Author: Angela (Nniol)
Story Title: Breathing
Characters: Xena/Gabrielle, (Gabrielle & Perdicus)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Short vignette that takes place the night before Gabrielle's marriage to Perdicus.

Ownership: Characters aren't mine, they belong to Renaissance/MCA. The story is mine.

Sex: None
Subtext: Yes. Gabrielle and Xena.
Violence: None

Kind comments and constructive criticism welcomed. Mean stuff will be blissfully forgotten. Send feedback to


By Angela (Nniol)

We shared a bed on her wedding night. Nothing happened, not really. We were unusually quiet when we readied for bed. There was so much that I wanted to tell her. I said nothing. We lay in our bed until our eyes grew accustomed to the darkness.

When I turned on my side to gaze at her silhouette, I discovered she was looking at me. I could see the brightness of her eyes, even in the dark. We stared at one another still silent. The air seemed heavy to me. Thick. It made me want to gasp for breath. But I am nothing if not disciplined.

My breathing was slow and even. It was she who broke the silence.

"Good night."

"Good night," I muttered as she turned onto her back. I continued to watch her as her breathing slowed and deepened to its sleep state. I listened to her breath until I felt hypnotized. I dreamed that I moved closer to her until our skins touched. Then I leaned over her and touched my lips against hers, softly so she would not wake. But of course she did. She gazed in my eyes and saw the love there. She smiled, and I saw the answering love in her own.

It was that moment that my fantasy vanished. I was still on my side of the bed, and she was on hers.

Truth is, I want to own her. Not in the way a person owns an object. Not in a way that would break her spirit. I want to own her in the only way a human can truly ever own another human. I want her heart, her soul, and her love. And I want her to own me. I want to be able to hold her hand as we walk and make people envious with our happiness. I want to hold her when she is sick, but is still desirable to me. I want to hold her after we have made love and our breath has slowed, but our skin is still damp.

I lay only an arm's length away from her but I dare not go closer. My body is rigid from want. I don't think I will ever be able to sleep. But a weary body must eventually surrender. The moisture in my eyes only just begins to gather as I fall asleep.

When I wake in the morning her side of the bed is achingly empty. As my eyes track the room I find her on a chair, dressed in purity. When she sees I am awake she smiles at me. It is a smile filled with happiness and something else curling at the corners of her mouth that I cannot identify.

Nobody ever told me that giving up something, someone that was never yours, would be so hard.

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