Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others mentioned, belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended.

Subtext Disclaimer: No sex, but as usual there is an implied loving relationship between two consenting adult females. If this bothers you, or you’re under age, or you live somewhere where this type of material is illegal, go away.

Timeline: Plan D # 16.

Shock Factor: 6. Possible Kleenex warning.

Note: Again, there are medical procedures in this one that I’m guessing at, so just go with it, if I’m wrong.

Ann, thanks for the patience and understanding and your talent.

Don’t drink and drive. Always wear your seat belt, or wear your helmet.

Send comments to asdease1@gte.net


Damn Boxers

Written by FlyBigD

Opening her eyes, Xena reached out from under the covers and picked up the receiver, silencing the ringing that had awakened her. Finding her ear, she held it there. "Hello."

"Xena, get over here quick." Ares shouted.

"What?" Holding the phone away from her head, she rubbed her eyes. Letting out a long sigh, she brought the receiver back to her ear. "Ares, what are you trying to pull? It’s three in the morning, for Zeus’ sake." Glancing at the clock, which read 2:47. Close enough, she thought.

"Xena, it’s T. There’s something wrong with her." Sounding frantic, he held the phone to his ear, turning to glance at the stairs. "You gotta get over here now."

Sitting up, the warrior threw the covers off her and swung her legs over the side of the bed. "What’s wrong?" Running her fingers through her hair, she then rubbed her face, trying to clear away the cobwebs.

Shaking his head, Ares closed his eyes. "She’s all balled up on the bed and she won’t let me touch her. I think she’s dying." The last was a low whisper.

"I’m on my way." Hanging up the phone, the warrior got up, turned on the light and began dressing. "Gabrielle get up." Turning, she saw no movement and picked up a shoe to throw at the lump under the covers. "Gabrielle, get up!"

"What?" Sticking her head out from under a pillow, the bard closed her eyes at the too bright light.

"Something's wrong with T." Pulling on her jeans, Xena grabbed a sweatshirt and yanked it over her head.

"What?" Sitting up quickly, Gabrielle stared. "She’s a god, how can anything be wrong with her?" Then something piqued her memory and she closed her eyes. "Damn." Whispering, she remembered the tired state of her friend the past couple of weeks and shook her head. "I should’ve known something was wrong." Pounding the covers in frustration, she scooted to the edge of the bed. "What did she say?"

"She didn’t. Ares just called and said she’s balled up on the bed and won’t let him touch her." Tossing the bard a shirt, the warrior pulled on her boots.

"Oh gods." Hopping out of bed, she pulled on the sweatshirt and looked for her pants, finding them she finished dressing and followed Xena downstairs. "I’ll get your bag, you go ahead." Heading for the coat closet, Gabrielle saw the warrior nod, then run for the kitchen. "Gods help us." Opening the closet door she searched for the black leather bag.

Running as fast as she could, Xena was met halfway by Bud, who was jumping up and down in panic, but she didn’t stop until she was inside the cabin. "Ares?" Shouting, she looked around for him.

Coming down the stairs, he waved her toward him. "Hurry." Turning quickly back, he ran upstairs.

Following, the warrior took the steps three at a time, then pushed past him, to enter their bedroom. Stopping just inside the doorway, she saw T as Ares had described and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. "T?" Reaching out, she put her hand on a muscled arm.

Squeezing her eyes shut, T shook her head.

"What happened?" Xena asked and moved around the bed, so she could see T’s face more clearly.

"We were asleep and all of a sudden she started growling, then she screamed and pushed me out of bed and did that." Pointing, he shook his head. "I don’t know what happened, I haven’t been able to get her to say anything." Rubbing his forehead, Ares moved closer. "What’s wrong with her?"

"I don’t know." Glancing up at him, she saw the fear on his face and shook her head. Looking back to her friend, the warrior touched her shoulder lightly. "T, can you talk to me?"

Grimacing, T shook her head and growled low.

"Okay, it’s okay." Sighing, she closed her eyes to think. Opening them again, Xena leaned close. "T, I know you’re in pain, but I need to ask you an important question, okay, but you don’t have to answer, just nod or shake your head."

T nodded.

"Okay." Taking a deep breath, the warrior let it out slowly. "Could it be possible that another god is doing this to you?" A shake. "TPTB?" A shake. "Nobody has the power to do this?" Another shake. "Okay." Nodding, Xena covered her face with her hands and considered her options. Finally, she put her hands down on the bed and looked up, to where Ares was still standing quietly. "Ares, I need you to call an ambulance. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m not going to be able to find out here. I need to get her to the hospital."

Nodding, he left to make the call.

"T." Whispering, Xena put her hand on T’s shoulder. "It’s gonna be okay."

Shaking her head, T kept her eyes closed as she clutched her abdomen.

"Yes it will." Hoping it would be, the warrior rubbed her forehead again. "Look, as much as I hate to do this, I’ve got to ask you some more questions, okay? I need to find out what the problem is." And figure out how to treat a god, she concluded with the thought.

Growling low, T nodded.

"Is it you’re chest?" Watching closely, she saw a shake. "Stomach?" Another shake. Sighing, she studied the way T was holding her stomach. "Does it feel like cramps?" A nod. "Okay. Is the pain constant?" Another nod. "Can you let go, so I can take a look?" A shake. "Okay."

"What’s wrong?" Jogging into the room, Gabrielle walked around the bed and handed Xena her bag.

"I don’t know yet." Opening her medical bag, the warrior pulled out her stethoscope and put the plugs in her ears.

"Is she being attacked or something?" Taking in the state of her friend, the bard could almost feel the pain radiating from T’s body. "Is it TPTB?"

The warrior shook her head. "T says, no." Sighing, she leaned down to talk softly to the god. "T, I’m going to try and listen to what’s going on. Just lay still and I’ll try and make this quick, okay?"

Nodding, T grimaced more.

Taking a deep breath, she went around the bed again and sat at T’s back. Pulling down the covers, as gently as she could, she put the disc in her hand to warm it up, then placed it gently on T’s lower back.

Gabrielle knelt by the bed and kept an eye on T. "She’s gonna fix you up." Smiling, the bard put promise in her tone. "You know how she’s gonna gloat though."

Frowning, T growled.

Xena shook her head at the bard and moved the disc again.

"Sorry." Wincing, she wanted to do something and felt her heart breaking at the pain on T’s face.

"The ambulance is on the way." Ares said, coming back in the room.

"Go out and wait by the highway." The bard told him. "And take a flashlight, so they’ll be able to see you."

"I’m on it." Nodding, he disappeared again.

Smiling, Xena gave Gabrielle an appreciative wink, then pulled the plugs out of her ears. "T, I’m going to do some pushing back here. If the pain get’s to be too much, let me know."

Nodding, T jerked with the first touch of Xena’s hands.

"Xena." Looking up, the bard shook her head.

"I’ve got to do this, Gabrielle." Sighing, the warrior pressed on T’s lower back, them moved her hands around to the sides, using both to press on her waist, which got a loud groan. "Damn." Getting up, she leaned over T’s body and grabbed her bag. Stuffing the stethoscope inside, she pulled out a small bottle and a syringe.

"What’s that?" Watching, Gabrielle stared at the clear liquid.

"It’s a muscle relaxer." Pulling the cover off the needle, Xena inserted the point into the bottle, then turned it upside down. "Gabrielle get out a sterile packet and clean her arm."

Nodding, the bard got up and came around the bed. Searching in Xena’s bag she found a foil packet, tearing it open, she pulled out the soaked gauze and rubbed it on the muscled part of T’s arm, near the shoulder. "Xena. Listen, I know I’m not a doctor, but isn’t that going to be useless on a god?" Tossing the used material in the trash by the nightstand.

"It’ll work if she wants it to." Pulling the needle out of the bottle, the warrior put it back in her bag, then thumped the syringe, while she pushed the plunger, squirting the liquid out and removing the air bubble. "Can you relax your arm?" Leaning over to see T’s face.

Growling, T shook her head, then nodded.

Gods, please don’t be allergic to this, she thought, then put it out of her mind. "This is going to sting a little." Holding the needle above the skin, Xena waited until she saw the muscle start to relax. Inserting the needle she pushed the plunger down slowly, then pulled the syringe back out and gave the spot a quick rub. Placing the cap over the needle, she dropped it in her bag. "Okay, T just let the tranquilizer do it’s thing. Your powers won’t be able to block it, if you don’t let ‘em. Let them work, T. Okay?" Putting her hands back on T’s back, the warrior started another examination. "Gabrielle keep an eye on her." Nodding toward the other side of the bed.

Nodding back, the bard moved back around, to kneel beside the bed, her eyes watching T’s expression. "You’re gonna be okay." Whispering, she lowered her head to the mattress. "You’ve got to be okay."

Xena continued to do the best examination she could, under the circumstances and waited for the ambulance. When she heard the sirens, she leaned over T and whispered in her ear. "The ambulance is here. I’m going to ride with you, so you’ll be all right, but you’ve got to do something for me, if you can."

As the tranquilizer began taking effect, T had been able to open her eyes and she now looked up at Xena with red tiger eyes.

"These guys are professionals and they’ve seen a lot in their day, but I think a woman with claws, fangs and funky eyes may be a bit more than they can handle." Smiling, she saw recognition on her friend’s face. "Can you change?"

Taking a deep breath, T nodded and closed her eyes.

Gabrielle watched T’s hands and saw the claws slowly change into human nails. Smiling, she looked up at the warrior. "She’s got it."

"Good." Nodding, Xena grabbed her bag as Ares ran in, just in front of the EMT’s. "Ares, she’ll drive you to the hospital. I’m going to ride with T." Point to the bard.

Nodding, he didn’t realize that he was sweating, or that the only thing he was wearing was Tigger boxer shorts.

"I’ll get him dressed." Gabrielle said softly, then stood and moved out of the way. Taking Ares by the hand, she led him out of the room, then downstairs to the living room.

Xena watched the EMT’s, giving them instructions and stuck close as they loaded T onto the gurney, keeping her on her side. When they got downstairs, she saw that the bard had Ares in a pair of jeans and an oversized t-shirt. "Shoes." Smiling, she followed the EMT’s out the door.

"Damn." Looking down at his feet, Gabrielle shook her head and waited for the coast to clear. "Tennis shoes." She told him and saw a pair of white Nike’s appear. "That’ll do it." Turning, she saw Bud sitting in the corner of the living room with his head down and felt her heart break. "You’re gonna have to stay here, Bud. We can’t take you to the hospital."

Getting up, Bud walked over to the front door and stuck his head out, staring at the flashing lights.

Covering her eyes, Gabrielle bit her lip. "Bud." She said quietly and lowered her hand. "We’ll bring her back, I promise." Kneeling beside him, she watched T being loaded into the ambulance. "Xena will take good care of her."

Turning to look at the bard, Bud moved away from the door and disappeared up the stairs, to go lay on T’s bed.

"Can we go now?" Ares asked, hearing the ambulance pull away.

"Come on. I know this trip by heart." Walking out onto the porch, she saw her truck parked in front and shook her head, knowing Ares had moved it. "Let’s go."

Inside the ambulance, Xena managed to get T’s blood pressure taken and some other vitals without causing too much pain. "Have you ever had this happen before?" Looking down into dark brown eyes.

Shaking her head, T closed her eyes and grimaced, as the large vehicle bounced around.

Rubbing her face, the warrior knelt by the gurney and lowered her head to T’s and whispered. "Listen, T. Are you positive that nobody could do this to you?" Glancing over he shoulder, Xena saw the EMT busy doing something else.

Opening her eyes, T nodded her head.

"Are you sure it’s not TPTB getting revenge, or something?" Lowering her voice even more her expression was the personification of worry and guilt.

Nodding, T opened her mouth and closed it again.

Shaking her head, the warrior laid a hand on T’s shoulder. "Don’t try to talk, just relax."

Closing her eyes, T nodded.

Turning around, Xena spoke to the EMT. "Tim, did you radio the hospital already?"

"Yea." Smiling, Tim shrugged. "They sounded kind of suspicious, until I told them you wanted it."

Rolling her eyes, the warrior smirked at him. "I guess my reputation speaks for itself."

"I’m not going to tell you no." He informed her with a chuckle.

Shaking her head, Xena turned back to T. "When you get better, I want you to find some remote deserted island and plant Jim, Mary and Manny on it. Got that?" Whispering again, she thought she saw a small smile on T’s lips. "Good."


By the time Ares and Gabrielle arrived at the hospital, Xena had T in an examining room away from the ER and left instructions at the nurses’ station for the pair to wait in the waiting room.

Ares wasn’t happy with the news and argued with Gabrielle for half an hour, outside the entryway, before the bards words finally sunk in and he agreed to wait with her in the lobby.

Choosing a quiet corner, away from the other people in the waiting area, the bard sat down and pointed to the chair next to her. The argument had been heated, which was understandable and she hoped she wouldn’t be made out to be a liar when she’d told the God of War that Xena knew what she was doing and that everything would be all right. Even if the warrior didn’t know what she was doing, Gabrielle hoped everything would be all right and thought about what the consequences of losing T might be. As a thousand things passed through her mind, knowing all about the Ungaran hub and everything else that T did, the only thing that really stuck out was the unthinkable possibility of losing her best friend. Pushing that aside, she returned her attention to the god beside her and shook her head at his fidgety state. "Ares, calm down." She said quietly.

"What’s taking so long?" Looking around, Ares tapped his knees with his hands.

"Ares, Xena is doing the best she can." Sighing, Gabrielle put one of her hands over his and stilled it. "She’s not used to working on a god, so cut her some slack, okay?"

"What could be wrong with her?" Tapping the free hand, he started bouncing his knees.

"Am I going to have to take you back outside?" Slapping his leg, the bard gave him a glare.

Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and shook his head. "No." He said softly and exhaled slowly. "I’m sorry." Opening his eyes, Ares leaned back in the chair. "I just keep thinking that whatever this is, is probably my fault. I should’ve stayed in that stupid cave."

"What?" Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle sighed. "Ares, this isn’t your fault. T is more powerful than you are, how could you cause this?"

"I don’t know." Staring at the few people that were waiting as well, he sighed. "I can’t explain it. I’ve got this nagging feeling in the back of my head." Pointing to the spot. "I don’t know what it is."

"I do." Speaking softly, the bard took his hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. "It’s called helplessness and it’s not something you’re used to feeling. Ares, you’re a god and having to sit and wait isn’t your thing, but it’s what you’re going to have to do." Sighing she closed her eyes. "T said that she wasn’t being attacked and I really do doubt that another god could cause this, come to think of it; so whatever the problem is, it’s physical and that means that Xena can fix it." Opening her eyes, she turned to look at Ares. "Trust me. T is getting the best possible care from the best possible source. She’ll be okay."

Turning to look at her, he finally nodded. "Okay." Tapping his foot, Ares stroked his beard.

One of the nurses walked over and offered to get them something go drink, but Ares refused and Gabrielle just smiled and shook her head. "We’ll be fine, thanks." When the nurse left, the bard pulled his hand to her lap and took it in both hands. "She’s gonna be fine." Sighing, the bard sat for a long while, just holding his hand, then she hopped up when she thought of something. "Wait here."

"Where you going?" Standing beside her, he looked concerned. "Did you hear something?"

"No, I just got an idea and I’ve got to make a phone call." Pushing him back down into the chair, she shook her head. "It’s okay. I’m just going right over there and then I’ll be right back."

Watching where she pointed, Ares nodded. "Okay."

Smiling, Gabrielle nodded then weaved her way through the rows of seats to the nurses’ station and picked up a phone. Punching the button for an outside line, she dialed a number she had to concentrate to remember. Waving at Ares, she waited until a low scruffy voice mumbled a greeting. "Jim, this is Faith. Listen, I know I woke you up and you’ve got a shift this morning, but I want to ask a favor."

Rubbing his eyes, Jim opened them and turned on the light. "What’s the favor?"

"A friend of ours, T, has been brought in and Grace is working on her." Hearing a yawn, she smiled. "I was wondering if you could come in to assist?"

"Manny’s there somewhere." He informed her and closed his eyes again.

"I know, but this is special." Tapping the counter, Gabrielle closed her eyes. "I think she can use some help, but I don’t think she’ll admit it." Lowering her voice. "Jim, she trusts you more than anybody, you know that."

Sighing, Jim opened his eyes again. "Is she going to yell at me for being there?"

"Absolutely." Smiling, she fought down a laugh. "And she’s going to be a real bitch, but you’ll think it’s just another day."

Groaning, he sat up. "Can I ask you something Faith?"

"Sure." Turning to watch Ares, she smiled.

"Why didn’t you become the doctor?" Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Jim lowered his head to his knees. "You’re a hell of a lot nicer."

Gabrielle let the laugh out. "I’m too short to reach the top shelves."

Chuckling, he lifted his head and stood up. "I’ll be there in a bit."

"Thanks, Jim. I owe you a big one for this." Grinning, she heard him sigh.

"And I’ll be thinking of ways for you to pay me back, every time she throws something at me." Laughing, he ran his hand over his short dark hair. "Bye."

"Bye." Putting the phone down, Gabrielle went back to where Ares was fidgeting and sat down.

"What was that all about?" Giving her a worried stare.

"Jim’s one of our long lost descendants and therefore genetically suited to put up with Xena’s tantrums." Smiling, Gabrielle took his hand and went back to waiting.

"Oh." Nodding, Ares sat back in the chair and sighed, then went quiet and closed his eyes.

Gabrielle gave him a strange look, then she realized he was probably spying on Xena and T. Sighing, she shook her head and let him be.


Jim knocked on the examining room door and heard movement inside, then he knocked again and stuck his head inside. "Hey."

Turning, Xena stared at Jim’s face for a second, then shook her head and looked up at the clock. "What are you doing here?"

Stepping inside, he closed the door. "Faith called. Said you’d hate for me to come in, so I did." Looking down at T, he saw the pained expression on her face. "What’s the scoop and how can I help?"

Growling, Xena handed him a row of tubes filled with blood. "Take these to the lab. I want a standard test done, a full tox screening done, the works." Skipping over the fact that she was mad, she went to the ‘I’ll take all the help I can get’ mode.

Taking the metal container, he nodded. "Do you want me to wait for the results?" Looking up at her.

"No, I want you to do the tests." Picking up a metal chart, she handed it to him as well. "Anything that’s out of the ordinary, I want full notes on and I want to see all the graphs."

Lifting his eyebrows, he stared at her. "That’s gonna take a while. What am I looking for?"

"Anything and everything and I want the results yesterday." She said gruffly. "And Jim, I want you to do it." She reiterated. "Don’t pass it off to the tech’s. This is going to be different and I don't’ need their stupid questions to deal with."

"What about my stupid questions?" Smiling at her.

"Move!" Glaring at him, Xena watched him leave then sighed. Shaking her head she looked down at T. "Remind me to whack Gabrielle when I see her." Growling, the warrior went back to work.


Ares had made several trips outside for fresh air, as they waited and Gabrielle mentally refused to stare at the clock, but her eyes disobeyed and she watched the second hand sweep it’s slow circular path. Sighing, she stood up and stretched, as Ares came back in and made his way over to her. "Is it light outside?"

"Soon." He said quietly and turned to watch the space that he thought somebody should appear in.

Looking up into his face, Gabrielle saw everything she knew she’d felt when Xena had had the accident. The worry, the fear, the anger. They played on his features like an impressionist painting and she wished she could tell him some good news, but she wouldn’t intentionally lie to him. For some reason, Gabrielle had become slightly attached to the God of War, despite his ability to cause discontent and he drove Xena crazy most of the time. He was still there when they’d needed him and over the centuries, the bard almost came to like him. Well, if she admitted it, she did like him. Ares was a lot of things, but over the years he’d proven one thing above all others. He was hopelessly in love with T and his world was wrapped around her little finger. Which had turned his natural disposition from antagonist to lurking reliable friend. As they’d traveled through their lifetimes, they’d had to struggle sometimes, but after Ares was released, he’d begun popping up whenever the heat was on and always backed them up. Something that Xena wouldn’t accept without looking for a hidden agenda and the bard only smiled at.

Now, he lived right behind them and had been friendly and kind and the usual level of annoying, for his own amusement. He was still arrogant, self centered and pushy, but he was also fun and funny and your average amount of argumentative, but all in all, Ares was a total opposite from what he’d been in his heyday. Shaking her head, Gabrielle smiled. Love does conquer all, she thought and pulled his arm. "Let’s sit back down."

"Okay." Moving almost mechanically, Ares continued to stare at the end of the hallway. "Does it normally take this long?"

"It depends on what’s wrong." Sighing, she leaned on the arm of the chair. "I’ve spent many a night up in Xena’s office, waiting for her."

"But that was when it was serious." Glancing at her, he was looking for a sign that this wasn’t the case.

Closing her eyes, the bard smiled. "Xena’s doing the best she can, you know that." Opening her eyes, she looked into his almost black ones. "If she thought you could help, she’d be out here in a second to drag you in there. She’s trying to find out what’s wrong so she can fix it."

Nodding, Ares looked back at the hallway and spotted Jim. Standing, he started for him.

Gabrielle got up and followed, hoping Jim had good news and praying that if he didn’t, the God of War wouldn’t take his wrath out on him.

Smiling warmly, Jim pulled the pair off to the side. "Grace wants to talk to you two."

"What about?" Gabrielle asked hesitantly.

"Is she going to be okay?" Ares asked, his face becoming a dark mask.

"I’ll let her explain." Smiling again, Jim waved them to follow and led the way down several corridors to the examining room. Knocking on the door, he smiled and left.

Watching him go, the bard snapped her head back when the door opened and Xena waved them inside.

Holding up her hands, Xena shook her head. "Before you start asking any questions, let me explain something." Seeing that she wasn’t going to get any argument, the warrior continued. "Ares, I need you to take me to Ungara."

"Why?" He asked, as his complexion began to pale.

"Don’t panic." She told him. "I tried running the standard tests on T’s blood, but it’s blowing all the tests out of the water and I’ve got to talk to him to find out what I should be looking for. I was hoping that it would react normally, despite her powers, but since T’s blood came from ancient gods, it’s never been human and I think that’s the problem." Giving him a calm tone and a neutral expression. "It’s showing some kind of incompatibility, like an infection, but until I can talk to Ungara, I won’t know if that’s normal."

"So you need to find out the quirks." Nodding, Gabrielle smiled. "That’s reasonable. I’ll check the archives."

Looking down, Xena shook her head. "I want you to stay here and hold down the fort." Sighing as the bard’s expression changed, the warrior smiled. "I’ve already explained the irregularities to Jim as a genetic disorder, but I still want you to stay with T. She needs you here, more than in the archives and I don’t want to leave her alone, if I don’t have to. If I need help there, I’ll have Ares go pick up Chris and he can find anything I need."

Lowering her eyes, the bard nodded. "Okay. I’ll stay with T."

Pulling Gabrielle to her, Xena kissed the top of her head. "Thanks." Letting her go, the warrior turned to Ares. "Let’s do it."

Nodding, he waved his hand and they popped out.

Sighing, Gabrielle walked over to the table, where T was lying on her side and pulled up a short metal stool. Smiling, she sat down and rested her arms on the narrow cushion that padded the gurney beneath her friend. Staring at the tanned face, she noticed that her expression had calmed into a slight scowl, but still showed signs that she was still in pain. "Hi." She said softly.

Opening her eyes, T smiled a small smile. "Hi." Her voice a hoarse whisper.

"So your blood is wigging out the equipment, I here." Smiling warmly.

Nodding, her smile got bigger. "Xena said she was grateful it wasn’t green."

Chuckling, Gabrielle brushed some hair out of T’s face. "Is there anything I can do?"

Grimacing for a second, as a pain shot up from her abdomen, T finally shook her head. "It’s better now."

"You’ve got a strange way of showing it." Sighing, she tilted her head to match the way T’s was laying. Reaching out, she put her hand on the larger one and felt a strange coolness. "Are you cold?"

"A little." Nodding, T smiled. "That’s strange for me, huh?"

"True. You usually run hot. That’s why Xena always got jealous when I curled up next to you on those winter nights on the road." Getting up, Gabrielle watched T’s face smile then wince. "Sorry." Searching the room for a blanket, she didn’t find one and decided to check at the nurses station. "I’ll be right back." She said and left. Going back to the nurses’ station she got four blankets and brought them back. Taking two, she pulled them over T and tucked in the sides. "How’s that?" Returning to her seat.

"Better." Smiling, T uncurled a little more, then immediately curled back up.

"Is it starting to hurt again?" Worried, the bard felt T’s forehead.

"It comes and goes." Closing her eyes, she sighed as the pain dissipated again.

"Xena will figure it out, T." she said solidly.

"Nothing ever stops the daring duo." Nodding, she relaxed and let out a long slow breath.

Smiling at the term, Gabrielle sighed when she realized that T had gone to sleep and laid her head on the gurney. "She’ll figure it out." Closing her eyes, she felt wasted, despite the fact that she’d been sitting for hours and didn’t realize she’d fallen asleep until T woke her up with a low growl. Popping her head up, she stared as T was gripping the side of the gurney, making dents in the steel tubing. "T!" Getting to her feet, she bent sideways to talk to her friend.

Shaking her head, T squeezed her eyes closed. "Wait." She growled, trying to make her body relax.

"I’ll get Jim." Starting for the door, the bard was held up when a hand wrapped around her wrist. Looking down, she saw T’s hand and it’s claws. "Damn." Shaking her head, she came back and sat down. "Okay. Just try to relax." Bringing her voice to a semi-calm tone, Gabrielle started doing what she did best. Talking. "Just relax. I’m right here and Xena and Ares will be back soon, okay?" Glancing at the clock, her eyes bugged out when she realized they’d been gone for four hours. "They’ll be back soon." She said again, as much to herself as to her friend. Rubbing the hand that held her wrist, the bard realized that it was taking a lot of effort on T’s part not to break it and she gently pried strong fingers from her wrist. Moving them back to the gurney, she saw T’s knuckles turn white, when she gripped it again. "Easy, T. Just take it easy." Lowering her voice, Gabrielle watched T’s face and felt the pain she saw there. "I’ve got to do something." Sighing, she rubbed her forehead.

Ares and Xena popped back in and were immediately aware of the situation.

"Gabrielle, take Ares back to the waiting room." Xena instructed, moving to T’s side.

"I think the tranquilizer wore off." Gabrielle stated, walking over to Ares.

Nodding, Xena waved them out and went to work.

"I’m not leaving." Ares said and resisted the bard’s efforts to get him out of the room. "Just tell me what you need done and I’ll do it." He tried, his voice have pleading half angry.

"Ares, what I need you to do is go with Gabrielle and let me do what I do best. You’re not helping me here." Using a harsher tone than she intended, the warrior saw the hurt look on his face. "Please, go." She said more gently, but still maintained a commanding attitude. "I’ll call you if I need you." Moving her eyes to the bard, she nodded toward the door.

Nodding back, she took a firm hold on Ares’ arm and literally dragged him out of the room. In the hall, he calmed down and she had an easier time getting him back to the waiting room, where she heard a page for Jim come over the PA. Sighing, she led him back to the chairs they’d been in before. "What did she find out?" Giving him a gentle shove she got the god to sit, then knelt down in front of him. "Ares, what did Xena find out?"

Shrugging, he shook his head. "They brought all the Ancients together and stood around talking about the problem. Xena thinks T’s body is rejecting her blood."

"Rejecting her blood?" Standing, she took the seat across from him. "After two thousand years, her body just decided to reject the blood flowing through it?"

"That’s what I asked, but Xena said that’s what the symptoms pointed to, then they talked about incompatibility and the possibility of transfusing human blood into her." Closing his eyes, Ares shook his head.

"Will she lose her powers if they do that?" Scratching her forehead, Gabrielle tried to take in the information.

"They don’t know that either, so they had me pop Chris in and he’s going over the archives now, looking for anomalies in the Tiger clan history." Sighing, he opened his eyes. "Xena had me take her to fifteen different countries, so she could get blood samples from different clans."

"Ares, can you take me to the archives?" Getting up again, the bard put her hands on her hips as the words ‘daring duo’ echoed in her mind.

"Gabrielle, there’s already someone there." Sighing, Ares looked tired and worried.

"Yea, but other than Treyma, or Latour himself, no body knows those books better than I do." Grabbing his arm, she pulled Ares to his feet. "So unless you can bring them back from the dead, you better get me over there, now."

Sighing again, Ares nodded and waved his hand.

Looking around, Gabrielle spotted Chris sitting at the table. "Hey."

Glancing up from the book he was looking at, the new Ungaran Historian smiled at her. "Gabrielle."

"What do you have so far?" Coming around the table, the bard pointed at a chair, giving Ares a stern look and waited for him to sit down, before she continued to where Chris was flipping pages.

"Nothing yet. It’s all just the daily stuff." Shoving a tome at her he smiled.

Taking the book, Gabrielle turned it around and looked at the writing on the cover. "This is no good. It’s the family tree." Pushing the book away, she left the table and started walking down the long rows scanning the titles. "We’ve got to look for personal history, not the royal lineage."

Closing his book, Chris followed her. "What kind of personal history?"

"Medical history." Moving around the end of an aisle, the bard started up the next one. "Where the hell are those journals Treyma had on T’s family?" Moving her eyes up and down, and from side to side, Gabrielle moved slowly down the aisle.

"They’re over there." Chris said with a smile and pointed behind him. "They aren’t with the Royal histories. They’re his personal notes, so I put them with his stuff." Turning, he started back the way they’d come.

Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle almost growled and pointed down the aisle. "Don’t you ever start shuffling things around at a time like this, now show me where they are. These books have been in the same spot for over ten thousand years and no young yahoo needs to be reorganizing them to suit his fancy." Shoving him in the back as she followed behind him. "Got me?"

"Sorry." Chuckling, he led her past several aisles then ducked down one. "They’re up there." Pointing to the top shelf.

Looking up, the bard moved her eyes back to Chris and actually growled.

Taking the hint, he jogged off to get a ladder, then hurried back and scrambled upward. "I’ll put them back when we’re done." He apologized, as he made several trips up and down to hand the large books to the bard.

"Newbies." Mumbling, Gabrielle took the load back to the table and started sorting through them. "No. No. No." Pushing book after book away, she finally found what she was looking for. "Yes." Opening the huge ancient text, she flipped the pages carefully and sat down, as she started to read.

Ares sat quietly and watched the pair. His mind was present, but his thoughts were half way around the world.


Xena looked at the results of the blood work done on the samples she’d taken and shook her head. "Damn." Her aggravation showing in her voice, she tossed the graph on the floor and began setting up the test for the third time. "Piece of crap." Where the hell did Gabrielle and Ares go? She asked herself as she worked, although she really didn’t have to ponder the question long and knew that her wife was probably buried up to her ears in books. Damn it, Gabrielle, she thought, I really didn’t want to have to leave T alone. "Razzle frazzle." Was her only outward response.

"Why are these so weird?" Jim asked, looking over the results. "Everyone of these is almost the same. They all have the same strange cell structure." Glancing at Grace, he saw the scowl on her face.

"Genetics." She said softly and continued setting up another round of tests.

"That much I guessed." He said sarcastically. "But they don’t even really look completely human." Flipping a couple of pages over, he scanned the information.

"Just work." Xena growled and took the chart from him and handed him a tube of blood, then pointed to the microscope.

"What am I looking for this time?" Sighing he held up the tube, swirling it around.

"Compare it with the sample we took from T." Turning on a machine, the warrior moved to the next one and set up the next test. "See if any of those samples I gave you match T’s cell structure."

"Got it." Rolling his chair across the tile, Jim picked up T’s sample and prepared two slides, then rolled to the microscope and slid them in. Putting his eyes to the long cylinders, he focused and slid the samples back and forth. "You know, Grace. Of all the things I planned to do in my life, being trapped in the lab with you wasn’t on the top of my list." Smiling, he pulled off one slide and prepped another one from the next sample.

"The feelings mutual." Xena informed him, as she started another machine. "Find anything?"

"Not yet." Shaking his head, Jim continued with his comparisons. "Can I ask you something." Keeping his eyes on the blood, he heard a sigh. "Never mind."

Closing her eyes, the warrior cracked her neck. "Ask." Rolling her chair back to the first machine, when it stopped.

"You and Faith." He started, then looked up and over his shoulder.

"What about us?" Pulling the sample out, Xena watched the printer start spitting out paper.

Hesitating, Jim put his eyes back on the scope.

Turning around, the warrior stared at his back. "Well?"

Sighing, he turned back around and looked at her seriously. "How did you know when you were in love?"

Letting her head drop, Xena shook it slowly. "We almost killed each other, before we figured it out." Smiling, she looked up to see a smirk on his face. "Anymore questions?"

"Nope." Smiling, he turned around and went back to work.

"Good." Chuckling, the warrior pulled the new results out of the printer and scanned the graphs.

At that moment, Gabrielle burst into the room and smiled, holding an ancient book over her head. "I think I found it." She said excitedly.

Jim and Xena turned around and stared at her. Jim looked surprised and Xena got up.

"Where did you get that?" Taking the book, she flipped it over then glared at Gabrielle. "I knew it." Sighing, she shook her head. "What did you find?"

Peeking around the warrior, Gabrielle smiled at Jim, then pulled Xena outside. Taking the book back, she opened it to an earmarked page and pointed. "Read."

Rolling her eyes, Xena moved to stand beside the bard and started reading where Gabrielle’s finger was. After several paragraphs, she took the book and started walking down the hall, reading as she went.

Jim stuck his head out the door. "Hey! Should I finish this?"

"Yes!." Xena shouted back and kept going.

"Of course I should." He mumbled. "I’m the assistant. I get all the fun jobs." Closing the door, he went back to work.

Gabrielle led the warrior into a conference room and held the door as Xena unconsciously walked through. Smiling, she held out a chair and waited for it to be filled, before she took her own beside it. "Well?" Watching Xena read, she felt her heart still pounding and was anxious to know if she’d found the key.

"Shhh." Waving her away, the warrior turned the page and kept reading.

Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle sat back in the chair and watched.

"Did you tell Ares what you found?" Still reading, Xena gave the bard a quick glance.

"No." Shaking her head, she sighed. "I wanted you to look at it first."

"Good." Turning another page, she read on. "Do me a favor and go stay with T. She’s sedated again, but I really didn’t want to leave her alone." Hearing the words she said, Xena looked up to give the bard a short steely glare. "If you decide to take another trip, would you mind telling me first?"

"Sorry." Rolling her eyes, she got up and walked to the door, then turned back around. "What do you want me to do with Ares?" Leaning on the knob.

"Take him with you." Smiling, she went back to the book of an instant, then swiveled the chair around. "Gabrielle." Holding out her hand.

"Yea?" Leaving the door closed, she took the two steps back to take Xena’s hand.

"You did good." Smiling, she pulled the bard to her and stood to place a warm kiss on smiling lips. "Thank you and I do appreciate all your help." Staring down into a sea of curious green.

A smile crept slowly onto Gabrielle’s face and she nodded. "You’re welcome and it’s my pleasure, Xena. As always." Giving the warrior a wink, she stole a kiss, then eased out of the embrace. "I’ll take Ares to the examing room." Moving back to the door, she waved before she opened it and left to find the God of War. When she did find him, she took him into the examining room, where T was sleeping. Letting him have the stool, she moved back against the wall. Leaning against it, she waited and watched him closely. Shaking her head, she smiled as he took T’s hand and laid his head on the gurney beside hers. Rubbing her nose, she fought the urge to cry and closed her eyes instead, listening as Ares whispered to T.

After reading further on the warrior’s original response of happiness became tainted as she scanned Treyma’s notes. Shaking her head, she pulled out a pad from her smock and scribbled down some names, then put the pad back in her pocket. Realizing she wasn’t going to find all the answers in this book alone, she closed it, tucking it under her arm and went back to the examining room. Poking her head in the door, she spotted Gabrielle and waited for her to look at her, then waved her over. Holding the door open, she closed it when the bard stepped outside. The book under one arm, she pulled out the pad and tore off the top sheet, then handed it to the bard. "You know that herbal shop downtown?"

Gabrielle took the paper and nodded, looking at the list of items. "These are weeds."

"I know. I need you to get those for me and bring them back as fast as you can." Sighing, she tightened her grip on the book.

Glancing up, the bard smiled, then let it fade when she saw Xena’s worried expression. "Wasn’t I right?"

"Probably, but I’ve still got to run some more tests on her blood and I may need Ares to take you back to the Archives to get the rest of these notes."

"What’s the problem?" Folding the paper, Gabrielle put it in her pocket.

"I’ll can’t be positive until I’ve got more information." Chewing the inside of her lip, Xena knew that the bard could sense her hesitation, but hoped she wouldn’t have to explain just yet. "How’s Ares doing, anyway?"

"He’s better now that he can see her." Feeling her heart catch in her throat, she smiled sadly. "Now I know what I looked like all those times I had to sit by your bed."

"Well, we don’t do helpless well, do we?" Pulling the bard to her, Xena lowered her head and gave Gabrielle a soft kiss. "Now scoot. I’ve got to go kick Jim out of the lab."

"Are you mad that I called him?" Pulling her keys out of her pocket, the bard smiled.

"No." Shaking her head, the warrior smiled back. "I’m just surprised you didn’t call him before you left the house." Chuckling, she gave Gabrielle a gentle shove. "Go."

Saluting, she smiled and jogged off. "I’ll bring these back to the lab."

"Good." Smirking, she watched her disappear around the corner and then let her real emotions show. "Do that." She whispered, as she headed for the lab. "We’re gonna need all the help we can get.


When Gabrielle came back, Xena told her to get Ares and go back to the Archives and get all of Treyma’s journals plus anything else she could find on the medical history of the Tiger clan. When she did this, she again failed to inform the bard of what she suspected and let Gabrielle go off to do her work. When she left, the warrior left Jim to run some tests, then made her way to her office to make a call on a very old friend. "Michael." She said softly and waited for the sound of fluttering wings, which didn’t take long to happen.

"Xena I can’t help her." He said immediately, knowing what the warrior wanted. "She’s a god, there’s nothing I can do for her."

"I’m not asking for a miracle. I just need your help getting some information and I don’t want to use Ares to get it." Tapping her desk, she came around it to stand in front of him and handed him a piece of paper. "Here are some questions that I need answers to and I don’t have the time to hunt them down."

Studying the questions, Michael nodded. "I know just who to ask." Smiling, he looked up and gave her a wink.

"Good." Smiling, Xena let out a small sigh of relief. "When you get the info, bring it back to me and only me, okay?"

"Xena, you’re going to have to tell them." Giving her a serious look. "And Gabrielle."

"I know. I just want as much information as possible, before I tell anybody anything." Smiling, she gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Thanks for your help, Michael."

"For T? Anything." Smiling, he bowed his head then popped out.

"Now, if I could just get rid of the nagging in my gut, I’d be happy." Shaking her head, Xena picked up the book off her desk and headed back to the lab, to await the return of Gabrielle and Ares.

When they got back, she sent Ares back to stay with T and helped Gabrielle make up a concoction that Treyma had noted as being the remedy for T’s pain.

"Gods, this stinks." Wrinkling her nose, Gabrielle held the bowl at arms length, but continued to grind the contents into powder. "You’re never gonna get T to drink this, ya know."

"She’ll drink it. Trust me." Pouring some liquids from one beaker to another, Xena watched the contents change color.

Holding her breath, the bard brought the bowl close to inspect the mixture. "It’s done." Thankful, she put the bowl beside the warrior and stepped back. Watching Xena work, she leaned against the counter and folded her arms across her chest. "Now, are you going to tell me what’s going on?"

Making a final exchange, Xena closed her eyes as she set the two glass containers on the counter in front of her. "I was wondering how long you’d wait until you couldn’t take it anymore."

"Well, consider me at my limit." She said quietly and overrode her nose to take her place beside the warrior. "Xena, what’s wrong with T?"

Opening her eyes, she swiveled her stool around to look up at the bard. "You were right, but there’s a problem." Seeing a sudden smile fade quickly, she sighed. "Sit down. I’ll explain while I mix this up."

Grabbing a stool, Gabrielle was about to take a seat, when Michael popped into the lab. "Michael!"

"Gabrielle." Nodding, he smiled at her then handed a piece of paper to the warrior. "I got your answers, but you’re gonna have to deal with you know who, pretty soon." Ignoring the stare he was getting from the bard, Michael concentrated on Xena. "She got kind of testy when I suggested she wait before she came to brighten your day."

Sighing, Xena nodded. "Thanks for all your help and if I can ask another favor?" Giving him a hopeful smile.

"I’ll keep her occupied till you give me the high sign." Nodding, he rolled his eyes. "You owe me soooooooo big for this." Sighing himself, Michael smiled then popped out.

Gabrielle, who’d kept her millions of questions quiet for as long as she could, now turned to give the warrior a ‘tell me now’ look. "Xena."

"Okay, let’s get this over with, because I’m going to need your sensitive chatting abilities pretty soon." Pointing to the stool, she sighed in resignation.

"Wise choice." She said with a hint of a sarcastic smile. "Now, give."


The concoction required several other stages before it was ready for T to drink and the warrior used this time to fill the bard in on all of what she knew and what she suspected. Then she took the disheartened Gabrielle to the conference room, where Treyma’s journals were locked away and they both began the tedious task of discovering if they were to give the gods good news, or bad. Xena also relieved Jim of any further duties, so he could start his regular shift and promised to give him some extra days off, at a later date, as compensation.


T opened her eyes and saw Ares smiling at her.

"Hi." He said softly and squeezed her hand. "How you feeling?"

"Better." Sighing, she closed her eyes. "Where’s Xena?"

"Off doing who knows what." Chuckling, he laid one arm on the gurney and put his chin on it. "I think Gabrielle found something in the Archives."

"What?" Opening her eyes again, T felt them trying to close and concentrated on keeping them open.

"She wouldn’t say." Sighing, Ares smiled. "She brought a book back for Xena to look at and then we went back again, so she could get some more books."

"Oh." Nodding, she closed her eyes. "Was Chris there?"

"Yea and he got his butt chewed for rearranging stuff." Smiling, he remembered the bard’s words. "I think his butt is still sore."

Smiling, T opened her eyes again. "I think Gabrielle considers the Archives her personal property."

"She said something like that." Standing slightly, he leaned over and kissed her cheek. "You go back to sleep." Sitting back down, he winked.

Frowning, she sighed. "Did you take care of Bud?"

Rolling his eyes, Ares nodded. "He’s at the house. Gabrielle told him she’d bring you back. I think that made him feel better."

"Maybe you should check on him." Clearing her throat, T lifted her head a little. "Tell him I’m okay."

Shaking his head, with a smile. "I think he’d attach himself to my leg again and I don’t believe the hospital would appreciate me bringing him back."

Lowering her head, T nodded with a big smile. "Okay." Letting her eyes close, she moved her head closer to his. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Putting his head back on his arm, Ares smiled. "You scared me."

"I know." Smiling, T opened her eyes. "I’m sorry."

"You can’t do that anymore." He told her seriously.

"I’ll try not to." Smiling at his frown, she brought a hand out from under the blankets and stroked his cheek. "Sorry for growling at you."

Shrugging, he smiled. "That I’m used to. Being knocked on the floor in the middle of the night, I’m not." Taking her hand, he kissed the palm. "I don’t think the ambulance drivers liked my underwear."

Chuckling, T cupped his chin and lifted her head to give him a soft kiss. "I like Tigger."

"I’m glad I wasn’t wearing the Elmos. That would’ve been hard to explain." Chuckling as well, he laid his head sideways on his arm. "Or the hundred other cartoon characters stashed in my drawer."

"I think you look cute in them." Smiling she curled her hand under her chin.

"What happened to sexy?" Lifting his eyebrows.

"That’s what you look like without them." Chuckling, T turned her head when the door opened. "Hi."

"Hey." Stepping inside, Xena held the concoction and turned to give the bard a nod. "I’ve got something that’s going to help with the pain and hopefully stop the cramping."

Closing her eyes, T sighed. "Tell me that god awful smell isn’t for me." Wrinkling her nose, as she scowled.

Letting her seriousness ebb momentarily, the warrior smiled. "Sorry." Trying not to enjoy the expression on her friend’s face, Xena came back to reality and shook her head. "Ares, I need to give this to T. Could you wait out in the hall with Gabrielle?"

"Why do I have to wait outside for her to drink something?" He asked cautiously.

"It’s not taken orally." The warrior said straight faced, then gave him an arched eyebrow.

"Ohhhhh." Smiling, he nodded. "Okay." Shaking his head, he gave T a quick kiss. "I’ll be right outside."

"I’ll be here." Giving him a wink, T sighed and watched Ares leave with Gabrielle.

When the door was closed, Xena walked over to the gurney and held up the glass.

T could smell the concoction a mile away, but her serious expression didn’t reflect her aversion to drinking the liquid, since she figured out the warrior’s ploy to get Ares out of the room. "Okay." She said softly and followed the warrior’s progression with her eyes. "You got rid of Ares, now tell me what’s going on."

"Drink this first." Xena prompted and helped the god to lift her head. "Take it slowly."

"You mean that stuff is for real?" Grimacing, she saw the warrior nod and smile. Sighing heavily, she groaned then nodded. "Okay." Sighing again, she drank the beverage and immediately regretted her decision and ended up with watery eyes, by the time the glass was empty. "Oh . . . my . . . god." Flicking her tongue in and out, she tried to decide if she wanted to cut it off and the taste buds that were attached to it. "That’s horrid." Whispering, she lay back down, wiping the tears from her eyes.

Chuckling, the warrior put the glass aside and sat down on the stool to face her friend. "Ready for the news?"

Holding up her hand, the god closed her eyes as the last of the vile swill made it’s way down her throat. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes and nodded. "Okay. I’m ready."

Taking a deep breath as well, Xena let it out slowly. "The pain you’re experiencing, is caused by the fact that your body is trying to get rid of something it doesn’t like. Or, something that it thinks shouldn’t be there. "

"Xena." T said quietly and sounded very tired. "Today, please."

"You’re pregnant and your body is trying to get rid of the baby." Matching her friends hushed tone, the warrior lowered her eyes and heard a low moan.

"Ahhhhh." Rolling her eyes, she closed them. "Now it makes sense."

"What?" Looking up, she leaned forward. "What makes sense?"

Sighing, T opened her eyes. "You can forego telling me about my family’s history with troubled pregnancies. I know all about it and the fact that my mother miscarried twice before I was born. I read it in the Archives."

"There’s more." Xena said quietly and watched the god’s expression change.

"This isn’t the happy news it’s supposed to be, is it?" Feeling the well open up, T looked down into a deep pit of sadness that was the face the warrior wore.

"Maybe and I’ve still got some more research to do, but from what I’ve found out so far, the chances of you keeping this baby are pretty slim." Holding up a hopeful finger, she smiled. "Unless."

* * *

"Unless what?" Ares asked, his initial joy at the new quickly died with the caveat.

"It appears that T’s body is trying to reject the baby because it’s not Ungaran, or not completely anyway." She amended.

Closing his eyes, the God of War slid slowly down the wall he was leaning against. "I knew this was my fault." When he was sitting on the floor, he opened his eyes to look forlornly up at the bard. "I caused this." He said softly.

Squatting down, Gabrielle shook her head. "Ares, this isn’t your fault. T’s family has a long history of troubled pregnancies and even if you were Ungaran, she’d still have problems." Taking a breath, the bard sat down and took his hand. "Yes, your Olympian godhood is partly to blame, but you love T, I know you do and I also know that you’d never do anything to hurt her, so don’t blame yourself. It’s not the end of the world and there is a chance that this baby will make it, but it’s going to take a lot of effort on all our parts to make it happen."

* * *

"What do I have to do?" T asked quietly.

"First, I want to keep you here for a couple of days, to take some more tests. I especially want to run an allergy analysis on your blood. I also want to schedule you for a sonogram. This baby is a whole new ball game and part of my problem is that I have no idea what to expect."

"You think it will be like the Destroyer?" She asked herself, as much as she did the warrior.

Shaking her head, Xena studied her feet. "I thought about that and I talked to Gabrielle about it." Looking up, she smiled warmly. "We don’t believe that this baby is another Destroyer. You’re not Hope and you’re not evil, T. I think that this time the Olympian/Ancient god combo is going to pop out something good." Thinking about her phrasing, the warrior winced. "Oh, gods. I hope it doesn’t just pop out."

Chuckling, T finally smiled. "You’re an idiot, you know that."

* * *

"When will she get to come home?" Was Ares’ next question.

"After Xena gets all the information she needs." Giving him a smile. "She sent Michael to get some info from Aphrodite about how long the gestation period is for Olympian babies and what kind of diet they need. So we’re doing everything we can to make sure we get this right." Smiling bigger, the bard leaned close. "Apparently Aphrodite wasn’t too happy about having to wait her turn for a visit."

Chuckling, the God of War smiled at last. "Patience isn’t my sister’s best quality."

* * *

"What happens after that?" Shaking her head, T rolled her eyes.

"Then you get to stay in bed and rest." Coming back to the point, Xena returned to being serious. "From what I can determine, most of you’re family’s problems with pregnancies came from stress related trauma. You’re mother is a prime example of that, so you’re going to have to take it really easy until this baby is born."

"Define easy." Arching an eyebrow of her own, the god didn’t like the sound of the word.

* * *

"What that means is, is that we’re going to have to pick up all her responsibilities." Giving Ares’ hand a squeeze. "You know how much T does and Xena thinks that in order for the baby to stand a better chance, she’s gonna have to stop using most of her powers, so she can concentrate on the baby."

"What can I do?" He asked as a sense of hope finally started to creep into his heart.

"You’re going to have to pick up the god parts of her job, like keeping tabs on all the things going on in that little room of T’s. The other stuff, Xena and I will do our best to cover." Refusing to consider just how complicated her life was about to get, Gabrielle knew it would be worth the effort.

* * *

"Xena, I’ve got the Ungaran conference coming up. How am I supposed to attend, if you won’t let me use my powers to pop over?" Giving the warrior an indignant stare. "Would you rather I fly?"

"No." Shaking her head, Xena sighed. "You’re not going."

"Pardon?" T said quite seriously and very low.

"You’re not going." She said again. "Gabrielle and I will go."

* * *

"I can go." Ares suggested.

"No, you need to stay with T and make sure she’s relaxing." Shaking her head, the bard smiled. "And your hands will be full with keeping tabs on what goes on at the hub." Standing, she reached down to give him a hand up. "We’re the heirs to the throne and it’s about time we started acting like it."

* * *

"Okay, I’ll stay home on one condition." T sighed. "That you at least let me attend via conventional multimedia."

"What? So all of the clan leaders can see you in your jammies?" Chuckling, Xena shook her head. "You’re just going to have to brief us and then trust us."

"I thought you didn’t want me to get stressed." T said sarcastically.

"I’m serious, T. You’re in no condition to deal with that conference; so you can either call it off, or let Gabrielle an me go." Folding her arms across her chest, the warrior smiled.

Closing her eyes, the god finally nodded and sighed. "Fine, you’ll go. What else?"

* * *

"She’s gonna need to be waited on hand and foot, which I know you won’t have a problem with." Gabrielle smiled. "But, you know T. She’s not the type to let others do things for her, so you’re going to have to make sure she sticks to the instructions Xena gives her."

Ares lifted his eyebrows to an all time high and stared at her. "You’re trying to get me killed, aren’t you." Blinking at her several times.

"Nooooo." Shaking her head, the bard chuckled. "Ares, Xena will still have to come to work and I’m going to do my best at the Hub, until summers over, so we’re going to be really busy trying to cover for her, so that leaves you and Bud to watch her."

Groaning, he let his head hang down. "I guess having Bud just sit on her, is out of the question, huh?"

"Very out of the question." Smiling, the bard patted his shoulder sympathetically.

* * *

"Okay." T said softly. "Let me see if I’ve got everything."

Sitting back, Xena waited with a smirk.

"I can’t use my powers, I have to stay stress free, stay in bed, let you and Gabrielle go to the conference, allow Ares to wait on me hand and foot and take over the hub, follow your other impending instructions to the letter and basically become an invalid. Is that about right?" Feeling herself stressing all ready, T consciously relaxed and smiled.

"There is one other thing." Leaning forward, the warrior rested both forearms on the gurney. "I want you to let Ares monitor Gabrielle and me."

"Xena . . ." Starting to protest, she was cut off by the warrior.

"I mean it." Xena said seriously.

"Will you let me finish, please?" Clenching her jaw, the god sighed when she saw a nod. "Xena, I don’t think I could stop watching out for you two, if I wanted to. It’s not even conscious anymore. It’s ingrained in my soul and it’s the only thing that I flatly refuse to give up." Holding up her own hand this time, T continued. "You and Gabrielle are my best friends and the knowledge that you’re safe is something I hold dear and will not delegate. I’ll agree to drink that swill you made up and I’ll agree to all the other things you want me to do and I’ll even promise to send Ares, if I sense that something has happened to you two, but I can’t not know that you’re safe. If you really want me to stay calm? Then don’t argue with me on this one. It’s non-negotiable."

Lowering her head, she rested her chin on her hands and closed her eyes. "You promise that you’ll let Ares handle any trouble?"

"I promise." She said softly.

Xena sighed and opened her eyes. "Not that I have a choice, because you’ll do it anyway, but okay." Tilting her head, the warrior gave her best friend a smile. "It’s going to get pretty interesting from now on."

"I believe in you, Xena. If there’s anybody who can tackle this challenge, it’s you." Poking her friend in the nose, she chuckled.

"And it’s Gabrielle and, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, it’s Ares too." Rolling her eyes, she sat back and shook her head. "I hope that whatever you see in him is real, because he’s going to have to pull his weight, or else I’m kicking his ass." Pointing an intimidating finger at T’s smirking face.

"Even if you could, that won’t be necessary." Ares said, as he stepped inside the room.

Standing, the warrior gave him a studied stare. "You’ve been warned."

"I’m all aquiver." He said unmoved by the statement.

"Hold it right there." Gabrielle interjected by waving her hand around, then waited until she had their attention. "You’ve heard Xena’s rules, now you’re gonna hear mine. Rule one. No more fighting. No more arguing. No more picking. No more of anything that even remotely resembles discontent." Walking over to the warrior, she put her hands on her hips. "From now on, you two will play nice, or you’ll have to deal with me. Got it?"

T bit her lip and watched the two brunettes engage in a silent standoff. "Ooooo and I thought I had it rough."

"Well?" Looking between the two, the bard waited.

"Got it." Xena growled first.

"Got it." Ares growled next.

"Good. Future rules to follow as the situation dictates, now move." Gabrielle nodded and swept the warrior out of the way, so she could sit on the stool. "Congratulations." Smiling at the smiling face.

"Thank you." T said and chuckled. "You going to use that whip and chair on me?"

"Are you going to be good?" Lifting her eyebrows with the question.

Feigning concentrated consideration, she screwed up her face until the bard gave her a gentle shove, then she nodded heartily and smiled. "I’ll be good, I promise."

"Okay." Smirking, Gabrielle got up and leaned over to kiss T’s forehead. "Xena and I will be back in a little while. We’ve got more journals to read and Aphrodite to interrogate and about a billion other things to do." Switching to a smile, she winked. "But you won’t hear me complain."

"The daring duo are on the case." Giving the bard a wink back, she watched the warrior and the bard depart, then waited for Ares to sit down. "Well? Wadda ya think?" She asked tentatively.

"I think that the most beautiful, incredible and bravest woman I have ever known, who has already made me the luckiest god ever, is going to have a baby." Chuckling, Ares gave her a kiss. "Which makes me the happiest god ever."

"Will you still believe that when I look like a blimp?" Chuckling at his giddy expression.

"As long as you don’t roll over and crush me in my sleep, yes." Nodding, he was pushed off the stool and got up laughing. "I see the mood swings have started all ready." Sitting again, he smiled. "Thank you, T." Taking her hand, he kissed the palm.

"Don’t thank me." She said softly. "I’m blaming those damned silk boxers of yours. Stupid cartoon characters did me in."

Grinning, he leaned in for another kiss. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Smiling, she pulled him in for another kiss. "Now the next question."

"What?" Arching an eyebrow, T lifted her head.

"Who’s gonna be the one to tell Bud?" Ares asked with a fearful look.

* * *

Xena held the door open for the bard, then followed her into the conference room. Closing the door behind her, she stepped over to the table and sat down, facing Gabrielle. "Wadda ya think?"

"I think we just got knocked down a notch in the Royal line." Smiling, Gabrielle shook her head.

"Hey! That’s not fair. We’ve been here longer." Frowning, the warrior stood and made to head for the door, but was held back by a laughing bard.

Getting to her feet, she pulled Xena down for a long kiss. "Now, Doctor Morgan, lets get to work, shall we?" Smiling up at the warrior. "We’ve got a baby figure out."

Smiling back, Xena nodded. "First things first. Get one new healthy god here, then a discussion about rank and privileges." Sitting down again, she turned to open one of the books scattered across the large table.

Taking a step to the side, Gabrielle stood behind the warrior and leaned down to wrap her arms around Xena’s shoulders. Giving Xena a soft kiss on the cheek, she smiled. "You’re the best, Xena."

"Second best, but having a side kick always gave me an edge." Turning her head, the warrior gave the bard a quick kiss. "I like the side kick. She’s got a belly button." Using her best imitation of an infatuated child.

Chuckling, the bard gave the warrior a squeeze. "Okay, Auntie Xena. Let’s get to it." Stealing another kiss, Gabrielle took her seat and grabbed a book. "The daring duo are on the case."


The End, sort of.

Epilogue: Will T be able to keep her promise and stay stress free? Will Xena and Gabrielle succeed in keeping the Ungaran empire in one piece? Will Ares be crushed in his sleep? And who will tell Bud the news?

All these questions and more will be answered at a later date, but I can tell you this. No matter the outcome, it won’t be boring.

Thanks for reading.


Return to The Bard's Corner