M'lila's Destiny

by My OSage

Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess do not belong to me. I'm not sure I really believe in spirits from the other side. But if they're anything like the ones in this story, I might be willing to reconsider…….

Spoilers? I've borrowed some of the series characters for this story. Celesta comes from Season 1, "Death in Chains" and M'lila comes from Season 2, "Destiny." There are also slight references to Lao Ma, from Season 3, "The Debt and The Debt II" and to the ending of Season 4, "A Family Affair."

WARNING! This story contains, explicit, consensual sex between women, sometimes. And it contains romantic involvement between women, always. Because that's the way I like it. If this kind of thing is not to your liking, then go away. It's a big Internet out there.

Gabrielle stood at the edge of the small lake and watched the sun dropping towards distant mountains. The sky was becoming a beautiful cornucopia of oranges, lavenders, pinks and blues. The bard's sensitivity to such splendor was part of why her stories were so engaging. She put much of what she saw, heard and felt into her tales. She closed her eyes for a moment to savor the warmth of the setting sun.

Xena looked up from the wood she'd gathered for their evening fire. She could see Gabrielle at the water's edge facing the lake. Her stillness caught the warrior's attention. She left the firesite and walked up quietly behind her companion.

Gabrielle could sense Xena's presence, even though she hadn't heard her approach. Her connection to the warrior had developed over the years into something she could not explain. She leaned back slightly and sure enough, she could feel a leather clad torso behind her.

"It's so lovely here…..see the sky changing?" whispered Gabrielle.

Xena drew the bard closely into a hug by wrapping her arms around her waist. She propped her chin on top of Gabrielle's head and said in an equally quiet voice. "Thank you."

"For what?" asked Gabrielle.

Xena looked across the sky as the colors darkened. "For always bringing the joys of this life to my attention."

Gabrielle smiled and covered Xena's arms with her own. "Oh Xena," she sighed. "You've shown me so much of the world, I hardly think a sunset or two compares."

Xena turned Gabrielle slightly in her arms so that she could look down into the bard's face. "Gabrielle, I show you a world that you can easily see for yourself anytime you want. But the things you show me, are…..are things I'm unable or unwilling to see on my own. And that's what makes them so important to me."

Gabrielle was slightly taken aback at the honest, heartfelt admission. The warrior's eyes, so blue, so sincere, gazed into Gabrielle's with obvious affection. The bard had not planned on reaching up and softly caressing the warrior's smooth cheek with the back of her fingers. But that's exactly what she did. And Xena hadn't planned on closing her eyes and leaning into the gentle stroking. But that is exactly what she did.

As Gabrielle withdrew her hand, Xena slowly opened her eyes. The setting sun was at a perfect angle to reflect into the warrior's incredible lapis eyes. It made them shine as if they were lit by a bright fire from within. The bard was mesmerized for a moment. Without fully realizing what she was doing, she slid her hand through Xena's hair to the back of her neck and easily pulled the warrior towards her.

Xena too was mesmerized by the moment. She didn't know whether it was by her fondness for the young woman in her arms, or for the joy the bard had brought into the her life. But when she felt the slight persuasion of Gabrielle's hand behind her head, she lowered her face until her lips were mere inches from Gabrielle's upturned mouth.

Gabrielle did not think as she closed her eyes. She could feel Xena's breath against her face. She knew that Xena was close enough to kiss her. The bard gave one last, gentle tug on the warrior's neck until their lips touched.

The kiss was as soft as the slight breeze that had come up from across the lake. It was sweet, tender and unhurried. Both women felt the connection flow between them. They didn't move or alter their positions. They merely stood very still, Xena with her arms around Gabrielle's waist, Gabrielle half turned with her hand buried in Xena's hair, and kissed.

After several minutes, Xena broke the connection and released Gabrielle. She looked somewhat startled to have found herself embracing Gabrielle, kissing her. She turned and walked back to the campsite.

Gabrielle watched the warrior walk away. Her body suddenly missed Xena's warmth, her arms, her height, her soft voice. Her lips could still feel Xena's imprint almost as if she were still being kissed. With thoughts of what had just happened between them, she followed the warrior.

It had been one full moon since they'd been rejoined. The experience of losing each other had been horrible. Xena's search for Gabrielle in the Land of the Amazon Dead, the killing Hope and The Destroyer had left each of them shattered. Xena had recovered from her physical injuries fairly quickly. While Gabrielle, not blessed with Xena's amazing recuperative powers, had taken longer to regain both her physical and emotional strength. They had recuperated in Poteidaia, then Amphipolis for half a moon before coming to this beautiful spot to rest before moving on. While facing what had seemed like certain death for them both, Gabrielle and Xena's relationship had undergone some distinct changes. They'd always been close. But more recent events had forced them to confront some of the deep and irrepressible feelings they had for each other. Gabrielle was not going to leave the feelings of their past experiences and of those by the lake unexplored.

Xena had finished setting up the wood and was starting the fire when she heard Gabrielle approach. She continued to work and did not look up.

"What just happened back there?" Gabrielle asked after watching the warrior for a moment.

"I don't know."

"It was nice."

Xena had to smile at that. She looked up at Gabrielle and said, "Yes….. it was."

"Can we do it again?" inquired the bard.


Xena's abrupt answer was unexpected.

"Why not?" asked the bard gently.

"It's complicated, Gabrielle," stated the warrior as their fire roared to life. "It's going to get cold tonight. We'll need more wood." She stood and left the campsite.

Gabrielle knew when Xena had closed the door on a discussion. She let it go for now, but knew that she wanted to understand the situation and explore the possibilities of their new closeness. And when the determined bard set her mind to something, then Xena had truly met her match.

The evening passed quietly. Gabrielle wrote in her scrolls. Xena tended to her armor and made what repairs were needed to their gear. When the bard grew tired she crawled under their furs. Xena built up the fire, then joined the bard under their furs and to sleep.

Sometime during the night, Xena awoke. She scanned the area for anything that might have roused her from her dreams. Nothing seemed amiss. Then she noticed that Gabrielle had rolled a short distance away from her. While still under the sleeping furs, Gabrielle was shivering from the cold night's air. Xena gathered the bard up into her arms and pulled her close to her body. She smiled at the way the small amazon immediately snuggle up to the warm torso. Without waking, she wrapped her arms around the warrior and cradled her head onto Xena's shoulder. Xena covered the bard's legs with one of her own, tucked the furs around the sleeping bard, and rubbed her back.

'When did I begin to care for her so?' Xena wondered. 'How did I grow to love this woman so much?' Xena had known from the moment she'd first laid eyes on the young woman that she was special. There she was, Xena remembered, standing up against a band of murderous slavers. It was immediately apparent that the small blonde would fight the marauders. She had spirit and courage, but no weapons with which to back up her bravery. If Xena hadn't been there…… the mere thought of what might have been Gabrielle's fate made her heart stop momentarily.

And then the stubborn young woman, a girl, really, had insisted on following her savior. Xena had to smile again at Gabrielle's cleverness and persistence. The warrior had finally given in and let the girl stay. Xena knew now that it was the best decision she'd ever made in her life.

Xena continued to rub Gabrielle's back and to hold her close even though the sleeping woman had warmed up long ago. Memories of their last three years together flashed in her mind. Some of these visions were joyous, some extremely painful. They'd been willing to give up their lives for each other and had lashed out mercilessly. They had made terrible mistakes and superhuman sacrifices. And after it was all behind them, they'd emerged with a connection, a bond and a love that was stronger than anything in Xena's experience.

She was certain that she loved Gabrielle more than anyone she'd ever known or would ever know. And what gave her life meaning, was believing that Gabrielle returned that love just as intensely. Xena smiled contentedly as she drifted back to sleep. Her hands still unconsciously stroking her cuddling companion.

When Gabrielle opened her eyes, the morning sun was warming their campsite. Water was heating over a roaring fire and fish wrapped in leaves were steaming near the embers. The bard stretched and looked around for her partner. She finally spotted her emerging nude from the lake. Gabrielle sat up and stared at the vision that was Xena. In the morning sun, Xena was magnificent. Her dark, wet hair was slicked back, and her body was like a bronzed goddess. All muscle and strength, every stride radiated power. Yet she also carried herself with dignity and grace. Gabrielle had never known anyone, man or woman, who had such a stunning physique and impressive presence.

Xena approached the camp well aware that Gabrielle had been staring at her since she'd stepped out of the lake. She couldn't help but grin as the amazon suddenly realized she'd been caught admiring the gorgeous, naked warrior.

Gabrielle blushed a bright red as she grasped the reason for Xena's amused expression. 'What in the world's wrong with me?' Gabrielle asked herself, somewhat flustered. It's not like she'd never seen the warrior nude before. But sometimes Xena just took her breath away. Like now.

"Do you like what you see?" asked the still smiling warrior as she knelt down on the furs in front of the embarrassed bard.

Gabrielle wanted to tease her back or at least make a witty reply. But only one thought came to her mind.

"You know I do."

Xena sat back, her eyes never leaving the bard's. "I was just playing with you, Gabrielle." Her smile softened.

"That's what I was hoping you'd do," the amazon answered. And before even Xena could react, Gabrielle closed the short distance between them and kissed the warrior.

Xena was shocked, apprehensive, and aroused all at once. She wanted to stop Gabrielle from doing something she might later regret, but her body wouldn't listen to her mind's commands. She allowed Gabrielle to continue to kiss her. And she found herself not only returning the bard's ardor, but slowly lowering her back down onto the furs.

Gabrielle was experiencing a rush of emotions as she found herself laying down with the warrior. She wrapped her arms around Xena, stroking the smoothness of her back and hips. The kisses that had started out sweet and gentle like the night before were beginning to cause sensations throughout her body. There was a tightness beginning in her groin and her breasts were becoming sensitive. Even though she'd been married for one night, she hadn't felt this kind of stimulation. The bard reminded herself that this was Xena she was embracing, her companion and partner. 'Well, I wanted to understand and explore,' she remembered telling herself.

"She feels so good,' mused the warrior as Gabrielle kissed and stroked her. Xena would never have expected to find herself in back to back compromising positions with her lovely friend. Her aroused response however, didn't surprise her. If her emotions were left unchecked, Xena would make love with the bard in a heartbeat. She'd come to acknowledge her desires for Gabrielle, but kept them tightly controlled. The warrior needed to know that what was happening between them was what both women wanted. So as before, she brought the sensuous behavior to an end.

As Xena backed away slightly, Gabrielle was captivated by the desire radiating from Xena's face. If she'd ever had doubts about Xena wanting her, they were dismissed by the passion evident in Xena's eyes.

"You're so beautiful," the bard said softly.

The warrior flashed an appreciative smile at the complement. But before she could respond, they both noticed the water on the fire boiling and their breakfast starting to burn. Xena quickly donned a shift, rescued the fish and removed the hot water from the fire. She then turned back to Gabrielle and said, "We need to talk."

They ate their breakfast, cleaned up and dressed. Both women were lost in their own thoughts. It was late morning when they walked out toward the lake and sat down on the bank at the water's edge.

"I never expected to be in this position, Gabrielle," started the warrior quietly.

"And what position is that, Xena?"

"In the position of having to discuss with you how far our relationship, our partnership will go." Xena couldn't believe she was speaking to Gabrielle this way.

Gabrielle thought for a moment. A physical expression of her love for Xena was definitely new to her. But only because it hadn't occurred to her that she might be allowed such an expression. She'd been experiencing a deep, serious, encompassing desire for a more intimate closeness to the warrior for quite some time. She didn't fully understand what that meant for their future. But whenever she envisioned herself loving or being loved by someone, she could think of no one but Xena.

The bard slowly tried to express her thoughts. "I have loved you for so long, Xena." She looked out over the peaceful lake. "There's no one else with whom I want to share my life with other than you. Is that so difficult to understand?"

As usual, Xena was slightly amazed at how honest Gabrielle always tried to be with her. The bard would share her most private or intimate thoughts and experiences if Xena asked her. The warrior knew she was not as candid. She tried to keep some of her more unsuitable past experiences or feelings hidden from the sensitive bard when she could.

"No, Gabrielle, it isn't."

Xena didn't know what else she could say to the lovely woman sitting next to her.

"I know you love me, Xena." The bard spoke before the warrior had a chance to be evasive. "I feel it in everything you've ever done for me, in how we live together, even in the way you say my name."

The warrior had to smile at that. She knew very well what Gabrielle meant. Xena could speak the bard's name like a caress. It was one of the few times that she allowed her sensuous voice to betray her true feelings.

"You're right, Gabrielle, I do love you." Xena admitted softly. "Every good thing I've done since my warlord days is because of you. You've become my savior, my conscience……my world."

Gabrielle was astonished at the quiet confession. She loved this woman so…. And now Xena was telling her that she was loved in return, above all others.


There it was…..her name. She heard it like a gentle wind, felt it warm her as if she were sitting by a crackling fire. She turned and fell into the crystal blue eyes that were watching her.

"When you say my name that way, it's almost as if you're touching me." Gabrielle answered, searching the lovely face for permission to go on. "Can't we do something about that?"

Xena smiled at the bard's bravery. How like Gabrielle to pursue what she wanted in just the right way. She should've known that from the moment they'd kissed. Gabrielle had wanted more and had patiently maneuvered Xena into a position where she could acknowledge her feelings. The warrior needn't have worried about her resourceful partner. The bard was usually able to realize what she wanted long before Xena could.

"You know, I think we can."

Xena moved herself over and sat behind the bard. She molded herself to the bard's back and let her long legs rest on either side of Gabrielle's. The bard leaned her body and head back into the leather clad chest. She pulled Xena's arms around her waist and secured them there with her own. She could feel the warrior rest her head down and feel her soft breathing near her ear. She felt a sensation of peace and security invade her body. Xena's strength protected her, yet her tenderness completely disarmed the sensitive bard. Gabrielle knew she would follow this amazing woman to the ends of the earth, for the rest of her life. No one would ever mean as much to her as the flawed ex-warlord who'd stolen her heart.

Xena could feel the bard relax in her embrace. The small amazon trusted her so completely, believed in her so absolutely. The warrior felt as if there was nothing she couldn't accomplish with Gabrielle by her side. The bard had indeed become her way to atone for her past and had become her hope for redemption. Before they met, she hadn't cared if she spent eternity in Tartarus or not. But now she wanted to live both her present life and her afterlife by the lovely bard's side.

The specter that watched the couple from down the lake's shoreline sighed. M'lila didn't know why the Warrior Princess, who's life she'd saved so long ago, had been entrusted into her care. She didn't understand why she was still on this mission instead of walking the Elysian Fields. But she'd been protecting Xena for many years. Not so much as to interfere in her life and the choices she made. But more to watch over and guide her when she could. And she would continue to do so until there came a time for her to be released from this duty.

Gabrielle could feel Xena's lips softly tracing her ear. She wasn't really surprised to feel her body react to the subtle teasing. There was a warmth rising inside her. Xena's touch, her nearness seem to awaken a dormant passion in the bard. Gabrielle's body began to move and her thoughts begin to race.

Xena loved enfolding the bard in her arms. Her mouth lightly explored along the delicate earlobe. For Xena, touching the bard was more a release than a tension. Holding Gabrielle was like being freed from emotional binds. She felt like she could soar.

M'lila watched the interaction between the two companions. Yes, she'd appeared before Xena when she was hanging on the cross in limbo. Somehow, she'd managed to make the defeated warrior see that her life was not over, her destiny not yet fulfilled. Now she wondered if it was really her heartfelt speech that had sent Xena back to the land of the living. Or could it have been the pleading voice of one very lost, grief-stricken amazon queen?

When she had first stolen aboard the pirate-warrior's ship, it was to seek escape. But she'd been instantly drawn to the beautiful captain. She soon realized that in her attempt to escape, she'd merely been captured in an entirely different way. They had spent many days and nights together as M'lila taught Xena all she knew of healing and fighting. She also taught the willing warlord the secret pleasures of their bodies, making Xena feel passions that she had never imagined. The last thing the stowaway had expected was to fall in love with the warlord. If only she could've grasped the difficult language that Xena spoke. Then maybe she could have communicated her feelings, could have warned Xena about the dangerous Roman. But words like, "treachery" and "slaughter" had never been spoken during their passionate time together. True, she had saved the betrayed beauty from crucifixion. And then without the slightest hesitation, she'd given up her life to protect the wounded warrior from Caesar's assassins. Maybe that was why she was still with Xena now.

M'lila had followed the progress of the raging warlord after her sacrifice. She'd seen Xena tear through the countryside destroying everything in her path. Urged on by Ares, her rage and her pain. She had used men and women ruthlessly, seemingly beyond anyone's reach, even M'lila's.

But then she'd encountered Lao Ma, the magical, monarch from the Land of Chin. Lao Ma had tempered the warrior's hate and fury. Xena had responded to the lovely ruler's teachings and philosophy. The warrior had loved Lao Ma as a student might love a cherished mentor. And although the calm was temporary, the lessons had taken root in the warlord's heart.

Never in all the world could M'lila have imagined where the warrior would discover true redemption. When Xena had saved a group of villagers from the warlord, Draco, she had unknowingly found her savior. Maybe M'lila should've known from the look in their eyes when they first saw each other during that brief struggle. Or maybe she should've taken notice of the connection they formed at the tomb of Lyceus. A thousand times over the last three years, she should have realized that the two women were becoming

so much more than close companions. They'd each endured near death experiences, self sacrifices, devastating tragedies. And yet here they were, so close to consummating a relationship more powerful than anything M'lila had ever seen.

"You've done well, M'lila. Do you want her to see you?"

M'lila turned towards the voice and was stunned to see the beauty that was Death addressing her.

Celesta smiled at the speechless apparition. She was without her candle that burned for eternity and allowed the sister of Hades to do her most necessary job.

"Why are you here now? You didn't take me to Hades when I died?" M'lila asked.

Celesta sighed. "I did try to take you to him. But he had another destiny in mind for you. There was nothing I could do. Although I have watched over you, just as you have watched over Xena."

"But why?" M'lila did not understand.

"He thought that your spiritual presence might temper the evil force that you unwitting delivered into Ares's hands."

"I unwittingly delivered?" M'lila was becoming more flustered. But she couldn't tell whether it was because of the mystery of the message or the loveliness of the messenger.

"I know it's hard to understand, M'lila." Celesta began. "It wasn't your fault. Cortez planted the seed of destruction into Xena's heart for Ares when he attacked Amphipolis. But she would never have turned into the killing machine that she became if you hadn't sacrificed you own life to protect her." Celesta shook her head sadly. "That one selfless, courageous act released a rage and pain that would burn in Xena for years."

M'lila stumbled back slightly from the weight of what Celesta was telling her. How could this be true? She hadn't thought of the consequences of saving Xena's life. She'd just known that it wasn't Xena's destiny to die at the hands of Caesar's soldiers that night in the healers hut. She hadn't considered her own destiny. Only that she couldn't allow them to kill the woman she had grown to love so dearly.

Celesta reached out and steadied M'lila with a hand on her shoulder. When M'lila instinctively cringed, Celesta smiled sadly at the typical reaction to her touch.

"Don't be afraid of me, M'lila," she soothed. "I have no power over you now."

"Are you here to take me to the Elysian Fields?"

Instead of answering, Celesta looked up the bank at the two women who still embraced each other, talking softly.

"Look at her, M'lila," she said gently. "Don't you think that she has finally found her destiny?"

M'lila turned towards the couple. The warrior, her warrior, was so completely captivated by the small amazon. She could see her whispering into the blonde's ear and caressing her arms. M'lila felt an acute stab of jealousy that she'd never experienced before in all the years she'd been a spectator of Xena's life. The sharpness of the pain surprised her. At the same time she realized that if she felt this way, then Xena was truly, finally, slipping away from her.

"Do you want her to see you?" Celesta repeated the question she had first asked M'lila.

"I have to let her go now, don't I? You're here because she doesn't need me anymore. Now that she's finally found the soul that completes her." M'lila's voice was filled with sadness.

Celesta had known this would be hurtful for the sensitive, protective spirit. She was well acquainted with the pain that comes with letting go. It was what she helped people do countless times everyday. Rarely was her purpose seen as a gift.

"What if she doesn't remember me…..after all these years?"

Celesta smiled that comforting smile the was uniquely hers. "Remember you? M'lila. She has carried your memory in her soul since the day you died. Your death broke her heart. Now she's finally found someone to mend it. Don't you want to say good-bye?"

Gabrielle was the first to notice the woman standing a short distance down the lake's shoreline. Xena was preoccupied with discovering how soft Gabrielle's neck was under her silky hair.

"Xena, we're not alone."

Xena looked up and followed Gabrielle's line of vision. As her eyes settled on the petite figure of the woman, she froze. She felt as if her heart had momentarily stopped beating.

"M'lila….." The warrior could not believe her eyes as she released the bard and scrambled to her feet.

"M'lila?" Gabrielle stammered as she stood to follow Xena. Yet something made her remain where she was. "But Xena……she's……dead."

Xena had already taken two strides towards the woman before Gabrielle's words penetrated her elation. She slowed for a moment and concentrated on the woman before her.

"M'lila? Is that really you?" The warrior was afraid to hope for the reality.

"Yes, Xena. It's really me." M'lila replied softly.

With that admission, Xena reached her in an instant. She immediately engulfed the smaller woman in her arms, holding the seemingly fragile figure tightly against her own body. Joy coursed through Xena like a raging fire. For a moment, all she knew was that she had M'lila in her arms again. She broke the embrace and took M'lila's face in her hands. She searched the gentle, brown eyes, saw the same lovely features, the beautiful, golden complexion, and the soft, tempting lips that she had loved so many years ago. Without thinking, she kissed M'lila with a passion very similar to what they had created when they'd first met.

Gabrielle was stunned at the display before her. She knew who M'lila was. Or at least she thought she had. Obviously there'd been more to the relationship than she had realized. As she stood and watched Xena passionately kiss this stranger, Gabrielle could feel her heart start to break.

M'lila was also shocked by the reception she received. She'd been a part of the shadows of Xena's life for so long, that she had forgotten the pleasure and abandon that came with the physical Xena. Her quiet spirit disintegrated under the onslaught of Xena's touch. The warrior's insistent kiss rekindled the burning flame that had been the desire they'd felt for each other. But deep in the recesses of M'lila's mind, alarms were going off. Why would Celesta allow her to remember the fervor of their relationship, feel the craving again, if she would not be allowed to keep it?

Xena released M'lila from the enthusiastic embrace. But she kept her arm firmly around her as if she might slip away again. She turned to Gabrielle.

"Gabrielle, look! It's M'lila!

M'lila had also watched Gabrielle for the last several years as her life had intertwined with Xena's. She knew of the bard's talent, her loving nature, her status as Queen of the Amazons, her place in Xena's heart. But as she looked over into those sad, green eyes, she saw something she'd never seen before. There was a pain and hopelessness showing through that Gabrielle was unaware she was revealing, that she had not yet thought to hide.

"Yes, Xena. I can see that." Gabrielle replied quietly. "But I'm a little confused as to how it's possible."

"It doesn't matter how it happened." Xena was still ecstatically centered on M'lila's return. "Just that she's here." She turned to M'lila and said. "You're really here…… Come back to our campsite and tell me everything."

As the three women sat around the campfire, M'lila related her story as much as she knew it. She finished with the visit from Celesta she'd experienced only a short time ago.

"I don't think I can stay, Xena." M'lila said softly at the end of her tale. "I think Celesta only meant for you to see me so that I could say good-bye."

"But why?" Xena was aggravated by the idea of having her past love taken away from her again. "Where is Celesta? I'll talk to her."

"She was still at the lake when I appeared." M'lila sounded apprehensive.

"I'll be back." Xena said as she stood and strode purposely toward the lake to find Celesta.

M'lila found herself alone with Gabrielle who'd been uncharacteristically quiet since M'lila had materialized. The spirit could sense the pain and uncertainty in Gabrielle. As much as she wanted to return to her love, she knew that she would always want what was best for Xena. And this extraordinary woman sitting across the fire from her was the best woman for Xena now.

"She loved you….." Gabrielle whispered almost to herself as she stared into the fire. "I didn't know……and after all these years…… she still loves you."

"Gabrielle, look at me." The bard's eyes left the fire and met M'lila's. "My appearance today has caught Xena off guard. You should know how rarely that happens to her. I know that the timing seems bad. But Celesta did bring me here to let her go. I can't tell you that I don't want to stay. Because I do. I have loved Xena for a long time. And as long as she was still searching for the right path, I was allowed to stay and watch over her. But now she has found what she's been looking for all her life. She has found her way, her light, her destiny. She's found the other half of her soul. I may be the love of her past, Gabrielle. But you are the love of her future."

Watching the lovely woman sitting across from her, the bard could understand what Xena had seen in M'lila. Her beauty was only made more apparent by the innate decency of her soul. Had this woman lived, Gabrielle had no doubt that she would have rescued Xena from a life of violence and destruction. She felt a connection with this spirit from Xena's past. They shared an unspoken agreement of where each woman fit into the life of the warrior they both loved so fiercely.

When Xena reached the lake, she could barely contain her agitation. "Celesta! Where are you?"

"I'm here, Xena." The dark haired beauty materialized.

"Why can't she stay?" Xena beseeched the spirit. "She's done everything you and Hades wanted her to do. She's here now. Why can't she stay with me?"

"It's not her destiny to watch over you anymore, Xena."

"You owe me, Celesta." Xena felt an uncharacteristic anxiety. She'd never thought of the deeds she did for the good of others as a debt owed her. And she was reluctant to try and make Celesta believe that she did.

"I know that, Xena." The spirit answered quietly. "If not for you, I would be gone and there would be no death in the mortal world. No relief from old age and pain, no rest in the Elysian Fields. But mine is a solitary and lonely existence. I'm not sure if I should thank you for your brave rescue or curse you."

"I'm sorry, Celesta. I shouldn't have said that. But this is M'lila you brought back to me. She was my love, my life." Xena could feel her case faltering.

"And what about Gabrielle?"

At the mention of Gabrielle's name, Xena was taken aback. She hadn't thought of Gabrielle. In her excitement at seeing M'lila again, she'd forgotten about her bard. She had pushed the love of her present life into the background. She was suddenly appalled at her behavior. Her mind and heart condemning her treatment of her beloved companion. 'How could I have done that to her? What must she be thinking?'

"Go back and say good bye, Xena." said Hades's sister. "Sharing her afterlife with you is no longer M'lila's destiny."

"Than what is her destiny?" Xena had to know that M'lila would finally find peace.

"If she chooses to, her destiny is to share eternity with me."

Xena just stared at the spirit. If she allowed herself to think objectively, she would agree that M'lila could indeed fill the void that obviously plagued Death. M'lila's gentle spirit would dispel the loneliness and alienation that accompanied Celesta's existence.

"Don't dwell on the past, Xena. Appreciate the love you had. But invest your heart in the love of the future. Gabrielle is your future."

And then she was gone.

When Xena returned to the campsite, M'lila stood, Gabrielle did not.

"Did you find her?" M'lila asked.

"Yes." Xena replied, resigned to what she had to do. "She's waiting for you."

M'lila approached Xena and embraced her. Xena wrapped her arms tightly around the gentle spirit.

"I have always wanted for your happiness, Xena. I often worried that you'd never find peace. But now I can see that you have everything you'll ever need. And I'm released from my guardianship over your destiny." She turned slightly in Xena's arms, fixing a gentle gaze on Gabrielle for a moment. "I believe your destiny is now in very capable hands." To the warrior she whispered. "I'm a memory, Xena. Gabrielle is the other half of your soul."

M'lila released Xena and looked up into the deep blue eyes she had loved so much. "Good bye, Xena. I regret nothing that's happen to me. I'm honored that you loved me and that I was allowed to watch over you for so long. I will always love you."

As M'lila started to walk away, she heard Xena say. "You'll always be a part of my heart, M'lila……. thank you for loving me."

The gentle spirit smiled and walked away from them towards her new destiny.

Xena turned back to Gabrielle who had said nothing since she'd returned. The warrior crossed over to the bard and sat down close to her.

"I got carried away with the moment, Gabrielle. I'm sorry I hurt you."

Gabrielle thought for a moment. She wanted to choose her words carefully.

"I know all this was unexpected, Xena. I never knew that you and M'lila loved each other so. And for a moment I felt lost, not a part of who you were, not a part of who you are. But now I realize that she appeared today because the fates, the gods, whoever, feel that you're safe now. They must know that my love will protect you from any evil we encounter."

She looked up into the beautiful face that was watching her so intently. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. She reached out and stroked Xena's cheek for a moment. Then she pulled the warrior towards her and kissed her softly.

Xena lost herself in the tender kiss. Her mind couldn't comprehend how she had come to be loved by two such exceptional women in her life. But she would spend the rest of her existence trying to live up to the memory of one and trying to be worthy of the other.

Gabrielle continued the gentle assault on Xena's lips. The warrior didn't move, but actively participated in the soft connection. Gabrielle smoothed her hands down Xena's neck and arms. She temporarily broke off the sensuous kissing.

"I want these off," declared Gabrielle, indicating the leathers and armor that covered the luscious body that she wanted to expose.

Xena unlaced and removed her boots. Gabrielle watched as she dropped each boot to the ground. Then she took Xena's face in her hands again.

"I can do the rest." And the delicate kissing began again.

Gabrielle had been helping Xena get into and out of her protective clothing for several years. She could've done it with her eyes closed. And she could easily do it with her eyes closed and her lips locked in a loving embrace with Xena's.

She released the buckles on the breast plates and Xena's armor fell away. Then the bard reached around the warrior and loosened the ties to her leathers. She brought her hands back up to Xena's shoulders and softly pulled the straps down. Still kissing the warrior, she ran her hands over the back, shoulders, and chest she had bared.

Xena was drowning in the emotions brought on by Gabrielle's ardent explorations. But she felt no need to evaluate or control what was happening between them. She trusted Gabrielle explicitly. And she would do anything the beautiful bard wanted.

The confident bard slipped her hands underneath the leather covering Xena's breasts and pulled the garment down below her waist. The amazon began kissing Xena more insistently as she brought her hands up to explore the warrior's chest.

Gabrielle filled her hands with the abundant breasts. They felt heavy in her palms as she caressed and kneaded them. She brushed her thumbs lightly over the responsive nipples, before she captured them between her fingers. She once again broke apart from Xena, but remained holding the beautiful mounds.

"Lay down, Xena." Gabrielle commanded softly.

The warrior moved to lay down on the furs of their bedding. As she did so, Gabrielle pulled down on her leathers and breeches so that as she reclined on her back, she was completely divested of her clothing. Gabrielle was immediately at her side, kissing her again. Her hands continued to investigate the now nude body of the exquisite warrior.

Gabrielle lips released the warrior and she looked down into the deepest blue eyes she'd ever seen. "Let me love you, Xena."

Xena's body was already screaming out permission for the bard to provide a sexual release. But Xena knew that it was essential for Gabrielle to hear the words. "Please, Gabrielle, I need you."

Hearing that powerful admission, Gabrielle traveled down to Xena's breast. She ensnared the closest one and brought the nipple to her mouth. She kissed it gently before using her lips to nuzzle the hardened bud. She flicked her tongue out and let it dance over the erect nipple, before she pulled it completely into her mouth. The bard took her time until both of the responsive mounds were sated.

Xena was melting as Gabrielle's mouth controlled her body. The bard moved lower until her hands and body reached Xena's hips. Then she unexpectedly draped herself across Xena's hips. From this prospective, Xena was shielded from anything Gabrielle did to her below her waist. The amazon's lovely torso was resting across her hips, supported by her left elbow on one side and her left hip on the other. Xena's legs were being discreetly spread by the bard's insistent hands. She was trapped and it felt surprisingly erotic.

Gabrielle gently stroked the curling hair between her warrior's legs. She was excited to explore this last unknown region of the woman she loved. Parting the hair with her fingers, she examined the smooth skin that covered Xena's sexual node. She manipulated the flexible shaft and noticed the movement of Xena's hips. The bard carefully pulled back the tender skin that hid the center of Xena's excitement. The small, round node seemed too delicate to be responsible for such explosive passions. She bent down and kissed it softly.

Xena hips jerked up involuntarily as she felt the soft lips nestling between her legs. She tried to anchor herself by grasping the bard's shoulder and hip. Not being able to see what the bard was doing was driving her to distraction. Her excitement was escalating with Gabrielle's every move.

Gabrielle slid her fingers down to Xena's core. The warrior's entrance was dripping with her lubricating essence. The bard dipped her finger inside and then brought the digit to her mouth. She sucked in the ambrosia that was proof of her lover's sexual readiness. It was slightly salty and hinted at the flavor of musk. The taste of Xena stirred her passions. She had never wanted the warrior more than she did right now. She scooped up more of Xena's essence and spread it over her clitoral shaft. Then she used the flat surface of her fingers to make small circles over the nerve laden area, making the whole erogenous zone very wet and slippery.

The warrior's body was on fire. Her hips had created a rhythm to match the delicious circles Gabrielle was making over her sex. She knew she was moaning, that her hands were alternately clutching at the bedding and Gabrielle's back. But all of these things were out of her control. Gabrielle was taking her where she so desperately needed to go.

Gabrielle loved the way Xena felt, the way she moved. She had started to make smaller circles over the smooth skin. She brushed her fingers across Xena's pleasure with a concentrated effort. She strummed the shaft like she would a lyre. When Xena responded intensely to the motion, she picked up the pace.

The vibration of Gabrielle's fingers over her sex increased her craving. It felt so good that Xena couldn't stop the moans, the whimpers, the calling out of Gabrielle's name and the invoking of various gods. An orgasm was beginning in her core and rapidly threatening to overtake her. She was going to soar.

The sounds Xena was making behind her were like music to Gabrielle's ears. She loved what she was creating in the warrior's body underneath her. It was slightly similar to the feeling she got when she told one of her stories to an enraptured audience. She held them in a grip of suspense, controlled what they felt until the moment she chose to release them. And that moment was rapidly approaching for her lover. Xena's hips bucked and her hands grabbed tightly to whatever she could reach on Gabrielle's body. The bard held on as best she could until she heard the warrior scream out her name with extreme intensity. Then she probed Xena's opening with her fingers and plunged into the depths of the climaxing warrior. The smooth inner walls expanded to accept her. She repeated the exquisite withdrawal and penetration over and over until the warrior collapsed back onto the furs, completely spent. She left her fingers inside the warrior, experiencing that most private moment of the aftershock spasms. She rested her head down onto the warrior's thigh and enjoyed the sporadic sucking of her fingers as Xena's body calmed.

M'lila watched the women from a distance and smiled. Xena would be well taken care of, no doubt. She knew that Gabrielle had been in complete control of the sexual interaction between the women. The ideas, desires, the love had been totally Gabrielle's. But the hints, the subtle suggestions in the back of the bard's mind had been hers. She alone knew what Xena was capable of receiving from a lover and she didn't want the warrior to withhold her potential from the bard. M'lila wanted to make sure that Gabrielle got a chance to show Xena that she could make her happy. M'lila smiled at the couple one last time. Then she turned and went back to Celesta.

Xena was deliriously content. Her beautiful lover was resting her head on one thigh while her hand softly caressed the other. She couldn't imagine how she'd ever had any doubts about sharing her love with this magnificent woman.

"Gabrielle……..come 'ere."

The bard heard that seductive tone again as the warrior softly called to her. She lifted her head from the supple thigh and looked over her shoulder at Xena. Smiling at the dark haired beauty, she turned and climbed up the long, delectable body. She stayed on top of Xena, using her strong legs to close and capture Xena's. She rested her elbows on either side of Xena's head and gazed down at her attractive lover.

"I love you so, Gabrielle." Xena acknowledged. "I don't have the words to tell you how much you mean to me."

Gabrielle kissed her softly, smiling at the heartfelt admission.

"Then show me."

A surge of energy infused the sated warrior at the subtle request. She reached up and slid her fingers into Gabrielle's hair, pulling her down into a fervent kiss. Xena knew how to be a tender and gentle lover. She knew that Gabrielle would learn that in time as well. But she was beginning to feel an urgency to take what Gabrielle was offering her, what she had so long been waiting for. She wanted to be in control of the bard's pleasure.

Xena rotated their positions so that the bard was underneath her, still kissing her thoroughly. Her hands searched down the blonde's body, over her smooth skin and rough clothing. Xena could feel the toned flesh react to her explorations. She untied the laces to the bard's halter top and spread the garment open. She stopped kissing Gabrielle with the intention of immediately engulfing the closest nipple into her mouth. But as she looked at the lovely breasts, she came to an abrupt halt.

"What's wrong?" asked the bard uncertainly.

Xena tore her eyes away from the bard's breasts and looked up into her lover's face.

"You are so beautiful," she replied knowing the words were inadequate. "You simply take my breath away."

Gabrielle blushed a flattering shade of pink. This woman, this warrior held her heart in battle-scarred hands. The bard knew at that moment that she would give Xena anything that was in her power to give.

The warrior noticed the blush on the silky skin. It broke her out of her reverie and she bent over Gabrielle's chest, covering the closest breast with her mouth. Once the soft nipple was engulfed, Xena licked it vigorously inside her mouth. Gabrielle couldn't help but arch towards the stimulating manipulations. When Xena began to suck the hardened point, the bard was unable to suppress the moans of delight.

The warrior continued pleasuring the bard's breasts. Alternating between the two perfect globes, she satisfied her carving while driving the bard crazy. So occupied with the activity at her breasts, the bard didn't notice when the warrior's hand slipped down to the belt of her skirt. The belt was released in an instant and the warrior continued down the bard's thighs. She then slipped up under Gabrielle's skirt to discover the treasure there.

When Xena's hand cupped her breeches, Gabrielle gasped. She knew she was wet, she knew she was so ready for Xena's touch. The teasing was exquisite, so enjoyable, but she craved the warrior's power. She desperately wanted….. release.

Xena sensed she'd pushed the bard as far as was comfortable for her. She sat up and efficiently removed Gabrielle's boots. She turned and unwrapped the belt, then the skirt that blocked her view. As she pulled the bard's top and skirt out from under her, she knelt between the bard's legs. Her hands glided up the bard's sides and down her flat abdomen. She slipped her fingers under the breeches and pulled them slowly down the bard's hips. Gabrielle couldn't take her eyes off Xena as the warrior lifted her and removed the last obstacle keeping them from completing this much anticipated union.

Xena discarded the soaked breeches and gazed at the sexual core of her new lover. She'd never seen Gabrielle this way. She was again stunned by her beauty and sensuality. The bard's center was dripping with readiness. Her hips were already moving as Xena observed her. "By the gods, Gabrielle, you're so……" The warrior was at a loss for words as she brought her fingers to the soaked opening and entered.

Gabrielle finally felt the long fingers of that powerful hand claim her. She couldn't help but surge toward the invasion she'd longed to feel. "Oh Xena, I've been waiting for……this………please……..now……"

The warrior had not intended to just penetrate the bard's depths with no warning. She'd wanted to prepare her. But Gabrielle's sex attracted her like a powerful magnet. She had to be inside her. She had to be with her that way.

Xena continued the delicious stroking inside Gabrielle. But she positioned herself so that she could set the bard on fire with her tongue. She used her other hand to spread the smooth folds of flesh hiding the bard's sex. With a need matching the amazon's, she covered the exposed area with her mouth. Her tongue slipped out and licked the sensitive area with purpose.

To Gabrielle, the sensations were incredible. Xena's fingers probing her inner walls made her relinquish all control over the reactions of her body. She tried to concentrate on the ardent tongue lashing against her sensitive clitoris.

But everything Xena did made her heart race and her blood feel molten in her veins. Surely she couldn't hold out much longer. Making love with this incredible woman was going to launch her up into the stars.

Xena felt Gabrielle's orgasm begin deep within her body. The smooth walls grabbed her fingers and she accommodated by diving in as deeply as Gabrielle could handle. The warrior was stroking the walls high inside when the bard climaxed to the swirling tongue at her sex and the pushing sensation deep within her. The amazon cried out at the apex of her release. The name she called out long and loud was the sweetest sound Xena had ever heard.

Gabrielle couldn't believe the power, the sensations of being loved by her warrior. The orgasm was so intense, the release so complete. She was overwhelmed by Xena loving her so passionately. As she calmed, she felt Xena cover her body with the warmth of her own. The warrior gathered the spent amazon into her arms. And that's were Gabrielle would've been happy to stay for the rest of her life.

With Gabrielle now resting contentedly in her arms, Xena felt an unfamiliar feeling invade her heart. Eventually she recognized the feeling as a sense of peace, a feeling of completeness. This woman within her embrace was truly the answer to whatever she may have been searching for all her life. In Gabrielle's arms, by her side, sharing her life, was where Xena would always want to be.

"Hey….." Xena murmured softly to the resting bard. "You alright?"

Gabrielle lifted her head enough to look into the bottomless blue eyes of her lover.

"Oh yeah, I'm fine……but you're incredible, Xena," admitted the bard.

Xena smiled one of her special smiles that Gabrielle loved so much.

"I'm nothing without you, Gabrielle," she stated sincerely. "You make me feel whole."

"And you make me feel hungry." Gabrielle replied with a smile of her own.

Xena laughed and released the bard. She reached for her clothes intent on feeding her ravenous lover. 'Thank the gods,' she thought to herself, 'some things never change.'

Celesta stood by the lake's edge looking out over the calm water. She waited patiently for the spirit's return. If there was one thing that the shadow of Death had plenty of, it was patience. When she felt M'lila's presence, she turned to face her.

"Are you ready to go, M'lila?" she asked gently.

"Yes, Celesta, I'm ready." M'lila reached out and took Celesta's hand in hers. "Let's see what my destiny has in store for me now."


Please direct comments to MyOSage@aol.com.

Back To Main Page