Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess©® and all other associated with the television series of the same name are owned by MCA/ Universal Pictures. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes they are in love with each other.
Sex: Yes! There are scenes of two consenting adult women making love and lots of it. If it offends you dont read this. Move on. If youre under 18 move on.
Language: Mild where we got Xena we got language.
Other: This is the third in what is quickly becoming another series <groan><GBG>. The first part is, We Never Say Good-bye. The second part is Warrior Spirit. You dont need to read them to understand this on. Just know that X/G are immortal.
The Price of Love
"That," Xena said as she kicked her heels off and began fumbling for the zipper of her dress. "Had to be ." Her voice strained as she tugged at the zipper at her back.
Gabrielle moved to her distressed partner and brushed her hands way, deciding to undo the zipper before Xena opted to rip a seven hundred dollar dress off her own body.
"Thank you." The warrior grinned as she slipped it from her shoulders. "The worst party we have ever been to and we have been to some parties." She winked at the bard as she slipped out of the dress and tossed it over the back of a chair.
"Well it wasnt good." Gabrielle agreed as she removed her own dress, then laid it with Xenas.
"I swear," The tall woman growled as she put her robe on. "If one more flashbulb had gone off in my face I was gonna start shoving cameras where the flash couldnt be seen."
"Thanks so much for that mental image." Gabrielle snickered as she took the robe offered by her partner and slipped it on before sitting on the bed to give her aching feet a little attention. "However darling, you did make a large contribution to the childrens hospital. What did you expect?"
"I expected them to accept it gracefully and leave me the hell alone." She groused as she moved to the bathroom.
"Xena its not every day that they get a donation like that." Gabrielle was still amazed at Xenas reluctance to accept praise for her good deeds. "Are you hungry?"
"Im starved! On top of everything else, the food was lousy too."
Gabrielle smiled as she got up and moved to the bathroom door. Leaning against the frame, she watched as Xena removed her make-up and brushed her teeth. "Do you want the cook to fix something or should we order out?"
"Oder ot." The warrior attempted as she almost choked on her toothbrush.
The warrior just nodded as she rinsed her toothbrush then her mouth.
"Pepperoni, mushroom?" The bard asked as she turned to make the call.
"Extra cheese too." She wiped her mouth with a towel then looked to the bard who had stopped and returned with a scowl on her face.
"Hey, its not like its gonna kill us." The warrior teased as she joined her partner in the doorway. Xena gave the bard a kiss on the forehead then headed for the bed.
Gabrielle sighed. Xena was right of course. All the things that they had to be concerned about before werent important anymore. That had become quite apparent a few weeks ago when Xena had broken her leg skiing. It had healed itself a few days after being set. The fun part was watching Xena tear the cast off with her bare hands when it started itching.
She returned to the bed. Pulling a small phone book from the bedside table she ordered the food then curled up next to the warrior who wrapped a strong arm around her. She rested her head on a broad shoulder watching TV as Xena flipped through the channels.
"Give me that!" The bard snatched the remote. "You have no idea how annoying that is. Geeze."
"Whad I do?"
"You need to learn that a remote control is not a video game. You dont need to keep pressing buttons." The bard felt her warrior chuckle as she settled on an old movie. "Yeah laugh it up stretch."
"I love you." Xena smirked as she brought her other arm over engulfing the smaller woman in a fierce hug.
"Hey, hey dont break the bard."
"Eh youll heal." Xena captured Gabrielle in a passion filled kiss. Slowly she rolled the smaller woman over on her back continuing to kiss her as her hand traveled under the robe her partner was wearing.
"Xena " Gabrielle whispered as the kiss came to an end and the warriors lips traveled to her neck.
"We have dinner coming."
"If I play my cards right dinner wont be the only thing ." The warrior mumbled into the soft skin under her lips.
"Xena please ." Gabrielle gave the warrior a little push back.
Xena leaned up on her elbow giving her partner a concerned look. "Hey Bri whats wrong?"
"Im just not umm Im just not in the mood."
This got a lifted brow then Xena retook her place leaning against the headboard, opening her arms to her partner. "Okay. Want to come back here though?"
"Oh absolutely." Gabrielle wasted no time in returning her head to the shoulder that was truly her home. Once again she felt herself wrapped in strong, warm arms.
"Want to talk about it?"
"Nothing to talk about. Just really not in the mood."
"Okay." Xena rested her cheek on top of the bards head as they settled back to watch the movie.
By the time dinner arrived the bards mood had improved a bit. The pair sat in the middle of their bed eating pizza straight from the box and sipping sodas as one movie ended and another began. Xena wiped her mouth with a paper napkin as the second movie began. "Casablanca? Who programs this crap?"
"Hey this is a true classic you heathen, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Movies dont get any better than this."
"They dont blow up anything."
"No, but people get shot sweetie just wait for it." She patted her partners knee in a reassuring manner.
"Oh very funny."
"Hey this is a true love story." Gabrielle gestured to the screen.
"No my love," Xena leaned over brushing her lips to the bards, "We are a true love story."
Xena stretched, waking slowly. She reached out to find the bed empty. As she sat up the bedroom door opened, Gabrielle entered carrying a breakfast tray.
"Well good morning sleepyhead. I wondered if you were gonna get up today." She smiled as she sat the tray across Xenas lap.
"Three things Bri, one what time is it?
"Almost nine ."
"Two, how did you beat me out of bed?"
"Woke up before you did ." She grinned as she tapped the morning paper against her leg.
"Okay. Three, what did I do to deserve breakfast in bed?"
"This." Gabrielle flipped open the paper.
Xenas head dropped as she got a look at the picture of her and the bard from the party the night before. The caption under the photo read, Millionaire Couple Makes Large Donation To Childrens Hospital. "Aww hell." The warrior growled as she took the paper and scanned the article. "You know they make it sound like a big deal."
The bard took a seat next to the warrior and poured two cups of coffee. "Xena it is a big deal. With that donation theyre going to be able to finish the intensive care unit for premature babies." She took a deep breath then tried to smile as memories came flooding back. "Just like we wanted."
Xena dropped the paper looking to her partner. Even after three millennia it still hurt Gabrielle to remember the son they lost when he was born two months early. "Im sorry Bri. I should be more sensitive." She caressed the bards cheek with her knuckles.
Gabrielle grinned, knowing that she needed to lighten up. That had been a very long time ago. "Eh, after three thousand years why start now?"
"Hey, I resemble that remark." The warrior chuckled as she put the cream and sugar in her coffee.
"Yup you sure do." The smaller woman leaned over placing a soft kiss on her lovers lips. "But I love you anyhow." She sat up smiling as Xena sipped her coffee. "You maybe an insensitive jerk, but youre my insensitive jerk."
Xena laughed out loud which almost caused her coffee to exit through her nose. She managed to keep it from happening, but found herself holding her napkin to her mouth until the coughing jag passed. "Why thanks so much." She said as she managed to catch her breath. "Glad to know youre gonna keep me."
"Oh yeah. Cant think of anyone else whod put up with you for eternity."
"I cant think of anyone Id rather spend eternity with than you."
"Guess were stuck with each other."
"Guess so. So my love whats on our agenda for today?"
"Not much to be honest." Gabrielle got up moving to the window. "No meetings, no plans, nothing ."
Xena sat the tray aside then moved to her partner. She stroked her hand gently up and down the bards arms. "Bri please tell me whats wrong. I know something is bothering you."
The bard sighed. "Im bored silly Xena."
The warrior chuckled just a bit. Then she realized she was doing that insensitive jerk thing again. "Honey what can I do to make it better?"
"Im not sure there is anything. You know? I mean here we are, we have everything we could want. We are together now and forever and so totally financially sound the world would have to explode for us to go broke." She felt a slight tremor. "Oh go ahead and laugh. It is funny in a way. I just wish there was something I really wanted to do."
"Where ever you want."
"What?" Xena cocked her head to make sure she had heard that right. "Did you say Mars?"
Gabrielle turned around in Xenas arms laughing hard now. "It was a joke Xena."
"Ah humor, I got ya."
The bard wrapped herself tight against the warrior. "Im sorry for being so silly."
"Hey we have lived a rough life. Actually weve lived several rough lives to get where we are today. Youre allowed to have an off day."
"Thanks. You know," Gabrielle smiled as she began unbuttoning the top of Xenas pajamas. "Im feeling better." She undid the last button of the shirt then slipped her hands under the material. She heard her partners breath catch as one hand stroked the broad back and the other grazed over already hardened nipples.
"Oh really ." The warrior managed with just a little gasp.
"Ummhmm." Came a reply from a mouth that had found a delightful little spot at the base of the warriors throat.
Gabrielle lay spooned in the warmth and love of her warriors arms and body. This had to be her favorite position after they made love. Xenas arms wrapped around her while the warriors entire body met hers. She always felt so safe and loved like this. She could hear steady, deep breaths coming from her sleeping warrior. She smiled as she closed her eyes hoping to return to sleep as well.
She had relaxed enough that she probably would have managed to do just that had the doorbell not disturbed her. She closed her eyes once again planning on letting one of the staff get the door then she remembered it was Sunday and the house staff had the day off. "Damn." She murmured as she tried to extract herself from the warriors grasp. Xena protested in her sleep tightening her hold. "Honey I need to get up ."
"No ." Xena mumbled.
"The door Xena. Someones at the door. Let me up." The tall woman growled and moved her arm. Her eyes fluttered open slowly as she focused on the bard retrieving her robe. The bard looked to the bed and smiled. "Go back to sleep. Ill be right back." Xena nodded then rolled over, clutching the bards pillow in her absence. "Im gonna want that back."
" Kay ." Was the very sleepy reply.
Gabrielle tied off her robe, ran her fingers through her disheveled hair and tried not to look like someone who had spent the entire morning making love. She left the bedroom closing the door behind her as she took once last look at the sleeping form of her partner.
She finally made it to the front door, which was actually at the lower level of the house. They didnt use this part of the house much. Generally, they came and went through the sliding glass door near the beach. That section of the house was their home. This front section was a more formal setting where they entertained when the occasion was right.
Taking one last look in a hall mirror the bard pulled the door open to find no one. "Well now this just su ." Her comment was cut short by the sound at her feet. She looked down to find a baby in a car seat. "What in the hell ." She bent over taking the seat by the handle. She lifted it up brushing back a blanket to find an infant and a piece of newspaper. She stepped outside to have a look around. The estate was empty. The only sounds to be heard were the ocean and the seagulls.
The baby fussed, bringing her attention back to the child. She stepped inside setting the child on a large hall table she pulled the blanket back. Taking the newspaper out she unfolded it. It was a copy of the clipping of her and Xena from the morning paper. At the bottom in handwritten scrawl, I know you can care for this child. Please love her too.
"Shit ." She folded the paper then turned back to the child. Carefully, she reached into the car seat and lifted the baby out. "Well hello little girl." She cradled the child as she took steps back toward the bedroom and her sleeping partner. "Who did this to you?" The infant flailed a tiny fist. Gabrielle could tell the child wasnt more than two or three days old. "Well your gonna be quite the surprise for my warrior." She smiled, wondering how Xena was going to react to this.
She opened the bedroom door. Xena was still curled up around the pillow. Gabrielle smiled down at the baby as she gently tugged the pillow out of her warriors grasp. Xena continued to sleep, but relaxed and opened her arms waiting for the bard to return.
Xena was just awake enough she recognized two things right away. One it wasnt Gabrielle in her arms and two the soft scent of a baby. She opened her eyes to find the baby in the crook of her arm. "Bri? What in the name of Artemis ." Her first instinct was to jerk upright but the child in her arms kept her from doing it. She sat up very carefully cradling the child to her and her eyes found Gabrielle sitting on the edge of the bed. "Bri is there something you forgot to tell me?" She pushed the blanket back from the childs face.
"We got a visit from the stork." The bard chuckled as she watched Xena cradle the baby.
"Oh yeah funny. Bri where did it come from?"
"She, and I have no idea." The bard handed the clipping to the warrior.
Xena glanced to the article then groaned. "Oh no. Gabrielle call the police."
The bard got up moving to the phone. She picked up the receiver, hesitated and looked to her partner. "Xena ."
The warrior looked over, recognizing that look in the bards eyes. "Oh no Gabrielle! No way! Forget it!"
"Xena think back to your memories of being Brock. You know as well I as I whats going to happen to that baby. Theyll take her and turn her over to family services. Then shell be passed around and moved from location to location ."
"Gabrielle we can not keep this baby."
"We can keep her until we find her parents ."
"And how do you suggest we do that?" Xena shifted the baby in her arms as she got out of bed. Then she realized that putting her robe on wasnt going to be an easy task. She offered the baby to the bard, who was more than happy to put the phone down to take the child back.
"Xena we have all the resources we need." She cradled the baby close as the warrior threw on her robe and headed for the phone. "We could hire a private detective."
"Gabrielle dont be stubborn about this ." She picked up the phone and began dialing.
"Xena please ."
The warriors shoulders slumped. She dropped the receiver, slowly turning her head to look at the bard. Her own memories were flooded with visions of the bard holding their own children so long ago. The maternal instincts in this woman were the strongest she had ever seen. She sighed in defeat as she dropped the receiver back to the cradle. "All right Gabrielle. Well do some poking around and see what we can come up with, but if we cant turn anything then we call the police okay?"
"Okay." The baby began fussing, then crying. "I think shes hungry." Gabrielle smiled at her lover as she tried to comfort the baby.
"Well dont look at me."
"Theres a car seat down in the front foyer. Will you go see if theres a bottle?"
"Sure." Xena left the bedroom quickly to find the requested item hoping that there was indeed a bottle for the child.
"Shh little one its okay." The bard cooed as she paced with the baby. "Well get you all taken care of. Its okay, youre safe." She brought the child to her lips placing her lips to a small forehead. She turned to find Xena in the doorway holding the car seat in one hand and a bottle in the other. There was a soft smile on the warriors face as she offered the bottle to the bard.
"Gabrielle, please honey dont get attached to this baby. We are either going to find her parents or turn her over to the proper authorities. We cant keep her."
"I know." She bard said softly as she took the bottle. The thought of giving the baby up already pained her heart, but she knew they had to do what was best for the child. The infant took the bottle the bard offered. "Shes got a healthy appetite."
"You sure shes not yours?" The warrior teased as she examined the car seat.
"Ha ha ." She took a seat in a large chair in the corner as she fed the child. "What are we gonna call her?"
"No naming her ." The warrior pulled the blanket from the car seat to find a single small diaper. She picked it up and waved it at the bard. "Well theres a piece of luck." She chuckled.
"Yeah were gonna need that."
"Were gonna need more than that. You my love have the only bottle and that is the only diaper. Were gonna need a few things."
"Why dont you go get a shower while I feed her. When youre done, Ill grab a fast one then we can take her shopping."
Xena groaned again, but knew this shopping trip was going to be an absolute necessity. "All right love." With a glance to her soul mate so contentedly cuddling a newborn baby Xena went to find some peace in the shower. She knew this was not going to be fun and that in the end it would be painful for someone. As she stepped into the shower she knew who it would be and she hated the thought of her bard being hurt like that.
After she was showered and dressed Gabrielle handed her the baby and the diaper. "Remember that deal we always had ." She grinned as she turned for the bathroom.
"Thanks so much!" The warrior called as she lay the child on the bed. She un-wrapped the baby from her blankets, carefully inspecting her clothes for any clues as to where she might have come from. "Hmm nothing here huh Princess? You are a beautiful little thing arent you." Xena stroked the babys downy blonde hair and looked at her blue eyes. She sighed as she began the task of stripping the sleeper from the child. "Geeze what am I doin? Hold on sweetheart."
Xena slid the child into the center of the big bed then went to the bedroom for a wash cloth and alcohol wipes. She searched the cabinets for another item.
"Problem?" The bard asked from the shower.
"Nah, just a little out of practice. Wheres the baby powder?"
"Left hand medicine cabinet."
The warrior retrieved all the required items then returned to the bedroom. She pulled the baby back to the edge of the bed to change her. She smiled down at the child as she began the chore. "Whoa!" The warrior flinched as she continued to clean and change the child. "Man they should issue gas masks these days." She glanced over at the bottle on the dresser. "What do they put in that stuff, nuclear waste?" The warrior managed to finish the task at hand as the bard came out of the bathroom. "That was truly one of the grossest things I have ever had to do." She commented as she redressed the baby.
"Oh how bad could it be?"
Xena considered the used diaper on the bed that had been wrapped up tightly into a bundle. "Id show you, but Im not that unkind. You just wait. You get the next one."
"Fair." The bard grinned as began pulling clothes from the closet.
Xena made sure the baby was once again safe in the center of the bed then she took the diaper and disposed of it in the waste can in the bathroom. "Man that was truly disgusting." She washed her hands then returned to the bedroom.
Gabrielle had the baby again. She was standing at the window with the child cradled in her arms humming a tune Xena hadnt heard in a very long time. She recognized it as a lullaby she had written for their children. She slipped up behind the bard watching over her shoulder as her partner held the baby. "Shes beautiful isnt she Xena?"
"Yes Gabrielle shes beautiful. Please sweetheart Im begging you here. Dont get attached to this child ."
"Too late ."
"I knew it. Okay Bri all bets off. Im calling the police."
"Xena, please dont. Not yet, please lets give it a few days." She turned to face the warrior. "Maybe whoever left her will realize they made a mistake and come back for her."
"This goes against my better judgment. Youre gonna get hurt here Gabrielle and I dont want to see that happen."
"I know love and I appreciate that, but I needed something and maybe, just maybe shes what I need. Even if it is for a short time." She looked down at the infant who slept soundly in her arms.
The warrior nodded and gave her partner a kiss on the forehead. "All right sweetheart, all right." She found herself reaching down for a tiny hand which curled around her finger. "Ill go get the car. I think well take her in the Rolls ."
Xena hadnt considered what a pain in the butt a car seat could be until she tried to get it just right, making sure it was secure and the baby would be good and safe. The warrior and the bard might be immortal, but their precious cargo wasnt, she wanted to make sure everything was done properly. When it was finally settled to her liking she moved back to allow Gabrielle to place the baby in the carrier.
The bard made she sure that the baby was comfortable then she closed the door. Turning to her partner she smiled as Xena slipped her sunglasses on. "It suits us you know."
"What?" She opened the door of the car for the bard.
"Motherhood." She said softly as she got in the car slipping on her own glasses as Xena closed the door.
"Good Gods ." Xena mumbled as she walked around the Rolls Royce and got in behind the wheel.
Several hours and about a thousand dollars later, they had what they needed. They also had a lot of stuff they didnt need, but Gabrielle wasnt about to stop Xena when she decided she liked this shopping for the baby thing. The bard stood by with a huge grin on her face as she watched Xena choose a lot of truly unnecessary items, right down to the little sling like carrier that was worn in the front to carry the baby.
"Kinda reminds me of the backpack you made when Jordon was born." The bard grinned at her partner as she took the sling off and put it in the cart. "Hmm a trend setter and you didnt even know it."
"Just brilliant and before my time." The warrior teased, as she looked at a small stuffed penguin before tossing it in the cart.
"Oh and lets not forget modest."
"Right." Xena watched as Gabrielle shifted with the baby. "Here trade me. You push, Ill carry."
Gabrielle looked at the cart, filled almost to the top. "You think I can push that thing around?"
"Give me the baby." The warrior held her hands out for the infant. The bard smiled as she passed the baby to Xena.
"Think we have everything?" She inspected the cart, not believing for one second that the warrior had over-looked anything. Larger items would be delivered to the house the next morning.
"Well, if we need anything else Im sure well figure it out." She answered before returning her attention to the baby making soft clucking noises with her tongue. "Hey she just smiled at me."
"Its gas." The bard offered as the headed for the check out.
"It is not."
"Okay. If you say so."
Once they had returned home, they settled the baby in the center of their bed as they began unpacking items and putting things away. It didnt take long for the room next to theirs to become a makeshift nursery. Gabrielle organized everything as Xena considered the bassinet. She realized as she looked at the instructions she should have bought one that was ready to go, but that would have required it to be delivered and the baby needed a bed tonight.
After gathering the required tools she returned to the bedroom, settled down in the middle of the floor with a Pepsi, the remote for the TV, the instructions and what seemed to be about six million pieces parts. She picked up a plastic bag that appeared to hold one type of every known screw or nut and bolt known to modern man. "I could make a cradle faster than Ill be able to get this together." She peeked up at the baby who was sleeping soundly between two pillows. "Like you care."
She flipped on the TV to a baseball game, cracked open the Pepsi taking a long drink before returning her attention to the instructions. She glance up at the screen noticing the game was at the bottom of the second inning.
Everything was going pretty well until Argo bounded into the room demanding attention. The puppy barked and bounced back and forth between Xenas legs, lowering her head and front legs raising her rear into the air as she growled at the warrior.
"Argo, by the Gods be quiet, youll wake the baby." She growled as she gestured to the bed.
The puppy sat up, tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth as she followed her moms hand to the bed. She moved to it, putting her front paws on the edge. Her ears flopped forward at the sight before her, she whimpered.
"Yeah I feel the same way girl. Now go find your Mom."
The puppy bounded out of the room starting a search for Gabrielle.
By the top of the eighth, Xena was fastening the hood into place. Gabrielle had continued to put things away and organize items between their room and the nursery, stopping occasionally to snicker at her frustrated partner and shoo Argo from her heals. The puppy had finally just given up and curled up in the corner for a nap.
"Laugh it up bard. You get diaper detail next."
"Hey speaking of which, I think that since the baby will be in here with us we should put the changing table in here when it arrives."
"Okay," She agreed as she prepared the bassinet with sheets and blankets that the bard had washed while she put the bed together. " Well, I think its ready." She gave the sides a gentle push just to make sure it wasnt close to collapse.
Just as Gabrielle was about to move the baby to the bassinet she woke with a loud cry. "Oooo now from the sound of that she could be yours." The bard grinned as she cuddled the child.
"Hmm hungry again you think?" Xena glanced at her watch. "Its been a long time since lunch."
"Shall I try my hand at fixing a bottle?"
"Well, unless you want to listen to this for the rest of the night ."
"You know I have just discovered the major perk to breast feeding."
"Sorry, all out." Gabrielle rocked the baby slowly until she started to calm a bit. "So go to it Warrior."
"Back soon." She grinned as she picked up her tools then headed out.
Gabrielle simply reveled in the delight of having a child in her arms again. She did her best to calm the baby until her bottle arrived. It didnt take the warrior long.
"Okay let me have her." Xena said as she sat down in the chair.
"Oh really?" The bard quirked a brow.
"Yup." She held her hands out for the child. "Ive earned the right since I fought with the bassinet."
The bard smiled as she placed the baby in the warriors arm. "Dont get attached to her Warrior." She whispered as she gave her partner a kiss on the cheek before leaving the room to go fix them some dinner as well.
When Gabrielle returned with a dinner consisting of sandwiches and juice Xena had tucked the baby into the bassinet and was changing into pajamas for the evening.
"She all set?" The bard nodded to the bassinet.
"Oh yeah. She ate, spit up all over me, left me with another present then went soundly to sleep. Ah motherhood ." The warrior chuckled as she buttoned her shirt. "Lets take this to the office and see if we can find any clues to our little guest.
"You go ahead. Im going to change Ill be there in a minute."
Xena grabbed their dinner on her way out, leaving the bard to get ready.
The warrior flipped on the computer then began searching a few places she thought might be helpful. She leaned back in her chair sipping her juice as she moved from site to site. She sighed heavily when she didnt have much luck. She knew the longer this child was with them the more Gabrielle would hurt when it would be time to let her go.
The bard entered the office, pulling a chair up next to Xena. "Anything?"
"Not yet. Im checking local sources in our area to see if anyone has reported her missing or worse yet kidnapped." Xena gave the bard a look out of the corner of her eye. "It would be bad, my darling for us to be in possession of a child that had indeed been kidnapped."
"No kidding." The bard chuckled as she gave her partner a little shove. "So what sites are you checking?"
" TV station sites. Missing persons ."
"Want me to give Kate a call? I could see if she could make some discreet inquiries around the department for us."
Xena smiled, the bard was talking about Brocks partner Kate Evens. "Well Bri you know if you call her, it might turn official."
"Nah Kate wouldnt do that to us." Gabrielle picked up the phone and dialed the pager number that would reach Kate eventually. She had no idea what the womans work schedule was now or even if she had returned to work since Brock had been killed six months before. Kate had laid a lot of the blame on herself for Brocks death because she had called off sick that day, leaving her partner to go on patrol alone. "Well shell get back to us eventually."
"In the meantime Ill keep poking around to see what I can come up with."
"You sure?" The bard purred as she moved behind the warriors chair running her hands down the front of her shirt.
"Bri behave ."
"I mean," Gabrielle whispered as she licked a tender earlobe. "Im sure we could find other things to do."
"You are really rotten you know that?" The warrior captured the bards roaming hands. "You know we need to ."
"We dont need to do it tonight Warrior." She growled as she nipped that same earlobe. "Theres always tomorrow after weve gotten a good nights sleep."
Xena laughed as she brought the bards hands to her lips placing soft kisses on each one. "You think were actually going to get a full nights sleep with a baby in the house?"
"Hey she might sleep the night through. Some babies do you know. Alecia did."
"She did didnt she?" The warrior smiled with the memory of their daughter. "Wed never get that lucky again."
"Never know Warrior." She blew a light breath onto a section of neck she knew the warrior couldnt resist."
"Oh not nice!" Xena jumped out of her chair rubbing her neck. Gabrielle backed away with a giggle. "You are in soooo much trouble."
With a little yelp the bard made a run for it, realizing what a bad idea a long nightgown had been. "Damn!" She giggled again as she lifted the material just a little and headed for the staircase.
The warrior who was in the mood to play gave her a little head start then just proceed to jump the railing, forgoing the entire staircase. She landed at the bottom just as she bard cleared the last step. Gabrielle skidded to a stop just as the warrior lunged for her scooping her up in her arms.
"Aww now thats not fair!" Gabrielle squirmed in Xenas arms. "Some of us have to stay on the ground you know."
"Yeah, but some of us dont." Xena grinned as she carried the bard into the living room tossing her down on the couch. As she stood over the bard unbuttoning her shirt she noticed that the bard had stopped trying to squirm away. "Giving up?"
"Nah." She slipped her nightgown off and tossed it at the warrior who batted it away. "Giving in."
Taking in the sight of her bard lying nude before her convinced her that everything else could indeed wait until morning. She finished stripping off her clothes then joined her soul mate on the leather sofa. She lay on her side, head propped on her fist as her other hand caressed the bards stomach. "I love you."
"I love you too Warrior." She turned on her side so that they faced each other.
Lips met as hands caressed. Tongues danced in hungry mouths as bodies came together and passions rose. Moans broke through the air as legs intertwined. They loved each other like it was the first time. Slowly, passionately, intently, every desire silently spoken then fulfilled. They caressed each other as their bodies came down from the heights they had gone to. Whispering words of love and devotion as they held each other close. The warrior kissed a damp blonde brow as the eyes under them slipped closed. As she closed her own eyes to sleep with her bard for a bit she cocked her head as her ears picked up a slight whimper that didnt come from her lover.
She smiled as she gently extracted herself from the bards grasp. She dressed then scooped the bard up then climbed the steps. In their room, the warrior placed the bard in bed covering her with the sheet. Argo sat near the bassinet looking back and forth between it and the warrior, tail thumping slightly against the carpet. The pup gave a little yelp as the baby fussed again. "Hold on you two. Ive only got two hands." She got the bard completely situated, then turned her attention to the baby. "Well sweetheart," she cooed at the child as she picked her up, "I hope your timing is always this good."
She cuddled the child who opened her eyes to seemingly stare at the warrior. A little hand flailed out and was captured by the much larger one. The tiny fist then was covered with soft lips. The baby reached out with the other hand as if to touch the face before her. "You are a beautiful little girl. Why would anyone give you up?" She settled down in the chair as she held the baby close.
Argo jumped up on the foot of the bed curling into a tight little ball. The warrior looked to the sleeping bard then back to the baby. "Youve got her by the heart you know that? Just like three others did so very long ago." The baby gurgled. "Oh you want to hear about them huh, okay. Well, it was a long time ago. Youll learn all about it in school, but theyll call it mythology. Take it from me, it wasnt. Anyhow, a long time ago that wonderful woman and I settled down in a little village and built a home. She became a teacher to the local children and I served as, well we didnt really have a word for it then, but I guess you could say I was the town sheriff." Another gurgle. "Yeah I know, but I was good at it." The warrior smiled. "So after about a year of teaching the local children she decided she wanted a child of her own. Now you can probably tell from being so close to me that Im not quite capable of making that possible. Too soft."
She played with tiny fingers as she smiled. "So as luck would have it an old friend of ours wandered into town. He had no idea we were there and when I arrested him for stealing from some of the local merchants he was just a touch surprised, but you see my little lovely, Autolycus was a thief thats what he did. So, I convinced him that in order to stay out of jail Gabrielle and I needed his help. Now, to be honest I wasnt wild about it, but Autolycus was my best friend and I wasnt about to deny Gabrielle the chance to have the child she wanted. So I umm well lets just say I survived it and nine months later Jordon was born. Autolycus paid us four visits over the years. Bri had a daughter the second time and we named her Alecia. The third time our son was born too early and he died shortly after and Gabrielle had a really hard time of it too. I was afraid I was going to lose her. She hemorrhaged for two days. It took everything I had to save her."
Xena looked over as the bard rolled over and curled into the pillows. "So the last time Autolycus came to visit us for that purpose, we decided I would be the one. I didnt want to risk Bris health. Well, we had another son. We named him Galen. Three wonderful children who all grew up and lived long and happy lives. As a result we have a number of decedents roaming the world. Hey, you might even be one of them. With that blonde hair maybe youre some relation of short, blonde and cocky over there. This would not be a bad thing if you were of her line. She is the kindness heart I have ever known. I am the fortunate one to be bound to her by my very soul." The warrior looked down to find the baby was sound asleep. She moved back to the bassinet placing the child down for the night. "Sleep tight Princess."
The warrior climbed into bed, as she settled in, the bard snuggled close. "And you said you didnt know how to tell a story." She whispered as she kissed the warriors neck.
"You little faker you." Xena rolled over to face her partner. The bard smiled. "I thought you were asleep."
"I know. Short, blonde and cocky huh?"
"You know it, the only one in my life that has ever had the guts to put me in my place when I deserved it."
The bard snuggled closer. "Its a job I wouldnt give up for anything."
"Glad to hear it." She kissed the top of her partners head then they both drifted off.
It didnt quite register in Xena clouded mind. It had been a long time since a babys cry had woken her from a deep sleep. By the time she was awake enough to comprehend the entire situation the bard was already on her feet putting on her robe and gathering up their little houseguest. "Okay Warrior drag that body out of bed and fetch us a bottle."
"Uggg ." She was on her feet and headed out the door before another word could be said. She yawned and stretched all the way to the kitchen. She gave herself a mental pat on the back for preparing bottles ahead of time, when she fixed the first one. She remembered hearing somewhere once you shouldnt microwave baby bottles and as she warmed the bottle in a pan on the stove she wondered where she had heard that and why you shouldnt do it. She made a mental note to find out if there was any truth to this, cause the damn microwave would certainly speed this process up. She glanced down at her watch, three thirty. Could be worse, could be two a.m.
The warrior made her way back upstairs. She climbed into bed and opened her arms to the bard as she settled back against the headboard. Gabrielle smiled as she took a position in Xenas arms leaning against her as she gave the baby the bottle. The bard felt a very old sensation flooding her memory as Xena held her while she fed the baby. "Dont you sit back there and go to sleep Warrior."
"I wont." She yawned. She smiled as she watched Argo creepy crawl up the bed sniffing the air. "Whats the matter girl, jealous?" She gave the pup a scratch on the head. The pup whined then laid her head on Xenas thigh. "Ah its okay."
"What took you so long with the bottle?"
She nodded and offered with another long yawn, "I had to heat it up."
"What did you do rub it between your hands?"
"In a pan on the stove thanks."
"Xena why didnt you use the microwave?"
"I heard somewhere once you shouldnt microwave baby bottles ."
"Not the bottle darling, the water to warm it in." The bard glanced back as she heard her partners head hit the wall with a thump and a groan.
"Didnt occur to me." She admitted.
"Slow learner huh Xena ." She grinned as she patted the warriors leg. "Some things just never change."
"Dont push it bard." She chuckled as she placed a kiss on a blonde temple, looking down at the baby as she contentedly took the bottle. "I forgot how nice this can be."
"Yeah it is isnt it?"
"Ummhmm. It really is. Im sorry we cant keep her Bri. I know she makes you happy."
"Well Ill enjoy the happiness as long as we do have her. Then hopefully well have something else."
"Oh it is going to be a challenge to keep you occupied and happy for eternity isnt it?"
"Yup!" She grinned as she checked the babys progress with the bottle. "But if anyone is up to the task, its you." The infant refused the bottle when it was presented to her again. "You want burping duty?"
"Why do I get all the smelly, dirty jobs?" The warrior asked as she took the child placing her at her shoulder.
"Because," The bard climbed out of bed to retrieve a cloth for Xenas shoulder which she tossed to her before heading to the bathroom. "You were last out of bed."
"Ah okay I got you. Well, now that I know the secret, watch out." She rubbed the babys back in small circles giving soft pats then would bring the desired effect.
The baby snuggled against the warriors shoulder burying a tiny face in her neck. The warriors eyes closed as her head dropped back slightly. When the bard returned to the room, thats how she found them, both sound asleep. Xena leaning against the wall, holding the baby carefully in place one strong hand splayed across her little back, the other gingerly holding the back of her neck and head. The baby snuggled in with a little hand on either side of her head, perfectly content with her newfound bed. She smiled at the duo as she climbed into bed and clicked off the light, comfortable with leaving them as they were.
Little legs kicking against her chest brought the warrior into consciousness once again. She drew a deep breath as her eyes opened. She smiled, slipped down to the flat of her back, shifting the baby on top of her as she rubbed the diminutive back under her hand. The baby settled down into Xenas chest and very soon they were once again asleep.
When the warrior awoke for the third time the baby and the bard, were gone. Yawning and stretching she gathered her running clothes as she prepared for her morning run. Changed and about half awake she headed downstairs. She wasnt surprised the find the bard on the deck with the baby on the table in the small sling type chair they had purchased for her the day before.
She opened the door testing the air as she did. Not too cold and the bard had the baby properly covered from the ocean breeze. She closed the door, then nuzzled a bardly neck. "Good morning love."
"Yes, yes it is ." She smiled as she read the paper with one hand while the baby held a finger on the other. "Theres nothing in the morning paper. No articles about missing or abducted infants."
"Well Im going for my morning run. When I get back well get started. Try Kate again while Im gone okay?"
Xena gave her partner a soft kiss. "Back soon."
"Take youre time. Were in no hurry."
"Un-huh." Xena descended the steps to the beach. She took her first few strides then turned around running in place as she faced the bard. "Call her!"
"I will, I will." The bard waved her hand. "Just go for your run."
The warrior turned starting down the beach. The bard turned to the baby who seemed to be very content staring at her as she sucked on the bards fingertip. Gabrielle returned to sipping coffee and reading the paper when then phone rang. With a heavy sigh she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Gab? Its Kate. Did you page me?"
"Umm yeah," The bard shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "Listen Kate Ive got a real unique problem here and I need some help, but it has to be really discreet help."
"Maybe you should come over. Could you come for lunch today?"
"Lunch no, Im on duty, but I could make it for dinner." Kate gave a light laugh as Gabrielle chewed the inside of her mouth.
"Okay dinner it is. How about Xena and I take you out?"
"You name it."
"Oh it must be a biggie for you to let me choose."
"Okay Ill call you later when I decide. Hey Gab hows it going with Xena by the way? You guys got together so soon after ."
"I know, but I can honestly say I felt like Ive known her all my life."
"Its good then?"
"So very good."
"Im glad Gab, I really am. Well, Ill give you a call later kay?"
"Yeah great, Ill make sure I forward everything to my cell phone if we go out."
"Cool. Ill talk to you later. Gotta get going."
"See you later Kate." The bard hung up the phone and turned to the baby. "Maybe I just bought us another day. I know if youre a missing person that weve only got a few days at most. Could be just a few hours." She gave a smile to the baby who gripped her finger tighter.
Xena returned from her run to find the bard dealing with a little mess of her very own. She chuckled all the way to the shower. As she stepped under the hot water, she tried to force the muscles in her body to relax. She braced her hands against the wall allowing her head to drop forward under the powerful jet so that it beat against her neck. "Ohhh ." She moaned as she twisted her head and shoulders. The door slid open then small but strong hands began working their magic on her sore shoulders. "Ohh thats nice ."
"Thanks. My, you are tight. Whats wrong?"
"You know very well whats wrong Bri. Im worried about you getting attached to this baby."
"I know love. I know shell be leaving us, one way or the other. I spoke to Kate. Were going to take her out to dinner tonight."
"Good." Xena nodded as she stood up. She turned to face the bard. "Bri Im sorry ."
The bard dove into the blue eyes before her, so full of love and concern. She tangled her hands into long dark hair, pulling the warrior to her in a passionate kiss. "Love me ." She whispered into the warriors ear after the kiss.
"You have a thing for showers?" Xena smiled.
"You complaining?" Gabrielle moved her body into the warriors."
"Nope." She backed her bard up against the wall of the shower.
The bards body arched hard as the pleasure washed through her like the water washing over her. Nails dug into bronzed shoulders generating a loud deep groan from her lover.
"Well, what should we do today Princess?" Xena asked the baby as she scooped her up from the bassinet. "Hmm? You want to take Aunt Bri to the park?" The warrior looked to the bard who was perched on the edge of the bed putting on her sneakers.
Gabrielle just looked over and shook her head with a smile as she tied the laces. "If she wants to go to the park, its only cause Aunt Xena has a craving for one of those nasty hot dogs the vendors sell." She chuckled as she stood up tucking her shirt into her jeans.
"Did you hear that Princess? Did you hear her call my favorite food in the world nasty? Now that wasnt very nice was it? No it wasnt." The warrior looked to the bard with a grin. "Does this mean we can go to the park?"
"Of course we can go to the park, but you cant eat one of those nasty hot dogs, at least not in front of the baby. I dont want you corrupting her. They might not kill you, but Im not taking any chances with her."
"Oh kiddo you have no idea what shes depriving you of there. Hot dog covered in sauerkraut and onions with hot mustard ."
Gabrielle took the baby. "Death on a bun for a normal person sweetie. Stay away from them."
They packed up what they needed, then headed for the park. Xena pulled the collapsed carriage from the back of the Land Rover and unfolded it. She smiled as she passed it to Gabrielle who took the baby from the car seat then settled her into the carriage pulling the hood up to shield her from the sun.
The warrior stowed the diaper bag on the rack at the bottom. "Ready?"
"Yup. Are you really gonna get one of those disgusting things?"
"Oh yeah. Maybe two."
"Yuck." The bard cringed at the thought, shaking her head as she placed a light blanket over the baby. "Three thousand years and she still has some disgusting habits."
"Well at least you got me to stop running people through with my sword."
"Oh very funny."
They moved into the park. Gabrielle smiled as Xena took her hand intertwining their fingers. They had long given up caring what people might think. It was for certain that they were perfectly teamed to head off trouble that might arise from any display of affection between them.
They walked for a while then choose a spot under a large tree where they spread a blanket then proceeded to get comfortable. Xena leaned against the tree and Gabrielle stretched out with her head in the warriors lap, the baby completed the picture as she slept peacefully on top of the bard.
Gabrielle held her partners hand looking at the palm, running her fingers over the skin. "Theyre so soft now."
"What?" Xena looked down as her free hand stroked through the bards hair.
"Your hands. Theyre so soft. They use to have calluses on them, from holding your sword."
"So are soft hands a bad thing?"
"No. Sometimes I just miss them."
"I could toughen them up a bit."
"I said sometimes. I definitely think I prefer them this way."
"Oh okay then." Xena chuckled as she leaned over placing a kiss on her partners forehead. "No toughing them up. Should I start using cream on them too?"
"Oh lets not get silly here."
"You started it."
"Geeze try to have a simple conversation with someone ." The warrior laughed as the baby started fussing, obviously looking for food. Gabrielle shifted so she was sitting up. "Hey, hey there little one weve had this conversation. Im not built for that ride any more. Xena get me a bottle please."
She reached to the bag retrieving a bottle from the end pocket, then handed it to her partner. "Man I forgot at this age they eat, sleep and poop."
Gabrielle laughed as the baby took the bottle. "Yeah thats about the extent of her world at the moment."
"That and you." Xena said softly as her fingertips caressed the face of her soul mate. "Well its time for death on a bun." She grinned as she got to her feet and headed for a vendor.
"Oh that is just so gross." She cooed at the baby. "Her eating habits have gone straight to hell." A little hand flailed up to be caught between soft lips. "Yes, just not good stuff, you listen to Aunt Bri ."
The patrol car pulled to the curb. Gabrielle didnt pay any attention as the officer got out, then headed her way. "Gab?"
The bard turned to find Kate Evens. "Hey you! What are you doing here?"
"This is my new beat. I transferred after well I transferred." She squatted down next to her friend and removed her sunglasses. "Hey whos this?" She offered a finger to the baby, which was accepted.
"This Kate, is my delicate problem."
"Meaning what Gab?" The cop gave her friend a this is big trouble, isnt it look.
"She was left on our doorstep yesterday."
"Oh God Gab and you didnt call the police? Geeze ."
"Come on Kate. You know whatll happen to her. Shell be bounced around ."
"Unless theres somebody out there looking for her."
"Well, I thought maybe you could make some inquiries for us. Xena and I are willing to hire a private detective to find her parents, but Id rather have your help."
"And you want me to keep it off the logs right?"
The cop sighed as she scratched her neck. "I dont know Gab ."
"Wed really appreciate it." Xena said as she returned with sandwiches and a couple of sodas.
The cop looked up. "Oh hi Xena."
"Hey Kate. Dog?" She offered one of her sandwiches.
"Whats on it?"
"Well lets just say if you run out of ammo you could use your breath to take down the bad guys." The bard offered with a chuckle.
"Oooo sounds like my kind of sandwich." She stood and took the hot dog from the tall woman. "Thanks."
"My pleasure. Here take this too." She handed her one of the sodas. "Youre gonna need it." Xena dropped back down next to the tree.
"Oh honey," the bard looked to the baby. "We are surrounded by heathens. We gotta stick together here."
"So Kate," Xena sipped her soda. "What do you think? Can you give us a hand?"
The cop chewed her sandwich slowly. "Yeah I guess I could make a quick check and see if shes been reported missing. How old is she?"
"Three, four days. Not much older than that." Xena said as she swallowed.
"Okay Ill check after my shift." She winked at the bard. "You still taking me out or does this count?" She hefted the hot dog.
"Kate if you survive that well take you anywhere you want."
"Oh youre gonna regret that." She laughed. "So do you guys have any idea where she came from?"
"Nothing," Gabrielle offered as she placed the baby to her shoulder. "She showed up on our doorstep in a car seat wearing a sleeper. She had a blanket, one bottle and one diaper."
Kate grinned as she took in the sight before her. "Well I can see Santa came early then."
"Yeah well we knew wed need a few things." Gabrielle smiled. "So we took care of it."
"Yeah, somehow I dont doubt that for a minute." The cop finished her dog crumpling the wrapper in one hand. "Okay Ill call you later." She shot for a near by trash can, the wrapper went straight in. "Ah nothing but net." She grinned as she took her soda. "See you guys later."
"See you Kate." The bard grinned as the cop walked back to her cruiser. She then looked to the warrior who was still happily munching on the other hot dog. "Happy?"
The warrior nodded as she sipped her soda.
"Good now give me a drink of that." She took the soda from her partner only to find it mostly empty. "Youre a pig." She laughed handing the can back.
"I will," The warrior laughed as she got up, "resist the urge to make a rude noise. Back in a minute. Do you want a soda or a bottle of water?"
"Your wish is my command." The warrior said as she walked away.
"I wish youd stop eating those gross little sandwiches." She called after her partner.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah ."
The limo pulled up outside the Café Rodeo on Rodeo drive. Xena didnt wait for the driver she opened the door climbing out then taking the baby from Gabrielle who came out right behind her. The driver fetched a smaller carriage from the trunk then the warrior tenderly placed the baby in it. " There you go Princess. Youre gonna like it here. Its my favorite restaurant."
"Imagine that." Gabrielle teased as she pulled her purse over her shoulder. "Ive never seen a hot dog on the menu."
"Ha, ha. Shall we darling? Kate awaits."
As they entered the restaurant the maitred smiled as he recognized the warrior and the bard right away. "Good even Ms. Amphipolis. Your table is ready and your guest has already arrived." He led them through the restaurant to the brick enclosed open-air patio in the back. "Have a good evening ladies."
Xena smiled and nodded at him. "Thank you Enrico." They joined Kate at the table getting the baby settled before actually saying anything to her. She just smiled as she watched them.
The warrior smile as she sipped her water. "So do we know anything about our little guest?"
"Well," She paused as she took Gabrielles hand. "Yeah we do."
The bard bit her lip as she looked to Xena, then back to Kate. "What?"
"A baby girl was abducted from a hospital in Las Vegas day before yesterday."
Gabrielle nodded slowly. "Now what?"
"Well the best thing to do is notify the Vegas police. I can do that if you want."
"Umm no ." The bard was fighting tears. "Well do it. Is it okay if we do it tomorrow?"
"Well in my professional opinion the child is in no danger, so I dont see why not."
"Thanks Kate." Xena said softly as she reached over taking the bards hand in her own.
"Excuse me for just a minute please." The bard excused herself as she got up from the table.
"Is she okay?"
"Weve got some things going on right now. The baby was a nice diversion for her. Shes got a heart and soul built to love children and the little one got to her as soon as she laid eyes on her."
"Nothing serious I hope."
"Not serious, just tedious." Xena smiled.
"Listen," Kate took a few papers from her purse. "I shouldnt do this but . Its a copy of the reports. It lists a nineteen-year-old mother and no father. Maybe if you contact her privately you can make other arrangements ."
"Kate are you suggesting we buy this child?"
"No. Im suggesting you check into it and if you think you can do more for this baby then maybe you could come to a compromise."
Xena nodded as she slipped the papers into her jacket pocket. "Thanks Kate."
"My pleasure. Gabs a good friend. Shes been through a lot. Id hate to see her hurt anymore."
"Im gonna do my best to keep that from happening."
"Just like Brock. Gab made a good choice."
The bard stood on the deck staring out at the ocean. She heard the door open then slide shut. She accepted the blanket over her shoulders without turning around. Then she fell into the arms that wrapped around her. "Hey ." She said softly.
"Im gonna miss her."
"Yeah I know. Me too."
"So are you going to call them tomorrow?"
"Well actually I thought we might take her back ourselves. Would you like that?"
Gabrielle turned in her partners arms. "Really?"
"Really. Kate umm well Kate slipped me a copy of the reports. We can avoid involving the police at all."
"Oh Xena Id love that. I mean taking her back ourselves."
"I figured. I already ordered the jet to be ready in the morning."
"Not too early I hope."
"No love not too early." She kissed her partner on the top of the head then just held her close as she felt the tears soak through her shirt.
Xena put the car in park as she gave the house and the surrounding houses a good look. "Bri stay in the car with the baby until I make sure this is where we need to be."
Gabrielle took a look around and nodded. "No problem there sweetheart. Not the best neighborhood is it?"
"Ive seen worse."
"Not in this lifetime."
"True." Xena chuckled as she slipped her sunglasses on and opened the door. "Lock up behind me love."
Gabrielle nodded, hitting the power locks as soon as the door closed. Xena made her way slowly up to the house breaking her attention between her destination and keeping an eye on the car. She gave a knock to the front door of the house. After a few moments a young woman opened the door. "Yes?"
"My name is Xena Amphipolis. Im looking for Patricia Larken."
"Im Trish Larken. What can I do for you?"
"Umm Miss Larkin I think my companion and I may have something that belongs to you." Xena motioned for Gabrielle to join her. The bard got out of the car then removed the car seat.
The young womans eyes grew wide when she realized what was unfolding before her. She pushed past Xena running to Gabrielle. "Katy!" The woman rushed to the bard brushing back the blanket. "Oh God Katy!" The young woman unfastened the strap that held the baby on the seat and scooped her up, holding her close as the tears streamed down her cheeks. "Katy! Oh sweetheart!"
Xena watched, as this woman reclaimed the child that she obviously loved so very much. Then she noticed her partner falter just a bit. That took her from the porch to her soul mates side in three long strides. She wrapped a supportive arm around the bards waist as she took the car seat, sitting it on top of the car. "Bri are you all right?"
"Yeah, yeah. Im fine."
"You sure sweetheart?"
She nodded as she felt a thumb wipe away a tear from her cheek.
"Do you want to go now?"
"Yes please ." The tone in her voice told the warrior the bard was about to loose what little composure she was maintaining.
"No, wait please." The woman laid a hand on Xenas arm. "Who are you? Where did you find her? How did you find me?"
Xena held up her hand as she fished a card out of her jacket pocket handing it to the woman. "Listen I really need to take her back to our hotel room. Why dont you get squared away with your daughter then give us a call. Were at ." Trish watched as a grimace flashed across the dark womans face. "Caesars Palace. Ill be more than happy to explain everything later, but right now I need to take her back." Xena opened the car door for Gabrielle, helping her partner in. She knelt down and whispered as she fastened the seat belt across her lap. "I love you Bard. Everything will be all right."
The bard just nodded as the tears began to creep down her cheeks. Xena stood and closed the door she handed the car seat to the young woman. "There are some things Id like to know too. Please give us a couple of hours then maybe come over for a early dinner?"
"Should I bring Katy?"
"Please," Xena paused, fighting the lump in her throat. "Wed like the chance to say good-bye to her."
"Of course. Thank you for bringing her home."
"A child should be with her mother." Xena paused again. "If the mother wants ."
"She does Ms. Amphipolis. I promise you that."
Xena nodded then made her way around the car. Trish watched as she got in behind the wheel turning to the blonde woman, tenderly lifting a hand to her lips. She could see words said, but cold not hear them. The blonde woman nodded. Xena started the car and pulled away from the curb.
The phone rang. Xena was quick to answer it so it wouldnt wake Gabrielle. It had taken her over an hour to get the bard calmed down enough to rest, then finally to sleep. "Hello?" She whispered as she moved away from the bed. "Yes Miss Larkin. Hold on a minute let me change phones."
Xena moved to the outer room of the suite, picked up the phone there then returned to the bedroom to hang that one up. When she returned to the sitting room she took a deep breath as she dropped into a chair and picked up the receiver. "Sorry about that. Yes why dont you come on up. Well be able to talk up here." She replaced the receiver then let her head drop back to the chair. "You blew it Warrior. You got attached too. So now what are you gonna do?"
She got to her feet and closed the door to the bedroom just as the bell rang. She turned drawing a breath to steel herself. When she pulled the door open she found Trish and a bell man from the hotel. As she invited Trish in, the bell man handed her an envelope. She smiled at him, handed him a tip then closed the door. She smiled at Trish as she ripped the envelope in half and tossed it in the trash with three others just like it.
"Do you always destroy messages before you read them?" The young woman smiled at Xena as she put the car seat down then began taking Katy out.
"Eh its just the hotel manager offering me a line of credit in the casino."
"Ah you dont gamble ."
"No, no, I gamble, a lot. I always have, but old Caesar got enough of my money thanks."
"Yeah I noticed you didnt seem happy about staying here." She said as she took a seat on the couch cradling her daughter. "Lose a lot of money here once?"
"Not here." She grinned. "Lets just say Caesar has very long arms." She settled down in a chair across from the young woman. "So if Im not prying, would you care to tell me what happened to Katy that she ended up on my doorstep."
"Well Im sure the Vegas police will be in touch with you because I called them to let them know that Katy had been returned." Xena nodded, Trish continued. "My boyfriend, Alan, Katys father. He didnt want me to have her in the first place. When she was born he had someone kidnap her from the hospital. His plan was to sell her to a couple who wanted a baby."
"Oh I see a real pillar of the community huh?"
"Well, lets just say I havent seen him since I was three months pregnant. Then when he showed up at the hospital, I just knew something was up. The police think that he was there to distract me while his accomplice took Katy."
"Doesnt explain how she ended up in Los Angeles."
"Were still not sure, but we think he had a buyer there." She paused then looked to Xena. "You didnt I mean if you did I swear Ill pay you back every dime ."
"No. No Bri and I didnt buy Katy. Honestly we found her on our doorstep. With this." Xena removed the newspaper clipping from her pocket handing it over to the young woman.
Trish unfolded the clipping. "Wow!" She smiled at Xena. "Well, whoever left her certainly made a good choice."
"You could have kept her you know. Im sure you have the resources to ."
"Like I said before. A child belongs with its mother."
"I really appreciate that. Im gonna give her the best life I can. Im trying really hard. Ive got two jobs. Im trying to find a better place to live ."
"I can see that Miss Larkin. I can tell you love your daughter."
"Please call me Trish."
Xena smiled. The door to the bedroom opened. Gabrielle stepped out quietly. Trish turned to look at the woman. She stood and crossed the room without a word she laid Katy in the bards arms. "I think she misses her Aunt Bri, was it?"
As she cradled the baby, she smiled at the woman. "Gabrielle."
"Well, Katy missed her Aunt Gabrielle."
"No thank you."
Xena stood up, taking a good stretch. "Well ladies what do you say we order up some dinner. I have an idea I would like to discuss with the both of you. It could take awhile."
Xena tucked the boxes under her arm as she entered the office. She dropped them down on the desk next to the computer, then dropped into the chair with a groan.
"Hiya stretch. Busy day?" The bard grinned from the door as she wrapped one towel around her waist and another around her shoulders effectively hiding her two piece bikini.
"Yeah I have and now youre covering up the first nice thing Ive seen all day. Come here you."
Gabrielle crossed the room placing herself in the warriors lap. "Did you get them?"
"Yup." Xena reached over and flipped the lid off the smaller box. She pulled out one of the gray linen business cards, handing it to the bard.
"X & G Investigations. Specializing in lost or missing children. Call (213) 555-KIDS. Oh Xena I love it."
"Good, Im glad cause starting a new business just might kill me."
"Nope dont think so." She wrapped her arms around the warriors neck placing a soft kiss on her lips. "Were going to enjoy this."
"Im sure we will."
"Excuse me guys ." Trish smiled from the door.
"Come on in." Xena waved the young woman into the office. "Whats up?"
"I just wanted to thank you again for this opportunity. I know youre taking a big chance here."
"Eh were use to it." Gabrielle grinned as she got up from her place in Xenas lap. "Besides were gonna need an assistant to run the office while were out on assignments."
"Yes, but to give me a job and then to bring Katy and I here to live. Its just so much for you to do for us."
"Eh its nothing." Xena got up glancing down at her wet clothes. "Thanks a lot Bri."
"Hey youre the one who told me to come over here." She said as she poked the warrior in the chest.
"Right. Somehow these things are always my fault." She laughed as she headed for their room to change.
"So when do we start?" Trish asked as she looked around the office.
"Well its gonna take some time for us to get started. So in the mean time, get to know the office here. Make sure that you and Katy have everything you need ."
"How could we not? We have practically the entire lower level of the house to ourselves and Katy has the nursery on this level. Were all set."
"Great. If you need anything let us know."
Trish nodded, then both women were distracted by something down the hall. They moved from the office toward the nursery. Gabrielle signaled for Trish to be quiet as they approached. From the doorway they watched the warrior leaning over the bassinet.
"Hello Princess. I sure am glad you and your mommy decided to come back with us. Aunt Bri and I sure would have missed you." She picked the baby up then turned to the door to find two of the biggest, silliest grins she had ever seen. "Oh oh kiddo were busted." She walked to the door, placing little kisses on the foreheads of the women as she walked away with the baby. "But you know what? I dont care."
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