The Resurrection and The Life

{ I find myself back in the mystical place of India. A place that holds mixed emotions for me but has become my refuge for the time being. I'm not sure how long it has been, years maybe since Xena left the mortal realm.

Now I pray and meditate to Shiva, for I know he will bring Xena back to me in the flesh. Her urn holds a place upon the alter that I sit before while her visage walks beside me, lays beside me, and whispers in my ear. Her destiny hasn't been fulfilled yet; it's only a matter of time before they bring her back to me. So I wait and I pray. }

The sound of the rain falling down in a rushing torrent wakes me from my sleep. A flash of lighting, boom of thunder; I wonder what God is unhappy as I stand to look out the window. The street below has become a river of mud; panicked people are fleeing their homes with children and their few possesions on their shoulders.

Should I leave? Where would I go to? Sigh. Xena what should I do? I look to her urn; the urge to cry left me long ago, but the sorrow still stings me to my bones. It takes me a moment to gather my few belongings and hug Xena's ashes to my chest. As I step out of the inn, the rain soaks me immediately.

I don't know where I'm going; my feet just seem to move, pulling me in a different direction than the fleeing masses. I don't know what it is, but it's an unnatural pull, an urge to follow some invisible trail. My feet suck into the thick mud with each step I take. I strain and struggle, a fight against the very earth I'm walking on.

I'm not sure how long I walk, nor how far; but as I come to the crest of a hill my feet stop, my knees giving out under me in exhaustion. The rain only seems to be falling harder as lighting scratches and crawls its way across the night sky. I'm blinded by a flash, causing me to shield my eyes in the crook of my arm. Spots dance before me momentarily; as they clear, I find I'm not longer alone.

The God I've been praying to is standing before me. The rain doesn't seem to touch his skin, which glows despite the darkness. I watch as he reaches down towards me, taking the urn without so much as a sound. Fear rises up like bile into my throat, constricting me as I watch him remove the lid. I don't move, I can't, as he slowly spreads the ashes along the ground. It's instantly soaked up into the mud, seemingly disappearing. He reaches out again, fingers grazing my cheek for a mere second before lightning hits the ground in front of me. The earth explodes, throwing me back a few feet with a ferocity that causes blackness to engulf my vision.

I don't know if I'm out for long, but as my eyes creep open again I find nothing has changed. I'm alone in the dark, rain still falling down like a waterfall. Was it a dream? I look around, unsure of what to do or think. My eyes catch something a few feet away. Slowly I crawl my way forward till I'm once again at the spot where Xena's ashes were spread. The mud seems to move, as if something is underneath somehow. Slowly a body pushes up through the mud, sitting straight up out of the earth. This can't be? The rain begins to wash the mud from the figure, revealing a person underneath.

Sobs begin to choke my throat, my vision becomes blurred by my own tears. I have to be dreaming, this can't be true. The mud is washing away, revealing the skin, the scars, the figure of a ghost I've been living with for so long. I can't say her name, no matter how hard I try, the word cannot get past my lips. Her eyes open, glistening blue with new life.

I reach out tentatively, afraid that this is all a mirage. Her skin feels cold under my touch, but not a deathly cold. She's real, so very real. The next few minutes become a blur I can barely remember. After wrapping a blanket around her, we stumble our way to a cave.

Mud still streaks her bare body which has begun to shake from the cold. She doesn't speak, but her eyes are following my every move as I rush to gather dry bits of wood and tinder. After I finally manage to get a fire going, I grab another dry fur from my satchel and wrap it around Xena. I can't bring myself to look her in the eyes; memories are scratching away at the surface of my sanity.

Her body bares the faint scars of her last battle in Japa. While she seems fully healed, I think the scars are meant to be a visual reminder of the sins she died for. I hesitate a moment, but cannot stop my fingers from reaching out and tracing the scar that circles her neck. Bile fights its way up my throat momentarily as the memory of her decapitated body flashes before my eyes. I pull my fingers away hastily and try to busy myself with setting up a camp in this damp cave.

Her eyes continue to follow me, and finally, I get the courage to look back. Life is beginning to glow behind those dark orbs. Her lips move but no sound escapes. I wonder if she is the same person who left me so long ago, or if she will become someone else entirely.

She lifts her arm haltingly upwards toward me, her fingers curling up and down in a gesture that stops me in my tracks for a brief moment. I move forward, forgetting whatever it was I'd been doing to fall to my knees and wrap my arms around her shivering form. Slowly she manages to do the same, though her grip is far less severe than mine. I'm surrounded by a sense of familiarity. Tears, which I thought had dried up long ago, spring to my eyes once again.

'Xena…Xena…' I whisper over and over. I just want to hear my name drips from her lips once again. "Are you real?' My face is pressed into the bare skin of her chest. Her body is beginning to warm against me, as if to reassure me of her existence. Her arms squeeze just a little tighter around me as we sit huddled together.

'Gabrielle.' Finally it comes, the barest audible rasping whisper; but it's her. This only makes my tears fall harder, sobs replacing any words I try to form we stay like this, falling asleep in each others arms. The night passes us by, and with it the storm that brought us back together.

'Xena.' I finally speak again sometime after the sun has come up. My body is wrapped possessively around hers as we lay in the bedroll. The fire died some time long ago, but I refuse the leave the refuge of her embrace.

'Please don't tell me you've come back only to fulfill another debt.' Xena doesn't speak but I know she's awake and listening. 'I love you beyond any words I could ever write, but I cannot watch you die again, not so soon.' A small sigh escapes her lips. 'Next time you go, I go too….'

'I'm sorry.' Her voice is low and raspy, but it's her voice. I lift my head to see tears glisten in her eyes.

'I'm afraid to let go.' I confess as I wipe away a stray tear from her cheek.

'I never left.' Confirmation that I wasn't insane with grief, but that Xena really did walk beside me all these years.