An Awakening - Part 3

Amazon Bonding - Gabrielle
Part 2

by Hunter Ash

After finally getting both sets of families calmed down and reassured that the War God probably wouldn't be back, getting a final checkover by the healer and Ephiny out of the hut to see to heightened security, the wedding couple found themselves alone with Solan.

Solan sat with his head lowered and Gabrielle could see something different about her warrior, her new wife. What was it? Xena was nervous? The bard was suddenly very curious as to what was up.

"Solan," Xena began slowly and was surprised to see the young teen blushing.

"I'm sorry," he stammered.

"For what? You saved my life." Gabrielle leaned over and hugged the boy and he seemed to relax a bit.

"I've been practicing my stalking in the trees. When I heard the sounds of a fight I knew it had to be you," he explained in a rapid sentence.

"Of course it had to be Xena," Gabrielle agreed with a grin.

"I'll get you for that, bard." Xena threatened with an answering grin. "Go on, Solan."

"I made my way through the trees. I know I'm not supposed to enter the grove, but I was afraid you were in danger!" his eyes looked panicked and she placed a hand over his in a calming manner.

"I was." Gabrielle knew how hard that must be for her warrior, to admit that she had been in trouble, that was quite an admission.

"I saw that man, Ares, about to strike and I didn't think." Solan dropped his eyes, as if expecting to be scolded.

"You saved my life," Xena repeated. "I might have been able to fight back, probably not."

"You certainly weren't dressed for the occasion," Gabrielle giggled. The bard was very sorry that she had missed the fight with Ares with her half naked mate.

Xena glared at her and then grinned.

"I think it did distract him for a moment. Besides, who got me in that condition?" Xena countered and then turned back to the boy. "Solan, you said something as you struck Ares," she hesitated.

Solan began blushing even more and wouldn't meet Xena or Gabrielle's eyes. Xena leaned over the table and raised his chin to meet her eyes.

"I'm sorry, I know you didn't want me to know." he whispered.

"Solan, what do you know?" the warrior whispered back.

"That you're my mom."

"Whoa," Gabrielle muttered and started to get up.

"You're my mate and my family. Please stay", she asked and Gabrielle sat back down. "How do you know?" Xena asked.

"I figured it out. Dad said that my mom was a warrior in your army, who had died giving birth to me, but I felt it. Every time you were near it just felt..... it felt right. And I have your eyes."

"And my stalking talent." Xena grinned and then grew serious. "Solan, I...."

"I figured it out, with Dad's talk about alliances and the treaties. You're afraid for me, aren't you? Is that why you left me?"

Gabrielle felt tears springing to her eyes and wasn't surprised when her warrior stood up and grabbed the boy from across the table, hugging him tightly. The bard knew that hug, it was the same one Xena had given her when Gabrielle had crossed back over from dying.

"Solan! I always wanted you!" Xena whispered. She pulled back from the embrace but kept both hands on the boy's arms, keeping her eyes locked with his. "I was the Warlord when you were born. I couldn't take you with me. I would have been killed and you would have been killed, as well. At the very least, someone would have hurt you or kidnapped you to get to me. I wasn't a good person and I wasn't fit to be a mother. I left you with the Centaurs because I knew they would protect you, and no one would figure it out." Xena tried to explain.

"I kinda figured that, but you've changed. You do good stuff now, why didn't you tell me?"

"The danger is still there! Ask Gabrielle how many times someone has tried to use her or hurt her because of me. I love you, but you can't be with me." Xena looked to the bard for confirmation but Gabrielle refused to answer. She had Xena had gone through that argument enough on their own. The bard had flatly refused to leave Xena, even when it was dangerous. She watched Xena brush a tear away.

"I know that, but can't you just visit a little more often?"

Again the warrior crushed her son in a hug while Gabrielle gave her a tired smile.

When the two finally separated, Xena ruffled the boy's hair. "You bet, kiddo. Now, go back to bed. I don't think Ares will dare come back tonight."

Solan reached out and grabbed Gabrielle in a hug. "This means you're my mom too."

"You bet." she agreed, her heart filling with even more love for the young teenager.

With a grin he scampered out the door, his Amazon escort close behind, leaving the bard with her warrior.

Xena ran her hand through her hair. "Gabrielle, I'm sorry about all of this. It isn't exactly how I wanted our wedding night." She ran a hand over her jaw, beginning to swell from where Ares had caught her twice with his fist.

Gabrielle laughed and grabbed her lover's hand, leading them to the door. "I know that, but I just married Xena, Warrior Princess. Am I surprised things got a little exciting?"

She watched Xena manage to smile and then her eyes turned cold and bright with anger as the warrior reached out and touched the bard's face, lightly touching the cut above Gabrielle's eye. The bard reached out and stroked Xena's cheek and was delighted when Xena's piercing blue eyes softened for her.

"I could kill him," the warrior had hissed.

"I know, love, but let it go tonight." Gabrielle asked softly.

"For you, anything."

"Then let's finish what he interrupted, thank you." Gabrielle whispered as she leaned up and grabbed one of the warrior's earlobes in her teeth and lightly pulled.

Xena growled and picked Gabrielle up off the ground into her arms. The bard yelped and clung to her mate, laughing as Xena began carrying her across the village common grounds. The wedding couple laughed and whispered promises of things to come as they walked along.

Ephiny, watching from the shadows of her hut, smiled approvingly. She was also cursing Ares and thanking the gods for Hercules and Iolaus being around. She knew that without the demi-god things would have gotten bloodier than they were, probably with several deaths.

She shook her head and followed behind the couple, keeping to the shadows. It wasn't like Ares to make such a bold move. To actually attack the couple? Ephiny knew he was usually more subtle. To actually be willing to kill Xena, that was new. The Regent of the Amazons realized that Xena's bonding with Gabrielle must have rattled him more than they had thought it would.

"Could he be more attached to her than he lets on?" Ephiny wondered to herself.

Gabrielle spotted several Amazon warriors in the trees and knew there were many more surrounding the hut in the shadows and trees. She had also seen Ephiny following behind the couple when the bard glanced over Xena's shoulder. In her lover's arms and surrounded by Amazons, Gabrielle felt safe.

Hercules and Iolaus spotted the couple approaching and with an exaggerated gesture, moved the door aside so they could get through. Xena grinned and bowed slightly to their Kumbadas and entered the hut. The two men attempted to replace the door as best they could to ensure privacy.

Xena and Gabrielle were quite sure they were going to be on guard, along with the Amazon warriors.

Gabrielle yelped as Xena tossed her onto the bed and then grinned when the warrior joined her, half pinning the bard to the bed.

"Now, where were we?" Xena asked and then began nibbling on the bard's neck.

"I think I had your tunic off and your breasts in my mouth." Gabrielle whispered, tugging at the tunic.

Xena groaned as the bard pulled the tunic off and arched her back as the Queen took a nipple into her teeth.

"Oh gods, I think that's about the point," Xena agreed.

With an answering moan, Gabrielle agreed. She reached down and undid the belt holding Xena's skirt together. Unbuckling the restricting leather, she tugged the leather skirt aside and pulled Xena close to her. Xena broke the contact long enough to pull Gabrielle up into a sitting position and lift the bard's tunic off. Gabrielle reached out tenderly, as if afraid to touch a dream. The bard could see the same emotion in her bondmate's eyes.

"Gods, it's always like I'm seeing you for the first time. You are magnificent!" the bard whispered, running her hand over the perfect breasts, sending shivers down Xena's spine. "When I look into those eyes of yours it feels like I'm falling into the sky."

Xena smiled and touched the Queen's cheek. "I'm always here to catch you", she promised. They came together for a kiss that seemed to last a lifetime, between them. Everything faded away as they lost themselves in the feeling of each other, the first true kiss of their blood bonding. Xena melted into her bard and was able to put aside the worry of Ares reappearing and Gabrielle, for her part, sank deeper into her warrior and forgot about the politics facing her the next day. Finally, nothing existed for either of them but the other.

"My Queen, if you're going to grab breakfast and bath, you need to get up now." a voice called from outside the hut.

Gabrielle moaned and threw an arm over her warrior's stomach. She muttered something about another few minutes of sleep. She and Xena hadn't slept much with the excitement of the attack from Ares, discoverying Solan knew that Xena was his mother, calming the families down after the attack, and then a very long session of love making, the bard was tired and her muscles were refusing to move.

"We'll be right there, thank you." Xena called out.

"Hmmmph," Gabrielle disagreed. The bard's senses began waking up when she felt Xena's soft lips slowly beginning to kiss a trail up the bard's spine from her neck to her lower spine and then began working her way back up again. Gabrielle moaned in pleasure, her body stretching. The bard arched her neck as she felt Xena's lips reach it and then felt a gasp torn from her as Xena's hand reached between the bard's legs, Gabrielle's body instantly responding to her lover's touch as the talented fingers began dancing between her folds and over her clit.

"Oh gods, you definitely know how to wake someone up!" Gabrielle whispered, grabbing onto the blanket that had gotten twisted under them.

"I can't stop touching you," Xena whispered back and half turned the bard over to kiss her roughly, her fingers entering her lover, causing Gabrielle's body to begin trembling. Then her teeth sank roughly into the bard's neck and Gabrielle grasped the edge of the bed with a whimper, her body rocking to a rhythm with her warrior. The Amazon Queen began a series of cries that escalated with the warriors strokes in and out, and with the thumb caressing her swollen clit.

"Gods, Xena!" Gabrielle hissed, biting into the blanket.

"Yes," Xena whispered and then resumed biting and working the bard's neck. The bard's body stiffened and clamped down on the warrior's hand, attempting to capture her fingers totally, as she climaxed. The bard screamed out her name into the blanket and then continued trembling, as wave after wave shook her body.

Gabrielle managed to catch her breath after a few moments, Xena holding her tight.

"You are incredible," Gabrielle whispered, turning over to face her mate.

"So are you, little one." Xena smiled back.

"I love you."

"I love you. I wanted you for so long, now I can't get enough of you."

"When did you realize you were in love with me?" Gabrielle asked, running her fingers through Xena's hair and down the warrior's arm, sending shivers over the warrior's spine.

"I thought you were cute from the start. I realized I was attracted to you very early. I remember feeling a twinge of jealousy when we dealt with the Titans."

"You mean, when you thought I slept with a man?" the bard asked, a teasing lilt to her voice.

"Yup," Xena agreed. "Then I had to face, it down the line, that I wasn't only attracted to you. That I could deal with; but that I had fallen for you, as well. That was a little more to deal with."

"I don't remember exactly when I realized what I was feeling for you. All I knew was that I was thinking of you all the time and my feelings were definitely beyond the friendship thing."

Gabrielle stroked her lover's arm, a frown coming over her face.

"What is it, little one?" Xena asked softly, stroking the bard's face.

"You were in love with me when I married Perdicus, weren't you?" Gabrielle whispered.

"Oh boy," Xena muttered. Gabrielle knew this was uncomfortable for both of them but she wanted the answers they had both avoided. She as feeling guilty about Perdicus' death and having Menestratus, his brother, try to kill her and Xena didn't help those feelings.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Gabrielle whispered, sinking her head down into Xena's chest.

"I thought you would be better with him and I didn't think you could be interested in me. Did you marry him knowing you wanted me?" the warrior asked softly.

Gabrielle felt tears beginning to well up in her eyes and fought them back.

"Yes," she admitted, finally giving it voice for the first time. "I didn't think you wanted me. You treated me like a kid a lot then."

"That doesn't explain why you married him." Xena muttered.

"He loved me very much and I was fond of him. I thought I could fall in love with him and we had a good start on a friendship. I thought it would be better than my parents if I couldn't have you." the bard whispered, beginning to cry.

"It's not your fault he's dead." Xena held her wife closer.

"I know and yet it is." Gabrielle insisted. "It's mine, yours, Callisto's, Menestratus' and even Perdicus himself. If I had told you how I felt maybe he'd be alive."

"He'd still be a soldier and maybe dead." Xena reminded her of Perdicus's chosen profession. "It's not your fault, little one."

"I know, it just hurts knowing I married him for the wrong reasons."

"Those reasons are better than most people have when they enter a marriage, you know that." Xena said simply.

"I know, I feel so guilty about his death! I'm sorry he's dead but it brought me back to you!"

Gabrielle felt the warrior's arms tighten around her and the bard finally let the guilt pour out. After a few moments the bard felt drained but better. Xena was stroking her head and holding her tight.

"I know, little one." the warrior whispered. "I have the same guilty feelings. I wanted you happy but I thought I would die when you left. I didn't know how to go on without you."

"I love you so much!" Gabrielle hugged her mate tightly.

"We're going to miss breakfast," Xena reminded the bard.

"For once, my warrior mate, I am willing to miss breakfast." Gabrielle grinned and began to kiss her warrior from the lips, down the chin and throat. The bard rolled her mate over onto her back and Gabrielle covered the warrior with her body, slowly working her way down the length of the bed. The bard began a dance with the warrior's body, like playing a musical instrument, Gabrielle drummed and stroked her fingers across the tight stomach of her warrior and back to the aroused nipples.

Gabrielle moaned with pleasure as her lips and tongue found her lover's wetness and she lovingly began a dance with her tongue. Moaning from the feeling of entering her lover with several fingers, Gabrielle almost missed her warrior moaning as well. The bard glanced up and saw Xena's head thrashing back and forth on the bed, the warrior gritting her teeth as her body began shaking uncontrollably.

"Gods, yes, Gabrielle!"

The bard moaned herself as she drank in, of her mate. Again nothing existed for the two of them except each other and the sensations being aroused. Gabrielle felt herself giving over to the passion of her warrior, whimpering as Xena arched and then sat partially up to grasp the bard's shoulders. As the warrior's fingers dug into her skin the bard felt her own buildup beginning and increased the speed and intensity of her own devotion to Xena's body. The younger woman felt like she could make love to her mate for all eternity, and never get enough. Gabrielle often thought that this must be what paradise would feel like, akin to the emotions and overwhelming joy that grabbed her heart and soul and body as she made love to Xena. The bard thought this must be what true worship of a Goddess was, total connection, total love.

Gabrielle felt Xena's body stiffen and begin the strong spasms. She gasped herself as fingernails broke the skin on her shoulders and began leaving slight furrows. The bard looked up at her warrior's face.

"Let go," she whispered and was rewarded with Xena falling backward with a scream of the bard's name, her body arching and spasming, over and over again. Gabrielle moved up Xena's body and held her lover close.

When Xena regained her breath she shifted and Gabrielle eagerly fell into their most comfortable position, the bard's head resting on her mate's shoulder, arm thrown over the other woman's ribs, still quivering from the intense onslaught from the Amazon Queen. Gabrielle sighed deeply as Xena wraped an arm around her and they snuggled.

Suddenly she felt Xena stiffen as the warrior brought a hand to her eyes.

"Oh gods, Gabrielle!" she exclaimed, starting to sit up but was stopped by the bard. "Your back!"

"Don't worry about it, my love. I enjoyed every minute of it." Gabrielle whispered softly with a smile, pushing her warrior back down.

"You're bleeding!" Xena insisted.

"Yup, I think you marked me." Gabrielle answered simply.


"Besides, my love, when you get a look at your neck, I think you'll find that I already marked you." the bard smiled a mischievous grin.

"This will look good for the delegates." Xena complained with a smile, settling back down with her lover.

"Oh well, they can go to Tartarus if they don't like it."

They both jumped at a pounding at the door.

"My Queen, I must insist!" Ephiny's voice carried through the broken door. "You just have time to get dressed before receiving your guests!"

"I guess we better get up, little one." Xena suggested with a laugh.

"Be right there, Ephiny!" Gabrielle called out.

Ephiny, meanwhile, noticed the guards wouldn't meet her eyes. "How long have they been awake?" she demanded and watched her two sentries shift uneasily on their feet.

"Uh, a little while now." one finally answered.

"Those two! I swear they can't hold off for ten minutes!" she muttered.

A candlemark later and Gabrielle was in clean clothes and sitting with Ephiny while she and several Amazon elders ran down a list of visiting delegates and small details about them. After another candlemark the bard found herself rubbing her eyes and neck, lack of sleep and politics were giving her a headache. She glanced over and saw Iolaus nodding off in the corner, almost about to fall off his stool.

She reached out and threw an unlit candle at him and tried to keep from laughing as he fell off the stool backwards, hit his head in the corner and slid down the wall. The Kumbada looked up at his responsibility and grinned.

"Go on, get out of here. Ephiny and I will be talking for a bit longer." Gabrielle ordered and the man quickly scurried out of the hut, his escort right behind him.

Ephiny grinned along with her Queen and elders. She had to admit that Hercules and Iolaus were good friends to the Queen and her Champion and Ephiny had to like them for that.

"Ephiny, remind our escorts that they should be like shadows, I want the delegates to be comfortable. The more comfortable someone is the more they talk." the bard grinned.

"Yes, my Queen." Ephiny grinned back. Over the seasons of being Queen, even an absent Queen, Gabrielle had impressed the life long Amazon. At first Ephiny had resisted the small woman, she hadn't been trained as an Amazon, she wasn't Amazon royalty and here the outsider was her Queen. Ephiny had come to respect Xena as a warrior and Gabrielle as an intelligent young woman who was up to the challenge of the office of Queen. Ephiny pitted anyone who underestimated her Queen on any level.

"Did Rome send a delegation?" Gabrielle asked, almost holding her breath.

"Yes, my Queen. A Cohort of Praetorian guards, led by Brutus of Rome." one of the elders answered.

"Thank the gods that Caesar didn't decide to come," Gabrielle breathed a sigh of relief. Just the sight of a Roman uniform would probably send her warrior reaching for her weapons, the bard knew.

That was one point Gabrielle didn't think she'd ever get Xena to let up on, the warrior's hatred for Caesar. The bard knew that the Roman had betrayed Xena's trust, love (or was it lust) and had the warrior crucified and her legs broken on a cross. Gabrielle knew that was something Xena wasn't likely to get over until Caesar was dead and she knew the warrior was hoping it would be at her hand.

"Ephiny, have someone keep an eye on them. Xena's not known for rational thinking when it comes to Romans."

"Yes, my Queen." the Regent called an attendant over and whispered to the young girl who was off out the door with a dash.

"I take it Xena doesn't care for Caesar?" one of the elders asked with a smile.

"No, if Caesar were here we'd have to tie her to a bed to keep her from wringing his neck." Gabrielle smiled back.

After another candlemark Gabrielle called a halt to the session. She knew she had absorbed about all the information she could at that point. Ephiny grinned as the elders left and pointed to a cot alongside one of the walls.

"Grab some rest, I'm going to find out what the delegates have been talking about and send you some food. Seems my Queen missed breakfast this morning." Ephiny teased.

Gabrielle smiled in return and rubbed her eyes, looking at the cot longingly.

"Go on, I'll be back in half a candlemark, you can get some energy back before dressing for the ceremony."

Gabrielle sank onto the cot with a sigh and was asleep instantly.

Gabrielle became aware of the body next to her, lightly running a finger up her thigh and under her skirt. The smell of leather was reassuring to the bard and she snuggled into the arm under her.

A frown crossed the bard's face just as a hand reached her sex. Gabrielle opened her eyes.

"Ares!" without a thought she shoved the god right off the cot, dropping him on his tailbone next to the bed. She quickly swung upright and, again without thinking, tackled the warrior, hitting him up each side of his head while he threw up his forearms to block her blows. He finally grabbed her arms and threw her back onto the cot and stood up, holding up a warning hand to keep her sitting down.

"Hey, can't blame a guy for trying!" he protested.

Gabrielle could feel that her face was an extreme shade of red. "What do you want?!" she hissed, regretting that her staff was by the door, all the way across the room.

"Just a friendly discussion," he smiled, holding up his hands in a gesture of peace. Gabrielle's eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"What do you want all ready?"

"What would make you happy?" Ares asked, sitting down on the edge of the table.

"What?" Gabrielle looked puzzled.

"What would it take to make you leave Xena?"

"Oh gods, you have got to be kidding! When will you ever give up?" she demanded.

"Never and I have a long life ahead of me. Why don't you give up? You know the darkness in her is mine and that she'll eventually go back to it."

"Never! Why don't you just leave before Hercules adds some more bruises?" Gabrielle snapped.

"Careful, or I'll add some more to yours." he hissed.

"Try it!" the bard tensed her muscles for a spring, not intending on being surprised again. "Artemis is probably really pissed at you right now."

"She's always pissed at me. I'm not giving up, you know." Gabrielle blinked, staring at where he had been.

"Oh gods, why can't that god get a life other than us?" she muttered and then broke into a smile when Xena entered with Ephiny. She quickly ran into the warrior's arms and kissed her mate deeply.

The two finally broke apart when Ephiny coughed to get their attention.

"Sorry, you two, but you need to get dressed." Xena grinned and noticed her bard blushing. "Your families are already dressed and, to keep everyone safe, both mothers and Lila are in masks and Amazon clothing. No outsiders will know they aren't Amazons. Solan is with Hercules and Iolaus and no outsider knows who or where he comes from."

"Thank you, Ephiny." Xena said simply.

"Get dressed and I'll send an escort for you both. Remember, Hercules and Iolaus will do the speaking for both of you. Too many people know the two of you throughout Greece, and several kingdoms outside of that. It wouldn't be hard to figure out who the small blond and a tall dark haired warrior getting married are, if they hear your voices, or if you wear your traditional weapons."

Xena reluctantly stepped out of her mates' arms and loosened her chakram and handed it to Ephiny and then her sword.

"Brutus knows I'm here and I'm sure several other delegates also recognized me, won't they miss me and put things together?" Xena asked.

"I'm going to have one my tall warriors dressed in your armor and your weapons with a mask and cloak on. Hopefully, they'll figure it's you. We'll keep her away from most everyone, especially the delegates."

Xena frowned at the sight of her weapons moving away from her, but sighed and began tugging at her armor.

"Let me do that, my warrior." Gabrielle grinned, and began the familiar task of helping Xena out of her leather armor. She reached up and kissed the back of the warrior's neck, and probably would have kissed more and longer if Ephiny hadn't growled.

Gabrielle hurried, with a blush that only matched Xena's.

"You two!" Ephiny complained with a smile.

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