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Bardic Shorts

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Gabrielle slammed her palms on the steering wheel as soon as she’d safely pulled to the side of the road.  The clunking rattle in her brand new - to her - car subsided as soon as she turned it off.  She knew there was something off about Sal’s Auto but she’d been desperate and he was the only game in her tiny home town.  The town that was now five hours behind her and yet she still wasn’t quite at her destination.  She sighed.  Pulling out her cracked phone, she thanked every god she could think of that she’d invested in AAA before even setting foot on Sal’s car lot. 

Two hours later, the tow truck, with her in the passenger seat, pulled into Amphipolis Auto Repair.  The tow truck driver helped her out of the high cab and ushered her into the waiting area as he moved to get her car off the trailer bed.  The waiting area had that thick smell of oil, grease, engine parts, and combustion shared by every repair shop, but it wasn’t unpleasant.  The room itself was scrubbed meticulously clean, and a pile of vaguely-recent magazines lay on an end table by a bank of plastic chairs.  There was even a flourishing spider plant hanging in the window.  She could hear the thump and whirl of her car being lowered to the lot, and a warm rumbling voice called from the nearby repair bays out to the tow truck driver.  Gabrielle sighed, sitting down and waiting for the mechanic to get to her.  By the time her car was parked by the side of the building and the tow truck had pulled out of the lot, she was halfway through an issue of Outside from three months back.  She looked up as a tall woman in grimy coveralls with a baseball cap on stood in the doorway between the repair bays and the waiting area.  Her dark hair was shorn close to her head and a name tag reading Xena was meticulously sewn onto her coveralls.

She could see pale blue eyes widen as their eyes met and Gabrielle felt her soulmark burn on her forearm.  “Oh, there you are,” she breathed out, as the other woman’s voice echoed her words.  She felt a wide smile break out on her face and the magazine fell from her hands as she stood, reaching out towards her soulmate.  Something deep inside her settled.  Leaving Potidaea for Amphipolis was the best decision she’d ever made. 

Chapter Text

1. 

Gabrielle didn’t mind being a bit of an odd duck for a Gryffindor first year; she certainly was used to being unpopular in her own home and Hogwarts so far wasn’t any different - her housemates were nice enough but they weren’t as into reading and stories as she was.  One night, on the way back from the library, her bag ripped madly at the seam, spilling books all over the floor.  She would have broken down and cried if it hadn’t been for that Ravenclaw prefect (and star Quidditch Beater) who wandered past, repaired her bag with a quick sewing charm and a dashing grin, then murmured “I have many skills” before escorting the awestruck firstie back to Gryffindor tower.

2. 

The problem with her best friend being a fifth year Ravenclaw while she was a Gryffindor firstie was that they couldn’t really do much together, inside the castle anyways.  So Xena taught Gabrielle how to fly a broom, and play with the giant squid, brought her back treats and parchment from the village, and even introduced her to the centaur herd when they came to the edge of the Forbidden Forest (Kaleipus, Gabrielle found, was quite easy to talk to).  By the time Gabrielle could go down to the village on her own as a third year, Xena had already graduated, but she floo’d from Edinburgh every Hogsmeade Weekend and they drank butterbeers together at the Three Broomsticks before sneaking back to the edge of the Forest for a picnic with Solan, Kaleipus’ young centaur colt who had a fondness for toothflossing stringmints and was quite a good friend to them both (Xena swore she’d only passed her Astronomy NEWTS because of him).

3. 

They’re batting bludgers back and forth for fun when Gabrielle doesn’t react quickly enough and it smacks her in the face.  Xena swoops over, reaching one hand out to stabilize Gabrielle’s borrowed broom and, using her knees to keep steady on her own broom, she pulls out her wand and incants a quick, “Episkey” at the younger girl’s nose.  As soon as the pain is gone and the blood cleaned off, Xena grins at a bashful Gabrielle, “If you can handle me breaking your nose as a firstie, you’ll make a great beater next year - I’ll even cheer for Gryffindor when I’m in the stands!”

4.

During Gabrielle’s seventh year, the Triwizard Tournament returned to Hogwarts.  The Great Hall was bedecked in fake snow and beautiful charmed ice sculptures when the Champions entered, Gabrielle beaming with Xena on her arm.  When Gabrielle won the Tournament that spring, it was her best friend’s proud face she sought in the stands.

5. 

When they are both adults, both working in their respective fields, living together in a tiny croft with a few sheep, some chickens, an old horse Argo, and a cranky donkey named Tobias, the Ministry decides to put the Mirror of Erised on display, for a small fee, as a fundraiser for Saint Mungo’s. Gabrielle is immediately curious and Xena wary, but they eventually agree it could be interesting and queue up to see the famed mirror, pay their fee, and stare into it while standing side-by-side. ”Huh, just another old mirror,” Xena remarks, confused, as Gabrielle nods.