Deck the Halls...
Gabrielle is directing Xena, Eve and Ares in putting up Christmas decorations. Xena and Eve are moving a tree inside and Ares is creating some baubles to go on it.
Ares glares at the gold, silver and green baubles in front of him and zaps them black.
Ares. What are you doing?
ARES (scowling at Gabrielle):
Making you what you asked for.
No, Ares, I asked for lots of different colours. Those are all black. I also asked for them to be shiny, and those are matte.
ARES (mimicking her tone):
Well, I'm making them, so I'll decide how they look. (pause; he has an idea) Hey, maybe I could make it so they explode if anyone touches them.
No, no, Solstice is a peaceful time of the year. (changing the subject and speaking to Eve and Xena) Does anyone know how the tradition was started?
ARES (to himself):
No... but I expect you're going to tell us, right?
XENA (before Gabrielle can answer):
Gabrielle, c'mon, you told us this the last time we had a Solstice-themed episode. Don't you have a different story to tell us?
Well... did you ever hear about the baby who was fathered by an angel?
I don't think you need to tell me my life-story, you know. Besides, what does that have to do with Solstice?
GABRIELLE (amazed Eve could never have heard of the Solstice baby):
No, Eve, I'm not talking about you. I mean another baby who was fathered by an angel. I can see I'm going to have to tell you this story...
Gabrielle starts pacing around in the background, doing something resembling a vocal warm-up and shaking out her arms and legs.
Sorry I asked.
ARES (to Xena):
Another baby fathered by an angel? Is there something you're not telling me here?
Gabrielle comes back over.
Excuse me, are you ready to hear the story now?
ARES (falsely bright):
As ready as I'll ever be.
GABRIELLE (very pleased):
Good, that's what I like to hear.
Now get it over with.
GABRIELLE (shoots Ares a nasty look, before clearing her throat loudly several times; in full bardic mode):
Come one, come all, listen to this humble Solstice tale, bestowed upon you by myself, the Bard of Potidaea. I offer this simple gift to you in the hopes that it will enrich your appreciation of this festive time, in the way that can only come from having knowledge of that which you are enjoying.
Gabrielle, I know it's important to you to tell us this, but would you mind giving us the abridged version?
Yeah... in all the time we're standing here listening to this tale - (off a look from Gabrielle; hastily) - not that it's not a wonderful story, mind you, but every moment you spend telling it to us is one less to put up these lovely decorations.
Gabrielle pauses for a moment, considering.
And you know, if you're telling the story I think you're telling, we already met this baby once.
No, no, we didn't meet him. What we met was a family, with a mother, a father and a little baby.
XENA (slowly; as though Gabrielle is stating the obvious):
But, we were never explicitly told that it was the baby who was born in a stable and was the son of the God of Love. They kept it completely ambiguous, to allow viewers of different faiths to draw their own conclusions. (conspiratorially) They do that a lot in this business, you know.
EVE (pointedly looking at Xena, Gabrielle and Ares individually):
So I've heard.
Mind your own business.
EVE (getting into her stride; conversationally):
You know, speaking of ambiguity, I heard there are all kinds of discussions about our lives and what some of us get up to in our off-hours.
XENA (raising eyebrows):
Really. Perhaps our on-hours aren't interesting enough.
Well, you can tell these friends of yours, Eve, that in my off-hours, I like to write stories and occasionally do a little embroidery. That should feed the rumours - do I like pink thread or blue thread the best? Do I use the up-and-under method, or the left-to-right? What is my opinion on the size of the eyes of needles?
Questions that will puzzle the world for all the ages.
Actually, I like green best. But don't tell anyone. But the method... that's my secret.
Actually... that wasn't really what I meant.
Actually, it's more along the lines of who does what to whom...
Ares raises his eyebrows at Xena.
Maybe we could clear up a few little details like that right now.
Ares, your kind of 'clearing up' is not fit to be seen in public!
ARES (to Eve):
I don't know exactly what you've read, but her kind of clearing up and mine do not sound the same... I certainly don't need any kind of dusters or cleaning fluids.
EVE (unable to hide a smirk):
That's not what I got told.
Normally, I'd tell you to wash your mouth out with soap for... well, putting ideas into people's heads, but under the circumstances, I don't think that's a good idea.
Whatever. So, are we going to tell all of Eve's friends what's really going on between the three of us..
Uhh... can we do this as un-graphically as possible, please?
That won't be a problem, Eve. Like I said, these guys really know how to prolong ambiguity.
As she speaks, snow inexplicably starts to fall, heavily enough that we can no longer see any of the characters.
See? Now, about that ambiguity... tell this to all your friends.
As we fade out, the black gaps between the snow suddenly merge with the white flakes to make a grey mush.
OK - on second thoughts, don't tell them that!
[Disclaimer: The Christmas tree did eventually get decorated slightly after the production of this motion picture, although Gabrielle never did manage to convince Ares the baubles should have been shiny.]