parents and Xena’s mother were the first to arrive for the
wedding. In the days that followed, they were joined by
Hercules, Iolaus, Ephiny and Solari. And, of course, Joxer.
Even a few people showed up from a surrounding village that
Gabrielle and Xena saved the week before... Gabrielle, Xena
and Kenneth, actually.
Xena was in an
irritated mood as she directed the decorators in the hall.
It had been a month since the engagement was announced.
Gabrielle was so excited. She had only known Kenneth for
five months. He tagged along after a village rescue refusing
to leave. Xena watched painfully as their love grew and
blossomed. Now he was going to marry the woman Xena loved in
one days time.
Xena yelled. "The blue parchment goes this way,"
Xena explained showing them how to roll it around the
column. "And the white parchment goes that way."
Hercules called with a keg of ale under each arm, not
straining in the least, "Where do you want these."
there," she replied point toward the bar. "There
should be space under the counter."
With a nod he
walked away, watching Iolaus and Joxer struggle with their
keg. "When I sit these down I’ll come back and
help," he teased.
Iolaus replied. "Very funny. Come on Joxer follow
Xena shook her
head and smiled as the two men fumbled and stumbled their
way behind Hercules, working more against each other, than
with each other. It was one of the few smiles she had in a
month and she was fortunate she had her friends near her at
this time. Even if none of them knew it, she was uplifted by
Xena felt a hand
on her shoulder and she turned her head. Her grumpy look
dissolved when she saw the face.
"Dear, can I
speak with you?"
Cyrene lead Xena
out of the hall by the hand, waiting until they were away
from the groups that was preparing for tomorrow’s event.
sure how to begin," Cyrene smiled. Xena tightened her
grip on her mothers’ hand.
what’s wrong?" Xena asked concerned.
me," Cyrene prodded. "You’ve been stomping
around here since I arrived. You look like you could gnaw
the legs off every table in that hall... Tell me what’s
Xena released her
mothers’ hand and walked away making sure not to face her.
"You wouldn’t understand mother."
wouldn’t be too sure of that Xena. I’m a very
understanding person. Now tell me what’s wrong."
"At least I know where my lack of patience comes
too but continued. "You’re being evasive my
reply. She looked to the sky, to the banquet hall, to the
pebbles below her feet. Everywhere but her mothers’ eyes.
her," Cyrene said matter of factly. Xena rubbed her
eyes before letting her fingers travel through her long dark
mane. "Have you ever told her?" Cyrene whispered.
her I love her," Xena replied casually.
Cyrene replied. "But have you told her you love
this time meeting her mother’s gaze. "No."
Cyrene waited for
an explanation but she knew it wasn’t going to come.
"Maybe you should tell her."
getting married tomorrow mother! . .You should see the way
she looks at him." Xena could hear the weep in her own
voice and it caused her to shift her position, distancing
herself slightly farther away.
Cyrene began. "Have you looked at him? If
I didn’t know any better I’d say he was your twin
brother. He looks just like you – blue eyes, long dark
hair; even the same cheekbones."
the point mother?" Xena snapped.
she’s marrying Kenneth because she doesn’t think she
could have the real thing."
just me. Hercules agrees with me."
discussed this with Hercules!?" Xena was shocked.
"He was the
only one I felt truly comfortable with in discusses this
matter," Cyrene said quickly.
that affect on people." Xena grinned. "What did he say
"He thinks you’re walking away from the love of your
life... He sees it... I see it too... Actually the last time
you and Gabrielle came to visit I thought for sure you two...
" Cyrene trailed off – her cheeks growing red.
"Let’s just say we weren’t full at the inn that
weekend. I put you two in the same room so you wouldn’t
have discuss things you weren’t ready to discuss."
"So he sees
it and you see it. Tell me mother... is there anyone else
who sees it?"
think so... He and I know you pretty well dear."
knows me better than anyone, no offense. Why can’t she see
it?" It almost sounded like a plea from Xena’s lips.
she hasn’t?" Cyrene smiled coyly. Another trait
passed down to her daughter no doubt. "Like I said,
maybe that’s why she’s with Kenneth. If she doesn’t
think she can have the genuine article perhaps she’s
willing to settle for the false copy."
reply. So Cyrene continued. "You owe her the truth
Xena. You owe it to yourself. If she doesn’t feel the same
and she still wants Kenneth you can move on with your life.
But if she does want you, you could save her from making a
big mistake... Think about it. That’s all I ask... Please
find a way to end your pain my dear... before it
consumes you again."
Cyrene took Xena
by the upper arms and gave her a light kiss on the cheek
before heading toward the hall again. Hercules was coming
out and swept Cyrene into his strong arms. "Fair
maiden," he jokingly proclaimed. "Are you in need
of a rescue?" Xena smiled at the display.
you thirty years ago?" she said stroking his cheek.
the question. "Getting my elementary education."
figures," she played along, "All the good ones are
either too young or too old."
With a laugh he
placed her gently on the ground again as she lightly
caressed his arm. She pulled him down and whispered in his
ear. "I think she needs a friend now more than
over at Xena quickly and nodded to Cyrene before making his
way over to the warrior. "How ya doin’?" he
asked putting his arm around Xena who was now leaning
against a boulder.
become a lousy liar Xena." Hercules grinned.
"Mother told me about the talk you two had."
huh?" Hercules replied.
did... You really think he looks like me?"
Well not exactly like you," he said mischievously.
"But I have to admit there’s more than a striking
He was in the
courtyard, helping with a canopy tent as Xena and Hercules
examined him. Hercules could see the jealousy in Xenas’
narrowed eyes as she watched her masculine mirror image.
"Follow your heart Xena," Hercules whispered.
"I’ll be here for you no matter what the
Xena turned back
to Hercules with a warm smile. "Thank you." She
stroked his face in deep friendship when I voice from behind
"I need my
maid of honor. No running off together until after the
over and hugged Gabrielle. He was going to say something
until Iolaus interrupted him.
he shouted from the hall doorway, "These bottles
aren’t going to get in here by themselves. How ‘bout a
little help Herc?"
Hercules smiled to Gabrielle before turning to Xena.
"If you need anything you know where to find me,"
he added with a nod to Xena.
made his way inside, Gabrielle took his spot on the boulder
next to Xena. "How you holding up?" the bard
"Why do you
ask?" Xena questioned.
shrugged. "I don’t know, you seem distant. You’ve
been putting in a lot of hours the past week, helping with
the wedding... You look tired."
tired," Xena confessed.
rest. The rehearsal party is tonight. I want to see you
enjoying yourself – not nodding off in some corner. Go
on," Gabrielle insisted with a shoo of her hands.
sure?" Xena asked. "The decorating isn’t
"I think I
can handle a few streamers," Gabrielle joked. "Go
ahead. Get outta for awhile."
sleep would help clear my mind of these racing thoughts. At
least for a little while. "Okay," Xena agreed
with a yawn, beginning to walk away. "I’ll see you
notice the intense scrutiny of Gabrielle’s’ eye upon her
as she made her way to her room. Xena didn’t notice... but
learned their positions, along with what would happen the
next day, the party began. The band arrived that evening and
took some time to practice. It worked out rather well. They
had food, drink and now music. Everyone was dancing. Then in
between songs, Cyrene suggested that Xena do a song. The
crowd was encouraging the reluctant Xena to take the stage.
know." Xena smiled uncomfortably. Her heart was
breaking. The last thing she wanted to do was sing a song
about the happy union.
Xena," Gabrielle asked. "For me. Please?"
Will I ever be
able to resist this woman Xena thought to herself.
"Okay," she whispered. "For you."
Slowly as she
took the stage the small crowds’ encouragement grew
larger. Only when it subsided did she speak. "This is a
song I wrote a few years ago." She briefly turned back
to the band to get them in order. Once the music began she
turned around to face the gatherers.
a time in everyone’s life... when they get tired of
fooling around... Juggling hearts in a three ring
circus... Someday will drive a body down to the ground... I
never imagined that love would rain on me... and make me
want to settle down... But baby it’s true, I think I do...
And I just wanna tell you that I wanna with you ... And baby
if you do too, ohhh forever... forever... Baby I want you
forever... I wanna keep you for the rest of my life... All
that’s wrong in my world you can make right. You are my
savior, you are my light. Forever I want you ... in my life...
The words struck
Gabrielle and she tried her best to not look so affected. She
said a few years ago Gabrielle told herself remembering
Xena’s opening statement. Hercules she convinced
herself. It’s about Hercules. She smiled at that
thought – relieved it wasn’t about her. Then Xena
a road in everyone’s journey... A road that their afraid
to walk on their own... I’m here to tell you... I’m at
that road now... I’d rather walk with you than walk it
alone... You are my hero... You are my future... When
I am with I have no past... Baby my one and only desire...
is to find someway in this zeusdamned world to make this
feeling last... Oh, baby it’s true... I know I do... And I
just want to tell you that I want to with you ... Oh and
baby if you do to... Ohhh forever... forever...
Baby I want your love... forever... I wanna keep ya ... for
the rest of my life... all that’s wrong in this world you
can make right... You are my savior ... You are my
light... Forever I want you... in my life."
The music died
down and the crowd applauded wildly. Kenneth’s voice over
powered the cheers. "Thank you Xena," he shouted,
bringing down the noise level. "That was
beautiful." His voice made Xena grin in discomfort and
look toward the happy couple. Gabrielle wasn’t smiling as
whole heartedly as him.
The bard was
convinced the song was about Hercules, until the part about
the road and not wanting to travel alone. It took her back
to their very beginning when Xena considered her a young,
native girl. With the realization of the wedding she knew
those days were over... and a large part of her ached. Being
with Xena made her truly happy. She wouldn’t be with Xena
anymore. She’d be with Xena’s look-a-like. At least
that’s what Lila called Kenneth. Gabrielle thought her
sister was losing it but the more she watched her betrothed,
the more she saw the resemblance.
Xena walked down
from the stage and headed straight to the bar. Two hours and
twelve mugs of ale later she realized she needed to get some
air, not to mention away from human contact. Any more drinks
would make her tongue loose. Mother and Hercules knowing the
truth was one thing. She was sure any affectionate outburst
would put Gabrielle’s father in his grave.
Not bothering to
finish her thirteenth port, she carefully walked outside
into the night air to see Ephiny and Solari in a tender
embrace, away from the commotion but close enough to hear
the festivities. Xena debated about whether to disturb them.
Oh what the Tartis she thought as she staggered over.
"Hoz my two
favorite amazons in the whole wide world?" Xena
They said in harmony.
seat," Ephiny said patting the rock beside her.
sure?" Xena asked. "Looks like things were
progressing rather nicely until I showed up."
we’re sure," Solari said watching Xena sway.
"Here sit down... before you fall down."
have you had Xena," Ephiny asked sympathetically.
count at 10." Xena smiled.
terrible," Solari observed.
Xena replied, reaching haphazardly for her sword, unable to
find it’s location. "Oh forget it," Xena
laughed. "I’ll just have to take solace in the fact
that I was the first Miss Known-World."
the first Miss Known-World was a man," Ephiny remarked.
Ephiny close and whispered in her ear. "He won by
default... That’s our little secret, ‘k?"
Ephiny shook her
head at Xena’s drunken state. "Okay," she
replied with a chuckle.
"I have a
confession to make," Solari told Xena.
"What is it
now?" Xena said trying to keep her eyes focused.
you were the lucky woman," she replied.
"Me? . .
What?" Xena was disoriented.
"When you and Gabrielle came back to the village... And
Gabrielle said she was busy making wedding plans we assumed
it was for the two of you... I mean that’s why you came to
the amazon village – to become bondmates."
Perhaps it was
the alcohol. Perhaps it was the fourth person to remark that
Gabrielle was so much a part of her life that it was
unnatural for her to be with anyone else. In any case, Xena
felt herself beginning to sob and Ephiny pulled her close.
She looked at her bondmate, Solari, as she began to rock the
warrior in her arms.
It’s alright Xena ... We’re sorry... We didn’t
Xena pulled away
and stood up, wiping her eyes.
love her greatly," Solari complimented. "Being
able to let her go so she can find happiness. It’s very
Xena replied. "It’s very lonely." The warrior
turned and began to walk toward the beach.
Ephiny called out. Both amazons took a few long strides to
stand beside the raven-haired beauty. "Maybe you
shouldn’t be alone tonight ... Stay with me and
Xena looked at
both women and pulled Ephiny closer by the waist. "Just
what did you have in mind?" Xena asked seductively,
planting a kiss on Ephiny's earlobe.
her throat. "Believe when I say I find this thought
very intriguing... However, you my friend, are in love with
my queen. It wouldn’t be proper ... Yet the offer of
staying does stand."
worry," Xena said pulling back from the embrace and
walking over to Solari. The warrior placed a similar kiss on
Ephiny's bondmate. "If you don’t want me I’ll find
someone who does," she joked.
Ephiny and Solari
didn’t find it very funny and called out as Xena continued
to walk away.
okay," Xena said as she stopped and turned around.
"I’m a big girl I can take care of myself."
Without any more words the amazons watched Xena begin her
stroll along the beach. They shook their heads and returned
to their rock hand in hand.
beautiful woman like you doing in a place like these?"
she heard a voice call from the dune.
The alcohol was
already beginning to wear off. Xena was a fast healer. Her
power to regain her good sense after many ports was also one
of her many skills. Slowly she walked up to meet the
shadowed figure. "I thought I recognized that
voice." She smiled. "What are you doing out here
"I could ask
you the same question?"
could Autolycus but please don’t," Xena said taking a
seat next to him. He was lying back, looking at the night
peaceful out here isn’t it?" he asked.
Xena decided to
lye back too. She watched the stars for a few moments then
replied. "Yeah it is ... See that formation over
there," Xena pointed.
the one that looks like a big dipper."
Xena laughed and
clapped her hands together once. "Finally someone who
sees it too!"
"What do you
mean?" Autolycus asked with a growing smile.
Xena continued to
look at the stars. "Gabrielle could never see it,"
she finally replied meeting his eyes.
"Do you and
Gabrielle spend a lot of time looking at the stars?" he
asked, raising his eyebrows up and down.
Xena corrected him. "We did and not the way you’re
He rose up and
his shoulder began a little roll as he spoke. "It
wasn’t an insinuation. I thought it was a reality... As a
matter of fact I’ve been wondering why she’s marrying
the Xena wannabe. I mean after the kiss and all."
Xena went back to
looking at the stars without responding.
she asked impatiently.
Gabrielle say about the kiss?" He asked quickly.
kiss?" Xena replied.
damn well what kiss," he said offensively. "The
one I got smack in the face for."
smacked because you had your hand on her ass."
wasn’t the one who put it there." After a short
silence they both started to laugh at the absurdity of it
all. But soon it was quiet again. "Really Xena?"
he asked sincerely. "What happened?"
She never asked and I never mentioned it," Xena replied
pondered Xena’s words. "Why not?"
she just wanted to avoid it ... Keep things on a friendship
level... It was okay with me."
okay," Autolycus pointed out. "Now it’s not okay
Xena looked back
up at the stars. "No it’s not."
back down next to Xena. "You should tell her Xena.
Maybe she never mentioned it because she thought it was me ...
Maybe she thought I was taking advantage of her desperate
state... You may think I’m a nice person but a lot of
women think differently. Gabrielle may be one of them."
Xena sat silent
for a few moments digesting all of his words. "You’re
right. I can’t believe I never thought of that. Maybe she
didn’t realize it was really me. Maybe she thought you
were just pathetic."
he said sharply.
offense," Xena offered.
late," he replied. "I’m offended. But don’t
worry I bounce back quickly."
They smiled at
each other and Xena leaned over giving him a quick kiss on
the cheek. "You really are a prince," she replied.
he argued. "I’m a king. The king of thieves."
Xena rose and
dusted herself off. "Where are you going?"
heading back. I’m in a wedding tomorrow ... Come to think
of it, the wedding is today. It’s late," she replied
as she walked away.
She stopped and
turned around to face him.
you going to do?" Autolycus asked.
Xena grinned but
he knew it was for show. "Watch Gabrielle’s destiny
he offered. "But will you be in it."
we’ll just have to wait and see."
discussion Xena made her way back up the beach. As she
walked, she noticed a small campfire burning not far from
one of the many area caves. Quietly she pulled her sword and
crept to the location. She watched the figure in the dark
and when she recognized him she made her way over silently.
She suppressed a chuckle as she planted her feet, ready to
spring into action.
She landed two
feet away from the camper who was now scrambling to his
feet. "Hello Joxer," she giggled.
Xena," Joxer managed, struggling with his breast plate.
"You just scarred the life out of me. I hope you’re
"I have to
admit it was one of high points of the evening... What are
you doing out here?"
no room at the inn," he remarked. "And since hay
makes me sneeze, the stable was out of the question although
it was offered... Hey, why aren’t you at the party?"
aren’t you?" Xena countered.
know, us warriors have to make sure the common people are
protected. I was just patrolling the beach to make sure
tomorrow goes off without a hitch," he announced in his
best style of bravery.
Xena shook her
head and smiled. "That’s real thoughtful of you Joxer,"
Xena replied. "Mind if I have a seat. Too much ale and
too long a walk this evening has made me a little
Xena," Joxer said happily. "Maybe we could trade
Joxer. Maybe some other time."
They sat in
silence for a few beats. "It’s a surprise that
Gabrielle’s getting married."
seemed to come out of nowhere but then again this was Joxer.
Comments came out of nowhere repeatedly from him. Okay
Xena thought. I’ll bite.
you say that?"
"I was sure
you guys would be together forever. Gabby really loves to
travel and tell stories. I never thought she’d settle
down. Next time we see her she’ll probably have four kids
and another on the way," Joxer chuckled at the thought.
Xena said annoyed. "Her name is Gabrielle not Gabby and
second, Gabrielle would make a wonderful mother. She’s
intelligent, nurturing, compassionate and idealistic."
her, huh Xena?"
crazy," she replied rolling her eyes.
Joxer studied the
stress in the lines on the warriors’ face. "She loves
you too Xena," he whispered. "I’ve seen it in
her eyes ... At first I thought it was admiration. Like a
student looks up to a teacher but as time goes by ... I know
it’s much more. She really loves you."
reply to the comment. And Joxer continued, even in fear of
his life expectancy being drastically shortened. "Do
you know when I first noticed how you felt?" When no
answer came he continued. "When she married Perticus...
You tried your best to look happy... You might have fooled
her and him but you didn’t fool me... Why didn’t
you ever tell her Xena... Why are you letting her go
Xena felt like
she was going to cry ... again. But she suppressed it. She
wouldn’t in a million years let Joxer the Mighty see her
tears. She knew he was waiting for an answer. "It’s
her life. She has to do what she thinks is right."
"But if you
never give her all the options how is she going to make the
Xena was getting
irritated with the questioning. "Gabrielle’s
friendship is important to me. I don’t want to lose it if
she doesn’t feel the same way," she snapped.
Joxer paused. He
wasn’t sure if he could continue but he found the
strength. "What I’m about to say may cost me my life
Xena but I have to say it ... You’re a coward. I never
would’ve believed it but you’re a coward. A bigger
coward than me."
Xena jumped to
her feet, sword in hand. "Take it back!"
he replied. "Do what you will Xena but this needs to be
said ... At least I was once able to tell her that I
loved her; that I was attracted to her. You never could. You
still can’t even though you’re faced with the reality
that if you don’t ... you will lose her."
about Gabrielle," Joxer said defiantly, cutting the
warrior short. "This is about you. You - the mighty
warrior princess, feared by everyone from kings to mere
servants - are scarred to death of little redhead who stole
Xena dropped her
defensive stance, lowering her sword. "What am I
supposed to do?" she pleaded.
wedding. Tell her the truth. Let her heart know all the
the words and without saying anything, began to make her way
home for the night.
Joxer called. "Remember if you say nothing you’ll
lose her anyway. Be brave tomorrow."
When she didn’t
reply and continued to walk, Joxer went back to his fire to
finish his jerky he was eating before Xena’s arrival.
"Stubborn warrior," he muttered to himself.
"How do I
Xena stood behind
Gabrielle, studying her reflection in the full-length
mirror. Xena stepped closer, putting her hands on
Gabrielle’s bare shoulders, "I think you’re
absolutely beautiful. Kenneth is a very lucky man."
The impulse to
lean over and kiss those creamy white shoulders was so
strong, Xena could feel her pulse pounding in her head. The
overwhelming power to pull that ivory colored gown all the
down to floor was immense.
Hercules." Gabrielle grinned. "I’ve seen the way you
two have been acting this past week... Are you next?"
nothing between Hercules and I. We’re just friends,"
Xena replied softly.
not?" Gabrielle asked. "After all the man is
half-god. What more could you ask for?"
thought. And with the thoughts came a growing ache. She knew
Gabrielle expected an answer. "I’m not in love with
him," Xena replied. "Not like you and
Kenneth," Xena pushed.
wasn’t sure if it was wedding jitters that made Gabrielle
twitch at the last statement. In any regard, Gabrielle was
thrown by the words. "What’s wrong?" the warrior
Gabrielle replied a little too quickly. "Just nervous I
"You don’t have to do this if you’re not
sure," she offered. The music interrupted the
conversation and Gabrielle went to the door.
ready?" the bard asked.
if you’re ready," Xena replied.
then," Gabrielle said holding the door for the warrior.
With each step
Gabrielle and her father took down the aisle, Xena could
feel her heart break crack by crack. As her father gave her
hand to Kenneth, Gabrielle met Xena’s eyes. They looked
misty and racked with pain. The sight was a little too much
for her to bear so she looked at her bride-groom.
He was dashing in
blue. His armor was replaced by robes yet he still wore his
sword on his back. Gently, he took her hand and helped her
to the altar. As the priest began to speak, Xena felt nausea
swelling inside her. "Thank you friends and family of
Kenneth and Gabrielle. We are here today to witness two
hearts to be joined in love for all of the days of their
lives. If anyone is opposed let them speak their heart now
or forever be silent."
All of Xena’s
friends sat on edge, waiting to see the warrior’s next
move. Suddenly the temple doors thrust open and the rattling
of tin echoed off the walls. "You can’t do this
Gabrielle!" Joxer shouted. "You can’t marrying
Kenneth. There’s someone here that loves you far more than
believe this," Gabrielle whispered to Xena. "Get
him out here now."
pleasure." She grinned.
Xena walked down
the steps as Joxer continued his journey forward.
"Listen," he insisted. "There’s someone
here. Someone who loves you deeply. Someone who on the
outside is the bravest person alive but on the inside is
behind Joxer, grabbing him by the belt loop. She began to
pull him out with ease. "That’s enough Joxer!"
Gabrielle said, the sweetness returning to her voice.
"I’m flattered but I’m not in love with you."
momentarily confused before realization struck. "I’m
not talking about me!"
enough JOXER!" Xena said louder as she tossed him
outside before latching the door shut.
continue?" the priest asked.
Kenneth answered quickly. Gabrielle looked at it as his deep
commitment. Xena looked at it as his way to rush things
along. After a few strides Xena was standing next to
felt a presence behind her. "Don’t turn around,"
the voice said. "No one can see or hear me but
you." The man moved in front of her so no one would
suspect a thing.. "Times up pretty boy," he told
to know just what the Traits was going was strong but she
couldn’t act on it. Everyone in the temple would think she
really lost it, chatting alone to herself at her best
friends wedding. She knew in time Cupid would give her the
answer. "Casually look behind you Xena. Look at
relatives began to change. With Zeus and Herr in the front
row. Aphrodite. Artemis Hades. They all lined the benches.
Cupid moved close to Xena’s ear. "All the Gods are in
this temple Xena. All of them. Look carefully."
Xena looked back
at Cupid. She had her clue but she didn’t quite understand
it. But suddenly her head shot back and she scanned the room
with scrutiny. Where is he? Xena thought. Where is
he?! After her eyes made their journey all around they
focused back on Gabrielle and Kenneth... Kenneth!
Gabrielle down the steps and pulled Kenneth’s sword.
"Xena what are you doing? Have you – "
He didn’t have
the chance to finish. Xena drove the sword deep into
Kenneth’s chest. Gabrielle shrieked in terror as the room
roared in horror. Soon however the room grew silently still.
"By the Gods," Gabrielle cried. "What have
you done Xena? How could you?"
up," she said kicking the dead man. "Get up now.
Your little games’ over."
Gabrielle raged as she pulled herself of the ground.
there!" she ordered.
The crowd gasped
again as Kenneth stood up, the least bit shaken by the
ordeal. The whispers and sighs continued as Kenneth
transformed himself into the God of War. Gabrielle felt her
legs go out from under her and was on the floor once more.
the meaning of this?!" Xena ordered.
Hercules stood up
and walked over toward Zeus. He could now see the other Gods
as well. As far as the rest of the temple was concerned he
was talking to Kenneth’s dad. "You owe them an answer
The crowd was
confused yet grew increasingly frightened as they witnessed
the transformation of all the gods and goddesses.
"It’s a long story," he said casually.
the time," Hercules retorted boldly. King of the Gods
or not, he would answer to Hercules, this one time.
should answer this question Granddad," Cupid replied.
Not waiting for an answer he continued, "Ares made a
bet with mom six months ago. Six months to this minute
actually. He had to wed Gabrielle if his identity was to
remain a secret. From that point he had one year to win
Xena’s spirit once again."
burned into Ares. "I’ll never join you of my own
accord again... Never."
folks," Zeus said beginning to rise.
Xena shouted. "You’re not walking away that easy. If
it’s a game Ares wants to play than a game it is ...
But I want power."
"I refuse to
make you a goddess," Zeus proclaimed.
asking for Godhood," Xena replied. "I’m asking
for strength. If we’re going to play I want the playing
field to be even this time." Xena looked seductively at
Ares, "Wanna play?"
listening beautiful," Ares replied, stoking Xena’s
face with his fingertips.
Xena looked a
Zeus, taking a few steps closer to him. "A battle ...
The cave by the farthest dune... If he wins he gets me back
forever – "
no!" Gabrielle said taking her by the upper arm.
"And if I
win, he’ll never walk out of that cave again. The world
and I will be rid of him forever."
interesting," Ares said slyly. "But you’ll never
defeat me. I’m the God of War."
back to Ares. "You’re clever Ares -disguising
yourself to look like me to win Gabrielle’s affections...
But my heart and commitment are true. If Zeus offers me the
same powers that you have... you’re going down," the
dreams," the God of War laughed.
reality," Xena prodded. When he didn’t answer Xena
challenged him with the ultimate dare. "What’s the
matter Ares? ... Chicken?"
cave!" Ares shouted storming toward the door.
agreeing to this?" Zeus asked for clarification.
Ares yelled. "If that’s the way she wants it. Give
her all the power," he said as he tromped away.
it," Zeus uttered, laying his palm on Xena’s cheek.
A light blinding
light flashed and Xena was thrown back four feet but managed
to stay up right.
okay?" Gabrielle asked through the ohhhs and ahhhs of
the crowd, trying her best to steady Xena .
better," Xena smirked. "Now if you’ll all excuse
me I have a God of War to imprison."
She made her way
to leave but Gabrielle stopped her. "Don’t do this ...
I can’t lose you."
find any words to tell the bard. Besides she was a woman of
action. And being one...
Gabrielle around the waist, planting her lips firmly on the
bards. Hesitant at first Gabrielle pushed Xena’s hips
away. But when Xena deepened the kiss with her tongue,
Gabrielle released her fight, even drawing the warrior
closer. "Come with me," Xena whispered as she
broke away. "Inspire me to win."
nodded and let the warrior lead her by the hand, trying to
mingle in with the exiting gods and goddesses.
She heard her name being yelled and they both stopped and
turned hand in hand. It was Gabrielle’s father. "If
you leave with her again, I no longer have two
please-" Gabrielle begged.
"No. I mean
it Gabrielle. You’ll no longer be of my blood if you leave
with that ... woman."
okay," Cyrene interrupted with a smile. "I’ve
always wanted two daughters." Slowly she walked over to
Gabrielle. "You’ll always have a home at my house.
Always," she whispered. "Now go."
Cyrene on the cheek and Xena followed suite. "Thank you
mother," the warrior whispered.
Ephiny and Solari
smiled at the display. "Looks like we’ll have to
start helping with another wedding," Ephiny winked.
As Xena and
Gabrielle walked out with the gods, they could still hear
the bards’ father shouting his disapproval in profanities
and vulgarities. "I see where you get your love of
language from," Xena teased. Gabrielle giggled at the
always had a way with words," Gabrielle replied.
call him dad next time we see him?" Xena asked
seriously before cracking a smile.
The Gods finished
their exit but when it came time for Gabrielle’s’ side
of the family to leave, the doors to the temple shut tight,
not allowing a single body go. Hermes appeared by the door,
speaking to the crowd "When this is all over, then and
only then, will you be released." In a blur of speed he
vanished. Hercules ran to the door and pulled with all his
strength but it wouldn’t budge. After a few minutes he
turned to the crowd which was growing restless.
people," he replied. "Everything will be alright.
We’ll be out of here soon. Okay?"
Nods and voices
of agreements went around the temple as people began to take
their seats, chatting to themselves in small broken groups.
Cyrene walked over to Hercules with a despondent look
resembling death. "She’ll be fine," Hercules
tried to reassure her. "She now has a greater strength
than Ares, although neither one of them know it."
Cyrene looked confused. Hercules smiled down on the older
woman and whispered, "She has Gabrielle’s love."
Cyrene smiled and nodded in agreement before Hercules pulled
her into a tight embrace.
When Xena walked
into the cave with Gabrielle on her arm she found a dark
casket and an orb overhead. "What’s this?’ Xena
tomb," he replied. "Should you win," he added
without judgement in his voice.
Ares pulled his
sword. "I told him not to bother but he thought it was
necessary," he sneered.
Gabrielle to a corner of the cave, locking hands and eyes
with her once they stopped. "I need you to stay put. If
at any time it looks like he’s winning I need you to
promise me you’ll stay out of it."
and tightened her grip, showing the warrior her deep love.
"He’s not going to win," Gabrielle declared.
"You’re my champion and my savior. If he won, it
would end my life... And we both know how you feel about
people who try to end my life."
recounting the many times she came to Gabrielle’s aid. She’s
right Xena thought. This is no different. Another
thought occurred to her as well and she found herself down
on her knee.
of Poteidaia. Queen of the Amazons. When this is over ...
may I take you before the amazon nation to become your
deep into the crystal blue eyes humbly before her.
"Yes," she whispered. "A thousand times
Xena rose before
the queen and lifted her head with her fingertips under her
chin. This kiss was soft and gentle. They took the time to
feel the velvet softness of the light pressure; the smooth
texture of the flesh and the taste of their yet expressed
desire. As she pulled away Xena whispered, "I’ll be
the mushy stuff already!" Ares yelled.
With that she
walked over and took a battle stance across from Ares.
"What are the rules?" Xena asked.
no rules - just a ‘battle to the death’. The first one
to strike a mortal’s death blow wins. You know - through
the heart, the stomach or perhaps a decapitation ... I
think you get the picture," Ares remarked as he twirled
forgetting Ares. I am a mortal," Xena replied. "Or
is that the point?"
Zeus interrupted. "You will not die Xena. Hades has
agreed to bring you back to serve Ares if you lose... Of
course you will feel pain... but you will not die as a
result of this contest. You have my word as a God."
when does the word of a God mean anything?" Xena
A few of the
deities looked offended, some getting quite vocal. "I
understand you reluctance based on your dealing with my son
Ares," Zeus said with a raised palm to quiet the godly
gatherers, "But I promise what has been said ... will
then," Xena said unsheathing her sword. "Let’s
get to it."
first. It was a simple over the head strike. Nothing fancy.
And Ares stopped it with ease. "You’ll have to do
better than that," Ares sneered.
getting’ warmed up," Xena countered. With that she
clashed three more times with Ares, each in a different
tire yourself out," Ares warned. "I’ll need you
strong to lead my army."
count on it," Xena pressed on in her pursuit with
skill, not letting the words or her fear effect her. Her
blows were growing stronger and more forceful. The god found
himself taking two steps back. Looking over Xena shoulder he
could see Artemis grinning.
you smiling at?" he shouted.
going to win," Artemis replied. Xena could hear the
voice but couldn’t recognize it. She continued in her
attack yet Ares continued to block every advance.
yeah?!" he replied. He charged blow after blow push
Xena toward a corner of the cave. Being boxed was something
she couldn’t let happen if she wanted to win. As Ares
settled himself for the next round of attacks, Xena sheathed
Ares and the
other gods watched as Xena somersaulted over Ares head. In a
flash she pulled her sword again and began a barrage of
swift swings and calculated strikes. Ares could feel his
sword loosen from his grip with each hit. He noticed he was
the one now cornered. And his rage took over.
fiercely, making Xena work to stop every move thrown at her.
Seeing an opening to his left, Ares took advantage of it.
Xena shouted as she stumbled backward. She didn’t have
time to clutch her arm to stop the pain. Ares charged
continuing the assault. But he still couldn’t find the
space he needed to strike the death blow. Xena’s skilled
swordsmanship prevented every avenue he tried.
tears began to flow like the blood from Xena’s arm but she
kept her voice quiet. The last thing she wanted to be was a
distraction to the warrior. Quickly she wiped them away. It
hurt and angered Artemis to see her queen in so much pain.
Xena was the one bleeding but the goddess knew it was
Gabrielle who really felt the sting. The Goddess of Wars’
eyes flashed from her brother and the betrothed of her queen
to Gabrielle repeatedly.
Ares blows came
harder and quicker, knocking Xena off balance. The God of
War took his advantage, kicking Xena square in the chest,
knocking her to the ground.
As he raised his
sword to bury it in Xena’s ribcage, Xena swung hard and
fast, slicing Ares legs. Ares looked like he was in shock
and Xena took the opportunity to scurry out from under him.
But soon she was the one in shock, blood dripped from Ares
leg, cascading down his leather covered thighs.
"What’s the meaning of this?" Ares yelled to
"It has to
be a fair fight Ares," Zeus replied. "If Xena can
feel pain and tire then so must you."
The new knowledge
enflamed the God and he tried to charge Xena. At least as
well as his legs would allow. Xena continued to jog
backwards, avoiding him. She continued to move until she
bumped into someone behind her. It was Artemis.
search for the quick end like Ares," she whispered.
"Wear him down with cuts and bruises. Enrage him with
his frustration until he’s weak. It takes a lot of energy
to sustain hate." Xena flashed her a knowing grin.
"Sorry. I forgot who I was talking to," the
Goddess of War joked.
As Ares sword
came down from over his head, both Xena and Artemis move to
avoid the blow. Xena positioned herself on the other side of
the room quickly. She watched as Ares began to puff,
laboring in his breathing.
"You can run
Xena!" he shouted as he gained closer. "But you
grin formed on her lips as he approached. "You are really
out of shape for a god."
Ares screamed and
swung. Xena jumped back avoiding his blade. The momentum of
his thrust made him wobble and Xena ran up his body, kicking
him in the face before flipping over, landing on her feet.
Ares swung again from the other direction and Xena proceeded
to give him the same treatment once more.
right Ares," she teased. "I can run. Would you
like me to run some more?"
reached a new level. His scowl rivaled that of Xena’s
smile. She remembered Artemis’ words as she watched the
blood trickle from his eyebrows, interfering with his
Ares?!" Xena shouted as she moved back to position
he shouted in frustration.
here," she giggled.
He menaced over
toward her with a hobble, his breathing ragged. When his
attack came Xena volleyed them with greater ease. She knew
if she could just distract him long enough she could win.
She considered all the avenues she could use to enrage Ares
even further. Nothing was coming until she looked at
Gabrielle. Her beautiful Gabrielle. Those desire-filled
emerald eyes, that taunt exposed stomach, those creamy white
shoulders. Stop it! Xena told herself. You’ve
got your idea. Now use it! She winked at Gabrielle and
positioned herself in front of the casket so Ares’
backside would be facing it.
"I had a
dream about us last week Ares’," the warrior began
seductively. "You visited me like you did those night
so many years ago. You visited me and you loved me like
going to buy into the seduction trap. Xena wanted him gone
and he knew it. "Oh really?" he said
yes," Xena hissed. "In fact it was a wonderful
dream. You were a full candlestick in length," she said
affectionately before transforming into mockery. "... A
full candlestick instead of one that’s been burning for
Slicing his leg
was one thing, kicking him in the face was another. But his
‘godhood’?! How dare that mortal bitch make fun of his
He screamed as he attacked, thrash after thrash. His aim was
off but he continued on, trying to find a way to end this
battle once and for all. His sloppiness still had its
affects. Xena’s thigh was badly scrapped as well as her
forearm but the death blow that Ares was searching for still
eluded him. His swings continued and in a flash she saw it.
The opening he was hoping for. With all of her
strength she could muster Xena swung. Her sword sliced
across Ares throat long and deep. The God was stunned as his
blood gushed down his chest of hair and leather. With that
Xena kicked him into the casket.
Artemis ran and
placed the cover quickly over it as Ares began to heal, the
wound beginning to disappear, along with all the blood.
"She’s won father," the goddess insisted.
"Seal the lid."
In a flash of
blinding light the crypt was locked, forged tight against
any kind of entry or exit. As Ares pounding began and she
knew he couldn’t get out, the warrior dropped to the floor
in exhaustion. "Thanks for the pointer," she told
over and touched all of Xena’s wounds until they were
nothing but small scratches. "Of course help from the
gods doesn’t come without a price." She grinned. Xena
looked up in anger and in fear of the goddess’ words.
"You must promise to take care of my queen
forever." She smiled.
At that point
Gabrielle made it over to Xena and gathered her in her arms.
"I promise," Xena whispered looking at Gabrielle.
"With all my heart I promise."
what?" Gabrielle asked.
lovingly into the eyes of her bard. "Nothing you
don’t already know."
When they looked
up to speak to Artemis she was gone. Along with all the
other gods... All the other gods, except for Zeus.
that holds Ares inside is the orb. He can only be freed by
you or your kin Xena... And only if you destroy the orb... I
know I promised he would stay away from this world forever
but that just can’t be done. Even I can’t possess the
power to keep him a prisoner forever... I can’t...
But you can... if you stay away from here and let no one
know of the secret ... ". He handed Xena a scroll.
"Take this. This will unlock the tomb. Once your
travels are done and you’ve found your peace. Leave your
mark behind however you see fit. You may only enter once.
Any more and Ares tomb shall open. Is that understood?"
Xena nodded and
took the scroll. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You might want to fill the position of God of
War," Xena smirked. "He’s not leaving here
anytime soon," she added giving Gabrielle a quick kiss
on the cheek.
already decided Artemis will hold the reins on war... But
perhaps Callisto or Valasqua would make a better
Xena and Gabrielle yelled in harmony.
"I owe Hercules a lot of debts from the pain in his
life... Helping you may be a step in the right direction...
Artemis it is."
Gabrielle both sighed and watched the God of Gods leave
quietly. After he left Gabrielle took Xena’s face in her
hands before kissing her passionately. Xena could feel her
mind beginning to spin from the embrace until the rattling
of tin distracted her.
old guy?" the voice called out.
Xena pulled away looking into each others’ eyes with a
smile. "Joxer," they agreed in harmony and
another look at the two women wrapped in each other’s arms
realizing he was interrupting them. "Oh... " He
stumbled on his words. "After you threw me out, I was
down by the lake and I thought I heard voices when I passed ...
and I ... I mean ... I wasn’t sure-"
okay," Xena reassured him. "I’m glad you’re
are?" he replied.
Xena smiled, rising up and grasping him by both arms in
commradary. "You were a brave man today. Perhaps even
braver than me. I couldn’t speak my heart so you tried to
do it for me... It was the bravest thing anyone has done for
me in all my years... Thank you."
Joxer tried to
suppress his growing smile, reminding himself that warriors
didn’t smile on a regular basis. "Yes well," he
began, trying to sound bold. "I couldn’t let Gabby
marry ‘what’s his face’. I mean... he was all
wrong for her."
know the half of it," Gabrielle laughed, looking up at
Xena. Xena kissed Gabrielle playfully on the bridge of her
nose, "And we never have to worry about him
again," she added.
Xena said pulling the bard by the waist. The kiss wasn’t
bashful at all and Joxer found that he was the one blushing.
When they broke away, they both laughed at Joxer’s
reaction. "Better get used to it Joxer if you ever stop
by for an adventure," Xena teased as she began to lead
At the entrance,
they let Joxer go ahead of them. Then Gabrielle. Then Xena.
Once all of them were in the light of day, the cave behind
them sealed magically with stone and rock. Joxer was amazed
and, although it was quite a spectacle, it didn’t phase
Xena or Gabrielle too much.
Walking hand in
hand in silence, Xena and Gabrielle approached the group of
people exiting the temple. Autolycus spotted them first.
"Xena!" he yelled loud enough that everyone could
hear him. They all raced over. All except for Gabrielle’s
family. Once the crowd was in motion and moved away, Lila
began to join them. "Where do you think you’re
going?" her father asked.
Lila stopped and
faced her dad. "You may have only one daughter father.
But I know I have a sister." Without waiting for an
argument she rushed to meet Gabrielle. Watching Lila
defiance, sparked something in Gabrielle’s mother and she
too began to make the journey. "Oh no!" he spat.
"Not you too."
daughter!" she argued. "And based on the stories
Gabrielle’s told me I know she’ll be safe and cared for
with Xena. Xena would make a fine... ’whatever’ ...
daughter in law."
He threw his arms
in the air and stormed off in the other direction, as his
wife left. Cyrene was on her fifth kiss to her daughter when
Lila and Gabrielle’s’ mother pushed through the crowd
surrounding them. Lila and her mother, wrapped their arms
tight around Gabrielle in a group hug. "Where’s
father?" she asked.
ready yet," her mother whispered. "I can’t say
that I am either but... Give him time." Gabrielle
simply nodded at the words, thankful that at least part of
her blood family tried to understand her ties to Xena. She
looked over and noticed Ephiny and Xena whispering to each
wonderful!" Ephiny shouted.
Xena exclaimed. Gabrielle smiled at the two of them,
understanding the topic of conversation was the proposal.
And Ephiny gave the queen a knowing wink. "I don’t
have to battle anyone or make any sacrifices to do this, do
I?" Xena asked agitated. "I don’t think I’m up
to it today."
proved your worth many times over Xena," Ephiny said
sincerely. "You won’t have a problem. We’ll forgo
the stoning ritual of all prospective suitors."
Gabrielle’s eyes both grew wide before Ephiny cracked the
tiniest of smiles. "If we live to be 100, I’ll never
know when you’re joking," Xena replied with a grin of
happened in there?" Iolas asked. The crowd followed his
lead with many ‘Yeah. Tell us’ remarks.
away storyteller," Xena said proudly to Gabrielle.
The bard smiled
at Xena and then turned her attention toward Joxer. "In
the interest of Joxer, who was escorted out – "
thrown out," he corrected her, which brought a laugh
through the crowd. Even Xena chuckled a little. "I was
her head in acceptance. "Yes. Since Joxer was thrown
out, I’ll begin at the point when Xena returned to the
altar... It started like this... "
As Xena listened
her heart overflowed. Gods how she loved this talented,
beautiful woman. I promise Artemis Xena thought. I
I know you
will my child the warrior heard her reply from Olympus. I
know you will.
Ephiny stood at
the altar in the center of the village as she raised
Gabrielle’s Queen mask. Once removed from her head
entirely, Gabrielle handed it to Solari. All three faced the
tribe and Ephiny began to speak.
Gabrielle has chosen a suitor and a bondmate. Is there
anyone here who wishes to challenge her suitor, Xena of
Amphipolis, for her hand?"
Knots tied in
Gabrielle’s stomach as the crowd looked on. Thankfully and
intelligently, no one offered the challenge. "Alright
then." Ephiny smiled. "Xena of Amphipolis, please
come forward to begin the union."
as Xena exited the hut. The sight took her breath away. The
warrior wore blue, making her beautiful eyes stand out in
spite of the distance. Her hair was braided and held tight
to the sides in the ceremonial ribbons and feathers of the
amazons. Xena looked so much younger – more to the truth
to say her actual age – in the attire. Once she arrived at
the bottom of the platform, she pulled her sword and she
kneeled on one leg, her head bowed humbly.
Xena, come here freely and willingly? Do you promise to
defend the honor of the queen with your blessed sword for
all the days of your life ? Do you promise to keep the queen
of the amazons as your bondmate for all the days of her
Xena replied, raising her head to meet Ephiny as she
seriousness melted away into a smile. "Then rise now
and take your place at the side of our queen,
Xena sheathed her
sword as she made her way up the steps. Her legs felt like
liquid as she watched Gabrielle. She never saw Gabrielle
look more beautiful, more womanly ... more regal. The Queen
wore red. The color was chosen to honor the dead warriors of
the nation as well as the ‘birth’ of new members to the
tribe – members like Xena who took the oath the night
Ephiny asked breaking Xena’s intense gaze on the bard.
"Do you come here freely and willingly? Do you promise
to sing the praises in honor of this amazon for all the days
of your life? Do you promise to keep this amazon as your
bondman for all the days of her life? "
up into Xena’s eyes as she answered. "I do," she
whispered just loud enough for the stage to hear her.
"It is now
time for the exchange," Ephiny declared. Solari rested
Gabrielle’s mask as she searched for Xena’s offering.
Ephiny reached into her side pouch and gave Gabrielle,
Xena’s gift. Xena waited anxiously until Solari found it.
"Here ya go," she said placing it in Xena’s
hand. Xena tried not to scowl but her nerves were already on
edge. Thinking that Solari lost the offering didn’t help
any. "Sorry," Solari apologized when she saw the
Xena warmed in
the expression. "It’s okay," she whispered.
Please give Gabrielle your token and explain to her it’s
meaning." Ephiny asked.
"This is a
quell." Xena grinned. "It doesn’t look like much...
It’s rather old... I’ve been carrying it around for many
years... It belonged to my late brother. He was a writer and
this was his favorite one... After his death, when I
left Amphipolis it was one of the few things I took from
home... When all was said and done and my ‘journeys’
came to an end, it was the only thing I hadn’t lost...
It seems only fitting that I offer this to you. One, because
I know it will be put to good use," Xena smirked.
"And two because it once belonged to someone I
cherished and loved almost as much as you."
her fingertips on her lips to stop their quivering, as her
eyes filled with tears. Xena wasn’t one for words but the
words she just spoke stopped Gabrielle’s’ heart
momentarily. She’d never heard Xena so expressive. In the
two days since Ares had been trapped Xena told her
repeatedly that she loved her. She just never told her how
much until now. And Gabrielle knew, as she heard the
warrior’s words, she would be bonded with her forever.
Gabrielle," Ephiny said pulling the bard from her
thoughts. "You’re offering please."
sniffled and pulled herself back together. "My offering
isn’t old. I recently completed it so it hasn’t seen any
‘years’... But it’s been years in the making... It’s
a bracelet... .The green gem represents the day we met. The
red gem is there for the countless times you’ve saved me...
The blue gems represent the number of years I’ve looked
into those lovely blue eyes, waiting for this day to come...
The remaining white gems are meant to signify the decades
that have yet to be – and like the gems themselves these
decades will be bright and they will shine upon us."
Ephiny smiled at
the couple and felt a swell in her heart, happy and content
in the fact they had truly found each other for the first
time, in spite of years of travelling at each other’s
"Do you each
accept these tokens?" she asking, already knowing the
they answered in harmony.
With that, Ephiny
held out her hands and Xena and Gabrielle each took one. In
a graceful movement she placed them together so the warrior
and the queen locked forearms. Ephiny then took the
ceremonial bonding ribbon, wrapping it securely around them.
Artemis has seen fit to bring together shall no mortal or
God tear apart." Ephiny said triumphantly. "I
present to you Queen Gabrielle and her consort Xena of
cheered as Xena turned to Ephiny. "Now can I kiss
her?" she asked impatiently, with a joking grin on her
Ephiny nodded with a smile.
Gabrielle’s growing smile with her lips. They had been
separated, per amazon custom, since the night before and it
was the first time she had seen Gabrielle. All the longing
and passion from lack of contact seeped into the kiss –
the desire in it almost bringing Gabrielle down to her
knees. Even though it was only 12 hours apart it was too
long for Xena. She never wanted to sleep without Gabrielle
at her side. And by the Gods, she never would.
them of the ribbon’s hold before they made their way down
the stairs. They smiled and nodded to their friends and
family that had joined them – Cyrene, Hercules, Iolaus,
Autolycus, Gabrielle’s mother and sister and of course,
Joxer, who for his ultimate courage, was given a front row
seat. As the crowded began it’s well wishing Xena noticed
something outside the stage area. "I’ll be
back," Xena replied as she began to move away.
you going?" Gabrielle asked trying to pull her back.
"We have more people to receive."
Xena kissed her
lightly on the lips. "I know you can handle it. I
won’t be gone long."
approaching as Xena left. "Where’s she off to?"
shrugged. "Who knows? After all these years I’ve
learned to let Xena have her way ... well most of the time...
She’ll be back."
Gabrielle on the cheek. "Yes. We can count on
Once through the
crowd, she caught up to the figure that snagged her
attention. "Hey!" she shouted. "Just where do
you think you’re going?"
Gabrielle’s father replied.
give up even as the man turned his back. "You’re
daughter loves you very much... why, I’m not sure. But the
fact remains the same."
"I could say
the same thing about you," he replied as he continued
Xena wanted to
make things work - not for her but for Gabrielle. Xena
didn’t care if the man despised her or not. But she hated
to see Gabrielle in pain.
"Do you know
how much grieve you’ve given her?" Xena called out.
That stopped the man in his tracks. Xena approached as she
continued. "Maybe you and I are a lot more alike than
different," she said non-confrontational.
love Gabrielle; we both would die for her and we both want
to see her lead a happy life... You came here for a
Words were not
Xena’s strong suit but again she seemed to be doing quiet
well today. She could see him mulling the words over in his
mind. "You don’t have to like me," Xena offered.
"Just love of your daughter."
think I’ll ever accept you," he remarked.
me." Xena replied coolly, beginning to lead him back.
"Just don’t shun Gabrielle. She’s too wonderful a
person to let slip out of your life."
talking with Hercules when she saw Xena and her father
walking over. Her eyes shot wide open and she felt her jaw
clink to the ground.
"Told you I
wouldn’t be gone long." Xena grinned.
Xena stopped and
let the bard’s father complete the journey on his own.
Hercules walked over and hugged Xena.
"Congratulations!" he exclaimed, whirling her in
you,’ she replied. "Now please put me down."
Hercules startled, resting Xena on her feet again.
They watched as
Gabrielle and her father talked. Finally he gave her a hug
as the rest of the bards clan came over. "Maybe
there’s hope," Hercules said optimistically.
always hope," Xena said. "As long as there’s
down on Xena. "I’m so proud of you. You’re not the
same girl I met Xena... I may have convinced you to find a
better path but I know Gabrielle’s the one who taught you
love... I’m your resurrection but she’s your rebirth and
that’s what matters most."
"And I know someone as good as you will be smiled upon
too someday. And it will last a lifetime."
Xena closer, kissing her on top of the head. "There’s
always hope," he replied.
The party went on
late into the evening. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Joxer
and Autolycus spent most of the evening ogling the beautiful
amazons although they knew they had a snowballs chance in
Tartarus with them... well at least Autolycus knew it.
The music was
still playing, although the hour was late. Gabrielle took
Xena by the hands and began to walk backwards to the
Queen’s hut, locking her eyes with Xena.
dreamt of this night," Gabrielle whispered.
"I’ve wanted to look at your beautiful body for more
than a quick glance. I’ve wanted to feel all those curves,
trapped behind that armor you wear."
hard. Her mutual desire present. Desire and ... nervousness.
Why am I nervous? Xena thought to herself as she
studied Gabrielle’s lovely features. It’s not like
I’ve never done this before. Then a realization came
to her. She never had done this before – made love
to someone she truly loved. The thought was exciting yet
As they entered
the hut, Gabrielle let go of her grip and walked over to the
bed. Xena only watched her movements. She felt like a rooted
tree. The sound of Gabrielle’s voice freed her and she
walked to the bed when she heard the slight distress in it.
"Xena I have
a confession to make."
Xena took her
hands in hers. "It’s okay Gabrielle. You can tell me
anything. I’m your wife."
"I like the
sound of that," Gabrielle replied. "‘Your
wife’," she said letting the words float in her mind
a bit, until her look of happiness changed to one of
guess," Xena said. "This is the part where you
tell me you’ve never made love to a woman right?"
but it was her nerves more than amusement. "No. This is
the part where I tell you I’ve never made love
period." Xena looked at her in confusion. "By the
time, Perticus and I got back to the inn it was late. We
talked for awhile, we kissed for a while, and we cuddled for
awhile... then... we fell asleep. Then the next
morning it was so late we had to get on the road if we were
going to make Poteidaia by nightfall... And ... well you
know the rest."
Gabrielle’s chin with her fingertips so their eyes met.
"Just what are you worried about?" she asked
silently, thinking about the question, until she had
everything in focus. "I’m not sure what to do... I
know you’ve had a number of lovers – I’m sure some of
them were women – I don’t know if I can ... measure up
to the past."
"Aren’t you the one always telling me to forget the
past?... To let it go?"
That brought a
smile to the bards’ face as well. "Yes," she
respond immediately. She took time to admire Gabrielle’s
beauty and innocence. "For the record I’m worried
Gabrielle interrupted. "You know I’m going to try my
best to please you physically. I don’t want you to think
you’ve made a mistake by joining me. I have – "
Xena replied, drawing out her name. It always put goose
bumps on the bards neck. This time was no exception.
"I’m worried because ... although I’ve had a series
of lovers – yes both male and female – I know I’ve
never loved another this much. I’m worried because I
don’t want to disappoint you. This is something I
want to do for you. Not something I want for myself. I’ve
never experienced this feeling before. In that respect,
I’m a virgin too." Xena paused and slyly grinned,
"An experienced virgin but a virgin just the
as well. "Then I guess this is a first time for both of
Xena lost her
grin with seriousness replacing it. "Yes it is,"
she whispered. "You’re my life. I want to make you
happy ... in every way." That devilish grin Xena
displayed, as she finished, kick-started Gabrielle’s
happy," Gabrielle breathed as she pulled Xena’s lips
down to meet hers. "And I’ll make you happy."
through her body like lava, slow and scorching, forced a
moan from the warriors lips as they made first contact. She
could feel her skin tingling from every nerve racing
uncontrollably. She told herself to slow down. It took all
Xena’s strength to stop herself from pushing the amazon
queen to the bed and begin feasting on her.
wasn’t the only one feeling these emotions. Before she
realized what was happening Gabrielle had Xena’s back on
the bed, the bard’s hands frantically working to remove
the warrior’s wedding attire. The shocked played across
her face at how passionate her wife really was. A virgin
huh? Xena thought sarcastically. Gabrielle noticed the
expression on Xena’s face.
waited too long to feel your naked skin against mine,"
Gabrielle huskily replied as she freed the last of Xena’s
clothes. "I want you," she whispered seductively.
"I want you right now."
stood at attention the second Gabrielle’s mouth made
contact – the wetness of her queen’s tongue on her warm
skin began to create a wetness of her own between her long
legs. The moan Xena expelled prompted the bard to switch to
the other side to see if it had the same effect. And as she
expected, Xena sighed deep, holding her breath for a few
struggled to remove her clothing as she continued to caress
Xena’s nipple with her mouth, tongue and teeth. Realizing
with disappointment that she would have to break her
contact, the bard rose on her knees and stripped away her
clothing. Her skirt flew one direction. Her tunic another.
Xena would have helped if she wasn’t so mesmerized by what
she was feeling and seeing.
Once her wife was
naked, however, the warrior went into action. She pulled the
bard down on top of her, before rolling her over on her
back. Xena’s thigh settled comfortably between
Gabrielle’s center and she was amazed by the wetness she
found there. Her mouth seized Gabrielle’s neck as she
poured out all of her passion on the bard.
Gabrielle cried out as the force of Xena’s desire began to
Xena pulled back,
afraid she was injuring the small woman beneath her.
"Are you alright?" Xena asked concerned.
Gabrielle hissed, pulling Xena’s head back to it’s
location. "Gods don’t stop. It feels wonderful."
resurged with greater force than before. Her lips and mouth
unstoppable on the bards neck. Gabrielle pulled Xena closer.
Xena," Gabrielle managed to whisper. "Bite me
believe her ears. She couldn’t give Gabrielle what she was
asking. Judging by the purplish/blue impressions already on
her neck, if Xena did as she asked, she would break the
skin. Gabrielle didn’t want harder ... she wanted more.
Xena moved her
thigh a little higher to give Gabrielle’s center the
contact she knew it craved. Instinctively the bards hips
rose to meet the warriors leg. Xena moved closer again. The
same reaction ... again
She continued the
repetition until they both had a steady rhythm building. On
accident the bard’s thigh pressed against Xena’s
engorged nub. Slackness covered the top of the bard’s
thigh as Xena sighed passionately. Ah Ha the bard
thought. She raised her leg again, rubbing Xena in perfect
time. Xena’s breaths grew shallower with each stroke. Xena
knew her own body well. It was only a matter of minutes
until she would fall of the edge of reality. She struggled
with continuing the sensation or pulling away so she could
continue the sweet assault. Reluctantly, she moved away.
flooded Gabrielle’s eyes and she began to argue. Xena
quieted her with a gentle kiss.
your knees," Xena softly ordered. She wasn’t sure
what to expect from her wife’s’ eyes at the request –
perhaps uncertainty, maybe even a tinge of fear.
unadulterated passion wasn’t what she expected but
that’s what she got. "Anything," Gabrielle said
as she rose on the mattress, fulfilling Xena’s request.
"Anything you want," she added closing her eyes
Xena watched as
Gabrielle’s hands traveled through her own long, red hair,
over her breast, across her center; then down her thigh.
Xena’s hunger for the lovely queen was insatiable.
Gabrielle could feel the mattress move as Xena’s head
settled underneath her, between her thighs.
Xena," Gabrielle cried out as Xena’s tongue made
contact with her innocent femininity. Xena tried to bury her
smile so she could continue with the contact but she
couldn’t help it.
like?" Xena asked playfully.
at the voice, keeping her eyes closed. "I love!"
Xena hissed seductively. Knowing Gabrielle’s passion was
in full gear, Xena’s tongue responded quickly, flicking
lightly at the queen’s pearl. The warrior’s hands
reached up, caressing her young lover’s breasts.
Gabrielle’s hands covered Xena, helping her in her
efforts. The contact of Gabrielle’s hand on hers, the
taste of Gabrielle covering her mouth, set Xena ablaze.
her eyes and looked down at Xena. Her beautiful body looked
absolutely delicious. Her firm, full breasts. Her flat
stomach. Her long, tanned legs. It was the true definition
of perfection if ever Gabrielle saw it... And the unseen
mouth and tongue doing wonderful things, making it more and
more difficult to kneel – evoking deeper grunts and
groans. Sounds she never thought she was capable of making.
The sounds from
the bard’s throat, increased Xena’s wetness and Xena
found herself reciprocating the vocal nature of her lover,
although her sounds were muffled. Gabrielle enjoyed the
blocked sounds. The vibrations carried through her body with
every moan Xena made and the fact that she knew why she
sounded muffled – Xena’s mouth pressed firmly against
her sex – made the bard begin to shake.
yes," Gabrielle sighed as she began to topple forward,
weak from the sensations Xena was sending through her.
Seconds after her descent she realized where she was –
perfect center with Xena’s triangle. Two can play this
game Gabrielle thought triumphantly.
shot open and a deep moan escaped her mouth as Gabrielle’s
tongue began to explore her saturated slit. "Oh
Gabrielle," she exclaimed, trying to hide her shock.
as she intertwined her arms around Xena’s thighs.
"You like?" she teased back, letting her tongue
playfully tickle Xena’s evil spot.
love," Xena replied, letting her tongue move deep and
slow along Gabrielle’s slit. She carefully kissed the
bard’s thighs tenderly. "I love you Gabrielle,"
Xena added sincerely.
prompted Gabrielle. She would show Xena her response,
forgoing words. Xena’s head hit the mattress as Gabrielle
began to administer all of Xena’s moves. It took all of
Xena’s strength to lift her head to continue what she
started with Gabrielle. By the Gods she would bring this
woman satisfaction, even if it killed her. Xena’s tongue
drove forcefully and quickly around Gabrielle.
wet," Xena remarked, drawing out the words for
emphasis. She could feel her own desire being lapped up by
the hungry bard.
who’s talking," Gabrielle replied. The voice was
deep, much deeper than Xena had ever heard. And more ardent
than Xena ever expected. She could tell by the tone,
Gabrielle was ready to make the full journey away from her
inserted one finger inside her bard. Warmth and wetness
surrounded Xena. She began to move slowly until Gabrielle
began to increase her hips’ speed; not to mention the
speed of her tongue across Xena’s center.
another finger, driving deeper and harder this time. The
bard welcomed the feel.
Gods," Gabrielle moaned. "More Xena. Faster please...
The need in
Gabrielle’s voice and the sudden feel of Gabrielle’s
fingers inside of her, rattled Xena down to her
foundation. Gabrielle was moving quickly in and out of her.
Too quickly, in fact. The sound, the tastes, the feel of the
flesh – Xena was at the point of no return and she knew
Gabrielle," Xena cried out as her hips bucked against
her wife. The spasms shot through the warrior with abandon
yet she continued to give Gabrielle what she needed – more...
faster... please. With her eyes shut tight, Xena rode the
wave all the while working to bring Gabrielle the same
Xena," Gabrielle moaned, as she moved back to her
knees. "Yes... oh please... oh yes... Xena?"
understood the last comment and held Gabrielle hips in place
over her as she worked furiously on the bard’s sex.
Gabrielle had never felt the tingling of an approaching
holding her, guiding her, put the young woman at ease and
she gave into the foreign sensations washing over her.
Gabrielle’s eyes grow wide as the approaching rumbling
grew more powerful, unstoppable. As she approached the
pinnacle, her eyes snapped shut and her head dropped back.
Xena felt the bard’s back arch seconds before the
quivering of her feminine lips began.
Xena," she cried out as she collapsed downward again.
"Oh Gods," she murmured against Xena’s thigh.
Xena smiled in
satisfaction. Not in the satisfaction of having her body
spent but the satisfaction that she brought Gabrielle.
Slowly she worked her way free and moved to lye next to
Gabrielle. She gathered the young woman in her arms and
placed a gentle kiss on her sweat soaked bangs. Gabrielle
didn’t move, except to stroke Xena’s arm in loving
"Is that the
way it always feels?" Gabrielle asked.
Xena smiled. She
may not be ‘innocent’ any more. She may not be ‘naďve’.
But the question endeared Xena’s heart. Gabrielle would
continue to govern all her new experiences with wonderment.
never been this wonderful for me," Xena replied pulling
snuggled deeper into Xena’s shoulder with a grin.
Xena replied, planting another kiss. "I’ve never
loved like this before... I never thought I was capable...
to feel this way."
She may not tell her everything. She may not know just how
to say it if she tired. But the statement endeared
Gabrielle’s heart. Xena would continue to be a woman of
action yet now she was making a conscience effort to put
feelings behind it.
Gabrielle rose a little to meet Xena’s eyes. "In
response to your earlier comment – I love you too Xena...
I would have told you sooner but I had other intentions at
"I love your intentions."
yeah," Gabrielle replied, seductively.
Xena countered playfully.
I’ve got plenty more where those came from... but first
let me check something."
Xena looked at
Gabrielle questioningly as Gabrielle inspected the sheets.
"What are you looking for?" she asked.
Gabrielle said nervously.
Xena shot up.
"Did I hurt you?" Xena said examining
Gabrielle’s body, with that of a healer not a lover.
didn’t hurt me," Gabrielle continued. "But
there’s no blood."
understand the fear she was seeing in Gabrielle’s eyes.
"Tell me what’s wrong, please?"
virgin... At least I mean I was... There should be
Finally Xena put
things together. "You think because you’re a virgin
you’re going to have blood."
think that since there isn’t any, you think I won’t
believe what you said earlier?"
ashamed. She couldn’t look at Xena so she hung her head.
"Yes," she whispered.
Gabrielle to lock eyes. "First of all, I believe
anything you tell me because I know you won’t lie. And
second, the ‘blood’ that you refer to can be released in
how?" Gabrielle asked.
falling," Xena began. "You can rupture your
innocence pod with a hard fall."
"So let me understand this. Last year when I fell off
of Argo, I could have ‘lost my virginity’?"
"Yeah, Gabrielle. You lost your virginity to my horse
instead of me."
playfully smacked Xena on the arm. "Cut it out."
"It’s not that bad. Ephiny probably lost hers -"
the warrior replied throwing her hands in the air. Gabrielle
just shook her head. "C’mere," the warrior
added, pulling the bard back down with her on the bed.
"I know you speak the truth. Please don’t think I
ever doubt your word."
felt so loved and she felt herself tearing up. "Oh no
you don’t," Xena warned playfully. "There will
be no tears shed here tonight. By my count we’ve got seven
candlemarks until the sun comes up... and we’re going to
make the most of them."
Gabrielle rose on
her elbow to gaze down at the beautiful blue eyes she had
come to adore.
"Is that a
promise my warrior wife?"
her grip before pulling Gabrielle into a tender kiss.
my bard wife."