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A Clean Conscience

by The Visitor

by The Visitor

With one sweeping blow from her Amazonian staff, Gabrielle felled the last of the attackers. She glanced about nervously, making certain the battle was truly over, and seeing that it was, allowed herself a moment to catch her breath. It had been a hard fought victory, and she had the cuts and bruises to attest to it. The invaders had sprung from nowhere and swarmed the small village like a plague. It was a lucky thing for the locals that she and Xena had been...

Gabrielle suddenly remembered, and she started sprinting across the small village As fast as her weary legs would carry her. All thoughts of her own minor injuries flew from her mind, and were replaced by concern, for the one who meant more to her than any other...

"Xena!" She cried out, and saw as she neared that a small crowd of villagers had assembled around her fallen friend, to protect their protector. She smiled at that, but then winced as she remembered hearing her friendís agonized scream when one of the attackers knocked Argoís legs out from under her, sending Xena crashing painfully to the ground. Xena had taken bad falls before, but she had still not risen, and Gabrielle was sorely worried.

Parting the crowd, Gabrielle hurriedly kneeled by Xenaís side. Xena was grimacing and clutching her leg.

"Xena, whatís wrong? Howís your leg?"

She spoke through gritted teeth. "Broken...I think..."

Without another word, Gabrielle took Xenaís sword from itís sheath and immediately began work on splinting the damaged limb. "Get a litter, hurry!" She barked orders at the villagers, and they hopped to their tasks with zeal. Gabrielle focused on her task, trying not to think about the pain her friend was in.


"Shhhh. Donít talk now. Everythingíll be okay."

Hours later. Gabrielle sat patiently by Xenaís side as she slept in the Healerís hut. Finally, she crept slowly back into consciousness, and Gabby leapt over to her side. She clutched Xenaís hand and held it tight.

"Hi. How are you feeling?"

"Hurts...but Iíll live."

"You had me pretty worried there. I didnít know WHAT had happened to you!"

Xenaís eyes averted from Gabrielleís. "Gabrielle..."

The bard looked at her friendís expression, of regret and sadness. "Xena? What is it, whatís wrong?"

Xena stared away from her friend as she spoke. "I let you down today, Gabrielle. You were counting on me, and I failed you. Iím sorry."

Gabrielle reeled for a moment, letting that last one sink in. Then, a sort of anger crossed her face, and she leaned in close.

"Look at me, Xena. LOOK AT ME! You did NOT let me down, do you hear? It was an ACCIDENT! You did everything you could today!"

"You could have been killed because of me!"

"And you could have been killed too! You almost DIED today trying to help me and those villagers! Weíre ALL in your debt, a hundred times over! Donít you ever think youíve disappointed me! You arenít capable of that. Youíre not perfect. Youíre just...human."

Xena looked slowly into Gabrielleís eyes again, and finally, after seeing the love there, let a smile flicker across her lips. "I still wish I had been there for you. I wanted to be."

"I know you did. And the next time, you will be. Now...just let me be here for you, okay?"

Xena tightened her grip on the little bardís hand, and smiled again. "Okay."

Dedicated to our very own Miss Lucy Lawless, who has hopefully realized by now that she could NEVER disappoint us Diehard Hardcore Nutballs. Well, maybe if she quit Xena and moved to Baywatch. Maybe.

Just singiní a happy tune,
The Visitor

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