12-8-05

Gabrielle, Goddess of Love

Chapter One

"Oh, Xena, don't you just love the spring time? Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the air is so clean and fresh!"

"And winter is over and my feet have finally warmed up."

"Is that all Spring means to you? Warm feet? What about all the new life we're seeing? What about all the animals beginning their courtship – rabbits and birds and deer?"

"Yeah, there are all those lean, stringy deer that need fattening up before they're fit to eat."

Gabrielle looked at Xena, not quite sure if she was kidding and trying to see if she could get a rise out of her. Or was she serious, and not at all touched by the newly awakened glory of Spring?

"And there are the all those colds people get this time of year – enough to keep you busy well into summer." Xena added.

"You can be just be that way! But I intend to enjoy every single day."

"Well, we should break camp. There's a town a half day from here and I'd like to see what kind of market place they have."

"Since when did you like shopping?"

"Since I heard a weapons merchant set up a booth there, with some of the finest blades in this part of the land."

As the continued on their way to the next town, Gabrielle kept up her commentary about the wonders of Spring, and Xena continued to mock her.

As the entered the outskirts of the village, Gabrielle could sense only a few of its inhabitants who needed her skills.

The first was an old woman, long widowed, and bitter about having to do everything her dead husband used to do. Her bitterness kept her from taking care of herself as she should, and she was complained about one illness after another.

And even after Gabrielle cured her arthritis, her sprained ankle, her headache, and her sneezing fits, the woman still found something to gripe about.

"The least she could have done was to say thanks," Xena said as they left the woman's hut.

"She's just sad, and lonely."

"If you say so."

The next was an infant a few months old. He was suffering from anemia and a slight allergy to his mother's milk.

"See?" Xena said afterward. "They appreciated what you did for their son. Not like that old lady."

"Xena, what do you want me to do? Go back and un-heal her?"

"No, I guess not."

Chapter Two

Their third stop was at the house of Trius, one of the village elders, now retired since he had come down with a severe lung infection. He spent most of his time lying in bed, wracked with a severe cough.

He never married and had no one to see to his needs. He received only one daily visit from one or another of the other elder's wives to bring him food and to make sure he hadn't passed away.

"I don't know how to thank you," he said to Gabrielle as he walked out of his hut for the first time in over a month. "It was … uncomfortable, having to be waited on, and tended to, by someone else's wife."

"Well, you should find yourself a mate," Gabrielle told him.

"This is a small village. Our young men have to find wives in other towns."

"What about that woman who lives near the edge of town? She sure needs a man around." Xena suggested.

"Ah yes, Albas. There was a time when she was a fine figure of a woman with a delightful smile and keen sense of humor, but after her husband was killed, she changed. She became hard and resentful."

Xena expected Gabrielle to say something encouraging, but instead she seemed lost in thought.

"Well, I guess we should be going. It appears Gabrielle has other things on her mind."

"Well, thank you again. I shall never forget it."

As Xena and Gabrielle walked away, Gabrielle suddenly stopped and turned back to Trius.

"Would you walk with us to the edge of town?" she asked him.

"Well, I suppose so. And I think I'd like to walk around my village again."

It didn't take them long to reach the hut of Albas. And when they did, Gabrielle, called her out.

"What do you want?" she asked, not happy to see any of them. "What's HE doing here?"

Gabrielle took Trius by the hand and walked him over to Albas. She then took the old woman's hand and put it into Truis', holding them together. A soft, golden glow surrounded the couple, and after a very short time, Gabrielle released both hands and backed away as the glow dissipated.

Both Xena and Gabrielle watched as the elderly couple looked into each other's eyes, and then Albas led Trius into her home.

Xena turned to Gabrielle with a confused look on her face.

"What did you do to them?"

"I made them fall in love. The needed each other, so – why not?"

"You do know we already have a goddess of love, don't you?"

"Of course I know it, but it's evident Aphrodite isn't doing her job."

"She won't be happy about this."

"I don't see why not, it's not like . . . ."

"EXCUSE ME!"

Gabrielle and Xena turned around to see Aphrodite standing with her hands on her hips, an angry look on her face.

"Exactly WHAT is going on here?"

"Aphrodite, it's so good to see you," Gabrielle said.

"Don't start up with that, I want to know what you're doing, making people fall in love. That's MY thing!"

"And you've been doing a very good job with it, I must say," Gabrielle answered her. "But since I was here, and they were both lonely, I just thought . . . ."

"You just thought you would come in, take over, and do what I'm supposed to do!"

"Come on, Aphrodite," Xena said, "You know Cupid does most of the falling-in-love stuff. You're more into the passion and lust part of it."

"Well, sure. But it's just as important as the mushy I-can't-live-without-you-forever-and-ever part. In fact, it's probably the most important part, now that I think about it. Which I'm sure you and Gabrielle have discovered."

"What!" Both Gabrielle and Xena said at the same time.

"That's crazy." Xena said.

"Whatever gave you THAT idea?" Gabrielle asked.

"Now, you can't tell me you two haven't ever shared your furs, snuggled down together on those long, cold winter nights."

"Well, sure we did, back before I was a god, to keep warm."

"And never since? Who are you trying to fool?"

"Believe me," Xena said. "I love Gabrielle with all my heart and soul, but not like THAT!"

"Well, then you don't know what your missing."

Chapter Three

"BUT," Aphrodite continued, talking to Gabrielle, "That's doesn't excuse the fact that you're a Healer not a Goddess of Love. How would you like it if I went around healing people all the time?"

"Are you kidding?" Gabrielle replied. "I'd LOVE it!"

"What?" Aphrodite asked, confused. "You'd love it?"

"Of course I would! With all the suffering and pain and misery in the world, why wouldn't I want someone else helping to relieve it? Just think of how much the two of us could do. Twice as many people being cured of illnesses, and their broken bones being taken care of, and . . . ."

"No!" Aphrodite interrupted. "No, no, no, no, no, no, NO! I didn't say anything of the sort."

"Actually," Xena said, "I think you did."

"Well . . . that's not what I meant."

"So, what DID you mean?" Gabrielle asked.

"I was making a point. You can't just go around taking other gods' jobs."

"Why not?"

"Well . . . it just isn't DONE! Do you think I would want to be a Goddess of War? Can you really see Ares as the God of Love?"

Xena started laughing. "Now THAT'S funny!"

"You see what I mean?" Aphrodite continued. "It just isn't the way things are. And it's been like that ever since we were born – I'm the Goddess of Love, Ares is the God of War, Athena was the Goddess of Wisdom . . . ."

"But don't you see? I wasn't born a god. So who's to say I can't BE a Goddess of Love? Or a Goddess of War? Or any other kind of goddess I want to be?"

Aphrodite give Xena a helpless look.

"Will you explain it to her?"

"You're asking the wrong person. I think it's a great idea."

Xena started laughing again. "Ares, God of Love! Oh, that's priceless!"

Aphrodite was speechless. Several times she opened her mouth to say something, but couldn't find any words to further her argument.

Finally, just before she disappeared, Aphrodite stomped one foot and warned Gabrielle, "You just stop it! You hear me?"

Gabrielle and Xena looked at each other, and they both burst out laughing.

"She'll get over it," Gabrielle said.

"I can't wait until the next time I see Ares," Xena said, still laughing to herself. "I just can't wait!"

The End