Disclaimers: The following story contains spoilers from the episode ĎComing Homeí. It the first in a new series that takes place after my Changes of Heart series. You donít have to read it but you might enjoy it. Itís an alt story, which means women in love with women, so beware. These characters belong to Ren Pics. I think that about covers it.
Gabrielle sat below in the valley with Eve as she waited for Xenaís return.
"I should go back."
Gabrielle turned to Eve who was staring out into the forest. The girl looked as if she was under some kind of spell - hypnotized.
"And what good would it do?" Gabrielle countered. "Youíre worth more to this world alive than dead Eve. And those amazons will kill you if you go back."
Eve gave a deep sigh. "So Iím above the law then? Just because Iím the daughter of the warrior princess and an amazon queen? That doesnít sound right to me."
How can I explain this? the bard considered. "Your mother was put on trial once for her past crimes. She even went to prison. But she realized, after the whole experience, that she could serve her Ďdebtí for all the misery she cause by helping people who needed it. It was a waste for her to be locked in a cell when she could help thousands upon thousands of people. It donít see your crimes being anything different . . . Hell, if we were still in Rome youíd be the conquering hero."
"You donít have to remind me," Eve muttered.
"Iím sorry sweetie," Gabrielle answered. "What I mean is . . ." For crying out loud what do you mean? Youíre a bard. Think. Eve and Xena have lived parallel lives. Remember what you told Xena all those years ago.
"Iím a murderer," Eve answered.
"You killed people who stood in the way of Rome," Gabrielle answered. "At a certain point you took pleasure in it. The pleasure you felt was wrong. And now, looking back, your heart is so heavy you canít find the goodness within yourself."
"Iím not sure if there is any real goodness."
"Iím certain," Gabrielle grinned.
"Because . . . your our daughter. You just lost your way. And your mother and I will do everything we can to help you find it. Youíve decided not to harm anyone unless itís in defense. Thatís very noble. For a time I walked a path where I didnít want to harm anyone, no matter what the price . . . At least until I watched a Roman almost kill your mother. I took down half those men at that outpost with your motherís sword. And I havenít looked back since."
"Doesnít it bother you? The violence?"
"Itís for the greater good," Gabrielle answered. "When youíre pushed sometime you have to push back. Thatís what I did by challenging Margot. If your mother and I couldnít reason with her then I would take control. I admire your mother for not stepping in today. She let me handle it and make my challenge without a word," Gabrielle grinned with pride. "Point is, I didnít want to fight her but I would have Ė for the greater good of that tribe . . . So Iím sorry Eve. I canít support you going back into that village because your death wouldnít serve the greater good."
A silence passed between them for a moment. Until Gabrielle spoke up, "Are you sincere about wanting to help people? Getting Eliís message out?"
"Absolutely," Eve answered firmly.
"Well you canít do that from a coffin," Gabrielle answered as she rose. "And thatís where those amazons would put you."
"But what about you? And mother?"
"What about us?" Gabrielle asked.
"You can never go Ďhomeí to them again. Youíve broken their law by helping me escape. I never wanted to split you two from the amazons . . . but thatís what youíve done."
"No. WE made that choice - not you. Besides," Gabrielle smiled. "Do you think they are the only amazons?"
"Margot said it herself . . . itís the last tribe."
Gabrielle added a chuckle to her smile. "Oh Iím sure thereís a tribe someplace where Margotís never been. Far, far north and away from the Greek amazons in fact. If I ever need an amazon Iím sure I wonít be on the Ďoutsí with them."
"How can you be so sure?" Eve questioned.
"In truth Iím not but Iím certain there has to be more than one tribe out there. . . And if Margotís correct and they are all gone all that really matters to me is my family - the ones I live with day in and day out." Gabrielle leaned down and took Eveís face in her hands before placing an affectionate kiss on her forehead. "Iíd give up any throne for you because I believe in you Eve."
With that, Gabrielle moved away and began her trip up the grassy hill as she watched Xena approaching. Eveís bottom lip began to quiver slightly and one by one the tears streamed down her face. They really do love me . . . I really have a family.
Gabrielle had a grin for Xena as she came down the hill shaking her head.
"Hey," the warrior grinned.
"Hey there yourself," Gabrielle answered.
Xena didnít add anything she just stood looking at the bard smiling. Gabrielle scrunched her eyebrows as she examined the warrior. "You kissed him," she said matter of factly. Xenaís smile fell a brief moment before returning. She looked away and found her fingers scratching the back of her neck. "Youíre not even going to try to deny it are you?" Gabrielle asked. She couldnít help it. At this point she had to giggle watching the warrior fidget.
"Yeah I kissed him," Xena admitted in a defeated sigh.
"He still a good kisser?" the bard jabbed.
"Gabrielle," Xena replied, stressing out each syllable of the bardís name. "If you must know I told him his chances are 1 in a billion."
"Ahh I see, so Ares took it as a sign of hope?" Gabrielle continued to prod.
Xena opened her mouth to respond to stop. Not being able to find exactly what she what to say she asked, "How do you do that?"
"Do what?" Gabrielle asked coyly, taking the warrior by the hand and leading her back down the hill.
"Know everything!" Xena chuckled. "You know I kissed him. You know heís STILL wishing. How do you know that?"
It was the bardís turn to laugh. "Because I know you have a soft spot for Ares. I accept that. And I know youíve felt sorry for him. The kiss would be a nice Ďpeace offeringí to the God of War. And as for Ares well Ė he might not be a god anymore but heís still . . . Ares."
"So youíre not jealous?" Xena asked softly, testing the waters.
"Of what? The fact youíll be sleeping in my bedroll tonight instead of his," Gabrielle grinned victoriously. "No, Iím not jealous. Ares has nothing I could want. But I, on the other hand, have something he wants very much but canít have . . . So you can give him the Ďkiss offí. Thatís fine by me."
Xena gave Gabrielleís hand an extra squeeze as they walked along, getting closer to Eve. "I knew there was a reason I loved you so much," Xena grinned down at the bard, giving her a quick peck on top of the head.
"Mom," Eve called out.
"Yeah," the warrior and bard answered together. "Okay enough of this," Gabrielle said waving her hands to the group. "Eve . . . sweetie . . . I love you dearly but perhaps you should just call me Gabrielle again. I wonít think any less of you and Iím certain that I hold a special place in your heart. For confusion sake, letís just call me Gabrielle alright?"
Eve looked to Xena for approval.
"If Gabrielle is okay with it then Iím okay with it," Xena said.
"AlrightÖGabrielle," Eve agreed
"Good," the bard grinned. "Now what do you say Evie? Are you going back or coming with us? Itís your choice," Gabrielle answered.
Xena looked back and forth between them. Going back? What is she? Crazy? she wondered, yet said nothing.
"I choose the greater good," Eve smiled to Gabrielle.
"Good choice," Gabrielle answered, giving her a light chuck on the shoulder.
"Did something happen here I didnít know about?" Xena asked, a bit baffled by the conversation.
"Yes dear but you were too busy kissing Ares at the time," Gabrielle teased.
"You what?!" Eve exclaimed, rising to her feet in surprise.
"Relax," Xena answered. "Itís not what you might think," she added to Eve. "I see now that you are never gonna let me live this down are you?" Xena asked the bard.
Gabrielle gave a brilliant smile, walking away with Eve, "Ohhh not on your life warrior mine. This oneís gonna last a pretty long time Iíll have you know."
"Oh jeez," the warrior grumbled as she picked up their saddlebag. "I hope mother doesnít give me a hard time. Iím not sure I can handle two of you ganging up on me at once."
"So weíre going to Amphipolis?" Eve asked the bard.
"Yes dear. Weíre going home."
CONTINUED IN PART II: GRIEF