by Anita Louise copyright 7/98


A devastating destruction of a village and its inhabitants leave the Warrior Princess wounded and no memory of her past life.
Gabrielle fights to bring the woman back as hard as Xena fights to leave.
The love and friendship they share is tested, when both are confronted by men that wish to do them  harm.

This story depicts a loving friendship between two consenting adult women.

The television series: Xena Warrior Princess belongs to MCA/Universal . . . This is merely one fan's story about the
travels of our beloved couple. 

Chapter One

The smell of smoke still lingered in the air as the woman searched frantically going from one body to the other. Her blue green eyes welled with tears as she grabbed charred remnants of wood and threw them aside.

Gabrielle stood and slowly turned, her eyes took in the death and destruction that lay all around. Reaching up to wipe the perspiration from her face she realized her hands were covered in soot as well as her clothes.

She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and closed her eyes. The sound of a horse nickering caught her attention. She turned to look in the direction of the sound. She felt as if  her heart leaped into her throat when she saw the magnificent palomino. The horse had splotches of ash running across her body but was a welcome sight to the woman. Gabrielle started toward the horse as she cried, "Argo! Argo girl where is Xena?"  She was running now, jumping over fallen bodies as she made her way to the horse.

The palomino heard the woman's voice. She threw up her head, nickered and began to run toward her.

It was quite a sight, the young woman, clothes torn, covered in the blackness of burnt wood making her way through the devastation and the golden palomino finding its way to this human. And as the two met, she threw her arms around the horse's neck hugging the animal she cried, "I have missed you!" Stepping back, she gazed at the horse and said, "Where is Xena? I have looked all over. You are my last hope."

The horse nuzzled her as it stamped the ground several times with its right hoof. Gabrielle walked toward the saddle and stared at it. Reaching up she removed the saddle bag and held it for several seconds before opening it. Her breath caught in her throat when she gazed at the amulet staring up at her. Wiping her hands on the side of her skirt, she reached in and removed the stone. As her fingers caressed it, she leaned against the saddle and looked at her surroundings. Viewing the destruction that lay before her, her mind took her back to that morning.

The two women were walking beside Argo as they stopped on the plateau overlooking the village of Orlan. Xena smiled at the woman and said, "Good place to stop, we both could use a rest."

Gabrielle reached up and patted the horse. "With Argo, we have made good time."

Nodding, Xena pointed to a large round rock. "Let's sit."

Argo was busily munching on a patch of sweet grass she had found. She looked up to watch the two women and when they sat down, she went back to eating.

Gabrielle lay back on the rock as she asked, "Xena, have you ever noticed how beautiful the sky is?"

Turning to gaze down at the woman, Xena's translucent blue eyes gleamed as she replied, "If you can call that beautiful."

Sitting up, Gabrielle leaned her head to the right.  "All right, what do you call beautiful?"

Taking a deep breath of fresh air, the woman responded, "The forest, after a rain, the animals scurrying to and fro and most of all the woman that has made each day more wonderful than the day before."

Taken aback at the woman's words, Gabrielle sat up as she said, "Xena, this is so unlike you."

Xena took a long drink from the water skin and when finished she said, "Thought it was time, can't have you thinking I don't value our friendship."

Gabrielle got up and walked toward Argo, it didn't take her long to remove the saddle bag and head back toward Xena.

The woman smiled as Gabrielle neared. "What are you up to?"

Sitting down beside  Xena, Gabrielle answered, "You haven't told me too much about what you are going to do down there and I thought this was a good time."

Xena's curiosity was peaked as the woman asked, "All right, you have me enthralled, give, what are you up to?"

Reaching in the bag, Gabrielle removed a small wrapped parcel and handed it to the woman. "You gave me one a long time ago and now I have found the matching one. I want you to have this, and know that wherever you go, my love will follow."

The woman's eyes shone with expectancy and as she opened the package it was as if she was a child once more. Gabrielle sat back and enjoyed watching as this woman, who had the strength of ten men and could hold off an entire army, was demonstrating all the actions of a child on Solstice Eve.

Slowly unwrapping the gift, the warrior stared down at the lovely amulet she held in her hand.

Gabrielle's eyes lit up as she asked, "Do you like it?"

She turned to gaze at her friend. The woman's bottomless blue's were reaching into Gabrielle's eyes and in that moment there was no need for words, their look spoke volumes. Gabrielle could see Xena's eyes begin to mist up and  said, "I didn't mean to upset you."

Reaching out she placed her left hand on Gabrielle's.  "Upset me, never. Overwhelm me, yes. I am not one for words and this precious gift has surely taken any I might have away."  Noticing the questioning look on Gabrielle's face she murmured,  "I love it, thank you."

The two sat like that for sometime and it was Argo's nickering that caused Xena to say, "We probably should go."

Standing, Gabrielle replied, "I'm ready, and Xena?"

The tall woman, stood as she said, "Yes?"

"About the amulet, there is a story that goes with the two. It is said that if something were to happen to one who has one of the amulets, the love of the other will be the force that will bring them back."

Xena managed a smile as she said, "After all these years, you still believe in happy endings. I think that is one of the things I find so endearing about you."

Poking the woman in the side, Gabrielle teased, "Oh, is that one of the things you like about me, tell me Warrior Princess, what are some of the others?"

Xena was walking toward Argo and as she picked up the reins and placed them over the horse's neck she answered, "One of these dark and stormy nights when you are so bored nothing seems to satisfy you, I will tell you."

Gabrielle had hurried to catch up with the woman. She already had started to lead the horse down the hill. Catching up to her she asked, "Where did you put the amulet, I saw you tie the saddle bag to the back of the saddle but I never saw you put the amulet inside."

Xena's smile was warm. "It is in a very safe place. To know it is from you, warms my heart."

A Cheshire smile crossed Gabrielle's face as she said, "A better place you couldn't have found."

Xena replied, "You have spoiled me, I don't know what I would ever do if you were not a part of my life."

Gabrielle looked up at the woman. "Well you can get used to it, I'm here for the long haul."

The two women's laughter echoed back to them as they forged their way to the village that was now coming into sight.

When they had arrived, Xena asked her to go check on a friend named, Willow. The woman had sent a message to Xena asking her to please come visit. Xena hadn't seen her in moons and was looking forward to the visit. She told Gabrielle the meeting she was going to have with several of the town elders wouldn't last long and she would join her. Gabrielle had been reluctant to go but Xena's effervescent smile finally convinced her. So when she left the woman standing in front of the merchant's store, her heart was light and the picture of Xena waving at her was enough to hold her over till the woman
arrived at her friends.

When Xena did not arrive and there had been no word from the woman, she told Willow she was going to go check on her.

Now, her eyes burning from the smoke that permeated the area, she could still see the vision of what once was a thriving village to what lay before her as she topped the hill and looked down at it. The town was gone, and in its wake was devastation and destruction. There was nothing moving except the lingering smoke from charred buildings and bodies. Gabrielle felt her heart leap into her throat and her voice seemed to be lost as she gasped but there was no sound. Tossing the staff she carried to the ground, she began running, running toward the inevitable and praying with each step, that Xena would be all right.

Gabrielle had seen death and destruction before but nothing to equal what lay in front of her. Her body shaking, she screamed, "Xena!" Running from one pile of rubble to the other each time calling out her friend's name. There was no answer and she was beside herself with worry.  Blinking her eyes she tried to shut out the burning ache the smoke was dealing out to them, and began to cry.  It could not happen this way, the marvelous woman she had come to know would not leave her. Xena had promised she would always be there for her. Gabrielle felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as Argo whinnied. Bringing her thoughts to the present she said, "It's all right girl, take me where you last saw Xena." The horse turned her head and stared at the woman as Gabrielle urged, "We have to find Xena, Argo, find her."

The horse began to plod through what was left of the village. Gabrielle walked beside the animal and when the horse stopped she asked, "Why are we stopping here? Is this where you last saw Xena?"

Argo nodded her head and nuzzled the woman as Gabrielle said, "All right girl, you have done your part, let me do mine." She glanced around the area and could see this had been a building of some sort. Upon closer inspection and moving many charred and fallen pieces of wood, she realized it was a covered well. Gabrielle stared down and as she leaned over she thought she
heard someone moan. Her eyes widened as she called out, "Xena! Is that you! Are you all right?"

Gabrielle took the rope from the side of the saddle and tying it off on the saddle horn she walked back to the well. "Whoever you are down there, I am sending down a rope, if you can, grab hold of it, I will have the horse pull you up." Dropping the rope into the well, she waited and when she saw it become taunt, she knew someone had grabbed it. Turning to gaze at the
horse she said, "It's up to you now girl, let's get this person out of here."

The horse moved forward cautiously. Gabrielle stared in anticipation waiting to see who was coming up. When she saw the dark flowing hair and the statuesque body clinging to the rope she uttered, "Xena . . . "  Reaching out she helped the woman from the well. The woman's leathers were torn and her skin showed the residue of burnt wood in spots, but it was the blood that ran down the side of her face that brought about the gasp.

Reaching out she hugged Xena and said, "Thank the Gods, I was so afraid I had lost you."

She waited for some warmth from the woman but received none as she stepped back and asked, "Xena, what is the matter?"

Xena reached up and touched the trickle of blood that was finding its way down her face.  "Who are you?"

Stunned by the woman's question, she took a step back and said, "It's me, Gabrielle. What has happened here?"

Xena seemed disoriented as she looked around, her eyes taking in the devastation. Turning her attention back to this lovely woman, she answered, "I don't know, and who is Gabrielle?"

Rolling the rope back into a coil, she tied it back in place. When she was finished she said, "Smart move, carrying the rope. Let's get you on Argo and out of here.  First . . . "  Gabrielle reached in the saddle bag and brought out a strip of material as she continued, "Let me place this around your head, try to stop the bleeding."

Xena felt herself weaken and said,  "Dizzy, need to sit down."

Reaching out she steadied the woman, offering, "Here, lean against Argo, hold onto the saddle horn." While Xena was doing this, Gabrielle wrapped the material around the head wound then said, "Let's mount up, we will go to Willow's."

It took Xena a few minutes to mount the horse and as Gabrielle sat behind the woman she said, "Let's go."

When Xena did nothing, she reached around, took the reins and said, "Come on Argo, let's get out of here."

The horse willingly trotted from the area.

Willow looked out the window of her modest cabin when she heard the sound of the horse's hooves as they pounded the ground. She smiled when she saw the mighty Palomino as it slid to a stop near the cabin. The smile vanished when she saw the blood on Xena's face and the bandage wrapped around her head. Opening the door she ran out asking, "What happened? Xena, are you all right?"

Gabrielle had slid to the ground and waited for the woman to dismount. Xena turned her attention to the petite brunette that was running toward her. She showed little emotion on her face as she ordered, "Whoever you are, stop right there." Looking back at Gabrielle she added, "I don't know you nor her. What is this place and why am I here? Until someone gives me an answer, I am not coming down."

Gabrielle's eyes darted to Willow.  "Xena has had an accident, seems she can't remember anything, even me." Grabbing the reins in her left hand she urged, "Come on down Xena, we are friends, this is your old friend Willow. Before whatever happened back there, you were coming here to visit the woman."

Smirking, Xena muttered, "Yeah, I only have your word for that. How do I know you are not in cahoots with whatever happened back there?"

Feeling frustrated and not knowing exactly what to do, Gabrielle said, "Trust me, look at me do I look like someone who would harm you?"

The horse shifted from one hoof to the other as Xena rocked in the saddle. She gazed at Gabrielle, all the time trying to keep the sun's rays from her eyes and finally said, "You have the look of someone that cares. It seems the look is for me, I cannot understand why. I am sorry if I said something to offend you. Believe me, I don't know you or this other woman."

Gabrielle looked at Willow then back at the woman who seemed to be glued in the saddle. "Willow, her name is Willow. The horse you are sitting on is Argo, she is your horse."

Pursing her lips, the woman said, "Then the horse is not yours?"

Shaking her head Gabrielle answered, "No, though since you have allowed me to travel with you and share your life, Argo is family to me also."

Xena scowled as the pain in her head throbbed mercilessly and said, "Then I will take her." She yelled at the horse as it began to move back and forth. Gabrielle would not release the reins and it was at this time the warrior's left leg struck out knocking the woman to the ground. Argo reared up in the air as Xena struck the horse with the loose end of the reins and bellowed,
"Go, Yeahh!"

Getting to her feet, Gabrielle watched the horse and rider gallop from the area and within seconds she placed two fingers between her lips and whistled. Hearing this, Argo slid to a stop sending the woman flying over the horse's head onto the ground. Willow and Gabrielle ran to where Xena lay. The fall had knocked her unconscious as Gabrielle said, "We have to get
her to the house."

Nodding, Willow replied, "I might be small, but there is strength in these arms. You grab her arms and I'll manage the feet, Xena needs to rest. Once we get her inside, we can check out her wounds."

Gabrielle patted the horse. "Good girl, you know this is for Xena's own good. Come on, follow us."

Argo watched the two women carry Xena and willfully plodded behind them. She had no idea what was going on but the horse knew Xena and Gabrielle belonged together and was satisfied with that. Besides she also knew, in the long run, she would be repaid with some delicious grass and maybe even an apple or two.

The women laid Xena down on the small cot that set in the corner of the room, Willow removed the woman's boots as Gabrielle began to unbuckle the breastplate. Willow had glanced up once and noticed the woman's fingers were
shaking. She had seen the love this young woman carried in her eyes for Xena. She only wished there had been a time that Xena might have gazed at her like that. After setting the boots on the floor she asked, "Need any help?"

Looking up after removing the armor, Gabrielle replied, "Yes, help me get her onto her side. I need to loosen the leather."

With Willow's help, it wasn't long before the two of them had removed Xena's leathers. Willow went over to a wooden trunk removed a shift and walked toward Gabrielle. "After you get her cleaned up, you can slip this on her. It was one she left with me sometime back."

Smiling at the woman, Gabrielle said, "Thanks. I need to clean these wounds."

Willow pointed to the basin and said, "There is water in the pitcher, some cloth in the cupboard. When you are finished, I have ointment also."

Gabrielle walked toward the pitcher, the woman missed a step and almost fell but caught her balance as she continued forward. Willow caught this in the side of her eyes as she said, "Seems you could use some attenion yourself young lady. From the looks of your clothes and body I would dare say, you have a few burns and cuts."

Starting back, she carried the basin in one hand and cloth in the other. Nearing, she dropped to her knees and began to dip the cloth in the water. Wringing it out she carefully wiped the blood from Xena's face. She had been doing this for several minutes and when she reached out and removed the cloth she had placed around the head wound she said, "I am not important, Xena is."

"Fiddle, one that holds the love I see in your eyes, is important. What would Xena do if something were to happen to you and she felt it was her fault?"

Staring at the darkened water in the basin, she said, "Need to empty this and get some clean. Right now, this woman doesn't know me or you."

Reaching out, Willow took the basin. "I'll do it, stay there, I will be right back."

Gabrielle watched the woman walk away then her eyes fell back on the woman she had learned to depend on. The woman she had grown to love and cherish and now, the woman that didn't even know who she was.

"Here." Willows voice rang down as she looked up to see the woman setting the basin near her. Willow smiled and said, "You were deep in thought, wouldn't have anything to do with Xena would it?"

Gabrielle began to softly wipe the areas on the woman's body that were cut as she replied, "Easy guess. Just caught me feeling sorry for myself, I had it all and now I, I don't know."

Willow patted her on the shoulder. "You still do, she is laying in front of you. The blow to her head must have caused this loss of memory but I know it will go away. She will know you once more."

When Gabrielle had finished she said, "I think you can put the ointment on now, I'm going to go outside for a few minutes."

Nodding, Willow agreed, "You look like you could use some fresh air. I will do this, take all the time you need."

Gabrielle's head was feeling warm and light as she made her way to a thicket of trees. She had barely reached the spot when she fell to her knees and the food she had eaten earlier found its way to the ground.

Argo watched as the woman crawled on her hands and knees, she was very interested in this new movement. Finally the horse decided it was just another action these mortals had and definitely not one she wanted to learn. With a last look at Gabrielle the horse went back to chewing her fresh meal of sweet grass the woman Willow had given her. The horse thought back to a
time when she and Xena were constantly on the move, one skirmish after another and there were times with little food. Now, the horse seemed to have her own gourmet meals and she was loving every bite of them.

Chapter Two

Xena moved slowly, opening one eye then the other. finally managing to keep them both open she found herself staring up into the concerned face of the woman she had come to know as Gabrielle.

Gabrielle smiled and said, "Hi, are you feeling better?"

Managing to turn her head she gazed past her to the open door and asked, "Where is the other one?"

"Willow, she went to the creek. Should be back soon."

Xena started to sit up and it was then she realized, her clothes were gone. Clutching the blanket to her chest, she said, "Where are my clothes and who took such privileges with my body?"

Gabrielle had noticed how tightly Xena held the blanket as she said, "Willow and I, you needed to be cared for, there were some deep cuts and . . ."

Xena glowered at the woman as a deep rumbling sound could be heard coming from the woman's throat, "Ummmmph! I didn't ask for your help. What happend?"

Swallowing several times, Gabrielle finally said, "You fell."

"Well, Gabrielle, if that is your name, I want my clothes and I want to get out of here."

Placing her left hand on the woman's right arm, Gabrielle retorted, "No! You will not do anything to make your wounds worse."

Xena's blue eyes grew dark as she leered at her and said, "Since when do you go about giving me orders. I want to leave."

Gabrielle began to pace the room, turning and gazing into the face of a woman who showed no recognition toward her, only distrust. Slowly walking toward Xena, she said, "You have lost your memory, I think the blow to your head did this. Believe me when I tell you that Argo and I are home. Where would you go, if I stepped back and said, Good by?"

Shrugging her shoulders, the woman answered, "I don't know, find my family, husband, children."

"Xena, there is no family, only a mother and brother. For the past three years, I have been your . . . friend. Argo was with you long before I met you."

Xena seemed despondent as she asked, "My clothes, can I have my clothes?"

Gabrielle had been looking at the door and was now approaching Xena as she answered, "They will be here soon, Willow took them to try and clean and mend."  Sitting down by the woman, Gabrielle heaved a sigh as she said,  "You know, this is all new to you at the moment and probably frustrating and even scary, but stop and think, it is also the same for me. You are someone I look forward to spending the day and night with. It has been the same with you. Now, I look into the eyes of a stranger. You are Xena but this Xena does not know me and it hurts."

They both looked up when Willow entered the room, the woman was carrying Xena's leathers. She smiled at the two of them and said, "Looks like you are awake, I hope feeling better." Her eyes sought Gabrielle's and the woman shook her head and said, "She still doesn't remember me. Wants to get dressed and leave."

Xena interjected, "Hold up you two, you talk as if I am not in the room, I am right here. If those are my clothes, I need to dress."

Willow walked toward the woman, nearing she stared down at the death grip Xena had on the blanket. "You hold the blanket so tight, there are only friends here, even if you don't remember us."

Xena took the leathers then glared at them. "Privacy, could I have some privacy?"

Both women smiled as they left the room.

As they sat outside the door, they were both watching the doorway and waiting for Xena to come bursting through it at anytime on her way to Gods know where. Willow had noticed the forlorn look on Gabrielle's face as she patted the woman's right hand and said, "You two have been through a lot worse. As I recall, you even lost your memory for awhile."

Nodding, Gabrielle said, "I did, and it was a trying time for all of us. Poor Xena, I now know a little of what she went through. I am not strong like her and it is tearing me up having her so close and yet so far."

Willow leaned back as she said, "The Xena I recall, can do most anything she sets her mind to do. Beating a memory loss will be nothing, that is, if we can convince her to stay in one place for awhile. If she were to take off like she is now, anything could happen to her."

Gabrielle shivered as she said, "I know, anyone of many enemies she has made would love to find her like she is now. They would kill her before she even knew what was happening."

Standing, Willow said, "Then I think we should fill the woman in on her past. She should be through dressing by now."

Entering the room their eyes searched for Xena. Immediately spotting her body laying in a heap on the floor. Gabrielle rushed to her followed by Willow. Gently laying the woman onto her back, Gabrielle said, "Xena?"  There was no response and she lightly patted the woman's face.

Willow had gone and brought back the pitcher with water in it, splashing some on Xena's face. The woman began sputtering as she grumbled, "What are you trying to do drown me?"

Both women stepped away from Xena's flying hands. They looked at one another and had to turn away to keep from laughing.

The cool voice rang up to them, "Don't know what happened, I had just dressed and then you hit me with the water."

Willow looked down at Xena as she said, "More than likely passed out, you have been battling a series of wounds and the worst being the blow to your head. When you stood, it was just hard for your body to adjust. You will be fine."

Xena was now standing, her face gleaming from the water that found its way down it.

Gabrielle's tongue traveled the inside of her jaw and she carefully bit down on it trying to keep from laughing."

Xena's translucent blue's caught the woman's facial expression anyway and said, "You find this funny do you?" Before Gabrielle could say anything, she had reached over and relieved Willow of the pitcher and held it over Gabrielle's head letting the water pour.

Willow stepped back as she viewed the two women and said, "Well you are both a matched set now, both of you look like a pair of drowned rats."

Wiping the water from her face, Gabrielle managed to say, "Thank you so much." Her eyes gazed into Xena's and at the same time the woman's caught hers. They stared at one another for a second then broke into laughter.

Willow walked over and resecued the pitcher from Xena's hand and said, "Now, you two can clean up the water. I'm going to go get a fresh supply, be back in a few." Before the two could say anything, the woman was gone.

Gabrielle looked at Xena and said, "Guess I deserved that. But as you always say, pay back is coming."

Raising an eyebrow the woman smiled and asked, "I said that huh? Did I ever pay you back?"

Feeling color start to rise in her cheeks, Gabrielle walked away as she answered, "Oh yes, many times."

Xena followed her and as she picked up some rags, and said, "Tell me, what did you do and how did I pay you back."

Gabrielle reached out and relieved the woman of several rags. "Let's get this water up before Willow gets back."

The two dropped to their knees, each sopping up water and wringing the rags into the bucket. They had been crawling on their hands and knees as they wiped up the last few drops. They both went to raise their heads and found they were staring into each other's eyes as their nose's touched. Xena smiled as her blue eyes gleamed at Gabrielle she said, "I asked you before, how did I pay you back?"

Scooting backward, Gabrielle muttered, "Can't remember."

Xena stood as she stared down at the woman and said, "Must have been some pay back. Now, I can think of a few you wouldn't forget so easily."

Gabrielle was standing by now as she said, "Thank the Gods you already did. I don't think I could get one wink of sleep knowing you might be lurking around waiting for the moment to pay me back."

Grinning as she took Gabrielle's wet rags from the woman's hand she said, "Never know, something just might come up. Like how did I fall from that horse?"

Reaching down and picking up the bucket, Gabrielle headed for the door as she said,  "Horse stopped."

Xena threw the rags toward the cooking area and they landed in the basin. She quickly followed Gabrielle out the door, watching as she tossed the water in the grass. Gabrielle turned and found herself running into Xena once more as she
said, "There you are again."

Xena stepped back as she said, "Thought you said we were friends, close friends. This is close isn't it?"

Walking around the woman, Gabrielle said, "There is close and then there is close. You have just surprised me that's all."

Tossing her lustrous raven black hair, it glided back and forth and came to rest in a ritual all its own on the woman's shoulder. The woman's light blue eyes catching a hint of the sun's rays as they beamed at Gabrielle. Xena glanced around then took several long steps as she caught up with the woman. Gabrielle was walking toward the cabin and her walk was hurried.

Willow had been watching the two and when she saw the glowing fire in Xena's eyes, it was as she remembered, if only the woman would regain her memory. Thinking about this she uttered, "Then again maybe some of it is best forgotten." Noticing how close the women were to the front door she moved. Willow didn't want either one of them thinking she was spying on them.

Within seconds Gabrielle burst through the doorway followed closely by the woman Willow recalled as having many skills.

Walking toward the hearth, Gabrielle set the bucket down and turned to gaze at the mischievous look on Xena's face. Her look was so familiar, she had seen it so many times. Be it seeking shelter in a cave during a rain storm, both of them looking for all the world like some river creatures, still, they found humor it it. The tall woman's subtle teases and hints as she sent
Gabrielle on a wild and furious hunt, only to find out the prize she was searching for all the time was this ravishing woman and all her wondrous games. Sighing, she remembered the look and wished they could go back to the day before they made this all too frightening trip.

Xena's eyes searched Gabrielle's face, it was as if she was taking this beautiful woman into her mind's eye for the first time. Willow watched the two, each seemed glued to the other in a glance a movement and it was then she called out, "Hey you two, feel better now?"

Gabrielle brushed several strands of hair back off her face as she turned her attention to the woman. "Fine, I had been thinking about going down to the river but changed my mind."

Willow walked up to the two of them, her eyes went from Gabrielle to Xena, finally she said, "Why don't you take Xena down there, probably the two of you could settle this. At least this way all of you will look the same and not just a portion of your bodies."

Gabrielle walked away as she laughed, "Settle it, settle what? You threw the water on her and she paid me back by dumping water on me."

Xena stepped close and whispered in the bard's ear, "It wasn't for dumping the water it was because you enjoyed it so."

Biting her lower lip she raised her eyes to meet the woman's and said, "You're right, I would apologize but it was just too good."

Xena turned and walked away as she called back, "And so you have it Willow.  Besides, I can hardly wait, Gabrielle told me pay back would be . . ."

Gabrielle walked toward the woman and said, "Xena, we don't want to bore Willow with my talk, come on, let's gets some blankets, towels and head down to the river."

Xena looked at her with fear in her eyes.  "Can't swim."

Gabrielle had picked up a large blanket and two towels as she exclaimed, "What?! Of course you can swim, you take to water like a fish and you were born in the month of  Mar."

Xena's eyes strayed to Willow who was totally enjoying the women's banter as she said, "What does being born and in what month have to do with water and swimming?"

Shrugging,  Gabrielle answered, "I keep forgetting, you don't remember. It's just a certain time of the year we go to Lake Past. It is a time we relive things that have happened and treasure what we have. You swim circles around me Xena and I always look forward to this time of year." Reaching out to touch Xena's left arm she said, "Come on, lets go. I think I need to fill in more of your blank spots. Before Willow and I are through, you will know your past and I hope look forward to your future."

Xena's eyes darted back to Willow as she followed Gabrielle from the building,

Willow called out, "Enjoy yourselves, I'll be here when you get back."

They had just stepped out into the warmth of the sun when Willow called to them, "Better take this." She was holding a shining sword in her right hand.

Gabrielle looked at Xena and said, "Here."

She handed the woman the blanket and towels as she said, "You are right, might need that."

Xena watched as the woman walked toward Willow and took the shining piece of steel. When Gabrielle approached her she asked, "What are you going to do with that? Are there snakes in the water?"

Laughing Gabrielle answered, "No, no snakes, I hate snakes. Just lots of water. This is in case we need to defend ourselves."

Walking away, Xena laughed, "Right, a shining piece of metal will defend you, tell me another story."

Running to catch up to the woman, Gabrielle said, "It's called a sword, and you can use one with ease."

Stopping as she held the blanket and towels in her arms, she stared at the piece of metal Gabrielle was holding and said, "Hardly, and now that I can see it closer, it looks sharp, one such as you uses this?"

Pointing to the path that led down to the river, Gabrielle said, "I can, though I asked you many times to teach me how to use it, it was a good friend named Sea that finally did. I'm serious Xena, you can make one of these speak as well as your Chakrum, come to think of it, where is the Chakrum?"

Xena tipped her head to the side as she watched this woman. She was finding it more difficult each day to believe what Gabrielle was telling her and this story she definitely thought a fable. Gabrielle had reached the water's edge as she smiled up at Xena and said, "We are here."

Setting the blanket and towels on the ground, Xena stared at the large mass of water and asked, "This is a river?"

Gabrielle ran the point of the sword into a tree trunk as she turned and said, "Yes, little bigger than most, but still, rids the body of all its tensions."

Sitting as she crossed her legs, Xena said, "Then I will sit and watch as you do whatever it is you feel you have to do."

Gabrielle sat beside the woman. "We don't need to go in, since you tell me you can't swim. We can just sit and talk."

Xena stood as she said, "In that case, I think I just might get my feet wet. I've been listening to you and the other one for weeks and I think I would just as soon forget the talk."

Gabrielle watched the woman remove her boots and wade into the water. She brought her knees to her chest as she sighed, "You treat the water like it's going to bite you, relax, it can be fun."

Xena had been cautiously stepping further out as she turned her head and called back, "Relax . . ."  It was at this time, the woman disappeared from Gabrielle's vision. She had stepped into a deep pocket and had gone under. Xena came to the surface, spitting water as she fought to stay on top. Gabrielle screamed, "Relax!  You can swim!"

The woman disappeared from her sight once more and at this moment, Gabrielle ran into the water. By the time she had reached the woman, Xena had re-surfaced once more and it was at this instant, Gabrielle fought with the woman, trying to get her to calm down so she could get her safely from the water.

Once the two were back on the shore, Xena lay on her stomach as Gabrielle placed her hands on the woman's back and slowly pressed, sending remnants of water trickling from Xena's mouth.

Xena cursed as she sputtered and said, "Get off me, this is all your fault!"

Rolling onto the ground, Gabrielle watched as Xena sat. The woman's face was full of fear and Gabrielle whispered, "Sorry, you do know how to swim. Guess, I will enjoy teaching you how."

Standing as water ran down the woman, she glared at Gabrielle and said, "What else do you have planned, first there is a shrill sound and the horse dumps me, then your friend tried to drown me, which I might add, you found funny and now, this."

Gabrielle got to her feet and said, "In case you haven't noticed, I'm also wet. You went into the water all by yourself, I did not force you."

Xena walked away as she said, "No, you didn't force me but if I wanted a reprieve that was where I had to go."

Gabrielle was holding back the tears as she sniffeled. The sound reached the warrior's ears and Xena turned to gaze at the woman. Seeing the hurt on her face she said, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap. It was my fault and thank you for doing that, going out there and saving me."

Nodding, Gabrielle walked toward the blanket. Spreading it on the ground, she sat and said, "Well we both look like drowned rats now."

Xena glanced at her body, then Gabrielle's as she said, "Willow will enjoy this."

Tossing a towel to the woman, Gabrielle said,  "Dry off, there was a time, not to long ago when we would do this to one another."

Xena looked at her as she smiled and said, "I hear you tell me things each day and each day I feel I would like to know this woman you speak of with such love and tenderness. I'm sorry to say it is not me but still, she seems to be an interesting person."

Gabrielle leaned back on her hands as she gazed at Xena. The woman was drying off her arms. Gabrielle smiled and said, "We need to work on your skills. You are the woman Xena and I pray to the Gods, you will find your way back."

Xena's expression had changed and the look she was giving Gabrielle was of hurt and anger as she said, "I don't want to hear anymore of your bablings about this woman. I have need to be alone." The woman stood and sauntered off, as Gabrielle watched with a concerned look on her face.

Chapter Three

Gabrielle woke to the wondrous smell of Willow's cooking, she moved slowly, her arms stretching as she yawned. Willow had been watching the woman and called out, "Have a good sleep?"

Gazing toward the hearth, Gabrielle answered, "Wonderful, Xena was back and we were . . ."

Willow grinned as she said, "I never would have guessed. Fixed a nice morning meal. Thought you and Xena would like to have a good meal under your belt before leaving for home."

Gabrielle was on her feet by now as her eyes searched the room for her friend. Finally she asked, "Where is Xena?"

Willow smiled and said, "Went down to the river, said she was going to check out something."

Walking toward the woman, Gabrielle stared at the food that was setting on the wooden table and said, "Looks wonderful. What time did she leave?"

Willow noticed the concerned look on the woman's face as she replied, "It wasn't even light yet, she has been gone for sometime."

Gabrielle quickly dressed and as she was hopping around the room trying to get the last boot on her foot she said, "I'm going to go check on her."

Willow handed the woman her staff and said, "Better take this, never know what might be lurking out there."

Gabrielle accepted it and asked, "Did Xena take anything?"

Shaking her head the woman answered, "No, she does not believe in weapons and there seems to be nothing you or I can do to change her mind."

Sighing, Gabrielle said, "I'll be back, can't let this wonderful meal go uneaten." She grabbed several fresh biscuits as she hurried from the house.

It was a beautiful morning, there had been a soft rain the night before. Gabrielle loved the fresh smell after a rain, made everything seem reborn. She hoped each day to see the light in Xena's eyes but so far it had not appeared. The woman she had been working with for all these many days, still had no memory and at the most tolerated her. For some reason, Xena always
seemed to be far off even when they were in conversation. Carefully finding her way through the wet brush, she looked for signs of the Warrior's tracks. Stopping to gaze around the area her eyes caught the first sign Xena had been this way. Nearing the prints, she squatted and checked them. Smiling, Gabrielle knew it had to be the woman, and she started to follow the tracks. It made it easy, as the ground was wet and her prints were legible.

Nearing the river, Gabrielle picked up her step she was anxious to see the woman again even if she didn't remember her. Stopping as she neared the river's bank, she gazed around the area, her eyes searching for signs of Xena. There were none and she peered out at the flowing water, it was moving faster than before. Gabrielle knew the rain probably had a lot to do with it. She turned and began to backtrack her steps until she ended up in the brush once more. Leaning over she began to follow the tracks again. Cursing under her breath when she saw they stopped beside a large tree. Looking up, she could see traces of bark missing. Xena had gone this way, straight up. Setting her staff along side the tree, Gabrielle made several jumps until her hands caught the tree limb. Swinging herself up and onto it she began to climb even higher. All the time her eyes and her hands searched for missing bark.

As Gabrielle placed her right foot on a branch and began to climb, it broke and as she slipped she was thankful her hands were tightly gripping the one above her. Muttering to herself she said, "I hate heights, I hate heights."

As she came to the last large limb and walked out onto it, her eyes looked for signs Xena had been there. She was almost ready to give up when she saw the scratch etched into the limb. It had a dark color to it. Haunching down she reached out to touch it. Immeadiately, she knew it was what Xena used on her boots. Standing she gazed at the tree limb that was reaching out toward her and said, "Smart, can't find your footprints on the ground because you took to the trees. Well, I know all your little tricks, I'm just not sure I can keep up with you."

She swallowed as she looked at the limb then down at the ground. Closing her eyes for a moment before she let out a cry and leaped into the air. As her hands wrapped around the limb, she clung to it as if she was attached. Pulling herself up she lay outstretched on her stomach. Xena may have lost her memory but she sure could climb trees. After she had mustered up her
courage she stood and began to follow the woman.

Xena looked down at the dirt path that seemed to wind its way deeper into the forest. As a slow smile crossed her lips, she leaped to the ground. Her fall left a lot to be desired as she landed with a thud and rolled. Looking back as she went to stand, her right ankle throbbed as she cursed and began limping into the brush.

She didn't know how long she had been moving, she only knew she wanted to create a great distance between her and these two women. It wasn't because she didn't like them because she did. Especially the lovely strawberry blond. She had a way about her and Xena felt herself falling under the woman's charms. Xena's ankle was throbbing worse and she soon succumbed to the pain. Looking for a place to rest, she found a small cave and went inside. Slowing sinking to the ground, she brought her right knee to her chest and examined the ankle, as she feared, it was swollen and was obvious she had done damage to it. Leaning back against the damp wall, she laid her head against it and soughed.

Gabrielle was making good headway, and was actually giving herself credit for being able to keep up with the Warrior. The Xena she remembered was cunning and she knew she had to watch her step. Her mind whirled with thoughts as to why the woman was making a break like this. She thought they had all gotten along well. Xena had even agreed to go with her to their
home. Now the woman had taken off and she knew she had to find her before someone else did. She and Willow had discussed the destruction of Orlan and neither could imagine what would have caused the devastation that had been bestowed
there. They hoped Xena would regain her memory and be able to tell them what happened.

The sounds of several birds brought Gabrielle back to what she was doing as she gazed around the area. She could see the brush was getting thicker and it was also starting to get a little cool. She knew this was because the sun couldn't find its way down through the thick cropping of trees and their massive overgrowth. Actually, this was giving the woman chills. She realized
it wasn't from the coolness, it was from something unforeseen

Xena had drawn herself up into a ball as she shook, she was cold and the overwhelming feeling of being alone was encompassing her body. She hated herself. The woman, Gabrielle, had tried to teach her how to defend herself, it had
been a shambles. Though this woman could move with the grace of the wind, Xena found herself tripping over her own feet and soon said 'enough.'   She had decided to go away, leave the woman who looked at her with love in her eyes. She could not take the hurt in the woman's eyes any longer because she could not give her the recognition she longed to see. Her mind had played over and over the situation she was in and now, all she wanted to do was die. She had no past, and it tugged at her heart more and more each day. The ache her body felt when looking at Gabrielle, because she knew she would never be able to be what she wanted or who she wanted. So, she decided to leave and let the woman get on with her life.

Sitting up, she leaned against the rock wall once more. Thinking she should start a fire and then thinking better of it as she realized there was nothing to start a fire with. She felt a warmth on her chest as she reached down and grasped the amulet that hung from her neck. Her fingers caressed it as she whispered, "You told me it was mine and so I took it."

Finding her way down the tree, Gabrielle was happy when her feet touched the ground. Looking up she shuddered to think what might have happened had she fallen. Starting to move forward she saw the deep impressions in the dirt. Dropping to her knees she examined them. Realizing Xena had probably jumped from the tree and made these, she reached out and touched each one. Standing she uttered, "From your steps, you have hurt yourself." Picking up her pace she began to follow them into the brush. As her feet stepped onto rock, she pursed her lips and cursed, "Can't find tracks on rock, now, which way did
you go?"

Getting to her feet, Xena began to limp around the cave, finding a long stick, she used it for a brace and put her weight on it. The stick gave her all the support she needed to ease the ankle. Starting toward the cave opening she stopped and said, "Just where are you going? You have nowhere to go." Throwing the stick as it smashed against the rock she yelled,  "Damn you,
damn you." Dropping to her knees she cried. Her moods had been getting angrier with thoughts of death and destruction. She didn't want to hurt Gabrielle or Willow and now she felt all hope leaving her body and prayed for the darkness that would relieve her of this.

Gabrielle had spotted the cave opening as she smiled, "Gotcha." Starting toward it she heard a deep ominous voice from behind, "Well, look what we have here!"

Turning she gazed into the eyes of five men, all looking at her like she was the main course. Standing defiantly she asked, "Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

A goliath of a man stepped forward, he had a heavy beard, hair that was longer than most and disheveled, his eyes dark and set deep inside their sockets. His weight and size seemed to cause him distress as he breathed through his mouth. He looked back at his comrades and said, "I think we have a new plaything."

Scowling, Gabrielle said, "Sorry to disappoint you boys, but I have more important things to do, so go on about your business." As she turned to leave, the man charged toward her yelling, "Oh no you don't!" As he neared, she jumped to the side throwing out her right foot, she tripped him and he plummeted to the ground.

The other four were approaching her and she waited for them to get nearer. The smaller man on the left, held the sword tightly in his left hand as he charged straight on. Gabrielle eyed him and as he drew near, she feigned to the left and went right. Her left foot shot out knocking the sword from the man's hand. Leaping into the air she whirled and as she came around, the muscles in her leg rippled as her boot careened along side the man's face. He crumbled to the ground as she watched the other three.

They were separating and coming toward her in a wide path. She stood like stone, with no movement except her eyes and they were watching the men very carefully. She lowered her head, her figure not moving, as if awaiting execution. Gabrielle had decided, if the woman she loved did not care for her anymore, than she had no reason to exist. Her first instinct was to fight but she had now given in to the inevitable. Without Xena to brighten each day, she didn't think she could go on.

The men were licking their lips as they approached. Gabrielle, held up her hands and said, "I will not fight anymore. Kill me."

She suddenly found the large man's left arm around her throat as he reached out and grasped her right arm and pulled it behind her back. Placing his mouth near her ear, he whispered, "All that fury, just worked up an appetite in me. I will enjoy this."

The other three had placed their swords back in their scabbards and had approached them. Gabrielle turned her head from the man's breath as she said, "Get it over, kill me."

He laughed, "We will, eventually huh boys?"

They nodded  and laughed and it was at this time the icy words rang out behind them, "Let the woman go, you want to fight with someone, try me!"

The man released his hold on Gabrielle as he turned to see where the words were coming from. They stood staring at this statuesque woman as she walked toward them. Her hair moving slightly in the breeze. The muscles in her face moving back and forth, Her light blue eyes glowering at the men. Three stepped back as the large man said, "Xena, I thought you were dead!"

She stood, her legs spread, with hands on her hips as a cunning smile crept across her face she said, "Leave now, or face your own future."

The other three took off running as they bellowed, "Not us!  We have no need to fight the Warrior Princess!"

The large man yelled at them, Come back here you fools, she doesn't even have a weapon!"  They were gone and he looked back at Xena.

She looked at Gabrielle and said, "Come over here."

Smiling, the woman hurried to Xena's side as she asked, "You're all right?"

The man was approaching them now, his wheezing was becoming sickening. Gabrielle looked at Xena.  "Well, what are you waiting for? Do it Xena." She looked at Xena's hands and noticed they were shaking. Her eyes shot to the man that was approaching them as she whispered, "You're not are you?"

Shaking her head the woman whispered, "Good guess."

Gabrielle stepped to the left as she said, "I am getting out of the way, don't want to be in the line of fire."

The man sneered at her then brought his eyes toward the woman who had not given an inch as he approached. "Come on Warrior Princess, let's see what you are made of!"

Before he could make another step, Gabrielle somersaulted through the air and her front feet struck the man throwing him off balance. Xena watched this amazing woman and ran to help her get back to her feet. The man was barely moving as he groaned. Gabrielle took Xena's outstretched hand as she said, "Thanks." Xena stared at the man and said, "No thank you, we both know he would have chopped me up into little pieces."

The man was on his knees as he cursed, "Should have known, you have tricked me for the last time."

Xena walked up to him and as he looked up at her, he spit. Her right fist shot through the air landing solidly on his chin. As he fell to the ground she jumped around holding her hand, "Owwh, Owwh."

Reaching out Gabrielle grabbed the woman and said, "Let's get out of here before the others come back looking for him."

Xena gazed at the woman and said, "Your legs, they are all cut up."

Managing a grin, Gabrielle said, "Yeah well it looks like you are going to have a swollen hand along with the ankle. And this time, can we take the ground, that tree climbing is for monkeys."

Placing an arm around Xena's waist as the woman placed her left arm around Gabrielle's shoulder the two limped away.

It was late afternoon when Willow saw the two women limping toward the cabin. She ran out to help as she asked, "What happened? I went down to the river but couldn't find either one of you."

Gabrielle looked up at Xena as she said, "Went on a side trip. We're back now, a little worse for wear but maybe a little better."

Once they were inside, Willow went about soaking Xena's ankle in cool water and tending to the cuts on Gabrielle's legs. When she had finished she said, "Well at least you are all right. Tell me, what happened."

Xena gave Gabrielle the look as the woman said, "Xena went exploring and I followed, we ran into some men who wanted to do me harm and Xena intervened."

Xena laughed, "Well, that's not exactly what happened. This woman--" She pointed to Gabrielle then continued, "she followed me and it was her that defeated the men. I've never seen anyone move so fast."

Gabrielle beamed, "Except you. I know you don't remember, it will come back I am more sure of it now than before. Do you realize you risked your own life out there to save mine?"

Willow was now looking at Xena's swollen hand as she said, "Looks like the two of you do a good job at watching out for one another."

When Willow was finished tending the two women she said, "I am going to go visit a friend in the next village, I know the two of you are heading home."

Her eyes glanced from Gabrielle to Xena as she said, "Do me a favor?  Remember the look in your eyes at this moment and take care of one another."

The two woman smiled as they nodded and thanked Willow. Gabrielle walked the woman to the door and as she went to leave Willow patted her on the right hand and said, "You both will be fine."

Gabrielle hugged her and said, "Thanks to you." Waving as the woman left, she turned her attention to the dark haired woman that was fast asleep on the cot. Her ankle still in the bucket of water. Walking over she took her foot from the water and dried it off then placed Xena's leg on the bed. Staring down at her she felt a smile cross her lips as she reached up and touched the amulet she wore and gazed at the one that was setting comfortably around Xena's neck. Whispering she said, "You ran from me Xena don't you know by now, there is nowhere you can go I won't find you."

Xena's eye lids flickered as her light blue eyes stared up at Gabrielle. Her voice warm as she said, "I ran slow enough, and still wondered if you would ever catch me."

Smiling, Gabrielle said, "Move over, I will not sleep on the floor tonight, we have a long way to go tomorrow and I need my rest."

Xena, moved as she groaned.

Gabrielle settled herself close to the woman as she asked, "You knew I would follow you?"

Smiling, Xena replied, "If what you have been telling me is true, I knew. Now, get some sleep I can hardly wait to see this new home of ours."

Closing her eyes, Gabrielle said, "Everything is new, just to know you are in my life, good night Xena."

Smiling, the woman answered, "Goodnight."

The next day, after the two had eaten the morning meal graciously left by Willow, they packed some supplies and headed out to Argo. Gabrielle watched as Xena saddled the animal and when she was finished she turned to her and asked, "How was that?"

Nodding her head she answered, "Just like you always do it. You learn well."

Tossing the reins over the animals head, Xena said, "Yeah, except when it comes to fighting, it is so crude."

Patting the woman on her shoulder, Gabrielle said, "Some might call it that, you always said it was survival and I must say, comes in handy. Let's get going."

Xena placed her left foot into the stirrup and within seconds she was mounted. Reaching down she said, "Take my hand, then tell me how I did."

Grasping the woman's hand she quickly found herself sitting behind Xena and replied, "Good, now if you could just master getting off without falling."

Xena urged the horse on as she called back, "I still think there was something funny about the fall from the horse."

They traveled most of the day, stopping so the horse could take a breather and the two women could walk off their soreness. Xena's swollen ankle had gone down and her hand looked better. The cuts on Gabrielle's legs would take longer but she didn't mind because she was with the woman she cherished, even if she had no past memory of her.

Darkness was beginning to set on the land when they topped a hill and stared down at the small village. Xena reined Argo in as she asked, "Want to spent the night there?"

Gabrielle thought about it and said, "Would be nice but what if someone calls you out?"

Urging the horse forward, Xena answered, "Then you can do that thing you do so well."

Stopping in front of a dimly lit tavern, the two dismounted. They left Argo tied to the hitching post in front and stepped into the darkened room. There were a few torches on the walls but not enough to give a good light. Gabrielle walked up to the bar and said, "We would like a room for the night, and someone to tend to our horse."

The robust man's eyes darted from woman to woman as he said, "Top stairs first door.  I'll see to the horse."

Gabrielle took a bottle of port, some bread and cheese as she said, "It's the palomino out front, answers to the name of Argo. She tossed the man several dinars. Looking at Xena she said, "Come on, we have food, drink and lodging."

People in the room watched the dark haired woman and her friend take the steps two at a time. They smiled at one another, then went back to what they had been doing.

Once in the room, Gabrielle set the saddlebag on the table as she said, "Food, drink and a comfortable bed, couldn't ask for anything more."

Xena approached the table as she pulled out a chair and sat. Her eyes surveyed the port as she said, "Come sit down and eat."

Gabrielle walked toward her as she stopped and stared. Xena leaned her head to the right as she said, "What? Do I have something on my face?"

Beaming, the woman answered, "No, it's just, you're so radiant. Seems the closer we are getting to home, the more your body senses it."

Laughing, Xena poured several mugs of port as she said, "Uh huh, it's been a long day, I am sore as I know you probably are so lets eat drink and be . . ."

Raising an eyebrow, Gabrielle quizzically asked, "And be what?"

Taking a long drink from her mug, Xena set it down and replied, And be happy we have a soft bed to rest our aching bodies in."

"Oh." Gabrielle whispered as she cut the bread and cheese, then handed several slices to Xena.

The two woman finished off the port and most of the bread and cheese before they retired. The bed was large and gave them plenty of room. Gabrielle loved the softness of the pillows as she fluffed them and said, "This is heaven, after all this time, this bed is almost like the one your mother has at the tavern."

Xena was sitting on the side of the bed as she said, "Really, must go visit mother and check this bed out. Good night." She lay back on the bed and closed her eyes.

Gabrielle was on her side as she gazed at the woman. Xena opened one eye and stared at her asking, "What is the matter?"

Sighing, Gabrielle answered, "Nothing, I can't believe my eyes, you really are here with me."

Turning onto her side, Xena said, "Uh huh."

Laying down Gabrielle said, "Good night, we need to get an early start tomorrow."

Xena had gone to sleep and she thought the best thing she could do was the same. The port, a full stomach, a soft bed and the person she cared most about in the world, things were definitely looking up.

The sound of a rooster crowing woke the woman. Gabrielle moved cautiously for she feared the night before had been a dream and she would wake on the ground in some God's forsaken place. Opening one eye then the other she gazed around the quarter. It had happened, they were in a room. Xena had traveled there with her but where was the woman. Sitting up, the covers fell from her body and she realized her clothes were gone. Quickly getting out of bed she stared around the room. The saddlebag was gone, so was Xena and there were no clothes to be found. She ran to the door and opened it calling the woman's name but no one showed up. At least not Xena, several tavern customers walked by as she stood in the doorway. They smiled as they past and it was then she realized she was not wearing any clothes. Closing the door she paced the room. Her mind went in several directions, where was Xena and where were her garments.

Gabrielle was trying to figure out how she was going to get out of the room without them. Spotting the cover on the bed she hurried toward it and started to pull it off. As hard as she tried, it wasn't moving. It was then she realized, it had been fixed so she could not remove it. Frantically she searched the room and finally threw up her hands in defeat, there wasn't anything she could use for a cover. Sitting back down on the bed she smiled, "This was something Xena might have done to her when she was herself but she knew the woman had lost her memory. Everything was wonderful when they went to bed, it had been heaven and now this.

The sound of a horse whinnying from outside drew her attention to the window.

Walking toward, it she peered out. There on the street below, was Argo. The ravishing woman that sat the horse as it reared into the air seemed glued to the animal. The saddle was gone and in its place was a soft fur cover. Xena seemed to have no trouble staying on.

Xena smiled up, her translucent blue's catching the morning light as they gleamed up at her. Holding her arms over her breasts, Gabrielle called out,  "Xena, where are my clothes?!"

The woman's face lit up as she called back, "Don't know!  Want a ride?"

Gabrielle could see people had gathered on the street and were watching the horse and rider and now their eyes had ventured to the woman standing in an open window, covering her breasts.

Some of the women were gasping but most of the people were enjoying the spectacle. Xena wrinkled up her nose as she called, "Let's go, there are some springs that need our attention and as I have said before, 'payback is coming.'"

Gabrielle called down, "Send me up some clothes!"

Shaking her head the woman said, "Nope, if you are going with me have to come down, now."

Feeling color creeping up her body, she called back, "This is not funny Xena."

The woman answered, "Neither is whistling and having Argo toss me."

Her eyes widened as she exclaimed, "Xena, you . . .you have your memory back."

Argo was getting restless as the woman smiled, "All back, now are you coming or not?"

Tossing up her hands, she stepped out onto the roof. Some of the people gasped at the brazenness of this blonde but most were definitely enjoying this. Carefully, Gabrielle found her way to the edge of the building and as she stood staring down at Xena she said, "Hope you are satisfied."

Gazing up at the voluptuous body that stood above her, Xena smiled, "Definitely."

Within seconds, Gabrielle jumped down and landed on Argo's back. She wrapped her arms around Xena's waist as she said, "You know, pay back is . . ."

As Xena urged Argo through the throngs of people she smiled back,  "Can't wait."

The horse and riders disappeared leaving a cloud of dust behind them.


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