Saving Miss Smith (part two)
Saving Miss Smith (part two)
The next time Gabrielle woke up, her head was clear and her lower stomach barely ached. Willow was sitting in a chair next to her bed.
"How do you feel?" Willow asked.
"Good, I think. Seeing you here, and seeing this place then I must be in your time. But where's Xena?"
"She's not here." Willow answered.
"Then where is she? Is she coming?"
"Actually, no. Why don't you let me start from the beginning? I think you'll understand better if I do."
"So are you saying that there's no way for you to tell Xena that I'm fine?"
I'm afraid not."
"She must be worried sick! I've got to get back to her. I can't let her think that I might have died. You've got to get me out of here."
"Well, it's not that easy. They've got these nurses around all the time. And if we try to sneak you out and get caught we could get into trouble. But anyway, the doctor said that you can't leave until your stitches heal up."
"My what? What are stitches?"
"It's where they had to sew you up."
"Sew me up? What are you talking about?"
"Of course! You don't know. Your appendix burst, and they had to operate." Seeing Gabrielle's confusion, Willow continued. "They had to cut you open and take it out."
"They cut me open?"
Then she remembered the pain in her lower abdomen, and after pulling up her gown, her mouth fell open when she saw the staples holding together the incision.
"Oh, that's right, you have staples, I forgot. Now I remember, the doctor said they have to stay in for a week or so, so you can heal up."
"I don't think I like the idea of being cut open!"
"They had to." Willow tried to explain. "If they didn't, you would have died."
Before Gabrielle could say more, a nurse came into the room.
"Well, Miss Smith, I see you're finally awake. The doctor will be around later on to look at you." She then proceeded to take Gabrielle's pulse and temperature.
After she took the thermometer out of her mouth, Gabrielle asked Willow, "Why did she call me Missmith?"
"That's your name." She answered. And then looking at the nurse, she said. "She still must be a little groggy, she doesn't even remember her own name."
The nurse looked at Gabrielle, and then left the room.
"That's not my name. Why did you say it was?"
"Well, in our time, everybody has two names, and Giles, you'll probably meet him later, had to put down one for you, and all he could think of was ‘Smith.’"
"But I'm not a smithy. If anything, I'm a bard."
"Names here don't have anything to do with the kind of work we do. It is just a very common last name and I think Giles thought no one would think anything about it."
"Willow, I appreciate everything you've done for me, but I have to go back to my world. It's not fair to let Xena worry like that. And I know Buffy must want to come back."
"I know. I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll talk to Tara and Giles and we'll try to figure something out. In the meantime, why don't we watch some TV?"
"Willow, it's been three days now, almost four. And as nice as everyone has been to me, I can't stand this. I have got to get out of here. I want to go home!"
"Okay, I'll talk to Giles again. I'm sure he'll know what to do. Look, I'm calling him right now."
A couple of hours later everyone but Willow and Gabrielle were gathered in the dorm room, trying to think of some way to get a message to Xena, or to get Gabrielle out of the hospital without jeopardizing her health. It was Dawn who finally came up with the solution.
"Tara, why don't you just swap somebody for Xena? Then she could go see Gabrielle for herself?"
"You know," Giles said. "That's really not a bad idea. The question is - who will go from here?"
"I will." Dawn volunteered.
"No, Dawn. It will be too dangerous for you." He answered.
"It can't be any more dangerous than for me to wait here for Glory to find me again. Besides, Buffy is there to protect me. We've been watching them for three days, now. Buffy's really been catching onto this camping out stuff."
"She's got a good point." Tara told them. “And it would only be for another day or two. Once Gabrielle's out of the hospital she and Xena can go back home. I'm sure Xena will take care of her."
"Then it's settled!" Dawn said triumphal. "Let's go. Now!"
"I suppose it's about the only real solution." Remarked Giles.
"That suits my fancy." Spike broke in. "I'm getting bloody well tired of this place. I do have a life elsewhere, you know."
"I called Willow to tell her what we were going to do. She said that right now, Gabrielle was napping, but it would really be a big surprise, so she wasn't going to tell her." Tara told them.
"Dawn, if you are going to do this, then you're going to have to take your clothes off, and put on something else. When Xena gets here, she won't be very comfortable in your clothes."
"So what do I put on?" She asked.
"I don't know. Nobody I know is as big as Xena."
"Then how about if I just wrap a sheet around me?"
"That would work. You go get changed and I'll think of the new words I'll need."
Fifteen minutes later, Dawn was ready. Everyone took a candle and stood around her, and Tara began the spell.
~ Dawn and Xena. Apart in time. Apart in space.
~ Let them now be switched to each other's place
~ From each one's world may they disappear
~ Send Dawn there, bring Xena here
Xena and Buffy were in the process of preparing the camp for the evening. As Buffy was banking the fire, Xena was grooming Argo. As she turned to say something to Buffy, she found herself in a strange room, surrounded by strange people holding candles, and wearing only a sheet.
For a moment no one said anything.
"Xena," Tara was the first to speak. "I'm Tara, Willow's friend. Don't be alarmed, I just brought you here like we did Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle!" Xena suddenly realized she wasn't with them. "Where's Gabrielle? Is she all right? Where is she?"
"She's fine. She's fine. She's in the hospital."
"Why isn't she here?"
"She was very sick. We had to take her to the hospital so she would get better."
"Then I want to see her. Now."
"We're going to take you to see her, that's why we brought you here. We knew you were worried. See? There's Buffy and Dawn." Tara pointed to the bowl. Xena walked over and saw Buffy talking to Dawn, who was trying to keep Xena's clothing and armor from falling down and leaving her naked.
Xena smiled at the sight, then turned toward the group and said. "Let’s go."
"Well, there's just one problem. You have to have something to wear."
"What's wrong with this?" Xena indicated the sheet she was wrapped in.
"People around here usually wear the kind of clothes we have on. You'd look kind of strange with just a sheet on."
"So, get me some clothes." She demanded.
Without thinking, Anya handed Xena a robe that belonged to Willow, and without any problem, Xena dropped the sheet to put on the robe. Giles, embarrassed, turned away. Xander could only stare.
It was up to Spike to speak. "There you go, lovey, good show!"
When Xena saw everyone staring at her she said, "What!"
Tara answered, "People are kind of uncomfortable with strange women walking around naked."
"Speak for yourself!" Spike spoke up again.
"So are you telling me I can't wear this either? Then get me something I can wear."
"Now, that's is another problem. No one here wears the size you do. We are going to have to stop at the Big and Tall Girls shop to get you something to wear."
"So why all the talk? Why aren't we leaving."
"Well, darn it, there is just one more little problem."
"Now what?" Xena exclaimed, running out of patience.
"I just thought that perhaps you might want to take a shower first, and maybe shampoo your hair."
"I was in the spring not three days ago, I'm plenty clean."
"Well, no offense, but people now days are kind of funny about - - body odor. Not that yours is that bad, you understand. But you have to be really, really clean to go into the hospital. They're real funny that way."
"Fine, so where's this shower?"
"It's this way." Tara said, leading Xena toward the bathroom. Just before she went into the bathroom, Xena took off the robe and tossed it to Anya.
Spike grinned. Xander's jaw dropped again, until Anya elbowed him in the ribs, and Giles decided not to turn away.
Gabrielle and Willow were watching TV when Tara stuck her head into the room.
“Hi!” She said.
“Tara!” Gabrielle answered. “Come on in.”
“I have a surprise for you. Someone’s here to see you.”
And then she stepped aside so Xena could enter.
“Xena! Oh, Xena! You’re here! I can’t believe it!”
Xena sat on the edge of Gabrielle’s bed, and put both hands on the sides of her head, then moved them down to her shoulders, her upper arms, and then held her hands, as if trying to feel for herself that Gabrielle was, indeed, fine.
With tears in her eyes, Gabrielle put her arms around Xena’s neck and pulled her to her, ignoring the pain her side.
While they were holding each other, Willow walked to Tara’s side. Her hand found Tara’s and they gently leaned against each other.
When Gabrielle and Xena finally broke the embrace, Gabrielle gave Xena a crooked smile and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“I can’t believe you’re here,” Gabrielle repeated. “How . . . When . . . ?”
“We can thank Tara for that. I guess she knew how worried I was getting. It’s been four days. Buffy and I were starting to think you had died. So they brought me here so I could see for myself that you’re okay.”
“Then, if you’re here, who went back to our time?”
“Buffy’s sister, she volunteered. So, are they taking good care of you.”
“Xena, you just wouldn’t believe the things they have here. Everything’s just like magic! See that box over there? That’s a TV. And it shows everything! They can tell you what the weather’s going to be tomorrow and the next day, and next week. They have these plays they call “Soaps” and the people have all these problems, a lot of them I don’t understand at all. And they have the news from everywhere, all around the world. Did you know that the world is round? Remember when Willow said she was from America? That's where we are. and its HUGE. There’s a whole land between two oceans. They showed me where Greece is, and Britannia, and Egypt. Oh, and the food here. You have to taste it. The meat is so tender, and the vegetables are so good!”
“I can’t believe she actually likes hospital food.” Willow whispered to Tara.
“And they have this food called ‘ice cream’ and it’s cold and sweet. And it has flavors I’ve never tasted before. And one, it’s called ‘Double something. . . “
Gabrielle looked over at Willow. “What’s it called? The dark brown one?”
“Double Dutch Chocolate.” Willow answered.
“That’s it. Double Dutch Chocolate. Oh, Xena! You have got to try it, it is SO good! I can‘t begin to tell you how delicious it is!”
“Gabrielle,” Willow interrupted. “We’re going to go out for a while and let you two be alone. We’ll see you later.”
As Willow and Tara walked out Gabrielle yelled at them, “Bring back ice cream!”
Gabrielle started again, trying to tell Xena all the things she had seen and heard, but soon stopped when she saw Xena smiling at her.
“I know, I’m just babbling on, but everything here is so . . . different.”
She stopped for a moment, then looking at Xena’s clothes, she said. “You look so different wearing those clothes.”
For a second Xena looked down at the pre-washed jeans and blouse she was wearing.
“They felt kind of strange at first, but they’re more comfortable now that I‘ve gotten use to them. They haven’t tried to make you put on one of those bra-things, have they? They tried to get me to wear one. Now I know how Argo must feel when I cinch up her saddle too tight. I just could not breathe.”
“No, all they’ll let me wear is this gown.”
“Well, don’t. You won’t like it.”
“It’s too bad they didn’t have any way to let you know that I was all right. I know you must have been worried sick.”
“It’s not just that, but if you had died, then there was no way for Buffy to come back here.”
“What are you talking about?”
“They didn’t tell you? If one of you dies, the other is stuck where they are.”
“No! No one told me that. Do you think Dawn will be safe?”
“I’m pretty sure she will be. Buffy’s really come along in the past few days. I think she can handle things for a few more.”
“They told me what happened when Ares showed up. I wish I could have seen that.”
“Gabrielle, I know there are strange and wonderful things here, but in a few days we’re going to have to go back.”
“I know, Xena. But there are just so many marvelous things here, I just hope I can remember them all. I know we have to go back. That’s our home. This is just a visit.”
Buffy was arranging her bed, such as it was, waiting for Xena to finish grooming Argo, when she heard the horse start neighing and rearing. At the same time she hear a small scream, and looking in Argo’s direction, she saw Dawn, trying to get away from Argo, and trying to keep Xena’s clothes from falling off.
“Dawn! What are you doing here? Gabrielle! What’s happen to Gabrielle? Is she all right? Why are you here?”
Moving closer to Buffy, to get away from Argo, Dawn said, “She’s fine. She in the hospital. The had to operate on her.”
“Operate? What was wrong?”
“She had her appendix taken out, it busted.”
“So why are you here?”
“Because we saw that you and Xena were getting so worried, and the only way we could let you guys know everything was okay was for somebody to switch with Xena.”
“But why you?”
“Why not me? Tara couldn't come, and she won’t let Willow. And Anya won’t leave Xander. So that just left me. Besides, now we won’t have to worry about Glory. But there is just one thing, though.”
“Well, everyone was tired of staying in Willow’s room, so everyone left, except Spike.”
“Spike? Why didn’t he go?”
“Because it’s the middle of the day, and I guess he didn’t want to burn up. And then Giles thought someone should stay to keep watch on us, so Spike’s the one.”
“Great! That’s just great! Spike!” Buffy yelled to the air. “I know what you’re up to, but you can forget it! Dawn and I WILL NOT be taking any baths! So you can just get that perverted little thought OUT of your head!”
“Oh, Jeez, I forgot he could see us. I can’t walk around wearing this. How am I going to change? Or go to the bathroom?”
“Here are some of Gabrielle’s clothes. Go into those bushes over there, they’re thick enough that you-know-who won’t be able to see anything.”
“So, you really like this camping out?” Dawn asked Buffy. “I thought that you and Xena were staying in that hotel, or what ever it was.”
“It was an inn, like a boarding house. We stayed one night. Weren’t you watching?”
“Just for a little while. You guys are kind of boring.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want to stay there! The bed was infested with fleas and bedbugs. I spent most of the night trying to sleep sitting up against a wall. After a night like that, sleeping out here is definitely the better choice. The sun will set in a little while, so why don’t you gather a little more firewood, or would you rather finish grooming Argo?”
”You sure it’s safe?”
“Oh, sure. Now that she knows you are a friend, it’ll be okay.”
“Come on, Dawn. Time to rise and shine. The sun’s way up.”
“What time is it?”
“No telling. No watch. But you might as well get up, I’m heating up the fish we had for supper last night.”
“Fish! For breakfast. Gaah! I think I’ll pass.”
“If you don’t eat now, there won’t be anything for along time.”
“Don’t you have any Trail Mix or something? I can’t eat this early.”
“You sound just like I did when I got here. But let me tell you something, things are different here. You eat when you get the opportunity. The only food out here is what you can kill or catch. And right now this fish is all there is until I can hunt something down.”
“Why don’t we go into town and buy something. I know they have food there.”
“Because I’m not going to spend Xena and Gabrielle’s money. Besides, I don’t know what things cost. We could be cheated blind and not know it. So, up and at ‘em. Breakfast time.”
After breakfast, Buffy instructed Dawn where to take Argo for watering, assuring her again the horse wouldn’t hurt her. After Dawn and Argo were out of hearing, Buffy addressed Spike, and whoever else might be watching.
“Tell Xena that she doesn’t have to be in such a big hurry to bring Gabrielle back. I know she has to have time to heal up. We’ll be fine for a few more days. And I think Dawn could use some time roughing it. It might make her appreciate how good she has it back home. And I think it would be good if she and I spent some time together.”
After Argo had been watered, and more firewood had been gathered, Buffy was explaining again how things had to be while they were there.
Then Dawn’s eyes got big. “Oh my god!” She exclaimed, as Ares appeared in his usual flash of blue.
Looking around, Ares said, “I told Xena I’d be back, but I see she isn’t here. And what is this? We have another visitor? And just what is your name?”
“This is Dawn,” Buffy answered for her. “She’s my sister.”
“Two beautiful women in the same family. How - - convenient.” Ares said as he stared at Dawn, who blushed and looked away.
“Is there something I can do for you?” Buffy asked.
“No. I just thought I’d pop in for a visit. By the way, where is Xena?”
“Well, you know Xena, she just comes and goes.”
“I see, first Gabrielle goes off on a visit, and you show up. Then Xena wanders off, and your little sister appears. Am I missing something here?”
“No, it’s just a coincidence.”
“Is it a coincidence that Xena just happened to leave behind her clothes and weapons”? He asked, walking over to the pile of folded clothes, armor and weapons.
Ares picked up Xena‘s breast dagger. “Xena never goes off without this. So, are you gong to tell me what’s going on? Or do I have to . . . ?”
“Nothing’s going on.” Buffy insisted. “We’re all here just visiting.”
“Why don’t you tell him?” Dawn asked.
“Ah! Tell me what? Come on, Buffy, you can tell me, Xena and I are friends.”
Looking at Dawn with a little anger in her eyes, Buffy finally admitted, “Okay. Okay, We have a friend who is a witch, a sorcereress, and she did some magic so we could see Xena and Gabrielle, who we met some time ago, don’t ask me how. We saw that Gabrielle was sick, and might be dying. So Tara, our friend, cast a spell to bring Gabrielle to where we live, but I had to come here in her place. And because it was taking so long for Gabrielle to get well, Xena went there to visit her, and Dawn came here.”
Ares looked over at Dawn, then back to Buffy, and back to Dawn again, looking for confirmation.
After thinking the story over for a minute or two, he said. “That’s seems to make sense. I can see where that could happen. But if that’s the case, then maybe I should stick around. These are dangerous times, and there are dangerous bandits and warlords everywhere.”
“I can take care of us.” Buffy said. “I think that if we need any protection at all, it would be from you.”
“Now I’m hurt. Here I, ‘Ares the Magnificent,’ am offering my services, something I rarely do I might add, and you act like I’m your enemy.”
Walking over to Xena’s weapons she picked up the sword, hefted it for a second, then put it down and picked up the chakram, and without fanfare, she launched it high into the air.
The chakram began a complicated series of figure 8s, cutting off the tops of trees, shaving branches, careening off rocks, and then returning to Buffy’s waiting hand.
“Very impressive,” the God of War admitted. “So you’re not as helpless as I first thought. But still . . .”
“Buffy’s a Slayer!” Dawn said proudly.
“A Slayer? And what is a slayer?”
“She’s a Vampire Slayer.”
“Okay. And just what is a Vampire Slayer?”
Seeing that she had no other choice but to confess, Buffy said, “Where I come from, they’re called vampires, but I think I heard Gabrielle call them . . . What did she call them? Baccos? Baccie?”
“Bacchae?” Ares asked.
“Yeah, that was it - Bacchae.”
“You kill Bacchae?”
“That’s my job.”
“Killed any lately?”
“Not around here, no, but I spiked a couple a week ago.”
“You spiked them?”
“Yeah. A wooden spike through the heart. Poof! Ashes.”
“Well, now that I think about it, I do have other, more important, things to do. When you see Xena, tell her I came by.” And he left in a shower of blue sparks.
“So that’s a god?” Dawn asked.
“That’s a god.”
“I thought he’d be taller.”
“So did I.”
“Are you about ready to leave?” Willow at last asked Gabrielle.
“Ready? I’ve been ready for days. Of course since Xena came, it hasn’t been so bad. Not that it was bad with you here!”
“I know what you mean. It’s hard to be away from somebody you care about.”
“So where is Xena?”
“I think she and Giles are talking to the doctor. I think he’s a little concerned that they you won’t get the treatment you need while you‘re recuperating.”
“He has been taking good care of me, hasn’t he?”
At last the time had come. Almost everyone had gathered in Willow’s dorm room to say goodbye to Xena and Gabrielle. Spike was the only no-show, not that anyone cared.
However, there was one little problem.
Giles was saying, “You really do need to continue to take these vitamins and antibiotics, but I’m at a loss to think of a way for you to carry them back with you.”
After several useless ideas, Xena came up with an obvious solution: “Why can’t she carry them in her mouth?”
“You know,” Giles said, “I think that just might work. It would work, wouldn’t it, Tara?”
“I don’t see why not. Anything that’s inside her body should go with her.”
“Do you think my mouth is actually big enough to put both those bottles in it?” Gabrielle asked.
“Well, what if we wrap them in some plastic?” Willow asked.
“I can put half of them in my mouth.” Xena volunteered.
“Sure.” Tara said. “Xena can take the vitamins, and Gabrielle can take her medicine. Oh, I made a joke.”
After the preparations with the medication had been made, it was time for Xena and Gabrielle to return home.
“Let me go first,” Xena requested, although it sounded more like a demand. “There are a couple of things I want to talk to Buffy about first. Then when Buffy’s ready, she and Gabrielle can switch. Just keep watching us, so you’ll know when to do it.”
Not being particularly sentimental, it didn’t take Xena long to say good bye and to thank everyone again for all they’d done for Gabrielle.
“Okay, I’m ready.” Xena said. And Tara began reversing the Spell.
~ here Xena bring, there Dawn Send
~ disappear they may world one’s each From
~ place other’s each to switched be now them Let
~ space in apart, time in apart Xena and Dawn.
No sooner had she spoken the last word, Xena vanished and Dawn was standing there, with Xena’s oversized clothes swallowing over her.
“Next time, I switch with someone who wears MY size.“ She declared.
Buffy and Dawn were trying to decide if they wanted fish for lunch, again. Or whether Buffy should try for another rabbit (both had decided that three meals a day was the minimum).
Just as Buffy was about to speak, Xena appeared, and the clothes she was now wearing ripped at the seams.
After taking the plastic-wrapped pills out of her mouth, she said, “The next time I get switched, try to find somebody closer to my size.”
“Xena. You’re back! How’s Gabrielle?”
“She’s fine. She’s ready to come home. But before you two are switched, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“Willow was suggesting that Gabrielle and I could stay in your time permanently. She came up with the idea of finding two people who were dying, and then switch us. And when they die, then Gabrielle and I would be in your world for good. Whatever you do, don’t let her do it, her or Tara.”
“Except for the dying-people part, it doesn’t sound like really a bad idea.”
“No, Buffy. I’ve seen some wondrous and amazing things in your world; things I could have never dreamed of. But from watching the TV, I have seen terrible things, too. Children killing each other in your schools And explosions killing innocent women and children for no reason. Hatred and violence seem to be everywhere. If I didn’t know better, I would think that Dahok was controlling your world.
“Buffy, that’s not my world, and it isn’t Gabrielle’s either. This is where we belong. We may seem barbaric and primitive compared to your world, but this is our home. I have a daughter, and Gabrielle has a sister. We can’t leave them.”
“I understand. And I don’t blame you. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to live in such a world. But we have to make the best of where we are. Don’t worry, I won’t let Tara, or Willow, trap you in our world against your will.
“But that doesn’t mean that we can’t visit again some day.” Buffy continued.
“If there is a next time, let’s make it under more pleasant circumstances. Goodbye, Buffy. Thank you for everything. And thank you for being a good friend.”
“Back at ‘cha.”
Buffy put out her hand, and as their right hands met, their left arms went around each other‘s back.
“Okay, Tara, I’m ready!” Buffy said to the air. “See you again soon.”
While Xena and Buffy were talking, Gabrielle was saying her goodbyes, hugging everyone, and wiping away the tears.
“I’ll never forget what all of you have done for me. I owe you my life. I don’t know how I can ever thank any of you enough.”
“Aw, you’d do the same for us.” Willow told her. “We just did it first.”
“Gabrielle?” Tara said, “I think Buffy’s ready to come home.”
Gabrielle hugged everyone one more time, saving Willow for the last and longest embrace.
“I’m ready,” Gabrielle said, and put the plastic wrapped pills in her mouth.
Again, Tara began reversing the spell. And as soon as she had finished, Buffy was standing there.
“Hi, everybody. I’m back.“ She declared. She then walked over to the Seeing bowl, and soon all of them were with her, watching, and making sure everything was okay.
After Gabrielle had given her thanks to them one last time, Buffy said, “I think it’s time they had some privacy.”
One by one, Tara blew out the candles, the image fading as each flame was snuffed out, until only the bottom of the bowl could be seen through the water.
“After all this time, the candles didn’t burn down.” Dawn noted.
“That’s part of the magic.” Tara told her.
Buffy walked over to Dawn and put her arm around her shoulders, and Dawn slipped her arm around Buffy’s waist.
“Well, little sister, I think you and I both could use a hot shower, some nice clean clothes, and great big double pepperoni, mushroom and sausage pizza.”
As they walked out of Willow’s room, Buffy said over her shoulder, “Bye guys. Later.”
Buffy and Xena stood waiting for the exchange, expecting it at any time. After a couple of minutes, Xena said, “Gabrielle always was one for long goodbyes, especially to those she may not see again.”
Buffy opened her mouth to answer when she and Gabrielle returned to their own times.
Taking the pills from her mouth, Gabrielle took a deep breath despite the slight twinge from her side.
“Home.” She said. “Nothing smells quite as good as home.”
“Do you regret not staying?” Xena asked her.
“No. Of course not. This is where I belong; where we belong.”
Gabrielle then said to the air, “Thank you all again, I’ll never forget any of you.”
“Welcome back! I was wondering when you two would get back.”
“Ares, how convenient that you should show up now.” Xena said.
“Oh, I’ve been here all along. You see, Xena, Buffy was no match for my charms. She told me everything.”
“She did, did she?”
“Oh, yes. She couldn’t help herself. I know all about Gabrielle’s illness, and her trip to Buffy’s home. And why you had to go to her side. I know it all. And since I knew Buffy and her sister weren’t from around here, I thought I’d do you a favor and keep an eye on them.
“There’s just one thing I don’t understand, though. If Gabrielle was so sick, why didn’t you ask me for help?”
“One, because I didn’t realize how sick she really was. And two, you ask too high a price for your help.”
“I didn’t need it anyway.” Gabrielle told Ares. And showing him her scar, she continued,.” They cut me open, took out my ‘pendix, sewed me back up, and left only this little scar.”
“Oooh, I’m SO impressed!” Ares said, with as much sarcasm as he could manage. He then wriggled two or three fingers at Gabrielle, and her scar disappeared, leaving only smooth white skin.
“Next time, come to a real Healer.” Ares said as he disappeared in his usual shower of blue sparks.
Gabrielle and Xena looked at each other, then back to where the scar used to be. They shrugged their shoulders in unison, and began to put on clothes that fit.
That evening, as the two women lay by the fire, neither said much, thinking about the events of past week. As the fire died down they closed their eyes, waiting for sleep.
“Good night, Xena.”
“Did you take your pills?”
“Yes, I took them. Thanks for asking, and thanks for caring.”
Gabrielle slowly drifted off to sleep, thinking of all the new friends she would miss.
And as she slept, she dreamt of Double Dutch Chocolate ice cream.