Thoughts By A Lonely Campfire

by Alan Plessinger


Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Thoughts By A Lonely Campfire" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.

This is set around the time of "Sins of the Past".

Damn it. She's out there, somewhere. I know it.
She didn't come this far just to give up. She doesn't give up any more than I do.
She's gonna stroll in here and remind me that we're traveling together.
We're partners. And I've got nothing to say about it.

Who does she think she is? No one tells me what to do.
No one.
I will not be responsible for some chatty, annoying little village girl.

When she shows up, I won't let her say a word.
I'll take her by the arm and show her the road back to Poteidaia.
Wait. I don't want to be responsible if she runs into any danger.
I'll take her back myself.
But how do I get her to stay there?

Maybe I should let her travel with me just for a little while.
Just for a bit.
She'll see what a mean, rotten person I am.
How depressing I am to be around.
How boring I am. I even bore myself, sometimes.
She'll head back to Poteidaia faster than Hermes.
Yeah. Faster than Hermes.

Where is she, anyway?

Where are you, Gabrielle? I'm starting to miss you a little.

No. I don't miss you. Don't think that way.
Can't afford to think that way.
Losing your focus, Xena.

This is no life for her.
There's nothing I can offer her but pain and heartache.
She deserves so much better.
And I deserve to be alone.
A lonely, sad warrior, talking to herself by firelight.
Going crazy.
I never needed friends before. Why start now?

This is all about the greater good.
Sending her back to Poteidaia would be best for everyone.
I can't endanger her. I've got to travel this road alone.
There's nothing she can offer me.
I don't need her.
I don't want her.
I don't even like her.

I don't. I don't like her. I don't.

Still, I'll never forget how she stood up for me like that.
Damn. Someone actually believed in me.
That helped me so much.
I'll thank her for that when I see her.

No, no thanking. Don't put ideas in her head.
Still, that was so cute the way she thought she saved my life.
Please. A bunch of nervous villagers with rocks are gonna kill me?
She saved THEM, if anything. I was so close to picking up my sword...
Thank the gods she was there.

I mean…no…it would've been fine without her. I'm sure.

Got to hold your temper, Xena.
There are gonna be people who hate me wherever we go.

Wherever I go.

Good, decent people will hate me. They'll taunt me.
Got to stay in control.
Because Gabrielle won't always be there.
In fact she'll never be there again.

I know I'll never forget her.
I'll never see her again, once I get her home.
But I can never, ever forget her.

That look she gave me when I landed on Draco, victorious.
It couldn't have been just hero worship.
It was more than that.
It felt so powerful. Inspirational.
I swear, she cares more about the people of Amphipolis than I do.
That's it, isn't it? She cares. She cares about people.
She knew how much I wanted to walk away from those damn ingrates and let Draco tear the city apart.
But I didn't.
And that impressed her more than anything I could ever do with a sword or a staff.

But I would've done it if Gabrielle was there or not.
I know I would have.
It just wouldn't be as satisfying.
And I wouldn't get that look from my sweet Gabrielle.

I mean…from her.

That look that says, "You did good, Xena. I'm proud of you."
That look that was so much…oh, by the gods…it was so much…
Like love.

OK, you are really losing it now, Xena.
Couldn't have been love. Not from someone like her.
I'm just a way out of Poteidaia for her. That's all I am.
How could I expect to be anything else to her?
All the terrible things I've done. She'll find out about them.
She'll hate me, same as everyone else.
Get rid of her now. The longer I wait the more painful it will be.
For both of us.

If I let her stay with me, eventually someone will come along and offer her a better life.
What life wouldn't be better?
She'll have to choose.
And who would ever choose someone like me?

She really is a good person, though.
She really is such a good person.
I was never that good. And I never will be.
I never could be.
I'll never care about others the way she does.
She's so sweet. Sweet and fun and playful.
Bright and warm. Like the sun.

And I'm a thundercloud.

We don't belong together.

If she stays with me, everything will change.
I'll change her, whether I mean to or not.

Or maybe she could change me?

No. Too late for me. Too damn late.
I'm dead inside. Cold and dead.
And she can't bring me back to life.
She can't.

I'd love to see her in the morning, though.
Just once.

What must she be like in the morning?
Waking up. Stretching. Yawning.
Stretching some more.
Just a little more.

Smiling. Smiling that adorable smile.
Those lovely green eyes sparkling.
She's so wonderful. She makes me so happy.

Where is she?

She's not coming, is she? She's not coming.
She wised up. She's staying as far away from me as she can.
She told me I was not alone. Where is she?

Good for you, Gabrielle. Stay away from me. I'm dangerous.
Find yourself a decent life.

Gabrielle, don't listen to me.
I don't know what I'm talking about.
I'll try to send you away, again. Please don't listen.
Look into my heart, if I have one.
If anyone can find it, you can.

Gabrielle, wherever you are…
I've been alone all my life.
At the head of an army I was still alone.
But I've never felt the loneliness like I do now.
I've never met anyone before who made me realize how lonely I was.
And I don't want to be alone any more.
Gabrielle, I don't know what it is that you've got, but I need it.
I need you.

I know I'll probably hurt you.
I hurt everyone I care about.
I'm a rotten person. I don't deserve someone like you.
I'm sorry to be so selfish and keep you to myself.
But I can't help it. I need you. Where are you?
I just met you. Why do I feel like I've known you always?
Stay with me. Teach me to be a good person.
I'm trying to be good, but I don't know how.
Teach me to be like you.

You affect me, Gabrielle. Everything about you affects me.
I love you. I'll never tell you so, but I do.
I love you.
I can't remember what life was, before you.
I love you.

Where are you?
Where are you?
Where are you?


About time.


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