Ok, truth be told, this is simply a short chapter that I am posting now. I wanted people to know that I am not abandoning this fic. More chapters should be forthcoming during the week (as real life permits). I had a few people ask me about this fic...and if i was going to continue...and more importantly *when* I would continue it. So, this short little chapter is for you. Hope you enjoy it :)
Gabrielle’s loud exclamation seemed to echo throughout the forest that surrounded them. However, neither of the two kneeling people seemed to take any heed of her spoken words.
Xena seemed to be almost on the verge of a breakdown. It was well known that she had the willpower possessed by a precious few. She was calm under overwhelming circumstances. But here, kneeling before a young man, whom she knew to be her son, Xena seemed to almost loose it. It wasn’t just the shock of meeting this young man whom she was certain was her son. It was the range of emotions she had gone through since encountering him moments ago.
When he had stumbled into her campsite, her initial reaction was to protect herself and her friend, not necessarily in that order. When the dagger, his dagger, fell from its hidden compartment, all she saw was red. And now, while staring into the confused eyes of this child, it hit her like a ton of bricks.
She almost decapitated her own son. She saw the dagger drop, perceived him as a threat, and acted upon that belief. Even after that, when he had made no further actions against her, in fact he had gone out of his way to show that he meant no harm; she had almost run him through with her sword. If she had not regained control of her emotions, perhaps her son would be a corpse right now. And that particular thought made a part of her die inside. A horrible thought occurred to her.
‘What if, because of my actions, my own son wants nothing to do with me?’
Xander found himself in a state of overwhelming shock. He had just gotten over the pain, only to come face to face with an enraged Xena. She had actually tried to kill him! How he ever had kept a clear enough mind to stay in a passive position with the Warrior Princess advancing on him, he’d never know.
He could still remember the intense pounding coming from his chest as the sword was stopped just before impaling him. When she had asked him to take out the object that her sword was resting on, and informed him that if it was the mark of an assassin that he would be a dead man, he wasn’t feeling too good about it. He was fairly sure that the scene with the snake on both sides of the pendant was not one of peace and love. He had a feeling he was about to die, and it just made his heart beat faster.
He probably would have mentally shut down, had it not been for the pendant. He had no idea what to make of the look in her eyes as she saw the pendant he had been wearing. But all the emotions he had been feeling paled in comparison to sensations that emanated from the metallic object, and seemed to seep into his very soul. The warmth and peace it seemed to pulse was a feeling that he could have easily lost himself in for the rest of time. And he wasn’t sure how, but he knew that they were connected. The feeling had become stronger the closer her hand came to it, and the sensation seemed to increase exponentially until the moment she physically touched it. Then, it felt like an explosion of pure bliss and utter contentment. Now that she was on her knees, eye to eye with him, and calling him son, it was almost too much for him to take.
So many things were happening at one time. But, however impossible it seemed, there was some part of him that couldn’t deny the authenticity of her words. It was a connection they suddenly shared. And he would bet a lifetime supply of Twinkies that the connection was a result of the pendant, and that it spoke nothing but the truth.
He didn’t know what to say, he had no clue what to do. He was so immersed in his own thoughts, that anything that wasn’t him, or the woman kneeling in front of him, didn’t seem to exist.
Gabrielle’s shout had been lost on him. However, there was an odd look that seemed to form in Xena’s eyes. It was a look of confusion, and dare he say it, fear. It wasn’t something he liked, and it actually made the feelings of peace and tranquility flowing through his body diminished to a degree. However, as Gabrielle made her way over to them, and Xena looked away, it wasn’t something that he was given the chance to ponder.
The thought that had gone through Xena’s mind had made her heart miss a beat. The mere thought of losing her son before they even had the chance to get to know each other felt like a hot knife piercing her heart. As horrible as it sounded, she may loose her son before she was given the chance to learn his name.
She found her son’s eyes searching her. She felt as though he was searching her very soul. For a moment, she felt as though she were unworthy. The feeling caused her to turn away, as Gabrielle made her way to their location. She let go of her son, and while picking her sword back up, slowly made to stand. The sudden loss of contact with her son made her feel as though something was missing within her. She only prayed to whatever Gods were listening, that she would not be without such feeling for long.
This was all just too surreal. Xander watched as the person who he believed to be Xena, the woman claiming to be his mother, began to stand. And while he couldn’t explain it, he felt a deep loss at their sudden loss of connection. With little success, he attempted to physically shake off the feeling. Once Xena had sheathed her sword, and made no more advancement towards him, he slowly began to stand.
He felt somewhat uneasy as Xena watched every movement he made. Gabrielle couldn’t seem to decide whether to shoot worried glances at her friend, or guarded, yet curious, glances towards him. They all stood in total silence. After a few moments the silence became uncomfortable. It was a toss up as to who would break the silence first, Xander or Gabrielle. To Xena’s total shock, it was Xander.
With a small lopsided smile, Xander addressed the two women. “Well, this has been…” he waved his hand in front of him, trying to think up the appropriate word. “Interesting.” Xander shook his head while thinking, ‘Yep, good choice.’
Gabrielle looked between her still silent friend, and the young stranger. She decided to disregard his statement, opting to ask a question instead.
“Um, who are you?”
As he spoke up to say “Xander” Xena gave an answer of “My son.”
Gabrielle gave Xena a curious expression. “He’s your son?”
Xena seemed to ignore her friend’s question. “You can feel it too.” She began to shake her head. “You can feel the truth to it.”
Xander scratched the side of his head as he answered. “I can’t really explain it, but yea, something is telling me that it's true.” He quickly continued as he saw her smiling. “But I can’t explain it. I don’t know what it is.”
Xena smiled at her son. She then proceeded to walk over to where her son had lost his dagger, and retrieved it. Her smile widened as she saw the confused expression on both of their faces. She walked up to her son and placed the handle of the dagger into his hands.
“Well then, I guess that’s a start.”
Xander looked down at the dagger nestled into the palm of his hand. He quickly placed it back into its hidden sheath near his wrist.
Xena had taken a few paces back while her son sheathed his dagger. She couldn’t help but notice the odd articles of clothing the child was wearing. She was brought out of her current thoughts by a soft and gentle hand placed on her shoulder. She looked over to the concerned face of her friend.
Gabrielle leaned in and whispered. “Are you really this sure that he is your son?”
Xena nodded. “I am as sure that he is my son, as I am that you are my friend.”
Gabrielle looked at her friend, and found that she couldn’t doubt the sincerity in her words. She gave a soft sigh as she glanced over towards the young man currently looking at the two of them.
“Xander?” Gabrielle smiled as he nodded to her. “Won’t you join us? We were just about to prepare some breakfast before breaking camp.”
Xander didn’t even need a moment to decide that. He was alone, in a place he wasn’t familiar with, in a situation he couldn’t even fathom. The only people he had met were supposedly fictitious characters that were based from another time. The fact that they seemed to speak English wasn’t even something he wanted to fathom at the moment. But beyond all of that, perhaps beyond even the familial ties that he apparently shared with Xena, he realized something important. He was very, very hungry. He was nodding his consent to her question before she even finished asking. That resulted in the woman who may possibly be his mother to break out a brilliant smile.
“Good, because we apparently have much to discuss.” She gestured towards their campsite. “I’m Xena, and this is Gabrielle.” He nodded to each as he made his way forward. “Where did you find such a lovely dagger? I have never seen one made by man that was so beautiful, or so smooth and lethal.”
Xander sighed in slight desperation. He looked over at the Warrior Princess to see the look of genuine curiosity in her eyes.
“It was a gift.” She nodded at that as Gabrielle quickened her pace and made to get the preparations for breakfast started. Xander lifted the pendant. “I am curious about all of this.” He looked at her. “And I’m curious about you; about how I came to be where I was, and why I’m here now. And if you really are my mother, which I have to say is a lot to take in, who exactly is my father?”
Xena stopped short at her son’s questions. This was going to bring up some painful memories, and some good ones. They were all memories that she had closed off, because in the end, it hurt far too much to dwell on them. But her son was here, someone she had believed she would never see again. And he deserved the answers to as many of the questions she could answer. It may be painful, but they most certainly had a lot to talk about.