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Disclaimer1: As usual, Xena, Gabrielle and Argo belong to MCA/Universal Television and Renaissance Pictures. I just borrowed them for this story. Know profit comes from this. No copy rights infringement was intended.
Disclaimer 2: The song ĎHushabye Mountainí belongs to MGM.
Disclaimer 3: This could be labeled a Hurt/Comfort story. It might even bring a tear to your eye.
Note: This is dedicated to Lucy Lawless and Renee OíConner. They brought to life the greastest characters ever on TV. I am eternally grateful for that. For it is these characters that has inspired me to write, something I thought I would never, ever do. Also I would like to express my sincere thanks to my online friends, who encouraged me to continue writing..
Hey since this is my 5th story....does this officially make me a Bard?
Please send all comments...be kind.. to
Two women and a horse are walking down a road. One is tall, dark haired and dressed in leather and armor. The other is shorter with reddish blond hair, a green top, brown skirt, and carrying a staff. A strange combination: a warrior and a bard.
The blond bard is telling one of her tales, embellishing with her hands. The warrior justs listens and smiles at her young, enthusastic friend.
"Gabrielle....can you put any more arm gestures into that story?" laughs Xena, watching as Gabrielle swings her arms out, emphasing the end of her story.
The young bard just looks at Xena, then waves her hands at the ex-warlord, "Hey!! I canít help it if when I tell a story, I have to use my hands. It would look silly if I just stood there and just talked with out moving."
"Well just watch it, you almost hit Argo in the head", teased Xena.
Looking at Argo, Gabrielle replies, "OH...so sorry honorable Equine!" bowing at the end.
Xena laughs, something she has done alot since the blond bard came into her life. She liked it, although not showing it in public to often, in private she relished her friends natural humor.
They come to the outskirts of a village. But something is not quite like it seems.
"Xena. Itís awful quite," comments the bard.
"I know, I donít like it , keep an eye out for trouble" Xena quickly draws her sword as Gabrielle moves her staff in a defense position.
As they proceed into the town, they come upon an inn. Stopping, Xena catches a glimpse of someone watching them through the window. Just as they get to the door, it opens and a man appears, fear in his eyes. "Donít come in!!! He yells, "Get out of town now!!!"
"Why?" Xena asks, readying her sword for an attack. "Whatís going on?"
"There is a sickness going around. Half the town has it and the rest are in their homes waiting it out."
Gabrielle puts her hand on Xenaís arm, concern in her green eyes. She wants to stay and help. Xena nods to her friend. "Whereís your healer?" Xena looks at the man.
"Sara is 4 days away from here, at Thessaly, teaching and learning some new things. She wonít be back for at least a moon. We didnít want to spread the sickness so we didnít send a messenger for her."
"That was good thinking. Ok then, I guess itís up to us to figure out what this is and how to treat it" Xena moves into the inn, the bard following her. "First off, can you describe the symptoms. This may be something I have come across."
The man tells the two what the symptoms are. "Usually it starts off with headaches, then an upset stomach, canít keep anything down. Then it seems like your body is achey all over, then the fever sets in. The fever gets real bad and then...." he stops, unable to finish.
"Death." Xena states, her eyes dark.
"Does that help" exhaustion showing in the manís face.
"Yea it does, I have delt with this before," Xena turns to Gabrielle, "We need to get organized. First we need to gather all the sick in one area, this will help keep it from spreading, and we can help them better. Then we need to have the ones not sick help out." Xena turns back to the man, "You seem ok for now, can you help? It might keep your mind occupied," she gives him a small smile.
"Yea, I think so....by the way my nameís Quintus, but just call me Quint." He smiles back.
"This is Gabrielle and Iím...Xena" She waits to see his reaction. Then is surprised when instead of fear on his face, there is more like awe instead.
"Iíve...I mean the whole town has heard the tales of your heroic deeds...Prometheus...saving Death...Pandora and King Gregor," stammered Quint. "We are honored to have you here, I am the Innkeeper and am at your service." Then looking at Gabrielle, "Your the Bard of Potedia!! I am Honored." He bows.
Both warrior and bard are at a loss for words.
"We can use my Inn..it has plenty of room" offers Quint, as he leads them further inside.
"This should do nicely, Quint," Xena looks around, taking in the area. "Letís move most of the chairs and benches out of here. Clear the tables off, we can use them as make shift beds."
"Quint, I need you to help gather people, get the word out to bring the sick here." orders Xena.
While Quint quickly leaves, Xena helps Gabrielle to move things. "Gabrielle, we need to find some cots, see if any shops have any. I am going to the healers to look for things I will need.
"Xena...?" the bard questions, "How bad is this sickness.."
"It can be very bad, Gabrielle. The fever is what kills." Xena looks at her friend, concern in her blue eyes. "If we can keep the fever down, keep fluids in the body, then usually a fews days later the sickness starts to wear off."
Xena walks with Gabrielle out of the Inn, then they head toward the shops and healers.
A candlemark later, both return.
Gabrielle has an arm full of blankets and sheets. "I found a shop owner who had 10 cots in stock, I told him to bring them over as soon as possible."
"Well that will be a start," smiles Xena, she herself has an arm full of bags and bottles.
"I take it you found what you needed," laughs the bard, watching her friend.
"Yea, I did. The healer was well stocked."
Just as our heroís enter the Inn, Quint returns. "I told everyone who has sick or is sick to come here. I also persuaded a few to volunteer to help out."
As he finished, the door opens. People carrying children, helping the elderly, started to trickle in.
"Put them over there, on the tables, we will make them more comfortable later" Xena nods to Gabrielle. The bard shows where to put everyone.
"Quint, you and Gabrielle go and find that shop keeper and get those cots here Now!" Quint grabs Gabrielle and both make a hasty exit.
"You!" The warrior points to a young girl. "Whatís you name"
"Lisila, I need you to heat up some water in kettles" Xena says softly, reasuring the girl. "Can you do that?"
"Yes, I want to help" the girl looks at Xena, then turns to go to the kitchen.
"Good girl" Xena goes over to the bags and bottles she brought from the healers. She sorts thru them, getting them seperated according to what they are used for.
Soon, Gabrielle and Quint return, with several others carrying cots, more blankets and sheets. "Xena, we were able to find more cots." Gabrielle goes over to her friend.
"Thatís great, Gabrielle."
The Inn quickly fills up with cots, which in turn are filled up with the sick. Xena and Gabrielle make sure that ones who arenít sick stay out except for the few who volunteer to help.
"Xena," calls Lisila, "the water is ready."
"Thank you Lisila," Xena smiles at the girl. "You are a big help, now go see if the others can use you."
Lisila goes off to find someone to help, while Xena starts making a herbal tea, used to help fevers, and another mixture used to help settle the stomach.
Xena calls to the bard, "Gabrielle..start giving this tea to the worst ones first, it will help with the fever." She stops Gabrielle by the arm, looking at her friend, with sadness, "We will probably lose some, you need to be aware of this. I know how much you care for people, but donít blame yourself if some donít make it. This sickness leaves the body very weak, thus it canít fight the fever. We need to keep liquids in them, and keep the fever down. You understand?"
Gabrielle nods, tears in her eyes. "I know, but thanks for telling me." Gabrielle touches Xenaís arm, "I am glad you wanted to help them, you could of just as easily have decided to leave."
"Yea I could of, if this was a few yrs ago, but now.....itís different, Iím different," the Warrior hugs the Bard, "you are such a bad influence on me."
Gabrielle looks up at Xena, then smacks her on the chest, "Oh you....are...sooooo...funny." But she is smiling at her friend.
Xena continues, "Besides, if I had, I would never hear the end of it."
"True," giggles Gabrielle, as she turns to go.
Xena watches Gabrielle as she starts giving the tea to the patients. ĎHow am I so lucky to have her as a friend?í asking herself for the umpteenth time. Shaking her head, she returns to the kitchen.
The night came and went, a few more became sick and unfortunatly, as Xena predicted, a couple did not make it.
As the day goes on Xena and Gabrielle continue to administer to the sick. The Warrior enlists Quint and Lisila to help with disenfecting bedding, clothes and such, helping to prevent further sickness.
In the meantime, Gabrielle goes from patient to patient, easing their minds with stories.
"She is amazing," Quint tells the Warrior Princess. "The way she tells the stories, they almost come alive. No wonder your reputation is turning around."
"Yea, she does love to over emphasize me a little," Xena watches Gabrielle, smiling. "I just wish she would tone my exploits down more and put more emphasis on herself....she does more than she gives herself credit for."
"But itís those Ďexploitsí that have people relizing that you have changed." The Innkeeper looks at Xena, "I noticed when you first came into town, how nervous and wary you were."
"Well thatís cause most places have bad memories of me."
"I know, but havenít you also noticed that some places have accepted you as you are now, even when they knew of your past?"
"Yea, I suppose so." Xena walks with Quint to get some more herbal tea ready.
"Thatís because of those Ďexploitedí stories, Gabrielle tells it like she sees it. Thatís her gift." Xena stops and looks at Quint, taking in what he is trying to tell her. Quint continues, "Itís those stories that makes people unafraid of you, so donít let her do it any other way, she is your redemption, she is your Bard!" Quint emphasizes the your by pointing at Xenaís heart.
The Warrior just stares at the Innkeeper, then breaks into a big grin, "How did you get to be so wise?"
"Hah!!...Wouldnít you like to know," winks Quint, he then turns and walks away, whistling.
Xena continues to stare at his retreating back, then shakes her head, smiling. "My Bard....hmmm....I guess I can live with it." She finishes with the teas and returns to the main hall, handing out the cups to the patients. Xena sits and talks to some, occasionally looking at ĎHer Bardí, smiling.
During the next few days, Xena, Gabrielle, Quint, Lisila and the others work day and night, with little sleep. They lose a few more, but most are recovering nicely.
The Warrior goes over to Gabrielle, looking at her, and seeing the tiredness in her green eyes. ĎSheís been such a great help.í "Gabrielle, why donít you get some rest. Things are under control here now," as she puts both arms on the Bardís shoulders.
"Oh...in awhile, I just need to get some water from the well." Gabrielle looks back at her friend, "I promise when I get back I will rest....OK?"
"Alright" Xena gives in, "but donít take too long."
"I wonít." The little Bard gathers up two buckets and heads out to the well.
Xena turns back towards the patient area, when she sees a group coming toward her. The group, made up of Quint, Lisila and the other helpers, stop in front of her.
"Xena...Uh..." Quints starts, "we want to thank you for helping us, if you and Gabrielle hadnít come to town when you did...I donít want to even think how many of our friends and relatives would not have made it..."
Lisila steps up and smiles at Xena. "You and Gabrielle are always welcome to our town, we are indebted to both of you."
"No!" replies Xena, "I did what was right, to help when there was a need. You are just as much the reason so many survived. Volunteering is something alot of people would not do, but this town pulled together and that is what matters." She looks at Lisila and the others, "You have made me feel welcomed, even though you knew of my past. Thatís something I will always remember."
"Ok, letís get back to our patients," sighs Xena, changing the subject.
"Has anyone seen Gabrielle?" Xena asks, having not seen the blond since she went to get water.
"No...no lately," replies Quint.
Xena turns, going out the door. She goes to the well and not seeing Gabrielle, she starts to go down the street. She stops, hearing a low moan. Going back to the well, she looks around to the other side.
"GABRIELLE!!!" Xena shouts, seeing Gabrielle lying on the ground, the two buckets next to her. Xena rushes to her friends side, turning her over. Gabrielleís face is flushed, her hair damp from sweat. Xena places her hand on the little Bardís forehead.
"Oh...Gabrielle, youíre burning up" signs Xena. Picking up the girl, she carries her back to the Inn.
Quint and the others look up from what they are doing when the door is knocked opened. Gasps coming from several sources, as they see the Warrior carrying in her friend.
Going over to an empty cot, Xena gently puts down Gabrielle, smoothing the damp hair from her face.
"Xena?" Quint stammers, "the fever?"
Xena nods, holding back tears. "Get me some cold water, a rag. Lisila make me some of the tea."
"Of course, Xena" the girl puts a hand on Xenaís shoulder, "she will be ok, right?"
"I hope so....I mean...she is strong and young." But the warrior also knew that the Bard was exhausted and weak from lack of sleep.
Coming back with a bucket and several rags, Quint hands them to Xena, then goes, leaving the Warrior to tend to her friend.
"Oh Gab...why didnít you take a rest like I kept asking you." whispers Xena as she puts a cold rag on Gabrielleís forehead. ĎWhy didnít I make you,í she thinks to herself, Ďcause she has you wrapped around her finger, you big, dumb, warrior.í Then out loud, "Why are you so stubborn." Xena takes another rag and starts cleaning the dirt off her friends face.
Lisila brings the tea to Xena, then she too backs off, leaving the Warrior alone.
"Come on, wake up" Xena pleads, "I need to get this tea down you." She lightly shakes the Bard. "Thatís it, come on."
Gabrielle slowly opens her eyes, but she just stares blankly. Xena brings the cup to Gabrielleís mouth, getting most of it in her, but some trickles down her chin. "Good girl!" smiles Xena, wiping the girls chin with a rag. "Now just rest, ok?" She lays Gabrielle back down. Soon the bard is sleeping. Xena settles down next to the cot, taking her friends hand in hers. She sits and waits.
Xena stays by Gabrielleís side for several hours, resting her head on the cot.
Suddenly Gabrielle starts thrashing about.
"Gabrielle!" cries Xena, but the bard doesnít hear her.
Gabrielle continues to thrash around and yells, "XENA!! NO!!"
Xena knows that Gabrielle is having visions from the high fever. She grabs her friend and tries to hold her down. "Gab....itís alright, Iím here," she soothes, "Calm down."
"Why did you leave me!!" shouts the bard. "I canít be alone...I canít do it". Xena relizes that Gabrielle is reliving when Xena died. "I never got to tell you...." Gabrielle starts crying and shaking.
"Gabrielle....listen to me, I am RIGHT HERE! Iím ok, your not alone." Gabrielle clutches to Xena, crying and shaking harder. Xena looks at Gabrielleís face, her green eyes wild with terror.
"NO!!..." The feverish bard shakes her head, "No...NO!!....XENA!!! Gabrielle starts thrashing about again. Xena, terrified that her friend might hurt herself, does the only thing she could think of to calm the bard. Quitely, close to Gabrielleís ear, she starts to sing:
A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows oíer Lullabye Bay
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting,
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isnít far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the Key
The winds of night so softly are sighing
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain
Wave goodbye...to cares of the day
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from Lullabye Bay
As Xena sings to her friend, the others stop and listen. Awed at the tenderness she is displaying toward Gabrielle, many are moved to tears. ĎTruely these two are the best of friendsí they think to themselves.
Then as Xena finishes, Gabrielle finally quites down. Laying her back down, Xena kisses Gabrielleís forehead, "Rest now my little Bard," she whispers. Settling once again next to her friend.
Morning comes, finding Xena still next to Gabrielle, her head resting on her friends stomach, so as to feel her if she moves. Suddenly she feels something on her face. Opening her eyes, she looks back at the most beautiful sight, the sparkling green eyes of her best friend.
"Hey sleepyhead" giggles Gabrielle, a big grin on her face.
"Hey yourself" smiles Xena, then grabs Gabrielle is a big hug. "How you feeliní," as she feels the bardís head.
"Iíve been better," smirks Gabrielle.
"Yea, I bet you have." Xena gets up, goes and retrieves a cup of tea, and returns, giving it to Gabrielle. "Here, drink this."
Gabrielle drinks the tea, then lays back, looking into Xenaís blue eyes. "Thank you."
"Youíre wel...." Gabrielle stops Xena, grabbing one of her hands.
"No. I mean for last night. I had that nightmare again." The bard checks for signs that Xena understood. Xena nods. "But then I heard you singing to me, and it was wonderful. Thank you."
Xena smiles and squeezes Gabrielleís hand. "Gabrielle, your my best friend, No...more than that, my soul mate. I would go to Tartarus and back for you. I did it cause I love you." Xena hugs Gabrielle then lays her back down, wiping the tears from both their eyes. "Now get some rest."
Gabrielle closes her eyes, contented, and sleeps.
Several days later:
"You ready , Gabrielle?" Xena finishes packing stuff and placing it on Argo.
"YES!!! Letís go." Gabrielle hugs Quint and Lisila.
"We are grateful for all you did. Please come back again. Your room and food will be on the house," winks Quint
Xena turns and smiles. "Thanks Quint, we just might take you up on that." Turning toward Lisila, she hugs the girl. "You were a great help Lisila, Thank you."
Lisila blushes, the turns and moves next to Quint, her eyes sparkling.
Xena mounts Argo, holding out her hand to Gabrielle. "Come on, your riding."
Gabrielle looks up, "Do I have to?"
Xena give her friend the Look, "Yes!! Your still recovering."
Gabrielle resigns and grabs Xenaís hand, then she is being pulled up behind her friend. Looking at Quint and Lisila, "I hate heights."
As Xena and Gabrielle start off, they turn and wave, and notice Quint putting his arm around Lisila. They in turn wave back.
"I think we may have started something" laughs Gabrielle.
"Hey, just add matchmaker to my many skills" Xena exclaims, then they both burst out laughing.
"Want a story?" asks the Bard, hugging the Warrior.
"You bet..." Xena then turns and winks at Gabrielle, "even one about me."
The Bard rallies into one involving an Ex-Warlord and her rescue of a young, village girl...
As the three move off down the road, they pass an old, worn-out sign, indicating the town they just left......The town called Goodwill.
Okay if any one read my last story Beware Sweet Treats, this will sound familiar.
The song ĎHushabye Mountainí is from the soundtrack (donít laugh) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, (ok you can stop laughing now), this is one of my all time favorite family movies...so live with it.
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