UberCon '05

Author: SallyMcFine
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: yes, please!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters and am not profiting from this story. No copyright infringement is intended.
Setting: AU. No magic, no vampires or slayers. Everyone is preparing to go to a three-day convention for their favorite TV show.
Notes: the convention is called UberCon '05 and it is primarily a fan-organized and fan-run convention that focuses on uber fan fiction. The convention takes place in a hotel about 2 hours away from Sunnydale.

The sun rose over the mountain and bathed the two sleeping figures in the first warm rays of a new day.

The blonde lay on her back with her hair fanned out around her head in a golden nimbus. Her arms were splayed out on either side of her body and her chest rose and fell evenly and deeply.

In contrast, her companion was curled into a tight ball and slept restlessly. Her brow furrowed and her body jerked from one side to the other as if she was dodging some unseen terror. A light sheen of sweat bathed her forehead and neck, though the morning was cool.

The blonde awoke as if sensing her companion's distress and sat up. She observed the other's restless slumber but did not go to her immediately. Instead, she stood up and faced the rising sun. She extended her arms as high as they could go and tilted her head back so her body and face were bathed in the sunlight. She stretched and held this pose for several seconds.

Behind the blonde, her companion awoke with a start and cast her eyes around the campsite. Seeing her friend already awake, she relaxed and rested her head on one bent arm, watching the morning ritual that she was used to by now.

The blonde broke her pose and bowed her head briefly, murmuring some words. She turned and sat down next to her companion.

"Greeting the sun," the recently awakened woman said.

The blonde nodded. "The early morning is the best time for me to re-establish the connection to the earth," she replied.

"Because the magic is strongest then?"

She shook her head. "No, it's mostly that my mind is clear in the morning so I'm more able to be open to the earth's energy." She changed the subject. "You had the nightmares again."


"Tell me about them?"

The woman's lips pursed, but she complied. "It's a little jumbled," she began. "Just images without any connecting sequence of events. But terrible images. A man running away from me, terrified, and I thought at him flay, and his skin suddenly peeled back from his body. I could see his muscles, tendons, everthing. Then I thought break, and I broke every bone in his body. Then I thought burst, and I exploded all of his blood vessels. But he didn't die instantly. He screamed for what seemed like forever. I can still hear his screams." She paused, pensive.

The blonde took her friend's hand and squeezed. "This is something that really happened, right?"

Her companion nodded. "The worst part was, it wasn't enough. I wanted him to feel every single ounce of pain that I inflicted on him. And it wasn't enough. I didn't just want to kill him - I wanted to obliterate him. To erase his existence from the universe. If I had thought of it, I probably would have tried to send him to a hell dimension where he would endure eternal torture. But probably not, actually - I just wanted him dead." She stopped as tears sprang to her eyes. Such a long speech was not usual for her.

Sea green eyes met azure, and the blonde stroked her companion's hand encouragingly. "Are you ready to turn this over to the earth and seek her healing power?"

The other woman bit her lip, and whispered, "I'm not sure if the earth wants to hear this."

The blonde didn't reply, but just kept her gaze steady. I believe in you, she tried to convey through her look and touch. Some part of this must have gotten through, because finally they rose and walked to the spot the blonde had so recently vacated. She cast some grayish powder into a circle around them, and sat down across from her troubled friend. They joined hands and began to breathe.

The blonde's breathing was measured and regular, and eventually her companion's erratic breathing slowed down until the two women were breathing in unison.

"Gaia, hear this woman. She comes to you to unburden herself and to seek the healing light of your forgiveness. Hear her story and help her to become one with the peace you offer."

The other woman slowly repeated the story she had told her blonde friend. She spoke in a low voice with a hint of a tremble beneath the words, but the constant pressure of her companion's hands helped her voice gain strength as she reached the end of her tale.

The blonde again murmured a prayer of thanks and the two women dropped their hands. Their eyes met and they smiled at each other. The darker one broke eye contact first.

"Do you feel better?"

"A bit. I was skeptical at first, but every time we do a ritual like this, I feel like a bit of the darkness in my soul has lifted." She raised her head and smiled sadly at the blonde. "I'm not sure if I deserve it, though."

The blonde looked earnestly at her friend. "Gaia's power to forgive and heal is large," she said. "Much larger than even the most horrible acts of violence and betrayal that we can inflict on each other. She can help you see that magic can be used for good, and healing, and helping people."

"Well, you're helping me also. Why are you helping me like this?" asked her companion. "You've spent every second with me these past weeks and I know it's not easy."

This time it was Gabrielle who broke eye contact. "I - I like you, Xena," she replied softly. "I think you were led down the wrong path by some bad people and bad circumstances, and that you can come back. And…I feel a connection with you."

Xena's blue eyes, which always carried some reflection of inner anguish or pain, darkened slightly and looked almost peaceful as she said "I feel that same connection."

The women gazed at each other and smiled, basking in the morning light and in each other's presence and companionship.

amazon_hacker: I really liked the last update to your story. Do you really believe in magic?

wiccanbard: sort of. i believe that things happen for a reason and that we are all connected, and that the things we do come back to us

amazon_hacker: you mean like karma?

wiccanbard: kind of like karma. like the little things that we do can have a bigger effect than we think they will. like if i'm grumpy one day and cut someone off in traffic, that will make him mad, and maybe he works at the deli, and he's the person who will make my sandwich at lunch today and he'll still be mad and distracted thinking about the person who cut him off, and he won't notice that he put horseradish on my sandwich instead of mayonnaise and then i'll hate my sandwich and get even more grumpy, and i'll cut more people off on the way home, it will make them mad, and they will pass along the bad feelings to all their friends and family, and really it's because i put grumpy energy out into the universe in the first place and it came back to haunt me in ways i couldn't have predicted

amazon_hacker: oh, so sort of like chaos theory and karma together. (ps - you sound like me with the babbling.)

wiccanbard: babbling, haha, you must be rubbing off on me. chaos theory = the thing where a butterfly flaps its wings and causes a hurricane?

amazon_hacker: that's the archetypal example, but basically yep.

wiccanbard: i guess it's sort of the same. chaos theory crossed with a karma boomerang that always comes back to you even if you make a bad throw.

amazon_hacker: g'day mate. Shall we throw some shrimps on the barbie?

wiccanbard: huh?

amazon_hacker: you said boomerang, you know, Australia?

wiccanbard: oh, haha. yet another non sequitur from amazon_hacker

amazon_hacker: yeah, sorry about that. Although I might argue that it was a sequitur, with the Aussie/boomerang connection. Hey, I'm sooooo excited about UberCon.

wiccanbard: me too

amazon_hacker: are you going to read this story at cordy's fanfic reading gatherings?

wiccanbard: well, not this one since it's already half-done. i'd rather read something new - i have a new idea

amazon_hacker: what's it about?

wiccanbard: can't talk about it yet.

amazon_hacker: just one hint? Pleeeeeeze?

wiccanbard: well, it's a story about two people who meet online

amazon_hacker: perhaps on a certain message board? *grin*

wiccanbard: *blush*


wiccanbard: anyway, it's not finished yet so i'm not sure if i'll read it. and I don't think i'll reveal my handle to anyone at the con anyway. i feel a little uncomfortable with people knowing who i am online and in RL. even my roommate doesn't tell people on the board that she and i know each other. so don't tell anyone that i'm wiccanbard after we meet, okay?

amazon_hacker: I promise. So we are good to go for Saturday at noon in the exhibit center, right?

wiccanbard: yep. and you'll wear that pin so i can recognize you?

amazon_hacker: definitely.

wiccanbard: okay *nervous*

amazon_hacker: I'm nervous too but I'm looking forward to it.

wiccanbard: me too

amazon_hacker: And about your new story? I hope it has a happy ending.

wiccanbard: *blush* *smile* me too. what about you? any new fics you plan to read?

amazon_hacker: I'm working on a new one.

wiccanbard: more high tech stuff?

amazon_hacker: no, this one is different. Kind of Dracula meets Charmed.

wiccanbard: charmed, haha

amazon_hacker: I know it's kind of a goofy show but I have an idea for a witch character and some other stuff

wiccanbard: oh a witch huh?

amazon_hacker: I might be taking a page out of my favorite fanfic author's book.

wiccanbard: well i'm flattered

amazon_hacker: and I thought I'd try a story where Xena is physically strong like on the show instead of having her be a computer hacker as usual.

wiccanbard: just don't have gabrielle wearing the bilious green sports bra

amazon_hacker: cordy's really serious about not having her in that outfit on the board, isn't she?

wiccanbard: yep. the board is called the Warrior, the Bard, and the Bad Wardrobe, after all

amazon_hacker: Do you know why?

wiccanbard: it's in the FAQ but that file has been corrupted for a while. basically she thinks that xena and gabrielle are fashion victims and so she started this board where the only rule is that fanfic stories cannot feature gabby in season three outfits, unless she's being rescued from them

amazon_hacker: so she's both a fashion diva and a computer whiz, to set up a whole message board?

wiccanbard: no, she has a friend, aresisagod, who does all the technical stuff for her. i don't think cordy even knows how to start a new thread

amazon_hacker: interesting. It's a nice board, nice people. There's a really supportive fanfic vibe going on, people even seem to like all my high-tech computer stories. I'm glad I found it.

wiccanbard: i'm glad too.

amazon_hacker: Oh, frogs! I'm meeting my friends for lunch and I'm late.

wiccanbard: ok. chat tomorrow?

amazon_hacker: count on it. bye!

wiccanbard: bye!

NOTES: In case anyone hasn't ever seen the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess, here is a brief summary.

SPOILER ALERT IN CASE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN XENA BUT PLAN TO WATCH RERUNS OR DVDS – THEN DON'T READ THIS: The show is about Xena, a former warlord who has repented of her conquering ways and is trying to redeem herself. In the first episode she saves Gabrielle and Gabby's sister from slavers, after which Gabrielle runs away from home to seek a life of adventure with Xena. Gabrielle gradually changes throughout the course of the show from an innocent peasant girl to a "battling bard" – she learns to fight with a staff and writes about their adventures. Along the way, she helps Xena to deal with her darkness and to seek redemption.

There's quite a bit of subtext between Xena and Gabrielle – tongue in cheek jokes about them being a couple. The writers/producers played to that even though they never quite went whole hog with the relationship (there was one marriage and some man-woman relationships along the way) although Xena did introduce Gabs as her "partner" in one of the last few episodes. I think that Xena the show paved the way for future TV shows, to be more open and up front with whatever same-sex relationships they featured.

One point of contention among some Xena fan communities was Gabrielle's Season Three outfit, a short leather skirt and a moss-green halter top that bore a passing resemblance to a sports bra. Many fans thought it was heinously ugly and referred to it as the "bilious green sports bra." Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor refer to the sports bra controversy in one of the DVD bonus features. I always thought Gabby was cute in it, but Cordelia doesn't agree.

Continue to UberCon '05 Chapter Two

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