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Sex/Violence: Usual Xena fighting


A MOTHERíS GIFT

Marcella R. Wiggins

E-mail: Marcella_RW@HOTMAIL.COM


On a beautiful spring day in May, Xena and Gabrielle walk down that familiar road toward Amphipolis. "Itíll be good to visit home again", Xena remarks. "Youíre right, itís been to long since our last visit, your mother wonít know what you look like", Gabrielle jokes. Suddenly, squeals pierce the air, "Sounds like their killing a pig for summer solstice", Gabrielle suggests. "Thatís no pig, Gabrielle, I think thatís my mother", Xena replies as she takes off running.

Reaching the square, they see Cyrene and another woman rolling in the dirt, screaming, hair pulling, scratching. Xena grabs her mother while Gabrielle grabs the other woman from behind. "Mother, whatís going on here?" Xena asks. "That woman started it." Cyrene points at her as everyone looks at the other woman. Suddenly Gabrielle goes white as she recognizes her, "Mother! By the gods!" "Daughter, your language!" Hecuba scolds.

"What are you doing here?" Gabrielle and Hecuba ask at the same time. "Thatís your mother, Gabrielle?" Cyrene interrupts. "Yes, this is my mother, Hecuba. Mother, I want you to meet Xenaís mother, Cyrene." "Weíve met", Cyrene retorts, disdainfully, as she dusts off her clothes. "Funny, I never thought of Xena as having a mother", Hecuba says in amazement.

During the introductions, Xena bends down and picks up the remains of a scarf. "Whatís going on here?" she questions. Hecuba and Cyrene try to out do each other explaining, until finally Xena throws up her hand and yells, "Enough!"

A passer-by asks another, "Whatís the fight about?" "Motherís-in-law?" he shrugs. "Enough said", and they walk on.

"You," Xena points to a man selling clothes, "tell me what happened." "It started out as a friendly transaction between this lady", he points to Hecuba, "and myself; when this lady", he points to Cyrene, "starts causing trouble." Xena looks at her mother. "Xena, I donít appreciate that look on your face", Cyrene scolds. Xenaís face changes to a Ďwhat lookí question. "All I was trying to do was warn her that it wasnít worth what he was asking", Cyrene explains "Let me guess, you two ended up bidding against each other instead", Xena deduces. Gabrielle notices that her mother has turned away. "Mother?" "Well, I thought she wanted it for herself and was telling me that so I wouldnít buy it." "Egged on by him, no doubt", Xena nods at the vendor. "I gotta make a living donít I?" he cowered.

"Okay, it was just a mistake, now everybody shake hands and play nice", Xena commands. Reluctantly, Cyrene puts out her hand to shake. "Mother..." Gabrielle coaxes. Finally, Hecuba extends her hand and they shake, but they refuse to look at each other. "Now, mother, why are you here?" Gabrielle questions. "Your uncle was passing through here when he broke his leg and he sent for me to care for him", she explains. "Is he all right?" "Heís fine, weíll be returning home soon."

"Why donít we get out of the middle of the street. You two must be starved, and we can talk over lunch", Cyrene suggests, leading them towards her tavern. "In there, why, thatís a..." Hecuba lowers her voice, "a den of iniquity." "Mother, itís not like that at all. Iíve been in there many times and itís..." Hecuba cuts her off. "Daughter, you come away from here, right now." Cyrene is insulted, "I run a clean establishment, with good food and good people." But Hecuba would have none of it, "Gabrielle, weíre leaving", she says and walks off. Gabrielle looks at Cyrene and apologizes, "She doesnít get out much." Running to catch up with her mother, Gabrielle stops her and asks, "Mother, why are you acting this way? Cyrene is my friend and youíve insulted her. At least give her the benefit of the doubt." "But what would your father say?" Hecuba asks. "Fatherís not here, so why donít you look at this as a little adventure, a new experience", Gabrielle persuades. Reluctantly, Hecuba agrees and follows her back to the tavern where Cyrene leads them in.

As she walks in, everyone in the tavern lifts their drinks and shouts, "Cyrene!" "Look everyone, my daughter has finally returned home for a visit", she announces. "Thereís a table over here", Cyrene escorts them to it. Hecuba is fascinated! Sheís never been in such a place before, and the decor is new to her. She takes a special liking to the little spittoons sitting on the bar. Cyrene leaves to prepare the food as Hecuba sits down with a spittoon in her hand. "Gabrielle, arenít these just the cutest little vases?" Looking inside, she says curiously, "I wonder what happen to the flowers though, it still has water in it." Xena chuckles under her breath as Gabrielle takes the "vase" from her mother and, pointing to a man spitting in one, tells her what they are used for. "Well, I never", Hecuba exclaims, vigorously wiping her hands off. "You can say that again", Cyrene mumbles to herself as she returns with the food and drink.

As the four begin to eat, Gabrielle tries to start a conversation. "Cyrene, the food is delicious, as usual." "Thank you Gabrielle, youíre kind to say so", Cyrene looks at her daughter, who finally realizes that sheís supposed to say something as well, "Yeah, delicious." Cyrene was not impressed, "Gabrielle, as long as youíve known Xena and still her manners have not improved." Xena rolls her eyes. "Well, we donít often have the luxury of eating indoors." The second the sentence left her lips, Gabrielle wished she could take it back, because her mother starts in on her. "Gabrielle, what have you been eating?" She opens her mouth to reply, but Hecuba doesnít give her the opportunity, "I thought I raised you better. You know your delicate digestion, you have to take care of yourself and eat plenty of vegetables." "Yes, mother", Gabrielle whimpers in her best little girl voice, looking to Xena for help. Xena just laughs at her as Hecuba fusses over her daughter, combing her hair and making her sit up straight.

But Xena is not safe from her motherís concerns either; pointing her finger at her, Cyrene scolds, "Xena, itís bad enough that you two wonder from village to village..." Xena turns to Gabrielle with a help me look on her face. Itís Gabrielleís turn to laugh as she says, "Your turn." Suddenly a man runs in shouting, "Help me!" Xena, in a mad dash to get away from her mother, reaches him first and he collapses in her arms. "My village, under attack..." he gasps. She helps the man up; "Show me", then turning to Cyrene, she explains, "Mother, I have to help him, Iíll be back in a little while. Gabrielle..." Before her mother has a chance to reply, Xena walks toward the door. "Right behind you", Gabrielle says as she grabs her staff and kisses her mother. "Donít worry, weíll be back" and she follows Xena out the door.

Cyrene and Hecuba are left standing in the doorway; their mouths open, watching, as their daughters go off to work. They look at each other, then go their separate ways.

"Motherís!" Gabrielle exclaims as they approach the village under siege. "They can be such... such motherís sometimes." "Especially yours", Xena says off the cuff. "Now whatís that supposed to mean?" Gabrielle asks, agitated. "I just meant that sheís a little high-strung when it comes to you", Xena replies as they enter the village. She pulls out her chakram and begins hitting the looters, sending them sprawling across the ground. "And your motherís not?" Gabrielle asks as she uses her staff to take her frustration out on a couple of the looters.

Xena grabs a man by the breastplate and says, "Well, at least my mother doesnít baby me, like I was five years old again." "Are you talking to me?" the thief asks. "Does it look like Iím talking to you?" Xena retorts as she uses him for leverage to kick three other men unconscious. "Now, Iím talking to you." she says as she knocks him out with one blow. "Did you hear that?" Xena asks the unconscious warrior. "No, I guess not."

Gabrielle takes out another man with her staff and says, "Sheís a mother, sheís supposed to baby me." "Come over here, sweet cheeks, Iíll baby you", a looter suggests as he approaches her. Repulsed by the suggestion, Gabrielle pummels him with her staff. "What if I said Ďmother may Ií?" the thief whined. Gabrielle lets all her fury out on his head, and he lays unconscious. "All Iím saying is, cut the apron strings all ready!" Xena exclaims as she uses her chakram to slice the belt off a man, causing his pants to drop. Not impressed by his bony legs, she finishes him off with a blow to the head. "Could you be any more infuriating?" Gabrielle asks as she hits another man over the head. "If I eat all my veggies." Xena smirks and finishes off the remaining warriors. Xena and Gabrielle, still fuming, head back to Amphipolis where they separate, to find their mothers.

Back at the tavern, Cyrene notices Xenaís agitation and asks, "Whatís wrong?" Xena explains, "Every time Gabrielle gets around her mother, itís like sheís a child again. She canít think for herself." "Xena, Gabrielle had a sheltered childhood with a very protective family." "No wonder she wanted to leave so badly", Xena interjects. Cyrene ignores her and continues, "Hecuba is a good mother. Sheís just protecting her child." She lifts Xenaís chin and looks her in the eyes, "Now, I want you to be a good little girl and go make up with Gabrielle." Xena rolls her eyes and Cyrene laughs at her, "Xena, keep that up and someday your eyes will get stuck like that."

Gabrielle and her mother are back at the inn where her uncle is staying. "Gabrielle, youíre so quiet, what is it child?" Hecuba asks. "Nothing mother." "I thought Xena would be with you? Did you two have a spat?" "You could say that. We strongly disagree on some things." "Why donít you go see her and talk it out, youíll feel better." "Maybe later Mother. I just want to spend some time with you right now", Gabrielle replies as she goes into a room and closes the door. Hecuba calls after her daughter, "Well you canít do that moping around in there." Then an idea comes to her and Hecuba adds, "Gabrielle, Iím going out for a few things, check in on your uncle for me." Gabrielle sighs from behind the door, "Yes, mother."

Cyrene and Hecuba almost run into each other, as they accidentally meet in the townís square. "Are you thinking what Iím thinking?" Cyrene asks. "Yes, Iíll talk to your daughter if youíll talk to mine." The two shake hands and continue on their way.

"Xena, may I speak with you?" Hecuba asks, finding Xena in the tavern. "Of course", Xena replies.

Sitting in the pallor at the inn, Cyrene asks, "Gabrielle, do you have any idea how much your friendship with Xena means to me?" Gabrielle is surprised, and shakes her head no. "Gabrielle, the first time I saw you, when Draco threatened our village, I knew that you were the one." "The one?" Gabrielle asks. "Yes, the one who would bring Xena back to me. You saw the good in her, even before I did. And maybe someday, because of you, Xena will see that inside herself. But until then, I know you will protect it for her."

"Xena, Gabrielle wasnít like most children. She was always full of mischief and adventure. Always wanting to explore over the next hill. I donít know who she got that from. Anyway, her father and I had to be stern with her just to keep her from running off. And then she met you…" Xena prepares herself for the disapproval. "Xena, you have to realize, Gabrielle left to join up with you without a word to anyone but her sister. We were pretty upset at the time and blamed you. Now, I donít pretend to understand all that sheís been through, but I do know that she cares for you and I can accept that."

"Cyrene, every time Xena saves a life, or brings justice to a village, Iíll be there. When she turns evil into good, or beats the gods at their own game, Iíll be there. And when sheís ready to forgive herself, Iíll be there too, because she deserves to know what a hero she really is." "Thank you. Gabrielle, I am so grateful to you for choosing her as your friend" "No Cyrene, Iím the one whoís grateful", Gabrielle concludes.

"Hecuba, you raised the most kind, honest, loving person I know. She has changed my life just by her very presence." "I can see that dear, and Iím sorry I misjudged you so. Gabrielle was determined to go off on her own anyway, and Iím just glad that she chose you for a friend. I know you will protect her. Thank you." Xenaís eyes almost mist up through her surprise, as she allows herself a smile.

The two mothers meet back in the townís square. They watch, expecting to see Xena and Gabrielle coming. "Well, I guess we go to plan beta", Cyrene decides. "Whatís that?" Hecuba asks.

But Xena and Gabrielle have found each other, unbeknownst to their mothers, and made up. "Now we just have to find a way to get our motherís to like each other", Gabrielle comments. "Come on, letís go find them", Xena says.

Suddenly, another catfight erupts in the townís square, between Cyrene and Hecuba. Running over to stop it, Xena and Gabrielle each grab the otherís mother. "Whatís going on here?" Xena demands as she lets go of Hecuba and walks around to Cyrene. Gabrielle releases Cyrene and stands beside Xena. Instantly, the two mothers go at each other again.

"It must be pudding, cause pie donít shake like that!" Xena and Gabrielle turn to see two men, obviously impressed with themselves, clap hands in a high five. Looking at each other, then back at their mothers, Xena and Gabrielle turn around and punch the men in the face. As they fall to the ground, Gabrielle threatens, "Donít you be talkin bout our mommaís like that!" Then she turns to Xena and they also do a high five, wiggling their fingers and dancing around. Laughing, they turn their attention back to their motherís, who have stopped fighting and stand, arm in arm, watching them.

"It worked, Cyrene. Our daughterís are back to normal", Hecuba says. "If you can call that normal", Cyrene jokes. "This was all a hoax?" Xena asks her mother. "Well, if you can act like children, why canít we?" she answers. "Gave you a taste or your own medicine", Hecuba added. "But we already…" Xena interrupts Gabrielle and says, "Theyíre right Gabrielle, Iím sorry we disagreed", Xena nods to Gabrielle, who catches on and smiles, "Iím sorry too, Xena."

Later, in Cyreneís tavern, the four enjoy a drink and a friendly conversation. "You know, Hecuba, we do have something in common other than our daughters", Cyrene suggests. "We do?" Hecuba asks. "Do you remember Draco?" "Yes..." Hecuba shivers as she says, "His men took us captive, and weíd be dead now, if not for Xena." Gabrielle looks at Xena and smiles, remembering the first time they met, when Xena took out four men with her staff, then threw it at the man capturing Gabrielle. Cyrene adds, "And later, Draco attack this village and would have wiped out everyone, if Xena and Gabrielle hadnít stopped him." Xena remembers how Gabrielle tripped one of Dracoís men to help her win the fight with Draco. "By the gods!" Hecuba exclaims. "Mother, your language." Gabrielle laughs.

"And that, as they say, was the beginning of a wonderful friendship", Cyrene concludes. "Gabrielle has had many friends in her life, but none that sheís more devoted to than Xena." Hecuba and Cyrene talk, as if they too, were old friends.

"Although, there was one, when she was just a little girl, that she was crazy about." Hecuba begins to reminisce. Putting her arms around her mother, Gabrielle protests, "Mother, please, letís not go down memory lane, itíll just bore everyone." "No, Iíd like to hear about your childhood", Xena invites. Gabrielle shoots her a dirty look, but Hecubaís encouraged and continues.

"She would tell me such stories about her little friend... well, actually, I believe her friend was a few years older than she was." Gabrielle interrupts her, "I donít remember any of this." "Donít you? Lila was sick with the croup and you had no one to play with." "Ahhh" Xena playfully sighs. Another dirty look from Gabrielle, as her mother continues, "You were still in pig tails, and besides, you didnít know her for very long, I think because we moved away. Anyway, I remember a story you told me about how your friend saved a baby." Xena suddenly looks up, as she rubs the chills from her arms.

Hecuba describes Gabrielleís friend and the events that took place. "Her friend was tall for her age, dark hair and skin, with sky blue eyes. She was a tom-boy, as I recall, who liked to play rough." (Hecuba, Cyrene and Gabrielle donít realize it yet, but Xena was Gabrielleís Ďlittleí friend)

(Flashback) A very young Xena is bullying a small boy into a corner, threatening him with her stick, when an even younger Gabrielle walks up and asks, "Whatís ya doing?" Xena turns the boy loose and grabs Gabrielle by the cuff. "What business is it of yours, youíre just a baby?" Xena asks, as she raises her stick, in a threatening way. Gabrielle puffs out her jaw, and says, "I am not!" then she bites her lower lip and waits for the blow, but Xena stops and lowers her arm, appreciating the determination in Gabrielleís cherub face.

One of the villagers, witnessing the event, reprimands Xena. "Whatís going on here?" he demands. Xena knows sheís in trouble, but before she can say anything, Gabrielle speaks up. "We were just playing, thatís all." Xena looks at her with curious respect. "Well, you neednít be so rough with her", he scolds Xena and walks off.

Turning to Gabrielle, Xena asks, "Why did you do that? You could have gotten me in trouble if you wanted." "Thatís not what friends do", Gabrielle says innocently. "Huh, I donít have time for friends, Iím going to be a great hero someday. Iím going to travel the world and have great adventures", Xena brags, twirling her stick.

"Thatís a neat stick, will you teach me to use it?" Gabrielle asks as she admires the tree limb. "Itís not a stick, little girl, itís my weapon", Xena brandishes it like a sword. "Why do you need a weapon?" Gabrielle naively asks . "To kill, of course." "Thatís mean." "No, thatís life", Xena quips. "Donít gotta be", Gabrielle states and Xena looks at her curiously. "You sure like to gab a lot, donít ya?" she teases.

Just then, a scream pierces the air. "My baby, somebody save my baby!" a woman cries, as a horse drawn cart, runs out of control, careening towards Xena and Gabrielle. The womanís baby is asleep on the hay in the back of the cart. "No one moved, except for your friend, Gabrielle."

Hecuba pauses her story to take a drink. Cyrene rubs the chills on her arms as she and Xena look at each other, knowingly. Then Cyrene takes up the story where Hecuba left off. "The baby began to cry, and..."

Without hesitation, Xena jumps on the horse and climbs on top of him, slowing him to a walk. Jumping down, she retrieves the baby and hands it to its mother. "Bless you my child, oh, thank you, thank you." The mother leaves with her child and its owner retrieves the horse.

Gabrielle is awe struck as she runs over to Xena. "You saved that baby, you are a hero. And you didnít even have to kill nobody", Gabrielle praises. "Huh, youíre right", Xena replies, dusting herself off. "Whereíd you learn to do that?" Gabrielle asks. "My father taught me. He loves to come charging across the field and scoop me up on his horse." "Teach me!" Gabrielle begs. "Well, maybe we had better just start out with the staff first", Xena says as she picks up her stick and throws it to Gabrielle. "Cyrene, what are you saying!"

Gabrielle interrupts the story and looks from Cyrene to her mother. "We never lived in Amphipolis?" "As a matter of fact, we did, dear. I remember we stayed here for just a few weeks, then we decided to settle in Poteidaia where your uncle lived. You were so young, I guess thatís why you donít remember." "I remember..." Xena states as everyone looks at her. "You do?" Gabrielle almost whispers. Smiling at her, Xena continues the story, "We use to play right out front..."

Xena and Gabrielle are doing what children do best, playing. Gabrielle does a somersault that looks more like sheís rolling over, but Xena is impressed. She tries it and lands on her derrière. "Horse puckey!" Xena blurts out, as she rubs her backside. Laughing at her, Gabrielle encourages, "Try it again, Xena, youíll get it this time for sure." Xena takes a running start and does a perfect somersault, this time landing on her feet. Gabrielle claps with excitement. "I knew you could do it." Xena puts her hands on her hips, clearly proud of her achievement. "Better than yours", she teases and runs off.

"Nunt ah." Gabrielle whines, and chases after her. Xena suddenly stops and Gabrielle runs smack dab into her. "Hey, whatís the big idea?" she asks, rubbing her head. Xena points to a bully harassing the same small boy that she had harassed earlier. "Xena, you have to stop him." Looking at Gabrielle, Xena smiles and sighs, "All right" and she somersaults over to the bully, losing her balance and unintentionally hitting him in the back with her feet, causing him to fall over. "Hey, that was pretty neat", the little boy says and runs off. Xena agrees.

The bully stands up and hits Xena in the stomach. She doubles over as the he turns to leave. He runs past Gabrielle, who trips him with her foot. As he stands up, preparing to hit her, Xena elbows him in the head. Gabrielle tosses Xena her stick and Xena backhands him with it. As he runs off in pain, Xena walks over to Gabrielle and says, "Thanks Gab, we make a great team, you and I..."

Xenaís voice trails off as she smiles at Gabrielle, who wells up with tears. Hecuba continues the story. "You two were inseparable. You were always together, always going on some fantastic, make believe, adventure. But sadly, we had to leave and the time had come for you to say goodbye."

"No, I wonít go, I wonít leave without Xena." Gabrielle cries angrily at her mother. "Gabrielle, we donít have a choice, now, if youíre going to say goodbye to your friend, you best be doing it." Hecuba says sternly. Running out the door and into the street, Gabrielle makes her way to the tavern.

"What is it, Gab?" Xena asks, seeing her tear-strewn face. "Xena, letís run away. Letís go on that big adventure you talked about." "Why, what happened?" "Weíre leaving town and I wonít ever see you again!" Gabrielle sobs. Xena looks at her in disbelief. "Youíre leaving me?" she asks.

"We came up with a plan to run away, but were caught before we could", Gabrielle says, crying, as her memory returns. She finishes the story, "We slipped out of the tavern and…"

Headed toward the edge of town, Xena and Gabrielle are intercepted by Gabrielleís mother. "Gabrielle, Iíve been looking for you all over", she scolds, then continues, "Iím sorry girls, but we have to be going. Gabrielle, say goodbye to your little friend and come with me." Hecuba waits, but Gabrielle just stands there, crying.

Finally, Xena takes Gabrielle in her arms and they embrace. "Xena, donít forget me when you become a great hero, okay?" she asks. "Gabrielle, youíre my best friend, Iíll find you somehow." Xena replies. And as Gabrielle is lead away by her mother, Xena wipes a tear from her eye. "You are a great hero, Xena, and you did find me, thank the gods", Gabrielleís voice tapers off as she looks at Xena.

But Xena turns her head to wipe her own tears away and Cyrene wraps up the story for them. "She talked about you for a long time, Gabrielle, even tried to find you a couple of times, but you know how the passing of time can dull the memory. Then, when Lyceous was killed, everything changed for Xena, and she kind of lost her way."

The four sit quietly, until finally, Xena turns to Hecuba and Cyrene and utters, "Thank you." "For what, child?" Hecuba asks. Looking at Gabrielle, Xena remarks, "For your gift of memory. It means more to me than you could possibly know."

Later, as they stand in the townís square, Xena, Gabrielle and their mothers say goodbye. "Itís been a very special day. Donít let it be so long between visits, Xena", Cyrene chides. "I wonít mother, I promise." "Will you be all right getting home?" Gabrielle asks Hecuba. "Yes, your father is on his way." Hugging her mother, Gabrielle whispers, "Thank you mother, for accepting Xena."

Leaving Amphipolis, Xena and Gabrielle turn and wave to their mothers, who stand, arm in arm, waving back. Out of sight of the village, Gabrielle begins to quietly cry. "What is it, Gab...?" Xena jokes. "Xena, if only we hadnít moved..." Xena stops walking and takes her by the shoulders, "Donít go there, Gabrielle. If you had stayed, you might have been killed with my brother. No, the fates were right to take you away from me, so that I could find you again and find myself as well." "I guess youíre right." Gabrielle accepts her reasoning.

"What wonderful mothers we have, Xena. We will remember this day for a long time to come." "Youíre right, Gabrielle. We should do something special for them to remind them just how much this day meant to us." "Thatís a good idea. We could do that every year. Wonít they be surprised." They laugh as they continue on to their next adventure and it fades to black.

~The End~


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