DISCLAIMER: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are property of MCA /Universal. The rest of this is the author's fault.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sHaYcH


Xena dropped the partially singed piece of parchment back into her saddlebag with nerveless fingers. Gabrielle? In love with her? Incredible. She choked on her own chuckles.

"Well, Xena-my-old-and-rare, looks like you've been flogging yourself for no reason at all." She muttered to herself, rubbing her chin in amusement.

Crossing her arms and tapping her fingers on her shoulder plate, she mused aloud, "so, Warrior Princess, what'cha gonna do? Hmm? Your best friend, the very same best friend that you've been fantasizing about for the past two years is in love with you." Her still stunned brain couldn't come up with an answer. Should she race to find Gabrielle and sweep her up in her arms? Nah, as romantic as that sounded, she was fairly certain that the bard would eventually resent the fact that the warrior had intruded on her most private of thoughts. "Scratch one bad idea. Next." Xena's clear voice called out.

Well, she could always get really plastered, or seem to, and then... no, that would be too much like rape. Hmmm...Xena let her mind drift aimlessly while she brushed and curried Argo's coat to a glowing shine. The horse, who normally put up with just a quick pat down, thoroughly enjoyed her mistress' mental meanderings and so did not see fit to disturb her.

A whisper of sound broke through the warrior's wandering thoughts and she whirled around, maneuvering the curry comb around in her fingers to be hurled at the intruder.

"Great. Now you're trying to ventilate me with Argo's brush. Just great Xena. If isn't you ruining our cookware, its you ruining our tools." said Gabrielle sarcastically as she strode into camp, arms full of packages. Xena chuckled and stowed the comb away in her pack. Argo sighed, her treat at an end.

"Sorry Gabrielle. Maybe you should learn not to sneak up on me." Xena walked over and sat on a convenient log placed by the fire.

"I did not sneak Xena. I walked in here plain as day. Besides, how would I sneak anywhere, with all this?" The bard lifted her arms to indicate the packages she was burdened with. Then she sat down on another log and began to open the packages like a child at solstice.

"What's all that?"

"These, my friend, are some gifts from the Amazons. Mostly food, but some other things as well. Including something for you." Gabrielle smiled at Xena's mildly surprised look. "Eponin thought you might like some well-cured leather scraps as patches for your battledress."

"Ahh. Of course. I must remember to thank her." Xena accepted the thick roll of soft brown leather. Gabrielle placed two of the sacks by her side and the third and final one she opened. Carefully, she emptied the canvas sack of its contents. More parchment, quills and ink, as well as another brown wrap skirt...and what was this? A flash of teal blue cloth caught Xena's eye. "Hey, whatcha got there?"

"Nothing much. Just some more writing stuff, a new skirt, oh and a new bodice. Ephiny said she had it made for me, something about "bilious green" not being my color." Gabrielle held up the new article of clothing. Cut in a similar style as her normal green top, its color was revealed to be variating shades of blue and green with the sleeves, neckline and waist trimmed in a thin band of golden curly-cues. "Personally, I think its a bit pretentious, but maybe I can wear it to festivals or something."

"Its beautiful." was the warrior's soft comment. Across the fire, Xena's eyes twinkled as she envisioned her bard wearing the the beautiful garment.

"You think so? Maybe I should try it on." Gabrielle fingered the soft cotton of the shirt. Hmm...perhaps Ephiny had been right to suggest a wardrobe change after all.

"I'd like that."

"Ok. But only for you, Xena." Gabrielle smiled shyly and began to unlace her green top. Xena's breath caught as the bard's breasts came free of their cloth prison. The familiar rush of heat between her thighs, coupled with the knowledge that Gabrielle wanted her as much as she wanted the bard, compelled Xena to scoot forward on her perch and then to stand when Gabrielle stood to let her top fall to the ground. Now topless, the bard examined the new top. Unlike her old one, this one laced in the back, so she loosened the laces enough to slip it over her head. She was just about to do just that when she felt warm, calloused hands encase her breasts. Xena's breathy voice in her ear stole away any words she might have said.

"Gabrielle...do you...want this...as much as I do?" Knowing her voice was gone, feeling her heartrate begin to increase as the warrior's fingers traced small circles around her extremely sensitive nipples, the bard just nodded mutely. "Good." growled Xena, "because there's no way I could stop now."

Finding her voice at last, Gabrielle gasped, "then don't." The new top fell, forgotten, to the forest floor as Xena slowly turned Gabrielle around to face her. Cupping the bard's face in her hands, the warrior held Gabrielle's gaze for several long breaths. Just when Gabrielle didn't think she could stand it any longer, the warrior lowered her mouth to Gabrielle's and softly claimed her lips.

Desire, like wildfire, quickly spread through both women's bodies, changing the gentle touch of passion to a devouring bite of lust. Tongues clashed, sharp teeth skidded over sensitive lips and hands found clips and buckles, ties and bindings. Soon, both were naked, pressed against one and other, touching, caressing and rubbing. With one powerful flex of her muscles, Xena picked Gabrielle up, not breaking off their mutual oral assault, and carried her soon-to-be lover to her bedroll.

"Why?" asked Gabrielle softly as the woman she had only dreamed of began the process of making all her fantasies come true.

"Why what, my heart?" responded the warrior throatily as she began a wet exploration of the bard's neck and shoulders with her tongue.

"Why now? What prompted you to finally reach for me?" As much as she was enjoying Xena's touch, she had to know. Xena sighed and ceased her nibbling.

Laying herself alongside the bard, she took Gabrielle's hand in hers and simply said, "I'm sorry."

"Sorry? For what?" Now Gabrielle was afraid. Afraid that maybe she had scared off the warrior. Great. Just great. Now what? Gods, I want this. But I want it all. I want her heart, not just her body.

"I...ah...well, I was cleaning out my saddlebags and I...found something."

"What?" Ok, so its not me, or at least, she still maybe wants me... Argh! I'm going nuts over here. "You can tell me."

"A page from your Journal." quietly spoken, a whispered admission of guilt. "I read it. I didn't mean to, but I didn't recognize it."

A page from my journal? Which page, I wonder? Unless...oh no...she...oh gods... Closing her eyes, Gabrielle bit her lip to keep from screaming.

"So I guess the secret's out, hey?" the bard choked. Go ahead. Tell me. Tell me what a fool I am to love the Warrior Princess. Go on, just get it over with so I can crawl away and die somewhere...gods, why did I have to write that bit of drivel anyways? The single tear that tracked its crystalline path down Gabrielle's cheek almost broke the warrior's heart. Catching it on her fingertip, she laid her knuckles against the side of the bard's face and tilted Gabrielle's head up to meet her eyes.

"Gabrielle..." she began.

"It's ok, Xena. I know what you're going to say. Just let me get my things and I'll get out of your hair." At least I have the imprint of her hands on my flesh. Maybe that will be enough.

"I love you too." Finished the warrior, almost to softly for the bard's ears to hear.

In the process of rolling over to get up, the warrior's words finally reached the bard's heart. What? Once again stunned mute, Gabrielle ceased her efforts to rise and sort of collapsed back against Xena. Tears flowing freely now, the bard turned to meet the eyes of her beloved warrior.

"You...love me?" her voice cracked.

"Yes, Gabrielle. I have forever."


"Forever." Again lips met. Again passion and desire rose, and this time, nothing stood between the warrior and her bard as they spent the entire moonlit night exploring their newfound love.

Once on a moonlit eve, You set my heart free.

Once on a shiny sea, You gave your soul to me.

Once in a timeless place, You gave to me your heart's embrace.

The End

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