Disclaimers: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance, and no copyright infringement is intended. I borrowed them for the purpose of this story without intent of profit.
Setting: A campfire scenario. This is a Xena and Gabrielle vignette, composed as a lyrical story.
References/ spoilers: This story is interspersed with episode references and dialogue snippets from series 1-6. There is more than a little extra blurring of the Xenaverse timeline here. The poems, Musings: the Warrior, the Bard belongs to me.
Sexual content/subtext: This story depicts attraction and/or love between consenting adult women.
Author's note: This is my first attempt at fan fiction. I hope you enjoy it.
All rights reserved; please do not copy or otherwise mess with except with the author's permission.
For my heart Sharmila and Lianre
Special thanks to my beta reader Jae
The Warrior's Musings:
...As if from air,
Your sweet voice I hear,
A siren's song,
To a sailor's ear... - Musings: The Warrior
Countless nights, just as tonight, I pretend to fall asleep first. I wait until you do. Only then I am able to enjoy my secret pleasure of watching you sleep. When did this happen? Instinctively, I know.
After the debacle I had caused between Iolaus and Hercules. Admittedly, I needed a way to regain my feelings of self-worth and rid myself of my demons.
I decided to undergo the ‘Gauntlet.' It was the only way that I, Xena, the Destroyer of Nations, could extract myself from an army, such as the one that I had created. The army beat me within half a candle mark of my life.
My twisted desires had all but consumed me after years of murderous rampages and conquests. So, I returned home to Amphipolis. On my way, I had stopped to bury my sword and armour, determined I would never return to my warring ways. The warlord Draco's men discovered me; they had also captured girls from your village, to sell as slaves.
I managed to free us all and continued on my way to warn my own village. You were among the rescued. I had witnessed your feisty spirit. I did not know then that you considered yourself a bard. I also noticed that you possessed the most captivating green eyes. I did not think that I would see you again.
I recall, at my homecoming, stoical, I faced the villagers' rage. My mother, Cyrene, turned her back away from me ; her rejection had hurt the most. My path since leaving home was not one of honour. I had become as feared, and hated, as the very warlords I set out to stop. My dear brother lay dead because of it. It was I who had led him into battle against Cortese. I buried my blood innocence beside my beloved brother.
You had followed me; incredulously, you ended up saving me from a stoning at the hands of my townsfolk. That was the first time that I glimpsed your unnerving and unswerving friendship and loyalty to me.
I wept over Lyceus' casket in the family crypt. I cried for the only person who totally accepted me for who I am. I made an oath, sister to a slain brother, to continue to change my path. I swore to persist in doing good, even when resented. I told him how hard it was here, alone.
The epoch moment occurred. I heard the voice of an earthbound angel.
You said, “You are not alone.”
Sincerity and goodness shone through your eyes. Your gentle smile masked a touch of mischief and a fast wit. Since then, your stories have amused me, saved me, and soothed my ravaged warrior soul.
The remembrance is bittersweet. The dying campfire embers glow and illuminate your red blonde hair. Rain fell today; it makes your hair curl at the sides and frame your face. A gentle night breeze caresses stray strands. I catch my breath; the scent of rosemary fills the air.
You said, “Rosemary is a symbol. Students wear sprigs of rosemary in their hair while studying to improve their memory.”
I said, “Mourners throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.”
You said, “Xena, do not forget, it is used for weddings too.” You wrinkled your nose, in the way that you do.
You said, “Remember, it was I who bade you drink a rosemary infusion for the benefit of your sore throat and aching head. It worked, did it not?”
I said, “I know, I know.” Defeated, I lowered my head. There and then, I silently vowed to make you a pillow, filled with sweet-smelling herbs, demonstrating that I had many skills you as yet did not know.
You are exhausted. Today, we crossed paths with a gang of men that had been terrorizing a small village nearby. I marvelled at your skill with a staff. You were very proficient. I had no more moves to teach. I told you as much.
You winked an eye and saucily replied, “I can teach you some new ones.” I chuckled at your wit.
Gabrielle, I tremble now, because I think you could. My conscience has always made it difficult for me to sleep soundly; demons ruin my dreams. Tonight, there are more pressing thoughts, such as keeping you safe. You possess a beautiful soul, and you are a dear friend. I love you. I gladly accept the responsibility.
My heart soars because you need me. I notice how you idolize me. I struggle through the green mist of your gaze, for control. It is hard to equal the woman you perceive. Just for you, I will keep trying daily. I never play, except with you. You have coaxed out the fun, buried deep inside me. The reality is that I cannot resist you, but I dare not say.
Sometimes, I am sick with the thought that I might lose you. I remember when you died, during the Mitoan civil war. My only thought was that I could not allow Hades to hold on to you. I had to blow air into you. Pounding on your chest, I begged you not to leave. You battled back to me.
I have tried leaving you before; each time I return. Tonight, our bedrolls are close together. I adore the way you roll over to tuck your head under my left arm. Your arm circles my waist; we nestle into a sleepy embrace. I keep my right arm free, my sword and Chakram a touch away.
You believe that everyone, in this world, has a soul mate. I did not dare to hope. But I, too, begin to believe.
...My love sprung forth
And fell on rocky ground,
Placing wet kisses in a callused hand,
Loving footprints upon her land...
Water and earth mingle,
Once was barren
Now is fertile... - Musings: The Bard
The Bard's Musings:
I know that you watch me, watch over me. I feel secure with you. I try not to let my deep feelings show, but it is a lost cause. At times it is hard for me to focus on anything but you. I tumble into your blue waters, and I wonder what you might do if you knew.
I would give anything, if I could, to take back the hurt I caused you when I married Perdicus. You could not see my reason? I did not know then, but I understand everything now. In my eyes, he was the closest thing to your tortured warrior soul.
At the ceremony, just for a brief moment, I caught a look of absolute devastation on your face. My heart lurched from my chest. I never again want to experience that feeling of having torn your heart out.
It felt as if the chains that bound the Titan, Prometheus, held me fast, preventing me from throwing myself at your feet. I would have implored you to hoist me up into Argo's saddle behind you and gallop away.
Your kiss at my wedding stirred me deeply. I recall gentle trembling lips and the all too fleeting kiss of friendship, concealing your goodbye. I replay the moment over and over each night, as many times as I can manage, before Morpheus' mist claims me.
Xena, you are my own true love. I wrote those words in my scrolls. I told you once, but you were dead at the time, sort of. Oh Zeus, if I tell you...really tell you. I am sure you and Argo will take off for the land of the pharaohs.
My mind conjures up a scenario. Wherein you fix your azure gaze on me, arch your left brow, lower your face close to mine, and say in husky tones, “Gabrielle, I love you too.” Naturally, you proceed to pat the top of my head, as one does a child. Which, I am sure you are aware I am not. Nor am I that naïve village girl you rescued in Potidaea.
I have loved you from the moment I saw you. I admired you for standing up to the warlord's army for a bunch of strangers. You stood proud, without armour, seemingly defenceless. Oh, how ingenious you were in thwarting Draco.
Once people had two heads, four legs, and four arms. For sport, the Gods threw down thunderbolts, splitting us in two. Since then, each of us travels through life forever looking for the other half because we shared one soul.
You will be surprised at the many ways I devise in order to throw my arms around your waist or drape myself around your neck over some imaginary fright. The scent of lavender in your hair and on your skin assaults my senses. I reel and my mind tumbles back to the many baths we shared.
You said, “I use lavender for battle wounds, as insect-repellent, and for its cleansing scent. It is the only good idea I ever got from the Romans.”
I said, “Xena. Is it true that carrying or inhaling lavender enables you to see ghosts...is it any good as protection against the evil eye? Well, personally, I prefer to consider it as the herb of love.”
You said, “Here. I have a present for you.” You quirked your elegant brow's at me in the way that you do. I looked down at the object you offered me. My mouth fell open.
I said, “Aah, Xena. This is the most beautiful gift that anyone has given me.” I crushed you and the herb pillow to me and inhaled deeply. It was at that moment, in hindsight, that I knew my own true love would always be you.
My special place is here, tucked under your left arm. My arm is wrapped so tightly around your waist; I wonder how you manage to breathe. The night-frights are mostly about you dying. My thoughts turn to the time that you ‘left' me.
During a rescue, a large tree stump hit you, a trap set by the slavers we were fighting. The blow was near fatal. In order to save you, I travelled a great distance with your near lifeless body on a wooden carrier pulled by Argo.
Nicklio, the healer, lived in a remote cabin somewhere in the Strymon Pass. He fixed my wound, but you were bleeding internally; he was unable to help you. I was utterly devastated. You just seemed to give up. I knelt at your bedside, my body half over yours; I screamed up to the heavens and beseeched you to come back to me.
Your last request was to be buried in the family mausoleum, next to your brother Lyceus.
On the journey to Amphipolis, my Amazon tribe met me. Since I am their princess, they persuaded me to honour you with an Amazon burial by funeral pyre.
Unknown to me, you were not quite dead. Somehow you used our friend, the king of thieves, to steal your body back from the Amazons. They had a hoard of ambrosia, the food of the gods, which he and I tracked down and used to restore you to me.
Autolycus had to persuade me that you were indeed ‘in his body.' If truth were told, the kiss convinced me. The body belonged to Autolycus, but the lips and touch were yours. We have not spoken of it.
So, here we are, on a night like many others we have shared. We sit looking into the campfire after a supper of rabbit stew, lost in thought.
Yesterday, we helped a village sort out their marauding giant problem. You had to be so original when it came to executing ‘the plan' for taking on the enemy. Our visions differed on handling the giant, subject to your originality thing. But solve it we did.
Not withstanding a few misgivings from both of us along the way. I traded your whip for a new frying pan. It was payback; you took the last one and brained the brainless robbers who attacked us today. Plus, you used a piece of my scroll for your toilet. Granted, I had used your Chakram to cut up our fish.
You say, “Gabrielle, hey, where did you go?”
I reply, “Swimming in your cool blue waters.” I continue despite the startled look on your face. “Xena, I want you to know that if anything happens to me, I do not want to be buried with the Amazons. I want to lie with you, in Amphipolis.”
Tenderly you look at me, reaching forward you cup my chin, tilting my head towards yours. I prepare to drown.
You say, “What about your family?”
I reply, “I love them, but I am a part of you. I want it to be like that forever. I love you.”
I kiss the centre of your palm. There are tears in your eyes. I cannot resist, so I submit. I kiss the shiny trail on your cheek.
You say, “Gabrielle, when I died, I heard your thoughts. I had to find a way back to you I want you to know that I think you are the best thing ever to happen to me. You bring my life meaning and joy. You will be a part of me forever. I found a way because I love you too. Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you.”
My throat is dry. I fight to respond to the beauty of your words. You of so little talk have succeeded in leaving me, the bard, speechless. My heart cannot hold any more bounties, but it has to. You place a scroll in my lap.
You say, “A little something I got Sappho to jot down for your birthday.”
I try not to pinch myself, because I know this is not a dream. I open the scroll and read aloud.
“There is a moment when I look at you and no speech is left within me
Fire burns beneath my skin and my tongue breaks
For I am dying of such love or so it seems to me.”
I say, “Oh, Xena!”
I throw myself into your embrace. We kiss, and our souls entwine.
Positive comments welcome. Feed me carefully, at firstname.lastname@example.org
My poetry can be found at http://www.sapphicvoices.com/authoresses/RobinsonJA.html
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