Warnings: Two women in love with each other; and Im writing more comedy. Take your pick which is more deadly to your sense of morals. Sex and violence kept to minimum under those constraints. I promise to kill a few people in the next one to make up.
My sincerest thanks to Archaeobard for her inspiration. She maid this story come alive for me.
Disclaimers: Any resemblance between the characters described in this story, and those in a certain show produced by Renaissance Pictures, is only coincidental. But I tried. After some of the comedy episodes of the fourth season, I figured I couldnt do any worse. But then again...
The Gabrielle Effect
A Farce in Three Acts
Act 2 Convergence
Scene: Guest Quarters of the Mayor
Exterior shot of classical villa. Various servants clad in robes move about an exterior courtyard. Camera follows two up a flight of stairs into Gabrielles room. Gabrielle is seated, wearing a rather dowdy and plain dress, covering as much of her body as is possible and still see and breath. She directs the servants to lay her things on the bed and thanks them as they begin to leave. She stops the younger woman.
"Katia, is it?" She inquires.
Katia ducks her head. "Yes Mum?"
"I think you left something..." The Bard carefully shows her a small braid of hair. The servant blanches. Gabrielle tilts her head. "Is there some problem...?"
The maid takes the braid and stutters, "I, well, I think...Its this medicine I was given by the local healer. " She whispers, "its supposed to remove my moles..."
Gabrielle tries not to flinch as another braid falls to the ground. The maid continues. "Please dont mention it to anyone, Miss. Im hoping no one will notice." Another clump falls to the ground. Two beetles crawl out.
Gabrielle tries to be nonchalant. "Is it helping the...ah...mole?"
Katia smiles. "Oh yes, wonderfully! And its so worthwhile. I think its been stopping my acceptance to the college of historians. Being attractive is so important, dont you think?"
Another braid falls. Gabrielle stares at it waiting for it to discharge any passengers. She is not disappointed, as a small weevil pokes its mandibles out. Gabrielle looks at the braid in her hand.
"Please, everyone calls me AB, Its for my range of talents." She recites proudly.
Gabrielle returns the smile. "AB, I have to go and...wash...perhaps we could, chat later?"
The girl courtsies and leaves.
Gabrielle sighs with relief as the door closes. The camera continues to explore the room, showing the austere but expensive furnishings. It stops in the corner where Ares appears. Arms crossed over black leather, he is spoiling for a fight. Gabrielle takes a deep breath and waits, muscles taut.
"Nice digs." Ares saunters over, eyes burning. "Believe it or not, you really surprised me. I cant believe you could do this to her."
Gabrielle doesnt back down. She returns his glare.
"What do you want, Ares?"
"You know youre even beginning to sound like her."
"Good." Gabrielle is trying, but its clear that her firmness is mainly for show. "Now if there wasnt anything else..."
Ares smiles, but there is no humour in it. "Well, actually there is." He strolls over to Gabrielle whose eyes glance to her belongings and hidden weapons. "Xena is unhappy. And for some reason I just do not get, youre the answer to that problem. So Im here to escort you home."
There is a long pause. Gabrielle looks quizzically at Ares. "Have we met?"
"I knew you might be a little skeptical..."
"Youre telling me youve come to get me and Xena together?"
"In a nutshell..."
Gabrielle moves forward now, eyes blazing, her fear of Ares forgotten. "What have you done to her this time!"
"What have I done to her? I think weve got things a little turned around. Youre the one who broke her heart, got her thinking about sheep herding, crying all over my leathers..."
"Tall, dark, has this round killing thing, eyes to die for..."
"Because I told her Id be held up for a day or two?"
"Held up? For a DAY OR TWO!"
Gabrielle looks at the contorted face of the God of War and begins to crack up. "She cried all over your leathers, and got you to come for...me?" She breaks into fresh giggles. "Gods, I miss the best stuff sometimes."
Ares is pacing about furious, and begins waving his finger. "That, Damn HER. AND she made me promise not to harm you in any way... Shes TOAST! Burnt on both sides..."
Gabrielle is still trying to recover. "Oh please, you know you cant do that either. What exactly did you promise?"
"That Id CONVINCE you, of your own free will, to return to her."
"Well youre just going to have to wait..." Theres a knock on the door. Gabrielle looks at the muscular leather clad WarGod and goes "Uh oh."
A young male voice outside inquires "Miss Gabrielle, uh, are you alone?"
Gabrielle grabs Ares shoulder and hisses, "Go. Now, or youll ruin everything."
Ares moves back, shocked at her familiarity. "Im not going anywhere without you."
Gabrielle rolls her eyes, and searches through the room. Spying a door, she opens the closet and gestures to Ares. "Fine. Then get in here and be quiet."
In a very quiet but menacing voice, Ares says "I am Ares. God of War. I do not hide in closets."
Gabrielle tone is just as dangerously quiet. "If you wont get in there, everything Im doing will be fouled up, and I cant leave. Whats it going to be?"
There is a momentary standoff, but Ares moves to the closet with ill grace. Gabrielle moves to the door. to open it.
A shy but handsome young lad is revealed through the crack in the door. He is not wearing a red shirt, but he might as well be. Gabrielle stands in the doorway, staring downwards, hands clasped demurely. "What is it, Horace?"
Blushing the young lad responds. "I, I just wanted to make sure that all was to your satisfaction, and to welcome you to my fathers home, Miss Gabrielle."
Gabrielle rewards him with a smile, causing his heart to beat triple time. "Thank you so much, Horace. But I do not think it proper for me to be speaking with you so near my...sleeping quarters without escort."
"Oh, my! I am sorry, Miss Gabrielle, I would never..." Not wanting to leave, he desperately tries to begin a prerehearsed speech. "I , I, I also wanted you to know that though my father will, of course be scrupulously honest in his judging of the competition, I must tell you that your work all this month with our local children, your nomination by the head Priestess Leah, and your obvious sincerity, virtue, and beauty, " here he pauses for a short breath, "has found a place in all of our hearts."
Gabrielle restrains the need to roll her eyes, and blushing slightly, takes her leave. Enraptured, Horace continue to stare at her until the door is completely closed. Behind the safety of the door, Gabrielle wipes off an imaginary bead of sweat. Ares saunters out of the closet, smirking.
"Nice kid. How long does he have to live?"
Gabrielle gives him her best LOOK. "Ares, either help me or get out of here before you screw it up. Let me explain this in simple terms. I am staying here, until I finish helping our friend Leah. I have to win a sort of competition to get the Platter of Zeus, and to do that I need to act, well, differently."
Ares seems intrigued. "Differently?"
"Yes?" Gabrielle is injured.
Ares ponders this for a moment. "Well, I know that this would certainly be my wish list, but we both know that that aint gonna to happen."
There is another knock on the door. A quick movement and Ares is hustled to the closet again. As the door is shut on the outraged face of the war god, Gabrielle beams happily. "That, I could get to like..."
Its Katia again. Taking the scroll from her, Gabrielle quickly closes the door and shakes out the hair and three earwigs. Unrolling it, she reads aloud:
"Greetings to Gabrielle, of Potadiea. My hopes for a fair and interesting contest. As a token of my respect I am sending in this missive my hints for removing blood stains from plain cheap linen, and tickets on the next goat out of town.
Marta of Grahamus"
Gabrielle stares up at the ceiling. "Oh, dear Gods please?"
There is a shimmer of light and Aphrodite appears. "Hey Sweat Cheeks, you called?
"No." says Gabrielle firmly. "Dont take this personally, Aphrodite, but No, Not. Definitely."
The Goddess ignores this and begins looking around the room. "Wheres Are?"
Frustrated, but keeping her cool, Gabrielle begins to explain again. "Im in the middle of a sort of, mission. Part of it requires that I be, well chaste." Gabrielle grins, " So of course I cant have men in my room, so he keeps having to hide."
Aphrodite takes a moment to absorb this.
"Youre telling me that everytime anyone comes by, Ares hides to save your reputation?"
Gabrielle points, indicating the small door. "Hes in the closet now."
The Goddess thinks about this. Then giggles. "That could explain a lot about the tension he has around Hercules..." Still giggling, she goes to the closet and opens it. A huddled Ares glares at her.
"I THOUGHT I told you to STAY in the CHARIOT!"
"Yeah, Right. I would have, but the tunes you have are so lame." She turns for sympathy to Gabrielle. "I mean he has the choice of almost all the music through Human History, and all he listens to is DiscoVegas trash and Tom Jones! Yeach..."
"I was handling things here, " Ares tries to interrupt, but is completely ignored.
"I mean, for a while there he had it rigged so it would play Flight of the Valkyries wherever he went, and that was pretty cool, but then he got into this big royalty charge dispute with Odin, and now its all Englebert Hump his Dink or something..."
Ares grinds his teeth and then clenches his fists. "Look. You two stay here and have fun. Im going to go speed this up and just grab that damned plate." and he vanishes.
Gabrielle strikes her forehead with her palm. Worried, she looks to Aphrodite, and says, "I think you better get after him. Because if he touches that plate he could..." and she stops. Thinks a bit. Then smiles at the Goddess of Love.
"You know, we havent had a chance to talk lately, and I have soooo many questions for you..."
Aphrodite looks suspicious. "Okay, Sweatums, whats going on...?"
Gabrielle gives the Goddess her most winsome smile. "I just realized that here I am. A woman in love. A Bard as well, knowing nearly nothing about the, well, physical aspects of love, and here is the Goddess herself! How could I be so foolish as to waste this opportunity?"
Aphrodite preens herself, her suspicions forgotten. "I was wondering just when you would get around to ask..."
Scene: Amazon Encampment outside of Town:
Interior of large tent. Epinon enters first. She appears concerned. "Are you really sure that was Artemis?"
Chilapa hangs the mask up on a peg. "How by Hades Nuts would I know?"
"Well, youre the Queen, I figured youd be able to tell..."
"Look, Im not Frigging Ephiny or Gabrielle, were all agreed about that, right? The Patron doesnt call me up twice a moon and take me out for beers, o-KAY!"
Epinon is still worried. "Its just that shes never appeared like that in front of everybody, given orders..."
"...scratched her butt..."
Scene: The market place, night.
Quick pan of empty and darkened market. Ares appears beside the Platter Of Zeus. Goes over a check list on his fingers.
"Lets see, diddled the Amazons, now we steal the plate, head back, grab the irritating blonde, take her to Xena, screw around with their heads..." he rubs his hands together, and walks towards the display, "on schedule..." He thrust his arm out, palm open, and the plate detaches itself from the wall and flies to his hands. Immediately there is a sound similar to a refrigerator shutting down, and the platter glows for an instant. Ares stares at it.
"This is not good."
At that moment a rope drops at his feet. He stared down at the coil, and then looks up as Autolycus shims down to stand in front of him. Auto recognizes the God of War.
"Ah, This isnt Delphi, is it? Gee, I must have made a wrong turn near Albecoyque..." He begins to try to climb back up.
Ares grabs a foot and yanks Autolycus to the ground.
Even lying on the ground Autolycus cant let that go. "KING ...of Thieves."
Ares is not impressed. "Right. You always research anything youre gonna steal, right? Give me the scoop on the plate."
The King...of Thieves looks at the plate and catches on. "Oh! I take it, we are experiencing temporary difficulties? Shortages in the God departments? Sorry, but if there are no bolts of fire about to be rained on me, I think Ill..."
Ares grabs Autolycus by the throat, and the thief squeaks out "So, how can I help?"
Ares smiles. "The plate...?"
"A mortal, not already pledged to any Gods, judged by other mortals as being as like Hestia, pure and chaste, quiet and..."
"Yadda yadda... I know that part."
"This mortal has appear on the alter at Hestias Temple and to freely agree to release the captured Godhoods..." Ares drops Autolycus, who lies on the ground stroking his throat.
Aphrodite appears, smiling. "What did I miss?
Ares slumps. "Go away."
Autolycus moves to shelter behind the Goddess. "Mastermind here, just lost his God stuff."
His sister laughs. "What? Howd you manage it this time? I thought you told Daddy you wouldnt take your hand off your sword..."
Ares, picks up the platter, and with a smile shows it to Aphrodite. "Well, I was looking at this plate here....Have you noticed? You can see yourself in it..."
"Really? "Aphrodite grabs the plate. The refrigerator sound occurs again, and the plate glows momentarily. "Ahhhh! Not agaaaaain!" Aphrodite wails as Ares begins generating short barking laughs.
Autolycus looks on in amazement.
"Let me get this straight. There really are people who worship you guys, right? How do you survive? Does Athena cut up your meat for you at the table, or what?"
The two Gods look at each other. Ares stares at Autolycus.
"I guess we have to help Gabrielle pull this off, if only so I can fry this moron..."
Autolycus looks at their customary wardrobe. "Big talk for a guy who cant walk around in the streets right now.. I think there might be a store for peasants near by..."Aphrodite begins to wail again. "....So unless youd like to make nice-nice, I have some people waiting for me..."
Scene: Outskirts of Town
Crane shot lowers onto campfire. Joxer and Meg happily regaling Gabrielles parents with ribald stories. Hecuba has fake smile plastered on, Herorotus is stone faced, Joxer and Meg are just shit faced.
Joxer is trying to explain his relationship with our heroes. "Theyre always doin stuff like that to me. But they dont really mean it. I mean, there was this time that they sent me into town with their last dinars for medical supplies..."
Meg interrupts: "And you came back with those "magic" beans?" She slaps him on the back, laughing.
Joxer continues "So, you should have heard the things they said to me. But when I came to, Xena had figured out that the beans would work as a pain killer anyways, and later Gabby wrote this great childrens story..."
Meg adds "And filled five other scrolls too..."
"...And Xena told me she found her spirit guide, and that they exchanged essences..."
Meg interrupts: "Gabrielle tol me a raccoon just peed on her leg...."
Gabrielles parents exchange looks.
Herodotus stands. "We have to go...."
Joxer staggers up with them. "But its dark...."
Scene: Exterior of Mayors House
Camera pans up bodies of Ares and Aphrodite. the Love Goddess is attired in clothing similar to her costume in the alternate universe, Ares in heavy woolens. Both look thoroughly uncomfortable.
Aphrodite is sniffing her arm pits. Ares objects. "Do you have to keep that up? The clothes were clean, and anyways, they were necessary if were going to keep an eye on her and not blow her cover."
"How do you know Gabrielles fathers name anyways?"
"Anybody that prays as often as he does to strike Xena down, gets my attention."
"But I dont look anything like whats her names sister..."
Ares hears someone approaching the door, and hisses, "PUT A LID ON IT!"
Aphrodite shakes her head. "Listen, Bro. This is all your fault, when this is over, dont think Im not going to..."Ares is gritting his teeth.
The door is opened by Horace. Ares moves confidently forward. "I believe my daughter is here? Gabrielle of Potadiea? Im Herodotus, and this is her MOTHER, Hecuba." Aphrodite winces.
Horace is nearly overcome. "Miss Gabrielles parents? Of course, the resemblance is unmistakable! Please, please come in."
They enter, while Horace continues to gush. "I am the eldest son, Horace, Ive only had the briefest time to spend with..."
Ares nearly glows with inspiration as he cuts off the flow. "Horace is it? Gabrielle has told me so much about you. Tell me, what do you think about my charming, unattached daughter..."
Scene: Gabrielles Room
Gabrielle is smiling. Almost painfully. Horace is holding her hand and burbling away. "I think I will fly in joy! Who would have thought of it?"
Gabrielle turns to a smirking Ares. "Yes, Who?"
"Married! To the most beautiful woman in the world! I have so many people to tell, things to arrange...oh thank you, Sir!" kissing Ares on the mouth, and shaking Gabrielles hand, he exits.
There is silence in the room.
Ares breaks it. "You dont have to thank me now..."
Gabrielle regards him like something that crawled out of the sewer, or Katias hair. "I think Ill let Xena thank you for me..."
Ares doesnt seem too worried. "Well, now that your unattached status has been dealt with, you should be a shoe-in. But I think I should know more about this Marta, from her letters, she sounds like my kind of girl."
Gabrielle doesnt take this bait. "Oh yeah. From what I hear, shes more into decorating, shed probably use your Godhood so she could outfit your armies.
Ares shrugs. "I think I could live with that."
"From what Ive seen, she just adores the colours pink and sunshine yellow. And I must admit, it would be interesting to see her trying to colour-coordinate all the battles..."
Ares decides to commit. "Why didnt you say this at the beginning? She WILL..NOT... WIN."
Scene: A Tavern in the City of Hestia
It a very elegant tavern, but a tavern nonetheless. The camera pans over the tables until it reaches the door. It swings open to reveal a very dark, and angry Warrior Princess. Her entrance is unnoticed as Horace races past her, throwing a pile of dinars on a table, calling out "Drinks to celebrate my betrothal! Gabrielle of Potadeia has agreed to marry me!"
The camera moves in for close-up of Xenas face. The eyes are like stones.
Scene: Gabrielles Room
Slow pan about the room.
Gabrielle is lying on the bed with a wash cloth on her forehead. Aphrodite and Ares are eating, and getting drunk. Gabrielle raises her hand and removes the cloth. Opens it slowly and finds another clump of hair. She closes her eyes wearily. There is a banging at the door which is partly opened. Horace calls through the breach
"Gabrielle! Sweet, dear Gabrielle. Something absolutely horrendous has happened! I just heard while I was celebrating our betrothal, that the city is surrounded by those horrible Amazons! They say they have been commanded by Artemis to take the city unless we release their Queen immediately! And no one knows anything about her!"
Gabrielle squeals "Amazons!" Clasping her hands together, looking properly terrified, she slams the door shut on her fiancee and turns to face the former God of War .
Her voice is dangerously quiet. "Artemis? Appeared before MY Amazons?"
He frowns. "I sort of stopped off on the way to get the plate. I thought I would be more effective as someone they liked."
Aphrodite snickers "You really are out of the closet."
Gabrielle eyes begin to glow with fury. Ares shrugs. "They were an army. They were peaceful. I couldnt leave them like that. Its what I DO!"
Gabrielle raises a fist. "Youre doo doo, DAD!"
Next week: "Its Not My Fault!"Continued - Act lll
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