Copyright: I don't own them. I just like to play with them. No copyright infringement is intended. Universal/MCA own the characters. This is not to be used for profit.
Subtext and Sex: Yes and yes. If the idea of two women loving each other is not your cup of tea, go get a glass of milk and skip this. If you are under the age of 18 years of age or this type of story is illegal in your state or country, please do not read it.
Violence: Not this time.
Dedication: This is for "B", a friend who introduced me to fanfiction and Xena. This is my first story and was only completed because "B" told me to get some courage and post it. "B" - You're the best and all the best people know it!
Thank You: Big hugs to Cindy/ForevaXena and ROO for beta reading and words of encouragement. Kisses to the ex-Guards for all the wonderful feedback and for giving me a home in your talented community.
Xena opened her saddlebag and placed the brush back into its usual spot just as Argo let out a slow rolling whine.
"Look girl, I've been brushing you for about two candlemarks. Your problem is that you've gotten quite spoiled while we've been here." Xena rolled her eyes at the mare.
Since she and Gabrielle had been in this town, Xena was finding every reason possible to spend time away from the bard. Going into their fourth day, Xena had been spending at least five candlemarks of each day with Argo.
As she finished packing things away, Xena's mind kicked into "why me?" mode and her carefully positioned memories came seeping up to the forefront of her thinking. "Gods!" she spat out loud. I thought we were just going to make a short stop for a meal and then be on our way.
How did this happen? she pondered. Gabrielle was the one who always said that life with Xena was an adventure. But, right now Xena was sure that life with Gabrielle was not only an adventure but an emotional avalanche as well.
Each day was getting harder and harder for Xena. She tried to think back to a time when being close to Gabrielle caused nothing in her body to react, but it was hopeless. Remembering the first day she saw Gabrielle, she envisioned the way her cold, dead heart melted as she watched a young innocent girl attempt to give her own life to save others. She also remembered the way the young girl looked into her eyes and pleaded for the warrior to take her with her. Each word, each look, each innocent touch since then had brought Xena to this place that now nearly three seasons later, was causing such havoc on her heart.
"I have got to get it together Argo!" Xena sighed as she headed out of the stables and into town to look for Gabrielle.
Gabrielle and Xena were on their way to visit Cyrene in Amphipolis. It was Xena's idea -- a bit of a holiday for them and a much needed rest. It was also what Xena thought, an opportunity for her to sort out the emotional war in her head. Stopping in this small town only about a half days journey from Amphipolis was supposed to be a quick break.
What Xena hadn't planned on was the "Festival of the Bards" celebration taking place in this small, but very populated, town. Gabrielle's eyes lit up when she realized what was happening and all Xena could do was suggest a longer stay. Xena could not deny this to the bard. Hades, she could not deny Gabrielle anything anymore.
They'd only been there one day when Gabrielle started talking a little to intently about a young bard with whom she was sharing stories. Xena tried to brush it off as nothing to worry about, but the way Gabrielle was talking about this man was starting to eat away at her resolve.
She hated feeling jealous. Jealousy was an emotion for children not weather-beaten warriors. She was losing control daily and the reality was that jealousy was now a constant companion to her. Jealousy and fear -- fear that her jealousy would drive the bard away.
"If she is still sitting and talking to that pimple-faced son of a warthog, I'm gonna say something I will regret." Xena hissed softly to herself through clenched teeth.
With shaky hands she opened the door to the inn, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, praying to the Gods that she could keep her sanity for a while longer.
"Xena!" Gabrielle said as she stood up having spotted the warrior walk in.
Xena's eyes snapped open at hearing that voice call her name. The sound of her own name cascading past Gabrielle's lips always caused a tremor in her. In a heartbeat she looked right past Gabrielle and right into the eyes of the warthog. There he was sitting with his arms folded, a small smile forming on his face.
Hades ass, Xena fumed to herself. Her dark potential was just beneath the surface.
Gabrielle walked up and reached out a hand to touch Xena's forearm.
"Xena. You're shaking. Are you sick? Has something happened?" Gabrielle asked with concern in her voice.
Gods, she mentally cursed herself, that came out too harsh and Xena tried again.
"I mean no. . . can we, can we talk outside?" Xena squeaked out. Her teeth still clinched, her breath coming out in small, short gasps. The ground felt like is was moving beneath her.
"Of course." was all Gabrielle could manage to say. She was extremely concerned now. Xena was acting very strange and her face was turning an unusual shade of red.
Out in the street, Xena exhaled and Gabrielle came to her side in an instant.
"Xena what is it?" Gabrielle asked.
"I can't, um that is I can't . .." Xena was trying to remain calm.
"You can't what Xena!?" Gabrielle stepped in front of Xena and looked into the crystal blue eyes that seemed to be forming tears in the corners.
Xena's head was screaming. She went to start again and as she said "I can't," her mind was saying I can't stay here and watch you fall in love. Xena knew she couldn't watch that ever happen. It would literally kill her and she knew it, but what came out was "I can't . . . I can't wait to see my mother and I was thinking that you could stay here as long as you like and then meet me later in Amphipolis."
Gabrielle looked at Xena trying to understand the emotion behind her eyes. That's when it came to Gabrielle. She misses her mother and she's afraid to tell me. The big bad warrior is homesick and she doesn't want anyone to know. That is so sweet she thought. I'll bet time alone with Cyrene is just what Xena needs, plus it gives her time away from my constant chattering, she concluded.
"Okay Xena. I'll just stay a couple more days and then I'll follow right behind you. I'll be there before you know it." Gabrielle smiled inside knowing that Xena would have some private time with Cyrene. She gently ran her hands along Xena's forearms and gave them a small squeeze.
Xena was rooted to the ground. That wasn't the response she wanted. Could she really leave Gabrielle here? Could she walk away and let Gabrielle potentially fall for this man? Her inner turmoil was causing a crack to form in her usual rock solid exterior. She wanted to grab Gabrielle and tell her to please come with her. She knew she couldn't fight this losing battle any longer. If she stayed, her jealousy would spill out of the cracks and do something that neither woman would be able heal from.
Who am I kidding, she thought to herself. I am only holding this beautiful woman back from a life that could be filled with happiness everyday. She deserves that. She deserves so much more than me.
Slowly, the realization of what she needed to do, what she had to do, was taking form.
Xena finally opened her mouth to speak.
"I'll just get my things from the room and get Argo ready for the trip," she lowered her head afraid that Gabrielle would see how sad and frightened she really was.
As she turned her back to the bard she closed her eyes and could feel the warm wet tears begin to flow. She quickened her pace to put as much distance as she could between her and Gabrielle. Heading for the stairs she heard the bard say "Make sure you stop back and say good-bye before you leave!" Xena shook her head but made no attempt at a reply. She was taking the steps up to their room two at a time now. The word good-bye was pounding in her head.
Closing the door as fast as she could, Xena's back fell against the hard wood as her legs gave out. She slid slowly down the length of the door. Tears were flowing heavily now, something that hadn't happened for many moons. Xena brought both her hands to her head to cover her damp eyes. "I have to get it together!" she cursed herself. "Please just let me get through this." she prayed softly.
With her elbows resting on her knees, she surveyed the room for anything that she should take. She realized that these small possessions meant absolutely nothing to her. She would leave with them, but not with the only thing that gave her happiness and made life livable. Once again she let her head drop.
Taking a deep breath, Xena staggered to her feet. She knew she couldn't stay in their room very long or Gabrielle would wonder what was keeping her. She gathered her belongings, wiped her face, and took a deep breath once more. Just before she left their room, she picked up the pillow that candlemarks before cushioned the beautiful blonde's hair. Xena buried her face deep into it and smelled the essence left in its place. She wanted to remember that smell, a mixture of honey, milk and flowers. It was the combination of Gabrielle herself. Sweet, wholesome and beautiful.
Leaving the room behind and walking down the steps, Xena stopped in front of the table were Gabrielle sat. She could see the smile on her face. Xena remembered a time when it was her that kept that smile on Gabrielle's face for days. That smile melted Xena's heart and it appeared to be having the same effect on the young man who sat laughing across from her now.
"Xena!" Haden said, "Gabrielle was just telling me about the time you were under a spell that made you want to fish all day." he was laughing loudly now.
"Yeah, Xena, remember when I almost killed myself by falling into the water trying to kiss my reflection? Gods, we were such a mess Haden!" Gabrielle said lightly slapping her hand on the young man's shoulder. "You should have seen us." she finished.
Xena tried to smile, but it was not in her. Just hearing Gabrielle mention kissing, and watching as she playfully slapped Haden, made her jealousy start roaring back. Without thinking she slammed her hand onto the table. Catching the eyes of both Haden and Gabrielle starring at her in wonder, Xena made a sorry attempt at an excuse.
"Did you see the size of that roach? You'd better watch the food around here." Xena added.
Because both eyes were still staring in her direction with a questioning gaze, Xena softened her expression and tried to regroup. "Well I really must get going."
"Let me walk you out Xena." Gabrielle said softly.
"No, no, that's alright, you just stay here and finish your story." Xena added, hoping that she could escape without having to be alone with Gabrielle. She wasn't sure that she could handle that.
"Nonsense, I'm walking you out," Gabrielle said. "I'll be back shortly," she added to Haden as she stood, following Xena who seemed to be taking exaggerated steps out of the Inn.
"Xena! "Why are you walking so fast, slow down!" Gabrielle was almost shouting as she chased Xena down the street.
Xena turned. She saw Gabrielle's mouth moving and even though she wanted to hear what the bard was saying, the rush of blood in her ears made it impossible.
As Gabrielle continued to berate Xena about her long strides, Xena could do nothing but stand there pocketing memories.
She looked on as the those soft pink lips moved and watched as the muscular arms swung up and down and tried to burn these images into her mind. Gabrielle's hair was falling across her shoulders and Xena's eyes wandered past the strands, trailing down perfect breasts that she had dreamed of caressing for so long and finally rested on the well toned stomach that Xena had always wanted to kiss tenderly and lay her head on.
"Xena? Have you heard anything I've just said?" Gabrielle demanded.
"What, um yes, kind of." Xena said, snapping out of her daze.
"What is up with you Xena?" Gabrielle questioned as she gently reached up and placed her hands on Xena's shoulders.
"I have no idea." Xena said as she realized that this was partially the truth. She'd never felt like this before. She couldn't summon anything forth from her memories that could possible compare to this feeling. She was utterly and completely taken by the woman standing before her. Leaving her was something that she was sure she wouldn't live through, but knowing that Gabrielle might find happiness was the only thing that mattered. Xena's happiness would always come second to herself. Gabrielle was and always would be the most important thing in her life.
"Well, silly, I think that what you need is a good heart to heart with your mother. You miss Cyrene don't you Xena?" Gabrielle squeezed the outside of Xena's shoulders softly as a gesture to let Xena know that she knew she was homesick and to reassure her that everything would be fine.
"I guess I do Gabrielle." Xena said just above a whisper.
"Well, don't let me keep you. I'm sure you and Cyrene have a lot to catch up on. I'll see you in two or three days." Gabrielle said. She wanted to give Xena enough time alone with Cyrene.
Gabrielle reached up on her tip toes and placed a soft kiss on Xena's cheek. She lingered there for a moment almost sensing that something was different. Xena was making no attempt to back away. Sometimes Xena would cough slightly and act uncomfortable when Gabrielle showed public signs of affection, but Xena stood motionless.
Gabrielle backed up slightly and looked into the soft blue eyes in front of her. She was questioning what she saw. Is this just homesickness? Why does Xena look so sad, almost lonely? Xena's eyes usually held an intensity but that was gone.
Xena hadn't missed the two or three day line. Earlier it had been definitely a couple of days and now Gabrielle was opting for extra time. Xena knew Gabrielle was trying to let her know that she might need more time with Haden. She had to leave now. It was too hard to stay any longer.
"Take care of yourself Gabrielle." Xena said lowering her head again, afraid her eyes would give her way. "Stay out of trouble." Xena added as she turned and made her way to Argo. Tears were once again coming quickly to her eyes.
Hearing the words "stay out of trouble" made Gabrielle relax. They often said that to each other as a running joke between them. "I will, and you be careful. Tell Cyrene hello for me and tell her to save me a piece of that wonderful cherry thingy she makes." Gabrielle was saying loudly so Xena could hear her.
"I love you Gabrielle." Xena mumbled softly, thinking she was out of range from the bards hearing.
"What did you say" Gabrielle yelled.
"Um, I said I sure will." Xena hollered back.
Looking over her shoulder a couple of times, Gabrielle walked back toward the Inn. She kept hoping to catch one last glimpse of Xena and Argo. She was going to miss Xena terribly. She didn't like being away from her. It was all she could do to stay in this town and let Xena go on ahead, but she was trying to be strong. She wanted Xena to have some time alone. She knew that her constant chattering got on Xena's nerves and she hoped that the next time she saw the beautiful blue eyes of the warrior princess, they'd radiate that same intensity that always made Gabrielle's butterflies take flight.
Xena sat in the stall with Argo. Finally, on weak legs, she lead the mare out and with all the strength she could muster, she mounted her and headed out of town. She didn't look back, could not in fact. She was a wreck and needed to go home now. She hadn't really needed anyone but Gabrielle until now. If she was going to survive this, she would need the love of her mother. Cyrene was her only hope.
"Over here Gabrielle." Haden shouted above the other bards, all lost in their stories to each other. He waved his hand to motion her over.
Gabrielle liked this young man. He was funny and warmhearted. They had been talking for days now about their travels and he seemed genuinely interested in all the tales of Xena. Gabrielle could talk forever about her and never loose the enthusiasm in her voice.
"Did Xena get off okay then?" Haden asked concerned.
"Yeah, she just left." Gabrielle responded already feeling the weight in her heart thinking about being away from Xena.
"She seemed a little irritated earlier don't you think?" Haden asked.
"What do you mean?" Gabrielle inquired.
"Well, it's probably none of my business. It's probably nothing at all really." Haden was saying kind of looking off into space and waving his hand.
"Spill it little man." Gabrielle teased. They had gotten very comfortable with each other in a short period of time, reaching a level of honesty that Gabrielle never experienced with any man before.
"It just, well, it's just that I think I see the green eyed monster hiding very close under Xena's skin." Haden spoke cautiously.
"Jealousy!? Of what? You? No way. Besides, Xena is not the jealous type." Gabrielle finished with a half smile, half frown.
"I don't think she was very pleased with the way you were spending your time talking to me." Haden chimed in. "Every time she looked my way, I felt I should duck for fear that daggers could literally fly from her eyes at me, and what was that roach thing all about? No way was that anything less than pure jealousy." he finished.
"Are you serious Haden?" Gabrielle was thinking hard now. Trying to imagine that Xena could really be jealous. Had she missed that look and mistook it for annoyance and boredom? If that were true, it meant she was holding feelings for Gabrielle that were far stronger than that of a friend. Gabrielle felt a hot intensity burn through her body just thinking about that possibility.
"Oh yes Gabrielle, I'm very sure." Haden said. He was studying the now blushing face sitting across from him. "Look at me and tell me that you don't feel something stronger than friendship for her." Haden baited.
"Is it that obvious?" Gabrielle said softly. Somehow she knew this information was safe with Haden.
"The way you talk about her, the way you look at her and the way you look right now tells me all I need to know." Haden said as he reached over and placed his hand on top of Gabrielle's. "The thing is Gabrielle, I also see this look in Xena's eyes when she's watching you." he finished.
Gabrielle's head dropped; she knew that she was in love with Xena, but the words had never crossed her lips.
"Gabrielle?" Haden called her back from her musings.
"I think Xena may have left here because she couldn't stand watching you spend time with someone other than her." Haden said softly.
"Oh Haden, do you really think that?" Gabrielle asked sincerely, remembering the look that could have been sadness in Xena's eyes.
"I really do sweetie, and if it were me I, . . .well I, . . . no, never mind it's none of my business." Haden Looked away.
"Please Haden, please tell me what I should do here. I was afraid that telling her how I felt would drive her from me. If there is a chance in Tartarus that she feels anything more than friendship for me than I need to know that. I've waited almost three seasons for her to come to me." Gabrielle felt tears welling up inside.
A silence fell between them as Haden thought about his response.
"Go to her Gabrielle. Don't let her spend one more second thinking she is loosing you to someone else. I've been stupid when it comes to love. Big, stubborn, pigheaded fool that I am, and now I live days of regret." Haden put his hands to his head and looked down, lost in old memories.
"I'm so sorry Haden." Gabrielle's sweet voice called out.
Haden looked up into the green eyes of an angel and knew that if he could help Gabrielle find her happiness, he might be able to forgive himself for his lack of courage. "Are you ready?" Haden asked.
"Ready for what?" Gabrielle asked sniffing back tears.
"Ready to go get the girl, of course!" he said forcefully. "I've got a friend that will loan us a horse. We can leave first thing in the morning! What do you say Gabrielle?"
"Yes!" Gabrielle smiled. Her heart longing to see Xena. "Oh yes."
Xena rode hard and made it to Amphipolis in record time. It was just about midnight when she made her way into the crowded noisy Inn. She need port and she needed it now. She was making her way to the bar to look for her mother when a staggering, drunk man fell into her and used a dirty hand to feel up her thigh. That was always a stupid move but tonight it was a potentially deadly move. Xena's mood was beyond foul.
"Are you insane!" Xena shouted. "Keep your filthy, disgusting hands to yourself!" she yelled as she grabbed the man by the throat. Suspending him in mid air, she squeezed her strong hand tighter and tighter around his throat. The face of Haden the warthog kept flashing in front of Xena and each time she saw it, her grip became stronger and tighter. The little man's legs were kicking with everything he had left.
"Xena" Cyrene shouted. "Snap out of it and put that man down. Now!" Cyrene came racing from the other side of the bar.
Xena looked at her mother and back to the poor stupid drunk and opened her grip. The man fell to the floor with a thud. He squirmed for a bit and gasped a little, but he would live.
Xena was shaking. Every nerve in her body was shot. She was looking to her mother for any help she could give.
"Xena settle down. You look like you've hit rock bottom dear." Cyrene grabbed a hold of Xena's arm and was trying to get her to sit at a stool along the bar.
"Are you okay Xena? What's wrong with you?" Cyrene asked with heavy concern for her daughter. Before Xena could get her mouth to work Cyrene looked around for Gabrielle and realizing that the small blonde was no where in sight immediately thought the worst.
"Oh Gods Xena, did something happen to Gabrielle, Where is she child?" Cyrene asked putting her hand to her mouth.
Xena saw the love and concern her mother had for Gabrielle in her eyes and realized that both she and her mother would miss the bard.
"I think she is just fine Mother." Xena said softy. "I left her in a small town with a bunch of traveling bards."
"Thank the Gods, you had me worried. When is she coming here to meet you dear? I just made a wonderful cherry cobbler and I know how much that girl loves to eat." Cyrene said cheerfully.
Xena closed her eyes and answered. "Maybe a couple of days, maybe three, maybe never." Xena sighed heavily.
"What's this all about Xena?" Cyrene asked looking into tired and sad blue eyes. "Sit down now and let me get you something to drink." Cyrene added.
Cyrene went to get Xena a large mug of port. She had seen this look before. Many a man had walked into this inn and sat at this bar with just this look. A love gone bad or a love never voiced. She wondered if Xena had finally told Gabrielle of her love. Had things gone badly? Whatever it was, Xena's heart was aching terribly right now.
"Here you go honey" Cyrene handed Xena the port and kissed the side of her cheek. "Now tell me what's going on." she added.
"I don't know if I can answer that Mother. Gabrielle and I were on our way to visit you and we stopped in this little town for something to eat and the next thing I know Gabrielle is spending all her time with some man. She wanted to stay there with him." Xena stopped her tale and took a long draw from the mug of port.
"So I left her there." Xena finished, taking another long swallow of the port.
"You left her because she asked you to or because you couldn't stand the fact that Gabrielle might actually like this man?" Cyrene needed to know the particulars of this.
"What?" Xena asked looking for more clarity on this subject.
"Come on Xena, I'm your mother after all. Who did you think you were fooling. I know the way you feel about Gabrielle. I've seen it for over two seasons now. Are you going to sit there and deny it?" Cyrene asked gently as she touched Xena's face with the palm of her hand. "You know I love Gabrielle too. She is like another daughter to me and I always thought that someday you might get the courage to tell her that you loved her." Cyrene finished.
Xena dropped her head and leaned into her mother's hand. "Oh Mom." Xena began "I was so jealous, I could hardly stand it. The way she was laughing with him and the way he was looking at her. I couldn't stay there and watch that happen. I couldn't stay there and watch her fall in love." Xena's eyes began to moisten again. "I miss her so much. It's like a piece of me is missing." the tears were falling in earnest now. "I just want Gabrielle to be happy."
"Xena honey, you haven't told Gabrielle how you feel have you?" Xena sat silently, shaking her head no. "You must tell Gabrielle." Cyrene said softly.
"It's too late mother. Gabrielle doesn't feel the same way towards me, if she did, she would have given me signs and she most certainly would have come with me when I left." Xena added.
"I think you may be reading too much into what you thought you saw between Gabrielle and this man." Cyrene began. "I've seen the way Gabrielle looks at you Xena. She holds you dear to her heart and I think she may feel much more than you give her credit for. You can jump to your conclusions Xena, but I will be the first one to leap to Gabrielle's defense. I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up anytime now looking for you." Cyrene said trying to give Xena hope for a better outcome.
"You need to get some sleep honey. Let's talk about this again in the light of day." Cyrene said, helping Xena to her room.
Cyrene was getting worried about Xena. She hadn't made it out of her room and it was nearly time for the lunch crowd. Climbing the stairs to Xena's room, Cyrene carried a bowl of soup and some hot tea. Opening the door slowly, Cyrene saw the huddled figure curled up in a fetal position on the bed.
'Xena, how are you doing this morning?" Cyrene asked gently.
Xena rolled over, her red rimmed eyes giving away what kind of night she'd had. "Let's see, I'm depressed, lonely, I didn't sleep well, and I can't seem to find the energy to even get dressed." Xena sighed heavily.
Cyrene moved to the side of the bed and pulled up a stool. "Try and eat something Xena. You need to keep your strength up." Cyrene tried to soothe Xena.
"I'm lost without her Mother. I keep trying to imagine my life without Gabrielle in it and I don't like what I see." Xena sighed again, throwing her arm over her eyes.
"The trouble with you is the distance between here," Cyrene placed her finger on Xena's temple "and here" she moved it down to just above Xena's left breast and let it rest on the slow beating heart. "Stop thinking with your head and start feeling what's in your heart Xena!" Cyrene said with a little more authority.
"You must go to Gabrielle and tell her how you feel. If you are so certain that Gabrielle won't come back to you, than what do you have to lose by telling her you love her? If Gabrielle can't handle what you tell her, or if she really does want this man, then she will still be gone. But, by chance, if she feels something for you as well, it may bring her running back into your arms." Cyrene was pleading now.
Xena understood the reasoning of this. She felt horrible. It couldn't get any worse. Maybe, just maybe, her mother had the right idea after all. Xena sat up slowly and moved to get dressed.
Cyrene looked into the blue eyes and saw a spark ignite. Xena's soul was coming back to life.
Looking to the heavens, Cyrene silently pleaded to anyone listening, "Let me be right about these two."
As Xena got up and began to get herself together, Cyrene smiled at her daughter and said, "That's the Xena I know and love. Go get the girl!"
Xena looked back and responded with a raised eyebrow at her mother's message.
"Haden, stop over there. That's the Inn that Xena's mother runs." Gabrielle said excitedly.
Haden helped Gabrielle down from the horse and walked closely behind her as she made her way inside.
"Cyrene!" Gabrielle yelled. "How are you?" she ran up to Cyrene and gave her a hug.
"Oh Gabrielle, I'm so glad to see you honey." Cyrene squeezed the girl tight.
"Where's Xena Cyrene, I have something I must tell her." Gabrielle said as she stepped back from the hug.
Cyrene saw a young man hanging back in the distance and her heart dropped. Oh no she thought. Please don't tell me Gabrielle has brought this man here with some big news. That can't be good. Marriage proposal maybe! Oh Gods this does not look good, she fussed.
"Um, Gabrielle, what is your news dear? . . . does it have to do with that young man over there?" Cyrene was questioning Gabrielle as Xena walked out of her room and down the steps.
"Gabrielle?" Xena asked with a questioning but hopeful tone.
"Xena!" Gabrielle looked up and away from Cyrene when she heard Xena's voice.
Gabrielle stared intently at Xena's blue eyes and felt in an instant what she knew was true.
Xena thought she saw something new in the emerald eyes that held her stare. She started to head down the stairs and that's when she saw Haden standing in the background. She stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart could not take this.
"Oh no, not again, not here." Xena cried out and with that stomped back to her room and slammed the door.
Gabrielle looked at Cyrene. She didn't understand what was happening at all.
Cyrene brought her hand to the bard's arm and squeezed. "Gabrielle does your news have something to do with your friend there?" she motioned with the tilt of her head. "Are congratulations in order?" Cyrene tried to remain calm but was shaking as she waited for the answer.
"What? Who? You mean Haden?" Gabrielle was puzzled and hurt.
"Gods" Gabrielle said. "Do you think Xena thought the same thing?" Gabrielle blurted out.
Cyrene silently nodded yes.
"No, no it's not like that Cyrene!" Gabrielle said as she quickly left Cyrene and Haden and ran up the stairs as fast as she could.
Xena was sitting on the floor and jumped when Gabrielle pushed her way into the room. Xena's eyes diverted and fell to the ground.
"Xena. Xena look at me please. Xena you didn't leave because you were homesick did you?" Gabrielle asked.
"Xena, please talk to me, I need to hear your voice." Gabrielle came closer.
Xena had to tell her the truth. There was no getting out of it now. Not after the display she'd just put on downstairs.
"No." came the honest reply "I just . . . I just couldn't stay there and watch you fall in love Gabrielle."
"Xena?" Gabrielle began.
Xena quickly jumped in. "It's okay Gabrielle. I understand. You've brought him here, and I want you to know that I just want you to . . .
"Xena, You've been watching me fall in love for almost three seasons now." Gabrielle softly interrupted Xena.
"Well, yeah, first there was Perdicus and . . .
"Gods woman you can be so thick!" Gabrielle said sternly.
Gabrielle knelt down and gently lifted Xena's chin so that their eyes were looking into each other. "Xena I have been falling in love, I mean I am in love with only one person, she's the person that is written into all of my days and she's looking at me right now." Gabrielle hoped this would be the perfect time. She wouldn't wait for Xena to come to her any longer. She gently brought her lips to Xena's and for the first time kissed the mouth that she had longed for in her dreams.
Xena's mind was racing with the information that Gabrielle had just so sweetly given her. It couldn't be possible, yet here she was and these were Gabrielle's lips kissing her.
Xena let her mind empty of doubt and slowly began returning the kiss.
"Mmm, Gabrielle. Mmm, tell me this is not a dream!" Xena asked as their kisses intensified. Her lips were trembling with desire.
"It's not a dream Xena. I love you." Gabrielle breathed in small gasps as she continued to kiss the perfect lips in front of her.
Xena drew her head back slightly and looked into Gabrielle's eyes.
"Gods, you're so beautiful Gabrielle." Xena whispered as she pulled her back into an embrace. "I didn't want to loose you. I was so afraid to tell you." she said as she slid her arms around Gabrielle's shoulders and held her close. "I was so afraid to tell you that I loved you."
"Never be afraid to tell me that again. It's what I've waited to hear from you for so long now Xena." Gabrielle's breathed.
"I love you Gabrielle. You are my world and the other half of my soul. I can't see my life without you by my side." Xena whispered in her ear as she wrapped her arms tighter around her bard.
A fire swept through Gabrielle as she heard Xena's admission of love. A little moan escaped Xena's mouth and Gabrielle thought she would faint. Enraptured, Gabrielle gave herself up to the strong but tender hands that were caressing her.
Xena's touches became heated as her hands were everywhere at once. With the tip of her tongue, Xena moved down the length of the hallow between Gabrielle's breasts as she dropped the bards top to the floor. The small skirt was next to fall.
The passion was building quickly. They were helpless to slow it.
"I need you Xena." Gabrielle breathed.
Gabrielle quivered as Xena fingers made small circles around the nipples of her breast and then gently squeezed. "Gods that feels so good Xena." Gabrielle gasped.
"I want you Gabrielle. I need to feel you beneath me." Xena breathed into Gabrielle's ear as she lifted her from the ground and placed her gently unto the bed
"Oh Gods yes." Gabrielle moaned.
Xena placed feathery kisses on Gabrielle's throat and passionately made her way down the glistening body below her. Rising up and kissing Gabrielle with a new intensity, Xena reached between Gabrielle's thighs, pushing her legs wider apart. Her hand rested just above the soft mound and slowly made its way to center of Gabrielle's sex. "Gods you're so wet." Xena hissed softly.
Xena gently stroked the hot, wet folds, as Gabrielle moaned out her delight.
Dissolving into her lover, she couldn't help herself from slipping lower, the need to taste the woman she loved was overwhelming. Slowly stroking and then sucking the molten center, she gently inserted a finger and then two as she sucked harder. Gabrielle was starting to tremble and tighten and Xena knew she was close.
Xena was so excited from the intimate contact that her body was reacting in kind as she rocked her core against the muscular thigh of the bard.
"Xe . . . Xe . . . Xenaaa!" Gabrielle called her name as the orgasm ripped through her body.
Xena held her tight as her own orgasm sent her spiraling into ecstasy. "Gabrielle . . . I love you." Xena managed to breathe out as she came.
Tears filled their eyes as they lay in each others arms, neither wanting to move from the embrace. Both knew the depth and compassion of this love. It overwhelmed them completely and they held each other tightly with the knowledge that from this moment on everything about their life would change.
Downstairs, Cyrene was sitting and talking with the nice young man that had brought Gabrielle back to Xena. Sharing a mug of port over their conversation, they laughed about how they both had said to "GO GET THE GIRL!"
One mug turned into two as time passed. Realizing that the two women had finally admitted their love for each other, Cyrene and Haden cheerfully raised their mugs and toasted each other.
"To true love" Cyrene said. "To true love and COURAGE!" Haden smiled, his heart truly filled with happiness.
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