Home Part 2
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.
keep in mind this is the second story in the
series. Itís not necessary to read it the first
story, but you may enjoy it and gain
greater insight on my take of the Xena/Gabrielle love thang. A
special thanks to Janet G for offering a godly idea for this
story. I hope I live up to your expectations Janet.
getting married on Lesbos, Xena and Gabrielle return to the
mainland to visit family and the amazons, but not everyone is pleased with
their new union.
I love feedback so if you felt moved by these words (either positive or negative) drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to non-homophobic constructive comments. Thanks for reading.
Home Part 2 of 2
have never taken the mask," Xena whispered hostile.
Xena wasnít the
only one with fine hearing. The regent picked up on it.
"Well, I didnít see you stop her," Ephiny shot
Xena replied sarcastically. "I had my own troubles. I was
a little bit dead at the time."
The five women
stood, sat or paced in the royal hut - Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny,
Solari and Lila. There had to be something that could be done.
Xena was never one to give up but a day had passed with no
solution. They debated back and forth, trying to keep their
voices down. Hearing argument now between their leaders would
do no good to the already shaken villagers.
"Tell me again
why I canít give the mask away?" Gabrielle replied
after another exchange.
Artemis," Ephiny answered. "She has chosen you. No
one else. If you give the mask away who knows what she would
do to you and this village."
inward. Gabrielle was ready to give up her throne for her, if
need be. Her admiring thoughts, however, were broken by
everyone please leave?" she asked softly. "I need to
speak with Xena."
The regent and her
guard looked at one another as Lila rose.
her sister replied, making her way outside the hut.
"Weíll be outside if you need us." Gabrielle
simply nodded, studying the look on Xenaís face.
uneasily. Gabrielle made a motion for the warrior, but stopped
herself. She was beginning to remember the physical pain the
shock would bring as their bodies touched.
sure how to say this," Gabrielle began with the weep
heavy in her voice. "I never thought I would say this...
At first, Xena was
unsure what the bard was conveying, but realization began to
take hold of her.
Gabrielle. Donít say it. Weíll find a way around this
curse - together. We can Ė"
Xena... because this is no longer about just us. The
lives of every one of those women out there is in my hands...
Please leave," the last words were spoken just above a
where?!" Xena cried angrily. "And do what?!"
know!" Gabrielle replied just as fiercely. "All I
know is if you stay here I run the risk of Artemis striking
out at these women... The longer we wait, the sooner
Artemis will return... You saw what happened to Ephiny."
walking out on us? Just like that?" Xena asked, her eyes
moist now with unshed tears.
Gabrielle met Xena
eye to eye.
saving my people," she whispered. "Iím not asking
you to leave forever just... " Gabrielle didnít really
know how long she would need so she changed her train of
thought. "Just go home," she finally added.
Xena closed her
eyes and the tears sitting there began to roll down her
"But you are
my home," Xena answered. "Just like Iím
her arms around her chest and began to sob loudly. She wanted
to reach out and touch the aching warrior. She wanted to show
this woman just how much she did truly mean to her life.
Xena," Gabrielle cried. "Oh Gods, donít make this
harder than it already is."
Xena was angry - no
- hurt. As she roughly grabbed her saddle bag and began
loading her belongs. She stopped and looked at Gabrielle. The
bard began to speak.
youíre mad Ė."
Xena cut her off, now crying as well. "Iím not mad. Not
at you... Iím... Iím... heartbroken... My rage is
with Artemis, not with you. I can see why youíre doing this,
but I donít agree with it... Weíve handled everything
together... everything... "
Xena trailed off as
she stuffed her last night shirt in the bag, flinging it over
her shoulder. Slowly, she took a few deep sighs, gathering her
nerves together before she faced the pack of curious
amazonís outside. She waved casually to Gabrielle.
"Iíll see ya
around," she whispered, trying to be a carefree as
over. To Hades with Artemisí curse. She pulled the
warrior to her and planted her lips firmly on Xenaís lips.
Both women summed up all of their strength to induce the
torturous pain the shock was sending through their bodies.
When they broke away, they took a moment to regain their
home soon," Gabrielle whispered. "Iíll be waiting
you?" Xena asked. "I donít want to see you waste
your life Gabri Ė."
solution to this problem will never be a waste, even if it
takes my entire lifetime. Please come back. Promise me?"
Xena looked into
the bardís eyes. The womanís love was true; the most
genuine thing she saw in all her travels.
promise," Xena whispered, beginning to tear up again.
"I better go."
Without waiting for
Gabrielleís reaction, she left the hut. A few amazons
watched as she strolled quickly to the stables. Minutes later,
she emerged upon the mare and was galloping out of the city.
All three women who had been in the queenís hut earlier
watched as the warrior left.
talk to her," Lila offered.
insisted. "Let me. Solari could you please see Lila to
the tailor for her new attire?"
Solari nodded. "This way Princess Lila," Solari
Lila had to grin.
It was the first time anyone called her by a title. After a
brief discussion the day when the trio arrived, it was decided
that since Lila was blood to the queen, she was a princess.
Once the two women
were on their way, Ephiny walked over and knocked on the
it?" Gabrielle asked softly.
I please come in and speak with you Gabrielle? Please?"
tell by the tone in Ephinyís voice that Ephiny was worried,
perhaps sorrowful. Gabrielle knew at that moment that Xena had
done as she was asked. The warrior princess left.
opened the door and Ephiny walked in, the bard burst into
tears all over again. All Ephiny could do was hold her and
rock her. She knew what it felt like - losing a soulmate - and
she knew she had no words to take it away. So the regent held
her queen close to her chest and tried to squeeze some of the
pain from her heart.
"If I may be
so bold princess, Iíd say you look quite beautiful,"
the tailor replied, finishing a few stitches on the skirt.
Lila blushed. She turned and faced her escort. "What do
you think, Solari?"
totally caught the always alert guard Ďoff-guardí and she
found herself fumbling. "I... I... I think... sheís
right. I think you look beautiful." Now Solari felt
herself blush and she quick reprimanded herself. Amazons
donít blush. We are brave warriors. We donít allow
emotions to interfere with our duties. Slowly, Solariís
eyes traveled the length of Lilaís body coming to rest at
the deep blue eyes. Oh Hades, who am I kidding? Sheís
set," the tailor interrupted. Both women broke eye
contact to see the tailor.
you," Lila replied. "Should we go now?" she
princess," Solari answered giving a small bow.
"Please donít call me that," she said shyly.
"For some reason, when you say that it feels... I donít
you prefer?" Solari asked.
"Lila is fine
or hey you." She grinned. "Iíll answer to just
Solari teased. The warrior suddenly felt a level of comfort
and confidence with her young princess. The tailor shot the
warrior a knowing grin before going to busy herself in the
"I said just
about anything," Lila replied with a coy grin.
Solari felt a
boldness strike her deeply and she found herself closing the
distance between herself and Lila. "Gorgeous? Would you
answer to Gorgeous?"
Lila could feel a
fear of the unknown creeping over her body. The warrior was
getting closer by the second. She didnít want to do anything
to scare Solari and she didnít want to put her foot in her
"It depends on
who was saying it - a drunk in a bar or a dark, beautiful
Solari felt herself
grinning now too.
"How about a
dark, beautiful, drunk warrior in bar?" she said trying
to lighten the air surrounding them. Lila picked up on it, but
she didnít want this little seduction to end.
happen to be the warrior?" Lila replied boldly,
surprising herself and her village chaperon. She watched
Solariís eyes widened briefly before gathering her warrior
make a difference?" Solari asked honestly, hanging
impatiently for a reply.
Lila moved a little
closer, locking eyes with the ebony-haired amazon.
"Yes," she whispered huskily. "It would."
Solari began, "Since weíre finished here, maybe I could
take you to the orchards. We could get some fruits for your
sister - a small token of some kind. And perhaps later, I
could escort you to dinner tonight?"
like a wonderful idea." Lila grinned.
didnít last long and it was mostly for show. She wanted to
know that although she did enjoy the idea of Solariís
proposal, she felt guilty for feeling so happy at this moment
when just across the village her sister was more than likely
in tears. Solari noted the change that swept through Lila.
sure?" Solari questioned. "I wouldnít want to
impose on your time here. You look a bit undeceive."
that," Lila reassured touching Solariís arm. Suddenly,
she felt distracted by the texture of the smooth skin and the
harden muscles underneath. She removed her hand, almost in a
jerking motion when she felt it lingering too long.
"Iím worried about Gabrielle, thatís all."
"They are both very resourceful," the warrior
complimented Xena and her queen. "Iím sure they will
find some resolve to this problem. Theyíve faced worse,
"What do you
mean?" Lila asked.
Solari realized it
would be best if she kept her mouth closed. She wasnít sure
just how well Lila knew her sister and her many exploits with
Xena. Thatís it, Solari said silently as she deduced
"Life on the
road is, at best, difficult," Solari offered.
"Theyíve faced many... battles... Iím positive
they will find a solution."
That answer pleased
Lila and Solari sighed inwardly. "Well, maybe we should
head to the orchard," Lila replied.
Solari said with a bow.
Lila scolded Solari
with her eyes for the royal gesture. Solari quickly apologized
and they both left the hut with a smile.
Upon traveling to
the orchard, Solari grabbed a bushel basket and they heading
into the trees. They picked cherries, apples and pears for
their queen, making sure to grab only the freshest ones. The
chatted about their lives - Solari spoke of her early
childhood amazon customs and Lila told Solari about life in
Poteidaia. Suddenly in mid-sentence, Lila stopped and clutched
her hand as she yelped.
Solari, who was a
few feet away, rushed to her princessí side.
the matter?" she asked concerned.
Lila showed Solari
her right index finger. "Something bite me," she
Solari examined the
Ďwoundí. And she grew concerned.
been bitten," Solari replied, gently holding Lilaís
hand. "Youíve been stung... Have you been stung
Solari watched a
friend in childhood die from such an infliction unable to
breathe. A warrior also died two summers ago and she was
grown. Some people could fight the poison of the bee, others
could not. And she was worried.
Lila replied. "When I was a child, Gabrielle was playing
in the yard when my mom made me fetch her for dinner. Damn
thing bite me on the back of the neck."
Solari sighed and
took Lilaís hand more firmly. "I have to get the
stinger and the poison out, okay? This may hurt a
little," she warned.
Lila nodded quickly
and held her breath. Solari maneuvered Lilaís hand into the
dwindling sunlight. As fast as possible, she captured the
singer between her fingernails and pulled it out. Lila
groaned, but kept her hand still. Next, Solari raised the
injured finger to her lips and sucked on the tip, trying to
draw any poison that had settled there.
on her flesh, sent a shot to Lilaís sex like quicksilver.
She tried to focus on breathing again, but the feel of the
warriorís wet lips on her finger did nothing to help. The
young princessí eyes were fixed on Solari and even when the
warrior turned her head to spit out the poison, it looked
sexy. Oh Lila, the young princess told herself. You
are in big trouble if you find even that arousing. Lila
began to wonder what those lips would feel like on her
shoulders, her lips, her breasts... her... other lips.
The princess shook her head to get her attention back. The
motion caught Solariís eye.
okay?" the dark-haired warrior asked. She still had hold
of the princessí hand and lightly began to message the
injured finger. Lila could feel her pulse raising as fast as
her illicit thoughts.
she croaked. She had to clear her throat before she continued.
"Iím fine... Itís just... " She was unsure of
how much to reveal at this moment. What the Tarturus,
she thought. "That feels really good. Maybe too good.
Maybe you should stop now."
Solari grinned at
the honesty. "Do you want me to stop?" Solari
whispered. "You are my princess, you know? I do as you
Lila felt herself
back into the apple tree as the warrior crept closer.
huh?" the Ďnew amazoní asked, trying to sound
Solari answered huskily. She didnít want Lila
misunderstanding her intent. "What would you like me to
do?" Solari teased. "Should I work on extracting
some more poison?" she asked. Without waiting for a
reply, Solari took the fingertip in her mouth once more. But
instead of sucking she let her tongue roll around the digit.
Lila closed her eyelids and could feel her eyes rolling into
the back of her head.
Now Lila wasnít a
tramp. But she was no stranger to love either. There were a
couple boys in the village she had dated since Gabrielleís
departure. All the kisses and pecks sheíd received felt
nothing like this moment. So this is what Gabrielle meant
by curling toes, Lila thought. She grinned at the
conversation she had with her sister about why she loved Xena
so much. Solari took the smile as encouragement to continue in
anything else I can do for you, my princess?"
It sounded more
like a beg than a question. Lila opened her eyes to find
Solariís eyes locked on her face, studying her lips. The
warrior's fingers came up and began to trace them. Something
odd began to happen. Lila could feel herself grow wet and she
had the overwhelming desire to feel contact, any contact,
against the wetness. She moaned, trying to block herself from
lowering her hand to her center.
gods," Lila whispered. "Whatís happening to
Solari smiled at
her innocence. "Itís called desire," Solari
replied softly. "Itís called passion... Itís called
Lila closed her
eyes again and moaned, "Yes... Want."
what?" Solari asked coyly.
Lila moaned again.
"You," she whispered. "I want you to kiss
Solari pulled the
young woman closer by the waist, crushing her against her.
Lila eyes shot open, but quickly closed again when Solari
captured her lips. When Solariís tongue pierced through,
stroking the inside of her mouth, the young woman seriously
thought she was going to swoon. The warrior noticed the sway
of her loveís legs and offered her support. Lila took it by
placing her hands on Solariís shoulders. Of course, this
gesture only left her weaker to stand as the desire between
her legs grew stronger.
caressed Lilaís sides gently, protectively. Lila, however,
had other plans for the warriorís hands. She took Solariís
forearm and guided her southward. She let her hand float down
Solariís arm to her fingers. Both women moaned when
Solariís fingers made contact with Lilaís wetness.
The young amazon
broke the kiss first and set to work on the warriorís neck.
Solari tilted her head, offering her flesh to the hungry young
woman. Her princess. The sister of her queen. With that
thought Solari tensed and Lila felt it.
wrong?" Lila asked breathlessly.
herself from Lila as easily as possible. "I think we
should slow things down a bit," the warrior answered
sounding just as winded as her princess.
Lila looked at her
feet, far away from Solariís eyes. "Did I do something
wrong?" she asked quietly.
surprised at first, but she didnít want Lila to see that
reaction. Once in check, she lifted Lilaís chin with her
fingertips. "You did nothing wrong." Solari smiled.
"If anything, you did everything too right," she
chuckled. "I donít know about you, but Iíd much
rather make love some place more... romantic... or at least
less dangerous. We could be spending the evening picking
stingers out of each otherís behinds."
Lila giggled and
agreed. "Yes, I could think of a better way to spend the
night with you." The grin began to fade and the look of
ardent desire returned.
Solari said holding up her hands. "Donít start looking
at me like that. I just made a promise to take things slow
here. You keep looking at me like that and youíll make a
liar out of me," she added with a smile.
Lila smiled again
too. "Come on," she said taking Solariís hand in
hers. "Letís get these to Gabrielle. What do you
wish, your highness." Solari grinned. "Anything you
Argo was tiring.
Xena could feel the animal growing sluggish. She pulled the
reins close to her bringing her mare to a sliding stop.
Feeling the distress of her mistress, the horse tried to
change direction, heading back from where she just came, but
Xena tightened her hold.
Argo," Xena reassured. She could hear her voice betraying
her words though. "Itís okay," she whispered
Xena began to sob
loudly and the palomino whinnied in response. The horse
understood things were not okay. Her mistress was in tears and
the short woman she had come to expect wasnít with them. She
began to prance, growing upset herself.
Xena gave up. She
dismounted and stroked the cream hued mane. "Letís take
a break, huh girl? Does that sound like a good idea?" the
warrior whispered. "Go on," she added pointing at a
near by meadow.
She watched the
mare take a spot, nibbling on some grass. The warrior was
jealous. The animal could calm itself so easily. After a few
moments, she fell to her knees and cried in agony. She ached,
literally, for Gabrielle. Her stomach hurt, her head hurt, her
lungs hurt. She felt like sheíd been in another fight with a
harpy... and lost. She started to wipe her tears away slowly
but she suddenly shot to her feet, sword in hand.
"I told you
this would happen, but ya just couldnít listen could ya,
Xena," the God of War began.
"Get away from
me, Ares," Xena balked. "I donít have time for
He stood for a
moment, studying the warrior. "YOU are a mess. Look at
you. Youíre not a warrior... Any self respecting warrior of
mine wouldnít waste this much time over a broken heart. Get
over it, Xena."
"First of all,
Iím not your warrior anymore . And second the only waste of
my time is conversing with you."
on," Ares egged. "Youíre more mine now than ever.
Think about it. You want Artemisí head on a platter right
now. Youíd kill her in a flash if you thought you could
succeed... What if I told you I could help make that
"You never give up... I will say this about you, Ares.
You are persistent... Thanks, but no thanks."
Xena began to walk
to Argo. "Youíre just going to go back to Amphipolis
then?" The warrior ignored his comments. "Fine. Run
back to Mommy. Sheíll make it all better, right? What you
need is revenge, Xena! Donít let Artemis take away the only
thing that truly mattered to you!"
Xena stopped and
turned to face him. "How do you know what Ďtruly
mattersí to me? Youíve never known me, Ares - Not the real
me. Take a good look because here I am. I am Gabrielleís
soulmate - not a destroyer of nations, not a warrior of
justice. My one and only purpose in life is Gabrielle."
"Yeah, I heard your little declaration on Lesbos...
To be honest, I DO understand at least ONE thing that you see
in her." Xena noticed his eyes wander off with his racing
thoughts. She snapped her fingers to get his attention back.
to be MY wife youíre daydreaming about," Xena warned.
"Donít worry. You were in it too."
know." Xena smirked as she walked toward Argo.
Ares watched Xena
for another moment before materialized beside her as she
mounted the horse. The two warriors locked eyes. "You
were my best," he said quietly. "Iím never going
to get you back though, am I?"
Xena shook her head
lightly but the conviction was strong behind it.
"No," she replied in a similar relaxed tone.
"Okay," he began. "Iíll do you a favor."
Xena began to argue, but Ares raised his hand to stop her.
"For old times sake," he continued.
"No way, Ares.
I know that help from the Gods comes with a price. Iím not
buying whatever youíre selling."
me," he said forcefully. "The answer to getting
Gabrielle back lies in Amphipolis."
"Why should I
trust you?" Xena replied getting annoyed.
"I asked you
to trust me in Britannia and you didnít. Look at the price
you paid for not listening."
Ares," Xena said sarcastically. "I didnít think
"Okay. I guess
I deserved that one," he admitted. "But know this
Xena: If you want Gabrielle, do as she said. Go home."
Xena was torn. She
wanted to believe Ares just this once. Maybe the answered did
lie in her hometown. Then again, Ares was... well Ares... and
it could just be another elaborate game he had planned. The
God of War could feel Xenaís conflicting thoughts and
worse thing that will happen? Youíll see your mom and have
to tell her the honeymoonís over. Give it a thought,"
he answered as he began to vaporize.
Why are you telling me this?" Xena insisted.
Ares returned to
his brief form for a moment. "Itís called a favor. I
never repaid you and Gabrielle for giving me back my Godhood...
Of course if it wasnít for the airhead of Olympus and that
little do-gooder of yours with her scroll it would have never
happened but... anyway... Just Go!"
With that the god
vanished. "Come on girl," Xena said in better
spirits to the mare. "Weíre going home - tonight,"
she nudged Argo and the two galloped away, leaving a trail of
dust in their wake.
Ephiny crept into
the hut to find Gabrielle lying on the bed, her back to the
door. "Gabrielle?" she whispered.
The queen rose up
and faced her regent. "What is it?" she asked in a
brought you some dinner," Ephiny replied, closing the
distance, holding out the tray.
hungry," Gabrielle answered, still devoid of emotion.
"You have to
eat," Ephiny gently begged.
out, striking the tray out of Ephinyís hands and across the
floor. "I donít want it!" Gabrielle screamed.
Ephiny flinched and
held her breath. Gabrielle looked at the food and dishes
scattered across the hut before she met her regentsí eyes. Ephiny
looked shocked perhaps even a bit fearful. Gabrielle hung her
sorry," Gabrielle cried sincerely. "I know youíre
only trying to help. And I Ė"
alright," Ephiny answered, not letting her finish.
"Youíre hurt and angry."
Gabrielle shook her
head forcefully. "No. Thatís no excuse for treating you
like that and I apologize."
sympathetically and pulled the crying woman into her arms.
accepted... Iíll just have to learn that no means
no." she teased. "I was just lucky you werenít
hold your staff at the time. Iíd be rubbing my backside for
a week." That made the queen grin and Ephiny felt more
Gabrielle took a
deep breath, gaining her composure again. "So how are
things out there?" she asked.
like to come out?" the regent asked carefully. "We
could go for a walk around the village."
Gabrielle shook her
head. "Donít think Iím up to it tonight. Maybe
"Okay. When youíre ready," she answered, stroking
the bardsí hair behind her ear.
"My mother used to do that when I was upset," the
bard replied regarding the physical gesture. "Speaking of
family, howís Lila holding up? I saw her and Solari earlier
today. They brought me some fruits."
Ephiny smiled wide,
but tried to make it disappear quickly. Gabrielle quirked her
eyebrow at the response.
fine," Ephiny answered. The smile began to come back to
the regent's lips.
"I have the
overwhelming feeling Iím missing something here."
"Wellllll," the regent dodged.
it," Gabrielle ordered.
Ephiny moved to the
bed with a pounce and patted the mattress. She waited until
Gabrielle took a seat. "Rumor has it that Lila and Solari
have been spending a lot of time together since her arrival
two days ago. In fact, I hear they are inseparable."
Gabrielle felt her
jaw hanging, her eyes widening. "Youíre kidding,
Ephiny kept her
lips tight and shook her head. "As a matter of fact, they
spent the evening meal together and planned on taking a walk
to the river afterward. Theyíre probably on their way right
Gabrielle shot up
off the bed. "I want Lila brought here now. Alone."
"I mean it Ephiny.
Right now. And before you ask, yes Iím pulling rank."
Ephiny realized her
queen was quite serious. She swiftly went to the guards
outside. A moment later, she returned.
for her," Ephiny said with apprehension in her voice.
considered the question. Why did she send for her sister? What
would she say once she had her? "Look," Gabrielle
replied. "Iím not sure my sister knows everything about
the amazons and I KNOW that Solari does. Catch my drift?"
"Yes. But Solari is a very honorable amazon. She would
never force herself on anyone."
Gabrielle sighed in
frustration. What in particular frustrated her at this moment
she couldnít tell. "I believe you," Gabrielle
answered. "I have a very high regard for Solari. I just
think my sister should know more about the birds and the bees
before she taking moonlight walks with a woman like Solari."
sure why but she suddenly felt defensive about her best
friend. "What do you mean a woman like Solari?"
Gabrielle answered the frustration rising again. "All I
mean is Solari is an amazon - in every sense of the word - I
just think that Lila should know what sheís doing. This
could be just an experiment to her and I donít want to see
anyone get hurt. Not her. Not Solari. Not anyone . .
Gabrielleís own love life - oh Hades, her own Ďlifeí -
was going to Tartarus in a hand basket, but she still wanted
to Ďprotectí others around her. Ephiny admired Gabrielle
in that single moment, more than ever.
understand," the regent whispered. The regent was going
to continue, but the guard arrived.
Gabrielle. Your sister has arrived," one replied
in," she replied regally.
As the guard, left Ephiny
added, "Iíll be outside, my queen."
Lila walked in and
the first thing she noticed were Gabrielleís blood-shot
okay?" she asked concerned. "They said you sent for
seat," Gabrielle said patting the quilt on her bed.
"I asked them to bring you here for... you... not me...
According to Regent Ephiny,youíve been spending a lot of
your time with Solari since youíve been here."
Lila was a bit
taken back by Gabrielleís tone. She sounded so
Ďqueenlyí. This wasnít like the late-night discussions
when they cuddled together in one bed gossiping about boys and
chores and village life. She didnít know how to respond so
she simply nodded her head.
Gabrielle nodded in
like fashion. "I like Solari. I trust her. And I trust
you... I know you weíre very curious about my life with
Xena." Even as Gabrielle said the name it brought the
familiar ache to the surface again. She paused a moment to
regroup and Lila gave her that time in silence. "Anyway,
Iím curious about your relationship with Solari. Is there
anything youíd like to talk about?... Anything youíd like
Lila smiled and
giggled. "Come on Gabs can we just cut the royal stuff
for a minute?" The regal tone of the conversation was
getting to the bardís sister.
Gabrielle said firmly. "Because you are the princess of
this village. Everything you say, everything you do, will be
closely watched by everyone. I donít mind that youíre
keeping company with Solari, but you do have to realize, my
dear sister, all eyes are on you now."
That was a fact
Lila hadnít really considered. "Everyone is talking
about me and Solari?"
and nodded slowly. "Yep. Now do you see why I wanted you
to understand how important your actions are?" Lila
nodded without comment. "Good." Gabrielle smiled.
"Now we can cut the Ďroyal stuffí... and you
can give me the scoop!"
Lila smiled and the
two sisters climbed under the covers, giggling. After two
hours of laughing; crying; Lila telling Gabrielle how she
loved Solariís blue eyes; Gabrielle telling Lila how much
she missed Xenaís, the pair fell asleep in each others arms.
Gabrielle was restless, but she felt much better with Lila
next to her once more. Thanks to her sister, Gabrielle managed
to survive her first night without Xena.
Xena opened one eye
when she heard someone grab the handle of the barn door. As it
creaked she moved to her elbows, slightly turning her head
from the light.
are you doing here? Whereís Gabrielle?"
up?" she asked ignoring the questions.
preparing breakfast," Toris answered. "Gabrielleís
okay, isnít she?"
that Ďokayí really meant Ďaliveí.
the amazons... Iíve got to talk to mother."
Toris simply nodded
and watched his sister walk toward the tavern. Once in the
kitchen she found her mother making some sugarcakes, a
favorite of Gabrielleís, and the warrior could feel herself
choking up with the thought. Everything, it seemed, reminded
her of the bard.
Cyrene felt the
presence behind her. "Toris?" she asked.
mother," Xena replied.
sharply to find Xena standing alone. Her eyes were darkened
for lack of sleep. Her hair was still wind blown from the ride
in; her shoulders and back slumped in exhaustion. She looked
like Tartarus, but the fact that she was alone stood out more
happened?" her mother whispered. "Whereís
Xena lost what
little composure she had left as the tears began to cascade
down her cheeks.
Gods," Cyrene said rushing to Xena, taking her in her
arms. "Oh little one, what happened?"
Xena started to
explain the story in between sobs; the words coming out like
one long hiccup after another. Cyrene did her best to decipher
just what Xena was saying. She understood that Gabrielle was
alive and with the Amazon. There was also something about
Artemis and Ares but she couldnít make that out.
Cyrene led Xena. "Have a seat. Iíll get you some tea.
Once you calm down, weíll start at the beginning,
Xena nodded like a
small child and Cyrene couldnít resist kissing her on the
forehead. After all, she was a child - Cyreneís child and
the older woman knew she would Ďmotherí this warrior for
the rest of her life.
Once Xena calmed
down, blew her nose and drank some tea, she began to relax
enough so the conversation could be understood. Xena told
about the events at the banquet and Artemisí curse. As she
finished she looked into her motherís eyes.
"What do I
do?" Xena plead.
Cyrene was angry.
Xena could tell. The older woman took a deep breath and held
up her finger. She went to the front door and shouted toward
the barn for her son.
Upon hearing his
name, he darted from the barn, sprinting to his mother.
Knowing his sister was so distraught earlier, he didnít
waste a second getting to his mom.
it?" he asked breathless, once he was in front of her.
"I know you
were on your way back to Athens today, but could you stay and
run the inn for a few more days. I have to go to Arborea with
she going to be okay?" he asked concerned.
The older woman
grinned, looking back at Xena who was listening to the
exchange. "Yes. Come Hades or high water."
A full day had
passed since Xenaís arrival back in Amphipolis. They were
near the amazon border when Xena couldnít take it any
it," she sighed. "Why are we back here, Mom?"
"I told you.
Iím going to have a little chat with Artemis. I think itís
wrong what sheís doing and Iím going to tell her."
"What do you
think this little chat is going to solve?" Xena asked.
dear... I have many skills." Her mom grinned.
Before Cyrene could
add more, the ropes fell from the trees. Solari once again was
Youíre back already?!" Solari exclaimed. "I mean
not that itís a bad thing. But itís only been two days.
Did you find the answer?"
Xena replied. Solari knew the warrior wasnít going to be
adding more. "Solari, this is my mom. Mom - Solari.
Sheís a friend to me and Gabrielle."
Both women nodded
to each other in respect before Solari motioned the runner.
Ephiny had finally
talked Gabrielle into a walk around the village. They were
approaching the practice field when they saw the runner
queen," the runner said falling to one knee. "Xena
and her mother are here." Just as she finished the
sentence, Gabrielle could see them appear on top the small
hill. Ephiny couldnít contain her smile and neither could
Gabrielle, who broke into a strong run.
Xena smiled when
she saw Gabrielle take off. Cyrene watched her daughtersí
reaction and encouraged her.
her," her mother said, gently patting Xenaís back,
leading Argo. "Go on."
Xena gave her
mother an appreciative gaze before taking off. The queen and
the warrior ran a full speed and when they were close enough
to see each otherís facial features they slowed down almost
coming to a halt. They moved gingerly toward each other, each
woman wanting to feel the other.
mischievously. "Are you ready?" she asked.
on," she said opening her arms.
The pain was
instant and constant, but neither woman refused to break the
lip lock until both were satisfied. The moans of pain sounded
so similar to the moans of passion they expressed to each
other. When they finally were willing to separate, they took a
few moments to regain their breathing back to normal. By this
time, their traveling companions had arrived. After
introductions to Ephiny and Cyrene, the four women traveled to
the village square.
get this over with," Cyrene said moving to the middle of
and Xena stood holding hands. Ephiny offered herself as a
link/translator between them. Each time Gabrielle squeezed Ephinyís
hand, Ephiny would squeeze Xenaís. The loving, helpful
gesture was warmly accepted by the bard and her warrior. A few
amazons surrounding them stopped to take notice as Cyrene took
the platform stage.
she yelled at the top of her lungs, her hands clinched in
fists at her side. The amazons who werenít watching as she
took the stage were certainly watching now. A large circle
began to form. "Artemis, Iím calliní you out!"
from the huts now began to emerge - the cooks, the washers,
and the carpenters. Every soul in the village had their
attention on Xenaís mother.
you, Artemis? What are you afraid of?" she taunted.
Amazonís turned to each other gossiping about the
Ďcrazyí woman challenging their God. Their attention,
however, still manage to stay focused on Cyrene too.
double-face, back-stabbing, piss-poor excuse for a goddess.
You make Aphrodite look like Ė"
have the chance to finish. The flash of blue light circled
Cyrene, stopping dead in front of her. Artemis materialized in
front of the older woman who refused to look intimidated.
"Who do you
think you are?!" Artemis demanded.
Xena was ready to
charge the stage. Both out of protection of her mother and her
anger with the goddess. Ephiny held tight and shook her head.
"Sheís got a plan, Xena," Ephiny whispered.
"Let her follow it through."
The regent felt
Xena relax and she lightened her grip on the warriors
Cyrene paced around
the goddess. "My name is Cyrene. My mother was Agena...
Ring any bells?" she said sarcastically.
Aunt?" Artemis asked. Cyrene only nodded. "Cyrene?
Cyrene?... " the goddess said searching her memory banks.
Artemis suddenly grinned, "Cyrene! Youíre... old...
Cyrene smiled and
nodded. "Yeah, it happens to us mortal... if weíre
returned to the village?" she asked hopefully.
here for my daughter... my daughter, Xena."
Cyrene didnít add
Artemis looked to
where Cyrene pointed. "Xena is your daughter?" the
"Yes. And she
seeks the hand of your queen. And yes, she is of amazon blood.
Royal amazon blood, in fact."
Everyone in the
village square fell silent. Artemis considered the situation.
Gabrielle was all smiles. Xena was all shock.
"You left the
village before she was conceived," Artemis argued.
amazon blood, always of amazon blood. You know that, Artemis.
Regardless of my marriage, me and my daughter are both amazon."
Cyrene turned to
walk around the platform when a villager caught her eye.
Before she could utter a syllable, the amazon she admired
turned, making her way from the stage and through the crowd
that had formed. Cyrene was on the verge of following, but she
stopped and turned to Artemis.
"What do you
have against my daughter? What would please you so she could
have Gabrielleís hand?" Cyrene asked.
Artemis rested her
bow down and met Cyreneís eyes. "Sheís a weak woman.
She maybe an amazon, but I refuse to have my queen bond with
someone as weak as Xena."
That was it. Xena
couldnít be contained this time. "Iím weak?! Iím
weak?!" she shouted as she took the stage steps two at a
time. "I would challenge any one of your warriorís for
Gabrielleís hand! Iíve fought Hades to come back to her!
Tell me how I am weak!"
dropped to her knees and clutched her throat. Cyrene rushed to
her side and held her.
"What are you
trying to prove?!" the warriorís mother yelled
"Just how weak
she is," Artemis replied casually.
weak!" Cyrene insisted. "Sheís mortal!"
unconsciousness with all her being, yet knowing she was
losing. Artemis bent over and whispered, "Pick a God.
Thereís only one that can save you now and itís certainly
Ephiny could have
sworn she saw the warrior give the smallest of grins.
Ah," Xena said trying to say the name but only managing a
her grip. "Say it!" she screamed. "Who do you
Xena took a deep
breath while she could, settling her shoulders to yell.
"Athena!" she screamed.
wide-eyed and forgot about the grip she was going to restore
on the warriorís throat.
A bolt of purple
light flashed, knocking Artemis off balanced.
whatís going on, but I already know," Athena said
scowling at Artemis. She was a lovely woman with flowing white
robes, looking older than Artemis and not nearly as physically
fit. "You are way out of line Artie," she added.
Athena offered her hand to Xena, which the warrior took.
"Youíll be okay," she told the warrior.
Artemis was going
to start to protest and explain her actions.
"I know you
donít want your queen with someone who deals with Ares. And
to be honest I donít blame you. But by harming this mortal,
Iím forced to inform Zeus." Athena was disgusted and
she had to take a moment to regain her composure.
"Letís just say youíve got your answer, Artemis. Xena
belongs to no one, but herself. All she seeks now is wisdom
and truth. Give your queenís hand to her. Sheís earned it...
and besides... I KNOW itís the right thing to
Artemis watched the
other goddess and looked at her people. They seemed to be in
agreement with Athena too.
Artemis whispered in a voice so tiny, even those next to her
barely heard her.
think they heard you in the back," Athena boasted
sarcastically, pointing toward the mob.
OKAY," Artemis replied throwing her hands up in
frustration. "Xena can bond with my queen."
Xena and Gabrielle
grinned ear to ear and rushed toward each other. The first
time since the curse they didnít feel the sting of touching
each other. And they enjoyed every moment of it. A group
settled around them and congratulated them. Xena turned back
to thank her mother and watched her slip off toward the mess
hall. She didnít follow - in truth she couldnít - they
were too closed in. But sheís whispered in Gabrielleís
ear. "Letís get outta here as quickly and politely as
"What did you
have in mind?" Gabrielle asked seductively.
mom," Xena replied.
Gabrielle lost the
playful grin and nodded in agreement. Yes, Gabrielle
considered. Looks like Cyrene has so explaining to do.
Cyrene crept into
the mess hall where an older amazon was picking up lunch
trays. Slowly, the warriorís mother approached her.
she asked softly.
the woman answered just as quietly. She refused to turn and
Cyrene paused a
moment, but decided to press the reunion. She walked in front
of the women. After a few resistant moments, the warriorís
mother was reward by seeing the warmest brown eyes sheíd
"How have you
been?" Cyrene asked cautiously.
Taria replied coldly. She began to take the tray back to the
Cyrene offered. "Let me help you."
Taria pulled them
away forcefully. "I donít want your help... I donít
want anything to do with you... You made your choice years ago...
Now go. Leave me!" she added as she raced away.
despondently. When she watched her daughter at the door. She
knew Xena caught the tail end of the conversation.
she?" Xena asked quietly.
Cyrene ran her
fingers through her hair, hoping to tease the tension. Her
mind grasped for an explanation.
should start at the beginning?" she asked walking over.
At that moment,
Gabrielle came in with Ephiny. The queen asked her regent to
post a guard outside, not letting anyone inside. Ephiny nodded
and went back out. The bard studied the warrior and Cyrene.
youíre ready," Xena instructed. Cyrene took a set at
the nearest bench table. Xena and Gabrielle sat down next to
each other and locked hands, waiting for Cyrene to begin. The
older woman sighed and took a deep breath.
"It was during
one of our Ďraidsí that I met your father. He was in an
army in the northwest pasture that was resting after
traveling. That night we Ďattackedí. I spent hours talking
to him and I realized I could love the Ďenemyí...
Your father asked me to stay with him that evening - leave the
amazons - but I told him no; I had to return. When I realized
my mission was complete and I was with child, I thought of him
often. I was worried too... If I had a boy then... I would
have to leave the child. And I couldnít bare the thought of
leaving my son to die.
Taria and I were to
be bonded that summer. She was convinced I carried a girl. I
told her I wasnít sure that I could give the baby up if it
were a boy. I was also honest about my feelings for your
father. A few weeks later I accidentally ran into your father.
He begged me to go home with him to his mothers inn. I told
him I would consider it. After that I returned to Arborea. I
spoke with Taria about my feelings... We made an
agreement. I would go to Amphipolis and have the child. If it
were a girl Iíd return to Taria and we would raise her
together. If it was a boy... then... Needless to say the
child was Toris. And I never came back... until today.
Taria hates me and
I donít blame her... I did love her. I did... but I
couldnít choose her over my child... I considered coming
back after... well you know... but I knew they
wouldnít accept me. Besides, I still had Toris and Lyceus.
Things werenít the same back then as they are now. Ephiny
would have never been able to keep in contact with her son.
She wouldnít have been accepted back into the tribe after
her departure, let alone become the village regent. Funny how
times change. Even within a lifetime."
The table fell
silent. Xena covered her motherís fidgeting hands.
said anything," Xena observed. "When Gabrielle got
the right of caste, when I told you about my friendship with Ephiny,
you never said one word... Why?"
Embarrassed. Uncertain." Cyrene grinned bitter-sweetly.
"There never seemed to be a very good time to tell you...
Besides, it was a part of my life I spent years trying to put
behind me... We all have things that we look back on and say,
'I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that'."
Gabrielle and Xena
both knew exactly what the old Ďamazoní was saying. They
too had issues, moments, decisions they would have changed if
given the chance. But what was in the past was in the past.
There was nothing they could do and they tried not to dwell on
"What did you
do here Cyrene?" the bard asked. "What position did
you hold if you donít mind me asking?"
Cyrene smiled. The
bard was always so gentle and compassionate. Not at all as
forceful as her daughter, but just as effective.
"I was an
instructor. I taught the younger amazons how to use a
staff." She grinned knowingly at the bard.
Xena grinned too.
"And the subject of being an amazon never came up,"
Cyrene confessed. "Maybe I had a few times I could have
mentioned it... like every time Gabrielle walks in my door...
but it was so long ago... And I have a lot of feelings about
it all that Iíve never resolved."
the bard inquired.
Taria," Cyrene whispered.
Xena and Gabrielle
looked at each other.
thereís no time like the present I feel... I should write
that down," the bard added making a mental note. "I
mean itís like you said the past is over and that canít be
changed. And you donít know what the future will hold. All
you have is right here and right now."
"Sheís bright," the woman complimented.
Xena beamed. "Itís one of the things I love about
Cyrene agreed nodding. "I think maybe Iíll find Taria...
Resolve this issue, once and for all."
As Cyrene began to
stand, so did Xena and Gabrielle. The three moved out from the
table and joined in an embrace. "Go on," Cyrene
insisted. "You two have a joining ceremony to plan."
Xena and Gabrielle
watched Cyrene walk back toward the kitchen where Taria had
luck," Xena called out with deep sincerity. "And
Cyrene looked back
and gave a small nod. Xena wished there was something she
could do to help her mother heal, but she knew the road to
healing ones heart was different than the body. For one, the
heart can only be healed by the person who owned it. And two,
the heart took much longer to heal. Xena silently prayed to
Athena to give her mother the wisdom she needed for her
healing. The warrior understood it was a long time coming.
She took Gabrielle
by the hand and they left the mess hall. The guards began to
walk with their queen and her betrothed until Xena stopped.
She looked at them. Thatís all. She just looked at them and
the pair began to walk again.
Xena turned her
head just a tad and listened. They no longer followed, taking
the subtle hint from the warrior. Xena grinned. That
intimidation thing still comes in hand, she thought to
herself as they walked from the village into the nearby
alright?" Gabrielle asked, noticing the uncharacteristic
silence of the warrior.
The bard briefly
reflected on a time when hours would pass with maybe five
words spoken from the towering woman. In the last few months,
it seemed she was making up for lost time, chattering more
than the bard at times. Gabrielle didnít mind, in fact, she
loved the change in Xena. She squeezed the hand that held
hers, letting her admiration flow from her fingertips.
okay," the warrior answered, giving a squeeze of her own.
"Iím a lot better now - especially since I can do
this," she replied, holding up their locked hands.
"I mean your
mother, Xena. Are you Ė?"
she deceived me for years? That I had more in common with her
than I realized?... Yes and no... Iím glad she told me, but
I wish it would have been sooner... But I understand why she
didnít. The most important thing is that weíre together
Gabrielle smiled at
the warriorís openness with her. "I never want to be
away from you again, warrior mine," the bard said
stopping, pulling Xena closer by the waist. "I never
thought I could love like this and when I thought there was no
Xena put her
fingers under Gabrielleís chin to pull the amazonís
wondering eyes up to meet her steady blue.
"Listen to me.
As long as we believe in each other, trust each other and
promise to do right by each other we can conquer anything...
Do you hear me?... Anything."
the warriors head down to hers. She kissed Xena softly,
tasting the sweet and salty lips of the beautiful woman. The
more connections her lips made the more forceful the kisses
became. Soon she found herself twining around the warrior, her
leg wrapped around Xena, her arm gripping her shoulder; her
fingers buried in the ebony hair.
without her explorations. Her tongue prodded into the bards
mouth; her hands gently cupping and squeezing the amazonís
shapely behind. Xena was very near taking the bard right then
and there. The little whimpers Gabrielle was giving did
nothing to help Xenaís self-control.
enjoying the taste and feel of her warrior when she suddenly
felt Xena tense and pull back.
it?" Gabrielle whispered as she watched her lover examine
the trees over head.
she answered stepping back, placing her finger over her lips.
Suddenly a groups
of young, Ďyoungí amazons fell from the trees giggling.
Xena figured them to be in their early teens, probably
training to replace Solari and her crew someday.
"Who was on
the right side?" Xena asked strictly. The harshness
showed on her face. All four girls came to attention in front
of the dark, dreaded warrior.
maíam," a weak voice announced.
straight!" Xena answered. All the girls made the effort
to stand taller. Slowly, Xena walked over to where the young
amazon stood. She tried, with all of her reserve not to smile.
With Gabrielle grinning behind her, it didnít make it very
easy. She didnít see the bard grin, but she could sure
name, warrior?" Xena asked formally.
the girl responded. "This is Ceterus," she added
with a quick nod.
"You two were
on the right?" the warrior asked.
The girl gulp nervously.
isnít maíma," Xena said proudly and intimidating.
"Itís Xena. Xena: Warrior Princess."
I mean warrior princess," Icies answered.
"Well, Icies I
have to admit you did a pretty good job. I didnít know you
were there until you fell... Your friends on the left however
are as silent as a stampede," the warrior teased.
couldnít hold it in any longer and she could bear to see the
young girls trying so hard Ďnotí to begin shaking in fear.
"Okay," she interrupted. "Youíve scared four
children today, Xena. Thatís one over your limit. I think
you should call it a day."
so," Xena asked turning back to the smiling bard. Seeing
her Ďlightí beam at her made Xena smile as well. "I
guess your right," she sighed. "Youíre
dismissed," she told the young girls. "And by the
way," she added to them making them stop. "You did a
wonderful job, even I almost couldnít tell you were there...
almost." Xena smiled at the young women and watched
relief float over their faces.
As the jogged away,
Xena could hear them chatting.
"Told ya she
was totally cool," one said.
Gabrielle sure is lucky to have a woman like that. Xena could
be my personal guard any day," another commented.
hear the exchange as well and rested her hand on Xenaís
shoulder. "I think you have a few young admirers,"
knows in another 10 years or so... " the warrior teased
back, filling the bard with the illusion have perhaps have a
dance card filled with beautiful young women.
think about it. Youíre my warrior. Got that?" Gabrielle
threatened just as falsely.
Xena kissed the top
of Gabriele's head as she chuckled.
Taria was cleaning
some trays when Cyrene tiptoed into the kitchen.
"Can I please
talk to you?" Cyrene said softly.
Taria stopped her
duties and turned to face the ex-amazon. "There isnít
anything you could possibly say. You promised if you had a
daughter youíd return and you lied to me Cyrene." Taria
turned around again, going back to her work.
Cyrene began, moving closer to her former lover. "My
first child WAS a boy - Toris. Xena was my second child... I
had a third child Lyceus, but he died many years ago after
Corteseís men attacked our village."
Taria turned to
meet Cyrene again. "Xena is your second?"
"My husband was going to kill her when she was a child
and I... stopped him... with an ax... I considered returning,
but I still had my boys... "
Cyrene paused to
take a deep breath before she continued. "I know I made
the right decision. My only regret was... you... "
"Iíd hate to
be the cause of regret for anyone," Taria said
sarcastically, going back to her job at hand. "Iím
sorry knowing me has caused you pain."
Cyrene bridged the
rest of the distance between them and put her hands on the
womanís shoulders. "My pain is not in KNOWING you... My
pain came from being WITHOUT you... I truly loved you.
But I also knew I couldnít leave a child I carried to die...
That night when Toris was conceived, I told you my
remember," Taria turned yet again to meet those deep blue
eyes, her fingertips stroked the soft skin of Cyreneís
cheek. "I also remember how you told me you fell in love
with Xenaís father," she added pulling away again,
recoiling into herself.
true," Cyrene confessed. "But the love I had for him
doesnít compare to the love I had for you... He was like...
a best friend Ė"
Taria asked getting short. "What about me?"
eyes locked with Tariaís brown. "You were the love of
my life," she whispered.
Taria wept openly
at the words, closing her eyes. She felt Cyreneís arms
encompass her, drawing her near. It felt so warm, so natural
as she let her arms slip around Cyreneís waist pulling her
closer, burying her face in the thick, dark hair.
Tariaís ash blond hair and she began to cry as well. The
memories bombarded her as her fingers worked down the strains
repeatedly. She remembered washing that long hair tenderly
down at the river, brushing it at the dorms; feeling it
cascading down her young, well-toned naked body. Tariaís
thoughts were as equally powerful and similar.
"I loved you
too," Taria whispered. "Iíve spent years missing
found Tariaís earlobe and captured it softly once. Then
twice. Then three times.
"Taria? Can I
kiss you?" Cyrene pleaded softly in Tariaís ear,
continuing with her short pecks.
Cyrene never got a
vocal response. Taria seized Cyreneís lips with her own,
muffling any further begging from the warriorís mother.
After a few moments of delicate kisses, they became deeper and
richer - their tongues searching each otherís, fighting for
control. With a labored breath Taria pulled back, the earlier
look of desire chased from her face.
going to leave me again," Taria realized, studying the
older woman. "Iím sorry I did that."
not," Cyrene teased. "Youíre the best kisser in
Taria grinned at
the compliment, but it didnít last long. Cyrene took the
amazonís hand in hers.
Cyrene admitted. "I am going home to Amphipolis, but
Iíd like to take you with me. I know I still feel the same
way as I did then. You are the love of my life. Thereís
nothing stopping us from being together."
leave the village," Taria argued.
who?" Cyrene countered. "Do you have a bondmate?"
donít," Taria grinned for a moment. "Itís just
that... this is my home. Like Amphipolis is your home. I just
Taria hair behind her ear and caressed her cheek. "We
finally have the chance to be together after all these years...
please... Iím begging you. At least consider the possibility...
again. "Weíre different people now Cyrene Ė."
"Did you feel
your heart jump in your throat when you saw me today?í
Cyrene asked. Taria giggled and smiled. "You did,
didnít you?" she teased before she looked extremely
serious. "I did too," she whispered. "Weíre
not that different."
Cyrene picked up
Tariaís chin with her fingertips and laid a searing kiss on
the womanís lips that made her whimper. She pulled away and
waited for Taria to open her eyes again. When she did Cyrene
whispered. "Think about it. Thatís all I ask."
Without adding more
or waiting for a response, Cyrene walked out of the kitchen.
Taria watched as her former lover strolled calmly and
confidently outside. Maybe, Taria considered inwardly. Maybe.
After meeting in
the royal hut, Ephiny, Gabrielle and Xena discussed the
bonding ceremony. The sooner the better they all agreed. Ephiny
and Gabrielle left to make preparation for the bonding feast
as Solari and Xena went in search of materials for the wedding
- royal attire, joining gifts and various odds and ends.
It was late evening
by the time Xena and Gabrielle were together again. Xena
entered the hut to find Gabrielle working on one of her
writing?" the warrior asked, beginning to rid her body of
story," Gabrielle answered not looking up.
"What kind of
story?" the warrior asked.
Gabrielle shot Xena
her, Donít bother me. Canít you see Iím working?
Xena whispered, placing her finger over her lips with a
promise she would be quiet until Gabrielle finished her train
of thought. Xena smiled mischievously as she studied the bard.
Gabrielle was lying
on her stomach on the width of the bed. Xena couldnít help
but admire how beautiful Gabrielleís breasts looked when the
bard was on her forearms. Slowly she walked behind Gabrielle.
As she pulled the leathers from her body she examined those
long, well-muscles legs. Her eyes traveled from the bards
ankles to the hem of the bardsí skirt, which given her ever
shifting position on the bed, was hiked up more than usual,
barely covering her backside.
quietly the warrior pulled her boots from her own feet. Not
that the noise would break the bardsí concentration. She was
too wrapped up in her writing to notice her partners
movements. Xena moved to her knees and started by kissing
Gabrielleís ankles. It was only when Xena had reached the
spot behind Gabrielleís knee, that the bard noticed what
Xena was doing.
Xena," the bard insisted. "Iím almost done,"
she added returning to the scroll.
Xena grinned and
continued to kiss her way up the bardís leg. When she
reached the hem of the skirt, the warrior pulled it up
exposing the bard to her hungry eyes. But the sight that met
the warrior surprised her. The bard didnít have on her
underclothes. That fact fueled the warriorís desire even
more. Her fingers wasted no time in finding the bardís
center, searching for any wetness. The warrior was reward with
a deep moan and a sweet slickness covering her fingers.
to lay on her stomach but she turned back just in time to
watch the naked warrior, enjoying the delicacy on her
Xena replied, going back for more. As the warriors fingers
made contact again, Gabrielleís eyes closed and she moaned
once more. The feel of Xenaís fingers, the knowledge that
her warrior was naked brought a second wave of wetness that
dripped from her sex, soaking the front of her skirt.
After Xena had
licked her fingers clean once more, she moved to her knees.
Gabrielle began to move too but Xena put a loving yet forceful
hold on the bardís shoulder. "Stay put," Xena
whispered huskily. Gabrielle did as Xena commanded and settled
back onto her stomach.
She could feel the
warriorsí hand still pinning her to the mattress. She
wasnít sure what the warrior had in store for her but she
shuttered with anticipation. She pushed the quill and the
scroll away, letting them fall to the floor.
that was really important," Xena teased, the passion
refusing to leave her voice.
important as this," Gabrielle answered with her own voice
taunt with longing.
Xena loved the
bards voice like this; so much richer and deeper than usual.
All of the bards emotions could be found in the tone as she
uttered her words. Xenaís free hand made itís way to the
bards triangle; this time entering her fully. Gabrielle tried
to rise put Xena kept her down. Gabrielle realized what Xena
wanted to do. She wanted to take her, control her.
They had done this
once before since leaving Lesbos and they both enjoyed it
thoroughly. Gabrielle remembered how the more she Ďfoughtí
Xena the more passionate the warrior became. Xenaís fingers
were now building a steady rhythm and Gabrielle found it
difficult to fight against the luxurious feeling of Xena
buried deep within her but she gave an attempt.
Gabrielle had picked up on the game. "Remember Ė."
enough?" the bard asked, clarifying the codeword.
the warrior purred.
Xenaís hand off her shoulder and tried to push herself off
the bed but the warrior was far too quick. She pinned her with
ease, quickly going back to the task of working on her sex. Gods,
she so wet, Xena thought as she continued to stroke the
donít," Gabrielle whispered, letting herself get lost
in Xenaís little role-playing. "Donít touch me."
quickened below and her grip got stronger on Gabrielleís
shoulder. The bard moaned into the feel of being totally
captured. "Oh gods," she whispered passionately. She
tried to shake how wonderful it felt to be possessed by this
beautiful blue eyed goddess behind her.
Let me go," Gabrielle said trying to fight again.
She didnít get
very far. Actually, she ended up lying back into Xena. The
warrior saw a wonderful opportunity. Gabrielle saw it too and
tried to hide her grin. After all, she was supposed to be
going anywhere," Xena threatened, pulling the bard beside
her on the bed.
The warrior ripped
open the green top, exposing the perfect cream colored
breasts. She pushed them together and took both nipples into
her mouth at once. Gabrielle pushed on Xenaís shoulders but
the warrior was too big to move. Gabrielle discovered the more
she pushed, the greater Xenaís suction became. This I can
handle, Gabrielle admitted silently as she continued to
fight harder all the while enjoy the effects.
Xena could feel her
arousal, slipping from her own sex, coating the bards upper
thigh. Her skin was on fire and she could feel her bangs
growing damp. Gabrielle really enjoyed these little games. She
couldnít blame her. She remembered how it felt when she
submitted to Gabrielle and how liberating it was for her being
the submissive one.
thrashing was making the bardsí thigh rub rhythmically
against her clit. The feeling was too good to pass up and both
women found their bodies straining against each other. All
legs spread; both hips rocking. Gabrielle gave up her fight
and gave into the pleasure of Xenaís body. The warrior
grabbed Gabrielle by the hips as their grinding against each
other quickened. Soon they were slapping against each other
forcefully enough to make the bedposts creak.
eyelids grew heavy. Gabrielle knew that look well. It was only
a matter of moments before the warrior would tumble to bed in
a heap of spent passion.
"Oh gods, yes
Xena... Come for me... come for me... Come... Come,"
Gabrielle repeated the words over and over in a whisper.
When the sensations
rose deep within herself she was taken aback for a moment. She
was sure the warrior would peak first but let the shockwaves
ride through her body and into her soul. "Oh, Xena. Yes...
Yes... Yes... "
hearing Gabrielle, put her over the top. Xenaís back ached
as the waves of pleasure swept over her body. She studied
Gabrielleís own quaking body - the beautiful sights and
sounds filling her eyes and ears.
she yelled, her fingertips glued onto the bards hips striving
for all the fire she could possess. After a few moments she
collapsed, next to the strawberry blonde; eyes closed and a
and stroked Xenaís face. "You sure know how to show a
girl a good time," Gabrielle commented snuggling into
talkiní," Xena answered kissing the bardsí forehead.
After a few lazy
moments, the bard shot up. Xena tired to rise as well, to see
what startled Gabrielle but the bard tackled her to the
turn," Gabrielle demanded, the hunger and the intent
evident in her voice. "You WILL see to my wishes."
Thank the gods,
Xena thought with a devilish grin. Itís going to be a
shine everybody! Rise and Shine!"
Xena sat up with a
jerk and eyed the regent, trying her best to look
intimidating. The bard rolled over and reached for Xena and
when she came up empty she noticed the warrior was sitting up.
" Gabrielle asked in a sleep voice. She looked at the
entrance to see Ephiny smiling at the pair.
"Making up for
lost time, I see," Ephiny teased the naked women.
"Whatís it been three, maybe four, days apart?"
Xena ignored the
comment and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. "Hand me my
robe, would ya?í the warrior asked motioning behind the
Ephiny reached back
and tossed the garment to the warrior who promptly put it on.
"I figured you would be hungry my queen so the kitchen is
bringing something over," the regent remarked.
me?" Xena asked trying to sound offended. "Iíd
like to eat to you know."
"We are going
to the dining facility so don your warrior attire. You two are
to be separated until the bonding ceremony tonight...
Actually, you were supposed to be separated last night, but I
couldnít be that cruel." Ephiny answer batting her
eyelashes. "Iíll be outside waiting for you, Xena.
Donít take too long."
Ephiny walked out
and Xena pulled Gabrielle up by the forearms.
"Thank you for
last night." The warrior smiled pulling the bard into a
YOU," Gabrielle replied, pulling away. "We should
spend a few days apart more often." She grinned.
Xena studied the
bards face intensely as she stroked her cheek. "I had
doubts that Iíd ever be able to touch you again. Thatís
something Iíll never take for granted."
I," Gabrielle muttered as she began to nuzzle Xenaís
neck. "Let me touch you some more," she added
mischievously pulling the warrior on top of her. The first
kiss was slow, delicate but seconds later it deepened, with
both women moaning simultaneously. Gabrielleís hands had
managed to work the robe free from Xenaís shoulders. The
bard was about to move it down the length of the warriorsí
body when they heard a stirring at the door.
began in a mock attempt at clearing her throat. "Today,
Xena. Please?" she prodded, tapping her foot.
Xena pulled away
from the bard but not before Gabrielle followed the
warriorsí journey on the way up. Her arms latched around the
warriors neck as the bard continued to kiss and nibble on
Xenaís face and ears. The sheet fell, giving the regent a
full view of her queens body. She felt mesmerized as she
watched Gabrielle hanging on the warrior. Damn, that Xena
is one lucky lady, the regent thought silently. At least,
she thought, she said it silently. Xena and Gabrielle looked
at Ephiny with surprise and then at each other before they
busted out laughing.
Ephiny felt her
cheeks flame up. "Did I just say... what I thought I
said?" she asked in a weak voice. She couldnít contain
her grin of embarrassment.
tell you what," Xena began as she began to get into her
leathers. "If you come to me tonight and tell me about
some amazon custom that involves the consort sharing the queen
with the regent Iíd seriously doubt the validity of such a
custom... but not the motivation behind it."
Ephiny felt herself
relax when Xena winked at her. She leaned over and kissed
Gabrielle softly; affectionately on the lips. "Iíll see
you tonight," Xena whispered with a huge smile.
not stand me up," Gabrielle warned, waving her finger.
Xena kissed the
finger tenderly. "You know Iíll be there."
Ephiny still was
unable to take her eyes off Gabrielle. Xena continued to smile
and faced the bard once she was at the Ephinyís side.
sake, Gabrielle," the warrior joked, "cover yourself
or get dressed. Youíre driving your regent to distraction.
Isnít that right, Eph?"
Ephiny realized she
was being spoken to. "Huh?" she asked.
tell ya?" the warrior teased the bard. "Come on
Eph," she added putting her arm around the regent.
"What do you say we get something to eat?".
idea," the regent sighed walking out of the hut, avoid
eye contact or conversation with Gabrielle. Xena blew
Gabrielle a kiss. "See ya tonight, Beautiful," she
Once outside in the
sunlight, Xena stretched and yawned trying to get more awake
as she walked with Ephiny. She had to be honest - Gabrielle
had worn her out. Xena didnít say anything and Ephiny
wasnít sure what to make of the silence.
the regent began. "Iím sorry about back there. I just
awhile?" Xena asked.
Ephiny knew what
that meant. Her sex life. Did she seem like a deprived woman?
She wasnít sure.
"Come to think
of it... yeah," Ephiny replied. "I spend so much
time keeping the nation in order, I donít have time to
really think about it. Except, of course, when the occasion
does arise like this morning... Iím really sorry."
Youíre really horny," Xena teased. "Do us all a
favor? Find a young, beautiful amazon. Throw your royal weight
around. Impress her with your tales of battle... then bed her
Ďtil you canít see straight."
Xenaís arm. "Xena!" she exclaimed in disbelieve.
of it as doing something for you. Think of it as doing
something for your people. After all, a relaxed ruler is an
effective ruler." Xena grinned.
Ephiny laughed as
they walked into the hall.
Xena continued. "Look at all these beautiful women in
here. Which one would you chose?"
Ephiny shook her
head. "This is ridiculous!" she whispered.
Xena replied, shaking her finger in disapproval as the cooks
filled her breakfast plate. "You tell me. Is there anyone
in this village you have noticed in your Ďspare
meet Xenaís eyes, "Yes... her nameís Diteria. She an
Xena smiled slyly
as they took a seat. Ephiny looked up to see that smile.
"Oh no!" Ephiny
replied, shaking her head. "You wouldnít?!"
"Is she here
now?" Xena asked, the smile getting slyer by the moment.
begged, not offering any information.
thereís one way to find out," Xena said beginning to
rise and clear her throat.
Ephiny grabbed Xena
by the arm, pulling her down to the bench seat. "Okay!
Okay! Yes, sheís here," she whispered. "Two
benches back, directly behind me."
"The blonde or
the brunette?" Xena asked looking over Ephinyís
blonde," Ephiny whispered. Xena was still studying the
women at the table until Ephiny reached over and slapped the
warriors arm. "Would you stop looking over there?"
Xena jumped just tad as Ephinyís hand made contact.
going to do it?"
asked totally confused.
to go over there? You or me?"
Ephiny dropped her
grilled bread into her eggs. "Youíre serious!" she
replied, absolutely stunned.
Xena nodded confidently. "Itís either you or me baby.
So whatís it going to be?"
believe this. I-I
donít believe this."
to believe?" Xena prodded. "You need a date tonight,
Ephiny knew there
was no way out now. She knew she had to go over and talk to
the young amazon. "I hate you," Ephiny giggled.
"I bet later
tonight youíll be thanking me. If things go real well you
might not thank me until the morning," Xena replied,
wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. "Seriously, Ephiny...
you are an intelligent, brave and beautiful woman. Any warrior
in this village would be blessed to have you in their company.
Now go and ask her."
Ephiny smiled and
took a deep breath. She rose quickly but took her time getting
to the table. Xena watched as Ephiny asked if she could sit
down. Xena couldnít contain her smile. The young amazon
seemed in awe of Ephiny and Xena had to giggle at the look of
pure surprise on the archerís face as Ephiny asked about the
young ladyís plans for the evening. Soon both women wore
huge grins and Xena knew it spelled success.
strolled back and took her seat across from Xena.
it," Ephiny warned pointing her fork. Xena watched the
regent a few moments longer with the same sappy grin on her
face as Ephiny began to eat. Ephiny finally looked up and gave
a grin of her own. "Thank you," she whispered to
"How are you
doing? Nervous?" Ephiny asked as the handmaidens readied
the warrior for the joining ceremony.
Xena responded in a shaky sigh. "Howís Gabrielle?"
good," Ephiny nodded. "Looks like youíre all
set," she added as she adjusted the amazon shoulder armor
before resting her hand on it. "Youíll do fine."
Xena smiled and
placed her hand over Ephinyís. "I wanted to thank you
Xenaís eyes met
the regents. "After Solan died... and I came back... You
could have marshaled me for what happened, but you didnít...
Thank you. You have no idea how sorry I am. I Ė"
exactly how sorrowful you are. Like I said then - All is
forgiven. No permanent damage. See?" the amazon answered
moving her arm around. "Come on, warrior princess. Your
amazon queen awaits."
Xena was positioned
by the hut doors. Ephiny smiled before she left and made her
way to the center of the square. The regentsí two personal
guards accompanied her trip up the runway to the stage area,
where Solari waited.
she spoke loudly for all to hear. "The village will now
witness the joining of your queen, Gabrielle, with her
soulmate, Xena. Please rise."
As the amazons
rose, both hut doors were opened. Xena was met by the vision
of Gabrielle dressed in crimson and gold. She was perhaps 200
steps away in the hut directly across from her, but she could
still she the jade of her eyes and the reddish tones in the
honey hair. It reminded Xena of the outfit Gabrielle wore the
day she took the mask of queenhood. But she never looked as
beautiful then as she did on this day.
The guard nodded to
Xena and the warrior began walking to the queen, who had begun
her journey as well. When the were a few steps shy of
touching, Xena unsheathed her sword and dropped to one knee as
earlier instructed. She held the sword flat on her palms and
offered it up to Gabrielle. The queen took the sword and
cradled it across her forearm. Xena rose to her feet again and
arm in arm they walked the runner to the stage. Once upon the
stage, Xena bowed on one knee again. This time to the regent.
"Is this the
warrior you have chosen as your consort, Queen
The playful banter
that Ephiny gave during the joining announcement was no longer
presence. She was strictly business and absolutely regal. Not
that she feared Artemisí return. It was more for the respect
she had for the institute Gabrielle and Xena were entering
into, as well as Gabrielle and Xena themselves. She was
honored they asked her to do the ceremony. And being an
honorable women, she wanted to do her best.
Gabrielle answered proudly, handing the blade to Ephiny.
The regent never
held Xenaís sword before and she was surprised by the weight
of it, but she tried not to let it show. She handed the blade
to Solari, who was at her left, next to Xena.
"Do you choose
our queen as your consort?" Ephiny asked Xena.
Xena said softly, looking over at her bard.
Ephiny held out her
hands and Gabrielle and Xena each gave one of theirs to the
regent. Solari pricked each womanís finger drawing a tiny
amount of blood. She took a royal robe and got a dab from each
woman. Then she ran the cloth up and then down Xenaís sword.
at her lover for a moment before turning away from Xenaís
admiring gaze. It still amazed Gabrielle how much Xena could
convey by just a simple look - whether it be an enemy or a
lover. Gabrielle had witnessed that look through both
relationships and she was extremely grateful that the gaze she
was receiving now was the latter of the two. She was also
convinced it would stay that way forever. Nothing could drive
them apart. Nothing. Not even in death, Gabrielle
reflected briefly with a grin, remembering how comforting it
was having Xena so close in her time of need.
eyeís briefly caressed the warriorís once more, she could
see all the love and devotion the warrior held in her heart.
And the warrior could tell her bard felt the same way. My
bard. Xena considered that fact as she watched the woman
she loved. Not an amazon queen. Not a small town girl. But Her
Bard. Gabrielle was a storyteller above all else, except of
course, for the fact that she was Xenaís.
But even as Xena
considered that, she realized she didnít possess Gabrielle.
If anything, the young woman had her. Anything this woman
asked for, Xena knew she would strive to do. The moon. The
stars. No problem. The warrior would climb the highest
mountain and bring them to earth if thatís what Gabrielle
wanted. All she had to do was ask and Xena knew it would be
done. Xena couldnít contain the grin as she thought ĎYeah.
You really are hooked warrior... And you know thatís exactly
where you want to be.í
rise," Ephiny motioned to Xena breaking her private
thoughts. "And lock arms." The two women did as Ephiny
asked joining both forearms as they faced each other. As Ephiny
laced their arms with the joining ribbon she spoke.
"Artemis has given her consent. Athena has given her
wisdom. By the power of these beautiful goddesses, I present
to you Queen Gabrielle and her amazon consort, Xena of
Xena and Gabrielle
looked at Ephiny who grinned and nodded. She leaned over and
whispered. "I know itís been ten whole hours and you
canít stand it any longer... Go ahead and kiss her."
Xena was going to
make some comment to Ephiny, but Gabrielle pulled Xenaís
chin so they met eye to eye. "Argue later,"
Gabrielle whispered. "I got other plans for those lips
The kiss was
passionate... and long... at least by conventional joining
standards and the amazons made sure to provoke its duration
even more with the whistles and cries of approval. Some
cheered on Xena. Some cheered on Gabrielle. But both women
knew they need air and they reluctantly pulled away.
They unbound their
hands and Gabrielle gave Ephiny the joining ribbon. As the
couple turned to make their way, Solari sheathed Xenaís
sword carefully behind her back. Cyrene and Taria stood in the
front row, both women all smiles. Lila stood next to them as
well looking equally proud; every once in a while stealing
glances of Solari up on the stage.
Gabrielle and Xena greeted the amazons one by one, the tables
were set and the feast was brought out. Finally, after what
seemed like hours, they had a moment alone.
complete now," Gabrielle whispered affectionately.
"It feels like weíre truly joined, doesnít it?"
does," Xena agreed whole-heartedly. "And ya know
right. Iím the luckiest lady in the world."
It was late now,
but the bond-fire still roared and the wine still flowed.
Gabrielle decided that another glass of wine couldnít hurt
her this wonderful evening and Xena agreed. Right now,
Gabrielle would have the time of her life. Come tomorrow
morning that would be a different story. By dawn the petite
woman would feel the effects of too much celebration, like she
did on Lesbos only a few months before. Xena had to grin at
the woman she loved. Will she ever learn? she wondered.
Probably not... and probably for the best... I love her the
way she is.
talking about the finer point of story telling with one of the
royal guards - all the while doing it with a hardly noticeable
slur. Xena watched Ephiny in the distance with her young,
admiring archer. The young woman leaned against a tree, with Ephiny
leaning in close. The regentís arm rested on the tree over
the smaller womanís head. They made a nice couple although
neither woman looked TOO comfortable. First date jitters,
Xena figured with an appreciating grin.
"I must admit
I was surprised when you asked me to accompany you to the
queenís joining," Diteria confessed, meeting Ephinyís
eyes for brief moments at a time.
I," Ephiny quickly responded before back tracking.
"I mean I didnít plan on asking you - no wait. Thatís
not what I meant either Ė."
the younger amazon said putting her hands on Ephinyís
shoulders to steady her. "Take a breath and start over,
Ephiny smiled at
the young woman. "I realize Iím not very impressive
right now," Ephiny answered giving into her growing
self-doubt and allowing a nervous giggle.
wrong," Diteria whispered. Her hands moved from the
regents shoulders to cup her face. "Youíre the most
impressive person Iíve ever saw. And on horseback youíre
beyond impressive... Youíre godly."
"You flatter me."
Diteria counter. "Iím only telling you what I see. But
anyway... getting back to asking me out Ė."
"Xena put me
up to it. I mean she didnít make me. She just - encouraged
me. I donít think I would have had the guts to walk up to
you if she didnít insist that I try."
to thank her tomorrow," Diteria smiled seductively.
replied, her voice soft and gentle. The regent could feel the
young amazon tenderly tugging her face toward her. "Me
too," she added in a whisper as their lips met with
Ephiny tried to
keep her composure although the electricity was shooting
through her body uncontrollably. She let Diteria lead and was
slightly surprised when Diteria deepened the kiss. Ephiny
pulled back and studied the young woman. When she did, Diteria
took a moment to play with one of Ephinyís long, blonde
"I love your
hair," she replied twirling it around her finger.
"Iíd be lying if I said I havenít fantasized what it
would feel like traveling down my body."
Ephiny took the
young womanís hand. "Listen... I love spending time
with you and Iíd be lying if I said I didnít wonder the
same things, but... Iím not sure if Iím ready to
make a deep commitment to anyone right now."
"Again, Ephiny... Iím just being honest."
"Could you be
just a little less honest? My heart is pounding in my eardrums
and I can barely stand," she giggled.
Diteria joined her
amusement. "Okay," she agreed. "But promise me
this. Promise me we could meet again. I want to know the woman
behind my infatuation. Who knows? It could turn into
"You got a
deal," Ephiny said putting her forehead on the young
amazons before raising her eyebrow. "And thereís no
Diteria licked her
lips and studied Ephinyís bright blue eyes, "I wonít
dream of it," she whispered.
Taria was in the
kitchen, starting to clean up what she could. Cyrene walked in
carrying some more plates. As she sat them down on the
counter, she moved behind Taria and put her hands on her
Iím prying Tarí but have you made any decisions?"
Cyrene asked softly.
Taria grinned and
turned to Cyrene. "The answerís yes. Yes, Iíll leave
Cyrene pulled Taria
to her and kissed her gently on the lips. "Thank you... I
donít know what to say... What made you decided?"
"The last day
weíve spent together," Taria smiled. "Itís
almost as if you never left. Thereís something between us I
canít explain. Almost as if we were destine to be together.
All the space. All the years between us. It hasnít changed.
Iíd still give my life for you... Those beautiful, blue eyes
donít hurt either," she teased.
Cyrene laughed and
pulled her close again. Taria pulled back slowly was the
kitchen doors opened. Cyrene turned to meet the intruder.
bring these in for ya," Xena said making her way to the
Taria looked at
mother and daughter. "I think Iíll go round up some
more," Taria offered. "Can you start some
cleaning?" she asked the pair.
Taria left quietly
as Cyrene turned to her daughter. "It was a lovely
ceremony. Whereís your consort by the way?"
"Passed out on
a table," Xena said nonchalantly.
Cyrene chuckled at
the news. "Is she okay?" she asked.
But far from sober." Xena grinned.
"How much did
she drink tonight?" Cyrene asked concerned.
Xena nodded as she
began to scrub a pan. "Yeah. Sheís got a really low
"I never would
have guessed it." Cyrene smiled.
Xena started to
chuckle, almost out of nowhere. Before Cyrene could ask, Xena
offered her thoughts.
loaded on nutbread once that was tainted with henbane,"
Xena remarked as she giggled. "She was in a cave and the
rocks were talking to her. She said they told her to come find
me even though I told her to stay put... She was so young
then," Xena reflected with a bit of melancholy in her
Cyrene put her hand
on her daughters shoulder. "I knew you loved her for a
grinned. "Speaking of love, whatís going on with Taria?"
decided to come with me," Cyrene said flashing a similar
great!" Xena replied. "Thatís... great!"
closer. "You seem a bit... unnerved."
Xena answered sharply. "Itís... wonderful...
"Out with it
now, Xena. Whatís the problem?"
"Have you considered that maybe youíre moving a little
too quick. I mean Iím happy that youíre... happy... But
have you thought this through."
"Let me set a
little scenario for you, if I may. Letís say that Perdicus
didnít die. He and Gabrielle moved back to a little farm
community and you didnít see her for years... Then for some
reason fate brings you together again. Sheís no longer
married. Youíre also alone. And when you look at her, you
donít see the gray hairs or the wrinkles or the extra
pounds. What you do see is the heart you fell in love with
years ago... Now I ask you, if you had the chance to be with
her again, how quick would you move?"
"Not fast enough," she whispered.
Mother and daughter
studied each other a few moments. "This feels sooooo
right," Cyrene commented softly.
then," Xena replied taking a deep breath. "You have
my blessing. Not that you ever needed it," she added with
"I need it
more than you realize, little one. Respect and admiration go
Xena said pulling her mother into a warm embrace. "Iím
glad youíre happy. After all these years, thereís no one
who deserves it more... No one."
Lila asked, leaning her head on the table to look at her
sister. "Are you okay?"
out about an hour ago. Xena went in the kitchen and asked me
to keep watch over her," a royal guard explained.
"Is there something I could do for you, Princess
should put her to bed," Solari interjected.
The guard shook her
head. "You better ask the queenís consort. If she comes
out here and Gabrielleís gone I might met the business end
of her chakrum... No, thank you. But sheíll be fine until
Xena comes back."
Solari smiled and
took Lilaís hand. "Come on. Iím sure sheíll be
The pair began to
leave the outlined area of the huts and traveled to the river.
There was a chill in the air by the waters edge and Solari
gave Lila her cloak as well so the princess would have double
"Are you going
back with Xenaís mother tomorrow?" Solari asked
breaking the silence.
likely," Lila answered meeting Solariís eyes briefly
before returning her focus on the water.
Solari played with
the pebble that was in her hand for a few moments.
"Iíll miss you greatly," she admitted with a firm
nod. "Iíve gotten kinda used to having you
"I wish I
could say I got used to being here, but I havenít. Thereís
so much to the amazons; I havenít even begun to scratch the
surface," she giggled nervously.
what?" Solari asked to keep the conversation rolling.
The two young women
locked eyes. Do it now, Lila told herself. The
chance might never come again. With that thought the
princess pulled Solari to her, kissing her softly yet
passionately. All her longing and quest for knowledge seeped
into the kiss.
sure?" Solari asked, knowing what the young woman was
silently asking. Lila positioned herself on Solariís lap so
she was facing her.
Lila whispered. "Make love to me, Solari. I want you to
be my first."
sure if Iím worthy of this gift," Solari answered,
staring into Lilaís hazel eyes.
"Who should I
share this with?" Lila prodded. "A husband I may
grow to despise? Or perhaps a young man who will promise me
heaven then drag me through Hades on my knees?... No... I
trust YOU, Solari. I want this first time to be joyful and
safe. I feel both those things when Iím in your arms...
Please say yes."
traveled the length of Lilaís arms a number of times.
Finally, the amazon guard pulled Lilaís eager mouth to hers,
kissing her with gentleness and passion.
Solari conceded as she pulled Lila with her to the earth
"Are you all
set?" Ephiny asked as she entered the royal hut.
dressed but she was still on the bed. At the sound of the
regents overly loud and obnoxious voice she stuffed her head
in a pillow and waved her arms.
Xena put a finger
over her lips, "Shhh," she instructed in a faint
whisper. "Herbs havenít kicked in yet."
Ephiny started to
laugh, but promptly stopped herself. Xena motioned the regent
outside and the two women left.
about a quarter candlemark and a few grapes. Then sheíll be
good as new." Xena smiled. "Anyway, how did it go
last night? Did ya get lucky?" she added wiggling her
eyebrow up and down.
no," Ephiny answered evasively.
means... ?" Xena prompted.
"I think I met
someone I could really fall for. I havenít felt this happy
since Phantes," the regent paused. "It doesnít
hurt to say his name anymore... I think Iím ready, Xena.
Iím ready to move on... So, yes I got lucky... However, if
youíre inquiring about my sex life that hasnít changed...
at least not yet," Ephiny added giving a tiny grin.
Xena smiled at her
friend. "Iím happy for you, Ephí."
for both of us, Xena... I think weíve both grown up in
the last few years... Take care of the lush," she teased
pointing to the hut as she began to walk away. "Oh and
when youíre getting ready to leave let me know, Iíll round
up some amazons to help you load Tariaís wagon."
"What about you? Arenít you going to help?"
Ephiny gave Xena a
cocky smile. "Itís good to be the queen," she
smirked, Ďpolishingí her fingernails on her tunic before
examining them in mock conceit. Finally, she dropped the faÁade
and waved, "Iíll see ya later."
Xena offered her
farewell and went back into the hut. Gabrielle was up and
moving, packing away her scrolls.
feeling?" Xena asked softly.
thank you," Gabrielle responded in a normal voice.
"Did you finish the packing already?"
"Yeah. I got
an early start this morning."
morning that you donít have an earlier start,"
were a few mornings on Lesbos that I slept in... Of course I
donít know if that would count as sleeping in. I didnít
get to bed UNTIL sunrise!"
Xena pulled the
bard close, planting a passionate kiss on her consortsí
lips. "Not in the least," she muttered.
Gabrielle rested in
Xenaís arms; her head on the warriorís shoulder. She
reflected on how perfect they fit together.
to be a wonderful honeymoon," Gabrielle sighed.
yeah," Xena agreed in a slow, seductive draw. "You...
and me... and mother... and Taria... and Lila Ė"
out!" Gabrielle said swatting at the muscular arm she was
recently holding tenderly. "Come on. Letís get
When they arrived
at Taria and Cyreneís hut they were surprised to see the
wagon already loaded with Ephiny standing by. Lila and Solari
were locked in a tight embrace, oblivious to the world around
them. Casually, Xena strolled up to Ephiny.
this?" she asked.
Iíd help," she grinned. "I didnít do it all
myself. I had help," she replied pointing to ten amazon,
who now stood at attention.
you," Xena replied, hugging Ephiny. "Weíll be back
soon. I promise."
answered as Gabrielle walked over. "Now you keep this
warrior out of trouble understand?" the regent remarked
as she pulled Gabrielle into a tight embrace. "Iíll
miss you," Ephiny added with a whisper, her eyes
beginning to tear up. The bard knew she meant every word.
you too," Gabrielle replied in a like tone.
of the mushy stuff," Xena said lightening the farewell.
"Take care, Ephiny," she said offering her forearm. Ephiny
took hold of it soundly with her own.
Xena," she added giving a shake.
Xena turned and
looked at her traveling party. "Okay everybody! Weíre
moviní out. Letís go!"
Taria said the last
goodbyes to her friends and Gabrielle walked over to Solari
Solari said with a nod. "Take care."
Solari. Thank you for looking after Lila," she replied
with a knowing smile.
"My pleasure... I wanted to ask if it would be alright if
I visit Lila soon. I have to do some traveling and Iíll be
near Poteidaia. Iíd like to have your approval."
Gabrielle looked at
Lila and she could see the expression of hope in her sister's
eyes at seeing Solari again soon.
sounds like a wonderful idea." She nodded.
Solari and Lila
hugged once more and Solari kissed her tenderly on the
going to say goodbye," Solari said. "Because Iíll
be through in the next few moons. So Iíll say Iíll see you
Solariís face tenderly, much like after their love making
the night before. "Iíll wait."
Solari smiled and
pulled Lila closer once more. "Go on," she motioned.
Lila made her way
to the wagon and stopped to see Solari one last time, but she
had vanished - there one moment and gone the next. Much like
their first meeting when she had suddenly appeared from the
Lila hopped up next
to Gabrielle who sat next to Xena. Taria and Cyrene took to
the back of the wagon with Tariaís last 30 years packed
ready?" Xena called out. "We didnít forget anyone
did we?" she teased. "Everyoneís with their
designated buddy, right? We donít want to leave anyone
Xena felt a pillow
smack the back of her head and turned to see her motherís
lover wearing a guilty smirk.
that as a yes," Xena replied dryly.
As she put the
wagon in motion, with Argo and Tariaís mare in the lead, the
villagers waved goodbye.
Once on the road,
Gabrielle rested her head on Xenaís shoulder. "What are
we going to do for a honeymoon? Any ideas on where to
Gabrielle asked. After a few seconds she could tell the
warrior wasnít going to give any details voluntarily.
"Are you going to tell me?"
Xena smiled again.
on!" Gabrielle insisted. "At least give me a
Xena looked at
Gabrielle. "Letís play questions," Xena answered.
Xena with her eyes but she began to play their favorite game
just the same. After five turns and no luck, Xena turned
seriously to Gabrielle.
"Give it up,
Gabrielle," Xena replied. "Youíre not going to get
it," she replied with a tiny smile.
wouldnít give to be able to do that pinch thing right
now?" Gabrielle muttered under her breath.
that?" Xena asked. She heard the bard loud and clear but
she liked the feel of annoying Gabrielle just a little.
"I know you
heard me," Gabrielle answered with a smile. "You
canít play dumb with me, Warrior Mine."
Xena reflected. No,
I canít. You understand me like no one ever has or will. You
owned my heart for the longest time. And now you own my soul.
right, Beautiful," Xena replied as they traveled into the
sunrise. One hand on the reins and one hand on her bardsí
thigh. "Youíre absolutely right."