Copyright: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess are owned by MCA/Universal and Renaissance and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this story, it was written only for the enjoyment of myself and other readers and I am not getting any profit out of it. The story itself belongs to me, and should therefore only be published elsewhere with my permission.
Sex and Violence: WARNING... I was in a seriously dark mood when I wrote this, so expect the worst... this story contains some pretty graphic violence. Also, in my world, Xena and Gabrielle are lovers (though nothing much happens here) Still, if you are underage or if this sort of thing offends you, please read no further. If not, read on. :)
The Final Battle
By The Upside Down Kiwi-Bard (UDK_Bard)
As Xena fought, she listened as usual with half an ear for the reassuring sounds of Gabrielle's staff hitting armor and soft body parts, with the occasional crack of bone for good measure. A small area of Xena's brain even amused itself by trying to identify which body parts the bard had scored on.
*Thud* "oof" stomach. *crack* hmm, that sounded like teeth, followed by the ringing hollow clunk that meant Gabrielle had aimed a direct hit on a Roman skull. Once in a while came the sound of steel scraping on bone as Xena's young friend resorted to dealing a fatal wound with her blades. She still preferred not to, even after all this time, but no longer hesitated when the situation demanded it.
The skirmish was wearing to a close, the warrior and her companion had been set upon by a troop of twenty or so Roman soldiers, well trained and waiting for them. Most of them now lay in piles around the two women, some unconscious, some dying, some already on their way to Tartarus. Only a handful were left and Xena and Gabrielle were handling them fairly easily. Back to back a scant few yards apart they fought, years of practice making their movements graceful, almost like a dance. As swiftly as the battle had begun, it drew to a close. Xena ran through the last of her combatants with her sword and turned to see if the bard needed help finishing off her opponent.
Gabrielle had been locked in combat with a particularily stubborn officer, but she had managed to get in several hits to his head and quickly gained the upper hand. She made one final swing and cracked the side of the officer's temple, he fell and didn't stir. After a quick glance around, Gabrielle turned to face her friend with a grin of triumph. Then it happened. As the bard swung around, Xena, still turning, saw a flash of colour and the glint of sun off metal just behind her friend.
"Gabrielle look out!!" Xena shouted, but it was too late. Far too late. Gabrielle stiffened suddenly, her back arching and her arms flinging wider as her staff fell from suddenly nerveless fingers. She looked down in horror at the foot-long section of blade jutting out of her stomach. Then she raised her gaze to the terror in her soulmate's eyes.
"Xena?" As Gabrielle sank slowly to her knees the blade dislodged and slid back out the way it had gone in. For an instant Xena was frozen solid. Only for an instant.
"NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" The scream tore itself up from the depths of the warrior's soul and ripped its way out, taking her heart with it. Almost blinded she lunged, swinging her own sword up so fast the Roman barely saw it, he had no chance of blocking it. Xena's sword embedded itself so far into the soldiers neck that his head was all but ripped from his shoulders. The warrior princess never even saw him fall, she was already on her knees by her stricken lover's side.
"Gabrielle!", Xena's throat could barely make the sounds as she gathered the bard into her arms, tears already stinging her eyes. "No, please, Gabrielle, don't leave me, hang on!" Even as she spoke the words, Xena knew they were pointless, there would be no last-minute rescue this time. Desperately, she pressed a hand onto the wound, knowing it was a useless gesture. No matter how she tried to stem the gushing blood, it just forced its way through her fingers. She knew there was another wound in the back that was bleeding the same way, if not worse. Gabrielle had a few minutes at best. The bard's eyes were already glazing over but she tried valiantly to hold Xena's gaze.
"Xena..." her voice was so weak the warrior could barely hear it. She coughed weakly, and a stream of blood dribbled from her mouth. Xena instinctively reached to wipe it away before realising that her hands were covered too. Gabrielle's breath was coming in sharp, painful gasps as she struggled to hold on, fighting a losing battle for life. "Xena.."
"I'm here Gabrielle!" Xena choked out the words, tears now flowing unchecked down her cheeks.
"I love you Xena." Her voice was barely a whisper now, and the light that Xena loved so much was beginning to fade from the bard's eyes.
"Oh Gods Gabrielle I love you too! I always have and I always will!!" With a sob Xena pulled her partner closer, as if she could save her if she just held on tightly enough. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye and glanced up. One of their opponents had regained consciousness and was struggling to rise. Ever so gently, Xena laid Gabrielle back on the ground, whispering to her. "It's okay love, it's going to be okay. I'll be back with you soon, and everything will be alright, you'll see."
Even on the edge of death, Gabrielle couldn't miss the terrible intent in the warrior's eyes. Her gaze slid to the stunned soldier who had now regained his feet and was casting around for his blade. Her head shook weakly. "Xena no... no..." her words went unheard as Xena stood. Gabrielle watched in growing horror as the warrior ripped apart the buckles that held her armor in place. With a grim expression on her face Xena threw it to one side.
"Come on..." Xena whispered seductively, catching the attention of the soldier. The man picked up a discarded sword and turned to face her. "Come on!" Xena whispered again, her blade swaying hypnotically. The soldier gathered himself up, preparing to charge. "That's it!! Come on!! Come and get me you filthy bastard son of a whoremonger!!" As the soldier ran at her with an inarticulate yell, Xena screamed out all her hate and rage and grief. She raised her sword and struck, but it was all for show, for this was a fight she had no intention of winning. Allowing her sword to be knocked aside, Xena grinned in manic triumph as the enemy blade swung back and skewered her. Her scream turned into a strangled groan of pain, but part of her rejoiced as the blade slid into her. It angled up through her guts and she felt it hit her spine with a sickening thunk. She heard a noise and looked up, meeting the gaze of the grinning soldier. The man's face was a mixture of disbelief and joy at being the one to finally take down the mighty Warrior Princess. Now he looked into eyes like chips of pure ice and his triumphant smile faded. He could see his death there, and he instinctively tried to back away. It was already too late. As he began to step back and pull his blade free, Xena put all her remaining strength into swinging her left arm up and across her body. The chakram in her hand hissed through the air and sliced the soldier's neck open almost to the bone. The blade easily cut through flesh and gristle, spraying blood everywhere. The soldier fell to the ground, gurgling out his last breath.
Xena remained standing for a moment, swaying slightly. Then the pain hit her like a battering ram and she sank to her knees, coughing up a wave of blood. With a strange sort of detachment she felt her innards shift and a gush of warm wetness soaked her hands as they pressed against the gaping wound in her belly. Her heart sputtered and lurched in her chest and Xena knew that the blade had cut through the main artery leading down from her heart to her body. She had only moments to live, but that was all she needed, as there was only one thing left now to do. Slowly and painfully the warrior crawled back to her dying lover's side. One hand holding her belly, the other dragging her failing body across the grass, leaving a wet, reddened trail behind her.
"Gabrielle?" Praying she wasn't already too late, Xena slid one arm under her partner's shoulders, once again pulling the smaller woman close. Her heart gave another lurch as the green eyes opened to meet her own.
"Why?" Gabrielle's tear-filled eyes held the steel blue ones as she whispered the question.
"Don't you know... I can't live without you?" Xena gasped out the words around the fire in her guts. She welcomed the numbness slowly spreading in from her limbs and the black haze that crept in from the edges of her vision. "It's okay now... we don't have to be apart... we'll be together... forever... I love you Gabrielle..." Xena leaned forward and for one last time kissed her beloved tenderly and lovingly on the lips.
"I... love you too... Xena... see you on... the other... side..." Those were the last words Gabrielle uttered, though her arms slid around Xena's waist to grasp her weakly. Xena watched as the last glimmer of light faded from her soulmate's eyes. Then she slumped forward, her head resting on Gabrielle's shoulder, their life's-blood mingling on the ground beneath them. As her free arm automatically wrapped itself around her lover, Xena let out a final, peaceful sigh.
And thus, Xena, the Warrior Princess, and her beloved companion Gabrielle, the Bard of Poteidaia breathed their last, wrapped safe in each others arms.
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