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Copyright May 1998
This story is in no way, an attempt to violate the copyright laws held by MCA or any person(s) associated with Xena: Warrior Princess. Dialogue from episodes is used without permission. The author holds all story copyrights. As is all responsibility, if the powers that be wish to sue me over this story. I also want to say that I hope that I have not "taken" any ideas, words or whatever from any other fan fic authors out there. I have read many many stories, and I have tried to come up with an original story. (And please keep in mind that this is my very first attempt at fan fic.)
Subtext alert: Yes this is a story about two women in love. If you don't like this sort of thing or are offended by it leave now...or if you live in a state where it illegal (is this country still so anal?? ummm no pun intended!!) move away.....
This story was written to be after the events in Sacrifice I and II. So be forewarned about spoiling the end of season 3.
"Aphrodite, please quit crying. She is only a mortal," Zeus begged, the concern showing in his voice.
"But, but.... this just isn't fair! Ares gave up on all of us on Mt Olympus. Can't we, like, just punish him by bringing her back? Even with her dead, Xena will never return to Ares' side. Xena promised Gabrielle, and even I don't think she will break her word. She loves Gabrielle too much to let her dark side ruin her memory. Please?" Aphrodite pleaded.
"Okay, but if word of this reaches any mortals other than Xena or Gabrielle, there will be Hades to pay," Zeus warned.
"Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! You won't regret this, I promise!"
As Aphrodite left in a cloud of smoke, Zeus wondered to himself, 'Uh oh, what does she have planned for those two?'
Somewhere in a dense forest....
"Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!! My light is gone, by the gods, why? How am I supposed to go on without her here?"
"Xena are you going to be okay?" A voice asked from behind.
Instantly alert, hand on her Chakram, she spun around, only to find Joxer standing about 3 feet away with a look of concern on his face. "Joxer, I.... I'm sorry about how I treated you earlier," Xena said, sighing heavily.
"No Xena, I understand. I'm just glad I could be there......" Joxer's voice fades off. Emotions almost getting the best of him.
"Joxer go home. I will be okay. I just need to go to Potedeia, and tell her parents. I just need.... to be.....alone" 'Gods, I never knew how sad that word was until now.'
"Okay Xena, if you're sure."
"I am Joxer. Thanks again for the help. Travel safe."
'Now what am I going to do. Her parents will not accept what I have to say. They will blame me. But it is my fault isn't it? Why? Why couldn't I have stopped her? I told her I would have gladly given my life to kill Hope. This is all Ares' fault.' "I swear Ares' you will pay for this! Hear me now, I vow by all the gods I will avenge Gabrielle's death!" Breathless, Xena collapses in a pile on the leaf covered forest floor. Sobs racking her shoulders. 'I am so tired, but I am afraid to sleep...for all I have now are nightmares of not being there in time to save her...'
A few hours later in the same forest....
"Now Hades we have a deal right? You agree with me that the Elysian Fields aren't ready for Gabrielle yet? Or Xena for that matter?"
"Yes Zeus. It is not her time yet. There is much left for her to do here. Xena has paid her debts back in full. She is guaranteed a spot in the Elysian fields with Gabrielle forever when her time comes. The same goes for Gabrielle. I will not deny them."
"I don't say this often, but, thank you Hades. You won't regret this. Plus now you won't have to hear Gabrielle talk your ears off," laughed Zeus.
"Yes, that did come to mind. Now it's my turn to thank you!"
The same forest....
"Noooo........no don't........Gabrielle!!!!!!!!!!!!" Xena awoke with a start, only now noticing the gentle hand on her shoulder. Looking up she saw.....'No I must still be dreaming.' "Gabrielle?? But, you're de.... Gods this must be a nightmare!" 'Now I'm imagining her here with me, comforting me from my nightmares like she always used to do.'
As if reading her mind, "Xena, it is me. I'm back. I'm really here."
"Gabrielle?? How? Who? I don't understand."
"Shhhhh Xena, it's okay. We have plenty of time to talk.... Please, all I want right now is for you to hold me."
Xena gave her a look of questioning, but she answered it with a look of pure love. 'Love for me, all of me. Past, present, and future. It was a look that made me feel as though, no matter what I ever did, I could never fail her. I felt as though I was finally accepted and forgiven for all the sins of my past.' Xena fought the lump in her throat, but in the end it won out and she cried herself to sleep in the arms of the one she loved.
"Zeus this is an outrage! She is dead. Why have you brought her back? I am not..."
"Ares shut up! This is not about you anymore. You deserted us to join Hope and her father. This is your punishment. Now hear me! Leave Xena and Gabrielle alone. If you don't I swear you'll wish Xena had used the dagger on you instead of Callisto."
Sitting down on his throne, Zeus sent a look of pure hate towards Ares. With that Ares thought it best to leave while he still had the chance.
"I will have Xena. Nothing will stop me, not even a little bard." Ares mumbled under his breath.
Back in the forest, hours later....
Xena woke to the sounds of someone cooking. The smells were wonderful and the sights were even better.
"Thank the gods it wasn't a dream," Xena said quietly.
Gabrielle, who was caught up in her cooking, looked over at Xena with a questioning look. "What did you say?"
"Oh I was just thanking the gods that I wasn't dreaming again. That you are really here with me....... Listen Gabrielle we need to talk. There are some things I....... some things I need to tell you," Xena choked out before starting to cry.
At such an open show of emotion, one very rare with Xena, Gabrielle could barely hold her own emotions in check. She ran over to where Xena was curled up and hugged her. Hugged her as though the world would end tomorrow. She gently rocked Xena saying, "Shhhhh Xena it's going to be alright. I'm here now, and I will never leave you again. Don't cry."
Gabrielle put her hand under Xena's chin and turned her head so that she was looking into those beautiful blue eyes. "Xena, I love you. You are the person that makes me complete. I will do anything for you. I promise to never die again," she said, giggling.
Xena sighed and gave Gabrielle a big hug. They both stood and walked over to the fire to look at dinner, which was now so burnt, that it wasn't even recognizable as food.
"Oh noooo, now what am I supposed to do about dinner?"
"Don't worry Gab, there is a small lake nearby. I'll go catch us some fish. Do you want to go with me? Maybe get a bath? I know that's what I'd like to do."
"Sure! Let's go!" Gabrielle exclaimed.
Grabbing their clean shifts and a bar of soap, they both walked down the unmarked path to the lake.
"By the gods, Xena, it's beautiful! Why didn't you tell me this was here?"
"Well, I didn't actually think you were coming back to me, and well, I uh......." Xena stammered. Sighing she admitted, "I came here to die. I just couldn't think of going on without you. So I came here to think about what to do with my life, and where to go. I didn't come up with any answers. All I could think of was 'Why? Why did this have to happen? Especially to her. She was so innocent.' I was ready to die, just so we could be together in the Elysian Fields, if we couldn't be together here.......... Come on, I'll race ya!"
Xena, stripping of her armor and leather in just a few seconds, left a wide-eyed Gabrielle standing on the shore staring after her.
Xena jumped into the water, the coldness feeling great on her skin, swimming underwater for a long while. Finally needing air, she surfaced about halfway into the middle of the lake. Looking at the shore, she noticed Gabrielle still standing there. From this far out she wasn't sure if she saw her crying or not. But she wasn't going to take any chances and started to swim back to shore at a breakneck speed.
As she reached the shore she called out, "Gabrielle?? Are you okay?" Climbing out of the water, she shivered as the night air gave her a chill. "Gabrielle? Gabrielle!"
As if awakening from a trace, Gabrielle shook herself, and focused on Xena's naked body. 'Wow, she is so beautiful. How am I supposed to tell her how I feel about her?' Catching herself staring, she bent over and started to take off her boots.
"Gabrielle are you okay? Why are you crying?" Xena was concerned. She had known her to go off in her own little world from time to time. But she had never seen her cry about it.
"It's nothing Xena, come on lets get in the water. I'm getting hungry," Gabrielle said as her stomach voiced its own opinion.
Grinning, Xena ran back to the water, yelling over her shoulder, "Careful the water isn't as warm as it looks!"
"Great," Gabrielle muttered. 'Oh well, as long as Xena catches dinner and I get myself clean, I don't care how cold the water is.' Instantly regretting her thoughts as she dunked herself underwater.
"Brrrrrrrr. This water is freezing cold!" Gabrielle said through chattering teeth. "Xena? Where are you?"
Suddenly Xena surfaced with two large fish in her hands. Or rather on her hands. "Think this is enough for dinner?" she said grinning.
A blue Gabrielle looked at Xena with awe. 'Gods her smile. I have to tell her, I can't take this much longer.' She nodded and asked, "Can you give me the soap? I want to g-get clean and get out of here.... I c-can't feel my b-body anymore I'm so c-cold."
"Ya, come here I'll do your back. Just don't drown on me," Xena said with a wink.
After Xena had washed Gabrielle's back she started on her hair, then her shoulders and arms. 'Gods I desperately want to turn her around and help her with the front. To kiss her, to smother her with love. But I have been so trapped in my shell, I can barely admit to myself that I love her. Much less to her, and outloud.'
When Xena had stopped washing her arms, Gabrielle had sensed something was wrong. She turned around to see Xena fighting an inner struggle, oblivious to what was happening around her.
"Xena?? Hellooooo? Gab to Xena!" Gabrielle's voice coaxed Xena back to the present.
"Huh? Oh sorry. Must've gone off somewhere without realizing," Xena said detachedly.
"Well are you clean? I'm getting outta here. I am absolutely frozen!"
"Ya, almost done. I'll meet you back at the camp. Okay?"
"Sure. Don't forget the fish!" Gabrielle said hungrily.
"Okay, I won't be long."
As Gabrielle swam to the shore, she wondered what was bothering Xena. 'I'm back in her life. All should be well. Or is it? What was Xena keeping from me? What did she want to talk to me about? Does she know how I feel about her? Oh gods.... that must be it. She wants to stop me from having these thoughts about her.'
Drying off and putting her clean shift on, Gabrielle turned to see Xena dive under water to remove all the soap from her body. Not waiting to see if she surfaced, Gabrielle headed back to the warmth of the fire.
With Gabrielle gone, Xena could think of how to tell her how she felt. 'This is going to be harder than any battle I've ever been in. But the results could be that much better.....or worse.' Sighing, she climbed out of the water. "Gods, you gave her back to me. I thank you......Oh Aphrodite, please help me. I don't know how to tell her how much I love her."
As Xena made her way back to camp, with the fish filets for dinner, she thought she heard a faint laugh on the wind. Shrugging her shoulders she walked into camp to see Gabrielle almost sitting in the fire.
"Gabrielle...be careful of where you're sitting. No need to burn yourself!" she said chuckling.
"Huh?? Oh...I was so cold and I just couldn't get close enough to the fire to warm me....." she said trailing off.
Sitting down on a log near the fire, "Gab? You ok? Come here, let's get you warmed up," Xena offered.
Gabrielle jumped at the chance. She sat down in front of the log surrounded by Xena's legs. Xena instinctively put her arms around Gabrielle and just held her, staring into the fire.
"Gabrielle, we need to talk. I can't hold this in any longer. When I thought I had lost you, I thought that I would only be able to say these things in my nightmares." Sighing she steeled herself for the truth. "I think I've fallen in love with you," she said quickly. "I've felt this way for so long, but have been too afraid to say anything. Then when I lost you......"
Gabrielle couldn't take not looking at her. She turned around and saw Xena crying. Putting her hand on Xena's cheek, wiping the tears away, she said, "Oh Xena. Believe it or not I feel the same way about you. I have loved you for so long. I was too afraid to say anything for fear of losing you. When Ares came to me, telling me the Fates were going to cut your life's thread if you killed Hope, I had already died inside. There was no way I could let you die over Hope. You have helped so many people. Too many people need you. I need you. But I would have rather died than let you die. And I did."
"Oh Gabrielle, I need you so much. I was telling you the truth when I said that I would've rather died than live a life without you. And people need you too. If there hadn't been you, I probably would've continued on my world domination tour. Thousands of people owe their lives to you. I love you so much and I promise to never leave you. Not willingly anyway. Think you can love an old, washed up ex-warlord?" Xena asked grinning.
"Xena, I love you and you're not old or washed up. You're perfect for me just the way you are." Gabrielle breathed. Leaning in so close to Xena's face that it was near impossible to not kiss her. But Gabrielle had wanted this so bad for so long. Taking Xena's face in her hands she gently brushed her lips across Xena's. A small gasp escaped Xena's throat before she pulled Gabrielle's head towards hers so that she could truly kiss this woman she loved so dearly.
Both moaning at the kiss that went beyond words, they only stopped to breathe.
Passions mounted and the two discovered each other for the rest of the night. Tomorrow was a new day and they had new lives to pursue. Each other's.
The marble halls of the room Aphrodite was in echoed with her giggles as she watched the two lovers kiss. "Yes! I, like, knew they were made for each other. I love happy endings. Thank you Daddy."