Home to Amphipolis
Home to Amphipolis
"You know, as much as I want to go home, I think I'm kind of going to miss being here. Of course, I'd rather I had been awake instead of being on death's door most of the time."
"I'm going to miss you too. You and Xena are a lot alike. I mean, you look totally different. And you have an odd way of talking -- the way you say things. But your fighting skills, and your sense of decency, and of right and wrong are similar. Not many people I know would bury someone who tried to kill them."
"Thanks. I just wish there was some way I could have met Xena."
"It is time," Cinchona said. "Are you ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be." On impulse, Buffy put her arms around Gabrielle in a hug, who readily returned the embrace.
"You take care of yourself," Buffy told her. "Don't take too many chances. You're one of the good ones, and I'd like to think you live a long, long time."
"You too. Don't let those vampires and demons sneak up on you. Stay alert. And stay alive."
"My thoughts exactly."
"When I drink the potion the exchange will come very soon," Cinchona said. "Everything has to be destroyed," he said to Gabrielle. "As soon as Xena appears you must put them to the torch. Then make your escape. Let this hut burn to the ground. My body MUST be consumed by the flames. You will promise this?"
"Yes, of course."
"Isn't there another way?" Buffy asked. "It's hard for me to accept that you have to die to make this happen."
"It is the way it should be. Let your mind be at rest. I have accepted my fate, so should you."
Cinchona drank the concoction, then laid down on the small cot. He gave them both a small smile and closed his eyes.
"Take care," Buffy said to Gabrielle.
"Always," Gabrielle said to Xena, then threw her arms around her returned soul mate, tears in her eyes. But only for a moment. "We have to go," she said. "And we have to burn everything. Alti is looking for you, for this place, and nothing can be left."
Without questioning her, Xena took the torch Gabrielle retrieved from the fireplace and the two of them began setting everything on fire. They then left through the front door, flames behind them destroying the inside of the hut.
They ran to Xena's horse that had already been saddled, and Xena jumped up into the saddle then reached down to pull Gabrielle up behind her. They galloped away, never looking back at the hut being consumed by the fire.
They continued to ride hard until they entered Amphipolis, then slowed the horse to a steady trot until they stopped in front of the tavern that was Cyrene's until her death.
"I hope they have an empty room," Xena said as they dismounted.
"Oh, I'm sure they'll find something for us. They wouldn't dare refuse Cyrene's Warrior Daughter."
Only half of the rooms were taken, so they were given one away from the street and the noise. And they paid to have the horse stabled.
As soon as they were in the room, Gabrielle hugged Xena again, and again Xena returned the embrace.
"I thought I'd never see you again," Gabrielle told her, trying hard not to let her voice break. "I don't know how I could go on without you."
"You would have. You're a lot stronger than you think you are."
After they finally ended the hug, Xena asked, "So, do you have any idea what happened? Why Buffy and I were switched?"
"It's not a pretty story," Gabrielle said, "but basically, Alti had an assassin kill you with a poisoned arrow. I brought you to the shaman's hut we burned down and he went forward in time and found Buffy. She's a vampire Slayer, which I guess you know, and her powers come from magic. And then he moved us back in time to the blue moon, and she came and you went. A few days later Buffy was shot with the arrow that hit you, but she was able to withstand its magical poison, although she was unconscious for eight days. It took that long for her body to recover. After she woke up, she had the idea of using her two witch friends to help switch both of you back."
"Hmm. So I assume we had to burn down the cabin to keep Alti from getting her hands on his magic?"
"Exactly. So, how are you? How was the future?"
"Not as great as you might think. Everything there is so different. They only ride horses for fun, and for racing so they can bet on them. They still have wars, but with weapons that make the gods' abilities look feeble and impotent by comparison. There are so many people they live in houses so tall you can see the horizon. Almost no one carries weapons except the criminals and the murderers. There are diseases I've never heard of. And sometimes the air is so thick with smoke you can barely breathe."
"Sounds like a terrible place. Not at all like Buffy was saying. She made it seem like it wasn't such a bad place to live."
"Oh, there were some good things. The food is better, although a lot of it is strange. There are fruits I've never heard of that taste good. The water comes right into the houses and is clean, and you have your choice of hot or cold. And you bathe and pass your water in a special room. They have these TVs that show stories right inside their homes. They have bird-shaped boxes they call planes that fly people everywhere across the world. And I have to say that Buffy's friends are very good people. I liked them, even Anya."
"What about those vampires Buffy was telling me about. Did you see any?"
"Saw some and killed some. I took over Buffy's patrolling since there wasn't anyone else to keep down the vampire population."
"How was it?"
"Different. Most of the time I used a sharp stick to stab them in the heart. It was odd seeing them turning to dust."
"Buffy told me about that. Were they hard to kill?"
"Not so hard. They were very strong, and pain didn't seem to affect their fighting abilities, but other than that, not much different from very strong and skillful warriors."
There was a pause in the conversation. Gabrielle was sitting on the bed and Xena was across the room. As she sat there, Gabrielle saw Xena's eyes getting moist as she stared at her lovingly.
"What?" Gabrielle asked.
"Did Buffy tell you about those stories they had about you and me?"
"Yes. She said they were deevees, or something like that."
"DVDs. They call them DVDs. I watched some of them. Mostly they were very exaggerated and really hard to believe. But there was one when we first met, that I was just thinking about it."
"What about it?"
"I had forgotten how young you were then. And how long you hair was. And how innocent you were. You've changed SO much. So much more than I have."
"Maybe my looks have, but you've changed too. The way you think, your fight to protect the weak and the helpless."
Xena walked over to the bed. Gabrielle stood up to meet her.
"I can't believe I wanted to get rid of you."
Xena began to caress Gabrielle's hair, letting her hands gently stroke the short blond hair. Gabrielle's hands went around Xena's waist.
"If I had only known sooner…." Xena whispered, leaning down to Gabrielle as Gabrielle lifted her face to Xena's.
"What would you have done?" Gabrielle whispered back as their lips gently brushed against each other's.
"I would have had my way with you that first night on the trail," Xena breathed into her ear.
"Nothing's stopping you now," Gabrielle breathed back as she nibbled Xena's ear lobe, her practiced fingers nimbly releasing the clasps of Xena's armor. "But don't forget, while you're having your way with me, I'll be having MY way with YOU."The End