Disclaimer; I am borrowing the characters from Xena to work some issues from the episode, Between The Lines. A few little loose ends that I needed to work out after I saw it. I have no claim on the girls I just asked them if they wanted to play and they said yes. There is no violence; there is a loving same sex relationship. I'd like to thank Larisa for suffering through another tale. Enjoy. J
They were encamped outside the village where the horrible fight with Alti had happened in the Village Square. Xena had gone to get some firewood and Gabrielle was preparing the fish that they had caught a little earlier. Gabrielle smiled as she watched the fish simmer to just the right color. She pulled her pack closer and pulled out a small mirror from a side pocket. She looked carefully at her newly shorn hair from different angles with the mirror.
Xena returned to their camp and stopped in her tracks. She watched as Gabrielle examined her hair. She stood at the perimeter of their camp hidden by a tree her arms full of freshly cut wood with tears falling down her cheeks.
This is all my fault. All her beautiful hair gone in an instant. I should have thought of something else. Damn, I am such an idiot! Thought the warrior as she tried desperately to get control of her emotions before she joined Gabrielle for dinner.
Gabrielle sensed the presence of her soulmate. She turned around toward the tree and when she saw pain filled eyes with tears falling she rushed to be by her side saying, "Xena? What's wrong?"
Xena dropped the wood and gathered the smaller woman in a tight embrace whispering, "I'm sorry Gabrielle. I am so sorry?"
Gabrielle pulled back enough so she could look into the upset woman's face. "What are you talking about? Why are you apologizing?"
Soft delicate strokes could be felt through the freshly cut blonde hair as Xena wrapped small tendrils of hair around her long fingers. She then gently pulled a longer piece till it was visible from the corner of the green eyes, "This," whispered Xena. "I should have thought something else. Anything else. I was just so scared that I acted rashly?all I wanted to do was save you from her clutches?"
"You did." Said Gabrielle as she dried the tears with her fingers and kissed the warrior on the cheek. "You did save me. I know I would have died in that square if you hadn't thrown your chakram when you did. The pain of those nails in my mind would have destroyed me if you hadn't acted quickly. You saved me just like you always do?"
"Thank you," said Xena laying her head against the top of soft blonde hair. She smelled the sandalwood the barber in the village used and decided she liked it. "I know?but I feel so bad about your loss. I know how you love your hair and I?"
"I'm ok?really, I am. Um, do you still?am I still?Never mind," said the bard completely embarrassed. She buried her face against the warm neck hoping to hide the blush of her own skin.
Xena pulled back again and lifted the little chin with her finger till she could see the embarrassed face of the woman she loved. She smiled tenderly and said softly, "Are you kidding? You're beautiful. In fact you glow. I loved the long hair but I think the way barber cut your hair is very, very sexy?"
"Really?" Asked the shocked blonde.
"Yep, I think you look incredible this way. I really would like nothing more then to?um?.well I think you look beautiful." Now the warrior was embarrassed.
"Nothing more then to what? What would you like to do?"
"It's not exactly a sensitive thought, Love."
A blushed started up Gabrielle's neck as she realized what Xena meant. She moved closer and softly caressed a cheek that responded immediately to the soft touch. "What do you want, Xena?" She gently kissed along the neckline making the blush deepen beneath the tan of the warrior.
Xena's heart beat had been beating fast now it was beating so wildly she was afraid it might burst through. Her whole body became a flame of need as she swept the smaller woman into her arms and carried her to their bedrolls whispering in her ear, "I want you My Bard, I want you in the worst way. I love you and I want to show you just how much, right now," Her voice was harsh with desire but her movements were all gentle and tender. Once they were settled she pulled Gabrielle close and kissed her passionately.
They explored each other's mouths till they ran out of breath then they pulled back and gulped in air. Slightly dizzy Gabrielle whispered, "All this passion because of my chopped off hair?"
Xena smiled wickedly and said, "No, you make me hot just by smiling at me, I just?"
"I'm glad you forgive me."
"I told you there is nothing to forgive," Gabrielle pulled the taller woman closer and kissed her deeply. When they pulled back again she asked quietly, "Um, what about the firewood?"
"I'll get it later, I'm hot enough right now with out any help from the outside," Said the warrior as she quickly removed the Bard's Sari.
The Bard's fingers were expertly removing the Warrior's armor and leathers as she confessed, "Yeah, me too."
*** *** *** ****
They were deeply cuddled in each other's arms. Xena's was gently running her fingers through the pretty hair. Enjoying how bits of it caught the moonlight and seemed to glow around her loves head like an angel.
"Your never going to wear that outfit again are you?"
Xena chuckled and said, "Nope." Leaning down to kiss the bard on her nose.
Gabrielle giggled and shook her head; "I thought so. If I told you I thought you looked really hot in it would that influence you at all?"
Xena tilted her head and looked into the appraising green eyes with amusement. "Yes, what you think does influence me. I'll tell you what, I'll keep it to wear on special occasions like you and me in an inn all alone for say?dinner?" Xena then started to kiss along the bard's neckline up toward one of her little ears.
"Mmmm, that's not a bad compromise. I'd get to take it off you too, right?"
"Only you?"said the warrior as she pulled the earlobe into her mouth and gently began to suck it.
"Um?Oh?goooood," muttered the bard forgetting everything as Xena began to nibble on her ear and the warm strong hands began to explore the bards breast. Gabrielle gave up trying to think and decided to enjoy the sensations ripping though her body as the hands started to explore below her stomach.
*** *** *** ***
Gabrielle had finished washing up from breakfast and found Xena sharpening her sword with a far off expression on her face.
The Warrior looked up and smiled at her Bard, "Hi, do you want some help with the pots and pans?"
"What's wrong?" Asked Gabrielle ignoring the offer knowing it was the Warrior's way to avoid talking about herself.
"Nothing?Here let me handle this at least," Said Xena taking the frying pan from Bard and began to dry it off efficiently.
Gabrielle took the pan out of the Warrior's hands and put it in the pack. She then took one of her Warrior's hands led her to a log. She pulled the Warrior beside her and then said firmly, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing really. I was just thinking about yesterday?"
"If this is about my hair?"
Xena smiled and caressed her loves cheek shaking her head, "No, you made it charmingly clear that you forgive me for chopping it off like I did. It was?.I was thinking about that look into our future lives."
"What about it?"
"How am I to become "The Mother of Peace" in that life when I was "The Destroyer of Nations," in this one?"
"I don't know. But if you think about how much you've changed just in the time I've known you in this lifetime is it so far fetch that you can be reborn in the next as a?."
"Well you have to know evil to fight evil. You said that was the lesson you learned when you died in Cirra and came back to me."
"Thanks to you I was able to come back but?" Xena sighed and brought her arms around Gabrielle's waist bringing her closer. Her expression was pure confusion. It was clear that this upset all logic for the Warrior. "Gabrielle, you of all people know me. I have slipped many times off my path of the Greater Good. Who says something won't happen that I will tumble completely off it? Then what? Poof goes that life. And all those people I saved as Mother of Peace would die all because I can't discipline myself enough?"
"Hey! Stop that. You have never slipped that far?"
"No, because you were always there to help me. Maybe?"
"Maybe I should consider hanging up my sword."
Gabrielle pulled back and looked into the tear-filled blue eyes with compassion. "No, I can't see that. As much as I would like that for you I don't think its part of your personality to stand by when others need your help. You will always want to fight the bad guys and help the innocent. If we follow a peaceful path you wouldn't be able to do that?um could you?"
"I don't know?I?" The warriors face was full of tears as she tried to battle herself.
"Don't worry about me, Xena?I'd do what you wanted me to?"
"NO! That's exactly what I don't want you to do. I want you to follow your heart. Where ever your heart leads you I'd be proud of you. You are such a good soul and could do so much good. No, My Bard your not the problem here. I am. I'm all messed up. Part of me wants to hang up the damn thing and the other needs to follow it because I know that's how I can do the most good. I feel so lost. I?"
Gabrielle brought Xena into a tight hug. She held her close and stroked her hair till she felt her love calm down. Then she pulled back and gently dried the tears, "Xena this is not a decision that you need to make now."
Xena smiled and kissed her bard tenderly on the lips. She nodded and leaned her head on her loves shoulder saying softly, "I know we have all the time in the world."