Disclaimer: I do not own Xena Warrior Princess or any of the characters. Xena and Gabrielle are my friends --- and you cant own your friends.
Violence:Naw---none in this one.
Subtext:No---its Maintext! Xena and Gabrielle love each other. If the idea of two women who love each other more than life itself bothers you, then dont read my stories.
Spoilers:At this point what could I spoil? This is, however, another in what has become my "series". Youll probably understand it better if you go back and read my other stories.
About Me:I am a 50 year old Xenite, and proud of it! I am also not gay (I always add this so the gay-bashers will slither away). I do, however, truly believe that love is love---the package you find it in isnt important. If you can find your true Soulmate, you are truly lucky in this world.
A Special Thank You:To Mary D at AUSXIP for continuing to make my dreams come true. I am so blessed to have been accepted as one of your Bards. To Ginny who wrote my first Fan Letter and has become my dearest friend---As Life takes Its natural path to the end of our roads, well find each other "When the Time Comes". To all of you who read my stories, and to those who have taken time to write to me---thank you so much!
I always welcome comments. You can reach me at
When the Time Comes
Gabrielle opened her eyes very slowly, blinking several times so that they could adjust to the room around her. It was still rather dark, but one thing she could see---the other side of the bed was empty. Where could Xena be? It wasnt like her to be up so early. Gabrielle knew she had not been feeling well lately. She was sleeping longer now. She should still be in bed. But telling Xena what to do was like talking to a stone wall sometimes.
Still, Gabrielle was worried about her Soulmate. She slowly sat up and pushed her legs off the bed until her feet touched the floor. She groaned as she pushed herself to stand. The old joints didnt loosen up as quickly anymore. She was wearing a heavy linen sleep shift, but she still slipped on the robe laying at the bottom of the bed. She minded the cold these days. No more halter tops and bare midriffs. Not for a long time now.
As she walked around the end of the bed, she caught sight of herself in the mirror hanging on the wall. What a shame that mirrors hadnt been invented when she was young. She gazed at the woman staring back at her. Her hair was short, but the blonde was now replaced with white. Her eyes were still emerald green, but deep lines came out from the corners and down her face. Her smile was still full of warmth, but again there were lines curving down from the corners of her mouth. Her body was still fairly slim, but it just didnt work like it used to. The muscles had weakened long ago. Well, she was an old lady now. That was to be expected.
Gabrielle shuffled out into the main room of their house looking for Xena. "Where is that old woman!" she mumbled out loud. But the house was empty. She opened the front door and took a step outside. The morning air was chilly, and she made sure the robe was tightly closed across her chest.
Xena was sitting in the double rocker on the front porch. Gabrielles mouth pulled into a smile. She was rocking slowly and quietly humming to herself. Xenas long black hair was now almost all silver, but there were a few black strands to remind her of the "old days". Her face and body had more wrinkles than Gabrielle, but she was older, and she had lived a much harder life in her long past.
"What are you doing out here in the cold?" Gabrielle said, walking toward her slowly.
Xena looked up at her Soulmate and smiled. Her blue eyes still sparkled, and the love she felt for Gabrielle radiated on her face. "I wanted to see the sunrise," she answered. Her voice was not as strong as it used to be. Gabrielle had been aware that her appetite had not been good lately. She picked at her food as if it had become a chore to eat. She had developed a bad cough. She tried to hide it from Gabrielle, but one day during a particularly bad coughing spell, Gabrielle had seen blood on her lips. She knew this was not a good sign. But she also knew there was nothing that could be done. They were just too old now.
It broke her heart to see Xenas health failing. She knew that she was going to lose her Soulmate---and probably soon. But she tried to keep up a cheerful outlook---for Xenas sake. She knew that whenever Xena would finally leave her, she would follow soon after. Neither of them was afraid of death. They had faced it many times over the years. They had died and come back. They had been to the Elysian Fields together. And it had been beautiful. There was no fear of the future that lay before them.
Xena took her wrinkled, weathered hand out of the pocket of her black robe and patted the seat next to her. "Sit, my Love. Watch it with me."
Gabrielle lowered her body slowly next to Xena, and snuggled up tightly against her, leaning her head against her shoulder. "You shouldnt be out here, Old Woman." She said, grasping Xenas hand gently in her own.
"Dont you Old Woman me!" she said sternly, but her blue eyes twinkled. She knew that Gabrielle was not being mean. "Gabrielle---I was thinking."
"About what, my Love?" she asked, entwining her fingers gently with Xenas.
Xena began to rock the chair slowly. "Did you ever think wed last so long?"
"What a silly question. Of course. Didnt you?"
"Almost 40 years," she said, grasping Gabrielles hand tightly.
Gabrielle raised her face and gently kissed Xenas wrinkled cheek. "A wonderful 40."
Xena smiled. "I can still remember the first day I ever saw you." She laughed hoarsely. "You stood up to those slavers---and I knew you were somebody special."
"Never sorry I ran away with you, Xena."
"My memory held up, Gabrielle," she said proudly. "The body is gone, but I remember it all. Im glad of that. So glad."
Gabrielle nodded. "Me too. Weve been so lucky, Xena."
Xena slowly put her arm around Gabrielles shoulders. "I wonder how daughter is. How long has it been now since she was here?"
"Only a week, Xena," she reminded her. Gabrielle knew that while Xenas memories of the past were clear, she sometimes got confused on things in the present. She patted her hand. "You know shes busy on the Tribal Council."
"Whod have thought our daughter would be able to bring all the Amazon tribes together."
"Well, shes been a good Queen." Gabrielle smiled as she thought of their daughter and all she had accomplished.
Xena patted her hand. "She had a good teacher, Gabrielle."
"Are you ever sorry she married an Amazon, Xena?"
She gave Gabrielles hand a squeeze. "I married an Amazon, didnt I? And a Queen, too. Oh, shes so happy, Gabrielle. You can see it in their faces. Just like we were."
"And still are, eh Xena?" Gabrielle said smiling.
Xena kissed her forehead. "Ill always love you, Gabrielle."
"Me too, my Love."
Xena coughed a few times. It wasnt a bad attack this time, but Gabrielle held her tightly as her body shook. Xena knew she was not in good shape. She was failing rather quickly now. She could still remember the days when she could summersault with ease. She could wield her heavy sword swiftly and accurately. She could ride Argo at a full gallop for hours, and neither of them would tire. Argo had passed away long ago. She was buried out by the lake, but Xena couldnt even visit her any more. She still missed her every day. So many things had changed.
Gabrielle was so good to her. She had always been so good to her. But now since her health had been failing, she didnt seem to let Xena get too far away from her. In her younger days, she had wanted to do everything herself. Now she was glad for the attention Gabrielle paid to her.
The sun was just appearing over the horizon. "Look Gabrielle," Xena said, pointing a thin finger out past the dirt road leading to Amphipolis. "Isnt it beautiful?"
"Yes, it certainly is," agreed her Warrior-Bard.
Xena smiled weekly. "Its a new beginning." She patted Gabrielles hand. "My Love, can you help me inside?"
Gabrielle raised her hand to her lips and kissed it tenderly. She rose slowly to her feet. Xena got up stiffly, and drew in a deep breath as a jolt of pain pierced her chest. "Its bad today?" Gabrielle asked, putting an arm around her waist.
Xena only smiled. Gabrielle knew the answer. They moved slowly and stiffly back into the house, supporting each other until they got back into the bedroom. Xena made her way to the closet, opened the door and began to take out her leather dress, breastplate, armbands, gauntlets, and greaves. Her shape hadnt changed so much---except that she had lost weight and her well toned muscles were long gone.
"Xena---youre dressing?" Gabrielle asked quietly.
She nodded, letting her robe slip to the floor. "Its time, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle swallowed hard. "Xena .."
"No," she said, stiffly removing her heavyweight sleeping shift. "Its time." Her once strong body was thin and wrinkled. Very slowly, she found the strength to dress herself.
Gabrielle knew not to help her with this. They had planned for this moment long ago. She removed her own clothing from the dresser drawer, and managed to struggle into her old red halter top and red shorts. The color was now faded from age. She pulled on her boots, and slipped her once shiny sais into place.
She looked at Xena. In front of her now was not an old woman. She saw her Warrior Princess again. It had been many years since she had worn her full dress leathers and armor. The brass wasnt shiny anymore. Xenas hands pained her too much to polish it.
Xena smiled at Gabrielle. "Like the old days, eh Gabrielle?"
"The old days," Gabrielle repeated, returning the smile warmly.
She tilted her head to one side. "Are you sure you want to do this, Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle walked close to her, and looked up into her eyes. "Yes, my Love."
Xena leaned down and kissed her lips warmly and gently. The kiss was broken when she began to cough. Gabrielle held her as she almost doubled over from the pain. When she stood, there was blood on her lips. Gabrielle took her shift from the bed, and wiped Xenas mouth carefully. Xena smiled.
She picked up her tarnished sword and chakram, and carried them with her to the bed. Xena and Gabrielle slowly settled themselves on top of the bed. Xena lay propped up high with pillows behind her back and her head. She lay her sword and chakram beside her. Gabrielle moved in close against her body, and lay her head against Xenas shoulder, putting her arm around her waist.
"We did good, didnt we Gabrielle?" asked Xena, stroking her white hair.
Gabrielle patted her side gently. "We sure did."
"My Love, are you sure you want to do this?"
"Where you go, I go. Now, you know we already went over this, Xena. I cant be alone here---without you." Gabrielle looked up into the face that she had always loved. "Youve been my life, Xena."
Xena smiled, and tried to hide the pain that shot through her chest. "My life didnt begin till I met you. Remember, Gabrielle---remember the lake."
"And the rocks. The rocks by the lake where we made love." Gabrielle kissed her hand tenderly. "Ill find you, my Love."
"Ill be ..Ill be waiting for you." Xena said, holding her Soulmate close. They lay in silence in each others arms. When Gabrielle heard Xena sigh deeply, and felt her arms loosen around her, she looked up into her face. Xenas eyes were closed. The lines and wrinkles didnt seem so harsh now. She was no longer in any pain. She was at peace.
Gabrielle smiled and gently kissed her cheek. There were no tears to shed because she knew this was not going to be a sad day. This was the day they had both been waiting for for some time now. Not moving from Xenas arms, Gabrielle said aloud quietly, "Ares---will you come to us?"
In the blink of an eye, Ares, the God of War appeared in the bedroom. While they had grown old and weak, he was still the same. He was still tall, dark and handsome, dressed in his black and silver armor. He looked sadly down at Xena as she lay on the bed. It had been so hard for him to watch her grow old as the years passed. And now, he knew that she was gone. He walked over to the bed, leaned down, and gently kissed her lips. He had loved her. He had always loved her.
As he backed away, Gabrielle saw the pain in his eyes. "Ares---youll see us again. I know you will."
"Are you sure you still want to do this, Gabrielle?" he asked quietly.
Gabrielle stroked Xenas arm gently. "I have to go with her. Its always been that way."
"I know," he said gently. Xena and Gabrielle had been destined to be together from the first day that they met. They couldnt live apart in life. They shouldnt be apart in death. He sat beside Gabrielle on the edge of the bed and smiled at the once blonde Bard. He cared about her very much. Even though he was the God of War, these two women had won his heart, and had loved him as their friend. In all his years, no one else had ever called him "friend".
Gabrielle lay her wrinkled hand on his leg. "Youll fetch our daughter?"
"And youll both have a proper Amazon funeral," he promised, nodding his head.
She smiled. "Youve been a good friend, Ares."
He smiled, leaned over, and gently kissed her cheek. "So have you, Gabrielle." Ares grasped her frail hand in his carefully. "Are you ready?"
"Oh, yes," she answered, snuggling against Xenas body.
"It wont hurt," he promised.
Gabrielle smiled. "I know youd never hurt me, Ares. Let me go to her."
Ares, the God of War, smiled at his friend and tightened his grip slightly on her hand. Gabrielle began to feel very sleepy. She closed her eyes, and pressed her face against Xenas shoulder. As she was drifting off, she could feel her heartbeats slowing down. But there was no pain. There was only a beautiful, calming feeling of peace.
Gabrielle ran up to the top of the green hill and, once at the top, raised her face up into the bright warm sunlight. It felt so good on her skin. She ran her hand through her short blonde hair, and looked for a moment down at her body. Her shorts and halter top were bright with color. Her silver jewelry gleamed in the sun. Her arms, legs, and bare midriff were smooth and tanned. She was young again.
The Elysian Fields was just as she had remembered. It looked the same as when she had allowed herself to die so that she could find Xena so many years ago. The trees, grass, flowers, sky---the colors were so beautiful. The smells were so wonderful.
She shielded her eyes from the sun, and gazed down into the valley below. She saw the lake and the rocks where she and Xena had camped and made love before traveling to the afterlife world of Higuchi. Gabrielle squinted. A figure was sitting on one of the boulders. A figure wearing gleaming armor. Gabrielle began to walk down the hill, then broke into a run. She hadnt run in years. She felt so free---so reborn.
Xena stood and waved. Her hair was long and black, her skin bronzed. Her arms and legs were well muscled. Her face was young and beautiful. Her smile was warmer than the sun. Her breastplate, sword, and chakram and all the brass was gleaming---and so were her beautiful blue eyes.
Gabrielle stopped about ten feet from her, and just took in the vision of her Soulmate. "What kept you?" Xena asked, smiling. Oh gods, her smile was so spectacular.
"I I gods, Xena---youre beautiful!" she stammered, raising her arms out from her sides in disbelief. But she remembered that Xena had also been beautiful when she had found her here before. And that was after the samurai had torn her body with swords and arrows, and cut off her head. Yes, this was death. But this was the Elysian Fields.
"You dont look so bad yourself," Xena said allowing her eyes to roam up and down the renewed body of her Soulmate.
"Will we stay like this?" Gabrielle asked excitedly.
"For eternity," Xena answered, opening her arms to her Warrior-Bard.
Gabrielle ran into her arms and hugged her tightly. "I love you, Xena."
Xena held her in her arms and kissed her. "I love you, Gabrielle---for eternity."
Gabrielle heard Xenas voice calling her name softly and sweetly. She felt Xenas arms around her. Slowly, she became aware that the voice was growing louder. She opened her eyes slowly---and saw a pair of beautiful blue eyes looking back at her. "Xena?" she said with a gasp. "Youre alive!"
"Not for long if you keep squeezing me so tight!" Xena replied in a grumbling tone of voice.
Gabrielle became aware that she was laying on top of Xena. It was, and always had been, her favorite place to sleep. Their bodies were naked in the soft feather bed. Gabrielle had her arms around Xenas body, and she was holding her tightly. She freed one hand and touched Xenas face timidly, as if afraid she was only still dreaming. "Youre alive!" she repeated, amazed that she felt the warmth of her skin against her hand.
Xena stroked her hair gently. "Bad dream?"
"Oh, no! A good dream!" she said pressing her face against Xenas breast. "I saw us---old. And we were still together. And .and ."
Xena continued to stroke Gabrielles head. "What, my Love? You can tell me."
"You died." She said quietly.
For some reason that made Xena laugh. "Ive done that a lot over the years!"
Gabrielle looked up into her eyes. "But this time it was for real. But it was okay, Xena. You were really old, and so was I. But we were still together. And we still really loved each other. And I followed you. Ares helped me. Hes such a good friend. And we found each other in the Elysian Fields."
Xena could feel Gabrielles excitement. She didnt usually ramble on like this, and her body was quivering. She wasnt shaking out of fear. She was truly happy. Xena slid her arms around her waist. "Tell me where."
Gabrielle was lost in her dream for a moment. "Huh?"
"Where did we find each other?" Xena asked. "Where in the Elysian Fields?"
Gabrielles face broke into the most beautiful smile. "Remember when I came to bring you back? The lake with the rocks?"
"Where we made love under the stars." Xena smiled at the memory. "And you couldnt imagine how that was possible in the Elysian Fields."
"Xena?" she asked, "Will you meet me there---when the time comes?"
Xena nodded. "Ill remember, Gabrielle. I promise. When the time comes, well find each other again." Gabrielle moved up Xenas body, and gently kissed her lips. Xena returned the affection, but Gabrielles tongue demanded more. Xenas lips parted and accepted her lovers gift, meeting the fierceness of the kiss with her own. When Gabrielle broke away, Xena exhaled and said, "Wow! That must have been some dream!."
Gabrielle hugged her tightly, laying her head in the hollow of her shoulder. "Oh, it was, Xena. It was." She smiled. She wouldnt tell her the entire dream. About the daughter they had spoken of. That would open old wounds. But Gabrielle knew now that they would spend eternity together. Who knew what else just might come true. She sighed with contentment and fell back to sleep safely in her Soulmates arms. She was at peace.
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