Disclaimer : Xena and Gabrielle are copyright MCA /Universal, everything else is mine. Except the lyrics which are published by Charisma Music Publishing / Rondor Music.
RANDOM THOUGHTS - Part 4 : Mad
by Claire Withercross
"How far have you travelled?"
The question caught Xena by surprise, she had never considered that aspect of her journeys before. "Don't know," she replied honestly.
"Have you been to the great sea in the west?"
"Yes. I saw it while I was in Gaul."
The bard nodded at the response and stirred the fire. "I've heard there is another great sea in the east."
Gabrielle cocked her head to one side and studied Xena. "You've been there, too?" she asked incredulously.
"Not all the way," said Xena, not as impressed by the revelation as her companion. "I saw it from a great distance, from the top of a mountain."
"Tell me about it. What were you doing so far east? Are there great flying monsters? What are the people like?"
"Some other time," Xena dismissed her friend's questions coldly.
Gabrielle recognised the set of Xena's features, and knew that no amount of pestering would get the warrior to talk about it now. But she resolved one day to find out. She moved to sit on the log next to the older woman, for some reason she shivered.
"Are you cold?" asked the warrior.
Gabrielle heard concern and warmth in that voice, a sudden change from the icy rejection of her questioning. She looked up into eyes turned violet by the firelight and smiled shyly. "It's okay," she mumbled.
"Here," said Xena, and draped her sleeping roll over the bard's shoulders. "Sorry if I snapped."
"No problem," said Gabrielle. "I understand there are some things you don't want to talk about."
The warrior turned her head to hide a grin.
"What's so funny?" queried the bard.
"Nothing. Just that I never thought I'd see the day you'd show restraint in probing for information."
"Oh!" said Gabrielle with mock indignation. "I'm nosy now, am I? Unlike you I can't put the pinch on someone if they won't tell me anything."
The warrior laughed and any lingering tension evaporated.
"There's a great sea south of Persia, isn't there?" Gabrielle continued.
"What about in the north?"
"There's a sea north of Britannia," said Xena. She looked down at the bard at her side. "Why this sudden interest in the sea?"
"Where does all the water come from?" Gabrielle asked in all seriousness.
Xena blinked. It was a question she wasn't expecting and one she'd never thought about. "Rivers, I guess," she ventured cautiously.
"Yeah, but rivers are small, and the seas are huge. I can't see rivers being responsible for all that water."
"There's rain, too."
"Maybe," the bard agreed reluctantly. "But I still don't think it's enough."
"Don't forget that it must have been collecting for a very long time."
"Ah, but that's the problem. Doesn't it flow off the edge of the world? How can it collect in the seas if it's flowing off the edge?"
Xena exhaled slowly. "I don't know," she said. "I think you must have too much time to spend thinking about things."
"In all your travels have you ever seen the edge of the world?"
Xena thought the question was completely crazy, but resisted saying so to avoid upsetting her friend. "No," she replied diplomatically.
"There is a theory that the world isn't flat, but round, like a ball. And we all live on the outside."
"Have you been at the nutbread again?" teased Xena.
"No," replied Gabrielle with a smile, and nudged her friend.
"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard," Xena chuckled. "Why don't we fall off?"
"Exactly," said Gabrielle. "So the world must be flat. Yet why doesn't all the water flow off the edge?"
"I....I...I think," pondered the warrior slowly. "That it's time for bed."
Gabrielle smiled. "I think you're right," she said, and handed Xena her bedroll. "Goodnight."
Everytime I close my eyes to sleep I fall off the edge of the world. Awake, with Gabrielle, is a world of laughter, of joy, of love, of life. When it's time for bed and she leaves me, I fall.
If only I could take her with me into my dreams and thoughts. I need the distraction she brings. The distraction of her humour, of her innocence, to keep away the dark thoughts that pervade my mind in the quiet moments without her.
They scare me sometimes. I fear that I'm not brave enough to resist their dark seductiveness.
It's slowly driving me mad.
the end of this bit. to be continued....
"I know I'm always falling off the edge of the world..."
Mad - Hogarth
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