head, Xena gave Gabrielle another kiss, then sat down on the bed beside her. "Just look at her."
The bard did look at her as the family crowded around the bed for a look. Opening the blanket a little more, she showed her new daughter off like the proud Mom she was.
Blinded by flashes of light again, the warrior put up with it this time and had a big smile on her face as she wrapped one arm around the bards shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze.
Seeing something out of the corner of his eye, Brian, who was in the back of the pack turned towards the window. "What the hell?" Whispering, he saw another flash of light. "Hey! Look at that!" Grabbing his wifes shoulder, he turned her around.
"What?" Sitting up straight, Xena tried to see through the crowd of people turning around. "What is it Brian?"
Xenas brother laughted as the light exploded into a shower of glistening white. "Somebodys setting off fireworks."
As he spoke, the contingent moved to the two large windows, staring out into a black night sky as another explosion of light went off.
"Fireworks?" Frowning for a moment, the warrior surveyed the crowd then smiled. Nodding, she looked over at her wife. "I think I know where T is."
Gabrielle chuckled and shook her head. "Lets go see what shes up to."
Hopping up, Xena helped Gabrielle out of bed, then grabbed a nearby chair, dragging it across the floor to the window. "Here." Helping the bard again, she squatted down next to the chair to watch the display that suddenly kicked into high gear. As she watched, she stuck her finger in her ear, wiggling it, then she pointed it at the window. Hearing something she thought was music, the warrior turned the crank, opening the lower pane and started laughing. In her ears was a familiar golden oldie.
"Is that Three Dog Night?" Gabrielle asked as the music became clearer.
Bobbing her head to the rhythm of the music, she sang the words to her wife and her daughter. "Joy to the world. All the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me."
The night sky lit up with brilliant flashes of color and the quiet disturbed by a perfect sound track, the bard held her wide-eyed daughter up so she could see the spectacle going on in her honor. Shaking her head, she looked up into the smiling face of her wife.
Staring downward, Xenas face slowly changed to one of thought as the lyrics inspired a memory. While Ts light show was going on outside, the gods voice sounded in her head. May your wish bring you nothing but joy. Kneeling down, her smile returned. "Gabrielle, I think I know what we should name her."
Her brow knitted for a moment, then Gabrielle looked down at her daughter and back up to Xena. Like their minds were connected, she smiled as the name popped into her head. "Joy." She said barely loud enough to be heard over the music.
Nodding slowly, the warriors eyes fell on her daughter and she reached up, putting her finger inside the blanket to be taken hold of by five tiny fingers. "Joy Tiegra Riley-Morgan."
Cradling the baby close to her, the bards smile was warm and glowing. "Its perfect."
Caught in a magical moment, the world stood still for two women and their daughter while the world around them danced to music, the moving bodies illuminated in bright flashes. The spell broken by a hand on her shoulder, Gabrielle looked up into the eyes of her father. Sighing, she nodded. "Okay, Daddy. You can hold her."
The fireworks and the party atmosphere continued for the next half hour with Xena and Gabrielle in the corner by the window, keeping a close eye on their daughter as she was admired and fought over by aunts, uncles and grand parents. Smiling to themselves as much as at the happiness Joy was bringing, the couple held hands whispering words of love to each other.
After the family left grudgingly, the girls fell asleep in the bed with Joy on one of Xenas shoulders and Gabrielle on the other, giving in to utter exhaustion once the excitement had worn off.
Dead to the world, but still the warrior princess, Xena opened her eyes when a light knock sounded at the door. Lifting her head, she saw T standing in the corner. Smiling instantly, she waved her over. "Come here, you." Shaking her wife, she roused the bard. "Gabrielle, Ts here."
"Huh?" Frowning, Gabrielle opened her eyes, then rubbed them. "Whos here?"
"Me." Stepping out of the shadows, T walked over to the bed. "How ya doing?"
Rolling onto her back, the bard smiled. "Im sore, but Im not fat anymore."
The god chuckled. "Are you too sore to have a few more visitors?"
"He better not lick my face." The warrior said straight away.
"I said a few and Bud is on his best behavior." Sneering at her friend, T looked at Gabrielle. "Can you handle it?"
"Definitely." Smiling a little bigger, Gabrielle found the controls for the bed and pushed the button to raise the front half.
T waited until the couple was settled, then she snapped her fingers and in popped Ares, Aphrodite, Gabriel and Bud.
The Goddess of Love, despite her three inch heels was first to the bed. "Oooo. Lemme see. Lemme see."
"Aphrodite." T said softly, but sternly.
"Whaaaat?" Stomping her foot, the goddess got the picture quickly and backed off. "Oh, alright. You go first."
"What?" Xena asked, looking from one god to the other.
"Weve got a surprise of our own." Ares smiled. Bending down, he put his son on the floor. "Go to Mama." Giving him a little pat on the bottom.
Both girls were leaning to the side to see the boy.
Gabriel looked up at them. Smiling, he waved then took off for Mamas legs.
"Look at that!" Clapping her hands, Gabrielle watched her namesake run across the floor on his own. "Xena! Xena!"
"I see." Holding her daughter carefully, she tried to watch Gabriel when he disappeared from view. "Hes walking. I mean hes running."
T picked up her son, tossing him in the air. "I know. He hasnt got the concept of going slower, yet. He just zooms from one spot to the next." Lowering Gabriel, she turned him around to face the girls, sitting his bottom on her forearm.
"I know its not as big as news as yours." The proud Daddy said proudly. "But we wanted to show you anyway." Walking over to the bed, he gave his son a kiss.
"Can I go now?" A fidgeting Aphrodite asked.
"Yes." Rolling his eyes, Ares smiled at the girls. "Shes as bad as Bud."
Hearing his name, the tiger, who had been threatened into playing nice, walked over to the bed.
"Okay. Okay. Hold on." Sighing, Xena brought the baby off her shoulder to lay in her arms so everybody could see her. "Here she is."
Gabriel pointed, glancing between the baby and Mama with a big smile and bright eyes.
"Gabrielle, he wants to get closer." Mama chuckled.
"Come here, big boy." Nodding, the bard took Gabriel from T, setting the boy on her lap.
"Just look at her." The Goddess of Love sighed. "Shes beautiful."
"You did good, Gabrielle." Agreeing heartily, Ares smiled at the baby.
Bud, not to be left out, raised up to give his new cousin a good sniff.
"Dont you lick her." The warrior warned him.
Putting his head a little closer, the tiger nuzzled the baby very gently.
With all the attention being given her, Joy woke up, stretching her little arms and legs, then curled up again to open blue black eyes.
"Would you look at those." In awe, Ares leaned in for a closer look.
"I told you she was going to have beautiful eyes. Eventually, theyll be green with a deep blue center." T noted and leaned in as well. "Gad zooks. Is her hair red?"
"Im calling it a really really dark auburn." Gabrielle smiled. "Now weve got a full set. A blonde, a brunette and a redhead."
Gabriel sat up straight, trying to get a better view, then he pointed at the baby again, looking up at her mother.
"You want to hold her?" The warrior asked him.
"No, he just wants a closer look. Hes never seen a baby before, remember." Mama interpreted for her son.
"Okay." Lifting him up, the bard put him closer to her daughter.
Clutching his hands to his chest, Gabriel stared as Xena unwrapped the baby.
T reached out, stroking her sons head. "Shes pretty, huh?"
Nodding, he threw a smile over his shoulder, then went back to being mesmerized. That was until the umbilical cord popped out. At that time he scowled and made a noise that in later years would be a growl. Turning back to Mama, he pointed at the baby and growled again.
"Whats wrong with him?" Xena asked, looking from son to Mama.
"He thinks somebody hurt her." Shaking her head, T bend down to his level. "Nobody hurt her, Gabriel. Thats where her belly button is going to be. She cant feel it. Nobody hurt her. I promise." She smiled at him. "In a few days that will fall off and shell never feel a thing."
Still not completely happy, Gabriel folded his arms across his chest.
Gabrielle almost started crying as she pulled him to her. Kissing his head, she held the boy close. "Wonder where he gets that from?" Looking directly at Mama.
"Its a mystery to me." Rolling his eyes, Daddy wrapped his arm around Ts shoulders.
His curiosity coming back, Gabriel sat forward, investigating two small bootied feet, then he stroked a fist with one finger. When her fingers stretched out, he looked at them for a second, then looked at his own clawed ones and drew his hand back.
"Youre not going to hurt her." T whispered as she put out her own clawed finger to gently rub a soft small arm. "See." Taking her sons hand in her other one, she brought it forward to lightly stroke the babys leg. When her son started doing it on his own, she let go. "He says shes soft."
Nodding and smiling, Gabriel looked up at the parents. His eyes going back to the baby, he scooted closer to kiss her forehead, then sat back. Petting one of her hands, he giggled when smaller fingers than his own wrapped around his hand.
"Uh oh. You two better look out." Shaking her head, Aphrodite waggled a finger at the girls. "I think hes in love."
"Of course he is." Daddy touted. "Hes got good taste, like me."
T looked at the girls and gave them a wink. "So what did you name her?"
The girls exchanged a smile. "Joy Tiegra Riley-Morgan."
T closed her eyes, shaking her head, but the smile never left her face. "I knew I should aimed better with that lightning bolt."
Her face becoming more somber, Gabrielle put her hand on her friends arm. "Thank you, T. For Joy. For everything."
Opening her eyes, the god had a warm smile as she looked at her friends. "Not this time, Gabrielle. You want somebody give credit where credit is due, then thank Xena. If she hadnt blown a gasket with TPTB this whole thing never would have gotten started. I may have thrown my two dinars in every once in awhile, but its always been about you two and now you three. If anyone has a reason to be grateful here, its me. Without the two of you, I would never have survived to enjoy all the wonderful things I have in my life and what little I do, will never make up for all that you have given me."
Epilogue: "Good Morning, America. Our top story this morning is one of an unprecedented event that happened overnight as literally tens of thousands of cities and towns across the world experienced a light show the likes has never been seen before. As darkness moved across out planet, fireworks were set off in a continuious stream from Austrailia to Alaska. Their source unknown and the reason for the event noy yet discovered, it seemed as if the world was celebrating some joyous occasion as the old Three Dog Night tune Joy to the world was heard in every corner of the globe. . ."
And so on that joyous note, with the ultimate bad guy gone and our favorite girls getting what they have always wanted with a happy ending that leaves the door wide open, the Plan D series is going into retirement. Now, before you shoot off those emails, just wait a second. I did not say the series was over and this is not a good-bye for Grace and Faith. Theyll be back in the future, I promise. Its just that they will no longer be the main portion of my bardic endeavors and if it makes you feel any better, there is a new series on the way with our favorite daring duo in it. The names will be different, but I hope youll enjoy the new series as much as youve told me youve enjoyed this one. And again. Grace and Faith will be back and it wont be 25 years in the future. No. Im not going to let you miss out on Xena trying to keep everything Joy gets in her grabby hands out of her mouth and Gabrielle trying to keep Xena from killing everybody who looks at Joy cross-eyed. Oh, yes. There is much fodder for my muse to munch on with this pair of soul mates. But, until then . . .
. . . may the wind fill the sails on your ship of dreams.
Thank you for reading.
Return to The Bard's Corner