ForevaXena's FanFic . . .
Another Kind Of
DISCLAIMER: Xena and Gabrielle don't belong to me. They belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal/MCA and all that. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
SUBTEXT: Subtext? Nope. Maintext? Absolutely. Don't like it? Don't read it.
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The healer's eyes narrowed in satisfaction at the coolness of her patient's brow. Absently removing a strand of her silver streaked dark hair from beneath her eyepatch, she reached for her stick and tiredly levered herself to her feet.
Moving with surprising grace, she silently glided from the sickroom into the kitchen area. Turning to scan the common room, she let a wry smile of amusement cross her face as she observed the woman sprawled on the low bench by the fire, her sturdy frame half buried in an assortment of children, puppies, and scrolls.
The tall woman retrieved an amphora suspended in the water butt, poured a cup of cool wine, then stilled an abortive movement when a curious sense of warmth identified the approaching presence as non-threatening. Facing about, she reached to pull the shorter woman into her shoulder, playfully nudging the cup toward the sleepy face smiling up at her.
Grinning, the blonde woman sipped, then grimaced. "Gods, Xe!", She whispered, "That's horrible! What did you put in that?"
"Pitch. Keeps it from spoiling in the skin in hot weather."
"Mm-hmm. Putting up with wine that tastes like quill cleaner–how again is this important, when you keep it in a clay jug in a water barrel?"
"Just . . . familiar, I guess," the older woman replied softly, her gaze unfocused.
Gabrielle searched the dark eyes above her. "You want to follow them," she stated quietly.
Xena, hesitated, then sighed. "Nah. I'd just slow them down. They don't need a broken down old warhorse like me in the way. Xenan learned tracking from Solari, he could follow those scum across rock, and when they catch up, well, Cait's almost as good as she thinks she is. Sundown tomorrow, they'll be back."
"Xena," the bard asked gently, "did you ever notice, when I teach the village children scribing, that I ask the older ones to pass out the wax tablets and styli, and show the younger ones how to hold them, while I chalk the characters onto the wall?"
"Not really," the healer answered in a puzzled tone. "Why?"
Gabrielle reached up to trace her partner's jawline, the caress drawing the cool blue gaze down into the green depths of her own.
"Because," the bard said intensely, "those children in there have a father tonight thanks to a physician whose skills and insight inspired the great Galen himself. No one else within leagues could have done that. Rescuing their mother from a few scruffy raiders? Basic stuff . . . good practice for the older kids."
Xena smiled affectionately, smoothing the salted red hair that spilled across her sleeve. "Bards! Pick up a piece of fruit in each hand, they call you a juggler. I'm not as young as I used to be, sweetheart, and not quite as active since . . ."
Gabrielle sobered. "Xena, you're here, he's not. And I'm alive because of it. If you needed to, I know you could have saved that man, rescued his wife, and probably found fish for breakfast on the way! You are and always will be my warrior princess, my royal consort, my soulmate, and you can and will do anything you have to. I will keep believing that until someone proves me wrong!" She paused, then smiled warmly. "And then spend the rest of eternity wandering around the Fields listening to you bitch about it!"
The answering tightness of the arms around her was echoed in the low voice. "I guess King David's friend, Ecco . . whosis . . ."
"Yeah, him. Maybe he's right about that season thing. You know . . . times for this and that?"
"Could be. Hey, you know, I bet if you had a really loud harp, that poem would make a great song to perform in front of a big crowd. Stick in a catchy repeating phrase maybe . . . I think people would love it."
"Anyway, Xe, you can't be beaten if you don't quit. You've always told me that. You can still do more with one eye and one good leg than most so-called heroes can do with two. I mean, for Hades' sake, Hephaestus and that Wotan guy Herc mentioned, they seem to get by okay. Besides, there'll always be trouble in the world. You can't change that. But you can try to do as much as you can for the greater good. Did you ever stop to think, with all our years on the road, with the Ephinian treaties, with what you taught about camp routines that stopped the plague in Amphipolis, with the clinic here, that you've probably singlehandedly saved more lives than your army ever took? You're still my undefeated champion. You've just found another kind of victory."
Dark eyes shone in the low firelight. "Hmmm. Guess we should save some of the routine stuff to keep the kids amused then, since you put it that way. Wouldn't want to run low on evildoers for them to practice on, huh?" An eyebrow quirked. "Might as well take a nap."
Gabrielle giggled. "I suppose you'll never completely lose your taste for 'conquest.' I hope. Warriors! Gotta love 'em."
Gathering her dignity, the dark haired woman drew herself erect and struck a mock threatening pose. "Resistance is futile!" she growled harshly, proceeding to ruin the effect with a strangled gasp as gentle fingers found the back of her knee.
"Oh yeah . . . especially once you've assimilated all the soft spots!" the blonde woman purred, an impish grin the only answer to the arching of a dark eyebrow.
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