Disclaimer: The characters in this story are not mine. The belong to Renaissance Productions or Studios USA.. To fully understand this story you will need to read Friend In Need III..

Subtext is Maintext:  you don't like loving relationships between women, read something else.

No Violence and Only a little naughty.

Friend in Need III-Epilogue

by Easyreader

The valley was rich and lush with new vegetation from the early spring thaws. Waterfalls cascaded down the sharp inclines of the majestic mountain ranges creating a distant roar as they thundered into various lakes scattered throughout the forests and meadows. Vapor rose high above the water creating brilliant rainbows that disappeared somewhere between earth and heaven. Snow covered peaks stood defiant against the warmth of the sun, not willing to give up any more of their white cloaks than required. Sounds of life, both new and old, permeated the air, adding unique voices to in a harmony only Mother Nature could create. The setting rivaled the Elysian Fields with the exception that no humans had entered its domain for eons...until the year before. The valley was totally isolated from travelers by two specific mountain ranges impenetrable to anyone uninvited. To Xena and Gabrielle's knowledge, who now lived there, the mountains didn't have names so they had decided to christen them with their own . One was called Old Woman Mountain because of the two huge humps brazenly pointing upward towards the sky. One would think by looking at the opening between the two protrusions that the pass for entering the valley would lay between them, but in reality, that route was extremely dangerous because of continual landslides, falling rocks and shifting earth. Only the very brave or extremely stupid would venture into such an environment and both guaranteed painful deaths. As Gabrielle had once said, laughingly.. "Old Woman doesn't let just anyone feel their way between her breasts."

The other series of mountains was the Man in Hand range. With a lot of imagination, one could just make out the shape of what looked like a man lying on his back holding a particular body part in his hand..a small protrusion jutting skyward towards the gods. Snow capped at the tip, the view was almost obscene when imaginations were overworked. Of course, it took Xena's peculiar sense of humor and imagination to figure that one out. Gabrielle at first thought it looked more like a dagger (a very small dagger) and hilt... but, after much staring and giggling and a few detailed descriptions by Xena, she finally saw Xena's vision acknowledging her agreement with a rather profound "EEEWWWW!"...a remark that sent Xena into fits of laughter.

The only accessible entrance into the valley lay through a tunnel formed by the "wrist" of the "hand" but it was camouflaged by a winding labyrinth covered in dense thorny underbrush and ancient twisted trees. No one without directions would ever find there way in or out of the maze. Even Xena and Gabrielle wouldn't have without some Devine intervention.

After Gabrielle and Xena's ghost had traveled to Egypt, they had managed to gain entrance to the tomb of Ramses with little trouble. In fact, it was so easy, both worried they were being led into a trap. Both had little faith in gods by now. Determined to face whatever stood in the way of their goal, they entered the pyramid, torches in hand to light the narrow corridors leading into its bowels deep within the strange structure. Upon finding the Book of the Dead, which again seemed far too easy, they discovered the book opened to the precise page which described the sacred ceremony for returning a soul to it's body. The ceremony itself was quite simple but extremely dangerous for Gabrielle. The ritual required the ashes of Xena to be placed on the sarcophagus of the pharaoh which lay in the center of the chamber. Then she was to mix a combination of dried tanin leaves, the crushed remains of two scarab beetles and the venom of the cobra. Finally, several drops of blood would be added and the concoction had to be swallowed after reading the scriptures, much like the rituals performed by the Amazons when entering the spirit world. If the revival ceremony was performed by the true soulmate of the deceased, they would be re-united. If not, then the living would die a painful death as a result of the cobra venom. Gabrielle, Xena's true soulmate, had still gone through unbearable agony. It was only her own blood that kept the venom from killing her. Within minutes of partaking of the powerful potion Gabrielle fell to the floor, muscles cramping, breathing almost an impossibility, seizures racking her slender body and her stomach heaving before finally spewing the vile contents onto the chamber's stone floor. This was, in fact, what had saved her. Very little of the poison had entered her system. During the entire process, Xena was helpless to assist her Love. She could neither speak nor hold Gabrielle's tortured body. The deceased had to suffer along with the living in order for them to understand the true sacrifice that was being made on their behalf. In feeling total helplessness, the dead would appreciate the agony of the living as they watched a love one endure the horrible pain.... never truly knowing if that person would live or die.

Slowly as the affects wore off, Gabrielle's muscles began to relax. Sweat glistened on her face and the exposed limbs. With eyes shut and breathing returning to normal, one could believe she was simply sleeping...if not for the deathly pallor of her cheeks. It was while she was unconscious that Xena felt another presence enter the tomb. Tearing her gaze from the body of her beloved, she stared upon the shimmering image of a man in a startlingly white robe, trimmed in gold. Golden arm bands encircled bulging biceps, gold and emerald wristbands and rings adorned the rest of his arms and hands. Xena paid particular attention to the hands, fore they were the telltale sign of a true warrior. These left little doubt as to this gods ability to wield a weapon if he so chose. A wide belt made of silver ringlets gathered the robe at the narrow waist emphasizing the broad, masculine chest hidden beneath the silky white material. The robe barely reached the knees, but did could not hide the long muscular thighs...sandals with ties crisscrossed his ankles and powerful calves. It was, the mask, however, that quickly drew her attention. Brown eyes stared unblinkingly from slits in a solid gold mask, trimmed in red, green and blue gems. Red and black stripes covered the upper portion giving the impression of some type of ceremonial hat and of great power. A long, black narrow beard jutted from the chin. Xena had little doubt this was Ramses the Great, himself, the ruler Akemi had told her about.

The image bowed slowly before greeting Xena in a deep rich baritone.

"Welcome, Xena. You honor me with your presence."

Lowering her eyes for a moment out of respect to this unknown god, who may be both her and Gabrielle's savior, Xena responded softly "No Ramses...it is Ramses, isn't it?" she queried. A slight nod affirmed her guess.

"Ramses, what of Gabrielle? Will she be all right? She was in so much agony, I couldn't bear it...and now she lies so still...I would rather stay dead than have her go through anymore."

"Xena, the choice was Gabrielle's...and now you bear a burden as she has done many times in the past It's not so easy to know helplessness, is it? Now you understand what Gabrielle felt every time you "protected" her. You agreed to let her make this decision. Had you interf&nnPad=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxered with her in any way, she would have died and the two of you wouldn't have had any future. You must control this need of yours to protect her. She's your equal now. She no longer needs your protection..only your love."

"I know, Ramses...but ..." voice catching "how do I stop trying to protect the one person I love more than life itself? Isn't that what love is about?"

"Yes... and no, Xena. True love means you'll sacrifice everything for her.. But is also means you'll do so only by including her in such a decision. To share your innermost fears with the one you love is the most selfless offering you could give her. To take away her right to chose isn't love. That is selfishness. I think you know that by now. I hope you've learned that lesson because if you haven't, your futures will be as bleak as the present and the past."

Looking down at Gabrielle, Xena slowly nodded her head in agreement. "I know. It's just that...well, I don't want to ever see her hurt again. She deserves so much more than I can give her. I seem to only bring her pain."

"True, Xena, Gabrielle deserves more but she doesn't want more. She only wants you. She would gladly take the pain to have you in her life. You give her ultimate joy. Think about it. The exquisite passion between the two of you..the laughter, the tears, the growth over the last six years has been phenomenal. Only true soulmates could have achieved what you two have.. only pure love could have survived the lives and the deaths you overcame. Xena, to experience happiness you must experience pain and sorrow and hurt. That is the way of the world. You and your Gabrielle have suffered more than most...and because of that you will experience greater joys. Do you understand and accept these words?"

Again glancing at the woman she loved lying on the floor at her feet, Xena's thoughts turned inward as she relived her six years with Gabrielle. Indeed Gabrielle had grown from an innocent child to a self-sufficient woman. Xena, in turn, had learned to temper her rage, to feel compassion for others and to appreciate literature as only her bard could write and tell.

Slowly nodding her head, she raised her eyes to stare boldly into those of the Egyptian god.

"I understand perfectly, Ramses, and I accept everything."

"Good!" Queried Ramses " Now, are you ready for the final phase of the ceremony?"

"Oh, Yes, Ramses. Whatever is needed, I'll willingly do."

Slowly, Ramses lifted the mask from his face. Xena had thought Marc Anthony to be the handsomest man she had ever met but nothing compared to the face of Ramses. Darkly, tanned, high cheekbones with dark, narrow brows forming straight lines above each eye before dropping slightly. The eyes were the color of rich dark coffee with golden flecks that sparkled in the candlelight...a sparkle, however, emanating from within rather than from the torches burning around them. Lips' full and sensuous, formed a smile exposing straight brilliantly white teeth.

Xena caught her breath and thought "If in life, he looked this way, then whoever he loved would have been a real lucky gal?"

Catching her thought, Ramses's smile grew broader "or guy?" he smirked.

Grinning, Xena could only agree "or guy."

"What do I need to do, Ramses, to finish the ritual?'

"Why, Xena, haven't you guessed? Kiss her!"

"KISS HER? You mean simply kiss her? Xena exclaimed

"Simply kiss her...can you think of a better way to bring someone back to life? As I recall you did that once before in the Norselands. Did you think we were so different we don' t appreciate a really good kiss? Now get on with it. My time is short here."

Falling to her knees, Xena gathered Gabrielle into her arms, cradling her against her breast. Gently brushing the golden hair from her eyes she lowered her lips to those of her love, pressing softly against them.

"Oh COME, Xena" came the deep voice of Ramses from behind her. "Where's the passion?. This is no time for tenderness. Only passion will raise the dead! KISS HER for Isis sake!" he chuckled.

More than willing to obey the god's command, Xena began to passionately move her lips across Gabrielle's. When she felt a response, she touched her tongue tenderly to those beneath hers, softly stroking back and forth, hoping for something more. Suddenly, Gabrielle's mouth opened and Xena 's tongue was eagerly drawn in and entwined with its mate.. Xena felt a raw heat ignite her body singeing, first her captured lips and tongue, then spreading down through her chest and finally settling in the groin. Blood thundered in her ears. The outside world was oblivious to her at that moment for the sensations were so overwhelming she failed to notice Ramses disappearance Only as they reluctantly separated did Xena became aware of the need for air. Grasping one of Gabrielle's hands, she placed it between her breasts so that both could feel her own heart as it pumped life through out the rest of her body. She had returned. .

"Xena, is it you? Is it really you?" whispered Gabrielle, feeling the beat and running her hands up and down the strong arms holding her before caressing the cheeks of her lover.

"It's me, Love, it's really me. I'm here. It worked. Oh, Gabrielle, it worked." she cried clutching Gabrielle to more tightly to her breast, tears coursing down her cheeks.

"Thank you Ramses..thank you." she whispered.

From nowhere, a voice whispered in return. "You're welcome..and the pleasure was mine...now, go.. leave my chamber. Only the dead may reside here. As a gift to you and your beloved I have placed a scroll outside the entrance to my tomb. There is a map for directions to a small valley where you two may live in peace. Only those you invite may enter the valley. You two have done Egypt a great service, as well as the rest of the world. Enjoy your much deserved retirement."

Hearing the voice, Gabrielle, looked all around but saw nothing.

"That was really Ramses the Great? Why can't I see him? I want to thank him, Xena."

"Gabrielle" responded the voice "only the dead or priests may lay eyes upon a god in Egypt. Our ways are different from yours. Xena has witnessed me 'in all my glory' because she was a spirit." he chuckled "You, little one, are very much alive. I promise you, though, that when you finally pass over I will visit you. Now, GO! I have other matters that need my attention."

"Thank you, Ramses" whispered Gabrielle " you gave me my life."

Upon leaving the pyramid, Xena and Gabrielle found the scroll. They decide to spend a few weeks recuperating at a nearby Inn amongst some palm trees. During their first night together, their emotions overwhelmed them so much they could do nothing more than hold each other, making sure each was real and not some dreamscape. However, several hours of talking and passion ensued the next day and for each and every day afterwards. Gabrielle was insatiable in her appetite for the Warrior Princess. Even Xena began to wonder if she could fulfill all of her promises to Gabrielle about making love to her day and night. Finally on the 10th day, late into the evening, Xena raised her head from between Gabrielle's thighs and begged

"Gabrielle, PLEASE, can I stop for just awhile. My tongue is sooo tired I can hardly move it...and besides, I think I'm about to drown down here."

"Oh, Alright" sighed Gabrielle with a more than satisfied smirk. "You sure didn't last very long with that one promise, Warrior Princess."

"Gabrielle, I told you I'm still rusty. These things have to be worked into slowly"

"Well, I'm all for sloooowwwly as long as it's not quiiickkkly, Xena"

"Gab, seriously, we need to talk."

"I know. I guess now's a good a time as any. You first."

"Well, I really think we need to let Eve and Virgil know what happened...also, your sister."

"But how? If people find out you're back, we'll be hounded through eternity."

"Yeah, I've been thinking about that. You can still travel around as the Warrior Bard and I'll go in disguise as an Egyptian companion. My dark hair along with a robe and face scarf should keep me from being recognized. You'll tell anyone who asks you're taking my ashes back to Greece to be buried with my brother, Lyceus. I'm just a servant you freed from a rich, fat merchant who's decided to travel with you to see more of the world. I think we can get people to believe that."

"Sounds like a plan, Xena. Anything else we need to discuss, now?"

"Naw, that about covers it. Why?"

"Well, if you're done talking and your tongue is so tired, I guess it's about time for me to exercise mine a little, don't you think?


"Xena, DOWN!" ordered Gabrielle

"Yes, Mam." came the response along with a heavy but not unhappy sounding sigh.


One year later

Only if one looked close could they see the small cottage tucked between the trees on the far side of the lake. On the uppermost step sat a tall dark haired woman in a black leather sleeveless shift arms draped around the shoulders of a small, golden haired figure sitting two steps below her. . Neither moved, both apparently deep in thought.

Looking up and over her shoulder Gabrielle stared into passionate icy blue eyes and once again gave a silent thanks to Akemi and Ramses for bringing her beloved back to her.

"Xena, do you think Eve or Virgil got our messages?" she asked pensively.

Looking into the heated emerald eyes of her lover, Xena nodded.

"I think so. Aphrodite promised us she would let them know. You know, I never really understood what a wonderful goddess she was. Ohh, I know she loved you...but I never believed she could keep a secret. She just doesn't strike me as being that dependable. When she swore she would tell no one but Eve, Virgil and your sister, I was sure that Ares would also be included through some slip of the tongue. I sure misjudged that lady."

"Dite has always been my friend, Xena. Sure, you had to wonder if there was something in that blond head besides self-gratification but I 've always believed her to be more complicated than you gave her credit...and I always trusted her."

"And as always, Love, you were right. Now, unfortunately, since you have adopted that family of orphan pigs, I have to go make sure they're fed and bedded for the night. All they ever think about is food and back scratches. Do you know how EMBARRASSING it is having them chasing after me? I'm a warrior, not a pig farmer."

"But, Xena, those babies are soooo cute...and you look so cute when they gather around you oinking and squealing and nipping at your ankles..they simply adore you.. They follow you everywhere and they're always happy to see you. I bet they think you're their mother." Gabrielle smirked.

"Great, Gabby, just how low can I go? Xena's horse ranch becomes Xena's hog home. That's depressing enough."

"Why, don't be that way. It's precious...if I were an artist instead of a bard, I' d paint a picture of the ten of you together and hang it over the fireplace."

"Over my DEAD body, you would." exclaimed Xena jumping up and dumping Gabrielle from the lower steps on to the ground before stomping off towards the barn.

"BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, Warrior Princess!" yelled Gabrielle, rolling on her back giggling.

The End (maybe)


July 2001

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