~ My Source, My Soul ~
Alternative Content: This vignette depicts deep and enduring love between two consenting adults who just happen to be women. If you cannot understand or agree with this fact of life then please read something else.
Spoilers: Elements and some dialogue from the episode "One Against An Army" have been borrowed and incorporated into this story.
Xena:Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures © 1995-2000. The story idea in "My Source, My Soul" is the sole property of the author (me). This story may not be copied and/or reproduced in any form without express written consent from the author. "My Source, My Soul" was completed on 3/18/00. No monetary gain has been, or will be made from the writing of this story.Feedback is always welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please write and tell me how you feel.
It was unexpected, but then arent they usually? I suppose thats why they call them accidents. The truck came out of nowhere it seemed, careening at breakneck speed through the intersection and in a flash it was upon us. I was aware only of the crash, the god-awful impact; the deafening sound of collapsing metal and shattering glass is still ringing in my bones as I lay here immobilized but alas, still barely breathing. And the last thing I remember was reaching for you. Even before the last tinkling shard of glass hit the pavement and the deathly silence enveloped us I was reaching and fighting my way through a smothering blackness, a haunting obscurity that beckoned us both yet pulled you away from me and quite unmercifully left me adrift without you. Deeper and deeper into its depths you went though I tried to hold to you. But I just wasnt strong enough so I let you go. I would gladly have gone with it, with you - - in your place. Im so very sorry I could not find it within myself to battle on against it. You would have held on and fought to the bitter end, Im sure you wouldve; you are so strong were so strong of body and character. My dear Jessie, can you ever forgive me my weakness? Can I forgive myself?
The pain is wracking my body and once again the blackness is coming and Im welcoming it. Will it be merciful this time? Will it guide me to you? I can only hope, for I want to come to you and I need you much more than life itself; I always have. The dark shadows waver about and in my head as I vacillate between the here and there. My God it hurts and I feel so alone. Oh please, Im not strong on my own without you, Jessie. But whats that? Through the darkness I sense something. Is it you? Please let it be, I need your strength now more than ever
Through the pain in my shoulder and chest causing my eyes to lose their focus, I struggle to watch closely as you raise the arrows tip to your nose. With a sickening realization I can see that your face cannot and will not belie the truth; my time has come.
"What is it Xena?"
We have traveled to Tripolis to find the serum but find instead a razed village, pillaged and burned by her residents and own militia so as not to leave anything for the advancing Persian armies. There will be no cure found here. But just as soon as it has flown, hope returns in the form of possible treatment if we could only get to Thessaly in time. There is only one problem with that plan, Xena; there is a greater good lying between that hope and my fate, and though you try to deny it time and again, you know it is right and it is what has to be. The Persians are coming and they have to be slowed or Athens will fall and so too would go our homeland. No, we have to make a stand here in Tripolis, you and me together, but of course my time is running out
My memories are but a flashback of rushing miracles now. So this is what they mean by your life flashing before your eyes. There is one moment in particular that rather haunts me now. It happened on the day that we met, a most amazing and glorious thing called love struck my heart like an archers piercing arrow. You caught my eye amidst the hubbub of the busy city thoroughfare and somehow I just knew it was you, and it would be us. So oddly familiar was the feeling that it made me shudder inexplicably from my head to my toes. I felt Id come home. Love at first sight? Yeah, I think no, I believe it was. Of course when your eyes captured me in an azure snare I faltered in my step and nearly ended up in your lap much to your amusement and my slight discomfort. But somehow throughout that first blush of embarrassment which you captured whimsically in your gaze you made me feel at ease, and without pretense you made me know its all right to be human and imperfect because Im real. Then it was that we sat together amidst the hustle and bustle waiting for the uptown bus, waiting and waiting, together. And I remember thinking that you were so breathtakingly beautiful; yes you did it then as you did every day thereafter, you stole it away. Many buses came and went over that time but we just kept right on sitting and talking, and I kept falling deeper and deeper into the blue, into the mystery, into the love.
Then there was the first time we made love. Oh yes, how could I ever forget that; so strong and yet so gentle, so hard and yet so soft, so amazingly and unabashedly you. It was all of you working your way inside me, deeper than deep, to touch and relentlessly pursue and conquer that part of me that only you could, that only you were meant to. I was awash with the feeling that it was so right, that we were so right. But yet who was I to deserve it? Who was I to want and to need you the way I did? You were my hero, but who was I to you?
"My friend," you sighed onto my lips as your hands caused the flesh of my humanity to tremble uncontrollably beneath your touch.
"Yes." I could not hold back the tear that traced a lazy line along my cheek upon knowing your sincerity.
"My source and my soul."
The last of the words escaped your mouth and immediately gave me pause. For there is a dream I have on occasion, a dream that always leaves me to wonder. It started the day that we met. My source and my soul
Gods, my chest feels so heavy and breathing is becoming difficult. The poison is definitely on the move. For hours it seems Ive watched you pacing back and forth across the armory floor like a caged animal; back and forth, wanting to take me away and save me, needing to stay and fight, back and forth. I know its hard but how can I convince you that it is all right, that I know and accept that the good of the many far outweighs the good of the one which just happens to be me. You already know its true, you taught me that. But how can I make you see that its what I want, that its what we need? Our world needs its warriors strength now. Ive accepted the consequences of fighting this fight and I will not be afraid to look death in the eye. It is for the greater good and I am not afraid no, I am not afraid
"I know Im going to die, Xena! I accept it! Why cant you?"
"Because I dont want to live without you. Gabrielle, youre my source "
"Xena, Ill always be with you, you know that."
The memories continue to swirl about in the darkness blanketing my mind: visions of our brief life together and of your unerring and unending power through happiness, sorrow, and pain. There is one in particular that I will always cherish. Ill remember that at what could have been our darkest hour you simply held my hand through it all and for hours endlessly turning into days of fever, uncertainty, misery, pain, and fear you were there beside me, comforting, soothing, and loving me. Im sure the doctors were astonished at your unwavering tenacity and your unwillingness to leave me even for the briefest of moments to tend to your own needs. I know you amazed me and of course only made me love you more, even though Id have never thought it possible.
"Please go get something to eat rest." I pleaded.
"No, Im not going to leave you. Were going to see this fight through together. You rest my love. We need your strength."
I only plead my case that once because I knew it would be useless to push the issue any further. When you set your mind to something, well then that was just the way it was going to be. Besides, I was tired; very, very tired. The fight was starting to wear me down. If it werent for your strength and encouragement to bolster me I may have given up long ago. I closed my eyes then and dreamed of a very different time and place where Id swear we were fighting a different type of battle, but together always together. It brought me an odd sense of peace somehow. Perhaps it was the delirium and pain playing tricks on my mind. Or perhaps it just was.
"Im not going to let you die, Gabrielle! I can still get you to Thessaly and the antidote."
"And then what? What happens to Athens? Whats my life worth then?"
"Promise me Xena, promise me you wont leave this battle because of me "
Gosh Jess, Ill never forget the tears in your eyes the moment my fever broke and we heard the tiny heartbeat. Steady and strong it rang out, leaving me breathless with joy and relief, but with a newfound stamina. "Im still here," she was saying with each kathump of that tiny pulsing chamber. Yep, shes a fighter, a living warrior just like you. You held onto me for all you were worth and I thought that perhaps you would squeeze her right out of me then and there. After all wed been through I wondered where you had found that extra measure of strength yet again. For hours afterward I watched you sleeping, curled up almost childlike in the chair next to my bed with your long raven-colored hair flowing down across your breasts and framing your magnificent face beautifully in the soft glow of the bedside lamp. There was a slightly crooked smile on your lips, the same smile that had made my heart flip when we first met. You simply looked so peaceful that I hated to wake you hours later when the first real contractions hit announcing her intention to finally come charging into our lives. But reality was and is that it is rather hard to scream quietly, and in the blink of an eye you leapt out of the chair and once again stood unfaltering by my side, your eyes instantly filled with a hint of fear mixed with joyful anticipation. And of course the doctors could not get you to let go of my hand throughout it all. Nope, you would never let go of me. How then could I let go of you? Oh its so hard to breathe through this pain. Maybe if I just stop then well be together again
"Im not afraid Xena."
"Youve always said that I was the brave one and look at you now. If this is to be our destiny then well see it out together. Even in death Gabrielle, Ill never leave you "
I watch your face as you gaze out the tiny window of the armory toward the horizon. You know theyre on their way and the battle will not be an easy one and yet the expression in your eyes and on your face is oddly one of peace. There will be many, perhaps too many, but you will face it with the strength and dignity of the warrior you are. I love you now and even more than I did the moment before this moment. But as I watch you preparing to fight, suddenly Im feeling very uncomfortable at the recollection of a dream Ive had. In it I saw a man falling through the roof, grabbing you totally unawares from behind, and slicing your throat. I shudder at the vision and thinking Im cold you stop what youre doing and reach out to tuck the blanket tighter around me.
"Xena, watch out for a guy with a double edge sword."
"In my dream he came through the roof and then he Just, be careful."
"Always looking out for me huh."
Gods, how I want this hug to go on and on, I want to hold onto you forever. But there are lives to be saved in a fight with meaning over and above our own existence. So I'll let you go, for the greater good, I'll let you go.
"I love you, Gabrielle."
"I love you too. Goodbye, Xena."
"Until the other side. Well be together then." I watch your eyes light with fire as you pick up on some faint sound that I cannot yet hear and spring into motion. "Theyre coming..."
What is that damned light and where is my darkness going? No, please come back. I want it to come back and take me away, to lead me to you. My God, I cant live with this pain without you.
A voice, tentative and low begins to break through. Jess, is that you? I can barely make it out and it doesnt really sound like you but...
There it is again and I know now that its not the voice that I so long to hear right now. Please whoever you are, leave me alone; just let the darkness carry me to her. My source, my soul
"Kate, can you open your eyes? Theres someone here to see you."
No! I cant and I wont open my eyes because there is nothing more in this life that I want to see, my source is gone. Shes gone! Shes gone cant you understand that?
"Kate, Ill always be with you, you know that."
"Leave me alone!" The sound of my own snarling voice echoes about me in the secure void of my feeble existence threatening to shatter that security. And to make matters worse there it is again to badger me - - the light, flickering and probing, and momentarily parting the sea of darkness that Ive been drifting on. I can feel myself reaching to gather the black void back to me, trying to grasp it and hold on to my sanctuary within it. I know youre there, somewhere. If only they would just let me go and find you.
But that voice, suddenly its so seductively familiar
"Wait a minute, who are you? Jess?"
"Promise me, Kate. Promise me you wont leave this battle because of me "
"My God, it is you. Jessie, how ?"
"Yes, its me. But I cannot stay here long so please, promise me you will not leave this battle."
"Yes my love. I promise. I just wish I could see you."
"Look inside and around you. I love you, Kate."
"I love you too, Jess. But "
"Until the other side. Please believe, well be together then. And even in death, Katie I will never leave you "
Suddenly and all too soon you are whisked away as a tiny voice reaches desperately into the gloom to grasp my heart. "Momma?" Its a familiar, loving, and innocent timbre pulling me gently from the clutches of the darkness and upward toward the flickering light I had been resisting. But now I cannot oppose its luring melody; somehow I know this is meant to be. Were fighting once more for a greater good, together as always and forever. I will believe, Jess. I will believe.
Opening my eyes slowly I find myself gazing into the face of a dark-haired, blue-eyed child. No, on second thought not a child but an angel. Her hand is resting lightly in mine and though it is so small and so youthful, through it I can already feel an unmitigated strength: a familiar, beautiful, loving, persevering type of living, breathing force. Then she smiles a crooked smile and my heart does a flip, and I know immediately that she is not going to let go of me. No sense in pleading my case because I can see in those azure snares or hers that she has already made up her mind; and when she sets her mind to something, well then that is just the way it is going to be. Thats our daughter, our little warrior. Warrior? I wonder how I can see her that way. But she is our daughter, yours and mine. Funny thing in this battle we call life, warriors are often found in the most unexpected of places.
You will never let go of me, will you Jessie? And we will be together again, I know we will. But until then I have accepted the consequences of this fight and I will not be afraid to look life in the eye. I am strong and I am not afraid to live. Thank you for sharing your strength and your life my friend, my love, my source, and my soul. I do believe.
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