Someday, I'll Deserve You
GENERAL COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not own Xena and Gabrielle. They belong to Renaissance Picures and Studios USA.
I do however own the character of Krax and the story. PFOOF! Copyright 2000 Kimyoo Films.
GENERAL "In general" DISCLAIMER: This is a big departure from any of my other stories. It's a hurt / comfort, I suppose, and bloody short. My muse, whom I love dearly, came upon me while I was working on another fict and whispered the title into my ear, and that's all it took.
SUBTEXT / SEXUAL DISCLAIMER: Umm, nope, no sex. These two women do love each other deeply. If that bothers you, don't read it. Thats the beauty of choice - you make yours and leave the rest of us to ours.
"Someday, I'll Deserve You" by Magenta (Lori Bowen) (the_AURYN@angelfire.com)
copyright 2000 Kimyoo Films
Xena strode into the tavern, raven head held high among the scowls and evil looks thrown her way. She maintained her stoic facade long enough to secure a room for herself and the bard Gabrielle.
The warrior didn't stick around for dinner with her friend. "I'm goin' to bed...no one will hurt you here," she said, her darkness pressing hard onto her heart this evening.
"Are you okay, Xena?" asked the bard of the retreating back.
Without turning, the warrior replied, "Yeah...fine..." She hoped the heaviness in her soul wasn't reflected on her feet as she climbed the stairs to their room.
Every footfall made another memory superimpose itself on the warrior's vision. She saw, with excrutiating detail, the shambles she had left this tavern in the last time she was in this village. She hadn't come for a tribute or supplies, she was looking for one of her high ranking soldiers who had deserted her in favour of the money an old adversary offered him.
Xena and her army practically razed this village in their search for the traitor, the destruction coming to an end when she found the man huddled in the corner of the room at the end of the hall. It was three doors away from where she and Gabrielle would bed down for the night after saving this village from a warlord not unlike the person she was.
They wouldn't be staying there if it weren't for the thunderstorm that had whipped up a frenzy outside. She was surprised they had even given her a room, but the warrior supposed that their generosity was due to the young woman who travelled with her.
Xena smiled when she thought about the fiesty blonde. *Gods...what does she see in this battered ex-warlord?* she mused. *She should be in Athens at that academy she talked about instead of travelling around with an old bitch like me.
*She should stay as far away from me as possible.* The thought sent a pang of sadness into the warrior's heart. She'd almost lost Gabrielle several times before, she didn't want to think of the possiblity again.
*What would I do without her?* Xena asked herself as she sat on a chair by the table, not bothering to light the candle.
Gabrielle was perplexed at the warrior's behaviour and decided to eat dinner in their room. She approached the barkeep who eyed her suspiciously.
"Hi. Could I have two mugs of port and two plates of chicken brought up to my room, please?"
The man continued to wipe down the bar, not looking up at the bard, nor going to retrieve what she wanted. "You're with that Xena...you're the bard that records all her Good Deeds for history and the such, eh?"
Sighing, Xena stood up and left the room to eat dinner with the pretty blonde. *Sitting with Gabrielle should calm me down,* she thought as she, in her usual stealthy manner, began to descend the stairs to the main room of the tavern.
"Why do you do it? You don't know what she's done in her past, nor who it's been done to, little girl."
"I know enough to realize that everyone deserves a second chance."
Xena froze in her steps when she heard the bard's voice. She was still concealed by the darkness in the staircase and no one heard her come down. The tavern quickly became silent as the bard stood up for her friend.
"She can never amend her past."
Gabrielle controlled her exasperation with the barkeep. *I wish they could see the Xena I see everyday.*
"Do you people think you are so perfect that you can throw stones at her? No one's perfect, believe me." The bard looked around the room, trying to meet the eyes of everyone in the establishment. "Did you know that Krax was heading towards your village? Xena stopped him and his entire army. Otherwise, all of you would be on your way to a slave trader, maybe worse.
"I'm not asking you to worship her, or to love her. I'm asking you to forgive her. Forgiveness uses up so much less energy than anger and hate and leaves time for better things..."
Xena, her blue eyes bright with tears unshed, snuck back up to their room as the barkeep grudgingly went to get the bard her order.
Gabrielle placed her dinars on the bar and took the food and drinks from him to take it up to their room herself. Inwardly, she fumed at the villagers, but she knew she couldn't blame them for their anger. It was only natural. She sighed as she ascended the stairs.
The bard opened the door, after putting down the port, and found Xena sitting on the side of the bed with her back to the door. Gabrielle knew that wasn't like her, but put it down to meditating or giving her senses a workout. What she couldn't figure out is why neither the candle nor the fire were lit.
Putting the food on the table, Gabrielle then reached inside the bags to feel around for the tinder to light the candle, using what little light there was from the open door to see the contents of the bag. She felt the warrior's long fingers wrap gently around her arm and pull her hand out of the bag.
"Gods, Xena...what're you trying to do?" asked the startled bard. Her voice was soft, but it seemed loud in the silence of their room.
"Don't light the candle. Please." The sadness in Xena's whispered request nearly broke Gabrielle's heart.
"Xena..." The bard stopped when she felt the fingers of the warrior's other hand press gently against her lips. Xena silently closed and locked the door, then lead the blonde to a chair by the table that was facing the window.
The room was lit by pale moonlight that silhouetted Xena in a soft blue haze, her hand never leaving Gabrielle's arm.
"You heard what went on downstairs, didn't you..." It wasn't a question, but she got a gentle squeeze to her arm as a response.
The bard studied the warrior's silhouette. Xena had always been quiet, but Gabrielle had never seen her this low. Neither said anything for a few minutes, the food and port on the table long forgotten.
The silence asked questions that Xena wasn't prepared to answer. Frustrated, she stood, walked over to the window and gazed out at the reflection of the night sky in the crystalline lake. She crossed her arms in front of her as more of a comfort than a warning.
"You're the one who knows what to say, Gabrielle. I'm merely brute force. I can read people, I can plan and strategize...but in the end, does it really count? I've done so much..." The warrior trailed off at the end of her sentence, leaning against the windowsill. Xena sighed, mumbling something Gabrielle couldn't hear, then closed her eyes to will away the tears.
Gabrielle stood and approached the warrior. "I didn't hear you..." she whispered, afraid that her voice might break the Warrior Princess in two.
Xena opened her mouth to repeat herself, then closed it, unable to form the words. She found her voice when she felt Gabrielle's arms wrap around her waist and her soft cheek press against her arm.
"Why do you care about me, Gabrielle?"
The bard closed her eyes. "Because you care..."
"I didn't always."
"Xena, look at me." The warrior kept her eyes on the lake, forcing Gabrielle to cup her chin and turn her to look into her eyes.
"Today is now. Tomorrow is the future, yesterday is the past. Concentrate on the now, concentrate on today.
"You fight your darkness every day and every night you go to sleep a better person than you were the day before."
"Gabrielle, I feel the darkness push and pull me...I don't know if I have enough courage to not lose control, to not give in..."
"Xena, if you don't have the faith in yourself that you need, I've got enough for both of us...and I have the knowledge that you're not perfect...no one is.
I'm here with you through the good and the bad.
"I love you. Never forget that, Warrior Princess."
Xena pulled Gabrielle around in front of her and wrapped her in a strong embrace, one lone tear rolling down her cheek. She didn't bother to catch it or wipe it away.
"Gods," she sighed. "Someday, I'll deserve you, Gabrielle. I swear."
Please send all correspondence for Magenta to the_AURYN@angelfire.com.
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