Two Hearts, Two Souls
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 story contains mature contents and may be offensive to some readers. Caveat emptor.

If you wish I will give you
My daybreak, my blithe morning
With my bright mane
Which you love;
My eyes green
And gold
If you wish.
I will give you all the sounds
Which are heard
When the morning awakens
To the sun
And the water which courses
From the fountain
And then again the evening which will come swiftly
The twilight of my soul sombre enough
To weep
And my hands so small
With my heart that will need to be close to yours
To keep.
- Marie Laurencin, Le Present; Fr. orig.,
my transl.

The fire from Eos' flight slowly permeated the thick fog, marking the surface of the ocean. Prisms of colours collided with the vapours and the elements.

Today there would be no storm. The weather would be calm and benevolent for the first time in many quarter moons.

All was quiet in this chilly Solstice morning; not a creature was stirring. Most villagers were still nestled all snug in their beds, in retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day afore.

. . . . . . .

"I mean it, Xena," her voice was full of emotion. There was enough light coming through the window to illuminate her visage. The sincerity and conviction were apparent in her declaration. "You know how I feel about you."

"Yeah, I know." A tiny wave of uncertainty surfaced as it invariably would; but this time, it was effortlessly contained.

"I love you," the bard kissed the warrior long and hard, "You and no other," she captured the mildly trembling hand and laid it on her bosom and reclined slightly, "For always."

"Gabrielle," the warrior sobbed, and fell desperately into the warmth of the body pressed against hers.

. . . . . . .

When Xena drifted back to rational consciousness, she first felt then saw the light in front of her. Gabrielle's supple form remained tucked underneath hers. Anchoring. Secure.

She experienced a new energy filling, warming her, making her feel with an intensity she had never before known.

And with a sigh, the warrior nuzzled in and buried her face in the soft honey-golden haze. She fell asleep; a contented smile lingered on her face.

. . . . . . .

Gabrielle awoke again with the sun shining in her eyes. Cool morning breeze swept into the chamber, and she felt the warrior's warm body wrapped around hers, shielding, keeping out the wintry air.

Her body still tingled. She could even then feel Xena's lips kissing her neck, while her longer legs draping over her own shorter ones, her long arms encircling her chest and abdomen. It was as if her whole body were being made love to.

The bard looked out at the blue sky and saw groups of small white clouds moving slowly in the mild wind. They reminded her of a herd of lambs. And of the lamb the warrior gave her for their first Solstice together. It had seemed like an eternity ago.

A tender smile stole across her fair features as misty verdant gaze drifted to the toy left sitting on the table from the night before. And the sharp silvery glare of metal beside it caught her eye.

Procuring the dagger for the warrior and keeping it concealed from her had not been easy. Gabrielle had to send messages back and forth Amazonia, and then make sure it arrived on time and in secret.

The bard never thought weapons could be romantic, even a warrior like Ephiny didn't think so.

But she would never ever forget how the calloused fingers at first hesitantly then lovingly caress the royal insigne interwoven with the distinctive spiral ornament on the hilt.

Nor did she fail to recognize the emotions that swept through her warrior as the significance of the gift registered.

There would be no more doubts. Unconditionally so.

Then Gabrielle smiled at the golden glimmer around her own wrist. And closed her eyes against the heaving moisture, assured by the strength of the bond between them.

She laced her fingers with the warrior's, and pulled the larger body closer and over like a blanket. The weight of the strong form pushed against the space separating them.

And she listened to the gentle breathing against her neck, and felt their hearts beat in tandem.

. . . . . . .

They moved slowly through streets swarmed with people. Children wove around them, running, playing, laughing, celebrating the season.

The bustling commerce, savory treats, entertaining street performers, convivial festive music... the sweeping gaiety was utterly infectious. High spirits pervaded; senses were enthused.

And the look of sheer delight on the bard's face, the intense interest as she watched the performances, the occasions when she would unconsciously moisten her lips... The warrior couldn't help grinning.

And Xena's great desire to go back to the inn was sliding swiftly into the background. She tightened her clasp about the bard's shoulders, and let the smaller woman lead their excursion.

The couple immersed in the merrymaking until Apollo's chariot began to touch down upon the western horizon, and the golden light of late afternoon flooded the streets.

. . . . . . .

In the darkened room, the air cooled further as the sun set. But the fire and each other kept out the sharp cold.

Xena was drawn to the pale naked body standing before her. She watched the candle flames leapt and danced over and touched the cool flesh with warmth. And she felt like a child in front of the glorious vision. Fascinated. In awe.

The bard reached up and brought the warrior down for a kiss. A familiar jolt blazed through. And they moved apart.

Only to fall alongside onto the bed. Together.

They found each other's lips again for a long lingering kiss. Communicating Yearning. Passion. Love.

The warrior relaxed her hold. And each began to explore her partner's body, to stroke the muscles, to caress the curves. Every plane, every angle. What the lips couldn't reach, tender fingers did.

The remainder of Solstice was filled only with the tastes and sights and sounds of love.

And when they regained their equilibrium, misty greens captured glistening blues again and smiled and blushed. That beautiful blush.

It was the last thing she saw when the candle light went out.

. . . . . . .

After midnight, fog again accumulated. In the twilight hours, dew drops gathered in her long dark tresses. Haze transfigured expressively over the water.

After all the events that transpired, she thought the changes in life strange, fantastic, and unpredictable.

Xena still remembered the day she had the bracelet made...

Gabrielle's birthday was coming up then. She told herself it was to show the bard how much her friendship meant to her, yet part of her also wanted her to know her true feelings. But before she got the chance to give it to her, Gabrielle walked out of her life. Again. For good that time, she had expected.

Then why didn't she throw it away like she did so many other things which reminded her of the past, which she would rather forget? Why did she even send it to her mother for safe keeping? The warrior had asked herself those questions many times.

It was as if deep inside she knew that they were meant to be together. That they would be together. Someday.

She was simply thankful that this day came.

Xena remembered the conversation she had with Toris when they were in Amphipolis, that afternoon in the glade, so long ago.

She had told her brother that it was like praying for a fire in the dead of winter to keep one warm, yet not knowing what to do when the prayer was answered.

She had dwelled on the danger then. Now, at the vision that wavered before her eyes, shimmering through the fog, the image of the woman so close, easily within reach, the one she could never love too much, never tiring, never enough, she only hope she would be allowed to keep the gift.

The bard's beauty, the light to her darkness, the voice to her silence, the sweet presence in her arms, her bed, her life. The warrior wasn't sure how she had survived without them.

As she reflected, long fingers stroke tenderly the plaited honey-gold band from her love, of her love, which wrapped around her wrist, her heart.

Time quietly passed.

The nape of her neck prickled from a sudden wave of warmth, her body felt before she registered the presence of another on the terrace with her.

"Whatcha doin'?"

She turned around at the sound of the familiar sweet voice. Gabrielle walked towards Xena, with the warrior's robe draped over her arm.

She held out the garment for Xena, and went around to the front to belt it for her. Then nestled in beside the taller form, wrapping both arms about her waist.

She had never seen her bard so beautiful. Her soft features etched against the darkness by the moonlight. Xena lifted her gaze toward the sky and noticed the heavens were flickering along the same rhythm as the brilliant green orbs fastened onto her.

Small, gentle hands ran solemnly, insistently up and down her back, feeling and soothing the muscles that tensed when she pulled the warrior to her and relaxed as she held her in her arms.

All vestiges of uncertainty were swept far, far into the past. Her reality, her presence, her body - all were much truer and sweeter than anything Xena had dared wish for.

Their connection, their togetherness were most important thing in their world. Their embrace, their lips, their tongues, each strove to bring the other to tingling life.

And their two souls had but a single thought, as their two hearts beat as one.


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