Disclaimers: These characters arenít mine. They belong to Mr. Tapert and Co. Iím just borrowing them to vent. Itís not a happy tale and it involves two women who once loved each other deeply. If either of these facts disturb you donít read this tale. Also it contains spoilers for the last few eps of season five.
This tale is set after "Motherhood".
I know what I have to do. I have to leave. Now. This wonít wait until dawn. If morning comes and Iím still here . . . I know sheíll talk me out of it, the same way she has many times before. Too many times actually.
Gabrielle checked to make sure her sais were in place and with her old satchel in one hand and her bedroll under her arm she walked out of the camp they set up at the beach that evening. Only thing she left behind was a parchment. Scribed inside was a simple statement, ĎI love you Xena but my life has no place in yours any longer. I see that now. Goodbye and good luck.í
The chatty bard has finally become the stoic warrior, Gabrielle thought bittersweetly as she had placed the scroll beside Xena. But thereís no need to ramble on. She knows. Sheís known for quite sometime now where things were heading but she did nothing to stop it.
And Eve . . . if sheís not the spiting image of BOTH her mothers . . . How many times did I wish I had the power to creating another human being with the great warrior princess? How many? 1000? 2000? The honor however went to Callisto, the woman that killed my husband. . . Xena has her daughter alright and I played no part whatsoever. . .No. . .Xena didnít acknowledge that I had a place in Eveís life. I spent months defending that child, laying my life down for that child, gave her my rite of caste. And what did Xena do? She scoffed at my every attempt in trying to create a family. . . She said we got OUR daughter back today. But today was just a little too late. . .Today, like many days this past year, was a living Hell. I canít live in Hell any longer.
Gabrielle continued her journey down the beach lost in her thoughts. I should have left sooner. I should have left in Egypt. Her attraction to Antony was almost more than I could handle. And her betrayal of him . . . well letís just say it didnít seem all that different than what Caesar had done to her years before - winning her affections and stabbing her in the back. Caesar was evil for doing that . . . what did that make Xena? Maybe Najara was right. . . In fact, maybe I should have left then.
As Gabrielle continued to walk she saw another figure heading toward her on the beach. She picked up her pace and within a few 100 yards she recognized the figure. And just when I couldnít feel any worse.
"Hello Gabrielle. Howís the head?"
Are you really up for chitchat now Gabrielle? "Fine. I didnít get the chance to thank you earlier. You didnít have to heal me too but you did." Gabrielle looked at the former god of war and began to grin. Look at that. Heís blushing. Ha ahh.
Ares played nervously with the scruff on his face. "Yeah well . . .You and Xena are a package deal and I accept that now. In fact I think it sounds pretty damn interesting."
Oh jeez, Gabrielle thought as she watched Aresí mind going off . . . imagining . . . well . . . she didnít want to know precisely what he was imaging but she had a fair assumption of what Ares found Ďinterestingí. She wasnít going to stick around to find out more.
"Hold up," he shouted and began to walk after her. "Where are you going?"
"Leaving? Just like that? Does Xena know?"
"Sheíll learn soon enough. Especially when you go back there, fall on one knee and propose. Sheís gotta thing for bad boys Ares but between you and I, I donít think Xenaís the marrying kind. Youíll just have to make do as her love toy - the position is official open now."
It took a lot to stun the god of war but he looked truly mystified as Gabrielle continued along the beach. "Wait a minute," he called jogging up after her. Gabrielle stopped again releasing a long sigh. "You canít just walk away."
"Yes I can," Gabrielle countered. "Watch me."
"Hey," he said as he grabbed her arm halting any movement. "Look Iím not good at these sensitive chat things . . . Whereís Dite when I need her?" he muttered under his breath.
Gabrielle and Ares turned to see a glittering shower quickly transform into the Goddess of Love.
"Iíve been following you for awhile Ares. You look pretty pathetic by the way," she jabbed.
"Can we put the sib rivalry on hold a moment here?" he asked.
Aphrodite cocked her head and examined Ares. He was actually being . . . sincere.
"Whatís up?" she asked taking a new interest in the conversation.
"Sheís leaving Xena," he stated flatly looking for support.
"I donít blame her," was the response. Ares eyes widened and Gabrielle pointed to Dite in a ĎSee? She agreesí manner.
"Thank you," Gabrielle nodded to Aphrodite. "Iíll be on my way now."
"If you go, it will kill Xena," Ares argued.
Gabrielle continued on her way as she spoke with the siblings who were following her. "Xenaís a strong woman. She hasnít needed me for sometime now. I however will die if I stay with her. You can only survive so many chakrams to the head before you realize enough is enough."
"She was protecting Eve," Ares argued.
Protecting Eve my ASS! "I noticed you didnít get an open head wound for going after Eve so donít give me that shit Ares! I donít believe it for a second!"
Gabrielle picked up the pace while the two of them continued to follow. "That was different," she heard Ares whine behind her.
"How so?" Gabrielle countered as she spun around.
Ares immediately looked to Dite hoping sheíd toss him a line. The goddess just folded her arms and smirked. "Weíre waiting," Dite ribbed her brother.
Ares ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "Women!" he yelled. Gabrielle slapped him in the chest with the back of her hand as they heard the noise vibrate through the area.
"Keep it down. Youíll wake her up," Gabrielle said pointing back to the camp.
Ares got a glimmer in his eyes and Gabrielle regretted putting the idea in his head. She pulled her sais as Ares took a deep breath to yell again.
"Do it and your life as a mortal will be reallllly short."
Dite stepped between them, placing a hand on each of their shoulders. "Settle down boys and girls. Nobodyís gonna start yelling like a child for their warrior princess and nobody is gonna slit the throat of an ex-god, okay? Sheesh!"
"She started it," Ares muttered like a spoiled child.
"This is so idiotic," Gabrielle sighed. "Can I go now?" she asked Dite.
"Look," Dite began speaking to Gabrielle, "I donít blame you for wanting to leave. There have been many times lately when sheís barely acknowledged you. There have been times when sheís been . . . less than attentive-."
"Less than attentive? She was willing to walk away from me because I wanted to rule a village and all because she was Ďboredí. Another amazon wanted to be her new Ďsidekickí and Xena took advantage of that by turning her into a maid for the afternoon, all the while misleading me into thinking she wanted to settle down with me. You call that less than attentive!"
"No. I call that stupid." All three of them turned around to see Xena standing in her battle dress, armorless. "I canít deny I did all those things. But I also read your scrolls as I had promised. And I came to my senses and realized . . . I need you in my life."
"You might need me but you donít want me," Gabrielle argued. "I donít think a Ďneedyí relationship is best for either of us Xena. I want a lover who WANTS me in her life and frankly Iíve felt like a nuisance. Iím tired of feeling like Iím asking too much of you. Iím tired that every attempt I make to get closer is seen as trying to control you or manipulate you. Iím tired of watching you and Eve and feeling like an outsider. . . Thatís a terrible way to live. I canít live that way any longer."
"We can change things-."
"You said that after we left the amazons remember?. . .What did I get in return? Huh? A ringside seat to watch you fuck Antony and a chakram upside the head? Pardon me if Iím a little leery with the Ďchange thingsí attitude. Itís been months Xena and nothingís changed."
"I donít want you to leave," Xena said trying to step closer.
"It wouldnít matter if I left Xena," Gabrielle retorted. "Thatís the problem. My exist . . . it doesnít mean much when it comes to your future."
"Gabrielle . . . Youíre my soulmate," Xena tired in a final attempt.
"We WERE soulmates. But we havenít been soulmates in a very long time. Apparently souls can have a change of heart too . . . Goodbye Xena."
Donít do it. Donít start crying now. Just turn and walk away. Keep walking. Thatís it. Keep walking. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. . . .
Xena imploringly looked at Dite for help but the goddess showed no sign that she would intervene. Xena realized sheíd sealed her own fate and all the potions and spells and arrows werenít going to change that fact. Besides sheíd always wanted the bards love and not an illusion.
"Iím sorry," Dite offered sincerely before transporting away in a flash of light.
The wind picked up, leaving Xena and Ares alone on the beach. Finally Ares spoke, "Mind if I camp with you tonight? Iím kind of stuck for a place to stay and Iím not quite sure where Iím going from here."
Xena grinned bittersweetly.
"Come on. That makes two of us."
CONTINUED IN PART II: DENIAL