The round, golden light from the flickering candle spread across the desk, and glowed back from a picture propped up against Gabrielle's scroll case, which stared back at her. "Wh…. "
The bard peeked around her shoulder, and sucked in a breath. "Whoa…" She moved in front of the warrior and approached the picture, kneeling down in front of it to study the details. There was the panther, all right, all its inky black hair painted in, and the coy golden red fox, itstail curled demurely around its neatly painted paws.
But now the fox's eyes peered back out at Gabrielle in a shade that matched her own, and the panther… A smile edged across the bard's face. Palest blue in a field of black, so reminiscent of her soulmate it was uncanny. "Would you just look at that?"
Xena knelt next to her, and studied the painting, her face tensing in to an unconscious smile. "That's incredible."
The bard nodded absently, absorbing the look of the majestic cat, its neck slightly bowed, those eyes looking right out in a pose so wild, and so challenging… and the huge paws which circled the fox, so detailed she could see the faint shadows of the muscles under itsthick pelt, the half extended claws on one paw glinting in warning. If she looked closely.. she could swear the cat was smiling faintly, a hint of white fangs at the edges of its lips.
Then she went on to the fox, its fur gleaming, and its posture proudly straight, only the head tilted just a trifle, to give it a gentler, sweeter look as it peered up from misty green eyes upon the watcher.
"It's us." Xena whispered, in an amazed voice. "How in… "
It was most definitely them, Gabrielle acknowledged. Their spirits, caught by the eye of a grudging artist and expressed in a unique, and very special manner. "It sure is." She exhaled.
The painting was a jungle scene, deep greens and blues of the grass surrounding it's two subjects, a large black panther, reclining regally on the mossy ground, it's paws outstretched. Between them sat a russet and gold fox, peering coyly out at the watchers, it's fluffy tail neatly tucked around it's small feet. A cheerful red apple rested nearby.
It was the eyes that got them. Ceci had somehow captured, in the panther's clear blue gaze, her daughter's wild spirit, and the foxes pale green eyes reflected Kerry's sweet intelligence.
A chord rang, deep and somewhat wistful in Dar's memory as she studied the images, a whisper of a past she didn't remember, the ghost of a gentle clasp on her shoulder that almost made her turn around.
"It's amazing." Kerry's laugh bubbled up.