by Alan Plessinger
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Najara, Again" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
This is set around the time of "Kindred Spirits".
Gabrielle had herself a nice, relaxing steam, then put on a robe and her boots ( armed with the sais ) and headed out to the clearing to look at the stars and to think. She had a lot of things to sort through, and she had to get away from the Amazons for awhile.
She knew that the Amazons needed her, and she hadn’t felt needed by Xena for quite a long time. She was afraid of what might happen if Cyane became Queen. Cyane had a unique ability to take the joy and pleasure out of absolutely everything. Even dancing became a chore. Cyane would rule with an iron fist and a stone heart.
Gabrielle knew she could never stay and rule if it meant saying goodbye to Xena. But she also knew that she could get Xena to stay if she really worked at it.
But should she? Xena was a powerful force for good in the world. But that didn’t have to end, did it? There were ways of doing both.
Carrier pigeons. There’s an idea. The tribe could be a base of operations for Xena, and whenever she was needed anywhere…carrier pigeons. And when Mommy got back from saving the day, there would be little Eve waiting for her.
Gabrielle looked at the stars and wondered what to do.
"It still looks like a bear to me," said Gabrielle.
Xena was due to leave tomorrow for some hunting and fishing, and already Gabrielle felt such an ache for her, she could hardly stand it. She closed her eyes and reached out one hand, thinking Xena might be there. She’d done it before at times when she thought Xena was elsewhere, only to be pleasantly surprised when she found her fingers enclosed in the strong, powerful, gentle hands of her soulmate.
But there were no pleasant surprises tonight. Xena wasn’t there.
What am I doing? How can I let her leave like this? What if she’s not coming back? What if this is the beginning of the end? I’ve got to stop her. I’ve got to tell her I love her. I’ve got to tell her I’m sorry.
But her thoughts were interrupted by the realization that she was not alone. Someone was sneaking up on her, trying to be stealthy.
Xena would’ve waited until the attack, and surprised the attacker half to death by blocking the blow without even looking. But showing off like that wasn’t Gabrielle’s style, and Gabrielle had long ago learned that you could do a much better job of being as good as Xena and as smart as Xena if you didn’t spend all your time trying to imitate Xena.
She grabbed her sais and turned toward the intruder.
"Who’s there? Stand and unfold yourself!"
The intruder stepped into the clearing.
"You again. Like a bad dinar, you keep showing up."
"Put down your weapons, Gabrielle," said Najara. "I didn’t come here to fight."
"Oh, I know exactly what you’ve come here for, Najara, and if you really think you have a ghost of a chance after all you’ve put us through, you are truly deluded."
"Gabrielle, I took down Xena once, remember? I could take you down if I had to."
"Interesting hypothesis. Why don’t you step forward a little and we’ll experiment? I’d love to pay you back for the loss of Xena’s best chewing tooth."
Gabrielle took a quick inventory of Najara’s weapons. A dagger at her belt and a broadsword at her side. Gabrielle knew that she couldn’t take Najara, but she also knew that Najara would never hurt her. Although, she used to think that about Xena.
"Gabrielle, this is not how I wanted our reunion to go."
"Too bad. How did you manage to recover? Was it Eli?"
"Yes, he visited me. He healed me, and even taught me a few of his tricks. Would he do that to someone who wasn’t a good person?"
"He’s made mistakes, just like I have."
"Gabrielle, the biggest mistake you ever made was staying with Xena. You should’ve joined me."
"And help you with your executions? No thank you."
"Why is it you can forgive Xena for so much, but not me? Why can Xena change, but not me?"
"Xena at her very worst never lied to me or manipulated me or tried to play me for a fool the way you did, Najara."
"I never lied to you."
"You told me you were a follower of Eli, just hours before you started grabbing me by the hair and attacking Xena with a knife."
"I abandoned the Way of Eli. Why does that make me a liar, Gabrielle? You did the same."
"I abandoned his Way because I was trying to save Xena’s life! You, you were having a temper tantrum. You went nuts because you couldn’t have what you wanted, Najara! And here you are, ready to do the same thing! How long have you been stalking us, anyway?"
"Long enough to know an opportunity when I see one."
"There’s no opportunity here, so why don’t you just head on back where you came from."
"Xena’s packing right now. Did you know she’s auditioning a replacement for you?"
"You mean Aris? I’m sorry, but I can’t take her too seriously as a rival. She’s a sweet kid, but she’s even more deluded than you are."
"Gabrielle, you’re not going to play that game Xena plays with me, are you? Calling me insane because I hear voices she can’t? The Djinn are real, you know that, don’t you?"
"Najara, I don’t care! I don’t care if you’re sane or crazy, violent or non-violent, all I know is, every time you show up you make me start saying things to Xena that hurt her! And I’m sick of it, Najara! I’m not doing it again! I believed in you! I believed in your conversion, and you made a fool of me!"
"I’ve changed. And so have you, Gabrielle, and I like it! Your beautiful soul that attracted me and enchanted me is still such a wonderful part of you, but oh, your body, your mind have matured so incredibly. You make me breathless, Gabrielle. I can’t just walk away from you after coming so far. I won’t."
She stepped forward, and Gabrielle held her sais in position, battle-ready.
"Stay where you are."
"I can’t, Gabrielle."
As she strode forward, her eyes seemed to almost glow, and the night air seemed to Gabrielle to be changing color. Blue light, just like the night Gabrielle was to give her right of caste to Eve.
Gabrielle couldn’t tear her gaze from Najara’s eyes.
"Drop your weapons, my love."
The sais fell to the ground.
"I told you Eli taught me some tricks. You’ve been hypnotizing me for over a year now, Gabrielle. It’s time you knew what it’s like to be helpless before another. Drop the robe, my Queen, I have to see that wonderful body."
Gabrielle fought it as hard as she could, but she couldn’t stop herself from dropping her robe to the ground and appearing naked before Najara, her beautiful muscular body glowing in the moonlight.
"Do you know that you’re the only one who can lie to me, Gabrielle? The only one who can fool me. The Djinn help me to see through almost any artifice, but when I saw you hanging from that rope with Xena in front of me, my love for you made me deaf to the Djinn."
She stood right before Gabrielle, and stroked her lovely face.
"Show me the dance, Gabrielle. The Djinn told me of it, but I need to see it. Show me the magic."
There was no music in the night air, yet Gabrielle heard it, and felt her body suffused with the blue light. She leaned back her head and swayed her body to and fro. She moved her hands sensuously up her body, from her tight abs all the way up to her breasts. As she cupped her breasts with an upward stroke, she leaned her head back even farther, just as she had done that night.
Najara purred, and moved even closer to Gabrielle, swaying with her.
"I don’t care if it’s wrong or right, Gabrielle. I need you, I want you so much, and I’m going to have you tonight. I wish I could have your heart and soul as well as your body, but for tonight I’m going to take what I can. I love you, Gabrielle, you can’t imagine how much I love you. I deserve you so much more than Xena ever will. And I know you’ll forgive me for this, eventually. I know you will. Because you’re Gabrielle."
Gabrielle put her hands on Najara’s shoulders as they swayed together. She moved them sensuously down Najara’s sides, as Najara stroked Gabrielle’s face. Gabrielle’s hand strayed very close to the dagger on Najara’s belt.
Do it. Just one burst of concentration. Let Xena’s love give you the strength you need.
Gabrielle grabbed the dagger and cut a gash across Najara’s bare belly.
Najara was shocked and horrified, but the shock was not nearly so great as to be on the receiving end of a head-butt from the Amazon Queen.
Gabrielle picked up her sais and stood ready to defend herself, but Najara just sat on the ground and stared at her, mouth agape.
Gabrielle did her best to not look at Najara, just in case Najara might try to control her again.
"Gabrielle, I’m hurt. I need help."
"You’ll be fine, and you know it."
She picked up her robe with one sai and tossed it to Najara, still not looking at her.
"Use this to stop the flow of blood. It’s more than you deserve."
"Gabrielle, please don’t leave. I love you. Doesn’t that mean anything?"
"Yes, it means something, it means you don’t treat me like garbage. It means you don’t make me dance like a little trained monkey for your amusement."
Najara started weeping. She put her hand to her eyes, and some of the blood from her hands got on her face.
"I’m sorry," said Najara. "You can’t know…what’s it’s like."
"I know what it’s like to love someone so much that it hurts to be away from her. Najara, I wish I could trust you enough to be able to comfort you right now, but you’ve used up all your credibility with me. I do feel sorry for you. You could be such a powerful force for good, but your soul has some kind of sickness that I just can’t understand, and I don’t think I’m the one that can help you. Even if you could change, how could I ever believe the change was real?"
"What do I do, Gabrielle? Tell me what to do."
"I don’t know. But whatever it is, you need to do it on your own, and stay away from me and Xena. You might try thinking about others instead of being so damn selfish."
Gabrielle replaced her sais in her boots and headed back to camp.
Najara said, aloud, "Maybe she’s right."
No…not selfish…Xena is…selfish…Xena’s the one…selfish…doesn’t care…Gabrielle…wants…be Queen…Xena…doesn’t care
"What do I do?"
Save her…save Gabrielle…so fresh…so innocent…save her…do not…give up…free her…free Gabrielle
"How do I free her?"
Follow Xena…kill her…kill her…kill her…Eve, too…
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