Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle and the other characters in the Xenaverse
belong to MCA and company, I'm just playing in their sandbox for a while.
*Story takes place sometime during the second season
After the Battle
Battle cries faded into distant echoes as the enemy forces retreated
from the battlefield. Having seen the last of the attackers defeated Xena
mounted Argo, turning the warhorse away from the killing field. Slowly they
made their way to the temple where the women, children and elderly were
High stone cliffs surrounded the temple on three sides offering a
natural defense. Shortly before the battle a defensive wall had been
hesitantly erected to protect the entrance. Darkness had already pushed the
light from its domain as the wary horse and rider stumbled along. The
warrior was exhausted she had arrived on the battlefield before sunrise and
engaged the enemy shortly after dawn. It had been a hard won battle, but
well worth it. Now the villagers would finely have peace from the raiding
Argo stumbled slightly jarring Xena from her thoughts. The motion
brought a grimmest of pain to the warrior's features. Though the battle had
been won it had not been an easy victory. The raiders had been well trained
and the warrior's body bore wounds as proof of their skill, mostly bruises
and small cuts to add to the growing collection. At least one broken rib
and a gash on her upper left shoulder had required a field dressing.
'Nothing serious but enough to keep Gabrielle hovering over me like a
mother hen for the next few days.' thought Xena with amusement.
As the torches lining the temple walls illuminated the night the
warrior felt her amusement fade with the darkness. Part of the front wall
lay in ruin. Dead enemy soldiers and village defenders lay scattered atop
and at the base of the barrier. Urging Argo into a trot the Xena pulled to
a stop near the base of the wall. Several villagers where roaming through
the rumble searching for wounded among the dead. They did not appear to be
having much luck.
Slipping from the saddle the warrior caught the arm of a passing man,
whom she realized as the local blacksmith. "Georgeis, what happened?"
Wearily eyes stared back at her, for a moment it appeared they were
looking through her. "Xena?" whispered the man as a glimmer of light came
into his eyes. Suddenly he grabbed the warrior by the arms, causing the
large woman to tense at the pain in her shoulder. "Xena, you're alive! When
the raiders attacked we feared you and the others were dead."
Shaking off the man's hands Xena took a step back. "I'm fine,
Georgeis. Detas and his army have been defeated." Motioning towards the
wall. "What happened here?"
"A group of raiders tried to break through," pride entered his voice.
"But, we drove them back." pride was quickly replaced with a sad weariness
as he allowed his eyes to swept over the ruined wall. "A lot of good men
Xena allowed the man a moment to grieve. "Where is Gabrielle?" she
asked unable to contain her growing concern.
For a moment she wasn't sure he understood the question. "I...I'm not
sure. Last time I saw her she was fighting near the wall."
The warrior felt her heart skip a beat. Gabrielle had been in the
heat of battle without her. "Do you have any idea where she might be?"
"Try the temple that's were they're taking the wounded...and the
Xena's jaw tightened at the last part. "Thanks." she whispered
through clenched teeth. Quickly she turned and fluidly mounted Argo,
kicking the horse's flanks they trotted through the gateway toward the
At the temple she hitched Argo to a small post near the door. Gently
stroking the mare's head, she whispered in a listening ear. "Wait here
girl. As soon as I find Gabrielle I'll be back to rub you down. Whinnying
softly the horse pushed her nose against her mistress's good shoulder,
agreeing to the offer. With an affective pat Xena turned toward the temple.
Stepping through the temple doorway the stench of the aftermath of
war struck her full force. It was a smell she knew all to well. Stealing
herself she began searching for the bard. Walking wounded and caretakers
wandered through line after line of wounded and dead, their numbers covered
the entire floor of the temple. Slowly Xena worked her way across the room
in a zig zag pattern through the rows, stopping occasionally to offer aid
or to confirm another's passage to Hades. As she approached the end of the
last row a mixture of emotions assaulted her. First was relief that
Gabrielle had not be among the wounded, yet despair at her absence from the
roll of caretaker.
As a young dark haired woman passed the warrior stopped her. "Have
you seen a young, blond haired woman, about this tall." Holding a hand out
to indict the bard's height. "She carries a staff."
"Oh, you mean Gabrielle." answered the woman.
A smile of relief crossed the warrior's face. "Yes, Gabrielle."
'Should have known the villages would know her by name.' thought Xena. "Do
you know where she is?"
"No, I haven't seen her." with an afterthought. "You might want to
try the rooms in the back."
"Are there more wounded there?"
"A few." answered the young woman, swallowing hard she added. "But,
mostly more dead."
Xena felt herself straighten involuntary. Seeing the warrior's
demeanor change the young woman backed away. "Try the back." she offered
"The back." repeated the warrior wearily. A series of hallways lead
to the rooms at the rear of the temple. Slowly Xena made her way down the
dimly lit corridors trying to avoid the wounded and dead that lined the
walls. Turning a corner she halted sharply. A lone figure lay near the far
wall, the sight of whom caused the large woman's chest to tighten.
"Gabrielle." whispered the warrior as she forced herself to move
toward the prone figure. Dropping to her knees at the bard's side, her
heart sank. The petite blond lay on her back, one could easily have
believed she were sleeping were it not for the blood, to Xena it seemed to
be everywhere. Studying the younger woman from head to toe the warrior
could not determine the source of the blood. A gash on the bard's forehead
just at the hairline appeared to be one source but it could not be the
cause of the large amount of crimson.
Slowly Xena reached to caress a pale cheek, steeling herself for the
coldness she expected to feel. Shock and relief caused her to release the
breath she had been holding as the touch was greeted by a familiar warmth.
"Gabrielle." she whispered. When the bard did not respond she gently ran
her finger along the smooth cheek. "Gabrielle."
Long lashes fluttered open, allowing their owner a look at the voice
calling her name. "Xena?"
As green eyes fought to focus on her Xena broke into a wide smile.
"Hey, don't try to move around till I get you cleaned up."
"Xena!" squealed the bard launching herself at the warrior. Strong
arms encircled the startled warrior's neck.
Recovering from Gabrielle's resurrection Xena returned the embrace.
"Are you okay?" asked the girl pulling away. "Have you been back long?
Xena's smile widened at the barrage of questions. 'Yes, she's fine.'
Aloud she answered. "I'm fine. Not long and Hades."
Gabrielle laughed. "Good, good and good, I think." Playfully the
bard slapped the back of her hand against the warrior's stomach.
Bright lights exploded in Xena's head as a sharp pain stole her breath
"Xena?" the bard reached for the quickly paling warrior. Placing
strong hands against broad shoulders she kept the warrior from falling face
first into the floor. "Xena, what's wrong? Are you alright?"
Through clenched teeth Xena forced a smile. "I will be."
"What's wrong?" asked the smaller woman moving to her knees and
slipping an arm around the warrior's back.
"I'm alright." insisted Xena. "It's just a cracked rib."
"oh, is that all." mocked the smaller woman. "Come on, lay down."
"I don't want too..."
"Don't argue." ordered the bard.
Xena allowed herself to be maneuvered to the blanket Gabrielle had
occupied moments before, as the bard began the practiced ritual of removing
the warrior's armor.
"Where did all the blood come from?" asked the warrior.
Gabrielle looked down as if noticing her appearance for the first
time. "Oh, I was helping with the wounded. You're bleeding."
"It's just a scratch."
"Uh huh. Lay down."
"I need to tend to Argo first."
"I'll take care of Argo, after I finish with you." answered Gabrielle
pushing the warrior down. "Lay still."
Laying down Xena allowed her muscles to relax as the blond hovered
over her. Carefully Gabrielle removed the blood stained bandage, crinkling
her nose at the thin stream of blood seeping from the wound. "This is going
to need stitches." announced the bard more to herself than her patient.
Removing the necessary items from her pack she began cleaning the wound. As
her hands skillfully tended to the task she began telling a story.
Xena settled into a comfortable position allowing the bard's voice to
lull her to sleep. 'Yeah,' thought the warrior with amusement. 'Just like a
mother hen.' Allowing herself a small smirk the warrior drifted off to
Hope you enjoyed the journey.
First posted 1996