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Where Are We? And How Do We Get Home?

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Buffy and Xena Crossovers". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: #1. Buffy and Willow, and Xena and Gabrielle find themselves in some sort of arena thinking they have to battle each other, but they don't know how or why. They must find a way to cooperate in order to find their way home.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Xena-HerculesdaviderlFR1318,218042,1584 Jan 034 Jan 03Yes
{I do not own the rights to any of the characters in this story. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is for entertainment purposes only.}





Where Are We? And How Do We Get Home?





The Beginning



"Xena, do we have to sleep out here? There's a perfectly good inn not an hour away."

"Yes, but it's an hour in the wrong direction, and I want to get a good start in the morning. We've got a long way to go yet."

"Okay, okay. Under the stars it is. It's not that cold tonight. I'll gather some extra firewood if you'll finish cooking supper."



`````````````````````````````````



"Hi, Buffy, what's up?"

"Well, I thought that since Tara is off visiting her folks, that you might want to go on patrol with me, you know, kind of like the old days."

"Well, sure! Gosh! It has been a long time. I guess we haven't spent much time together, what with Tara and me, and you and . . . Riley."

"True, even though Riley has been gone . . . too long. Anyway, there's an old cemetery I want to stake out. I’ve been hearing about some strange goings on there, and I thought it might give us a chance to catch up."



````````````````````````



"Gabrielle, wake up, something funny is going on."

"What! It must be the middle of the night; it's so dark! I can't even see the fire. What happen to the fire?"

"Yeah, that's what's so funny. It's not there. And there are no stars, no moon, no crickets, and no forest. Feel the ground."

"It’s . . . sand! I don't remember any sand!"

"Me neither. Something's not right. And it's too quiet."

"What'll we do?"

"I don't know, wait for morning, I guess."



``````````````````````



"Willow, are you awake?"

"I am now, why is it so dark?"

"I'm not sure, I guess there's been a blackout, but I can't even see the stars. Something's not right."

"Yeah, and it's so quiet! No frogs or crickets, or cars."

"Shhh! I think I hear something. It sounds like someone talking."

"Yeah, I hear it too, Buffy. I wonder who it is."

"It sounds like two women, but I can't understand them, they’re too far away."



``````````````````````



"Xena, did you hear that? It sounded like . . . talking, but very far away."

"Yeah, I hear it too. But I can't quite make out what they're saying. Sounds like two people, women I think."

"Any idea how long until dawn?"

"I can't tell, with no moon or stars, it could be hours."



``````````````````



"Buffy, I must have lost my watch, do you know what time it is?"

"Mine's gone too. I can't remember if I even had it with me. But the sun's gotta come up pretty soon; we've been out here a long time."

"Buffy? Why are we sitting in sand? I thought we were on the grass?"

"I've been wondering that myself. I don't know. I don't suppose you have a cigarette lighter?"

"No, but I have some Kleenex we could burn . . . if we had some way to light it."



``````````````````



"Gabrielle, I think it's beginning to get light, things don't look quite so dark. You aren't asleep are you?"

"No. It's funny, but I’m not the least bit sleepy. I was tired, but haven't felt sleepy. What about you?"

"No. Do you think you can see those other women?"

"I don’t think so, it’s still too dark."



``````````````````



"Wake up, Willow, I think it's getting on to daybreak."

"I'm not asleep. I was just laying here and wondering if there were any bugs or anything in this sand."

"Willow, it looks like we are in some kind of arena. Look how high the wall is; it must be at least 25 to 30 feet up. I can barely see the other side, but this thing must be 50 or 60 yards across."

"I don't see any doors or windows or anything! Where are those other people?"

"I think I can see them. Look! Right over there!"

"Oh, yeah, I can see them too. Oh, look Buffy, I found one of your battle-axes, and a stake. I don't remember you having them . . . before."

"I didn’t. I wonder if whoever put us here thought we would need them. What if those two are Vamps?"

"Oh, gosh, I don't know. You think?"



`````````````````````



"Gabrielle, have you noticed where we are?"

"Yeah, it reminds me of the Coliseum in Rome, except the wall is much higher, and there doesn't seem to be any way out."

"I think I can see our friends now."

"Xena, I can see them, too. And I think I see weapons: a battle-axe, and something else, some kind of short spear."

"Not many women use a battle-axe. I wonder if we are going to have a fight on our hands."

"Do you think that's why we we’re here, wherever 'here' is?"

"Hard to say. But I'm sure going to keep an eye on them."



```````````````````````



"Willow, if they're vamps, and we're here with these weapons, then there's only one thing to do - slay them!"

"Buffy, look how tall that one is, she must be 6 feet tall if she‘s an inch! It looks like she's wearing some kind of armor."

"I noticed. It looks like some kind of breastplate. If that's the case, then this spike won't do me any good. I'll have to use the battle-ax.

"Do I have to come, too?"

"No, stay out of the way, if you can. But watch that butch-looking blond for me; she might be a problem."



````````````````````



"Xena, that skinny blonde is coming this way, and she looks like she's pretty familiar with that battle-ax."

"Well, if she wants a fight, she'll get one! You stay back and keep an eye on that mousy looking redhead."

"Go get her!"

"Yi yi yi yi yi yi yi yi yi yi yi yi!"





The Battle



Xena and Buffy rushed toward each other, covering the 50 yards between them in just a few seconds. As they got within fighting range, Buffy swung the axe at Xena, but Xena had launched herself into the air, flipped over Buffy and kicked her in the back, drawing her sword as she landed.



Buffy rolled into a ball, completed a forward roll, and came to her feet. At the same time, Xena slashed down with her sword. As she did, Buffy used the handle of the axe, holding both ends of it, to block the sword. Buffy then twisted around and managed a sidekick into Xena's stomach, knocking her backward to the ground.



Rushing toward Xena, Buffy swung the axe, and knocked the sword from Xena's hand. But before she could swing again, Xena back-flipped herself away, took her chakram from its hook and threw it towards Buffy. Buffy dove to one side, dodging the chakram, while trying to follow its path and watch Xena as the same time.





While Xena went after her sword as Buffy found her self ducking and rolling, trying to avoid being cut to pieces. As the chakram got within arm’s length, Buffy used the axe to deflect it, but the chakram sent it flying from her hand. The impact split the chakram into two halves, each flying off, then boomeranging back toward her.



After Xena retrieved her sword, she watched to see how Buffy would fare against the chakram. And despite herself, she found herself admiring Buffy's speed, agility and reflexes. But she waited too long, while Buffy was dodging the chakram, she was also watching Xena, and as she rolled around, she managed to get close enough, then dove into Xena's midsection, driving her to the ground. And then she turned Xena so that Xena was between her and the two halves of the chakram.



Xena had no choice but to duck out of the way, and as she did, both pieces buried themselves into the sand. That gave Buffy a chance to get behind Xena and get one arm around her neck. She then wrapped her legs around Xena and began to squeeze, and she began to apply pressure to Xena‘s throat, trying to choke off her wind.



For a moment, Xena was stunned, then she pulled her head forward, momentarily giving Buffy's arm more pressure on her throat, but when she threw her head back into Buffy's face, Buffy loosened the grip. At the same time, Xena speared Buffy's thighs with her fingertips, using the pressure points to partially paralyze her legs, and Xena was able to roll off Buffy and stagger to her feet.



As she did, Buffy rolled in the opposite direction. They both continued to move slowly away, but never taking their eyes off the other.



"Buffy, are you okay?" Willow yelled to her.

"I think so, except for this bloody nose, and my legs won't work right."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Just keep watching Butch, I can handle the Big One."



````````````````````````



"Xena, do you want me to do anything?"

"Just keep your eye on the red head, the blond is mine."





Buffy and Xena continued to back away from each other, until they felt they were far enough away, about 50 yards. They both needed to recuperate from the short, but intense, combat.





"Willow, I don't know who she is, but she's no vampire. I've fought too many of them. But she is strong! And I've never seen anyone, human or vamp, who can jump like she did. And that Killer Frisbee of hers! That was close."

"Oh, I wasn't worried, I've seen you take on a whole roomful of vamps."



`````````````````````

"Xena, are you all right?"

"I'm fine, except for a sore throat and bruised ribs. To be so skinny, she sure is strong. I don't think Callisto gave me as much fight as she did."

"Is it over? "

"I guess it is for now. Can you make out what they're saying?"

"I can hear them, but I don't recognize the language. They can't be from anywhere we've ever been."



````````````````````



"Are you going to go back out there again?"

"I don't know. I thought we were sent here to vanquish a couple of vamps, but since it’s obvious they aren’t...."

"They must be talking about us. Do you have any idea what they’re saying?"

"Not a clue; it's all Greek to me"

"You know, that blond is kind of cute, she doesn't look very mean."

"Are you talking about Butch? I didn't think she was your type."

"I didn’t mean it that way, she just doesn't look like she wants to fight."



"What did you just do? You didn't just wave to her? Tell me you didn't wave to her."

"It was just a little one, Buffy. She smiled at me."

"Great. Just great."



```````````````````````

"So, what do we do now? Just sit here and wait? Look Xena, the mousy one just waved at me."

"Well, don't wave back! It's probably just a trick. You waved! I told you not to wave, and you did it anyway!"

"Well, it can't hurt anything. Besides, I don't think they want to fight any more than we do.'"

"Who said I didn't want to? I'm just resting, that‘s all. Maybe after it gets dark we can sneak up on them."

"Right! How are we supposed to do that with no cover? And how will we find them if it‘s dark?"

"It was just a thought; I'll think of something."

"Why don't we try to talk to them?"

"And say what? We can't even understand them. Why do you want to talk?"

"Just because I've become a warrior, of sorts, that doesn't mean that I don't want to make peace if I can. Maybe we should have some kind of truce."

"Fine! If that's what you want, but I'm staying ready, just in case."



```````````````````



"Buffy, look! The blond one is waving at me; I think she wants me to go out and talk to her."

"And what will you say? Have you been holding out on me and can really understand whatever language they're speaking?"

"No, but it can't hurt. And you can always save me if it's a trap."

"You want me to come with you?"

"No, I can do this. Just don't be too far away, or too close, either. Well, here I go. Wish me luck!"

"Luck."





The Truce



As Gabrielle walked toward Willow, she held both hands up, palms toward the front to show that she had no weapons, and then Willow did the same. Buffy and Xena followed, staying about 30 yards behind. When they got to each other, neither seemed quite sure what to do. Willow put out her hand but instead of gripping her hand, Gabrielle grabbed her forearm.

"Look, Buffy! She shakes hands just like in the movies!"

"Yeah, Whatever." Buffy answered.

After they completed the greeting, Willow asked, "Buffy, what should I do now? "

"I don't know, tell her your name."

"Oh, yeah, a good idea!

"Hi, my name is Willow, I’m from Sunnydale. What's your name?" She asked.

Seeing her blank look, Willow halfway turned back to Buffy again, "She isn't answering me."

"Well, instead of jabbering on in a language she can't understand, maybe you should just say your name."

"Oh, yeah." She replied to Buffy. Then turning to Gabrielle, she placed her hand on her own chest and said "Willow . . . Willow."

And in turn, Gabrielle did the same and said "Gabrielle."

"Gabrielle," Willow said breaking into a smile. "That's a nice name. Did you hear that Buffy, her name is Gabrielle. That’s a really nice name!"

Then Gabrielle turned slightly toward Xena, pointed at her and said, "Xena."

Willow then pointed at Buffy, and said, "Buffy."

A few seconds went by, then a minute.

"Now what should I do?" Willow asked Buffy.

"I don't know, try to find out where we are."

"Okay. How? Oh! I know."

Willow proceeded to draw a circle in the sand, and then swung her arm in an arc, to show it represented the arena they were in. She then put 4 depressions in the sand, pointing at each of them as she did to show each depression was one of them. She then turned her palms up, shrugged her shoulders and gave Gabrielle a questioning look.

"I think she's asking where we are." Gabrielle said to Xena. Gabrielle copied Willow's gestures, then shook her head.

"She doesn't know either." Willow said to Buffy.

"She sure talks a lot." Xena said to Gabrielle. "Too bad we don't know what she's saying."



"Buffy, I think you should come out here too. You and Xena should make peace."

Willow then looked past Gabrielle and waved at Xena to come out to them.

Cautiously, Xena and Buffy walked to their respective friends' sides, their eyes never wavering from the other.

"Buffy," Willow said, "maybe you two should shake hands."

Buffy slowly put out her hand, and Xena did the same, but neither was willing to be the first to touch the other, so Willow took each wrist and put their hands together in the traditional handshake, rather than the forearm greeting.

After a few seconds, it became evident that a contest had begun - who had the stronger grip.

"No, no! Stop it! Both of you! You're supposed to be making friends, not trying to see who is more Macho!" Willow exclaimed.

When neither woman would relent, Willow, and Gabrielle, pulled on each friend’s arm until they broke apart.



"So now what?' Xena asked no one in particular, even though only Gabrielle could understand her.

Gabrielle thought for a minute, then said to Xena, "Maybe they can help us try to get out of here."

"How?"

"Just watch." Gabrielle replied.

Gabrielle bent down to the circle Willow had drawn. She then made two dots in the sand next to one edge of the inside of the circle, and pointed to Xena and herself. She made two more and pointed to Willow and Buffy. Then she gestured that they should move in opposite directions along the wall, looking for a way out.

Buffy got it right away, and after explaining it to Willow, all four of them walked to the nearest wall, and separated, looking for some kind of opening or crack, some kind of way out.



"You know, Willow, I can't figure out what this wall is made out of. It's not metal, it's not stone, it almost feels like rubber, but really too hard to be. I can't figure it out. Would you go get my battle-axe? Maybe I can chip some of it away."

"Sure." Willow replied.

As Willow sprinted back toward the axe, Xena and Gabrielle watched her, suspiciously. But when she returned to Buffy and they saw what she was up to, Xena had Gabrielle go after her sword and chakram.

Neither one had any success on the wall.

"I can't believe even your chakram can't cut into this wall. What is it made of?" Gabrielle asked.

"I don't know, Gabrielle, maybe something one of the gods fabricated."



Finally two couples made their way back to the other, each of them shaking their heads. Buffy leaned against the wall, then slid down to sit in the sand; the other three followed suit.



Xena and Gabrielle were talking to each other, as were Buffy and Willow, discussing the various possibilities of getting out, and wondering why none of them were hungry, or thirsty, or sleepy. Where was the sun? Why were there no shadows?

"Gabrielle, since it doesn't look like we can climb out, maybe we can dig our way out. Maybe this wall doesn't go down very far."

"Well, let's try it and see. Maybe we can."



It only took Buffy and Willow seconds to understand what to do, and soon they were all digging away. Xena and Gabrielle were doing the actual digging, while Buffy and Willow were trying to move the sand far enough away to keep it from falling back into the hole.

After an hour or so only the top of Xena's head was visible, but she still hadn't gotten under the wall.

Collectively, they realized this was not the way out.



"Willow, you're a witch, why can't you cast a spell to get us out of here?"

"I haven' t been one very long, you know, and I don't have any charms or incense or anything!"

"Do you really have to have any of that stuff?" Buffy asked.

"Sometimes the really experienced witches can just recite a spell and it will work, but I’m just a beginner. I wish Tara was here. She’s a lot more advanced than I am. Maybe both of us together could do something."

"Well, can't you at least try?"

"Okay. But first I have to think of the proper wording; that's just about the most important part. Just give me few minutes."



"I wonder what those two are yakking about." Xena said to Gabrielle.

"Probably us." Gabrielle answered.



"Okay, Buffy, I think I'm ready; but I can't promise anything. So don't be mad at me if it doesn't work."

"I won't be mad. Just do it."

"Okay, here goes:



We can hear but do not know

The words They spoke but a moment ago.

They can hear but do not know

The words We spoke but a moment ago.

Change that now so All, this day,

Know the words the Others say."



"That's it?" Buffy asked, "That’s the spell?"

"I'm afraid that's it." Willow answered dejectedly, knowing that Buffy was disappointed.

"Well, did it work?" Buffy asked again.

"Did what work?" Xena asked Buffy.

"I did it! I did it!" Willow exclaimed as she danced around. "My spell worked. I can't believe it! Oh, it worked, it worked!"

"Uh, Willow." Buffy asked. "Are they now speaking English? Or are we speaking their language?"

"Oh! I don’t know."

"Xena!" Gabrielle said, getting a little excited herself. "She must be a sorceress. Are you?" She asked Willow. "Are you a sorceress?"

"Well, actually, I'm a witch. I'm not very good, you see. I'm just a beginner. But sometimes things work out okay. Like NOW!" Willow answered her proudly.



"So do you know why we are here? Or where 'here' is?" Buffy asked Xena.

"I have no idea. Don't you?"

"No. Not only don't I know where we are, I don't know how we got here, or why." Buffy replied.

All were quiet again.

Then Xena asked Buffy, "Why did you attack me?"

"I thought you were a vamp; a vampire. You know? Can't stand the sun, bites necks, sucks blood, kills you?"

Xena shook her head at Buffy description.

"Xena," Gabrielle said, "That sounds like the Bacchae!"

"Buffy's a Slayer!" Willow said proudly.

"What does she slay?" Gabrielle asked.

"Vampires! She Buffy the Vampire Slayer!"

"Well, this is Xena, the Warrior Princess!"

"Gosh," said Willow "Are you a real princess?"

"It's more of an honorary title." Xena answered.

"And you are?" Buffy asked Gabrielle.

"I'm Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons." Was the reply. Then she gave Willow a questioning look.

"I guess I'm Willow the Witch."





The Plan



"Now that we know who we are, how are we going to get out of here?" Xena asked, looking at each of them.

"Well . . . " Buffy began, "since it’s obvious we can’t dig out, maybe we can climb out."

"You have a plan?" Xena asked.

"If we stand on each other's shoulders, maybe we can get high enough for one of us to get to the top."

I guess it's worth a shot" answered Xena. "Since I'm the tallest, and the strongest," she emphasized. "then I should be on the bottom. Then you, Buffy, then Gabrielle, and Willow on top."



They all agreed, so Xena stood with her back against the wall. Gabrielle helped boost Buffy to Xena's shoulders, and then climbed atop Buffy's shoulders. Willow managed to climb up and eventually was standing on Gabrielle's shoulders. But she was still six feet from the top.



"So much for that plan," Buffy said angrily.

"I have an idea." Xena countered. "What if we piled the sand up against the wall, say 3 or 4 feet up. And then instead of standing on each other's shoulders, we put our arms over our heads and then Buffy, you stand in my hands. Gabrielle, you stand in Buffy's hands, and maybe that will get Willow up high enough to climb over the top."

"Sounds good to me." Gabrielle replied. "Let's try it."



It took longer to pile up the sand than they had figured, having nothing but their hands for shovels, and the sand had a tendency to level itself out, but eventually they had enough against the wall they were satisfied with. But before they could finish the plan, Xena and Buffy made the same discovery.

"It's getting darker." They said, almost at the same time.

"Good," Gabrielle said. "It will give us a chance to rest up and get a fresh start in the morning."

"I wonder how long it will be dark." Willow asked, more to herself, than the others.





The Dark Night



As they lay against the pile of sand, and not being sleepy, they talked to each other.

"So where are you two from?" Buffy asked.

"I’m from Poteidaia, "Gabrielle answered, "and Xena is from Amphipolis."

"I’ve never heard of those places," Willow said. "They sound like Greek cities."

"They are." Xena replied. "Where are you from?"

"Sunnydale." Willow said. When she got no response she continued. "You know, in California, in America."

"Never heard of them. Where are they?"

"How could you not have heard of America?" Willow asked incredulously. "Everybody’s heard of America."

"Sorry," answered Xena. "Not me."

"Me neither." Chimed in Gabrielle.

"Willow," Buffy said, "What if they’re from our distant past? That would explain why they don’t know about America."

"Xena, is there anyone famous we might have heard of where you come from?"

"There’s Callisto, Autolycus, Hercules, Zeus, Ares...."

"I’ve heard of the gods you mentioned, but not those other people. Anyone else?"

"Well, there was Caesar, but he’s dead now."

"Julius Caesar?"

"Sure, but like I said he died a few years ago."

"How many years ago?"

"I’m not sure, 26, maybe 27. Why?"

"Caesar died about 44 B.C., and since it is 2001 now, that means you are from over 2000 years in our past." Buffy concluded.

"I don’t know anything about the way you are numbering the years," Xena countered, "But how do you know that you and Willow aren’t in our time, and not yours?"

"Gosh, she could be right," Willow said. "Or maybe none of us are in our right time. Maybe we’re all lost in time somewhere."



No one spoke for a long while, each lost in her own thoughts.

Finally, Willow spoke up. "Is any one hungry? Or thirsty? Or sleepy? Or have to use the bathroom?"

"No."

"No."

"No."

"You want to take a bath?" Xena asked.

"That’s what we call the place we use to relieve ourselves, in our time." Buffy explained.

"You pee in your bath?" Gabrielle asked.

"No, of course not! But we usually have a toilet in the same room. It’s more convenient that way. Just in case you need to go while you’re taking a bath."



Then more silence for a while.

Then Buffy asked. "Xena, You and Gabrielle seem to be pretty good friends, did y’all grow up together, or related?"

"No, Gabrielle and I met, I don’t know, maybe 28, 30 years ago." And she proceeded to give a synopsis of how she and Gabrielle met, and some of the adventures they’d had, leaving out some of the more painful parts, such as the death of her son, Solan, and the events that followed. She told how Ares had put them into ice coffins when he thought they were dead, and that Eve had grown up in Rome. She didn’t feel it was necessary to explain what she was doing when they met up with her again.

When it seemed that Xena was about finished, Gabrielle started her stories, telling her version of how they met, why she didn’t want to marry Perdicus at first, and how a few years later she finally did, only to lose him to Callisto’s blade the next day. She told about following the Way of Love, and Eli. About their trip to India.

When it came to Buffy’s turn, she explained about how she was selected to be a Slayer; Giles, her Watcher; about vampires and demons; about Angel; and finally, about the Initiative, and Riley.

Willow said she didn’t have much to talk about, but still found plenty to say, about growing up in Sunnydale not knowing that Buffy would be a Slayer, about Xander, and Oz. About learning to be a witch, and Tara. At first she wasn’t sure if Xena and Gabrielle would understand her relationship with Tara, but since they seemed so close, they might. When they didn’t act offended, she ended up talking about Tara more than she had intended.



"Well, it’s about time." Gabrielle said, as it began to get light.





Willow’s Journey



"Willow, just one more thing -- we don’t know how thick this wall is, so when you get to the top, be careful and don’t fall off. It’s a long way down. Plus, you won’t have any way to get back in here, and we won’t have any way to come after you." Xena instructed.

"Okay, I’ll be careful."



As Xena got into position, Buffy climbed to her shoulders, then as Xena put her arms over her head, Buffy slowly stepped into Xena’s palms and stood up. Next Gabrielle climbed up, doing the same as Buffy had.

Lastly Willow made her way up, using Xena’s waist, and shoulders, up to Buffy’s shoulders and finally, and shakily up to Gabrielle’s shoulders. As she stretched up as far as she could, the fingers of one hand, and then the other grabbed the top of the wall. She then stepped into Gabrielle’s hand and was pushed up to the wall where she rolled over on top of it, and then out of sight.



Gabrielle climbed down, and then Buffy jumped off.

"Willow!"

"Willow!"

All three called up to her, hoping she hadn’t fallen.

Then Willow’s head appeared over the edge of the wall.

"Are you all right?" Buffy yelled to her.

"What do you see?" Xena yelled.

"I’m fine." Willow yelled back. "Guess what? This isn’t an arena. It’s a pit! A big hole surrounded by this wall. And there’s just more sand up here."

"Can you see anything?" Xena repeated.

Willow stood up and slowly scanned the horizon.

"I can’t be sure, but I think I do see something. It looks like a hill or mountain or something, real far away. What do you want me to do?"

"You’re going to have go over there to see if you can find someone, or some way to get us out of here." Xena yelled up to her.

"Wait a minute!" Buffy said to Xena. "Who died and made you boss? Willow can’t just go running off to some mountain."

"Do you have a better idea?" Xena replied. "She’s the one up there, not you or me or Gabrielle. She’s the only one who can do anything."

"I don’t mind going," Willow told them, "But it’s so far away, and there’s nothing here for me to look for when I want to come back."

"We’ll think of something." Gabrielle told her. "Don‘t go anywhere just yet."

After several minutes of discussion, Xena suggested she throw her sword up to Willow, then Willow could stick it into the sand and wrap her bright yellow blouse around the handle to make it more easily seen.

"But if I do that," Willow protested. "All I’ll have on is my bra."

"What’s a bra?" Xena asked Buffy.

"It’s just and undergarment women in our time wear to support their breasts." Then she yelled up to Willow, "So who’s going to see you? Just think of it as a bathing suit top."

"Well, okay. I guess."



Xena threw her sword up over the edge to Willow, who picked it up and walked about one third of the way around the edge of the pit so it would be lined up with the mountain.

After she had secured the sword and her blouse, she was ready to go.

"Just one more thing, take this, just in case." And Xena took a dagger from between her breasts and threw it up to Willow, who put it carefully into her belt.

"Good Luck!" Buffy yelled to her.

"Come back." Gabrielle said.

"’Bye." Willow said, and started toward the mountain.



"This isn’t so bad," Willow said to herself after a while. "It’s not hot, or cold, and my feet don’t hurt, yet. I can do this."

After for what seemed like a long time, Willow was starting to get discouraged.

"I must be out of my mind! I’ve been walking for hours! And that darn mountain isn’t any closer! What if it’s really not there? What if it’s just an illusion? I could walk forever and never get to it. What if I walked all the way around the world and ended up back at the same place. Wouldn’t that be funny? I bet that Xena sure would be mad. She never smiles; she‘s always so serious!"



"So what do we do now?" Gabrielle asked no one in particular.

"I guess we just wait." Buffy answered.



So once again they made small talk. Gabrielle told some of the stories about Xena she had written in her scrolls.

Xena didn’t say much, except to correct Gabrielle when she thought some parts of the tales were too exaggerated.

Buffy talked about some of the vampires she had slain; a little more about Angel; about Spike, and the chip in his head; about Dawn; and eventually, about the death of her Mother.



After a long while, they fell silent, each with her own thoughts.



"I sure wish we could at least take a nap." Gabrielle complained. "Maybe the time would pass a little faster."

"And speaking of time," Xena said to Buffy. "If you’re from 2000 years in the future, why is it that the only weapons you brought were a battle-axe and a sharp stick? I would have thought there would be some really terrible weapons invented by then."

"Oh, there are. Weapons that can kill thousands, or even millions, at one time. But these are the weapons that will kill a vampire. Drive a wooden stake through his heart, or chop his, or her, head off. That’s why, when I saw you had the body armor, I came at you with the ax. Of course, at the time I thought you were a vamp. Oh! And if you can get them into the sun, they’re toast."

"Toast?"

"Sliced bread browned by . . . fire. Only they burn up all the way to ashes."



As Willow walked, and talked to herself, she frequently looked back at the sword and her blouse, just to make sure she could still see them. But as they got smaller, she kept wishing she had been able to make them more visible.



It wasn’t until she noticed it beginning to get dark, that she realized not only was the "mountain" she was walking toward was no mountain, but it was much, much closer. And not wanting to be caught out in the open when it got dark, she began to run.

The closer she got, even in the failing light, she saw that the mountain was really a forest, with some really tall trees.

The darker it got, the faster she tried to run. She still ran even when it was so dark she couldn’t see. She knew she was almost there and it was there, somewhere, in front of her. But she didn’t realize just how close she was until she ran right into a large tree trunk, which knocked her down, and unconscious.



"She’s been gone all day, I’m starting to really get worried about her." Buffy was saying. "It’s getting dark again. I wonder how far away that mountain was. It must have been a long way off for her to be gone this long. There’s got to be something we can do...."

"You’re starting to babble." Xena said to Buffy. "There’s not a whole lot we can do, other than drive each other crazy."

"Maybe we should separate for a while." Gabrielle said to them. "Before we’re at each other’s throats, again."



They didn’t separate, not wanting to be completely alone in the total darkness, but the only sound any of them made was that of their own breathing, until it began to get light again.



Once it was light enough, Buffy wandered off by herself, and practiced throwing her battle-axe at the pile of sand they had used to get Willow up over the wall.

While she did that, Xena threw her chakram high above the rim of the wall, letting it sail in a long arc, sometimes coming within yards of Buffy, "accidentally" of course.



"Do you mind if I try that a couple of times?" Buffy asked Xena, bored with her battle-axe.

"Help yourself." Xena answered, handing the weapon to Buffy.

Before she threw it, she examined it closely, feeling its weight, noting it’s razor sharpness, and curious how the two parts were held together. Her first try she only planned to lob it, not really aiming it at any particular target. But to her surprise, it flew faster and farther than she expected, and then circled back to her. Instinctively, she reached up to catch it, but only as she did, was she aware that its sharp edge didn’t cut her fingers off.

"Its almost like it has a mind of its own." Buffy commented to Xena.

"Actually, it’s the mind of the one who throws it. It took me a long time to figure that out."

After a few more practice tries, Buffy really put her heart into it, and it did some amazing things for her - arcing in huge loops and figure eights."

"Quite a weapon," Buffy told Xena as she handed it back to her.

"Yes, it is."

"You know Xena," Gabrielle said, "I don't think I’ve thrown it. Do you mind if I try it?"

"I don’t see why not."

"You’ve never thrown it?" Buffy asked her.

"Nope, I did use the other one she had to cut the head off a fish one time."

"The other one?" Buffy asked.

"It’s a long story." Xena answered. "For another time."



As Gabrielle took the chakram in hand, she did much the same as Buffy, feeling it’s heft and checking the balance. She suddenly threw it hard into the sky, and it promptly sailed over the edge of the wall, and out of site. As the minutes went by, it became evident that it wouldn’t be returning.

"Well, thank you, Gabrielle." Xena said to her sarcastically, "I assume you have a plan to get it back."

"I don’t understand it," Gabrielle wailed. " It worked fine for Buffy."

"I guess some of us have it," Buffy said to her, "and some of you don’t."



While Xena and Buffy took turns making fun of, and berating, Gabrielle for her lack of chakram skills, they became aware that it was getting dark again.

Just then, the chakram plopped down beside them. Looking up, they heard Willow yell down to them, "Somebody down there needs to be more careful, someone could get hurt with that flying around."

"Well, it’s about time!" Xena and Buffy yelled back at the same time. "What took you so long?"

"It was a long way, and I knocked my self out when I ran into that darned tree!"

"What tree?"

"The tree that I thought was a mountain. It’s a forest, actually. And look!" She continued happily "I found some vines. I cut them down with Xena’s knife. But they’re not very long, I couldn’t climb up very high, but I got enough that you can tie them together to make one long one."

"It’s getting too dark to do anything now, we’ll have to wait for morning." Xena told her.

"How do I get down there? I don’t want to stay up here by myself." Willow protested.

Buffy answered, "You have to. It will be too hard on everyone to climb up on each other again. You can do it; we’ll be right down here."

"Well, I guess I can. But I won’t like it!"





The Escape



As it began to get light again, Xena explained her plan for getting them out.

"I’ll be on the bottom again. Buffy, I think you weigh a little less than Gabrielle, so Gabrielle will stand on my shoulders, and you on hers, and it may be a little easier for Willow to pull you out. Then you two can pull Gabrielle up, and the three of you can pull me up."

Then she called up to Willow, "Throw down the vines!"

After she did, Xena tied them together to make one long rope, threaded it through her chakram, and threw it up to Willow.



Carefully they climbed up on each other. And even though Willow complained a few times that Buffy was too heavy, she finally managed to pull her up to the rim, so Buffy could pull herself over the top. Buffy then dropped the end of the vine to Gabrielle, and pulled her up without Willow’s help. And she was able to pull Xena up alone as well.

"I guess I forgot how strong you are." Was Xena’s only comment.



After retrieving her sword, dagger and chakram, everyone declared that they were ready, and they began the trek toward the distant forest.



"If we want to get there before it gets dark, we need to move pretty fast." Willow told them. "I was running in the dark there at the last, that’s how I got knocked out."

"Then maybe we should try an easy lope." Xena said as she started running.

Not wanting to be left behind, the other three began running as well. When she began to fall too far behind, Xena slowed down so Willow, who was not in as good a shape as the others, could keep up.

As the forest got closer, Xena told the others she was going to run on ahead, just to see what was there.



While waiting for them, Xena went a little way into the forest "More like a jungle." Xena thought to herself. She found where Willow had cut down the vines. But didn’t want to go too much farther in, since darkness was approaching.

Even with their accelerated pace, by the time the three of them arrived, there was only enough light to find Xena, and to keep from running into the trees, which rose directly out of the sand, exactly like the inside of the wall of the pit had done.



Morning found them all anxious to enter the jungle. But because it was so much darker under the trees, they had to wait until it was fully light before entering.

Once they had gotten past the place Willow had cut the vines, Xena had to start using her sword as a machete. Not only were there vines, but thick, and sometimes barbed, underbrush. Soon they all had scratches and cuts on their arms and legs, and anywhere else there was exposed flesh.

A few times they came to a clearing, the kind where you would expect a pool of water to be, but it was just sand.

"You don’t think we are going in circles, do you?" Willow asked Buffy.

"I doubt it," Gabrielle answered her. "Xena’s got the best sense of direction of anyone I know. She knows exactly where we are."

"I hope you’re right." Xena half whispered to her. "I just hope you’re right."



A little later, Buffy said, to no one, "I sure hope we get somewhere before it gets dark again."

No one answered her; all were thinking the same thing.



It wasn’t long after that that they came to another clearing, and across the sand was the entrance to a cave.

"I guess it’s a given that we go in." Buffy said. "Too bad we don’t have a flashlight."

"A what?" Gabrielle asked.

"A torch." She answered, not wanting to try to explain about electricity and batteries.

"I don’t think we’ll need one," Xena said as she stood in the entrance. "It looks like there's a light farther back in the cave.’

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Gabrielle said as she walked into the cave.



Home



The light Xena saw was there, but it was very faint, only bright enough for them to see it in the distance, but not bright enough to keep them from walking into the walls of the cave.



The closer they got, the brighter it became. And after a while, it became apparent that the light was actually two of them, side by side.



Then they were at the lights, which turned out to be two exits to the cave.

Beyond the one on the left were trees and a thatched hut, barely seen in the moon lit night,.

Beyond the one on the right were a paved road with a red octagonal "STOP" sign, and a brightly lit street light.



"I think this is where we part company." Buffy said. "I think, I hope, this is where we go home."

"I think you’re right." Xena answered.

"I wonder what would happen if we all went through the same one, or we went through the one that isn’t ours." Willow speculated.

"We probably would be stuck in the wrong time and place."

"You don’t think we could go back and forth?"

"I don’t know, but rather than take the chance, I think I’d rather go to my own world."

"Agreed." Gabrielle said.

For long moments, none of them spoke, each wanting to go home, yet not wanting to say good bye to the others, probably forever.

Gabrielle broke the spell as she hugged Willow. "Take care of yourself. One day I’m sure you’ll be the best witch ever."

"Thanks, you take care of yourself, too. I’ll miss you."

Xena and Buffy gave each other a quick hug, then clasped right forearms.

Xena and Willow, and Buffy and Gabrielle hugged, said goodbyes, and they turned toward the way home.

Just before they walked through, Gabrielle said to Willow, "Maybe someday you can find a spell that will let you two come visit us, or let us come to visit you."

"Yeah, I’d like that!" Willow answered.



And with a final wave, the four women walked through The Portals, and were home.







Prologue



= I have chosen my Warrior, have you?

-- As a matter of fact, I have. And since you got yours from 1000 years in the past, I have chosen mine from 1000 years in the future.

= I thought we agreed on comparable weapons.

-- We did. Mine will only use a wooden spike and a battle-axe, no explosive weapons of any kind. She is a Slayer of some kind, and those are her only weapons.

= Then we are ready to start?

-- Not quite. Considering what happened the last time, I think we should eliminate some of the distractions.

= Such as?

-- Such as hunger and thirst and fatigue, and waste elimination.

= That makes sense. But since we’re creating special conditions, why not add regular periods of darkness, for healing purposes. Maybe it will add longevity to the contest. Also, I think each of them should have a companion, not to fight, but to help during the Dark Periods of Healing.

-- That makes sense. So how did you provide for the winner to return to her time?

= Just as soon as there is a kill, The Portals will appear in the side of the wall.

-- That’s too easy. Why not have part of the wall collapse inward so the victor can climb out. And then perhaps place The Portals a day’s walk away.

= That sounds good, but as an added obstacle, why not put The Portals in the center of a dense jungle?

-- That’s fine with me. Now just remember, once they are within the Pit, neither one of us interferes in any way. We leave them completely alone until one or the other goes through The Portals.

-- Then let the Contest begin!





Epilogue



"Come on, Gabrielle, it’s getting light. Time to pack up and get moving. We have a long way to go."

As they began to break camp, there was an uneasy silence between them. Suddenly, not being able to stand it any more, Gabrielle said to Xena,

"Xena, you wouldn’t believe the dream I had. It was weird!"

But before she could say more, Xena stopped her, and turning her scabbard upside down, poured pure white sand out of it.

"By the gods! Xena. It wasn’t a dream! It really happened! But how? Ares?"

"No, I don’t think it was Ares. I don’t think he has the power to cross time like that. Maybe Zeus could have, but since he’s dead . . . well, I just don’t know. Maybe we‘ll never know."

"Do you think we’ll ever see Willow and Buffy again?"

"I wish I had an answer for you, Gabrielle. Maybe if Willow becomes a powerful enough witch and she can cast some kind of spell. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see."

"You know, Xena, I really liked them, even if they did talk about strange things from their time. I hope Willow does manage to come back to see us; or for us to visit them."

"Like I said, we’ll just have to see. Come on, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover today."





`````````````````````



"Wake up, Willow, it’s getting daylight and there’s no sense of us hanging around her any more."

"Oh, Buffy, I had the strangest dream last night!"

"You mean the one about Xena and Gabrielle?"

"Gosh! Did you have one, too?"

But before she answered, Buffy poured sand out of her shoe into her hand. "It was no dream, Willow, we were really there."

"How do you think we got there? And who did it?"

"I haven’t a clue. I wouldn’t be surprised if we never find out."

"I hope see them again. I really liked them, once all the confusion was cleared up. I’m going to talk to Tara about this, maybe between the two of us, we can do some magic and let us visit them sometime."

"Well, if you do, try to find a better place for us to meet than where we were."

"Oh, you can count it!"







Epilogue II



-- Well, that was a waste of time.

= Hey! You’re the one that brought the witch along. Didn’t you stop to think she might do something like that?

-- Sure, I knew she was a witch, but she’s only a novice. Besides, it never crossed my mind that she would come up with a Translation Spell.

=Well, it’s over and done now. Next time we’ll do things differently.







[[author's note: I deliberately put the Prologue near the end in order to maintain the mystery of who (we still don't know), how (still don't know), where (?), and why our four heroines were placed in the Pit.]]

The End

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