Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and all characters in this fanfiction
are copyrighted and owned by Rennessance Pictures and MCA/Universal. No
copyright infrigement is intended and no dinars were made. This FF
portrays two women in love. If this disturbs you, hit the discard
button. I hope you enjoy this. Write to me at jhb3@webtv.net..I can't
thank everyone out there enough..You make me so happy..Kisses!

Near You Always

by James Bergquist



Many seasons have passed in the marriage of Gabrielle and Xena.
Gabrielle took her role as Queen and made everyone proud. Treaties were
signed, Young girls were molded into proud warriors and grew into women
before the Bard's eyes. Slight creases now frame the incredable green
eyes of the now semi-retired Queen. Gabrielle was proud of the 10 or 11
gray hairs she earned. She remembered what Xena said that first year
together. "People in our business don't live to be old and grey"
Xena proudly took the healers position. She also helped out in training
in survival and non-lethal combat skills. Since her beloved Argo finally
passed away last winter, Xena immersed herself more into her job. It was
hard for her but she made it through. Gabrielle and Ephiny started
training a new future Queen, Aeon. Aeon was extra special to Gabrielle
and Xena. Xena delevered Aeon 12 years ago and her mother died during
her birth. With no family, Gabrielle watched over Aeon and saw how
gifted Aeon was. At 4, she was playing the lyre and drums and was
speaking Chin's language that Xena taught her. At 6, she was reading
and writing, beating Gabrielle by 2 years.
Aeon was the perfect choice....
Gabrielle was signing the daily logs when Xena came into the hut
with two scrolls. "Letter from Hecuba, Gabrielle. I got one myself."
Xena held up the scroll.
"Hmm, Lila's doing great. Our nephew is doing wonderfully and she
stopped having morning sickness. Lila says thanks for the tea..it helped
alot..Oh, Mom. She says Dad's lost some weight, but it's like a second
honeymoon. What you have there?"
"Nothing much. I got a idea..let's go visit them. Take a break from
"I don't know, Xena. I have alot to do here and Aeon needs her
studies. Amazon customs and laws..someone might get hurt while we're
gone. We can't just get up and go like the old times."
"C'mon, Gabrielle. We don't see them much and I don't have much
to do now. Bumps and bruises. Let's go" Xena rubbed Gabrielle's hand
Gabrielle softly kissed Xena "OK, Xena. We'll go. If it means that much
to you. But, a short visit." "Thanks. Help me pack our stuff?" "Sure
thing. Aeon, sweetie. Read your scrolls and don't forget your reports.
I'll be quizzing you later, young lady" Aeon groans as Gabrielle hugs
her young charge. "I will. Good bye, Aunt Gab." Xena hugs Aeon
next..."Don't give Ephiny a hard time. I'll miss you" "Miss you too,

Gabrielle and Xena start heading for the door as Ephiny joins them.
Ephiny kisses both women on the cheeks and says her farewells. Gabrielle
goes out the door as Ephiny gently grabs Xena's arm. "Is everything
allright?" Ephiny asked with a concerned low voice. "Yeah, I just
wanted to see the folks. No biggie." Xena answered quickly and
defensive. "It just that you really nudged Gabrielle into this trip
back home. Does it have to do with that scroll?" "Ephiny, I don't have
time for this. We have to go...Take care" Xena snapped and followed
Gabrielle to thier hut.

Hecuba had nutbread ready for Gabrielle when she arrived. Herodotus
was napping on his chair as Gabrielle kissed him on the cheek. "Hi,
Daddy. Surprise" "Oh, hi sweetie. Nice to see you. Hi, Xena. How's the
healing business?" Herodotus rose to his feet and hugged his 'son in
law' Xena. "Hello, old man. It's doing well. You have lost weight."
"Well, I have more help around the farm, but I keep busy." Herodotus
lowers his voice "Still getting it 5 times in 7 nights." Xena smirks
"You dirty old man.." "That why you like me, huh?" Herodotus answers
with a pinch to Xena's rear. "Ow..don't you start" Xena slaps Hero's
offending hand. "I got your scroll" Xena started as Hero shished her.

Xena looks at her wife and Hecuba drinking tea and laughing about
old times.
"I'm going to the market for some feed. Need anything?" Hecuba waves
him off "No, honey. I'm fine" Herodotus stares for a moment at the
woman who, as a young girl 40 summers ago, burned his bread order at the
bakery her family owned. She felt bad and Herodotus asked her out for
dinner. She accepted and thier feast known as their love was never
ending and robust. Herodotus walks over and kisses her goodbye "Love
you" "Love you too, dear" Hecuba returns to the conversation without
missing a beat. Herodotus then walks to the door and puts on his coat
and hat. Xena watches as suddenly, Herodotus face twists in pain as he
leans on the door. "You OK, sweetheart?" "Ye-yeah. I just tripped. Bye,
Xena drinks her cider quickly. "Let me go with you. I haven't been to
Potiedaia in forever. Nice to see some changes"
Gabrielle turns around in her seat. "Don't be a pest to Daddy, Xena. And
don't spend too much." "Yes, your Majesty. I'll behave. Love you" Xena
kisses Gabrielle
"Love you too, Xena. Bye Daddy" "Goodbye, Gabrielle" Herodotus smiles
half-heartedly as he walks out the door. Xena puts on her cloak and
waves good bye as she exits

Xena helps Herodotus into the wagon as she jumps aboard. "So, how
long have you had those pains?" "30 nights. And yes, I went to the
healer's. I went to all of them. As far as I could reach. They say the
same thing. I don't have much time."
Xena leans in to hear Herodotus' heart. She listens silently. Xena picks
up her head and looks around. She curses to herself. "They're right.
You'll be lucky to survive tonight. You haven't told Hecuba yet..."
"No...I-I just can't. And I won't. You won't. I'm going to the market.
I'm getting the feed. I'm coming back and eating dinner. Gabrielle and I
will laugh..I'll say goodnight and goodbye to Gabrielle and go to bed.
I'll make love to my wife and tell her I love her. Then, I'll will go to
sleep..I died in my sleep loving my family and loving...you" Xena rests
her head on Herodotus' shoulder as tears start flowing "It's just not
fair. What about Lila? and Gabrielle?" "Gabrielle just happend to be
here when i passed. Lila is on the way here, but she's going to be late.
I'm here with family now. That's what counts." "I have to tell her"
"Xena, please. I want you to care for Hecuba and the farm. Lila is
married now with her own life and Gabrielle and you are looking for a
place, right?" Xena nods "What better place? Gabrielle wants to settle
down now in her life. She'll need you more than ever..I hate keeping
them in the dark, but I just can't tell them. Will you promise me?"
"I promise. You are the father I never had, Herodotus. You and your
family has given me so much. I'll do anything for you. I'm sorry" Xena
sobbed as they bounced down the road "Xena, it's OK. I'm going to a
better place. You can say that you will miss me..say it"

"I'll miss you, Daddy"

"I'll miss you, sweetheart" Herodotus said as he hugged the Warrior

To be continued.


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