FIC = G or PG if your parents are watching
It is in the mind: the world’s mysteries, truths, lies, and nothing at all.
Twilight on the shore and that haunting sound:Tick, ting, tick,
Of the whetstone
Back and forth against the blade.Scratch, scratch, scratch.
She watched her over the fire, sharpening the sword, her hair still damp. Hours ago they awoke on the beach, confused, relieved. All questions flowing through them then were unanswerable, remained so. They were there. Physical. Alive despite the impossibility. Their wounds had vanished, lost in the sea. The Fates washed their hands clean of their abuses, erased the evidence of Xena’s rage. And Gabrielle’s body was restored, her energy returning slowly, her mind recovering by degrees as reality bled back into her pores.
But she could barely write. There were ideas, sensations, images but they were formless, meaningless outside of her own head. A mess, a mess, but it was all nearly there. The cycle, the ecstasy of inspiration was gone. Shattered fragments remained. She tried again to formalize them, rebuild them, but the products were unrecognizable, nonsensical and unstable. She could see Hope and Xena, felt relief and anger, hatred and profoundly twisted desire. What it meant to her now was the answer she needed.
The fire in the centre cracks,
Bursts, a flurry of embers,
And then only:Tick, ting, tick,
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
It comforts me.
The light breeze rose bumps on her flesh, at the back of her neck, along the tips of her ears. Gabrielle shuddered. The ghost of earlier sensations: the familiar flood and ebb of physical pleasure, hands roaming, low voices whispering, moaning, lips exploring just beneath her jaw, her throat and lower and lower until she collapsed back, succumbed fully to arousal and desire. Then Xena climbed back over her, wiped the damp hair from Gabrielle’s face and kissed her again. Rolled over and they repeated it. It was a requirement, more physical than mental, more for Gabrielle than Xena. They could afford to neglect the niggling uncertainties, the unsettling truths about Hope and Solan and about themselves. For the moment it was unimportant.
I still feel guilty of treason
For China, for Hope, for Solan
Despite the passage of time.
So this is your burden.
I will carry it with you
If you let me.
And I want this pain,
This masochistic, distracting,
Odd sort of justice
With redeeming qualities.
Sacrifice for life,
Agony for murder.
The sound of the whetstone stopped. Gabrielle looked up from her scroll, her quill frozen on the parchment. Xena stared at the ground, her voice raw and sickly sounding,
“Why do you stay with me?”
Gabrielle pursed her lips, unprepared for the question. She gazed at the fire, her eyes darting nervously from her work to the ground and back to Xena. She swallowed and ran her tongue along her bottom lip.
“If I don’t, who will?”
She waited in the silence for her to respond, but she never did. Xena merely nodded. The quiet stretched for a moment longer and Gabrielle began to write again. The whetstone passed over the blade.Scratch, scratch, scratch.
We aim for the beginning
Back to what we were.
Shattered, we rebuild ourselves.
Never again the same.
We are human, we are base.
But I can live with it, the corruption, if I can have her through it all.