We are finally getting somewhere. Let me know what you think. I felt more romantic and sloppy when I was writing this chapter so ..

Enjoy :-)

Xena was asleep since she hasn't slept for a couple of nights. The sun was high up but it didn't bother her. She needed some rest not only to get rid of the headache but also to give the body some resting time to heal properly. All the wounds on her skin seemed to be clean and if her leg wasn't broken she would be free to go back to her army. It also gave Gabrielle the much needed time to help the warrior woman to open up, to soften. It was literally miraculous how peacefully she was feeling now. There were days when she was so busy trying to figure out the best strategies and attacks that she barely had time to just sit down and calm her nerves. Most of the times she has been driven by these outbreaks of stress and suspense. It literally gave her enough energy to lead the whole attack and win in a blink of an eye. If only she had thought about calming her mind at those times she might have start laughing. This way of life wasn't for her.

Until now.

„Good afternoon, Gabrielle," Xena whispered when Gabrielle entered the room. Gabrielle jumped a little because she didn't expect Xena to be awake.

„Sneaky," Gabrielle answered and smiled at Xena.

„Good afternoon, Xena. How did you sleep? Are you in pain? Can I do something for you?" the blond healer was always ready to serve and take the necessary care if needed.

„I am fine, it's just that I feel .. I don't know how. Confused," the warrior looked up at the ceiling as if she was looking at the stars, lost in her own thoughts and feelings.

„I am here if you want to talk, but I guess you are not into talking, right?" Gabrielle offered her consulting skills and added some teasing tone to the last bit of her question. She was standing by one of the tables working with herbs and solutions, her back turned to Xena. Xena's blue eyes were watching her. Her headache ceased although her mind was in a vortex of thoughts. There was this thin line that she was afraid to cross. She really wanted to share some of her feelings with the blond girl but on the other hand she was scared, scared of revealing too much or being seen as weak and vulnerable. The other side of the line was just her dark side lurking her back, promising fun, victory, richness and good fights. She always appreciated a good war especially when there was something big or very expensive as a reward for the winner. She had now idea of how lucky she was to have Gabrielle by her side now. She didn't know that the biggest fight is still waiting for her. The fight to death between her and her darkness. Gabrielle came closer to Xena's bed, checked the broken leg, the splint and rearranged the bandages.

„Can you please sit here with me for a moment?" Xena finally spoke, her voice broke. If Gabrielle didn't have any experience with how it works when people are opening their hearts she would have been surprised by what she just heard. Instead of shaking the moment of surprise off she pushed one of the chairs to the warrior's bed and sat down. Her hand softly landed on Xena's shoulder.

„I am here," Gabrielle smiled and leaned against the chair to give Xena some space. She was in no hurry, time of the whole world was theirs. Xena took some deep breaths in and out and when a reassuring look in Gabrielle's eyes reached Xena's blue orbs, she decided to start talking.

„I was just like you when I was younger," Xena began her story and swallowed with difficulty.

„I lived in a town of Amphipolis with my parents and my brother. We all were happy until the day when a dangerous warlord came into our town, destroyed and burned every single house and farms just because we didn't want to give him and his army all of our food supplies. That day and night were the worst of my life," Xena stopped for a moment to take some more breaths, tears started to fill her eyes. Gabrielle without making any noise pushed her chair closer to Xena's bed so her hand could comfortably reach the warrior's hand placed right next to her torso. She only wanted to let her know that she was there with her. Gabrielle knew so well that words of comfort would do no good at the moment. A simple touch, some kind of certainty or a proof of presence of someone who listens, these are the acts that can make the person feel better.

Xena noticed how soft Gabrielle's skin was and didn't do anything to avoid the contact. It felt safe and warm. She wasn't a fan of touching and hugging but with Gabrielle everything was different.

She felt different but good. Very good.

„The warlord, Draco, he killed almost everyone in our town. Before I could do anything he came to our house and killed my mother, my father and kidnapped my brother," Xena couldn't believe it but her cheeks were wet from the tears that were falling down and she started sobbing. She hasn't been crying for so long she couldn't even remember when it happened the last time. Was it the weight of her guilt that made her feel like that or was it some kind of a Gabrielle effect? She wasn't sure about anything and now she really didn't care. This felt right, this moment of sharing. It somehow gave her a feeling of lightness.

„Right there I completely closed myself and decided to avenge my parents and find my brother no matter what it was going to cost me," Xena closed her eyes and images of seeing her parents being killed came back as clearly as they could. Even thought it all happened a long time ago the memories were very vivid and painful. Gabrielle could feel Xena's sadness so she softly squeezed the warrior's shaking hand. Unconsciously Xena took Gabrielle's hand and their fingers entwined.

„I lost everyone. I was alone and my heart was filled with anger. It was easier to close my heart and seek revenge than just sit and let it all go. I couldn't. I knew something about fighting and soon enough I had some men following me. I followed Draco's steps. After few days I found him and confronted him. When he told me that my brother hadn't been amongst the living any more, I killed him," Xena's body was shaking. The psychic pain was huge according to what the warrior's body was going through. Gabrielle couldn't imagine how hard it must have been for Xena and she was only listening to the story. Well, she had her own experience. Her heart hurt as much as Xena's. It was Xena who had murdered her parents but how could she blame her now after hearing the real reason why she was just the way she was.

„I am sorry," she whispered and tears filled her clear green eyes. Xena turned to face the blond healer. Their eyes met. Now they both were connected through the same pain, same sadness, same hurt. Xena's body was shaking, she was feeling anxious. With no warning, she rolled to her right side and pushed herself into a seating position never letting go off Gabrielle's hand. Now they were sitting, facing each other, looking into each other's eyes.

„God! Why haven't I met you sooner?" Xena whispered and she squeezed Gabrielle's hand.

„I believe everything happens for a reason," Gabrielle answered and returned the squeeze.

„But I killed your parents. How did you manage to stay calm, soft, full of hope and forgiveness?" Xena asked a little bit worried about the answer. Her eyes never left Gabrielle's. She felt like if she looked somewhere else everything around them would crumble. Gabrielle took a deep breath and thought about the real reason why she didn't seek revenge or why didn't she close herself. She smiled when it finally hit her.

„I met someone who showed me that the path of vengeance wasn't a path to deliverance," Gabrielle answered leaving Xena even more puzzled. Leaning closer to Xena she placed her hand on Xena's face to wipe away the tears falling down her cheeks.

„I am here to show you the path back to yourself, the path to your heart if you let me," Gabrielle smiled. She didn't have to wait for Xena's answer too long.

„Yes, please," Xena answered and smiled back at her healer.


P.S. Please forgive me for my mistakes. If there is someone who could teach me the rules on how to use the right tenses in sentences I would really appreciate it. It's a mess.