Author's Note: Ok, I really must warn you that the fic gets stranger than it already is in these last two parts. If you are unfamiliar with the Xena: The Warrior Princess tv show that you may have difficulties with these next two parts.



Warnings: Netiquette violations: language and adult situations

Further warnings: If you are a Rachel Quest fan read no further - delete now.

Disclaimer: (See Proluge) All characters relating to Xena belong to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. Songs from Xena, Warrior Princess "THE BITTER SUITE: A MUSICAL ODYSSEY" composed by Joseph LoDuca.




Suddenly a man's voice calls out of the darkness, "Drop your weapons! We have you surrounded." It's Bannon! Race has a knack for arriving just in time.

Angelique screams, "Kill him Jethro!" Jethro draws back his arm to deliver the killing blow to Benton. Shots echo through the park. I see the man Jethro fall backward and away from Benton.

Our guardian angel has permanently removed the threat to Benton. That's what Bannon looks like standing there with his white hair and dressed all in white---a very large and angry guardian angel.

Now that I no longer have to worry about Benton I can think about dealing with my sister. Angelique shrieks and stabs downward with the dagger. I roll off the altar, casting my spell. The ring of fire encircles us.

I'm trying to remember what happened after I cast my fire spell . . . I remember Angelique screaming at me as she rushed me with the ceremonial dagger. I remember blocking her attack. I remember slipping on the wet grass and hitting my head against the altar. I think I must have hit her . . . because the last thing I see before I black out is her lying on the ground at my feet. When I lost consciousness my fire spell ended.

I hear Benton's whispered. "Will." I sense his presence as he drops to the ground beside me. I hear him whisper to Race. "She's so still." The sounds of sirens rend the night air as ambulances roar into the park. Finally, Benton gathers me in his arms. "She is so cold, Race." He whispers as he lowers his lips to mine.

My eyelids flutter at the kiss. "Prince Charming," spoken on a barely audible exhale of breath. Benton laughs, it's wonderful to hear him laugh as the darkness closes over me again. Dimly, I hear Benton tell the EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) as they are loading me into the ambulance that I'm pregnant.

Time has no meaning for me. It passes in odd flashes of light, sound and sensations. Nothing has any meaning as I drift on an uncertain tide.

I'm in an episode of Xena, the Warrior Princess. It's the musical odyssey one, THE BITTER SUITE. People I know are in it. I'm Xena. Benton is playing the role of Gabrielle. Rachel Quest has become Callisto. Race is Joxer and Joxer is Race. Ares is my director at Intelligence One, Phil Corven.

Dimly I hear words urgent soft whispers, vital signs, ultrasound, sonogram, x-rays, blood samples. What do these words mean? I should know. Why can't I find my way out of Illusia?

The song "WAR AND PEACE" reaches its crescendo. I throw open a door; Benton opens the door opposite me. I slap the scythe he is carrying away with my sword and sweep his legs out from under him. In one swift motion I have straddled him; the point of the sword I'm carrying slams home into his heart.

Phil Corven approaches me. He wraps his arms around me and begins to sing "MELT INTO ME." My mind screams within its shelf. I have killed Benton. I have killed Benton. Faster and faster it cycles through my mind.

Suddenly, Rachel Quest/Callisto, no, Angelique is there telling me to "just--let go." Somewhere the rhythmic beeping sound that I have been hearing has become a singular drawn-out tone. "NO" I scream struggling to sit up; struggling against whatever has me bound.

"Nurse where is that DAMN sedative? Please Miss Harkness we are trying to help you." A pinprick and then blackness returns. Benton and I are screaming out the words to HEARTS ARE HURTING Part 1 both of us blaming the other for our daughter's death.

I won't let the blackness hold me. "MY BABY!" I wail struggling out of the blissful release of the sedative.

I hear a strange voice and feel someone gently stroking my forehead. "Hush, Miss Harkness, your baby is going to be just fine. Rest now."

I think I will rest. Again I surrender to the darkness. Benton is there and we are singing HEARTS ARE HURTING Part 2. Will I still be in Illusia the next time I awaken?

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