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Well, there is a first time for everything. And this is my first attempt at fan fic. I gather that I need to have a disclaimer at the start of this story. So here goes:
This is a story dealing with everyone's fav two tv characters - Xena and Gabrielle. I gotta admit that I love Callisto - the girl has attitude. But at the moment, this story is just a Xena and Gabrielle story, exploring the emotional relationship between the two. I hope that you enjoy this story, and please send me any feedback.
Oh yeah, no smutty stuff at the moment - so I guess I don't need a disclaimer for that kind of stuff for this story do I? *L*
Chapter 1: Loneliness~
A scream for help,
A bloodcurdling scream resonated through the tall oaks. Argo's ears perked up immediately to the sudden sound, as he shuddered slightly to adjust to his strongly built rider's body twisting around towards the scream. Without word or thought, Xena had Argo in a gallop, leaving Gabrielle breathing in a cloud of dust.
Typical Xena, Gabrielle muttered to herself, as she stamped her staff into the ground in annoyance.
Always playing the hero. And treating me like some little floozy on the side. She turned and calmly followed Xena's trail, humming a little tune to herself.
It would be a change if just once she grabbed me before running off to battle, Gabrielle sighed to herself. I'm not THAT bad in a fight.
And then, from nowhere, a small smile crossed Gabrielle's face, as a thought occurred to her. Is it because I feel left out that I get annoyed with her? Xena saves the day again, playing the big hero, while I stand in the background feeling left out?
Gabrielle's smile quickly turned to a wry grin as she realised what the real problem was, and began chiding herself. This is so stupid. Xena can look after herself. What am I worrying about?
Deep in thought that she was, Gabrielle failed to notice the figure softly stalking her from behind. Her last thought was a fleeting picture of Xena, as the hilt of a sword sent her into unconsciousness.
The softest of whites,
Xena stood tall, taking account of her surroundings; six thugs lying prostrate on the ground, their weapons scattered around them. She replaced her sword in its scabbard, running a hand through her slightly disturbed hair. She winced ever so slightly at the stretch of her arm however, noting the sharpness of pain where a sword had hit her stomach, which luckily had been stopped from causing further damage by her armour. An ever so small grimace crossed her face as she gritted her teeth, determined to show no pain. 'Time for that later' she thought to herself, 'when I'm alone.' [note: amazing how in the television shows Xena doesn't seem to work up a sweat, and comes out without a scratch when she is fighting a group of hapless men!]
In front of a rather ramshackle hut huddled two women, a mother and her young daughter. Soft cries emanated from them, as the mother slowly wiped the tears from her daughter's face. Holding her in a loving embrace, the mother led her daughter towards Xena.
"Thankyou so much. I don't know how we can repay you," she stuttered, still overcome by emotions.
"It's no problem," Xena replied, flashing a rare smile. But inside, Xena steamed with rage. Why were men like this, she asked herself. She had arrived just in time, as the men were about to take advantage of the two women. It wasn't the first time Xena had encountered such a scene, and she was sure that it wouldn't be the last. It frustrated her. But more than that, it filled her with anger. The kind of anger which made her such a formidable opponent in battle. An anger which she channelled into fighting, as if fighting was an escape valve for her emotions.
Lost in distant thought, Xena suddenly realised she had forgotten something. Gabrielle!
"Gotta go," she cried to the two women as she leapt onto Argo's back. In the same motion both rider and horse were off in a gallop.
Gabrielle is going to be pissed off, Xena smiled to herself as Argo carried her back along a path they had travelled not so long ago before.
Her amazing eyesight found something of interest to the side of the path, and in a single motion she had swung herself to one side, reached a hand to the ground and was now sitting back in place atop Argo, who hadn't even broken stride. In her hand was a single white flower.
This will make it up to her, she laughed. She laughed even harder as she realised that it probably wouldn't, knowing Gabrielle. Without even thinking about it, Xena found herself picturing past moments, the numerous times when Xena had done something which had annoyed Gabrielle. Just little things. Little niggling, joking remarks. Little tricks and pranks. Despite it all, Gabrielle would always end up smiling. And so would Xena. The warrior realised the warmth with which she was thinking of the playful banter between her and the young bard.
The sight of trees speeding past her, and the feeling of fresh air rushing past her face failed to attract the attention of Argo's rider, as she found herself deeply lost in thought. Argo felt a soft, but noticeable relaxing in Xena's powerful thighs. He continued at the same pace however, but taking care not to bump his rider.
Looking deeper, Xena found herself picturing Gabrielle's face. Her pale skin, her soft blue eyes. It was a picture Xena found herself seeing so often. On rare moments like this, Xena faced her own emotions. She realised that of late, her thoughts had been drifting more and more towards her bard companion. She remembered every moment, every word, every thought between the two of them. All of these she treasured. It was as if in the presence of Gabrielle, she was at peace with herself.
Xena's thighs instinctively tightened their hold of Argo, as the horse came to a shuddering halt. Xena looked around her, as Argo's front hooves tapped the ground, his head shaking slowly from side to side in confusion. They had reached the spot where Xena had left Gabrielle not so long ago. The place was just as Xena remembered it, perfectly the same. It was definitely the place. Except that there was no Gabrielle.
In a fanfareless leap, Xena dismounted, leaving Argo idly trotting and snorting as he regained his breath. Xena quickly found Gabrielle's tracks, noting the impressions of a staff being beaten into the ground, apparently in irritation. On any other occasion, Xena would laugh at the young bard's annoyance. Any occasion but now. All she could feel right now was desperation. The desperation to find Gabrielle. To know where she was. To know that she was safe.
Xena followed Gabrielle's trail, thankful that in her haste to return that Argo had not disturbed it. She followed the trail for several minutes, scanning the surrounding trees as she passed, wondering if Gabrielle was playing a trick on her. Some kind of payback.
She abruptly came to a stop, as she encountered an odd mark in the ground. It quickly became apparent what this mark meant. It told her that Gabrielle had fallen onto the ground here. Something had happened to her! Different emotions hit Xena all at once. Fear. Panic. Anger. She quickly calmed herself. But anger remained. Anger at herself, for having left Gabrielle on her own. This was her own fault. She was to blame.
Don't beat yourself up over it now Xena, she told herself. Time for that later. Find Gabrielle first.
She placed her fingers to her lips, and sent a whistle through the forest. In seconds, Argo was there, and moments later they were off, entering the forest. Following the trail of Gabrielle's assailant. On the ground behind them, lay a single white flower.
Find yourself captured,
Gabrielle made a point of not opening her eyes. She could hear the shallow breathing of someone close by. She could feel the warmth of a fire to her left. Definitely night she thought to herself. She smelt the strong aroma of meat cooking over a fire. Rabbit by the smell. She subconsciously licked her lips, her body blatantly pointing out its needs to her. Her hands were tied behind her back, tightly. Her feet also were tied, her legs lying straight in front of her. She was in a sitting position, lying against a tree she realised.
Gabrielle took a deep breath as she opened her eyes. She blinked several times, her eyes adjusting to the light. She found herself facing a man sitting over the fire, cooking.
"Ah, so you're awake?" the man questioned, in a mild, unfamiliar accent, as he faced her. Gabrielle found herself locked in his gaze, his eyes alarmingly penetrating. She lowered her head, and began to struggle against her binds.
"Please don't struggle. You'll find that you won't be able to free yourself, and you'll only hurt yourself trying." Rather stubbornly Gabrielle continued for a few seconds, and then realising the folly, or rather the pain it was causing, she stopped. However, she found that her struggling had somehow increased the uncomfortable binding of her hands, and it was now becoming painful.
"Can you please loosen my hands? They're hurting," Gabrielle asked, the pain becoming quite unbearable.
"But of course. Please forgive me for tying your hands together so tightly." He moved toward her, leant her body forwards and soon had loosened her bindings. Enough to stop the discomfort, but not enough to allow her the possibility of escape.
The man sat himself back next to the fire, and continued cooking the meat. Gabrielle found her eyes back on him, studying her captor. He was tall, and well built. He had short, pitch black hair. He was clean shaven, his skin a soft olive colour. His eyes were thin, and slanted. She had heard of people like this. They came from somewhere to the east, a place called Asia.
Odder still was his raiment. He wore a beautiful red silk robe. Dreadfully expensive, this one appeared brand new. She noted that behind the man lay his armour. Leather with steel chains overlaid, by the look of it.
Gabrielle felt odd. I should be scared, she found herself thinking. But I'm not. Certainly not comfortable, but I don't know what to think.
"Would you like some food?" he asked. The man's politeness was unnerving, but Gabrielle knew the answer to the question without having to think. And besides, politeness deserved politeness, even if this strange man had taken her prisoner.
"Yes please," she replied. The man picked himself up, and sat himself beside Gabrielle. He picked pieces of meat from his stick, alternately feeding both himself and Gabrielle. Soon the meat was gone, and the man sat himself back besides the fire.
Gabrielle again found herself staring at her strange captor. He appeared to be staring at the sky, lost in thought. A question burned inside Gabrielle, but she was afraid to ask. "Who are you?" she finally managed to stutter.
The man turned and looked straight at her. Their eyes met again, as he replied. "I must apologise for my treatment of you. I am sure that you have many questions, but for now, please sleep. I will answer any questions you may have in the morning."
Gabrielle felt unsure of herself. It was true that she was this man's captive, but she certainly didn't feel threatened in any way. And not really scared. Just uncertain. She was sure however, that this man wasn't going to hurt her. She found her eyelids getting heavy, and succumbed to their protests, closing her eyes and lying back against the support of the tree behind her. As she slowly drifted off to sleep, she found herself wondering where the hell Xena was.
The fire roared in protest as Xena prodded it with a stick. She was angry. Where was Gabrielle? And who had taken her? She beat the stick into the fire again, sending embers flying into the cool night sky. She had spent the day trying to find her, but to no avail. It was hard to understand what was going on. The trail of Gabrielle's captor had been clearly visible, and Xena had followed it. But it had suddenly disappeared, as if Gabrielle and her captor had disappeared into thin air.
Xena shut her eyes, deep in thought, as emotions she was unused to assaulted her. She was worried about Gabrielle. Hoping she was alright, and not hurt. So she cared about Gabrielle. A lot. Xena admitted to herself that this didn't happen often.
She and Gabrielle had been travelling together for more than two years now. They had shared so many experiences together. They knew each other so well. Xena came to the realisation that she enjoyed Gabrielle's company. Things just didn't seem right without Gabrielle by her side. And she cared about her greatly. Why was this so hard to admit? Yes I care about someone. And that person happens to be Gabrielle. Why is that so hard to swallow? We've travelled together for so long now, we know each other so well, it makes sense that I would grow attached to her in some way.
A quiet noise awoke Xena from her distant thoughts. But it was only a restless Argo, slowly pacing back and forwards.
A sudden clarity hit Xena, a thought so clear and pure that it surprised her. I love her. That's what it is. I need her. But she doesn't feel the same way. I can't explain it. It's just a feeling I have. I just know she doesn't feel the way I do about her. And I'm scared. I don't want to lose her. I can't lose her. I need her. Her strength. Her company. Her love.
A picture of Gabrielle filled Xena's mind, and she realised how alone she felt without Gabrielle. She suddenly felt cold, despite the fire in front of her. It was a coldness that ran throughout her entire body, the cold touch of loneliness.
To be continued ..
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