I should have brought that notepad...
Brenna looked uncertainly at her guests, whom she knew all too well from watching a few crucial episodes of X:WP.
The first was a small girl in a dark cloak with a wholly somber look on her face, the second, a young woman with curly hair tucked in her own dark robe, and the last, an unbelievably old woman slightly hunched as she faced the writer. All wore quiet, expressionless faces.
Straightening up, Brenna decided to speak to the unearthly visitors, the strangely calming blue light making them glow in spite of the shadows.
"Is it too much to ask you what's going on? I knew there was a reason for all the crazy things that have happened to me but I never figured beings like yourselves would get involved."
The Fates responded, dividing their sentences equally between themselves as they floated upon the altar.
"We were called upon by a mortal of this age..." said the child.
"...Seeking to recompense us for a favor," said the woman.
"And so in granting a boon, that debt was repaid," finished the crone.
Aww geez, I forgot that you can't get a straight answer out of these three. Oh well, on with 20 questions...
"Let me see if I'm getting this, you helped someone out and in order to settle things between you, YOU honored the MORTAL'S request? I would think that if someone owed you a favor, you wouldn't do any more for them until they returned it."
Their reply was quick and just as vague.
"The boon asked of us fulfilled a greater purpose than the mortal was aware of."
"It was fulfilled because its importance surpassed that of this time..."
"...And proved vital to the preservation of the future."
Brenna scratched the back of her neck nervously, and continued. "What do I have to do with this boon? Did you call me to this age? Why?"
This is gonna be good...
"You were summoned to be the thread that would hold two pieces together."
"To keep intact a powerful and important force."
"To insure the progression of a better world with the strength of the heart."
Hmmmmm. I know there has to be a metaphor in here somewhere. And why did I get stuck with this kind of responsibility? Ughh, welcome back migraine and dizziness, it's been awhile...
Before the student could ask any more questions, the heavy doors behind her opened and a young woman entered the room. Her (brown?) hair was tied back in a fierce ponytail; her clothes were a drab and unassuming color of gray. Her expression seemed a mixture of frustration, guilt and welled up sorrow as she briefly looked into Brenna's eyes.
The warrior formerly known as Livia looked from the three immortals swaying easily on the altar to the leather-clad brunette, then back again. She quickly dismissed the writer's presence and turned to address the Fates, who still wore the peaceful and unreadable expressions they had first appeared with.
"What news do you have of the helper from the future?"
"Aaaaah, I think that would be me," Brenna said softly as she tapped Eve's shoulder.
Xena's daughter whirled and looked at the other woman with suspicion and evident disbelief. "You? You're no older than I am and you don't look as though you have any great power or knowledge with which aid us." Her voice was cold and taunting, reminding Brenna once more why she hated Eve so much in the series.
Well, that and she killed subtext.
"Her role was not to use unearthly force for good..." said the small girl, addressing Eve.
"...But to use a common force with unlimited power..." said the young woman.
"...To change a bleak future. She has succeeded," finished the crone.
"Your debt is repaid," all three intoned as they quickly faded away in hot, white light.
Eve slowly kneeled to the floor before the altar, staring at the now vacant space that the Fates had occupied. She seemed to be in total shock.
Just when it seemed that the moment couldn't get weirder, Xena and Gabrielle chose that exact moment to walk into the room, the huge doors creaking open once more to let them in.
"Eve!" the Warrior Princess cried out. She rushed to the still and silent figure on the floor, helped her up and enveloped her in a warm embrace.
Ech. Family reunion.
For her part, the bard turned to Brenna with one elegantly raised eyebrow and a questioning glance. The student's mouth went dry at the gesture and she fought to clear her head of distracting thoughts. Time enough for that later.
"Brenna, what's going on? Why is Eve on the floor?"
"Don't look at me, I STILL have no idea what just happened. All I know is that I tried to get a straight answer out of the Fates..."
"The Fates?" Xena asked in astonishment. "They were here? What did they want with Eve?"
By now the limp figure in her arms had returned to reality and tugged on the ex-warlord's arm to get her attention.
"Let me explain mother, your...friend knows as much about this as you do."
Eve now had her audience, as the other women stood silently awaiting an answer.
"It's like this. Ever since I came to live with you and Gabrielle I've noticed the strange way you act towards one another. I know you're best friends and I assumed lovers as well..." Here Gabrielle turned bright red. "...But I also noticed that you were keeping your distance a lot, hardly speaking to each other at all, and trading interesting looks. I could see fear, uncertainty, sadness - and it was driving me crazy. "
The young woman turned to face the bard. "As you know, The night that we nearly died and the death of the gods was upon us, I had been reading from your scrolls. I've BEEN reading them ever since, by candlelight each night. What I found were amazing stories about love, sorrow and hate between the two women who love me the most, stories about a journey between soulmates."
Over her shoulder, Xena smiled across the room at Gabrielle. Brenna's eyes widened.
I missed something didn't I? Kiss and make up already, did you ladies?
"My heart ached to understand why I COULDN'T see that connection between you," Eve continued. "I didn't want to bring it up with either of you and I had no one else I could trust. During the night, while you followed your usual night routine, I snuck out of the house to get some air and have a walk to clear my mind before bed. Before I knew it, I had reached the village and then the temple. I knew most of the gods were dead, but I had no idea whose temple it was, and walked in hoping perhaps that it was Aphrodite's so I could ask for advice. As soon as I entered I knew it wasn't hers, but I was still curious to see who was worshipped there. So I explored and eventually found my way into this room, the large doors shut on me, and when I turned around...there they were."
"Wait a minute." All eyes turned to look at the young writer. "Where do I fit in all this?"
In a soft, tired voice the ex-roman warrior spoke again. "I'm getting to that. When I saw that it was the Fates who dwelled here, I naturally fell to my knees. I remembered from one of Gabrielle's scrolls that it was they who had given my mother the idea on how to fake your deaths, ultimately convincing the gods to leave us all alone. So I thanked them and asked if there was someway to repay them for saving my life. Somehow, they saw into my heart and knew that my soul hurt for mother and her true love, so they hinted that they could, and would help their two souls to find each other one again. Not just for me, or for them, but because Xena and Gabrielle's lives are vital to how the future plays out."
The bard seemed to catch on before Brenna or Xena could get a word in. "You mean, they were referring to our lives yet to be lived, our karmic cycle?"
"Yes, Gabrielle. In order for hundreds of lives to be saved in the centuries to come, your life HAD to be intertwined for always with the Warrior Princess. Separately, they told me, you would be lost and without focus to the tasks to be set before you. But together, you would always be unstoppable in the quest for the greater good. That's why it was important to find a way to appeal to your hearts, and to your souls to keep you from losing the bond that was needed to prevail. So in granting me the desire to see you reconciled, I also gave them reason to create a shift in time and to bring back someone from the future to help you find one another again. In that way, I got what I wanted, and my request allowed for them to fulfill their mission and to make things even."
Brenna rocked her weight on her heels with restless energy. That's it! That's the kind of thing I need for one of my stories! I'll call it 'Soul Eternal'. No, wait, 'Karmic Crescendo', uhhh...
"But that still leaves one thing unresolved," Xena pointed out, "How does Brenna get home? If her purpose has been served than why can't she go?"
Eve rested her back against the altar and idly crossed her right leg in front of the other. "I don't know."
The student looked down at her small, booted feet in silent shock.
That means no more online chatrooms, no more message boards, no more 'Sailor Moon' reruns, no more chocolate ice cream....
"Are you OK? You just got really pale." The Amazon Queen started rubbing the writer's back in soothing circles, effectively focusing her thoughts elsewhere as she practically purred in contentment.
Xena just lifted an eyebrow.
Before anyone could react, the strong white light was back and swirling around both Brenna and Gabrielle. It's intensity more painful than before.
"XENAAAA!!!" the blonde cried out as she began to disappear.
"I'VE GOT YOU GABRIELLE!!!" her lover shouted against the sudden gust of rushing wind in the room.
All 3 disappeared before Eve could reach out to grab them. At first she was filled with fear, but then realized that if this was how their friend from the future had gotten here, they would probably come back the same way soon. Shrugging her shoulders, the young woman opened the large doors leading out of the room, pausing only once to look up at the altar.
"Thank you..." she whispered, and quietly shutting the creaking doors behind her.
When the short brunette finally regained her senses, she noticed that she was back in her own room, exactly as it had been when she had left it. She also noticed that she and her warrior companions were all lying on her light brown carpeting in a heap.
With Gabrielle lying fully on top of her.
Well now, this is worth coming home to! Can we be unconscious just a few minutes longer?
It was not to be as the bard quickly regained her senses to find blissful brown eyes inches away from her face. With a blush, she quickly got up and helped both her lover and her friend get up.
"Was it just me or was the return trip even more painful?" the writer commented, stretching her back.
"Let's just be glad we got here in one piece again," Xena said, smiling somewhat shyly at Gabrielle. Brenna noticed the look and grinned. Things were back to normal and she was raring for Season 6 to begin.
"We want to thank you for everything you've done for us," the small blonde smiled as she walked up to Brenna and gave her a big hug. For her part, the young woman melted in the embrace and pulled back to beam at her companions.
"You had it all the time in your hearts, guys. It just took Eve and I an extra push to get you there. I'm glad you've settled your differences and I hope you are complete with each other forever. I feel lucky I got to come along for the ride."
The bard reached for something that was tucked up alongside her left sai and smoothly extended her arm, offering it to Brenna.
"I meant to give you this before our whole run in with the Fates. It's not really much of a thank you present, but I wanted you to have it just the same."
It was a simple gift, a small and empty rolled up scroll. The writer was ecstatic and a tear came to her eyes.
"It's wonderful Gabrielle, you have no idea how much this means to me. It's great, and it smells good. I don't know if I'll ever have the heart to write in it, but I'll keep it close to my heart."
She then noticed that her computer monitor was still on.
"Shit! We left the Internet running for..." she consulted the black wall clock above her desk...allowing her eyes to bulge out and her jaw to drop in disbelief. Five o Five??? We've been gone FIVE minutes??? She looked back to comment this fact to her friends but immediately shut her mouth as she saw the scene playing out behind her.
One of them had found and pressed play on one of her oldies tapes, and the sweet strains of Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" flowed through the room. The warrior and bard were in each others arms, swaying to a sensual rhythm with eyes closed and warm smiles on their faces.
Awwwwww... The student slowly sat back on her bed to watch them for awhile. They probably wouldn't be sent back to their own time for a few more minutes, so she decided to enjoy the time she had left with them. As the song came to an end she found herself lying back and almost falling into a peaceful sleep. She must have fallen asleep for a minute or two because the next thing she knew she was being awakened by Xena's low, amused voice.
"Brenna, what exactly is alt. Fanfiction?"
Author's Note: No cushy green swivel chairs were harmed in the making of this piece although one stupid thug got the business end of Gabrielle's wonderful gift of negotiation.