Takes place after Dreamworker

Campfire Thoughts

by Marie E. Costa

Xena finished her circuit of the camp. All was quiet. Her young companion was fast asleep. She glanced at the girl and shook her head...I still don't know why she came after me. She sighed and sat by the fire. She fed the fire another piece of wood...grinning as the flames leaped to consume the new wood. But the grin faded as the flames reminded her of the past...a dangerous past. What right do I have to bring such an innocent into this world? Today's events alone should convince her to return to the safety of her home.

She picked up her sword and fished the whetstone out of her saddlebags. Holding the sword up to the light of the flame reminded her of the early morning fight...bloody fool...picks up a sword right after I tell her not to. Her reasoning; Helping me...how? By getting herself killed!

A small smile tweaked her cheek as she remembered the swagger the girl developed after buying a breast dagger. Hmm, and her comment...she thinks my breasts are dangerous enough...I wonder if maybe she's not as innocent as I thought...

The smile faded as she recalled what happened right after she claimed the dagger for herself. No she's an innocent all right. In more than one way. When I saw they'd taken her...my rage...as great as when Lyceus died. A shudder ran through her body. Death all around me...her death...the weight on my conscious...no! I can't let that happen. They took her...what did that Mystic say? Blood innocence...I need to protect her from ever feeling the taste of blood...they tried to make her a killer.

Another shudder ran through her body. She paused halfway through a stroke, and leaned her head on the hilt of the sword. She closed her eyes. Gaia keep her safe. She mouthed silently. The tale Gabrielle had told her of her time in captivity...at least I know she does listen to me...I made them fight each other. That was a smart thing to do...her smile when I said that...maybe if I praise her whenever she does something good...

Slowly she lifted her head and looked at the girl in wonder...openly appraising the young woman, body and soul. I couldn't let her become like me...I had to reach her...stop them. And when I reached her in the dream. "Nice outfit" Such a serious situation and she noticed my clothing...

Hold on, I said, I'm coming...even if it means facing myself...a chore I didn't want...had even run from...not anymore. Even then my arrogance was amazing...it means I get to kill you...like I could ever possibly kill myself. Boy was I wrong! Fighting my darker self was not the way to get to Gabrielle. Now I understand...if not for my dark side I wouldn't exist...like it or not, both halves make me me. But my dark twin was wrong...I control her. Never again will I allow her free rein.

She finished sharpening her sword and put the whetstone away. She glanced at the sleeping redhead and pursed her lips. Who would have believed I'd risk my life for such a sweet young thing. Her faith in me...I knew you'd come. My look of surprise caused her to falter, but only for a second...well I thought you would. I smiled. I had to. She was right. She snickered. And that punch, knocked that bully out. Her fear that she was wrong to punch; "Punching's all right?" I had no choice I had to grin at that comment...I'd of killed him. My reply, I'm impressed. She has no idea how truly impressed I am. She is amazing...I am forever changed.

.She rubbed her face suddenly tired. Today took more out of me than I realized. She stood up and stretched. She resheathed her sword and began removing her armor.

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