A Journey of Love

by ArdentTly


Revised Sep 5, 1998

Copywrited April 1998



Standard Disclaimers: Universal, MCA Pictures, Renaissance Pictures own em. Xena, Gabrielle, Argo all belong to them. Story belongs to me. Infringement is not intended.

Sexuality Disclaimer: This story is an alternative piece of fan fiction. So, if you are under 18 years of age, go away and come back older. If you are shocked by lesbians in love, go away, come back mature. If you don't like graphic sex, go away, practice, and come back later.


Chapter One


Xena had been whistling for hours now, trying to locate her horse Argo. She had resigned herself to dragging Gabrielle's litter all the way to Thessaly. Hades, she was prepared to do whatever it took to get the woman to a physician. She had given the bard a few doses of the antidote taken from the now retreating Persian Army but was more worried about the arrow wound and possible infection.

She decided, wiping her brow, to make camp within the next hour as she noticed Gabrielle lapsing in and out of a fevered sleep. After that was done, she tended frail-looking friend and sat, dejected, by the fire. Xena found herself reliving the battle at Tripolis over and over again. Each time the bard moaned or thrashed in her sleep Xena was snapped back from a place where she was convinced certain death had awaited them both. Why had she listened to Gabrielle and not obeyed her first instinct to get the woman as far away from danger as possible?

The idea of Gabrielle being hurt caused Xena such torment that the woman was frequently left nauseatedwhenever she thought about it. Which was pretty much all the time now, Xena quietly admitted. When did those feelings start? she pondered. Who was she fooling! Certainly not herself but she did hope that Gabrielle, if she knew, wouldn't hate her for it. After all, the poor woman was constantly being exposed to alot of the warrior's dark past all the time. I guess nothing should shock her. But she was so naive and Xena wanted to keep it that way. If her friendship was all she could hope for, so be it.

As the bard moaned, Xena clenched her jaw tightly. Those bastard! She thought. At least she had send a good many of them to meet the lord of their underworld, who ever that might be. Such thoughts made the warrior tense up to such a point that even wearing her own skin was painfull. She had so much pent-up anger and hatred for what the soldiers had done to her friend that she knew she had to work off some of it or burst.

She went through her daily workout again but found both her concentration and timing were off. Being a perfectionist, she went through the drill again, and again until she fairly dripped with perspiration and exaustion. Only then did she sit by the fire, breathing heavily. She checked Gabrielle again, sponging her off and then adding more wood to the fire. She knew that if the fever got any higher or if Gabrielle didn't come out of it soon, she would be in real trouble.

As Xena sat and sharpened her sword she found the rythmic motions to be quite soothing. Before too long, the woman's hair hung down over her face as her chin rested on her breast plate. Her eyes flashed open suddenly when her friend began to thrash about and moan. Xena moved to reassure her and settle her back down but the woman was not yet soothed enough to do so. When no words of comfort seemed to work, Xena sat beside the litter and held the bard close, brushing the damp hair from her face and mopping the sweat from her wild but unseeing eyes. It took more than a candle mark before the woman lapsed into a deep sleep. Xena's heart strings were pulled everytime Gabrielle whispered her name. The warrior got up, stretched, and patrolled the campsite. She hadn't set any traps for a meal because,quite frankly, she knew the bard was out of it for a while and food or just the idea of it turned Xena's gut.

Lost in her thoughts Xena quietly poked the fire. Suddently aware of watchful eyes, her head snapped up and she found two sea-green eyes locked onto her own. With a cry Xena was up and holding her friend's hand. Tears rolled down her face and a gut-wrenching moan was released from her lips.

Xena brought the bard's rather hot hand to her lips and gently kissed it. Gabrielle looked at the warrior with surprise. Had she been that sick? Gabrielle squeezed the warrior's hand and smiled. "I'm feeling...better...now." she croaked. Then she reached her good arm up and wiped away a tear that slowly ran down to Xena's chiseled jawline. The warrior closed her eyes and a small sigh escaped from her lips. "I think we need to talk, Gabrielle." she said slowly. "I know this probably isn't the perfect time but if I don't get this off my chest I'm going to die. I feel like I'm being eaten alive!" she growled.

Gabrielle immediately started to apologize for spraining her ankle and getting herself hit with a poisoned arrow. "It's my fault that you had to face that army all alone! I almost got us both killed! I'm so sorry, Xena." Gabrielle ended in tears. With a stunned look on her face, Xena fell flat on her back side

She felt as if someone had clubbed her from behind. "No," she said quietly. "No. You have nothing to apologize for. I never should have put you in a position like that in the first place. You are the dearest, most precious thing in my life." The tears ran freely down her face and began to soak the top of her leather tunic. "I never realized how important you are to me until I thought we were going to die! I don't want to have to die before I can tell you...."she stammered, "...how brave you were. ..so strong..." she trailed off. Gabrielle looked across at Xena. The words just seemed caught in her throat. All she could think to do was stretch her arm out to her friend.

In the flash of an eye Xena held the bard's face in her hands. "Do you...remember.... what I said back in the armoury?" she began. Xena looked so earnestly at Gabrielle that the bard's tears began softly rolling down her flushed cheeks. Suddenly throwing caution to the wind, Xena leaned over and kissed the tears off of Gabrielle's face. The bard's good arm came slowly up and traced her friends lips tenderly. "I remember everything. Why did it take us so long to get here?" she asked in wonder.

As Xena started to say something her neck was encircled and pulled into a gentle, if hesitant kiss. Both women pulled back slowly and gazed at each other. "I've known for about your feelings for about a year now." whispered Gabrielle as she caressed Xena's jaw line. "I didn't really know how to address it or how I felt so I just tried to ignore it. I'm sorry." she said. Xena looked at her friend in astonishment. Had she been that easily read?

"I had a terrible dream while back at the armoury." Gabrielle continued. "When I awoke and realized you were asleep beside me I knew I couldn't deny my feelings any more. My feelings for you are so strong. Beyond friendship...into something...more." she finished. Gabrielle paused, seeing the look on Xena's face. Was it hope she saw there? She went on, "I loved Perdicus very much. We had so little time before he was killed but I never thought I'd have those feelings again. But I do. For you. And even stronger, deeper, somehow." she sighed.

Gabrielle felt as if the whole weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders.

"I love you. It's not hard to say but now it means so much more." she said with wonder in her voice. Xena felt a stone roll off her heart. "I've been with lots of men in my life" she began. "For the most part it was just for sexual release. Sometimes...it was to use as a weapon, a tool to get what I wanted. Even to survive. But I don't think I've ever known real love. I thought I never would." Xena said slowly. "Being with you has made me see that it isn't a weakness to need someone - to show them you care and what you feel in your heart. But it is so hard to...show it. Never did I ever think you might feel the same way. By the Gods, how did I ever manage to have you in my life?" said Xena was awe.

An easy silence descending on them as they sat together, each stealing glances and shy smiles at each other. Xena had always loved the petite woman, it seemed. It had grown in her heart even though the bard had never given her a reason to hope for more. Hades knew, she certainly wasn't the easiest person to be around. She had become contumacious and moody over the years of seemingly constant battle. Her heart had hardened and her view of life and the people in it had twisted and darkened with pain and anger. 

For Gabrielle, letting go of denial made her very introspective. She looked deeply at their shared past and saw with clarity that this woman was capable of so much heat, energy and passion. Sure, she could be blinded by her battlelust and tempted by her darker side but Gabrielle also saw a woman who, because of circumstance, had had to build a fortress of strengh, steely resolve and a heavy dose of machismo around the very essense of her being in order to go beyond mere survival to bending the world to her will. Gabrielle both admired and feared this about the Warrior Princess. She knew that without the thread of humanity interwoven into the complex pattern that was Xena, it would all be her undoing. She couldn't...wouldn't let that happen. 



Chapter Two


It had started to get to that point in the evening when the sky was lit up with stars in every direction. Xena breathed the cool night air deeply. As she glanced at Gabrielle she was so glad to be alive. Sometimes it took awhile to really get over a battle and put it behind her. Before Gabrielle had come into her life, Xena had sought relief in a tavern - drinking to excess - and after determining which of her comrades was the most trustworthy and strong, would fall into bed with him. These encounters were usually quick and somehow disappointing.

She had felt great affection for a few of them, respect for even fewer. It was their shared prowess as soldiers that seemed to bring them together. She was finding that because of her reputation on the battle field it was becoming harder for the men to look past any perceived threat to their masculinity and treat her with loving and patient hands. Usually, these encounters resembled 'battles' themselves: each combatant taking what they wanted with a sense of urgency and force.

Because of this she had become cruel and distant, just like the other battle-scarred sould who, like her, seemed to be searching, ever searching, for their lost humanity.

Xena shook herself out of her revery and a small smile played on her lips. That had all changed when she had let a slip of a girl sneak into her life. It used to amuse her that this small and seemingly defenceless girl used to trail after her. When the hero-worshipping phase was replaced with the first twinklings of friendship, Xena started to realize just how lonely she had become. As she glanced over at Gabrielle, she was struck with how important their friendship had become. Even more so since the murder of Perdicus. It made the warrior want to wail at the Gods for making Gabrielle suffer his death. Xena had watched her friend go from a grief-stricken widow into a confident woman. But still Xena could see the pain and sorrow in the woman's eyes. Xena longed to ease that pain and help her get over the loss.

Gabrielle had found her appetite returning. The poison had managed to waste away the woman's tiny figure to the point where she looked gaunt. Xena went back to the litter and knealt in front of the bard and began to feed her a hastily prepared meal. Gabrielle's eyes seemed to glitter every time Xena placed a morsel into her mouth. Slowly, Xena wiped her friend's chin. She watched transfixed as Gabrielle's tongue snaked out and licked the palm of her hand. Tiny electrical pulses began to spread from Xena's lower belly. She slowly inserted her finger into the moist mouth and a moan escaped her full lips as Gabrielle sucked on it.

Gabrielle heard a low growl start in the back of Xena's throat. She held out her hand and drew the Warrior Princess to her. Soon, it was Xena's tongue that Gabrielle was sucking, softly at first and then with an urgency. As the women made love with their mouths Xena thought she had died and gone to the Elysian Fields. Although she had fantasized about this moment many times over the past two years, at no time did she ever see sweet Gabrielle as the aggressor.

This awakening of passion she could see in the woman's eyes quickened her heart dangerously. Gabrielle, too, was feeling overwhelmed by this new sense of erotic power. Knowing what effect her mere touch had on Xena seemed to push the bard to a place where her own imagination could run wild. Xena slowly drew in Gabrielle's lower lip and tenderly sucked on it. Gabrielle sighed deeply and pulled the warrior's leathers closer in an effort to...she didn't know what. All she knew was she wanted to be in the warrior and to have the warrior in her.

Relucantly, Xena broke their embrace and said, "Are you sure we should do this? Could I be any good at protecting us or even thinking about anything but you? I want you so badly....but our friendship...can we ever..." Gabrielle looked at Xena, her wanton feelings plain on her face. "Now listen Xena. I told you in Tripolis that I accepted that our being together might result in my death. That my life might be forfeit was acceptable to me. You became my mentor, then my best friend. You will always be those for me. I think it only a natural progression that you now become my lover. I want this as much as you do. Maybe more. I know what I want. There is no one in the whole world for me but you. Our destinies are entertwined like the roots of a grape vine. Tear the roots apart and the wine dies."

Gabrielle paused and looked straight into Xena's eyes. "Now stop talking and make love to me" she purred.



Chapter Three


It had been a strange day. One filled with fear, sadness, hope and finally love. Xena and Gabrielle had travelled many roads together and had been through much. Their shared history had made a comfortable and easy closeness between them. The revelation of how they truly felt about each other just felt like the next logical step in their lives together.

The air now seemed charged with electricity. Even Argo seemed unsettled. She had stopped her constant munching and snorted in the direction of the fire.

Xena pulled her lips away from the bard and stumbled back. Both women were breathless but Xena noticed her hands shook as she looked down at them. The eyes of her companion seemed to burn into Xena's very soul. Yet she found it hard to meet the woman's gaze. Xena cleared her throat a few times and then hesitantly went on. "Gabrielle...I know I'm somewhat older than you and probably more experienced in the area of love making, but..." she stammered, suddently at a loss for words. Gabrielle tried very hard not to smile. She tried even harder not to giggle. There was something very heartening about seeing Xena: Warrior Princess - Conquorer of Nations, Supreme Warrior Extraordinaire, at a loss.

She thought carefully and realized that she had never seen her friend so out of sorts and, well, vulnerable. It had a very strange effect on the bard. On the one hand, it make Gabrielle want to hold the woman close and sooth the furrows that seemed to have blossomed between the warrior's eyes. On the other, Gabrielle felt that if her shoulder wasn't injured she would have tackled Xena and tickled her unmercifully until her serious demeaner vanished. Xena was taking this way too seriously. This was a good thing - it could only make them stronger.

As Gabrielle pondered all of this, Xena could see a smile flash across the bard's face. Before she knew what she was doing, she approaced Gabrielle and began scolding her. "Now look here, Gabrielle. This is not a funny situation. It took me a very long time to open my heart and tell you this and you smile? Do you think this is just going to be a lark, a one time deal?" The look on Gabrielle's crestfallen face seemed to crush Xena's heart.

Xena went on, "Okay, I'll admit it - I'm kinda scared about these new feelings. How in Zeus do I know what love really is? I've never felt this way about anyone. You are a woman, I'm a woman...I..." stammered, as a look of sheer terror flashed across her face.

Gabrielle felt a wee bit of anger well up inside her. How dare Xena think she wasn't taking this whole thing seriously. And what kind of person did she think she was - a one night stand, indeed!

Although the idea of being with another woman had never entered her mind, Gabrielle was not repulsed or afraid. As she saw it, she wasn't in love with a woman, she was in love with Xena. That she was a woman, and a very beautiful, gorgeous, sexy, amazing..(she could go on for days!!)..one, was really secondary. She couldn't help the way she felt anymore than she hoped Xena felt for her.

"I am not a child", she began. "I resent the implication that you think I'd like to do this one time because of curiousity. And...and I DO know what love is..its you." she finished. Gabrielle's face had become flushed and she had propped herself up with one elbow. Her hair kept falling into her face and she constantly flipped at it with her hand.

Xena went quickly over to Gabrielle and placed her hand on the bard's shoulder. "Is your shoulder paining you?" she asked.

"Look, Xena" began the bard, "I don't know any more about making love to a woman than you do. I only know that I want to make you happy, to consumate our feelings for each other. Zeus! Please braid my hair before I go completely insane!"

Xena couldn't help but smile as she saw herfriend as flummoxed as she was.

"Ok, Ok. Sit still and I'll do something with it" said the warrior as she squatted behind the bard. Gabrielle grew quiet as her damp hair was neatly braided in a single line running down the middle of her back. As Xena worked, she brushed the woman's shoulders with the tips of her fingers. Just as she was finishing up Gabrielle caught one of Xena's hands and brought it down to her bossom. To Xena, her hand felt as if it had caught fire. She leaned around and kissed Gabrielle's ear. She felt her breathing coming faster and her hands began to shake. What do I do, thought Xena. What comes next? Am I going to hurt her wound, how will I know if I'm doing it right...

So many thoughts crossed her mind that she felt frozen with indecision. Gabrielle sensed Xena's uneasiness and decided to forge on shamelessly. She turned her head to the side and at the same time pulled Xena closer to her. They bumped noses. Each woman snorted, then giggled and soon the uncomfortable feeling between them vanished. A smile curled Xena's lips as she slowly rose to her full six feet. "I am a warrior and I shall meet this challenge" she said in a deep falsetto voice.

Gabrielle found herself laughing. However, her throat constricted suddenly as Xena began to take off her armour. Slowly. Her eyes never leaving Gabrielle's face. As she unhooked her leather tunic and pulled it off Xena felt all of the uncertainty melt away. Gabrielle's quick intake of breath was enough to show that she liked what she saw.

They had seen each other nude before, had even bathed together but as sisters, not as lovers. As Xena stepped out of her undergarments and stood naked before her companion she stood proudly, knowing that the last thing she would ever be ashamed of was her body. Gabrielle saw only a goddess. The perfectly proportionate figure of Xena took her breath away.

Gabrielle's eyes crept slowly over every inch of the beautiful flesh before her. She saw quite a growing assortment of scars and bruises, which diminished none of the woman's natural beauty. The bard felt the inside of her thighs get uncomfortably hot and moved them apart under the blanked. As she tried to get comfortable her shoulder started to burn and she winced. "I want to look at your wound" said Xena as she knealt by her friend.

"Stop. If you touch me it had better be leading somewhere" purred Gabrielle. She began to unlace her own top, watching with interest, the effect it was having on her warrior. Xena helped her slip her injured arm out of the sleeve and peered at the dimpled and slightly blackened flesh of Gabrielle's wound. She held very close the knowledge that she had made the Persian army pay dearly for what they had done to her friend, her bard.

Xena leaned over and placed a kiss on the top of the bard's shoulder. She left a trail of kisses that ended on the woman's sweet mouth. A moan slipped through her parted lips as Gabrielle place her hand on one of Xena's breasts. As the two women kissed, Xena lay half on and off the litter. The wood began to creak under their combined weight. Without a word, Xena kissed the tip of the lover's nose and walked over to the bedrolls. She pulled them closer to the fire and added another rug. Then, effortlessly, as as gently as if Gabrielle was a newborn, she lifted her up and carried her over to the blankets.

She slowly removed the rest of the bard's clothing and boots and lay beside her. They explored each other's mouths with their tongues and Xena felt she had new been so completely happy. That she could lose herself in the kisses of another woman shouldn't have been so surprising. She had seen many different sexual practices in her days of being a warlord. However, she hadn't experienced this one.

She nuzzled the bard's face with her nose. "I want you so much, Xena" whispered Gabrielle.

"I'm not sure I know what to do but I'm sure looking forward to the task" said Xena as her lips again covered those of her friends.When Xena looked into the bard's she saw the same longing mirrored in those of her own.

She pulled the woman gently onto her lap and sat up. Gabrielle made soft contented noises as Xena placed her hands on the pert breasts before her. Their kisses grew in intensity and soon both were breathing raggedly. Xena held her passion in check, knowing that this first time was special and that they would both remember it forever. She wanted it all to be perfect. She slowly placed her wet mouth onto the bard's left breast and encompassed the whole nipple. A shudder went through her companion. "By the Gods, that feels so good" murmured Gabrielle.

"You taste wonderful: so sweet." moaned the warrior. "Mmmm." replied Gabrielle. "Let me taste you." With that Gabrielle lowered her face down to Xena's ample bossom and inhaled deeply. She licked one nipple and then the other until Xena's head was turned up to the sky in ecstasy.

"You like that?" she asked. Only a moan escaped her warrior's parted lips. "I don't really know what to do so you gotta give me a hint every now and then" said Gabrielle with a twinkle in her eye. All Xena said was "Ooh, yeah..."

Xena stroked her friend's temples and pressed her flesh deeper into Gabrielle's mouth. "Suck hard." she said, throatily. Needing no further prodding Gabrielle started to squeeze and suck the woman's nipples in an increasingly frenzied manner. Then she started to flick the warrior's nipples with her tongue and was greeted with a deep cry of pleasure.

"By Athena, Gabrielle! You'd better stop. Please!!" she shouted. "If you don't, I'm gonna scream!" said Xena, wildly. "I want you to, my warrior" replied the woman, continuing her loving work on Xena's glistening breasts.

"I can't!" cried Xena. "Not yet, not now, not like this.." she said miserably. Xena lay back with a wild look in her eyes. She shook herself as if awakening from a dream. "Please, Gabrielle. If we are oing to do this, don't fight me. Let me do it my way" she implored. "I have to be the one, can't you see that?" she asked. "Even when I'm with a man it has to be my way. I can't lose that control. I just can't" she said in a cold voice.

Gabrielle saw the obvious pain in Xena's eyes. Part of her like the new feeling of power: being able to incite such unabashed passion in Xena. She instinctively knew that no one had ever seen the Warrior Princess like this. Then she wondered if maybe one man had. Maybe that was why Xena hated Caesar so much.

The woman understood her companion's needs and longed for her friend to relax and enjoy being made love to, totally surrendering to someone who truly loved her. She smiled. She knew it would take time for Xena to really let down her guard but Gabrielle was willing to wait. After all, they had the rest of their lives.

Finally, Gabrielle leaned over and gently kissed the nape of Xena's neck. "Xena," she said soothingly, "I know you need to be in control all the time but you have to let me help you, too. I want to, I need to. I can't merely lie here and let you do it all. It wouldn't be fair." whispered Gabrielle as she caressed Xena's face tenderly. She left the double meaning hang in the air between them. In this area of their lives, Gabrielle had to make Xena aware that there had to be compromise.

Xena sat up and held the bard's face gently. She took a deep clensing breath, then kissed her lover deeply. Gabrielle moaned with the passion of it. "You don't know how much I've wanted this, dreamed of this" said Xena. "I want to pleasure you, show my love in the only way I feel comfortable - physically. I'm not a woman of many words, you know that. Let me use my body to show you. You're in my blood now, Gabrielle. There is no going back now. I hope you know this." Xena said slowly.

Gabrielle smiled, and kissed her warrior's nose again. "Can't you see? I can hardly wait." she said with a radiant look on her face. "I want to feel all of you, taste you, smell you. Now." she finished. And with that the women lay side by side on the bedroll and deeply kissed, letting their hands explore each other. Xena began to lay a trail of kisses down her lover's torso until her lips grazed the bard's belly button.

She lovingly dipped her tongue in and was rewarded with a deep sigh. She felt two hands pressing her head lower. Xena had never tasted a woman and was curious. She slowly parted Gabrielle's legs and stroked the inside of her thigh. She saw a pearl of moisture glisten at the opening of Gabrielle's vulva and tentatively licked at it. She found her senses heightened. Everything seemed to be surrounded in a soft flow, enveloping them in its warm embrace. Gabrielle's response was sudden. She thrashed and moaned as Xena held her hips tightly.

The bard's cries filled the night. Xena continued to suck and lick at the very core of her lover's being. As she placed two fingers at the woman's opening, she reached down and found her own sex, dripping and ready. As she thrust her fingers into Gabrielle, she did the same to herself. Xena moaned deeply as she replace her fingers with her tongue, deep into her lover's hole. Gabrielle slowly opened her eyes and the vision before her made her gasp. Xena quickly knealt between her lover's thighs and wrapped the bard's legs around her muscular waist. Gabrielle couldn't find one place to focus on - definitely sensory overload, she thought as she tried to sort out the smells, the heavy breathing and the sight of Xena pumping her fingers deeply in a slow rhythm.

Xena was looking directly into Gabrielle's eyes, her tongue slowly wetting her lips. The bard was totally transfixed - she had never been so aroused in her life. Xena, too, felt totally turned on. A slow feral look came into the warrior's eyes. With a moan Gabrielle reached up and took each nipple before her and slowly pulled on them, rolling their hard tips between her fingers. "Oh Gods, what you do to me!" cried Xena as she threw back her head.

The sweat was pouring off the two women in waves. Soon Gabrielle was grinding and pumping her hips into Xena finding release. As the bard's shudders decreased Xena removed her fingers and grasped Gabrielle's buttocks, pulling her closer until their mounds touched. Each thrust was accompanied by a grunt, a wimper, a moan. Xena leaned over Gabrielle and lay on top of her, panting. Gabrielle's body went rigid as she felt another orgasm overtake her.

Xena was still pumping, thrusting faster, ever faster. She brought her lips down hard on Gabrielle's and thrust her tongue deeply into the woman's mouth in time with her pelvic thrusts. With a deep moan, Xena shuddered and moaned Gabrielle's name.

As Xena lay her head on Gabrielle's lower belly the bard caught her fingers threw her lover's raven hair. Xena looked up and gazed lovingly at her soul mate. Gabrielle was breathing so fast, eyes half closed in ecstasy. Xena lapped suddenly at Gabrielle's clitoris and nipped at it with her teeth. She bathed the opening with her tongue.

The air was perfumed with the musky scent of passion and Xena wallowed in it. With one final thrust with her tongue Gabrielle went rigid again and cried out "Xxennnnnnaaaaaa!" The very thought of what Xena had accomplished combined with the pressure she felt on her tongue drove the warrior into the throws of another orgasm. Short, deep growls started until the warrior shuddered once more and lay still. She slowly and passionately moved up and kissed her lover.

Gabrielle's half opened eyes glittered in the light of the fire and she moaned softly as Xena placed her fingers deeply into her own sex and then inserted them into the bard's mouth. Xena lay down beside her lover, placing one thigh possessively over Gabrielle's legs. Gabrielle gently stroked the warrior's cheek as Xena nuzzled her ear. As she tried to cuddle her closer a painful moan escaped her lips. Xena looked up in alarm. "I want to do that for you, Xena" was all the bard said. "I know you want to Gabrielle. And you will. We will both pleasure each other - often", she chuckled. "But not until your shoulder is better."

Gabrielle sighed in resignation. She knew Xena was right. She'd pay for tonight with days of pain before they would reach Thessaly. Xena glanced side ways at her. "That's not to say I can't touch YOU. And right now I'm going to lovingly kiss you goodnight." she said as she pulled the blanket over them both. 

Xena rolled her friend towards her so that her breasts were against the bard's back. She sighed contentedly. Gabrielle turned her head as Xena nuzzled the smooth skin between neck and shoulder. "You truly are a woman of many skills" the bard purred. A throaty growl was all Gabrielle heard as they both drifted off to sleep, a deep sigh issuing from both women.



Chapter Four


The physicians in Thessaly had agreed the two women could continue their travels in a few days. While they had enjoyed each others affections before they got to Thessaly, both deemed it necessary to hide their new-found love while they were in town. Xena wanted to shout it from the roof tops but Gabrielle knew that it would ruin the warrior's reputation AND put vital information into the hands of Xena's numerous enemies. It was a hard decision to keep, for both of them.

The pent-up sexual frustration was beginning to tell on Xena as she grew short-tempered with the locals. No one was spared her withering looks or her acid tongue. All but the sweet Gabrielle. The more she thought about their love making, the harder it was not to drag her bard anywhere away from prying eyes and cover her lushious body with kisses. Xena shook herself imperseptively, clearing her mind. She grit her teeth and practiced some meditation techniques learned in Chin.

Gabrielle, too, was suffering her own gauntlet. After travelling with Xena, her beloved warrior, for two years she had finally been able to show her feelings. Their shy and some times aggressive attempts at love making had brought out the bard in Gabrielle (who had a wonderful imagination and was a very tactile person, even with acquaintences) and the wanton warrior in Xena (albeit a considerate and romantic one. As they sat in the local tavern the bard could see the woman's jaw muscles clenching. She slipped her hand down onto Xena's thigh, just gently patting it. This seemed to calm both women a little. This patting soon became stroking, caressing, squeezing. A smoldering look between the two women should have electrified the air around them. Xena could take no more. She jumped up, murmured something about seeing Argo at the stable and doing some drills and she was gone.

As the days went on these workouts got longer and more intricate. Soon Xena was in the best shape she had ever been in. Her biceps bulged and her leather tunic felt too loose at the waist and too tight around the chest and shoulders. When Gabrielle commented on this all Xena would do was grunt. By the look in the warrior's eyes Gabrielle knew she was spoiling for a fight.

That night, after packing their saddle bags for their travels in the morning, Xena left their room looking for some fresh air. Gabrielle decided to use the time to write down some of the epic adventures the two had shared in the past couple of months. It was good therapy as she realized it was the only way to keep her mind off being alone with her warrior. "Gods!" she sighed for the umpteenth time. The mere thought of being alone with Xena the following night was making her dizzy with desire. She had often complained about the cold hard ground they usually had to sleep on. They had a nice soft comfortable bed at the inn and Gabrielle was the only one using it: the warrior sat brooding in the corner, sharpening her sword and mending her armour. The soft bed meant nothing to Gabrielle now. She longed for the quiet solitude out on the road with her warrior - hard cold ground and all.

As the night wore on and Xena hadn't returned, Gabrielle went out to look for her in the tavern. She was pleased to see Xena smiling. Who was she taling to? Xena looked over and spotted her bard standing in the door way. She beckoned her over to the table with a saucy smirk on her lips. As Gabrielle drew near she saw it was Autolycus sitting at the table. It didn't take too long to see they were both fairly drunk.

Xena was in such a good mood. She hit Autolycus on the back several times as the two exchanged war stories. Gabrielle sat and nursed a small cup of cider. Autolycus moved his chair closer to Xena and as Gabrielle watched in horror, placed his hand under the table onto Xena's bare thigh. At first Xena appeared not to notice. Before Gabrielle could even bat an eye Xena had pressed two pressure points into the man's neck. It happened so quickly that the bard was amazed, given the warrior's condition. A funny look came over Autolycus and his eyes glazed over.

Xena snorted. "I'm sorry, my friend" she slurred, "but you can't have me. No one can - ever again. My heart belongs to another. The most wonnerful..." She stopped. "Did you just kick me under the table, woman?!" Gabrielle winced and said "Are you going to leave him like that?", nodding in Autolycus' direction.

"Oh. I s'pose not. He deserved it though. He must have a death wish or something." breathed Xena with a lopsided grin. She quickly released the pressure points on the poor man who drew a deep breath and coughed. "A simple NO would have sufficed my dear." he told her. With that said he fell face first onto the table. Xena burst out laughing and thumped the table. "More ale, wench!" she called to the bar maid.

"No, Xena. Lets go back to our room." said Gabrielle, worriedly. "What for?" replied a grumpy Warrior Princess. "If I'm only gonna sleep in the bed, I can do that here." She blinked slowly at Gabrielle and winked knowingly. Gabrielle got up and pleaded with Xena. With a heavy sigh the warrior stood up, rather unsteadily, and grabbed Autolycus by the scruff of his neck. Soon the two women were dragging the half-conscious man between them. The other patrons threw bawdy remarks as the trio left the tavern.

Autolycus was unceremoniously dumped on the floor of their room along with a thin blanket. Xena stumbled over to a chair and started to remove her armour. Soon Gabrielle was by her side, helping her with the clasps as usual. Xena tilted her head up and gazed lovingly into the eyes of her bard. "Guess I've had too much to drink, huh?" she slurred.

Gabrielle caressed her lover's face and bent to kiss her on the forehead. She soon found herself on Xena's lap receiving a very wet but passionate kiss. "Don't be angry. Autolycus won't remember anything tomorrow. He may be a thief but inside he really is a good sort." sighed Xena as she nuzzled Gabrielle's neck. "You make me sooo happy, Gabr...Gab....Gabby. So verrry happy." she went on. As Gabrielle watched in amusement, Xena put her head back against the wall and began snoring. Gabrielle removed Xen's hand from her breast somewhat reluctantly and went over to her bed. Well, she thought, she's too big to move and I'm too tired to think. "Goodnight my love" she whispered and crawled into bed.


When Gabrielle awoke the next morning she discovered that at some point in the night Xena had fallen out of the chair. She was curled up in a heap, with her head nestled in the crook of Autolycus' shoulder. Such a peaceful smile was on her face. A question formed in Gabrielle's mind but she quickly dismissed it. Xena and Autolycus? How absurd! Besides, both were too drunk to have done anything. Weren't they? She left them and went out in search of breakfast.

Xena's eyes were closed and she smiled as she felt a hand caress her cheek. She murmured contentedly and cuddled closer. "Well, my beauty, I'm for breakfast. How about you?" said the deep voice of...well, it certainly wasn't Gabrielle's! Xena's eyes flew open and she jumped to her feet. "What...." she began stammering. "Hey, I knew it was just a matter of time before you fell for my well-documented charms." said Autolycus.

The look on Xena's face was so shocking that the man quickly sat up. "What's wrong?" he asked. Without uttering a word Xena opened the door and wobbled outside. She closed the door with a slam and leaned against the building. "What in the name of Zeus have I done?!" wondered Xena. She concentrated hard on the events of the night before. She remembered Autolycus putting a hand on her thigh. Yes, and she remembered kissing someone's neck....and then waking up cuddled in ...and he was caressing her with that LOOK in his eye! By the Gods! What had she done?! What would, could, she say to Gabrielle? How could she ever face Autolycus again!

She staggered into the alley way and threw up. She placed her hands on her bent knees and waited until the dizziness left her. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a movement. She had her sword out of its sheath in a flash with somewhat unsteady hands. Gabrielle walked towards her with a puzzled look on her face. "Are you okay, Xena?" she asked. "Yeah, I'm just fine." growled the woman. "Just peachy." she continued. She replaced her sword and stood up.

Gabrielle noticed that Xena wouldn't meet her eyes. Perhaps she felt guilty about her behavior last night, pondered the bard. "Look Xena. If its about last night, don't worry. I know you needed that. Autolycus is a friend. You certainly looked to be enjoying yourselves." she said with a smirk on her face.

"You.. .saw us last night" stammered Xena. "Together, he and me. Us?" she said slowly. "You were hard to miss" said Gabrielle. "You two are so noisy when you drink! I'm sure everyone in town heard the two of you."

Xena's face blanched and she swallowed deeply. "Everyone heard us?" she asked. "By all the gods, Gabrielle, I don't remember, I swear." she said with a panicked look in her eyes. She grabbed Gabrielle's hand and continued, "I must have had way too much to drink. I don't know what came over me. You must hate me. I'm so sorry, I don't know what to say." stammered the warrior, clutching the bard's hand to her cheek.

"Ah, Xena? What are you going on about?" asked a very puzzled bard.

"Well...about last night. Me and Autolycus...I swear it'll never happen again. He means nothing to me, I swear it." said Xena, hastily kissing Gabrielle's hand. To Xena's surprise she didn't get a slap or a punch or even a verbal dressing-down. What she got was a giggle from the woman she thought had every right to hate her. "You look so comical, Xena!" she laughed. Xena must have thought she'd had sex with Autolycus because she had awoken in his arms! Oh, this was too much, Gabrielle thought. I could really get in some teasing here. One look at the distraught look in Xena's eyes dispelled that thought immediately.

The bard quickly hugged the warrior and kissed her deeply. She held Xena's face in her hands and told her how she had left the two passed out on the floor. "You must have fallen out of your chair on top of him and slept in a heap all night." she began. "You could hardly move. I had to help you with your armour and you passed out before I even got your greaves off." she finished.

"Yeah, yeah. That's what musta happened. Right. No other explanation...you're sure, huh?" said Xena, unconvinced. Gabrielle took her lover's arm and led her back to the tavern. She ordered some strong tea for Xena and a plate of cold food. As Xena ate, the bard continued to giggle over the whole thing. She told Xena about Autolycus tying to put his hand on her thigh and the results. "Yeah, I remember his hand there." said Xena, slowly nodding her head.

"Xena, do you think you'd ever let Autolycus touch you? After what we have shared together?" Gabrielle gently prodded the warrior. "No, no, of course not." said a still unconvinced Xena.

"Look, Gabrielle. I'm ashamed to say this but, well...I do find men attractive." she said rather hesitantly. She was surprised when Gabrielle replied, "I know." They both looked into each other's eyes and Gabrielle's hand slid across the table and held Xena's warmly in hers. "There are things a man can do for you that I can't. I can accept that. I don't think I'll ever sleep with a man again but I understand you...have these needs." Gabrielle said somewhat tearfully. "I don't hate you for it. All I ask is that I may keep your heart. You'll always have mine." she finished, wiping a tear from her cheek.

There was an audible clunk as Xena's jaw hit the table. "Huh?" was all she said. "But...but...I love you. More than life itself. I would never, not when we are together...I couldn't betray what we have...never." Gabrielle was never more relieved in her whole life. She had hoped that Xena would respond this way but she didn't want to force the woman into a corner where she had to make a choice. She loved her too much. They had been through so much together - good and bad. Even before they had become intimate Gabrielle knew there would never be anyone else for her but her warrior.

The two women sat quietly, lost in their own world, gazing longingly into each other's eyes. "What are we going to do about Autolycus?" pondered Gabrielle.

"Hey, I'll just rough him up, explain things to him and tell him I'll rip his tongue out if her comes near me again. Easy." said Xena, warming to the images that provoked.

"Well," said Gabrielle. "I thought we might use this whole thing to our advantage."

"Huh?" said Xena, a frown on her face. "Well, if we let Autolycus think he did bed you the rumour will get around. He can't help but brag a little. And if you explain what you'll do to him if he ever breathes a word of it he may only hint at what happened. It would be best, love, for your reputation and all." said the bard as the threads of a plan started to come together.

Just then, Autolycus wandered up to the bar and ordered his breakfast. Having seen the women, he came over to join them. As he passed by Xena his hand fell lovingly on her shoulder. Xena winced and gritted her teeth. Gabrielle poked her under the table. A loving caress soon followed which seemed to ease the warrior's furrowed brow.

Autolycus had a rather smug look on his face and when he looked at Xena, he sighed deeply. "Good morning, Xena." he purred, ignoring Gabrielle altogether. Xena arched one eye brow but said nothing. Her left foot began tapping a steady beat under the table. "I don't want you to think of yourself as a conquest, a notch on my well-notched belt, Xena." he began.

As he took another breath to continue, Xena stuck her angry face into his and demanded "What did you say?!" She said it so menacingly low that at first Autolycus wasn't sure of what she'd said. He didn't miss the body language, however, and quickly moved back, pushing his chair from the table. "Uh, what...what I meant to say is..." But before he could go on, before Gabrielle could defuse the situation, Xena had him up by the throat and punched him in the nose.

The next thing the man knew he was lying on the tavern floor, looking up at the Warrior Princess. She stood astride his hips, fists clenched at her sides. She slowly knealt down and poked his chest emphasizing each word. "If you don't want every bone in your miserable body broken, you'll keep your mouth shut about this whole...affair." she growled. "Ouch" was all he could get out.

"Hey, if you'll give me a moment to finish what I was saying..." he said as he eased forward. Xena didn't move a muscle. Autolycus' nose was now right up against the warrior's and he blinked once and gulped deeply. Xena's voice was silky and very sexy when she stroked his little beard and said "I don't want *you* to feel like a mere conquest - a notch on *my* belt. I hope it was good for you because if you ever touch me again I'll kill you." And then she kissed him. Deeply and hungerly.

Gabrielle's audible gulp could be heard from outside the tavern. She walked over to the pair, rather hesitantly, and placed her hand on Xena's shoulder. "Ah, Xena? Xena!" The warrior only moaned out her reply. Some of the bar's patrons began whistling and the bar tender yelled out "Hey, get a room, will ya!"

Xena's lips made a smack as the vacuum lip-lock was broken. She stood up straight and tall and held a hand out for Autolycus. He looked in a daze as he gained his feet. His eye brows were both arched high in his forehead. He had a vacant look on his face and then a smile that kept getting bigger. He breathed a lungful of air and sighed deeply. "What a woman!"

The two women left him standing there. As they walked towards Argo, Gabrielle took Xena's hand in hers. "Well, that was....something." was all she could think of saying. "Yup." was the only reply she got. Xena made sure the saddle bags were secure and mounted the horse. She looks rather smug, thought Gabrielle, a touch jealously. Xena reached out her muscular arm and dragged the bard up behind her. Without so much as a backward glance they trotted out of town.

Autolycus watched wistfully from the tavern door way. "Say," said the barman. "Who was that woman?" "That", replied the King of Thieves, "was the woman I love." His eyes had a twinkle in them and he just stood there, lost in a world of his own. The barman broke his revery byhanding him two checks. "Well, you can pay for her breakfast, too, then." and sauntered off. "Oh, sure" said Autolycus a bit absent-mindedly. He then turned on his heel and asked the roomful of people if there was a card game going on in town.

That night as Xena was unpacking the saddle bags, she noticed that Gabrielle wasn't her usual perky self. Usually, the woman could chatter the legs off a mule. She nonchallantly wandered over to where the bard was sitting. Gabrielle sat poking the fire rather miserably. Xena caressed one of her ears. "Wanna talk about it?" she asked. Gabrielle shook her head but said nothing.

Xena stood behind her and pressed the woman to her chest. With arms crossed over the bard's breasts she lowered herhead until her chin was resting on the woman's shoulder. "I had to do that, you know." she began. "I didn't know I was going to but it worked. I don't think Autolycus will say anything to anyone. By making him think I felt something for him he'll think twice about hurting me or my reputation." Xena finished by sucking Gabrielle's right ear lobe into her hot mouth.

"You looked so natural with him, Xena. Like you were enjoying it. I heard you moan! I want you to moan like that only for me!" she cried. She twisted around and held Xena's upper arms fiercly. "If I ever see you do that again, I'll...I'll..well I'll be very, very angry." Gabrielle's reaction was so surprising that Xena just stood there, eyes wide. Then a smile played on her lips and she smirked. "Gonna beat me up" Gonna put the boots to me, huh?" Gabrielle just glared back at the warrior, fists clenched.

Xena stood up and gave the bard a little shove. "Well? Come on. Do *something*." And with that she was knocked to the ground as Gabrielle pounced on her. Pinning her to the ground she held the warrior's wrists tightly. "Yeah. I'm going to do something." she growled. And with that said, leaned in for a very passionate kiss. Xena felt teeth nipping her lower lips. Hard. Then felt Gabrielle's tongue force between her slightly bruised lips. She tried to put her arms around the bard but Gabrielle was having none of it.

"You..just..lie..there." she punctuated each word with a poke between Xena's breasts. "You think that was funny back there? Huh?! Making me squirm while you smooched with that...that petty criminal?" she roared.

"Did you think I'd just get all weepy and let you get away with that? Not..bloody..likely!" she finished, kissing the woman with force once again. "You are mine. I waited this long to get you into my arms. I won't have it. You understand?" she panted.

"Ah, Gabrielle? My lips bleeding and I think you chipped my tooth." said Xena, rather meekly.

"Oh Xena." the bard cried. "Im so sorry. What have I done? Your poor..." And before she knew it she had her back in the dirt with a very stern-looking Warrior Princess lying on top.

"You like it rough, huh? Want to wrestle, huh?" Then a throaty chuckle escaped her lips and she kissed Gabrielle very sweetly. "Gee, at least we know where we stand. Or should I say lie?"

"What do you mean?" muttered the bard. "That the scene played out back in the tavern was just that - a lie, a story. Hey, he bought it, right?" purred Xena in the bard's ear.

"So did I, Xena. I mean you really looked like you enjoyed that kiss." she said as she stroked the warrior's face. "Oh, that. Well, it was kinda nice. I mean, he is kinda cute, with that little beard and mustache." Gabrielle's struggles began anew "Hey, relax, I'm only joking!" she said.

"You..are..good, Xena. You had me totally convinced the whole time!" replied the bard, breaking into fits of the giggles. She moved her lips slowly over those of the warrior's and slowly but passionately kissed her. Xena's mouth opened in response and soon her mouth was filled with the bard's probing tongue. Xena moaned deeply and replied in kind. Soon, both women's breathing was ragged. They clutched at each other, rolling in the dirt of their isolated camp. Clothes were removed hastily and embraces began anew.

"Ah, Xena...my shoulder is all better...and I want to.." Gabrielle tried to say between kisses. Xena sat up, a twinkle in her eye. She stood, holding her hand out for her lover. They walked slowly over to the bed rolls and sat down, removing their boots. No longer was there just lust shining from their eyes. Words of love were exchanged as were sweet and tender kisses and caresses. Xena lay back and gently drew the bard so that she lay on top of her. "I love you, my bard." she said. "I love you, my warrior." Gabrielle replied.

Xena carefully directed her lover's mouth to her breast and sucked, nibbled and pulled Xena's nipple with her teeth. The reaction from Xena was so enticing that she began lavishing both breasts with great furor. .

Xena never thought that she could achieve an orgasm from such an act. As she gazed down and watched her dream come true happen, waves of the first orgasm washed over her. It was so unexpected that the warrior hugged the woman tightly to her. "Oh gods, Gabrielle. I've never felt this way for anyone." she moaned.

With this vote of confidence, Gabrielle moved lower and bypassed the black patch of curly hair and bend her head between Xena's legs. She lapped slowly at first and then more furriously. "You are soo wet, Xena." she moaned. The more she licked the wetter Xena became.

Gabrielle's face became sticky as she bent to her task. Xena looked down, her hands tangled in the bard's golden-red hair. Another wave of orgasm overtook her. And still Gabrielle didn't stop. She held on to the warrior's hips until she quieted a little. Then she placed two fingers deeply into the warrior's vagina. Xena moaned harshly and her head thrashed from side to side. Her hands grabbed the bed roll and still the bard would not stop. As Xena thought she'd either pass out or go mad from sensory overload, the bard took her clitoris into her mouth and sucked hard. The most intense orgasm washed over Xena and she felt tears slide down her cheeks. She wrapped her legs around the bard's back and grabbed the woman's shoulders to her. 

Then, she roared. Like a wild jungle cat, she roared into the night. Gabrielle could feel the hairs on the nape of her neck rise. And still she would not stop. She continued sucking and thrusting her fingers in and out of her love until Xena lay spent, shuddering and gasping on the blanket. She croaked out three words, over and over. "I love you, I love you, Iloveyou,love,loveyou."  

Gabrielle sat up and looked at her warrior with such love she thought her heart would burst. Xena's eyes slowly opened and with a deep sigh, pulled the bard to her. Gabrielle nestled her head into her favorite place on Xena's shoulder. She snuggled and draped her right leg over Xena's body. They both sighed contentedly. 

Xena pulled the blanket over both of them and they kisses once again. Just when Gabrielle thought her warrior had drifted off to sleep she heard the woman say, "Boy, you sure are a fast learner." The bard leaned in for another passionate kiss and replied, "Hey, I had a great teacher."  

After a deep chuckle, Xena said "Yeah, well. I am a woman with many skills." Gabrielle giggled and as her hands began to wander over Xena's body once again, she purred "Yes, and I want to see all of them tonight." As the two bodies ingled under the blanket the light from the fire cast shadows that looked like two people dancing. Then there was only one shadow. And the night was filled with the sounds of love.  



Hope you enjoyed it. It's my first crack at writing so please be kind with any comments. Its all done as a lark and not to insight any hate mail. If you are offended I apologize. If you enjoyed it, then thank you. Maybe I'll write some more. Copyrighted April 1998.