Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Disclaimer: Xena and the gang (including Argo) are property of MCA. "Forever in My Life" is property of Warner Bros./Paisley Park. This story, however, is mine and mine alone. No infringement or hard feelings are meant.
It does contain mature scene between two consenting adult women. Be warned. If this isn’t your cup, if you’re too young or live someplace this may be offensive, I suggest expanding your horizons, growing up, or perhaps moving.
If you’d like to contact me please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Constructive comments are always welcome. Thanks
Gabrielle’s parents and Xena’s mother were the first to arrive for the wedding. In the days that followed, they were joined by Hercules, Iolaus, Ephiny and Solari. And, of course, Joxer. Even a few people showed up from a surrounding village that Gabrielle and Xena saved the week before. . .Gabrielle, Xena and Kenneth, actually.
Xena was in an irritated mood as
she directed the decorators in the hall. It had been a month since
the engagement was announced. Gabrielle was so excited. She had only
known Kenneth for five months. He tagged along after a village
rescue refusing to leave. Xena watched painfully as their love grew
and blossomed. Now he was going to marry the woman Xena loved in one
"No!" Xena yelled.
"The blue parchment goes this way," Xena explained showing
them how to roll it around the column. "And the white parchment
goes that way."
"Xena," Hercules called
with a keg of ale under each arm, not straining in the least,
"Where do you want these."
"Right back there," she
replied point toward the bar. "There should be space under the
With a nod he walked away,
watching Iolaus and Joxer struggle with their keg. "When I sit
these down I’ll come back and help," he teased.
"Ha.Ha," Iolaus replied.
"Very funny. Come on Joxer follow me."
Xena shook her head and smiled as
the two men fumbled and stumbled their way behind Hercules, working
more against each other, than with each other. It was one of the few
smiles she had in a month and she was fortunate she had her friends
near her at this time. Even if none of them knew it, she was
uplifted by their presence.
Xena felt a hand on her shoulder
and she turned her head. Her grumpy look dissolved when she saw the
"Dear, can I speak with
"Of course mother."
Cyrene lead Xena out of the hall
by the hand, waiting until they were away from the groups that was
preparing for tomorrow’s event.
"I’m not sure how to
begin," Cyrene smiled. Xena tightened her grip on her
"Tell me what’s
wrong?" Xena asked concerned.
"You tell me," Cyrene
prodded. "You’ve been stomping around here since I arrived.
You look like you could gnaw the legs off every table in that hall.
. .Tell me what’s wrong. . .Please."
Xena released her mothers’ hand
and walked away making sure not to face her. "You wouldn’t
"I wouldn’t be too sure of
that Xena. I’m a very understanding person. Now tell me what’s
Xena grinned. "At least I
know where my lack of patience comes from."
Cyrene grinned too but continued.
"You’re being evasive my daughter."
Xena didn’t reply. She looked to
the sky, to the banquet hall, to the pebbles below her feet.
Everywhere but her mothers’ eyes.
"You love her," Cyrene
said matter of factly. Xena rubbed her eyes before letting her
fingers travel through her long dark mane. "Have you ever told
her?" Cyrene whispered.
"I’ve told her I love
her," Xena replied casually.
"Yes," Cyrene replied.
"But have you told her you love her."
Xena grinned, this time meeting
her mother’s gaze. "No."
Cyrene waited for an explanation
but she knew it wasn’t going to come. "Maybe you should tell
"She’s getting married
tomorrow mother! . .You should see the way she looks at him."
Xena could hear the weep in her own voice and it caused her to shift
her position, distancing herself slightly farther away.
"Xena," Cyrene began.
"Have you looked at him? If I didn’t know any
better I’d say he was your twin brother. He looks just like you
– blue eyes, long dark hair; even the same cheekbones."
"What’s the point
mother?" Xena snapped.
"Perhaps she’s marrying
Kenneth because she doesn’t think she could have the real
"Don’t be ridiculous!"
"It’s not just me. Hercules
agrees with me."
"You discussed this with
Hercules!?" Xena was shocked.
"He was the only one I felt
truly comfortable with in discusses this matter," Cyrene said
"He’s got that affect on
people," Xena grinned. "What did he say exactly?"
Cyrene paused. "He thinks
you’re walking away from the love of your life. . .He sees it. .
.I see it too. . .Actually the last time you and Gabrielle came to
visit I thought for sure you two. . ." Cyrene trailed off –
her cheeks growing red. "Let’s just say we weren’t full at
the inn that weekend. I put you two in the same room so you
wouldn’t have discuss things you weren’t ready to discuss."
"So he sees it and you see
it. Tell me mother. . .is there anyone else who sees it?"
"I don’t think so. . .He
and I know you pretty well dear."
"Gabrielle knows me better
than anyone, no offense. Why can’t she see it?" It almost
sounded like a plea from Xena’s lips.
"Who says she hasn’t,"
Cyrene smiled coyly. Another trait passed down to her daughter no
doubt. "Like I said, maybe that’s why she’s with Kenneth.
If she doesn’t think she can have the genuine article perhaps
she’s willing to settle for the false copy."
Xena didn’t reply. So Cyrene
continued. "You owe her the truth Xena. You owe it to yourself.
If she doesn’t feel the same and she still wants Kenneth you can
move on with your life. But if she does want you, you could save her
from making a big mistake. . .Think about it. That’s all I ask. .
.Please find a way to end your pain my dear. . . before it consumes
Cyrene took Xena by the upper arms
and gave her a light kiss on the cheek before heading toward the
hall again. Hercules was coming out and swept Cyrene into his strong
arms. "Fair maiden," he jokingly proclaimed. "Are you
in need of a rescue?" Xena smiled at the display.
"Where were you thirty years
ago?" she said stroking his cheek.
Hercules pondered the question.
"Getting my elementary education," he smiled.
"It figures," she played
along, "All the good ones are either too young or too
With a laugh he placed her gently
on the ground again as she lightly caressed his arm. She pulled him
down and whispered in his ear. "I think she needs a friend now
more than ever."
Hercules looked over at Xena
quickly and nodded to Cyrene before making his way over to the
warrior. "How ya doin’?" he asked putting his arm around
Xena who was now leaning against a boulder.
"Good," she smiled.
"You’ve become a lousy liar
Xena," Hercules grinned.
Xena smiled. "Mother told me
about the talk you two had."
"She did huh?" Hercules
"Yes. She did. . .You really
think he looks like me?"
"Absolutely. . .Well not
exactly like you," he said mischievously. "But I have to
admit there’s more than a striking resemblance."
He was in the courtyard, helping
with a canopy tent as Xena and Hercules examined him. Hercules could
see the jealousy in Xenas’ narrowed eyes as she watched her
masculine mirror image. "Follow your heart Xena," Hercules
whispered. "I’ll be here for you no matter what the
Xena turned back to Hercules with
a warm smile. "Thank you." She stroked his face in deep
friendship when I voice from behind startled her.
"I need my maid of honor. No
running off together until after the wedding."
Hercules walked over and hugged
Gabrielle. He was going to say something until Iolaus interrupted
"Hey," he shouted from
the hall doorway, "These bottles aren’t going to get in here
by themselves. How ‘bout a little help Herc?"
"Duty calls," Hercules
winked to Gabrielle before turning to Xena. "If you need
anything you know where to find me," he added with a nod to
After Hercules made his way
inside, Gabrielle took his spot on the boulder next to Xena.
"How you holding up?" the bard asked.
"Why do you ask?" Xena
Gabrielle shrugged. "I
don’t know, you seem distant. You’ve been putting in a lot of
hours the past week, helping with the wedding. . .You look
"I am tired," Xena
"Then go rest. The rehearsal
party is tonight. I want to see you enjoying yourself – not
nodding off in some corner. Go on," Gabrielle insisted with a
shoo of her hands.
"Are you sure?" Xena
asked. "The decorating isn’t finished yet."
"I think I can handle a few
streamers," Gabrielle joked. "Go ahead. Get outta for
Perhaps some sleep would help
clear my mind of these racing thoughts. At least for a little while.
"Okay," Xena agreed with a yawn, beginning to walk away.
"I’ll see you tonight."
Xena didn’t notice the intense
scrutiny of Gabrielle’s’ eye upon her as she made her way to her
room. Xena didn’t notice. . .but Joxer did.
After everyone learned their
positions, along with what would happen the next day, the party
began. The band arrived that evening and took some time to practice.
It worked out rather well. They had food, drink and now music.
Everyone was dancing. Then in between songs, Cyrene suggested that
Xena do a song. The crowd was encouraging the reluctant Xena to take
"I don’t know," Xena
smiled uncomfortably. Her heart was breaking. The last thing she
wanted to do was sing a song about the happy union.
"Please Xena," Gabrielle
asked. "For me. Please?"
Will I ever be able to resist
this woman Xena thought to
herself. "Okay," she whispered. "For you."
Slowly as she took the stage the
small crowds’ encouragement grew larger. Only when it subsided did
she speak. "This is a song I wrote a few years ago." She
briefly turned back to the band to get them in order. Once the music
began she turned around to face the gatherers.
"There comes a time in
everyone’s life. . .when they get tired of fooling around. . .
Juggling hearts in a three ring circus. . .Someday will drive a body
down to the ground. . .I never imagined that love would rain on me.
. .and make me want to settle down. . .But baby it’s true, I think
I do. . .And I just wanna tell you that I wanna with you . . .And
baby if you do too, ohhh forever. . .forever. . .Baby I want you
forever. . .I wanna keep you for the rest of my life. . .All
that’s wrong in my world you can make right. You are my savior,
you are my light. Forever I want you . . .in my life. . ."
The words struck Gabrielle and she
tried her best to not look so affected. She said a few years ago
Gabrielle told herself remembering Xena’s opening statement. Hercules
she convinced herself. It’s about Hercules. She smiled at
that thought – relieved it wasn’t about her. Then Xena
"There comes a road in
everyone’s journey. . .A road that their afraid to walk on their
own. . .I’m here to tell you. . .I’m at that road now. . .I’d
rather walk with you than walk it alone. . . You are my hero. . .You
are my future. . .When I am with I have no past. . .Baby my one and
only desire. . .is to find someway in this zeusdamned world to make
this feeling last. . .Oh, baby it’s true. . .I know I do. . .And I
just want to tell you that I want to with you . . .Oh and baby if
you do to. . . Ohhh forever. . . forever. . .Baby I want your love.
. .forever. . .I wanna keep ya . . .for the rest of my life. . .all
that’s wrong in this world you can make right. . . You are my
savior . . .You are my light. . .Forever I want you. . .in my
The music died down and the crowd
applauded wildly. Kenneth’s voice over powered the cheers.
"Thank you Xena," he shouted, bringing down the noise
level. "That was beautiful." His voice made Xena grin in
discomfort and look toward the happy couple. Gabrielle wasn’t
smiling as whole heartedly as him.
The bard was convinced the song
was about Hercules, until the part about the road and not wanting to
travel alone. It took her back to their very beginning when Xena
considered her a young, native girl. With the realization of the
wedding she knew those days were over. . .and a large part of her
ached. Being with Xena made her truly happy. She wouldn’t be with
Xena anymore. She’d be with Xena’s look-a-like. At least
that’s what Lila called Kenneth. Gabrielle thought her sister was
losing it but the more she watched her betrothed, the more she saw
Xena walked down from the stage
and headed straight to the bar. Two hours and twelve mugs of ale
later she realized she needed to get some air, not to mention away
from human contact. Any more drinks would make her tongue loose.
Mother and Hercules knowing the truth was one thing. She was sure
any affectionate outburst would put Gabrielle’s father in his
Not bothering to finish her
thirteenth port, she carefully walked outside into the night air to
see Ephiny and Solari in a tender embrace, away from the commotion
but close enough to hear the festivities. Xena debated about whether
to disturb them. Oh what the Tartis she thought as she
"Hoz my two favorite amazons
in the whole wide world?" Xena slightly slurred.
"Xena!" They said in
"Have a seat," Ephiny
said patting the rock beside her.
"Are you sure?" Xena
asked. "Looks like things were progressing rather nicely until
I showed up."
"Of course we’re
sure," Solari said watching Xena sway. "Here sit down. .
.before you fall down."
"How many have you had
Xena," Ephiny asked sympathetically.
"I lost count at 10,"
"You look terrible,"
"Hey!" Xena replied,
reaching haphazardly for her sword, unable to find it’s location.
"Oh forget it," Xena laughed. "I’ll just have to
take solace in the fact that I was the first Miss Known-World."
"I thought the first Miss
Known-World was a man," Ephiny remarked.
Xena pulled Ephiny close and
whispered in her ear. "He won by default. . .That’s our
little secret, ‘k?"
Ephiny shook her head at Xena’s
drunken state. "Okay," she replied with a chuckle.
"I have a confession to
make," Solari told Xena.
"What is it now?" Xena
said trying to keep her eyes focused.
"We thought you were the
lucky woman," she replied.
"Me? . . What?" Xena was
Ephiny explained. "When you
and Gabrielle came back to the village. . .And Gabrielle said she
was busy making wedding plans we assumed it was for the two of you.
. .I mean that’s why you came to the amazon village – to become
Perhaps it was the alcohol.
Perhaps it was the fourth person to remark that Gabrielle was so
much a part of her life that it was unnatural for her to be with
anyone else. In any case, Xena felt herself beginning to sob and
Ephiny pulled her close. She looked at her bondmate, Solari, as she
began to rock the warrior in her arms.
"Shhhh . . .It’s alright
Xena . . .We’re sorry. . .We didn’t mean-"
Xena pulled away and stood up,
wiping her eyes.
"You must love her
greatly," Solari complimented. "Being able to let her go
so she can find happiness. It’s very respectable."
"No," Xena replied.
"It’s very lonely." The warrior turned and began to walk
toward the beach.
"Xena," Ephiny called
out. Both amazons took a few long strides to stand beside the
raven-haired beauty. "Maybe you shouldn’t be alone tonight .
. . Stay with me and Solari."
Xena looked at both women and
pulled Ephiny closer by the waist. "Just what did you have in
mind?" Xena asked seductively, planting a kiss on Ephiny's
Ephiny cleared her throat.
"Believe when I say I find this thought very intriguing. .
.However, you my friend, are in love with my queen. It wouldn’t be
proper . . .Yet the offer of staying does stand."
"Don’t worry," Xena
said pulling back from the embrace and walking over to Solari. The
warrior placed a similar kiss on Ephiny's bondmate. "If you
don’t want me I’ll find someone who does," she joked.
Ephiny and Solari didn’t find it
very funny and called out as Xena continued to walk away.
"I’m okay," Xena said
as she stopped and turned around. "I’m a big girl I can take
care of myself." Without any more words the amazons watched
Xena begin her stroll along the beach. They shook their heads and
returned to their rock hand in hand.
"What’s a beautiful woman
like you doing in a place like these?" she heard a voice call
from the dune.
The alcohol was already beginning
to wear off. Xena was a fast healer. Her power to regain her good
sense after many ports was also one of her many skills. Slowly she
walked up to meet the shadowed figure. "I thought I recognized
that voice," she smiled. "What are you doing out here all
"I could ask you the same
"Yes you could Autolycus but
please don’t," Xena said taking a seat next to him. He was
lying back, looking at the night sky.
"It’s peaceful out here
isn’t it?" he asked.
Xena decided to lye back too. She
watched the stars for a few moments then replied. "Yeah it is .
. .See that formation over there?"
"Right there," Xena
"You mean the one that looks
like a big dipper."
Xena laughed and clapped her hands
together once. "Finally someone who sees it too!"
"What do you mean?"
Autolycus asked with a growing smile.
Xena continued to look at the
stars. "Gabrielle could never see it," she finally replied
meeting his eyes.
"Do you and Gabrielle spend a
lot of time looking at the stars?" he asked, raising his
eyebrows up and down.
"Did," Xena corrected
him. "We did and not the way you’re insinuating."
He rose up and his shoulder began
a little roll as he spoke. "It wasn’t an insinuation. I
thought it was a reality. . .As a matter of fact I’ve been
wondering why she’s marrying the Xena wannabe. I mean after the
kiss and all."
Xena went back to looking at the
stars without responding.
"What?!" she asked
"What did Gabrielle say about
the kiss?" He asked quickly.
"What kiss?" Xena
"You know damn well what
kiss," he said offensively. "The one I got smack in the
"You got smacked because you
had your hand on her ass."
"Well I wasn’t the one who
put it there." After a short silence they both started to laugh
at the absurdity of it all. But soon it was quiet again.
"Really Xena?" he asked sincerely. "What
"Nothing. She never asked and
I never mentioned it," Xena replied softly.
Autolycus pondered Xena’s words.
"I figured she just wanted to
avoid it . . .Keep things on a friendship level. . .It was okay with
"Was okay," Autolycus
pointed out. "Now it’s not okay is it?"
Xena looked back up at the stars.
"No it’s not."
Autolycus laid back down next to
Xena. "You should tell her Xena. Maybe she never mentioned it
because she thought it was me . . .Maybe she thought I was taking
advantage of her desperate state. . .You may think I’m a nice
person but a lot of women think differently. Gabrielle may be one of
Xena sat silent for a few moments
digesting all of his words. "You’re right. I can’t believe
I never thought of that. Maybe she didn’t realize it was really
me. Maybe she thought you were just pathetic."
"Thanks," he said
"No offense," Xena
"Too late," he replied.
"I’m offended. But don’t worry I bounce back quickly."
They smiled at each other and Xena
leaned over giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. "You really
are a prince," she replied.
"No," he argued.
"I’m a king. The king of thieves."
Xena rose and dusted herself off.
"Where are you going?" Autolycus asked.
"I’m heading back. I’m in
a wedding tomorrow . . .Come to think of it, the wedding is today.
It’s late," she replied as she walked away.
She stopped and turned around to
"What are you going to
do?" Autolycus asked.
Xena grinned but he knew it was
for show. "Watch Gabrielle’s destiny unfold tomorrow."
"Yes," he offered.
"But will you be in it."
"Guess we’ll just have to
wait and see."
Without further discussion Xena
made her way back up the beach. As she walked, she noticed a small
campfire burning not far from one of the many area caves. Quietly
she pulled her sword and crept to the location. She watched the
figure in the dark and when she recognized him she made her way over
silently. She suppressed a chuckle as she planted her feet, ready to
spring into action.
She landed two feet away from the
camper who was now scrambling to his feet. "Hello Joxer,"
"Hello Xena," Joxer
managed, struggling with his breast plate. "You just scarred
the life out of me. I hope you’re happy.""
"I have to admit it was one
of high points of the evening. . .What are you doing out here?"
"There’s no room at the
inn," he remarked. "And since hay makes me sneeze, the
stable was out of the question although it was offered. . .Hey, why
aren’t you at the party?"
"Why aren’t you?" Xena
"Well, you know, us warriors
have to make sure the common people are protected. I was just
patrolling the beach to make sure tomorrow goes off without a
hitch," he announced in his best style of bravery.
Xena shook her head and smiled.
"That’s real thoughtful of you Joxer," Xena replied.
"Mind if I have a seat. Too much ale and too long a walk this
evening has made me a little tired."
"Sure Xena," Joxer said
happily. "Maybe we could trade warrior tales!"
"Not tonight Joxer. Maybe
some other time."
They sat in silence for a few
beats. "It’s a surprise that Gabrielle’s getting
The comment seemed to come out of
nowhere but then again this was Joxer. Comments came out of nowhere
repeatedly from him. Okay Xena thought. I’ll bite.
"What makes you say
"I was sure you guys would be
together forever. Gabby really loves to travel and tell stories. I
never thought she’d settle down. Next time we see her she’ll
probably have four kids and another on the way," Joxer chuckled
at the thought.
"First," Xena said
annoyed. "Her name is Gabrielle not Gabby and second, Gabrielle
would make a wonderful mother. She’s intelligent, nurturing,
compassionate and idealistic."
"You love her, huh
"You’re crazy," she
replied rolling her eyes.
Joxer studied the stress in the
lines on the warriors’ face. "She loves you too Xena,"
he whispered. "I’ve seen it in her eyes . . .At first I
thought it was admiration. Like a student looks up to a teacher but
as time goes by . . .I know it’s much more. She really loves
Xena didn’t reply to the
comment. And Joxer continued, even in fear of his life expectancy
being drastically shortened. "Do you know when I first noticed
how you felt?" When no answer came he continued. "When she
married Perticus. . .You tried your best to look happy. . .You might
have fooled her and him but you didn’t fool me. . . Why didn’t
you ever tell her Xena. . .Why are you letting her go again?"
Xena felt like she was going to
cry . . .again. But she suppressed it. She wouldn’t in a million
years let Joxer the Mighty see her tears. She knew he was waiting
for an answer. "It’s her life. She has to do what she thinks
"But if you never give her
all the options how is she going to make the right decision?"
Xena was getting irritated with
the questioning. "Gabrielle’s friendship is important to me.
I don’t want to lose it if she doesn’t feel the same way,"
Joxer paused. He wasn’t sure if
he could continue but he found the strength. "What I’m about
to say may cost me my life Xena but I have to say it . . .You’re a
coward. I never would’ve believed it but you’re a coward. A
bigger coward than me."
Xena jumped to her feet, sword in
hand. "Take it back!"
"No," he replied.
"Do what you will Xena but this needs to be said . . . At least
I was once able to tell her that I loved her; that I was attracted
to her. You never could. You still can’t even though you’re
faced with the reality that if you don’t . . .you will lose
"It’s not about
Gabrielle," Joxer said defiantly, cutting the warrior short.
"This is about you. You - the mighty warrior princess, feared
by everyone from kings to mere servants - are scarred to death of
little redhead who stole your heart."
Xena dropped her defensive stance,
lowering her sword. "What am I supposed to do?" she
"Stop the wedding. Tell her
the truth. Let her heart know all the option."
Xena considered the words and
without saying anything, began to make her way home for the night.
"Xena," Joxer called.
"Remember if you say nothing you’ll lose her anyway. Be brave
When she didn’t reply and
continued to walk, Joxer went back to his fire to finish his jerky
he was eating before Xena’s arrival. "Stubborn warrior,"
he muttered to himself.
"How do I look?"
Xena stood behind Gabrielle,
studying her reflection in the full-length mirror. Xena stepped
closer, putting her hands on Gabrielle’s bare shoulders, "I
think you’re absolutely beautiful. Kenneth is a very lucky
The impulse to lean over and kiss
those creamy white shoulders was so strong, Xena could feel her
pulse pounding in her head. The overwhelming power to pull that
ivory colored gown all the down to floor was immense.
"So is Hercules,"
Gabrielle grinned. "I’ve seen the way you two have been
acting this past week. . .Are you next?"
"There’s nothing between
Hercules and I. We’re just friends," Xena replied softly.
"Why not?" Gabrielle
asked. "After all the man is half-god. What more could you ask
Xena thought. And with the thoughts came a growing ache. She knew
Gabrielle expected an answer. "I’m not in love with
him," Xena replied. "Not like you and Kenneth," Xena
The warrior wasn’t sure if it
was wedding jitters that made Gabrielle twitch at the last
statement. In any regard, Gabrielle was thrown by the words.
"What’s wrong?" the warrior asked.
replied a little too quickly. "Just nervous I guess."
Xena grinned. "You don’t
have to do this if you’re not sure," she offered. The music
interrupted the conversation and Gabrielle went to the door.
"Are we ready?" the bard
"I’m ready if you’re
ready," Xena replied.
"Okay then," Gabrielle
said holding the door for the warrior. "It’s time."
With each step Gabrielle and her
father took down the aisle, Xena could feel her heart break crack by
crack. As her father gave her hand to Kenneth, Gabrielle met
Xena’s eyes. They looked misty and racked with pain. The sight was
a little too much for her to bear so she looked at her bride-groom.
He was dashing in blue. His armor
was replaced by robes yet he still wore his sword on his back.
Gently, he took her hand and helped her to the altar. As the priest
began to speak, Xena felt nausea swelling inside her. "Thank
you friends and family of Kenneth and Gabrielle. We are here today
to witness two hearts to be joined in love for all of the days of
their lives. If anyone is opposed let them speak their heart now or
forever be silent."
All of Xena’s friends sat on
edge, waiting to see the warrior’s next move. Suddenly the temple
doors thrust open and the rattling of tin echoed off the walls.
"You can’t do this Gabrielle!" Joxer shouted. "You
can’t marrying Kenneth. There’s someone here that loves you far
more than him."
"I don’t believe
this," Gabrielle whispered to Xena. "Get him out here
"With pleasure," she
Xena walked down the steps as
Joxer continued his journey forward. "Listen," he
insisted. "There’s someone here. Someone who loves you
deeply. Someone who on the outside is the bravest person alive but
on the inside is running scarred."
Xena walked behind Joxer, grabbing
him by the belt loop. She began to pull him out with ease.
"That’s enough Joxer!" Xena whispered.
"Joxer," Gabrielle said,
the sweetness returning to her voice. "I’m flattered but
I’m not in love with you."
He looked momentarily confused
before realization struck. "I’m not talking about me!"
"That’s enough JOXER!"
Xena said louder as she tossed him outside before latching the door
"Should I continue?" the
"Yes!" Kenneth answered
quickly. Gabrielle looked at it as his deep commitment. Xena looked
at it as his way to rush things along. After a few strides Xena was
standing next to Gabrielle again.
Suddenly Xena felt a presence
behind her. "Don’t turn around," the voice said.
"No one can see or hear me but you." The man moved in
front of her so no one would suspect a thing.. "Times up pretty
boy," he told Kenneth.
Xena’s desire to know just what
the Traits was going was strong but she couldn’t act on it.
Everyone in the temple would think she really lost it, chatting
alone to herself at her best friends wedding. She knew in time Cupid
would give her the answer. "Casually look behind you Xena. Look
at Kenneth’s family."
Magically the relatives began to
change. With Zeus and Herr in the front row. Aphrodite. Artemis
Hades. They all lined the benches. Cupid moved close to Xena’s
ear. "All the Gods are in this temple Xena. All of them. Look
Xena looked back at Cupid. She had
her clue but she didn’t quite understand it. But suddenly her head
shot back and she scanned the room with scrutiny. Where is he?
Xena thought. Where is he?! After her eyes made their journey
all around they focused back on Gabrielle and Kenneth. . . Kenneth!
Xena pushed Gabrielle down the
steps and pulled Kenneth’s sword. "Xena what are you doing?
Have you – "
He didn’t have the chance to
finish. Xena drove the sword deep into Kenneth’s chest. Gabrielle
shrieked in terror as the room roared in horror. Soon however the
room grew silently still. "By the Gods," Gabrielle cried.
"What have you done Xena? How could you?"
"Get up," she said
kicking the dead man. "Get up now. Your little games’
"Xena!" Gabrielle raged
as she pulled herself of the ground.
"Stay there!" she
The crowd gasped again as Kenneth
stood up, the least bit shaken by the ordeal. The whispers and sighs
continued as Kenneth transformed himself into the God of War.
Gabrielle felt her legs go out from under her and was on the floor
"What’s the meaning of
this?!" Xena ordered.
Hercules stood up and walked over
toward Zeus. He could now see the other Gods as well. As far as the
rest of the temple was concerned he was talking to Kenneth’s dad.
"You owe them an answer father."
The crowd was confused yet grew
increasingly frightened as they witnessed the transformation of all
the gods and goddesses. "It’s a long story," he said
"We’ve got the time,"
Hercules retorted boldly. King of the Gods or not, he would answer
to Hercules, this one time.
"Perhaps I should answer this
question Granddad," Cupid replied. Not waiting for an answer he
continued, "Ares made a bet with mom six months ago. Six months
to this minute actually. He had to wed Gabrielle if his identity was
to remain a secret. From that point he had one year to win Xena’s
spirit once again."
Xena’s eyes burned into Ares.
"I’ll never join you of my own accord again. . . Never."
"Come on folks," Zeus
said beginning to rise.
"No!" Xena shouted.
"You’re not walking away that easy. If it’s a game Ares
wants to play than a game it is . . . But I want power."
"I refuse to make you a
goddess," Zeus proclaimed.
"I’m not asking for
Godhood," Xena replied. "I’m asking for strength. If
we’re going to play I want the playing field to be even this
time." Xena looked seductively at Ares, "Wanna play?"
beautiful," Ares replied, stoking Xena’s face with his
Xena looked a Zeus, taking a few
steps closer to him. "A battle . . .The cave by the farthest
dune. . .If he wins he gets me back forever – "
"Xena no!" Gabrielle
said taking her by the upper arm.
"And if I win, he’ll never
walk out of that cave again. The world and I will be rid of him
Ares said slyly. "But you’ll never defeat me. I’m the God
Xena strolled back to Ares.
"You’re clever Ares -disguising yourself to look like me to
win Gabrielle’s affections. . .But my heart and commitment are
true. If Zeus offers me the same powers that you have. . .you’re
going down," the warrior sneered.
"In your dreams," the
God of War laughed.
"No. In reality," Xena
prodded. When he didn’t answer Xena challenged him with the
ultimate dare. "What’s the matter Ares? . . .Chicken?"
"To the cave!" Ares
shouted storming toward the door.
"You’re agreeing to
this?" Zeus asked for clarification.
yelled. "If that’s the way she wants it. Give her all the
power," he said as he tromped away.
"So be it," Zeus
uttered, laying his palm on Xena’s cheek.
A light blinding light flashed and
Xena was thrown back four feet but managed to stay up right.
"Are you okay?"
Gabrielle asked through the ohhhs and ahhhs of the crowd, trying her
best to steady Xena .
"Never better," Xena
smirked. "Now if you’ll all excuse me I have a God of War to
She made her way to leave but
Gabrielle stopped her. "Don’t do this . . .I can’t lose
Xena couldn’t find any words to
tell the bard. Besides she was a woman of action. And being one. . .
Xena swooped Gabrielle around the
waist, planting her lips firmly on the bards. Hesitant at first
Gabrielle pushed Xena’s hips away. But when Xena deepened the kiss
with her tongue, Gabrielle released her fight, even drawing the
warrior closer. "Come with me," Xena whispered as she
broke away. "Inspire me to win."
Gabrielle only nodded and let the
warrior lead her by the hand, trying to mingle in with the exiting
gods and goddesses.
"Gabrielle!" She heard
her name being yelled and they both stopped and turned hand in hand.
It was Gabrielle’s father. "If you leave with her again, I no
longer have two daughters."
"No. I mean it Gabrielle.
You’ll no longer be of my blood if you leave with that . .
"That’s okay," Cyrene
interrupted with a smile. "I’ve always wanted two
daughters." Slowly she walked over to Gabrielle. "You’ll
always have a home at my house. Always," she whispered.
Gabrielle kissed Cyrene on the
cheek and Xena followed suite. "Thank you mother," the
Ephiny and Solari smiled at the
display. "Looks like we’ll have to start helping with another
wedding," Ephiny winked.
As Xena and Gabrielle walked out
with the gods, they could still hear the bards’ father shouting
his disapproval in profanities and vulgarities. "I see where
you get your love of language from," Xena teased. Gabrielle
giggled at the comment.
"Yeah. Dad always had a way
with words," Gabrielle replied.
"Should I call him dad next
time we see him?" Xena asked seriously before cracking a smile.
The Gods finished their exit but
when it came time for Gabrielle’s’ side of the family to leave,
the doors to the temple shut tight, not allowing a single body go.
Hermes appeared by the door, speaking to the crowd "When this
is all over, then and only then, will you be released." In a
blur of speed he vanished. Hercules ran to the door and pulled with
all his strength but it wouldn’t budge. After a few minutes he
turned to the crowd which was growing restless.
"Settle down people," he
replied. "Everything will be alright. We’ll be out of here
Nods and voices of agreements went
around the temple as people began to take their seats, chatting to
themselves in small broken groups. Cyrene walked over to Hercules
with a despondent look resembling death. "She’ll be
fine," Hercules tried to reassure her. "She now has a
greater strength than Ares, although neither one of them know
it." Cyrene looked confused. Hercules smiled down on the older
woman and whispered, "She has Gabrielle’s love." Cyrene
smiled and nodded in agreement before Hercules pulled her into a
When Xena walked into the cave
with Gabrielle on her arm she found a dark casket and an orb
overhead. "What’s this?’ Xena asked Zeus.
"Ares tomb," he replied.
"Should you win," he added without judgement in his voice.
Ares pulled his sword. "I
told him not to bother but he thought it was necessary," he
Xena lead Gabrielle to a corner of
the cave, locking hands and eyes with her once they stopped. "I
need you to stay put. If at any time it looks like he’s winning I
need you to promise me you’ll stay out of it."
Gabrielle nodded and tightened her
grip, showing the warrior her deep love. "He’s not going to
win," Gabrielle declared. "You’re my champion and my
savior. If he won, it would end my life. . .And we both know how you
feel about people who try to end my life."
Xena smiled recounting the many
times she came to Gabrielle’s aid. She’s right Xena
thought. This is no different. Another thought occurred to
her as well and she found herself down on her knee.
"Gabrielle of Poteidaia.
Queen of the Amazons. When this is over . . . may I take you before
the amazon nation to become your bondmate?"
Gabrielle looked deep into the
crystal blue eyes humbly before her. "Yes," she whispered.
"A thousand times ‘yes’."
Xena rose before the queen and
lifted her head with her fingertips under her chin. This kiss was
soft and gentle. They took the time to feel the velvet softness of
the light pressure; the smooth texture of the flesh and the taste of
their yet expressed desire. As she pulled away Xena whispered,
"I’ll be back."
"Enough with the mushy stuff
already!" Ares yelled.
With that she walked over and took
a battle stance across from Ares. "What are the rules?"
"There are no rules - just a
‘battle to the death’. The first one to strike a mortal’s
death blow wins. You know - through the heart, the stomach or
perhaps a decapitation . . . I think you get the picture," Ares
remarked as he twirled his sword.
"You’re forgetting Ares. I
am a mortal," Xena replied. "Or is that the point?"
"No," Zeus interrupted.
"You will not die Xena. Hades has agreed to bring you back to
serve Ares if you lose. . .Of course you will feel pain. . .but you
will not die as a result of this contest. You have my word as a
"And since when does the word
of a God mean anything?" Xena replied shortly.
A few of the deities looked
offended, some getting quite vocal. "I understand you
reluctance based on your dealing with my son Ares," Zeus said
with a raised palm to quiet the godly gatherers, "But I promise
what has been said . . .will be done."
"Well then," Xena said
unsheathing her sword. "Let’s get to it."
She attacked first. It was a
simple over the head strike. Nothing fancy. And Ares stopped it with
ease. "You’ll have to do better than that," Ares
"Just getting’ warmed
up," Xena countered. With that she clashed three more times
with Ares, each in a different direction.
"Don’t tire yourself
out," Ares warned. "I’ll need you strong to lead my
"Don’t count on it,"
Xena pressed on in her pursuit with skill, not letting the words or
her fear effect her. Her blows were growing stronger and more
forceful. The god found himself taking two steps back. Looking over
Xena shoulder he could see Artemis grinning.
"What’re you smiling
at?" he shouted.
"She’s going to win,"
Artemis replied. Xena could hear the voice but couldn’t recognize
it. She continued in her attack yet Ares continued to block every
"Oh yeah?!" he replied.
He charged blow after blow push Xena toward a corner of the cave.
Being boxed was something she couldn’t let happen if she wanted to
win. As Ares settled himself for the next round of attacks, Xena
sheathed her sword.
Ares and the other gods watched as
Xena somersaulted over Ares head. In a flash she pulled her sword
again and began a barrage of swift swings and calculated strikes.
Ares could feel his sword loosen from his grip with each hit. He
noticed he was the one now cornered. And his rage took over.
He swung fiercely, making Xena
work to stop every move thrown at her. Seeing an opening to his
left, Ares took advantage of it.
"Arggggg," Xena shouted
as she stumbled backward. She didn’t have time to clutch her arm
to stop the pain. Ares charged continuing the assault. But he still
couldn’t find the space he needed to strike the death blow.
Xena’s skilled swordsmanship prevented every avenue he tried.
Gabrielle’s tears began to flow
like the blood from Xena’s arm but she kept her voice quiet. The
last thing she wanted to be was a distraction to the warrior.
Quickly she wiped them away. It hurt and angered Artemis to see her
queen in so much pain. Xena was the one bleeding but the goddess
knew it was Gabrielle who really felt the sting. The Goddess of
Wars’ eyes flashed from her brother and the betrothed of her queen
to Gabrielle repeatedly.
Ares blows came harder and
quicker, knocking Xena off balance. The God of War took his
advantage, kicking Xena square in the chest, knocking her to the
As he raised his sword to bury it
in Xena’s ribcage, Xena swung hard and fast, slicing Ares legs.
Ares looked like he was in shock and Xena took the opportunity to
scurry out from under him. But soon she was the one in shock, blood
dripped from Ares leg, cascading down his leather covered thighs.
"What’s the meaning of this?" Ares yelled to Zeus.
"It has to be a fair fight
Ares," Zeus replied. "If Xena can feel pain and tire then
so must you."
The new knowledge enflamed the God
and he tried to charge Xena. At least as well as his legs would
allow. Xena continued to jog backwards, avoiding him. She continued
to move until she bumped into someone behind her. It was Artemis.
"Don’t search for the quick
end like Ares," she whispered. "Wear him down with cuts
and bruises. Enrage him with his frustration until he’s weak. It
takes a lot of energy to sustain hate." Xena flashed her a
knowing grin. "Sorry. I forgot who I was talking to," the
Goddess of War joked.
As Ares sword came down from over
his head, both Xena and Artemis move to avoid the blow. Xena
positioned herself on the other side of the room quickly. She
watched as Ares began to puff, laboring in his breathing.
"You can run Xena!" he
shouted as he gained closer. "But you can’t hide."
Xena’s wicked grin formed on her
lips as he approached. "You are really out of shape for
Ares screamed and swung. Xena
jumped back avoiding his blade. The momentum of his thrust made him
wobble and Xena ran up his body, kicking him in the face before
flipping over, landing on her feet. Ares swung again from the other
direction and Xena proceeded to give him the same treatment once
"You’re right Ares,"
she teased. "I can run. Would you like me to run some
Ares’ anger reached a new level.
His scowl rivaled that of Xena’s smile. She remembered Artemis’
words as she watched the blood trickle from his eyebrows,
interfering with his vision.
"Hey Ares?!" Xena
shouted as she moved back to position herself.
"What?!" he shouted in
"I’m over here," she
He menaced over toward her with a
hobble, his breathing ragged. When his attack came Xena volleyed
them with greater ease. She knew if she could just distract him long
enough she could win. She considered all the avenues she could use
to enrage Ares even further. Nothing was coming until she looked at
Gabrielle. Her beautiful Gabrielle. Those desire-filled emerald
eyes, that taunt exposed stomach, those creamy white shoulders. Stop
it! Xena told herself. You’ve got your idea. Now use it!
She winked at Gabrielle and positioned herself in front of the
casket so Ares’ backside would be facing it.
"I had a dream about us last
week Ares’," the warrior began seductively. "You visited
me like you did those night so many years ago. You visited me and
you loved me like never before."
Ares wasn’t going to buy into
the seduction trap. Xena wanted him gone and he knew it. "Oh
really?" he said sarcastically.
"Oh yes," Xena hissed.
"In fact it was a wonderful dream. You were a full candlestick
in length," she said affectionately before transforming into
mockery. ". . .A full candlestick instead of one that’s been
burning for five hours."
Slicing his leg was one thing,
kicking him in the face was another. But his ‘godhood’?! How
dare that mortal bitch make fun of his ‘godhood’?!
"Arggggg!" He screamed
as he attacked, thrash after thrash. His aim was off but he
continued on, trying to find a way to end this battle once and for
all. His sloppiness still had its affects. Xena’s thigh was badly
scrapped as well as her forearm but the death blow that Ares was
searching for still eluded him. His swings continued and in a flash
she saw it. The opening he was hoping for. With all of her
strength she could muster Xena swung. Her sword sliced across Ares
throat long and deep. The God was stunned as his blood gushed down
his chest of hair and leather. With that Xena kicked him into the
Artemis ran and placed the cover
quickly over it as Ares began to heal, the wound beginning to
disappear, along with all the blood. "She’s won father,"
the goddess insisted. "Seal the lid."
In a flash of blinding light the
crypt was locked, forged tight against any kind of entry or exit. As
Ares pounding began and she knew he couldn’t get out, the warrior
dropped to the floor in exhaustion. "Thanks for the
pointer," she told Artemis.
Artemis walked over and touched
all of Xena’s wounds until they were nothing but small scratches.
"Of course help from the gods doesn’t come without a
price," she grinned. Xena looked up in anger and in fear of the
goddess’ words. "You must promise to take care of my queen
forever," she smiled.
At that point Gabrielle made it
over to Xena and gathered her in her arms. "I promise,"
Xena whispered looking at Gabrielle. "With all my heart I
Xena gazed lovingly into the eyes
of her bard. "Nothing you don’t already know."
When they looked up to speak to
Artemis she was gone. Along with all the other gods. . .All the
other gods, except for Zeus.
"The power that holds Ares
inside is the orb. He can only be freed by you or your kin Xena. .
.And only if you destroy the orb. . .I know I promised he would stay
away from this world forever but that just can’t be done. Even I
can’t possess the power to keep him a prisoner forever. . .I
can’t. . . But you can. . .if you stay away from here and let no
one know of the secret . . .". He handed Xena a scroll.
"Take this. This will unlock the tomb. Once your travels are
done and you’ve found your peace. Leave your mark behind however
you see fit. You may only enter once. Any more and Ares tomb shall
open. Is that understood?"
Xena nodded and took the scroll.
"Thank you," she whispered. "You might want to fill
the position of God of War," Xena smirked. "He’s not
leaving here anytime soon," she added giving Gabrielle a quick
kiss on the cheek.
"I’ve already decided
Artemis will hold the reins on war. . .But perhaps Callisto or
Valasqua would make a better choice."
"No!" Xena and Gabrielle
yelled in harmony.
Zeus laughed. "I owe Hercules
a lot of debts from the pain in his life. . .Helping you may be a
step in the right direction. . . Artemis it is."
Xena and Gabrielle both sighed and
watched the God of Gods leave quietly. After he left Gabrielle took
Xena’s face in her hands before kissing her passionately. Xena
could feel her mind beginning to spin from the embrace until the
rattling of tin distracted her.
"Who’s the old guy?"
the voice called out.
Gabrielle and Xena pulled away
looking into each others’ eyes with a smile. "Joxer,"
they agreed in harmony and disgust.
Joxer took another look at the two
women wrapped in each other’s arms realizing he was interrupting
them. "Oh. . ." He stumbled on his words. "After you
threw me out, I was down by the lake and I thought I heard voices
when I passed . . .and I . . .I mean . . . I wasn’t sure-"
"It’s okay," Xena
reassured him. "I’m glad you’re here."
"You are?" he replied.
"Yes," Xena smiled,
rising up and grasping him by both arms in commradary. "You
were a brave man today. Perhaps even braver than me. I couldn’t
speak my heart so you tried to do it for me. . .It was the bravest
thing anyone has done for me in all my years. . . Thank you."
Joxer tried to suppress his
growing smile, reminding himself that warriors didn’t smile on a
regular basis. "Yes well," he began, trying to sound bold.
"I couldn’t let Gabby marry ‘what’s his face’. I mean.
. . he was all wrong for her."
"You don’t know the half of
it," Gabrielle laughed, looking up at Xena. Xena kissed
Gabrielle playfully on the bridge of her nose, "And we never
have to worry about him again," she added.
"C’mere," Xena said
pulling the bard by the waist. The kiss wasn’t bashful at all and
Joxer found that he was the one blushing. When they broke away, they
both laughed at Joxer’s reaction. "Better get used to it
Joxer if you ever stop by for an adventure," Xena teased as she
began to lead Gabrielle out.
At the entrance, they let Joxer go
ahead of them. Then Gabrielle. Then Xena. Once all of them were in
the light of day, the cave behind them sealed magically with stone
and rock. Joxer was amazed and, although it was quite a spectacle,
it didn’t phase Xena or Gabrielle too much.
Walking hand in hand in silence,
Xena and Gabrielle approached the group of people exiting the
temple. Autolycus spotted them first. "Xena!" he yelled
loud enough that everyone could hear him. They all raced over. All
except for Gabrielle’s family. Once the crowd was in motion and
moved away, Lila began to join them. "Where do you think
you’re going?" her father asked.
Lila stopped and faced her dad.
"You may have only one daughter father. But I know I have a
sister." Without waiting for an argument she rushed to meet
Gabrielle. Watching Lila defiance, sparked something in
Gabrielle’s mother and she too began to make the journey. "Oh
no!" he spat. "Not you too."
"She’s my daughter!"
she argued. "And based on the stories Gabrielle’s told me I
know she’ll be safe and cared for with Xena. Xena would make a
fine. . .’whatever’ . . .daughter in law."
He threw his arms in the air and
stormed off in the other direction, as his wife left. Cyrene was on
her fifth kiss to her daughter when Lila and Gabrielle’s’ mother
pushed through the crowd surrounding them. Lila and her mother,
wrapped their arms tight around Gabrielle in a group hug.
"Where’s father?" she asked.
"He’s not ready yet,"
her mother whispered. "I can’t say that I am either but. . .
Give him time." Gabrielle simply nodded at the words, thankful
that at least part of her blood family tried to understand her ties
to Xena. She looked over and noticed Ephiny and Xena whispering to
"Shhhh," Xena exclaimed.
Gabrielle smiled at the two of them, understanding the topic of
conversation was the proposal. And Ephiny gave the queen a knowing
wink. "I don’t have to battle anyone or make any sacrifices
to do this, do I?" Xena asked agitated. "I don’t think
I’m up to it today."
"You’ve proved your worth
many times over Xena," Ephiny said sincerely. "You won’t
have a problem. We’ll forgo the stoning ritual of all prospective
Xena and Gabrielle’s eyes both
grew wide before Ephiny cracked the tiniest of smiles. "If we
live to be 100, I’ll never know when you’re joking," Xena
replied with a grin of her own.
"So what happened in
there?" Iolas asked. The crowd followed his lead with many
‘Yeah. Tell us’ remarks.
"Take it away
storyteller," Xena said proudly to Gabrielle.
The bard smiled at Xena and then
turned her attention toward Joxer. "In the interest of Joxer,
who was escorted out – "
"You mean thrown out,"
he corrected her, which brought a laugh through the crowd. Even Xena
chuckled a little. "I was thrown out."
Gabrielle cocked her head in
acceptance. "Yes. Since Joxer was thrown out, I’ll
begin at the point when Xena returned to the altar. . .It started
like this. . ."
As Xena listened her heart
overflowed. Gods how she loved this talented, beautiful woman. I
promise Artemis Xena thought. I promise.
I know you will my child
the warrior heard her reply from Olympus. I know you will.
Ephiny stood at the altar in the
center of the village as she raised Gabrielle’s Queen mask. Once
removed from her head entirely, Gabrielle handed it to Solari. All
three faced the tribe and Ephiny began to speak.
"Queen Gabrielle has chosen a
suitor and a bondmate. Is there anyone here who wishes to challenge
her suitor, Xena of Amphipolis, for her hand?"
Knots tied in Gabrielle’s
stomach as the crowd looked on. Thankfully and intelligently, no one
offered the challenge. "Alright then," Ephiny smiled.
"Xena of Amphipolis, please come forward to begin the
Gabrielle watched as Xena exited
the hut. The sight took her breath away. The warrior wore blue,
making her beautiful eyes stand out in spite of the distance. Her
hair was braided and held tight to the sides in the ceremonial
ribbons and feathers of the amazons. Xena looked so much younger –
more to the truth to say her actual age – in the attire. Once she
arrived at the bottom of the platform, she pulled her sword and she
kneeled on one leg, her head bowed humbly.
"Do you, Xena, come here
freely and willingly? Do you promise to defend the honor of the
queen with your blessed sword for all the days of your life ? Do you
promise to keep the queen of the amazons as your bondmate for all
the days of her life?"
"I do," Xena replied,
raising her head to meet Ephiny as she responded.
Ephiny's seriousness melted away
into a smile. "Then rise now and take your place at the side of
our queen, Gabrielle."
Xena sheathed her sword as she
made her way up the steps. Her legs felt like liquid as she watched
Gabrielle. She never saw Gabrielle look more beautiful, more womanly
. . .more regal. The Queen wore red. The color was chosen to honor
the dead warriors of the nation as well as the ‘birth’ of new
members to the tribe – members like Xena who took the oath the
asked breaking Xena’s intense gaze on the bard. "Do you come
here freely and willingly? Do you promise to sing the praises in
honor of this amazon for all the days of your life? Do you promise
to keep this amazon as your bondman for all the days of her life?
Gabrielle looked up into Xena’s
eyes as she answered. "I do," she whispered just loud
enough for the stage to hear her.
"It is now time for the
exchange," Ephiny declared. Solari rested Gabrielle’s mask as
she searched for Xena’s offering. Ephiny reached into her side
pouch and gave Gabrielle, Xena’s gift. Xena waited anxiously until
Solari found it. "Here ya go," she said placing it in
Xena’s hand. Xena tried not to scowl but her nerves were already
on edge. Thinking that Solari lost the offering didn’t help any.
"Sorry," Solari apologized when she saw the look.
Xena warmed in the expression.
"It’s okay," she whispered.
"Xena. Please give Gabrielle
your token and explain to her it’s meaning." Ephiny asked.
"This is a quell," Xena
grinned. "It doesn’t look like much. . .It’s rather old. .
.I’ve been carrying it around for many years. . .It belonged to my
late brother. He was a writer and this was his favorite one. . .
After his death, when I left Amphipolis it was one of the few things
I took from home. . .When all was said and done and my
‘journeys’ came to an end, it was the only thing I hadn’t
lost. . . It seems only fitting that I offer this to you. One,
because I know it will be put to good use," Xena smirked.
"And two because it once belonged to someone I cherished and
loved almost as much as you."
Gabrielle placed her fingertips on
her lips to stop their quivering, as her eyes filled with tears.
Xena wasn’t one for words but the words she just spoke stopped
Gabrielle’s’ heart momentarily. She’d never heard Xena so
expressive. In the two days since Ares had been trapped Xena told
her repeatedly that she loved her. She just never told her how much
until now. And Gabrielle knew, as she heard the warrior’s words,
she would be bonded with her forever.
Ephiny said pulling the bard from her thoughts. "You’re
Gabrielle sniffled and pulled
herself back together. "My offering isn’t old. I recently
completed it so it hasn’t seen any ‘years’. . .But it’s been
years in the making. . .It’s a bracelet. . ..The green gem
represents the day we met. The red gem is there for the countless
times you’ve saved me. . .The blue gems represent the number of
years I’ve looked into those lovely blue eyes, waiting for this
day to come. . .The remaining white gems are meant to signify the
decades that have yet to be – and like the gems themselves these
decades will be bright and they will shine upon us."
Ephiny smiled at the couple and
felt a swell in her heart, happy and content in the fact they had
truly found each other for the first time, in spite of years of
travelling at each other’s side.
"Do you each accept these
tokens?" she asking, already knowing the answer.
"Yes," they answered in
With that, Ephiny held out her
hands and Xena and Gabrielle each took one. In a graceful movement
she placed them together so the warrior and the queen locked
forearms. Ephiny then took the ceremonial bonding ribbon, wrapping
it securely around them.
"What Artemis has seen fit to
bring together shall no mortal or God tear apart." Ephiny said
triumphantly. "I present to you Queen Gabrielle and her consort
Xena of Amphipolis."
The crowded cheered as Xena turned
to Ephiny. "Now can I kiss her?" she asked impatiently,
with a joking grin on her face.
"Now," Ephiny nodded
with a smile.
Xena blocked Gabrielle’s growing
smile with her lips. They had been separated, per amazon custom,
since the night before and it was the first time she had seen
Gabrielle. All the longing and passion from lack of contact seeped
into the kiss – the desire in it almost bringing Gabrielle down to
her knees. Even though it was only 12 hours apart it was too long
for Xena. She never wanted to sleep without Gabrielle at her side.
And by the Gods, she never would.
Ephiny released them of the
ribbon’s hold before they made their way down the stairs. They
smiled and nodded to their friends and family that had joined them
– Cyrene, Hercules, Iolaus, Autolycus, Gabrielle’s mother and
sister and of course, Joxer, who for his ultimate courage, was given
a front row seat. As the crowded began it’s well wishing Xena
noticed something outside the stage area. "I’ll be
back," Xena replied as she began to move away.
"Where are you going?"
Gabrielle asked trying to pull her back. "We have more people
Xena kissed her lightly on the
lips. "I know you can handle it. I won’t be gone long."
Cyrene was approaching as Xena
left. "Where’s she off to?" she asked.
Gabrielle shrugged. "Who
knows? After all these years I’ve learned to let Xena have her way
. . .well most of the time. . .She’ll be back."
Cyrene kissed Gabrielle on the
cheek. "Yes. We can count on that."
Once through the crowd, she caught
up to the figure that snagged her attention. "Hey!" she
shouted. "Just where do you think you’re going?"
Xena didn’t give up even as the
man turned his back. "You’re daughter loves you very much. .
.why, I’m not sure. But the fact remains the same."
"I could say the same thing
about you," he replied as he continued to leave.
Xena wanted to make things work -
not for her but for Gabrielle. Xena didn’t care if the man
despised her or not. But she hated to see Gabrielle in pain.
"Do you know how much grieve
you’ve given her?" Xena called out. That stopped the man in
his tracks. Xena approached as she continued. "Maybe you and I
are a lot more alike than different," she said
"Really? How’s that?"
"We both love Gabrielle; we
both would die for her and we both want to see her lead a happy
life. . .You came here for a reason."
Words were not Xena’s strong
suit but again she seemed to be doing quiet well today. She could
see him mulling the words over in his mind. "You don’t have
to like me," Xena offered. "Just love of your
"I don’t think I’ll ever
accept you," he remarked.
"Fine by me." Xena
replied coolly, beginning to lead him back. "Just don’t shun
Gabrielle. She’s too wonderful a person to let slip out of your
Gabrielle was talking with
Hercules when she saw Xena and her father walking over. Her eyes
shot wide open and she felt her jaw clink to the ground.
"Told you I wouldn’t be
gone long," Xena grinned.
Xena stopped and let the bard’s
father complete the journey on his own. Hercules walked over and
hugged Xena. "Congratulations!" he exclaimed, whirling her
in the air.
"Thank you,’ she replied.
"Now please put me down."
"Oh," Hercules startled,
resting Xena on her feet again.
They watched as Gabrielle and her
father talked. Finally he gave her a hug as the rest of the bards
clan came over. "Maybe there’s hope," Hercules said
"There’s always hope,"
Xena said. "As long as there’s love."
Hercules smiled down on Xena.
"I’m so proud of you. You’re not the same girl I met Xena.
. .I may have convinced you to find a better path but I know
Gabrielle’s the one who taught you love. . .I’m your
resurrection but she’s your rebirth and that’s what matters
Xena grinned. "And I know
someone as good as you will be smiled upon too someday. And it will
last a lifetime."
Hercules pulled Xena closer,
kissing her on top of the head. "There’s always hope,"
The party went on late into the
evening. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Joxer and Autolycus spent most
of the evening ogling the beautiful amazons although they knew they
had a snowballs chance in Tartarus with them. . .well at least
Autolycus knew it.
The music was still playing,
although the hour was late. Gabrielle took Xena by the hands and
began to walk backwards to the Queen’s hut, locking her eyes with
"I’ve dreamt of this
night," Gabrielle whispered. "I’ve wanted to look at
your beautiful body for more than a quick glance. I’ve wanted to
feel all those curves, trapped behind that armor you wear."
Xena swallowed hard. Her mutual
desire present. Desire and . . .nervousness. Why am I nervous?
Xena thought to herself as she studied Gabrielle’s lovely
features. It’s not like I’ve never done this before. Then
a realization came to her. She never had done this before –
made love to someone she truly loved. The thought was exciting yet
As they entered the hut, Gabrielle
let go of her grip and walked over to the bed. Xena only watched her
movements. She felt like a rooted tree. The sound of Gabrielle’s
voice freed her and she walked to the bed when she heard the slight
distress in it.
"Xena I have a confession to
Xena took her hands in hers.
"It’s okay Gabrielle. You can tell me anything. I’m your
"I like the sound of
that," Gabrielle replied. "‘Your wife’," she said
letting the words float in her mind a bit, until her look of
happiness changed to one of uncertainty.
"Let me guess," Xena
said. "This is the part where you tell me you’ve never made
love to a woman right?"
Gabrielle smiled but it was her
nerves more than amusement. "No. This is the part where I tell
you I’ve never made love period." Xena looked at her in
confusion. "By the time, Perticus and I got back to the inn it
was late. We talked for awhile, we kissed for a while, and we
cuddled for awhile. . . then. . .we fell asleep. Then the next
morning it was so late we had to get on the road if we were going to
make Poteidaia by nightfall. . .And . . .well you know the
Xena lifted Gabrielle’s chin
with her fingertips so their eyes met. "Just what are you
worried about?" she asked softly.
Gabrielle sat silently, thinking
about the question, until she had everything in focus. "I’m
not sure what to do. . .I know you’ve had a number of lovers –
I’m sure some of them were women – I don’t know if I can . .
.measure up to the past."
Xena smiled. "Aren’t you
the one always telling me to forget the past?. . . To let it
That brought a smile to the
bards’ face as well. "Yes," she whispered.
Xena didn’t respond immediately.
She took time to admire Gabrielle’s beauty and innocence.
"For the record I’m worried too."
interrupted. "You know I’m going to try my best to please you
physically. I don’t want you to think you’ve made a mistake by
joining me. I have – "
replied, drawing out her name. It always put goose bumps on the
bards neck. This time was no exception. "I’m worried because
. . .although I’ve had a series of lovers – yes both male and
female – I know I’ve never loved another this much. I’m
worried because I don’t want to disappoint you. This
is something I want to do for you. Not something I want for myself.
I’ve never experienced this feeling before. In that respect, I’m
a virgin too." Xena paused and slyly grinned, "An
experienced virgin but a virgin just the same."
Gabrielle smiled as well.
"Then I guess this is a first time for both of us."
Xena lost her grin with
seriousness replacing it. "Yes it is," she whispered.
"You’re my life. I want to make you happy . . .in every
way." That devilish grin Xena displayed, as she finished,
kick-started Gabrielle’s desire.
"Make me happy,"
Gabrielle breathed as she pulled Xena’s lips down to meet hers.
"And I’ll make you happy."
Desire surging through her body
like lava, slow and scorching, forced a moan from the warriors lips
as they made first contact. She could feel her skin tingling from
every nerve racing uncontrollably. She told herself to slow down. It
took all Xena’s strength to stop herself from pushing the amazon
queen to the bed and begin feasting on her.
Apparently, Xena wasn’t the only
one feeling these emotions. Before she realized what was happening
Gabrielle had Xena’s back on the bed, the bard’s hands
frantically working to remove the warrior’s wedding attire. The
shocked played across her face at how passionate her wife really
was. A virgin huh? Xena thought sarcastically. Gabrielle
noticed the expression on Xena’s face.
"I’ve waited too long to
feel your naked skin against mine," Gabrielle huskily replied
as she freed the last of Xena’s clothes. "I want you,"
she whispered seductively. "I want you right now."
Xena’s nipple stood at attention
the second Gabrielle’s mouth made contact – the wetness of her
queen’s tongue on her warm skin began to create a wetness of her
own between her long legs. The moan Xena expelled prompted the bard
to switch to the other side to see if it had the same effect. And as
she expected, Xena sighed deep, holding her breath for a few
Gabrielle struggled to remove her
clothing as she continued to caress Xena’s nipple with her mouth,
tongue and teeth. Realizing with disappointment that she would have
to break her contact, the bard rose on her knees and stripped away
her clothing. Her skirt flew one direction. Her tunic another. Xena
would have helped if she wasn’t so mesmerized by what she was
feeling and seeing.
Once her wife was naked, however,
the warrior went into action. She pulled the bard down on top of
her, before rolling her over on her back. Xena’s thigh settled
comfortably between Gabrielle’s center and she was amazed by the
wetness she found there. Her mouth seized Gabrielle’s neck as she
poured out all of her passion on the bard.
"Ohh," Gabrielle cried
out as the force of Xena’s desire began to brand her.
Xena pulled back, afraid she was
injuring the small woman beneath her. "Are you alright?"
Xena asked concerned.
"Yes," Gabrielle hissed,
pulling Xena’s head back to it’s location. "Gods don’t
stop. It feels wonderful."
Xena’s passion resurged with
greater force than before. Her lips and mouth unstoppable on the
bards neck. Gabrielle pulled Xena closer.
"Harder Xena," Gabrielle
managed to whisper. "Bite me harder."
Xena couldn’t believe her ears.
She couldn’t give Gabrielle what she was asking. Judging by the
purplish/blue impressions already on her neck, if Xena did as she
asked, she would break the skin. Gabrielle didn’t want harder . .
. she wanted more.
Xena moved her thigh a little
higher to give Gabrielle’s center the contact she knew it craved.
Instinctively the bards hips rose to meet the warriors leg. Xena
moved closer again. The same reaction . . . again
She continued the repetition until
they both had a steady rhythm building. On accident the bard’s
thigh pressed against Xena’s engorged nub. Slackness covered the
top of the bard’s thigh as Xena sighed passionately. Ah Ha
the bard thought. She raised her leg again, rubbing Xena in perfect
time. Xena’s breaths grew shallower with each stroke. Xena knew
her own body well. It was only a matter of minutes until she would
fall of the edge of reality. She struggled with continuing the
sensation or pulling away so she could continue the sweet assault.
Reluctantly, she moved away.
Gabrielle’s eyes and she began to argue. Xena quieted her with a
"Move to your knees,"
Xena softly ordered. She wasn’t sure what to expect from her
wife’s’ eyes at the request – perhaps uncertainty, maybe even
a tinge of fear.
Total unadulterated passion
wasn’t what she expected but that’s what she got.
"Anything," Gabrielle said as she rose on the mattress,
fulfilling Xena’s request. "Anything you want," she
added closing her eyes lazily.
Xena watched as Gabrielle’s
hands traveled through her own long, red hair, over her breast,
across her center; then down her thigh. Xena’s hunger for the
lovely queen was insatiable. Gabrielle could feel the mattress move
as Xena’s head settled underneath her, between her thighs.
"Ohhh Xena," Gabrielle
cried out as Xena’s tongue made contact with her innocent
femininity. Xena tried to bury her smile so she could continue with
the contact but she couldn’t help it.
"You like?" Xena asked
Gabrielle smiled at the voice,
keeping her eyes closed. "I love!" she exclaimed.
"Good," Xena hissed
seductively. Knowing Gabrielle’s passion was in full gear,
Xena’s tongue responded quickly, flicking lightly at the queen’s
pearl. The warrior’s hands reached up, caressing her young
lover’s breasts. Gabrielle’s hands covered Xena, helping her in
her efforts. The contact of Gabrielle’s hand on hers, the taste of
Gabrielle covering her mouth, set Xena ablaze.
Gabrielle opened her eyes and
looked down at Xena. Her beautiful body looked absolutely delicious.
Her firm, full breasts. Her flat stomach. Her long, tanned legs. It
was the true definition of perfection if ever Gabrielle saw it. .
.And the unseen mouth and tongue doing wonderful things, making it
more and more difficult to kneel – evoking deeper grunts and
groans. Sounds she never thought she was capable of making.
The sounds from the bard’s
throat, increased Xena’s wetness and Xena found herself
reciprocating the vocal nature of her lover, although her sounds
were muffled. Gabrielle enjoyed the blocked sounds. The vibrations
carried through her body with every moan Xena made and the fact that
she knew why she sounded muffled – Xena’s mouth pressed firmly
against her sex – made the bard begin to shake.
"Ohh yes," Gabrielle
sighed as she began to topple forward, weak from the sensations Xena
was sending through her. Seconds after her descent she realized
where she was – perfect center with Xena’s triangle. Two can
play this game Gabrielle thought triumphantly.
Xena’s eyes shot open and a deep
moan escaped her mouth as Gabrielle’s tongue began to explore her
saturated slit. "Oh Gabrielle," she exclaimed, trying to
hide her shock.
Gabrielle giggled as she
intertwined her arms around Xena’s thighs. "You like?"
she teased back, letting her tongue playfully tickle Xena’s evil
"I love," Xena replied,
letting her tongue move deep and slow along Gabrielle’s slit. She
carefully kissed the bard’s thighs tenderly. "I love you
Gabrielle," Xena added sincerely.
The words prompted Gabrielle. She
would show Xena her response, forgoing words. Xena’s head hit the
mattress as Gabrielle began to administer all of Xena’s moves. It
took all of Xena’s strength to lift her head to continue what she
started with Gabrielle. By the Gods she would bring this woman
satisfaction, even if it killed her. Xena’s tongue drove
forcefully and quickly around Gabrielle.
"You’re so wet," Xena
remarked, drawing out the words for emphasis. She could feel her own
desire being lapped up by the hungry bard.
"Look who’s talking,"
Gabrielle replied. The voice was deep, much deeper than Xena had
ever heard. And more ardent than Xena ever expected. She could tell
by the tone, Gabrielle was ready to make the full journey away from
Slowly Xena inserted one finger
inside her bard. Warmth and wetness surrounded Xena. She began to
move slowly until Gabrielle began to increase her hips’ speed; not
to mention the speed of her tongue across Xena’s center.
Xena inserted another finger,
driving deeper and harder this time. The bard welcomed the feel.
"Oh Gods," Gabrielle
moaned. "More Xena. Faster please. . .Please. . .Please."
The need in Gabrielle’s voice
and the sudden feel of Gabrielle’s fingers inside of her,
rattled Xena down to her foundation. Gabrielle was moving quickly in
and out of her. Too quickly, in fact. The sound, the tastes, the
feel of the flesh – Xena was at the point of no return and she
"Oh Gabrielle," Xena
cried out as her hips bucked against her wife. The spasms shot
through the warrior with abandon yet she continued to give Gabrielle
what she needed – more . . .faster . . .please. With her eyes shut
tight, Xena rode the wave all the while working to bring Gabrielle
the same satisfaction.
"Yes Xena," Gabrielle
moaned, as she moved back to her knees. "Yes. . .oh please. .
.oh yes. . .Xena?"
The warrior understood the last
comment and held Gabrielle hips in place over her as she worked
furiously on the bard’s sex. Gabrielle had never felt the tingling
of an approaching orgasm.
Feeling Xena, holding her, guiding
her, put the young woman at ease and she gave into the foreign
sensations washing over her. Gabrielle’s eyes grow wide as the
approaching rumbling grew more powerful, unstoppable. As she
approached the pinnacle, her eyes snapped shut and her head dropped
back. Xena felt the bard’s back arch seconds before the quivering
of her feminine lips began.
"Oh Gods Xena," she
cried out as she collapsed downward again. "Oh Gods," she
murmured against Xena’s thigh.
Xena smiled in satisfaction. Not
in the satisfaction of having her body spent but the satisfaction
that she brought Gabrielle. Slowly she worked her way free and moved
to lye next to Gabrielle. She gathered the young woman in her arms
and placed a gentle kiss on her sweat soaked bangs. Gabrielle
didn’t move, except to stroke Xena’s arm in loving admiration.
"Is that the way it always
feels?" Gabrielle asked.
Xena smiled. She may not be
‘innocent’ any more. She may not be ‘naďve’. But the
question endeared Xena’s heart. Gabrielle would continue to govern
all her new experiences with wonderment.
"It’s never been this
wonderful for me," Xena replied pulling her closer.
Gabrielle snuggled deeper into
Xena’s shoulder with a grin. "Honestly?"
replied, planting another kiss. "I’ve never loved like this
before . . .I never thought I was capable. . .to feel this
Gabrielle smiled. She may not tell
her everything. She may not know just how to say it if she tired.
But the statement endeared Gabrielle’s heart. Xena would continue
to be a woman of action yet now she was making a conscience effort
to put feelings behind it.
"Oh," Gabrielle rose a
little to meet Xena’s eyes. "In response to your earlier
comment – I love you too Xena . . . I would have told you sooner
but I had other intentions at the time."
Xena grinned. "I love your
"Oh yeah," Gabrielle
"Yeah," Xena countered
"We’ll I’ve got plenty
more where those came from . . .but first let me check
Xena looked at Gabrielle
questioningly as Gabrielle inspected the sheets. "What are you
looking for?" she asked.
"Blood," Gabrielle said
Xena shot up. "Did I hurt
you?" Xena said examining Gabrielle’s body, with that of a
healer not a lover.
"No you didn’t hurt
me," Gabrielle continued. "But there’s no blood."
Xena couldn’t understand the
fear she was seeing in Gabrielle’s eyes. "Tell me what’s
"I’m a virgin . . . At
least I mean I was. . .There should be blood."
Finally Xena put things together.
"You think because you’re a virgin you’re going to have
"And you think that since
there isn’t any, you think I won’t believe what you said
Gabrielle felt ashamed. She
couldn’t look at Xena so she hung her head. "Yes," she
Xena forced Gabrielle to lock
eyes. "First of all, I believe anything you tell me because I
know you won’t lie. And second, the ‘blood’ that you refer to
can be released in different ways."
"Like how?" Gabrielle
"Like falling," Xena
began. "You can rupture your innocence pod with a hard
Gabrielle paused. "So let me
understand this. Last year when I fell off of Argo I could have
‘lost my virginity’?"
Xena smiled. "Yeah Gabrielle.
You lost your virginity to my horse instead of me."
Gabrielle playfully smacked Xena
on the arm. "Cut it out."
Xena laughed. "It’s not
that bad. Ephiny probably lost hers -"
"Well," the warrior
replied throwing her hands in the air. Gabrielle just shook her
head. "C’mere," the warrior added, pulling the bard back
down with her on the bed. "I know you speak the truth. Please
don’t think I ever doubt your word."
Gabrielle never felt so loved and
she felt herself tearing up. "Oh no you don’t," Xena
warned playfully. "There will be no tears shed here tonight. By
my count we’ve got seven candlemarks until the sun comes up. .
.and we’re going to make the most of them."
Gabrielle rose on her elbow to
gaze down at the beautiful blue eyes she had come to adore.
"Is that a promise my warrior
Xena tightened her grip before
pulling Gabrielle into a tender kiss.
"I promise my bard