Beyond the Greater Good
Copyright © June 23, 2001 Ambyrhawke Shadowsinger
All Rights Reserved
Spoilers: This takes place during A Friend in Need. I wrote this the morning/afternoon
before I saw the finale. I had no benefit of spoilers because I stayed far away
from them. The only thing I had to work with was the teasers from the end of Soul
Possession and the final day of shooting on E!...or was it ET? So that explains
why things may be out of order.
Disclaimers: I don't own the characters; I just wish I had been the one
being given some water! :::Swoon:::
Subtext: This story depicts a loving relationship between two women.
Violence: There are descriptions of the aftermath of a battle in this story.
If blood makes you squeamish, run far and fast!
All feedback is welcome at Ambyrhawke@ambyrhawke.com
Xena finished putting on her samurai armor for the coming battle. Her breath quietly
left her lungs as her eyes refused to focus on anything before her. Her mind was
trying to find the place it needed to be to face the task before her.
Ever since coming up with this plan a few days ago, Xena had become increasingly
distant. All of her thoughts focused inward more with each passing moment. She
drew within herself searching for that state of consciousness required for what
she was about to do
face an army of 20,000 warriors, and face it alone. This
was a challenge that made fighting gods seem like child's play.
A glinting of sunlight off of gold brought her vision back to the present moment
and her current surroundings. The flashing light reflected off of Gabrielle's
hair as she moved before Xena. The bard was dressed in a medium blue kimono. Her
face was drawn as she looked at the warrior.
Oh please, Gabrielle, Xena silently begged, don't
do this now. Her expression remained hard.
Gabrielle either did not hear or chose not to heed the thoughts of her friend.
With tears welling up in her eyes, she surged forward, enveloping the warrior
in a desperate embrace. I won't lose you, her words hissed out in
a fervent whisper. Please don't do this.
Xena's arms automatically wrapped around the bard's body as her mind beat her
emotions back into submission. She could not afford the luxury of emotions right
now. Pulling the small body away from her own, she spoke through the icy wall
of her warrior façade, Gabrielle, you know I have to do this.
No! No, I don't know that! Wide jade eyes looked up with a
slight wildness in them mirroring the quickened breathing of the bard.
Xena shook her head slightly, trying to convince the other woman, This is
the right thing to do. Sable brows contracted with
meaning, Please understand
Gabrielle gripped at Xena's shoulders, using the warmth of her touch and words
to batter at the icy walls keeping the woman locked away from her, behind the
warrior, Xena, I can't lose you again. Her fingers touched the dark
strands of hair, I love you. She took a breath to steady herself.
Trembling fingers caressed the tanned face as she whispered, I'm in love
Blue eyes closed as Xena tilted her head up. Oh gods, what kind of cruel joke
is this to play on us? Why, after so many years together, do you only give us
the courage to say this now? She looked back down at the face filled with
apprehension. She wiped a tear from the bard's cheek with her thumb. I'm
in love with you, too, Gabrielle.
The gloved fingers cupped around the small jaw as she leaned forward. Xena's lips
met Gabrielle's gently. It was the first time either of them had kissed without
hiding their feelings for each other behind the decorum of friendship. They both
put their hopes and dreams for their life together into that single kiss. The
warrior's mind grieved, I'm sorry I never did this sooner. Forgive me,
my bard, for what I have to do now.
As Xena broke off the kiss, she once again raised the walls between herself
and her love. Her voice was resigned, I have to go.
No! Gabrielle moved to grab Xena again, but she was held back in a
strong grip. Tears sprang to her eyes and poured down her face. Don't do
this to us! Please, Xena. Once, just once let me be more important to you than
making up for your past!
Gabrielle! Xena's jaw dropped in shock at the pleading words.
I've never asked this of you before, but I am now.
Xena held out a hand, palm up, This is about more than making up for my
past, Gabrielle. These people need my help! This is about the greater good.
Her explanations fell on deaf ears as Gabrielle countered angrily, I don't
give a damn about the greater good!
The two women stared at each other silently, a titanic battle of wills taking
place. The air crackled with the intense energy passing between them.
When the bard finally spoke, her voice was deceptively calm, like the eye of a
storm, Xena, you once said that for everyone, there is something that goes
beyond the greater good. She closed the distance between them both. You
said I'm that for you. Well, that's what you are for me.
She took a gloved hand in her own. Xena, I don't care about the greater
good if it means I'm going to have to watch you die. I don't want to do that again.
The warrior's voice rang with false hope, You don't know that that's going
Gabrielle interrupted her, Don't lie to me, Xena. This plan of yours couldn't
be any more suicidal if you went in front of that army and laid down your sword.
I've known you for too many years. And I can see you've already made up your mind
that you're not coming back from this one. If you believed anything else, you
wouldn't be shutting me out like you have been for the past three days!
Xena searched the green eyes, trying to understand the bard, What would
you have me do?
Run away! Tears once again welled up.
Xena sighed as her love's tears burned her heart. She wrapped consoling arms around
the blond. She whispered in regret, You know I can't do that.
Gabrielle's entire body stiffened as the pain washed over her soul. The despair
and hurt threatened to drown her in their intensity. Like a person desperately
fighting an undertow, she lashed out at the one thing trying to help save her.
Gabrielle put her hands on Xena's chest and pushed the warrior away with all her
might. Through her tears, she screamed at the woman she loved, Get out of
here! Get away from me!
Xena took a step forward, Gabri
I said go! Gabrielle's face was contorted in pain and fury. If
you want to die so badly, then get out of my sight! She turned away from
the Warrior Princess, I don't want to see you anymore.
Gabrielle couldn't breathe as her chest constricted from the waves of despair
crashed against her. She felt like she was going to throw up. Her legs folded
beneath her, and she knelt on the forest floor. She clutched her arms tightly
to her stomach and bent her head and shoulders toward the ground. Her tears fell
to the grass, as she sobbed silently.
Xena had never felt so torn in her life. The souls of forty thousand people cried
out to her for mercy while her bard knelt in pain before her.
The warrior within beat down the rebelling emotions one more time, and Xena turned
away. She took a step toward the battlefield and stopped short. Before her, she
could see another place. She immediately recognized it as the spot she had chosen
to make her last stand. The warrior was seeing the reality that would play out
in just a few hours.
There were bodies of men piled everywhere. Blood turned the ground to mud and
ran in rivulets down the small hill. Xena saw her bard climb over the corpses,
only to stop before one.
The blond looked down and fell to her knees with a heart-rending scream of denial.
She pulled the lifeless body into her arms, sobbing and screaming her defiance
of the gods over and over again. To Xena's eyes, the limp body was practically
unidentifiable. Countless gashes littered the corpse, and the armor hung in pieces.
Gore had turned the skin and hair the deepest shade of red. Xena looked more closely
as the vision of the bard brushed a bloody lock of hair away from the gruesome
face. Lifeless blue eyes stared up at the sky.
Xena watched the bard of her vision whimper. A shaking hand caressed the cheek
that was sliced open from the corner of the warrior's mouth to her ear. Xena didn't
realize that tears fell freely from her eyes as she saw Gabrielle kiss the ruined
mouth of her love. Xena's body trembled as Gabrielle buried her face into the
half severed neck of the warrior without regard to the gore. The bard kept rocking
back and forth.
Suddenly the Gabrielle of Xena's vision grabbed the warrior's katana. She jumped
up, screaming and hacking at the dead soldiers. After a seeming eternity, Xena's
heart filled her throat as she saw the bard take the katana to herself. Instead
of falling on the sword as Xena feared, Gabrielle sliced deep gashes of mourning
in the top of her arm. Then she knelt, gathered the warrior in her embrace, and
once more rocked her, whispering, I love you, repeatedly.
In reality, the vision only took seconds to play before Xena's eyes. But those
seconds were all it took to destroy the walls she had built over the past three
days. The extent of her love's future pain ripped through those barriers as if
they were made of cobwebs. She turned back to Gabrielle, and saw the bard's back
shaking with sobs.
Silently she moved behind the bard, and sank to her knees. She curled her body
over Gabrielle's and gently circled her arms around her. Through her tears, Gabrielle
moaned, Go away
Xena pressed her face into the blond hair and whispered, I can't.
She heard a hitch in the sobs below her, and tightened her hold on the bard. I
won't leave you.
Gripping the shoulders before her, Xena turned Gabrielle around. With two fingers,
she lifted the bard's chin until their eyes met. I won't have our last words
be ones of anger. Tears were falling from them both as Xena whispered, Gabrielle,
you are more important to me than making up for my past. I don't want to
leave you, and I don't want to die today.
Xena kissed her love once before Gabrielle sobbed into her shoulder. They held
onto each other as the pain receded.
Finally, Gabrielle sniffed and pulled away from the shoulder she leaned against.
She shook her head and sighed, Gods, I want us to run away so badly, but
But, I thought that's what you wanted?
Gabrielle wiped her eyes. It is, Xena. I want to keep you safe. But neither
of us could live with ourselves if we leave those people without any hope.
Xena shook her head, Gabrielle, I don't think I can do it now. I can't turn
these emotions off again and walk to my death today.
The bard bowed her head, then lifted it up again with her brows furrowed in sudden
Gabrielle spoke with a small flicker of hope, Maybe there's another way
to keep the town from falling into Yodoshi's hands. A way that will give us both
a chance at surviving the battle.
Xena's lips curled up into a slight smile. Let's hear it, Bard.
Two warriors stood catching their breaths as they surveyed the town. Flames engulfed
every building. The army and its ghostly leader had been destroyed. The town had
been kept out of Yodoshi's clutches, because Xena and Gabrielle had burned it
down. However, the innocent souls of its inhabitants had been saved, and they
would begin rebuilding their homes as soon as the flames were put out.
Gabrielle turned to the tall warrior, Higuchi is saved.
Xena looked around at the flames reaching into the night sky. She spoke above
the noise of the fire, Not quite the way I would have done it, Gabrielle.
She looked at the bard and smiled, But it sure worked.
Gabrielle smiled at the round-about praise. She poked her love in the chest, pointing
out, And we both survived.
Xena wrapped her arm around the bard's shoulders and guided them out of the town,
That we did.
alt fic | xena
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