* This is a post FIN piece, sort of. It just takes a look at how her last "thirty seconds" had been lived, had she gotten to live them the way she told Gabrielle she wanted to. Its not violent, its not bloody, and its really not that long. Its just a little piece of fluff. Sort of.
*I only know how other people feel about my work, if they tell me. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The cabin was quiet, as two members of the Royal Guard stood before the door, banning anyone except the Queen's daughter or two granddaughters from entering. Comfortably reclined on the large bed, a pair of blue eyes looked out from behind a wrinkled face. She was a warrior, right to her very soul. And yet, when all had been said and done, she preferred this, to dying on some cold battlefield. She looked down at the somber face at the foot of the bed. And although she couldn’t physically show her, inside she couldn’t be more proud of her. Her daughter had grown, and traveled the world, as she herself had done, and then sent word to her mother that she really wanted nothing more, than to return to Greece, and spend time with them.
And that's what had happened. Eve had come home, and much to her surprise, and delight, had found that the two of them had settled down in one of the Amazon villages. She was even more thrilled to find out that she'd managed to arrive just in time for their union ceremony. It was with that, that Eve decided to create a home, and a life for herself in her mother's village. Over the years, as time passed by, the stories of the Warrior Princess, and the Battling Bard continue to grow, until they became legend, and yet no one ever suspected that the small blonde Queen of the Amazons, and her consort by the name of Xena were one in the same.
The bed shifted, and she turned her head to see her wife settle in next to her. Time had taken its toll on them both, the warrior knew. But it was quite alright by her. She hadn’t minded at all when she discovered the first few wrinkles, and the odd gray hair, that now covered most of her head.
She'd been bed ridden for the past three days, as her body slowly gave out. Her eldest granddaughter, who by some luck of the gods, had been born her spitting image, Scout, had been going through the rites to pass from childhood to adulthood within the Amazon nation, and according to the Queen, the warrior's stubborn old soul had been to spiteful to give in to time, until she was sure that Scout had succeeded. It was as if she was waiting for the child to finish, to carry that memory with her, when the time came.
The child had visited earlier, and had been sent back to her hut after breaking into tears upon learning that it would most likely be the last time she would ever see her. The younger child, Teigra, hadn’t been allowed to see her at all, Xena fearing that the child would be emotionally scarred, and wanting the child's last memory of her to be something other than her lying on her deathbed.
Summoning a strength that was all to seldom, she softly began to speak, barely more than a whisper.
"I'm proud of you Eve. Very proud,” she rasped.
A coughing fit overtook her long frame, and she struggled to catch her breath. She was quiet again for sometime afterwards, her half shut eyes, studying her daughters face, committing it to final memory.
With her last bit of strength, the warrior whispered so softly it was barely audible.
"Thirty seconds Bri."
Gabrielle smiled, and shifted until she was sitting in front of her partner and clasped the larger hands in her own. Blue eyes locked onto green, and the Queen and her Champion became the center of each other's worlds. The breaths got slower and slower, each seeming to be more shallow than the last.
" Go now love, it's alright. I know you'll be waiting for me on the other side," Gabrielle whispered gently.
An almost imperceptible nod was her answer, as a last breath was drawn and released, and blue eyes closed for the last time.
For a moment the only sound heard was that of Gabrielle and Eve's breathing. Silent tears coursed down the bard's cheeks as she kissed the palm of one of her beloved's hands. Eve, with a tear streaked face, walked to the door, opening it and shutting it behind her.
"No one is to enter, and my mother's body is to be undisturbed until dawn. The Queen should be able to mourn in privacy," Eve told one of the guards.
She knew what she had spoken was true. Gabrielle deserved time alone to grieve for the person who had been her friend, champion, and lover for over thirty years. But there was another reason she had given the order. While she dreaded the idea, she knew The Queen's heart was broken. She was certain that come dawn, there would be two pyres to light, as she accepted The Queen's mask. Nothing could separate her mother from her Queen.
Not even death.
*The End, For Now*
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