The Beginning of Forever

by Nanaabelle

Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own them, just borrowing 'em for a short tale. Nothing for me to gain, except a better way for them to go.

Warning: Lots of tissues needed.

Dedication: To my Grandson who re-awakened my inner child with his love and my friend, B. L. Miller, who introduced me to Xena, Gabby, and fan-fiction, then drew me in with her awesome writing talent.

This is my first venture into fanfic. All comments are welcome.


The drums rumbled in a solitary beat, as a keening wail broke the stillness of the night surrounding the Queen's hut. The Shamaness silently watched the flickering of the campfire as she held her mournful watch. It was she who would give the signal that would tear the night asunder with silence. It was she who would know the exact moment it all would end.

InsideÖ as she had done so many times before, Gabrielle sat beside her lover and smiled at the beauty of her mate, her soul mate. She noticed how troubled was her warrior's sleep.

In the past, it had been the nightmares she carried with her from her days as a Warlord.

This time was different...

Now, the torture came from a body wracked with pain; a body in torment that craved its final release, the kind which would provide peace to a departing soul.

Sitting quietly, the Bard's thoughts drifted back through time.

She was still in awe of all that had happened to them during their lives. A tiny shudder passed through her slender form as her thoughts revealed some of the horrors they had seen and endured.

When she glanced over the good things, her smile transformed the gently lined features into a portrait of radiance. It was the kind of radiance that had touched the hearts and lives of so many on their journey toward redemption.

Her thoughts came to rest on the single most important event of her life, their first meeting. She could not help but shake her head in wonderment, as she relived that first moment.

Somehow, despite the turmoil all around them, their eyes met. In that instant, through some power, some force greater even than the Gods themselves had once wielded, they were joined in a bond stronger than death itself.

A small laugh escaped her lips at that thought. She whispered to the air, "Stronger than several deaths, actually." She said with a smile that illuminated the room.

After all these years together, Gabrielle still could not understand how Xena, Warlord and Slayer of Nations; Xena, the Warrior Princess had ever put up with such an inept, starry-eyed farm girl from Potadeia.

She wondered again, "How? Why? " What had caused their lives, their destinies, their very souls to become so vitally intertwined with each other and with the world? Despite all her musings, there was one thing she did not question: the love they shared.

Her mind journeyed onward.

She saw some of the adversaries they had battled and beaten drift about the landscape of her mind. There was Callisto, Caesar, Brutus. DahokÖ Names flew past quickly leaving her body chilled.

Next, she thought of the ones they had cared about but who were now gone: Hercules. Iolus. Joxer. Ephiny. Solon. Their familiesÖ At each name, she paused in remembrance. So many wonderful people had touched and been a part of their lives.

"Daydreaming as always."

The sound of her lover's raspy voice startled Gabrielle from her reverie. "Well. At least that hasn't changed yet." she thought.

"What else is a bard to do while her warrior sleeps?"

Startling blue eyes, still retaining a hint of the fire of old, caressed the twinkling green eyes of her soul mate. Still...even at this advanced age the couple always managed to loose themselves in the eyes of the other. Falling prey to the mesmerizing depths of the love they always found there.

Even though she had watched the changes taking place, Gabrielle was deeply saddened by the sight of her weary warrior. The years had not dealt kindly with the warrior woman.

The once shimmering, raven hair of her champion was now as white as it had been black. The two nearly matched now. 'Though Gabrielle's hair was more gray than white.

The once magnificently honed body now showed only a glimpse of what had been. Too much abuse had it suffered. Too many years of constantly being held on high alert. Too many battles won, and lost.

The body had been worn down. Now, what had formerly been the means for preservation betrayed its owner. It would end the life so many had tried to take away.

A soft knock disturbed the intimate moment.


"MyÖerÖumÖ Gabrielle. The Shamaness said you wished to know when the time was drawing near."

Gabrielle gave a slight nod. A sad look of resignation transformed her features. The solemn young Amazon retreated, closing the door behind her. The lovers were alone once again.

Before returning her gaze to the love of her life, Gabrielle wondered, "What would "FOREVER" be like?"


"I'm here, my warrior. What is it? What do you need?"

"I need nothing as long as you are beside me. Please. Come. Sit with me." She patted a place at her side. "IÖ I need to talk to you while I still can."

Gabrielle settled in the indicated place. HER place, as always, by her warrior's side. She tenderly touched her fingers to the full lips to still the flow of words.

"Shush my love. Save your strength." whispered the bard.

Xena called on whatever hidden resources she still had left and lifted herself on her elbows.

"NO! There are some things I need to say to you."

"Alright love. Alright." Gabrielle cooed as she gently caressed Xena's cheek and soothed the other half of her soul as she helped the warrior lie back down. "Say whatever you feel you must."

"Gabrielle. I know I've said it before. I just don't know that I've said it enough. Thank you. Thank you for all you have given me. Joy. Love. Tenderness. Caring. But, most of all, thank you for your love. You have given me all these things in measures far beyond my wildest imaginings."

Gabrielle continued to caress Xena's face. She spoke in hushed tones. "Love. I gave no more nor less than I received."

With one eyebrow lifted and a half smile on her face, Xena asked, "Was there ever a time when we truly believed it could be possible for us to grow old together? Well, at least old enough to face death in any 'normal' way?"

The smile that lit the Bards features held all the warmth of summer. "No my love. I don't believe THAT possibility ever arose. Not even in MY imagination."

"So many times I have questioned whether it was my terrible past that earned for us the incredible pain that has filled our lives ‚ the torments ‚ the losses ‚ all of it. Then I wondered, if it were true, whatever could have earned us the unimaginable joy and love we have shared together?"

"Why Xena!" Gabrielle marveled at her warrior's words. "I do believe that I have truly 'rubbed off' on you. You sound more the bard than I."

"Love. I know my time is close at hand. IÖ IÖ I have to let you know what is in my heart."

"Oh. You silly woman! I have alwaysÖ oops." A faint blush colored the younger woman's face as a child-like giggle escaped her lips. "Well, almost always knew what was in your heart. Remember", she chided, "I saw the light within you long before you ever thought it possible."

Despite the intense pain that was raging within her body, Xena's eyebrow strove to hide itself behind her hair and her lip curled into a replica of "The Look" she had made famous.

"Still, Gabrielle, I need for you to hear this. You are the other half of my soul; my being; my very essence. I have always known I would be the first to cross over. Just know that I WILL wait for you. Nothing can turn me from being the first to greet you when your time comes arouÖ" Two fingertips softly blocked whatever words were meant to follow. A quizzical expression covered Gabrielle's face.

"Xena. Don't you know? Don't you yet understand? In a tender voice, Gabrielle whispered to her mate. "When you cross, I will be but a half step behind. Our bond permits nothing less."

Not yet fully understanding Gabrielle's words or, being unwilling to, Xena forged on.

"Gabrielle. I am older than you. My body must have relief. YouÖ you can still live on." Re-igniting her inner strength, sparks flew from Xena's eyes. "Promise me you won'tÖ"

Again, the flame within Xena was calmed by the touch of the little bard's gentle touch.

"No love. We will be together but, it will be because neither of our souls can exist without the other. Listen hard my warrior. Listen to the sounds outside our home."

A frown of confusion further twisted the warrior's face; a face already besieged by the constant, knawing pain that wracked her body. She needed to focus, focus on only her conversation with her lover and Gabrielle's request. Inhaling slowly, Xena closed her eyes, before opening them once more. Now...she was able to hear the sounds of the rumbling drums echoing around them.

She tilted her head and listened to the droning drumbeats. Just as she was about to speak, Gabrielle issued a silent signal for her to listen for more sounds. Again, Xena extended her senses.

This time, Xena heard the keening wail that usually accompanied the loss of tribesmen, as the drums echoed among the murkiness of the night.

Throughout her life, all who knew her were aware that her ability to maintain a stoic visage was indeed one of her many weapons. The sharply chiseled features had never betrayed the play of emotions within her.

Now, a wide range of emotions blatantly displayed themselves and a rapid succession of emotions: Concentration ‚ Confusion ‚ Recognition ‚ Fear, seized the mighty warrior's face.

Before Xena could utter a sound, Gabrielle spoke.

"Xena. Tell me. What do you hear? Do you recognize it?

With fear still overriding her emotions, Xena responded.

"IÖ I hear a drum and wailing. If I am right, the drumbeat is that which foretells the impending death of a warrior.

Here she paused. It was as if her silence would prevent her fear from becoming reality. Her haunting blue eyes filled with tears, then silently overflowed.

"Go on Xena. Finish telling me." Gabrielle urged. Her own eyes were beginning to fill now.

The voice that had silenced the bravest of men by its forcefulness and sheer power was replaced by a trembling whisper. It'sÖ It's the "Queens Lament". The Amazon dirge for a Ö dying Queen." Xena thought she would choke on those last few words.

A flood of tears poured unashamedly down Xena's face. She searched in her soul mates eyes for the explanation she didn't want to hear.

"Oh my love. My Warrior. My Bond. My Soul. We pledged our very essence to one another long, long ago. Xena, Even if my mind could conceive of an existence without you in it ------- my soul could not accept it. When your last breath escapes you, I will be drawing in my last as well. I would have it no other way."

The conviction and the certainty of the Bards heartfelt words impacted in Xena's heart. "ThÖ" Xena found herself unable to speak. She took several breaths to compose herself before she tried again. "Then we will be together?" she asked with a note of hopefulness.

"Forever, my warrior."

While Xena's heart rejoiced at knowing there would be no long separation. She was also pierced with sorrow knowing that Gabrielle would die because she was dying. She began to formulate guilt for being the cause of her lover's death.

Gabrielle's eyes bore into her. "Oh! No! You don't! Xena! There is no guilt or blame here for either of us. You and I made our commitment freely ‚ willingly ‚ joyfully. What united and held us together in life will continue to unite us even through death. It was and is our destiny, our choice, to never be separated again."

It barely took an instant. The stoic warriors emotions once again clearly displayed on her face. This time: Understanding ‚ Acceptance ‚ Love in its purest form.

Their eyes reached out and held the others being. The flow of love between these two women of fable and legend would have overpowered lesser souls.

Love radiated so intensely from their home that a small tendril reached out and touched the ever-watchful Shamaness at her vigil. She smiled, then, sighed. She knew she did not have long to wait before the signal would go out. The tendril drifted away on a gentle breeze; the burden of sorrow returned.

Too soon, the moment was fractured as Xena violently lurched with pain, nearly falling from their bed. Gabrielle gently but firmly repositioned the warrior. Again, Xena tried to speak. This time, Gabrielle had to bring her ear almost to the warrior's lips to hear the sounds.

"My Bard. My QueenÖ" rasped the warrior. "Will you lie beside me? I... think myÖ"

"OUR..." whispered Gabrielle.

An insinuation of a smile crossed Xena 's face as she continued. "Our time has come."

In a flash, Gabrielle was beside her warrior. As she slid down to rest her head on Xena's shoulder, she gently drew Xena's arm down to rest upon her. She tenderly wrapped an arm across the warrior's stomach. Their hands entwined.

Xena whispered, "I will love you forever Gabrielle".

"I will love you forever Xena." The bard replied.

Xena smiled. Nestled safely by her side, her bard was where she belonged. Nothing could separate them. She sighed as her head fell to one side. Gabrielle took in one last breath, thought one word, forever, then joined her warrior.

Outside, the drum and the wail inexplicably continued.

Seconds passed slowly in the room. The warrior and her bard lay dead in their bed. Their faces wreathed in blissful smiles.

The stillness of the room was soon broken. A whisper emanated from a shadowed corner where two shapes were barely visible.

"Hard to believe, isn't it?"

"Yup. It is really wonderful though."

"What do we do now? What's the plan?"

"Humm. Ya' know, I'm really not sure."

"What? YOU"RE not sure? Harrumph! Now that must be a new experience!"

"Hey! Give me a break. I'm new at this."

"Not as new as me."

"Don't worry. I'll think of something."

"You always do."

Slowly, the two young women began to ease out of the shadows.

"Hey! Why are we being so quiet? It's not like we could wake the dead." A deep hearty chuckle followed.

"Stop that! It's... It'sÖ disrespectful!" accompanied by a pout and a stamped foot.

"I've got it! I have a plan!"

"Figured you would. What's the plan?"

"Well. Lets just head out of here and see what happens."

"THAT"S your plan?"

With a shrug, "Got a better one?"

"Yup. Kiss me. Then we can figure this whole thing out together."

"Hm. I like your plan."

Their lips almost touched when their attention was pulled to an all too familiar shimmering accompanied by gold and pink sparkles just in front of them.

"'Dite. Your timing is lousy, as usual." the two women groaned.

"C'mon, chickies. Time to party."

"Not before I get my kiss." the shorter woman proclaimed. She placed her hands solidly on her hips while her sparkling green eyes dared the Goddess of Love to deny her demand.

"Go for it girlfriends. I would be the last one to hold back love."

"Now," said the short blonde, "Our first kiss".

The hauntingly beautiful blue eyes drank in the vision before her, while the twinkling, green ones did the same.

Slowly, they seemed to melt into one being as their lips met in a kiss filled with passion and love.

The Goddess waited. her delicately shod foot tapping out her impatience. "Girls. We only have forever you know."

"Chill 'Dite" snapped the blonde." We're new at thisÖ thisÖ

"Yes Aphrodite. Just where are we? What IS this?" queried the raven - haired beauty.

The Goddess' smile blossomed to encompass them both in its glow. "That, Warrior Babe, is what I'm here for. I'm set to give my two favorite women the grand tour of eternity. Now, are you ready?"

The two women exchanged glances ‚ shrugged their shoulders ‚ then, they spoke as one, "Now that's a plan, a plan for forever."

Aphrodite pulled her two dear friends into a warm embrace, winked and as they vanished was heard, "It's a Goddess thing, Little One".

The scene they left behind was undisturbed except, a close examination would have revealed a faint dusting of gold and pink covered the bodies of Xena, Warrior Princess and Gabrielle, the Warrior/Bard Queen of the Amazons.

Even as the aura of the Goddess was still fading, the night was shattered by the sudden silence when the last drumbeat signaled the beginning of forever.

THE END {Or is it?}

Return to Main Page