"My Hope"

By Murphy


Disclaimer: Do not own them. Yes it is Alt. Violence. Yep! Love FF and very grateful to all the bards out there. This is set a few months after "Godly Games." Not as much, humor wise. That was my first long story! It will be mostly from Xena's point of view. Thank you to my beta team, Becky Lovall, Sweet Sam Ruskin, and LJ Maas. Also Betaing are Sue Rice, and Cindy (ForevaXena) Deb! Love ya! Ex-Guards list (Soon to be Bard's Village)!! You are the best!! I dedicate this one to Lucia! She is an awesome artist and has been very helpful to me. Thanks Lucia! Wish I could give you something more! Her artwork can be found on Mary D's site! http://www.ausxip.com/lucia/index.html   A must see! Mary D. More Eva and Zoe! Great story!! Can be found at http://mdfiction.net/index.html  Must read!! "Baby Mine " From: Dumbo Music: Frank Churchill Lyrics: Ned Washington B-Bard bindi@planet.nl   (Bindi van der Linden) She did the fight part! Damn good job also! Thank you BBBBBBBB!


After all that mess Gabrielle and I went through with Ares and his damn games, we were finally getting our lives back together. Camping outdoors, fishing, fighting for the greater good, and no Gods around to screw with us. Yeah, like this would last long. No sooner did I think that then there came the flash.


"Hello Artemis," I say with my arms crossed, waiting for the shit to start.


"Xena." She says sort of coldly, looking for Gabrielle.


"Whatever it is, the answer is no." I say coldly.


"I am afraid Warrior you have no choice." She walks past me then asks, "Where is my chosen one?"

Why do I have a bad feeling about this? "She’s by the creek, cleaning the dishes." Now I was getting very uneasy. "What is going on?" I demanded. I stood there wondering if we would ever just have peace.


"It is about Hope."

OK - I was not ready for that. That name just strikes such hatred in me. I thought of the son I lost and how Gabrielle and I almost lost one another.


"What about her?" My voice sounded very deadly as I got into her face.


"Back off Warrior," She growled. "You will know soon enough, and I want you both together when I tell you."

Great, this was all we need, the daughter of doom breathing down our necks again. I turned my back on her. Then I had a flash of memory of Gabrielle falling into the lava pit. I thought for sure my life was over then, now this nightmare was back.

Right then Gabrielle showed up smiling, but that quickly faded.


"Xena?" She looked at me with worry. I just looked from her, back to Artemis.


"My Queen." Gabrielle looked at her puzzled. "I need to speak with you and your warrior."

My wife walked over to me and we both sat on the bedroll and waited for the Goddess to speak. The thing that really concerned me was the fact that Artemis seemed to be very nervous. Gods are never nervous.


"I have a story to tell you both. It will not be easy to do, so please let me finish before you comment." She looked at us both, looking very worried.

I felt Gabrielle grab my hand and hold it. I looked at her and gave her a reassuring smile, then looked back at the fidgeting Goddess and we both nodded.


"Gabrielle, you have been fated for great things." She sighed and sat on the log in front of us. She seemed to be struggling with her words.

"When the Fates told me for sure that you and the Warrior would join, I, with the help of a couple other Gods, took some of the essence from you both." She paused and looked towards the sky. "It was to be a gift for you both when the time came, a child."

Gods, please let her not be hinting what I think she is.

"I knew one of your desires was to have a child. So I stored the essence of you both until the time came. Before I could do that Ares found out and got a hold of it." She looked at both of us, very upset. I held my wife's hand tighter and prayed we would get through this.


"He took it to..." She stopped and swallowed a few times. "He took it to Dahak hoping that he would help in his plan to join forces in ridding the world of all Gods but himself."

I did not know who was shaking more, Gabrielle or myself.


"Are you telling me that bastard has my child?" I started to stand and Gabrielle pulled me back down towards her. She was shaking and tears started to form in her eyes.


"No Warrior, what I am saying is that this whole thing with Hope was a set up." I heard Gabrielle gasp. "You remember when you were in Britannia and Ares was trying to get you to destroy that temple?"

All I could do was look at her.


"He knew if he told you to do something that you wouldn't." I closed my eyes. Things were making sense. "He helped Dahak get hold of Gabrielle." She looked down at her feet. "While you were fighting with the Deliverer he implanted his seed with the essence of you both."

Oh Gods, Oh Gods, I kept chanting over and over in my mind. I looked at Gabrielle and she just sat there with silent tears.


"The daughter that was to be born to you both was used for evil." Before I could explode, she held up a hand to quiet me. "Ares knew with the power of Dahak and the Destroyer of Nations this child would be a force no man or God could reckon with. He knew if he could get a hold of this power he could rule all."

I was just sitting there speechless. The person who killed my son... All I could do was look at her with my mouth wide open. Then I heard Gabrielle growl.


"Why didn't you stop this?" Oh boy, one pissed off bard. "Why would you let him do that to our baby?" I gathered her in my arms and let her cry. I was not doing well with this either.


"Why are you telling us now?" I pulled my wife closer and cried with her. "Why now?" I looked at Artemis with pleading eyes.


"Hope is back." She whispered with her head hung low. That got us both looking at her. "She has rebelled from Dahak and now is hiding from him." She looked at us blankly. "Hope learned the truth of her birth. You see from day one Dahak had told her that you did not love or want her." She was looking at Gabrielle. "She was only a child, so it was easy for him to manipulate her." She gave us a sad smile. "What neither he nor Ares counted on was for Hope to find her soul, to find her human side." She stepped closer to us. "She has." That brought tears to us all.


I found myself fighting this, thinking it was all a trick. Dahak was up to something… or the Gods… Ares. I must have been deep in thought because Gabrielle had to touch my face to bring me out.


"Xena, are you alright?" She knew my answer to this just by looking at me. I could not tell her what I was feeling right then, it would hurt us both too much. So I just held my wife and stared at Artemis. By reading my mind, the goddess knew.


"No Warrior, this is no trick." She looked me right in the eyes. "There’s more, which proves to me even more that this is not a trick." Gabrielle never left my embrace. She just turned her head to look.


"The more that Hope feels her mortal side, her body changes." OK, that got both of our attention. "She was not meant to look like you my Queen, she was to have the warrior in her also." This just kept getting worse.


"Plus, her true age would be four summers old." Gods, she was serious. "When Hope returned this time..." The Goddess did not get a chance to finish. Everything went into slow motion and somehow I knew this was coming. I heard my wife say:


"Where is she?" Moving out of my embrace and walking towards Artemis, "I want to see my child." That was a shot to the heart. Gabrielle already believed and I was still thinking ‘trouble’. As always, what Gabrielle wants Gabrielle gets.


"That will come soon but now we need to plan." She motioned for us all to sit again. She explained to us what we were up against.


Dahak wanted her dead. Her human side made her weak. Ares wanted her because she is partly my child. Artemis also explained that Dahak was still very much a part of Hope. She now grew like a human child, but still had her powers. She also had the power to destroy Dahak. All of this was giving me a major headache.


After talking for a few candlemarks Artemis left us to get some rest. She would send us to see Hope in the morning. My wife was not happy, she wanted to leave now, but I just needed time to talk with Gabrielle alone.

"I know what you are going to say Xena, but it’s different this time." This is what I get for wanting a peaceful, quiet day with my wife. Maybe if I wished for a crappy day then it would be good?


"Listen Gabrielle, I don’t want to fight over this." I really didn't. "I just want you to be aware and not go into this blindly. I cannot bear you to be hurt again" Looking into my eyes, she knew that I meant it.


"I agree, but you have to give this an honest try Xena." She looked at me with those pretty green eyes filled with tears. "She's our daughter." The sound of that still did not exactly rock my saddle.


Sleep did not come to me. I laid there under the stars and wondered what tomorrow might bring. I had spent so much time hating this person called Hope. She killed my son. Then it hit me. She is my daughter. Smack my leather-clad ass and call me a Harpie. I started to panic some. Well, my wife who was lying on my shoulder must have felt this because suddenly there were warm lips on my neck. She was rubbing my stomach and murmured for me to relax. Yeah OK! It would be easier to ask Medusa if she is having a bad hair day. Please let morning come soon.


Artemis told us she would come to us again at first light. I was ready, and so was a very anxious bard. This was going to be a very bad day. I could feel it. She was getting her hopes high and I do not know if I could accept this, if it was true. How am I going to handle this? The person who I hate the most in the world is my child????? This all feels like a terrible dream that I wish I could just wake up from… maybe… <Pinch> Ouch. Nope, so much for that idea. Another thing that was getting to me was the fact that this would put stress on my marriage. What would happen to us if I couldn't accept this? Gods!! I just wanted to live my life without all this crap.


"Xena?" My wife brings me out of my thoughts. I think she knows I am scared out of my mind.


"You have to try, Xena." Easier said than done. "Please Xena, she is a part of us and we can help her." My heart is breaking. Can I do this?


"Gabrielle, I am not going to lie to you." Wish I could, to spare her. "I don't know if I can deal with this." Gods, I am hurting her. "I hate her Gabrielle, I am afraid I will see nothing more than the person who killed Solan." OK, that was too harsh, stupid. Now be smart and step back and get ready for her to blow. Oh geesh, not the tears, anything but the tears. I am Xena the Warrior Princess!! Tears will not work on me. Gods I am so whooped.


"I'm sorry Gabrielle" She looks at me with those eyes and walks away. I just love the taste of boot in the morning. As soon as I can pull my foot out of my big stupid mouth, I will beg like the wuss I am.



Great! These Gods have just perfect timing. "Are you and my chosen ready?"

Gee, does it look like it? "Watch it Xena." Oops, forgot about the mind reading.


"Still being cynical Warrior?" Well this day just got worse and it hasn’t even started yet. One pissed off wife and now Goddess. This will be one of those, "I should've just fallen on my sword" days.


"Let me tell you something Warrior."

Something tells me it isn't ‘I love you’.

"When all that stuff happened between you and Gabrielle, you know, the little drag behind the horse." Ouch!! "You are very lucky I did not strike you down," Growled one angry Goddess.


"I wanted nothing more just to switch places." We are staring eye-to-eye. "Switch Hope's and Solan's fates." Feeling my anger building.

"Would you have been so eager to kill your own child if the situation were different?" Wonder how mad my wife would be if I killed her Goddess?


"You did not even think of Gabrielle." Oh boy, guilt trip. "A mother’s love, yes Warrior, she did love that baby." Grinding my teeth. "The difference between you both is, if it were Solan, Gabrielle would stand by you and find some way to help save him even if it were to take on every God on Olympus." She growled and got closer. Any closer and she would be eating a Chakram. "You on the other hand, death." Sigh, she was right, but it was now my turn.


"Since we are laying guilt, what about you?" Gave her my raised eyebrow. "You took a part of both of us without asking, knew what Ares did and said nothing." Oh baby this feels good, might just have an orgasm when I am done. "Knew what Ares was up to with Dahak and did nothing, so you are far from blameless."


I felt the pain, but it did not register that she popped me one until she was pulling back for another. No! Warrior Princess does not play that. I blocked and was ready to give her a good one when I heard one pissed off wife yelling to stop. Fuck! Had to stop me there. We both turned and looked at one hotheaded bard. Funny, I think Artemis had fear in her like I did. Do not mess with a livid bard, not good for one’s health.


"What in Tartarus do you two think you are doing?" I could have been smart and said something like dancing, but I wanted to live a while longer. "Now, you both behave and lets get Argo packed and moving." Yeah, and get closer to my life being turned upside down.


"I will go get Argo ready. " Actually, I just needed time to get my mind out of the darkness.


"No need Warrior." Just great! I glared at her.


"Why is that?" I growled, still thinking of the punch I owe her.


"Hope is on Olympus in my main temple." All I could think was one warrior now going to fall on sword. "Just hold onto Gabrielle and we can go." I wanted to stomp my foot like I was two and say, I don't wanna, but that would not be warrior-like. Plus by the look on my wife's face, holding onto her might be a bad idea. If looks could kill I would be kissing Tartarus by now. I guess sex is out of the question? To my surprise Gabrielle walked next to me and put her arm around mine. Before I knew it we were in Artemis' temple, I had flashbacks of the last time we were here. Horny battle-lustful bard, I could not walk right for a week. Wish I could go back.


"Hope?" Artemis calls out for her. I felt Gabrielle grab my arm tighter, and I wanted my mommy! Now, I was expecting to see my wife's twin, what came out nearly floored me. There standing in front of us both was a girl about ten summers old. I guess she had been feeling a lot of her mortality. She was tall with dark hair like mine, and Gabrielle's eyes. She was a pretty good mixture of us both, but I was still waiting for her head to start spinning at any moment. I looked at my wife and her eyes were filled with tears, her mouth was open with her right hand covering it. I’d say we were both shocked. I watched as this child came towards us and I felt my heart pounding in my chest.


"It is all right Hope, they are here to help." Or run. Could I just grab my wife and run away? I did not know what to feel. Was she mine? Was she used? What about Solan? I was breathing harder and felt like I needed to jump out of my skin. This child stepped closer and looked at us. I was expecting to see that monster with those hateful eyes. This person looked like the one who I loved very much. What I saw instead was a child's eyes, my child's?? Gods! <Darkness>




Why was I on the floor? One moment I was standing, next thing I knew I was on the floor in my wife's arms. Great! Not only am I now a mushball, I am a mushball who faints. Kill me please! I looked at my wife, the person who I love more than anything. Then I look to my left to see Artemis and that child.


"I'm fine Gabrielle, just a quick nap." Yeah, like she would buy that. There she went, rolling her eyes. Hey, it was worth a try. I moved to stand with my wife just in time for Hope to come to us again. She just looked up at us and now she seemed even younger. Four years old. A tall, pudgy cheeked, cute, four year old. My kid!!! I felt my legs start to go weak and Artemis must have seen this because all of the sudden there was a chair under my falling ass to catch me. Gabrielle rushed to my side. Hope turned to the Goddess and spoke.


"How are we going to work this out if tall, dark and fat head keeps fainting?"


Smart-ass! I glared at Gabrielle who was trying hard not to giggle. Then I turn back to demon child and growled.


"One word Xena, mint!" I looked at her puzzled. She waved her hand in front of her face and said. "That breath of yours can kill a Hydra a mile away." Here I am being made fun of by this pint-sized demon and my sweet wife is now laughing her ass off. So I, the mighty Warrior that I am, came back with….


"Oh yeah?" I should have looked at the floor for my brain because I seemed to have lost it somewhere. If my wife didn’t stop cackling soon, I’d have to check her for eggs. "Can we just get down to business?" I growled at everyone in the room. My pride was seriously bruised now.


"How did she grow younger just now?" I looked at Artemis, but Hope spoke up.


"When you and mother entered the room, I sort of had a human moment." She looked from Gabrielle to me. "I might be little Xena, my true age, but I still have my mind."


That thought is scary. Artemis did warn us that Hope's age would change, but she would still be very smart. Her powers would be less because of her youth, but still strong enough to kick some ass. It was Gabrielle's and my job to train her how to use them for good, keep her lightness shining. We’d have to deal with Dahak wanting her dead, Ares wanting her simply because she was mine, and me just not liking her.


"Give us an idea of what traps we are being set up for." I looked at Hope, then Artemis, wanting the truth… like they would give it. Artemis spoke up first.


"We have to worry about Dahak more then anything else." She said with a hint of worry in her voice. "Ares is under strict orders by Zeus to leave Hope alone, sort of the same deal like with Hercules." I rolled my eyes with that. Ares is still trying to find ways to kill Hercules and will stop at nothing to get Hope. I feel so much better now.


"How do we deal with Dahak once and for all?" I was worried about that. Ares? I have been kicking his butt for years now. Dahak on the other hand might be a little rough. I stopped myself in mid thought because I noticed that my wife had not said one word after the giggling died down. I got close to her ear and asked her if she was OK. Right then and there she got down on her knees and opened her arms to ... that child. What bugged me is that Hope stood there and raised an eyebrow! AHH. No, she didn't! That is my signature move, not hers! I did it first! What in Tartarus am I becoming!!! I even did a pout. I do not pout.


"Please come here, Hope?" My once again tearful wife asked. I looked over towards Hope. It was like she didn’t know how to handle this. She had human feelings now. It could be scary. Artemis whispered something to her then Hope turned to Gabrielle and ran into her arms. The embrace made my heart melt until Hope looked at me. I am not going to fall for this trick. I looked away. Good thing we do not have to worry about Ares right now, but Dahak??


"Hope, why don't you take your mother and get to know one another," Artemis said while looking at me. Oh goody, another heartwarming talk. Gabrielle looked at me and I nodded OK. Got a quick kiss on the cheek and they went into the next room.


"Gee Artie, another fun loving chat." I had to be a bitch. I still owe her.


"You know Xena, if you would try to wear looser breeches you might lighten up a bit." Damn, this was just not my day. Now a God was making fun of me. Hmm, no wife around. My response? <Punch> Take that you overrated fireworks show. As I am flying through the air into the wall, I think how lucky I am to be alive??????? The things you think of when your bell gets rung. Like, I wonder if Gods have gas. Wonder if they worry with all the lighting bolts they might explode if they did.


"We do not have time for this now Xena, but I promise you we will later." She growled. I, of course was too busy picking wall out of my mouth to respond. "The Deliverer is coming back to claim Hope. If he succeeds it will be your daughter’s death." I did not like the sound of that, still part of me just could not trust.


"How can we stop this?" I had flashes of Gabrielle being held over the alter of fire where that bastard raped her. If I just stayed with her, Kraftstar would not have led her to that, to Dahak. She was just looking for faith and I was looking for vengeance. The person I loved most, I put her last and my vengeance for Caesar first. I would not let her down this time.


"Xena are you listening?" I look and nod. "We must lead him away from Olympus." I just rolled my eyes. "I will send you to a place for battle. He will be drawn to you warrior." Artemis gives me a smirk before continuing. "He has a thing for darkness."

She's just jealous with all the attention I get. After all, I am just a mortal. We made more battle plans, but there was just one thing that kept gnawing at me.


"One thing I am very curious about." Artemis looked up at me. This I have to ask. "That thing Hope bore, The Destroyer? What happened to it?" I also want to know how she gave birth to it? The thought of the spiky thing coming out of my loins made me shudder. That question will have to wait for another time. I heard Artemis chuckle, must have read my thoughts.


"That was one of the reasons why Hope started to question Dahak." Raising the eyebrow. "When she was sent back again after the last bout between you all in Poteidaia," Wish she would just cut to the chase. "Dahak tricked her. It was not a child of Ares." I was wondering where that ugly thing came from, always thought it came from Ares side, Gabrielle's side is too cute.


"It was Dahak. Hope failed two other times, so he thought if he came into the world that way, well you know the rest." I hung my head. Hope never really had a chance. "She was furious with him and started to question him; she found the truth." I have a need now to talk with my wife. "Why don't you spend sometime with them Xena, we are safe for now."


Then in a flash she was gone. I started to walk to the room where my wife and daughter were, but I froze. I just could not take that last step in.

I wandered around the temple trying to collect my feelings. Then I got a flash of myself holding my limp son in my arms. I just fell to my knees and wept. I failed him too. Everyone I love or loved I have failed. Then I saw this flash and heard this voice.


"Mother?" Gods. I slowly turn and there is Solan, my baby. I started to cry harder as he flew into my arms. It felt so good to hold him, but what if this was a trick.


"No trick mother, Artemis asked Hades if I could come see you." He hugged me tighter. How did he… "The dead can hear the living mother." I pulled him back and looked at him. I was ready to apologize and he stopped me.

"There is nothing to say sorry about." He smiled and wiped the tears from my face. "I am here to tell you not to give up on my sister." That made my chin hit the floor.


"I hold no anger towards her, mother, neither should you." My jaw clamped shut. I was ready to argue, but he was ready and more stubborn than me. "She never had a chance and she was lied to." Then he raised his eyebrow at me. These kids are going to be the death of me.


"Kids are gifts." This I know. "Will you just let me finish?" If you would stop reading my thoughts young man, I told him. Raising an eyebrow back. We both broke out laughing and embraced once more.

"You were not ready for me, for a child." He whispers in my ear, I just held him closer. "Hope is your chance… forgive her." He had a sweet, pleading face.

All I could say was I would try and held him tighter. He had to go back and I felt like my heart was being ripped out again.


"I love you mother and I am not far from you." He pointed at my heart and then he was gone. Once more I was alone and on my knees trying to work up the courage to see Gabrielle and Hope again.


"Xena?" I jumped at the sound of my name. I glanced up to see Hope. I can't do this now. We just looked at one another and it felt like eternity. I did something that surprised me. I help my arms open and she slowly walked into them.


"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She kept saying over and over. I held my child closer and cried with her. Gabrielle told me once that what the head makes cloudy the heart makes very clear. So here I was in the middle of Artemis' temple on Olympus comforting my baby, and for the first time that thought felt good.


I knew that Gabrielle was watching all of this from the corner of their room. I could hear her crying. I held out an arm and my wife came to hold us. I whispered in her ear that we were a family now. I kissed my wife and then our daughter.


Artemis came back about a candlemark later to talk with Gabrielle and to give me time with Hope. She asked me many questions. Gods she has her mother’s ability to talk. She may be smart, but she is just a kid and wants to know everything. I noticed she kept yawning. Baby needed a nap. She is only four. I told her I was tired and asked her to lie down with me. I caressed her little face; she was trying so hard to fight Morpheus from claiming her. Getting crankier and crankier. So I started to sing, I remembered my mother singing this to me:


Baby mine, don't you cry.

Baby mine, dry your eyes.

Rest your head close to my heart.

Never to part, baby of mine.

Little one when you play.

Don't you mind what you they say.

Let those eyes sparkle and shine.

Never a tear, baby of mine.

If they knew sweet little you.

They'd end up loving you too.

All those same people who scold you.

What they'd give just for

The right to hold you.

From your head to your toes.

You're not much, goodness knows.

But you're so precious to me.

Cute as can be, baby of mine.


As I start to nod off also, I hear:


"Mother was right, you are a mushball." I held her tighter and heard a chuckling wife again. I knew one bard who was going to be paying for that dearly. When I woke up I had a wife on one side and a child on the other using me as a mattress. I slowly peeled myself from them and watched how they cuddled with one another. A lump formed in my throat when I realized this was my family and I was going to do everything in my power to keep them safe.


"Warrior?" I looked up from my family to Artemis. She motioned for me to come to the other room. Something tells me the fun will begin soon. I give one last look at my wife and child and go to meet the Goddess. When I reached her in the other room she was looking very concerned. Well did you think this would be easy?


"What's wrong now Artemis?" I know I am not going to be happy with her reply. I crossed my arms and did my eyebrow raise waiting to be angered. "Look" and she pointed out to the Olympus sky. I could see very dark clouds approaching us.


"It's time warrior." Damn, I thought I would have time to take a bath. It is tough to be a warrior and a woman. I called for my wife. Whatever plans needed to be made we’d better make them quick. I watched as Gabrielle entered the room with our daughter. She seemed so natural as a mother. She looked at me and I pointed to the sky. My bard had a worried face as she put a protective arm around Hope.


"So, lets get this show going." Inside I feel like Ares is dancing in my stomach. Ever have one of those days where you know you should not stick your head out of the door? Sigh. Our plan is basic. Gabrielle is to stay and protect Hope while I am sent off to fight him. Well, what did you expect?


My wife was not too thrilled with me for fighting him by myself. She knew she needed to stay and protect Hope. I felt better having Artemis protecting both of them. I held my wife and gave her a quick kiss. She whispered in my ear, "Come back to me." I would do my best, giving her that warrior smile of mine.


Artemis zapped me to a place that did not register as familiar. It was a large desolate piece of swampy ground. The patches of heather smelled of rot and the trees looked like they had survived a cyclone. Branches lay scattered all over the mushy field. The sky was growing darker as I took in my surroundings.


"Xena, I do not know in what form Dahak will show himself this time. I just know he will be here soon." The goddess vanished from sight wishing the Warrior good luck. She left a bow with three arrows behind on the same spot she had stood a heartbeat earlier.


"Isn’t that typical!" Xena started talking to herself in an angry tone. "They shove us around like disposable pawns but wouldn’t think to actually stick around and help."


She walked over to the bow and inspected the tension on the string. "Not bad. Wait, these are Cupid’s arrows. What am I supposed to do with these? Get wart face to love himself to death?" A deep frustrated growl escaped Xena’s mouth.

"Hello Xena." A dark voice rang through the moist air.


The raven-haired woman spun towards the direction of the intruder and her neck hairs rose the moment she saw the owner of that voice. The bow was instinctively aimed at his heart.


"Back for more fun and games, Dahak?" A feral grin replaced the warrior’s usually stoic expression. She laughed at the evil god’s appearance. "So you think I’m scared now because you took on the form of my former enemy? Ha, got some more fireworks too?"


"Hey, hey, hey. Still acting as if this is all about you, Xena?" Dahak mimicked Julius Caesar by clasping his hands behind his back and by bowing his head slightly as he spoke. "I admire the Roman. He’s an Ace when it comes to being cruel. I almost consider him to be family. Speaking about family, how is..."


Xena was not in the mood for idle chat and let an arrow fly, straight towards the god’s right leg. "These must be good for something, otherwise Atrie wouldn’t have left them lying around, please let that be right." The warrior braced herself for whatever reaction she might get and drew her sword.


The arrow spun deep into Dahak’s thigh yet the god didn’t flinch a muscle.

He just looked down with raised eyebrows and back up at Xena.


"Is that all?" A callused hand pulled the arrow out and snapped it in two. "Now what would Caesar do if he were actually here?" The same hand ran along his shapely jaw and returned behind his back.

"You’re doing fine, Dahak, just fine." The warrior let out under her breath, puzzled as to why this evil spawn was holding back on her. She also took advantage of his need for drama, bad drama, to send her Chakram whizzing to the shoulder buckle that held his breastplate in place. She notched the bow immediately and shot an arrow straight at his heart.


Dahak stepped aside and watched the arrow fly past and laughed.


Xena notched her last arrow and before the god realized, it had imbedded itself into the side of his chest.


At the same time Dahak started to howl and pull at the thin length of wood, impaling him in an uncomfortable manner, Artemis flashed before the Warrior and stood ready to fire from her own bow, Gabrielle also joined in at the ready. Both women armed with a plenty of arrows. One after the other the duo sent arrows into the evil god, who was now furious and flinging fire bolts at random, mostly hitting the ground in front of himself.


Xena took a handful of arrows from Artemis’ stash and joined the attack.

She stood slightly in front of her wife, leaving Gabrielle enough room to fire.

The bard looked pale but determined. "They know something I don’t?" The warrior thought to herself while releasing arrows as fast as she could.


Dahak looked like a pincushion and after a short while the god staggered and fell to his knees. He no longer resembled Caesar and grimaced in pain. His reptile like skin turned transparent and cracked the whole length of his back and chest.


"No, noooooooo." The evil god screamed. He felt his power being canceled out by the never-ending invasion of arrows. Loves arrows.

Now I was thinking that this was far too easy. I am a warrior!! Love won?? I look over to my wife. Yeah, love won. Thank the Gods for that. I put my arm around my wife and Artemis zapped us back to Olympus.


"What took you so long?" Said one cocky daughter with my smile. Gods help us. With her arrogance from me, and the knack for getting in trouble from Gabrielle, I will have gray hair in less than a moon.


"Sorry young one, I‘m getting up there in age ya know." I raised an eyebrow and she mimiced me. Poor Gabrielle, now there are two of me. Hope ran to us and my wife bent down and scooped her up. Family, never in my life did I think I would have this. I was too busy holding my family that I did not hear Artemis at first.


"Enjoy your family warrior." We shook hands then she embraced my wife and daughter. I let Gabrielle talk to Artemis while I took the kid. It felt good even though Hope enjoyed teasing me.


"You know this breast thingy makes it hard to hug ya." She looked at me with her mother’s eyes. "I will have swirl marks on my face soon." She huffed, so much like my bard. Before I could comment, Gabrielle and the Goddess finished with their meeting. It was so nice to see that old smile on Gabrielle's face. She came over and held us both.


"Where to Warrior?" Asked a very happy Goddess. I was thinking back to camp, but the wife piped in.


"Amphipolis." She looks up at my stunned face. "I want your mother to meet her." I held my wife and daughter tighter.


"You know mother is going to spoil her rotten?" Family is the word that crosses my mind once more.


"We will manage, warrior of mine." She stands on her tiptoes and gives me a peck.


"Enough of the mushy stuff already." Hope rolls her eyes. "I am about to blow some chunks here." We all laugh as I mess up her hair. That got me another little huff from her.


"Thank you Artemis." I say with all my heart.


"I am just glad we were able to set this straight." The Goddess looks down for a moment. "It was something that was plaguing my soul." She looks at Hope.


"Try to be good." She smirked at Hope.


"I will try, but I cannot promise anything." Gods, she will have gray hair on Gabrielle also. We all gave a chuckle, did our final good-byes and then were zapped to my home village. Artemis had Argo and all our gear ready, but I was stuck like someone had nailed my boots to the ground. Suddenly the idea of having a kid… a family… really hit.


"I have a family." I whispered, holding my wife and daughter tighter. I could not help it, I just needed to cry what my wife calls tears of joy.


"We are family," My wife reassures me. With that we were off to show my mother our family. I am truly happy.


The End!


Return to The Bard's Corner