DISCLAIMER: This story contains scenes of intensely graphic love between
two consenting adults of the same sex. (Mia, stop grinning) If this kind
of thing bothers you, youd best chose another story to read. If you
are too young to read this, I am truely sorry, but dont fret, youll
get there. Finally, if this kind of thing is illegal where you live, by the
Gods, move or something. Im also going to say that theres some violence against women
in this, although, its not at all graphic. The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, Solon, etc...all belong to
MCA/Universal/Renaissance Pictures..no copyright infringements are intended
(hey, this is just plain ol fashioned wish fulfill- ment here, guys). No warrior princess or their amazon-bard companions
were injured during the writing of this story, but a certain writer
did have to take frequent breaks while writing the first chapter.
(whew! I even amazed myself)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Debt of Life.
Its been two weeks since Xena first declared her love for me, and she hasnt touched me since. Whats wrong with this picture? I wondered to myself as my beloved warrior princess led us on towards yet another village. I know that somethings been bothering her, but all she does is eat, fight, drink port and pass out almost nightly. This behavior has got to stop. A dark look crossed my face as I looked over at my love. I think I know just how to get her to talk.
At dusk, we stopped in the hamlet of Crios. Crios was typical of the many little villages and towns that dotted the Grecian countryside. Small, rustic and a ripe plum fresh for the picking of many a warlord. I wonder if Xena ever attacked this particular town? I almost hope not, I would like some peace and quiet tonight. I mused to myself as we entered the only inn.
The inn was dark and smokey, and a pervasive odor that I usually associated with the after effects of a drinking binge filled the air. Holding my breath, I waited as patiently as I could for Xena to secure our room. Once we had a room, I raced upstairs and flung open the shutters.
"Im going to the market to purchase some incense to see if I can purify the air a little. Do you think that youll be okay here by yourself for a bit?" Xena dropped her bags and turned to leave.
"Sure, Ill be fine. I might take a bath though." I replied, a mischevious twinkle in my eyes. "Would you like to join me?"
"Maybe some other time, love. Im sorry." A sad look washed over her face as she walked out the door.
Damnit Xena, whats wrong? I stamped my foot angrily as she walked out the door.
Well, might as well get started on the "seduction". I bathed as quickly as possible and returned to our room. I rummaged around my haversack till I found what I was looking for. If this doesnt bring my warrior princess to my bed, nothing will. I pulled out a gossamer shift made of an emerald green silk. Dressing myself hastily, I then slid under the surprisingly fresh sheets of the inns bed. Xena strode into the room just as I was pulling the covers up to my chin.
"Tired already, Gabrielle?" asked the voice that I loved to hear whispering in my ear.
I faked a yawn. "Oh, a little. How was your shopping trip?"
"I found what I was looking for." She pulled out a half dozen sticks of some pungent incense and lit them. Placing them in strategic places around the room, she turned to me, "are you hungry?"
"Always, my love."
"Hmmm. Ok, Ill go get us some food." Xena returned with a tray laden with bread, cheese, two steaming bowls of stew, a mug of water and a bottle of port.
As soon as shed closed and barred the door and placed the tray on the table, I rose from the bed. When she saw what I was wearing, I heard her breath catch in her throat. Her eyes drank in the sight of the gem colored silk sliding provacatively across my body. I grinned, twirled and giggled.
"Oh, Gabrielle, youre...stunning." A flash of desire filled her eyes, then she turned away. "Lets eat."
"Xena, love, what is it?" I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder, stopping her.
"Gabrielle, not right now. Please. Its been a long day and Im tired."
"You..you dont have time...for me anymore, Xena?" The hurt was evident in my voice.
"Its not that Gabrielle, its just that, I...well, Ive had a lot on my mind lately."
"Tell me about it, love. You know Im here for you." I took Xenas hand and led her to the table. We sat down and I began serving us our dinner. "Now, talk warrior princess." She sat, a dazed look on her face at my adamant attitude.
"Well, Gabrielle, I...Ive been thinking that I want to go and see my son. I...would like to tell him that I love him." Xena looked down at her hands, fumbling for what to say next.
"I certainly dont see anything wrong with that." I smiled brightly at her.
"Im just so scared that hell hate me. I dont want my son to hate me, Gabrielle. I think it would kill me." A single tear tracked its way down my beloveds cheek. I reached out and brushed it away, then circled around the table and gently took her in my arms. She cried softly for a bit, then seemed to relax some.
"Xena, I dont think Solon will hate you." I murmered softly into her hair.
"How could he not hate me? Im Xena, destroyer of nations. I killed his father." More tears started to flow.
"Xena, you did not kill Borias. Dagnon did." I scolded comfortingly. "And Solon knows this. You know that Ive always felt that Solon should know the truth about his mother."
"I know, Gabrielle. I was a coward not to tell him. But how can I be a mother? How can I put my son in such danger?"
"Why not give him that chance to choose?"
"I dont know. I need to think about it." Xena looked at me then, a strange look in her eyes. "Gabrielle, do you ever want to have children?"
"Children?" The question came from left field and took me by surprise. I thought about it. Children? Me? Ive often wondered what it would be like to hear the patter of little feet, hear a small voice call out "Mamma" in the middle of the night and be calling for me, but had I really ever considered it? No. "I really cant say as I have truely thought about it, but, I think that I would love to have children with you." I finally answered.
"Oh, Gabrielle." Xena pulled me down into her arms and held me tightly. It was the closest wed been in weeks. I took a chance and kissed her, softly, on the lips. She didnt pull away. I pressed my advantage and brushed my tongue against her mouth, her lips parted and I tasted the strong port that she had been drinking. Her hands slid up behind my head, holding us in that perfect moment where time has no meaning.
We parted, catching our breath. I looked into her tear-reddened eyes and whispered, "I love you, warrior princess, and dont you forget it!"
"I love you too, my favorite bard." She whispered back, almost squeezing the life out of me. When she loosened her grasp, I let my fingers trail over her shoulders and began to undo the clasps and buckles holding her armor on.
"Let me get this off of you, its uncomfortable for cuddling in." Xena chuckled, a hearty, full throated chuckle.
"You just want to get me naked so you can have your wicked ways with me."
"Would you have it any other way?" I answered, a mischevious grin playing about the corners of my mouth. She shook her head no and stood, allowing me to finish removing the rest of her armor. Clad only in the cotton undertunic and short briefs that she customarily wore under her leathers, she stood and stretched. I licked my lips in anticipation of what was hopefully soon to come.
I reached over to the tray of food and began to feed her small morsels of the cheese and bread. Her lips brushing against my finger-tips was enough to ignite the embers that had been smoldering inside of me all day. Letting my fingers linger on her face, I leaned in and stole another kiss, feathering my lips across hers, then over her smooth cheek, then down the cords of her neck. I felt the moan before I heard it and her arms came up around my waist, pulling me close. I continued my journey down to the top of her shift, playfully untying the laces with my teeth. I slid my hands into her dark mane of hair as I kissed the warm flesh above her small, firm breasts.
"Gabrielle..." she breathed raspily, and suddenly stood, picking me up and tossing me onto the bed. Shucking her clothing faster than I had ever seen before, she eeled into the bed beside me, her mouth coming down on mine, her tongue prying open my lips and taking immediate control.With a deft twist and pull of her fingers, my shift was lying open, and my breasts exposed to her touch.
"Xena." I looked into her eyes, letting all the love, passion and need that I felt for her show in my gaze. Seeing the hesitance in her face, I reached up and touched her cheek. "Please? Dont stop. I love you. I need you to love me, to make love to me." Then I pulled her down for another deeply passionate kiss. She could no more deny my request than the tide refuse to crash against the shore. Her mouth became a hungry tiger once more, ravaging the flesh of my neck, my chest. Her teeth bit sweetly into the erect flesh of my nipples. Her hands, once still, now became aggressive, her touch a burning brand of need against my skin.
I too allowed myself to give in to the heat of passion that had been building these past two weeks. Digging my nails into the sensitive flesh of her shoulders, I cried out in ecstasy as she kissed, nibbled and caressed her way down to my molten center. "Oh, sweet goddess, Ive missed this." I gasped as her tongue opened me up to explore every inch of my most sensitive flesh. Lightning flashed before my eyes when I felt her strong fingers enter me. Lacing my hands in her hair, I let out a low, feral growl as my climax built. I could hear Xenas moans of pleasure as she felt my explosion near. Thrusting harder and dancing her tongue across the pinpoint of my desire was all it took to drive me completely over the edge.
A rushing sound filled my ears. The low growl became a roar. As my tremors subsided, Xena slid her sweat soaked body up beside mine. We lay together, cuddling, for a few long moments while our bodies cooled and our heartbeats became more regular. Not content to let my lover go unfulfilled, I rolled on top of Xena and began to cover her face, neck and chest with teasing kisses. The effect was immediately visible as she started making soft "oh" sounds in the back of her throat. I kissed down the line of her windpipe, stopping to suck briefly on the area around the larynx. The feel of the warriors moans of pleasure vibrating against my lips and tongue was enough to rekindle my own desire. I allowed my lips to follow the curve and contour of Xenas collarbone and shoulder, then drift down to her pert breast. Slowly, softly at first, I took her nipple into my mouth. Letting it roll around between my teeth, I flicked the end of her nipple with the tip of my tongue. Her breath began to rasp out between clenched teeth.
"Gab..ri..elle..pl..ease..I..need..you.." I grinned and raked my teeth across the now intensely sensitive nipple. "Oh..oh..oh" My warrior princess gasped. "Gods, Gabrielle, I want you so bad."
"Then you shall certainly get what you desire." I replied huskily, licking, nipping, kissing and caressing my way across, around and down her breasts, abdomen and hips. When I reached the sable triangle of hair that crested the apex of her legs, the scent of her drew me in like a bee to a rose garden.
Xena whimpered with desire as I pushed her legs apart and lowered my mouth onto her dripping petals. Her powerful thighs crushed against my throat when I slipped first two, then thRee fingers deep inside of her. Matching the rhythm of my tongue on her hard knot to the thrusts of my fingers, I brought my beloved warrior to several climaxes. When her muscles had ceased shuddering around my hand and mouth, I crawled up her exhausted body and curled around her.
"Now that was certainly worth the wait." I commented dryly, kissing the tip of her nose. "But dont ever make me wait that long again."
"If you insist." She murmered sleepily.
"I do. Now, lets get some rest." I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep. When I awoke the next day, I was surprised to find Xena still snuggled up to me. Her liquid blue eyes lighting up with joy when I opened my own dusky gReen ones.
"Morning, luv." She smiled.
"Yawn Morning to you too, lover-o-mine." I grinned in return. "So, whats the plan for today?" I asked, sitting up and stretching.
"Well," she rose and dressed, "I thought we could keep going towards the Centaur Village. I still want to see my son." Her voice caught.
"Of course. I would love to see Solon again. First of all, though, Id like to eat. I sorta missed dinner last night." I giggled.
"Not my fault. As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, you had other plans."
"What did you expect me to do? Wait until you came to me? I waited two years for you, warrior princess, once I had you, I was definitely not going to wait any longer." I allowed a hint of possessiveness to tinge my reply.
"Oooh, arent we a little testy today?" Xena smirked. I threw pillow at her. She easily batted it away. I threw another. She knocked that one aside as well. Looking for something else to throw, I didnt see her leap. Suddenly, I was pinned to the bed, looking up into a blue ocean.
"Xena?" I was worried that Id somehow made her angry. Just as I was about to beg for forgiveness, she started tickling me. I decided that I wasnt going to lay there and laugh myself into tears. I fought back. Each time she tickled me, I kissed her. Soon, we were rolling around on the bed, half playing, half loving. When I started to untie the laces to her chemise, she stopped.
"As much as Id like to make love to you all day, Gabrielle, we do have a long journey ahead of us. And," she sighed, "our dinars wont stretch forever. We cant afford another night here. Paying for Nikolis freedom really bit into our savings."
"Oh, Xena. Why didnt you tell me sooner? Id have been happy to spend some time telling tales at the last few inns..." I pushed her off of me and proceeded to pack the rest of my gear and dress.
"Im sorry. I guess I just havent been...thinking straight."
"Its ok. But tonight, or whenever we stop next, Im putting out the hat, so to speak." I smiled at her, letting her know that all was forgiven.
"I could, um, make some wagers..." she trailed off.
"No, that shouldnt be necessary, my love. I know how you feel about gambling." Xena hated games of chance, even though she was very, very good at them. But then again, Xena was very good at everything. She wasnt kidding when she said, "I have many skills." Xena looked relieved.
"Ok. Just remember, I can do it though, if need be." Her depression lifted some and the haggard look was replaced by her warm smile. We left the room and went to the stables to retrieve Argo. The horse looked happy to see her mistress.
On the road once more, we walked side by side, Xenas arm comfortably wrapped around my waist. I sighed happily.
"What are you smiling about, Gabrielle?" My warriors sultry voice caressed my ear.
"Oh, nothing, really. Im just happy to be here. With you."
"Mmm. Me too." She kissed the top of my head.
A week passed. Each time we came to a town I performed for our meals and bed.
Sometimes the crowd threw dinars at my feet, others they didnt. Everywhere we went, people crowded around Xena, asking her for her help in deciding small matters. At first, I think she was annoyed by all the chattering, babbling villagers, but soon, she began to enjoy not being feared on sight. She even gave good advice. It was at the seventh village that we stopped at, the village of Alton, where she had her most difficult challenge.
Alton was typical of all the other villages we had passed through on our way to visit Solon, except for one thing. Alton had recently been attacked and was still recovering from the loss of many of its people. Xena, of course immediately offered her services to help bolster the towns defenses. The grateful townsfolk took unabashed advantage of that help, getting her to design and build a barricade around the village. The towns mayor, Aescalus, gave us a room above his home to stay in.
One evening, after returning from a hard day of building, Xena turned to me as I was massaging her stiffened shoulders, "Gabrielle, I was wondering if you would mind staying here and overseeing the rest of the building of the wall? The centaur village is just a days ride from here and I would really like to go and see my son. Before I lose my courage." I was taken aback. I didnt know whether to feel honored that she felt that I was capable of finishing her project, or hurt that she wanted to leave me behind.
"Ah, I, I dont know. I mean, I want to be there for you when you see Solon, but I know that we cant leave these people with only half a defensive wall."
"Gabrielle, I really need to do this. I have to go. Please, please, try to understand?" Pain was threaded through my warriors voice. She hung her head. "I dont want to leave you, but I must."
I swallowed. "Xena, if you really must go, then I cant stop you. Just, come back to me." I looked up at her, tears in my eyes.
"Thank you. Thank you so much. Ill leave at first light." I fell into her arms, sobbing quietly.
"You know, that when we are done with the walls, I will follow you." I managed to say, raggedly.
"I know. I wish you wouldnt, but I really cant stop you." I felt her lips on the top of my head, then my temples, then my cheeks. Her tongue darted out, tasting my tears. I moaned, tilting my head up to meet her lips. Her hands slid down my shoulders, ridding me of my top. Our lovemaking was passionate and deceptively slow. We both knew that it would be many a cold night before feeling each other again. There was almost a desperate quality to her touches, as if she needed to reassure herself that I was truely real. I did everything possible to show her that I was. And that I wasnt angry with her.
Afterwards, lying in each others arms, I slowly reached up and lightly fingered the gleaming golden hoop that ran through her right nipple. My own piercing had finally healed, thank the gods, and I had noticed the way it stood out when I stretched. I wondered why I hadnt noticed something so interesting about Xena before. I decided to find out. "Xena?"
"How come I never noticed this," I queried, pulling on the ring in a fashion that I knew would get Xenas attention, "before?"
"Oh... Wha? Oh, um, I dont know. Maybe you never looked?" Her hands started to move rather distractingly down my sides.
"Stop that!" I stilled her hands with a look. "Xena, I looked at you every chance I had. I never saw this before that night in that inn."
"All right, you got me. I didnt have one."
"What? You mean, you just got the piercing too?" I asked, incredulous.
"No. I mean, I just replaced it. I, ah, lost the first one." she coughed.
"Xena, you never lose anything. And how could you lose a, a, a nipple ring?" Embarrassment colored my voice and my cheeks.
"I didnt have much of a choice. It was ripped out in a battle." A look of pain briefly flashed across her face. "The tip of a sword got caught in my armor, and ah," she winced at the memory, "ripped it out. I never could find it."
"Ouch!" I laid several kisses around the nipple, trying to kiss away the ghost pains. Soon we were making love again. She showed me just how much more interesting the nipple ring could make our intimate touches.
Xena left the next morning. I spent all of my time helping the villagers get their wall built.
It took almost four days after Xena had left to finish it. As quickly as I could, I packed and raced to follow my love.
After three days on the road, I came across the traces of a small battle that had taken place quite recently. Two corpses laid by the side of the road and I was shocked to realize that their deaths had been caused by Xenas chakram. Now worried, I hastened my pace even more. Three more hours of travel brought me to a clearing. This looks like good place to rest for the night. I began to gather some wood for a fire when I heard the screams. Whipping my head around, I stilled my rapidly beating heart to discern the direction from which they came.
Steady... focus...there. Again, the screams. I realized that they were the distant sounds of a woman in pain. Immense pain. Xena! was my only thought as I ran off in the direction of the cries.
Ignoring the small hurts of stubbed toes and scraped shins, I ran on into the night.
Suddenly the glimmer of a campfire filled my eyes. Coming to as quiet of a halt as I could, I peered intently into the gloom, trying to determine who was encamped within. Then I heard it again. This time the cry was more of a low, whimpered moan. A tall figure stepped from the shadows, firelight glinting off of metallic armor and crystal blue eyes. I went almost prostrate with relief. It wasnt Xena who was hurt, but she was here. I stepped into the camp. Xenas head snapped up, her hand dropping to the dagger on her belt before she realized it was me.
"Gabrielle. Im glad youre here." The warriors low toned voice reached across the darkness to embrace me.
"I missed you, my love." I almost floated into her arms. She kissed me tersely and turned to show me a woman, far gone in pregnancy, bundled up in her bedroll. "Whos that?" I inquired softly, so as not to wake the woman.
"An amazon woman that I found, broken and bleeding by the side of the road. She was being raped." Xenas voice was flat, unemotional. Tears sprang to my eyes and a cold rage began to build within me.
"What? Who would do this to one of my sisters?" My fists balled up at my sides and I began to pace in circles around the firepit.
"Gabrielle, calm down. Theyve been taken care of." The same flat voice replied. I thought of the dead warriors and I was glad that they were dead. "Is she..ok?" I asked in a small voice. Xenas small hiss of breath and her drooping shoulders told me all that I needed to know. I fell to my knees beside the woman, looking for the first time at her face. I did not know her, but that fact did not make my grief any less. Tears streamed down my face as I smoothed sweat-soaked hair away from a brow that would never again crease in the fine lines of laughter. "What about the child?" My voice was small and raspy.
"I think I can save the child." I looked up and saw a hollow, haunted expression fill her face. "I just have to keep the mother alive for a few more days."
"How can I help?" I stood up and set my haversack down by her saddlebags.
"Could you, heat some water for me? Maybe make something to eat?" Her voice, so cold before, was now beginning to fill with some unknown emotion. I moved over to stand beside her.
Taking her hand in mine, I inhaled deeply. I knew how hard it was for my warrior woman to share her emotions with me, but I was determined that she would not hide them for long.
"Xena, whats wrong?" I touched her cheek gently. At first, she said nothing, just stood there, leaning into my touch. Then, a silent tear slid down her beautiful cheek. "Whatever it is, I love you Xena." That was what she needed. She collapsed, sobbing, her head pressed against my hip. I let her cry. When the tears had abated, I knelt next to her and enfolded her into my arms. Slowly, the story came out.
"The men who did that," she gestured towards the still comatose woman, "they, they used to be part of my army. When they saw me riding down the road on Argo, they didnt even bother to cease to torture the woman. They just saluted and asked if I wanted to join them. I didnt even think twice, my chakram flew and those men died."
"You did the right thing." I soothed.
"No! Dont you see? If I had never been a warlord, never trained those men to love the kill, then maybe this wouldnt have happened. Gabrielle, I am just as responsible for that womans death as those men were."
"No, Xena. Thats not true. I will not believe that. Those men chose to kill. They chose to hurt my sister. I know you. You never hurt women or children." I kept chanting this over and over until I was sure that she believed me. When she had calmed down, I eased her over to the fire and started to prepare a small meal and heat a pot of water. We slipped into a routine over the next few days. She would check on the status of my sister amazon and do what she could for her and I would do all the normal camp chores. Then she would hunt for whatever food she could find. I also found out that she had yet to visit Solon.
On the morning of the fourth day, I was awakened by a piercing scream. Jumping up and grabbing my staff I spun around groggily, trying to determine where the threat was. There was no threat, but my sister amazon was sitting up, screaming in pain. Xena was at her side, coaxing her back down on the blankets. There was blood and other fluids leaking from between the womans thighs. Dropping my staff, I grabbed our pot and filled it with the remaining water from our skins and set it to heat on the coals. I brought over an old shift of mine for Xena to use as rags. I looked down upon the once proud face of the amazon and her eyes opened and met mine.
"Gabrielle?" she croaked.
"Yes. Shh. Its all right. Youre safe."
"My q..queen...I must..must ask you a favor..." Her voice grew faint.
"Raise my daughter as your own. I give you Mother-right." I was astonished. I had recently learned that some amazons passed on their children to other amazons to raise, giving them "Mother-right", but I had never expected to receive it. I almost said no, but then I remembered a seemingly ages ago conversation with Xena. She wanted children, and I wanted to have children with her. Kneeling beside the dying woman, I took her hand in mine. Taking a deep breath, I whispered, "I am Gabrielle, I am your sister and you are mine, You offer me the life of your daughter and I accept. I am Gabrielle, mother of..." I trailed off.
"I am Tiserne, I am your sister and you are mine, I offered you the life of my daughter and you have accepted. You are Gabrielle, mother of Asha." She sighed once and died.
"Asha." I finished as I cried. I closed her unseeing eyes. Throughout this, Xena had been preparing to birth the child. My shift now a bundle of clean rags, the water heated, she drew her breast dagger and made a semi-circular incision under Tisernes abdomen. Peeling back the layers of skin and fat, she reached in and lifted out a blood covered, squirming ball. Wiping its face and mouth with a wet cloth caused the baby to squall, proving its health. She then cut the cord and washed and bundled the babe in the remains of the rags. Handing the newborn to me, she stood and walked to the stream that was close by to clean up. "Asha. My child." I looked down at the babe, not even aware of its sex and fell in love.
Reddish blond hair topped the infants crown, just like my own. Xena returned from her bath, a strange look in her eyes. I caught and held her gaze. "Xena, were parents." I said softly. The babe then let out a loud screech and started to fuss. Cooing a nonsense lullaby, I stood and walked over to Xena.
"Gabrielle...are you..are you sure youre ready for this?"
"Yes. I am positive. Remember. I told you that I wanted to have kids with you." For the second time in almost as many days, Xena started to cry. "Hey, its not that bad is it? I thought you wanted kids.." I started to say.
"Oh, Gabrielle, its not that."
"Well, what is it then?"
"Im happy. I would have raised that child myself. I promised myself that I wouldnt give this one away."
"Oh, Xena." Her arm came around Asha and me, holding us close. Ashas wail of hunger brought us out of our warm reverie. "Uh-oh..um, Xena..what are we going to feed her, him..ah it?" I stuttered, embarrassed that I still didnt know the sex of the child. Xena grinned.
"I have some herbs that will cause your milk to quicken, even though you did not bear the child. You will, in all but blood, be her mother." She turned and picked up her saddle bag to rummage around in it.
"Her mother? So Tiserne was right. Huh." I cuddled Asha close. Xena made up a foul concoction of some kind of herbs and made me drink them morning and night for a week, meanwhile, I practiced nursing and we fed Asha watered down broth. My milk did indeed quicken. While I busied myself with being a mother, Xena washed and prepared Tisernes body for a funeral pyre. When she was done, she left me for a few hours and went to find an amazon scout. She returned with Ephiny and ten other amazon women. Tisernes funeral will always remain a blurred combination of grief and giddiness. I think I drank a bit too much wine. There was, however, a surprise when we arrived at the amazon village. Kaleipus was visiting with Solon. As soon as wed entered the village, a small blond ball of energy wrapped itself around Xenas legs.
"You came. I prayed and prayed and you came." He said, his voice sharp with excitement.
"What?" Xena was dumbfounded. Solon then surprised his mother further by dropping to one knee.
"Mother, I forgive you." Xena stumbled back as if shed been pole-axed.
"How did you.." She was crying.
"I guessed. After you came..I thought about how you acted around me, how Gabrielle kept talking about you. How everyone kept whispering behind my back. So I confronted Kaleipus about it. He tried to lie, but I could see the truth. It was in his eyes. In my eyes." Solons eyes were the same gemstone shade as Xenas. Anyways," he drew a long breath, "I want to live with you, mother. I want to know my mother." And then he stood, a familiar look of stubbornness crossed his face. "And I refuse to take no for an answer." This was too much for my love, she was speechless. So I answered for her.
"Yes, Solon." Xena nodded her own mute aquiesence. Her eyes bright with more tears.
When I told Ephiny that Xena and I were planning on staying with the Amazons to raise Asha and Solon, she tried to give me back the queens mask, but I refused. I just wanted to be a mother and a lover. I just wanted to have a family. There was a huge feast in our honor and Im afraid I over-ate but no one seemed to notice.
Much later, after both Asha and Solon had fallen asleep and Xena and I lay wrapped in each others arms, I murmered the question that had been tickling the edges of my mind all day.
"Xena, you arent mad are you?"
"What do you mean, Gabrielle?"
"About having to settle down."
"Not at all." I could feel her smile. "I need a vacation. But, I am warning you, Ill probably need to travel a lot still. I still have many debts to repay."
"I know. And we will be right by your side." I tightened my hold on her.
"Gabrielle, there will be times when you couldnt come with me."
"I know that too." I sighed. "But when I can, I will. Nothing you said or did would be able to stop me."
"I wouldnt want to." She rolled over and her lips found mine and I knew that somehow, somewhere along the way, I had found my family.
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