Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.
Summary: One Shot. A restless night for Gabrielle leads to some thoughts of the aloof warrior.
Time Frame: It takes place in the early seasons (before she starts using sais).
A mist rises from where we sleep. The heat of our bodies sending steam airborne. I lie awake staring into the stars. A daily activity that Xena and I indulge in after first settling into our bedrolls, and something I resort to when I cannot sleep. Today was an unexciting day. It was mundane, relaxing, more specifically - boring. It is probably the reason I am awake now. I'm used to being worn out over my travel on foot, but I've grown accustomed to it. With no fights during the day, I feel like I've got too much energy. I feel restless. While connecting stars in the sky, making castles and monsters; I shiver from the cool breeze that seeps into our bedding uninvited. It is going to be a cold winter. We often resort to sharing our bedrolls during this time of the year to pool our heat together to make sleep possible, but tonight, it is no match for my restlessness.
Xena lies supine in her sleep. Her breaths are slow and steady for most of the night. I sometimes watch her and see her lids twitching from the orbs within that are dancing and searching. I wonder what she dreams about. Is she still tormented by her past? Is she fearful of the future? I can't know. I only wish I could make the good dreams come true. Her lips part slowly and release a puff of breath floating and dissipating into the air. She is so beautiful and so serene like this, that I wish she could have this peace in the waking day. I am distracted by her slight intake of breath. A short gasp of sorts, as if she had been diving in deep water and is now resurfacing. I assume it begins a foray in her sleep.
I hear her groan and she begins to writhe within our furs. I adjust them to keep her covered. Feeling the slight weight of my hands, she turns toward me, perhaps looking for our connection. Her hand snakes around my waist, as if pinning me down or pulling me to her. I settle into the embrace, the warmth inviting, and her skin silk. I close my eyes, content to feel this belonging. Clearing my mind of other thought; I focus on the little happiness that our embrace provides. The warmth seems to fill me from my head to my toes, like a blanket of assurance. I'm sure she feels it too, because her tossing and turning subsides. I want this forever; I realize to myself. It is a longing that always accompanies these rare moments. I love her.
I take advantage of these times because when Xena wakes; this feeling, and this lack of inhibition will be gone. It will be replaced by a woman who feels guilty, unworthy, who wants to overprotect me. Hiding behind a gruff exterior and insisting on irking me to make me angry at her, but I know what she is doing. She is distancing. I think she fears our intimacy, but her subconscious wins out in sleep. Her body betrays her nightly, feigning peace that she does not have. I know she fears and denies herself happiness. She thinks she doesn't deserve it, but she does. I do. We do.
If only I can get her to see it. That she isn't this creature of death and destruction that she views herself as. We all have a darkness and hers was fed by the circumstances of her life. I sometimes wonder if I had been in her shoes, what I would have done. Her heart and mind is always searching for forgiveness, but I think she feels she can only achieve it in her own death as a sacrifice. She's wrong, but I can't change that for her. The past can never be erased, it can only be learned from, and each day she atones for those mistakes. Living and happiness, I believe, are her only means of atonement. She doesn't want to see that yet, and perhaps never will. I think she desires punishment for her wrongs to feel redemption. Wanting to feel suffering, like the suffering she had caused. Death is the easier way out of her guilt and her fears. The truth is the bigger challenge is forgiving herself and living. I don't think she will forgive herself, but I hope she can let herself be happy. I can dream that one day it will happen. Someday she won't recede, hide, or construct barriers. She will be able to revel in the happiness of little things, and I will be there with open arms to receive her; my own happiness complete.
**Author's Note: Sorry if this was boring, I just felt like jotting this down.**