Disclaimer: Typical Legal Stuff, this is for fun not for profit, Xena, Gabrielle and all the gang are property of Rob Tapert, Ren Pics and I don't know how many more enterprises.

Spoilers: Friend in need.

Subtext: Friend in need Again...=)


written by: Devin R. Skylar
july 9th, 2001

She tugged ever so clumsily at the raffia tied around the top of the black urn. Softly shredding the little fibers of the entire strand until there in her hand the raffia fell. *This isn't fair!* She said to herself. Herself, herself, alone; nothing left and no one there beside her. It took every ounce of strength she had left to lift her head and gazed halfheartedly at the remnants of life left now in the pink sky. The sky with no sun; it's gone. *And so is she. It's not fair.*

The urn rocked gingerly from hand to hand as she stared off into the sky. If she looked hard enough she could see Xena smiling at her. "Stop that! Don't try to make me feel better. I hurt. This is painful. More painful than anything I've ever known. You're not the only one that has died Xena. You want me to continue? You want me to be a warrior, and take your place? How? How do I do that alone?" She winced as the word alone passed over her parched lips. She licked her lips. She could still taste her warrior's kiss; their last kiss. "Don't tell me I'm capable or that I'm strong. I was only strong with you here..." She paused. Her unsteady hand covering her quivering mouth. "...with me."

Gabrielle slid lifelessly from the rock she sat on. Her body hunched over on the ground. Her bare back leaning against the cold rock was her only reliable support right now. Everything else seemed to be fleeting from her world. She recoiled a little, and brought her hand to her back. The tattoo.

*Worthless. It didn't save Xena from dying, it didn't stop Xena from insisting that I let her go. The right thing. Right for who?* Her fingertips tiptoed lightly over the exaggerated skin. It was still sensitive. It was hard to tell though. Feelings weren't feelings anymore and senses weren't senses; they were all just memories. Each wince brought back a battle they had fought, each tear brought back a night they had loved one another. They, they, they... "It's not fair Xena. You'll always be with me? No you won't.

Not in the flesh. I can't hold the thought of you, I can't be with the thought of you. I can't feel your hands wandering over to my side of the bedroll with the thought of you. I don't want the THOUGHT OF YOU, I want you."

Gabrielle stood up slowly, the ground was like porridge beneath her stance. She heatedly stripped her clothes from her body. Instantly her nipples hardened from the shock of the cold. Naked and alone, tears poured from deep within her soul. She walked through the snow. Somehow her legs were moving, but she couldn't feel a thing. All she wanted to do was crawl into a bed and sleep forever. Forever. *I hate that word, forever. It doesn't mean anything anyway.*

With each step, the newly fallen snow melted a little beneath the warmth of her feet. Until her feet were as cold as the snow itself. Shivering, crying, aching she stopped and turned around one last time to see the pink and purple mist in the sky fade to black. She raised Xena's ashes to her bosom. *Sleep with me tonight Xena. I'm not ready to be alone.* She turned back to the direction she was headed -- thought to what or to whom she did not know -- to see Xena standing beside her. "Can you love the thought of me, every bit as much as the real thing?" Xena said, her hands characteristically resting on her hips. "Just sleep with me tonight. I'm not ready to be alone."

(to be continued...)