by Sarah Miller
Takes place after the season ender 'Motherhood'
Property remains with the writers, directors, producers, yada yada yada. We all know the way of things.
Danger/Violence: Who are we talking about here? With Xena, violence and danger are always around. None in this story though, so don't worry bout it.
"No thanks." Gabrielle backed up and took a seat on the grass.
Eve smiled and looked down at her spider. "You afraid of it?" she asked with a laugh.
"No." She folded her arms across her chest. "I am not afraid of that thing."
She turned to her, holding out her hand. "Then here."
Gabrielle stood. "Xena!"
"What?" Xena came into the clearing. "What's wrong?"
Gabrielle simply pointed.
Eve's attention was back at the spider. "Your brave sidekick is afraid of a small spider."
"Small? Small, no that thing is as big as...as..."
"Yes?" Xena sat down next to Eve.
Gabrielle let loose a frustrated groan. "Never mind."
Eve let loose the small creature. "All better. You can look now."
Gabrielle turned and walked away from the pair, hearing their laughter as she entered the woods.
Xena walked quietly towards the bard, trying to make no sudden movements. As she drew near enough to pick up the sweet scent of Lavender soap, she lunged forward and picked her up, swinging her around. She laughed as Gabrielle let loose a wild scream. She let go, still laughing.
"Gods I hate it when you do that." She put a hand over her heart, feeling it beat frantically.
"Sorry, I couldn't help it." She laid her head down on Gabrielle's shoulder.
Gabrielle turned and smiled. "How can I stay mad at you when you give me that face?"
She turned Gabrielle around to face her. "Is that a yes?"
"Oh yeah, definite yes."
"Good." She sat down on the ground and threw more sticks into the fire. "Where's Eve?"
"Went to take a swim?"
Gabrielle sat down next to her. "Xena."
"Can I...." She bit her lip.
Xena looked over. "Can you what?"
"I was wondering about something."
There was a moment of silence and Xena opened her mouth but was silenced.
"What are we going to do about Ares?"
"Why?" She looked up to see the woman looking down to the ground with an uneasy expression on her face.
"Well he did give up his god hood to save us."
"Yeah and?" She turned to the fire once again.
"Well, where is he?"
"Don't know. Why are you interested in him all of the sudden?" She looked at her again and saw her looking into the fire. "Gabrielle, what's this about?"
"How do you feel about him?" She searched the warrior's eyes.
"I want to know."
"This have a point or am I expected to guess it?"
"Just answer the question, Xena."
"I will when you tell me what this is all about?"
Gabrielle turned away. "I just wanted to know if...." She moved to stand, but Xena was there before she could take a step.
"Gabrielle, what is this?" She tilted the bard's face up. "What's wrong?"
Gabrielle shook her head.
Xena waited for her to continue and when she didn't she softly said, "I don't think you'll see him for awhile."
Gabrielle looked up to see Xena smiling.
"Is that it or was there more?"
"That's it." She moved to her bedroll and sat down just as Eve walked into the camp.
"You should try that water. Its great."
Xena was still looking at Gabrielle.
"Mother." She turned to Gabrielle then back, waving a hand in front of Xena's face. Xena jumped. "You okay?"
"Fine." She smiled. "Water cold?"
"No," Eve said softly.
Xena grabbed a towel and headed towards the falls.
Eve turned to Gabrielle. "She okay?"
Eve watched the path Xena had taken as she sat down.
<*> <*> <*>
A strange smell woke Gabrielle and as she opened her eyes, she jumped when she saw Argo II looking down on her. "Morning."
The horse bobbed its head up and down.
Gabrielle sat up and looked around the camp to see it was empty. She turned to the horse once again. "On guard duty again, huh?" She stood and patted the mare's back softly before walking towards the falls.
As she drew near, she heard laughing and crouched down in the bushes to hear.
"....I know I'm right." Gabrielle heard Eve say.
"Ever heard the phrase 'Don't stick your nose where it doesn't belong'."
"Oh so that's the way of it, huh."
"Mother, honestly, how long has it been since you got any?"
Xena turned to her, eye brows raised.
"Don't look at me like that. I'm old enough to know these things. Hey, I've even had my share of..." She caught Xena's look. "Point is, if we keep our mouths shut, things have a way of pulling out of reach. Act before its too late." She placed a hand on Xena's shoulder.
Xena shook her head and smiled.
They both looked up at the falls.
Gabrielle smiled down on them. "How deep is it Eve?"
"Deep." She laughed at Xena's expression.
"Gabrielle, what are you doing?" Xena asked confused.
As an answer, she took a running start and leapt off the rock, down towards the water. She hit with a small splash and swam under.
Eve turned to Xena. "Full of fire, I see." She laughed.
Xena shook her head and jumped as Gabrielle popped up besides her.
"Reflexes must be getting slow, huh warrior." Gabrielle grinned but received a splash of water to the face. "Oh I see." She splashed back and the war began.
Eve laughed so hard, she started to cry.
Gabrielle turned to her. "You think this is funny, huh?" She lunged forward and dunked the laughing woman.
When Eve came up, she saw both Gabrielle and her mother laughing hard. "Very funny, hah hah." She rolled her eyes.
Gabrielle splashed her. "Hush."
The war was on once again.
The sounds of laughter and splashing water echoed off the walls of the falls.
<*> <*> <*>
"How long will we stay here?"
"A while yet."
Xena shook her head. "I'm tired." She turned to Gabrielle.
Xena shook her head.
"I heard you two at the falls." Xena's head popped up. "What were you talking about?"
"I thought you heard us." There was a smile to the warrior's face.
"I did, but I didn't get the subject of the discussion."
"We were just talking."
"Then why did you tell her not to stick her nose in it."
Xena turned to her and tilted her head. "Let it go."
"No, I'm curious now." She moved closer, till she was sitting next to her.
Xena looked around. "Eve will want to eat when she gets back so we should hurry up and...."
Gabrielle silenced her by placing her finger over Xena's lips. She felt the lips tremble under her touch and looked up into Xena's eyes.
At that moment Eve walked in. "Food done?"
The moment was broken.
Xena turned to Eve. "Not yet."
Eve sat down. "I'm starved."
Gabrielle laughed. "Maybe she is mine."
Eve tilted her head. "Huh?"
Gabrielle turned to her. "You have my appetite."
Eve laughed. "I do huh."
"Yeah, but I bet I can still out eat you."
Eve leaned forward. "Okay, you're on."
Xena shook her head. "Oh here we go."
<*> <*> <*>
Gabrielle held her belly as she laid back onto the furs. "I can't believe it."
Eve grinned. "I can out eat anyone."
"Gabrielle is tough to beat," said Xena as she laid out her bedroll.
Eve looked at Xena. "Not anymore."
"Looks like we have a new champion, Gabrielle."
"Oh shut up." Gabrielle closed her eyes.
Eve jumped up and bounced around. "Up. It's much better if you get up and move around. Start digesting that food." She smiled.
Gabrielle opened one eye. "Go away."
Eve laughed. "I'm going for a swim. This heat is killing me." And she was off.
Xena crawled to Gabrielle and placed a hand over her stomach. "You okay?"
"Do I look okay?"
"Look fine to me."
Gabrielle rolled over. "I feel like I'm about to Explode."
"Get up and walk it off."
"I don't think that's possible at this minute."
Xena stood and pulled her to a stand. "Come on." She held onto her side as she moved around with her. "Walk."
"You won't even try."
Gabrielle tried to move out of Xena's gasp.
"Fine." She bent, picking up Gabrielle, and flung her over her shoulders.
"What are you doing?"
Eve turned to see them coming up fast. "What are you doing?" She laughed.
"Water cold?" Xena asked.
"Freezing." She moved from her rock and out of the way.
Xena walked to the water and tossed Gabrielle in.
Gabrielle screamed as she surfaced. "This...is....freezing." Her eyes turned to them both. "Come here."
Eve laughed. "Why?"
"Cause I want to hurt you both."
"Hey, I wasn't the one who threw you in."
"But you didn't help me either."
Eve laughed. "And be in there too, I don't think so."
Xena backed off. "Eve, I suggest you run, fast and...just go." She turned and ran for her life.
Eve turned to watch her go and heard Gabrielle get out of the water. The look in her eyes said it all. It took one second before she was following her mother. She screamed as she felt herself being hoisted up into the trees and a hand went over her mouth.
The hand dropped.
Eve laughed silently. "She's dangerous."
"She can run fast too."
"Shh, here she comes."
They were still and silent as the trees around them.
Gabrielle stopped and looked up into the trees. "You are here somewhere. Come on down." She waited and jumped when Eve landed at her side.
"Boo." She took off running.
Gabrielle started after her and felt herself being pushed to the ground. As she was rolled over, she felt her hands go above her head and a smiling Xena straddle her waist.
"That temper can get you into trouble one of these days."
"Let me go."
"Xena, don't make me hurt you."
"I'm shaking in my boots."
"You're not wearing any boots."
"Exactly my point."
"If I'm not scary then why did you run.?"
Gabrielle smiled up at her. "You're terrible, you know that."
"Yep." She moved off of Gabrielle. "Promise to be good?"
Eve came into view. "Got her huh."
Gabrielle reached out and pulled Eve's feet out from under her, laughing as she went down.
<*> <*> <*>
As Gabrielle reached the camp, she heard voices. Ducking down under the bushes, she listened.
"...I know, Eve."
"Do you? I know how things work, and this isn't working."
"Stay out of this."
"No." Xena stood.
"Now I know where I get my stubbornness from."
Xena whirled around.
Eve stood, looking her in the eyes. "If you don't do anything, then I will."
"Don't you dare."
Eve smiled and walked off.
As Xena took a step to follow, she heard movement behind her and turned to see Gabrielle.
"What was that about?"
"Just a.....difference in opinion."
"What did you tell Eve to stay out of?"
"Nothing." She bent to roll up the bedrolls.
"How do you know?"
"Because I know you." She watched Xena straighten up. "Sometimes better then you know yourself."
Xena smiled. "Yeah, I guess you do."
"So are you going to answer my question?"
Gabrielle watched her back for awhile and stepped forward, arms going around Xena's waist. She pulled her body against the warrior's back and took in her scent.
Xena closed her eyes.
<*> <*> <*>
"Xena." She waited till she saw the blue eyes. "Do you ever feel like there is no way to straighten things out. We were gone for twenty five years. Our families, friends, all that lost." She looked down at her hands. "Its just that no matter what I do, I can't stop thinking that things are changed forever."
Xena moved closer. "I have you. You have me. What else do you need?" She smiled.
Gabrielle shook her head.
"Oh you don't need me?"
"I do." She looked up.
"But I miss my family."
Xena pulled Gabrielle into her arms and held her. "I know."
Eve walked into the camp. "Isn't that sweet." She laughed.
They both looked up.
"What's the matter?" Eve asked.
Xena shook her head. "Nothing."
"You can tell me."
"Its nothing really. We were just having a talk."
Eve turned around to work on the food, a grin on her face.
<*> <*> <*>
"At least your daughter can cook."
Xena looked up. "I can I just choose not to."
"Uh no, Xena. Burnt on the outside and raw in the middle isn't classified as cooking."
"Don't even start," the warrior threatened.
The laughter died instantly.
Gabrielle shook her head. "Trust me, you have no need to be scared of her."
"Oh yes she does."
"And why is that?" Gabrielle asked.
She turned to look at Eve. "She may be grown up, but that doesn't mean that I won't take a branch to her........."
"Oh yeah, I bet she's scared now," said a sarcastic bard.
Xena grinned evilly as she turned to Gabrielle. "Hush or I'll use my hand for you."
Gabrielle looked away and caught Eve's look.
Eve stood. "As much fun as this has been, I need to get to sleep."
Gabrielle watched her bed down and stood. "I'm going to take a dip." She grabbed a towel on her way out of the camp.
Xena stood and followed quietly behind.
Eve opened her eyes and sat up. "What are they up to now?" She stood and followed. As she neared the falls, she saw her mother standing next to a bunch of trees. "You know its wrong to watch when not invited." She peered through the leaves to see Gabrielle out in the water naked. "Right mother." She turned to Xena.
"Making sure she was all right?"
"She's a big girl. I think she can take care of herself."
"I know she can."
"Why don't you just go down there and join her?"
"No." She turned and walked away.
Eve shook her head.
<*> <*> <*>
Gabrielle woke up at first light and looked around. She noticed two things. One, it was not yet dawn, and two, no one was in camp. She sat up and headed off.
As she neared the water, she heard the falls and light splashing. Moving closer, she peered through the trees to see Xena out in the water. She was submerged to her shoulders.
"What is it with you two?" asked a voice behind her.
Gabrielle jumped and turned around to see Eve. "Don't do that?"
Gabrielle turned back around.
"I honestly don't understand you two." She peered through the trees and smiled. 'At least its good to know some things are inherited.' She looked at Gabrielle. "Let me guess, bird watching."
"How'd you guess?"
Eve smiled. "Why don't you go join her?"
"Can't think of a reason not to, can you? I bet you can think of a million reasons why you should."
"Oh? Since when are you the expert on what people are thinking?"
"Are you saying I'm right?"
Gabrielle turned away.
"Trust me, I've been around people enough to know a few things."
Gabrielle walked away.
<*> <*> <*>
When Xena came back, she noticed that it was quiet in the camp. "What did I miss?"
"Don't all talk at once."
Eve looked up at her. "Enjoy your dip?"
She stood. "Me next." And she was gone.
Gabrielle looked up at Xena. "You look tired."
"I do. You know that's just a nice way to say 'Hey you look like shit.'" She laughed.
"Obviously not because you look fine, just tired."
Xena nodded. "Well I am."
"Why don't you try to rest?"
"No, I'm all right."
"We leaving today?"
"Yeah. Any where you want to go?"
"No." She looked away.
"You're not as talkative as you normally are."
"Not coming down with anything are you?" She felt Gabrielle's forehead with the back of her hand. "Not warm."
"Just cause I'm more quiet then usual, you think I'm sick. Nice Xena."
"Moody too. That time of the month?"
"No." She stood. "I'm just in a bad mood."
"Really, your kidding me."
Gabrielle glared. "Watch it warrior."
"What are you going to do, hurt me?"
"I just might." She threw a water sack, hitting Xena in the chest. "Don't start bard."
"I already did."
"All right." She lunged for Gabrielle, fingers delivering tickles. "You asked for it."
"No, no." She couldn't stop laughing. "Barbarian."
"Barbarian am I?" She tickled more.
"Hey let her go, she's innocent."
They looked up to see Eve.
Gabrielle laughed. "I have a problem."
"So I see."
Xena let Gabrielle go and stood up. "Back so soon?"
"I forgot a towel." She grabbed one and walked away.
Xena and Gabrielle bust up laughing.
<*> <*> <*>
As the evening drew near, the chatter around the campfire increased. The subject was the Amazons.
"I just can't believe it." Eve stretched back against the tree.
Gabrielle laughed. "It is unbelievable. I hardly believe it sometimes myself."
Xena leaned forward. "Well, actually, she's not queen anymore."
Xena's eyes turned to Gabrielle. "You're just a normal little...."
"Don't say it, Xena."
"I wasn't going to say anything."
Eve sat up. "A little brat."
Xena laughed as Gabrielle glared at Eve.
"You just had to say it didn't you?"
"Sorry, Gabs, but really."
Gabrielle stood. "I can see where I'm not wanted." She grabbed her plate of fish and headed out.
"Where she going?"
Xena turned to Eve. "For a dip." She smiled.
Even shook her head. "Why don't you go give her a towel?"
"In a minute."
<*> <*> <*>
The water felt cool against her skin as she swam. Looking up at the stars, she floated onto her back. As the breeze blew by her, she detected a faint smell. Raising up, she looked towards the shore to see Xena. Swimming closer, she smiled. "Can't I have any time alone?"
Xena sat down. "No."
Gabrielle shook her head. "So what do you want?"
"Do I need a reason to talk to you anymore?"
"No, of course not I was just.....nevermind." She looked away.
"I was joking."
"I know that."
Gabrielle looked up. "I can tell when people are joking or not, I am a bard, Xena."
"I haven't really written anything lately but still, I'm a......"
Xena held up her hand. "Yeah I know."
"Come in here with me."
"It's not cold."
Xena dipped a hand in.
Gabrielle splashed at her.
"Listen, bard, don't start it."
Gabrielle laughed. "I already did." She splashed her again and dived under the water. When she came up, Xena was no where to be seen. As she watched the shore, she saw a pile of leather. "Uh oh." At that moment she was dragged underneath.
Coughing and spitting out water, she looked over at Xena, who was smiling. "Happy?"
"I told you not to start."
"How did you get undressed so fast?"
"I have many skills." She moved closer to Gabrielle.
"So I've heard." She smiled. "Water feels great doesn't it?"
"Yes it does." She gazed into Gabrielle's eyes. "Feels refreshing."
"Hey, you guys want to come out of there today or what?"
They turned to the shore to see Eve.
Xena smiled. "Go away."
"Give me a reason."
Xena looked at Gabrielle and shrugged. "She's yours."
"Oh no, don't do that to me." She laughed and they headed towards shore.
Eve moved back and headed towards camp as they came closer.
Gabrielle walked out of the water and saw a towel in front of her. She walked into it and felt Xena gently rub her arms. "Thanks."
<*> <*> <*>
Gabrielle woke up and looked around the camp. The fire was slowly burning away as the embers grew faint. The moon shone brightly down on them, lighting up the camp. She looked over at Eve who was sleeping. Turning to looked across the embers, she could see Xena sleeping. Gabrielle looked at Eve and crawled to Xena, slowly. She laid down and watched Xena.
Xena was laying on her side, head resting on her arm, and another arm draped over her side. She looked peaceful.
Gabrielle smiled and pushed a piece of dark hair behind one ear. She felt like she was going to cry all of the sudden and didn't know why. "I love you." She leaned forward and placed a light kiss on Xena's lips. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Eve closed her eyes.
<*> <*> <*>
Xena was the first person to wake up, as usual. Yawning she tried to sit up and found that she was held down. She smiled as she looked down at her side and saw Gabrielle curled up. "Some things never change." She put an arm around Gabrielle and pulled her closer and smiled when Gabrielle moved closer. "I love you my bard."
Xena saw a shadow over her and looked up to see Eve. "What do you want?"
"Nothing." She knelt down. "That's a new development."
"No, happens a lot actually."
"She looks so peaceful."
"Wonder when she moved over here. I didn't even wake up."
"Obviously. She moved before first light. Want me to help you move her?"
"No, just let me sit for awhile."
"Why don't you tell her?"
"Eve, we've been through this before."
"Yes and its always the same. Just tell her."
"Wake her up and kiss her. Come on, you can do it." She backed away when she saw the look. "Put that thing away."
"Start listening to me. I'm not telling her and that's that."
"I'm not going to drop this."
"Yes you will." She gently moved out of Gabrielle's grasp and stood up. "You will drop this and drop it now." She nodded. "Right."
"Yeah sure." Eve turned and walked away.
"Where you going?"
"Away from you." She stopped and turned.
"Stop this now."
"I will, when you tell her."
"Well it's not going to happen so drop it."
"You realize that only one out of a hundred people find their soul mate. Don't let it slip. You're in love with her."
"Yeah, yeah. Tell me mother. When did you lose your courage?" She walked out of camp.
Xena sighed and scratched her head. "When I fell in love with Gabrielle." She turned and walked out of camp.
Gabrielle opened her eyes.
<*> <*> <*>
"Bring me that."
Eve grabbed the bedrolls and handed them to Xena as she was loading things up on Argo. "Where to?"
"I have no where to be."
"What about you Gabrielle?"
She shook her head. "I'm afraid to see how things have changed."
"As I thought, up to me. How about, the amazons."
Both Xena and Gabrielle looked up.
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Gabs, you were their queen....."
"Twenty five years ago. They think I'm dead."
"But you're not."
Eve turned. "Mom, I want to see them."
Xena turned to Gabrielle. "Your call on this one."
Gabrielle smiled. "I would like to see the village again."
Eve jumped up and down. "So that's a yes."
"It's a yes."
Eve ran to collect her things.
"You know this is going to be a hard couple of weeks," Gabrielle said softly.
"Tell me about it." Xena laughed and pulled Gabrielle to her and hugged her. Before letting her go, she placed a light kiss on her head. "Go get your things." She watched Gabrielle run off.
"Where do you want this?"
Xena turned around, seeing Eve holding scroll bag. "I'll take them." Her eyes traveled down to the small bag, its contents almost spilling out. She smiled and pulled one out. Neatly packing it in her bag, at Argo's side, she lifted the scroll bag onto the war horse and left to get more of their things.
Gabrielle tilted her head as she watched the warrior. "What does she want with a scroll?" she whispered to herself. She felt a hand at her shoulder and jumped as she turned. "Eve. Gods, don't do that."
"Something the matter?"
"I just wanted to say that I don't understand it either." She saw the bard's confused face. "The scroll."
"Oh, yeah, well it was weird."
Eve leaned down to Gabrielle's ear. "Not too weird. I'm sure you'll see her act very weird lately." She straightened up.
"What does that mean?"
Eve smiled. "You'll see."
"Ready?" Xena asked.
Gabrielle walked to the horse. "Yeah." She held up her hand and saw that Xena didn't take it. "Can I ride with you?"
Xena looked down. "Yes." She held out her hand and hauled the bard behind her.
"Welcome." She closed her eyes as she felt the bard's arms go around her waist and hold her tight. When she felt the bard lay her head down on her back, she slightly shook her head.
Eve climbed up onto Gabrielle's horse and followed the pair out.
<*> <*> <*>
As it grew dark, they stopped to camp, still a few days from the village.
Gabrielle got the fire started while Xena went out to look for some food. Eve was busy assorting various things around.
Gabrielle turned to Eve. "You've been quiet lately."
Eve looked up. "I just don't have a lot to say half the time." She looked away again.
"Is that all?"
Eve looked up and smiled. "Positive."
"You are so much like your mother, I swear."
"Is that good or should I be offended?"
"How about you explain how I'm like my mother."
"Well, neither of you tell when something is bothering you, or if you have something on your mind."
Eve smiled. "I don't feel the need to involve others with my problems. Or to think out loud." She smirked in Gabrielle's direction.
"Saying I'm loud."
"You said it I didn't."
"Oh, what you gonna do, hurt me?"
Gabrielle smiled. "I just might get Xena to help me throw you in a cold river."
"What's so funny?" asked Xena as she walked into camp.
Gabrielle sat down. "Nothing Xena, we were just...talking."
Xena turned to Eve. "Stuff? What kind of stuff, Eve."
"Nothing, just stuff." She crawled over to Gabrielle, scroll in hand.
Xena shook her head. "Enough trouble with one, now I have two."
Gabrielle and Eve laughed.
"This is going to be a long night."
<*> <*> <*>
Gabrielle walked slowly through the forest, towards the small clearing. Sitting down on the ground, she closed her eyes and listened.
She could heard the hoot of an owl here and there, the wind blowing through the trees, an animal moving through the bushes, and much more.
An unusual sound made her open her eyes. She jumped when she saw a figure in front of her. "Aphrodite, what are you doing?" Her eyes trailed to the chair the blonde was in, to the basket she was holding.
The goddess looked up. "Gabby, hey."
Gabrielle sighed. "What now?"
Aphrodite looked hurt. "I come for a visit and I get this."
"Sorry. How can I help you?"
"No help. A friendly visit. After all, I am the only god left, except Ares, and he doesn't count, then again there is...."
"Aph, you rambling."
She smiled. "Sorry."
"What's in the basket?"
"Little trinkets." She held it out.
Gabrielle looked down at the small bracelets, rings, necklaces, and jewels.
"I was just looking through some offerings."
"And you decided to visit me."
"Yeah, should be thrilled."
"I am, trust me. In fact, you're just the goddess I wanted to see."
"Yeah, and why's that?"
Gabrielle smiled. "I need to ask a question."
"Shoot." She swung her legs around so she was facing Gabrielle.
"I need to know about Xena."
"What about her?"
"Does she love me, I mean in the same way that....." A finger was placed over her lips.
"I think I know what you mean."
"So? Does she?"
"Spoils things if answers are just given."
"Suppose you tell me why you think she does."
"Well I keep hearing her and Eve talking, and I'm sure I'm the subject. She keeps telling her to stay out of it. Eve keeps telling her to tell me. Tell me what?"
Aphrodite was smiling. "What else?"
"Well I've noticed that whenever I touch her lately, she seems to...to....well her.... Like if I touch her arm, the muscles twitch. I put my finger over her mouth and she twitched. I crawled over to her one night and laid down next to her. When I woke up, she was holding on to me tight, like she didn't want me to go anywhere." She looked up at the goddess, who was smiling. "What?"
"I think you have your answer."
Gabrielle laughed. "Yeah, I think I do."
"Be good to each other, Gabrielle."
Aphrodite shimmered out of view as Gabrielle sat thinking. She stood up and turned to walk to camp, when something caught her eye. She looked closer and smiled as she saw the two silver rings. She bent down and picked them up, running her finger tips over them, then ran towards the camp. When she got there, she saw both women sleeping as she had left them. She walked towards her bedroll, slowly.
"Where did you go?" asked a voice.
She turned to looked down at Xena. "For a walk."
"You were gone a long time."
"You timing me."
Gabrielle sat down. "Sorry to worry you."
"Don't apologize, I'm used to it."
"What other times have I worried you?"
"Let's just go to sleep."
"No, I want to know."
"I just worry for your safety all the time. I don't want anything to happen to you."
Gabrielle crawled to Xena and climbed in the blankets. "This way we're both protected and free from worry." She closed her eyes and smiled when she felt an arm go around her waist. "Goodnight, my warrior."
"Goodnight, my bard."
In the light of the moon, two things were visible. One, the gently sleep of two soul mates. And two, the shine of two rings on two fingers.
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