by JS Stephens
Copyright © 1997, revised 2013. All Rights Reserved
Comment and disclaimer: MCA owns all rights and privileges, to the characters of Xena and Gabrielle. The characters of Poseidon, Ares, Penelope and Ulysses are in the public domain and have been for thousands of years. The elements of the story taken from The Odyssey have also been in the public domain for thousands of years.
Second comment: this is the very first Xena fan fic that I wrote, and was in response to the episode, "Ulysses". I felt the need to explain just why Xena had thrown aside her relationship with Gabrielle for a wimpy version of Ulysses. So there you go.
As always, the writing of this story is powered by Peet's coffee, this time, Major Dickason's Blend.
The sea god, Poseidon, was in a horrible mood. Troy had been defeated, but the Greeks forgot him in their wild celebrations of this victory. Worst of all, the hero of the moment, Ulysses, did not bother to pay proper homage to him and this really stirred the waters. Poseidon fumed as he watched Ulysses walking along the beach--no doubt that he would soon catch a boat and make his way back to Ithaca to reclaim his beloved Penelope from the horde of suitors who had taken up residence there.
As the Olympian god mused over this, he noticed three men rushing to attack Ulysses. He grinned to himself; high time that Ulysses faced the odds. Yet, Ulysses started handily defeating the men, barely breaking a sweat while fending the outlaws off. Poseidon growled to himself, but started grinning wickedly as he noticed a larger band of outlaws making their way up the beach. He whispered to their leader of a stranger with many riches just ahead on the beach, then sat back to watch the fun.
The fun was interrupted by that pet warrior of Ares, Xena, and her pesky sidekick, Gabrielle. "Damn!" Poseidon muttered to himself. He watched the battle rage on, but it was soon apparent that the outlaws were out of their league. He roared and drew himself up to his full height as the trio sent the last outlaw packing. He grew even angrier as Xena openly defied him, as she did all the gods and goddesses. But Poseidon was determined to keep Ulysses from reaching Ithaca...wait a moment, he thought, watching Ulysses, Ulysses likes Xena, and Xena keeps defying us. Poseidon lashed out at the puny mortals, throwing a spell on Ulysses and Xena to cause them to fall in love. To make sure that his spell would work, he also bespelled Gabrielle, so if they did make it to sea, she would not be any help whatsoever. She would be too busy elsewhere.
Gabrielle rushed to the side of the ship for what seemed like the millionth time. She could not figure out why her stomach was so weak now, she had sailed before without this much trouble. Plus, Xena acted as if it were funny. True, Xena did not readily show her emotions, especially in front of other people, but this was ridiculous! She really needed a friend now, or at least a healer. The last time she was this sick, Xena was with her all the time, brewing special teas, sponging her forehead and generally playing nurse. Gabrielle pushed stray hairs away from her face as she considered the situation.
To add to her misery, Xena was paying far too much attention to Ulysses, confusing her. Sure, Gabrielle had deserted Xena to marry Perdicas, but after Callisto had killed her husband, she and Xena had found their own relationship changing. She thought they loved each other, were a couple, not just friends. But revenge for some slight was not Xena's style. And Xena should not be paying so much attention to that wimpy Ulysses when Xena had fought so hard to return to her own body and to come back from the dead, come back to Gabrielle. Especially after their love shared, body and soul.
Gabrielle's thoughts were interrupted by footsteps. She looked up at Xena, who merely asked, "Are you though feeding the fish?" Gabrielle felt a rush of rage at Xena's uncaring attitude. She stared hatefully up at her companion, suddenly punching her in the stomach and walking away, not caring if Xena came after her and punished her. She dropped behind a barrel in a miserable heap, truly not caring if she lived or died.
As the ship came near the island of the Sirens, Xena tied Ulysses to the post, saying, "It is for your own good, Ulysses. I can't have you coming up and trying to steer the ship aground. You must get back to Ithaca!" With that, she strode out of the cabin and up onto the main deck.
Xena took the wheel, deftly steering the ship through the water. Her keen ears had already picked up the Sirens' singing as they tried to lure the ship to their island. Xena felt the battle lust stealing over her, relishing the feeling. This time, though, her weapon of choice was her own voice. As the Sirens' song grew louder, Xena sang a counter-song, battling to override them. Even though it was not her usual field of battle, she enjoyed it as much as her more traditional fighting.
She kept the ship on a steady heading towards Ithaca as she let her voice soar in battle. Suddenly, Ulysses appeared from his cabin and ran down the deck toward her, trying to wrest control of the wheel away from her. Xena increased the volume and fierceness of her battle song, overwhelming the sound of the Sirens until they were overcome, abruptly ceasing their song.
Ulysses snapped back to normal, the haze of the Sirens' song fading from his mind. "What happened? he asked, confused.
Xena lifted an eyebrow as she answered, "You were overcome by the Sirens' song, but my song overwhelmed their song. You have come back to your senses, Ulysses, or I hope you have. Do you feel like you can steer us to Ithaca?"
The soldier nodded slowly. "I think I can." As they traded places, he looked at her longingly, wondering what it would be like to have Xena as his wife instead of Penelope. She was a warrior princess, he was king of Ithaca. Would she be his queen? Or should they bypass Ithaca, and sail the world? And what about that pesky Gabrielle?
Ulysses felt compelled to declare his love for Xena, as if driven by an inner force, even as Penelope receded in his mind to a mere wisp of a figure. This, he thought, is a real woman! So dark and strong, so compelling, so fierce and unrelenting in battle! Every time he looked at Xena, his heart swelled with love, even as his love for Ithaca and Penelope rapidly shrank to a mere spark. "Ah, Xena, we should sail wherever the wind takes us, forget Ithaca, forget Penelope and Gabrielle, forget everyone but each other!"
"Yes," Xena said, "we should, but first, we should finish our quest to Ithaca." Xena looked into his eyes, wondering what drew her in. What would she tell Gabrielle?
Poseidon smiled from his home under the sea as the two mortals fell further under the spell he had cast. So far, his revenge was working beautifully.
Xena listened as Gabrielle stated that she would not try to get between Xena and Ulysses. "You let me go marry Perdicas. Follow your heart, Xena. If Ulysses has captured your heart, you must follow him. Don't worry about me, you have taught me well." Xena smiled at the bard. She wanted to take the younger woman in her arms and bury her face in Gabrielle's hair, but something held her back. Didn't she love Ulysses? So why did she want to hold Gabrielle so tight, to kiss her, to love her? She dismissed the thoughts abruptly, stuffing them deep inside of her.
"Land!" the three cried out. Xena helped steer the ship towards Ithaca, then laughed as she watched Gabrielle wallow in the sand. She then turned to see the conflicting emotions crossing Ulysses' face: joy, confusion, sorrow, hope. Xena put her indulgent smile on, waiting for the other two to stand up.
Ulysses was still in shock from both seeing his childhood friend ruthlessly killed and from hearing that Penelope was still alive and waiting for his return. He was both eager and reluctant to find Penelope, eager after all these years apart and reluctant because it meant losing Xena. As the trio walked along, he pondered this strange turn of events. Somehow, something did not feel right. He had battled seas, monsters and gods trying to get back to Ithaca and Penelope, yet now all he wanted was to run back to the ship and travel the world with Xena by his side. She was so strong, so vibrant, so independent. He never had looked at another woman in all these years, just counting the days until he was reunited with his wife.
Yet, he had been overwhelmed by Xena's fierce beauty and grace. He didn't even mind her having a personal bard tagging along, even if the girl was a lousy sailor. He smiled as he imagined Gabrielle telling his tales at various taverns along the way. From what Xena said, Gabrielle was not only an excellent bard, but a memorizing storyteller. Maybe this would come out on dry land.
As they approached the castle, Ulysses felt a tight knot forming in his stomach. It looked so different, yet the same. The whole island seemed smaller, yet he felt the tug of being home. He started chattering nervously, pointing out various landmarks, laughing over youthful exploits. He noticed Gabrielle soaking them up for future tales and Xena listening politely. Xena did not seem to be one for looking back, only forward, he noticed. Well, once they cleared these suitors from the castle and set things to rights, he and Xena could contemplate their future together and she would not have to look back at all.
Xena felt like a mist was lifting before her eyes as they went further inland. She recognized the feeling as the dissipating of a god's spell, coming back to her senses. Had she really kissed Ulysses? Declared her love for him? She was furious with whatever god had placed the spell on her, and angry with herself that she allowed anyone to come between her and Gabrielle, to forget this deepening love between her and the young woman, to forget the bonds of body and soul that had been forged. She forced her attention back to the task at hand. First, save Penelope, then figure out how to apologize to Gabrielle.
The trio entered the castle from the back side, scurrying underground to unused passageways. Ulysses quickly led them towards the servants' quarters, snagging serving cloaks for them. They disguised themselves, then laid out their plans to infiltrate the main hall. Gabrielle went ahead to find some trays for them to carry, but Ulysses pulled Xena back for a moment. "Xena, you know that I want you by my side forever, that I love you with all my heart," Ulysses declared.
Xena looked at him contemptuously. "Ulysses, you have a living wife. I will not be party to breaking up a marriage. I was just toying with you, now I am bored with you. I'll help you liberate the kingdom since this is what I do best. After that, go to Penelope. I'm through with you."
He stared at her, unbelieving. "But Xena, we are so perfect together! What has come over you?"
Her cold blue eyes drilled into his brain. "I can't be chained down to any one man. It was fun, but it is time for me to move forward. Now, let's go kick some butts." She abruptly turned and stalked off. He stared at her retreating figure, then sighed and followed. How could she do this to him? Well, at least he could watch her in action and keep that memory forever.
Poseidon was not happy. Xena was shaking the spell off--how could she do that so easily? He watched the mortals as they snuck into the main hall and started serving drinks. As he tried to decide what to do, Ares appeared. "Dear uncle," he grinned, "Xena is the best at eluding our spells. I swear she would defy Zeus himself if it suited her needs. Besides, she is mine, not yours. You have lost Ulysses, so find some other poor mortal to make mincemeat out of."
Poseidon glared at the handsome god of war. "I'll do what I wish, nephew. Ulysses ignored me after the fall of Troy and I must have my revenge. If Xena can help, I'll make her help."
Ares laughed at his uncle. "No god or goddess can control Xena. I gave her an edge, hoping to make her mine, my ultimate warrior. Yet, she has shaken off her old ways and decided to work for good." He stroked his beard thoughtfully, then said, "I must admit that she is much more of a challenge this way. I have tried to win her back. I probably could by getting rid of that bard, but I fear I would lose Xena altogether if Gabrielle died. Just watch, Poseidon, just watch her in action. I am still proud of her prowess as a warrior, even if I can't have her as my warlord."
Poseidon smiled unpleasantly at Ares. "You are right, nephew. I won't interfere, but I put a very strong spell on Ulysses. He will pine for Xena and ignore his kingdom, thus I will still have my revenge. He will ruin his kingdom by neglect. This will be a proper revenge for his gloating over the Trojan war." Ares just rolled his eyes and turned to watch the action.
"Any man who can string Ulysses' bow will be my husband and new king," Penelope declared. The years had finally taken her toll and she no longer believed that Ulysses would return to her. She had heard that the Trojan war was over, so he should have returned now, even if Poseidon had thrown storms in his way. She held the bow out, waiting for the first man to try. Maybe a new champion would string it, someone kind and gentle like Ulysses was when they were courting.
She nearly despaired as man after man tried to string the bow. Yet, her word on this was absolute law. No man could take her as wife and queen unless he could fulfill this requirement. Then, a commoner spoke up. "I'd like to try."
One of the other suitors growled, "You, a mere peasant? This is for proper suitors, little man."
Penelope looked at the man, making her decision. "I said any man who could string Ulysses' bow. Let the man try, it won't hurt anything. If he can string the bow, then the gods meant for him to be king." She watched as the man came up and gently took the bow from her hands.
Ulysses grasped the bow, then turned to the crowd. He concentrated on stringing the bow, which seemed harder than he remembered. His arms started trembling with the effort and he thought, I can't do this! I am not worthy to string my own bow. He was about to give up when he made one final effort. He felt the bow give just enough to allow him to string the bow. "Ulysses!" he heard Penelope exclaim. He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and he instinctively swung the bow up, grabbed an arrow from Penelope and shot through three men.
A huge fight broke out. Ulysses launched himself into the fight, seeing Xena and Gabrielle launching themselves into the fight as well. He was grateful that they would take on his fight. It was his fight, he realized as he dropped a man. His kingdom, his wife, he had to fight for them. For a moment, the spell lifted, but then he felt a tug for Xena again as she crossed his vision, beautiful fury in action.
Xena looked at the Kingdom of Ithaca one more time as the men prepared to set sail. She sensed someone beside her and whirled around to see Ulysses looking at her with love on his face. She suddenly felt irritated; didn't she tell him to stay put? She listened as Ulysses declared his love again, then she scoffed, "I told you already, you were a nice diversion, but you belong to Ithaca and Penelope. Go back, take some responsibility, grow up. Penelope waited faithfully, you have to be worthy of that faith. I don't like men who try to shirk their duty." She watched as he stared at her, shocked, then slowly turned and went back down the gangplank. She glared at him until she saw him standing next to Penelope. Penelope looked up at her husband, smiling. Xena saw Ulysses suddenly fall in love with his wife all over again.
She turned away, going down below to her quarters. As the ship set sail, she watched Gabrielle furiously scribbling, recording all the recent events. She was still embarrassed by the way she had treated Gabrielle, had allowed a mere spell to separate her from her beloved bard. Gabrielle had been the strong one, willing to let Xena go if she truly loved Ulysses, more willing than Xena had been to let Gabrielle go to marry Perdicas.
Xena started to go to Gabrielle, but was suddenly overwhelmed by the need for sleep. She stumbled into the hammock, not caring that the bard was still determinedly writing and ignoring her. The warrior princess fell into a deep sleep as soon as she had crawled into the hammock, dead to the world, falling into the realm of dreams.
Ares appeared to her in her dream, laughing as he strode toward her. "Xena, my sweet" he purred, "once again you managed to elude the gods themselves. This time, though, I am very proud of you." He reached out to caress her face, but she knocked his hand away. He laughed again, then asked, "Did you know that you disrupted Poseidon's plans for Useless? I mean Ulysses?"
Xena stared at the god, then asked warily, "What plans?"
Ares laughed as he sat down beside her in the dream room. "My dear Xena, my Uncle Poseidon decided to use you to keep Ulysses from going back home to Ithaca and Penelope. He cast a spell over the three of you, causing you and Ulysses to fall in love and Gabrielle to be a horrible sailor. He even made sure that you had to go by the Sirens. But, as I told him, all bets are off when Xena is involved. I knew that you could not stay in love with a married man, especially since you love Gabrielle so much."
Xena stared at him, not sure where this was leading. "What do you mean by this, Ares?"
"Xena, if I can't have you, I don't want any other god or goddess interfering with your life," the god of war declared. "I still hope that you will come back to me and be my ultimate warlord, but if I can't have you, I will protect you from the other gods and goddesses. And, you just would not be the same without that pesky bard. Remember, Gabrielle holds the key to your heart, much as I hate to admit it."
Xena got up and started pacing, then stopped and glared at Ares. "So, Poseidon put a spell on us? Why?"
Ares leaned back against the wall, clearly ready to spin his tale. "It seems that the Greeks started partying pretty hard after Troy fell. This was after you and Gabrielle had already left the scene. For some reason, they were supposed to pay homage to Poseidon and Athena, but they were too drunk or something. So, Uncle got mad and decided to punish the lot of them. He detoured ships, stirred up storms, that sort of thing. He has always hated Ulysses for some reason or another."
The god of war smiled, enjoying watching Xena's face as he related his uncle's treachery. "Uncle decided that Ulysses would not get back home and made you the last major obstacle in his way back to Ithaca. We all know that you are sucker for the underdog, so Poseidon decided to use you when he saw you appear on that beach, fighting with Ulysses. What better way to waylay a man than by making him fall in love with a beautiful woman?"
Xena grunted, motioning for Ares to continue, which he did with delight. "Well, my dear warrior, it naturally didn't work. Gabrielle loves you so much that she was willing to give you up for that wimp." He grinned, dark eyes sparkling with mirth. "I hate to admit it, but I do admire your spirit, Xena. I get a kick out of watching your moral conflicts, your trying to use your warrior skills to bring peace. I will never stop pursuing you, but you are much more interesting with Gabrielle by your side, my dear." Ares stood up and walked over to his chosen warrior princess. "No mortal has affected me like you have. I got to make love to your body, but it just wasn't the same with Callisto in it. Now, go back and patch things up with your little bard." He kissed her cheek, then disappeared.
Gabrielle looked up from her writing, stretching to work the kinks out of her neck. She looked over at Xena, who was sleeping restlessly in a hammock. The whole episode with Ulysses seemed unreal now, even as she recorded it on her scroll. Besides, it was confusing for Xena to fall for a man when they had declared their love for each other. Xena had been so sensitive, had take such good care of her after she had lost Perdicas, had taken her to the cave to heal. They had grown so close, had made love for the first time, and she really thought that they were bonded, not just friends.
She bent back over her scroll, carefully blotting the ink dry and put the scroll away. Xena was still asleep, which was unusual, for Xena rarely took naps, especially ones that lasted several hours. Gabrielle left the room to go to the kitchen to get their supper, as her appetite had finally returned. She carried their supper back to their quarters to find Xena awake and sitting quietly at the table, staring out through the porthole at the sky.
Xena turned her head as Gabrielle came in and set down the supper tray, smiling briefly. Gabrielle kissed Xena's forehead before she sat down at the table started to reach for a roll only to have Xena grab her hand. "Gabrielle, I...well, um, I'm sorry about ignoring you earlier." Xena squeezed Gabrielle's hand briefly, dropping it as she mumbled, "Never mind, just eat your food." Gabrielle looked at her quizzically, but Xena said quietly, "Eat if you can. Thanks for bringing supper." Xena then reached out and filled her plate.
"Xena, is there something you want to talk about?" Gabrielle asked hesitantly. Xena shook her head no as she started methodically eating. Gabrielle was puzzled by Xena's actions, but applied herself to her supper. She was still wary about food and the ship, but her stomach seemed to be handling it just fine now. They ate silently, with Xena stealing glances at Gabrielle, then quickly bending back to her food. Gabrielle caught her gaze once, wondering why Xena seemed so shy and confused. They finally finished and Gabrielle gathered up the dishes, taking them back to the kitchen.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. Gabrielle did not get sick during the entire journey and Xena kept thinking about what Ares had told her. They finally made it back to land, going back to the inn where Xena had left Argo. "Xena, can we stay here tonight? After you stalked back to the ship, Penelope handed me a bag of dinars to repay us for bringing Ulysses home."
Xena thought about how nice it was to sleep in a bed instead of on the ground and agreed. "You're probably right, Gabrielle, go make the arrangements." Gabrielle went to talk to the innkeeper, leaving Xena alone with her thoughts again.
After a strained dinner, Xena abruptly declared, "I am sleepy. I'm going up to go to bed." She left quickly, avoiding Gabrielle's determined "We have to talk" expression. She entered the room and stripped off her armor and leathers, briefly washing off the road dust and slipping on her shift, diving under the covers before the bard could catch her and talk.
Gabrielle entered the room, locking the door behind her, then looking at Xena curled under the covers. She quietly washed and dried off, wondering why Xena went to bed so quickly. Since they had left Ithaca, Xena had avoided any conversation about their recent journey, but made sure that Gabrielle was right by her side all the times. Xena is never this unsure of herself, Gabrielle mused. She changed into her shift, then turned down the lamp, and crawled in bed beside the warrior. At least Xena was still letting her sleep with her.
Gabrielle laid there, staring up at the ceiling, thinking of everything that had happened in the last few months. It had become so natural to share a bed, to kiss Xena's cheek goodnight, to feel her arms around her as they dropped off to sleep. The progression from companions to lovers had been natural too, as Gabrielle recognized that her grief for Perdicas was more the grief of losing a childhood friend than the loss of a husband. I think I really fell in love with Xena when she rescued my village she admitted to herself.
But Gabrielle was too restless to sleep, so she finally got up and turned up the lamp a bit, taking out her quill and a fresh sheet of parchment. Before she could unstop the ink jar, she heard Xena whisper, "Gabrielle? Where are you?"
"Over here, at the table," Gabrielle replied, laying her quill down.
Xena sat up, tossing the covers back, looking at her. "Please come back to bed, Gabrielle," Xena whispered plaintively. Gabrielle sat a moment longer, replying the sentence in her head. Yes, Xena had really asked her to come back to bed. She stowed her writing gear again and turned down the lamp before rejoining Xena in bed.
As Gabrielle crawled back under the covers, Xena pulled her into her arms, burying her nose in Gabrielle's hair, sniffing deeply of the scented water she had used on it. "Gabrielle, I'm so sorry I was insensitive on the ship," she whispered in Gabrielle's ear finally ready to explain her actions. "Ares said that Poseidon had put a spell on us all."
Gabrielle pulled back, looking quizzically at Xena. Xena sighed, sitting up and rearranging the pillows so they could lean against the wall. "Ares spoke to me in a dream, telling me that Poseidon was trying to take revenge on Ulysses for not offering proper sacrifices at the end of the Trojan War." She quickly explained the rest of the events, relating what Ares had told her. "I thought it seemed strange a time or two, but I did not think, I just acted. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how to apologize to you."
"Well," said Gabrielle slowly, "I did think it odd that you did not care how sick I was. Even though you usually are gruff with me, you at least give me the right herbs and tell me to hurry up and get well." She grinned up at Xena, trying to lighten the mood. Xena slowly smiled back at her, then decided to apologize with her lips.
Gabrielle was surprised by the suddenness and intensity of the kiss, and it lit a fire in her belly. Before Xena could react, Gabrielle kissed back harder, taking Xena's head in her hands and pulling them back onto the bed. When they finally broke the kiss, Gabrielle rolled so she was on top of Xena. She took advantage of the situation, determined to make Xena forget Ulysses, determined to show Xena that she had forgotten her dearly departed husband, that she only loved Xena.
The warrior was taken off guard, but felt an welcome answering desire. This is what Ares meant, she realized, nothing could truly break their love, even spells by the gods themselves. She responded to Gabrielle's kiss and bold caresses, desire and love flooding through her very soul, but she stopped, scared that Gabrielle did not feel the same way. "Are you sure about this, Gabrielle? Do you want me, even though I was so cruel to you?"
Gabrielle's face shone with love and desire as she answered, "More than anything or anyone, Xena, I love you. Our time together in the cave was no fluke. Now shut up and kiss me, you fool." Xena grinned as she bent down to comply with Gabrielle's wishes, and showed the bard just how much she loved her.
Time passed as the women explored every inch of each other's bodies, searing each square inch in their brains and in their senses. The women took turns with the lead, each concentrating on their shared pleasure, and on what pleasured the other woman. They had to make up for lost time, for lost opportunities, to deepen their bond with each other. They explored and climaxed, finally sated with love expressed, falling into the first untroubled sleep in many weeks.
Ares and Athena watched the couple from the heights of Olympus. Ares finally turned to Athena, admitting, "I cannot stand in the way of true love. I will still test and try Xena, but I cannot take away her happiness." Athena looked at him, wondering at his turn of heart.
"Say it again, Xena."
"I love you Gabrielle, more than anyone I have ever loved."
"Gods, I thought I would never hear anyone say that."
"Well, I do, Miss Bard. Now, would you kindly hand me the sponge so I can scrub your back?" Gabrielle handed the sponge and turned her back to Xena, feeling Xena scrubbing her back thoroughly. Having the dinars to stay in an inn and have a real bath was pure bliss.
They finally stepped out of the bath and dried off, flushed from the heat of the water and the activities prior to their bath. Gabrielle had never seen Xena look so much at peace, so relaxed.
Xena caught her gaze, laughing and saying, "Okay, we delayed once this morning, my little sex maniac, but we must get going, we have adventures awaiting up the road." Gabrielle laughed in delighted agreement as she helped the warrior fasten her armor, but playfully letting her hands wander over the leather, cupping the breasts. "Oops!" the bard said as she grinned mischievously. Xena rolled her eyes as she moved away to finish packing their belongings. She glanced around the room, then looked at the bed, feeling a jolt of passion, but pushed it down quickly. They could not afford the room for another night and if they did that again...
Gabrielle started to pick up a pack when Xena grabbed her and hugged her tight. Gabrielle melted in the embrace, not even minding the armor pressed against her face. She pulled back, still in Xena's arms, saying, "What was that for?"
Xena grinned goofily, saying, "I still can't believe that I nearly let you go. I also can't believe that you stayed, or that I nearly forgot how much I love you." Impulsively, she knelt down on one knee, holding Gabrielle's hands in hers. "Gabrielle, I know I can be a pain to live with, but would you stay with me now and always? I don't ever want leave you."
Gabrielle smiled down at Xena. "Xena, I have loved you for so long. You waited for me to come to my senses, killed Callisto for me, came back from the Underworld for me, and now you want to know if I want to stay with you?" She pulled the other woman up, cupping Xena's dear face in her hands. "Xena, I love you with all my soul, now and forever." She kissed Xena tenderly to seal the vow.
"Good. Now we really do have to leave." Xena said, suddenly all business again. The women shouldered their belongings, walking out the door, on to their next adventure, together...now and forever.