Well.. it's not really a story. It's more like a moment in the character's lives. It was written way back when I was still completely immersed in the Xena 'verse and rather suddenly pulled from that obsession by the characters actions and events on the show.
This is an Alternate Universe... Uber and amazingly very short.
I'm told that tissues are necessary so be warned.
Of course, this is a story of two women who love each other deeply. If that bothers you, not sure what you're doing here. :)
Even in Death.......
Her nostrils flared as she made her way down the hall of the nursing home. It seemed they were always mopping the floor here, but today she was nearly overwhelmed by the antiseptic solution. Running her fingers through her, once strawberry blonde, now gray hair, she pushed open the all too familiar door. Her cheery smile just touched the green of her eyes and faltered only for a moment at the sight before her.
The long form of her lifelong friend took up the entire length of the bed but didn't fill even half it's width. Her thinning white hair, so different from the thick dark hair of her youth, was still long enough to fall down over her shoulders though and the eyes that greeted her were still shockingly blue. Her heart broke at the falsely cheerful voice from the thin figure. "Hey there!"
"Hey." Walking to the chair next to the bed, she set a small white sack near her friend's hand. "I brought you something."
"Oh?" With some effort a bony hand reached for the sack, careful not to disturb the IV needles and tubes attached to her arm. She didn't need to look inside the bag but made a game of it anyway. "What do we have here?" Looking inside got an automatic eyebrow raised. "My favorite." They had always teased each other about their 'favorite' treat, donut holes. She thought about that and knew one of the reasons they were her favorite was because she had met the only true friend she ever had in her life when she was buying them one day sixty years ago. 'My God...has it been so long.' The thought prompted a series of scenes, memories of times long past, to flash through her mind. Patting the slightly younger woman's hand she weakly assured her. "Maybe I'll eat one later."
Nodding and setting the bag on the nightstand, she knew that later would never come. Sitting down she leaned over and slipped her small hand under the thinner large one. "How are you feeling today?" This too was a game they played and her heart broke just a little as her friend played along, one last time.
"I'm feeling much better. I'm sure any day now I'll get to go home." Curling her fingers around the small hand, she tried to smile. "You'll see. Soon I'll be just fine."
Not trusting herself to speak, unable to with her jaw clenched, the younger woman held her tears firmly in their green prison and tried to smile. The grip was so weak she knew that her friend was right and the word echoed in her head. 'Soon.' One tear escaped and made it's way down her cheek, she wiped it away quickly, but not fast enough.
"Crying?" Reaching over with her other hand she touched the damp cheek. "Don't cry."
"Alright." Wiping away the last of the tear, she took a deep breath and smiled. "I won't." She reached up and stroked the long white hair. "I should braid this."
The mention of braids caused another series of happy memories to flow through her mind. Shaking her head, blue eyes caught green. "Don't worry about that now." With a sudden burst of strength, she reached out and tapped her friend's nose. "C'mon, Lemme see that smile."
Unable to resist the familiar request, the corners of her green eyes crinkled and a series of images, memories of all the times the same request had been given, flashed through her mind. Her friend's sigh pulled her back to the present.
"You have always had the best smile." The older woman's lips twitched as her own wry grin became visible. "It's gotten me through a lot of tough times." A long series of smiles ran behind her eyes. "Thank you."
"For what?" She was a little dismayed at the touch of sadness in her friend's eyes.
"For giving me your smiles when I need them most." A deep breath took the last of her strength and she relaxed her grip on the small hand under hers.
Laying her cheek on the thin hand, she could feel the blood pulsing through the prominent veins. "All my smiles are for you." She closed her eyes and wondered if her friend was scared.
"I'm not scared." She touched the soft gray hair and stroked it gently. "I'm never scared about anything when you are with me, even death." Tears welled up in her eyes and she could feel them spilling down her cheeks. "I'm sorry I have to leave you." Her whole life replayed itself in her head. "I have to go."
Tears leaked out of her closed eyes as she heard her friend's apology. The hand gently stroking her hair stilled as did the pulse under her cheek. Letting her tears fall unchecked, she raised her head and moved to kiss the older woman on the cheek. "Don't be sorry, love." Sitting back down, she laid her head on her best friend's arm and murmured. "Even in death....." Her whole life replayed itself in her head as her heart stilled to match her friends. ".....I will never leave you."