by Mikki Hibbens
Though the story is mine, the characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the sole property
of Renaissance Pictures and Universal/MCA. They just came visiting for a short
time and have already returned to R.P. and U.S. No copyright infringement is intended.
This piece deals with romantic love between two women (sorry, no graphic sex).
There is also a little hurt/comfort involved and the implication of rape (in the
past). If these things offend you or make you uncomfortable, please do not read
This is my third XWP story and takes place right after the last scene of the 2nd
season episode "Blind Faith". It started out as a 'What happens next?'
epilogue and turned into a first time, romantic friendship story all on it's own.
Gee, I wonder how that happened. Though there is a brief reference to my first
fanfic attempt "When Souls Collide", this one can be read on it's own.
I hope you enjoy this little story.
All comments are appreciated but please be kind. I'm still new at this. I can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabrielle was dumbstruck as
she watched the antics of her normally staid friend. Xena was in such high spirits
she was virtually skipping down the road like a six month old filly feeling her
oats. She had the biggest, most joyful smile on her face that Gabrielle had ever
seen. It was so beautiful to see Xena like this it brought tears to Gabrielles
For her part, Xena was feeling almost euphoric. She couldnt contain her
emotions if her life depended on it. She was so relieved to have both Gabrielle
and her sight back it was overwhelming. She hadnt felt this happy and carefree
since she was five years old playing with her brother Lyceus. As she looked back
at Gabrielle trailing behind and noticed the dumbfounded expression on the bards
face, she fairly danced back to her friends side. Laughing, she lifted the
girl off the ground in a huge bear hug and whispered in her ear, Dont
worry, Gabrielle. I havent gone crazy. Im just sooo happy!
She swung the surprised girl around a few times before setting her back on her
feet. It had felt so good to have Gabrielle safe in her arms that she didnt
want to let go. She gave her friend another tight hug which the bard eagerly returned
then turned and jogged a few yards up the road. Her emotions were so close to
the surface that she had become a little afraid of saying or doing something that
would reveal just how deeply she cared for the girl. She felt she needed to put
a little distance between herself and Gabrielle to give her time to regain a little
more control over her exuberant spirits. She masked her sudden, slight uneasiness
by pretending to see something of interest in the forest to the left of the road
they were on.
As luck would have it, she noticed a small mountain lake set back from the road
about five or six hundred yards. The ground sloped gently down to the shore and
the trees and underbrush were somewhat thinned out in this section of the woods
making for an easy passage between the road and the lake. Xena decided to take
advantage of this opportunity and called Gabrielle over to take a look.
Gabrielle, come here. Look what I found!
Just as her friend reached her Xena pointed to the lake. Then, making sure the
girl saw it, she playfully slapped Gabrielles arm with the back of her hand.
Youre it, she cried, mischievously, and took off running towards
the lake. Last one in is a snake-haired Gorgon monster!! she yelled
over her shoulder at the stunned bard.
Hey! Gabrielle yelled after the warrior. Gathering her wits about
her she started after Xena as fast as she could go, yelling all the way. Xena!
Wait! Oh, youre in for it now, Warrior Princess!
The only answer Gabrielle got to her threats was the sound of Xenas jubilant
laughter and her war cry coming from up ahead as the tall woman raced towards
the shining waters of the lake. The young bard could see her friend through the
trees running as swift and fleet-footed as a deer, somersaulting over the occasional
obstructions to land on her feet still in a dead run.
Though Gabrielle continued her vain attempt to catch up to the warrior, she found
it hard to believe this was happening. Xena, the stoic, self-controlled, warrior
princess was actually playing tag with her like a young child without a care in
the world. As Xenas laughter drifted back to her, Gabrielle couldnt
help imagining that this was what her friend must have been like as a child, happy
and free-spirited with a loving heart as big as all out-doors. She knew, beyond
a shadow of a doubt that she was seeing the real Xena today. The Xena who would
have been if the tragedies of her youth, which had caused that beautiful spirit
to be sealed up behind a thick wall of controlled indifference, had never happened.
Tears blurred Gabrielles vision for a moment at the thought of how different
her companions life could have been and she wished, for Xenas sake,
that the fates had been kinder to her friend.
Come on, Gabrielle! You better get a move on or Ill be on the other
side of the lake before you even get to the shore!
Hearing the cheerful challenge in her friends voice, Gabrielle banished
her sad thoughts and put on a burst of speed as she yelled a challenge of her
own. Im coming, Princess, and youd better watch out cause youre
going to get it when I catch up with you!
Xena heard Gabrielles challenge just as she reached the shore of the lake.
She laughed, joyfully as she began to undo the fastenings of her armor and leathers.
She couldnt remember when she had felt so free or had so much fun. She found
it hard to believe that what had started out as one of the worst days of her life
was ending up to be one of the best.
Deciding she wanted a dry shift to wear after her swim, she stripped down to bare
skin and placed her clothes and armor neatly on top of a nearby stone. Checking
the water to make sure it was safe to swim in, she found it was cool but not icy
and there was no sign of impurities. Spying a large boulder that would make an
excellent diving platform about fifty yards down the beach, she sprinted over
The boulder was large, almost ten feet long with one end buried in the sand and
the other protruding into the water about six or seven feet. It was about five
feet wide at the base, tapering up to approximately four feet on the top, which
was as flat as a board. The whole thing was tilted at an angle which set the top
of the free end about six feet above the water. She had been right. It was an
almost perfect place to dive from.
Xena entered the water and swam around the boulder to make sure the water was
deep enough for diving. The water felt cool and soothing on her skin and she was
loath to exit its embrace but the thought of executing a perfect dive into
that cool, clear water was too exhilarating to pass up. She emerged from the water
and was just making her way to the top of the boulder when she heard Gabrielles
running footsteps crashing through the last of the underbrush and crossing the
sand to the water.
Xena paused at the boulders edge and laughed to herself as she watched her
young friend search the lakes surface for her. As she stood there, gazing
at Gabrielle, she was struck anew at how beautiful, both inside and out, the girl
was. The sun, shining on that head of strawberry blonde hair gilded it with fire
and the tanned skin almost glowed from the exercise. Even disheveled from her
run through the forest, Gabrielle was definitely a sight for sore eyes
as Xena had stated earlier. A lump rose in the warriors throat as she again
thought how lucky she was to be able to stand there gazing on her friends
loveliness when just hours before she had been sure she would never see
Seeing that the bard was growing frustrated in her search for her tall warrior
friend, Xena pushed her sentimental thoughts aside. Deciding that they were going
to do nothing for the rest of the day but have fun and enjoy each others
company, she called out to the younger woman.
Gabrielle! Over here! At her first shout, she saw Gabrielles
head turn in her direction and the girls arm raise in a wave then slowly
drop to her side. She wondered for a brief second why her friend didnt start
to undress for a swim then decided she probably had to catch her breath from her
run. Eager to start her own swim and the fun she had planned, Xena decided to
egg her friend on a bit.
Hurry up, you slow poke, the waters great! So saying she backed
a few steps down the rock. Taking a running start, she pushed hard off the edge
of the boulder and, leaping high in the air, executed a double somersault then
straightened out to end in a perfect swan dive. Her body slipped through the surface
like a hot knife through butter causing only the slightest of splashes.
Back on the beach Gabrielle watched, spellbound, as Xena executed her flawless
dive. As beautiful as that was, however, she found it could not compare with the
awesome sight of her warrior standing on that rock in all her sun bronzed glory,
hands on her hips, the water drops still clinging to her skin sparkling like diamonds
in the sunlight. Great Gaia, she looks like a Goddess, Gabrielle
thought to herself. By the gods, I love that woman, she whispered
The reality of what she just said suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks and she
sat back on the sand in confusion. Where in Hades had that come from and what,
exactly, did it mean? She often thought about how much she loved and admired Xena,
and had tried to tell the warrior so on occasion, especially in the last two months,
but she had never felt it with such overwhelming intensity before. All of a sudden
she realized what she felt for her Warrior Princess was more than
hero worship, sisterly devotion, or the loving bond of friendship. It was stronger
even than what she felt for Purdicas, her husband who was now in the Elysian Fields.
All the pieces were finally falling into place for the young bard. She now understood
why she had felt so empty and lost when Xena had died two months ago,
why the incident still plagued her with nightmares so frightening shed wake
up in a cold sweat, and why, when Xenas spirit had entered her body to fight
Velasca for the ambrosia that would restore the warriors life, she had felt
complete for the first time in her life. It was all clear to Gabrielle now. Xena,
the great Warrior Princess herself, was the one person in all the world who could
fill the void deep in the girls heart for Xena was the other half of Gabrielles
Gabrielle! Come on, youre missing all the fun!
Gabrielle was startled out of her soul searching by Xenas voice coming from
right behind and above her, accompanied by a stream of water falling on her head.
The warrior had gotten tired of waiting for her friend and had come up behind
the bard without Gabrielle even being aware she had left the water. Xena chuckled
to herself over the fact that the girl had been so immersed in her thoughts a
thunderbolt could have struck and she wouldnt have heard it. Xena told herself
she would have to remember to ask Gabrielle later what she had been thinking about.
For now, however, it was time to play and she proceeded to squeeze more water
out of her long hair right on top of Gabrielles head.
Xena!! Stop that! Gabrielle sputtered trying to wipe the water out
of her eyes. Though she pretended to sound angry, she was actually glad of the
chance to get her thoughts and emotions under control. She wasnt ready to
face Xena just yet and act like everything was normal when she felt like she had
been hit by one of Zeuss thunderbolts. She had no idea what Xena felt for
her besides, perhaps, a sisterly affection and she didnt really want to
spoil her friends playful mood by initiating a serious discussion right
now. No, she decided, she would enjoy this new side of Xena she was seeing while
she had the chance. Time enough for more soul searching later. Wiping her face
one last time with her hands, she took a deep breath and looked up at Xena trying
to act aggrieved.
Well, after running my legs off and then soaking me, the least you could
do is help me up, Gabrielle said holding her arm up for the warrior to grab.
You need help?, Xena said with a twinkle in her eye. She let her voice
drop a notch into the throaty purr that Gabrielle recognized meant trouble. All
you had to do was ask.
Before Gabrielle could act, Xena bent down, scooped the bard off the sand, slung
her over her shoulder like a sack of oats and headed down towards the water.
Xena! What are you doing. Put me down! Gabrielle struggled as hard
as she could to get down but Xena just tightened her grip and kept walking.
Nope. Ive waited long enough. Were going swimming.
Not in my clothes, Xena. I wont have anything dry to wear afterwards.
Come on, Xena.
Thats not my fault. I gave you plenty of time to undress.
But Xena . . .
Nope! The day is warm, the waters great and we - are - going - swimming!
Gabrielle knew she was beaten when she recognized that command tone
in Xenas voice. It was time to change tactics so she stopped struggling
and leaned her arms against the warriors shoulder blades.
All right, Xena. You win, she said, using the soft voice she knew
Xena had never been able to say no to. Well go swimming. But please
let me get out of these things first. You know what water does to leather and
this top has already seen enough punishment without adding a dunking into the
bargain. Please, Xena. I promise Ill be quick.
Xena stopped walking and held on to Gabrielle a moment longer while she decided
whether to teach the girl a lesson or let her off easy. She almost kept on going
until she thought about what a pain it would be to get that leather skirt of Gabrielles
to dry properly and that green top really had seen better days. No, this was to
be a time for fun. She didnt want it spoiled by bad feelings or frustrations
caused by drying leather.
O.K., Ill let you down, she said suiting actions to words. But
you had better hurry. My patience is wearing thin. Giving Gabrielle the
look, she strode off down the beach towards the diving rock.
Gabrielle knew by the glint in Xenas eyes that she was in her teasing
mode. Still, since the warriors moods could change like quicksilver, the
bard thought it best to make good on her promise. She scrambled to get out of
her clothes then paused a moment to look back over her shoulder at Xena who was
just preparing for another dive. Nodding her head as if she had just made an important
decision, Gabrielle gathered up all their belongings, including Xenas armor
and weapons, and headed over to the rock.
Xena surfaced from her dive in time to see the girl stumbling under her load,
muttering and cursing to herself as she made her way down the beach. It was slow
going for the bard since every few steps she would have to stop to pick up an
errant boot, top or skirt that insisted on slipping through her fingers and falling
to the sand behind her. Xena noticed, gratefully, that Gabrielle was taking special
care to make sure the weapons never dropped. The warrior smiled remembering the
many tongue-lashings she had given the girl, during the beginning of their friendship,
about being careless with her weapons. Those lectures must have paid
off, Xena thought to herself.
Gabrielle? What are you doing? Xena emerged from the water, laughing,
and went to help the bard who had just dropped another boot, letting out with
a particularly loud exclamation in the process.
Nothing, really, Gabrielle said sarcastically, nearing the end of
her patience. Just playing a new game. Its called Wheres
The Damn Boot!
Xena picked up the boot the girl had dropped then helped her take the rest of
the bundle over to a grassy area under some trees bordering the beach about eight
feet from the boulder. Leaving everything but Xenas sword under the trees,
the two women walked over to the rock where Gabrielle sat down with a sigh on
its sun warmed surface.
Xena stuck her sword in the sand next to the rock, within easy reach should the
need arise, then turned to join her friend. She saw that Gabrielle was still tense
and frustrated from bringing their stuff over so she climbed up a little above
the bard and sat down behind her. Stretching her legs out in front of her so that
they straddled Gabrielle, she scooted closer to her friend and began massaging
the tightness out of the girls neck and shoulder muscles.
Ohh, Xena. That feels sooo good. Gabrielle leaned back slightly and
dropped her head forward so Xena could work the kinks out of her neck.
I had a feeling it would, the warrior said, her strong fingers kneading
the knots out of the girls muscles. I know how tense you get when
youre feeling frustrated and angry and when you tense up, you get muscle
Dont remind me.
Well, anyway, I just didnt want you to get out in the middle of the
lake and get a cramp. It could be dangerous. Im not about to loose you to
a drowning after we just got you out of a furnace.
Gabrielle felt her heart swell as she felt Xenas hands squeeze her shoulders
for emphasis. Though sometimes her warrior friend could be a little overprotective,
Gabrielle knew it was just Xenas way. Most of the time, however, Xenas
protective attitude made her feel warm and cared for, like now as she remembered
how wonderful it had been to see her friends face bending over her after
she had been freed from that coffin. Reaching up, Gabrielle took hold of one of
Xenas hands. Giving it an affectionate squeeze, she looked over her shoulder
into the warriors beautiful, blue eyes. Thank you, Xena, she
said, her voice trembling slightly with the force of her emotions and gratitude.
Xena, uncomfortable as always, with displays of emotion, tried to shrug it off
with a short laugh and lift of the eyebrow. For what?
Gabrielle was totally familiar with this tactic by now and wasnt about to
let Xena get away with it this time. Taking both the warriors hands in hers
she forced her friend to look at her before she answered. For always being
there for me. For saving my life, again. For turning what was an awful day into
a great one. For, well, just for everything.
Suddenly overcome with the extent of the love she felt for this tall, beautiful
woman before her, she wrapped her arms around Xena in a fierce hug.
I dont know what Id do without you, Xena, Gabrielle continued
softly as she buried her face in the warriors shoulder. After a moment,
she felt her friends stiff form relax and Xenas arms come up around
her to return the bards embrace.
Well, lets not find out. O.K.? Xenas voice was low and
husky with emotion. Knowing it would be too dangerous to continue in this vein
for much longer with her feelings so near the surface, she attempted to diffuse
the situation by giving her friend a playful slap on the back. Come on,
now. Lets go for that swim.
Gabrielle gave Xena a last squeeze before letting go and the two clambered to
their feet. Then, taking a running start, they leapt off the rock to land with
a loud splash in the water. The two surfaced, laughing and splashing each other
in a water fight to end all water fights.
They spent the next couple of hours frolicking in the water and on the sand like
a couple of children on a summer holiday. Xena continued the game of tag with
Gabrielle both on the beach and in the water until they were laughing so hard
they could hardly stand. They also raced each other across the lake (it was a
small lake) and, surprisingly, Gabrielle won. Then they had a diving contest which
Xena won (naturally). All in all they had a wonderfully carefree afternoon.
When the warrior noticed the sun getting low in the west, she suggested that Gabrielle
start to set up their camp while she caught some fish for their dinner. Though
loath to end their fun, the thought of a nice fish dinner was enough to cause
the ever hungry bard to leave the water and start hunting for rocks to build a
fire pit. In a surprisingly short time the two women were sitting next to a nice
warm fire finishing the last of their dinner.
Xena was feeling relaxed and comfortable as she sat with her back against a tree
and her legs stretched out in front of her. She had donned her shift and now sat
quietly inspecting her leathers for any damage from the battles she had been in
that morning. For the first time in more years than she cared to remember, she
could honestly say she felt content. The fire was warm, their dinner had been
delicious and Gabrielle, the one person she cherished above all others in the
world, was sitting, safe and sound, next to her.
Xena suppressed a chuckle as she watched her friend trying vainly to comb the
tangles out of her still-damp hair with her fingers. Due to the girls overly
tender scalp, what little progress she had made had been accompanied by a chorus
of ows and other expletives that made the warrior wonder where Gabrielle
had been spending her time when they werent together. Taking pity on the
bard, she reached over to pick up the hair clasp laying in Gabrielles lap.
Come here, Gabrielle. Let me fix that for you.
Oh. Thanks, Xena. With a sigh of relief, Gabrielle moved so that her
back was facing her friend and her hair within easy reach of Xenas strong,
yet gentle, hands. After all the time they had been traveling together, the bard
still found it amazing that this woman who could punch the lights out of men twice
her size and who seemed nearly invincible in battle, was the only person who had
ever been able to comb the girls hair without making her scalp feel like
it was being cut to ribbons. Knowing her friend would make short work of her tangled
tresses, Gabrielle relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of Xenas fingers sliding
gently through her hair.
When she was done, Xena gave Gabrielle a gentle pat on her shoulder. There,
Gabrielle ran her own fingers through her hair finding no tangles anywhere. Oh,
thats wonderful. Thanks, Xena.
No problem. Just make sure your hair is dry before you go to sleep. We dont
want you waking up with a head cold in the morning. Xena chuckled slightly
at Gabrielles Im not stupid, you know expression then
picked up one of her boots from the pile of clothes beside her. She extracted
a small metal vial from a hidden pocket which usually carried a small dagger.
Holding it up to the bard, she said softly, I need you to do something for
Sure thing, Xena. What do you want me to do?, the girl said, taking
the vial from Xenas outstretched hand.
I need to put some more Sena in my eyes. Would you help me with it?
No problem. Gabrielle stood up and moved to Xenas side. Before
she could put the drops in the warriors eyes her concern overcame her and
she knelt down, looking up with a worried frown into those beautiful blue eyes.
Xena? Everythings all right, isnt it? Youre not losing
your sight again, are you?
Xena laid a hand on Gabrielles shoulder in reassurance. No, Gabrielle.
Im fine. Its just that my eyes are still sore and the sena helps soothe
the stinging, thats all. Itll probably be another day or two before
my eyes return to normal and Ill need your help with the drops until then
if you dont mind.
Of course I dont mind, Xena! Gabrielle had to take a breath
to steady her hands before attempting to put the drops in her friends eyes.
In all the time she had been traveling with Xena, she had only heard the warrior
complain of pain once after being hit by a log trap and thrown against a tree.
Even then Gabrielle would never be certain if Xena had actually said it
hurts or was merely making her first attempt at asking the girl to take
her to Mt. Nestos where Xena had later died from her injuries. Now, the fact that
Xena had admitted that her eyes were sore, told Gabrielle that her friend was
in a lot more pain than she would ever let on and the girls heart bled at
After getting her emotions under control, Gabrielle stood up and moved to Xenas
side. Placing one hand under her friends chin she very gently tilted the
warriors head back until she found herself staring directly into Xenas
blue eyes. Though they were slightly red and puffy, Gabrielle still thought they
were the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen and she found herself mesmerized
anew by their crystalline depths. I could happily drown in those pools
of blue, she thought to herself unconsciously releasing a small sigh
of longing which did not go unnoticed by her tall friend.
Gabrielle? Are you all right? Xena asked softly. She cringed, inwardly,
at the slight husky quality of her voice, hoping the bard wouldnt notice
it. The feel of Gabrielles fingers holding her chin so gently and the expression
of love in the girls blue-green eyes were doing things to Xenas insides
that she had never felt before even with Marcus, the only man she had ever truly
given her heart to. Her heart was beating so loud she could hear it and her palms
were growing sweaty where they rested on her knees. She could only hope that her
roiling emotions didnt show in her eyes for Gabrielle to see.
Umm, yeah. Im o.k., she said, startled out of her reverie by
Xenas voice. Relieved that her voice sounded relatively normal she tried
frantically to come up with an excuse to account for her prolonged scrutiny of
her friends eyes. Something had flickered in those blue orbs that had sent
the girls pulse racing. She couldnt be sure that she had even seen
it, it was there and gone so quickly, but it gave her hope for the future. All
she needed was a chance to get her stoic warrior to open up and then she could
find out just where she stood. Right now, though, she needed to get back to the
business at hand and so, adopting her best healers attitude
to cover her hesitation, she pretended to give a diagnosis. Your eyes are
a bit red and the area around them looks a little swollen and puffy but they dont
look too bad.
Ignoring the raised eyebrow and look of slight disbelief in the warriors
face, Gabrielle pulled the stopper out of the little vial and prepared to place
a few drops of the sena into each of Xenas eyes. Still holding the womans
head back with one hand, the girl held the vial over one eye and paused to look
seriously into her friends face. Now, Xena, I want you to hold your
head back till Im completely finished. I want this stuff to stay in your
eyes for a minute or two till Im sure theyve been thoroughly cleansed,
Xena nodded slightly, gritting her teeth in anticipation of the increased pain.
When the liquid hit her eyes, she flinched, visibly and a loud gasp escaped her
drawn lips. Her eyes closed reflexively against the intense burning and she had
to fight the urge to raise her head and rid her eyes of the stinging solution.
Gabrielle held Xenas head firmly in place and watched as the warrior did
silent battle with the pain. After a moment, even though the blue eyes were blinking
furiously, she could see the redness begin to fade. When the sena began to run
out of the corners of Xenas eyes, she released her hold and allowed her
friend to raise her head. Grabbing one of the still damp cloths that she had used
to dry her hair with, the young woman began to gently wipe her friends face.
Im sorry, Xena, Gabrielle said, quietly, her voice full of compassion
and remorse. I know it must have hurt like Tartaras. I just wanted to make
sure your eyes got a good dose this time so theyd heal properly.
No worries on that score, Gabrielle. Xena took the cloth from the
girls hand and gingerly wiped her eyes. The stinging and burning sensations
had decreased dramatically and she breathed a sigh of relief. As she handed the
cloth back to Gabrielle she noticed a strange look on the girls face. Whats
the matter, Gabrielle?
Gabrielle hesitated a moment, unsure of how to proceed. She had seen the intense
look of pain on Xenas face while the sena had been in her eyes and it had
awakened a sense of frustration and anger in her that she had kept hidden for
a long time.
Why didnt you tell me, Xena? The bard spoke softly, trying to
keep the hurt out of her voice.
Tell you what?, Xena responded with a puzzled look at her friend.
That youre eyes were so painful. Not wanting to end the day
on a sour note, Gabrielle turned away in an effort to control her rising anger.
If you had said something earlier we could have taken care of your eyes
then. I hate to think of you going all afternoon in such pain.
Gabrielle, it wasnt that bad, honestly.
Xena, I know you, remember? Youre the master of understatement. For
you to even admit theyre sore, let alone asking me for help, tells me the
pain mustve hurt worse than Tartaras. As Gabrielle warmed to
her subject she could no longer hide the anger she felt. The fact that Xena still
refused to confide in her when she was ill or in pain was a constant source of
frustration. Xena youre the best friend Ive ever had. You try
so hard to take care of me and keep me safe and I love you for it. I just wish
youd let me do the same for you. Youve said that Im your family
and I feel the same way. Your my family and my home. Well families take care of
each other, Xena. Dont you know that it hurts me to know you
dont trust me enough to come to me when you need help?
Unable to control her emotions any longer, Gabrielle walked to the waters
edge trying vainly to stop the flood of tears flowing down her cheeks.
Xena was stunned by the bards outburst and could only stare at Gabrielles
back as she stood silhouetted in the moonlight. After a moment, she stood up and
moved to stand behind her friend. Gabrielle, Im so sorry.
Placing her hand on Gabrielles shoulder, she tried to turn her friend around
to face her but the young woman refused to be turned. I never meant to hurt
you. You know that dont you?
The remorse and concern in the warriors voice touched the girls heart
and she covered the strong hand on her shoulder with her own. Turning around she
looked up into Xenas sad blue eyes. I know, Xena. I guess I just hoped
youd finally learned to trust me a little after all weve been through,
lately. It hurts to realize I was wrong.
Grabbing Gabrielles shoulders, Xena leaned down so she could look directly
into the bards eyes. Her heart burned with a fierce determination to erase
that hurt look from her friends lovely face. Giving the slight shoulders
a small shake for emphasis, she spoke with all the force of her love for the younger
woman. Gabrielle youre wrong. I do trust you. More than anyone Ive
ever known. Even more than Lyceus.
Now it was Xena who turned and walked away. Afraid she had already betrayed too
much, she tried to regain her stoic demeanor before this whole situation blew
up in her face.
The little bard was shocked by Xenas heartfelt admission and could only
stare in astonishment as the proud warrior turned and walked a few steps away,
her arms clutched tightly across her chest as if trying to stem the rising tide
of emotion she was obviously feeling. After a moment, Gabrielle walked up behind
the dark haired beauty and, laying a hand gently on the older womans back,
was surprised even more to feel the tight muscles trembling under her hand.
Though she felt bad that her words had caused her friend such distress, she could
no longer hide the frustration and hurt she felt at the stoic warriors lack
of communication skills. She was so afraid of the anger and resentment building
inside of her that she felt it was better to risk some hurt feelings now that
could be soothed away in time than an all out angry confrontation that might do
irreparable damage to their friendship.
In an effort to ease the tension of the moment, Gabrielle gently rubbed her hand
across the tall womans back. Keeping her voice soft she tried again to get
Xena to open up to her. Xena Im sorry. I didnt mean to upset
you so. I just dont understand. If you trust me like you say then why does
it always seem that you push me away just when you need someone the most?
Xena looked down at the young girl staring up so earnestly at her. She knew she
owed Gabrielle an explanation but words had never been her friend. She didnt
know if she would be able to make the bard understand what the years had taught
her but she had to try for Gabrielles sake and the sake of their friendship.
Old habits die hard, Gabrielle, she said, shrugging her shoulders
and turning back towards the lake. Especially the ones you learn to survive.
What do you mean? Gabrielle moved in front of the warrior so she could
see Xenas face.
When youre in a fight, what is your opponents first reaction to you?
Puzzled by this seeming change of subject Gabrielle started to protest. Xena,
what does this have to do....?
Just answer the question, Gabrielle, Xena interrupted.
Gabrielle thought for a moment about all the fights they had been in since she
started traveling with Xena. Well, I suppose its laughter, the
bard said with a trace of anger in her voice. No one believes that I can
defend myself or that I even know how to fight.
Right, the warrior said. They dont believe you can fight.
I call that Phase One. Its the ah shes just a woman and women
cant fight stage. And its not just you, Gabrielle. Any woman
who fights has to face it. Ask Ephiny or any of the Amazons and theyll tell
you. Its a guaranteed reaction any man has when facing a woman warrior.
Even I still get it.
O.K., Xena, I can understand that. But I still dont understand what
this has to do with why you dont trust anyone.
Hold on, Gabrielle. Im getting there. Just bear with me, O.K?
Sure, Xena. Gabrielle could see that this was hard on her friend.
She knew that expressing her feelings was not one of the warriors many
skills so she decided to allow her friend to explain herself in whatever
way was comfortable for her.
Seeing that there would be no further interruptions from Gabrielle, Xena continued.
O.K. now, Phase One usually lasts only as long as it takes your opponent
to realize you know what youre doing. Then he moves on to Phase Two. Thats
the O.K. so the bitch can fight, but shes still just a woman
so this should be an easy win stage. Phase Two lasts till the fight is over
and a winner is decided. Thats when it gets dangerous.
I dont get it. Wouldnt the fight, itself, be more dangerous
than the end?
Only when the two fighters are men. Then all the loser has to worry about
is being injured or killed. Both outcomes are ones he has faced and come to terms
with or he wouldnt be a warrior. But when one of the warriors is a woman,
the stakes are higher because youre now dealing with the male ego and there
are worse things that can happen to a woman than being injured or killed.
You mean rape, Gabrielle said quietly, a touch of fear in her voice.
Yeah, among other things, Xena replied. There are a lot of sick
bastards out there whod like nothing better than to teach us uppity
bitches our proper place in what passes in their minds for society. Believe
me, theyve devised some pretty horrific methods of teaching that lesson,
some of which would make death, or even rape, seem like a holiday picnic. Any
woman who trains to fight, no matter what weapon she chooses, knows what her fate
will be should she lose a fight and survive.
But thats never happened to you, right? I mean youre Xena, Warrior
Princess. Youve never lost a fight.
Never say never, Gabrielle.
The tone of Xenas voice and the haunted look that passed across the warriors
face told Gabrielle that she was speaking from personal experience. Her blood
froze in her veins as the image of her dear friend hanging on a cross on a beach
came unbidden to her mind. In an effort to ease Xenas suffering as well
as the ache in her own heart, Gabrielle wrapped her arms around the older womans
waist and laid her head against the strong shoulder.
Oh Xena. Im so sorry. I had no idea, the girl said quietly,
tears coming to her eyes as she finally realized how heavy a burden her tall friend
Xena glanced down at her friend for a second. Seeing the concern written all over
the bards face, she wrapped her own arm around the girls shoulders.
Hey, dont worry about it. I learned not to lose, thats all.
Gabrielle heard the cold edge that she dreaded creep back into Xenas voice.
Looking up she saw her friend gazing, unseeing, into the distance, lost in her
dark memories. If only shed let me help her, Gabrielle
thought to herself, not for the first time. Papa used to say a
burden shared is easier to carry and I know its true. I always feel
so much better after Ive talked things over with her. If shed just
let herself open up I know she wouldnt hurt so much. But I guess I cant
force her to do something shes not ready for. I shouldnt have pushed
her tonight. Shes got to do it in her own time. Hoping to bring
her friend back to the present, she stepped closer into the circle of Xenas
arm and tightened her hold on the warriors waist.
Xena, you dont have to tell me anymore if you dont want to.
I think I understand a little better now. Gabrielle laid her head back on
Xenas shoulder. I shouldnt have gotten so upset with you. Im
Xenas stiff form had relaxed a little as she felt the bards arms tighten
around her. She was amazed anew at how quickly a soft word or gentle touch from
the tiny woman next to her could dispel the darkness that surrounded her heart
whenever memories of her past assailed her. Just knowing that someone else truly
cared what happened to her went a long way towards healing the emotional and spiritual
wounds that still festered deep inside. Looking down at the red-gold head resting
against her shoulder, she was filled with such a rush of love and tenderness for
the younger woman that the tall, independent warrior sent a silent prayer of thanks
to the gods for sending her this beautiful gift.
For only the second time since she had known the girl, Xenas heart overrode
her common sense and she pulled Gabrielle to her, her arm tightening around the
girls shoulders and the other hand reaching up to cradle the bards
head against her chest. Oh Gabrielle, dont ever apologize for telling
me how you feel. Xenas voice had grown husky with emotion. She rested
her cheek against the young womans head while the flow of words continued
as if on their own volition. Im the one who should apologize. You
were right. I shouldve explained things a long time ago. Ive never
been good with words, you know that. I guess Ive just been afraid I wouldnt
find the right ones.
When Xena had pulled Gabrielle close into that fierce, yet gentle, embrace, the
little bards spirit has soared and though her mind had taken a little longer
to understand just what was happening, she now knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt,
that Xena loved her. She could feel it in the way the warriors hand was
lovingly stroking her hair and she could hear it in the way the heart under her
ear was beating a faster cadence even than her own.
The small woman was filled with a happiness such as she had never known. She found
herself melting into the embrace, wanting it to go on forever. Yet she knew that
if she didnt do something to forestall it Xena would pull back again, unable
to take the risk. The reserved warrior had been betrayed by those who professed
to love her so many times that it had become next to impossible for her to admit
she even had feelings, let alone express them. Gabrielle knew this and knew also
that it would be up to her, now, to take the initiative. Since words, alone, would
not convince Xena, she would have to combine them with actions and hope for the
As Xena finished speaking and Gabrielle felt her arms loosening their hold and
the dark head raise up, the girl knew it was going to be now or never. Leaning
back slightly in the warriors arms she wrapped one arm tightly around the
back of Xenas waist. Breathing deeply, she looked up into two startled deep
blue eyes and let all the love she felt for this gorgeous woman blaze forth from
her own eyes. Taking the bit in her teeth, she raised her other hand and brushed
a few errant strands of the dark auburn hair back off the face she knew as well
as her own. Trailing her fingers lovingly down the surprisingly soft cheek she
spoke softly hoping to ease the sudden flash of fear she saw in the warriors
Xena, dont worry about the words. Theyll come when youre
ready. They always do, you know. Gabrielle gave a soft laugh knowing that
her friend was much better at explaining herself than she realized. Placing her
palm gently against Xenas cheek, the bard continued to softly drive her
point home. Ill wait for the words even if it takes forever. Ill
always be here for you, Xena. Always.
Xena was thunderstruck at this turn of events. She had been dying to take the
girl in her arms all afternoon. When she could no longer fight the desire to hold
her friend, she had been so afraid of betraying too much she had been almost frozen
with dread. Now, the person who had become the heart and soul of her existence
was looking at her with such love and trust that it took her breath away. Any
doubts she may have had about the girls true feelings were reduced to cinders
by the electric shock that had coursed through her veins at that first gentle
touch of the bards fingers on her cheek.
As her last defenses crumbled, Xenas body took over. Her hand moved slowly
from the back of Gabrielles head to trail slowly along the jaw line, coming
to rest with the warriors fingertips lightly touching the underside of the
girls chin. Using that feather light touch to guide Gabrielles mouth
to hers, Xena leaned down slowly till their lips met in a slightly shy and ever
so tender kiss.
Though the kiss was gentle, its effect on both women was anything but. The
moment their lips touched, Gabrielles blood turned to fire and she trembled,
slightly. She wanted nothing more than to hold onto her tall, strong warrior and
never let go yet she was unable to move while the wave of heat spread through
When she could move again, her hand, which had dropped to Xenas shoulder,
slid up to curve gracefully around the back of the older womans neck, her
fingers burring themselves in the silky hair. Gabrielle moved her other hand slowly
up her friends back till it cleared the top of Xenas shift and she
could feel the smooth skin under her fingers. Her lips parted slightly as she
welcomed the feel of the warriors mouth on hers and prayed that this moment
could go on forever.
When her lips met Gabrielles, Xenas first reaction had been one of
absolute, abject terror that she had misread the girls intentions. When
she felt the young girls body trembling she was sure that in the next instant
Gabrielle would pull away in horror and rejection and end their friendship forever.
Hoping to minimize the damage already done, she started to pull away herself casting
about in her mind for some plausible explanation to give her friend.
It was at that moment that she felt Gabrielles hand move to the back of
her neck, the small fingers softly caressing the skin and sending ripples of pleasure
coursing through her. She felt frozen in place, unable to believe what was happening
as the girls other hand found the bare skin of her shoulders and started
to rub gently, back and forth across her shoulder blades. The feel of those beloved
hands tenderly stroking her skin was causing the proud warriors insides
to turn to jelly and her legs to water. When she felt Gabrielles lips open
in silent invitation she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she hadnt
been mistaken about the young bards feelings. Her soul was awash in such
happiness as she had never known existed. As her own lips parted in answer, a
small moan of mingled relief, desire and ecstasy escaped from the warrior and
her arms wrapped around the small body to clasp the beloved prize she had never
thought to win close to her heart.
As the emotion of the moment became almost to intense to bear, Xena gently broke
the kiss and leaned slightly back so she could look into her bards face.
What she saw completely melted her heart. Gabrielles normally sea-green
eyes had darkened almost to emerald with the force of her passion and her face
looked as if it was glowing from within. The brave, strong warrior was reduced
to mush as she gathered the bard tightly to her.
Oh Bree, Ive waited and hoped for this moment for so long, she
said, her voice low and husky with the emotions she was feeling.
Gabrielle had been basking in the feel of Xenas arms around her, her head
laying against the warriors shoulder. When she heard her friend speak, her
breath caught at the sound of the name Xena had called her and a hazy memory of
a dream from long ago came to her. As she focused on the image in her mind, it
crystallized until she knew it was not a dream, as she had always believed, but
the true memory of a forgotten event from her childhood. In that instant the bard
knew that the two of them had been fated to meet and what was happening now was,
indeed, their destiny.
Lifting her head, she gazed into Xenas blue eyes. It was you,
wasnt it?, she asked softly, her voice full of wonder.
Xena looked at the girl in puzzlement. What?
When I was a child, I used to dream of a beautiful hero saving me from some
danger. I could never see the face clearly or put a name to the figure but I used
to have that dream all the time while I was growing up and I always felt safe
when I had it. Gabrielle paused a moment in order to gather her jumbled
thoughts together. I used to wonder why I stopped having that dream after
I started traveling with you. I finally decided it was because I didnt need
a dream to make me feel safe anymore. I had you and one real Warrior Princess
is a hundred times better than a dream warrior from my imagination.
Youll always have me, Gabrielle, Xena said, pressing the red-gold
head to her chest and laying her cheek against the girls soft hair. She
had been afraid that the resurfacing memory would upset her friend, possibly even
to the point of anger. Instead, Gabrielle thought it a confirmation of the rightness
of their bond of love.
I know, Xena. Gabrielle snuggled closer to the warrior. I realize,
now, that youve always been there for me. Even when I didnt know it.
Gabrielle, what exactly is it that you remember? Xena remembered perfectly
the incident the young woman was referring to. She just needed to know for sure
that there were no bad feelings on Gabrielles part over it.
Well, I was about six or seven and I was playing in the woods near our village.
Suddenly an animal, I think it was a wild boar, came out of the bushes and started
to attack. The next thing I new, I was sitting in the branches of the tree I had
been standing under and the boar had a sword stuck through it, pinning it to the
ground. The leaves were so thick in the tree that I couldn't see who had saved
me until a figure dropped to the ground and pulled the sword out of the boar.
Then I saw that it was a woman warrior. When she turned to get me out of the tree
she acted like I was going to be scared but I wasnt. Gabrielle sad
this last with a trace of pride in her voice. You see, she was dressed in
leather and she was wearing armor and chain mail and I thought she was an Amazon.
I had heard stories about the Amazons and was so excited to actually meet one
that I wasnt scared at all. In fact, I even sat on her lap and braided her
hair. Then, she said my parents were probably worried cause it was getting late
and she sent me home. The funny thing is, I never remembered any of it till just
now when you called me Bree.
And you think this Amazon was me?
I know it was, Xena, Gabrielle replied emphatically. For one
thing she looked just like you, though, of course a little younger, and she had
the same color eyes as you. You have to admit, Xena, no one has eyes as blue as
yours are. The bard felt Xenas shoulders raise in a shrug at these
words and she knew that if she could see the warriors face, that left eyebrow
would probably be hiding under the dark bangs right now. Chuckling softly to herself,
she continued, Secondly, no one has used that nickname for me since that
day. I wouldnt allow it and my family soon forgot theyd ever called
me anything but Gabrielle.
Finally, the girl said, looking up at her friend with her best Ive
got you now, Warrior Princess look. Before I went home, the warrior
told me her name was Xena!
Xena returned her friends look with a sheepish grin on her face. You
got me, Gabrielle. I confess. Although I wasnt an Amazon, I was your dream
warrior. Are you upset that I never told you about it?
Gabrielle caught the worried tone in her tall friends voice and snuggled
close to the warrior again. Of course not, Xena, the girl said reassuringly.
Like I said earlier I know this means that we were always meant to be together.
But you will tell me about it and why you made me forget wont you?
Absolutely, my little one, Xena replied, tightening her arms around
the bards slender form. These last few moments had been pleasant torture
for the older woman as she felt her hearts desire pressing so tightly against
her own body. Her passion and desire for this lovely creature in her arms was
mounting with each passing minute and the need to express her love to the girl
in more than words was becoming almost unbearable. Pushing a little away from
Gabrielle in order to look into her eyes, she ran her hand down the velvety soft
cheek until she held the small chin cupped in her strong hand.
If you dont mind, Gabrielle, she began, her voice low and gravely
with passion. Id like to save that story for later. Right now I think
theres something a little more important that we need to discuss.
Seeing the love and desire shining in Xenas eyes, Gabrielles own passion
mounted to new heights. Or maybe not, the bard replied as she reached
up to gently pull her warriors head down for a kiss.
To be continued . . .(in the morning)
to Main Page