A/N: Once again, this was supposed to turn out WAY different from the way it did. But it felt right for me, so here we have it!


(The sun is setting on horizon. Xena and Gabrielle are gathered around a large bonfire. Gabrielle is relaxing against a tree while Xena sits on the bedroll a few inches ahead of her, sharpening her sword.)

Gabrielle:
(writing in a long scroll)

Bitter, aimless, and spiteful.

If you asked for three words that best described me as a person, this is it. Had I stayed in Potidaea, married Perdicas, and become the housewife my parents so eagerly wanted me to be, I would be these three words. There is a possibility that I'm just over exaggerating. I might have turned out exactly the same way I am now: blissful, satisfied, and in love. Maybe mother and father wouldn't have restricted me from pursuing my interests and curiosities if I renounced them. If I wasn't force into marriage, I might have fallen in love with Perdicas, wanted to raise children –be the wife I was expected to be the first time around.

In reality, if she hadn't been there to save my village from Draco's men, I would actually be dead –or utilized as expendable flesh for men, whenever and wherever.

Mother and father would agree that compared to the children in our village, I was the odd ball. At a young age, I rebelled against them. I didn't want to learn how to care of livestock and cook or clean. I wanted to gain knowledge of the world I didn't know about; I wanted to read everything that was ever written; I wanted to be the first one to care about what existed beyond the confines of our village. I refused the stagnancy of Potidaea, but I couldn't escape it either.

Thankfully, I never gave into the beliefs of my family or village. Because of my willingness to learn and the passion I showed to leave Potidaea, mother finally convinced father to cater my interests and curiosities. If I did as they expected of me, I received scrolls (to write on and read), maps of cities faraway, and attend a few seminars that a local educator held. Attending his seminars were the best "gifts" my father treated me to. Isocrates taught me tales I never would have read in scrolls, and through his unwritten tales, I also discovered a passion for story-telling. I held a meeting with father and Isocrates to convince them that I needed lessons to further my inherent skills. It took a few strong points, a passionate argument, and a stern and steadfast belief that I could do well in life with Isocrates' teachings; I became his student –and at no additional cost to my parents too, I might add!

This, my will and unrelenting desires to be free of Potidaea, made it all the more easier for me to go away with Xena. I can thank mother for teaching me how to be a superb housewife. I like to think that with me around, Xena will always be kept full, organized, and clean. I'm not saying that she doesn't know how to care for herself. I mean, it's Xena. A young, former warlord who ventured vast lands for ten years. She may not have been as good at tidying up like me, but she has many other skills that definitely aided her in pillaging and plunging into battles. I made... being a housewife an asset for Xena and I.

Xena:
(reading over Gabrielle's shoulder)
Gabrielle, you're making me sound like a tyrannical and ungrateful slave driver. You're more to me than my cook, cleaner, and helpless bard.

Gabrielle:
Really, Xena?

Xena:
Yes, of course.
(Xena writing in scroll)

You're also a great friend, you can talk your way out of anything. And you're, by far, the best piece of—,

Gabrielle:
(snatching scroll back)
Xena!

Xena:
What?

Gabrielle:
You can't write things like that in here. We don't know who'll end up reading this scroll.

Xena:
I wasn't going to write what you think I was going to write, you sicko.

Gabrielle:
Well... then, what were you going to write?

Xena:
(continuing to write)

To Xena, Gabrielle is the best piece of Elysium no one will ever have. Gabrielle chose Xena –she chose me. I'm the bearer of humanity's bliss on earth.

Gabrielle:
(taking scroll, setting it aside –eyes twinkling and wide grin on face)
Xena...

2 HOUR INTERMISSION

Gabrielle:
(adds more ink, resumes writing with legs crossed)

I've forgotten my line of thought, but Xena's made me realize that I too am the bearer of humanity's bliss. If I had never been so keen to the world around me, I may not have been so interested in joining Xena. But, who am I kidding? I would have and will always choose Xena as my partner, friend, and confidant. Whether or not my desire to explore other lands existed; if I married another man; discovered a different lifestyle, Xena and I will always find a way to be together. I cannot imagine a life without Xena in it. Without her, I don't want to be with anyone else. My reason for existing –as drastic as this may sound– is meaningless unless I am able to walk the same path with her.

Xena:
(kneeling in front of red-head, overlooking scroll)
Gabrielle, you can't mean that.

Gabrielle:
Of course I do.

Xena:
Please don't dedicate your entire life to me. We can't go down together.

Gabrielle:
(cradling Xena's face)
For your love, I would do anything Xena.

Xena:
(pushing cheek into Gabrielle's palm, kissing it)
And I love you –so you don't need to do that. Not on account of me. Let me be the one that—,

Gabrielle:
Xena, I'm not a helpless bard. If I need to protect you, I will –just like you would for me. When I say I would do anything for you, I mean it.

Xena:
Gabrielle, you're beautiful when you're angry.

Gabrielle:
(shrugging, raising a brow)
I'm not angry.

Xena:
(taking her hand)
Then you're simply beautiful.

Gabrielle:
I love you, Xena.

Xena:
(pinching Gabrielle's cheek, patting top of her head)

And I love you, my beautiful little warrior bard.

Gabrielle:
(sneering at mischievous warrior princess)
Did you really have to include the "little" part?

Xena:
(massaging hand, kissing fingers)
What? Didn't you hear the rest of my compliment?

Gabrielle:
(pulling hand back)
Yes, but referring to my height was not necessary.

Xena:
(laying on side by Gabrielle, squeezing thigh)
I was not referring to your height.

Gabrielle:
(crossing arms)
Pinching my cheeks and patting my head says otherwise, Xena.

Xena:
Hey! What would you rather have me do?

Gabrielle:
(laying next to Xena, relaxing head on propped arm)
You know, there's a thing called intimacy and thoughtfulness Ms. Xena. You can go very far if you have that.

Xena:
(beaming devilishly; reaching for Gabrielle...)
Like this?

Gabrielle:
(slapping warrior's hand away)
Xena! Really?!

Xena:
(tugging bard into her)
Gods... See, you're beautiful when you're angry.

Gabrielle:
(leaning into Xena)
Well... I wouldn't be angry if you didn't grab me in—,

WE INTERRUPT GABRIELLE'S TALE OF ADMIRATION FOR XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS TO REMIND READERS THAT OUR LOVELY LEADING WOMEN ARE, IN FACT, DEAR FRIENDS. THEY ARE VERY CLOSE FRIENDS –SOMETIMES VERY COMFORTABLE WITH THEIR WORDS AND ACTIONS– SO IT IS OUR DUTY TO INFORM YOU ALL OF THE ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THE WARRIOR PRINCESS, AND AS SHE REFERS TO HER, THE "BEAUTIFUL LITTLE WARRIOR BARD".

Gabrielle:
(interrupting voice over)
Um, excuse me?

AH! GABRIELLE!

Gabrielle:
I'd like to clarify two things.

Xena:
(clenching fist and contorting face in support)
Yeah, you tell 'em Gabby.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO CLARIFY?

Gabrielle:
First of all, I want everyone to know that I am not little. I'm tall too, but Xena's a giant compared to me.

Xena:
(scoffs, pulling a face)
Gabrielle, you don't have to be so mean.

OKAY, AND WHAT'S THE OTHER THING YOU WANTED TO CLARIFY, LITTLE BARD?

Xena:
Heh, heh, heh. Score for you strange, loud voice in the sky.
(purses lips at Gabrielle's intense stare)

Gabrielle:
Hey! Don't push it anomalous voice! And you!
(pinches warrior's arm)
You're supposed to be on my side.

Xena:
(deadpan expression, massaging arm)
I am on your side! It's just fun and games Gabrielle.

Gabrielle:
I know, but this thing is denigrating our relationship.

YOUR PLATONIC AND APPROPRIATE FRIENDSHIP.

Gabrielle:
Yes, Xena and I are friends—,

Xena:
(clutching Gabrielle's upper arm)
We're friends who happened to see value in our relationship. Our friendship grew into—,

LOOK LADIES—,

Gabrielle:
(looking up at the sky)
No, you look! Xena and I are devoted and loving partners—,

...OF CRIME!

Xena:
Look pal, Gabrielle and I are more than friends we're in a committed—,

...PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP.

Xena:
(rolls eyes)
By the Gods! Even Hestia and Aphrodite aren't this deep in denial. Ares, of all people, relented the chase after we told him.

Gabrielle:
Anomalous voice, you are not doing us justice by twisting our story to fit your agenda.

WHAT AGENDA?

Gabrielle:
The love that Xena and I have –being comfortable in the intimate actions and words we share– does that really sound platon—,

Xena:
(tilting chin to face her, gazing into her green eyes)
Gabrielle, it's fine.

Gabrielle:
(looking up at sky with fist raised)
No it's not! This fool is—,

Xena:
(closing hand around Gabrielle's fist and lowering it into her other hand)
Gabrielle, what matters is the truth we choose to live. Everyone else can believe what they want to believe. But, as long as we know what exists between us– those who don't truly know us, don't matter.

Gabrielle:
(fawning over her warrior princess)
It's no wonder why I love you so much, Xena.

Xena:
(kisses her warrior bard proudly)
It's because you love me.

WE INTERRUPT THIS TALE OF ADMIRATION FOR XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS TO STRIKE ANY MISLEADING INFORMATION FROM OUR RECORDS. DESPITE OUR EFFORTS TO DISPEL THE WOMEN'S ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP FROM THIS STORY, WE CANNOT UPHOLD THIS FALLACY. THERE IS NO DENYING IT READERS: XENA AND GABRIELLE ARE PRACTICALLY MARRIED.