Disclaimer & Notices

Copyright: Many of these characters do not belong to me, and we know which ones do not. However I own the plot and other certain characters.
Violence: There is violence in this story.
Subtext: Any subtext becomes main text here.

Summary: The story opens up just after the fifth season finale, and Xena realizes she needs to heal her relationship with Gabrielle. She decides on a trip to an island where they can escape the demands of the Greater Good and spend needed time alone.

Started: July 23, 2000
Ended: July 23, 2000
Revised: January 4, 2009

Series: Thick as Blood, Story #1

The Loudest Silence
by Red Hope

Chapter 1

The ship crashed deep into the rich, blue sea and shot back up. The sharp red sunset streamed through the clouds and highlighted the boat’s sails. On the bow of the ship stood a small warrior, who enjoyed the cool wind that swept past her and fluttered her golden, short locks.

Gabrielle took a long breath until her chest was full then she slowly let it go. Her arms were against her chest, but she tugged her cloak closer against her body to stop the coldness from the wind. She wasn’t told why her and Xena were on the ship. Xena only explained they were headed to a town across the Mediterranean. Gabrielle really didn’t bother to probe her partner further because she was too mentally worn.

Gabrielle was drained from a long, hard year. Not that it was an utterly terrible year, yet it was chaotic at best. Gabrielle had thought Eve’s birth would mean a change to their traveling lifestyles. But she nor Xena expected to sleep away twenty-five years and wake up to find Olivia. And despite new friends, Gabrielle and Xena lost old friends like Joxer, who died under Olivia’s sword. Yet it couldn’t stop there, and Gabrielle was driven to madness by the Furies. She almost killed Eve and died herself if it hadn’t been for Ares’s sacrifice.

The warrior huffed at the thought of the god she couldn’t stand had saved her and Eve’s lives. She had to admit though that she was growing respect for him. Ares did make a generous sacrifice to save her and Eve, but Gabrielle suspected it was just to win favor with Xena. Regardless, they all owed Ares if he came upon hard times during his life as a mortal.

What had been the hardest about the year was Gabrielle’s relationship with Xena. The moment after Xena fell to her knees in the Roman prison at Mount Amaro, everything changed for Gabrielle including her Way. It also changed Xena and Gabrielle’s dynamics in their relationship, and Gabrielle swore her life for their relationship. Gabrielle believed her Way of Love was not far away from following her path with Xena as a warrior, but it required her to give up her innocent outlook on life. What Gabrielle didn’t expect was Xena’s pregnancy, the birth of God’s Messenger, the Twilight of the Gods, and her madness to kill Eve. But Gabrielle was most secretly bitter about Xena’s chakram to the back of her head. She didn’t recall doing anything as drastic when Xena was driven mad by the Furies.

For a moment, Gabrielle had debated whether to separate from Xena after Ares gave her life again. She’d taken two steps away from Xena on the beach after they returned from Mount Olympus, yet Gabrielle came back to Xena’s side. She stood next to Xena and watched Eve toy with a spider in the tall grass. In that defining but quiet moment, Gabrielle realized one thing hadn’t changed since she met Xena, she still would follow Xena anywhere. Gabrielle had fought far too hard over the years for the relationship she held with Xena to give up now.

But the warrior decided to take a mental backseat after the incident with the Twilight of the Gods. She decided to let Xena guide their destiny without any of her questions or comments. When Xena had mentioned the boat ride, she simply asked where and why, and Xena asked her to trust her. Gabrielle couldn’t help but just do that so she climbed up the gangplank behind her partner.

“Are you warm enough?” a low timbered voice drifted up to the bard.

Gabrielle twisted her head to the right and caught a partial glimpse of her best friend. She could just make out Xena’s open concern. “A little,” she softly confessed.

The Warrior Princess wore her cloak, and she came up behind her partner. She slipped her arms around Gabrielle’s waist and let the cloak cover them both.

Gabrielle quickly warmed up from Xena’s body and the two cloaks’ protection. “Thank you,” she murmured.

“Mmmm,” Xena replied in normal habit. She then echoed back, “Thank you too.”

“For what?”

The tall, dark warrior tilted her head, and she had warm blue eyes. “For trusting me.”

Gabrielle turned her head away just to hide her broken smile. “Always,” she quietly swore.

Xena lowered her head down close to Gabrielle’s and watched the blue waters pass them.

“Where are we headed, Xena?” Gabrielle’s hands curled around the larger ones.

“You’ll see… tomorrow.” The tall woman pressed her lips against her lover’s cheek. “It’s special.”

Gabrielle couldn’t resist the warmth stirring in her. “Now I am interested.”

The Warrior Princess softly chuckled but replied, “Good. You’ll like this.”

Gabrielle had a lopsided smile. After a beat, she shut her eyes and rested the back of her head into the crook of Xena’s neck. “I’m exhausted.”

“I am too,” Xena admitted.

Gabrielle nibbled on her lower lip and debated whether to say more. She gave in. “After this year… it just seems like too much.”

“I know,” the older warrior whispered. She studied her partner’s profile. “I am sorry, Gabrielle.”

The bard lifted her head and looked at her lover. She slightly shook her head. “I’d repeat it all again, just for Eve and you.”

“But what about yourself?” Xena argued.

Gabrielle shrugged at the question.

Xena was clearly distraught by the response but explained, “You sacrificed a lot for her… for me.”

The bard lowered her eyes and thought out her next words carefully. She looked back up at Xena. “Maybe I did, but I don’t regret it. I will do whatever I have to for my family.”

Xena knew it was true, and she’d seen Gabrielle’s dedication over and over this past year. She then honestly stated, “Including sacrificing your happiness.”

“Xena, I’m not-” the bard tried to argue.

“Don’t lie,” Xena sharply cut off. “I know you’re not happy, Gabrielle.”

Gabrielle shrugged again and rationalized, “We can’t be happy all the time, Xena. I’ll get back there.”

“I need you to get back there,” Xena painfully confessed. She felt how unhappy her soul mate had become in the passing moons, and it hurt her, deeply. She knew she was the cause of it.

Gabrielle slipped her hand out from the cloak and brushed her fingertips across Xena’s cheek. “I will… promise.”

Xena pulled her lover in closer and leaned her chin into Gabrielle’s temple. She and Gabrielle went back to studying the beautiful seas and allowed the cool breeze to make them closer. Gabrielle may have not regretted the year, but Xena regretted it. She felt she owed so much to Gabrielle, and Xena planned to make up for it, starting now. Xena had quickly deduced how unhappy Gabrielle was because Gabrielle had gone so silent.

Gabrielle stopped repeating her and Xena’s conversation in hear head. She was thankful that her lover had grown so perceptive about her over time. She unexpectedly turned to Xena and grasped the warrior’s leather hips.

Xena questioningly peered down at her partner.

Gabrielle didn’t both to explain. She slipped her hand behind Xena’s neck then brought Xena down for a long, warm kiss. She felt fragments of their connection come back during the kiss. Gabrielle decided perhaps all was not lost.

To be continued.