Title: The Heart Sings
Summary: The Missing scene between Gabrielle being hit by love’s arrow and she and Joxer singing his song.
Disclaimer: Renaissance, Rob Tapert, yada, yada, yada, thems folks own everyone here. I don’t.
Xena looked between Gabrielle and Joxer, absently noticing a sudden softness in her best friend's gaze as she looked at their erstwhile companion. In the distance, Xena heard Draco's voice and any thought about Gabrielle (or anything else for that matter) flew out of her mind. Her only thoughts were for Draco. Draco! her heart sang.
"Gabrielle, Joxer, handle things here. I have to, uh," a predatory gleam lit her eyes, a lascivious smile curving her lips, "settle some things with Draco." She turned away, the words leaving her lips almost before she was out of earshot. She didn't notice, nor did she care really – Draco! My love! I'm coming, her heart continued, rising to operatic heights – that neither of the two were paying any more attention to her than she was to them.
Gabrielle was too busy staring at Joxer with a kind of mystified joy. Joxer was too busy staring at Gabrielle with a kind of mystified panic at the fact that Gabrielle was staring at him with any kind of joy.
"Joxer." Gabrielle softly repeated his name.
"Yeah?" Joxer looked about him, his eyes mutely sending a plea for help. Something was definitely wrong with this picture.
"I feel like this light has suddenly burst inside my soul. A light, Joxer, a light that is you! You are that light. You light up my life." She paused for a second, her head cocked to the side. "That sounds good, maybe I should write that down."
"Gabby, I think you should have a seat. You banged your head on the stake, didn't you? Come on, let's go--"
"--Somewhere private?" She interrupted with a breathy question of joy. "Just the
two of us? Somewhere peaceful and romantic." Although it didn't seem possible, her eyes grew even softer. Her lips curved into a tremulous smile. She had never felt this way before, not even with Perdicus. Perdicus who? Joxer, Joxer, her heart sang in exultation. Joxer is the man I love. Oh, my man, I love him so.
She grabbed his hand and began to walk. "I know just the spot." Joxer shook his head, that wasn't what he meant. Was it? He stopped short and Gabrielle halted. She looked up at him, her eyes wide with love and a question. "Joxer, is something wrong?"
Joxer looked around him again. He looked back down at Gabrielle. "No, nothing is wrong. Just are you sure you're talking to me? This is Joxer. Joxer." He smiled encouragingly, all the while his mind raced. Whatever was going on would likely get his nose bent out of shape (again! an inner voice peevishly cried) once whatever was going on was no longer going on. His brow wrinkled and with his free hand he scratched his chin. This was just too odd.
Gabrielle continued to gaze up at him with adoration. Joxer looked around, trying to find some other source for her joy. He was it. Gabby was not in love with him ... but, she was sure suddenly acting like she was in love with him. Maybe almost dying at Draco's hand brought this on. Nah. That didn't make any sense. Gabby had been in life-threatening situations before, with and without him and it had never brought on feelings other than annoyance and perhaps a mild pity. He looked down at her again. That funny little quiver whispered throughout his stomach, that undeniable shiver swept through his body.
He half-smiled, "I guess you do realize it's me," it was almost a question. She didn't deny it. "Well, let's go somewhere private then. And talk."
Ah, Gabby. He looked down at her hands resting so trustingly, so tenderly upon his chest. She was so sweet, so innocent, so beautiful. Maybe it was what she had said. Maybe it had hit her just as suddenly as it had hit him after that fiasco with Aphrodite and her bell. He raised his eyes, looking at her upturned face. She shone like a diamond sparkling in the sunlight. She gazed at him with dreamy adoration.
Joxer! Joxer! went the pitter-patter of her heart. She leaned up and suddenly, her hands resting lightly upon his chest, her lips pressed softly, almost reverently to his lips for a brief eternity. Joxer!
The object of her sudden and intense affection stood stock-still. His eyes grew wide. For a moment, he couldn't remember who he was, where he was, what he was doing here, what marvelous feat he had accomplished that had precipitated Gabby's sweet kiss. His gaze softened. Their eyes met and suddenly everything was clear. She was right. It was like a light suddenly singing inside his heart, illuminating his life.
"Gabby. Gabrielle." He spoke her name softly, a deep tremor lacing the timber of his voice. He slowly drew one of her hands away from his chest, towards his lips. He bent his head, his eyes warming at the sight of her feminine glow. Gently, he pressed a kiss upon the palm of her hand. A soft sound, rather like the gentle purr of a kitten escaped her throat. She sighed, practically melting in the heat of his gaze.
Suddenly the thunder of horses' hoofs pounding against the earth shook Joxer out of his reverie. He looked sharply around him as Gabrielle remained lost in the moment. Draco and his men could come back at any moment. Joxer grabbed Gabrielle's hand, speaking urgently.
"Gabrielle, let's get out of here." Gabrielle nodded happily. Joxer shook his head in bewilderment and muttered under his breath. "Someone's gotta think clearly." Hands entwined, the two headed away from the heart of the town.
"Joxer, isn't it a beautiful, sunny day?" Gabrielle smiled softly up at him. ‘I love him so much,’ she thought. Her heart fair burst with the joy of it. Joxer looked around: Leafy trees, sun-dappled grass, a fountain gushing the melodious tunes of rushing water. He couldn't imagine a lovelier place on a lovelier day with a lovelier girl.
"Aren't you hot, pookie?" Gabrielle asked. Joxer looked at her, his eyes wide.
"Pookie?" he asked.
She smiled, "My wonderful, adorable pookie bear. Oh, Joxer, I love you so much. I've been so blind." A darker light glinted in her eyes, "and I really think you should get out of some of those clothes."
"Aren't you hot? Just a little bit? I am. Here, I'll help." She reached over and began to do just that, helping him with the task of shedding his armor, his ridiculous helmet, the lacings of his shirt -- "Whoa, this is fine." Joxer pulled away from her questing hands.
He sat down, within seconds, Gabrielle was curled up next to him. She rested her head upon his shoulder, marveling at how well and snugly she fit against his form. Joxer. She shook her head slightly. Who would have thought? How could she not have seen how wonderful, how magnificent, how mighty -- "Joxer, how does your song go?"
Joxer opened his eyes, looking down at the strawberry blond of her hair.
"Your song? That wonderful song you sing, pookie." She sat up, excitement shining across her face. "You can teach me it, and perhaps we can write some more verses together."
Joxer looked at her face, open and full of light. A wealth of emotions danced though his mind, disbelief and happiness warring with one another. This could not be happening. He half-expected Aphrodite to show up and whisk this moment away, laughing at her little joke. He had after all nearly destroyed one of her temples.
"My song? You want to learn it?" Gabrielle nodded happily. Joxer sighed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his harmonica, a gift from his grandmother before she ran away with that sailor from Greece. He blew an opening whistle and began ...
"Joxer the Mighty
roams through the countryside,
he never needs a place to hide
with Gabby as his sidekick,
fighting with her little stick.
Righting wrongs and singing songs,
being mighty all day long ...
He's Joxer, he's Joxer the mighty.
"That's just one verse, of course." He smiled down at her, "do you want to hear more?" Gabrielle shook her head. "Can I practice that verse first?"
"Sure. In fact, why don't we practice it together." She nodded her assent. Joxer blew on the harmonica again.
"Joxer the mighty," their voices rang out together, sure and strong, delight evident in their tune.
"Roams through the countryside, he never needs a place to hide with Gabby as his sidekick," Gabrielle leaned up and gave him a quick, soft kiss. Joxer felt his heart swell. They both stumbled over the next few words.
"Fighting with, uh, fighting with her little stick. Righting wrongs and singing songs, being mighty all day long." Joxer paused and took a deep breath. "Big finish now." Gabrielle laughed, her eyes shining. "He's Joxer, he's Joxer the Mighty."
"That was wonderful, Gabby. You're wonderful." His voice deepened slightly, a light flush suffused his face. Normally he was tongue-tied or parading some false bravado, but now, this was real and the words came easily to him.
"I never thought this would, could happen, Gabrielle. I gotta be honest, I do wonder where this is coming from. An hour ago, I was the same old Joxer whom you barely tolerated and now ... and now, well, look at us."
He spread his arms out, but Gabrielle only had eyes for him. She was seeing him in a whole new light. For the first time she was seeing him as he really was, behind the "Joxer the Mighty" facade. And she liked it. She liked him. He was sweet and charming, smart and funny. She smiled, thinking of his song, thinking of him.
"Joxer, in the beginning it's true, I--" she paused, lowering her eyes, "--barely tolerated you, but lately I have enjoyed your company." She looked back up at him, sincerity shining in her eyes. "The rolled eyes and comments were more for show than anything else anymore. I don't know how this happened either, but I just know that it's wonderful and you're wonderful and I am so happy right now."
He shook his head. "Something about this still seems fishy. Xena all hot and bothered over Draco, of all people. You, suddenly, you in love with me and--"
"--And, you in love with me." Gabrielle added, leaning against him. Her lips parted.
Joxer blushed the slightest bit. "That's not sudden. I just could never tell you until -- wait a minute." He pushed himself up, trying to maintain a little space between them. This was important.
"I still think there's something going on. This just doesn't make sense."
"Joxer!" Gabrielle cried out in frustration sounding more like the Gabby of old, but not for long. "Joxer, my pookie bear, my love, just relax. Lay back, sing with me ... come on, Joxer. Let's just enjoy this."
Joxer held himself back a moment, two moments longer and then he gave in. So what if this wasn't real? So what if this was only a temporary aberration on her part? He was happy, where he wanted to be and damn it!, he was going to enjoy it while he could.
"Okay," more defiantly. "Okay, you ready?" Once more the harmonica blew and then ...
"Joxer the mighty
roams through the countryside,
he never needs a place to hide
with Gabby as his sidekick fighting with her little stick ..."