Many Happy Returns indeed. Oh yeah, in spite of all the teasing and prodding Xena did to Gabrielle I’m sure she got lucky on Gabby’s Birthday and vice versa. Tapert is throwing the subtext bone anymore folks he’s prepping the audience for the ‘big one’. (Still haven’t heard from my nutforum pal Fubard about betting on if Tapert will do it or not since he doesn’t think they’ll go ‘all the way’. I beeeeeg to differ (VBG) ).
Our tale opens with Xena and Gab’s being playful in the woods. Not the kind of playful I’d like to see (VBG) but I’m sure Tapert’s not gonna show his entire hand before all the bets have been placed (VBG). Seems Gabby's birthday is just around the corner and Gabrielle is trying to quiz Xena on her gift. She pokes Xena. She prods Xena. Something that would have another person in the world with a broken hand (LOL). But remember Xena’s kitty whipped in the most wonderful of ways. Of course that doesn’t mean she still can’t have fun harassing Gabrielle for her birthday. Seems Xena’s made it a tradition to pull practical jokes on Gabby for her birthday. Gabby says not this year and Xena agrees, making sure to cross her fingers behind her back. Xena pulls out a telescope to check it out the area but she holds it backwards. Gabby rips it from Xena’s hand and holds it the right way, leaving a nice black ring around Gabby’s eye unknown to her. They hear a ruckus and go to investigate.
They find a young maiden about to be pitched off a cliff by a cult who’s sacrificing her to their God to protect them from an evil warlord. We have the gratuitous fight scene (this is Xena: WP of course) and when the girl takes a header off the mountain Xena uses the flying helmet of Hermes to jump down and catch the girl. After they land safely away they have this conversation.
X: You alright?
Girl: Oh divine presence, as you’ve made yourself manifest. Take thy humble servant to your bosom (girl goes to hug Xena)
X: (holding the girl back at arms length, pointing to her own breast) Woah, this is spoken for.
Oh really Xena? And just who’s doing the talkin’ huh? Perhaps your still breastfeeding Eve or some other child we don’t know of? Perhaps you fell for some tall, dark and handsome bad boy? Or maybe, just maybe it has something to do with that little blonde soulmate, best friend who will never leave you in death gal you travel with? I’m voting for the last one. (VBG).
Anyway the gal falls to her knees thinking Xena is a god. Xena shows her that she’s not a god. She just saved her from dying with the help of the helmet. The girl is a bit upset. She was a virgin sacrifice and Xena had no business interfering! Xena doesn’t see why she’d want to sacrifice herself to ANY god. Gabrielle catches up at that point and the gal asks what’s wrong with her eye. Gabrielle wipes and sees the black stuff. Xena quickly says, "It’s a birthmark. We don’t talk about it." The girl then asks, "Are you sure you’re not a god?" Gabrielle chuckles and says, "If she were a god I couldn’t do this, or this or this…awww..". (First Gabrielle tweaks her nose. Then she pinches her butt. Then she tries to get in a punch but Xena catches her fist and crunches until Gabrielle gives up)
Xena and Gabrielle decide to give them a taste of the Greek gods so she’d see what the gods can be like and she won’t want to kill herself. Xena likes the idea and they decide to bring the gal along. A warlord looking guy is watching from the bushes. Next we see the cult getting ready to go in search of the girl. The warlord looking dude goes back to his dad who’s Gingus Khan to the 10th power (totally over the top but very funny IMHO). He tells him that a woman dressed in leather flew down and saved the sacrifice gal. GK knows it’s gotta be Xena and she must have the helmet of Hermes and he wants it.
Xena and Gabrielle tell the gal there’s nothing like sleeping under the stars and the gal says she wouldn’t know because she was locked up sunset to sunrise. Gabby asked if she was raised to be a priestess and the gals says ‘Oh no, I was raised to be a virgin sacrifice’. Gabby has a hard time believing that as Xena throws the gal some blankets and tells her to make up her bedroll. The gal goes to work on laying them out and turns to ask if she can help with anything. We see the camp entirely set up with a pot over the fire in an instant (LOL). Boy are they quick but then again they do have that never-ending saddlebag too that HOLDS all that stuff (VBG). The virgin looks over to see naked Xena and Gabby jumping into the near by stream and she covers her innocent eyes, making sure to peek through her fingers. (LOL)
Xena and Gabrielle play in the water splashing each other. Gabby ducks under water and we see Xena get startled. When Gabby breaks the surface again Xena says, "I can’t believe you did that." (ROTFL) Did what?! Did what?! I wanna see!! What did Gabby do to Xena under the water?! Awww shucks! Denied again (VBG). Gabby is so playful. She can swim with me naked anytime. I love Gabby. Have I mentioned that?(VBG)
Anyway, Xena and Gabby try to coax the young woman to join them (WooHoo. Color ME there if asked) but she declines saying she’ll just stay there and look at the bushes (LOL). Yeah, Xena and Gabrielle laughed at her choice of words too (VBG)
Later that night the gal gets upset over eating one of god’s creatures (a fish) and Xena poses the proverbial subtext question, "You know if the gods didn’t want us to eat fish then why did they make it taste so good". You gotta check out the look Xena throws to Gabby and the agreeing nod that Gabby gives her (LOL). It’s priceless. J
Xena and Gabby are in their bedroll (sleeping next to each other of course) and Gabby is laughing, squiring around saying Xena’s name. She tells her to get her cold, clammy feet off her. Xena turns slightly and says she doesn’t know what Gabby’s talking about. Gabby pulls up the covers to see an eel slithering away. When she regroups from her shock Gabby starts to smack Xena with her blanket saying this is war now. Xena just hides her head from the onslaught smiling (LOL).
The next morning Xena is taking her morning bath and comes out of the water. She asks Gabby where her clothes are. Gabby says they’re right under her nose. Xena sees she’s hid them under a rock and pulls them out. In doing so a bucket comes crashing down, covering Xena, making Gabby chuckle.
G: I …ahh…I thought…I mean Xena you can catch arrows. I thought for sure you could catch a bucket.
X: Happy Birthday Gabrielle
G: This means that we’re even now right?
X: (pulling fish guts from her hair) Oh even…nah I think that we’re just getting starting?
They take her Dite’s temple and Dite arrives in Dite fashion with two studs giving her a massage. Dite's says well if it isn’t my favorite girl group. Xena says meet Jenina the virgin. Jenina says she can’t believe it. Dite says the same adding, "I thought you virgins are extinct." Dite goes on to wish Gabby a happy birthday. Xena says they are going to Thebes for Gabby’s birthday and she asks Dite if they’d like to join them. Dite says "Did you get Sappho tickets? What row?" Xena shoots Dite the ‘Will you SHUT UP?" look and Gabby picks up on it getting excited.
They are on the road and Xena offers Gabby some water but Gabby won’t ‘fall for it’ and refuses. Xena takes a drink and Gabby curses herself because Xena didn’t taint it. Jenina doesn’t think Dite is a real goddess so she makes a bag like Xena’s. She makes a rose too but the gal isn’t impressed. Dite offers to zap them to Thebes but Xena says she wants Jenina to spend time with an honest to goodness immortal and that’s her. They are walking through town and the virgin is taking it all in. Dite plans to show her around. In the onset Xena and Gabrielle are at a food stand and Xena offers Gabrielle some ‘forbidden fruit’ but Gabby’s not buying it – Xena’s tampered with it. Jenina sees the warlord’s son in the market place but before they can speak Xena tells them they have to get going – they have a show to catch.
Next we see them at a table in a tavern. Gabby has her head down on the table and Xena is patting her head.
X: I’m sorry Gabrielle. I don’t know how I could have gotten the times wrong.
G: Xena, I do not believe we came all this way and we missed Sappho.
X: Here, have a drink
G: (pushing it back) No no, No dribble cups today.
X: Suit yourself. I’m gonna rustle up some food. Hold this.
Gabrielle thinks something is up since Xena left the helmet with her. Dite says that’s her bag. Xena switched bags on her back in the market place and she’s got the helmet. Gabby’s not sure what’s up but she wonders why Xena did a switch. She’s sure it has something to do with trying to get even with her.
Xena returns as the warlord enters saying he wants the helmet. Gratuitous fight scene ensues. Xena tells Dite to get the bag and the girl out of there, which she does. In the course of the battle the warlord gets the bag and takes off. Gabby tells Xena that the warlord now has the bag. Xena says not to worry. Dite's got the helmet. She starts to take a drink as Gabby tells her that she switched the bags so he really does have the helmet. Xena shoots ale all over the place. (LOL)
After realizing that Dite ‘zapped’ them, Jenina sees that Dite is a goddess and decides to worship her. Xena and Gabby catch up to them and now Jenina is decked out in a little nighty herself (LOL). X and G said this was NOT their intention. X and G leave to go get the helmet. Dite and Jenina stay behind in the village. Jenina says if she’s going to be a follower of Dite she has to learn love. Dite agrees and puts a spell on her and the young warlord who’s been admiring her.
Xena and Gabby are in the warlord’s cave watching him fly around. When Jenina and the young warlord come in announcing they are engaged. Dite appears behind Xe and Gab and they ask what she did to Jenina. It was just a spell and Dite says she’ll take it off. They say no, Jenina will freak when she realizes where she is. They’ll get close enough to get her out of there.
They show up as Jenina parents (LOL). Dite is her mom Spitunia. And Xena in mustache and goatee is Anthrax (ROTFL). She makes a damn good looking man and if not for seeing the eyes I’d never believe it was her. (LOL) They say they’ve heard of the nuptials and they’ve brought in a wedding coordinator AKA Gabby. To cut to the chase: They manage to swap bags, take the spell off Jenina and make her realize she has to live for herself first and not for a certain god or person. Dite zaps Jenina back to the marketplace with helmet in hand but she gets zapped right into the cult that’s looking for her. They drag her away screaming.
Once outside with the helmet, Xena is ripping off her disguise. Dite tells Xena and Gabby where she sent Jenina but Xena freaks and says that’s where the cult is. Xena screams and stops herself from choking Dite while Dite cowers away, apologizing (LOL). The warlord realizes that he’s been duped and the cult leader enters with the bag saying he’s got the helmet and he’s willing to make a deal.
Xena and Gabby know there’s a temple nearby and they head there to try to save Jenina. When they enter they find the warlord flying in to help the cult whip out Xena. Virgin Jenina is on an altar with a board full of daggers above her. Of course a burning rope supports the board and the fight scene ensues (once again this is Xena: WP). And of course Xena beats up the warlord. She gets the helmet. Convinces the girl to live for herself. Defeats the cult and goes riding off into the sunset with her bard.
Just kidding (VBG). You want to know about the last part huh? Well they are sitting by the sea, sunset has just begun and they have this conversation:
X: I’m sorry Gabrielle. I didn’t know that Sappho was only here for one performance. (pouring a mug of wine and handing it to Gabby)
G: It’s okay Xena. It’s the thought that counts (cute little Gabby smile) I would like to hear her read her poetry one day. . . .You know, how did you fall for my fish guts gag?
X: I don’t know
G: You knew I’d go crazy waiting to get even. Xena…didn’t see it coming. (she takes a drink and it spills over down her.
X: Nor that. (big smile) Now we’re even.
X: Here give me that. (reaches for cup). I want you to close your eyes.
X: Trust me please.
X: (very soft and tender) Close your eyes.
Gabrielle grins a moment and then closes her eyes. Xena reaches into their bag and sets a scroll in Gabrielle’s lap
G: (looking down) What is this?
X: (shrugging) Open it. (Xena starts to grin) I had Sappho jot something down for ya.
G: A poem? Sappho wrote a poem for me? Xena I don’t believe it. (Xena looks nervous almost (LOL) but it’s very sweet, vulnerable look I’ve never seen in six years) You planned this all along didn’t you?
G: (reading the poem) There’s a moment when I look at you (*Xena looks unsure of Gabs reaction*) And no speech is left in me. My tongue breaks. Then fire races under my skin and I tremble. And grow pale because I am dying for such love (*Gab’s voice starts to crack and Xena looks like she’s starting to cry*) Or so it seems to me. (*Gab sniffs and starts to chuckle*). It’s beautiful. This is the best birthday present I have ever had (*She rises and Xena gets up too and they hug*)
X: Of course it ain’t over yet (Xena smiles and puts the flying helmet on picking Gabrielle up and flying her over the ocean as the two of them laugh ala Lois and Superman). Happy Birthday Gabrielle.
Oh yeah. Xena did good. She’s gonna get ‘rewarded’ I’m sure (LOL)