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Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Is There Another Doctor in the House?" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
This story is an alternate ending to
Is There a Doctor in the House?
by Alan Plessinger
After the artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation had failed, after nearly every healer and soldier in the temple begged her to give up, Xena finally slumped over the body of Gabrielle, exhausted. She wouldnít be comforted. She didnít want to hear what anyone had to say to her.
Xena took the body in her arms and walked out of the temple past the soldiers, most of whom looked down or away as she passed. She walked out of the temple entrance. There was a hard rain falling. She looked up at the sky, at the lightning and thunderclouds.
She looked all around her. What was she looking for? Of course, she was looking for Gabrielle so they could leave.
No, no, the real Gabrielle, the one with the beautiful smile and the soft, gentle eyes, full of life and love. The one with the soothing voice and the playful, loving manner. Where was she?
Xena closed her eyes, and the tears came. She refused to look at this body in her arms. Gabrielle could not be dead. It made no sense that Gabrielle would be dead and Xena would go one living. There was no life without Gabrielle. There was nothing without Gabrielle.
Some practical part of her kept saying that it was time to take the body back to Poteidaia to be buried. She headed towards Argo.
Argo was on the other side of a barbed-wire fence, a fence that she had leaped over and Gabrielle had vaulted over. She could take her chakram and slice through the wire, it would strike the headstone over there...
Oh, what was the use of these idiotic parlor tricks now? So the chakram comes back, so what? What good does that do anyone now? She could do the same thing just as easily with her sword. Who did she think she was performing for, anyway?
She put the body down by the side of the fence. She couldnít look as the head flopped back like the head of a rag doll. She drew her sword , and then couldnít remember what she wanted to do with it. She leaned against a tree and tried to think.
All she could think of was all the things Gabrielle had done for her in the past year.
"Gabrielle," she said aloud, "I always thought I was meant to be alone. I didnít know what people meant when they talked of loneliness. Now I know. Loneliness is missing Gabrielle.
She lifted her sword and cleaved the top two strands of barbed-wire. They curled down and fell onto Gabrielleís body. Did she really think that having one little task to focus on would take her mind away from the torture that was her life?
"Gabrielle," she said, "I know what I promised you, but I just canít do it. Not without you. Thereís only one thing that could ever take away any of the pain and the anger and the hatred, and thatís my old life. Thereís no salvation for me. I was a fool to think it could be otherwise.
"And Iím going to start with the soldier that did this to you. By the gods, I am going to DESTROY him, Gabrielle. I am going to flay him alive, inch by inch. Itíll take him a week to die. How could anyone forgive what heís done? How could the world forgive him?"
The thunder interrupted her. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine the bloodshed she would cause. But still all she could think of was everything Gabrielle had done for her. All the times Gabrielle had saved her soul when she was in the midst of bloodlust and saw nothing but hatred and revenge. All the dark moods she had brought her out of with her playfulness. All the nightmares that ended with Gabrielle waking her up as gently as possible, soothing her with her voice and her sweet smile. All the times that made her believe that there was nothing the world could do to her, no heartache or loss she could not bear, as long as she had Gabrielle.
As long as she had Gabrielle.
All the things Gabrielle had said to her kept coming back.
"It was your last wish! For all that youíve given me, and all the times youíve saved my life, I would go to Tartarus and back just to carry it out."
"No. Look at me. Iím standing up to a murderous warlord, like I saw you do against Draco. But this time the warlord is YOU."
"No. No, look, you PROMISE me. If something happens to me, you will not become a monster."
"Thereís only one way to end this cycle of hatred, and itís through love. And forgiveness."
"No. No, YOU PROMISE ME."
Xena threw her arms out to her sides, she threw back her head, and she screamed.
The rain mixed with her tears and the blood of soldiers. The rain fell into her throat, it ran in rivelets down her face and neck. She dropped to her knees and held her sides as though the pain and despair would tear her in half.
She howled again, and the thunder answered her. She held her sword towards the thunder and shouted at it as though it were responsible.
"I WONíT DO IT!" she yelled. "I WONíT BE WHAT I WAS! I donít CARE how right it feels! It would KILL Gabrielle all over again, and I WONíT DO IT!"
She hit the tree with her sword over and over again, and yelled the words loud enough to convince herself.
"I WONíT...BE WHAT...I WAS! I WONíT...BE WHAT...I WAS! I WONíT...BE WHAT...I WAS! BY THE GODS, I SWEAR I WONíT BE WHAT I WAS!"
Another thunderclap, and a bolt of lightning struck the barbed-wire fence. Huge volts of current traveled along the strands of wire and directly into Gabrielle. The body twitched and jumped, and when it was over Xena leaped to the body and cradled it in her arms.
No, it couldnít be! There was a pulse! There was a very faint heartbeat. She wasnít all the way back yet, but some more artificial respiration and resuscitation, and she was able to cough. She looked confused as Xena hugged her, but she was able to say one word.
Xea weeped into her friendís shoulder at the thought that she might never have heard anyone say her name quite that way again. She didnít want to let Gabrielle go.
"Gabrielle," she said, "I promise I will never underestimate you again."
Gabrielle was alive. Xena had a life worth living.
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