Summary: Wanting their first time together to be perfect, Xena makes a reservation at an inn that holds a special significance for her.
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess sad to say do not belong to me. They belong to Universal Pictures, MCA and Renaissance Pictures. No intention of copyright infringement is intended. I am grateful they allow me the privilege to extend the pleasure of this wonderful show by writing this fanfiction for fun.
Subtext: You bet and then some. What would any X/G story be without it. It is all about the love.
Sex disclaimer: No graphic sex . Maybe next time or maybe not. However, if love and intense caring between two consenting adults who happen to be women offend you, or you are not of age or it is illegal in your state...well...you can click the mouse and return when you are older and wiser.
Author's note: I recently asked subtext watchers exactly when did our grrls start "knocking boots" and found no consensus. So your guess is as good as mine.
The weary travelers arrived in the small town just as the festival began.
"Oh great! What luck...a festival!" grunted Xena.
"Now we'll never get a decent room. Probably we'll end up sleeping in the barn using Argo for a pillow and her munched up hay as our mattress."
"We've slept in worse places," Gabrielle said trying to deflect her friend's disappointment.
Upon reaching the center of the town's main square, Xena waited patiently until her companion who insisted in traveling along on foot had finally caught up with her.
Although Xena begged that they ride together, Gabrielle flatly refused. She knew better than to push further once the little girl made up her mind.
But Gabrielle had her reasons.
Riding on Argo made her feel as though she were lunging on Poseidon's turbulent seas. So she traded the sublime pleasure of snuggling close to her beloved warrior for the practical comfort that walking on solid ground gave to her stomach. It was a necessary sacrifice.
Xena shouted back at Gabrielle while pointing toward a large thatched roof structure cozily nestled near the edge of the village among several tall willow and cypress trees .
"There's that inn I was telling you about, Gabrielle. I hope they have a room for us."
Gabrielle covered her mouth with several fingers in an attempt to conceal her grin and remind herself to keep silent. For the first time since they began traveling together, Xena was continually speaking in the "we" language. Gabrielle loved hearing her say "we...our...us" whenever she spoke to strangers. She refrained from mentioning this to Xena for fear she would become self conscious and stop.
As soon as they reached the inn, Xena dismounted and started to hitch Argo to the post. Suddenly a young man came running from the barn.
"I'll take care of her for you," he said politely.
"Thanks and you'd better take GOOD care of her," emphasized Xena.
Xena with her head held high, her demeanor proud and tall, entered the charmingly decorated inn and proceeded directly toward the front desk. Taking pride in watching her every move, Gabrielle reflected on what an imposing woman she became when projecting that "Don't Mess with the Warrior Princess" attitude.
Once inside Xena spotted a small balding man with one eye clouded by blindness seated behind a large knotty pine desk. He kept his head lowered the whole time Xena spoke to him.
"We need one room and two beds," she said flatly.
Never once looking up from his reservation ledger the man replied, "Sorry ...we only have one room with one bed left."
Xena turned to look apologetically at Gabrielle who shrugged and grinned, surreptitiously, "It's OK. That'll be fine."
" We'll take it," Xena told him.
"There she goes with the 'we' again," Gabrielle smiled to herself.
"That will be 20 dinars. Will there be any luggage?"
"Just our saddlebags."
"Thank the gods we now have a room," Xena muttered mostly to herself. She did not want to disappoint Gabrielle. Not tonight. Not only would this be the first time Gabrielle had ever stayed in an inn, it would be the first time they had ever shared a real bed.
But this inn held special memories for Xena. And while Gabrielle knew Xena had a special attachment to this particular establishment... she did not know the real reason why.
When the time was right Xena would tell her. For this inn once had been owned by her parents. Actually, it was her mother who had the responsibility of running the place.
Xena had been raised within its strong hand strewn walls. It was the center of her world as a child. Along with her brothers, she played swords and shields in its nearby grove. Fished and swam in the lake beyond its sloping banks. Hunted and climbed every tall cypress tree she could find in its neighboring dark forests. It had been her only home. And she and Gabrielle were about to spend their first night together in the room in which she had been born.
The man at the front desk called for someone to assist them with their belongings and direct them to their room.
As they were about to ascend the staircase, Xena stopped short at the foot of the stairs.
"Gabrielle, you go on ahead. There's something I forgot to do."
Xena quickly raced over to the little bald man. This time he lifted his head up high as she came toward him.
"Claudius, did you do everything I asked?" "Yes, Xena. Everything has been arranged just as you requested."
"Thanks, old friend," she said grasping his shoulder affectionately.
"My pleasure, Xena," he said smiling up at her. Then winking with his good eye he added, "Consider the place yours."
Xena's mother, Cyrene, had taken pity on Claudius and hired him as the inn's first cook when Xena was just a child. Now he was its manager. Xena fondly remembered how he would always make her favorite dish which consisted of dough filled with this little red stuff in the middle. She had never known anyone who could make them as good as he did until she met Gabrielle.
Xena hurried back up the steps leaping three at a time like she used to do as child. When she got to the top landing, she saw Gabrielle waiting just outside the door of her old room. Their saddlebags were propped up against the railings.
"Why didn't you go inside?" asked Xena.
"I wanted us to do this together."
Xena looked lovingly at Gabrielle then lifted her off her feet and kicked open the door with one boot shove.
The door widened revealing a room filled with pink candles glowing wherever one looked.
"Oh, it's so pretty," squealed Gabrielle.
The bed was covered in pink and white rose petals and the glowing fireplace had been lit with a huge white lambskin rug placed before it. The scent of french mulberry permeated the air.
"Let's never leave," Gabrielle said snuggling into Xena's long dark hair.
"And what will we do when you get hungry?" Xena nudged back cuddling her tightly.
"Don't they have room service?"
"Hey---I thought you never stayed in an inn before!" Xena chuckled raising an eyebrow.
"Well...before we met I used to work at an inn in Poteidaia for tips," she answered affectionately rubbing the tip of her beloved warrior's nose with her own.
Then Xena asked Gabrielle to close her eyes.
She placed her down carefully on the smooth plank wood floor and gently guided her by the shoulders toward a huge table in the back of the room.
"OK. Now open 'em," said Xena.
"What's this?" gasped Gabrielle as her eyes lit up like the first day of Solstice.
Spread before them was a moveable feast of truffles, cheeses, olives, smoked meats and fish, several varieties of nut bread, champagne, honeyed strawberries and fruits of all kinds.
"Must be happy hour," chided Xena.
"Xena, it's only noon. Happy hour doesn't usually start till around 4 or 5 in the late afternoon," Gabrielle playfully reminded her.
"Well, it must be 4 or 5 somewhere in the ancient world---so let's start getting happy."
With that Xena popped the cork and began pouring the contents of the bubbly into two jeweled goblets awaiting their attention.
Gabrielle stood silently shaking her head. A smirk of both disbelief and joy was evident on her glowing face. Then her eyes filled with gratitude and sheer love for this woman who appeared to her enemies as a fierce, intimidating, cold hearted, brutal warrior in love only with her sword and chakram.
"How wrong are they," thought Gabrielle.
"Oh, Xena. This is wonderful! Let's never leave."
"You keep saying that, Gabrielle. Are you trying to tell me something?"
Gabrielle felt the blood rushing up her neck and warming her cheeks. She suddenly realized she was blushing.
"Wow...is it warm in here or is it me? Must be the champagne kicking in"
Xena gave her that sardonic smile that seemed to say..."Uh...huh...sure."
"No." Xena replied. "I feel fine."
"Tell me, Xena..." the champagne loosening her inhibitions slightly. "Why was it so important to stay here of all places and tonight of all nights?"
Now it was Xena's turn to feel the warmth of blood penetrate her veins and color her face crimson. She took a few sips from her goblet and proceeded to tell Gabrielle all about the inn's connection with her and her family.
"...but besides all that, Gabrielle," Xena went on, "we've been through so much together. Sad times. Bad times. You and I have faced death both separately and together. It was time for a change."
Gabrielle eyes moistened with the many memories of their intense and loving moments together. She recalled the unendurable pain they shared after the murders of Perdicas, Ephiny, Cyrene, Hope, Solan, and her parents, as well as their own deaths. Gabrielle knew she would follow Xena even into Hell just to share eternity with her.
"... so you see, Gabrielle, I figured it was time we should celebrate Life...and each other," Xena continued.
Silence...pure and poignant filled the room for what seemed like several candlemarks.
Then Gabrielle moved over to Xena and put her arms around her.
"Xena, I love you more than Life," she murmured nestling her entire face upon the warrior's chest.
At once Xena's heart began to pound.
She knew from the moment she first laid eyes on Gabrielle her heart had found its home. She wanted this young woman not just as a friend, but as her soulmate and someone to love. However, she would not force herself on her as she had done with others she had desired in her past. This time she would work at earning her devotion and no matter how long it took she would wait until Gabrielle was ready to accept her love.
Thinking back... this had been the hardest and longest endurance test on her patience and self control that she ever had to deal with...
Xena had sensed with each rising moon, as they slept side by side under the stars or in the caves, Gabrielle was becoming more and more a necessary part of her life. When they first started to travel, Gabrielle would inadvertantly snuggle close against the warrior's back and then gradually started putting her arms around her waist. Xena allowed her to do so but never reacted nor returned the touch. Xena was still not quite sure whether she was deserving of such devotion or if Gabrielle really knew what she was doing. And then one night for no reason, Gabrielle suddenly removed her bedroll and began dragging it across to the other side of the campfire.
Xena questioned her actions by asking casually, "Was it something I said or was last night's bean special too much for you?"
Gabrielle did not smile at Xena's attempt at humoring her. Instead she sat back down on the bedroll. She appeared frozen while staring into the fire's flames looking like she was about to cry.
So Xena asked again. This time with serious concern.
"Tell me what's wrong, Gabrielle?" "Did I do something to upset you? Why did you move your bedroll so far away from mine?"
Gabrielle took a deep breath as her eyes flooded with tears.
"Xena, I don't know how to say this or where to begin exactly. But...well...sometimes I think I disturb your sleep. I mean...maybe it would be better if we slept apart from one another from now on."
"You don't disturb me, Gabrielle. Why would you think such a thing? I thought you liked sleeping close to me," Xena asked a bit more frantic.
"I do...(sniff)...(sniff)... I love sleeping close to you. I love holding onto you. It reminds me how when I was little, I used to hold onto my stuffed bunny. It made me feel so loved and safe. When I sleep close to you I sleep better. I feel so protected. But you never hold me or hug me back. So I guess you don't like it. I figured if I moved my bedroll away from you then you can sleep peacefully."
Xena pursed her lips and gazed at her with tender affection. She raised her crest fallen chin and kissed her softly first on her forehead. then her nose and finally on both tear stained cheeks.
Then she pulled her over to her... almost lifting her off the bedroll.
"Gabrielle, I will hold onto you each and every night from now on. I'll even wear bunny ears if that's what you want. C'mon bring that bedroll back over here."
From that night on they never slept apart. It got so that during the hot humid summer days they would swim together, bathe together and as darkness completed their day, they would lay side by side under the twinkling canopy of stars...naked as newborns.
For Xena it was hard at first not to just overtake Gabrielle and have her way with her. But to do so would risk the loss of her trust and spiralling affection. As time went by this bond went from sidekick to friend to soulmate to lover...and so did the touching.
Gabrielle loved the velvet softness of Xena's skin. She became intoxicated by her unique scent of allspice and leather. She got quite used to nights locked in her embrace, cradled by her strong arms, being caressed and kissed right before they both dozed off under the spell of Morpheus.
Gabrielle's acceptance of this close physical connection began to ascend until neither could hold back their wanting one another completely and passionately any longer. And now that the intensity of their desire for one another was about to be expressed, Xena wanted everything to be perfect. She had planned this event for weeks. If they were to become lovers, their first night must be spent at the Amphipolis Inn.
The most difficult part was keeping it a secret from Gabrielle. Xena would often "lie" to Gabrielle about going on a fishing outing with her brother Toris or needing to get a new bridle or set of horsehoes for Argo. Both of which would require her to take a few day trips up to Amphipolis. Gabrielle, while trusting her beloved warrior without question, often wondered why she never brought back fish and why Argo's horseshoes were always slightly worn despite having been newly shorn. But she never questioned any of this. She trusted Xena's motives implicitly.
As for Xena, all this effort and planning had led precisely to this moment. It had been so worth it just to hear her bard say, "Xena, I love you more than Life..."
Xena bent down to kiss Gabrielle...her lips searching all the tender places on her skin and finding each one.
As they were about to collapse onto the bed and onto each.. Xena whispered into Gabrielle's ear, "Honey, are you sure about this? We've given each other our hearts, our souls, our lives...but till now... never our bodies."
"Ohhh...yesss...Xena," Gabrielle moaned. "There's always a first time and this one is mine."
Then suddenly pulling away from the moment, Gabrielle looked into the passion filled blue hazed eyes of her lover,
"...Xena...before we start I have one question."
"Anything...my love...what is it?"
"Well... I was wondering...who gets to blow out all these candles?"
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