by Draven

Disclaimers: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle do not belong to me, but rather to Renaissance Pictures. However, the Greek gods belong to no one at all, but to the ancient Greeks themselves. This story is romantic in nature and features activity appropriate to that genre. If portrayals of same-sex love are illegal in your state, country, territory, etc. etc. be off with you now (and note that you should be ashamed of where you live.) If love bothers you, then don't read this because no one is making you. Furthermore, my word of advice to such folks is to get educated, embrace reality, and the diversity of God's creation. Go in peace. Now, on with the story. You can reach me for comments or suggestions at

This is dedicated to my fiancee, Psylocke-you are the model for my understanding of the sweetness of love, my queen. Deum te preservat.

The wind is tentative in its caress, as gentle as a newborn foal and as awkward as a first kiss. It is chill but it hinders you not at all, you, oblivious to the forces of nature as if you were one within yourself. You walk soundlessly on leaves crisp with the knowledge of Demeter's newfound loss and I wonder how indeed it could be that I am here right now...overcome. I see the gentle ripple of movement along the aquiline delicacy of your jaw as the muscles clench with the passage of a thought. Can a bard not wonder, not wish to be that which gives such deliciously subtle movement to your frame?

Know truly, my wiser friend, that what images coalescence unbidden in this mind are characterized by a sober understanding of sorts. Friends are we-bonded by the threads of a common history and chained still by a feeling elaborated only by a phantom kiss. Why have we not spoken of it, the brief joy of a chaste kiss lent by soul to that which it rightfully claimed? Alas, I am brutally jarred from this reverie by a simple statement- "We should go to bed." You grin pointedly at the evident disorientation on my face, looking down on my small reclining frame-"If I had a dinar for your thoughts, Gabrielle..." words left unfinished by the fire of stare. You have not dressed from your short, cold bath in the stream and speak with a comfort that does not quite undermine the shock of your beauty-at least not for me. I am embarrassed and turn quickly away on a seemingly frantic search for a blanket-any blanket or anything to draw my attention away from you. You, on the other hand, having taken this not so subtle hint, snatch up your shift and gracefully descend into a crouch by the log-opposite from me.

Having found a hareskin blanket after looking through our things with all-absorbing interest, I turn finally towards you. It does not go unnoticed that your eyes seem distant, warring with an emotion that your not-quite-so-impassive face barely conveys. " Gabrielle..." you whisper, as if your lips were caressing not just my name but my own skin, but you break off too prudent, maybe even too wise to mention the cause for my shame. Ahhh, the mind screams teeming with a frustration that lacks direction, no more of this, no more. Speak of it, my love, acknowledge this thing-for my recent death has driven me to a desperation borne of true knowledge: I will not always be here to hear this. The tension of your body passes away and I realize that you have dismissed this conversation before it even truly began-in the very manner that you have done every other one that almost occurred. Decision battles with uncertainty and asserts itself with remarkable ease-I will not let you brush this away as in months past, I will not again be a party to its unacknowledgement. I am bold this time-there will be some closure tonight.

" Xena...", I murmur, and my voice does not hold the strength I thought would come from this act. You look up at me again, your midnight black tresses curling impudently at your temples. You look like a child, a sage, and a goddess-I cannot quite decide which. " I can't...I can't keep doing this...I ", I falter beneath your steely gaze. Aphrodite-ero autein, thea!-and my thoughts are shouted into the vast nothingness of night. I do not realize how, but you are now next to me-as if your lioness' body could not only lend a supernatural quickness to your movements, but could also make you fly. Oh, the sweet burn of your slender fingers on my chin as you raise my face level with yours. Your skin glows golden and red from the fire's flickering lights, your eyes stormy with emotion but resolute in decision. " Xena, " I try again, scent of flower petals making the blood rush through my veins in haste-aphrodisiac the merchant of that sweet oil said, the cross, I still counter. " Shhhh," you whisper softly sweetly stroking my face with the breath of your proximity, " I know." I insist with words that never became more than a syllable raised to the heavens in supplication as the heat of your lips melded with my own. Yes, no resistance, no insistence on the chastity of this thing-let it be lead by the fire of a tongue thrusting deep against my own and the strength of skin and muscle favoring the ethereal fire of blistering heat.

" Xena", I gasp as the firmness of your lips praises the soft skin of my neck. I am the black powder of Chin exploding with the clarity of my sensations, I am the fisherman before the tsunami that will loose him from the bonds of the physical in favor of eternity. I would be taken by this chariot holding willingly to its reigns-but not now. You loosen the grasp of your lips from my neck and pull me into a strong embrace, reveling in the feel of our closeness. Indeed, we will sit here until dawn-speechless by the power of what has transpired and the inevitability of this change. We will hold one another close as the wind does now blow with a sure and eager touch--no more bold than the hands that are held in mine.


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