Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others mentioned,
belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights are
Subtext Disclaimer: There is no sex in this one. Although it does infer a loving relationship between two adult and consenting females.
Timeline: This is part four in the Plan D series. If this means nothing to you, I suggest you read the other three, otherwise you could be lost and I will assume no responsibility for you confusion.
Technical Disclaimer: Im not a doctor or a police officer and know nothing about either fields, so for those of you that do, please forgive my creative licensing.
Dedication: This is for all the readers that have sent me encouragement and for the people in my life, that for some reason, care about me. Sometimes youve just gotta say thanks and I do. Thank you.
Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy, I hope.
Open you test booklets and begin. Taking a moment to look at
99 heads drop, Gabrielle noticed one that was staring at her. Smiling, she raised one
eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest.
Knowing she was being hinted at, Xena smiled. Flicking her eyebrows up and down, she looked down as the glare started burning a hole in the top of her head, which made her smile grow. Damn, she thought looking at the answer sheet, I hate these fill in the dots. Sighing, she looked up and stuck out her tongue.
Gabrielle snickered, then moved to the small desk and sat down. Watching as the occasional face looked up in concentration, Gabrielle smiled. This was her best class, they seemed so eager to learn and had a flair for asking questions. Both of these attributes, though not totally their own, inspired partly by the warrior who knew how to get the bard talking, which got everybody else talking and had inspired many in depth conversations. Now it was the last day of class and these eager beavers were going to have to put their money where their mouth was. Gabrielle had spent two weeks coming up with the final exam and found the hardest part was keeping it secret from Xena. Looking at the warrior again, she wasnt surprised to see a confident air emanating from those blue eyes and had to smile, remembering all the long nights Xena had stayed up studying. According to the warrior, what the world thought was Greek history was a crock and she found shuffling through the mayhem was worse than having to learn Latin. Those damn Roman's.
Looking up, Xena caught the smile pointed in her direction and winked. It was worth it, she thought. Although shed taken the class for personal reasons, shed never taken it lightly. Respecting Gabrielles position, shed kept their relationship out of the classroom and had studied her head off. The bonus from this was that she got to sit for hours and just stare at her favorite female, studying the bard as much as her books during class. Now her fun was coming to an end. With the completion of the test, shed have only three days left, before she had to get back to work and just the thought was killing her. Xena had tried to think of some way to get around it and had even purchased a lottery ticket, but to no avail. She was going to have to go home and back to the real world, leaving Gabrielle for a week, until Christmas break. Glancing back at the test, Xena sighed, only 58 questions to go.
Beep, beep, beep.
Gabrielle looked up, at the noise and scanned the room as about half the students pulled small multi colored beepers from their hips. One by one, students checked their little boxes and replaced them, when they discovered it wasnt theirs making the noise. Snapping her head around as Xena stood up, Gabrielle rose as well.
Fuck! Swearing softly, Xena replaced the pager at her hip and glanced at the bard. Shaking her head, she smiled regretfully, picking up her test and taking the tiers two at a time down to Gabrielle. Im sorry. Ive gotta go. Placing the papers on the desk.
You can make up the test. Biting her lip, Gabrielle leaned forward, placing a soft kiss on the warriors lips. Go and drive safe.
Ill call you. Turning, Xena bounded back up the stairs, grabbing her leather jacket from her chair and disappeared.
Gabrielle saw the curious glances she was getting, but ignored them and sat back down. Be safe. Whispering, she took a deep breath, letting it out slowly and let her head drop to pick up the warriors test. Stacking the papers, she gave 99 funny faces a mind your own business look, which sent them back to their other problem.
How long? Xena asked, running down the long hallway, as she put on her jacket and held the cell phone to her ear.
Twenty minutes, tops. Jim said, as several people ran past him. How long till you get here?
An hour. Mad, Xena pushed open the door, still running and heading for her motorcycle.
Well hold down the fort till you get here. Sighing, Jim pointed his finger as someone asked him a question.
Dont wait on me. Reaching the Harley, Xena put in the key, then straddled the seat, kicking out the starter. You know what to do.
Right. Rolling his eyes, Jim shook his head. Im not ready for this, he thought. Ill see you in an hour. Sighing, as the line went dead, he looked around. Come on, Grace. Moving away from the desk, he headed out into the madness.
On the fourth kick, the engine turned over and Xena stroked the throttle and pulled out the choke. As the rumble reached a deafening level, she grabbed her helmet, strapped it on and sat down. Normally she wouldve given the bike at least ten minutes to warm up in the cold weather, but she didnt have ten minutes to spare. Pulling in the clutch, she dropped it into first and used the ground to put up the kickstand as she leaned hard, coming out of the parking space. Keeping the choke out, she weaved her way to the road, looked for traffic and gunned it, sending icy water up behind her.
Gabrielle glanced at her watch, then looked behind her at the clock. Ten more minutes, she thought and looked at the six remaining students. The two hours, since Xena had left had drug by and she was anxious to leave, so she could call the hospital. As two more tests were placed in her hands, she looked at her watch again. Hearing a familiar chime, she glanced down at her briefcase. Bringing it to her lap, opening it, she found her pink cell phone and punched a button. Hello? Waiting for Xenas voice, but hearing Jims instead.
Faith, this is Jim. Looking around, his face was a mask of concern.
Keeping her voice low, Gabrielle turned toward the chalk board. Hi, Jim. Hows tricks? Trying to lift his obviously bad mood.
Faith . . . Hesitating to even consider his next words, Jim closed his eyes.
What? Slowly a sense of dread started to take hold of Gabrielle as the silence on the other end continued. Jim. Whats wrong?
Faith. Wheres Grace? Hoping that she was still with Faith, Jim opened his eyes.
Shes with you . . . isnt she? Coming to her feet, the briefcase hit the floor.
No. Sitting behind the warriors desk, he leaned back in the chair. She called, saying she was on her way and that shed be here in an hour. That was two hours ago.
Turning around, Gabrielle saw snow falling and closed her eyes. Gods, no.
Do you want me to call the police? Leaning forward, his natural calmness quickly disappeared at the news that his friend was missing.
Yes. Tell them shes taking route 17 and shes on a light yellow Harley. Squatting down for her briefcase, Gabrielle didnt see her boss come in. Im on my way.
Be careful Faith. Keeping the panic from his voice, Jim stood.
I will. Standing up, Gabrielle spotted George, but ignored his presence. Bye. Dropping the case on her desk, she picked up the tests, tossed them in the case, along with her phone, then pulled it back out again, putting it in her jacket pocket.
Faith, can I have a moment? George didnt look happy and didnt like being ignored, but kept his manners intact.
Acknowledging him for the first time, Gabrielle looked up as she snapped her case shut. Im sorry, George. Ive got to go. Coming around the desk, she started past him.
This is important. Reaching out for the bard.
Stopping, Gabrielle looked at the hand and then at George, who removed his hand. Not now, George. Making it to the second tier before he called to her.
Faith, one of your students has lodged a complaint. Stepping toward the bard as she turned around. They said that you kissed one of your female students in class today. Is that true.
George. Counting to ten, Gabrielle stopped at five. That female happens to be my wife and yes, I kissed her, because I was worried. And right now shes an hour over due at the hospital and Ill be damned if Im going to stand here and defend myself when the woman I love is out there, in a the snow, on a motorcycle. Now either you can deal with this problem, or you can fire me, but whatever you choose, Im not going to waste another second of my time. Taking another couple of steps, the bard tuned again. And you better find somebody to cover me, I dont think Ill be back today. Pointing at the desk. The finals are in the top drawer. Spinning, she raced out of the room.
Xena felt the back tire slide sideways, bringing the bike down on top of her. Instinctively she let it go, as she hit the road, but her boot caught on a peg and she slid on her back off the pavement. When the bike hit the dirt, it flipped sideways, sending the warrior tumbling head over heals, along with the motorcycle down the embankment. Feeling the heavy weight of the bike come to rest on top of her as her head struck a tree, shattering the helmet and sending her into darkness.
Opening her eyes, Xena was aware of the darkness. The smell of Jasmine filled the air and she smiled. Gabrielle. Sitting up, she looked around for some light, but found none. She sat in complete darkness, feeling the cold beneath her and a sticky moisture in her eyes. Blinking, she caught sight of a spark in the distance and stood, walking slowly toward it. As she approached, the light twinkled, expanding into a faintly glowing orb. Stopping, Xena watched the orb floating closer and took a defensive stance. Growing with its approach, the warrior felt a sense of falling, when the wall of the orb passed over her.
Xena! Snapping her head, Xena saw Gabrielle pointing behind her and spun around, bringing up her sword hand and finding she didnt have a weapon. Then she realized that the bard hadnt been yelling at her, but at the warrior behind her. Confused, Xena watched in wonder, seeing another her fighting off the soldier the bard had warned about. Looking back to the bard, Gabrielle passed by her, running to the other Xena, as if she wasnt there. Seeing the bard, really, she noticed that Gabrielle was a man, turning, she confirmed that her alter ego was a man also. Shaking her head, the warrior looked down at herself, seeing the twentieth century clothing, glancing up, she recognized the scene. Egypt. She thought. 700 ad, give or take. Suddenly someone passed through her, sending a chill down her spine. Yuck. Shivering again, she avoided the next person coming her way, then looked around, spotting her other self and Gabrielle a short distance away. Walking over, she listened to the conversation, remembering it like it was yesterday.
It was yesterday. Aphrodite said.
Aphrodite. Xena growled as the goddess came up to here. Whats going on?
Well thats manners, for ya. Putting her hands on her hips, Aphrodite huffed. After all this time all I get it whats going on? No hi, long time no see. How have you been? Turning away, she was spun back. Gee, thanks.
Im sorry. Holding onto the goddess, Xena smiled. Im just a little confused here.
Welllll. Smiling, Aphrodite sighed.
Can you please tell me whats going on? Putting on her best manners, Xena watched the ancient version of herself walking toward them. Thats me. Pointing to the male version.
I know that. Rolling her eyes, Aphrodite folded her arms across her chest. And what a looker. Letting her eyes follow the warrior.
Ahem! Getting the goddess attention, Xena brought her back to her current version. Do you mind.
Hey, I can look. Sneaking another glance, Aphrodite smiled. What buns.
Hey! Those buns dont belong to you. Giving the goddess shoulder a shove.
I know. Thats why Im here. Letting the ancient pair wander off, Aphrodite turned back around. Blondie is worried.
Wheres Gabrielle? Looking around frantically, Xena searched for the bard.
Shes not here. Taking the warrior by the arm, leading her to the side as a horse and rider came charging at them. Shes back where you came from.
Pardon? Raising an eyebrow, Xena stared. What do you mean, where I came from?
Shes alive. Giving, what she thought, was the correct answer.
Alive? Whispering, Xena felt her heart drop to her feet. Im dead.
Not yet. Aphrodite saw the wall coming and winced as the other side of the orb passed over them.
They were in darkness again, except that Xena could see the goddess.
Youre in kind of a limbo. Spotting the next orb forming, Aphrodite rolled her eyes.
Limbo? Seeing the orb herself, Xena looked at it strangely.
Yea. Aphrodite frowned, feeling the wall pass through them. Its kind of like youre sort of dead, but not quite.
The scene had changed to something about a 100 years in the future and Xena quickly spotted the bard and herself in the distance. Unaffected by what she saw, Xena was more interested in the present shed left behind. What happened to me?
You hit your head on a tree. Rubbing hers in empathy. I think it really hurt. There was blood everywhere. Shivering, Aphrodite made a disgusted face. Yucky.
A tree? Trying to remember, Xena closed her eyes and focused. She saw the road rushing by and felt the heat coming from the engine. Then she looked down at the speedometer and felt the bike start to slide. Black ice, she whispered as she slammed backwards into the road on her back, the tumbling and finally the tree. Opening her eyes, Xena was standing at the spot of the accident, glancing down the embankment, she spotted the wreckage below. Stepping carefully down the slope, walking over to her body, trapped under the motorcycle. The front tire was still spinning. Squatting down, she saw the blood coming from her head and the shattered pieces of her helmet laying all around.
See, I told you it was messy. Aphrodite appeared behind her, looking down, then quickly away, shivering again. Icky.
Xena continued to study the body, shed recently occupied, but found herself feeling no emotion at the sight. It was like it wasnt really her. Like she was looking at someone elses, twisted and crumpled form. Taking a medical viewpoint, she felt for a pulse, but her fingers passed through the skin. Pulling them out, she looked at the bike. We have to get this off her. Her voice showed the lack of emotion she was feeling.
Sorry. No can do. Shaking her head, Aphrodite put her hand on the warriors shoulder. Its not my thing.
What? Turning away, Xena faced the goddess with anger in her eyes.
She cant help you. Michael said, materializing beside the goddess.
Michael. Whats going on? Knowing the arch-angel was a bad sign, she took a step toward him. Whats happening here?
Youre in a coma. Tucking his wings, he looked at the wrecked body.
Coma? Glancing over her shoulder, Xena moved back to her body, kneeling down close to the head. Using a doctors eyes, she examined the skull, without touching it and found most of the blood was coming from a fracture near the base. Moving around the tree, she knelt down and examined the other side of her head. Sighing, she looked up and the angel and goddess. Ill be dead before the come looking for me. Using herself in the first person for the first time. Standing she looked down at herself. All that work for nothing. Whispering, thinking of the favors shed called in to get back into her original body, Xena shook her head. Gabrielle. Closing her eyes, she thought of what the bard was going to do and suddenly felt the loss of her love. Looking back to the pair, Xena sighed. What about Gabrielle?
Shes fine. Aphrodite smiled.
Michael gave the goddess a solemn look, then turned to the warrior. She doesnt know yet.
Closing her eyes, Xena slumped to the ground, covering her face. Gods, dont do this to her.
Gabrielle drove slowly down the highway, looking intently out the windshield. Shed only gone fifteen miles in the last half hour and had stopped six times, when shed thought shed spotted Xena. Come on, Xena. Where are you? Knowing that the worst had happened, she put the possibilities out of her mind and concentrated on finding her warrior. Turning on the wipers as the snow started to fall harder, she sighed. Not again. Letting the dread creep up for a moment, she quickly pushed it down. Hang on, Xena. Spotting something to her left, she stopped the truck and rolled down the window. Through the snow, she saw something dark off in the distance and got out of the truck. Sliding down the embankment, she ran to the form, then stopped. Damn. Turning from the pile of branches, she jogged back the way shed come and got back in the truck. Gods, please let her be all right. Please. Pulling back onto the road, Gabrielle continued her search.
Aphrodite and Michael stood in silence, watching as the warrior tried to flag down a car, that passed through her.
Shaking his head, Michael walked over to Xena, placing a hand on her shoulder that was quickly shrugged off. Sighing, he stood by the warrior, watching her move onto the road, looking back and forth.
Wheres a cop when you need one. Swearing, Xena searched the snow covered road.
Xena. Michael said softly.
Shut up. Not looking at the angel, Xena started to pace. Im not going to die.
Its not like you have a choice. Aphrodite said as she joined them.
Theres always a choice. Snapping her head, Xena gave the goddess a cold stare. Like youd lift a finger to help anyway.
Oh, really? Her hands akimbo, Aphrodite took on an insulted expression. If you care to remember, Xena, Ive helped you out lots of times.
I know that, Aphrodite, and Im very grateful, but . . . Spotting another set of headlights, Xena started waving her arms.
They cant see you, ya know. Chuckling, Aphrodite watched the warrior with mild amusement, which was the wrong attitude to have, since it caused Xena to grab her and throw her at the oncoming car. Hey! Rolling over the car, she landed on the road with a thud. That wasnt nice! Getting to her feet, she looked up, from dusting herself off and was ready to lay into the warrior princess, but Xena had disappeared.
Seeing the car throw the goddess into the air, Xena watched it pass through her then followed it with her eyes. Come, on. Whispering harshly to the driver. Suddenly, the tail lights lit up, as the car slowed down. Thats it. Come on back. Turning back to the goddess, Xena grabbed her again, dragging her toward the parked car.
Hey! What are you doing? Struggling to get out of the vise grip. These are new shoes. Looking down at the snow covered heels.
Ignoring the pleas, Xena threw Aphrodite at the car again and watched her bounce off.
Thats it! Im not going to stand here and be treated like some horse shoe. Waving her hand, Aphrodite disappeared in a flash of rage.
White lights came on, as the car started to slowly back up. Moving out of the way, Xena closed her eyes. Get out, just get out of the car. Opening her eyes, her prayer was answered as a man got out of the car, walking to the back and looking at the bumper. Moving to his side, Xena pointed at her body, below. Down there. Down there. Down there.
Shrugging, the man got back into his car and started to pull away.
In a full warrior princess fury, Xena swung at the trunk, bringing her fist down, banging the metal. Again the car stopped and Xena saw the man looking in his rearview mirror. Bastard! Get the fuck out of the car. Slamming her fist into the trunk again.
Michael watched in amazement, as the warrior continued to wail on the car, pounding her fist, until the man opened his door.
Leaving the car, Xena ran down to where her body and bike were and smacked the gas tank, like shed done on the trunk. Looking up, she saw the man glance over and smacked the tank again. Come on, you deaf son of a bitch. Slap.
Walking toward the sound, the man heard it again and saw something laying underneath a tree. Trying to focus through the snow, he moved to the edge of the road as another rap echoed. Curious, he slid down the embankment, coming closer. As he drew near, his eyes grew wide and her ran to the body.
Kneeling down beside the man, Xena closed her eyes. Gabrielle. Whispering the bards name, sending her a mental image.
The man stood, looking around as another sound echoed. Walking toward it, he bent down and picked up the snow covered cell phone. Wiping it off, he found the on button, pushed it and brought it to his ear. Hello?
Who is this? Slamming on the brakes, Gabrielle pulled over to the side of the road.
John, look I dont know who you are, but Ive got to call the police.
WAIT! Gabrielle yelled into the phone.
Theres somebody hurt here, lady. Trying to get off the phone again.
I know her. Where are you? Fighting down the panic, Gabrielle rubbed her forehead.
Route 17, near the Freeman junction. Looking back up at his car.
How bad is she? Afraid of what she might hear, but needing to know anyway.
She looks pretty bad. Theres a motorcycle on top of her. Moving back to the woman.
Okay, listen. Dont try to move the bike. You might do her more harm than good. Im about thirty miles from there and Im on my way. Putting the truck in gear and gunning the accelerator. Go ahead and call the police and make sure they send an ambulance. She needs to be taken to County General, make sure you tell them that.
County General, got it. Hanging up, John dialed 911.
That was amazing. Michael stared, coming to the warriors side.
You aint seen nothing yet. Following John, Xena listened to the conversation he was having with the bard and smiled, when she heard Gabrielle start to give orders. Thats my girl.
What happened back there? Following the warrior, Michael hung close by.
Its called, mind over matter. Listening as John called 911, Xena swung hard, knocking the angel back about twenty yards and into a tree. Satisfied that help was on the way, she turned to see Michael struggle to his feet. Her emotions in overdrive, she jogged to him, glaring as he finally made it to his feet. Can you do something for her? Pointing to her body, Xena grabbed the angels arm.
Xena. Shuffling along as he was being drug. You know I cant.
Bullshit. Youre an angel, you outta be able to do something. Tossing him in the direction of the wreck. Call on that higher power.
I cant do that. Keeping his voice calm, Michael kept his distance from the warrior. Its out of my hands.
Thats crap. Taking a menacing step forward. Ive seen you do it before.
That may be, but you know, as well as I do that the powers that be will not allow me to interfere in the lives of mortals, while they live. Spreading his hands, he shook his wings. Seeing that he wasnt making any headway, he changed his tactics. The most I can do is ease someones suffering, Xena. I cant cure them.
Looking over at her body, Xena growled, knowing the angel was right. That is what shed seen him do in the past, when shed lost some of her patients and Michael had come to take them to paradise. Left with no alternatives, Xena went to her body and knelt down. Putting her hand out, she felt tingling in her fingertips as she touched her arm, but her fingers still passed through the skin. Damn. Think, Xena think. Looking around, she spotted a fallen branch and concentrated as she tried to pick it up. Again her fingers passing through the object, she glanced over her shoulder. I know you cant help her, but can you tell me whats wrong with her?
Shrugging, as his wings fluttered, Michael knelt down beside the warrior. Passing his hand over the body, his brow knitted into a frown. Fractured skull, internal bleeding, broken left leg and arm, minor burns and road rash. Glancing at the warrior, Michael thought he saw a smirk.
Ive had worse. Smiling, Xena sat down in the snow, beside her body and waited for the ambulance to arrive. Well make it.
Gabrielle slowed down, seeing flashing lights in the distance. Jim, I think I found them. Clicking the cell phone off as she approached the ambulance, the bard parked a short distance away and got out of the truck. Running up, as the EMTs started down the embankment, with a gurney. Spotting the wreck, she ran past them, slipped and slid down the hill, getting to her feet and dashing for the warrior. A policeman tried to stop her, but she pushed him out of the way and fell to her knees as the motorcycle was pulled of Xenas body. Underneath was a twisted version of the warrior, with one leg turned in an unnatural position and her arms flung out from her body. Xenas entire head was covered with blood. Closing her eyes, Gabrielle covered her face. Gods, help me.
Xena knelt down before the bard, reaching out her hand and stoking a chilled hand. Im here, Gabrielle. Dont worry.
Dropping her hands, Gabrielle saw the EMTs bring the gurney over. Standing, she rushed over to the warrior and fell on her knees again. Im here, Xena. Im here. Dont leave me, please. Tears fell and she ignored them. I love you. Feeling a hand on her shoulder and turned around looked up with an angry glare and saw a man in plain clothes standing behind her. What?
Are you the woman who called? Holding up Xenas cell phone, John looked sad.
Staring at the phone, Gabrielles anger subsided immediately. Yes. Taking the phone, she smiled. You must be John. Looking up into the mans eyes.
Yea. Sorry about your friend. Putting his hands in his pockets as a gust of wind sent a chill through his body.
Thanks. Looking back at the phone, Gabrielle slipped it into her jacket pocket. What happened? Turning back to the warrior.
I dont know. Shrugging, John frowned. I wasnt here when it happened.
Then how did you know she was down here? Glancing back at her truck, Gabrielle realized shed have probably missed the warrior completely.
It was the weirdest thing. Shrugging again, he smiled. I heard this thump sound and stopped the car. I thought Id run over something, ya know. Pointing to his car, still where hed left it, John continued. I got out and looked around, but I didnt see anything, so I got back in the car. As I was pulling away I heard the thump again.
Suddenly Gabrielle felt a strange sensation as the EMTs tried to move her out of the way. Without giving them an argument, she stood and took several paces back. The sensation came again, making the bard look around.
Then it sounded like a gorilla was trying to tap dance on my trunk. Not realizing he had lost the bards attention, John went on with the story. At first I didnt want to get out, again, cause I couldnt see a damned thing in my mirror. Scratching his head, he looked back to the warrior. When I did get out, to take another look around, I heard this smacking sound comin from over here. Thats when I found her. Shaking his head. It was so weird.
Come on, Gabrielle. Im right here. Standing in front of the bard, Xena looked her in the eyes. I know you can feel me, come on.
Shivering, Gabrielle looked back at John. Thank you for calling the police. Moving away from him, she walked over to the policeman shed shoved. Hi.
Giving the bard a stern look, the officer listened to his radio a moment, before addressing the small woman. Do you know the victim?
Yes, shes my wife. Expecting a shocked look, but getting a stony face instead. My name is Faith Riley. I teach at the University.
Flipping a page in his note pad, the officer started writing. What is the victims name?
Grace Morgan. Dr. Grace Morgan. Watching the man write, Gabrielle shivered again. She works at County General on the Emergency Surgical Unit.
Address? Scribbling away as each question was answered, the officer finally finished his questioning and started to walk away.
Can you tell me what happened? Feeling drained at his impersonal professionalism, she closed her eyes a moment.
Black ice. Up the road about a hundred yards. Glancing down at the bard, the officer finally showed some emotion. Youre gonna freeze out here miss. Maybe you should return to your vehicle.
Thank you, but no. Opening her eyes, Gabrielle walked back to where the EMTs were moving Xena onto the gurney.
Stand back, miss. One said to her.
Waiting until Xena had been gently placed on the stretcher, Gabrielle moved to her. They had a her in a neck brace, a back brace with temporary splints on her left arm and leg. And one of them held an IV bag just above her body.
Please stand back, miss. The EMT said again as the bard leaned down to the warriors ear.
Glancing up, Gabrielle gave him a stare. This is my wife. Finally getting the surprised expression, she looked back down to the warrior. Isnt that right, Xena. Speaking in ancient Greek, she smiled and stroked the warriors blood soaked hair. Closing her eyes, as tears started to fall, Gabrielle kept a warm smile. Hang in there, Xena. There gonna take you to County General, so Jim can have his way with you. Keeping her voice light, as her heart felt like it was being torn from her body. You know hes always had a thing for you.
Smiling, Xena put her hand out, trying to touch the bard, but failing. He never stood a chance. Whispering, as Gabrielle started to walk away, following the stretcher. Keeping in step, she followed the bard all the way to the ambulance.
And dont forget youre Dad. Hell be all over you for wrecking on the bike. You know how much he hates those things. Remembering the blonde bombshell, Gabrielle looked quickly around, spotting the bike as it was drug through the snow. Hey! Shouting, she ran to the truck. Where do you think youre taking that? Stopping the man who was pulling it up the embankment, aimed at the back of his truck, she smacked his hand away from the lever.
Hey! Startled, he looked at her like she was crazy. Im taking it to the junk yard. Its totaled.
Like hell you are. Pulling the lever herself, Gabrielle fought off the man as he tried to stop her. Thats mine, I bought it for her.
Get away from there. Dodging a wicked right cross, he stepped back and waited. Have it your way, lady.
As the motorcycle reached the top of the embankment, Gabrielle went to it and unhooked the cable. Give me a hand with this. Looking up at the tow truck driver.
Youre crazy. Turning away, he pulled the lever, bringing in the rest of the cable, then felt a kidney punch, that sent him to his knees.
Standing over the man, Gabrielle grabbed his jumpsuit. Youre gonna help me get that bike in the back of my truck, or youll be joining her in that ambulance. Pulling the man to his feet.
I cant do it by myself. Knowing that appeasement was the best way to handle crazy females, he shrugged his shoulders.
Hey, you. Shouting at the dour faced officer that had questioned her. Come here.
Can I help you, miss? Walking over.
Yea, look. Pointing to her truck, up the road. Im gonna pull my truck up here and you two are going to put it in the back.
Both men exchanged glances. The tow truck guy shrugged and the officer shook his head. Sorry, miss.
Look. Im not asking you to part the Red Sea, all I want you to do is put the bike in the back of my truck. Pointing to the ambulance. Thats my wife, in there and this is the thing she cares about most in the world. Pointing to the bike. Now I know its unethical and probably illegal, but if I leave here without it, shes gonna kill me. Giving them a knowing glare.
The men looked at each other again, then back at the bard. Get your truck. Said the officer, smiling, thinking of his own pride and joy.
Thank you. Running back to the truck, Gabrielle heard the sirens and turned as the ambulance pulled away. Damn it. Running faster, she hopped into the truck, started it and fishtailed her way to the bike. Hopping out of the truck, she put down the tailgate, as the two men strained, picking up the twisted Harley. Careful. Watching them closely, she grimaced when metal smacked into metal. Grabbing some rope out of the cab, she tied off the bike, then jumped back in the truck, smiled and waved as she pulled away.
Xena looked out the back of the ambulance and smiled, when she saw the familiar headlights of the bards truck in the distance. She got it. Turning her smile to her body. I knew she heard me. Passing through several EMTs, she sat down beside her body, watching the men work. I used to do that. Feeling a pain in her chest, she looked down, then back up quickly. Getting on her knees, she hovered next to her head. Oh no you dont. Youre not dying. Do you hear me! Im not leaving Gabrielle, do you hear me! So you can tell your heart to stop the defib and start pumping.
Shes going into cardiac arrest. One EMT said, pulling a stethoscope from the warriors chest. His partner joined him and they started CPR.
Listen, you worthless piece of shit. You better start working. Reaching through her chest, Xena focused and felt tangible muscle in her hand, squeezing, she started to massage her own heart. Pump, you bastard, pump. Continuing the massage, Xena felt a pulsating against her skin. Removing her hand, she felt the pain begin to ease, in her chest. You do that again and Ill kill you myself. Sitting back down, the pain ebbed. Looking at the EMTs, she smirked. You can stop now, its beating. Smiling as they came to the same conclusion. Glancing at the pale version of herself, Xenas expression sobered. Look. I know that youre probably not going to believe this, but I truly have been in worse shape and I pulled through, so dont go getting panicky on me. Im not the panicky type and Im not going to let you send me to the other side. Closing her eyes, Xena sighed. Ive got too much to live for.
Following behind the ambulance, Gabrielle kept one eye on the road, while dialing the cell phone. Bringing it to her ear, she sighed. Hi, Dad.
Faith! Are you coming home? Tell me you are. Xenas father smiled, hearing the bards voice.
Dad, listen. Please listen. Making sure she had her father-in-laws attention before continuing.
Go ahead, Faith. The smile dropped from Dads face as the bards tone changed.
Grace has been in an accident. Hoping he was sitting down. Shes hit some black ice and went off the road on the bike.
Is she all right? Closing his eyes, Dads head dropped.
No, Dad. Shes pretty bad off. The ambulance is taking her to County General right now. Keeping her fears from her voice.
Im on my way. Where are you? Sticking his head out the door, looking for his wife.
Im behind the ambulance. We should be there in about . . ., glancing down at the speedometer and checking a landmark, fifteen minutes. Ive all ready called Jim and hes waiting for us at the hospital. Gabrielle spoke softly, knowing that he was going to have to tell the rest of the family.
Ill make the calls and well be right there. Spotting Mom, Dad waved her over, then held up one finger. Faith, thank you for calling. Ignoring his wifes worried expression. Shes strong.
I know. Agreeing, Gabrielle nodded. She gets that from you, Dad. Ill see you there, shortly. Love you.
Love you, too, Faith. Hanging up, Dad took his wifes hand and lead her to the couch.
Putting the phone in her pocket, Gabrielle concentrated on the ambulance and the road, which was becoming harder to do as the snow started to come down, even harder. Glancing in her rearview mirror, Gabrielle saw the wrecked bike. Shes strong. She told the motorcycle. Shell have you fixed up in no time.
Xena hopped out of the ambulance as the door opened. Looking around, she saw Jim come running up and smiled. Glad to have me back? Seeing the worried expression on his face, she chuckled. Never could take a joke. Stepping out of the way, as the EMTs and hospital personnel pulled her body out, she watched the trained precision with admiration. Following them in, she was half way down the hall, when Gabrielle called out to Jim. Turning around, she smiled at the bard. Hi, honey. Im home. Gabrielle didnt look happy and Xena shook her head. Theyre missing all my good material.
I know Faith, Ill do my best. Squeezing the bards arm, Jim smiled. Ill let you know something as soon as I do.
Thanks. Smiling back as her friend turned to leave. Take good care of her.
Shes not going anywhere, if I have anything to say about it. Winking, Jim jogged away.
Gabrielle watched him go, standing silently as the people around her hustled by.
Dad! Xena shouted, seeing her parents come through the glass doors. Mom!
Faith. Coming up behind the familiar figure, Dad spoke just loud enough to be heard over the noise.
Turning slowly, Gabrielle looked into his eyes. Im so sorry. Letting her emotions escape the wall shed put them behind, she fell into his open arms, sobbing against his chest. This is my fault. I shouldve never taken that stupid job.
Nonsense. Dad said, bringing the bard with him as he moved out of the hallway and into the lobby. You had nothing to do with this.
Mom went to the reception desk. Excuse me. Patting her hand on the white wood.
Yes, maam. Can I help you? A nurse asked.
Im Grace Morgans mother and she was just brought in. Pointing to her husband and the bard, she looked back. Is there somewhere else we can wait?
Knowing of the accident, Janet came around the counter. Sure. Come with me. Waiting for Mom to tell the others, Janet noticed the bard. Faith, Im so sorry. Do you want to wait in her office?
Nodding, Gabrielle let Janet lead the way and stayed in the comforting confines of her father-in-law embrace.
Xena let her family walk away, then headed for the ER. Finding the right room, in the madness took time and Xena shook her head. Im supposed to be helping these people, not taking up space. When she found her body, it had already been stripped and had Jim and several other people she knew hovering over it. Well, at least Im in good hands.
Youve out done yourself, Grace. Jim thought, checking out the condition of his friend. Were gonna need x-rays, here. Turning his head, he looked at one of the other doctors. What O.R.s open?
Four. Manny took the hint. Ill get it set up.
Looking back at the warrior, Jim sighed. I hope youve taught me everything you know, Grace. I think Im gonna need it.
I have. Smiling, Xena moved to her assistant. Youre good, Jim. You can do this. I believe in you.
Jim, have you checked her eyes? Mary looked serious.
I know. Taking a deep breath, then letting it out slowly. Theres no response.
Jim. Giving him a more serious look, she shook her head.
Look, Mary. Im not gonna wait around to get a committee to figure out the best course of action here. Grace wouldnt and neither am I. Raising his hand as she opened her mouth. I take full responsibility here. If you want to walk away, go ahead, but Im operating whether or not its against your better judgment, or policy. If I dont get in there and stop the bleeding, she wont live long enough to find out if shes got brain damage or not. Now are you in, or not?
Mary closed her eyes and shook her head. Im in. Whispering, she opened her eyes. Ill take her to x-ray. You go scrub up.
Are you going to assist? Hoping she would.
You think Im going to pass up a chance to see what this war horse is made of? Smiling, Mary winked. You bet Ill be there. With bells on.
Chuckling, Jim smiled then left.
And just what are you laughing at? Staring at Jim as he walked by. And thats Warrior Princess, thank you very much.? Her arms akimbo, Xena glared at her recently former friend, then turned to Mary. You wait till I wake up, miss thing and youll see what Im made of.
Janet opened the door to Xenas office and went in, followed by the solemn trio. Waiting until they were seated, she knelt down in front of the bard. Faith, she said softly, shell make it. You dont think shes gonna leave without getting in the last word, do you?
Gabrielle smiled at her friend. I know. She can be kind of pushy.
Thats an understatement. Dad whispered.
Joseph. Mom gave him glare and ignored the bards chuckle, then smiled at Janet. Can I use that phone? Pointing to the one on Xenas desk.
Standing, Janet nodded. Sure. You just have to dial nine to get an outside line. Returning her attention to the bard, she smiled. Can I get you anything?
Gabrielle shook her head. Not for me. Looking at her father-in-law, she gave him a questioning expression. Dad?
Is there coffee? Watching his wife stand and switch to his daughters chair. Honey?
Tea for me. Picking up the receiver, she pressed nine, then dialed Brians number.
Ill be right back. Thankful for something to do, Janet turned to leave.
Ill come with you. Dad said, coming to his feet. No sense calling you every time we get thirsty.
Ill show you where the nurses lounge is, that has everything you could ever want to drink and the cafeteria is down stairs. Stepping out, Janet closed the door behind them.
The bard remained silent, watching the two leave then watching her mother-in-law call her youngest son. Greg is next, she thought. Then, closing her eyes and leaning back, put everything but Xena out of her mind.
Brian opened the door to his sisters office, seeing his parents and Gabrielle sitting on the couch. There were several empty coffee cups on the desk and he looked down at the two he held, then back at the three Jess was carrying. Entering, he smiled at the faces that turned expectantly toward him.
Brian. Mom got to her feet.
Thanks son. Im glad youre here. Dad rose and took the two cups from Brian, making room for him to sit down.
Thanks for calling. Handing out his cups, then helping Jess do the same with hers.
Where are the kids? Mom asked Jess, taking a cup from her.
We left them with a friend. Theyll be all right. Smiling gently, she shook her head and looked down at the bard.
No body said anything to her, though she saw their glances and Gabrielle was grateful. She wasnt in the mood to talk and as she was joined by another set of in-laws, she suddenly felt shut in. The walls seemed to be getting closer and she closed her eyes, fighting the urge to run. I cant breath, she thought, taking a deep breath and holding it.
What a mess. Xena shook her head, looking over Jims shoulder at her body. Make sure you check the liver. Pointing through him to the brownish organ. Its hard to tell with . . . Snapping her head up, Xena closed her eyes. Gabrielle. Whispering, she took off at a jog, running through walls instead of halls, sensing the bards location and quickly came to her own office. Passing through the door, she found most of her family crowded into the small room and shook her head. Moving to the bard, she knelt down in front of her. Im here, Gabrielle. Im right here. Placing her hand on the bards knee and holding it from passing through. Im here.
Gabrielle opened her eyes, staring blankly in front of her, she sighed. I love you, Xena. Please dont leave me.
Im not going anywhere, Gabrielle. Im right here. Lowering her head, the warrior placed an untouchable kiss on the bards knee. Im right here.
All the faces in the operating room were torn between doing their job and watching the three surgeons. Jim, Mary and Manny worked methodically on the warrior, keeping their personal thoughts to themselves and concentrating on the business at hand. They didnt do the usual idle chatting, to make the time go faster and only said something when the wanted something. No one was going to make a mistake and everyone did their best work. No one noticed that fact, instead they thanked their respective gods for the ability and the patience of the woman in their care. Grace had molded them into the best they could be and had pushed them to be better. Shed never let them slide by and usually reminded them that life was far to short to take anybodys for granted. Shed taken them under her wing and now they were using the skill and confidence shed given them and returned the favor in the most flattering way they could. They were saving Grace.
Gabrielle looked up, when Jim opened the door. How is she?
Nodding to the rest of the people in the room, Jim smiled at the bard, then waved for her to follow him.
Doing as requested, Gabrielle followed Jim into the hallway and watched him close the door. Jim? Her voice barely audible, Gabrielle leaned against the wall, as her heart dropped.
Grace is stable. Shes in recovery. Leaving the bad news out, he smiled. She gave us a run for our money.
Gabrielle didnt take the bait and took Jims hand, looking into his eyes. What is it?
Looking down, Jim studied his feet, then back into worried green pools. Shes in a coma.
Gods. Whispering, Gabrielle knew what that meant. Shed lived around Xena long enough to know that people usually didnt come out of them.
Ive made a few calls and Ive got a couple of the best neurosurgeon on the way already and I want to do a CAT scan, before they get here, to see how much damage were dealing with. Looking up as Janet started toward them, the turned back. Shes been unresponsive to stimuli and there might be spinal damage also, but Im more concerned that there may be bleeding in the brain. We can see both on the CAT scan.
Do it. Looking into his eyes, Gabrielle saw a spark of something, but didnt get her hopes up.
It will take some time. Raising his eyebrows. Theyre flying in from Europe.
Im not going home, just do the scan. Shaking her head at the thought of leaving.
Im all over it. Smiling, Jim took off down the hall.
Brain dead and paralyzed. Now thats an interesting combination. Biting her lip, Xena watched the bard.
Staring into nothing, Gabrielle visualized the warrior hooked up to machinery for the rest of her life. I wont do that to you, Xena. I promise. Sighing, she went back in the office and told Xenas family what the situation was.
The neurologists arrive the next day and found that there was no permanent damage to the spinal cord, however there seemed to be bleeding in the warriors brain. Jim had informed Gabrielle of the news and gotten her permission to operate. The operation took seven hour and for all intensive purposes, was a success, however it was also determined that Xena was unlikely to wake up. Even after the pressure was released, another test had revealed that the warrior had little to no brain activity. Gabrielle, who took the news in stride, sat down beside Xena, taking the warriors hand and stayed there.
By the time the operation was completed, Greg, Xenas other younger brother and his wife had arrived. As time progressed and word spread of the warriors condition, friends and relatives started arriving. Each giving the family their best wishes and saying prayers for Xena to come out of her coma. When Xena was moved to a private room, people started taking up vigil over the warrior in shifts. A wife would go to either Xenas parents house or the bard and warriors to get rest, while the husband stayed. Mom and Dad took longer to take up this arrangement, as neither wanted to leave their daughters side, until they were forced to do so by their other children. This routine continued for the next three weeks as people came and went, watched, prayed and waited. There was a short mass exodus, when George had called and Gabrielle had quit her professorship. Hed tried to get her to stay, at which time, shed hung up on him. Then every able bodied body had gone to Gabrielles apartment and moved her things back to the house, which left their home in subtle disarray, but no body knew where any of the things went and didnt want to ask the bard. Leaving her to her post and giving her space. Only Xenas parents talked to Gabrielle and even that was rare. Normally it was to get the bard to eat, which she did little of and usually it was only out of need or needing something to do. The rest of the time, the visitors stayed away from her, as she sat beside the warriors bed, telling her stories in Greek and whispering encouragement and begging her to wake up. When she slept, it was in the chair, her head resting on Xenas bed, holding her hand.
Xena hadnt left either, staying by the bard, watching in wonder at the people that came into the room. As she sat at Gabrielles feet, one night, Xena realized that, even though she was no longer in the protection business, that there were people that cared about her. There were her immediate family and friends from the hospital, cousins, aunts, uncles and people she hadnt seen in years. They all came. There were even people shed worked on. Each coming to send their hopes to her and her family. The flowers had overwhelmed the room and shed looked over her Moms shoulder, reading each card, often shaking her head, trying to place the name, then remembering and smiling. Jim had been almost as diligent as Gabrielle, coming in everyday, keeping in touch and sleeping in Xenas office a lot. The rest of her team did the same, as did almost everyone in the hospital. Her family got whatever they needed and had stopped trying to pay for meals about a week after the accident.
The only time Xena had been upset by the influx, was when George had called and the warrior had thrown a fit, knocking over several vases, trying to get the bards attention and stop her from quitting the job she wanted so much. After Gabrielle had hung up, shed continued to rant and rave, but to no avail and when the bard hung up on George the second time, shed slumped to the floor, crushed. Once the heartbreak had worn off, a couple of weeks later, shed decided that enough was enough and started doing everything in her limited power to get her body back in action. Taking her frustrations out on her own body by yelling, poking, threatening and everything short of jumping up and down on her chest to bring her body back to life.
This continued for some time, until again, she slumped to the floor at the bards feet. Then she sighed, looking around the room at the people she loved and that loved her. They were tired, the wear and tear of doing nothing and worrying was showing on their faces and bodies. Her parents looked like theyd aged twenty years and everyone else looked exhausted. Looking up at the bards sleeping form, Xena sighed. She looks worse than I do. Reaching for the bards hand, the warrior stroked it lightly, letting only a little of her fingers pass through. Im sorry, Gabrielle. I never meant for this to happen. Closing her eyes, Xena sighed again. Thinking of the people surrounding her and how much theyd put themselves through, just to be close by. Their suffering laying heavy on her soul, she felt tears falling from her eyes. Opening them, Xena stood and scanned the sleeping faces, then came back to Gabrielle. Enough. Its time to let you go. Kissing Gabrielles head, she smiled. I love you and Ill be waiting for you. Whispering, she leaned down and kissed a sleeping cheek. Turning, she walked out of the room and started down the hall. As she did, she heard snatches of conversations from the hospital staff, most was about the regular daily routine, but here and there, she heard her name. Picking out those conversations, Xena moved through the hospital, taking a last look around and finally ended up at her office. Reading her name on the door, she smiled. Dr. Grace Morgan, MD. Running her finger across the brass nameplate, she stepped through the door into a darkened office. Seeing, despite the darkness, she looked at the things shed accumulated over the years. Touching them and smiling, she walked all the way around. Coming back to the door, she stopped. Closing her eyes, she smiled, making a memory, then spoke softly. Michael. I need to talk to you. In a moment, Xena heard a flutter of wings and opened her eyes. He stood before her, tucking his wings, glowing softly in a shimmering aura.
Xena. Shaking his head, he whispered. You have something to say?
I want you to let me die. Her face showed no emotion and her heart pounded.
Xena, I . . . Starting to explain, he was cut off.
I know, but listen. Taking a step toward him, she smiled. You said you could ease the suffering of the living, right? Watching the nod, she continued. Then I want you to end the suffering of my family. You and I both know, Im not coming out of the coma. Waiting for a response, she got none, so continued with her plea. Look, Michael. I know that Ive used up my favors with TPTB and Im not asking for a miracle, I just want to die and let those people live. Theyve been here for three weeks and they look like hell. Let them go on. Let me get out of here, so they can.
Michael closed his eyes. What about Gabrielle?
Shes the main reason I want out. Have you looked at her lately? Shes wasting away in there. Shes run out of stories and I dont want her to have to make the decision of having to put me on life support, so down the road she has to pull the plug. Feeling the tears again, Xena closed her eyes. Please, Michael. If you wont do it for me, do it for her. She needs to live. I want her to live, please. Opening her eyes, Xena looked into the angels eyes. I know I dont deserve to ask this, but Im not asking for me. Enough is enough.
Looking up at the light that shown down on him, Michael spread out his hands and closed his eyes.
Xena watched him, her emotions running the gambit from hope to desolation. Shed done everything to try and bring her body back, but had failed and knew that unless she died, Gabrielle would get to paradise before she did.
Lowering his hands, Michael opened his eyes and the light faded. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly, then stepped to the warrior. Ready?
Closing her eyes, Xena nodded and felt the angels hand on her forehead. I love you, Gabrielle. Whispering as the pain started and she waited for the feeling of lightness to start.
In the room, the heart monitor blipped as the warriors heart fluttered. At the nurses station, Janet spilled her coffee as she jumped to her feet, reaching for the phone.
Xena opened her eyes and looked around. The room was dimly lit and she could just make out Michael as he smiled and shimmered into the dark. Her eyes searching wildly, taking in the scene of her parents sleeping in the chairs, Brian curled up in another chair, in the corner and the other forms in the darkness, before she finally looked down her body. Seeing the casts on her leg and arm and feeling the aches and pains of being immobile for almost a month. Feeling something on her right arm, she looked over at the bard. Gabrielle was still asleep, her head resting on the warriors arm, her hand holding Xenas. Smiling, Xena rubbed her thumb across the bards warm skin, without passing through and she closed her eyes, reveling in the touch shed missed more than her body.
Gabrielle lifted her head and blinked at the light, from over Xenas bed. Feeling the warriors touch, she looked down at her hand and saw Xenas thumb moving. Staring at it for a moment, confused and wondering if it was a dream, she still smiled at the feeling. Looking up to the warrior, she saw Xenas blue eyes smiling at her and her breath caught in her throat.
I love you, Gabrielle. Her voice scratchy from disuse, Xena felt a tear run down her temple.
I love you, too, Xena. Welcome home. Letting the tears flow, Gabrielle squeezed Xenas hand and closed her eyes when she felt the warrior squeeze back. Thank you. Whispering to TPTB. Thank you.
The Powers That Be watched Michael as he materialized. Some sighed in resignation at the decision theyd made, some smiled, some frowned and some smirked, but all nodded. Then they dispersed, leaving the arch angel to his duties, which included watching over a certain daring duo.
Epilogue: Xenas recovery will be covered in the next episode and instead of the usual witty summary, Id like to take a moment to thank all the people out there who take the time to care. The people whove made it their job to watch over us and take care of us in out times of need and to the people who dont get paid for caring. The strangers that act out of kindness and compassion, going out of their way, even the slightest, to help others. To the people that care about me, despite my flaws and continue to wrap me in the warmth of their love. I have learned from their example and will do so, until the day I die, whether that be today, tomorrow or twenty years from now and I say to them, thank you and I love you.
To my readers, I again say thank you for the messages youve sent and the encouragement youve given. You have no idea how much it means and I say, with the fondest of thoughts. Thanks. Your kindness has inspired me as well and I encourage you to spread it around. There is no price on kindness and I, for one, will continue to commit random acts of kindness, just because I can. Its the one thing you can actually get for free.
Thanks for reading,
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