Finding My Way

Part IV


Gabrielle, Eve and Terrais entered the Amazon camp just as the sun was setting. They had passed the borders without difficulty. Terrais was excited to be back. Still, she was remorseful, knowing that she would not see some of her fallen friends. She was most excited about seeing Varia. She wanted to confide in her, feelings concerning Gabrielle and where the relationship was headed. She wanted to know if Varia had found someone. To Gabrielle's knowledge, she had not.

As they entered the village, women began to gather around the horses. Terrais quickly jumped off Gabrielle's horse. She shook hands with many of her friends and acquaintenances. Everyone seemed to have changed over the last two years. Some had grown up, some looked sad. Overall, as far as she could tell, the village was recovering from its earlier brutal beating. Off to the side, she caught site of her dear friend. She smiled broadly at the cocky half-smirk Varia wore on her face. 'She was always cocky,' Terrais thought to herself. Terrais walked with purpose toward Varia.

Gabrielle and Eve had dismounted and stood back while Terrais greeted old friends. Gabrielle smiled at how Terrais seemed to be able to heartily greet her sisters. It was good for Terrais to be home. Gabrielle saw Varia watching intently as Terrais approached her. Terrais reached out her hand for a warrior's grip, but instead, Varia drew her in for a very long, full body hug. Strangely, Gabrielle felt a twinge of jealousy. Varia always had worn skimpy Amazon clothing, and quite frankly, looked good in it. Now the two were so close you couldn't put a piece of parchment between them.

Terrais was taken aback by the hug Varia gave her. She never remembered them hugging before. They had been far too "warrior-like" for that. And then for Varia to pull her close, softly rubbing her back, telling her how much she had missed her. Terrais didn't quite know how to respond.

Varia finally let loose of Terrais just as Gabrielle and Eve caught up with them. Varia smiled at Gabrielle and extended her hand. After the last time they had met, Varia had gained a new respect for Gabrielle. She truly had been a good queen to the Amazons. Varia acknowledged Eve with a tentative smile and turned back to Terrais, "How in the world did you meet up with these two?" Varia gestured toward Gabrielle and Eve.

"Well, it's a long story, but basically, I met Eve outside of India about two months ago. We hit it off and traveled together. We ran into some trouble just outside of Amphipolus. I was hurt pretty badly." Terrais dropped her gaze from Varia to the ground.

"She nearly died." Eve interjected so Varia would know just how serious it had been.

"Yes, I think I almost died. But then I woke up and met Gabrielle who had found Eve at the home of friends. We decided to travel here to relax and let me finish recuperating." Varia's hand remained around Terrais' waist. Terrais found it extremely unusual for Varia to be this affectionate. She glanced up at Varia, who seemed completely unaware. Gabrielle, however, did not let the physical gesture go unnoticed.

"Well, I'm glad you're home." Varia leaned over and gave Terrais a kiss on the cheek. Terrais first gave Varia a long look, then made eye contact with Gabrielle. All Terrais could do was shrug her shoulders. "I'm sure you're all tired. Terrais, why don't we put your belongings in the Queen's hut. You'll be staying with me. Gabrielle and Eve, if you don't mind, you can share the guest hut next to us." Varia motioned for some of her guards to take everyone's personal belongings to their respective places.

Terrais had no idea why Varia would want her to stay in the Queen's hut, "Varia, that's not necessary. I'm sure I will be fine with Gabrielle and Eve." Terrais was becoming more confused by the minute.

"No, I won't hear of it. I want us to catch up on everything since you left." Varia dismissed Terrais' objection without thought.

"Well, I am pretty tired. I guess we'll all catch up in the morning." With that, Gabrielle gave Terrais a brief smile and then followed the guards, along with Eve, to their assigned hut.

Terrais turned and looked at Varia, "What's going on?" She moved away just enough for Varia to have to drop her hand.

"What do you mean? I've missed you. I want to spend some time with you. That's all. We've got a lot to talk about. You look absolutely wonderful." Varia motioned for Terrais to enter her hut.

They talked for what seemed like a couple of hours. They shared all they had been through. Varia recalled the fight with Ares' army, Marga's death, the battle at Helicon and then trying to rebuild the nation. Terrais discussed all she had seen and done, and then, of course, meeting Eve, and then Gabrielle. They briefly discussed Xena's death and the toll it must be taking on Gabrielle. This led to a discussion concerning the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, "You know, I can't believe they weren't lovers. I would have staked my life on it." Varia still wasn't sure she believed it.

"Well, I believe Gabrielle. It makes sense. It seems like her personal desires are the least of her priorities. I just don't think she ever knew how to convey those feelings." Terrais sipped at some tea the cook had them.

"And what about you? Have you come to terms with any self-revelations?" Varia was tired of waiting for Terrais to tell her.

"Well, yes, I guess I have." Terrais had planned on discussing this with Varia, she just didn't understand Varia's enthusiastic interest. "About the same time I met Eve, I realized I wanted to seek a life with a female partner. I laugh, now, at the irony of it all, growing up exclusively with women. I had all this to choose from and it takes me traveling abroad to figure it out." Terrais chuckled and leaned back on the bed the two were sharing.

"I understand. It took me a long time to come to terms with it. Do you remember Britta?" Varia kicked off her boots to make herself more comfortable.

"Yeah. She's about ten years older than us." Terrais tried to stay in the conversation, but her mind kept drifting back to Gabrielle.

"Well, when I turned 23 last summer, she decided to give me a birthday present." Varia smiled broadly, "Herself."

"You're kidding me! Well, that was certainly ... unique." Terrais laughed with Varia.

"Yep. How about you, who was your first?" Varia knew the answer already, from Ares, but she wanted to hear it from Terrais.

"Well, that's another story." Terrais sat up, feeling awkward discussing her inexperience. "There hasn't been a first. I still have yet to indulge in that physical pleasure."

"Oh. Well, I see. It will happen in time. Don't worry." Varia patted Terrais' knee and then left her hand there.

Terrais looked down at Varia's hand, wondering why she was being so touchy-feely. They had never been this close, at least not physically. Terrais had also never sensed any kind of attraction from Varia. This just served to confuse Terrais further. Terrais decided it was time to take a walk, "Hey, you know, I'm tired, but I'm a little antsy. I've spent so much time lying around trying to heal, I hate sitting too long. I think I'll take a walk, but I'll be back soon. Besides I need to get my bedroll." Terrais walked toward the door.

"You don't need your bedroll. We can share this big bed. It's not a big deal. Give me a minute, I'll be glad to go with you." Varia bent to put her boots back on.

"Wait. Don't worry about me. I just need to stretch a little bit. You're sure about your bed? I'm mean, it's good size, but I don't mind my bedroll."

"No, really, it's no bother. I'll stay here. You just crawl in when you get back." Varia could tell she couldn't push any further.

"Okay. I talk to you in a little while." Terrais left with a perplexed look on her face.

Terrais walked around the camp for a few minutes, wondering what Gabrielle was doing. After debating, she decided to go see for herself. She could see a candle was lit in the hut, so she figured someone was still awake. She lightly knocked on the door and waited to see who would open it.

Gabrielle heard the light knock and put down her quill. She had decided to write for a little while. She kept thinking of Terrais, and it prevented her from sleeping. As she opened the door, she was surprised to see Terrais standing there, smiling back at her. It instantly put a smile on her face, "Hey there. Couldn't sleep?"

"No, neither could you, huh?" Terrais leaned against the door frame, "Wanna take a walk with me?"

"Sure. That would be nice." Gabrielle quietly closed the door. Eve had fallen asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

Gabrielle and Terrais walked in silence for awhile, strolling outside of the camp, into the trees that made a boundary around the perimeter. As they walked, their hands would occasionally touch, sending bolts of electricity through them both. Terrais steered them toward a stream that borders the camp and sat on a rock. The moonlight clearly shown off of the stream, making it not so dark.

Finally, even though Gabrielle had enjoyed the silence, she decided to speak, "Varia sure seemed happy to see you." She didn't want to sound jealous, just curious.

"Yeah, and that bothers me."

"She's your best friend. She's been through a lot. I bet she's just glad to see you're okay." Gabrielle had to admit that she had never seen Varia this physically affectionate.

"There's more, though. We've never been close like that. I don't think we have ever hugged, until today. There's something going on, but I have no idea what." Terrais was skipping rocks across the water.

"Maybe she's attracted to you," Gabrielle thought it was a very sound reason for her behavior.

"I don't know why. There has never been anything like that between us. And even if she was, I don't feel that way about her. Don't get me wrong, I love her, but only as a friend. And before you say it, yes, she's attractive. But it doesn't go there for me. I ... I know what kind of person I'm attracted to." Terrais looked at Gabrielle from the side.

Gabrielle sat quietly, digesting the information she'd been given. It did appear one-sided. Terrais looked uncomfortable with Varia and Gabrielle found that odd since they had been best friends. She dismissed her feelings of jealousy and decided to just enjoy the company.

Gabrielle and Terrais sat on the rock for some time talking, delving into more personal history. Gabrielle told Terrais of when she had become Queen and the run-ins that they'd had with Velasca, a former Amazon. After the story, the two decided it was time to head back. This time when their hands touched, Terrais held Gabrielle's hand, intertwining their fingers. It felt marvelous to hold the person who she cared so deeply for. She would have never guessed that holding hands could be so fulfilling.

The two walked quietly back to Gabrielle's hut. "You know they're having a big party tomorrow night, to celebrate my homecoming." Terrais leaned against the closed door frame of Gabrielle's hut.

"Well, you know Amazons. Any excuse to have a party." Gabrielle giggled and continued to hold Terrais' hand. "Terrais?"

"Yes." Terrais looked into the most beautiful green eyes she had ever seen.

"Last night was nice. I enjoyed you holding me while we slept." Gabrielle stepped closer as they looked into each other's eyes.

"It was nice for me, too." As Terrais spoke, she looked at Gabrielle's lips, unconsciously licking her own.

"I hope you don't mind that I really want to kiss you right now." Gabrielle was within a hair's breadth of Terrais' lips.

"I would be disappointed if you didn't." Terrais closed the gap between them. Initially their lips touched briefly, ever so softly, but then, as the kiss grew, Terrais wrapped her arms around Gabrielle, pulling her completely into her body. This is how it was supposed to feel. Earlier, when Varia had hugged her in this manner, it felt uncomfortable, unwanted. But this, this was heaven.

They continued for a moment longer, both of them enjoying the full body contact. As the kiss deepened, Terrais slipped her left thigh between Gabrielle's legs. The contact was sweet, warm to the touch. As Terrais moved her thigh up, Gabrielle gasped and held on tighter. Terrais continued to run her hands over Gabrielle's back, reveling in the soft skin. She could only imagine what the rest of this beautiful woman's body must feel like. Terrais finally allowed her left hand to drift down and run lightly over Gabrielle's covered butt. It felt incredible to be able to touch her in this manner.

Gabrielle's breathing had increased. The thigh, now strategically placed, was driving her crazy. She wondered, 'How can I be excited after what I already went through today?' But, she reasoned, this was a different kind of excitement. As the two continued to embrace, she pushed herself into Terrais, firmly pressing her against the door frame.

The two were getting more and more excited. Terrais decided it wouldn't be good to lower Gabrielle to the ground and have her way with her, at least not in the open village, right next door to the queen's hut. "Gabrielle, you are driving me insane," Terrais gasped, trying to catch her breath. She was torn between breathing and wanting to continue to kiss this woman.

"Believe me, it's mutual." Gabrielle kissed Terrais' cheek as she, too, tried to catch her breath. She wondered if Terrais' ears were as sensitive as her own. She decided to find out by running her tongue lightly over her ear lobe. She was quite satisfied with the short intake of breath it elicited from Terrais. She continued the onslaught, with Terrais seemingly melting in her arms.

"Oh, Gabrielle, you must stop." Terrais needed to get a grip. Even without experience, she knew her excitement was getting beyond control.

Gabrielle enjoyed making her partner weak, "Why should I stop?" As she spoke softly into Terrais' ear, she ran her own thigh up between Terrais' legs. She pushed her leg firmly into Terrais' crotch, feeling the heat, and what she guessed was moisture, coming through her leather pants.

"Oh gods." Terrais tilted her head back, making her neck more accessible for Gabrielle. Gabrielle quickly took advantage of the situation and ran her tongue down the curve of her jaw and down her throat. "Gabrielle, you have to stop." Terrais tried, half-heartedly, to sound convincing.

"Don't you enjoy what I'm doing?" Gabrielle smiled as she continued to torment.

"Oh, you have no idea. But I'm having a difficult time standing. And if we don't stop, I'm going to want to continue this in a more private setting." Terrais continued to pant her response.

"I can hold you up." Gabrielle ran her hand over Terrais' covered abdomen and then let her hand drift to her hip. Gabrielle felt heady with power. The power to make this woman hers.

"Oh ... Gabrielle. Look at me." Terrais was trying to regain control. She pulled at Gabrielle's head so they could make eye contact. "I want you so. But we can't do this here. I want privacy with you. I want to ravage you, and take my time doing it. I don't want an audience, I just want you. After this party tomorrow, when I get situated in my own hut, can we make that happen?" Terrais had never wanted someone so badly as she did Gabrielle.

Gabrielle knew she needed to stop. Terrais was right. This wasn't the place. They needed privacy and time to get to know each other. She would wait and hope the time would be short before they were able to be together, "I know, you're right. I have just waited so long to have this that I seem to lose control rather quickly." Gabrielle could still feel the heat coming from between Terrais' legs.

"Me, too. But this will be a first for us both. And I so much want you to be my first. But, I don't want to be rushed. I can think of so many things I want to experience with you. I will make this happen. Believe me, I have many skills." Terrais laughed, but the smile completely faded when she saw the frightened look on Gabrielle's face.

"What did you say?" Gabrielle looked shocked. She didn't let go of Terrais, but suddenly felt unsteady on her feet.

"I said we'll make it happen. What's wrong?" Terrais didn't understand the sudden change.

"You said you were have many skills. Have you always used that phrase?" Gabrielle had seen Xena's face the instant the words had exited Terrais' mouth.

"No, it just came out. I don't understand." Terrais looked at Gabrielle with concern.

"It's okay. It ... reminded me of Xena. That was her signature phrase, if you know what I mean." Gabrielle ducked her head, ashamed to be thinking of Xena at this particular moment.

Terrais now understood. She wasn't upset. She was certain there would be other things which would remind Gabrielle of Xena, "It's okay, hon. There will always be things come up that remind you of her. She was the most important person in your life. You loved her. I'm not threatened by that. I wouldn't expect anything less." Terrais slowly ran her hands through Gabrielle's short, blonde hair.

Gabrielle looked up to face Terrais, tears streaming down her cheeks, "Gods, I'm sorry. I don't know what is coming over me."

"It's only been a short time. I'm not upset. If you need more time before we ... before we are intimate, that's okay, too. I don't want to rush you. I already care for you a great deal." Terrais continued to sooth Gabrielle's hair, lightly touching her.

"It's not that. I think it's because I've started feeling again. I was so ready to just stop feeling, fade into nothing. But, then, you came along. I don't want you to take the place of Xena, I want you to stand independent of those memories. But I won't deny that there are similarities between the two of you. Sometimes, it's uncanny. I mean, physically, you're not similar, other than ..." Gabrielle looked down again, breaking eye contact.

"Other than what? Go on, Gabrielle." Terrais tilted Gabrielle's chin back up so she could see her eyes.

"Other than your eyes. By the gods, they are the same. The same blue, the same shine, the same mischief. And your fighting today, some of those movements I have only seen Xena make. I don't know what it is. I'm trying so hard not to compare you to her." Gabrielle finally moved away and ran her own hands through her hair.

Terrais knew Gabrielle was frustrated, but she didn't know how to fix it, other than to continue to reassure her, "Look, I understand that you see similarities. That's okay. And my fighting just comes naturally, I didn't really learn it from anyone. I can't help that my eyes are blue, they were that way since, you know, I was born." Terrais giggled at her explanation.

Gabrielle turned and finally gave Terrais a small smile, "I know, I'm being overly sensitive. After what I just said you may not believe this, but I really haven't been comparing you. Its just when something unexpected comes up, like what you said ... ." Gabrielle reached up and ran her hand across Terrais' cheek. Terrais tilted her head into the touch she so craved. "Terrais, my feelings for you are growing by the moment. It, at times, is overwhelming. Please be patient with my mood swings."

"Don't worry, I will. As long as you are patient with me." Terrais leaned in and kissed Gabrielle softly on the lips. "Now, I think it's time that we both try to get some sleep. I'd like to spend the day with you tomorrow."

"Alright, but I'll see you first thing in the morning." Gabrielle smiled, and then kissed Terrais again. The passion could have easily gotten out of hand again, but the two parted and went their separate ways.

Terrais quietly entered Varia's hut. She changed into a sleeping shift, grateful to get out of her leather trousers. She knew one of the first things she would do tomorrow would be to bathe. She could tell that Varia was a sleep, her back to her. She quietly lay in bed, reliving the kisses she had exchanged with Gabrielle just a few moments ago. She let out a small moan as she felt her stomach twist in knots. She thought, briefly, if there was ever a time she was going to try that self-gratification thing, it would be now. Of course, she wouldn't since she was lying in bed with her best friend. Instead, she resigned herself to attempting sleep. Finally, the day's events wore her down and she drifted into a peaceful sleep, looking forward to tomorrow.

Terrais lay in bed, curled on her right side, away from her best friend, trying to escape a dream that seemed to have her entangled. Slowly, she started taking stock of her surroundings, first noticing soft, rather large, bare breasts, pressing up against her back, through her thin sleep shift. It felt rather nice waking up to this sensation. Next, she noticed a hand circling her own left breast, brushing against her nipple. Terrais could feel the warmth throughout her entire body and was very much appreciating the dream. Then, becoming more awake, she realized the breasts pressed against her were too large to be the one individual she wanted to be naked with. Terrais' eyes shot open, realizing she was lying in her best friend's bed, and her best friend was playing with her breast. Terrais glanced over her shoulder to see what in Tartarus' name Varia was thinking. Varia appeared to be asleep. Her eyes were closed, mouth half-open. Terrais had to come to the conclusion that Varia was dreaming of someone. She couldn't explain, however, why Varia was topless. She hadn't been when she came to bed.

Terrais slowly moved out from under Varia's arm and covered her, up to the shoulders. Then she woke her to see if there was some explanation, "Varia, it's time to get up." Terrais lightly shook Varia's shoulder.

Varia had, unfortunately, been awake and was trying to tempt Terrais. She waited for a few seconds before she responded. Slowly, Varia opened her eyes, "Hey, good morning." Varia knew she was topless, but decided to push things just a little further. She sat up, intentionally letting the blanket fall.

Terrais looked first at Varia, and then at her ample breasts. Terrais tried to ignore her half-naked friend, but she had to admit, that Varia was an attractive woman. Terrais wasn't attracted to Varia in a sexual manner, but she wasn't dead, either.

Varia was satisfied with the reaction she had received and pulled the blanket back up over her breasts, "So what's the plan for today?"

Terrais walked around the hut. She couldn't understand what was going on with Varia. She decided to stick with her original plan to go bathe, "Well, my most important task of the day is to get clean. Do you still have some of my old clothes in storage? I need to clean these."

"Yes, over there in that crate. I pulled the crate out while you were gone for your walk. I figured you would want to change." Varia stood, again showing her ample bosum. She slowly walked over to her own clothing and dressed for the day.

"Yes, well, yes, I do want to change, after I take a bath." Terrais went to the crate and pulled out what she thought would be fitting, for the rest of the day, as well as the party. "I'll be back in a little while." Terrais did not give Varia a chance to accompany her. She wanted to distance herself. She didn't like the way she had been awakened. She felt, in some way, that she had been unfaithful. She knew she hadn't, but it still did not set well with her.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Varia, Terrais, Gabrielle and Eve ate together and then trained with some new Amazon warriors. Eve visited the sick and injured. She had a particular gift for healing and she enjoyed it. Terrais began to relax. Varia seemed to back off somewhat, but never left her alone for any length of time. Preparations for the party began just after supper and Terrais was looking forward to letting loose.

Gabrielle, on the other hand, wondered what Varia was up to. She saw Varia openly flirting with Terrais. It was as if Terrais didn't even see it. But, Gabrielle had seen it and she didn't like it. Besides, something wasn't right. This was more than an old friend realizing she had feelings. It was as if Varia was doing it intentionally, in front of Gabrielle. Gabrielle didn't understand, but she would keep a close eye on Varia.

As the evening progressed, everyone was partaking of the wine and having a good time. Terrais sat mostly with Gabrielle, occasionally going to say hello to an old friend. Gabrielle started to relax, with help from the wine and good company. Varia kept her distance for the better part of the party. Terrais was openly flirting with Gabrielle, in front of her friends. Gabrielle felt much more secure. Eve seemed to be enjoying herself, as well, talking with the Amazons, watching people dance, and having a good time.

Gabrielle and Terrais sat at the table, engrossed in conversation with friends, when Gabrielle saw Varia slowly approaching from the side. Gabrielle noticed that Varia was drinking rather heavily this evening, something she had never before seen Varia do. Just prior to this, Gabrielle felt Terrais slide her hand up her bare leg to rest on her thigh. Gabrielle couldn't wipe the smile off her face. Terrais continued to trace small circles, slowly inching her way up Gabrielle's leg.

Once the conversation concluded and her friends left the table, she leaned over to Gabrielle, "Are you having a good time?" Terrais softly whispered in Gabrielle's ear.

"Yes, are you?" Gabrielle shivered at the touch of Terrais' tongue.

"Yes, but I think I'm ready to find a more secluded place." Terrais smiled and continued to rub Gabrielle's thigh.

Before Gabrielle could answer, Varia stepped in front of them, "Hey guys. Great party, huh? Hey, Gabrielle, do you mind if I borrow Terrais for a few minutes? I want to show her something."

Gabrielle looked up at Varia to see if she could tell her intention. It was difficult to determine what Varia wanted, but Gabrielle knew she had no right to keep Terrais from her friend, "Of course not." Gabrielle looked at Terrais, "I'll be right here keeping the bench warm." Gabrielle winked at Terrais.

Terrais didn't want to leave at the moment, at least not without Gabrielle. But she knew Varia, if she didn't do what she wanted, she wouldn't leave them alone. Terrais stood and followed Varia away from the table. Varia led Terrais behind a hut that just blocked Gabrielle's view. Gabrielle wondered what could be so interesting behind a hut at this time of night.

"What is it you wanted to show me Varia?" Terrais had no idea where they were going.

Varia stopped, turned and positioned Terrais so that her back was to the hut, "I want to share something with you. It's important to me." Varia, who was about five inches taller than Terrais, bent down and ran her hand along Terrais' jaw, "You know, I have desired you for some time now, Terrais." Varia continued to touch Terrais' face sensually.

Terrais couldn't believe this, not from her, "Varia, you know you're my best friend. This is not what we are meant to be." Terrais was feeling very uncomfortable.

"How do you know? You haven't given us a chance. I know I could satisfy your needs ... if you just let me." Varia bent down and placed her lips over Terrais'.

Terrais was shocked, initially, by Varia's actions. She couldn't believe this was happening. She realized she had to stop this. Varia had the wrong idea. Terrais moved her head away, "No, Varia. This isn't what I want. I don't feel the same for you." Terrais placed her hands on Varia's upper chest, preparing to push her away.

Gabrielle watched shadows from behind the hut and it seemed the two had become one. Her curiosity drove her to stand and slowly walk to the back of the hut. As she turned the corner, she froze, hardly able to believe what she was seeing. Varia had Terrais pushed up against the wall, their legs intertwined in Terrais'. Terrais had her hands on Varia's chest. Varia then moved Terrais' hands until they were both cupping her breasts. A loud, satisfied moan escaped Varia's throat. At the same time, Varia had pushed Terrais' head back, kissing her neck. Gabrielle didn't need to see any more. She quickly turned and ran to her hut.

As Varia moved Terrais' hands to her breasts, she moaned loudly. Terrais was dumbfounded. She finally realized she would have to stop this, forcefully and now. She pushed Varia away and stood straight up. Varia stood there, meeting her gaze evenly. Terrais was breathing heavily, not from excitement, but anger. She had not seen Gabrielle witness the two, but Varia had. She knew Gabrielle couldn't resist wondering what was going on behind this hut. She had banked on it. Her plan had worked.

"I don't know what you think you're doing, but if you ever do that again, I'll will knock your head off." Terrais seethed with anger.

Varia stood still, knowing she had pushed too far. There would never again be such closeness between them. She had succeeded in part of Ares' plan, she had gotten Gabrielle to believe they were together, but she didn't know how she would get her to Ares' temple. She would worry about that tomorrow. Tonight she needed some space to think about what she had just done to her best friend, "Look. I can't help myself. You're so adorable. And we've always been so close. I just thought you would want someone who cared for you to be your first."

Terrais paced for a moment, trying to calm down before she spoke. "Look, Varia. You've been playing some kind of game since I came into the camp. I have never given you any indication that I wanted our relationship to change. And you know how I feel about Gabrielle. I shared that with you from the beginning. Are you blind? Couldn't you see we were all over each other this evening? Now, why in the world would I be with Gabrielle that way one minute and make out with you the next?" Terrais knew Varia was not this dense.

"I thought you were just trying to make Gabrielle feel less lonely. She did just lose her lover." Varia was becoming frustrated. This was not ending the way she had hoped.

"I told you, they weren't lovers. Gabrielle has not had a female lover, and quite frankly, I was hoping to be her first, and have her as mine. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going back to her and try to forget this ever happened." Terrais turned the corner, not allowing Varia to respond.

Terrais walked back to the bench she had shared with Gabrielle, unable to find her anywhere. Finally, she found Eve talking to one of the Amazons, "Hey, Eve, do you know where Gabrielle went?"

Eve smiled up to Terrais, "I saw her take off toward our hut. She seemed to be in a big hurry."

Terrais had a horrible thought, "Had she been over by that hut before she went to her's?"

"I'm not sure." Eve looked to the Amazon to see if she could say.

The younger Amazon confirmed Terrais' worst thought, "Yeah, she looked like she was going to take off back behind that hut, when she suddenly came from behind it and took off toward Eve's hut."

Terrais gaped, not knowing what to say. Finally, she reached out and touched Eve's arm, "Eve, could you please give Gabrielle and I a little time before you come back to the hut?"

Eve's smile widened, "Sure, I'm not ready to turn in yet. Take your time."

With that, Terrais took off toward the hut. Surely, Gabrielle had seen her push Varia away. She couldn't think that she would be so cruel as to touch her and then be with someone else. With all that Gabrielle has been through, Terrais reasoned anything was possible.

Terrais slowed and walked to the hut. She lightly knocked on the door, but received no answer. Finally, she tried the hook and the door opened. As she entered, she saw Gabrielle sitting on a cot, her head in her hands. "Gabrielle."

"Terrais, this really isn't a good time." Gabrielle sniffled. Terrais realized Gabrielle was crying.

"I'm not sure what you think you saw, but you have to believe me, I do not want Varia." Terrais started to approach Gabrielle, but she sensed tension. She decided to stand by the table, at a safer distance.

Silence lasted for a few moments, while Gabrielle gathered her thoughts. Finally she spoke, "You know, this really is better. You need to come back to your home. All we would ever do is run around Greece and get into trouble. Plus, it appears I'm always going to have a certain God of War chasing after me." Gabrielle stood. She had already packed her bags to leave.

Terrais couldn't believe this was happening. She had finally found what she wanted, admitted to herself, as well as others, and now it was about to walk out the door. She felt desperate. Then her anger, previously reserved for Varia returned, "Gabrielle, you can't tell me what is good or bad for me. I'm a grown person. I can take care of myself. I want to be with you, not Varia, or anyone else. Don't you see that? I'm sorry that you saw Varia come on to me, but you obviously didn't see me push her away. I don't want her. I want you."

Gabrielle paced in front of the table. She was so confused. Could what she had seen not been what she thought? It didn't matter, this was best for Terrais, "It's okay. Whatever there is between you and Varia, it's best that I go on my way." Gabrielle picked up her bag

Terrais fairly shook with anger. Now, not only was she angry with Varia for causing this confusing mess, but now she was mad at Gabrielle for not fighting. "Gabrielle, damn it. This is something that you have to fight for. You've done this all your life. You've put what you thought was best for others before you. It's okay to be selfish once in a while. Fight for it, fight for me."

It wasn't in Gabrielle's nature to fight for something selfishly, "Staying here is what is best for you, not being with me."

Terrais had had enough, "Oh, right, it's best for me. Was it best for you to leave your home village to be with Xena? You were nothing more than a little village girl traveling all over Greece with some ex-warlord. If you would have stayed home, you wouldn't have experienced all those terrible events. You wouldn't have almost died in Thessali, you wouldn't have been turned into a bacchae, you wouldn't have been raped and infested with some demon child that you later had to kill, more than once. You wouldn't have fallen in a lava pit, been crucified, fought heaven and hell, been chased by all of the Olympian Gods, frozen for 25 years, and lived without a truly intimate relationship for most of your adult life." By now Terrais was yelling.

Gabrielle was stunned.. How did Terrais know all of these awful things? She had divulged small parts of her past, but not most of these. Some weren't even in her scrolls. "I don't want you to be hurt, or worse, killed, because you're with me." Gabrielle again began to cry.

"That's a chance I choose to take, just like you did. Because, if you hadn't left the village with Xena, you wouldn't have met any of your Amazon sisters, you wouldn't have become Queen, you wouldn't have met all of the friends you've had over the years, and you wouldn't have had Eve in your life. You see, there is a price to pay for everything. And I want to take those chances, by your side." Terrais was calming down, but she wasn't finished, "But, you have to fight for it. I think I'm worth it. You have to fight for what you want. For the first time in your life, put yourself first. I want what you want, so really it will be for both of us." Terrais took a few small steps toward Gabrielle. She raised her chin, "But you have to fight. I've made it clear to you that I don't want anyone else. I want you. Don't you see...?" Terrais thought she should say this before she lost her nerve, "I'm falling in love with you. This is not just physical. This is all-encompassing. But it won't come easily. Loving me, and my loving you, will come with a price. We just don't know what that will be." Terrais let go of Gabrielle and turned away. She quietly exited the hut, leaving Gabrielle to think.

End of part 4

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