DISCLAIMER: Xena and Gabrielle are not mine: they belong to Universal and Renaissance. I just borrowed then for a while and I promise to put them back when I’m done
VIOLENCE: Nothing too heavy
SUBTEXT/SCENES OF A SEXUAL NATURE: Yes, yes and furthermore, yes. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.
TIMELINE: This takes place after the season one episode ‘The Reckoning’. The resolution to the ‘Xena hitting Gabrielle’ thing was cute and all, but I decided to put my own spin on it – with added anguish and lovemaking.
QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM?
Any and all remarks welcome. Email me at email@example.com – I’ll holla.
Xena poked lazily at the dying embers of the campfire. Dawn was approaching fast, but sleep had not yet come to claim her. She started slightly as she heard Gabrielle turn in her sleep; it had been a hard few days for the travelling duo, but Gabrielle seemed to take it all in her stride – she’d sunk into slumber soon after polishing off the last of the rabbit.
Xena turned, repositioning herself so that she could watch the young woman sleep. She studied her features; her long, strawberry blonde locks fell over her face, rising and falling with each breath. Her hands were clasped in front of her, tucked beneath her chin. A smile played across the warrior’s face as the bard shifted in her sleep again, emitting a slight murmur.
Xena let out a loud, long yawn; watching Gabrielle rest so peacefully caused a stillness in the warrior, a calmness, a warmth. She continued to gaze at Gabrielle, imagining herself crawling into the bedroll, pressing herself up against the bard’s back. The warmth in her rose…
The warrior shook her head, her eyes darted back to the fire as a pang of guilt stabbed at her gut. She tried to expel thoughts and images from her mind. Her emotions wrestled with her conscience as vivid pictures played in her head. In her minds’ eye she saw flashes; fiery locks falling over pale skin; pink, cherub lips parting in ecstasy; slender fingers running over tanned thighs; a gentle trail of kisses running down a perfect, toned abdomen…
Gasping, the warrior shut her eyes, squeezing them tight, her body tensed as she shook again, trying desperately to dispel the images. She stood up sharply, moving away from the heat of the glowing embers, letting the cold night air still her body, freeze out the wanting, snap her back to reality.
Softly, she reached down to pick up her sword, pausing as she heard Gabrielle move again; she froze and turned to look at the bard, afraid she may have disturbed her. She felt a flush of anger as her eyes fell again on the young woman. Anger at the thoughts she was having, at her inability to govern them. She grabbed her weapon and slipped off into the forest, staying light on her feet so as not to wake the bard.
In a clearing away from the camp, Xena struck an undeserving tree with her sword. Again and again she hit out at the chipped, worn bark. Sweat sprang to her brow and biceps strained against armbands as she reigned down blow after blow, desperately searching for a clarity of mind that she only ever found in battle.
Her breath quickened as she cast her thoughts back to the events of the last few days. Astute as her warrior mind was, she just couldn’t fathom it. She hit out harder as she remembered the feel of steel on her skin, the smell of the villager that struck her and the sting of the shackles around her wrists and ankles.
She had endured the chains, been compliant, held herself in check, until then…
The dull clang of steel on wood was swallowed by the dense trees around her as she remembered more; the swift give of the chains as she cried out, the snap of the shackles holding her legs. She saw fear in the face of the villager as he turned and ran for his life, heard the crack of the wood as the door to her cell gave under her kick. She remembered another of the lynch mob, coming toward her, swinging a mace… Then all was heat; blood pulsing as a dangerous mist fell over her eyes.
Xena could not feel the dull ache in her arms as she continued to smite the innocent tree with her sword. She could not feel the tears that sprang to her eyes as she remembered the exhilaration, the untamed fury, the feel of soft skin against the back of her hand, the muffled cry of pain, the shocked look in Gabrielle’s eyes just before she flew into the hard rock wall of the small courtyard…
A cry rang out from the warrior.
She dropped to her knees as her sword fell from her hand. Sobs ripped through her as she felt her whole body shake and her fists clench. Her heart pounded against her chest as she struggled to breathe.
After a few moments a ragged sigh escaped the warrior’s lips. Slowly she felt her rage subside. And yet her gut was a tight, twisted knot of trepidation.
“How much longer can I take this?” She wondered.
Ever since the village she had been punishing herself, trying to drive away the memory of striking her friend, and trying to silence the wanting…
Once again, Xena found herself in the midst of an internal war she had been battling for days; once again, she found herself trying to talk down her own imagination.
“She came back for you because she cares for you as a friend.”
Another voice in her internal dialogue piped up as she remembered the hurt look on Gabrielle’s face when she asked her to go.
“She doesn’t want to leave you. Ever. She feels more for you than mere friendship.”
Guilt washed over her again as she allowed the voice to talk her round. She cast her mind back to all the looks and touches the bard had ever given her that may have meant something, anything other than friendship…
Again, the voice of reason chimed in:
“Don’t be ridiculous, she loves you as a friend, admires you, looks up to you. Though why I’ll never know; all the things you’ve done, the darkness in you, the thing you did to her, the things you want to do to her… what could a beautiful girl like that ever find to love in you?”
A sharp sigh came from the warrior as she willed her mind to be silent. The same argument had been repeating itself for days now, but she knew that the final voice was right.
Breathing evenly now, Xena took in deep gulps of the dawn air. She stared up at the sky as pink seeped through the early morning grey. She knew she must go back to the camp soon.
As she rose from the forest floor, dusting dirt from her knees and reaching for her sword, she resigned herself to another day of silent wanting. It was always easier in the daylight. Denying a need is easier with the sun on your face and the cold, clammy loneliness of night far away. Xena looked once more at the battle-scarred tree, then turned and headed back to camp.
Gabrielle awoke suddenly, uncertain of what had roused her. She sat up and looked around her, her eyes darted over the camp, adjusting to the half light of early dawn.
Fear gripped her as she realised that Xena was not there; then she heard a muffled thud from somewhere far off in the forest.
The bard’s entire body sprung to life as instinct took over. She threw her blanket off and quickly rose to her feet. Searching the camp for a weapon, her eyes alighted on the frying pan. She jumped over the dying embers of the fire and snatched it from the forest floor, tensing her fingers around its handle and testing its weight.
Her head snapped up as she heard another blow, then another. Her heart thudded in her chest as she headed off in the direction of the noise.
The dull clang of weapon on weapon sounded louder as Gabrielle neared the clearing. The blows were coming thick and fast now and the bard was sure she’d heard some grunts and cries. Images span through her head as she pictured the cause of the sounds. She saw the warrior, springing into action; fists and thighs and flashing eyes; a blur of leather, brass and steel. The images caused a feeling in the bard that she’d only just begun to understand…
A sudden, anguished cry ripped through the forest, snapping Gabrielle out of her daydream. Picking up her pace, she tightened the grip on her makeshift weapon. She recognised the voice as her friends’, though she had never heard such feral tones from the warrior before.
Pushing past a few more trees, she came to the edge of the clearing. The frying pan dropped from her hands as her eyes fell on Xena.
Gabrielle could see her friend was in pain. Her first instinct was to run to her; she was all set to bolt into the clearing when something in her told her to stop. A feeling of unease crept over the bard as she crouched gingerly in the brush. She had never seen Xena in pain before; she had seen her wounded and bleeding, but never in pain. She noticed glistening streaks running down the warrior’s face and the sight caused tears to well in her own eyes.
“Why can’t I go to her?”
The bard began to question herself: Why couldn’t she run to her friend? Why couldn’t she throw her arms around her, hold her, comfort her?
The answer jarred: “Because she doesn’t need you.”
A shaky sigh escaped Gabrielle and she gritted her teeth as her tears began to fall in earnest. The voice was right – the niggling voice that had picked away at her hope and silently berated her for staring at the warrior too intensely; for touching her too long. She bit her lip and stared at the ground as the voice spoke again.
“She likes having you around for company, that’s all. Why would she ever think of you as more than a friend? She has seen and done things you could never comprehend. She could have any man, or woman, she chooses. Why would she choose you?”
Gabrielle’s fingernails pierced the bark of a nearby tree as she gripped it tightly, willing the voice to be quiet. She tried to recall images of the warrior; she thought of her voice, that low timbre that made the bard shudder; her touch – soft, firm yet hesitant. She flinched as she remembered a harder touch; the feel of the warrior’s fist on her face and the thud as she hit the wall. She remembered the look in Xena’s eyes; pure bloodlust, a battle haze. Then her heart rose as she remembered turning back after the strike. How the warrior’s eyes changed – so full of realisation, regret and remorse, and, dare she say it? Love?
Shaking herself out of her trance, Gabrielle looked back up at the warrior; her heart strained as she saw the look of pain in Xena’s face. How she longed to comfort her, but she restrained herself. She had sat too long in the brush, she had thought too much and now she feared that comforting words might become confessional; that consoling touches might become caresses…
She rose slowly, quietly, so as not to disturb the warrior, and with her heart in her throat, she crept away.
The fire was nought but ashes when she arrived back at the camp. As she snuggled back into cold blankets, doubt, confusion and sadness echoed around her head.
At the edge of the clearing, Xena’s boot struck something in the brush. Frowning, she bent down and picked it up. The frying pan still smelt of last night’s rabbit; Xena felt a sharp stab of panic…
Gabrielle squeezed her eyes shut as she heard Xena approach the camp. She pulled her blanket tighter around her, desperately feigning sleep.
Softly, Xena crept past the bard to the other side of the fire. She bent down and gently placed the frying pan back where it had lain a few candle marks ago.
Gabrielle heard a rustle and opened her eyes slightly. Her eyes opened wider as she saw the frying pan; they travelled up, over a hand holding the handle, a strong arm, a muscled shoulder, to meet with the bright blue eyes of the warrior.
A moment of recognition flashed over both women’s faces. Then Xena lifted the pan up, turning it in her hands, examining it with newfound interest. Gabrielle’s nervous gaze never left the warrior’s face, and their eyes met again as Xena looked back over at her. Masking her emotions, she spoke.
Gabrielle realised she had stopped breathing. Her voice came out as a whisper.
Xena looked back at the pan, “Well, this thing’s not going to clean itself.”
She glanced back at Gabrielle then turned and headed for the nearby river.
As Xena walked away, Gabrielle fell back on her bedroll, she brought her hands up to her eyes as fears and thoughts filled her head.
For the rest of the day the tension between the two women was palpable. They travelled in near silence, Xena astride Argo and Gabrielle walking alongside. Both of them silently prayed for a distraction – a group of bandits; a villager looking for help; anything to distract them from the flurry of internal questions and the constant furtive glances as they each tried to fathom what the other might be thinking.
Eventually they set up camp for the night. The evening’s meal passed in silence which continued as they set out their bedrolls.
Gabrielle’s heart pounded as she lay down her blankets next to Xena’s. She had been on tenterhooks all day, waiting for the warrior to mention the previous night. Waiting for an accusation, a recrimination, even a sarcastic remark. She had not been able to make eye contact with Xena all day. Each time she had felt the warrior’s eyes on her, she had turned only to see them dart away.
Her mind raced as she lay down: “What could Xena be thinking? What was I thinking? By the gods, she must hate me… Stupid frying pan!”
Xena shifted as she felt Gabrielle lay down near her. Normally she welcomed this time of evening; even though there were several inches between the two women, her keen warrior senses revelled at the heat from her companion. But tonight her body stiffened. It was those same warrior senses that had failed her last night; she had been so lost in her own pain and selfish need that she hadn’t heard the bard approaching.
“How much did she see?” Xena wondered, certain that last night’s display must have shaken the bard and confirmed her worst fears about the warrior’s darkness.
For what seemed like hours both women lay awake; each listening to the other breathing, desperately searching for the right words, a way to explain themselves and breach the gulf of silence without giving away their hearts’ secrets.
Eventually Xena could bear no more. She felt an overwhelming urge to go back out into the dark forest.
“Maybe I shouldn’t come back this time.” She thought.
Gabrielle panicked as she felt movement next to her. She turned to see Xena sitting up, reaching for her sword. Alarm turned to fear, and fear forced her to speak.
As she spoke, Gabrielle reached out, placing a hand on Xena’s upper arm. Jumping slightly Xena turned her head and brought her eyes to rest on the bard’s hand. Suddenly awkward, Gabrielle quickly removed her hand, pushing herself into a sitting position.
Xena closed her eyes, letting out a sigh of resignation, then turned back to face Gabrielle.
“Where are you going?”
The look that passed between them was strained. Both women struggled to hold eye contact whilst keeping their emotions veiled.
After a protracted silence, Xena replied, “I’m going for a walk.”
It was an effort to keep her voice calm and even, and she broke their stare as she realised she had failed.
The silence between them became a sound that drowned out the night noises in the forest.
Xena felt the anger in her rise. There was so much she wanted to say. She heard the rise and fall of Gabrielle’s breathing and her heart ached with words. At that moment she saw herself the way she was sure the bard must see her; hard and unfeeling, savage. She hated herself, and she punished herself the only way she knew how…
“Maybe you could follow me – bring the frying pan.”
Her self hatred grew tenfold as she looked up to see Gabrielle flinch at her accusing tone. “Stop.” She told herself. “Just stop.” But she couldn’t…
“What did you see, Gabrielle?” She turned to face the bard, her voice a loud, malicious whisper.
“Did you see me? Beating seven shades of tartarus out of a tree? Grunting like a savage?”
Gabrielle flinched again, tears of confusion and guilt sprang to her eyes. She had spent most of the day trying to understand what she’d seen in the clearing. Trying to understand what had driven Xena to such anguish.
Xena saw Gabrielle’s tears and felt a new pain rip through her, but she knew that she could not comfort the bard. That she was not worthy. Her mind flashed back to the thoughts of the previous night; fingers intertwining, lips brushing lips, soft hair beneath her hands… She gritted her teeth and pushed the thoughts away, self-disgust rising in her like bile. She moved in closer to Gabrielle and continued, her voice becoming a twisted snarl.
“What you saw last night, Gabrielle – that’s the real me. I’m no saviour, there’s no redemption for me. I’m feral, messed up, perverted…”
As Xena’s cruel words reigned down on Gabrielle, she cast her mind back to the previous night. She remembered the warrior, broken, on her knees, crying…
“…You can’t save me Gabrielle. No one can. I’m so lost I’ll never be found…”
Xena felt wetness on her cheeks and realised she was crying. What had begun as self-defence became admission now, as every dark thought and feeling of self-doubt poured out of the warrior. Any control she had was lost and she spat the words, hating their bitter taste.
“…You should have left me in that village. Let them beat me and break me and drag me to death. It’s what I deserve; it’s better than I deserve. There’s so much blood on my hands I’ll never be clean-”
Xena gasped as she felt an open palm against her cheek. Shock was replaced by a sharp sting as she stared into Gabrielle’s tear-filled eyes.
The bard brought her hand back up to the warrior’s cheek, cradling the place she had hit.
Both women’s hearts raced as Gabrielle pulled Xena to her, burying her head in her shoulder, stroking her hair.
The bard made comforting sounds, whispering into Xena’s hair, desperately trying to stop her own shaking. She felt wetness on her shoulder as tears soaked into her clothing.
Xena forced her eyes shut, breathing hard into the hollow of Gabrielle’s shoulder. Great shuddering breaths escaped her as she suddenly felt overcome. She nestled further into the warmth of the bard, praying for her heart to slow so as not to betray her.
After a few moments Gabrielle pulled Xena away from her, still cradling her face. Xena blinked as she felt cold air on her cheeks, moist from so much crying. She looked into Gabrielle’s eyes, so full of light and understanding…
As the heat in her chest slowly spread she gulped, willing it to stop. She felt a soft thumb, brushing tears from her face, and gathered her courage.
Slowly, she raised her hand, mirroring Gabrielle, cradling the bards face, she moved her own thumb to wipe away tears, silently berating herself for being the cause of them.
Gabrielle thrilled at the gentle touch of the warrior, before she could pause to think about it, she turned her head. Her lips met the tip of Xena’s thumb and she kissed it.
Xena’s eyes widened and she pulled her hand away as if she’d been bitten by a hydra. A sudden panic struck Gabrielle as she removed her own hands from Xena’s face.
“Xena, I’m sorry. I-”
Xena turned away from the bard. “No, Gabrielle, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… I don’t… I should never…”
Gabrielle frowned, confused by the warrior’s apologies.
“Xena, it’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have…”
Gabrielle trailed off as Xena’s eyes met her own.
“No. I shouldn’t have, ever. I mean, I should never have touched you…”
Gabrielle felt her heart begin to thud – had she mistaken the tone in Xena’s voice? Or could it really be…?
The bard gathered her courage. She reached out and cupped the warrior’s face again, forcing her to meet her gaze. Her voice was shaky, but her eyes were true.
“Xena…” She licked her lips as inside she felt herself jump from the high place. “… I want you to touch me.”
The warrior’s breath caught in her throat as she closed her eyes, unable to believe what she was hearing. She felt the bard stroke her face.
“Xena, open your eyes. Please. Look at me.”
Xena obeyed. She stared back at the bard, searching her face for any sign of uncertainty.
Gabrielle felt her insides contract. She prayed to every God she could name that she had not said the wrong thing. Suddenly Xena spoke, using that soft tone that sent a thrill to the bard’s core.
“Are you sure, Gabrielle?”
A smile spread across Gabrielle’s face as she leaned into the warrior to answer. Lips met lips as the two women kissed, soft at first, hesitant, then harder.
Xena moaned as she felt Gabrielle’s tongue brush her lips, and opened her mouth in compliance. The moan thrilled Gabrielle, amazed that such a simple action could elicit such an exciting response.
She felt her bravery grow as she reached for Xena’s hand and placed it on her breast. Again, Xena moaned, this time into Gabrielle’s mouth; the sound reverberated through the bard’s body before coming to rest between her legs, adding to the already building pressure.
Xena’s hand grasped at the offered bosom, feeling Gabrielle’s nipple harden at her touch. She broke the kiss and looked once again at the bard. Their eyes conversed as piercing blue sought permission and deep green granted it.
With a steady hand, Xena went to work on Gabrielle’s clothing, pulling her blue top over her head, then making light work of the skirt and the loose shift beneath it. A low grunt of satisfaction escaped the warrior’s lips as she leant back to admire the naked bard.
Gabrielle felt a flush, her cheeks and chest glowed crimson and heat rose through her in spite of the chill night air. She dismissed her momentary embarrassment as she felt a calloused finger glide up her thigh.
Xena paused as she heard Gabrielle gasp. She tore her eyes away from a feast of milky thighs, bringing them up over golden red curls that glistened in the firelight, glancing quickly at creamy breasts topped with stiffened buds before they fell on the bard’s face. Gabrielle’s eyes were closed, her lips parted slightly, exhaling slowly. Xena felt her burning grow stronger as she was suddenly faced with a vision she had seen so many times in her mind’s eye.
The bard’s eyes opened as she felt Xena pause. Again, she felt a slight tremble as nerves threatened to take her, but as she stared into the warrior’s eyes, what she saw drove her on.
“Don’t stop, Xena.”
“Gabrielle, are you-”
The bard’s fingers pressed gently against soft, red lips, silencing her.
“I want you to touch me, Xena.”
Gabrielle spoke the words differently this time as the feel of warm fingers on her thigh and burning eyes roaming her naked flesh awoke new feelings within her; a need, a want. The bard had no words of prose to describe this feeling. Love was not the word, though she did love the warrior. Hunger, perhaps? Yes, that was closer, but hunger implied emptiness, and at this moment she felt so full. No, there was no word for what she felt. She could not name it – yet she knew it must be satisfied.
The dark haired woman tried desperately to keep her wild desire in check as she watched the lust in Gabrielle build. She wanted so badly to take the bard, pin her down and claim her, plunder every inch of her until the young woman could take no more. She shivered as she realised that she could, that the bard would let her. “But not this night.” she thought. This night she wanted the woman who trembled now at her touch to feel everything; every breath, every touch, all the heat and need and exquisite desire.
Suddenly the two women came together, closing in for a searing kiss. Gabrielle thrilled at the feel of cold leather against her warm skin; the warrior’s breasts pressing against her own, strong arms encircling her, a firm body pushing her down onto the bedroll. She moaned as she felt Xena’s hand travel up her thigh to her hip, along her side and alight on her breast.
All trepidation was gone from the warrior’s touch now as she softly rubbed her palm over Gabrielle’s hardened bud. Dark tresses framed Xena’s face as she broke from the kiss. Again, her eyes sought reassurance and the bard conceded as she bit her lip and rose slightly beneath her, straining for contact. The warrior did not need any further invitation; she shifted her body lower, taking Gabrielle’s breast in her mouth, revelling in the noises coming from the bard as she sucked and circled the stiffened teat. Her hand ministered to the other nipple as her other travelled back down the length of the bard.
Gently she slipped her hand between the bard’s legs as Gabrielle parted them slightly to allow better access.
The warrior’s mouth moved to the other breast as she ran her hand up Gabrielle’s inner thigh. She moaned as she felt a sticky wet warmth, sending delicious vibrations over the bard’s nipple.
A strangled cry escaped Gabrielle as she felt a glowing tremor flood over her bosom and the warrior’s fingers press into the sensitive flesh at the top of her thigh. She panted, feeling light headed as blood pulsed through her, her pounding heart urging it on, sending it down to the place between her legs that yearned for contact.
The bard had never felt such intensity before as another wave of want ripped through her body. She felt the warrior all over her, her hands, her mouth, and yet it was not enough…
With a swift movement she rose, pulling Xena away from her.
A sudden fear gripped the warrior: had she gone too far? Had she been too hard? Had Gabrielle changed her mind?
The fear left as quickly as it had come as her eyes met Gabrielle’s. A sheen of sweat glistened on the bard and her entire body rose and fell, panting with desire. Her eyes flashed lust and the tongue that ran slowly over her lips promised unknown pleasures.
Xena had seen this look before; she was no stranger to wanton lust and the gaze spoke to her core, urging her on with white hot heat. She lunged at the bard.
It took all of Gabrielle’s strength to restrain the warrior, grasping her shoulders and holding her back.
Again, Xena felt panic, again she began to question herself. But as she looked further into the bard’s eyes she saw something that silenced her thoughts and stilled her pounding heart.
Gabrielle swallowed, then she spoke. “Xena, do you-”
She stopped; body fought with mind. Her sex did not care what her heart needed to know, but her heart won out.
“Xena, do you love me?”
The warrior was not prone to confession, nor was she used to voicing her emotions; but the words she spoke came unbidden from a place she had tried to silence for so long.
“Gabrielle, what I said earlier was true – I am damaged. I’m scarred by a lifetime of mistakes-”
Her fingers silenced Gabrielle before she had a chance to protest.
“No, listen. There’s a darkness in me and I feel it there every day; the rage and the hurt… Sometimes I feel like it would be so easy to give in, to let it consume me…”
She trailed off, shuddering at the thought, remembering her friend’s cry of pain, her look of confusion… Gabrielle’s hand moved to her face, trying desperately to comfort her. The touch brought her back as her eyes met the bards’ and she found the strength to continue.
“… and then I see you. And it just goes…”
She stopped, as the words ran dry she was left with but one thing to say.
“I love you, Gabrielle.”
The bard did not need to hear anymore; her heart sang and her body hummed as she moved toward the warrior.
“I love you, Xena.”
The smile that spread across Xena’s face was soon crushed by a soft kiss from the bard. Their tongues fought for supremacy as each was reminded of Gabrielle’s state of undress and the fire within them.
The bard’s hand ran around Xena’s waist and up her back, pulling at the laces to her leathers. The warrior moved her own hands round to help, only breaking the kiss to peel the leather from her skin and yank it over her head.
The want in Gabrielle returned tenfold as she gazed on the naked warrior. She reached out and trailed a finger across her collarbone, down between her breasts to her navel…
Xena breathed sharply through gritted teeth at the bard’s touch. A soft moan escaped her as Gabrielle leant forward and kissed her neck. She felt warm breath against her cheek and the slickness between her thighs and she knew she must be sated.
In one quick motion the bard was on her back, the warrior looming over her, her breath ragged as she spoke.
“Please, Gabrielle, if you want me to stop, then please say so now.”
Gabrielle raised herself up on her elbows, both women delighted in the increased contact as the bard spoke, her voice thick with longing.
“Don’t hold back. I want you to touch me, Xena.”
With that the warrior’s resolve broke and the bard cried out as she felt teeth sink into her shoulder and the full weight of her lover upon her. Xena’s hands wasted no time finding their mark; one kneaded at Gabrielle’s breast while the other snaked down between the two of them.
Another cry tore through Gabrielle as Xena’s thigh slipped between her legs and her fingers slipped between her folds. The warrior lifted her head from her lover’s shoulder and looked into her eyes as her fingers began to circle the bard’s throbbing clit.
Gabrielle tried desperately to maintain eye contact with her warrior; she lifted her head, trying to kiss her love, but the feeling between her legs overrode everything else. Her fingers delved into the warrior’s hair as her eyes closed and her head fell back.
Seeing her lover’s reaction, Xena paused her ministrations. Gabrielle’s head shot back up and a whimper of frustration became a moan of pleasure as she felt the warrior’s weight shift and a warm dampness spread over her thigh.
Xena began again to move her hand between the bard’s legs, grinding her own sex against Gabrielle’s thigh. She lowered her head, bringing her mouth close to the bard’s ear, and started to whisper.
“I love you, Gabrielle… I’ve never loved anyone like this before… I’ve wanted this for so long…”
Gabrielle felt herself begin to break. Her hips moved in time with the warrior now, rising and falling, desperate for satisfaction.
Xena continued, feeling the heat rising from Gabrielle; revelling in the sensation of a firm thigh between her own and the responsive thrust of the woman beneath her.
“I’ve dreamt of this… I’ve felt guilt, and frustration, and so much want… I never thought that I could ever have you this way… that you would ever want me…”
Gabrielle bucked against the warrior, a wave of pleasure rushed through her; it was instinct rather than experience that told her this was a prelude, a mere taste of what was to come and she continued to push against Xena’s hand as the soft, low voice in her ear urged her on.
“… But now I realise you do want me… You do want me, right?”
The word sounded far away as it ripped itself from Gabrielle.
Xena slowed her strokes; running her fingers along the length of Gabrielle’s sex, grazing her entrance.
“… And you love me?”
Another strangled cry from the bard. Xena lowered her head onto Gabrielle’s shoulder, shuddering with pleasure, uncertain of how much longer she could prolong it. Gabrielle’s hands were pressed hard against her lower back now, pushing her on with every stroke.
The bard’s head rolled to one side to meet Xena’s. Her mouth pushed close against the warrior’s ear. She too was straining for release, longing to break the delicious agony that wracked her body. And she knew how…
“I love you, Xena.”
The bard spoke softly into the warrior’s ear, her voice trembling with want and exertion. And with that Xena broke.
As she felt herself fall she thrust her fingers into the bard; a thousand tiny muscles contracted around her fingers as the bard grunted, pushing fresh waves of pleasure through Xena.
Gabrielle threw her head back as she felt Xena drive her fingers into her. She dug her fingers into Xena’s back, crying out as she felt all the want dissolve into brilliant white light, heat and urgency coursing through her, sending a resounding, regular pulse to a part of her she never knew could sing…
They both laid that way for a while; Xena finding comfort in the warmth of the bard beneath her; Gabrielle finding safety and satisfaction in the weight of the warrior on top of her.
As their pulses slowed, Xena raised her head, looking into Gabrielle’s eyes, searching for some assurance that what they had just done had not hurt the bard or confused her. Her heart softened as her look was met with one of flushed content. She bowed her head and kissed Gabrielle’s brow, then rolled off her, turning onto her side and gathering the bard to her. She reached for a blanket and threw it over them.
Gabrielle’s body hummed as her head rested against the warrior’s neck. She felt the soft thud of Xena’s heart against her chest, lulling her to sleep. She roused slightly as she heard Xena’s voice.
She raised her head and saw tears in the warrior’s eyes.
Xena could say no more, the words stuck in her throat.
A desperate sadness rose in Gabrielle as she remembered what she had seen the night before; the pain in Xena’s eyes; her face streaked with tears. She flinched at the memory of her lover’s anguished cry, then craned her neck to plant a soft kiss on the warrior’s lips.
“Why what, Xena?”
Xena’s eyes sparkled, wet with tears. She spoke softly.
“Why do you… love me?”
Gabrielle pulled herself up, resting on one elbow, looking down at the warrior. She stroked her raven hair.
“What you mean is how could I love you? After all the terrible things you’ve done? … Xena, every day you strive to make amends for your past, and I know the darkness is still in you…”
Her voice trailed off as she thought of the look on Xena’s face back in the village; the dull thrill in her eyes as she turned to face her; the sting of the warrior‘s fist on her jaw… She shivered, casting off the memory, bringing her eyes back to rest on the woman that lay next to her now, remembering the more recent past, her gentle touch, her warmth…
Xena reached up to touch Gabrielle’s face, bringing her hand to rest on the place where she had hit. Her brow furrowed as she felt a pang of guilt.
Gabrielle snapped back into the present. Her eyes burned into the warrior’s.
“Xena, that’s why I love you; because you don’t want to give into the darkness; because you strive to be a better person without realising that you ARE a better person.”
Xena shook her head, smiling up at the bard, overwhelmed by the faith that shone in her eyes.
“You make me a better person.”
Gabrielle wrinkled her nose, ducking down to kiss the warrior, then snuggling back up against her.
“Well then I guess I’d better stick around.”
Xena chuckled at the bard’s flippant remark, and Gabrielle felt happiness spread through her at the sound.
As the warrior kissed the top of her love’s head, she felt her warmth against her and her mind wandered back to the evening’s exertions. She ran her hand down the bard’s back, eliciting a sleepy sigh, then closed her eyes, wrapping herself tighter around Gabrielle, holding her exactly as she had longed to all this time…
“You ARE a better person.”
Gabrielle’s words rang in her head as slumber slowly claimed her, and for the first night in many moons she slept soundly, safe in the arms of her saviour.