by hobbes
September 03, 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.

I watched her gaze at a small object in her hand. She always keeps it from my view, the item quickly hidden whenever she spots me nearby. This has been going on ever since our visit to my home village. She keeps the object on her person, never leaving it in sight. This secretive behavior borders on guilt of some kind. She knows I know, but refuses to say a word. We play a silent game of cat and mouse, but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Sometimes I think she enjoys this role of mystery. She has me enthralled, teasing me with this clandestine behavior. What can this small thing be? My mind makes a mental list of every conceivable object, yet I dismiss each one. I'll never know unless I ask, but my pride won't allow me to approach her. To me, asking would be the same as begging at this point, for she knows I burn for an answer. I won't risk her refusing my request or laughing with victory.

So like a thief in the night, I try and catch her off guard, misdirecting her attention in hopes of seeing this secret item. It does no good. She's become an expert at hiding it from my sight and never letting it leave her reach. I retreat, my curiosity unsatisfied. The game goes on, this continuous rhythm in our existence.

Weeks pass, our actions unchanged. I lunge, she parries, yet I gain no ground. She smiles knowingly. The game goes on.

Months pass and I can stand it no longer. My pride in shatters. I go to her. She is sitting on a log by the fire, her attention on the flames. I crouch down as I look at her, my eyes defeated. She smiles a little sadly, making me realize she regrets the end of our game. She places a hand on my shoulder, bringing me closer. She reaches inside her clothing, pulling the object out. We both lean our heads forward, our foreheads resting upon the other's as we peer down at her curled fingers. As they unfold, I see an item long forgotten. A remembrance my mother kept from my childhood.

I look up at her, wondering how she came to carry it, but I remain silent. Let her have that mystery. I'll just ask mother next time I'm home.



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