Disclaimer: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, and Cyrene 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. May 24, 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!

Authors notes: I just wanted to say thank you to my mother, Lúcia, and Honey for reading or listening to the story and allowing my Muse to take flight. Hey Murphy and Deb here’s that sequel! Kam, thanks for the suggestions about contractions!

This story takes place a few minutes after my story Understanding. I recommend reading that one first.

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



By Susan A. Rice


Hecuba had been looking for her daughter for a while now when she saw her youngest come bolting out of her bedroom. "Lila, have you seen Gabrielle? I wanted to talk to her a bit about her plans for the future. You know it’s never to late to start looking into finding a husband."

Lila looked at her mother and said, "Uh, mom, I really don’t think now would be a good time to speak to Gabrielle about finding a future husband. Actually I don’t think she’ll ever settle for anyone else."

"Nonsense Lila. Gabrielle isn’t pining away over Perdicus. She just needs to see what other choices she has. We can present then to her in such a way that she won’t even realize that they are perspective suitors."

Lila shakes her head remembering what her sister had told her just a few moments earlier. "Mom, I think she has already made up her own mind. I’m sure she’ll talk to us about it sooner or later." Lila turns and mumbles, "More like later if things keep going like that."

"Well, she’s just a girl, she needs help in these areas. It must be very hard to find a man traveling all over the place with that warrior, Xena," said Hecuba. "I mean really, what type of a man can you meet under those conditions?"

"Look, mom, really, I think you should just skip it, OK? She has a life of her own and I really don’t think she wants to settle down with some farmer," stated Lila.

"Now, dear, of course she does. Have you seen her? I just want to talk to her and try to get a feel for what type of a suitor to get for her."

A wicked gleam comes to Lila’s eyes. "Well Mom, Gabrielle does have a certain type that she’s interested in. She was just explaining it to me this morning."

"Really? See, I told you! Now then, tell me what she’s looking for in a suitor."

Lila’s smiled, "She definitely likes them tall. She also told me they needed to have dark hair, black as midnight. She likes light colored eyes. She mentioned blue several times. Also, they have to be strong and able to keep up with her. I would say that she likes warrior types but she didn’t actually come out and say this. It’s just something you can see for yourself when she starts talking about her ideal suitor."

"Oh Lila, this is wonderful information. She told you this, this morning? So, she’s serious about settling down. OK, now I need to go and find her and talk with her, feel her out about a couple of the local men. They’re not warriors, but the blacksmith’s son may be a very good match for her."

"I really think you’re wasting your time with this one, but if you really want to talk to her, she’s in our room with Tall, Dark, and Deadly," answered Lila. Lila looked over her shoulder and sent a silent message to Gabrielle, "Sorry Sis, but I tried. You’re going to have to make her understand this."

"Hmm, well, I’m sure Xena won’t mind leaving for a few minutes while I talk to your sister about her future."

Lila laughed as she bolted for the door, "Oh, I don’t know about that."

Hecuba looked after her youngest daughter and wondered about her hasty retreat. "That child can be very strange some days. Maybe she’s starting to think more about boys as well… Lila, as soon as I take care of Gabrielle, I’m going to find you a husband too."

Hecuba proceeded to the girls’ room and notice that the door was slightly ajar. She could hear her daughter’s strained voice coming from within the room.

"Mmm, yes! Gods! Don’t stop, that feels wonderful."

"Gabrielle, we really need to speak to your parents about this."

"Xena, not now. Please," she begged, "don’t stop."

"Oh yah, just like that Xena, just like that."

"Come on Gabrielle, we need to figure out a way to tell…"

"Gods… Please, the one time I don’t want you to talk and you want to talk. Every time you start talking to me you stop. I don’t want to discuss this right now. Please… It’s driving me crazy. No more talking. Just do it!"

"Talk about a bard with an attitude."

"You just wait warrior, it’ll be your turn soon and… Mmm… Oh yes, just like that. Yes, hmm, Gods! Xena, faster please."

"Gabrielle," purred Xena.

"Harder, harder. Faster."

"Don’t you want to talk about the future?"

"Ugh," panted Gabrielle, "The… Only… Oooo… fu…future, I want to… talk about is getting this itch… Oh gods. Don’t ever stop taking care of me…"

"You my Bard are starting to look like you are enjoying this way to much."

"Oh yah, please, more, please…"

"Well, I don’t know Gabrielle, didn’t you want to go find Lila?"

"Xena I swear if you stop, oh that’s it. YES, oh, oh, Oooooh,"

With that last sound, Hecuba turned away from the door. She now understood what Lila was trying to teller her. She walked away wondering how she was going to deal with this new development in her daughters life, "and with THAT warrior no less. How am I going to explain this to Hero? Gabrielle, you are going to explain this to him! I’ll just wait until things quiet down a little bit."


"Oh gods Xena, that was wonderful, almost better than sex!" exclaimed Gabrielle.

"You know Gabrielle, the way you carry on about getting your back scratched, I’d be surprised if you didn’t reach the Elysian fields. I only know three things that can make you carry on like that and they’re food, a good back scratching or massage, and making love," replied Xena. "You know, one of these days that’s going to cause a real misunderstanding and then my Bard you’re going to have to use that golden tongue of yours to explain yourself."

Gabrielle walked over to Xena and smiled, "Care to see just how talented this ‘golden tongue’ of mine is?"

Xena looked down at Gabrielle and bowed her head allowing their lips to gently brush. When she pulled back she said, "You my bard are definitely going to get it later."


"Oh yah. Me, you, in the hay loft this evening. Sound like a plan?"

"Well, only if you have a heavy blanket, otherwise I’m just going to get itchy again and you’re going to have to scratch it for me."

"I will be happy to scratch that itch Gabrielle, and I hope you will return the favor," purred Xena into her lover’s ear.

Gabrielle trembled as she felt Xena’s breath caress her skin. She gave herself a little shake and stepped back from her tall partner.

Still smiling she said, "So, how do you want to tell my parents about us?"

Xena smiled and said, "Well, let’s see, first we’re going to go out there and find your parents. Then we’ll ask them to sit down. You’ll sit across from them and then I’ll…"

"If you are about to say, ‘your going to check on Argo’ you are toast warrior."

Xena coughed and looked at Gabrielle, "Now would I do that to you?"

Gabrielle said, "In a heart beat. I swear it’s in some manual somewhere on how to be a warrior princess. It goes something like this, ‘If it’s a sensitive chat, look for a way to leave the room. Horses are always a great excuse. It makes you look like a caring individual, instead of a frightened child.’ Or something like that."

Xena gave her the "Look" and thought, "You my bard are just way to good at reading me these days. I’m going to have to think of something to fool you. That way I can keep you guessing!"

"And Xena?"


"Don’t even try it," she said with that knowing look in her eyes.

"Oh, again with the mind reading tricks, how is it…"

Just then Lila knocked on the partially closed door and poked her head in. "Hi, mind if I come in?"

"It’s your room," replied Xena, "Come on in."

"Thanks. Um, Gabrielle, have you spoken with Mom yet?" asked Lila.

"What? No, haven’t seen her since this morning. Why?"

"Well, she was looking for you earlier and I told her that you were in here. She was supposed to come and talk to you about your future," replied Lila.

"Oh, nope, haven’t seen her. Why? Something wrong?" asked Gabrielle.

"Well she was mumbling something about closing doors when you do things and she keeps staring in this direction like she’s waiting for something."

Xena starts to chuckle.

"Don’t even say it warrior," said Gabrielle trying to use the "Look" on her partner.

This just caused Xena to laugh harder.

"Xena! Nothing happened."

"Oh yah… Nothing happened," said Xena. She then started to imitate some of Gabrielle’s earlier comments, "Oh, don’t stop, please, don’t stop." Then laughed all the harder.

Lila looked at her sister with wide eyes. "Gabrielle, you didn’t. Not in here. Please tell me you were able to control yourselves. Oh boy, are you in for it when you go out there. You know dad’s rules when entertaining people in our room, door open and both feet flat on the floor! No wonder Mom is muttering."

"Lila, that’s not…"

"I’m surprised at you Gabrielle. At least you explained it to me before I saw you kiss Xena and I understand what you mean now, but really…"

"Lila," said Gabrielle, "Nothing happened."

"Oh, yah, right. I may be young but even I know what that begging was."

"No, really, Xena was scratching an itch and…"

"Is that what they call it now? An itch? Boy and here I thought you were a Bard. Surely you can do better than that!"

"No, I really had an itch. Xena was scratching my…"

Putting her hands up over her ears, Lila says, "This is just way to much information."

Xena continued to chuckle and finally said, "Lila, it was her back. It was itchy and she asked me to scratch it for her. You mother must have heard that."

Lila looked from Warrior to Bard and said, "You kidding right. Scratching her back? She was making noises like that when you’re scratching her back? Oh yah, you think I’m naive enough to believe that one!"

The Warrior looked at Lila and then at the Bard. The Bard shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oooo, I’m going to get my back scratched again."


Hecuba had been waiting for Gabrielle to leave the room, but she never did. Then she saw Lila enter the room. Shortly after this, Hecuba started to her Gabrielle’s voice again, "Oh. You have the best hands. Lila, you really have to try this some day."

Hecuba’s brows shot up under her bangs. "That is enough! That child of mine has gotten some very strange notions since she has left home, but I’m not going to allow this with Lila in the room under my roof!"

Hecuba marched down the hallway and opened the door saying, "Just what in the name of Hades is going on in here!"

She spots her daughter with her back to the warrior and Xena scratching her back.

Gabrielle turns and looks at her mother, "Um, hi! What’s going on where?"

"I thought, I mean, I heard… Then you’re not…" Hecuba paused and looked at her daughter’s face. She saw her smiling and wondered how she was going to explain herself to her daughter. "Well, your not going to believe this but I thought your were, I’m mean that you and Xena are…"

"Lovers?" supplied Gabrielle.

"Ah, yes. It was just a silly misunderstanding. I now see that that is not the case."

Gabrielle looked at her partner and then shrugged, "Mother, come on over here and sit down, I wanted to talk to you about something and now seems like as good a time as any." She closed her eyes and felt the heat rising in her cheeks. "Mom, Xena and I were not doing anything in the room earlier, but, well…" She looked up to her partner for some support.

Xena looked at her Bard and thought about her options. "If I take the Argo option I know that my plans for this evening will be stalled." She winced at her own joke. "Then again is it safer to stay here? It’s amazing, I’ve face the Persian Army and I’m afraid of one little bard and her mother!" Straightening her back, the decision made, Xena walked over to her partner and said, "Argo needs to be feed but that can wait until later."

As Xena takes a seat next to her bard she is rewarded with one of the biggest smiles. She gently reaches for Gabrielle’s hand and raises it to her lips. She then turns her gaze to Hecuba and says, "We had wanted to wait until both you and Herodotus were together but I think now would be a good time."

Hecuba was staring at her daughter’s hand in the warrior’s. She looked up and saw Gabrielle staring at Xena with the biggest smile she had ever seen on her daughter’s face. "Can this be? They just said nothing was going on and I saw Xena scratching Gabrielle’s back, but look at her. She is positively glowing and all from a comment about a horse."

Gabrielle hearing her mother clearing her throat, turned at the sound. She looked at her mother and watched her mother’s gaze travel to their clasped hands.

Gabrielle could feel the color rising in her face and said, "Um, well… Yes…"

Gabrielle bowed her head and thought, "So much for having a golden tongue. Come on bard! You can do this. How hard can it be? She already thought you were and she is staring at our hands. She saw Xena kiss it, just come out and say it."

Gabrielle took a deep breath and said, "Mother, Lila mentioned you were looking for me earlier."

"Yes I was Gabrielle, but it looks like you have something you want to discuss with me. So, daughter, what is it?"

"Oh, well, it was something that could really wait for Daddy. This would give Xena a chance to take care of Argo and…"

"Gabrielle, you know perfectly well that your father will not be home for another seven days and by that time you will probably be off again. So, talk to me."

Gabrielle looked at her mother and then turned to Xena. Xena smiled that half smile of hers and nodded her head for the bard to continue. Gabrielle took a deep breath and held it for a moment and then turned back to her mother.

"Mom, what you saw was truly innocent but what you thought was correct. Xena and I are in love with each other and were coming here to tell you about our feelings."

Hecuba looked from the Bard to the Warrior and back. She had been pondering all of this for several marks now and thought she had come to terms with it, but hearing her daughter confirm it was another matter.

She looked intently at the Warrior. This was the person who took her child away from her. This was the person who was responsible for some of the marks on her daughter’s person. This was the person who caused her pain.

These thoughts continued to run though Hecuba’s head. But she had to be fair in her assessment of the warrior. This was also the person who helped her child become a woman. This was the person who protected her and taught her how to protect herself. She glanced again at their clasped hands. She was also the person who held her when she was frightened. The one her child turned to for support.

She turned her gaze to her daughter and looked into her eyes. If there was one thing she knew, it was that Gabrielle’s emotions were always visible in her eyes. What she saw there could be nothing less then love, but she also saw the fear and the worry creeping into those same green eyes.

Hecuba closed her eyes and said, "It’s not the match I would have chosen for you and it will take me some time to get used to these… arrangements. I’m not going to lie to you Gabrielle and tell you how happy I am for you because I do not yet know how I feel about all of this."

She watched her daughter’s shoulders slump. She also noticed how the warrior comforted her at that moment.

"Gabrielle, really now… A warrior? I was really hoping your would have fallen in love with a farmer or a blacksmith."

Gabrielle’s head shot up hearing what her mother was saying, "You mean you’re concerned that Xena is a warrior and not a farmer?"

"What I’m saying is that it will take time for me to get used to having another daughter in the house. But really Gabrielle, I have always known you wouldn’t settle for a farmer, but I had hoped…"

Hecuba never got to finish her sentence because at that moment she had her hands full of crying Bard. She stroked her head and murmured soothing words to her daughter while watching the Warrior’s reaction. "I would never have thought I would see the day when the Destroy of Nations would be sitting in my daughters’ room crying silent tears."

Hecuba graced the Warrior with a smile and opened her arms, inviting the Warrior to come closer.

Xena looked at her love and Hecuba and decided that a hug would feel really good about now. She moved into Hecuba’s embrace as her arms encircled them both in her embrace.

Lila was still sitting on the side watching all of this and smiled. She stood up and said, "I think I’ll go outside and give Argo some grain."

As Lila left the room, she turned back and smiled at the sight of her sister, mother, and… "Hmm, what do I call her? I mean I know I can still call her Xena, but what do I call her in relationship to my family?" She continued to look on at the threesome and finally decided that that could wait for another day.

Gabrielle finally pulled back from her mother and smiled.

Hecuba said, "I’m not sure how comfortable I am with this but I’m willing to try. You still have to talk to your father about this. Will you be able to stay until he returns?"

Gabrielle looked to Xena for the answer. "Yes, Hecuba, we will stay and speak with Herodotus."

"Good, now Gabrielle, would you please fetch some water from the well for me? It’s time that I start dinner."

Gabrielle smiled at her mother and realized that this was her mom’s way of asking to speak with Xena alone. She stood up and squeezed Xena’s arm lightly, placed a light kiss on her mother’s cheek and then left the room.

Hecuba turned to Xena and said, "I can see you both care for each other very much and it will take me time to accept this but there is one thing that I know. What I’m about to say to you I would say to anyone who was interested in either of my children. It makes no difference to me whether you are a man or a woman, farmer or warrior, if you ever hurt my daughter there will never be a safe place for you to hide."

Xena looked down at this small woman and saw where her love got her spunk and attitude. She could not help but smile at Hecuba and said, "I will never knowingly or intentionally hurt her. I love her and I intend to ask Herodotus for his blessing on our joining."

Hecuba asked, "Well then, what are you still standing around here for?"

Xena blinked at the question not sure what to make of it.

"Go on… Go help my daughter get the water. Really, you’d let that little thing carry a bucket all that way from the well. Knowing my daughter, she’s already in some sort of trouble. Go on, scat!"


Later that evening, Xena announced that she needed to take care of the Argo.

"Need any help?" asked Gabrielle.

"As a matter of fact I could use some help in the hay department," stated Xena.

Gabrielle crossed the room and grabbed her cloak as she headed out the door. "You know, it could be cold out there tonight."

Xena smiled, "Oh, I don’t know. I thought it was going to be hot and humid myself."

"Hey, I can help too," said Lila.

The two lovers looked at each other and froze in their tracks. A silent plea could be seen in the Warrior’s eyes.

"Um, Lila," said Gabrielle, "You don’t have to come outside and help. I think we can handle this by ourselves. Why don’t you just stay here and keep Mother company. We’ll be a while."

"All the more reason why I should help you. With the three of us, we can come back faster."

"I don’t think so," mumbled Xena.

Gabrielle nudged Xena and said, "Lila, really, we’ll be fine. I’m sure we can handle this by ourselves."

"We have before," said a snickering warrior.

"Quiet or you are going to get it!" said Gabrielle.

"Oooo, I knew if I waited long enough I was finally going to get it!" Xena leered at Gabrielle and started advancing on her.

Gabrielle seeing the look in Xena’s eyes starts to back away. "Xena, not now."

Lila watched as Xena stalked her sister around the room. "I guess you really don’t need me to take care of, um, Argo. Well, OK… Should I bother waiting up?"

Gabrielle turned a lovely shade of red just as the Warrior grabbed her. Gabrielle put up a token struggle but forgot everything when Xena bent down and captured the Bard’s lips in a tender kiss. Xena felt Gabrielle leaning into the kiss and held her close.

When they parted, Xena turned to Lila and said, "What do you think?"

"I think I’m going to keep Mother company tonight."

Xena turned to Gabrielle, picked her up, and headed for the door saying, "It’s later."

Lila watched as Xena carried Gabrielle across the yard to the barn.

"Lila," said Hecuba, "Where are Xena and Gabrielle?"

Lila turned to her mother with a smile and said, "They were talking about hitting the hay early tonight."


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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