Sappho's Inspiration

by My OSage

Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess do not belong to me. But since there wasn't an episode on Sappho written for the show, I thought I'd better do it. However, if the XWP staff had wanted to use the premise of my story as a guide, I wouldn't have object.

Spoilers? This story is set after the Indian arc episodes in Season 4.

While I don't dwell on any one episode, it may be helpful to know what has transpired in the show up to the point when they return to Greece.

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 gigantic Internet out there.

Xena looked out over the water as the wind whipped through her hair. She was fast approaching the isle of Lesbos. She'd been a solitary figure for the short voyage. The other women on the boat had taken immediate notice of the gorgeous warrior. But her remoteness had kept them at bay. Xena thought back to how she'd come to be arriving here…..

After returning from their travels to India, Gabrielle had decided to visit her family in Poteidaia. She wanted to spend some time alone to decide what direction her life should take. Xena felt at a loss. She had also done a fair amount of soul searching after their experiences in the exotic foreign land. Yet leaving Gabrielle had never seriously crossed her mind. She felt an uneasiness about the bard's apparent need to separate. But if that was what Gabrielle wanted, then there was nothing Xena could do to prevent it.

With a month of forced solitude ahead of her, Xena had also gone home. Her mother was pleased to have her daughter visit. But it worried her more than she let on that Gabrielle had not come too. The warrior had only been in Amphipolis for eight days, and she already felt restless and lonely. She was outside stacking the firewood she'd cut for her mother when she sensed a godlike presence. She stopped her task, put her hands on her hips and waited.

"I still don't know how you do that." Aphrodite complained as her form materialized. "I don't suppose you're ever gonna tell me, are ya?"

"Not in this lifetime." Xena studied the beautiful love goddess for a moment. Folding her arms across her chest, she asked. "Ok, Aphrodite. What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into this time?"

The Goddess of Love tried to looked offended at the question. "Now why would you say something like that?"

Xena had to hide a smile. "Because the only time I ever see you is when you have problem."

"That's not true!…….entirely." The indignant look from the goddess was more believable than the offended expression had been.

"It is."


Xena was actively smiling now. Disagreeing with Aphrodite was like trying to win an argument with a two year old. "Yes, it is. Now what do you want?"

"Ok," conceded the lovely deity. "So there might be a teeny problem you could help me with."

Xena merely cocked an eyebrow and waited for Aphrodite to get to the point.

"See, my best muse has kinda hit the wall."

"What?" Xena looked at Aphrodite as if she'd suddenly started speaking in

a foreign tongue.

"Sappho! You know. Sappho, the best lyricist of love in all of Greece?"

Xena knew very well who Sappho was. Gabrielle had constantly regaled her with the genius of the poet. It had always been a dream of the bard's to someday visit the Isle of Lesbos and perhaps have an audience with the great writer. "I know who she is, Aphrodite. Is she in trouble?"

"Trouble? That's lame…..more like total catastrophe." Aphrodite was starting to work herself up for a big finish. "She's completely blocked, couldn't put together a complete sentence if her life depended on it. It's such a bummer."

'Wait, Aphrodite, you mean to tell me that Sappho has writer's block?" When the goddess nodded sadly, Xena asked. "Why in the world would you come to me? Just what do you expect me to do?"

"Hey, com' on, Warrior Babe." Aphrodite purred. "You know you got the goods. I'm just asking you to go see her. Ya know, bat those baby blues at her, strike a pose. I don't know, anything to get her creative juices flowing again."

The warrior just stared at the goddess, unable to believe what she was hearing. "Wait a minute. You think that I can be Sappho's inspiration to start writing again?" When the goddess seemed pleased that Xena understood her request, the warrior interjected. "Why don't you go yourself? You're supposed to be the ultimate fantasy."

"Hey!" Now the goddess truly sounded insulted. "This isn't about me, Blue Eyes. Sappho's different." Aphrodite turned reflective for a moment. "She doesn't only write about me, she writes about what I do. Her lyrics actually move people to express and act on their feelings." The goddess looked back at Xena. "Sappho's special."

"And you think if I visit her, that will motivate her to start writing again."

Aphrodite studied Xena briefly. "You're the best," she stated simply.

Xena considered Aphrodite's plea. She knew that many found her attractive. Intimidating, yet still attractive. It'd never concerned her much. She used her body as a tool, a weapon. What affect her looks might have on others just wasn't important to her. Then Gabrielle suddenly came to mind. 'Now there's a lovely, inspiring woman,' thought Xena to herself. The bard would certainly arouse Sappho's talents. Then Xena unknowingly frowned. The image of Gabrielle arousing anything of Sappho's spurred a flash of jealousy in the warrior.

Aphrodite could tell Xena was wavering. "So you'll go spend some time with her?"

"Ok," Xena conceded. "I'll go and meet her. But I'm not promising anything. There's a limit to what I'll do….even for you."

"Cool! I knew you'd do it!" Aphrodite was elated at her success. "And hey, gorgeous, I'm not saying you have to share the sheets with her, ya know. Just go do the quality time thing and see what happens."

Xena watched Aphrodite as she rattled off instructions. She shook her head at the excited goddess. Aphrodite might be vain, petty and mischievous, but those imperfections paled next to a god like Ares. Actually, Xena liked the Goddess of Love and was in favor of what she stood for. It would be three weeks before Gabrielle returned. Perhaps this little adventure was exactly what she needed to occupy her mind until then.

Xena returned from her reminiscing as the boat neared the island. Not for the first time, she thought of Gabrielle. She had wanted the bard to be with her if she ever came here. Knowing Gabrielle, she would love the beauty and artistry of Sappho's domain. A sharp ache of longing pierced Xena. Everyday she missed Gabrielle more, if that was even possible. She used her warrior focus to try to shut out the feelings.

On the island itself, was the spacious abode of the great poet, Sappho. She looked out at the Aegean sea over which visitors sailed to her home. The poet sighed and turned from the beautiful vista. Even the blue waters of the Aegean couldn't lighten her mood. Sappho wouldn't have thought of herself as depressed. It was more a lack of enthusiasm for writing that she felt. Her unique vision of love hadn't failed, she just lacked the inspiration needed to motivate the lyrical compositions that had made her famous. Sappho sighed and retired to her room. Maybe some rest…..

A short time later, Sappho's assistant knocked on her bedroom door, opened it and spoke quietly to her employer. "Sappho, there's someone here to see you."

"I don't feel like meeting any visitors right now."

"Trust me, you'll want to meet this one."

The Warrior Princess was looking out to sea when Sappho entered the salon. Xena's profile was caught in the afternoon sun. It cast her in a glow that radiated brilliantly against her dark hair, her leathers, her weapons, and her tanned skin. The poet's breath caught at the lovely sight. When the warrior heard the soft gasp, she turned to face her host.

"So….it's true what they say….." commented Sappho from the entrance to the salon.

"And what do they say?" Xena asked with an eyebrow arching slightly.

"That the Warrior Princess is one of the most desired women in all of Greece."

"Well, I suppose that would depend on your definition of 'desired'. No doubt there are more than a few warlords who would like to have my head."

"Actually," Sappho appreciatively scanned Xena's form as she crossed the room and gracefully sat on a nearby divan. "That wasn't the part of your anatomy that immediately came to mind."

Xena smiled as she realized how easily Sappho had turned the conversation's tone personal. She bowed slightly and greeted the poet formally. "Sappho."

After an acknowledging nod, Sappho asked. "Now what could possibly bring the great Warrior Princess to my home?"

Xena looked somewhat uncomfortable as she replied. "Aphrodite asked me to come."

Sappho looked suitably surprised. If she had anticipated an answer, it wouldn't have been that one.


How was she going to explain what Aphrodite wanted her to do? Xena wished for the hundredth time that Gabrielle was with her. The bard was always so apt at handling these delicate situations.

"She seemed to think you might need some help with your poetry."

Sappho couldn't hide the amazement from showing on her face. Surely the Warrior Princess was not a writer as well. If she was, the poet would certainly have heard about it. Then, being the astute woman that she was, she began to realize what Aphrodite meant Xena's role to be. The understanding slowly registered on her face with a seductive smile.

Xena could tell from the change in Sappho's expression that she had grasped Ahprodite's intention.

"Oh….I see." Sappho again eyed the visiting beauty. "She sent you to……. stimulate my thoughts of love and passion."

The warrior looked away from the amused poet. Her discomfort was acute. She was sure that Sappho must think her arrogant and Aphrodite presumptuous.

"Well, I must admit, that you are positively," Sappho hesitated momentarily, "inspiring."

"Sappho, I'm sorry." Xena was flustered. "I'm not handling this very well. If only my partner were here, she…."

"Ah yes, I've heard of the Amazon Bard as well. Is she as lovely as they say?"

It was the first question that Xena answered without the slightest hesitation.

"Yes." Xena stated with absolute certainty. "Yes, she is."

"She's gone where?" Gabrielle could hardly believe it when Cyrene said that Xena had left the day before for the isle of Lesbos. She'd been in Potedaia less than two weeks, even though she'd told Xena she'd wanted at least a month apart to think.

"Gabrielle, why did you leave….."

"You mean why did I leave her….again." Gabrielle could hear the unspoken concern in Xena's mother's voice. "Cyrene, so much has happened to us, especially during these last few years. After our visit to India, I just needed time to think about our experiences and what they meant for the direction of our future relationship."

"And you couldn't do that without leaving Xena?" The question should have had a sting to it, but it was asked in a kind tone.

"When I'm with Xena, she encompasses me completely." Gabrielle tried to explain. "She permeates my thoughts, my soul. She fills my heart so I can't concentrate on anything but our life together. My mind is not clear to focus when I'm with her."

"Gabrielle." Cyrene said gently. I've watched my daughter grow from a wild, restless girl into a cruel, heartless warlord by circumstances beyond her control. I know that it was Hercules that set her on the path toward redemption. But you have been her guide, Gabrielle. I know that she could never have navigated that treacherous path alone."

Cyrene stepped close to Gabrielle and put her hands on the bard's shoulders.

"Gabrielle, when Xena came home, she was what I can only describe as….lost. Now from what I hear you say, you need to be apart for you to focus on your future. But then you miss her too much to stay away for very long." Cyrene held Gabrielle's eyes. "I've seen my daughter's rage, her pain and her utter despair. But until she met you, I had never seen her happy. Don't you think that might mean something equally as important?"

Sappho saw to it that the Warrior Princess had the finest accommodations her wealth could afford. She showed her the beauty of her island as they talked of the warrior's adventures. Xena may not have realized it, but every discussion always included her cherished companion. It was as if she couldn't speak about her life without Gabrielle featured prominently in it. Sappho engaged the warrior in many subjects and consequently learned that Xena's heart and soul resided completely with her beloved bard.

After three days in the warrior's company, Sappho found herself in one of her many gardens sitting slightly above Xena on circular steps. She admitted to herself that falling in love with the Warrior Princess would be so easy to do. The warrior's blend of darkness and incredible heart, her quest for redemption balanced against her driving passion was indeed intoxicating. But Sappho was too much a student of the art of love to be contemptuous of it. She would not take advantage of someone who was destined to love another. But the temptation was, oh so great.

Xena looked up at Sappho and smiled. She felt comfortable in the poet's presence. She missed Gabrielle. But as she could not be with her, she was content to be spending this time with Sappho. Although not a great beauty, the poet had a pleasant countenance. She possessed a definite allure, a magnetism that was difficult to ignore. Xena found herself drawn to that charisma and she contemplated what it might be like to take Aphrodite's mission to it's most ultimate conclusion.

When Sappho looked down at Xena, she could detected the change in those unbearably blue eyes. She'd seen many such changes in the eyes of the women who came to her island. They came to absorb what they could of her wisdom, her passion for love. Her appeal was that she understood and appreciated the female heart better than any other mortal. It was why her compositions sometimes brought those who heard them to tears. It was why Aphrodite wanted her to continue to write about that most precious of emotions.

With a gentle hand on Xena's cheek, Sappho stroked her face with subtle regret. She leaned down and kissed the beautiful warrior softly. Her intent was to briefly sample that which she could never have. But when the warrior deepened the contact, she found herself caught in a current of desire.

Xena brought her hands up to Sappho's face as if to hold her to the connection of their lips. It felt so good to be kissing a woman again. Something she hadn't experienced since her days with M'lila. The warrior was unaware that her desires for Gabrielle were always simmering just below the surface of her consciousness. So she was surprised to feel a surge of passion flame out through her body. But she was well aware of being captivated by the beauty of Sappho's world and by the appeal of the poet herself. The kiss continued sensuously beyond what either woman would have imagined.

Unbeknownst to the involved women, they were not alone in the garden. Above them stood a newly arrived Gabrielle. She was stunned by the embrace she had happened upon. She'd been directed to this garden to find Sappho and Xena. But she couldn't possibly have anticipated this romantic display. Was this why Xena had come to this island? Was she here to begin an affair with the most famous lyricist of love? Or was Sappho merely enthralled with the magnificent warrior, as so many were? Gabrielle had to admit that even she was not immune to the seductiveness of Xena. Xena…. Her Xena. Her warrior in someone else's arms. Suddenly, aching in her heart and unreasonably angry, she turned and headed back to Sappho's home.

Breaking away from the increasing demand of Xena's mouth, Sappho tried to regain her composure. Almost everything in her entire being was screaming for her to take this extraordinary woman back to her chambers and love her voraciously. She questioned that innate part of her that held love to such an elevated standard. Would one night of mutual pleasure be so wrong? One night of immersing herself in the essence of a woman so exciting, so incredible. A woman who so completely embodied what she wanted to express in her poetry. Isn't that what Aphrodite had intended after all? Sappho looked down at Xena and sighed. It was apparent to her that the warrior would follow in whatever direction Sappho chose to go. But the exquisite warrior would always belong with Gabrielle. And that knowledge would plague Sappho if she tried to make Xena her own, even for just one night.

"Well, it's a pity that I won't be able to seduce you with my unquestionable charms, Xena."

"And why is that?" asked Xena, slightly perplexed.

"Because, my dear warrior…." Sappho brushed her fingertips lightly down Xena's temple, across her cheek, her jaw line and came to rest gently holding her chin. "You are already deeply in love."

When Xena and Sappho returned from the garden, they were surprised to find the bard waiting for them.

"Gabrielle!" Xena quickly crossed over to the bard and swept her up into her arms. Her companion seemed to stiffen slightly at the contact. But Xena was too pleased to see her to notice.

"Sappho, this is Gabrielle." The warrior's pride was quite evident. "Gabrielle, I'd like you to meet Sappho."

"It's a pleasure, my dear. I've heard a great deal about you." Sappho approached Gabrielle and extended her hand.

"It's an honor to meet you, Sappho. I've always admired your work."

Was it her imagination or did Gabrielle seem subdued? Xena would have expected the bard to be more enthusiastic upon meeting the poet that she herself had touted to be one of the most sensual and talented in all of Greece.

"Well, you must be tired after your journey, Gabrielle." If Sappho detected the modest reaction from the bard, she didn't show it. "Xena, thank you for the lovely walk. Perhaps you can show Gabrielle where she can rest."

Xena took Gabrielle to the room where she'd been staying. It didn't occur to her to ask one of the servants for a separate room for the bard. Although Gabrielle was unusually quiet, Xena was still unaware of the bard's discomfort.

"How did you know I was here?" Xena couldn't believe how glad she was to see her companion.

Gabrielle set her things down on the spacious bed in the room. She walked over and looked out the window before she answered. "I went to find you in Amphipolis. Your mother told me you'd come here." The bard turned back to the warrior. "What are you doing here, Xena?"

Xena watched Gabrielle closely. It was apparent to her now that the bard was upset. Her body was too still, her voice to emotionless. But she had no clue as to the reason for the attitude. "I came here to see Sappho."

Returning again to the lovely vista outside the window, Gabrielle's tone bordered on sarcasm. "Really. I had no idea you were on such intimate terms with the great poet of lust."

Where Xena had been confused by Gabrielle's manner, now she could clearly detect the sting in Gabrielle's tone. She could see no reason at all for the bard to speak to her this way. Or to show Sappho such disrespect. "Don't talk about Sappho that way." The warrior retorted, beginning to get angry. "What in Tartarus is wrong with you, Gabrielle?"

A jumble of emotions whirled around inside the bard. She had missed Xena so much. She had traveled here to tell her so. Finding Xena in Sappho's arms had ignited her anger and fueled her discontent. Feeling as though Xena was defending Sappho against her was the final indignation. Turning to face Xena, Gabrielle's temper flared.

"I ask for some time alone to think about the direction of our lives." Gabrielle couldn't hid the jealousy from her voice as she neared Xena. "And you use that time to indulge in a fling with Sappho." Gabrielle knew she was going to far, but she couldn't seem to stop herself. "I can't believe you'd be that stupid, Xena. She's just using you."

If Xena hadn't been so stunned at the onslaught of Gabrielle's tirade, she would've realized there was an undercurrent of hurt in the bard's words. But the harsh accusations blinded her to any understanding and she retaliated with her own ire and distress.

"What I do with Sappho is none of your concern, Gabrielle." The warrior's voice was particularly cold. "At least she knows how to treat a woman. I'd forgotten how good it feels to be in a woman's embrace." Xena took a step closer to Gabrielle so that her next words were spoken mere inches from the bard. "And if she wants to seduce me, it would be a welcome proposition. It's certainly more than I could ever expect from you."

The bard reacted against everything she'd been recently trying to achieve. The warrior's last words rekindled her anger, her jealousy and her fear. The thought of Xena in anyone else's arms, the taunting at their lack of intimacy exploded Gabrielle's fragile control. Without thinking, she reached up and slapped Xena hard across the face.

Xena could not believe that the bard had actually struck her. After the initial shock, the warrior's face became a complete mask. She turned and left the room.

Gabrielle closed her eyes for a moment, appalled by her actions. The image of Xena's face becoming a blank slate flashed against her eyelids. The closing down of all emotions was something Gabrielle had seen Xena do many times in battle. It was her way of shutting out the difficult and painful world she sometimes faced. What in the world had come over her to treat her closest companion in such a manner? She instantly regretted everything she'd said, everything she'd done since she'd arrived. She crossed back over to the window and looked out again at the incredible blue of the Aegean Sea. It instantly reminded her of the incredible blue of Xena's eyes. She could picture those eyes sparkling with laughter or dark with concentration. Then she saw them as they were when Xena'd left, cold as ice. Her own eyes filled with tears that slowly spilled down her face.

A soft knock on her door drew Gabrielle out of her miserable introspection. She turned as Sappho swept into the room. Realizing that Sappho was not at fault here, her demeanor while not enthusiastic, was less hostile.

Sappho knew instantly that there had been unhappiness in this room. Even if she hadn't noticed the tear stains on the lovely blonde's face, she would have known. The beautiful warrior was not with her beloved bard. And after several days apart, they should have been inseparable. Sappho knew that had she been Gabrielle, she would've surely been locked in the warrior's intimate embrace by now.

"Well, this is a surprise." Sappho indicated the unoccupied state of the room, save the bard. "I'd expected Xena to be completely immersed in your…….. company by now. Is there a problem, Gabrielle?"

"I was there, Sappho," Gabrielle confronted the poet. "In the garden today. I was there."

"I see. And you thought you saw Xena succumbing to my considerable charms." Sappho watched as Gabrielle dropped her eyes. "Is that it?"

"What else was I to think?"

"Well, Gabrielle. I can't say that I wouldn't be thrilled to have such an exquisite beauty in my bed." Sappho paused a moment as that image flashed in her creative mind. "But Xena is not available for such a conquest."

When Gabrielle still would not meet her eyes, Sappho said. "It's such a pity too. Your warrior truly is a fascinating woman."

"You're mistaken, Sappho." Gabrielle looked up at her host. "Xena is not my warrior. I don't own her."

"Ah yes, my dear," sighed Sappho. "You do."

Xena's temper had cooled considerably as she'd walked briskly down to the edge of the sea. She had followed the grassy path from the garden to the stone wall that separated the lawns from the sand. She sat on the low sea wall and looked out over the water. Troubled and upset, Xena could not for the life of her figure out what was going on with Gabrielle. They'd been through so much together. Of course, she knew that they'd also been the source of tremendous pain for each other. But she'd thought that was all behind them now. Surely their most recent experiences in India clearly showed that their lives were destined to be intricately intertwined. The warrior leaned her forearms on her thighs and sighed. Confused, sad, and alone, all she could imagine was that Gabrielle had most certainly come to an entirely different conclusion.

Sappho looked out to sea as Gabrielle apologized to the poet for her rudeness. She explained what'd happened to them in India and how she'd arrived at her current dilemma. Sappho listened not only to the young woman's tale, but to the heart relating it. Only when the bard finished and fell silent did she speak.

"I do love women so," commented Sappho as if women had been the topic of conversation. "I love the way they think, the way they sound. I love the way they feel, how they express themselves. I love their passions, their power, their innate ability to love." Sappho turned from the window and looked at Gabrielle. "Each one is gift, filled with magic and mystery. I see something wonderful in them all. It's why I can write the way I do. I'm merely the instrument that records the beauty that I envision."

The poet could tell that she had Gabrielle's attention. But the bard showed no understanding of the message. She left the window and joined Gabrielle on the large bed where she sat.

"Gabrielle, you seem so concerned about the destinies that Naima showed you in India. I would think knowing that Xena is intertwined in your past and future karma would be both thrilling and comforting. I don't profess to know much about these things. But I do know that love is an amazing emotion to possess. If you have shared it with Xena in past lives and are bound to share it with her in the future, then you are truly blessed." The poet reached out and took Gabrielle's hand.

"But it's this life that you need to be involved in, Gabrielle. It's the only thing that really matters, the only thing in which you can participate. The past is gone, you can't change it. If your soul indeed travels beyond this world, then you will deal with it then. Here is where you belong, Gabrielle. And it would seem to me that in this lifetime, your heart belongs with Xena."

The poet left the bed and returned to the window. "Why do you find loving such an extraordinary woman so complicated?" Sappho glanced back at Gabrielle who was studying the pattern of the bedspread. "You've not been with a woman before, have you?"


"You must know that Xena has."

Gabrielle looked up at Sappho. She wasn't surprised that the poet would know that. She suppressed the image of Sappho in Xena's arms.

"This is not about me, Gabrielle," said Sappho as if she'd read Gabrielle's mind. "It's about Aphrodite bestowing a tremendous love on two exceptional women. It's a gift, Gabrielle, a treasure. To ignore it or deny that it exists, is to not really live your life at all. Up to now, you and Xena have experienced an amazing journey. Isn't it time you allowed one of the most incredible women I have ever met to complete you? And isn't it time you let her share in that huge capacity you have to love?"

For once the bard was speechless. Sappho had exposed her uncertainties. She had challenged Gabrielle to reach out, grasp what she wanted most in this life and hold onto it tightly. But Xena was gone. Sent away by her jealousy and insecurity.

"Go talk to her, Gabrielle." The poet brought Gabrielle out of her reverie. "Communication is the key. It's the only way to understand anything about your love, your life, or your heart. You of all people should know that."

Sappho headed towards the door saying, "Now, I really must get back to my writing." She looked back at Gabrielle before she exited. "Through the garden, follow the grassy footpath. She's down by the sea wall."

Gabrielle could see Xena from the top of the footpath. She seemed so small against the vast sea that stretched out in front of her. The bard closed the distance between them and sat on the sea wall. With her back to the water, she kept a slight space between them.

Xena knew the bard was approaching. She could have picked Gabrielle's footfall out of a stampede. In fact, there was so much about Gabrielle that she knew almost instinctively. But if that was actually true, why were they sitting here, together, yet miles apart? Xena continued to look out at the sea and said nothing.

The bard looked at the lovely face of her partner. The face she always sought first thing in the morning. The face she most assuredly wanted to see just before closing her eyes to sleep at night. Now it was a mask devoid of emotion, basking in the late afternoon sun. Gabrielle knew she had to somehow bridge the gap she'd created with this precious woman.

"I'm so sorry, Xena."

The warrior briefly glanced at Gabrielle, then turned back to the sea. She remained silent.

Gabrielle saw the pain reflected in the quick connection. She tried to explain what she herself didn't fully understand.

"I let my jealously and my insecurities get the better of me. I acted rashly…..

and unfairly." Gabrielle tried to ascertain whether or not she was reaching Xena. "I was afraid of losing you."

Upon hearing that, Xena turned toward her. "How could you ever think you'd lose me, Gabrielle?" asked the warrior in disbelief. "After all we've been through, after all we've been to each other. Don't you trust me?"

"Of course I do. And I trust our friendship, Xena," confirmed the bard. "But I realize now that I want to trust far more than friendship." She definitely had the warrior's attention. "I want to trust in a commitment to love each other…. completely."

Xena stared at her partner. Many of the unconscious feelings she had harbored for Gabrielle rushed to the surface of her mind. Acknowledging the feelings that she had was not difficult. Long ago she had learned to rely on her instincts.

"Are you saying this because I was here with Sappho?" Xena wanted to make sure that Gabrielle was not just reacting to a situation she had misunderstood. "Nothing happened, Gabrielle."

"I know that……now." Gabrielle looked back up at Sappho's house in the distance. "We talked…..I apologized to her for my rudeness." Looking back into Xena's eyes, she said. "But it made me realize that I don't ever want you to be in anyone else's arms but mine."

An eyebrow cocked up slightly at the adamant comment. Xena smiled for the first time since they'd started talking. "I'd only be truly happy in your arms, Gabrielle."

The bard gently took the warrior's hand pulling her to her feet. "Then come on." And she led Xena back to their room.

Gabrielle entered their room first and turned to Xena as the warrior closed the door behind her. The bard immediately backed Xena up until she could feel the door at her back. Gabrielle held Xena there with her body pressed tightly against the leather and brass. The fire burning in Gabrielle's eyes was unfamiliar to the warrior. But her body responded with a sudden intake of breath and an involuntary flash of desire in her own eyes. The bard saw and heard the answer to her unasked question. Permission granted.

The kiss came quickly, fiercely. Gabrielle battled the warrior for possession of her lips, her mouth, her tongue. Tasting Xena so thoroughly spurred the inexperienced bard's hunger for the accommodating warrior.

"Xena," the bard managed between the delicious explorations of the warrior's mouth. "I want……all of you."

"Then take it."

The bard groaned at the authorization to do whatever she pleased, whatever she could imagine.

Gabrielle drew away from the enjoyable kissing and braced her left forearm across Xena's chest. She wanted to continue to pin her warrior to the hard surface behind her. The bard then nudged Xena's legs apart with her knee. Breaking contact with the crystal blue eyes, she looked down to watch her hand glide up the warrior's silken thigh. She reached between Xena's legs to briefly cup the warrior's mound. Then looking back up into the warrior's eyes, she slipped past the barrier of the breeches Xena wore under her leathers. They both gasped softly at the intimacy. Xena, startled at the boldness of her partner, but aroused by the bard's assertiveness. Gabrielle, amazed at her own audacity, but thrilled by the slick, wet indication of her lover's response. Gabrielle slide her fingers through the soft hair and began to caress the warm, velvet skin underneath. Xena let her head fall back against the door as she groaned her approval of Gabrielle's explorations. The bard discovered the secrets hidden under the delicate folds of flesh at Xena's center. Her fingers stimulated the small pearl of pleasure, until Xena's breathing became labored. She struggled to keep the warrior's writhing body pinned against the door.

Xena made an effort to communicate her escalating need to her novice lover. "Gabrielle……now……please…..inside……"

As the warrior quickly reached her peak, the bard dropped her hand to the unexplored entrance of her warrior. She hesitated only a moment before plunging her fingers into the warm depths. As she continued to penetrate deeply into Xena's core, she heard her name whispered in urgent, desperate pleas. She had never in all her life heard a sound that moved her more.

Xena's climax was exquisite. Gabrielle had loved her with a sure and knowing touch. When the bard had initiated this coupling, Xena had only expected to feel the pleasantness of her partner's tentative caress. But her lover had proved to be far more in harmony with her body than she could've ever thought possible. Though she didn't know how it'd happened, Gabrielle was holding her sated, calming body in incredibly capable hands.

When the warrior's spasms ceased, the bard slipped out from between her legs. She looked up at Xena from where she'd been resting her head on her forearm and smiled.

"So that's what our friendship's been missing."

Xena returned the smile and watched Gabrielle notice that her fingers were coated with the warrior's essence. Unconsciously the bard started to bring her fingers to her mouth to taste the unfamiliar substance. But Xena stopped her.

"Oh no you don't," Xena admonished her as she grabbed her wrist. "There's only one way you're going to get to taste that."

"Really?" Gabrielle couldn't hide her amusement. "Show me."

Xena took control of both Gabrielle's arms and backed her toward the spacious bed in the center of the room. When the bard felt the edge of the bed against the backs of her legs, she gazed up expectantly at Xena's lovely face. The warrior didn't release the bard, but brought her lips down gently to kiss the younger woman. It was a sweet, slow exploration of what the bard possessed. As fiercely as Gabrielle had claimed Xena's lips, the warrior was as sensual. She licked and nibbled at the bard's mouth until she gained entrance. Then she played inside, sucking, dodging, tantalizing the bard.

Gabrielle didn't know when Xena's hands had moved from her arms to her breasts. But she could feel her halter top being untied and opened. Once freed, her breasts were cupped by strong hands. Gentle squeezing followed and then more determined fondling. Gabrielle let a small whimper escape. Xena ended her oral investigation and dropped her gaze to the bare breasts. They were so lovely. Nipples the color of roses lay soft against smooth, fair skin. The bard's breasts were somewhat full for a woman with such a slight frame. Xena filled her hands with the beautiful flesh, purposely stimulating the relaxed nipples until they started to contract in her palms.

Gabrielle closed her eyes, enjoying the skilled manipulations of her breasts. It took a moment for her to detect the change when Xena dropped her hands past the bard's waist to her hips. She watched as Xena untied the belt holding her skirt in place. As the leather wrap fell away, Gabrielle had to communicate what she was feeling.

"Xena, I've never felt this way before."

Xena hesitated at Gabrielle's hips as she waited for the bard to try to express herself.

"You excite me so….."

Xena smiled and practically purred to the aroused bard.

"Do I?"

Instead of answering, Gabrielle took Xena's hands and slid them under the waistband of her breeches. "Please."

Xena slowly guided Gabrielle's breeches down over her hips and boots to the floor. Then she lowered the bard into a sitting position. The warrior knelt between the bard's legs and removed each of her boots. Afterwards she stood and lowered Gabrielle onto her back. She followed and devoted her talented mouth and hands to the bard's breasts again. Gabrielle began to squirm and arch at the stimulating play.

"So I excite you?"

Gabrielle could feel the question whispered against her nipple. She groaned and buried her fingers in Xena's hair.


Gabrielle felt the warrior lift off her body and kneel between her legs. Xena stroked her legs sensuously before she grasped each ankle. One at a time she raised each of Gabrielle's legs until they bent at the knee. Then she placed each foot on the bed. Looking up at bard, she carefully spread her thighs. Through open legs, Gabrielle could clearly see how excited the warrior was.

"Show me, Gabrielle."

The bard thought for a moment. She knew she was extremely aroused. She knew she must be obviously soaked with readiness. Looking at her lover, she focused on her beautiful mouth. That's what she wanted to feel on her body.

Xena watched as the bard seem to come to a decision. Gabrielle brought her hands up to her breasts and fondled herself for a moment. Then Xena watched her hands glide down her waist to her hips. Xena could hardly contain herself when the bard's fingers reached between her own legs. The warrior stared in fascination as Gabrielle separated the soft hair and silky skin, presenting her ravenous sexual center to her lover.

"Is this what you had in mind?"

Xena's hunger was obvious as she glanced up briefly into the eyes of her obliging lover. Then the warrior slowly lowered her mouth and gently kissed the bared area between the bard's fingers. Gabrielle could feel Xena's soft lips against her sensitive skin. The warrior nibbled across the velvet surface and the shaft of sensual nerves. She let her lips play over the awakening nodule that Gabrielle's fingers had left partially unprotected. Gabrielle tried in vain to keep her hips still as Xena explored her. But she was completely overwhelmed by Xena's oral activity. She could feel the warrior's mouth wander over the fingers she was using to keep herself exposed. It was just as arousing to feel those lips and now that talented tongue caressing her fingers. The licking, sucking, and kissing continued until the bard couldn't hold back anymore.

Xena was lost in her examination of her responsive companion. Gabrielle reacted to every move she made. Her hips rotated and surged at Xena's stimulation. When the warrior sensed that her lover was approaching orgasm, she brought her fingers to the bard's center. She teased Gabrielle's opening and then lubricated further down the bard's cleft. She massaged the crevice with her fingers. Gabrielle groaned at the tickling sensation at her anus. Xena brought the fingers of her other hand back up to the bard's entrance. She slipped in subtly and filled the bard.

Gabrielle was trying to concentrate on all the sensations Xena was causing in her body. It seemed to her that her lover was touching her everywhere. For a split moment as she started to climb toward her climax, she knew Xena was covering her sex, claiming her inner walls, and stroking her sensitive anus. But then she lost her concentration as long, powerful fingers penetrated deeply, intimately inside her core. She could feel the force of her lover as Xena focused on satisfying her bard. As the tongue stroking outside began sending her over the edge, strong fingers finished her by reaching and pressuring further inside her walls then she could have thought possible. Only in her dreams had she ever believed she could soar so high.

After Gabrielle had calmed, Xena withdrew from her body. She let the bard's legs rest back down on the bed, yet she remained kneeling between them. Smiling down at her sweet lover, Xena was as content as she'd ever hoped to be.

Standing, Xena looked down into the green eyes through which she saw so much of the beauty in this world. "I love you."

Gabrielle raised up and propped her arms up behind her for support. Her eyes wandered over the glorious vision that was Xena. At that moment she made her commitment. She loved the woman and she loved the warrior. And though she would try to follow a path of peace and love, she had to admit her attraction to Xena's dangerous nature. She enjoyed knowing that Xena intimidated those that would otherwise seek to harm them. Watching Xena in battle thrilled her. The warrior's innate power drew her like a magnet. And because Xena loved her so, part of that power was transferred to her. She alone held the key to Xena's heart. That made her feel as if she ruled the world.

Gabrielle rose from the bed and stood in front of the fully clothed warrior. She let Xena enjoy the nearness of her naked body. Then she slid behind the magnificent warrior. She removed the weapons that Xena still wore. The bracers, armlets, armor and boots followed. She loosened the leather ties and slowly pulled the leather battle dress off. Assertive hands started at Xena's thighs, swept up under the shift and lifted it over Xena's head. She used her small hands to explore the sculpted back from shoulders to hips. Then they reached around and claimed Xena's breasts. Gabrielle pulled the willing warrior against her. The weight of generous breasts in her hands and a silken back against her own breasts filled the bard's senses. She lightly kissed the muscles of Xena's back between her shoulders.

"My Warrior Princess……" she murmured.

Xena relished the softness of the skin pressed against her. She savored Gabrielle's hands caressing her body and the lips kissing her back. She even thought she could feel the bard's heart beating against her spine. Taking hold of her lover's hands, she stilled them for a moment. Xena just wanted to be connected to Gabrielle in this moment of loving perfection.

"My Queen……" she whispered back.

The bard held Xena against her. Then she slowly maneuvered the warrior back onto the bed. As Xena reclined, Gabrielle followed, covering the bronzed beauty with her own body. Her breasts fit snugly under Xena's heavier mounds. She brought her lips down on the warrior's in a slow, possessive manner. She could taste her own essence as they kissed. The warrior responded by spreading her legs and then wrapping them around Gabrielle. The bard delighted in being captured by what seemed like miles of tanned, toned flesh. Wrapped in Xena's strong arms and legs, she felt safe, content, and truly in love. Looking down at Xena, she marveled at the peaceful expression.

"You look so…." she started to say.

"Happy?" The warrior finished the sentence. "I am, Gabrielle. You have no idea how wonderful loving you makes me feel."

The bard smiled down at her lover. "We're not done yet, are we?"

"Not by a long shot, love," warned the warrior with a smile of her own. "In fact, we may never be done."

Gabrielle couldn't suppress a shudder as she kissed her lover again. Slowly she began to work her way down Xena's body. Searching all the delicious places she'd missed in their frantic coupling up against the door. Arriving between her lover's legs, Gabrielle pressed her mouth against the breeches that still covered Xena's sex. She nipped and nibbled at the thin fabric where she could already feel the dampness from Xena's excitement. With her tongue, she licked and stroked the sensitive area as if the cloth barrier wasn't there. Glancing back up at her warrior, Gabrielle saw an expression that was a combination of desire and discomfort. She drew back from the sexual feast and pulled the soaked breeches off Xena's hips. As she discarded the material, she was stalled by the delightful view of Xena's center that she had previously only caressed. The dark hair and smooth skin were already moist with the lubricant she could see flowing from her lover's entrance. Gabrielle settled herself between Xena's legs again. Looking up, she watched Xena's face as she slipped her fingers deeply into her lover. The warrior lifted her chin and gasped at the sweet invasion. Then she tilted her hips up to better meet Gabrielle's fingers. Finally, Gabrielle lowered her lips and let her tongue enjoy the taste of the warrior's sexual essence the way Xena had intended.

Xena had watched as Gabrielle descended her body. It hadn't taken much to bring the warrior's passion roaring back to life. At first the bard's beautiful mouth, the talented tongue had taunted her through her breeches. Then her lover's fingers and mouth had enthusiastically brought her a very private pleasure. She gave Gabrielle everything she had to give and her release was stunningly complete. Afterward the bard climbed back up her body and gazed at her with adoration in her eyes. As Xena calmed, she heard the words that made her soar almost as high as the orgasm she'd just experienced.

"I love you, Xena."

Sappho watched from her window as the ship loaded at the dock. Xena and Gabrielle were leaving after staying at her home for a week. She smiled at the thought of the lovers. She'd had the pleasure of observing emotions as strong and joyous as any she'd ever seen. The warrior and the bard shared a unique bond far beyond what most lovers achieved. It was the kind of devotion that she was so good at setting to verse. Sometimes she thought that what she wrote about was only in her mind. But she'd just spent a week in the company of unconditional, all-encompassing love. It was not something she would soon forget.

She'd also actually enjoyed the amazing women who shared that love. The warrior's allure was so powerful, so obvious. But the bard's appeal, though more subtle, was equally impressive. Being in their company was testimony to what Aphrodite had intended true love to be.

'Ah Aphrodite…' mused Sappho to herself. Just what had been the Goddess of Love's goal in sending Xena here? She had wondered many times what her mentor's purpose had really been. Had she actually expected Xena to sweep into her life and stimulate her body and soul? Or was it just a ploy to draw Gabrielle into a confrontation with Xena thereby creating the sparks that set their passion for each other ablaze? Had she just meant Sappho to witness the kind of love she wanted the poet to express in her lyrics? Or had Aphrodite merely wanted to assure that Sappho would still believe there was such a thing as a perfect love?

Sappho shook her head and smiled. Perhaps she would never know Aphrodite's intentions. She had learned long ago not to attach too deep a meaning to the workings of the love goddess. Although she loved Aphrodite dearly, she knew the goddess and the love she inspired could be as whimsical and fleeting as it could be deep and enduring. But that was why she was so drawn to it. One could never quite predict what love would be like. Confusing and messy, or dependable and orderly. It was all part of the human condition she adored so much. Ah, love……

The poet turned away from the window and crossed over to her writing table. Another ship would arrive tomorrow with more women visitors. But until then, she would be deeply immersed in writing her next series of love lyrics.


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