The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of MCA/Universal. The story is all mine and it contains a graphic depiction of lesbian sex. If you are under 18 or this type of material offends you, then please stop reading and find something else to do.

Disclaimer stuff - If you haven't ever read 'The Letting Go' this story may not make any sense. I never meant it to be an epilogue but I guess that's what it turned out to be. My deepest gratitude goes to Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. I borrowed her song "Blood and Fire" and used it here. It seemed appropriate.


By: Zealander

Darkbard Fantasies 10/25/96

"By the Gods, it's hot.." Out of the corner of my eye, I notice her wiping the sweat from her brow. Again. I suppress a seductive curl of my lip and instead bite my tongue. I make no comment. I continue walking behind her, pulling gently at Argo's reins. Leaves litter my path. "Xena, how much farther? Hades must be cooler!" She turns her head for a moment to look at me for a response she knows she will not get. Instead, I give her a look that says 'keep moving'. She turns around, walking backwards, a scowl covering her face. She runs a cloth across her forehead. "Don't you ever sweat, Xena?" I lift my face upward to the sky. The sun is directly above us and there are no clouds. The heat is invigorating on my skin. I relish in it. She knows that. I keep on walking. "Can we stop, Xena? I'm tired." She leans on her staff. "In a bit." My voice is deep. She waits to walk next to me and we continue up a slight hill. I can't help but notice her at my side. Her skirt is clinging to her glistening legs and her blouse is pressed close from the sweat. Hard nipples show through the fabric. Wisps of hair are stuck to her neck. She is beautiful in my eyes. Exigency creeps inside me. And, it's not the first time...

"Xena, can we stop for a drink? Please?" Blue-green eyes turn towards me. I pretend not to notice. Those eyes... Those eyes get me in too much trouble. Sometimes they see more than I want them to and sometimes they see things that I don't. "Soon." She is several paces ahead of me now. Good. The closeness was becoming a problem. "Xena, I'm thirsty." So am I. But a different kind of thirst; I want to feel her lips against my hot skin. The moistness of her tongue intertwined with mine. Her arms wrapped around my waist. Her strong legs wrapped inside mine. Leaning closer, I shake my head to blot out the thought. "Why can't I have a drink, Xena?" Oh! She thinks I'm denying her a drink. That's not it! Yet, with my expression empty, I reach back for the water skin and toss it to her. She uncorks it and takes a long swallow. I busy myself checking Argo's bridle. Out of the corner of my eye, I continue to watch her. The sun gleams on her golden hair. I retie one of the knots on a saddlebag. Oh Goddess! She's pouring some of the water over her head. Her neck is tilted back and her eyes are closed. A dreamy look covers her face. Water drips from her chin. I bend down to check the girth on my horse. Gabrielle is out of my view now. I let out a heavy sigh. This young woman causes feelings in me that I thought long gone. Or never were. A familiar heat rises between my legs. If only I could... "Wanna a drink, Xena?" Dammit! She's standing right next to me! Why didn't I hear her approaching? I can hear a rabbit in the grass 40 paces away! I can *feel* a silent enemy with a sword above my head and react before they do. Why didn't I notice *her*? What is it about her that erases my senses? "Xena?" She touches my shoulder. It feels like a lightening bolt through my loins. My body betrays me with a slight shudder. "Hmmm?" It's all I can say. "Here. You must be thirsty, too." She hands me the pouch, her fingers brushing my hand. I still avoid her gaze. I take a swallow. It does taste good but it only refreshes my yearnings. She moves in closer to wipe my neck with her cloth. I back away. "It's okay, Xena." She laughs. "I won't hurt you!" Not the way she thinks. I suddenly start down the path. "I'll be back in a little bit. Check our provisions. There's a town not too far up ahead. We can stock up there." I turn my back to her. She stands there in shock that I up and left her. "Xena? Xena! Where are you going?" Her voice is insistent. "I'll be back soon." I call back to her. I increase my pace. I hear footsteps behind me. I turn towards her, giving her a small grin. "Check the food, Gabrielle - you don't want to go hungry, now do you?" I knew that'd work. She stopped following me. I turn away, half running to no-where, fleeing a demon named Desire.

I move silently through the forest. I went off the path soon after I left her sight. I had to get away! She has no idea of the thoughts and feelings she conjures deep inside me. I know now that I am in love with her. Deeply. My heart has only recently overpowered my lust. My secret fantasies have me throwing down my sword and lying next to her forever. But would she have me? I have doubts. When she left me a while back and went to the Amazons I thought I would go crazy! I did not know where she was, at first. I was afraid for her; fear for her life - fear for her heart and mind. I assumed that I had done something wrong. She never really gave me any answers as to why she left. She still hasn't and that was several months ago. I am too proud or too scared to ask. Eventually, I did do something very wrong. We've made love many times since that day but I still don't know if she ever forgave me.

I remember how I felt when I found her in the women's village with Epinon. I went mad with jealousy! My original intent was to sweep her into my arms and carry her off. Somehow, I had a notion that Gabrielle was my property. That I was her *great* protector. I never really noticed that she had grown up since she'd been with me. She could take care of herself now. She was growing quite proficient with her staff. Thanks to Epinon. Epinon. <Sigh> I know Gabrielle's feelings for the Amazon warrior were real. It was unrealistic for me to think I would be her whole life from the first time until death. She had no other experiences but me. However, with experience grew strength. I stupidly ignored that she needed some of her own to grow. Somehow my 'protecting' turned into control. I never wanted to control her. Yet, she needs me, less than I need her.

I stop near a large oak tree. I sit down with my back against the trunk. How long have I been walking? My thoughts have runaway with me. Something I prefer not to do. I know my guard is down. I check to feel my sword on my back. I reach to unbuckle it and set the scabbard at my feet. My knees are drawn and open. A small breeze has kicked up. Perhaps we will have a storm this evening. I again look upwards but the sky remains uncluttered. I admit, it is hot. I should have been nicer to Gabrielle. I know she cannot tolerate the things I can. I hope that she is resting under an equally shady tree right now. I wonder what *she* is thinking? Do her thoughts constantly run the same course as mine? Does desire never leave her? Does her body never seem to rest? Does an internal fire always burn?

My hand inadvertently brushes the inside of my thigh as I reach to tug at a tall piece of grass between my legs. A familiar sensation runs through me. A moment later, I look down to find one hand caressing the inside of that same thigh and the other, with fingers I don't recognize, parting my lower lips and running over smooth, silky wetness causing tiny shudders to crawl up my spine. I pull myself away, suppressing a rising urge to fulfill my needs. What I really want is Gabrielle. Her touch, her soft voice in my ear, her lips on mine, her caress deep within those places I have kept hidden for so long. I close my eyes and lean further back - dreaming ... wanting...needing...

I suddenly awake from my castle in the air and realize I have been gone too long. I cannot avoid her forever nor do I want to be away from her at all. I hasten back to where I left her and Argo. I find her sitting cross-legged under a tree reading a parchment. She does not notice my approach. I step on a branch causing it to crack. "Hi. Have a nice walk?" She is smiling at me. I ignore it. "You check on the food?" I walk over to Argo and check the bags for myself. "Yes. We could use some fresh bread, though." She rustles the parchment. "Where did you get this? It appears to be your handwriting." She stands and comes towards me. I turn my gaze away and bury my face in a saddlebag. Damn! "Xena? What is this?" One of her hands is touching my arm, the other holding out the parchment for me to see. I know what it is. "It's nothing, Gabrielle. Put it away and let's go." I walk past her and reach down for Argo's reins. "Did you write this?" Her voice is insistent again. <Sigh. > "Yes." hopefully... "When? Is it about me?" I am trapped. Do I tell her the truth or try to disregard it? "Xena, tell me." She's pulling me to face her.

I turn my face to hers. Blue-green to indigo blue. I tighten a fist at my side to suppress an overpowering urge to reach out and kiss her. To lay her on the ground. To rip off her clothes and ravage her body with my tongue and my fingers...To make her shudder with desire for me... "Xena?" I was lost in her eyes. I feel a burning spot on my arm. I look away to notice her hand still holding me. I harden my gaze, erasing all emotion. "Yes. I wrote it." "When?" I shuffle a boot absently. "When you left me." I am uncomfortable telling her this. Can she tell? "Oh." That's it? That's all she can say? I was worried for this? "It's beautiful." Her eyes are now turning from me. She's the one uneasy now. "Gabrielle...I..." I reach out to touch her, my own eyes lowered, unable to avoid my heart. "Xena, I can forget I saw this, okay? I know it's hard for you..." Our eyes have met again. My hand reaches out for hers. Fingers intertwine. She is warm. Soft. "Gabrielle, I don't *want* to forget anything." What am I saying? I'd rather fight Cortez, and lose; than tell her how I really felt that day she left me. "There appear to be several stories here." Her eyes are searching for answers to questions I don't know. "Yes." What more does she want? "One in particular..." "Yes?" Go ahead, Gabrielle, ask it. "Will you read it to me?" She hands me the paper. I am afraid to take it. "Xena, please..." "Gabri..." I shake my head slowly. "I want to hear it from you." Her voice is stronger, quietly demanding. "I..." My eyes are cast downward, looking at my unpolished boots. "Xena. Tell me." I feel her eyes burning into me. I steel myself and look at her. She knows I need to do this. *I* know I need to do this. I have no choice. I take the parchment from her hand but I know which song she wants from me. I look down. I was right. I hand the paper back to her.

I guide Gabrielle over to sit down in a patch of soft grass. I kneel in front of her. I notice the sun is starting to fade and there is still a slight breeze. A strand of my long hair falls in front of my face. I casually brush it back. How long have we been here? Does it even matter? I clear my throat. I look deep into her eyes. She returns the look. With gentleness wrapped around her, her hands in her lap, and her lips barely parted, I reach over and kiss her. Her embrace lifts my spirit. I'm speaking before I fully pull away. "Gabrielle. I wrote this the night you left me to go home to Potiedia." I see her wince at the soft words. She never went home to her sister Lila, as she promised. She went to the Amazon village instead; for help she wouldn't allow *me* to give. Five days later I found her in the arms of Epinon. My heart was ripped from my soul. "I never realized how much you meant to me." I take her hands in mine. I stare at them as if for the first time. I put my fingers between hers. Slowly I begin...

"I have spent nights with matches and knives," "Leaning over ledges, only 2 flights up" She squeezes my hand. I feel warmth transferred to my own. "Cutting my heart," "Burning my soul..." She pulls me closer. Our knees are touching. "There's nothing left to hold." "Nothing left but, blood and fire." I stop and stare at her. Her eyes burn into mine. I feel myself falling. Falling into her waiting arms. I turn and she holds me tightly. I am glad for the chance not to look at her. She kisses my cheek, my neck, and my shoulders. I close my eyes and simply die of contentment. My voice continues... "You have spent nights, thinking of me." Her face is pressed to my back; I feel her nod 'yes'. "Missing my arms, but you needed to leave" Her grip grows tighter around my waist. I raise my chin in defiance to the truth. "Leaving my cuts, leaving my burns, hoping I'd learn." I hear her whisper my name. "Xena..." I turn and look at her, desire burns inside me. I give her the softest gaze I ever have, it speaks volumes. She hears me and nods for me to continue. My boots scrape the hard ground. My eyes desperate, searching hers. Pleading for her approval...wanting to know her need.... "Blood and Fire," "Are too much for these restless arms to hold" she holds me tighter still - an 'I will not ever let you go' clasp. "And my nights of desire they're calling me back to your fold." She moves to kiss me. Our lips touch. I swear I feel a spark. My lips are burning hot. My tongue searches for hers. We meet and encircle each other for eternity. My hands are running through her golden hair. I feel her arms stroke my back. I sit back on my heels as she removes my armor. My voice is louder gaze as steel. "And I am calling you, calling from 10,000 miles away." "Won't you wet my fire with your soul?" She reaches out to slip the straps of my leather tunic down my shoulders. I don't move. She leans in closer and with her breasts pressed against mine she searches behind me to unlace my dress. A moment later I find my own hands are running up and down her sides. I am tugging at her skirt. Her blouse is open in the front. My breath is growing heavy. My voice deeper. "I am looking for someone, who can take as much as I give them," Gabrielle grabs for me and pulls me down to the hard ground. One leg is draped over my own. "And give me back as much as I need..." Her eyes staring at me, her mouth kissing me, lighting a flame between my legs. Her insistent hands are on my breasts - kneading, pinching, and stroking. "And they, they still have the will to live..." Her lucious mouth has found my chest; she kisses me all over. My own body now naked, I hasten to finish undressing her. I want to feel her sweat-soaked skin on mine. I kiss her neck, running my tongue along her shoulders. I hear her whimper an approval. She puts my arms around her when my task is finished. Our lips meet again break away to finish my song...My voice is barely audible under the strain. "I am intense." "You are my life..." She answers me. A low guttural response. Her lips are moving lower, running across my firm stomach. Her hands are everywhere. "I am in need." "You are mine..." I feel her heat on my skin. Her legs are between me. I feel dampness on my thighs. "I am in pain." "I will erase it...." Her head lowered, I feel her hot breath on my skin. She parts my lips with one hand. My back arches in anticipation of her touch. My hips move involuntarily. She holds them tight. Her tongue flicks across my swollen bud. I let out a gentle cry. 'More' is all I can think of. "I am in love." "As am I, my warrior..." Her tongue delves deep inside me with a force I was not expecting. I scream out in surprise! She moans deeply at what she finds. I am wet like no other time in my life. She licks up and down, exploring, and hungry. My body bucks in response; my hands are buried in her hair, urging her deeper still. She moves one hand down to feel me. My head whips back and forth wanting her inside. She senses my desire and strokes me slowly instead, her tongue kissing the inside of my thighs. Her hands back on my breasts. I manage to say: "Gabrielle, please, I must have you..." "Soon, my love...." She teases me. I writhe under her touch. I have never wanted her like this before. "Now." I whisper. "Take me." I have no idea where I got the strength to utter the words. Did she hear me? Her tongue has returned to satiate me. I feel her fingers stroking upwards. Soon? Oh, Gods... "What's the last line of your song, Xena?" A lustful demon demands me to answer. Her tongue pulls away. Breathe. I must breathe to answer her. How long was I holding my breath? "I feel forsaken, like the things I gave away." How did I remember the line? Did I speak it aloud? "Me release you, Xena? Never. Not even in your dreams." I bend my head to gaze at her. I actually see her evil grin. She looks up at me. Those eyes... "Gabrielle?" My soul is aflame. "Never." She pushes two fingers deep inside me with the words. My head goes back. I gasp! I scream! She fills me inside. I never knew I needed her so badly. I have never needed anyone like this before. My soul has angel's wings. My heart is in flight. I am hers and I know, now, she is mine. Finally.

She continues her thrusts inside me. My body moves in a steady rhythm to them. Have I been here an hour or only a few seconds? My eyes are shut tight. My muscles are tense upon snapping. I feel an unbelievable rising within. My hips and back arch. It feels like some sort of explosion. My face grows flush. My heart is pounding. I am covered in sweat. I grab at the dry earth, only pulling up dust. I feel Gabrielle move.

I open my eyes. Her blue-green gaze looks down on me. "Are you okay?" She asks, one hand on my thigh, the other across my stomach. She touches me with tenderness like feathers. I can only stare at her. I cannot find my voice. I close my eyes again. "Xena?" "I'm fine." I lay there perfectly still. It was a lame response but all I could muster. I'm *trying* to pull myself together. When I open my eyes again, I notice it is dark. I pull her closer to me, my arms tightly holding her for all eternity. She smiles at me - a beautiful smile. "I want to stay like this forever, Xena." I nod my approval and hug her tighter still. "I love you, Gabrielle." And I do - with every ounce of my being. "I love you too, Xena." She kisses me with soft, moist lips. I linger there forever. "It'll be morning soon." she declares for no apparent reason. It was later than I thought. "Sunrise is torture... darkness bliss." "Shall I get you a quill and parchment? Sounds like another one coming on." She teases me. Her fingers running small circles over my body. "No, Gabrielle. No more stories. I'm leaving this 'bard' business up to you. I don't think I could handle another one."

She slides up my body and moves in very close. Her head on my shoulder. I give her a smile and a quick kiss; I wrap my arms around her. Together we drift off to timeless slumber…


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