A Time of Vengeance

by sHaYcH

Disclaimer: If you recognize the names, they probably belong to MCA/Universal.

Im gonna be safe and disclaim everything. Violence. Sex. (male/female as well as female/female). Weirdness. Humor. (this is a product of my twisted brain, after all ;)



Part 1

The evening sky was clear, the myriad specks of tiny sparkling lights from the stars above gleamed off of the gentle waters of the sea below. Xena stood at the helm of the ship that Ulysses had lent to her and Gabrielle for the return voyage to the Grecian Mainland. The warrior princess smiled slightly to herself as she saw the still sea-sick storyteller careen across the deck to empty the contents of her stomach over the side rail. ‘Poor Gabrielle, its so ironic how calmly she can deal with the reek of death, but put her on a ship and she loses it.’ Some of the sailors had tried various remedies on the green-faced bard, but to no avail. Gabrielle seemed destined to spend her time ship-board in total misery. The smile became a grin as Xena felt the wind pick up. She loved the sea. She always had.

Once the heaving of her insides had subsided enough for her to stand mostly upright, Gabrielle took the time to admire the beauty of the night. They were two days out from Ithaca and already she was more than ready to put her feet on dry land again. Her thoughts wandered as she stared out at the full moon. ‘I still can’t believe that she walked away from Ulysses. Yeah, he had Penelope, but Xena’s so much better. Hades, Ulysses was going to leave Ithaca and Penelope for her. Oh..’, her eyes misted up, ‘how romantic. Sigh. Although, I must admit, I’m just as glad she did make him stay. I’m not sure what I would have done if he had come with us. I know in my heart of hearts, that I’ll never be more than her best friend, but if I had to try to sleep listening to her have sex one more time, I was gonna go insane.’ The bard shook her amber tresses slightly, ‘Sweet Athena, the last time I had to "fake" sleep, was with her and Marcus...and then I didn’t know whether to come or cry.’

Gabrielle gazed up at the moon shadowed sillouette of her desire. As always, the sight of Xena’s blue-black tresses fluttering in the breeze caused the young woman’s pulse to race. ‘I love her hair.’ She mused dreamily. ‘I wish I could run my fingers through it, lacing them tightly while she...no, better not go there, Gabrielle.’ She sighed. At least thinking naughty thoughts about the warrior princess was keeping her mind off of her stomach, which, of course, chose that moment to reassert itself in her primary attentions. "Oooh." Gabrielle groaned and started to make her way belowdecks once more, thinking that maybe she could sleep till they landed.

Xena, still lost in thought, was snapped out of her reverie by Gabrielle’s moans.

Searching the deck for her friend, she noticed the bard staggering towards their quarters. As she was about to call out to the young woman, the ship hit a swell and rocked violently to the side, throwing Xena to one knee and sending Gabrielle tumbling towards the bow. A wave lashed the side of the ship, causing it to tilt furthur ocean-ward. Gabrielle, unable to controll her spinning and rolling, tucked herself into as tight of a ball as she could and prayed.

Xena was galvanized into action when she saw her best friend getting precariously close to the edge of the deck. Tieing a rope from the mainsail around her waist, she fought the steadily rising winds and the now constant swells of water to reach the deck and Gabrielle’s sea-tossed form.

She was almost to Gabrielle when a giant fist-like wave crashed over the ship and sent the young amazon shrieking into the water. Faster than a thought, Xena’s whip was in her hand, the end snaking out around one of the bard’s flailing arms. It was quite a picture, Xena hanging off the side of the ship, Gabrielle dangling several feet below her, the storm wracked ocean only inches from the bards boots.

Poseidon chuckled evily to himself as he watched the woman who had insulted his honor struggle to keep the little chatterbox bard alive.

"Go on, Warrior Princess. Save her, if you can." He laughed again. This was just too good. After tangling with the canny ex-warlord, Poseidon could see why Ares so desperately desired to call her back into his fold. The god returned to his scrying pond;

Xena had slowly pulled Gabrielle up until the petrified young woman was almost within her grasp. Poseidon could see the taut muscles of Xena’s powerful arms straining to lift the Bard away from the deadly waters of his domain. ‘I believe that now would be the right time for my vengeance.’ He started to focus his will on the churning waters surrounding the Ithacan ship. He had just about gotten enough power built to give the vessel a good toppling when he Felt the Pressence of Others in His chamber. His concentration shattered, he turned around to face his visitors.

"Not so fast, Uncle." Oozed Ares.

"Stay thy hand, Master of the Seas." Commanded Artemis.

"Brother, we really need to talk." Said Hades.

"Yeah, like, chill out, wave-dude." Bubbled Aphrodite.

"To what do I owe the pleasure of this little family reunion?" Poseidon boomed, irritated at having his fun spoiled.

"Well Unc, if it were up to me I’d let the little bitch drown," Ares gestured to the frozen image of Gabrielle. "However, these ladies seem to have slight problem with that." The dark-skinned god’s eyes narrowed as he glared at his sisters.

"Gabrielle has a destiny to fullfill as my Amazon Queen. I simply cannot allow her to be harmed." Artemis stated with conviction.

"Oh, any man-hating, staff-wielding bimbo could do that." Ares snapped.

"It must be Gabrielle. No one else..." Artemis started to reply.

"Loves that walking advertisement for Leather Lovers, Xena." Aphrodite chimed in. She turned to her sister, "Puh-lease," she rolled her eyes, " ‘Temis babe, can’t you get your little Queenie to get "Her Princessness" to lighten up a little?"

"I’m working on it, ‘Dite." The Huntress smiled.

"Although I find this very fascinating, I still don’t see why you are all here. Especially you, Brother." Poseidon turned to look at Hades.

The God of the Underworld jumped a bit at his older brother’s tone, and muttered, "oh, well, um, for one, ‘Seph made me." He then sighed frustratedly, "for two, I’d a, sorta like to put off hearing Gabrielle’s incessant chattering for another fourty years or so. For three, I don’t want to have to redecorate the palace after Xena finds her way there and destroys it while attempting to get her bard back. Other than that, I’m just here mostly to mediate." He grinned weakly at his joke.

"I see." The watery god stroked his beard. "It seems that we have a conflict of interests here. Obviously, Ares would do anything to get Xena to follow him again, yet these beautiful ladies here oppose the idea of killing the bard. Whereas you, Brother, appear to be willing to be swayed to one side or the other."

"That’s about the size of it, Fish-breath." Hades grinned.

"Hades, what are you waiting for? Join us. You too stand to gain from the Bard’s death."

Ares crooned suggestively, "after all, you can always use more pure, innocent souls in Elysia."

"Hades if you side with them, you’ll be proving what I’ve said all along about you male gods: You all don’t give a fat damn about what we female goddess’ want." Artemis’ gaze bore into Hades’, giving him her best "Go ahead, make my millenium" look.

Hades calmly withstood the Moon Goddess’ piercing gaze, then coughed and said, "I think I’d like to know more about why you want revenge on Xena, Brother, before I make any decisions."

"Reasons? You wants reasons for my revenge? Alright, I’ll give you reasons. First off, she outright admitted to blinding a cyclops, second, she helped that murdering bastard Ulysess escape my wrath, third, she insulted my daughters, and finally, as long as I’ve heard of the Warrior Princess, she has shown no respect at all towards the gods. She needs to be taught a lesson." Poseidon took a deep breath, and prepared to continue.

"Alright, uncle, you’ve made yourself clear. There’ s no need to beat a dead horse." Ares cast a warning look at Poseidon. Both of the women present were starting to grow a bit red faced and Artemis’ hand was hovering near her breast dagger. It was Aphrodite who couldn’t hold her tongue.

"Yeah, right fishface. You guys just can’t take it that Xena, a really hot mortal babe would rather be with a simple bard than any of you. Especially you Mr. Testosterone Junkie."

The diminutive goddess put her fists on her hips and stared down Ares. "You muscle heads just can’t choke that down, can you?" Ares flinched and looked away from the love mistress’ unwavering gaze, but Poseidon stared back.

" ‘Dite, you’ve got to be joking. Xena isn’t in love with the little snippet. She loves that sniveling wreck Ulysess."

"Not a chance, fish-dude. She’s just in major emotional denial. Given a chance, she’d come around."

At this point, Hades decided to put in his two dinars worth. "I have a suggestion. Why don’t we consult the fates? Surely they could tell us if the warrior is destined to love the bard."

Aphrodite beamed at his idea, Artemis cracked a smile and dropped her hand back down to her side, Poseidon scratched his chin thoughtfully and Ares glared.

"Alright, I agree. If the fates can prove that Xena and Gabrielle are destined to be lovers, then I shall cease my efforts to bring harm to the bard." Poseidon offered.

"What??!!" Ares exploded. "Uncle, surely you don’t mean that. Surely you aren’t going to let your revenge go over something so mushy as love." The God of War sneered. Aphrodite gave him a look of pure hatred, but before another arguement could break out, Poseidon took his nephew’s shoulder in his hand and dragged him off to a corner of the chamber.

"Ares, listen to me. Ask yourself this: If your warrior princess truely loves that bratty little bard, do you really think that she’d ever tell her?" Ares thought for a minute.

"No. She’s too proud to admit to any form of weakness, especially one as pathetic as love is."

"Exactly my point. Now, imagine the torture. Each loving the other intensely, each wanting the other’s touch, each unwilling or unable to reach out. Eventually, one or the other of them will leave the other."

"Oho, I like your style, Uncle. And once they no longer are together, I can move in and fill the void for Xena." Ares’ eyes twinkled. "I have so much to plan for..."

Artemis, seeing the two men whispering together with smiles on their faces, grabbed Aphrodite’s arm and whispered harshly, "what if this fails? What if those two find a way to spoil our plans? I can’t lose Gabrielle. My amazons need her. And she needs Xena."

"’Temis, babe, you stress way too much. Chill out, I got a plan for our little Leatherchick." The goddess’ eyes flashed and she grinned.

"Oh, really?" Artemis’ eyebrows shot up in a gesture that would have been very familiar to the bard in question.

"Ok people, are we going to do this, or are we gonna sit around and plot the destruction of the cosmos?" Hades snapped to get everyone’s attention.

"Lets do it!" The gods yelled in unison, each certain that they would prevail.

With the various flashes, puffs, waves and other unnecessary special fx that each god or goddess employed to appear, one by one, Ares, Artemis, Poseidon, Aphrodite, and finally, Hades left the Sea-Gods lair and reappeared in the weaving room of the Fates.

Clotho, maiden of the trio, looked up from her work, giggled at Ares, who winked at her, and resumed the task of spinning the threads of life. Atropos, the crone, grunted at the intrusion of so many unwanted guests, and began to sharpen her shears. Lachesis, mother goddess, ceased her weaving and looked at Hades.

"To what do we owe the pleasure of a visit from so many Olympiads?"

"Oh, groovey, they aren’t gonna do that  three-part-confuse-the-Tarterus-out-of-you chant thingy!" Aphrodite gushed.

"Lachesis, we, I have a favor to ask of you." Hades smiled warmly.

"And that would be?" Lachesis crossed her arms, waiting.

Poseidon stepped forward, cupped his hand and caused a globe of still water to appear.

Inside the globe, the time stilled image of the life-and-death struggle of Xena and Gabrielle formed for all to see. Hades gestured to the picture, "we are concerned with the fate of a certain bard. Ares wants the warrior for himself, so killing the bard would, in his mind, bring the Xena back to him. Poseidon wishes to punish the warrior for various insults, and feels that killing her best friend would achieve this. But, Artemis is violently opposed to losing her Amazon Queen and other than to support her sister, I’m not really certain why Aphrodite is here."

"Why, isnt it obvious Uncle Morbid, if Xena and Gabrielle do become lovers, Ill be responsible for some of the greatest love poetry since Sappho." The goddess winked at Lachesis. "I have a feeling that the world could use some new inspiration."

"Never the less," Hades continued, " we have all agreed to come to you, the weaver of all man’s fates, to discover if what Aphrodite says is true. We wish to know if Xena and Gabrielle are to be lovers."

"Ahh. You wish to see how their threads intertwine in the Tapestry. Alright. I will grant you a viewing. But you must not touch the Tapestry." Lachesis warned them sternly. She led the five gods to the Tapestry room and showed them where they could stand or sit out of the way. Then she felt along the Tapestry till she found the strands that everyone had come to see.

"Here we are." The weaver held up two threads. One was of many golden hues, the other of blacks and deep blues. "This light one, " she held out the yellow thread, "is the life of the Bard.

This one," she exchanged threads, "is the Warrior." The gods looked on as she went on to show them how and where in the Tapestry each thread had started. They could all see how Xena’s thread had begun as a sky blue that had slowly darkened to black, and how Gabrielle’s started as almost white that became more golden. At one point in the Tapestry, their threads had become entwined, each taking on a bit of the color of the other. Xena’s becoming lighter and Gabrielle’s growing darker. "As you can see, each woman has had a profound effect on the life of the other.

Its easy to see that without Gabrielle, Xena would have continued on her dark path. Just as Gabrielle, without Xena, would never have had the chance to be the bard that she is now."

"As educational as this is, Lachesis, it doesn’t answer the question. Are the bard and the warrior fated to be lovers? Does Xena love Gabrielle?" Ares sneered.

The mistress of fate closed her eyes and held the woven strands of life for a moment, concentrating. When she opened them again, she turned and flashed a brief smile of appreciation at Aphrodite. "Nice work, ‘Dite. I almost missed it."

"Naturally." The goddess tossed her head, causing her golden blonde locks the smack Ares in the face. "You know, what with having to keep the rest of the world in bed and all, I wasn’t certain if I could ever get the Leatherbabe to fall in love. Kinda surprising how all it took was a hick chick like Gab." Hades smiled at Lachesis once again.

"I thank you for your help, weaver mistress. Now, Poseidon, will you keep your word and leave the bard and warrior alone?"

Eyes flashing at the thinly veiled insult, the Sea God replied harshly, "Of course."

Ares looked ill for a moment, a greenish cast passing over his normally bronzed face, then he swallowed and muttered, "I guess I’ll withdraw my support for the death of the chattering whore as well."

Artemis, who had been quietly celebrating with Aphrodite, looked up at her brother’s words. Face reddening, she growled, "Take that back, you murderous scum!" Then she decked the God of War. Ares smiled with glee as bloodlust began to sing in his veings. He drew his sword and began to circle his sister.

"Oh, I’ve waited a long time for this, Sister-dear." He crooned as he rubbed his jaw.

"Not long enough, you snake." Artemis growled as she too, readied her weapon. Ares came in low and fast, swinging his blade towards the Goddess’ unprotected legs, but Artemis was ready for him. Just as the sword of War brushed her thigh, she stepped back and roundhouse kicked her smug brother, her foot making a resounding CRACK! as it impacted with his skull.

Ares stumbled, dazed, then shook his head and laughed.

"You’ll have to do better than that to take me down, bitch." He snarled and swung his blade up to meet her spear. Sparks flew from both weapons. Ares stepped in towards Artemis and backhanded her across the face, drawing blood. Artemis’ tongue flickered out of her mouth, tasting her own life-force. A wild look came into her eyes and she leapt, maddened at the gloating form of her brother. Spinning her spear like a warstaff, she brought the butt end around behind Ares’ head and solidly thumped him while at the same time she kicked him, hard, in his godhood.

The God of War let out a pained yelp and started to collapse to his knees, his sword slipping from his grasp. At this, the other gods decided to prevent further combat and grabbed the still vengeful Huntress. Ares, clutching himself, looked up into Artemis’ blood-maddened eyes and hissed, "I will never forget this, sister." Then he passed out.

Artemis slumped into the arms of Aphrodite. "What have I done?" She moaned and buried her head in her hands.

"Temis love, you’ve done nothing. Ares got what he deserved." Aphrodite patted the disconsolate goddess on the shoulder.

"Yes, even I agree that my nephew overstepped his bounds in calling the Bard a whore." Poseidon rumbled.

"Perhaps we should all return to our homes and let the remainder of this day pass quietly." Hades suggested.

"A good idea," muttered Lachesis dryly, "I have work to do."

Poseidon nodded. "Yes, I too have things to do." He gathered up the still unconscious form of his willfull nephew and melted into a puddle that quickly vanished.

Aphrodite took charge of Artemis. "Hey babe, how ‘bout you teach me how to shoot that bow thingy? Can’t have my son hoarding all the glory." The Amazon smiled a bit as the two Goddesses vanished in a bright burst of light.

Hades took the hand of Lachesis and placed a gentle kiss on her palm. "My dear, as always, you have been an immense joy to work with."

"My pleasure, Hades. Give my best to Persephone." Fates’ weaver smiled warmly at the God of Death.

"Of course." He replied as his image started to fade.

Lachesis once again took up the threads of humanity and began to weave. As she was placing Xena’s and Gabrielle’s threads back into the Tapestry she murmered to herself, "oh, I do hope this works. The Warrior and the Bard deserve all the happiness they can find in life."

"Hang on Gabrielle, I’ve got you." Xena called down to the frightened young woman.

Gabrielle looked up and was captured by the determined glare in Xena’s cerulean blue eyes.

As the warrior pulled her best friend into her arms, Gabrielle whispered, "I trust you Xena, I know you won’t let me fall."

Xena’s heart squeazed painfully in her chest when she heard those words. Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena’s neck and held on for dear life. Gathering all of her strength, Xena heaved the two of them back onto the swaying deck of the storm tossed ship. The moment their feet touched the wooden planking, the ship righted itself and the sea grew miraculously calm.

"What the..?" Gabrielle blurted confusedly, looking around in disbelief.

"I don’t know Gabrielle, and I’m not sure that I want to right now. How

about we just go below and get some rest?" The woman of many skills untied the rope from her waist and coiled her whip.

"Yeah. That sounds like a good idea." The young amazon rubbed her wrist where the leather had rubbed a deep, raw welt. Xena’s eyes caught the motion of Gabrielle’s hand and when she saw the wound she bit back a gasp.

"Oh, Gabrielle, I’m so..."

"Don’t say it Xena. You just saved my life, remember?" She glanced down at

her wrist, turning it this way and that. "I think I can live with a little bit of whip burn."

Xena nodded assent at her bard’s logic. "Still, at least let me clean and bandage it."

"Only if you let me give you a backrub." Gabrielle countered. "I know your shoulders must be killing you."

"Done." Xena dropped her arm around Gabrielle’s shoulder as they made their way belowdecks to their shared quarters.

Once inside, Gabrielle slowly went about the task of cleaning the sea-tossed room while Xena dug around in their packs for medicines and bandages. Setting the first aid things beside their bed, Xena filled a bowl with water and motioned for Gabrielle to sit.

"Here, let me take a look at that." The bard smiled slightly and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Its so strange, but I haven’t felt sea-sick since the storm. I guess almost drowning drives away all other worries, huh?" She chuckled nervously as Xena gently took her arm and began cleaning the whip cut skin. The warrior’s proximity combined with her firm but comforting touch on the bard’s arm meshed to produce intoxicating feelings emanating from the pit of Gabrielle’s stomach. She gasped softly as she felt the rush of wetness between her thighs. ‘Oh, no. Not now.’ She groaned inwardly.

"Gabrielle? Are you alright?" Xena ceased her ministrations, concerned that she was hurting her friend.

"Huh? Oh, no. Lovin’ every minute of it." choked Gabrielle. Xena’s eyebrow shot up into her hairline at that comment, and she almost said something, but she resumed careing for the younger woman’s injury. When her arm was completely bandaged, Gabrielle stood shakily and muttered something about getting into her nightclothes. Xena politely turned her back to allow the bard some privacy.

"Ah, ah, ah, Warrior Princess, can’t have you doing that." Giggled Aphrodite from her viewing room as she watched the scene before her play out in the mirror. The Love Goddess smiled mischeviosly and snapped her fingers.

Xena’s head swung around sharply, her sensitive ears picking up unfamiliar sounds coming from where her bard was dressing. Her breath caught in her throat as she got an unobstructed view of Gabrielle’s nude body. Her eyes drank in the sight of full, upright breasts, nipples puckered in the cabin’s chill. They slid down the beautifly contoured stomach, muscles twitching from exhaustion, to continue across firm thighs and buttocks. The Amazon Queen looked up from rumaging in her satchel to meet Xena’s burning gaze. Gabrielle felt a slow flush crawl over her body at the warrior’s unwavering stare.

‘Gods!’ she inhaled sharply to herself, ‘she’s never looked at me that way before.’ She shivered, whether from the cold, or excitement, she couldn’t say for sure. ‘I wonder if I could..No, I couldn’t, I shouldn’t.’ Sigh. ‘But I want to.’ "Xena."

"Hmm?" The warrior answered distractedly. ‘What the?’ Xena mentally slapped herself.

‘I’ve been ogling Gabrielle like a pre-pubescent male! Hades! What was I thinking? Obviously not about Ulysses.’ She answered herself wryly. ‘Ok, Xena, stop staring at your best friend.

You’re supposed to be mourning the loss of the love of your life. Yeah, right,’ she thought to herself, ‘as if a big strong "macho" type would ever be enough to turn my heart from my Gabrielle.’ The warrior swallowed a sigh and turned away, unable to maintain eye contact with the woman who had been plaguing her dreams for two years. ‘I’m such an idiot!’ She berated herself. ‘I almost broke down and told Gabrielle just who it was that I wanted when she told me she needed to know how I felt about the King of Ithaca. I wanted to tell her that it was her I wanted to be kissing that night in the cabin, her that I wanted to follow me forever, her that I would follow forever. I thank the Gods that I didn’t say anything though. If I had, she’d have left me as soon as we hit land. Heh, I can see it now: Xena! I love you a lot, but sheesh, I’m not Sappho.’ The warrior glanced at the beautiful poet and pushed aside her passions once more.

Gabrielle, for her part, had made her decision. She was going to attempt to show Xena how she felt. She wouldn’t seduce the warrior woman, that wasn’t what she wanted, no, instead, she was just going to let her body do the communicating. So, instead of putting on her normal cotton shift, the bard chose to wear nothing at all. Gabrielle looked at Xena, smiled nervously and muttered, "It seems that all my shifts are dirty."

Xena, trying valiantly to cover a blush at being caught staring, smiled and responded, "if you’d like, you can borrow one of mine."

"No, no. That’s quite alright Xena. I’d swim in one of yours. I’ll be fine, unless, of course, you don’t care for my birthday suit?" The bard pirouetted playfully. The warrior choked on her reply as Gabrielle stepped towards her. "Now, lets get you out of that wet leather."

The warrior’s mouth went dry and her heart skipped several beats at the multiple images assailing her thoughts. Gabrielle, naked, undressing her, massaging her, and, she swallowed hard, sleeping next to her. Xena closed her eyes and fought to control the moan that was threatening to escape. The feather-light touch of Gabrielle’s hands on the buckles of her armor caused gooseflesh to cover her entire body.

"Xena? Are you ready?" Gabrielle softly breathed into the ex-warlord’s ear.

Xena’s eyes snapped open. ‘Concentrate!’ she snapped at herself, ‘this is

Gabrielle, not some village dinar-whore. Remember Warrior Princess, she left you for a man.’ "Yeah." she replied gruffly. Moving so Gabrielle could reach the various hooks and buckles of her armor, Xena concentrated on a tiny knothole in the ceiling. So deep was her self-imposed meditation, she didn’t even notice when the beautiful amazon’s hands began spreading warm oil over her nude shoulders. Gabrielle’s hands gliding across her neck and back felt almost divine. The warrior allowed herself to be pushed face-down onto the bed as the surprisingly strong young woman straddled her back.

‘I’m touching her. Oh, sweet Aphrodite, I’m actually putting my hands on her naked body.’ Another rush of warmth that originated from her stomach washed over Gabrielle’s body.

She allowed herself to revel in the feel of Xena’s body beneath her fingertips. She imagined the ragged moans and graons Xena was making were the sounds of a lover, not just of a friend.

When Xena felt the light brush of Gabrielle’s pubic hair against her buttocks, it took every ounce of self-determination she possessed not to roll over and forceably take the bard.

The erotic pleasure she was receiving from Gabrielle’s innocent touch was enough to drive her insane, yet somehow, Xena doggedly clung to her honor and kept herself planted firmly on her stomach. It was only when she felt the pressure of Gabrielle’s hands and body shift lower, felt the storyteller’s knee slipping between her thighs, felt the intense heat radiating from Gabrielle’s center as she straddled the highly aroused warrior’s leg, did she speak.

"Gabrielle." It was a croak, a whisper, almost a plea.

"Hmm?" The bard’s voice was light, distracted. Her hands continued their

delicious exploration/massage of Xena’s increasingly tense back. Xena cleared her throat as the young woman’s hands came to a rest just above the rise of the warrior’s firm rear.

"What are you doing?" Xena managed to strangle out. Frightened that she had given herself away, Gabrielle was none the less determined to finish what she’d started.

"I’m massaging your back, just like I promised I would." The bard employed her training and forced her voice to neutrality. It might have worked had her body not chosen that moment to betray her. A muscle in her left thigh spasmed and caused her leg to thrust forward violently driving her knee straight into Xena’s very sensative center. At the same time her own throbbing vulva came into hard contact with the back of Xena’s thigh. Both women cried out at the sweet pleasure/torture/pain/release that ripped through each of them as they orgasmed.

Long moments passed as the warrior and the bard struggled to regain their breath.

Xena’s thoughts were a blur. ‘She’s so wet, so soft, I want her, oh how I want her. I need her, I, I Love her!’ The sound of someone sobbing pierced her emotionally fogged brain. Xena twisted herself around onto her back to find Gabrielle kneeling on the floor, huddled in a teary mess.

"Gabrielle..." she reached for the distraught woman.

"No, Xena. I’m, I’m sorry. It, I, it wasn’t supposed to happen that way!"

she cried. Xena pulled the woman that she had finally admitted to loving above any other into her arms and rocked her gently, murmering nonsense words to calm the bard’s tears.

"Shhh. Its ok. It happened and I’m not unhappy that it did. I love you Gabrielle." Her own tears joined those of the bard’s. Gabrielle lifted her head up, her tear filled green eyes finally meeting Xena’s loving blue ones.

"You are? I mean, you do? I mean, oh, Hades, Xena I love you too. I always have. I want you. I need you. My warrior. I want you to be be my Warrior Princess. My lover. My partner, my life-mate." All of the bard’s pent up emotions came bursting out, the mental dam having crumbled to dust at the warrior’s revelation of her feelings.

Xena responded to Gabrielle’s words in the only way she could. She took the sunset haired woman’s face between her hands and kissed her, promising her love everything she wanted and more.

On Mount Olympus Aphrodite and Artemis high-fived and exclaimed, "Awesome!" Elsewhere, Ares brooded, planning his revenge on both the sister that shamed him and on her pet Queen who stole his greatest treasure. Calling for one of his servants, the God of War sent a message to an old friend.

Lachesis was adding the threads of some 1500 newborns when she discovered the snarl in the Tapestry. As she sat, dumbfounded, the thread that was the life of Gabrielle, bard, amazon and the Queen one day destined to unite the entire Amazon Nation, slowly vanished from the weave. Other threads too vanished, and others appeared to take their places. Dark threads for light, evil souls for good, and at the heart of the evil was Xena, Warrior Princess, Conqueror of the World.

"No." she whispered. "This isn’t supposed to happen." The weaver closed her eyes, concentrated a moment, and sent off a short psychic plea to Hades.

The God of Death was mad. All of his and Lachesis’ plans had been ruined by the childish desires of his nephew, Ares.

"Great Zeus! When will that boy learn that he can’t have everything he wants?" He ranted, his angered voice shaking the foundations of Tarterus.

"Hades-love, calm yourself. I’m sure we will figure out a way to counteract this latest difficulty." Persephone, Hades’ beloved wife, placed a comforting hand on her husband’s shoulder.

"’Seph, you don’t understand." He growled, "this time Ares has changed history."

"My love, stop me if I’m wrong, but once he tampered with forces outside of his own sphere, didn’t he open the way for you to do the same?" She asked sweetly. "After all, Chronos owes you a favor or six as well..." she added coyly.

"Of course! Oh, ‘Seph, you are brilliant and I love you. What would I do without you?"

Hades’ black mood vanished at his wife’s words and he smiled lovingly at her. Her answering smile lightened his heart further and he knew that somehow, some way, he would undo Ares’ meddling.

The village was a smoking ruin. Bodies lay strewn among the wreckage, some crying out weakly, others silently bleeding out their last breaths as the Warlord surveyed her conquest.

Xena sat astride her jet black charger and smirked. ‘So this was Poteidaia? Hmph. Not much of a challenge. I wonder why Ares was so insistant that I destroy it? Ah, well, no matter. Now its just another dead village.’ Her smirk broadened into a full smile. ‘A rich one at that.’ The warrior kicked her horse into a trot and made her way back to where her army was encamped. Ares was waiting in her tent when she returned.

"Nice work, my chosen." He crooned as he wrapped his powerful arms around her blood and soot stained body. Her eyes flashed at the praise.

"All to your glory, my love." She replied. Her breath caught in her throat as the God of War began to nibble on her earlobe. Battlelust took over and she neatly flipped Ares onto his back and fell on top of him.

Ares was in Elysia. He had his Warlord, Xena, back. He smiled feraly as he looked down at his now naked body to see the coal black tresses of His Warrior Princess fall forward onto his thighs. A grunt of passion was torn from his throat when he felt Xena’s lips wrap around his godhood. ‘Oh, yes,’ he thought, ‘I’ve won now. Thank Zeus for my brother Chronos.’ He almost laughed. It had been so simple, almost child’s play to get the God of Time to just go back and tweak history. He hadn’t asked for much. Just that the Master of the Sands make sure that a certain Bard was never born. In the storm of his release, he reveled in the irony of how he had gotton Xena herself to destroy the home of her "beloved". It was truely sweet, this victory.

As they lay together afterwards, Xena murmered into Ares’ chest, "what’s next, my Lord?" Ares chuckled.

"Xena, you are wonderfully insatiable. However, since you ask so politely, I will answer. I thought that perhaps this time you would enjoy a little bit of a challenge."

"Mmmm. I love a challenge." She replied sensually.

"Good. Because for your next conquest, I want you to take on the Amazon Nation."

Xena’s eyes widened, but she did not allow her god to see her surprise.

"As you wish, my love." she whispered and captured his lips in prelude to another round of love-making.

"How could you let him manipulate you like that?" Hades demanded.

"I’m truely sorry. I did not know." Chronos lowered his head, shame coloring his soft voice. Hades began to pace around the room.

"Well, can you go back and put things the way they were?" Chronos slumped into his chair and shook his head sadly.

"Unfortunately, no. If I change the timeline again, there could be serious repercussions."

Hades balled his fist and slammed it into a wall. Bits of plaster and stucco came free when he pulled his hand back to his side.

"Cyclops Dung!" He fumed, then sat down in the chair across from Chronos and put his head in his hands. The fair-haired God wracked his brain for some way to change the past.

Xena was loving life. She had her army at her back, the wind in her hair and the blood of her enemy on her blade. The taking of the Amazon Nation had been almost too easy. She had marched her army up to their borders and challenged any who would fight her. Queen Melosa had been a cake walk for her to kill. Her successor, Velaska, pathetic. However, she was a little unhappy that she’s had to behead the beautiful Ephany. When she had defeated all who would stand against her, she had claimed the lands and people as her own. Her men were out now, gathering every last Amazon woman and child to be sold as slaves. The warrior knew she would lose some men, but she was prepared to accept that loss. It would actually benefit her more.

Weed out the week ones and all.

Aphrodite held the defeated form of her sister. Artemis’ tears soaked the flimsy fabric of the voluptous Goddess’ gown.

"Oh, babe. This so like, sucks." She whispered sadly.

"She did it. She destroyed my people." Artemis sobbed. Aphrodite could think of nothing to say to cheer her sister. She herself was extremely "bummed out." As Artemis had lost her nation, she had lost the bearers of the greatest love since the beginning of time.

"Damn you to the lowest pits of Tarterus, Ares." She grumbled into the Moon Goddess’ auburn tresses.

Lyceus looked up from dusting the bartop as the hooded stranger entered the tavern.

Cyrene smiled a welcome to the man and bustled off to the the kitchen to begin preparing the evening’s meal.

"Good day to you traveller." Lyceus smiled.

"And to you, Innkeep." The man gruffly replied.

"Can I be getting you something to wipe the road dust from your throat?"

"Ale, please." The man pushed his hood back, revealing a youthful

countenance. He settled himself on a barstool and drank deeply of the mug of foaming brown ale that Lyceus placed before him. "This is good." He smiled at the Innkeeper.

"Brewed it myself."

"It definately hits the spot. Say, you wouldn’t happen to know where I might

find the man

called Lyceus, would you?"

"I am Lyceus. What do you want?" Suspicion creased Lyceus’ eyes.

"You are brother to Xena, warrior princess?"

"Yeah, what of it?" the barkeeper growled.

"Whoa. Peace, my friend. I only want to talk. Do you have someplace private

we could go?" The man pointedly looked at Cyrene, who had come in bearing a platter covered in food.

Lyceus considered the stranger’s request briefly and replied, "yeah, meet me in the stables in one candlemark." The stranger ate the meal, paid his tab and left.

Cautiously, Lyceus made his way to the dark stables. He almost turned around and left when a hand suddenly dropped onto his shoulder and pulled him roughly into the building. He spun around, fists coming up protectively. The voice of the stranger filtered through the darkness.

"You are in no danger from me, Lyceus brother of Xena."

"What do you want?" Lyceus’ voice betrayed only a hint of fear.

"I have a favor to ask of you..." Hades began, and revealed his true form.

Over the next hour, the God explained to a shocked, frightened and finally, angered Lyceus his reasons for seeking him out.

Lyceus was floored. In all of his life he had never expected or asked for the attention of the Gods. Now not only did he have their attention, they wanted him to do them a favor. Not only did they want a favor, they were asking for the ultimate sacrafice. They wanted him to die.

"Its like this," Hades had said. "Chronos has already done what he could with the timeline and now Zeus has forbidden us the use of the timestream. However, he has not said that we cannot ask a mortal to enter the portals and correct history. I realize I’m asking everything of you Lyceus, but I don’t know who else to turn to. Ares has to be stopped. Xena has to be stopped.

Before all is lost." Lyceus swallowed nervously. Could he do it? Could he lay down his life for millions? He had never really considered himself the hero type. He was no Hercules. The he thought of his sister. His evil, murdering bitch of a sister. And compared to the destruction he knew she had and would cause, his life was nothing.

"I’ll do it."

"What?" Hades couldn’t believe his ears.

"I said, I’ll do it. I will save the bard." Before the mortal could change his mind, Hades withdrew a small, hourglass shaped charm from the folds of his cloak.

Handing the golden timepiece over to Lyceus, he instructed, "this token has three powers. One: to take you to the place in time you need to go. Two: to restore the Tapestry to its original design, and Three: to hide your presence from Ares. To activate it, just touch it." Lyceus reached a trembling hand towards the God of Death. When his fingers came in contact with the gleaming metal hourglass, the world stopped. As time began to restore itself, Hades smiled wickedly. "Ares my boy, you should have never fucked with me." He made a mental note to make sure that Lyceus had a comfortable place in the Elyssian Fields.

Ares was enjoying the amorous attentions of his Warrior Princess when the universe disolved. Rage, hatred and loss painted his voice as he cried out, "NO!"

As their kiss ended each woman was struck by the uncanny sense that their love for each other was somehow right. Gabrielle stared into Xena’s intense blue eyes, seeing for the first time her own long held desires reflected back at her. The warrior reached out a tentative hand and brushed a lock of copper colored hair out of her bard’s eyes. Gabrielle’s heart stopped at the exquisite tenderness of Xena’s gesture.

"Xena..." the bard’s voice was barely above a whisper. "Xena, I love you."

"I know Gabrielle. I love you too." Continuing to run her fingers through the amazon’s hair, the warrior smiled brilliantly at her love. Gabrielle reached up and touched the tips of her fingers to Xena’s face.

"Oh, Gods, this is real." Her pulse quickened as she gave into her greatest fantasy.

Sliding her hand behind Xena’s head, she drew the woman of her dreams to her and kissed her.

She touched her lips to Xena’s. Softly at first, pressing harder when she heard the small sounds of pleasure coming from the warrior’s throat. Xena’s mouth opened slightly, and Gabrielle took the opportunity to slip her tongue into the older woman’s mouth. The young bard almost orgasmed again just from the intense sensation of tangling her tongue with Xena’s. She whimpered raggedly, "Xena, please, I need you. Love me."

The passion bourne plea inspired the reticent warrior to act. Pushing Gabrielle down on the bed, she began to cover every inch of the creamy skin with kisses. When she reached the taut nipple of the bard’s breast, she slowly drew the puckered flesh into her mouth. Flickering her tongue over the tip of Gabrielle’s nipple, she captured the other breast and sqeezed and fondled the soft mound. Gabrielle’s moans of passion grew more and more breathless as Xena continued to make love to her breasts. Gabrielle wound her fingers into the raven-hued tresses of her lover.

Pushing her warrior’s head down towards the liquid center of her desire, Gabrielle whispered, "Please."

Xena acceded to her lover’s wishes and her own desires and nibbled and licked her way across the bard’s sweat soaked body. Wrapping her arms under Gabrielle’s hips, Xena lifted the bard up and slid her hungry tongue into the erupting volcano that was her lover’s essence.

Gabrielle’s mind blanked at the undescribable touch of Xena’s mouth on her core, an aurora borealis of color exploded behind her eyes when her warrior’s tongue began to make long, slow sweeps up and down the slit between her thighs, and when she fastened her mouth on the rock hard nub that was the focal point of her bard’s extacy, Gabrielle screamed.

"Xena! Oh, Xena oh, oh OH!" Xena bit down just slightly on the hypersensitive flesh, inserted two fingers deep into her bard and began to rock them in and out, keeping pace with the sucking motions of her mouth.

Gabrielle laced her fingers into Xena’s hair and pulled her lover’s face as deeply into her as she could and let wave after blissfull wave of pure pleasure wash over her. She moaned, whimpered and finally, as the last orgasm hit, she sat bolt upright and pulled Xena up to meet her eyes and cried, "I’m yours."

Xena cradled the physically and emotionally spent bard, humming softly under her breath. ‘How could I have been so blind? How could I have not known how she felt? Never again.

I will not hold back anymore."

"No, my love, I am yours." Gabrielle looked at her warrior, wonder in her eyes.

"Xena, the first day I met you, you captured my heart and soul, and now, with just a few words, you give me yours in return. I am, " she kissed her warrior’s lips, "the luckiest woman alive. Now, I’m going to show you just what I’ve been dreaming of for two years."

The remaining two days aboard Ulysses’ ship passed so quickly that Gabrielle forgot to be sea-sick.


The Bard's Corner