On a Warm Summers Day
by chemmy (chem1)
Disclaimers and Warnings: This story has borrowed the characters of Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo from MCA/Universal Television and Renaissance Pictures and in no way is meant to infringe upon their rights. The main characters in this short story suffer mortal wounds. If this idea bothers you, you may not want to read this story.
This story is not a general fanfic story nor is it an alternative story. An article written by Sherrie Johnson for Whoosh! impressed me greatly, and I thought I'd try a whole new style of writing that more closely matches the relationship that I believe Xena and Gabrielle have. It is based on Sherrie's essay on Romantic Friendships. The female characters will have a very affectionate and loving relationship--but it will not be based on sex. The story will have many similarities to the available alternative fiction for Xena, but will never contain anything of a sexual nature or any implied subtext. What you see in the story is what you get.
This story is not to be indexed at any site without the authors permission.
In the vast expanse of the universe,
I contemplate my existence and how I fit
Into a world where human touch has been corrupted.
If I gently take your hand in mine,
Will they see two friends who love and cherish each other?
Or will they see only physical contact,
And assume we are lovers?
When I tenderly kiss your cheek,
Am I violating a law of God demeaned by social values,
Or am I simply expressing heartfelt affection?
I question the values set down by a society,
Where all touch has been deemed sexual.
How can I express my love for you,
When we cannot touch without disdainful looks?
You are my friend and my confidante,
My only desire is to express my love
Without fear of condemnation
In a world where love is misunderstood.
The sky was bright and clear, a warm breeze caressed the cheek of the little bard. A quick glance at the Warrior Princess and her heart leapt within her breast. Gabrielle slipped her hand into Xena's and interlocked their fingers. Xena gave her friend a warm smile and gently squeezed her hand. Gabrielle closed her eyes momentarily and drew in a deep breath. A wave of memories and emotions washed over her body and she shivered slightly. Xena felt the small hand in hers tremble, and flashed a concerned look at her friend. She knew Gabrielle had been thinking about the past few months and the horrors they had lived through. This time they had almost been pulled apart, but with a valiant effort they renewed the love that had bound them together so long ago.
They had spent many days together talking and sorting through the vast expanse of emotions that had almost ended their friendship. Catharsis was slow and painful, yet they had emerged from the fiery forge stronger, having been tempered by each other's love. The retreat had been Gabrielle's idea, and at first Xena had refused, but the thought of losing her best friend convinced the warrior that this was their only option.
During the first few days, things had been very tense and all they did was fight. Each woman blamed herself for the other's pain. Slowly, as they opened up, the tension eased and they were more comfortable with each other. By the end of the week they were sleeping in each others arms, the contentment from the closeness healing the last vestiges of pain.
Gabrielle had never seen Xena this relaxed. It warmed her heart to know that the guilt and darkness they both shared had been purged from their hearts. Without breaking stride, Gabrielle slipped her arm around Xena's waist and then tenderly kissed the warrior on her cheek. Xena flashed the bard a brilliant smile and her eyes reflected the love she held for her friend. The warrior pulled Gabrielle into a hug and held her for a moment. Pulling back slightly she kissed the bard quickly and resumed walking with her arm around the bard's shoulder.
There was no one else to be seen on the lonely country road and the two women reveled in the closeness they were now feeling. With all of Xena's defenses down, Gabrielle saw the loving woman rarely shown to others. Their light hearted laughter could be heard across the meadow through which they were traveling.
Xena was living totally in the moment and was unaware of the danger that lurked at the edge of the meadow. Neither the bard nor the warrior heard the bolt let fly from the crossbow. True to its mark, the bolt pierced the left breast of the Warrior Princess and entered her heart. The force of the blow from the bolt knocked Xena and Gabrielle to the ground. Xena landed partially on top of the smaller woman and lay still.
When Gabrielle's vision cleared, she spotted the bolt that was embedded in Xena's chest. In an instant she knew her life was over, for the bolt had pierced the heart of her love and taken her in the shadow of a heartbeat. A strange calmness overcame Gabrielle and she knew what she must do. Though the tears where freely flowing down her face, the bard's mind was clear. Gently cupping Xena's face in her hands, Gabrielle tenderly kissed her best friend goodbye.
The farmer and his son were traveling on their way to another village to barter for a goat when they spotted a golden mare standing in a field of wildflowers. The horse was saddled but no rider could be seen. Crossing the field, the farmer and his son spotted the women lying on the ground. At first they thought the women were sleeping, for the smaller woman was lying on her side next to the warrior, her right arm across the warrior's stomach and her head on the warrior's chest. As they approached, neither woman stirred. The farmer motioned for his son to stay back as he cautiously approached. He immediately noticed their skin was pallid, and that neither chest rose or fell with breath. The smaller woman clasped two pieces of parchment in her right hand. Kneeling down to retrieve the parchment, the man noticed a piece of wood barely protruding from the warrior's left breast. Looking at the smaller woman he could see no sign of an injury, but he knew she was dead. The first piece of parchment was a poem he assumed the smaller woman had written for the warrior.
In The Shadow of My Heart
In the shadow of a heartbeat,
My breath of life was stilled,
The crimson flow ebbing
As it spilled upon the ground.
My heart lay crushed and bleeding
As your heart lay pierced and dying.
You are my love and my life,
Your soul and mine are bound.
I cannot live without you,
So when Hades calls you home,
I will follow by your side,
Our journey now to claim
Elysian fields so white.
The second piece of parchment contained an account of what had transpired that afternoon. The farmer read of the death of the Warrior Princess and how Gabrielle had cleansed and prepared her body. Also recorded were Gabrielle's thoughts on how she could not live without her friend. The farmer learned that after Gabrielle had cleansed the blood from Xena's body, she had penned the poem and the account of their deaths. She then used Xena's breast dagger to deliberately puncture her own heart. Knowing she would soon die, the bard settled in beside Xena's body to await the same fate as had befallen her friend.
The farmer sighed deeply and looked at the bodies before him.
"Father, what happened?' the boy asked quietly.
"Love," his father said softly.
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