Disclaimer: The following characters of Xena Warrior Princess are property of MCA/Universal. It is not meant to infringe on any copyrights whatsoever.
However this story is mine and mine alone. ©
WARNING! Subtext, YES!! There is graphic violence, some strong language as well. If this bothers you please leave. I write stories in ways that I see them. I try to make it as real as possible, NOT for the ratings of television. So if youre NOT 18 or older, go read some Barney and have a glass of milk with your cookies.
Enjoy. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
When Love is Found
A wagon crested over the hilltop as the first of the morning rays began to make their appearance across the land.
"Luna how much do you think youll get for the lot of this stuff?" Don asked as he placed the last rabbit in his proper sack. "I bet that big fox you caught near the river will at least bring you 50 dinars I mean look at him, hes huge." Don pulled the lifeless animal out of its bag and held it in the air for display.
Luna turned to see Don grinning like a little kid after a day of fishing. A smile lifted at the corners of her mouth. "Yeah, hes a big one alright, but Im not to sure about the dinars." Luna looked forward to the upcoming homestead. " I bet Ill get about 25 dinars at the most, but that depends if that old hag is in a good mood."
Don couldnt hold back the laughter as he slapped her on the back. "Cricket now thats not nice."
"Hey! Since when did you all of the sudden like that woman?"
"Since I was told to be nice to her." Don answered with a smile as he eyed his friend.
"Got in trouble huh?" Luna smiled at his honesty. Don has always been such a great kid, always listening to his father and helping others, especially her. Don could always make her smile, no matter how bad the situation seemed.
Movement caught her attention as Don climbed his way into the front of the wagon next to her. "Careful wouldnt want you falling off and breaking your ass."
"Ha, Ha very funny." He quipped as he fumbled with his cloak. "So whats for dinner?"
Luna couldnt suppress her laughter. "And what in the world makes you think Im cooking you dinner? Hmm?"
"Cause Im cute." Don flashed a mouth full of teeth with a cheesy grin. "Besides its only you and Gabrielle, one more for dinner wont hurt ya."
Luna shook her head at how hard he was trying to get in a conversation with this woman. "Let me think about it." Don nodded his head in agreement as the wagon creaked along the road home.
Rounding the bend the animal coral become visible and to Lunas surprise she noticed something that wasnt there when she left this morning. She shifted her eyes to Don to see if he noticed anything but he was involved with a small book he brought with him for the ride. Luna turned her eyes back to the coral and the horse was definitely not one of hers. Her stomach was in her throat as the anger began to rise from deep within.
"Yeah" He answered with is nose still buried in his book.
"Remember what you said about one more for dinner wont hurt me?"
Don chuckled as he looked over to her. "Um, ya." Don tilted his ear waiting for an answer. "Why do you ask?" The silence from her made him nervous, he could feel the change in her, something was very wrong.
"XENA! His voice cracked as he nervously looked around them. "Where where is she?"
" The coral."
Don snapped his attention in that direction as his eyes fell on a war-horse. He wasnt just nervous, he was scared, really scared. What was Luna going to do? She was so still; it looked like she stopped breathing. He thought for sure she would turn into this raving maniac when Xena came looking for her friend. Whenever he asked any questions about Xena she would get this cold lifeless look in her eyes. Most of the time she would answer most questions honestly, but danced around others especially when killing anyone came into the conversation. Normally she would tell him to go ask his father since they served in several armies together.
The wagon came to a stop just short of the main doors to the barn. Luna sat quietly for a few heartbeats then climbed off the wagon.
"Is that her horse?" The question came out in a whisper as Don found it difficult to find his voice.
"Saddle bags are. Different horse." Luna walked forward to the wooden fence leaning on her forearms watching the war-horse munching in the middle trough. Luna turned her head, eyed the main entrance then looked back to the war-horse, noticing that she had sores near the saddle. Getting lazy Xena. "Don?"
Boots sounded as they hit the ground when Don hopped off the wagon. "Yeah, Cricket?" He questioned his friend as he approached the fence.
"Get the horse inside and cleaned up. Looks like its been a long ride."
"Yeah you." She snipped. "Bad enough *she tilts her head to one side* Her mistress is on the top of my shit list, no sense in making the animal suffer too." Luna spun on her heels and headed for the main doors. "When youre done come and see me."
Don watched as Luna finished her instructions and disappeared into the barn. The horse didnt seem to be wary of his approach and she continued to feed herself as Don approached.
"Hey girl." Don softly called. "Hey how would you like to get that saddle off, huh?" Don was surprised as he watched the horse pick up her ears and look in his direction. "Wow." He breathed. Did she just understand that? He stepped up to the war-horse gently taking hold of the reigns and directing her to the barn.
"Thats it girl. See Im not gonna hurt ya, just gonna give ya a nice brushing." His heart began beating normal again as a calm feeling washed over him. "How about new shoes too, huh?" Argo answered him by nudging his shoulder.
Gabrielle watched with concern over her friend as she slept. The early morning rays were filtering their way into the cave, the scent in the air was crisp and clean which was always a sign it was extremely cold outside. Gabrielles eyes turned back to the warriors face noting how tired she looked, even in sleep. Xena never had dark circles under eyes and the last time Xenas skin was pale looking they were at Niklios hut. Gabrielle studied Xenas face, wondering how she got the bruises, she definitely got beaten pretty good and thats not like the warrior.
Xenas body was completely limp. Her chest rose and fell heavy as sleep held an iron hold on her. Gabrielle continued to pet the warriors head while she let a tear of happiness fall down her face. The last few weeks were hard for her, knowing that she was getting better and wondering if Jasmine would ever find Xena. Xena could have traveled in any direction after the fall and Gabrielle still didnt have any real idea on where she was. Luna tried to explain the best she could but it was easier if she could look outside to get a better view. Oh, gods The thought finally came forward, with Xena here and Luna out checking traps, what was she going to do when she got back? Xena for sure would have placed Argo in one of the animal pens before she entered the cave. The feeling of dread covered her, what were these two going to do when they finally came face to face with one another for the first time in years? Gabrielle feared the upcoming situation knowing that Luna would be back after sun up.
Gabrielle took in a large breath of air and let it escape from her chest. "What are you going to do Xena?" The bard whispered to her sleeping companion. Xenas eyes moved furiously behind closed eyelids, but her body was too tired to react from the nightmare that was plaguing her. "Shhh its okay, its okay." Gabrielle continued to keep the warrior calm in her sleep, normally Xenas body would twitch from the dreams that haunted her, but Gabrielle always knew what to do. Her thoughts drifted back to the first night after Callisto was killed.
The cave was small but dry as the two very wet travelers began the task of setting up camp. One tall wet figure began the fight of trying to get slightly damp logs to catch fire, while the other was unpacking furs and cooking supplies. Boots crunched along the gravel covered floor and light sounds of metal clanked off the walls and danced around them.
Gabrielle unpacked Xenas bedroll and set it over hers over a nearby boulder as she watched Xena one by one carefully stack kindling underneath the larger pieces of wood. Xena already took off her cloak so she could work easier. Gabrielle couldnt take her eyes off Xena. The light from their torch reflected off of wet skin which to Gabrielles surprise, highlighted every muscle in her shoulders, which she never noticed were so muscular. The image felt like a dream, her heart began to beat faster; her mouth became suddenly dry when Xena turned in the way of the firelight.
She was beautiful. Her bangs stuck to her forehead from the wet snow, her features were tight with concentration as she continued to spark the flint stones. Xenas eyebrows lifted into her hairline as she leaned forward and began to blow into the igniting fire sending smoke into the air, but Gabrielle hardly noticed as she watched the muscles in Xenas shoulders flex. That sent a shiver that ran from her head to her toes and it quickly brought her to the present. "Oh, gods"
"What did ya say?" Xena asked, not looking up from her work.
Gabrielles' eyes popped open realizing that she spoke out loud. "Um,need this?" Gabrielle titled the torch a little.
"Yeah, that would be a big help." Xena rose form her kneeling position with long legs taking only a few paces over to Gabrielle. Xena reached out and took the torch form Gabrielles hands but was caught by the bards eyes, the building fire cast shadows that made her look like a Goddess. A smile curled at her lips, "Thanks." Xena hesitated for a moment than returned to tend that fire.
Gabrielle watched Xena return to her work, which had the cave warm and dry in no time. Dinner was quiet; both women were exhausted from the last two days of travel in falling wet snow. Xena sat on the other side of the fire sharpening her sword and cleaning her armor. Gabrielle was on her bedroll covered in her furs and updating her journal. Boots caught her attention, bringing her nose out of her book to see Xena kneeling in front of her.
"Hi." Gabrielle saw the sleep in her eyes. "Need me to move?" She asked with a smile.
" Gab I just cant keep my eyes open any longer." Xenas words were soft; the warrior was truly exhausted she is usually never so honest bout being tired.
"Are you feeling alright"? Gabrielle placed a hand on her forehead. " Xena youre warm."
" Guess my gut was right, was hoping it was the fire, guess not." Xena crawled onto her bedroll, which was nice and warm thanks to Gabrielle, and collapsed on her side. Gabrielle placed her already warm furs over the warrior. "Thanks Gab."
Gabrielle watched as Xena slowly drifted off into much needed sleep. Gabrielle pulled Xenas furs over her and sat as close to Xena as she could, then continued to write in her book. After about a candle mark, Gabrielle noticed that Xena was twitching on and off so she decided to pause in her writing. Gabrielle placed a cool hand on the face noting she was warm with fever. Gabrielle got up from her position and placed a few more logs onto the fire to keep the cave warm for Xena. Didnt want to take a chance for her to get really sick, there wasnt a town for a least 3 days ride, if Xena got really sick she could die before they could get help.
Gabrielle returned to her spot next to her warrior. A small thought entered her mind. Her warrior she thought. Her eyes looked over Xena from under the furs; she smiled because she liked that way that sounded, Her Warrior. Gabrielle saw the beads of sweat form on her brow as the fever continued its assault on her friends body. Gabrielle kept a watchful eye so that if her fever did indeed become to high she could give Xena what herbs they had left for fever.
Xenas eyes continually moved under their covers, Xena was having a bad dream. Gabrielle watched Xenas face twitch from the raging battle within. Soon her body began to twitch, as her sleep became restless. She started tossing and turning, Xenas body not being able to stay in one position for a time. Gabrielle worried about fever, reached over her friends body grabbing for the healers bag when something caught her ear making her heart ache. Gabrielle stopped to listen, Xenas breathing beneath her was labored and then there it was again. The bard leaned back on her heels, kneeling next to Xena; tears threatened to spill over as she saw the look of anguish in the warriors face. Xena was whimpering in her sleep like a frightened child.
Gabrielle positioned herself close enough to Xena placing a protective arm under the warriors head, the other lying gently on her waist. Even in her nightmare Xena could feel the contact and curled up in Gabrielles arms as her body began to twitch again. Gabrielle needed to think of a way to calm her down so she would be able to sleep peacefully. Well, singing was out of the question, thats Xenas department, but the tone of her voice always worked for her, and usually it hypnotized her. Gabrielle changed positions slightly, granting her better access to Xenas ear.
Xena was angry, you could see it in her sleep. Her brow was creased, her breathing quick and heavy. Gabrielle let the tip of her fingers outline the warriors features, calming the raging beast within her friend. If Gabrielle tried to touch the warrior in this manner a year ago, she would have gotten herself killed. Xena used to get violent in her dreams, but Gabrielle has earned that trust with Xena that now she can comfort her friend. Gabrielle continued to softly touch Xena, lightly tracing her face then down to her shoulders as she recited poems of peace, happiness and love. The combination was lethal, but the warrior submitted to the tones and touches of this angel of mercy, her body calmed as she drifted into a peaceful slumber.
The following morning Gabrielle awoke to her surprise to a pair of crystal blue eyes watching over her with a smile.
"Morning how are you feeling?" Gabrielle wondered how much she remembered of last night.
"Better. Thanks to you." Xena smiled as she leaned over and kissed her gently on her cheek. "How about some breakfast?"
"Sure." Gabrielle was stunned at the display of affection but couldnt stop grinning like a little kid.
Luna finished her chore of skinning the animals she brought back from her hunt this morning. All that remained was preparing the meat but with it being this cold the meat would survive a little longer so shed come back to it later. Placing the last of her traps on the table, she moved over to Blues stable to brush him down and get him settled, dark clouds were heading this way and it looked like it was going to snow alot more. Luna was so involved in what she was doing she didnt hear Don come in or his voice as he called out to her.
"Cricket Hey!" Don frowned at the lack of response he received from her, then moved up behind her and patted her shoulder. "Hey Cricket."
Luna spun around violently almost sending Don crashing backwards onto the floor. "Gods Don, Im sorry." Luna was cursing herself at her lack of judgment. "Don how many times have I told you never to sneak up on me?" Luna questioned him.
"I called for you 3 times and you never answered me."
"Yeah, I did." Don noticed the concern on her face. "Are you alright?
Luna walked away from him and headed over to her workbench. "I dont know Don." Leaning against the table facing him she crossed her arms across her chest angrily looking at the floor. "Don all I have ever dreamt about is taking a large and heavy object and planting it in her skull."
Don saw the distance in Lunas eyes, well just one eye for Luna thanks to Xena, but he never saw such hate for a person then as did at that moment. The energy that was emitting from Luna was scary, I guess being a warlord at one time in your life makes you have to be that way to be taken seriously.
"Did you do as I asked?"
"Yes, but I wish I knew what the horses name was, I think she got tired of me calling her girl all the time."
Lunas face didnt change she really wasnt amused. "Look, why dont you go to the market and see what you can get for that fat fox, huh?"
"Trying to get rid of me?"
Luna pushed off the bench and walked over to Don. "Listen, Im asking you to go because I dont know whats going to happen. I dont want you around if things with her go bad, alright?"
"Why you gonna kill her?" The question was asked.
"I dont know what Im going to do." Luna walked past him toward the door leading outside. "Don, do as I say and when you get back stay in the barn, Ill come out and get you."
"Why cant I just come in."?
"Because I could have her head hanging over a fire and I wouldnt want you to see that." Her tone was sarcastic.
"Ive seen worse." Don sounded all of a man with that comment.
Luna spun on her heels and leapt back toward Don scaring him half to death as she grabbed onto his cloak and jerked him forward. "You have no idea what Xena or myself are capable of doing to someone. Got it?" Luna pushed him away from her. "Now go on." Luna turned, pushed her way through the door and slammed it behind her. Don was frozen in that spot. He couldnt move he had never been that scared in his life. After a few heartbeats Don forced his feet to move as he quickly picked up the sack and headed out the front gate wondering weather or not Luna was going to kill Xena.
Luna marched to the entranceway of her home knowing that a demon lay within its boundaries. The feelings she thought were buried for good of death, war, hate and anger erupted from within the depths of her soul. Luna sniffed the air as she entered. Her eyes were locked on the end of the hall. Xena was here; she could feel it in the pit of her stomach. Her palms were sweating at the thought of that bitch in her home. Now her temper was growing out of control, she picked up an axe along the route of the hallway. Clearly in her mind, she was going to go right in there and kill the bitch. Sweat now dripped on her brow as her anger was coming to a climax, but when she entered the main chamber, the first thing she saw was the look on Gabrielles face. Luna stopped in her tracks. She does love her. Luna watched the young woman for a moment then placed the axe on top of the ledge of the fire pit and slowly moved toward the living space.
Luna went unnoticed as Gabrielles thoughts focused only on Xena. The nightmare that Xena was fighting with finally left her to sleep peacefully. Slowly her eyes looked over her friend noticing something that she has never seen before on Xena, a black eye. Gabrielles eyebrows disappeared behind her bangs as the thought slightly amused her for a moment than realized someone really got the best of her and thats not like Xena at all. Concern began to rise in her chest while her hands slowly explored Xenas head for other wounds.
"Its further back."
Gabrielle jumped out of her skin at the sound of the voice, which in turn made the warrior stir. "Zeus Luna!"
"Sorry." She replied dryly.
Gabrielle reached a little further back on the warriors skull to feel a small line of stitches. "Xena, what did you do?" Her voice was only a whisper.
Luna stood a few paces away from the bed watching the young woman looking at a demon still trying to figure out what that girl could see in that bitch. Luna pulled a cup of hot tea to her lips. "How long has she been here?" The question came out stronger than she had wished.
Gabrielle looked over to Luna. "Just after sun up. But the real question is, how long have you been here?"
" Ooo Just missed her." Lunas words dripped with sarcasm, as she took another sip of her morning tea. " Ive been here just long enough to realize that putting that axe down on the pit when I came in was a good idea. Wouldnt want to accidentally hit you too".
Gabrielles voice caught in her throat as the movement on her lap was telling her Xena was working her way back to the living. Gabrielle watched as Xena slowly opened her eyes trying to focus but the light was making her eyes burn. Slowly she brought a hand up to her face letting her fingers rub her eyes trying to calm the feeling of hot pokers being shoved through her eyelids. Gabrielle was so nervous she could scream. Luna was just a couple of paces away. A woman who hated Xena almost as much as Callisto did could really cause some serious damage and fast. She was more concerned that Xena hadnt noticed Lunas presence yet. Xena would normally notice if someone was approaching them within a mile. Blue eyes emerged from behind their curtain of darkness slowly focusing on the object before them.
Luna sat in a chair across from Gabrielle watching with baited breath unconsciously drinking her morning tea. Luna managed to make a pot of tea and start a pot of morning cereal all before Gabrielle realized she was there. During her morning routine she kept a constant eye on the two women watching the emotions spill over from Gabrielle. What has Xena done to deserve a person like Gabrielle? Xena has done nothing but use people for anything, soldiers, money, weapons and her favorite sex. Gods know that Borias fell right into that, but then the poor bastard ended up falling in love with her and then look what happened to him. Did Xena pull this poor kid into that situation? Luna watched as Gabrielle slowly traced the outlines of Xenas face and shoulders when suddenly Xenas facial expression turned ugly, as nightmares must be taking over her dreams. Luna was amazed as she watched Gabrielle instantly turn her full attention on Xenas state of mind. Gabrielle began petting Xenas hair while speaking softly to her. Luna tried to listen to what was being said, but the voice was too soft. She watched Xenas face turn from torment to complete comfort in moments. Gabrielle continued to comfort Xena while her eyes were assessing the damage to her friend. Lunas eyes looked over Xenas well built form noticing the nasty black eye she had that went along with the bruises on her face, "bet that hurt." And speaking of hurting that position she had slept in wasnt going to help either.
Movement brought Lunas attention back to the present noticing that Xena was waking up and so was her disgust for Xena. "Did she sleep like that all night?"
Gabrielle quickly inhaled at the sound of Lunas voice. Xenas eyes snapped wide open at the voice coming from behind her. She turned her focus onto Gabrielle seeing the answer she was thinking. Gabrielles eyes looked to Luna seeing a serpent waiting for the kill then looked back to the warrior nervous for what was going through her head at the moment. Xenas heart was racing and her knees were screaming for relief but she held herself to the spot watching the bards eyes full of concern.
"Think so." Her voice meek but nervous as Gabrielle watched Xena look over to where Luna was sitting.
A heartbeat passed.
"Morning Xena." The tone was unmistakable. It truly was Luna.
Xena slowly turned her head to face a part of her past she wanted to forget about, but Draco was right, there is no rest for the wicked. Xenas heart stopped.
Two warriors were now facing off for the first time in ages. The energy in the room began to grow at lightning speed.
Luna was relaxed in a chair with her mug of tea watching the warriors reaction to the situation. Xena was obviously taken off guard at her position and the look in her eyes told her she was a bit overwhelmed by what she saw. " Whats the matter Xena? I thought you liked surprises."
Xena jumped to her feet in a defensive mode, but swayed just a little from the pains in her knees.
Gabrielle snatched one of Xena hands holding onto her. "Xena are you alright?"
The concerned bard watched Xena pull herself together as the warrior rubbed her face with the other hand.
"Told ya she was going to be sore." The older woman rose to her feet facing Xena. Her eyes drilled the warrior trying to see anything that was familiar to her other than her face and speaking of her face. "So anyone I know?"
Xena inhaled deeply smelling her surroundings trying to buy time until she found her voice. "Vesco." Xena saw the smile appear on Luna as she grinned deeply knowing she enjoyed hearing that, but she didnt really care. Xenas attention was on Gabrielles soft hand in hers.
"Well the next time I see the man Ill have to buy him a drink."
"I killed him." Xena felt Gabrielle tighten her grip.
"Xena what happened?" Gabrielles voice was full of concern as her eyes softened when Xena looked into hers.
"I didnt like what he had to say." Unconsciously, she raised a hand to touch her face but was stopped short.
"Hey dontcha think you should wash up first before you man-handle my patient?" Lunas words stabbed Xena in the back, leaving a mischievous grin on her face.
Xena snapped her head in Lunas direction; full Warrior Princess mode was active. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Xena." Gabrielles voice was soft but heard by the warrior who gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
"Are you trying to say something?" Xenas words hissed like a snake ready for the kill.
"Yeah." Luna stepped forward, sniffed the air and wrinkled her nose. "Xena, you stink." Then proceeded to turn and walk away.
"Who the fu "
"Ill tell you who!!!! Im the fucking person whos gonna tell ya how its gonna be." Lunas eyes were full of rage, which was clearly evident. "Your little friend there is just starting to feel like a human again and I dont need your dirty person all over her."
Xena knew she was right, Gabrielle couldnt take the chance of any type of infection. "Alright."
"Good. Spring is over there and your leathers go there when you take them off." Luna headed toward one of the supply rooms.
"Xena?" Gabrielle gave Xenas hand a slight shake bringing her down to earth again. "You okay?"
"Not sure. Im still trying to get it in my head that this is real and not a dream." Xena sat on the edge of Gabrielles bed. "Gabrielle I thought she was dead Then again I thought she would have killed me by now too."
"She told me before you woke up that she left an Axe on the fire pit when she first came in, but I couldnt tell if she was serious or not."
"Im sure she was serious." Xena saw fear in Gabrielles eyes. Xena cupped the bards cheek and looked her deep in the eyes. " Gabrielle if she wanted to kill me she would have already done it."
"Xena but what " Gabrielles panicked voice was cut short.
"Hey its okay." Xena keeping her voice soft and low. "Im not going to let anything happen, alright?"
Gabrielle nodded in agreement leaning into the warriors touch, feeling the warmth from the warriors hands while her heart continued to pound in her chest.
Xena watched as the bards eyes shut to her touch her skin was so soft, gods is she beautiful. With out thinking, Xena leaned forward placing a light kiss on the bards lips, and to her surprise, she kissed her back. The kiss was light, but lingered on a moment longer as Gabrielle placed her hand over Xenas, not wanting to break to contact.
Xena broke off the contact when she heard Lunas boots coming closer. "Time for my bath." Xena quipped.
That comment got a smile out of Gabrielle and that was a sight for sore eyes, Gabrielle always did have a nice smile. Xena rose from her seat and began the task of taking off her armor and leathers.
"Here this should still fit you." Luna tossed a few towels and a small bundle of clothes.
"Still?" Gabrielle questioned.
"Ya I liked it so I took it."
Xena, dressed in only in her shift, picked up the item and looked it over. "I always wondered where that went." Xena shot a look in Lunas direction but Luna only shrugged her shoulders and walked away. Xena gathered her things and moved over to the spring and settled in for a hot bath.
Gabrielle watched Xena remove her shift and toss it over where Luna had instructed her to place her leathers. Gabrielles eyes looked over Xenas form, noticing her beauty for the first time. Anxiety bubbled into her veins, as thoughts of Xenas lips on hers that left her with feelings of warmth and love, there was definitely love. Gabrielle smiled at the thought as she watched Xena descend into the hot spring. She always thought Xena did have a great backside. But this time she noticed something a little different on her warrior Xena lost weight, it was obvious that she wasnt taking care of herself. Her heart began to ache thinking of what Xena must have gone through thinking that she was really dead, maybe even blaming herself. Gabrielle thought back, remembering the heartache and the grief that overcame her when she thought she lost Xena forever. Oh Xena
Luna watched her new visitor wanting to crawl out of her skin, gods the feeling was disgusting. Gods and the exchange of sap between these two was enough to choke a Titan. Maybe Ill just poison them, hmmm.
"So who wants breakfast?"
To be continued ..
Yeah I know only one more!! I promise!
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