Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle and Eve are characters belonging to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. This story takes place a little bit after "Kindred Spirits"; a scene I would have loved to see played out. This story also deals with two women in love, but no sex. Sorry! J Any constructive comments are welcome at the e-mail address below.

This is dedicated to my friends at the Tavern Wall, my second family. I love you all. To my new friend NightSong - thanks for all the care and support, babe. To Sallie Wellbrock, thanks for suggesting this sequel to "You'll Never Know" - I never planned on it, but I hope I don't let you down. And finally to my best friend D, you'll always have a piece of my heart.

~ Raw ~


Once I was sure that she and the baby had fallen asleep, I began making my own preparations for the night. I replaced my leathers with a loose deer skin outfit, removed my cumbersome boots, and even polished the sharp ends of my sais. Since the moment I obtained them to this day, I have never used the blades to kill. Yet it both pleased and relaxed me to take care of my weapons, as Xena used to care for hers.
With that thought, I found myself growing melancholy again. Ever since Eli had returned our breath to us, I had felt changed. No, misplaced in time. I pulled out my private scroll from Amber's saddlebags and the finest of my writing quills to think, and create.

What a fool I am - thinking that I could always go on, hiding my emotions from you. Never have I felt more alone yet surer of what is most important. It's as if I have connected with you in such a way that I am now a whole person instead of half a soul.

How can I hope to explain this more? I only meant to be like you, not fall in love. It's as if a piece of me had been taken away forever. And I never minded or complained. I thought that I was happy just being around, just learning and being your friend. But lately, I feel like we are falling apart. As if our friendship means nothing to you anymore. I can't even look you in the eyes anymore, for fear of seeing boredom as well as for fear of you noticing how I feel about you.

How many years now has it been since we've been together? Five, six? I still feel some sense of awe in your presence, but I don't just worship or adore anymore. I LOVE what I see. I love everything that is a part of you; the truth is that this darkness that you often talk about is another element that attracts me to you. Your strength, both physical and mental never ceases to make my mind wander.

Now, it isn't just me that you need to protect - a small child depends on you now. I love her as if she was my own, and no one can take your place, either of you, in my heart. But is there more to it than just responsibility at stake? Are you trying to push me away? No matter how many others have tried to enter my life, how tempting the offers, how certain that happiness is at the time…it means nothing without you.

What I feel for you is so intense; it could shake the foundations of the earth around our feet.
It comes close to bubbling to the surface so often, it stings and swells. If I could find another word to describe it, the feeling is…

I was stumped. How could I give my entry a satisfactory conclusion? Without realizing, I spoke aloud.

"The feeling is…"

"Raw?" A quiet voice supplied.

Obviously startled, I whirled around to face my best friend, trying in vain to hide the scroll behind my back.

"Don't bother, Gabrielle. I have been reading over your shoulder for some time now. I'm sorry." Her blue eyes were so dark, clouded by both her guilt and the moonlight. Before I could open my mouth, she quickly stepped closer and bent slightly so our faces were only a few inches apart.

"Do you still feel that way about me? After all this time?"

I resisted the urge to turn away, to collect my thoughts. Instead, I answered without hesitation:

"I always have."

Cupping my chin in her hands, she replied in that softest, warmest of tones she reserved only for me. It had not heard it in so long; I had forgotten what she was capable of doing to me with that voice.

"Good. Because even with all the problems we've had, the setbacks, the strain...never once did I stop loving you."

Instantly, all of my doubts and future concerns were washed away like the wild, splayed ripples of a lake. With one kiss, I knew we always were, and would always be, one soul.

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