~ Patchwork ~
by Lexx23

Rating/Author's Notes: PG. XGR (Xena/Gabrielle Romance) Note that this piece is unedited. It was written for a forum (Talking Xena) mini-challenge. Please send all comments to defender.of.heaven@gmail.com!

Summary: Xena and Gabrielle healing after the events in A Good Day.

Disclaimer: All named characters in this story do not belong to me, they belong to the creators and producers and studios that own Xena: Warrior Princess.

Episode Spoilers: A Good Day

A spark. It bounced onto the bronze tray and ignited the anise and myrrh. A tendril of smoke quivered up from the pile of spices as she nurtured the crawling flame. The night air lingered with the scent of burning flesh; the dead vanished into the inferno of the funeral pyres. Xena nudged the burnt herbs with a wooden stick and blew out the rising flames. A sweet scent filled her nostrils and masked the foul stench of the bodies. She stared at the pulsing embers to distract herself. Gabrielle sat behind her on the bed, quiet with misery and rage. A mug scraped along the table as Gabrielle took a drink of wine. It landed hard on the tabletop when she'd drunk it all. There was a pause before the ritual repeated.

Xena removed her armour and placed it next to her weapons at the door. She reached for the small pouch among their belongings, rifling through it to find the whetstone.


She turned. The voice was quiet, hoarse from weeping and coatings of wine. Xena stood carefully and approached the bed, her even footfalls echoing on the wood floor. Gabrielle stared at the floor until Xena's shadow poured over her. Her hand snaked up to Xena's midriff, flattening out against the leather clothing. Slender fingers brushed the material as they slid upward, her hand closing in a fist to yank the dress down. Xena knelt and Gabrielle's hand relaxed, travelling up again. It hovered over the hem at her chest and she switched direction, gingerly tracing over the flesh of Xena's collarbone. Her fingertips dragged across the smooth skin of her shoulder and curled beneath a leather strap. She tugged it to the side and leaned forward, blonde locks spilling onto bronze flesh.

Xena groaned. Gabrielle sucked the flesh between her teeth and wandered to Xena's throat. Xena flinched from a forceful bite and pulled away. Gabrielle glared at her, rose-tinted cheeks flushed with deeper colour. Grief and fury burned in her green eyes. But they were somehow vacant, lacking genuine conviction. Xena opened her mouth to speak and her thoughts were swallowed by a bruising kiss.

She fought the pleasure that coursed through her, trying to remember what it was she meant to say. Gabrielle was insistent. A moan escaped between their lips as Gabrielle's hand raced downward and slipped beneath the hem of Xena's dress. Xena gasped and caught her wrist, prying Gabrielle away from her. Confusion flashed across Gabrielle's face before she leaned toward her again. Xena pulled back.

Xena's expression softened and she reached up to brush her thumb across Gabrielle's cheek. Her green eyes turned back to the floor.

"You should get some sleep," Xena said quietly.

"I can't," Gabrielle replied, eyes glazing with tears. "I can't stop thinking about him."

Her hand threaded through Gabrielle's blonde hair and tucked the strands behind her ear.

"It never goes away," she whispered.

"I know," Xena replied.

"How can you fight like you do?"

Xena looked to the wall and then to the floor nervously picking at her fingernails. She cleared her throat and turned back to Gabrielle.

"You will always be empty until you find something to invest in, to rebuild yourself on."

Gabrielle frowned, her eyes darting around the floor as though searching. The candles on the shelves reflected the light in her watery eyes. A long silence stretched between them.

Gabrielle cleaned the tears from her eyes and looked up at her friend. "What did you invest in?"

Xena leaned forward and captured Gabrielle's lips. Languid movements dissolved time into formless space. Their lips parted and Xena climbed into bed as Gabrielle lay down. The pain would not ebb with pleasure or sleep. Possession, fixation: it would heal her as much as she could heal. As Gabrielle's eyes closed in slumber, she recalled the pain of losing Xena, her inability to protect her friend when she was struck down during a fight. She turned in bed and wrapped her arms around Xena's neck. It would be different now. She wouldn't lose her again.

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