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A Past Remembered
By Anita Louise
Copyright 1997 LoisAnne@concentric.net
Sea had stepped from her cabin onto the deck; she walked up to the Helm. The woman gazed around the ship as if she was looking for something or someone. Her eyes stopped as a smile crossed her face. There she was, standing with Saxton. The strawberry blond, waved to someone in the crows nest as she called, "I'm coming up."
It had been thirty turns of the sandglass and Sea marveled at how well Gabrielle had taken to the sea. If she didn't know better, she would think the woman had been born of a seafaring family. The painful beating the Bard took on that day had mended and neither spoke of it.
Sea smiled as she remembered the Bard's face on the day she became coherent. Sea had been sleeping on the bed, Gabrielle within arm's reach of her when she heard the words, "Well, you finally did it, you got me into your bed."
Sea slowly opened her eyes, staring into the most beautiful face she had ever seen, The woman was gazing down on her, Gabrielle's head cocked to the side, a mischievous grin crossing her face and blue green eyes that touched Sea's with a spark that would have sent all the Gods running for cover. Sea's eyes widened as she said, "Gabrielle, are you all right?"
Gabrielle glanced down at her chest and said, "Except for no clothes, I feel fine."
Sea felt as if her heart would explode. She smiled, reached up and pulled the woman's head down, as Gabrielle's lips met her's. They were soft as she pressed her hungry lips to The Bard's. Gabrielle's eyes flew open then closed as she let her body gently fall on the woman. The kiss was tender, gliding, savoring, Sea's body raged with feelings she never knew existed. It was a dance, rhythmic and thrilling. They lingered for sometime, then Sea pushed Gabrielle back as she said, "You, you didn't have to do that."
Gabrielle smiled and replied, "I will never deny you anything." Sea started to move but the Bard laid her head on the woman's shoulder and placed her left hand across Sea's heaving breasts. Sea placed a gentle kiss on the Bard's hair and said, "I want you so bad at this minute, my body is sending me signals I never knew existed. I have made love many times, but never have I felt what I do now. This is new to me."
Gabrielle laid her hand on Sea's right breast and said, "Just be gentle, I've never done it before."
Sea closed her eyes and said, "I can't, I can't. Your first time should be with the person you love more than life yourself."
Gabrielle gently placed a kiss on the woman's neck and said, "I have deep feelings for you."
Sea held the woman close and said, "You have been very ill, and I have taken care of you, these feelings could be gratitude."
Gabrielle replied, "I am grateful, not that you chose to beat me, but that you cared enough not to kill me. I want you to know that when ever you feel the time is right, I will come willingly."
Tears glistened in Sea's eyes as she said, "Right now, I am happy you are all right and here in my arms. The rest will come when the time is right." The two women lay in bed the rest of the day, each feeling the closeness and loving they shared for one another.
It didn't take the Bard long to regain all of her strength, and she listened to all the lessons Sea gave. Gabrielle had given up hope of ever seeing Xena again. They had been on the open seas for a long time. She had witnessed several boardings and watched as Sea and her men took ship after ship. The Bard had asked Sea to let her join the crew in this but the woman gave her orders to go below. The more she watched Sea take command, the more the woman reminded her of Xena.
She could be so cruel and yet, her touch was so gentle. The men knew to treat the Bard with respect or suffer the wrath of the Captain. Some spoke of the two women but most held their tongues. If Sea ever heard any talk about the two she would put an end to it immediately. They were near Gaul when Sea spied the ship, "Ahead, a merchant ship, prepare to come around!"
Gabrielle had been standing close by and said, "You're going to try to take it? They have a big crew."
Sea smiled and said, "There isn't a ship The Bounty can't take. Now, go below."
Gabrielle turned and walked down to the cabin. She peered out the porthole, trying to get a glimpse of the ship. This always scared the Bard, she hated all the fighting and killing. As the ships collided, her feet were knocked out from under her. The sounds of yelling and the clash of swords filled the air. The Bard walked over to a table and picked up the sword. She stared at it then stepped back swinging it in the air.
She could smell smoke as Saxton's voice drifted down to her, "Gabrielle, get out of the cabin, head to the Helm!" She held the sword in both hands and left the room. Slowly she edged her way to the deck. It was mayhem, people were laying all over, some wounded, most dead.
The sounds of metal on metal was grating. Her sword gleamed in the bright light of the sun. She rushed to join Saxton on deck. Suddenly the deck heaved and rocked, as she fell, he grabbed her arm pulling her back to her feet. Choking smoke billowed around them, her eyes filled, her lungs ached and the only place that seemed free of the smoke was up above. She reached for a grappling hook and climbed up the rigging, coughing and spluttering. At this time the fighting increased as more men boarded the Bounty. She quickly slid down the line and jumped over several barrels as she charged the men. Their swords, clashing and grating.
Gabrielle looked around and saw Sea in a battle with two men. She was holding her own but Gabrielle ran to help. The Bard walked up behind one of the men and tapped him on the shoulder, the man turned as she lashed out at his face with the handle of her sword. He staggered back and she somersaulted forward striking out at his ankles sending the man to the floor. She jumped to her feet and knocked the sword from his hand. Sea had defeated the other man and yelled at Gabrielle, "Kill him!" The bard stared at the man as Sea pushed her aside, plunging her sword into the man's heart. Gabrielle walked over to the railing and heaved.
Sea reached up grabbing a line she swung across the deck knocking men down. Before long the fire had been put out and the ship had been seized. There were many dead and many captives. After the merchandise had been transported to The Bounty, Sea ordered the remaining prisoners to be put aboard their own ship. Then she ordered her men to set sail.
Saxton walked up to Gabrielle and said, "You will be fine, you have to get used to this. If you don't kill, they will kill you make no mistake about it. Don't blame the Captain. She did release all the other prisoners and there was a time she would have had them all be shark bait."
Gabrielle stared at the man then turned and walked toward the cabin. She didn't know how long she had stayed up on deck, she only knew she would never get used to the killing. There was a faint trace of lingering smoke as she entered the cabin.
Sea stood at the desk, her back was to the Bard. Gabrielle closed the door but the woman did not move. Gabrielle walked over to the bed and sat as she said, "I suppose you feel the need to give me a lecture?"
Still the woman didn't speak, Gabrielle stood up and walked closer to her as she said, "If it will make you happy, I'm sorry, it will take me time to do what seems to come so easy for you." Sea staggered back hitting the Bard, Gabrielle grabbed for the woman as she fell against her body, and helped her sit down on the chair. She looked down at the front of Sea's shirt, It wasn't white anymore, it was red!
Gabrielle cried, "Gods, Sea what happened?"
The woman's eyes had fallen back into her head as she muttered, "The man I killed, the one you had disarmed, he got in a lucky strike. It's my shoulder, bleeding too much..." The woman fell from the chair, her body sprawled out on the floor. Gabrielle grabbed some cloth, wadding it as she fell to her knees, ripping open the woman's shirt.
She stared at the large gash on Sea's right shoulder as she held the cloth to it. Sea's normal tanned skin had turned ashen as Gabrielle screamed, "Saxton!" She had cried out several times before the cabin door burst open and the man barreled into the room. "What is it Gabrielle?" He saw the women on the floor and rushed over.
Gabrielle looked up at him, disbelief in her eyes and said, "She was wounded, and she still fought. Have to stop the bleeding." His face showed concern as he bent down and picked the woman up carrying her to the bed, laying her down he said, "I'll bring some things, do you know how to take care of a wound like this?"
Gabrielle held the cloth against the cut and said, "Yes, I need a needle and sewing material." He nodded and left the room.
Gabrielle's hands pressed down, as she said, "Please, please stop bleeding." She knew from the look of the woman she had lost an incredible amount of blood. She had seen this several times during her excursions with Xena.
The cabin door opened as Saxton entered. He walked over to the Bard and said, "Here, a needle and material. I have brought a bottle of Leeches. Place them on the wound, it may help."
Gabrielle glared at the man and said, "No, it will make it worse. I have seen this before and she has already lost too much blood, I need several reeds."
He scratched his head and asked, "Reeds, what for?"
She sighed, "My best friend took care of someone that way, I need to give Sea some of my blood."
The man stepped back and said, "No one can do that, unless you are a Enchantress."
Gabrielle answered, "No, just a mortal who doesn't want to see this woman die. Can you get me some Reeds?"
He thought for several minutes then said, "The galley, the last time we were ashore, the cook, cut several." He turned, hurrying from the room. Gabrielle lifted up the soaked cloth and could see the bleeding had stopped. It didn't take her long to thread the needle and sew up the area, then applying Ale to it. She wiped the blood from the woman's chest. Sea never moved as Gabrielle stared down at this once vibrant woman. She knew if she couldn't replenish Sea's loss of blood the woman would die.
When Saxton burst into the room carrying two long reeds in his hand she jumped to her feet and said, "Good, you found them." Gabrielle explained to the man what she was going to do and he shook his head saying, "You will kill her as well as yourself."
She placed her right hand on the man's shoulder and said, "I have to know that you understand what is going to happen."
He said, "I know what you have asked me to do."
Gabrielle laid down by Sea, she took out a small dagger and placed the tip into the artery on her left arm. She placed pressure on this, then took two Reeds connecting them together and carefully placed the end of one into her artery. Saxton looked like he might collapse at any moment and she prayed he wouldn't, it was imperative he watch what was going on and remove the Reeds, placing pressure on the arteries. She placed the end of the other Reed in her mouth causing a suction as the red liquid traveled up the Reed. She made a small cut into Sea's artery, then placed the other end of the Reed into it. She laid down on the bed and watched her blood flow into Sea.
Saxton had watched this with apprehension but his eyes grew wide as he watched the blood flow from one body to the other. Gabrielle had gone to sleep and he removed the Reeds, putting pressure on the arteries like the Bard had told him. Then he wrapped both arms in soft cloth and left the room.
The two women had slept throughout the day, when evening came Saxton went back to the cabin to check on them. He knocked and entered the room. The man froze in his tracks when he saw the Bard standing at the porthole. She turned and smiled at him as she said, "Thank you, you did it, she will be fine." He walked over and gazed down at the tanned face and said, "Her color has returned. It's a miracle."
Gabrielle replied, "No, just a little lesson I learned from another amazing woman."
Sea recovered, her shoulder as good as ever, that is what she told everyone and every chance the woman got she praised Gabrielle for what she did. Now she stood staring at the Bard climbing the rigging to the crows nest on top of the mast. She felt a great pride when she gazed at her. For a village peasant woman, she was every bit the seafarer now.
There wasn't anything the woman couldn't do on ship. She had learned well. Sea walked over to the Bulwark and sat down.
Sea heard the words as she stared up at Gabrielle who was holding onto the railing and called, "Who me?"
Gabrielle yelled down, "Yeah, come on up. I want to tell you something."
Sea called back, "What is it?"
The Bard beamed as she yelled, "Gonna have to come up and find out."
Sea knew the woman was taunting her. She looked around at her men, they were gazing at the two women as Sea stood up and walked toward the mast she said, "It had better be good."
She glanced up then jumped and grabbed a handful of rigging, raising herself. The woman climbed slowly and as she neared the top she said, "Least you could do is give me a hand." Gabrielle bend down as she extended her left hand, the woman grabbed it. Before long she was standing by the Bard.
They stared down at the crew mulling below as Sea yelled, "Go about your business!" The men went back to work. She stood tall, arms folded across her chest with a smile that reflected in Gabrielle's, eyes and said, "All right, put up, I don't climb to the top of the mast for just anyone."
Gabrielle tilted her head and said, "Wanted to talk to you."
Sea scoffed, "Talk to me, we could have done that down there, this is dangerous."
Gabrielle replied, "I had to see if your shoulder really was back to normal."
"You could have asked."
The Bard stepped close to her as she said, "Would you have told me the truth? I have noticed how you have been nurturing it, I have been so worried."
Sea lifted the arm and said, "Good as new. Where did you learn your technique? Saxon said, he thought you were an Enchantress."
"I watched Xena do it, I'm just glad I was able."
Sea smiled and said, "Let's go back down, this swaying does not make this conversation easy."
"I had another reason, I wanted to get you in a spot you couldn't just run from."
Sea reached out and grabbed a line and said, "See you at the bottom." Gabrielle watched the woman deftly slide down to the deck. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Humm, I don't think you can be confined." The Bard followed the woman as Sea reached up and helped Gabrielle. They both laughed as the woman said, "Thank you, for saving my life. I know I've said it before but I want you to know just how thankful I am."
Gabrielle replied, "Guess that makes us responsible for each other."
The woman stared for a period then she said, "You knew what to do and you did it for me, it is hard to believe I now carry your blood in my body. You have given me your gift of life. It was a miracle the day you entered my life."
Gabrielle ran over to the rail and stared at the whitecaps as the huge ship bounced through the water. Sea walked over to her and said, "Did I say something wrong?"
The Bard turned as her eyes met the woman's and said, "I've been called a lot of things but a miracle, I don't know if I can handle that."
Sea placed her right arm around Gabrielle's shoulders and said, "Well from the minute I saw that belligerent young man to the beautiful woman that he became, I knew you were special and you haven't proven me wrong. Tell me, what did you really want to talk to me about?"
Gabrielle shrugged her shoulders and asked, "Does it get any better?"
Sea's eyes were questioning as she asked, "Any Better? What do you mean?"
Gabrielle reached up and grasped Sea's hand as she said, "I hated the Ocean, it always made me nauseous, but you have shown me a different way of life. The Bounty has become home to me and you and Saxton have become family. I don't know if I could ever leave."
Sea sighed as she said, "I have been dreading this moment, hoping it would never come."
The woman started to move but Gabrielle would not release Sea's hand. She replied, "Dreading, what are you talking about?"
I have dreaded you asking me to release you. My life would be empty if I didn't wake to your smile and flashing blue green eyes. When I am in a terrible mood, you've but to flash that special smile and all my defenses melt. If you are asking me to let you go, you might as well run a knife through my heart."
Gabrielle's look was solemn as she said, "I could never hurt you, but you need to understand, I had a life before The Bounty, I have family in Potidaea, a sister, mother and father. I had a life with Xena, I just can't pretend it didn't exist, or what could have been.
Sea stared at the vastness of the Ocean as she said, "Well, Hades is paved with could-have-beens. I believe they will all go on with their lives, except for Xena. I know if I was in her place, I would move the Celestial sky and everything in between until I held you in my arms once more. Your friend could be a problem."
The Bard replied, "I could not stand to see you and Xena in a fight, I went through that not long ago with Callisto and her. I didn't come out too well. I have you both in my heart and I couldn't stand to see anything happen to either one of you.
Sea stepped away as she said, "I recently heard Xena escaped from Krispies. So the day may come when you will have to make a choice. Whatever you chose, one of us will be happy and the other devastated. I can't guarantee we will not collide."
Gabrielle walked over to the woman and stepped in front of her as she said, "You knew Xena had escaped? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew I would see that glow in your face and hear the anticipation in your voice."
Sea brushed past the Bard and walked toward the helm as Gabrielle stood staring at the woman.
Continued in Chapter Eighteen