When Love Is Found part 6
Disclaimer: The following characters of Xena Warrior Princess are property of MCA/Universal. It is not meant to infringe on any copyrights whatsoever.
However this story is mine and mine alone.
WARNING! Subtext, YES!! There is graphic violence, some strong language as well. If this bothers you please leave. I write stories in ways that I see fit. I try to make it as real as possible, NOT for the ratings of television. So if youre NOT 18 or older, go read Barney or something.
Enjoy. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
"Look! This is not a good idea Emery. Why cant you leave that girl along? Get over it." Luna started to walk forward, but was abruptly stop by a heavy hand on her shoulder.
"Im not going to argue with you. I want that information! Is she the woman that travels with Xena. Yes or No." Emery bit the end of the sentence off as he dismounted for his horse, stepped up into Lunas face.
Luna could smell his bad breath as he stood there waiting for her answer. She could do this, before it would have been so easy to give her up, but over the years she has changed herself. But when push comes to shove, she still likes to bite back.
"No." Luna, without warning kicks her leg back, catching the man behind her in the groin, then following through with a right cross to Emerys jaw. Emery falls backwards into the snow. Luna lets out a low grunt as another man tackles her down on top of Emery. "Oh this is nice." Luna sneers then slams the back of her head into the mans face. She starts to push herself off, but is caught in the face by Emerys boot. The pain shot right to the back of her head as she lands her on her back
She quickly flips herself upright, turns to meet her next opponent, catching the wild swing with her left forearm, hitting his right side. He bends over, she quickly holds his wrist, giving it a slight twist, then sends a powerful punch to his elbow shattering it . Another man runs at her. Luna flips over him, landing in front of another, placing her hand on either side of his face and give him a quick snap to the right, breaking it. Something slammed against her back, sending her forward into the snow. Trying to regain direction on which way is up, someone grabs the back of her cloak and pulls her upright, then tossing her once again to the ground.
"Bitch teach you to kick me." A large man yells at her. Luna hits the ground hard knocking the wind out of her. Coughing and weezing Luna is trying to catch her breath. Emery kneels behind her grabbing her roughly then placing a the cold steel of his dagger against her throat.
"Now. Who is she or Ill let Ellis here run you through."
Luna eyes were now locked on the man in front of her ready to kill her. "Bite Me."
"Kill her!" Ellis takes two step up only to be knocked onto the ground as a crossbow bolt slams into his chest. The sudden change in the situation took Emery off guard, Luna rolls out of his hold only to capture him into a head lock and squeezed. Footsteps came charging up to her.
"If you want to live youll stop right there." The voice calls out.
Luna turns her head slightly to be heard in the back. "Hi Don nice to see ya again."
"Nice to see you too Cricket."
Luna flipped Emery in front of her. "Now get lost and leave me and that girl alone." She turns toward the young man who helped her out. He extends a hand down to her and pulls her up into the saddle.
"Why didnt you just kill me. You had the chance?" Blood dripped from his nose.
"Because Beth would be without a father. Shes a good kid, too bad she doesnt realize that her father is an asshole."
" And you wouldnt want me telling Angie, now would you? Its going to be hard enough to explain what happened to your men." The young mans voice was very serious yet devious.
Emery knew he was beaten. He tucked his tail between his legs and began to wonder how he was going to get these men back to town. Luna and her mysterious friend were now gone down the road somewhere.
Soft sounds of water gently falling floated through out the cave. Shadows danced across the back of the living area. Gabrielle was totally into what she was writing. Thoughts just kept pouring out onto the parchment under her fingers. She scribed away until her fingers began to ache, she just had so much she wanted to put down, but she was beginning to tire.
Slowly she settled back into her chair closing her eyes listening to the cave. A small whistle caught her ear, her tea was ready. "Well Chance ya wanna go get that?" Gabrielle looked down at her friend curled up at her feet. " No, huh?" A smile crossed her face as she limped over the fire. Her knee was starting to feel better the pain was lessening, but she still needed to be careful. Feeling a slight pull in her shoulder but no pain, she just needs to work all the stiffness out of her joints. The hot spring is great but getting a rub from Xena would be much better.
Pouring water into her mug, steam rising to her nose, the sweet smell washed over her, " Mmm, this is going to taste good."
"Woof!" Chance answered to his new friend, his tail wagging in a happy panic. Gabrielle reached down to pat his head when she realized it was getting late. Her brow creased.
"Wheres you friend Chance? Huh? Its getting late." Her heart skip. " I hope shes okay, Im worried enough about Xena, I dont want to have to worry about her too." Slowly she limped back to her chair, careful not to spill any, sat back with a satisfying sigh. "Now that wasnt to hard." Toasting herself and her victory as she sipped the warm soothing liquid. She let the heat from the mug warm her hands as her eyes drifted up and rested on what use to be Xenas. With her head tilted back on a soft pillow, covered in warm blankets, her eyes began to falter. With sleep around the corner, she settled her eyes on Xenas banner. The was a deep purple small X like symbols sat at all 4 corners, embroidered in gold thread as was the symbol that stood in the center, the same symbol she had engraved on her sarcophagus. Her eyebrows raised as she was amazed at the fact that she had the pattern almost perfect to the real thing. Slowly her eyes began to fall thinking of that night that Xena had told her what it looked light, she was so sick with fever that day. She can still remember the stinging rain that pelted her legs as she cover as much of her body in her cloak as well as behind Xena. The eyes were fixed on the banner hanging on the wall, her eyes began to close, memories flooded her mind and her heart ached for her friend.
The last three days have been a living hell. Rain, wind and now the temperature was beginning to drop at a steady pace. The wind was at times deafening, even under her heavy cloak the noise driving her nuts. Gabrielle tried to hide behind Xena the best she could, but the freezing wind found its way in. Her head was pounding, her muscles ached from the constant shivering and she was hungry. Not sure how far they traveled, but she was sure Argo would love to get out of the rain and mud, not to mention that her quiet partner. Shes been too quiet, she thought. Gabrielle began to emerge out of her cocoon, as she pulled back her hood to see the nasty landscape all around them. Nothing but mud, wind, falling leaves, and the river alongside the road was beginning to creep over the banks. This is lovely. She places an are around Xenas' waist only to feel warmth emitting from beneath her cloak. Her stomach tightened for a brief moment as she placed a hand under her cloak only to answer her question. Xena was burning up with fever.
"Xena?" She called to her friend.
No answer. Gabrielle moved slightly in the saddle to try and get a look at her, but her hood was in her field of vision.
"Xena? .Hey, are you still in there? She said jokingly. Still not a word. She could feel her throat tighten from anticipation waiting for, hoping for an answer. Nothing. Xena sat motionless in the saddle. Argo whined just a bit. Gabrielle wasnt worried, she was scared. With out giving it a second thought, "Argo stop." Not even a second went by when Argo came to a halt, when Xena body went limp, fallen back slightly againt Gabrielle.
"Gods! Xena!?! Hey, Xena?!..Can You hear me?" Gabrielle cupped the side of her face giving it a slight shake to see if she could get a rise out of her , but it was no good. Xena was unconscious from the fever. Time was of the essence to get her out of the weather into a dry warm bed, but were? They were in the middle of no-where. Her eyes franticly looked over the land to see if there was anything that she could possible use for shelter. Looking at Xenas' pale face she couldnt tell of the wetness was from the rain or the fever. She leaned forward a bit and lightly kissed her on the forehead then wiped the tears from her cheeks. Then she grabbed for Argos reigns turning to the left path.
"Come on Argo lets see whats over that hill, okay girl." Gabrielle pulled Xena closer to her as Argo started the trek up the hill. She took the reigns an looped then around the saddle horn and put both arms around her, even with Xena unconscious just been next to her took some of the panic out of the situation. "Dont worry Xena, I get of to someplace warm and dry I promise." She whispered into her ear giving the warrior a slight squeeze.
"Okay Luna, what the hell was all that about? Cause ya know every time I come back here it sure seems you or my dad are always getting into trouble so what gives?" He asks the question as his friend dismounts. "Hey! I do get some type of answer, dont I?"
Luna continues to walk toward Blue who was enjoying a small patch of uncover grass to munch on. "Oh I see, I almost get my ass kicked and your enjoying a nice meal." She bitched softly at him, she then grabbed at his reigns only to turn around to have a slightly pissed off young man standing in front of her. "Okay, okay come on, Ill fill you in a we head back to my place. Geeze just because you helped me out You think I owe you something ."
"Ya! Like whos this girl Emery was yipin about?"
" Well Okay almost 2 moons ago I found a body in the river.."
"Dead?" He quipped.
"Dont interrupt and no, she was alive, barely. It almost looked like she was beaten and dumped. She had a deep gash on her forehead, her shoulder was torn open it looked like she got caught up in the current and was hooked on something. That was a hard one to clean up. But it looks 100 time better now then it did, but that should is going to be stiff for a while the same goes for her knee, I think."
"Why is that?"
"Well she had it twisted up pretty good, it was she about this in size when I first found her." Luna dropped Blues reigns to show Don about the size of the swelling. His eyes popped oout of his head a bit. "But I tried something new, I been having her sit in that hot spring for a while and work on using it, with out all her weight standing on it," She watched the expression change from confusion to understanding.
"I see the heat from the water helps relax the injury and the water will light the load her knee to carry. Hey, that pretty good Cricket. But that doesnt explain why Emery wants her so and was she dumped in the river?" He looked over to his friend and then forward to see the road that lead to the cave.
"No she wasnt." She paused to gather her thoughts." Do you remember that story of how some traveler talked about a great hole that opens in the forest every so many years?"
" Yeah, my dad told that story when I was little. Why?"
"Well, its true."
"Nope, she was caught in it, and lived." Luna walked Blue into the barn. Don needed to blink, he was to intent on listening to Luna he didnt realize that they were this close to her home. He really enjoys hanging around Cricket. All his life her grew up around her and there are days he just doesnt understand how people could be so cruel to her just because she was burned at some point in her life. He knew all the war stories from his dad, they served together for years before things changed, but in the end he still cared for his friend because he knew what was underneath. Someone looking for another chance in life. A smile curled at the corners as he then went in after his friend.
He spotted Luna at the back of the barn putting the load Blue was carrying. "Cricket. Hey. You still havent told me why Emery wants her." He picked up a sack of grain and tossed it up into a wagon, turned and looked her in the eyes. "Well?"
Luna sighed as she rubbed the back of her head only to notice her hand was covered in blood. She stared at her hand for a moment then finally wiping it off on her pants. "Xena."
"Xena?" He voice cracked. Luna nodded. "The Xena And your still helping her out."
"Yup." She answered while putting away other little items into shelves and drawers. "And no, you father doesnt know. And I would appreciate it if you kept your mouth shut." Pointing a finger at his nose. "Got it?"
"Under one condition." He couldnt stop the smile from surfacing.
"Oh, what." She whined.
"I want to meet her. And if you dont Ill just have to introduce myself." He didnt even wait for her to finish as he turned and heading into the cave. " Coming Cricket? HHmmm." He just giggles out the barn doors.
Luna just stood there thinking of what this kid is going to do to try and embarrass her, and he will. " I know Im gonna have to beat his ass later. Little jerk." Chuckled to herself she hurried to catch up with him.
Rain lightly tap danced against what sounded like wood. Wood? Now thats odd. A little voice echoed, other foggy sounds began to grow louder. Am I dead. Xena thought to herself. She tried to open her eyes, but she was so tired. Where Am I? Trying to remember something, anything to give her an idea what it was that put her this way. She tried to move her head, then arms, but it was no use, but she felt so heavy.
Poison? She felt her heart rate increase, her ears began to ring as sweat began to bead on her brow. Panic. Oh gods wheres Gabrielle. Her stomach began to turn, she could now feel the heat coming off her body. Gabrielle? She called, but nothing. The heat was almost to much to take anymore. Franticly she called for her friend once more, Gabrielle. Her head was beginning to spin, she had a lump in her throat that burned. Still Nothing. Panic set in, the heat increased "Gabrielle please." She begged an answer. The sudden shock of cold forced her eyes to open. She suddenly tears began to fall. "Gabrielle?" She forced her hand to reach out for her, she just had to make sure she was real.
"Shhhh Im here Im here." Tears fell onto her cheeks as she apply a cool rag to Xenas forehead. She sat there watching the panic drain from her face as she gently continued to wipe down her face and neck to help cool her body down some.
"Where are we." Her voice was slightly hoarse from the lack for use.
Gabrielle pulled the fur covering totally off her friend and placed a light blanket in its place. " I found a small cave on the East road." She answered softly and smiled as she gentle brushed Xena damp bangs out of the way. " And...weve been here a few days. Xena eyes opened wide.
"Few? How long is a few." Her eyes full of confusion looking into Gabrielles for answers. Answers she knew she would be the truth, she let her eyes look around and noticed the Gabrielle did a great job putting this place in order. Why is she so good to me? she thought.
"About 3 days. You passed out from a fever and were fighting it last few nights." She moved slightly to pick up a mug and poured steaming liquid into it. "Here." She called to Xena as she helped her up into a comfortable sitting position. "Here, its some tea. Help get ya back on your feet." She gave Xena a warm smile as she could feel the worry drain from her body, knowing now that Xena was going to be okay.
Xena let the warm liquid fall down her very sore throat. Her body ached, her head ached she was still very tired, but she was hungry and that was a good sign. "Mmm. Taste good, thanks." She caught Gabrielles eyes in the fire light, still worried but now they looked clam. A lot calmer she thought. "Three days huh?" She watch her nod. "Im sorry. I cant even remember at what point I passed out."
Gabrielle looked up from what she was doing. "Did you fall alseep? Maybe you developed a fever while ya slept." Xena just shook her head. "You didnt feel good when we left Geils did you." The tone in her voice wasnt a question. The two women stared at one another for what seemed an eternity.
Xena stomach was in knots, she felt so stupid about what happened. She not only risked her health, but Gabrielles safety as well. Gods what if she ran.. Her thought was broken by the sound of boots padding toward her, she looked up from her empty mug.
"Wanna share?" Gabrielle gestured with the bowl.
"Your not mad at me?"
"I never said that." She couldnt help but chuckle at the look Xena had given her. She lowered herself next to Xena, placed the bowl off the her right, looked her in the eyes.
"Only if you do two things for me?"
Xena coughed a little. "As long as it doesnt require me to be up or talk to loud."
"One night during your fever you talked about something in your loopy state." She said with a grin
"Loopy?" An eye brow raised.
"Ya, your werent making sense, well at least not right away. I guess some people call it babbling." Gabrielle explained as she checked the stew for temprature. She turned to see Xena sipping at her mug. "Still to hot."
"So what was I talking about or who?" She asked with a sneeze. "Ooo that hurts." Xena moaned as she grabbed for her throat; Holding out the mug to Gabrielle and mouthed the word please. Gabrielle took it and headed toward the fire.
"Well you didnt talk about anyone, you kept talking about something not being a correct color." She handed Xena her mug. "I must have sat here hours trying to make sense of what you were saying."
"Now you know how I feel." She jump in.
"Whats that suppose to mean?" She eyed her pale partner to see an eye brow move up. "Oh! Very funny." She lightly poked Xenas thigh.
"Couldnt resist. Go on Gab." Xena smiled back at her friend as she placed a hand on top of her friends.
"Well finally I put it together and realized it was your banner you were talking about, but I never heard the end." Her eyes looked into Xenas soft blue pools for a moment, just enough to develop a lump in her throat. " I was wondering if you could tell me what it looked like, ya know finish the story."
"You bet." Xena patted Gabrielles hand. "Hey, I thought you said there were two." Gabrielle nodded.
"Can I have a hug?" Her heart was gonna bust. Xena slowly opened her arms as Gabrielle slowly descended into them. Xena wrapped both arms around her friend, rested her chin on Gabrielles soft hair, inhaling the sweet scent. "Sorry."
Gabrielle pushed up a little to look at Xena. "Dont do that again. You scared me Xena. Tell me when your not feeling well," She leaned forward so their foreheads touched. "Okay?"
"Okay." Xena whispered as she pulled Gabrielle back down into her arms and just held her. She didnt care about how bad she was feeling, and she was feeling bad, but it didnt matter.
" I just want you right here for the moment." Nothing else was said. Gabrielles body finally relaxed again hers. She could feel her breathing even out, feeling Gabrielle start drifting off into sleep, which at the moment was alright by her. The stew can wait.
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