Disclaimer: Xena and Crew are not mine
Time Line: Takes place after season 5 episode Antony and Cleopatra.
Subtext: You betcha!
Gabrielle was furious! Xena had been using seduction to gain the upper hand on their missions a lot lately. It was starting to get on her nerves.
"I have many skills," she mimicked in a falsetto mocking voice. "Well, how bout you use those 'many' skills instead of using you're god given 'gifts'!"
This time, she felt Xena's seduction with Marc Antony went totally out of hand. Marc Antony was exactly Xena's type, he seemed to have left a lasting mark in Xena's heart and in Gabrielle's as well. Except, with Gabrielle, he was more of a heartburn. Currently, she was seated in Cleopatra's palace dining hall, eating supper at an empty table at the front. She was doing more mulling over the mission's events than she was eating.
Gabrielle had agreed to be Xena's collateral in the fight at sea. She was willing to make such a sacrifice, but she was was disturbed that Xena would be so casual about putting her in harms way. Gabrielle contained her concerns because she knew the importance of the alliance between Rome and Egypt. Now that Octavius was safely in control, she wasn't as forgiving. The last few seasons had been trying for the both of them. Xena, having just given birth to baby Eve, was still saving empires from destruction. They barely had time to relax and enjoy life, let alone spend time together.
The blond had felt lately that her friendship with Xena was under strain. Deep down, Gabrielle knew she resented the fact that Xena was able to get a second chance at motherhood. She remembered that day Xena had said, "Gabrielle there is life within me, and it is good." Although she knew that the dark haired warrior did not mean it in the way Gabrielle had interpreted, she couldn't help but feel it was a comparison of when she was pregnant with Hope. Gabrielle had remained silent at Xena's remark, but honestly she wanted to snap at her for such a comment.
The blond felt lost and depressed. Everything that she held dear about herself was slowly being sacrificed in her life with Xena. She knew none of it was Xena's fault. All decisions she had made were of her own accord, but she couldn't help but wonder what her life would be like if she didn't continue her partnership with Xena. Lately, she felt it was becoming less of a partnership and more like that of a hero and her sidekick. Eve was now Xena's priority. She could understand that, but she couldn't help but desire more appreciation for all the little things that she would do for her, and that she contributed. It felt unequal and she was feeling dissatisfied.
"Sometimes I wish life could be simpler." Gabrielle sighed.
At the current state she was in, she didn't feel like talking. She wanted some time to herself to sort out the feelings that have been plaguing her lately.
"My modus operandi used to be communication, now all I feel is anger, and the need to bludgeon idiots with my sais!" she whispered to herself.
She looked around for Xena and saw her discussing matters with the Egyptian officials and Octavius. Overwhelmed with frustration, she stood up and left the celebration in Cleopatra's palace for some air on the balcony. The Nile was a beautiful sight at night. The stars' reflections on the surface of the water made for a serene magical calming atmosphere. She reflected more into her frustration. It wasn't that she didn't love Xena anymore, it just felt like she loved Xena more than Xena loved her. The lack of reciprocation was getting tiresome.
"Enough feeling sorry for myself!" Gabrielle decided. "It's time I made my own decisions without using Xena as a crutch. If I'm not happy, I need to make a change and figure out what will make me happy. If Xena thinks I'm just going to be her sidekick lap dog she's sorely mistaken. Maybe if I leave for a while she can find another Marc Antony she can spend time with." she spat out bitterly.
If Gabrielle was honest with herself, she might have realized that a little bit of jealousy was contributing to her current state of mind. She headed towards her room and packed in a huff. She made sure she had all her scrolls, but she left most of the supplies with Xena. She grabbed a quill and began writing on a piece of scroll on top of the alabaster table. She left the note open, in plain sight, for Xena to see the next time she entered the room.
As she passed the dining hall, she glanced back to the table she had last seen Xena at. Xena sensing the stare, turned and looked at Gabrielle, making eye contact before turning back to the discussion at the table. Gabrielle nodded in acknowledgment.
"Goodbye, Xena." she whispered as she turned, gathered up her pack, and headed towards the exit at the end of the columned hallway. Her footsteps were drowned out by the dining hall activities.
To be continued in Chapter 2
**Author's Note: Edited for some run on sentences and missing commas. Thanks to The Mighty Lu Bu for pointing it out to me.**