Warnings: Two women in love with each other; and I’m writing more comedy. Take your pick which is more deadly to your sense of morals. Sex and violence kept to minimum under those constraints. I promise to kill a few people in the next one to make up.

Disclaimers: Any resemblance between the characters described in this story, and those in a certain show produced by Renaissance Pictures, is only coincidental. But I tried. After some of the ‘comedy’ episodes of the fourth season, I figured I couldn’t do any worse. But then again...

Mail is always responded to at Kamouraskan@yahoo.com

The Gabrielle Effect

A Farce in Three Acts

To read Act One, click here

by Kamouraskan

Act III

It’s Not My Fault!

Scene: Guest Quarters of the Mayor of the Holy City of Hestia

Exterior shot of palatial villa. Cut to interior of guest room

Gabrielle is pacing furiously about the room, shooting the occasional visual dagger at Ares who seems amused. Aphrodite is lounging on the divan.

"All right. The first priority is to get someone to call the Amazons off, and convince them that they are not under some holy command to..." There’s another quick glare directed towards the God of War. "So I’ll send a message..."

Ares coughs, clearly enjoying himself: "I hate to interrupt your plan, since it seems to have started so well....but I think you’re missing a few pieces of information." He settles comfortably into a chair. "Don’t you think I would have anticipated you sending a message to halt a perfectly nice attack?"

Gabrielle puts her hand to her head for a moment. "So you told them as ‘Artemis’..."

"That they should ignore any message, even under your seal. You’re being tortured."

"Thank you."

Ares waves his hand negligently. "Anytime. Oh, and I had a chat with Autolycus..."

"Great! He’s here? He can..."

"He’s here to steal the plate."

Gabrielle slumps onto the bed.

"...and you know your friend Meg? He’s traveling with Meg..."

Gabrielle blanched. "Oh Gods. she’ll come into town, and...be...MEG!"

Ares continued happily. "And of course she’s traveling with..."

Gabrielle lies down on the bed, anticipating this one.

."..Joxer..." The ex-God paused. "But what I think you should find interesting is that they somehow met up with your real parents..."

Gabrielle pulls the sheet over her head.

There is a knock at the door. A groan is heard from beneath the sheet.

Ares smiles. "I’ll get it."

The door opens an inch and Horace’s voice floats through. "Ah, Beloved? Gabrielle? There’s a someone here to see you.? In leather?"

Aphrodite looks at the Bard-sized lump under the sheet. "Well, that certainly narrows it down..."

Horace’s swallow can be heard. "And I think she wants to kill me?"

The blanket is torn away, and Gabrielle almost leaps up with fresh hope in her eyes. "Xena!"

Pause.

The bard looks at the grinning God of War, and wails quietly. "Xena?" She calls hesitantly through the small opening "Do you think you could tell her...to come back a little later...?"

There is a cry and Horace comes flying in though the door, flinging it open.

"That would be a No?" guesses Ares facetiously

Horace rebounds off a wall and runs to the door and throws it shut. He reaches into his belt and pulls out a dagger. Staring lovingly at Gabrielle, he cries with fervor "Stay back, my dearest! I will protect you!"

Both Aphrodite and Ares attempt to egg Horace on, but while his back is turned, Ares says to his half-sister "It was just a matter of time..."

She nods and whispers "I was only wondering how, not really the when..."

Horace catches a bit of this, and an angry Gabrielle stares all of them down, saying: "It’s okay Horace, it’s just an old joke, and one that was never funny. No one’s going to die."

"Die?" Horace squeaks.

Ares and Aphrodite both nod and smile, pleased that he’s finally got it.

"No one’s going to die Horace, because Xena is, well, a sort of...a project of mine..."

There is a growl from the other side of the door. Horace retreats from it quickly

Gabrielle is now more or less talking to the door, rather than to Horace. "You see, I’m trying to help Xena with her VIOLENT tendencies..."

The growl only becomes louder and more menacing.

"...And if she could just GO somewhere and COOL OFF for a little while..."

The door is kicked in, flattening Ares with it. A stone faced Warrior Princess stands in the wreckage of the door frame.

Aphrodite stares appreciatively at the figure. "That would be another ‘No’?"

Gabrielle is torn between hurling herself into her partners arms, and slugging her.

Horace runs over to try to remove the door from off of Ares. "By the Gods," he shakes a fist at Xena, "if you’ve hurt her father, you’ll pay!"

This strikes the warrior hard. She swallows, and stares at the form under the door. "Her father...?" Her eyes widen.

Gabrielle quickly points to Aphrodite, saying, "You do remember my mother?"

Aphrodite chimes in "Hi Princess!"

"Your MOTHER?"

Aphrodite winces, but adds, "You really have GOT to meet Daddy though..."

All rush to lift the heavy door off of Ares. He is slightly dazed, but recovers quickly when he sees Xena’s expression. Simulating outrage, he yells: "Damn you, Xena.. You’ve been nothing but trouble for my daughter ever since you first met her...."

Xena turns to Gabrielle. "YOUR father?" The Bard smiles helplessly. There is another knock behind them. They all turn to look down at the wreckage of the door, before turning to the smashed doorway. Standing there are two shocked town councilors.

"Miss Gabrielle, we are here to be your escort for the day.... Part of the judging..."

Gabrielle immediately begins to simper, and taking Horace’s hand, and leads him to the doorway.

"Horace. Gentlemen, there has been just the worst misunderstanding, and I think I need to talk to Xena, for a moment privately, to calm her down, give her some medication, that sort of thing,..."

The elder councilor’s eyes grow stern. "I am sorry, but we are to observe all of your interactions with everyone. That was clearly explained to you."

Gabrielle mutters a few words under her breath which end with, "of course..." There is an awkward moment as the servants and Town Council escorts stand watching the unhappy partners in the hallway. Gabrielle tries not to touch her lover, who is becoming angrier every moment.

"Umm, Xena?" Gabrielle begins. "I was wondering if you would do a small favour for me." The warrior’s expression doesn’t change. Encouraged, she continues. "It would be really helpful if you could take a message to the Amazons camped outside of town..."

Xena interrupts. "You want me to LEAVE? You want me to go to the Amazon’s and leave you with your ...‘Father’ and your ... ‘fiancÚ’?"

Gabrielle glances to the witnesses and laughs uncertainly. "If you wouldn’t mind?"

Xena stares long and hard at her lover. "I’m going to go to the Tavern. I’m going to see if they have a bottomless keg. Test it. For a long while. And then I’m going to see how many people I can get to fit in it." And without a backward glance she strides off.

"Or you could do that." Gabrielle sighs.

The bard takes a deep breath. Turning to the locals, she tells them firmly, but in her softest tones, "Horace, I’m sure that you can understand how upsetting this has all been... Gentlemen, I am sorry, but I must change, and I can only allow my parents to be present..."

Horace takes his cue, and looking cautiously both ways down the corridors, exits. Gabrielle grabs the former Gods, and together, with Aphrodite complaining, they pick up the door and lean it to block the doorway .

Gabrielle turns to her ‘parents’, and with eyes flashing, hisses.

"Okay. Lets get a few things straight here, RIGHT? You’ve just chased off our best chance of getting things straightened out. So we’re all going to have to work together now... or I want you think about thousands of trained fighters making pine cone place settings for Solstice, because that’s what ‘s gonna happen if Marta wins this contest. And if by some fluke inspite of you, I actually win; since we know that there has to be a God of War, after I dance on the plate for a while, I may just make it Joxer, GOT THAT!"

She calms down for a moment, lowering her voice again. "Now I’m going to give you some simple instructions, and I want them carried out, no extras, no game playing, or you both better get used to traveling on foot. RIGHT!"

Ares turns to his sister. "I always admired her, just a little, you know?"

"Shut UP! Now, Ares, you are going to go talk to Xena, explain the situation without any additional mind games, or you will be hearing the Joxer the Mighty song everywhere from here to Rome."

Ares shudders.

Somewhat more politely, the bard turns to Aphrodite. "Goddess, we need your help too if you ever want to get back to doing...what you do so well. I need a Xena to go to talk to Amazons, Meg or Leah have done it before. Try Leah first, at least she knows the risk. Check the temple. Now let’s MOVE IT!"

Scene: Tavern of Village of Hestia.

Interior pan of silent, terrified and frozen in place villagers making forced smiling faces at glowering Warrior Princess drinking in corner.

Ares enters and strides over. Xena raises her tankard. "Hello, Ares."

"Gabrielle sent me." He snarls each word.

Xena takes this quietly. "Right. You know, once I was told the signs of the end of the world? This is a new one. Ares telling me that Gabrielle sent him. Must write it down."

Ares doggedly repeats himself, while clenching his teeth and hands. "Gabrielle sent me."

Xena leans back. "Okay. Great. Is it a Strip-O-Gram?"

"Keep laughing. I just want to deliver this message, and then I will never have to say the words ‘Gabrielle sent me’ again..."

Scene: Market of City of Hestia

Gabrielle, followed by escorts, comes upon a group of little kids, standing around a table where a hard faced woman is making a display with their unwilling help. She is very similar to Gabrielle, same build, short blonde hair, but there is no light in her false smile. She is wearing a gown indicating she is the palace steward. The children see Gabrielle, and run to her shrieking with delight.

The Council escorts comment to each other. "There, see that response? Children naturally fall for her as well. They recognize in her, their own innocence and gentleness."

Meanwhile the kids are demanding more stories.

"Hello there, Children." greets the bard.

"Gabrielle? What about the story of the Bachae? Or where Xena chews up the rats...."

Gabriella tries to be fair. "I think you’re supposed to be helping Marta..."

"Screw her! She’s a crazy Psycho bitch!"

The other kids concur. "Yeah! She’s making Sesame Tofu with asparagus! That is SO gay!" "You gotta whip her ass, Gabrielle!"

"She tried to get Kennit to speak clearly, and when he wouldn’t, those guys with her...dragged him off and whacked him!"

Gabrielle angrily stares at Marta and her henchmen. "By the Gods! Those Bastards!"

"That’s what WE said."

"Okay, children. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need your help. What are her weak points?"

"Well, she’s a crazy psycho Bitch..."

"Yes, I know..."

"And she cracks real easy..."

Amazon Camp Outside of Town.

Camera opens on Priestess Leah, standing in the Queen’s tent dressed as Xena, in the middle of trying to convince the Amazon’s that Gabrielle is fine. As she speaks the camera swivels around the room until it holds on the cold, disbelieving faces of Epinon and Chilapa.

"Tho ath you can thee, thehs weally ith no weason foh thisth Cwithith, I, Thena, Woeyah Pwintheth, thwear it...."

Chilapa gestures to the guards who move forward and grab Leah by each arm, and with her protesting slightly, they carry her over to a bench where a seated and disconsolate Meg, similarly dressed, is revealed.

Chilapa turns to Eponin. "So, they’re not delusional OR constructs of the Gods?" The Regent asks.

Epinon sighs. "No. One is a Hestian Priestess. A Hestian VIRGIN priestess. And the other is hooker named Meg. I think they hang around, because Xena’s life isn’t strange enough..."

"Why haven’t I heard about them? Why doesn’t Gabrielle tell ME this stuff?"

Eponin shoots her a look. "Well, she made you Queen. Maybe she figured that was a big enough favour for a while..."

Chilapa is not amused. Still glaring at her second, she calls out "Next!"

Xena, and it is clear from her expression that it really is her, strides in glowering, stopping in front of the two Amazons. "Gabrielle’s okay." she states flatly.

Chilapa indicates the other two Xena’s in the corner. "We already seem to have cast the part. Maybe if you showed a little more enthusiasm...."

Xena purses her lips at this, then does a somersault in mid air, landing on the table and hauling up Chilapa by the throat, begins to shake her like a fetish doll. She then says with no change of inflection. "Gabrielle’s okay."

The four women all chirp. "Hi, Xena!"

Scene: Market Place

Camera focuses on the Platter of Zeus, then pulls back to reveal Gabrielle and Marta assessing each other. Both women are smiling. The camera cuts to the four council members observing.

"I knew that they would get along," says one.

"Yes, they both have that mother Gaia goodness that was bound to find an echo in the other." They all nod approvingly.

Marta is giving the younger woman a patronizing look. "So, you’re Gabrielle. You have such a way with children, but then, you’re almost one yourself..."

Gabrielle smiles benignly. "Thank you. So do you; A pity, it’s such a bad way."

Marta reacts as though she hasn’t heard properly. "What?"

"One of them told me they saw you began to unhinge your jaw, so that you could swallow them whole." Gabrielle’s smile doesn’t change it’s genuine sparkle.

Marta’s eyes bulge. She recovers quickly and resumes her placid expression. "You have such a delightful sense of humour."

"So do you," returns Gabrielle with a grin. "Too bad it’s taking the place of any sense of style or taste. I mean, " the bard gestures at the table filled with hand made craft items. " look at all this crap! Just how old ARE you by the way?"

Marta has reached this position by threatening young overprotected virgins. Her eyes literally begin to boggle. Her henchmen move in. Gabrielle takes Marta’s hand tenderly and finds a pressure point.

The four Council observers watch as the two women embrace. Tears begin to flow from Marta’s eyes. "Women find it easier to establish these close relationships, don’t they?" One comments.

Marta waves off the thugs while still trying to smile through the pain. All seems to be going well when the bard hears a familiar voice calling "Gabrielle...Dear?" Gabrielle lets go of Marta and hangs her head, before turning around.

"Hecuba!" she finally exclaims.

Hecuba hugs her daughter. Gabrielle hisses into her ear. "Mom. I can’t explain, but it’s very, very important that you are not one of my parents." She looks to the thugs and Marta, staring at them speculatively. "Your life could depend on it. Where’s Daddy? Could you convince him..."

Herodotus’ scratchy voice calls out. "Daughter? What in Hades name do you think..."

The councilors move forward. "YOUR Daughter? we thought...?"

Horodotus bulls his way over to them, ignoring the looks being sent to him by his wife and daughter. "Yes, MY daughter. And more ashamed of her I have never been. Hanging about with thieves and prostitutes, doing drugs, having unnatural relations with other women..."

A horrified Horace and the Mayor are now at his side. They stare aghast at each other and then the bard. "Is any of this true, Miss Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle swallows hard and states firmly. "I have never seen this man before in my life."

Herodotus is rendered speechless for a moment. One of the Guards of the Plate sighs, and removes his headgear revealing himself to be Autolycus. He points a finger accusingly at Herodutus and proclaims. "Not only is this man clearly insane, but I have been watching him for days. He’s a well known thief!"

Herodutus spins about to stare at his wife. She primly responds to his unspoken question. "I have known Gabrielle since she was a girl, and I can tell you; this man is not her father."

This strikes Hero like a blow to the chest. He begins making gasping noises. Hecuba throws an entreating look to Gabrielle, before exiting with the soldiers dragging her husband away, asking "Is it a nice jail...? Perhaps I could clean it a little for you..."

Gabrielle whispers to Autolycus. "Now, if we could have registered her for this damn competition..."

Another voice interrupts. "Gabby? Where are they taking your parents?" The bard’s face sets as she recognizes Joxer’s voice. Autolycus winks at Gabrielle and says, "Please. Let me handle this one."

She nods with relief. Auto goes to the Captain of the guard and points to Joxer. "I can honestly attest that this man is a danger to himself and others. For the good of the whole community, lock him up until he’s sane, ...or ... whichever else comes last."

The guard looks over to Gabrielle. "Miss..?" he questions

Gabrielle looks imploringly at him. "Could you..? Really?"

Joxer is hauled off, backwards, yelling, "Don’t worry, Gab. I’ll figure out the plan. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine..."

Autolycus moves back to Gabrielle. "So. I was wondering if when you’re finished with this plate..."

Marta, frozen in astonishment, shakes her head and finally moves. "Wait a minute! Hold everything! What just happened here?"

Gabrielle stage whispers to Auto. "Isn’t that sad. But at least the mind didn’t go first..."

Marta explodes. "You BITCH!" She leaps at Gabrielle carrying her to the ground while Gabrielle ineffectually struggles, calling out, "Help, help?"

As they haul the steward off, hissing and scratching, the council members all nod to one another.

Scene: The Temple of Hestia

Exterior shot of temple. Switching to interior shot of graceful columned shrine. Marta is being held by two soldiers. Ares and Aphrodite are waiting expectantly with Autolycus.

Gabrielle is standing on the altar. She is looking through the crowd, but not finding anyone she hopes to see. She lifts the plate and asks, "Shouldn’t we wait just a little longer..."

The mayor shakes his head. "I’m sorry. But the time is upon us."

Ares pumps his fist, mouths "Yeah!" and smiles like a hungry cat at Autolycus. Auto moves closer to Gabrielle.

"So what do I do?" The bard asks the mayor.

The mayor answers uncertainly. "I’m not sure. But I do know that a bolt of lightning from Zeus should crash through that window and strike the platter right about..."

Gabrielle blinks once. "While I’m holding it?" she says incredulously.

Ares pumps his fist again and repeats "Yeah!"

The mayor tries to reassure Gabrielle. "Well, that’s where your innate purity will protect you, you see."

Autolycus calls up to Gabrielle. "Gab, don’t take this the wrong way, not that I’m worried for you or anything, but just in case you’re charcoal in moment, could you sort of hold your hands more over this bag...?"

She glares him and takes a breath. "I can do this. Okay...."

There is a crash, and a bolt of lightning smashes through the room connecting with the plate. Gabrielle’s face shows her pain and the plate begins to glow, blinding all about it. The maid Katia, for reasons known only to her hair dresser/ local healer, bursts into flames and is incinerated. A small ball detaches itself and strikes Aphrodite. A second, strikes Ares, then a third flies about the room searching, and finally strikes Marta.

The special effects fade away, and all are left standing, gasping in shock. Gabrielle gapes at the now regal figure of Marta. "Hestia?" she gasps.

"Yes, Gabrielle," the Goddess replies. " I don’t know how to thank you. The form of being a mortal drove me mad, and I became the figure you knew as Marta the Steward. The embodiment of all that was evil in my position as Goddess of the Hearth and Family. Can you forgive me?"

Gabrielle babbles something before Hestia dissolves, but catches Ares flexing his hands and staring at Autolycus. She jumps between the two.

"Ares..." She states. "You owe me big time, and you still haven’t fulfilled your promise to your Chosen. I’m asking that you leave him alone." Then she turns to Auto, still speaking to Ares. "But only for what he’s already done. From here on in, if he screws up, he screws up on his own."

Autolycus whines, "What kind of protection is THAT?"

Aphrodite, now glowing with pleasure, comes over to ask: "Hey, sweetie? You had him. Why didn’t you ask for something like protection for your self or your honey?"

Gabrielle snorts. "Like he would have kept THAT promise..."

Ares saunters over "Speaking of Honeys..." he points to the door where 3 Xenas now stand. "Bit of overkill maybe, but I believe my job is done here." and he vanishes. Aphrodite gives Gabby a kiss saying, "I’d offer you a gift, but I see you have multiples of everything you need." She waits for a second. Ares reappears and grumbles, "You still have the keys." She smiles and they both evanesce.

Gabrielle is preoccupied with segregating the three Xena’s. "I know I should be getting better at this." she says. One Xena scratches her butt, the other looks shocked when Gabrielle’s stare lingers on her breasts. The last one just stands with her arm crossed. Gabrielle runs to her.

Horace and the Mayor look on gaping. The Mayor covers his son’s eyes and suggests, "Don’t worry son, there’s still that nice poet Sapho you’ve been writing to..."

Scene: fade

Camera pans to sky, there is a dissolve and the camera tracks downward through trees, finally holding over a campsite.

It is late night. Two women under skins, lying on their sweat slick backs, staring contentedly at the stars. No cigarettes are in evidence, and non-subtexters are figuring that they’ve just finished a heavy sparring session. Xena turns to Gabrielle and grins. "So how did you spend your summer vacation?"

"I told you. I don’t want to talk about it." There is a smirk on Xena’s face; Gabrielle seems slightly troubled. "Xena? You were supposed to figure out what to do about my father and Joxer."

"Tomorrow." Xena smiles. "Maybe tomorrow..."

Gabrielle relaxes and lays her head on her warrior’s shoulder. Music plays softly as crane shot moves gradually upwards until the fire is a small glowing spot in centre of trees.

Fade to black, but for some strange reason, no credits are super imposed.

 


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