Xena was wandering the streets of Athens trying not to be bored while her best friend shopped at the local market on block away. She came around a corner to find three big thugs pushing an old man back and forth.
Xena saw that the old man in rags was very rattled and she knew if someone didnt step in and help him. The famous war cry echoed through the square and Xena landed right in front of the old man before he could be shoved again. She protectively shielded him and said in low cold voice. "Ok Boys, You can either play with me or run."
"He started it," said one of the men with angry scowl.
"And just how did he do that?" Xena asked sarcastically.
"He said Aries was only powerful because we make him that way."
Xena smirked and turned toward the old man behind her. "I see where that came from," She said to the startled old man. Then she winked at him and smiled. He smiled back and nodded.
Xena smiled at the thugs and said, "Aries can certainly take care of himself. Now why dont you be good little boys and do something useful? Buy a scroll, learn to read."
The sword came out of the scabbard and icy blue eyes met theirs, there were was no need for words the three men ran as fast as they could. Xena chuckled and put her sword away.
"You are Xena, correct?"
"Yes, Who are you?"
"My name is Socrates and "
"My friend Gabrielle has been looking all over Athens for you. Youre reported to be a great philosopher, are you?"
"That is for others to decide. I merely say what I think."
Xena smiled and shook her head, "And you decided to do that to Aries brainless disciples? For a very a smart man that was very foolish."
Socrates shrugged, "I was merely pointing out that the human mind is capable of great thought. We through our minds can be as powerful as any of the Gods. We can lead our selves there is no need to follow the Olympians."
Xena nodded and said, "I happen to agree with you. I just think you could choose your audience more wisely." She gestured that he should walk with her and said as they walked, "Come on I know Gabrielle will be ecstatic that we bumped into each other."
*** *** *** ***
Xena shook her head smiling affectionately as she watched her best friend being outrageously flirted with. Xena was amused because she knew that Gabrielle had no idea that she was the target of the young mans affections.
"Dont worry Warrior; Plato is delving into her mind. She is no danger of her virtue."
Xenas smile widened as she turned to the old man. She nodded her head and said, "Yes, I do know that. She has people falling in love with her all the time. She doesnt even realize it most of the time. She is just so bright and sweet you cant help falling under her spell."
"As have you?"
Pale blue eyes narrowed as they met wise dark blue eyes. It was like the old man could read her soul. She blinked, "I dont know what youre talking about. Gabrielle in my best friend in all the whole world. She is the light of my life, my family "
"And you love her?"
"Youre in love with her?"
"Socrates," There was a warning tone in her voice that would make most people quake with fear.
"I only speak the truth that I see."
Xena turned away and looked out the window. "Ive lead a very dark life. I have only very recently turned to a good path. I have been working hard to redeem myself for what I have done. My friend is a good teacher and yes, I love her very much. I will not even attempt to go beyond that though."
"Because she is so very vulnerable with her heart. Shes so open and loving. I will not cause her any damage. Id rather die first."
"Xena love does not damage but indifference does."
Xena head snapped as she turned to glare at her host, "I am not indifferent to her."
"I know. I have observed you all night. You are at the very tip of that sword; you fight your passion and soul yet leave yourself open to be there for your best friend. You are a very brave woman but that is a very dangerous place to be."
"Yes, I know that. I promised myself I will never hurt her and that is something I will do my best to keep."
"You cant always protect the ones you love from pain."
"I can try."
"And if she is in love with you?"
"She would have to make the first move. I wont."
The old man nodded sagely. "I see."
Xena sipped her ice water, her stomach now hurt.
*** *** *** ***
Xena sat in front of the dressing table brushing her hair deep in thought. Socrates offered them a beautiful room for the night. Gabrielle was at the table working on a scroll. When she looked up she looked at her troubled friend and asked quietly, "Did something happen after dinner?"
"No," Xena answered quietly she couldnt look at Gabrielle so she continued to brush her hair staring in her own upset eyes. She was unsure what to do but she knew she didnt want to upset her friend with these confusing thoughts.
"Well you sounded a bit off to me after dinner."
Xena put her brush down and turned, "I just have a bit of stomach ached."
"Do you need anything?"
"No, I already took something. Im fine, really." She smiled and tilted her head. "Did you have fun?"
"Yes, It was the most intellectual stimulating time I have had since I was at the academy."
"Yep, I know. I could never supply that kind of stimulation "
"Xena! Sure you could. You are the brightest and most wisest woman I have ever known."
"No Im not like Socrates or Plato. I owe my knowledge to experience not high intellectual thought. Its not the same."
"I can see that Socrates is very wise and I really respect him. I see what you mean about him I think he is just amazing. You are ten times brighter and wiser then Plato though. All he did was babble on and on about his vision of the perfect world. It was so silly "
"Silly?" Xena chuckled and shook her head. "You seemed to be hanging on his every word."
"Well he does speak very well. Its just not realistic. I dont think he has been in the world at all."
Xena smiled indulgently, "No he has been studying here. So you dont think much of his philosophy huh?"
"I think he is very smart. Its just this weird perfect world thing of his. I think its impossible when you think about human nature."
"From your worldly experience?"
"For the time I have spent with you, yes I think I have a lot more experience then he does."
"You do. I just think that his philosophy comes solely from study and your understanding is from experience. You have to be fair Gabrielle. His ideas are valid your just looking at it from different perspectives."
Gabrielle smiled brightly answering, "See you are wise."
Xena chuckled, "Im wise? I am merely stating the obvious."
"Its only obvious because you are so wise."
Xena rolled her eyes and said, "We can talk this in circles all night and Im exhausted. Lets go to sleep."
"Ok," Gabrielle said with a huge smile. They got into the big bed. Gabrielle looked across the pillows and said, "Good night Xena."
"Night," replied Xena not opening her eyes. She felt her friend slowly move across the bed till she was cuddled close to her. The beloved head cuddled on her shoulder. Xena brought her arms around Gabrielles waist and pulled her very close. She tenderly kissed her on the crown of the head knowing that her friend was already deeply asleep. She gently put her head on top of Gabrielles and thought, Sweet dreams my Love.
*** *** *** ***
Gabrielle woke up alone. She saw her waiting for her; Xenas dishes were already scraped and neatly stacked on the tray by the door. She ate, got dressed and then went down stair to search the house for her friend. She found Socrates out on the patio.
"Have you seen Xena?"
"She said she was going to work out a bit then she will be back."
Gabrielle nodded and sat beside the philosopher. "Is all right if I join you?"
"Of course Little One. Did Plato entertain you last night?"
"He speaks very well."
"Yes, that is a given. What did you think of what he was saying?"
She turned away and shrugged.
"It is all right if you dont agree with him. What we are interested in is stimulating conversation and getting different views of life."
"Thats what Xena said .um; I thought his view of a perfect world was rather far fetched."
Socrates nodded and smiled, "Your warrior is far wiser then she thinks she is."
"Yes! Thats what Im always telling her. She doesnt believe me though "
"Sure I do." Said a soft voice from just behind her.
Gabrielle jumped. Then she looked over her shoulder into very amused blue eyes. "Xena!" The bard scolded. "I really hate it when you do that."
Xena smiled widened and she shrugged, "I just answered you. Yeash." She winked at Socrates who was smiling at the friendly banter. "Good morning, Thank you for your hospitality."
"It was the least I could do after you protected me from those men. I dont suppose I could persuade you to stay for a day or two."
Xena chuckled and said, "Yes, you probably could but we really need to be on our way."
"May I speak to you alone for a few minutes before you leave?"
Xena and Gabrielle exchanged a surprised look. Xena shrugged and looked at the old man nodding. "Sure, if you like.
They walked into the gardens at the back of the estate.
"Yes?" Xena finally asked her curiosity not able to stand another moment of delay.
"I thought Id just inject a little of my old wisdom into your wise young soul."
Xena looked stunned. She cleared her throat and said, "If youre talking philosophy shouldnt you be speaking with Gabrielle?"
"No, What I need to say is only for your ears, Warrior."
"What do need to say?"
"I think you should confess your feelings to your best friend. She returns them and I feel it will help her to feel more confident and bring some peace to you."
Xena shook her head stubbornly her arms were crossed against her chest holding herself tight. "No, Socrates you dont seem to understand. I was a Warlord. I had my way with many men and woman just for a bit of fun. I can not take advantage of my best friend. I wont. She means too much and I love her too deeply."
"She loves you just a deeply, cant you see that?"
"Why is this so damn important to you?" Asked Xena angrily.
"Im an old man; I havent seen love between soul mates before. Its too special to allow you to just ignore it and pretend it does not exist."
"Two souls who are meant to be together. Two halves of the perfect whole. I watched you two all night. Even when you werent beside each other you were well aware of where your partner was."
"Well, she is my best friend."
"And the love of your life?"
"Socrates " She warned him.
The old man showed no fear he simply shook his head and said, "Trust me Xena, you can tell her. Its best for both of you. It will make you both even stronger."
*** *** *** ***
Xena and Gabrielle were walking side by side. They had left Athens and were heading toward the open road with Argo trailing behind them.
Gabrielle kept looking at her friend she had been moody ever since her talk with Socrates.
Gabrielle stopped and grabbed her friends wrist halting her from continuing on down the path. "Come on Xena, Im not blind. I can see how upset you are. What did he say to you?"
"Im not upset. Come on lets get a move on so we get to our camp before dark." Xena tried to start again but Gabrielle didnt move or let go of her arm.
"Please tell me," Gabrielle pleaded her eyes now filled with tears breaking Xenas heart.
Xena melted at the sight. "Please dont cry, its not bad Socrates just gave me something to think about." She gently dried her friends eyes and then cupped her cheek with her hand. "Its not something to get so upset about."
"It must be something pretty big to make you so thoughtful. Cant you tell me?"
"It is a big but "
"Maybe I can help."
"You can I just need some time to think. Lets get to our camp then I will tell you. Ok?"
"Please tell me now, I dont think I can stand it."
"Not yet, I just need to put things into perspective, and then I promise I will tell you. Please give me a bit of time?"
"Ok, I will give you till after dinner. Not any longer. Deal?"
Xena smiled slightly and nodded, "Deal."
*** *** *** ***
They set up camp and ate dinner in compatible silence. After they cleaned up Xena settled on log and patted it indicating that Gabrielle should sit next to her.
"Socrates observed something about us something that had building up for a very long time. Ever since you almost died at that damn healing temple. I have " Xena closed her eyes and bowed her head.
"What did he observe?" Gabrielle took Xenas hand as she asked her softly.
Very upset almost timid blue eyes looked into confused green eyes. "Um, that I well we that I am I "
Tears were now pouring from the upset blue eyes. Now worried as well as confused, Gabrielle dried the tears and asked gently, "Youre what?"
"I um, when I almost lost you, I realized that I loved you. When I died and heard you calling for me, I realized " tears were now pouring from the blue eyes so fast she couldnt even stop them if she wanted to and she didnt. She abruptly pulled her hand out of Gabrielles and stood up. She went to the other side of the fire her back to her best friend so she wouldnt see the disgust and rejection.
A very confused upset voice asked, "Xena?"
Xena shook her head not saying no, just an attempt to clear it of confusion. Then she replied, "When I was dead and I heard you, it filled me with such a deep longing that I knew I had to come back to you. When I kissed you from that netherworld I knew I was in love with you. When the ambrosia brought me back the first thing I saw was you, I knew that I couldnt live with out you. You are now my whole life." She fell silent slowly turning to look at Gabrielle, instead of shock and disgust she saw an expression of wonder on her face. "Gabrielle?"
"You love me?"
Xenas face reflected both shock and relief, "Yes Im deeply in love with you Gabrielle doesnt that frighten you?"
"Ive been in love with you for a very long time. I was just too scared to say anything."
"Because I thought you would laugh at me and send me home."
"Never, I would have kissed you I was scared too. I was terrified you would be disgusted and run away."
"Never, I would have done this " Gabrielle got up pulled the shocked warrior into her arms and kissed her passionately. When they pulled back dreamy blue eyes met loving green, Xena swallowed a couple of time and whispered, "Do you understand what you started here?"
"Yes, my life."
Xena smiled and kissed her love tenderly. She pulled back and said, "Sweetheart, this means we will go to well the next level Im not sure your ready," Xena giggled nervously, "Im not sure Im ready."
"Were ready, Love," Gabrielle pulled Xena back for another kiss. The befuddled warrior lost it. She picked up her love and carried her to their bedrolls. Tenderly kissing Gabrielle all over her face and feeling the soft little kisses in return, she whispered, "Gabrielle whats gotten into you slow down we " She was pulled back into another kiss, she found herself lying on her back with the bard right on top of her.
When they pulled back Gabrielle kissed Xenas nose and replied, "Love."
Xena rubbed her nose against Gabrielles and said softly, "We have to slow down. I love you so much and want you desperately but Id like our first time to be perfect."
"Sweetheart lets "
"I love you Xena, I want you," Gabrielle kissed her fiercely. All control left the warrior and she allowed love to lead the way.
*** *** *** ***
For the first time Gabrielle woke up in a warm cocoon of love. Xena was there her arms around her waste pulling her close. Her head was against Xenas breast and she felt warm, protected and utterly loved.
A tender kiss was felt on her cheek and a soft voice said, "Good morning."
"Good morning," She replied looking up at Xenas happy blue eyes.
"How do you feel this morning? Are you ok?"
"Yes, I feel wonderful. How do you feel?"
"Incredibly happy. More happy then I ever thought Id feel. I are you sure this right for you? I never want you to feel like youre forced or manipulated."
"Xena, I practically had to jump you."
Xena chuckled pulling her love even closer so they were even and she kisses her loves soft lips. Then she pulled back and replied, "I know. I just worry. You know that I never want you to feel tricked or pushed into something youre not ready for."
"Um, remember I kissed you first. Twice."
"Yes, I remember. You were extraordinary. The whole night was amazing. I never knew you had that much energy."
"I hang out with you; I get turned on just watching you fight."
Xenas eyebrows shot up, "Really? Interesting," She chuckled and kissed her tenderly, "Ok, I do have a suggestion, why dont we just relax for a while. I dont have to be anywhere why dont we play and have fun here for a few days. Unless someone needs us of course our time is our own."
"I thought we needed to be somewhere?"
Xena buried her face against a soft warm neck then two pale eyes peeped out and she replied softly, "No we dont need to be anywhere. I just I couldnt deal with Athens any more. Also I was getting a bit jealous of Plato."
"Why? He is so uninteresting next to you."
"He is an intellectual like you hes much more like you and I "
"I dont want someone who is like me. I want someone incredible like you."
Xena felt herself blush, "Im very glad, because you have me." Xena brought soft lips to hers and kissed her with all the passion in her soul.
*** *** *** ***
They were walking toward Corinth. It was an area that Xena didnt know at all and she was glad because she knew they would be able to relax there and just have some quiet time with each other.
"I am so glad Socrates spoke with you."
Xena smiled and nodded, "I know, so am I. I was so pissed at him at the time but now I am so grateful. I dont think I would have approached you if he hadnt said anything."
"I was frightened that you would leave me and I didnt want to put you in position you couldnt get out of."
"Id never leave you."
Xena kissed Gabrielle softly on the nose, "Good. I am very glad to hear that. There is only one way Id ever leave you."
"And that is?"
Xena raised an eyebrow; Gabrielles face reflected the horror of the thought. "Please dont die on me again. I just dont think I could bear it."
"Ill tell you what; I will do my best to be with you as long as I possibly can. Deal?"
Gabrielle kissed her shoulder and replied, "Deal."
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