As the day dawns...

By Lariel

General Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle and Lila are characters owned by MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. Lucky them. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit gained by this piece of fanfic. Worse luck!

Violence/Love: Nope. None. Sorry to disappoint - this is just a real nice little piece about Gabrielle's thoughts just before upping sticks and running off to Xena in "Sins Of The Past".

Write Me Pleeeeaase: Let me know someone reads this stuff! I don't bite (unless you want me too) and I might even write back ...... so make a poor bard very happy and gimme some feedback! But be nice - otherwise I'll set Xena on you. Or if you're really horrible, I'll send the bard round. We know what she can do with a stick and some sais.


I'd crept out after dinner - I had to. I couldn't just sit there, eating and listening to them talking as if it were any other day. Not when my whole world had just been turned upside down; a tall woman with streaming dark hair as black as midnight had ridden across my universe and carved a path straight through the heart of everything I'd ever known. It wasn't like any other day for me anymore.

So I'd crept out after dinner and threw a few of my meagre farm girls' possessions into a bag. Twice Lila had nearly caught me - my breath catching and my heart thudding as she had come into the tiny bedroom we shared. I pretended to be reading, and she just rolled her eyes when she saw me and said "Are you messing around with those old scrolls again? You'll catch it if Mom finds you - you were supposed to be bringing in more firewood and half your chores still aren't done. Honestly Gabby, stop dreaming!"

I had winced at the words, so casually spoken. "Stop dreaming Lila? Is that what I should do? Give up all my hopes and dreams and settle for - what? For this?" Her words had cut through my flesh.

Something must've shown on my face because she'd dropped next to me onto the bed, shaking her head. "Don't be so sensitive. It's only a phrase. But you have to admit, these fantasies and silly stories you keep scribbling are making things worse lately. Perdicus told me you had another row yesterday. Gabby, what's wrong with you lately?" Upon seeing my sulky silence, she'd continued "When are you going to settle down properly? You know, start living in the real world!"

What could I say? Could I have told her that the life my parents had mapped out for me - for us both - was worse than death for me? A soul-wearying life where hope of adventure, romance....anything that made life more than just existence was slowly sucked out like marrow from a bone. How could I tell her that I didn't want to be like our parents?

Funny thing was, I'd almost resigned myself to it - until this morning. I was finally starting to accept that dreams were just dreams. They made existence easier to bear at first, but the longer you lived in them, the more painful it was to have to leave them. And ultimately unsatisfying to live in the mind - a shadow puppet life, full of flickering images just beyond touch. And I wanted a real life, a flesh and blood life and if this was what it was then so be it. So, I'd decided - no more silly dreams, Gabrielle. No more stories, no more adventures. Gabrielle the Bard is gone; there is only Gabrielle the daughter, and soon to be farmers' wife.

So, like a good girl, I'd gone down to the water hole to learn how to be a good wife with the rest of the village women and for a few heart freezing moments, our worst nightmares had come true. I had felt the stinging certainty of a whip on my back, lashing away the final traces of the girl I once was. The woman I would be was to be borne of blood, tears and terror. I didn't want to be her yet.

And then - there she was. So powerful, so absolutely and completely magnificent, so wild and feral. For a moment, our eyes met and I felt a jolt of life surge through me. "You've got to take me with you. Teach me everything you know." I had begged her, cajoled and wheedled as if my life depended on it - which it didn't, and she knew it of course. But my soul did, and I needed her so badly; for a promise of life and fruiting of potential which was close to withering on the untended vine. But she didn't see that, and she said no. She left me.

I can't leave her, though. Can't leave all that she represents - no, she's my last chance and I have to take it.

I don't know what's come over me. I'm driven by a force more powerful than any I've known before and I dread the fact that she may laugh at me and send me away. I am just a silly kid to her; I could see it in her eyes when she looked at me. I don't think she'd hurt me though, in spite of what she said. But what will I do if she sends me back?

The midnight silence blankets me as I lie in bed, waiting for my time, and I worry about all the things that might happen to me if I go and if I stay. The haunting hour nurtures my fears, and my bard's imagination gives them awful form as I weave tapestries of the horrible consequences of choice. It is with a start that I realise - I am more afraid of staying, and my decision is irrevocably made.

And what of her, the woman I am running to? I don't even know her, although I know of her and what I have heard chills me. But that monster myth made up to scare children isn't her. The woman I met today was warm, caring and kind, with a sadness in her eyes and a loneliness in her heart. She is a lost soul, wandering desperately in search of a home. I'm a soul fastened to a home and desperate to wander. Maybe we will find something in each other? I snicker quietly to myself - such romantic notions, exactly the sorts of dreams that have got me into trouble in the past.

After all, I'm just a silly little farm girl. What would the mighty Warrior Princess want to have me tagging along for? I would serve no useful purpose in her life and would probably cause more trouble for her. What'll I do if she sends me home? I can't go back now - I won't stay home.

What will a Warrior Princess want? What would make her want me? I'll have to be someone different; maybe I will have to be more like her. Learn the things she knows. I wouldn't mind that - if I were a tenth the person she is........but I'm not, and I want to much to be like her. Proud, strong and fearless.

Lila's asleep now and I feel the exhilaration and the fear bubbling up inside me, spilling out in soft tears that trickle from my tightly closed eyes. Fear has broken my bones and pinned me to my bed, helpless before her paralysing mocking. What am I doing? Why am I even thinking it? I can't go......she won't want me. I'll get lost. I'll get into trouble again. My family will be so upset. All the fears come flooding out of my head and I start to despise myself and my weakness.

Then I see her, sitting tall and straight in the saddle, so confident and sure. She fixes me with her sky blue stare and asks quietly, "What do you want?"

I smile back and simply reply, "You." She smiles in return, holds out her hand and I grasp it. With her touch, the whispering fear and mocking doubt are silenced. She pulls me up into the saddle; I clasp the new life she offers me and grip her tightly. I'll never let her go.

I rise from my bed silently, grab my bag and creep carefully towards the door, all the while glancing back anxiously at my sister. I don't want to wake her and have to explain. I know a note is cold and cruel, but I can't face having to say goodbye.

Gods! I go crashing into the table......she's woken up and now I have no choice. Shoulders set, I move towards her. Time to shut the door to my old life and open the door to new possibilities. A new life. With Xena. To Fanfiction Page