Bonding of Souls: A Good Days Vengeance
By CN Winters
See part one for disclaimers. The following contains spoilers for "Whos Gurkhan?". Write the bard at firstname.lastname@example.org
Xena watched her family with a proud smile on her face. They beat the bad guy. They saved the maidens. Just like old times. But something was different. . . That family element something they didnt have before.
Eve and Gabrielle looked so similar as they stared out across the water. Eve had Xenas height and color but the way her eyes looked out on the horizon, the way she held her jaw was totally the bard.
Xena watched as Sarah walked up and took a spot next to the bard. She watched them converse for a bit before the bard turned to her giving a soft grin. Xenas smile grew wider as a result. She had to go over.
As she approached, Xena ran her hand up Sarahs back, stopping at her shouldering giving a light pat. "How you doing hon?" she asked the blonde girl.
Sarah gave the question serious thought. "I think Im okay . . . Just a little worried about going home I guess. Its been so long."
"Well dont worry," Xena grinned. "Your mom was always a great gal. Very understanding. In fact she was the only one in Gabrielles family that supported Gabrielles decision to travel with me. Im sure youll be just fine."
Sarah smiled a genuine smile. "I remember when my father tried to betroth me but mother wouldnt hear of it. Needless to say I never had a husband to be," she said with a light chuckle. "Dad used to think he was king of the castle but mom always had the final say in the end."
"Not unlike your grandparents," Gabrielle interjected.
Sarah turned her smile toward her aunt as she nodded. "Yes . . . Very much like them . . . But theyre all gone now," she added, the sadness returning to her voice, as she played with her polished fingernails.
Gabrielle turned away. Gone. Theyre all gone. In all of this I havent taken the time to realize that . . . And I never got to say goodbye. "Im gonna get some herbs for my stomach," Gabrielle muttered as she headed below deck.
Xena could feel the heaviness that hung in Gabrielles heart but she said nothing and simply let her walk away to have some private time. Xena turned to Sarah. "You still have your mother," she told the young woman. "And shell love seeing you again. I know it."
"Even in light of everything?" Sarah answered, her voice cracking a bit.
"Yes," Xena answered honestly.
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because Im a mother and I know."
Xena smiled over at Eve and gave Sarahs arm a light pat before going in search of her bard. Eve took the opening that was given to her and began to speak. Xena didnt listen to their conversation. Instead her keen sense of hearing picked up on something else. Sobs. Sobs coming from inside the cabin.
"Did you find those herbs?" Xena asked, as she entered the doorway.
Gabrielle seemed a bit startled and kept her back turned to Xena as she spoke, "Yeah but I know not to use too much this time," she teased.
Gabrielle didnt add more and Xena approached on careful footsteps. "Are you okay Gabrielle? Did you want to talk?"
Gabrielle cleared her throat. "Im fine Xena," she answered finally turning around.Her eyes were swollen. Xena could tell shed been crying and quite hard from the looks of it.
"Now dont go being the stoic warrior Gabrielle," Xena grinned warmly. "Youll put me out of a job."
Gabrielle grinned and opened her arms. Xena took the invitation and curled the bard into an embrace. They rocked for a few moments with the movement of the ship until Gabrielle broke down in tears. Xena just held her and smoothed her hair over repeatedly as she cried. She knew what the bard was feeling.
Her mother was burned at the stake. Gabrielles parents were beheaded. Both of them were now officially orphans.
"Im not sure how I feel," Gabrielle answered, trying to cry and talk at the same time.
"Thats okay," Xena told her. "You dont have to be sure of anything right now. Its okay to feel sad and unsure Gabrielle."
Gabrielle composed herself a few moments later and pulled away wiping her eyes. "I keep thinking of all the towns weve saved. All the people. I mean . . . How many warlords have we defeated over the years? Tons right? . . . But when the time came for me to help my family I wasnt there. MY OWN FAMILY . . . And I couldnt do anything. They all died because I wasnt there."
"Please dont blame yourself Gabrielle," Xena answered, hoping to pull the bard back to her. Gabrielle however sidestepped the warrior.
"Then who can I blame? The Gods? Ares? Joxer for not finding us sooner?"
"It was beyond our control," Xena told her. "It was the only way to keep Eve safe from the gods."
Gabrielle flinched a bit and Xena scrunched her eyebrows in examination of what the shutter meant. She didnt have the chance to respond to it though.
"Look Xena," the bard began. "Point is we travel the countryside, doing the greater good, helping those that cant help themselves. When the time arrived and my family became those in need I was nowhere to be found . . . Thats a hard fact to live with."
"Yes - it is, " Xena replied. "Knowing you could have helped but werent able to. Knowing that they cried out for you even in the end. Yeah its tough."
Gabrielle stepped closer to the warrior. "Im sorry Xena. I know you understand how this feels and I wasnt trying to berate your feelings of losing Cyrene. Its just -."
"It hurts," Xena answered for the bard.
Gabrielle gave a bittersweet smile. The facts were cold and harsh but Xenas understanding had a warmth she needed now. "Yes - it hurts."
"But well get through it together. And we do still have family we can love and who loves us. We have Eve, Sarah and even Virgil. Who knows maybe Minya is still around somewhere? Salmoneus? Heck Herc even said that Autolycus is still around last time they saw him hed gone straight . . . Of course that could have changed by now," Xena chuckled. "What Im saying is we still have family out there. People we value and cherish and as long as youre with me, Ill always have a home. Youre more important to me than anything else Gabrielle . . . And you always will be."
"Always?" Gabrielle asked unsure.
Xena grinned but the tone of the bards question had her curious. Why does she doubt that? "Yeah," she answered firmly. "Of course . . . Look, are you sure youre okay? Because I get the feeling that something is going on that-."
"Im okay Xena," the bard grinned. "Maybe I could just use a little bit of a break in the action is all."
"Well Eve and Virgil did make a suggestion."
Gabrielle laughed heartily. "A vacation? Im not sure I follow you."
"Well they said they would see Sarah home once we get to the next port. Eve thinks it would be nice for you and I to do some traveling on our own. Check out Northern Africa. I mean, except for Egypt, we really havent done any exploring here. It could be fun."
"Sun, sand and surf huh?" Gabrielle grinned. "Its starting to have its appeal."
"Well that settles it," Xena grinned. "The cousins can head back home and you and I could just get away for a little bit. What do you say?"
Hmmm Sun, sand, surf . . . and if were lucky maybe a little uninterrupted sex. This has potential.
"Okay warrior princess. Youre on."
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