Disclaimer:I do not own Xena Warrior Princess, or any of its characters. Xena and Gabrielle are my friends---and you cant own your friends. Gabrielle likes when I say that (she leans over my shoulder often to make sure that I am interpreting her scrolls properly). Xena sits quietly sipping a mug of my special herb tea, and occasionally smiling.
Violence:Not this time.
Subtext:No, its Maintext! Xena and Gabrielle love each other. GET OVER IT! If the idea of two women who love each other more than life itself offends you in any way, then dont read my stories.
About Me:I am a 50 year old Xenite and very proud of it!. If it care about such things----no, I am not gay. Ive always believed that if you are lucky enough to find that one person who is your true Soulmate, then it doesnt matter if the packaging is the same as yours or not. Be happy---life it too short!
A Special Thank You:To Mary D. at AUSXIP --- Thank you so much for making my dreams come true! I cannot begin to tell you how much you and AUSXIP mean to me. To Ginny, who wrote me my first fan letter --- your friendship is a blessing. And to all the people who read my stories and write to me---Thank you.
Comments are always welcome. You can reach me at:
A Little Piece of Parchment
"Gods!" Gabrielle exclaimed as she looked at the blood dripping freely from her index finger. "You can be such a dumb blonde sometimes!" How she ever mistook her finger for a chicken wing, shed never know. But the knife had sliced through her finger as she was cutting up the pieces to put into the pot for stew.
It was fairly deep, and it would need a few stitches to close it and stop the bleeding. Xena had gone into Amphipolis for supplies several hours ago. She couldnt wait for her to return. She would have to take care of it herself.
Wrapping her finger in a strip of cloth she tore from the towel by the well-sink, Gabrielle went into the bedroom and rummaged through Xenas leather pack on the floor beside the dresser. There were always certain things that each of them kept in their packs, just in case they had to leave in a hurry. Storing them in drawers would only take up time in gathering them up to toss in the pack. Gabrielle found what she was searching for. It was a small wooden box that was Xenas medical kit.
She carried the box to the bed, sat down on the edge, and opened the lid. She removed a thin metal needle and a strand of Argos tail hair. Xena always liked to use her hair because it was strong and blonde. The stitches didnt show. Threading the needle, she uncovered her finger. The bleeding had slowed, but now uncovered, it began once again. Gabrielle stitched the gash closed with three whips of the needle, and pulled Argos hair tightly. She knotted it, and bit through the hair to release the needle.
It hurt like Tartarus, but the Warrior-Bard got past the pain by breathing deeply and imagining she was sewing not her finger, but just a piece of cloth. Xena had taught her the technique long ago. It was good to know when you needed to do emergency repairs on yourself. This wasnt the first time for Gabrielle. It probably wouldnt be the last.
Her index finger was throbbing and still wet with blood, but it had stopped flowing. Gabrielle looked at the stitching. She was glad her Mother had taught her how to sew.
She was replacing the needle when she noticed that the leather lining in the lid of the box was coming lose. She would have to let Xena know about that. She was always so proud of her medical box. It had been given to her many years before she had met Gabrielle by a healer in the land of Chin. The outside top of the lid was carved with designs and a strange but beautiful dragon. It reminded Gabrielle of the dragon/chakram tattoo she wore on her back. The healer had taught Xena many of the skills she knew about such as which herbs were good for which illness. The box itself contained many small packets wrapped in parchment and labeled as to what they were.
Gabrielles green eyes narrowed. What was that sticking out from under the leather liner? Curiously, she pulled the corner of the leather out carefully, just enough to see what lay beneath. It was a small, yellowed folded piece of parchment.
Gabrielle looked around the room, almost afraid that she was going to be caught. She felt guilty. She knew she shouldnt be doing this. This was Xenas---not hers. She had no right to touch whatever this was. But what was it? What would Xena hide beneath that piece of leather? Could it be a letter from someone in her past? It had to be something important for Xena to keep it. It had to be something Xena didnt want her to see. She wanted to look. But her conscience took control over her curiosity. She would do the right thing and wait until Xena came home. She wouldnt risk the level of trust they had achieved by spying on her Soulmate. Carefully, Gabrielle closed the lid and carried the wooden box out of the bedroom and set it carefully on the kitchen table.
Xena was all smiles when she entered the house. She had a leather sack slung over her shoulder. She usually did not like shopping, especially without Gabrielle along, but she had done well today. The merchants in Amphipolis had been willing to make some worthwhile deals.
"I got everything on your list," she said happily to the slim blonde stirring the kettle on the wood stove. "And a few extras ." Her voice trailed off when she saw the medical box on the table. "What happened?" she asked quickly. There was a trace of fear in her voice that something bad had happened during her absence.
Gabrielle turned to face her Warrior Princess and held up her finger, looking like a wounded child. "The knife won," she said smiling at the woman who stood before her dressed in leather and armor. Xena still liked to be "properly" dressed when she ventured away from home. Her chakram was hanging at her side, and her scabbard with her sword safely inside was in place behind her right shoulder.
Xena dropped the sack on the table and grasped Gabrielles hand in her own carefully. "Good stitching," she said, looking up into Gabrielles beautiful emerald green eyes. "Youll live."
Gabrielle couldnt help but smile. "Thank you for your professional medical opinion, Xena."
"One of my many skills," she replied, returning the smile. She began unhooking her breastplate. Once she was home, she couldnt wait to get out of her armor. Going into town meant dressing in her full leathers and armor. She needed that. It was the symbol of who she was. She was Xena, Warrior Princess. But at home---the home she and Gabrielle had filled with their love---she was just Xena. No pretenses. With Gabrielle, she could just be herself. Their home was the safest and most comfortable place she had ever known.
"Xena," Gabrielle asked as she watched her Soulmate remove her gauntlets and armbands, "Can I ask you something?"
Xena paused in her undressing, and slipped her hand beneath Gabrielles chin. Her blue eyes melted as she looked at this woman who she loved more than anything on earth. "If I had a dinar for every time you say that, Id be a rich woman."
Gabrielle took hold of her hand, and kissed it tenderly. "Theres more important things than money, Xena."
Xena leaned slightly to reach into the leather bag on the table with her free hand. "But money lets me buy you things like this." And she held up a small loaf of bread.
"Nutbread!" Gabrielle gushed, and she threw her arms around Xenas waist. "Oh, thank you, Xena."
Xena smiled and held her close. How she loved surprising Gabrielle. It was the little things that she enjoyed most. She was always so appreciative of her little gifts. She would give her the world if she could. Not another soul on earth loved her as much as this small blonde Warrior-Bard. And every day, she vowed never to take that love for granted. She pulled back just enough to look into Gabrielles gleaming green eyes. "So, what did you want to ask me?"
In the excitement of the moment, Gabrielle had almost forgotten. These spontaneous moments they shared were always so wonderful. Xena had shed so many of the walls between them. She had been working so hard to be totally open, and even vulnerable, in front of Gabrielle. She was warm and loving, and hers alone. No one else had ever been given the gift of Xenas true love and devotion. Gabrielle had made a promise to the gods that she would never take that for granted.
"Well, I noticed the leather coming lose in the lid of your medical kit." Gabrielle let go of Xenas waist, and lifted the lid of the box. "See here in the corner?"
"Hmmm. Ill have to fix that," she said, frowning at the damage.
"Xena, I saw something underneath the leather." Gabrielle pulled the corner of the leather forward, exposing the edge of a piece of parchment laying hidden underneath.
Xenas eyebrows knitted together in thought. For a few seconds she searched her mind to try to remember what it was, and why she had hidden it in the lid of the box. Suddenly she remembered, and she smiled. "Did you read it?" she asked quietly.
Gabrielle shook her head. "No. I was tempted. You know how curious I get. But .." she paused. "Its that matter of trust, Xena. You put it there for a reason, and Id never do something like that behind your back."
Xena pulled the folded piece of parchment out from under the leather, and held it out to her. "Here."
Gabrielle took a step backward. "If its something you dont want me to see "
"Gabrielle, take it," Xena insisted. "Its yours anyway."
She frowned, looking at the paper in Xenas hand. "Mine?"
"Youll see." Xena smiled ever so slightly.
Gabrielle slowly accepted the folded parchment, and carefully unfolded it. It was about 12 inches square, a bit jagged on the edges, and there was writing on it. It was written in Xenas hand in black ink. She looked up into Xenas beautiful blue eyes. Xena nodded for her to read it. Gabrielle looked down at the parchment and silently began to read the words.
If you only knew
How all my thoughts are filled with you.
Sometimes I cant look in your eyes---
I turn away shyly, afraid youll see the truth---
I love you.
Youre my companion, the only friend
Ive ever known.
You trust me. Youve seen me in my darkest
Hours, and yet you stay---unafraid.
You give me comfort, compassion,
And you can always make me smile.
Youve brought me out of my darkness
With your goodness and your laughter.
When you sleep by my side at night
I feel safe and warm and I am at peace.
Its a world Ive never known.
These feelings frighten me.
I know that I want more---to hold you,
Kiss you, love you not as a friend.
But how could you ever understand
The flame of desire youve ignited in my soul.
If I speak of it, will I lose you?
Will you pull away repulsed that I would think
Such things of you
I see love in your eyes---but is it the same?
You never go beyond a touch, a hug,
A friendly kiss---am I just your friend?
I would rather live in my world of dreams
Than speak---and be alone once more.
I could not live without you in my life.
I will always have hope---
Hope that someday well be as one.
But for now I am content
Just to have you at my side.
If you only knew---
How much I love you.X
By the time that Gabrielle had finished, tears were streaming down her face. She looked up at Xena and whispered hoarsely, "When"?
Xena leaned back against the well sink. She had kept silent while Gabrielle was reading. She had tried not to look at her, but had shyly looked up to see how she was reacting to what she was reading. She knew that Gabrielle was crying, but she kept silent.
"A long time ago," she answered, biting her lip in thought. "We were at an inn somewhere. You were asleep. I couldnt sleep. I had all these---feelings. I was going crazy that night." Xena smiled shyly. "I couldnt stop looking at you. I wanted to touch you." She chuckled at the memories. "I had a lot of nights like that!"
"I wish you would have showed me sooner how you felt, Xena." Gabrielle shook her head. "We really did lose a lot of years being afraid to be honest with each other."
"Well, I think we had to just wait till we were ready," Xena said thoughtfully. "But I remember that night. I got up and paced around the room. I was going to get dressed and go out for a walk .."
Gabrielle laughed. "You used to do that a lot."
"And you know why." She folded her arms. "I was fighting with myself. It would have been so easy for me to just take what I wanted. That had been my life---before I met you. I didnt want that to happen this time. It was different with you. If it ever happened .if we ever got .close .I wanted it to be special. For you, my Love."
Gabrielle approached her and slid her arms around her waist. "So you wrote me a poem."
Xena nodded. "I saw a piece of parchment on the floor. You were throwing it out. It wasnt big enough for your story."
Her eyes lit up with recognition. "You know, I think I remember that." She shook her head. "That was so long ago."
"Your quill and ink were still on the table. I dont know what got into me, but I sat down and just started to write." Xena shrugged. "I wasnt the Bard that you are, Gabrielle."
"You always used to have so much trouble even saying what was in your heart."
"Yea. But not that night. For some reason, it all just poured out." Xena scratched her head thoughtfully. "I think Aphrodite might have secretly helped me get it all down----but the feelings were mine."
Gabrielle released her grip on her Soulmate and looked at the parchment in her hand. "Its beautiful."
"Just words I had to get out," she said, looking shyly toward the floor. The fact that even after all these years, Xena could still be shy was not lost on Gabrielle.
"Why didnt you give it to me? Or at least leave it out somewhere where I could find it?"
"Awww----you went on to have dates with handsome young men, and then you married Perdicus. I didnt want to interfere with your life. Your future."
Gabrielle reached up and touched her face gently. "You were always my future, Xena."
Xena smiled. "I just put it away. Guess I forgot about it after awhile." She turned her head and kissed the hand caressing her cheek. "But I never forgot those feelings, Gabrielle."
"You know I always felt the same way about you." Gabrielles voice was filled with sincerity. There had been no one that she had ever loved as much as her Warrior Princess.
Xena nodded. "Just took us awhile to figure it out."
Gabrielle carefully refolded the parchment. "Can I keep this, Xena?"
"It was always yours, Gabrielle---Just like Ive always been yours." Xena lowered her head and placed a gentle kiss upon Gabrielles soft warm lips. Before she could break away, Gabrielle pressed her mouth to Xenas tightly and bid with her tongue to seek entrance. Xenas lips parted, and they savored a long, luxurious kiss.
"I love you, Xena," Gabrielle whispered, embracing her Soulmate tightly. "Thank you for writing this for me."
Xena held her tightly and buried her face in her blonde hair. "Thank you for making those dreams come true, my Love."
Gabrielle pulled away slightly from the embrace and held up her swollen, stitched finger. "Im glad the knife slipped." She said with a laugh.
Xena grinned. "You put the water on for tea. Ill cut the nutbread," she said giving Gabrielle a gentle squeeze before releasing her. She unwrapped the loaf of nutbread as Gabrielle busied herself at the well-sink. Gabrielle began to hum softly. Xena watched her and smiled. She was so thankful for this small blonde Warrior-Bard who had stolen her heart so long ago. So thankful that Gabrielle had made her dreams come true.
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