Legal Disclaimer:You guessed it, the characters of Xena, Gabrielle, as well as all others associated with the show belong to you-know-who (MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures, in case you don't). No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction.
The characters Sina, Gabby, and all others not directly associated with the show are mine, however.
This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers.
Violence: Let's see, we got Xena, two warring armies, and an irate coach....
This is the ninth story in the "Tell Me"-Series. For all you soccer players out there in general, and one goal keeper in particular... <GBG>
Reference to "Altared States". Can you find it? <G>
Homepage:Verrath's Book Of Tales
For comments, feel free to mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. Any type of feedback is appreciated.
December 30, 1999
Xena drew a deep breath as she surveyed the battlefield before her. The air was hot and dry, even this early, and the strength of the sun's first rays promised smoldering heat for the day. She had her army strategically spread across the plain, each with specific orders on how to engage the enemy, and when. The warrior hoped she had been luckier in her choice of soldiers this time!
A glance towards the edge of the battlefield told her that Gabrielle had, for once, listened to her. The blonde bard was watching from a safe distance, gingerly holding a restive Argo's reins. Tossing her head and stamping her forefoot, the mare was eager to be part of the fray. But the warrior knew that her battle-wise mare was the best protection she could offer her friend right now.
She smiled briefly. Good thing Gabrielle never suspected the true reason why the warrior had been leaving Argo with her lately when she engaged in battle! Xena could almost see the outraged look and the tongue-lashing the smaller woman was sure to give if she ever found out she was being protected!
One last check of her own weapons, looks and nods passing between her and the soldiers, and then, suddenly, the battle was on!
Staying back like the competent warlord she was - the head of the army had to be preserved at all costs, or the army would shatter - Xena supervised the ongoing battle with an air of detachment, calling out orders where necessary. Occasionally, one of the opponents managed to get a clear shot at her, which she deflected with negligent ease; catching arrows or crossbow-bolts out of the air and snapping them in half single-handedly before tossing them to the ground, or deflecting sling bullets with her gauntlets had long since become second nature. The hurled javelins were a bit tougher, but nothing she couldn't handle. Especially since she knew her friend to be safe.
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Argo lay about her with hooves and teeth, wasting three attackers that had detached themselves from the enemy's ranks, thinking the bard an easy target. Gabrielle herself was whacking away with her staff, holding her own quite nicely against a fourth. She'd be okay.
When a spear thudded into the ground right in front of her feet, however, Xena lost patience. Her blue eyes lit up angrily when she caught sight of the poor man who had been foolish enough to let this last attacker get this close. What was this bunch of imbeciles doing calling themselves soldiers?! She pulled out the weapon that had imbedded itself two feet deep into the soft earth, lifted it up, and, with a mighty heave, hurled it back into the melee.
The unfortunate soldier flinched as the weapon grazed his ear and hurtled on to embed itself firmly into the chest of the attacker who had been about to run him through with a sword. He looked back at Xena, and flashed her an uncertain grin.
Xena snorted. "What kind of a defense is this?" she ranted. "Get moving over there, they're charging again. Flanks! Go at'em from the Flanks, for Zeus' sake! Their left side is all open!"
This was frustrating! She had this perfect view of the situation. Just one clever soldier, moving into that open spot, could mess up the enemy's defense and finally put her own into an offensive position again, but nobody was listening to her, all struggling frantically and pointlessly in the thick of the fray. It was an effort not to tear at her hair. Just one!!
"C'mon, guys, are you blind???" Just one...
Growling in irritation, Xena the mighty warlord pulled forth her Chakram and advanced to take the matter into her own hands.
"Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!" Her battle cry echoed across the plain even as the circular weapon left her hand in a whining arc to work its devastating magic among the hapless enemy troops.
Quickly gaining momentum, Xena advanced to the tip of the attack, her sword connecting to flesh again and again. She was going to show these idiots how a true warrior fought her battles!
"Xena!" At first, the voice hardly registered, such was her battle frenzy. On she went, her goal almost in sight...
"Xena, stop! Get back here!" The voice sounded so authoritative that Xena felt compelled to pause and turn to see who the speaker was...
"Just so we're very clear on this, Sina," Megan O'Leary said in a carefully controlled voice, although her eyes looked a bit bloodshot and the corners of her mouth just a little too tight. "This is soccer practice, and we do not take Frisbees to soccer practice. And you, young lady, are the goal keeper, and you have no business up front. Understand?"
Sina looked at her defiantly. "But these idiots can't play worth a d-"
"Sina!" the PE teacher said in a warning tone.
"...Dime," the dark-haired girl finished lamely. "There was a perfect opening there, and nobody..."
"I said, do you understand? This is the second time you've abandoned your position today, and I've just about had it. You want to play on this team, don't you?"
"Yes, ma'am," Sina pouted.
"Good. Then you play by the rules. And rule one is, you do what I tell you. Do I make myself clear?"
No, you're a little fuzzy around the edges... Sina very nearly giggled at the stray thought. That story about the bard getting high on nutbread Gabby had come up with yesterday had been a hoot! But now the situation was serious. And she did want to play on the team!
"Yes, ma'am," she said again, trying to look properly chastised.
Miss O'Leary drew a deep breath, her lips moving briefly, soundlessly, as she rolled her eyes heavenward. "Very well," she said presently, "you guys, come here and sit down for a minute, will you?"
Sina and the others complied, and watched as their coach squatted in their midst and started drawing into the dirt with a stick. She sketched the outlines of the soccer field, and drew little circles and crosses for the players, recreating the scene the way it had been just before Sina broke rank.
She addressed the team that had opposed Sina's. "Andy, Chris, do you realize you left yourselves wide open there in the left field? Let me show you how you can avoid giving yourselves this kind of weakness..."
As the tall coach continued her explanation, she did not miss the pleased, satisfied grin that was spreading on Sina's face. It made her own lips twitch.
As for Sina, she took care to look faintly aloof and not in the least amused whenever the dark-haired woman looked her way.
She exchanged glances and a grin with Gabby, who had come down here to meet her after practice, and was waiting by the fence with Argo the bicycle.
"Well kids," Megan finally said, "this is it for today. Let's see you run those two cooldown laps, and I will see you tomorrow." Then, noticing Sina's smug look despite the girl's efforts, she added for her ears only, "don't let it get to your head. You're this close to dropping out." She held up thumb and forefinger to indicate about half an inch. Her smile was less than friendly now.
Sina just looked at her out of glacier eyes, before she turned around to follow the others and run her laps in icy silence.
"You haven't won, Dragon Lady! I am their general, and they need me. We both know that. Ha! You can take Xena out of the fight, but you can't take the fight out of Xena!"
The End. Sort of.