Inside, Outside
By CN Winters


Disclaimers: These characters belong to Rob Tapert and Co. I'm only usin' 'em for my enjoyment. Is there female/female love scenes here? Ohhh yeah there is! So if that could get you in trouble, for any reason whatsoever please leave now.

Authors Note: My muse had taken a big time holiday until the Indian eps began. I became convinced at that point that Gabrielle and Xena had become lovers during the fourth season. Peggy, an email friend, asked 'If they are officially lovers in your eyes when did it happen? Maybe it would make a good story?'.

Thank you Peggy for your brilliant idea.<G> This one's for you and your sweetie of 17 plus years<VBG>.

As always feel free to send comments to Thanks for all the support.

I stand looking outside the window of my farm house. My fingers tap on the sill. My scowl is embedding deeper into my face.

I built this house, this farm; this family with my own two hands. I always said I'd die before I let anyone take that away. At least, that's what I said. But here I stand. Fingers tapping. Scowl faced. And I watch one of my most prized possessions slipping away. . .again.

She wasn't a threat back then. She said she was moving on. She kept her word. But not before taking my little girl with her. Nothing but a murdering harlot that Xena. Even the sound of her name invokes anger and nausea deep within me.

The talk in the town was unbelievable after they left together. I was forced to defend that cretin in a manner of speaking. I had to tell our neighbors that my bright, creative daughter had forsaken a man - a good man - to travel with that homicidal wench. I could see the pity on their faces as I explained which only built my rage even more. And Perdicus, he took to the blade to find his destiny. Truth be known he took to the blade to become a warrior, like Xena, because if a warrior is what she wanted then a warrior he would be. . . Perdicus. . .Another causality to Xena. Of course Gabrielle never saw it that way. It wasn't Xena's fault she said. Was my daughter. . .my flesh, my blood. . .really that blind to see what pain associating with that bitch could bring?

I continue to watch out the window at them. My pacing daughter has now taken a place on the bench next to the 'warrior princess'. My stomach clinches as I watch her arm snake around the warrior and her head come to rest on . . .Xena's. . .shoulder. I'm getting a little better at saying her name, if even silently, but I don't think I'll ever be able to speak it without clinching my teeth.

I feel gentle arms snake around me in a similar fashion.

"It's love," my wife tells me. "Try to be happy for her."

"How?" I ask aloud. Not just for Hecuba's consideration but also my own. "How can she love her? After that story they told us tonight? After what we saw lying in our barn? After all the pain that . . .woman. . .has brought her. . .How?"

I really need answers here because I do not understand what my daughter sees.

"Same way I put up with you. Perseverance and understanding," she jabs playfully, poking me in my side for emphasis.

"I'm serious," I tell her moving from the window and her embrace.

"So am I for the most part," she replied. I can tell she sees I'm not convinced and she continues. "She loves Xena. And I think Xena loves her too. . .Gabrielle was never meant to be a farmers wife Herodotus."

My wife starts to chuckle as she finishes.

"What's so humorous?"

"Remember when she was 12 and that traveling bard would come through and give her lessons? Remember how she said that's what she was going to do?"

Did I remember? Holy Hera how could I forget! Such a defiant one my Gabrielle. I feel the small grin tug at my lips.

Hecuba comes back into my arms as she continues. "You worked her sun up to sun down for two solid weeks until she got that 'silly' idea out of her head; trying to break her resolve? Do you remember what happened?"

"That was different," I insist. It was different. "She was a stubborn child then. Now she's. . ." 'a stubborn adult' I finish silently. Hecuba reads my thoughts and grins. 'Yes, she is an adult isn't she?' I ask myself, already knowing the answer.

"She's a woman now," Hecuba said walking back to the window looking out.

I know I couldn't debate this any further. The chances of me swaying my wife's vote in the matter was as likely as it was to sway my daughter years before regarding her 'bardly' pursuits. At least I knew where Gabrielle got her determined nature from - her mother. . .and I had to admit. . .myself as well. . . 'The girl has got a double dose of resistance' I thought as I laugh inwardly. My head strong daughter. I love her dearly but she must be Tartaris to live with at times and I realize that after three years together maybe Xena had qualities, good qualities, I hadn't considered. Nahh. . .now I was talking crazy.

I return to the window to watch the pair once more. I regret the decision immediately and release a frustrated sigh. Neither I nor my wife are prepared to witness what is taking place outside on the bench. I can't look any longer and I turn to leave.

But my departure isn't quick enough. My daughter and 'her warrior' turned back toward the house, as if sensing my presence. We all lock eyes. Gabrielle turns away first. Hecuba, follows next, mumbling something about getting to bed. When my daughter doesn't look back again I know it's because she can see my disapproval. Gabrielle looks away. . .but not that damn warrior. Oh no. . .She meets my gaze head on in a battle of intimidation. I see that look and I know what she's conveying - Gabrielle belongs to her now and no one will take her. No one. Not even me. . . her father.

But someplace in my disdain of this 'show of force' is a respect and a comfort. If that warrior looks at me in that fashion, Gods help anyone that would ever hurt my daughter. . .I pause for a moment and then break our gaze. I look to the bedroom where my wife has gone. Perhaps she's right. . .perhaps it is love. I resolve that I don't need to be happy about Gabrielle's choice but I will find someway to accept it. Not for me. Not for the warrior. . .But for Gabrielle, the stubborn woman who will always be my little girl.

I'm lost in the kiss. One moment we are talking about finding answers together. The next our lips are seeking each others out. By the gods, I've waited for this moment for so very long.

When I realized I loved her - truly loved her, would do anything for her - I promised myself that I would never push her. If anything was ever to happen physically between us, it would be because she had come to me. Shortly before our quest to find Sarafin, Gabrielle had kissed me one night.

I remembered how easily it started. We we're ribbing each other, good naturally, over the fire one night. She 'threatened' me with a tickle treatment. I taunted and dared her. That was enough to force her into action. In the end, I wound up flat on my back, against my bedroll with a very frustrated, heavy breathing bard on top of me. I told her she was beautiful when she was angry. I meant it as another jab, a means to provoke her even further. But my voice lost its sarcastic edge and the statement became a confession instead - a testament to my feelings I buried deep within me. . .until that moment.

Seconds later lips and tongues and hands were exploring. I was actually giddy. I felt like a clumsy adolescent again, grappling with the awakening of sexual desires. I was far from a virgin but in Gabrielle's arms that night everything - every touch, ever smell, every sensation - was totally new and something I'd never, in all my years (and lovers) before, experienced.

Things didn't go quite as far as I would have liked but I pledged to keep my oath - she would set the pace. We had talked about the future that night too- our future - and she explained how she wanted to get adjusted to the changes that expressing our love physically might bring. She had my full support. Besides we had all the time in the world. Why rush things? We had years to make love to each other, right?

That's why my quest to see her was so important. I wanted to tell her just how much she meant to me, just how much I loved her and how I wished she and I had another chance. Now here I sit with her in my arms, her lips fighting for control over me and winning.

Her lips are as smooth as Chin silk and she tastes of red grapes we snacked on earlier. I don't ever want to break the connection but we both feel something odd and we both pull away at the same time. Someone is watching us. We can feel it in our bones. With a quick look over our shoulders I see Herodotus and Hecuba standing in the window.

"Oh Gods," my soon to be lover mumbles and turns away, a beautiful rosy color rising to her cheeks.

I however can not look away. I am not embarrassed by the love and passion I have for their daughter and I want them to see this. Hecuba breaks away first, slinking away to the bedroom I presume. But Herodotus gives me a look of death. However the longer we stay locked the softer his expression becomes and if I didn't know any better just before he turns to meet his wife I see a small smile upon his lips.

It feels like I just began to close my eyes when I hear a rattling in the kitchen and someone cursing 'Son of Bacchae' in a heated whisper. I leave my husbands side (the man can sleep through anything) and go out to inspect the commotion.

That's when I see her. My eldest. Two arms full of food and a loaf of bread balanced in her mouth as she tries to creep out. She tries not to smile when I catch her (because she'll lose the bread). I start to chuckle and I shake my head at her antics. I take the items from her hands before she drops more things and wakes up the entire house.

"We have a basket you know," I inform her.

"Yes, mother I know," she sighs. "But I couldn't find it. And I didn't want to wake anyone."

"Too late," I say dryly with a smile.

She smiles back too and my heart warms. She's such a beautiful girl but I guess all mothers think that of their children.

I reach into the cupboard. I open the picnic basket and we begin to load it with the goodies she's confiscated from my kitchen.

"We saw you and Xena outside tonight," I say as casually as possible.

She says nothing. She just stands still and nods her head in agreement. I'm not sure what I want to say. Or where I should begin. Tartaris, I don't even know if it's any of my business. Didn't I tell my own husband tonight to stay out of things; to let her be happy with her choice. . .So why now, do I bring it up? I realize why - I'm her mother. It's that plain and simple.

"I love her mom," she whispers, breaking the ramblings in my mind.

"So I see," I sigh. "Does she treat you well?" My one; my only true concern, is her welfare above all else. Of all things, I know this to be true.

"Yeah," she answers after a brief thought. A million questions seem to run through my mind at her pause and I can see she's warming up to an explanation.

"So many things happened this year mother," she says with a sad smile on her face. I know she's trying to be her optimistic self but the pain in her heart is still quite great. They both told us the story of their battles with Dayhak tonight but both Herodotus and I felt the 'gaps' in the story. Things that had happen but were edited in great detail. "It's been rough at times," she adds softly.

"That doesn't answer my question Gabrielle," I reply. I need to know. I need to hear her say the words and believe them. I need to know my baby's safe. How hard can that be for anyone to comprehend.

"In light of all that's happened. . .Xena treats me very well. It's funny but I still feel safest when I'm with her."

I watch the far off look in my daughters eyes before she shakes off whatever thought that took her so far away from my kitchen. She returns to our conversation with a smile and a reassurance, "Please don't worry about me. Xena will continue to do her best to protect me."

"Well your father isn't too keen on Xena," I inform her.

"Keen?" she laughs.

"Alright he hates her with a passion," I confess rolling my eyes. My daughter smiles at my frankness and honesty. "But he'll come around given time. . .You are going to say good-bye this time . . .aren't you?"

She chuckles and my heart flutters. I missed her laughter in my house. I know this is the real Gabrielle. The imposter rarely laughed. Hardly smiled. This is my Gabrielle.

"You know Xena suggested that we slink away tonight," she giggled. "But she was only kidding. . .Nah, this time I leave the village as an adult, not some hero worshipping teenager."

"C'mere," I say, pulling her into a tight embrace. "I love you Gabrielle. I'm not sure if anyone will be good enough for you but. . . as long as you're happy that's the best I can hope for."

"I am happy," she tells me as she pulls back, latching onto the basket. She picks it up with ease. And I can't help but notice how well built she is now - how fit; the baby fat she left with now a memory. "I'm happy and I have a hungry warrior to feed," she smiles, making her way to the door.

"G'dnight mother."

"Good night Gabrielle."

Staying in the barn was out of the question. I'm not sure I would ever be able to walk back in there again without seeing the image of Hope and her 'child' lying there. And as for my room it was small enough with just me and Lila let alone me, Lila and Xena.

Besides. . . it's a warm spring night. Once we get the fire going it will be more than suitable. Xena takes the basket from me after she dismounts my fathers mare. She helps me down with her free hand but she doesn't let go once my feet are safely planted. I'm surprised. Not that it's unpleasant - not at all. I love the contrasts on her hands, the smooth palm and the callused fingertips. She's usually not so openly affectionate but I also realize it's not every day that I return from the dead. I chuckle at the thought and she looks to me to see what's tickled me.

"It's nothing really. . ." I say tightening my grip on her fingers. "Just thinking about everything. . .about how wonderful it feels to be with you again. . . I spent every waking and dreaming moment thinking about you."

She doesn't reply with words. She rarely does. Her smile gets broader and conveys everything she doesn't say.

"I wish I could remember how I got there. . .I wish I found you sooner . . .I wish-

"Enough wishes," she tells me. The moonlight is dim and although I can't quite see it, I can hear the smile in her voice.

Before I can respond her lips lay claim to mine and I moan into the lushness of the moment. By the gods this woman knows how to kiss! I heard the romantic gibberish of going weak in the knees but who'd have thought it was actually true. My heart is pounding so hard I can feel it vibrating in my temples. My skin feels moist as my temperature goes up a few more degrees. I can feel myself start to shake, unable to control my movements.

"Are you scared?" she asks. Apparently I'm not the only one who can feel my shaking.

"No," I smile sincerely. "Not at all."

"Are you cold?" she asks next.

I have the urge to slap her and say, 'Damn woman! It's you okay?! You turn me on to the point I lose control of my body!' I begin to laugh nervously at the thought. She looks unsure of what to say at this point but then it's as if the flint sparks, the idea comes in her mind.

With a bashful smile she asks, "Is it me?"

I return the smile just as shyly myself. "Yes, it's you. . .but not that I'm complaining!" I add in a rush. "I just . . .never felt. . .this way before."

Xena leans in and nuzzles my ear, making goosebumps rise up my neck and down my back. "Me too," she agrees seductively. Her voice is so smoky and thick; it sucks the air from my lungs. And I believe her. I believe she's never loved like this either.

Oh how I want her. I want her now. And I'm not the least bit ashamed of my desire. I never lived for anything in my entire life like I live for her.

My fingers twine their way around the raven locks. I look up into those eyes - the bluest blue ever to grace the earth. So many thoughts and feelings I've seen conveyed within that blue - fear, shock, love, understanding, anger and at this moment desire.

I know she wants me as well. Her muscles are as taunt as a spring beneath her tender flesh. And I want to explore every inch of her. I feel her step back, physically and emotionally, for a moment, gaining some much needed focus.

"Come on," she says taking me by the hand and leading me toward the river. "Let's eat. I'm starving." My stomach, on cue, growls in agreement and we both chuckle as we start to walk along hand in hand.

I figure the meal would be an excruciatingly painful wait to what lays ahead. But it isn't. Instead of putting my desire in check, Xena makes it a 'course' in our meal. The wonderful sounds she makes as I suck the strawberry jam from her fingers creates cravings within myself I never dreamed possible.

As I finish up the last of my dinner, Xena takes care of the evening chores. She readies our bedrolls - placing them not only side by side, as it had become custom, but laying them so they are touching to make one large covered area. And she starts a fire as well - not just a few logs mind you, but many logs indicating it could be a very long night.

I'm mesmerized as I chew some cherries. I watch her stretch out her muscles while she takes off her bracers and gauntlets. Next go her breastplate and boots, quickly followed by her shin guards. The only thing remaining is her leathers.

Her eyes lock on mine now, almost asking permission - wanting to know if it's okay that she undress; if it's okay to offer herself to me. Maybe she thinks I've gone through too much tonight by watching Hope die. In truth, at this point, my answer is no - Hope WAS evil and any goodness she had couldn't be reached by me. Perhaps Xena is apprehensive because she thinks I'd like to do the honors of disrobing her. In truth I would but, at this point, I can't move. Once more my body's lost the ability of motion. I am, however, able to nod my head giving her the 'okay' she seeks.

With agonizing slow movements she pulls the battle dress down, strap by strap. Her body shimmies as she works her way out of the leather - her ample bosom swaying; her hips rotating. I wonder silently, as I watch her little 'show', at what point did I forget how to breathe? My food is forgot at this point but I find myself still salivating and I swallow hard.

She stands above me clad only in her off white shift and her britches. The same vision before me as the day we met in this very village. . . 'Well maybe not exactly the same' I consider as I grin. I try to find my voice but it appears to have fled. All I can do is watch. She sees my grin and instantly mimics it. She reaches down to me and I take her hands. Soon I am standing up on shaky legs. I watch as she unties my halter top. Her movements are hypnotic but instead of feeling sleepy, I've never felt more alert, more alive, in my life.

My hands find her forearms. They stroke her. They silently beg her to continue and she complies. Soon I feel those hands run over my bosom wrap, up to my shoulders and down my arms, leaving a trail of tingling skin behind them. I never feel my top leave my body but it soon takes residence on the ground. Her hands have expertise in many areas.

I watch as she moves to her knees, almost subserviently, and places the most delicate of kisses on my stomach. My belly in return flips at the contact - the butterflies, knowing of what's to come, try to escape my body. Her hair brushes against the flesh of my stomach and my thigh as she pulls me closer. Her hands wrap around my body, finding my belt latch. Without any fumbling, it's unhooked. She loosens my skirt too and both items are now being held tight in her hands. I watch her pull them down and I use her shoulders to steady myself as I step out of them.

She sighs at the contact of my hands touching her. Once more, she surprises me. The touch was not intended as erotic but a necessity for my weak legs. Yet she felt a bolt of passion sweep through her at my innocent touch. I wonder, if my innocent touches evoke such responses, what will my touches of passion do to her? I know I can no longer play the submissive . . .at least for now.

I travel to my knees to join her. She's still slightly taller than me but we fit together perfectly. I pull down the straps of her shift. Her skin feels delightfully warm in my embrace. The slopes and curves of her body radiate in my touch. Her nipple instantly constrict with a light caress. I feel my body reacting just as hers does with just the mere sight of her arousal.

I feel her thumb and index finger hook my chin, pulling my head up. Our lips meet. Our tongues search. Our hands have a life of their own. She mumbles something about seeing me too and I feel my wrap go to the wayside, tossed to the pile of my other garments.

A chill comes over me at the loss of clothing and the departure of her body heat.

"Are you cold 'now'?" she teases me, seeing the bumps settle over my body; my tiny hairs standing on edge.

I nod and grin at my lover. . .My lover? How I love the sound of that. How I wish I could shout it to the world. But she and I agreed months before, when we considered physically gratifying each other, that we would tell travelers, strangers and the like that we were 'friends'. It was safer. Not every town was as excepting of women as lifemates. Xena was never a woman to hide anything about herself but she felt this fact would protect me and if being slightly 'misleading' to the true nature of our relationship meant keeping me safe - so be it.

She told me months ago that she was done with the past and her only concern was me. . . I wasn't sure if she would let those past demons go and truly mean what she proclaimed. And although I'm sure she has moments of doubts, all and all she does put me first and foremost above all else - above redemption, above the greater good and above even herself. This knowledge only makes my heart pound louder now that her body begins to cover me.

"Well we can't have that can we?" she whispers in my ear.

"Oh Gods you feel so good against me," I whisper back. The words just slip from my mouth without forethought.

Her answer is a groan and a grind of her hips as she plants tiny kisses along my earlobe. I feel her suck the lobe between her lips as her hips grind harder and higher than before. Oh gods I never realized anything could feel this wonderful. My britches are embarrassingly wet. I feel Xena begin to snake her hand down to the soaked region and I stop her by grabbing her wrist.

"Too fast?" she asks. "I'll slow down," she adds without waiting for my answer.

"No!" I exclaim and start to chuckle at the desperate sound in my voice. "No," I continue more calmly. "I . . .I'm just worried that I'm.." Gods I'm a bard for Gods sake just spit it out. "I worried that I'm TOO excited," I tell her.

I wait for her reaction. I see her thinking. She shifts her hand slightly so I'll release my grip. She gestures to my body asking for permission to continue her exploration. I give a brief nod. She has yet to speak to me. She begins at the top of my head, running her fingers through my hair, down the slope of my face and brushing across my cheek. Her fingertips make there way down my neck with feather-like softness. For someone who can be so brutal, her gentleness amazes me. Her fingers are replaced with kisses and moments later the lips that started on my neck have now fixated to my nipples.

The sensation is incredible. I think of Perdicus and how it never felt like this when he did this. Of course his admiration of my bosom didn't last very long or please me so thoroughly. Xena however. . .

I'm having a hard time concentrating at this point. The connection from my breasts to my center is racing like a speeding chariot. I need something. . . anything. . . there. . .now. . .by the gods I can't wait. . .

My hands grab Xena's wrist. However, instead of stopping my warrior I find myself leading her to my damp curls. Perhaps I am too excited but I don't care any longer. I need to find relief from my desire. She doesn't require much help. She knows exactly what I want. . .Oh gods she knows how to deliver. . . but I help her. My hips rotate to meet her probing fingers.

Oh yes! Finally! Skin on skin. Her fingers are delving against my center directly, my britches shoved aside. I feel myself silently begging her not to stop. I will do anything in the world to keep that hand there, active against my flesh.

"I can't believe how wet you are Gabrielle," she moans.

My movements stop. And I can see the angry expression on her face. Upon closer look I see it's not anger - its hurt. . . Oh no! She thinks I don't want her!

"Xena it's not you it's me! I've never been this wet. I told you I was too excited. I just. . ."

I don't finish. I see the smile on her face grow larger. She understands now why I've been uncomfortable this evening; fearful of her wandering hands. I watch her take those wet fingers and put them in her mouth, sucking my juice from them. She chuckles at the sigh of desire and amazement I release at witnessing this sight and I promptly blush.

"Oh sweetheart," she whispers in my ear. I watch as she dips into my center, tasting my wetness once more, sending me higher than before. "Believe me. . ." She returns yet again. But unlike the previous moment she offers her finger to me to taste.
"You taste wonderful. . .Have you ever tasted yourself Gabrielle?"

I've died. I am in Elysia now. For just when I think my desire can climb no higher this beautiful woman before me proves me wrong. Weakly, I shake my head.

"Would you like to? It would really make me hot if you did Gabrielle but I'll never make you do anything you don't wanna do."

Her concern is enough to make my heart overflow. Any hang-ups or inhibitions I had at the beginning of the evening have now just melted away thanks to my considerate and inventive lover. It will make her hot huh?

I lick the side of her finger tentatively at first. The taste is not what I expected - a salty sweetness. The consistency and color is smooth like icing. Umm, I think I see what the appeal is. I find I'm now cupping Xena's hand, taking her whole finger in my mouth, with closed eyes; trying to savor every drop.

Xena's whimper breaks me from my activities. I pull back slightly and our eyes lock. Both our lids are heavy with desire. The only noise louder than our breath is the crackling of the fire beside us.

"You know. . ." Xena begins, running her hand down my naked form and back up again. "There's a way I can let you taste yourself that's even better."

Oh gods does this women ever cease to amaze me.

"How?" I ask quickly. I sound so desperate; wanton. And I like the way it sounds. Apparently so does Xena because she has to take another breath before she can continue.

"On my lips," she says laying me down against the bedrolls. "And on my tongue.".

"Oh my. . ." It's the only expression I can get out at the moment.

"Oh my indeed," she says examining my body, lightly touching it; memorizing it; savoring every moment of it. I can feel her words across my sex and I automatically clinch my thighs around her body which has cleverly worked its way between my legs. "So what do you say Gabrielle? Can I . . .drink from the well?"

I see that teasing grin and a dead seriousness in it all at once - playful but all 'business' too. She doesn't move. She doesn't breath. She simply waits for my answer.

"Gods yes. . .please."

My mind shuts down. The only sensation I feel is between my legs. I look down and see her lapping at my sex. The moans of approval she's making push my higher. I can feel myself sweating now as my hands wander across my own skin, not quite believe where I am. Last month I laid in a hospice, clinging to life. Now the woman I love more than life itself is pleasuring me like no other has or ever could.

She pauses a moment to take my roaming hands into hers. She leads them to my breasts. In a seductive growl orders me . . .

"Play with them."

As my fingers start to squeeze my flesh her moan comes so deep and lustful. I can hear how wet she's becoming and I wonder just what she tastes like. I wish I could taste her and touch her and take her like she's taking me now. Oh Gods I can barely breath thanks to the sensations she's sending through me.

I climb higher, striving for something, wanting and needing more sensations. My hands abandon my breasts now as my finger clinch and unclench into our bedrolls. My toes curl up tight as the sensations are building on top of each other, over and over again, until every nerve in my body feels like it's exploding and coming back together, only to explode again and come back together again. . .and again. . .and again.

She strokes my body as I un-arch my back, coming down from the ultimate high. Toes relaxing. Fingers unclenching. I return to a steady breathing rhythm. My rest is not for long because her tender movements only fuel my desire again. But not the desire to be touched. It's the desire TO touch. I have to have her. I have to bring her the same pleasure she's brought me. It's not an option for me now. It's a necessity. Her release is like air to me now. . .something I must have if I'm expected to survive.

I pull her up and I kiss her lips. I realize she's correct. I taste wonderful on her lips and I can't help but smile. She reads me so well.

"Told ya you'd like that more," she ribs me.

I begin to kiss her again. I moan. She moans. And now she is on her back with an 'oomph' noise from the impact of my desire to possess her.

And possess her I do. Every touch, every sound, every sensation will live with me forever. And the taste of my desire is nothing compared to hers. I realize I could feast on her for days at a time. She's sweet and hot. I make sure she knows just what kind of effect she's having on me. I moan loud against her - the taste delighting my palette and moving my vocal cords.

Upon hearing my pleasure, it doesn't take long for her to reach her pinnacle - her back arches, her hands press against the back of my head as she gasps for air. She's waited so long. I knew tonight, neither of us could wait no longer. As she comes down from her high, she pulls me to her arms. I sweat. She sweats. And she pulls the covers over us to provide warmth for the cool evening breeze striking our wet skin now.

We lay in silence for a long time. Suddenly she starts to cry. I shoot up. I'm afraid that she's hurt. I'm afraid that she's feeling regret for our actions. She can see my panic immediately and smiles through her tears.

"I missed you so much," she weeps. "I never thought . . .we'd. . .

I know what she means. And I understand her tears now. They are not for pain but for relief and joy. "Shhh," I tell her stroking the wet, passion soaked bangs on her forehead and giving a long, tender kiss to her skin there. I feel her relax immediately and I'm pleased that I can calm her so quickly. . .or excite her if need be. We fit, she and I. Two halves of one whole.

"We'll go on together right?" she asks, seemly a little unsure of my intentions.

"No matter what answers I find Xena," I tell her. "We'll be together."


Something flickers in her eyes - is it doubt? I cock my head and she realizes I've caught her reaction. She brushes it off with a smile but I know something deeper lies here. Something she'll share when she's ready so I do not push now.

"Together," I hear her whisper once more - perhaps unsure of were our searching will take us but very certain of our love. At this moment, that's all I need. Because if I have her love, nothing else matters.

The End.

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