They had no
idea how much time that they actually had before Alti was able to dig herself
out. The Marines that were stationed on Uranus reported daily and as of yet
there was no noticeable activity. But then again it had only been a couple of weeks.
Xena and Gabrielle had gone back to school and had been training with their
friends, old and new since returning. They had acquired a lot more friends now
that they weren’t the social outcasts that they once were. It didn’t hurt their
reputations any to be heroes of legend.
decided to stick around for a while. She apparently didn’t have any other
duties at present so she took some time to spend with her mother. For Gabrielle
this was a very odd time for her. She was both a daughter and a mother at the same
time and both too young and too old to be either and yet she wouldn’t have it
any other way.
this was also a very odd time. She did as Hope had suggested and gone to the
Society to look up her son. For this she had gone alone. It took them a week to
find the requested recording but when she sat down to watch it she was glad
that she had taken the time. Solan had recorded it when he was a mature man of
seventy-three. She saw Borias in his face, his eyes were her cool baby blues
but his face held the reflection of Borias. He told her about his life, his
wife and his children. He told her how much he
loved her and how proud he was to be her son. It was then that he told her how
he had met up with Hope when she had first been brought to heaven. They had
talked for a long time and he had seen how she had been a frightened and scared
little girl. She had done what her father had told her out of fear more than
love. And that is when he had forgiven her for killing him all those years ago.
stunned by this revelation. She sat staring at a blank screen for over an hour
after the vid had run its course. She had carried her hatred and her anger for
so long. How could she let them go now? But how could she keep them? She had
forgiven Gabrielle her part in his death long ago but Hope was a different
story. There was another problem; Hope was no longer who she had been. Dahak
was dead. The influence that he once held over her had died with him and she had
become the sweet innocent girl that she would have been without him.
Dahak brought up an entire line of recrimination for her. Should she have let
Gabrielle raise Hope… should they have raised her together? She knew that if
they had raised Eve as they had planned things would have been very different
for her life. But they had not… Ares had intervened. And because of his
intervention Eve became evil; it took some work to reclaim her innocence. Had
Xena unknowingly denied Hope what Ares had unknowingly denied Eve? The
circumstances had been different. Callisto had used her spark of light to
introduce Eve into Xena; Dahak had used his taint of evil to introduce Hope into
just too many variables, too many ifs. Xena had no way of really knowing what
could have happened… too many things would have had an influence on the outcome
of any scenario. But she could make a decision now that would affect her future
with Hope and ultimately with Gabrielle.
the society after downloading the message from her son and deleting all other
traces of it from the Society records. It was late when she returned home and
even though her mother allowed her to call Gabrielle it was to no avail
Gabrielle was already asleep. What she needed to say to her soul mate would
have to wait for the morning.
When the sun
broke over the mountains it found Xena wide awake. She had slept perhaps a few
fitful hours the night before because her mind simply would not stop. She had
made a decision and she needed to let the parties involved know what that
decision was before she could put it to rest in her mind. So instead of lying
in her bed tossing and turning she got up and showered and went outside to
practice with her sword. Xena fondly remembered when Belle had given her the sword.
It had been as she was boarding the shuttle bound for Uranus. That was the trip
that she had never returned from… and had never gotten much of a chance to use
her sword around and she thought. She thought about Hope. When she and
Gabrielle had been here last… Hope had been a bit of a pariah. She had been
deeply loved by a few, tolerated by most and hated by as many as loved her. But
this time around Hope seemed to be a light by which most of the Amazon Nation
found their way. She was a beacon of joy and peace and faith. All of the words
that Gabrielle’s family was using as names seemed to describe her once wayward
daughter. Hope had even managed to give Xena a huge measure of peace and joy.
realized that she felt good… really good. She had felt fine or so she thought
for many lifetimes but now that she really knew the fate of her beloved son she
felt a freedom that she had not felt before. It was as if a weighty concern had
been lifted from her shoulders and now she was lighter than she had been.
Suddenly she couldn’t wait for Gabrielle to get up to call her. She needed to
see her beloved now.
her sword and started running across the park towards Gabrielle’s house. It was
very early in the morning but the sun was fully up so the Guardians did not
stop her. They had been given orders by the Queen to honor the rules of Harmony
and Cadence. Xena and Gabrielle were not to have unsanctioned visits in the
middle of the night. But it was no longer night time. So they simply watched as
Xena sprinted across the park and down the streets to Gabrielle’s house.
finally arrived she was pleased to absently note that she was not winded at
all. She stepped up to Gabrielle’s window and politely asked the GEV if
Gabrielle was awake. It told her that she was not awake but her guest was. For
a moment Xena was insanely jealous until she remembered that Gabrielle’s guest
was Hope. So she asked the GEV to please inform Gabrielle’s guest that she
would like to speak with her and to please meet her at the front door. The GEV
asked why she simply hadn’t rang the door bell. Xena told it that she hadn’t
wanted to wake the entire house. That seemed to satisfy the GEV enough for it
to comply with Xena’s request.
the front door as Xena came around the corner. She must have been in the front
room. Xena couldn’t help but notice how much Hope resembled Gabrielle. Hope was
the youngest child of Faith and she had been born when Faith was near the end
of her child bearing years. Hope was only in her mid twenties… not much older
than Gabrielle had been the last time that Xena had seen her beloved alive… in
Japan… thousands of years ago.
It was odd
looking into Hope’s hazel eyes. They were dark green this morning… like a
forest. There was no evil in them; there was no hatred as she had seen before.
Hope was smiling and inviting Xena inside.
Xena. Have a seat, I’ll wake mom.” She opened the door and beckoned Xena
inside. Once Xena had entered she closed the door and began to turn towards the
hallway that led to the bedrooms.
actually… could I speak with you for a minute?” Xena reached out and touched
Hope’s arm. She felt like every other human… but what had Xena expected? She
had no idea. She was learning how hatred can distort everything. Xena had
always seen Hope as a monster so that is what she expected to feel, the skin of
would you like to sit or is this a stand up conversation?” Hope jibed lightly.
She was as nervous as a canary in a house full of cats. “Ah, I guess we can
sit.” She sat down across the coffee table from Hope and started fidgeting and
making faces. Hope waited serenely for Xena to gather her courage or wits…
whichever she had lost when she came through the door. “I went and saw that
recording.” Xena blurted out.
“Was it what you needed to see?”
guess it was. But you knew that already.” Xena wanted to sound accusatory but
it just wouldn’t come out.
seen the recording. I was just asked to tell you that it was there.” Her smile
never seemed to waver.
meanwhile had gotten out of bed and wandered down the hallway. When she heard
Hope and Xena talking, she stopped to listen for a minute. She didn’t want to
knew that you had seen Solan in heaven and you knew that he had forgiven you.
Why didn’t you tell me?” She was only curious and she found it strange that she
was not angry.
“In my view
it was none of your business. What difference should it make if Solan forgives
me or not?” Her smile had finally faded but the light still shone in her eyes.
Xena had to
think about what Hope had said. What difference did it make? Solan forgave her
before God had given him a new life. Was that the price of his new life? If she
forgave Hope what would she be paying for? That was not the way to look at this
situation and she knew it. “You’re not the Hope that I used to know.” Xena
paused. The next question would hurt. “Do you remember what you did?”
first time Hope’s expression grew dark. It was not the darkness of evil but
rather it was the darkness of pain and sorrow. “Yes Xena, I remember
everything. What I did to Solan was bad… it was horrible. But it’s not what I
regret the most. What I regret the most was being so evil that my own mother
felt the need to kill me. I know that she didn’t want to… I knew it even then.
But Dahak convinced me that she killed me because she didn’t love me or that
she loved you more. I killed Solan personally because I hated you and I hated
you because my mother loved you more than her own daughter.” She had been looking
into Xena’s eyes the entire time that she spoke. It was a serene and yet
somehow tortured look.
true Hope. Gabrielle tried to hide you. She tried to save you from me because I
wanted to kill you. She loved you enough to send you away from me… away from
her. She knew that if she stayed with you that I would follow her and
eventually succeed in killing you. So she did the best thing that she could.
She put you in a basket and sent you away from us both and then told me that
she had killed you herself. She lied to me and broke her own heart to save you.”
She had held Hope’s eyes with her own so that Hope would be able to see the
truth of her words.
Hope did not
respond. Finally Xena continued. “But the truth is that I don’t know that you
were born evil. I believed it at the time but… I don’t know that it’s the
truth. I wonder what you would have become had I done what Gabrielle asked and
helped her to raise you. Maybe the love of your mother could have changed you
or kept you from giving in to the evil. I don’t know… I know that she can and has worked magic on many souls including
my own. Maybe she could have helped you to control your dark half. I’m sorry
for not giving you or us that chance.” Xena almost couldn’t believe that she
had just apologized to Hope, but it had felt right.
rolled down Hope’s cheek. “I had never thought to hear anything like that from
you Xena.” She took the time to dry her eyes and blow her nose. “I don’t know
that mother’s goodness and purity could have been enough to drown out the voice
of Dahak. I know that I dreamed that my mother would return to me. Dahak kept
telling me that she didn’t love me… that she had abandoned me. I didn’t want to
believe him but she never came back. When we did finally meet again… well you
know what happened. I’m sorry as well Xena for killing Solan of course but also
for hating you and doubting her.”
Xena’s turn to have tears on her cheeks. “For what it’s worth Hope, I forgive
you and I really wish that we had given it a go as your parents.”
and covered her mouth with her hand. It was a gesture that was so like
Gabrielle that Xena felt her heart pull from her chest. “Oh Xena thank you I
forgive you too! Maybe now we can give each other that chance that we didn’t
crying and was unable to form words without sounding ridiculous so she did the
next best thing; she grabbed Hope and embraced her. They cried on each other’s
shoulders for many minutes.
watched from the entrance to the hallway. She had the same expression on her
face that Hope had just a few moments before and tears were running down her
cheeks onto the hand that covered her mouth.
stock of her heart and feelings while she held the daughter that she had never
touched except in hatred or trickery. She realized as she cried that her
forgiveness had bought her a very precious item. It had bought her a daughter
that she had shunned and that gift was worth everything.
couldn’t stand it any longer. She had watched them hold each other for several
minutes before she felt the need to join them. That is when the strangest thing
happened. Both Xena and Hope held out their hands and looked towards where she
was standing. Surly they couldn’t see her but she should have known that Xena
at least would know that she was there. She did not hesitate for a heartbeat;
she ran to them and embraced them. The three women put their tear stained
cheeks together and basked in the warmth of family.