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Looking a New Life in the Eye

By Alexandra Sarafolean

Romance / Action

In death there is always a beginning

Joxer POV

Run, run, run! During those endless moments, that was pretty much the only thing that was feverishly playing in my nearly bursting with pressure head, over and over again for what seemed to last for hours. The thought that Gabby and Xena, my friends- my only friends- were in trouble, was the only thing that I could think of and that kept me running. For once, I was the one that needed to play the hero and save the day. For once, I wasn’t running away from danger, on the contrary I was bound to face it.

Hours before the entire Tartharus broke loose -Gabrielle being kidnapped by Athena, Xena trading Celesta for her, and the demise of some of the Gods that is- Gabby had secretly confessed me bits and shreds of Xena’s mastermind plan. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. Well, enough for me to get an idea about what the bigger picture might have been.

To make a long story short, I was now heading towards the beach where Gabby had told me they would be with little Eve. I could only hope with all my heart that Xena's plan would work out smoothly and that she had foreseen any possible obstacle and trap- I mean her plans were usually flawless so theoretically there was nothing to worry about, right? And still, there was something bugging me about this whole situation- call it a sixth sense if you will, but there was something in the air, or maybe it was just my anxiety. It had to be that.

As I was getting closer and closer to the beach, my feet were gradually becoming heavier by the minute and my heart was thundering so loud into my chest that I actually feared a stroke or two. Still, not a moment did I stop, not even one until I reached my destination.

The Gods were already there: Athena, Hades and Hephaestus, all of them trying so hard to kill them- a few more minutes and the show would have started without me. Given that I was left in the dark with quite a major part of the plan, I had no idea if Xena had expected the entire Olympus down on their heads there, but I silently prayed that she knew what she was doing.

I carefully hid in some nearby bushes, and just froze there for awhile, watching everything enfold before my eyes. It all happened unexpectedly fast, less than minutes, I think...One second the wagon carrying Xena, Gabby and little Eve appeared-right out of nowhere- and the other it was brutally thrown over the cliff...I was shocked...and scared...-not for me, but for them...

I rushed down by the edge of the forest till I was right on the beach but I didn’t have the courage to get anywhere near my friends. Gabrielle had persistently instructed me to stay out of it, plus the Gods were still there, watching like vultures, enjoying their victory. The blood instantly froze into my veins as the cruel realization of their death washed over me, striking through me like a sword. They were dead, they were really dead. No one could have survived that crash, everything was lost. That couldn’t have been the plan-something must have gone terribly wrong.

For the life of me I couldn’t understand it: Xena was the bravest, fierce full Warrior I have ever seen in my life. She could easily turn any situation no matter how desperate into her advantage. She was invincible...She was...She was alive! The wagon was on fire, the flames were engulfing even the last piece of wood, but there she was, alive and breathing, rising from the thick clouds of smoke. She was barely standing...

Soon, she started looking around. Her moves were hasty, delirious. The second she touched Gaby’s bruised body, she began to cry so hard that I could feel the heart breaking inside my chest. I had never seen her cry. There was immeasurable pain behind her tears and wails.

I guess that’s when I knew for sure, any doubt, any lingering hope shattered to pieces: Gabrielle, my everything, Xena's light and reason for being, was no more among the living.

She continued her search though, despite that ripping pain that was obviously tearing her apart, she kept looking, looking for her daughter. Needles to say that my eyes were literally blocked on her each and every move. She finally gave it up, it was pointless, there was nothing left of her, not one inch of that tiny body of hers.

And that’s when I noticed the change: hatred began burning in her eyes like torches and her muscles suddenly tensed. I truly believed for a split-second that it was revenge time, that she would send those murderers straight to the pits of the Underworld, and that she would avenge Gabrielle and Eve’s death. Way before I could react in any way, she had already taken her sword out of its sheath. I didn’t quite get all the words that she yelled from the top of her lungs- the noise of the waves hitting the shore being kinda deafening and apart of that I was numbed with pain- but she did say something meant for the ruthless gods above to hear. Next thing I knew – and it felt so strange to see that, it was like I was seeing it all in slow-motion, as if time itself had forgotten to flow- my knees were giving out on me and I was falling to the ground in shock: she was directing the blade towards her, as if she was adamant about hurting herself, more than that, as if she wanted to die.

I wanted to run over there and stop her but despite my best efforts, I was unable to move a muscle, I was petrified with fear- with the fear of losing her too-, I wanted to scream but the words refused to leave my throat. I just did the next best thing- the only thing I could do- I closed my eyes and waited for the unavoidable to happen. Memories of us three together gradually started filling my mind. I wished so hard that none of that tragedy were true.

When I finally opened my eyes again, I was in for another shock: Xena was alright. She was still alive, and believe it or not - I had a hard time digesting that too- that was mostly because of none other than the big, bad God of War. I was stunned. He just showed up and saved her. For once in my life I was so relieved and glad to see him, I could hardly believe it myself, especially given that Ares usually meant double trouble anywhere, anytime. But still, defying any logic, he did it, he saved my friend.

If I was shocked, his kin was flabbergasted over what he had done. I mean, one doesn’t actually expect something kind coming from a God especially from the God of War himself. Still, I had always known deep down that there was something more between Xena and Ares. Some heavy history and maybe, a bond of some sort-like a warrior to God type of bond or just warrior to warrior or man to woman or something that I couldn’t precisely explain but that was certainly there. One could distinctly feel it in the air every time they were together, the tension, the power something that looked pretty addictive if you ask me, like a drug. I cannot imagine what it felt like or what it was... And though I wasn’t completely sure of Ares’ intentions, whatever they were, nothing could have been worse than the scene I would have had before me if he had failed to appear.

They talked a little, but once again I could not distinct any words and the instant I finally thought that Xena was safe, I suddenly discovered just how wrong I was... The Warrior Princess, she did have the irritating habit of doing that, you know... Right when you thought you had her all figured out, when you least expected it she used to blow your mind by acting completely different.

I could see that she was clutching a tiny bottle into her left hand. I could only guess that it was poison. She somehow forced Ares to make three steps backwards to make sure that she could drink it. Thank the Fates though, Xena was not the only one with the mind set on things-the God of War was also as stubborn as a mule. With one smooth blow, he made the vial land on the sand, next to my friend. That made Xena beyond furious of course, she was fuming. The following instant, they quickly dematerialized in a blue light that made the rest of the Olympians growl with frustration.

I remained paralyzed in place for quite some time. Too many events for one single day. I was drained. The Gods were gone too, seconds after Ares took Xena. I sure hoped she was ok. Nonetheless, it was a good thing that she was still alive, in an awfully bad company, yes, but alive. That was what mattered the most.

Those painful moments finally ended with me getting some alone time with Gabby...Just the two of us. My every thought was focused on her and her alone. She was my first great love, you know...And despite the fact that I’d always been more than aware that she did not love me back the way I loved her, she did care for me. She was everything to me and now, there was nothing left but a pile of ash. My tears began to fall as soon as I dared take a few steps forward, closing the distance between me and her lifeless body. The facts were sinking in but my mind refused to believe it. My sun, my light was forever gone.

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