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by Michelle L. Frazier
Scene opens: Joe's bar, Duncan walks in with Richie, laughing and joking, there's a songstress on the stage, wailing out Nina Simone's version of "House of the Rising Sun". Duncan likes what he hears and turns to watch, a strange look comes over his face.
He turns to Joe.
D: Who's the new girl? She's good.
J: Goes by the name of Xena. She walked in off the street yesterday and asked for a gig.
R: She looks like she could take even you Mac. (Grinning)
Suddenly both feel that feeling and look around to see a young girl come through the door, strawberry blonde, blue eyes, a cute smile, dressed casually in a leather mini and a t-shirt.
She smiles winningly at Duncan and Richie, and you can see her visibly relaxing.
Scene: Flashback. Mining town in Colorado in the 1880's. Duncan is walking down the street, and looks around for the immortal he feels. He sees a young girl with strawberry blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, dressed in gingham. Beside her, a woman walks, tall, dark haired, dressed in cowboy fashion, wearing a duster and battered stetson pulled low to shade her eyes. Both the girls are immediately on their guard and step down an alley with Duncan right behind.
D: I'm Duncan MacCleod of the Clan MacCleod. (He announces to both of them.)
G: (The young girl speaks first) I'm Gabrielle, this is my friend Xena. (She jerks a thumb to the woman at her right, he turns to look up at Xena, into cold blue eyes, her hat gone now and sees the pommel of a sword beneath the duster, her hand on the hilt. She gives him the look)
D: You, you killed my friend, Sefan. (He draws his sword, and the two square off as Gabrielle steps back.)
X: If I killed him he deserved to die (She draws her own sword and the two begin to circle.)
Swords suddenly clash as they move in, their styles seem to mesh as they match blow for blow, they're soon standing nose to nose, swords locked over their heads when a strange look comes over Duncan's face.
D: You're not an immortal.
X: No, I'm not but I know how to kill you, highlander.
G: Xena, don't kill him. I know who he is and you didn't kill his friend.
X and D: What?
G: You're talking about Stefan Hauser aren't you? He was a friend of ours too. I don't know who killed him but we didn't.
D: Can you prove this? (Xena and Duncan are still locked in combat, never losing eye contact.)
G: We took his wife to Denver, to her family when we found out he'd been killed. She said that all she knew about the guy who killed him was that he was big and ugly, he was a trapper or something.
D: I don't know why but I believe you. (He steps back, and a wary look passes between Duncan and Xena as they put away their swords.)
D: How long do you think you can protect her from the bad ones out there?
X: As long as I have to, Gabrielle and I have been together a long time. Any situation she can't talk her way out of, I finish. She's pretty good at talking her way out of them though.
D: Does she carry a sword?
X: No, she doesn't even know how to use one.
D: There are some who don't care one way or another.
X: That's why I travel with her. (She gives him a look that says the subject is closed and he acknowledges it with a shrug.)
D: How's the mining hereabouts?
Scene: Back at Joe's bar, modern times, same day, Gabrielle, Xena, Richie, and Duncan sitting around a table. Gabrielle is telling the story of how she met Homer and the battle of Troy.
R: I can't believe the way you can tell a story, I almost feel as if I were there.
X: Gabrielle has a gift.
D: And what's the story she can tell about you? (He's flirting with Xena, as Gabrielle leans towards Richie.)
G: Is he your teacher?
R: Yeah, my teacher and a great friend.
Scene: Much later, Duncan and Richie are still in Joe's. They are now sitting at the bar, pumping Joe about the pair.
J: Don't ask me how, she is immortal but she's not an immortal. She's shaken more watchers than even I can count. The two have been together for over three thousand years. They're even older than Methos. We've never seen this before. Gabrielle was telling the truth when she says she doesn't kill, but Xena's killed more immortals than even you.
D: All that Quickening has been wasted then?
J: No, Gabrielle is there to take the Quickening. The only information we have on them is that they travel together, they've each been married a few times but they always end up together
D: Xena sounds like a woman to be reckoned with. (He grins.)
J: I'd say so.
Scene: The alley behind Joe's bar, the next night, garbage around, the dim light from a street lamp gives the place an eerie glow as thin whisps of fog linger in the corners. Xena's just finished singing and they are waiting for her at the stage door outside, Gabrielle and Richie are talking, Duncan is sitting back enjoying the show. The feel that feeling and look around to see a big guy walk down the alley with three henchmen, he looks at the three and stops, eyeing them coldly.
Big Guy: Good three at once, I'm gonna enjoy this.
D: If you insist. (He gives the guy a grim look as he and Richie draw their swords.)
The four square off against the three when suddenly you hear Xena's war cry as she comes flying out the door, sword in hand and squares off against the fourth henchman, grinning she tosses a staff to Gabrielle and spins her sword.)
X: Hi, boys!
The battle ensues, Gabrielle is methodically thumping the guy who squared off against her and Xena's kicking the big ones butt with a combination of Kung Fu flips and some fancy leg work. Duncan and Richie are nearly decapitated as they watch her in awe, then they turn their attention back to their own opponents. The party is broken up by the wail of sirens and flashing lights. And all of them separate.
Big Guy: I'll see you in hell for interfereing, mortal. (He yells at Xena, shaking his sword at her before disapearing down the alley.)
They all head for Duncans place and sit around talking.
R: Jesus, where'd you learn to fight like that! (He asks of Xena.) You scared the hell out of me when you came through that door.
X: It usually works that way, better to catch your opponent off guard and take advantage of the situation.
G: She still amazes me sometimes and I've been watching her do it for centuries.
D: I just can't figure out who that guy was, I don't believe I've ever crossed his path before.
G: Actually he was after me, his name is Lucas Darian( She grins sheepishly) I'm sorry you two got caught in the middle of it.
Scene: Flashback, a rum parlor in the prohibition days. Xena's on the stage, Gabrielle is sitting at a table watching. Suddenly Luke comes in with his henchman, all carrying machine guns, he mows down everybody, including Gabrielle, but Xena dove behind the stage. Lucas is standing over Gabrielle with his sword raised, Xena comes flying out with a war cry, knocking their guns out of their hands. She knocks out all three, grabs Gabrielle and they flee.
D: Do you make a habit out of pissing off immortals and then letting them live?
X: I didn't know they were immortals, Gabrielle was out. I thought they were watchers or something.
D: How do you know about the watchers?
X: I've shaken enough of them to figure out what's going on. Your friend Joe is one of them, I saw his tattoo but I figured out that they're mostly harmless although there was a rash of extremists, I got rid of several of them, we'd heard through various sources that you'd taken on the rest of them.
D: The watchers think you're an enigma, they say you are immortal but you are not an immortal. I know you don't have the crystal, so how is it you've lived this long?
X: You wouldn't believe me if I told you.
D: Try me.
X: Gabrielle, you tell the story much better than I ever could, perhaps you'd like to go into bard mode here and fill them in.
G: The story's a long one, perhaps we should get comfortable.
(Synopsis of story: When Gabrielle died during the battle between the Minoans and the Thessoleans she truly died and when she awakened she was an immortal. Having never dealt with this they didn't realize what had happened until much later when Gabrielle was stabbed through the heart by someone when she tried to protect a fallen Xena from Ares. Ares cursed Xena and told her that as long as Gabrielle walked the earth so would she. The gods were the first immortals, all the immortals which came after them were their children. The gods were killed by their children and on his last breath Zeus scattered his seed to the four winds saying that the seeds would germinate in their own time and place. From it would sprring immortals, destined to fight each other until only one was left, the last one would be granted the prize, but he never said what the prize was to be.)
D: So Ares cursed you with immortality? But what happens if you lose your head?
X: I'm not sure I can, but if Gabrielle dies then I will die too. I've worked long and hard on keeping my head firmly attached to my shoulders and besides, you guys can't tell when I'm around , on the other hand I can't tell when you're around either. Gabrielle has to tell me.
Meanwhile Gabrielle and Richie are getting along really well.
R: Hey Mac, we're going out for a late supper, you guys wanna come along?
D: Maybe we'll meet you at Joe's later.
R: Okay, see ya then.
G: (Walks over to Xena and drops a kiss on her cheek. ) You two have fun. (She grins wickedly and they touch hands briefly, letting their arms slide along each others until their finger tips touch, lingering for a brief moment.)
Richie looks on with a slight frown, he shoots Mac a look and Duncan simply looks back and grins.
Richie and Gabrielle walk out onto the street and suddenly stop, looking around as they detect the presence of an immortal. He steps from the alley, it's Lucas with his henchmen again.
R: (To Gabriel as he draws his sword) Go get Mac and Xena.
G: (Quickly assembling her staff) Xena! (Yells at the top of her lungs)
R: I could've done that. (He shoots Gabrielle an exasperated look.)
Scene: Inside of Duncan's apartment, Xena and Duncan are lip locked but they hear Gabrielle's cry. Duncan grabs his sword and goes running for the back stairs but Xena's making a bee line for the sound, Duncan sees where she's headed and yells.
D: Not the win . . . (the sound of shattering glass) . . . damn.
Back on the street, Xena comes down on one of the henchman, knocking him out, standing on his chest she grins wildly and gives off a yell, sword weaving an arc of steel as she heads for the other henchman, he's taken aback, stepping back he meets the hilt of Duncan's sword and sprawls unconscious to the pavement. Meanwhile, Gabrielle has taken out the third henchman as Richie does battle with Lucas. He realizes he's suddenly alone and he backs away from Richie.
X: This is my fight, Richie.
With a nod of agreement, Duncan and Richie back off, Gabrielle stands by, staff in hand, prepared for anything but staying out of the way.
L: You're not even an immortal (He dismisses her out of hand - tragic error)
X: But my friend is and so I fight for her, in the traditional manner.
L: Alright mortal, prepare to see the end of your already much too short life.
X: I measure my years in centuries, don't write me off so easily (She returns in a cold flat voice as she moves in, still weaving her web of steel)
Lucas comes on strong but he is no match for the warrior princess as she parries each thrust, slicing his jacket to ribbons, suddenly she sees her opening and steps in with a savage two handed upper cut, taking Lucas' head neatly from his shoulders. Xena drops to her knees as Gabrielle stands behind, clasping her shoulders, the swirling mists coming from Lucas' corpse enveloping her, she reaches heavenward with a cry of agony as electricity arcs down upon her enveloping her in a blue glow. Xena kneels through this, her eyes closed, and her head bowed. She waits until the last spasms have subsided from Gabrielle's body and then she turns, clasping the bard in a warm embrace as Gabrielle lays her head upon Xena's breast, weak and spent.
Richie turns to MacCleod with a wry grimace.
R: So much for dinner.
D: As Xena said, don't write her off so easily. They've been together three thousand years, a little variety keeps things interesting. (He flashes Richie a knowing grin.)
Disclaimer: Okay, Okay, I have to go with the basic premise of "The Highlander" in that no immortal has ever had a child and we know Xena's had one so she can't be a true immortal. I'd still love to see her up against Duncan MacCleod.