Disclaimer: The usual hoo ha. Xena and all things Xena belong to Universal/Renaissance and Im not making a nickel off this stuff (dammit). Like most of the bards in the Xenaverse, Im just borrowing the girls and forcing them to play in my own little warped fantasy world. I dont see anything wrong with that.
Love/Sex: All of my stories are written from the viewpoint that Xena and Gabrielle are not only lovers, but soulmates who adore one another with a deep and intense passion. Although not graphic, this story is no different in its assumptions.
There has been a rumor bouncing around the Xenaverse as to the exact origin of Xenas baby. Ive taken that rumor and Ive run with it. Whether it will prove to be true, I dont know. It would make me one extremely happy HCNB, but well have to wait and see. Until then, heres my version of Whos Daddy? enjoy.
Feedback is welcome and appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org
"Oh, Dite, please, please, please tell me this isn't a joke." Artemis could barely contain herself as she paced the floor of her temple. The Goddess of Love watched her with glee, her own excitement threatening to spill over like a lava flow.
"No joke, sis," she assured the Goddess of the Amazons. "I know it sounds too good to be true, but I checked with the Fates myself."
"Does he know?"
"I'm not sure. He will soon, though."
A delighted giggled burst from the huntress' lips. "Oh, he is going to be absolutely livid!"
"He'll shit a brick. He's gonna go ballistic."
"Serves him right, the big bully."
Artemis stopped in her tracks and turned a serious face to her sister. "Do they know?"
Aphrodite smiled. "Not yet. I thought we could tell them together. Ya think?"
"What do you mean, I'm the father?"
"You're the father."
"I'm the father?"
"I'm the father?"
"I'm the father."
"Is this possible?"
"I'm the father."
They stood silently in a small clearing in the woods, Xena watching her bard carefully. Gabrielle scrunched her face up, her nose wrinkling, her mind finding this latest bit of information very, very hard to absorb. Xena merely smiled with affection at the familiar facial expression, wanting very much to kiss the wrinkled nose, but knowing Gabrielle needed some space for this. After another minute, the blonde turned her green eyes back up to meet those of the warrior.
"How do you know? For sure?"
There was a flash of blinding blue light. Aphrodite and Artemis stood in the clearing, very large smiles on their pretty faces. Xena jerked a thumb in their general direction.
"And you believe them?" the bard asked skeptically.
"Hey!" Aphrodite protested. Artemis stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm.
"Dite, we gods haven't exactly given these two reason to trust us, you know?" she whispered.
Aphrodite had no reply, as she knew her sister was right. Still, she pouted like a scolded child.
"I do believe them," Xena said simply, with a conviction that startled even her. "I can feel the truth to what they're saying. Don't ask me how. I just know it."
Gabrielle cocked her head, her suspicion still apparent on her face. "Why would they do this? What does Ares hope to gain? A new heir?" She turned to face the two deities, her anger mounting. "Can't you go find some other mortals to manipulate for a while? Why us all the time?" Her green eyes flashed. "Don't you ever get bored with us? Can't you give us a break?"
"Gabrielle," Xena began, laying a gentle hand on her lover's shoulder.
"I'm tired, Xena," the bard sighed heavily. "I'm tired and I'm worn out and I just want to be with you. Stress-free for a while, you know?" Her green eyes pleaded with the blue ones of her warrior.
Xena smiled, her eyes full of love. "Gabrielle, listen to me." She passed a loving hand over her own slightly bulging abdomen. "Ares didn't do this on purpose. It was an accident. Believe it or not, this baby is not some plan of his. He screwed up."
Gabrielle looked blankly at her lover. "What do you mean, he screwed up?"
"When he sent us into the parallel universe to fight Mavican? When he melded us into one body? The Fates had warned him. They warn all the gods about that sort of thing. That melding two humans can have adverse affects that can't be controlled." She smiled, taking the bard's face in her hands and looking deeply into Gabrielle's eyes. She spoke very softly. "Gabrielle, when Ares put us in the same body, he created another soul. One borne of you and I."
To their credit, Artemis and Aphrodite managed to keep their distance while the bard absorbed the words the warrior had delivered. Aphrodite's eyes misted as she observed the unmistakable adoration in the ice blue eyes of the darker woman. I so outdid myself with these two, she thought proudly. I rock!
Gabrielle swallowed hard, a small kernel of acceptance finally starting to form in her brain. "Borne of you and I?" she whispered.
Xena took the bard's hands and placed them on her protruding belly, nodding slowly.
Gabrielle looked to the two goddesses for confirmation, swallowing nervously. "Is this true?"
The two supreme sisters nodded simultaneously.
"It is? You're not just messing with us again? Because if you are, this is by far the cruelest thing you've ever done. If I actually believe this and it turns out you're lying to us " She let her voice trail off, unable to voice how unspeakably vicious such a deception would be.
Artemis stepped forward and brushed a lock of golden hair away from the bard's sparkling eyes with a gentle touch. "I promise you, Gabrielle. As my chosen, you hold a special place with me. I could never allow something so hurtful bestowed upon you if I could help it. My brother acted selfishly, using the two of you as well as Mavican for his own entertainment and this baby is the direct result of those actions. Believe me, he is not going to be happy about this." She grinned as she heard Aphrodite giggle behind her. "Call it poetic justice."
"So, this baby," the bard began slowly, "is mine, too?"
Artemis nodded. "It's as much yours as it is Xena's. It was created from both of you. The two of you are its parents. It was only chance that it ended up in Xenas body and not yours."
Xena watched as Gabrielle slowly absorbed what was being said. She was still surprised that she herself had accepted this news so easily. But, something about the pregnancy had been different from the beginning. She had known there was something special about it, aside from the fact that it had happened with no warning or reason. The fact that she was actually carrying a piece of Gabrielle within her warmed her heart and calmed her soul, the perfect explanation for her placid demeanor.
For her part, the bard was having a more difficult time than the warrior. In the past two years, she had grown intensely skeptical of the gods and everything they represented. After Dahok and Hope and Indrajeet it was hard for her to look upon anything they presented as a good thing. And Xena Xena didn't just buy into whatever was put in front of her. That had been Gabrielle's job, leaving Xena to bail her out of scrape after scrape because she had been too na´ve or too trusting. Time and the warrior had taught the bard painful and valuable lessons about gullibility and trust.
This time, however, the roles were reversed. Xena had always let Gabrielle go forward with whatever she believed in at the time, following behind her, waiting for her inevitable rude awakening. Now, it was Gabrielle's turn to follow Xena and her faith. The look on the warrior's face was one of such peace and serenity, so calm and sure, Gabrielle had no choice but to offer her support. Her eyes filled with tears that spilled gently down her cheeks as she thought of the baby. The baby that was part of her, as well as the person she loved most in the world.
Xena saw the acceptance the moment it occurred. She wrapped her arms around the bard and held her close as she cried, her own blue eyes filling with tears of happiness. When was the last time she had cried because she was happy?
"We're going to have a baby," the bard stated in bewilderment, her voice muffled by the warrior's chest.
"Yes, we are."
Aphrodite dabbed at her own eyes with a white silk handkerchief. "I am so totally choked up," she blubbered.
Artemis put a comforting arm around her sister, smiling at the two mortals wrapped around each other. She raised an eyebrow in question when she saw the mischievous twinkle in the warrior's eye.
Xena wet her lips slowly as an idea formed in her mind. "Artemis, does Ares know about the baby yet?"
"He's heard the rumors of your pregnancy, yes."
"Does he know how I became pregnant?"
A corner of the huntress' mouth quirked up into a half-grin. "No, I don't believe he does."
Oh, this was going to be sweet!
Xena could almost taste the poignant tang of revenge on the back of her tongue. It wasn't every day that a mortal got the chance to give a god what was coming to him.
When she felt the familiar tingle in her spine, she made herself comfortable on a large tree trunk that lay on its side. Crossing her booted feet at the ankle, she parted the flaps of her long, black, leather overcoat, making sure her bulging tummy could not be missed. She glanced at Gabrielle, who was leaning casually against a tree, smiling broadly. It had been so long since she looked that happy. The warrior winked at her. "Ready?"
The bard nodded.
The warrior took a deep breath, then called out to the air, "I know you're here, Ares. Show yourself."
There was a bright, blinding flash and the God of War was suddenly standing before them in all his black-leathered glory. The new, shorter haircut still made him look like a teenager, and he smiled charmingly. Xena returned the smile with just as much artificial sugar.
"Xena," he nodded. "My sister said you wanted to see me? Had something important to tell me?" He didnt usually come running whenever a mortal requested his presence, but Xena was special. He knew it and so did she.
"That's right," Xena confirmed slowly. She was relishing this moment and didn't want it to be over too soon. She smiled at him again.
He raised his dark eyebrows in question, opening his muscled arms expectantly. "Well? I'm a very busy god, Xena. Women to do, places to destroy, people to kill. You know how it is."
Xena nodded. "We won't keep you long. Promise." She jerked her head in the bard's direction. Gabrielle had been standing quietly by the tree, smoothly flipping one sai in the air. "Gabrielle and I just wanted to say thank you."
A quick flash of uncertainty crossed the dark eyes of the war god. "Thank me?"
He narrowed his gaze, noticing for the first time the wicked glint in the ice blue eyes and not liking it one bit. "Thank me for what?" He crossed his arms. "All right. Whats going on, Xena?" He glanced in Gabrielle's direction. She merely smiled and continued to toss and catch her miniature sword.
Xena stroked a hand lovingly over her belly. "Why, for the baby, Ares."
"The baby. Gabrielle and I wanted to say thanks."
His frustration was growing, along with a burgeoning seed of dread. "Xena, I don't know what in Hades you're trying to say. To my sincere regret, I had nothing to do with the baby, so let's just cut to the chase, shall we?"
"Oh, but you did. It's because of you that I'm in this condition at all," Xena said sweetly. "You created this baby, although, sadly, you are not the father." She punctuated that with a little pout.
He shifted uncomfortably. He knew Xena was playing with him, but he couldn't control his burning curiosity. Who had been manlier than the God of War? Who could have possibly been worthy of the honor of fathering the child of the legendary Warrior Princess, if not for Ares himself? The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. "Who's the father?"
Gotcha. Xena smiled her most disarming smile, taking unbelievable pleasure in the moment. Slowly, she turned her eyes toward the small, blonde woman standing innocently on the perimeter of the clearing.
The laughter burst forth from the God of War with such force that it startled all three of them. He pointed at the bard, barely able to speak through his hysteria. "Her? The irritating blonde?" He dissolved into more guffaws.
Xena and Gabrielle exchanged glances, allowing Ares his moment.
"That's right," Gabrielle assured him. "Xena's having my baby."
That sent him off into another fit of laughter. He held his sides, tears streaming down his immortal cheeks. Gabrielle went back to her game of toss and catch while Xena examined her fingernails. After several minutes, Ares caught his breath.
"Oh, Xena," he wheezed. "Thats good. That is so good. Gabrielle as the father of your child." He snorted as he tried to prevent another eruption of laughter. "Im sure I dont need to inform you of the way a baby is made, or didnt Cyrene go over the whole birds and bees thing?"
"Oh, she covered that stuff just fine," Xena answered, amused at his teasing.
"Well, then, maybe Gabrielle here doesnt get it, huh? Im sure the folks in Podoohickey, being the backwards farmers they are, could have things messed up. Should I explain how this works," he made a lewd gesture with his hands, using the finger of one to spear into the hole made by the other, "and this doesnt?" Making holes with both hands, he banged them together violently.
"Gabrielle knows how the body works just fine, Ares. Believe me." The warrior punctuated her last words with a sexy wink in the bards direction.
The God of War rolled his eyes in disgust. It sickened him to know the irritating blonde was getting what he considered rightfully his. Plus, the little bard hadnt even considered his offer after the Mavican fiasco. His mood changed abruptly. "All right then. This has all been very entertaining, but is there a point? I have things to attend to."
"Its very clear to us, Ares, that under normal circumstances, Xena and I could never have a baby together." The bard perched her firm, compact body onto the log next to Xena and placed her palm over the warriors stomach, rubbing absently. "We know this."
The movement of the bards hand caused a ripple of arousal to run through the god. He shook it off. "Yeah? And?" He was growing tired of these riddles and the tiny seed of dread was steadily growing in the pit of his belly.
Xena took over. "Well, two people being zapped into a parallel universe in the same body doesnt exactly constitute normal circumstances, does it?"
No. Ares swallowed hard. Please dont let this be true. "What are you saying?"
"Were saying that you created this baby when you melded us into the same body."
"Thats impossible." His voice lacked conviction and he knew it.
"Actually, its not," Gabrielle offered. "Im sure if you asked the Fates, theyd be happy to inform you how it works." She banged her two fists together, mimicking his earlier gesture with great relish.
The handsome face that had spent the most recent moments in hysterical laughter suddenly contorted into rage. "This is impossible!" he repeated, much louder this time.
"Oh, its very possible," Xena told him. "And like I said before, Gabrielle and I just wanted to say thanks. Youve spent all this time trying to separate us, but now youve managed to give us the one and only thing we couldnt give each other." Her eyes twinkled and his widened with horror as the words sank in. "It was very sweet of you."
All traces of good humor ran away from the gods face, replaced with nothing but burning fury. "I dont care what weve had in the past, Xena," he growled ferally through clenched teeth. "I am Ares, God of War, and you have crossed the line with me this time! This little game of yours has been fun, but dont you dare to assume you can play with me and avoid any consequences!" His eyes glittered evilly and he lowered his voice to an almost sexy tone. "Things happen during pregnancy, you know. Its very common. Not much you can do about it." He shrugged.
Gabrielle tried unsuccessfully to stifle a small gasp of horror at the gods words. Xenas upper lip twitched as she stood; she was furious that Ares would resort to such a threat, the bastard. Talk about a sore loser. She took several steps and stopped only when she stood nose to nose with the God of War. She spoke very softly and very clearly, the hatred obvious in both her voice and her ice blue eyes.
"Things wont happen during this pregnancy, Ares. Wanna know why? Gabrielle is your sisters chosen. You know that. This baby is a part of her, which makes it very important to Artemis. Ya with me so far?"
"Artemis doesnt scare me, Xena."
"No, but Zeus does."
Ares flinched ever so slightly, but Xena saw it. She took the opportunity and pounced. "The rule is, no god is to interfere in the life of another gods chosen one, isnt it? I know you tend to bend the rules to suit your own needs, but ever since the Dahok disaster, youre walking on thin ice at Olympus, arent you? The other gods are not happy with you, are they? Of course, I cant say I blame them, since you tried to sell out every last one of them."
The fury was so evident, Xena swore she could feel it radiating from Ares body. His eyes flashed, his teeth ground, his fists clenched and unclenched. He spared a glance in Gabrielles direction. She simply sat on her log and smiled sweetly at him. Ugh! To think he had actually begun to like the little bitch.
Xena had him and he knew it. She was right. If Zeus got so much as an inkling that Ares was not following the rules of Olympus, he was dead meat. He was lucky he still had his godhood at all after that mess with Dahok. And how in Hades had Gabrielle survived that lava pit anyway? He thought for sure hed been rid of her then. Damn her.
There was nothing more he could do and he needed to get away from the twinkle of victory in Xenas eyes. He hated losing, especially by somebody as brilliant as the warrior. Waving his arm in the air, he dematerialized in a flash of blue.
"This isnt over, Xena!" was left hanging in the air.
"You always say that," she mumbled. She turned back to her bard, triumph on her face. Her smile fell slightly when she saw the worry creasing Gabrielles forehead. She sat back down on the log, dismayed at the relief she felt in her aching calves. Some warrior. She brushed the blonde locks back with long, gentle fingers. "Whats the matter, love?"
Gabrielle swallowed audibly before turning her troubled green gaze to the woman next to her. Once again, she placed her hand lovingly on the warriors belly and stroked softly. "We really made him angry," she said quietly. "Xena, what if he makes good on his threat? What if he does something? To screw up your pregnancy and endanger the baby? He is a god, after all."
"Gabrielle," Xena began, but was interrupted by the fearful bard.
"I dont think I could bear it, Xena. I dont think I could bear losing our child." The sea-green eyes were brimming with unshed tears.
Xena took the beloved face in both her strong hands and held it so their eyes met. "Gabrielle, Ares will not harm this child. Artemis and Aphrodite would never have allowed me to taunt him like that if there was any danger at all. Remember, our baby means something to each of them." She pulled the bard into her arms and held her tightly, feeling the smaller arms wrap around her waist. "To Artemis, this child is heir to an Amazon throne." She lowered her voice conspiratorially. "Which leads me to believe its probably a girl." She felt Gabrielle smile against her neck. "To Aphrodite, its a testament to a pure, honest and true devotion that she, as Goddess of Love, intends to take credit for. I guess Im okay with that."
Gabrielle chuckled. "Me, too."
"We have two of the most powerful goddesses in all of Greece looking out for this baby. Well be fine." She tilted the bards chin up so she could look her in the eye. "So, no more worrying, okay? Besides, youre going to have your hands full of six feet of cranky warrior. No time for worrying."
"And that will be different than any other day....how?"
They were quiet for several minutes, just holding one another and enjoying the companionable silence.
"I hope the baby looks like you," Gabrielle commented softly.
Xena smiled. "I hope it looks like you."
Gabrielle gasped. "Gods! I just thought of something."
"What?" Xena asked seriously, alarmed by the bards sudden exclamation.
"What if it has my appetite?" She put both hands over the warriors breasts. "Do you think these will be enough to feed it?"
"Hey, they feed you, dont they?" Xena laughed, grasping the bards wrists and pulling her onto her lap, so they sat facing one another. It was a position they both found arousing and theyd spent many passionate hours this way covered in sweat, straining against one another, kissing, touching, loving. Now, with Xenas protruding belly snug between them, it was an even more meaningful situation.
"Good point," the bard conceded, leaning in to kiss the full lips of her warrior. After several tender moments of exploring the warriors mouth, she pulled back to look into the blue eyes before her. "Do you think we could spare a couple dinars once we hit Athens?"
"I dont see why not. You need something?"
The bard lowered her gaze. "Id like to by some parchment."
Xena tried to keep a lid on the joy that spread through her. It had been so long since Gabrielle had worked on her stories, either verbal or written, and Xena missed that free, creative part of her. It had been since before India and the warrior had begun to fear that Gabrielle would never write again. She tried to speak calmly and nonchalantly.
"Okay, sure. We could go to that one shop that you said had the really good kind, the one that doesnt soak up so much ink, remember?"
"Mmm hmm." Gabrielle fiddled with the furred collar of Xenas overcoat for several minutes, not meeting the ice blue gaze. "Ive been working out a bedtime story in my head since we left Spamona. For the baby. I just though maybe I should write it down before I forget it."
Xena nodded, the giddiness inside her threatening to explode out her ears. Not only had she been presented with a second chance at motherhood, despite the fact that shed messed the first shot up so badly, but the other parent was the woman she loved more than anything in the world. They had the protection of the gods with no interference from Ares. And now, Gabrielle wanted to write again. Did she deserve this? Did she deserve to be this happy after all the horrible things shed done?
"I should probably get a quill or two and maybe some more ink." The bard extracted herself from the warrior and stood. She paced the clearing, Xena watching her with loving eyes. "I want the baby to know all about our adventures." She shrugged and grimaced at the warrior. "Ive been a little lax lately and I have a lot of catching up to do." She tapped her temple. "The old memory aint what it used to be and I want the baby to know all about its mothers."
"Whatever you need, Gabrielle," Xena promised softly, smiling as her lover walked to and fro, ticking off the supplies she would need on her fingers. Xena rubbed her belly lovingly and whispered quietly, "I hope this baby is just like you."
Copyright November 1999
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