The Return of Unity Part 2

"I'm so glad you didn't have to die, okay maybe glad isn't a strong enough a word oomph" Gabrielle said as her words were cut off by a kiss from her warrior princess, a kiss that quickly consumed them both with a passion neither of them expected. When they finally broke off the kiss both of them were breathless, lightheaded and totally turned on.

"Gods what you can do to me with a kiss, and before you say it I know it's one of the many skills" Gabrielle quipped earning her a slight tickle from the warrior princess. Both of them were glad to be alive and both wanted to find some place to set up camp so they could continue trading passionate kisses.

"We should definitely find somewhere to set up camp, that kiss you gave me before with the water, all I could think about was getting back to you so I could kiss you again after I killed Yodoshi, then the sun was beginning to set, I couldn't believe I was going to die and never feel your lips on mine again, never hear your heart beating in time with mine, I have never felt so happy to be alive" Xena told Gabrielle kissing her again as tears welled in both of their eyes as they thought of what they almost lost.

Setting up camp took all of a quarter of a candlemark as neither was hungry after the day's events at least not for food. Both felt an irresistible need to connect with the other, to make love to the other and affirm that they really were alive. As their passion crested, they felt their souls join as one again and they both slept contentedly knowing that they were never going to be parted again.

Morning came too early for Xena, being an early riser by nature, she had started to wake just before dawn, she looked over at Gabrielle, as her awareness grew, and began to think of what she had been going to ask Gabrielle to do. Gods I was going to ask her to go on without me, could I if it were Gabrielle dying, no I couldn't have gone on, she means everything to me, she is my life, Xena thought sadly as she realised that she had once again been willing to put the greater good above Gabrielle. When am I going to learn that she is more important than the greater good, I know she would have told me she didn't care that I meant more to her than the greater good, but I would have still gone ahead and let the sun set, I would have left her alone, without me, how could I have been so selfish? Xena asked herself feeling anger at herself for what she would have put Gabrielle through.

"Hey good looking what you thinking about sweetheart you look so sad" Gabrielle asked not wanting to be awake but something had made her realise Xena was upset, and her heart had immediately woken her from sleep.

"Gabrielle I would have asked you to let me go, to let me stay dead, if Eli hadn't come along, you'd be alone and I would have left you, I can't believe I was going to put the greater good ahead of you again" Xena told Gabrielle tears springing to her eyes as she thought of what she had been going to ask Gabrielle.

"Xena stop it okay, you didn't, you're alive can't we just revel in that fact, instead of thinking of what might have happened, Xena I know you and if you could have stayed with me you would have, I love you and I would never have been alone, don't you remember your promise?" Gabrielle told Xena, hating what she could see her soul mate doing to herself, she loved Xena and knew that she would never stop loving her, that if Xena died, it would not be long before she would too, her heart would give out without the woman she loved.

"Gabrielle, can we go to the Amazons?" Xena asked knowing this would surprise her lover but she needed to make this up to Gabrielle, she wanted to spend a few moons just resting and loving her bard, she also wanted to do some research on Amazon joining ceremonies, it was time they made a commitment, a public commitment to each other. She had been wanting to ask Gabrielle to marry her for a while now, had been thinking of asking her when they had come back from dying on the crosses, but then Eve had come along and they'd gotten so involved with trying to protect Eve from the Gods, that she'd never been able to find the right time. It time I bit the bullet and made an honest woman of the woman I love she thought knowing that she couldn't wait any longer, if anything this experience with death had taught her that she couldn't take her existence on this earth for granted any longer, and she couldn't take their relationship for granted any longer either. Gabrielle deserves better than that, she deserves all of me, I gave her the final part of my knowledge before I died, I have to ask her, give myself to her she thought as the decision formed in her mind, and she resolved to ask Gabrielle before they reached the Amazons.

"You know I'd go anywhere with you Xena but why the Amazons?" Gabrielle asked wondering what was going on in her soul mate's beautiful head. Xena just didn't ask to go and visit the Amazons, she always has to be on her guard while she is there and this just didn't fit, what are you up to my love? Gabrielle thought curiously.

"We need some time for us, ever since Eve came along there hasn't been much time for just you and me, I want to spend some time just loving you, with the Amazons we won't have to worry about people attacking us all the time, we can just relax and spend sometime concentrating on us and our love" Xena told Gabrielle bringing her lips to meet her bards reveling in the sweet taste of her skin, feeling her heart confirm her decision to ask Gabrielle to marry her. She broke off the kiss to see tears in her bard's beautiful blue green eyes and smiled knowing she owed someone out there a big thank you for saving them and stopping her from having to go through staying dead. She was about to kiss Gabrielle again when she felt a presence with them and whirled around to see Akemi standing before them clothed in white silk.

"What do you want with us?" Gabrielle asked a little angrily this girl had lied to Xena about her needing to stay dead to save the souls of the 40,000 villagers from Huiguchi, an act that made Gabrielle very suspicious of the girl who had broken Xena's heart once.

"I came to apologise and explain, it's part of my redemption, I- please let me explain" Akemi asked her eyes watering with tears ready to fall. The look on Gabrielle's face was something she had expected but to see Xena look at her with disgust almost broke her resolve to tell them everything.

"You had better have a good explanation for almost breaking us apart" Xena told her coldly, almost all the feelings she had ever felt for this girl had left her when she had heard that Akemi had wanted her to stay dead for selfish reasons, reasons that weren't true.

" I can't say my explanation will be what you want to hear, and I want to say I am truly sorry, I never realised this would effect you both so badly" Akemi told them both, leaving Gabrielle and Xena feeling confused at her words.

" Abba, Eli's God gave me permission to tell you this, he thought it would help you understand just how special your bond is and how important it is that it not be broken, a lesson I wish I had learnt before" Akemi told them, thankful neither of them were jumping in to ask questions, both of them seemed content to listen which made things a little easier for Akemi.

" Xena you really did die, Abba turned back time and stopped you from making that mistake, stopped my selfishness from breaking your connection, when you died, Gabrielle fell apart, she was slowly dying inside, and you refused to cross over to Elysia until Gabrielle had died as well, neither of you realising that Xena's death was causing the death of your connection and possibly your souls, neither of you being able to survive without the other" Akemi told them tears coming to her eyes as she realised again how much pain she had caused them and thankful that neither of them remembered feeling that pain.

"The reason I told you, you had to stay dead Xena was because I was jealous, I loved you first and I couldn't, wouldn't believe that Gabrielle was your true soul mate, I thought if you died you would come to me and I could comfort you and then you would be mine, I was wrong Xena, when you died you didn't set foot inside any eternity, you forced yourself to stay between the land of the living and the dead, risking the destruction of your soul to be with Gabrielle, instead of getting what I wanted, I almost destroyed the souls of two of the most courageous women, I will ever know" Akemi told them seeing the tears in Gabrielle's eyes as she realised just how much Xena would have given up for her, to be with her, as she moved her body as close to Xena's as possible.

" Thank you Akemi for telling us this, I accept your apology, but as to whether I can forgive you, you almost destroyed not only my soul but the soul of the most beautiful compassionate woman I've had the pleasure of loving, I don't know if I can forgive that, what you did was selfish, just as what you asked me to do years ago was selfish, I could never love a person like that" Xena said quietly not looking at Akemi, but at her bard feeling joy that her bard was one of the most unselfish people she knew and thankful that their love hadn't perished along with their souls. Maybe now she knows just how far I will go to keep that promise, I could never leave her, Oh gods how I love her Xena thought tears coming to her eyes as she thought of the bard slowly dying inside from grief over losing Xena.

" I've often considered myself to be a very forgiving person, I even forgave Callisto after she took so much from me, but Akemi she never tried to destroy our love, she never came in between that, you forced Xena to make a decision she should never have had to think about making, you caused unnecessary pain for us and for yourself, let it go Akemi, whether we forgive you for what you did, doesn't matter, it's that you know what you did was wrong and are willing to atone for it" Gabrielle told Akemi, knowing she could never forgive someone for trying to take Xena from her, for deliberately trying to destroy the most important thing in their lives, their love.

"I couldn't have said that better myself" Eli said as he appeared to the trio. He looked at his two favourite women, taking in their closeness and smiled knowing everything was as it should be with the two.

"Eli what brings you back to us?" Xena asked curiously knowing the man she admired so much wouldn't be here without a reason.

"Two things actually, Xena, Gabrielle I know what Akemi did to you both was unforgivable but you both need to look inside your hearts and forgive her, whatever you decide, Akemi has atoned for her actions in trying to destroy your love, but I know the power of forgiveness and I know the power of love, those two combined are an unbreakable force for good" Eli told them letting his words wash over them trusting them both to do the right thing, but he was surprised to hear Xena speak up first.

"You are right Eli, if we could both learn to forgive Callisto how can I not forgive Akemi, thank you Eli once again you always seem to have a knack for showing up at the right time" Xena told him knowing he would know she was referring to the time she stood poised to kill Ares before she saw his face and finally saw the reason for his death and had let go of the pain and anger that had been welling up inside her at the death of a man she respected more than any other man.

" We forgive you Akemi, thank you for apologising to us and helping us see how important our love is" Gabrielle told Akemi, feeling very proud of her warrior princess, seeing her again prove just how much she had changed, forgiveness didn't come easily for Xena, it was something she had needed to learn to stop her need for vengeance at the pain people caused her, Gabrielle had been truly shocked when Xena had accepted Callisto's soul into her child's body, by the forgiveness she had seen in those beautiful blue eyes welling with tears. Thinking of that time reminded her of how beautiful Xena had looked heavily pregnant with Eve, and how much she would like to see her warrior pregnant again, except this time with their child.

"Thank you both of you, I know I don't deserve it but thank you all the same, may no one ever come in between your love again" Akemi said as she faded from their view, leaving Xena and Gabrielle alone with Eli. Curiosity got the better of Xena as she remembered Eli had said he was here for two things, and she decided she really needed to know what this other thing was.

"So Eli you told us you where here for two things, what's the other thing, come on spill" Xena asked smiling to show Eli she was happy he was here, as she wrapped an arm around her bard. Gabrielle leaned into the contact and both sat their waiting feeling a feeling of contentment wash over them.

"I came to tell you that Abba has decided to give you both a gift, he is truly sorry for not stepping in earlier with the whole Akemi thing, even though he didn't feel he could interfere" Eli explained nervously, not knowing how either of them were going to take his little announcement.

"We are just glad to be together, Abba, your God He didn't need to do anything for us" Xena asked wondering if she was going to like this gift, in the past both she and Gabrielle had been recipients of gifts from the Greek Gods and none of them had turned out to be exactly pleasant.

"Abba wants you to have children, just hear me out Xena okay" Eli said sternly as Xena tried to interrupt. He knew what was coming was going to further irritate Xena and shock the pants off them both, so he smiled and continued.

"He has decided to give you both the power to create children that are from both of you, when you are physically intimate, your essences will combine and if both of you desire it, one of you will conceive" Eli told them, seeing the shock on their faces, and then the look of joy on Gabrielle's face, he looked over at Xena to try to read her face but only saw a brief smile display on her face before her cool mask was back, in that moment he knew, that Xena knew there was more to this.

"Ah there is more to this, Abba asked me to decide which one of you would have the first baby, it will be soon, and I made a choice, it was so incredibly hard and one or both of you might be angry with me for making the choice but know that I thought long and hard on this, it was a very agonising decision for me, one of the hardest choices I've ever had to make, I choose Xena" Eli told them, looking anxiously at them both to see their reactions, and saw the shock and irritation he was expecting on Xena's face, but when he looked at Gabrielle all he saw was a brilliant smile. In that moment he knew he had made the right choice.

Continued in Part 3

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