Watching and waiting
Disclaimers: These characters aren't mine. I'm not sure who actually owns them. Last I heard it was Universal. Anyway, I'm just borrowing them for my (and hopefully readers) amusement. This is my first solo project in nearly two years so be gentle please and send your grips to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send compliments there as well too.
She's kissing her, my Gabrielle. That Amazon harlot. Paria – what kinda name is Paria anyway? It sounds like the name of some foreign land and not a person.
Playing the voyeur of Gabrielle's life is getting harder, especially since that Paria came into her life. She's a few summers younger than Gabrielle - strong build, dark hair and blue eyes. Okay, she's gorgeous, no question about it. She also does something that other people haven't been able to do in the 14 months I've left Gabrielle's side. She makes Gabrielle smile. I should be absolutely happy for her. For both, of them. I would if this damn gnawing sensation would go away in my stomach.
But then again, it is for the best. I know it is. I don't want to see her lonely. I don't want her to go through life not sharing herself with someone who loves her. I want her to be kissed and held and loved. If ever a soul deserved it, then it's Gabrielle. I just wish I could be the one to do it. But now it's too late. I made my choice. I controlled my fate. It sent me here – watching her from afar, wishing I was the one now whose lying back in the meadow, tickling her chin with daisies, making her smile. But I can't. I'm here. I'm trapped. And I'm forced to watch PARIA build a life with Gabrielle that I should have stuck around for.
I used to visit her but it got to be too much…too much for both of us. That trip to Athens. That was the last straw. They almost committed Gabrielle for being crazy. Anyone walking the streets and talking to dead lovers surely must be a wacko, right? She escaped imprisonment that night…barely. I knew I had to go then. I couldn't keep hanging on to her. It had been almost a year since I died on Japa. I couldn't continue to 'haunt' her any longer. I told her I loved her and that she'd see me again someday but she needed to move on. It felt like a good idea at the time. As I sit and watch her now I realize dying was easy. It's eternity that's a bitch.
I feel someone approach behind me and I know it's George. I can sense his presence.
"I thought I'd find you here," he says taking a seat next to me.
"Got nowhere else to be," I tell him.
"It hurts you so Xena," he says sympathetically. He's a good angel, as if there's any other kind, right? Still, he's a sweetheart. "Why do you watch?"
"I need to know she's okay." It's true. Even if it does hurt. And even if watching her fall in love again…I know it's the best thing for her. I know deep down I really am happy for her. It's the 'upfront' part of me that's having a problem with it all.
"Well, I wanted you to know…it's almost time. Just a few more minutes in fact. Your new body awaits."
"And then I won't see her again. I won't know her. I'll have no memory of her…She'll be gone forever won't she?"
"Not forever," George tells me. "Your souls are connected. You know that. You'll find her in every life. I promise. The face will always change but the spirit will remain the same. Just as it has for hundreds of years now. In fact we seem to have this conversation over and over again."
I look and I see his grin. I can't help but grin myself. "And each time…?"
"I give you this same speech," he says faking exhaustion before grinning again. "So if it sounds pickled you know why. My lines are very old and well preserved let me tell you."
I look back toward Gabrielle and her new lover with a nod. "So what about this lifetime? What's in store for Gabrielle? Not like I'll remember…I'd just like to know. I mean…will it be a long time before I met her again. Will she pass peacefully?"
He holds up his hand and stops me.
"It will be sometime Xena before you met again. She builds a life with Paria and they'll be happy for many years. Just shy of her 50th birthday she'll become ill. There will be some pain for her but Paria will be a faithful servant to her, making sure she has healing herbs to cure the pain. She'll cross over peacefully in her sleep."
"So I guess I'll have awhile before I met her then?"
"She'll make the jump immediately this time around. But yes it will be some time before you meet. You'll be a wise, old woman by the time she comes into your life again."
"The mother of peace?"
George gets a surprised look on his face that makes me grin. "How did you-?"
"I've got connections," I grin as I pat his leg.
I feel my spirit start to flutter and glow. Quickly I turn to George, "Please. Will you visit her? Tell her I'm gone but I'm happy for her. Tell her I've made the jump. I don't want her hanging onto the fact that someday I might come back."
"Someday you will come back to her Xena," he grins. "But yes, I'll let her know your new life has begun."
"You're a good friend George," I tell him. "Maybe one of these lives Gabrielle and I will get it right and join you here for good."
"I have no doubt it WILL happen. Be well my friend."
Suddenly I feel an explosion of light and then…
Gabrielle and Paria scrambled to their feet at the vision that transformed before them. George halted his movements when he saw he had frightened them on his arrival.
"Please," he began. "Don't be afraid. I'm a friend."
Protectively, Paria steps in front of Gabrielle, blocking him from coming closer.
"Who are you?" Paria asks. "What do you want?"
"I bring a message…for Gabrielle."
"From who?" Gabrielle questioned.
He grinned, "Do you really need to ask?" he begins as he flutters his wings. "She wanted you to know that she's been watching you." Gabrielle started to get a guilty look on her face. "Don't. She understands. She's glad you're building your life again. And she wanted me to tell you that it's begun."
"What's begun?" Paria asked the angel. She turned to Gabrielle. "Who is he talk-?"
"Xena," Gabrielle answered. "She's started a new lifetime?"
George simply gave a nod.
"So she's gone…for good?"
"From this lifetime yes….She wanted you to know."
"Thank you," Gabrielle replied.
"Do her memory proud Gabrielle," he said nodding to Paria. "Live honestly, love deeply and don't hold anything back…ever."
With that George vanished as quickly as he appeared. Paria started to shake her head.
"That was incredible," she muttered. She turned back to see Gabrielle's bottom lip quivering and tears in her eyes. She didn't waste any time pulling the Amazon queen in her arms. "Are you alright sweetheart?"
Gabrielle pulled back and began to pace. "I always wondered…if she would come back. And I haven't been fair to you Paria. I'm sorry. I just kept thinking about what she would say."
"I know you're sad-."
"I'm not sad," Gabrielle started to chuckle as she wiped her eyes. "I'm very happy actually."
"Why's that? Because Xena won't ever come back?" Paria was clearly confused. She knew how much Xena had meant to her and at moments she had serious doubts if she could live in the huge shadow that Xena left behind in Gabrielle's life. But she knew Gabrielle was worth the risk that might come to her heart should Gabrielle decide she couldn't love her.
"No it's not because she won't come back…It's because now… Now, I know I can move on. And I know that's what she wants too…That's if you'll have me. I really want to try. I know I'm not the easiest person to live with and-."
Paria grinned and closed the distance between them. She lifted Gabrielle's chin with her fingertips and kissed her lightly on the lips. "I'm honored. And I promise I'll try my best to make you happy. Lord knows I'm not a warrior princess," she chuckled nervously. "And I know I never could be…but…I'll be happy to serve an Amazon queen."
Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Paria, resting her head on her chest. She felt Paria's arms envelop her. Her skin felt warm. For the first time, in a long time, Gabrielle herself felt warm again.