Okay we'll do the legal stuff first. I don't now nor have I ever owned any interest in Ren Pics, Usa studios or the characters in this story. The setting and the story however are mine.

There is love between two women here, if that sort of thing offends you then this is definitely not the story for you.

Authors note: This particular piece of fan fiction is very near and dear to my heart as it is a revised edition of the first one I ever wrote.As such, it is based somewhere between the second and third seasons. In that spirit there are a few people that I would like to thank.

CN Winters: Yours was the first fan fic I ever read and I guess you kind of got me hooked on it. After reading several of your stories I thought 'Hey I might like to give this a try myself.'

Lynka: You guys are great! I posted with you first and everything I have ever written is still on your site. You have not only been great about posting fan fic, but you have been great friends when I was going through personal things in my life that really had me shook up.

Mary D: You have a great site and I have been honored to be a part of it.

Paymaster: I don't have the words to tell this woman what she means to me. In every way in every day she shows me the true meaning of loving someone with your whole heart, something that had been missing from my life for a very long time.

And last but certainly not least to all the great folks that read the fan fic I post. I enjoy writing but you are probably the main reason I have kept writing in this area. I love the feedback I get from you all and it's great to hear when someone has read something that night and can just drop you a line to tell you that. Ain't technology grand LOL. Thank you ALL!!!!

Finding The Way

Revised edition

Marion D Tuttle


High above the surf a lone figure sat, staring out at the ocean. She was almost in a dream like state as she watched the water dance along the shore line. Green blue water crested in white capped waves that seemed to caress the sand like a lover's hand. The young woman took in the sights and sounds around her. The smells of the ocean, the birds overhead calling to their mates. The world around her seemed as if it were in perfect balance. She strove for that type of balance in her mind,she believed she had found it. Now her goal was to be able to express that in the written word, she looked again at the blank scroll in front of her. She had been trying for nearly two candle marks to write, but her mind continued to wander. Finally she decided to let her mind have free reign and see where it would take her. Laying the scroll and quill to one side she leaned back against the cool grass. Closing her eyes she let her mind roam at will, her thoughts sliding back to the events of last night.

After having finished dinner and building the campfire up for the night the she had come over and sat next to her friend. She felt the energy coursing through her, she could tell that she needed some sort of physical activity. If she didn't burn off some of this restlessness she was feeling she was never going to get any sleep. She suggested that they practice some staff moves, pointing out that they could never keep their fighting skills too sharp.

A dark brow raised at this suggestion, the warrior had been feeling more than a little restless too. She was sure though that her inability to relax was derived from something far different from the bard's. All in all though the though of working out some of her pent up energy seemed like a good idea.

They started out slowly, each one gauging the other, looking for an opening. Xena couldn't help smiling to herself, her young friend had gotten much better at defending herself over the last few seasons. She had come so far from the innocent young village girl that had tagged along with the Warrior Princess, hoping to find the excitement and adventure that had been so lacking in her life. Being taller and stronger Xena tried to hold back without being obvious, but Gabrielle wouldn't let her.

"Come on Xena, don't hold back on me. An enemy won't."

Seeing the truth in the bard's words, Xena nodded. "Your have a point there, are you ready?"

"They won't ask me if I'm ready either." She laughed.

"OK, but remember, you asked for it." With that Xena pressed forward full force.

Gabrielle was taken momentarily off guard but recovered quickly. She effectively blocked the attacks, which greatly pleased Xena. The bard had become a master at fighting with the staff. This went a long way in easing Xena's mind in a battle situation. There had been a time that Xena had gone into every battle they faced with a lump in her throat, fearing for Gabrielle's life and safety. That was not to say that she didn't still worry about her bard, but she was able to keep a better control of the fear knowing Gabrielle could defend herself.

They continued on with their sparring until the sun had begun it's western descent. Feeling the exhilaration from the exercise neither woman was ready to just sit down. Gabrielle was feeling playful, and with lightning speed reached over to tickle the warrior's ribs. Very few people in the world knew that the Warrior Princess was ticklish. Even fewer would have dared do anything about it. Xena was almost helpless she was laughing so hard, she managed to get her hands on Gabrielle's neck and started to tickle her back. Both women fell to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs, each trying to get the upper hand. the warrior's strength finally won out and she rolled over on top of Gabrielle, pinning her to the ground. She continued to tickle her until her friend gasped past the laughter, pleading for mercy.

Looking down into sea green eyes Xena felt her breath catch in her throat. Long suppressed feelings that the warrior had kept an iron grip on bubbled to the surface. Reaching down, Xena gently brushed the tosseled golden locks from her friends face. She couldn't tear her gaze away from the light that came from Gabrielle's eyes. Their faces were only inches from each other as Gabrielle reached up and cupped Xena's cheek in the palm of her hand. Before Xena even knew what she was doing she lowered her lips to kiss the young bard. Letting her tongue slip past her own lips to trace the outline of Gabrielle's mouth. At the same time Gabrielle parted her lips to allow Xena free access. Her arms stole around the warrior's neck, pulling her in closer, deepening their kiss. Without warning Xena broke contact, as if she had just touched fire. In a way she had because it had to be fire to be burning this hotly inside of her. She jumped up and looked down at Gabrielle with a horrified expression on her face. "Oh Gods! What have I done?" Was all she could manage to say before turning and running into the woods.

Gabrielle sat up shocked and bewildered at Xena's actions. Granted she had been very surprised when the warrior had started kissing her, but she hadn't minded. The fact was she had been dreaming of Xena kissing her for a very long time now. She had said nothing though, not even being sure of the feelings she was having she hadn't known how to present them to Xena. She debated going after the warrior, but then thought better of it sensing that her friend needed some time alone.

Xena ran for what seemed like hours, she wanted to run until exhaustion took over. She hoped that she could outrun the feelings that had spilled forth, like water over a dam. She hoped that if she ran herself to the point where she fell from exhaustion that she could make all this go away. That's what she hoped, but even as she thought it, she knew it was futile. Nothing was going to change what she wanted or what had happened. She had sworn to herself that she would never lose control like that, that she would never let Gabrielle know that she had come to want her as more than a friend. But the moment that Gabrielle had touched her face, her willpower and resolve disappeared with the wind. She slowed her pace to a walk, the air feeling like it was going to explode in her lungs. "How am I ever going to go back there and face her?" She paced back and forth between two trees, thinking out loud. She let the thoughts tumble over her mind, she had faced warlords in battle. She had taken on Armies where the odds had been so stacked against her she should have fled in terror, but she had stayed and won. And here she was, the fearless Warrior Princess, former Destroyer Of Nations, hiding from one small woman fear tearing at her heart over the thought of being rejected. She gave herself a mental shake and told herself. "Well Xena, you've never run away from anything in your life and this is no time to start. What's done is done and I can't undo it. All I can do is go back and try to find a way to deal with this."

Heading back towards the campsite Xena ran the gauntlet of emotions from hope that Gabrielle might share her feelings to complete and utter despair that the bard might totally reject her. That Gabrielle might even be disgusted by her actions and not want anything to do with her ever again. Just the though that she could lose Gabrielle all together was enough to make her body shake.

As she reached the edge of the clearing, relief flooded through her when she saw Gabrielle sitting by the fire. "At least she didn't leave." She whispered to herself. The bard seemed to sense that she was no longer alone in the camp site. Xena had taught her well, she had developed the skills of looking with more than her eyes and hearing with more than her ears. Turning she saw Xena standing by the edge of the clearing. She rose and walked over to where the warrior stood. Her first instinct was to reach out to Xena and touch her. To try and make her understand that she had nothing to worry about. Her hand hung in midair, stopped by the look of anguish on Xena's face. she let her hand drop back down to her side, neither woman knowing what to say.

Gabrielle broke the silence. "Xena, please come and sit down. We need to talk." All Xena could do was nod mutely and follow Gabrielle back to the fire. They sat side by side, staring into the fire, Xena couldn't bring herself to look at the bard as she spoke. "Gabrielle...I am so sorry."

This was not the reaction the bard had been excepting. "What? Why should you be sorry?"

The warrior waved her hand in the general direction of where they had been laying. "You know what for, it never should have happened" Moving closer to Xena, Gabrielle placed a hand under the warrior's chin forcing her to look into her eyes. She almost lost her own breath as she looked into those impossibly blue eyes that had come to invade her dreams each night. "Why not? Why shouldn't it have happened Xena?"

"You know why."

"No I don't, suppose you enlighten me."

Xena was becoming visibly agitated. "I forced you...." Her voice trailed off.

The next words Gabrielle spoke took Xena completely by surprise. "Xena, would you please tell me why you kissed me?"

Xena thought briefly of making some excuse to cover but just as quickly dismissed the idea. She knew that lying to her friend was out of the question. Gabrielle would see through any untruth in a second, and lying would only make matters worse. She at the very least owed Gabrielle the truth. Because at this point it was clear that if they were to continue on traveling together Xena would not be able to keep her feelings in check. "I don't know where to start Gabrielle. The truth of the matter is I have fallen in love with you. But I had made a promise to myself that I would never let you know. I never wanted to force you into something you didn't want or didn't understand. You deserve so much more than I can ever give you."

Gabrielle was fighting to hold onto control, at first she felt a bit of anger at Xena's words. That the warrior would presume to know what was best for her and just make this decision without even letting her know how she felt. But the more Xena spoke the more Gabrielle realized that Xena was acting out of love. She wanted to tell Xena what she was feeling but knew it wasn't time for her to speak yet. It was rare that Xena opened up and talked about her emotions, Gabrielle wasn't about to interrupt that.

"I always thought you wanted to settle down some day, raise a family. I couldn't rob you of that. But when you touched me, and I lost control and kissed you...."

"I liked it."

That stopped Xena cold, "What are you saying Gabrielle?"

Reaching out to touch her warrior's face she repeated herself. "I said, I liked it, well that's not strictly true. The fact is I loved it. I'd been wanting to kiss you like that for quite some time myself but I was afraid of how you would react. When you kissed me, I was confused for a second. I knew that I had been wanting to tell you that I was falling in love with you, at least I thought I was.. I never felt this way about anyone Xena and wasn't really sure what I was feeling to tell you the truth. But when you kissed me, everything just seemed to fall into place, it felt so right. And then when you pulled away from me... I thought I had done something wrong."

It broke Xena's heart to think she had caused Gabrielle to feel as though she had been at fault or had done something that wasn't right. "No Gabrielle, Please understand you did nothing wrong...I love you and all I ever wanted was for you to be happy.."

Taking Xena's hand and placing it over her heart she looked deeply into her eyes. "Can't you feel the love I have in my heart for you warrior? The only think in this world that could make me happier than hearing you say you love me is if you would kiss me again."

Xena felt as if she were soaring above the clouds at Gabrielle's words. But before she allowed things to go any further she had to know in her own mind that this was truly what Gabrielle wanted and that she hadn't just gotten caught up in the moment. "Are you sure Gabrielle? If this happens, for me it will be forever. I need to know you feel the same way."

They were so close now that their lips were almost touching. "I'm sure Xena, you are what I want, now and forever." Leaning in she closed the small gap between them, pressing her lips against her warrior's. Xena's arms went around Gabrielle locking her into a strong embrace. When Xena broke the kiss this time it was gently, looking into the eyes of the woman that had become so much a part of her it seemed like she was her other half she told her. "You have just made me the happiest woman on earth."

"It was the least I could do after the way you made me feel."

Gabrielle held Xena closer as she kissed her way along the bard's jaw line and down the column of her throat, down to the tops of her breast. Breathing in the scent of the bard Xena stayed that way for a moment, just taking in the sensations that were assaulting her senses. She didn't want to break the magical spell that was starting here. But she needed to be sure that this was not going to be a one sided thing. She cradled Gabrielle's face in her hands, bringing her lips back to the bard's she brushed them lightly over Gabrielle's mouth, cheeks and eyelids. She pulled back slightly looking down into eyes that were filled with love and desire. She wanted to move forward with this more than anything, but she had to know, in her heart that this was a mutual thing. So she asked the bard one more time. "Gabrielle...are you sure about this? I need to know you want this as much as I do. If we go much farther I don't think I would be able to stop. So please if you have any doubts you need to tell me now."

"Xena I have no doubts, I want this...you... Please make love to me now."

Searching her love's face for any hint of reservation or fear she found none. All that was there was an open heart, filled with love and waiting for the one person that could make it complete. She pulled Gabrielle to her and kissed her with all the passion and yearning she had locked deeply inside for so long. She could feel the heat rising between them as she let her hands roam over the bard's body. Feeling every inch of the flesh she had only dreamed about touching.

Gabrielle tried to move closer to Xena. She wanted to be as close to her warrior as she could. When Xena's hands came up to cup her breast Gabrielle felt the breath rush from her lungs. Her legs felt as if they were going to give way under her. Xena could sense that standing was becoming harder and harder for the woman in her arms. She picked Gabrielle up and carried her the short distance to their bedrolls. Laying them both down. Xena began the process of removing Gabrielle's clothes. Her hands and lips traveled a course that up until now they had only been allowed to travel in her deepest dreams and desires. Cupping the newly exposed breast before her drew a ragged moan of raw desire from Gabrielle. She could feel the bard's pulse racing under her fingers as she teased her nipples into hard tight peaks.

Bringing her hands up to the back of Xena's head Gabrielle tried to pull her in closer still. Her breathing was becoming more and more rapid with each passing second. She was starting to have a hard time distinguishing where she ended and Xena began. The need they had for each other seemed to be forming them into one being. Gabrielle found herself pushing at the straps that held Xena's leathers in place. She wanted to feel the warrior's skin against her, Xena sat back for a moment, drawing a small protest from her bard. "I'm not going anywhere." She smiled "I just want to get rid of some of these clothes."

Falling back into Gabrielle's open arms she knew she had surely found Elysia. Whispering heated words into the bard's ear she asked her. "Gabrielle please bend your leg for me."

Doing as she was asked a gasp of surprise escaped her lips as Xena pressed her heated center against her thigh. "Can you feel what you do to me?" Xena moved her hand down until she was able to caress Gabrielle's sex. "You are so wet my love, so hot." She eased her fingers into her young lover careful to be gentle, she could feel the muscles clinching around her fingers. The gasping breaths Gabrielle was taking was another sure sign that she was close to finding her release. Xena desperately wanted their first climax to be together. Feeling the first stirrings of an orgasm she knew she wouldn't be able to stop, even if she wanted to she moved her hand more quickly against Gabrielle. "Come with me love...Oh yes...That's it Gabrielle....Oh ,baby yeeesss"

"Gods Xena... You feel sooo good.. right there.....Yeeeessssss!!!!!"

The intensity of their mutual climax left them both sated and exhausted. Neither women wanted to move, they both lay in each other's arms feeling the satisfaction of a love finally realized. A breeze blew over them, causing a shiver from coolness meeting the moisture that soaked their skin. Xena reached down to pull one of their sleeping furs over them. holding Gabrielle in a tender embrace she kissed her lightly "Are you OK?"

"I am so far past OK Xena, that was amazing. Is it always like that?"

"Truthfully no..." she could see the disappointment forming in her lover's eyes. "What I mean to say is no it isn't always like that...in fact, it has never been like this for me before. You see Gabrielle I have had more than my share of sex before."

Pushing herself up onto one elbow so that she could look down at her warrior Gabrielle told her. "Xena this is not exactly the time I would like to hear about you past sexual conquest you know."

She pulled the bard back down into her arms. "You didn't let me finish, sex is not new to me. But what we did is very new to me. I have never made love to another person before. Every other time it was about power and what I could get out of it. But there was never love involved. And I promise you this, it will always be this way for us, because with you it is all about love."

Gabrielle found her hand distractedly rubbing between Xena's abdomen and breast. Placing her hand on top of the bard's Xena whispered to her. "If you keep touching me like this, I'm going to have to take you again. You know that don't you?"

"That's what I was hoping for." She grinned mischievously, and Xena knew she was lost.

The next thing Gabrielle saw after drifting off into a contented sleep was the morning sun shining brightly over head. For her first few seconds of wakefulness she feared that the events of last night had all been just a wonderful dream. But as she awoke more she realized that she was wrapped in the protective circle of Xena's arms, the warrior resting beside her. It brought back to her with a vivid clarity that the events of last night really had happened. She looked up to see warm blue eyes smiling at her. "Good morning love."

"Good morning to you too." Gabrielle couldn't resist teasing a little bit. "It would seem you were the late riser this morning Miss Sleepy head."

Kissing her bard lightly Xena answered. "I can not imagine why. Maybe it had something to do with the little wild cat that was in my bed and in my arms all night long."

The crashing of the waves on the shore interrupted Gabrielle's musings, bringing her back to the present. She was just about to return to their camp site when she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. "What were you thinking about? You looked like you were lost somewhere."

She turned and smiled at her best friend recently turned lover. "No not lost...Not anymore. I was for a while thinking that I would never be able to have what I wanted with you. But I've found my way."

Xena kissed her and gathered her into a warm embrace ."I know what you mean Gabrielle, because in finding you I have found my way. you are my home, I love you."

"I love you too Xena."

The end???? Now you know better than that

As always comments are appreciated at mariontuttle@hotmail.com


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