Disclaimer: All characters in this fanfiction of Xena:Warrior Princess are copyrighted and owned by MCA/ Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No profit was made and this is in fun. But this is about two women in love, so if you can't handle it, turn back now. Nothing graphic mind you. X-Tra Special thanks: Mary D, Jo Burke, Kallisto, Sandy Shay (LOOK! I'm a Bard Now!) Tim Wellman (for "publishing" my 1st story) Jocasta, DC Lisa, Lunacy (Sucking up of course for a review. Dawwwlinngg!! HollywoodKissesOBC) and to the great Bards of the Xenaverse who I'm a fan of: DJWP, Bat Morda, Missy Good, and the others out there. Gimme that feedback! email@example.com
Clothing in Potaideia
By James Bergquist
Gabrielle stomped and huffed around the campfire to no use.
Xena turns in her bedroll, not hearing her angry little Bard.
Xena's going to be sick, after all those mugs of extra-strong port she had. "Good!" Gabrielle thinks "I hope she pukes up her boots! Of all the most immature, stupid maneuvers. I should break my staff over that thick head of her's, but I can't replace the staff"
Gabrielle boils a pot of water and grabs Xena's herb bag. A good 10 mugs were scattered around her as Gabrielle had to lift her beloved Warrior over Argo's saddle. Embarrassment and shame filled Gabrielle for the first time in her relationship with Xena. Sharp daggers to her heart. Never in her life did she feel like that. Until she heard the snickers of the tavern goers. But she couldn't be away from her soulmate.
Gabrielle pokes Xena's blanket "Xena, wake up. Breakfast is ready. I got some eggs" Nothing happens.
Xena groans and switches sides.
Gabrielle frowns "C'mon, Xena. I'm starving here. I know how much you hate to eat alone. Get up" That's one little thing Gabrielle hated. Xena ALWAYS made her wait until they ate together. Since the first night they started there life together, they never broke that rule. Xena had a venomous hatred of eating alone. The young Queen feels the anger swell in her as she remembers last night's events. The fights were about her mother and father. Gabrielle's sister, Lila, and about Xena's brother Toris. Xena wanted to make up to Toris, but didn't want to be the first to apologize. Xena's growing silence day after day. Then, Gabrielle tried to make peace by saying she didn't want to go to bed angry at Xena. Xena agreed, but was still fuming alittle bit. Then, Xena started kissing and nibbling Gab's neck. All that fighting gave Gabby a headache and told Xena to wait for another night. Xena rolled over and took it wrong. Gabrielle blew up and Xena leaped up, put on her armour and sword and mounted Argo. She told Gabrielle she's going to be around some adults. Gabrielle yelled "Fine!!" and rolled over in her bed. Xena rode off and Gabrielle stayed most of the night waiting then, went to the tavern to get Xena, her truelove. Her heart sank, seeing her helpless love, passed out, Xena's eyes red and puffy from crying on the way to the tavern. Gabrielle sobbed and wiped her face as put Xena's eggs on a plate for her and prepared the tea. Ever since they became lovers last year, a strange thing happened. No serious fighting. Little tiny squabbles. A few seconds, maybe. She should have seen it coming. Gabrielle's mom always told her when someone gets married usually the honeymoon lasts about a good 60-90 moons. Then, they have the first big fight. Sometimes it's big, sometimes small, but it always happens. Gabrielle's teeth grind "Mom was right. Again. Gods, I hate that! And I was so smug too. I was worried, just a tiny bit, but I was HAPPY! WE were happy!! Xena and I are soulmates! We were BEYOND that petty stuff! Not one bad word between us. She started to talking more to me. Showing that pure and soft side that I fell in love with. Xena was very open and loving and wasn't afraid to show it. And that smile! The warmest smile, bright and so full of happiness. She is my life and I'm her's. I make her so happy. That and the fact we were going at it like rabbits ALL the time" Gabrielle giggles then sighs. "Look at me. I'm very angry with her and I'm cooking her eggs like a good little wife."
Gabrielle kisses Xena's head then snaps her head back to avoid the swat from her hungover Warrior.
"Gabrielle! Knock it off."
"Good Morning, Xena. Glad you could barely join the living today"
Xena's eyes felt like they were going to pop as her stomach turned sour. "Oh, ZEUS! MY HE- my head. Please, Gabrielle. Cut my head off. Do it because you love me....Oh, Gods!" Xena slaps a hand over her mouth as she turns green and leaps up to the bushes. Curses that would make Aries blush came in-between the splashes of used port.
"It's so romantic the way you sweet talk me in morning, dearest" Gab commented, anger apparent in her voice "Like you don't deserve that. Storming off. Getting drunk. I thought we were going to talk last night."
Xena puts up her hand "Gabrielle, I don't want to hear this now..I'd like one quiet morning..." Xena wipes her mouth and puts on her leather shift. She walks over to Argo and pets her nose. Argo was eating her oats and Gabrielle added some apples to her feedbag. "Always giving that something extra, my love" Xena thinks thorough her muddled thoughts.
"When is a good time, Xena? WHEN? On your deathbed? I'm not going to wait that long! How many times am I going to carry you out of a tavern like last night? I'll tell you! ONCE! I'm NEVER going to do that again! You should have seen how they looked at us!"
Xena buckles the last part of her armour "Well, I'm sorry to shame the Queen. I'll remember to pass out in a darker corner" Xena gulps her herb tea to numb the throbbing headache and then starts to break camp.
"C'mon, Xena. I didn't mean it like that. We can work this out." A tear goes down Gabrielle's cheek as she watches Xena continue packing. Silent moments pass. Gabrielle puts her hand on Xena's shoulder. Xena spins around to see Gabrielle's sparkling green eyes. Like the two greatest jewels in the world. "Xena, if you're mad at me about something, TELL ME. Don't punish me forever."
"No, Gabrielle! I love you too much, my Little Queen. Beyond measure. It's the fact that you're family hates me. And don't say they like me. I don't want to poison your relationship. I can't do it anymore, Gabrielle. You haven't spoke to your father since Solstice! I can't have that on my mind. Go make up with your father. I'm tired of it. I'm just TIRED OF IT!"
Gabrielle sobs and hugs Xena tightly "Oh, Xena. Just come with me. We can talk it out with them. They are very loving, kind, forgiving people. Sit with them. Let them know the real you. The one I LOVE. Daddy and I will make up. They DON'T HATE YOU!! Can't you see that!! Don't run away, Xena."
"I'm sorry, Gabrielle. I'll be at the Inn down the road from your farm. I won't sit there with a stupid look on my face and take their crap.."
"How could you say that? You want to run away? Great!! I'm a grown up. I can cross the road WITHOUT you holding my hand and I sure as Tartarus can make it home without you. Go crawl around in your self-pity. When you are finished, maybe you can face them like the adult you claim to be!!"
"Sounds like a plan to me. I can't fight with you anymore! Just go see them, and then we'll go on from there. I Love you deeply, Gabrielle."
"Oh, Xena. I love you too. Now and forever, but please reconsider"
Xena takes a look at her "It's for the best" and then signals Argo into a full run. "Heeyaeah!!"
Gab's tears flow freely as she picks up her scroll bag and Warstaff. Then, she sees it. Her knuckles whiten on her staff. "Xena!! You forgot the frying pan! DAMN IT!!" Gab screams and throws the frying pan far and true against two trees, denting it. "Another one because of that woman! UGH!" Gab shakes her head and starts her half-day walk home. Her stomach growls. "I can't believe it. I actually forgot to EAT."
Gabrielle's stomach roared loudly as she walked down the trail. "Shut up" she grumbled to her grouchy stomach as she continued down the road. Thoughts of the morning passed in her vivid mind. Gabrielle doesn't even remember how the fighting started. They were both tired and one of them said something offhandedly. After some moments of uncomfortable silence, the fight started again and Gab's family was brought up. How her family snubs her and how unwelcome she feels around them. Then Gab shot back about Xena's stubborn grudge against Toris. If only Xena would just for once put aside that damn pride of her's and talk to Gab's folks. But in the other hand, Gabrielle doesn't blame Xena for being scared. Cyrene, Xena's own mother, did slam the door in her face when Xena needed her the most. That made Xena hide her feelings and be the soldier instead of a outgoing person.
Gabrielle giggles and remembers the first two weeks she joined Xena in their adventure together. Xena was like a marble statue. It took the little runaway all of her charm just to hear three sentences. Gods! Xena's cooking was a tragedy, she wasn't a big fan of talk, much less girltalk. Not to mention the way she was a grouch in the morning. It never ended. "Gabrielle, we have to go faster." "Damn it, Gabrielle! Will you get up!" "Can't you skin that rabbit any better? There's hardly any meat!" "No, we don't have the time" Xena didn't just have a stick up her ass, she had the whole damn forest! Gabrielle pounds the ground with her staff as she continues her journey.
Unknown to the Young Queen, Xena lurked in the trees following Gabrielle.
After her ride to the Inn, she couldn't bear being away from Gabrielle. So, Xena put Argo in the local stables to rest and ran back to her love. Xena planned on grabbing and kissing her love and apologizing to Gab for her behavior but something stopped her. Xena saw her beautiful Little Bard and froze. She felt ashamed for her actions and couldn't face Gabrielle. "I REALLY screwed myself this time" Xena thought as she kept a watchful eye on Gabrielle. "Oh, Gods! Gabrielle will KILL me if she knew I was watching her like this. I have to face those damn parents of hers. It's a package deal. You love Gabrielle, so you HAVE to tolerate her folks. But that sister of hers..." Xena frowns as she follows her beloved down the road. Another candlemark later, Gabrielle reaches the marketplace. Gabrielle's mouth waters as the smell of fishcakes and stuffed olives fill the air. "Ummm, food of the gods." Gabrielle says with a sappy look on her face. Xena chuckles to herself. Xena's heart yearns to touch that wondrous face and inhale her scent. "OK. Babysitting is over. Back to the Inn" Xena blows Gabrielle a kiss "Love you, Gabrielle. I see you soon"
"Lila! Lila!" Gab yelled as she waved to her younger sister.
"Gabrielle? OH GODS! I can't BELIEVE IT!" Lila squeaks as Gabrielle hugs and lifts her sister. Then, Gabrielle snatches a loaf of bread from Lila's bag and starts devouring the loaf like a starving wolf with a fat sheep. "Geez, Gabrielle. Would you like some bread?"
After 3 more bites, Gab replies, crumbs flying "Sorry. I missed breakfast. Long story."
Lila looks around "I'm SO glad to see you!! Where's Xena?"
Gabrielle frowns "Again. Long story"
Lila looks at her sister with concern "Oh, no! That's not good. Here." Gab's eyes light up as Lila hands her some black olives "Let me guess. You had a fight" Gabrielle nods.
"Oh, boy. Must have been nasty. What happened?"
"I don't know, Lila. It started yesterday and it went to Tartarus in a reed basket fast. Finally, Xena got tired of fighting and went to the Inn to stay there until I'm finished seeing you and Mom."
"Don't forget Dad."
"Yeah, him too" Gabrielle huffed.
"Why the Inn? Why isn't she staying with us? You and Xena never slept apart voluntarily."
Gab sniffs and chews on some olives.
"It was about us, wasn't it?" Lila asked, anger tainting her voice. Gabrielle says nothing. Lila explodes in anger "DAMN IT!! I cannot believe this!! How can she just storm off like that? You going to let her have her little temper tantrum like a little brat? This is so much like her"
Gabrielle stomps her feet "HEY! I didn't ask YOU to butt in, Lila! She wants to be a baby, FINE! Xena is my problem!! Not yours!"
Lila puts up her hands "Hey, Gab. I'm just concerned. C'mon. I'm just glad to see you in one piece. Mom and Dad miss you so much." Lila puts her arm around Gabrielle's shoulder and squeezes.
"I missed you. I got your scrolls. And I have a new job here in the village" Lila smiles as she holds up a bolt of fabric. "I'm making dresses! Isn't that neat!"
"Dresses? C'mon, Lila. You hate sewing. Cooking and helping the animals, you did great. But making a dress?"
"Hey, I got a interest. You are a bard, I'm going to clothe all of Potiedia! Maybe even the Amazons! I know a certain Queen and we're like this" Lila holds up two crossed fingers.
Gab laughs "I don't think the Amazons are the formal types, Lila. What are they going to do? Go to war in full sequin gowns? Blind the opponents?"
"Hey! That's a thought!"
"OK, Lila. What's his name?"
Lila stopped walking. "Alright! It's Lycos. The dress shop owner's son. You happy?"
"I thought so. Hot and heavy, eh?"
Lila looks around in shock and blushes "Shh! ooohhh,yeeaahh. C'mon, Gabrielle. I started doing it and I liked it! It was great!"
"You are talking about making dresses, right?" Gab asks with a evil grin.
Lila punches Gabrielle in the arm hard "Yes!! Oh, you! If Mom knew you were talking like that...."
"C'mon. Dinner should be ready soon. I need to see Mom and Dad again. Alot of things happened in the last year. I need to tell them I love them. Xena and I will calm down and make up. We just need to cool down."
"C'mon. Let's go home."
"I don't know, Lila. Everytime I get around them, I'm 10 winters old again."
"Gabrielle. It doesn't matter. We love you, no matter what." Lila hugs her sister. "It's time to take that first step." Gabrielle and Lila finish their journey as they open the door to their house and into the loving arms of Hecuba.
Xena tossed and turned in the bed she laid on. Too quiet. Xena shot up in her bed. "Gab is right! I have to face them. I can't wait any longer. Maybe I'll wear a dress. The armor and sword are too intimidating." Xena slapped on her armor and ran out of the tavern. "Dress, Dress. Need the perfect dress. Maybe some wine. After looking and looking, Xena just grabbed the one that fit her well. "I wish I didn't have to face them. Now i gotta go crawling on my knees. Plus, I'm going to hear 'I told you so' from Gabrielle for the next blasted two winters, at least. I hate that. *sighs* Oh, well." Xena then sees a pale blue dress. "Hmm. Can't wear that one. Makes me look like a tramp" Then, a grin slowly spreads on the Warrior Princess' face. Xena grabs the blue dress. "Looks like I'll need a little help with this problem."
Hecuba was putting the finishing touches on the lamb when BOTH her daughters entered the house, a rare and joyous occasion of late. With Gabrielle as Queen of the Amazons and Lila's new "calling" as dressmaker, Hecuba is starting to feel the effects of a empty nest. Gabrielle's surprise visit couldn't come at a better time. "Oh, Gabrielle! My baby! I can't believe this! I missed you so much!" Hecuba said as she squeezed Gabrielle.
Gabrielle smiled as she felt the welcome and loving arms of her mother. Hecuba's hugs were like being in the Elysian Fields.. "Hi, Mom. I missed you, too. I wish you wouldn't call me 'my baby.' It's embarrassing"
"I'm your mother, Gabrielle. I do what I want. Gosh, dearie. Don't you ever eat on the road? You and Xena must be starving. Sit, sit!" Hecuba turned and grabbed two plates and started stacking on the food for Xena and Gabby.
Gab plopped down in her old place at the dinner table and dropped her eyes to the wood. "Mom, you don't need to..." Gabrielle started.
"No, no! It's no problem. I got plenty for everyone. Your father is in the barn. She can put...Ergo-Eggo...her horse there. And she can sleep..."
"Mom, Xena is not here. She's at the Inn." Lila interrupted and crossed her arms. Hecuba stopped dead in her tracks and nearly dropped her plates.
"What?" Hecuba exclaimed as she looked at Gabrielle. Hecuba sat down and took Gabrielle's hand. "Ok. What happened?"
"We just had...some bad words, that's all." Gabrielle's eyes fill up as she sobs "Oh, gods! Who am I kidding? We had a nasty fight. More like four or five nasty fights. I couldn't believe it. We were getting along great, then, Boom! It was terrible!"
"C'mon Gabrielle. You must have bickered and fought before."
"No, Mom. We didn't. Not even once."
"That's why is was so nasty. All...couples...must get all that stuff off their chest. It was about us, wasn't it?"
Gabrielle looks up in amazement to her mother. "How did you know that?"
"Fights are usually about money or family members. Believe me, you don't stay married this long without some nasty scraps."
Gabrielle sniffed and grumbled "Then, after all this, she storms off and gets drunk. I had a headache and I snapped at her. She got up and rode off. But, she didn't have to do such a juvenile stunt. I was so worried. I had to drag her off on Argo in front of everyone. I didn't know if I should have felt sorry for Xena or myself. I make a peace offering of fresh eggs and she just has tea and grumbles at me some more. We bickered and she decided to stay at the Inn while I'm here visiting you. I hate this! Men are right, Women do drive you insane."
Hecuba pats Gabrielle's hand "Gabrielle, Let me tell you what happened to me when I was your age. I just married your father and just a few days later, his mother shows up. She just couldn't wait to see how I was treating her little precious one. She was on me day and night, but I didn't complain. I did EVERYTHING to please that woman. She ran me to death but finally, she left. That night, I was so upset, that I ruined dinner. Herodotus was sore from digging the well and very hungry. He made a harmless comment on my cooking and that was the last straw. I tore his head off and threw it down that well."
Gabrielle nodded as she chewed her lamb and listened to her mother's tale. "Herodotus and I really got into it that night. Finally, he just got up and went to the barn and slept there for 2 nights. Nothing but the silent treatment for two nights. I hated every second of it and cried my eyes out all day and night. But I didn't want to be the first to apologize. No, that would mean that I was wrong. Herodotus did the same. Why should he apologize? He didn't start this."
Gabrielle knew were this was going. Sooner or later, Gabrielle would have to cave-in and talk to her dad again. Gabrielle's heart ached as she missed her Warrior. "I was cleaning the vegetables when suddenly, I felt a pair of hands around my waist and the most gentle kisses on the back of my neck and I just melted."
"Does Daddy know this guy? Won't he be upset?" Lila injected and Gabrielle laughed.
Lila ducked as a piece of fruit flew by her head. "Yes! It was your father and he was so gentle. It was the most sweetest thing he did. Well, we made up that day. And night. And the next day..."
Gabrielle put up her hand "OK, Mom! I get the idea.. You don't need you to write that scroll."
"Yuck!" Lila added
"Oh, funny. Well, I got one good thing out of that terrible day. That's when the gods blessed me with you" Hecuba smiled and stroked Gabrielle's face. "First you, then Lila. The gods blessed me with two of the best daughters."
Gabrielle gently grabbed Hecuba's hand and kissed the fingers.
Lila hugged her mother "Thanks, Mom."
"Gabrielle, I think your father needs help in the barn."
"I'll go see what I can do." A knock filled the kitchen. A familiar knock to Gabrielle for some reason.
Lila opened the door as Gab finished her snack. "Oh, look. It's Xena. And she's got a dress on." Lila said with sarcasm in her voice.
A dress? She must be desperate. Gabrielle didn't even turn around. "Tell Xena I'm still mad and I she'll need to do more than put on a dress to flatter me."
Xena heart soared as she saw Gabrielle again. Xena hated being sneaky with her lover, but she needed her family and a fun-loving friend to pick up her spirits. Xena felt so guilty for her irresponsible actions. "I hope this works" Xena prays to herself. "Hey, there. I don't know whatcha talkin' about. Name's Meg. I was walkin' through Podunk..Pod.."
"Potiedaia?" Lila asked in amazement
"Yeah! Thanks, doll! I thought 'Hey! My buddy, Gabs, lives here.' So I grabbed some wine..."
Gabrielle shot up from her chair "Meg, good to see you. Mom, Lila. This is Meg. She's the, um, 'entertainer' I told you about."
Hecuba shakes Meg/Xena's hand. "Nice to meet you, Meg. You staying for dinner?"
"Mom, will you excuse us a minute? We'd need to catch up" Gabrielle squeezes Meg's arm as she pulls Meg/Xena out of the room to the outside.
"Ow! Yeah, catching up. Boy, you got stronger"
"Meg, what are you doing here? This is NOT a good time. I don't have the patience for your crap right now."
Xena head spins as Gabrielle's eyes lock on her, making her quiver. "Focus, Xena. Zug-zug later" Xena thought "C'mon, Gabby. I can't make a friendly gesture?"
"OK, Meg. What's the scam?"
"Scam? Well, you caught me. I'm the head of a intimate cow-theft ring."
"Intricate" Gabrielle corrected.
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever."
Gabrielle grabbed the wine bottles and shook one of them. "Meg, this one is half full."
Xena did her best eye-rolling Meg impression "Well, I got thirsty! It's alot a work walkin.' I can't ride a horse here. Saddles make my ass itch" Xena/Meg accented her point by scratching her bottom.
Gab fought the urge to giggle.
Then, Meg uncorks the bottle and polishes off the rest. Then casually tosses the bottle aside. "There! Problem solved. *Burp!*" Xena/Meg looks around "Oh, Zeus. I fergot 'bout Xena. I hope she ain't pissed at me for popping up like this."
"Xena and I had...a disagreement. Don't ask. Look, Meg. I going to help Dad in the barn. Go inside, and have some dinner." Gabrielle suddenly grabs Xena/Meg's nose. "But, you keep those sticky fingers to yourself! I see all and hear all. You behave yourself!"
"Ow! OK! Glad I got here. Looks like you need a little cheering up. A specialty of mine. Looks like I get to do another good deed. But I gotta charge ya for the rough stuff."
Gab and Meg enter as Hecuba and Lila are sitting at the table for tea. "Gabrielle, tell your father that dinner is ready."
"Yes, Mom. Meg is staying for dinner."
"Yeah, And I have this great one about the satyr and the blacksmith's twin daughters..."
"NO...you don't, Meg. Remember what I said."
"Kidding!" Meg, Lila and Hecuba laugh as Gabrielle closes the door outside and walks to the barn to face her father...........
"Hi, Daddy" Gabrielle's voice softly echoed though the barn. Gabrielle slowly walked to her father as he continued working, not answering. "Mom says it's time for dinner. Xena is not here. We had a fight" she continued, kicking the hay below her feet. Herodotus grunted that he heard his eldest daughter. A pause loud as thunder followed... "You're not going to talk to me?" Nothing. Herodotus just continued mucking the stable. A sour look came across the Bard's face. "Now I see where my stubbornness comes from" Gab thinks. "How is the farm? Was the harvest festival good this year?" Nothing but the scrape scrape of the shovel. "Daddy, please. I can't do this anymore. Please talk to me. I need you as much as I need Xena."
Herodotus stops. "Hogs did good this year. I think one of them is getting the fever. Have to separate them" He answers, nodding toward the pen. Herodotus places the shovel on the wall as Gabrielle exits the barn to help her dad.
Gab looked at the hogs. All were grunting and walking around nervously. Herdotus starts wading and grabbing the pigs as Gabrielle does the same, checking for fever.
Herodotus grabs a pig "Here's one. So, what makes you come home this time? Seems like you pissed off enough people in Rome" Gabrielle grinds her teeth and silences herself. "Caesar himself wants you dead. Just think what I can tell my future grandchildren. The Amazons were too far away?."
"I can't believe this! I come to see you and Mom and you do this..great way to start over, Daddy."
"What happened Gabrielle? Did the goddess Xena actually fall off that alter you built for her?"
"Daddy, STOP IT!" Herodotus jumped as Gab screamed. Herodotus kicked himself for lashing his daughter. She comes to make up and he almost screws it up again. Gabrielle wipes a tear away with the back of her hand.
"What did you expect? Your mother and I work ourselves to death to give our kids everything...I made sure you and Lila went to school. I never learned to read ...You said you didn't want to be a farmer's wife. Well, I saw that coming. The way you love stories. The light and the fire in your spirit. But when you said you were in love with that...." Herodotus balls his fist and takes a moment to calm down. "that.. woman...it.."
"It was the truth, Daddy. I really loved Perdicus. I would have honored my vows and made him a very happy man. But, he's gone now. That was in the past. The worst thing I could do is pretend to love someone and keep him from his true love. Xena and I are soulmates. I didn't have these...feelings for Xena until we returned from Chin. I Betrayed her trust, nearly had her killed, because I was so selfish and jealous. I wanted her for myself. It nearly tore down that friendship but then it became a strong love. I need her like I need my family. I can't live without either of you."
Herodotus choked "I can...accept..that you love a woman. That was hard. I'm just glad you came back. You did so much growing up that it just scared me. I know I couldn't protect you forever. The real world is so heartless. You leave and when you come back, you are a Queen!"
"Believe me, I didn't want that. I fell ass backwards into that one. I never heard of the Rite of Caste. I save the Amazon Queen's sister and then Boom! She dies, and I'm the Princess. Xena was so pissed. Do you know what my first duty was? To execute the accused murderer of the Princess! Me!" Herodotus shakes his head in disbelief "Yeah, it was a scary moment. I was bound by honor to do this. We found the murderer, but my trouble didn't end. Queen Melosa died and Xena fought as my champion. She won and then I'm the damn Queen." Gabrielle sighed.
Herodotus looked at Gabrielle "Gabrielle, I'm so proud of you. You were given a giant responsibility at such a young age and you didn't run away. You took the burden and you came through. I cannot image the stuff you have to deal with as Queen. I can't tell you how much I love my little girl. I'm sorry I was so foolish. Welcome home. I love you so much." Herodotus kisses Gabrielle on the head as she buries her head in her Daddy's chest.
"Oh, Daddy. I love you. You can't believe.." Gab chokes on her words "..believe how much I needed to hear that. There's something else I need to tell you."
Herodotus wipes away her tears as she smiles nervously. "What's that, dear?" "I'm so glad to see you again, Daddy. Something real...b-bad happened."
"A While back, Xena and I were a few leagues out of Marathon when the Persian Army attacked."
"Yeah. It was bad. The Persians sent scouts about 2 days ahead...."
"And you and Xena ran into the scouts."
Gab nodded "Yes. Well, long story short, I was shot with a arrow. A p-poisoned arrow" Gab saw the color drain from her father's face. "I almost died, Daddy" Gab reached for Herodotus' hand " That was the most scary thing that happened to me. I laid there...thinking and remembering my life. How you made things so great for all of us, Daddy. I didn't want to die with a grudge or any bitterness. I needed to feel the love in my Daddy's hands and to hear what you just said to me. And you did it without me asking! THAT is what makes you a hero to me. I just wanted to make things right."
Herodotus kissed Gab's hands and held her. "You just did. You are good at this hero business. C'mon. Your mother's head is probably spinning by now" Gab giggled and her stomach grumbled on cue.
Herodotus and Gabrielle hold hands as they walk back to the house. "OK. We got a guest tonight. Her name's Meg. She's a, um, well a 'entertainer' I met her 2 winters ago and she's a dead ringer for Xena. She's just passing through and wanted to catch up. She's a ex-con but she has a good heart."
"Great. I got to see this. Does trouble follow you everywhere?"
"Pretty much. Hazard of the hero business. Whew!" Gabrielle waved her hand in front of her nose.
"What?" Herodotus askes in irritation.
"Gods, you smell like a dead sweaty horse."
"Oh, rrrreallly" Herodotus asks with a evil grin. Suddenly, Herodotus puts Gabrielle in a powerful headlock.
"Daddy! Stop!! Oh gross! You're sweating on me!" Gabrielle wiggled and tried to push away with no use. "Let go! I just washed my hair! I'm not laughing, Daddy" Gabby squealed as her father laugh. Herodotus and Gabrielle wrestled as they walked to the house. Suddenly, Gabrielle felt Herodotus stop suddenly. "What is going on?" Gabrielle asked, still in her father's headlock.
"I think your mother better break out more plates."
Gabrielle broke free of her torture and snapped her head up "What are you talking...." Gabrielle looked where her father was gazing. Standing before her, is 10 Amazons. Tall Amazons. Two heads taller than Xena or Herodotus. They are facing the door and are ready to knock when Gabrielle speaks "What in Gaia's name..."
The Amazons turn at Gabrielle's voice and drop to one knee and bow before her quickly and respectfully. "Queen Gabrielle" the Amazons say in unison...................
The Amazons hear Gabrielle's voice and turned to the source. Quickly the warriors bow and kneel before the young Queen. "Queen Gabrielle" The Amazons say musically in unison, heads still bowed. Never in in his life has Herodotus seen a Amazon. He's heard and seen alot in his life, but nothing like this. He was amazed.
"Rise and greet the Queen, Sisters. I salute you"
The leader of the group rose first and the others followed. The leader was a beautiful and seasoned Amazon captain. Her chestnut curls was accented with gray temples and bangs, the only indicator of her 40 winters as a Sister to the Nation. "Thank you, Queen Gabrielle. I am Jocasta. Captain of my unit and head field trainer. I deeply apologize for disturbing you and your family"
"Not at all. This is my father, Herodotus. What brings you to Potiedaia?" Gabrielle casually smiled. All Amazons instantly felt the Queen's natural magnetism as Gabrielle shook the hands of all Amazons present. Never have they seen royalty act so informally. Herodotus followed his daughter, shaking hands and welcoming them.
Then, Gabrielle came upon the reason for the visit. A beautiful newborn baby girl. Two days old. "Oh, Daddy! Look! She's so precious!"
The mother spoke up, beaming a giant smile "Oh, thank you, Highness. Her name is Tia. I'm Jocasta's sister, Tamara."
"Hello, Tamara. Congratulations." Gabrielle hugged Tamara and felt the soft skin of the newborn. Jocasta gently rubbed the head of her niece.
"Yes, I'm so proud! Tamara and I were training these new warriors when she went into labor early. Extensive survival training. We come from a tribe about 20 leagues north of your tribe's borders. 4 times a year, Tamara and I train first and second year warriors. We go very far away and don't return for at least 100 nights. I didn't want her to go this time, but she and the healer insisted that she had at least 60 nights in her pregnancy. I cut the training short, but she went into labor on the way home."
"And you need the Queen's Blessing."
"Yes. We already have Artemis' Blessing. We came across one of her temples, but the Huntress' Moon is tonight and we won't make it to our village in time. We all heard of a Amazon Queen that is from here and we took a chance..."
"What's this Huntress' Moon business?" Heroditus interrupts.
"Dad, A Amazon warrior, when born, has to receive the Queen's Blessing to be welcome and accepted to the Amazon Nation. It's very important. I'll be very happy to help."
Tamara sighs a breath of relief as the Amazons cheer. Jocasta bows "Thank you so much, Your Highness."
Herodotus hugs his child "See how great my daughter is? She's a natural. I never seen Gab do her Queen stuff before. I never knew how good she was at it. Make them kneel again."
"Daddy! No!" Gabrielle exclaimed as the Amazons laughed. The younger Amazons gather around Gabrielle and look at her curiously. They whisper to each other and then to Tamara. Tamara whispers to Jocasta, who laughs and blushes. "What's so funny? I got some mud on me. Must be that sweat Daddy was putting on me. Ruined my hair."
Jocasta smiles and begs the Queen's pardon as she looks down "I'm sorry for their staring, Majesty. We heard so many stories about you and we didn't know you were so....."
Gabrielle frowned, because she knew where this was going. "So what?" The Queen asked, arms crossed and looking up to the eyes of the Captain.
"Young...your Highness. So young" Jocasta answered, smiling and fighting back the laughs.
"Yeah, right. You are not a good liar, Jocasta. You meant short. It's not the first time I heard cracks about my...'Age'" Herodotus laughed and felt a punch in the arm from Gabrielle "Don't you start, Daddy."
"What? I can't laugh along?"
The door to the house flies open, filling the outside with the smells of lamb and other foods. Hecuba doesn't see the warriors standing two feet in front of her as her head is still looking inside "I swear I don't know where your sister is. GABRIELLE! AHHHH!!" Hecuba screams as the Amazons jump in terror. Hecuba holds her chest and heaves as Herodotus calms his wife.
"Honey, look who followed me home. Can I keep them?"
The Amazons laugh at the farmer's quip.
"Hi, Mom. These are Amazons passing through. Jocasta and her company were in training, This is my mother, Hecuba."
The Amazons bow as Jocasta speaks "It's a honor to meet the Queen Mother."
"Queen Mother, huh? Herodotus, I have a title!"
"Oh, great. I'll never hear the end of it now."
"Oh, quiet you. You must be hungry. Come inside."
"No thank you. We have plenty."
"No arguments. That's a order. Let's eat!"
The tall bunch of Amazons helped Herodotus push another table to the dinner table. Xena/Meg couldn't believe her eyes. "Well, slap my ass and call me Hera! Amazons!"
"Meg, Say hi to the Amazons. Daddy, and Honorable Sisters, This is Meg. A entertainer and old friend."
"Entertainer! HA! That's a new one. Reminds me of the joke of the Hestian Virgin and the three Amazons that get into a drinking contest.."
"Meg!!" Gabrielle scolds.
Tamara giggles "Yeah, I know that one. The virgin wakes up and asks 'Where the bottles go?' Gods, that's a killer!"
Hecuba and Herodotus choke on their drinks, and Lila gets a confused look "I don't get it."
Xena/Meg just smiles "Never mind, Lila. Good to meet ya, Herodotus. Oh, we got a good looker here. Hecuba Careful, I might steal him away" Xena/Meg mocks as she hugs Herodotus. She tops off her hug with a strong pinch on his rear.
Hero jumps a little "Oh! That Meg is a friendly woman."
Gabrielle shakes her head "Daddy, you have NO idea!"
The dinner is going full tilt. 6 bottles of wine are laid to waste. A massive meal fills all the present bellies. Never has Hecuba has had such a full and joyous house. Gabrielle is impressed and grateful to the Amazons as her family asks them endless questions. Lila brags about her dressmaking, Mom spills the latest gossip, Meg juggles figs and at the end, to the applause of all, juggles 6 figs and ends the act by throwing them in the air and catching them in her mouth. Herodotus tells his livestock stories.
During dessert, Herodotus looks at Meg "So, you're a entertainer."
Meg/Xena tops off her glass "Yeah! Few tricks here, few tricks there.....OW!" Meg jumps as Gab kicks her under the table. Herodotus gets up and offers Meg to show her the prize hogs. He gives her a "need to talk to you alone" look. Meg/Xena looks at Gabrielle with a lover's eyes and excuses herself. Gabrielle starts showing off her staff skills to the Amazons and her Mom and Lila as Meg/Xena and Herodotus walk outside.
"Hi, Xena. I know it's you. Never thought I'd see you in a dress..."
One of the worst things in Xena's plan to make up to Gabrielle just happened. Herodotus just found her out. Xena, dressed as Meg, scowled and turned her back to Herodotus. "Just give me a moment to say goodbye to everyone and I'll go back to the Inn. I can patch things up with Gabrielle there. Sorry to bust in on your home. I just needed to see Gabrielle again."
Xena started to walk away as Herodotus spoke up "Xena! Stop..please. Don't go."
A surprised Xena turned around "Why? I thought I was just a cold blooded murdering whore. Careful. I might just eat that little baby just for fun." Xena spit out at Herodotus.
"Allright, Xena. I said that. I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I was a damn fool and scared to death to let go of Gabrielle. Gabrielle and I did some talking and I said I'm sorry to her. For lashing out at her and you. For keeping her back. For not being the father she deserved. For being so stupid to push her away for loving a woman, not a man."
"That's not true. You are a great father. She talks about you everyday. I just wished I grew up with a father. Any...any father." Xena paused "The man that sired me was there just enough to beat my mom and try to kill me. Gabrielle is very lucky.. You just need to open up a little more. But I made my own stupid mistakes with Gabrielle. Like yesterday. We get into this argument all day. I wanted to take a break so I go to the Tavern for a drink. I leave Gabrielle at the camp still pissed at me. Mistake one. I'm just crying my eyes out and I get to Tavern. I put on my warface and go in for a mug and some distraction. One mug turns into another. I'm there for a long time. Now, Gabrielle has carry me out of there. It went from bad to worse. I feel like scum. I ran away and hide when Gabrielle needed me to bare my heart and I sent her here because I couldn't face you. I'm hiding from her now under this dress and bad jokes. I can save all of Greece, but my first real attempt at a relationship is going down faster than...well, than Meg on a drunk soldier."
"Xena, Gabrielle told me about you saving her life. The poison arrow. I know I don't need to thank you..I want you and Gabrielle together. I see how much my daughter loves you and that's all I need. Gabrielle said she needs you and her family in her life and she's right. This little thing will blow over. You and she will make up and life will go on. I know I was very rude and nasty to you in the past. I want us to be friends. Or family.. I know it might be a little different, but we have a long time. Hecuba and I want to be there for both of you."
"Thank you. I'd like that. I love your daughter, Herodotus. She told me you were kind, loving people. She's right. And I want her in my life forever. I'd like to ask you for her hand in marriage. I know she'd marry me in a flash, but I would like to make it very special. So?"
Herodotus suddenly hugged Xena "Of course! Welcome to the family. See? We are getting along just great..now, you have to get back in there and talk to your future hus..wife..whatever..makes my head hurt..Gabrielle has to do that blessing thing. C'mon."
"So. You met Meg?"
"Yeah. 3 weeks ago. The miller's son had a surprise bachelor party. I was invited because they said that Xena was a hooker at this tavern. I went and there's Meg! She kept pinching me and calling me "Dody" I couldn't believe it. We didn't do anything. I ran out of there. I kept my mouth shut. Nobody would believe me. Nice dress, Xena."
"Thanks. I picked it up at the last minute. You're taking this marriage thing pretty well."
Herodotus smiles "Despite the rumors about me, I can be a nice guy."
Gabrielle gathered the Amazons on the outside. Hecuba and Lila watched as Queen Gabrielle of the Amazons welcomed a new warrior to the Nations. "Sisters of Amazon. I, Gabrielle, welcome a new warrior and Sister to the Nations. By the blessings of Artemis and as the Chosen Queen of the Amazons, I bless you, Tia, and I pray that you grow strong and wise. May the Moon Goddess watch over you and help you always." Gabrielle kisses the head of the new warrior and the mother. Gabrielle then signed the scroll recording her blessing.
Hecuba gushed over her Gab like a eager parent at a recital "Oh, that's my baby. That was so sweet! Isn't she the greatest?"
"Mom, stop it. They can see you." Gabrielle whined and wiped away her mom's kisses. "It's just a ceremony. I do alot of them."
Jocosta steps forward "Well, it means alot to me. Thank you so much."
"Lycos!" Lila suddenly cries out. She bolts from her mother's side and into the arms of the dressmaker's son. Lycos, a young and strikingly handsome businessman, picks up Lila and spins her around.
"Lila, I missed you so much. Ready for our date?" Lycos asks and then sees Gabrielle and the Amazon visitors.
Lila shuffles nervously "Honey, I want you to meet my sister, Gabrielle. I told you about her, but kind of left out a little detail" Lycos absent-mindedly holds his hand out to shake Gabrielle's hand. A Amazon puts her hand on Lyco's shoulder as the Amazons unseath their swords.
"You kneel before the Queen, young man."
Lycos kneels as Lila protests "Gabrielle! Make them stop."
Gabrielle puts up her hand "Rise, Lycos. I'm sorry for the Amazons behavior. There are sticklers for protocol. Glad to meet you. But I'd suggest you call me Queen or Your Highness. Otherwise they'll cut out your tongue." Gabrielle holds out her hand as Lycos takes it.
"Honor to meet you, Queen. Lila told me so much about you. But I guess not much. Kind of left out the Queen of the Amazons part."
"Sorry, Honey. Really." Lila hugged Lycos.
Gabrielle smiles and circles around Lycos "So, you're Lycos. A Nice young man. Well mannered. You know, Lycos. Lila and I are real close. We write each other and talk. And it would hurt me to hear that Lila is heartbroken."
"Oh, no. Not me. My intentions are good."
"That's nice. I would hate to hear that Lila was taken advantage of. Lila is a member of the Royal family now. And that means she has to remain, well, pure."
Lycos swallows and nods " Of course, your Highness. I really feel strong for your sister. I want to take care of her."
Lila smiles and kisses Lycos on the cheek "See! He's the sweetest guy. And so understanding."
"Oh, that's good. Now have a good night Lycos. And have a good time.."
"Good night, Queen Gabrielle. Amazons" Lycos bows as Lila giggles.
Jocosta puts her hand on his shoulder "But not too good of a time."
"Yes, Ma'am. Nice sword."
"Sharp, too" Jocasta grins.
Lila pulls Lycos away "Good night Gabrielle..C'mon Lycos. They scared you enough. You were so brave."
Lycos puffs his chest out "Anything for my lady. I'm not going to let a little Amazon scare me."
On cue, an Amazon pops out of the bush with her mask on. Lila screams and Lycos faints away. Lila hears the Amazons and Gabrielle laughing. Gab the Jokester strikes again.
"Gabrielle!! That's not funny! Lycos, sweetie. Wake up."
"Lila, come on. Don't get mad, now..Mom!" Gabrielle yells as she runs from the fury of her younger sister...
"Lila! Gabrielle! Stop that now!" Hecuba scolded as Gabrielle and Lila rolled around the ground wrestling and squealing. "That's it" Hecuba warned as she grabs the ears of both of her daughters. "Ow! Ow!" They both yell together as Hecuba pulls them on their feet and separates them. "Mom, stop it. I hate it when she picks on me." Lila whined. "I said I was sorry, Lila. Just kidding around. OW!" Gabrielle yells. "Both of you need to stop this. Gabrielle, you humiliated your sister in front of company and scared that young man, That was not very nice." "Yeah..I'm sorry Lila. That was mean. I didn't know Lycos was going to faint" "Lila, you shouldn't have tackled your sister like that." "Well, she started laughing and i lost my head. I'm sorry, Gabrielle" "No, Lila. It's all my fault. You did nothing wrong. I'm sorry." Gabrielle and Lila hug.
"So, you have my permission. Now what are you going to do?" Herodotus asked as he and Xena walked to the house.
"Well, I'm going to wait until the Amazons leave, then I'm going to tell her the truth. She'll really nail my ass to the wall for this." Xena rubbed the back of her neck as she and Herodotus entered the home. Lycos was just waking up from his spell. An amazon slaps him in back and apologizes for the group's prank. Gabrielle would have apologized, but Queens don't do such things. Lycos accepts and hugs Lila "C'mon let's go." Lila quickly hugs her family and waves to the amazons. Lycos grabs her hand and they exit the busy house. "Love you all" She calls as the door shuts.
Jocosta and the Amazons gather together. "Well, it's time for us to make our journey. I cannot thank you enough for what you done, Your Majesty" Jocosta and her party bow. "And your mother gives the best hospitality. The food and entertainment was perfect." Hecuba smiles "Well, it was nothing. You haven't been home in a long time. Meg really did great" "Aw, it's nothing" "I Loved the fig trick" Tamara commented and the younger squad nodded in agreement "Well, entertaining soldiers and giving them comfort is what I do best. Glad to help" Gabrielle rubs the head of the newborn.
"Gods be with you all. I salute you, sisters" Gabrielle taps her breastbone twice with her fist and extends her arm in salute. The Amazons bow and do the same in unison. They turn and return to the village under the Moongoddess watchful eyes.
"Well, Mom. It's time for me to pack and get back to Xena. We have a lot of talking to do." Gabrielle sighed as she waved to the Amazons. Gabrielle turned and walked to her bedroom. The room of her childhood, full of great things and a time that never seemed to end. Here she would lay here and hear her parents talking and laughing. Here, there was no Persians, no Dahak, no Khrafstar, no pain. She would lay in her bed in the summers and watch the stars outside sparkle. Her worries were her school work, making sure she got up in time to feed the animals. Keeping Lila out of her dolls. Simple worries. Her dad was right. She did grow up too fast. Gabrielle grabs her hairbrush and runs the bristles through her golden locks.
Xena stood at the door and watches Gabrielle perform her grooming. It was just amazing to Xena how all the seasons on the road, Gabrielle takes time to brush her hair and wear makeup. Always brushes her hair about 4 times a day, cleans her face, adjusts her hairbraids and headbands. The way she "accents" her hair with color. Little prissy girly things that make Xena giggle and love her queen even more.
"Come in. The door's open" Gabrielle calls out, not even looking behind her. "I see that you and Daddy made up. He's a good man and so is Mom. I didn't want to say I told you so, but..." Xena flinches then sits on the bed behind Gabrielle.
"I should be real mad at you for trying to fool me, but I can't be. You had to see for yourself how great they are. " Gabrielle calmly brushes her hair. Then, Gab flips her hair to one side, exposing her plumb and delicious neck.
"Well, Princess, I'm waiting.." Xena puts her arms around Gabrielle's chest as she plants gentle kisses on Gabrielle's neck.
"I am so sorry, Gabrielle. You are my whole life and the greatest thing ever to happen to me. How can I make it up to you? I love you so much" Gabrielle closes her eyes and her breath quickens as Xena kisses grow in intensity. Gabrielle guides Xena hand to her breast as she returns Xena's kisses
" I love you too. Gods, Xena. You have many skills, but acting isn't one of them. I'm not mad anymore. I just need you.. I do need a new concubine.." Xena raises her eyebrow as Gabrielle kisses Xena's neck and collarbone.
"Really? How bout you and me return to the Inn for my audition?"
"Great. But I'm real picky. Might take a couple of nights." Gabrielle answers. "Well. I hope to be everything the Amazon Queen desires." Gabrielle stares into the sky blue eyes of Xena and runs her little hands though the dark locks.
"You surpassed that a long time ago, Xena" Xena weeps at the chest of her truelove "I'm so glad to be back.." Xena whispers..
"I'll miss you both" Hecuba says as she hugs Xena and Gabrielle.
"Mom, Xena and I are going to do some talking and we'll be back in two nights."
"Thanks, for the great stuff, Hecuba. You'd make a great hostess..Bye, Dody. You are one great host." Xena smiles as she pinches Herodotus.
"Ouch! Goodbye, Meg...Thanks for the advice." Hecuba fixes Gabrielle bangs
"You and Xena play nice. And don't wear her down too much, sweetie. I'd like to do some shopping with her when she gets here." Gabrielle turns red as Xena almost laughs her head off.
"Mom! Stop it.."
"Oh, Gabrielle. I've know what goes on. What are you two going to do? Hold hands? I've had sex before, you know"
"Please stop, Mom. Daddy. Stop laughing!" Gabrielle scolds her father.
"I'm sorry, honey. Just the look on your face. I love you, Gabrielle."
"I love you too, Daddy."
"Here, you'll need this. To keep Xena inline." Hecuba handed Gabrielle a new frying pan with a ribbon wrapped around the handle. "I don't believe it" Gabrielle laughed. "Thank you so much. I love you both. Bye.."
Gabrielle and Xena wave and walk down the road until they hear the door shut. Then, hand in hand, run to the Inn...
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