Main disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Universal/Renaissance. No copyright infringement is intended.
Additional disclaimer: No violence, no sex, no bad language. May contain spoilers up to God Fearing Child. This is just a short vignette.
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I didn't know about the beauty of dawn until I died.
Nothing about the utter silence, nothing about that coldest and darkest moment of night, when after hours of unpenetrable darkness one is prone to believe that it will never end. And in that very moment, a new day is born. It is announced by the tentative voices of the birds, and while I sit here, perched on this rock, and waiting for the first rays of the sun to kiss my face, the mist disperses and my eyes linger on the one person in my life who has lived through more darkness than I ever will.
She lies there, on her side, curled up in a protective ball, and huddled into her furs. And with the coming dawn, her beauty emerges and deepens, and I watch on, unable to look away.
I am her protector.
I caress the softness of her cheek and kiss the fragile lids of her eyes. Her dark tresses slip through my fingers like liquid silk and I breathe in the warmth of her body, my senses addicted to her. Her presence penetrates me, she runs through my veins, I eat and drink her whole and with neverending pleasure. Yet here I still sit, just watching her, while my mind envelops her whole.
I slip down from my rock and my bare feet touch the dewy grass. I move around her, and her pack, to find her sword.
I have long since begun to use one, and she trusted me with hers to protect us both. I remember the pain in her eyes when she gave it to me the first time since we died, and the moment I lifted it with her consent, we both buried the soul of an innocent child from Poteidaia. This pain is still with me as I unsheathe the blade, feeling its weight as I grip the pommel. I step beside my rock and start to move.
Once upon a time, I began the new day with the peaceful art of yoga, and here I am, greeting it with a sword. It seems fitting somehow, to have left something behind when I died. I feel for this part of me often like one does with a tooth just recently pulled. The spot is still sore, and it feels empty, yet what I reach for has gone, and I'm not dead anymore. I grieve the innocence, and at the same time, I despise the naivete that made me reach for anything that promised redemption from my pains. The sword arcs viciously as I wrestle with who I tried to be and what I am now. A calling I chose to ignore in the past because I was so caught up in pain it hurt me to breathe.
My breath is labored when I'm done, and the sword has become a part of my body. Never my soul, never that. I smile as I lean on its pommel, using it as a cane, and the sun bathes my skin with its morning rays. A tool in my hands, this sword is, and nothing more.
I hear her move, and I know she's awake. When I turn, her crystal eyes linger on me and greet me as a welcome sight. I move to her side, resheathing her sword; and sitting down beside her, we share the morning's peace of a rising sun.
Who I am, I discovered at her side. We died, yet here we are. And after the twilight, a new dawn is upon us for sure.
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