Catherine M. Wilson
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I came across this story very, very recently.
Like, hello?? This was only written in November of 1996 and I just now stumbled upon it?
Well, what can I tell you, I like to delay my pleasure.
And what a pleasure it is. Dark, haunting and violent. This is a love story the way it should be told not as a perpetual happy ending, but as a long string of restrained feelings and festering emotions. When are we ever truly honest with the ones we love? When are we brave enough? And when do we start resenting them for our own impotence?
Characters of Xena and Gabrielle have been reconstructed and put back together so many times in the six years the show has been running that, in the end, we can hardly recognize the characters we started out with. What has Dr. Frankenstein done this time? We have Xenas bloodthirst grafted onto Gabrielle, and Bards love of life and all thats flowery and nice transposed onto the dark warrior. Hardly fitting.
In Catherines story we have the purest of the archetypes, our heroines mid-journey preserved mid-flight, if you will. The scarred warrior, loving as she does everything recklessly. The na´ve peasant, learning the boundaries of fear. Catherine shows us the dept of feeling emanating from Xena that easily explains the darkness of her youth. She shows us Gabrielle prod the fire of Xenas rage just a bit too recklessly, and pays for it.
This is a love story. This is a first-time love story. Its not loving, though, dont fool yourself into thinking that (if all that dark-rage-fire imagery above didnt tip you off, now consider yourself officially warned).
As always, what truly amazes me about some of the fan fiction writing out there is not only the beauty of the language (which can prove unsatisfying by itself), but the talent behind it. Catherine tells us so much here, using deceptively simple words. So much turbulence wrapped in the commonest of sentences. Like my sister says "the deadliest poison comes in the smallest of packages". True of Miss Wilsons work.
If youre still angsting over the ending of the show, this story wont help you. It will only once again remind you of the potential ruined by Mr. Tapert. Or, maybe, it will show you that the true potential was always in the minds of the public.
Make sure you thank Catherine.