Disclaimers: The Xena/Herc gang is property of MCA/Universal and I dont mean to offend by offering my take on things in the Xenaverse. There is little violence and a few displays of affection between two women (like you dont know who!). There is a whole lot of love and mushy stuff. Are you too young, too repressed or live somewhere that this story could get you into trouble?. If youve answered no to these questions, you have my permission to proceed. If you answered yes come back at a later date.
Remember to feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any constructive comments you have. Homophobes need not apply thank you.
by C.N. Winters
"Lets settle this once and for all!"
The Goddess of Love paced furiously in front of the council at Mt. Olympus. Ares yawned, not the least bit concerned by the outburst. This gesture only fueled the goddess ranting. She stopped in front of the God of War; her hands placed firmly on her hips in confrontation.
"Come on Ares," the love goddess egged. "I mean it! Lets get this settled for good so I can move on to more important issues."
"Like what?" Ares shrugged. "Youre hair appointment."
Dites eyes narrowed into slits. Great Zeus how she despised her brother at times. "Nooo," the goddess replied. "And not like Id tell you anyway. . .Youd send in Strife or Discord to wreak everything I worked hard to create."
"Ha," Ares spat. "Youve caused more heartache and despair than I ever could. . .Love is the most dangerous weapon of all. . .Dont act so holy my dear sister."
"Youre getting off the subject Ares!" Dite replied getting worked up again. "Are we going to do this or not?!"
Ares didnt answer. He went to work polishing his sword.
"Whats the matter Ares? Scared?"
"I am not scared!" Ares answered, darting to his feet.
"Enough!" Zeus yelled. He had all he could stand of the two of them. Kids the King of the Gods thought as he shook his head. Will they ever grow up? Ares and Dite, in addition to the rest of the council, waited for him to continue. "Are you accepting this challenge or not Ares?"
Ares met his fathers eyes before glaring at Dite. "Youre on," he whispered.
Dite smiled. "And youre gone," she snickered.
In a flash of brilliant light they both vanished. Each had much work to do. It would soon be the longest two mortal days of their immortal lives.
The warrior could hear the young womans teeth chatter. "Hmm?"
"Could we stay at an inn tonight? You said the town isnt too far away right?"
Xena grinned. It was chilly but not too cold. At least not for her. The bard however. . .
"Are you sure? Cold is good for the complexion," she teased.
"Yes but its deadly to the extremities," the bard replied. "My face might get a healthy glow but my fingers and toes will fall off."
"We wouldnt want that to happen now would we?" The warriors voice was syrupy.
"No we wouldnt," the bard agreed in a like tone.
"Okay," the warrior replied, pulling Argo to a halt. "But youll have to ride."
The warrior offered her hand but the bard looked undecided. "If we keep up this pace the inn might be full when we arrive."
Without another moments hesitation the bard was on the mare. Seconds later she was hanging onto Xenas waist for dear life as they took off in a full gallop.
There was nothing special about the inn similar to the countless number they had visited before. It was expensive though 10 dinars consumer demand was high on an evening like this and the owner took full advantage of it. Many keepers did except for my mother Xena reflected. Cyrena never charged more whether it be the hottest or the coldest day of the year. Xena had asked her mother why she never rated her rooms.
"Its the same room whether its bright and sunny or cold and snowing. Wheres the justice in charging more," she had replied.
Xena smiled at the thought. Although the warrior had lost her way in the past, she could see where her sense of fairness and honor had come from.
Xena and Gabrielle dropped their gear as the barmaid entered to fill their tub. Buckets later the tub steamed with the promise of warmth. Xena could see the bard was anxious.
"Hop in. Ill get us food and drink," the warrior directed.
Gabrielle simply smiled as she began to disrobe. The door was open as the warrior started to leave.
"Nutbread if they got it?" the warrior asked with a grin.
Gabrielle nodded enthusiastically, with a smile. The warrior knew the bard well.
"You got it."
When she finally returned with the warm food she found Gabrielle soaking hair wet, eyes closed. The bard looked quite comfortable.
The tub wasnt large or very deep the water only came up to the bards waist leaving the rest of her nakedness exposed. Xena took a moment to admire the view before placing the tray on the table with shaking hands. The noise forced Gabrielles eyes open.
"Nutbread?" she asked hopefully.
Xena picked up the loaf. "Your lucky day."
"Wonderful," she replied. "Now get in her before the water gets cold."
"Im not sure we can both fit," the warrior observed.
Gabrielle grinned. "Ill make room. Come on in."
Reluctantly the warrior disrobed. If Xena didnt know any better she would assume the bard was studying her. Little did she know that was exactly what the bard was doing.
Since her introductions to the amazons and her growing friendship with Ephany, Gabrielle held Xena in a new light. Upon their last visit, Ephany gave Gabrielle a crash course in Amazon love. . .Or more accurately, Amazon love making.
The queen and her regent asked Xena to take a group of young amazons to the practice field for a little education. Xena happily agreed leaving Gabby and Ephany to discuss the affairs of state in the royal hut. After two hours of negotiations Gabrielle gained insights into her body she never dreamed possible.
She remembered how Ephany had chuckled when she told the regent about her wedding night. She told Ephany that the experience lasted a quarter of a candlemark. Ephany warned her she would need (and take) much longer in pleasuring her queen. Gabrielle could still see the playful smirk on the warriors face. She could feel the way her body ached for contact. She could also recall how grateful she was for Ephanys teachings.
Now as Xena carefully maneuvered herself into the tub, Gabrielle felt the familiar ache and longed to show Xena how much she had learned.
"See," Gabrielle whispered, still unable to get her nerve up. "I told you theres room."
Without asking, Gabrielle began to wet Xenas hair before lathering the soap in. The massage to her long tresses made the warrior relax a bit. She reclined just a few fractions and could feel the bards hardened nipples teasing her back.
Aphrodite observed the scene with a great deal of interest. Both women were so close to fulfilling her victory a deep passionate kiss within the next 48 candlemarks. She began to think of ways to taunt Ares with her win.
But much to her disappointment, the warrior quickly got out of the tub once her hair was rinsed, mumbling something about the food getting cold.
"Youve got a bitchin amazon babe in your tub, naked, dripping wet. All you can think about is food?" Dite remarked to herself.
Suddenly Cupid appeared. "Whats up?" he asked observing the scene.
"Well, I was gonna ask ya to do some target practice but youre a little late Cuppy. The mood is totally shot now," she vented.
"Who? Them? . . .Hades mom Ive hit them with enough arrows theyll be pinning for each other for all eternity. Nothings worked. Give it up already will ya?"
"I cant! I made a bet with Ares! If they kiss and profess their love he loses all rights to the bodacious warrior. If he wins. . .well. . .lets just say Artemis isnt gonna feel too awesome that I broke her queens heart. . .and you know how she gets when shes in a groedy mood."
Cupid considered the exchange. "So lets get this clear. If you win queenie and do-gooder live happily ever after. If Ares wins he gets his Destroyer of Nations back?"
"You got it!"
Cupid thought about their predicament. "Why dont you just tell them whats on the line?"
"Because Id be disqualified and Id lose. Sure I can put them in the tinniest inn room known to man and hope for some fireworks but I cant interfere directly with the mortals. Only the Gods are allowed to know of this contest."
Cupid smiled. "Gods can speak to Gods about this little bet?"
Dite smacked her son on the forehead as an attention-getter. "Helllllooo? Isnt that what Ive been saying?"
"Yeah," he continued to smile. "And Ive got an idea that just might work." In a flash he was gone.
"Two to the right!" he yelled.
"I see em. I see em!" Both clubs were stopped in mid swing before coming back to smack their owners unconscious.
The gang of cut throats who terrorized the village moments before now all lay scattered about the ground. A bright light took the attention away from the surveying of the damage. Suddenly the God of Love appeared.
"Uncle Herc!" he exclaimed.
"Hey Cupid! Hows your mom doing?"
Hercules and Iolaus walked over to greet the winged god. "Shes good but she could use your help. Weve got less than a day to get to Markerus."
"Whats wrong?" Herc asked concerned.
Cupid looked at Hercs traveling companion. "Could I speak to Uncle Herc alone? Nothing against you Iolaus. Its just Gods stuff - Im sure you understand."
"Say no more. Im going to the tavern," Iolaus smiled.
Once he was out of hearing range Herc asked again. "Why the secrecy? Whats going on?"
"Its Xena," Cupid whispered. The God watched his uncles eyes widen.
"Nothing. . .yet," Cupid replied. "And thats part of the problem. . . .We need a course of action."
"Perhaps now would be a good time to start explaining," Herc offered.
Cupid grinned before getting into his predicament. As he finished he asked. "Will you help?"
The long-haired man smiled, "Lead the way."
Xena and Gabrielle were having breakfast when Xena noticed Gabrielle drop her toast.
"Whats wrong?" Xena asked concerned.
"Look whos here," she answered pointed as she smiled. Xena now smiled when she caught the view of the familiar faces. She rose as the two men walked over.
"What in Hades are two great guys like you doing in a place like this?" she asked hugging both of them.
Gabrielle offered her greetings and vice versa.
"Well," Hercules began, taking a seat. "Im here to deliver a message."
"From who?" Xena asked.
Hercules hesitated. "I cant say."
"Okay. Who does it involve?"
"I cant say that either."
Xena was visibly frustrated. "Well whats it concerning?"
When Herc hesitated again, Xena interrupted his mumbling. "Let me guess. You cant say?"
Herc simply smiled and shrugged in agreement.
"Thanks for the message," Xena replied dryly. She started to rise but he took her by the arm leading her to the seat again.
"Okay. Okay," he said quickly. "I can tell you this
Before he had a chance to speak someone, a man, screamed in anger. When Xenas table looked to follow the noise, a chair crashed directly into Hercs face, shattering apart. The inn was soon a mess with mugs, plates, furniture and even bodies tossed around the room.
"Is he okay?" Gabrielle asked looking over Hercs limp body yet keeping one eye on the room.
After a quick examination, Xena motioned the duo to help her move him. "Hes breathing but hes been knocked out cold."
They carried him toward the kitchen. As they moved, Herc opened his eyes once. "Strife. . .Love," he whispered to Xena. When they placed him on a table away from the commotion, she lightly patted his cheeks hoping he would come back again.
"What does that mean?" Xena asked Iolaus.
"I dont know," Iolaus answered honestly. "I dont understand why he said Strife or the part about love."
"Well what message did he have to deliver to me?" she asked growing irritated. She wasnt angry with Iolaus directly, just the situation of being in the dark regarding the statement.
"He didnt say. All I know is Cupid showed up. Talked to Herc and the next thing I know were on our way here to Markerus."
The warrior thought for a moment. What could be so important about her that Cupid would visit Hercules? Why did he mention Strife? As the warrior thought it did seem pretty odd that the fight broke out just as Hercules was about to give her the information. It differently looked like Strifes handy work but what would he care about Cupids message? Unless. . .
"Ares is behind this," she whispered.
Gabrielle always felt a chill at the mention of that Gods name. This time was no different.
"How do you know?" Iolaus asked.
"Lets just call it intuition." Xena grinned.
"She can feel when hes near," Gabrielle explained casually.
"Why would Ares care about Cupids chat with Hercules?" Iolaus asked.
Xena continued studying the demi-god. "Im not sure," Xena asked concerned. "And I have a feeling Im not going to understand until he wakes up."
Gabrielle could see the confusion, perhaps even fear, in Xenas face. She could tell - whatever they were going to face was not going to be pleasant.
"She should be disqualified!" Ares raged to his father.
"Gods can talk to Gods," Dite argued.
"But hes half mortal," Ares replied, getting up into her face.
"Perhaps but hes half-god too. Lets not forget that. . . .Besides who sent Strife in to start that little ruckus? Hum? . . .That was Godly interference. I think you should he disqualified."
"Look! If youre gonna send muscle-boy
"Stop it!" Zeus yelled, drawing the words out for emphasis. "You two are driving me nuts!" Everyone waited quietly until he regained his composure. "Okay," he finally replied. "Aphrodite was with in her rights to tell Hercules." Ares started to pout and Zeus raised a hand to silence any protest. "And Ares also kept his half of the agreement since Strife, although he may be a weasel, is still considered a god. He said nothing to no one regarding your contest . .I would suggest that you both stop whining and start planning. You have twenty-four mortal candlemarks until a winner is declared. Thats my decision. Now deal with it."
With a few disgusted glares, both god and goddess vanished, leaving Zeus on his throne shaking his head in disbelieve and disappointment.
"Any change?" Xena asked, peeking into the room.
"Bits of consciousness from time to time but nothing concrete," the blonde man replied.
"Why dont you get some rest?" Xena offered. "Gabrielle and I will keep watch."
"Are you sure?" Iolaus asked.
"Of course," Xena smiled. "Besides you could use a meal, a bath and a bed. Relax and well get you if theres any change."
Iolaus smiled and stroked Xenas arm in thanks. After he left, Gabrielle walked up behind Xena. "What do you think Ares wants?" she whispered.
"What does he always want?" Xena asked, already knowing Gabrielle had the answer.
"Hes not going to get it is he?" she asked. The voice was raked with fear and pain.
"Not if I can help it," Xena smirked. She did her best to convey confidence but even she wondered if she would be able to resist Ares yet again.
Gabrielle could sense it. "It would kill me if you went back to him. Do you know that?"
Xena wasnt sure what possessed her, but she found the back of her fingertips caressing Gabrielles cheek. "It would kill me to leave you," she whispered. "Hed never get me back without a fight."
Xena was so close to pulling the bard into her arms, kissing her with a deep passion she knew was inside her, yet refused to surface. She swallowed deep and decided that she would indeed, kiss the bard. Gabrielles tears however drove any erotic thoughts from her mind.
"Promise me he wont get you back. Even if it does happen someday. Just promise me now," the bard sobbed.
Xena embraced Gabrielle like she had so many times before. Gabrielle, her best friend. Nothing more. Nothing less. Finally, after they clung together for many minutes, Gabrielle pulled back.
"I promise," Xena whispered, kissing the bards forehead. "I promise." She wiped the remaining tears away before hearing the bed creak.
"Xena?" Hercules whispered.
In a flash she darted over, taking his hand. "Im here," she whispered.
"Follow your heart," he whispered. "Do what you never dreamed possible. . . Fast."
The demi-god fell back against the bed, drifting into dreamstate again. Was that it? Xena wondered. Was that the message?. . .What I never dreamed possible? Her silent questioning was interrupted by Gabrielles voice.
"What does that mean?" she asked.
The warrior shook her head, resting Hercules hand back on the bed. "I dont know. . .Perhaps its time I made a little offering to the Gods to find out just what is going on."
"Xena," the bard said shaken, grabbing the warrior by the arm. "Youre not going to see-
"No," Xena interrupted. "Im going to see Aphrodite. Im sure shes a head honcho in this plan. And I want answers."
"Howd it go?" Dite asked optimistically
"Same ole. Same ole," he replied.
"Hades! All that mushy stuff bout about Ares the tears and you mean they STILL didnt do the deed?"
"Yeah mom," Cupid answered. "But she came real close this time. I mean its like she has no. . ."
Dite knew what the next words out of Cupids mouth were going to be and the bigger his grin got the more she shook herself in protest. "No! Absolutely not!"
"Come on!" Cupid prodded. "Im sure she doesnt hold a grudge over the incident at Poseidons birthday party. . .Whats the harm in asking her for a favor?"
"I dont want to be indebted to that scaggy chick who calls herself a goddess!" she argued.
"Look mom," Cupid countered. "We dont have a lot of time left. The daring duo are headed to one of your temples now. It couldnt be more perfect if we had planned it. . .What do you say?"
Dite considered Cupids propositions and the fact she had to bring in reinforcements. "Do you even know where she is?"
"I could find her," he replied confidently.
Dite couldnt voice the words. She simply waved her hands, giving her unspoken approval. With a grin the winged god took flight.
"Are they there?" Ares asked.
"They are," came the sly reply.
"Good," he smiled. "Now you know what to do?"
"I have everything at my disposal correct?" the goddess asked for conformation.
"Absolutely," he grinned.
"Good," she replied. "Consider it done. By evening fall the warrior will be yours again."
Ares poured himself a drink as she left. But it was victory he could taste.
After letting Iolaus sleep for two hours the duo took to the road. It took Xena and Gabrielle three hours to arrive at the nearest Temple of Aphrodite.
Casually Xena threw the slaughtered animal on the altar. "Okay," she replied. "Heres your gift. I want answers."
"Xena," Gabrielle giggled. "You need to be a little more polite."
The innocent comment made the warriors hair stand on edge. She could feel her blood bubbling below the surface. A look of deep anger flashed across the warriors face as she turned to meet the bard. Xena couldnt explain it but she was mad. Mad as Hades. And neither woman could see nor hear Discord in the corner laughing.
"Oh really?" Xena replied snidely. "What makes you the be-all, end-all of proper godly etiquette? Huh? Tell me you little amazon wanna-be."
Gabrielle face grew almost as red as her hair. "What did you say to me?" she asked with just as much anger. "Amazon wanna-be?"
"You heard me right? You dont have the first clue as to what it means to be an amazon."
"I know a lot more than you think," Gabrielle countered.
"Oh yeah?! Like what?! Swinging youre wittle staff to and frow," Xena answered in a child-like voice. Xena laughed at her own comments. "Ill bet youve never even kissed a girl before," she added in a menacing taunt.
"I guess you dont know me as well as you think you do," Gabrielle spouted back.
That made Xena stop and think for a moment. "Get Real! Who did YOU ever KISS?"
"Thats none of your business," Gabrielle replied defensively.
"HA! Just as I thought. No one," Xena turned her back, started to stroll away.
"For youre information it was Ephany," the bard spat out in defiance. "And we did a lot more than kiss. . .Trust me Xena. I know what it means to be amazon. . .in every way. . .every shape. . . and every form."
Xena stopped and turned. She knew the bard wasnt lying. But instead of the pain she thought she would feel, all she had at this moment was rage. "Ephany!" Xena shouted. "You slept with Ephany!"
"No Xena," the bard replied with a sly grin. "There was no sleeping going on whatsoever. As a matter of fact, Id never been so wide awake in my life."
"You bitch," Xena growled moving closer and closer with each breath. "You slut!"
Xena was on the verge of back-handing the bard when Aphrodite appeared between them. "Essqueeze me!" she replied putting a hand on each womans shoulder. "This is not cool. This is totally not cool. Why on Olympus are you two-"
Before she could finish she had her answer. Discord sat in the shadows waving before vanishing.
Gabrielle started to storm out of the temple.
"Where are you going?" Dite asked concerned.
"Whats it look like your worship? Im leaving," she said huffing away.
Dite turned to Xena. "You cant let her do that. You cant let her leave!"
"What in Tarturus do I want with an Amazon whore?!" Xena raged, loud enough so Gabrielle could hear.
"This IS totally uncool," Dite said wiping her brow.
As Xena watched the goddess she could feel her anger lighten. She couldnt explain why she said the things she did. And Gabrielle. By the Gods, she was ready to strike Gabrielle the woman she loved more than life and the joys life held. Xena could feel herself panic and she willed herself to breathe deep and long, regaining her mind control. When she finally did pull her body and mind together again she had only one realization finding Gabrielle.
Dite followed Xena as she darted from the temple. Xena looked left and then right. There was nothing, not even Argo. By Gods, shes on Argo the warrior surmised. She must really be pissed to want to get outta here that fast. Xena realized there was nothing she could do at the moment. Nothing except ask so questions of the Goddess of Love. Although she was free of Discords power now, she could feel her anger growing again.
"Come on Blondie," she said grabbing Aphrodite by the arm. "Weve got a lot of chatting to do."
Cupid watched a couple by the river. The young man was so much in love. He was pouring his heart out to a young maiden. He begged with no success until finally he stopped speaking. A moment later the young maiden leaped into his arms, the look of ardent desire plastered across her face.
"Nice shooting cuz," Cupid complimented.
The Goddess dropped her crossbow gentle and took the young God into her arms for a big hug. "Ohhh, Im so glad to see you. Its been too long. What are you up to these days?"
"Oh a little of this; a little of that. Id like to say this trip is just for pleasure but truth is I could really use your help Passion."
"Is that so?" the goddess answered. "You need my help? Or does your mother need my help?" she asked uncertain.
"Well, both of us actually," he confessed in a low tone. "but Im sure once you hear the story youll be eager to help." He ended on a much more confident note.
Casually she slung the weapon over her shoulder. "Okay, since youre my favorite cousin and all, I guess I could hear you out. All I ask is that you make this snappy. Im a very, very busy woman," she grinned.
"There they are," Cupid pointed.
"They dont look too much in love," Passion observed.
Gabrielle kept trying to lead Argo away but Xena refused. She repeatedly grabbed the bards arm making her stop. The harsh words the amazon queen used to berate the warrior went seemingly unnoticed. The warrior was relentless in trying to make the young woman stop. Cupid could tell the warrior was exhausted from the run back into town but that didnt slow her down as she tried her best to coax the bard.
"What happened?" Cupid asked himself.
"Looks like your love potion didnt take too well," Passion teased.
"Well, just hitem both and see what happens," Cupid said motioning to her crossbow.
"ARE YOU NUTS?!"
"Whats the problem?" he asked innocently. "We dont have a lot of time left," he answered looking at his watch. "Only a candlemark," he whispered.
Passion considered all the angles from their location and she shook her head. "Its too risky here. Too many people. Besides with your little red-head that steamed, it could have disastrous results."
"Like what?" he asked.
" Well, having that much passion for one that you despise can cause mortals to become suicidal. She may kill herself before she gives into her passion and before you know it shes playing with an asp like the former Queen of the Nile."
Cupid tried to construct a battle plan. Being the God of Love, it wasnt his strong suit but he realized he had to end their feud and get them both in a private place . . . alone.
"Okay. Okay. I think Ive got an idea. Theres a temple on the other side of town. Meet me there in a quarter candlemark. Alright?" The winged god didnt wait for an answer. He needed someone much wiser than him to help him in his task.
The bard and the warrior however, continued to argue.
"Im sorry," Xena replied. "Youre right. It was none of my business to ask about your love life."
"I have no love life," the bard spat back. "There isnt a decent man we come in contact with. Its always warlords and hoodlums. What I do have is an occasional sex life. . .And Hades, that was only once."
"Only once?" the warrior asked for clarification. Maybe she and Ephany werent really an item. That was positive.
"Yes! Now will you drop it."
Xena didnt say anything and continued to walk next to the bard. "Why only once?" she quietly asked.
Gabrielle rolled her eyes in frustration. "I thought we agreed-
"I gotta know," the warrior prodded gently. "Did she want more than you could give?"
"Xena," the bard replied taking a deep breath. "Ephany is my best friend, next to you of course. . .It was just something we both needed."
"What do you mean?" Xena replied with another question and she got the rolling eye look again from Gabrielle.
"I needed to know what it meant to be an amazon - on every level. She needed physical release. . . She hadnt been with anyone since Phantes. . . She trusted me and I trusted her. And thats all that mattered."
Xena let Gabrielle walk a few paces ahead before catching up. When she got to Gabrielles side a glittering shower of gold appeared before them. Both women covered their eyes as much as possible without looking away. When the sparks subsided they looked around at the villagers and the apparition before them. No one seemed to notice the white cloaked woman except them.
"You are on a quest for answers I hear," the goddess spoke with a knowing grin. "To do what you never dreamed possible."
"By the Gods, its Athena," Gabrielle whispered.
Athena simply nodded to the bard before turning her gaze to the warrior. "If you seek wisdom you will go to my temple without delay. Put these petty differences aside for a moment, for the truth lies buried within each of your hearts. The knowledge is engraved in your soul."
"And you say Im cryptic," Xena whispered to the bard. The bard smiled and Xena felt ten times lighter in the glow. Gabrielle smile is as warm as a cloudless summer day the warrior thought.
"I heard that," Athena added as she began to disappear with a grin of her own. "Im not cryptic but you are right about Artemis queens smile."
Xena looked dumbfounded for a moment. How did she know- Xena thought out of reaction until it hit her. Oh yeah shes the goddess of truth and wisdom.
Xena and Gabrielle crept slowing into the temple unsure of what to expect. It was vacant. Not even a priest or priestess around. The warrior could feel like they were being watched. "Stay close," Xena whispered. The warrior may have been the one with extreme senses in hearing and seeing but Gabrielle too could feel something amiss.
"Get back!" Xena exclaimed pushing Gabrielle to a corner.
Passion cursed she had a perfect shot lined up on the bard until the stupid warrior pushed her away. Her mouth dropped when she saw the God of War materialize just inches away from the warriors sword.
"Hello Xena," he smiled.
"Okay," she replied sheathing her sword. "Whats going on?"
"Oh Im not allowed to discuss whats brought you here. But it is within my Godly rights to offer you a gift."
"You have nothing I want," Xena replied turning away and leading Gabrielle away by her arm.
"Dont be so sure Xena," he said slyly. "What if I told you Ive got the power to get you any army you chose. Living. Dead. Cutthroats. Do-Gooders. Anyone you want from the past or the present. What would you say?"
"Id say Im not interested Ares," Xena answered.
"You go girl," Dite yelled from the back of the temple. Ares shook his head as he rolled his eyes. "I thought if you were going to play. I could play too," the goddess answered.
Dite glanced up and saw Passion in position. The lust goddess motion to toward the bard and Dite picked up on it, heading over to Xenas companion.
"I want you to look at her Gabrielle," Dite replied casually, shifting the bard so she faced Xena. "I want you to tell me what you see." The instant Dite moved giving access, Passion pulled the trigger.
Gabrielle was about to speak but the sharp pain in her back that traveled up to her head stopped her. She shook her head to clear her mind and when she looked up all she could see was the bluest blue she would ever witness in her lifetime.
Ares saw the direction the shot was fired but he found nothing. "That little son of yours has gotten quicker," Ares complimented. Dite smiled. Ares was clueless as to what he was really up against. She listened as he smugly continued, "but it wont do any good. It hasnt worked at all in the last two years. What makes you think it will work now?"
Xena couldnt turn away from Gabrielle. The way the young woman was studying her was hypnotic. Xena could see the bards chest rising and falling her breathing becoming labored. Xena took the bard by both upper arms and gave a mild shake. "Talk to me Gabrielle. Are you alright? You look a little flushed. Maybe you should sit down."
"Oh Gods, your touch," Gabrielle whispered. She looked like she was going to faint at any moment. Xena pulled her arms away thinking she had injured the young woman.
Ares continued to smile, pointing at his watch. The sand was coming down to the last trickles of grains. His smile disappeared however as Passion gave a salute from over Xenas shoulder while she released her arrow.
As Xenas body jerked, Ares eyes widened. Xena now recognized the look on Gabrielles face not pain but desire. The emerald of her eyes, the strawberry of her hair. Xena had to have this woman once and for all. Gabrielle heard the warriors sigh and prepared herself for impact. Their lips met forcefully, followed almost immediately by their exploring tongues. Neither woman could breath; totally consumed by their want.
Ares screamed at the display as the last grain slipped through the hour glass. "Noooooo!"
"Yessss! Dite countered in victory; her fists held high, teeth clenched in joy.
Ares vanished looking quite disgraced. Passion simply nodded to Aphrodite, holding up her hand. "Dont say it," she whispered. "Just remember you owe ME one now." She winked to the goddess who smiled in agreement. Casually she strolled over to Xena and Gabrielle who were still feeling the height of the arrows effects.
"Well now I can tell you everything Xena," the Goddess of Love offered. She waited a moment but the pair refused to stop their lip locking (well except to reposition themselves, striving for greater pleasure). "I really dont think you care," she answered. "Should I leave?" She still didnt get an answer. Things had now progressed past kissing. The bard was fighting with the warriors armor as Xena began her oral assault on the bards neck with such fervor it made the Goddess of Love blush.
"Ouch," the goddess teased her deaf audience. "Thats gonna leave a mark." Aphrodite looked around the room some more in hesitation. Finally, Xena pulled away from Gabrielle to look at Aphrodite.
"Dont you have some place else you have to be?" she asked in a hostile tone.
"No," the goddess smiled.
Xena released the bard. Of course Gabrielle followed and when Xena stopped to face Aphrodite, Gabrielle continued to kiss and lick Xenas shoulders. "Find someplace," the warrior ordered. "Im real busy now."
"So I see," she whispered. She began to walk backward toward the temple doors as she added. "If you need anything again just give me some nice flowers for an offering. Im not into dead things k?"
With the Goddess gone, Xena turned to Gabrielle. A totally naked Gabrielle. Xena grinned and twitched her eyebrow mischievously. "Youre not getting any sleep tonight my bard," she warned. With ease she lifted the bard over her shoulder, carrying her to the altar. "And Ill give you a thousand more stories to tell."
Athena and her priest grinned outside as they heard the bards cries of pleasure.
After a day of making love the two women finally feel asleep. Xena had constructed a make-shift bed out of the curtains that lined the temple walls. They were awaken by the afternoon sun and a smiling Iolaus and Hercules standing over them. Although the passion had died considerable, the two women still couldnt keep their hands off each other. As the four sat at dinner, Herc and Iolaus couldnt contain their grins at the displays of affection.
And as years rolled by they did Cupid proud and he visited them often. Xena, who never had a God she called her own, did look forward to his arrivals. She even went so far as to thank the God on several occasions. She never saw Ares again or felt his presence. She never felt the need to ask about him either. She did however asked Cupids advice on her relationship with Gabrielle.
The bard was growing more and more withdrawn around their tenth anniversary and Xena wasnt sure what to make of it. At least not until they heard of an impending attack on a town by a vicious warlord. The duo arrived too late and the town was burned down. Everyone was killed. Or so it seemed at first glance. In a cluster of trees not far from some charged homes, the crys of an infant could be heard. Upon closer inspection they realized it was actually two young voices.
Gabrielle smiled as she picked up the babies. It was the first smile Xena had seen in weeks. She finally realized what it was that made the bards heart ache. "Alright," the warrior answered before the bard could ask. "Ill agree to steam carrots, feed them milk and even wash their linens. . .but. . .I absolutely refuse dipper duty."
"Do you mean it?" Gabrielle said hopefully.
"Well, not exactly. I mean if I really had to change a dipper I suppose I could do it," the warrior teased with a grin.
Xena escorted Gabrielle back to the amazon village with their daughters, taking a day to rest. Soon she was on the road alone with a regiment of the royal guard. In two weeks time they had found the warlord and defeated him. She remembered smiling at the campfire light that evening.
"Happy we defeated that scum huh?" Solari had asked.
"No," Xena replied. "Im happy because Im going home tomorrow to my family."
Solari returned the grin Xena had on her face. "I know what you mean. I miss Ephany."
When she returned late in the evening Gabrielle was awake in their hut feeding their youngest. Of course they didnt know if Lila was younger but she was smaller than Cyrena so thats what they told everyone.
As they grew, however, Lila overshadowed Cyrena. Later she even overshadowed Xena. Gabrielle always got a kick out of how Xena would reprimand the reckless teenage, having to look up while she shook her finger. Lila was a lot like her mother. But Cyrena was just like her mom.
Cyrena loved books and telling stories. She made it her personal mission to see that every amazon in the village knew how to read. And shed be damned that that wasnt what happened in less than two years. It didnt matter what age the amazon was. It was a requirement that they were literate. She was stubborn about the issue and Xena always teased her bard about the battle of wills they often had regarding countless issue in life.
As they grew into adults Lila settled down with a nice girl from the village, who just happened to be one of the best archers in the royal guard. Cyrena left for the Academy and fell in love, marrying a poet. A year later Xena was shocked when she found out she was going to be a grandmother. And surprisingly she took the news much better than Gabrielle, who suddenly felt old.
Xena never lived to see the birth of her great granddaughter. And it was nine months after that babys birth that the amazons committed their queens body to the flames. Uncertainty hung on Gabrielles mind as she walked through the Elysian Fields but after a few moments she could see two figures approach Perdicus and Xena.
As they met Perdicus kissed Gabrielle on the hand. And offered it to Xena. "This belongs to you," he said with a bow to the warrior. Gabrielle never felt so joyful in her mortal life as she did at that moment. There was a peace and understanding in this place but most importantly, there was her warrior who would be by her side for all eternity.
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