An hour or so later they have finished a good hot shower together and are in the final stages of dressing. Xena was still occasionally stealing kisses and nipping on Gabrielle’s neck from behind. Gabrielle would retaliate by lightly pinching Xena’s breasts or ass. Clearly they are happy to see one another again. But eventually they both know that fun and games must end and they must focus all of their energy on the task at hand.
“You know Gabrielle these are sharp uniforms but we’re not going to be able to fight in them.” Xena says as she dons her jacket and buttons it.
“I know but I think that our grandchildren have come up with a solution for that. You should let Margo tell you more about what they have been doing for the last seven hundred years.” Gabrielle said over her shoulder as she too buttoned her jacket while approaching her desk.
Xena growled deep in her throat and rolled her eyes. “Ya, I suppose. But the damn woman has been squirming in my head like a worm on a hook for the last couple of hours. I’m not sure that I’ll get a straight answer out of her.”
“Trust me, Margo will talk about this… won’t you Margo?” It was the same voice but it clearly was not Gabrielle that had spoken. Xena couldn’t place
what made it different; but she knew the sound of her Bard and that wasn’t it.
Xena touched her elbow and Cara turned around to face her. “You’re Cara right?” Cara nodded. “Listen… thank you for…” Xena lamely motioned to the floor where the blanket had been laying. Cara smiled and smirked just a bit and waves off the proffered gratitude. Xena recognized the response as one of a warrior and prudently doesn’t push the issue. “So…” Xena began and then her face screwed up into an image of extreme discomfort. “Gods Margo will you stop squirming! You’re making it hard to concentrate.”
Cara laid a gentle hand on Xena’s arm. “Let me talk to her.”
Xena grunted but she nods her consent and her visage changed considerably as Margo took the proverbial wheel. “Cara, I don’t know if I can do this. She scares the hell out of me!” Margo simpered and grabbed Cara’s hand and worried it between her own.
Cara got a longsuffering look on her face and used her free hand to cup Margo’s worried looking face. “Don’t be silly Margo. You’ve wanted this for your entire life. Just sit back and learn from her.” Her eyes begged Margo to listen.
Margo continued to worry Cara’s hand and began to physically squirm. “Okay, I’ll try, but we can’t do… that…” She motions with her head to the blanket area. “…again. At least we can’t without asking me first.”
Cara cocked her head to the side and a very Gabrielle looking expression of disapproval etched across her face. Clearly both Cara and Gabrielle were displeased. “You didn’t ask her first?” Xena was hard pressed to identify the speaker.
Xena fidgeted under the recrimination. “She has a crush on Cara. Part of her was jumping for joy. I didn’t think she’d mind.” Xena tried to offer up as a defense.
The face that is both Cara and Gabrielle does not look pleased with Xena’s offering. “Don’t worry Margo it won’t happen again, will it Xena?” Her look says, ‘Say anything but yes and you’ll regret it.’
Margo started to squirm again. She could feel the regret and hurt that her declaration caused Xena and the whole thing made Margo feel ashamed. “To be fair, I didn’t argue. I didn’t say anything. I thought I could just go with it. But… I felt guilty the entire time. Not that it wasn’t… you know, amazing but…” Margo’s voice trailed off.
“Guilty, over what?” Cara was confused.
“Are you kidding?” Margo’s response was immediate. “I’m married!” She exclaimed indignantly. “And in case you have forgotten, so are you.” She seemed to have found some backbone somewhere. “Don’t tell me that you didn’t think of Anise once during all of that.”
Cara retrieved her hand from Margo and scratched her eyebrow then covered her mouth. “Look, I love my wife. You know that because we’ve been down this road or a similar one before.” Her eyes burrowed into Margo. “But this thing that we inherited; this destiny that our families share, it’s bigger than our personal lives; it’s bigger than our petty concerns or grievances. Xena and Gabrielle were chosen by the One God thousands of years ago to be champions for Him. It’s He that brings them back time after time to accomplish tasks that will ultimately achieve some higher goal.” She let out a heavy breath.
She was still looking deeply into Margo’s eyes but her demeanor relaxed somewhat before she continued. “Look, I know that we really don’t have a lot of say in this whole thing, but I got to believe that He wouldn’t have chosen us to host them if there wasn’t a reason behind it all. They have to do their job and learn something or they won’t move on. But I think that we can learn something too and our lives will be better for it.”
She looked at the floor and smiled and blushed. “I’ve already learned a few things that I plan on using… soon I hope.” Her blush deepened in color and it made her smile. “I plan on learning everything that I can from Gabrielle before she leaves.” Her face cleared and she looked back up at Margo who is also recovering from her own bout of blushing. “She is my greatest hero and Xena is yours. We have a unique opportunity here to just let them be who they are and to glean every ounce of information from them while their just being themselves. And so what if we end up in the sack a few times? Really, Anise will understand… not today maybe but she will understand.” Cara sounded confident in the understanding nature of her wife. “I’m not sure about your lunk, but I am sure about her.”
Margo stood silently, deep in thought. When she finally looked up she had a tentative smile on her face. “You’re right. It’s just that Xena… she’s so… you know, bigger than life.”
“Ya, I know.” Xena and Margo are both hard pressed to identify the speaker. “Xena could be a bit more understanding, couldn’t you Xena?” That was definitely both of them.
“Ya, I could.” Xena said.
“Good, now let’s stop dicking around and get something done.” Cara said with authority as she stepped back behind her desk. “Something you should know Xena.” She said as she brought up some files on her desktop computer. As far as she was concerned the matter with Margo was closed. “Mars is in a fight, politically right now for its independence.”
Xena looked over at Cara with appreciation. “If you get independence, then you would be in charge of a great deal more than you are now.” She smiled approvingly.
“Yes.” Cara returned the smile, one warrior to another. Then she sobered and turned back to the screen to touch another prompt. “Until then I am under the command of this man. I think that you know him.” She stepped back a bit so that Xena could come around to look at the man on the screen.
Xena let out a hiss between her teeth. On the screen is a handsome clean shaven man with sparkling eyes and a winning smile. “Ares”
“Ares” Cara repeats. “Part of the reason why our bid for independence is being held up is me. He knows me and who I am. Of course I didn’t know that for certain until now, but I had a feeling.” She turned a knowing look on Xena. “But he hasn’t seen you, and I would keep it that way if you please.”
Xena got a very Margo like look on her face. “How is that possible? Surely he is looking for me or my family. He would know that we would be close to yours.”
“He has looked. He just didn’t find.” Cara said with pride.
Margo’s face got a look of wonder on it that slowly changed to one of deepening respect. “You’ve been protecting me and my family.” She said heavily.
Cara gave her the stone face look. “It’s what I do Margo. It’s what our family has done for centuries.” She said curtly and then her face showed signs of inner conflict when she saw the hurt on Margo’s face. She quickly turned away. “You know, just because we aren’t lovers or best friends it doesn’t mean that I don’t like you. It’s just that the way you act when you’re around me… It makes it hard to want to spend any time with you.” She looked up in time to see Margo’s face turn red and recede behind Xena.
“Stay away from Ares, gotcha.” Xena took over the conversation. “Any suggestions on what we do next?” She asked either Cara or Gabrielle.
“Well we still don’t know why we’re here.” Gabrielle stepped in. “Cara has her second in command looking for Alti and that may take a while. So I suggest that while he’s looking we go to the Society and retrieve our weapons and whatever else they have for us.”
“Good plan. Let’s go.” Xena was already headed for the door.