Virgel had taken the poor man the cannibals had driven to near madness to the nearest settlement. They were now safe from the cannibals at an encampment that was set up earlier in the day. Gabrielle was clean and in her sleeping shift. Xena had bathed and was in her sleeping shift as well. Xena knew that Virgel would have to stay at the settlement overnight because it would be too late for him to get back here before its too dark. So it would be just the two soul mates alone for the night.
Xena was sitting by the fire sharpening her sword and Gabrielle was trying to write in one of her scrolls. Xena was glad to see her bard was back, she missed the sight of her love with a quill in hand.
Gabrielle looked up and smiled at her friend, "Yes?"
"Come here, Closer please. I need to talk to you about something."
Gabrielle tucked her scrolls into her bag and sat by her friend. Xena put down the sword and sharpening stone and put loving arms around the smaller woman. Gabrielle snuggled against the warrior and Xena gently stroked her hair and felt herself choke up. She needed desperately to talk about what happened in that cave. She was finding it hard to start.
"What is it Xena?" Gabrielle asked gently caressing her soul mates cheek.
"Um....In the cave, When you were hurt....you became delirious, You didn't know me or your surroundings. During that time...You...uh...started to call out for Hope.
Gabrielle sat up in shock, "Oh my...Xena..."Xena gently brought her back to her shaking her head, She put her lips against Gabrielle's. Tears were falling from her eyes and she felt a huge lump in her throat but she continued. "Shhh....I ....need....we need to discuss this...to finally clear the air. Um....You said you loved your baby girl and you'd never do anything to hurt her. You said I would try to take her and that you had to go....I knew all that, My Love, I...I'm so sorry for my part...I know you still miss your baby....I feel like I did this..."
"No," Xena felt Gabrielle dry her tears that kept falling down her cheeks and stroked her hair gently. "Xena, Dahok did this. Not you. Hope was everything you said she was...all I could see was the baby...my baby....I couldn't see the demon because she was so beautiful. Xena, I never blamed you. Never. I blamed me..."
"No!" Xena shook her head violently, "There is no reason for you to blame yourself. If I hadn't been so obsessed with Caesar you never would of gone into that damn temple. You never would of gone through any of this. I wish I never heard of Caesar. I wish never took you to Britain. I wish you could of remained the innocent you were when you followed me..."
"I don't. I am glad I am who I am. It is hard for me to go through all this...trauma...this pain...but I would never ever want to stay behind. I only want to be with you. I love you so very much..."
"I love you too....I never, ever want to hurt you again."
They held each other quietly, tears pouring down both their cheeks. Xena looked into Gabrielle's eyes and gently kissed her cheek. "You have the most beautiful red rimmed green eyes I have ever seen in my life." She gently kissed each eye and then her nose and then a tender loving kiss to her mouth.
"Well you have the most startling red rimmed sky blue eyes I have ever seen." Gabrielle murmured as she began to gently suck an elegant earlobe. Xena stretched out her neck enjoying the feel of her lovers lips against her warm skin. This was the healing they needed. Now they needed the comfort of each others love. Xena knew that the pain would always be there but they're love was now stronger. She suddenly felt a
surge of need and flipped so Gabrielle was now beneath her. She looked deeply into her soulmates eyes, "Thank you."
"For forgiving me. Loving me..."
"I forgave you a long time ago and I will always love you. Your my heart as I am yours..."
Xena nodded and started to kiss and nibble her way down the beautiful body beneath her. "Forever," She said breathlessly against hot skin.
"Forever, " Gabrielle said with equal passion as they fell under the spell of their eternal bond.