The following story contains adult themes depicting explicit sexual relations between two consenting adults of the same sex. If you are under the age of 18 or reading this material is illegal where you live, please do not read any further. The writer as well as the person who maintains the website this work appears on accepts no legal responsibility for noncompliance with this warning.

The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, & Argo are copyrighted to MCA/Universal. They are used here without intent to profit from or infringe upon this copyrighted material. The rest of the story is copyrighted to me (posted April 15, 1997--L.N. James). Absolutely no original aspect of this story may be used elsewhere without the expressed prior written consent of the author. This story may not be altered in any way and this copyright information must appear with this work at all times.



Far Away/So Close

By L.N. James


"I see it in your eyes
Because I know it in myself
Here lies the truth
I’m beside myself beside you
I’m farawayupclose inside you
I’m wide awake in my dream..."—W.B.



The sun was only just starting its slow decent from the middle of the sky as the ocean beckoned it home. If a casual observer watched long enough, the sun would later appear to gently slip its hot, weary body in the cool water to prepare for the next day’s work. But for now though, the bright ball worked its magic and heated the land and all that found itself in the golden rays. The water lapped gently on the shore, its lazy rolls moving the sand below it in a lulling rhythm. The salt of the ocean was so thick in the air on this humid day one could almost taste it. Luckily, cool breezes across the water kept the shore cool and refreshing. Wandering too far from where the water met the sand and the heat of the day would be oppressive. Obviously, the smartest and coolest place to be on a summer day by the ocean is as close to it as possible.

The brown-white sand reflected the bright summer light of mid-day as two women and one horse made their way along the edge of the water, enjoying a barefoot walk, the warmth on their shoulders, and the cool salty breeze. The beach itself seemed to stretch forever in every direction and there wasn’t another living soul in sight. The edge of water was a good half a mile of sand away from where the scrub grass grew. And the forest itself didn’t start for another twenty yards from that. The nearest town was a day or two away and this beach might as well have been on the moon itself given how deserted it was. Naturally, the warrior knew this and that was why she had suggested they make a detour on the way to Corinth. There was no pressing business and no reason to hurry. Who could turn down a night or two on the beach with one of the most beautiful bards in all of Greece? And for the bard’s part, her Elysian Fields were right here next to the most majestic warrior she had ever known. Suffice it to say, neither one was complaining that’s for sure.

Both Gabrielle and Xena had long ago taken off their boots and were enjoying a quiet walk along the shore hand in hand as Argo followed behind the two. The two women were mesmerized by the sand at their feet as they walked and the blue of the ocean to their right. Gabrielle felt like she could have walked the beach forever just like this and Xena would have followed her too. Neither woman felt the need to speak (surprising for the bard, true); words simply could not convey the beauty and joy of living, of nature, and of each other’s hearts. Their thoughts were only on the water at their feet, the smell of the air, the breeze on their bodies, the soothing feel of the sand, and the warmth of their closeness. No worries, no danger, no helping, no healing, no regretting, and no past—just this moment in time together.

Gabrielle felt Xena squeeze her hand gently and looked up at her dark haired beauty. The warrior’s face was glowing and peaceful. She could get used to seeing this look more often on her overly stoic lover. She smiled up at Xena and credited herself with helping just a little bit in this transformation. It had taken the determined bard much patience and much time to carefully remove stone by stone most of the walls around the warrior’s heart. Gabrielle had carried each of those stones on her back and it certainly wasn’t an easy job. Gods know that if she wasn’t so strong herself, she would have never been able to do it. It’s easy to think that strength lies in raw power and brute force, but anyone who looks deeper can see that gentle strength comes more from the heart and from the soul.

"Whatcha thinkin’ about?"

The bard smiled at her tall warrior, her green eyes sparkling in the sun, and her voice floating in the air. The summer had bronzed her skin and her hair had lightened in response to the rays as well. Less red than blond these days, Gabrielle’s hair hung loosely down her back as the wind occasionally blew it. A simple braided leather band held all but her bangs back from her face. She looked positively radiant.

"You, of course, Gabrielle."

Xena brought her bard’s hand to her lips and kissed their entwined fingers lightly as she smiled down at Gabrielle. Her own skin was much darker and the contrast on their linked hands clearly showed whose body the sun liked to bestow its gifts upon more liberally. Her blue eyes were set off more during the summer it seemed and her hair simply added to her dark, exotic look. Days long ago, that look matched the personality behind it but these days it simply provided a beautiful irony.

Xena had changed certainly, but she knew Gabrielle was one of the major factors in this change. The warrior had built tall walls around her heart and her soul in response to the life the Fates had chosen for her. She knew it was necessary to not only protect herself, but also to protect anyone she may have ever loved or cared for against the true darkness. While Gabrielle had been the one and only person she had allowed past those walls, there were still places that not even the bard could go, let alone know exist. In the back of her mind, Xena knew the day was coming when she would not be able to shield the bard from an impeding storm that would rock whatever stability they now enjoyed. Not wanting to think about this, the warrior once again buried this fear deep behind the wall she felt crumbling just a bit every day. Unfortunately, this was not a barrier she ever wanted Gabrielle to cross. But the Fates one day would have other plans for the both of them. And only they knew if the young bard would survive...if they would survive. But today and tomorrow and many days after was not the time to worry about this. They were on the beach, together, and in love. There was simply no place for these thoughts in either one of their heads right now.

"Ah, good answer. I think I’ll keep ya."

A broad grin and chuckle came from the happy bard, her eyes dancing up at Xena as she leaned up and gave her lover a quick sloppy wet kiss that was supposed to be on her lips but ended up more on her chin. The warrior’s heart melted as she relaxed again in her love’s company. Why did Gabrielle always know exactly the right words? Must be some bardic sixth sense or something, Xena silently thought with a lopsided grin down at Gabrielle. Whatever the reason, Xena knew the young woman’s words could knock the wind right out of her harder than any warlord’s punch if the bard chose them carefully enough. The warrior at times wished she had the same way with words.

"Keep me, will you? I hardly think you have a choice, my dear. I’m staying put."

Xena gripped Gabrielle’s hand tighter as they continued walking down the beach, Argo following lazily behind, oblivious to anything but the thought of sweet oats that would be waiting her soon.

"Oh, yeah? Staying put, huh?"

Gabrielle raised her eyebrows up at Xena as she smiled her wonderful, quirky little grin.


Xena smiled smugly as she stared ahead, confidently looking as if she actually was the one who decided when and if the sun would rise or set. Too bad a bard didn’t agree, ‘We’ll see...’ Gabrielle raised one of her eyebrows as a wicked grin formed.

"How about a little kiss, Xena?"

Gabrielle casually pulled Xena’s hand entwined with hers behind her own back as she innocently batted her eyelashes up at her warrior and pulled the taller woman down sideways towards her. Like Xena could resist such an offer. As Xena leaned in for a kiss and their lips met, the bard strategically placed her left leg behind Xena’s right knee and pushed the warrior back in a dip as she moved their hands behind the warrior’s back to hold her. A nice, long, teasing, especially designed for this purpose tongue kiss followed until Xena felt like jelly in her arms. Then, unceremoniously, the bard tipped the balance on the warrior, moved her knee just a bit and Xena landed butt first in the surf. The warrior’s shock allowed Gabrielle just enough time to get her hand away and prepare for her extremely hasty exit. The bard had pulled the infamous "dip-kiss-spin-move" on a stunned Xena. She silently congratulated her Amazon sisters for showing her that one. She never thought it would actually work on the warrior.

"So much for you staying put, Xena!"

The bard giggled at her lover in the sandy water and then her eyes widened as the warrior’s blues narrowed dangerously. Her smile frozen on her face, Gabrielle’s mind was only able to form four words: "Run away, run away!". Unfortunately, her feet weren’t quite picking up the message just yet.

"Oh, Gabrielle, you are really, really going to pay for that."

Xena’s voice was low and menacing as each word slowly passed the warrior’s lips. Oh, those lips meant business as they curled in what Gabrielle wished was a nice happy smile but was more like a warning. Finally, her feat got the message as they carried the bard running down the surf, her pulse racing at the inevitable punishment. A huge bard smile was plastered across her face nonetheless.

By the time Xena was finished with her, she had been dunked in the water three times, rolled in the sand two times, and stripped of her wet clothes once. Both of them were a tangle of wet, sandy skin laying at the water’s edge, smiling in each other’s arms.

"Xena, that last dunk and sand roll was a little unnecessary, don’t you think?"

Xena lay on her back with the bard in her arms as she looked first at her smiling lover and then up into the blue sky, a crooked grin on her face.


Gabrielle just shook her head and then put it back down on Xena’s shoulder, knowing deep down inside she actually got off pretty easy. Not everyone dumps the warrior princess in the sand and lives to tell about it that’s for sure.

"You know though, I think there’s something from the sea living in my hair now."

The warrior leaned over and placed a soft, gentle kiss on Gabrielle’s sandy lips and smiled at her love.

"That’s just my hand, dear."

"Oh. Well, that explains it." The bard chuckled and winked at Xena. A familiar look came over the bard as she pulled the warrior to her lips once again.

A few more rolls in the sand, a few more kisses, and the sand gritting between their bodies was about enough of this beach thing for now. Besides, they had plenty of time later for other things.

Given that both of the women’s clothes were sand covered and wet, they would have to make do with other arrangements. The warrior knew she would be in for a long night of cleaning armor and leather, a small price to pay of course for the fun they had. After washing as much of the sand off themselves as possible, Xena took out an old shift and put it on while Gabrielle decided against formal clothing. Instead she dug through the saddle bag and finally located a large square piece of thin dark fabric she had purchased in the last town they visited. It was a deep indigo blue color with just a hint of deep green swirled throughout. It had caught her eye in the market place and Xena had nodded her approval when she held it up. That was enough for her.

"Aha, here we go"

Xena watched as the bard shook out the square of fabric and folded it an off-kilter triangle. Her eyes took in the sight of Gabrielle’s hands wrapping the ends of the piece around her trim waist and tying it at her right hip. When she was through, the bard had fashioned a skirt of sorts that covered most of the important parts but left an entire right leg and hip bare. Furthermore, this fabric also hung low to her hips just below her bellybutton and no one need be reminded of how wonderfully sculpted the bard’s stomach is, especially a certain warrior princess. As such, Xena was dazed by the beauty of her love’s simple attire. Turning around a bit, Gabrielle looked over at Xena with expectant eyes.

"So, what do you think? Does it work?"

The warrior’s eyes were glued to the line of smooth bronze skin that went down Gabrielle’s entire right side. The way the blue looked against the bard’s skin and that blondish-red hair of hers had a dizzying effect on Xena that’s for sure. Did it ever work..

"’s perfect, Gabrielle...beautiful."

With that, Xena pulled the bard in for one more passionate kisses as she let her hand wander along the bare stretch of Gabrielle’s skin from thigh to shoulder. She loved the feel of the soft, blond down of hair that covered the bard’s legs and arms. She could nibble on that all night, delighting in the feel of whisper-thin hair across her lips. If she was not careful, they’d be rolling around in the surf again. It took all of her self control just to stop kissing the bard’s warm lips and feeling her soft mouth and tongue. She couldn’t allow herself to look down at Gabrielle’s breasts pressed against the thin fabric of her own shift, both of their nipples full in response to the contact. This would be her undoing if she wasn’t careful.

The warrior’s strong arms around Gabrielle were wonderful. She could stand here forever with Xena just like this. It was times like these she was reminded of how protected the warrior made her feel. In the taller woman’s arms, she felt entirely enclosed and loved. It wasn’t so much physical protection that Gabrielle craved, though certainly Xena’s arms were more than capable of this task. No, it was a deeper feeling of having needs met that seemed intrinsic to all living things. The need to be cared for and to care for, the need to have a place in the world with another person, the need to share with someone a deeper bond that protected each of them from the rest of the world—these were the things that being in Xena’s arms and heart gave the bard. Part of all of this though was how reciprocal these feelings were. Gabrielle knew that, though it would be unlikely for Xena to admit it, she protected her warrior in just the same way. Her arms, yes her arms gave Xena the exact same feeling. Gabrielle smiled at that thought and hugged Xena tighter, nuzzling her way between the warrior’s breasts against the fabric of the shift.

"We’d better think about making camp soon."

Xena murmured into the top of the bard’s hair, still smelling much like the salt water of the sea. She smiled when Gabrielle shook her head and clung tighter to the warrior.

"Mmm, can’t I just camp right here where I am?"

Xena gave Gabrielle a tight squeeze and shook her head, smiling at the feel of her young lover against her body, not making any attempt to move. Her eyes looked up at the sun moving further down the sky and reluctantly pulled the bard out of her arms.

"The sun will be setting in a few hours so we should make camp before the tide comes in. I’m not all that familiar with this beach enough to know how far the water moves up the beach and I’d rather not have to drag your sleeping body out from under water."

"I hope you aren’t implying that I’m a heavy sleeper."

Gabrielle stepped back and put her hands on her hips with an impish grin on her face. Her still damp hair was a bit tangled as it fell down her bare shoulders. Xena had almost forgotten Gabrielle wasn’t wearing all that much but now she was reminded in a rather pleasant way. The bard’s beautiful breasts were full, the curves soft. The darker brown skin around her nipples were a wonderful contrast to the lighter skin surrounding them. The nipples themselves were reddish-pink and wonderfully responsive to the warrior’s touch. Xena had to drag her eyes and her thoughts from Gabrielle’s breasts if she ever hoped to make their way towards finding a camp site. Tonight, they would be hers.

"Gabrielle, all I’m implying is that the sooner we make camp, the sooner I make love to you."

Xena said this matter of factly as she turned towards Argo to tie their clothes the saddlehorn. She smugly smiled to herself as Gabrielle scrambled to grab Argo’s reins and hand them to the warrior.

"What are we waiting for then? Let’s go!"

The bard was halfway down the beach before Xena turned back around and started walking. Gabrielle’s unbridled enthusiasm always warmed the warrior’s heart. She was sure she had never been with a more passionate lover than the young woman. It surprised her sometimes because (to be honest) she had been with a number of people and the bard had only been with her. Shrugging, Xena could only surmise that she and Gabrielle were simply made for each other from the dawn of time. They complimented each other in every way, whether by design or by nature. Gods she loved this woman.



As they walked down the beach, the terrain changed slightly. Ahead in the distance they could see tall rock formations that jutted out from the land and down the beach. Tall curtain- like walls of rock fingered out and gradually sloped down to meet the beach. If one approached the shore from the water, one would see a series of naturally formed dividers that separated coves of beach and water. The beach itself seemed to slope down into the water at a more drastic angle than before so that the sand seemed to form a series of levels. Instead of the gradual meeting of the shore to the water, the beach was much more steeped.

Gabrielle and Xena made their way up away from the water to a higher beach level. As they approached one of the rock formations, a small concave part of the wall became visible. While not entirely a cave, it was more like a shallow grotto. It seemed to make sense to camp here where they would have some protection with their backs against the rock. As the Fates would have it, this higher perch of sand also afforded a most excellent view of the sun that was just thinking about setting. Driftwood was plenty so a fire for dinner would be easily do-able. Plus, not too far away, the scrub brush and grasses would allow Argo a chance to relax and nibble the sweet sea oats.

Gabrielle was quickly depositing their stuff down in the hollow of the rock formation as Xena unloaded Argo’s saddle and their bags and patted the mare’s rump as she trotted off to enjoy the grass. The bard took a good look at the back of hollow and could see a thin line of blue sky and beach on the other side. She put her head against the rock wall and was able to see a small cove of beach on the other side. It appeared that there was an identical hollow just like this one on the other side of the rock wall.

"Hey, Xena. You can see on the other side of these rocks in the back here.

There’s a crack in the wall and I can see..."

She realized she was talking to herself and the stone wall as Xena had gone off and was collecting driftwood for their fire. She smiled at that thought. Talking to rocks was certainly nothing new to Gabrielle, though she liked to think she didn’t do it unless under the influence of a certain substance.

Gabrielle turned and looked around them as she breathed in the sweet salty air. It wouldn’t be long before the sun set. A cool breeze had started to blow that helped cool down the beach. Finally the heat of the day was starting to abate. She smiled as Xena approached with what could only be described as a small forest of wood. Xena never did anything half-assed, that’s for sure.

"This is a lovely camp site, Xena, don’t you think?"

Xena put the wood down in a pile and moved over to their gear. She stopped and surveyed their campsite and the beach behind them.

"Yeah, it’s easily defensible and we can see miles down the shore."

Gabrielle watched her lover put her weapons down next to the bedrolls that were laid out. Always the warrior, Gabrielle thought. She moved up behind Xena’s back and slid her arms around the muscular stomach of her warrior princess. Her still bare breasts pressed against the thin fabric of Xena’s shift and the front of her thighs rested against the back of Xena’s legs. She placed a small wet kiss in the middle of Xena’s back and layed her cheek against the strong plane of muscles. Gods she loved this woman.

"I meant, it’s kind of romantic, the view of the ocean, the beach, the sunset. You and me in a secluded little alcove, no one for miles. The fact that I can’t wait to get my hands all over you...kiss you, make love with you all night. Did I mention the pretty sunset?"

Gabrielle smiled into Xena’s back as she felt the warrior’s stomach muscles tighten just slightly as the bard’s hands wandered up and innocently cupped the soft breasts of her love. Xena put both of her hands over Gabrielle’s smaller one’s and urged them to squeeze her tighter. Her nipples were hard in the bard’s palm and Xena closed her eyes against her young lover’s soft caresses.

Xena turned in Gabrielle’s arms and softly kissed the bard’s lips. She took in the bard’s sweet lower lip between her own lips and sucked slightly, loving the feel of Gabrielle’s warm breath against her skin. It never failed but every time Xena kissed Gabrielle, she always seemed to taste like sweet fruit. And it always amazed the warrior that the bard’s kisses could be feather soft or iron strong, depending upon the response she wanted to get from her warrior lover. Soft, sweet kisses always melted Xena and made her slightly dizzy and weak. Gabrielle used these to overpower the warrior while they made love, gaining the upper hand every time she kissed Xena with an almost innocent shyness that belied the true state of affairs. Hard, passionate kisses from her young lover always drove the warrior and ignited her own aggressive responses. The bard used these kisses when she wanted Xena to unleash her power on her, when she needed to feel the warrior’s strength against her. Gabrielle instinctively knew which kiss Xena needed and when. The warrior was about to move to Gabrielle’s neck when the young bard stopped her. Her blue eyes opened as she looked at Gabrielle questioningly. The bard smiled softly at her love as she stepped back.

"Before we get too carried away, I want to go get something."

Xena’s eyebrows furrowed as she looked at Gabrielle. She was truly puzzled.

"What do you mean, you want to go get something. All our stuff is here."

Gabrielle smiled as she moved back in and put her arms around her warrior’s waist. She was only going to go explore the other side of the rock formation where she had spotted some amazing flowers through the crack in the wall and wanted to surprise Xena with a bouquet for dinner. Nothing big, but she liked to do small things like that since she knew that the warrior secretly enjoyed such gestures from her bard. As much as Xena would never admit it, she liked when Gabrielle thought of the little things. Sometimes in the course of a relationship, it’s the little things that others do (or don’t do) that really matter.

"I’m just going to go over on the other side of these rocks and explore a bit. I’ll be back before you know it with a little surprise."

"Mmm..what kind of surprise?"

Xena looked over the bard with a silly grin, visions of the possibilities floating around in her head. Xena knew nature itself held many things that had many her curiosity was piqued by the young bard’s ever present creativity.

"Now, Xena. You can be patient can’t you? Besides, you have enough to do with cleaning your leather. Gods only know why you got it all wet and sandy in the first place."

A mischievous smile crossed the bard’s face as she stepped back from the warrior in time to avoid any retaliation. Xena tried to look stern but all she could do was smile in response to Gabrielle’s teasing.

"You still owe me for that, little bard."

"Mm hmm...and I intend to pay in full when I return."

With that, Gabrielle nonchalantly moved her leg slightly which in turn moved the square of indigo fabric and revealed more of the bard’s thigh to the warrior. She bent over and casually picked up her staff, a water skin, and her satchel, making sure Xena got the view she intended to give her. The warrior princess watched as firm stomach muscles moved and Gabrielle’s full breasts hung seductively as she leaned over and retrieved the items. She got a tiny glimpse of soft, blond hair beneath the skirt before Gabrielle once again stood and smiled at Xena as she put the skin and satchel on her shoulder.

"I’ll be back soon."

"’d better be, Gabrielle."

Xena’s voice was low and almost a growl, desire welling up in her throat at her young beauty. She swallowed involuntarily at the thought of taking Gabrielle then and there, to Hades with waiting. The muscles in the warrior’s neck and shoulders clenched a bit as she fought for control over her own body. She almost lost it when Gabrielle leaned up and licked Xena’s lips with her tongue and turned off down towards the water, her voice tossed over her shoulder back at the warrior.

"I’ll be back before sunset, I promise."

"Remember the tide, Gabrielle, don’t forget to watch the water level and don’t get stranded somewhere for Zeus’ sake."

The warrior’s words drifted down towards the receding form of her bard.

She checked the sun and saw it was just beginning to dip into the water. Another hour or so and the sun would be down completely. The warrior was actually thankful for the long arduous task of cleaning her leather and armor that lay before her. It would help take some of the tension away that the bard purposely (she thought) left with the warrior. Plus, it gave her some time to think about all the ways she was going to make love to her young bard. "What is it about the beach that makes people so...horny!?" Xena smiled to herself, not sure where that word came from but thinking it pretty much wrapped up the feelings.

Gabrielle approached the water and looked back up at their campsite. It was a good fifty yards from the water and high up from the point where she was. The beach angled down in a rather steep slope as she walked down and around the end of the rock formation. The waves from the ocean were already starting to move towards the tip of it. The entire finger of rock was probably only four or five feet in width but it sloped up steeply back towards their campsite. As she rounded the end and made her way back up the sand on the other side of the wall, she marveled at the small inlet cove on this side. It was as if it were a completely different beach. The bowl shape of the cove was surrounded by higher dunes of sand that sloped into the harbored pool in the center. Gabrielle could also see that the other side of the cove had a rock formation just like the one next to her that protected the area and made it seem very cozy. The back of this cove had another cliff for its back wall and there were a few trees and plant growth before the cliff. Coming down from the cliff was a small waterfall that emptied into the pool in the middle of the cove, fresh and salt water combining. Too bad they hadn’t gone just a little bit further and made their camp in here. Maybe tomorrow...

As she made her way up along the side of the wall, she finally spotted the clump of exotic flowers she had spied through the crack in the wall. Some where bright orange and others were yellow, the petals streaked with black. Each was large and full, blooming. Making her way over to them, she bent down and smelled their sweet fragrance. She closed her eyes and a slight smile crossed her lips. Something about them reminded her of the exotic scent of her warrior lover. Gabrielle absolutely loved how Xena smelled, everywhere. Her hair was a mixture of bergamot and arnica, the skin on her neck and between her breasts was vanilla, behind her knees was jasmine, and between her legs was wild honeysuckle-musk. This exotic flower was Xena and Gabrielle could have stayed here forever, flooding her senses.

The young bard carefully broke the long stems of three of the flowers and gathered them in her hands. Further into the foliage, she spotted even more beautiful flowers and made her way in, collecting vines and flowers as she went. Her bardic mind busy at work committing the scene to words, tossing and turning over descriptions of this little piece of Elysium here on earth. Time got away from her until she realized it was getting darker and she remembered Xena’s warning about the tide. Carefully collecting her exotic bouquet, she made her way back towards the rock wall, the sun was setting on the other side so the cove was darker than she expected. As she made her way over the ridge of sand to go down to the water and around the rocks, she suddenly stopped.

The tide had come in quickly and without notice and now the end of the rock wall was submerged in water a good twenty yards out in the ocean. From having walked up the slope of the beach, Gabrielle knew that the water had to be fairly deep out there and looking at the filled cove to her left, she quickly realized she had underestimated the ocean and the tide and the power of nature. The wall was far too high to even think about climbing. She shook her head at her own misjudgment. Why in Hades did she need to leave her warrior for a bunch of stupid flowers?

Sighing, she looked around in the fading light and suddenly remembered the crack in the wall. Carefully she picked her way back up along the sand with the wall close to her side. She knew she was looking for a small indent or alcove like the one on the other side. As she passed by a small area in the rocks, her eyes caught a glimpse of light through the rocks. Running up, she peered through the crack and saw the flames of their campfire glowing brightly and her warrior sitting next to it, polishing her armor. She smiled in relief as Xena continued with her task.

For the warrior’s part, she had grown much more accustomed to letting Gabrielle make her own decisions and be more independent. Some of her over-protective instincts had been slowly challenged by the strong-willed bard. She knew Gabrielle could take care of herself in most situations and so she felt some of the burden of worrying about the capable young woman slip with each day. They were equal partners in this relationship and toward that end, Xena simply had to relax and let Gabrielle be and do what she wanted, even if she didn’t always agree with it. She would have wished that the bard had not gone off around exploring alone but she felt confident that Gabrielle could handle whatever she encountered. Besides, the bard had taken her staff and suffice it to say, the woman could handle a stick.

"Xena, honey, it’s me."

Gabrielle’s soft voice floated through the crack in the wall and was echoed by the alcove. Xena’s ears picked up the voice but couldn’t quite figure out where she was. She knew she would have heard her coming up the beach. The glare of the fire in front of her had effectively obscured her view of the water so the warrior stood and looked down the slope to the ocean. What she saw was exactly the same sight Gabrielle had on the other side. Deep water from the tide making passage around the rock difficult.

"Where are you, Gabrielle?

"I’m over here, behind you...on the other side of the wall."

Xena turned at the sound and moved in to the hollow of the rock formation. She followed the voice and tried to make out where it was coming from. It had become dark quickly so she could see nothing on the other side.



Xena’s ears instantly found the sound and found the crack in the wall with her fingers. Peering through, she could barely make out the white of a bard’s green eye looking back at her, barely a yard away.

"What happened? I was starting to get worried about you, Gabrielle."

"Oh Xena, I’m sorry, I was just getting some flowers for you, you wouldn’t believe how beautiful it is over on this side, there’s this great cove and these flowers, and well, I sort of lost track of time and..."

"It’s ok, Gabrielle. I’m glad to hear you’re safe."

The warrior smiled at how the bard could ramble sometimes. She did feel relieved that her love was safe and secure. Now, how to get her back over on this side and in her arms where she belonged, that was the question. Damn the rocks. Her warrior passion kicked in as she thought of strategic ways to fight this problem.

"Gabrielle, I’m going to swim out and around and come over there and..."

"Oh, no you’re not, Xena."

The warrior was stunned. Gabrielle’s voice was forceful and direct. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It almost sounded like an order from the bard.

"What do you mean, I’m not?? To Hades, if I’m not! You’re going to stay right where you are and I’m going to come over there right now."

Gabrielle smiled on her side of the rocks and shook her head. Sometimes the warrior princess was just so...stubborn.

"Calm down, love."

She could virtually hear Xena’s voice rising and her breathing increasing.

She wished she could put her arms around her warrior.

"Calm down...come here."

Gabrielle’s voice was soothing and soft as it made its way through the wall to the warrior. The rocks had provided a virtual amplification chamber and even the softest words were clearly audible.

Xena relaxed at the sound and unclenched her fists. Her bard’s words and voice were all that were needed sometimes to put out any fire in the warrior...or to start one. She leaned in once more to the wall.

"Xena, first of all, I love you."

The bard always knew just the right way to start a conversation. The warrior’s heart melted.

"And second of all, it would be silly for you to try to swim out there in the dark with who knows what in the water."


"Shhh...let me finish, love."

Only Gabrielle could command Xena with her voice. The warrior allowed no one to challenge her, let alone forbid her from doing something. However, the love of her life had free reign in that department. She narrowed her eyes as she let Gabrielle finish.

"And third, it isn’t the end of the world and we’ll only be separated for a while until the tide goes back out."

Xena listened as Gabrielle continued her litany of arguments. Sometimes she silently cursed herself for getting involved with a bard.

"Fourth, it isn’t dangerous over here. The cove is completely surrounded by water or rock cliffs. And even if something came up, you know full well I can take care of myself."

Xena smiled as she heard a hint of challenge in the bard’s voice. She knew better than to question Gabrielle on that issue.

"And fifth.."



"You win."


"You heard me."

"I won?"

Gabrielle was the one who was stunned this time. She had fully expected that it would take at least ten or eleven points before she convinced the warrior that they should just wait until the water receded before dealing with this separation issue. A crooked grin crossed her face at her seeming victory.

"So, you aren’t going to try to come over here."


"And you’re ok with me being here alone while you are over there."


"Xena, are you feeling feverish?"

The bard smiled when she heard the warrior chuckle. In her mind’s eye, she could see the grin Xena would have on her face and the way her eyes lit up when she smiled.

"Gabrielle, if you’re ok by yourself over there, then I trust your judgment on this. It really doesn’t make much sense for either one of us to risk the swim when it’s just as easy to wait. However, I can tell you how disappointed I am about not having you in my arms right now. And not having you...tonight."

"Oh, Xena, I’m sorry..."

Gabrielle’s words were soft because she knew that she had previously left her warrior with just enough teasing to start making it uncomfortable for Xena. Gods, she had planned on devastating that woman tonight on the beach with her kisses and her touches and had promised as much. The bard knew that once her lover’s passion was aroused, it was hard to control. There must be some way around this damn rock wall.



"..And so, the two lovers decided to built a garden together. Of course, each of them had their own ideas about how the garden should look. One of the lovers wanted all of the flowers and trees growing together without any rhyme or reason, no barriers between where one grove of trees or batch of flowers grew and another started. The other lover, however, wanted to make sure that in the garden the roses grew with the roses and the fig trees grew with the fig trees and the orchids grew with the orchids. In order to do that, this lover wanted to build small stone walls to separate each part of the garden."

Gabrielle paused as she took a bite of her apple. Thankfully, she had brought her satchel with her and had an apple in it. Gods, she was starved. She was laying with her bare back on the sand with her head as close to the rock wall as possible. The crack between the rocks went all the way to the ground so they could hear each other plainly. With her head on her satchel and her staff at her side, one knee bent up and the other crossed over it casually swinging her bare foot, the bard was happily munching her apple looking up at the stars, talking to her lover who was so far away and so close all at the same time.

Xena smiled as she heard Gabrielle chewing her apple. She felt sorry that the bard only had the apple while she had their rations of bread and cheese and dried meat. She figured Gabrielle would survive though, but Gods that woman’s stomach had a mind of its own. She’d make sure the bard had plenty to eat when they were reunited, you can be sure of that. The warrior lay in the exact same position as her bard on the other side, head in the alcove near the crack in the wall, her legs stretched out in front of her with her ankles crossed and both hands behind her head. Still dressed in her shift, she watched the fire burn down. She was glad the night was warm as her mind went over an image of Gabrielle in her simple but sexy blue wrap skirt and nothing else. Better let that thought go for the moment.

"Well, what happened with the garden?"

Xena’s voice drifted through the rocks to Gabrielle as the bard swallowed her bite. She smiled at how patient the warrior was with her stories. As much as Xena tried to pretend otherwise, Gabrielle knew that she always had her lover’s full attention when she talked.

"Well, you can imagine that this caused the lovers great distress. Each of them wanting to do things their own way. One lover building all sorts of stone walls around the irises or the pear trees or the lilac bushes while the other lover would go around tearing the walls down. Each time one lover would try to build a wall, the other one would go tearing it down."

"Sounds like a communication problem to me."

Gabrielle chuckled at this coming from her warrior.

"Well, sometimes these lovers did have trouble talking about things. But because the garden they were growing meant so much to both of them, they knew that the only way to solve their problems was to talk about how they were going to compromise."

The bard took a sip of water from her waterskin and threw the finished apple core far into the water down below. She smiled as she heard a satisfying kerplunk.

"Finally, after the one lover had taken down almost all the walls the other lover had built, they had come to a standoff. The one lover who wanted to keep the different parts of the garden separate had one remaining stone wall left in their garden. When the other lover came over and started taking the stones away, the first one was furious. ‘How dare you just destroy all these walls I’ve built! You simply assumed you could step in and make these decisions for us and undo all my hard work.’ The one lover was surprised by this reaction, not realizing that this meant so much to the other, ‘I thought we wanted to have a garden that was free to grow wherever and however it wanted.’ The lover who built the walls stood tall against these words, ‘That was what you wanted. We never talked about this. Don’t you see? For me, there has to be some way to keep the weeds out of our garden and the only way I know how to do that is to build these walls.’ The other lover realized that she had not been paying attention to the reason why the walls were built, only that they needed to be removed."

Gabrielle paused and closed her eyes. The dark night was completely silent except for the soft sounds of the ocean and her warrior’s breathing on the other side of the rocks. How she wished she was laying in Xena’s arms right now, feeling her love’s chest rise and fall as she breathed. Xena had closed her eyes as well and was listening to Gabrielle’s soft breathing.

"The one lover who had built the wall continued softer, ‘My love, I build these walls to protect our garden and each of the precious things we grow from being overtaken by weeds.’ The other lover looked up and smiled, ‘I’m sorry that I didn’t ask before I started taking them down. I didn’t stop to think that you built the walls to protect us. We should have talked about this before we started building our garden, but sometimes you don’t realize what you’re doing until you’re deep in the middle of it. And I can be a bit stubborn at times’. The other lover put her arms around and embraced the one while she continued. ‘But, I would feel uncomfortable if there were any walls in our garden.’

Gabrielle stopped when she heard Xena’s voice.

"But maybe that one remaining wall is the only thing separating all that is good in the garden with all that is bad in the lover’s heart."

Gabrielle shut her eyes at the pained voice of her warrior. The bard spoke again.

"But don’t you see, if the wall never comes down, the lovers will never be able to face whatever bad things there might be together."

"What if the bad was so bad that it could destroy their garden all together?"

"I don’t think there is anything two people can’t fight together if they confront it that way...together."

Xena shut her eyes and shook her head.

"Gabrielle, you don’t understand. There are just some things that no one can fight and I never want to see you hurt. One day, even I won’t be able to protect you from a part of me that darkens my life blacker than you can ever imagine. You don’t deserve that."

Gabrielle sat up and turned towards the rocks.

"Xena, I understand perfectly. From day one, I’ve known who you were and what you did and I accepted that. I fell in love with all of you, all the good and all the bad that makes you who you are just like you fell in love with all of me. And I’ll tell you another thing, Xena. I jumped into this wholeheartedly with complete consent and awareness of what I was getting into. I know that even you don’t have the strength to keep all your demons at bay and I accept that maybe, one day, I will be hurt by you."

"Gabrielle, I would never.."

"Wait, let me finish. Part of loving you Xena is knowing that you aren’t perfect. I know you can’t control everything as much as you wish you could. What happened in your past isn’t just going to go away because Hercules came around or because I came around to help you with a change of heart. Things just don’t change overnight. I know that, Xena. But you listen to me, warrior princess, if we don’t talk about these things and if you don’t tell me what’s going on with you, then we have big problems because you can’t fight these things alone and I can’t always read your mind and know what’s going on with you."


"And another thing.."

"Gabrielle, please."

Xena’s voice was pleading and it caused the bard to stop her steady stream of words.

"I know I’m not the most open person in the world but with you, I’ve never felt so free. I can tell you anything. I know that. And I love that you want to have all of me, everything without walls. But Gabrielle, I don’t know how and I don’t know when but one day, I will hurt you because I’ll let you take down the last of what’s holding back all the darkness inside of me. You know that’s the last thing on this earth I ever want to do. I don’t know if I could ever forgive myself."

The last of Xena’s words were choked out as her throat tightened. She knew the Fates would make her words a reality some day.

"Xena..if I was over there, I’d put my arms around you and tell that I forgive you right now and that I am willing to face anything to be with you forever, if I can. I love you and I always will. That will never change no matter what."

Xena could almost feel her bard’s arms around her and her words in her heart.

"If you were here Gabrielle, I’d kiss you softly and promise that I will always be honest with you and I will do my best to protect you because I love you with all my heart."

Gabrielle lay back down and closed her eyes, wishing she were laying in Xena’s arms, feeling her words against her neck.

"And I would kiss you back and tell you I would protect you too because that’s what we do for each other, together."

"And I would put my hands in your hair and softly kiss each of your eyelids and say thank you, Gabrielle."

"No, thank you."

The bard’s words were soft as she could almost see Xena’s face and feel the soft kisses the warrior would give her. Her heart grew wide with love and the desire to express it.

"Would you let me kiss you back, Xena? Softly..."

"Of course, Gabrielle. I would love that.."

"And would you let me put my arms around you tightly...making sure there was no space between us?"

"Yes, my arms would be around you too, love.."

"And could I whisper in your ear, the way you like?"

Xena could almost feel the bard’s warm breath on her ear and her face tingled at the thought She closed her eyes as a familiar feeling crept down her body, coming to rest soundly between her legs.

"Mmm..I love when you do that. What would you whisper?"

Gabrielle imagined her body laying on top of her stretched out warrior, her head bent down low against the soft skin of Xena’s neck, her blond hair falling across the tall woman’s shoulders and neck. Xena’s hands would be on the bard’s hip and on her back, holding her gently against the soft murmured words in her ear.

"I would tell you I love you...that I love laying here with you, pressed against your body, so warm and good you smell and that I love how you hold me and I love kissing you...especially on your neck..the way your muscles move when I give you soft little bites and you murmur my name with each one.."

"That would be wonderful, Gabrielle..."

They were both quiet for a minute, feeling the words and imagining the reality of them. When they were together, the passion and the caring and the love made every gesture and every touch magnetic.

The warrior broke the silence with soft words, wishing she could kiss her young love through the distance between them.

"Did I tell you how beautiful you looked today? Your skin looked so soft, it was all I could not to make love to you right there on the beach."

Gabrielle smiled softly at this. Given their current predicament, she wished the warrior had done just that. They were both left with the overwhelming desire to be physically close after having shared such emotional closeness. More than anything, Gabrielle wished she could make love to Xena.

"Xena, I want to make love to you, I want to touch you, and kiss you."

Xena’s heart went out the young woman on the other side of the rocks. Her words were passionate and the sound of need was clearly evident in her voice. Her own need was just below the surface as it was.

"Oh, love, you know I want that too. If we could, you know that’s all I would want."

"Then let me make love to you, Xena."

"We’re not exactly in a position to..."

"Xena, please...let me love you with my words. Let me touch you with your hands. I need to hear you, to have you."

It became clear to the warrior at that moment what her bard wanted and she wanted to give her everything she could and not deny her love anything. Gabrielle’s words once again brought the warrior to her knees even though she was laying down.

"Anything, Gabrielle, anything you want.."

Xena’s voice was a whisper but the bard could hear every word, every breath of her warrior. She closed her eyes and looked down at Xena’s face, those blue eyes she loved more than anything. The dark eyebrows and the sculpted face of her love, the skin so soft and smooth, warm to the touch.

"I would touch you softly with just my fingertips on your face, along your cheeks and over your eyelids...gentle...across your forehead and through your hair.."

Gabrielle’s soft words reached the warrior as Xena’s hand followed the path her bard described as she shut her eyes and listened to her love’s words.

"And then I would softly touch each of your lips, they’re so smooth and soft. I know how sensitive they are."

"Yes...for you, only.."

"And you would open your lips slightly so I could run my finger along the inside of your lip and the top of your teeth and inside your mouth, loving how your tongue would move against my finger as you closed your lips...sucking my finger in."

"Mm hmm"

The warrior’s own finger was experiencing what Gabrielle described. Xena could see in her mind the bard’s face smiling down at her, watching with fascination as the warrior would take her finger in her mouth. Gabrielle’s blond hair would softly fall down a bit from her shoulders and she leaned over the warrior.

For the bard’s part, she had bent one of her knees and one hand softly touched her own breasts as she imagined it was Xena’s hand. Strong fingers with such a gentle touch when she wanted. Gabrielle’s nipples hardened at the thought as she voiced her actions.

"And your hand would be on my breast, touching me lightly and squeezing my nipple between your fingers...oh Xena.."

Gabrielle let out a small moan as she squeezed the sensitive flesh. In her mind, she could see the warrior looking up at her face as Gabrielle would close her eyes at Xena’s touch, her head falling down lower, opening her eyes to watch the warrior’s hands caress her breasts and roll her nipple between those wonderful fingers of hers.

Xena sat up and quickly discarded her shift over her head. When she had heard Gabrielle softly moan, her pulse had quickened by what the bard was doing to herself across the barrier between them. She needed to feel Gabrielle’s hands on her breasts.

"Gabrielle, put your hands on my breasts."

The warrior’s words were an order and the bard groaned as she took her own breasts fully in her hands, now imagining they were Xena’s.

"Gabrielle, if I asked you to squeeze my nipples harder, would you? Would you be rough with me?"

Xena’s words sent a shockwave down the bard’s body as she pulled her own nipples harder and cried out. The passion Gabrielle ignited in Xena made her blue eyes cloud over, wishing she could handle the bard roughly as her control slipped away. The warrior relished Gabrielle’s sounds more than anything in this world and she felt herself throbbing to her very core.

"yes...I would do that, Xena...whatever you wanted."

The words were coming harder for the bard as her hands roamed over her stomach and breasts, visualizing they were the warrior’s strong demanding hands. She could feel her wetness against her thighs as she tore off the skirt she wore, knowing Xena would have done the same thing were she there.

The warrior was having a hard time keeping her hands away from where she was all heat and fire. Her own breasts were aching from the touches she gave them, nipples wishing Gabrielle’s warm mouth was around them.

"Gods Gabrielle, I wish you were sucking on my nipples.."

Gabrielle moaned softly at the words, wishing for the exact same thing.

She wasn’t sure she could wait much longer.

"Let me have you, Xena, let me hear you..."

The bard’s words were pleading, they both needed each other, they both needed the same thing.

"You have me, have one finger inside of me."

Xena slipped a finger inside and let out a small groan at how good it felt. She heard her bard’s breathing increase after her words as the young woman let out a small growl at the thought of what her warrior was doing.

"Oh Xena, please...tell me how you feel...I need to know..."

Gabrielle’s words were almost desperate. She slipped one of her own hands down between her legs and felt how wet she was. She knew her warrior was always wetter than she and she shuddered at the thought.

" feels good, Gabrielle, you feel make me so wet when you touch me.."

Xena’s voice was languid and low, almost purring. It hit Gabrielle like a rock.

"Tell me..tell me what you’re..what I’m doing...please..Xena.."

Gabrielle’s own fingers slipped over the place where she was most sensitive and she let out small moans as her fingers moved a rhythm against herself that was more ancient than the mountains that surrounded them.

"You’re sliding two fingers deep inside of me...mmm"

Xena let out a loud moan and Gabrielle’s other hand went down between her legs as she bent her knees and spread her legs further so that she could have better access. She slipped in two fingers right away and groaned at how full she felt, how full her warrior made her. She wanted to be on the same rhythm as her love.

"Tell me...when you go inside...please.."

"You want to know when you’re inside of me, Gabrielle? Is that it?"

Xena’s voice almost had a seductive teasing sound to it. Now was not the time for teasing a bard.

"Yes! Tell me!"

Xena smiled at the bard’s order. But first...

"Before I do that, Gabrielle, I need to know that I am making love to you at the same time."

"Oh, Xena, you are, I promise you are...gods, I love how you touch me..I need you..please.."

In her mind, she thought of how her bard looked right now, how her hands moved against herself, how Gabrielle’s eyes would be closed and her brow furrowed. The warrior wanted her bard to have release and she wanted to hear her. Nothing drove the warrior more than to hear her bard’s cries.

"’re inside of me now...and now...and"

Each word coincided with two fingers moving deeper inside of Xena, the wetness slicking her hand as she pressed her palm against her sensitive center. Gabrielle kept pace, following the words with her own fingers, almost feeling like she was making love to and being made love to by Xena all at once.

Pretty soon, the ‘nows’ blended together as the pace quickened. Gabrielle tried to keep quiet as she listened to her warrior’s words which were becoming increasingly difficult to understand. Instead of words, Gabrielle heard the familiar sounds of Xena’s passion she had come to know and love. In her mind, the bard could see Xena’s face. Her mouth would be open slightly, low growls interspersed with murmured ‘Gabrielles’, her eyes open and locked on Gabrielle. The bard herself could never keep her eyes open when she felt the waves of pleasure overtaking her, but Xena always, always kept her blue eyes open and locked on Gabrielle’s green during the height of her climax. Only after the last wave rolled over her, would she close her eyes exhausted and fall in the bard’s arms. It took all of Gabrielle’s concentration right now to keep the pace set by her warrior and keep quiet enough to listen to Xena. Her legs were shaking as her own hands worked a rhythm in time with her lover’s.

Xena knew she was close and she knew Gabrielle was waiting to hear her. She also knew that the minute she cried out, the bard would join her and then she would hear her lover’s cries too. This thought and the feeling of the steady rhythm of her fingers inside and her palm rubbing against her most sensitive center sent the warrior over the edge.

"Oh gods’m coming"

Xena’s hips bucked up as she moved in time with the waves of pleasure washed over her. Her ears registered Gabrielle and she quieted herself down as best she could to listen. As soon as Xena had told her when, Gabrielle felt her own body tighten around her fingers as she listened to the warrior’s cries. In her mind’s eyes, she saw her lover’s face and hands and body and the sound of Xena’s release took her over the edge to follow.

"Yes, Xena....ohhh....yes!"

Each one rode the waves of their passions, inspired and inspiring the other with the sounds of pleasure. Their bodies were no longer separated, their hearts and souls were together. They felt connected deeper than any ocean between them. No walls could come between them now as their union was not bound by the physical plane. They had found their other half and nothing could ever keep them apart. Their love knew no limit. They existed together and forever in this moment in time.

Gabrielle rolled on her side, her face flushed and sweaty. She could care less about the sand all over her body as she wrapped her arms around herself, feeling Xena hold her as she always did after they made love. Xena was in the exact same position, her arms tightly around the bard, holding her while their breathing subsides and they rest in each others arms.

"I love you, Gabrielle..."

Xena would have murmured this in the back of Gabrielle’s ear and neck, nuzzled against the bard, blond hair soft against her face. Gabrielle could almost feel the warmth of Xena’s voice on her neck as she held herself tighter, almost feeling the strength of the warrior’s arms around her and her body solidly wrapping behind her.

"I love you too, Xena...with all my heart.."

That was the last thing the bard remembered saying as she fell asleep, cradled in her own arms and those of her warrior princess. A slight smile played across her lips as basked in the warmth of her lover’s arms and her lover’s heart.

When she woke the next morning, Xena’s arms really were around her holding her tight. She felt solid muscled arms across her belly, pulling her into the even more solid body of her warrior princess. Xena’s legs were entangled with hers, warm breath against her neck as she woke to Xena’s light breath. The first few rays of sun started coming up over the eastern horizon as they lay in the sand. Gabrielle turned slightly and saw that Xena was watching her.


"Good morning, sleepyhead."

" feels so good to be in your arms...I mean, really in your arms.

How long have you been here?"

Xena kissed Gabrielle softly on the lips, smiling at the little bit of sand she felt on them.

"Since early this morning when it was still dark. The tide went out and I was able to walk around."

"Mmm..oh, yeah...the tide..."

Gabrielle’s sleepy words always melted the warrior’s heart. Xena smiled as the bard brought the warrior’s hand to her lips and kissed the two fingers she knew like the back of her own hand. She smiled as she could still faintly detect her favorite scent in the world on them.

"Oh, that reminds me..."

Gabrielle looked around the ground next to her and laughed a bit as she rolled over a little on top of Xena and pulled out a few of the flowers she had picked yesterday from underneath her, halfway buried in the sand. Who knew where the rest of them were, but the ones remaining were essentially crushed and wilting. She smiled as she held out three of the flowers to Xena.

"Here, I picked you this bouquet."

"Gabrielle, what happened to these?"

Xena laughed as she eyed the sorry looking flora and then smiled over at the bard in her arms. Gabrielle was smiling her goofy grin at the warrior.

" know...I’m kind of a deep sleeper, I guess I didn’t notice."

"Mm hmm.."

Xena’s eyebrows raised as her eyes sparkled at her love. Gabrielle smiled again as she pulled the warrior in for a tight embrace, relishing the physical reality of it all—solid and warm and loving. Her eyebrows arched as her eyes danced at Xena.

"But hey, you’s the little things I do for you..."

They both chuckled as Xena rolled Gabrielle over on her back and looked down at the naked bard below her before moving in for a kiss, blue eyes suddenly serious.

"Oh no, Gabrielle, it’s the everything you do for me..."


Colophon:The writing of this story was greatly aided by one can of Diet Pepsi, a wonderful nap I took this afternoon, and the music of Wendy Bucklew...the song "Good Answer" in particular (used without permission).


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