Summary: Four years after Gabrielle married Perdicus, a heartbroken Xena returns to Greece for her bestfriend's birthday with a little push from her new travelling companion.
Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle and all of the other characters from Xena, the Warrior Princess and Hercules, do not belong to me. Alexandria does though. She is my badass little warrior that I like to throw into a lot of my stories for a bit of fun. There's a bit of bad language in this story, and some thoughts of violence but no blood or gore. Also, sadly there is no sex in this story. It is spoken of once or twice but nothing graphic. The lyrics at the beginning of this story also do not belong to me. The song is called Drunk by Ed Sheeran and its all his. Thank youuu.
Authors Note: This is story that I've been writing over the past few days in between writing a few of my other stories. It's an alternative to the episode, Return of Callisto. What would happen if Callisto didn't kill Perdicus, so on and so forth. It's a bit sad to begin with, but there's also romance and a little bit of humour in there for you guys. If you want to email me about it, my email is jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
"I wanna be drunk when I wake up
On the right side of the wrong bed
And never an excuse I made up
Tell you the truth I hate what didn't kill me
It never made me stronger at all.
Love will scar your make-up lip sticks to me
So now I'll maybe lean back there
I'm sat here wishing I was sober
I know I'll never hold you like I used to.
But our house gets cold when you cut the heating
Without you to hold I'll be freezing
Can't rely on my heart to beat in
'Cause you take parts of it every evening
Take words out of my mouth just from breathing
Replace with phrases like when you're leaving me ."
She could feel her heart cracking in her chest with every line that was spoken. Her heart, already fragile was crumbling with every word as she forced the tears that stung her eyes back. She would not cry. She would stand here and be strong for her bestfriend because Gabrielle deserved the best. She deserved the world. She cursed the Gods for not choosing her to be the one to give it to the bard. She had never wanted something so desperately as she wanted Gabrielle. She had fought back her feelings, not wanting to scare her friend away but now she was hating herself for it. If only she had told her how she felt, things might have gone differently. Maybe if she had said something, she wouldn't be here in this run down temple watching the love of her life marry someone else.
It had all happened so fast. So quickly, this man had come into her life and ruined it. All it had taken was for him to stumble into their camp site and pronounce his undying love for her bard. If only it had been her. If only she had the courage to fall to her knees in front of the strawberry blonde beauty and tell her what was in her heart. At least she wouldn't have been drunk for it like Perdicus had been. She had smelt the ale on his breath when he spoke but Gabrielle hadn't noticed. She was too entranced by his words. His pathetic, selfish words.
He needed her. Well, so do I. I need her even more than the air I breath. My existance without her is nothing, only darkness. She is my light, the burning blaze that explodes through my body and gives me the power to do things that others could only dream of. I never tell her these things because I'm scared. But also, because I wouldn't want to burden her with that like he did. I admit that I'm selfish when it comes to her but I would never pressure her into anything that she didn't want. She may not see it, or maybe she does but that's exactly what he did to her. When he dropped his sword and walked away from the battle we were fighting, he pushed her. Maybe not intentionally, but anyone who knows Gabrielle at all, knows she only wants to help people. She saw he was broken and took it upon herself to fix him, even if it meant marrying him.
I felt like I would die right then when she told me she was going to marry him. I was tempted to drop my sword and let the men attacking the village slaughter me. The pain would have hurt less than breaking of my heart and the tearing of my soul as the part of me that was her was ripped from me. I have experienced pain before, hurt and betrayl, but never anything like this. I had never truly given my heart to another like I had given it to her. Her innocence had made it so easy as I thought stupidly that giving my heart to someone so pure and gentle would ensure it's safety. By the Gods, was I wrong.
That brings me to where I stand now, besides her as she pledges her life to him. To love him unconditionally, in sickness and in health, til death do they part. It should have been me, I thought bitterly. He laid down his sword for her, but I would use my sword to protect her. I would use it to take my own life if that is what she wanted. Again, I loathe myself for never telling her these things.
I watch as they kiss, confirming their love for one another, to be more thoroughly consumated when he took her home. It makes me sick to think of the things he will do to her only candlemarks from now. I imagine his poorly muscled, hairy and sweaty body moving ontop of her. Grinding against her as he satisfied her in way that I have dreamt of for so many nights. I wonder if he will be gentle, if he will take his time with the treasure he has been given. I find that I don't have to force the smile onto my face as I see how little passion there is in their kiss. My heart feels a little lighter as she turns to me with a smile so bright it puts the sun to shame.
She leads me to the side of the room as the Joxer and Perdicus give us some privacy and talk by the temple door. I'm suprised that Joxer is taking this all so well. I know that he has his own feelings for Gabrielle and I wonder at the fact that a man like him could be stronger than a warrior like me. Gabrielle and I talk quietly and she makes me promise to visit, a promise I know I won't keep. How could I possibily visit her when I love her so much. I couldn't bear to see her build a life with him and bear his children, all the while wishing it was me. I know it will hurt her and hurt me even more but I can't. I pray in my mind that maybe one day she will understand but I know it's unlikely that she ever will. How could she understand that seeing her will cause me pain when she doesn't know of my love for her.
I know it's wrong as I look down at her, but I cannot stop myself as I lean down and brush my lips against hers. She seems suprised as my lips caress her own but not unpleasantly so. My lips feel like they're on fire and my body catches alight as she kisses me more firmly before pulling away. Her green eyes look up at me, full of an emotion that I can't decipher and she smiles before turning to walk over to her husband, handing me her flowers before she leaves.
I watch her walk away, my legs feeling as though they will collapse underneath me at any moment. I want to run after her, to scream at her to wait and tell her how much I love her. How much I need her and want her. Instead, I watch as she takes her husband's arm and practically skips out of the temple, glancing back at me one more time before she leaves. The message in her eyes becomes clear to me as she smiles at me before the door closes behind her: I'm sorry. I love you.
The remaining strength in my legs disappears as I fall to the floor, my heart shattering in my chest.
"I'm not going."
"Yes, you are."
"No, I'm not."
"Xena, don't be ridiculous. We're going and that's final."
I stared at my travelling companion, my pale blue eyes flashing dangerously as I stand on the opposite side of the room from her. We are in our cabin on a boat back to Greece and I had only just realised my sneaky friend's plan a few moments ago. I had recieved a letter from Gabrielle half a moon ago and had thrown it away like the many others I'd gotten over the past several years. Unfortunetly, I had not succeded in hiding this from my friend and she had read the letter herself.
It's been four years since I last saw Gabrielle, standing in a valley not far from Potediea with her new husband. I saved them from an attack by Callisto after finding out about her plans to murder my bestfriend. I left her then, not looking back as she stood in her husband's embrace, watching me leave with Callisto's body draped over Argo's back. It had been so hard to walk away, to leave her with a man that wouldn't pick up a sword to defend his own wife. That son of a bacche didn't deserve her, but it wasn't my place to say anything. So instead, I turned and walked away.
I received letters from her as I travelled all throughout Greece, saving innocent people from thugs and warlords. I replied for the first few moons, until my journey took me further and I just couldn't find it in my heart to keep reading her letters describing how happy she was. Her life with Perdicus was perfect. They had a farm with a nice house though it seemed they were having trouble with making a baby. I couldn't help but smile bitterly at this. I knew that Gabrielle wanted children and part of the reason I didn't confess my feelings was because it was something I couldn't give her only to find Perdicus couldn't give them to her either.
After a lonely year without her by my side, I left Greece and my thoughts of her behind. I travelled from Rome to Gaul to Chin, Japa and Brittania. I rescued the innocent and had grand adventures, even adding a few new skills to my list of many. Everything I learnt had still left me feeling empty, without Gabrielle there to learn it with me. In the second year of my travels I found Alexandria, my new travelling companion. I found her in Brittania, having some adventures of her own as she tried to soothe her broken heart and soul. I had known her what felt like a lifetime before, another lover I had betrayed in my horrible past. Somehow, in her travelling she had found the strength to forgive me for the things I did to her and left Brittania with me, though our friendship stayed platonic. She had not forgiven me that much.
And now here we are, on a ship back home to Greece. Alexandria is a master of mischief among many other things and had somehow convinced me that going home was the right choice now. We needed a break, she said. We've been on the road for too long, she said. The true plan had been unconvered moments ago as she pulled the scroll Gabrielle had sent me from her bag. How did Gabrielle still managed to get letters to me when she didn't know where I was anyway? The postal service in Greece must be better than I thought. I hate them all.
"I don't think Gabrielle will care if I go to her birthday, Alexandria. It's been four years," I grumbled as I attached my breastplate to my chest. We'd finally seen land as we stood up on deck and had hurriedly returned to our quarters to pack our things and get ready to get off this god forsaken ship.
"Maybe not," Alexandria replied as she ran her fingers through her shoulder length dark red hair. "But I want to meet the girl that tamed the Destroyer of Nations."
"Then you go to Potedeia. Without me."
"I can't go without you! I wasn't invited and you were. Deal with it."
I snarled at her but she only rolled her eyes. She knew me too well to be truly scared of me. Actually, if anything, I should be scared of her. I have many skills but she has even more and could easily hold her own against me in a sword fight. I sighed in defeat as I threw my bag over my shoulder, glaring at her as she did the same. She held the door open for me, her midnight blue eyes twinkling mischieviously.
"After you, my Lady."
"Bite me, Alexandria."
She growled playfully at me as I strode past her, her musical laughter echoing throughout the ship as the door closed behind us.
We camped on a hill that overlooked the village of Potedeia, our bags thrown around the campsite after a small temper tantrum from yours truly. I sat on a log by the fire, sharpening my sword and wondering if I could win against Alexandria in a sword fight if I took her by surprise. It would be a cowardly move, but I'm a coward anyway she says, what would it matter? I glare at her as she lies down on her bedroll, resting her arms behind her head and gazing up at the stars. The Gods be damned woman had practically dragged me by my ear half way across the world to be here. I had been perfectly content in Rome after Caesar had been murdered several months ago. But no, she decided to take me away from my Roman tavern where I drowned myself in Roman port and bedded faceless Roman women. All for what? So I could return to Greece and have my heart further crushed by the woman I loved more than life herself. What a great friend Alexandria is. Heartless cow.
"Stop thinking of all the ways you could t ry and kill me right now and come over here and lay down with me."
If looks could kill, Alexandria would have died a million times by now. I slowly sheathed my sword before walking over to our shared bedroll to look down at her. Even though our friendship was completely platonic, we still chose to share our bed with each other. Neither of us liked sleeping alone and it was purely for comfort and warmth on cold lonely nights. Though, I doubt I could ever share a bed with another for a whole night. As I travelled the world and bedded half the population in my heart broken state, I never once stayed the night, always waiting until my bedmate fell asleep before sneaking out. Like a coward, Alexandria would say to me as I crawled back into our bed wherever it was over the past two and a half years before pulling me into her arms and holding me until I fell asleep. I knew that it was mainly for my own sake, us sharing a bedroll or her travelling with me at all for that matter. She was easily one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, more stunning than Cleopatra and Helen of Troy combined. She could travel with whomever she wanted and be with whomever she chose but she picked me. I can't begin to wonder why. Most days I'm a bitch and she has no problem with telling me so but she's never strayed from my side. Though I would never admit it to her, I'm so grateful to her for that.
"Why are you so cruel to me?" I asked her as I remove my armor before lying down beside her.
"It's my way of showing affection," Alexandria laughs softly, rolling onto her side and resting her head on my shoulder. She wraps her arm around my waist and gently squeezes me and I can feel her body press against mine in the most delicious way.
"Do you want t-"
"No, Xena," I can feel her grin against my shoulder as I gently caress her arm. "I'm not going to sleep with you, no matter how pathetic you are."
Three hundred and forty two, I count in my head the times she's shot me down in the past few years with a smile. She's smarter than me and she knows better than to fall back into the completely disfunctional relationship we shared a lifetime ago. She's almost as jealous as I am and she refuses to be the other woman. I've argued with her so many times about this over the past years, that there is no other woman in my life. We both know better.
"I don't want to do this," I whisper, closing my eyes as the ache in my chest intensifies. The thought of seeing Gabrielle tomorrow makes me feel sick. I've always wanted her to be happy, but I wanted her to be happy with me. The thought of seeing her again in her perfect new life with her husband and his pathetic sperm makes me want to die.
"I know," Alexandria says softly, leaning up on her elbow to look down at me. She presses her lips against my cheek before leaning her forehead against mine. "It's going to be really hard, I'm not gonna lie, Xe. But after tomorrow is over, if things don't go well, we can leave. We can go wherever you want and I'll find you as many women as you want to take to bed. And in the end, you'll feel better."
"You promise?" I ask, my voice shaking. I sound like a child even to my own ears and I curse myself once more for being such a coward.
"I promise, my friend."
We wake at dawn and pack up camp before making our way down the hill and towards Potedeia. It's mid morning by the time we enter the village, due to another tantrum I threw outside the gates. It's a lot busier than I remember as we push our way through the villagers starting their day. It's not long before we find the inn and I stable Argo as Alexandria gets us a room.
"Xena," Alexandria draws out my name as she unpacks our things. I can tell by the tone of her voice that I'm not going to like what she's going to say. "I have a plan and I don't want you to react badly, okay?"
"What kind of plan?" I ask her warily. This woman is too mischievious for her own good.
"While we're here in Potedeia, I want you to follow my lead, okay?"
"Follow your lead in what?"
"Well," She says, walking towards the bed and sitting down besides me, resting her hand on my leg. "Let's just say, I might be very affectionate towards you while we're here and I want you to go with it."
Very affectionate? Excuse me? I think to myself in confusion as I raise an eyebrow at her. What in God's name was this woman up to now. "What are you talking about, Alex?"
"Just go with it, Xena. If anyone asks, we're lovers, okay? And when I touch you in public, try not to flinch," She grins, patting my leg before standing up and straightening her clothes.
"Lovers? You and me?" I laugh. "This coming from the woman that has been rejecting me for almost three years now."
"Yeah well, it's all a part of my plan. It will all go perfectly as long as you play your part. All you have to do is act like I'm the love of your life and let me touch you in some oh so private places while we're at Gabrielle's party. After that, things will just fall into place."
I know better than to ask her what this plan was all about. I had my suspicions but I kept them to myself, knowing that she wouldn't answer me if I asked anyway. I decided I would just do what she wanted. If I refused, I knew she would make me regret it in the worst possible ways.
"Fine," I said feigning boredom at her master plan. "Just don't enjoy getting up close and personal with me too much, cause when we leave here you promised me a bed full of women."
"It's not me I'm worried about," She winked before ducking the pillow I threw at her head.
I was nervous. My whole body was trembling and my palms were sweaty, making me feel like a teenage boy about to go on his first date. We stood down the street from Gabrielle's home and I could hear the party that was going on inside. I'd heard several voices that I recognised already, one belonging to Perdicus but I hadn't heard Gabrielle yet. But I knew she was there, I could feel her as strongly as I could feel my own heart beating in my chest. How had I let Alexandria talk me into this? This had to easily be the stupidest thing I've ever done.
"Xena, you're acting like a child," Alexandria laughed from where she sat on a boulder on the side of the road, watching me in amusement as I paced.
"I am not," I pouted.
"You're not what?" A familar male voice sounded from behind me.
I spun around and was immediately engulfed by two giant muscular arms that squeezed the air from my lungs. "Hercules!"
I returned the hug before pulling away to look up at my old friend with a genuine smile. I hadn't seen Hercules in so many years and he was one of the friends I had truly missed since I had left Greece. I glanced to the man standing beside him and was crushed in another hug by Iolous before stepping back to look at them both. "It's been so long."
"Too long, Xena," Hercules replied, throwing his arm over my shoulder. "Where have you been all the years? We were worried about you."
"I'm sorry," I said softly, a tinge of regret in my voice from causing my friend's to worry about me. "I've been all over. I just had to get away for a while, after..."
I let my voice trail off and looked down at the ground as tears threatened to spill from my eyes. Even after all these years, it still hurt so much to think of that day so long ago when the other half of my soul was torn from me.
"I'm sorry too, Xena," Hercules said sympathetically as he pulled me into another hug. "When I heard Gabrielle had been married, I thought that might have been the reason you disappeared. We all knew how you felt about her."
I nodded into his chest, content to just let him hold me for a minute, until someone clearing their throat from behind me caused me to pull away once more. I quickly introduced Alexandria to my old friends and then we fell back into silence, standing in the middle of the path.
"Are we out here for a reason?" Iolous asked as he glanced between us, an eyebrow raised.
"Oh, Xena's just being a chicken," Alexandria chuckled as I glared menacingly at her. "She can face an army on her own but she can't enter her bestfriend's house."
"I'm not a chicken," I growled.
"Then come inside with us, because I'm about to leave you here to rot."
"Come on, Xena," Hercules said softly, resting his large hand on my shoulder. "I know it's hard, but it'll be over soon. If it's too much when we get in there, then we'll all leave with you."
I took a deep breath, glancing around at my friends and receiving encouraging smiles from everyone, including Alexandria. I was even more surprised when she held out her hand for mine, entwining our fingers together and giving it a comforting squeeze.
"Let's get this over with then," I mumbled miserably.
"Oh, thank the Gods," Alexandria whispered.
The short walk to Gabrielle's home went far too quickly for my liking. We stood outside her house as Hercules raised a giant fist and knocked on the front door. I felt like I was going to pass out and realised that I was holding my breath without meaning to. Alexandria's hand was being crushed in my grasp and I could see her wincing out of the corner of my eye. I looked at her and she returned my gaze, giving me a small smile and squeezing my hand even tighter. It made me feel better if only a little bit.
The door swung open and I pulled my eyes from Alexandria to look into the surprised face of another old friend of mine. Several old friends of mine to be exact.
"Xena!" The Amazons cried in unison.
Ephiny stood with her hand on the door, Solari and Eponin on either side of her. I felt even better knowing that I would be surrounded by friends at this party and let myself be pulled into a hug by the Amazon regent.
"Hello Eph," I chuckled as I returned the blonde woman's hug. I hugged Solari and gave Eponin a warrior's handshake as my friends and I were pulled inside. It was loud and there were so many people around the room that I knew. I had to finally agree with Alexandria. Even though I didn't particularly want to see Gabrielle, I had missed all the friends I'd made over the years. As I introduced Hercules, Iolous and Alexandria to the Amazons, others came from around the room to greet me. Autolycus found me and gave me a hug and said something about how I looked impossibly better since the last time we saw each other. I had met him shortly after Gabrielle had been married, in a mission I was on in Athens. I wondered to myself how he knew Gabrielle but I didn't bother asking.
Then it was Joxer who came over with Perdicus and I had to force myself not to knock Gabrielle's husband out. He spoke to me so smugly, like he knew that he had everything that I wanted from life. I was more than surprised when Alexandria snuggled into my side while I was talking to the man I hated most in the world. They were introduced and I couldn't help but smile as Perdicus's smug grin fell from his face. I was even more surprised shortly after when I saw my mother. She slapped my arm and told me off for being gone for so long before bursting into tears and hugging me tightly. It was then, looking over my mother's shoulder when I caught her eyes.
I hadn't seen her since I entered, always being surrounded by so many people. I felt my heart stop in my chest as I looked at her. By the Gods, she had gotten even more beautiful than the last time I saw her. Her hair had been cut off, falling now to just above her shoulders and I had to admit it made her look sexy. It had been bleached by the sun and was now almost white blonde instead of strawberry blonde. Her face had thined out and her body had lost it's baby fat to be replaced by hard muscles that I could see rippling underneath her dark green dress.
Her emerald green eyes stared into mine and I could read the shock there. She hadn't expected me to come just like I hadn't planned to. I watched as the cup she held in her hands slipped between her fingers in slow motion and before it even hit the ground she was making her way towards me. My mother pulled out of our hug a split second before I was engulfed by her. Her face immediately found the spot she had claimed so long ago in my chest as her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. I found myself burying my face in her hair and inhaling her sweet scent as my arms wrapped around her waist in return.
"Xena," She whispered against my chest, her lips brushing against my skin as she spoke. My body shuddered at the delicious feeling but she either didn't notice or she ignored it, continuing just to embrace me tightly.
"Gabrielle," I replied softly into her hair as I nuzzled it with my nose. I could feel several pairs of eyes on us but right now I didn't care. All I cared about was the woman in my arms.
It felt like a lifetime that we stood there in the middle of her home that she shared with her husband just holding each other. Neither of us seemed too inclined to be the first to let the other go, so we didn't. It was me that finally pulled away first after I regained my senses and realised where we were. I looked down into her shining emerald and smiled weakly. It seemed she regained her senses at that exact moment and her eyes hardened as she pulled away a bit more and slapped me hard in the center of my chest.
"Where in Artemis's name have you been?!" She growled at me, her voice a little rougher than I remembered it being, though it only added to her sexiness.
"Uh," I stuttered as I tried to come up with a reasonable lie as to why I hadn't visited. I heard Alexandria's muffled laughtered from behind me and looked over my shoulder to glare at her. She only laughed harder.
"I've been travelling?" I finally offered weakly.
"Travelling where? With who? Doing what?" Gabrielle fired questions at me. I noticed that she still hadn't let me go and I slowly pulled out of her arms and stepped back. I was grateful when Alexandria slid under my arm, wrapping her own around my waist before answering the questions for me.
"She's been a little bit of everywhere, travelling with me and adding things to the list of her many skills," Alexandria smiled brightly at Gabrielle who just looked back at her with wide eyes. "You know how Xena is, never wants to stay in one place for too long. We've had some great adventures though, haven't we, Xe?"
I realised quickly that from the look on Gabrielle's face and the mischievious grin on Alexandria's that this was a part of my best friend's plan. I could only nod as Gabrielle turned to face me with an emotion in her eyes that I couldn't read.
"And I'm sorry, we haven't been introduced," Alexandria continued, holding out her free hand to Gabrielle. "I'm Xena's partner, Alexandria."
"Gabrielle," The bard replied after finally regaining her senses once more and taking Alexandria's hand.
"The birthday girl! Happy birthday, Gabrielle. It's so nice to finally meet you. Xena's told me all about you," Alexandria gushed as she pulled away her hand only to rest it on my chest.
I fought the urge to laugh out loud at the expression on Gabrielle's face as she stared at the hand caressing my skin before raising her eyes to my own. I raised an eyebrow at her and she finally smiled.
"Thank you. It's nice to meet you too," Gabrielle said warmly as she turned back to Alexandria. "I have to go and circulate the room for a little bit but I hope that maybe a little bit later we can all sit down and you can tell me about some of your adventures."
"Of course," Alexandria replied with a charming smile. "You go and do your birthday girl requirements and we'll be here waiting for you when you come back."
Gabrielle nodded and smiled, before turning to me and resting her hand on my arm just above my bracer and squeezing gently. She looked into my eyes for a few moments before turning away and returning to her party.
"Oh my Gods," I gasped as Alexandria buried her face into my shoulder to hide her laughter.
"Oh my Gods is right!" Alexandria replied, pulling back to look up at me. The laughter quickly faded from her eyes to be replaced by concern as she looked at me. "Xe, are you okay?"
"I need to get out of here," I managed to choke out as I started to hyperventilate. I pleaded with Alexandria with my eyes and she quickly nodded before taking my hand and leading us outside. She sat me down on the porch, pushing my head down between my legs and rubbed my back as she sat down beside me.
"You're alright, Xena," She said softly, soothing me as she ran her hand up and down my back. "It's all okay, you did great. I've got you now."
She pulled me into her arms and pressed my head against her chest, gently rocking us back and forth until I calmed down. The front door opened and I tried to pull away but she didn't let me so I just relaxed into her embrace as watched as several of my friends came outside to join us.
"You okay, Xena?" Hercules asked, clapping me on the shoulder as he stood in front of us, Iolous on one side of him and the Amazon's on the other.
"She's fine," Alexandria replied for me. Once again, I'm so grateful for this woman. I don't think I could speak if I tried. "She just needed a little bit of air is all."
"Are you sure she's getting any where she is?" Eponin chuckled, referring to my face which was pressed between Alexandria's breasts.
The group burst into laughter and I found myself joining in, though I didn't remove myself from Alexandria's arms.
"We saw you talking to Gabrielle and we wondered if we should come and bail you out," Ephiny said as she scratched her chin, looking down at me.
"Why would I need bailing out from talking to Gabrielle?" I asked as I finally pulled away from Alexandria, though I continued to hold her hand.
"Oh, come on Xena!" Solari chuckled. "We all knew you were in love with her, it was obvious. We were all shocked when we got the letter from Gabrielle saying she'd married a man. We'd been planning your wedding to the Queen ever since you two entered the village. I mean, Gabrielle was always a little naive and innocent but we thought..."
"We thought she felt the same way about you," Ephiny finished, gazing at me sadly.
"For a little while, so did I," I whispered, looking down at the ground between my feet. "I guess it was just a case of bad hero worship."
We fell into silence, all of us lost in our own thoughts. I wondered to myself why I was being so open with my friends as it wasn't my usual style. I always went for the stoic warrior facade while Gabrielle was the sensitive one. It didn't even matter to me anymore, I realised. I couldn't care less about my badass reputation, at least not with my friends.
"If you want to go, Xena, we can go," Alexandria whispered softly. "We can go to the tavern and get really drunk before going back to the Inn."
"Yeah, Xena," Eponin said as I looked up at her. "We'll make up some story and then maybe we'll come and join you for a few ales."
"Would you mind?" I turned back to Alexandria with what I'm sure was a pitiful expression on my face. "I know you wanted to come here."
"I've done everything I wanted," Alexandria replied with a little grin. "I'm here just for you now."
I returned her smile before nodding to the Amazons and standing up. They all decided to join us at the tavern in a few candlemarks once the party started winding down and they could make their escape. I smiled at them all gratefully before walking down the road with Alexandria.
Several candlemarks later, we all sat at a large table in the corner of the tavern, well on our way to becoming rip roaring drunk. Several others from the party had joined us over the night, our table of two turning into a table of nine. I grinned at Alexandria who sat next to me, completely smashed as she downed her twelfth mug of port. I hadn't felt this truly happy in what feels like forever. Surrounded by my closest friends minus one, I felt completely at ease. Though, I had been matching Alexandria drink for drink, so it may have been the alcohol.
"I really don't know what she see's in him!" Autolycus slurred from his seat across from me, fiddling with his mustache.
"Who are you talking about?" Solari mumbled from where her head rested on the ale covered table.
"Gabrielle, of course!" Auto replied, pounding his fist on the table. "I just don't understand why she's with that pathetic excuse for a man."
"Here here!" Alexandria and I said in unison, raising our cups. We both laughed as I wrapped my arm around her shoulder, pulling her against me. Our plan of acting like lovers was still on apparently, according to Alexandria. She wanted all of our friends to believe it just in case Gabrielle asked them any questions about us.
"I thought for sure you two would end up together," Joxer said from the other side of me, turning to look at me with his big brown eyes. "At Gabrielle's wedding, when they said speak now or forever hold your peace, I was waiting for you to stop it all but it never happened."
"To be honest, I was kinda waiting for you to do it too," I replied, raising my eyebrow at Joxer.
"I wanted to," Joxer nodded, his eyes glazed from the amount of alcohol he'd drunk. "I was in love with her then but I knew she didn't love me. I'm glad I found Meg after that. And you found Alexandria, so I guess it's not so bad."
"I guess so," I grinned as Alexandria laughed before pressing her lips to my cheek. I turned my head and caught her lips with my own, enjoying the look of slight surprise on her face in my drunken state. "It's not so bad at all."
Alexandria just chuckled, patting my thigh under the table as she rested her head back on my shoulder, sighing in contentment. I found myself wondering, not for the first time if I should just marry this woman instead of continuing my life pining after someone who would never love me.
"Don't even think about it," Alexandria whispered as I nuzzled her hair with my nose.
"Can't help it. You're so pretty," I grinned into her hair causing her to laugh loudly.
"Okay, it's time for us to go," Alexandria said, standing up and pulling me with her. We said goodnight to our friends, telling them that we'd see them in the morning before we made our way back to the Inn.
"Come on, Warrior Princess," Alexandria laughed as she dragged me up the stairs and into our bedroom down the hall. She made quick work of removing my armor and leathers before pushing me back onto the bed to remove my boots. I laid there quietly, a drunk little grin on my face as she slipped my boots from my feet and gently massaged my calf muscles.
"I was really proud of you today," Alexandria said as she stood up to remove her own clothes, looking down at me with a smile. "Even when we practically ran out of Gabrielle's house because you had a panic attack. I was very proud."
I chuckled as she crawled onto the bed besides me, resting in her normal place on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms tightly around her as I closed my eyes, feeling Morpheus come to claim me. "I'm just glad it's over."
"Mmm," Alexandria mumbled against my skin as she started to drift to sleep. "Next stop, a couple of mugs of port and a bed full of women for both of us, somewhere far away from here."
"Can't wait," I smiled before we both feel into a deep and dreamless sleep.
I woke up the next morning as the sun started to filter through our window. I felt surprisingly good with Alexandria sprawled ontop of me, snoring quietly as she always does. It must have been the ten or so glasses of water she made me drink before we made our stumbling journey up the stairs to our room, which is also what probably woke me as we only went to bed just before dawn. I carefully pushed Alexandria off of me, replacing my body with a pillow that she quickly wrapped herself around before emptying my bladder in the chamberpot. I looked out the window as I changed into my leathers, grateful for the fact we'd be leaving this village today. It was a beautiful day which went perfectly with my good mood.
I left our room and made my way down the stairs to order some breakfast for my companion and I, a silly little grin on my face. It disappeared quickly after I had scanned the room and found her sitting at a table. She looked up at me as I froze on the last step, wondering if I should just turn around and go back to my room to get Alexandria. Knowing Alexandria though, she would just send me back down to deal with my problems myself and continue sleeping.
I plastered a fake smile on my face, my good mood slowly fading as I walked towards her table. I cursed the Gods with every single step I took. What was she doing here? How did she even know that I was here? Unless she was waiting for someone else, which only made my curse myself for leaving my nice warm bed.
"Hey," She smiled brightly as I finally reached her. "I've been waiting for you."
"Hi, I'm sorry I left so quickly after we spoke last night," I managed to mumble, suddenly wishing I had asked Eponin last night what the excuse was for my leaving so early.
"Oh, It's okay. Eponin told me you weren't feeling well. Are you better now?" She asked with that adorable concerned look she always used to give me. Well, at least Eponin hadn't completely lied to her. I had felt like I was going to die, afterall.
"I feel better now, thanks," I smiled weakly as I sat down across from her, fiddling with my arm bracer. Gods, why is she here? All I wanted was some breakfast.
"So," she said slowly, staring at me with those eyes that could always see right through me. "Why did you stop replying to my letters? And where have you been? You said you'd visit."
She really was always very blunt and right down to the point. I stared at my hands and as I thought of a way to answer her questions. I could be honest with her, I suppose. I could just tell her that I was in love with her and couldn't stand to see her. She'd run back to her husband, screaming and flailing her arms and I could get my Gods be damned breakfast. I knew it wasn't an option though, so I avoided the two questions I couldn't answer truthfully and told her where I'd been instead.
"I've been a bit of everywhere, I guess. I left Greece about a year after you got married and caught a boat to Brittania and spent some time there with Bodicea. She was battling Caesar and I helped her out a bit. Then I met up with Alexandria and we just travelled all over the world. We were in Rome when I got your last letter and now here we are."
"Was it you that killed Caesar?" She asked me quietly.
"No," I chuckled, leaning back in my chair and crossing my arms over my chest. "He did it all by himself when he decided he wanted to be Emperor. Alexandria and I just gave Brutus a little push in the right direction."
"You and Alexandria have had alot of good adventures, haven't you?" She had this look in her eyes and if I didn't know better, I would think she was jealous.
"It's been hard sometimes between us, but yes, overall it's been pretty good."
"Ephiny told me that you two were lovers."
I almost spat out the tea that had been delivered to our table moments before. She really did get straight to the point. I hated lying to Gabrielle but for some reason, I found myself nodding. "Yes, that would be the case."
I looked up from the table into her emerald green eyes that had darkened considerably and I realised quickly that it hadn't been the answer she had wanted. I watched as her hands clenched on the tables which only served to confuse me more. Why was she getting angry? Shouldn't she be happy that I've found somebody else that actually wants to be with me?
"Why?" She asked me suddenly, causing my mouth to open in disbelief. Why? Was this girl serious? "Oh, don't look at me like that. I mean, I can see why. She's impossibly beautiful, sure, with that dark red hair and the even darker blue eyes. Not to mention she has a body that most women would kill for. But why, Xena? Does she make you happy? Do you love her?"
I found myself quickly losing my temper. I had forgotten how frustrating this bard could be. Why hadn't I thought about that over the past four years? Maybe if I had, I would have been able to get over her.
"I don't really see how any of that is your business," I said cooly as I gazed back at her, my warrior mask firmly in place.
"It's my business because I-," She stuttered and shook her head before continuing. "Because you're my best friend and I want to know."
"Well, to answer your questions then, yes, she makes me happy and yes, I do love her." I wasn't even lying now. Alexandria is the one person over the past few years that has actually made me happy and I did love her. Gabrielle didn't ask me specifically if I was 'in' love with her.
"Didn't I ever make you happy?" She asked me softly as tears welled up in her eyes. Gods, this woman is so confusing. Why is she asking me all these questions?
"Of course you did, Gabrielle."
"Then why are you with her?" She asked, her anger back full force now as she slammed her clenched fists on the table causing me to jump in shock. Where had my innocent little bard gone?
"Oh, let me just make a list, shall I?" I said sarcastically, holding up my hand to tick off all the reasons as to why. "Number one, because she has never left me. Number two, because she has never left me. And number three, because she has never left me!"
"I never left you either, Xena," Gabrielle growled as she stood up from her seat, her hands gripping the edge of the table so hard that her knuckles went white. "You left me."
"Excuse me?" I said, my voice dangerously soft as I stood up slowly. "I'm not the one that got married and walked away into the sunset. That was you."
"Yes, Xena," She said in exasperation. I hate it when she talks to me like this; like I'm a child. "I got married. I married Perdicus and rode away on his big white horse and left you. You didn't really give me any other option."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" I have never cursed at Gabrielle before but if there was ever a time to do it, it was now.
"Nevermind," She waved me off, her eyes welling up with more tears. No matter how angry I am at her, seeing her cry has always killed me. "I bet you were going to leave this morning, weren't you? Were you even going to come and say goodbye to me?"
I couldn't answer her. I just stared at her with a blank expression as the tears started to slip down her cheeks. Gods, how I ached to kiss them from her face.
"Don't you care about me at all anymore?" She whispered as I continued to remain silent.
I was torn from her intense gaze as I heard footsteps on the stairs. I heard groaning and soft laughter as I turned around to find Alexandria and the Amazons. They all went silent as they saw the scene in front of them.
"Oh bugger," I heard Ephiny mumble as they took in my expression and Gabrielle's tears.
"Screw it, I'm going back to bed," Alexandria said as she turned around and started making her way back up the stairs. Coward! I screamed in my mind and wondered if she could hear me as I heard her soft laughter float down as our bedroom door opened and closed.
"Go to your girlfriend, Xena. I'm sure she's waiting for you to join her," Gabrielle said bitterly from behind me. I turned around and glared menacingly at her, before shaking my head and making my way to the stairs. It wasn't worth it, I thought to myself as I pushed past the Amazons, who patted me sympathetically on the back as I passed. She had no right to say the things she said to me and I wouldn't take it from her anymore. She's acting like I had broken her heart instead of the other way around. Gods, why did I come here?
I slammed the door behind me as I entered my shared room, pacing the floor rapidly as my mood dropped with each second that passed. How dare she. How dare she! She couldn't begin to comprehend the pain I've felt over the past four years. She doesn't know how much it hurt me to watch her marry Perdicus when I loved her so desperately. I did the best thing I could do for both of us by not visiting. I would have made things hard for her. I know that if I had stayed, I would have eventually snapped and told her how I felt. And knowing Gabrielle, if she didn't run for the hills, she would feel guilty. I didn't want to do that to her. I wanted her to be happy. But can she be happy for me? No.
"I take it that your conversation with Gabrielle didn't go so well?" Alexandria asked me from her position on the bed. I stopped pacing for a moment to glare at her, my eyes flashing angrily and she nodded. "I thought not. What happened?"
"For starters, I remembered how easily she could drive me insane," I growled as I ran my fingers through my hair. I felt so angry I could cry. Alexandria laughed softly and I narrowed my eyes at her, hoping that for once I could scare her into silence. It didn't work. It never does.
"Calm down and come over here," she said softly, patting the bed besides her. My shoulders slumped and I crossed the room, crawling onto the bed and into her arms. "Now tell me in detail everything that happened."
I told her everything that happened from when I went down stairs to Gabrielle's remark that caused me to leave. For once Alexandria stayed silent, just letting me talk as she stroked my arm and pressed soft kisses to my hair.
"I don't understand her," I whispered after I finished my story, my head resting on Alexandria's chest.
"Well, if I didn't know better," Alexandria started, only to be cut off as our door flew open and Solari and Eponin entered, closing the door quickly behind them.
"By the Gods!" Eponin gasped as she leaned against the door, her eyes wide. "I didn't think we'd make it out of there alive."
"Me neither," Solari replied.
"What's going on?" I asked, not moving from my position in Alexandria's arms. I felt way too comfortable right now and to be honest, this was the only thing stopping me from going downstairs and burning this Inn to the ground.
"Gabrielle has lost her mind," Eponin said, shaking her head slowly as she pushed away from the door and walked over to the bed. "I swear on Hera's tits, I have never heard her use words like that in my life. As soon as you left Xena, she went into a rage that would put even you to shame."
"Sweet, innocent little Gabrielle," Solari mumbled sadly. "What has this village done to you."
"What was she saying?" Alexandria asked curiously, raising a perfectly sculpted eyebrow.
"I couldn't really understand most of it," said Solari, her brow furrowed in thought. "But man, is she pissed at you Xena. What did you do to her before we got there?"
"I didn't do anything!" I snarled as I went to sit up, only to have Alexandria pull me back down and stroke my hair soothingly.
"Well, you must have done something," Eponin said as she scratched her chin, looking down at me. "She was talking about selfish Warrior Bitches with their red headed hero stealers. You know, come to think of it, she's sounded a bit..."
"Psychotic? Deranged? Acting like she had a bit too much hebane?" I muttered under my breath, earning a soft slap on my arm from Alexandria.
"Jealous?" Alexandria offered with a smirk.
"Yeah! Jealous." Eponin nodded before turning back to look at me. "Actually, Xena, you might want to get up and grab your sword. Ephiny was trying to talk her out of it but Gabrielle was pretty determined to come up here and kick your ass."
"Xena," Alexandria said softly. "I was trying to tell you before, but I think Gabrielle migh-"
The door flew open once again, hitting the wall with a bag causing us all to jump in surprise. We all looked towards the door with varied expressions. The Amazon's gazed at their Queen in horror and fear while I just glared at her angrily. Alexandria just continued to hold me in her arms, an amused smirk on her face and a mischievious twinkle in her eye.
"Seriously? Seriously?!" Gabrielle growled as she took in the scene before her. "You two are cuddling?! You know, Alexandria, Xena only ever hugged me when one of us was in a near death situation. I had to practically beg her to share a bedroll with me on a cold night!"
I opened my mouth to saying something nasty but was stopped as Alexandria dug a finger into my ribs painfully. I looked up at her in confusion as she just smiled before whispering to me, her lips hardly moving. "Don't."
"Gabrielle, maybe we should go back downstairs and talk," Ephiny offered weakly, her eyes pleading with her Queen.
"Shut up, Eph," Gabrielle snapped, her eyes blazing. "Let me say what I need to say or I swear by the Gods, I will get Eponin to put you in cuffs before taking you back to the village myself to put you on trial for treason!"
Ephiny's mouth dropped open with shock as she stared at the bard in disbelief. She quickly snapped it shut before taking a step back and crossing her arms over her chest.
"Now," Gabrielle said slowly, her voice dangerously soft as she turned back to look at me. "You. I have never met someone so frustrating and so completely blind in my whole entire life. Are you really so stupid as to not realise why I'm so upset?"
I opened my mouth once more and again, that annoying finger dug into my ribs.
"Oh my Gods!" She said in exasperation. There's that tone again! I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to control myself before I get up and wring her pretty little neck. "Seriously, Xena, did you not realise what was in front of you the whole time we travelled together? I mean, could I have made it any more obvious? I left my Gods be damned village to follow you. Every chance I got, I was touching you. I even told you that you were beautiful when I was high on hebane! I tried to tell you when Perdicus proposed to me, but no. You were all like, 'Gabrielle, if you're happy, I'm happy.'"
I couldn't hold it back anymore. This woman was talking complete nonesense. I asked the same question that went unanswered downstairs. "Gabrielle, what the fuck are you talking about?"
"Here we go," Alexandria whispered in my ear as Gabrielle's face turned bright red in anger. "I was trying to tell you Xena..."
"I'm trying to fucking tell you that I'm Gods be damn in love with you, Xena!" Gabrielle shouted, trembling with rage and frustration.
Four mouths in the room dropped open with shock at that little confession. I could feel Alexandria's body shaking with laughter as I stared at Gabrielle with wide eyes. I hardly had a moment to register what had been said when Gabrielle continued with her rant.
"I tried so hard to tell you so many times, Xena," She was crying now, her voice cracking with built up emotion. "But trying to talk to you is like trying to talk to a stone wall. You claim to have this supersensitive hearing but you never heard a thing that I was saying. So instead of using words, I tried to speak with actions instead. Every man that we passed, I flirted with in hopes that you would get jealous but you never did. And then Perdicus came along and it just seemed so perfect, you know? When he asked me to marry him, I thought maybe that I finally saw some jealousy in your eyes or at least a bit of fear that I might leave you. But you never said a word. I prayed and prayed that you would say something at the wedding, but again, you said nothing. It wasn't until the ceremony was over and you finally kissed me that I knew you felt something for me but it was too late. You were too fucking stubborn and I was already married. And now, here you are after four years of not coming to visit me and you've moved on. But I haven't."
I wanted to say something, but I found I couldn't breathe let alone speak. I felt Alexandria's finger poke into my ribs again but still I couldn't do anything.
"Look, Gabrielle," Alexandria sat up, leaving me to continue my blank staring at the woman I loved. "Xena and I-"
"No, Alexandria, it's okay," Gabrielle said softly as she wiped the tears from her face. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come in here and said all of these things. Xena loves you, you make her happy and that's all that matters to me. I'm just... really sorry."
And without another word, she turned around and walked away, closing the door quietly behind her.
"What just happened?" I finally whispered into the silent room as I slowly sat up.
"My plan just worked and backfired at the same time," Alexandria replied, running her fingers through her hair. She paused for a moment before quickly turning to me and pushing my off the bed. "What are you still doing here? Get the fuck up and go tell her the truth."
"The truth?" Ephiny asked from where she stood by the door.
"Yes, the truth," Alexandria said, standing up in front of me and straightening my clothes and running her fingers through my disheveled hair. "Xena and I aren't lovers, it was just apart of my masterplan to get Gabrielle to admit her feelings for Xena."
"What?!" The three Amazons exclaimed. The poor women, they're going to drop dead from the amount of shock they've had today.
"Alexandria," I growled, pushing her hands away from my breastplate. "This doesn't change anything. Gabrielle is still married."
"Xena, this changes everything," she said, taking my hands and giving me a bright smile. "Don't worry about Perdicus right now. I'll go to their house and kill him myself if I have to. Just go and talk to Gabrielle and set things straight. She'll either leave this village with you or she she'll stay with her husband. At least you will have tried. For once in all these years, don't be a coward. Don't run away from what you want, Xena, because it's been waiting for you this whole time."
"But," I started.
"No buts! You leave this room right now and sweep the love of your life from her feet or I swear by the Gods, I will make you regret it more than you already will for the rest of our probably short lives!"
I stared into my bestfriend's eyes, squeezing her hands and taking all the courage and strength I could from her smile before nodding. Her smile, if possible, became even brighter. She pushed me to the door, grabbing the Amazons as we passed them before pulling me down the stairs.
"Are you coming with me or something?" I asked her in confusion as we burst out of the Inn and into the warm morning sun.
"Of course!" Alexandria laughed as we started walking in the direction of Gabrielle's home. "I need to be there just in case."
"Just in case what?"
"Well, if she says yes, I want to be there to see my best plan ever succeed, and if she says no," Her midnight blue eyes twinkled mischieviously. "Then I need to be there to stop you from running yourself through with your sword."
"Oh, gee thanks," I replied sarcastically.
It wasn't long before we found her. She was in the same place Alexandria and I were last night before we went to her party. She was sitting on the boulder and crying her eyes out and I felt my heart break knowing I had caused her the pain she was feeling. Gods, how had I been so blind? It was all so much clearer to me now that she had told me how she felt. The meaning behind all her words in every conversation we ever had ran through my mind as I looked at her. She was so beautiful, even when she was crying.
Alexandria shoved me forwards, giving me an encouraging smile before she pulled the Amazon's into the trees to watch the show. I took a deep breath, repeating the same four words over and over in my head as I walked towards the love of my life.
Don't be a coward. Don't be a coward. Don't be a coward.
Funny, I thought to myself. Those four words were spoken in my mind with Alexandria's voice. I shook my head to clear it before taking the last few steps to stand in front of Gabrielle. I cleared my throat after a few moments when she didn't notice me. She looked up at me with bloodshot eyes and frowned as she wiped away her tears, hiccupping adorably.
"What are you doing here?" She asked as she stared down at the ground between her feet.
"Alexandria convinced me to come talk to you," I decided to be completely honest with her now. I wasn't going to lie anymore, it only ended up hurting both of us. "She threatened to make my life a living Hell if I didn't."
"Sounds like a really nice girl," Gabrielle muttered, looking up at me with a raised eyebrow. When did she start doing that?
"She's a good person," I replied. I was stalling but I couldn't help it. I had never been so nervous in my life. "She wants me to be happy. That's why she sent me to find you."
"I don't understand."
"I know," I sighed. Don't be a coward, continued to repeat in my head and I straightened my shoulders and decided to speak before I choked. "Gabrielle, I haven't been completely honest with you. Well, I haven't been honest with you at all."
"What are you talking about?" Gabrielle asked, her brow furrowed in confusion. "Xena, you don't have to explain anything to m-"
"Gabrielle, for once could you just shut up and let me talk?" Gods, this woman is frustrating. My eyes softened as more tears started to well up in her eyes and I quickly sat down beside her, taking her hand in mine. "Gabrielle, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so harsh. I'm just trying to tell you something and I need to say it because I'm running out of my daily use of words, okay?"
She said nothing as she looked into my eyes. She finally nodded after a few moments and gave my hand an encouraging squeeze.
"Okay," I said softly, taking a deep breath to relax myself. "So, like I said, I haven't been truthful with you. You see, Alexandria and I aren't a couple."
I looked up at her expectantly but she just stared back at me with wide eyes, keeping her promise of staying silent. She squeezed my hand once more, urging me to continue.
"Alexandria and I... we're just really, really close friends," I chuckled to myself, looking down at our entwined fingers as I spoke. "I met her a really long time ago, and back then, we had something but not anymore. Over the past two and a half years, we've just been friends. To be honest, I think she just sticks around to take care of me. She's scared that if she leaves me alone one night, I'll try to cook and end up killing myself. What you saw between us last night at your party, that was just one of Alexandria's pranks. You see, she's kind of a joker. She had this plan that if we came to Potedeia and acted like lovers, you would confess that you were in love with me."
I watched as Gabrielle's mouth dropped open in surprise and I gently closed it, smiling weakly. She had so many emotions in her eyes that I couldn't tell what she was feeling. I could practically see the wheels turning in her head as she tried to find the meaning to what I was telling her but she still didn't ask me any questions and I was grateful for that.
"To be honest, I didn't know that was her plan until you left our room just before. I thought it was just Alexandria being Alexandria but I was wrong. I guess I should have known because it's not like Alexandria to drag me half way across the world to play a prank on the woman I'm in love with."
I gazed into her emerald green eyes as I spoke these words and watched as they filled with tears. I waited for her to say something, anything to give me a sign of how she was feeling. She looked like she was going to burst but I couldn't tell whether it was from happiness or anger. I suddenly realised that I had told her to be quiet and she couldn't speak until I was finished.
"Gabrielle, I'm in love with you," I whispered softly, my own eyes welling with tears as I looked at her. "I've been in love with you for as long as I've known you. That's why I never came to visit, because I couldn't stand to see you with someone else. I couldn't bear to see you with anyone but me. That's it, Gabrielle. You can speak now."
"Oh, Xena," she sobbed before throwing herself in my arms. I barely managed to stop us from tumbling off the boulder as she threw herself at me, her arms wrapping tightly around my neck as she buried her face in my chest. I wrapped my arms around her waist, caressing her back as she cried, her warm tears trailing down my skin as I whispered words of love into her hair.
"Gods, Xena, I love you so much," she whispered against my chest, her lips brushing against my skin. "I have waited for this moment for what feels like my whole life."
"I love you too, Gabrielle," I replied as I kissed the top of her head, my heart feeling like it would burst from joy. "I have always loved you and I will always love you. I will never leave you again, for as long as I live."
This is the best plan that Alexandria has ever had, I thought to myself as Gabrielle pulled away from me slightly to look into my eyes. She leaned forwards slowly and brushed her lips against mine and I have never been as happy as I am right now. Stars were exploding behind my closed eyelids and I knew that marriage or no marriage, Gabrielle would once again be leaving this village with me. She would leave her dull husband behind and we would live happily ever ever. It was meant to be. We were meant to be.
"Mission complete," I heard Alexandria voice softly from her hiding place in the trees, followed by a round of highfives. Mission complete, indeed.
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