Violence Warning/Disclaimer: None
Love/Sex Warning/Disclaimer: They are in love and have been for sometime. This story depicts an intimate sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it.
Spoilers: Story takes place after the 4th Season episode Locked Up and Tied Down.
Comments: I can be reached at email@example.com for comments, suggestions or just because.
"Sssshh?just lay your head in my lap. Try to sleep." Holding onto her precious cargo Gabrielle delicately wiped the dirt, sweat and blood from the Warrior's face. The warden of Shark Island Prison, Thelassa, offered her private ship to return Xena and Gabrielle to the mainland. There was no longer any need to keep the Warrior or her friend on the island. While Thelassa had found forgiveness for the evil Xena had perpetrated on her so many seasons ago she still was not ready to be her best friend. Letting go was a concept that Gabrielle offered. It was not like Gabrielle offered her any new revelations; it was just time for healing. As the movement of the sea rocked the ship, Gabrielle caressed her lover's face while the Warrior drifted off too much needed sleep. The gash on her face would not need stitches and the Bard was grateful for that. In her mind Xena did not need any visible reminders of her past, as she already carried too many in her heart. Gazing softly into her lover's face Gabrielle could only pray and hope. *My beautiful Warrior, how I love you. What can I say to help you let your pain go? I hurt so deeply, when you hurt. I would gladly take all your pain for you, if the gods would let me.*
The ship was small with only three cabins. One belonged to Thelassa, the captain used the second cabin and the last one held food, supplies and acted as sleeping quarters for the crew. The two lovers were to use Thelassa's cabin but Xena refused. Since the late afternoon was fairly warm Gabrielle did not fight her lover and instead requested several blankets and found shelter behind the helm of the ship. Leaning against several crates allowed the couple some privacy. Gabrielle spread the blankets out and insisted Xena lay her head in her lap for comfort. The Warrior did not argue. Since this was a smaller ship they were returning to the mainland on, the captain informed Gabrielle that the journey back to the mainland would take less than three candlemarks. The tide was in their favor, the winds were generously catching the sails and the ship was built for speed.
Rinsing the cloth once again in the small bucket of water left by a crewmember, Gabrielle gently rubbed the cool water over Xena's face. Lifting her Warrior's relaxed hand she washed the grime built up from her days in prison. Before she let go Gabrielle made sure she kissed each and every finger, along with the back and the palm of her Warrior. Laying the slightly swollen hand down, she proceeded to give the same loving attention to Xena's left hand. A faint sigh slipped through Xena's lips and Gabrielle hoped her affection brought happier dreams to her Warrior. At the neckline, she slid the cool cloth under Xena's ragged prison tunic over her shoulders and around her neck; careful not to disrupt the red chafing left by the shackles.
A crewmember with a plate of food and two cups of tea broke Gabrielle's concentration. "Excuse me, Captain thought you might like this. Can I get you anything else?"
Accepting what was offered the Bard requested clean water and a poultice to apply over her friend's gashes and abrasions. When the man left, she draped the extra blanket over her sleeping warrior and took a sip of the tea flavored with chamomile. Gently slipping her arm under Xena to raise her head slightly she whispered while placing several kisses on her eyes and face. "Xena?here drink this. It is not real hot but it should help."
Echoing through my dreams I hear a soft voice calling and I can feel warmth wrapped around me. *Am I dead? No?someone is holding me?mmmm?lips?.oh?gods, yes. * A tender sigh of contentment slipped through the Warrior and she tried to open her eyes. Finally gazing into a pool of moist green eyes the Warrior smiled. *Oh, yea?there she is. The most beautiful heart in the heavens - my Gabrielle.* Accepting the tea without words Xena observed her lover's darting eyes of concern dig deeply into her soul. "Do you know we are soulmates?" A moment passed and Xena wondered if she actually spoke those words or just thought them.
Tenderly Gabrielle responded. "Yes, my love?.I know. I love you."
*Aaaaa, she heard me. * I smile for my lover and allow her to feed me a few morsels of food and more of the tea. My body ached but I anticipated this and knew it would fade eventually. Suddenly there was a deeper voice and I caught sight of the crewmember that brought what I believed by the smell to be a poultice. My Gabrielle spoke to the man but I was not interested in what they said. I intuitively understood that she would take care of me. *When did I allow her to protect me without chasing her away.*
Gabrielle lowered her Warrior so her head would once again rest on her lap. She was pleased that the poultice was made and could smell that the proper medicinal herbs were used. "I'm going to put some of this on your cheek, okay. It might sting a bit." Gingerly Gabrielle dabbed the healing agent on Xena's cheek. Those piercing blue eyes watched her with a mixture of sadness and love. After applying the poultice to her cheek, Gabrielle spread some around the burns on Xena's wrists and the chaffing on her neck; all caused by the shackles that chained the Warrior. "Xena, where else do I need to use the poultice?" Gabrielle realized her Warrior might have hidden injuries.
"My left hip, I think."
Lifting both the blanket and clothing Gabrielle searched and found the gash. After washing the area delicately she applied the dressing. Doing all she could until they got to dry land the Bard lifted Xena's head and shoulders this time hugging her close. "I love you Xena. Sleep?we'll be on land soon."
Burrowing her face tightly against her lover's bosoms Xena could hear the strong heartbeat of her soulmate. The thought that this heart held only love for the ex-warlord overwhelmed Xena so often in their travels. It was, at times, almost impossible for Xena to forgive herself for the devastation that she caused so many families and souls. Thelassa was one of her victims. Unsure why she decided to seek punishment for herself rather than to accept the code of the 'greater good' she had taught Gabrielle, Xena believed all of this must again be for a reason. It is all about acceptance; at least that is what her soulmate tells her so often. Yet she too seems to be searching for the perfect way to live life. Before drifting off to sleep the Warrior wondered if living each day in the best way possible, would be the only degree of acceptance she would ever attain.
Gabrielle was grateful she thought far enough ahead to secure a room at the tavern. She just refused to believe Xena would be in that prison forever. The Amazon Queen was determined to rescue her soulmate or spend her lifetime in prison with Xena. While Gabrielle waited to catch the supply ship to Shark Island she told stories in the tavern. The owner enjoyed her tales of adventure along with his customers. He allowed the Bard to keep the dinars she earned and agreed to board her in exchange for cleaning the tavern after hours. During the day Gabrielle found the local physician was in need of an assistant. The seaport village was a rough town and there were constant injuries and death. For six days he paid her three dinars and agreed to stable Argo at no cost. If and when the Bard should ever return she was encouraged to seek him out, as he might keep her on permanent, if she so desired. With the money she earned Gabrielle was able to afford a small room, one bath, food and drink upon their return trip for at least two days. She hoped it would be enough time for her soulmate to heal. Either way once she had Xena bathed and settled Gabrielle planned to continue working until it was time to leave.
By the time she was able to get Xena to their room the moon was rising over the horizon. Stripping her Warrior from the prison rags Gabrielle attended to the bruises and minor scratches, which covered her lover's body while also giving her a sponge bath. It took a great deal of determination not to break down and cry over the pain she knew Xena must have gone through. Once again Gabrielle could feel the blue eyes watching her every move. "Come on, let's roll you over so I can look at your back. I will give you a bath tomorrow."
Once on her stomach Xena turned her head so she could see her lover. With a great deal of urgency to touch her partner the Warrior slid her hand off the bed and slipped her fingers into the waist band of the colorful healer's outfit. The warmth of Gabrielle's waist penetrated Xena's fingers. She was rewarded with a smile and a kiss on the cheek. "Gabrielle, I?I don't know what I would do without you." Tears slipped from her eyes and she did nothing to stop them.
"Sssshhh?Xena, I'm not going anywhere. Remember me?the pest, the one who keeps hanging around?" The words were said in love and tenderness. Gabrielle knew only too well the fear Xena had of abandonment. Everyone she ever loved had left her at one time or another. Only a few came back. In fact Cyrene and Toris were the only two that popped in her mind. Kissing her on the cheek Gabrielle loved Xena no matter what her past held or her future would bring. They were destined to be together always and although one may falter or drift - their bond would always return them to each other's arms. Retrieving the hairbrush from her bag Gabrielle gently worked the dangles and snarls from Xena's raven hair.
Taking her time to recheck the bruises the Bard rolled the Warrior to her back covering her with several blankets. Cleaning the area of the bloodied water and healing supplies Gabrielle returned to the room with some fresh water. Her Warrior was still awake keeping an eye on her. "Why don't you try and sleep, Xena. I'm just going to wash up and get out of these clothes." She actually wanted to take care of the few scratches and bruises she received and check the rope burns on the back of her neck. Smiling at Xena, she did not want the Warrior to see the burns. It continual amazed the Bard that Xena ignores her own pain to protect her from death. That thought produced a warm sensation filling her and Gabrielle smiled at the power of their love. Even though she has experienced this sensation before each time it happened it burrowed deeper into her heart.
"Gabrielle, will you hold me?" Feeling extremely vulnerable, Xena was just emotionally scared enough to ask for comfort. Something she would not have done so willingly, if they were not lovers.
No words were necessary, as Gabrielle finished tending to her needs, slipped her nightshirt on and crawled under the blankets with her soulmate. Opening her arms to welcome her lover Gabrielle kissed her raven hair and rubbed her lips over Xena's forehead. "Come here?.I will hold you all night long."
Needing no encouragement Xena rolled to her side and nuzzled her face between Gabrielle's muscular shoulder and the softness of her breasts. Sliding her arm and hand around Gabrielle's waist Xena felt her chin being lifted. Slowly Xena reached for the inviting lips of her soulmate. *Yes, I do want to kiss you my love.* Without hesitation the Warrior responded and as she had hoped, the lips were oh so soft and tasted of only Gabrielle. The kiss was long enough to speak of the great love they had for each other and yet it did not demand for further intimacy. There would be plenty of time for that once Xena healed.
During the night, Gabrielle found she slept little, instead she stayed awake protecting her Warrior. Nightmares woke Xena on several occasions and each time her soulmate was there soothing her and loving her unconditionally.
The next morning Gabrielle was up early and slid out of bed leaving her sleeping Warrior. Writing her a small note she left it on the table by the bed just in case Xena woke. She decided to check on Argo, order some food and water for a bath. Even though she was not gone long the Warrior missed the warmth of her soulmate and eventually woke up. Stiff and sore she slid off the bed to the chamberpot. Realizing that Gabrielle was not in the room she did see the parchment on the table and smiled as she read it. Pulling her nightshirt on to cover her nude frame Xena pulled a chair up to the fireplace and added wood to the already glowing embers. Through her mind went the past several days, the rats, and the excitement she felt, when she heard Gabrielle calling to her through the iron bars of the pit she was thrown into. So much happened so many emotions flooded the Warrior's spirit. Once again she questioned her reason for not fighting the arrest and sentencing. Was it the remnants of her recent fight with Caesar and Pompey? Could it have been from the loss she suffered, when she believed Gabrielle died with Hope in the lava. Searching through her memories Xena realized all the trauma in her life was finally catching up to her. Frequently the Warrior was remembering past events, when she was cruel and uncaring. Alti showed Xena both her death and that of Gabrielle's. This threat was forever riding just beneath the surface constantly challenging her emotions. "If I could only change destiny?.maybe, just maybe Gabrielle will live." So maybe this attempt at punishment was one way Xena tried to change destiny. Lost in her thoughts Xena, at first, did not hear Gabrielle enter the room. Then the beautiful sweet voice of her soulmate rang in her ears like soft music.
"Xena, you're up. How are you feeling? I brought you some food." Gabrielle removed her cape hanging it on a hook near the door. It started raining last night and just continued through the morning. The day was gloomy and the Bard hoped Xena would be willing to stay inside and just rest. The Warrior stood up and walked slowly over to the table dragging her chair. She was not hungry but for Gabrielle she would try to eat. "Here, let me get the chair for you." Without an argument Xena gave up the chair for her soulmate to carry.
Before the Warrior sat down she reached for Gabrielle's hands and pulled her close. "I just need to hold you." Wrapping her arms around a very receptive Bard the Warrior breathed in the love her soulmate was sharing. "I'm sorry Gabrielle for??."
Looking into her lover's tearful gaze Gabrielle placed her fingers to Xena's lips. "Sssshhh, hush. You do not have to apologize for being you. I love you Xena." Caressing her hand across Xena's face Gabrielle noticed the gash on her cheek was in need of some additional attention. "Come on, sit down, I want to add more of the poultice to your cheek. Water for a bath should be here soon. And until then?eat my Warrior." Xena sat in the chair and allowed the tears to slip. Reaching for Gabrielle's cheek to just touch her - the Bard responded and cupped Xena's face in her hands. Gabrielle understood Xena's unspoken heart. She now needed emotional healing more than physical. Tenderly she leaned in to press her lips to Xena's. The Warrior's craving for Gabrielle was overwhelming and she pulled her lover to her lap exploring the kiss. Tongue's darted in and out, breath mingled to become one and soon both were moaning, as passion for the other consumed their hearts.
An abrupt knocking on the door forced them apart. With a quick kiss and a nibble to Xena's lips Gabrielle answered the door. The tub was brought in and soon was filled with hot water. Finally left alone once again Gabrielle helped Xena get out of her nightshirt and into the tub. Gently she washed Xena's hair and back and then applied the fresh poultice to the Warrior's cheek. The hot water was both relaxing and soothing. The Warrior could feel some of her stiffness slipping away, as she relaxed under the care of her soulmate. As Gabrielle lathered the sponge to continue washing her Warrior, Xena grabbed her by the wrist. "Join me?.please." It was not something Xena had to ask twice. Gabrielle's only hesitation would be that now the Warrior would see the rope burn where her hair had been previously hiding it. No sooner did Gabrielle lower herself in the tub, than Xena pulled her close so they could nestle together like spoons. With her back to Xena she began to rub the soap over her body. Moving Gabrielle's hair from her shoulder Xena nibbled on her neck and exposed earlobe; that was when she saw the burns.
"Gabrielle?.oh gods, your neck. Oh, baby?I'm?."
Quickly Gabrielle spun around in the tub to face Xena. "No - don't do this. I came for you because I love you. I can't live without you Xena - don't you know that. Maybe it is selfish - I just can't help it. If rescuing you meant my death, then so be it." Planting multiple kisses on Xena's lips, nose and cheek Gabrielle did not want Xena to carry this burden. "You saved my life. I love you and I will be okay." Wiping away her soulmate's tears Gabrielle continued to kiss Xena until the Warrior realized she was becoming extremely aroused. The Bard felt strong hands and arms lifting her from the water. Together they stepped out of the tub and continued kissing each other all the way to the bed.
The Warrior took full control and with gentle force pushed her lover to the bed and crawled on top of her. Her kisses turned demanding, as she darted her tongue into Gabrielle's hot mouth. The Bard sensed her lover needed to control their lovemaking and submitted willingly. Soon neither could breathe, as the heat in their bodies started to rise and they both began allowing their hands to roam over each other. Xena could not wait and quickly abandoned Gabrielle's lips for the pink nipples responding to her touch. Licking and squeezing Gabrielle's breasts only caused her to moan for more. Unable to stop Xena immediately ran her fingers between her lover's wet mound and with speed inserted her fingers and began to stroke the internal flame of her lover's treasure. Within moments the Bard was arching her back and begging Xena for more. The Warrior crawled down Gabrielle and without her normal playful teasing latched on to Gabrielle's swollen mound with her mouth letting her tongue caress and probe deep within the wet folds only she had privilege to taste and love.
Between soft screams of pleasure Gabrielle commanded Xena to turn so she too could feast on her lover's exotic juices that were now spreading across her legs. The Warrior obeyed and moved into a position straddling over the top of Gabrielle's extremely talented tongue. Almost totally distracted by her Bard's experienced loving techniques Xena began to feel her peak and quickly increased the speed of her tongue over Gabrielle. Together within moments each brought the other to the top of the mountain and gently carried their lover over the side. Turning around so Xena could snuggle with her soulmate both women rubbed and fondled each other's bodies into a relaxed state. The Warrior soon drifted off to sleep and within several candledrips a knock came to the door.
Covering her Warrior's body and quickly slipping her nightshirt on Gabrielle answered the door to find the tavern owner. "Gabrielle, do you think you could tell a few stories tonight?"
"Oh, yes sure. I'll be down for the evening crowd." The man smiled, pleased with her answer and before she shut the door she told him the tub could be removed. Within a candlemark the tub was drained and gone from the room.
Gabrielle joined her soulmate and together they slept peacefully until thunder woke them both. Xena bolted from the bed and was visibly frightened. A haze covered her eyes and she was in a battle stance. Careful not to move too fast Gabrielle called out to her Warrior softly. "Xena?hey, it is just a storm. Please take my hand?come on."
Lost in a nightmare the Warrior heard the explosions caused by the bombs released from the catapults. One more battle - another chance to die and kill all the pain filling her heart. Ready for a fight her sword was missing and everything was a blur. *What happened, where are my men?.I?I must???..wait a voice. * The color began to come back to her eyes and she wiped them in hopes she could speed up the process. *There it is again?that voice, it sounds familiar. Oh gods no, what have I done. * The gentle hand now holding hers matched the soothing voice of her soulmate. Regaining her surroundings she once again followed Gabrielle's voice and physical touch to reality. By the time she was fully aware of where she was Gabrielle was embracing her tightly. "Gab?Gabrielle, what happened, did I hurt you?"
Leading her lover back to bed the Bard understood what was happening to Xena. It had happened before, only recently it seems to happen more often. The nightmares and pieces of Xena's horrible past were returning without warning. "Yes, I am okay. You were just having a bad dream and the thunder woke you. Do you want to talk about it?"
Gabrielle leaned up against the headboard so Xena could cuddle with her, which she did. "No?I think it was a battle but I don't remember anymore. I just know your voice and hands pulled me to safety." The Warrior lay in her soulmates embrace for awhile then finally sat up. "I think maybe it would do me some good to move around a bit. Maybe check on Argo?..will you come with me?"
Together the soulmates dressed and left the room for the stables. Argo did seem happy to see Xena and enjoyed the brushing her master would give her. Gabrielle sat on several bails of hay and watched her lover heal. Over the seasons Gabrielle learned there were two activities the Warrior would use in order to regain the centering that was necessary to live life. Too many times her emotions became hard to control and memories of her warlord years haunted her deeply. One was to brush Argo and care for the mare. The other was to sharpen her sword. A candlemark passed by the time Xena was ready to leave. As she placed the brush in the saddlebag, Gabrielle came up behind her and Xena quickly spun around with a huge smile on her face. Grabbing her in a frisky hug the Bard found herself smothered in kisses and playful love. "I'm suppose to tell a few stories in the tavern. Will you come and listen to them? We can eat! I'm sure hungry."
Hand in hand the couple left Argo behind and returned to the tavern. That night the tavern was crowded. The rainstorm had a tendency to draw people into the tavern and with the promise of a Bard, the place became packed. Gabrielle told comical stories that did not involve death or battle. She ended with a love story. It was actually their story. The story of their first kiss, although the customers enjoying the tale did not realize that was whom she was talking about. At least no one said anything. It was past midnight when the couple decided to call it a night. As Gabrielle and Xena headed for the stairs, the owner stopped them. "Gabrielle you told a beautiful love story. My wife is in tears. She said you could have the room for the next three nights free of charge. Sort of a gift in celebration of your love for each other. Please consider staying??and maybe tell a few more stories?"
Gabrielle could not help but blush and giggle. The Warrior just shook her head and wrapped her arm around her lover's waist. She actually enjoyed it, when people guessed about their relationship. Graciously accepting the offer the couple said goodnight to the tavern owner. Once in the room Gabrielle insisted on tending to Xena's injuries before the Warrior would be allowed to touch her.
As her Bard was gently dabbing the fresh poultice on her cheek, the Warrior placed her hands on the curvaceous and tempting hips of her lover. "You remember well the first time we kissed, don't you?"
"Yes?.it is a special moment I never want to forget. You thought I might mention when you were in Autolycus' body?"
Sitting on the edge of the bed Xena pulled Gabrielle closer. "Well?.technically it was the first time - unfortunately we got pulled away before the kiss was over and that thief ended up with his hand on your butt. I was not happy about that."
Giggling softly Gabrielle pulled away from Xena and placed the healing cloth on the table. Returning to her Warrior she slid into waiting arms. Wrapping her arms around the Warrior she bent down kissing Xena on the forehead, the nose, and each eye, finally settling on her luscious full lips. "Mmmm?I remember the kiss was sweet just like this." The passion of the kiss turned into teasing. Sighs and moans escaped from both women, as they enjoyed the teasing and tugging of lips.
Xena laid on her back pulling her lover with her. "And?I believe that kiss evolved into much more. You became everything I dreamed of?.do you know that Gabrielle?"
Straddling her lover the Bard began to remove her clothes. "Xena, every time you let me this close." The Bard playful held her fingers up indicating what close was. "I fall in love with you all over again?and each taste, each smell, each time you groan and cry my name?.I become helpless and fall for you heart and soul."
That night their lovemaking chased the scars of Shark Island Prison and Thelassa away. The memories would always be there but now the nightmares of those days lost their power. Once again Gabrielle and Xena proved that their bond was a reality, that it was an undefeatable source of their healing. No matter what obstacle stepped in their way they were soulmates and the strength and belief each had in their love would defeat the largest battle and make the worst enemy small.
As Xena held a sleeping Gabrielle in her arms, she smiled believing deep within her heart that for today she was living it the best way possible. Acceptance of Gabrielle's love was her greatest accomplishment.