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. Caveat emptor.
Through half-closed shutters, scent of freshly cut and threshed grains mixed with newly ripened cherries and apricots drifted in.
Golden rays fell into the room and reflected off white stone walls; their radiant glow passed into every corner of the sparsely furnished space.
Around the dark warrior, the room shimmered in memories.
She had not slept in this room for over ten years. She could still remember when the walls held dozens of dirty finger prints and marks. Squinting, she could trace with clear blue eyes the faded carvings left by the room's once small inhabitants on the wooden door. Little initials of X'es and L's.
Gabrielle had insisted that they return to Xena's home after the warrior recovered enough from her injuries to travel from Amazonia. It was a concession on the warrior's part. Xena did not want to stay with the Amazons; she wanted time alone with her bard. Whereas, Gabrielle contended that she needed more time to recuperate before going back to roaming and fighting all over Greece.
In Amphipolis, they have been helping with the harvest which was good this year. Wedding the bard's practical ideas and the warrior's flair for creative problem solving, together they also worked on new additions and modifications to Cyrene's inn.
Time seemed to be flying by. A quarter moon at home turned scarcely noticeably into almost two moons.
Xena was quite surprised to find this relatively peaceful time spent with her family, this long break from ceaseless roving, had not driven her out of her mind. In fact, it seemed to have quelled the warrior's wanderlust, though she knew this feeling would not last.
Resting her head on one elbow, the warrior followed the golden beams back to the small form nestled against her. Her gaze lingered on the faint smile tugging at the corner of soft lips. Red, in the brilliance of the morning sun.
Gabrielle had donned her sleep tunic, which fell loosely from her shoulders. Undone lacings exposing pink tips which seemed to match the colour of her smile. As the warm light fell across her fair skin, Xena could trace the fine pale down trailing up Gabrielle's arm draped lightly about her waist.
The warrior watched her bard. And she briefly wondered if Gabrielle knew about the countless times she had watched her just like that. Holding virgil over her. Protecting, guarding. Even in sleep.
Then Xena gently hugged the smaller body tighter to herself, snuggling in very close. She eased her other arm across Gabrielle's hips, fingers spread lightly on the soft skin where the short tunic crept up. She let herself bask in the sea of unequalled contentment enveloping her.
She felt again like a star bursting across clear dark sky. Joyful, potent, with a fervour of all new creation, and without a reason. Nor having a need for one, as her fingers closed around a memory. One from many moons ago, when she and Gabrielle last visited Amphipolis.
There had been nothing unusual about that night. No previously transpired crisis nor trauma; no catharsis needing release. There had not been special celebrations, nor festivals. And there had been no overture, not even as much as a wayward glance. Absolutely nothing.
They had a wonderful dinner. Afterwards Gabrielle entertained the customers at the inn with her tales, to Cyrene's immense delight. After the inn closed, they helped with the chores. When it was time to turn in, the warrior and the bard sauntered to Xena's bedroom. The two friends chatted amiably, and continued without cessation as they changed into their sleep shirts.
What they talked about that night was a blur to both Xena and Gabrielle. But what transpired after they stopped speaking was not.
In a single unguarded moment, the warrior looked into wide, innocent eyes that hid a world of knowledge she thought she would never have. Knowledge she desperately wanted. And she saw the same yearning reflected in the pool of deep sea green.
She experienced then a silvery flawless emotion. And she was giddy with it, felt light with it.
What she felt was also like fire and lightning fused into one elemental energy, boiling up inside her.
She was overwhelmed by the need the desire to express her feelings in a form that would reflect its purity and its power.
In one smooth, wordless, mercurial motion, their lips joined.
The sensation that quaked through them was like a sudden electric jolt. They pulled back and searched deeply behind the windows of each other's eyes.
An endless silent moment later, their lips closed upon each other again. This time, there was no shock when they touched.
She sank into the kiss like dipping into swift-running water. There was no stopping this. She had known, she had always known. And she settled in like a sinking boat.
Gabrielle's hands wound their ways into her dark locks, pulling her forward, holding her close.
As their kissing grew more passionate, Xena slipped her fingers under the straps of Gabrielle's tunic, sliding them down her shoulders, and letting the garment fall unheeded. Moments later, Gabrielle added Xena's shift to the puddle on the floor.
The warrior had seen and touched her friend's body countless times before. But it had never affected her like this.
She stepped back and ran her palms her fingers against the fair, supple body. Her lips her cheeks following. Memorizing and adoring each curve each drop each nuance of the marvelous form.
As the warrior knelt on the puddle of linen, her arms about trim waist, her heart beating in synch with the pulsing against her ear, with arms wrapped around her shoulders holding her close, what she felt was thousands times more profound than what King Pygmalion would experience when Aphrodite answered his prayers.
At that moment, she sensed a shivering feeling of rightness, a completeness. As if she had been waiting for this for eternity.
She lifted Gabrielle, her blonde tresses flowing over her shoulders, ardent greens arresting blues intently, onto the bed.
It was the kind of lovemaking one is capable of only in one's wildest fantasies. They knew exactly how to kiss each other, exactly when and where to touch each other. It was as if they had known one another like this forever.
Yet, it was as fiery as intense as lovers joining for the first time. They clung to each other, mingling sweet and hard and smooth. Waves of emotions and pleasure chasing following overlapping, over and over again.
It was not just being deep inside Gabrielle, or Gabrielle inside her, it was also the scent of wild flowers of the bard, the feel of her touch, the tickle of her breath on her face, the swirl of her soft hair against her skin... Everything. It was right. All very right...
A knock on the door brought Xena from her reverie.
Familiar voice from childhood followed, "Wake up, sleepyheads!"
Bending her head, she nudged her companion awake with chaste, gentle kisses...
. . . . . . .
Mid-morning found the two friends sitting cross-legged on the floor in the kitchen, making cakes in shapes according to tradition to be used as offering to Demeter...
"Can't", the bard declared.
"Can, too!" the warrior retorted.
"Cannot," Gabrielle insisted, "You call THIS a pig?" picking up a piece of shaped dough from the tray next to Xena.
"It IS a pig!" Snatching the piece away.
"Why don't you stick to making snakes? They're so much easier." Gabrielle commented wryly.
Silence from the warrior.
"It must be difficult for you, oh Princess of Many Skills."
"Oh, yeah? I'll show you a pig," said the warrior crossly, picking up a large handful of dough from the bowl in front.
"What are you doing?" Gabrielle asked, instantly suspicious. Split second later, a sticky mass of honey and flour was shoved down her shirt.
Evil eyebrow-raising sneer of triumph.
"So, you did," replied the bard with a bland smile, "but I still make better pigs than you." Wiping the gooey glob in her hand all over her antagonist's face.
"Ha! You missed!"
Soon, sticky globs were being launched in all directions.
And the two dissolved into a quivering, squealing mass onto the floor. Each tackling to cover the other with the last handful of dough.
"Xena! Gabrielle!" Cyrene trumpeted as she eased into the kitchen with a trayful of vegetables.
"Can't leave you two alone for a minute! You'll make me old before my time." She advanced upon her two children with grim purpose.
The two culprits grinned sheepishly.
"Go, go clean yourselves up!"
They obeyed. And promptly exploded into a violent fit of giggles and laughter when they reached the bathing room at end of the hallway.
"It's all your fault."
"Gods! I've got so much gook in my hair."
"Here, let me help."
Standing under falling water, with extraordinarily gentle touches, the warrior soaped and rinsed the bard. And enjoyed the shape of her breasts and shoulders when Gabrielle raised her arms over her head, letting the sun-warmed water caress her slim, lithe form.
"Gabrielle," she said, her voice low, husky, seductive. "You know you look perfectly edible..." Soft nibbles on earlobe followed, as if to prove her point.
The bard twisted in her arms to face her warrior. And stopped when she saw the hunger.
That deep fierce hunger they seemed to constantly have for each other, that moons of lovemaking had not satiated, that Gabrielle was sure would consume them.
Her breath caught.
Hitting the back of her hand against the warrior's stomach, she squeaked, "You know we can't do that!"
"Whyever the Tartarus not?"
Undeterred, Xena's hand ran caressingly up Gabrielle's spine.
"Think of lunch!" the bard implored.
"I AM thinking of lunch..." the warrior murmured as her lips brushed the pulse on delectable throat.
"Behave..." the bard gasped, with little conviction and a soft moan.
"Why should I?"
"What would your mother think if we're late for another meal?"
Long, breathless moments later.
"My mother would think I got very lucky."
"Beast!" Gathering what tiny shreds of reserve she had left to pull away from another searing kiss. "We REALLY shouldn't..."
Light nip on each pink bud already standing at attention, betraying their owner's resolve... "Alright, alright, have it your way. Let's hurry and finish cleaning up then."
"You... you little shit!" Gabrielle skewered her warrior with a glare.
Xena chuckled teasingly and ducked her head under the projecting spout, spraying water in several directions...
. . . . . . .
The inn's patrons have taken a real liking to the bard. Few people could resist her, with her winning smiles and bright girlish laughter, her charming gestures, and the mischievous twinkle in her brilliant green eyes.
She was telling another story about Xena. Sometimes the warrior wondered how she could recall with clarity so many of them, especially since on occasion she herself would forget the details.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Xena watching her. Even from across the room, she could see the love, adoration, and devotion on her face. Her lips curved into a smile. And that smile, like its many predecessors, branded its mark on the warrior's heart.
Gabrielle. She filled the room. Xena could almost catch the wild floral scent of the perfume she used. Mild lovely rare delicate subtle, just like the bard herself.
It was not only the external attributes the warrior saw, however; though the bard was in all truth beautiful and graceful and voluptuous and perfect.
Even in her warlord days, she thought physical beauty in any person is closely akin to that of any other; and she knew mere corporeal enjoyment would not cause one to take such intense delight in the company of the other, whether in toil, in fear, or in desire.
What Gabrielle has was unique and mysterious to the warrior. To her, it neither comes into being nor passes away, neither waxes nor wanes. She wondered if this quality would again appear to her in another form, as it for certain never before had.
Nothing, no one, ever had such all-ensnaring reign over her nature. Never had she as willingly obeyed anyone in everything as she did Gabrielle.
Multitude panegyrics delivered by Socrates would not have unobscured the longing of her soul which it could not express.
But, it was clear to her now, as she watched the bard and listened to her tell stories of their adventure, expressing her feelings toward her companion. The truth sang to the warrior from the depths of her being, every note a heartbeat.
And in the warrior's mind, she pledged her duty and valour to honour the bard and what they have together, then and always; even though her tongue was not yet willing to gave the promise.
. . . . . . .
The evening has turned chill. Wandering along the path, the earth was so soft and yielding that she took off her boots and walked barefoot in comfort.
The warrior gazed back through the dusk at the receding village. Here was a place immune to the ravages of empires and follies of men. Time seemed never to have passed; and she wondered for how long it would remain still.
Out on the horizon the evening sun declined through strata of dusty orange, amber and lavender clouds, casting wild glitters over the sea. A flock of sea gulls flying low above the waves seemed to be spelling a sentence of cryptic syllables.
She saw the woman sitting in the patch of green blades and wild flowers. And felt drawn to her.
Xena didn't announce her presence. She simply went up behind Gabrielle and held the bard around her shoulders.
And the bard leaned back and into the embrace, allowing the long arms to wrap around her. Her gaze still focused on the horizon, far far away.
"I love this time of the day. It's so beautiful here by the seashore, when the sun is setting. It reminds me of dreams. Happy dreams."
Xena was watching her. She couldn't read the dark emerald green eyes.
"I think I know why you like solitude so much."
"Only when I'm not with you, my bard."
"Come, join me." She opened and lifted the blanket gathered around her waist.
"What about dinner?" A brief instant of hesitation. Before she half fell half melted into the waiting arms. Her heart knocked excitedly against her chest, as if trying to reach the bard.
Mouth pressed firmly against hers. Her breath intoxicating her, sending her spiralling upwards, gasping for air.
Long, long moments later.
"Hey, Xena, look... a shooting star! Make a wish."
A moment later. "Well?"
"What did you wish for?"
Holding her still closer and placing a soft kiss on her brows. "I have everything I need, Gabrielle."
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