Subtext: Quite simply, yes! This story contains scenes of love between two women. If this offends you then read no further and fare thee well.
Comments are welcome at TeekoTwo@aol.com. People who don't share this vision of Xena and Gabrielle and are libel to be nasty about it need not get in touch. Life is too short and besides, why read this anyway if that's how you feel?! Hope the rest of you enjoy it!
Dedicated to my Pocket Warrior on one of many of our anniversaries. C - this is for you. March 1998.
by Brit Bard.
"Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.
Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!
Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth;
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say: My love! why sufferest thou?
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day."
How our dreams alter given time, Gabrielle thought as she watched the flames of the fire burn orange in the dusk's fading light. The little girl who left Potedia behind had dreamt of adventures and excitement, anything but the slow death she'd been experiencing living in that community. I dreamed of being a bard of renown, her stories spread far and wide. Then I became an Amazon, an Amazon Princess no less, then Queen. Gabrielle blinked at the thought. Queen. Does an Amazon Queen beat a Warrior Princess? She smiled slightly to herself at the memory of asking that of Xena and the Warrior's calm reply, "Do you really want to find out?". From a bard to an Amazon Princess, in my wildest fantasies I could never have dreamt that up. Gabrielle spread her hands out to warm them on the fire. What are my dreams now, I wonder? Her eyes lifted to watch the steady scraping of a sword being sharpened as Xena performed her nightly task on her weapon. I fear my dreams are too fanciful for even me, Gabrielle thought ruefully and sighed. The sound escaped her by accident and caught the attention of the woman opposite.
"Why the sigh?" Xena asked, looking up from her sword and fixing Gabrielle with a blue stare that caused the amazon to flush with something other than the heat from the fire.
"Just thinking. It's a bard thing!" Gabrielle tried not to let her melencholoy spill out. Xena was too astute and too determined to find solutions to every problem. Gabrielle wanted to keep her thoughts to herself a while, to see if she could solve them herself. If there was a solution to how she felt.
Gabrielle tried not to stare at the Warrior, she focused instead on the fire as if hoping her problems could be lost in the flames. Fire was where all the trouble started! She thought ruefully, remembering Britannia and Dahok's flames pulling her closer to certain doom. She thought of Hope and regret pierced through her chest. She closed her eyes tightly to keep at bay the tears for her daughter who had weilded evil like Gabrielle weilded her quill. Was I wrong to let her live? Gabrielle wrung her hands then stared down at them. She'd already lost her blood innocence, but a second death at her hands had been no easier to bear. But to have had to kill her own daughter....? Gabrielle's eyes studied her hands, she knew they were clean, she'd only washed them earlier in the stream, but she still expected to see them covered in blood. Her common sense told her that her hands were unmarked but the taint she felt remained to haunt her. Taunt her even, the great peace-keeping Gabrielle, who killed then brought forth an evil to the world and who had to poison her own child to stop that evil spreading. She bit back a groan that boiled in her chest and protectively wrapped her arms tighter around her middle, hoping to keep the anguish inside.
Gabrielle's head snapped up at Xena's gentle inquiry. She tried to smile but felt the action freeze on her face at the concern in Xena's eyes. How can she still care? Gabrielle screamed silently. She shook her head in Xena's general direction while her thoughts were running amok inside her head. Everything's changed. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I'd come so close to losing the one woman who means more to me than anyone or anything else. Gabrielle swallowed hard. I have come so close to losing her, losing my best friend. She had to smile slightly, By the gods, she nearly killed me! Gabrielle sighed again. "What a mess."
Xena stared at the bard. "Are you talking aloud or making a comment about our camp?" she asked.
Gabrielle shrugged. "I'm just wondering if the gods are finished going through their 'Aggrivate an Amazon' phase."
Xena smiled. "Reality's a bitch, ain't it?"
"Reality is a breeze when compared to Illusia." Gabrielle replied. She saw Xena's face lose it's humour. "I'm sorry, Xena...I..."
"No, we need to talk about whatever touches us. We've kept too many secrets from each other lately. It doesn't help to keep things quiet, they just fester like all wounds left untreated."
"What's bothering you, Gabrielle?" Xena laid aside her sword and gave the bard her undivided attention.
"Some things you can't beat back with a staff, Xena. I feel like I'm being battered inside and out and I have no defensive moves to stop the onslaught."
Xena got up and moved to sit beside her friend. She put a comforting arm around Gabrielle's shoulders and drew the younger woman to her.
"You're not fighting alone, Gabrielle, surely you know that."
"Xena, you can't ride in and defeat all my hydra's for me. Sometimes the greatest battles are fought and won inside of yourself."
Xena pulled Gabrielle in tighter to her side. Gabrielle rested her head on the Warrior's shoulder.
"Those are wise words."
"Then why don't I feel so wise?" Gabrielle argued. "Why do I feel that just as I was beginning to grown up and become more mature, I end up doing the most stupidest things I could have ever done!"
Xena raised a questioning eyebrow. Gabrielle couldn't meet her eyes, that ice blue stare could see into her soul and right now Gabrielle didn't want Xena seeing into there.
"I nearly lost my best friend, " the bard whispered and felt Xena pull her in closer, enfolding her into a strong embrace.
"But you didn't. We didn't let that happen."
"But we nearly did. There was so much hate..."
"Didn't you once tell me there's only one way to end the circle of hatred and that's through love? We proved it, Gabrielle, we proved that hate could be defeated."
"If love is strong enough." Gabrielle said quietly.
"Exactly." Xena squeezed Gabrielle in agreement.
"Love is a powerful thing," Gabrielle began, taking her courage in both hands. "It can strengthen a bond between two people." She felt Xena nod against her hair, could feel the Warrior's breath tickle her ear. Gabrielle shivered in reaction and Xena tightened her grip around the young woman's shoulders. "It can form allegences between the most curious of couples." She heard Xena's soft snort of laughter and had to smile herself. "And it can alter a heart for life."
"You're very philosophical this evening," Xena commented. She drew back to fix the bard with a gaze. "You need to go beat a few trees with your staff, then your mind won't work overtime." She added, "And then you might sleep at night."
Gabrielle started. She hadn't realised Xena had been aware she wasn't sleeping. Xena's face was ironic.
"You didn't think I don't recognise when the sound of your soft snoring no longer lulls me to sleep? You haven't slept properly for days now."
Gabrielle rubbed at her eyes. "I can't seem to stop the dreams," she blurted and could have kicked herself for doing so.
Xena cocked her head to one side, she brushed a hand over Gabrielle's golden hair. "Nightmares huh? They'll ease in time. I've had some too."
Gabrielle shrugged a shoulder. "Maybe," she murmured.
"Do you want to talk about them? Maybe it will make them go away if you let them out into the open?"
Gabrielle began to clench her teeth so hard her jaw ached. What do I say to her? That my dreams aren't monsters or even the most recent events? But of her, of Xena's hands on my body. Not in hatred but in love. She swallowed hard.
"Is ...is it Hope you dream of?" Tentatively Xena prodded. Gabrielle shook her head. "Illusia?" Another shake. "The Temple?"
Each question Gabrielle shook her head no. Xena frowned at her.
"What is keeping you awake? Some great demon conjured up by too much nutbread that still won't digest?" Xena managed to tease a smile from Gabrielle's serious face. "Come on, Gabrielle, tell me. No secrets, remember?"
Gabrielle's soft eyes met Xena's fully for the first time that evening. "No secrets?"
"Not any more. Now, what troubles you in your sleep?"
Gabrielle pulled back from Xena's hold. "You." She watched Xena's face pale and hastened to reassure her friend, her beloved Warrior. Xena's words stopped her.
"You know I'd never hurt you, Gabrielle. I give you my word that I would never again....."
Gabrielle halted the Warrior's words with a hand upon her lips. The bard delighted in their feel beneath her fingers. "It's not in hatred you come to me in my dreams."
Xena ooh-ed very softly into Gabrielle's palm. "Then in what form do I appear?" she asked gently when Gabrielle removed her hand.
The words were softly spoken, whispered so as not to break their beauty.
Xena lifted the bard's face up with a gentle finger. "Gabrielle, look at me. Is it because I frighten you in this guise that you feel it's better you never close your eyes at night? For fear of what I'll do?"
Gabrielle vehemently shook her head. "No. Never! Even at our darkest hour I trusted you with my life, Xena. To do with as you wished. How could I ever fear love when it instead is offered?"
Xena remained silent for a moment. Her forehead crinkled in a frown. "So why aren't you sleeping, if these dreams don't disturb you?"
"I never said they didn't disturb me." Gabrielle raised soft green eyes to Xena's blue. "I'm afraid by my reactions to them."
"They're just dreams, Gabrielle, they're not of reality."
"But I wish they were."
There. It was said. Gabrielle stared back into the fire, feeling like she'd thrown all caution into the flames and was about to watch them devour her senses too.
Xena's voice was the gentlest she'd ever heard it. Gabrielle closed her eyes at the tone, was a rejection about to follow couched so softly in such a tender voice?
"I usually share my nights with dreams of who I was and what I did before you came into my life."
Gabrielle looked up at Xena and saw the remembered horror in her friend's eyes. The blue grew in intencity as they burned into Gabrielle's. "Share your dreams with me."
Gabrielle opened her mouth, first in surprise and then finally to speak. Xena shook her head.
" Share your dreams, show me what you dreamed of." The Warrior's voice was husky, deepened by a flame of passion that ignited in her eyes. Gabrielle was momentarily speechless. Xena grinned at her. "Don't tell me you wake up before the fun starts?!"
"I just...I didn't think you'd want...me...after all...."
"Experience and time add flavour to all things, Gabrielle. Maybe we needed to be dragged through Hades before we recognised the Elyssian we share together."
"And you say you're no good with words!" Gabrielle brushed her hand against Xena's cheek lovingly.
"I'm better with actions!" The Warrior said meaningfully.
"Then make my dreams come true." The Bard replied.
Xena pulled Gabrielle down to their shared bedrolls. "So, tell me. How do these dreams start?" She asked, settling herself half over Gabrielle's supine body.
"We're lying beside our campfire,"
"One fire burning bright. Check!"
"We've been looking at the stars,"
Xena looked over her shoulder and scanned the heavens. "All stars present and accounted for. Check!"
"We're lying side by side,"
"I'm not moving." Xena rumbled, her hand beginning to roam over Gabrielle's arm and shoulder.
"You roll onto me and ...kiss me." Gabrielle finished in a rush, not sure whether her breath was ragged from admitting her dream or from the feelings Xena's hand was eliciting.
"Kissing." Xena's face darkened with a sly smile. "Check." She lowered her lips to brush over Gabrielle's soft mouth. The bard was instantly reminded of another kiss she'd received from Xena. She silently thanked Autolycus for 'helping them'. Gabrielle felt a warm tongue gently demanding entrance into her mouth. Gabrielle gave it with no argument. You were a help, Autolycus, but oh! Reality is so much better! She let Xena's tongue explore her mouth, felt the warm wetness caress her own tongue. Gabrielle trembled and a moan escaped in a shaky gasp. Xena pulled back slowly, she licked her lips as if savouring Gabrielle's taste. The bard felt herself blush and she watched Xena's eyes widen in delight.
"Care to tell me what happens next in your dream or can I just make it up as I go along?" Xena whispered wickedly, nuzzling a tender bard ear. Gabrielle shivered beneath her.
"You make love to me with such passion that I am bound to you for life."
Xena gave her a mock surprised look. "Bound, eh? Whips, or ropes?"
Gabrielle gave her a wonderfully sly grin. "That's a whole other dream!"
Xena was still laughing when she covered Gabrielle's mouth again with her own. Gabrielle wrapped her arms about the Warrior's broad back and smoothed her fingers over the soft leather. She soon tired of it's obstruction, stopping her from feeling Xena's skin. The bard began tugging at the fastenings. Xena sat up swiftly and removed the garment in swift and sure movements. Her eyes sparkled at Gabrielle's look of awe.
"It's nothing you haven't seen before." she pointed out.
"There's a whole world of difference between looking and touching in bathing and looking and touching as a prelude to love."
Gabrielle began to undo her own clothing, she unlaced her green top, knowing that Xena was watching every move that bared the bard before her. Gabrielle wriggled out of her skirt. Finally both women were naked and able to appreciate the beauty of the other without any hinderance of clothes. Xena eased herself down to straddle Gabrielle's hips, she bent down to kiss a pathway from Gabrielle's face, down her neck, across her shoulders and down toward her straining breasts. Gabrielle's back arched up to meet Xena's mouth as it closed over a nipple. Xena's tongue curled it's way around the hard little pebble and then licked in swathes across Gabrielle's breast, bathing her. Gabrielle clutched at the Warrior's shoulders, unsure whether she wanted to pull the Warrior woman closer or push her away so she could recover her breath. Xena moved to the other breast, sucking, nibbling, teasing the flesh until it ached for more. Xena's hands wandered over Gabrielle's pale skin, caressing the muscles that tightened as her hands passed over them. She searched for hidden pleasures and both women gasped when Xena's fingers finally slipped between Gabrielle's legs and found there an aching wetness. Gabrielle opened heavy lidded eyes to look into white-hot blue.
"I love you, Xena." she affirmed, needing to tell the truth in this of all things.
"Love you too, Gabrielle."
"Promise me this isn't a dream?" Gabrielle's voice was child-like in it's plea.
"It's no dream, not unless we're both dreaming it."
"It's not something cooked up by Illusia?" For a second Gabrielle was afraid. Xena quickly soothed her, spreading kisses into the golden-red hair.
"No, this is reality. You and I. No tricks, no illusions." She pressed her hand deeper into Gabrielle's folds and ran her fingers through the moisture. "Just something beyond both our wildest dreams finally coming true."
Gabrielle stilled Xena's hand for a second. "You've dreamt of me?"
Xena's smile was heartfelt. "I've had many a night spent in the realms of passion inspired by a certain Amazon Princess."
"And you didn't wake me?!" Gabrielle was indignant.
"You're awake now!" Xena brushed a finger across the nub of Gabrielle's passion and watched the bard arch into her hand. Xena roughly smoothered Gabrielle's mouth with hungry lips. "I'll wager you were this chatty in your dreams too! You really need to learn that there are better activities for an active tongue!"
Xena's finger pressed against Gabrielle's opening, it slipped in easily, followed swiftly by a second. Xena moaned at the heat that welcomed her fingers. "So wet," she whispered and pulled her fingers out slightly only to push back in again. Gabrielle's moan filled the air. Xena set up a rhythm that Gabrielle eagerly followed, the bard moved beneath her in a dance that only Xena knew the tune for and she played Gabrielle well. The bard's muscles began to clench as a pinnicle was about to be reached and Xena quickly withdrew her fingers and moved down the bard's body to place her mouth at the centre of Gabrielle's pleasure. Gabrielle shouted out as fingers were replaced by a tongue that swept through her like a flame intent on leaving nothing unscorched. Her hips found a new rhythm and she let Xena take her beyond any dream she could ever have imagined. Muscles taunt and straining, Gabrielle climaxed and sent her cries up into the night. Xena held on tight to the bucking bard and soothed her down gently back to earth once the fierceness had calmed down inside her lover. Xena stayed for a long time between Gabrielles legs, savouring the bard's scent like a woman who had been starved for too long. Finally she moved to take Gabrielle into an all emcompassing hold and rocked the boneless woman to her chest.
"Wow." Gabrielle breathed into Xena's neck. "My dreams were severly lacking!"
Xena hugged Gabrielle tighter. "You are beautiful, my bard."
"Xena, I have another confession concerning my dreams."
"They weren't always so one-sided!"
Xena laughed and looked down at a fastly recovering Gabrielle. The bard pushed Xena back with purposeful force. She kissed Xena with a passion that left the Warrior following after the bard's lips when Gabrielle pulled away.
"Tell me your dreams, Xena. Let's see if I can make them come true."