by Marie E. Costa
Takes place after Dreamworker
Xena finished her circuit of the camp. All was quiet. Her young
companion was fast asleep. She glanced at the girl and shook her
head...I still don't know why she came after me. She sighed and
sat by the fire. She fed the fire another piece of wood...grinning
as the flames leaped to consume the new wood. But the grin faded
as the flames reminded her of the past...a dangerous past. What
right do I have to bring such an innocent into this world? Today's
events alone should convince her to return to the safety of her home.
She picked up her sword and fished the whetstone out of her
saddlebags. Holding the sword up to the light of the flame reminded
her of the early morning fight...bloody fool...picks up a sword right
after I tell her not to. Her reasoning; Helping me...how? By getting
A small smile tweaked her cheek as she remembered the swagger
the girl developed after buying a breast dagger. Hmm, and her
comment...she thinks my breasts are dangerous enough...I
wonder if maybe she's not as innocent as I thought...
The smile faded as she recalled what happened right after she
claimed the dagger for herself. No she's an innocent all right. In
more than one way. When I saw they'd taken her...my rage...as
great as when Lyceus died. A shudder ran through her body. Death
all around me...her death...the weight on my conscious...no! I can't
let that happen. They took her...what did that Mystic say? Blood
innocence...I need to protect her from ever feeling the taste of
blood...they tried to make her a killer.
Another shudder ran through her body. She paused halfway
through a stroke, and leaned her head on the hilt of the sword.
She closed her eyes. Gaia keep her safe. She mouthed silently.
The tale Gabrielle had told her of her time in captivity...at least I
know she does listen to me...I made them fight each other. That
was a smart thing to do...her smile when I said that...maybe if I
praise her whenever she does something good...
Slowly she lifted her head and looked at the girl in wonder...openly
appraising the young woman, body and soul. I couldn't let her
become like me...I had to reach her...stop them. And when I
reached her in the dream. "Nice outfit" Such a serious situation
and she noticed my clothing...
Hold on, I said, I'm coming...even if it means facing myself...a chore
I didn't want...had even run from...not anymore. Even then my
arrogance was amazing...it means I get to kill you...like I could ever
possibly kill myself. Boy was I wrong! Fighting my darker self was
not the way to get to Gabrielle. Now I understand...if not for my dark
side I wouldn't exist...like it or not, both halves make me me. But my
dark twin was wrong...I control her. Never again will I allow her free rein.
She finished sharpening her sword and put the whetstone away. She
glanced at the sleeping redhead and pursed her lips. Who would have
believed I'd risk my life for such a sweet young thing. Her faith in
me...I knew you'd come. My look of surprise caused her to falter,
but only for a second...well I thought you would. I smiled. I had to.
She was right. She snickered. And that punch, knocked that bully out.
Her fear that she was wrong to punch; "Punching's all right?" I had
no choice I had to grin at that comment...I'd of killed him. My reply,
I'm impressed. She has no idea how truly impressed I am. She is
amazing...I am forever changed.
.She rubbed her face suddenly tired. Today took more out of me
than I realized. She stood up and stretched. She resheathed her
sword and began removing her armor.
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