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GENERAL COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: Xena, Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Ares, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction.
All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author (meaning Kharis and Syrinus belong to me). This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: this story is based on the series and of course, what would Xena be but not the violent kick ass grrrl that she is! But violence has been kept to a minimum with very little actual bloodshed involved. That's for the next story. Muhahaha
SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISLAIMER: This story insinuates a scene of sexual violence and a small amount of its aftermath. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depiction and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story. But I promise that there isn't any actual description of it, just the vague inference to it from one of the characters.
LOVE DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
If you can't stand the idea that two women can have a loving relationship then please keep your closed mind where it belongs and don't bother reading this story. 'Nuff said
This is my first attempt at XWP fanfic so please be gentile with this newbie. It is the first in the Sins of a God Series that will continue to grow with your support. Hopefully the other stories will be finished before you have to wait much longer. But, for now, enjoy what is below and remember...all comments, suggestions, and flames are welcome.
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8
And Then There was Two
The room was silent as four bodies slowly rested in contentment over the meal. Xena had to chuckle. Gabrielle now had a run for her money on who could eat more. The girl not only kept up to the bard's voracious appetite but did it one better. 'It's amazing that she's so small for someone who eats that much. Though regaining strength after being on the cross took a lot of nourishment. I should know.' Wiping the dark image from her mind Xena stood up and walked over to Syrinus, placing a hand on his shoulder lightly and stooping down to give him a quick kiss to the top of his head.
"Thank you for the wonderful meal, once again Syr. You out did yourself this time."
Syrinus patted the hand; "It was nothing you haven't tasted before."
Xena smirked slightly then made her way to the fire where her friend was happily daydreaming by. Sitting in the high chair, the warrior reached over and lightly stroked Gabrielle's hair, bringing the bard out of her thoughts. Shifting back, Gabrielle leaned against Xena's right thigh and placed her head on the muscular leg.
"What did Ares mean by 'like before'?"
'Uh oh. I was hoping she wouldn't remember that. Damn his hide' Xena composed herself for a few seconds as her eyes shifted from a deep sea blue to a wary azure. This was one thing she had hoped would never come up; "Oh I don't know. Maybe he was talking about when I was his Chosen." 'That was half true.'
"I don't think so. I think you know exactly what he meant. What did he mean?" Gabrielle knew she was treading on shaky ground. Any mention of Xena's link to Ares usually put the warrior in a black mood but this was something that was important for some reason to the bard and she had to find out for sure before she could go on with what she had been thinking about during dinner.
"Gabrielle. Not now, please. I just want to relax by the fire." The hand stiffened a bit as Xena tried to control the darkness that was slowly overcoming her, but continued to stroke the rose coloured hair. 'Not now. Not here with the girl in hearing distance.'
"It has to do with Kharis though. She's not as weak as you think she is."
'That, my bard, is the understatement of the century' Xena thought as she caught the girl out of the corner of her eye. 'We are so much alike yet so different.'
"I never thought she was weak."
"Really? I thought she was until I started noticing..."
Xena stiffened slightly, "Noticing what?" The coldness in her voice made the bard sit up and look into the now flaming eyes.
'Might as well get this out of the way now before we're with the Amazons. They'll notice right away. Funny I didn't until tonight.' Swallowing hard, Gabrielle continued with what she started, "She is a lot like you, you know?"
"Really?" Xena asked, trying to maintain an even voice. Fear slowly crept in her mind but was beaten down by a control that was stronger. 'She knows. She can see as plainly as Syr did when I brought the child in. Damn. Damn Ares to Tartarus.'
"Besides the obvious of course, dark hair, dark body. But it's more then that. An aura of control and deadly intent that I've only seen with you. Plus she heals as quickly as you, is stronger then what she should be, like you. It's just weird how similar you two are. Except for her eyes." There, she had said it and now could only wait for Xena to admit what she had feared for many years.
Xena sat in silence as she tried to muddle through some viable excuse for the girl to be so much like the warrior. Discovering that only one was an option she finally played her card; "Well, why not? I was Ares' Chosen. Some of that had to rub off on me didn't it?"
"And considering that the girl is begotten by him, then she would have to have some of those qualities also. But she was born with them, whereas I developed them over years." Satisfied that the explanation would be good enough Xena relaxed a bit.
"I don't think so. Remember when you challenged Ares in front of the Fates and beat him? Declaring that he must have been your father, since there was no way you could have beaten him any other way, wasn't just a ruse, was it Xena?"
Xena lost. She knew there was no denying it now. She had pushed that moment in her life down so far into a box that she prayed it would never see the light of day again. But it had and it was, right now. Struggling to look the bard in the eyes, Xena admitted defeat and nodded slightly.
"Why?" was all the bard could ask.
"I didn't want to admit to it. If I did then that would mean that all the struggles I have gone through for the past four years would be for nought. I would have to accept that what I am is far different then what you have tried to show me what I could be. I would have to admit that I'll never be free from him, and that was something I prayed would not happen. Some how. Some way."
"You aren't his, " the bard said determined. "Just because he gave you life doesn't mean you are his by right. He has no control over you and he won't as long as you keep fighting it."
"You think so huh?" Xena asked as she allowed a small portion of her darkness to overcome her features. Gabrielle shuddered as Xena's features hardened into cold, intense hatred for a few moments. Then, as quickly, they changed back to her somewhat normal mask, only this time the eyes beheld a pain at the knowledge that the evil within the warrior was never far from the surface. "Gabrielle, what I am, who I am is not goodness and light. That we both know. But it is hard to always maintain control over that aspect of my soul that belongs to him. If I doubt myself at times how can you think that the child will be able to fight it?"
Gabrielle looked into her friend's eyes and knew this was the moment she had been deftly steering her friend towards. Smiling a brilliant smile the bard could only reply, "Because she will have you there to show her how."
Xena slumped as her friend's words repeated in her mind. The hatred at how her soul had been warped because of him was unbearable at times until the light that was her friend showed the warrior that all was never lost. A gift worth more then anything Xena could ever accept, but she did on a daily basis as they struggled together combating the forces of evil and good within her own dark soul. Finally realising that Gabrielle was right, Xena's shoulders straightened as she ran a finger lightly over the bard's cheek, smiling at that radiant face.
"I thank the Gods every day for you being in my life, you know that don't you?"
"I've heard you mention that in passing before,"
"You have, have you?" Xena said as a mischievous glint crept into her eyes.
"Oh yes, at least once a fortnight."
The ex-warlord chuckled as she wrapped her friend in a giant bear hug and held her close. 'Maybe things will work out.' Releasing the bard slowly Xena turned towards Syrinus, who had witnessed the exchange intently. "You can wipe that smile off your face before I wipe it off for you," she said good-heartedly.
This only brought an even larger smile from the man as he rose and indicated for Kharis to rise also, "I'm assuming you'll be leaving tomorrow?"
"Yes. Are there any shops that open right now? We need to get the girl some proper clothing," Xena asked.
"The girl has a name, thank you," Kharis said vehemently.
Xena quirked her eyebrow as she admired the sight before her eyes. 'Did I look like that when I was upset and still a child?' Amused, the warrior went over to the girl and stood in front of her, forcing the girl to look way up so as to make eye contact. "I'm sorry Kharis. I should thought before I had spoken."
"Yes, you should have. I'm not a child anymore. I deserve respect, even if it's yours."
Everyone held their breath as the girl and woman squared off against in each other in a battle of wills. Xena's eyes hardened as she heard the challenge. This girl was so much like Ares it was amazing no one ever saw it before. Arrogant, fearless, cocky. Much like herself.
Kharis held her ground as Xena's presence overwhelmed the girl's personal space, stifling the air around her. She had gone through Tartarus and back over the past few days and no beat up ex-Chosen of Ares was going to intimidate her. Slowly a smile played across the warrior's face that unnerved the girl. 'What was she up to?'
Xena sighed internally. There were always battles, even one as insignificant as this one was. But the competitive nature of the warrior never allowed her to back out of a challenge of wills, even if it was with a child of Ares. Realising that the only way to keep the promise that Gabrielle had made for the warrior was to swallow her pride and let the child have the victory. This time.
"You have my respect. And you have my apologies once more. Do you accept?"
Kharis sharply took in a breath as the air around her opened up. Nodding her head the girl accepted, "When do we leave?"
Gabrielle released her breath when Xena stood down and apologised. Shaking slightly the bard knew it was going to be a long trip with these two. If only she could get Kharis to tone down her combativeness when around the warrior. 'Yeah right, like I'd be able to tone down Xena's.' Standing up, the bard gestured to the girl, "Come on. Let's see what we can find for you to wear at the market."
Kharis hung back a few seconds as she composed her emotions and then walked haltingly towards the bard, unsure on how to take the light haired amazon. Realising that not everyone was going to treat her like a child, Kharis accepted the inviting arm that Gabrielle held out to her and walked out the door with the bard.
Syrinus shook his head as Xena turned around to stare at the child's back, "You two are going to have a lot of fun with that youngin'"
Xena grimaced, "Tell me about it."
Despite herself, Kharis had a fun time with the bard as they shopped for new clothes for her. Not only was Gabrielle a shopping freak but she was deadly at bartering. Discovering that Gabrielle was a bard was even more of a joy as the girl sat at the woman's feet outside the healer's home, entranced at the stories that were being unfolded before her eyes.
"And so, with a mighty throw of her deadly chakram, the warrior princess cut the bonds of the giant's hand and released him from his prison. Standing no taller then his knee, the warrior princess demanded that he hold to his promise. Swearing on his oath to his family Xena allowed him to leave the canyon unharmed by the army that lay beyond, ready to strike the giant with hundreds of poisoned arrows if the princess was unsuccessful with her negotiations." Gabrielle finished up the tale as a look of rapture filled the child's face at what she had heard.
"So what happened to the giant?" Kharis asked eagerly.
"He kept his promise and never bothered the villagers again," a silky voice answered from beyond the doorway forcing the girl to turn her head sharply as Xena swaggered out onto the porch. Gabrielle chuckled as her friend sat down beside her, scanning the courtyard. Running her hands through her jet-black hair Xena looked over at the girl admiringly, "Those look good on you."
Kharis blushed at this sudden warmth coming from the ex-warlord and stammered thanks. Waiting to see what the woman wanted, the girl fussed at the edge of her new clothes. A deep forest green tunic and black leggings were her choice from the start, and Gabrielle readily agreed. The darker tones highlighted her eyes even more; forcing anyone whom looked her way to focus on them even more. The boots were a surprise, since Kharis had always worn just sandals, but the bard explained the amount of walking involved when travelling with Xena, along with the types of terrain they'd run into. It felt good to be completely covered. Even though the bruises were no longer to be seen, the girl imagined that everyone would notice the ones still on her soul and tried to visibly hide the shame and anger that she held for the man called Caesar by covering herself up.
Leaping lightly off the porch, Xena walked to the middle of the courtyard. Deciding what her next move would be with the child was frustrating until it dawned on her that if Ares wanted the child as his next Chosen then he'd have to take her from the warrior's grasp. Smiling in the direction of the girl Xena held out her chakram, "Want to show me how to use this?"
Kharis was shocked, to say the least. Not believing what she had heard, the girl looked at Gabrielle wondering if she heard that also.
"Go on, Kharis. She won't bite." the bard smiled.
Controlling her sudden fear and disgust at being caught off guard, Kharis walked up to the warrior and took the chakram in her hand. Feeling it's cool surface and deadly sharp edge, the girl marvelled at its strength and beauty. "What do you want me to do?" she asked simply.
Xena pointed at a bucket on a bale of hay 400 yards away, "Hit that." Stepping away from the girl, Xena watched as Kharis spotted the bucket and concentrated. Judging how far the distance was and how hard to throw it was the hard part, throwing it was easy. Quickly flexing her wrist back, the girl released the chakram and watched as it flew straight and true to its mark, knocking the bucket over with a resounding clang.
"Very good. Now tell me, where did you learn?"
Kharis was surprised at the seemingly good nature of the warrior and answered readily enough, "My brother and his friends used to always throw the discus around but wouldn't let me try because I was a girl. So I'd practice after chores when no one was looking just to prove my brother wrong. That girl's can't do what boys can."
Xena chuckled. 'So we are more alike in more ways then I originally thought.' Walking over to retrieve the chakram Xena discovered that the bucket hadn't even been dented. The throw was not only accurate but also dead on in pressure. It took a lot of skill to not ruin the bucket with a weapon that could sever a man's head from his body. Walking back over to Kharis, who stood still where she was, Xena noticed that the girl's face was a grim mask as the child tried to forget the image of her dead brother's body nailed to one of the crosses.
"So you proved to your brother that a girl could throw a discus. But a discus is only for distance, not as a weapon. What made you want to learn how to throw with accuracy?"
Shaking her head a bit to clear the horrible image, Kharis realised what Xena was leading to and knew she couldn't hide the answer from the warrior. Resigned to the fact that Xena would find out eventually, Kharis answered truthfully, "I knew you carried your chakram and you were the greatest warrior in Greece. I wanted to be a warrior to."
Defiance swept into the girl's eyes and she waited for a reaction from the warrior who used all of her control to not allow a small smile, that threatened at the edge of her lips, to show.
"I see," was all Xena said as she pulled out her breast dagger. "Have you ever used one of these?"
Kharis took the dagger from the calloused hand and looked for a good target. Spying a group of trees beside the house, Kharis indicated the small grove and her intended victim, "The small tree on the far right, below the bottom branch."
Nodding at the girl to continue, Xena once again marvelled at the concentration in the child's brow as she quickly released the dagger and sent it on its way to the small target. 500 yards away, the dagger stood out of the trunk quivering, dead on target.
Xena reached down and turned the girl towards her. Grasping her chin gently, the warrior pulled it up and studied the face intently, "You are a remarkable girl, Kharis. Not many people could do that."
Taken aback at the sudden compliment, Kharis blushed as Xena continued to look at the her face, "You're...you're...just saying that to make me feel better."
Xena's icy blue eyes sharpened slightly as she shook her head and released Kharis' chin from her fingers, "No. I don't say anything that isn't the truth. You are going to have to learn how to accept compliments from me when they are warranted because I don't give them often."
"That's for sure," Gabrielle laughed from the porch. "She didn't give me a compliment until we had been travelling together for over two months, and let me tell you, it was a scary feeling."
Kharis nodded in agreement as she swallowed visibly, "I guess I should go and get the dagger, huh?" Not waiting for an answer the girl walked off to the tree as the two women watched.
"It's unnatural," Xena half whispered to herself.
"So are you at times," Gabrielle answered, smiling as she walked up to her friend.
"That's not true."
"Oh really? How many warriors do you know, let alone a woman warrior, can take on ten armed opponents and walk away afterwards relatively unharmed? How many warriors do you know can leap ten feet straight up in the air while doing a summersault? How many warriors do you know can die and come back?"
"Alright, Gabrielle, I get the point."
"Do you? Xena, I know what you do is normal for you. And yes, you've trained long and hard to do that. But how many people have also trained long and hard and never even get close to what you can do?"
"Not many," Xena sadly agreed. It was true. Not many could match her ferocity, skill, and guile in battle. Maybe it was because she was from Ares. Maybe she had been deluding herself all this time that she was like every other warrior out there, she just had to be better because she was a woman who fought in a man's world. It was a bitter truth to accept and had taken her many years to accept what she, herself, discovered after almost having to kill her own mother.
"Exactly. If it weren't for Ares' gift you wouldn't be the best fighter there is. And yes I do consider it a gift. If you were like the rest of them you would have never been able to fight off Cortese's men when they attacked your village. You would have never been able to save my sister and me from the slavers. You would have never been able to save the countless people you have saved over the years. And, you would have never been able to save your sister."
'Sister' The word sounded alien to Xena but the way it sounded when it came out of the bard's mouth made it seem right. Seem very right for some reason. "You're right, of course. If my abilities weren't what they are I would have been dead a long time ago. I just don't like the idea that they came from him. That they aren't mine."
Gabrielle sighed as she wrapped an arm around her friend's waist, "But Xena, they are yours. You were given natural abilities that are above what most people get. Those abilities that are Ares' gift. But it was YOU who had to learn how to use them effectively. Who had to train them long and hard over the years to be able to put them to good use? Ares didn't just drop out of the sky and bang, you're the meanest, scariest fighting machine that ever lived all of a sudden. Everything you are is because of you, and only you."
"But there is also that double edged sword, isn't there Gabrielle? He gave me abilities yes, but he also gave me tendencies to be a paranoid, unstable, homicidal maniac with lethal fighting skills to boot. I think, that in itself, is sometimes not worth the price for my abilities."
Gabrielle looked up into her friend's eyes and clearly saw the pain of that admission. Xena believed she was a person who couldn't be anything but a murderer, even if it was for the greater good. Releasing her hold, Gabrielle reached up and cupped the warrior's chin in her hand and directed Xena's gaze down to hers, "No. You listen to me and you listen good. Everything you did in your past is just that, the past. What you are here, now, is not what you keep beating yourself up over. Yes, you do have to kill. Yes, you do like what you do. You can't help that. It's what you are. But I have seen over the last few years a few different person then you think you are."
"Shut up and listen to me will you. Stop it right now. I don't know how many times you could have killed everyone in sight whenever we got into a skirmish. But you didn't. You would only stop them with an elbow, a knee, a fist instead of continually going for your sword. You think I don't notice when you use the flat instead of the edge? You think I don't notice when there is more blood on you then is on your opponents? If you were this so called homicidal maniac then anyone that crosses your path would be dead and we would have left a trail of blood across this side of Greece. But there isn't? And do you know why?"
Xena sighed knowingly. She knew what her friend was leading to but wouldn't accept the excuse. There was no excuse for ten years of wanton murder on a scale that no one would ever be able to lay claim to. Not just Greece, but most of the eastern continent.
"Okay, Gabrielle. Why?"
"Because you are good. You might not believe it but you are. You told me once that while in Chin you learnt of the teachings of balance. Yin and Yang."
"So. If you whole heartedly believe in the evil that is in you, why can't believe in its balance of goodness?"
Xena pondered that for a moment, suddenly realising that the bard was right. Every man, woman, and child had a touch of darkness within them. Most weren't aware of the darkness and only allowed the goodness to shine through. Even those that were, by all accounts, evil still had to have some form of goodness in them for there to be a balance. Why hadn't she remembered that from Ming Tien's teachings?
Gabrielle slowly smiled as the notion finally dawned on Xena that the bard was right. Yes, she had an evil in her that was always near the surface. That was very strong and all encompassing. But that meant that there had to be a goodness that was also as powerful and also as strong. Her friend just needed to find the place where she had buried it and let it out.
Xena finally understood and took a small breath, afraid to even hope. Maybe Tartarus wasn't always going to be in the cards. Maybe it never was to begin with. Maybe, just maybe, everything that she had done for all those years had to have a balance and without the evil there would have been no chance for the good to come about. Slowly a small smile crept onto Xena's face as she felt hope stirring in her soul for the first time in a very long time. It felt good. It felt damn good.
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