Birthday Present!
by Kira"SKAZKA"

1.The characters of Xena, Gabrielle and Argo belong to
MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures.No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this story. And , after all, I used them only for a short story.:)

2.The following story is about two women very much in love with each other. If this offends you or if you are under age, please, go read something else.

3.This story is dedicated to three of my best friends :John, Karen and Nancy. They made me who I am right now:):):)

4.Special thaks to my friend Dove, who helped me alot with this story!!! Thank you,Dove.:)

It was a very warm summer . Xena and Gabrielle covered very long
distance on that day. Xena wanted to get as far from that
village as possible in a short time.
Cirra.. Too many painful memories...She had to get away .
She wanted to keep going until it gets dark.
Gabrielle was very tired ,it was a long day...
And as soon as she saw the lake, she called out:
"Xena,can we stop here? Look, how beautiful it is!", and without hearing any response
"Xena,I am tired"
"Ok,we will make a stop here",was all she said.
"Hmm,that "I am tired" thing worked",pondered Gabrielle. Smiling to herself.
"I should try it more often."
"Xena, do you care for a swim?"
"You go," said Xena,taking Argo into the shade,"I have to attend to her first."
"Ok,but you promise,you will join me as soon as you are done"
"I promise," she smiled .
"Whan did she grow up,that little girl ,who followed me to see world and
get a taste of adventure?" Xena asked herself. But as soon as she thought of it,
the answers popped in her head and smile faded away..."Callisto,Valaska,
death of Perdicus....that is what made her strong beautiful.
Yes,so much happened in those two years,changing their much.."
She was almost done brushing Argo,when she heard Gabrielle's voice:
"Xena,will you bring me my towel?"
"I was so excited about going for a swim,I had totally forgotten about it."
she continued on,as Xena started to open saddle bag,, which had Gabrielle's belongings in it.
As she pulled the towel out, something fell...
A scroll....
"Strange...Gabrielle usually keeps her scrolls in special bag, always in perfect order."
Xena was surprised.
She picked it up, and, Zeus knows why, started to read.
"...She is everything I ever wanted, everything I dreamed about," were the first words Xena read.
"..I think I have loved her since the day we first met, but I didn't know it was love.
I thought it was just my respect for her, my cense of friendship...As I was
a little girl from Potadeia, and she was Xena:beautiful , strong, smart and
brave...Days went by, and we become close. We shared food, campfire,thoughts, happiness and
pain..But I still think of her as friend...Special,very special one,but just
a friend...I think it was Ulysses, his love for Xena,which made me realize
I am in love with her. After I overheard their conversation, after that kiss.
I finally understood what I feel for her. Love....Love as I never thought was possible, love I never really gave to
Perdicus. I guess I had to come close to loosing her to someone else, to realize that.
From that moment and on I knew I loved her.
And as I did, I got new problem. I didn't know what I should do. How I should act..
I had to hide my feeling, my love from the loved one. I was afraid if she finds that out, she wouldn't understand.
But there is I can do. Oh, how many times I tried to tell her,but just couldn't bring it up...
Our friendship means so much to me, I couldn't risk loosing that."
Xena could not believe her eyes. As she stopped to think, she heard Gabrielle:
"Xena, are you all right? What is taking so long?"
"I am coming, I spilled some grapes from your bag.." She replayed this in her mind, trying to catch her breath and pull
her feelings together, before she would have to face Gabrielle.
"Here, Gabrielle," she said,trying to hide her emotions and started to walk away as young girl took towel from her.
"Xena,what is wrong? You seem so.... " Gabrielle had to stop to look for the right word " disturbed.."
"I am fine, just tired" Was all the Warrior said.
All evening long, while Gabrielle was preparing dinner,and until she finally fell asleep,she kept thinking of
Gabrielle's dairy.
"How could I have missed that,how could I not see signs?" Xena was asking herself.
"How could I not pay attention to those looks she gave me, those innocent touches..her remorse after she
saw me and Ulysses kiss. How could I not see something so obvious,something I feel myself?"
And, as the last thought crossed her mind, she made a decision.


Part 2

Early in the morning they were on the road again..
"Hey, Xena, it's my birthday in three days,you know. And I was thinking, we could stop at the inn
and have a dinner, and may be even little celebration?What do you think?"
Xena remained silent.
"Oh, sorry, Gabrielle, what were you saying?"
"Never mind...I was just thinking aloud," said Gabrielle, hiding disappointment and anger.
"What is wrong with her? I know she is never much for a talk, but since last night,she barely has spoken ten words to me?..."
She kept walking silently, trying to figure out what had she done wrong...

It was getting dark and they got really tired.
"Wanna start camp here?" asked Gabrielle.
"No, there is a town not too far from here, we can stop at the inn."
"It's very convenient, because I have to leave you for a day to take care of some business, and I don't like to leave you alone in the middle of nowhere. You can stay there and..."
But Gabrielle didn't let her finish: "What do you mean?,stay here? ,in the strange town? What am I going do here? They are obviously don't need my help or protection!", she said sarcastically....
She was very angry at Xena.
"I don't know,...practice with your staff, or gather kids and tell them your stories. I bet they will like that."
Gabrielle was about to protest, but she looked at Xena's face and understood that decision was final.
"Why is she doing this to me? Why can't she accept me as grown up?"
But what upset her even more, was that she wouldn't be able to see Xena, to talk to her, to make sure she was okay. It was always difficult when Xena had to go away. She missed her terribly. Every time Xena would go somewhere, Bard's heart would be with her, and nothing would go right..

"Ok, I will stay, but promise, You will return before.."
"Your birthday..."continued Xena, smiling"I would never miss it, Gabrielle".
Those last words made Gabrielle smile.


"Now, let's get us rooms and dinner, before it gets too late"

They stopped at the inn. It was dark in the room, as they came in. Xena left getting rooms for Gabrielle.
She walked toward vacant table, sat down and ordered wine and dinner.

"Good evening, I need two rooms , please"said Gabrielle to a heavyset man, with a nice smile, the innkeeper.
"I am sorry, but all rooms are taken... you see,we are having festival here this week...."
"Everything, except this tiny room upstairs, which nobody uses anymore...the ceiling, it has a hole in it...
If you have nowhere to go..."
"It is still better, than go out of town, looking for the good place for a camp...And it's getting late, and I am very tired..."thought Gabrielle.
"I will take it."
"Deal, and I won't charge you for it either," said innkeeper,smiling at the young girl.

"I got us beautiful room upstairs,"she said approaching Xena, who was sitting at the table, finishing her wine.
"Oh,good. Did you say"room"?"
"Yeah, there was only one left, but from what I heard,it has beautiful view..."
"What am I saying?" Gabrielle though, "beautiful view,hahaha, wait 'till she sees it."

"Alright, I am tired and I have to get up early. I will go up now."
"Ok, Xena, you do that, and I will have something to eat first"said Gabrielle ,smiling, hoping that her friend won't get really mad about her choice.

Little later, when Gabrielle went upstairs and opened the door into the room, she was ready to defend
her decision.
But, as she came in, Xena didn't say a word. She was laying on the only bed in the room,
Gabrielle looked up....
"How beautiful," she said after a silent moment...."The moon, the stars....I love these quiet nights..."
"Yeah, it is beautiful," Xena replayed, watching the Bard put her bags down and laying down beside her.

"Good night, Xena. Wake me up,before you leave..."
"I will, now go to sleep," Xena said gently.

Later, when Gabrielle was soundly asleep, Xena was still very much wide awake. She could not sleep...Her mind was wondering ...... picturing herself and Gabrielle...kissing....making love...
"She is so close, I can reach out and touch her hair, her face....and far...."
And, finally she fall asleep, hoping that the next two days will change her life".


It was very early and still dark , when Xena woke up...
She got up and looked at her sleeping friend. Gabrielle looked so beautiful , so innocent in her sleep,
so happy in her dreams... Xena decided not to wake her up.
"I will be back soon, and she needs her rest." But, knowing the Bard, she decided to leave her a note.
"Gabrielle,"she wrote"I am leaving now,but as I return, I will NEVER leave you again."
She quietly left the room and went to get Argo .....

Part 3
Gabrielle was sitting outside with the innkeeper's grand kids, telling them story, as she saw Xena coming.
"Hi, Xena, oh, am I happy to see you...."she started and was about to get up, but one of the little boys, who was sitting beside her, said,
"Wait, you never finished the story ....." he sounded very disappointed.
"Go on, Gabrielle, finish your story, I will be inside."And Xena went in.
Half an hour later, when Gabrielle was done and came in, she could not find Xena in the large dining room.
So,she figured ,Xena was upstairs.As she walked in the room and began talking,she realized that her
friend was asleep.
"Oh, that's nice, I was waiting for you all day, and what you do when you return? Fall asleep," she said in low voice. As disappointed as she was, Gabrielle knew, that Xena had a long day and was tired.
"Sweet dreams, my beautiful warrior."
Next morning Xena woke up early and noticed Gabrielle was still sleeping, turned, so she could watch her.
"She is so beautiful, so fragile, so....gentle.... What she can possibly see in me? Warrior with dark past..."
She lay there trying to enjoy that quiet morning, warm sun (lets not forget hole in the ceiling)....
But, there was something else on her mind, and it was bothering her....
"I hope I am not making mistake .... Because if I am , and she doesn't feel like she did any more, I will loose
everything I've got: my friend, my love, my soul...."
Just thinking of what could happen made her sad and nervous. But tonight, she thought, will be the night.
Tonight she will finally open her heart to Gabrielle. And , hopefully,evrything she wrote in her scroll,was true.
"How long was I waiting for it...days...months....."

It was time to wake Gabrielle, if she wanted to make everything as planned.
"Wake up,Gabrielle,"she called softly,"wake up, sleepy head."
Bard moved, then turned..
She opened her eyes, yawning....
"Good morning, sunshine," Xena said smiling,"Any interesting dreams?"
"Of course, always" Gabrielle smiled back at her.
"C'mon, Gabrielle, we got to get going."
"We are going ? I thought we were stay here for at least another day."
"So did I, but something has changed".
"Wait, but...."
"Gabrielle, please, get ready. I will go check on Argo."


"If we keep the same pace, we will get there before sundown," thought Xena "I just hope Gabtielle
won't be too tired to enjoy it."
And , as she had planned, by nightfall they reached the part of the forrest, where it merged with
river. It was just a perfect spot for their camp. Trees where old with huge branches,and water in the river was
amazingly clear.
"Here it is,Gabrielle,"she said, jumping off Argo.
"Oh, Xena, it's beautiful here. Did you know about this place?"
"Yes, it's very beautiful, and yes, I knew about it," Xena was smiling. So far everything was going smooth. And even though she was nervous, something was telling her, she was doing the right thing.

"Gabrielle, you are probably tired after walking this far. So, why don't you go sit down and relax.
I will set up camp tonight . And don't bother to make dinner....I 've got it,"Xena added, smiling.
That surprised Gabrielle, Xena was never much of a cook.
Bard was about to protest, but Xena didn't let her, saying,"After all, it is your birthday."
"She didn't forget after all", that made Gabrielle happy.

As Xena started the campfire, Gabrielle set on fallen tree next to the river and started a new poem.
After the fire was set, Xena got some cheese, bread and fruits from the bag. But that wasn't all. As a special
treat to her Bard, she had wine and pastries, which she bought back at the inn.
"Dinner is served, my Lady,"she called.
Gabrielle came closer to the fire. "Hmm, fancy,"she though. "And, I am hungry".
"Here is some wine for you. I know, I know , you don't drink... but today is your day..." Xena smiled.
"And I am drinking this wine for my best friend, for the most talented bard around, for you, Gabrielle." "Thank you, Xena, thank you,"said Gabrielle,she was really touched by her friend's short speech...
They ate their dinner in silence. Gabrielle was just hungry, and Xena was getting ready for the next step.

After they finish dinner, Xena was about to start talking, as Gabrielle asked, "Xena, can we go for a swim?"
"Ohh,....yeah..I guess...." was her answer. She wasn't ready yet anyway. She wasn't even sure anymore if she could do it...

Tired , but happy after a long swim,the two women lay down by the campfire.......
"Now or never ...." decided warrior and said to her companion,
"Gabrielle, we have to talk, or , rather, I need to talk to you..."
Something about the way she said it maid Gabrielle worried.
"What could it be? What has happened?" Her mind was frantically looking for an answer..

"Gabrielle...Gabrielle, are you listening?" Xena had to shake the Bard to bring her back to reality.
"Yes, Xena, what is it?" she said in low voice, ready for everything.
"Gabrielle... I don't know how to start... I.."she stopped , sat up so that she could Gabrielle's eyes.
"I need to tell you something. It's very important to me... Just promise me you will listen to the end before
you say anything".
"I promise."
"Here it goes..."said Xena to herself, making this huge step in her mind.
"Gabrielle, I don't know how it happened, I don't know when it happened, I am not even sure I made the right decision to tell you that. But there is one thing I am absolutely sure about...."
Gabrielle was listening with her eyes wide open.
"I love you, Gabrielle."
"I love you," now she was looking straight into bard's eyes. She was afraid she would see disappointment ,or
anger.....What she saw was pure joy... And , at that very moment she knew she made the right choice...

"Xena... I love you too... I always have.... I was afraid to tell you that... I thought you wouldn't understand and
I didn't want loose our friendship..." She took Xena's hands on her own, smiling...
"I love you, Xena,"
And as she said it, Xena kissed her.
It was light, quick kiss. As if she wanted to make sure she was welcome and whatever just happened was not a dream...
But the one followed was different. It was long , passionate kiss with all the love they had for each other..
It was as long as moonlight and as sweet as honey, as real as love itself....
That kiss united their hearts and souls...

"Xena, we are together now, we are together....." just to hear her voice made Xena unconditionally happy. I should have told you long time ago, but I did not....Too much was at stake: you friendship, your loyalty...."
Xena covered her lips with her own.
And they kissed again and again.....

"Gabrielle," this time it was Xena ,who broke their kiss,"I want to love you. I want to be with you for the
rest of my life.. I want us to become one....Do you feel the same way?"
"Xena, I love you. And yes, I do.." She put her arms around the warrior's waist," And I am sure about it."
They both smiled at each other, two old friends, who just became new couple.

"Gabrielle, I have present for you," she got up .
"You do? " Watching her warrior getting something from the saddle bag.
"Yes. I do. And I hope you like it."
"What is it? Where did you get it?"
"Open it."
Gabrielle was already unwrapping the small package. What she had in her hand was a ring. Beautiful work of art.
She almost put it on her finger , she noticed something on the inside... Gabrielle moved closer to the fire..
Now Bard could see that there was writing, she read aloud, "Destined to be together."
"Oh, Xena...." was all she could say, her eyes were filled with tears...
And a moment later,"Thank you, it's beautiful, but..."

"Dont worry, my love" Xena started, she knew what Gabrielle was about to say.
And she showed her own hand, with the same ring on her finger..
"I told you, I will never leave you again."

"Thank you, Xena. This is the best birthday present I have ever gotten." Gabrielle smiled and landed a kiss
on Xena's cheek.
"The pleusure is all mine..."


They moved closer to the fire, enjoying that magnificent night and embrace of love they shared......
"My precious Bard..."
"My beautiful Warrior..."




Friday, October 03, 1997

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