Ownership: Characters aren't mine, they belong to Renaissance/MCA. The story is mine.
Subtext: Yes. Gabrielle and Xena.
This is a sequel to my story Breathing. It takes place during the wedding ceremony of Gabrielle and Perdicus.
Kind comments and constructive criticism welcomed. Mean stuff will be blissfully forgotten. Send feedback to Nniol@earthlink.net
By Angela (Nniol)
Do you know what it is like to hate someone with your whole soul, yet in every breath wish for his well-being? I have.
This boy soldier with his dancing dark looks and his soft eyes. A childhood friend turned husband. The audacity of this man. To come into our lives with his needs and the devoted love that he has carried with him through childhood.
He was the one that did it. He told her how much he loved her. With clutching helplessness he told her how much he needed her.
I hate him with gut-wrenching soul envy. My mind, my pragmatism knows how much better he is for her. For as much as I hate, there are people who hate just as well and just as much. Their hate is for me, and their target would be her.
My heart refuses to listen to this reasoning. Stubbornly, it lists every smile, every touch, every gentle word, and every kindness that we have ever shared. There are many. But before my heart can burn with triumph my darkness rises up to remind me of every cruelty, every harshness, every violent act I have ever committed. There are more. My heart realizes its defeat and crumples in on itself while it weeps bitter red tears.
As they stand in front of the priest everything in me begs to run, to take her, to scream and to howl. She is so very beautiful. My heart aches to look at her. When the ceremony is complete, I force myself to go to them. First, I give her a gentle hug. Then I turn to him. Somehow words of congratulation pass my pressed lips. I manage to keep the bitterness in my tone faint. I don't think he notices. My grip is tighter then it should be on his hand. Then I move towards her again. I fight the overwhelming urge to drop to her feet and swear my devotion to her.
As I gaze into her eyes I am confused by what I see. Emotion is layered upon emotion, making it difficult to tell one from the other. My arrogance is shattered. I always thought that because Gabrielle wore her emotions so openly, there were no secrets left for me to find. I used to think that her belief in goodness in everyone was naïve. Gazing at her, I know how presumptuous that view is now. It is so much easier to give up on people. To believe that sometime, somewhere, they are always going to end up hurting you. But Gabrielle. To see what she does in traveling with me, and still be able to hope, and to believe. It is the most precious gift I have ever been able to witness.
I would give everything that is in me to be allowed the privilege of finding every nuance of her soul for the rest of our lives. She moves her face to mine and I lower my head to brush my lips against the corner of her mouth. I don't kiss her directly on the lips because I fear that I won't be able to stop. I hold her body close to mine and I embrace her until she gently begins to extricate herself from my grasp. She is gentle, but inexorable.
As her husband takes her hand and leads her away, the last look she gives me is full of everything that cannot be. The temple door closes behind them and I fall to my knees. My head is cradled in my hands. My sorrow is so deep that I cannot even cry. Alone in the temple, I begin to rage.