Sweet Home Part 1
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
As always Xena, Gabby and the gang arenít mine. They belong to MCA/Universal. This story is however mine and itís just for recreation. If the idea of two women in love (who show their affection explicitly and use some Ďnaughtyí words in the process) offends you please move on. Same rule applies if love is illegal where you live or if youíre too young.
is the third story in the ĎHomecomingí
series. I behoove you to read the first two in the proper
order before proceeding into this one. I must warn you this
story is unlike any in the series so far. This one is
definitely a Ďcookie and hot chocolateí story since it's
angsty, but Iím hoping it will be worth the ride. Also,
a special thanks to Meluu for her poetry. Iím not a poet and
I wanted our loverís thoughts to be on paper for the reader
to see. She makes a wonderful Gabrielle and/or Xena
and Gabby see an amazon marriage councilor when things get
rocky as Zagreus' army
As always e-mail any comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I refuse to answer Ďhate mailí of a prejudice nature but I will reply to any and all constructive comments. As always, thanks for reading.
Home Sweet Home Part 1 of 2
Xena stood knee-high in the
water. Her ear crooked toward the surface. She should have
been back to camp minutes ago but dinner still eluded her.
Actually, the fish were present but her concentration
wasnít. Gabrielle filled her thoughts.
Their honeymoon five years
before was electrifying to say the least Ė of course that
was after they Ďunloadedí the wagon, taking their families
back home. They decided to finally take advantage of
Cleopatraís offer of visiting Egypt. Cleo was disappointed
that Xena was Ďtakení, but she kept her promise of
honoring the warrior. Feasts were prepared for every meal and
they were given royal quarters overlooking the Nile.
Xena reflected on making
love to Gabrielle on the silk sheets unsure of where the
bedding ended and the bard's body began. Both were soft and
luscious to the touch.
But that was five years ago.
She couldnít remember the last time she and the bard were
intimate. And the smile that accompanied the honeymoon memory
vanished as quickly as it came. It was times like these, when
she was alone, that she could feel the pain of the growing
distance between them the most.
At first, it was just
bickering Ė nothing more. Soon, however, it became more
frequent and more heated. Where to stay, when to eat or even
something as trivial as the weather was cause for debate. For
the first time in her life, Xena felt incompetent. She felt
her list of many skills dwindling each day in the bardís
Xena shook her head, trying
to clear her thoughts and get down to the business at hand.
Within seconds, she had two perch and then two more. She
promptly strung them and headed to camp.
Slowly, she made her way to
the fire pit and the writing bard. Gabrielle looked up from
her scroll as she heard Xena approach. Xena suddenly felt cold
as icy green looked with cerulean blue. She knelt by the fire
and began the task of cleaning her catch.
"Weíve got perch
tonight," Xena commented conversationally.
"Too bad they werenít
here half a candlemark when I was hungry," the bard
remarked. "What took so long?"
Xenaís back was to
Gabrielle and she closed her eyes against the harshness of the
"When are you not
hungry?" the warrior mumbled softly, in defense.
"I heard that,"
Gabrielle replied. The smile was devoid from her voice. Tartarus,
Xena cursed silently. Whenís the last time I even saw her
"Iím sorry. Iím
just on edge," the warrior offered, not wanting to argue.
She dropped the fish into the frying pan and Gabrielle put
down her scroll.
"Here," the bard
said, moving to her feet. "Go sharpen your sword or
something. Iíd like the food to be edible."
Xena turned and hoped upon
hope there would be a teasing grin on the bard's face. Once
again, she was disappointed. Gabrielle settled inches away
from Xena with fork in hand. Xena watched the bardís face,
but Gabrielle refused to look her way. She could feel Xenaís
stare, wondering what was going through the warriorís mind.
finally asked, still looking into the frying pan.
Although being a woman who
was rarely surprised, Xena felt taken aback by the one word
question, unsure of how to answer.
Xena finally asked softly.
bard answered shortly.
Xena threw her hands up in
frustration. "Thanks for the standard reply," Xena
said, rising from the ground.
Gabrielle shook her head and
bit her bottom lip. "And just what is that supposed to
mean?!" she snapped before looking at her wife, her
bondmate, her Ďformerí lover.
"You always say itís
nothing," Xena replied with her hands firmly on her hips.
"Every time I ask whatís bothering you, you never
point?" Gabrielle said frustrated.
point?!" Xena exclaimed. "The point is: After all
weíve been through; after everything it took to be together,
we canít seem to do anything to KEEP it together!"
ridiculous!" Gabrielle darted to her feet as she
continued. "We are together! Iím still HERE, arenít
countered, her voice growing softer. "Youíre
here," she said motioning to the woods around them,
"but youíre not here," she concluded placing her
hand over her heart.
Gabrielle sighed in
"I donít know what
more you want," she said taking a seat in front of the
"For starters, making
love would be nice," Xena answered hotly, her anger
rising again. "Can you remember the last time? Because I
answered swiftly pulling the green tunic off as she stood up.
She darted to her belt and began to work on her skirt until
Xenaís voice stopped her.
whispered, trying to stay calm. She felt many emotions and
arousal wasnít one of the them; neither anger nor rage. All
she felt was hurt and sorrow; cold and hollow.
"But I thought this is
what you wanted, Xena," the bard said sarcastically.
"Oh, Iím sorry! Did you want to do the honors?"
she added with just as much acidity in her voice.
Xena gave up and turned,
heading back toward the river. As she walked, the tears began
to fall down her beautiful cheeks and she picked up her pace.
Gabrielle waited until Xena was out of sight. Only then did
she collapse to the ground in her own sorrow, shaking
A couple of candlemarks
later the fish lay uneaten in some nearby bushes and Gabrielle
lay in their sleeping roll alone. How could she tell Xena what
was wrong? She, herself didnít know the answer. Her anger;
her frustration ran deep with no explanation as to why. It was
roughly a year ago when she began to feel restless. But lately
things had gotten worse. Much worse.
She no longer felt the
magnetic attraction to Xena she once had. There was a time
when she could just glance at the warrior and feel her heart
rate double. Lately, every time her eyes fell on Xena she had
an overwhelming sensation to use the warriorís body for
staff practice. It left the bard feeling guilty, and above all
else, sad. She knew she loved Xena. She did. But she found
herself lashing out at her at every opportunity. And that fact
made the bard feel worthless as a wife and a human being.
perked up as she heard the rustling. Quickly, she sat up,
noting the warrior's return. Xena noticed the bard was still
awake. She stopped in her tracks, unsure of what to do. Should
she lay down and try to sleep or should she go back into the
forest? Gabrielleís voice, soft and fearful, made her
"Please come to
bed," Gabrielle whispered.
Xena nodded once and walked
over, removing her armor along the way. Cautiously, she
climbed under the furs, next to the bard. They laid
side-by-side and said nothing.
Gabrielle cleared her throat
just a tad and softly asked, "Will you hold me?"
Xena shifted and offered her
shoulder which the bard quietly snuggled into.
Xena," Gabrielle confessed. "I know you donít
understand whatís happening between us and I donít
understand it myself. I... I..."
Xena kissed the bard on the
top of the head and pulled her closer.
"I love you, Gabrielle.
I always will... Maybe you just need some time away to think
about what you want."
"What do you
mean?" Gabrielle asked, the concern ringing in her voice.
"What are you saying? Do you want to separate?"
"No. I donít want to
separate," Xena replied. "But youíre not happy
here with me. Iíd rather let you go than to cause you
"You donít want
me?" Gabrielle asked, moving to look in Xenaís eyes.
"No," Xena said
firmly. "I committed myself to you for the rest of my
life and I meant it when I said I would have no other... Oh,
Gabrielle... all I ever wanted was your happiness... and if
being happy means I have to walk away then I will... It would
hurt terribly but I love you that much. Do you
Gabrielle nodded and began
"That sounds like a
beautiful plan... that is, of course, if thatís what I
"What do you
want?" Xena asked softly.
"That's just it, I
donít know," Gabrielle replied, starting to tear up,
the weep just as heavy as the frustration in her voice.
"But I do know I donít want to leave you and I donít
want you to leave me."
replied pulling the bard back down to her shoulder.
"Itís okay." After a few minutes, Gabrielle seemed
to relax and a thought occurred to the warrior. "Perhaps
we should go to the amazons?" Xena offered. "Itís
been quite awhile since we visited them. You can catch up with
Lila. I could do some sparing with Ephiny... Maybe they might
have some advice."
"How are they going to
help us?" Gabrielle asked still frustrated. But unlike
times past, she noticed the harshness in it immediately.
"What I mean is-."
"I know what you
mean," Xena giggled at the bard. Sheís making an
effort. Xena grinned. "All Iím saying is maybe
weíre just too close to this situation to see a solution.
Itís like these woods, for example. Sitting here you canít
see the forest because weíre surrounded by it. But atop that
ridge today, we did see it. We had a different
"So in other
words," the bard said thinking, resting on her elbows,
"we canít see the forest for the trees?"
commended. "You and I are so close to our problems that
we are unable to see them... Letís go back to the amazons.
Letís try to find a different perspective."
Gabrielle smiled. "I
think youíve got a wonderful idea."
Xenaís heart beamed and
she basked in the glow of Gabrielleís smile. But she
wondered how long it would last and felt her own smile fall.
Gabrielle quirked her head as if to ask what was the matter.
But Xena simply smiled again and shook off the unasked
question, bringing the bard to her bosom again. "I love
you, Gabrielle," she whispered.
"I love you too,
Xena," was Gabrielleís reply. Minutes later, with a
plan in tact, the couple fell asleep.
Apollo began to make his
first appearance over the ridge giving the warrior enough
light to begin quietly collecting their belongs. As Xena
returned from washing the cookware, she noticed the bard still
slept. She packed the saddlebag in silence, half watching the
slumbering bard. When she walked over to Argo, Xena noticed
the scroll that lay next to the bard.
After returning from the
mare, Xena stopped and looked at the roll of parchment. Slowly
she walked over and knelt next to the sleeping bard. Donít
do it, Xena told herself. Her actions, however betrayed
her mind and she soon found her fingers unrolling the scroll;
her eyes scanning the ink.
Gods, how long has it been?
I canít even remember how
No lingering memories of it
Yet I know I was there once...
I must have felt it all
The nervous moments, the
Blushing as our eyes met and
The wonderfully suffocating
Never enough time to say it
Always finding a reason to
Everything was fresh,
Fought sleep couldnít bear
You feel complete, a little
You speak sentences with
just a look...
You now say "we"
Giving to your love becomes
The laughter comes so easily
The tears just as quickly
Emotions so near the surface
Being apart is too much pain...
It must have been like that
... to be in love...
But... I just canít
It was too long ago.
Quietly, Xena re-rolled the
scroll and laid it beside the bard again. Sheís no longer
in love with me. Xena found it difficult to breathe. She
wanted to shake the bard awake, burn the parchment on the
campfire and, while she was at, perhaps raid and loot an
innocent, defenseless town. Well, maybe not the last one,
the warrior reassessed with a dismal grin. But a good
tavern brawl might work out some frustrations.
And the warrior realized
thatís what the real issue was Ė her frustration.
Something was driving a wedge between the pair, so much so
that Gabrielle felt complied to put it on paper; declaring
that she was no longer in love with the warrior. Xena knew
Gabrielle loved her, but that euphoric feeling of
enlightenment was absent. She decided it wouldnít return
anytime soon if the bard realized Xena had gone through her
personal things. In that instant, Xena felt guilty, perhaps
more guilty than she had felt in her life. And that was saying
a lot given the warriorís brutal past.
Xena put the scrolls in
Gabrielleís bag quietly and resumed picking up the camp. All
that was soon left was the bedroll, which the bard still made
good use of. She started to mumble and Xena walked over to
listen, hoping for any clue has to the bard's behavior of the
several past months. But nothing distinguishable came from the
bard, so the warrior decided to snuggle back into the bed
rolls close to her wife.
whispered. "You need to wake up. If weíre going to make
it to the amazons by this evening, we have to get
moving." When that didnít do anything, but manage a
grumbled protest, Xena knew something that would work.
"Are you hungry? I collected some strawberries this
"Huh?" the bard
said sleepily, beginning to rise. "Strawberries?"
she asked with a yawn.
Xena smiled. "Thought
that would get ya movin," Xena replied, reaching behind
her. She pulled a berry from the food pouch they always
carried and offered it to the bard. "Theyíre really
sweet, just the way you like them."
Gabrielle took a bite from
Xenaís fingers and both women felt a jolt that neither had
experienced in weeks Ė sexual arousal. Both women examined
each other as Gabrielle chewed wondering if the feelings were
only one sided.
"Could I have
another?" Gabrielle asked after swallowing.
Xena found herself fumbling
with the bag before successfully retrieving another one. Oh
yes. She felt it too. Gabrielle grinned briefly, before
Xena could catch her. This time, as Gabrielle went for the
fruit, her tongue played with the tip before she brought it
into her mouth. Xena expelled a whimpering sigh of desire. As
Gabrielle finished the second berry, the warrior found her
"Would you like
another?" Xena asked, doing her damnedest to keep her
Gabrielle nodded and watched
the warriorís movements. She had forgotten how much she
loved watching Xena move and the shy, reserved side she was
seeing from the warrior excited her even more.
This time when Gabrielle was
offered the fruit, she held onto Xenaís hand with both of
her hands. She lightly ran her fingertips across the
warriorís hands, traveling to the wrist. All the while, she
nibbled on the berry taking little bites and swallowing
quickly. When she worked her way to the end, her lips
continued up nipping along to the warriorís wrist.
Xena closed her eyes as her
free hand found the back of the bard's head, stroking her hair
affectionately. Xena honestly couldnít remember when they
had been this tender with each other. She could feel her
desire, her passion growing stronger by the second. She had
the overwhelming sensation of throwing the bard to the bed
rolls, showering her with velvet kisses and long, deep
caresses that came from the very bottom of her soul.
Xena steadied her breathing
and pulled away. No. Xena told herself. Not until we
find out whatís wrong.
Gabrielle opened her eyes
and looked up to see what brought on Xenaís need to depart
her hand. The bard's eyes questioned Xena silently.
"If we keep enjoying
breakfast, Iím going to end up taking you." Xena grinned,
hoping to keep the conversation light, "... and I donít
want that. I mean I do," Xena added quickly. "I just...
Itís that... Oh Tartarus, Gabrielle... I want a better
understanding of whatís bother us. Know what Iím sayin'?"
Gabrielle grinned but the
disappointment hung in her eyes. "Yes. I know what
youíre saying, Xena... but you gotta admit... it felt
Xena smiled. "No
arguments here." Her fingertips began to caress the bard's
cheek. "Itís still here -- that spark," Xena
whispered. "We just have to find out why it stays dormant
for so long."
Gabrielle whispered, moving into the warrior's arms.
"Even if it kills me."
"Well, I wonít let it
come to that." Xena grinned. "Weíve gotta get moving, Beautiful."
They had walked together,
side by side for the last two candlemarks with Argo in tow,
behind them. They felt fortunate to have the full moon to
guide them through the darkness. They stopped when they got to
the familiar patch of trees.
ladies." Gabrielle smiled.
Suddenly the ropes fell and
soon they were surrounded by the masked women. As usual,
Solari was the first to pull up her disguise. The queen and
the amazon warrior embraced hard and long.
"How are you two?"
Solari asked, gripping Xenaís arm in greetings.
"Weíve missed you, ya know?" she added before
turning to the runner with a nod.
"How are things around
here?" Gabrielle said to be friendly on one hand, and
evasive on the other.
actually," Solari replied as they began to walk. "Ephiny
is planning the summer festival for when the final troops
"Yeah, I heard Ephiny
sent them to King Licieus kingdom. What was that all
"Slavers had taken an
entire town and I mean an ENTIRE town. His kingdom was next,
but our warriors put a stop to it. He traded us grain last
year when that flood destroyed most of our crops. Ephiny
thought it was only fair since he helped us. Hopefully, they
will be arriving this week."
"Guess they put an end
to the raiders, huh?" Xena asked.
"Our best and
bravest." Solari grinned.
"I thought you were one
of the best and bravest, Solari," the warrior teased.
"What are you doing still here?"
Solari smiled at the good
natured ribbing. "I have commitments to consider back at
"Lila wouldnít let ya
leave, huh?" the warrior replied.
chuckled. "And in truth I donít mind. What do I want
with trampling around the countryside, fighting in a kingdom
that isnít mine, for a bunch of people I donít know when I
can come home in the evening to a beautiful daughter and a
warm wife in a warm bed... Nah," Solari concluded.
"I like being settled."
"You sound like your
getting old," Xena joked.
"Not old Ė just
mature," Solari countered. "Anyway, howís your mom
and Taria doing?" Solari added changing the subject.
"Good. We saw them...
three months ago?" Xena asked, her eyes looking to
Gabrielle for clarification.
that," Gabrielle added. "They seemed quite happy. A
lot thinner too. Xena thought perhaps they were sick, but
Cyrene explained it as getting Ďa lot of exerciseí."
Gabrielle couldnít contain her giggle at the end.
"Is that so?"
Solari replied with a sly grin. "Gotta look out for those
insatiable women of Amphipolis," the amazon warrior added
with a wink to the bard.
Gabrielle replied diplomatically.
As they neared the village,
Xena reached for Gabrielleís hand. It was something the
warrior hadnít done in a long time. She realized they need
to put on a Ďcouplelyí air for the Ďvillage folkí as
Xena sometimes teased them. Lila and Ephiny waited outside the
royal hut and everyone was greeted warmly.
"Weíre having your
quarters prepared." Ephiny informed them. "Itís
late, I know, but weíll be done shortly. Would you like to
take a walk to the mess hall and get some food."
"Actually, Iíd like
to catch up with Lila, if you donít mind Ephí. Iím sure
Xena wouldnít mind a drink. The waterskinís been empty for
the last two candlemarks."
Ephiny was a bright woman.
Not only was she good at being a warrior, but she could read
people extremely well which made her an effective
nodded. "Shall we go then, Xena?"
answered. "Iíll see ya later tonight?" the warrior
asked the bard.
Gabrielle answered sharply. She noticed the tone and softened
a bit. "Iíll be in the hut or at Lilaís."
They paused a moment summing
each other up and trying to decide how to part company.
Awkwardly, Xena approached Gabrielle and the bard offered her
cheek at the last moment, instead of her lips, for the
"Letís go," Xena
said to Ephiny as she went toward the mess hall. Ephiny
watched Gabrielle as the bard studied the warrior for a
moment. Something's not right, Ephiny concluded. Not
right at all. She jogged a few steps to catch up with the
warrior, her curiosity running rampant in her mind.
"You okay?" Lila asked
as she watched Gabrielle closely examining her wife and regent
as they walked.
answered honestly. "Iím not." With that, they
walked to the princessí quarters.
Xena grabbed some grapes and
water before taking a seat, with Ephiny close on her heels.
"So what was all that
about?" the regent asked.
"What do you
mean?" Xena asked casually.
"That ever so warm
departure," Ephiny replied. "You and Gabrielle have
a fight on the way in," she added with concern.
"Actually, no." Xena grinned
for show. It was useless, however, because Ephiny saw through
it. "The last day has been pretty quiet by
what," Ephiny prodded.
Xena played with her grapes
for a moment, reluctant at first.
"About a year ago, not
long after we were here last, things began to change.
Gabrielle and I... "
Xena didnít quite know
what to tell the regent. Ephiny waited a moment before
"What?" the blonde
it," Xena replied with frustration. "I donít know
what happened... We rarely talk anymore. Everything is an
argument. I canít do anything to please her... I know
sheís unhappy but she tells me she doesnít know why."
"Do you believe
that?" Ephiny interrupted.
"Yes... I do now...
This morning while she slept I looked at the scroll she was
working on before our fight last night. I know I shouldnít
have, but I need to know if she was hiding something from
"What did it say?"
Xena began to play with the
grapes again. "Sheís not in love with me anymore,"
the warrior whispered.
Ephiny could hear so much in
the quiet admission Ė hurt, anger, fear. She was a bit
surprised the warrior had been so open with her. She reached
across the table and took a firm grasp on Xenaís now shaking
"Itís okay," Ephiny
stated firmly, holding the warrior's hand tighter. "You
and Gabrielle will get through this. Thereís no such thing
as happily ever after, Xena. It takes work and you and
Gabrielle... " the regent said beginning to grin.
"Letís say youíre both very determined and like to
see things through... I know youíll see this through."
Xena began to shake her
head. "I donít know if thatís true Ephí. I mean...
I donít even know where to begin."
Ephiny thought for a moment.
"Terris!" she exclaimed quietly. "Thatís what
you and Gabrielle should do! Go see Terris."
princess?" Xena asked.
"No. Not THAT Terris.
The village healer."
Xena considered the reasons
as to why she would need a healer. When she came up empty, she
decided to inquire Ephiny further about the suggestion, but
the regent was one step ahead of her.
"She doesnít just
care for physical healing but spiritual healing too. She can
be very helpful in mending the heart. You should strongly
consider it," Ephiny implored.
Ephiny finally saw Xenaís
first genuine grin of the evening.
Xena said sincerely.
"Donít mention it...
Besides I owe you. I may not be with Diteria now if you
hadnít put me up to asking her out for the evening."
"Things are going well
then I take it?" Xena smiled; cheerful for her friendsí
"Yes. Weíre doing
okay," Ephiny nodded without looking too joyful. She was
still saddened by her friendsí sorrow. "Eat up," Ephiny
added as she rose. "Iím going to speak with Terris...
that is if youíd like to meet with her tomorrow."
Xena paused a moment. Would
Gabrielle be open to the idea? She wasnít sure but she
decided that she would go even if Gabrielle wouldnít and she
politely nodded to Ephiny an approval.
"Good." the regent
smiled. "Now try to get some rest. I expect you on the
practice field bright and early," she added with a smirk.
"I got 10 dinars that says I can drop you with a staff
before you can drop me."
The sly, mischievous look
returned to Xenaís eyes and lips.
"Youíre on," she
Meanwhile, Gabrielle and
Lila were in her royal hut. It wasnít as large as
Gabrielleís, but it had bathing facilities and an extra room
like the queenís quarters.
"Sheís gotten so
big!" Gabrielle exclaimed softly as Lilaís daughter
waddled to her mama.
"Yeah. She has,"
Lila said helping the child to her lap. "She was just
learning to sit on her own when you were last here."
"Can I hold her?"
answered. "Do you wanna go see Aunt Gabby? Come on,
Sugar," she whispered rising with the baby in her arms.
Lila and Gabrielle met in
the center of the room and they waited a few moments letting
the child get familiar with the stranger. Sensing her mother's
comfort, the child moved for Gabrielleís now open arms.
precious?" Gabrielle cooed. The child smiled and snuggled
into the bard's shoulder. "Maybe a little sleepy too,
huh? Itís late, isnít it angel? Itís past your auntís
bedtime too," Gabrielle giggled.
The bard took a seat in a
nearby rocking chair and cuddled the bundle in her arms.
"Sheís got moms' eyes," Gabrielle smiled to her
"And her Auntís
defiant nature," Lila teased.
"Are you sure she
doesnít get that from her mama?" Gabrielle countered.
right," Lila admitted. "Solari can be pretty pig
headed at times."
Gabrielle chuckled and
kissed her niece on the top of her head. "Your mamaís
silly," she told the young one in her arms.
Lila studied her sister, and
after a few moments, Gabrielle could hear the silence and felt
her sisters' eyes upon her. "What?" Gabrielle asked
"Are you gonna tell me
whatís up with you and Xena?" Lila asked. "I mean,
Iím assuming thatís what the problemís concerning."
"Itís more me than, Xena,"
Gabrielle offered. "She tries... I try too but... "
"Iím not sure I
understand, Gabrielle," she confessed after a brief
Gabrielle sighed and rested
her cheek on her niecesí head. "I love her, Lila. I do
but... something is missing. I donít feel complete anymore.
I donít know how to explain it... Xena was patient for a
long time but her patience is wearing out. She suggested we
come here. Maybe find out whatís wrong."
Lila nodded. "Sounds
like a good plan. In fact, our healer Terris is wonderful at
talking to couples. After I gave birth to Ruth it was
difficult for Solari and I to have time for ourselves and
Iíll admit, it started to take itís toll on us... But
Terris gave us some wonderful ideas. Sheís been a great
asset to this village. Sheís mended everything from broken
arms to broken hearts. Maybe you should see her."
"I donít know,"
Gabrielle replied. "I donít know if Xena would be
willing to talk about things with someone she doesnít know...
Tartarus, it took years for me to get her to open up to
Lila pursed her lips for a
moment. "Give her a chance, Gabrielle. She may surprise
Gabrielle considered her
sisters comments. She looked down to find the toddler now
asleep. "I think sheís got the right idea,"
Gabrielle told her sister, feeling her own lids growing heavy
"Go get some
rest," Lila advised as she picked up her daughter from
her sisters arms. "Weíll talk some more in the morning
if you like."
Gabrielle rose and they
kissed. "Thanks for the ear sisí," Gabrielle
called as she moved toward the door.
replied. "Just think about Terris, okay?"
Gabrielle nodded. "Good night, Lila."
With that the bard left and
made her way back to her hut. When she entered she found the
guards on post at the front door.
"Is Xena back
yet?" she asked.
"Yes. Your highness.
She just returned minutes ago."
"Thank you," she
replied. "You two can take the night off. Weíll be
"As you wish," the
nearest guard said with a nod as the pair made their
departure. She slipped in the door to find Xena standing by
the bed naked. She couldnít help but smile. The warm gesture
made Xena smile as well.
"Just getting ready for
bed," the warrior replied as she pulled a shift over her
head, covering her slops and curves from the bardís eyes.
Gabrielle moved and took a seat on the bed pulling her boots
Xena walked over and handed
Gabrielle a clean shift. "Here you go," she said
Gabrielle whispered, locking eyes with the dark-haired
warrior. "I know I havenít said it much lately, but...
I still think youíre the most gorgeous woman Iíve ever
Xena grinned and took a seat
next to Gabrielle.
Beautiful" she whispered, pushing Gabrielleís hair
behind her ear. "Youíre not so bad yourself," she
added with a smile. Gabrielle smiled too, but Xena could feel
the bardís tension so she rose. "Iím going to get a
drink while you get changed. Did you want anything?"
"No, Iím okay,"
Gabrielle replied, allowing herself to breath again.
Xena nodded and picked up
the waterskin on the way out to the well. When she returned, Gabrielle
was dressed and already under the covers.
"Itís cold out there
tonight," Xena mentioned. She took a drink of the cool
water as she walked over to the bed. "Would you like
some?" Xena offered.
Gabrielle reached without
comment as she sat up. The water was very cool and clean.
After several gulps she handed it back to Xena. The warrior
shook it, noticing it was nearly gone. "Yeah!" she
joked in good nature. "You drank all my water!"
replied sharply. "Give me the skin and Iíll get you
"I was only kidding, Gabrielle,"
the warrior replied, sounding wounded, as she climbed into the
bed next to the bard.
Gabrielle closed her eyes.
"Iím sorry," she whispered. "Iíve seemed to
have lost my sense of humor, huh?"
Xena and the bard examined
each other without comment for a short while. "Things are
real... delicate... I should just watch what I say. Itís my
"No, itís not,"
Gabrielle countered. "You just made an innocent comment
in the spirit of fun and I jumped down your throat!"
"Kinda like now,"
the warrior answered with a growing smile.
Gabrielle started to feel
angry, but the longer she looked at Xenaís smile, the more
the sensation of rage died down and she found herself with a
small smirk on her face. She promptly picked up her pillow and
hit the smiling warrior. Xena returned fire with her own
bedding and soon both of them were swinging and swatting;
laughing and bouncing.
Xena stole Gabrielleís
pillow and sent it across the room. She swiftly caught the
bard by the arms and pinned her to bed, leaning over her.
Their eyes were shining with playful tenderness and the more
the two women locked eyes the more the smiles faded.
It had been so long since
they actually Ďplayedí with each other, but instead of
mourning the last few months, Xena began to smile again
enjoying the moment they had right now. Gabrielle reached up
and stroked Xenaís face tenderly.
The warrior closed her eyes
against the gentle assault, enjoying the sensation of
Gabrielle being so affectionate. When she felt the fingertips
leave her cheek; floating down to her cleavage, she opened her
eyes again to find the look of desire burning brightly in the bard's
eyes and an unasked question.
Xena uttered one word and it
was all the bard needed.
"Yes," the warrior
said softly, releasing her hold.
Gabrielle rose up and
captured Xenaís lips with her own. The warriorís arm
slipped behind the bard's back, offering support. She had
almost forgot how soft Gabrielleís lips were and she reveled
in the sensation. As the kiss continued the warrior could feel
her wetness growing stronger between her thighs. And when the bard's
tongue punctured through her lips, Xena was unable to control
her moan of pleasure.
The sound of Xenaís
pleasure heightened the bard's arousal and her hand cupped the
back of Xenaís head, pulling her as close as possible. Her
other hand worked on the thin straps of Xenaís shift,
pushing them down to expose the velvet soft breasts to the
cool night air. The combo of the draft and Gabrielleís
kisses made her nipples erect.
The bardís lips fled from
the warrior only to return on her nipples making them harder
than before. Xena shifted until Gabrielleís back was on the
bed again. Only then did she roll onto her own back. The bard
moved with her Ė her mouth refusing to give up its prize.
"Oh Gods, Gabrielle,"
the warrior mumbled. She could feel her orgasm approaching
quickly, but she did nothing to stop it. She loved this
sensation. Needed it. Craved it for so long.
Gabrielleís thigh found
the warriorís center and both women began rocking their
hips. The bard could feel Xenaís contact and, she too, let
her want take hold of her. The feel of Xenaís nipple in her
mouth, her thigh rubbing against her wet core Ė it was
Elysia. Suddenly, she felt the need to warn the warrior.
Gabrielle whimpered. "If we keep this up... Iím not
going to be able to stop," the bard confessed in a ragged
Xena answered, her hand now gripping the back of the bard's
leg. "Donít stop," she began to repeat over and
Gabrielle reclaimed Xenaís
lips when she felt herself beginning to crest, inching higher
"By the Gods,
Xena," Gabrielle exclaimed as her back arched and her
hips jerked sporadically.
The sight of Gabrielle in
uttermost physical pleasure Ė not to mention the pounding
sensations of the bard's jarring hips Ė sent the warrior
over her edge as well.
she cried as her orgasm overtook her. Her hands locked on the
bard's hips, riding the feeling for all that she could.
Gabrielle collapsed into Xenaís shoulder as the warriorís
ripples slowly subsided.
Her joy didnít last long
however. She could feel the bardís tears on her shoulder.
Xena pulled her as close as she possibly could without
crushing the small woman.
"I love you, Gabrielle,"
Xena whispered. "With all my heart."
The bard cried openly now at
the warriorís confession. "I love you too, Xena,"
she sobbed. "But why doesnít it last. Why canít we
feel this way all the time like we once did?"
"Weíll be okay,"
Xena said trying her best to sound confident. "Weíll
find out... together." Xena thought back to her
conversation earlier with the regent. "You know Ephiny
said the healer in the village might be able to help. Iím
going to go see her tomorrow. Iíd like you to join me, but I
wonít force you if you donít want to."
Gabrielle sat on her elbow,
looking down at the warrior. Her eyes were still glassy from
her tears and Xena wiped the bard's cheeks with the back of
her finger tips. Gabrielle turned her head, lightly kissing
the fingertips. "I think thatís a wonderful idea. Lila
had mentioned it to me too... Iím ashamed to admit it, but I
told her I didnít think you would go."
said pulling the bard back to her shoulder. "Iíd go to
Tartarus and back for you."
"After these last few
months with me, Iíd say you already have," Gabrielle
replied, the depression filling her voice.
"I love you, Beautiful,"
Xena said tightening her hold. "Letís just try to
concentrate on the here and now for the time being...
Iíd always rather be with you than without you. Just try to
remember that Ďk?"
"I love you too, Xena."
With that the women snuggled
closer in each other's arms and for the first night in months
had a deep, restful sleep.
"Itís gonna bruise." Gabrielle grinned
as they sat waiting for Terris.
The warriorís red eye was
beginning to grow into purple and blue hues.
"Ephiny got lucky." Xena grinned
back at the bard.
Gabrielle laughed and shook
her head. "I donít know what Iím gonna do with the
two of you... But at least you won the bet. She fell
"Guess I shouldnít
have agreed to two outta three, huh?" Xena replied,
carefully touching the puffy eyelid.
Just then Terris walked in.
"Iím sorry to keep you wanting. One of the girls in the
dorms had a fever and Ė."
Terris stopped and looked at
the warriorís blackening eye.
"Did you do that?"
she asked Gabrielle.
Gabrielle seemed a bit
confused at first then she realized what Terris meant.
"No," she giggled.
"Her and Ephiny were on the practice field today."
"Thatís good," she smiled warmly. "Iíve
seen couples whoíve walked in looking a lot worse," she
teased. "Come on in back," she added waving the two
inside the examining room.
Obediently, Xena and
Gabrielle followed behind her in silence.
"So what brings you
here today?" she asked casually.
All three women took a seat.
Xena looked to Gabrielle, but the bard said nothing.
"We... fight... a
lot," the warrior started.
"Anything in particular?" she asked.
"No," the warrior
grinned, trying to mask her discomfort. "You name it and
weíll argue about it."
"Do you think thatís
true?" Terris asked Gabrielle.
Gabrielle nodded. "Yes,
"Why do you think that
is?" she asked the couple.
"We donít know.
Thatís why weíre here," Xena replied for the two of
Terris replied. "How does the argument usually
Gabrielle cleared her
throat. "Umm... Sometimes... Actually, most of the time,
Xena says something and I... get angry."
"What does she say that
makes you angry?" Terris asked.
"Oh, I donít know...
anything... like ĎWeíre having perch tonightí."
Terris grinned. "So
what youíre saying is anything is cause for debate?
Thereís not one subject in particular that sets of the
Gabrielle nodded again.
"What do you do when
this happens, Xena?" the healer asked.
"At first, I brushed it
off, but as the months have gone by, and itís gotten worse,
I just snap back at her."
"How do you feel when
that happens?" Terris replied.
"Worse... It hurts a
lot because I love, Gabrielle... very much."
"What about you, Gabrielle?"
the healer asked. "Do you love, Xena?"
"Yes I do,"
Gabrielle replied quietly.
"But sheís not in
love with me," Xena told Terris softly.
Gabrielle looked over at
Xena. "What do you mean?" she asked the warrior.
"Youíre not in love
with me," Xena repeated this time looking at the bard.
Gabrielle asked growing angry.
"Says you," she
replied softly. Xena realized she would have to make her
confession. "I read your scroll," she added quietly.
Gabrielle felt the flames go
to her cheeks. "You what?!"
"I didnít want
to," Xena insisted. "I had to. It was lying next to
you yesterday morning. I had to find out what was bothering
you and since you wouldnít tell me-."
"You read my scroll?!
Just because it was lying out, you think that gives you the
"It was wrong! I
know!," Xena admitted. "But I donít know what to
do anymore. I donít know how to make you happy."
"Well, going through my
private things is not the answer, Xena! How could you?!"
"I told you! I am
desperate!" Xena shouted. "I canít do anything
right at this point so what does it matter if I looked at it...
Go on! Tell her how incompetent I am!" Xena said as she
pointed to Terris.
"I never said you were
incompetent!" Gabrielle retorted just as boldly.
Xena was on her feet now and
Terris knew she had to step in.
"Okay. Okay," she
said softly, trying to calm the room down. "Letís just
relax a moment before something ends up getting broke in
here," she said with a comforting grin. "Would you
please sit down again, Xena?" the healer asked without judgment.
Quietly, the warrior complied.
No one said anything. Xena
sat with her head hung low; Gabrielle with her arms folded
across her chest.
"What are you thinking
Gabrielle?" the healer asked.
"I canít believe she
did that." Her hostility coated the words.
Xena raised her head and
looked over at the bard. "I didnít know what else to
do," the warrior sighed, on the verge of weeping.
"Iím sorry and I wonít do it again."
"Is that supposed to
make it all better?!" Gabrielle snapped. "You say
youíre sorry, so Iím supposed to say ĎOh thatís okay, Xena.
No harm doneí. Well, your wrong!... How can I trust
you when you donít trust me?"
"What do mean I donít
trust you?!" the warrior replied hotly.
Gabrielle looked at Terris,
refusing to look at Xena. "The night before, after the
latest fight, I told her I didnít know why I was feeling the
way Iíve been feeling-."
interrupted. "Tell her. Not me."
Gabrielle waited a moment
and took a deep breath before she faced Xena.
"I donít know why
things have gotten so far off track, but that wasnít enough
for you. You didnít believe me and you thought you would
find the answer in my scrolls... You didnít trust me."
Gabrielleís anger melted away replaced by her sorrow.
There were no more arguments
the warrior could offer because she knew the bard was correct
in her assessment.
Xena whispered. "I donít think I trust you."
Xena thought for a moment
unable to look at the bard any longer.
"I donít know. All I
know is that we are so far from where we started. I know
youíre not happy with me... but you wonít tell me why. You
wonít tell me what Iíve done thatís put this distance
The room grew quiet again
until Terris spoke.
"Whenís the last time
you made love?"
That got the girls attention
and they looked to Terris.
"Last night," Xena
Terris looked surprised.
"Last night?" she asked. "It was consensual,
answered offended. "I would never-."
Terris held up her hands,
bringing the warrior to a stop. "I just wanted to be
sure. With all the problems youíve been having, it just took
me for surprise that you would even want to make love."
"I love Gabrielle very
much," Xena replied. "I love Ďbeingí with
"How exactly did you
end up together last night?" Terris asked. "I mean
what happened before you made love."
Both women glanced at each
other as Gabrielle spoke.
"We had a pillow
fight," she giggled.
"A pillow fight as a
prelude to sex?" Terris grinned. "Thatís a new
Xena and Gabrielle both
smiled and chuckled.
"Nah... " Xena
began. "We were just playing. We used to play physically
with each other all the time - you know tickle fights,
Ďcatch me, catch meí... Itís been a long time since we
did something like that... All I know is I had her pinned, she
caressed me and one thing led to another."
afterward? After you made love?" Terris asked.
The smile fell from Xenaís
face. "She cried," Xena whispered.
"And let me guess how
you felt, Xena... incompetent?" the healer added.
Xena grinned briefly, but
the gesture left as soon as it had come.
"I didnít mean to
make you feel that way," Gabrielle insisted softly.
Xena looked over at
Gabrielle with a small grin.
"I know you didnít...
and I know youíre hurting too."
The room again grew silent
until Terris spoke.
"Before last night how
long had it been since you made love?"
Xena considered the
question. "A few moons, at least," she replied.
"Thatís quite a
while," Terris pointed out.
"Yes it is," the
warrior replied honestly with a nod.
When Xena didnít add more,
Terris spoke again. "May I make an observation?"
Both women nodded.
"Itís obvious to me
that you two truly care and love each other... Many
people think hate is the opposite of love, but itís not Ė
indifference is... You may argue and fight but thatís
because you still care. You havenít given up yet."
Terris stood up and walked
to the counter behind her, grabbing two scrolls.
"Iíd like you two to
do some exercises for me. Iíd like you to use these scrolls
and write down something about your relationship Ė positive,
negative; doesnít matter. The only requirement is that it
talks about how you feel. Do you think you could do
Gabrielle nodded and looked
to Xena. Xena was nodding as well and Terris handed them over
"Good. Iíd like you
to also do another exercise. Iíd like you both to be naked
for this one," the healer said as she grinned.
"Would that be a problem?"
Xena grinned. "No
she said quietly.
smiled. "I want you to touch each other Ė only
fingertips to skin. And the touching canít be sexual. You
can touch each other anywhere as long as itís agreeable to
both of you. However, the exercise shouldnít go any further
than light caresses. Understand?"
"No." Xena shook
her head. "I understand you want us to just touch each
other without making love, but whatís the point?"
"The point is it gives
you the chance to become physical again without the pressure
of sex. And so thereís no arguments as to who goes first Ė
Xena, youíll touch Gabrielle for a quarter of a candlemark.
Then Gabrielle, youíll do the same. Tomorrow night youíll
trade and Gabrielle will go first. Is that agreeable?"
Both women nodded
said, "Youíll need to make this a daily ritual so be
prepared. How about we see each other in two days? See how
things are going? That way I can answer any questions you
might have, okay?"
The bard felt herself begin
to giggle uncontrollably.
"Iím sorry... Iím
just nervous I guess... I... "
"Itís alright, Gabrielle,"
Terris told her. "You both will do just fine."
"Thank you Terris," she said as she started to rise.
Xena rose as well, offering
her arm in a shake. "Yes, thank you," she said
"Youíre very welcome
and donít worry. Anything said in here stays in here. No one
in this village knows anything unless you tell them. I thank
you both for being honest."
With that the two women left
the medical hut with a new plan of attack.
"Boy! Sure looks like
someone beat the stuffiní outta you," Ephiny teased,
taking a seat at the bench for dinner. The warriorís eye was
officially Ďblackí now. It looked extremely painful, but
in truth, it didnít hurt that much. Xena had taken worse in
a practice session.
"Ha. Ha. Very Funny...
Youíre never goiní let me live this down are ya?"
Xena replied before stuffing some bread in her mouth.
"You gotta take these
rare and beautiful moments when they come along," Ephiny
"Iíll remember that
for future reference... So should you," Xena said
menacing toward Ephiny.
Ephiny refused to be
intimidated and met Xenaís challenge until they were
forehead against forehead, eyes still locked on each other.
"Wanna go again?" she taunted. "You still got
another eye I can bruise."
That did it. Xenaís tough
warrior faÁade fell and she pulled back laughing.
"You know, Gabrielle
and I havenít been getting along all that great lately, but
I still think it would upset your queen if I lost another eye
to you," Xena replied.
"Speaking of," Ephiny
prodded gently. "Howíd it go today?"
Ephiny waited while she
watched Xena continue to eat.
"What?" Xena asked
with a mouth full of food.
"Details please. How
did it go?"
Xena chewed and swallowed.
"Okay. She gave us some exercises to do. Of course that
in itself became an argument too."
"What do you
mean?" Ephiny asked scrunching her eyebrows.
Xena began with a sigh.
"We have to work on scrolls. Each day we have to write
something down about how weíre feeling. I wanted to work on
them in the hut together... I mean not together Ė she would
do hers and I would do mine - but weíd do it in the same
problem?" Ephiny asked.
"Wish I could tell
you," Xena shrugged. "She said she felt
uncomfortable with me there. I got defensive and we went back
and forth. Finally, I got feed up and left. End of
Ephiny was unsure of what to
say. "Iím sorry," Ephiny finally answered.
"Well, at least it gave
me an idea for writing material." Xena grinned.
Ephiny didnít prod any
more. The pair of friends finished their meal in relative
silence. "Thereís an amazon at the far right table
whoís been watching us the entire meal," Xena
whispered. "Who is she?"
Ephiny looked in surprise.
"I havenít felt watched," she replied, casually
looking over to see just who Xena was referring to.
because sheís been keeping her eyes on me most of the
time," Xena smiled. "Seriously," she added with
an honest expression, "who is she?"
"I think youíre
talking about Nagen. The blonde, right?"
Xena nodded and took a
drink. "I can only catch bits and pieces of her
conversation with the red-head over there but Iíve heard my
name mentioned more than once."
Ephiny smiled and shook her
head in disbelief. "How do you do that? I can barely hear
myself think with all this noise, let along a conversation
half way across the room... No. Wait!... Let me... You have
Xena laughed out loud at the
exaggerated gesture of Ephinyís hands which followed her
words. "Nice to see someone still thinks so," Xena
The self-berating comment
startled the regent. If any thing, the warrior princess was
always self-confident. And for the first time since their
arrival, Ephiny could see just how much the warrior was
"It will be okay,"
Ephiny said grasping Xenaís upper arm. "It will.
Just then Diteria, Ephinyís
lover and soon to be bondmate, walked up. "Hope Iím not
interrupting anything," she teased.
replied. "The regent is just trying to seduce the
queenís consort. Have a seat and enjoy the show."
"You ARE looking for
another black eye." Ephiny smiled. Xena only replied with
a wide-toothed grin. "Actually I have to get going.
Weíre going to get some archery practice in before bed. She
likes to practice in the dark too."
Xena wiggled her eyes
suggestively at the last comment.
"You know what I
mean," Ephiny said slapping her arm. She rose but before
she left she added. "Will you be okay? Youíre welcome
to join us."
"Nah... Get outta
here," Xena said waving her off. "Iíll be
Ephiny gave a short nod and
Xena watched the two women leave, hand in hand. But she was
suddenly distracted by a presence beside her.
"Yes?" she asked
without moving back to meet the face. When she did turn, she
noticed it was Nagen, the blonde she spoke of earlier.
"Can I help you?" Xena asked politely.
"My nameís Nagen,"
she said offering her forearm. In good nature, Xena shook it.
"May I have a seat?"
"I watched you on the
practice field with Queen Ė I mean Regent Ephiny today. I
must say you are the best warrior Iíve ever seen."
With the flattering comment
out of the way, Xena took the time to Ďsize upí the young
amazon - blonde hair that covered her shoulders, light blue
eyes (perhaps even lighter than Xenaís own eyes) and
muscular, yet not too large, arms. Xena deduced she was about
twenty summers old Ė twenty three at the most.
warrior finally replied after giving the young woman an
appraising eye. It didnít go unnoticed by the young warrior
and she smiled.
"I was wondering, if
youíre not too busy, could we spar tomorrow? Maybe you could
give me a few pointers?"
Xena felt herself melting
into the young smile and she felt a scream deep inside, she
didnít let dare escape. "Iíll have to check,"
Xena replied with a slight squawk in her voice, that she
quickly coughed away. "Excuse me," she added
excused," Nagen said with a gentle smile. "So what
do you say warrior princess? Do you think you could teach me a
thing or two? Queen Gabrielle says you have MANY skills."
Xena recognized the tone and
the leer. It was very similar to the one Gabrielle used to
give her and the warrior was finding it harder to breath. She
had to remember that this was a conversation which meant she
had to talk as well.
"What did you have in
mind?" Xena asked, trying to sound as friendly and
neutral as possible.
Nagen grinned. She knew her
presence, her closeness, was effecting the warrior. And she
desire," she replied, her voice filled with seduction.
"Iím sure anything youíd be willing to show me would
be... admired... So what do you say? The practice field same
Xena nodded nervously.
"Sure," she replied softly.
"Iím looking forward
to it," Nagen complimented. Her hand reached up and
gently stroked Xenaís bruise. "Donít worry. Youíll
be much safer and well cared for with me than the queen,"
"You mean the
regent," Xena corrected her.
Nagen smiled knowingly and
shrugged. "Maybe both," she whispered, close to the warrior's
ear. So close in fact it sent goose bumps down the warrior's
back. "See ya tomorrow."
Nagen left and Xena, after
she regained her senses, wondered just how many amazons
witnessed the recent display. Xena didnít do anything but
her mind couldnít control the guilt that was now flooring
her. She let the young amazon play with her in front of the
mess hall. But worse than that, she enjoyed it. She would have
shook her body out to dull the sensations coursing through her
but with so many eyes upon her, now was not the time and the
place. Besides she had to get back to the royal hut. She had a
beautiful, naked bard to caress in a non-sexual manner. Best
of luck warrior, she told herself as she made her way
The smell of vanilla candles
filled the hut. Gabrielleís hair was damp but beginning to
dry from her recent bath. For the moment, she lay on their bed
working on her scrolls. She looked up and caught the sight of
Xena and she quickly buried herself back into her work.
Xena had been gone all day
after the spat that afternoon. And the more the warrior
thought about it the more ridiculous she felt. She walked over
and tested the bath water. It was still warm so she stripped
and climbed in carefully. Gabrielle got off the bed, walking
to the hut entrance. Xena didnít turn but she heard the bard
instruct them to bring two pails of hot water immediately.
"Thank you," Xena
said when the bard made her way back to the bed.
it," Gabrielle replied with a grin.
The bard and the warrior
locked eye for a brief moment. "Iím sorry," they
said in unison, causing them both to grin and shy away.
"You first," Xena offered.
"Iím sorry for
getting upset today. This is as much your hut as it is mine-."
Xena insisted. "The point of these Ďexercisesí is
that we express ourselves constructively. If youíre not
comfortable with me around while you write, I should have
respected that... Maybe from now on when I practice in the
mornings you could do your writing and then, at night, I could
do mine. That way I wonít be around you when youíre trying
to concentrate and Iíll have you close by when I do my
scrolls Ė even if that
means youíre in bed sleeping. We
both get what we want. See?"
Before Gabrielle could
respond, two amazons arrived carrying extra hot water to warm
the tub. Xena did a double take that didnít go unnoticed by
Gabrielle. One of the amazons was Nagen.
"The water you
requested, Queen Gabrielle," she said nodding to the bard.
When Nagen turned, she noticed the warrior soaking in the tub.
"Funny meeting you here," she giggled.
Xena walked the thin line
between being civil to Nagen without arousing Gabrielleís
Suspicion of what?
Xenaís mind said defending her. Youíve done nothing
wrong here. The young amazon wants you - thatís all. Itís
not the first time someone has wanted you, so whatís the big
After emptying her pail,
Nagen turned to Xena. "Is that hot enough for you,
Consort Xena?" The emphasis placed on the word Ďhotí
didnít go unnoticed by Xena... or Gabrielle.
"I think that will be
all," Gabrielle answered, before Xena could speak. The
bardís Ďhands off MY warriorí tone was in full swing.
"Yes, my queen,í
Nagen replied with a nod. As she made her way out, she stopped
and turned to Xena. "Iíll see you on the practice field
tomorrow, Consort Xena. Iím looking forward to it. Goodnight." Nagen addressed both Gabrielle and Xena with the
last comment, but the bard knew it was strictly for the
Xena turned and began to
hunt for the soap, avoid the bardís eyes. She could still
feel them burning into her flesh however. "Ah! Got
it!" Xena said showing the bard the bar. She could no
longer avoid Gabrielle since the bard was now in front of her.
"Who is she?"
Gabrielle asked, the jealousy unsuccessfully disguised from
"Her nameís Nagen,"
Xena offered as she soaped up her body.
"What was all that talk
about tomorrow?" Gabrielle continued.
Xena tired to put on her
best bewildered mask as she rinsed herself off.
that!" Xena replied with a grin. Gabrielle grinned too,
but it didnít look very joyful. Xena could tell if she
picked the wrong words here the bard could very easily gouge
out her eyes with that same demonic grin in tact. "She
wanted me to show her a few things on the field tomorrow
"She wants you to show
her a few things? And, just exactly, what things did you plan
on showing her?" Gabrielle asked sarcastically.
Xena lost her temper and her
cheeks flared red.
"You tell me, Gabrielle! What should I
"Show her whatever you
want!" the bard whispered angrily. She began to move to
the bed again, but stopped at Xenaís reply.
care?" Xena said softly. The flame had disappeared from
her voice as sadness took over. "Terris said-."
"I know what Terris
said," the bard interrupted. "I didnít mean it.
And I do care, Xena. I donít want you to show her anything
you reserve only for me."
Gabrielle was near tears.
Although her back was turned away from Xena, the warrior could
still hear it in the bard's voice. Xena rose from the water,
but Gabrielle still couldnít turn around yet. She felt the warrior's
wet hands on her upper arms.
"I wouldnít do that
Gabrielle... I love you," Xena whispered. When Gabrielle
still didnít turn around, Xena released her hold and walked
to get a towel. As she dried herself off, she heard Gabrielle
finish her journey to the bed and sit down.
"Do you think sheís
beautiful?" Gabrielle said softly, playing with a fray in
"I think sheís
young," Xena replied. "And ambitious."
The pair locked eyes.
"You didnít answer my question... Then again, I guess
you just did."
Xena didnít respond
vocally at first, but Gabrielle could sense Xenaís
"I canít win here," the warrior
"What does that
mean?" Gabrielle asked.
"Exactly what I
said," she answered with frustration. "If I say
sheís not beautiful, youíll call me a liar. If I say she is
beautiful, youíll call me a cheater. I canít win because
itís a loaded question."
Xena rubbed her hair
vigorously, trying to get it as dry as possible.
nodded. "Let me rephrase it. Do you want that beautiful
woman? Am I going to lose you to her?"
Xena stopped the towel
movements when she heard the sorrow in Gabrielleís voice;
the worry in the words.
"Of course not,"
Xena whispered sincerely, taking a seat on the bed next to the
bard. "Iím in this for the long haul and the only way
Iíll ever leave is if you tell me to go."
bittersweetly. "Yes, but are you going to give me a reason
so that Iíll ask you to go away?"
"You mean like fool
around with Nagen?" Xena asked with a playful grin.
"Thatís not going to happen."
"But she wants
you," Gabrielle argued.
Xena paused a moment.
"Yeah, I think youíre right. But she canít have me. I
belong to somebody else."
"You belong to no one
but yourself, Xena," the bard argued softly.
Xena reached out and
caressed Gabrielleís cheek. "How wrong you are, my
precious bard. Everything Iíll ever do will be for
Gabrielle felt better. Xena
could feel it in the bard's sigh and she herself felt better
about the whole evening too. She enjoyed these quiet times
between the two of them.
tangled," Gabrielle said breaking the silence and running
her fingers through Xenaís dark, damp tresses. "Would
you let me brush your hair?"
Xena couldnít help but
smile. It had been a long time since they enjoyed this simple
ritual. Quickly, she turned her back, settling between
Gabrielleís now outstretched legs. The first strokes of the
brush were gentle, as not to harm the warriorís scalp. Soon
they became move even and quicker as the knots untied. After a
few minutes, the warrior's hair was slicked back, her mind and
body totally relaxed. She felt the bard's hands move up her
back robbing the towel from her neck. As she turned she
watched the bard pull the shift from her body to join her in
"Are you ready to begin
our exercise?" Gabrielle smiled. Xena nodded gently.
"Good. Lila gave me that hourglass on the night
Xena looked to where the
bard motioned and turned the glass to put the sand in motion.
"Where should I start?" Xena asked, admiring the bard's
comfortable," the bard answered.
Xena took a deep breath to
steady her shaking nerves. She straddled the bard's hips and
began to lightly caress Gabrielleís arms and shoulders. The
bard closed her eyes soaking up the feel of the warrior's
finger tips lightly dancing across her flesh. After a few
moments, Xenaís hands moved over Gabrielleís breasts to
her stomach. She didnít linger on the orbs but the bard
still took a sharp breath as her fingers made the journey
Gabrielle could feel her own
wetness beginning to seep when Xena swept across her nipples.
She knew the warrior wasnít teasing her. She was only doing
what Terris said. It didnít stop Gabrielle, however, from
feeling totally aroused.
Xena shifted her position
down so she could feel the bard's hard, muscular thighs. The
warrior had a flash of her cheeks being caressed by those very
thighs as her tongue... No, Xena warned herself. You can get through this. Just concentrate.
As Xenaís fingertips came
dangerously close to Gabrielleís inner thighs she watched
the bard'sí hips rise. The moan that slipped from Gabrielle
only added to the warriorís arousal to take the amazon
queen. Xena realized, at that moment, she could no longer
continue. Gabrielle opened her eyes when Xenaís hands
didnít return after a few seconds.
"I canít do
this," Xena replied. "I just canít. Iím
Xena climbed over and laid
down next to Gabrielle, staring at the straw ceiling.
"Now you donít even
want to touch me?" Gabrielle replied, looking at the
ceiling as well. "I remember when you couldnít keep
your hands off of me."
"Itís not because I
donít want to touch you," Xena answered. "Itís
because I do... Thatís the problem. Iím just supposed to
caress your body. Thatís all. And I donít think I can do
"Why not?! For Gaiaís
sake, look at you! That long strawberry hair teasing those
creamy shoulders; those tight abs as soft as silk... "
Xena could feel herself beginning to salivate just looking at
the luscious bard and she literally shook herself to chase
away her erotic ramblings. "Look, the point is-."
Xena didnít have the
chance to finish. Gabrielle leapt up, wrapping herself around
the warrior's neck as her tongue pierced through their
suddenly joined lips. Xena pulled away with a firm hold on
"Terris said we-."
Gabrielle replied working herself free, straddling the
warrior. "If you meant what you said... If you really
want me and not that young, ambitious amazon make love to
"Youíre still quite
young yourself, Gabrielle," Xena argued.
"Iím thirty summers
now, Xena," the bard pointed out. "I need to know
that Iím still what you want... Please show me."
As Xena considered
Gabrielleís logic, she was interrupted by a soul scorching
kiss. When they finally parted, they stared deep into each
others' eyes. Unexpectedly, the bard began to giggle.
"What?" Xena asked
with a laugh in her voice.
Gabrielle shook her head.
"Just thinking. Thatís all."
"About what?" Xena
"Our first time
together... I was so upset with you. I had wanted you for so
long and to have you treat me like a child was unbearable. I
was really going to leave that day... But instead I let you
take me to bed," the bard released another giggle at the
memory before meeting the warriorís eyes again. "Iíve
never asked why... "
"Why do you think I
took you to bed?" Xena answered, running the back of her
fingertips over the bard's smooth cheek.
"Well, because you
loved me," Gabrielle answered. "I guess what I want
to know is why you chose that day. Why you didnít... I
donít know... say anything. I mean you just picked me
up and carried me to the bed without a word."
Xena paused a moment.
"Iím not sure. All I know is I was about to lose you
and I was angry. Angered by your leaving, angered by my lack
of courage to tell you how I felt. I know if I didnít offer
myself to you at that point in time; if I didnít show you
how determined I was to have you as my lover, it would have
never happened... Besides no words would have sufficed to
express everything I felt at that moment. I had to show you
how strong and deep my desire ran... So... I picked you
up... And I took you."
Gabrielle shook her head.
"No, you didnít take me... I gave myself to you.
Remember? You asked permission... Just like Iím asking
now... Please, Xena. Please give yourself to me."
Xena knew she couldnít
resist the passionate plea of the bard. Softly, her lips sought
out Gabrielleís - delicate and light at first before
building stronger; more powerful. Soon the warrior was on her
back and the bard's body covered her. How she loved the feel
Gabrielle stretched across her Ė the soft flesh and toned
muscles rubbing across hers. It never ceased to amaze Xena how
wonderfully their bodies fit together. It was as if they were
made for each other. For the first time, in a long time, Xena
felt the love they truly shared as they made love.
Xena rolled the bard to her
back and she felt Gabrielle nudged her southward. Once Xena
had kissed her way to Gabrielleís abdomen, she could smell
the bard's arousal and judging by the abundance of aroma she
knew her bondmate was extremely wet. Her fingers gave a quick
check, which in turn, teased the bard of things to come. Xena
smiled mischievously. ĎGods I love it when sheís like
thisí, Xena reflected silently.
Gabrielle, on the other
hand, didnít smile. Her face was wanton; not joyous. She had
to have her warrior inside of her Ė licking, prodding,
sucking. Her ache and need becoming greater with every second
that Xena stalled. Xena place a solitary kiss on Gabrielleís
clit, forcing the bard to raise her hips. She wanted to grind
those hips into that beautiful face while her hands gripped
the warrior's head, making sure escape was not an option.
Gabrielleís hands shot
down, locking into Xenaís wet dark locks.
"Please," Gabrielle breathed. "Please donít
make me wait any longer."
Xena had to smile again. She
knew the bard was sincere. Her desire ran deep, so much she
managed to soak the sheet beneath them. Xena knew as she
looked at the wet spot beneath the bard. Her woman would have
anything she wanted.
"Anything for you,
Beautiful," Xena whispered, steadying herself between the
bard's legs. "Anything."
Gabrielleís head slammed
back into the pillow upon contact of the warrior's mouth. Her
finger delved deeper into the damp tresses, pulling Xena
closer. She loved the feel of Xena so connected; so intimate
with her. Gabrielle had never let anyone touch her body in
such unique way. And no one had ever touched her soul so
thoroughly as the warrior. Xenaís lashing tongue, along with
her own amorous thoughts, caused Gabrielle to feel her
eruption brewing just below the surface. She knew what she
Gabrielle panted. "Gods, Xena take me with your
Xena shifted position in an
instant. Her lips released Gabrielleís center only to find
themselves attached to her right nipple. As her tongue began
to bat at the rock hard tip, her fingers slammed, deep and
high into the bard.
Gabrielle exclaimed, matching the warrior stroke for
passionate stroke. Xena looked down at the bard's moving hips
and felt her own wetness build with each thrust of her lover.
Quicker and quicker Gabrielleís movement came. It surprised
the warrior that Gabrielle was never sore the next day after
their nights such as this, given the bard's relentless
pounding against her hands. In fact, Xena was pleased to say
the least. She loved this side to her woman. It was a side few
had seen, if anyone for that matter. So ardent; so ferocious.
It was incredible.
"Ohhhhh... Xena. Gods,
donít stop. A little more. A little more."
Xena could feel the
contractions on her fingers. The bard was milking the orgasm
for all she could. And Xena loved it.
Finally, the bard took a
deep breath and released it slowly along with a satisfied
moan. Xena watched carefully. The only expression she saw was
joy on her bondmates' face and only then did she allow herself
to smile. She felt fortunate to be able to give Gabrielle such
pleasure. She was also relieved that the experience didnít
end with the bard in tears.
"Are you okay?"
Xena asked sincerely.
Gabrielle opened her eyes
and met admiring blue above her. "Very okay." She
grinned. The bard looked over at the nightstand and looked
back at the warrior. Xena could tell her little bard was up to
something. Gabrielle flipped the hourglass back over.
"Now itís my
turn," she whispered huskily.
Xena was soon on her back...
with the known worldís largest grin.
Nagen was sparing the
red-head from the night before when Xena finally began to make
her way to the practice field. Upon noticing Xenaís arrival,
the red-head gave Nagen a sly grin and slinked away.
Nagen answered with a smile. "I was wondering if you were
going to show or not. I thought maybe Queen Gabrielle kept you
on a short leash, but I see I was wrong."
Iím not kept on a leash," Xena replied firmly. There
was no mistaking her tone. She meant business. "But as
for the comments toward the queen... let's say you should have
more respect for her."
"I meant no
offense," Nagen quickly said.
"I know," Xena
replied with a grin. "You intended seduction... Iíve
played the kinds of games youíre playing, Nagen. Only
difference is I won... You, on the other hand, will not. At
least not with this conquest," she added pointing to
herself, tapping her breastplate.
Nagen considered Xenaís
words for a moment. "Rumor has it that thereís trouble
between you and the queen... Iíve always admired you-."
"Admiration does not
give you the right to play games with people's hearts."
Nagen looked at the ground
feeling total humiliated. Xena could sense it. "Iím
sorry," Nagen whispered.
replied, lifting the girls chin with her fingers. "Twenty
years ago, I wouldíve given you a strong consideration...
Youíre a beautiful young lady. However, I am nearly twice
your age and crazy in love with our queen. Do you
understand?" Xena implored.
Nagen looked up to see Xena
grinning. Slowly, Nagen began to grin.
"Yeah, I understand."
She nodded in agreement.
"Good. Now let's
spar," Xena said drawing her sword.
Nagen looked shocked.
"You mean youíre still going to spar with me?"
"Of course, why
wouldnít I?" Xena asked.
"Well, since I just
tried to seduce you and all I figured youíd never want to be
near me again."
let you in on a little secret... Youíre not the first amazon
to come on to me and you probably wonít be the last... So
letís cut all the chit chat and Iíll show ya a thing or
two." Xena cocked her head and motioned Nagen to draw.
Nagen smiled and drew her
own sword. Today will be a good day after all, she mused
as she began the drill. She may not have the warriorís body
the way she intended but she was grateful for the learning
experience. She made a metal note as she practiced with
Consort Xena. She would offer her apologies to Queen Gabrielle
and unlike Regent Ephiny, go much easier on her Ďagedí
"So how have you two
been?" Terris asked with a warm grin.
replied. "Pretty good actually," she added starting
"And how are the
exercises going?" she asked.
Both women looked at each
other and began to blush. "Welllll... "
Gabrielle began. "We havenít exactly been following the
"Is that so?"
Terris teased with a knowing nod. "What rules have you
broken?" Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other and
began to giggle. "As if I need to ask," the healer
added with a smile.
Xena studied the amazon for
"Wait a second... You knew this would happen,
"Why whatever do you
mean, Xena?" she answered in mock innocence.
"You know what I mean."
The warrior smiled.
"Actually, I didnít know if you two would resume your
lovemaking. Either way itís a wonderful exercise. If you end
up making love or Ďfollowing the rulesí you end up winning. You see, you get familiar with
each others bodies' again or you end up feeling passionate... Iím not sure why but thereís something alluring
about the Ďforbiddení and sometimes to jump start things
you need to Ďbreak the rulesí... Be honest, since I
told you both you couldnít have each other, has it made you
want each other more?"
Xena laughed as she nodded
"Youíre good," she complimented.
"And we played right into it, didnít we?"
"Well, Iím sorry if
you feel Ďplayedí Xena, but you both needed to get
re-aquatinted with each other. Like I said, one way or another
the exercise works. Luckily for the two of you, it happened a
lot sooner than for most Ė most people go weeks before they
are comfortable with each others' bodies again... Anyway, how
did the writing go? I see you brought your scrolls to share...
Does anyone want to volunteer?"
When neither woman replied,
Terris motioned to Gabrielle. "Why donít you go first
Gabrielle looked a bit
unnerved and Xena spoke.
"Could I go
first?" the warrior asked. "I know whatever she
wrote will blow me out of the water. I mean, after all, she IS
the bard," she added with a grin.
"Okay by me,"
Terris replied. "How about you, Gabrielle?"
The bard nodded.
Xena cleared her throat as
she unrolled her scroll. She shifted nervously and her soft
voice quieted the room.
"I look at you and see
only the past
I cannot look at you and see
what is now...
For the now is not for me
It is the deepest heartache
I fear I have lost your love
And I cannot bear the pain
I look at you and I see my
Please look at me and see
All eyes focused on Xena.
She only realized this when she stopped playing with the end
of the parchment and looked up.
"I know itís not
Sappho," the warrior shrugged in her awkwardness.
She suddenly felt naked,
exposed. Gods, she thought quietly, is this how
Gabrielle feels anytime she takes a stage?
Xena always knew Gabrielle
was a brave woman Ė leaving her family to spend her life
traveling from place to place; facing down the fiercest of
foes that would make any Ďnormalí female faint. But now
she had a whole new respect for her bondmate that she never
"What do you
think?" Terris asked Gabrielle.
"I never knew." Gabrielle grinned.
"I never knew you could write. I mean I knew you could
write, but... wow... "
"You like it?"
"Well, yes and
no," the bard answered. "I respect the fact you can
be so... eloquent... but it saddens me terribly to think
Iíve brought you that much pain." Gabrielle paused a
moment and waited until the warrior met her eyes. "And
you are still my whole world too. Please donít ever doubt
Xena reached over and
stroked Gabrielleís cheek. "Thank you," she
whispered softly to her bard.
Terris let their admiration
of each other soak for awhile. After a few moments, she nodded
"Would you please share your scroll now, Gabrielle?"
The bard agreed and rolled
out her parchment as she cleared her throat.
How can I tell you
What I feel right now
The yearning has no name
A shadowy ache
Thereís an emptiness I
Yet our life is so full
Something is missing
Yet I know no loss
Xena, Abide with me
You are my life, my love
My beautiful champion
You are my world
Terris studied both women.
"What are you thinking, Xena?" the healer asked
confused," Xena replied while a small grin started to tug
at her lips, "but she still loves me. She still needs
"Have you been feeling
unneeded?" Terris asked the warrior.
Xena nodded. "Yes, I
guess I have... And what bothers me the most is... Iíd give
Gabrielle anything she wants... anything."
Terris was going to continue,
but her hut door busted open.
"Iím sorry to
All three women turned to
face a stricken Ephiny.
"What is it?!"
Gabrielle asked sensing her regentsí distress.
"Weíve got a
Ephiny paused, wondering if
she should disclose her information in front of Terris without
first conferring with the queen in private. Terris will have
to know sooner or later so it might as well be now, Ephiny surmised.
"Zagreusí army is two valleys over. A scout returned,
moments ago. Heís heading this way."
"Do you know what he
wants?" Xena asked cautiously.
Ephiny nodded quickly.
"He wants slaves," she replied softly. "Amazon
in Part II