by Alicia Christian
Xena lay by the fire watching the sleeping figure lying next to her. She couldn't let it go on any longer. She had to leave her. She loved her too much to punish her so. Gabrielle was a young girl. Each day she woke up and stayed with Xena she was taking a chance. A chance with her life. Xena didn't want that for her. She wanted her to be happy, to be loved and cared for. She loved her, yes. And it was that love that made her know she had to leave her.
"Xena," Gabrielle whispered.
"Yes, Gabrielle?" Xena looked down at her, noticing her eyes remained closed and she made no further attempt to communicate. She must have been dreaming. Xena smiled. She was dreaming about her. She would give anything to find out what exactly her dream was about.
Gabrielle was running. She was running as fast as her feet could carry her. But she knew in her heart she was not running from something, but running toward something. In the distance she saw a figure. She couldn't make out what it was. But she knew that it was what she wanted to catch. Suddenly she became very frightened. She was afraid to catch the figure. She was afraid of what the figure was. It was then that she felt the hand on her shoulder. And she screamed...
Gabrielle sat up with a start. She was sweating. She looked around to make sure everything was normal. Everything seemed normal. Xena was lying next to her. Gabrielle lay down once again to try and calm herself down. The dream had been very unsettling. Once again, that is. She was having this dream a lot lately. Being afraid to lok at something and to go forward. What it meant she had no idea. Xena hadn't understood it either. She looked at Xena. She looked so peaceful when she slept. So innocent. Gabrielle reached her hand over to touch Xena's face lightly. Xena stirred and Gabrielle quickly drew her hand back for fear of being discovered. One day, she thought, Xena will leave me and I will be alone. Lately Xena had been restless and edgy. Gabrielle feared the day would come soon.
Morning arrived. Xena arose realizing she still had a couple of hours before Gabrielle awoke. Xena decided she would cook breakfast and then while they were eating she would tell Gabrielle they must part. Xena rode into town which was only a couple of miles from their campsite. There she bought some eggs and a few slabs of beef. After the meal was cooked she gently nudged Gabrielle awake. Bleary-eyed, Gabrielle managed to sit up and look at the meal Xena had prepared.
"What's this for?" she asked.
"I just thought you might like some breakfast."
"Xena, you never cook. What's going on?"
Xena sighed. "We need to talk."
"Since when do you ever need to talk?" Gabrielle asked her heart racing. Was this it? Was this the moment in which Xena would tear her heart into pieces?
"Gabrielle, we've had some good times."
"No, Xena, you're not going to do this to me," Gabrielle interrupted her eyes tearing up.
"And I-I genuinely care for you. But I think this isn't the life for you."
"Xena, you are not to decide what is for me and what is not. After all we've been through how can you do this to me?"
"Gabrielle, I'm doing this because of all we've been through. I want you to be happy."
"I am happy exactly where I am. I am happy with you."
"Don't you wish to settle down?"
"I'm as settled as I ever hope to be, Xena. All I want is to continue traveling with you."
"Gabrielle, I'm not going to be the reason you ruin your life. I don't want you to look back and think 'if only' because of me. I couldn't live with myself if that happened. So, good luck. But now I have to go." With that Xena grabbed her things, jumped on Argo and rode off. Gabrielle sat there crying. The untouched food still simmering in fron t of her.
--Two months later--
"Come on Xena, show us how the chakram works," came a cry from the audience.
"I'll be glad to show you, personally. Of course you won't live to tell your friends," Xena said, menacingly.
"Everyone, everyone! Did you hear the news?" A man announced after rushing into the little tavern.
"Well c'mon man, what is it?" someone in the audience inquired.
"William the Warlord is here! He plans to plunder all the villages in his path!"
"Not if I have anything to do with it," Xena quipped.
"There's something else Xena. It's Gabrielle. She's been captured, m'lady. William's made her his slave."
Xena's entire body tensed. Not her Gabrielle. "If I know Gabrielle she's probably arguing with him every moment. It's amazing he's kept her as a slave."
"You don't understand m'lady. He's done something to her. Messed with her mind. Some people have ways of doing that. She's no longer Gabrielle. She's changed."
Xena's heart dropped. How could this have happened. She was so strong willed.
"Where is she?" Xena asked coldly.
"About thirty miles from here they've taken up camp."
"Can you show me?" Xena asked.
"It's too dangerous."
"Then I'll find it myself."
"Then you must take this," said a voice from the back. Xena looked up to see a little old man coming forward through the audience. The man held up a medallion to her.
"It will protect you from the spell."
Xena smiled at the old man. "Thank you. You must tell me your name so I can repay your kindness when I bring my friend to safety."
"That is not important. Just get your friend. And remember something. It is love that can conquer anything." With that the old man left the tavern. As he walked into the woods, Cupid turned back into his natural form and smiled.
"There you go Mother, I just evened the odds."
"Slave girl, bring me my water!" ordered the warlord.
"Yes, master, your wish is my command," said Gabrielle as she brought William his cup.
"You like that one, boys? I think it's one of the best yet."
"Make her say, 'yes your highness'," someone called out.
"I'm happy with her the way she is. Now, if you'll all excuse us, I think it's time she pleased me in other ways." The men laughed and slowly wandered off to their own beds.
"C'mon, slave," said William as he grabbed Gabrielle roughly and pulled her into his tent. As he lay with her he felt the medallion around his neck glow. It was the source of the hypnosis. Aphrodite had fashioned it herself. The only thing strong enough to break the spell was the love of another. No one loved Gabrielle, William thought. She would be his slave forever. He laughed and then proceeded to enjoy the pleasures of his company.
Xena noticed the fires burning up ahead. She had found their camp. Now she just needed to find Gabrielle. None of the men were out. In fact, all the lights were out except for the fire in the middle and one small light coming from one of the tents. Xena moved through the woods toward the tent with the light. As she got closer she heard voices. Then Xena's heart stopped beating. She quickly ran into the woods to throw up. She could hear Gabrielle moaning and could only guess what was taking place. She held back tears as she silently mourned the loss of her friend's virginity to this evil warlord. She had wanted Gabrielles' first time to be special. She had wanted it to be with her. And now this was all happening because of her. Because she had left Gabrielle. Then a thought struck Xena. What if Gabrielle was not his slave. What if she was just in love with this warlord. No, Gabrielle could never love a warlord. Xena edged closer to the tent, her heart wrenching at every moan. Then she heard her name. Gabrielle was calling her name.
"What did you say wench?" an angry man inquired. Xena heard a slap. "What is my name?" he demanded.
"William, forgive me sir," Gabrielle said in a monotone voice. Xena bit deeply into her hand to keep from crying out loud. She could take no more of this, but she was afraid to walk in on them naked and in each other's arms. That picture would be burned into her memory forever.
"Go to sleep. You'll learn tomorrow who's name to call out if I have to burn it into your forehead."
Xena watched and waited. A guard walked by every few minutes so she wouldn't have long. As she crept up to the tent she drew her sword just in case. Looking inside she simply saw two dark figures lying on a blanket.
"Gabrielle," she whispered. Xena crawled in and gently kicked her. "Gabrielle."
Gabrielle's eyes opened. "Who are you?" she inquired.
"Come on, let's get out of here," Xena said.
"No, I mustn't leave William. He needs me. You must be a traitor. William, wake up!" Gabrielle shook him. Xena moved into action. As William sat up Xena delivered a punch that would have him out cold long enough for her to escape. She grabbed the screaming girl and carried her outside the tent where three men were waiting. Holding Gabrielle in one arm she used the other to throw the chakram which promptly took care of the three men and then landed perfectly back in Xena's hand. She then ran out to Argo and then they were gone.
"Gabrielle! If you would stop screaming I'll explain everything to you."
Gabrielle stopped, deciding it was pointless. They were well away from the camp. "Why have you kidnapped me from my savior William," she asked innocently.
"Oh Gabrielle, do you not remember me?" Xena asked, heartbroken.
"I have no idea who you are and what you want with me but I assure you, William will find me and he'll kill you for taking me."
"I've missed you Gabrielle. This is all my fault."
"I wish you would quit talking to me like you know me."
"I do know you. And I guess since you have no idea what I'm talking about anyway I'm going to tell you right now that I'm sorry. I'm sorry I left you."
"I'm tired. I need to rest."
"Fine we'll set up camp here. Gabrielle, I'm sorry I have to do this, but I'm going to have to tie you up."
"Why? I'm not going to escape."
"I'm sorry, but right now I can't trust you to know what's best for you."
Xena tied her where she would still be able to sleep and they both nodded off.
Xena sat up. It was morning. Something was wrong. She looked over and saw that the girl was gone. Damn. This was ridiculous.
"Ah, Xena, I'm glad to see you're awake. This way you'll at least be concious when you die."
Xena turned around and saw William. And Gabrielle was right behind him. Xena felt for her chakram, but she had been disarmed. Guess she'd just have to fight. But as she stood up over a hundred men emerged from the woods. She looked at Gabrielle. She looked in her eyes. What she saw there tore her apart. She saw hatred.
"Xena, do you have anything to say before you die?" asked William. They had taken Xena back to camp and tied her to a post in the middle above the fire.
"Only this, William. You may kill me now, but I will find a way to come back. You can never sleep comfortably in your bed again for what you have done to Gabrielle. I will follow you the rest of your life, and when you least expect it, I will kill you."
"Fine, fine, Xena. That's nice. I'm glad to see your last words were spoken in anger. Kill her," he said to his men.
"Gabrielle," Xena cried. "I'll always love you."
The next few moments happened in slow motion. The spell was broken, and Gabrielle stood there, confused. And then she fainted. In the next instant, Gabrielle found herself back in her dream. Behind her she saw William, and everything she despised. In front of her was a brilliant light, and in it she saw the face of Xena. But she was still scared. She wanted to be with Xena, but it was easier not to take the first step. It was easier to stay right where she was. Moderately happy, but not complete. A voice came from the darkness,"Gabrielle, you must make a decision. In this moment you will decide whether or not you have the guts to be with her. If you don't decide you will lose her."
"I'm afraid!" she yelled out into the darkness.
There was no answer. Gabrielle made her decision, and then she woke up.
She was lying by a creek. Her head was hurting like crazy. She sat up too fast and groaned from the dizzyness that washed upon her.
"Be careful, you took a nasty fall."
"Xena?" Gabrielle asked looking around. "What happened? Are we alive?"
Xena laughed. "Yes Gabrielle, we're alive."
"But how did we--"
"Not right now, okay? You need to rest."
"Oh Xena, I'm so sorry."
"No, I'm the one that needs to be sorry. I should never have left you. I was too busy trying to protect you that I left you unprotected."
"Xena, you told me--"
"Don't worry about all that now, just rest."
--Later that night--
Gabrielle woke up and went and sat by the fire. She looked at Xena sleeping peacefully. Gabrielle remembered, unfortunately, all the events that had taken place as if they were a dream. She remembered being with William and it sickened her. But it made her realize that there was only person she wanted to be with.
She walked over to where Xena was laying and lay beside her putting her arms around her.
"Xena," she whispered.
"Yes, Gabrielle?" Xena said turning to face her. Their bodies only inches apart.
"I had the dream again."
"Did you understand it this time?"
"Yes, I figured out what I had to do."
"And what was that?" Xena asked, one eyebrow raised.
"Go forward," she said as she gently pressed her lips to Xena's and waited for the warrior princess's reaction. Xena met her kiss and opened her mouth to allow Gabrielle to explore her wth her tongue.
Gabrielle pulled away. "Xena," she said, "I want my first time to be with you."
"Gabrielle there's somethng I need--"
"Xena, you make love with your heart as much as your body. The other night my heart was nowhere present, because it has always been with you. And so I'll say that again. I want my first time to be with you."
Xena smiled and kissed her. "I love you more than anything in this world. I'll never leave you again."
"You better not," said Gabrielle. "By the way, how did we get away from William?"
"With a little help from a friend," said Xena touching the medallion underneath her armor. She then looked into Gabrielle's eyes. Eyes completely different from the ones she saw this morning. That night she felt for the first time what it was like to make love to the woman she loved, had always loved.
alt fic index <> homepage