A Past Remembered part 6

by Anita Louise

Chapter Sixteen

Gabrielle had to admit the water felt good, the few cuts she had received
from Sea seemed to feel better. She washed, then laid back in the warmth of
the water and closed her eyes. Her mind drifted back to the cell and Xena,
would she ever see her friend again?

Her eyes flew open as the door to the cabin opened. Sea stepped into the
room as she closed the door. The woman smiled and said, "Now tell me, don't
you feel better?" Gabrielle drew her arms over her breasts as Sea walked up
to the tub. The woman laughed and said, "No need to be so modest, I have
already seen them." She walked over to the bed and picked up a large towel.
"Here, I'll hold this and you step out and dry off."

"No thanks."

Sea gazed at her and said, "Either you step out or I'll step in." She held
the towel up as Gabrielle stepped from the tub and wrapped the towel around
her body. She stepped past Sea and said, "I suppose you're going to try to
have your way with me now?"

Sea walked over to the tub and said, "No, for some reason you are special. I
will bide my time and you will come to me. After all I am known as a great

"Gabrielle turned to look at her and said, "You could let me dress by

"Thought you might need some help, sides this is my cabin so either you
dress in front of me or down in the hole with all those men."

The Bard shrugged her shoulders and said, "Great choice, either way someone
will be lusting after me." Gabrielle reached up and let the long strawberry
blond hair she had pinned to the top of her head fall down about her
shoulders. She shook her head as the hair danced backwards and forth.
Defiantly she glared at the woman who sat on the bed, her eyes never leaving
the form of the Bard.

Gabrielle slowly loosened the towel and let it fall to the floor. With a
twinkle in her eye and a satisfied smile on her lips she walked past Sea.
She picked up the shirt as she turned to face the woman and slid it on
letting it fall and adhere to her nipples. Sea gasped as she whispered, "By
the Gods, woman! If it's teasing you're doing, it had better stop."

The Bard smiled and stepped over to the bed and picked up the leather pants.
She raised one leg at a time and slowly slid them into the pants, then
gently pulled them up as her body gyrated. Gabrielle could hear Sea's heavy
breathing and wasn't too sure she should be doing what she was, but it was
too late for should be.

Sea stood up as she walked close to the woman and said, "I want you more
now, then before. " Gabrielle turned as her body touched Sea's. The woman
reached out as her right hand found the front of Gabrielle's pants the Bard
moaned. Sea quickly pulled the pants together and fastened them and said,
"Next time, I will do it." She turned and left the room.

Gabrielle smiled, she knew she had reached the woman and now she was sure
that she could use this to her advantage. Maybe she could find out about the
Amazons and get them back to Thebes. One thing she knew for sure the woman
did not want to do her any harm.

There was a knock on the cabin door and Saxton entered saying, "The Captain
requests your presence by her side, top deck." Gabrielle followed the man,
stepping out into the open air she could feel the coolness of the ocean
spray as it bounced along the ship. She spied Sea and walked toward her. The
woman was standing, hands on her hips surveying what was happening on deck.
Gabrielle's mouth fell open when she saw a man being tied to the mast. With
his hands above his head, he begged the Captain for mercy. The Bard walked
up to Sea and asked, "What has he done?"

The woman looked coldly toward the man and said, "He tried to steal bounty
from the cargo hold. You only do that to me once." She raised her hand and
the man standing on the deck drew back a long black whip, and tore the shirt
from the man's back. The man's screams sent chills through out Gabrielle's
body as she said, "Stop it, please, what are you trying to do, kill him?"

Sea ignored her and stood with her jaw squared, showing no emotion. It was
as the whip sent it's last crack through the air that Gabrielle jumped from
the Helm and ran over to stand in front of the man. She turned to stare at
Sea and shouted, "This what makes you Captain? Beating a person to death!"
The men all stared at this young woman who would dare challenge their

Sea glowered down at Gabrielle and said, "Throw his body to the sharks. And
Gabrielle, when you are through making a spectacle of yourself, I want to
see you in my cabin. And it had better be sooner than the next turn of the

The Bard's words rang after her, "Yeah and if I don't?"

Gabrielle watched them toss the limp body overboard as if it was a barrel of
refuse. She stood watching it float, as Saxton walked up to her and said,
"Best you turn away, when the Sharks feed it won't be a pretty sight. I
wouldn't want to be in your shoes young un, calling the Captain out like
that in front of her crew, it spells trouble."

Gabrielle sighed as she turned and walked back to the Captains quarters.
Approaching the door she knocked as Sea's voice rang out, "Enter!" Softly
the Bard opened the door and stepped into the room. Sea walked over to her
and said, "How could you, in front of my men? You have put me in a bad
position. Either I punish you to save face, or I let the men believe anyone
can defy me at will."

Gabrielle looked at her and said, "I'd do it again, it wasn't right, you
can't just kill someone because they have made a mistake."

Sea reached out touching Gabrielle's face and said, "If you want to stay
alive and not have some man's knife in your back you do. I want you to
understand that I have to administer punishment."

The Bard replied, "Go ahead, get it over."

Sea's face held a smile of sadness as she said, "This will hurt me as much
as it will you." She called Saxton and talked with the man then she said,
"You can walk out on deck willingly or I can have you brought out."

Gabrielle replied, "That won't be necessary, I know what I said, I won't
apologize for it." As they walked on deck Gabrielle stared into the same
faces she had seen before, as Sea walked up to the mast and said to
Gabrielle, "Give me your hands." The Bard obliged and her hands were bound
above her head. Sea turned to her men and said, "This woman is not one of
us, she does not know the rules of the sea but she will soon learn. It is
her first time, and her punishment will be lenient. If it should happen
again, she will die."

The man walked over and handed Sea a leather crop. She walked over to
Gabrielle tore open the back of the shirt as she whispered to her, "After
the third strike, pass out."

Gabrielle's heart was pounding so loud she felt her ears would explode. She
called back, "Suppose it's really to late to grovel?"

Sea replied, "Yeah! Try to think of something else." Sea glanced around at
her men as she raised the crop into the air letting it bite into the woman's
back. Gabrielle's body jerked as tiny fangs of pain tore at her senses, she
bit her lip, she had not recovered from the first blow when she felt another
cut deeper into her skin. Her head popped back as she gripped the ties above
her hand. Closing her eyes waiting for the next she muttered, "Next time
keep your mouth shut."

Sea walked up to her and whispered in her ear, "This one, pass out." The
deafening pop along with the thirsting leather crawled across her skin like
a snake eating it's prey. The woman screamed as her body went limp. Sea
walked over and grabbed a handful of hair as she pulled the Bard's head back
and said, "She has passed out. That is enough, cut her down and take her to
my cabin." Saxton cut her down and carried the woman to the Captains cabin,
He laid her on the bed, turning her onto her stomach then left the room.

Sea stepped up to the Helm and said, "Any of you out there want to defy me
will meet the same end if not worse, now get back to work!"

She walked into her cabin, feeling sick to her stomach. She had administered
punishment before but never had the deep feelings of remorse that she now
carried. She walked over to the bed and looked down at the deep red marks
across this woman's back. They were already engorged and bleeding. She
called Saxton and asked him to bring her some water, cloth and ointment.
When the man returned she thanked him and said, "Nothing of this is to
travel outside of this room." He nodded and left.

She sighed and walked over to the bed, sitting down she began to administer
to the wounds as she traced each one with a quivering finger, placing
ointment on them. The woman softly said, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

She removed the Bard's boots, cut the rest of the shirt off and laid down on
the bed next to the woman.

She had drifted off to sleep when she was awakened by moans. She opened her
eyes and glanced at Gabrielle. The woman had grabbed the bedding with both
hands and was holding on so tightly her knuckles were turning white. Sea
reached over and touched the Bard as she said, "Gabrielle, it will be all
right. One of the rules of the sea is you will be lashed until you pass out.
It could have been worse. Can you ever forgive me?"

The Bard cried herself to sleep her teeth biting into the bedding. Sea got
up and put more ointment on the cuts. She had lit a lantern and the soft
glow was warming the cabin. The Bard slept for short spells, only to come
out of them in agony. Sea prayed she would sleep longer. She laid back down
and began to hum as she stroked the woman's hair. The music seemed to help
as Gabrielle murmured, "Xena, I knew you'd come."

Sea wondered about this Xena. She had heard many stories about the woman,
but for this one to care for her so much, there had to be something special.
She was going to find out just what that was.


Epinon was beside herself with worry. She didn't think she had been gone
very long but when she arrived back at the table, Gabrielle was no where to
be seen. The woman had scouted the entire place and it was as if the woman
had vanished. She slammed her fist into the table cursing under her breath.

"What's the matter?"

Epinon looked up to see a robust man walking toward her as she said, "I'm
looking for my young friend, I left him for a moment and now he seems to
have vanished."

The man grinned and said, "Saw Lena talking to someone at this table, maybe
she know's something."

Epinon grabbed the man's right arm and said, "Lena? Where can I find her?"
He pointed to the bar and Epinon thanked him and quickly headed in that
direction. She walked up to the bar and said, "I'm looking for Lena, I have
five Dinars to the person that can point her out to me."

A delicate hand reached out as a woman said, "I'll take that."

Epinon turned her head and stared at the woman as she asked, "You know where
I can find her?"

The woman smiled and said, "It's easy, since it's me."

The Amazon placed five Dinars in Lena's hand as she said, "I need to talk to

Lena gazed at her and said, "What about? I don't know you."

Epinon said, "It's about a friend of mine, Gabe. I left the young man at our
table for a few minutes and now he has disappeared. I was told you were seen
talking to him. Did he tell you where he was going?"

The woman's friendly expression changed and she said, "Don't know what you
are talking about."

Epinon leaned closer and whispered in her right ear, "Look, I don't have as
much time as the Gods, you need to tell me what the two of you were talking
about." She started to walk away and Epinon reached out grabbing her right
arm. She pulled the woman back and said, "Don't be like that, just when we
are getting to know one another." She had twisted the woman's arm behind her
back. Slowly she started walking toward the door as she pressed her body
against Lena's and whispered, "Let's just take a friendly walk."

Once they were outside, Epinon pulled Lena into an alleyway and said, "I am
in a bad mood, so don't go jerking me around, now, tell me about Gabe." She
had removed the dagger and now held it to the woman's throat.

Lena stared at this madman as she said, "Don't kill me, I was just doing my

"Job, what job?"

She mumbled, "He made me do it."

Epinon was steaming with rage as she said, "This is your last chance, tell
me now."

The woman told her all about the Shanghai operation. When she had finished
she begged her not to kill her. Epinon released her and said, "Get out of my
sight before I change my mind." Epinon took a deep breath as she muttered,
"Things have been hard enough Gabrielle, now you have gone and gotten
yourself Shanghaied on a Pirate Ship. And of all Ships, The Bounty, what

The woman headed back to the prison, she hoped that Krikis had not returned
and she would be able to talk to Xena. The woman would not be happy.


Ever since Gabrielle and Epinon had left, Xena was anxious. She had paced
the small cell so many times that Ephiny felt if she continued, she would
pace a hole in the ground and they could just walk out.

Xena held her right hand to her forehead and said, "I can't stand it, I have
to get out of here, Gabrielle and Epinon need our help."

Ephiny replied, "It's about time. For such a long time the fire was gone
from your eyes, but, I see it has returned. Don't worry about me, I can hold
my own."

Xena glanced around the room, the clay pot sat against the far wall, and
Ephiny set on the only wooden bench. It was so dark in the room that she had
forgot what it was like to see daylight. Xena walked over to her friend and
said, "What I am about to do could get you killed."

Ephiny smiled and replied, "Then I will see you in the Elysian Fields."

Xena raised an eyebrow as she said, "Or the other place."

Ephiny was now standing by her side as Xena started to bang on the cell
bars. She gave her battle cry and Ephiny laid down on the floor closing her
eyes. Within seconds several guards ran into the area. Grabbing torches off
the wall they held them close to the bars. Crafton could see the woman
laying on the floor and the Warrior staring in disbelief as he said, "What
is going on in there?"

Xena turned to them and said, "She's dead, Krikis will have all your heads."

The man unlocked the door and said, "Stand back." He entered the room
followed by the other guard. As they neared Ephiny, Xena struck out with her
left leg, at the same time Ephiny reached out and grabbed the other man by
his ankles sending him to the ground. It didn't take either one long to
render the men unconscious.

Xena smiled at Ephiny as the woman said, "You are thinking the same thing I

Xena answered, "If Gabrielle and Epinon can do it so can we. Let's see what
we look like as Athenian Guards."

As Epinon neared the Prison she heard loud noises as men came running from
the building. Epinon reached out and grabbed a young guard and asked, "What
is going on?"

The man replied, "There will be Hades to pay, The Warrior Princess and the
Amazon have escaped."

Epinon fought back a shout of glee as she said, "How?"

The man replied, "They overpowered, Crafton and, and another guard and put
their clothes on, then they just walked out of the building." He turned,
rushing off.

Epinon stared at the bedlam as she said, "Well, that's one down, now you two
are out here somewhere and Gods only knows where Gabrielle is."


Chapter Seventeen

Sea had stepped from her cabin onto the deck, she walked up to the Helm. The
woman gazed around the ship as if she was looking for something or someone.
Her eyes stopped as a smile crossed her face. There she was, standing with
Saxton. The strawberry blond, waved to someone in the crows nest as she
called, "I'm coming up."

It had been thirty turns of the sandglass and Sea marveled at how well
Gabrielle had taken to the sea. If she didn't know better, she would think
the woman had been born of a seafaring family. The painful beating the Bard
took on that day had mended and neither spoke of it.

Sea smiled as she remembered the Bard's face on the day she became coherent.
Sea had been sleeping on the bed, Gabrielle within arms reach of her when
she heard the words, "Well, you finally did it, you got me into your bed."

Sea slowly opened her eyes, staring into the most beautiful face she had
ever seen, The woman was gazing down on her, Gabrielle's head cocked to the
side, a mischievous grin crossing her face and blue green eyes that touched
Sea's with a spark that would have sent all the Gods running for cover.
Sea's eyes widened as she said, "Gabrielle, are you all right?"

Gabrielle glanced down at her chest and said, "Except for no clothes, I feel

Sea felt as if her heart would explode. She smiled, reached up and pulled
the woman's head down, as Gabrielle's lips met her's. They were soft as she
pressed her hungry lips to The Bard's. Gabrielle's eyes flew open then
closed as she let her body gently fall on the woman. The kiss was tender,
gliding, savoring, Sea's body raged with feelings she never knew existed. It
was a dance, rhythmic and thrilling. They lingered for sometime, then Sea
pushed Gabrielle back as she said, "You, you didn't have to do that."

Gabrielle smiled and replied, "I will never deny you anything." Sea started
to move but the Bard laid her head on the woman's shoulder and placed her
left hand across Sea's heaving breasts. Sea placed a gentle kiss on the
Bard's hair and said, "I, want you so bad at this minute, my body is sending
me signals I never knew existed. I have made love many times, but never have
I felt what I do now. This is new to me."

Gabrielle laid her hand on Sea's right breast and said, "Just be gentle,
I've never done it before."

Sea closed her eyes and said, "I can't, I can't. Your first time should be
with the person you love more than life yourself."

Gabrielle gently placed a kiss on the woman's neck and said, "I have deep
feelings for you."

Sea held the woman close and said, "You have been very ill, and I have taken
care of you, these feelings could be gratitude."

Gabrielle replied, "I am grateful, not that you chose to beat me, but that
you cared enough not to kill me. I want you to know that when ever you feel
the time is right, I will come willingly."

Tears glistened in Sea's eyes as she said, "Right now, I am happy you are
all right and here in my arms. The rest will come when the time is right."
The two women had laid in bed the rest of the day, each feeling the
closeness and loving they shared for one another.

It didn't take the Bard long to regain all of her strength, and she listened
to all the lessons Sea gave. Gabrielle had given up hope of ever seeing Xena
again. They had been on the open seas for a long time. She had witnessed
several boarding's and watched as Sea and her men took ship after ship. The
Bard had asked Sea to let her join the crew in this but the woman gave her
orders to go below. The more she watched Sea take command, the more the
woman reminded her of Xena.

She could be so cruel and yet, her touch was so gentle. The men knew to
treat the Bard with respect or suffer the wrath of the Captain. Some spoke
of the two women but most held their tongues. If Sea ever heard any talk
about the two she would put an end to it immediately. They were near Gaul
when Sea spied the ship, "Ahead, a merchant ship, prepare to come around!"

Gabrielle had been standing close by and said, "You're going to try to take
it? They have a big crew."

Sea smiled and said, "There isn't a ship The Bounty can't take. Now, go

Gabrielle turned and walked down to the cabin. She peered out the porthole,
trying to get a glimpse of the ship. This always scared the Bard, she hated
all the fighting and killing. As the ships collided, her feet were knocked
out from under her. The sounds of yelling and the clash of swords filled the
air. The Bard walked over to a table and picked up the sword. She stared at
it then stepped back swinging it in the air.

She could smell smoke as Saxton's voice drifted down to her, "Gabrielle, get
out of the cabin, head to the Helm!" She held the sword in both hands and
left the room. Slowly she edged her way to the deck. It was mayhem, people
were laying all over, some wounded, most dead.

The sounds of metal on metal was grating. Her sword gleamed in the bright
light of the sun. She rushed to join Saxton on deck. Suddenly the deck
heaved and rocked, as she fell, he grabbed her arm pulling her back to her
feet. Choking smoke billowed around them, her eyes filled, her lungs ached
and the only place that seemed free of the smoke was up above. She reached
for a grappling hook and climbed up the rigging, coughing and spluttering.
At this time the fighting increased as more men boarded the Bounty. She
quickly slid down the line and jumped over several barrels as she charged
the men. Their swords, clashing and grating.

Gabrielle looked around and saw Sea in a battle with two men. She was
holding her own but Gabrielle ran to help. The Bard walked up behind one of
the men and tapped him on the shoulder, the man turned as she lashed out at
his face with the handle of her sword. He staggered back and she
somersaulted forward striking out at his ankles sending the man to the
floor. She jumped to her feet and knocked the sword from his hand. Sea had
defeated the other man and yelled at Gabrielle, "Kill him!" The bard stared
at the man as Sea pushed her aside, plunging her sword into the man's heart.
Gabrielle walked over to the railing and heaved.

Sea reached up grabbing a line she swung across the deck knocking men down.
Before long the fire had been put out and the ship had been seized. There
were many dead and many captives. After the merchandise had been transported
to The Bounty, Sea ordered the remaining prisoners to be put aboard their
own ship. Then she ordered her men to set sail.

Saxton walked up to Gabrielle and said, "You will be fine, you have to get
used to this. If you don't kill, they will kill you make no mistake about
it. Don't blame the Captain. She did release all the other prisoners and
there was a time she would have had them all be shark bait."

Gabrielle stared at the man then turned and walked toward the cabin. She
didn't know how long she had stayed up on deck, she only knew she would
never get used to the killing. There was a faint trace of lingering smoke as
she entered the cabin.

Sea stood at the desk, her back was to the Bard. Gabrielle closed the door
but the woman did not move. Gabrielle walked over to the bed and sat as she
said, "I suppose you feel the need to give me a lecture?"

Still the woman didn't speak, Gabrielle stood up and walked closer to her as
she said, "If it will make you happy, I'm sorry, it will take me time to do
what seems to come so easy for you." Sea staggered back hitting the Bard,
Gabrielle grabbed for the woman as she fell against her body, and helped her
sit down on the chair. She looked down at the front of Sea's shirt, It
wasn't white anymore, it was red!

Gabrielle cried, "Gods, Sea what happened?"

The woman's eyes had fallen back into her head as she muttered, "The man I
killed, the one you had disarmed, he got in a lucky strike. It's my
shoulder, bleeding to much..." The woman fell from the chair, her body
sprawled out on the floor. Gabrielle grabbed some cloth, wadding it as she
fell to her knees, ripping open the woman's shirt.

She stared at the large gash on Sea's right shoulder as she held the cloth
to it. Sea's normal tanned skin had turned ashen as Gabrielle screamed,
"Saxton!" She had cried out several times before the cabin door burst open
and the man barreled into the room. "What is it Gabrielle?" He saw the women
on the floor and rushed over.

Gabrielle looked up at him, disbelief in her eyes and said, "She was
wounded, and she still fought. Have to stop the bleeding." His face showed
concern as he bent down and picked the woman up carrying her to the bed,
laying her down he said, "I'll bring some things, do you know how to take
care of a wound like this?"

Gabrielle held the cloth against the cut and said, "Yes, I need a needle and
sewing material." He nodded and left the room.

Gabrielle's hands pressed down, as she said, "Please, please stop bleeding."
She knew from the look of the woman she had lost an incredible amount of
blood. She had seen this several times during her excursions with Xena.

The cabin door opened as Saxton entered. He walked over to the Bard and
said, "Here, a needle and material. I have brought a bottle of Leeches.
Place them on the wound, it may help."

Gabrielle glared at the man and said, "No, it will make it worse. I have
seen this before and she has already lost too much blood, I need several

He scratched his head and asked, "Reeds, what for?"

She sighed, "My best friend took care of someone that way, I need to give
Sea some of my blood."

The man stepped back and said, "No one can do that, unless you are a

Gabrielle answered, "No, just a mortal that doesn't want to see this woman
die. Can you get me some Reeds?"

He thought for several minutes then said, "The Galley, the last time we were
ashore, the cook, cut several." He turned, hurrying from the room. Gabrielle
lifted up the soaked cloth and could see the bleeding had stopped. It didn't
take her long to thread the needle and sew up the area, then applying Ale to
it. She wiped the blood from the woman's chest. Sea never moved as Gabrielle
stared down at this once vibrant woman. She knew if she couldn't replenish
Sea's loss of blood the woman would die.

When Saxton burst into the room carrying two long reeds in his hand she
jumped to her feet and said, "Good, you found them." Gabrielle explained to
the man what she was going to do and he shook his head saying, "You will
kill her as well as yourself."

She placed her right hand on the man's shoulder and said, "I have to know
that you understand what is going to happen."

He said, "I know what you have asked me to do."

Gabrielle laid down by Sea, she took out a small dagger and placed the tip
into the artery on her left arm. She placed pressure on this, then took two
Reeds connecting them together and carefully placed the end of one into her
artery. Saxton looked like he might collapse at any moment and she prayed he
wouldn't, it was imperative he watch what was going on and remove the Reeds,
placing pressure on the arteries. She placed the end of the other Reed in
her mouth causing a suction as the red liquid traveled up the Reed, She made
a small cut into Sea's artery, then placed the other end of the Reed into
it, She laid down on the bed and watched her blood flow into Sea.

Saxton had watched this with apprehension but his eyes grew wide as he
watched the blood flow from one body to the other. Gabrielle had gone to
sleep and he removed the Reeds, putting pressure on the arteries like the
Bard had told him. Then he wrapped both arms in soft cloth and left the

The two women had slept throughout the day, when evening came Saxton went
back to the cabin to check on them. He knocked and entered the room. The man
froze in his tracks when he saw the Bard standing at the porthole. She
turned and smiled at him as she said, "Thank you, you did it, she will be
fine." He walked over and gazed down at the tanned face and said, "Her color
has returned. It's a miracle."

Gabrielle replied, "No, just a little lesson I learned from another amazing

Sea recovered, her shoulder as good as ever, that is what she told everyone
and every chance the woman got she praised Gabrielle for what she did. Now
she stood staring at the Bard climbing the rigging to the crows nest on top
of the mast. She felt a great pride when she gazed at her. For a village
peasant woman, she was every bit the seafarer now.

There wasn't anything the woman couldn't do on ship. She had learned well.
Sea walked over to the Bulwark and sat down.

"Hey you!"

Sea heard the words as she stared up at Gabrielle who was holding onto the
railing and called, "Who me?"

Gabrielle yelled down, "Yeah, come on up. I want to tell you something."

Sea called back, "What is it?"

The Bard beamed as she yelled, "Gonna have to come up and find out."

Sea knew the woman was taunting her. She looked around at her men, they were
gazing at the two women as Sea stood up and walked toward the mast she said,
"It had better be good."

She glanced up then jumped and grabbed a handful of rigging, raising
herself. The woman climbed slowly and as she neared the top she said, "Least
you could do is give me a hand." Gabrielle bend down as she extended her
left hand, the woman grabbed it. Before long she was standing by the Bard.

They stared down at the crew mulling below as Sea yelled, "Go about your
business!" The men went back to work. She stood tall, arms folded across her
chest with a smile that reflected in Gabrielle's, eyes and said, "All right,
put up, I don't climb to the top of the mast for just anyone."

Gabrielle tilted her head and said, "Wanted to talk to you."

Sea scoffed, "Talk to me, we could have done that down there, this is

Gabrielle replied, "I had to see if your shoulder really was back to

"You could have asked."

The Bard stepped close to her as she said, "Would you have told me the
truth? I have noticed how you have been nuturing it, I have been so

Sea lifted the arm and said, "Good as new. Where did you learn your
technique? Saxon said, he thought you were an Enchantress."

"I watched Xena do it, I'm just glad I was able."

Sea smiled and said, "Let's go back down, this swaying does not make this
conversation easy."

"I had another reason, I wanted to get you in a spot you couldn't just run

Sea reached out and grabbed a line and said, "See you at the bottom."
Gabrielle watched the woman deftly slide down to the deck. She shrugged her
shoulders and said, "Humm, I don't think you can be confined." The Bard
followed the woman as Sea reached up and helped Gabrielle. They both laughed
as the woman said, "Thank you, for saving my life. I know I've said it
before but I want you to know just how thankful I am."

Gabrielle replied, "Guess that makes us responsible for each other."

The woman stared for a period then she said, "You knew what to do and you
did it for me, it is hard to believe I now carry your blood in my body. You
have given me your gift of life. It was a miracle the day you entered my

Gabrielle ran over to the rail and stared at the whitecaps as the huge ship
bounced through the water. Sea walked over to her and said, "Did I say
something wrong?"

The Bard turned as her eyes met the woman's and said, "I've been called a
lot of things but a miracle, I don't know if I can handle that."

Sea placed her right arm around Gabrielle's shoulders and said, "Well from
the minute I saw that belligerent young man to the beautiful woman that he
became, I knew you were special and you haven't proven me wrong. Tell me,
what did you really want to talk to me about?"

Gabrielle shrugged her shoulders and asked, "Does it get any better?"

Sea's eyes were questioning as she asked, "Any Better? What do you mean?"

Gabrielle reached up and grasped Sea's hand as she said, "I hated the Ocean,
it always made me nauseous, but you have shown me a different way of life.
The Bounty has become home to me and you and Saxton have become family. I
don't know if I could ever leave."

Sea sighed as she said, "I have been dreading this moment, hoping it would
never come."

The woman started to move but Gabrielle would not release Sea's hand. She
replied, "Dreading, what are you talking about?"

I have dreaded you asking me to release you. My life would be empty if I
didn't wake to your smile and flashing blue green eyes. When I am in a
terrible mood, you've but to flash that special smile and all my defenses
melt. If you are asking me to let you go, you might as well run a knife
through my heart."

Gabrielle's look was solemn as she said, "I could never hurt you, but you
need to understand, I had a life before The Bounty, I have family in
Potidaea, a sister, mother and father. I had a life with Xena, I just can't
pretend it didn't exist, or what could have been.

Sea stared at the vastness of the Ocean as she said, "Well, Hades is paved
with could have beens. I believe they will all go on with their lives,
except for Xena. I know if I was in her place, I would move the Celestial
sky and everything in between until I held you in my arms once more. Your
friend could be a problem."

The Bard replied, "I could not stand to see you and Xena in a fight, I went
through that not long ago with Callisto and her. I didn't come out too well.
I have you both in my heart and I couldn't stand to see anything happen to
either one of you.

Sea stepped away as she said, "I recently heard Xena escaped from Krikis, So
the day may come when you will have to make a choice. Whatever you chose,
one of us will be happy and the other devastated. I can't guarantee we will
not collide."

Gabrielle walked over to the woman and stepped in front of her as she said,
"You knew Xena had escaped? Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I knew I would see that glow in your face and hear the anticipation
in your voice."

Sea brushed past the Bard and walked toward the Helm as Gabrielle stood
staring at the woman.



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