So, it's been a while, right? [lol]
I've been lost in other fandoms for a bit... However, XWP is never far from my thoughts and - thanks to a PC issue - the show has been re-watched quite recently and I am now all up in Xena & Gabrielle again. ;)
And the urge to write is here. I might be a little rusty, so forgive me.
[post-'Maternal Instincts', Xena POV, angst and dark-ish things]
There are the curses one can break - ropes around your body and you cut them, watch the fibers unfurl and split, watch them release and hit the floor.
But there are other curses - the kind weaved with words and with deceit, the kind that seeps up from the darkest of places within you and poisons you, the kind you can't just take back or heal or prevent from ruining everyone... anyone... yourself...
Xena knows all about curses. She has felt them. She has created them.
And even her best choices are still fraught with missteps these days.
That man in the forest, scars and rotting teeth and dangerous dreams, he managed to nick her skin. A tiny cut along her thigh, blinding red against her flesh, and she stared at it long after she had severed his head from his body.
"Don't chastise me. I don't care what you have to say anyway."
But Xena lies to herself, day and night filled up with lies. She cares. She has to care. Caring about those whispered words in her head is all she looks forward to - and all she despises, too.
Yes, Xena knows all about curses.
The kind that steals your breath away and the kind that spins tales inside your heart and the kind that just won't leave you alone.
Xena is never, ever alone these days.
She is reckless. She is rudderless.
And at night she doesn't sleep so much as she floats between blackness and random imagery - crosses and screaming, a temple and a child...
She is without point and purpose.
But not like before, not with a burning hate toward the world. No... this burning hate is firmly turned inward... and no army can sate it, no God of War can use it...
Ares talks and teases and taunts and yells and pouts.
It's his curse, too.
Everyone is cursed now and Xena knows all about this kind of curse. This kind of curse lasts forever, in your bones and in your soul.
It is the only kind of curse that Xena can claim these days.
"It wasn't up to me to stop you. It wasn't up to me... I couldn't forgive you. I can't forgive you. And if you had wanted to... if you had wanted to... You could have stopped yourself..."
Still, Xena cries and allows the fire to die out and doesn't search the woods for eager warriors or stupid warlords - she'll just let them come.
And she cries.
She weeps for the boy she gave up and the boy she lost. She weeps for the girl she never meant to woo and run off with... and for letting that girl become a shattered woman.
Xena cries and Gabrielle's voice cuts like a knife in the nighttime air, quick and cool. And it matters not what is said, because Xena hears it all the time.
And, these days, Gabrielle is just about the only thing Xena can hear anyway.
Vengeance is so bittersweet. But she is at the sweet part.
Hope's body, lifeless and cold on the green grass, and Xena resists the urge to draw her sword. She resists the urge to plunge the blade deep within the demon's heart - not to make sure of death, but for anger's sake alone.
For rage. For penance. For revenge.
But there is the bitter - edges of satisfaction still there, yes, but somehow not nearly as gratifying - and the bitter looks a lot like Gabrielle.
Slumped against the ground as if sleeping, the woman's hair is caught in the dying of the sun and Xena would have once found it an incredibly beautiful picture.
Now, it is just a reminder of what has been lost - completely and totally lost.
"I've lost everything now, haven't I?"
There is no answer, though.
And Xena doesn't really need one these days.
where a picture is worth a thousand words
- Dusts off community...