The Paths of Love
by: de Bonheur

Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle et. al. belong to MCA/Universal, and are used without intent for commercial profits. The author's copyright does not extend to said characters.
Notice: The author retains all rights automatically attached to the creation of this work.
Warnings: This is a work of alternative fan fiction and may be offensive to some readers.

The warrior's fingers splayed out covetously over the gentle curve, the plaited band on her wrists blended with the honey golden field of curls below. Her other hand stayed clasped in the bard's; their fingers intertwined. Her dark head rested against smooth firm thighs. Their breathing gradually regained normalcy.

"Come here, Love," Gabrielle sighed, closing her grasp and putting her other hand on the warrior's shoulder. She pulled the larger body up slowly, savouring the contact of skin on skin.

Xena glided her cheek along the soft toned abdomen and luscious globes, nuzzling and placing tender kisses here and there, until they were eye to eye.

A long, lazy kiss followed as their bodies pressed tight together, not allowing even air to pass. Hands wandered over sides, shoulders, arms and hips; and back and buttocks.

In one fluid motion, the lovers shifted. Gabrielle lay on top of the tall warrior, grinding herself closer, melding their flesh.

Against an unexpectedly fierce onslaught of memories and emotions, Xena closed her eyes.

"Look at me."

Eyelids fluttered open on command, and her gaze met the bard's. The morning light reflected in bright green eyes; they seemed full of warmth and promises of happiness.

Exceedingly tenderly, the fair blonde caressed her partner's soft breasts, her strong shoulders, her tender throat, and the contours of her slightly flushed face.

She traced her fingers along Xena's mouth and touched her smile, then cradled the warrior's cheeks in her palms and kissed the expressive lips again.

Long arms wrapped around the bard's back, breasts ground into breasts as she writhed against and arched into the smaller form holding her captive.

Their warm skin rubbed together as Gabrielle moved downwards, her hands stroke and flitted along Xena's body. She brought her mouth and tongue to the warrior's chest and rubbed her face against the smooth flesh, and closed her teeth gently over hard nipples, eliciting a deep moan.

A thin sheen of perspiration filmed sun-kissed features, and moisture blurred otherwise clear blue vision, as the Warrior Princess let herself be brought closer and closer to the point of no return.

. . . . . . .

In the darkened hut lit by the early afternoon sun and torches, the Amazon Queen sat at a wooden table with her Regent beside her. Council elders and advisers stood nearby.

Intently and meticulously, Gabrielle read through scrolls after scrolls of petitions and proposed decrees. At times she looked up and thought about the various details, while chewing on the end of her quill.

Sitting a short distance away, on a bench against the wall, the dark warrior observed.

Xena was impressed by the control the bard exercised over herself, the absolute power tempered by remarkable warmth which exuded when she conferenced with Ephiny and her advisers. She was positively radiant, and every inch a queen.

Occasionally, Gabrielle would transfer her regard from the scrolls to the Warrior Princess, her sparkling verdant eyes meeting, mesmerizing, arresting sky blue ones. And sweet smiles would steal unbidden across fair features and add their mark in the warrior's heart.

Without their owner's conscious consent, battle-roughened fingers closed against the royal crest on the hilt of the dagger given to her by her bard.

. . . . . . .

It was early Spring when days were still short. Yet, to the many Amazons who had waited for this very day in the month of Gamelion to come, Apollo could not have completed his journey soon enough.
This last day of the moon cycle was considered the harbinger of the new season and new beginnings, and was also a celebration to honour the sacred marriage between the king and queen of the gods. Therefore, many couples had chosen to have their joining performed the same time as well.

The Queen, with her Regent and the priestess as witnesses, presided over the ceremonies. Pairs of Amazon warriors approached the dais, and with their gods and sovereign as their attestant, sworn undying love and allegiance to each other. They then exchanged tokens of commitment.

As usual, the Warrior Princess occupied her favourite quiet spot away from the noises and crowd. She sat back and surveyed the joyful spectacle before her.

Limber, beautiful Amazons danced with sensuous abandon around the bonfire. Xena noticed with amusement their even more abbreviated than customary attire. The Queen and her council must have reached a compromise concerning Eponin's request.

Seeing Gabrielle, Ephiny and the priestess on the dais strewn with first shoots of fragrant blossoms, before an altar heaped with fruits and sweet cakes, the warrior recalled the last time she attended a similar event.

The vision which was her Gabrielle was just as exquisite at the moment as it was before, if not more so. The confident smile, the bewitching lips under feathered mask, the radiant honey gold of her hair against fire light... All were there... inspiring, intoxicating.

Xena remembered her surrender of a sort to the bard on that same night almost thirteen moons ago... Was that the inception, or was that a mere illustration? The once Conqueror of Nations could not be certain. Regardless, it all seemed trivial now, and was no longer important.

More significant to Xena was her knowledge that even when green eyes were looking elsewhere and away, Gabrielle remained aware of her every breath, her every motion.

This was confirmed when as the warrior stood and walked away from the festivities and towards the forest, immediately the bard's concerned gaze followed.

. . . . . . .

She treaded onwards, leaving the village behind. Yet, the faint perfume of blossoms from the ceremony, mixed with the wild floral scent of her bard which lingered on her skin remained.

The sensations calmed the warrior a little, and the walking occupied her mind. She followed the path which wound through trees and bushes, until land spread out before her.

Illuminated by the heavens above and torch light from a distance were many signs of Persephone's return from the Underworld. The hills were no longer dry and lifeless; and sensitive ears picked up the hushed sounds of foraging critters.

Xena returned to the sombre thoughts that had occupied her all morning...

She remembered the many times she had denied "it", had pretended they were wrong. Still, they fed upon each other, and in their togetherness were both enriched and enhanced. Then when she finally opened her eyes to what was obvious, acceptance proved to be her only alternative.

Loving the bard became a liberating experience. Unhindered, unrestricted: no law, no clime, no season. Beyond reason. The warrior felt bound yet freer than she had ever been; seeing herself through Gabrielle's eyes has let her escape her bonds. Their love had cast out fear, as well as comforted.

The joy, the wonder, all, and everything that the Warrior Princess understood, she understood only because of this friendship, this love.

She realised, perhaps even long ago, the decision was not and never was hers to make.

. . . . . . .

The warrior hastily returned to the village and joined in the celebration. Xena seemed to truly enjoy the feasting and the merriment. Thus, by the time the couple retired to the royal hut, Gabrielle was no longer troubled about her warrior's earlier retreat.

In the comfort and privacy of their room, the bard immersed in the strong warmth against her back and shoulders. She was happy and excited for the recently joined couples, and about the success of the affair. And she wanted to share the excitement with her warrior.

However, Gabrielle was spun around, and her lips were captured in a fierce kiss before she could talk.

"Xena?" Asked the bard breathlessly.

"Shhhh..." The warrior held on tight and buried her face in the soft fragrant tresses.

They spend long moments listening to the sound of their heartbeats.

Then hungry mouths came together again.

As passion grew, the bard reached to help the warrior with her leathers. Xena gently stopped her half-raised hands; and holding them, she guided her partner to the bed and pressed for her to sit. Gabrielle obliged, slightly perplexed.

Silently, speaking to the fair Queen only with her eyes, her heart, the warrior slowly removed her own armour. She started from the bracers, the greaves, carefully arranging and stacking every piece of clothing on the floor, until she wore nothing but that which bound her to the bard. She loosened the braid in her dark locks, too.

Curious verdant gaze followed as the Warrior Princess crossed the room to retrieve her sword and scabbard, chakram, and breast and boot daggers and placed them on top of the pile. She then knelt next to the surrendered armour and weapons, in front of her bard.
With the blade Gabrielle gave her, she undid the honey golden band wrapped about her wrist. Before the bard could be distressed by the act, she severed a length of her own dark tresses and joined it to the bright plait.

In her shock, in her daze, the Amazon Queen recognised the gesture for what it exactly was.

Gabrielle's misty greens smiled as she captured and held the larger hands in her own, then kissed them. Her eyes moved slowly from their joined hands up to the warrior's face. Gently and with a purpose, she drew the warrior up and towards her.

There was a different kind of chemistry working that night.

It was not about passion, nor hunger, nor want, nor need. The only desire they felt was to show each other with every soft kiss, every gentle caress what they felt in their hearts, in the depths of their soul, which no words could adequately express.

It was calm and slow and loving and tender. Lips wordlessly pledging, adoring, cherishing each curve each angle each nuance of their beloved's form.

When the lovers came together, it wasn't earthshattering, it wasn't like wild fire, they didn't see stars. What the pair felt transcended any and all ancient and modern cliches.

It was one that started in one singular molecule and spread outwards, linking every cell in its body, slowly, intensely, pushing outwards and invading that of its partner's, capturing, binding, fusing.

It was the most intense moment that two beings could ever reach.

A moment prolonged and sustained deep into the night and beyond...

. . . . . . .

Eos in her chariot emerged from the horizon, and began her voyage across the sky. Lavender and golden light filtered into the room, heralding a new dawn. Most inhabitants of the village were still in Morpheus and Hypnos realms, recovering from the excitement of the day before.

Except for birds songs, the only audible sound was the steady heartbeat against her ear. The warrior snuggled in and wrapped her body tighter about the bard's.

"I love you, Gabrielle," she softly whispered. "I really do."

"I love you, too, my warrior," the bard breathed, her arms closed tightly about the warrior's back.



Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori.
- Virgil, Eclogues

Long is the way
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, Line 432

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