DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess and its characters are the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: yep I guess "Is There a Doctor In the House" and "Friend in Need"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Gabrielle was just on the verge of waking when a loud yell came from the other side of the clearing. Eyes popping open and reflexes reacting, jumping up from the bedroll she grabbed her staff and prepared to face whatever had caused Xena to yell out. Glancing around she realized they were alone in their campsite.
"Xena?" she called out, not seeing the warrior in camp. "Xena where are you?"
The bard heard the sound of leaves rustling in a tree near the edge of the clearing. Walking over to it, she looked up and saw Xena perched on one of the lower limbs.
"Umm good morning," the warrior said, waving at the bard.
"Good morning to you too, what was the yell for and why are you in that tree?" Gabrielle asked her.
"Oh just admiring the view from here." the warrior replied with a small smile.
"Xena that only answers one part of my question; what was the yell for?" Gabrielle asked once more.
Xena ducked her head, clearing her throat she mumbled quickly, "Therewasamouseinmysaddlebag."
"What? Would you repeat that please," Gabrielle said grinning, she had heard the quick reply she just wanted her partner to say it again.
"I said there was a mouse in my saddlebag," The warrior said once again but louder.
"A mouse? One of those small furry creatures?" the bard asked, trying to hold her laughter, "Why would a mouse cause you to yell out and climb a tree?"
Xena ducked her head and started pulling leaves off a small limb. "It startled me," she said sheepishly, "and besides I don't like rodents." The second remark definitely had a pouting quality to it.
That was the final straw, laughing loudly at the pouting warrior, Gabrielle doubled over holding her side.
"It isn't that funny," Xena remarked, still sitting in the tree.
"Oh yes it is," Gabrielle managed to get out between laughs.
"Well could you stop laughing at me for just a moment and see if it's gone?" Xena asked as she peered down at her saddlebags.
Still chuckling Gabrielle went to check the saddlebags, opening the flap she discovered the culprit sitting on top of a hunk of cheese, 'Well so much for having that for breakfast,' she thought. Reaching in she scooped out the bundle, wrapping the mouse up with the cheese, she hid it behind the saddle blanket.
"Okay it's gone. You can come down from the tree now, oh mighty warrior princess," she said laughing again.
Xena dropped down to the ground, walking over she picked up her saddlebag, "You would have done the same thing," Xena said as she threw the bag over her shoulder and walked towards the stream.
"No but I'll get to see you do it again soon maybe," Gabrielle quietly said to herself as she reached under the blanket and pulled out the bundle hidden there. "Come along my little furry friend let us see where I can hide you next."
Gabrielle leaned back against the tree, enjoying the cool breeze and comfort the shade offered to her perspiring body. After finishing her daily practice bout with Xena, any coolness was a blessing. She reached into the pack leaning against the tree and withdrew a blank scroll and her quill set. Watching her partner continue with more drills was an inspiring sight indeed.
"She really is poetry in motion," Gabrielle said aloud to herself; putting quill to scroll she began to write.
Sun glistens on sweat drenched limbs
Muscles tighten as she springs up and forward
Landing she plants a foot and twirls around
The air swooshes over her sword as she parries imaginary foes
Dodging phantom sword thrusts she drops to the ground on one knee
Thrusting upwards with the sword in a motion meant to disable not kill
A dance of movements meant to injure and maim
But yet amazing to behold
Glancing up from her writing, she realized Xena had finished with her drills and was walking towards the tree to sit down in the shade. As the warrior grew near the bard, she gave the sword one last twirl and sheathed it in the scabbard on her back, sitting down next to the other woman she picked up the water skin lying on her saddle and took a long drink.
"Are you working on a new story?" she asked, noticing the scroll in Gabrielle's lap.
"No not a story, just had a moment of inspiration for something," she answered with a grin.
Knowing that grin all to well; Xena sighed and shook her head, "You wrote about me didn't you? She grumbled, "Can't you write about something besides me for once?"
Gabrielle laughed at the warrior's grumbling whine, "When you stop being you, then I'll write about someone else," she said laughing again.
Xena just shook her head at the bard's answer, rising to her feet she turned and walked towards Argo, leaving Gabrielle to smile at her retreating form.
In a clearing deep within the forest, the glow from a campfire illuminated the figure of a warrior trapped within her own thoughts as she watched her friend sleep.
Rising from her spot by the fire, Xena walked softly over to the sleeping bard, kneeling beside Gabrielle she placed a hand to the young woman's forehead, finding that she was cool to the touch she pulled the furs up closer around the sleeping form. She stood and gazed at the sleeping bard for a moment before returning to her place by the fire. Settling against the saddle, she picked up her sword and continued sharpening it, becoming lost in her thoughts, with each stroke of the stone she sank deeper into them.
'She died today, but somehow I brought her back. By the gods, how did I do that? If she had died I don't know what I would have done; Gone crazy and killed the nearest person or broken down sobbing in agony. How did I live before I met her she has touched my soul somehow but is it safe for her to be around me? I cannot make her leave though today proved that. If she could escape Celesta then how could I turn her away from being with me? Just admit it, she has worked her way into my heart I'm done for.' Xena finished her thoughts with one last stroke of the stone.
Rising from the ground, she put away her sword and placed some more wood on the fire. Gathering up her sleeping furs, she walked over to the sleeping bard and placed them next to her. Lying down she faced the fur-covered form beside her, reaching over she brushed a lock of hair from Gabrielle's face. 'Just making sure she's not running fever yeah right you big softie,' she thought to herself.
Just then, Gabrielle let out a soft moan. "Shhh it's ok you're safe," Xena said stroking the bard's face. Gabrielle leaned into her hand, a smile appearing on her face as she settled down and let sleep take her again.
'Oh yeah I'm done for.' Xena thought as she pulled her furs up around her, placing part of them over Gabrielle and moving just a bit closer to the bard just in case she woke up again.
Two figures reclined on opposite sides of the campfire, each of them occupied in her nightly ritual. The warrior worked to repair a rip in one of her gauntlets while the bard was busy writing in one of her scrolls. Unbeknownst to them they had a visitor, an invisible one, but still a visitor. If either had taken the time to glance around the clearing, other than to cast sneaking glances at one another, they just might have detected the faint shimmer of pink light that was Aphrodite, goddess of love.
Aphrodite liked to keep an eye on her two favorite mortals, even though both could be so hard headed at times. 'What am I going to do with these two?' she thought to herself. 'It's not as if I can hit them over the head with the obvious-been there, tried that, didn't work.' she sighed in defeat. 'Let me take a little listen see what they're thinking,' she thought, and with flourish of her hand, she was privy to the thoughts of the warrior.
'I really should take this to a blacksmith, my breastplate too. They need some work done to them I can't fix. Argo needs new shoes too; we really should to stay in the next town for a few days.'
Aphrodite gave a small sigh and shook her head, 'Warriors sheesh, that's not what you need to be thinking about tall, dark and beautiful,' walking over behind Xena she tapped the warrior on the head ever so slightly.
Xena brushed a hand over her head and looked up at the tree above her head, 'Must have been an acorn,' she thought, concentrating once more on the gauntlet. As she worked to pull the needle through the thick leather, she glanced over at her companion. Watching the bard out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her making little faces while working on the scroll.
Grinning at the bard's obvious concentration, she thought 'I bet she would like to stay in an inn for a few days. Get out of the weather for awhile; actually have a hot bath for a change.' Aphrodite rubbed her hands together and smiled with glee, 'That's much better Xena, just keep on going with those thoughts.'
'I really don't know why she puts up with me or the way we live. She could have so much more if she did not follow me, but then what would I do without her. When did she become so much more to me than just a tag-a-long?' Xena put the gauntlet down and stared into the flames of their campfire. She had just thought the impossible at least she believed it was, "Could she love me? Well I know she loves me, she has said it before; can she really be in love with me? Is it possible? I know I love her and I don't think I could live without her but can she feel the same for me?' Glancing at the bard again she thought once more, 'Could she?' the warrior shook her head to clear her thoughts and picked up the fallen gauntlet to continue the repairs.
'Yes That's what I wanted to hear from you,' Aphrodite chuckled silently; turning to the writing bard, she gave another flourish of her hand, 'Now little one, let me hear what you're thinking about.'
'I sing the song of Xena, a mighty warrior working to redeem herself ' Gabrielle's thoughts broadcast. Aphrodite grumbled again, 'No wonder it's taken so long to get them to see the truth, they never really think about it.' Once again she walked behind the bard and gave her a gentle tap on the head.
Gabrielle looked up from her scroll, "Did you just throw something at me?" She asked Xena.
"No the acorns are starting to fall, "the warrior replied not looking up from her task.
Gabrielle peered up at the tree over them shaking her head; she began to continue with her writing but then decided to watch the warrior work. 'By the gods, she is so beautiful,' thought the bard. 'Why does she put up with me? I'm just a nobody but she makes me feel like I am so much more at times. She puts up with me getting into so much trouble, even though I don't mean for it to happen, but does she complain; no just tells me to be more careful. I love her so much.' With that thought Gabrielle sat up straight, she cocked her head to the side and stared at the warrior, 'I love her I am in love with her. Could she feel the same way? Is that why she hasn't left me, why she puts up with me? Could she?'
'Alright that's what I wanted to hear little one.' Aphrodite did a quiet little victory dance, 'Now how am I going to get them to talk finally?' she wondered.
Just then, Xena spoke up, "So Gabrielle, I was thinking we could stop in the next town for a few days, Argo needs new shoes," she added quickly, "and maybe we could stay at an inn, you could take a hot bath for a change and maybe practice your storytelling. What do you think?"
Gabrielle thought for a moment, "I think that would be great. I mean if Argo needs new shoes, we might as well stick around for a few days right?" she replied.
"Okay it's settled we'll stop in the next town tomorrow. Well I'm turning in, see you in the morning." Xena answered back.
"Me too good night Xena." the bard said as she put away her scrolls and lay down on her bedroll.
As the two women settled into their furs, the goddess of love was coming up with a plan. 'Hmm an inn, a hot tub, and many candles to set the mood, that sounds good to me. I so have my work cut out for me with these two,' and with a snap of her fingers she disappeared in a cloud of pink sparkles. Leaving the two women to sleep and ponder their newly found realizations.
There are two kinds of tears Tears for those who leave you and tears for those who you will never let go and I will not say goodbye.
The sea crashed against the prow, wind blowing into sails caused rigging to creak and groan, as the vessel pushed its way through the ocean waves on course for the Greek Isles. Sailors worked among the cargo stacked upon the deck, repairing sail, and fishing for the evening meal or just lounging in small groups. The main gossip among the crew was about their lone passenger.
They had all heard the cries at night, wailings of grief, the older sailors had called them. However, no one dared approach the young woman, she may have been small but she carried herself proudly and was equipped with a wicked looking sword and strange circular object. She would venture out upon deck during the daylight hours, walking back and forth along the railing or to sit quietly in the bow. Sometimes the sailors who ventured close while she sat heard the sounds of her melodic voice speaking, but to whom she spoke, they knew not. Many were beginning to think she might be a bit touched in the head, even more reason to stay clear of the woman.
Suddenly the sailors talking quieted as the young woman walked by their groups, they watched in silence as she walked to the bow and sat cross-legged in the same spot she did everyday. Slowly the sounds of men talking resumed as they went about their tasks, all avoiding the general area of the bow if possible.
Gabrielle sat upon the deck, feeling the warmth of sunlight upon her face and letting the breeze from the forward motion of the ship wash over her body. 'If it could only be daylight always,' she thought, 'during the day I am left to face memories but at night they change into nightmares. Will they ever stop?'
Reaching over her right shoulder and withdrawing the katana from its sheath, holding it in in front of her body for a moment she then placed it on the deck beside her. The bard then opened the bag she carried and withdrew the chakram, followed by an object carefully wrapped in rags. Placing the chakram on the deck in front of her, she then unwrapped the bundle, contained within the protective covering was a small black urn; placing it next to the round weapon she shook her head and sighed deeply, "Dammit Xena couldn't you have at least let me try to bring you back?" she spoke to the wind.
Her mind flashed back to that moment on Mt Fuji, she still could not believe that Xena had stopped her from pouring her ashes into the well. The whole speech about the souls needing avenging, so she must stay dead. Her learning the right thing to do from the bard it was so unfair!
"I so just wanted to knock you unconscious and dump the ashes! To Hades with the entire do the right thing crap!" Gabrielle yelled into the wind. "You left me Xena! It's not fair! Do you realize how difficult it is to love a ghost!" she finished yelling and slumped in defeat.
She felt the wind ruffle her hair and a faint caress on her cheek, then in her mind a voice answered her outburst, 'Not anymore difficult then a ghost trying to love a mortal my bard. I am sorry it had to end like this and it may be hard to understand the reasons, but it had to be done,' Xena's voice said.
Tears trailing down her cheeks, Gabrielle turned to see the faint outline of her partner, lover, and soul mate. "Oh Xena it's so hard though. All I have left of you is that sword, your chakram and memories. I can't even keep your ashes with me for long, you wanted to be put to rest next to Lyceus; I'm going to keep that promise." the bard said to the ghost.
'I love you so much Gabrielle and I meant what I told you I'll always be with you, no matter what, just think of me and I will be there. You don't need to have my ashes or even the chakram, but it would be nice if you kept that all the trouble we went through to fix you know.' the last part was said with Xena's characteristic sarcasm.
Gabrielle stared at the grinning ghost, raising a finger she waved it in the ghost's face, "Do not try and get out of this by cracking jokes Xena! I'm not in the mood for your attempts at humor!" the bard yelled at the outline, but the whole time she was trying so hard not to laugh at the sheepish look Xena's face.
Turning back to face the prow of the ship, Gabrielle said aloud, "I know what you're trying to do Xena, it might work for a short time but in the end I have to face things without you. It will take me some time to get used to that; but for now, until I do I will take the memories good and bad, however they may come.
'And I'll be there to watch over you, my bard always.' the ghost said as she disappeared into the wind once more.
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