This is my first Xena fanfic. Be honest, tell me what you think.

I don't own anything.

I sat in a chair my feet propped up on the window sill, a scroll in my lap. I had tried to write when we first came to the inn, but couldn't seem to get any of my thoughts down. There were too many thoughts in my head, I guess. So I stared out into the night sky, my mind traveling to thoughts of Eli. I was still coming to grips with my part in his death. I was trying to cope with the guilt I was feeling. Even though I know what I did was the right thing to do, I still felt guilty. I feel like it is my fault he's dead. If I'd have fought for him, he'd still be alive. But fighting for him against Ares was not the way things were meant to turn out. The events of that moment- my choices, Eli's choices, Ares' choices- were all meant to happen.

Through everything that's happened in my time traveling with Xena, I've come to realize everything happens for a reason. Some of those reasons we know right away. Other times, though, those reasons aren't as clear right away. We may think we know the real reason something happened, but it isn't the real reason. It takes days, seasons, years to know the exact reason why something happened. And sometimes we don't ever find out the reason, we just have to accept this as a part of our lives. Meeting and traveling with Xena is all of these things wrapped into one.

When I first met her, I had thought she had come into my life to teach me everything she knew and turn me into this great warrior. Everything I thought she was there for happened- she did teach me and she even trained me and between her and the Amazons, I became a warrior. But that wasn't the real reason she was in my life. I've come to realize the real reason she came into my life is because of our past. Xena is my soul mate. We were meant to be together. She needed me as much as I needed her. She's told me, on occasion, that I am the reason she stayed on her path of good. We both managed to keep each other grounded when we were both trying to find ourselves. How we did that is still a mystery to me.

Xena shifted in bed, snapping me out of my thoughts. I looked at her, watching her as she tried to get comfortable. Now that she's pregnant, she is usually asleep before me. This gives me more opportunities to watch her sleep, something I enjoy doing, but rarely get to. She's so calm, so at peace when she sleeps it's almost as if I'm looking at a different person. Sometimes I wish that calm would show itself during her waking hours. But I know that won't happen. She's too strong, too in control. Since she's been pregnant, she's allowed more of her vulnerabilities to surface when we're alone together. In the mornings, she'll tell me about the crazy dreams she's been having about the baby- like the night she dreamt about giving birth to Argo. But at night, she'll talk about her fears. She used to talk about the unknowns. She knew the baby was good, but still didn't know where it came from and how she got pregnant. That made her uneasy and to be honest, it did the same for me.

I look away from Xena, back into the night sky. In my mind, I travel back, years before now. My mind travels to Hope. I find myself thinking about her more and more lately. Ever since I found out about Xena's pregnancy, I can't help but think about the child I bore without knowing how I got pregnant. The child I conceived by losing my blood innocence. The child of an evil god. The child that was supposed to bring his reign down on mankind. The child I tried to protect. The child I eventually killed. The child that nearly tore Xena and I apart. The cycle of blame I've gone through to account for her actions is so broad. I've blamed myself, I've blamed Xena, I've blamed Caesar, I've blamed everyone. But blame doesn't fix anything. It doesn't bring Solan back. It doesn't erase all the problems it caused between Xena and I. It took me a long time, but I finally give up playing the blame game. I had to just accept that it happened and there's nothing I can do to change it. Xena has forgiven me. If there's one thing I've learned from my time with Xena, its that it is harder to forgive yourself than it is for anyone else to forgive you. I may have accepted what happened as a part of this life, but I will never forgive myself for killing that girl, for bringing Hope into this world, for not killing her, for Solan's death, for killing her. How can anyone forgive themselves when they've killed someone for no reason, or killed their child, or played a part in the death of another child?

I quickly wiped away a tear that had begun to roll down my cheek and continued to look out at the stars and moon.

Before today, I'd wondered about Xena's baby. Even though she assured me that the child was good, that she felt it was good, I still wondered. How could she just end up pregnant? Without being with a man, she was having a child. It didn't make sense to me. But today, when we found out that Callisto gave her the child, I had to seriously think about this. Callisto was evil while she was alive. She thrived on killing and causing pain. She was so evil she ended up in Hell for what she did. Until Xena saved her, that is.

Xena went to Hell, in Callisto's place, to make up for the pain she caused Callisto so many years before. That was one of the greatest sacrifices Xena's ever made. She was willing to spend an eternity in Hell so that Callisto could be relieved of her suffering. Even after she had been cleansed and absolved of her sins, I still didn't trust her. I did eventually forgive her for killing Perdicas. It wasn't the Callisto I met in Heaven that killed Perdicas anyway. That woman died when Xena saved her soul from Hell.

I still think about the woman whose soul is now in the body of Xena's baby. I think about all the pain and suffering she caused and, even though I know she's been absolved of her sins and had her evil past washed away, I still worry that the old Callisto is in there, just as I worry about the old Xena within the one I know and love. I worry that the evil that was in Callisto is going to rear its ugly head within that child. It's already fighting an uphill battle being the child of Xena. But to add on the evil that Callisto had inside of her. That's just a double dose of trouble waiting to happen.

Xena's body jerked as if snapping out of a dream. I looked at her. She rolled over and looked at me. "You're still awake?" she asked.

"I was just thinking," I said. "I'm having a hard time sleeping, so I figured I'd write, but I can't seem to do that either."

"Do we need to call Aphrodite again?" Xena asked with a small smirk.

I smiled as I got up. "No. I'm giving up for the night." I crossed the room and slid into bed next to Xena. I wrapped my arms around her.

She looked at me with those bright blue eyes. "What were you thinking about?"

I looked into her eyes. I didn't want to tell her about some of the things I was thinking about. "Us. You, me, and the baby."

"Our family," Xena said. She leaned in and kissed me. When she broke the kiss, she looked into my eyes. "I know that's not the only thing you've been thinking about, but I'll let it slide for now."

I smiled. "You'd better let it slide for a while, or until you read my scrolls."

"I'll read them someday," Xena said. "When we're retired and watching our grandkids run around."

"Grandkids, Xena?" I asked. "Let's just get through raising this baby, and then we'll talk about grandkids."

Xena smiled. "Sounds like a plan to me."