DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess is the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - wishing
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Whole New World
Gabrielle looked out across the endless water with a tear in her eye. Xena's essence was no longer at her side as she gripped her warrior's ashes tightly and swallowed the sob that threatened to escape. There was no longer anything she could do to bring Xena back. Turning, she moved away from the side of the boat and headed for her cabin. Perhaps things would be different in the morning.
Emotionally drained, the bard slipped out of her clothing and slid into the hammock-type bed. She closed her eyes and clutched at the ever present box, willing herself to relax, but her queasy stomach seemed to have other ideas. Frantically, Gabrielle jabbed at the spot on her wrist Xena had showed her long ago; she certainly didn't need to get seasick on top of everything else she'd had to endure the past several days. The feel of a gentle breeze through her hair slowly relaxed the bard, and she finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming of things that could never be.
The song of birds filtering through the window woke Gabrielle, and she smiled and gripped the hand that was lazily drawing circles on her middle. A few seconds later, two eyes popped open wide, and the bard jumped from the bed. She knew that hand, and it had been solid and firm as it pressed against her abdomen.
"Xena?" Gabrielle couldn't believe her eyes. Her warrior was lying on her side with her eyes closed. Xena was naked, but more importantly, she was definitely real, not the ghostly apparition she'd been of late. The bard shook her head to try to clear the vision, stunned that Xena being naked hadn't taken center stage in her focus.
Xena smiled and stretched her long body against the cool sheets, and ever so slowly, she finally opened her eyes. The warrior took one look around the room and leapt from the bed, landing next to Gabrielle in a single bound.
"What the Hades is going on, Gabrielle?"
"That's what I'd like to know. Where are we?"
Xena pointed back towards the bed. "We're in my room at the inn, and that's my old bed."
"Inn? You mean, in Amphipolis? How'd we get here?"
"I have no idea." Xena ran her hand down her firm body. "Better question is how did I become solid again?"
A knock on the door had both women diving back to the bed and under the covers. A beat later, the door opened, revealing a smiling Cyrene.
"Time to get up, sleepyheads. Chores are waiting. What would you like for breakfast this morning?"
Four eyes stared at the other woman. Cyrene looked exactly like she did when Gabrielle had first met her.
"Can't make up your minds? Well, that's okay. I'll just make you a little of everything. C'mon, now, daylight's burning." The older woman winked and left the room, closing the door behind her. The proverbial pin could be heard leagues away as the bard and warrior stared slack-jawed at the door.
"Xena? Did you just see what I saw?"
"If you mean my mother coming in here, not looking any older than when I first came back to Amphipolis, offering us breakfast, and not batting an eye at the two of us in bed together naked, then, yeah, I saw what you saw."
Gabrielle pinched the back of Xena's hand hard. "Ow, what'cha do that for?"
"To see if you're really here. Now, you pinch me back."
Xena grinned evilly and pinched the bard on the backside. "Yeoww! On the arm, Xena, on the arm; but at least you answered my question, I'm definitely awake, and you're definitely my Xena. Now, who do you suppose is behind this?"
"Ares! It's got to be him." Xena crawled from the bed and stood in the middle of the room, not in the least bit concerned with her lack of clothing. "Ares! You son of a bitch! Show yourself!"
When the god failed to appear, Xena tried again and again, finally, dejected, she moved back to sit on the edge of the bed. Ares always came when she called.
"Maybe you lost your special abilities when you died." Gabrielle sat up next to her lover and placed her arm around Xena's waist. "Let's see if Aphrodite will show."
"Hey, Dite! You got a minute?" Gabrielle asked the empty room, and almost instantly, the goddess appeared, wearing her traditional skimpy attire.
"Hey, Sweetcheeks. What's up?"
"We were wondering where Ares is?" Xena piped up, not giving the other two women a chance to break into a long gabfest.
Aphrodite turned her head curiously. "Who?"
"Very funny, Dite. We were just wondering where Ares got off to is all."
"Gabby, I'd love to help you, but I'm afraid I have no idea who Ares is. Now, listen, if you don't mind, would it be okay if I came back a little later? I was kind of in the middle of something." The goddess raised her brow up and down.
Gabrielle frowned. "Sure, Dite. I'll check with you later." The blonde goddess nodded and smiled, disappearing from view.
Xena stood and began to pace the room. "This is getting weirder and weirder. How could Aphrodite not remember her own brother?"
"Oh no, it can't be." Gabrielle muttered, shaking her head back and forth.
"What, Gabrielle? What can't be?"
"Well, right before I fell asleep last night, I remember wishing that we could just live our lives in peace, surrounded by our friends and family; no warlords or slavers or giants or titans or . . . war." Gabrielle barely whispered the last word.
The door to the room flew open, and an excited Joxer raced inside. "Hey you guys, what's taking . . ." the idiot sidekick quickly turned around. "Oops, sorry, Xena."
Xena sighed. "Joxer, do you think you could wait for us downstairs? We'll be down shortly."
"Sure, Xena. I'll save you a seat, Gabby!" Joxer stepped through the door and pulled it to.
"Jeez, Gabrielle. Couldn't you have wished for no Joxer while you were at it?"
Gabrielle ignored the warrior's question. "Xena, what are we going to do? I don't want to lose you, but I don't want to be responsible for creating a whole new world."
"Well, let's get dressed and check things out. Maybe we can figure out how to reverse the effects of your wishes and still keep me around."
Gabrielle jumped from the bed and embraced her partner from behind. "You mean it, Xena? You'll really stay."
Xena turned in her bard's arms. "If you went to the trouble of making me whole again, the least I can do is stick around." Gabrielle smiled brightly and pulled her warrior down for a kiss. Xena lifted Gabrielle in her arms and headed towards the bed. The others would just have to wait a little longer.
The two lovers bounded down the stairs and headed towards the bar. Cyrene smiled and motioned the pair to an empty table. Xena returned the smile and placed her hand on the small of Gabrielle's back, leading her to their chairs.
Leaning down, she whispered in the bard's ear. "This is just too weird."
"Yeah, but the food sure looks good, doesn't it?"
Xena laughed. "Gabrielle, mother's food always looked good to you."
"What do you mean looked? Don't you like my cooking anymore, Gabrielle?" Cyrene placed a tray of wonderful smelling entrees in front of the bard.
"Oh, yes, Cyrene; I absolutely adore your cooking. Xena was just making a joke."
"That's my Xena, always kidding around." Cyrene pinched the warrior on the cheek and walked away.
Xena rubbed the red spot. "We've got to find a way to get out of here, Gabrielle."
"Hey, you two could always come stay with me, if you want." Joxer bounded into the chair next to Gabrielle.
"Um, thanks, Joxer. We'll give it some consideration."
The goofball grinned widely and reached for a slice of bread. Xena, on the other hand, reached for the chakram that she didn't have. The two new arrivals stepping through the door set the Warrior Princess on edge. Gabrielle immediately looked toward the entrance when she noted the expression on Xena's face, and Joxer, as usual, followed Gabrielle's gaze.
"Oh, don't they make a nice looking couple?" Joxer once again grinned like the fool he was.
"Couple?" Gabrielle asked, turning to get a better look at the man and woman.
"Yeah. What's the matter with you, Gabby? You were the matron of honor, don't you remember?"
Gabrielle's eyebrows shot up into her hairline. Before she could ask the woman's name, Joxer supplied both hers and her new husband's.
"You and Callisto have been friends forever, and Xena and Caesar always go hunting together." Joxer nodded towards the newlyweds and then looked back at his tablemates. "Oh, I get it. You're just making another joke. Good one, Gabby. Hey, would you excuse me for a moment? I promised to help Cyrene unload a few supplies in the kitchen. I'll be back before you know it."
Xena pasted on a smile and waited until Joxer had moved from earshot. "You've got to be kidding. I thought you wished for us to be surrounded by friends and families, not old enemies. Next thing you know, Alti's going to be the town reeve."
"Hey, Xena; hey, Gabby." Lilla moved to sit in the chair vacated by Joxer. "Alti the town reeve? I don't think she'd give up the apothecary to run the town, Xena."
"Lilla!" Tears of joy filled Gabrielle's eyes, and she pulled her sister into a tight embrace. Xena was torn between being happy for her lover and worried that the town depended on Alti for their medicines and herbs.
Lilla pulled away and wiped her sister's tears. "What's the matter, Gabby? I just saw you last night. Mother said you'd have mood swings, but I really thought she was kidding."
"Mood swings?" Xena zoomed into the conversation.
"Yes, according to mother, pregnant women sometimes break out in tears for no apparent reason."
"Pregnant?" Both Xena and Gabrielle stood from their chairs, looking at Lilla like she was kin to Cerberus, the three headed dog that guarded Hades.
Lilla looked back and forth at the stunned women. "What's the matter with you two?"
"They've been playing jokes on everyone all day. What did they do to you?" Joxer grinned stupidly and moved to stand next to Xena.
Gabrielle walked around the table and grabbed Xena by the arm. "Excuse us, please. I need to talk to Xena in private." The bard quickly turned and raced up the stairs, tugging Xena behind.
"Xena? I'm pregnant?" Gabrielle closed the door and leaned heavily against the wood, her hands automatically drawing circles over her lower abdomen.
Xena ran her fingers through her hair. "Apparently. Who's the father, Gabrielle?"
The bard moved from the door and put her hands on her hips, glaring at the warrior. "How the Hades should I know? I just got here." A grimace suddenly formed on the bard's face, and she moved towards the bed.
"Oh my gods, please don't let it be Joxer's."
Xena sat next to Gabrielle and took her hand. If it was Joxer's, she'd just have to kill him. "Hey, maybe Aphrodite can help us out. She can tell us who the father is, and we won't have to ask anyone. I think mother and Joxer already suspect something's different about us."
"Different? Of course, we're different. They've lived in this make believe world a lot longer than we have." Gabrielle wrinkled her brow in thought. "Xena? If we just got here, how can I possibly be pregnant?"
Xena smiled. "You're right. Maybe you're not."
"We really need to figure out how to get back to reality and still keep you alive, but until then let's call Dite to find out if I'm actually pregnant." Gabrielle turned her head upwards and called the goddess. "Aphrodite!"
A large poof of smoke revealed the smiling blonde. "Better timing, Gabs. What can I do for you?"
"Um, Aphrodite? We were wondering if you could tell us if I'm really pregnant."
The goddess shook her head. "Again? Xena, I've told you over and over that the baby's yours. When are you finally going to believe me?"
"Mine?" Xena looked at the blonde in total disbelief.
"Yes, it's yours, you big stud you. Now, give me your hand."
Aphrodite walked over to the couple and extended her hand. Xena stared at the offering before she slowly reached out to take it. The goddess placed Xena's palm over Gabrielle's stomach, and a bright light immediately began to glow.
"Close your eyes, Xena, and clear your mind." Sighing, the warrior stubbornly complied with Aphrodite's wishes, but what she saw nearly took her breath away. "Oh, Gabrielle. . ."
"What? What is it, Xena?"
"Hush, Gabby. You'll break her concentration."
The glow became brighter and brighter until it finally extinguished into Xena's palm. The warrior smiled and opened her eyes, a single tear making its way down her cheek.
Aphrodite grinned; Xena seemed to finally understand. "Okay, I'm outta here. Next time, call Athena."
"Wait, Dite! Why Athena?" Gabrielle reached out to stop the goddess' exit.
"What's with the twenty questions? You both know it takes two gods to make something like this happen. Athena's always liked stud here, so she didn't hesitate to grant your wish when I asked. It's a good thing she likes you, too, Gabs, or you might have a goddess after your woman." Aphrodite winked and was gone before either woman could respond.
Gabrielle turned her focus on her quiet partner. "Xena? What did you see?"
"She's beautiful, Gabrielle, and she's ours. She belongs to both of us."
"Really?" Gabrielle reached up and stroked her lover's face, wiping away the tear that hung stubbornly to the warrior's jaw.
Xena had a sudden jolt of reality. "Yes, but if we go back to our other lives, we'll lose her."
"Xena? Would it be so bad if we stayed here? I don't think I want to chance going back if I end up losing you both." Gabrielle smiled slightly and shrugged. "You know, we could always stir things up a little around here. Make it less boring."
"Yeah, we could." Xena grinned, already thinking of ways to spice up life in her hometown. "But first, why don't we celebrate our good news."
"Great idea." Gabrielle lay back on the bed and pulled the warrior with her.
Xena gently kissed the other woman, reaching for the ties on her lover's top. "Gabrielle, just a couple of things."
The bard moved her hands up and down Xena's back. "What things?"
"You quit hanging around Callisto, and I stop hunting with Casear."
"Deal." Gabrielle shifted, ready to concentrate on more pressing matters.
Xena threw her lover's top on the floor. "And one last thing; there's no way Alti's delivering this baby."
"No kidding." Gabrielle latched onto her lover's lips, silencing Xena's don't do list for the rest of the morning.
The new Amphipolis was about to change in a very big way.
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