Part 1

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This story is the sequel to "Strange Intimacy" which in turn was the sequel to "Mirth In Heaven". I strongly recommend reading the stories in the order in which they were written.
Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle, and any other characters you recognize are property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance, and are used without permission. This story is property of the author, namely me, and may not be reproduced, retransmitted, or posted anywhere without my expressed permission.
Warnings: This story is rated NC-17. Do not read it if you are under 17 years of age, or if the idea of two women (or two men) in love turns you off. This story contains explicit sexual content, as well as probably some four-letter words. Also, certain characters from the Xenaverse will appear who may not be very popular, so if you're "allergic" to them, beware.
Time Frame: This story is assumed to take place before the events of XWP Third and HTLJ Fourth Season.
Xenite Disclaimer for Part One: No rabbits died in the production of this fanfic. However, Joxer's nose is still a little sore.

It was an unusual day for Gabrielle, Bard of Poteidaia. At least four unusual things happened before breakfast.

The first unusual thing was that Gabrielle woke up, feeling rested and alert, just as a cock crowed in the forest. The second unusual thing happened when Gabrielle sat up and discovered that she was up before Xena. The Warrior Princess lay on her back, sleeping peacefully, beside Gabrielle on their shared bedroll. Gingerly, Gabrielle poked a shoulder and softly called her friend, mentor and lover's name.

The third unusual thing was when Xena, in response to being poked, rolled over on her side, facing away from Gabrielle, threw one long arm across her eyes, and mumbled sleepily. Cautiously, Gabrielle poked her again, harder.

The fourth unusual thing was when Xena finally groaned, yawned, sat up, blinked blearily at Gabrielle, yawned again, stretched, turned away, and vomited into the firepit.

"Are you sure you're not mad?"

Hercules and his increasingly annoyed blond sidekick strode down the path.

"For the tenth time, Herc, no, I'm not mad. Can we get off it already?"

"I just want to be sure things are okay between us."

"I told you it's fine. Listen, Hercules," Iolaus turned and walked backwards, facing his larger friend. "Doesn't it kind of bother you that we've been having this same conversation for over two months now?"

"I just want to be sure," Hercules mumbled, not meeting his friend's eyes.

"Now you're repeating yourself. Look, can't we just talk about the weather?"

"Sure, okay...." Hercules looked up at the sky. "Gee, it's awfully ... um ... sunny today." He gave Iolaus a hopeful smile.

Iolaus groaned. "Oh, brother."

Gabrielle rushed to fetch a water canteen from Argo's saddlebags. Gently, she wiped Xena's mouth clean and helped her wash away the bitter taste of bile. Gabrielle held her lover's head tenderly and wiped her hair back from her face.

"No offense, Xena, but you look terrible."

"Thanks," Xena said wryly. "I feel worse."

"Do you think it was something you ate?" Gabrielle continued to support the warrior as she sat up and then stood.


"Then what?" Gabrielle's concern grew as Xena stood with one hand on her flat muscled stomach, an expression of displeasure on her face.

"Gabrielle, this is all your fault. I think I'm pregnant."

Joxer the Mighty also had a problem, and she was short, blonde, and extremely curvy.

No, not Aphrodite. He should be so lucky.

At the moment she had him by the nose and they were having a conversation. Joxer's contribution consisted largely of variations on "Ow!". She, however, was somewhat more loquacious.

"....and you can't tell me that's the way you was raised, cuz I know better. Mister High and Mighty! You gonna march yo'butt right back over there and do the honorable thing or I'll know the reason why! And don't think you're too big for me to be taking my belt to ya!" She finally wound down. "So whaddya say, big man you?"

"Yes, Ba," Joxer said quickly, obediently. She let go his nose. He rubbed it sulkily.

"Always grabbig by doze! Whad is id with people grabbig by doze?"

"Get a move on, mister!"

"Yes, Ma."

"And take the horse. No wastin' time in the forest, y'hear?"

"No, Ma. Yes, Ma."


Joxer fled. The horse was waiting outside the inn. He eyed it warily. It eyed him warily. Horses scared Joxer, but his mother scared him more. He mounted up and took off at a gallop.

"What?" Gabrielle was dumbfounded. "Pregnant? Are you sure?"

"I know about these things, Gabrielle. I haven't been bleeding for two months. My breasts are swollen, I can't keep breakfast down, I'm hungry all the time, and I've been gaining weight."

"Really?" Gabrielle slid her hands under Xena's tunic and cupped her lover's breasts. "Hey, you're right. They are bigger." She smirked slightly. "And I thought I liked them before!"

"Ow! Cut it out!" Wincing, Xena grabbed Gabrielle's wrists and pulled them away. "Gabrielle, quit fooling around. This is serious."

"I'm sorry," Gabrielle said contritely. "But ... Xena ... you can't ... you haven't ... wait a minute...!" She raised her eyebrows. "Ulysses?!"

"What? No!" Xena exclaimed testily. "Gabrielle, you were on that ship with us the whole time. Would I do that to you?"

"Well...." Gabrielle furrowed her brow. "Then how? Who?"

"Don't play innocent, Gabrielle. You know perfectly well how this happened. You and your brilliant ideas!"

Comprehension finally hit and Gabrielle's mouth fell open. "By Tartarus!"

"Yeah, that's one way of putting it."

Hercules and Iolaus walked down the road in silence. After a while Hercules ventured, "So I hear they're adding the discus throw to the Olympics."

"Oh, really?" Iolaus perked up.




They fell silent again.

After another moment they could hear the hoofbeats of a single horse approaching at high velocity. They stopped to see who it was. The horse came hurtling round a bend and Hercules stepped in front of it, forcing the horse to stop, which it did, whinnying in protest.


"Hey Hercules ... Iolaus," Joxer panted. "Can't talk. Got a mission. I mean, a quest. Yeah, that's it ... a quest! Gotta go!" He maneuvered the horse around Hercules and took off again. "She's gonna kill meeeee...." his voice carried faintly as he faded from view. Hercules and Iolaus looked at each other.

"Wonder what that was about."

"Beats me."


They walked on.

"But I - Hercules - I mean, we - But-"

"Snap out of it, Gabrielle. Find me some yarrow root." Xena grabbed the saddlebags and fastened them into place on Argo. "And help me fold up the bedroll. We need to find an inn."

"Yarrow root?" Gabrielle's head spun. "No -- Xena, you can't do that. This is OUR baby!" Her expression softened abruptly. "Oh, a cute little baby ... I hope he looks just like you ... I can make him cute little outfits and teach him to sing...."

"GABRIELLE!" Xena grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "Are you nuts? You think I want to drag some whining, smelly, puking kid around into battle? We can't have this baby!"

"But Xena, at least we have to talk about it," Gabrielle said earnestly. "We should contact Hercules ... after all it is sort of partly his baby ... kind of...."

"We're not telling Hercules about this. Understand?"

"But Xena...."

After a while Hercules ventured, "You know, maybe we could try it again."

Iolaus gave him a look, half hopeful, half disdainful. "Really?"

"Yeah ... I mean, if you want."

"If *I* want? What about if *you* want?"

"I want?" Hercules looked away. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Probably don't."


"Nothing." Iolaus took a closer look at his friend. "Hey...." he said sympathetically. "Are you thinking about Serena?"

"No!" Hercules said quickly. "I was thinking about ... um ... Autolycus."

"Oh." Iolaus looked again. "You're blushing!"

"I am NOT blushing!"

"Sure," Iolaus agreed, grinning. "So, Autolycus, eh?"

Hercules grunted.


Xena and Gabrielle found their way to the road, still arguing.

"Xena, we have to tell Hercules. It's only right."

"Gabrielle, you don't know him the way I do. He'll get all noble and high-minded and we'll never be rid of him. The best thing is just to take care of it and get on with our lives."

"But Xeeeena, this baby was created in *love.* Our love! Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

Xena stopped walking and looked fondly at her bard. "Of course it means something to me. But-"

Both women stopped as the sound of hoofbeats approached from behind them. They turned to see a single horse approaching, and Xena stepped in front of it, forcing the horse to stop, which it did, whinnying in protest.


"Oh, hey Xena, Gabby," Joxer panted. "I'm kind of in a hurry."

"So we see," Gabrielle noted. "On a mission?"

"Yes!" Joxer's eyes widened. "How did you know?"

"Lucky guess. So where are you headed?"

"Um, my mom's inn ... it's just a few more miles this way," Joxer twittered nervously. Gabrielle and Xena exchanged a look.

"An inn?" Gabrielle said.

"Your mother?" Xena said. "Oh, this is too good to pass up."


"We'll come with you," Xena pronounced. "Lead the way, Joxer." She swung up onto Argo and reached down to help Gabrielle mount behind her. Joxer looked torn.

"Um, I don't know if that's such a goo-"


"Yes Xena," he said meekly, and spurred his horse down the road.

In the bowels of a large castle, a door slammed violently. Cowed servants scattered every which way, whispering excitedly to each other like frightened mice. One unlucky page boy was handed a mop, and he cautiously began cleaning up the soup from the floor outside the slammed door.

"Autolycus," Iolaus said for the tenth time. "Come on, Herc. Tell me about it!"

"I said there's nothing to tell," Hercules griped. "Can't we drop it already?"

"What's he got that I haven't got?" Iolaus persisted.


"Do y - Hey, look." Iolaus was distracted by a hand-lettered sign prominently displayed along the path. "Mom's Tavernn and In," he read. "'Home-Cooked Fud.' Sounds good, eh?" He looked at Hercules. "You hungry?"

"Always. You?"

"Of course."

"Right. Let's go."

"Mom, this is Xena ... and this is Gabrielle," Joxer introduced, hiding behind Xena as his mother narrowed her eyes at the two women.

"Nice to meetcha," she pronounced. "For a warrior princess you sure are skinny. Ain't your mama never feed you properly?" Without waiting for an answer, she turned her attention to Gabrielle. "And you. A little slip of a girl! Well, I suppose a sidekick's supposed to be skinny. It'd kill you to make her a good hearty meal once in a while?" She grabbed each of them by an arm and plunked them into chairs. "You two sit and rest awhile. I'll make you some stew. You want potatoes with that?" Before they could speak she answered herself. "Of course you do. A big girl like you needs her potatoes. Coming right up!" She turned briskly away, leaving Xena and Gabrielle somewhat stunned. Neither of them had said a single word to her.

She turned her glare on her son. He cowered under her gaze. "Now, Ma," he protested weakly, "it's not my fault! She refused to see me! Honest!"

"You'll go back and not leave till your duty is done!" his mother ordered. "But first, some nice stew. Look at you, all skin and bones! Didn't I teach you anything about nutrition?"

"Yes, Ma."

"Now come in the kitchen and help peel the potatoes."

"Yes, Ma."

"Now this explains EVERYTHING," Gabrielle said, amused, as she and Xena watched Joxer trot obediently after his mother.

"Yep." Xena looked thoughtful. "I wonder if she has any yarrow root."

"Xena! I thought we were going to discuss this!"

"I told you there's nothing to discuss. I - Oh, Tartarus!" Xena exclaimed in sudden displeasure, glancing over Gabrielle's shoulder.

"What?" Gabrielle spun around to see what was behind her.

In the doorway stood Hercules and Iolaus, looking around the room. Iolaus spotted the women first and waved cheerily. Gabrielle waved back. The men started to weave their way between the other tables.

"I guess we are going to discuss it after all," Gabrielle said with satisfaction, turning back to Xena.

The Warrior Princess fumed.

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joan the english chick
Last updated 30 December, 1997