by hobbes

September 2, 1997

The story is mine and written by my demanding Muse for your entertainment, but the characters from Xena:Warrior Princess belong to MCA/Universal.

*Funny how the smallest of things catch your attention. Subtle changes that, if unlooked for, escape all notice. Variances can make the most major differences in the way things are perceived. I realize this as I watch my friend curry her horse. Tonight she is relaxed and at peace.

Her strokes slow and gentle as she glides the brush over every inch of the appreciative horse. Argo's massive head is drooping as she enjoys the rare grooming her owner gives her. The opportunities for this quiet chore is often lost in the frantic lifestyle we all live. Tonight, there are no thieves to fight, no warlords to topple, no urgent pleas of help. We are at rest.

My quill is lies still in my hand, the parchment untouched, my mind too contemplative even to place my thoughts on paper. I give up the attempt and just allow myself to take in the sight of woman and horse, basking in a quiet evening chore.

I see her lips moving, holding a private conversation with Argo. Her words too softly spoken for me to hear. This was a thing she always did when things were on her mind, finding that the act of speaking to her horse gave comfort that she couldn't find with people. When I first noticed this, I had been resentful. I had selfishly wanted her to find that comfort with me, but as our time together lengthened, I realized the former warlord needed this time to form her thoughts and feelings. For too long, her emotions had been kept buried within herself, only finding escape through anger and violence. She needed this ability to speak to one that could not pass judgement or offer advice. It was the act of speaking she sought. Argo gave her this, along with devotion and companionship. The war horse asked for nothing more than a full belly and gentle grooming. Argo was the first creature to experience Xena's rediscovered emotions as they bloomed once more. Argo was her scrolls, and once I realized this, I was no longer jealous.

Lost in my thoughts, I didn't notice that Xena had finished. A warm hand came to rest on my shoulder and I looked up into her serene blue eyes. She smiled down at me, the left corner of her mouth lifting in amusement at my daydreaming ways. She sat next to me and glanced down at my empty parchment. Her expressive face asked without words if I was alright. I shrugged wryly and she grins indulgently. She gazes up at the stars for a short time , the moon's glow highlighting her strong features. She brings her eyes back to me, searching for just what, I'm unsure. She lightly ruffles my hair and prepares for bed. She reclines on her bedroll, her sword placed close by. She rests on her side, facing me.

It's funny about nuances. She hadn't spoken a word to me, yet her simple acts had left me feeling safe, loved, and happy. No words could have done more. I put away the tools of my work, and join her in slumber, my need for words forgotten.*



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