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GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER: Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
HURT/COMFORT WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the characters Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this story.
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it.
COMMENTS: Time frame would be after Vanishing Act. Every garden needs a weeding. Comments? Greatpear@yahoo.com
Forgive Thyself and Blossom
"Even in death, Gabrielle...I will never leave you."
The wind blows hard against my face, accompanied by legions of frozen particles cutting at my flesh. My breath creates a visual to remind me what keeps me alive. Another couple of steps forward.... The snow is about one hand deep but there are drifts that rise and fall across the trail that remind me of the curves on Gabrielles body. These thoughts warm me inside as I search for the shelter that is supposed to exist in this frozen Tartarus. I understand that I cannot remain in the elements and expect to live. My feet and legs are heavy as I go on.... I am fighting desperately hard to shake off the exhaustion and the need to sleep. If truth comes to call, I should be close to the Cave of the Futures, as the oracle in Thessalyia had suggested in his directions. Perhaps I will find what keeps me from myself?
The Warrior continued up the pass, toward her destiny. Plagued by a heart that could not totally forgive itself, Xena searched onward for an answer to understand who and why she was. All of her past had recently come back to haunt her. On many nights, demons came to visit Xena in her dreams. Some she dismissed after knowing that they no longer held any power over her. There were others however, and especially one that was indefinable, who came as an unwelcome visitor. Those areas prior to the light that shown through Gabrielle, when she entered into Xenas life and guided her on a path that Lao Ma had envisioned sometime earlier had been addressed. Xena chose a path of good deeds through her abilities as a Warrior but that path was greatly enhanced by the spirit of her friend and lover, who opened her eyes to new ways of looking at the world.
The blizzard cut deep through her body and soul then began to slow her mind. Snow and frost were caked to Xenas bearskin coat. The stiffness in her fingers worried the Warrior, for her gloves were wet and that helped the cold to penetrate. Although she wore a hood, her face was numb and rosy from the constant attention of the storm, her hair was frozen in place, her lips were cracked from the wind and still she pushed on, each step a concentrated thought.
Gabrielle was helping Cyrene prepare for the village festival that was held in late autumn. Knowing that she was not totally honest when telling her mother and soulmate, that she was going to visit an old friend in the mountains, Xena did not really lie but rather, omitted the truth. The old friend she needed to visit was none other than herself. There had to be a confrontation of those parts of her that hid in the mountains of the Warriors mind. The oracle told her that if she was to move forward on her own spiritual quest, then Xena had to nurture the seed, removing the weeds and thistles from ones heart to allow her life to grow. If this she would do, he promised her a sign.
Xena reflected on her love and thought, I know she is safe and happy today. This was something that had to be done without her and had I explained she would have tried to persuade me in bringing her along. This was not her struggle, nor did she need to carry my burden. Some things cannot be experienced by anyone else but ourselves, for each of us to see through our own eyes.
The wind blew endlessly, gusting from time to time, making the trail even more difficult to undertake. Xena dropped to one knee, paused, then righted herself. The Warrior screamed out loud. "I need to rest! No! I need to go on!" Her words were lost in the howling of the blizzard. Struggling with her own mind she still moved forward. She stumbled over rocks that were covered with snow as the trail wrapped its way up the mountain. As Xena made the next turn, the trail ended abruptly. The mouth of the cave, protected by several large boulders beckoned the Warrior to come forward. The shelter was an inviting friend. As Xena entered the cave, the sudden lack of wind almost caused her to fall down on her face.
This place was an eerie chapel of soul searching, where many lost wretches came to find themselves. It had the look of the ages; as if it had been here since the first days of mans existence. It was maintained by someone or something, for inside there was wood for a fire, jerky and hardtack for nourishment. There also was a waterskin hanging at the rear of the cave.
So this is the Cave of the Futures. Xena reflected. Perhaps the gods used this place to search out their own motives and intentions.
She started a fire to keep from shaking herself into pieces. The heat felt foreign, as if it was her first experience ever with the multicolored flames that danced before her. As the wind howled by just outside of the entrance, the cave warmed nicely inside. Curving around in almost a circle, the cave was similar to the makeup of a nautilus. The deeper into the tunnel you went, the better protected you were from the outside weather. Xena began to explore her surroundings and what she found startled her. It was an uncanny feeling and as she moved through the cave, her shadow dancing on the walls added to the phantasm. The walls were covered with drawings depicting every battle that Xena had taken part in. It was a journal of her atrocities and it covered the length of one cave wall. The other side of the cave gave way to a new life and the many honorable deeds that had been accomplished in the name of goodness. Still, there were areas here that showed rage depicted as the Xena of the past. There was a large open space in between which did not make sense to the Warrior. A place was shone, where the bridge that connected the old life with the new was missing.
Xena sat by the fire and stared into the flames, for they took on a hypnotic rhythm as she watched. Warming some, she removed her coat, now that the ice and snow had melted from it. Upon returning to the flames, she was startled by the hooded figure opposite of her and she pulled her sword.
"That will not be necessary." The cloaked figure stated. "You have come to find the path of tomorrow?"
"I have come to complete what has never been finished and that is to put an ending to what has ripped at my heart for so long. Why can I not commit to the future? I have something hanging over me that escapes its name and when I can name it, I will be free of it and be able to move on." Xena explained how she felt, as well as she could. Then she put her sword away.
"And so we shall look and find the elusive secret of Xena." The figure stated with candor.
"Search your soul, Xena of Amphipolis and find the piece of the puzzle that evokes completion. You will be able to find it by the shape that it comes in. It hides in plain sight."
Xena drifted back into her past and looked for what could be the annoyance that had kept her from being at peace with herself. What could have possibly been overlooked in Illusia? She understood and forgave her bloodthirstiness for all past crimes against humanity or at least she believed she had. She contemplated life since Gabrielle and looked at those chapters where the old Xena crept back into sight, as depicted on the wall of the cave. There was her second meeting with the Horde, where she almost lost the new Xena and the hate that she has had festering within for Caesar. Even that low burning ember, although from time to time bursting into flames, did not seem to be the piece that she searched for. The loss of her son and the bitterness that separated Gabrielle and Xena when Hope was born had been resolved and put to rest with healed hearts, thanks to Solans spirit.
Perhaps, somehow the key was with her mother and the mystery surrounding Xenas father. That he was away fighting, only to return one night and there, the Warrior Princess was conceived. Was this her father or some manifestation of the god Ares? This had always haunted her as a possibility of something real.
Life had truly changed on the day that she met Gabrielle. What was it that planted the seed, which grew into the loving relationship that, they had today? It was here that the vision was cloudy. It was here that Xena began to feel impatient with her thoughts and it was here that something was buried. That something had to be dug up and revealed or nothing would change. What was the wound that would not heal?
Xena returned her focus on the hooded figure across from her. Her face became angry and she said to the being, "Show yourself!"
The hands hesitated for a moment, then went to the hood and pulled it back just enough for Xena to see that it was Gabrielle.
"Its you? To what purpose...to what reason would it be you? I will never leave you, not even in death. Did you not believe me?" Xena questioned with great confusion.
"Search your soul, Xena. What was it that drew you to me?" The figure of Gabrielle asked.
"Why, I was amazed at your courage and spunk. I liked your fresh outlook on life. .....I..I lusted for you and wanted you in my camp. My intentions were.......to...to....have you and then discard.... you as I had done so many times before....with so many others. Please forgive me. I wrestled with the old me and won. I was given a choice and I chose differently, and we developed a relationship together. One of trust and love that was marred by this omission to myself."
Gabrielle reached up and pulled the hood forward covering the tears that Xena had produced with her confession of the soul. The figure sat silently in front of the Warrior and after some time, Xena asked, "What now? What happens next? Im so sorry Gabrielle. I never realized that deep within this haunted me." And Xena broke down and wept.
The figure spoke again but the voice was not recognizable. "You have found the missing piece now it has to be put into place."
"Show yourself!" Xena commanded.
The hooded figure did not move.
"Why wont you show yourself? Are you afraid?" Xena asked somewhat hesitantly.
The hands that had risen to the hood were old and weathered. They shook slightly as the hood was pulled back and white hair was revealed. The face held one thousand wrinkles and the once vibrant blue eyes were somewhat cloudy, reddened and sunken. Xena saw herself as a very old woman and the apparition said, "I am afraid that you shall fail me. I am what waits for you. I am your future. I shall be here if you are true to your heart. If you really love Gabrielle, then all of this future will become your reality and the two of you will grow stronger together. Things will happen that cannot be explained. There will seem to be an end to both of you and all that you understand. But your faith in each others love will be the beginning of the end."
"But what does that mean to us?" Xena asked in wonder. "And what would end the future?"
"By returning to the past. By acting upon old traditions. By betraying your love." And the old hands replaced the hood over the head as the entity collapsed to the ground into nothing.
I need to forgive myself for all that has happened. "To you, Xena of Amphipolis, I am sorry. I forgive you for all of the wrong turns you have made in your life. In that, I believe that I can go on." And Xena felt at that point, she had made restitution with herself. A great weight was lifted from her spirit.
Xena stood, rather weak in the knees from the experience. She reflected on what had transpired. So if my love holds true to Gabrielle, we will live a long and fruitful life even though something will happen that will make us believe just the opposite. And should I regress to my former self, then all will be lost and it will not only be my demise but my lovers too! I...we need to have faith in our love.
It was time to return to the blizzard and reality. Xena wondered if any sign could be given as a possibility of hope. She took the waterskin from the cave wall, donned her coat, gloves and hood, and then headed out to the cave entrance. The wind had calmed and the snow had stopped falling. It was two hands deep now. Xena stepped outside and took a long drink from the waterskin, when she opened her eyes, there, in the rocks by the entrance of the cave was a thin shaft with thorns and small green leaves upon it. While she watched a bud appeared then bloomed into a most beautiful blue rose. Never had she seen such a flower before and felt that the gods or something greater gave her hope for a promising future.
The oracle had spoken true. The Warrior remembered.
The return down the mountain and eventually back to the village was slow and thought provoking. When Xena made it to the outskirts of Amphipolis, three days had passed and the festival was due to start the following day. The Warrior rode Argo over to Cyrenes Inn and stabled the horse before going to the dwelling. Xena walked up the steps and into the front door, smiling as she came inside looking for Gabrielle and her mother. She stopped fast in her tracks and was taken by surprise at what caught her eye. In the middle of the table was a blue rose in a small vase.
"It cant be!" Xena said aloud.
"I know! Isnt it unique? Ive never seen anything like it." Gabrielle said with a large smile, as she entered from the kitchen.
"Where did you find such a flower as this?" Xena asked with great curiosity.
"I went to the river where the mountain stream joins it on the way to the sea and as I sat upon the rocks, meditating. The sun shone bright but suddenly; there was a chill in the air. I looked ahead in the water and thought I saw something sticking out of a group of rocks in the stream. There was something, but it was too far away to see it clearly. As it neared, I saw this wonderful blue rose and it reminded me of the color of your eyes, Xena!"
"Why, what a nice thing to say, Gabrielle."
"Its so good to have you back. I love you, Xena!" Gabrielle said, followed by a hug and a kiss.
"Hey! Hows your friend?" The Bard asked.
"Oh good, very good! Her future looks really good!" And Xena smiled back at her lover, then pulled her blue rose from the saddlebag in her hand and placed it in the vase with Gabrielles.
"You found one too! By the hand of Aphrodite, this must be a sign! What does it mean, Xena?" Gabrielle questioned.
"It means that everything is wonderful! Wheres mom?" Xena asked.
"She went down to the village to help with a few more things that needed to be taken care of before the festival tomorrow." The Bard told her. "Hey! You wouldnt want to come up stairs and see what I did to the room, would you? Hint! Hint!"
Xenas eyes lit up and she chased the Bard up the flight of steps with great expectations of letting her lover have her way, shouting, "Everything is wonderful!"
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