Why Leave Me
Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, and any other related characters are the property of MCA, Universal, and their creators.
Just borrowing them for a second.
No copyright infringements intended.
This story contains tough love situations between two women.
If you are under 18 or would find this subject matter offensive please look elsewhere for your entertainment. Otherwise read at your own risk.
Draco sat to her side unaware of the many flaws and the one major flaw that would ultimately be the downfall of this little war he was responsible for. She could not believe how much he d trusted her plans even though his second in command warned him constantly about her. After their last adventure together she just could not do it anymore. She could not let the blackness in her soul dilute the one she loved more then life itself.
The warrior found a secluded spot in which to say farewell to her loyal battle horse.
Well Argo this is it. I will miss you. You know I m not good with words but I know you feel my heart. That heart was aching unbearably. She let out a long sigh.
Every since the beginning you have never judged me, and countless times you've saved my life. Whether you carried me out of danger or stood guard until I came too. The many times you protected Gabrielle or just following my instructions. I hate to be the one breaking our trust. She said running her hands through Argo s mane.
I just can t take the guilt, the pain, the shame, oh gods the shame. She sank to her knees.
Horrible dark memories tormenting her mind again. She shook her head frantically and got back to her feet. She stilled herself letting the darkness within loose just a little more. She leaned to her beloved Argo s ear.
Serve me well this one last time. When I bid you leave just go. Do not interfere I mean it. It is my wish that you leave me where I lay. Draco will loose this battle of that I made certain. When the amazons advance wait for Gabrielle. She will be hurt I know, but I want you to stay with her as my gift. No matter what she does no doubt she ll go to Amphiboles but do not let her leave you. She ran her hand through Argo's mane with all the love she had for the hoarse, and treated her beloved hoarse to an apple. With that she rode into a very senseless and one-sided war.
Draco had just commanded his soldiers to attack.
She screamed out her battle cry and spurred her soldiers into the battle lust that was already running rapid through her veins.
She released her dark side. Letting it take her over, and she thought giving up the war within.
Draco saw the mighty warrior fiercely cut down by a centaur. Draco s blood boiled to his own amazement. He launched himself into the unsuspecting centaur plunging his sword through unyielding flesh breaking through spine and nerves he thrust forward again. His rage boiling over as he tore through the rib cage, and beating heart of the being that d finally taken the Warrior Princess down. He pushed the lifeless body from his sword with disgust. Draco sank to his knees over her body oblivious to the war around him. He fell into her chest and there heard a heartbeat amazing enough she was still alive. He looked hard. Yes it was true. He grabbed her and flung her over his shoulder and ran for cover.
Krull having regained consciousness frantically searched seeing the warrior princess carried away obviously unconscious. He raised his bow and prayed it hit its mark, and unfortunately it did. In his haste to save his rescuer there was no time to find out she was being rescued.
Draco had just found safety for Xena in the form of a thick bush. Just as he was pushing through them a searing pain pierced his very soul. He looked down at his own chest to see the tip of an arrow. He knew he would not get out of this one.
I wonder if Ares the god of war is pleased that I died saving his old flame. Was his last thought as he managed to gently lay Xena down.
I am pleased, but I also think you re a complete idiot she may still die, but you are dead. Real smart!! Ares said to Draco as he crossed over.
The centaurs were holding up well, but they were tiring.
Draco's army strength was renewed having seen their leader go down. They battled on fiercely. Hasein Draco's second in command took over. He could feel victory ahead. He d ordered scouts at the flank in case of an attack at the rear. Draco had not thought it necessary because Xena felt all the strength should go to the front. Hasein did not trust her as much.
What why do I hear. Hasein mounted a stray horse and fought his way to the rear he thought was guarded. To his horror there was no flank. Amazons were coming from the rear; Centaur s at the front and no way to retreat. Draco s army was being rapidly overtaken. It was over. The clean up job was gruesome, The Centaur s had fought well but still took heavy casualties. Draco s army had refused to surrender and was completely annihilated. The Amazons had no casualties a couple sprang ankles, and one broken arm.
Gabrielle had fought hard to break through to the front lines, Ephiny at her side The amazons had been a glorious sight to see.
It almost seemed like Draco s army had been set up. His strongest forces at the front line, the most inexperienced at the flank as an attempt to guard the rear.
The Amazons literally melted through the flank with no injuries to themselves. By the time they reached the front line, it had been weakened severely. They easily took care of the rest of Draco's army.
Gabrielle immediately sought out Xena.
First she looked through the prisoners. Then she searched through the wounded, finally the most dreaded but she had to know. She looked through the dead. She was not there. She made her way to the royal tent.
Ephiny and Krull the leader of the Centaurs was deep in discussion. She sank into a chair and just sat there in a daze.
At the start of the battle reports came back that Draco and Xena was at the head of the front line fighting fiercely. Draco was among the dead Xena was not.
She tried to calm the panic threatening to overtake her.
In this case no news was good news. I will not even suspect that the Warrior Princess is dead unless I see physical proof, a body. She thought.
My Queen. At that moment Solari burst into the tent.
Gabrielle jumped to her feet. She d told Solari to find her right away if she found anything involving Xena.
Ephiny spun around.
Oh gods, It can t be. Gabrielle could see Solari was having a hard time meeting her eyes.
Solari please. She said grabbing her arms.
Xena was not found. Solari said raising her chin and looking the queen in the eyes.
Gabrielle released a sigh of relief. She had stilled herself for the worst.
We found Argo standing next to a tree. There is a lot of blood, and that round thing she uses is wedged into the tree. I tried to get it but Argo won t let anyone near it. We tried to bring her to you but she starts bucking and will not move from that spot.
Gabrielle walked into Solari and start crying. While this was not the physical body she wanted as proof. These two cherished things left on a battlefield could only mean one thing.
Solari did not know what to do so she awkwardly embraced the Queen. Her heart went out to the women and she found she was crying too.
Ephiny wrapped her arms around them both.
Krull dropped his head and left the tent.
Ephiny allowed herself and the other two women a moment of grief. She had not liked Xena very much. They clashed too much, but she did respect her, and she knew Gabrielle loved her.
Gabrielle you need to get yourself together. Let's go and see what they found. Ephiny said standing straight and solid.
Solari followed suit as well snapping to attention.
Gabrielle turned and walked over to the table and leaned on it for support.
Gabrielle you have to be strong. Xena would be strong.... Focus on that. Ephiny advised.
That's just what she did. She tried to sense within herself Xena s presence as if maybe she could be led to her, but she could not sense the Warrior Princess dead. Maybe because the last time she saw her she was so much alive.
Gabrielle you have to go see. She was pulled back to the present by Ephiny s touch.
Do what Xena would do. She told herself.
Take me there. She said with more strength then she actually felt.
It was Argo as always she was unharmed. Xena took more precaution to keep her pride from harm then herself. She stood directly in front of the chakram that was wedged into a tree at about chest level. Amazons that had handled her before were trying to calm the animal to no avail. She reared on her hind legs but did not move. It was like the chakram held her in place because she was not tied up.
Gabrielle felt a chill. She got the distinct feeling Xena was watching her. She looked around. She wasn't there.
Argo had worked up a huge sweat. Gabrielle was hesitant about approaching her because she knew Argo didn't like her much.
Anybody got an apple. Everybody turned and looked at her.
The battle horse turned in the direction of her voice. The rearing stopped and the horse calmed.
Gabrielle walked up to her and Argo nuzzled the girl, and nudged her not too gently toward the chakram.
Argo you want me to take it? It took all the little strength she had to get it out of the tree. She knew Argo would not anyone else near. She stood in front of the horse chakram in hand as grief overtook her, there was no doubt now. She fell into the horses neck tears flowing freely.
I wish you could tell me what happened Argo. What happened to her? The horse did not move as all stood still around her.
Where ever you're at. I wish you could see the feelings overflowing everyone all for your sake Xena She thought.
There was nothing else for her to do here.
Well Argo, let s go. I think you already know where. She said as she mounted the horse with difficulty.
Gabrielle wait, Where are you going? Ephiny asked
I have to take Argo and Xena s chakram to her mother. She answered.
I m worried about you. At least come back to the village with me. You've been through...so much just today alone. You haven't slept in a couple of days. Please Gabrielle for me. I'm so worried about you. Ephiny pleaded.
I can't Ephiny.... I can't. I need to keep moving. I can't be idle. She choked out.
At least let me send someone---. Ephiny started.
No, I have Argo. She patted the all of a sudden obedient warhorse a small sliver of suspicion rising.
I have a suspicion she was told to look after me. She s acting I don't know---nice. I wish she could tell me what happened to Xena. The horse turned to some bushes. Gabrielle reined her in.
No Argo we ll go to see Xena s mom. She said lost in thought.
I think she's lost it. You know she s not going to let anyone travel with her. I'll grab some supplies. Poni and I will trail her---You know. Keep an eye on her unofficially. Solari whispered in Ephiny's ear.
Make it so---hurry. Ephiny said as she watched Gabrielle s form fade. Soon Solari and Eponin were headed in the same direction.
Take heart my friend Her spirit is with you. Her horse will serve you in time it will work out. My prayers are with you. Artimess will guide you. Ephiny thought.
Be careful. Xena for your sake you better be dead. Ephiny spoke softly.
Gabrielle could not hold the tears in so she kept her back turned and did not look back. Once she was out of sight she fell forward on Argo s neck. Sobs racked her body as her very mind lashed out at a Xena that was not there.
She promised she would never turn back to that way again. Even if something happened to the ones she love. Yet she did. She didn't hesitate. She would not even come to see me. Her thoughts tortured her.
Did she hate me Argo? She asked.
She'd sent message after message. The messenger was always treated well, but the messages ignored. She decided to take her own message but Draco turned her around at his gates. When she sent a message begging that Xena stop Draco's plans to take Amazon and Centaur land. The only response was a simple sealed message.
I respect both nations, so here's my advice.
If you want the least casualties as possible,
Place Centaurs on the front line. All Amazons
in trees as we pass through. Once we pass
Wait a day's time then attack. I will not
Explain why. Do not deviate from plan,
Or I will not be responsible
That was it and they trusted in her and their victory was handed to them on a platter. Centaurs intact, Amazons basically unharmed.
But Xena was dead. The fact there was no body meant little. Gabrielle knew Xena s body was just as valuable dead as it was alive, probably more dead.
What meant the most what made her believe without a doubt, as one day melted into another, was Argo herself. The change was amazing. The horse basically was obedient, but when she wanted Gabrielle to do something. All Gabrielle wanted to do was ride. It gave her comfort to be in the saddle where Xena had spent much of her time. For now she never wanted to get down. Argo went along with it for the first day. She let her push it for the first half of the second day. Then it happened. Argo and Gabrielle's first battle of wills. Gabrielle sat straight up in the saddle only eating when the hunger got unbearable. Pausing twice just long enough to let Argo rest. Other then that they kept going. Unless Argo stopped for water or to eat. She knew which paths to take and where they were going. She fed the horse Apples from the saddle as small thank you's. She thought the apples would work this time but Argo stayed put.
C'mon Argo. We've taken little rest you stop to eat and drink whenever you feel. I'm the one who has not slept for two days plus. Please lets go. She pleaded.
Argo reared up gently but suddenly. Gabrielle was not holding the reins. She found herself thrown from the saddle. She just sat there and glared at the animal.
So the old Argo comes to the surface. Fine you don t want me to ride you then I ll walk. She grabbed the reins. Argo backed up, she pulled, Argo pulled. Gabrielle was so angry, and determined she did not notice she was being pulled into water until it was up to her waist. With a sudden hard pull from Argo the bard went flying head first into the water. With that Argo took her leave.
When Gabrielle surfaced she stared in stunned amazement.
Is this your way of telling me I need a bath? Well, I guess since I'm drenched might as well finish the job. She stomped to the stubborn horse to get soap and dry linen. For the first time she noticed the saddlebags were overfilled except the one she had used recently.
That s strange Xena hates to shop. These bags are stuffed. Realization filled her as her mind went into overload. She buried her face into Argo s neck.
No, tell me you didn't do this please. Tell me you didn't plan this. The tears flowed once again. Argo nudged her forcefully.
Reflex alone made her go through the motions of bathing. It just came natural to set up camp. She missed Xena doing her share. The rhythm of her sharpening her sword. She found that she d laid out both bedrolls. She settled for a nice vegetable soup from what she could savage from the saddlebags, since the vegetables had gotten old. She forced herself to eat, willing herself not to let it come back up. She pulled the chakram out of the saddlebag and laid on the bedrolls. The cool metal was comforting somehow. She never realized how sleepy she was.
Thank Artimess that horse has more sense then she does right now. Poni said. She watched as Solari got as comfortable as one can get in thick brush.
We ll sleep in one-hour intervals. That way one of us can keep an eye on her at all times without both of us falling asleep. She said drowsily.
Sure you go ahead. She said noting she was already sleep.
Poni jumped on her horse and rode into town. She was gone for a couple of hours. When she got back she tipped into Gabrielle s camp and filled the bag that had vegetables and provisions with fresh vegetables and provisions. She tossed out the old and fed Argo an apple.
Thanks for the rest girl. Keep it up. She whispered in Argo s ear.
With that she stole away to where Solari lay hidden. She had eaten a hearty meal in town. They could not start a fire or they d be noticed. She brought Solari a nice warm meal, not one but two helpings. She would be mad but since all was well there was no harm done. Poni peeked towards her sleeping Queen to make sure she was okay. She shook Solari awake. Solari sat up not wanting to wake, but knowing Poni was tired. Poni waved something that smelled delicious under her nose. Instantly she was fully awake forgetting the mission. She opened her mouth but Poni soundly clapped her hand over it.
Now, now I know your mad but we have to eat. We can t make a fire. She may not have eaten a meal as good as I m offering you, but since she had to force what she did eat down she won t mind. I put some fresh provisions in Argo s bag you know something she can probably stomach. Since she is grieving so hard. Poni explained.
All the time Solari was arguing to no avail because Poni s hand kept her unheard. She bit down on her hand just enough.
Damn She swore quietly. C'mon give me a break I was thinking about all of us while you all was counting sheep. Poni whined
Poni nothing happened, but it could have. Don t take chances like that. I would have stayed awake. Fine you were right about going into town. Just next time let me in on your plans---You got something for me. Solari asked.
You didn't have to bite me. Poni's pride was hurt as she handed Solari the package.
C'mon now you've earned your rest. Solari said switching places with Poni.
Poni turned her back to Solari. Solari smiled down at her. She didn't agree with what she'd done, but was glad she did it. She relished the precious package of a real meal that was gone all too soon. Keeping an eye on her Queen she massaged Poni's back. She could feel the tension in the women even as she slept.
The night was uneventful as Poni and Solari continued guard duty. Poni had all but forgot her bruised ego once her body got a well-deserved rest.
Gabrielle slept a full 10 hours and awoke famished. She broke camp and headed towards the small town
She walked alongside Argo, missing Xena s presence. No more could she look up and get lost in her eyes. No more was the there the chastising to pay more attention to her surroundings. For all the ways she nagged Xena about ignoring her, and how she might as well be alone. She now saw that Xena s presence in itself was all she needed. Just having her by her side. Even when she was mad at her it was better then this. Even when she treated her like a kid. If she could just have her back. It can t be finished. What will I write about now? Gabrielle mounted Argo again. She could not bear looking up and her not be there. Again she leaned on Argo and let the tears flow. She completely forgot the hunger she awoke with in the haze of sadness that overtook her. She was half a day from anopheles. She wondered is that where the journey will end.
Krull had a hard time trying to keep Xena s identity secret. There were many that wanted her dead. Especially his own kind. Of the ones he did trust to watch her while he tended to his business. They swore they would never watch her again. They warned him to get rid of her for she was possessed.
In the end he divided his own duties among his crew to care for the warrior demon. A name given to her by his brother. She d saved his life and he would pull her from the bowels of Hades himself if need be or die trying.
The first night he spent with her in his hunting cabin in the woods. He found out why his dear brother gave her the name Warrior demon. One minute she was calm he d bathed her and had to admit this woman was very alluring as he shook his own arousal off. He wondered if she was sleeping so soundly why was she drenched in perspiration before he bathed her. Well now the bedding was fresh and so was she. He half hearted replaced the restraints his brother had put on her. Covered her naked body and settled himself to get rest. She looked so harmless laying there he just could not imagine what the problem was. Her wounds were healing at an alarming speed. The healer had stayed with her on his own the first night. When he came to check the healer was gone. He found him in town and ordered for him to stay and care for her well. The next night and he did. He was even there when Krull came to see her the next morning.
Krull I honor you and up until now I would have never disobeyed your orders. I've done what I can for her, but I m through. That woman does not need someone to heal her body. She needs someone to heal her mind, to tame her soul. That is not I. The healer said looking down on Xena.
I remember you telling me once you would never dishonor yourself by leaving a patient in need. Krull said.
When it comes to her. I quit dis-hon-or-bally with my head held high. She does not need a healer. I don't know what she needs, but her body is healing up fine. About her mind I can't say. With that the healer was gone.
A piercing scream brought him back to reality. He looked in its direction. Xena was straining against her binds with god like strength. She strained, and lurched silently. Krull wondered if they would hold. He moved to the bed and tightened the leather.
No sense in her getting loose and hurting herself, or me for that matter. He thought.
Are you fighting something only you can see or are you trying to get loose. He silently wondered looking into her strained face.
He grabbed her face between his hands and held it so he could look into her eyes. They were unseeing at the same time they were filled with feeling. Those tortured eyes were utterly heartbreaking. He let her go backing up. He tried to shake off what he'd seen in the very depth of deep blue.
The fit lasted hours on end. Finally she collapsed. He got some cool water and washed her feverish overheated body down. In an attempt to sooth her he came close to her ear and started telling her a tale. This very tale he'd told his own children when they were waken by nightmares. It just seemed natural to tell her the tales now.
Gabrielle took her time but finally she was there. She stabled Argo, brushed her down, took extra time grooming her, and settled her in.
Finally there was nothing left to do but go see Xena s mom. She walked into the inn seeking out a table and sitting with her back to the wall. She spotted Xena s mother coming toward her. She must have sensed herself being watched, because she suddenly looked up to see Gabrielle whom continued watching her intently. Her face broke into a smile. Gabrielle couldn't so much of this woman was just like Xena, but not her. She dropped her head willing herself to be strong. She took a couple deep breaths.
Think, How would Xena act? She asked herself.
Gabrielle stood just as Xena s mother came to her and hugged.
I ordered your girls a drink. This is such a treat. She said as they sat.
She looked deep into Cyrene's eyes trying to find the strength to tell her. Cyrene was so unsuspecting. Not even questioning as to where her daughter was. Suddenly her look changed. Gabrielle realized it was her own actions that alerted Cyrene that something was wrong.
Cyrene reached out and raised Gabrielle s chin, and looked deep into her eyes as they liquefied into two green pools of sorrow.
She turned her head but Xena's mom had already saw it.
Cyrene looked at the girl who meant so much to her daughter. The girl looked like she was on her last strand of vitality. It broke her heart. She knew her daughter would have wanted her to keep living. She wanted Gabrielle to tell her from her own mouth. Cyrene needed to hear it, and she knew Gabrielle needed to say it.
She waved the waitress over as she did she noticed the Amazons trying there best to blend in.
We ll have today's special, two helpings if I know Gabrielle. Have Toris prepare her a room and bath. The same goes for her two Amazon friends.
Gabrielle s head shot up. She started towards them, but Cyrene grabbed her arm.
Leave them be. They were only looking out for you----Sit I mean it! The girl resisted.
I take it Xena won't be joining us. She said softly.
Gabrielle slumped onto her stool.
I only want to know if it s true. I need to hear it. I can already see it in your eyes. She touched Gabrielle s cheek.
Gabrielle looked towards her but could not look at her.
To much like Xena. Not physically or even mentally, but the mannerisms. Gabrielle thought.
I don't care to know the gory details.... just if she s still with us. Cyrene pleaded.
Gabrielle took Cyrene s hand she told herself for the older women s sake, but the truth was she needed an anchor. She'd dealt with Xena s death in her head and in her mind, but to actually say it. She felt the very force at which her heart would break would blow her away.
Gabrielle I need to know. Cyrene told her.
Gabrielle pulled the chakram out of the saddlebag. She had meant to keep it until she left, but she felt that Xena s mother would know if she gave it to her.
Cyrene took it and laid it on the table. She let her fingers touch the smooth cold but deadly metal.
Gabrielle speak to me this means nothing. You tell me. Cyrene demanded.
I can't.... I can't... Gabrielle's mind screamed her heart felt like it was pulling apart from her being.
Cyrene looked at the girl who was apparently breaking down right before her eyes and she knew she had to make her let it out. All that grief was going to kill her. She reflected for a moment. The girl did pull your heartstrings. Even now knowing her own child may very well be dead. She could not help but see why Xena had been so protective of her. She seemed so very fragile, but Cyrene knew it took a strong person to have been with her daughter up until now.
Yes looks can be deceiving. Realizing that Cyrene decided to treat her more like she treated her own.
Gabrielle sit up straight and look at me. You traveled all this way to tell me something. So tell me so we can go on. I will not and can not assume. Not on something like this. You have to tell me. Cyrene's said strictly.
Cyrene in my mind I m convinced---. She said studying her hands. She did her best to find a way to say it.
For Xena's horse and weapon to be left on a battlefield could only mean one thing to me. Her sword wasn't there, but her chakram and Argo and a pool of blood---. She collapsed.
The memory's came flooding back in her head. Breaking her mind down from grief, her body from hunger and stress, her very soul from losing it s other half. She lost complete control of herself, and in so retreated deeply within. Maybe she would not feel the pain here.