The Lesson Not Learned
by B.S.Barber

Yup, borrowed them again. Thanks MCA/Universal. I always give em back.
For those of you who have not seen Sac.II, this story is right after that, so read at your own risk. Guess that goes for everybody.

Thanks B.S.

I would like to add this note. My grateful appreciation to Lady Catherine for her help and encouragement. Thanks CTG!

It took awhile for her to realize motion had stopped, that the numbness hadn't finally extended enough to cover all her senses, though she had no idea where she was. She hadn't been aware of much for some time now. All she kept seeing was that face, as it tumbled slowly out of her reach.

Gabrielle. Ahh, Gods! Even thinking that name sent a thousand swords plunging into her heart and a shudder to rock her body, amazed that it could still hurt so much. The only thing that had kept her from throwing herself over the edge had been the look on that face. The silent pleading not to hate her, not to throw away this final gesture of love, and above all, remember her promise.

Strange, that it had been Callisto, of all people, who unknowingly helped with that. Her rage had simply vanished with Callisto's death, and she had been left with..... Nothing. Nothing but this black ache of emptiness. Callisto had taken her hatred and rage with her in her death, and Gabrielle had taken her heart and soul with hers.

Her bard, her life, her partner in all things, was gone. And she had been unable to prevent it, hadn't even seen it coming. In that one moment, her whole world had shattered. Her purpose in life, gone. All this redemption crap had stopped being about her a long time ago. Ever since their encounter with the Persians, when her soulmate had almost died. Her friend, her strength. The light that shone in her darkness. She knew then, she would do whatever she must to keep her bard near her, that she would be hard-pressed to go even one day without Gabrielle in her life, somewhere. The silence that pressed in on her now was threatening to overwhelm her.

She hadn't been able to tell her love everything, there on the cliff, so sure it would be her that died, not Gabrielle. She'd tried, she'd really tried, to let the bard know, that, somehow, she'd managed to wriggle her way between the cracks in the armor and firmly wrapped herself around her warrior's heart and would always be there.

She flinched away from that memory; the feel of that warm cheek, the softness of hair running over her fingertips.

Joxer said she'd stayed three days in that cavern, back against the wall, eyes never leaving that gaping hole, watching, waiting. She'd truly believed Gabrielle would find a way back to her, would give her some sign that she was alive and would hang on till her warrior could come to her rescue. But after all that had happened, all that she'd done, the hateful things she'd said, she didn't blame Gabrielle for not believing in her anymore. She'd have killed anyone else for doing those things, for hurting her bard like that.

So, what now. Poteidaia to tell her family, or the Amazon's to tell Ephiny, if she got that far, if they didn't just kill her outright. She knew she wouldn't stop them if they tried. At least then, she wouldn't have to face Gabrielle's family.

Damn it! It wasn't right. It was supposed to be her, not Gabrielle. She always knew it would be her first, she didn't have the kind of courage it took to live without a heart anymore.

I just want to talk with you hold your hand just one more time
See you smile and hear your laughter ever gentle on my mind
You taught me who I am and having pride in being me
You taught me about life and love and standing tall and free
You taught me all the things I need to make it on my own
But I still haven't learned the one about living with you gone.

You showed me how to look at things with wonder in my eyes
To see beyond the boundaries and jealous people's lies
To know the truth of total love that can't be compromised
But you never showed me life alone without you by my side.

You gave me strength to face the world with all it's ups and downs
To ride the storm and hear the laughter filling me from all around
You gave me hope when things were dark and no-one else believed
But now you're gone and I don't know if I'll ever learn to grieve.

I don't want to learn about the pain of losing you
The hurt that comes around each time I remember things we'd do
Like watching as the sun came up and painted all the sky
And the way our kiss, so sweet and soft, would always make you sigh.

I just want to talk to you hold your hand just one more time
See you smile and hear your laughter ever gentle on my mind
You taught me all the things I need to make it on my own
But I still haven't learned the one about living with you gone.

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