Disclaimers: I don't own 'em, but sure do love writing about 'em.

Sex: Yes'm.

This story is my theory on the events directly after A Family Affair.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com.

A Family Reunion


Kim Pritekel

(Come visit me at my ebooks website for stories you won't find anywhere else! www.kimpritekel.com/ebooks)

It was done. It was finally done. At least, that's what Gabrielle hoped as she stood in the darkened barn next to Xena, watching as Hope and the Destroyer fell to the ground, entwined with each other, Xena's sword in the creature's back and the creature's own deadly sharp spine piercing his mother's heart.

As the bard watched, she almost felt some sick sort of fascination, watching her child die: again and for the final time. She took a step forward but was stopped by Xena's hand on her arm. After a moment, it was over. The two on the floor stopped moving, the Destroyer's cries for his mother silenced.

Taking a deep breath, she turned away, turning right into Xena's arms, the warrior never taking her eyes off the pair on the ground.

"You did good," Xena said quietly, a hand bracing the back of Gabrielle's head.

"I did what I had to do. It's over."

They both turned when they heard footsteps and then a gasp. Gabrielle's parents, Hecuba and Herodotus, stood in the open doorway of the barn, Herodotus immediately taking his wife in his arms, her face buried in his chest.

With a quick squeeze, Gabrielle stepped away from Xena and over to them, a gentle hand on her mother's back. "Let's go inside so I can explain," she said softly, sparing a glance over at Xena before she followed her parents back across the yard and into the house.

Xena looked down at the bodies, wondering what to do with them. As she stared into Hope's sightless eyes, she couldn't help but wonder if it truly was over. Would it ever be?

"Guess I should burn 'em," she sighed, walking over to the Destroyer and pulling her sword out of his back with a grunt.

Gabrielle's mother was trembling by time Gabrielle and her father got her seated. Lila looked on, blue/gray eyes wide with fear and confusion.

"Lila," Gabrielle said quietly, "please get Mother some water."

Lila did as asked, leaving Gabrielle and her parents sitting at the kitchen table, Herodotus looking at Gabrielle, eyes troubled. "What was that thing?" he asked at length. "Who was that girl in there?"

Lila set the mug of water down in front of her mother then sat across from her, all eyes on Gabrielle. "You called her Hope," Lila said. "In the bedroom when we talked. Who was she, Gabby and why did she look exactly like you?"

Gabrielle ran a fingernail across a knot in the wood plank table as she thought about the best way to explain who Hope was. She knew it would utterly devastate her mother to know that her eldest was raped by Dayhawk and impregnated with his child, so, she decided to tamper down the actual events a bit.

"When Xena and I were in Britania," she began, not looking at any of her family members. "we came across some bad people who worshiped an evil god." She swallowed hard as those horrible events came back to her: the betrayal of Krafstar and ultimate murder of Meridian. She shivered involuntarily. "They … " she paused, trying to find the right words. "They used me, part of me to help bring this god into the world." She met Lila's wide gaze. "Hope was that vessel."

"Used you?" Herodotus asked, brows drawn. "Used you how, and where was that woman warrior when all this was goin' on?"

"Father, Xena did all she could," Gabrielle assured, doing her best to not get angry or defensive of Xena. "There was nothing she could do."

"Well, I don't like it!" Herodotus growled, slamming up from the table and walking over to the fire, hands on his hips as he stared into the flames. Jaw muscles tight, he turned to face his family again. "I warned you about her, Gabrielle," he said, finger pointing at his oldest. "I warned you she was trouble and would be nothing but bad for you."

"Herodotus, stop," Hecuba pleaded, tears in her eyes. "This isn't the time for this."

He sighed, knowing full well that his wife was right, but feeling inadequate as a man and as a father to not be able to protect his daughter, yet no idea how to emote that. He turned back to the fire.

"Continue, Dear," Hecuba said softly, sipping from the mug of water.

"We tried to stop Hope many times, but …" Gabrielle's words drifted off as she saw the past, once again her daughter, only 10 years old, lying beneath a blanket after being poisoned by her mother's own hand. She looked down at those very hands, which fidgeted with each other. "Ultimately, she got here before I did, trying to use you all against Xena." She let out a breath, feeling so utterly tired, soul tired. "Xena and I got separated, and Hope knew Xena would come here, looking for me."

"And she brought death to our door in the process!" Herodotus boomed.

Gabrielle pushed up from the table; she'd had enough. "Xena and I will be gone before morning, Father," she said then headed for the front door.

"Gabby, wait!" Lila called, hurrying after her beloved older sister, followed by Hecuba. "Please be safe," she whispered as she took Gabrielle in a tight hug, tears springing to her eyes. She knew that Gabrielle and their father had always butted heads, and that it was best for her sister to leave. Even so, it broke her heart.

Gabrielle nodded, hugging Lila tightly to her. "I will." She was then taken into a tight hug from her mother. "I love you, Mother."

"I love you, too, Dear," Hecuba said, squeezing before once again letting her little girl go, back out into a world that she would never understand.

Released, Gabrielle looked to her father, who still looked into the flames of the stove. "Goodbye, Father." Stubbornly, he remained silent. She turned and left the house, headed back out to Xena.

The night was cool as Gabrielle headed towards the barn. Distantly, she could see flames and a figure standing in front of them. Gabrielle watched for a moment as the two bodies went up in flames before she let out a heavy, tired sigh and sat on the bench near the barn. She felt numb and as if everything inside had been ripped out of her. She didn't even turn to look when she heard Xena's footfalls coming near nor when Xena sat down on the bench next to her.

"It's over," Gabrielle said, finally looking over at her companion, who looked as stricken as Gabrielle felt. After the words left her lips, Gabrielle saw Hope's face before her mind's eye once again. "Or is it?"

Gabrielle stood, needing to get a bit of space between her and Xena, as suddenly, she felt so much guilt and pain flow through her. If only she'd done what Xena had asked her to do, Solan would still be alive and Gabrielle's parents and sister and Joxer wouldn't have had to endure the trauma of the past few days.

She moved behind the bench, Xena remaining seated where she was. "Xena. Do you ever … do you get the feeling that sometimes nothing is ever really over, you know it just keeps coming back around but it's, it's wearing a different face. It's the same underneath." She met Xena's gaze as Xena glanced over at her, feeling so utterly vulnerable and unsure of herself in that moment. "Do you know what I mean?"

"Sure," Xena said easily, "I was trapped in a cycle of violence and hatred, and no matter how I tried to break free something always pulled me back." Xena looked into Gabrielle's eyes, unable to look away. "'Til you."

Gabrielle had to look away, the intensity of love she saw in those beautiful eyes in that moment, a love she didn't feel she deserved. "Xena…"

"No, it's true," Xena insisted. Though her voice was quiet, it was filled with so much passion behind her words. She looked away, suddenly feeling the very same vulnerability of her bard. "You talk about always trying to find your way but to me you are my way." Again, she looked down, the weight of what she thought she'd lost beginning to hit her and she wanted to cry.

Completely unaware of the emotional turmoil Xena was in, Gabrielle asked, "How can I be your way when I'm lost … myself?" She met Xena's gaze as her warrior looked up at her, the emotion so clear in her eyes.

"I'm searching for answers, too," Xena said gently. "But how we look for them doesn't matter; as long as we look for them together." She felt her heart expand and more weight on her shoulders. "You and me," she whispered. At that moment, she had to look away. One more second of looking into the endless depth of Gabrielle's eyes with the endless depth of pain in them and she would have broken down for sure.

Gabrielle saw it. She saw how much Xena was carrying inside her and knew they really needed to talk, but in that moment, all she wanted was to be physically close. She resumed her seat on the bench next to her and after briefly catching Xena's gaze, she reached an arm around the warrior's back and rested her head on her shoulder, hand gently massaging Xena's arm on the other side.

After a moment, Xena brought her own arm up, pulling Gabrielle as close to her side as she could, eyes squeezed shut as she reveled in the feel of having her bard back. She could smell all the familiar scents of her, feel the familiar softness of her skin and the familiarity of her soul finding the peace that only Gabrielle could give her.

"Do you want to stay here tonight?" Xena asked, neither of them moving. "Spend some time with your family?"

Gabrielle lifted her head and met Xena's gaze. "I am with my family."

Xena smiled, leaning forward and placing the softest, most loving kiss on Gabrielle's forehead. "Let's head out then, huh? Maybe get a room at the inn for the night? I'm sure that's where Joxer went."

Gabrielle nodded, slowly pushing to her feet. She'd never been so exhausted in her entire life. Together they walked to the inn in the middle of the village, exchanging shy glances every now and then, almost to make sure the other was still there.

Stepping into the inn, it wasn't hard to spot Joxer, who was regaling villagers with tales of his bravery in trying to fight the monster. Xena rolled her eyes as she walked over to him, Gabrielle heading over to the innkeeper to get them a room for the night. Xena placed a hand on his shoulder, the wannabe warrior's back to her.

"It's all good, Joxer," she said. "Monster's dead."

Joxer whipped around, swallowing hard. "Hi, Xena." Joxer's gaze fell on the bard who walked over to them, his hand immediately going to the grip of his sword. "She's back," he hissed.

"Hello, Joxer," Gabrielle said softly, stepping up beside Xena. "It's good to see you again."

It wasn't hard to see the confusion in Joxer's dark eyes as he studied the blonde. One look into her haunted eyes and he knew. "Gabby?" he whispered, remembering far too well the vision of the woman he loved falling back into that lave pit with her daughter in her arms.

Gabrielle could see the conflicting emotions cross the pale face of her friend so gave him a genuine smile and stepped up to him, taking him into a warm hug. She could feel the emotion coming off of him in waves so rubbed his back for a moment in comfort. Finally, she released him then headed towards the stairs of the inn, followed by Xena.

The climb up the steep staircase to the second floor felt like climbing a mountain for Xena. She hadn't had a good night's sleep or a moments peace since the moment she'd watched Gabrielle disappear from sight. She studied Gabrielle who climbed ahead of her, unable to take her eyes off of any and all parts of the bard's body, afraid that if she did, Gabrielle would simply disappear.

Gabrielle inserted the large brass key into the lock at the right door then pushed inside, leaving the door opened for Xena to enter behind her. She walked over to the small table near the door and used the flint she was given by the innkeeper to light the candle that sat in its holder on that table. The dim light revealed a small room with a single bed and a single window. A water pitcher stood on a small stand tucked into a corner.

Xena closed and locked the door behind her, setting the key she'd pulled from the lock down on the table near the candle. She looked over at Gabrielle who had collapsed to sit down on the side of the bed. The warrior quickly stripped out of her weapons and armor then walked over to the bard, taking her by the hands and pulled her to her feet.

Gabrielle immediately went into Xena's arms, resting her head against Xena's shoulder. She wrapped her arms around Xena's back, holding her tightly to her. She felt Xena's arms wrap around her and closed her eyes, feeling as though she were in a cocoon of safety and peace.

Xena rested her cheek on the top of Gabrielle's head, one hand cupping the back of the blonde head, the other wrapped tightly around the bard, holding her close. She closed her eyes, absorbing the feeling of Gabrielle against her, wanting to crawl inside the bard and never leave.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Xena glanced over at it but then looked at the bard when she heard her murmur, "I ordered us a bath when I got the room."

Xena pulled away and made her way to the door, grabbing her chakram as she unlocked and opened the door. Sure enough, two inn employees entered the room past her, carrying a round, wooden tub that just barely fit in the middle of the room. Two others came in carrying buckets of steaming water, the first two employees heading out for more water. Within twenty minutes, the tub was completely filled and Xena and Gabrielle were left alone.

Shyly, Xena glanced over at Gabrielle as the bard unlaced her top, allowing the material to slide off strong shoulders once the two ends of the material parted. She noticed a couple scars on Gabrielle's back that hadn't been there before, and it made her stomach roil. She couldn't imagine how utterly traumatizing that fall must have been for the bard, let alone painful.

"Are you okay?" Gabrielle asked, glancing over her shoulder to see that Xena had only released one strap on her leather battle dress.

Xena shook herself out of her daze and nodded, fingers continuing their task until she was able to remove the heavy leathers followed by the thin shift worn beneath. Both now naked, the two climbed into the tub, a moan escaping Xena's throat at the feel of the warm water, that was just shy of being too hot, but she didn't care; she knew it would feel amazing to her sore, exhausted body.

"This is bliss," Gabrielle sighed, eyes falling closed as she rested her head back against the side of the tub.

Xena sighed with a nod of agreement. "Good call, Gabrielle."

Gabrielle smiled. "Thank you."

"Turn your back to me," Xena instructed softly, reaching for the soap the inn provided. Once Gabrielle was seated in front of her, she lathered up her hands and began to gently and lovingly wash Gabrielle's back and shoulders, the bard's skin so soft against Xena's fingers and hands. "When did you get these?" she asked, fingers running over the scars.

"When I fell into the niche in the rock," Gabrielle said, head falling forward as Xena gently washed and massaged her neck. She let out a long groan of pleasure.

"That must have been painful," Xena sympathized, her massage moving to Gabrielle's shoulders.

"Your hands are pure magic," Gabrielle nearly purred. "And yes, it did. But it was more terrifying than painful."

Xena heard the slight hitch in Gabrielle's voice. She rinsed the lather from Gabrielle's back then set the soap aside. "Come here, Gabrielle," she said softly, turning Gabrielle around and, to the bard's surprise, pulled her on her lap so that Gabrielle was straddling Xena's hips.

The moment Gabrielle got settled and felt Xena against her, the calm that came over her unlocked months' worth of pent up fear and utter loss. Her face fell as the tears came in earnest. She hugged Xena to her as she sobbed against her.

Xena fought her own tears as she held the bard, rubbing soothing circles across her back and murmuring soft words of comfort. "I've got'cha," she murmured. "I've got'cha."

After a moment, Gabrielle's tears slowed then stopped altogether, though she didn't let go of Xena and wouldn't let Xena let go of her. In fact, she felt Xena's arms tighten around her and rest her head on Gabrielle's shoulder.

After a long moment, Xena sighed. "I'm so soul tired."

"Why don't we get some sleep, Xena?" Gabrielle suggested, pulling out of the hug enough to look at the warrior, one of her hands brushing dark hair away from Xena's eyes, plastered there from the steam of their hot bath.

Xena nodded. Gabrielle moved off Xena's lap and stepped out of the tub, grabbing one of the two large pieces of material that the inn had also provided, handing it to Xena and using the second for herself to dry her body. She felt even more tired after crying, her eyes burning from the upset.

Xena dried herself then glanced over at her shift then over at Gabrielle, who was heading to the bed, dry but still nude. She blew out the candles and decided to also forego her night clothing and joined Gabrielle in the bed. Gabrielle had already turned to her left side, as she always started sleep, so Xena moved up behind her, trying not to react to the feel of Gabrielle's naked skin against her own as she pulled the bard back into her. Gabrielle scooting back as far as she could, reaching around to take Xena's hand to pull the warrior's arm around her middle.

Silently, Xena inhaled the smell of Gabrielle's hair and skin, filing it away, as she was so afraid she'd lose her again. That thought made her hold her bard even closer, their bodies pressed together so closely they were almost one.

"Thank you for saving me, Xena," Gabrielle whispered, pulling Xena's arm even tighter around her.

Xena's eyes squeezed shut and she had to take several deep breaths to keep her own tears inside. "No, Gabrielle," she whispered back. "You saved me."


Xena gritted her teeth as she used all her strength to push the Hinde's blood dagger away from her face, as Hope used her mental abilities to try and force the blade toward her. She was beginning to get some leverage in the situation when suddenly she heard:


Xena barely was able to lower the dagger when she saw Gabrielle use her staff to propel herself over to her daughter. She grabbed the robe-clad woman in a hug, turning them around until Gabrielle faced Xena. Xena looked on, stunned and struck dumb. She met Gabrielle's eyes and in that moment, she could read the message so clearly: I'm sorry. I love you, please forgive me. Then, Gabrielle and Hope were gone, disappearing down into the lava pit.

Xena was just barely able to breathe when she heard Gabrielle scream:


Xena threw herself at the edge of the lava pit, watching in horror as Gabrielle and Hope fell down towards the deadly lava below…

Xena awoke with a gasp, her throat tight as the grief threatened to spill over and down her cheeks. Lying on her back, she glanced over to see that Gabrielle, now on her right side, was awake and looking at her, concern in her eyes. The fear and panic from the dream memory stayed with Xena, and as she looked into Gabrielle's eyes, the emotion burst from her, sending her into embarrassing sobs.

Gabrielle moved over to Xena, almost lying on top of her as she took her in her arms, allowing her warrior to cry on her shoulder. "Xena," she whispered, fighting her own emotion in response to Xena's obvious heartbreak. "Oh, Xena…"

Xena clung to Gabrielle, unable to handle her emotion or stop it. Other than her initial wailing while in the Amazon lands, she hadn't allowed herself to fully deal with losing Gabrielle, but instead had leaned on what got her through any and all difficult situations: focus. Now, she had to let that focus go because the mission was over, but this time, it wasn't as easy as shedding a battle. This time, she almost lost that which kept her breathing. Lao Ma may have saved her soul, but Gabrielle healed it.

Tears still streaming down her cheeks, though the sobbing had stopped, the warrior took Gabrielle's face in her hands and looked up at her from where Gabrielle leaned over her. She studied Gabrielle's concerned eyes, unable to look away. She used the fingertips of her right hand to brush along Gabrielle's cheek down to her jaw, green eyes closing at the tender touches.

"Gabrielle?" Xena whispered, not really sure why she'd just spoken, other than, as the bard's eyes opened and focused on her, was it a question for permission, which Xena easily saw was granted. She gently pulled Gabrielle's face down to her own, the warrior's eyes sliding closed just moments before she touched her lips to the softness of Gabrielle's.

Gabrielle returned the soft kiss, one of her hands moving to Xena's head, fingers gently burying themselves in thick, dark hair. The bard moved her body the rest of the way so she was lying atop Xena. The kiss continued, though was a gentle moving of lips against each other. Gabrielle felt Xena's hands rest on the warm skin of her naked back, Xena's touch gentle.

Gabrielle pulled away from the kiss and rested on her forearms, looking down into Xena's beautiful face. She could sense how utterly raw the warrior was in that moment, and could see Xena's heart reflected in her gaze, though knew Xena well enough to know she'd never be able to speak her heart when so vulnerable. Gabrielle gave her a loving smile.

"I know," she whispered. "Me, too."

Xena's eyes fell closed and she let out a small whimper filled with love and relief as she hugged Gabrielle to her, relishing the feel of Gabrielle's nakedness against her. She was quickly becoming aware of the softness of Gabrielle's perfect breasts pressing against her own, as well as becoming aware of the rising desire low in her belly.

Again, Xena cupped Gabrielle's face and brought their mouths together, both breathing hard as this kiss lost the soft tenderness of the previous one. It deepened immediately, Gabrielle's tongue caressing Xena's, bringing a soft whimper from the warrior's throat once again. The kiss broke and the two looked at each other, silent communication saying it all.

Xena gently pushed Gabrielle to her back and moved on top of her, effectively reversing their positions. Though the desire still ran strong through her body, as Xena looked down into her bard's flushed face, she felt the tenderness pulled from her that only Gabrielle inspired. She sent a loving smile to the blonde, her fingers brushing golden strands from Gabrielle's face. For a moment, Xena had to convince herself that this wasn't another of her fantasies or dreams that she'd had for years regarding her bard.

"Gabrielle," she whispered, almost as though grounding herself into reality, that this was real and that Gabrielle felt the same way; a question that had haunted Xena for more than three years.

"Yes, Xena," Gabrielle whispered back, not a question in response, but the answer to Xena's unspoken question. She returned the warrior's smile and reached up to bury her hand in Xena's hair, gently pulling her down to her. "Yes."

Heart soaring, Xena accepted the kiss that Gabrielle initiated, the kiss slow but passionate. She insinuated one of her thighs between Gabrielle's legs, the bard sighing into the kiss as she pushed herself up against her, her own thigh pressing against Xena's need. Xena ran her hand down Gabrielle's side, fingers gliding over the soft, supple skin, over her hip and finally to Gabrielle's outside leg. She cupped her fingers underneath the strong thigh and encouraged Gabrielle to bend her leg, which she did. Xena kept her hand on that thigh, bringing it up further against the warrior's own hip.

Gabrielle moaned softly as, raising her leg opened her up even more for Xena to press against her, her wetness growing. She ran her hands down the strength of Xena's back, the kiss growing even deeper as Xena began to move her hips against Gabrielle's. She could feel how wet Xena was as she slid easily against the bard's thigh.

Xena released Gabrielle's thigh and rested on her forearms to give her better leverage as she increased her thrusts slightly. She felt Gabrielle's hands move from her back to the rounded sides of her breasts, which pressed against Gabrielle's. Xena raised herself to her hands to give her bard access. She groaned into the kiss as Gabrielle's hands slid between their upper bodies and cupped her. The added stimulation sent jolts of pleasure between Xena's legs. She broke from the kiss and concentrated on what she was feeling, though used sheer willpower to keep her hips moving at the leisurely but steady pace they were, not wanting to force their release with power or speed.

Gabrielle took Xena's nipples between thumb and forefinger, gently rubbing. She looked up into Xena's face, which was the picture of sensuality and pleasure. She was struggling to keep up the touches as her pleasure was building. She released Xena's nipples and moved her hands up around Xena's back and down to her behind.

Xena's mouth opened as her release began, her hips keeping the steady rhythm but pressed harder against Gabrielle's thigh with each thrust. She felt the slow burn between her legs turning into a raging fire as she gasped, her body convulsing as she released. Gabrielle's soft cry brought about a second release, which left Xena breathless.

Gabrielle's breasts heaved as she tried to catch her breath after her intense experience. She wrapped her arms around Xena's back and pulled her down to lay atop her again, Xena burying her face in the bard's neck. Gabrielle stroked Xena's hair and back in loving comfort.

"I love you, Xena," she whispered, giving voice to what Xena just couldn't quite wrap her lips around moments before.

Xena lifted her head and met Gabrielle's gaze. She gave her a lopsided grin. "I love you, too." She left a lingering kiss on her bard's lips. "If you get near a lava pit again, I'll send my chakram after you."

Gabrielle broke into laughter, delighted to see evidence of her warrior coming back. "It's a deal."

The End


Only If …

(A short vignette on Gabrielle's thoughts in Maternal Instincts as she's about to drink the poison but then changes her mind.)

She can't cry. No matter how hard she tries, or how much she feels she should, she can't cry. Gabrielle looks down at the covered body of her daughter as the bard sits on her knees next to Hope, wine skin in her hand with just the barest bit of inky black poison inside. Just enough for one more. One drink is all it would take. One moment in time, and with a few pain-filled gasps, Gabrielle, too would be on her way to Charon's boat.

As she brings the wine skin to her mouth, a million thoughts flash through her mind: if only she'd listened. If only she hadn't lied. If only they'd never gone to Britannia. If only Xena hadn't abandoned her yet again to fight the good fight. If only -

Gabrielle stops those thoughts, especially the last one. No matter how badly she may want to give Xena some of the blame, she just can't. The blood on her hands from her first kill, killing Meridian unwittingly for her own destruction, that blood wasn't near as thick as the blood that covered her hands right now: Hope's blood. Kalypus' blood. Solan's blood. And within a moment, her own.

The mouth of the wine skin so close, she can easily pick up on the pungent smell of the poison, and the random thought passes through her mind that she wonders why Hope drank, undoubtedly able to smell it, too. Once again, thoughts pushed aside, Gabrielle closes her eyes and waits as she tilts the wine skin up for the deadly liquid to flow into her mouth, holding it there for several heartbeats but then stops, almost as though her hand suddenly gained a mind of its own, taking control of her suicide attempt. Her attempt to end the shame and escape Xena's hatred.

She lowers the wine skin and with little fanfare, turns her wrist so the liquid pours out in a thin, black stream to the grass beneath her. Death is too easy, Celesta not needed for a coward. That's what she is, she thinks: a coward and a fraud. For three years she'd been telling herself, the world and Xena that she was a loyal friend, a girl who had grown into a woman, all under the love and tutelage of the greatest warrior to ever live. The greatest friend to ever live. The greatest love to ever live.

As Gabrielle watches the last drop fall to the ground, she lets the wine skin drop right along with it, her head bowed in ultimate hopelessness and despair. She still can't cry, though at that moment, the last thing on her mind is tears. No, she's wondering how she'll go on. How will she ever be able to look herself in the mirror again and ask forgiveness of herself, let alone Xena.

Sensing someone, she slowly lifts first her eyes then her head, looking over to see Xena standing in the bushes, watching her. Gabrielle is too numb to be surprised so all she can do is meet that steely blue gaze. The woman that she loves with all that she is looks back at her with hurt, hatred and the murderous glare of a wolf seeking her prey. Gabrielle forces herself to keep that gaze, feeling she deserves to feel every single moment and shred of pain aimed at her, which is no more than she can send to her own soul

After a moment, it's too much to bear. Gabrielle looks away, head falling as she gives up the final remnants of her heart, her soul, her Xena.

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