part 5

By Shadowdancer

DISCLAIMER: We all know that I didn't create Xena and Gabrielle, so shall we get on with the story?

CATEGORY: Alternative Fan Fiction. Although more Fan Fiction and very little alternative.

Scene: Xena and Sirasi are on their way to Palador's home to find a cure for Gabrielle's illness. Xena rides atop Argo carrying Gabrielle in her arms rather than on a litter that Argo is pulling. Sirasi rides beside her on her horse as they walk their horses at a nice, slow pace.

“Xena, your arms must be so tired after carrying Gabrielle for so many miles. Why don't we get her into the litter?” “No, I'm fine; I can see her this way. If her condition changes, I'll know it”. “Xena” Gabrielle whispered just loud enough for Xena to hear, careful not to move too much as she was supposed to be more than half dead. “I'm here Gabrielle” Xena responded, caressing with her voice; “You're tired, let Sirasi carry me, you will still be able to see me”. “Gabrielle, I'm fine…” “No, you're not, you're tired from carrying me, and riding at the same time, (coughs here), let…let Sirasi carry me the rest of the way”, 'Gabrielle, I can…” “Xena, please?”. Stopping Argo, Xena acquiesced, “She insists that I let you carry her the rest of the way” “I know, I heard part of what she said, she's so weak, I could only hear part of what she said”. Sirasi had stopped her horse, and held out her long arms to receive Gabrielle, as Xena, having moved Argo as close to Sirasi's horse as she could, slid Gabrielle from her own arms to Sirasi's. It was a tricky bit of business, but Sirasi, as I've said before, is a very strong woman, and she took Gabrielle easily.

When she was settled in the Amazon's strong, muscular arms, Gabrielle spoke to her in a weak, barely audible voice. “Help, her, when I'm gone. Don't let her go back, to, the way she was before. Swear it to me”. Having to bend double to hear her, Sirasi answered, “ I swear it”. “Now I can cross over…knowing she'll be taken care of”. “Gabrielle, no…. no” just as they rode up to Palador's door, Gabrielle allowed her head to loll back limply, and played dead. Riding slightly behind Sirasi's line of vision, Xena smiled a bit, knowing that Gabrielle had escalated the plan; she put on a worried face, and urged Argo forward.

“Gabrielle? Gabrielle?” Xena spoke in a panic filled voice. Gabrielle didn't move, she was even cold to the touch thanks to the herbs that Xena had been giving her. “PALADOR! PALADOR!” Sirasi yelled, calling for the ancient healer. A man who seemed to be a hundred and twenty nine years old opened the door. “Who is it who yells for Palador?” “It's me, Sirasi, of the tribe to the north. I've come with friends, you must save my friend Gabrielle, you have to save her” Xena took Gabrielle from Sirasi so that she could dismount and moved with the small limp bard in her arms to Palador's house and inside at his beckoning. “Lay her there Xena”, 'you know me?” “You are Xena, the Warrior Princess, as strong, powerful, brave, and skilled in the art of fighting as any man. A former warlord turned good. You have passed into the next life many times, only to return to this one, and to your soul mate, Gabrielle”. Xena was stunned, how did he know so much about her? They had never met until just moments ago.

For a few moments, she was at a loss for words, which for Xena was not odd. Sirasi brought them back to the moment at hand. “Palador, help her, help Gabrielle, she died in my arms just moments ago, she didn't cross over that long ago”. “Yes, you're right of course, let me see what I can do”. Palador moved away to one of his shelves and returned to the bedside with a vial of something green. “Come on Xena, let Palador help her” remembering she was supposed to be in a panic over Gabrielle's apparent death. She resisted Sirasi's pulling her away from Gabrielle for a few moments, and put panic, and grief into her voice. “No, I can't leave her….I can't”. Putting her hands to Xena's face and making her look her in the eyes, Sirasi said tenderly, and understandingly, “Xena, it's alright, Palador will help her, he'll bring her back if anybody can, but not if you're in the way. I know you're a healer too, you're the best I've ever seen but this time, let somebody else do the healing”. Like a mother leading a child away, Sirasi took Xena outside, and closed the door so that she wouldn't see what was going on with Gabrielle.

“I can't loose her Sirasi, I can't. Gabrielle is my heart, my soul, my breath, my courage; I am who I am because of her. I do what I do because of her. Without her, I'm nothing”. This brought tears to Sirasi's eyes, the last time she saw her sister alive replayed in her mind, and she began to cry. “I can't live without her, If she stays on the other side, then I'll follow, I won't be without her, I can't” and with that, Xena's blue eyes filled with tears, and she cried. Palador came to the door in his shuffling, inching step and opened it, “Xena” she and Sirasi turned to look at him, hope in their eyes. “She's come back, you can see her now” the pure joy on Xena's face was priceless as she passed Palador, and entered the hovel, Sirasi on her heels. “Xena?” Gabrielle lay on the cot in the dark little hovel holding an extended hand out to her warrior, and Xena went to her, taking the hand in her own. “Gabrielle, you're back, you came back to me” “Of course I did, how could I leave you behind?”. Looking up at Palador, Xena thanked him for bring Gabrielle back to her. “I did nothing Xena, Gabrielle returned to you because your heart called out to her's and her's answered, and returned. You two are destined to be together forever. You two share a true love, a love of the heart, the purest kind of love”. Xena and Gabrielle are fascinated by his words, and as Sirasi also listens, a sudden peace comes over her face. Xena notices this but says nothing.

Half a candlemark later:

Xena mounts Argo, and Sirasi helps Gabrielle to mount up in front of Xena, this time sitting up facing forward, and leaning against Xena. Sirasi then mounts her own horse as they prepare to return to the village. They say farewell to Palador and turn their horses. As they start on their way, Xena speaks to Sirasi about the change that seems to have come over her, “Sirasi, you seem different, you changed back there” “Yes, I've let go of the pain. I will always love my sister, and she will always be with me in my heart, and in my thoughts. What Palador said hit home, we two shared a “love of the heart”, a sister love, in our case, no love could be stronger. We'll be together again someday, but until then, I have to go on, I have to live my life, and I can't do that mourning for her forever”. With a smile, Xena replied, “Well said Sirasi, well said. I'm glad you found your peace at last” “so am I “ Gabrielle intoned”. “Now, let's get you two back to the village so that we can celebrate Gabrielle's return to health”. The three friends rode off towards the Amazon village.


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