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This story was originally posted on the Medieval Tavern mailing list for a writing contest.
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Y2K: A Night Remembered
by Debbie B.
Captain's log. Well Xena, tomorrow's the day. Y3K. I can't believe I'm here to witness it. If someone had told me that Salmoneus' 'Live again in the future' cold box thing would actually work, I would have told them they were nuts. But I'm here. *slight sniffle heard* And you're not. Oh, I miss you Xena....
*a knock is heard at the door*
"Captain, the crew is waiting in the lounge for your Y2K story. You promised."
*a slight hesitation* "Right. Give me a minute to collect my thoughts."
"Of course, Captain. We'll see you in the lounge shortly then." *ensign exits*
It was time. Captain Gabrielle de Poteidaia was about to make history: to be the first humanoid to witness the start of two millennia. And her crew wanted to hear about that first millennium, oh so long ago. They had wanted to hear the story ten years earlier, just weeks after she had been revived from her frozen state. But the memory was too painful to recall then, and she had stalled for time, saying she'd only tell that story once. This night. And they remembered. It was time.
Starboard Lounge, USS Olympia.
*the lounge is overcrowded with people, all gathered around an old fashioned circular stage. There is quiet mumblings, but nothing is understandable as the scene opens. Captain De Poteidaia enters the room*
"Where should I be?" the captain asks her lieutenant.
"We replicated a 21st Century stage for your story, if that's okay?"
"All right. *taking her place* Shall I begin?"
*to the Captain* "Let me introduce you." *to the crowd* "Ladies and Gentlemen, hear ye, hear ye...our great Captain, Gabrielle, has a tale to tell. A story from long ago...in an age where people still harvested the land for food, where they told stories on a stage like the one in front of you, where..."
"Okay, okay, enough all ready. Do you want to hear this or don't you?"
*the crowd settles down and the Captain takes her place on stage, closes her eyes and begins to sing.*
*insert Prince's 1999 music and smoke to signify dream (memory) sequence*
"Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."
"Would you cut that out? I'm sick of that song."
"Oh Xena, just one more night and you won't hear another peep of it out of me again. I promise."
"Not another peep?"
"Not one peep....promise."
"Okay, then. But I'm holding you to that." *the girls enter a Tavern*
"Xe, Gabby....thank the gods you made it. We were worried you'd been delayed."
"Not to worry Kall," says Gabrielle, "We wouldn't miss the Tavernite New Year's party for anything."
"Right," says Xe to Kall as she gives a sideward glance to Gabrielle, "not even if *singing* War is all around us..."
"Stop it," blushes Gabrielle.
"What? Tired of that song now, are we?" gloats Xe.
*the conversation is broken when a tomato comes flying from across the room. A young man, early 20's, is seen running from the general direction the tomato flew from*
"Hey Leck, you missed."
*a second tomato comes sailing by and hits Leck squarely across the cheek*
"But I didn't. Hahahahahahahaha," shouts Rachel in her unique way.
*the scene abruptly goes back to the present....USS Olympia's Starboard lounge*
"Captain, you mean to tell us that you had a food fight that night?"
"Well, it was much more than just a food fight. But yes, that is how the night started. Kall and Mel had invited all of us to their tavern for a little get together. But "little" was not to be. Seems everyone showed up. And once Leck threw that first tomato it was war. Rachel retaliated and Kall didn't like that her "boyfriend" was hit. So she fired one at Rachel and it escalated from there. Soon Rohan and DX were fighting it out with the whipped cream and cherries. It was certainly a sight to see."
"Sounds so juvenile."
"It was Will, but maybe you just had to be there to enjoy it. Spontaneity. That was the key to the game back then."
"Then what happened?"
*scene returns to the Tavern, food fight full in force*
"Let's get out of here," says Xena, grabbing a food-stained Gabrielle and ushering her out the door.
"Where are we headed? The fun's back there."
"You'll see. I promise you won't miss out on all the fun. Leck and Urban will be at it for hours yet."
*Xe and Gab walk slowly towards the outskirts of town.* *scene cuts to a beautiful lake next to an apple tree*
"Here we are."
"Where are we, Xena?"
"You don't know?" says Xena bending down on one knee.
"No...where are we?"
*Xe opens a small box which produces a ring. Gabrielle doesn't notice, she's looking everywhere but at Xena at that moment.* "We are at the very spot we'll tell our grandkids about. The most perfect spot in all the world."
"What do you mean the most perfect.....*noticing the ring*....oh gods, Xena...are y..."
*Gab in tears* "Yes, of course, oh gods....*between kisses*...Xena, I love you so much. So much...this is, is the *more kisses* best day *even more kisses* of my life."
*scene again returns to the present....USS Olympia, Starboard Lounge*
"Captain? What a wonderful memory. Why wouldn't you tell us about this before?"
"Because that's not all that happened that night....and the rest, *hesitates* well, is not as pleasant. I still find it hard to talk about."
"You don't have to if it's troubling for you..."
"No, I promised, and it's a story that I need to finally tell. *back in bard mode* Sometime later, we returned to the Tavernite party and things were in full swing. The food fight was over and somehow Rohan's pringles had survived to see another day. I remember that quite well, cause you see...Xena was always teasing me about...*drifts back into the dream sequence*
"Told you they'd save you some pringles."
"Now, now....no time for tantrums...everyone here knows how much you crave the little things. And they all know WHY you dubbed Rohan the Pringle Queen? Now, don't they my dumpling?" Xena obviously gives Gab a hard time.
"Xena, please...not tonight. We're supposed to be celebrating our engagement."
*rather loudly* "Did someone say 'engagement'? Hey, guys...Xe and Gab are gonna tie the knot!"
*applause and cheers are heard throughout the room*
"Not if I have anything to say about it!"
"Draco. What are you doing here?"
"It's obvious Xena, don't you remember? I told you I'd fight till my dying days to prove my love for Gabrielle. I'm here now, to fight you, for Gabby's hand." *Draco pulls out a sword*
*Xena draws her sword* "Then tonight's the night you die, Draco, cause I'll never give her up."
*insert fighting sequence here. The fight is even at first, then Xena gets the upper hand. It appears that Xena is the victor when suddenly Draco thrusts his sword toward Xena at frightening speed and....*
*smoke fades and we return to the present...USS Olympia...Captain Gabrielle has stopped speaking and is in tears*
"You don't have to finish, Captain. We understand. Draco killed your beloved."
"No, no, he didn't. Although *glancing at her watch* at this moment I wish he had."
"What do you mean, Captain? Can you explain? We thought that...why would you wish that?"
"Cause Xena's death would have been easier to take than what actually happened."
"So, what happened?"
"Xena killed Draco. That's when Zeus intervened and said that Xena had broken her promise. Her promise to not kill. Ever again. *tells story holding back tears bravely* I didn't know it at the time, but earlier that year Xena had made a deal with Zeus. She wouldn't kill again if Xena could have my baby. Yeah, I know...today you say big deal...same sex couples have biological children all the time. But that wasn't the case back then. And I didn't know. I had assumed that she had found someone other than me....and until that night I thought she was going to marry him, not me. That's why I was so happy that night. So happy that I made the biggest mistake of my life...I told Zeus to go to hell, that we were going to be a family, even if it took us the rest of the millennium to be one. You see, I thought that I was being tricky...thinking there was only a few more minutes of this millennium. Only I had lost track of time. At the moment I made my threat, it was actually a few minutes past midnight. Zeus laughed and said fine, you won't see her again...for another millennium. And she was gone. I lost her just when I had finally found her. I thought maybe if I was here for Y3K...but I guess I was wrong. That's why I tried that insane idea of Sal..."
"You weren't wrong, dumpling."
*in shock* "Xena?"
"Happy New Year, my love. A millennium is a long time to wait, but will you marry me now?"
*pinches Xena* "Xe, is it really you?"
*singing in the most patronizing voice Xe can muster* "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999."
"Oh, Xena, it is youuuuuuuuu."