Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others mentioned, belong to
MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended.
Subtext Disclaimer: Its back! Which means that there is a loving sexually explicit relationship between two consenting adult females. If this bothers you, or youre under age, or you live somewhere where this type of material is illegal, go away.
Timeline: Plan D #19. (Beware #20)
Shock Factor: 3.
Ann, what can I say, but thanks.
Dont drink and drive. Always wear your seat belt, or helmet.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Setting her stuff down, Xena began humming her portal tune, then opened the door and
stepped into their bedroom in the Palace. "Gabrielle, hold this open, will ya?"
"Got it." Her arms full of books and things, the bard held the door open with her foot. "Xena, can you take some of this stuff?"
"Sure." Taking an armful, the warrior began shuttling back and forth between the two domiciles, carrying everything they thought theyd need for the conference to the other side. After ten trips, she made a last pass around the house, to check for anything theyd left behind. Since she didnt want to have to stress T with going back and forth every night, she and the bard had packed like they were going on a world cruise and had left their house relatively bare, except for the fish and the wall of plants Taking a good look at the aquarium, she sighed. "Sorry guys, I cant take ya with us, but Ive got the auto feeder set up and one of us will be back in a couple of days to check on ya." Seeing tiny irritated bubbles, she shrugged, then turned to head back to the portal.
"Did we miss anything?" Still playing doorman, Gabrielle was checking out the kitchen.
"I think weve got it." Cracking her neck, Xena put her hands on her hips. "Weve got the phones set up and the answering machine and the auto feeder will save the fish from Dad, so I think thats it." Smiling, she rolled her eyes. "Now all we have to do is face the Ungara and pray we dont fall on our faces."
"What do you think I was doing in the bathroom all morning?" Chuckling, the bard grasped a leather clad sleeve and tugged the warrior toward the door. "Come on. Lets get this over with."
Xena squeezed her eyes shut for a second, then took a deep breath and nodded. Letting the breath out slowly, she walked through the portal.
Letting the door close behind them, Gabrielle took a look around the room. "I think we need to have Ares give us some more closet space." Scratching her cheek, she stepped over several boxes, trying to get to the bed and their suitcases. "Well never get all this in what weve got now."
"Hmmmm." Nodding, she arched an eyebrow. "I think youre right. Ill go get him." Doing a 180, she opened the door and peeked out. Seeing the hallway of the Palace, she took another deep breath. "Okay, were here and were coming out, so there had better not be any buck naked bodies running around, cause Ive got my pea shooter and somebody would be in trrrrrroooouuuubbbblllleeee."
"Xena!" Rolling her eyes, she jumped and hopped her way to the door. "Would you be nice?" Slapping the warriors shoulder.
Laughing, Xena smiled. "Im sorry, but knocking on the inside of a door seems just plain stupid." Getting a glare, she glared back. "Ready or not!" Pulling the door open wide, she stepped out into the hall and stopped cold, when her eyes saw one smirking God of War, one embarrassed King, one immortal tiger with his paws over his eyes and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight Ungaran clan elders giving her an amused, perplexed stare. "Oops." Wincing, she grabbed Gabrielle by the arm and yanked her into the hall, placing the blonde in front of her like a human shield against the blush welling up from her toes. Giving them a full tooth grin, she whimpered.
"Xena, what are you doing?" Yanking her arm back, she glared at the grinning idiot for a second, then turned to see the same thing that had made her partner speechless. "Hi." Giving the elders a little wave, she jabbed her elbow into the ribs behind her. "If youll just excuse us." Nodding and bowing, Gabrielle shoved the speechless warrior back into their room and closed the door. "I cant believe you just did that." Whispering harshly, she covered her eyes.
"I didnt know they were out there." Whispering back, Xena covered her face with her hands.
"I guess knocking on the inside of a door doesnt sound so stupid anymore." Folding her arms across her chest, the bard rolled her eyes. "Gods! What a first impression to make."
Groaning, the warrior made her way to a clear spot on the floor and plopped down.
"These are the heirs to your throne?" One chuckling elder asked.
Closing her eyes, T hung her head. "Yes."
"Interesting choice." Another one smirked. "So that was the infamous Xena and Gabrielle?"
"In the flesh." Ares laughed.
Sighing, the King gave him a quick glare, before she smiled at the elders. "Gentlemen, if you dont mind . . . " Lifting her eyebrows as a nudge.
"Say no more." Waving his hands around, Cargan smiled. "Well get out of your hair."
"Thank you." Extending her hand, T shook their hands as they left and held on to Cargans. "If word of this gets around, Im holding you responsible."
"Oh, sure. Hang the Captain of the Royal Guard, its always his fault." Throwing his hands in the air, he made a dramatic walk to the door. "Just use and abuse us. Now I know what my poor, poor ancestors went through." Taking hold of the knob, he smiled then bowed. "Ive got to read Lemets journals again. I dont remember this being part of the job requirements."
"Out!" Shouting, with a chuckle, the King watched her Captain depart. Shaking her head, she sighed. "Ares, would you go and tell them the coast is clear?"
"The coast is clear!" He yelled from his seat, then got a pillow up side his head.
Waiting for the girls to come out, T watched the hallway for a couple of minutes, then rolled her eyes and got up. "Great." Shaking her head all the way to the door, she knocked, then opened the door. "Okay, you can . . . where the hell did all this stuff come from?" Glancing around the floor, she spotted the warrior behind one box and the bard sitting on another. "Is this a permanent move?"
"Are they gone?" Xena asked from behind her box.
"Yes." Stepping inside, T closed the door, then put her hands on her hips. "Now is somebody going to explain all this?"
"We didnt want you to have to keep opening the portal so we could go back and forth, so we brought everything wed need." Waving a limp hand, Gabrielle used it as a resting post when she leaned over to put her elbow on her knee.
"The conference is a month long." Scratching her head, the god shook it. "Did you bring everything but the fish?"
"Just about." Getting to her feet, the warrior nodded. Stepping over boxes and things, she trudged her way to where her friend was standing. "Im so embarrassed."
"Oh, dont worry about it." Waving the incident off, T smiled. "Cargan will handle the rumor mill and nobody but those eight will ever know." Pushing Xena out of her view, she checked out the room again. "Youre never going to get all this in your closets, you know that dont you?" Glancing at the bard.
"We were on our way out to ask Ares to give us some more space." Perking up a bit, Gabrielle stood and stretched. "That was before she shoved her foot in her mouth."
"Yada, yada, yada." Putting her hands on her hips again, T began trying to organize the room in her mind. "We might have to extend this room into the one next door." Thinking out loud, she started to step over a box, but was held up when a hand grabbed her arm. "What?" Turning toward curious blue eyes.
"What do you thing youre doing?" Gently pulling the god back, Xena took her turn to put her hands on her hips. "And what are you doing walking around? Youre supposed to be resting."
"Yea." Nodding, Gabrielle threaded her way though the boxes to do her hands on hips thing. "And I thought Xena told you you couldnt have any visitors? So what were those men doing up here?"
"Whoa." Holding up her hands, T shook her head. "Dont go ballistic, okay. They were up here to say hello and thats all, we didnt discuss any business and they just wanted to congratulate me in person for the baby and Im in here," pointing at her feet, "because I waited for five minutes for you to come out and you didnt and the reason Im walking around," swirling one finger in a circle, "is because you wont let me pop anywhere and up until you two showed up, I was resting." Putting both hands back on her hips as a finale.
"Well, were here now and youre going straight back to either the bed, or the couch, but you are going to get off your feet right now." Taking hold of her arm, Xena opened the door and towed T into the hallway. "Couch, or bed?"
"Couch." Sighing, she let herself be dragged back into the living room and sat down like an obedient patient.
"Now, stay there." Waggling her finger at the god, the warrior turned to Ares. "And what happened to making sure she was resting?"
"Look. I carry her from the bed to the couch and back and I dont let her outside, so unless youre going to let me sit on her, I cant keep her from getting up every once in a while." Glaring at her accusations, he folded his arms across his chest. "But I do keep her from running around naked though." Smiling smugly.
"Okay." Interrupting the eruption before it happened, Gabrielle stepped in. "We get the picture. Shes been good, but everybody needs to stretch their legs now and again."
"Thank you." Rolling his eyes, Ares got up. "If nobody needs me, Ill be checking in with the elders. Ive got to get them to their right rooms."
"Thanks, honey." Smiling at his snit, she gave him a wink.
Sticking his tongue out at the warrior, Ares gave T a smile then left.
"I thought the pregnant one was supposed to go through mood swings." Chuckling, Gabrielle sat down beside T.
"Thats not a mood swing." Grumbling, Xena sat down on the other side of the King. "Thats his natural state of annoying."
"Oh, I can see this is going to be a stressless month." Sighing, T laid her head on the back of the couch and stared up at the ceiling.
Smiling, the bard leaned over to talk to Ts oversized tummy. "Dont worry. I wont let your Dad and Aunt Xena tear your empire apart before you get here."
Chuckling, Xena cocked her head to give her wife a curious stare. "Gabrielle, what are you doing?"
"To be forewarned is to be forearmed." Smiling sweetly, she gave the tummy a gentle pat. "Thats not rule number one, but its still important. Rule number one is never, ever interrupt a perfectly good nap, or as we so affectionately rephrase it. Let T sleep, or shell rip your head off."
"Get away from there." Pushing the blonde head away from her stomach, T laughed, which made her middle jiggle.
Falling slowly over, Gabrielle laid there and smiled.
"Hey." Reaching over Ts lap, Xena smacked the bards exposed fanny. "Go get my bag, so I can take a listen. I wanna see how the competition is doing."
Throwing her arms out in mock woe, the blonde actress rolled off the couch and sprang up to her feet. "Where is it?"
"In the box marked basics." Leaning upright, the warrior gave the general dimensions of the box with her hands. "I think I put it beside the bed."
"Gotchaaaaaa." Bouncing off to find the box, she ignored the sounds of amusement and continued on her happy way.
"Is she happy to be here, or what?" Rolling her eyes, T shook her head and folded her hands on her stomach.
"I think shes happy, because she knows that once this conference is over, well be able to actually get some sleep." Propping her feet on top of the low table, she leaned back.
"I offered to implant everything in your head, so dont blame me if you didnt get your recommended daily allowance of shut eye." Waving her finger, the god smiled.
"It wasnt worth the risk and besides, the studying did pay off in more ways than one." Flicking her eyebrows, Xena turned to smile smugly at her friend.
"Oh, shut your face." Sighing T propped her feet beside the warriors. "The last thing I want to hear about is your sex life." Snapping her fingers, she turned to give Xena a warning glare. "Which reminds me, warrior princess." Waggling her finger. "Since Im confined to these quarters, I dont even want to hear so much as a hiccup coming from your room. I cant leave when you two start going at it, therefore you can either abstain, or shove a sock in your mouth, because if I hear anything, youre going to have the ultimate flashback and sleep outside."
Xena bit her lip and smiled. "Are we a tad frustrated, T?"
"No, we have sensitive ears and as my very concerned doctor, Im sure youll find a way to keep quiet, because Id hate to have to get stressed when I come down to throw your raggedy butt outside, which will probably be buck naked." Opening her eyes wide, she glared. "Got me, screaming mimi?"
Giving her a thumbs up, she refrained from chuckling and started trying to figure out how to sound proof the walls of their room.
"Xena, get in here!" Sticking her head out the door, Gabrielle yelled for the warrior. "Youve got three boxes marked basics and theyre all full of junk." Ducking back inside, she shook her head at the mess.
"Geez. Im coming." Grumbling, Xena got up and stepped over Ts legs to trudge toward the hall. "Its right on top, Gabrielle. How can you miss it?" Entering the room, she threw her hands in the air. "What did you do? Why is my stuff all over the bed?"
"I turned those damned boxes upside down looking for your bag, dummy. Thats what happened." Putting her hands on her hips, she kicked one of the empty boxes.
"Now, that kind of yelling I can take." Smiling, T folded her hands behind her head and closed her eyes.
Bud crawled up on the couch and put his head on Ts lap.
Without looking, the god lowered one hand to scratch is neck. "I know, Bud. Its just like the old days."
Purring, he happily agreed.
"Well?" Staring down at her bare tummy, T watched the end of the stethoscope move around.
"Shhhh." Listening carefully, Xena found the heartbeat and smiled. Moving the disc again, she searched for any signs of abnormality, then frowned when her ears detected a low rumble.
"Beef stew." The patient said with a smile. "It had carrots in it and they always make that noise."
Arching an eyebrow, the warrior sighed. Mumbling something about an all meat diet, she continued to listen carefully, then nodded and smiled. "Sounds like a healthy baby to me." Pulling the plugs out of her ears, she let the instrument hang around her neck. "Now, lets see if its got any of its mothers spunk." Flicking her eyebrows, Xena put her hands on Ts midsection and began pushing gently, then moved to push again.
"Gabrielle, whats the count?" Sighing, the god cracked her neck.
"According to our calculations, 117 days." Smiling, the bard watched Xenas hands move around.
"Im surprised youre not counting off the seconds." Smirking, Xena felt a healthy kick. "I wasnt talking to you." Glaring down at a tanned ab section, she pulled Ts shirt down. "That one has got an attitude already." Chuckling, she removed the stethoscope and put it back in her bag.
"Well, Ill call that a compliment, since it came from an expert." Smiling, T pulled the covers up over her little attitude.
Smiling ever so sweetly, the warrior intentionally looked at her watch. "Oh, my. Its swill time." Giving a poor rendition of being surprised.
Growling low, the god closed her eyes. "I hate you."
Picking up her bag, Xena nodded at Gabrielle. "Come on, Igor. Lets go down to the laboratory and see what we can create for the all mighty King to drink."
Chuckling, the bard gave T a sympathetic pat on the arm and leaned close to whisper in her ear. "Dont worry. Ill put the peach juice in when shes not looking."
"Thank you." Whispering back, she opened her eyes to smile insincerely at Dr. Frankenstein. "Cant wait." Watching them go, she sighed and closed her eyes again, then opened them when she felt the bed shake.
"Sooooooo. Hows my little sweet pea doing?" Aphrodite asked, as she scooted up next to T.
Smiling, the god gave the Goddess of Love a roll of the eyes. "The babys fine. Xena just did a quick check-up."
"Good." Crossing her legs, she got comfortable. "Now, Ive got some good news and some bad news."
Frowning, T gave her an arched eyebrow. "I didnt realize I was expecting news."
"Oh, you arent, but since youre 86ed with the buzz, I thought Id fill you in." Aphrodite tapped her chin. "Okay, first the not so hot news, since youre in non-stress mode, Ill save the best for last."
Chuckling, the King folded her hands over her stomach and smiled.
"Those boring poop heads, aka TPTB are all in a dither about something going on over there." Pointing to one side of the room.
Turning her head, T realized she was facing east and nodded. "Thats typical."
"And then theres the hoopla over the nuky thingies." Counting off her news on her fingers.
"The disarmament." Smiling, she was starting to enjoy the hip version of the world situation.
"Right and let me see, they said something about the baby." Wrinkling her perfect brow, the goddess frowned. "Oh, yea." Bobbing her head, as the thought popped in. "They are wondering if youre going to retire."
"Is that part of the good news, or the bad news?" Lifting her eyebrows with the question.
"Eeennn." Rotating her wrist to give a half and half sign. "I think theyre looking for a break. Theyre pretty pumped, since youre all preggers and everything."
"Are they up to something?" Feeling her stress level go up a notch.
"Oh, no." Waving her hand to dismiss the thought. "Theyre all running around in flowered shirts and plaid shorts." Shivering at the vision, Aphrodite cringed. "Its like a luau from tartarus up there and let me tell you, those people have absolutely no fashion sense." Shaking her head in sorrow. "There were a couple of them that said something about the baby being a bad idea, but theyre wearing black socks with sandals, so nobodys paying any attention to them." Shrugging with a sigh. "So much power wasted on fashion victims. What a pity."
Holding her stomach, T closed her eyes to hold in the laughter. "Anything else?" Shaking her head with the visual going on, she opened her eyes to get rid of it.
"Yea, the good news." Smiling, she patted a blanket covered thigh. "You dont have to worry about the whole old people poking their heads in and bothering you thing."
"Pardon?" Sending her eyebrows skyward.
"Oh, yea." Doing another round of head bobbing. "Ive worked it all out with Ares. Weve got everything set up, so you dont have to worry and little sweet pea with be nice and comfy. Weve got all the geezers sorted and rearranged the chats and dumped some of those pesky groupies, so you just relax and let Auntie Aphrodite take care of everything." Smiling proudly, she popped out.
Suddenly, Ts stress level started following her eyebrows. "ARES!" Roaring out his name, she was out of bed and halfway down the stairs before he popped in and was in the process of strangling her significant other, when Xena and Gabrielle came to his rescue. "What have you done?" Growling at him.
"What?" Holding the wrists that were attached to the hands around his neck, he looked completely innocent and very surprised.
"T, what are you doing? Let him go!" Pulling on her powerful arms, Xena pried one off.
Groaning, Gabrielle got the other one off at the same time and they both held the King in check, while the God of War took a few discreet steps backwards. "Whats the matter with you?"
"Are you out of your mind?" T shouted. "You let Aphrodite rearrange my conference?"
Wincing, Ares rubbed his forehead. "She just helped me get everything settled."
"What?" Keeping a firm grasp on her friend, Xena turned to glare at him. "Are you nuts?"
"I had a lot to do!" Pressing his head in a hand vise, he smiled. "We didnt do much."
"Then what the hell does getting rid of some pesky groupies mean?" Settling down a bit, T only snarled this time.
"Groupies?" Gabrielle asked and let Ts arm go, so her friend could fold it with its match, across her chest.
"There were a lot of people showing up, other than the elders, who wanted to see you, because youre pregnant." Sighing, Ares shook his aching head. "We sent them home, so you wouldnt be bothered."
"Gods." Rolling her eyes, Xena stepped back to lean against the railing. "How many?"
"Thousands." He said softly. "It was starting to look like the old days around here. There were people everywhere and they kept coming. I didnt have anything set up for that many people and they were hungry and wanted someplace to sleep and nobody wanted to have to stay in the back and they all kept nagging me to come see you, to say congratulations, and they brought gifts and the library is crammed up to the ceiling with stuff." Sighing, he shook his head. "Im sorry."
T sighed as well and closed her eyes. "I thought I told you to send out a message that they would be able to come, once the baby was born and not until?"
"I did." Taking a few cautious steps forward, he looked up at her. "Apparently everybody thought everybody else was going to stay home and they didnt think the a couple of people would be that much of a problem."
Sitting down on the stairs, the god hung her head and began rubbing her temples.
"Okay, lets not panic. This is fixable." Rubbing her forehead, Gabrielle descended the stairs. "Has any other groupies showed up since you sent the first batch home?" Aiming her question at Ares, she saw him nod. "Where are they?"
"Mingling around out front." Tossing a thumb over his slumped shoulder.
"Okay." Turning around, she walked back to the staircase. "Xena, you take care of T and Ill handle the groupies."
"I dont need to be handled." T said with a hint of animosity. "What I need is to get out of this room and get some fresh air."
"T." Shaking her head, Xena bent down to speak to her friend. "Thats not a good idea and you know it."
Opening her eyes, the King of the Ungara rose to her feet and glared golden cat eyes at the warrior princess. "Let me tell you what I know, Xena. Ive been cooped up here forever and Im on the verge of having a serious problem with you in my face and if you think youve got what it takes to keep me from going outside, Ill be more than happy to prove you wrong. Thats what I know." Growling low, she turned and walked down the stairs. "Move!" Pushing Ares aside, she made it to the front door before a short blonde body got in her way. "Gabrielle." Feeling her fangs come out, she narrowed her eyes to glare at her best friend.
"Im not stopping you." Holding up her hands, the bard put her back against the door. "Im asking you to let me go with you. Ive got to go out there anyway and Id be happy to take any advice you can give on how we should get rid of the groupies." Smiling, she took Ts hand slowly. "Wadda ya say? Wanna give me a hand?" Giving the gods clawed appendage a gentle squeeze.
"Fine." Raising a single eyebrow, she let the bard open the door then followed her out onto the balcony. "Go get all the groupies together, while I check out the Library." Turning, she didnt wait for an answer and walked away from the bard, heading for the second floor door of the gift storage facility.
Letting out a sigh of relief, Gabrielle poked her head back inside the chambers and shook her head. "Ares, find Aphrodite and get this place back to normal before we get back, please."
"Ill go with him." Xena offered and came down the steps to smack him upside the head. "Come on, you." Grabbing his ear, she towed the God of War toward the door.
"Ow, ow, ow." Waking on his tip toes, Ares craned his neck to relieve the pain.
Running down the stairs, the bard found Cargan and told him what was going on. She also informed him that T was on the move and that everybody should stay out of her way, unless their life insurance policy was paid up. Then she went onto the promenade and began rounding up the groupies, but to her dismay, they didnt want to be wrangled and were not being the slightest bit cooperative, considering her status as heir to the throne, or so she thought. "Dammit, people. You want to work with me here, please?" Clapping her hands, she tried to get the several thousand peoples attention.
"Whats the problem?" Xena asked, as she walked over.
"Look at them." Waving her hands around. "Theyre acting like Im not even here. Theyre just doing what they want, taking pictures, getting acquainted and driving me nuts." The last word was said with the volume turned all the way up.
"Ill take care of it." Taking a deep breath, the warrior let out a loud battle cry and smiled when it got everybodys attention. "Okay, listen up." Opening her mouth to give instructions, she closed it when they immediately went back to what they were doing. "Why those little. . ." Bounding down the steps, with the bard right behind her, she was intent on doing bodily harm when her eardrums reverberated with a loud roar. Turning around, she saw T standing at the top of the stairs with her hands on her hips. "Oh, shit. Hang on Junior, Moms on a roll."
Growling, T surveyed the crowd. Seeing some very surprised faces, she arched an eyebrow and pointed down to her friends. "These women are the heirs to my throne, which means that I have entrusted them with my own personal well being, as well as the well being of my child and my empire, of which you are a part. They have taken it upon themselves to put their personal happiness aside to take care of me and have sacrificed greatly in the preparation of this conference, to which you have not been invited. You will give them the respect they deserve and have earned. I appreciate your concern and your desire to pass along your congratulations, but this is neither the time, nor the place for those sentiments. This is a conference to decide our futures and to make decisions that will effect the entire planet, which these women will be my personal representatives for." Putting her hand back on her hip, she paused to give them a glare. "I suggest that you choose to treat my heirs, as you would me, because if I have to come out here again, you wont be happy when I do. Is that clear?" Seeing several thousand heads nod, she smiled. "Good. Im going to take a nap now and I dont want to hear of anymore disrespect." Giving the girls a nod, T turned on her heels and went to take a nap.
"You know." Xena said softly. "If thats an example of her mood swings, as much as I hate to admit it, I think I feel sorry for Ares." Smiling, she turned to see the same emotion on Gabrielles face.
Chuckling, Gabrielle nodded. "I know and I hope junior doesnt have all the attitude you think, becasue Ill bet if its true; somebodys little bottom is going to be very sore if they try to use it on her." Smiling, she turned to see a lot of people eagerly awaiting instructions, with very respectful expressions on their faces. "My, speaking of sore bottoms. I guess the King has spoken."
"Okay, people. Lets get this showboat on the river." Smiling, the warrior put her hands on her hips and started barking out instructions to the crowd.
Inside the chambers, T plopped down on the couch and put her feet on the table, with a smile on her face and patted the empty spot beside her. "Come on, Bud."
Jumping up, Bud leapt over the table to land on the spot indicated and laid down. Putting his head in her lap, he gave T a disapproving look.
"Oh, dont look at me that way." Rolling her eyes, she scratched his striped head. "So I yelled a little bit. I think it did me some good."
Bud sneezed in a negative way.
"Come on. It was one little roar and it felt good." Patting her stomach, she smiled. "See, the babys fine."
Taking a sniff, he shook his head.
"All right. All right. I wont do it again." Sighing, T laid her head. "Its not like I was doing sword drills or anything."
Lifting his head higher, Bud nudged her arm with his nose.
"What?" Rolling her head to the side, she looked at him.
Sneezing again, he gave her a serious stare.
"No, I have not been doing sword drills, Bud." Rolling her eyes. "Youve been here the whole time. Have I been out my chambers?"
Tilting his head in thought, Bud laid back down.
"Thank you." Giving his huge head a shove, she closed her eyes. "Id like to do some sword drills, but I wont because Im stuck in here until your little brother, or sister shows up."
Purring, the tiger closed his eyes.
"I cant go for a run, I cant hunt, I cant swim, I cant . . . . . . . . . . . . ."
Nuzzling his head into her lap, Bud followed T into slumber.
"Oh, come on, guys." Aphrodite whined and stomped her foot. "I was just trying to help."
"Oh, you helped alright." Folding her arms across her chest, Gabrielle glared at the Goddess of Love. "You helped Ts blood pressure go through the roof."
"I didnt mean it." Pouting, the goddess slumped her shoulders. "Cant I stay? I wont give you guys anymore trouble, I promise."
"Why do I find that hard to believe?" Ares asked and got two glares pointed at him. "What?"
"Youre the one who let her help you and got T all worked up, so dont act so innocent." Xena growled.
"You want to help, Aphrodite?" Keeping her eyes on the only other blonde in the room.
"Yes." Smiling, she nodded heartily.
"Good, then you can use your powers to get all those groupies back home." Turning to Ares, she smiled. "And you can take all those gifts in the Library and start taking an inventory. Well be spending weeks mailing out thank you notes and I dont want to miss anybody."
"Hey, you better let me do that." The goddess suggested. "I think theres some stuff in there that hes not going to know what they are."
The heirs exchanged a look then nodded. "Okay, Aphrodite does the inventory and Ares takes everybody home." Xena said and scratched her cheek. "That should keep both of you occupied for awhile, so Gabrielle and I can check on T and then we can get ready for the start of the conference tomorrow."
"What do you want me to do when Im done?" Ares asked, thankful he wasnt going to have to sift through the mountain of gifts.
"Have you got everything else set up?" Seeing a nod, the warrior nodded back. "Then you can come back to the chambers. Ts probably a sleep on the couch and youll need to carry her up to the bedroom."
"Okay." Smiling he left the throne room to take care of the groupies.
"And what about me?" Looking pitiful, the Goddess of Love hoped she wasnt going to be exiled from her sweet pea.
Sighing, Gabrielle shook her head. "You can stay, but youve got to promise not to do, or say anything else that might upset T."
"How am I supposed to know the difference?" Looking between the two sets of eyes on her.
"You can hold normal conversations, but if you have anymore news, clear it with us first." Xena sighed. "Or else, your niece or nephew may not like the shake rattle and roll itll get when its mother blows her stack again."
"Gotcha." Giving them a wink and a thumbs up, she hopped off the arm of the throne and did her walk toward the Library.
"Did we get everything?" Straining her strained brain, the bard sat down on the throne.
"I think so." Nodding, the warrior leaned up against the carved stone arm. "And to think I was worried about having to face the Ungaran elders. With the scream team on the loose, thatll be the least of our problems."
Smiling, Gabrielle moved to slide back on the throne and got her butt poked. "Yeow." Jumping up, she turned to see the Crown shoved up against the back of the throne. Rubbing her bottom, she picked up the golden crown and held it up to eye level. Chuckling, she put it back down and stepped back to take a look at it against the deep blue and green of the of the throne.
"What are you doing?" Giving her wife a funny look, Xena moved her eyes back and forth. "Is there something wrong?"
"No." Smiling, she tilted her head and stared. "Im just trying to imagine what T looks like with that on." Nodding at the crown. "Ive never seen her wear it."
"Hmmm." Stepping back, the warrior stood beside the bard. "I think youre right. Ive never seen her wear it either." Frowning, Xena shook her head, then snapped her fingers. "Oh, wait. I remember." Closing her eyes, she smiled. "She said that she wouldnt wear it until shed fulfilled her destiny and rid the world of evil and made the earth safe for mankind." Opening her eyes, Xena stepped forward to pick up the crown. "According to T, until shes done all that, this is still her fathers crown. Thats why she doesnt wear it."
"But she has done all that and more." Shaking her head, Gabrielle took the crown from the warrior.
"Then maybe she just hasnt had a reason." Shrugging, Xena sighed. "The crown, the sword, the things her father left her. He gave her everything he had."
"Except himself." Nodding, she put the crown back on the throne. "Well, this baby wont be an orphan and it wont be hunted. Shes earned that crown and someday this baby will wear it too, because were going to be there to make sure it happens."
"Will we still be heirs when that happens? Or will be become peons when T retires?" Posing the question to the bard, her head snapped up when she heard a chuckle coming from above.
"Xena, you and Gabrielle will never be peons as long as I have anything to say about it." Leaning on the balcony railing, T smiled down at them. "And I have worn that crown once, but that was because Treyma threw a fit when I refused to put it on for the official portrait."
"Youre not wearing the crown in that picture. Its sitting on top of a pillar." Holding her hand at chest height, she indicated the position of the crown.
"I never said I kept it on." Smirking, she waved them up. "Come on. Tell me how you saved my empire from utter ruin."
"Only if you promise not to lose your temper again." Waving a warning finger up in the air, Xena smiled.
"Is it that bad?" Waving a finger back.
"Noooo." Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle grabbed Xenas finger and tugged her toward the stairs. "In fact, it might turn out to be a good conference after all."
"Okay, then I promise not to loose my temper while you tell me." Smirking, she got a glare from the warrior. "Hey, its a start and dont push your luck, little miss Ive got a pea shooter."
Grumbling, the warrior nodded. "Fair enough."
Opening her eyes, Xena frowned and looked around the dark room. Sighing, she rubbed her eyes, then closed them again and was almost asleep, when the noise that woke her up in the first place came again. "If thats Bud, Im gonna kill him." Opening her mouth wide, she yawned and grabbed the pillow under her head, then lifted Gabrielles arm from across her shoulders. Sliding sideways, she replaced her body with the pillow and hunted for her robe, then pulled it on and wrapped it tightly around her waist, tying it off. Grumbling under her breath, the warrior stumbled her way to the door and took a moment to clear her head, before opening it a little. Peeking out, she saw a dim light reflecting off the hall wall and frowned again, as she opened the door enough for her to slip out and closed it softly behind her. Walking bare foot, she saw the couch come into view and Ts head with it and an orange glow put out by the fire in the fireplace. Shuffling into the living room, she ran her fingers through her tousled hair. "What are you doing down here? Wheres Ares?"
Looking up, T smiled. "Hes upstairs asleep."
"How did you get down here?" Her face in a perpetual frown, she walked around the couch to take a seat on the table, next to Ts propped feet.
"I slid down the banister." Chuckling, the god held up a hand when her friend jumped up. "Im kidding. Im kidding. I walked, slowly and carefully down the stairs." Waving for the warrior to sit back down, she shook her head. "Youre so easy." She said this to Bud, who was laying on the couch beside her, with his head in her lap and was snoring.
Crossing her legs, Xena pulled her robe around her neck in a huff. "What are you doing up? Its the middle of the night." Switching from a frown, she put on a concerned look. "Is there something wrong with the baby?"
"No." Shaking her head, T smiled. "The babys fine."
"Then whats wrong?" Sitting forward, she gave her friend a studied stare.
"Nothing is wrong, Xena. I like coming down here when its quiet. Its as close as I get to being outside." She said, with a shrug and gave Buds neck a scratch. "I miss that. The stars, the smell of the trees, the sounds around me. Sometimes I just come down here to think about those things."
Sighing, Xena smiled. "Youre like a tiger in a cage. Im sorry."
Perking up, Bud looked around.
"I wasnt talking to you, go back to sleep." Leaning forward, she pushed his head back down.
"Dont be sorry. Its the best for the baby and Ill get out, one day." Chuckling, she nodded toward the hall. "Go back to bed. Youve got a big day tomorrow."
"Xena?" Staggering out of their room, Gabrielle had on her best I hate that Im awake and its all your fault face. She also had on her robe, but it was wrong side out.
"Oooo. Thats an interesting hair style." Biting her lip, T held in a laugh and tried to ignore the blonde hair sticking out in a hundred different directions.
Xena gave Ts leg a slap, then turned to the bard. "Were in here, Gabrielle. Go back to bed. Ill be there in a few minutes."
Pouting a sleepy pout, the bard continued to trudge toward the couch. "Whats the matter?" Rubbing her head, she did the impossible, which was make her head look even more frightening. "Move." Giving Bud a shove, she pushed him out of the way and took his place. Curling up into a ball, she laid down, placing her head in Ts lap. "Is there a problem with the baby?" Closing her eyes, she tugged her robe tighter around her shoulders.
Shaking her head, T patted the couch on the other side of her. "No. Theres nothing wrong with the baby." She said softly and began straightening out the unruly blonde hair. "Xena and I were just talking. Why dont you go back to bed?"
Frowning, Gabrielle reached for a cushion, from behind her back and put it under her head.
"Thats a I just got comfortable and stop annoying me move." Smiling, Xena got up and took her place beside T. "Shes not a night person either." Tucking her feet to the side, she leaned over, putting her head on her friends shoulder.
"So I remember." Smiling down on the face of slightly annoyed, she went back to trying to get some order into Gabrielles hair.
Wrinkling her forehead, the bard reached up and grabbed Ts hand, then held onto it and brought it down to tuck under her chin.
Rolling her eyes, T laid her head back. "Are you ready for tomorrow?"
"Yea." Nodding her head, Xena closed her eyes. "Weve got the council room set up and Ares put all the multimedia equipment in and Aphrodite said shed provide the food."
"Shes cooking?" Lifting her head, the god looked worried.
"No." Fluffing her pillow, Gabrielle smiled. "Shes delivering food that we picked out of a couple of take out menus. Itll be an international buffet."
"Wooo. You had me scared for a minute." Sighing, T laid her head back again.
"And weve got unbreakable plates and glasses." Adding the extra note, the warrior smiled. "We didnt want to risk your best plates with Bud running around."
Growling, from his spot underneath Ts legs, Bud took a swipe at Xenas appendages.
"Stop that." Smacking his paw, she chuckled. "I was kidding."
Sneezing a couple of times, he went back to sleep.
"Is he allergic to something?" Rubbing her nose in sympathy, Gabrielle opened her eyes to look down at the striped cat.
"No." Smiling, the god shook her head. "Hes just unamused by Xenas attempt at humor."
"Oh." Nodding, she closed her eyes again. "Just checking."
"Are you two going back to bed, or should I get comfortable?" Nudging the warrior with her elbow, T got one blue eye to open.
"Are we bothering you?" Gabrielle asked and turned her head to open her eyes.
"No, I was just checking." Giving her friend a wink, she smiled. "Its been awhile since I had you two fall asleep on me and Id forgotten what the signals were."
Closing her eye, Xena smiled. "We did do that, didnt we?"
"Frequently." T nodded.
"Huh." Disagreeing, the bard shook her head and rolled it back over. "Not that frequently. We couldnt get you out of the trees for the first couple of years that we knew you. It used to keep me awake, wondering how you stayed up there."
"I slept in a bed when I was here." Defending herself, the god thumped a blonde head. "And unless your snoring was the sound of your gears turning, Id say that I didnt make you miss too many zs."
"I dont snore." Tugging on the hand under her chin, Gabrielle protested.
"Yes, you do." Xena smiled. "Its not loud, but its there and dont try to tell me I dont know what Im talking about, because Ive been listening to it for over two thousand years."
"That was you." Pointing a blind finger in her direction, she waggled it at the source of the noise.
"I do not snore." Smacking the finger down.
"Yes, you do." T contended. "On cold nights, when I did sleep on the ground, it was like listening to buzz saws in stereo. One on each side."
"Oh!" Growling, Xena smacked her arm. "And what about you?"
"What about me?" Shaking her head, the god chuckled. "I was hunted all my life, Xena. If I snored, I would've been dead a long time ago, so dont even try that one."
"Huh. Shes got ya there." Smiling, Gabrielle craned her neck to give the warrior another finger waving.
"You shut up." Rolling her eyes, she put her head back down on her muscled pillow.
Chuckling, the bard brought her finger back and got comfortable again. Closing her eyes, she twitched her nose, then rubbed it and sighed. "This is nice."
"Well, it has its draw backs." Sticking her tongue out, Xena closed her eyes, then threaded one arm through Ts and smiled.
Looking from one sleepy face to another, T chuckled softly. Crossing her legs at the ankles, she laid her head back and closed her eyes as well and groaned when a soft nasal sound started buzzing in her ear. Sighing, she lifted her head when the surround sound started from her lap and she looked down at a her tummy. "I tell you what, Junior Mint. You can learn a lot from these two, but do me a favor and make sure snoring isnt one of them."
"Are you sure these are all right?" Looking down at her plain white t-shirt and Levis, Gabrielle thought heirs to the throne should be a little more professional for their first appearance at an official function. "I brought my dress suits." Tying her white Nikes, she glanced up to see Ts grin.
"Gabrielle, its fine. I wore basically the same thing to the last three conferences." Sitting on the couch, that she hadnt moved off in far too long, T smiled. "None of the elders are going to have suits on, so why should you?"
"Personally, I think suits should be banned as a whole." Nodding, Xena pulled on her cowboy boots. Stomping them into place, she stood and smoothed out her Levis. "Of course, if it makes you happy, we could have Yes, I really am an heir printed across the front." Pointing at her chest and her white t-shirt.
"I think Gabrielles should say Im with stupid, with one of those big fingers pointing to you." Ares commented and got a steely blue glare.
Chuckling, the bard got a glare also and rolled her eyes. "Well, if everybody else is going casual, then I guess itll do." Bouncing on her toes, she tested out her new Nikes.
"Good." Smiling, T picked up the laptop beside her and held it up. "Here is everything I could think of that youd need for any stray topics that werent covered in the books."
"Youre kidding me." Taking the slim computer, Xena looked at it amazed. "Theres more?" As her brain rebelled at the very notion of trying to stuff more information into it, the warrior stared wide eyed, with the slightest hint of fear.
"Just obscure stuff and there are a couple of video games. Just in case it gets really boring." Chuckling, the god folded her hands behind her head and propped her feet on the table.
"Ill take that." Snatching the laptop from the warrior, Gabrielle smiled at her. "Ill just hang on to this so I dont have to kill you when the little beeps and chirps start interrupting my speech." Smiling smugly.
Frowning for a second, she snapped her fingers and went running out of the room. "I forgot the speeches."
Sitting up, she leaned forward to check the warriors location, then grinned. "Gabrielle, theres the latest cd-rom Xena game on there too, if youre interested." Whispering, T gave her a wink.
"Ooooo. Thanks." Smiling, she patted the black toy. "Ill keep that in mind."
"Got em." Smiling triumphantly, Xena came trotting back into the room. "Here." Handing the bard her speech, she folded her own into a square, then shoved it in her back pocket. "You ready?" Flicking her eyebrows at the blonde.
Checking the items in her possession, Gabrielle sighed. "Looks like it." Smiling, she turned to glance at the front door, when somebody knocked.
"Ill get it." Getting up, Ares walked toward the door. "Its Cargan and the Royal Guard."
"Royal Guard?" Giving the King an incredulous stare, the warrior scowled along with it.
"Its traditional for the King to be escorted to the council room." Rolling her eyes, T shook her head. "He just loves showing off. I have no idea where he gets it from." Sighing, she waved the event off. "Just go with it. It makes him happy."
Opening the door, Ares smiled at the Captain of the Royal Guard in his full blown shiny get up. "Cargan."
Snapping his heels together, Cargan bowed. "The Royal Guard is here to escort the Royal Heirs to the throne of the King of the Ungara to the council room, when theyre ready." Straightening his body to a rigid stance, he smiled. "Are they ready?"
As two heirs leaned way over to get a look at the Captain, they smiled. "How long did it take him to polish that armor?" Xena asked with a chuckle.
"Suddenly, Im feeling completely underdressed." Smiling, Gabrielle chuckled as well, taking in the full formal visage of the Captain.
Puffing out his chest, which really couldnt be seen under the armor, Cargan stood proud and tall.
Shaking her head, T got up. "Cagan, wheres Chris?"
"Present and accounted for." He said, slipping past the statue that was his father. "Ive got everything set up. The computers have been networked to the Hub and the video equipment is ready to go." Smiling, he gave the girls a nod. "Now all we need are the Heirs."
"Video equipment?" Turning to look at T, Gabrielle arched an eyebrow.
"The conferences are saved on DVD for the Archives". Nodding, the god gave the girls a final once over. "Dont worry, its not being broadcast. Its just for future reference." Picking a piece of lint off Xenas shoulder, she gave it a swipe. "Ready?" Looking up into crystal blue.
"Yea." Nodding, Xena smiled. "Ive got my sidekick." Turning her head, she smiled at Gabrielle. "You ready?"
Clutching the laptop, she smiled. "Ready, warrior princess." Winking, she held out her hand.
"Then lets kick some conference butt." Taking her hand, the warrior turned again, to give T a smile. "Youre going to stay here and rest, right? No sneaking down there to check up on us." Waving a free finger at her friend and patient.
"Xena, if I didnt believe in you, Id never have made you my heirs in the first place." Standing on her tip toes, T pulled the brunette down to kiss her forehead. "My empire is in good hands."
"Thanks." Nodding, she watched the god give the bard a kiss on the forehead.
"Thanks, T." Smiling, Gabrielle took a deep breath and let it out through a set of puffed cheeks.
"Thank you." Brushing some hair out of her eyes, T smiled. "For putting up with my mood swings and for doing this. I know its been hard on both of you and I want you to know how much it means to me that you care enough to do this."
"Oh, dont start her crying." Whining, Xena saw the first hint of a tear puddling up. "She wont stop and then Ill start and well go in there with blood shot eyes." Stomping a cowboy booted foot, she felt a puddle forming as well.
"Sorry." Smiling, the god stepped out of their way and pointed toward the door. "Your audience awaits."
Chuckling, the bard sniffed and wiped her nose. "Okay, Im ready."
"Good." Walking past her, Xena pulled Gabrielle behind when her arm reached its maximum stretch capacity. "Come on."
Giving T a goodbye wave, Gabrielle smiled. "Well be back."
"Thanks for the warning." Waving back, T smiled and watched her best friends and heirs depart. When Ares closed the door, she returned to her place on the couch and propped up her feet. "I wonder if Ill be able to hear Xena yell from here?" Smiling up at the father of her baby, she pulled Ares down beside her.
"Well, if you dont. Youll definitely feel the ground shake." Laughing, Ares wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Is this place earthquake safe?"
"Well find out in a few minutes." Closing her eyes, the god listened carefully and waited for the ground to shake. When both happened, she burst into laughter. "Yea, its safe."
"T! Im gonna kill you!" Xena screamed at the top of her lungs and stared at a room full of half naked clan elders, who were pelting her with pea shooters.
"Great ice breaker." Gabrielle chuckled and held the laptop up as a shield.
Epilogue: Once the battle was concluded, which took quite some time, since most of it was spent with Xena picking up tiny projectiles and hurtling them back at the elders, Gabrielle managed to calm the warrior down enough to save T from execution and the conference got under way. It went well, with nobody getting food poisoning, when the seafood salad Aphrodite delivered was still flipping around in the bowl and due to the pairs long hours of preparation, they served their friend well by proving to the elders that they were both deserving of their positions and more than capable of running the empire, to which they were heirs. They also concluded the conference early, by a week, because Xena took charge and didnt put up with people that rambled and got off into never never land with their remarks. Which didnt make those ramblers very happy when they got yelled at, but just like the people in the Hub, the elders came to appreciate the warrior princess, with her many skills and the sidekick, who was always there to do the same thing to the former warlord when she started rambling. So, since they were left with some spare time, T proposed a contest, for everyone to participate in, to see who could get the highest score on the Xena game. And so, after two thousand years of waiting, Xena finally got to take T on in hand to hand combat, via her remote control. As to who won? Well, thats one for the Archives and is better left to the preference of the reader.
Okay, it was Gabrielle.
Thanks for reading.
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