Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights are intended. All other characters are mine and belong to me.
Subtext Disclaimer: This story contains graphic scenes of a loving relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.
Shock Factor: 3 Plan D #4
Technical Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor or a police officer and know nothing about either fields, so for those of you that do, please forgive my creative licensing.
Dedication: This is for all the readers that have sent me encouragement and for the people in my life, that for some reason, care about me. Sometimes you've just gotta say thanks and I do. Thank you.
Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy, I hope.
“Open you test booklets and begin.” Taking a moment to look at 99 heads drop, Gabrielle noticed one that was staring at her. Smiling, she raised one eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest.
Knowing she was being hinted at, Xena smiled. Flicking her eyebrows up and down, she looked down as the glare started burning a hole in the top of her head, which made her smile grow. Damn, she thought looking at the answer sheet, I hate these fill in the dots. Sighing, she looked up and stuck out her tongue.
Gabrielle snickered, then moved to the small desk and sat down. Watching as the occasional face looked up in concentration, Gabrielle smiled. This was her best class, they seemed so eager to learn and had a flair for asking questions. Both of these attributes, though not totally their own, inspired partly by the warrior who knew how to get the bard talking, which got everybody else talking and had inspired many in depth conversations. Now it was the last day of class and these eager beavers were going to have to put their money where their mouth was. Gabrielle had spent two weeks coming up with the final exam and found the hardest part was keeping it secret from Xena. Looking at the warrior again, she wasn't surprised to see a confident air emanating from those blue eyes and had to smile, remembering all the long nights Xena had stayed up studying. According to the warrior, what the world thought was Greek history was a crock and she found shuffling through the mayhem was worse than having to learn Latin. Those damn Roman's.
Looking up, Xena caught the smile pointed in her direction and winked. It was worth it, she thought. Although she'd taken the class for personal reasons, she'd never taken it lightly. Respecting Gabrielle's position, she'd kept their relationship out of the classroom and had studied her head off. The bonus from this was that she got to sit for hours and just stare at her favorite female, studying the bard as much as her books during class. Now her fun was coming to an end. With the completion of the test, she'd have only three days left, before she had to get back to work and just the thought was killing her. Xena had tried to think of some way to get around it and had even purchased a lottery ticket, but to no avail. She was going to have to go home and back to the real world, leaving Gabrielle for a week, until Christmas break. Glancing back at the test, Xena sighed, only 58 questions to go.
Beep, beep, beep.
Gabrielle looked up, at the noise and scanned the room as about half the students pulled small multi colored beepers from their hips. One by one, students checked their little boxes and replaced them, when they discovered it wasn't theirs making the noise. Snapping her head around as Xena stood up, Gabrielle rose as well.
“Fuck!” Swearing softly, Xena replaced the pager at her hip and glanced at the bard. Shaking her head, she smiled regretfully, picking up her test and taking the tiers two at a time down to Gabrielle. “I'm sorry. I've gotta go.” Placing the papers on the desk.
“You can make up the test.” Biting her lip, Gabrielle leaned forward, placing a soft kiss on the warrior's lips. “Go and drive safe.”
“I'll call you.” Turning, Xena bounded back up the stairs, grabbing her leather jacket from her chair and disappeared.
Gabrielle saw the curious glances she was getting, but ignored them and sat back down. “Be safe.” Whispering, she took a deep breath, letting it out slowly and let her head drop to pick up the warrior's test. Stacking the papers, she gave 99 funny faces a ‘mind your own business' look, which sent them back to their other problem.
“How long?” Xena asked, running down the long hallway, as she put on her jacket and held the cell phone to her ear.
“Twenty minutes, tops.” Jim said, as several people ran past him. “How long till you get here?”
“An hour.” Mad, Xena pushed open the door, still running and heading for her motorcycle.
“We'll hold down the fort till you get here.” Sighing, Jim pointed his finger as someone asked him a question.
“Don't wait on me.” Reaching the Harley, Xena put in the key, then straddled the seat, kicking out the starter. “You know what to do.”
“Right.” Rolling his eyes, Jim shook his head. I'm not ready for this, he thought. “I'll see you in an hour.” Sighing, as the line went dead, he looked around. “Come on, Grace.” Moving away from the desk, he headed out into the madness.
On the fourth kick, the engine turned over and Xena stroked the throttle and pulled out the choke. As the rumble reached a deafening level, she grabbed her helmet, strapped it on and sat down. Normally she would've given the bike at least ten minutes to warm up in the cold weather, but she didn't have ten minutes to spare. Pulling in the clutch, she dropped it into first and used the ground to put up the kickstand as she leaned hard, coming out of the parking space. Keeping the choke out, she weaved her way to the road, looked for traffic and gunned it, sending icy water up behind her.
Gabrielle glanced at her watch, then looked behind her at the clock. Ten more minutes, she thought and looked at the six remaining students. The two hours, since Xena had left had drug by and she was anxious to leave, so she could call the hospital. As two more tests were placed in her hands, she looked at her watch again. Hearing a familiar chime, she glanced down at her briefcase. Bringing it to her lap, opening it, she found her pink cell phone and punched a button. “Hello?” Waiting for Xena's voice, but hearing Jim's instead.
“Faith, this is Jim.” Looking around, his face was a mask of concern.
Keeping her voice low, Gabrielle turned toward the chalk board. “Hi, Jim. How's tricks?” Trying to lift his obviously bad mood.
“Faith . . .” Hesitating to even consider his next words, Jim closed his eyes.
“What?” Slowly a sense of dread started to take hold of Gabrielle as the silence on the other end continued. “Jim. What's wrong?”
“Faith. Where's Grace?” Hoping that she was still with Faith, Jim opened his eyes.
“She's with you . . . isn't she?” Coming to her feet, the briefcase hit the floor.
“No.” Sitting behind the warrior's desk, he leaned back in the chair. “She called, saying she was on her way and that she'd be here in an hour. That was two hours ago.”
Turning around, Gabrielle saw snow falling and closed her eyes. “Gods, no.”
“Do you want me to call the police?” Leaning forward, his natural calmness quickly disappeared at the news that his friend was missing.
“Yes. Tell them she's taking route 17 and she's on a light yellow Harley.” Squatting down for her briefcase, Gabrielle didn't see her boss come in. “I'm on my way.”
“Be careful Faith.” Keeping the panic from his voice, Jim stood.
“I will.” Standing up, Gabrielle spotted George, but ignored his presence. “Bye.” Dropping the case on her desk, she picked up the tests, tossed them in the case, along with her phone, then pulled it back out again, putting it in her jacket pocket.
“Faith, can I have a moment?” George didn't look happy and didn't like being ignored, but kept his manners intact.
Acknowledging him for the first time, Gabrielle looked up as she snapped her case shut. “I'm sorry, George. I've got to go.” Coming around the desk, she started past him.
“This is important.” Reaching out for the bard.
Stopping, Gabrielle looked at the hand and then at George, who removed his hand. “Not now, George.” Making it to the second tier before he called to her.
“Faith, one of your student's has lodged a complaint.” Stepping toward the bard as she turned around. “They said that you kissed one of your female students in class today. Is that true.”
“George.” Counting to ten, Gabrielle stopped at five. “That female happens to be my wife and yes, I kissed her, because I was worried. And right now she's an hour over due at the hospital and I'll be damned if I'm going to stand here and defend myself when the woman I love is out there, in a the snow, on a motorcycle. Now either you can deal with this problem, or you can fire me, but whatever you choose, I'm not going to waste another second of my time.” Taking another couple of steps, the bard tuned again. “And you better find somebody to cover me, I don't think I'll be back today.” Pointing at the desk. “The finals are in the top drawer.” Spinning, she raced out of the room.
Xena felt the back tire slide sideways, bringing the bike down on top of her. Instinctively she let it go, as she hit the road, but her boot caught on a peg and she slid on her back off the pavement. When the bike hit the dirt, it flipped sideways, sending the warrior tumbling head over heals, along with the motorcycle down the embankment. Feeling the heavy weight of the bike come to rest on top of her as her head struck a tree, shattering the helmet and sending her into darkness.
Opening her eyes, Xena was aware of the darkness. The smell of Jasmine filled the air and she smiled. Gabrielle. Sitting up, she looked around for some light, but found none. She sat in complete darkness, feeling the cold beneath her and a sticky moisture in her eyes. Blinking, she caught sight of a spark in the distance and stood, walking slowly toward it. As she approached, the light twinkled, expanding into a faintly glowing orb. Stopping, Xena watched the orb floating closer and took a defensive stance. Growing with it's approach, the warrior felt a sense of falling, when the wall of the orb passed over her.
“Xena!” Snapping her head, Xena saw Gabrielle pointing behind her and spun around, bringing up her sword hand and finding she didn't have a weapon. Then she realized that the bard hadn't been yelling at her, but at the warrior behind her. Confused, Xena watched in wonder, seeing another her fighting off the soldier the bard had warned about. Looking back to the bard, Gabrielle passed by her, running to the other Xena, as if she wasn't there. Seeing the bard, really, she noticed that Gabrielle was a man, turning, she confirmed that her alter ego was a man also. Shaking her head, the warrior looked down at herself, seeing the twentieth century clothing, glancing up, she recognized the scene. Egypt. She thought. 700 ad, give or take. Suddenly someone passed through her, sending a chill down her spine. “Yuck.” Shivering again, she avoided the next person coming her way, then looked around, spotting her other self and Gabrielle a short distance away. Walking over, she listened to the conversation, remembering it like it was yesterday.
“It was yesterday.” Aphrodite said.
“Aphrodite.” Xena growled as the goddess came up to here. “What's going on?”
“Well that's manners, for ya.” Putting her hands on her hips, Aphrodite huffed. “After all this time all I get it ‘what's going on?' No hi, long time no see. How have you been?” Turning away, she was spun back. “Gee, thanks.”
“I'm sorry.” Holding onto the goddess, Xena smiled. “I'm just a little confused here.”
“Welllll.” Smiling, Aphrodite sighed.
“Can you please tell me what's going on?” Putting on her best manners, Xena watched the ancient version of herself walking toward them. “That's me.” Pointing to the male version.
“I know that.” Rolling her eyes, Aphrodite folded her arms across her chest. “And what a looker.” Letting her eyes follow the warrior.
“Ahem!” Getting the goddess attention, Xena brought her back to her current version. “Do you mind.”
“Hey, I can look.” Sneaking another glance, Aphrodite smiled. “What buns.”
“Hey! Those buns don't belong to you.” Giving the goddess' shoulder a shove.
“I know. That's why I'm here.” Letting the ancient pair wander off, Aphrodite turned back around. “Blondie is worried.”
“Where's Gabrielle?” Looking around frantically, Xena searched for the bard.
“She's not here.” Taking the warrior by the arm, leading her to the side as a horse and rider came charging at them. “She's back where you came from.”
“Pardon?” Raising an eyebrow, Xena stared. “What do you mean, where I came from?”
“She's alive.” Giving, what she thought, was the correct answer.
“Alive?” Whispering, Xena felt her heart drop to her feet. “I'm dead.”
“Not yet.” Aphrodite saw the wall coming and winced as the other side of the orb passed over them.
They were in darkness again, except that Xena could see the goddess.
“You're in kind of a limbo.” Spotting the next orb forming, Aphrodite rolled her eyes.
“Limbo?” Seeing the orb herself, Xena looked at it strangely.
“Yea.” Aphrodite frowned, feeling the wall pass through them. “It's kind of like you're sort of dead, but not quite.”
The scene had changed to something about a 100 years in the future and Xena quickly spotted the bard and herself in the distance. Unaffected by what she saw, Xena was more interested in the present she'd left behind. “What happened to me?”
“You hit your head on a tree.” Rubbing her's in empathy. “I think it really hurt. There was blood everywhere.” Shivering, Aphrodite made a disgusted face. “Yucky.”
“A tree?” Trying to remember, Xena closed her eyes and focused. She saw the road rushing by and felt the heat coming from the engine. Then she looked down at the speedometer and felt the bike start to slide. Black ice, she whispered as she slammed backwards into the road on her back, the tumbling and finally the tree. Opening her eyes, Xena was standing at the spot of the accident, glancing down the embankment, she spotted the wreckage below. Stepping carefully down the slope, walking over to her body, trapped under the motorcycle. The front tire was still spinning. Squatting down, she saw the blood coming from her head and the shattered pieces of her helmet laying all around.
“See, I told you it was messy.” Aphrodite appeared behind her, looking down, then quickly away, shivering again. “Icky.”
Xena continued to study the body, she'd recently occupied, but found herself feeling no emotion at the sight. It was like it wasn't really her. Like she was looking at someone else's, twisted and crumpled form. Taking a medical viewpoint, she felt for a pulse, but her fingers passed through the skin. Pulling them out, she looked at the bike. “We have to get this off her.” Her voice showed the lack of emotion she was feeling.
“Sorry. No can do.” Shaking her head, Aphrodite put her hand on the warrior's shoulder. “It's not my thing.”
“What?” Turning away, Xena faced the goddess with anger in her eyes.
“She can't help you.” Michael said, materializing beside the goddess.
“Michael. What's going on?” Knowing the arch-angel was a bad sign, she took a step toward him. “What's happening here?”
“You're in a coma.” Tucking his wings, he looked at the wrecked body.
“Coma?” Glancing over her shoulder, Xena moved back to her body, kneeling down close to the head. Using a doctor's eyes, she examined the skull, without touching it and found most of the blood was coming from a fracture near the base. Moving around the tree, she knelt down and examined the other side of her head. Sighing, she looked up and the angel and goddess. “I'll be dead before the come looking for me.” Using herself in the first person for the first time. Standing she looked down at herself. “All that work for nothing.” Whispering, thinking of the favor's she'd called in to get back into her original body, Xena shook her head. “Gabrielle.” Closing her eyes, she thought of what the bard was going to do and suddenly felt the loss of her love. Looking back to the pair, Xena sighed. “What about Gabrielle?”
“She's fine.” Aphrodite smiled.
Michael gave the goddess a solemn look, then turned to the warrior. “She doesn't know yet.”
Closing her eyes, Xena slumped to the ground, covering her face. “Gods, don't do this to her.”
Gabrielle drove slowly down the highway, looking intently out the windshield. She'd only gone fifteen miles in the last half hour and had stopped six times, when she'd thought she'd spotted Xena. “Come on, Xena. Where are you?” Knowing that the worst had happened, she put the possibilities out of her mind and concentrated on finding her warrior. Turning on the wipers as the snow started to fall harder, she sighed. “Not again.” Letting the dread creep up for a moment, she quickly pushed it down. “Hang on, Xena.” Spotting something to her left, she stopped the truck and rolled down the window. Through the snow, she saw something dark off in the distance and got out of the truck. Sliding down the embankment, she ran to the form, then stopped. “Damn.” Turning from the pile of branches, she jogged back the way she'd come and got back in the truck. “Gods, please let her be all right. Please.” Pulling back onto the road, Gabrielle continued her search.
Aphrodite and Michael stood in silence, watching as the warrior tried to flag down a car, that passed through her.
Shaking his head, Michael walked over to Xena, placing a hand on her shoulder that was quickly shrugged off. Sighing, he stood by the warrior, watching her move onto the road, looking back and forth.
“Where's a cop when you need one.” Swearing, Xena searched the snow covered road.
“Xena.” Michael said softly.
“Shut up.” Not looking at the angel, Xena started to pace. “I'm not going to die.”
“It's not like you have a choice.” Aphrodite said as she joined them.
“There's always a choice.” Snapping her head, Xena gave the goddess a cold stare. “Like you'd lift a finger to help anyway.”
“Oh, really?” Her hands akimbo, Aphrodite took on an insulted expression. “If you care to remember, Xena, I've helped you out lots of times.”
“I know that, Aphrodite, and I'm very grateful, but . . .” Spotting another set of headlights, Xena started waving her arms.
“They can't see you, ya know.” Chuckling, Aphrodite watched the warrior with mild amusement, which was the wrong attitude to have, since it caused Xena to grab her and throw her at the oncoming car. “Hey!” Rolling over the car, she landed on the road with a thud. “That wasn't nice!” Getting to her feet, she looked up, from dusting herself off and was ready to lay into the warrior princess, but Xena had disappeared.
Seeing the car throw the goddess into the air, Xena watched it pass through her then followed it with her eyes. “Come, on.” Whispering harshly to the driver. Suddenly, the tail lights lit up, as the car slowed down. “That's it. Come on back.” Turning back to the goddess, Xena grabbed her again, dragging her toward the parked car.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Struggling to get out of the vise grip. “These are new shoes.” Looking down at the snow covered heels.
Ignoring the pleas, Xena threw Aphrodite at the car again and watched her bounce off.
“That's it! I'm not going to stand here and be treated like some horse shoe.” Waving her hand, Aphrodite disappeared in a flash of rage.
White lights came on, as the car started to slowly back up. Moving out of the way, Xena closed her eyes. “Get out, just get out of the car.” Opening her eyes, her prayer was answered as a man got out of the car, walking to the back and looking at the bumper. Moving to his side, Xena pointed at her body, below. “Down there. Down there. Down there.”
Shrugging, the man got back into his car and started to pull away.
In a full warrior princess fury, Xena swung at the trunk, bringing her fist down, banging the metal. Again the car stopped and Xena saw the man looking in his rearview mirror. “Bastard! Get the fuck out of the car.” Slamming her fist into the trunk again.
Michael watched in amazement, as the warrior continued to wail on the car, pounding her fist, until the man opened his door.
Leaving the car, Xena ran down to where her body and bike were and smacked the gas tank, like she'd done on the trunk. Looking up, she saw the man glance over and smacked the tank again. “Come on, you deaf son of a bitch.” Slap.
Walking toward the sound, the man heard it again and saw something laying underneath a tree. Trying to focus through the snow, he moved to the edge of the road as another rap echoed. Curious, he slid down the embankment, coming closer. As he drew near, his eyes grew wide and her ran to the body.
Kneeling down beside the man, Xena closed her eyes. “Gabrielle.” Whispering the bard's name, sending her a mental image.
The man stood, looking around as another sound echoed. Walking toward it, he bent down and picked up the snow covered cell phone. Wiping it off, he found the on button, pushed it and brought it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Who is this?” Slamming on the brakes, Gabrielle pulled over to the side of the road.
“John, look I don't know who you are, but I've got to call the police.”
“WAIT!” Gabrielle yelled into the phone.
“There's somebody hurt here, lady.” Trying to get off the phone again.
“I know her. Where are you?” Fighting down the panic, Gabrielle rubbed her forehead.
“Route 17, near the Freeman junction.” Looking back up at his car.
“How bad is she?” Afraid of what she might hear, but needing to know anyway.
“She looks pretty bad. There's a motorcycle on top of her.” Moving back to the woman.
“Okay, listen. Don't try to move the bike. You might do her more harm than good. I'm about thirty miles from there and I'm on my way.” Putting the truck in gear and gunning the accelerator. “Go ahead and call the police and make sure they send an ambulance. She needs to be taken to County General, make sure you tell them that.”
“County General, got it.” Hanging up, John dialed 911.
“That was amazing.” Michael stared, coming to the warrior's side.
“You ain't seen nothing yet.” Following John, Xena listened to the conversation he was having with the bard and smiled, when she heard Gabrielle start to give orders. “That's my girl.”
“What happened back there?” Following the warrior, Michael hung close by.
“It's called, mind over matter.” Listening as John called 911, Xena swung hard, knocking the angel back about twenty yards and into a tree. Satisfied that help was on the way, she turned to see Michael struggle to his feet. Her emotions in overdrive, she jogged to him, glaring as he finally made it to his feet. “Can you do something for her?” Pointing to her body, Xena grabbed the angel's arm.
“Xena.” Shuffling along as he was being drug. “You know I can't.”
“Bullshit. You're an angel, you outta be able to do something.” Tossing him in the direction of the wreck. “Call on that higher power.”
“I can't do that.” Keeping his voice calm, Michael kept his distance from the warrior. “It's out of my hands.”
“That's crap.” Taking a menacing step forward. “I've seen you do it before.”
“That may be, but you know, as well as I do that the powers that be will not allow me to interfere in the lives of mortals, while they live.” Spreading his hands, he shook his wings. Seeing that he wasn't making any headway, he changed his tactics. “The most I can do is ease someone's suffering, Xena. I can't cure them.”
Looking over at her body, Xena growled, knowing the angel was right. That is what she'd seen him do in the past, when she'd lost some of her patients and Michael had come to take them to paradise. Left with no alternatives, Xena went to her body and knelt down. Putting her hand out, she felt tingling in her fingertips as she touched her arm, but her fingers still passed through the skin. “Damn.” Think, Xena think. Looking around, she spotted a fallen branch and concentrated as she tried to pick it up. Again her fingers passing through the object, she glanced over her shoulder. “I know you can't help her, but can you tell me what's wrong with her?”
Shrugging, as his wings fluttered, Michael knelt down beside the warrior. Passing his hand over the body, his brow knitted into a frown. “Fractured skull, internal bleeding, broken left leg and arm, minor burns and road rash.” Glancing at the warrior, Michael thought he saw a smirk.
“I've had worse.” Smiling, Xena sat down in the snow, beside her body and waited for the ambulance to arrive. “We'll make it.”
Gabrielle slowed down, seeing flashing lights in the distance. “Jim, I think I found them.” Clicking the cell phone off as she approached the ambulance, the bard parked a short distance away and got out of the truck. Running up, as the EMT's started down the embankment, with a gurney. Spotting the wreck, she ran past them, slipped and slid down the hill, getting to her feet and dashing for the warrior. A policeman tried to stop her, but she pushed him out of the way and fell to her knees as the motorcycle was pulled of Xena's body. Underneath was a twisted version of the warrior, with one leg turned in an unnatural position and her arms flung out from her body. Xena's entire head was covered with blood. Closing her eyes, Gabrielle covered her face. “Gods, help me.”
Xena knelt down before the bard, reaching out her hand and stoking a chilled hand. “I'm here, Gabrielle. Don't worry.”
Dropping her hands, Gabrielle saw the EMT's bring the gurney over. Standing, she rushed over to the warrior and fell on her knees again. “I'm here, Xena. I'm here. Don't leave me, please.” Tears fell and she ignored them. “I love you.” Feeling a hand on her shoulder and turned around looked up with an angry glare and saw a man in plain clothes standing behind her. “What?”
“Are you the woman who called?” Holding up Xena's cell phone, John looked sad.
Staring at the phone, Gabrielle's anger subsided immediately. “Yes.” Taking the phone, she smiled. “You must be John.” Looking up into the man's eyes.
“Yea. Sorry about your friend.” Putting his hands in his pockets as a gust of wind sent a chill through his body.
“Thanks.” Looking back at the phone, Gabrielle slipped it into her jacket pocket. “What happened?” Turning back to the warrior.
“I don't know.” Shrugging, John frowned. “I wasn't here when it happened.”
“Then how did you know she was down here?” Glancing back at her truck, Gabrielle realized she'd have probably missed the warrior completely.
“It was the weirdest thing.” Shrugging again, he smiled. “I heard this thump sound and stopped the car. I thought I'd run over something, ya know.” Pointing to his car, still where he'd left it, John continued. “I got out and looked around, but I didn't see anything, so I got back in the car. As I was pulling away I heard the thump again.”
Suddenly Gabrielle felt a strange sensation as the EMT's tried to move her out of the way. Without giving them an argument, she stood and took several paces back. The sensation came again, making the bard look around.
“Then it sounded like a gorilla was trying to tap dance on my trunk.” Not realizing he had lost the bard's attention, John went on with the story. “At first I didn't want to get out, again, cause I couldn't see a damned thing in my mirror.” Scratching his head, he looked back to the warrior. “When I did get out, to take another look around, I heard this smacking sound comin' from over here. That's when I found her.” Shaking his head. “It was so weird.”
“Come on, Gabrielle. I'm right here.” Standing in front of the bard, Xena looked her in the eyes. “I know you can feel me, come on.”
Shivering, Gabrielle looked back at John. “Thank you for calling the police.” Moving away from him, she walked over to the policeman she'd shoved. “Hi.”
Giving the bard a stern look, the officer listened to his radio a moment, before addressing the small woman. “Do you know the victim?”
“Yes, she's my wife.” Expecting a shocked look, but getting a stony face instead. “My name is Faith Riley. I teach at the University.”
Flipping a page in his note pad, the officer started writing. “What is the victim's name?”
“Grace Morgan. Dr. Grace Morgan.” Watching the man write, Gabrielle shivered again. “She works at County General on the Emergency Surgical Unit.”
“Address?” Scribbling away as each question was answered, the officer finally finished his questioning and started to walk away.
“Can you tell me what happened?” Feeling drained at his impersonal professionalism, she closed her eyes a moment.
“Black ice. Up the road about a hundred yards.” Glancing down at the bard, the officer finally showed some emotion. “You're gonna freeze out here miss. Maybe you should return to your vehicle.”
“Thank you, but no.” Opening her eyes, Gabrielle walked back to where the EMT's were moving Xena onto the gurney.
“Stand back, miss.” One said to her.
Waiting until Xena had been gently placed on the stretcher, Gabrielle moved to her. They had a her in a neck brace, a back brace with temporary splints on her left arm and leg. And one of them held an IV bag just above her body.
“Please stand back, miss.” The EMT said again as the bard leaned down to the warrior's ear.
Glancing up, Gabrielle gave him a stare. “This is my wife.” Finally getting the surprised expression, she looked back down to the warrior. “Isn't that right, Xena.” Speaking in ancient Greek, she smiled and stroked the warrior's blood soaked hair. Closing her eyes, as tears started to fall, Gabrielle kept a warm smile. “Hang in there, Xena. There gonna take you to County General, so Jim can have his way with you.” Keeping her voice light, as her heart felt like it was being torn from her body. “You know he's always had a thing for you.”
Smiling, Xena put her hand out, trying to touch the bard, but failing. “He never stood a chance.” Whispering, as Gabrielle started to walk away, following the stretcher. Keeping in step, she followed the bard all the way to the ambulance.
“And don't forget you're Dad. He'll be all over you for wrecking on the bike. You know how much he hates those things.” Remembering the blonde bombshell, Gabrielle looked quickly around, spotting the bike as it was drug through the snow. “Hey!' Shouting, she ran to the truck. “Where do you think you're taking that?” Stopping the man who was pulling it up the embankment, aimed at the back of his truck, she smacked his hand away from the lever.
“Hey!” Startled, he looked at her like she was crazy. “I'm taking it to the junk yard. It's totaled.”
“Like hell you are.” Pulling the lever herself, Gabrielle fought off the man as he tried to stop her. “That's mine, I bought it for her.”
“Get away from there.” Dodging a wicked right cross, he stepped back and waited. “Have it your way, lady.”
As the motorcycle reached the top of the embankment, Gabrielle went to it and unhooked the cable. “Give me a hand with this.” Looking up at the tow truck driver.
“You're crazy.” Turning away, he pulled the lever, bringing in the rest of the cable, then felt a kidney punch, that sent him to his knees.
Standing over the man, Gabrielle grabbed his jumpsuit. “You're gonna help me get that bike in the back of my truck, or you'll be joining her in that ambulance.” Pulling the man to his feet.
“I can't do it by myself.” Knowing that appeasement was the best way to handle crazy females, he shrugged his shoulders.
“Hey, you.” Shouting at the dour faced officer that had questioned her. “Come here.”
“Can I help you, miss?” Walking over.
“Yea, look.” Pointing to her truck, up the road. “I'm gonna pull my truck up here and you two are going to put it in the back.”
Both men exchanged glances. The tow truck guy shrugged and the officer shook his head. “Sorry, miss.”
“Look. I'm not asking you to part the Red Sea, all I want you to do is put the bike in the back of my truck.” Pointing to the ambulance. “That's my wife, in there and this is the thing she cares about most in the world.” Pointing to the bike. “Now I know it's unethical and probably illegal, but if I leave here without it, she's gonna kill me.” Giving them a knowing glare.
The men looked at each other again, then back at the bard. “Get your truck.” Said the officer, smiling, thinking of his own pride and joy.
“Thank you.” Running back to the truck, Gabrielle heard the sirens and turned as the ambulance pulled away. “Damn it.” Running faster, she hopped into the truck, started it and fishtailed her way to the bike. Hopping out of the truck, she put down the tailgate, as the two men strained, picking up the twisted Harley. “Careful.” Watching them closely, she grimaced when metal smacked into metal. Grabbing some rope out of the cab, she tied off the bike, then jumped back in the truck, smiled and waved as she pulled away.
Xena looked out the back of the ambulance and smiled, when she saw the familiar headlights of the bard's truck in the distance. “She got it.” Turning her smile to her body. “I knew she heard me.” Passing through several EMT's, she sat down beside her body, watching the men work. “I used to do that.” Feeling a pain in her chest, she looked down, then back up quickly. Getting on her knees, she hovered next to her head. “Oh no you don't. You're not dying. Do you hear me! I'm not leaving Gabrielle, do you hear me! So you can tell your heart to stop the defib and start pumping.”
“She's going into cardiac arrest.” One EMT said, pulling a stethoscope from the warrior's chest. His partner joined him and they started CPR.
“Listen, you worthless piece of shit. You better start working.” Reaching through her chest, Xena focused and felt tangible muscle in her hand, squeezing, she started to massage her own heart. “Pump, you bastard, pump.” Continuing the massage, Xena felt a pulsating against her skin. Removing her hand, she felt the pain begin to ease, in her chest. “You do that again and I'll kill you myself.” Sitting back down, the pain ebbed. Looking at the EMT's, she smirked. “You can stop now, it's beating.” Smiling as they came to the same conclusion. Glancing at the pale version of herself, Xena's expression sobered. “Look. I know that you're probably not going to believe this, but I truly have been in worse shape and I pulled through, so don't go getting panicky on me. I'm not the panicky type and I'm not going to let you send me to the other side.” Closing her eyes, Xena sighed. “I've got too much to live for.”
Following behind the ambulance, Gabrielle kept one eye on the road, while dialing the cell phone. Bringing it to her ear, she sighed. “Hi, Dad.”
“Faith! Are you coming home? Tell me you are.” Xena's father smiled, hearing the bard's voice.
“Dad, listen. Please listen.” Making sure she had her father-in-laws attention before continuing.
“Go ahead, Faith.” The smile dropped from Dad's face as the bard's tone changed.
“Grace has been in an accident.” Hoping he was sitting down. “She's hit some black ice and went off the road on the bike.”
“Is she all right?” Closing his eyes, Dad's head dropped.
“No, Dad. She's pretty bad off. The ambulance is taking her to County General right now.” Keeping her fears from her voice.
“I'm on my way. Where are you?” Sticking his head out the door, looking for his wife.
“I'm behind the ambulance. We should be there in about . . .,” glancing down at the speedometer and checking a landmark, “fifteen minutes. I've all ready called Jim and he's waiting for us at the hospital.” Gabrielle spoke softly, knowing that he was going to have to tell the rest of the family.
“I'll make the calls and we'll be right there.” Spotting Mom, Dad waved her over, then held up one finger. “Faith, thank you for calling.” Ignoring his wife's worried expression. “She's strong.”
“I know.” Agreeing, Gabrielle nodded. “She gets that from you, Dad. I'll see you there, shortly. Love you.”
“Love you, too, Faith.” Hanging up, Dad took his wife's hand and lead her to the couch.
Putting the phone in her pocket, Gabrielle concentrated on the ambulance and the road, which was becoming harder to do as the snow started to come down, even harder. Glancing in her rearview mirror, Gabrielle saw the wrecked bike. “She's strong.” She told the motorcycle. “She'll have you fixed up in no time.”
Xena hopped out of the ambulance as the door opened. Looking around, she saw Jim come running up and smiled. “Glad to have me back?” Seeing the worried expression on his face, she chuckled. “Never could take a joke.” Stepping out of the way, as the EMT's and hospital personnel pulled her body out, she watched the trained precision with admiration. Following them in, she was half way down the hall, when Gabrielle called out to Jim. Turning around, she smiled at the bard. “Hi, honey. I'm home.” Gabrielle didn't look happy and Xena shook her head. “They're missing all my good material.”
“I know Faith, I'll do my best.” Squeezing the bard's arm, Jim smiled. “I'll let you know something as soon as I do.”
“Thanks.” Smiling back as her friend turned to leave. “Take good care of her.”
“She's not going anywhere, if I have anything to say about it.” Winking, Jim jogged away.
Gabrielle watched him go, standing silently as the people around her hustled by.
“Dad!” Xena shouted, seeing her parent's come through the glass doors. “Mom!'
“Faith.” Coming up behind the familiar figure, Dad spoke just loud enough to be heard over the noise.
Turning slowly, Gabrielle looked into his eyes. “I'm so sorry.” Letting her emotions escape the wall she'd put them behind, she fell into his open arms, sobbing against his chest. “This is my fault. I should've never taken that stupid job.”
“Nonsense.” Dad said, bringing the bard with him as he moved out of the hallway and into the lobby. “You had nothing to do with this.”
Mom went to the reception desk. “Excuse me.” Patting her hand on the white wood.
“Yes, ma'am. Can I help you?” A nurse asked.
“I'm Grace Morgan's mother and she was just brought in.” Pointing to her husband and the bard, she looked back. “Is there somewhere else we can wait?”
Knowing of the accident, Janet came around the counter. “Sure. Come with me.” Waiting for Mom to tell the others, Janet noticed the bard. “Faith, I'm so sorry. Do you want to wait in her office?”
Nodding, Gabrielle let Janet lead the way and stayed in the comforting confines of her father-in-law embrace.
Xena let her family walk away, then headed for the ER. Finding the right room, in the madness took time and Xena shook her head. “I'm supposed to be helping these people, not taking up space.” When she found her body, it had already been stripped and had Jim and several other people she knew hovering over it. “Well, at least I'm in good hands.”
You've out done yourself, Grace. Jim thought, checking out the condition of his friend. “We're gonna need x-rays, here.” Turning his head, he looked at one of the other doctors. “What O.R.'s open?”
“Four.” Manny took the hint. “I'll get it set up.”
Looking back at the warrior, Jim sighed. “I hope you've taught me everything you know, Grace. I think I'm gonna need it.”
“I have.” Smiling, Xena moved to her assistant. “You're good, Jim. You can do this. I believe in you.”
“Jim, have you checked her eyes?” Mary looked serious.
“I know.” Taking a deep breath, then letting it out slowly. “There's no response.”
“Jim.” Giving him a more serious look, she shook her head.
“Look, Mary. I'm not gonna wait around to get a committee to figure out the best course of action here. Grace wouldn't and neither am I.” Raising his hand as she opened her mouth. “I take full responsibility here. If you want to walk away, go ahead, but I'm operating whether or not it's against your better judgment, or policy. If I don't get in there and stop the bleeding, she won't live long enough to find out if she's got brain damage or not. Now are you in, or not?”
Mary closed her eyes and shook her head. “I'm in.” Whispering, she opened her eyes. “I'll take her to x-ray. You go scrub up.”
“Are you going to assist?” Hoping she would.
“You think I'm going to pass up a chance to see what this war horse is made of?” Smiling, Mary winked. “You bet I'll be there. With bells on.”
Chuckling, Jim smiled then left.
“And just what are you laughing at?” Staring at Jim as he walked by. “And that's Warrior Princess, thank you very much.?” Her arms akimbo, Xena glared at her recently former friend, then turned to Mary. “You wait till I wake up, miss thing and you'll see what I'm made of.”
Janet opened the door to Xena's office and went in, followed by the solemn trio. Waiting until they were seated, she knelt down in front of the bard. “Faith,” she said softly, “she'll make it. You don't think she's gonna leave without getting in the last word, do you?”
Gabrielle smiled at her friend. “I know. She can be kind of pushy.”
“That's an understatement.” Dad whispered.
“Joseph.” Mom gave him glare and ignored the bard's chuckle, then smiled at Janet. “Can I use that phone?” Pointing to the one on Xena's desk.
Standing, Janet nodded. “Sure. You just have to dial nine to get an outside line.” Returning her attention to the bard, she smiled. “Can I get you anything?”
Gabrielle shook her head. “Not for me.” Looking at her father-in-law, she gave him a questioning expression. “Dad?”
“Is there coffee?” Watching his wife stand and switch to his daughter's chair. “Honey?”
“Tea for me.” Picking up the receiver, she pressed nine, then dialed Brian's number.
“I'll be right back.” Thankful for something to do, Janet turned to leave.
“I'll come with you.” Dad said, coming to his feet. “No sense calling you every time we get thirsty.”
“I'll show you where the nurse's lounge is, that has everything you could ever want to drink and the cafeteria is down stairs.” Stepping out, Janet closed the door behind them.
The bard remained silent, watching the two leave then watching her mother-in-law call her youngest son. Greg is next, she thought. Then, closing her eyes and leaning back, put everything but Xena out of her mind.
Brian opened the door to his sister's office, seeing his parents and Gabrielle sitting on the couch. There were several empty coffee cups on the desk and he looked down at the two he held, then back at the three Jess was carrying. Entering, he smiled at the faces that turned expectantly toward him.
“Brian.” Mom got to her feet.
“Thank's son. I'm glad you're here.” Dad rose and took the two cups from Brian, making room for him to sit down.
“Thanks for calling.” Handing out his cups, then helping Jess do the same with hers.
“Where are the kids?” Mom asked Jess, taking a cup from her.
“We left them with a friend. They'll be all right.” Smiling gently, she shook her head and looked down at the bard.
No body said anything to her, though she saw their glances and Gabrielle was grateful. She wasn't in the mood to talk and as she was joined by another set of in-laws, she suddenly felt shut in. The walls seemed to be getting closer and she closed her eyes, fighting the urge to run. I can't breath, she thought, taking a deep breath and holding it.
“What a mess.” Xena shook her head, looking over Jim's shoulder at her body. “Make sure you check the liver.” Pointing through him to the brownish organ. “It's hard to tell with . . .” Snapping her head up, Xena closed her eyes. “Gabrielle.” Whispering, she took off at a jog, running through walls instead of halls, sensing the bard's location and quickly came to her own office. Passing through the door, she found most of her family crowded into the small room and shook her head. Moving to the bard, she knelt down in front of her. “I'm here, Gabrielle. I'm right here.” Placing her hand on the bard's knee and holding it from passing through. “I'm here.”
Gabrielle opened her eyes, staring blankly in front of her, she sighed. I love you, Xena. Please don't leave me.
“I'm not going anywhere, Gabrielle. I'm right here.” Lowering her head, the warrior placed an untouchable kiss on the bard's knee. “I'm right here.”
All the faces in the operating room were torn between doing their job and watching the three surgeons. Jim, Mary and Manny worked methodically on the warrior, keeping their personal thoughts to themselves and concentrating on the business at hand. They didn't do the usual idle chatting, to make the time go faster and only said something when the wanted something. No one was going to make a mistake and everyone did their best work. No one noticed that fact, instead they thanked their respective gods for the ability and the patience of the woman in their care. Grace had molded them into the best they could be and had pushed them to be better. She'd never let them slide by and usually reminded them that life was far to short to take anybody's for granted. She'd taken them under her wing and now they were using the skill and confidence she'd given them and returned the favor in the most flattering way they could. They were saving Grace.
Gabrielle looked up, when Jim opened the door. “How is she?”
Nodding to the rest of the people in the room, Jim smiled at the bard, then waved for her to follow him.
Doing as requested, Gabrielle followed Jim into the hallway and watched him close the door. “Jim?” Her voice barely audible, Gabrielle leaned against the wall, as her heart dropped.
“Grace is stable. She's in recovery.” Leaving the bad news out, he smiled. “She gave us a run for our money.”
Gabrielle didn't take the bait and took Jim's hand, looking into his eyes. “What is it?”
Looking down, Jim studied his feet, then back into worried green pools. “She's in a coma.”
“Gods.” Whispering, Gabrielle knew what that meant. She'd lived around Xena long enough to know that people usually didn't come out of them.
“I've made a few calls and I've got a couple of the best neurosurgeon on the way already and I want to do a CAT scan, before they get here, to see how much damage we're dealing with.” Looking up as Janet started toward them, the turned back. “She's been unresponsive to stimuli and there might be spinal damage also, but I'm more concerned that there may be bleeding in the brain. We can see both on the CAT scan.”
“Do it.” Looking into his eyes, Gabrielle saw a spark of something, but didn't get her hopes up.
“It will take some time.” Raising his eyebrows. “They're flying in from Europe.”
“I'm not going home, just do the scan.” Shaking her head at the thought of leaving.
“I'm all over it.” Smiling, Jim took off down the hall.
“Brain dead and paralyzed. Now that's an interesting combination.” Biting her lip, Xena watched the bard.
Staring into nothing, Gabrielle visualized the warrior hooked up to machinery for the rest of her life. “I won't do that to you, Xena. I promise.” Sighing, she went back in the office and told Xena's family what the situation was.
The neurologists arrive the next day and found that there was no permanent damage to the spinal cord, however there seemed to be bleeding in the warrior's brain. Jim had informed Gabrielle of the news and gotten her permission to operate. The operation took seven hour and for all intensive purposes, was a success, however it was also determined that Xena was unlikely to wake up. Even after the pressure was released, another test had revealed that the warrior had little to no brain activity. Gabrielle, who took the news in stride, sat down beside Xena, taking the warrior's hand and stayed there.
By the time the operation was completed, Greg, Xena's other younger brother and his wife had arrived. As time progressed and word spread of the warrior's condition, friends and relatives started arriving. Each giving the family their best wishes and saying prayers for Xena to come out of her coma. When Xena was moved to a private room, people started taking up vigil over the warrior in shifts. A wife would go to either Xena's parents house or the bard and warrior's to get rest, while the husband stayed. Mom and Dad took longer to take up this arrangement, as neither wanted to leave their daughter's side, until they were forced to do so by their other children. This routine continued for the next three weeks as people came and went, watched, prayed and waited. There was a short mass exodus, when George had called and Gabrielle had quit her professorship. He'd tried to get her to stay, at which time, she'd hung up on him. Then every able bodied body had gone to Gabrielle's apartment and moved her things back to the house, which left their home in subtle disarray, but no body knew where any of the things went and didn't want to ask the bard. Leaving her to her post and giving her space. Only Xena's parents talked to Gabrielle and even that was rare. Normally it was to get the bard to eat, which she did little of and usually it was only out of need or needing something to do. The rest of the time, the visitors stayed away from her, as she sat beside the warrior's bed, telling her stories in Greek and whispering encouragement and begging her to wake up. When she slept, it was in the chair, her head resting on Xena's bed, holding her hand.
Xena hadn't left either, staying by the bard, watching in wonder at the people that came into the room. As she sat at Gabrielle's feet, one night, Xena realized that, even though she was no longer in the protection business, that there were people that cared about her. There were her immediate family and friends from the hospital, cousins, aunts, uncles and people she hadn't seen in years. They all came. There were even people she'd worked on. Each coming to send their hopes to her and her family. The flowers had overwhelmed the room and she'd looked over her Mom's shoulder, reading each card, often shaking her head, trying to place the name, then remembering and smiling. Jim had been almost as diligent as Gabrielle, coming in everyday, keeping in touch and sleeping in Xena's office a lot. The rest of her team did the same, as did almost everyone in the hospital. Her family got whatever they needed and had stopped trying to pay for meals about a week after the accident.
The only time Xena had been upset by the influx, was when George had called and the warrior had thrown a fit, knocking over several vases, trying to get the bard's attention and stop her from quitting the job she wanted so much. After Gabrielle had hung up, she'd continued to rant and rave, but to no avail and when the bard hung up on George the second time, she'd slumped to the floor, crushed. Once the heartbreak had worn off, a couple of weeks later, she'd decided that enough was enough and started doing everything in her limited power to get her body back in action. Taking her frustrations out on her own body by yelling, poking, threatening and everything short of jumping up and down on her chest to bring her body back to life.
This continued for some time, until again, she slumped to the floor at the bard's feet. Then she sighed, looking around the room at the people she loved and that loved her. They were tired, the wear and tear of doing nothing and worrying was showing on their faces and bodies. Her parent's looked like they'd aged twenty years and everyone else looked exhausted. Looking up at the bard's sleeping form, Xena sighed. “She looks worse than I do.” Reaching for the bard's hand, the warrior stroked it lightly, letting only a little of her fingers pass through. “I'm sorry, Gabrielle. I never meant for this to happen.” Closing her eyes, Xena sighed again. Thinking of the people surrounding her and how much they'd put themselves through, just to be close by. Their suffering laying heavy on her soul, she felt tears falling from her eyes. Opening them, Xena stood and scanned the sleeping faces, then came back to Gabrielle. “Enough. It's time to let you go.” Kissing Gabrielle's head, she smiled. “I love you and I'll be waiting for you.” Whispering, she leaned down and kissed a sleeping cheek. Turning, she walked out of the room and started down the hall. As she did, she heard snatches of conversations from the hospital staff, most was about the regular daily routine, but here and there, she heard her name. Picking out those conversations, Xena moved through the hospital, taking a last look around and finally ended up at her office. Reading her name on the door, she smiled. “Dr. Grace Morgan, MD.” Running her finger across the brass nameplate, she stepped through the door into a darkened office. Seeing, despite the darkness, she looked at the things she'd accumulated over the years. Touching them and smiling, she walked all the way around. Coming back to the door, she stopped. Closing her eyes, she smiled, making a memory, then spoke softly. “Michael. I need to talk to you.” In a moment, Xena heard a flutter of wings and opened her eyes. He stood before her, tucking his wings, glowing softly in a shimmering aura.
“Xena.” Shaking his head, he whispered. “You have something to say?”
“I want you to let me die.” Her face showed no emotion and her heart pounded.
“Xena, I . . .” Starting to explain, he was cut off.
“I know, but listen.” Taking a step toward him, she smiled. “You said you could ease the suffering of the living, right?” Watching the nod, she continued. “Then I want you to end the suffering of my family. You and I both know, I'm not coming out of the coma.” Waiting for a response, she got none, so continued with her plea. “Look, Michael. I know that I've used up my favors with TPTB and I'm not asking for a miracle, I just want to die and let those people live. They've been here for three weeks and they look like hell. Let them go on. Let me get out of here, so they can.”
Michael closed his eyes. “What about Gabrielle?”
“She's the main reason I want out. Have you looked at her lately? She's wasting away in there. She's run out of stories and I don't want her to have to make the decision of having to put me on life support, so down the road she has to pull the plug.” Feeling the tears again, Xena closed her eyes. “Please, Michael. If you won't do it for me, do it for her. She needs to live. I want her to live, please.” Opening her eyes, Xena looked into the angel's eyes. “I know I don't deserve to ask this, but I'm not asking for me. Enough is enough.”
Looking up at the light that shown down on him, Michael spread out his hands and closed his eyes.
Xena watched him, her emotions running the gambit from hope to desolation. She'd done everything to try and bring her body back, but had failed and knew that unless she died, Gabrielle would get to paradise before she did.
Lowering his hands, Michael opened his eyes and the light faded. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly, then stepped to the warrior. “Ready?”
Closing her eyes, Xena nodded and felt the angel's hand on her forehead. “I love you, Gabrielle.” Whispering as the pain started and she waited for the feeling of lightness to start.
In the room, the heart monitor blipped as the warrior's heart fluttered. At the nurses station, Janet spilled her coffee as she jumped to her feet, reaching for the phone.
Xena opened her eyes and looked around. The room was dimly lit and she could just make out Michael as he smiled and shimmered into the dark. Her eyes searching wildly, taking in the scene of her parent's sleeping in the chairs, Brian curled up in another chair, in the corner and the other forms in the darkness, before she finally looked down her body. Seeing the casts on her leg and arm and feeling the aches and pains of being immobile for almost a month. Feeling something on her right arm, she looked over at the bard. Gabrielle was still asleep, her head resting on the warrior's arm, her hand holding Xena's. Smiling, Xena rubbed her thumb across the bard's warm skin, without passing through and she closed her eyes, reveling in the touch she'd missed more than her body.
Gabrielle lifted her head and blinked at the light, from over Xena's bed. Feeling the warrior's touch, she looked down at her hand and saw Xena's thumb moving. Staring at it for a moment, confused and wondering if it was a dream, she still smiled at the feeling. Looking up to the warrior, she saw Xena's blue eyes smiling at her and her breath caught in her throat.
“I love you, Gabrielle.” Her voice scratchy from disuse, Xena felt a tear run down her temple.
“I love you, too, Xena. Welcome home.” Letting the tears flow, Gabrielle squeezed Xena's hand and closed her eyes when she felt the warrior squeeze back. “Thank you.” Whispering to TPTB. “Thank you.”
The Powers That Be watched Michael as he materialized. Some sighed in resignation at the decision they'd made, some smiled, some frowned and some smirked, but all nodded. Then they dispersed, leaving the arch angel to his duties, which included watching over a certain daring duo.
Epilogue: Xena's recovery will be covered in the next episode and instead of the usual witty summary, I'd like to take a moment to thank all the people out there who take the time to care. The people who've made it their job to watch over us and take care of us in out times of need and to the people who don't get paid for caring. The strangers that act out of kindness and compassion, going out of their way, even the slightest, to help others. To the people that care about me, despite my flaws and continue to wrap me in the warmth of their love. I have learned from their example and will do so, until the day I die, whether that be today, tomorrow or twenty years from now and I say to them, thank you and I love you.
To my readers, I again say thank you for the messages you've sent and the encouragement you've given. You have no idea how much it means and I say, with the fondest of thoughts. Thanks. Your kindness has inspired me as well and I encourage you to spread it around. There is no price on kindness and I, for one, will continue to commit random acts of kindness, just because I can. It's the one thing you can actually get for free.
Thanks for reading.
PlanD - Part 5
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