"She's going with us."

"No, she's going with us."

"Who's going with who?" Gabrielle's voice interrupted the two warriors standing outside of the healer's tent.

Andrus stopped glaring at Ephiny and turned his dark look on the bard. "Xena. We'll be done here in a day or two and she'll need somewhere to recover where she won't have you Amazons trying to kill her every two seconds. So, she's going back to Andoria with us."

Ephiny flinched but held her ground. "That's absurd, Andrus! She's the Queen's Champion, and she's coming back to the Amazon village with us. That's the end of it."

This time, it was a deep growl that interrupted.

"I'm not going anywhere with either of you."

They all turned to see Xena standing in the mouth of the tent using a long spear to support her good leg.

Gabrielle was at her side in an instant. "Xena! What are you doing up? You shouldn't be on that leg!"

The warrior shrugged as she looked down at the bard. "It's okay, Gabrielle. I'm fine. It's time I was up and about, anyway."

Green eyes narrowed as the small woman took a step back and brought her hands to her hips, locking eyes with her tall friend. "Xena, it's only been three days, for Zeus' sake!"

The warrior lips quirked into a grin as she shrugged her shoulders. "I heal fast."

As the bard rolled her eyes, Andrus spoke up. "Not that fast, Xena. Even you need time to recover from wounds like yours. So, why not come back with us. As a soon-to-be-honored hero of Andoria, I can promise you a soft bed, servants to wait on you hand and foot, not to mention great wine!" He winked before nodding towards Ephiny. "And you won't have to watch your back every minute."

The Amazon stiffened and she glared at the General for a moment longer before switching to the warrior, her voice now taking on a more formal note. "Xena, it would be considered bad manners, even by Amazon standards, to kill someone who just helped save their Queen and territory. And besides, Gabrielle is…"

The warrior held up her hand.

"Enough, both of you. I don't care what you do; but, I'm going to go get Argo and the rest of my stuff. Gabrielle is welcome to come with me or go back with you. It's her choice."

She looked down and saw the look of quiet appraisal and it was a long moment before the bard spoke. "Are you sure you're well enough to travel?"

She smiled, giving her partner a reassuring nod. "If we take it easy, I'll be fine."

Ephiny spoke up. "Then at least let me send an escort with you.".

Xena's head shot up and she met the Regent's eyes. "That won't be necessary, Ephiny."

"No, really, I insist. I…"

Ephiny started to protest but stopped cold as the blue eyes bore into hers.

"On the other hand…"

Watching her partner closely, Gabrielle now spoke up "Thanks Eph., really, but we'll be okay. I think we'd like some time to ourselves. If we could just borrow a horse."

The Amazon reluctantly agreed. "No problem. I'll get some supplies together for you as well, when you're ready to go."

As the two warriors turned and left, Gabrielle felt the familiar warmth envelop her shoulders as Xena wrapped her arm around them.

She smiled at her friend's low growl. "How 'bout we go find the cook tent. I'm starving."

As they started to move forward, she was surprised for a moment as she felt an unfamiliar weight press down on her shoulders as the warrior leaned heavily against her. She quickly adjusted, wrapping her arm around Xena's waist and adding her support.

It was a few steps later when she heard Xena clear her throat and she looked up to see a tentativeness behind those blue eyes that surprised her.

"Gabrielle, are you sure you don’t want to stay here with Ephiny and the others?"

The bard smiled as she pulled her arm tighter around the waist and confirmed with her words what her heart had been saying all along.

"Xena, there is only one place I want to be, and I’m there right now."

The End?

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