Disclaimer: I do not own the characters Xena, Gabrielle or Salmoneus, but I do own this fan fic =)
I’ve borrowed and slightly modified some lyrics from Sir Elton John’s gorgeous song, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’.
Love at first sight during a party on a cruise ship, Titanic II.
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The Way You Look Tonight
She watched the tall figure cross the room, long legs moving elegantly, body moving like a sleek panther…Long fingers reaching out to take a glass of champagne from the waiter’s tray…“Beautiful,” she sighed.
Her breath caught in her throat when the long slit in the black silk dress parted to reveal a muscled thigh. Cool, blue eyes scanned the room like a bird of prey, and she found that she couldn’t tear her own deep, emerald ones away from the intense gaze.
Feeling suddenly inspired, she opened her small purse and withdrew the tiny writing pad and pen that went with her everywhere. She sat at the nearest vacant table, her pen poised, and looked up one last time with a flutter in her stomach, before beginning to write.
Never one for parties or gatherings, she felt strangely uneasy amidst the crowd. She was here only because she had promised her friend that she would attend.
He had called her up or come to see her nearly every week since they’d met, each time to discuss some new money-making scheme that he was convinced would be a hit, though she knew each time that it would be sure to fail.
His latest endeavour had been to write a book, which he surprisingly completed and published. The novel, entitled Warrior Princess, had become a best-seller within a week of being released.
To celebrate, he had spent a great deal of his new-found fortune on a large cruise ship to host an all-night party. When he had revealed to her that he had named the large vessel Titanic II, she had immediately suggested that he keep quiet about it, lest he want to scare away all of his potential guests.
She saw her friend, a short, round man with receding grey hair and a closely trimmed beard, standing off to one side, speaking animatedly with a young woman who was considerably taller than him. She seemed genuinely amused by what he was saying, and her thick red lips were curled into smile.
She heard him tell the woman excitedly that the ship wouldn’t be going back to shore until the early hours of the morning, and she let out a small sigh of frustration as she walked across the room to where a waiter, looking uncannily like a penguin in his black and white suit, was standing perfectly straight, one arm behind his back, the other holding up a tray of champagne-filled glasses. He nodded his head politely as she approached, and she nodded back in thanks after removing a glass from the tray and taking a sip of the bubbly beverage.
She turned her head slowly, gazing about the room, always one to observe rather than join in. She listened carefully for an interesting conversation to eavesdrop on, and then sighed once more after hearing only polite small-talk.
It was a chill night, and so the room was crammed full of people, everyone preferring to be below decks than to brave the cold night air. She glanced around for a vacant table, and spotted one in the corner, beside the door leading to the top deck.
There weren’t many people standing around near the table; most of them were conversing in the middle of the room, or by the buffet table at the other end of the long room. She liked it this way; she could observe from afar.
As she made her way over to it, she downed the rest of the champagne, and signalled to a passing waiter for another glass. This was going to be a long night.
As the last few words flowed from her pen, she began to feel nervous. Why am I doing this? She thought. I don’t even know her! … Her. She’s a woman!!
She rubbed her temples and sighed. But there’s something about her…I have to do this.
Her mind made up, she folded up the small note she had written, and tucked the pen and pad back into her purse. Glancing around the room, she spotted her target sitting alone at a corner table, a waiter coming to retrieve the two empty glasses on the table and replace them with another full one. She appeared to be contemplating her hands, which were splayed out across the table in front of her.
Wow, she thought. She certainly isn’t here by choice…Well, better get this over with before I chicken out.
With that, she crossed the room, her eyes never looking away from that head of beautiful dark hair.
She thanked the waiter, picked up the fresh glass of champagne, and took a sip. She wondered how long she could keep going without feeling woozy.
Putting the glass down, she went back to staring at her hands and was quickly lost in her thoughts once more. However she was soon broken out of her reverie by the quiet sound of feet shuffling along the carpet nearby, a sound that only her keen hearing could detect through the noisy chatter of the guests.
She looked up half-heartedly, only to gasp when her eyes met a pair of emerald green ones. They seemed to be endless, and she felt that she could easily lose herself in them.
The young woman in front of her held out a hand, and she reluctantly looked away from the green orbs to see what was being offered.
It was a note. She looked back up to the young woman’s face questioningly, but took the note from her anyway. The young woman blushed and turned away, walking quickly out the doors and onto the deck, her long blonde hair swaying across her back.
The dark-haired woman shrugged as the doors closed after the blonde’s small frame had passed through, then opened the note, and began to read, quickly losing herself in the tiny, neat writing.
This shy start to the note brought a twinkle to her blue eyes, and a smile to her lips.
In all honesty, I’m speechless, and I don’t know where to start…
I’m not in the habit of writing notes to total strangers, I’ve never done this before…But then again, I’ve also never felt these feelings for a woman before.
She stopped, stunned, not liking where this was headed. But she felt compelled to read on, and so she did.
There’s just something about the way you look tonight.
You take my breath away, and I get this feeling deep inside, that I can’t describe.
When I look at you, I am stunned.
I want to lose myself in your eyes; I want to feel your beautiful hair running through my fingers.
You feel, rather than look, familiar. I feel as though I’ve known you all my life, though I know that this is the first time I have ever glimpsed your face; I would definitely remember if I had seen you before…
I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable, but I needed to tell you…
One smile from you could pull the deepest secrets from my heart…
As she read the last words, she was pulled into a sort of trance. Thoughts and memories came to her, images flashing through her mind, and a single word, well, a name, sprang to her lips: “Gabrielle…” She whispered.
She jumped up from her seat and rushed out after the green-eyed girl.
She resisted the urge to clasp the woman’s hand as her long fingers reached out to take the note. There was a question in those blue eyes, and the dark haired woman looked taken aback by the gesture.
The blonde could feel herself blushing furiously, and she turned and raced through the doors, not daring to look back. What in the world did I just do?! She thought to herself, panicked. She’s going to think I’m a stalker or something! Oh, no!
She leant over the railing and looked into the water, embarrassed, and wishing she could just disappear. The crisp night air sent a shiver down her spine, and caused little bumps to sprout up along her arms.
Barely a minute had ticked by when she suddenly felt a spark of warmth at her elbow.
She turned, and her eyes met those lovely blue ones that she was so smitten with. The woman’s fingers were resting lightly on her elbow where she’d felt the sudden warmth. Her heart leapt into her chest, and she was relieved that she hadn’t scared the woman away with the note.
“Gabrielle…?” She heard her utter quietly, barely a whisper.
Suddenly, she was overcome with memories, and her eyes grew moist with tears as she replied, “Xena…?” She shivered, though this time it wasn’t from the cold.
The taller woman nodded, looking down at her with a smile, a single tear making its way down her cheek.
Gabrielle smiled back, her own tears quickly falling. Xena’s smile widened into a grin, and she wrapped her arms around her small friend, her soul mate, in a loving embrace.
Xena kissed Gabrielle gently on the forehead, then again on her cheek, and she pulled back to look into those green eyes she loved so much, before planting the softest kiss onto her bard’s lips.
They wiped away each other’s tears, and just stood together, gazing out at the moonlight reflecting off the surface of the calm sea. Xena laid an arm across Gabrielle’s shoulders, and Gabrielle wrapped an arm around her friend’s waist.
Xena turned her head sideways to look at Gabrielle, amazed at how beautiful the young woman looked in the glow of the moonlight.
After a few moments, Gabrielle turned to Xena, her curiosity taking over. “Why are you here tonight? And what do you do for work? I bet you’re some kind of cop or security guard, huh?” She grinned and nudged the warrior with a wink.
Xena laughed, and Gabrielle loved the sound.
“I’m with the CIA,” Xena declared conspiratorially.
Gabrielle’s eyes widened, and Xena bent double with laughter at the look on her gullible friend’s face.
“Gotcha Gabrielle!” Gabrielle scowled at her, but Xena pretended not to notice. “Nah, I actually run self defence classes for kids.”
“Really?” Gabrielle asked with a grin. “Once a warrior, always a warrior, right?”
“Uh…Right…” Xena replied, looking away guiltily. She couldn’t bring herself to tell Gabrielle that what she really taught was ballroom dancing; she knew the bard wouldn’t miss the opportunity to tease her. Xena knew that she was going to have to tell her eventually, but she decided that it could wait.
“So what were you doing here tonight?” Gabrielle asked again. “You didn’t seem to be enjoying yourself much…Then again you were never one for parties. I guess some things never change!”
Xena nodded. “Yeah, I wouldn’t have come if I could’ve avoided it. But I’m friends with the host, Sal, and I promised him I’d be here.”
Gabrielle nodded in understanding.
“What about you?” Xena asked. “Why are you here? – Not that I’m complaining…” She added with a grin.
“Well, predictably enough, I’m a writer.”
Xena rolled her eyes at that, and Gabrielle laughed.
“Yeah, I’m a writer, and I helped Sal come up with the idea for the book.”
“Ah,” Xena said in understanding. “A book about a warrior princess – I should’ve known that you had something to do with it.”
Gabrielle opened her mouth to reply, but stopped when she felt a raindrop land on her nose.
Xena chuckled as Gabrielle went cross-eyed while trying to see what had landed on her. Xena wiped the droplet off with her finger, and took her friend’s arm, guiding her back to the door.
“We’d better go back in before it starts pouring.” She didn’t really want to go back into the crowded room – She would have much preferred to stay out here with her bard.
Well I certainly can’t complain, Xena thought to herself. A long and tedious night has just turned into the best night of my life. She looked over at her bard and kissed her softly on the nose.
“I love you.” She whispered.
Gabrielle felt her heart beat faster. She loved these rare moments when her warrior princess would go all soft on her.
“I love you too.” She replied simply, and with that, they strode back into the noisy room.
Jan 2009Return to the Academy