Dream Of Choice

by Azurenon & Savanna Mac


Disclaimer: Xena Warrior Princess and all the characters and pictures contained herein are the sole property of MCA/Universal Studios/Renaissance Pictures. No infringement upon these rights is intended. We’ve merely borrowed these characters, as well as, some scenes and lines, for the sole purpose of entertainment and storyline continuity.

Warning: Sexual content: This story contains rather graphic details of two consenting, adult females involved in sexually explicit situations with one another. If this is not something you’d like to read about, please do not read our story. I’m sure there are even better ones, more to your liking.

Be it known, that this story is number 1 in a series we have written - sort of a "between the eps (episodes)", if you will, which makes references to the aired episodes listed below.

This story takes place following our daring duos adventures in the MCA/Universal Studios/Renaissance Pictures copywritten material entitled: "Destiny" and "The Quest". If you haven't seen these episodes, I would strongly suggest you do so before reading this.

Thanks go to all our friends! No need to mention each of you by name, you know who you are. This is for all the subtextors out there. We hope we have spun an enjoyable tale. If not, then please accept our humble apology.

Chapter 1

After laying her bedroll out on the ground near the fire, Gabrielle went into the woods to relieve herself. It had been a long and grueling few days, physically and emotionally. What with Xena dying; Gabrielle attempting to take her friend’s body, inside a sarcophagus, back home to Amphipolis; meeting up with the Amazons; Gabrielle being crowned Queen of the Amazons (which made an enemy of Velesca); finding out Xena was still alive, spiritually, and inhabiting Autolycus's body; being kissed by Xena/Autolycus and finally fighting Velesca (with Xena's spirit inside her own body) for the ambrosia (food of the Gods), that Xena so desperately needed in order to return to her physical body, there'd been little time for rest or even reflection.

Yet, although Gabrielle was physically tired, her mind was alert and spinning with questions concerning every aspect of Xena's spiritual journey and return to the living. But, more than this, there was something else nagging at her: that kiss. A kiss like none she had ever experienced. Not even with Perdecus - her husband of only one day - had she experienced such overwhelmingly strong physical, as well as, emotional reactions and sensations. But to whom had she reacted to... Xena or Autolycus? And whose hand had been on her behind... Xena's or Autolycus'? To her own amazement, the bard hoped in each case, that it had been the former.

Coming out of the woods, Gabrielle stopped dead still. In front of her Xena was laying out her bedroll, across the fire from Gabrielle's, as always. A pang of regret settled over the bard. She wanted to be close to the warrior tonight of all nights.

As she started to walk away, she was afforded a view, that once again stopped her in her tracks. Xena was now down on her knees smoothing out her bedroll; light from the fire highlighting each subtle movement of the warrior princess's muscular arms and thighs, as well as, her firm and ample backside. Of course, this was not an unfamiliar sight to Gabrielle. She'd seen her friend with no clothes on at all, for brief intervals, when they were bathing or changing clothes. Yet, for some reason, she felt differently about it, now. Matter of fact, she'd felt differently about everything since that kiss.

She shook her head to clear it. What was she thinking? Although she had always felt irresistably drawn to the tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed warrior, from the very first moment she ever laid eyes on her, the bard had never thought of this attraction as physical or in any way sexual. At least, not until now, that is. And yet, here she was, admiring her best friend's undeniably feminine curves and graceful, rippling muscles, thinking thoughts about her, as if she were.... a man.

"Something wrong?" Xena asked, her voice deep and gravely, as if she were tired.

"Uh... no," Gabrielle stuttered, as she urged her feet into motion and started towards her bedroll. "I.... I was just thinking..."

"Uh-oh, that could be dangerous to your health," Xena countered, the corners of her mouth twitching, restraining a smile.

"Ha-Ha," Gabrielle retorted, with very little humor in her voice, as she stopped before her bedroll and stared down at it.

"I was only teasing, Gabrielle," Xena offered, when the bard did not continue. "So, what intriguing thoughts are running through that creative little brain of yours, hmm?"

"I... well... Xena,... I really thought I'd lost you," Gabrielle replied, as she looked across the fire at her friend.

When her eyes met the brilliant blue ones she had looked into just this morning - the very same ones she was looking into right before that incredible kiss - the words began tumbling out of the bard's mouth of their own accord.

"I was so scared, Xena. I thought I'd lost you forever. I didn't want to lose you. I don't ever want to lose you again. And I wish, just this once, that you would not sleep all the way across the fire. I want to be near you, tonight, because... I still feel afraid of losing you."

As soon as Gabrielle realized what she'd said, she dropped her head in embarrassment and began trying to smooth things over. "Of course, I understand that this is all just silly and..."

"I think it would be easier for you to come o-ver h-here," Xena interjected, as she removed one of her boots. "After all I've already started undressing, hmm?"

"Uh... yeah,...um... sure," Gabrielle stuttered, as she reached down to gather up her bedroll. "But, are... you sure about this Xena, I mean I wouldn't want to put you out just because I'm being silly and child..."

"I don't think it's silly, at all," Xena interrupted once again, her voice soft and low. "It's been a... strange few days for both of us. Besides," she added, her voice taking on her usual teasing tone. "I could do with one of those neck rubs of yours. I think all that bouncing around in the sarcophagus put a kink in my neck."

"Hmm... in that case..." Gabrielle quickly gathered up her bedroll and was soon spreading it out beside her friend. "Xena... about you... inhabiting Autolycus' body..." she began, smoothing out her blanket. "How'd you do that, exactly?"

"To be h-honest," Xena replied, as she tugged off her other boot, and put it at the foot of her bedroll, beside the first one. "I don't really know myself."

"Hmm... well," Gabrielle sat down beside her friend, as she considered her next question. The one she was dying to ask. "Umm, what did you feel while.... I mean, when you were in his body?"

Xena cut her eyes over at her friend. "Autolycus is a good man. He has a good heart," she answered, removing her armbands one at a time. "He just doesn't like for anyone to see just how soft he is inside. I think that would make him feel vulnerable. He prides himself on being the King of Thieves, but underneath.... it's not the stealing that he likes, it's the challenge of figuring out how not to get caught. Know what I mean?"

"Hmm, I suppose," Gabrielle mumbled, for this was not the answer she had in mind.

While removing one of her own boots, she pondered how to rephrase the question in order to get the answer she did want.

"Did it really feel warm and... safe, when... I was helping you fight Velesca?" Xena asked.

Gabrielle was stunned by the question; for, Xena hardly ever probed such depths. She seemed to prefer to keep her own counsel and reveal very little of what was truly going on inside her head. Had something changed for her, as well? the bard wondered.

"Hmm?" Xena prodded, as she glanced over at Gabrielle.

"Uh... oh, yes, I felt v-very protected," Gabrielle answered, removing her other boot. "I felt like... I do sometimes when you... step in front of me or... put me behind you... in a fight. But, instead of just watching you, I was... participating somehow," Gabrielle paused, lost in her reverie, as she put her cold feet underneath her blanket. "I... felt like we were... almost one person. If that makes any sense," she added.

Xena grunted acknowledgement. The friends both glanced over at each other, their eyes holding one another's gaze for a brief and meaningful moment and then they each looked away, simultaneously.

"Hey, you gonna give me that neck rub or what?" Xena prodded, as she turned her back to Gabrielle. "That's the deal for you sleeping beside me, remember?"

"Oh, is that right?" Gabrielle commented. "Well, I could always just take my stuff and go back..."

Xena quickly reached behind her and grabbed hold of Gabrielle's left arm. "Don't you dare," she said, her voice soft and gravely. She rubbed Gabrielle's arm gently with her thumb before letting go, then cleared her throat. "At least, not before you get this kink outta my neck."

Gabrielle turned towards her friend and began massaging her neck, all the while wondering about the previous incident. It seemed apparent that Xena wanted her here. And she knew it wasn't just to rub her neck. Once again, Gabrielle began searching for a way to bring up the subject she wanted to discuss.

"Xena... did you... feel everything that... well, that I felt, when you were... inside me?" Gabrielle queried.

"Whaddaya mean?" the warrior asked, rotating her head, as if she were enjoying the bard’s ministrations.

"I mean, like... each time Velesca hit me? You know, the physical... sensations?"

"Uh, yeah. Down just a touch," Xena added, directing Gabrielle to the spot that hurt. "Oh yeah,... right there. Yeah,... I could.. pretty much feel everything. It just wasn't quite like... feeling those things in my own body."

"How so?"

"Umm, well... it's hard to describe... it's like it was... dulled, ya know. Sorta like... in a dream."

"Oh, I see," Gabrielle mumbled. "So... whatever you did... I mean... was... was all of it like a dream to you?"

"Over to the left a little," Xena directed, once again. "Umm.... All a dream? Well... no, not really. I mean, it all felt real enough. It just... wasn't like experiencing it first hand, ya know? I mean, there was someone else in there with me, sharing the experience."

"Oh," Gabrielle said with a nod. "Does that mean that... well, you didn't always control... our bodies?"

"Oh, believe me, Gabrielle, you were right there with me fighting Velesca. I couldn't have done it without you."

"Uh... no, that's not..." Gabrielle groaned, then paused in her ministrations.

Xena glanced over her shoulder. "What?" she asked in that soft voice she reserved solely for intimate chats like this.

"Nothing," Gabrielle responded, shaking her head and resuming her massaging.

Xena reached up and took hold of her hand, then turned slightly towards her. "No, there's something bothering you, I can tell. All these questions... they're leading somewhere. Now tell me... what is it, hmm?"

"It's... nothing... important," Gabrielle replied, removing her hand from Xena's shoulder, although the latter still retained a firm grip on her hand.

"Oh, it's important alright. I can see that much written on your face. Tell me, Gabrielle," Xena prodded, as she rubbed her thumb over the back of the bard's hand.

"It's..." Gabrielle glanced down at their hands, then back up at Xena. Once again, when her eyes met those dazzling blue ones, which were darting back and forth, as if searching hers for the answer to her question, she spilled the beans. "Who kissed me, Xena, you or Autolycus?"

A smile slowly crept onto the warrior's face, as she turned away. "So, that really happened, huh?" she asked, her voice very soft and scratchy. "I... wasn't sure... whether that was real or..."

"Oh, it was real, alright," Gabrielle responded, forcefully; sounding a bit angry, which was not her intention. Xena quickly let go of her hand and Gabrielle felt terribly guilty at ruining the moment. "At least it was real for me," she added, in a far softer, more intimate tone. "Was... that your idea or...."

Xena cleared her throat, then tugged lightly on her nose, a habit she had that usually signified she was a bit embarrassed. "I... uh... yeah, it was my idea. I... didn't think about.... well, it's like... in there... your uh... your thoughts become actions. Do you know what I mean?"

"I think so," the bard responded.

"I... I'm s-sorry, Gabrielle," Xena stuttered, her head bowed. "I... didn't know.. that would happen and.... I didn't mean to... hurt you in anyway. I never... want to hurt..."

"Who said anything about hurting me?" Gabrielle interrupted, as she reached over and took Xena's hand in hers. "I just asked whose idea it was. And I suppose, the hand on my behind was...."

"Well, that one I'm not so sure about. I... well, it didn't take much thought to bring about an action in there, so...."

"Um-hum," Gabrielle acknowledged. "And you say that... you didn't feel it quite like... you would in your own body? That... things were... kinda dulled, right?"

"Uh... yeah. Dulled about sums it up."

"So... what I felt, you didn't feel? Is that right?"

"I wouldn't say that. I mean, I felt it, but...."

"Xena," Gabrielle said, as she squeezed the warrior’s hand to get her attention. "There's something I just have know," she added, when her friend looked over at her.

"What's that?"

"Would you... do that again?"

"Huh? I'm not sure what you mean," Xena responded, her bright blue eyes searching Gabrielle's seemingly for the answer.

Gabrielle stared into her friend's eyes. She wanted to know if it would feel the same way if they kissed again, but she just couldn't get the words to even form in her throat, much less make it out her mouth. As her eyes traveled down to her friend's lips, however, action took precedence over words. She felt herself moving closer to Xena, being pulled in by the promise of recreating a moment that had meant so much to her. Sensing her friend moving towards her, as well; head tilted ever so slightly, Gabrielle closed her eyes once again.

Their lips met only briefly. But, it was long enough for Gabrielle to find out the answer to her question. It had indeed been Xena who had caused such an uproar of feelings inside of her, because it was happening once again.

When Xena started to retreat, Gabrielle opened her eyes and reached up, taking the warrior's face in her hands. Gently she pulled her friend back down, where their lips met once again in an even longer embrace than they had that morning.

An audible sigh escaped Xena's lips, reverberating against Gabrielle's. The bard moaned in utter and total agreement.

"By the God's, Xena," Gabrielle breathed, when they finally came up for air.

"I know..." the warrior sighed, taking her friend in her arms and pulling her close. She then placed a kiss at the base of her friend's neck.

"Oh, Xena..." Gabrielle moaned, goosebumps rising up and traveling down the right side of her body. "I'm... so glad you came back," she uttered, pulling her friend even closer.

"So am I," Xena responded, her lips grazing the bard's neck with each uttered word. "I almost lost you too, ya know. You're the one thing that kept me fighting to come back. I couldn't bear the thought of losing you, Gabrielle," she added, placing yet another lingering kiss on the side of the bard's neck.

"By the Gods, Xena," Gabrielle mumbled, feeling sensations like none she'd ever experienced before, travel the length of her torso and congregate in one central location.

The bard nuzzled the side of Xena's neck, the sweet smell of her friend's recently washed hair and the aroma emanating from the warrior's skin, acting like an intoxicant on her brain.

"You smell so-o... go-od," the bard uttered, her lips seeking out the side of Xena's neck in order to taste that which her olfactory senses had deemed so enticing. "Oh-h yes," she mumbled, lightly licking her lips, her tongue then returning to once again savor this new and tantalizing taste.

"Ga-bri-elle," Xena sighed, "you don't know... what... you're... doing to me."

"I'm... not... so... innocent... anymore," the bard protested, making her way up to Xena's ear, planting kisses along her route.

Her warrior friend moaned loudly, her hands beginning to roam over Gabrielle's back. Long fingers traced a path over the exposed skin of the bard's spine. Gabrielle shivered as strong hands massaged her buttocks.

"Xe-na," the bard breathed in the warrior's ear, then began working her way towards her best friend's lips.

Tentatively, Gabrielle placed light, fluttering kisses on her friend's lips, savoring every small sensation created by their gentle meetings. Then suddenly, Xena's hand was gently cupping her chin, the warrior almost forcefully maintaining the kiss for a much longer interval. Soft lips massaged the bard's own, causing her to release a slight gasp. Upon parting her lips, a soft, warm tongue eased between her teeth, slipping in and out ever so slowly, coaxing her to allow more of this contact. Gabrielle moaned rather loudly, as the warrior's gently probing tongue touched her own. No one had ever done this to her before. And the bard was beside herself wanting more... so much more.

Her hands took it upon themselves to explore on their own, traveling over the warrior's leather clad back, while her tongue performed an intimate dance with that of her friend's, until Xena pulled back.

"Gabrielle," her best friend sighed, swallowing hard, her left hand still cupping the bard's chin. "You... know where this... could lead... don't you?"

"Umm..." Gabrielle responded, her eyes still closed, her face moving towards her friend's; lips quivering slightly in anticipation.

This time the bard's tongue had a mind of its own, probing and exploring the warrior's mouth and performing yet another more intimate dance with the owner's tongue.

Xena's hand moved to the side of the bard's face and then around to the back of her neck and into her hair, holding her tightly. Then suddenly, she abruptly pulled back again. Gabrielle opened her eyes this time, to find Xena staring back at her. Those bright blue eyes, which so often seemed so cold and aloof, now contained a warmth and a glow the bard had never seen before.

"Are... you sure?" Xena asked, breathlessly, her eyes darting back and forth searching the bard's.

Gabrielle raised her hand to the warrior's face, her thumb massaging Xena's cheek, as she nodded in response. She then pulled her friend's face back down to her own.

To Gabrielle's surprise, Xena was no longer as tentative now, her lips aggressively covered the bard's own, her tongue probing the depths, as if searching for something just out of reach. Gabrielle melted into her friend's embrace, feeling as if she were once again, becoming one with the warrior princess. The small moans emanating from her friend, reverberated against her lips, as well as, inside her head, setting off little explosions of desire in the pit of her stomach. Something else that she'd never experienced before.

"G-reat Z-zeus!" Gabrielle gasped, breaking away to catch her breath.

Xena pulled the bard close, hands roaming over her backside, lips planting kisses from Gabrielle's cheek down to her ear.

"I want you," the warrior whispered in her ear. "I want to... lay you down and... make love to you," she continued, her left hand roaming around to the front of Gabrielle's skirt and inching its way beneath the flap.

One long finger traced the top edge of the bard's underwear, while the remainder caressed and massaged Gabrielle's backside. This hand was soon joined by the other, both now roaming and exploring, squeezing and releasing.

"I'll... stop... anytime you say," Xena breathed, her lips brushing against Gabrielle's ear with each word. "Is this... what you want?" she queried, as both index fingers slid beneath the waistband of the bard's underwear.

"Umm," was all Gabrielle could manage to murmur in response.

"Should I... stop?" Xena further queried, her breath hot against the bard's ear.

"No, please... don't," Gabrielle gasped, her right hand against the side of Xena's head, fingers inching into the long, dark, silky tresses.

Xena traced the bard's ear with the tip of her tongue, while the rest of her fingers eased beneath the snug fitting underwear.

Gabrielle moaned at the feel of Xena's strong, callused hands caressing and exploring her bare backside. All she could think about was how it would feel to have her bare skin against that of this beautiful warrior princess.

"Xe-na," she mumbled, against the warrior's ear.

"Yes, love," the warrior responded, nibbling on the bard's neck.

"I... want you, Xena," Gabrielle breathed into her ear.

The warrior groaned, her hands cupping the bard's backside one last time, before withdrawing and moving up her back. She then eased away from her friend, in order to make eye contact.

Xena's eyes darted back and forth, searching Gabrielle's. The glow in their depths, now revealing itself to be one of intense desire. Gabrielle cupped her friend's face in both hands and drew her close.

"I know what I want, Xena and... it's you," she murmured against the warrior's lips, before kissing her with far more fervor than she'd ever kissed anyone.

Xena whimpered softly, and began easing the bard back on her bedroll. She then broke away briefly to maneuver herself into a position beside Gabrielle, her left leg draped over the bard's right one.

"Umm..." Gabrielle moaned, her left hand leading Xena's full red lips back to their previous position against her own, while her right eased around the warrior's waist, then down to her ample hips and onto an exposed thigh.

Her fingers tingled at the feel of bare skin. And as if having a mind of their own, they eased over to the warrior’s leather clad bottom. Disappointment was evident in the way they quickly moved on to their next destination. Feeling leather meeting skin, her hands lingered here, at the apex of the warrior's inner thigh.

Xena groaned and broke away, burying her face in the left side of Gabrielle's neck, where she sucked lightly. Her left hand then moved from her friend's back and around to her waist, her index finger tracing the bottom of Gabrielle's halter top. Slowly, her fingers crept upward, feeling the ties that bound the top together. Deftly, they worked the leather lacings loose, then slipped beneath the left side of the bard's halter, where they found what they sought, in the form of a small, but still rising nipple.

Both friends moaned simultaneously. Gabrielle's hand involuntarily gripped Xena's exposed thigh, her fingers slipping beneath the leather undergarment, setting off another series of explosions in the pit of her stomach.

Xena whimpered and suddenly grabbed Gabrielle's arm, removing her hand from her backside and placing it beside them. The warrior then raised up, in order to look down at her friend, while her left hand returned to its previous position on the bard's round breast. She stared into Gabrielle's eyes, her fingers caressing and massaging the bard's erect nipple.

"I want to... make this last," Xena explained. "I wanna savor every... delicious moment. And... I've got all night to do so."

Gabrielle shivered with anticipation at the thought of making love all night long with this beautiful warrior. She reached up and pulled Xena's face towards her own.

"Yes," she murmured against the warrior's lips, "all night."

These words seemed to please the warrior immensely, for no sooner had Gabrielle uttered them than Xena was devouring her lips. Breathing heavily, she came up for air at periodic intervals, only to change the position of her head, then resume her attack on Gabrielle's lips. At the same time, her free hand was busy peeling back the bard's halter, before dropping lower; eager fingers seeking out the clasp on Gabrielle's skirt. She paused here, however, as if savoring this moment. The bard took this opportunity to reach over and remove one leather strap from her lover's shoulder, her other hand gently tugging on the strap on the other side.

Xena broke contact and eased back to face Gabrielle, her eyes bright with a seemingly intense hunger. She glanced over at her left shoulder strap hanging on her upper arm, Gabrielle's index finger still hooked inside. Slowly, she returned her attention to the bard, at the same time lifting her hand from Gabrielle's waist, allowing her lover to remove the strap from her left arm.

The bard smiled, as she ran her hand up Xena's arm to her shoulder, then slowly traced a path with her index finger down to the top of the warrior's leather outfit. The bard glanced down at her own hand briefly, as her fingers slowly cupped the warrior's ample round breast through the leather. Xena closed her eyes, as Gabrielle's index finger hooked the top of her outfit and pulled down ever so slowly.

The bard's fingers tingled at the feel of her lover's bare skin, while her eyes feasted upon the sight of a beautifully sculpted breast, its dark pink areola shriveled and tight, the darker nipple erect and seemingly begging to be touched. Gabrielle was all too eager to oblige; her hand wandering from leather to smooth, taunt skin; the warrior's erect nipple slipping between middle and index fingers.

Xena whimpered again, sending chills down the bard's spine. She loved the sounds emanating from this strong warrior princess, as she reacted to her touch. She wanted to hear more. She longed to hear Xena whimper and scream out her name in the throes of passion. And just the thought of this made the bard feel bolder. Yes, I will have her, she thought, the warrior princess will be mine before the night is through. And then she'll never want to leave me again.

Emboldened by these thoughts, Gabrielle put her arm around Xena's back, then cupped the warrior's breast in her other hand, bringing it towards her and meeting it halfway. Her lips sought out and slowly surrounded the erect nipple, her tongue massaging it gently.

Xena groaned, putting her left arm out to brace herself, as her body seemed to go limp. "G-great Gods above!" she exclaimed.

Gabrielle stopped her ministrations and pulled back. "What? Did I hurt you?"

"Oh no, love," Xena assured, gazing down at her. "Far from it," she added, as she leaned over and kissed the bard lightly on the cheek.

Shifting all her weight to her left arm, Xena shook her right one to free the remaining shoulder strap.

"Here... let me help... please," Gabrielle offered, as she eased the strap off, then ran her hand around to Xena's back, her fingers seeking out the clasps of the warrior's outfit. As her fingers fumbled with the individual clasps, her friend slowly relaxed, resting her weight upon her elbows, which she placed near Gabrielle's shoulders. Xena's long dark hair fell around them both like a cloak, shutting out the outside world and the light from the fire.

"Gabrielle," Xena said, her voice hoarse and quivering, as she placed a kiss beside the bard's mouth. "I know I said I wanted..." She sighed heavily; her breath hot against Gabrielle's cheek, "...to savor... each and..." She paused, as the bard freed her body from the leather garmet and removed it, leaving her with nothing but her underwear. "...every delicious moment..." She paused once again as Gabrielle's hands pressed against her back, pulling her down on top of her. "Yea Gods above!" she whispered, as their bare chests came together.

Gabrielle's breath left her in mid gasp. The shock from the intensity of the host of physical sensations that ran rampant through her body and coalesced in one central location, had taken her breath away. She wrapped her arms around Xena, wondering if she would die like this.

Then suddenly, the paralysis on her lungs lifted and she gasped in a great mouthful of air. "Oh-h Xe-na," she murmured against the warrior's neck.

Xena grunted and whimpered, as well. Her lower body, in total agreement with the bard's sentiment, involuntarily began reacting to the intense stimulation, by moving ever so slowly against her lover's thigh, which was trapped between her own.

"I... I'm not sure I have the strength..." the warrior began again, attempting to finish her thought, her voice barely above a whisper now. "....to resist... claiming you, right now."

"Ummm," was all Gabrielle could manage to say. For, the warrior's words, coupled with the feel of her lover's body pressed against her own; hips rhythmically moving ever so slightly against her left thigh; her lover's leg between her own, pressing against her most sensitive area with each movement, was setting off a series of intensely pleasurable explosions in her lower abdomen.

"You feel so-o go-od," Xena whispered near her ear. "I.. want you s-s-so badly, Gabrielle. Like I've never wanted anyone before." She paused and moaned, as the bard's hands moved down to her backside. "I... n-need you," she continued, her left hand roaming down Gabrielle's body to the waistband of her skirt once again, where her fingers quickly located the clasp. "I need to... feel all of you... next to me," she added, her fingers working the clasp free rather quickly.

The side of the skirt fell back, revealing one firm thigh. And the warrior's hand wasted no time in exploring this newly exposed terrritory.

Gabrielle gasped, as Xena's strong hand massaged the mound at the junction of her thighs. She further whimpered when the warrior's fingers slipped beneath her underwear, touching bareskin.

Xena sucked in her breath, as if she'd been burned. "Great God's above, you're so-o-o w-wet," she hissed. "Oh... these have... they've gotta go," she added, her hand moving up to the top of Gabrielle's underwear, where it immediately started tugging.

Gabrielle grabbed her hand. "Please... let me," she offered. "These are my best pair. And while I do this... you can get those off, hmm."

Xena reluctantly rolled over on her side, watching Gabrielle watch her, as they both removed the obstacles in each other's paths.

"You are... beau-tiful," Xena observed, hardly giving the bard time to free both legs, before she rolled back over, assuming her previous position.

"O-oh G-great Ze-us!" Gabrielle whispered, when Xena's leg crossed over hers and she felt not only the warrior's firm naked thigh against her own sensitive area, but also the extreme dampness of her lover pressed against her own thigh. "D-did I... cause that?" she just had to inquire.

"Umm, most definitely," Xena assured her, her hand already exploring newly exposed territory, without being too forward or invasive, as if she wanted to savor the moment.

Their lips met once again, Xena now sucking and nibbling on Gabrielle's, avoiding any prolonged contact, as if she were teasing her. Then suddenly, Gabrielle felt the warrior's lower body ease away from her own. It took her a moment to realize what Xena was doing. Obligingly, she slid her left leg over, giving her lover the room she needed to settle both her long legs between her thighs.

Each woman sighed, moaned and whimpered as their bodies came together fully.

"You don't know... how long I've waited... for this moment," Xena said, breathlessly, resting her cheek against Gabrielle's, her long hair once again enveloping them in darkness. "I've dreamed about this... so-o m-many times," she added, her breath hot against the bard's ear. "Taking you... making you mine," she continued, intentionally breathing in Gabrielle's ear. "Making it so good for you the first time that... you'll never wanna leave my side." She ran her tongue around the bard's ear. "Then I'll only need to... touch you... a certain way and... you'll eagerly.. open yourself to me."

Gabrielle was tingling from head to toe now, these words enflaming her passion, setting off little bombs of desire that were all landing in one intensely sensitive area. She pulled the warrior closer, pressing her hands against Xena's lower back.

Xena whimpered, then started devouring the bard's ear and neck, as her hips began moving once again to that slow and gentle rhythm.

"Of course... if... you don't want me," Xena mumbled against Gabrielle's ear. "all you have to do is say so, but... you must tell me now."

"By the gods, Xena," Gabrielle whispered. "Please... make me yours... take me now."

"Yes-s," Xena hissed, as she quickly moved off to the bard's left side, shifting her body weight and freeing up her right hand. "Oh yes love, you will be mine before this night is over," she purred.

Gabrielle pressed her face into Xena's shoulder, as the warrior's fingers touched that most sensitive and now throbbing area. She sucked in her breath and gently sank her teeth into the skin at the base of her lover's neck, as Xena, true to her word, claimed her body and soul, taking her to far greater heights than she'd ever dreamed of.

"Ga-bri-elle!" Xena cried out, long fingers digging into the taunt skin of the bard's back, as the warrior's body shuddered and convulsed.

"And now my beautiful warrior princess," Gabrielle whispered in Xena's ear. "you are truly mine," she finished, feeling her lover's muscles contract and release their grip on her fingers.

Chapter 2

Gabrielle awoke when Xena shifted beside her. "Umm," she sighed, her sleepy eyes gazing at the warrior's beautiful naked body, stretched out beside her in all its morning glory. "Aren't you cold?" she queried, feeling a bit chilled herself even with the blanket up to her chin.

Xena offered no reply, she merely sat up and then got to her feet.

"Where are you going?" Gabrielle inquired.

Xena still said nothing in response, as she started walking away.

"Xena... what.... where...?" Gabrielle stammered, her gaze captivated by the way her lover's cheeks jiggled ever so slightly when she moved. "Where are you going? I..." She paused, as her lover glanced over her shoulder, a sweet smile turning up the corners of her mouth. "Yeah, well, I guess I know where you're going, but... at least you could answer me... or ask if I wanted to come with..." Gabrielle paused again and gasped, as she watched Xena's form begin to fade, right before her eyes and then disappear altogether.

"No!" Gabrielle exclaimed, as she sat up. Her hands involuntarily flew to her face, the tears already starting to form in her eyes. "No.. NO.. NO-O-O!!" she screamed, her mind suggesting that Xena's return to life had only been a dream. "Xena no, you can't leave me... not again," she blubbered. "I can't take it... I just can't.... No... XE-NA!!!"

"Gabrielle," her friend's distinct voice said near her ear.

"Xena!!!" she screached, turning so quickly, the world went black.

"Gabrielle... Gabrielle... wake up, I'm right here," Xena's voice said softly, strong hands touching her own now and prying them from her face.

"Xe-na?" Gabriellie queried, as she slowly opened her eyes to find her friend's blue ones staring back at her. "Is it... really you?"

"Yes," the warrior answered, squeezing her hands and smiling.

"Oh thank the gods, you really are back," the bard mumbled, as she threw her arms around her friend's neck.

"Uh yeah... I'm really back," Xena murmured against her shoulder.

"It was... only a dream, then," Gabrielle whispered, as she eased back to face her friend; her peripheral vision taking note of the change in their surroundings, as well as, the leather straps on Xena's shoulders.

Gabrielle blinked several times; her eyes could not ignore the fact that the warrior was fully dressed. Then she glanced around them, her mind registering their change of position, according to the now smoldering fire.

"Wait, weren't we... how'd we...?" She shook her head to clear her muddled thoughts; for, she could have sworn they had been lying on the other side of the fire.

"Musta been some dream," Xena offered, reaching up and wiping a tear from Gabrielle's cheek.

"Uh... yeah, some... dream," Gabrielle mumbled, desperately unsure now what had been a dream and what hadn't.

"I"ll say," Xena agreed. "You were screaming my name just then and.. well, matter of fact, you... called my name... a lot during the night," she added.

"I... did?" Gabrielle stammered, her eyes taking note of the two bedrolls they were sitting on, and their close proximity to one another. Yet, they were just the opposite of how they'd been laying together before.

"You must have been dreaming about... the past few days," Xena offered, having followed the bard's gaze. "You kept calling my name, so... I... I moved over here, thinking... that maybe if I was near you... you'd sense me and stop calling out for me."

"So, that... really happened," Gabrielle mumbled, realizing that Xena's death and return to life had not been a dream.

"It seemed to help for a while," Xena continued to explain. "At least until you... umm..." Xena paused and gently tugged on her nose. "I mean, until just a while ago. When I came back from... well, you know... you were screaming."

"I see," Gabrielle mumbled, disappointment and sadness settling over her like a cloak, as she realized that their love making had been nothing more than a dream.

"You don't remember anything about... your dream?" Xena queried, a bit hesitantly, brushing the bard's hair back from her face.

"Uh, no..." Gabrielle lied, her fuzzy brain unable to come up with a plausible explanation to offer her friend for her odd behavior the previous night.

"Well, maybe it's... just as well," the warrior soothed, her hand rubbing the bard's left arm now. "Sounded like a... real doozey of a nightmare, whatever it was."

"Umph," Gabrielle grunted, as she glanced over at her left arm, her skin tingling from the touch of the warrior's hand.

Following the bard's gaze and sensing her discomfort, Xena removed her hand. "Well,... we should get going then."

"Going?" Gabrielle inquired, hardly feeling able to move, her disappointment was so great.

"We're going to the Amazon village remember? You told Ephiny you'd pass along the mask of the Amazon Queen. Unless of course, you've... changed your mind and..." Xena paused and tugged on her nose again. "...want to remain their Queen."

"Uh.. no, I.... I haven't changed my mind," Gabrielle assured her friend. "I... I wanna stay with you, Xena," she added, looking up at the warrior.

When the two friend's eyes settled upon one another's, their gazes locked for one lingering moment; Xena's bright blue eyes not so different now than in Gabrielle's dream.

"Are you sure?" the warrior questioned, her eyes searching Gabrielle's.

"Yes, I'm sure," the bard replied, her stomach doing flip flops, remembering her dream. "I'm... very sure," she added, reaching out and pulling her friend to her for a hug.

Xena held her close, their upper bodies pressed together.

"You're min... my best friend," Gabrielle mumbled, correcting herself, as she was about to say mine. "Promise me you'll... never leave me again, Xena."

"I.. promise, Gabrielle, I'll never leave you again. At least, not if I have any say so in the matter," Xena responded. "You're my best friend too. And... I never want to lose you."

I love you, Xena, Gabrielle thought, but did not say. And one day you'll be more than just my best friend, she added, if I have any say so in the matter.

"Better?" Xena queried, her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders, holding her at arm's length, as she looked into her eyes.

"Yeah," Gabrielle replied, raising her right hand and taking hold of Xena's left arm. "For now..."

"Good, then... let's get our things together," Xena said, taking hold of the bard's hand on her arm and helping Gabrielle to her feet. "I'll... get us something to eat along the way, hmm?"

"Good, I'm starving," Gabrielle acknowledged.

"Ah, it's good to be back in my own body," Xena said, inhaling deeply.

Out of the corner of her eye, Gabrielle looked her warrior friend up and down. "It's good to have you back... in your own body," she mumbled, her mind once again swirling with the unanswered questions she'd had before her dream. "Xena... when you were in Autolycus' body," she began, the words tumbling out of her mouth before she even had a chance to stop them.

"Yes?" Xena prodded, as she stretched languorously, then glanced over at her friend.

The bard could once again see the aloofness in the warrior's eyes and her true question died in her throat. "He really is a nice guy, huh?"

"Yeah," Xena answered. "A real softee, but... he doesn't want anyone to know that."

"Kinda like you," Gabrielle stated.

"Hey, there's nothing soft about me," Xena corrected, in a teasing tone. "You, of all people, should know that by now," she added, hands on hips, back straight as an arrow, as she faced Gabrielle.

The bard's eyes involuntarily went to Xena's lips, dropped down to her breasts, then even further.

"Nah, you're right," she agreed. turning her attention to her bedroll. But, I can't help but wonder, she thought to herself, as she started gathering up her things. And one day I intend to find out.

"And speaking of bodies," Xena said, coming up behind her. "If I ever... die again, Gabrielle, please... don't give me an Amazon burial, hmm?"

"Oh... don't worry," Gabrielle assured her. "I intend to make sure that no one touches your body... ever again.... except me," she added, shaking her blanket out and snapping it on the last two words.

"What was that last part?" Xena queried, kneeling down now, putting sand on the smoldering embers of their fire.

"I... uh... I said believe me," Gabrielle replied, a slight smile turning up the corners of her mouth, which her friend could not see.

"Good," Xena acknowledged. "That puts my mind at ease."

"I'm glad one of us is," Gabrielle mumbled.

"What was that?" Xena inquired.

"Umm.. I said,.. I'm glad it is."

"Hmph," Xena grunted, as she walked up behind Gabrielle once again. "You know, I meant what I said, Gabrielle. I will always be right here for you," she added.

The bard spun around so quickly, she nearly lost her footing. Xena reached out and grabbed hold of her arms, steadying her. "You... you mean... you remember that? And... the kiss..."

Xena blinked, as if taken aback. "Kiss?" she queried.

Gabrielle turned back around, but not as quickly as before. "Oh... nothing... I..."

"Did Autolycus... take liberties with you?" Xena further prodded, when the bard did not continue.

"Uh.. no.. he... I just... I kissed him on the cheek is all," Gabrielle lied. "I thought...."

"Thought what?" Xena questioned.

"Just... thanking him for... allowing you to use his body and.... talk to me," Gabrielle further lied.

"Umph," Xena grunted, moving closer. "Then I guess I owe you my thanks too, for... bringing me back, don't I?"

"Uh well,.. no... not really..." Gabrielle stammered, folding her bedroll into a tight bundle.

"Oh, but I think I do," Xena disagreed, so close now that Gabrielle could feel her breath striking the fine hairs on the side of her neck.

The bard closed her eyes, as Xena's strong hands took hold of her arms. Is she really going to kiss me again? she wondered, feeling her friend turn her around to face her. Oh please, let it be real this time, she thought, as she slowly opened her eyes.

"Thank you, Gabrielle," Xena said, a much softer look in the depths of her blue eyes. The same look the bard had seen in her dream.

Gabrielle's legs began to feel weak, as the warrior's face came closer. She closed her eyes to savor the moment.

Her cheek quivered, as Xena's brushed against it. Disappointment flooded her entire being, as her friend merely hugged her.

"I'll get the firewood for a moon's time," Xena offered, her breath tickling the hairs on Gabrielle's neck.

"Hmph," was all Gabrielle could manage to say, her disappoinment was so deep and devastating, words would not even form in her mind, much less her throat .

Xena grunted. "Guess that's not much of a thank you, hmm?" she asked, as she pulled back and faced her friend. "Well, I can't say I'll cook, because that..."

"Would be terrible," both women said simultaneously.

Then they both busted out laughing at the coincidence.

"You don't have to do anything for me, Xena," Gabrielle finally admitted. "Just.. having you back... in your own body and knowing that you're happy and healthy... that's enough for me."

"Don't ever change, Gabrielle," Xena said, as she reached out and stroked her friend's cheek. "I like you just the way you are."

Gabrielle nodded, appreciating the sentiment of her friend's words and yet wondering just what kind of changes the warrior would object to. Would her dream of being with Xena, as lovers, ever come true?

"And if you have one of those nightmares or... you just need someone to..." Xena paused, as she put her arm around her friend's shoulder. "Well,... just know, I'll be here for you, Gabrielle. All you have to do... is call my name."

Gabrielle smiled, her hand slipping around the warrior's waist. Perhaps there was still hope after all.

The End

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