Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to Xena: Warrior Princess.
This was the first series I ever attempted to write for. I did not know Ffnet existed at the time, so my stuff was never posted. Good thing too, because it sucked. That was 6 years ago. I've come a long way in my writing, and it shows.
Based on Friend In Need, Part II. Happens sometime just after the episode ends.
Ever since I got back from the land of Japan, I've been thinking. As I lay on the hammock inside the cabin on the ship that will take me to Egypt, I wonder if we made the right choice.
You told me, after preventing me from putting the ashes into Mount Fuji, that it was all for the Greater Good. You said that the souls would only be able to find peace if you remained dead.
You also know from the past that Akemi has went to any lengths, and desperate means to get you to remain with her. I'm not saying that she lied to you about the souls, but perhaps she extended the truth so you would sacrifice yourself for the thousands of souls that needed to be freed, and in turn, stay with her in the afterlife while she could still achieve her own goal.
It was for the Greater Good. I've been telling myself that ever since the sun set, ever since you disappeared, but it doesn't seem to make the pain any more bearable.
They say that it is not the one who dies that has to suffer, but the one that remains behind. The one that continues to breathe, to exist on this earth. That is the one truth I completely learned and understood, especially after all the times you were resurrected, and the one truth that affects me now more than anything else in the world.
You may have suffered arrow wounds all over your body; wounds that ripped your skin, tore through muscle and caused your blood to soak the ground where you stood. You may have had to feel the pain of your head being severed from your body, something I could never imagine going through. I've been through death, yes, but nothing so brutal as to compare what you have gone through in your many years as a warlord.
Your final decision to leave me, to allow those souls a clear path to peace has left me in more pain than you could ever possibly believe. For you are merely a ghost now, a spirit to wander the earth, something that belongs to the land of the dead, but for my sake - you choose to remain here. It sounds selfish on my part, I know. But we have been together for the past 6 years. You became my best friend - my family.
My soul mate.
You taught me everything. For the most part, you taught me the skills of a warrior. You tried to protect me from the violence, to teach me how to defend myself, to extend my skills only to the point that I could escape a given situation when my life was at risk. You even taught me the most dangerous weapon - the pinch. And I managed to catch the chakram on the mountain, despite the lack of accuracy I have had when aiming my weapons in the past. It was more of instinct than actual skill, but it is there, and I have, in a way, become you. I have the skill and the potential to be a warrior. I am not sure if I will ever have the proper judgement - deciding about the fate of a life in an instant might cost something valuable one day, and I doubt I will ever have the capability to do such a thing.
But you taught me more than that. You taught me what it means to have someone as a friend. You may have been trapped in darkness that day we wet, but you rescued me. I learned about sacrifice, what it truly means to give for another. You taught me how to be myself.
Yes, I would have still been Gabrielle. But not the one you know. I wouldn't have had the confidence, the skill, the instinct. Everything I know that has developed me to be the woman I am today is thanks to you. I will always be grateful for what you taught me, and the fact that you believed in me.
I can continue my journey without you, but inwardly I can never move on. You became a part of me, my other half, and that part of me died when you refused to be brought back to life. Hence why I will never truly be happy.
I can carry on your legacy, to use the skills I know to the best of my ability so I may aid others. I owe you that, my friend. I will be the best I can possibly be to honour what you so desperately tried to accomplish through this mission, know that in the end your sacrifice was of value. When I die, I will do so with the knowledge that I did what I had to do. The knowledge that I succeeded.
I became who I am because of you.
I became more than I ever thought possible.
I once asked you, am I me because I'm me, or am I me because you made me?
I am both. I am still, in a way, the Gabrielle that you met that fateful day in Poteidaia, the little girl whom you saved and reluctantly allowed to tag along, never failing to remind me what a pest I was several times before I was actually able to aid you in a fight once trained with the staff. I stuck with my passion for storytelling, and it was because of you that I had inspiration to write and share such detail in my stories. You were my hero when I was younger, and you still are my hero.
But not in the way you used to be. I always thought of you as brave and determined, never backing down from any fight, no matter what the risk was. That never changed; you are still a fighter and will always be that way. It's what makes you who you really are, and contrary to what Ares thinks, I will never stop admiring you for your courage, for your decision to make things right once again.
I am also Gabrielle the warrior. In the beginning of our journeys, I hated to see any innocent people harmed for any purpose, even if their intentions were pure evil. I tried looking for the good in them, and I had convinced myself for a few months that it could be found. Reality told me otherwise, as I soon found out with Perdicas. That day, you feared that I would become what I had once promised never to do: succumb to the darkness. Because there is a darkness in everyone, no matter what I believed. It's just that it is harder to spot in other people.
After about 4 years of fighting with the staff, I decided to switch to the sais, although my resolve not to kill remained. I would not kill unless it was absolutely necessary. My resolve was severely tested when my niece was kidnapped, and in the end, I decided that justice was better off letting him live in his own shame, rather than to feed the hatred he had instilled in me. That was when I truly became the warrior I had been trying so hard to become after all these years, and realizing that truth made me lose some part of myself. I had seen the world and its harsh realities, something I had wanted to do ever since I was a young child, and the price was losing the innocent little child who was gradually fading away inside of me.
I can never truly be you, but I am the best I could possibly be, so I will honour it by being who I am rather than trying to be someone I am not.
I am proud of everything we have done together.
We accomplished so much within those 6 years of travelling. I learned more than I had ever believed or dreamed I would learn.
Wherever you go, I am at your side.
I love you, Xena.
Does anyone even read Xena fiction anymore…? By the way, I posted it before revising it, so there's probably a sentence or two that could have been written more smoothly. However, I was rather anxious to upload it, which probably isn't a good thing since it'll probably be filled with grammatical errors and such.
Originally written: December 21, 2005