This was my first ever fan fic...Wrote it after watching AFIN directly after Sins of the Past - I wanted to see some of the parallels between the episodes and I was also fascinated with how far Xena and Gabrielle had come...I ended up bawling my eyes out. If you don't include the 25 years they were frozen, or the one year Xena had lost her memories while Gabrielle was asleep inside the fire, they really only spent about 6 years together. But it felt like a lifetime.

Anyway, I was about 15 when I wrote this. And was watching Xena again for the first time in years. I'd started watching it when I was 3yrs old, but had forgotten about it somewhere along the way. And when I wrote this, I'd searched the internet for somewhere to put it, and thus I discovered the glorious world of fan fiction :3 I'm posting it here exactly as I'd first written it, 'cos it's posted on a couple of Xena fan fic sites exactly like this. But I don't frequent those sites much anymore - 'cos everyone started writing uber and original fics instead of the classic stuff and I felt like I'd read every good subtext classic fic (excluding novellas) on those sites x) - so I'm finally getting around to posting my old stuff here.

Please forgive my ramblings. You've probably just skipped ahead anyway :')

My Guardian Angel

I had to come below deck. I was starting to feel ill; the combination of the past couple of day's events and a moving ship were wreaking havoc on my insides. I felt as though I was slowly dying, both physically and emotionally. That young boy, a member of the ship's crew, must've seen it on my face, shoving a bucket into my hands as I made my way into the cabin. If only I could remember that pressure point for minimizing sea sickness that Xena had taught me all those years ago on Cecrops' ship…

It was so long ago. Despite having been travelling with Xena for almost two years, it seemed that I had still had a talent for getting myself into sticky situations…Xena had jumped aboard the ship without hesitation, her first thought of me and making sure that I was okay…

Oh, Xena! What am I to do without you? Every second that passes feels like an eternity as I lay here on this lumpy mattress clinging to your ashes, knowing that I will never again look into those intense blue eyes; the ones that could flash in anger at your enemies, mist up with your love for me, moisten with your sadness, or deepen into endless pools of blue while you pondered your thoughts. I'll never again massage the knots out of those shoulders which seemed always to carry the weight of the world, nor will I gently scrub clean that well muscled back…The sounds of your quiet humming and the scrape of stone against metal as you sharpen your sword will no longer be there to inspire me as I write of our adventures by the campfire at night.

The tears start falling once again, as I curl up to try and settle my queasy stomach, wishing that you were here to comfort me as you have done so many times before. I'm glad that you've finally found the redemption you had never before allowed yourself, but it doesn't take away the hurt. I tighten my grip on the small urn housing your ashes, holding it close.

I close my eyes and think of you, hoping to conjure up an image of the slightly lopsided smile I know so well, the one that was always able to brighten up even the worst of days; but instead I see your lifeless body hanging from a wooden frame, covered in blood and pierced by arrows. And your head…Your neck is covered in blood where your head and your beautiful face should've been.

My eyes shoot open in horror, a fresh wave of tears flowing over my cheeks as I lean over the edge of the bed and puke into the metal bucket on the floor. I rub my eyes, hoping to erase the unbearable image from my mind.

I open the drawer of the wooden stand by the bed, almost angrily, and place the urn of ashes inside. A loud sob escapes me as I glimpse the shiny metal weapon so unique to you that I had placed in there earlier. I slam the drawer shut and roll over, turning my back to it, wanting nothing more at that very moment than to forget.

I curl up once again, and cry into the bed sheets, knowing that it's not true; I don't ever want to forget. I don't ever want to forget your bright blue eyes, your lovely smile, the timbre of your deep voice, or the sound of your rare but infectious laughter, nor the rumble of it in your chest whenever you held me. I want always to remember the way you smelt, your own musky scent that I was always able to detect beneath the smell of your leather. I know I will never forget your touch; the weight of your arm around my shoulders, and your gentle grip whenever you squeezed my arm reassuringly.

My heart swells as I remember the drills we often did when you were teaching me to wield my staff, the ones that almost always developed into a playful wrestling match on the soft grass, or else a game of tag that would often move from the land and into a nearby lake. I remember the splash fight that took away the frustrations of both student and teacher when you first tried teaching me to catch fish with nothing but my own two hands, and my childish excitement when I first caught hold of a wriggling fish.

These memories, happy though they be, serve only to bring on more sadness as I am struck with the realisation that memories are now all I have. The years we had together seem so little as I think of the lifetime I had hoped to spend travelling by your side, and I yell out in frustration, banging my fists on the bed and cursing the fates.

What little strength remained leaves my body and I collapse onto the bed, no longer caring what might happen from now on. I find that I no longer even have it in me to cry, and so I just lay still, waiting either to find a new purpose to go on, or for oblivion – Whichever happens to come first.

This thought has barely crossed my mind, as I feel…Something. I can't quite describe it, and I know not whether it is really there or if it's just wishful thinking.

I feel something glide over my shoulder. I don't feel it physically though, it is more an abstract presence; a thought, an emotion. It feels comforting and familiar, and I pray to whoever may be listening that it is really there.

I feel a slight breeze, though there are no windows down here, and the drawer beside the bed slides open, seemingly of its own accord. I watch, amazed, as the Chakram all but floats over to the bed and lands softly beside me.

I know now that you are here Xena, and I can almost feel your arms around me as you send a kind of warmth through me, slowly erasing the pain until it is but a third of what it was before. I feel a gentle breeze, first on one cheek and then the other, and I know that you're fingers are trying in vain to wipe away the rivers flowing down my face.

Not long ago I stood out on the deck, and you stood beside me, your hand on my shoulder. I decided that it must have been my imagination, that the ship's crew probably thought me crazy as I stood there talking to myself. Now, I'm not so sure that you weren't really there.

I can see your sad smile before me without actually seeing, more like sensing, and I can hear you tell me that everything will be okay without actually hearing you say it, as if you're planting the thought straight into my mind. You ask me to remember the words you spoke when I first found out that you were dead, that moment in the forest when you found yourself unable to take back your Chakram. I remember, Xena. You told me that I wouldn't lose you.

The meaning dawns on me, and I realise that no matter what, you'll always be right here beside me, my guardian angel watching over me. I reach a hand out and lay it over the Chakram still sitting on the bed beside me, and I feel as though it is your hand I am touching.

I clutch the circular weapon to me tightly with both tears and a smile, knowing that the pain will always be there, as will the emptiness I feel inside, but I'll never be alone. You'll always be right here with me, waiting for the day that we can both be brought into a new life where we will once again find each other.

"Thank you," I whisper.

I walk back up to the deck holding the Chakram and the urn, feeling ready to take on the world. The sky has grown dark, and I'm enjoying the gentle breeze that glides across my neck and back.

Looking out across the ocean, a fleeting though enters my mind, and I know it must be you, Xena. You once wanted to be buried in Amphipolis; I've never forgotten. But now that your body is in the form of ashes, you want them to be scattered into the vast ocean.

For a moment I wonder why, but it quickly becomes apparent; you wish to be as free in death as you were in life. I smile at the thought, and I think I feel you smile with me as I open the small urn and let your ashes loose.

I suddenly know that you have to go – These thoughts must be your doing again – But I also know that you will return one day soon, and that even while you're gone you'll still be with me.

"Goodbye, Xena," I say. "I love you."