Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others mentioned, belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended.

Subtext Disclaimer: It’s back! Which means that there is a loving sexually explicit relationship between two consenting adult females. If this bothers you, or you’re under age, or you live somewhere where this type of material is illegal, go away.

Timeline: Plan D #18.

Shock Factor: 3. For the flashbacks.

Note: This for all the people who love flashbacks and have been driving me crazy. You know who you are, so stop trying to look innocent.

Ann, what can I say, but thanks.

Don’t drink and drive. Always wear your seat belt, or helmet.

Send comments to asdease1@gte.net



Written by FlyBigD

"Xena." Came a muffled whisper, as an arm stretched out from a body to get the warrior to do something about the problem. "Xena." Unfortunately the arm and the hand attached to it found nothing, which elicited a muffled groan from the searcher. Then the hand was joined by it’s partner in an attempt to crush a blonde head between a pillow and the mattress. This still didn’t solve the problem and eventually the blonde head lifted, pillow and all, to glare a one-eyed glare at the alarm clock, which was chirping madly. "Shut up!" Taking the helpless pillow in hand, Gabrielle pounded the clock until it did as it was commanded, then she fell back on the bed and resumed her relaxed position, placing the mistreated weapon back over her head.

This drama played out every nine minutes for the next four snooze segments, then the bard finally got irritated enough to shut it off and sit up in bed, and stare groggily at the dimly lit room. Slumping forward, her head hit her knees and she stayed that way for several minutes, while her mind ran through all the reasons why she hated mornings and thus redetermined the fact that she wasn’t a morning person. When the vote was taken, making the judgment unanimous by default of only needing one vote, she sat up again to repeat the staring groggily part of her routine. The next step was a long sigh, followed by several hearty eye rubs then the ultimate demonstration of determination, which entailed crawling to the edge of the bed, sitting up and cringing as her feet were gently placed on the chilly hardwood floor. With a grimace etched on her face, she again slumped forward, but used the momentum of the motion to lift her butt off the mattress and stand.

Achieving a vertical position, Gabrielle swayed a tad as the loving tendrils of sleep called to her, but being a person of character, she pushed the temptation aside and stretched. Contorting her body into various natural, and a couple unnatural positions, she shook off the last remnants of sleep, then shuffled her feet toward the closet. When she bumped blindly into the door, her eyes opened to begin the next phase, which was finding something to wear and skipped over the normal fuss and considerations, like color coordination and went straight for comfort. Pulling out a pair of jeans, she turned to shuffle to the dresser, where the basic foundations were added to her collection, along with a t-shirt and a sweatshirt. Arms full, she shuffled back to the bed, laid down her wares and only made several rude comments on her way into the bathroom to start the shower running.

Once the sound of running water reached her ears, the porcelain god got a morning offering, then she made the mistake of actually looking into the mirror. The reflection that met her puffy eyes was something out of a child's worst nightmare and she quickly turned away. Rifling her hands through her hair, to get rid of the ‘pillow head’ she’d seen, Gabrielle yawned a few times then noticed the light fog near the ceiling and pulled off her pajamas. Opening the shower door, she stuck her hand in, turned the cold tap a half turn, then stepped inside. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

Wash, wash, scrub, scrub, lather, rinse, repeat, condition, rinse, shave legs, apply Band-Aid, towel, towel, squeeze, brush, brush, spit, rinse, spit, whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (blow dryer), brush hair, need trim, "I give up." Done.

Flipping off the bathroom light, Gabrielle walked to the bed, tossing the towel on the foot board and got dressed. Then she took a look in the mirror on the dresser and smiled. "Better." Pulling the knotted sweatshirt sleeves tighter around her waist, she gave her hair one last pass with her fingers, then headed downstairs. As she traipsed through the living room, she picked up a black binder off the couch and continued into the kitchen, where she made a bee-line for the coffee maker. After the machine was loaded and a dark liquid began filling the glass container, she placed the book on the counter to stare at it. Sighing, she cracked her neck, then flipped the book open to the page marked by a pencil sticking out the end. Looking down at the words, she closed her eyes. "Come on, Gabrielle. This is the last one. You can do this." Sighing again, she opened her eyes and began reading where she’d left off, what seemed like only an hour before.

The past three months of Gabrielle’s life had been spent in broken intervals of going to work at her teaching job during the week days while her evenings and weekends were filled with studying for the conference, taking care of T, working at the Hub, or sleeping. Studying, which was usually conducted in conjunction with her other duties except the sleeping part and that depended on how tired she was, was almost over. The heap of black books had been read and the last one was more than half-way finished, which was a good thing, since the conference was only a week away. That fact, along with the knowledge that life would get somewhat less hectic once the conference was over, was all that was keeping her going at the moment.

Her body didn’t even complain about not getting enough sleep anymore and her stomach had somehow gotten used to receiving only a marginal amount of a healthy diet, which mainly consisted of coffee and anything that didn’t take more than five minutes to eat, and her brain was so full of Ungaran history that she started speaking the ancient language in her sleep. But all this and the thousand other things that were yelling for her attention were well worth the effort if one healthy, happy baby was going to hang on for another four months and come into the world.

As she continued to read, her hands unconsciously poured the dark caffeinated liquid into a cup and she sipped it until the alarm on her watch chimed. At that time, she picked up the book, walked to the back door and started humming the theme song for the seven dwarfs from Snow White, which was T’s unamusing idea of a joke. Then she put the pencil back in the book, closed it and opened the door to step into the Hub. Holding the door open with her foot, she reached back for her coffee, then let the door close behind her. Taking another sip of hot beverage, she stayed in the doorway and surveyed the surroundings.

The room was it’s usual dimly lit self, full of people milling about, while others sat with there fingers typing madly as their eyes were glued to a monitor. To the untrained eye, the room could resemble a battle field, with the soldiers running around looking for something to kill and it even had a general giving the army instructions from on high. Smiling, Gabrielle leaned against the door jamb and looked up at Xena who was standing at the console dishing out instructions like the captain of a ship. "You’re such a natural." Whispering to herself, she continued to watch the former warlord in action and marveled at the ease with which she kept control of the goings on.

It hadn’t come as a real surprise when she’d realized that Xena had taken to the console like fish to water and she’d only been jealous for a month, considering she herself had to fight off being overwhelmed by the responsibility. Running the console was not something that should be attempted by the faint of heart, and needless to say, she’d struggled initially to get into a somewhat comfortable routine when she had to pull her shift. The original plan for the job was that it was going to be left vacant and Ares was supposed to just use his powers to keep the Hub running. But as time progressed, he was being called away quite frequently from the Palace to handle emergencies and eventually she and Xena had taken up the post, to allow the God of War to concentrate on T. Now, the slot was manned on a more permanent basis, though not 24 hours a day, because they still required sleep and those pesky other jobs kept them occupied as well. But all things considered, it was working out pretty good. The Ungara were happy with the arrangement, although getting used to Xena took some patience on the part of all parties concerned, since her style was a complete opposite to T’s and the barking of orders still made a few people jump, but it was working.

The one thing that did blow her away though, was the fact that Xena, who is fluent in fourteen languages, but can’t spell in any of them, was apparently a master of Ungaran in every form. It is the language the computer programs were written in and it’s what is spoken by the Hub personnel and it’t the only language that the warrior can spell in. Of course, Gabrielle had needled T to find out if she’d done some zapping to Xena’s brain to make this happen, but the god had denied any involvement and had been just as surprised as everybody else by the discovery. And so, the warrior was quite at home at the console, with it’s seven monitors and adjacent keyboards and was content with the knowledge that she wasn’t a complete spelling moron.

Chuckling at the thought, the bard leaned her back against the door and smiled, while she continued to watch the natural at work. As she did so, it brought back memories of lives gone by, where Xena had used her many skills to overcome challenges and adversities. Most of those memories included battlefields and saving the general populace from evil, as a whole, but there were recent memories that included the necessity for her many skills and her natural ability to lead. The most prevalent of these memories was the year they spent at Harvard together.

Xena was in her final year of medical school and Gabrielle was a freshman majoring in Greek history and education. It was a time they had both been waiting for and the chance to spend quality time together without being under the watchful and sometimes scrutinizing eyes of their families was both a blessing and a curse. The warrior had several problems with the living arrangements the college had made; the first being that they weren’t living together and the second was that Kristin, the bard’s roommate, liked to hang troll dolls around the room which gave Xena the creeps. So she’d made Gabrielle put in a request for transfer and had brow-beaten, bribed and threatened every official in the decision-making process, to get them assigned to the same room. Now, they didn’t have to worry about getting caught in their sexual escapades, but they also found that the new, all consuming freedom was not conducive to going to classes, studying or anything else that required them to get out of bed and ended them up total physical wrecks by the end of the year. However, until they finally broke down and told their families of their affections and explained their plans for marriage and the future, it was the best time they had until they actually got married and moved into the house they lived in now.

"Good thing we already had our majors down pat, otherwise we’d have ended up having to flip burgers for a living." Shaking her head, Gabrielle’s smile beamed new light into the roo, as she remembered that fateful year.

"Gabrielle, do you mind?" Slapping the hand that was running up the inside of her thigh, Xena pushed it away. "I’m trying to study here." Placing the text book on her lap, she hoped it would cease any further intrusions, but discovered her error, when the hand just went under the book, as the quest continued. "Gabrielle." Growling, the warrior grabbed a wrist, as it disappeared from sight and pulled it back out from between her legs. Hanging onto it, she glanced up to see a grinning, lust-filled, eighteen year old, sexually-charged blonde staring at her with want in dark green eyes. "No." Shaking her head, she felt the free hand going to work and grabbed it, before it could do any damage to her resolve to pass her advanced microbiology class.

Flicking her eyebrows, Gabrielle used her knee to knock the book off the warrior’s lap, so she could crawl up to take it’s place. Her hands still held in check, she wiggled her butt, to get comfortable and leaned down, placing hungry kisses on a tanned neckline.

"Gods." Groaning in frustration, Xena laid her head back and stared up at the ceiling. "Gabrielle I’ve got a test tomorrow, I have to study." Letting go of the bard’s wrists, she let her arms drop to her sides, which was another mistake, because those hands immediately went to work at unbuttoning her shirt. This wasn’t so bad and it didn’t affect her resolve, however the groping that followed began an assault on her determination and she mentally fought back for a whole minute, before she wrapped her arms around Gabrielle’s waist and pulled her in for a passionate kiss.

Gabrielle, who didn’t need to be undressed, due to the fact that she was buck naked, immediately went to work on removing the shirt entirely, while her lips and tongue tried to consume their playmates. Using a skill that had been honed for over two thousand years, she pulled the barrier off with deft speed, tossing it over her shoulder, then removed Xena’s bra to give it the same farewell. As the heat of their skin to skin contact sent her senses into the stratosphere, she pressed their bodies together and the warrior up against the headboard when warm strong hands began kneading her butt. Groaning into the kiss, she wrapped her hands over the top of the headboard and began rocking her hips slowly. "Xena . . . naked . . . now." Gasping out her request, she continued to press their bodies and lips together.

Relinquishing their hold on the bard’s behind, Xena’s hands quickly unzipped her jeans. Lifting her butt off the bed, she slipped the offensive garment down her legs, as best she could, then kicked them the rest of the way off. The undies met the same fate, but were easier to get off because they stretched. Then her hands went back to their happy home and resumed their pleasurable ministrations. Pulling Gabrielle harder onto her lap, she scooted down a little to let one hand wander further around the curve of a firm butt until it reached a hot wet spot. Sliding her fingers past the bard’s opening, she let them do the walking as they stroked heated folds.

Arching her back, Gabrielle held onto the headboard and brought her butt a little higher in the air, to press her center against the warrior’s hand. Rocking slowly, she finally let go of the wooden structure, when a thumb found her nub and her hips bucked of their own accord. "Gods!" Moving her hands over Xena’s shoulders, she ran them down to two full breasts and let her thumbs do to the warrior’s nipples, what the warrior was doing to her nub. Teasing and kneading, she began to rock harder and moved her lips down a tanned cheek, to the pulse point where her tongue, teeth and lips alternated taking turns on the warrior’s skin, as they moved up and down the side of Xena’s neck.

Laying her head to the side, to give Gabrielle better access, the warrior also began to rock her hips, thrusting them upward to grind against blonde curls. Bending her knees, she gained better leverage and started a rolling rocking motion, as she slipped two fingers into the bard’s core.

"Oh, gods." Gasping for breath, Gabrielle threw her head back, groaned and squeezed her eyes shut. Rocking faster, she matched her motion to the warrior’s thrusting fingers and felt felt a hand on her lower back that pushed her hips downward, until the two sets of curls were grinding hard against one another. "Gods, yes!"

Holding the bard in place, Xena began thrusting deeper and harder, alternating the rhythm between sudden quick bursts of rapid thrusts and a slow steady pace. With each change, she matched the rhythm of her fingers with her hips and felt the fire between her legs burn like lava. "Gabrielle! Gabrielle!"

The random thrusting caused her breath to catch with each switch and her lungs burned, as did her center and she had to bury her head into a strong shoulder to keep from screaming. "Gods, Xena. Xena. I . . . can’t . . . please . . . godsgodsgods. Xena!" Arching her back, Gabrielle pressed their torsos together and felt the light sheen of sweat building between them. Lifting her head, to get a breath of air, she clenched her jaw when the pace changed again. "Oh, gods." Rocking fast, her hips matched her partner’s thrust for thrust and shefelt a bead of sweat trickle down her temple. Opening her eyes, as the pace slowed again, her chest heaved for oxygen and she stared eye to eye into a pair of flaming baby blues.

Xena continued her slow thrusting and sat up a smidgen to brush their lips together, then stayed that way, with their lips making the slightest of contact. Smiling into sparkling green, she slowed the pace even further and pulled out of Gabrielle to add another finger to the two and watched the bard’s face contort into a vision of pure passion when the trio entered her core.

Scowling for an instant, Gabrielle’s eyes were held prisoner as her jaw dropped open and closed several times to make no sound what-so-ever. Then, ever so slowly, the pace picked up and she, again, matched the rhythm Xena was setting. Breaking the visual hold, her eyes moved down to full lips and she took them in a smoldering breathless kiss. Pressing the warrior back again, her head moved from side to side as the fiery kiss fueled the inferno between her legs. "Harder, Xena." Sending out another breathless request, she felt it fulfilled and the response her body gave it. As her hips bucked madly, sending her careening toward the edge of reasonable sensibility, she continued to devour the warrior’s soul with her lips and her hands left Xena’s breasts to wrap around a strong back, melding their bodies into one.

Pressing down harder on Gabrielle’s lower back, Xena ground her hips roughly against the bard’s and felt the first hints of pulsating in her own sex. "Gods, yes. Yes." Driving her fingers deep with each thrust, she felt the muscles around them start to contract and increased the rhythm until her hips started bucking uncontrollably. Arching her back, her hand moving as the bard’s hips followed suit and they both went hurtling toward the sky. "Gabrielle!"

"Xena!" Burying her head, once again, into Xena’s shoulder, she bit down on the skin and muscle at the base of a sweaty neck, while her body jerked of it’s own volition. Riding the warrior and the orgasm to it’s heights, she grabbed the headboard when she apexed and continued to hang on for a long time, as her body passed over the peak to begin it’s slow descent to eventually lay heaving against her partner’s heaving body. Then she kissed the bite mark and worked her way up to circle Xena’s jaw and find their mark on parted lips.

Pulling out, Xena wrapped both arms around Gabrielle’s waist, holding their bodies together through the kiss, until the their hearts resumed a reasonable beat rate.

Keeping their lips together, Gabrielle reached behind her to push Xena’s knees downward and began sliding backwards. Breaking the kiss, she moved her attentions to parts further south and used her tongue to trace a line along a collarbone, then a shoulder and back. Coming back to the bite mark, she smiled and gave it another kiss before her lips started blazing a trail towards twin peaks. Kneading one breast with her hand, she took the other in her mouth and began sucking ravenously, while she shifted her hips toward Xena’s knees.

"Oh, shit." Closing her eyes, the warrior grasped the back of Gabrielle’s head, tangling her fingers in blonde hair, as her back arched with the first contact. Hanging her head, she bit her lip when a tongue began teasing her nipple and she moaned with every tweak the other one got from a thumb and index finger. Reaching behind her head, she took hold of the headboard with her free hand and arched again. "Gods, Gabrielle." Growling out the words, she opened her eyes to watch the bard’s slow descent down her body, feeling every burning kiss and tingling nip, she followed Gabrielle’s progress and spread her legs when nudged, then threw her head back when a flicking tongue met hot folds. "Oh my god." Now without anything to hold on to, her other hand gripped the headboard as well. "Ohhhhhhhh, gods." Rocking her hips, she was slowly being pulled down to lay in a semi upright position, as her knees were raised to slide on top of Gabrielle’s shoulders. "Shit, shit, shit."

Smiling, Gabrielle continued to use her tongue to elicit moans, groans and dirty words from the warrior and had to wrap her arms around powerful thighs, to keep Xena’s butt on the bed. Which became more difficult with her hips rocked harder and she had to tighten her grip as she slipped the very tip of her tongue into the warrior’s opening, then began flicking it lightly over a tasty nub.

"Gods, please let this test be multiple choice!" Gasping each syllable, she squeezed her eyes shut and swung between wanting the torture to end and praying it never would.

Arching an eyebrow, the bard kept her eyes on Xena’s face when she started sucking on the nub and was almost knocked unconscious as the warrior’s hips came off the bed. Dragging them back down again, she held on and began sucking harder, driving Xena almost over the edge and herself off the end of the bed, then backed off. Taking her time, she did this several times, as she tasted the fruits of her labor and dipped her tongue into their source. Thrusting her tongue in and out, she held it inside, flicking the tip upward as she brought it slowly back out.

Whimpering softly, Xena dug her nails into the headboard and thrashed her head from side to side. "Gabrielle, please." Shaking her thighs, she tried to push the bard away to end the torture, as her hips went into over drive. "Gods, please. No more, no more, please." Her voice a hoarse whisper, she growled loudly when her begging did no good. "God!"

Fully aware of the limitations of Xena’s endurance level, Gabrielle continued to tease her and clasped her hands together, over bucking hips to stay put against the force on her shoulders. When her prisoner stopped begging, she knew it was time to finish and unclasped her hands to drive three fingers deep into the warrior, while she continued to tease the folds with tongue, lips and teeth. Thrusting hard and fast, she felt the muscles around her fingers start to pulsate almost immediately and used her other hand to hang on through the wild ride.

"Gabrielle! Don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop! Oh gods! Gabrielle! Goddddddds!" Digging her heels into Gabrielle’s back, Xena lifted her uncontrolled hips off the bed and arched her back. As every muscle in her body strained with the orgasm, her jaw swung open to release an unbridled passionate silence. Maintaining her bowed position through every jolt of fire coursing through her body, she began to lower her hips, as they continued to buck sporadically with the last fragments of pleasure. When her butt touched the covers, her whole body collapsed into a heaving mass and her legs went limp, releasing the bard from their hold.

Smiling wickedly, Gabrielle pulled her fingers from the warrior and began to kiss her way back up to parted, panting lips. Bringing them together, she lowered her body, covering Xena’s spread-eagle form and raised up on her elbows to continue depriving her partner of much needed oxygen.

Next door, the two coed’s pulled out their ear plugs and checked to see if the coast was clear, then they let out a unified sigh and went back to studying. "Greek majors." Shaking their heads in wonder.

While her lips were being assaulted and she was basically suffocating, Xena regained some of her motor skills and wrapped her arms around Gabrielle’s waist, but had to let them lay limply in place as the exertion of just getting them there depleted her energy reserves.

Smiling into the kiss, Gabrielle eased up on her intensity, but continued to place small soft ones on the warrior as she waited for Xena’s complete recovery. "I think I gave you a hickey."

Closing her eyes, she smiled through several kissed before responding. "I think you left a fresh set of dental records."

Chuckling, the bard raised up more to stare down at a smirking face. "Did I hurt you?" A little concerned.

Shaking her head slowly, Xena opened her eyes and smiled. "That part of my neck went numb about fifteen hundred years ago." Smiling bigger, when she got a playful slap on the arm, she finally got up enough energy to wrap her arms tighter around her favorite female. "You’re going to be the death of me, you know that?" Stealing a couple of kisses of her own.

"This, from someone, who two days ago spent almost seven hours ravaging my body?" Arching an eyebrow, she shook her head. "And made me late for my Lit class, because I overslept? I don’t think so, Ace."

"So I have my moments." Grinning wickedly, she stole several more kissed and took a tighter hold of the bard, to roll them both over. "And I feel another one of those moments coming on, right now." Staring down at Gabrielle with a sultry smile, she felt a knee nudging her and lifted her eyebrows, as she spread her legs to accommodate the request. "And apparently, I’m not the only one who’s feeling something right now."

Wiggling her body under the weight of the warrior, Gabrielle nodded as she got comfortable and continued to raise her knee until her thigh came in contact with Xena’s sex. Flicking her eyebrows, she increased the pressure and arched her back. "I’m feeling all sorts of things." Running finger tips over a moistened back.

"I wonder if I have enough money to bribe Prof. Averson into letting me make up that test tomorrow." Rotating her hips, she began to slide her sex against Gabrielle’s thigh.

"You’ll be there. I promise." Whispering hoarsely, she lifted her head to press their lips together.

"Okay." Taking her word for it, Xena took the bard as well.


"Miss Morgan!" Prof. Averson said in his low melodic voice. "If you would care to remain conscious for the rest of class, I’d like you to please draw the diagram for the molecular structure of . . . "

That was all Xena heard before her eyes closed, then her head jerked up and she smiled. "No problem." Taking a deep breath, she got to her feet, blinking madly and walked down the tiers of steps to the blackboard. As she passed the podium, she turned to smile at the professor, who was growling under his breath and stole a glance at his notes, then smiled again when she finished her journey. Picking up a piece of chalk, her head bounced off the dark slate, as another quick pass of sleep came her way, then she cleared her throat and managed to get the entire diagram drawn with only a minimal amount of white chalk highlighting her dark bangs. "All done." Putting the chalk back in the tray, she wiped her hands together and strutted back to her seat, where she smiled smugly and zonked out when he turned to look at what she’d drawn.

Half way across campus, Gabrielle was suffering the same fate, but instead of having to demonstrate her knowledge, she was trying to stay awake, while reciting a particularly difficult passage of text. The difficulty wasn’t in the text itself, but in the fact that she was talking in her sleep and adding some very sultry passages to an ordinarily dull piece of Greek literature.

"Miss Riley!" Prof. Calley yelled and smacked his desk with a yard stick.

Snapping her head up, the bard heard the room fill with hushed laughter and smiled guiltily. "Yes, sir?"

"Unless you’ve received an X-rated version of the text book, I suggest you try and refrain from enlightening the entire class to your sexual exploitations." Growling out the words, he only fueled the laughter.

Dropping her head, Gabrielle shook it slowly as her face caught fire. "Sorry, sir." Groaning softly, she closed her eyes, which was the wrong thing to do, because it took approximately two seconds before she was fast asleep.


After the total humiliation of Greek 101, Gabrielle gave serious consideration to switching her majors, just so she wouldn’t have to ever go back to class, but put the idea aside and managed to stay conscious through her other class, then found her way to the medical complex to check on how Xena was faring. As her brain moved her body on autopilot, the destination apparently was the surgical classroom, because that’s where she ended up and took a seat, just as the students were filing in. Propping her chin on her fist, she stared down at the young man on the gurney, in the middle of the room and wondered if anybody would notice if she took his place, wishing beyond any sane thought to be on that table and on the verge of being put to sleep. Sleep, what a foreign concept.

As those thoughts ran through her tired brain, she felt her head slipping off her hand and jerked upright. Blinking a couple of hundred times, then giving the green orbs a good rub, she sighed. "Gods, don’t let Xena be the one to operate today." That’s when she spotted the tall brunette in the back of the pack, leaning against the railing, looking the way Gabrielle felt. Good gods, she thought, she’ll probably go head first into his guts if somebody hands her a scalpel right now. Chuckling softly, with the thought of seeing the warrior snoring inside that poor guy’s body. Then her ever aware counterpart turned very blood shot eyes upward and found the source of the amusement, so she smiled and gave her a little wave.

Waving back, Xena smiled then rubbed her eyes dramatically. Smiling, she was absorbed in watching Gabrielle and didn’t hear what was going on, missing the anesthesia being administered and what was supposed to be wrong with the patient. Unfortunately, this lack of concentration on her instructions also got her caught making faces at the bard when her name was called out and everybody turned to see her with two fingers in her mouth, stretching it wide with her tongue sticking out. Dropping her hands as fast as humanly possible, she coughed several times and smiled her best smile. "Hi."

Gabrielle about fell out of her chair laughing and covered her mouth to keep from deafening the entire room with roaring chuckles.

"Miss Morgan." Dr. Sheffield said with a smile on his face. "If you’re finished with your oral hygiene, could you please step forward to assist in the assignment."

A path cleared immediately and she took a deep breath as her feet walked the short distance to the gurney. Smiling enigmatically, she let the breath out slowly and nodded. "My pleasure."

Rolling his eyes, the doctor motioned for her to move to the other side of the patient and then for the other students to take their places.

Putting her mask in place, Xena tried to remember what was wrong with the man on the table, but couldn’t to save her soul, so she went on instinct and did a quick examination with her eyes. Ignoring the nurses, as they prepped the patient, she noticed a small discolored area on his side. Frowning at it, she cocked her head. Then an eyebrow went up and she walked over to the patient for a better look. Bending to the left, she gently moved a nurse that had stepped in her way and lifted the sterile sheeting the woman had just placed over the spot. In the middle of what looked like a bad bruise the size of a half dollar, she spotted a dark red bump and held her head near the spot, as she rotated her body to crouch down.

Curious, Gabrielle leaned forward in her chair, keeping her eyes on the warrior and trying to see what Xena was doing.

When Dr. Sheffield completed his preparations, he turned to stare at where his student should have been, then noticed a surgical cap poking just above the patient’s ribcage. "Is there a problem Grace?"

Nodding, Xena peeled back the sheeting, messing up the nice rectangle, exposing his abdomen for the surgery and placed her fingers on the bruise. Closing her eyes, she used her finger tips to examine the area.

Sighing, the doctor moved to her side of the patient and shook his head. "We’ve addressed that already and it will be administered to, once the class is over." Speaking just as softly. "Can we continue with the operation?"

"I don’t think so." Shaking her head, the warrior closed her eyes, as her fingers continued to probe gently. "What did you find out on this?"

Frowning, Dr. Sheffield cocked his head and walked around the table to where she stood. Looking at the bruise, he sighed. "It’s a contusion left over from an automobile accident. According to his chart, he cracked several ribs on this side and that’s the last of the bruises. He’s scheduled for a full set of pictures in post op and then we’ll see why that bruise hasn’t healed."

"It hasn’t healed, because there’s something stuck in one of his ribs. Feel this." Xena stepped back, keeping one hand on the wound and pointing. "There." Taking his hand, she put it on the spot where she’d felt the tight lump. "And whatever it is, has got the area infected. Give it another couple of hours and his whole side will be inflamed."

"It can’t be." Shaking his head, his fingers probed the wound. "I just examined him this morning and there was no fever." Feeling only a mild warmth, he took off his latex gloves for a better check. "Damn, it." Scowling, he felt the heat much better now and the lump.

Gabrielle stood up, as a low murmur started amongst the other students and she walked down to the railing to get a better look. Moving along the circular mezzanine, she stopped when the wound came into view.

Crouching down, Sheffield tilted his head to see over his glasses and took a close look at the bruise. The area that had been nothing more than residual tissue damage, this morning, was now starting to show signs of redness developing around the bruise. "We’ll have to remove this immediately." Turning, he glanced up at his irritating, prize student. "All right, Grace. You found it, so you get to fix it."

Smiling, the warrior turned to one of the nurses who was standing by with a cart full of instruments. "Can you roll that over here and find some sort of pan. We’re going to need to drain the infection."

Rolling the cart over, the nurse went in search of the pan.

"There shouldn’t be any fluid build up." Coming back to his full height, the doctor shook his head.

"Wanna bet." Gabrielle whispered, then winced when she turned to look at her. "Oops." Smiling, she slumped her way back to her seat.

Spotting the blonde in the mezzanine, the good doctor gave her a curious stare then turned his attention back to the brunette. "I take it that your cheering section is supposed to count as a second opinion?"

Grinning, Xena nodded. "Don’t underestimate the power of Faith."

Sheffield shook his head. "Heaven help the poor soul who does." Smiling, he waved to the other students. "Change of plan, everybody. It appears that Miss Morgan has discovered another area that will be the subject of our instruction today."

Several of the students groaned at the news, realizing that the woman of ‘I have many skills’ had struck again and that they were probably never going to get to operate on anybody with her around.

After a good scrub up, the warrior put on gloves and gave the pan to the doctor to hold under the wound. "Everybody hold your nose." Making a two inch incision through the bruise, she sliced the bump in half and grabbed the pan away from her instructor, when a reddish brown fluid started pouring out of the cut. Without missing a beat, Xena began barking orders to nurses, the doctor and several other students. "Get that pan closer to the wound and somebody grab some bandages and we’re gonna need a pump here. Move people. Move!"

"Damn." Holding the pan closer to the wound, Sheffield cursed under his breath as the pan began to fill.

Almost immediately, loud groans started echoing off the tiled walls, as a rancid odor spread through the air and several of the students started moving, when steely blue eyes cut their way and orders were issued.

"Told ya." Holding her nose, Gabrielle smiled "That’s my girl." Chuckling, she sat back in the seat, as the room became a human beehive. Knowing the man on the table was in good hands, she smiled while everybody else ran around and the commander did her thing. "You’re such a natural."


"Not bad for somebody who’d only gotten a half hour of sleep in her microbiology class." Smiling, Xena had her arm around Gabrielle’s shoulder and was leaning heavily on the blonde.

"You think that’s a good one? Wait till you hear what I did in my Greek class today." Patting the firm stomach beside her, Gabrielle shook her head.

"What?" Cocking her eyes downward, the warrior gave her a speculative stare. "What did you do?"

"I was reciting this passage and dosed off." Feeling the blush coming back, she closed her eyes.

"Aaaaaand?" Giving the set of slumping shoulders a squeeze of encouragement.

"I started talking in my sleep." Covering her eyes, Gabrielle hung her head. "And apparently I was describing the reason why we didn’t get any sleep last night."

"What?" Xena’s feet stopped moving, as her body went rigid.

Stopping as well, she turned to lean her head against the warrior’s chest in utter embarrassment.

Exhausted beyond belief, unable to remember the last time she’d closed her eyes and stunned by the possibilities of what would happen from this outburst, she did the only thing she could and started laughing.

Groaning, Gabrielle gave her a shove, but kept her head in place. "Don’t laugh. I was mortified."

"Oh, honey." Toning down to a chuckle, Xena wrapped her arms around sagging shoulders. "I’m so sorry." Biting her lip, in an attempt to stop her chest from shaking, she hugged her tighter. "How many phone numbers did you get?"

"Xena!" Her head snapped up and the bard glared at the smirking face. "It isn’t funny." Slapping her shoulder and pouting a small Gabrielle pout.

"I know. I know. I’m sorry, Gabrielle." Seeing the hurt in those adorable green orbs, she chuckled a couple of times, then sighed. "The big bad bard thing strikes again."

Nodding, she sighed as well. "Me and my big mouth."

"Mmmmm." Smiling, Xena studied that mouth and wanted to find many exciting uses for it, but denied herself the pleasure of a kiss and decided that there was a better way to show her empathy. "Hungry?" Flicking her eyebrows, she saw those sweet lips curl into a smile. "Fast food, or real food?"

"Real food." Turning around, she let her first passion lead her down the sidewalk toward her second passion.


Gabrielle did go back to class, although she was way too popular for her own liking and had to fend off several intrigued classmates, who wanted further details and get a date with her. Of course, she failed to relay that last bit to the warrior, who would’ve reduced the class’ roster with the knowledge and she only gave a repeat performance once more after a ravaging feast over a holiday weekend. Despite this, she eventually became the shining star to her classmates for her bardic abilities minus the x-rating and her knowledge of Greek history was a highly sought after commodity come time for mid-terms.

Xena continued to demonstrate her prowess in her pursuit of a medical degree and never failed to prove that her claim to having ‘many skills’ was justified and factual. She even received several official acknowledgements for her abilities and was recommended by Dr. Sheffield for a student exchange program in England. Needless to say, the warrior respectfully declined with her humblest of apologies and stayed with her beloved bard, who almost puked at the idea of going back to Britannia.

It was during this time that they began making plans for the inevitable chore of telling their parents about their relationship, because Xena had decided that after graduation, she wanted to stay in Cambridge to do her internship at Mass Gen., which wasn’t in the plans her parents had for her. They wanted her to return home and do her internship at the local hospital, which was the first step to getting her to settle down and get married. Unfortunately for her parents, the warrior did plan on settling down and getting married, it just wasn’t where they wanted and were probably going to be sent to an early grave when they found out who she planned on marrying.

So the rest of the year went, with much ravaging, little sleep and a huge amount of practicing speeches for the dear old Moms and Dads. Then, as the fateful day drew near, Gabrielle began having second thoughts about letting the cat out of the bag and questioned her resolve on the matter, though she didn’t let the warrior in on this fact and spent long hours mulling over the ramifications of letting her nerves hold sway over her heart.

The warrior, in turn knew something was up and tried to cajole the source of the uneasiness from Gabrielle, but failed with the tiniest bit of irritation. Okay, she went down in flames and was pissed. So as to not make things worse, she began spending more time with a certain group of classmates in an attempt to give the bard the space she needed to figure whatever out for herself and was, unbeknownst to her, failing miserably again.

"No, no, no." Shaking her head, Xena leaned against the lab table and tapped the book across from her. "You can’t go by that."

"Well, why not?" Jeremy asked in his frustration. "It’s here in black and white, Grace."

"I don’t care if it’s in pink and purple, that book is wrong." Leaning further over the table, she glared at her lab partner. "Trust me."

"Here we go again." Throwing his hands in the air, he spun around to come back and sigh. "You’re impossible." Shaking his head, he leaned on the table to face her.

Xena smiled big. "And, where’s the problem?"

Rolling his eyes, Jeremy hung his head. "I used to think it was my good luck to be partnered with you, but I’m starting to have second thoughts."

"Awe, poor baby." Giving him a pity party, she reached over to lift his chin. "Is Jeremy having an itty bitty problem with the fact that I’m right, again?"

Staring into those baby blues, he lifted his eyebrows. "Jeremy is having a problem with the fact that you’re an ass hole." Leaning further in, he bumped their foreheads together, then drew back to smirk. "You should’ve been a proctologist, Grace. I hear it takes one to know one."

Arching an eyebrow, Xena stood on her tip toes to get her face as close to his as possible. "If I were a proctologist, I’d recommend PreparationH for your complexion."

Staring into those ever so close baby blues, he glared back. "Grace, if I weren’t a gentleman, you’d be in trouble right now."

"Oooo. I’m quaking in my sneakers." She said unaffected and smiled.

It only took a split second for his hormones to kick in and he responded by overriding his common sense and kissed those smiling lips. Unfortunately for Jeremy, the kiss was too brief and his immediate apology for his idiocy was interrupted by a loud bang.

Gabrielle came around the corner at that moment, just like a good green-eyed monster should and almost shattered the window in the door she slammed open.

Xena’s eyes went wide, both from the kiss and the racket and she held up her hands, shaking her head madly. "Oh shit. Wait, wait, wait." Moving around the table, she put herself between the blonde freight train and her lab partner. "Faith, it’s not what you think."

"Grrrrrrr." Shoving the warrior aside, she kept her eyes on Jeremy and followed him around the lab, as he tried to make a hasty bewildered retreat.

"Grace! Grace, what’s wrong with her?" Grabbing a chair, he put it in her path and kept back pedaling.

Picking herself up off the floor, the warrior went after Gabrielle. "Faith, stop."

"Come here, you little weasel." Throwing the chair aside, the bard kept coming. "I’m going to rip out your heart and shove it down your throat." Breaking into a run, she jumped onto a table, sliding across the surface to close the distance between them.

"GRACE!" Turning on his heels, Jeremy ran for the door, but was slowed in his pursuit when something caught his lab coat. Leaning forward, he reached out, trying to take hold of anything that would stop him from reversing his course.

"Gabrielle! Nooooooo!" In full panic mode, Xena switched to her native tongue, and lunged over a table, grabbing Gabrielle’s arm. Stumbling around, she wrapped her free arm around the bard’s waist, then leaned back to lift her off the ground. "Gabrielle, stop. Let him go. It wasn’t what you think. He’s sorry." Tugging on one of the grappling hooks holding her lab partner.

"I’ll make him sorry! I’m gonna kill him!" Hanging onto the lab coat with a death grip, she began reeling her little fishy in, despite the fact that her feet were off the ground.

"Gabrielle, let go." Walking backwards, she pulled Jeremy back as well and began shaking her green-eyed monster, in an attempt to make her let go. "Gabrielle, I mean it!" Wrestling against the bard, Xena was starting to lose her own temper. "Jeremy, for god’s sake, just take off your stupid lab coat, you idiot."

Flapping his arms, Jeremy struggled to get the white outer coat off. "Damn it, let go!" Pulling, shoving, ripping and falling, he finally succeeded in escaping the blonde fury. Stepping quickly backwards, he stared at her in confusion, but kept a safe distance. "What’ the hell’s wrong with you?" Straightening his shirt.

"Come here." Tossing the coat aside, Gabrielle fought harder to get to him. "Nobody kisses my gimpfthrsd." Growling at the hand over her mouth, she kicked backward, trying to gain her freedom, so she could kill Jeremy.

Sidestepping Gabrielle’s kick, Xena held on to both mouth and waist. "Will you just get out of here." Growling at the recovering young man. "I can’t hold her like this forever." Dancing around the feet attempting to do her bodily harm.

Throwing his hands up in disgust, he rolled his eyes and made several final adjustments to his attire. "She’s nuts, Grace and whatever medication she’s off of, make sure you get some will ya?" Grabbing the torn lab coat, Jeremy left in a whirl of agitation and amazement. "Women!"

Struggling wildly, Gabrielle watched her prey disappear in a fit of fury.

"Gabrielle calm down and stop kicking me!" Hanging onto the bard until the struggling became more subdued, she finally let the two flailing feet touch the floor when they stopped trying to break her shins.

Growling under Xena’s hand, she stared at the door Jeremy had gone out of. Breathing heavily through her nose, she was finally allowed to take a huge deep breath, when the warrior removed her hand. "Xena, I’m going to kill that little weasel." Huffing and puffing, her green eyes peeled the paint off the walls as she turned to glare upward at her girlfriend. "Why did you let him kiss you?" Turning her anger on the only person left in the room.

"I didn’t let him kiss me. It came out of nowhere." Shaking her head, Xena held onto Gabrielle by one wrist, just for security’s sake and threw her other hand in the air.

Yanking her hand free of its bondage, Gabrielle used it to punch the warrior’s shoulder. "Is this why you’ve been leaving me alone? You’ve been over here sucking face with Jeremy, haven’t you?"

"What?" Confused and dazed, she shook her head even harder. "What are you talking about? He’s my lab partner, for Zeus’ sake, Gabrielle. Up until five minutes ago, the only thing I’ve been doing with Jeremy is trying to get him to use his head for something other than a hat rack and the reason I’ve been leaving you alone is because you wouldn’t talk to me."

"Then why was he kissing you when I came in?" Putting her hands on her hips, she continued to glare upward at the face of innocence.

"Because he’s lost his freaking mind!" Opening her eyes wide, Xena held her arms out. "He’s got a hole in his marble’s bag, I don’t know? We were just going over some test formulas and he kissed me." Pointing to the scene of the crime, which was behind her.

"Xena." Her voice low, with a distinct tone of disbelief, Gabrielle began tapping her foot.

"Gabrielle, I’m serious. I never saw it coming." Sighing, she let her arms fall limply at her sides. "Honest. You know me better than that." A slight whine in her voice, the warrior shook her head slowly. "I love you, Gabrielle. You know that. I’d never let that fish face kiss me."

Green eyes rolled and the foot stopped tapping, but the hands stayed on the hips. "If that’s true, then why didn’t you knock his block off?"

"You never gave me the chance." Walking over to her lab table, Xena took up her position. "Here I am, talking away, then the next thing I know, I’ve got lips trying to check my tonsils, then BANG. Incoming green-eyed monster." Giving a short, yet very dramatic rendition of the chain of events. "I think I bit my tongue when you came in." Sticking out the injured organ.

Arching an eyebrow, Gabrielle walked over to take hold of the wet exhibit ‘a’ and saw a small red area to the left side. "Hmmmm." Releasing the warrior’s tongue, she sighed, then wiped her hand on her jeans.

Reeling in the injured party, the kissee put her hands on the bard’s shoulders. "You believe me, right?" Lifting her eyebrows in a semi pout. "Gabrielle." Bending down, she tried to capture green eyes as they disappeared from view.

Lowering her head, the bard closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she held it for several seconds before letting it out in a long sigh, along with some of her anger. "Yes, I believe you Xena." Turning away, she walked a short distance to lean against one of the black topped tables and fold her arms across her chest. "What now?" Lifting her eyes, she saw a questioning look returned.

"About what?" Knitting her brow, Xena cocked her head to the side.

"Us, Xena. What do we do now?" Sounding tired and mad, she pushed off the table to return and stand in front of the confused warrior.

Blinking a couple of times, Xena raised up to her full height. "I don’t understand. Are we supposed to be doing something?"

Gabrielle’s head flopped back and she closed her eyes. "Xeeeenaaaaa."

"Okay, look." Rolling her eyes, she pulled up a stool and sat down to be face to face with the bard. "It’s obvious that I’m missing something here and before you get all red in the face again, why don’t you just tell me what’s been bothering you?" Reaching out, she unfolded two tightly wound arms and ran her hands down to take Gabrielle’s hands in hers. "Forget Jeremy for right now and just talk to me. Something’s been on your mind and you’re not happy, I can see that and I want to fix it, but you’ve got to tell me what it is, because I can’t figure it out for the life of me."

"Gods." Sighing, she brought her head back to look into expectant, worried eyes. "This has gotten into such a mess."

"What has?" Hanging onto two warm hands, Xena pulled her closer. "What’s a mess?"

"Us, here, our parents and the whole graduation thing. It’s all coming at us so fast." Closing her eyes, she felt a gentle squeeze on both hands and smiled. "I’m scared Xena."

"Of what?" Whispering, she smiled back.

"That we’re going to blow it." Opening her eyes, she shook her head slowly. "We’ve finally gotten these bodies back, thanks to you and we’re on the brink of finally being unbelievably happy and I can’t shake this gnawing in my gut that we’re about to get hit by a bus." Sighing, her face screwed into a scowl. "I’m scared of what will happen when our parent’s find out and what our lives are going to be like and whether or not we’ll end up regretting . . . "

Xena dropped Gabrielle’s hands to wrap her arms around a narrow waist and pull the woman of her dreams into a gentle, yet passionate kiss. Holding on as the bard resisted, she kept her lips firmly on her future and relayed her confidence that nothing and no one would ever be able to keep them from their happiness and that no matter what happened, she’d do everything in her power to keep them together forever. She also relayed the fact that she thought Gabrielle talked too much, but that was a footnote that got lost somewhere between a soft moan and checking to see if the bard had acquired any new fillings in the past 24 hours.

Falling hopelessly into the love encircling her heart and soul, Gabrielle forgot about her worries and her arguments and Jeremy and everything else that had plagued her waking moments for the past month. And she was reminded by the kiss, that they’d always found a way to survive the slings and arrows that the changing times had hurled at them. They had always overcome the trials set before them and had always been victorious, if not a little singed in the fray. This is what she felt in the kiss and as always, Xena had forgone the effort of verbal rhetoric, to cut to the heart of the matter with amazing accuracy and complete comprehension of what was important. The world may crumble around them, but they would be safe on the rock of their eternal love.

Dr. Sheffield, having entered the building, just as Jeremy was grumbling his way out had gotten an earful of the young man’s version of what had happened and was now standing in the doorway of the lab, getting an eyeful of the opposing story. Apparently the young Mr. Redgrave had gotten his interpretations close to the truth, which was that he was attacked by Grace’s crazed friend and thought that she’d acted like a jealous whacko. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, Jeremy had thought it was because Faith was jealous of time he’d spent with his lab partner, therefore denying the blonde her friend’s attention. Dr. Sheffield, on the other hand was becoming very aware that the kiss, mentioned in passing, was the actual source of Faith’s tantrum and that the situation was as far from his own imaginings as they were from Jeremy getting an ‘A’ in microbiology. Never the twain shall meet, he thought and considered the sight before him as he felt his insides turn over in repulsion.

It was about that time that Xena’s warrior instincts kicked in and she broke the kiss to spy her instructor, looking rather uncomfortabe in the doorway. "Oh shit." Jumping up, she moved in front of Gabrielle, placing the bard safely behind her.

"What?" Still reeling from the kiss, Gabrielle turned to see what the warrior was staring at. "Oh, gods." Recognizing the bus she’d been expecting, her knees went weak and gave way to send her scrambling for the stool still warm from Xena’s butt.

"Dr. Sheffield, I can explain." Holding up her hands, the warrior’s brain went into overdrive. "It’s not what it looks like and it’s not what you think."

"Really?" His face became a disapproving scowl. "Well unless they’ve invented a more intimate way of checking for tonsillitis, Miss Morgan, I’d say you were kissing her."

"Okay, it is what you think, but I can explain." Moving toward him, she saw her instructor step back and recognized the signs of that familiar look of disgust. "Just listen for a minute."

Shaking his head, Sheffield paused in his retreat. "There is no explanation necessary. Your actions speak for themselves, Grace and whatever you think you could possibly say to make this acceptable in your mind, will be wasted words. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got several phone calls to make. It will be a shame to lose you this close to graduation. You had such potential." Turning, he stepped out of the doorway and made it a few paces before he was accosted and spun around. Sighing he expected to see the tall brunette with a firm grip on his arm, but instead found the shorter blonde glaring up at him. "Let go of me, little girl."

"No and don’t you ever call me a little girl." Tightening her hold, she used her lower center of gravity to the max and threw him against the wall. Ramming her forearm against his chest, she kept him in place, as her blood began to boil. "You’re gonna listen to me, whether you want to or not."

"Get your hands off me." Growling low, Sheffield tried to push off the wall, but was shoved back hard.

"Gabrielle." Sighing, Xena made her way down the hall and put her hand on the bard’s shoulder. "It’s over. You’re not going to change his mind. Look at him, he’s got the look."

"Bullshit." Pushing harder against him, she stuck to English and glanced over her shoulder to talk directly to the warrior. "I’m not going to let this little worm screw up what we’ve been working for for so long." Turning her attention back to the good doctor, she growled.

Shaking her head, the warrior stayed behind Gabrielle and closed her eyes.

"I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve seen it so many times I can’t even count them all." Glaring up at his face, she stood on her tip toes to make sure he heard every word. "I’ve seen that look of revulsion for I don’t know how long and I’m tired of it. Yes, we were kissing and whether your pea brain can comprehend it, we are also very much in love and I’m not going to let you use that fact to destroy the career of the best doctor this pious-assed institution has ever seen. Our lifestyle has nothing to do with how proficient we are at our chosen fields and it most certainly is none of your business. We don’t ask you to understand and we don’t ask for your approval and frankly, I don’t care if you like it or not, because it won’t change the way we feel, but it will be the biggest mistake of your life if you let your petty superior attitude ruin the life of the woman I love.

Grace is your pride and joy and you’ve spent how many years, walking around this place with your chest puffed out like a proud father? And now that you found out that she’s not the lily white example you set her up as, you immediately want to toss her aside because she doesn’t meet with your moral expectations? Well, that’s the wrong answer, Dr. Sheffield." Giving him a shove, Gabrielle stepped back a pace, but held him with her eyes. "If it wasn’t for my mile-wide jealous streak, that brought me over here, you would’ve been none the wiser and your precious pride would still be intact, so stop acting like this changes the facts, because it doesn’t. Grace and I are in love and that will never change and she’s still the best doctor you’ll ever have the privilege of seeing and if you remember the first rule of being a doctor, you’ll walk away from this and keep your mouth shut." Feeling a warm body against her back, she shook her head and smiled at him sadly. "The most important rule is to first do no harm, Dr. Sheffield. It’s what separates doctors from the rest of the world and it’s what makes you know, deep down, that putting your moral restrictions on someone’s ability to be a good person and a good doctor and a benefit to mankind is wrong. Yes, to you we’re an abomination to everything you hold sacred, but we’re not evil and we’re not reprobates. We’re just two people who live in a time where our love is no longer acceptable. We didn’t ask to be this way and nothing you, or anybody else can say or do, will make us into what you want. Love doesn’t work that way. There are no rules for falling in love and despite what the world says is right, I know what feels right for me." Sighing, she put her hand over her heart and felt a strong arm slide around her waist. "In my heart and soul, I love Grace more than anything else in this world, but that’s my problem. She’s egotistical, dogmatic, selfish, self centered, spoiled, a horrible driver, demanding, a perfectionist, a natural leader, brave, warm, romantic, compassionate, caring and the best friend I’ve ever had. And she makes me happy. That’s what I see when I look at her, because I don’t have expectations of what she should be. I gave those up a long time ago and I’ve learned to just appreciate everything that she is and be eternally thankful to whoever sent her my way. That’s where I stand, Dr. Sheffield. Now, you have to decide where you stand." Giving him a respectful nod, she took the hand holding her close and walked away, towing the teary-eyed warrior behind her.

Stunned by the monologue, Sheffield stood silent as the pair walked off.

Xena gave him a quick smile, before she was pulled away and began wiping the wetness off her face. When they turned a corner, she tugged on a warm hand and pulled the bard to a stop. "Gabrielle."

"What?" Turning around, the bard saw a smile below two tear filled blue eyes.

"Thank you." Leaning down, she gave those naturally talented lips a gentle kiss. "I love you, you know that?"

"Yea." Nodding, Gabrielle smiled big and gave her a wink. "I know that and I love you, too. Now come on. We’ve got two serious phone calls to make."

"Are you on a roll?" Lifting her eyebrows, the warrior chuckled softly.

"Maybe." Arching an eyebrow, she tilted her head. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"Ohhhh, noooooo." Shaking her head, Xena brushed her fingers over a soft cheek. "I just feel sorry for our parents. I don’t think they've had the pleasure of getting an earful from the famous Bard of Poteidaia, when she really gets going."

"They’ll get over it." Pulling the dark haired head closer, Gabrielle put her lips to the warrior’s for a long kiss.

"What was that for?" Looking into deep green eyes.

"That’s an apology for getting you into a mess." Sliding her hand from behind Xena’s head, she smiled sadly. "I guess you’re not the only one who courts trouble."

"Dr. Sheffield can kiss my shiny white ass. As long as I’ve got you, I don’t care if I have to sell apples on a corner somewhere, I’ll be happy." Stealing another kiss, she wrapped one arm around the bard’s waist and headed them for the door. "Have I ever told you that you’ve got a natural talent for chewing butt?"

"You’re not the only one with skills, warrior princess." Chuckling, she felt the hand on her waist moving south. "Xenaaaaa." Reaching behind her, she grasped the groping wanderer and put it back in a safer spot, then held onto it for good measure.

Smirking, Xena grabbed a door know in passing and turned it, then pulled Gabrielle quickly inside the broom closet and closed the door. Standing in total darkness, her lips found the bard’s before she could protest and began plying a passionate story of their own.

A couple of hours later, a phone call was made, but it wasn’t placed by the bard and it wasn’t to either set of parents. Xena had taken charge of making plans for the bomb dropping ceremony, once she’d ravaged Gabrielle’s body in the broom closet and figured out how to unlock the door from the inside and searched for her underwear, to no avail. Now, she was chatting away with their only ally and started tossing ideas back and forth with Greg, Gabrielle’s brother, who was at Yale.

Gabrielle, not to be out done, was scribbling away, taking notes and yanking the phone out of Xena’s hand to yell at her snotty twin, whenever she heard a snide remark come down the phone lines. She also interrupted constantly, to give her opinion and to argue over small details.

While this was going on, all thoughts of Dr. Sheffield and their future at Harvard were pushed to the back of their minds and the pair concentrated on the unenviable task of telling their parents what Gabrielle had so eloquently told the good doctor.

It was well after sunset before the plan was finalized, with Greg’s promise of back-up and a place to stay, should they find themselves without a home to go to. The details were still rough and there were three versions. One for if they did get expelled and one for if they didn’t and the third for if only one got expelled, which satisfied the warrior’s need for covering the bases. And so the plan was set to drop the bomb, just after graduation, should that event occur and that they wouldn’t let their parents leave town until they had decided if they were either for or against the couple’s announcement. Then, just as they were settling down for bed, confident of the tentatively made plans, a wrench was thrown into the works when Dr. Sheffield showed up at their dorm door.

"I’ll get it, you just keep writing." Waving the bard back to the bed, Xena wrapped her robe tightly around her and opened the door. "Yessss, whoa." Feeling her eyelids stretched to unnatural limits, the warrior stared at her instructor. "Dr. Sheffield?"

Dropping the pen and pad on her lap, Gabrielle looked up in astonishment.

"May I come in?" Keeping his voice low and even, he gave Grace an embarrassed expectant look.

"Uhhhhh, sure." Shrugging, Xena opened the door wide enough for him to step through, then checked the hall for signs of police, or anybody else that might be used to toss them out. Seeing the usual amount of coed activity, she closed the door.

Bounding off the one and only bed in the room, Gabrielle straightened her robe and smiled. "Hi." Pointing to one of the chairs. "Would you like to sit down?"

Shaking his head, Sheffield’s eyes were momentarily glued to the bed, then he turned away to stare at his student. "Grace, I’d like to have a few moments alone, if I may?"

"Is there somebody outside who’s going to try and grab Faith?" Giving him a steely stare, Xena stood straight as a rod.

"No, I’d just like a few minutes to talk to you alone." Taking a deep breath, he almost smiled.

Treading over to the warrior, Gabrielle took her hand. "I’ll be outside." That said, she gave Xena’s hand a squeeze then walked out, closing the door behind her and pressing her ear firmly against it.

"Okay, we’re alone." Folding her arms across her chest, Xena tried to figure out what he was going to say, before he said it, so she’d be one step ahead. Unfortunately, his face was a complete mask and she simply had to wait to hear what he had to say.

"I don’t approve of what and who you are, Grace, but as Faith pointed out, you are one of the best doctors I’ve ever seen." Clasping his hands behind his back, he stared at her bare feet. "That is why I’ve decided to keep the knowledge of your relationship to myself." Looking up, he met her steady gaze with a resolved one of his own. "You’ll be allowed to finish your education and take the finals, however, the recommendation I promised you for your internship will not be forthcoming. I know you’ll be a great asset to whatever hospital you choose, I just don’t want you in my sight and therefore will not give you a letter for your position at Mass Gen, or for any other position you apply for. Once you graduate, you’re on your own, Grace. I’ll have nothing further to do with you, or Miss Riley. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." Nodding, Xena whispered her answer. "I understand and thank you."

"Don’t thank me, Grace. Thank your friend. She’s the only reason you’re still on campus and I suspect is the only reason you will find a position somewhere." Brushing past her, he took the door knob in his hand and paused, to face her again. "Once you leave this institution, Grace, I’d prefer it if you didn’t use my name on any reference material and that you not mention our acquaintance."

"Yes, sir." Giving him another nod, she watched her favorite instructor walk out the door and out of her life.

Gabrielle was a discreet distance away when Dr. Sheffield emerged and she waited until he’d gone down the hall before she jogged back into the room. "We’re still in?" Closing the door, she moved to the bed where the warrior was sitting. Taking her place beside Xena, she tried to see what was going on behind those baby blues. "Xena?"

"Yea, we’re still in. I just won’t get the job at MGH like I thought." Chewing the inside of her lip, she stared at the floor as her mind began making changes to the plan. "I’ll have to start sending out applications right away, or else it’ll be too late to get in anywhere before next year."

"We’ll make it, Xena." Taking the warrior’s hand in hers, Gabrielle smiled. "Even if we have to go home to find you a job, we’ll make it."

"No!" Shaking her head, the warrior’s face grew gravely serious. "We’re not going home. You’re staying right here and you’re staying at Harvard. I may have to do some serious commuting, but you’re not giving up your education. You wanted to come here, even before I said it was where I wanted to go and you’re staying, whether or not I ever find a job. End of discussion."

"Okay." Holding up her hand, she smiled. "Okay. I get the point."

"Good." Taking a firm hold of Gabrielle’s hand, Xena brought their hands to cover her heart. "You’ve got your scholarship, so you’ll be able to stay here, but I’ll have to move off campus and if Mom and Dad bail, it’ll get really tough. Interns don’t make a lot of money and I’ll probably have to spend most of my time wherever I can find a job, but I’ll be back as often as I can and I . . . "

Taking hold of a yammering chin, Gabrielle pulled chattering, rambling lips to meet hers and cut off anymore negative possibilities. Then, ever so slowly, she leaned into Xena, taking them back to lay on the bed and held the kiss as she covered the warrior’s body with her own. Breaking the kiss, she raised up on one elbow to stare down at a worried face. "We’ll adjust the plan and we’ll make it."

Frowning, Xena closed her eyes. "I hate it that I won’t get to be here with you."

"You don’t know that yet." Tapping a wrinkled nose, she waited for the warrior to open her eyes before she went on. "You could still get a job at MGH, or someplace close, but even if you don’t we won’t shrivel up and die from being apart. I’ve already gone through four years of missing you and if I have to do it again, I will."

Sighing, she nodded in resignation. "I know."

"And besides." Smiling, Gabrielle ran her finger slowly up the side of Xena’s neck, then repeated the gesture with her lips. "Absence does make the heart grow fonder."

"Gabrielle, I don’t think that’s your heart talking." Feeling a hand slip beneath her robe, she chuckled when it came to rest of her jammie covered breast. "And my heart’s on the other side, just in case you’re interested." Letting her hands do some wandering of their own, she reached down to run them up the back of Gabrielle’s thighs, to a firm butt, where they started kneading gently.

"Now who’s talking with their libido?" She asked very close to a tasty ear.

Flicking her eyebrows, Xena smiled. "This may be one of my last chances to show you what you’ll be missing, before I get shipped off to no man’s land."

"And it better be ‘no man’s’ land, Xena." Leaving the earlobe, Gabrielle gave the warrior a greeneyed glare. "If I find out Jeremy is within fifty miles of you, I’ll kill him."

"You’re so beautiful when you’re jealous." Lifting her head, she cut off a witty retort, while slipping her fingers under the bard’s undies and planting her hand solidly on a very hot spot. "Now, what were you saying?" Arching an amused eyebrow, she began to circle Gabrielle’s opening with two fingers, while massaging her nub with a thumb.

Spreading her legs, she began rocking against the warrior’s hand. "Was I saying something?" Closing her eyes, she lowered her head to place soft kisses on warm skin and worked her way over the base of Xena’s neck.

"Apparently not. My mistake."


The next two weeks were hell, for both Gabrielle and Xena. Gabrielle’s problem lay in the fact that Greg was having to stay at Yale, to make up a final exam and would be there after they’d scheduled to drop the bomb. So the plans were again rearranged to fit this adjustment in and the announcement was put off until back-up could arrive During these trials and tribulations, she also had to study for her finals and pass them with nothing short of an A to keep her scholarship intact. This was accomplished and she was free of classes the day before Xena was, so she spent it rearranging their room, because the bomb targets were due to arrive the following morning.

Xena’s problem was Dr. Sheffield, who kept his word and remained silent about their relationship, but took on a very cold and distant attitude toward the warrior, which made getting through the final exam a nightmare. Everything she did was second guessed and she spent more time explaining what she was doing, rather than actually doing what she was supposed to. But, despite these setbacks, Xena did pass all her classes with honors and was scheduled to graduate in three days.

Thus the scene was set for the ultimate test of their combined skills in this lifetime and the busy couple slid under the wire, yet again, by having everything ready for the big day.

The Riley’s arrived first and were given the nickel tour of the dorm, which they’d had every time they came for a visit and just like normal, Joyce found something wrong with the room, but was persuaded to let the girls be by Dad, who opted for the name and location of the best restaurant in town as payment for the lovely tour. He also paid for everything until the Morgans arrived the next day, then the battle for monetary distribution ensued and everybody got very tired of watching the two fathers go head to head over each bill for every little thing. Eventually the Moms stepped in and set out a plan for equal payment and thus ended the battle, much to everyone’s delight. So the few days before graduation were spent touring the local sites and just enjoying the good weather and each others’ company.

The nights were spent trying to shove two grown bodies into one or the other of the two twin beds that now occupied the girls’ room and usually resulted in them sleeping on the floor. Unfortunately, this made them a tad cranky and many apologies went around for bad manners. They also started to pack for the trip home for the summer, but only got half way through the chore, before they broke down and decided to wait until the storm passed and they’d see if they actually had a home to go to.

Greg, Gabrielle’s brother arrived at his original time slot and explained to the girls that he’d begged to take the make-up exam the following week, not out of some sense of duty to them and their predicament, but because he’d be burned at the stake before he’d miss Grace’s graduation. She was, after all, his first love and even if he had lost her affections to his sister, he wasn’t going to let that stand in his way of cheering on the woman of his dreams.

Gabrielle found this side note irritating, while Xena found it very endearing and managed to keep her Flyboy alive, despite the bard’s wishes to the other extreme. So, for the umpteenth time, the plan was changed and they went back to the original scheme and were ready to put the wheels in motion shortly after the graduation ceremony when, it was hoped, the elation was hoped to dampen the sting of the bomb drop.

"You look beautiful." Smiling, Gabrielle made Xena turn around several times, so she could get a good look at the crimson gown.

Doing as she was instructed, Xena held out her arms and turned slowly in a circle. "I like this one better than the purple from high school."

"It’s simply marvelous, Grace." Maggie said, with a small tear in her eye.

Being the dutiful husband, Joseph removed his handkerchief from his suit pocket and handed it to his wife. "Here."

Sniffing, Mom dabbed the corner of her eye, then tucked the white silk cloth in her purse.

"Oh, Mom." Rolling her eyes, the warrior gave her mother a huge hug. "I’m graduating, not falling off the end of the earth."

"Don’t patronize your Mother, Grace." Slapping his daughter’s shoulder, Dad gave his signal that it was time for his huge hug. Then he took the light of his life in his arms and almost broke a couple of ribs. "You did good, Grace. I’m proud of you."

"Thank you, Daddy." Smiling big, Xena took the hanky offered by her mother and sniffed.

"Come on, come on, come on." Brian groaned. "Can we get out of here before it’s time for her to retire?"

"Yea." Nodding, Greg, Xena’s brother agreed. "Let’s get this show on the road." Putting his hands on his hips.

"All right." Huffing, Dad nodded also. "We’ll see you after the ceremony, pumpkin."

"Okay and please don’t let them throw the toilet paper they’ve got stashed in their coats." She whispered to her father, who urned to glare at his sons.

"Cough it up." Holding out his hands, he waited for two rolls of soft white tissue paper to be placed in his possession, then he gave each dark male head a smack. "You ruin this and I’ll drag your dismembered bodies behind the car, all the way home."

Groaning in unison, the brothers ‘caught’ looked sad and shuffled a short distance away.

"We’ll meet you by the stands." Mom reminded her daughter. "So, no running off."

"Yes, ma’am." Smiling, Xena gave her a wink.

"Joseph." Taking his arm, Maggie gave the signal for them to move out, which entailed walking across the grounds toward the stands and the Riley’s, who were saving their seats.

"Xena." Watching them go, Gabrielle moved closer to the warrior.

"I know, Gabrielle." Taking the bard’s hand, she gave it a squeeze. "It’s gonna be hard." As her parents disappeared into the crowd, the warrior smiled. "It’s graduation day, in more ways than one."

"Should we synchronize our watches?" Sneaking up behind them, Greg gave his twin sister a pinch on the butt and almost got his head taken off.

"You little twerp." Swinging hard, she spun in a full circle, due to the miss and stopped to rub her pained bottom. "When this is all over, I’m going to beat you to a bloody pulp." Glaring at his smirking face, she growled. "Grrrrrr."

"Okay, you two. Can we call a truce? It’s almost time for me to go get in line." Separating the sparring siblings, Xena shook her head. "Has everybody got their part down pat?"

Still glaring, Gabrielle nodded. "I keep the parents together and bring them back to the room."

"While I corral Brian, Greg and Karen over to the coffee shop, for a sugar binge and give them the news." Smiling big, he flicked his eyebrows at Faith. "That leaves you and pinhead safe to drop the bomb on the Moms and the Dads."

"That pretty much cover's it." Sighing, the warrior checked her watch. "A couple more hours and our lives change forever."

"Yep, this is your last chance, Grace." Smiling seductively, Greg tugged on the sleeve of her gown. "You can still change your mind and go with the more sexy, intelligent twin." Flicking his eyebrows again.

"That’s it! You’re dead!" Rushing him, Gabrielle got her arm around his neck before she was pulled off by the warrior.

Laughing, Xena held onto the bard and nodded for Greg to make a discreet exit. "Gabrielle, would you calm down. You’re gonna wrinkle my gown."

"That little weasel better keep his grubby paws off you." Growling at her departing brother, the bard huffed a couple of times then calmed down.

"He just does that to get a rise out of you." Letting go, Xena smiled down at furious green eyes. "He knows who I’m in love with." Taking a clenched jaw in her hand, she leaned down to place a soft kiss on Gabrielle’s forehead. "Now, go get your seat, so we can get on with our lives."

Sighing, Gabrielle nodded. "He’s sooooo lucky we need him for this, or else he’d be dead meat."

Xena rolled her eyes and took the bard by the shoulders to turn her around to face the stands, then gave her a pat on the fanny. "Go. I’ll see you after the ceremony."

Stomping off, the bard searched the crowd for the two families and ignored the smug smile on her brother’s face.

The ceremony went off without a hitch, but was excruciatingly long and by the time Xena actually got her diploma placed in her hand, her cheering section burst off their seats with as much enthusiasm about getting to relieve their aching butts as the fact that their pride and joy was graduating. Then the rest of the class had to move their tassels before the hats finally flew in the air and everybody got up for one final standing ovation.

Picking up her hat, Xena moved through the crowd with the skill of a hunter on the prowl and intercepted the two families before they could reach the last step off the stands. Giving Greg a nod, she smiled and hugged everybody, then suffered through multiple blinding moments as pictures were taken. Once on their way, she helped Gabrielle convince their respective parents to come back to the room and watched the Flyboy do his job and saw the four siblings sneak off. So far, so good, she thought and kept her best happy mask on.

Gabrielle was thankful that she hadn’t eaten yet, because her stomach was doing somersaults all the way back to the dorm and she only barely managed to keep up with the conversations going on around her. Once inside the noisy halls, she took the lead up the three flights of stairs and hoped her sweating would be attributed to the exertion, rather than nerves. Keeping her eyes focused on the door halfway down the hall, she could feel blue eyes burning a hole in the back of her head, but she refused to meet the warrior’s gaze and instead chose to fight off the choking sensation in her throat. We can do this. We can do this. Chanting the little mantra in her mind, her hand was shaking when she opened the door to their room and felt her knees getting weak as she was followed in by chatting happy parents and one well trained warrior.

"Why don’t you have a seat, while I pull this thing off." Smiling, Xena pointed to the beds and moved to her closet to pull off her gown.

"What is so important, that we have to risk missing our reservations?" Joseph asked, who was starving for a big juicy steak.

"Oh, hush." Slapping his arm, Maggie grabbed it and pulled him to the bed. "You’re not going to die."

"I may." Sean mumbled and got pretty much the same treatment from his wife and was forced to sit and twiddle his thumbs while the girls whispered in the corner.

"Xena, I don’t know if I can do this." Her voice barely audible, Gabrielle helped the warrior off with her gown.

"Don’t worry. I’ll handle it." Smiling to the two couples, she sighed. "I’ve faced worse situations than this."

"Yea, but you usually had a sword in your hand at the time." Pulling a hanger out of the closet, she hung the gown on it and put it away. Taking one last deep breath, she let it out very slowly before she turned around to join Xena on the five steps to their destiny and crossed the small room.

Four sets of varying colored eyes stared expectantly upward and all four faces smiled in anticipation.

"Mom, Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Riley." Xena said softly and felt a warm hand take hold of hers. "Faith and I have something to tell you."

"Well, what is it Grace?" Mom asked, seeing the tension on her daughter’s face.

Closing her eyes, the warrior rubbed her forehead.

"You remember all those dreams you had for us, about getting our educations and then settling down to get married?" Speaking just as softly, Gabrielle smiled.

"Of course." Nodding, Joseph smiled. "Every parent has those dreams for their children. We want you to be happy."

"Well, your idea of happiness may not fit into our idea of happiness." Recovering, Xena shook her head.

"You’re dropping out of school." Joyce stated in a none to happy tone.

"No, Mom." Gabrielle replied.

"You’re going to give up medicine?" Maggie tried to guess.

"No, Mom." Xena answered.

"You’re pregnant." Sean growled.

"No, Dad." Sighing, the bard rolled her eyes.

"You’re pregnant." Joseph growled.

"No, Dad." Dropping her head, the warrior shook it slowly.

"Then what?" Joyce asked, starting the next round.

"We’re in love and we’re going to get married." Gabrielle sighed and waited for the explosion.

"You two never mentioned a boyfriend." Maggie folded her arms across her chest. "Why haven’t you brought them home?"

"Because there are no boyfriends, Mom." Xena smiled guiltily. "We’re in love with each other. Faith and I."

Sean stood up and put his hands on his hips. "You’re in love with my daughter?" Staring at Grace, he felt the blood rushing to his head.

"Yes, sir." Nodding, the warrior braced herself for a physical attack. "Very much so."

Joseph stood up and mirrored his counterpart’s stance. "Is this true, Faith?"

"Yes, sir." Taking a tighter hold of the warrior’s hand, Gabrielle nodded. "We’ve been in love since we were kids."

"Well, well, well. That explains a lot." Maggie sighed and gave her husband a knowing smile.

"I thought you were just waiting for Mr. Right to come along." Joyce frowned.

"Well, technically the right person did come along, Mom. It just wasn’t a mister." Smiling, Gabrielle let out a long sigh. "Are you mad?"

"Mad?" Closing her eyes, Joyce bit her lip. "Am I mad? I’ve just been told that my daughter is in love with another woman and she wants to know if I’m mad." Throwing her arms in the air, she opened her eyes to stand and pace around the room.

"Mom?" Xena asked and saw the look of stunned numbness on her face.

"Grace." Being the last to stand, Maggie shook her head. "Did we do something wrong in raising you?"

"No, ma’am." Feeling the first hits from the bomb, the warrior smiled. "And neither did Faith’s parents. We’re not the products of any mistake you’ve made. We had happy, healthy childhoods and we never wanted for anything and we never felt abused, or mistreated. This isn’t something that you could’ve prevented. For us, it’s natural and we could never imagine ourselves with anybody else."

"Well, this just throws the whole day right out the window." Turning his back to the couple, Sean folded his arms across his chest. "Now, I know what happened to our children and why they disappeared so fast."

Joseph shook his head. "When I said I wanted you to be happy, I thought I was going to have to buy you a real car, not this."

"I’m sorry, Daddy. We didn’t mean to tell you like this, but we felt it was time." Chewing the inside of her lip, Xena watched her father’s face. "We did hide it from you, but it was only to keep from hurting you."

"Hurting me?" Growling, he took a step closer to his daughter. "Is that what you think, Grace? Do you think so little of me, that I’d allow my own happiness to stand in the way of yours?" Pointing to the bard, he kept his eyes on the warrior’s. "Hell, Grace. If I was twenty years younger and had never met your mother, I’d be snatching her up."

Gabrielle looked around in confusion. "What does that mean?"

"It means, little one, that despite what you think of us, we are still your parents and our whole purpose in life is to make sure that we’ve done everything in our power to see that our children are happy." Maggie said softly. "We aren’t hurt, we’re stunned and confused."

"Well, not all of us." Joyce came back from her pacing to face her daughter. "I, for one am not happy and I want some answers." Glaring down at Faith.

"To what?" Staring back, Gabrielle cocked her head. "What do you want to know, Mom?"

"I want to know how you could do this?" Putting her hands on her hips, her eyes moved between the two women. "Is this why you wanted to come here? So you could be with her?"

"Not initially." Shaking her head, the bard smiled. "I wanted to come to Harvard before she did, because of it’s history department. Grace was just a bonus."

"Don’t be flippant, young lady. This isn’t a game you’re playing and I won’t allow you act like it is." Turning to face them, Sean stepped toward his daughter and reached out to grab her arm, but was intercepted by a former warlord. "Grace, let go of my hand."

"No." Xena said flatly. "You hurt her and I’ll break every bone in your body." Staring up into his eyes, she saw a flash of something, then she let go, but held her place.

"Are you threatening him?" Joyce asked, trying to get in front of her husband, so she could take charge of the questioning. Unfortunately, there was only room for a piece of paper between the two and neither seemed prepared to give way.

"I don’t make threats, Mrs. Riley. I make promises." Her eyes steady, she saw the flash again and felt her brow wrinkle when he stepped back. Arching an eyebrow, she started to turn to say something to the bard, but was distracted by the incoming future mother-in-law.

Sean turned around and went to sit on the bed.

"Hold it." Waving his arms around, Joseph did the intercepting this time. "Just hold it, before this turns into a donnybrook, okay?"

"Joyce, just calm down." Coming to her husband’s aide, Maggie took the woman by the arm. "It’s not the end of the world."

Xena and Gabrielle exchanged a confused look and took several steps back to give the Morgans room to maneuver. "What’s going on?" Gabrielle whisper.

"Apparently the only person with the real problem is your Mom." Xena whispered back, over her shoulder. "I don’t know what happened to your dad."

And so they stood for ten minutes while one set of parents held off the mother of one and the father of same one sat quietly, watching the fray with an apparent growing amusement. Finally, Joyce got a glimpse of her husband’s face when she turned to get some much needed support from him and felt like turning her fury on him, when she saw the smile. "Have you lost your mind, Sean? What are you laughing at?"

"You." Standing, he started chuckling. "You’re acting just like your father did when you brought me home and Grace there," pointing to the warrior with another chuckle, "is me. She had my speech down, word for word, but I actually did have to break your dad’s nose to get it through his head that I was in love with you. Of course, that’s why we ended up having to spend every Thanksgiving at the in-laws until the day he died. Just so we could spar and he could get a chance to knock my block off." Laughing, he sat back down, because his input was complete.

Glaring at him like he was crazy, Joyce actually growled. "That’s different."

"No it’s not." Shaking his head calmly, Sean crossed his legs. "And I, for one, have no intention of driving home with a broken nose." Smiling, he saw her face turn beet red. "Yep, that’s good old Franklin Gregory Finley, if ever I saw him." Pointing at his wife.

Maggie and Joseph did the discreet thing and joined the two girls across the room, as Joyce got wound up.

Xena wrapped her arms around her father’s waist, as he backed up and rested her chin on his shoulder. "Thank you, Daddy." Kissing his cheek, she smiled.

"You’re welcome, pumpkin." Patting her head gently, he continued to be a formidable barrier between the mad woman and his daughter and future daughter-in-law.

"Mrs. Morgan?" Gabrielle, who was blocked in by the wall of bodies, tugged on the woman’s jacket.

"Yes, Faith?" Turning, she looked down at the worried expression of a serious face.

"It really doesn’t bother you? About Grace and me?" Standing very close to the warrior, she pressed her back against Xena.

"Faith." Smiling, Maggie shook her head. "Joseph and I have already discussed this a long time ago. Parent’s aren’t always as blind as you think they are."

"What?" Catching the conversation, Xena turned to stare wideeyed at her mother.

"Grace, we’re not dummies." Dad whispered over his shoulder. "The only person you ever showed any interest in at all, was Faith. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see love when it smacks you in the face every damn day."

Gabrielle turned to share a shocked look with Xena. "You knew?" The blonde asked, as her head shot back and forth between the husband and wife.

"We suspected." Nodding, Maggie gave her a wink.

"Daddy?" Moving one arm, Xena wrapped it around her father’s neck. "How could you let me stand up there like a complete idiot and ask me if I was pregnant?" Giving his neck a squeeze.

Chuckling, Joseph ignored the ill intent of his daughter. "But you looked so cute."

"Ooooooo." Tightening her hold, the warrior felt like breaking his nose.

"But you acted like you were surprised." Closing her eyes, Gabrielle shook her head. "I don’t believe it."

"It wasn’t a complete act, Faith." Mom said quietly and placed her hand on the smaller woman’s shoulder. "We had no idea what you were going to tell us and even though we suspected you two were an item, I needed to know if it was real. I wanted to make sure there weren’t outside influences that drove you to this and so, when Grace explained, I knew it was real."

"You wanted to make sure that we weren’t falling into this willy nilly." Opening her eyes, the bard nodded.

"Precisely." Smiling, Maggie wrapped her arm around the blondes shoulder. "Faith, I was hoping you’d snatch up our Greg and straighten him out, but if you’re that determined to go for the ultimate challenge, all I can say is good luck and you can call me when she gets grease on the couch. I’ve got a great recipe for stain removal."

"Hey!" Letting go of her father, Xena put her hands on her hips and glared at her mother. "What do you mean you wanted her to snatch up Greg and I never got grease on the couch!"

"Oh, shut up Grace." Rolling his eyes, Dad thumped her in the back of the head. "We’ve got bigger fish to fry, because apparently, Joyce is the only one with the real problem." Folding his arms across his chest, he watched the show and wondered at Sean’s contented smile. "Your father seems happy enough."

Frowning, Gabrielle was well aware of her mother’s opinion, since her yelling was bouncing off the walls, but she had no idea what her father was doing and scooted past Mom, to peek around the wall. Grimacing, she ducked back. "I don’t think his laughing is helping."

"Should we leave them alone?" Dad asked and continued to watch Joyce’s little show.

"Where are the Gregs, Brian and Karen?" Putting her hands on her hips, Maggie finally started doing her motherly bit. "What happened to our children?"

"My Greg took them to the coffee shop to break the news and feed them a lot of sugar." Smiling guiltily, Gabrielle looked around at her confined space.

"Oh wonderful." Groaning, Joseph closed his eyes. "The boys on a sugar high, just what I needed."

"We’d better stop by the store to pick up a large spatula to scrape them off the ceiling ." Nodding, Mom didn’t look too happy.

"Sorry." Grimacing, Gabrielle turned to her future wife. "Maybe we should go get them before it’s too late?"

"I think we should all go." Xena recommended. "We’ll leave a note for your parents with directions." Giving the bard a worried, yet hopeful smile.

"Good idea." Nodding, she peeked out again and dashed for the desk to retrieve something to write on and with, then ducked back undercover. Turning to the door, she began to write the note when the door opened and she was shoved behind it. "Dammit."

"Is the coast clear?" Greg asked, sticking his head in the door and immediately heard that it was not. "Never mind." Smiling, he tried to close the door, but was pulled into the room by the Morgans and was soon followed by the other Greg, Brian and Karen.

When the parade stopped, Gabrielle shoved the door out of her face and glared at her twin. "Thanks." Tossing the pen and paper, she put her hands on her hips. "What are you doing here? This isn’t part of the plan."

"Well, I dropped the bomb, got three ‘well duh’s’ and decided to come back here to see if you needed any back up." Smiling, he turned to Grace. "I’m assuming that you already dropped your bomb?" Moving around her parents, he peeked out to take a look at his. "Nobody’s dead?"

"What do you mean, you got three well duh’s?" Xena asked, looking at the faces of her two brothers and Karen. "You didn’t know."

"Oh, get over yourself, Grace." Rolling his eyes, Brian sighed. "You’re not as cleaver as you think you are."

"Yea." The dark headed Greg added. "We knew a long time ago, you twit. We just thought you were too chicken to tell us."

"Chicken?" Glaring at the second member of the family who was taller than she was. "You’re calling me chicken?"

Both brothers started flapping their arms. "Chicky, chicky, chicky." Brian chanted.

"You sure you really want to join that family?" Karen asked quietly, which wasn’t hard considering the volume level in the room was moving steadily toward deafening.

Gabrielle laughed. "I may not notice the difference."

"Whatever." Rolling her eyes, Karen smiled. "Thanksgivings will never be the same, but if you’re happy, I’m happy and we’re coming to your house. I’m not putting up with this nonsense when I move out."

Joyce, who’d almost run out of steam, finally noticed that the population of the room had increased and turned her attention to her son and acceptable daughter. "Did you two have anything to do with this?" Stalking toward the crowd.

"We knew, if that’s what you’re asking." Greg #1 said. "I asked Grace a long time ago and Karen figured it out on her own." Throwing a thumb over his shoulder. "I don’t see what the big deal is? So they’re different. They’ve always been strange, now we know why."

Gabrielle gave him a shove in the back. "You little weasel."

"So none of you people have a problem with the fact that our daughters are perverts?" Putting her hands on her hips, she immediately started back pedaling when Joseph took several menacing steps toward her.

"Now, you listen to me, Joyce." Growling, he moved to tower over her. "I don’t care if you don’t approve, but you call my daughter a pervert again and she’ll be down one parent in a heartbeat." Matching the intensity in her eyes with his own, he stood his ground with the bulk of his size to back him up. "I may not completely understand it myself, but I don’t regret Graces’s choice, because Faith is the nicest, kindest, most respectful, caring person I know other than my wife and I’ll be happy to have her in my family if you don’t want her." Pointing his finger in her face.

"Joseph." Taking her husband’s hand, Maggie pulled him back and took his place. "Joyce, it’s not as bad as it seems."

"You are all crazy." Throwing her hands in the air, Joyce stormed through the little crowd and out the door.

Sighing, Sean stood up. "Don’t worry. She’ll be back when she wants to go home. I’ve got the keys to the car."

"I’ll go talk to her." Karen offered and disappeared.

"Does this mean that we’re not going out to eat?" Brian asked, as his stomach growled.

"Yea." Nodding, Greg #2 did his brother-stick-together thing. "I’m starving. We didn’t get to eat at the coffee shop."

"Leave it to my sons to put everything in perspective." Rolling his eyes, Joseph shook his head.

Greg #1 laughed and nudged Grace in the shoulder. "Hey, wanna ditch this crowd and go make out?" Flicking his eyebrows.

"Dream on Fly . . . Faith!" Diving for the bard, she missed in her attempt to save the Flyboy from harm.

Gabrielle’s head snapped in his direction, just before she jumped on his back and began pummeling his head. "I warned you, you little weasel." Wrapping her legs around his waist, she fought off the hands trying to remove her from her twin. "She’s mine. Mine. Mine. Mine and you keep your grubby little hands off her."

"Faith, get off of him." Growling, Xena grabbed the hammer and looked around for some help. "Don’t just stand there."

"Don’t look at me. You knew she had green eyes, the day you met her and should I go into the for better or for worse part now?" Smiling, Maggie went to talk to Sean.

Joseph chuckled and followed his wife over to the beds.

Brian and Greg #2 began rifling through drawers, looking for food.

Greg #1 covered his head, laughed hysterically and spun around to make Faith dizzy.

Next door, the coeds pulled their ear plugs out to do a sound check, then put them back in and shrugged. "I hate graduation days."


Pushing off the door, Gabrielle smiled with the memories running through her head. "Oh, yes. Those were definitely the days." Chuckling to herself, she walked over to the platform and took the stairs slowly. Setting her book and cup aside, the bard sidled up behind a very occupied warrior and bent over to wrap her arms around her neck, then placed several soft kisses and nibbles on a tasty earlobe. "Hi."

Sitting up straight, Xena smiled. "Hiyiyiyi." Swiveling around, she wrapped one arm around Gabrielle’s waist to pull her into her lap. "Are you here to ravage me, or relieve me?"

Dangling her legs over the side of the chair, she flicked her eyebrows. "That depends. Which would you prefer?"

"How many guesses do I get?" Flicking her eyebrows back at her.

"One." Tilting her head, she continued her pursuit of pleasure and began moving her lips over the other side of the warrior’s neck.

Closing her eyes, Xena felt her skin tingling. "Gabrielle? Honey? What about the console?" Cocking her head to one side, she tried to remain focused on the job, which was becoming very difficult.

Murmuring low, Gabrielle smiled. "You’re in charge. Just tell them they’re on their own for awhile."

"But . . . we’re . . . supposed to be . . . responsible adults." Finding coherent thought escaping her, she held her breath to steady her mind.

"I’d rather be consenting adults, right now." Running her tongue over a sensitive spot behind Xena’s ear, she smiled when the warrior jumped out of the chair.

Putting Gabrielle down, Xena clapped her hands to get everybody’s attention. "Listen up, people." When every face was staring at her, she put her hands on her hips. "An emergency has come up at home that Gabrielle has just informed me of and we’ll be gone for a couple of hours, or maybe longer, to handle the situation. So you’re on your own and I don’t want to hear a peep out of you guys until we get back." Giving them a commanding stare, she saw several confused faces and a couple of smiles, but nobody said anything. "Good." Turning around, she grabbed the bard’s hand and proceeded to drag her to the portal. "Hi ho, hi ho, open the damn door."

Covering her mouth, to stifle the laughter trying to break free, Gabrielle glanced over her shoulder to give the Ungara a wink.

"Dammit, T." Framing on the wooden barrier, Xena growled. "Open the door!" Growling low, she was sure she heard a chuckle coming from somewhere and banged her fist harder. "I hear you laughing, now open this damn door."

Suddenly there was a clicking sound and the door swung open slowly.

"About time, you pregnant brat." Pushing it all the way open, the warrior rushed through, with bard in tow and slammed it shut, then began a record setting pace up to their bedroom.

Following happily behind, Gabrielle began removing clothing as they went.

Slamming the bedroom door, Xena was naked in seconds flat and had the bard on the bed, in a passionate embrace before the echo stopped rattling the windows. "So what brought this on?" She asked between kisses.

"Harvard." Came a breathless response, as she spread her legs to wrap them around the warrior’s waist. "Your last year, my first."

"Our parents?" Moving her kisses lower, she blazed a heated trail over soft skin.

Shaking her head, Gabrielle smiled. "All this studying." Arching her back, she began rocking her hips. "I think it’s made me feel like I did in college."

"God, I love flashbacks."


The End.

Epilogue: Joyce eventually got over her aversion to the couple’s relationship, with a lot of stubborn persuasion from her family and when she figured out that she was getting a doctor in the package. Sean just rode out the storm in his usual calm manner and was happy when he didn’t have to go to the gas station to call the girls anymore.

Maggie and Joseph, despite their initial acceptance, were not amused when they got a bill from their daughter for traveling expenses so the warrior could commute from Connecticut every available moment. And they continue to bring up the bill, which they paid, at every possible instance, especially when Xena complained about having to use her mechanical expertiese to fix their automobiles for free.

Greg #1, aka Flyboy did find another love at Yale and was forced to discontinue torturing his twin, when Barbara, his future wife found the flirting unamusing. Needless to say, Babs has green eyes too.

Brian, who didn’t attend Harvard because he refused to follow in the shadow of the brat, aka his sister, went to Europe to attend Oxford, in pursuit of a degree in Computer Science and found his wife there. She has brown eyes, which with the combination of his blue, produced three green-eyed children.

Greg #2 and Karen are still single and you know about the sailboats in the desert thing, so I’ll just skip to Karen, who also lives in the desert and unbeknownst to everybody, is having a torrid romance with the moron building sailboats for a living. Apparently the babies of the families took comfort in each others arms and are happy to keep their secret, even if they have to sleep apart at all family gatherings. The suffering continues.

Xena and Gabrielle made it through the two remaining years, until the bard’s graduation, which was moved up due to sexual frustration and Gabrielle’s cleping a lot of her classes to become a junior the next year. They also got married, though it wasn’t legal in any state, and did what they had always done, which was to find a quiet wooded spot and exchange vows and rings. This was done without fanfare and the presence of any family member and with only their hearts and their souls as proof of their union. But that was all they really needed anyway and they followed Xena’s parents when they moved out of their home town and the warrior got a job at the hospital, where her sexual orientation fell by the wayside in the wake of her abilities as a doctor. Her skills also gained her notoriety and allowed her to set up the Emergency Surgical Unit, where she selected Manny, Mary and Jim, because they all had letters of recommendation from Dr. Sheffield, who, despite his attitude, was the best surgical instructor on the planet, which Xena knew, because she’d trained him in her previous lifetime.

Dad got elected to the School Board and used his influence to get Gabrielle a position at the local high school, despite the fact that she was barely older than her students. Gabrielle, in turn, repaid her father-in-law by becoming Teacher of the Year for her first three years running and only gave him a heart attack once, when she moved away to take the University job and we all know what happened there.

So now you know the scoop and the rest, as they say, is history. Which will continue to be played out on a weekly basis for your enjoyment.

Thanks for reading.


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