From Psyche with Love
by The Four Furies

Legal Disclaimer and Rights: The characters in this story along with the flashback scenes referring to actual Xena Warrior Princess episodes are safely the property of MCA/Universal Studios. No infringement is intended, no profit sought or gained by using their likenesses in this depiction. On another note the actual story line and sub-story are the creation of the authors. All rights are reserved.

Exception to copyright of original material: Any writer, producer, director, actor, warrior, bard or psycho-bitch from Xena Warrior Princess is encouraged and welcomed to use any or all of this story for the development of actual XWP episodes. The writers are available for On Location consultations.

Content Disclaimer: Warning: this material includes references to sexual acts between two or more (I think) consenting women, violence, bondage and domination. If any of this sounds offensive to you or you are not of legal age to read in your part of the world stop now and go find a Peoples Magazine to read. If you are of legal age and you are grinning at what you just read, then proceed to general disclaimers.

General Disclaimers by Writer:

Indigo: No bard's heart* was really broken in the writing of this story. Callisto was not
harmed while playing slave with Xena much to her displeasure.
*except mine as I cried writing the ending (sniff).

This story is what happens when four people in a chat room get excited about an idea for a
story and just go with it. It was quickly decided that e-mail would be a more appropriate
medium to build the story so we passed the story from one to the other in order until it was
concluded to the satisfaction of all concerned. Here it is.-

[SETTING: Causally Xena and her trusty bard Gabrielle make their way to Thessalea. Their
recent adventure in defending Athens from the Persians left them both a little shaken by the
close call. Gabrielle has recovered well from the poisonous arrow and the wound is healing


Chapter One


Gabrielle's mind drifted as she rode along on Argo, her ankle still too swollen to walk just
yet. "Xena, I guess since we are taking our time getting to Thessalea I'll have plenty of time
to write about you and the Persians in my scroll. BUT as soon as I can put weight on my
ankle I AM going to do the flip without the staff. Right foot first, right?" She teased Xena.
Xena tried to ignore Gabrielle's prod, still she couldn't help but smirk.

Gabrielle pulled out her scroll. "Xena, I want you to know that even though I was ready to
die back there I want to thank you for sticking by me. I mean, I heard you release Argo. I
know you didn't expect to live either, I know you planned on dying with me. I am still
adamant that if it happens again, you are to survive even if it means leaving me. I couldn't be
at peace in the afterlife if I knew your demise was because of your loyalty to me. Others need
you besides me, you know that. But, what was in your heart means a lot to me...." Gabrielle
went on about right and wrong as Xena's eyes rolled from side to side trying to conceal that Gabrielle had seen through her. To cover this up, Xena quips, "yeah? Well next time YOU do the right thing buy doing what I tell you to do and we won't have this problem.... "

Gabrielle sinks a little, feeling embarrassed that she said too much. She began to write, but
soon her mind wanderd again. The attack on the armory was a fuzzy haze to Gabrielle, but a
few things kept on tugging at her memory. Mostly it was the look on Xena's face when
Gabrielle told her she knew she was going to die, and that she accepted it. Parts of the
conversation between them in the armory seemed to haunt Gabrielle.

Gabrielle strained her memory, and her thoughts rambled on..... Hmmm, I can't remember at
time when Xena revealed her feelings for me more than when we were held up in the Armory. I know she trusts me ...and we'll always be together. I mean, we ARE a team. But did she say what I thought she said? I never really thought about the adventures of Xena and Gabrielle the bard, when we're old and gray. That's scary, but kinda nice and comforting too. Xena really took it personal that I was going to die. I wonder if she knows how I feel about her! Naw she couldn't! But Xena hasn't said a word about her kissing me when she came back from the dead. Then there is Autolycus' hand on my butt when Xena gave his body back to him. I was so caught up in the kiss and the emotions of the moment I can't clearly recall Oh Zeus!, it's just wishful thinking, there's got to be another explanation. Oh, by the gods, I can't know for sure though, Xena won't even talk about it. We've gone through so many things with each other. I couldn't imagine being anywhere without her, dead or alive!
A rush of emotion overcame Gabrielle as shethought of Xena.

The emotions seemed to rush from her very center, up beyond her heart and stoped in her
throat. She chokes them back, not wanting to show her emotions in front of Xena right now.
If she does, Xena will surely ask and Gabrielle had a lot to consider before even thinking
about telling Xena. The thoughts came again, Gabrielle can hear Xena's voice.

You are my source! Every time I reach down inside myself and do things I'm not capable of, it is because of you Gabrielle, ....don't you know that by now....all I want to do is be with you, right now....

Suddenly Gabrielle's little trip down memory lane is interrupted by the rush of hooves
coming upon them. Quickly Xena jumped from the side of Argo to the front, heading off the
unwelcome guest.

Through the clearing, a man appeared in servants clothes. Xena yells out, "Any man that
treads any closer without identifying himself is buying his own death!"

"Xena! I am Charon, ferryman of the river Styx. I am here to plead for your help. I am sent
by Psyche."

Xena's cold stare softened, "Psyche?" "What does Psyche need my help for? She's an
immortal now."

The man wasted no time. "It is Pleasure, Psyche's daughter. We think Aphrodite has
conspired with another god who has put her in a death sleep." "Psyche isn't sure if Callisto is
involved but without cause she cannot go to the other gods without causing a big split
between them."

Xena looked at Gabrielle, "It could be Aphrodite. The Love Goddess did the same to Psyche
when she failed her and her son Cupid." Gabrielle begins to speak when Xena responds to
Charon. "We will come. If it has anything to do with dividing the gods I'm sure Callisto is

Gabrielle was sort of stunned by the change of events. She recalled that Psyche was targeted
by Aphrodite because of her extreme beauty and now Psyche is the immortal of the soul.
Through the suffering and misfortunes laid upon her by the jealous Aphrodite, she had been
prepared for true and pure happiness.

Hmmmm that sounds like a good story for this bard, Gabrielle thought to herself. Xena and
Gabrielle followed the young man across the land for two days til they reached Psyche.

Entering the large ornate temple Xena noticed little things that look like Callisto's doing, but
does not mention anything for the moment.

Callisto would never leave anything that I would connect to her if she didn't want me to get
involved. Hmmm, why would Callisto want me to see that?
Xena thought to herself.

Psyche approached the two women. "Xena, Gabrielle, I am so glad you came. I was not sure
who else to turn to." She gave Xena a hug then she hugged Gabrielle after Xena helped her
down off Argo. "Did Charon tell you exactly what happened leading up to the sleep?"

"No, I didn't. I just told them what I saw when I came to visit. I thought it would be better if
you told them since you were the one here." Charon said looking at Psyche with sad eyes. "I
really want to help out but if I do not get back soon the banks are going to be to full for more
souls to come down. I have to get back to work. Is there anything I can do to be of help?"

Xena looks as if she is about to say something but holds it back. Gabrielle notices the look
and speaks up instead. "You could keep Pleasure from crossing to the underworld if she
slips before we can get this thing solved." Xena snaps her head around to look at her bard.
Gabrielle notices the look of surprise on Xena's face. The bard let off a proud grin knowing
she just said exactly what Xena had been thinking. "Though I do not think it will be problem,
we will get this thing taken care of." Gabrielle concluded with a smile.

"Good luck, I will be keeping my eye out for anything suspicious. I will send word if I find any
information that may help you out." Charon then turns to leave.

"Please come in and sit, I will tell you what has lead me to believe that Aphrodite is involved
in this."

Xena picks Gabrielle up and carries her over to a padded bench area to set her down and
prop her ankle up.

"Xena I can get there on my own," Gabrielle protests. Xena looks into Gabrielle's eyes with
such a look of love that the blonde just melts into the arms holding her. Surrendering to
Xena's charm she decides to enjoy the contact instead of protesting the treatment.

When Gabrielle and Xena get comfortable Psyche brings in a small feast and sets it in front of
the two women. "This is a long story. Please, eat while I tell you what has happened. This
gets a little confusing, so please bare with me. Pleasure likes to spend a lot of time off Mt.
Olympus, with mortals. Reminds me off Zeus sometimes. Well, lately Pleasure has been
down there a lot. She has shown fancy to a mortal named Adrianna. She visited her almost
every day. One day when Pleasure went down to visit Adrianna, she wasn't at home. Pleasure
went out to look for her and found her by an old oak tree writing a love poem to Callisto.
Why to Callisto you ask? Because Aphrodite had put a spell on Adrianna to fall in love with
Callisto. Anyway, Pleasure went nuts. She and Adrianna got into a fight then both ran off in
separate directions."

Xena takes a bite from a nearby apple. "Let me get this straight." Xena's eyes get a crazed
wild look as she paraphrases Psyche in a poetic rhythm.

"Pleasure loves Adrianna,

who used to love Pleasure,

but now loves Callisto,

because of a spell?"

Xena's eyes freeze awaiting an affirmative while her mouth is left agape.

"Correct," answered Psyche. Xena, impressed at her estute wisdom beams a satisfied smirk.
Wow I thought I was the only one who loves someone of the same sex, thought Xena. She tries to sneak a glance at Gabrielle, who happens to be staring at Xena already. "OK," said Xena. "Let me guess. Out of Pleasures rage and love for Adrianna, Pleasure went to Aphrodite's place with arrows blazing."

"I'm impressed Xena, you are good," said Psyche.

"Yes," replied Gabrielle. "She has MANY skills!" The two friends again exchange glances. Gabrielle gets a quizzical look on her face as she thinks of other skills Xena is known to possess. She then chuckles inwardly at the private thought.

"But WHY Callisto?" asked Xena.

"Now that's the kicker," answered Psyche. "Ares is being his manipulative self, playing all
sides to his benefit. If Adrianna was to fall in love with Callisto then Callisto would get pissed
because she doesn't want a little girls love. She wants yours Xena, Ares knows this."

Xena didn't look at Gabrielle this time. She knew Gabrielle was looking at her and also that it
was true Callisto has a mad obsession for her. Why else would Callisto have pulled Xena out
of the river and then kissed her when they were in the land of Illusia.

"Of course Callisto went straight to Aphrodite, since she was the Goddess of Love.
Aphrodite told Callisto she'd release the spell placed on Adrianna. But only if she would help
the God of War return you to your warlord ways because he wants you back," Psyche said to
Xena. "The two of them put Pleasure into a death sleep, probably knowing I would then come
to you for help..."

"And they will release the sleep if I go back to my old ways," interrupted Xena, frowning.

"What are we going to do about this? We have to do something. I can't handle losing you
again Xena," said Gabrielle passionately.

"You are NOT going to lose me," Xena answered slowly. I'm not sure just yet Gabrielle. But
I think I may have a way to awaken Pleasure and change Callisto's mind about wanting me at
the same time. Ares, on the other hand may be a little harder."

"Well hey, we've had him on our backs for years," joked Gabrielle.

"That's a fact," Xena said rolling her eyes. Xena walked over to the bard looked into her
eyes and delivered her most soothing voice. "Gabrielle, I need you to trust me. I don't know
if my plan will solve every part of the puzzle but if it goes well it could be the solution."
Xena's voice was normally deep and forceful. Now, as she spoke to Gabrielle its tone turned
soft and airy at the end of each pleading line.

" I want you to remember what I said in the armory. Just go along with whatever happens. I
need you to believe in me Gabrielle, and in us." Xena looked at Gabrielle with an unsatiable
yearn to be understood.

Who could resist those big baby eyes and that sideways grin. Gabrielle just looked into
Xena's azure blue pools and nodded her head. "Xena no matter what I think, you made it
pretty clear how you feel about us. Huh, As a team, I mean." Gabrielle said with a jovial
husky cadence. True, the ever maturing beauty was her usual perky self. However, Xena
couldn't tell if Gabrielle was reading the lines between Xena's sincere pleadings or not. Xena
thought with frustration, she does this every time I want her to 'get it!' I hate it when she does

"I think I can go along with your plan. Now what is it?" the bard beams.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Not so fast Gabrielle, these walls might have ears. We are talking about
Callisto and Ares here. Xena tried to smile and not look too worried. Come out and help me
get Argo settled in."

They walked out into the courtyard and found the path to the barn. Argo was already stabled
and eating hay. With a contented snort she greeted her friends as they entered.

"Gabrielle I am going to try to bait Callisto. I don't want you to be confused about my

With that she turned suddenly and the bard almost walked right into her. Xena then took
Gabrielle firmly by the arms. She held her friend forcing Gabrielle to look into Xena's eyes.

"I saw you looking at me when Psyche was talking about Pleasures relationship with
Adrianna. How do you feel about two women being attracted to each other?"

"I have to know before I try my plan, I have to know how you feel about me Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle stunned, looked at the warrior for several seconds trying to turn her feelings into

I know how I feel, she thought. I can't stand to be close to her and not touch her. I dream of how it would be if we had more of a relationship. I think of how it would feel to kiss her. But how do I tell her that? Does she feel something more than friendship for me? Is that why she is asking me now? Gabrielle braced herself and screwed up all of her courage.

Looking at Xena, watching for any response she said, "I love you Xena. I don't mean just like
a friend. I love you with all my heart." She then held her breath.

Xena couldn't believe her ears. Gabrielle watched for a reaction in Xena's face. Slowly Xena
let go of a small exhale and smiled. Bending forward, the tall woman's mouth covered
Gabrielle's lips gently at first, then with more passion. Gabrielle relaxed and returned her
warrior's embrace as her heart burst with joy.

Argo just stomped her hoof and nodded her head up and down as if to say, Finally you two are
being sensible.

As quickly as the kiss began Xena pulled back. Looking into Gabrielle face she said, "I know
you aren't going to like the first part of my plan but I have to leave you here for a while. I
have to convince Callisto that you're out of my life."

Gabrielle just stared with an incredulous look on her face. She couldn't believe what Xena
just said. Now of all times! Now when there was so much to say and so much to do! How could Xena possibly just say she was going to ride off and leave her?

By the time Gabrielle had regained her senses Xena was saddling Argo and lifting her
supplies onto her back. Even Argo looked confused. She had just gotten a good meal and
here was her friend trying to put the bit back into her mouth!

As Xena rode out of the temple grounds Gabrielle watched with a look on her face that was
hard to describe. Psyche, coming out of the temple at the sound of hoof beats, couldn't begin
to guess what was going on. Hurrying over to Gabrielle she asked, "Where is she going?"
Gabrielle just shook her head and walked slowly back into the temple.

Wow, that was close! thought Xena. Gabrielle loves me! Thank the gods I asked her! Thank the
gods I got out of there while I still could! If I had allowed the feelings that coursed through me when I kissed her to continue.... Well let’s just say I don't know if I could have left her side. Right now I have to take care of Callisto, as long as she is obsessed with me Gabrielle is in danger. I'll make it up to Gabrielle later when there is time enough to explore our feelings at length.

Xena rode slowly and thoughtfully for the rest of the night looking for a place to camp and
where she could contact Callisto. If her plan worked well she would be back in her bards
arms in two days time.

Now all she needed was for Callisto to respond as well as Gabrielle had and she would have
the twisted Goddess returned to the lava pits running under the mountain and trapped for
good. She hoped!

As she made camp that night she could only think of Gabrielle. Every time she did something
that Gabrielle usually did she would pause and smile. Suddenly she stopped and shook her
head. I have to concentrate here or I won't ever see her again! With quick efficient movements
she completed her preparations. She laid down to try to get some sleep but her thoughts
returned to her bard and she drifted off with a smile on her lips.

At the temple Gabrielle tried to pretend that things were normal. After all it wasn't all that
unusual for Xena to leave her and go off to complete some mission. She told Psyche that
Xena was going to get some provisions not available here but necessary for her plan. Psyche
seemed to understand, so Gabrielle joined her for some light conversation before turning in.
When Gabrielle changed for bed all she could think of was what had happened in the stables
between her and the infamous warrior.

She could feel Xena's lips and her hands. In her thoughts Gabrielle continued the scene,
imagining the next move. I have to get a grip here! I have to get control of my emotions and
keep my head clear in case I am needed!
She admonished herself. But as she drifted off her
face too, had a gentle smile.

Chapter Two

Xena woke just before dawn. It was harder today, she missed seeing her bards sleeping
face. She always enjoyed those moments when she could just stare at her friend and imagine
what it would be like. With a start she realized that it wasn't a "what if." Gabrielle really said
she loved me! I have to get this show on the road and get back to her before she changes her mind!

Xena began to think of Callisto. Sending out strong thoughts. Callisto! I want to talk to you!
Come out now so we can talk!
Suddenly, in a burst of flame, she appeared.

"What's the problem, Xena? Where's your little friend?"

"She is no longer with me Callisto. We finally realized it just wouldn't work. She went back to
the Amazons."

"Its about time," Callisto said with the beginnings of a smile. "Are you in the market for a
new sidekick?"

"No. I think I will look for more interesting occupations. I haven't had a real good time for so
long I almost forgot how good it feels," Xena said with her warrior look on her face.

"Ah, that should prove to be interesting Princess! Are you planning to return to killing
innocent families and burning villages then?" Callisto almost seems to look forward to it.
Running her tongue over her lips like she thought more of the blood lust and had forgotten
the horror of what she had lived through with her family.

"No, I was thinking more in the line of physical pleasure. I haven't been anywhere without
my chaperone for three years now." With a feral grin on her face she turned to Callisto and
asked her, "What was that kiss in Illusia all about?"

Caught by surprise, Callisto just looked at Xena and then began to look around at the trees
like she was trying to find an escape route real fast.

"Not so fast. I want an answer. Ever since I woke with your lips on mine I haven't been able
to think of anything else." Xena lied. "Every time I had to stop or slow down for that crazy
bard. I wondered what it would be like to travel with you instead."

Callisto looked like a deer trapped in headlights. "Uh, Well, I had to get you to wake up
somehow. I thought it would confuse you, and I had to improvise quickly." Callisto was
turning four shades of red and for once her hands were wringing in a distracted way, most
unbecoming a warrior.

Xena was watching her closely and saw all the tell-tale signs. She had been right, Callisto did
have feelings for her other than the hatred she always screamed at her. Now to get her to
believe I feel the same way,
she thought.

Turning around and moving away from her weapons she gave Callisto a sense of security.
Xena asked, "How would you like to travel with me Callisto?" Xena turned again and nailed
Callisto with a look that she was unable to break.

As she was held by the blue eyes, Callisto took a slight step toward Xena. With a grin like a
cat ready to pounce on a small rodent, Callisto positioned herself face to face with Xena. Here
we go,
Xena thought as Callisto ran her finger over the metal on Xena's breastplate.

"You know Xe-ena, its not like you to give in so easily. Why the sudden change of heart
hmmmm? I mean I thought you and your little friend were committed forever?" she says
sarcastically. Xena quickly tries to recover from Callisto's inquisition and slumps down on a
nearby boulder.

"Nothing matters anymore now that Gabrielle is gone. It wasn't an amicable end. Gabrielle
would have never loved me the way I had hoped. I also pushed her too much, got her into
situations that weren't right for her. Because she loved me she stayed. Anyway, we ended up
fighting over Psyche's beauty. Gabrielle gets real possessive you know, that's always
confused me. Well, I couldn't convince her that just because I thought Psyche was attractive
it didn't mean that I wanted her! I guess Psyche was the final last straw."

Callisto gleefully rang in, "I guess you could say she was Psyched out!"

Xena without hesitation continued, "I'm lost now without her. Much like Lao Ma who healed
me and gave me my life back, Gabrielle gave me a purpose...."

As Xena went on about her woes, Callisto's face became drawn into a sad frown. It seems the
loss of purpose that Xena was talking about reminded her of how it felt when Xena's army
killed her family. For a brief moment she started to get mad at Xena. Then the little girl
inside of Callisto won over and she wanted nothing more than to hold Xena and to cry. Xena
tried desperately to dredge up despairing emotions much like her favorite bard would do.
Focusing, she thought about how it would feel if Gabrielle rejected her love.

Xena began to weep without tears much like any warrior would. Callisto gently brushed
Xena's hair away from her face and put both arms around her. Xena wanted to bolt up off the
boulder, but the emotions rising from her thoughts forged a river of pain through her belly
paralyzing her. It almost felt comforting to be held, Xena thought to herself. Then with a brief
hesitation Xena slowly put her arms around Callisto and returned the embrace.

Both women cried in each others arms for a few moments. Callisto laid her head on Xena's
chest as she pet her long black hair as she began kissing Xena on her neck. In a moment of
vulnerability, Xena leaned into the kisses. Thinking of Gabrielle, Xena let this affection
blanket her pain and her yearning for Gabrielle's touch. Callisto softly ran her partially
opened lips up Xena jaw line to Xena's chin. Xena felt Callisto's warm sweet breath on her

Like a magnet drawn to Callisto's lips, Xena kissed her with a fire that even Callisto herself
couldn't conjure. The passion built between the two women. Xena briefly regained control of
her emotions. In an attempt to sink the hook she forced her tongue deeply into Callisto's
mouth. Callisto, needing to release her desires in response, slid her opened hand from
Xena's neck up to the base of the head. Her fingers gently catching the rolls of Xena's hair.
She tugged playfully with the fist of hair as if it were the reigns on a bold filly. Callisto then
pulled Xena's hair back into her fist as she returned the kiss.

Xena closed her eyes.

Callisto softly pulled and bit at Xena's lips at the end of each thrust of her tongue. Xena's
loins start to throb deeply, it was no longer Callisto in her embrace but Gabrielle instead.

Chapter Three

Gabrielle rolled over in her bedroll reaching for Xena. She awoke suddenly when her hands
touch the cold sheet. She remembered, Xena was gone. Worse than that, right after Xena
practically begged for her love. A rush of anxiety and fear pierced Gabrielle like a dagger. A
lone tear broke free. It rolled off her cheek falling to the sheet Closing her eyes tightly
Gabrielle folded her arms over her abdomen to feign off the sobs that wanted to follow.
Instead, she spoke aloud as if someone was there. "Xena, you should be here with me. I
swear once this is over I will never let you face anything by yourself again. Don't you know
how much I love you? Don't you know how much I need you?"

Psyche was just about to enter the room when Gabrielle started to speak. She stopped to
listen and she could feel the pain in the bard's voice. Entering the room quietly she spoke to
Gabrielle. "Please tell me what is going on. I can see you are in pain and I know you two are
in love, maybe I can help." She sat at Gabrielle's head and slid her in to a sitting position
cradling the now crying bard. "She is off working on a plan," Gabrielle sobbed. "We did not
confess our love to each other until just before she left. I miss her so much."

"She will come back to you Gabrielle, I have seen the love between the two of you for a long
time. It runs deep and you both know it."

"I know but I still miss her. It has only been one night, but why did she have to leave so

"Think about it Gabrielle," Psyche said in a quiet tone soothing to the bard into her lap.
"Would you have let her go had she stayed much longer after the two of you kissed?"

"How did you know about the kiss?" Gabrielle said in a surprised tone.

"The way you look when you speak about her. You have that look like you know how sweet it
is to kiss someone you really truly love."

"It's that obvious huh?" Gabrielle said with a small smile.

"Yea it is, you two are bonded you know. It shows in the way you interact. Even when you
and Xena are separated you are both still together in spirit. No matter where the other is you
only have to think of each other and..." Psyche started to say but then realized that Gabrielle
may not know yet.

After a pregnant pause Gabrielle spoke with a bit of desperation. "What? and what? You
cannot just start a statement like that and leave it to hang in the air."

"Well, I am not sure I should be telling you this but I guess I have to now," Psyche said with
a smile. "Well, when you share a bond that strong with someone, you only have to think of
the other and both of you will feel that connection. If only one of you knows about this
connection it could cause problems. Feelings sensed by the unknowing person may be
confused for something completely different than was intended. That is why I stopped
speaking when I did."

"Thanks," Gabrielle said and fell silent, lost in thought.

Psyche sat and held the bard for a bit, letting her consider her options at this point. "Come,
let's get something to eat while we wait for your love to return." Psyche smiled down at

Chapter Four

Xena awoke to a feeling of pain in her heart. She thought, not really pain, more like sorrow
maybe. Yes, an incompleteness inside
. Xena knew it was because Gabrielle was not there.
Then all of a sudden she was filled with a powerful warmth that helped to calm her nerves and
think straight. Now what do I do about Callisto, Xena thought. Callisto was lying next to Xena
still asleep.

With a smile she thought , so far so good. Callisto thinks I have left Gabrielle and that I am
desperate enough to be interested in her

Now all I have to do is: Convince Adrianna that Callisto is all mine Get Aphrodite to remove the sleep Let Callisto find out just how bad a deal she got outta this. and get the two young love birds back in each others arms would be a nice touch, not to mention Gabrielle in my arms.

Back at the temple of Psyche, Gabrielle was wondering just what Xena had planned and what
she could do to help. Xena hadn't given her any instructions except the old "stay put and
don't get into any trouble" line. Gabrielle was getting bored and worried by the middle of the
next day and she asked Psyche if there was a town nearby.

"Yes, there is one just over the hill. Close enough for the people to come to the temple
regularly, and far enough away for me to live here without them being sure it is me. Can you
imagine if they knew I really was here all the time?"

So, right after lunch Gabrielle set out for town to do some shopping.

Chapter Five

When Callisto awoke she found Xena sitting dejectedly on a stump. She stretched like a
cat and walked over to her new lover. Purring, she ran her fingernails down Xena's back. At
the touch the dark warrior tensed her thoroughbred muscles but did not turn around. "I
guess you're up."

"Oh. Yes, and I feel verrrryyyy good this morning. How about you?" The catlike woman

Xena's plan included playing hard to get. She wanted to be with Gabrielle, not Callisto. She
turned toward Callisto and said, "What happened last night was nice, but I can't let it go on. I
love Gabrielle and even if I can't have her I can't betray her." How easily those words came.
Fortunately they fit her plan. But they made her think of Gabrielle and how she wished she
was with her now.

Callisto's smile turned sour as she walked over to the darker woman and lifted her face with
a jerk. "Last night you weren't thinking of your little Gabrielle! Last night you were all mine!
All of you! I don't like this change of events one bit!" As she talked Callisto pushed Xena
back, forcing her down to the blankets and leaning over her. "I think you would enjoy this
more if you were thinking of me, but if you can imagine your little girl sidekick doing
something like this, then I don't care whose face you see as long as you know who's here."
With that she took Xena's mouth by storm and with her tongue and hands she aroused the
warrior to such a degree that Xena became the attacker and soon Callisto was the one on her
back screaming Xena's name.

"Oh, how delicious you are Xena. Just as I imagined you'd be. I bet you've been wanting to
do that to your precious darling, hmmm? Too bad she's so sweet, can't really dirty her up
with your warrior lust!", Callisto proudly hissed.

"Leave Gabrielle out of this, Callisto's over and I don't want to think about it, Please!
Besides don't you want to savor the victory for yourself? " Xena said somberly.

"That's not all I'd like to ..". Callisto blankly stops in midsentence, realizing that Xena really
didn't want to think of Gabrielle. Of course, not for the reason Callisto imagined, but because
Xena had in a rare moment of desperation spoke of her true feelings to Gabrielle. Now here
she was having sex and seducing the one that had harmed her love the most. Callisto had in
fact killed the only other love that Gabrielle had ever known, Perdicus.

"Xena, it really doesn't become you, to sound so defeated. I think you need your mind and a
few other things distracted. Yesssss a little play, for the Warrior Princess. Why, I am sure
you have a lot of unexpressed energies that need unleashing, don't you?"

Xena looked up from where she sat, and curled her lip as her eyes met with the intense
brown pools of Callisto's eyes. Callisto slowly licked her teeth in desire, much like a feline
before the kill. Xena made a note to herself that Callisto's arrogance was beaming. Now, it
won't take much for Xena to set her up for the fall.

Callisto walked over to her bed roll and pulled out two straps of leather one long and one a
bit shorter. Disinterested, she dropped the shorter one at her feet while running the other
through her left hand. The blonde bomb caught one end and folded it over to the other. Now
doubled, the strap took on new possibilities. Callisto snapped the two pieces together and
satisfied herself with the sound it created.

Kneeling before Xena, she grabbed the ex-warlords wrists not meeting any resistance.
Wrapping the strap around them, she bound Xena wrist to wrist as if in cuffs. "Now you are
truly mine Xena. When I am done you will not want for another. You are mine!" Xena glanced
at Callisto and sent off a sultry smirk. Callisto had really wanted more of a challenge from the
warrior but she had waited long enough, this would do. Surprisingly, Callisto gently guided
the statuesque Princess over to a boulder and guided her to lay over it. The kindness
however was to be somewhat misleading. Callisto had planned this since they made camp
earlier. The rock perfectly hoisted Xena's full rear to a prime position. Callisto smacked her
lips in anticipation as she walked to the front of the stone bed.

"Lick me princess, I want you to taste how much you excite me." Xena's hesitation was
obvious but Callisto didn't notice. "My lust warrior, I want you to clean me of the remnants
of your fire. But don't swallow any of it, I have plans". Callisto positioned herself near Xena's
face and released her leathers. They fell from her without effort. With her arms out in front
Xena stretched her neck, and lifted her nose through Callisto's light curls forcing the hair
aside. As Xena did this, her tongue started low in the blondes core and ran slowly up past her
enlarged berry. Callisto shuddered.

As the warrior collected the marmalade, she thought to herself. This isn't so bad, she taste
quite nice actually for the psycho-bitch that she is
. The smell of Callisto's sex awoke a part of
Xena that had been mostly dormant since her travels with Gabrielle began. Oh Gabrielle. The
thought of her sent rivets of pain and guilt through Xena. Not now Xena, she chided herself.
While she continued to lap at Callisto's pool , the Goddess suddenly pulled back.

"Don't swallow", she commanded the warrior. Kneeling in front of Xena, Callisto opened her
glistening sex as she leaned into the dark princess. "Feed me, Xena. Feed me with our
consummate wine. "As the Goddess slightly opened her teeth Xena threw her tongue into
her, spitting forth a fire of passion. Both fought with the other for the position of dominance
in their lingual embrace.

Callisto, pulling away from Xena's lips, giving the warrior a small bite on the upper lip. The
nectar glistened on her mouth as she walked behind Xena to straddle her. "Lift up, so I can
feel your breasts," as she gropes the warrior. "Hmmm, lets see if you've really been paying
attention!" Sliding her right hand down between the warriors legs she slips two fingers inside
the princess. "Wow, I am flattered by your warm and whet reception."

Xena quivers, "My goddess, Callisto I've got to tell you... I, I, I was wrong about you, I'm
sorry," the warrior quipped in short breaths. "I want to please you. I've never seen this side
of you before, your passion! I'm so sorry!"

Callisto cocks her head proudly.

Yes, Xena inwardly elates. Callisto bought it hook, line and dinar.

Now quite confident of her conquest, with one hand Callisto picked up a harness and begins
to attach it to her hips. Within the harness a phallus of leather stands erect. The blonde runs
her cupped hand from the front to the rear of Xena's core capturing her thick wetness. Like
balm she bastes the phallus with it.

Unlacing the bottom she leaves the warriors leathers on her and parts her lips. Grabbing a
handful of the warriors raven tresses Callisto enters Xena from the rear. Xena quickly
inhales and groans deep in her throat. "You are mine my lovely princess. No one will ever
make love to you as I do". Callisto continued to ride the warrior until Xena bucked out a final
blood curdling scream of ecstasy.

Chapter Six

On her way into town Gabrielle thought about Xena and what the possibilities were for when
she returned. Not really thinking about how silly she looked she stared talking to herself like
Xena was actually standing next to her.

"What would you really love to get as a token of my love...hmmm. I wonder Xena, would you
ever let me wear your ring? I would really love to wear your ring Xena I love you will all my
soul you know. Ooh, I think I will get you a lovely gift while I am in town. What can I get for a
warrior that she can wear in battle and not have it in the way. This will be a challenge, I

Noticing the shops ahead Gabrielle stops talking aloud and quickens her pace. She comes to
the shops she could see from the road and turned to look down the main area of the town.
She stopped in her tracks. Most of the shock was from the fact that she had never even
heard of the place let alone the numbers of shops here.

Gabrielle walked down the shopping strip looking at the different shops that were set up in
the open market. There was everything you could possibly imagine in this town. She even
saw some shops with new inventions. After she had wandered through the whole place
looking for the places that appeared to have the best deals and whose shop owners look
friendly she started back to the other end of town.

The first shop she stopped in was a blacksmith. Xena needs some new boot daggers, I noticed
she was frustrated by the damage to them after that last fight
. "Do you have any boot daggers
to sell me?" Gabrielle inquired.

"Depends on what you are looking for sweety," came the rough voice of a monstrous woman.
She was an extremely strong woman who had been working metals since she was about 10.
Her muscles were developed to the point where she could beat out any man in all of the
known world.

"I am looking for something very distinctive. They must be the very well made, with fancy
handles and very sharp blades. Do you have anything like that?" Gabrielle tried to sound like
she was the one going to use them.

"Hon, you what would you need with weapons like that? You planning on trying to fool
someone with the decorations or something?"

"No, they are for a friend of mine. I want to get her something that will stand out as only

"It may help if I knew who the person is that you are buying for. Anyone I might know?"

"Depends, do you know Xena?"

"The Warrior Princess? Hell yeah, I know who she is. Are you serious, is that who you are
buying boot daggers for?" The woman said excitedly.

"Yep that's the one!" Gabrielle said smiling. "So, can you help me?"

"You have come to the right place my dear. I have been a fan of hers for a long time now. In
fact I was thinking of her when I made these," she said reaching for a box on an overhead
beam. "They are the most intricately detailed blades I have ever made. I had been playing
with mixing metals and creating patterns in the final product. This set in particular took me a
long time to perfect. I have always hoped for just this chance. I was going to wait and sell
them when I got a chance to travel but you are better than that!"

Gabrielle could not believe her eyes. The daggers were short like they should be but they
looked very different from anything she had ever seen. The blades were swirled with
different shades of metal, and as she looked closer she noticed a pattern in the swirls. "Is
that what I think it is?" she asked as she traced the shape in the metal.

"Depends what do you think you see?" the older woman said in a soft voice.

Gabrielle removed the daggers from the box and examined them closely. She was not only
looking at the shapes in the metal she was testing the quality of the work. "This one is
Xena's sword and this one looks like Argo" she said in a whisper. "How did you get the
metal to do that? How much do you want for them?"

"Actually it was an accident. Like I said I had been playing around with new metal techniques
and I managed to make this pattern. I saw them right away. I met Xena about 3 years ago,
well not even that long. Anyway, I was really interested in the styling of her sword and I
made shoes for Argo. That is how I knew the images. The real challenge was in finishing the
blade and not destroying the images. But as you can see I did it!" She said with great pride.

"How much are you asking for them?" Gabrielle pleaded. "Xena would absolutely love
these." Gabrielle, normally a ruthless at bartering was about pour all her dinars out in order
to secure her warrior's prize when the woman replied. "Since you are giving them to the
person they were made for I will give you a deal on them. I would give them to you for free
but I kinda need the money at the moment. This town is not really big on weapon sales...
say....Thirty dinars?

Gabrielle knew the cost of weapons and knew how hard the woman had worked on these
particular daggers. The price offered was really low for the quality. She took the deal and left
a large tip for the woman who had made the perfect gift for her warrior.

Gabrielle spent the rest of the day wandering in and out of shops collecting supplies and little
trinkets with the extra money Psyche gave her.

Her major find besides the daggers was a small shop that sold fancy items for pleasure. At
this shop she found several scented oils and some toys she thought she might enjoy with
Xena. All day long Gabrielle had experienced strong sexual thoughts of Xena and the
different things they could do together. The strange part about it was that she had never
considered some of the possibilities. Then she remembered what Psyche had said about
thinking of the other person. Has Xena been thinking of doing that stuff to me? Hmmm? I
wonder what she would say if I had some of this stuff when she returned?"

Gabrielle started back to Psyche's palace with her arms full of stuff.

Chapter Seven

Xena awoke from her induced sleep somewhat surprised when she focused and realized
that it was Callisto next to her, not her true love, the bard of Poteidaia. Xena sighed, it's time
for the final phase
she noted to herself as she slipped from under Callisto's arm.

Callisto awoke to the smell of something fishy and the cracking of green wood burning. "Oh
hi, my angel," Xena greeted her in a bubbly fashion. "I've got us something to eat. I'm sorry
if it isn't great. I'm not used to this cooking thing". Xena scrunches one eye and her nose as
she quips in a Meg like voice. "I wasn't my job. I caught us some gar and found some grubs
too! I didn't have much choice for seasonings though," Xena draws up one shoulder in an
apologetic gesture. "It's the area we are in".

"Yeah, fine," Callisto groaned.

Xena walked the food over and handed it to Callisto. The warrior stood there waiting in an
anticipatory stance.

Callisto sniffed the plate with a peculiar look on her face. Using her cupped fingers she
scooped some of the food and threw it in her mouth. By the time she realized what she was in
for it was too late, the vile taste had hit her palate. "Pheew!" As quickly as the warrior queen
had sucked in the food she spewed it back out. Xena not wanting the impending grin to
betray her, cupped her hands to her face apparently in horror. "Oh my! What’s wrong is it
too hot?!" Xena exclaimed again in a Meg voice.

"No!, its horrible! Did you learn to cook at all!?" Callisto screamed.

"I'm sorry, no. I said It wasn't my job. My army took care of that and then it was Gab-ri....,"
Xena voice faltered. "Never mind Xena. I'll find something, maybe when I return we can
ransack a village or something." Callisto jumped up and began to walk away. Xena was
enjoying this phase alot. The next was to sharpen Callisto's weapon while she was away. No
warrior would tolerate anyone else grooming their dagger or sword.

Callisto took the opportunity to call upon Aphrodite while she was away. She wasn't sure that
the cooking thing was going to work but felt her lifelong anger subsiding. She looked up,
gazing through the top of her eyes and thought how funny this all was. Now, getting to feel
the other side of the love/hate thing she had with Xena she no longer found it as much fun
being bad. There was no one to play against. Suddenly Aphrodite manifested behind Callisto.

"Way cool Callisto! the valley girl goddess cheered. So far so good, I really didn't think you'd
pull it off," Callisto turned around casually. "You were lucky. We didn't count on Gabrielle
getting jealous of Psyche but, oh well." "What an irritating blonde she is!"

"Duhhh? YOU were lucky Callisto," forced Aphrodite with an appalled look.

"Ares is more hopeful now than ever to get Xena restored at his side."Callisto felt a twinge
of possessiveness when she thought of Ares taking from her what she had fought so hard to
gain herself, Xena.

Aphrodite went on about Adrianna's spell while Callisto started really thinking about this
whole scheme. Ares won't let me have Xena. He may talk of only wanting the dark warrior's
return to the battlefield. That's just like him, he lusts for her too. I'd love to cut out his carnal heart.
She couldn't let this happen, but needed Aphrodite to remove the love spell on
Adrianna. Damn the lesser gods and Zeus too! this is too complicated, Callisto thought.
Adrianna has got to go to Pleasure, kiss her and profess her love to break the sleeping spell. Oh Zeus! Then there's dealing with Ares, but I would enjoy the fight that would ensue with him,
' the platinum warlord thought.

Faintly hearing Aphrodite's voice, "Callisto! Where on Mt. Olympus are you?"

"Sorry,... uh..." Callisto looked at Aphrodite in a glazed stare. "I have Xena's heart and
desire now, she IS mine. Now that bratty bard is no longer a threat and Ares' plan is well
underway. I want you to release the spell on Adrianna. Tell Ares our dark princess is back
among us." A laugh escapes Callisto's lips. "Her precious bard broke her little reformed
heart," Callisto said mockingly.

"Right! Are you sure she is back on the dark side Callisto? I mean she is good at deception
ya know!" Aphrodite says sarcastically.

"Trust me, she is back. And if I have anything to do with it she will stay here!" Callisto said
with an evil smirk.

"Ok, then I will release the worthless brat from the spell." Aphrodite said sounding
dejected. Then disappeared.

Callisto zapped some food up for the two of them and headed back to Xena. When she
reached the clearing she saw Xena sitting next to the fire with her back towards her,
sharpening her weapons.

"I decided to just zap some up instead." Callisto purred while walking around Xena to hand
her some of the food. "Here ya... What in Tartarus do you think you are doing!" Callisto
screamed when she saw Xena sharpening HER weapons.

"I thought you would like your weapons sharp for your next battle," Xena said using her Meg
impression again.

The rest of the day Xena found little things all over the place to annoy Callisto to make her
see that getting Xena was a mistake.

Later that evening Callisto made an excuse to go for a walk alone in the woods. Xena knew
she was going to be contacting one of the other gods involved in this whole nasty ordeal. She
pretended to stay in camp then followed Callisto at a distance so she could still hear what was
being said while remaining out of site. Callisto wandered quite a ways away from where they
had made camp to a small clearing. When she got there she called Aphrodite.

"Did you remove that spell?" she said a bit annoyed.

"Yea, you told me to remember... I removed it right away. And as soon as I did Adrianna
realized that her love was not well and went back to her. So now both of them are back to
normal and playing their little games." Aphrodite said with a little sneer. "What's your prob

Callisto put both hands on her leather clad hips, while leaning to one side. Her golden white
hair flowed offer her shoulders wildly, as she looked up into nothingness. "Do you think Ares
would mind if I just let Xena go to be her pathetic evil self on her own?" Callisto asked in a
searching tone.

"As if???? I thought you loved her? You are after all the one who said that you had her in
your clutches." Aphrodite teased in her hip lingo.

"That is just the problem. I had no idea how annoying Xena can be. All this time I thought it
was that bratty bard who was so annoying. Now I can't figure how Gabrielle put up with her all
this time. She has been with me for only two days and already she is driving me insane. I
have to get away from her."

Xena stayed through that much of the conversation then with a smile on her face started
heading back to the campsite and find some other annoying little task.

Better keep this up and pretend to be hurt when she wants to leave me, she thought.

Chapter Eight

Gabrielle walked along the dirt road that lead to the palace,, with an occasional limp,
humming some little tune she heard in the market place. Startled by something, Gab stopped
in her tracks and laid her new found merchandise on a near by rock. She picked up her staff
and tried to concentrate. She knew someone was around. Gab had learned many things from
Xena, this was one of them.

Gab whirled around and socked a rather burly looking man in the head. She twirled around
again and tripped another behind the knee caps.

A third man was just approaching from the side when Gabrielle noticed a fourth man leaning
against a tree. His arms crossed over his chest smiling sweetly. Gabrielle moved just in time
to avoid the sword of the third man and swinging her staff like a club finished him quickly.

"Ares! What are you doing here? Don’t you have some war somewhere to run?" Gabrielle
asked trying to hide here apprehension. ‘What is he doing here. Xena isn’t around. I hope he
isn’t looking for me
. She thought

"You are just the person I was looking for!" Ares laughed. "You have gotten better with the
stick. I should have chosen my men more carefully. I just wanted to persuade you to come
along with me for a little while. You can say, I have something to show you."

Chapter Nine

Callisto returned to the camp and seeing Xena looking lost she decided to distract her new
lover from her thoughts. The only fun she had so far with this woman was sex, and she still a
few tricks left to try on her new sex slave.

Xena felt her come into the clearing. Turning she looked into her eyes and knew she was in
for some more fun and games. Oh, Gabrielle, what I wouldn’t give to be with you right now!’

"Xeeeenaa, lets get our toys out and play some more. How about if we play warrior and slave
and I’ll be the warrior for a change!"

Getting bored with the whole thing but knowing she had to play along just a little longer.
Xena smiled and slowly rising off of the rock said, "Do you really think I would even begin to
know how to play ‘slave’?" As she moved toward Callisto, her smile turned feral and she
began to run her finger slowly down the blade she had just been sharpening. A little drop of
blood started to drip off of her hand and Callisto was staring at it like she was hypnotized. As
Xena got closer she raised the bleeding finger to her mouth and sucked on it, staring into
Callisto’s eyes the whole time.

Callisto began to feel a burning between her legs, the juices started to run down her leg. She
was so hot! Her legs were week by the time Xena got close enough to touch, and even then
Callisto didn’t move. Xena reached for Callisto’s hand and using her knife she slowly opened
a long line down her middle finger. The blood started to ooze slowly down Callisto’s hand.

"Now I want you to remove everything you are wearing and come to me." Xena commanded
quietly. Her eyes nailing Callisto like a moth to a board. Xena lifted her bleeding finger and
slowly drew a line of red down Callisto’s face. Callisto groaned and almost collapsed. Xena
lifted the smaller woman and placed her on the blankets, stepping back as she watched
Callisto begin to tear her leathers from her body, careful not to use her bleeding hand.

"What is this for Xena, some new initiation rite you are going to show me?"

"You’ll see soon enough. Now just do as you were told!"

"Eeeewwww, The Warrior Princess demands! I love it! What next?" Naked, she knelt on the
blankets before Xena holding her hand with the oozing finger out toward the warrior.

"Very good, now I will remove my clothes and you will watch without moving from where you

Xena could see the level of arousal she was producing as Callisto’s eyes started to glaze. The
stare became a little unfocussed as Callisto’s hand started to move to her own need between
her legs.

"Don’t even think about it! You will wait for me and you will wait patiently!"

Callisto’s hand paused and she started to tremble with anticipation as she looked down at the
finger wanting to lick the warm blood running down her hand. Xena reached out and took
Callisto’s hand in her own and smeared the blood together. Using the mixture to again mark
Callisto’s face. Callisto was almost beyond ecstasy. Xena could see she was dripping onto the
blankets and not just blood. She was glad it was Callisto’s own blanket. She would have had a
hard time explaining it to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle! ...... Oh Gabrielle. I hope you never learn how I worked this out for us.’ Xena
thought. Seeing Callisto so vulnerable she almost felt sorry for her. Just then Callisto lunged
for her and caught by surprise Xena fell backwards, landing with Callisto on top straddling
her hips. Callisto’s mouth was covering hers and her tongue was forcing itself into Xena’s
mouth. Xena bit down and when Callisto jerked back Xena said firmly, "Now, now! What
happened to patient? I said wait and now you’ve gone and spoiled it!"

Chapter Ten

Just then Ares and Gabrielle appeared at the edge of the clearing. They could see what was
going on but they were invisible to the two women sprawled on the blankets.

With a growl of frustration Callisto backed off. Xena turned Callisto over on her back and
bent over her. Slowly using Callisto’s own finger and blood she began to draw circles on
Callisto’s stomach. Then she held the finger over Callisto’s belly and squeezed her hand
hard. The blood began to run more quickly and pool in the hollow of her belly button.

"Now show me where you want me to kiss you Callisto. Draw me a map."

Callisto looked into Xena’s eyes. With both hands she pushed the pooled blood down over
her blond curls and between her legs, smearing it up and down her inner thighs. Still
watching Xena’s eyes, Callisto then took the bleeding finger and inserted it into her opening
mixing the blood with the juices already flowing from her core.

"There Xena! I want you there! Now!"

"Very demanding for a slave, Callisto."

Gabrielle couldn’t understand what she was seeing at first. As what was happening dawned
on her, her face registered the horror she felt.

"Oops, maybe we should come back later." Ares said, and as they disappeared both women
heard Gabrielle’s voice yell "NO! Xena!"

Chapter Eleven

"Boy!" Callisto snarled. "You two really have some kinda soul connection don't you?
Even after it's over she still feels you, how touching! Do you still feel your little bard, Xena?"

Xena snapped, "Stop it Callisto!, you're ruining my mood." as she rolled off of Callisto and
turned away.

"Oooh, we are a bit sensitive when we're all hot and bothered, Hmmmm?" Callisto's evil
grin dropped as she grew bored with her jabs towards Xena's loss.

Xena, grappled inside to contain herself. The warrior wanted no more of this charade. She felt
a powerful force inside urging her to go to Gabrielle. No, to run to her beloved quickly,
urgently. Something struck deep within the dark warrior, something she only felt when she
was away from her companion. It was fear. Fear of losing control and of losing the only woman
left, that gave her hope and strength. Gabrielle. Her heart felt as if it had been ripped from
her very chest and thrown onto the ground to jerk and throb until it died from separation
from it's lifeblood. Gabrielle is my lifeblood, she thought. She battled with her desperation to
make sure Gabrielle was alright and with acting for the greater good that she knew Gabrielle
would want.

We've made it through worse times between us, I have to believe we will get through this, Xena
thought. With the resolve of a true warrior and possessing a new found strength, Xena turned
to complete the task at hand.

"Callisto, I don't know how to tell you this but, I really would rather be your lover. I don't
think I have it in me anymore to be rough with my love." Xena put on her softest Diana face
with a splash of Meg. She then peered into Callisto's eyes waiting to read the vixens

Callisto stood in thought with her hands on her hips while her darkened eyes shifted from left
to right. "Well, I could tell something was gone Xena, and frankly you're not much fun

The dark goddess paused and cocked her head to one side so she could assess the power of
the words to follow. "I guess my desire was more out of the challenge of wanting you Xena
and not having you. I hope you understand." Callisto's voice was again cold and taunting.

Callisto drooped her eyes into the blank, sullen look that Xena had come to know as the lost
girl inside Callisto. Xena slightly turned her cheek and tilted her chin down as if bracing
herself from the rejection. Xena was glad that she has spent many nights watching Gabrielle
telling stories without words. She was amazed that she had picked up on some of Gabrielle's
antics. The bard would be proud.

"Callisto?," Xena asks. "Are you sure you can't find it in you, to love me for who I am now?
Please, I just don't have it in my heart to conquer and dominate anymore."

Xena was now flipping back and forth between the silky sweetness of Diana and the
adolescent impishness of Meg. Callisto didn't have a clue and was buying it all.

"No Xena, I guess the conquest is over in more ways that one," Callisto quipped. "I can't
hate you anymore, there is no amount of pain I could inflict on you that will make me feel
better. Just the same I can't love you either." Callisto paused and pondered her own
revelation. "Isn't that an eternity in Tartarus, there is nothing for me. Not here ..... not
anywhere ........ not even death." "Oh well!"

Her voice and expression returned into the detached matter of fact hardness that Xena was
used to. With a burst of fire she disappeared.

Thank the gods, Xena thought to herself. She was afraid to say it aloud just in case her
nemesis was nearby.

Chapter Twelve

Gabrielle stood trying not to tremble in front of Ares. She wasn't trembling from fear but
from pain and anger.

Ares smoothly looked into the bards eyes as he pouted his lips, "you really must believe me
I had no idea." "Such a shame you had to find out that way, if I were you though, I'd forget
you ever knew her. Xena has shamed you AND your memories of Perdicus, by lying with the
one that brought you such misery."

Gabrielle fought hard to still the fluids that flowed within her own body, trying to contain the
rage. Her mind thinking, flashing through the many conversations she had with Xena.

'Oh, Xena how could you?' she thought.

All of those moments she held so dear were threatened now. The times when Xena had
removed all guard to her soul and had spoken to the bard from her heart. Then she recalled
the horror of seeing Perdicus taking Callisto's sword. Flash after flash, Caesar, Ming T'ien
and Meridian then Solan and Hope.

Illusia had broken the ice to healing our deceits and our hearts, but what about now?'

Pictures ran through Gabrielle's mind of Xena nursing over her in the armory, professing her
loyalty as Gabrielle lay dying. Their love somehow seemed deepened by the pain they had
walked through, together. Could that love possibly bear this weight and hold on long enough to see us through?

Can I again believe that love can conquer hate? Oh, this hurts Xena. I want to believe what you told me before you left, to trust you. I don't know if I'm strong enough.

Inside Gabrielle a primal voice screamed, But I love her! Oh, gods how I love her!

The seconds seemed like hours. The young woman balled her hands into fists. "No," the
bard uttered, then more audible "No!, NO!, NOOOO!"

"ARES, you're trying to make me go INSANE!" Gabrielle yelled with a fierceness that even
she didn't recognize. Her voice sounded strange like it was coming from somewhere else, or
someone else. The small but well built woman then took every ounce of her hurt and pain
and charged at Ares. Her eyes and teeth clinched tightly as she threw all she was into her

Her tight muscular body lurched forward blindly. Being the agile fighter that she had become,
she rolled into a tumble as she hit the ground with a thud. Coming up with one fist while
reaching for her staff, she stopped. The dust had just begun to settle around her, he was

"You coward! Ares," she yelled to the nothingness before her.

Gabrielle realized that Ares had delivered her near the same spot on the path in which he
had earlier taken her. Knowing that night would soon fall she quickly found her package with
her purchases and began her trek back to Psyche's temple.

Chapter Thirteen

Xena had been riding Argo furiously for more than an hour. Her heart pounded double to
every hoof beat of Argo's. As her distance neared its destination, the pressure in her chest

Gabrielle hold on I'm coming, the warrior thought intensely in hopes her love would hear her.
What could have happened to her best friend?

Powerless in her attempt to know of Gabrielle's fate, she took comfort in thinking of each
possibility and how she would save her love, her precious Gabrielle. It could be Aphrodite
again, Xena thought. No it wasn't her style to hurt anyone, at least not in a way that would
make Gabrielle cry out. Surely Psyche would make all efforts to protect her companion and
friend. That is unless it was Ares himself who was inflicting Gabrielle. It's going to be okay,
Xena told herself. It's has to be okay!

Gabrielle was at the entrance to the temple in no time at all. She didn't want to go inside but
she felt she would go mad if she didn't. Maybe Psyche could help, she seemed to be very
insightful about love and certainly overcoming tragedies. Slowing her pace as the path turned
into the entrance she could hear voices, happy voices. Suddenly emerging from the temple
doors were Pleasure and Adrianna hand in hand.

"You must be Gabrielle?," one of the young girls queried.

Gabrielle fought to find her voice, "Yes, yes I am".

"Thank you so much for helping us, this is Adrianna, my love. We cannot thank you and Xena
enough for reuniting us. Oh, excuse me I am Pleasure".

Gabrielle slowly responded, "Yes, I know."

"Where is Xena? we want to thank her too!"

The young lovers were oblivious to Gabrielle's condition, nevertheless she did what bards
do, acted as if.

"Oh, I'm sure she is tying up Cal....uh, tying up loose ends," Gabrielle said with a nervous

"Great when she arrives let us know." The two love-struck girls seemed to float away down
the path.

Psyche stood at the temple entrance. "I thought I heard your voice. I've been worried,
surely you didn't buy the whole market," Psyche prodded Gabrielle knowing something was

Gabrielle managed to get out of her throat, I can't talk about it, Psyche. Then Gabrielle put
her face in her hands and doubled over into tears.

Psyche with the most motherly wisdom, gently lifted Gabrielle by wrapping both arms under
the bards elbows and urged her inside. "There, there dear one, all will be well, tell me your
reason for tears and all will be well." Psyche knew just how to comfort, Gabrielle couldn't
have felt better with her own mother.

Xena slowed as she neared the temple trying to calm herself, so she could deal with any
horrors she'd have to face on Gabrielle's behalf. Dismounting Argo she walked the mare for
the last bit of the travel. "Thanks Argo," Xena said as she rubbed her faithful friend between
the ears. Xena decided to tie Argo off to a large bush near the temple entrance, she planned
to later take her to the stables. First job, was finding out if Gabrielle had been hurt and who
had offended her love. Just inside the entrance Xena could hear both Gabrielle's and
Psyche's voices. The warrior paused almost automatically to hear their words, and much to
her pain, all too clearly.

"Psyche I don't trust Ares, I know he'd do anything to tear Xena and I apart.

But," the girl paused and sniffed. "I was there I saw it with my own eyes, Xena and Callisto,
ahh, huh huh," she began to sob, "I can't even say it."

The moment the words penetrated her mind, Xena's heart sank deeper than any other time
before. The warrior no longer stood listening. There the lone woman stood. Still statuesque
and dark but no hero, just a woman. Maybe the same woman that had led her brother Lyceus
to his death, but certainly not a warrior. Her clear azure eyes turned quickly to grey and one
tear trailed after another from her left cheek. She turned. Nothing else mattered now. She
had really done it. The woman walked out into the nearby woods and just as quickly her
shadow disappeared.

"Gabrielle, what exactly was Xena's plan?"

"I don't know," the young beauty replied, her face now swollen from her tears. Psyche held
Gabrielle and lightly rocked her.

"This is either a trick Ares cooked up or there is a good reason for it. Think Gabrielle,

"She said I wouldn't like it that's all I know, how could she Psyche?" "How could she?" I
can't believe her! Making me confess my love and then giving herself to Callisto. Callisto! of
all people." The fury had returned to the bards voice.

Psyche realized the bard was getting hysterical and now it was time for more direct
measures. "Gabrielle you have to get honest with yourself, you know the truth inside. You
and Xena are very much a part of each other. Reach down into your depths and see what is

"I can't!" the young woman cried.

"Yes, Gabrielle you CAN, just try. You know Ares, he's very capable of this treachery. But
more importantly, think of Xena, how many times has she demonstrated her love and loyalty
to you?"

"Wasn't it her love for you that led her to save you from the torture of Caesar, one that she
herself had suffered?"

"She tried to protect you from the evils of Ming T'ien and," Psyche paused "from Dahak."

"It was her love Gabrielle, yes, I understand that she hurt you by protecting you, but the
reason was her love!" Look, even Solan knows that the love between the two of you
transcends life itself. You've gotta believe."

Thoughtfully Gabrielle lifts her head trying to regain her breath, she sniffles again and clears
her throat. "Uhumm".

She whispers, "Believe?" the air stilled as Gabrielle spoke, "believe."

"I remember her asking me to believe, believe in us."
Xena had not gone far, she had gathered some wood and made her camp about 40 paces into
the thick cover. Nothing had prepared Xena for this. This was far worse than any suffering at
the hand of any army, even Caesar or the Horde. No there was nothing like battling herself,
quietly from the inside. But isn't that what she had been doing all along, battling herself?
True the first was Cortese, but then as a consequence of Lyceus' death from then on the
battle was always with Xena herself.

She sat motionless on a nearby rock, as if any movement would rivet her with agony. The one
time warrior knew she had gone too far this time. Even now, she couldn't seem to leave
Gabrielle. Even if she had to shadow Gabrielle's life for eternity just to keep her from harm
she would. She owed her that much, and so much more. Xena, stared at the flames of her fire,
her sword and scabbard carelessly dropped nearby. This was a rare moment indeed. Even a
careless fool could have walked up on the woman and she would've not responded.

Xena's thoughts rampaged through her mind. Each time she had let the bard down, flashed
before her.

Chapter Fourteen

"That's it Gabrielle, that's what I'm talking about," Psyche reassured the woman.

Remember when I told you that because of your connection to one another that she will feel
your thoughts when you think of her?"

"Yes," the bard whispered.

"Well, why don't you tell her how you feel about her now, right now."

Gabrielle's face contorted in emotion as she began to sob aloud. "I do love her Psyche, she
is all I have want."

"I loveed Perdicus because he was my first love, but ....I love Xena because," she took a
slow deep breath desperately needing to get these next few words out.

"I love Xena because she is my true love." As the words fell from Gabrielle's lips she felt
less like a bard and more like a hopeless girl, hopelessly in love. Hearing her own admission
of the depth of her love for Xena she let loose. Tears flooded over her pink skin. All of her
barriers to the bare truth were swept away, she knew she would never be the same.

Psyche just quietly held her waiting for Gabrielle to break the silence this time.

"You know, I could never understand why she stuck with me. Even through her brushes of
passion with others and certainly mine too, she stuck by me. I never thought she would take
me for her lover, not like a man would take a woman anyway. I just went along, I figured it
was expected of me to marry or to flirt along the way. When I married Perdicus, it was for the
wrong reason. I did love him but I knew it wouldn't work...I was just scared that if I stayed
with her I would seem foolish when she found out how I felt about her."

"Hummh, I was probably more scared of being happy with her only loosing her to a sword

"Psyche, Do you think it's possible for someone to love two people at the same time?"

"Yes, Gabrielle I do."

"I wish I had the courage back then to just tell her, to show her what I wanted."

"Gabrielle, you can start now. Tell her."

"You're right," Gabrielle determined as she wiped her eyes.

"Xena, I know you're there, I'm right there with you Xena. Don't give up Xena. I thought I
had, but I couldn't. Xena, I know you asked me to trust you, well I am trying. But please
come back I miss you terribly. I Believe Xena, I believe."

Argo, a bit putout from being left tied to a bush, neighed and pawed her hoof as if to call Xena

Gabrielle stood at the sound of the mare. "Xena!" Blood rushed into her face as she leapt
towards the entrance seeking her love. Seeking an answer. Did Xena really love her?

Chapter Fifteen: Conclusion

Xena, felt a stir within her, she could hear Gabrielle's voice in her heart.

Torture me, she thought as if speaking to Gabrielle herself, I deserve it. I've betrayed you my
love. Before I could show you my heart I betrayed you.

Gabrielle's face haunted her, the image of Xena's hands on the girls arms. Peering into the
bards deep green truth "Trust me Gabrielle," the last words she had spoken to her
companion echoed and stabbed her deeply.

Without a movement it seemed, Xena suddenly was leaning forward onto one knee. Inside
her, no hardness remained, most all her will was broken. Shamefully Xena's eyes raised to
sights somewhere above her. She spoke, pleading with the half crescent moon.

"I have no reason to deserve your ear or your mercy. I have failed this world and I have
failed my love. I have but one thing to ask and if the gods care not for me I will vow to say no
more, forever." The dark exotic woman paused, her pulse raced and her mouth became dry.
As she began to speak her lips cracked from their parched nature. Her voice was soft and

"I have taken many lovers to my bed in these many years, but surprisingly only one remains
in my heart. Marcus, our time had passed long ago but we will love one another always. The
others were mostly borne of convenience or power, until now."

"I spent more than two years denying my love and my heart. It is the preciousness of her that
made me deny it for so long. She IS my true love, my Gabrielle," Xena's voice softened.

Gabrielle had picked up the scent of the fire and followed it until she could see it's dimming
glow. She stood still.

"I loved her.." (Xena sighs and focuses herself) "..... I love her ...... so deeply ..... it scares
me, the only thing I have feared these past few years was losing her. Even when she spoke of
marriage to Perdicus, I feared if I told her the truth I would not only lose her, but her love as
well. That, I couldn't bear. It hurt, I wanted to be happy for her but I couldn't. I was lost
without her light, without her and I knew it.

I hated that Gabrielle lost Perdicus at Callisto's hand, but just the same I felt relief. I have
had to live with my shame for having that relief. I knew I wouldn't make it without her,
Perdicus would. There were many times afterwards that in my conviction of being right, as
well as my fear of her seeing me need her so, I ran over her. I ignored any kind of regard for
her insight and value. It was my shield and in the end my heel of Achilles too. My fears kept
me distant or cold at times, their only purpose was to conceal my secret love.

My fears hurt her. I hurt her. I am tired of pretending. I'm tired of coming to the brink of
losing her forever. Then and only then do I reveal to her my devotion and love. Later, I can
feel it when I start to play down my feelings, my words. I often see the disappointment in her
eyes, as I undue every word I had spoken from my heart. I don't deserve her love. I don't
deserve a chance at all. Yet, I am compelled to plea for her heart to join mine. I know she
saw me with Callisto, that alone is enough for me to be banished from her life eternal.
However, I need her desperately.Gods, I need her."

Xena's face shone from the night suns light. It was dirty but pink from the flow of her blood's
truth. The warriors eyes were flooded with loss and hunger. They were usually piercing blue,
eyes that would capture anyone who dared to peer into them. Now, in these eyes, forced from
her very flesh, a bead appears and rolled carelessly across her cheek. The trail parts the
travels dirt on her face, leaving a course for the escaping tears now flowing down.

Xena's mouth clenched as she made her determined vow. "She made me and I will never
love another. She now understands Lao Ma, and my debt repaid. But she made me. Gabrielle
IS my beating heart, she is the hope of the world. She is my lifeblood. Have mercy on us both
and guide our souls back together."

Xena's face was beaded with dew, she hadn't even realized the presence of tears streaming
down her face. She uttered, "Please?" and lay her head down against the rock. The wet
pearls of sorrow and love still bleeding from her soul.

Gabrielle was mute, emotions swam furiously inside of her. She stepped into the clearing,
however Xena didn’t notice. Gabrielle's throat felt crushed as she tried to become audible.
Her voice was soft and questioning, like when you want to gently awake someone from
slumber. "Xena?"

Xena heard her name, she heard the voice of her hope. The sound seemed so surreal. But
surely she was drunk with emotions and her illusion of Gabrielle was so unfair, she thought.

"Xena!," Gabrielle called again, this time more desperately. The unlikely hero lifted her head
and her eyes slightly opened.

Focus Xena, the illusion will disappear when you focus, She coached herself.

Slowly the image seemed like Gabrielle, the red tones of her hair began to glow against the
flame of the nearby fire.

Gabrielle gazed at her love, again her heart and her tears burst forth uncontrollably. "Xena,"
I'm here. It's me, I'm here."

"Gabrielle! No! Didn't you see..?" Xena, began to say apologetically.

Gabrielle raised her hand as if to silence the warriors plea. Forcing the coming words to
choke back the tidal wave of emotions churning within her.

"Xena, ...Don't!" "Don't say it, I heard you." "I'm... I'm glad I heard."

The young bard started sobbing and talking uncontrollably. "I doubted you. I'm sorry Xena, I
doubted you. You told me to trust you. I wanted to but I was scared we would never...umm,"
she searched, "that you didn't really mean what you said when you left. I have waited what
seems a lifetime to hear those words coming from your lips and your heart. I was afraid to
believe, I was afraid to hurt. Then ... Ares."

"Ares!," Xena snapped back into the warrior the bard had come to know.

"Xena, don't." Gabrielle paused to consider her words. "Xena, don't let him take us away
from right now. I need you here with me not fighting him, if even in your mind. Psyche is to
thank, she kept me from falling victim to it all. I have so many things to tell you." The bard
began to recall her memories her eyes becoming brighter with each word. "I didn't get to tell
you the first time I felt love for you. It was the first time I saw you smile. You shone so bright
with that smile. Just one beautiful smile that has illuminated my heart ever since."

"I love you Xena, you can't take your love away from me now, please!" she pleaded.

Gabrielle knelt beside the revived warrior. Scooping Xena into her arms the love struck bard
vowed to not break their embrace. "I love you." Gabrielle gently pulled her lips apart and
eased them into Xena's neck, pulling tenderly away for a moment, kissing repeatedly, there
in the tender of Xena's shoulder.

"Xena, I want to please you, now, like a lover should. Show me what will make you happy?"

"Gabrielle, anything you do will make me happy because I love you," Xena was softened by
the bards resolution. Then the warrior raised a brow and gave a sneering grin, "Besides, just
do what usually gives you pleasure, I'm sure you'll find I respond in much the same way."
She then wrapped her long protective arms around Gabrielle and her tears surfaced once
more. Then the strong beauty pulled her face away and held the object of her heart by each
shoulder. Her eyes now clear, they poured her passion and love deeply into the hazel green
eyes of her love.

"Gabrielle, I will never leave you, by my flesh or by my heart. Never will I let you go. I know
we have a lot to talk about, we will, I promise. But what I want more than anything right now
is to hold you, and you to hold me. We have plenty of time to...for other things. Please? I
don't want our bodies and hearts to part not once this night. It is a special night, the night the
passions of our hearts conquered the fears of our minds."

Xena delicately brushed the hair away from Gabrielle's cheek. Their lips met. Xena's kiss
landed lightly on the bards lips and stayed there for eternal seconds, as if suckling the sweet
juices from the ripest berry. Their union broke as both women exhaled in unison, like the
release of a thousand nights of love.

Gabrielle gushed as her lovers words touched the tenderness of her very heart. The two
companions pulled tightly together over the one singular bed roll. The extremities of their
bodies intertwined into and with the others. The stars glowed brighter as the fire's life

"Xena?", the young woman broke the silence of the nights air.

"Yes, Gabrielle?"

"What you just said...", the girl paused. "I'm confused.... as to who is the bard in this family
anyway." Gabrielle chuckled, "That was quite poetic Xena. Do you mind if I quote you in my
next scroll?"

Xena closes her eyes again, "Sure Gabrielle, ... you hold the quill in this family, I hold the
sword. Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of a changing that now."

Satisfied Gabrielle grinned and with a final kiss upon Xena's cheek both she and Xena slept
frozen in their embrace, through the night.

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