Also, I'd like to note that I do not own Xena: Warrior Princess, the series, or the characters and I will not be receiving any payment whatsoever for writing this story. It is intended for entertainment purposes only.
Once they had found Borias just outside of camp, Xena approached him. "Borias, I made a promise to Gabrielle to return her sister to her parents. We leave tomorrow morning. We will take Satrina along with us," Xena said matter-of-factly.
"Gabrielle is close to her time," said Borias as he glanced at Gabrielle. With the padding Gabrielle was wearing, she looked as though she could "pop" at just about any minute.
"No, Xena. You will leave Gabrielle here with me. I will not have MY child compromised by your wild scheme," said Borias firmly.
"Gabrielle goes with me," Xena said just as sternly. "She DOES NOT leave my side. If she goes into labor, I will be there to help her... as will Satrina. She will be FINE."
"She carries my son," argued Borias. "She belongs here with me."
Xena's blue eyes flashed fire. "If you try to take her from me, you will have a fight on your hands, Borias. I won't be separated from her... not now... and not EVER."
"Fine then. Take her with you, Xena. But if anything happens to my son; you will answer to me. And believe me, I have already lost one son because of you. I won't lose another."
"You lost Belach because of your own stupidity. It had nothing to do with me," Xena snapped.
Borias sneered at Xena, then walked away. Xena winced as she reached for Gabrielle's hand. "We won't get out of camp fast enough," Xena said as she looked into Gabrielle's bright green eyes. With all the arguing and tension involving Borias coupled with the episode with Alti, Xena had just about had it. Her pregnancy was coming to it's end. She could sense it. It was time to find a safe place to give birth to her baby.
Gabrille looked at Xena with a worried expression upon her face. "Whatever you need me to do," she whispered when Xena said they wouldn't get out of camp fast enough. "Let's hurry." She knew it would be a difficult situation if Xena should go into labor while here in camp. Their lie would be totally exposed.
With Satrina and Lila's help, they got some items packed for their trip. Soon they had everything ready to go. "Lila can ride with you, Satrina," Xena said as she and Gabrielle got on the other horse. They were actually going only about a three days ride from the campsite, to a small cabin in the forest. There they would stay until Xena's child arrived. It wouldn't be long, Xena was sure, as already she was feeling gnawing pains in her lower back. Labor would be starting soon. And she was glad because she was already as large as a whale. How she had managed to hide her pregnancy so long was nothing short of a miracle.
When they arrived at the small cabin, Xena's water broke. Immediately she doubled over in pain and nearly fell from the horse where she was seated with Gabrielle. "It's time," she moaned in pain.
Satrina, Lila and Gabrielle rushed to Xena's side. Satrina quickly prepped the inside of the cabin as Lila and Gabrielle carefully helped Xena inside to get her settled fast as the baby would soon be arriving. It was all a flurry of motion as everyone was doing their assigned chore to help with the baby's birth.
Xena was trying to be brave, but the pain was intensifying. She found it hard to breathe. Satrina had pounded a small pole into the earth. She instructed Xena to squat down and hold on tight to the pole. "Gravity will aid in the birth," she said. Satrina then instructed Gabrielle to get behind Xena to hold her up if needed and give her support. Lila was boiling water and finding all the supplies Satrina would need.
Satrina checked Xena, finding that the top of the baby's head was already visible. This little one wanted out fast. "Xena, it's time to push. Bear down; use all your strength," commanded Satrina.
Xena pushed, crying out with the effort. "I fucking HATE you, Borias!" she screamed.
Gabrielle was there by Xena's side to support her as needed. She couldn't imagine how excruciating it felt to have a baby, but from what she could tell, it definitely difficult work.
"The baby is almost here, Xena," Satrina promised, hearing Xena cry out with pain. "A few more pushes." Xena felt as though her lower body was splitting in half as the baby was making its way into the world. How she hated Borias for doing this to her. She had never wanted a baby. Gabrielle's presence gave Xena the strength to go on. She pushed with all her might and the baby began to emerge. Satrina was there to guide the tiny head from Xena's body. A loud cry of pain escaped Xena's lips as the child slid into Satrina's hands.
"It's a boy!" Satrina exclaimed as she held the infant.
Xena struggled to look, wanting to see the child and make sure he was alright. "A boy?" she said softly. "I knew it would be a boy."
Lila brought warm toweling and the water so Satrina could wash away the birthing blood and then Satrina handed the squirming infant to Xena and Gabrielle. Xena immediately pressed the baby into Gabrielle's arms. "You have a son," she said weakly. She was so sore and all she wanted now was rest. She closed her eyes as Satrina helped her lay down on a cot.
Gabrielle continued to hold the infant in her arms. "Will Xena be alright?" she asked Satrina with agitation. The baby was beautiful and in need of love and comfort, but Gabrielle was worried about Xena.
Satrina saw the love and concern in Gabrielle's eyes when Gabrielle asked about Xena. Gently, Satrina tried to reassure Gabrielle about Xena's condition. "She'll be fine, sweetie. She just needs a whole lot of rest so she may recover," promised Satrina. Satrina then busied herself with carefully washing Xena's lower body and covering her with a soft blanket. Already Xena was sleeping.
Lila approached Gabrielle, looking at the small baby in her sister's arms. "Awwww, he's adorable," said Lila, as she gazed at the newborn child. "Are you and Xena really taking me home now to Mother and Father?"
"You're going too, aren't you, Gabby? You don't want to stay with Xena, do you?" Lila asked. "She's mean and... well, I don't really know what she makes you do when you are alone with her... but you don't like it, do you, Gabby?" Lila had so many questions. She found life in Xena's camp very confusing. Deep down, she suspected that her older sister was now Xena's lover, but she had a hard time wrapping her mind around the thought of it. How could anyone actually enjoy sleeping with The Conqueror of Nations? Lila shuddered at the mere notion as Xena scared her.
Satrina listened quietly, glancing over at Gabrielle and her younger sister. Wow, Lila really was young and innocent. It was as clear as day that Gabrielle and Xena were in love, even if they hadn't actually admitted it to one another just yet. There would be no way Gabrielle would ever leave Xena, and absolutely no way that Xena would ALLOW her to go. Now that the baby was here, would that change things for Xena and Gabrielle? Would becoming a mother soften Xena at all? Satrina wasn't sure, but it worried her that Xena had just handed the baby aside to Gabrielle, as though she didn't even care in the slightest about her own baby. What was wrong with Xena? Satrina just could not understand.
Giving Gabrielle and her sister some privacy, Satrina went outside to dispose of the afterbirth and to care for the horses. "Gabby?" Lila spoke again, waiting for some answers.
Gabrielle held the infant and sighed softly as she looked at her younger sister. "Lila, I don't know if Xena has actual plans of returning you home to Mother and Father," she responded softly. "The situation is kind of complicated. And even if you were returned, I'd have to stay. She needs me... you may not understand that, but she does. And this little guy needs me, too. I'm sorry."
"The Conqueror of Nations needs you? What exactly does she need you for? You are aware she kills people, aren't you, Gabrielle?" Lila gasped. She couldn't believe that Gabrielle actually preferred to remain with Xena. What in the world was wrong with her sister? What exactly had Xena done to Gabrielle?
Lila then looked down at the baby when Gabrielle said that the little one needed her, too. He sure was a cute little thing, with bright sky-blue eyes and a tuft of blond hair upon his small head. Satrina entered the cabin then, looking down at the baby that Gabrielle held.
"He doesn't look at all like Xena or Borias," Satrina observed, which was a good thing. At least now, Borias might truly believe the baby was Gabrielle's. Hopefully he would never suspect that it was actually Xena who had given birth to his child.
"Gabrielle," Xena then called out from the cot where she had been lying. She hadn't been sleeping long, but she needed Gabrielle right there beside her. She felt vulnerable and needed Gabrielle's soft touch and her soothing words.
"Let's leave them alone for a second," Satrina suggested to Lila, leading the young girl from the cabin.
Gabrielle knew that Lila never would understand her feelings for Xena but that was alright. When Xena called, Gabrielle went to her side. Holding the baby in her arms, she joined Xena. "How are you feeling?" she asked gently.
Xena managed a smile for Gabrielle as she gazed at her adoringly. "I'll be fine," she promised as she looked at the tiny bundle Gabrielle was holding in her arms. When the infant whimpered, Xena's breasts ached. They were full of milk for the baby, yet she had never once thought of actually holding the child... nor had she thought of feeding him. She had always thought of the baby as Gabrielle's as she hadn't actually planned on motherhood.
"Do you... do you think he's hungry?" Xena asked softly, sitting up on the bed despite the pain it cost her. She slowly opened her tunic, exposing a full breast and reaching for the tiny baby. When she saw him, she couldn't help but gasp. He was absolutely beautiful.
This was HER baby. HER miracle. "He's.. he's perfect," Xena said, her voice breaking. She then pressed the baby close to her chest, allowing him to nurse. He latched on hungrily, taking nourishment. Xena looked at Gabrielle, finding nursing the baby to be a strange feeling. She realized all the sudden she loved this baby. She wanted him after all.
"He has hair of blond and eyes of blue," Xena marvelled of the baby. "He doesn't look like Borias or me at all. He looks like he could be yours..."
Gently Xena caressed the blond tuft of hair on the child's head while he nursed. She then reached for Gabrielle's hand, kissing it softly. "He's ours. I truly mean that, Gabrielle. I have made a decision..." Xena spoke. "We won't be staying at the camp. We are leaving. Just you, me and this baby. We are a family now, the three of us. I need no others... only you and our son."
"Will you go away with me, Gabrielle?" Xena asked. For the first time ever, Xena was giving Gabrielle a choice. In her eyes, Gabrielle was no longer a slave, but an equal, her love and her woman.
The sight of Xena breastfeeding the baby was a gorgeous site to Gabrielle. She watched Xena with the infant boy and she smiled. She was glad to see Xena taking to the baby. "I'm glad," she said softly," I want him to be ours as well, I will go away with you but only on the condition that your return Lila to my parents. She's lost and confused, so please send her back because I can't bear to run off and leave her here. "
Xena nodded when she heard Gabrielle's request. "I promise, I will take Lila back to your parents or I will find someone who can take her home. But you won't leave me, will you, Gabrielle?" she asked softly, fearing the worst. When Lila returned to her parents, would Gabrielle want to go too? Would she leave Xena? Xena felt as though her entire world would crash and burn if Gabrielle left her.
Xena's eyes then settled on the little one who was tugging at her breast hungrily. Would she have to raise this small little boy alone? She didn't want to do it... not without Gabrielle. When Xena finally did look back up again at Gabrielle, there were tears in her eyes. She didn't want Gabrielle to go.
"I won't leave," Gabrielle promised, glad that Xena was going to find a way to take Lila taken back to Potedia. Leaning over, she kissed away each of Xena's tears. "I would never leave you or our baby," she honestly. "Not ever."
Xena lightly shuddered at the sweet and tender sensation of Gabrielle kissing away her tears. "I'd never leave you either," Xena promised Gabrielle. "You're mine forever."
Xena then looked at the little one and gently disengaged his tiny mouth from her nipple. She then switched him to the other breast which was heavy with milk for him. He drank like he was starved.
"I think he has your appetite, Gabrielle..." Xena said to her love with a smirk. "We have to name this little one, you know."
"With that soft golden hair of his, I was thinking of Solan." Xena gazed at Gabrielle, hoping she liked the name she had chosen.
Gabrielle smiled. "I think Solan is the perfect name," she said. "It suits him." She gazed at little Solan who was still nursing. Gabrielle would do everything in her power to protect him and to be there for Xena; she couldn't bear to lose either one of them.
"Solan it is then," Xena spoke, kissing the infant's tiny head. He had just finished nursing, so Xena gently removed him from her breast. She handed the tiny bundle back to her Love. "Our son needs his diaper changed," she told Gabrielle.
She realized then, they had no diapers for the baby. In fact, they had nothing at all he needed. Thankfully, Satrina came to the rescue. She and Lila had just reentered the cabin and had overheard Xena and Gabrielle's dilemma.
"Here," she said, handing Gabrielle a small satchel. It was filled with diapers, soft tiny gowns, infant swaddling cloths, and other clothing necessary for the little one. "Lila and I have been making items for the baby."
Gabby tenderly diapered and dressed Solan; incredibly thankful that Lila and Satrina had thought ahead and made clothing. They would have been so lost without the assorted baby garments that had been provided.
Xena smiled at Satrina, feeling tired and still incredibly sore from the birth. Although she was sleepy, she loved watching Gabrielle with their son. Already, the little baby boy seemed to know that Gabrielle was his mommy as he gazed up at her with his sparkling blue eyes.
"When I am better, we return to camp," Xena said to Satrina. "I need to have a long talk with Borias." Satrina nodded. She had a strong feeling that she knew what Xena was going to say to her former lover.