Ares' Gift

by Lena

Disclaimers: These characters, Xena, Gabrielle, Toris, Lilla, Solan and Cyrene, do not belong to me. They belong to MCA, Universal and Renaissance Pictures. The story, however, is mine alone. Please refrain from plagiarizing.

I have not received, nor will I be receiving any financial gain from the writing of this story. No plagiarism is intended on my part.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of sexual violence and may be traumatizing to some sensitive readers.

RATING: (Alternative fan fiction. Rated NC17) There are explicit scenes of passionate love between two consenting adult women that I, deeply, enjoyed writing and I hope you enjoy reading. However, if you are under age or if material of this type is illegal in your neck of the woods, THEN .................... SCAT.

You can email me at, thanks, Lena

Part 3

"By the gods, Xena, I forgot how hard all this walking can be. I guess I'm a bit out of shape." Gabrielle groaned as she sat on a tree stump, rubbing her aching feet.

"I like your shape, thank you, just the way it is." Xena grinned from atop Argo.

"Why don't you ride with me a while. It's kinda chilly up here and awfully lonely." The warrior gave the bard a pout.

"Well, I can't have my mother-to-be catching cold." Gabrielle accepted the hand Xena reached out to help her up. "Sit in front of me, my Queen. I have been formulating an important..... um..... tactical maneuver that requires your bod.....uh.....personage before me."

Gabrielle looked back at her lover quizzically as Xena took apart her staff and tucked it away in its niche on the saddle. 'She's up to something. I know that look. She only has me sit up here when,' "Oh gods, Xena!" Gabrielle's thoughts were interrupted by a large warm hand slipping under her top to cover a pliant breast and a hot tongue licking her ear lobe.

"Are my tactics working? Do you surrender?" Xena growled into her lover's ear.

"Ooooh. Uh..hum, I don't know. I think I need more convincing." The aroused bard squeaked out.

With that, the Warrior Princess latched onto a succulent neck as her free hand lay the reins around the saddle horn before sliding under an Amazon skirt into damp britches to gently stroke the slick folds of the Queen's sex.

"Oh, gods, Xena, I surrender. Don't stop! Please, don't stop!" Gabrielle exclaimed.

"I have no intentions of stopping, my Queen." Xena took the bard's trembling hand and brought it to her own damp britches, squirming til she felt the small fingers slip passed the fabric to her creamy lips then returned her own hand to fondle her lover's now erect nipple.

"That feels so good." Gabrielle gasped.

Xena let the natural movement of her horse gently rub the warriors fingers over her lover's sex. "I need to see your beautiful breasts." Xena groaned as she began untying the laces of Gabrielle's top.

"Someone may see." Gabrielle protested.

"I know." Xena breathed, obviously aroused by the prospect.

"Let me face you. Come on, Xe, I want to see you. I don't bare my breasts to just anyone, you know." Gabrielle purred.

Xena removed her hand from its cozy nest and licked away the bard's nectar. "Alright. Swing your leg over the horn and I'll help you turn."

Getting Gabrielle comfortable again, the frustrated warrior kissed her deeply and dueled her tongue for dominance of the wet warmth of the bard's soft mouth. Gabrielle whimpered with desire when her lover, ever so tenderly, covered both exposed breasts with her callused hands.

Relinquishing her warrior's soft lips for a graceful neck, Gabrielle reached her small hands under Xena's armor to cup the leather-clad breasts she longed to see.

A staggering thrill ran from her aroused nipples straight to her sex, causing the warrior to bite the smaller woman's shoulder to keep from yelling out. "Gab..... Gabri..... Gabrielle, that feels so incredible. My breasts are soooo sensitive now. Oh.... squeeze my nipples..... oh, yea....." Xena's ice blue eyes rolled back and her dark eyelashes fluttered. Gabrielle was filled with awe at the power she had over this magnificent woman. "Oh, gods, I need you...." Xena panted.

"Tell me what you need, Xena." Gabrielle purred as she sucked on her lover's exposed neck.

Xena just laid her head on the bard's shoulder unable to collect the words to express her need.

"Is this what you need?" Gabrielle growled in her lover's ear as she moved one hand from the warrior's sensitive breast and gently slid it into the drenched britches of the woman she loved.

Xena groaned and pumped her hips as Gabrielle ran her fingers through her slick folds and over her engorged clitoris, never releasing her hand from it's captive breast.

The warrior suddenly threw back her head, long raven hair flying, "GAB..... RI..... ELLE!!!!!" Xena screamed out her climax, then fell forward onto her startled lover in a dead faint.

"Xena?" The concerned Amazon Queen held the unconscious warrior to her breast and rubbed her back trying to rouse her. "Come on, Xena, you're scaring me. Wake up, now." Gabrielle coaxed her lover awake.

"Gabrielle? That was intense." The warrior stated. Still resting her head on the little bard.

"Xe, are you alright? You fainted." Gabrielle held up her lover's head to look into her heavily hooded blue eyes.

"I feel kind of strange. Good, but strange." Xena said rubbing her eyes, trying to focus. "You're some lover, your Majesty. No one has ever made me faint before." Xena chuckled, giving her concerned lover an understanding grin.

"I think we should stop and rest. Your body is going through a lot of changes and all this exertion is too much." Gabrielle said as she began to lace up her top.

A very disappointed warrior watched the objects of her desire hidden away from view. "Ok, we can rest over in that grove of trees for a candle mark and eat. I'll even let you feed me." Xena wiggled her eyebrows.

Gabrielle beamed at her victory and at how reasonable Xena was being. "After all, Alena says that you are of an age now and need to take care of yourself."

"All the more reason for you to see that I eat well." Xena's mouth watered at the thought of delving into Gabrielle's sweet nectar for dessert. They would arrive at the Amazon village by late morning, very late morning if the warrior had her way, and could soothe their weary bodies in the hot - springs. 'I'll show you who is of-an-age.' The warrior thought lasciviously.


Upon entering Amazon lands, the Queen and her Consort's approach was relayed, by sentry, to the Regent, Ephiny, who sent out two of her most highly trained warriors to escort them safely. Eponin and Solari were thrilled and traveled like the wind through the trees to join their old friends and escort them to the tribe, who were all busily preparing for their Queen's arrival.

"Don't look now but we are about to have company." Xena whispered into Gabrielle's ear.

"Where are they?" Gabrielle asked, perusing the trees for any sign of movement.

"Top branches in that big birch tree to your left," Xena directed.

"And, here they come."

Solari and Eponin came sliding down ropes from the birch tree directly in front of their Queen, prostrating themselves before their monarch.

"Get up, get up. Oh, it's so good to see you two." Gabrielle dismounted from Argo, followed by her Consort.

The tearful bard hugged her old friends and Xena gave both an enthusiastic warrior's handshake.

"Your Highness, it's good to see you looking so well." Eponin remarked.

"Pony, when we are alone, it's Gabrielle. Please, we're old friends." Gabrielle smiled.

"Gabrielle it is. What brings a couple of old farmers like yourselves for an unannounced visit?" Asked Eponin.

"Let's wait until we get together with Ephiny and the Priestess of Artemis. We'd rather tell the story just once, if possible." Broke in Xena.

"Yes. That would really be best." Gabrielle wrapped her arm protectively around her Consort's waist as she brushed away happy tears. "How is Ephiny? I'm afraid we haven't been as constant in our correspondence as we should."

"Oh, she is just fine. Running a tight ship as usual." Solari grinned.

"You two Ok?" Solari inquired with concern.

"Yes, actually, we are." Gabrielle responded, looking lovingly into ice blue eyes.

The rest of the trek into the village was spent catching up on tribal gossip and funny little anecdotes that lightened the mood for everyone.

Ephiny could barely contain her desire to charge her friend and lift her up in her arms, spin her around and kiss her golden head. But protocol must be observed.

Walking up to her Queen, Ephiny bowed in respect, just before Gabrielle jumped into her arms, laying a big kiss on her soft cheek. "I can't stand on ceremony. I have missed you too much. You look great."

"So do you." Responded her nonplussed Regent. Turning to the Queen's amused Consort, Ephiny reached out to bestow the warrior's handshake and a warm smile of welcome.

"You'll never get her housebroken." Xena chuckled.

Ephiny now noticed how pale and thin the warrior was and how her leathers appeared to hang on her body. The Regent decided to hold off any questions until they were out of ear- shot of curious villagers.

"To what do we owe this honor?" Ephiny inquired. "You didn't come on a two day trek, unannounced, just to visit."

"No, that's correct. Before we talk more, would you please send some one for the Priestess of Artemis? She needs to hear this too. Pony and Solari can stay. No one else. Meet us in the Queen's quarters in a candle mark. Xena and I want to get cleaned up and, why don't you have food sent for everyone and we'll make a little celebration of it." Xena smiled at her friend, but there was sadness behind her beautiful eyes.

"Sure. I'll see that Argo is stabled and fed, then I'll get right to it. Good to see you two. In a candle mark, then." The Queen's Regent gave a little bow and was on her way.

Xena grinned to herself, "I'm glad to see she still has her priorities straight."

"Oh, and Eph, if there is any official business I need to address, we'll take care of that also." Gabrielle smiled at her friend and turned to enter her quarters with Xena.

Xena quickly grabbed the saddlebag containing their bathing stuffs and turned to her partner, "The last one to the hot springs has to muck Argo's stall." As she sprinted out the door.

"Hey, hold up, I don't muck stalls. I'm the Queen, remember." Gabrielle raced to catch up to her giggling wife.


After luxuriating in the hot spring, the contented couple bathed and headed back to the Queen's hut and the business at hand.

Xena took her seat next to Gabrielle as Ephiny took the seat to the Queen's right. Eponin, Solari and Drucilla, the Priestess, sat across from them as the food and wine was served.

Gabrielle ate heartily of all her favorite foods and enjoyed catching up with her friends. Noticing that Xena was just pushing her food around the plate with a far away look in her eye, Gabrielle reached under the table and placed her warm hand on her Consort's muscular thigh to get her attention. Xena looked up into inquiring green eyes with an inquiring look of her own. Leaning toward her uncomfortable partner, Gabrielle asked, "Now?"

Xena responded, "Please. Could you. I'm kinda tired, all of a sudden, and my dinner isn't sitting too well." The slightly green warrior gave the gentle bard a little pleading smile.

Gabrielle stood, which brought the group to attention. "My Consort and I have news. I don't know quite how to proceed with this so, here goes. In a bit over seven months, there will be an heir to the thrown born to Xena and myself."

First there was stunned silence as her audience tried to grasp what they had just been told. Then woops and hollars and gushing congratulations flew at the happy Queen, causing her Consort no end of discomfort.

"Congratulations, my Queen, an heir to the thrown, we are truly blessed. Artemis will be so pleased that her chosen is with child." The Priestess gushed with joy.

"Oh, no!" The little Queen held up her hands shaking them in denial. "No. I'm not pregnant." Gabrielle stated loudly to correct the misunderstanding. "My Consort is."

"Xena is?" The room hushed in disbelief. Then, embarrassed by their assumptions, they all offered the warrior their congratulations.

Xena smiled her acceptance of their good wishes.

Ephiny approached her old friend and took her sweaty hand and quietly said, "I am so happy for you. May I ask you to accompany me to the Queen's bed chamber?" Xena gave the Regent a confused look through bleary eyes. "You are looking a bit green, my friend, and I do believe you are in need of a wash basin and a warm bed." Taking the warrior's elbow, Ephiny walked her toward the chamber door, then turned to her Queen, "Your Highness, I will be assisting your Consort in the bed chamber. Please do continue with what you were saying. I'm sure Xena can fill me in on the details."

Gabrielle gave the two women a concerned look. "Xena?"

The stricken warrior was unable to respond verbally, as she felt her dinner swiftly moving north.

"Your Consort will be just fine. I promise." Ephiny said as she quickly pulled her friend out of sight and handed her the wash basin, which the warrior proceeded to deposit the contents of her stomach into.

Ephiny wet a cloth and wiped away the beads of sweat that were popping out on her friends brow. "Thanks, but I can take care of myself." The embarrassed warrior croaked.

"I'm sure you can. But, I can do it better. Now, shut up and let me." Xena looked into laughing hazel eyes and nodded her assent. Ephiny took the basin away to clean and returned shortly. "Now lie down and try to stay quiet. I'll leave the basin here where you can reach it. I'm going to the healer's hut for some of her special brew for morning sickness. That'll fix you right up." Ephiny patted Xena's leg and placed the damp rag on her throat. All the brave warrior could do was groan out her misery.

Ephiny approached the Queen, "Is she Ok?' Gabrielle asked with worry in her eyes.

"She'll be fine. It's just morning sickness. I had it with Xenon. I'm going to run over to the healer's hut and get something for her. Don't let her get out of bed til I get back. You can tell me the rest of your news then. Ok?" Ephiny squeezed her friend's hand.

"Yea, Ok." Gabrielle smiled.


"That stuff's awful." Xena complained at the taste of the tea, squinching up her face as she turned her head away.

"Quit being such a baby and take your medicine." Gabrielle demanded, taking the tea from Ephiny's hands and pouring some honey into it. "Now, this should taste much better." Handing the doctored brew to her soul mate, she tipped it with her finger until Xena drank it all.

"You, my Queen, have no compassion." The ailing woman groaned.

"How can I have morning sickness when it's not even morning?" The warrior complained. "I was never this sick with Solan."

"That, my dear wife, was over 20 years ago. Your body can't tolerate at 38 what it could at 18." Gabrielle rubbed the stricken woman's belly.

Xena frowned at this. "You talk like I'm an old woman and don't call me wife. I prefer Consort." Xena pouted. Wife always brought to mind a little homemaker with screaming kids and a beer swilling husband, not the fearless defender of the Queen of the Amazon Nation.

"I love you with all my heart, Xena. Now quit whining and go to sleep." Gabrielle couldn't help but chuckle at her Consort's antics.

The next day, Queen and Consort accompanied Drucilla to the Temple of Artemis to tell their story and ask her protection. That done, the women packed up and headed for the Halls of War and Ares.


"How's your tummy holding up?" Gabrielle asked, chidingly.

"Just fine, your Majesty. I am not sick. Just a little pregnant." Xena made a sour face as she tried to look menacing from atop Argo.

"Did you take any of the herbs Ephiny offered you?" Gabrielle asked.

"I don't need any herbs. I am fine. I'm just not use to eating all that fatty stuff. Why Amazons think food tastes better fried in animal fat, is beyond me. No normal person could keep that slop down."

Gabrielle shook her head at the prospect of her lover worshiping at the porcelain altar again. "Why do I bother? You have a head harder than that chakrum. Miss Big Tough Warrior, my foot." Gabrielle said, under her breath.

The next few days on the road proved uneventful, as the warrior managed to retain the contents of her stomach.

Recognizing the vicinity of Ares' lair, the warrior and bard made camp and prepared to start fresh in the morning.

"Gabrielle, I want you to stay here and set up camp while I go scout out any obstacles to our little visit. I promise to bring you a nice fat rabbit when I return." Xena smiled at her partner, then turned Argo around and galloped from sight before her nonplused little bard could complain.

Xena tied Argo's rein loosely to a tree limb, then approached the edge of the cliff overlooking the Halls of War, staying low so as not to be seen. 'Not much to worry about here, no guards in sight. I think the direct approach will do fine. Now, to catch that rabbit.' Xena headed back to camp.

Gabrielle silently cooked their stew, using the dried herbs Cyrene had given them. Xena noticed she had laid out the bedrolls on opposite sides of the fire.

"You mad at me or something." Xena asked, tentatively, afraid of further angering her hot tempered partner.

Gabrielle ignored her.

"Come on, Gabrielle, you know I hate it when you don't talk to me. What did I do?" Xena pleaded.

"What did you do? I'll tell you what you did." Gabrielle threw Xena's dinner into a dish and dropped it in front of the very uncomfortable warrior.

"Well?" Xena urged. But Gabrielle just ate her meal in silence

The frustrated warrior waited for the bard to finish eating. "Well?"

"Nothing. Just forget it. I'm tired and I want to get some sleep."

"Fine! For someone who makes their living with words, you sure have an economy of them tonight." Xena huffed and lay in her bedroll alone.

Several minutes had passed when the little bard catapulted out from her bedroll, "You are not to leave me behind for any reason, Miss Warrior Princess. I don't care that you were JUST scouting out the place and came back perfectly safe. I am here to COVER YOUR BACK. But I can't do that if you leave me behind. I know you can handle most situations but, let me remind you, you are my Consort. That means you are my wife. And you are pregnant and it is my role to protect my family." Gabrielle was pacing the campsite, very agitated.

The Amazon Queen was yelling now. "Why can't you understand? I need to do this. I should have been there for you." Sudden sobs choked off her words.

Xena saw her lover break down and ran to her, taking her trembling body in her strong arms. "I am so sorry, Gabrielle. I wasn't thinking. Damn! I should have known how you would feel." The gentle warrior stroked the distraught bard's hair. 'I can't believe I didn't see this coming. Damn. Sometimes I am so dense.' "What happened wasn't your fault. Sshh....., Gabrielle....., I promise not to leave you behind again. I'll feel better with you watching my back, as always..... Alright?"

Gabrielle nodded her head as she wiped her eyes. "I just love you so much." The little bard sniffled. "Sshh....., I know. I love you too, my bard." Xena kissed the golden head and rubbed her back to comfort her.

"Now let's get some sleep." Xena moved her bedroll over to her lover's and they entwined their bodies, providing comfort for each other as they silently cried themselves to sleep.


"Hey, wake up sleepyhead. Gabrielle? Time to go kick some godly butt." Xena said softly in Gabrielle's ear.

"Hummmm?" The sleepy bard barely responded.

"We have to pay a visit to Ares this morning. Remember?" Xena chuckled at the questioning look in her lover's bleary eyes.

"Oh, yea. Was that today?" Gabrielle asked as she wiped the sleep from her eyes.

"Yes. In fact, if you'll be so kind as to get off of me so I can go get us something to eat and you can freshen up, we can break camp in a candle mark." Xena said.

"Are you insinuating that I smell, oh tall, dark and dangerous?" Gabrielle retorted, indignantly.

"Oh no, no, no." The warrior lifted her hands in supplication. "I am saying you stink." Xena rolled away from a very irate Amazon Queen.

"You don't smell so fresh, yourself, you know." Gabrielle blurted as she grabbed their bath stuffs and ran naked to the nearby pool, created by the many hot springs located in the mountain caves.

"I do not need a bath!" The Warrior Princess exclaimed.

Gabrielle, still trotting away, turned toward Xena, her free hand sweeping down her luscious curves. "If you want some of this you do."

The warrior growled and let her eyes sweep over the temptation in front of her, "Race you."

The two lovers ran giggling down to the pool and thoroughly enjoyed bathing each other and washing each other's hair. Playful tickles and quick kisses turned into tender caresses and passionately probing tongues.

Setting the aroused little bard on a flat stone that over looked the water, Xena lifted muscular legs over her broad shoulders and admired the golden curls around the object of her hunger. "You are so beautiful, Gabrielle. I am in awe of you." Xena softly said as her fingers stroked the labia of her lover. "Even when I think I couldn't possibly love you more, I do."

Gabrielle's breathing was getting labored and her pupils wide. "Xena, I need you now."

Xena smiled with eyes full of love and reached up to tweak the bard's left nipple between her fingers then, using her other hand to open the lips of Gabrielle's labia, dove her long tongue into her lover's fragrant sex.

"Oh! Yes, Xena!" Gabrielle exclaimed as her lover lapped up her nectar.

The lower half of Xena's body was still in the water. Feeling the edge of the rock gently caressing her thighs, Xena bent her knees, allowing her sex merciful contact with the hard surface and pumped. Her eyes rolled back as her breathing became instantly ragged.

Gabrielle was vaguely aware of the change in her lover's arousal, but was too far gone to think why. "Xe, oh gods, Xena, I'm coming, XEEEE.....NAAAA !!!!!" The little bard bucked her hips and arched her back releasing her essence into the hot mouth of her partner.

Her lover's climax threw Xena into sensory overload, the delicious taste, the musky aroma, the screaming of her name and the battle to hold onto the bucking bard combined with the sliding pressure against her own sex, sent her into a soaring climax of her own.

Xena rested her head on her bard's muscular thigh. "Xena? You Ok." Gabrielle looked at her lover, puzzled."

"Oh, I am more than Ok." Xena panted, raising her head up and stretching her kinked spine.

"Good." Responded Gabrielle. "Because I do believe we still have to eat, pack, visit Ares and GO HOME."

"Sounds like a plan." Xena said as she quickly reached under the water, pulling out a large trout and tossing it up on shore.

After eating and packing up the camp, Xena's demeanor obviously changed. The Warrior Princess was back and all business.


The Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen quietly approached the cliff that overlooked the Halls of War.

"Xena, I don't see any guards." Puzzled Gabrielle.

"Ares is just arrogant enough to think he doesn't need guards. Come on." Xena led the way down through the brush, alert to any danger.

"All's clear." Xena announced after stealthily approaching both far sides of the structure, which was built into the rock.

"Looks Ok. Let's get this over with." Gabrielle said.

It took the combined efforts of both women to open the huge iron doors enough for them to slide through. Xena flattened herself against the inner wall and directed her partner to do the same, safe in the dark until their eyes adjusted and forms took shape. Utilizing all of her highly acute senses, Xena led Gabrielle down the dark corridor.

Half way into the darkness Xena realized they were not alone. Her acute senses picked up a rancid smell, like unwashed bodies after battle. Whispering a warning to her partner, the Warrior Princess whipped around to face her opponents with sword drawn.

Suddenly a torch was lit on the wall and Xena could tell that there were five filthy soldiers nearly surrounding herself and Gabrielle.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't our mother-to-be and she's brought a little friend for us." He chuckled at the sight. "Remember me, Xena? I remember you, every delectable inch of your body. And how is your little niece? What was her name? Oh well. It doesn't matter. We kept to our part of the bargain and now you will give the God of War an heir. I'm sure he will be so pleased to see you in good health. He was under the impression that we may have been a bit too rough with his Chosen. Your arrival is really a lucky break for my comrades and me." The odorous soldier remarked.

"Oh, I think your luck is about to run out." Xena snarled.

"No, no, no. You wouldn't want us to hurt blondie here, now, would you? She is such a pretty little thing. I've always had a weakness for blondes, myself." The leader pointed to his comrades and motioned for them to overtake Gabrielle.

Instantly, the Warrior Princess and Amazon Queen fell into fighting stance, back to back, and faced off their attackers. Gabrielle quickly disarmed two of the soldiers with blindingly fast sweeps of her staff, then sent them into the arms of Morpheus with matching sweeps to their temples as Xena disarmed two others with her sword and then sent them into the arms of Hades.

Gabrielle saw it out of the corner of her eye, a wicked swing of the leader's sword headed for her unprotected arm. Xena saw it too, but too late to get into position to effectively block his blade.

"NO!!!!!" Xena yelled as she twisted her body in a desperate effort to protect her lover.

The assailant was filled with a murderous glee, a maniacal smile on his dirty face, then;

, his blade bounced off the little blonde's staff.

Before he could regain his stance to deliver another strike,

, he felt the searing hot pain of the staff connecting viciously with his head, causing him to fall to one knee and struggle to clear his mind.

"Get up!" The little warrior demanded, green eyes blazing.

He looked at his opponent, trying to weigh the wisdom of returning to his feet. "Who, the Tartarus are you anyway? She's the one he wants, she and that bastard of his. By the gods, woman. What's she to you?"

Gabrielle stood seething with rage as Xena just looked on. Never had she seen this expression on her partner's angelic features and decided it was safer not to interfere.

"You want to know what Xena is to me. Besides being the woman you raped and beat like an animal. I'll gladly tell you what this courageous woman is to me..... SHE'S MY WIFE!!!!!"

Gabrielle administered the deadly blow before Xena realized what was happening and could try to stop her.

"No! Gabrielle." Xena grabbed the staff from her lover's hands before she could strike again.

Gabrielle just stood there, dumbstruck, staring at the crumpled and bloody remains of the man who raped her soulmate. She knew she should feel remorse for her actions. It went against everything she stood for. But all she could feel was satisfaction and a kind of closure.

"Gabrielle? Sweetheart, can you hear me?" Xena gently reached out to touch her lover's arm as Gabrielle just stared at the filthy body. Rubbing her arm to offer some comfort, Xena asked, "Gabrielle, are you alright?"

The Amazon Queen squared her shoulders and looked up into her partner's worried gaze. "Yes, I'm fine now. Let's go deliver our message to the bastard and go home. I really want to go home, Xe." Taking Xena's hand, the brave little bard led her toward the main room that she remembered so well from their ordeal with Dahok and Hope.


"Ares, show yourself. I know you're here. Oh, sorry about the mess we left in the corridor. You can clean it up." Xena boldly proclaimed, standing in the middle of the Great Hall.

The God of War appeared in a spray of golden sparks. "So, my Warrior Princess returns. I am glad to see that pregnancy suits you so well."

"Cut the crap, Ares. This isn't a social call. What you let that scum do to me is beyond contempt." Xena barked.

"Wait a moment. I did not tell those idiots they could hurt you. It was never my intention to do you harm." Said Ares.

"Did you see what they did? Were you watching as they took turns raping me?" Xena tried to control the quiver of her chin as she experienced feelings of extreme betrayal.

"I swear on my godhood. I wasn't there, Xena. They were only to impregnate you with my sperm from that cylinder." Ares sighed deeply. "I know you won't believe me, but I am sorry they hurt you. I truly am. But, I am very glad you are well now and I am looking forward to the birth of our child."

"Our child? There is no 'our child'. You are delusional if you think you are ever gonna see this child. Gabrielle and I are going to raise it as our own and you are gonna stay far away." Xena stated emphatically.

"And just why would I agree to such a thing after all the trouble I've gone to?" Ares sat upon his thrown exuding cocky nonchalance.

"Because, if you don't agree, Zeus and all of Olympus will know you broke your vow to me and Gabrielle. You will lose your godhood and be replaced as the God of War." Xena responded with confidence.

"And, exactly what is to stop me from staging a little accident for you and the irritating blond after MY child is born?" Ares lifted a confident eyebrow and looked at Xena smugly.

"There are members of your family who already know. They have been sworn to secrecy unless something untoward happens to either of us. So even if you are merely suspected of interfering in our lives again, your godhood is history. Is that understood?"

The God of War was seething as he stood to his full height.

"IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?" Xena demanded an answer.

"Yes. I understand." Ares was barely able to say the words

"Good. We are going home now and hope to never see you again." Xena turned on her heal and took Gabrielle's hand as they walked away.

Loud crashing sounds and raging screams were heard as the women exited through the huge doors into the fresh air of their new life as a family.


Gabrielle set about making camp and starting the fire to cook whatever Xena caught for them to eat. Not a word had been spoken while on the road from the Halls of War. Xena didn't know what to say to her partner and decided to leave that first move up to Gabrielle. She set about grooming and feeding Argo and found comfort in her old friend.

After the couple shared their meal and cleaned up, they sat in companionable silence, Xena sharpening her sword as Gabrielle wrote on her parchment. Xena wished she could read what her soulmate was writing, thinking it would give her some insight into what she was feeling about killing that scum this morning.

Xena broke the silence. "What are you writing? A new story?"

Gabrielle didn't make eye contact with Xena. "Yes. It's kind of about what I did to that scumbag. I've never experienced anything like that before and I thought it might help me to write it down."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Xena asked softly.

"No, not yet. I just can't quite yet." Gabrielle looked beseechingly into her lover's eyes.

"Ok. Whenever you're ready, I'm here for you." Xena replied.

"I know. Why don't we get some sleep. I'd really just like you to hold me."

Xena slipped her sword into its sheath and crossed over to her soulmate, pulling back the blanket, she invited Gabrielle to join her. The little warrior crawled into the strong arms of her lover and rested her head on a broad shoulder. Xena stroked her soft golden hair while placing light kisses on top of her head. "I love you, my bard." She whispered.

"I know. I love you too." Gabrielle responded, taking Xena's strong callused hand in her own small one.

"I know."

"Is it over, now?" Gabrielle asked.

"Yes. It's all over now. We can get on with our lives and make plans for our child. He can't hurt us anymore. I promise." Xena hugged her love to her.

"What I did, Xena, I have no remorse. My only regret is that I have no remorse. Isn't that silly? I wanted to kill him, Xe. I have never felt such rage before and I hope I never do again. He had to pay for what he did to you, to us, and it felt good to be his judge, jury and executioner..... Does that make me a monster?" Gabrielle looked up into worried soft blue eyes.

"No. That doesn't make you a monster, Gabrielle. That makes you human. Let's put this behind us. Ok?"

"Ok. No regrets?"

Xena smiled at her lover, "No regrets. Now let's get some sleep. We have three days to travel before we reach Amphipolis and our nice soft pallet."

"Xena, I don't want anyone to know what I did. Is that Ok too?" Gabrielle searched her lover's eyes.

"That's Ok too. We never have to mention it again if you don't want to. Now get some sleep." Xena kissed her partner's forehead and they both drifted off to a troubled night's sleep.


The returning couple was filled with joy and relief at the familiar sight of their farm in the distance, passed the forest and stream. To Gabrielle's confusion, Xena changed their course to avoid crossing over the shallow stream and taking the path directly through the woods to their home. But, instead, walked half a league toward town in order to cross on the foot bridge. She gave her partner a puzzled look, but quickly grasped the problem. 'I have to find a way to help Xena let go of these memories. This spot has meant too much to us to let this happen.'

The farm was empty upon their arrival, and the women both breathed a sigh of relief. Neither one ready to face the endless questions they knew would come.

"It's good to be home. I can't wait to get cleaned up. I am covered with three layers of dirt road." Gabrielle said.

"But, on you, it looks good." Xena wrapped her long arms around her lover. Seeing no objection on her partner's face, she leaned into a gentle but passionate kiss. They hadn't made love since Gabrielle killed the rapist nearly 4 days ago and Xena was beyond ready for some romantic attention.

"Xena", Gabrielle said ever so softly as she tenderly ran her fingers along her lover's jawline.

"Hhmmm?" Xena purred.

"Let's take this down to the stream. We both could use a cool bath and it's so lovely there." Gabrielle cooed in Xena's ear sending a tingling sensation down her spine.

"Gabrielle, it's too cool to be bathing in springs when we don't have to. I'll warm us a bath right here and we can scrub each other's backs before I ravish you." Xena gave her lover a smoldering look through heavy lidded eyes as she reached to capture the sexy little bard's lips in a deep kiss.

"Mmmmm, by the gods, Xe, you taste so good." Gabrielle was able to voice when Xena finally came up for air. "Why don't you fix our bath and I'll put these dirty things in the wash basin to soak." Xena gave her partner a devilish grin as she hurried away to set the water on the fire to warm, her heart pounding in anticipation.

Gabrielle busied herself with unpacking the saddlebags and sorting out what needed to be washed and/or mended and throwing their old, stale travel rations on the compost pile. 'How did I ever eat this stuff for all those years?' Gabrielle curled up her nose in revulsion. 'It's like eating tree bark, but tree bark has more flavor. I can't wait for some of Cyrene's venison stew.' She smiled, blissfully. 'Mmmmm, ambrosia.' She giggled to herself. 'I guess Xena is right. The way to my heart is through my stomach.'

'Back to the problem at hand. How do I get you to face your fears and get you back to that stream. We need to reclaim it as our own. Can't you see that. It was our special place, full of love and happy memories. I won't let Ares take that away from us.' Gabrielle squared her shoulders and returned to her anxious lover just as Xena was pouring the last of the hot water into their bath.

Xena heard her lover approach and, setting the empty bucket down, swept Gabrielle up into her arms and kissed her soundly. "Now strrriiip." Xena growled.

"Oooh, I love it when you're feral." Gabrielle purred as Xena gently lowered her to the ground, stepping back to enjoy the show. Gabrielle slowly unlaced her Amazon top and let it hang open just enough for her lover to admire the swell of her breasts and white creamy skin. Then she unlaced the sides of her Amazon skirt allowing it to slowly slide from her shapely round hips and onto the floor. Xena watched through hooded eyes, darkened to indigo with desire, as her lover gracefully stepped out of her skirt, then turned around with her back facing the overly aroused warrior. Xena's hands moved up and down on her hips of their own volition as Gabrielle let her top fall off her shoulders to join discarded skirt. Xena's breath caught in her throat as her lover turned slowly towards her in all her natural glory.

"You are a goddess." Xena's eyes slowly traveled from limpid green pools to moist red lips to the soft round slopes of firm breasts and aroused hard nipples, down to soft blond curls, shining with moisture, and let go a deep guttural moan of need.

Seeing the effect she was having on her lover, Gabrielle decided to head for the tub or she was not going to be able to implement her plan on this particular afternoon. Xena followed her bard with lust filled eyes as she lowered herself slowly into the blissfully warm water. Noticing Xena's immobility, Gabrielle decided to give some direction. "Xena? Sweetheart?" Xena's eyes, which had heretofore been plastered to the bard's lovely breasts, lifted to meet sparkling green eyes. "Xena, you're wearing way too much. Unless you intend to bathe in your leathers, it's your turn to strip."

Xena's mouth slowly curled into a lascivious grin and she quickly removed her leathers, leaving her luscious curves covered by her dirt and sweat stained shift. Gabrielle's brow arched and her mouth curled into a wanton look of her own. 'Boy it's gonna be hard to not jump her bones. Down girl, remember the objective. And, it's not like you don't plan to ravish her unmercifully in just a candle mark or so. Just think that you're holding out for the greater good. Yea, right. Sweet Artemis, why does she have to be so sexy.' "Now the shift….., slowly." Gabrielle couldn't resist the temptation to admire every inch of that golden skin, so soft, belying the strength beneath.

Xena slowly removed the straps from her shoulders with trembling fingers, letting the shift fall away from her full breasts, and passed her voluptuous hips.

Studying her lover's body with relish, Gabrielle blurted. "Xena, your belly."

Totally distracted by the object of her desire, Xena wasn't sure if she heard right. "My what?"

"Your belly. Look how swollen and your hips. They're getting round." Gabrielle studied the woman's anatomy with wonder.

"Well that's a real turn on." Xena said in exasperation. "Gabrielle, I AM pregnant you know."

Gabrielle motioned her to come closer so she could touch the swell that was the child in her lover's womb.

Xena's heart melted when her soulmate leaned over to gently kiss the warrior's belly. "Hello, little one. Your mom and I can't wait to meet you. I promise we will always love and protect you, and each other." Moving her gaze to meet her lover's, they both smiled and, in unison, softly said….., "Always".

Gabrielle cleared the emotion from her throat and still holding the warrior's gaze said, "Get in here. You stink."

"You sweet talker, you," Xena replied, the romantic mood gone for the time being.

After their bath, carefully avoiding too much foreplay, the women donned clean shifts and tossed their soiled clothes in the wash basin to join those already soaking.

"Xena, let's take a stroll. I want to reacquaint myself with our home. I feel we have been gone for months instead of just two weeks."

Xena began to object, but seeing the longing in her bard's gentle green eyes, she relented. Gabrielle grabbed a blanket and their half empty wine skin, hung the skin off the warrior's shoulder and threw the blanket over her own then linked her arm in Xena's. "I'm ready." She exclaimed. Xena gave her an amused grin and they were off.

When it became obvious where Gabrielle was leading her, Xena hesitated. "Can't we walk somewhere else?"

"No..... uh..... I mean, it's so beautiful down by the stream this time of year, with the leaves turning gold and orange and red. It's like walking through a cloud of precious gems. Come on, love,..... for me." Gabrielle looked up into Xena's eyes with all the affection in her heart.

'Zeus, she knows I can't deny her anything when she gives me that look.' Xena allowed herself to be led to a place she had only seen in her nightmares since the soldiers of Ares attacked her and her little niece.

"Isn't it beautiful, Xe?"

Xena looked around her but only saw flashbacks of horror.

Seeing her lover pale, Gabrielle sat her down on a fallen log and, kneeling in front of her soul mate, touched their foreheads together. "I'm here, love. It's alright now. It's over. It's in the past. We can't let them take this from us. We can't let Ares poison our special place."

Xena squeezed her beautiful ice blue eyes shut trying to force away the pictures playing before them. "You're right. I know you're right. I just don't know if I can get passed it, Gabrielle." The tears shined in the warrior's eyes as she tried to maintain control.

Wrapping her strong arms around her soul mate, Gabrielle softly said in her ear, "Cry, Xena. Sometimes there is strength in tears. You're safe now. Lycea is safe now. Give me your tears, my love. I've got you." The little bard rubbed the warrior's back as Xena allowed the torrential sobs to escape the prison of her tortured soul. "Let it go, my love. I've got you. I'm here. I'll always be here." The gentle woman's heart broke to hear the painful sobs tearing from her beloved's throat.

After about half a candle mark, Xena's tears began to subside and Gabrielle kissed the distraught woman's head then tilted it up so she could kiss away the tears still trickling down the face she loved so. Xena calmed as Gabrielle continued to kiss her cheeks, then her eyebrows, as she wiped the tears away. She heard Gabrielle's soft dedications of love and endless devotion and felt a sense of peace come over her like a warm blanket on a snowy night.

Gabrielle's ministrations traveled to the warriors trembling lips, little butterfly kisses along her top lip and then bottom as delicate fingers softly stroked her cheek and then her neck. Xena released a moan deep in her throat as Gabrielle's kisses became more passionate.

The smaller woman pulled back, to Xena's chagrin, and spread the blanket out on the cool ground in front of the log, instructing her aroused partner to sit up against it, then, straddling her lap, reclaimed the soft moist lips.

Having totally forgotten about her earlier distress, Xena poured all her energies into pleasing her lover, her life, her soulmate. Gabrielle reluctantly released Xena's tongue so she could use it to burn a trail along her jaw to suck on an ear lobe, causing the little bard to moan in arousal. The sound of Gabrielle's moans stirred Xena's own passion to greater heights as she traveled down a delicious neck to suck on the delicate skin over a pulse point. Gabrielle, not wanting Xena's needs to be neglected, lowered her hand between her lover's legs and gently pressed against the core of that need.

"Oh gods! Gabrielle." Xena let out a raspy breath, her eyes rolling back in ecstasy.

Xena untied her lover's tunic, with trembling fingers, desperate to reach the objects of her desire. Gazing with hungry eyes on Gabrielle's heaving breasts, "You are so beautiful." Xena grasped an erect nipple in her mouth, taking in as much of the soft flesh as she could and suckled, a moan of satisfaction escaping her throat. Gabrielle entwined her fingers in the warrior's silky black tresses, gently encouraging her to prolong her fondling of the sensitive flesh. The warrior kissed a trail across the bard's chest to the neglected breast and licked her nipple then blew cool air on it, making Gabrielle gasp. Xena placed her middle finger into her own mouth and moistened it thoroughly, then rubbed the moisture on the tip of her lover's nipple, watching the areola wrinkle more tightly and the nipple harden further, the color darkened to nearly the color of fine red wine. Gabrielle's breathing was becoming more irregular, but Xena was thoroughly enjoying watching her lover's body respond to her love making.

Reaching down between their nearly touching centers, Xena dipped one long finger gently into her lover's sex. "Oh Gods, Xena. Yes." But, to her frustration, her lover removed the inspiring digit, admiring the glistening proof of her effect on the little bard as she spread the nectar upon Gabrielle's painfully taut nipple. Xena looked into Gabrielle's hooded green eyes and grinned as she licked her finger clean, then sucked as much of the bard's breast into her mouth as she could, suckling contentedly.

"Xena, please, I need you. I can't take anymore." Gabrielle rasped, eyes nearly black with desire.

"Tell me what you want, my love." Xena purred, licking the bards other breast.

"Your tongue. Oh gods. Xena love me with your tongue."

Gabrielle found herself being gently laid upon the blanket as the warrior kissed and licked down the firm abdomen, dipping her long tongue into a cute little belly button along the way. Gabrielle pushed downward gently on her lover's head making her urgency known. Xena gently ran her cheek and nose over soft blonde curls, deeply breathing in the intoxicating scent of her soulmate.

Gabrielle raised her hips, resting her thighs on the warrior's broad shoulders. Xena wrapped one arm around the bard's hips to hold her in place as her other hand reached for passion slicked lips. Xena hesitated, admiring the gift being offered her, glistening with her lover's musk, and amazed at the size of her engorged clitoris. Both women moaned as Xena gently kissed the folds of Gabrielle's sex, sucking on first one than the other. Urged on by her lover's moans of pleasure, the warrior's tongue delved into Gabrielle's steaming center, sending jolts of pleasure through her little body. "Yes, Xena. Oh, gods. That feels so good." Gabrielle squirmed trying to feel every possible sensation Xena's long tongue could provide her.

Realizing that her lover's climax was close at hand, Xena extricated her tongue from her delicious hot sex to lick her clit while gently sliding two long fingers into the slick canal. Holding Gabrielle's hips down firmly so as not to lose her place, Xena sucked the throbbing clitoris into her mouth, hard. Gabrielle bucked her hips and moaned loudly as Xena flicked her tongue across the sensitive bud and suckled it like a babe on its mother's tit.

"Ooooh, XEEEEEEEEENAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!" Gabrielle bucked her hips powerfully, as her lover hung on tight, sucking and licking the bundle of nerves in her hot mouth.

Hearing her lover's scream and feeling the rythmic contraction around her inbedded fingers, the warrior felt her impending release quickly approach. Xena let go of Gabrielle's clitoris as her head flew back in her own climax, her hips bucking into the hard ground below her.

As Xena's orgasm subsided, she let her head rest on her lover's still quivering belly and basked in the afterglow.

"By the gods, Xena, that was incredible. Are you OK?" Gabrielle spoke softly, having felt her lover's upper body collapse on top of her.

"Hhmmm." Was the only sound her spent partner could utter.

The content little bard rubbed her warrior's cheek and hair until Xena's deep rythmic breathing told her she'd joined the arms of Morpheus. "Sleep, my love. Have sweet dreams of our special place." Gabrielle continued to lovingly play with Xena's raven hair til joining her in peaceful sleep.


"Gabrielle? Gabrielle, wake up. Come on, your Highness, I'm freezing my buns off." Xena had awakened shivering in the late autumn night air. "Gabrielle." Xena gently shook her partner's shoulder to no avail. "I love you, but I'll be damned if I am freezing to death so you can nap." Xena leaned down and, grabbing the edges of the blanket firmly in her powerful hands, flipped the sleeping bard unceremoniously onto her royal arse in the damp grass.

"Hera's tits! What'd you do that for?" The startled Amazon Queen yelped.

"Cause if I don't find some warm shelter soon, I'm gonna give birth to an icicle. And, where did you learn such language?" Xena said.

"Oh, gosh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize we had slept so long. Here wrap this blanket around your shoulders." Gabrielle wrapped the blanket around her lover, rubbing the goose bump covered skin vigorously to warm her up.

"What about you?" Xena asked through her chattering teeth.

"I'm OK. Let's get back to the house. I'm sure Toris and Lilla have a fire roaring in the hearth."

The two women quickly returned to their home, the little bard running in place, next to the briskly walking warrior, to keep warm.

"Hey, you guys, we were wondering where you'd got off to. We saw your stuff and Argo, but no sisters. How'd it go? Did you kick Ares' hairy butt?" Lilla chattered with excitement as she ran to hug her older sister.

"Yes, it went well. No, Ares is still in possession of his hairy butt." Xena responded as she crawled into her favorite chair in front of the fire, still wrapped up in the blanket, enjoying the lingering scent of their passion.

"Why don't you go get Toris and Lycea so we can tell you all about it."

Gabrielle said as she warmed herself next to the hearth. At that moment a very excited, soon to be 5 year old, came running through the family room squealing with joy, hugged her Auntie Gabrielle, then flew into the waiting arms of her favorite playmate. "I missed you, Auntie Xena. You were gone too long. I didn't have anyone to play with. You want to take me fishing tomorrow? Daddy made me a new dolly, you want to see her? And......." Xena laughed and hugged her little niece, kissing her nose, her little hands and the top of her sweet head.

"I've missed you too, little one. I'm sorry we were gone so long. Yes, I'll take you fishing tomorrow, if it's alright with your folks." Xena looked up at her sister-in-law and brother, who had just joined them, with a pleading look in her ice blue eyes.

"Sure, just don't tire Auntie Xena out. She needs to get some rest. OK?" Lilla addressed her little bundle of energy.

"OK, Mommy." Then turning her attention to Xena. "You need to go to bed early, so you won't get tired of fishing tomorrow." Lycea quietly instructed her favorite aunt, as she patted the tanned cheek.

Xena let loose a deep guffaw, laughing and hugging the miniature tyrant til tears fell from her eyes.

"What's so funny?" An indignant Lycea stood hands on hips, left eyebrow lost in silky black bangs. At this Gabrielle fell into hysterics, pointing from her niece to her partner.

"And just what is so funny, Miss 'I'm an Amazon Queen'?" Xena asked, standing to her full height, hands on hips, left eyebrow cocked, causing her brother and sister-in-law to join Gabrielle in hysterical laughter.

Xena looked down at her little replica, who didn't have a clue, and smiled broadly, her heart full of pride. "Come on, little one, let's go see your new doll." Xena leaned down and swooped the delighted child into her arms, leaving the other adults to regain their composure.

Concluded in Part 4
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