Disclaimer: I do not own Xena Warrior Princess or any of its characters. I do, however, consider Xena and Gabrielle to be friends---and you cant own your friends.
Violence: Not on this day.
Subtext: Im going to stop using that word. Its Maintext. Xena and Gabrielle love each other. Get over it! If you cant deal with two women who love each other more than their own lives, then dont read my stories.
About Me: Ive added this as a new category. For those who wonder---no I am not gay. Im just a 50 year old woman who has always been accepting of the way other people choose to live their lives. I think whether or not you have a good heart, a kind soul, and a sense of humor is much more important than fussing over who you have chosen to love.
This is the third story in what has turned out to be my Xena fanfiction series. I suggest that you read The Return and Beneath Twinkling Stars first so that you can better understand why Xena and Gabrielle (and even Ares) are acting like they are.
As always, comments are welcome. You can reach me at RoseXena@aol.com.
My special thanks go out to Mary D and Ausxip for allowing me to become a member of the Bards Corner. It is a dream come true.
A Day of Memories Made
by Rose Corsaro
The sun was shining brightly through the window of the bedroom when Xena opened her eyes. She groaned and stretched her whole body. Arms went over her head, back muscles pulled, and even her toes pointed downward. She was like a panther awakening from slumber. She let her arms drop, and her right arm came down on the straw mattress. Not what she had been hoping for.
She looked over at the empty pillow. Gabrielle was up already? That was unusual. Xena was almost always the first one out of bed. Getting Gabrielle moving was like trying to drag a bear out of hibernation.
Her senses became acutely aware of two things: the delicious smell of fried bacon in the air, and Gabrielles beautiful voice humming softly from the kitchen. Xena smiled. Food---the one thing that could always get Gabrielle out of bed.
She pulled the blanket up over her bare skin, and clasped both hands behind her head. It was nice just listening to Gabrielles song. She sounded so happy.
Xena gazed around the room. The pale blue curtains Gabrielle had made fluttered slightly against the open window. Her sword and chakram lay on top of a walnut dresser---one of Ares many gifts from the abandoned halls of Mt. Olympus. Her breastplate armor hung over the bottom bedpost.
She touched the headboard of the bed with her fingers. She had done a rather nice job of refinishing the wood. And she had made sure the new mattress was extra thick.
The room seemed a bit overdone with pillows, but Aphrodite had been so pleased to give them to Gabrielle. They were comfortable. And Xena was silently thankful that only a few were pink. Actually there were so many colors that she often thought it looked like a garden of flowers.
She knew she should get her lazy body out of bed, but she just felt so peaceful. She had felt that way a lot these last three months. Ever since that night she and Gabrielle had decided to settle down in her old house in Amphipolis. That night, under twinkling stars, when she had finally asked Gabrielle to marry her-----and she had said yes.
They both had found it easier than they thought it would be to call a halt to their wandering. They had a real home, they had each other, and that was all either of them had ever really wanted.
Hey called a cheerful voice from the doorway. I heard you groan, so I know youre awake. Get your lazy ass out of bed, Xena, before your breakfast gets cold.
Xena turned her head and smiled at the only person in the world who could ever get away with talking to her like that. Gabrielle looked beautiful. She was wearing a dark green halter top and tan shorts. Her hair was the color of wheat. Her skin bronzed from the sun. Her eyes the color of emeralds. And every time Xena looked at her, she fell in love all over again.
Good morning to you, too, she said swinging her body in one fluid motion up to sit on the edge of the bed.
Gabrielle sighed and smiled at the sight before her eyes. Xenas muscular, taught body. Her long black hair disheveled and falling over beautiful firm breasts. Her piercing blue eyes. Long lithe legs extending up to a place Gabrielle didnt want to think about right now. Every time she looked at Xena, she fell in love all over again.
Gabrielle picked up a dark blue robe from the chair and held it open. Come on. I made bacon, eggs, and those wheat cakes you like so much. Xena pushed herself to her feet, and Gabrielle helped her slip on the robe. As Xena turned around, their eyes met, and Gabrielle raised herself up on her toes to plant a warm kiss on Xenas lips. Good morning, she whispered.
Xena slid her arms around Gabrielles waist and drew her in for a tight hug. What got you up so early? she asked, burying her face in Gabrielles hair. She smelled so good.
Gabrielle roughly pushed Xena away and held her at arms length. Frowning, she said, Dont tell me you forgot what today is.
Xenas eyebrows drew together in concentration, and then she felt so foolish at her momentary lack of memory. How could she forget a day as important as this! This was to be their wedding day.
You still want to go through with it? she asked smiling.
Gabrielle shook her finger and said, Now look, Xena---Im not going to let you back out now. You proposed---I accepted, and youre stuck with me, Warrior Princess!
Xena grabbed her finger in mid-wave, and gently kissed it. And I wouldnt want it any other way, she said tenderly. She made a quick move to scoop Gabrielle up into her arms, but the little bard was faster on her feet and jumped away.
Oh no you dont, she said, backing out of the bedroom. Breakfast, remember?
You know what I want for breakfast, Xena grumbled, reluctantly following after her.
Not this morning. Not till after the ceremony, Gabrielle said, pulling a chair out for Xena, who sat down and began to devour the wonderful meal Gabrielle had prepared for her. Never any doubt about it---Gabrielle was a wonderful cook.
Gabrielle, she said between mouthfuls, You cant believe those superstitions about bad luck.
Gabrielle snatched a piece of bacon off Xenas plate and munched it. Im not taking any chances.
Didnt you eat? Xena asked as Gabrielle took another piece of what was supposed to be her breakfast.
Unhum---but yours looks so good. She said cheerfully.
Xena chuckled and shook her head. She looked around the room as she ate what was left of her breakfast. She was still so pleased every morning when she saw how beautiful it looked. Her childhood house that had fallen in so much disrepair was now whole again. She and Gabrielle had worked hard scrubbing and patching and painting.
There were four comfortable chairs and a bench, all covered in brown leather, near the stone fireplace. They were a gift from Ares. As was the dark table she was eating on, and the chair she was sitting in. He had only been too happy to give them some of the things from Mt.Olympus. A large fur rug lay in front of the fireplace. A half dozen vases were scattered about filled with flowers. Every day, new and different flowers appeared. It was a perpetual gift from Aphrodite for their new home. And it was a home now.
Xena looked over at Gabrielle who had started humming again. She was washing the frying pan in a bucket of water in the well-sink. Xena swore she was absolutely glowing.
As she sipped her tea, Xena thought back to that night under the stars when she had finally gathered up the courage to ask Gabrielle to marry her. She had battled warlords, fought armies, traveled the world, suffered torture and death---but she was never as scared as she was that night. That night she bared her soul. She had never felt so vulnerable. There had been a few rocky moments, but eventually Gabrielle had said yes. And both their lives changed forever that night.
They had returned to Amphipolis, and both had put their hearts and souls into creating their first real home. Xena had to admit to herself that she was uneasy about settling down. But it really wasnt so bad. Especially at moments like this, when she felt totally at peace watching the love of her life.
Well, she said leaning back in the chair. I guess I should get to the chores. That had become a new word in her vocabulary.
Gabrielle turned from the bucket of dishwater and began to pick up Xenas empty plate. All done, she said, smiling.
Yes, Gabrielle. It was great.
No she corrected, the chores are all done.
Xena frowned. The cow?
Fed. And you just devoured this mornings eggs.
The firewood for tonight?
Gabrielle pointed toward the fireplace. Chopped and stacked.
Gabrielle! Xena groaned.
The blonde finished up the dishes and dried her hands. Xena, I couldnt help myself. Nervous energy, I guess.
Xena rose and walked over to her. She took the cloth from Gabrielles hands, and slid her arms around her bare waist. And what about my nervous energy? she asked seductively.
Gabrielle was not giving in. Youre going to put on some clothes, take Argo out for a ride, get some exercise, and take a bath in the lake.
The lake? Why not here? Xena leaned her face to Gabrielles ear and whispered, Together.
Gabrielle still wasnt going to be swayed. Because, she said calmly, You need to cool off.
Xenas eyebrows arched upward. Are you going to be this bossy once were married?
That brought a smile to Gabrielles lips. Whats the matter, Warrior Princess---cant handle it?
Xena gave her a squeeze. I like what Im handling now.
Gabrielles eyes went from emerald green to pools of liquid sea. She gently touched Xenas face and said, Do you know how much I love you?
Hopefully always as much as I love you, Xena replied. They mutually leaned into each other and kissed long and deeply. Xena could feel where this moment was leading, and she knew she had to stop.
Part of Gabrielles wedding plan had been for them to abstain for a week before the wedding. That way she felt they could come to each other that night as if it was their first night. It felt like the longest week of Xenas life, but she wasnt going to let anything ruin Gabrielles day.
Breathing hard, she broke away from the lips that she cherished. Im going to get dressed and get out of here for awhile, she said. Before I go crazy!
Gabrielle grinned as Xena turned to head back to the bedroom. My strong Warrior Princess, she called after her.
Xena gave her a shut up wave as she left the kitchen. A long ride and a cold bath was just what she needed right now.
Xena lay on her back looking up at the clouds drifting slowly across the sky. Gods, what a beautiful day!, she thought. She was at peace with the world.
She had taken a long, fast ride on Argo, practiced her sword and chakram skills, done arm and leg exercises to keep her muscles toned, gone for a swim, and had a wonderful bath in the lake. She was now laying in the warm grass dressed only in a short linen undergarment.
Her leather dress, boots, sword and chakram were at her side, but she had not bothered to wear her armor. Since she and Gabrielle had settled down, she only put it on now when they went into town. Every evening she would sit on the porch steps and polish the brass and sharpen her sword. Old habits were hard to break. But strangely, she didnt miss wearing it all every day.
Had she been uneasy about settling down? No---she truthfully had been terrified at the idea of settling down. She would never admit that to anyone---not even Gabrielle. She had spent her life since she was 15 years old roaming the world, doing some pretty awful things. Of course, in the years Gabrielle had been her companion, she had done some good in the world, too. But she was always moving. Always looking for that next adrenaline rush. The excitement of battle. The feeling of power that she commanded.
Did she miss it? Sometimes. Would she give up what she had now to go back to that way of life? Not for all the gold in Athens!
There was a place now called home, and a blonde Bard with beautiful green eyes whom she loved more than life to share it with. And today she was going to fulfill her dreams and marry her Bard. Her life couldnt be any happier than it was right now.
Xena put her hands behind her head and smiled. Planning for this day hadnt been so easy. Gabrielle had sent word to the Amazons, as of course as their Queen she had to do. They wanted to start planning an elaborate ceremony and parties fit for a Queen and her Consort.
But Gabrielle showed her stubborn streak that Xena knew so well. It was to be her day and her way. And as much as she loved the Amazons, they were not going to be a part of this. She did promise them that they would stop by soon, and if they still wanted to have a little celebration, that would be alright. It seemed to appease them.
When they were fixing up the house, they had made several trips into Amphipolis for supplies. Xena had told the people of their plans to stay and, if there was ever trouble, to call on them immediately.
It wasnt long before things began to mysteriously appear at the house: a crate of live chickens, a milk cow. Flowers planted by the front porch. They returned from a trip to Poteidaia to find the barn repaired, and a new fenced enclosure for Argo. No messages were ever left, but Gabrielle knew. It was the people of Amphipolis. It was their way of welcoming them home.
Gabrielle had suggested that they could be married in town. But Xena knew, just like with the Amazons, that the people in Amphipolis would want to throw a big celebration. That wasnt what Xena wanted. She had never been much for crowds or parties. She always felt uneasy. She could never let her guard down.
They had finally come up with a plan they could both live with. They were going to have their own ceremony at their own home, with the only people they really wanted to share the day with---Ares and Aphrodite. They had invited Lila to come---that had been the purpose of going to Poteidaia. While being polite and wishing them well, she had declined. She used her health and her family and every other excuse she could think of. Xena knew it was because Lila did not approve of the lifestyle they lived, or her sister as a warrior now with that tattoo. Gabrielle had acted like it didnt matter, but that night Xena had heard her crying. She didnt disturb her. Some pains Gabrielle had to work out on her own. But Xena swore she would never forgive Gabrielles sister for hurting her.
Each of them had been preparing some things in secret. Gabrielle had wanted both of them to say something to each other. It had been torture for Xena, who was never good with words. She wrote and rewrote, and finally committed to memory something she thought didnt sound too foolish.
Gabrielle would not let Xena see the outfit she was making. She stole away with Aphrodite for hours at a time to work on it.
Xena would not explain the bonding ceremony to her. As a Warrior Princess she had seen it performed countless times. Doing it was another thing. But she knew it would be the ultimate moment of truth and sacrifice for both of them. All Xena would tell her was Do what I do.
Xena was brought back to the present by Argo. She had been peacefully grazing, but she now stood beside Xena, her muzzle nuzzling Xenas arm for attention.
Xena scratched Argos chin. Hey, Old Girl. Argo snorted her approval, and pushed against Xenas hand. Argo. Her trusted companion who knew her even better than Gabrielle. Who understood her voice and every movement of her body in the saddle. Weve got a big day ahead of us. You ready to go home? Again Argo snorted and pawed the ground.
Xena slipped on her boots and laced them. She got to her feet and hooked the chakram and scabbard to the saddle. She picked up her leather dress and tossed it over the front of the saddle. The linen shift was enough. She wanted to feel the freedom of the wind against her skin as they rode. Swinging up into the saddle, Argo whinnied her approval, and proudly took her mistress home.
As Xena approached the house, she saw an imposing figure dressed in black and silver sitting on the top step of the porch. No need to reach for her chakram----it was Ares, God of War.
Xena dismounted and he said, New fall fashion for Warrior Princesses?
She gathered her weapons and tossed her leather dress over her shoulder. Ares, what are you doing here? she asked, walking toward the house.
He drew up one leg and rested his arm on his knee. Seems I recall you invited me to this wedding, Xena.
The ceremony, yes. But youre early.
Ares scratched his bearded chin. Well, I thought Id like to spend a little time with you while youre still single. He rose to his feet as Xena hit the top step, and stood only inches from her. Maybe talk you out of this, he whispered, brushing his hand against Xenas covered thigh.
The dress or the wedding? Xena asked, meeting his black eyes with her own of steel blue. She was not afraid of the God of War.
How about both? he asked seductively, lowering his face toward her inviting neck.
Xenas hand flashed up and gripped his chin tightly. Not a chance, she whispered, pushing him away with a gentle slap on the cheek.
Ares sighed. Ah well, cant blame a guy for trying. His face broke into a smile.
Xena smiled, too. This was part of the game they had played the last few years. He would try his best to seduce her. She would rebuff him. Ares loved her, in his own way, and Xena knew he would make her a goddess if she would submit to him. Shed heard him say it enough over the years. She had almost surrendered more than once. He was magnetically handsome, powerful, and she couldnt deny a part of her was drawn to his dangerous dark side. She had been that way once. There was a part of her that did love him----but she would never give in to him. He knew that, but Xena suspected he would never stop trying.
Xena was aware as she went inside that the house was empty. Wheres Gabrielle? she asked.
Ares had followed her in and said. Shes with Sis at the Temple. Something about getting ready for a wedding, and bad luck to see the bride, er---partner---whatever ..
Xena rolled her eyes and headed for the bedroom. Nothing Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, liked more than a wedding. Besides making her outfit there, Xena had no idea what else Gabrielle and Aphrodite were planning. She hadnt been able to pry anything out of Gabrielle. She tossed the leather dress and weapons on the bed, and reached for her breastplate hanging on the bedpost.
Youre not going to wear that are you? asked Ares, leaning against the doorframe.
Xena felt herself bristle, and she really didnt need any more tension today. Ares, why dont you just disappear for awhile so I can get dressed.
Open the closet, he said, motioning with his hand.
She had no idea what he was talking about. What?
Ares frowned. All this love crap made you deaf, woman? he growled. Open the closet!
Xena was wary, but she walked to the door and put her hand on the handle. I this is one of your tricks . She said, opening the door. And she was stunned into silence.
Hanging inside was her Warrior Princess outfit. But this wasnt her outfit. There was a new black leather dress, boots, leg bracers, armbands, gauntlets, and breastplate. But the color was different. Xena touched the breastplate and exclaimed, This is silver! She turned her head to look at Ares. She had never seen him smile so sincerely.
Yea, well, I called in a few debts from Sparta. He folded his arms. Couldnt see you getting married in brass. Tacky. This is much better for your Warrior Princess image.
The outfit was beautiful and, for one of the rare times, Xena didnt know what to say to him. This wasnt anything to make a joke about. She was genuinely touched by his unusual show of kindness. She let her heart do the talking, walking up to Ares and planting a gentle kiss on his cheek. Thank you, she whispered.
He savored that kiss, but made no move to seek more. He loved Xena with a passion that consumed his soul---if he had one, which he wasnt sure being the God of War. But she had made her choice---and it wasnt ever to be him. But he would always be grateful for what they still had between them. Of course, he would never admit that openly---not even to Xena.
Aaww, he growled, shuffling his feet, Didnt know what else I could give you for a wedding present.
Xena removed the extraordinary armor from the closet, and lay the pieces out on the bed. Gabrielle would never expect this. Or . Ares, does Gabrielle know?
He shook his head. I thought youd like it to be a surprise. He unfolded his arms. I asked her what shed like to have for her gift. I dont know her as well as I know you.
Im glad of that! Xena chided.
Xena, shes okay. I mean, well, Id rather you were marrying me, of course. But when she went to the Elysian Fields to get you back, that took guts. Shes a fighter. And she really---she really loves you. He had gained a lot of respect for Gabrielle in those days they had spent together after her return from Japan. And Gabrielle had trusted him to bring her back from death. Not too many mortals had ever trusted him. He couldnt blame them. He was the God of War, afterall.
Xena smiled. When Ares had given up his godhood to save her and Gabrielle and Eve on Mt.Olympus, he had had to learn to deal with suddenly being human. Oh, how he hated being mortal. Xena had to finally restore his god status, and that of Aphrodite, with the Ambrosia from Valhalla in order for the balance between love and hate to be restored in the world. But Xena knew that some of his humanity had stayed with him. It wasnt the first time she had seen it creeping out from his rough exterior.
So what did you get Gabrielle? she asked.
Ares shrugged. She didnt want anything for herself. But she asked for something for you.
Xena shook her head. Ares, this armor is too much as it is ..
The armor is from me. Gabrielles gift is out in the main room.
Xenas eyebrows knitted. I didnt see anything when we came in.
Ares stepped away from the doorframe and motioned with his arm. Come look now.
Xena was not in the mood to play games, but she had to admit that she was curious. What could Gabrielle have asked Ares for? Why couldnt she just give it to her herself?
She pushed past Ares and out into the main room, and stopped dead in her tracks. Her face went pale and the shock registered not just on her face, but through her whole being.
There, standing in the room not ten feet away, was Cyrene. It was Xenas Mother. She looked as Xena had seen her last over 25 years ago. She was a thin, short, wiry middle aged woman with blue eyes and a smile not unlike Xenas. She had run the tavern in Amphipolis, lived a very hard life, and died in madness while Xena and Gabrielle were asleep in the Ice Cave. Xena had never gotten to say goodbye. But now she was standing there, wearing a beautiful light blue dress.
Cyrene spoke with a loving smile on her lips. Hello, my daughter.
Xenas legs gave out, and she dropped to her knees on the floor. Mother?....How?
She approached Xena slowly. Ares brought me back.
Xena looked at the God of War, who had flopped into one of the comfortable leather chairs. Xena, I do believe this is the first time Ive ever seen you like this.
Cyrene held out her hands. Xena.
The Warrior Princess reached up slowly. This had to be a dream. Her Mother couldnt be here. This wasnt real. But two warm hands enfolded her own and slowly drew her to her feet. Her entire body was shaking. Mother?
Xena, its really me.
And Xena, the strong, stoic, Destroyer of Nations fell weeping into her Mothers arms. This was no dream. The woman she was embracing was warm and solid, and there was the familiar smell of her that drew Xena back to her childhood.
Now, now, Cyrene said, gently patting Xena on the back. Stop the tears. It wont due to have Gabrielle see you with your eyes all puffy.
She led Xena over to the bench by the fireplace and they sat side by side. Xena was still holding onto her hand. Her composure was slowly returning now that the initial shock was over. But she still couldnt find all the words that she wanted to say. How? was all that came out.
It was Gabrielles wish that I be here for you for your wedding---not just watching over you two like I always do.
And, Ares chimed in, so I pulled a few strings and got permission for Cyrene to come back.
Just for today, Xena. I have this time to be with both of you, but then I have to go back. She saw the sadness in Xenas eyes. No, no. Im doing alright, Xena. Im happy. And Im so happy for you and Gabrielle. You know I always thought of her as my other daughter. Im just glad you finally came to your senses.
Xena smiled and bowed her head shyly. Mom, you know how thick headed I can be.
I like the woman youve become, my daughter, Cyrene said kissing Xenas forehead.
Ares cleared his throat. Ah I hate to break up this family reunion, but if you intend to go through with this ceremony, youd better get dressed. Sis and Gabrielle are gonna be back soon.
Xena looked at her Mother and asked, Will you help me get ready?
That would make me very happy, Cyrene replied smiling. Xena and Cyrene rose, and Xena led her by the hand into the bedroom.
Ares sat in the chair scratching his chin and smiling. Suddenly, he stood up and grumbled, Im not supposed to feel happiness! He chuckled. But I cant help myself! With a snap of his fingers, he vanished from the room.
Well, asked Xena hesitantly, Do I look alright?
Anyone who would have seen her would have said that she looked magnificent. The black leathers fit her body perfectly. The silver armbands, gauntlets, and breastplate gleamed. With her black hair trailing over her shoulders and her deep blue eyes shining brightly, she stood tall and proud. Her Mother said one word: Beautiful!
She smiled shyly and clipped her chakram at her side. I hope Gabrielle likes it.
There was a knock on the doorframe, and Ares walked into view. Wow! he exclaimed, gazing at Xena.
Xena managed a nervous laugh. Well, thats a good sign.
Wed better get this thing started. Aphrodite and Gabrielle are waiting.
Xena walked to where he stood and said I dont know how I can ever thank you .
Hey---dont get all soft on me, Xena, he said gruffly. Save it for that little blonde outside. Xena was so filled with so many emotions. She wasnt used to feeling this way. She reached up and put both hands on Ares face and kissed him, this time right on the lips. She had felt the same love and gratitude as that day when she returned from the Elysian Fields. Ares, for once, returned the affection. He knew full well that he was losing the woman he truly loved. He drew her into a hug, and Xena did not resist. Of course, he whispered into her ear, You could marry me instead.
Ares! Cyrene scolded.
Xena backed away from the embrace. Its alright, Mother. Gabrielle and I both know hell never give up trying.
You know it, lady, smiled Ares.
Xena looked down at herself, took a deep breath, and said, Well Im ready. Lets go.
They walked out into the sunlight. At Xenas left was Cyrene and to her right was Ares. She couldnt imagine having any two more important people at her side right now to share this unbelievable day with.
Gabrielle had wanted to have the ceremony behind the house by the big tree where she had buried Xenas armor. The same place where she had later dug up the jar of sacred water that had returned Xena to life. Xena was not prepared, however, for what she saw when she rounded the side of the house.
The spot had been magically transformed. There was an arched trellis of multi-colored flowers. A white marble slab covered the spot where her armor had been buried. Standing on the marble was Aphrodite, dressed in her signature pink. It was a long stunning light pink dress, lacking her usual flamboyant frills and lace.
She grinned and waved as they approached. But Xenas eyes were on the figure standing next to her. Slowly Gabrielle turned around, and Xena felt her legs begin to tremble once again.
Gabrielle wore a long skirt of white silk. It was embroidered at the waist and bottom with small purple flowers, green leaves, and pearls between two bands of green. Xena didnt know much about flowers, but she thought they looked like violets. The top was the same design. It was low cut and tied in the front, exposing her taught midriff. She had a small wreath of the lavender flowers in her hair. She had never looked so beautiful, so radiant. That image would be burned into Xenas memory until the day she died.
Gabrielle smiled and fought back tears as Xena approached. Her Warrior Princess was a vision of strength and beauty, walking so tall and proud. The black and silver armor accentuated her hair and her eyes. It must have been the gift from Ares. She looked so regal. Gabrielle knew that image of Xena would be burned in her memory until the day she died.
Xena stepped onto the marble slab and Aphrodite, Ares, and Cyrene moved behind the marble to a beautiful white marble bench. Xena looked down into Gabrielles beautiful green eyes and asked Are you ready?
Gabrielle smiled up at her. Ive been ready since the day we met.
They had all been prepared in advance for most of what was going to take place, and warned not to interrupt for any reason.
Xena was the first to speak. She prayed she could remember all of the speech she had memorized, and then realized it didnt matter. She would speak from her heart today. Gabrielle of Poteidaia, you came into my life as a stranger. You brought me friendship and companionship. With your goodness and your innocence you brought me out of my darkness. You comforted me, took care of me, and no matter how bad things were, you never left me. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You are the other half of my soul, and I love you more than my own life.
Xena withdrew her breast dagger from her armor. Holding out her left hand, palm up, she drew the blade across her hand. As the blood began to flow, she said, I swear with my blood that I will love you, cherish you, and protect you forever.
As Xenas blood dripped slowly onto the white marble, Gabrielle calmly began to speak. Xena of Amphipolis, I fell in love with you the first day we met. I was a little girl who liked to write stories, so grateful I could tag along with you. I dont know how you put up with me---sometimes I still dont know how you do it. You let me be your friend and your lover. You showed me a side of yourself the rest of the world would never see. You trusted me. You protected me from danger. You taught me how to be strong. Weve been through so much together---good times and bad. Ive never regretted a day of our journey together. Youre the other half of my soul, and I love you more than my own life.
Gabrielle looked down at the dagger and knew what she had to do. She took the dagger from Xenas hand without hesitation or fear, and slashed her left palm, being careful not to let the dripping blood get on her skirt. I swear with my blood that I will love you, cherish you, and be at your side forever.
With that, Xena held out her bleeding hand. Gabrielle placed her left hand on top of Xenas, and they closed their fingers together tightly. Their blood united them forever, each becoming part of the other. They both smiled and looked into each others eyes. Xena leaned down and Gabrielle stood on tiptoe and they kissed, still joining hands. Now they were truly one---for eternity.
The bedroom was bathed in the soft glow of moonlight. The curtains fluttered slightly and the sweet smell of honeysuckle wafted in from the woods.
Xena lay in bed propped up by the many pillows beneath her back and head. She wasnt sleeping. She had come to enjoy this nightly ritual of waking up and laying in the quiet and stillness. It allowed her mind to wander through fields of memories in the peace of the moonlight.
Beneath the linen sheet, Gabrielle was laying in her arms sleeping peacefully, her cheek against Xenas breast, right arm entwined behind her back, one leg draped over Xenas. Their bodies fit together so perfectly---like pieces of a puzzle. Xena smiled at the gentle, loving Bard. What a day this has been, eh Gabrielle? she thought to herself.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, they allowed Cyrene to carefully bandage their bleeding hands. It only seemed appropriate, according to Cyrene, that she be the one to tend to her two daughters. They all stayed in the garden awhile laughing and talking. Aphrodite zapped in a picnic, and Xena and Gabrielle ate and drank wine, and celebrated the joy of all of them being together.
But when it had come time to say goodbye to Cyrene, neither of them could hold back tears. She kissed her daughters with a Mothers love, and assured them she would always watch over them. And flanked between Ares and Aphrodite, all three vanished from the garden in a glow of golden light.
Alone at last, Xena and Gabrielle returned to the house. Feeling very gallant and perhaps a bit giddy from the wine, Xena had scooped Gabrielle up in her arms and carried her into the bedroom. As she slowly let her slide to her feet, they embraced in a long, passionate kiss. Both were determined to make this time special.
They undressed each other slowly. Gabrielle went first, carefully removing each piece of Xenas beautiful armor and placing them in the closet. Xena stood silent, watching her every move, keeping the fires of her emotions under control. Trying to keep her body from shaking. She had never felt like this before. There were so many emotions flooding her mind and body at one time. And she let them all in. No barriers tonight.
Her hands trembled as she slowly and carefully undressed her Warrior Bard, and neatly folded each piece of her wedding outfit. Never before had she seen Gabrielle look so beautiful.
They had choreographed how this night would be as part of their wedding plans. It was to be long and slow. All defenses dropped. Each verbally and physically expressing their desires---no matter what it was. And many, many candlemarks later as they drifted off to sleep in each others arms, Xena knew this night had been truly magical: unlike any before or any that were to be.
She felt Gabrielle move ever so slightly against her, and then heard a mumbled Oww, and she raised her left hand slowly and looked at the bandaged palm.
It hurts? Xena asked quietly.
Like Tartarus, came the reply. How about you?
Xena flexed the fingers of her left hand and winced at the pain.The same. She kissed Gabrielles forehead. You were very brave.
I was scared to death! she countered, pushing herself up on one elbow, careful not to ram it into Xenas ribs. When I saw you make that cut, and realized Id have to do it too. Most people exchange rings but noooo .
Xena knew that she wasnt angry or upset. Rings can be removed or lost. She carefully touched Gabrielles hand. When this heals
Were gonna have scars forever. Yea, I know.
Sorry? Xena asked, tilting her head to one side at the question.
Gabrielle smiled, her green eyes sparkling in the moonlight. Sorry that our blood is now one? Sorry that for the rest of our lives wherever we go people will see our hands and know that we belong to each other? She laughed. Not on your life, Xena. She lay back down and hugged her close.
Xena released a long contented sigh. Suddenly she remembered something and said I had the strangest dream tonight.
Nothing bad ..
No. Actually it was a nice one for a change.
Gabrielle knew sometimes Xenas dreams were of memories long ago in times she wished she could forget. She was thankful for a good dream this night. Want to tell me about it?
Well---I was looking at a painting of us. But it didnt look like a painting. It really looked like you and me---except we werent moving.
What were we doing? Gabrielle asked as she ran her fingers along Xenas neck.
Holding each other tightly---on a beach with black sand. And the water was so blue.
Gabrielle moved her hand up to Xenas face. Like your eyes?
Xena kissed her fingers gently. Bluer.
Oooh, sounds romantic, Gabrielle whispered.
And there were words on the painting. At first I couldnt read them. They were in some strange language.
Did you ever figure it out?
Xena nodded. Yes. It said Love doesnt ask who or why---love happens. And if you find your true Soulmate, it is the greatest gift of love.
Gabrielle sighed Thats pretty. I wonder who the Bard was.
Xena shook her gently. Hey, this was a dream remember? But I think I did see a name. She reached back into her mind to try to catch that snip of the dream. RoseXena.
Gabrielle looked up at her and laughed. RoseXena? Xena, youre making all this up.
Xena tossed a couple of the pillows across the room and stretched out in bed. All the while, Gabrielle didnt move. All the comfy pillows and she still wanted only to lay on Xena. Xena smiled. She wouldnt want it any other way. Gabrielle, you know I wouldnt make up something like that. Im getting better at expressing myself ..
You sure are.
But I cant write words like that.
Well, said Gabrielle, Then that would mean it wasnt just a dream.
Xena frowned. It seemed like---well---as if it was some sort of gift---for us. I wish you could have seen it. She shook her head. I dont know. Maybe I just drank too much of Aphrodites wine.
Well, said Gabrielle, moving up Xenas body to lay her head in the hollow of her shoulder. Maybe well meet her someday so we can thank her.
Yes, Xena said sincerely, pulling the sheet up over Gabrielles bare tattooed back. Maybe we will.
In the quiet of the moonlight and the comfort and security of each others arms, the Soulmates drifted peacefully back to sleep.
With apologies to my readers: Sorry I planted that dream in Xenas mind, but I couldnt let them get married without sending a wedding present.
Oh---and for those of you who dont like the direction this story took: Come on! Be happy for Xena and Gabrielle. They waited a long time for this day. Let them enjoy their retirement -----while it lasts .
Return to The Bard's Corner