by J. Falconer
Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle etc belong to MCA/Universal and Ren Pics, and anyone else who has an interest in Xena Warrior Princess, not me.
Copyright ã 2000: The characters in here belong to me. All rights reserved. No part or whole of this work may be copied or used in any shape, form, or manner whatsoever without the author's express written consent. If you want to use them, all you have to do is ask...nicely.
Violence disclaimer: A touch. But ONLY a touch :-)
Love/Sex warning: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live - move along, move along, nothing for you here ...
Major vote of thanks to my ever patient beta reader ForevaXena for taking valuable time out to read this. Without her, I am eternally grammatically and spelling stuffed :-)
My breathing is ragged as I slump against the rough bark of the tree. Gulping a deep breath of the sweet, clean air into my burning lungs, I look at my pale companion. Breathing as hard as I am, he leans forward with his thick, old hands planted on his knees, trying to get his breath back.
The velvet of night, a benediction, is all around us, and the scent of the thick trees gently teases me. My eyes are keen and darkness is of no concern to me; I can see as well as I can during the day. Finally my breathing begins to ease a little and I scent the urgency on the night wind. I tune my sharp hearing to all that is around us, urging the night to give up her secrets.
The hunters are in the distance behind us; they are tracking us easily. Shrouding myself in nature is simple child's play for me, but for him it is much harder; he is old.
I must run! The night calls to me and I want nothing more than to obey it, especially since I know she's waiting for me. My mouth lifts in a half smile. The wind brings her to me, a blessing, a promise for the future, and I know she's waiting for me, to carry me from the open places I know and have always loved so deeply. It is for her I turn my back on all this for her, and I allow the sweet love I feel for her warm my uneasy heart.
"Are you all right?" I murmur to my companion.
He nods, face ashen, unable to speak.
"Good. Then let's go." I touch his shoulder. He looks sharply at me, studying me with his bright yellowish brown eyes.
"Why did I agree to this?" he grumbles, disgusted, not expecting me to hear him.
I do, and turn to him with a snarl. I feel nothing but contempt for him.
My teeth are becoming sharper, my time is approaching, and with it the utter, wild liberation that I no longer enjoy. When the change comes upon me, I run across endless miles, howling my ecstasy to the expanse of nature. I feed, often of human stock, and it is always the taste of the hot, salty flesh spiced with terror that teases my nerve endings, sating me often to the very core of my half wild, untamed nature. It is not enough anymore; I have found something else that fulfills me more than that ever could.
"You owe me old man." My voice drops to its lowest register as I narrow my eyes and growl at him.
His half smile makes me want to tear his throat out, as little good as that would do.
We both turn to listen at the soft baying of the hounds as they come closer to us. A lone wolf takes up the call of the hounds, then another; they are warning us, and there is an instant of peace as the hunters' stupid beasts are silenced.
"I made you everything you are." The voice is quiet, tone emphatic, odd yellowish eyes glittering and boring into me with cold hatred.
"Yes I know." My expression, complete with curled upper lip tells him what I think of this. I want to kill him, to taste his tangy, aged flesh, but she has made me promise not to. Thoughts of her filter into my mind. Her innocent, feminine scent with it's undertone of wildflowers; her soft laughter, her golden hair. I sigh and lean back against the rough bark of the tree. My soul aches for her, and there is an instant of panic for her that I quickly quash. I will survive this night of that I am certain, but she waits for me with only my love protecting her innocent, gentle soul from the cruelty and ugliness that pervades the darkness. The thought of any harm coming to her pierces me, and I take a deep, shuddering breath, and try to steady my sudden trembling.
"Let's just get moving." Although the words are gruff and unforgiving, thoughts of her have softened my tone, and allow me to tame my wild side long enough to co operate with this creature again.
We set off through the forest once more, pounding through the undergrowth. We are more than capable of moving with supreme stealth, but we choose not to do so now.
She found me and I fell in love with her almost a year ago. She was so gentle, so sweet. At first I tried to dissuade her from wanting to be with me, but it did neither one of us any good. I knew that she had taken my cold heart and warmed it, and loved me with all that she was, and I could not - would not - hold myself back, though I knew it should never be.
I am pariah, a murderer, and unworthy of her pure love. She took my wild heart without force; it was surrendered willingly by my primal nature. I, the undefeated queen hunter in the ghostly moonlight, had been vanquished by the most gentle of maidens.
I was afraid to tell her of what I am in the beginning; but she gently wrested the secrets from me, brought them into the light...and felt no fear for me, her almost immortal lover. She demanded to see the changes within me when they occurred, but I resisted, until finally she weathered away my resolve, and in the dancing silver shadows of the full moon I changed for her.
With wild, exhilarating passion I took her with me on my tempestuous course through the late summer, always during the most haunted part of the witching hour. We danced with the wolves, we loped through the night, we sampled the pleasures of the carnal darkness. In the morning, we lay tangled together, sated, replete, and swore we would never be parted.
We both knew the joys of the waking world, and I was at a crossroads. Continue on with her, or surrender myself to the wolf within me. It was, and is, no contest.
It is for us that I do this.
I give it up without any regrets. For her - the gentle, magical woman who has tamed the beast within.
It is now with fear for her and her safety foremost in my heart that I lead the hunters a merry chase with him.
He, the patriarch of my wild blood, is to forfeit his life for us.
The hunters are closer now, and I know she is nearby. I can feel her, anxious, concerned for my well being, love for me foremost in her heart and mind. I return her gentle affection a thousand fold, with a gentle admonishment to trust me.
Drunk on the glory of darkness, I want to laugh, sweep her into my arms, and show her what child's play it is to really escape from the silly full humans.
I can't do that he must end.
So it is carefully that we lead the hunters a merry chase, and they finally have us surrounded.
"It's time," he says simply, golden eyes grave, spark of the animal that he is glowing bright in his odd eyes.
I do not need to acknowledge him nor do I want to; we are beyond such simple courtesies.
I take a deep breath, feeling the tingle in my joints, the itch under my skin, that signals the wolf within me howling, straining against it's confines, too proud to beg for release, demanding it, forcing it.
I cry aloud, unable to stop myself, as I feel my body change. It gives the hunters the beacon they require to catch us. We are not far from where she watches for us, and I can feel my entire soul screaming to her to wait for me. I love her and will love her for all time; our entire existence is before us. We will be free!
Freedom! Freedom to be with her as a woman should be tears at me, and my soul soars, unable and unwilling to control the wild joy she brings flooding through my being.
I bay up into the clear night sky, stars twinkling with approval at the course I've chosen, as the hunters finally sight us, the midnight wolf, young and strong, and the morning silver wolf, ancient and cunning.
The human at the head of the pack watches us calmly, raises his hand to reassure his compatriots. We stare at him, sapphire and golden eyes willing him to do battle with us.
He calmly raises his gun and fires, as I turn and lope with almost contemptuous ease into the forest. My keen ears hear a muffled thud and a grunt from my ancient blood sire, as the silver bullet hits him in his unprotected heart.
The rich, coppery scent of fresh blood fills the air, and I smile to myself, sharp canines gleaming in the darkest night, as I make my way to her.
My transformation into a tamer self will soon begin, and the feeling of liberation is mixed with the high, sweet feel of my complete love for her. We will be together! We will live as the one being we are!
Even in my exhilaration I am cautious. The hounds have taken up the cry of the hunter again; they are fully engaged in their pursuit of me. I can sense them behind me, and I easily change back to my human form. It is almost painless as always; another bolt drawn from the door of my unfettered prison.
It is with silence that I move through the forest now. I am so intent on reaching her, holding her, having her arms surround me in a warm embrace, the touch of her soft lips, that I almost do not hear the sounds of pursuit gradually fade behind me. The hunters mill in confusion, hoping the night will give me up - me, it's greatest secret.
I am so close now, I can see her. Her face is ashen; she sees me loping towards her, and I can see her lips move, crying a warning.
A single gunshot rings out from behind me, and I stumble forward, as though pushed. The pain does not start immediately, but when it does come I know something is wrong when it is so much more intense than it has ever been before. My joints are freezing as the poison of the silver bullet leeches it's way through my system. My cry of disbelief and betrayal echoes throughout the night as I stagger and fall to my knees.
She stumbles towards me, and catches me, tears making slow tracks down her cheeks from her emerald green eyes.
I cannot fight the weakness in my system or the fire in my veins I know it will be the end. There is so much to say to her, as her gentle arms encircle me, holding me, slowing my descent. The pain of betrayal forces the tears from my own eyes, and my entire soul screams in agony for her, to be with her, to protect her.
There are no words; but I still force myself. "I love you. I'm sorry." My voice is weak, and I don't think it is loud enough for her to hear. The soft fall of her beautiful golden hair is upon my fevered face, and her tears rain down as she draws a deep, hitching breath into her lungs. The blood slowly leaches from my body, unstoppable, soaking her, meeting the ancient soil of my homelands.
I am sad, so sad I am almost a memory, and I cannot be with her any more. It hurts I love her so. The pain of separation I know she cannot bear.
I love her.
There is a shifting of movement, and in the burning twilight, I can just make out two figures coming towards us. Our faces are wet with our mingled tears and my body is giving away it's life force. Her voice is soft as she leans down and brushes my cold lips with hers and whispers to me.
"I love you and I will never forget you. Goodbye."
I am cast down onto the unforgiving earth as the hunter tears her from me. With her keening cry of grief ringing throughout my shattered soul, my old blood sire leans over me in contempt and whispers, "I win. Know this and take it to the blackest pits of hell with you she is mine for all time."
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