Standard: I don't own Xena and Gabrielle. They belong to a someone, who I'm sure is very glad to own them. I do own Melosa, Terreis, Lycia, and Xenia. Even though their names are familiar, their characters are all mine.
Sex/Language: F*ck yeah! And it's between two women who love each other. If you shouldn't be reading this for various reasons [like it's illegal or you're not old enough] than you should leave now. Actually just a few swear words are sprinkled through out.
Hurt/Comfort: I guess technically this story fall into this realm.
Angst Warning: This is MY version of what I think may have happened to end our ladies' time together. In my story, what happens is final, and of my own vision.
Thanks to my wonderful beta readers. Your powers of language are a great help to me.
Like it? Hate it? Let me know, drop me a line at mailto:email@example.com
The tired warrior stood outside the entrance to the tavern. Every thing her life has come to could be standing on the other side of the door. It was almost twenty years to the day that she stood in the same spot, and although so much time had passed, nothing about the tavern, or Potideia had really changed. Every thing was a bit older, and worn, just as she was.
She gathered her courage, and stepped through the doorway into the dimly lit room. She was confident that she wouldn't be recognized, because she no longer wore her leathers and armor. Those things were gone. In their place was a simple chain mail tunic, that gave just as much protection, but was less a reminder of her past.
"What can I get for ya?" the barkeep asked.
The man quickly poured her drink. "Anything else tonight?"
Xena shook her head and laid the dinars on the bar. She was content to sit in the corner, away from prying eyes, away from the people who still seemed to stare at her.
She glanced as the barkeep. "I, uh… I'm looking…"
"Yes?" His smile was warm and genuine.
"I'm looking for a friend. Her name's Gabrielle. She's about this tall. She lived in one of the houses down the road." Xena raised her hand to show the man her friend's height.
"Ah, yes Gabrielle! She's a lovely woman. But you won't find her here."
"No?" Xena's heart was in her throat.
"Nope. After her husband died, she left the village. Settled in Philandea, same village where her sister lives." He wiped the top of the wooden bar with a rag.
"Do you, uh… Can you tell me where that is?" She swallowed nervously. The place sounded familiar, but it has been several seasons since she had been in the area.
"Sure thing. Follow the road out of town, until you get to the crossroads. One way goes to Amphipolis, the other goes to Philandea. Follow that road for two days. Can't miss it."
"You've been very kind. Thank you." She gave him a genuine smile, and turned to leave the tavern.
"Wait! Miss, Philadelphia is a big village. You'll find Gabrielle's house across from the academy."
Xena nodded to the kind man, and shut the door behind her.
As the warrior climbed upon her dapple-gray horse, she recalled the last time she had seen Gabrielle.
"No… no, please… don't leave me… GABRIELLLLLE!"
The warrior sat straight up in her bed, pain filling her body. She looked around, and had no idea where she was. The room was dark, with a few candles for light. A fire burned in the far wall, and hushed murmurs filled the air around her.
Her eyes landed on a shadowy figure at her bedside.
"Gabrielle? Is that you?"
"Sssh, I'm here now." she whispered.
"Am I dreaming? Is that really you?" Xena could hardly believe her eyes.
Gabrielle nodded. She could hardly believe it herself. Just a week ago, the warrior had come stumbling into the village, blood seeping from the wounds in her legs.
"I found you in the village square. You were bleeding, and unconscious" Gabrielle's hand covered her mouth and she choked back a sob.
"You saved me." Xena took Gabrielle's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.
"I couldn't let you die."
Xena looked away. "Thank you."
"Xena, what happened to you?" Gabrielle's hand stroked the warrior's arm lightly. "Tell me please. Who hurt you?"
Xena's eyes focused on a crack in the wall next to her bed. "I've been really tired lately. I wasn't paying attention, and the thugs got the better of me."
Tears over flowed the younger woman's eyes. "Oh Xena." She laid her head on the warrior's stomach. "I'm so sorry, so sorry." Her tears became a torrent.
"Gabrielle, Gabrielle," Xena lifted the woman's head so she could look into her eyes. "It's not your fault! I did this to myself, with my carelessness."
Gabrielle wiped her tears on the hem of her skirt. "Xena, it's been three years since my wedding to Perdicus. Where have you been? What have you been up to? I thought you would have sent word." She sniffled.
"I went south, to the land of the pharaohs."
Just then, the door of the healing hut burst open, and a toddler came rushing in. "Momma, momma!" The child jumped into Gabrielle's arms, giving her a big wet kiss. The small child, whose golden soft baby curls framed her face, smiled shyly at Xena.
"Hi sweetie," Gabrielle kissed the child back. "I want you to meet my best friend, Xena. Xena, this is my daughter Terreis."
Xena put her hand out and the toddler grasped the offered arm and shook it. "She's cute, Gabrielle." A genuine smile graced the warrior's face. She was not expecting her friend to have a child, even though she knew the young woman would make an excellent mother.
"Go play, little one," Gabrielle stood and softly patted the toddler's rear end. The child squealed and ran back out the way she came.
As Gabrielle ushered the child out, Xena got a good look at the other woman's profile. "You're with child." It was a statement of fact.
"Yes, the baby is due in about 4 moons." She lovingly rubbed the top of her stomach.
"Congratulations." Xena wanted to be glad, but it was very hard for her to see her friend happy, when she herself had been so miserable.
"I won't stay long. I don't want to be a burden."
"Xena! You can stay as long as you need." She squeezed Xena's hand in both of hers, knowing her friend was going to leave in the next few days, wishing that she wouldn't.
The warrior rode for a half dozen candle marks before reaching the crossroads the man in the tavern told her about. It was late afternoon, and the sun was hot, beating down on her back. She thought about her life, and the precious years she wasted, running from the one person who truly was her light.
She turned away from Amphipolis, heading to Philandea. She would ride all night, to try to put as many miles underneath her feet as possible.
The night was not only cold and damp, but also lonely. It was during the deepest part of the night that she would dwell on the past, and wonder if she could have changed the future by doing something different. No matter how much she regretted the past, she always told herself that just knowing Gabrielle made her life worthwhile.
The next two days passed uneventfully, and it was just after dawn of the second day that Xena was within the town's limits. The barkeep was right. Philandea was a very large town. It was situated around a main square that held the market, but was also large enough to hold most of the inhabitants on festival days.
Xena approached the first merchant she saw. The woman was selling cloth and had fine pieces of clothing that were made in far away lands. Lovingly, Xena's fingers traced the floral embroidery on a lovely piece of sky blue silk.
"It's from Chin."
Xena looked up at the woman and nodded. "Yes, I know. I've been there," she said. "How much?"
"For you warrior, 12 dinars." The Merchant smiled at the tall woman standing in front of her.
"Sold," Xena smiled. "You drive a hard bargain," she joked.
"It is a lovely piece of fabric, and it matches your eyes like it was made especially for you. Besides, a woman as beautiful as you should have beautiful things." The market woman handed the bundle to Xena, smiling.
Reaching for the material, Xena asked, "Do you know where the academy is?"
"Yep," the market woman pointed to a street at her right, "It's right up that road. You can't miss it." She smiled.
Xena nodded. "Thanks, you've been very helpful." Taking her horse's reins, she started on her way.
Xena walked slowly, one foot in front of the other. She had to concentrate on the movement because walking had become difficult for her lately. It seemed she tripped on roots, stones, or nothing at all. Sometimes when she swung her sword, the same thing would happen to her arms. She couldn't seem to make movements that had at once been like second nature to her. It was not for a lack of practice. She would practice and practice, but it was of no use.
"Higher, Xena! Higher!!"
"Gods be damned! Don't you think I know that?!" Xena threw her sword straight into the earth and stormed away.
"Wait Xena," called Gwenda, "I know it's hard for you."
"It shouldn't be," Xena growled. "I've been doing this shit for my entire life. These moves are like second nature to me."
"Xena, maybe you're…"
"I am NOT old!" Xena's eyes threw daggers at the other woman.
"I know your not, Hon, but maybe your body is telling you it's time to stop fighting." Gwenda wiped sweaty bangs from Xena's eyes and Xena sank to her knees.
A single tear escaped from a blue eye. "Xena, Baby, why are you crying?"
"I'm… I'm afraid."
Gwenda caressed Xena's cheek. "Of what?"
Xena took a deep breath. "When I was a child, the same thing happened to my Grandmother. Eventually, she couldn't move her arms and legs, and then one day she stopped breathing. But before that, she was stuck in her bed. People had to feed her and carry her to the toilet."
Gwenda hugged the sad woman close.
Xena had been so lost in her reverie that she hadn't realized that she was standing in front of the academy. It was a very large stone two-story building. Above the double doors, was a larger wooden sign that read "Bard's Academy".
Turning slowly around, Xena took a long look at the structures that were across from the academy. There was a scroll shop that according to the sign specialized in the finest papyrus in the area. Next to that stood a wooden toy shop. There was a rocking horse in the front, and other lovely toys in the window. Next stood the only house on the block. It was an average looking house, with a large front porch. The front window was covered with a bright blue cloth, and the door was decorated with curious looking carvings.
"That's got to be it," Xena thought to herself, "'It looks like Gabrielle's house. Or at least what I imagined her house would look like."
Gathering up her courage, Xena tied her horse to the post and stepped up to the front door. Here she got a good look at the carvings. They were tiny chakrams, and they covered the whole door. She was surprised by this, and a little of the doubt that she felt at seeing her friend again dissipated.
Taking a deep breath, Xena raised her hand and knocked loudly on the door. The sound echoed down the empty street. From inside, there was a shuffling, a thud, and then a curse. Finally, the door swung open. A young woman with slightly mussed up brown hair, and deep green eyes stood before her.
Feedback is the bard's ambrosia. Feed me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org