Teach Me Everything You Know

by Kristien Damon
a.k.a. Lawlsfan

Alternative Content: This vignette depicts deep and enduring love between two consenting adults who just happen to be women. In this story, they share a special ‘something’ that some may find offensive, although I will always fail to see the reasoning of that.  So although I truly hate having to disclaim this content I suppose I am bound by convention to do so.  

General Disclaimers: As always, Xena: Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures 1995-2000.   "Teach Me Everything You Know" was completed on 1/7/00 and no profit has been or will be gained from the writing of it.

Mild Spoilers: Elements of the first season episode "Sins of the Past" have been borrowed and incorporated into this story.

Feedback is always welcome at: lawlsfan@xenaeyes.com. Don’t be shy, tell me how you feel.

So here we are it seems, back where we started so long ago.  Have we come full circle?  I wonder.  For you are leaving and I am staying and have not we stood at a similar juncture before?

In a darkened room lit only by a single flickering candle we share a final tender moment you and I, while outside the din of preparation begins.  As a tear streaks silently down my face, I reach out and take your hand in mine and marvel at the softness that still resides there upon the flesh that has suffered the wrath of many a harsh winter and the toils of a life well lived.

"Please, you’ve got to take me with you..." I beseech you, grasping your hand tighter. "Teach me everything you know.  You can’t leave me here."

There is no response, as I expected there would not be, and the silence is deafening to my ears.  Reluctantly I return your hand to you and gaze long and hard into your face.  You seem so peaceful, so willing to move on.  By the gods you’ve always been a beauty.  And even though within the past few moons the ages and the weathering of your body have dampened the fire in your eyes, your eternally blazing spirit could not be quashed.  Even now your essence envelops me in wonder; it lends me strength and tenders my heart with steadfastness.  The quiet power of your love, your faith, your hope, and your compassion lingers, breathing life into my own feeble existence.  I allow a smile to find my lips upon recollecting that even the warrior in you could in an instant be softened by a baby’s cry or the passing of a beloved pet. 

"I want to be like you."

Another tear escapes my eye and spills down my cheek as I reach out and gather a strand of your hair between my fingers.  Oh how I used to marvel at the softness of it, and the strikingly beautiful color so unlike my own. We were a pair you and I; so different, like night to day.  And now I’m left to wonder at the touches of gray that, until this day, I hadn’t noticed hidden amidst the locks surrounding your face.  When had it come along?  I glance over and gaze at my own reflection in a mirror on a small table near the wall.  When had we become so similar?  Only time could tell, but he’d been too busy marching on.

There is a soft knock at the door and a faraway voice declaring it’s nearly time for you to go.  I reach out and grasp your hand once more and bring it to my lips, not yet wanting to relinquish you to the ages.  Then I feel a hand come to rest upon my shoulder and I turn around to meet a pair of sad eyes, your eyes, gazing at me in a mournfully inquisitive expression.

"Gram-mum go now?"

Another tear escapes my eye as I shake my head affirmatively and then wrap my arm around her tiny shoulders and draw her into me.  She snuggles her head into my shoulder and gazes at your face.  She sighs.

"I miss." Her voice waivers in time to the quivering of her bottom lip.  She takes your hand, tenderly kisses the back of it and then gently replaces it into mine. "Forever," she says softly, smiling up at me brightly through her tears.

"Yes," I respond quietly, and it is with heart wrenching reluctance that I finally return your hand to you and rise.

I feel tiny fingers encircle mine and gently give them a tug. Then a brave but childish voice innocently and unwittingly tears at the core of my very being.

"Kiss goodbye."

Through the tears beginning to flow like water from my eyes, I gaze down at your face again and study it intently. Every line, every curve, every beautiful contour is instantly etched into my memory to reside there throughout the passing of my time.  It will sustain me, it must.  Then tenderly placing one final kiss upon your lips I finally let go and turn away as they enter and begin their preparations for your departure. 

Two tiny arms encircle my leg and I feel her plant a feathery kiss on my thigh. I close my eyes and sigh, then bend down and scoop her into my arms. She wraps her arms tightly around my neck and peers behind me at the buzz of activity around you, then after several long moments solemnly lays her head down upon my shoulder. Nuzzling my face into the back of her neck I notice her hair smells of lilac and sunshine, just like her gram-mum. I close my eyes and start to hum your favourite song and soon she’s humming along. You would have been proud, so much like you and yet she can carry a tune. I grin briefly through my tears. It’s time.

We follow along as they carry you toward the funeral pyre that lies in the center of the courtyard.  Walking slowly toward it through the throngs of misty eyes that travel along with you, I am aware of only two things: the aching beat of my own heart and the sound of your voice echoing somewhere in the recesses of my brain.

"I won’t say goodbye to you Xena, because we’ll be together again...someday."

The mourning beat of the drums suddenly ceases. In the silence they all wait: waiting for me to release you and send you on your way. My hand feels as though it is made of stone as it hangs at my side, too heavy to lift. But lift it I must, for the time has come and our brief moment in this life has passed. I close my eyes and sigh, resigning, searching deep within to find the strength. In my mind I can see your face, smiling and reassuring. Suddenly, you are blessed with youth and vitality again and you are beseeching of me once more, "Teach me everything you know..."

Teach me about strength, about love, about hope, about living.

"Thank you Gabrielle," I say softly as I slowly raise my hand and give the signal to the archers.  They release their flaming arrows in unison and the pyre is set ablaze before me.  I watch it steadily for a few moments, feeling the heat upon my face.  Then I close my eyes and once again envision your face, a smile slowly claiming my lips and a calm peace enveloping my heart, for therein you will reside until the day it beats its last.

As the flames climb higher into the darkening sky I sense your soul reaching out to mine and for one brief moment in time we are one again, then in a heartbeat you are gone. 

"Until someday my love..."

 

The End


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