Disclaimer: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Eve, Lila and Sara are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. This is just a work of fan fiction and not intended to infringe on the copyright of "Xena: Warrior Princess".

The story is mine. December 2, 2000

Violence: None

Subtext: More like Main Text. If you are under 18 or this sort of thing is not legal in your area, I’m sorry, but I would suggest other reading material. Sorry Nicole, maybe when you’re older!

Author’s notes: This story takes place 26 years after the one I originally wrote last year. You do not have to read it to understand enjoy this one. A special thank you to my friends and Beta Readers for this one. Thank you ladies!

I’d love to hearing from you. Please feel free to send me your comments good or bad. ricesue@mediaone.net

Best Gift 2

The Gift of Love

By Susan A. Rice

Standing in the wind under a nighttime sky, I was just looking up and remembering Solstices past. I remember the last one with my family. For my bard and me it was only a year or so ago, but for our families, it has been almost 26 years.

I can't help the sigh that escapes my lips. I raise my head as I hear laughter coming from the house. I smiled; this was a good thing. We were able to return Sara to Lila just in time for the holiday. My family has gotten smaller in some ways but it has grown in others.

It is a strange feeling to know that your Mother is no longer there for you, yet, now I am the Mother, although my daughter is now my Bards age, it is still a strange feeling.

Listening to them inside, I can hear them crying and laughing. My bard was right, family is the best gift of all and I have been doubly blessed with mine. It will be a bitter sweet time for me and my Gabrielle, but I know we will get though it... Together.

My heart is never far from me and I can always tell when she is coming closer. Ah, was it really only a year ago that I felt the need to seek her out? She is so much a part of me that I can not imagine what it would be like to not have her in my life.

"Hey," said Gabrielle, "It's cold out here, you forgot something." and drapes my cloak over my shoulders.

I turn and smile down at my bard and can't help the tear that slowly leaves a trail down my cheek.

"Xena, what's wrong?" she asked as she caught the tear on her fingertip.

I lean in close to her and hug her close to me. "Happy Solstice Gabrielle," was all that I could whisper.

I felt her arms go around me, but I could also feel the tension in her body. She was worried and I was the cause of the worry. It just caused me to hug her that much tighter. I almost lost that light that shines through her to that monster Gurkhan. I'm just so grateful that her light is brighter than anyone’s darkness.

I can feel her hands rubbing my back and I realize I'm crying in her arms. I hear her whispering soothing words and yet, it is not what she says that brings me back to myself, but the love in them. How of all the people we have known she could love me above all others still amazes me. She is more than I deserve and I will try every day to be there for her as she is there for me.

"Hey," she said, "Xe, it's OK, come on now, you can tell me. What's wrong?"

"Nothings wrong Gabrielle, I'm just happy. I have my family here in my arms and in my heart. What more could I possible need?"

The bard reached up for me and pulled me down for a searing kiss. When she finally pulled back she said, "Well?" turned and started to head for the house.

OK, so there are some more things I could possibly need, and I was not about to pass up that invitation. I quickly caught up to my bard and draped my arms around her as we entered her family homestead.

Once inside, all eyes turned to us and there were smiles shared all around.

Eve got up and walked over, "'Bout time you two decided to come back inside. Some of us have been waiting to eat you know."

Lila and Sara smiled as they waved us over to the table.

"It's not much, but I think this is one of the best Solstices I have had in a long time. I have my Sara back and my sister has returned. Granted, she looks more like my daughter now, but it is good to have you home, all of you."

Sara hugged her mother as all took a seat at the table. We talked through the night catching up on all those years. Sara got to hear some stories about her famous aunt and the Warrior Princess, to the embarrassment of both of us. She was also treated to stories of Lila as a youth. Throughout the evening, Eve absorbed everything about my life and those of Gabrielle's. I could tell she was storing these images of her famous parents for future use.

Finally, the talking died down and Sara and Eve excused themselves and retired for the night.

Lila walked over to Gabrielle and hugged her close. "Thank you" was all she said and then she to bid us both a good night.

Gabrielle and I both stood staring into the fire, deep in our own thoughts. We both knew that we could not recapture the last 25 years but we knew that we had family and friends here and now and new memories to make.

Slowly I turned to my heart. I still can't get over it, I love her more than life, nothing will keep me apart from her; she truly is my family.

Slowly, Gabrielle raised her eyes to me and I could see a tear running down her cheek. It was now my turn to go to my bard. I held her close and felt the tears as they dripped off of her sad face and onto my chest.

"Please Gabrielle, don't cry. I have you, I'm right here." I said.

"Xena, I miss my Mom. I know we did not always see eye to eye, but not getting to say goodbye hurts so much."

"I know love. But think about this... She would be proud of you. You got her granddaughter back and made your sister very happy. Remember, the dead can hear our thoughts. She knows you love her."

This did not produce the effect I was hoping for. Instead of a smile from my bard, she just cried harder and buried her head back on my chest. I pulled her down with me and we sat before the fire, holding each other. I know she needed to cry and I wanted to hold her and let her know I was there for her.

Slowly the crying stopped and the hiccupping began. My poor bard was now having a hard time trying to get rid of the hiccups. I could not help it, with every sound she made, the smile on my face grew wider and soon my body was shaking with laughter.

"Not *hiccup* funny, owwww," said my bard.

Well, I know one cure for the hiccups and decided to employ it now. I tilted her head up and kissed her deeply. I held her close and continued the kiss until I felt her arms go around me. I pulled back and took in the dreamy eyed expression of my love and said, "How are you feeling?"

She smiled at me and said, "No more hiccups."

I laughed and kissed her again. The little bard suddenly turned the tables on this big bad warrior and the next thing I knew I was on my back with one very sexy bard looking down at me.

"I love you," she whispered as she captured my lips yet again.

OK, now I was in for it. I had one amorous bard in front of a lovely fireplace and our family was just a door away. I knew at that moment, I would do what ever my bard wanted.

We kissed and lightly explored each other for what seemed like candle marks but the bard wanted more and tried to unwrap her Solstice gift early. Slowly she untied the tunic at my neck with her teeth. I could feel her breath caressing my skin. She nuzzled closer and I could just feel the tip of her tongue brush my skin. I decided at that moment we were way to close to the fireplace.

Slowly Gabrielle inched down to the hem of my tunic and started to crawl up under it. I saw her head disappear but I could feel her lips as they traveled back up my body. Then I felt her hands as they started to work on the bindings of my breeches. I could feel her snuggling in close and knew that I wanted her now but my bard had other plans. My bard wanted it to be slow torture.

Her hands were well inside my breeches and her mouth was happily latched on to me. I was caught and there was no way I was going to try to escape. I did however decide I wanted my present too, and started to rub her back. There was a problem though... It was covered and I wanted her now. I tried to reach for the ties on the front of her tunic but discovered that they were well wedged up under my own tunic. This will never do.

I grabbed the bottom of my bard and squeezed. She gasped, letting go of me long enough for me to extract her from my tunic. I looked into her eyes and saw the deep green of a forest night and pulled her back into my arms. She tried again to take the lead, but it was my turn. I sat up and turned her in my lap. Her back was now on my chest and I took her hem and raised it over her head. Finally free of her tunic, I hugged my bard closer too me. Then I allowed my hands to wander.

She started to squirm in my arms but I kept her there as I continued to caress her and suckle on an ear. I whispered my love to her and my hopes for our future.

My bard decided that she wanted more than to be stroke, our internal fires were hotter than any man made and I knew she wanted to have me as much as I wanted her. She rose and I let her. My bard circled me and started to remove my tunic. I surrendered it willingly.

I then stood up and faced my bard and helped her out of her breeches even as mine slowly slid to my knees. We were both just standing there now, smiling. I could see the blush all over her body, and what a body it was. This precious gift was being offered to me and I would be a fool to refuse it. I picked her up and felt those powerful thighs wrap around my waist.

I walked us slowly into the bedroom and placed her down on the bed, never allowing her lips to escape mine. It was slow and tender and we both gave to the other knowing that this love was indeed the best gift.


Eve and Sara come into the common room late the next morning. They spied the trail of clothing leading from the fireplace to the door of Xena and Gabrielle’s room.

"Guess they could not wait to unwrap their solstice gifts," said Eve.

Sara and Eve look at each other and giggled.




I’d love to hearing from you. Please feel free to send me your comments good or bad. ricesue@mediaone.net

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