When Souls Collide
by Mikki Hibbens
Though the story is mine, the characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the sole property
of Renaissance Pictures and Universal/MCA. They just came visiting for a short
time and have already returned to R.P. and U.S. No copyright infringement is intended.
This is my first attempt at writing fanfic. It came to me almost full blown one
night (after seeing the episode 'Destiny') as I was contemplating why a troubled,
dour, loner of an ex-warlord would allow such an innocent as Gabrielle into her
life without putting up more of a fight.
All comments are appreciated but please be kind. I'm still new at this. I
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The dark haired figure lay
quietly concealed in the branches of the tree gazing in amusement on the scene
below. A small child of about 6 or 7 stood under the tree telling story after
story in her childish treble to an audience of stick people she had arranged around
her. She was so animated in her storytelling, sometimes acting out whole scenes,
at other times just using different voices to illustrate the characters, that
the hidden audience of one had all it could do to keep from bursting out in laughter
and spoiling the enchantment.
It has to be an enchantment the figure thought to itself, otherwise
Id be attending to business and looking for that boar wounded in the hunt
earlier, instead of lying here listening to a bunch of childrens stories
told by a six year old. She has talent though, I have to give her that. Maybe
I should keep an eye on her and hire her as a bard when shes old enough.
She could travel with my army and record my victories in full bardic detail. Hmm,
I like that. By the time shes old enough to travel with me, I and my army
will be strong and feared enough to march on Rome, itself. When I defeat the Great
Caesar in his own city hell see then what a bumbling fool he was to
betray me. That will be a debt Ill rejoice in repaying.
So absorbed was the child in her storytelling, that she didnt notice the
growing sounds of something approaching through the surrounding brush until the
sound of an angry snort caused her to look to the edge of the little clearing
surrounding the tree. What she saw made her gasp in fright. A huge wild boar stood
not15 feet from her, the broken shafts of two arrows still sticking out of its
shoulder and back. The wounded, enraged animal was looking right at her and pawing
the ground, readying itself for the attack. Having been warned by her father many
times about the dangerous wild boar that roamed the forest near their small town,
the child knew, even at six, that she was looking at her own death, especially
as this one was wounded into the bargain. She was terrified yet something in her
would not let her succumb to the fear so she stood there as tall and proud as
her six years would allow facing the boar hoping against hope that the gods would
make the animal just disappear. It was not to be.
The boar, acting on some internal sensor suddenly tossed its head and charged
the child, intending to take out all its rage and pain on the helpless creature
in front of it. At the last moment, however, before its deadly tusks could
tear into the childs soft flesh, a pair of strong arms shot out of the branches
above the girl, grabbed her by the neck of her shift and swung her back up into
the branches, out of harms way. The boar was still puzzling over the disappearance
of its prey when the arms reappeared holding a sword which pierced the animals
skull and pinned it to the ground.
A moment later, the figure of a tall dark haired woman clad in leather and armor
dropped silently to the ground and began to inspect the carcass. She was breathtakingly
beautiful with deep blue eyes, long, dark auburn hair, and sun-bronzed skin. Her
figure was lean and well muscled, in perfect proportion to her six feet + of height
and the ease with which she now pulled the sword free from the dead boar bespoke
the power that frame contained and her absolute knowledge of the military arts.
After wiping her sword on the animals hide then sheathing it, she turned
back to the tree and held her arms up to the branch from which she had just dropped.
Come on, kid, the warrior said in a voice that surprised the child.
It was deeper than any females voice she had ever heard in her short life
with an underlying musical quality to it that made it sound almost gentle. For
some reason, the child was reminded of the small piece of cloth, called velvet,
that her mother used to wrap her cloak broach in. Its safe. You can
come down now. Ill catch ya.
Listening to that lovely voice and looking into those blue eyes, the child knew,
beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this tall stranger would never harm her.
With a confidence born of utter and complete trust, the child dropped fearlessly
into the waiting arms. As the warriors arms tightened around the small body,
holding it safe and secure, the child felt a sudden uprush of feeling that her
six-year old mind could not put a name to. All she knew was that she felt safer
and more at home than she ever had before. Throwing her arms around the womans
neck, she hugged the warrior tightly as if her life depended on it.
The tall woman, surprised at the childs sudden show of affection, had to
fight hard to overcome her bodys desire to recoil from the physical touch
and fling the small body from her. This is just a child whos scared
and needs comforting. She doesnt know any better, the warrior thought
to herself as she forced herself to put her arms around the child. She hasnt
learned yet that love is just a cruel fantasy that brings nothing but pain.
Although barely 20 herself, the young woman had learned, through bitter experience,
that love and friendship, sooner or later, led to nothing but loss and betrayal.
This lesson had been burned into her soul until she no longer allowed anything
to touch her, physically or emotionally. The only thing she felt anymore, was
the anger that drove her and the thrill of the battle that released that anger.
She had become as cold and dangerous as the weapons she wielded with such strength
and deadly skill.
Yet something, some small spark of humanity, still smoldered behind those thick,
impenetrable walls she had erected around her wounded heart. For as she folded
her arms around the small shivering body of the child, she felt a shudder deep
within herself as if her heart, which she had long thought dead, was beginning
to beat again. It was just a single beat, not enough to alarm the warrior. Still,
her soul, chained in its own dark, cold dungeon, rejoiced at this small
sign that all was not lost. It now knew that sooner or later, something would
happen that would fan that small spark of life into a raging inferno thus freeing
her heart and soul from the darkness that had held them prisoner for so long.
Sending a silent prayer of thanks to the gods, the warriors soul vowed to
keep that small ember safe from the evil dark that surrounded it.
The warrior, unaware that she still had a soul, let alone that it was even now
subtly influencing her actions, spoke softly to the child in her arms trying to
calm the girls fears while her strong hands, moving instinctively, gently
stroked the soft, reddish-gold hair.
Ssh, little one. Its alright. Everythings gonna to be alright.
As the tall woman felt the small arms loosen their hold on her neck, she moved
over to a tree stump and sat down, placing the little girl on her lap. Youre
safe now, the boars dead. Theres nothing to be afraid of.
The child leaned back slightly to look into the face of the woman who held her
so comfortingly. Im not scared, she said with a defiant glint
in her sea-green eyes as she placed her palm against the warriors cheek.
I like you, she continued, her young voice full of a childish
certainty that her opinion was the only one that mattered. You have pretty
The warrior, caught off guard by the girls pronouncement, struggled to keep
a straight face as she stammered out a quick reply. Ah, well, thank you.
I...uh... like you too. Whats your name?
Bree. It used to be Gabby but I didnt like it so I made Mama and Papa
change it. Now Im Bree. I like that better.
During this astonishing statement, the child had become engrossed with the warriors
long hair and was now contentedly weaving a lock of it into a thin braid. When
she finished, she pulled a string out of her pocket and wrapped it around the
end of the braid, tying the ends securely. Leaning back slightly on the womens
lap she placed her hands on her small hips and studied her handiwork carefully.
The warrior almost lost it completely when, after cocking her head from side to
side to check the different angles, the child nodded her head in satisfaction
of a job well done. There. Thats nicer, dont you think?
The poor woman could only smile sheepishly and nod her head, afraid she would
break out laughing if she tried to speak. The usually cold and aloof warrior was
surprised to find that, for the first time in more years than she cared to count,
she actually felt comfortable and at ease in the company of another human being.
Somehow, without her being aware of it, this precocious pixie of a child had wormed
her way into a corner of the womans heart and set up residence there. The
realization frightened the warrior and she decided it was time to put an end to
this pleasant little interlude. Its getting late. Dont you think
you should be getting home before your Mama and Papa start worrying about you?
Nah, its not that late. Besides, I wanted you to tell me a story.
Im sorry but I dont have time to tell you a story today. I
have chores waiting for me at home and a long walk ahead of me before I get there.
I have to start soon if I want to be home by dark. Knowing all children
understood the concept of chores, she hoped this would put an end to the girls
protests. Unfortunately, she hadnt counted on the childs tenacious
But I dont even know your name, Bree said plaintively, tears
starting to well up in her sea-green eyes. Youre my friend and friends
always tell each other their names. I told you mine. Emphasizing her words
with a little bounce, she caused a tear to dislodge from her lashes and trickle
down her cheek, melting the warriors heart even more.
The woman adopted her best stern warrior demeanor, which wasnt
easy with that adorable little face staring up at her. Alright, Ill
tell you my name but you have to promise me youll go straight home afterwards
and no fooling around on the way. You promise?
I promise. You gotta tell me your name now.
Its Xena, the warrior said softly as if she was divulging a
great secret. In a way she was since most people were learning to fear that name,
and the person who bore it, with every ounce of their being. Because of this,
Xena knew that if word got out that she had been seen in this small valley, there
would most likely be widespread panic in the villages and this innocent child
that called her friend would be caught in the middle of a hurricane. In order
to prevent this the warrior called upon a special skill that had been taught her
by the healer, Nickleo. Looking deeply into the childs eyes, she spoke in
a low, soft voice. As the childs eyes took on a glazed look Xena finished
speaking and set the girl back on her feet. Then, after climbing back into the
tree, she snapped her fingers and watched as Bree blinked a few times than scampered
off towards her home.
When the girl was gone Xena dropped from the tree, slung the boars carcass
across her shoulders, and began her long trek back to where her army was camped.
At the edge of the clearing she looked back to where her new friend had disappeared.
I wish I couldve let you remember me but its just too dangerous.
But well meet again someday, Bree. I promise, she said softly before
she, too, disappeared into the forest.
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