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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: All of the characters mentioned in this story that have appeared in the syndicated series "Xena: Warrior Princess" are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story may be freely distributed in unaltered form, provided that no profit is gained from such distribution.

OTHER STUFF DISCLAIMER: There is a little sex, profanity, and violence. Not big deal if you ask me.

Authors Note: This is story takes the Xena characters and puts in them in a different time and place, it is also my first attempt at fan fiction, so comments are greatly appreciated. If it sucks let me know. If you like it, let me know that too.

Send comments to fire_ice82@hotmail.com

 

Xena...Mafia Princess: The Beginning

By Shadow Writer

 

Prologue

It had been a long time...too long, she thought as she walked down the aisle.

She was grateful that the church was empty. Her state of mind couldnít take more stares of hate and contempt. She placed her hands on the handle and opened the door and then sat down.

The words came slow. "Bless me father...for I have sinned. It has been fifteen years since my last confession."

The priest barely saw her profile through the wooden screen. She turned slightly and all he saw were the most amazing pair of blues eyes he had ever seen. Instantly he knew who she was. Those eyes were famous; legendary in their own right people said. Momentarily he wondered what had brought her here...it was said that she had no conscious...that she had no soul. He tried not to listen to such harsh words. He occasionally wanted to remember her as the girl she once was. He had many questions for her, but his role was to listen...not interrogate.

"Continue my child."

He saw her nod and hang her head low.

"Iíve done things father...terrible things." Her voice was low and edgy. "Iím a taker.

Iíve taken money. Iíve taken lives. Families, fathers, mothers, son, daughters...I have taken them all. "

Was she confessing murder? She was capable of it. He had witnessed the wrath of her anger first hand many years ago. "Why do you think youíve ...taken these things?"

"Darkness."

"Darkness?" he asked.

"Yes father. A darkness thatís fueled by the hate and anger that flows through my veins."

"I see."

"Do you really? Can you even fathom the acts that Iíve committed? Of course you can. I know that you know who I am."

He said nothing and in silence he let her know she was right.

"That is part of the reason that I came. I could have gone to any church in any neighborhood, where I could have just been anyone. But I donít want that. I need someone to hear this...someone that knows me."

He swallowed hard. Over his many years in the priesthood, more than a few criminals had entered this confessional. They filled his ear and mind with their acts of terror, knowing that he could tell no one. He didnít know if could stand to sit through another such session. The stories that floated around the neighborhood concerning this woman had been gruesome and scary. How would it sound to hear her to tell them herself?

"What is it that you want me to hear, my child?"

"Like I said father...Iím a taker." There was an akward pause, the priest readied himself. "I want to take back every horrible thing that I ever did."

Had he heard right? Were his ears deceiving him? Before he could decide he heard her crying. "I want forgiveness." Her words were barely above a whisper. He said nothing and listened to her sobs...then slowly she began to laugh. He frowned. She had tricked him...this woman did not crave forgiveness.

"You say you want forgiveness...but you laugh in my ear. Explain yourself." He spoke; knowing his tone was boarding on fully exposing his annoyance.

"Itís just that itís been so long since Iíve cried. I didnít think I was capable of it." She laughed again and he still heard the traces of her crying.

Then he found himself doing something he never thought he would do again...he smiled in this womanís presence. "Cry my child...it is good for the soul."

"Even for me...Iíve heard it said that I donít have a soul."

"Didnít you just say that you were a taker."

"Yes."

"Take your soul back my child...after all it belongs to you."

 

Chapter 1

She was leaving it all behind. The hate, the desire, and the money.

She walked into the bus station and tried to ignore the gazes that were cast her way. She was use to it. Her long raven hair bounced gently against her shoulders as she moved gracefully through the crowd. Some wondered if she was a model as they watched her tall slender frame and ample hips. Some wondered more, if they happened to make contact with her icy blue eyes framed in thick dark lashes. She was beautiful, devastatingly so.

With a single black carry on bag in her right hand, she made her way towards the ticket booth. She leaned lazily against the counter and waited for someone to assist her. She smirked to herself as she realized that she Xena DeMarco, who had become accustomed to the best of everything...cars, hotels, clothes, jewelry was standing in a dirty bus terminal at 3:00am in the morning waiting to buy a ticket to Somewhere, USA. In her hand she carried enough clothes for a week, and in her pocket enough money to carry her for a while...she hadnít given up everything.

"May I help you." Said a young blond man from behind the counter. Xena figured he couldnít be any older than 18 or so.

"Yes, you can." She saw the expression on the young manís face as he stared at her. Xena found herself smiling and saw how sheíd made the guy even more nervous. "I would like to buy a ticket please."

"Where to?"

"I was hoping you could tell me that."

"Well maíam" He quickly corrected himself when he saw her raise one perfectly arched eyebrow. "I mean..."

"I know what you meant." She quickly said as she motioned for him to continue.

"Well we have buses going anywhere you could imagine."

"Could you narrow that down?"

"I donít know, where would you like to go?"

"Somewhere that a bus was leaving for in the next 20 minutes or so."

He quickly checked some papers and looked back up. "Weíve got a bus leaving for Austin, Texas in 10 minutes."

"Perfect. Iíll take one ticket for that bus." She reached in her pocket and pulled out two crisp hundred-dollar bills. "This ought to be enough."

"More than enough!" He looked as if he was afraid to pick up the money.

Xena leaned in closer. "Hey...." She quickly looked at his nametag. "Jimmy, do you have a girlfriend?"

She saw him blush slightly. "Yes, I do."

"Well take what ever is left over and take her out somewhere nice will ya."

He smiled. "Whatever you say Maí...I mean thanks."

"No, thank you." She smiled and patted him gently on the cheek as she took the ticket from his hand. "What gate?"

"5A."

"Thanks Jimmy."

Once again he found himself thanking her, but this time he said in his head. Because how could he even tell a woman that looked like that, he enjoyed the view of watching her walk away as much as he did seeing her walk his way.

Xena walked briskly to her gate because she only had a few minutes. She must have taken a wrong turn because she ended up in an area with no buses and no people.

"Great." She muttered to herself as she turned around. She had to hurry; she had the feeling she was just a few minutes from embarking on a life she had been waiting for.

"Help!!!!!!!!" Xena stopped dead in her tracks as she heard a woman scream.

 

"Look lady why donít you just do me a favor and give me your purse." The young blond woman heard the man holding the blade in front of her say. She trembled as he cornered her against the wall.

"No."

"No?" The man began to laugh and reached for her purse.

"I said no." She screamed as he kicked him in the knee. He staggered back and then put his blade away. Gabrielle thought she had succeeded in fending him off until he charged towards her with his fist.

She had expected to hear the slap of the manís hand against her face and had even readied herself for the pain that she was sure that she would experienced. But neither ever came.

"I wouldnít do that if I were you." She heard a low husky voice say as she opened her eyes. There was a woman standing in front of her now with the thugís fist in her hand just inches from Gabrielleís nose.

The man snatched his hand back. "And whoís going to stop me, you?"

He started to laugh, but the look on the womanís face showed anything but amusement.

"Do us both a favor and walk away." Her tone was even. Gabrielle could only see her profile as the wind blew tendrils of black hair across her cheek. She was tall, at least 6 inches taller than her 5í4 height.

"Excuse me." Gabrielle saw confusion cloud the manís eyes.

"I donít want to hurt you, and I definitely donít want to get my clothes dirty doing it. So....just...walk...away." Her tone sounded sarcastic, but Gabrielle heard a real threat in the smoky voice. She didnít want to hurt him, thatís what sheíd said. But the man standing before them weighed as least twice as much as the stranger.

"Whatever." He drew back his fist and this time his aim was for the face of the taller woman. Effortlessly she ducked, dropped to her knees and kicked his feet from under him. Gabrielle heard the man hit the ground with a hard thud.

The man shook his head and quickly jumped to his feet. "You bitch." He sneered as he pulled out a switchblade.

"You got all the way off the ground, to come after me with that." Her statement angered him more, and he lunged for her. Gabrielle watched in amazement as the woman seemingly playfully ducked each swing the thug made at her. Gabrielle backed up a little and watched the two people before her.

Try as he may, the man only sliced air. "Iím going to get you." He was

breathing hard now as if all his energy was spent.

"This is getting really old." Gabrielle heard the woman say before she jumped in the air and let out a strange yell. Her foot hit the man square in the nose, and he went sailing to the ground. He wasnít getting up anytime soon. The raven hair-woman walked over to the unconscious man and picked up the switchblade. "Might as well have come after me with a comb." She threw it over her shoulder and walked towards Gabrielle and knelt down.

"Are you alright?" This was the first time; Gabrielle had had to see the womanís face. Beautiful, like a goddesses of Greek mythology. Crystal blues eyes, and black hair flowing to her shoulders. Silver hoop earrings dangled from her ears.

"Fine now, thanks." The woman helped her up.

"You shouldnít be walking around the back of a bus station this time of night."

"I took a wrong turn and then that guy cornered me."

"Well he wonít be bothering you any time soon." She nodded towards the man. "Just be careful OK." On that note, the woman turned around and walked off.

"Hey..." Gabrielle turned to pick up her suitcase, but the woman was gone, just as she had come...without a trace.

 

Xena was going to miss her bus, if she didnít hurry up. Her walk was a little more hurried now as she clutched her bag in her hand. First she had gotten lost, no off track was how she preferred to call it. And then she had to rescue the blond kid from a bumbling thief. Deep down she wished heíd been more of a match for her. She hadnít even broken a sweat. It had been a while since she had a good workout, but hey what could be expected from a guy that preyed on people at the bus station.

Out of the corner of her eye. She saw the gate 5A, and it looked as if her bus was about to pull off.

"Hey wait up." Xena heard a voice from behind her say.

She turned around and saw the blond kid running toward her. What did she want? Quickly her head snapped back towards the bus, it was pulling off. Just as she was about to make a run for it, she heard the girl call after her again.

"Wait up will ya" Xena looked again and then she saw the girlís suitcase open and all her clothes fell out. When she searched for her bus again, it was gone.

"What the hell, Iíve got all the time in the world now." She said as she slowly walked over to the girl. Xena stared down at her as she tried to pick up her clothes. "Need some help?" Why she was asking she didnít know, but it seemed like the right thing to say.

"Yes please." She smiled at Xena and but it quickly vanished when Xena didnít smile back. Once her suitcase was packed, they both stood up.

She was a cute kid, Xena thought as she got a good look at her. Now her hair seemed more strawberry-blond than just blonde. Her eyes were green and seemed to dance with that special something Xena couldnít put her finger on. She was dressed in a jean skirt and a light blue blouse.

"I guess I should say thank you again." She giggled slightly.

"No need. Take care OK." Xena halfway waved as she walked off.

"That wasnít your bus, was it?" The girl called after her.

"Yes it was."

"And I made you miss it. Iím sorry." Xena noticed the girl was now walking beside her.

"Donít worry about it, Ok." She tried to speed up her pace, but so did the girl.

"My nameís Gabrielle. Gabrielle Hutchinson." She extended her hand to Xena and she stopped abruptly.

Hesitantly, she shook it. "Sure"

"Whatís your name?"

"Doesnít matter. Look kid, I have to be going. So see you around."

"Yeah, but if I do see you around what will be your name. I mean you saved my life you know. Can I at least know your name? Just in case we ever meet again. Iím sure you donít what me to call you Ďhey whatís-her-nameí or something like that..."

"Ok...Ok my name is Sarah. Are you satisfied?" Xena just wanted her to shut-up. She was talking a mile a minute. The younger woman studied her for a second.

"Sarah? I donít think so. A woman like you would have a more exotic name.... You know like Jade or Alexis...but not Sarah. So whatís your real name?"

"Alexis?" Xena raised an eyebrow and smirked. "The nameís Xena." What harm could it do to tell the kid her name? She would just be another person that knew her, soon she would be leaving anyway...plus she didnít want her to call her Alexis.

"Xena. Thatís an awesome name. See I told you, you would have an exotic name. Much better than Gabrielle."

"Actually I think Gabrielle is a very pretty name." Xena said before she caught herself. The blondeís face lit up, obviously happy that the stranger approved of her name. "Well see you around Gabrielle." For the third time, Xena tried to walk off, but when she looked to her left there was Gabrielle beside her again.

"So where are you headed?" Gabrielle had to walk twice as fast to keep up with Xenaís long strides.

"Doesnít matter."

"Gee, what does matter to you?" Gabrielle saw Xena stop and turned towards her. She wondered if she simply imagined the cool breeze she felt as Xenaís blue eyes focused on her.

"Just what is that suppose to mean?" She snapped.

Gabrielle swallowed hard. "Sorry, I guess I should have said it a better way. Itís just seems like you donít want to talk."

"Perhaps its because I donít want to."

"But why?"

Xena stepped closer. "Because its none of your damn business. So I saved your life, get over it. You might see it as a burden one day instead of some heroic deed on my part. Plus I donít think that guy was going to kill you. He was probably just going to take your money and feel you up a little. But you would have lived. So guess what, you donít owe me anything OK. Not a thank you, and definitely this little conversation weíre having right now. So just go find someone else to bestow your sunshine on."

Xena knew the moment sheís said her last word, that sheíd hurt the kidís feelings. "Fine. See you around." Gabrielle threw her chin in the air and turned around and walked off.

Xena just shook her head and continued to walk in the opposite direction.

 

"Who the hell does she think she is?" muttered Gabrielle as she walked off. All she wanted was to tell the woman thank you, and possibly get to knew her better. Well forget that. She found out in less than five minutes that woman who had saved her life was a bitter human being that didnít know how to treat people.

She felt her stomach growl, and mentally figured that sheíd hadnít ate in at least seven hours or so. Quickly she scanned the station until her eyes landed on a coffee shop in the corner. She smiled and made her way towards it.

Gabrielle plopped down at the counter and tapped her fingers to the beat of the music that played on the radio.

"What can I get you?" The waitress asked.

"A burger with everything, a chocolate shake, and chili cheese fries." Gabrielle answered cheerfully. She was absolutely starving. When the waitress bought her food later, she watched in astonishment how fast Gabrielle gulped it down.

"Hungry, were you honey?"

"More than youíll ever know." Gabrielle smiled. "Do you have any apple pie?"

"Sorry honey, I just gave the last piece to that lady over there." She pointed to the corner booth and her eyes laid on Xena. She was staring out the window.

"If you would have come sooner, I would have given it to you. She hasnít even touched the pie."

"Really?"

"Came in here a little bit before you did. The silent type you know." Someone signaled the waitress and she walked off.

"Yeah, I know." Gabrielle said to herself. She turned and looked at Xena again. She wondered what she was doing in the bus station at this time of night. She could tell from her appearance that she had money. The designer black jeans, white silk shirt, black boots told Gabrielle that much. Also the way she walked, it oozed class and the way she titled her head seemed to demand respect from those in her presence. Not to mention those eyes of hers, ice blue...scary but compelling. Then Gabrielle thought of the way she had taken out the man earlier. Effortless with such ease that she couldnít comprehend it. An enigma, the word that Gabrielle was searching for. Thatís how she would describe Xena. "Well she may be a mystery, but sheís rude." But she had a piece of pie that Gabrielle wanted. She would try it again, to get talk to this woman and the pie offered the best excuse.

Gabrielle threw enough money to cover her meal and a tip on the counter and made her way towards the back of the booth.

"Hey there." She said as she finally stood beside Xena.

Xena sighed and Gabrielle tried to ignore it. "Oh its you again."

"May I sit down?"

"Why?"

"Why not? I mean no one is sitting with you right now."

"Maybe I want it that way."

"Perhaps you do, but you have something I want."

Xena eyed her carefully. "And what is that exactly?"

"Your piece of pie. You got the last one"

"Fine." She picked up the pie and held it towards her. "Take it. I didnít really want it anyway."

"Thanks!" Gabrielle took the pie and sat down across from Xena. Xena was about to object, but decided against it. Actually she had thought about Gabrielle briefly after they parted. She hadnít meant to talk to her the way she had, and found herself feeling bad about it. Maybe that was a sign that she was changing after all.

Gabrielle couldnít believe she had gotten that far. She took a gulp out of the pie. "Did you buy another ticket?"

"Yeah, I did."

"Boy, you sure are in a rush to get out of New York, huh?"

"Why do you care?"

"Just because. So when does your bus leave?"

Xena was one second away from getting up. "Do you always ask this many questions?"

Gabrielle shrugged as she continued to chew her food. "I guess its just part of my nature you know. Are you always so brooding?"

"Brooding?"

"Lack of a better word." Gabrielle smiled and Xena smirked. How long did it take to eat a piece of pie anyway?

"I take it youíre just getting to this fine city." Xenaís voice was dripping with sarcasm.

"Yeap."

"Well just remember kid, that youíre not in Kansas anymore." Xena sipped her coffee.

A huge smile spread across Gabrielleís face. "How did you know I was from Kansas?"

Xena almost spit out her coffee. This kid was a total cliché. "Lucky guess. I bet you want to either be a writer or an actress."

"A writer actually. Thatís amazing how did you know."

"Itís written all over you. You looked as American as that pie youíre eating." Gabrielle looked down at herself and then back up at Xena. "Hey, thatís a good thing I guess. But here, it can be a bad thing. You scream tourist, and that usually means gullible."

"So you think Iím gullible."

"Lack of a better word." Mocking Gabrielle from earlier, Xena shrugged and leaned back.

"Very funny."

"Actually its not. People take advantage when they see a weakness."

"You talk like youíve experienced it first hand."

"Believe me kid, you donít want to know." Xena had experienced it many times...only she had been the predator and not the prey. There was no reason to let Gabrielle know that though.

There was an awkward silence; Gabrielle used the opportunity to eat the rest of the pie.

"So where are you headed?"

"Anywhere."

"Is that in Italy or Africa." Gabrielle giggled and Xena rolled her eyes.

"Youíre not going to leave me alone are you?"

"Iím not the one you should be worried about. I think that guy over there likes you." She nodded toward a man sitting at the counter. Xena slowly turned her head and froze. She recognized him. He looked normal enough dressed in a pair of black pants and black jacket. To anyone else he would have been a just another face in the crowd. But to Xena, he was something totally different. His empty black eyes focused in on her. He waved, and Xena saw his other hand reach inside is coat.

"When I say Ďnowí, I want you to hit the floor. Understand me." She said to Gabrielle without looking at her.

"What?"

"Look, no questions. When I say Ďnowí...hit the floor."

Gabrielle still didnít understand her and when she was about to ask another question, she heard Xena say now And there were gun shots. With her eyes closed, quickly she moved to the floor. People started screaming and pieces of glass from the window behind them came crashing to the floor.

"Get under the table and when itís safe leave." Xena whispered harshly as she laid beside her.

Without thinking Gabrielle did what she was told. "What about you?"

"Save yourself." The restaurant quickly emptied as people ran out knocking over tables and chairs.

"Mafia Princess. Come out come out, where ever you are!" A deep male voice said. Xena saw black boots walking her way. Silently she moved on her stomach to the table adjacent to her.

"Did you honestly think that he would just let you walk away." Xena pictured him smiling. Again she moved to another table. Gabrielle sat quietly and watched Xena and tried to block out the sound the manís boots made against the floor.

He was just about to Gabrielleís table when Xena rose up on the other side of the diner. "Looking for me? Darrion" She leaned against the counter casually and smiled.

Darrion Marconi turned abruptly and faced Xena. "But of course my dear" He lowered his gun. "Youíre as fast as ever. I just knew that bullet was going to hit you in the temple." He smoothed back his dark hair and grinned.

"Really?" Xena sneered.

"Yeah. If worst came to worse, I would have just got the little blond chick instead." He shrugged and pulled out a chair and sat down. He kicked the plate off the table and put his feet there instead.

"So, he sent his best boy after me huh?" Xena walked closer.

"Why not? Iím the only one thatís a match for you. After all you were a good teacher."

"And obviously youíre a slow learner. Rule number one Darrion was to never make a scene. I canít believe you would open fire in a public place. The cops will be here any minute." He laughed and even Xena didnít believe her last statement. After all it was New York. Getting a cop to respond immediately was next to impossible.

"Let them come Xena. Iíll be out in less than an hour." Darrion rose to his feet. "I hear youíre walking the straight and narrow these days. Where are you going to go? Back to the neighborhood Xena. " He let out a cruel maniacal laugh that rung in Xenaís ears. "Who am I kidding? They hate you there. I donít even know why we bothered to look for you there." He stepped closer. "Then here I was driving by and who do I see ...none other than the fucking Mafia princess herself sitting in a bus station coffee shop."

She had gotten careless; she shouldnít have sat in front of the window.

"I have to admit hiding out in the bus station was kind of ingenious. We were scouting the airports. I mean youíre use to first class all the way. It pains my heart to see you in a shit hole like this Xena."

"Thatís funny, you being a piece of shit yourself."

"Watch it Xena, you donít want to make me angry?"

"Oh Darrion Iím shaking in my boots."

"Interesting because so is she." Before Xena could move, Darrion kicked a table over and snatched up Gabrielle. "Cute. Very cute." He said as Gabrielle struggled against him.

"Leave her out of this Darrion. This is between me and you."

"No thatís where youíre wrong. Youíve angered many people Xena. Iím just here to deliver their message."

"Which is?" Xena closed with each of her words.

"Youíre dead."

"Last time I checked, I was still breathing." She caught the look of panic in Gabrielleís eyes. She had seen that look before, only then she had been the cause of it.

"A mere formality Xena." Darrion threw Gabrielle back to the floor and lunged for Xena. She quickly ducked.

"Dammit Darrion, you know how I hate formalities." As he went sailing pass her, she stuck out her foot and tripped him. He quickly recovered and formed his body into a fighting stance.

"Iíve been waiting for his moment a long time Xena?"

"Iím glad I could be of service." Gabrielle heard her let out that strange yell again as she jumped and turned in the air. Xena did a spinning kick that ended with Darrionís jaw. He only staggered slightly before he threw a punch; Xena quickly deflected it and then jumped on top of the table. He turned over the table, but not before Xena had flipped off of it. He caught her in mid air and swung her towards the ground. She landed hard against the floor. Darrion moved in to kick her, Xena rolled. His kicks missed by inches. She caught his foot in her hand clipped his other foot from under him. Xena scramble to get back on her feet before Darrion. She quickly glanced to her right and saw Gabrielle sitting by watching. Why didnít the stupid girl just leave, Xena thought as she picked up a chair and brought it down across Darrionís back. He let out a loud groan as he fell back to the floor unconscious. Now Darrion had made her break a sweat. She smoothed back her hair and stepped over her defeated opponent.

"Why didnít you leave when he let you go?" Xena asked Gabrielle who was on the floor trembling.

"I was scared." She said softly

"Well you have to leave now. The cops will eventually get here. " Xena picked up her bag and headed towards shopís exit.

"Youíre just going to leave me here." Gabrielle asked as she got up and tried not to cut her hand on the shattered glass.

Xena sighed. "Trust me kid, you donít want to go where Iím going." She calmly turned around and vanished through the exit.

"Now what Iím suppose to do?" She heard Darrion grown and Gabrielle quickly moved to her feet and ran as fast as she could.

 

Chapter 2

"She was tall with dark hair. Pretty if you liked the exotic type. " The waitress put her hands on her hips. "I knew something wasnít right with her. I mean she walked in the place like she owned it."

"But she wasnít alone?" The policeman asked.

"At first yes. But then this girl came in with blonde hair. I donít think they knew each other, but when I turned around they were talking like they were old friends. The next thing I know...some son a bitch is blasting the place with bullets. And if Iím not mistaken...it was at the two women I just described."

"And thatís all you saw."

"Yes sir. I donít normally hang around when someone is shooting up the place."

The police officer wrote some notes down in his pad. "Do you know what happened to either of the women?"

"The women no, but I saw the gunman limping out of here right before you guys arrived. He looked like someone had kicked his ass real good too." The cop smiled.

"Thanks for you cooperation."

"Sure. You did a good job of getting here so fast too. " She winked.

The cop put away his pad and gazed around the trashed coffee shop. He reached in his pocket and pulled out his cellular phone and dialed.

"Hello" a deep voice bellowed on the other end.

"Yeah itís me. Thereís no trace of Xena anywhere."

"What about the blonde, the one Darrion said she was talking to?"

"Havenít seen her either."

"Sheíll show up eventually...weíve got unfinished business. Come back to the house at once...you shouldnít be there when the real cops arrive."

 

It was cool out. Xena pulled her leather jacket tighter around her. Of all the nights not to see a taxi buzz by. Once again a bus ticket sheíd bought had gone to waste. The bus station was crawling with cops now, and she couldnít take the chance of any of them recognizing her. Fleetingly, she had thought about stealing a car. A silver Mercedes had caught her eye a few blocks back. But, she decided against it. A crime was a crime, regardless of ease and conveyance. If she was going to change, she had to start somewhere. So, here she was in the cold walking with no destination in mind.

Darrion had found her. She cursed herself for her carelessness. She had snuck into buildings with million dollar security systems, and tonight sheíd been spotted in a coffee shop. Then there was Gabrielle...she could have been killed. The last thing Xena needed was another innocent person dead because of her...she couldnít travel that road again.

Tonight, she would find a place to sleep. And tomorrow she would have a new frame of mind and decide what to do. Maybe leaving New York wasnít the best idea right now. After all she had some unfinished business. At one point she doubted that, but once Darrion showed up...she knew that he was looking for her. Darrion was right; she just couldnít walk away.

Xena reached behind her, under her jacket, and pulled out her gun and quickly turned around. "Youíve been following me for the last five blocks." She said calmly to a figure that loomed in the shadows. "Step out into the light with your hands up!" She commanded.

The figured moved slowly and Xena lowered her gun. "Gabrielle? What the hell are you doing here?"

"Sight seeing." She said nervously as she lowered her hands out of the air.

Xena replaced her gun and walked closer. "Why are you following me?"

"Do you even have to ask?"

Xena raised an eyebrow. "I donít ask questions I know the answers to. It seems rather redundant...so just answer me."

Gabrielle put her hands on her waist. "The whole incident in the coffee shop does that ring a bell?"

"Of course."

"I need to know why?"

"No you donít" Xena replaced her gun back in its holder.

"I see you carry a gun too."

"So what?"

"So what? Look Iíve seen you literally beat too men twice your size. Iíve had bullets blazing over my head...and just a minute ago you were about to shoot me...can I get some answers."

Gabrielle stepped a little closer.

"Look kid, the less you know the safer you are...so Iím going to walk away and do us both a favor and donít follow." Xena slowly turned around and was relieved when she didnít hear Gabrielle behind her.

"I donít have any money you know." Gabrielle called after her.

"Not my problem kid."

"I left my suitcase in the coffee shop."

"Go get it."

"What about the cops?"

Xena stopped. "Not my problem."

"But I think it is." She screamed and Xena whirled around. Gabrielle ran up to her with her finger pointed. "All this is because of you. "

"No to be honest...its your fault."

"What?"

"Nobody asked you to follow me. No one asked you to come over and talk to me in the coffee shop." Xena didnít care that her irritation was showing, she towered over Gabrielle with every word she spoke.

"I was just trying to be nice...since you saved my life."

"For the last time, I didnít..."

"I know, I know he was just going to feel me up."

"Exactly." Xena screamed.

"Fine. Xena I wonít bother you anymore. Iíll just walk down this dark street in the middle of the night and hope for the best." She pouted and looked at Xena for a moment before she turned around. "And I guess Iíll just have to explain to anyone that tries to rob me that I donít have any money...that I donít have anything but the clothes on my back."

Xena rolled her eyes. "Gabrielle wait."

"Yes?"

"You can come with me...but just for tonight."

Gabrielle ran and jogged to catch up with Xena. "You wonít regret this Xena...youíll see."

Xena hoped that as well, she had enough regrets to fill a lifetime.

 

"If I stayed in Kansas any longer, I think I would have suffocated." Gabrielle said as they entered their hotel room. She had been chatting endlessly since Xena had let her join her.

By now, Xena knew that Gabrielle came from a two-parent home and had a sister and a brother. Also Xena had to listen about how Gabrielle was practically engaged to some guy.

"So you thought you would give the big city a try." Xena threw her bag on the bed. It definitely wasnít the Ritz and looked like a shack compared to her apartment on the upper west side...but it would have to do.

"The only thing about small town life, other than boredom, is that everyone had big dreams. I just didnít want my dreams to get crushed. Didnít seem like there was enough room for every dream to come true. " Gabrielle sat on the bed.

She continued to talk and Xena tried to listen, but it was hard.

"Yeah...íI was like Mom and Dad I have to goí. I mean they didnít agree. They had my whole life planned out...and I wanted to take my future in my own hands. " She said matter-of-factly. Xena smirked. "I wanted to be like you..."

Her smirked was soon replaced by a frown. "Gabrielle you donít even know me. How could you say that."

"Iím a writer. Itís my job to know people...to study them."

"Well you donít know me."

"Not like the back of my hand or anything."

"Not like anything." Xena snapped.

Gabrielle got off the bed and decided to let the subject dropped. "So what are the sleeping arrangements?" They both looked at the one bed. Xena began unbuttoning her shirt. "I donít know about you but Iím sleeping in the bed."

"Ok..."Gabrielle looked around the room. "What about me?" Xena nodded towards the floor. "Youíve got to be kidding!"

"Iím not known to be a kidder Gabrielle." Xena continued to undress and threw Gabrielle a shirt out of her bag. "You can where that if you want."

"Sure, thanks." She headed for the bathroom. "You know Xena there is enough room for two in that bed."

"I know, I plan on stretching out tonight." Gabrielle sulked and slammed the bathroom door.

"Beggars canít be choosy" Gabrielle muttered to herself as she looked in the mirror and began to undress. Her first night in the New York had proven to be an eventful one. A robbery...a shooting, both of which she had been involved in and now Xena. "I canít believe sheís making me sleep on the floor." She had so many questions for the woman in the other room. Gabrielle especially wanted to know why the guy had called her ĎMafia Princessí more than once and something about her walking the straight and narrow. Was she a criminal, or had been? She had only known the woman a few hours, but one thing she did know was that she definitely wasnít a talker. It just intrigued Gabrielle even more; she would have to be creative to find out Xenaís story. If she let her hang around long enough.

When she was finished changing, she opened the bathroom door. Xena was already in the bed under the covers. Gabrielle looked down and saw that Xena had made her a nice cozy spot on the floor.

"Thanks."

"Sure kid." Xena said as she turned over in the bed. Gabrielle laid down on the floor and wrapped herself in the blanket. It wasnít so bad and after a few minutes she closed her eyes.

 

Xena suddenly sat up in the bed and caught her breath. Her hair was plastered to her face and her body soaked with sweat. She felt the tension leave her body as she realized that she was in the hotel room. It was a rare occasion that she slept through the night. Of course, only normal people did that. And she had lived anything but a normal life. Her nights were usually filled with restless tossing and turning and...nightmares.

She plopped back against the pillows and turned her head. There laid beside her was Gabrielle, with her face just inched from her own. She was asleep with her hands tucked under her face and wrapped up in the covers that Xena had discarded during her sleeping. Xena was about to wake her, but something told her not to. Xena simply closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep herself, but doubted she would be as successful as Gabrielle.

 

 

When Gabrielle awoke, the sun was shining through the window. She was in the bed alone and was amazed that Xena hadnít done some kind of super kick that would have landed her back on the floor.

She sat up and saw Xena standing in the middle of the room. Gabrielle was ready with her explanation for crawling in the bed, but didnít say a word when she saw Xenaís eyes were closed.

It looked as if she was exercising, but her movements were too precise and graceful for that. Gabrielle watched in amazement as the other woman went through a series of motions that were perfectly choreographed. Gabrielle almost heard music. Finally Xena brought her hands together and bowed and slowly opened her eyes.

"Meditation?" Gabrielle asked as Xena crossed the room and picked up a towel.

"It calms my nerves?" Xena said softly and leaned against the wall. "Comfortable?" She raised an eyebrow and looked at Gabrielle and Gabrielle noted that it was look that she wore quite often.

"Uh...I can explain." Gabrielle quickly jumped off the bed. "You know I had no problem sleeping on the floor. In fact the place you made for me was quite cozy. Then there I was sleeping right and I could have sworn I felt something claw on my leg. But I chose to ignore it. But then I could have sworn I felt something crawl on my arm. So I couldnít take it anymore...I gave myself two choices. I could ĎAí crawl into bed with you and take the chance that you would pull some martial arts stuff which would land me in a wheel chair, or I could B let whatever was crawling round have its way with me. As you can see I went with choice ĎAí. Iím sorry I didnít...

Xena put her hand up. "Gabrielle thatís enough. Itís OK."

"Really?"

"Iím not mad, just surprised. Iím not use to surprises." There was seriousness to her tone that Gabrielle couldnít ignore.

"Who doesnít like surprises?"

"Me." Xena looked out of the window. Gabrielle walked closer.

"You look tired." Xena had on no makeup, and although still beautiful...it was hard not to notice the bags under her weary eyes.

Xena grinned lazily. "Iíve never had much for that phrase. Itís just a polite way to tell a person they look like shit." Gabrielle looked surprised but soon started to giggle.

"I mean you didnít get much sleep last night did you? I hope it wasnít because I me."

"No, I could have been sleeping alone in a king size bed and I would have had the same result."

"Whoís Michael." Xenaís head snapped towards Gabrielle and the room went still. There was that cold breeze again that Gabrielle always felt when her blue eyes turned to ice."

"Why?"

"You called out his name last night in your sleep."

Xena said nothing. She just started gathering her belongings and headed into the bathroom. "Iím going to take a shower."

Gabrielle sat back down on the bed. "Touchy subject I guess." She mumbled. After Gabrielle had gotten into the bed with Xena, it had actually taken her a while to get to sleep. Xena was tossing and turning. She had screamed out ĎMichaelí on more than one occasion and when Gabrielle looked over at her; she was soaking wet with sweat. Afraid she would wake her, Gabrielle just watched her until her sleep became somewhat peaceful again...then she herself drifted off to sleep.

She momentarily wondered if Michael had been a past lover of Xenaís. It was possible, but last night Xena had looked like she was trapped in a horrible nightmare. ĎMichaelí was screamed out with pain rather than passion. Gabrielle heard the water in the shower running.

Quickly she found some paper and began to write. The words seemed to just appear at will as thoughts streamed through her head. She wrote about the bus station, the robbery, the coffee shop, and of course Xena. By the time she was through she had used up all the hotel stationary. Gabrielle read back over her work with a sense of satisfaction. It had a little suspense and mystery...a good beginning she thought. She looked up. The water in the bathroom was still running. It had been over 45 minutes.

"Hey Xena, are you going to leave me any hot water?" She said as she knocked on the door. There was no answer. "Xena?" This time she opened the door. The bathroom was filled with steam. "Xena?"

Still there was no answer. She looked back towards the mirror and made out some writing in the steam. ĎTake care kid." The words were already beginning run as she looked in the sink. She picked up five one hundred-dollar bills.

Already knowing what she would find, Gabrielle pulled back the shower curtain, and found it empty. She turned off the water and looked at the small window over the bathtub.

"Well how did she accomplish that. Weíre on the third floor and thereís no fire escape." Gabrielle frowned but then smiled. "The stuff books are made of."

 

To be Continued...


Did you hate or like it? Let me know. I figured this was good place to end for now. It was becoming longer than I thought. I will definitely write a sequel if anyone thinks itís worth it.

Send comments to fire_ice82@hotmail.com

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