Disclaimers: The characters Xena and Gabrielle are owned by StudiosUSA,
and are used here without permission. This is a work of Sapphic fiction.
Setting: This story takes place immediately after the sixth
season episode Return of the Valkyrie
Ever so lonely
Ever so lonely without you
Ever so lonely
Sink into your eyes and all I see
Love is an ocean
And you for me
Gabrielle tapped her quill to her teeth, and frowned at
her parchment. Then her face relaxed and she looked up. "Hey Xena, love
is an ocean. What should come after that?"
Xena was in the process of adjusting the saddle on her
new horse, and cast a sideways glance at her bard. "What's in an ocean?
I don't know. Seaweed?"
"Not exactly the imagery I was looking for," Gabrielle
replied, getting up off her log, "but thanks anyway."
Xena adjusted the bridle a bit and stepped back, gesturing
grandly at the horse for Gabrielle to see.
Gabrielle looked over their new steed, a palamino. The
farmhorse had to be at least eleven years old, and had a big belly where
muscles should be. "You traded your royal comb for this?"
Xena nodded, looking back to the horse. "I don't think
she'll be charging into battle anytime soon, but she'll get us back
"I still wish we had those flying steeds." Gabrielle muttered,
rolling up her scroll. "We'd be back in Greece in a fortnight."
"Only if I agreed to become a Valkyrie again." Xena said.
"And frankly I've had enough of being bossed around. I'd rather boss
"Uh huh." Gabrielle replied as Xena mounted and helped
her soulmate up. The horse complained at the added weight.
"Xena, are you sure she can carry both of us?"
"You're free to walk." the warrior scoffed, taking the
reins. Gabrielle's arms snaked around her waist.
"But you're sooo warm..." Gabrielle murmured, her breath
warming Xena's ear.
Xena shook the reins and clicked her teeth at the horse.
"Let's get a move on before you give me other ideas."
They rode for awhile in silence, the soft morning fog
dissipating before the sun. A year had passed since they travelled thus,
together as if nothing had happened. In large part, nothing had. Xena
had lost her memory after donning the ring of the Rheingold, and nearly
married the king of Denmark in the process. Gabrielle had smitten one
of Odin's Valkyrie, who turned herself into a living flame to protect
her in deathless sleep. Now Odin had his ring and they had their lives,
and it was enough.
"So, what's the inspiration for the scroll?" Xena finally
asked. "It's been a long time since you've wanted to write."
Gabrielle paused before answering, leaning back in the
saddle. "I know, that's kind of the reason I started. When I was a tender
age, I'd write silly love poetry nonstop. Drove my sister crazy reading
it to her."
Xena patted her thigh. "You're still tender, here and
there. Read me what you've written."
Gabrielle read the verse she had, and Xena whistled. "Doesn't
"It doesn't have to rhyme!" Gabrielle replied. "It's open
Xena chuckled. "Just getting a rise out of you, that's
all. You're so easy."
Gabrielle stayed silent.
"Love is an ocean..." Xena repeated, mulling it over.
"It's mysterious, and distant. I guess being asleep all that time gave
you time to dream."
"I dreamed," Gabrielle said, trying to remember, "but
I think it was the same dream over and over again. I think if I had
been been able to think clearly, I would have found it frustrating.
But I'm remembering bits of it."
"More of feelings than places or things I did." Gabrielle
responded, nearly dropping the scroll as the horse struggled to extricate
its hooves from the muddy road. "I hate traveling through Germany."
"I'm just glad to be out of Denmark." Xena said over her
shoulder. "We'll take the road south to Marseille, and then we'll sail
"Sardinia sounds good." Gabrielle nodded. "I'd as soon
not cross the Rubicon."
"Likewise." Xena said in a low voice, as they began moving
again. A Roman highway marker loomed ahead. "So uh, it's a love scroll?"
"I'm thinking more along the lines of obsession." the
blonde replied. "The thing Brunhilda did for me..."
Xena winced. "I feel a stick in my craw. You're not going
to hold this over my head, are you?"
Gabrielle hummed. "Don't mix metaphors. I'm tempted, really.
But you walked through the fire for me, remember? Kind of hard to forget."
"Brunhilda was pretty obsessed alright." the blonde wondered,
shaking her head.
"And she wasn't the only one." Xena reminded her. "There
was Beowulf and a whole year's worth of love-struck Vikings trying to
Gabrielle laughed. "That must have been a sight. Weren't
there enough blondes in the North to obsess over?"
"You are an obsession." Xena said simply as the
"And I'm supposed to be flattered by that?" Gabrielle
said, holding on for dear life. "Some people become obsessed with what
they can't control. Brunhilda was like that."
"Well that rules me out, I could never control you."
"Ha ha." Gabrielle dead-panned.
They were silent for a time, and Xena spoke up. "You want
to break for lunch?"
"No, let's ride until noon." Gabrielle sighed, resting
her head against her love.
Sink into your eyes
are all I see
Your love is an ocean
An ocean refuses no river
Ever so lonely
An ocean refuses no river
Waiting for the time when we can be alone together
"Nice boots, you guys selling polish?"
Xena looked up at the faces of the Roman soldiers in front
"You've got a smart mouth, considering you're talking
to the Ninth Expeditionary Legion." the soldier replied. "I asked you
who you were and what your destination is."
"My destination is to be far away from here." Xena said
levelly, her hand dropping to her sword hilt. "As for who I am, you
really don't want to know."
The soldiers were startled by a creaking sound from behind
Xena, as her companion leaned into view with a longbow aimed squarely
at their leader.
The soldier went white, but quickly recovered his composure.
"Be off with you then."
Xena slowly walked the horse past them as they stepped
aside, their expressions saying it all. Her companion relaxed her grip
only when they were some distance away.
"Well that was a surprise." the blonde said, putting her
arrow away. "You didn't even bruise him."
"I can be discrete at times." Xena said, fixing the road
with her glare. "The next group of rude soldiers may not be so lucky."
"If you want, we can ride back there and thrash them."
"We'll ride through them, I'll decapitate their leader."
Xena described. "You'll disarm one of his men, and the other will rap
you in the back. Afterwards I'll tend your wounds, and you'll write
one of your 'hurt/comfort' stories about the whole thing."
"Lay off of my writing," Gabrielle chided, "I can always
revise my glowing descriptions of your exploits."
"Read me what you've got of your poem so far." Xena prompted.
Gabrielle read her new verses carefully, full of longing
and feeling, and waited for Xena's response.
"I like it." Xena replied at some length.
"You do?!" Gabrielle asked, astonished. "You never like
my poetry, rhyming or otherwise."
"It's full of flowery nonsense," Xena said, "but it's
sad, too. I like sad stuff."
"Thanks!" Gabrielle mocked. "I'll try to be more depressing."
"You ask for my take, you get it." Xena said simply, spurring
the horse faster. "Go ahead and write your happy stuff, if you want."
Gabrielle glared at the back of Xena's head.
Xena inspected the horse's hoof, and set it to the ground
"How far are we from Marseille?" Gabrielle asked.
"About a week." Xena replied, stroking the horse's cheek.
"We'll have to walk the rest of the way alongside her."
"Maybe we'll find you a new farmer to live with." Gabrielle
said to the horse, offering her an apple. She snapped her hand away
as the horse took it in one swallow. "You're welcome, sheesh."
Xena tethered the horse to a tree. They sat down against
it as a soft snow was falling. Gabrielle snuggled closer to Xena, and
then abruptly sat up. She stood and faced the warrior.
"Xena, are you still in love with me?" Gabrielle asked,
her hands on her hips.
"Where, where did this come from?" Xena asked, amusement
crossing her face. Then her expression changed. "Of course I am."
"What?" Xena asked.
"I said say it." Gabrielle asked again.
Xena blinked. "I love you."
Gabrielle nodded, dropping her hands. "I know. I've always
Xena rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Then why ask?"
Gabrielle took a deep breath. "We've traveled together
for years, all this time I've written and talked about the love we share.
Yes, the flowery happy stuff as you put it."
"You've written about it enough, haven't you." Xena said
simply, looking away. She had a sudden desire to feel every curve of
the tree roots.
"What's that supposed to mean? Are you saying it wasn't
Xena fixed her gaze on her, and got up. "Yes it is flowery
nonsense, of course it isn't real."
The blonde stepped back a bit. "What do you mean?"
"Gabrielle," Xena emphasized her name, "you've always
held me up to an impossibly high standard, you've written and talked
about a perfect love, two soulmates and destiny and all that."
"I'm a real person, Gabrielle. I can't live up to the
ideal you've set for us." Xena repeated. "I've tried to do my best by
you, but the 'ideal love' you write about is only in your mind. Ink
on a page."
"It's real to me." Gabrielle said softly. "Even if it
doesn't describe a day in our lives. It should be real."
Xena smiled at her confused bard. "Don't you get it? That's
the whole point. Such love doesn't exist, Gabrielle. It never did."
"I'm not following you."
"No one can achieve the kind of love you write about."
Xena replied, taking Gabrielle's hand in hers. "But you believe in that
flowery nonsense, you make it real for the both of us. That's what matters.
Even if I don't believe it myself."
Tears welled up in the bard's eyes. "I never knew... Why
didn't you just say so?"
"And stand in the way of your flowery prose?" Xena said
seriously, and then smiled. "You inspire me, my bard."
"I'm glad." Gabrielle said, wiping her eyes.
Xena sat back down, and her companion joined her. Xena
stroked her hair, now long again. "We've seen the future, Gabrielle.
Whether in heaven, hell, or some new life, we'll be together in some
"Now who's getting flowery..." the bard breathed as she
snuggled against her. Her breath caught as she felt Xena reaching into
There was a rustling sound as Xena fished the scroll from
Gabrielle's shirt. She handed it to the bard. "Now finish your poem."
Somewhat disappointed, Gabrielle sat up and tapped her
quill to her tongue.
The ocean, your ocean
refuses no river
ever so lonely
ever so lonely without you
refuses no river
--- The End ---
Reference:Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean by Sheila
Chandra, from her album Weaving My Ancestors' Voices.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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