GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER: Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the series Xena: Warrior Princess, are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are my property. Please do not use my characters without my consent. NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author.
VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER (if there is any)
This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: (if there is any)
This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
Synopsis: Set after Antony and Cleopatra.
Pain Begets Life
It was Ares that started the doubts in me. No, not really Ares, but Xena around him. There was a part of her that suddenly started to pull away. Even more after the siege at Amphipolis. But then the whole Cleopatra thing; the way she looked at AntonyÖ. The way she wanted him. I realized it just wasn't about Ares. It was something more. Her attempts to tell me otherwise were lame at best. Now as we continue our trip in Egypt, with Eve and Cyrene at our side, I find i'm putting up my own barriers. We have enough money at the moment to afford all the luxuries. The best food, the best innís, anything we could ever want. But Iím not enjoying it at all, not even a little. I find myself separating from them as Xena takes her mother and Eve around the cities. Finding excuses to hang back, get away, only to surface once the sun begins to set. I immerse myself in the language and scrolls. I just can't think about it anymore. Weíve never really layed down any rules between us, always just been. But I never felt so much less than, so invisible even when Iím standing next to her. So Iíve gotten my own room this time. The bed with Xena has been cold and unyielding, and I just can't take it anymore. And do you know what? She hasnít questioned me once. Acts like everything is normal. That hurts even more. She wants this separation. And for me, it's tearing my insides out. Sitting here, in this tavern, drinking hqt and lamenting my life is only making things worse. But it's the best idea I have right now.
"Honey, wasnít wrong? Iíve been looking everywhere for you." Cyrene sits down across from me looking worried.
"I donít think Iíll be going any further with you." She gasps. My eyes fall to the table and I can't seem to look her in the eye.
"Has something happened between you and Xena?"
"No, nothing." Isnít that part of the problem. My feelings begin to clog my throat.
"Donít lie to me. I can see the pain, it's written all over you." Sheís using her motherly voice on me. Tears break through my defenses, but I refuse to let everything out.
"I just think that maybe we need a break from each other, some space." After everything weíve been through, it's the last thing I actually want.
"Honey, look at me." It takes all my courage to look over at her. "Is this what you really want?"
"No, of course not." My tears fall more freely now. "But I just can't do this to myself right now." I feel so exhausted. "I can't."
"Oh." She gasps, moving towards me and gathering me in her arms. "Everything will be alright, youíll see." I take comfort in her words, even though I know them to be false.
"Come on, at least come back with me and eat a dinner with us." I pull away from her, wiping at my face.
"I can't. Iíll see you before you leave." I walk away before she can say anything else. By the god's, Iím going to miss Eve, but I was always so naive to think we were a family.
As night falls, I sit here in my room, looking out at the moon rising above the Nile. Once I would have found this so beautiful. Now, though, it's grandeur is lost on me.
"Mother tells me you wonít be coming with us." Her voice is calm, neutral.
"Donít you knock?" I donít bother turning, I don't want to see her face.
"Not in my forte." Her attempt at a joke falls on deaf ears. Closing my eyes, I breath, trying to still myself. Minutes seem to drift by as I refuse to say anything. If she wants to talk, she has to be the one to do it.
"Whatís happened between us?" Her voice is a near whisper.
"You tell me."
"It's like suddenly one day, we were strangers."
"I think it took more than one day." God's I want to cry.
"There were so many things out of our control."
"And so many in yours." The anger inside begins to seep out. The sound of her boot scraping across the floor seems so loud. This whole thing is like a million daggers to my heart.
"What do you want me to say?" Something bursts inside me with a white hot heat. Standing, I whip around to face her.
"Say something, anything!" Tears blur my vision before escaping and falling down my face. Xena acts as if sheís about to reach out, but stops herself. Thereís such sorrow in her eyes.
"GabrielleÖ I lost my way. I started to realize I couldnít give you all the things you wanted. And you deserve so much more." Her voice becomes strained. "I didnít want to lose you, but Iíve always been afraid Iím holding you back from something greater. I justÖ.I went to a dark place inside. I lost sight of things."
"So you blame all this on your dark side?!" I throw my hands in the air at this incredulous statement.
"No, that's not what Iím saying." Xena growls in frustration as she moves a few steps closer.
"Then what are you saying Xena?! Iíve given my life to you in more ways than one. Iíve given my heart to you." My voice waivers.
"I never asked you to do that!" She yells. Another dagger to my heart. I feel like I want to crumple to the ground as my knees shake beneath me.
"You never had to." I almost can't speak past the sobs trying to claw their way out of me. "I gave everything willingly." Iím gasping for air. God's this pain is worse than dying. My legs finally give out, causing me to slump to the floor. My heart hurts so much I actually clutch at my chest.
"I know." She whispers, moving to crouch in front of me.
"Why are you doing this to me?" She looks away, squeezing her eyes shut. Tears begin to streak down her face.
"I never wanted to." Her head turns, face a mask of pain.
"I love you." The sobs finally come. " And you're a part of me and that part is now breaking." Xena reaches out, fingers sliding across my cheek until her palm rests there.
"Gabrielle, this is killing me." Her voice trembles. I donít even know what to say, the pain is too overwhelming. "I can'tÖ.. I can't lose you."
"How do you know you havenít already?" A sound emanates from within Xena, as if Iíd just stabbed her.
"Donít say that." She begs, moving closer. "Donít say that to me." The words come out in strangled sobs. "We can fix this." She tries to smile. Both hands grasp at my face in some frantic attempt to pacify me.
"Please, Iíll do anything."
"I love you." She whispers over and over, forehead falling against mine. Why is this happening? Why are we here, in this room pleading with each other like our lives depend upon it?
"Xena." Her name catches in my throat. "You know I can't live without you, you're my soulmate." Head falling to my shoulder, she begins to sob. I donít want to leave, I never wanted to leave. I just didnít think I had a choice. Wrapping my arms around Xena, I pull her against me. So many feelings wash over me as I begin to sink into the comfort of her familiar body.
We clutch each other till our tears abate. Pulling away, I sit with my back against the bed. Xena hesitates before doing the same. I sigh, deep and long.
"When we were with the Amazonís, that was the first time I really realized where I stand with you."
"What do you mean?" She shifts a little to look at me.
"It was so hard for you to even think about my happiness, my needs. Even when you finally said you would stay, I knew you didnít mean it."
"I would have." She insists.
"But for how long?" Silence answers me. "And Ares and AntonyÖ."
"Donít lie to me Xena." I cut her off. "I know I never asked for you not to be with other people, but god's, I didnít think I had to anymore."
"Gabrielle IÖÖ" She trails off.
"After Eli brought us back, it was so cemented in me. There could never be anyone else. No matter what happens, Iíd rather be alone than with anyone else because you are all that gives me life." Still Xena doesnít speak. "I thought you believed that too." I whisper, afraid sheíll only reaffirm my fear. Xena sighs.
"Iíve never felt for anyone the way I feel for you. Sometimes that scares me." I stare at my fingers, willing myself not to cry again as she talks. "Every time Iíve lost you, even thought Iíve lost you.... That pain, the fear, is so overwhelming. If one of these times, Iím not able to save you, Iím not able to bring you back..." She pauses, sucking in air. "I don't think that Iíd be able to handle it."
"You have Eve now." I offer.
"So I can't follow you anymore, I canít bring you back. " Her voice breaks. "Do you have any idea what that will do to me? You are the very air that I breathe." I know the feeling exactly. "So there are times where I just lose sight. I just donít want to think about that pain and I push you away."
"You can't keep doing this." Finally, I grab her hand in mine and let my head fall to her shoulder. Whenever we touch Iím filled with so much life.
"Me too." Not sorry to her, but that we're even in this situation. Xena turns fully, fingers tilting my face up to hers.
"Never think I donít love you." A few tears fall down my face. Her thumb sweeps out, wiping them away. "Never think I donít need you." We look into each other's eyes, both searching for affirmation. I bring my hand up, cupping it against her cheek. Her eyes fall closed as she leans into my touch. When she looks at me again, I feel things shifting. I can't give up one her. To do so would be like drowning, I would never get above that pain. We drift closer and closer. Our cheeks touch, her skin so soft against mine. My breath hitches in my chest as our lips become tantalizingly close, only to drift away again. Noses rub, breath mingles as we just revel in this feeling. When our lips meet he kiss is soft, simple, but the connection is instant. So many feelings burst inside at once, so overwhelming I almost can't breathe. We kiss, slow languid and exploratory. it's as if this is the first time. Maybe it is. Xena grasps my face, as if she can bring us closer than we already are. Our clothes are removed piece by piece until there"s nothing left between us. Lifting me up into her arms, she lays us gently on the bed, the kiss never interrupted. Iíve missed the warmth of her skin against mine. The softness and roughness so very familiar. I pull away to look at her. My fingers shift dark hair behind her ear. We donít speak, but communicate all the same. My fingers slide up her throat and around her neck, pulling her head back to mine. I suck her bottom lip into my mouth, teeth grazing as I let it go. Her fingertips caress my cheek then travel down. Goosebumps erupt on my skin from her gentle touch. Lips soon follow the trail she's started to blaze, slow, wet kisses that leave me burning for more.
"Xena." This connection is so infinite in its depth. Moving back up, her thumb traces across my bottom lip. She seems mesmerized as she stares down at my mouth. Then she's kissing me again, breathing in deep as if to suck the very life from me. Tongues meet in soft unison, tangle and twine. My chest begins to hurt for the want of her. My Xena. The woman I love like no other in this world or any other. My hands roam, searching expanses of skin, renewing the map of her body in my mind. Our chests heave with the weight of it all. Hot tears fall on my face, and she only kisses with more fervor. And then theyíre gone, lips whispering against my ear.
"Donít leave me." Hooking my leg around hers, I flip us so that Iím on top. Grabbing her hand I place it on my heart, doing the same on hers. They beat almost in unison.
"Do you feel that?" She only nods. "We are one in the same."
Xena sits up, causing me to wrap my legs around her waist. We are engulfed once more in a kiss that speaks of pain and promises. My fingers curl into her hair, my body pushes against her. Hands roam across my back and down my thighs. My head falls back as her teeth graze down my neck. Lips latch onto the side of my breast, sucking just to the point of pain. She clutches me possessively as her mouth begins to suck on my nipple. Gasping, my body arches even more, my hips begin to move against her in a slow roll. The feel of her groans against me vibrate like electricity jumping under my skin. Xena moves forward, pushing me back onto the bed. Body rocking against me, gasping with her every movement. All too soon itís over as she trails kisses down my stomach and onto the inside of my thighs. Again she marks me, the pain of it exquisite.
Xena." Her name falls from lips over and over as her tongue sweeps up into the very core of me. My hips buck up only to have strong hands hold them back down. It's an assault of sensations as I feel teeth, tongue and lips. My hands clench at the bed below me. "God's Xena." Fingers push in, excruciatingly slow. The pace begins to build. Her mouth on my neck, breathing hot against me. Each thrust goes so deep, it fills me completely. I can't suppress the noises that flow from me, almost primal in nature. My lungs seize as an explosion rips through my body, my back arching as one hand clings to her back. Xena doesnít stop the assault on my body. She sucks my skin as her hand doesnít slow its in and out motion. Thereís no chance for me to recover as my body is rocked by another explosion. Xena's head falls to my neck, her gasps coming in quick succession. I can only manage to bring my thigh up between her legs. Her hips roll against my leg for just a brief moment, then sheís yelling in my ear as she succumbs to me. Xena collapses, her weight a welcome comfort.
We lay tangled, unwilling to leave even the smallest of space between us. I can still feel this heavy weight on my chest. But why? My fingers draw circles on her back.
"I would have followed you. You know that right?" I ask.
"Would you?" Her breath is hot against my chest.
"I wouldn't have left without you." Her voice is so quiet, I can barely hear the words.
"You and Eve are my family. That will never change."
"When I see you holding her...it's been a long time since Iíve seen you smile like that."
"Xena, Iíve always been happy with you. it's just.."
"That's not what Iím saying." She cuts me off, lifting her head to look at me. "You are as much her mother as I am."
"Xena.." Those words. I didnít know I needed to hear that until they came from her mouth.
"No. Sometimes I can imagine just how happy we could be." She breathes in deep, letting it out in a long sigh.
"I know." Iíve pictured it so many times too. But the god's always have other plans. We shift, lying side by side, facing each other. Our emotions still hang thick in the air. "Do you think there will ever be a point where we can just take a step back and breathe?"
"I donít know." She looks down at our intertwined fingers.
"Well Iím always follow you. Even when we are lost to each other, I will find my way back." I smile at her, but she looks at me with uncertainty. My fingers caress her cheek. "You've never been able to make me do anything I didnít want to."
"That's how you end up in so much trouble." Finally, I get a smile from her.
"You love it." My thumb traces across her lips.
"I love you." Her lips graze mine. "I donít like it when you risk your life."
"Youíre one to talk."
"Yeah well." Her lips continue to brush against mine.
"Xena...are we ok?"
"Iíd say we're better than ok." Her eyebrow cocks up.
"You know what I mean." Xena letís out a huge sigh as she sits up, pulling her knees to her chest.
"Look Gabrielle." I hate when she says that. "If I could go back and undo everything, I would. In a heartbeat. But I promise.." She gathers my hands into hers as I sit up next to her. "I will never make you feel that way again." She pulls my knuckles to her lips, peppering them with kisses. Her eyes shine bright in the moonlight.
"I believe you." And I do, of course.
"I love you Gabrielle." Before the nights end, we affirm that love over and over.
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