Xena is no fool... but she will be the first one to tell you like she is not good at seeing things sometimes, especially when it comes to feelings of the heart. She spent so long keeping those emotions at arms length, they sometimes seem like strangers to her.

But she is no fool. Xena knows when someone is slipping from her. And Gabrielle is doing just that. The natural serenity that the bard normally carries, is gone. In its place is something Xena recognizes. It is discontent.

Xena keeps her distance, as it seems Gabrielle wants things that way. It is hard, though. Gabrielle is like a flame... Xena finds herself always near her, without even meaning to. Xena watches her more than the surroundings today. Xena watches her move and tries to see what has changed. And she misses the closeness, she misses the moment when Gabrielle sighs into her hair and falls asleep, she misses the easiness of their affection.

Xena finds that she misses something else, something that she had kept all too impersonal... Then again, that is what Xena does. Love is love. Sex is sex. And she does not let them meet. That never works for her anyway.

We went too far... I went too far. Xena recalls the first time she captured Gabrielle’s lips with her own. It happened without much forewarning, something as simple as a peck turning into so much more. The kiss became deeper and Xena found her hands in Gabrielle’s hair, to keep the bard from stopping. But Xena could tell that Gabrielle did not want to stop.

I went too far... It seemed so natural, to take this step to physicality. But Xena did not let it go on, too nervous that lines were getting blurred. That was already happening, though... It is happening now.

Xena is shaken out of her thoughts by Gabrielle’s voice. Some of the coolness is gone from her tone, but not all.

“Is something wrong?” Gabrielle asks.

So much more than you know. “No.”

Gabrielle looks at her a little longer, then turns back to face the path ahead. Xena just watches her, the muscles moving under her skin, the stride of her legs...

She is beautiful. And I... don’t want to lose her.

And there it is, Xena concludes. The crux of this unease, of this knowledge that a part of the warrior is shifting. That the urge to have many lovers and not one love is dying. And Xena is left with a new space, one that only Gabrielle fits.

To Be Continued...

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