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The characters Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, Hercules and Iolaus belong to MCA/Universal. The storyís all mine. Thereís a little bit of gory violence in this story, but a very little bit and itís all over quickly. That said, I hope you enjoy it!
Xenaís heart pounded furiously as she clamped her mouth over Gabrielleís, forcing air into her friendís limp body. Xena closed her eyes, desperately fighting to keep her mind free of the fear bursting within her. "Itís too late," she heard someone say. Gabrielle remained motionless, her skin now a deathly white. Xena lifted Gabrielle and rocked her gently in her arms.
"Please donít leave me," she whispered. Suddenly, Xena took hold of Gabrielleís shoulders and shook her violently. "Donít you leave me! Donít leave me! Donító"
Xena sat bolt upright on her bedroll, hot tears streaming down her cheeks. She turned to see Gabrielle sleeping peacefully next to her. Xenaís breathing was labored, and her entire body was nearly drenched in sweat. Pushing her blanket aside, she stared into the dying embers of the fire before her, the image of Gabrielleís lifeless form still burning in her eyes. The images of Thessily had invaded this night with a savage intensity, transporting her once more to the most terror-filled moments of her life. Her dreams were all too often haunted by the ghosts of her past, but reliving her best friendís death pierced her with an agony beyond words.
Nearly every night during the past month, the horrible memories had assaulted Xenaís mind with vivid force. Even more distressing to Xena was not knowing why. Were the dreams a premonition of something terrible about to happen to Gabrielle? She couldnít bear to think about yet another evil that she would be powerless to protect Gabrielle from. Most of all, she couldnít bear the thought of losing Gabrielle again.
Gabrielle stirred slightly underneath her blanket and began to snore softly. Xena looked down at her, feeling a twinge of envy that her friend could sleep so soundly. Even losing Perdicus to Callistoís rage hadnít destroyed Gabrielleís pure, loving nature, something for which Xena was more grateful than she could ever say. For the past year, Xena had experienced a warmth and joy she thought lost forever. Before Gabrielle, she never would have believed it was possible to feel such deep affection for anyone. The bard truly held a place in her heart shared by no one else.
As much as Gabrielle meant to her, however, Xena always kept her friend at armís length. Despite all they had been through together, Xena still felt the need to keep a part of herself hidden away. As much as she hated the distance she put between herself and Gabrielle, Xena found it impossible to tell her friend how much she needed her, how much she loved her. She, the Warrior Princess, who had instilled fear in so many hearts, was terrified of laying her heart bare to the one who mattered to her the most.
Glancing up at the sky, Xena knew that dawn would soon arrive. There was no point in trying to go back to sleep now. Xena reached out and lightly stroked Gabrielleís hair. "What would I ever do without you," she whispered, swallowing hard at the thought.
The first rays of daylight peeked out over the tops of the tallest trees, sending faint streaks of yellow and orange across the horizon. Xena stood up and stretched, careful not to disturb Gabrielle. After quickly scanning the campsite, Xena put on her armor and went to check on Argo. Perhaps keeping busy would drive the nightís anguish from her mind, she told herself as she removed two saddlebags from the horse.
Gabrielle slowly opened her eyes, squinting at the sunlight shining down on her. She looked around, wondering where Xena had gone. Just as she was about to get up and look for her, Xena appeared from the other side of the campsite. Gabrielle immediately saw the fatigue and pain in her friendís eyes and debated with herself whether she should say anything or just leave the matter alone. Sheís had another nightmare, Gabrielle concluded, her eyes suddenly moist. Gabrielle was all too aware of the pain that plagued the warriorís dreams, and her heart ached for her best friend. If only I could take your pain away, she thought as she quickly brushed the tears from her face.
"Xena...Iíll gather some more firewood and get breakfast started," Gabrielle offered, hoping her voice didnít betray the anxiety welling up in her.
"Fine," Xena replied curtly, avoiding Gabrielleís eyes. Seeing that Xena was in no mood to talk, Gabrielle rose and headed for the woods. "Maybe seeing Hercules again will lift her spirits," she said aloud as she went deeper into the forest. Hercules and Iolaus were staying in Mysia, a small village about a dayís ride away. They had just defeated a particularly fearsome monster that was terrorizing the nearby town of Troas, and decided to enjoy a well-earned rest before moving on. No one needed Xenaís help at the moment, so Xena made plans to head for Mysia and meet up with the two heroes there. Gabrielle, for her part, was very happy she would soon enjoy a soft, warm bed and the company of Iolaus. She especially longed for Iolausí companionship now, longed to heal the bitter void left in her heart by Perdicusí death. Hopefully the peace and quiet in Mysia would be just what Xena needed as well.
Xena and Gabrielle spent the morning meal in silence. Occasionally Gabrielle would steal a quick glance at her friend, but Xenaís face remained an unreadable mask. "We need to get going if we want to be in Mysia before nightfall," Xena said finally.
"Itíll be wonderful to see Iolaus and Hercules again!" Gabrielle said cheerfully, hoping the mention of their friends would ease the warriorís tension.
"Yes...it will," Xena said slowly, a brief smile playing across her face.
Xena said nothing else as she prepared Argo for the dayís journey. She only turned to look at Gabrielle after she mounted Argo, extending her hand to her. Stifling a sigh, Gabrielle allowed Xena to hoist her up. Xenaís continued silence during the ride to Mysia greatly unnerved Gabrielle, who decided to occupy herself by taking in all the sights and sounds of the countryside they passed through. The landscape of the lush forest was mesmerizing, encircled with towering, bright trees. Flowers were everywhere, in every size, shape and color imaginable. She had to take extra care to hold onto Xena as Argo wound through this unspoiled paradise, so immersed were her senses in the stunning beauty stretched out before her. Weíll definitely have to come back to this place someday, she mused. Gabrielle found herself suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of peace.
"Oh, Xena, I love it here," Gabrielle whispered, her voice choking with wonder. "This forest reminds me of the Elysian Fieldsómy dream, I mean. I really miss that place sometimes."
Xena suddenly brought Argo to a halt. Gabrielleís body lurched forward into Xenaís back. "Xena, whatís wrong?" Gabrielleís expression quickly changed from delight to fear.
"Nothing...I guess Iím just not in the mood to hear about the Elysian Fields right now." Gabrielle felt her friendís body stiffen.
"Xena, whatever it is, I want to help you," Gabrielle pleaded.
"No, Gabrielle. You canít help me," Xena said firmly.
"Why? Why wonít you let me in?" Gabrielle demanded.
"Drop it, Gabrielle." The sternness in Xenaís voice told Gabrielle further prodding would be useless. Thank the gods they would be in Mysia soon, she thought wearily.
The sun painted wide golden strokes across the sky as it made its descent behind the mountains, heralding twilightís arrival. Xena and Gabrielle approached the gates of Mysia as evening shadows crept across the village.
"May I help you ladies?" a deep baritone voice inquired.
Gabrielleís face suddenly broke into a bright smile. "Hercules!"
"The one and only," Hercules quipped as he jumped out from behind the gates. "Itís so good to see you both again!" he added, squeezing Xenaís hand briefly. Xena seemed a bit more relaxed in Herculesí presence, Gabrielle noticed.
"Youíre a welcome sight, too! Itís been a long day," Xena said to Hercules as she dismounted from Argo.
"Hey, Iím here to help too!" Iolaus said in mock indignance, appearing beside Hercules with a wide grin. He immediately moved over to Argo and lifted Gabrielle off the horse, setting her gently on the ground.
"Now you know I can do this by myself!" Gabrielle laughed, feeling a mixture of pleasure and embarassment.
"Yeah, I know," Iolaus beamed, putting his hand on Gabrielleís shoulder. "But itíll probably be a long time before I get another chance to show you how gallant I am!"
"Looks like you two have some lost time to make up for," Xena said wryly.
"Xena," Iolaus began, trying to sound matter-of-fact, "Gabrielle and I can take Argo to the stables while you and Herc go to the tavern. Theyíve got great food! Weíll catch up with you in a little while."
"Are you sure you donít want to go to the tavern first?" Xena queried, giving Gabrielle an incredulous look.
"Xena, Iím a big girl now," Gabrielle sighed impatiently. "Go onóI can live without food for a few minutes!"
"Okay, okay," Xena said quickly, "Weíll save some food for you." She and Hercules shared a knowing glance as they walked away from the young pair.
"So how have you been?" Iolaus asked Gabrielle, taking Argoís reins.
"Iím fine now that Iím with you." Gabrielle smiled warmly.
Gabrielle and Iolaus walked on wordlessly for several minutes. Iolaus nervously looked over at Gabrielle, unsure of what he should say. Taking a deep breath, he slowly put his arm around her.
"Iím really sorry about Perdicus," he said softly.
Gabrielle stopped abruptly. "After Perdicus died, I didnít think I could ever be happy again." Gabrielleís voice was almost a whisper. She felt Iolaus draw her closer.
"Itís okay, Iolaus," Gabrielle assured him, looking up into his worried eyes. "It helps to talk about it. I donít know what would have happened to me if Xena hadnít been there. She really stuck by me, even when I was determined to kill Callisto." Gabrielle paused and bit her lip. "I just wish I could help her now."
"What is it, Gabrielle? Maybe Herc can help," Iolaus said with concern.
I donít think sheíll let anyone help her," Gabrielle said ruefully. "Xenaís been having some very bad dreams for awhile now. Actually, Xena never has a good nightís sleep, but lately the dreams seem to take even more out of her than before. She wonít tell me anything about them." Gabrielle sighed sadly. "Even after all the time weíve been together, she still treats me like a stranger."
"Youíve got to keep trying," Iolaus urged. "She really needs you now."
"I donít know, Iolaus." Gabrielle shook her head. "Itís like Xena has this secret place she doesnít want me to see. I think she pushes me away when she thinks Iím getting too close."
"Iíve never seen two people who care more for each other than you two," Iolaus declared firmly. "If you want to know the truth, Iím a little jealous."
"Jealous?!" Gabrielle stared wide-eyed at Iolaus. She could scarcely believe what she was hearing.
"Yeah," Iolaus admitted, looking at the ground. "I wish I held the place in your heart that Xena does."
Gabrielle placed warm hands on Iolausí cheeks. "Iolaus, you will always have a very special place in my heart. I canít find the words to tell you how much you mean to me. Seeing you today has done wonders for me."
"Wow, thatís a first," Iolaus chortled, trying to lighten the mood. "Imagine you at a loss for words!"
Gabrielle punched Iolaus playfully. "Weíd better get going," she giggled, "Xena and Hercules will start wondering what happened to us!" With that, she and Iolaus headed for the stables with Argo in tow, arm in arm.
Darkness stretched out over the fields like a heavy blanket as Hercules and Xena made their way toward the village. A chilly breeze suddenly whisked through them, causing them to stop for a moment. Hercules took hold of Xenaís arm and turned her to face him, laughing softly.
"Xena, I think we have some lost time to make up for too!" Hercules said with a wink.
"It feels so good to be with you now," Xena said, looking up at Hercules seriously.
Hercules looked deeply into Xenaís steel blue eyes for a long moment. "What is it, Xena?" he asked, concern creeping into his voice.
Xena swallowed. "My past follows me even in my dreams. But for the past month itís been even worse than usual. Iíve begun having these nightmares about...about the day Gabrielle died." Xena turned away. Herculesí eyes widened, but he remained silent, not knowing what to make of Xenaís words.
"Gabrielle and I wandered into the middle of a war between Mitoa and Thessily last year," Xena continued in a very low voice. "There were so many wounded from both sides. And Gabrielle...she...she was attacked by a Mitoan soldier..." Xena grimaced as the pain from that day once again took hold of her. "She died a few hours later. Everyone was telling me to let her go, but I just couldnít. Then all of a sudden, she was back. She...came back to me." Xenaís voice was choking now.
Hercules laid a gentle hand on Xenaís shoulder. "I know how painful it is to lose someone so close to your heart," he said softly.
Xena turned to face Hercules once again, her eyes glistening with tears. "I just wish I knew what was happening to me. Gabrielle senses the pain Iíve been in, and I know sheís really frightened for me. But...I just canít talk to her about it." Xena sighed heavily.
"I know itís hard, but I think youíd both feel better if you did talk about it," Hercules suggested gently.
Xena swallowed again. "Hercules," she began, her voice hoarse, "Iíve always been so afraid of losing her." Xena laughed bitterly. "Iím supposed to be the strong one, but when it comes to Gabrielle...." Xenaís words died as screams of fear and panic suddenly sliced through the air. In the distance ahead, bright red flames were shooting up to the sky in all directions.
"So much for peace and quiet," Xena muttered to Hercules as they sprinted into the village.
Argo reared and neighed fearfully as Gabrielle and Iolaus approached the stables. Iolaus quickly reached out and placed a reassuring hand on the horseís muzzle.
"Easy, girl," he said soothingly. "Itís okay."
Gabrielle looked at Iolaus, a puzzled expression wrinkling her features.
"Thatís not like Argo at all," she remarked. "Unless thereís somethingó"
"GABRIELLE!" Iolaus pushed Gabrielle to the ground seconds before an arrow whizzed over them.
Argo began to buck even more forcefully. Iolaus and Gabrielle looked up in time to see four soldiers bolting out of the darkness, dressed in full armor. Quickly regaining her composure, Gabrielle grabbed her staff and leapt to her feet. Iolaus gave Argo a slight push and sent her galloping off as he joined forces with Gabrielle against their would-be attackers.
The first soldier went straight for Gabrielle, unsheathing a long, gleaming sword. Lunging at her, he was totally unprepared for the fierce jab to his ribs as the point of Gabrielleís staff rammed into his chest. With a sharp cry he doubled over in pain, his sword falling to the ground with a loud clang. Gabrielle swung her staff around to clip the man soundly in the temple, sending him into dreamland.
Iolaus, meanwhile, had wasted no time getting the sword, using the hilt to deftly club the second attacker. The third soldier slipped around Iolaus and jumped him from behind. "Iíve got you now!" the large man said through gritted teeth as he pinned Iolaus in a chokehold. His overconfidence was short-lived, however, as Iolaus kicked the man solidly in the groin in one swift movement, causing him to release his grip. Taking advantage of his opponentís distress, Iolaus felled him with a uppercut to the jaw. He rushed over to Gabrielle, her hands full trying to dispatch the fourth attacker, who had both hands on her staff and began to pull her toward him. The soldier was about to give a final yank on her staff when the familiar whistle of Xenaís chakram filled the air as the round weapon sailed around and thwacked the man on the side of the head, knocking him out instantly. Gabrielle flashed a grateful smile at Xena as she and Hercules came running toward her and Iolaus.
"Thanks," she breathed. "I needed that!"
"You and Gabrielle okay?" Hercules asked.
"Weíre fine, Hercóbut where did these guys come from?" Iolaus asked, frowning.
"I donít know," Hercules said dryly. "Someone set the tavern ablaze a little while ago. Iíll bet these thugs had something to do with that."
Hercules walked over to one of the unconscious soldiers and turned him over on his back. "Hmmm...I donít recognize the emblem at all," he said.
"Well, weíre not going to find out anything standing around here," Xena
sighed. "Letís take these scum to the village andó"
"Xena, look out!" Gabrielle screamed, running directly in the path of an arrow headed straight for Xenaís heart. Before Xena could catch the arrow, the deadly missile lodged itself in Gabrielleís abdomen. The world spun around as she sank to the ground.
"M-Must...help...Xena...," were her last words as darkness engulfed her.
When Gabrielle came to, she saw Xena, Iolaus and Hercules off in the distance. What am I doing here, she wondered, and then the eveningís events came flooding back into her memory. Xena! She had to make sure Xena was all right! So concerned was she for her friend it didnít register in her mind that her pain was gone. As she jumped to her feet, Gabrielle noticed that Xena was kneeling, holding a young woman in her arms. The blood at the corners of the womanís mouth had begun to congeal. Must be a villager who got wounded by one of the soldiers, Gabrielle thought as she went up to Xena. Xena didnít look up as Gabrielle approached, but continued to stare at the still body in her lap.
"Xena, what can Ió" Gabrielle stopped in mid-sentence as she looked in horror at the girl. The girlís eyes stared blankly up at the black sky above. Intestines protruded from a hideous wound in her side. Gabrielle backed away as the terrible truth hit her.
"No...it canít be!" she stammered. "Iím not...I cant be..."
Gabrielleís eyes focused on Iolaus, who was standing next to Xena, then Hercules. Both men were crying silently as they looked down at Xena. Tears ran freely down Xenaís cheeks. A searing agony shot through Gabrielle as she watched Xena rock her dead body back and forth.
"Sheís gone," she heard Xena whisper over and over. "My Gabrielleís gone..."
"Xena, Iím here!" Gabrielle screamed, tears running down her own cheeks now.
"Iím right here!" Gabrielle began to sob bitterly.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. "She canít hear you, my child," a voice said quietly. Gabrielle whirled around. "Lord Hades," she said simply.
"Yes, Gabrielle. Itís been a long time." Hades extended his hand. "Come, my child. Itís time for you to leave."
"No!" Gabrielle protested, turning to look at Xena. "I want Xena to know Iím all right!"
"Her grief will fade in time, as will yours. Now come," Hades said, his voice taking a firmer tone.
"Canít you at least let me say goodbye to her?" Gabrielle pleaded. "Weíve been through so much together." "Please." Gabrielle turned to look into Hadesí eyes.
Hades remained silent for an agonizingly long moment. Finally, he spoke. "Your wish is granted. For now, you will come with me," he said without emotion.
Xena gently closed Gabrielleís eyes as she rose to her feet, still cradling her friendís lifeless body in her arms. This time itís not a dream, a voice echoed through her mind. Hercules laid a hand on Xenaís arm.
"Let me take Gabrielle," he said softly. "Iolaus can take you to the inn."
Xena looked up at Hercules, then gazed down at Gabrielleís face. "Isnít she beautiful?" Xena murmured, stroking the girlís forehead.
Hercules and Iolaus looked helplessly at each other. "Xena, please...you need to get some rest," Hercules said finally.
Xena abruptly walked away from the two men, fiercely hugging Gabrielleís head to her chest. Iolaus started to follow her when Hercules pulled him back.
"No, let her go," Hercules said in his companionís ear. "She needs to say goodbye." Fresh tears slowly rolled down Iolausí face as he watched the forms of Xena and Gabrielle disappear into the night.
Xena walked on for what seemed like an eternity, her legs feeling heavier with each step. Upon reaching a small wheat field, Xena laid Gabrielleís stiff body in a patch of grass. Slowly, Xena removed her armor, stained with Gabrielleís caked blood. Leaning over the dead girl, Xena began to stroke her hair and face. Exhaustion and grief finally took their toll on the warrior as Xenaís head sank onto Gabrielleís chest, a deep sleep covering her like a thick curtain.
Xena opened her eyes, startled at seeing bright sunshine. She immediately reached out for Gabrielle, but her friendís body was nowhere to be seen. Rising to her feet, Xena looked around. She was in a field, but it bore no resemblance to the wheat field she had been in earlier. In fact, this field wasnít like any sheíd ever seen before. The ground was covered with all sorts of flowers, which seemed almost alive. Dazzling colors stretching out endlessly ahead, more glorious than anything real or imagined. Xena stooped to pick up her armor when she realized that it too had vanished. Before Xena could process this latest puzzle, she felt somethingóno, someoneócoming toward her. Xenaís body tensed as she wished she had her weapons with her.
"Itís okay, Xena," a gentle voice said in her mind. Xena looked up. No, she told herself. It couldnít be. Sheísó
"Gabrielle?" Xena blinked. My mind must be playing tricks on me, she thought warily.
"Itís me," Gabrielle smiled, taking Xenaís hands in hers. A shimmering white robe draped gracefully around Gabrielleís form. Gabrielleís face shone with a radiance unknown on earth.
"Gabrielle...youíre...youíre not dead," Xena stammered.
Gabrielle was silent for a moment. "Oh, yes, I am," she said slowly. "At least thatís what most people would say."
"No, Xena. Youíre here so I can sayó"
"Oh, Gabrielle, Iím so sorry," Xena blurted out, her voice choking.
"It wasnít your fault, Xena." Gabrielle laid her hand on Xenaís waist. "Even you canít be everywhere."
Xena pulled Gabrielle into a tight embrace. "Gabrielle..."
"Xena, you donít have to explain. I understand everything now," Gabrielle said.
"Gabrielle, please...this is my last chance to tell you whatís been in my heart for so long," Xena whispered.
Gabrielle nodded. "Iím listening."
"I know Iíve shut you out many times." Xena swallowed. "Iíve let my fear of losing you come between us." Xena started to tremble.
"Xena..." Gabrielle began.
"Let me finish," Xena pleaded. "Gabrielle, it hurts so muchópeople looking at me with such hate in their eyes everywhere I go. But when I look at you...I know Iím safe." Xena averted her eyes.
Gabrielle reached up to wipe a tear from Xenaís face. "Youíve given me so much, Xena. And so many others."
"I know you can hear my thoughts," Xena whispered, cradling the bardís head, "but I canít let you go without saying this." Xena planted a gentle kiss on the top of Gabrielleís head. "I love you, Gabrielle," Xena said, her voice reeking with emotion. "You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You believed in me when everyone else had given up on me...even my family."
Gabrielle smiled again as she ran a finger through Xenaís hair. "How did you ever put up with me?" she laughed softly.
Both women turned to the sound of muffled footsteps behind them. Hades strode over to them, casting a solemn glance at Gabrielle.
"Gabrielle, itís time," he said evenly. "You may show Xena the gardens and then she must leave."
Gabrielle nodded quickly as her smile vanished. Taking Xenaís arm, she led her friend in the opposite direction.
Hades stared after the two women as their shadows faded in the distance. Sometimes being the king of the underworld wasnít so much fun, he thought sadly. As he turned to leave, he saw Perdicus leaning against a large oak a few feet away.
"Isnít there something you can do?" Perdicus pleaded.
Hades let out a long sigh as he walked up to Perdicus. "You know that if I grant your request, I cannot promise that you and Gabrielle will be together in the future."
"Xena and Gabrielle belong together," Perdicus said firmly. "You know that as well as I do."
Hades pursed his lips. "If I send Gabrielle back with Xena, neither of them will remember their time here," Hades said thoughtfully, more to himself. "To them it will be as if none of this ever happened. Yesóit can be arranged."
"Thank you," Perdicus said simply. Hades nodded, his image fading away.
"I guess this is goodbye," Gabrielle said seriously as she and Xena walked side by side, their arms around each other. "Donít forget me."
Xena lightly pressed her lips to Gabrielleís. Suddenly, everything whirled around in her vision as Gabrielleís image began to fade. I love you, Xena. Iíll always be here for you," she heard in her mind as she felt the ground move beneath her....
"Xena, look out!" Gabrielle yelled as she stuck out her staff. A split-second later a deadly arrow headed straight for Xenaís heart was imbedded in the staff.
Xena spotted a soldier coming toward her on horseback, his longbow poised for another release. In the blink of an eye her chakram flew to its mark, knocking the soldier off his mount. Hercules ran over and grabbed the stunned attacker while Iolaus steadied his horse.
"You and your friends will have a lot of explaining to do," Hercules said tersely to the soldier. "Itís my guess he and his pals torched the tavern tonight," he said to Xena as she and Gabrielle ran over to him.
"Gabrielle and I will get some of the villagers here to help us with clean up," Xena said flatly. "I trust you two will be fine?" she asked, casting a wicked grin at Hercules.
"Donít worry about us," Iolaus laughed. "No oneís going anywhere!"
Xena was lost in thought as she and Gabrielle made the trek back to the village. Gabrielle, as usual, wondered whether to ask Xena what was on her mind or to keep quiet.
"Gabrielle," Xena said hesitantly, "I was really impressed with the way you caught that arrow. It was almost as if you expected it."
"Itís strange you should say that. Donít ask me how, but I did know ahead of time that the arrow would be coming for you." A bewildered expression crossed Gabrielleís face. "And this is going to sound really weird, Xena, but when I caught the arrow, I had this feeling that...that it had all happened before."
"So did I," Xena shrugged. "Anyway, Iím glad your senses were so sharp tonight."
"Me too," Gabrielle laughed in agreement.
The two friends walked on in silence for another moment. Xena stopped and brought Gabrielle around to face her.
"Gabrielle, I..." Xena shook her head as her voice trailed off.
"Xena, is something wrong?" Gabrielle asked worriedly.
Xena smiled reassuringly, placing her hands on Gabrielleís shoulders. "Nothing...nothing at all. Come on. Itís been a long day for both of us," Xena replied, moving a little ahead of Gabrielle.
Gabrielle screwed up her face as if to say, "Yeah, right!" but decided to keep her thoughts to herself. The bard never saw the love and pain in the warriorís eyes as she skipped to catch up.
Xena stole a quick glance at Gabrielle. If only I could tell you what you mean to me, she thought wistfully. A full moon bathed the two women in soft blue light as their figures faded into the darkness.