Page last updated: January 1, 2005

Chapter 9

Xena walked into the priestess' quarters without so much as a knock and saw her sitting at the table with a scroll in front of her.

"Daphne? I need to talk to you. It's about Gabrielle."

The woman looked up at her a little startled.

"Sorry. Guess I should've knocked."

"It's all right."

Xena sat down at the table across from the woman and then tried to gather her thoughts.

"You said if I needed to talk to you, you were here to help. I guess I'm taking you up on that offer."


"You already seemed to have guessed that I, um, I've been thinking about Gabrielle." Xena looked everywhere but at the priestess. "More than thinking about her. I don't know how much longer I can take being around her and not..."


"Not letting her know."

"Not letting her know..."

"That I'm attracted to her."

"Attracted to her?"

Her voice sounded a little strained and Xena realized she wasn't being entirely honest.

"Okay, more than attracted to her, but..."


"I want so much more than..."


"Yes.... I fell in love with her.... But she's so young. I know she doesn't understand."

"Maybe she understands more than you think."

"No. Not about this. She never loved Perdicus, at least, not as a wife loves her husband. She married him because he needed her. I don't even think she realizes it, realizes the difference. She does it completely without thought. Whatever is needed, she fulfills that need. I know she left Potedeia for personal reasons, but I think she followed me because, even then, she could see I needed a friend, someone to guide me and keep me on the straight and narrow. That's all she could ever feel for me is friendship."

"You don't think she could have fallen in love with you, too?"

"If she's in love with me, it's not me, it's the hero she wants me to be. And I can't accept that. It's not enough."

There was a lengthy pause and then the woman finally spoke.

"Has she ever seen your dark side?"


"What did she do?"

"She fought me. Went against my direct orders. She saved us all."

"So, she didn't run screaming. She stood up to you."

"Yeah. What are you getting at?"

"I think maybe she started out wanting to help you, saw you do spectacular things and fell into a little hero worship, then got used to you and became your friend. And then she f-fell in love with you."

"No. You don't know her. She sees only the good in people. I don't think she really understands the evil that I'm capable of."

"But you said she saw your dark side."

"Yes, but it barely scratched the surface and even that.... I saw the look of horror and disgust in her eyes. If she knew that was barely a taste of the Warlord.... Whatever image of me she loves, it isn't me, it's the character she puts into her stories and calls the Warrior Princess."

"I think you're underestimating her intelligence," she said, her eyes flashing in anger slightly.

"No, not her intelligence. She's smarter than anyone else I know. It's.... She doesn't want to see the evil, so she doesn't, even when it's staring her right in the face. She just can't accept that I'm unforgivable. The things I've done.... There's no excuse."

"Maybe it's you who's having trouble accepting. You seem to be living in the past, instead of accepting your new life in the present. No one is perfect. It sounds like she knows that and understands that there will be times when you lose your way."

"But when I lose my way, people die."

"Since you made your conversion from evil, have you killed without provocation?"

"What do you mean?"

"Have you killed anyone that wasn't a threat? Just for sport or fun or because you felt like it?"

"No. But just because I felt justified doesn't make it right."

"You're right, but there is a difference between killing to protect yourself, or those you love, and killing just to have killed."

"It's still a part of who I am."

"Now you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. You know I'm right. Go to her."

"No. I can't. I won't.... Look. If you see her, tell her I'm at the stables."

"Sure, Xena."

Xena stood and left to go finish taking care of Argo. As soon as the door closed behind her, the woman in the room grinned.

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