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Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Universal and MCA and all those people. Not me. But any Greek gods mentioned belong to no one. Just try telling them that they do! Anyways, I won't make a dime on this so don't sue me, I'm broke as it is.
Further disclaimer: This story contains a *slight* bit of foul language, just to let you know.
Yet another disclaimer: This story contains romantic love between Xena and Gabrielle, both subtle and not-so subtle. Therefore, if you're underage, stop reading. If you're offended by that sort of thing, stop reading. If you just plain disagree with the fact that Xena and Gabrielle belong together.. wake up! ;)
To my love for being my Xena (and being able to do a damn good impression of The Yell!).
To the Second Banana for wonderful inspiration, ideas and going through many, many rewrites.
To Those Who Know, just for being you.
It started out as a very normal day. Xena was already awake and making sure that we left the camp as we found it. She's big on that sort of thing. I woke up and took a deep breath, enjoying a moment to myself, feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face as I inhaled the sweet air.
I looked to the raven-haired beauty that I have the honour of calling my best friend, and smiled a good morning to her. She paused, suddenly and looked around. Staff in hand, I stood quietly and waited for the warrior in her to take charge.
She moved her mouth to my
ear. I felt her warm breath on my skin as she whispered to me.
"Gabrielle, someone else is breaking camp nearby."
I raised my eyebrow. "So? Lots of people break campsites in the morning. We do it almost every day. Too often, if you ask me. I'd much rather be sleeping in a nice, quiet inn, where-"
Her warm hand on my mouth stopped me from babbling. Again.
"Last night, there was no one else around. Something's strange about all this. Be careful and stay here. I'm going to take a look at who's out there."
I began to protest about being left behind, but Xena shot me a look that said 'Don't. Mess. With. Me. Now.' So I didn't. I held my staff at the ready and listened as Xena crept away from our camp with her sword in hand.
Only a few minutes passed by until I heard Xena's battle cry of "ayiyiyiyiyiyi!". And then I heard it again. I charged toward the sounds and upon my arrival, I dropped my staff (and my jaw) in disbelief.
I saw two Xenas. Both of them dressed in her usual leathers, both of them with swords and chakrams. Considering all the trouble we've had with Diana and Meg, I wasn't so stunned about seeing two Xenas. What I was stunned about was whom I saw just across the clearing from me. I saw me. Green top, brown wrap-around-skirt, jaw hanging, staff on the ground. We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, while the Xenas faced each other, swords pointed at each other.
One of the Xenas, maybe mine, maybe not, finally asked who the other was.
"My name is Xena. This is my . . . companion, Gabrielle," she said, pointing at the Gabrielle across the clearing.
The other Xena, definitely mine, then, snorted. "I don't know what kind of trick you're playing, but those are our names," she said, indicating me.
The other Gabrielle and I moved forward to our respective Xenas at the same moment as the other. It was so bizarre, like watching a mirror reflection that doesn't look or move quite right.
I took the initiative and questioned my doppleganger.
"Where are you from?"
"Are you now, or have you ever been, married?"
"Uh . . . well, my husband, Perdicus, was killed by an evil woman, named Ca-"
"Callisto," I finished for her. "Xena," I said. "Xena, she looks like me, she knows about me . . . I think, somehow, she is I."
"She is Gabrielle of Poteidaia,"
the other Xena stated. "The question is, are you Gabrielle too?"
My counterpart asked me a few questions about Perdicus, my own marital status and about the Amazons, which I answered to her satisfaction, as the Xenas did the same. There was absolutely no doubt about it. We had somehow met ourselves. Eventually, we sat in their camp, eating breakfast, and we talked. Everything that we discussed was identical to our own lives. Except for one.. er.. detail. Leave it to me to stick my foot right into my mouth. I noticed that our counterparts had rings on, while we didn't. "Those are interesting rings you have on," I commented. "Oh, and, look, Xena, they match. They're beautiful."
"They're just plain gold bands," replied the other Gabrielle.
"Is there any reason they match?" I asked, unknowingly digging myself deeper.
The others looked at each other. My counterpart raised an eyebrow and tilted her head just so, to which Xena nodded once.
"Gabrielle," she began. "I wasn't entirely honest with you when you asked about my marriage. You see... I was married to Perdicus, and he was killed by Callisto. Even though I loved him dearly, it was as though he was more of a brother to me."
My face paled as I heard her speak those words, words that rang true in my own heart.
"I found the person I truly loved and could not live without. I thought you had, too, when we first saw each other this morning, but after speaking with you, I guess I was wrong."
My confusion showed in my face, because she addressed it next.
"Gabrielle, I am in love with Xena. She's my wife."
My Xena and I were dumbfounded, although probably for different reasons. I knew that her words of love were true because I felt them myself. The formerly unshakable warrior princess, however, was completely stunned as she saw her counterpart take mine's hands in her own.
"At first, I thought that you two were together, like us. But after we talked, I knew I was wrong. I suppose that's what's different about us. After Perdicus's death, I knew I couldn't lose someone that close to me again. So I told Xena how I felt, and she told me she felt the same way," she continued.
"And so, you got married. But where are your wedding bracelets?" I asked.
"Bracelets?" said the other Xena. "We have wedding rings, not bracelets. That's why they match."
"It must have something to do with where we're from," the other Gabrielle thought out loud. We all agreed.
"Anyhow, I can't imagine not being with my little bard," the other Xena chuckled, affectionately ruffling the hair of the woman with my face, my body, my feelings.
"I can't imagine it either," said my Xena. "But marriage?" she shook her head. "That's just not for us. Now, enough of this talk. We have to find out what's going on and continue on our way, Gabrielle," she said sternly, standing up.
My heart was shattered by her words. There I had it. The truth. Xena's feelings on a silver platter. And they weren't the same as mine. But I stood anyway. I hadn't expected any differently, which is why I had never expressed the intensity of my feelings to Xena, why I had never brought up that kiss while she was 'dead' and in control of Autolycus's body. No, I would much rather have stayed on as Xena's friend than risk losing that friendship.
And so, though my heart was heavy, the four of us began wondering how and why the others were brought to our place. Actually, we weren't sure if they had been moved, or if it was actually us. It was starting to get confusing. About the only thing we could all agree on was the fact that it must have been a god who had done the deed, nevermind the fact that we couldn't get the specifics of the deed figured out. As it turned out, the alternate Xena didn't get along well with the gods either. It seemed like everything up to the point of Perdicus's death was identical in our lives, at which point our counterparts proclaimed their undying love for the other. Gods, it hurt me so badly to look at them together. The odd caress, a look here, a smile there... How I longed for those tokens of affection -- and more.
I could tell Xena was getting
itchy, being a woman of action, not words. Interestingly enough, however,
the other Xena hung on my double's every word, not fidgeting at all, while
"mine" was sharpening her sword. Again. Anyway, I suggested that the Xenas
finish packing up their respective camps and take a break from this confusing
situation. Everyone agreed, while Gabrielle smiled, saying "I was just
about to say that myself.". It was remarkable how alike we were, yet so
much had happened since they got together that we were also fairly different.
I discovered a lot as my lookalike and I walked around her camp. She was a lot like me, but I managed to surprise her when I confided in her about my feelings for my Xena.
"Really? You're in love with your Xena?" she asked, incredulously.
I nodded. "Why do you look so surprised? I mean, you're in love with Xena, too!"
"Well, Xena made it fairly clear that you're not with each other, so I just assumed that you were both friends and nothing more."
"You made the right assumption, but I can't imagine *not* loving her. She's so... generous, and caring and.." I struggled for the right words.
"Compassionate," Gabrielle interjected.
"Yes! That's it. Compassionate. And-"
We grinned at each other.
The world froze as I saw myself, my doppleganger, fall to the ground, a cry emanating from her lips, hitting the ground with a thud, three arrows stuck in her back. Instinctively, I ducked and turned to face the threat, but Xena was way ahead of me. She charged the three men alone, hurling her chakram into the air. Then the other warrior, my Xena, ran up, surveying the situation.
"Gabrielle!" she shrieked, going to the other's body, as I tried to pull Gabrielle out of range.
"Xena, I'm okay," I said. "Look, it's the other Gabrielle." I pointed out the band. I saw relief flood her eyes and we carried my twin back to a safe distance.
"Just don't move the arrows yet," cautioned Xena. "Just keep your hand at her throat, feeling for her blood pumping, and make sure she's still breathing." Then Xena charged into what was left of the battle. The other Xena had left two bodies broken and bleeding and had the blocked the flow of blood to the remaining man. His eye was swollen, his mouth full of blood. Both Xenas tried to get any shard of information out of him. From where I was, I couldn't tell what happened until later, I was sort of distracted. I had just seen "myself" get hit by three arrows and fall limply to the ground. I wasn't exactly calm and collected, you know. I was scared. It could have been me.
Not even two hours later, it was over. The Xenas had done all they could, even sending me running towards a village to get some herbs, or to see if a healer could come to the camp to save her. No healer was there, and the herbs didn't help. The wounds were too severe. My counterpart died in the arms of the woman she loved. Gabrielle asked to speak to me alone for a moment, shortly before she went silent.
"Don't let her go," was all she said. Then she asked for her wife. My Xena and I stepped away and the other Xena took my lookalike into her arms, both of them crying softly, murmuring words of love to the other. No more than ten minutes passed before Xena came to us and asked us for help to bind her body and build a litter, so she could be taken back to Poteidaia.
Once the task was complete, we were back where we started. How did Xena and I get here? And why had Gabrielle been shot at? The Xenas had learned precious little from the archers, only that Ares was involved. We headed toward his nearest temple.
When we got there, the other Xena dismounted quickly and ran up the temple steps. "Ares! Show yourself!" she commanded. I wasn't really surprised when the God of War himself showed up in the courtyard in front of the temple, just ahead of Xena and I, but facing the alternate Xena.
"Yes, Xena?" he grinned maliciously.
The other Xena didn't give him any warning. She charged him. Her chakram went flying through the air towards his neck and her sword aimed to spear him through the chest. He sidestepped both attacks. Xena screamed in rage and began to charge again, but my Xena stopped her. Ares turned around. Though he did not seem at all surprised at the second Xena, he frowned.
"Xena, let her go," he ordered. "I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself." Ares laughed as my Xena struggled to keep her other self under control.
"You killed Gabrielle, you pompous, self-righteous, arrogant BASTARD!" yelled the other Xena, tears running down her cheeks, trying to get at him.
Ares smirked, stroking his beard. "Gabrielle... Gabrielle.. Ahhhh, yes, I was indeed responsible for that one. Whatcha gonna do about it, Xena?"
"She was my WIFE! How could you do that to me?!" she cried.
Ares raised an eyebrow. "Your WIFE?" He glanced at the other Xena's flailing hands. "A ring..." he muttered. "Zeus! It was the wrong Gabrielle! It was *that* one I wanted killed!" he proclaimed, pointing at me. Then, I swear, he began muttering about how difficult it was to find good help these days.
My Xena looked over at me and I moved behind her. The other Xena had stopped whipping around, and was simply crying now, so she was allowed to sit and weep without being restrained. There was no need anymore.
"And why would you want this Gabrielle, Ares? Do you honestly think I'd return to you?" questioned Xena, sword in hand.
"Well, yeah," he replied. "I figured that without that irritating little blonde do-gooder there, you'd have nothing left in your life, and come back to me."
I took offense to that irritating blonde comment, but I let it sit.
"So you brought the four of us together and --"
He laughed at me. I hate it when Gods laugh at me.
"Little girl, I did nothing of the sort. *That* was Aphrodite."
Upon hearing her name, I suppose, the Goddess of Love appeared before us. She was beautiful. But, it *was* Aphrodite, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Her beauty, however, was marred by a look of sorrow. She went over to the other Xena and took her hands.
"Xena, babe, I'm totally sorry for your loss, y'know," she began. "You want me to like, explain this?" she asked, looking around at all of us. We nodded.
"Well, like, my son, you know, Cupid, insisted that being the Goddess of Love, it was my like, responsibility to make sure that Xena and Gabrielle, any of them, from any universerse, tell each other their like, true feelings for each other."
My Xena dropped her jaw. I wondered if Aphrodite meant that we were *both* supposed to declare our love, or if just one of us was.
"Well, you know, he actually convinced me that in any dimension, universe, whatever, you two are... like... meant to be or something. So, I brought these two," she said, gesturing at us. "I brought these two here, to see how happy you and your wife were, Xena, you know? But, like, Ares' assassin dudes musta figured that, like, your wife was the other Gabrielle. I'm so totally sorry, Xena. Without our, like, meddling, your marriage, your life with Gabrielle would be cool." She glared at Ares. "But, like, really, Ares, you so totally have to stop meddling yourself! She's dumped you, man! Like, give it UP, already!"
"Shut UP, Aphrodite. I will win Xena back. Make no mistake."
The other Warrior Princess yelled back in defiance that she would rather die than go back to Ares.
"So be it! If I can't have you, no one will!" he bellowed, enraged by her protests. With that, his sword appeared in his hand and he speared her through her chest. Then, he was gone.
We ran over to the fallen warrior.
Aphrodite shook her head. "She totally chose her own path. We so can't help her."
The other Xena looked up at mine. "Remember what I said. Don't let our deaths be in vain. I'll be with her again, soon."
My Xena nodded, once at her double and then looked at the Goddess. "We're ready to go back, now."
Aphrodite then snapped her fingers and the other Xena was gone. We were back in our own camp. Aphrodite stepped back and, she too, disappeared, leaving the two of us alone.
We sat, darkness falling around us, at the campsite we had used last night. I started a fire while Xena got a large rabbit for us to roast. During her absence, I thought about what the other Xena had said. ‘Remember what I said,' she had mentioned to my Xena. ‘What had they talked about while I was gone?'
I finally declared my confusion to Xena after we'd eaten. She sighed, stood, and moved from her spot across the fire, sitting back against a rock, to my right.
"You know I'm not one for words, Gabrielle. That's your department."
"I'm going to try anyway," she smiled, cutting me off.
I turned my body so I could look at her comfortably, while she spoke, instead of turning my head. My warrior took a deep breath and began.
"While you were at the village, we couldn't really do all that much for the other Gabrielle. Xena kept telling me over and over again how happy she was that she had told Gabrielle how she really felt about her, how wonderful the past few months had been. She wanted me to tell you the same sort of thing, so that we could end up as happy as they did." Xena sighed. "The only reason I'm doing this is because I don't want their deaths to be for nothing.
"Gabrielle," she said, taking my hands. "You know I care for you, don't you?"
I was trembling, and cursed the quivering of my voice as I answered that yes, I did.
"I *do* love you, Gabrielle. I think I would be ecstatic if I could spend the rest of my life loving you, being with you..."
"So what's stopping you?" I asked.
She looked at me, sadly. "You are," she replied.
I was bewildered. "ME?!" I exclaimed.
"Gabrielle, I know you don't
feel the same for me. You wouldn't have married Perdicus otherwise." I
couldn't believe it. Xena, the Warrior Princess was on the verge of tears!
I laughed as I pulled her close. "Xena, marrying Perdicus was a mistake. For the love of Zeus, he was telling me he was going to kill himself if it hadn't been for me! I kept wanting you to tell me not to marry him, to give me a sign, anything at all! What did you do? You practically ordered me to marry him! You didn't give me a reason not to..." I released her from my hug and pushed her back to look into her eyes.
"Xena, it's you I love. I've loved you since the moment I saw you."
She smiled, her eyes sparkled with unshed tears of sorrow. Slowly, I moved my lips toward hers. When they met, an electricity I had never before felt, flowed through me, infusing the very fibres of my being, the core of my soul. All that from a simple kiss!
We pulled apart, and she took me to her bedroll. We were content to hold one another close, kissing slowly, lovingly -- for a while, at least. Soon, the flames of desire we had been trying to control for the last two years overcame us both, and our clothes ended up strewn around the bedroll. Lips caressed every morsel of my body, except the most sensitive. She left those for last. When she finally kissed my center, I almost exploded. She took her long, nimble fingers and inserted them in me, slowly pumping me as her tongue licked my most sensitive area. It wasn't long before I erupted in ecstasy. And after that, I enjoyed keeping Xena on the edge of orgasm herself, mimicking her ministrations, but adding in a couple variations of my own.
We finally fell asleep, exhausted, after having satisfied our lust for each other. For now, anyways. We slept in each others arms, dreaming of our life together. It could have been a dream, I suppose, but I could have sworn that I saw the other Xena and Gabrielle smiling down at us, from the night sky, as I turned over in Xena's arms at one point during the night. I smiled back at them as I snuggled closer to my love, letting the darkness of slumber take me once more.