VII. 12 Steps To Mycenae

Afternoon. Xena’s and Gabrielle’s campsite. Xena is curled up on their bedroll, sound asleep. A scroll is lying open beside her.

Gabrielle rides up on Argo, dismounts and goes over to Xena, kneels down and shakes her.

GABRIELLE: Xena! Wake up!

Without opening her eyes, Xena reaches up, grabs Gabrielle around the waist, and pulls her down next to her.

XENA: C’mere you.

GABRIELLE: You were awake all along!

XENA: Of course! Nobody sneaks up on the Warrior Princess!

Xena pulls Gabrielle closer and tenderly nuzzles her neck.

GABRIELLE: <picks up the scroll> What’s this?

XENA: A story.

GABRIELLE: <suspiciously> What have you been doing while I was away?

XENA: Nothing I’m not ready to do again now that you’re back…

GABRIELLE: <pulls away from Xena and sits up> Xena, we have to talk.

XENA: <sits up> OK.

GABRIELLE: We’re in big trouble, Xena.

XENA: We are?

GABRIELLE: The women at C.A. said that if we don’t work out a more equitable relationship that I’ll build up a bunch of resentments and that my self-esteem will suffer because I gave away my power…

XENA: You didn’t—

GABRIELLE: Then you’ll lose respect for me because I’m living in your shadow.

XENA: I’ll never—

GABRIELLE: Then there will be a terrible RIFT between us and we’ll break up and I’ll have to join a support group and you’ll have to go into therapy…

XENA: Gabrielle…

Gabrielle pulls a scroll out of her waistband.

GABRIELLE: We have to fill this out.

XENA: What is it?

GABRIELLE: It’s a Contract for an Equal Relationship. We have to divide up all the work involved in our relationship.

XENA: I don’t think of it as work really…

GABRIELLE: We need to agree on how we’re going to share the decision-making equally. And the daily chores.

XENA: How about each of us makes the decisions she’s most qualified to make?

GABRIELLE: How would that work?

XENA: I’ll decide strategy.

GABRIELLE: What do I decide?

XENA: What do you want to decide?

GABRIELLE: What to have for dinner?

XENA: That would depend on what I manage to catch.

GABRIELLE: Where to camp at night?

XENA: That falls under strategy.

GABRIELLE: When we make love?

XENA: You already decide that.

GABRIELLE: Oh. Yeah. Um… Well, what about chores?

XENA: What about chores?

GABRIELLE: Here’s a list of all our chores. First we’ll write down who’s doing what, and then we can negotiate a more equitable arrangement.

<reads> Hunting.



XENA: You.

GABRIELLE: Making camp.


GABRIELLE: Washing up.

XENA: You.

GABRIELLE: Making the fire.


GABRIELLE: Gathering firewood.

XENA: Both of us.

GABRIELLE: Maybe I should do that.


GABRIELLE: Feeding Argo.


GABRIELLE: Brushing Argo.


GABRIELLE: Saddling Argo.


GABRIELLE: Running errands in town.


GABRIELLE: Fetching water.


GABRIELLE: Protecting and defending.

XENA: Both of us.

GABRIELLE: Yeah, but you do more…

XENA: I don’t mind.

GABRIELLE: But it’s not equal. Maybe I should do one of the other things you do.

XENA: Like what?

GABRIELLE: What do you hate doing the most?

XENA: Nothing, really…

GABRIELLE: Think, Xena! There must be something…

XENA: Well…


XENA: I don’t much care for doing laundry…

GABRIELLE: OK, I’ll take care of the laundry.

XENA: Gabrielle, you don’t have to…

GABRIELLE: Xena, I want to.

XENA: OK. Thanks. Is that all?

GABRIELLE: I guess so.

XENA: Good. I need to go hunting for lunch.

GABRIELLE: Oh, good. I’m really hungry.

XENA: Help me on with my armor, will you?


XENA: What?

GABRIELLE: Wouldn’t that be defined as part of a stereotypically submissive care-taking role?

XENA: I dunno. Would it?

GABRIELLE: I don’t think I should be doing any of those stereotypically submissive care-taking things.

XENA: That’s not what you said last night, Miss “Slave Girl at the Warlord’s Encampment.”

Xena starts putting on her armor. Gabrielle gazes longingly at Xena as she fits the breastplate over her breasts and fastens it in place.

GABRIELLE: While you’re hunting, I’ll get the fire going.

XENA: That’s my job.

GABRIELLE: Oh. Right. I guess I’ll just sit here then…

Xena picks up her chakram and vanishes into the woods. Gabrielle straightens up the campsite a little, but there really isn’t all that much to do. Then she sits down and fidgets for a few minutes. Then she gets up and starts making up the fire.


Evening. Xena and Gabrielle have finished all of their chores for the day and are talking quietly by the campfire.

GABRIELLE: They really had some very interesting things to say.

XENA: Tell me about it.

GABRIELLE: They have these twelve steps.

XENA: I didn’t think anyplace in town had that many steps.

GABRIELLE: Not that kind of steps. These are metaphorical steps.


Xena surreptitiously pulls out the free book that came with her subscription to Xenaverse, the Carmen Carter Lexicon, and leafs through it.

XENA: M-E-T-T-A-F… Hmmmm. Not here.


XENA: Oh. Yeah, here it is. <reads> “application of a descriptive term to an object to which it is not literally applicable…” Clear as mud!

GABRIELLE: They’re steps like.. well… like taking the steps to learning to use a staff or a sword.

XENA: Oh. Gotcha.

GABRIELLE: Anyway, they have a program and everybody has to do all twelve of the steps.

XENA: Then what?

GABRIELLE: Then you do them all again.

XENA: Why? Don’t they work the first time?

GABRIELLE: I guess not… But we better try them all the same. I have them right here.

Gabrielle takes another scroll out of her waistband.

GABRIELLE: <reads> Step One: We admitted that we were powerless—

XENA: No way!

GABRIELLE: —and that our lives had become unmanageable.

XENA: Gee, Gabrielle, if I admitted that I’d probably be suicidal.


XENA: Since you and I have been, you know, together, is the first time that I’ve felt that my life was worth living.


XENA: Yeah. I mean, up until I met you, my life was a mess, but now it’s wonderful. Why would I want to go back to thinking it’s unmanageable?

GABRIELLE: Oh, Xena… That’s so sweet. I guess we could skip the first one.

Gabrielle consults her scroll.

GABRIELLE: <reads> Step Two: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

XENA: <snort>


XENA: A power greater than ourselves? Who’s that? Ares? Is Ares going to restore me to sanity?

GABRIELLE: Probably not.

XENA: Or Zeus?

GABRIELLE: He’s not the sanest guy I ever heard of…

XENA: Or Aphrodite?

GABRIELLE: Actually she’s probably responsible for some of the world’s worst insanity. Maybe we should skip that one too. <reads> Step Three: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the gods—

XENA: Absolutely not! I turned my life over to Ares when I was 18 and look what it got me.

GABRIELLE: <reads> Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

XENA: Been there. Done that.

GABRIELLE: Hmmmm… Maybe we better forget about these steps.

XENA: Good idea. There’s something else I’d rather be doing.

GABRIELLE: Hey, that’s my decision.

XENA: I was going to give you a backrub.

GABRIELLE: Oh. Well. In that case…

Gabrielle lies down on her stomach and Xena tenderly strokes her back.

GABRIELLE: That feels good…

Xena gives Gabrielle a nice long massage, then leans over and kisses her tenderly on the back of the neck.

GABRIELLE: Thanks, Xena. That was wonderful.

XENA: Sure. Any time.

GABRIELLE: I guess it’s about time for bed.

XENA: Mmm hmm.

GABRIELLE: Do you need some help with that armor?

XENA: Not if you don’t want to…

GABRIELLE: I want to.

Gabrielle helps Xena remove her armor. She lingers a long time over the fasteners of the breastplate.


XENA: Hmmm?

GABRIELLE: Where’s that contract?

XENA: The Contract for an Equal Relationship?


XENA: I put it by the bedroll so I wouldn’t forget anything.

Gabrielle goes over to the bedroll and picks up the Contract for an Equal Relationship, then starts to walk into the forest.

XENA: Where are you going?

GABRIELLE: I have to take a dump.