((OOC: So me and @inumbra are doing this Xena Warrior Princess Season 7 thing, going back and forth writing chapters. Basically everything takes place after the series finale, where Xena sacrificed her life to be a spirit fighting in hell to redeem all those that she hurt.
Episode 1: Die When You’re Gone
"In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was….
She was flat on her back, that’s what she was. And not in a good way. Placing her hands behind her head, Xena recover flipped up and kicked one of Yodoshi’s vengeful’s spirits square in the chest. Xena was a spirit herself so it was like they were both corporeal. The spirits looked kind of like wraiths, half-ghost like things that felt cold to the touch. By this time though, Xena was quite used to their temperature.
She looked around to soak in her environment. As an SLE she could do this naturally, effortlessly all at once. The dimension she was in was kind of swirly and gray and dull but with a few streaks of purple here and there on the “walls”. She tried to tell herself that the purple meant something… some sign of hope, after all this time. But who was she kidding?
“Fourteen years… I’ve been here fourteen years” Xena sighed.
“…Still not enough” another Spirit seethed, this time in the form of a toddler that Xena butchered when she was evil. Just for the fun of it. She remembered Borias received sexual gratification from her doing it, they were so sick together. So sick and fucked up. “I’m sorry….” Xena said genuinely to the ghost. But how can you ask a toddler for forgiveness? Does it know? It just poops and cries and eats hot dogs and tugs on his mother’s dress. Xena killed her too.
“You want out? You know there’s no way out…” Two more spirits surrounded her. Adults this time. Xena was growing weary. Not physically, mind you. As a highly skilled warrior with the strength of ten heterosexual men, these fights weren’t that difficult at all. But they were psychologically and emotionally exhausting. She was sick and goddamn tired of it.
She took the two spirits' heads and smashed them together. “I release you from your pain…” Xena knew these spirits couldn’t let go on their own, she had to help them. They were holding onto their pain, pain Xena inflicted upon them. She knew they didn’t deserve this, this was.. the least she could do, right? She tried to tell herself that every day. But she lost what day it really was. Was it Saturday, Wednesday, Thursday? Who knows, who gives a shit. This gig never came with a neat little datebook.
There was always a split second or so Xena could think about Gabrielle. It never lasted that long though, and yet another spirit materialized from the void for Xena to battle. She lost how many count.
Philosophers for a long time have held the notion that the concept of hell is just annoying repetition, of just being stuck. Love and happiness and orgasms, they were relief… elation. Sure they didn’t last long. Sure, they were weak, misty and airy things - like they tell you on condescending Games of Thrones episodes. They were all that stuff, it was true.
But for that sweet romantic second, they gave you a break. Just that nice break. You were elated. Lifted, lighter. You went to heaven. Okay so you came back down again. Most people always do. But who cares, you were there.
There was none of that in this realm… Xena’s heart fell heavier and heavier. She couldn't be completely crushed, she was just a spirit. Her body was already dead. This was nothing, even though it sucked. There was so much more pain she could endure. What was at the bottom of Hell but more holes?
“Okay I need to suck it up and realize this is my fate” Xena said. She drew out her sword from her back again, for goddess-knows-how-many-times.
“This is for Callisto, for Caligula, for Cyane a-and for anybody who I’ve ever hurt whose name probably also beings with a C…” She sliced both of the spirits in half with her sword. A third one showed up. Swoooowsh. It was decapitated.
“Vengeful spirits of woe, you will not become zombies with lots of hit points that rise up and devour the people of planet Gaia” Xena said.
But she was so blah and half-hearted about it, even though she tried to be jokey and positive there. It was hard to make witty battle quips when you weren’t allowed to SEE your friends; the people you care about and sacrifice everything for. The softness in Gabrielle’s eyes… the cadence in Virgil’s voice, and the smell of Ares’ chest. Xena... well. She was dead.
That’s when she saw it. Was she hallucinating? At first she thought she was hallucinating. It couldn’t possibly be real. But no.. it was. She felt it, it was a goddamn bloody change. A change in the weather… after fourteen years of sameness, it was about time.
She saw the dimensional walls rip right out between the purple seams, and gazed in wonder at the light that followed. “Well whaddya know” Xena said with a campy self-satisfied smile on her face. “Evil doesn’t always win after all”
Xena then yodeled heroically and ran over to the escape tunnel. Another being appeared out from the other end. It looked like a kind of generic angel ‘warrior of good’ type person that Director Abbie would believe in. The being also had the aura of authority, and Xena felt like a kid running in the hallways at school again. She slowed down her pace, and allowed the being to communicate with her.
“You have been relieved of your duties by the Higher Powers” the angel said. “Go now… I shall take over your shift.” He said it so formal and business-like, as if Xena’s time here was as easy as working at fucking Dairy Queen.
“Are you sure you’ll be able to handle them all yourself?” Xena asked. Of course truthfully, Xena didn’t give a shit. It was like goddamnit you emo fucking spirits, I know I did fucked up things to you in my past, but get over it already. She just wanted to run and hug Gabrielle again, to feel the warmth squigglyness of her body, and all those Se-sensations you can’t put words to. Fourteen years of redemption was enough, right?
The angel just nodded sternly and professional-like. That was all the reassurance Xena needed. She nodded back to the Angel, and walked out of her prison. Good-bye, Te valuing Angel.
Xena's hopes were shattered however when she realized that coming back to life wasn’t that easy or simple. Okay she was out of that hellish fight low-level ghosts forever dimension. But she wasn’t presto changeo back inside her body whole like. She was ‘inbetween’ on some astral level, and it felt dizzy. So fucking uncomfortable.. like taking too many drugs or spending too much time on forum message boards. She didn’t know where to go… she knew she just had to exist in something, or she’d vanish in complete oblivion.
But in this form she could at least observe. And travel fast. Really fast… she couldn’t do much or affect the physical world around her in any way… but she could at least travel fast…and of course you know where she’s going to go.
Gabrielle looked out the window of the Inn she was staying at that night. Every night, after going from village to village trying to help and do the right thing, she looked out at the stars and remembered her adventures with Xena. It had been fourteen damn years now, but she didn’t forget… she would never forget.
A javelin of light suddenly entered Gabrielle’s body. It felt so fucking amazing… for Xena at least. If only Gabrielle could feel this too with her, but Xena knew that she couldn’t – that it just didn’t work that way. But yeah, it was like getting sex from that person you always wanted sex from. And well then some. But Gabrielle’s consciousness took the back seat for now.
Xena looked down at her hands… and saw Gabrielle’s arms. She touched them and smiled. After being dead for almost a decade and a half, it sure did feel good just to be alive again. But she couldn’t/wouldn’t stay this way forever, it was immoral and evil possession like even if it was lesbian and erotic. No. She would come back as herself, whole- the way she was meant to. And Gabrielle was going to help her.
Xena looked out into the stars, similar to Gabrielle a few moments prior.
She felt Gabrielle’s presence struggle to remain control again. She allowed Gabrielle control of her own body again, not wanting to be too creepy for now.
Xena left Gabrielle’s body and went back as that nothing sort of painful ghost. But spending a little time in the vessel of her soulmate Gabrielle helped her a bit. And she was still a crazy wisp of nothing but a better, slightly better crazy wisp of nothing.
“..Sort of…” Xena sighed, looking at Gabrielle who didn’t notice Xena taking control of her body for a few seconds. She couldn’t communicate with Gabrielle this way, just look at her. She could look at Gabrielle but Gabrielle couldn’t notice Xena.
Yet perhaps the most sad & painful thing is when Xena saw Gabrielle, she saw no color. Just black and white. Couldn’t see that beautiful blonde hair of Gabrielle’s… she did grow it out a bit more though.
Xena wanted her old eyes back. She could see ‘Okay’ using Gabrielle’s eyes, but Gabrielle didn’t have 20/20 vision like Xena did!
Sidekicks… Xena thought to herself while looking fondly at her best friend, just so happy to see Gabrielle again after fourteen years, even if it was in a limited way. “Can’t live with them….”