Disclaimer: All characters are property of Renaissance Pictures MCA/Universal Pictures and Xena: Warrior Pictures. I am not receiving any financial gain from the production of this story. Any characters that are not a part of the television series are my original creations as well as the storyline.
Content Warning: This story depicts intimate relationships. Some of them involving two women. If this offends you or you are under 18 please scoot. There are lots of stories on the net that do not depict any intimacy between our two favorite girls. Perhaps one of these may be more to your liking.
Violence: Not this time.
Comments: This is the forth story in the series. You may want to read the first three to get a better idea of what’s happening in this one. As always I appreciate any comments you guys have. I take all your suggestions under careful consideration, so please keep them coming. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall had taken hold of the small village of Amphipolis. The days had grown cool and the nights had crossed over into cold. The town had done well this season. The stores were full to the brim. The winter, though harsh would not catch them hungry. There had been enough to fill the stores and sell at market. So, yes the citizens of Amphipolis were happy.
They were prosperous and safe as well. The latter being the benefit of much hard work and practice supervised by a certain Warrior Princess. The prosperity was added to by the fact that they had opened up two new trade routes due to the negotiating skills of a particularly persuasive bard.
After returning from the joining ceremony at the Amazons Xena and Gabrielle decided to settle down in earnest. There was no reason why they couldn’t travel and do what they were best at, but it was nice to have a place to go home to. Neither one had realized how important that was until they decided to settle down.
Since their return there had been lots to do. Cyrene was pleased that the pair had decided to settle in Amphipolis and was simply overjoyed when she learned her daughter had finally asked Gabrielle to marry her. She’d begun to wonder if Xena would ever get around to asking the girl. Xena could face down an entire army but in the face of a small blond bard from Potadeia, she could be a complete mush ball.
Cyrene chuckled to herself as she watched the sunrise out of the kitchen window. She stopped as she realized two usual morning faces were missing on this particular morning. She turned when she heard familiar footsteps approaching. The kitchen door opened to admit the tall figure of Xena. Not dressed in her usual leathers she wore a long sleeved tunic and leggings to help guard against the morning chill.
“Morning little one.” Said Cyrene with a smile.
“Morning mom. How are you feeling this morning?” asked Xena placing a kiss on her mother’s cheek.
“Just fine dear. Here have some breakfast.” Answered Cyrene handing a bowl of fresh oatmeal to Xena.
“Honey,” began Cyrene “I’ve been meaning to ask you…Is Mary feeling alright?”
Xena stopped eating for a moment and thought, “Um…as far as I know, yeah she’s fine. Why?”
“Oh, it’s nothing I was just wondering. She’s been late coming down to breakfast the last few days.”
Xena chuckled “Maybe she decided to sleep in. People do that from time to time mom.”
Cyrene swatted her daughter on the arm, “Don’t get smart with me young lady. I was only concerned, you know I like Mary. And yes I do happen to know people sleep in on occasion. But if you recall, a few weeks ago when you and Gabrielle were called away she stayed behind.”
Xena grew pensive for a moment. In the time since they’d met, Mary had traveled with them always. Truth be told she had missed the girl on their last trip, so had Gabrielle. They had both been surprised when Mary had told them that she wasn’t going. Stating she wanted to get some work done on the house.
“Na she’s fine mom. Probably been working herself a little too hard.”
They both looked up as the kitchen door opened. Both women smiled when they saw Gabrielle enter. “Morning mom.”
“Morning Dear.” Replied Cyrene handing Gabrielle a bowl.
“What’s up?” asked the bard taking a seat next to Xena.
“Mom thinks there’s something wrong with Mary ‘cause she’s been sleeping in the last couple of days.”
“Maybe she’s just tired.” Stated Gabrielle.
“That’s what I said. I think she’s been working too hard on the house.” Said Xena.
“Well if I were you two,” began Cyrene, “I would conserve my energy. You both have lots to do.”
They both stopped chewing and looked at each other then at Cyrene. “Don’t look at me that way. You both know perfectly well what I’m talking about. Gabrielle do you have that guest list for me like I asked? I need to get those invitations out right away.”
Gabrielle looked like she had just swallowed her tongue. “Mm Hm, just as I suspected. And you young lady.” She said turning to Xena, catching her in mid smirk. “Have you started procuring the items I asked you for?”
“Um no, not yet.” Answered Xena tentatively.
“And just how am I supposed to prepare a menu for your joining celebration? I strongly suggest you two get to work.”
“Yes mom.” Said both women in chorus.
Cyrene did her best not to laugh. Her daughters looked like they were five seasons old being scolded for the first time. Her thoughts were interrupted by the kitchen door opening.
“Morning all.” Said Mary a little sleepily.
A chorus of ‘good mornings’ greeted her then she took note of her companions’ expressions.
“What happened to you two?” she asked slightly amused.
When neither answered quickly Cyrene answered for them.
“Oh pay them no mind; they just received a tongue lashing for not doing what I asked.”
“Oh” replied Mary a little hesitantly.
“Which reminds me,” Continued Cyrene, “Did you get the things ordered that I asked you to?”
“Yup sure did. I even got a couple of volunteers to help with the set up and all.” Answered Mary.
“Ah you see! That’s what I like to see. You two could take a lesson from her.” Said Cyrene cheerfully. She patted Mary on the shoulder then left the three alone in the kitchen.
Mary watched her go then turned to her friends. “What?” She asked in response to the looks she was receiving from the both of them.
“She asked me to do something for her and I did. What did I do wrong?”
Xena just rolled her eyes and let out an audible groan. Gabrielle sighed and stood, “She asked us to do stuff too.”
“Uh we haven’t exactly gotten around to it.” Explained the bard.
“Oh…well what do you need done maybe I can help.” Asked Mary sympathetically.
“Oh no,” began Xena, “Thanks for the offer but I’d rather not have mom give me another lecture. Besides if you come down late for breakfast again she’s gonna blame me for working you too hard.”
Mary couldn’t help bat laugh, “Work me too hard? You don’t work me at all. What are you talking about?”
“Mom noticed you’ve been getting up late the last few days. She thought there was something wrong.” Supplemented Gabrielle.
“Oh, well yeah I guess I have been a little lazy the last few days. Been skipping my morning workouts. But I go through lazy phases sometimes, it’s no biggie really. I’m fine. So what do you guys have planned for today?” She asked casually trying to change the subject.
“Well I have a guest list to prepare.” Said Gabrielle.
“Yeah and I have traps to set.” Added Xena
“Ok, I have to meet Erramen. We’re almost done.”
“I’ll come around when I’m done with the traps and give you guys a hand.” Said Xena
“Great, see you guys later then.” Said Mary and took her leave.
Gabrielle stood and watched her friend leave. She grew pensive and turned to her soul mate. “Hey Xena?”
“Did you notice anything odd about Mary this morning?”
Xena thought for a minute biting her lip. “No, can’t say that I did. Why?”
“She didn’t have any breakfast.” Stated the bard.
Xena opened her mouth to say something then closed it; thought for a second then opened it again. “Maybe mom was right. She misses a meal about as often as you do.”
“Very funny,” replied the bard, “and if you weren’t right I’d be insulted.”
Mary waited until she reached the tree line before she slowed her pace. She leaned against an old tree and doubled over breathing hard. She went pale and the sweat began to form on her forehead. This had been the way she’d spent the last three mornings. It had taken all she had to stand there and chat with her friends like nothing was wrong.
“God I wish this bug or whatever it is would go away.”
She had been meaning to see the healer but she was stubborn and was sure it would go away in another day or two. If it didn’t, then she would go see the healer. She just didn’t want her friends to worry about her. And they would worry, knowing them the way she did. Not to mention Cyrene and Erramen would also worry.
After a few minutes the spasms subsided and she was able to stand again. She let out a deep breath and wiped her brow. Se walked slowly to where she and Erramen were building the house. He hadn’t arrived yet and it gave her time to survey their progress. It was a nice sized house with plenty of room and comfortable cozy rooms.
It had two bed rooms, though Mary didn’t really see the need for that, Xena and Erramen had both insisted they were necessary. The wash room had a nice setup in it where water could be heated for bathing in the same room. They worked out a system where the water could be drained from the tub by letting out a stopper and the water would flow out side instead of having to be thrown out by hand.
The kitchen was also very nice and Mary was sure Gabrielle would love it. Gabrielle was an awesome cook by Mary’s standards and couldn’t wait to see the bard’s face when she saw it. They only had to finish some work on the windows and they were pretty much done. Xena had made a few furnishings for the house and was working on several more.
She chuckled to herself, “They’re gonna be so surprised.”
“They better be.” Said a male voice from behind her that made her jump.
“Jesus, Erramen don’t do that!”
He smiled broadly, “I’m sorry, I thought you heard me. I was driving a cart for Zues’ sake.”
Mary turned to see the cart in question. What the hell is wrong with me? She sighed quietly and settled into the day’s work. She looked over at her friend and smiled to herself. She was glad that their friendship had survived the…intimate moment they had shared before she’d left for the Amazons with her companions.
They hadn’t talked about it yet and she knew they should, but she hadn’t gotten around to mentioning it yet. Everything seemed to be going well and she was afraid of upsetting that. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt him in some way.
Her thoughts halted suddenly. Her nape hairs stood on end and she looked around trying to find the cause. She cursed silently for not bringing any type of weapon with her.
Erramen saw the change in her, “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. Did you ever get the feeling you were being watched?” she answered quietly.
“Maybe its one of the locals.”
“No, it’s definitely not one of the locals.” She concluded.
She waited a few more minutes then shrugged. Probably jumpy cause I’m not feeling well. Se shrugged and went back to work.
Across the stream in the tree line sat a figure unseen by Mary and Erramen. Be wary my friends. The time is quickly approaching where things will become complicated and decisions will have to be made. Destiny’s will be changed and in turn fulfilled. A gauntlet has been dropped, a challenge issued. Though none of you is aware, one or all of you must make ready for the hard times ahead.
When Xena arrived at the work sight Mary and Erramen were sitting finishing off their lunch.
“How do you expect to finish this place if you’re sitting on the job!” She called out. Mary and Erramen looked over at Xena. “Hey Xena.” Called out Erramen good naturedly.
Mary just smiled and got to her feet. She walked over to Xena who was surveying the progress with a very pleased expression. “You were right…almost done here. It’s a really nice place you two should be proud of yourselves.” Said Xena smiling.
“Glad you like it. Hey did you get all your stuff done?” asked Mary.
“Yeah mom’s happy…or at least for now. I think Gabrielle is done with the guest list so she’ll be busy enough for the next couple of days. Mother is setting this up to be a big affair. I wish…” she left the sentence unfinished and let out a long breath.
Mary frowned a bit; she wondered what was bothering her stoic friend. “Hey what’s up? Your not getting cold feet already are you?” Asked Mary in a playful tone.
This got a smile from Xena, “No of course not. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with Gabrielle. So much has happened in the last few years. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the person I am with the person I was. I just don’t want there to be any regrets.”
“The person you are is the person you’ve always been. You just lost your way for a while.” Said Mary sympathetically.
“Yeah some detour.” Countered Xena with a sarcastic chuckle.
Mary thought for a moment choosing her words carefully. “Making up for your past is an admirable thing. Doing the wrong thing is easy it’s worth nothing. Doing the right thing, especially at the cost of a personal sacrifice is very difficult. One good deed no matter how small is worth so much. It doesn’t matter if you defeat an army to save a city, fix a door in your mom’s inn or help some poor lost soul find her place in this life. When the day is done and they’re adding up the scores the good will out weigh the bad.”
Xena was quiet for a long time before finally looking at Mary. “How can you be so sure?”
“Because I know what’s in your heart. You are a good person Xena no one could ever convince me of the contrary. Gabrielle knows that too. She would follow you to ends of the earth in this life and beyond. She wouldn’t do that if she didn’t believe in you.”
Xena opened her mouth to speak but Mary interrupted her, “And so would I.” There was a moment of silence between the two women.
Xena let a smile form on her lips, “You would wouldn’t you.”
“Bah, of course I would. Some one has to keep an eye on you guys.” Said Mary good naturedly and she gave Xena a broad smile.
They looked over to see Erramen approaching cautiously. They looked at each other and smirked. Xena put her hands on her hips and Mary folded her arms on her chest.
“Is it safe to come over now? You two looked like you were having a deep conversation.”
Mary couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yes its safe just having a little…girl talk.”
“Yeah, come on Erramen get your butt over here we’ve got work to do.” added Xena
He jogged over to join the two women and got back to work.
After a couple of hours they were really set into a groove. Everything was going smoothly and the trio was having a good time with friendly banter. Mary found herself up on the roof by the chimney with Xena inside at the other end and Erramen ready to hand something up to her. They were waiting on Xena’s instructions when Erramen noticed Gabrielle approaching. “Hey Gabrielle” he said cheerfully.
Mary had been bent over fixing her boot lace and stood quickly at the mention of the bard’s name. Too quickly apparently because she experienced sudden dizziness and became very disoriented. Aw shit. Was her last thought before everything went black.
Gabrielle had finally finished her guest list and dutifully gave it to Cyrene who went to work on the formal invitations. After a quick lunch she’d decided to go seek out her friends and see if she could be of any help. As she approached the sight she was surprised at how far along they had gotten in such a short time. She couldn’t wait until Xena started working on their house. The thought delighted her to no end.
She was disturbed from her thoughts when she heard her name called. She looked up to see a smiling Erramen and waved. Her attention was drawn to the roof by a sudden movement. She squinted to see some one swaying, then her eyes opened wide as she realized it was Mary. “Mary!” She shouted and broke into a dead run towards the house.
Erramen saw the bard’s distress and followed her gaze upward. “Oh Gods.” He whispered as he ran towards the ledge closest to where she stood.
Xena had her head stuck up the chimney and barely missed hitting it as she heard Gabrielle’s voice. She ran out of the house to see the bard running at her full speed. She ran around the side of the house in time to see Mary falling. She ran over to Erramen and between the two of them took the brunt of the fall. Mary effectively landed on top of them taking them to the ground with her.
After a dazed moment Xena and Erramen both sat up. Gabrielle scooted to a stop in front of the prone trio and fell to her knees. “Gods are you guys alright?”
They both sat up and Erramen cradled Mary’s head in his lap as Xena prepared to check her over. Gabrielle looked on anxiously and was relieved to see Mary’s eyes open.
“Ugh, what happened?” asked Mary still a little fuzzy.
“You fell off the roof.” Stated Xena.
“What happened?” asked Gabrielle
Mary shook her head to clear the cobwebs and sat up slowly.
“I’m not really sure. I was fixing my boot and stood up too fast I guess. Everything went spinning and I blacked out. Wait I fell off the roof?” She asked in shock and began touching her extremities amazed she hadn’t broken anything.
“We caught you.” Said Erramen.
“You caught me?” asked Mary a little skeptical looking up at Gabrielle.
“Let’s just say they broke your fall.” Answered the bard grinning.
Xena interrupted, “Are you alright now? Has this happened before?”
“No can’t say that it has, but then I haven’t spent much time on roofs.” Answered Mary.
“Do you have a problem with heights in general?” asked Erramen.
“If I did I wouldn’t have been the one up on the roof.” She answered simply. “I’m fine now though.”
“You sure?” asked Gabrielle
“Yeah I’m fine, I just wish I knew what was up with me lately.” She said as she dusted herself off.
Xena and Gabrielle exchanged looks. “What do you mean?” asked Gabrielle
“Huh, oh nothing, just have a little bug or something, its nothing.” Replied Mary a little too quickly.
“Well I think we can call it a day here. Why don’t we call it an early day?” Said Xena casually.
The idea appealed to everyone and they headed back towards town.
That evening at dinner it was all Mary could do to keep her eyes open while the bard went through a series of stories for an enthusiastic crowd. The dining area was full and in truth the Inn had been enjoying a surge in business. Gabrielle’s stories were worth the price of a meal and then some.
She loved the sound of Gabrielle’s voice and her storytelling style was, in her opinion, exceptional. She drew you in and held your attention for the duration. The images she created were so vivid. Who needs cable? She smiled to herself earning her a raised eyebrow from her stoic companion.
Xena looked at Mary knowingly. As much as she tried to appear to the contrary Xena knew that she herself was the president of the Gabrielle the Bard Fan Club. She loved to sit and listen to her bard, but more than that she loved to watch the crowd when Gabrielle wove her tales. She loved the range of emotions that Gabrielle’s stories could invoke in others. It would have been a shame to let such a gift go to waste.
She turned to Mary and smirked as she saw the girl had leaned her head back against the wall and dozed off. Gabrielle made her way to the table in a very animated state. Xena held up a hand and motioned towards Mary. Gabrielle furrowed her brow and leaned towards her partner.
“Now I know there has to be something wrong. She needs to see the healer.” Said Gabrielle a little concerned.
An idea was slowly forming in the back of Xena’s mind but she kept it to herself for the time being and simply nodded assent with Gabrielle’s opinion. She extended a hand and gently shook her friend awake.
Mary was startled then looked at her friends and felt a blush start at the base of her neck. Shit “Damn, sorry about that I guess I’m a little tired. I’d better get going I want to be up early tomorrow. You guys gonna hang out here for a while?”
“For a bit.” Answered Xena casually.
“Ok, I guess I’ll see you guys in the morning then. G’night.” Finished Mary standing from the table.
Xena and Gabrielle watched as Mary went upstairs. She did look tired, more so than usual and her step lacked a certain spring that it usually had. They each wondered silently what the cause could be. They also wondered how they would be able to get her to go to the healer. One thing they both knew about their friend was her aversion to healers.
The next morning found Mary sleeping late once again. She opened her eyes reluctantly to the far off sound of some one calling her name. The call became clearer as her mind neared consciousness. She was surprised to see Xena and Gabrielle at her bedside.
She sat up suddenly, “What’s wrong?” she asked concerned.
Xena held out a hand to calm her friend, “Relax, its ok nothing’s wrong.”
“Do you know what time it is?” asked Gabrielle
Mary looked from one to the other a little puzzled. She looked towards the window. It was a bright sunny day and she could tell the sun was high. She looked back towards her friends.
“It’s almost noon.” Said the bard.
“What? Damn.” Said Mary in disbelief flopping back down on the bed.
Bard and warrior looked at one another. Xena was about to speak when she was interrupted by Mary’s sudden movement. She sprang out of bed and ran towards the basin on the table. They stood quietly and waited sympathetically until she was done. Mary wiped the sweat off her brow with a piece of linen Xena handed her and went to sit on the bed.
Xena approached Mary, “How long has this been going on?” She asked quietly.
Mary let out a long breath, “About a week, uh…a quarter moon more or less.”
“Have you been getting sick everyday?” she continued.
“Yeah, pretty much.” Answered Mary.
“Why didn’t you tell us? Or at least go see the healer.” Asked the bard.
“You know I hate healers, and it’s just a bug or something it’ll get better.” Answered Mary.
“Oh it’ll get better, but its gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.” Said Xena.
Mary and Gabrielle both looked at Xena puzzled.
“Oh so you mean there’s a cure?” Asked Mary a little sarcastically.
“Oh there’s a cure, it just takes a while.” Continued Xena.
“What is it?” asked Gabrielle.
Xena bit her lip, “Well…basically…well ok, birth.”
Mary and Gabrielle were both confused, “Birth?” They asked in unison.
“Uh yeah.” Said Xena hesitantly. “I think you might be pregnant.”
Mary’s eyes opened wide and Gabrielle’s eyebrows shot straight into her hairline. “Are you nuts?! There’s no way I can be pregnant!”
“Are you sure?” Asked Xena.
“Of course I’m…” she stopped suddenly remembering something. “Oh no!” she groaned and put her head in her hands.
Gabrielle was lost, “Wait, I’m lost. When…how…who…” She closed her mouth suddenly as a memory hit her.
Xena rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips, “Are we all on the same parchment now?”
“No, no, no, this is not happening. You have to be wrong. I can’t be pregnant. Xena you don’t understand it was…I mean we weren’t supposed to…it was an…”
“Oops.” Supplied the bard.
“Fatigue, getting sick, dizziness…all symptoms. When was the last time you cycled?” ask Xena.
“Ugh…” groaned Mary putting her head in her hands again.
“What am I gonna do? What do I tell Lilith? Or Erramen for that matter. Oh God this is so bad.” Said Mary on the verge of tears.
Gabrielle sat on the bed, “Hey, we’ll figure it all out don’t worry.” Said Gabrielle as she placed a comforting hand on Mary’s shoulder.
“She’s right.” Added Xena “It’ll work out somehow.”
Gabrielle smiled, “Hey, I always wanted to be an aunt.”
“An aunt huh? How about a God Mother?” She asked the bard quietly.
Gabrielle was speechless. She looked at Xena then back to Mary. “Gods…well…I”
“Look, I’m scared to death. I have no idea how to deal or what to do about any f this. But one thing’s for sure, if I’m pregnant there’s no one else I’d want for God Parents. I don’t have any family here. So would you guys do that for me?”
“On one condition.” Said Xena
Mary looked up at Xena and waited for her to continue.
“I don’t ever want to hear you say you have no family.” She finished with a smile.
Gabrielle smiled too and leaned over to hug Mary, “She’s right you know. We’re your family. And just like any other family you’re stuck with us.” She said chuckling.
The following two weeks were spent finishing up the house. Xena and Gabrielle promised Mary they would not mention anything to Erramen about her being in the “family way”. She needed some time to figure out what she was going to do or say to both him and Lilith. In private however the couple was secretly very happy for their friend and found it very easy to entertain the thought a baby arriving.
Mary on the other hand was having a world of trouble adjusting to the thought. This possibility had never in a million years occurred to her. But after Xena’s initial diagnosis she did indeed take a visit to healer who in fact confirmed that Xena had been right. She had been secretly hoping it was the plague but no, she was indeed pregnant.
Preparations for the joining were proceeding according to Cyrene’s careful schedule. With in the next two weeks the first of the guests would probably begin to arrive. It was certain to be a big event. As the time neared Gabrielle began to become more and more jittery. A point that Mary confronted the Bard with one afternoon.
They’d finished with lunch and Xena was off to do some drills with the militia. Mary decided now would be as good a time as any.
“Hey you wanna take a walk?” asked Mary casually.
“Sure” replied the bard.
They walked for a while in silence. Gabrielle was more than unusually quiet. Mary stopped walking and watched as the bard continued not noticing. Finally she looked over and realizing she was alone, looked around and spied Mary with her hands on her hips.
“What’s up?” asked Mary concerned.
Gabrielle was quiet for a long time. So long in fact that Mary thought she wasn’t going to answer. Finally the bard let out a long breath and walked back to her friend. They took a seat on the grass by the edge of the stream.
“Ok I’ve had something on my mind lately.” She began.
“Well I knew that. What’s up? I’ve been worried about you.”
“I know, I’m sorry, so has Xena. It’s just…I’m…oh I don’t know.”
Mary looked at her friend as she struggled with whatever it was she was trying to say. She opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by the bard.
“It’s my parents.” She said finally.
“Its very complicated.” Continued the bard.
“Ok, why not take it one thing at a time?” said Mary trying to reassure her friend.
“One thing at a time. Ok…I guess the biggest thing would be, they don’t like Xena. I mean, its not just dislike, they hate her. At least my father does, not sure about mother. When I left, I just took off no word to anyone, except my sister. And that was only because she happened to wake up as I was leaving.” She let out a long breath then continued.
“I’ve been home a couple of times since Xena and I started traveling together. The first time was bad because they thought I was home for good. They were so surprised when I told them I was leaving. Gods father was furious. I thought he was going to…anyway, he was less than thrilled. The next time I visited I was with Xena. They didn’t take to her presence as enthusiastically as one would hope.”
Mary sat quietly and listened. She watched as Gabrielle stood up and brushed off her hands. She could tell by the look on her face that she was about to jump into full bard mode.
It had been a rough couple of moths for the bard and warrior. They had left the Amazons after helping them to rebuild several sections of the village after the destruction caused by Valesca. Gabrielle was still suffering from the effects of the entire ordeal. Her nightmares had lessened slightly but she still awoke far too often in a cold sweat with a look in her eyes that broke Xena’s heart every time.
She would hold and console her as best she could. But there was nothing she could do or say to chase away the fear that consumed her bard in the deep recesses of sleep that she had no way of reaching. She could protect Gabrielle from any danger that presented itself except the assault put on her by her own mind.
Seeing Xena upon waking always filled the young girl with sense of profound relief. To be able to see and touch the warrior and dispel the fear and overwhelming sense of loss cause by her dreams was the best treatment.
It had been two days since they’d left the amazons they had no particular destination in mind and were headed in the general direction of Amphipolis. Xena would never admit it but the bard knew the entire experience had taken a lot out of her and a few days rest and Cyrene’s cooking would do her…them, a world of good.
She had been meaning to have a serious talk with Xena. She’d realized just how fleeting life could be. She’d had so many regrets when Xena died. The biggest of which was never having told her how she truly felt. She’d known for some time that she’d fallen in love with Xena. At first she simply shrugged it off as hero worship. Which at first, was probably true. But as time went by, the dynamics of their relationship had changed. It was so subtle at first but became much more pronounced after their experience in Thessaly.
Something had happened to Xena reflected the bard. Xena had always been very guarded and stoic, allowing Gabrielle very subtle glimpses of her inner self. But after Thessaly she began to see a different side to her friend. How could she help but fall in love with her? It was funny really. She never dreamed of telling her for two reasons.
Firstly, she never imagined that Xena would ever be interested in her that way. After all she was just a simple village girl with no worldly experience or any other type of experience for that matter.
And secondly, their friendship was too important to her to risk. If keeping their friendship whole meant she would never be able to reveal her true feelings then she would be content to travel at Xena’s side in friendship as long as the fates permitted.
But Xena’s death had changed all that. She never imagined that she would feel so lost. She had been left with an emptiness that was indescribable. Her heart, her very soul had felt like it had been torn in two. It was the worst thing she had ever felt. She never wanted to feel that again. Then there was the matter of a kiss…yes she would have to talk to Xena about that too.
She had been on the verge of asking her about it on several occasions but it never seemed to be the right time. Now that they were away from the hustle and bustle of the Amazons she could pick just the right moment to broach the subject.
That night they made camp in a nice secluded glade. Xena had decided to make camp early and they still had a few hours of daylight to enjoy. There was a small lake in the glade and the afternoon was warm. “Nice day for a swim.” Thought the bard to herself. She looked over at Xena who was busy removing Argo’s saddle. “Its warm out today, I think I’ll go for a swim.” Said the bard testing the warrior’s mood.
Xena smiled to herself, “Good idea, you go on I’ll join you after I brush Argo.”
“Ok.” Replied Gabrielle taking her linen and heading towards the lake.
When she reached the edge of the lake she stood there for a few moments taking in the beauty of the place. She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths filling her lungs to capacity each time. She opened her eyes and smiled. Places like this always seemed to energize her and Xena seemed to know so many of them. She often wondered if it was luck or intuition that led Xena to pick a spot like this just when she seemed to need it the most. Either way it didn’t matter her timing was impeccable as always.
Xena hummed softly as she brushed Argo. Xena never did anything halfway and brushing Argo was no different. She was being her usual thorough self though she wanted more than anything to be done with the chore and get to the lake and her bard. Her bard. When exactly had she started thinking of the young girl that way she didn’t know. But she had decided it was time for her to accept certain truths. First of all Gabrielle was not a little girl she was a young woman, a beautiful young woman. Secondly, she couldn’t deny her feelings for her any longer.
She had denied her feelings for so long, always convinced that a relationship of that kind with Gabrielle would only mean trouble. No good could come of it and experience had taught her that even if Gabrielle did care for her it would only end up badly. Besides, Gabrielle deserved better than to be saddled with a broken down ex-warlord with no future and a price on her head. Gabrielle would settle down someday with a gentle soul and make a home and have children. She could sit by the fire and recount the tales of the adventures they had shared and live to a ripe old age.
A brilliant plan except for one thing, she’d kissed Gabrielle. She couldn’t stand not to. She’d heard Gabrielle’s thoughts. The things she’d denied for so long, things that she never dared hope for were there before her. Then when she took over Gabrielle’s body for those few minutes she felt the ache her death had caused and the sense of completeness as her soul touched the bard’s. She believed in making her own destiny but she also believed that sometimes there were things that fell beyond the scope of what could be explained.
Gabrielle hadn’t mentioned anything but there had been a few occasions that she was sure the bard had something on her mind. Putting it off wouldn’t solve anything. They’d have to talk about it eventually. She patted Argo affectionately and put her brush away.
“Well girl, what do you think? You think Gabrielle would go for the idea?” She asked the horse a little nervously.
Argo bent her head towards the warrior and gave her a nudge. Xena smiled, “Ok, ok I get the idea.” She said taking a deep breath and heading towards the lake.
She arrived in time to catch sight of Gabrielle sunning herself on a large rock. Gods she’s beautiful. She thought to herself. She had seen those last portions of baby fat melt off replaced by hard muscle. Xena smiled to herself as she remembered the awkward yet determined young girl that had followed her to Amphipolis. Look at her now. She was a strong, beautiful, intelligent young woman. More than capable of holding her own in a fight with her staff as well her tongue. The bard had a bit of a temper and her comments were biting at times. More than one Amazon had experienced this first hand not to mention Xena herself. It always amazed her how a few words from Gabrielle could cut her so deeply.
She sighed inaudibly and approached the rock slowly. Her heart beat quickened as Gabrielle opened her eyes and looked her way. She sat up slightly and smiled as she watched Xena’s approach. Her breath caught as Xena stopped, returned the smile and began to remove her leathers. She leaned back on her elbows and watched the tall woman’s smooth movements. She felt her mouth go dry and licked her lips slowly as Xena bent to grab the bottom of her shift. Her breathing quickened and she could feel her heartbeat begin to race.
When Xena removed her shift she shook her head a bit to get her hair out of her eyes and caught the bard’s gaze with her own. The warrior was lost, and she knew it. Without hesitating she leaned down and placed a kiss on the bard’s lips. It was long and sweet and both women felt the heaviness of the fear they’d carried fade away with each passing moment. Xena broke the kiss and straightened. She walked to the edge of the lake giving a Gabrielle an inviting look over her shoulder before jumping in the water.
Gabrielle watched as Xena walked to the waters edge. She felt the butterflies in her stomach as the warrior looked back at her. When Xena disappeared into the water she remained seated where she was for a moment. She waited for her breathing and heartbeat to return to a more normal rhythm to no avail. Finally she stood and went to the edge of the bank. She scanned the surface quickly for signs of Xena without much success. Then she saw the slightest of ripples on the surface and she dove for the spot.
She hit the water smoothly and surfaced quickly looking for her companion. Where did she go? She asked herself as she looked around causiously. She squealed as the water erupted next to her revealing a smiling Warrior Princess. “Gods Xena, you scared the life out of me!” Said Gabrielle giving Xena a playful push.
“Oh I don’t know about that. You seem pretty full of life to me.” Replied Xena reaching for the bard’s waist.
Gabrielle giggled and let herself be pulled into an embrace by the taller woman. Her arms instinctively went around Xena’s neck and the giggles stopped. She spent a moment trying to think of something to say but her mind and heart were racing too fast. Finally she looked up and realized there was nothing she could say that would fully grasp the essence of the moment they were sharing.
Xena looked down at a loss as to what to do next. She felt exhilarated when the bard wound her arms around her neck but she still hadn’t looked up and she was beginning to wonder if perhaps she hadn’t overstepped the bounds of their friendship or maybe read the girls feeling wrong. She was about to release her when she looked up. In that moment it all became so clear, so…easy. “Gabrielle…” She began tentatively.
Gabrielle placed a finger on the warrior’s lips. “Shhhh…” Said the bard before moving her hand to the back of Xena’s neck and pulling her in for a kiss. Gabrielle felt Xena’s tongue ever so lightly on her lips and it sent a shiver up her spine. She parted them and let the tip of her tongue make light contact with Xena’s. The sensation was like a fire being ingnited deep with in her and she deepened the kiss. Xena closed what little distance was left between them and she savored the feel of Gabrielle’s body against her own. She reached down to give the blond’s rear end a squeeze in an attempt to bring her even closer.
Gabrielle felt her stomach muscles tighten as her body made contact with the warrior’s and she broke the kiss, her breath ragged she whispered in Xena’s ear. “Xena please…” She licked the sensitive earlobe and ran her hand down Xena’s arm grasping her hand. Xena looked on in silence. She was caught in the bard’s spell and she had no desire to break it. She followed the younger woman as she was led out of the water and to the rock Gabrielle had been sunning herself on earlier. Gabrielle turned and ran a finger from the hollow of Xena’s neck straight down to her belly button. Xena’s breath caught and her eyes closed involuntarily. Gabrielle leaned forward and placed a kiss on Xena’s breast bone then looked up.
“I don’t want to wait any longer.” Said Gabrielle her voice deep and full of desire.
Xena’s skin tingled with the bard’s touch as Gabrielle ran her hands across the warrior’s shoulders. She leaned her head back as she felt the hands run down her arms then come to rest on her hips. Her heart beat quickened and so did her breathing as her bard traced soft kisses across her chest. Finally Gabrielle looked up and lost herself in Xena’s gaze as she looked down and pulled the bard closer to her.
Xena ran her hands up the bard’s back and she felt Gabrielle shiver in her arms. She had dreamed and longed for this moment for a very long time. To finally be able to show her bard the extent of her feelings for her made the experience all the more intense. She took a deep breath as she threw caution to the wind and did something she swore she would never do again. She followed her heart. She reached down and kissed the smaller woman. As the kiss deepened their passions rose to a fever pitch. Xena reached down and scooped up the bard laying her down gently on the rock.
Xena positioned her body over Gabrielle’s and lowered her head to the Bard’s neck nibbling and kissing her way to an extremely sensitive earlobe. Tickling Gabrielle’s ear with warm breath she whispered, “I love you Gabrielle.”
“I love you too Xena.” Replied Gabrielle just as she began to lose herself in the sensations Xena’s touches were beginning to produce. She could feel Xena’s body moving against her own and Xena’s hands seemed to be impossibly everywhere at once. Her intimate experiences to this point paled in comparison to what she was feeling. The combination of emotional and physical sensations was almost too much to bear but it was a wave she was determined to ride out. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the touches, tastes and whispers of what seemed to be an insatiable need.
Hours later found them both lying on their rock in each other’s arms. Gabrielle slept with her head resting comfortably in the hollow of Xena’s shoulder and her arm draped across the taller woman’s stomach. Xena lay quietly, awake listening to the sounds of the forest, running her fingers through red hair. She took a deep breath and smiled to herself as she felt Gabrielle tighten her hold on her. Well Warrior Princess, now that you’ve got her what are you gonna do with her? Her smile broadend. Hold on to her for the rest of your life you fool. She closed her eyes and joined her bard in sleep.
Continued in part 2
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