You Loved Me Once
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from X:WP they belong to MCA Universal.
"Xena…please let me…." Ephiny started. Xena stopped walking and turned suddenly.
"Let you explain what Ephiny?" Xena asked. Ephiny searched Xena's eyes for forgiveness, but only found pain. "When I needed you most you chose your queen over me."
"It's my duty!" Ephiny yelled suddenly angry that Xena was angry at her for doing her duty. "An Amazon's first duty is to protect her Queen."
"Protect your queen, your queen caused the death of my son!" Xena yelled.
"I thought you had forgiven her for that," Ephiny told her suggesting that Xena had not truly forgiven Gabrielle. Xena sneered.
"No, I forgave her, I'm merely repeating what we all thought. If it had been Xenon I would have been by your side helping you through it because I loved you. I knew what loyalties I owed to you and which to Gabrielle."
"And I knew my loyalties as well," Ephiny defended. Xena shook her head.
"Did you really Ephiny?" Xena asked. "How many Amazons in your tribe hundreds? They all have a duty to their queen, she didn't need you, I did. Joxer who she scorns every day whose love she takes for granted stood by her waiting wanting to comfort her. And all I had was my sorrow, no one there to help me through, no comfort just a manipulating little god of war."
Ephiny suddenly realized the weight of Xena's sorrow, she had never once searched for Xena, and made sure she was okay. She had tended to Gabrielle who was surrounded by people who loved her, and Xena had no one. No, she did have someone, Ephiny realized, and that someone had turned away from her as if it were her fault.
"Ephiny please don't make this worse than ever just go back to your happy little village. I don't love you anymore and it's clear you never loved me." Ephiny frowned as she walked Xena walk away. She loved Xena, she had since that night they had discovered it wasn't the Centaurs who had killed their princess. Ephiny hurried after Xena.
"Xena give us a chance to work through this please," Ephiny told her as she found her sitting with her back to her looking down over a hillside at the open country. Some Amazon children who should have been at lessons or chores played.
"We don't have a chance, I can't love you anymore."
"Can't?" Ephiny asked. " Xena there's no can't loving someone, I can't go on with my life and pretend I dun love you because you shun me."
"Well you will have too." Xena stood and turned walking pass Ephiny.
"Xena, you loved me once, you can love me again despite my sins, and I will make every day count to make it up to you," Ephiny told her. "You loved me once, and you still love me now." Xena looked at Ephiny surprised at her fierceness in her voice as she attempted to claim her back. She only saw love, hope, and guilt in her eyes.
"Ephiny there's really nothing you can do."
"I can give up being regent to Solari," Ephiny told her. "When this is all over with Brutus, I'll do it. I can't live like this anymore, I have missed you every day, and it's time I stopped being stubborn. We both deserve to be happy."
"You would give that up for me, leave them?" Ephiny nodded.
"We can visit, I know living here isn't for you, but all amazons deserve love even the regent." Xena moved closer to Ephiny without taking their eyes away from one another they kissed and hugged each other as if they hadn't seen each other in a long time.
"When this is all over?" Xena asked.
"When this is all over," Ephiny promised.
After the endgame:
"Ephiny," Gabrielle cried. Ephiny lay dead in Xena's arms murdered at the hands of Brutus. Xena let her tears fall, how many years had been wasted in anger and when they were finally going to be together, one of them was snatched away by death's warm embrace. They gave her a proper Amazon Queen burial.
"You told me I loved you once," Xena whispered to Ephiny's grave. "But the truth is I loved you always."