Standard disclaimers. You know the drill: Just for fun, more than friends, pretty tame, no money down. I have to acknowledge Enginerd’s story Fan Fiction I think it was, as an influence; If I have inadvertently plagiarized any parts of that story I apologize profusely to the author; I read it a couple of years ago but couldn’t find it again to check out what I was imagining vs. remembering. As for the rest, well, Noel Coward I’m not. But you knew that. It’s another summer off for our heroes, and there isn’t a lot to do in limbo, except bicker about the past four seasons.

Thanks to the pups who helped make some of the references a teensy bit less obscure than they would otherwise have been…

Xifiction Blues



Scene: the Cliffhanger Hilton. It's a large cave with all the furnishings carved out of rock-- the bed, the dressers, even the coathangers (Firmly attached to the closet pole, naturally) Bad hotel portrait of Fred and Wilma over the bed. Xena is trying to get comfortable in the granite armchair, paging through the carved stone tablets of the complimentary copy of "Be my Ghost-- Please!" and looking out of the window, where palm trees are waving back and forth in a storm. Every once in a while a coconut blows in through the window, followed by wisps of blue snow.

From the bathroom, Gabrielle can be heard over the sound of the shower singing, "Kind of a Drag" offkey.

Xena (slams the tablets down next to the pile of coconuts as Gab comes out of the bathroom). Well ain’t that just a kick in the head.

Gab: Alright, bring that up again.

X: Nuh-unh. You started it.

G: I just wanted to get my cards read, I didn’t know symbolic musical was even a category.

X: If you’re going to play with fire, couldn’t you at least use protection?

G: That was uncalled for.

X: (glowering) Sorry. (pause) You could have sung ‘Am I Blue.’

G: Hey, is it MY fault we have to spend the summer dead again?

X: Look, everybody knows TV is dead in the summer.

G: So isn’t making us dead too kind of redundant?

X: We’re just taking turns, that’s all. Me; you; us. It’s… symmetrical. At least this time I don’t have to go swimming all over the lava pit looking for you. Where were you, anyway? I was peeling for months.

G: Whatsa matter, Xena, forget to pack your asbestos bathing suit? Or don’t you use "protection"?

X: Very funny. Wanna play coconut shy? (Hefting coconut at her)

G;(Tossing it back) No.

X: If you hadn’t tossed your staff away, maybe we could have invented baseball.

G: What’s baseball? Oh, Never mind, what’s coconut shy?

X: It’s a carnival game.. you know, hit the monkey, win a doll?

G: Or vice versa. Right, something you’d be good at. I don’t know about you, but crucifixion always wears me out. I’m gonna hit the hay.

X :You wish.

G: What?… Hey, this bed is hard as a rock.

X: No, Gabrielle, this bed IS a rock. Hay would be itchy, but better.

G. Great, just great. Another backbreaking – oops. Sorry.

X: You should be.

Blue snow begins to drift in through the window, covering the pile of coconuts. Xena picks up a handful, makes a snowball, drops it down Gab’s neck.

G: (squeaks and squirms) Arrrgghh. I’ll get you, you… (They have snowball fight with the blue snow. It’s pretty much a draw.) Hmm. Does a snowball fight beat a lava pit?

X: You tell me.

G: (fingering the unmelting snow) What is this stuff, anyway?

X: Some kind of plastic, I think.

G: Well… at least we get to spend the summer together this time, even if the accommodations do suck.

X: Could be worse. They could have decorated with Creepo-Roshi’s empty birdcages.

G: Who?

X: Your boyfriend the yoga teacher. Mr. Tantras-R-Us

G: Oh, yeah, the guy who had yin/yang up the caduceus. And for the record, he was NOT my boyfriend. And not much of an interior designer, either. Weird décor…. I’m sick of black and white, that’s for sure. Although it does go with everything. Do they sell those wicker things all over the east, or did Ming Tien have a garage sale?

X: Dunno. Maybe it’s the remains of that wicker horse you wanted me to lug around for you.

G: I just thought it would be a conversation piece. Xena, that was three, four, seasons ago. Talk about beating a dead horse.

X: Hey. Watch it. Argo’s feelings get hurt a lot more easily than you realize.

G: Oh, yeah, Argo’s tender feelings.

X: Hey, at least you never had to appear in public with ‘B 23’ stenciled on your chest. She was mortified.

G: Good point. But you think being entirely covered in puff-paint designs was any better?

X: Hey, I thought it was fun.

G: You know Xena, Argo’s only been bumped off once. They keep killing US off all the time… Do you think they’re morbid? Or are they just indulging a subconscious hatred of strong women for the benefit of the Neanderthals in the audience?

X: Hey, enough with the therapese. Subtext really is a dead issue.

G: Thank the gods--- er, producers— er, fans.

X: Whatever. Could just be morbid. All that foreshadowing. If I’ve nailed you once, I’ve nailed you 100 times.

G: Oh yeah? This season proved I can lick you.

X: Hey, I’m the one who won the arms race. Six of ‘em. How’s that for multitasking?

G: You want an arms race, I challenge you to a squid-eating contest. Now that’s an arms race. And you would lose.

X: As I recall it you were the one who lost your squid.

G: Don’t change the subject. I finally got you back for the big drag, all on my own.

X: That wasn’t you. It was whatsername….

G: (Quoting) "But she was in my body at the time."

X: You know… It’ll come to me…

G: That was clever, at least.

X: The Goddess of Unconvincing Plastic Body Parts. And to think, she nearly got us cancelled. Didya know there was a newspaper headline, ‘What’s more powerful than Xena?’ I could have died.

G: NOW who’s being morbid? I can’t believe you’d worry about a thing like that… They named a whole imaginary hurricane after you. What more do you want? Your face as a test pattern on every TV in America? How vain can you be?

X: Oh, Bite me… (Rolls eyes) I just wanna…

G: Have fun. I know. Been There… (Rolling eyes right back)

X: Done That.. I bet they have a bad disco downstairs here too. Look at this place. Not even a rooster. How am I going to wake up in September?

G: You planning to hibernate?

X: Gest-- Aestivate.

G: What?

X: Aestivate. It means take the summer off. What’d you think I was going to do, just hang around?

G: Very funny. You know they left us both hanging, along with a few million fans.

X: Fans? The AC in here is already plenty, doncha think? (sweeping more blue snow off the bed)

G: (Sigh) I asked if you were going to sleep.

X: I WAS going to read, but there’s not much selection here.

G: (picks up stone tablets) Be my ghost? Is that what we have to do next season? A whole year of ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?’ Couldn’t they have gotten Shirley Maclaine, at least?

X: Let’s hope not. I plan to wake up on their screens in October, refreshed.. invigorated.. ready to give… er, kick some computer-generated butt. Um.. on second thought.. call room service and ask them to send up some saltines, would you?

G: Why?

X: Because I may vomit.

G: Are you quoting Alexander Woolcott again? You know I hate it when you use anachronisms. And besides, he was a critic.

X: C’mon, you love ‘em.

G: Critics? Do not.

X: No, anachronisms. Yes you do. Hey, no anachronisms, no showers… no hot tub…

G: Good point. Coating myself with olive oil and scraping it off with a stick isn’t my idea of a good time.

X: On second thought.. (heading for the bottomless saddlebag of props)

G: Oh, no. No. Xena.. Aghh, I just washed my hair. What’s left of it.

X: Ok, ok. You promised you wouldn’t say anything about the hair.

G: It was bad enough you had to practice on me. I just don’t think the Chakram School of Hairdressing is going to work out, Xena. With your skills you can do anything when the series is over. Well, almost anything. That do-it-yourself-perm kit you tried on yourself wasn’t…

X: Hey!

G: Alright, alright… In the meanwhile, there must be some better way to invent the ‘Buzz’ cut. Oh, why can’t you just become a consultant like everybody else?

X: I SAID ok, OK? Sore subject.

G: So, tell me again why you want the saltines? Are you planning to eat them in bed, just to torment me?

X: No, I..

G: What’s wrong with the usual fish, hard bread… plastic cheese… the occasional bowl of sacrificial blood?

X: Urp.

G: ?? (disbelieving look)

X: Gabrielle, haven’t you been overlooking something?

G: What?

X: You know. The obvious. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.

G: What, What?

X: My umm… shape.

G: Your shape.

X: Do you have to repeat everything I say?

G: Do I have to…? (She gets a glare for that one and backs down) Er. No. I’m sorry Xena, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.

X: Haven’t you noticed I have a new hobby? (holding up partly completed baby bootie)

G: Oh. You took up crocheting instead of embroidery. That’s it?

X: (Totally exasperated) No. I. Mean. The. Pitter. Patter. Of. Little. Feet. (waving booties)

G: You invited a rock band from the 70’s to spend the summer being dead with us? Like there aren’t enough rocks here already? What do you think this is, a road tour?

X: (sigh.) I.. Gabrielle, I’m going to have a baby.

G: You’re kidding.

X: I’m not. I’m really going to have a baby.

G: Grand.

X: It’s not a joke. It’s not a piano. It’s…

G: Disloyal.

X: What?

G: Alright, give. Who is it that’s more attractive than me this time? And don’t give me that tired old ‘It wasn’t my fault it was one of the gods’ excuse.

X: Er…I don’t know. Maybe something I ate? (Gab scowls at her) I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I told you it was parthenogenesis?

G: Which means what? A building got you pregnant? Come off it, Xena that’s worse than Salmonius and those toilet seat covers.

X: Not the Parthenon, if that’s what you mean. You know we’ve traveled everywhere BUT Athens this season. No, I just… well … call it haploid happenstance…. got pregnant?

G: Why?

X: Because I wanted to?

G: The old tick-tock got to you, hunh?

X: The what?

G: You don’t have to explain it, I know what it is. The biological clock. The one that goes, "time’s almost up" "now or never" "baby or bust". Don’t worry, Xena. I’ll see you through this one too. Chin up.

X: What an unfortunate expression.

G: It is, isn’t it? (they are silent for a moment) Xena? What if…?

X: Yeeeess?

G: What if the baby turns out to be a bad apple? What if it’s… what if it’s another demon? Like…. Hope?

X: It better not be.

G: But what if it is?

X: You have my permission to kill the little monster.

G: You say that now, but… Xena I can’t take another rift arc… and it didn’t even help the ratings any.

X: I know. I keep thinking about that… the whole thing with… what was her name? Longitude? Latitude?

G: You mean Meridian.

X: Yeah. Her.

G: What about it?

X: It was just too contrived. There we were, helping the oppressed, and suddenly you’re doing the Lady Macbeth thing with an imaginary dagger… it conveniently appears in mid-air, and draws real blood. How convincing is that?

I think, if you want to get all psychological about it, you were attracted to Ms. Latitude.

G: Now, Xena.

X: Don’t you "Now Xena" me. And don’t think I didn’t notice you kept dreaming about hugging her like Martin Pippin in the gods damned Daisy Field. You were all over her like a cheap chiton.

G: Who the Hades are you babbling on about now? Who’s Martin Pippin? And is he a bird or an apple?

X: Neither, he was a story teller --like you-- and a good one. From the 1930’s I think. You should have done more reading while you were on that archeological dig in our last future.

G: Don’t you think you’ve gotten in enough digs already? I suppose you think he was one of my "boyfriends" too.

X: (making disgusted noise) It’s a good thing they wrote the jealousy out of my character.

G: You weren’t…

X; Unhuh. I was.

G: Sorry. You never needed to be. And I’m not the pregnant one here.

X: Yeah? The fact is, I have a lot more reason to be jealous than you do. If I was the type.

G: Now wait a candlemark, here, Xena..

X: Tell me you didn’t spend half of last season throwing yourself into the arms of other women.

G: Well, I..

X: C’mon. What’s up with that? What possessed you to—let me rephrase that.

G: Xena… I just… I was afraid you were getting bored with me.

X: What?

G: You know. Same old you-protect-me-I-grab-your-arm bit. You haul me out of mid-air, I grab your breast, er, plate. We hug, say "I-love-you", punch the clock, and go home. I was afraid things were getting kind of, you know, stale. Between us.

X: What ever gave you that idea? I was about as demonstrative as I could be on Television. It’s not fanfiction, after all.

G: Xeeenaah. Why’d you have to bring THAT up. It’s so embarrassing.

X: What is?

G: All that gossip about our private lives. We’re fictional characters, for Zeus sake! It’s not like we were the President or something. But they write almost as much about us as the press did about him. All that hardening nipple fiction.

X: You can skip that part if you want. Whadda ya think the warnings are for? Too bad Congress doesn’t have to use disclaimers.

G: You mean you read it?

X: I didn’t say that.

G: You do, don’t you. (Xena blushes)

X: I didn’t say that.

G: You do, you read fan fiction. Xena, some of that stuff verges on pornography. Some of it’s definitely over the verge.

X: Ok, it’s a warlord thing, alright?

G: I can’t believe you read pornography.

X And what’s wrong with that?

G: It’s … It’s…

X: Hey. Waitagodsdanged minute. How do you know what’s in it? You’ve read it too.

G: Well… I…

X: You did, you read it too. And you have the nerve to criticize me.

G: Hey, I’m a writer. I take a professional interest.

X: Professional interest, my vinyl-covered ass.

G: Ulp. (Turning from pink to bright red)

X: You read that one too, hunh?

G: I.. Oh.. er..

X: There’s no point in denying it now, kiddo.

G: Gahhh (Holding head in hands.)

X: It’s ok. Gab?

G: Sorry. It’s just.. really embarrassing.

X: It’s ok. It’s not like you burned villages or anything.

G: But how can you respect me now that..

X: What, you think you lost the moral high ground or something?

G: Something like that, yeah.

X: It’s just a story, Gabrielle.

G: But stories are my life—our lives. How can you say they aren’t important?

X: I didn’t say that they aren’t important. It’s just… what we do is more important than what anyone says about it. We have lives of our own, independent of TV, of all that slash stuff.

G: But that’s what people remember. What they hear. What they read.

X: But If we weren’t here to kick butt sometimes they wouldn’t be around to hear it. Look, Gabrielle. I’m gonna be bigger than a beached whale before you know it. I guess… I was afraid you were getting bored with me too. That you’d stop finding me attractive.

Mmm. Never. I don’t need you to be anything other than what you are.

X: Really? You don’t care if I fall short of fictional ideals?

G: Truly. I don’t think I’d like it anyway…. Xena? What makes people think up stuff like that?

X: I don’t know… maybe they can’t feel anything otherwise?

G: You mean… they’re numb?

X: Yeah. Or their lives are really boring, and their imagination needs to be.. well… tweaked? We’re not like that.

G: Ya think? (touching her) Feel that?

X: Unhuh. Definitely.

G: So I don’t need the handcuffs and the whip?

X: You finally bought me a new whip?

G: I’m not sure I’m going to give it to you. Now.

X: You want me to whine?

G: No.

X: Grovel?

G: Nooo. Think.

X: What?

G: What’s missing?

X: What’s missing, Let’s see… You bought the ginsu knives; I replaced the frying pan. I got you a new action sheep.. oh. The boots, right? I still owe you a new pair.

G: Bingo! Very good Xena. How about it?

X: Ok. Alright. We’ll go. You want to walk, or take a rug?

G: Walk, definitely walk. If you can, your whaleness. (Xena pouts) aww… ‘K, I won’t tease you any more. Smooch?

X: Unhuh. (a peck)

G: Is it Autolychus, or is it Memorex?

X: One more for the road. (Longer kiss)

G: TV may be dead, but you’re not.

X: Say that again? (extended kiss) Ummm. Neither are you. Might not be such a bad summer after all.






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