Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others resembling those from the
TV show, belong to Studio USA and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is
intended. All other characters are of my own creation and belong to me.
Subtext Disclaimer: This story refers to a loving relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.
Shock Factor: 2. Plan D #31.
Ann, thanks again.
Please send any comments to email@example.com
Enjoy, I hope.
Written by FlyBigD
The remaining list of things to do in preparation of the birth of Xena and Gabrielles child wasnt a long one. Only a few more items had to be taken care of to ensure that the birth would go smoothly and that their home would be ready to receive its newest resident. Unfortunately, as the delivery date drew daringly close, the two women were having a little trouble getting the list completed for various reasons. One of which was, though the noisy people were gone and their normal quiet had followed the departure, the two rooms that had been added to their home were still missing key items to make them functional. The console room, for instance, had no console, which is where we pick up our story.
ITEM #10 - The Console room.
Standing at the back of the empty completed hidden console room of the girls house, like she had six times in the past two months, T was staring at the couple with a smile and her right hand poised to snap her fingers. "Which way do you want it to face?" She asked, hoping this time her friends knew the answer.
Xena stepped out of the doorway into the room and looked around at the empty space. The room was 14 feet square, larger than it needed to be to house just the console, because of the nursery directly above it and it didnt have any windows, so there was no view for the warrior to take into consideration as she tried to imagine herself sitting at it. Bending her knees, she held out her hands, as if they were on an imaginary keyboard and slowly rotated in a circle.
Watching the warrior, the god lowered her hand, realizing she obviously hadnt asked as simple a question as she thought.
Gabrielle stayed in the doorway tilting her head from side to side as she rubbed her very swollen tummy. "Does it have to be in the middle, or can the back go up against a wall?"
"It doesnt matter." T replied. Leaning back against the wall, she folded her arms across her chest as she watched her friends in deep contemplation. "The console has its own internal cooling system, so you dont have to worry about that or ventilation. You can put it in a corner if you want."
Making the complete circle, Xena dropped her hands, straightening her legs. "What are you thinking, Gabrielle?" She asked and glanced at her wife.
Doing some imagining herself, the bard rubbed her chin. "I was thinking that it would be nice to have a little play area for the baby, so if only one of us is home, we could bring the baby in here. Maybe a playpen, but I dont know if I want it in front of the console or behind it."
"Hmm." The warrior nodded in agreement. "Thats a good idea." Looking over at her friend, she smiled. "Can you bring it in and then move it around?"
T shrugged. "Sure. You want me to pop in a play pen too, so you can use that as a reference?"
"Yes and one of those small refrigerators." The bard said as she put her hands on her hips. "I dont want to have to call Xena every time I want something to drink."
"Oh, thats good." Xena smiled in appreciation. "We could put snacks and extra bottles in it too."
Though she thought the installation would be quick, the god had come prepared for alterations and pulled a note pad out of her pocket. Calling off the items as she wrote them down. "One electrical outlet for one small fridge. And?" She asked, looking up at the girls.
"Does the console come in anything besides basic black?" Gabrielle asked tentatively. Smiling, she held out her hands and shrugged when T arched an eyebrow at her. "Just wondering."
"What color do you want, Gabrielle?" Answering the question with a question, T put the note pad away.
The bard chewed her bottom lip for a long moment, then winced. "I was thinking that it would be cool if it could match the wallpaper we picked out for the nursery. You know, make it a little less . . . um . . . bleak?"
"Youre kidding?" The god asked as all expression left her face. "You want the console that youre going to be using to run the entire Ungaran empire to have a Winnie the Pooh pattern on it?"
Xena turned toward the bard. "Winnie the Pooh?" She asked with a frown. "I thought we were going with the jungle print?"
With two brunettes giving her the fish eye, the lone blonde smiled at their frowns. "Um, well I do like the jungle print, but I like Pooh, too. Its a classic."
Her eyes steady on her wife, the warrior spoke to her friend. "T, get her a chair. This is gonna take longer than I thought."
T rolled her eyes because she figured that out two months ago, but then she was finally going to get to snap her fingers for something, so she did, popping in both of their living room chairs. "Have a seat, you two." She said dryly as she continued to lean against the wall.
Gabrielle took her seat gratefully and with a little assistance from her wife. "Im sorry, T. I know this should be simple." She said apologetically to the god.
Pushing off the wall, the god shook her head. "Dont worry about it, Gabrielle. I do whatever it takes to make you happy." A smile finding its way onto her lips, she walked over to the pair of chairs.
In her chair, Xena gave her wife a tired look. "What happened to the jungle print?"
"Wait." T interrupted before the bard could answer. "Ive got an idea."
"Thats scary." The warrior smiled at her friend over her shoulder. "What is it?"
After a slap to the back of Xenas head, the god wiggled one finger on each hand, sliding the two chairs and their occupants to either side of the door.
"Hey." Surprised, Xena held on to the arms of the chair as it moved, then gave T a glare.
Gabrielle merely enjoyed the ride with a soft chuckle.
Hands on hips, the god faced her friends. "I see the problem here as you wanting this functional space to be both comfortable and user friendly, correct?"
The girls looked at each other, with both of them shrugging their general agreement.
"Okay, then. I didnt do too bad with Xenas den, right?" She asked, looking through the doorway at the room in question.
The warrior glanced over her shoulder. "Its not too bad. I like it."
"She loves it." The bard corrected. "Go on, T."
Giving the blonde a quick glare, Xena returned her attention to the god. "Okay, go on."
"Why dont you let me do this room, with you here and then I can make any changes that dont meet with your mutual satisfaction?" Putting it as diplomatically as possible, she added a small stipulation. "Or anything that will kill you both to keep."
Another exchange and the girls nodded.
"Go for it." Gabrielle smiled.
"Might as well." Xena sighed and leaned back to get more comfortable.
"Good. Close your eyes." Rubbing her hands together in anticipation, T turned around to face the empty room. Closing her eyes, she raised both hands up to shoulder height, then held them there for a long moment before snapping both sets of fingers simultaneously.
The room changed in a bright flash of light, with Xena and Gabrielle flinching despite the fact that they had their eyes closed. Then they both opened them slowly to see what T had done and two smiles appeared shortly after that.
Nodding in appreciation, the warrior stood as she stared at the console, which couldnt be missed for its size. There, across the room was the large main console decorated in the jungle print she liked with the characters from Winnie the Pooh peeking out amid the foliage. "Now, thats cool."
The bard laughed out loud, spotting the same thing. "I love it." Waving one hand in her wifes direction, she scooted to the edge of the chair. "Xena."
Turning, Xena quickly went over to Gabrielle, helping the bard get to her feet. "Here ya go."
"Thanks." Still smiling, Gabrielle straightened her maternity shirt, then began wandering around the room.
"Well?" T asked, watching her friends closely for signs of disapproval as they walked around.
"Just hold your horses." The warrior protested. "Were not done looking yet."
Sighing, the god rolled her eyes and stepped out of the way. Taking the seat the warrior had vacated, she sat down to wait for the decision.
In literal awe, the bard stared at the walls. No longer the drab plain objects they had been before, it now looked like they were standing in the middle of a meadow with grass, wild flowers and trees painted all around them. Overhead was a pale blue sky with white clouds looking so real it appeared they were floating across the ceiling and the unseen sun lit up the windowless expanse. "Wait a minute." She whispered after a moment as her face became a frown of concentration. "I know this place."
"What?" Xena asked, leaving the small fridge shed been investigating.
T smiled, but didnt say anything.
"What place?" The warrior asked and began to take more interest in the painted scenery. Spinning around, she tried to get her bearings and after a minute, she started to shake one finger. "This is where we got married."
Gabrielle snapped her fingers. "Thats it! This is where we got married this time." She smiled brightly as she glanced at the warrior. "We came out here after your graduation from medical school."
"Yea." Xena nodded. "We had to squeeze it in between packing me up and trying to keep your mother from killing me."
Her job done for now, the god stood. "If you want to make any changes, you know where to find me." Giving the couple a smile and a wink, she popped out to leave them alone with their new work space and their memories.
ITEM #9 - The guest list.
"Youre cutting this pretty close to the wire, arent you?" T asked. Sitting on the living room couch, she was staring at pieces of paper strewn all over the coffee table. "If memory serves, arent baby showers supposed to happen long before the baby arrives? "
"Grace is notorious for last minute miracles." Maggie said with a smirk.
"Ive been busy." Xena said in her own defense. Sitting on the floor on the other side of the table, she sneered at her mother and friend.
"Not too busy with the nursery, I noticed." The god commented under her breath, which got a soft chuckle from Maggie.
"My poor grand baby will be sleeping on a bare floor." Mom muttered, nudging T in the arm as she did.
The warrior rolled her eyes, then closed them. "Are you going to help me with this, or not?"
"Of course we are, Grace." Sitting back, Maggie shook her head. "Well have everything ready when you drive up."
"We?" T asked, glancing at the older woman in confusion. "Grace knows I dont do parties."
Then it was Moms turn to look confused. "Grace said you were coming." Looking between the two, she settled on staring at her daughter.
"Uhhh, T." Xena cleared her throat and nodded towards the kitchen. "Can I have a word?"
The god sighed heavily as she got to her feet. Following the warrior into the kitchen, she started shaking her head before Xena got a word out. "No."
"Listen to me." Whispering, the warrior took Ts arm, leading her further out of ear shot. "You know Gabrielle will be looking for you at this thing, T. You cant not come."
"Xena, you know I would do anything for Gabrielle, but there is more to it than my dislike of parties." Glancing over her shoulder, T made sure no one was listening in more ways than one, then turned back to the warrior. "There will be big trouble if I come to the shower."
"What trouble?" Xena asked, thinking there was yet another dark evil cloud looming on the horizon. "Whose reared their ugly mug now?"
"Aphrodite, for one. Shes very disappointed that you havent invited her." Giving the warrior a knowing look. "You know shes excited about this baby as much as the rest of us and then there is the Ungara, Xena. In case youve forgotten, your baby is an heir to my thrown too and the empire wants to show you how happy they are for you."
As she stood there, a weight came crashing down on the warriors shoulders. "Gods, T. Its just supposed to be family and friends."
The god nodded. "I know and the Ungara can wait until you can find an excuse to come to Greece, but Aphrodite is family, Xena and you know it. And not just mine."
"I know." Sighing, Xena shook her head. "Shes done a lot for us over the centuries, but can you imagine trying to explain the Goddess of Love being at a baby shower?"
"I tell ya what." T smiled as she folded her arms across her chest. "You invite Aphrodite and Ill take personal responsibility for her at the shower. She wont give you any problems. I promise."
Not completely convinced, the warrior eyed her friend speculatively. "You promise?"
"Absolutely." Chuckling, she patted the warrior on the back, turning her in the direction of the the living room. "Even if I have to dress her as a nun and put a muzzle on her."
Another sigh and Xena agreed. "Okay. Add an invitation for Aphrodite. I hope Gabrielle appreciates this."
ITEM #8 - Lamaze
"Ill be glad when tonight is over." Disgruntled, Gabrielle rolled her
eyes. Sitting on the foot of their bed, she wiggled her toes as a sock was slid onto her
right foot. "Can we call in sick to a Lamaze class?"
"Its the last class, Gabrielle." Cross-legged on the floor in front of her wife, Xena chuckled as she put the other green sock on. "If we dont finish, we dont get to have the baby."
"Right." The bard huffed as she fell backwards on the bed. Staring up at the ceiling, she lay there as her shoes were put on. "What are they going to do? Put a cork in there if we dont complete the classes so the baby cant come out?"
The warrior looked up, almost eye to eye with Gabrielles crotch and she tried to imagine a cork going in there. Shaking her head at the vision, she looked down to tie the first shoe, then picked up its match. "Its only a couple of hours. Well make it."
"Why dont they hold these things during the day?" Yawning as she asked the question, Gabrielle closed her eyes. "Dont they know pregnant women need their sleep?"
The last shoe on and tied, Xena uncrossed her legs and stood up. "Dont start that. Open your eyes. Im not taking another ass chewing because you fell asleep in class, so just open those eyes." Grabbing hold of her wifes wrist, she pulled back hard, but gentle. "Get up."
A low groan came out of the bards lips as she opened her eyes. "Okay. Okay." She grumbled. Putting her free hand on the mattress, she pushed up while the warrior pulled until she was sitting up again. Slumping as soon as she was upright, Gabrielle pouted as she was hauled to her feet. "Oh, goodie." She said sarcastically, looking out the door of their bedroom. "Stairs."
"Come on." Chuckling under her breath, the warrior held out her arm for Gabrielle to hold onto for the dreaded trip. "Going down is the easy part."
"Sure. You say that. You can still see your feet."
Seeing the instructor heading their way, Xena nudged her wife. "Gabrielle, wake up." Whispering, she nudged harder the closer Celine got. "Gabrielle."
Arms folded across her chest, Celine strolled around the room watching the ten couples practice their breathing exercises. A mixed group, the pregnant were laying on their designated mats as their coaches gave them encouragement, or that was what was supposed to be happening. Smiling as she approached the two women in the back of the room, Celine leaned forward to peek over Faiths stomach and wasnt surprised to find her student snoozing. "Grace." She said with a polite smile to the cringing coach.
Smiling, the warrior gave the bard a hard nudge as she stared up at the instructor, also known as Gabrielles obstetrician, also known as Attila. "Hi."
"Having a nice nap, Faith?" She asked just as politely, then had to fight back a laugh when two green eyes popped open.
"Im awake" Gabrielle blinked the sleep out of her eyes. When her vision cleared, she closed them again when she discovered her doctor hovering over her with a smirk firmly in place. "Rats."
Xena hung her head and covered her eyes with her hand. "Gods. Here it comes."
"Dont worry, Grace." Celine smiled as she knelt beside the brunette. "Im not going to give you a lecture this time."
The bard groaned because with that announcement she expected to be the one to get the lecture.
Patting Faiths leg, she shook her head. "I know its tough, especially when youre this far along in the pregnancy. Maybe if youd taken the class when I first signed you up, you would have been able to stay awake for the full course."
"I knew it." Sighing heavily, Gabrielle opened her eyes. "Sorry, Celine."
Celine gave her a disapproving wave of her finger. "You can be as sorry as you want, but I dont want to hear one complaint when youre in the delivery room. Youre gonna wish youd paid attention then."
Having no place to hide from her doctors words, the bard nodded. "I know."
The lecture over, the doctor relaxed her stern countenance. "As much as it pains me to say so, I guess your baby is going to come into the world healthy and happy despite the fact that I couldnt keep you on the straight and narrow." She said with mock sadness. "I guess Im just along for the ride."
Now it was time for Celine to get a conciliatory pat and Xena gave it to her with a smile. "Does that mean you arent going to send us a bill?"
"Dream on." Smiling insincerely, she slapped the hand off her shoulder. "I should charge you double for being such pains in the first place. My assistant threatened to quit every time you two had an appointment. I had to give her a raise to keep her from walking out the door."
Reaching out, Gabrielle slapped Xenas leg. "I told you not to put that gel on the telephone."
"Hehehehe." Turning away quickly, the warrior slapped the hand that had slapped her.
"Hmm. I was wondering what happened to that tube." Newly enlightened, Celine chuckled as she rose to her feet. "Anyway, see if you can stay awake for the rest of the class and you might want to actually do the exercises while youre down there, Gabrielle."
"Thanks, Ill see what I can do." Rolling her eyes, the bard began one of the breathing exercises.
Xena, still staring at a blank wall, slowly turned her head around to watch Celine walk away as something gnawed at the back of her brain. "Gabrielle."
"What?" Pausing, she looked up at her wife.
"No, no. Not you." Waving her hand, the warrior had a deep frown on her face. "She just called you Gabrielle."
"What?" Confused, Gabrielle rolled sideways to find Celine in the room.
Glancing down at the bard, Xena got a very sneaky look. "She just called you Gabrielle, Gabrielle. She didnt call you Faith."
Suddenly the bards eyes went wide as she realized the slip. "Celine!"
Looking over her shoulder, the doctor smiled at the couple and waved.
"Get over here." Growling out the words, Gabrielle reached out for the warrior to help her sit up.
Strolling back casually, Celines smile never dimmed. "Can I help you?" She asked in Ungaran.
"Get down here." Grabbing the womans wrist, Xena pulled her down. "Did T plant you as a spy?"
The doctor chuckled and shook her head. "Xena, you picked me, remember. My King has nothing to do with my credentials, other than she paid for me to go to medical school."
Still mad, the bard eyed her doctor. "That still doesnt explain why you didnt tell us you were Ungaran, Celine."
"I know, Gabrielle, but it was my choice. I didnt want you to feel like you were being spied on." Looking pointedly at the warrior. "According to my King, she often gets blamed for that sort of thing."
"Thats because shes a snot nosed brat." The warrior shot back. Releasing the womans wrist, she folded her arms across her chest with a huff. "I still dont like it. You should have told us."
"Yea." Gabrielle agreed. "That was sneaky."
"Okay, I should have told you earlier." Celine admitted. "I just didnt want you to feel uncomfortable with me and the only thing my King was concerned about was that you and your baby were healthy. She didnt ask any probing questions, Gabrielle. She just wanted to make sure you were alright." Crossing her heart with one finger, she held up her right hand. "I swear."
"Great. Now we cant call you names in the delivery room." Xena grumbled under her breath.
Celine chuckled again. "Well, if its any consolation, I dont speak Greek."
Her mood lightening, the bard smiled. "Ill remember that. Now wheres my certificate."
"Gabrielle, are you black mailing me?" The doctor asked in astonishment.
"Celine, it may have been a couple of hundred years since the last time I gave birth, but trust me, I know what Im doing. We invented these dumb breathing exercises before they even had a name, so cough up my certificate." Holding out her hand, Gabrielle wiggled her fingers.
"Shes got ya there, Celine." Xena nodded. "This isn't our first time around the block and she hasnt had dinner yet."
After a second or two of consideration, the doctor sighed. "My King told me you two would be trouble."
"Yea, well. Well deal with her later."
ITEM #7 - The Nursery
After their discovery, the girls came up with a plan to make T pay for her spy even though they really didnt consider Celine a spy, but they were running out of time to get the nursery done and it sounded good anyway. So, the plan was to guilt T into decorating the nursery and then be dissatisfied with it six or seven times, so she would have to do it again and again. It was a harmless kind of retribution that the girls both agreed would give the King of the Ungara a lesson in being completely honest.
That was the plan. Unfortunately, when Xena and Gabrielle opened their eyes after being led into the room with them closed, their plan went out the window. From the crib that could be changed later into a twin bed, to the same jungle/Winnie the Pooh print on the wall, the nursery was perfect. T had even put a four foot stuffed Tigger in the room and made the front of the dresser look like Pooh was hiding honey in one of the drawers. It was a babys dream room and a parents dream room. Mobiles, changing table, child safe toys, easy to get to diaper disposal, everything. The room had the works and them some.
"Damn." Xena cursed under her breath.
"She did it again." Gabrielle sighed.
Turning around together, they shuffled out of the room completely disappointed that it was perfect.
"Wait." T called out. "I didnt show you the best part. The sun turns into a moon when you shut the lights out and I put in fiber optic stars. They change colors!"
ITEM #6 - Practice runs
"Time?" Xena asked, huffing and puffing inside the cab of the truck.
Standing at the entrance to the emergency room, Ares stopped the stop watch he had in his hand. "Thirty seven minutes, forty-four seconds."
"Thats five seconds faster than last time." Smiling to herself and her wife, Gabrielle gave the warrior a wink.
"What was the time?" T asked as she pulled off her helmet. Being the designates escort, it was her job to choose the least congested route.
Ares showed her the watch. "She cut five seconds off."
"Good." Taking a deep breath, she smiled. "Are we going again?"
The warrior leaned back in the seat. Drumming her fingers on the steering wheel, she looked at her wife. "Wadda ya think? Can your bladder take another run?"
"That depends if youre in the mood to rebuild the transmission when we get home." Eyeing the warrior knowingly, Gabrielle gave the dash board a loving pat.
"I didnt grind the gears this time." Xena protested.
"This time, no." The bard smiled. "The other sixteen practice runs today are another story, though."
"Well?" Ares asked, watch at the ready.
"Oh, never mind." Blue eyes rolled as the warrior mumbled. "Well do some night runs tomorrow."
"Great." T sighed. "Ill see if I can find something in road department retro-reflective yellow in Ares closet."
"My closet?" Startled, the God of War shook his head. "Oh, no. Youre not putting me out in front of her."
"Chicken." Laughing, Xena turned over the engine. "Hey, T. See if you cant find a glow in the dark bullseye."
"I heard that."
ITEM #5 - Shopping
"What about this one?" Swerving around racks of baby clothes, Xena whipped through the baby department holding up a light blue jumper for her wifes inspection. "Its got a bunny."
Gabrielle looked up from the jumper she had in her hands to see what the warrior had found. "What size is it?"
"Nine months." Smiling, the warrior presented the item.
"Weve got a lot of that size already." Feeling the fabric, the bard shook her head. "Isnt that a little rough?"
"Rough?" Now frowning, Xena felt the material. "Youre right. No rough stuff for my baby." And off she went to find something soft to clothe their soon to be born child in.
As Xena started another sprint, Gabrielle chuckled. The day had certainly been worth the effort of getting up that morning, because watching Xena enjoy shopping was an event. The warrior was going through the baby department with a fine toothed comb, giving each item a thorough inspection for functionality, durability and softness. Three things that were a must, which after a few minutes Gabrielle had discovered were based more on how cute an animal it had on it than anything else.
"How about this one?" Another item found, the warrior held it up. "Its soft and it has a baby chicken."
"Weve got enough nine months. Why dont you look in the newborn section." Pointing in the direction of that section, the bard chuckled again as Xena dashed off to shuffle through new territory. With the warrior occupied for the moment, she went about sorting through toddler clothes.
After a few minutes, Xena had an armful of tiny clothes and she made her way back to her wife with a big smile. "How many do we need?"
Looking up, Gabrielle eyed the pile of clothes. "What did you do, empty an entire rack?"
"No, I picked out the softest ones." Flicking her eyebrows, the warrior presented her loot.
The bard found this doubtful. "They were all too cute for you to decide, werent they?"
"Kinda sorta." Smiling guiltily.
"Okay, lets see what youve got here." Hanging up what she had in her hands, Gabrielle began going through the tiny jumpers, laying the ones she didnt like on Xenas shoulder. "No. No. Oh, look. This one has got a cute yellow pony on it." Smiling, she held it up for Xena to see.
"Argo!" Snatching the jumper out of her wifes hands. "Gotta have that one."
"Xena, we have four white ones already. If you want Argo, why dont you see if you can find it in another color." Gabrielle sighed and took the jumper back.
"Im on it." Nodding, Xena was off again.
Shaking her head, the bard put the jumper over her shoulder to go with the other keepable finds of the day. "Gods. I hope she doesnt come back with a herd."
Having rummaged through the entire department, the warrior did return with a herd in varying colors and sizes. Then, to secure the bards approval, she presented the fair with a pitiful pout. "How about these?"
Gabrielle took one look at the new pile, then the pout. Without even giving them the softness test, she nodded. "All right."
"Thank you. Thank you." Smiling brightly, Xena gave her wife a kiss. "Now what?"
"What else do they have besides clothes?" Looking around, the bard referred to her mental list of items they were short of.
"Ummmm." Looking as well, the warrior called off items she spotted. "Bottles. Bibs. Shoes. Strollers. Car seats. Diapers."
"Bottles." Snapping her fingers. "We dont have any of those yet."
"Bottles it is." Taking her wifes hand in hers, Xena led the way through the racks towards the far back wall where the bottles were among some of the other items shed seen.
When the warrior moved out of the way, Gabrielle started going through the bottles. Picking up a couple, she put them back. "Xena, whats the latest thing in nipples?"
The warrior looked around to make sure the coast was clear, then pulled out the front of her shirt, glancing down at her boobs. "Is there something wrong with the ones Ive got?"
"What?" Confused, the bard turned around and saw what her wife was doing. "Get your head out of there. Im talking about nipples for bottles, you imp."
Chuckling, Xena dodged a quick slap. "Juuuuust checking."
ITEM #4 - Tying up loose ends
The new part-time work schedule had been sorted out. Two new surgical interns had been added to the team. Jim had passed all the tests with flying colors, including learning how to handle the hospital administrators. Shed turned over all her patients. All the paperwork was done. Her heir apparent already had the keys to the kingdom. Her personal stuff was sitting in a cardboard box on top of her desk. Now the only thing left for Xena to do was to hang up her smock, pick up the box and leave her office to go home to Gabrielle.
Staring at the blank walls that had held her diplomas and certificates, the warrior shook her head. Sad and relieved at the same time, she pulled off her smock, hanging it on the hat rack beside her desk. Pulling her ID off the garment, she clipped it to the collar of her shirt, then picked up the box.
"Dr. Morgan, please report to O.R. four. Dr. Morgan, please report to O.R. four."
"I dont work here anymore." Xena told the speaker over her head. "Gods. I cant even get out the door." Sighing, she picked up the cardboard box, then left her office to go find out what emergency required her attention. Grumbling through the halls, she didnt notice that they were mostly empty and that the few people she saw had smirks on their faces. So focused on keeping up her grumpy persona to the very end, she didnt realize she was being set up until she walked into the operating room and found it full of people, balloons and a banner saying she would be missed. "Ambush!" She yelled and tried to back out the doors.
Jim laughed and grabbed her before she could make her get away. "Get back in here."
Fighting half heartedly, the warrior was dragged back into the room. "Get off me!"
Snatching the box away from her, he gave his former boss a kick in the butt. "Get in there."
Booted into the crowd, the first person Xena ran into was her wife. "You knew about this?"
"Who do you think made the cake?" Mary asked with a huge smile.
"Oh, wait till I get you home, missy." Shaking a warning finger at the bard, the warrior was pulled down into a searing kiss by the back of her neck, much to the amusement of the crowd, who let loose a deafening cheer.
When Gabrielle finally decided to release her wife, she smiled up at the warrior. "You did good, Xena. I know you dont like taking the credit, but let them say goodbye their way. Youve all earned it."
Staring down into two deep green pools, Xena nodded. "Okay." Looking up, she smiled at the expectant crowd. "Let the party begin!"
ITEM #3 - Packing
Staring down at an almost empty lingerie drawer, Xena shook her head. "I think youre a little short in the jammy department, Gabrielle."
"We sleep in the nude, Xena and nothing in there is gonna fit anyway." Standing at the foot of the bed, Gabrielle pointed behind her. "There are two cotton gowns in the closet."
"Right." Closing the drawer, the warrior crossed the room to the bards closet. Pulling out the two gowns, she took them over to the bed, laying them beside the suitcase. "Next?"
"Um." Chewing her bottom lip, the bard looked at what had already been packed. "Slippers."
"You want the ones on your feet or that pink fuzzy pair your mother gave you?" Looking down, Xena waited for the call to be made.
"Take these. Ill wear the pink ones until I go to the hospital." Lifting one foot, Gabrielle hung onto Xenas arm for balance.
Removing the slippers one by one, she handed the pair over. "Next?"
The bard put her slippers in the suitcase, then turned around to think. "Robe or no robe?"
"Yours doesnt fit anymore." Xena reminded her plump wife with a smile. "You want to pack mine? Youve been wearing it anyway."
"No, Ill take mine. Itll fit after I have the baby." Giving the warrior a shove, Gabrielle turned back to the suitcase. "And get my toiletry bag out of the bathroom."
"Aye, aye." Saluting, the warrior did a snappy about face, then marched into the bathroom. Picking up the small black bag, she hefted it a couple of times as she walked back to the bed. "What have you got in here? This thing weighs a ton."
Taking the bag, she tucked it in next to the slippers. "The basics. Tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, hair brush and a few other essentials."
Xena looked down at the bag with a new respect. "It must be bigger on the inside than the outside." She surmised and walked around the bed, picking up Gabrielles robe. "Here ya go." Tossing it across the bed. "What else?"
Gabrielle did some more thinking as she folded her robe. "Did you get film for the camera?"
"Yea. Two rolls of thirty-six ready to go and one already loaded in the camera." Coming back to the foot of the bed, she put her hands on her hips. "I put the bag in the truck already."
"Okay." In went the robe and the bard started chewing her lip again. "I think thats it. Can you think of anything we missed?"
Tapping her chin, the warrior looked around the bedroom. "Did you pack anything to wear home?"
Sighing, Gabrielle turned around once more to give her open closet a long hard look. "I forgot about that." Patting her tummy as she walked over, she tilted her head to the side. "Well, Ill have shoes on when I get there, so I dont need those and Ive already packed a nursing bra. Socks."
"Ill get those." Heading back to the dresser, Xena pulled out the sock drawer. "What color?"
Trying to narrow the field and figure out what size she might be after giving birth, the bard eyed a couple of prospects. "White ones. Two pair. They go with anything."
"Got it." Retrieving two pairs of white socks, the warrior took them to the bed and sat down beside the suitcase. "Did you pack something for the baby to wear home?"
"Yea. The white Argo sleeper with a hood." Talking more to herself, she pulled a silky green jogging outfit out of the closet. Checking the size, she put it back. "Maybe next year."
Watching her wife, Xena tapped her chin. "Would you be more comfortable in a dress? You might be too sore to get into a pair of pants."
"True." Sighing again, Gabrielle pulled out a maternity dress shed grown out of a few months before. "This ought to do it." Spinning the hanger around in her hand, she gave the garment the once over. "Yep, I think we have a winner.
The warrior smiled. "I really like that one."
The bard gave her wife a sideways glance. "I know. You said it makes my butt look cute."
"I said your butt was cute. That dress had nothing to do with it." Xena corrected. "You could wear a potato sack and Id drool over that package."
"Oh, yea?" Asking in a seductive tone, Gabrielle added a little swish to her waddle as she walked back to the bed.
Still nodding, the warrior flicked her eyebrows.
"You mean you still think Im beautiful as a beached whale?" Batting her eyelashes, she laid the dress over the suitcase as she stepped in front of Xena.
"Gabrielle, the only time Ive ever seen you look more beautiful was the first time I saw you." Xena whispered as she smiled up at her wife.
Staring down into sparkling blue, Gabrielles heart melted on the spot. "What did I ever do to deserve you?" She asked quietly, running her fingers through dark tresses.
"I dont know, but if you find out, please dont fix it."
ITEM #2 - The baby shower
"Ares, go tie these to the mailbox and make sure theyre secure. The last thing we need if for them to float away before anybody gets here." Handing him a bunch of helium filled balloons, T shook her head.
"Ive got it." Ares smiled, then wrapped the strings tightly around his hand. "Ill be back in a few."
"What about me?" Almost bubbling over, Aphrodite tugged on Ts sleeve. "I want to help."
The god turned around and gave the goddess a smile. "First thing youve got to do is change out of that outfit before Xenas mom gets here."
Looking a little disgusted, the goddess rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Okay. One plain Jane outfit coming right up." Waving her hand, she changed into a pair of jeans, a light pink t-shirt and pink tennis shoes. "I feel like a hobo. Happy now?"
"Hair, Aphrodite. That style went out a thousand years ago. Try something a little less poofy." Eyeing the mass of curls, she smiled sadly.
"My hair!" Stamping her foot, Aphrodite was going to pitch a true goddess fit, but it died when T looked at her watch. "Gods! The things I do for a good party." Snapping her fingers, she put her hair into a pony tail.
T glance up and smiled. "Perfect. Now, lets get those decorations up." Taking Aphrodite by the arm, she led the put off goddess into the house.
"I hope no one I know will see me like this." Sighing as she was towed away. "My reputation would be ruined."
"Come on." Rolling her eyes, the god opened the front door.
About ten minutes later, the house was done. Decorated with godly speed, it was a pink, blue and green wonder with everything that needed to be strategically placed in its place and the food just waiting for someone to eat it. Unfortunately, that was about the time Xenas mom arrived expecting to be of some help.
"Im sorry, Mrs. Morgan. I guess we got a little carried away." T said apologetically and smiled. "I think weve got everything done."
"Oh." Nodding, Maggie looked around the living room. Steamers and balloons everywhere, she smiled approvingly. "You did a good job. Its wonderful."
"Thank you." Wanting to slap herself, the god closed her eyes. Thinking fast, she had to resort to probing Xenas memories for something for her mother to do. "Punch!" She said suddenly as her eyes popped open. "We havent made that yet."
"Good save." Aphrodite whispered, nudging her brother in the ribs.
Maggie chuckled. "Nice save. I can see why Grace likes you so much. You must be a wonder at getting her out of jams."
T groaned. "Too bad Im not so good at getting myself out of them without sticking my foot in my mouth."
"Nonsense." Shaking her head, Mom turned T around. "You just need more practice. Now, show me to the kitchen and Ill give you my secret punch recipe."
"Can I take the gift?" Ares offered with a smile.
Maggie handed him the box and returned the smile. "Are you staying for the shower?"
"Im the valet parking attendant." He told her, as his smile grew. "Ive heard about what gets discussed at these things and Ill be happy to stay outside."
Mom laughed. "Wise choice. My husband flatly refused to get within ten miles of this house today."
"Ooo. Its not going to get all icky is it?" Aphrodite asked with a shiver.
"Only if Grace starts a food fight." Shaking her head, Maggie rolled her eyes.
"You need help parking cars, Bro?" Giving the God of War a winning smile.
"Beat it, Sis. You dont have a drivers license." Sticking out his tongue, Ares walked away to put the gift on the table by the French doors.
"Oh, pooh." Stomping her pink shoe, Aphrodite pouted.
Maggie glanced from the tall dark man to the blonde blue eyed woman. "Youre brother and sister?"
"Unfortunately." The goddess grumbled. Folding her arms across her chest, she managed to get her bottom lip out a smidgen further.
"Im sorry. You havent met Aphrodite yet, have you?" T asked, turning back. "Aphrodite, this is Maggie Morgan, Xenas mom. Mrs. Morgan, this is Aphrodite."
"Ares and Aphrodite." Mom stared for a second, then she shook her head. "Im not even going to ask." Extending her hand, she smiled. "Its a pleasure to meet you."
"Of course it is." Getting back her smile, the Goddess of Love shook the offered hand.
"Aphrodite." T growled. "Why dont you go upstairs and check on Gabriel? He might be up from his nap."
"Okay." Clapping her hands, the goddess trotted up the stairs. "Auntie Aphrodite is coming, sweet pea."
"Does she live in Greece too?" Maggie asked watching the perky blonde go up the stairs.
Reading between the lines of the question, T shook her head. "That, Mrs. Morgan, is a very long story and trust me, you do not want to know."
"I didnt think so."
Not long after that, the guests started to arrive and Ares did his part by parking the cars around back, so they couldnt be seen from the driveway. Aphrodite, after again begging for something to do because her nephew was still sleeping, was designated as guest greeter, so she stationed herself on the porch. Maggie took the gifts with some help from T with the heavier ones and she served snacks. T checked guests off the list as they arrived and sent Ares out to get the balloons off the mailbox when the last one showed up, then she sent a mental message to Xena that it was safe to come home. Then she stood out on the porch to wait with Ares, because Joyce was one of the guests and to give the signal for everybody to hide and she put a book case in front of the door to the console room when the Moms got snoopy and discovered the dirty storage room off the living room wasnt so dirty anymore, to their daughters future angst.
Eyes closed and concentrating, T waited until the truck pulled into the drive, then she raised her hand. "Now." Turning quickly, she opened the door. "Here they come."
Chaos commenced as a room full of women searched for places to hide and Ares ran up stairs.
T hid by the side of the door, then gave up the spot to drag Aphrodite into the kitchen when the goddess proved unable to find someplace to her satisfaction. "Come on."
"Thank you." Gabrielle sighed as Xena pulled up in front of the house. "I think this is the worst day of my life."
"I said I was sorry." Shutting off the engine, the warrior sighed as she got out. "I thought they said today." Walking around to the passenger side, she opened the bards door, then helped her wife get out.
"Yea, well I guess we can mark getting new tires for the truck off the list of things to do." Grumbling her way up the porch steps, the bard was shaking her head. "Two hours. I can change four tires in less time than that."
Xena just sighed and moved around her wife to open the front door. "Maybe youll feel better with a massage?"
"Sweet mother of Zeus!" Grabbing her stomach, Gabrielle nearly fell out the door.
"Gotcha." Her frown gone, the warrior smiled. "Welcome to your baby shower, Faith."
The bard turned around to shake a fist in her wifes face. "I hate surprises."
"Tough, get in there." Shoving the blonde inside, Xena closed the door.
Gabrielle smiled, despite her words to the contrary and stepped into the room to laugh at the faces smiling back at her. "Oh, my gods. Mom? Karen? Barbara?"
"Whats up, Faith." Karen asked as she stepped forward to give her sister a hug.
"How did you get here?" Hugging her sister back, the bard got handed off to her mother.
"We were coming anyway, Faith and Grace offered to pay for plane fair, sooo." Leaving the statement hanging, Joyce smiled at her daughter-in-law.
Gabrielle turned around to stare at her wife. "You what?"
Flicking her eyebrows, Xena winked.
"Yea, Faith. Grace flew everybody out. Dad and Greg are at the hotel." Hugging her sister-in-law, Karen gave her a pat on the butt. "I guess this new job is a money maker, huh, Grace?"
"Lets just say that some people think no price is too high when it comes to making Faith happy." A little smug, she nodded towards the kitchen where T was sticking her head out.
Following the nod, the bard spied the money maker.
T winked and waved, then she pulled Aphrodite into view.
"And then theres the price we pay for love." Xena whispered.
"Aphrodite!" Laughing, Gabrielle waved. "I wont even ask what got her into that outfit."
"Come on. Come on." Maggie chimed in. "Dont stand there all day. Take a load off so we can get this thing going." Waving her daughter-in-law her way, she cleared a path to one of the chairs. "Sit. We got lots of stuff planned for you."
"Thats what Im afraid of." Shaking her head, the bard walked past the couch to sit in the chair by the back of the house. "This is great, you guys. You really got me."
"For those of you who cant read the subtitles, that means once youre gone, Im dead." Xena announced and got a round of laughter.
And so the shower got kicked off. After the initial greetings, games were played, presents were opened and a lot of cake and ice cream was eaten with everyone having a good time. The only interruption came when Ares brought Gabriel downstairs to T and then a general awwww went up from the crowd of women who cooed over the sleepy little boy. Aphrodite played well with others, keeping her promise to T. Xena stayed close to her wife, helping Gabrielle with the presents and was totally herself, which surprised a few of the guests who thought they knew her, but the warrior didnt let the strange looks effect her good humor. T stayed in the kitchen mostly and kept a close eye on Gabrielle when she started getting unusual sensations from the blonde. Once shed figured out what was going on, she began watching Gabrielle a lot closer and timed the mild contractions the bard was having.
ITEM #1- Dont panic
While everybody had fun, unaware that their gifts might be used sooner than they thought, T worked sent Ares outside to use his powers to discreetly move Celines car from the pack in the back yard to beside the house, so she could leave quickly. Then she filled Gabrielles truck up with gas and went into the living room to check on her friend when Xena left her side to do something. Squatting down beside the bards chair, T smiled up at Gabrielle. "How ya doing?" She whispered in Ungaran.
Gabrielle looked over at T and didnt need to ask what her friend was referring to. Smiling, she sighed. "So far, so good."
"Just say the word, Gabrielle and youll be out of here in a heartbeat." She said very seriously. "Ill handle the guests."
"I know, T, but its not bad yet." Her smile warm, the bard looked around at her friends, and family. "I may not get this chance again. Nobody is fighting and everybody is having a good time. Even my mother."
T chuckled and glanced at Joyce. "And I didnt even have to put the whammy on her."
Gabrielle cocked her head to the side to give T a suspicious stare. "Are you sure?"
Rolling her eyes, the god shook her head. "I promise. No whammies on anybody here."
"What about Aphrodite? What did you do to her to get her in that outfit?" Staring more blatantly, Gabrielle raised her eyebrows.
"Well, that was kind of a mutual agreement." Waving her hand, T shrugged. "Xena agreed to invite her if I took full responsibility for keeping her in check. She really wanted to come, Gabrielle. You know shed do anything to be here with you. Shes missed your visits to the Palace."
"You threatened to evict her, didnt you?" Folding her arms across her chest, the bard dared the god to lie.
"Actually, I didnt have to. All I told her was that the only way she could come is if she promised to fit in." Holding out her hands, she shrugged again. "Thats all it took. I told you she wanted to come."
One more suspicious look and Gabrielle laughed. "Okay, I believe you."
"Hey. Stop hogging my wife." Xena snorted as she walked up. "I go for chips and youre skulking around."
"Call me if you need me." T whispered, then she stuck out her tongue at the warrior as she stood up.
"Brat." The warrior called after the god when she left. Taking her place at Gabrielles side, she smiled at her wife. "Mine."
"Definitely." Gabrielle smiled and gave the warrior a quick kiss.
On her way back to the kitchen, T caught Celines attention. Leading the doctor to someplace quiet, she explained Gabrielles situation and informed Celine where her car was. "Be ready. Im not sure Ares or I will be able to take point for the trip to the hospital with all these people here, so you may have to drive in front of the girls."
Celine nodded. "Got it. How are the contractions?"
"Not bad, so far, but theyre getting close together and Gabrielle is unpredictable when it comes to giving birth." Shaking her head, the god sighed. "This wouldnt be the first time she delivered early."
"Okay. Ill be ready and Ill wait for your signal." Giving her King a smile, the doctor turned away to get back to the party.
T walked behind Celine to the edge of the living room, where she stopped to take up bard watch again.
The shower turned party showed no signs of breaking up when Gabrielle put her hand on Xenas arm and Xena didnt know what the gesture was for until five fingernails dug into her skin. "Gods." Growling under her breath, she turned to her wife and saw the strain on her face. Then what was happening became quite clear, but she waited until the bard let go before she went into action. "T!"
Coming out of the kitchen like lightning, T was at the chair in two seconds. "Time?" She asked Gabrielle.
Gabrielle took a deep breath and nodded. "Time."
"Ill go get the truck running." Xena whispered then stood up. "Mom, go get the small suitcase out of the bedroom and meet me outside." Not waiting to see if her instructions were going to be followed, the warrior weaved her way to the door.
Maggie didnt ask questions and headed for the stairs.
"Whats going on?" Joyce asked, coming over to the chair.
"Shes in labor." T said quietly and gently slid her arms under the bards back and legs. Lifting slowly, she picked Gabrielle up out of the chair. "Celine. Youve got point."
"Im half way there." Putting down her punch, the doctor was a step behind the warrior.
"In the middle of a baby shower?" Karen asked, stunned. "Now thats some timing, Faith."
"Who asked you." Smiling insincerely, Gabrielle laid her head on Ts shoulder.
T growled a low throaty growl and suddenly her path to the front door cleared. Walking slowly, she carried the bard in her arms. "Just relax. Ive got ya."
Flying down the stairs, Maggie beat them to the door. "I got it." Rushing out onto the porch, she tossed the suitcase in the back of the truck. "Careful with the steps."
Jumping out of the truck, Xena ran around to the passenger side to open the door. "Here we go."
Smooth as silk, T put Gabrielle into the cab of the truck. "You take it easy." Pointing a warning finger at the warrior, she closed the passenger door. "Follow Celine."
"Arent you coming?" Gabrielle asked T.
"Gotta get these ladies out of here first, but Ill be there, you can count on that." With a wink and a kiss, the god stepped back from the truck. "And dont break anything Xena might need later."
The bard smiled. "Ill just call her names."
"Move it!" Sweeping her arm out, T pointed to the road.
By the time the warrior had the truck moving, everyone was out on the porch to wave as the girls pulled away.
With a heavy sigh, T turned around to face the crowd. "Okay, ladies. Dont panic. Well get you out of here as quick as we can and for those of you who need to make phone calls, theres a phone in the living room, but family has first dibs."
To be continued.
Thanks for reading.
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