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This story is very important to me. It is, I hope, the first chapter to a LONG story. However this is also the very first story I have ever written and published and as such I want your feedback to let me know whether I should continue it or not, or whether it is fine as it is.

As I already said. This is my first baby and I feel a bit ‘hen-like’ with it.

That said now for the usual.

Xena, Gabrielle, Argo and any other characters featured in the actual TV series are copyrighted to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures while the rest of the story and other characters are mine.

This story does not contain violence or anything else to offend a delicate sensibility. It MAY / MAY NOT contain references to a loving and intimate relationship between two women. Therefore it is very much like the show. You can see it or you can’t see it.

I can – so there! J

Anyway enjoy...let me know what you thought and if you want me to post more chapters.

The story itself ( if taken by itself alone and not the first chapter of a book ) is patently obvious in its concept. But because I am willing to develop the idea I would ask that it remains sole property of myself. Please feel free to share it and request any feedback to my email. And PLEASE keep this disclaimer and intro with it.

Yours Captain R.

The End of the Road

Copyright © 1999 by Rebecca Smith. All Rights Reserved.

It was almost six years to the day that the couple entered the outskirts of Poteidaia. So very much had changed. In fact if either woman looked back at themselves and examined what they found on that first day they met, neither would have thought that a person could have ever changed that much.

The young farmer girl, who blossomed into womanhood, became an Amazon Queen, married her childhood sweetheart, and became a widow and then a murderess. She mothered and finally killed her daughter and grandson. Sought a spiritual quest that took her further away from those she loved, and finally found some kind of peace within herself. The last year she had felt that her relationship with her friend had come full circle, but where there was once awe and acceptance, there now was respect and disappointment.

Her friend however had fared not so well. As time went on her strength and her resolve had slowly been eaten away by the hurt and pain she had witnessed and particularly caused to a once young bard. Where once she appeared strong and in control, and even to a casual onlooker it still might appear that way, Gabrielle now held the power. What she wanted, Xena would do or die trying. What she didn’t like Xena tried to stop. Xena had forgiven her long ago for the death of her own son, but she still felt that everyday they spent together she had to apologise and make up for the old and tired warrior that still coursed inside her veins.

And so as Xena, Gabrielle and their old war-horse, rode into town, both women were lost in their past knowing that the end was in sight for their journey.

"I’m sorry I didn’t manage to get us here before sundown." Xena mumbled.

"Xena. I have told you a thousand times to stop apologising. I wanted to stop for a swim. Me. I caused us to be a little late. I’m getting very tired of you making everything your fault." Gabrielle all but snapped back.

Both women fell silent again, engulfed in their thoughts. Both knew that this very night would be the last night that they spent together. And after so very long it was going to take some time to get used to that.

It wasn’t as though they weren’t friends anymore. If the truth be known their love for one another was stronger now than ever. But like that love, it didn’t seem to be enough anymore and neither woman could figure out why. If one looked back it could be argued that it all started to fall apart back in Britannia. Oh they had managed to work through the problems that had arisen then. Even the Gods had tried to guide them back to their path, but somehow it just was never the same again.

They had both fought it for so long, yet always knowing deep down that it must come to an end. Now they had finally voiced what they feared must come, and where going home to finally part ways. It had taken years for the Warrior Princess to finally let the young woman into her heart, and it was going to take just as long if not more to get her back out.

Gabrielle thought had already moved on. What kept her with Xena was a mixture of her fear of change, and fear for what would happen to the warrior when she did leave. After almost two years like this she finally found the strength to end it. She could still see Xena’s face over the campfire when she told her, in the inky darkness behind her eyelids as she settled down to sleep. But she would no longer let that fear and pain keep her from doing what she knew she must. She had grown too strong, too old, for that.

"Xena. I think that we should spend the night together. Just once more. I think we need to talk."

"What do you think I have to say Gabrielle?" Xena asked. "I thought that everything was already discussed and sorted."

"It is...but well...I just thought that you might...we might like to say goodbye alone. Personally, rather than at my parents house. I thought that..."

"Gabrielle, we just a couple of candlemarks away from your home now. There is no point in finding somewhere else to camp. Besides were alone now and if there is anything you need to say to me then I suggest you do it now." Xena’s voice remained calm and assured. Her stomach did not.

"Well I was just going to say that I love you. You’ve looked after me and protected me for such a long time and not even my father could say that. I guess I just wanted to say thank you and that I will always treasure those days we first spent together. I learned a lot from you."

"Yeah, all the things you have since renounced and dedicated your life to oppose." Xena’s sarcastic drawl was not so much tinged as it was overflowing with bitterness.

"Well...never mind..." Gabrielle sighed and finally gave up on conversation.

Argo trotted almost reticently into the small village square. God’s. When was the last time they had been here. Oh yes, Hope and her son. Their ‘family’ reunion. More pleasant memories. Xena didn’t even need to guide Argo to the small house. Her trusty steed had heard all, and knew what her mistress had to do. It was the least she could do for her now. And if a horse could miss someone, she would miss the little blonde.

"Well...we're here." Xena said as she twisted around and braced herself to let her companion down. As her arm held Gabrielle’s their eyes met. And for a brief eternity each understood what the other wanted – needed to say.

But it wasn’t enough.

They had been through too much.

With a sad smile, and for old time’s sake, Gabrielle let Xena ease her down from the mare. For the last time.

"Here, I’ll get your things together." Xena offered as she slid down Argo’s back.

"Erm, there’s no need Xena. I packed everything of mine together this morning here in my pack." Gabrielle winced inside at the brief flicker of Xena’s face. ‘Be strong Gabrielle. You want this. No. You need this.’ She said to herself.

"Well I guess that’s that. Goodbye Gabrielle. I will miss you. Have a good and happy life." Xena said, and momentarily leant forward to give her younger ex-partner a hug, when she caught herself and instead did something she had never done to Gabrielle before. She extended her arm in a Warriors handshake.

This did not go unnoticed by the younger woman. But instead of listening to the tiny voice in her head screaming ‘Go to her. Hold her. Kiss her goodbye’ she did what she had never done and returned the handshake.

Two warriors – one of war and one of light said goodbye.

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