By Kandis Glasgow
Disclaimers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. They don't belong to me. Xena, Gab, Jan and Mel don't anyway. Everyone else, save the Gods, belong to me. (I could never make a claim to Greek mythology. I'm not that old.) I am not making any money at this, but the way some people badger me for new chapters, you would think I was. I'm writing as fast as I can here! It's difficult when your hands are forever going to sleep on you. The story is in my head, it's getting it on the screen that's hard. ANYWAY, how do I get so far off the subject? Bottom line: No profit. Ta da! See I can get to the point if I really want to.
Sexual content: I have a feeling that there won't be much of that going on from here on out. There is, depicted herein, a love story of eight or nine sets of women and the token gay males. If this is offensive to you or illegal where you live, there are people praying for you even as we speak. Leave and come back when you have moved to somewhere other than Utah. If you are underage, read as much of this filth as your little mind will hold. (Hang on someone is calling. Hello? I'm sorry, what did you say? I can’t? But, I thought I could say whatever I wanted. Not that? I thought… Well….But.. Oh OK. Yeah. I'll tell them.) UH, If you are underage, please take your little self to another story. (Happy now?)
Language content NC-17: Jan really has a potty mouth. It's just who she is. If you never ever swear, you're abnormal but we can fix that. If it offends you try to skim over those parts.
Wife Swapping: Like Taylor and Gabrielle weren't enough. Like I said there isn't going to be much sex, but they are all still in love. DO YOU GET IT YET? Jeez! Took ya long enough.
Spoilers: yes. If season five maybe six…nah…spoilers might make you lose your lunch, don’t' read this.
Cheryl called me a girl again. ^sigh^ If the shoe fits. Comments are being taken at the following address Sonfire39@yahoo.com I am dropping AOL as soon as I get a new washer and dryer. It's the Best Buy MSN deal thing. Ya gotta have a server of some kind and I am providing my tenants with free Internet. It's a great incentive.
It's going to be a while before a new chapter comes disclaimer: I am having carpal tunnel release surgery January 9th and then I am moving to Utah February 10th. After that I am going to NZ for 6 months to work with Covenant Light Ministries setting up schools for underprivileged children. I WILL be writing through out most of this so I will finish the story. It just may take a while to get the next chapter up. I am going to post this when I finish it or just before surgery. Which ever comes first.
Xena's heart almost sunk to the floor when she saw the two women standing proudly in the entrance. She wanted to see them yes, but she also knew she would have to leave her dear friends for what would be a horrific experience. With a deep sigh she stood to her feet. The rest of the group had already inundated the young women with hugs and kisses. She walked slowly to meet them, wanting to hang her head, but being the leader that she was, she remained in control of her swinging emotions. Candace was pregnant. Taylor was the 'parent'. On top of all that there was a wedding to plan. In her never to be humble opinion, this was more than bad timing.
Terra gazed over the heads of the people in her path. She saw and felt the emotion of her friend. She smiled as she gazed back down at Gabrielle, who was talking to her in a very animated fashion. "Gabrielle, will you excuse me for a moment?" Her eyes traveled back to Xena.
The co-Regent saw the path of the tall young woman's gazed and understood her request. This was difficult for both of them. "Of course." Gabrielle turned back to speak with the group surrounding Skye.
Terra made her way to meet the Warrior Princess half way.
Xena dipped her head slightly in recognition. "Hey, Ter."
"Hello, Xena." She smiled warmly at her. "I can see that you are less than thrilled to see us."
"Yeah, well you can't really blame me." She stood tall to stretch her back.
A small smile crossed Terra's face. "No, but we must do what we have been chosen for. All of us. Time is a difficult taskmaster, Xena. I have no more desire to take you to your death than you wish to go. If the future is to be saved for all of us…."
Xena put her hand up in acknowledgement of her understanding. "Terra, I'm not here to debate with you. I fully understand the implications."
"And that we don't have a choice. It doesn’t make it any more pleasant to think about." Xena stared over her friends shoulder.
"I don't need to think about it. I have seen it, Xena. So will you." Terra tried to get Xena to look at her. The last sentence got the attention of the Warrior Princess. Xena's eyes met hers like thrown daggers of ice.
The furrows on Xena's brow became deep with the frown that crossed her face. "I will. What does that mean?"
"I can't tell you all of the details, but you will have vision of it in your time. You will remember none of this," Terra spread her hands out across her body, "until you are ready to return to the Amazons."
"Why not?" She had been under the impression that they would remember everything to get to where they were now. She suddenly realized that the now she knew would not be the now to come.
"We can't allow your knowledge of this past to influence your actions." Terra stood patiently as the strong warrior allowed all of the information she was receiving to sink in.
Xena pointed towards the group of women, who were speaking in an animated fashion, with her chin. "What about them?"
"They are not of this time. What happens will not effect them or their memories of you. You will retain the powers you possess and your love will remain in a dormant state until just before you return. These are weapons you will need in the different 'now'." Terra's hands folded in front of her in a relaxed position. It was a technique she had acquired from her teachers to quiet her nerves when they wanted to overwhelm her.
"Uh huh. This is all very confusing." Xena gave herself a gentle pinch on the bridge of her nose.
Terra understood her friends confusion. "Taylor and Candace will plan a wedding for what will be tomorrow. Candace will be as pregnant in that time as she is now. Mel and Jan will be here with Terran and Spencer waiting for your return."
"Too bad we'll miss the wedding. I was hoping to give the bride away." A sorrowful smile lit on her lips.
Terra reached a strong hand out to Xena's shoulder. "You won't miss a thing. You will go through months of trials and when you return here it will be as if the time line had never been, shall we say, re-routed. The rest of our little party will be held in a place of protection while all of this takes place. They will not know that time has passed, they will only know that things have been made right."
Xena's hand went out in supplication. "What about…"
A strong hand went to Xena's broad shoulder. "Stop worrying! It's all taken care of, planned out and set in motion."
Xena's shoulder dropped under the light pressure. "Alright. When do we leave?"
Terra tangled her hands in front of her again. "Let's all met in your hut. It is still the largest right?"
"You just left yesterday." Xena shrugged.
"Yesterday five years ago." Terra flashed Xena her bright white smile.
Xena flashed it back at her. "Right. Our hut. You'll tell us then?"
The woman who was half of Time peaked her forefingers and brought them up to her lips. "I'll tell you things you never wanted to know."
Xena's eyes rolled. "Great." The warrior turned to leave. Time touched her arm to stop her.
"Before we go back, I know your strengths, Xe. You will get through this because of the love in your heart."
"That is my strength?" Xena wanted to laugh but held it in.
Terra looked at the warrior as if Xena should have known all along. "It has been since the beginning."
"Beginning? Like when I was a hateful Warlord. I killed thousands without mercy. Where was the love then?" She tried to keep the bitter taste in her mouth from revealing itself in her voice. She wanted to spit.
"That was not your beginning, Xena. Gabrielle was." The sweet smile that crossed her face was like the sweet taste of honey to a starving man.
A light went on in Xena's mind as she realized the actuality of Terra's revelation. Her life had truly begun the day Gabrielle had picked up the sword in defense of her family and friends. She gave Time a nod of agreement and a smile. "Shall we join them?"
"Let's." Terra turned and led the way
The tall women picked up snippets of the conversation as the approached the small gathering of Xenas and Gabrielles.
"…and you look absoluteah mahvalous. So strong. They must have been feedin' you just right."
A blonde head dipped in agreement. "They took very good care of us, Melinda."
Terra joined the conversation as she reached the gathering. "Indeed they did."
"Well now. Don't you look the part?" Melinda gave the gracefully approaching young woman a bright smile. "You have turned into quite a specimen of Xenaness." The southern professor winked at the Warrior Princess. Xena returned a lopsided smile.
Terra had the good sense to blush. "Thank you, Miss Melinda. You are looking fit as well."
"I should hope to think so, Bub. You've only been gone a day." Jan gave Time a huge grin that told the young woman that she was only kidding.
"Yeah. A day that lasted five years." Skye elbowed the good doctor.
"Five years. That's amazing. How was it? What was it like? I mean, what kind of things did you learn? And how many…" Jan was cut off by a deep toned voice.
"Jan, Jan, Jan. Slow down. We'll tell you as much as we can. But first, I believe that you ladies have yet to eat your breakfast." Terra motioned to the table that the women had occupied just prior to their arrival.
"I'm not hungry." Xena glanced around the group. "I think I'm gonna go drill a little."
"Honey, are you sure you don't want to stay and talk?" Gabrielle placed a soft hand on Xena's arm as she looked at her wife in understanding. The thought of what they were soon to go through was weighing on her mind as well.
Xena's voice was quiet. "I don't think so. I'll catch up to you in a bit." She planted a soft kiss on Gabrielle's forehead and turned to the door.
Gabrielle could only shrug. Xena would do what she felt necessary to prepare for their next task. Even if there was really no way for her to prepare. She watched her partner's back as she walked away. A large body brushed b her, leaving a breeze in its wake. She smiled at the back of the tall firefighter taking off after her wife. 'Just as it should be', she thought.
Taylor caught up to the warrior who was stretching as she walked. "Xe, hold up. I have a feeling you might need a partner."
The warrior grinned at her friend. "C'mon Junior. I need to kick someone's ass. Might as well be yours."
Taylor's quickly hooked her thumbs in her belt as she rocked back on her heels. "Kick MY ass? Oh no! I don’t think so."
Xena pulled her arm over her head then bent her elbow to touch her back as she stretched her tricep. "Most likely."
Taylor turned to walk backwards, wanting to taunt Xena face to face. "In your dreams."
"My dreams have nothing to do with sword drills, Junior. One would think you understand that by now." Xena pushed her annoyance aside.
Taylor's hand smacking her own forehead was heard by the women sitting down to breakfast. "Yeah. Whatever."
The voices of two tall dark warriors faded with the distance as they walked to the practice ring. A practiced eye would know they were still in deep debate over who would kick whose ass.
Candace smiled after them. With a deep breath and a heavy sigh she turned to join the others at the table. She knew that their time here was drawing to a close. Her heart wanted to break over the very thought of being separated from her soulmates. She knew there was no other way at this point. She and Taylor had come here for a reason. Her gut told her that the reason was soon to be revealed.
"So where is this 'place of protection' you're talkin' about?" Janice made air quotes with her fingers.
Skye issued an easy challenge. "Pick the safest place on earth."
"There isn't anywhere safe." Xena hardly believed that there was anywhere they could be safeguarded.
"Yes, Xena, there is. Elysia." Gabrielle was awed by her own realization. Her voice was low in recognition.
"WHAT? We'll surely nevah return. You only go theah if you'ah dead." Melinda knew that Xena had gone once or twice, but those were very special circumstances.
Terra reassured her friends. "You have been given safe passage."
Xena frowned. "There is only one being that can give you safe passage there."
"Yes." Terra nodded.
"Who would that be?" Janice knew the answer she just couldn't remember.
"Hades." Spencer knew the answer to at least that much.
"Good 'ol Dad, eh Xe?" Jan knew she was pushing her luck when Xena glared at her. "I was kidding."
"Right. Sorry." Jan nodded. She knew Xena wasn't happy about having found out her ancestry, but button pushing was in her nature.
Terra reassured Xena and the rest of the group. "None of you will need to speak with him. He has agreed to allow you entrance without question."
"Don't we have to go through hell to get there?" Taylor remembered their last trip and wasn't looking forward to having to go again.
Skye's wise green eyes turned to the firefighter. "We will take you."
Taylor was in a moment of thought ten she spoke. "Oh. What's that like anyway? All that flitting around through time and stuff."
"We do not 'flit' nor do we do 'stuff'. We travel." The small blonde took on a defensive edge.
"Didn't mean to offend, Skye. What does the traveling feel like? Is that better?" Taylor's smart-alleck attitude dripped from her voice.
The inflection was lost on the small blonde half of Time. "Yes. If you wish a concise answer you must ask a concise question."
Taylor furrowed her brows at the shorter woman. The group waited for several seconds for an answer. Even Terra was looking at her. Taylor shifted. "Well, could you answer my concise question, please?"
"Time travel is nothing I can describe." She shrugged with her hands in the air.
Taylor rolled her blue eyes much the same as Xena had a penchant to do. "Great."
Terra leaned over to Gabrielle. "She was with Them too long I think."
The former queen was trying to follow the new demeanor of the former slave. "Them? Them who?"
"I see. They made her have an major attitude you mean?" The co-Regent was used to Amazons with bad attitudes.
"Sort of. She never had any one care enough about her to teach her properly. They were strict in their teaching methods. I guess she picked up some bad habits." Terra knew she was trying to make excuses for her lover.
The former queen didn't hold back her feelings. There was really no excuse in her book. "Bad manners you mean."
Terra looked gently at Gabrielle. "It's been some time since we have been in the company of others. She'll come around."
"I certainly hope so."
"Excuse me, ladies. Is there something you would like to share with the rest of us?" Skye gave the two women a stern look.
There was a collective groan as the small gathering knew that Skye had over stepped her bounds. A miffed, blonde haired, green eyed, former queen/co-regent was not good thing at all. Melinda shook her southern head as Janice looked on with keen interest. Taylor, Xena and Spencer just looked at each other. They knew what was coming. Candace smirked. Terran closed his eyes and waited.
Gabrielle wasn't about to hold her tongue. "Skye?"
"Yes, Gabrielle?" Her tone told that she had no idea that she had done anything wrong.
Gabrielle walked up to speak with the young woman face to face. "First off, I don't give a flying Bachai bird where you have spent the past five years. This is not the Fates school-house, as you well know. Second, I don't care what station you hold in this life or any other for that matter. Third, you will not use that tone of voice with those around you. And last, but certainly not least, the people in this room are all royalty in one way or another. You will address us as such. With a civil tongue in your mouth as Melinda would say. Have I made myself clear?" One brow raise over serious but understand eyes.
"But Gabrielle you two were…" Her voice started to crack. She didn't want this to go wrong.
"We were talking. Yes indeed we were and I apologize for my rudeness. However, it is not your place to correct us. At least not in that tone of voice." The tone of Gabrielle's voice was that of sheer royalty. Her apology came out with exacting sincerity and the reprimand was not harsh yet it held a sword beneath the surface. She was a Queen no doubt.
"But…..you see….they…we." Tears began to well in her green eyes. "I'm sorry, your Highness."
Gabrielle put a soothing arm around her. "Let's not go so far as to resort to using titles. Let's see if we can find a happy medium. Shall we?"
Instead of allowing her emotions to lead her to meekness, Skye straightened her back and gave her white tunic a tug of determination. "I'll try."
Gabrielle was pleased that the young woman had gained at least one redeeming quality. She exhibited a determination now that had been absent before. "Skye, I know it's hard to adapt sometimes. Just remember that we're all friends here. Talk to me like a friend. Remember?"
"Yes, Miss Gabrielle. I remember." Skye knew this was going to be difficult for her. Terra had taken to her role like a duck to water. She was born for leadership and decision making. Skye hadn't been sure the small group would respect her. Obviously taking it by force was the wrong method.
Gabrielle gave a nod. "Good. Now, shall we get on with this?"
The group let out a collective sigh.
Taylor recalled the entire reason for the discussion in the first place. "OK. Where were we?"
"Ya'll were flittin' through tahm." Melinda's hands flitted away so as to demonstrate the actual flitting motion.
Terra shook off her reaction to the past few moments to address the subject at hand. "Exactly. Hades has agreed to allow you safe passage."
"But why?" Jan was always the one with all the questions.
Xena had the same need to know. "Yeah. Why?"
Equal sets of green and blue eyes looked to the two women for what would seem to be an impossible answer.
Skye's teaching took over the explaining. "The improper time line has caused a great confusion in the under world. The wrong people have died at the wrong time in the wrong places. Collecting souls from Mars was never part of the plan. Plus there has been a great imbalance in the realms of death."
Spencer having had experience in the realm of time had some insight. "It has to be put right or he'll run out of room in some places. Then where will the dead go?"
"Wait, wait, wait. The dead will go where the dead will go." Taylor thought she had this all figured out. "Heaven and hell. One or the other. Right?"
Melinda looked at the fire fighter and understood her confusion. She tried to handle this one. "Taylah deah, in our time that may be true because the Greek gods are simply myths. In this time they are quite real. In that time they had a right to claim the souls of the dead as they saw fit. When the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob reclaimed supremacy that right was revoked."
Taylor's frown was emphasized by the confusion in her voice. "Reclaimed? I don’t understand."
Janice along with Melinda had studied a great deal in the Amazon archives. What they had discovered was interesting if not amazing. "According to the Amazon history scrolls, Yahweh, the creator of all that is, left those Bozo's in charge. They were as bad as the men He had created. They were called Nephalim at one time I believe. Anyway, they fucked it all up and Yahweh had to come back and take it all over."
"So what your saying is that eventually they are going to lose anyway." Candace was really finding this fascinating.
Melinda nodded in agreement. "Exactly, but they keep the souls they gain. The problem is the bad souls ah so out numberin' the good that they are seepin' ovah into the othah realms."
Spencer suddenly understood the implications of what was occurring in the underworld. "The scales of good and evil are out of balance. The cut off line is shifting."
"Cut off line?" Just when the firefighter thought she had it, it slipped away.
Spencer continued with his thought out loud. "When Hades comes to collect a soul and lead it to its final destination, he weighs the soul. The balance of good or evil determines where it will end up. It is taking less and less good to enter the realms of the blessed. It is Hades responsibility to set the balance."
Skye finished his thought. "Right now it is out of his hands."
As if to finish Skye's thought, Terra finished her sentence. "He will let you reside in safety while Xena and Gabrielle reset the time line. This way the scales will return to center."
Taylor stood as if she had seen flying monkeys carry Dorothy away to Oz before her very own eyes. This was amazing to her.
Xena grinned her lopsided smile. "Did you catch all that?"
"Yeah. I guess I did….."
The firefighter continued her thought. "But why would he, Hades, want the twilight of the God's to begin?"
"He knows that death comes to all, even the Gods of Olympus. His soul will go wheah it belongs. He has no feah of it. The othahs have no desiah to give up the powah. Hades knows that Yahweh will end it all soon enough anyway. Why not have his soul balance for good in the end?" The southern professor felt the answer she gave was as educated a theory as they came.
"Very good, Melinda. You are quite correct. Hades is the only God that deals directly with death. The others may kill and have people killed, but he takes their souls. His decision is selfish in a logical way."
"Got it. So when do we go?" Candace wanted to get this over with.
"We can leave as soon as you feel you are ready."
Eight men and women stood for brief moments pondering the outcome of what was about to take place.
"We will remember, right?" Terran was afraid Spencer would forget him.
"You will remember."
"Do you know me now, Terra?" Spencer spoke softly to his sister.
"I know who you are supposed to be. Oddly enough, any recollection I am to have of you won't come until the line is placed in order."
"Then I'm ready now."
"WAIT! Will HE know me?"
Skye turned to Terran. "Ter, our souls are destined for each other. He will remember you."
Terran sighed. "Ok. Then I'm ready."
"Ready." The answer came in unison.
"We will escort them first. Then we will return to get you."
"Yeah, great." Xena was still less than thrilled at the thoughts of a changing past.
Candace stepped to her former wife who still held a place in her heart. "Xe, we'll be waiting for you on this side. You can do this."
Taylor moved close as well. "Come on, 'Senior'. Chin up. You've been through worse."
Xena smiled and Gabrielle laughed next to her. "She's right you know."
Xena's sapphire eyes, filled with more love than one would think a possibility on a world like this, look down at the wonder of her life. "The only thing worse was when I thought you had died in that pit with Hope. I wanted to die with you."
"I guess the good thing is that we will die together." Gabrielle was pressing to find a silver lining.
The Warrior Princess gave her wife a grim smile then turned to Skye. "But this coming back to life thing. How exactly does that happen?"
"That is what we can not tell you just yet. First things first. Ladies…oh…..and Gentlemen." Skye turned to Spencer and Terran.
Janice snickered. "You were right the first time."
Mel gave the now common eye roll. "Jan, will you evah learn?"
A mischievous grin swam across the doctors face. "Nah."
"I didn't think so." Mel shook her had softly.
"Shall we?" Terra removed the Glass magically from beneath her cloak.
"You'll have to show us someday where it is you keep that thing under there.
"It's part of me. That is all I can tell you. When Skye carries it, it becomes a part of her." Terra was matter of fact as the group joined hands with Terra and Skye.
"See you soon." Taylor winked at Xena.
Xena was more serious than she wished to be when she answered the other half of herself. "You got it, Junior."
The tears began to sting in Taylor's eyes. Before she would let them see her cry, she wanted to leave. "Let's go."
"AS you wish." The Glass began to glow and suddenly the group was gone.
An emptiness filled the void in the small room, but as quickly as they had left they returned.
"Ready?" Terran knew the answer before she heard it.
Xena was at least honest in her reply. "No."
There was no leeway given at all. "Good. Let's go."
Defeated was how Xena felt, but duty was, after all, duty. "Right."
"Xena, it will all be alright." Skye's soft touch held great promise.
"I know. Let's get this over with." She grasped Gabrielle's hand and watched her green eyes until the world fell away.
Wish me luck on my surgery!
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