Author: Sara
Story Title: Triumph
Characters: Xena/Gabrielle
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Gabrielle tries to convince Xena that their love is worth saving. Sequel to Trials and Tribulations.
This rating is for explicit f/f sex.

I don't own 'em yadda yadda yadda, no copyright infringement intended yadda yadda yadda, you know the rest.

This story contains explicit sexual content (woo-hoo) between two consenting adult women. If this is illegal where you live or if you are under the legal age, BEAT IT!

*NOTE* (SIGH) my "T" trilogy is done. This story is the conclusion, and the sequel to Trials and Tribulations. You may want to read Trials and Tribulations just to get up to speed.

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This story is for my twin sisters, may your triumph be an awe inspiring sight.


by Sara

Triumph (v). 1. To be victorious or successful; win 2. To rejoice; exult

Chapter One

Voices of the past echo. "I created you." Cortese. "You created me." Callisto. "I need you." Gabrielle.


Xena shook her head sadly. She was all alone and lonely without Gabrielle. She wondered if her broken heart would ever heal. The warrior drove those thoughts from her mind and walked no where in particular. She had been wandering around for days in a daze. For the hundredth time, she questioned if she had made the right choice leaving her beloved bard.

"For now, for tomorrow, and for all eternity," Gabrielle's voice whispered in her heart. Memories of emerald eyes, soft skin, and sweet lips filled her mind.

"Stop it," she commanded herself. "You left her to help. Remembering will only make you hurt more," Xena said aloud.

More days passed in a blur. She tried to keep herself busy saving villages, practicing her drills, and trying to work through the pain. The first two she did mechanically, and didn't even really attempt the third. Life was a dull ache. Keeping busy worked during the day, but at night she was tormented with dreams and memories. Bittersweet memories of a love that fulfilled and destroyed her. "I love you Xena," she could hear Gabrielle whisper in her ear. "Make love to me," echoes of their first time together played again and again. "Believe in us Xena," she could hear her bard's pain filled voice and she cried herself to sleep.

The warrior awoke to find her mate suckling at her breasts. "Gabrielle," she breathed; desire driving all rational thought from her mind. Her lover kissed her way up to lock lips with her in a deep kiss. When Xena pushed back to gaze at her love, she looked up to stare into Hope's evil, laughing face. She heard a soft gasp and looked to her right. There stood Gabrielle with Ephiny.

"How could you?" the bard accused. She turned and walked away with Ephiny at her side.

"No," Xena yelled, "NO!" She jerked awake and glanced around. There was no one there; she was alone. Xena looked up at the sky; it would be dawn soon. She gathered her things and decided on a destination for the first time in a long time. She slowly turned east and headed towards Amphipolis.


"Don't leave Gabrielle," Ephiny pleaded.

"I have to find her Eph. She's the other half of me...I need her," Gabrielle said.

"We need you," Ephiny muttered. "I need you too," she said softly.

Gabrielle turned to look at her friend. "Ephiny, I'm so sorry about Hope. I don't even know what to say or do to even try and fix the damage she's done."

The Regent shook her head. "It's alright." The pain was still evident in her voice. "I still care about you Gabrielle. No matter what happens, you can't lose me." Ephiny looked away and cleared her throat uneasily. Abruptly she said, "Please excuse me Your Highness, I have many duties to attend to." Ephiny bowed and hurriedly left the Queen's hut.

"Ephiny," Gabrielle called. She looked up at the roof of her hut and sighed. She closed her eyes at the pain her friend was suffering, and all because of Hope. The thought of her daughter filled her with rage. "Damn her, she tried to ruin everything special to me. I can't let her win," Gabrielle said aloud. 'First I'll help Ephiny and then I'll find Xena,' she thought.

"Xena," Gabrielle sighed and closed her eyes again, this time at the pain she was suffering. She missed Xena so much. She felt empty inside without her. There were no tender touches or special smiles reserved for her. No gentle caresses, passionate kisses, or earth shattering love making anymore. Nothing, only emptiness. Tears fell from the Amazon Queen's eyes as she cried for her love. Through her haze of misery, she pulled out the identical bands of gold they had given each other at the ceremony for the Queen's choosing of her consort. The rings only brought more tears and Gabrielle cried even harder, venting all her anguish and sorrow.

Her tears spent, Gabrielle resolved to repair some of the damage done to her friend. Purposefully, she stepped out of her royal hut to heal wounds caused by her hateful daughter. She would fix things here and then she would get Xena back.

Chapter Two

The dark warrior slowly walked into a comfortable, homey inn. "XENA!!" She heard Cyrene's happy shout.

The joyous expression on Cyrene's face quickly fell and became one of concern when she saw her daughter's face. She looked around quizzically. "Where's Gabrielle?" she asked, worried. Xena's bottom lip trembled and tears welled up in her eyes. She shook her head, unable to speak. "Come on," Cyrene gently tugged the warrior upstairs to a vacant room and put her to bed with no fuss. Now Cyrene was really worried. Xena had never gone to bed without some sort of struggle before. That lost, wounded look in her daughter's eyes made Cyrene anxious. Where was Gabrielle?


The bard stood at the edge of Amphipolis. She gripped the new staff in her hands. It felt good to have. She had gone through some changes and finally found herself. It had taken her several days to get to Amphipolis and she was nervous about seeing Xena. "Courage Gabrielle," she told herself and walked towards Cyrene's inn.

"Xena, eat something please," Cyrene begged. The warrior picked at her food. After a few moments, she pushed the plate back and rose from the table.

"I'm going out for awhile Mom. I'll be back later."

"Be careful," Cyrene called. Xena just nodded and left the inn.

The older woman watched her only daughter leave. Xena hadn't even been this broken when Lyceus died. Muttering to herself, she gathered up the plates left on the table and started to make her way to the kitchen to clean up.


The startled woman dropped the plates and whirled around. "Gabrielle!" she exclaimed and rushed forward to hug the bard. "Thank the gods you're here."

Gabrielle returned the embrace. She pulled back to ask Cyrene urgently, "Where's Xena?"

"She went out for awhile. I'm worried Gabrielle. I've only seen her like this once before, when her brother died. It's like she's lost all hope and just doesn't want to go on." Cyrene frowned.

"Has she...told you anything?" the bard asked hesitantly.

The older woman shook her head. "No, she refuses to talk. Please help her Gabrielle. If anyone can, you can."

"I'll try," Gabrielle said. "Do you know where she went?"

"No, but I have a pretty good idea."


Xena sat on a flat rock, watching her childhood fishing stream ebb and flow. The only sound was that of the water gurgling. She closed her eyes and let the serene scene envelop her. The warrior looked inside her broken heart, trying to find some remnant of her soul intact, but found nothing. All that she had become, Gabrielle was a part of too. All the goodness inside her, Gabrielle had helped her to find. There was nothing left without Gabrielle. The realization of just how desolate her life was unleashed all the pent up grief she had been harboring ever since she had left the bard. Tears fell unheeded as all the anger and pain came out. In a moment of pure sorrow, she threw her head back and screamed Gabrielle's name, and cried until she couldn't cry any longer.

Sitting there, she felt tired, but better. Suddenly, a familiar sense caused her head to snap up. It was the same sensation she got whenever Gabrielle was near or in trouble. She slowly turned to see the bard standing a few feet away. "Gabrielle," she breathed and rose to face her friend.

"Xena," Gabrielle whispered brokenly. They took hesitant steps toward each other until they were only a few paces apart.

"What are you doing here?" Xena demanded coldly, forcing down the joy at seeing Gabrielle.

"I came to find you," Gabrielle was confused. A moment ago, there had been happiness in the warrior's eyes, not this coldness.

"I told you, it's over," Xena said in a flat tone of voice and turned away from the bard.

"It will never be over between us Xena. You made a promise to me for the rest of your life. I won't let you break that promise."

"You don't have a choice Gabrielle." She didn't bother to turn around.

"Look at me," Gabrielle pleaded softly. The warrior turned, but kept her eyes glued to the ground. "Please Xena." Never one to resist her bard, Xena slowly lifted her face to look at her more closely. Her eyes widened. The mendhi was gone and Gabrielle had traded her sari for a garment fit for the Amazon Queen. Xena also noted the staff in her hands and raised an eyebrow in question.

The bard grinned. "Things have changed Xena, but not the fact that I won't let you go, not now and not ever. We can work this out. Give us a chance please," Gabrielle pleaded.

Xena looked away. "I told you, it's over."

"Look me in the eyes and tell me Xena, and I'll leave."

The warrior summoned all her strength and courage to lie with a straight face. She looked into brilliant emerald eyes and failed miserably. "'s..." She couldn't do it. "I don't want to hurt you anymore," Xena said tiredly.

"We hurt the ones we love. I hurt you too remember?" Gabrielle moved closer to the dark haired woman. Xena nodded in response. "Ok then. We hurt each other, but we make it up to one another and we go on. Give our love a chance Xena. Believe in me, in yourself...please," she whispered before pressing her lips gently to Xena's.

The familiar touch made them both groan aloud in both pleasure and pain. Gabrielle opened her mouth and sent her tongue forward to trace the line of Xena's lips. Instinctively, the warrior opened her mouth to receive the gentle thrusts of Gabrielle's tongue. Suddenly, Xena pulled away and pushed out of the embrace. Turning away, she said, "I'm sorry. I just can't."

"Don't turn away from me Xena. Don't you want me anymore?" Gabrielle asked fearfully.

Xena whirled around. "I want you so much it hurts. Not just for sex Gabrielle. I need you in my life. I feel empty and lost without you. I've cried more these past few days than I ever have in my whole life. I will always want you, don't ever think otherwise," the warrior said fiercely.

"I don't understand," confusion clouded her green eyes.

"It's like I can't touch you or be near you because of what happened with Hope," Xena shook her head. "She won this time. Gods, I feel so ashamed and disgusted. I knew something wasn't right Gabrielle. I DO know your body and your touch, I just couldn't figure out what was going on." The warrior gestured helplessly. "We had just started talking again and things were good. I didn't want to ruin it. We worked so hard after that disaster with Rafa and Dahje. But I know you and I knew something wasn't right. Then Hope used Ephiny to drive us further apart. Don't you understand, there is no way to fix this," her voice broke.

"I slept with my best friend's daughter, nearly killed the Regent Queen of the Amazons, and left you to deal with it all. You said it was about faith. Where was my faith in us?" Xena didn't wait for Gabrielle to answer. "It's gone. I lost faith in me and I let you down. Just leave Gabrielle. I can't be with you. I fuck up everything I touch."

With a cry of anger, Gabrielle swung her staff and brought Xena's feet out from under her. Taken by surprise, the warrior landed flat on her back with a heavy grunt. She looked up, stunned, into the furious face of the bard. "Dammit Xena, NO!" Gabrielle exclaimed, bringing the end of her staff to lift Xena's chin. "Now you listen to me. It takes 2 people in a relationship. I shouldn't have reacted the way I did when Hope revealed all. I was shocked, and disappointed, and hurt. I shouldn't have said I didn't want you. I said that out of anger and pain." The bard shook her head. "I just couldn't deal with everything, so I lashed out at the first person available. When you left the hut, Ephiny stopped me from going after you. Then at the river, you didn't even give me a chance to explain. You just took all the guilt and responsibility yourself and made the decision for us to separate. Look at me Xena, do I look like a child who can't make her own decisions?"

"No," Xena replied softly.

Gabrielle nodded. "That's right. I can make my own choices. I choose to take responsibility for my words and deeds. I choose to fight for us Xena. We made a promise to each other for the rest of our lives. I'm going to hold you to your promise princess. Are you going to hold me to mine?" The bard stepped back and held out her hand. Her face betrayed none of the anxiety she was feeling. She held her breath and met Xena's gaze, waiting for the warrior's decision.

Xena watched Gabrielle for a long moment. To someone who didn't know the bard, she would have appeared calm and collected, but Xena saw the slight trembling in her hand. She saw the fear and the worry in Gabrielle's deep green eyes. Her gaze never leaving Gabrielle's, she reached up and took her outstretched hand.

They stood looking at each other for several moments until Xena sighed deeply. "This isn't going to be easy."

Gabrielle smiled brilliantly. "I know, but nothing worth fighting for is easy."

Chapter Three

"A balance huh?"

"Yeah, I can have a balance between peace and aggression. Being the extreme helps no one, least of all me. I want to apologize to you Xena."

The warrior quirked her eyebrow. "Why?"

The bard grinned sheepishly. "For making you put up with me while I was being selfish. All I did was think of me. Not once did I think what my changing would do to you or to us. I'm sorry." The petite storyteller looked up at her companion.

"There's nothing to apologize about. As long as you're happy, I'm happy," Xena grinned, taking Gabrielle into her arms.

Gabrielle closed her eyes, letting Xena's warmth surround her. "Your turn," she whispered.

Xena tightened her hold on the bard. She took a deep breath. "Ok, when I looked inside me, I found that everything good inside, you've helped me to find. When I look inside my heart and my soul, I see a reason to go on now. Before I met you, I didn't know what it was like to care about anyone else but me," Xena dropped a kiss on the crown of Gabrielle's head. "You are the most dear thing to me. You believed in me when no one else did. You always know what to say to make me feel better, and I am so lucky to have you in my life."

Gabrielle leaned back and shared a smile with the woman who was the other half of her soul. They leaned forward to seal their lips together, just as their hearts had been joined. The kiss turned demanding after a moment as each woman sent her tongue forward to tangle and tease.

Xena felt Gabrielle twine her arms around her neck and press herself closer. The warrior felt dizzy with desire. She felt Gabrielle's hand leave her neck to slide her way inside the leather tunic to caress her breast. Abruptly, Xena broke the kiss and pulled out of the bard's arms. "Uh, I think I'll go see if Mom needs a hand." She turned and practically ran out of the room, leaving a confused bard gaping at her.

Gabrielle paced around the room she shared with Xena. The past few weeks they had shared the same bed but nothing had happened. All Xena did was hold her. When they had kissed just now, Gabrielle knew that the warrior wanted her. So why did Xena freeze and run like that? At first, Gabrielle hadn't given it too much thought, but now it seemed like every time she tried to touch Xena, the warrior ran like Hades in the other direction. It was really starting to worry her. The bard frowned thoughtfully. What to do? Suddenly, it hit her. Xena still felt guilty about Hope. Gabrielle shook her head. Tonight they would put the past behind them and all this would change. She looked out the window, it would be dark soon. 'And time for bed,' she thought wickedly.

Downstairs, Xena cursed herself for the hundredth time. She had a warm and willing bard upstairs and here she was, washing dishes. Of course, the menial task helped take her mind off the feel of Gabrielle's body pressed up against hers, but it did nothing to get the taste of her out of Xena's mouth. She sighed heavily. She wanted Gabrielle so badly, but she was still hesitant to initiate any lovemaking. There was still some residual guilt and disgust left over from her encounter with Hope. Xena knew it was ridiculous, but she felt like she couldn't touch Gabrielle. Every time she tried, it was as if Hope was standing there, laughing and sneering at her.

Xena finished rinsing the last pot and dried her hands. She walked out of the kitchen to see her mother shooing the last patron out the door. Cyrene turned and grinned at her daughter. "There's always one or two who don't want to go home."

Xena returned the grin. "And people say I'm the mean one."

Cyrene laughed. "Well, it's just you and Gabrielle upstairs tonight. No new customers and everyone else checked out today. I hope you two won't be too lonely," she winked when her daughter blushed.

Xena came towards the older woman and slowly leaned forward to give her a hug. "Goodnight Mom...and thanks."

Cyrene pulled back to look into her only daughter's eyes. There was no longer any pain or despair in her child. She nodded, satisfied that whatever had been troubling her daughter was gone. 'Thanks to a green eyed bard,' she thought mischievously. "Goodnight Xena."

The warrior turned and looked up the stairs. She closed her eyes. Another night of torture holding Gabrielle in her arms. 'Might as well go up,' she thought, trudging up the stairs to their room at the end of the hall. She stopped in front of the door. "Any last requests?" she muttered softly as she pushed the door open and walked inside.

"A quick and painless death," she whispered as she took in the vision lying on the bed. The warrior leaned back against the door. This was going to be harder than she thought. She quietly unfastened her armor and carefully stacked it on the table. Xena looked closely at the bard. Judging by her deep breathing, it seemed like Gabrielle was out for the night. Xena stripped off her leather tunic and adjusted her sleeping shift.

Making her way to the bed, Xena could see that Gabrielle was definitely asleep. The warrior drew back the covers and slid into bed. She had just barely settled in when Gabrielle mumbled something in her sleep and threw herself half on top of Xena. She drew a sharp breath when her hands met naked skin. Her heart skipped several beats and Xena momentarily forgot how to breathe. Desire filled her and she groaned softly. The gods were punishing her. She just knew it. Her lust was compounded as Gabrielle snuggled closer and sighed her name. "How am I going to keep my hands off this woman?" she mumbled softly.

"You don't," came the breathy reply.

Xena looked down to see Gabrielle looking up at her. Before she could say anything else, Gabrielle shifted positions so that she was straddling Xena's stomach. "I've been waiting for you," she said in a sultry voice.

"Really? Why?" Xena tried to keep her voice cool but failed miserably.

The bard just gave her a seductive smile and leaned in to give her a passionate kiss. Xena stiffened, and then relaxed, unable to resist the temptation of a good night kiss. A kiss that soon turned into another and another.

Gabrielle finally pulled away and fingered the straps to Xena's sleeping shift. "Too many clothes Xena," she gently chided. Before Xena could respond, Gabrielle had her sitting up and was stripping the garment off, leaving them both naked. The bard reached out to caress Xena's breasts. She was stopped by the flinching of the mighty warrior. Wary and anxious blue eyes met loving emerald ones. With amazing strength, Gabrielle shifted again and rolled until Xena was on top of her. When the warrior gasped in surprise, the bard merely grinned.

"You're in charge Xena. Take as much of me as you want. There's no hurry, we have all night." Gabrielle looked deep into the eyes of her mate. "I trust you," she whispered.

Breathless moments passed with anxiety warring inside Xena. She couldn't let what happened with Hope run her life. She had to trust Gabrielle and trust in herself. Taking a deep breath, she leaned down and brushed her lips with Gabrielle's. "Touch me," she whispered. The statement sounded more like a question.

"Anything princess," Gabrielle smiled. She returned her hands to cup Xena's breasts. She gently caressed each globe, rubbing her palms lightly against the already hardened nipples. When Xena gasped in pleasure, Gabrielle tugged and rolled the nipples between her thumbs and forefingers.

The feeling of Gabrielle's hands on her body made the warrior ache for a more intimate touch. She gently pushed away from the bard's hands and leaned forward to offer her breast to Gabrielle's mouth.

The bard needed no encouragement. She took the proffered nipple in her mouth and suckled gently. After long moments of sucking and gentle nipping, Gabrielle felt Xena's hands bury themselves in her hair, pressing her even closer. When the bard heard her partner's ragged moan, she grinned around the sweet flesh and decided to increase the torment. She continued to suckle the erect tip, laving her tongue around the hard point. With her teeth, she gently scraped the engorged flesh, holding it between her teeth, gradually increasing and then decreasing the strength of her intimate hold. Gabrielle let her hands roam, caressing the flat, well-muscled stomach and rested one hand on the flare of Xena's hips. She let the other hand trail down to Xena's sex. When she grazed the ebony curls with her knuckles, the warrior gasped and pushed back.


"It's okay love," Gabrielle soothed, "we'll go slower."

Their gazes locked and Gabrielle smiled sweetly. Xena's mind and body waged war. She wanted Gabrielle to touch her. She wanted to touch Gabrielle but... Her hesitation fled when she heard Gabrielle's tender words.

"It's okay baby. We can stay like this and savor this moment. It's just you and me princess."

The gentle words chased away Xena's fears and she tenderly drew Gabrielle's hand back down to the apex of her thighs. She captured Gabrielle's mouth in a possessive kiss.

The bard groaned in appreciation at the passion she felt in Xena's touch. She slowly slid her fingers through the dark curls and into the warm, wet folds. Feeling the moisture and heat her fingers were encountering, she drew back to whisper, "Gods, you're so wet for me." The warrior gasped at Gabrielle's impassioned words and her familiar touch. The bard slipped two fingers deep into the folds and caressed the swollen nub. Xena moaned in response and thrust her hips forward for more of the exquisite touch. The bard had closed her eyes, filled with the sensation of being intimate with her partner again. She was suddenly overcome by the urge to taste her warrior. Withdrawing her fingers, she whispered, "Let me love you Xena."

The warrior didn't respond. Instead, she rolled over putting Gabrielle back on top. The bard grinned and leaned forward to nip Xena's lower lip. She trailed kisses down to her chin to follow the elegant curve of her face up to her ear. Gabrielle playfully nuzzled the soft earlobe, eliciting a gasp from her mate. She traced her tongue along the shell and blew softly into her lover's ear. Gabrielle was rewarded with a soft moan and Xena tilting her head to give her better access.

The bard rubbed her teeth against Xena's earlobe and rained hot kisses down to the curve of Xena's neck. She nipped and sucked the sensitive flesh, leaving several dark bruises. Gabrielle could hear Xena's moans and felt fingers bury themselves in her hair, trying to press her closer.

"Oh gods Gabrielle, that feels so good," Xena panted in her ear.

The low, breathy sound of Xena's voice sent shivers down Gabrielle's spine. "It gets better princess," she promised before trailing biting kisses down to Xena's breasts. Encouraged by the warrior's gasps of pleasure, Gabrielle nipped her way down to the flat stomach that quivered beneath her touch. The bard looked up to see desire burning in the warrior's eyes.

The bard grinned wickedly and gently spread Xena's legs. She nuzzled the thatch of dark hair with her face and reveled in the heady scent of Xena' arousal. With a low growl of desire, Gabrielle pushed her tongue into the slick folds and was rewarded with a harsh groan from her lover. She continued her torture with slow strokes over the sensitive flesh, backing off when the warrior bucked her hips forward. Gabrielle grinned when her mate cried out at the loss of her touch.

"Gods Gabrielle..." Xena gasped.

"What's that princess?" Gabrielle taunted, luxuriating in her power over this strong woman.

"I need to feel you...please," Xena begged.

The plea in her lover's voice did not go unnoticed, but Gabrielle wasn't about to let her get off that easy. There was still a matter of paybacks to attend to. She owed Xena and she intended to settle the debt here and now. The bard brought her mouth up against her lover's ear. "Hmmm, like this?" Gabrielle inserted the tip of her finger just barely inside the warrior.

"Ahh...more..." Xena's voice was strained with desire.

"First, I want you to tell me something," the bard whispered as she slowly pushed her finger in a little further, "who do you belong to?" When she was met with silence, Gabrielle grinned and withdrew her finger ever so slowly. She repeated the process over and over again, until Xena was gasping and pleading for more.

"Nuh-uh, tell me Xena. Tell me what I want to hear, and I'll give you what you want," the bard breathed tauntingly, pushing her finger in all the way.

Xena was at odds again. She wanted more of Gabrielle, but she didn't want to submit, at least not yet. She groaned when Gabrielle pushed in all the way. She wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer.

"Tell me love. I want to hear you say the words," Gabrielle ordered gently. She directed her touch now to the slick folds, careful not to touch Xena's clitoris. The moans coming from her warrior told the bard she would be getting her way very soon.

"Gods," Xena hissed through clenched teeth, hoping against hope that the bard would stop her torture and get on with it.

"Then tell me what I want to hear," Gabrielle said mercilessly. She added another finger and teased the swollen nub, eliciting more gasps and moans from her partner.

"Yours," came the whispered reply. Xena could take no more, she needed deeper contact.

"I'm so sorry, I couldn't hear you," the bard said teasingly, still rubbing the sweet flesh down below.

"I'm yours Gabrielle," came the breathless reply.

"You ARE mine," the bard stated fiercely.

The pair locked gazes and Gabrielle's smile turned wicked. "Now that I have what I want, wasn't there something you wanted Xena?"

"Don't tease," Xena whispered helplessly.

"Why not? You teased me, and all is fair my love." The bard paused. "Still, it pains me to see you this way. All hot and bothered," she taunted, "but you've been such a good girl, I don't see why I can't give you what you want." With a smile, Gabrielle made her way back down to the heart of Xena' desire. She pushed her tongue deep into her lover's body, and groaned at the feel of hardy internal muscles pulling her in deeper. She withdrew and pushed back in, hearing her partner's moans and cries for more.

Never one to disappoint, Gabrielle withdrew her tongue and shoved three fingers deep into the wet opening. Her mouth found the swollen nub and she sucked it hard, while furiously pumping her hand.

The warrior was on fire. The feeling of Gabrielle being inside sent sensations cascading through her entire being. When Gabrielle had retreated, Xena felt an acute sense of loss. Before she could protest, she felt Gabrielle sink deep inside her body. A long moan escaped at the exquisite feeling of fullness. She barely had time to savor that feeling when Gabrielle established a swift rhythm with her hand, and started suckling the most sensitive part of her body. Colors danced before her eyes and Xena felt herself rushing towards her climax. It was only a few strokes later that her release came. Screaming Gabrielle's name, she could only lay there and feel as sensation washed over her and lifted her high above the clouds, where she stayed.

When Xena had stopped trembling, Gabrielle slowly withdrew her fingers and licked each one clean. Not content with the small sample, she leaned down to lap up all the moisture between her lover's legs. Her task completed, she came to rest her head on Xena's shoulder and absently stroked the sweat soaked skin. Her fingers were halted by a strong hand and she felt her chin being raised to look into deep blue eyes.

"I love you," Xena whispered, with tears shimmering in her eyes.

Gabrielle smiled. "I love you too."

"I don't deserve you Gabrielle."

The warrior was silenced by a finger on her lips. "No, we deserve each other."

Xena grinned, but a serious expression settled on her face. "All the best of my life comes in the time I'm with you." She leaned forward to gently kiss her bard.

"I feel the same way." Gabrielle snuggled closer and soon fell asleep, satisfied that the warrior fully belonged to her once more.

Xena listened to Gabrielle's deep breathing and closed her eyes. She felt so undeserving of the love Gabrielle gave her. Gods, she loved this woman, and to think she had almost lost her. The warrior hugged her bard tighter, silently thanking her for believing in them enough to fight for their love. Weariness and satisfaction filled her. Sleep soon overcame and for the first time in a long time, she slept peacefully and deeply.


Xena awoke to find emerald eyes watching her. "Hi," Gabrielle said softly.

"Hi." The word had a wealth of meaning. They grinned at each other and met for a good morning kiss that soon turned carnal. The warrior had just started to caress Gabrielle's breast when a loud rumble filled the room. Xena laughed when the bard grinned sheepishly.

"Ok, ok, I'll feed you." She rose and donned her clothes. Turning, she saw Gabrielle stretch languorously, like a contented cat. "You keep that up and we'll never make it downstairs," she warned. Gabrielle laughed and dressed in record time. She followed her warrior downstairs to sate another appetite.

Chapter Four

Xena and Gabrielle had been back on the road for some time. They fell back into their routine easily, saving villages, visiting friends, and loving each other. Each day, Xena let Gabrielle know just how much she loved her, and now, the warrior had something special for her bard.

"Xena, where are we going?" Gabrielle asked curiously. She was being led off the main path and into the woods. "Xena?" No answer from her lover. Gabrielle was starting to get a little worried. Lately, Xena had been pensive. The bard now wondered about her behavior as she was led deeper into the woods.

"Close your eyes."

Xena's voice interrupted her thoughts. The bard peered at her suspiciously. Xena put on her best sad puppy dog look. "Please," she whispered softly. With that one word, Gabrielle melted and closed her eyes. "Hold on to me." The warrior took her hands and started to lead her even deeper into the forest.

Gabrielle kept her eyes closed and let her other senses take over. She noticed the change when sunlight hit her face. There had only been the cool shade of the trees before. The terrain had changed, she noticed. Instead of brush, she now felt grass tickling her legs. She felt Xena stop. "Open them."

The bard opened her eyes to gaze upon a beautiful valley spreading out before them. A field of waving green grass rippled beneath a clear blue sky. Gabrielle gasped in awe. "Xena, it's beautiful," she whispered.

"No, you're beautiful." Gabrielle turned at the husky tone in her lover's voice. There was love and desire in Xena's eyes. She came to stand in front of the bard and smiled. "I have something that belongs to you." Xena withdrew a little pouch and opened it. Reaching in, she pulled out a golden band that shimmered in the sunlight. She knelt in front of her companion and looked deep into Gabrielle's eyes.

"Gabrielle, I would pledge my heart, my soul, and all that I am to you. I would give you my love, my undying devotion, and my protection. If you will have me, I promise you all these things for now, for tomorrow, and for all eternity."

Gabrielle smiled through her tears and held out her left hand. Xena slipped the band on her third finger and squeezed her hand. The look of tenderness in the bard's eyes was not missed by the warrior, as Gabrielle withdrew the larger band from the pouch and knelt in front of her partner.

"Xena, I would pledge my heart, my soul and all that I am to you. I would give you my love, my undying devotion, and my protection. I give myself to you and choose you for my Consort for now, for tomorrow, and for all eternity."

Trembling slightly, Xena held out her left hand and Gabrielle slid the circle of gold onto her third finger. They sealed their vow with a gentle kiss. "I love you," they said in unison when the kiss ended. Both women laughed and grinned at each other.

"Know what happens now?" Xena asked, mischief dancing in her blue eyes.

Gabrielle smiled and shook her head. "What?"

The warrior grinned wickedly and pushed Gabrielle back down into the soft grass. "The honeymoon," she whispered seductively.

The lovers soon became totally absorbed with each other, knowing that after all the trials and tribulations, their love was stronger than ever. They gave themselves to each other, each reveling in their heart's triumph.


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