Disclaimers :Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures.
Violence: This is a Xena story of course there is going to be violence
Subtext: This story denotes a loving and sexual relationship between two consenting females, lets just say children should not read this story
Notes: This story is set just after Succession in Season 5, it goes off on another tangent although a few key storylines from season 5 will remain. So sit back and enjoy
If you want to make a suggestion or comment feel free to email me
A Journey of Love & Life
They were home, back on the road that they had both come to love, back to the normality of their life together. The past moon and a half almost felt like a dream, a very disturbing and yet fulfilling dream, and all she longed for now was for something to happen that was normal, because nothing of the last moon and a half had been normal.
She picked up one of her scrolls and decided to write of the adventures they had experienced in the last moon and a half. Maybe I'll be able to sort out the past moons events and figure out how I'm going to tell Xena how I feel about her. She picked up her scroll and began to write of their adventures and try to figure out what it all meant for them.
The first thing I remember after we died on those crosses, was a warmth, a gentle caress of my chin as I opened my eyes to see Xena before me, looking more beautiful then ever, her hair was cascading wildly around her face and her crystal blue eyes were looking into mine, with a look of such peace and joy. I couldn't believe it was her, that we had managed to do it, after all these years of her worrying that she would never atone for her past and here she was with me, standing before me in a place I knew couldn't be Tartarus. She took my hand and held me standing at my back as we watched the sky dance and ripple, seeing figures coming towards us. I could feel no fear myself and wondered if she felt fear, fear of the unknown, of not knowing if this was just some cruel trick. I looked around and saw that we weren't in the Elysian Fields, I knew what that was like, been there done that! So I figured we were somewhere between Elysia and Tartarus. I watched the figures approach us and felt the good radiating from them knowing it would be okay to go with them. I reached out my hand to go with them and felt Xena's hand on my shoulder, felt the fear pumping through her hand and into my heart, but I could see that they had come for her too, so I squeezed her hand in reassurance and allowed the glowing white people with wings to take me and lift me to the heavens. I remember thinking at that moment that this was it, the moment I realised just how much I loved Xena and how glad I was that she had been able to come here with me, something in that moment told me, that if she hadn't I would have fought to get her here, or go to join her wherever she was.
Gabrielle's writing was interrupted by the sounds of Xena coming back into the camp, looking triumphant as she laid down not one rabbit but two, and sat to clean and skin them, a job she knew the bard didn't like and besides she didn't mind it. She liked being able to provide for them, keeping them fed and warm, those were two of the first things in her mind now when they camped out. She always made sure they had shelter and food, and given Gabrielle's appetite she always made sure there was plenty to go around both of them.
"Thank you Xena" Gabrielle said going to sit near where Xena was cutting up the rabbits, wanting to be closer to the warrior.
"Sure, but Gabrielle I thought we were over you thanking me for things like this, you know I pride myself in being able to take care of you" Xena gruffly told the bard taking in her nearness to her, wondering what was wrong with the bard. Not that she minded the bard so close to her. Gods sometimes she craved her presence, but something about the bards demeanour told her something was up and given the last moon and a half, she wasn't sure she blamed her for feeling a little melancholy.
"I know but I still feel I should, you do so much for us, sometimes I wonder if my contribution is enough? She tried to say but had her mouth covered by two beautiful slender fingers, trying to stop herself from giving into her desire to kiss those fingers, she pulled away a bit, and saw the hurt in Xena's eyes not knowing if she could explain her reasons for pulling away.
"Gabrielle, your contribution very important to me, you keep me sane, you saved my soul, I would never have experienced heaven if not for you, your love for me has changed me in so many ways, you are my family, my best friend, don't ever think that what you do isn't important, all I can ever do for you is promise to be there for you forever, because I don't need to change you, I love you just the way you are" Xena said wiping her hands before taking Gabrielle into a hug, wishing she could kiss her and take away the pain she could see in her friends eyes, but still unable to make herself see that Gabrielle felt the same way, so she just held her hoping it would be enough to help the bard.
"Xena you changed me, if I had never met you, I would still be that little girl from Poetaedia, I would never have experienced any of this, I would never have felt what it was like to find the other half of my soul, I know we've experienced a lot of pain, but I wouldn't trade a moment with you, to change that" Gabrielle told Xena looking in her soul mate's eyes seeing them glimmering with tears, only just held back, never allowing herself to fully experience emotions as joyous as this one, even now, even though she knew she had atoned, she still couldn't bring herself to do what made her happy.
"We'll guess we should eat and then get some rest, I'm exhausted" Xena remarked quietly not knowing what to make of her friends comment, sometimes it was so frustrating, trying to fight this love she had for Gabrielle, she wanted so much to tell her, but it was so hard to feel that she deserved the bard's love.
Gabrielle could see that her friend was warring with something in her mind, her eyes had a far off look, but there was determination in that beautiful face, and then Xena looked at her and she gasped, seeing all the love Xena felt for her in that one look, a look she'd seen countless times, but never with eyes as open as they were now.
It made her feel wonderful and worried at the same time, and then as quickly as it came, it was gone, quickly replaced by the warrior's stoic expression, and it left her confused, how could Xena show her a look like that and then try to hide it? She nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard the warrior jump up, crashing into the pot of rabbit stew, she heard the warrior curse and then felt her heart stop as the warrior turned to her pain and anger clearly displayed on her face
" I need to go for a walk, I'm sorry Gabrielle, I need some time to think" was all the warrior could offer the bard, and she flinched seeing the look of hurt in the eyes of the woman she loved more than anything and almost felt her control slip, almost rushed headlong into the waiting arms she hoped would be there for her. Get a grip Xena, put that mask back on your face and walk out of this camp. Xena told herself that she had to think, to make a decision about this once and for all. It was beginning to hurt too much, loving someone so much and having to stop herself from touching her, wanting so much to just love her, and not being able to clearly see that kind of love from Gabrielle meant she couldn't just do that. What made you think someone like her could love you like that. She thought the hurt beginning to turn to disgust for herself. She laughed at that thought, who would ever think that the self assured, stoic warrior actually was disgusted by herself, she never saw what others found so alluring about her, never saw that she was beautiful, had never really thought of herself as being beautiful. Oh she knew that other people thought of her that way and had used it to her advantage many times in her warlord days but actually thinking she was beautiful was something she'd never allowed herself to do. She sat down next a tree far enough away from the camp that she knew she could yell and scream if she wanted to. Gods it was just so damned unfair, why did the person she loved have to be so beautiful, and have such a beautiful spirit, why did she have to be a person so unlike herself, how could she ever convince herself that she deserved this?
" Aaaaaaaah" she cried out not knowing how to go forward and knowing she could never go back. She was so lost in her misery she didn't feel the presence enter the space she had picked out.
"Oh Xena, don't you realise opposites attract babe and you dark tall and deadly have attracted one hell of a beauty" the voice exclaimed materialising into Aphrodite Goddess of Love.
"Gabrielle loves you, like duh, and not only that she is as in love with you, silly warrior, don't ya realise Gabrielle sees what I've always seen? You are beautiful hon and you deserve this, so why don't you get your big self back over there and tell Gabby just how much you want her and love her, Gods sometimes you can be so blonde ya know!," Aphtodite explained giggling at the dumfounded look coming from warrior princess. Being the Goddess of love she knew that love came in all shapes and forms, and not all love was good, but the love Xena felt for Gabrielle and the love that was reciprocated by the bard was one of the purest forms of love around.
It was a completely unselfish and unconditional love, that would survive anything thrown at it. How these two had managed to keep it from each other for so long how they really felt for each other, Aphrodite had no idea, cause this was the kind of love that didn't leave room for confusion, it could never exist in without the physical side, and she knew it had to be killing both Xena and Gabrielle, especially when both wanted so desperately to just give in. She knew that eventually they had to give in but right now it was causing some pretty strong anger in Xena and that's why she'd came to give Xena in the right direction.
"Aphrodite, I know that what you are saying is true, but I've been fighting this for so long, I don't think I know how to give in" Xena sighed, glad to be able to let that out, she knew that she and Gabrielle were meant for each other had known it since the day she had seen Gabrielle struggling against those slavers, but the main thing that had stopped her was that Gabrielle was so young, and she'd had so much to make up for that she hadn't been ready for that kind of love, so she had settled for friendship, but was fast realising that friendship was no longer enough, she wanted all of Gabrielle, any less would never do now.
"Honey, I know how frustrated you are, if you had just stayed by that campfire you and Gabby would be a cooking couple by now, she was so going to tell you tonight, but unfortunately, you had to go laying that guilt trippy thing again, and well you ain‘t gunna get a chance for a little while now, some trouble a brewin, but Xena I will give you the Guarantee of the Goddess of Love, which I know doesn't mean too much to you. You and Gab are the real deal and will be together, I don't care what I have to do to make it happen, you stubborn missy are gunna get it on with my friend or so help me I will turn you into a frog, you got that?" Aphrodite threatened wondering if she was making headway at all and when she saw tears not anger on Xena's face she knew she had the warrior where she wanted her. Got Ya! she thought triumphantly
"Gods I hate crying, I have never been afraid of anything in my life Aphrodite, but this scared the tartarous out of me, I am so scared to lose her, I know it would kill me if it happened and yet I just don't know how to tell her I am in love with her, I've never been too good at words, that's Gabrielle's forte" Xena exclaimed trying to fight back the warm feeling that was spreading through her at the knowledge that Gabrielle was in love with her also.
"Xena just go with it, hey! Don't think just say what you feel and Gabby she‘ll understand, I can‘t say it‘s gunna be easy, but she loves you, mind body and soul okay so when you get your chance take it will ya!" Aphrodite told Xena knowing her time was up, she'd said all she could to Xena and hoped it would be enough to help the warrior air out the secret she'd been carrying for so long, knowing their future together depended on it and so did Eli's God. She had gotten to know the God of Love and was actually here on his behalf but couldn't tell Xena that, Eli's God knew Xena hated the interference of Gods, and this was one hell of an interference. As she left Xena to ponder what she had said, she uttered a silent prayer to Eli's God that things would work out for Gabrielle and Xena.
Xena sat by that tree for god knows how long until she heard familiar footsteps heading her way, knowing she would be faced with the sight of her bard in mere seconds, trying to regroup before Gabrielle saw her, she wasn't ready to discuss her revelations with the bard as yet, she wanted to be sure without a doubt, wanted Gabrielle to see that in her eyes when she told her she was in love with her, she wanted it to be right and everything Gabrielle would imagine it would be like to be told that someone was in love with her, she wanted it to be romantic.
"Xena, are you okay, have you been crying? Xena what's wrong?" Gabrielle asked feeling alarm creep into her chest, in all the time they'd been together, Xena's episodes of crying had been few and far between, and Gabrielle knew it took a lot of strong emotions to bring tears to her soul mates face.
"Yeah, I'm sorry I didn't mean to worry you, I was just thinking bout the last few months we've had a time of it haven't we? Xena asked smiling at the concern and love she saw on Gabrielle's face. Soon my love, soon we will deal with this and move on to something so much better she thought.
"Yeah I guess we have, its not been the best few months I can say, but at least we‘ve been together hey?" Gabrielle asked happy to see Xena perk up a little, she was about to begin talking again when she saw Xena stiffen and knew they weren't alone.
"Whoever you are show yourself, If you promise not to attack us we wont attack you" Xena asked putting on what Gabrielle had come to think of as the warrior mask, that exuded danger from her soul mates piercing gaze. The person came stumbling towards them and Xena realised they weren't in danger, this person was wounded, and from the stumbling possibly mortally wounded. She rushed over to grab the man to stop him from falling as he appeared out of the trees, gently bringing him to rest at her knees.
"Are- are you Xena" the man asked obviously having trouble speaking from the pain, one quick look at him was all that Xena needed to know that this man was dying, and there was nothing she could do to help the man except listen.
"Yes I am, and you're a soldier in Athena's army am I right" Xena asked having noted the colour and blatant mark of the Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare on his armour.
" Athena calls for you Warrior Princess, she asks that you travel to your home town Amphipolis where she will meet you, she said to tell you, that a war is coming, that someone has declared war on both the towns of Amphipolos and Poetaedia, and that only you could stop this war before it reaches Athens" He exhaled fighting the words out, and smiled seeing the look of grim determination settle onto the warriors face and knew he'd fulfilled his task and gave into the darkness that had been threatening to swallow him up.
Xena saw the soldiers features relax and realised the soldier had just breathed his last breath delivering this message to her, her mind raced and anger flooded her being, no one declares war on her village, and Gabrielle‘s she knew that no matter what she would die to protect them if she had to, she looked over at Gabrielle and saw that she was just as determined as her to go and protect their homes
"Are you okay?" Gabrielle asked feeling Xena's gaze on her, wondering what was going through the mind of the person she loved more than herself, she had seen the unmasked look of love the warrior had shown her before this man had come and interrupted their talk, she wondered if he hadn't come would the warrior have finally confessed her love for her?
"No, not really, a person has declared war on two defenceless villages, and Athena wants me to stop this war" Xena replied, wishing she could turn back time, if she had known this was coming, she would have told Gabrielle, confessed her love for the bard, but instead it looked like they were off to fight a war again, once again violence and war finding a way to come between her happiness, was she ever going to be able to just be happy, or would her happiness always come second place to the greater good. She seriously thought of taking Gabrielle into her arms and just kissing her, letting her feel all that she felt for the bard, but they were heading into a war they needed to be focused and that was something she knew would most certainly unfocus them both.
"We have to go, I don't want to go into a war zone especially with you, but this is my home, whether they accept me as a part of their town, I was born there and my mother is there, I will not let her die when I can do something about it, and your family I will protect those we love with my life if I have to" Xena told Gabrielle, wanting to convey to her that her family was just as important as her own, that to her Gabrielle's family was her family, whether they liked it or not, because they had given her Gabrielle, without them the best thing in Xena's life wouldn't exist and she could feel nothing but joy for that.
"I'm right with you partner, maybe we should get some rest you'll want to be at your sharpest when we ride into Amphipolos" Gabrielle said as she took Xena into her arms for a hug. Hugs are safe, she thought, its the only way I can get the comfort I need right now, after all we almost lost and now this, can I be prepared to lose her again. Xena felt Gabrielle sigh and hoped she wasn't feeling the anger in her heart at the moment, she hated being in this situation, every battle, every war made it harder and harder to keep her promise to the bard, made so early in their travels, but she knew if she kept fighting one day she would lose, and then her promise not to die on the bard would be broken. A silent tear ran down her face at the thought, but she promised herself, for her sake, but most importantly Gabrielle's sake she would keep that promise, this time. She had felt a strange sense of peace, when they had ended up on the fringes of Heaven together after their deaths, and she hadn't been sure if it was numbness from what they'd been through or joy that they had ended up together, and when they had woken up together, having been brought back to life by Eli, she knew, in that one clarifying moment that she had done it. She had atoned, and Eli's God of Love wanted them together. She felt her heart open again to that joy and realised she was going to do better than promise to survive this war, she would believe with all of her heart and soul that she would survive this war, have the same faith in herself that Gabrielle had always had for her, because if she didn't survive this war then, Gabrielle would be left alone, and would never know the warriors true feelings for her.
"Lets get some sleep, we'll head out at first light" Xena informed the bard, smiling at the sleepy look on the bards face, knowing it echoed her own, she was tired and Gabrielle was right she needed to be fresh to face Athena, in the next few days when they arrived in Amphipolis.
Continued in Part 2
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