Disclaimers: This contains parts of a scene from Adventures in the Sin Trade Part II. I’m only using them for a hurt/comfort story. If those kind of stories upset you, you may want to skip this all together. With that said . . .on to the story. . .
By CN Winters
Xena felt frozen. She could see her reflection in the shield. She grimaced and then clinched her white teeth – teeth as white as the snow that whipped around them on the mountain top. Slowly she allowed the Roman soldiers to lower her.
She looked over to Gabrielle – her light – the one that saw her through every battle of the last 12 years.
The bards body was bloody – her undergarments stained with wounds that seeped through. A sword mark scared her beautiful abs, still fresh with blood.
Xena watched helplessly as they tied Gabrielle’s legs. She ignored her own captors. She didn’t care about what they had in store for her. She only cared for her bard.
"Gabrielle. . ."
Xena paused as Gabrielle slowly turned her head to meet her. Their eyes locked. Both women knew this was the end – Their last battle.
The bard smiled sadly at the warrior, her short hair a reminder of the bards recent physical deterioration.
Two moons before, Gabrielle became ill – very ill – and couldn’t keep any nourishment down. She was dying from the inside out. Cutting her hair made for one less nuisance in her life.
Xena remembered when the bard first cut it. Gabrielle was so worried of Xena’s reaction. It was pointless, in light of all that was happening. But the warrior always told Gabrielle how much she enjoyed the feel of it running down the length of her body.
The bard always wanted to be ‘beautiful’ in Xena’s eyes. Xena, a woman of few words, told her just what she need to hear – she would desire her until the day they died. . .and beyond. Xena knew the day of reckoning had begun.
"You’re the best thing in my life," the warrior proclaimed softly.
Xena could see a light mist in Gabrielle’s eyes. And both women tried to reach for each other in vain, if only to touch one last time. Xena felt the lump in her throat at Gabrielle’s pained voice.
"I love you Xena."
After all the battles, after all the fights – external and from within themselves – they still survived. . .together. . .as one. . .because of love.
Xena felt the nail work it’s way into her flesh, but she still concentrated on Gabrielle’s face – that beautiful face . . . and that beautiful soul.
"I love you too Gabrielle. . ."
Xena paused as they finished the first nail.
"My only wish now," Xena continued holding back the pain in her hands, "is that you have no regrets."
Xena’s voice cracked. Her bottom lip trembled. Not from the pain in her body. She had moved past that. It was the pain in her heart. The idea that she brought on the bards demise was suffocating right now.
Gabrielle felt warm tears turn icy as they made there way down her cheeks.
"I could have stayed home Xena. . ." the bard began. "I could have been someone’s wife with six kids. But I’d be dying right now anyway. And truth be known, I find much more honor in being the lover of the warrior princess than a farmer’s wife. . .No Xena. I have no regrets."
Xena felt a calmness wash over her. An acceptance of her fate so to speak. Hours before were a different story though.
She led the battle for the Greek Army but there were just too many Romans to contend with. Gabrielle was forced into the battle. She became exhausted and collapsed in the snow. Xena tore the clothes from Gabrielle’s body as she lay motionless in the snow. Xena had to tend to Gabrielle’s wounds.
But when Xena looked up from examining the bard, she found them surrounded by at least 20 men. Gabrielle looked at Xena with an unspoken request. After all the years of fighting and the bards worsening condition, Xena understood. The warrior who swore she would die with a sword in her hand. . .dropped her weapon in the snow. . .and surrendered.
The lump returned to Xena’s throat and she couldn’t speak. She could only smile bitter-sweetly at the bards affirmation of love.
She watched Gabrielle turn to their captors. "Can I make a request?" she said softly.
The young guard nodded and listened quietly.
"Can you face us together? Instead of side by side?"
The guard seemed a bit shaken and unsure of the question and turned to his comrade who nodded.
"Sure," he said comfortingly. "We’ll do that."
Xena turned her head and she looked away. Tears began to stream down her chilled face. Not that she feared watching Gabrielle at this time. She didn’t. It was the bards abilities that moved her. . . Her bard. . .Gabrielle could always win people over, even the enemy so she could get her last wish – seeing Xena’s face before they left the world together.
They were raised soon after, joining the other captives who surrendered. But neither woman said a word. The time for words had passed. Finally, after hours on the cross, Gabrielle could feel the end approach; her life force oozing from her body like the blood from her hands.
"Xena?" she said using all her strength to lift her head.
The bards eyes locked on Xena’s once more and a smiled played on her bluing lips.
"Meet me in Eternity?"
The warrior princess, who received Amazon rights after their bonding years before, nodded the best she could.
"Eternity," Xena answered in a soft yet firm voice.
Upon hearing the answer Gabrielle slumped; her head hanging low.
The bard was gone and with her departure a sense of peace washed over Xena. No one could harm Gabrielle. The bard’s body would no longer ache. Now they would have ‘forever’ together, not worrying about who was left behind to deal with ‘earthly matters’.
Xena felt her spirit draining from her strong body.
"I’m right behind you," the warrior whispered as blackness began to claim her.
"I’m right behind you."