Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others from the show Xena: Warrior Princess belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended. All other characters are of my own creation and belong to me.


Subtext Disclaimer: This story implies a sexual relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.


Shock Factor: 4. Plan D #23.


Timeline: This story picks up a couple of days after where The Messenger left off.

Ann, thanks again.

Please send any comments to asdease1@gte.net


Enjoy, I hope.
‰z‰z



THE WISH

Written by FlyBigD



Looking out beyond the pillars of the promenade, Gabrielle stared at the gray sky that could be seen above the tree tops. On the throne, she sat cross legged, watching the monochrome clouds drift slowly by and felt the breeze moving them barely swirl the air in the throne room, reminding her of winter’s presence. In the air also was the reminder of what lay beyond her line of sight. As her lungs filled with the fresh crisp air, her senses picked up the hint of smoke that tainted the freshness and took her mind over the living forest to the one left devastated by Dahok’s fire. The still smoldering ash of what had been permeated the living with a low fog and gave the grounds surrounding the Palace an eerie feeling heightened by it’s emptiness. Only the sound of the wind broke the silence, as it rustled through the trees and that did little to break the spell holding her mind entranced.

Having been wrenched from the present by circumstances not of her creation, she sat surrounded by the past with her mind straddling the two worlds. Like the bridge that connected the living forest from the burned one, her soul felt stretched to cover the chasm separating the two. The home she’d left behind to come to this ancient one now felt further away than the distance it was in miles. Almost as if the two-story house and the life she knew were the old memories, instead of the place where she now sat. The Palace, though old enough to defy the imagination, was feeling more like home than the one in America. And yet, that life still called to her and she knew that as soon as Ares and T returned from dealing with the fall out from the battle, she’d be going back there, but the question plaguing her heart was whether or not that place was still home.

It was a feeling she’d felt before in preparing for the conference and going back and forth with T’s pregnancy, but this time it seemed as though she wasn’t just visiting this old world. Maybe it was the fact that she hadn’t just walked out her back door into it and the fact that she’d been thrust into the middle of a battle, or the fact that her old nemesis had reared his ugly head again, but for whatever reason, this time it was different. Perhaps it was the solidity of the Palace and it’s untouched pristine beauty that made her feel safe. In her other home she’d felt Dahok’s presence and the lingering memory of it gave her chills that had nothing to do with winter’s influence. Though she knew he was dead and would never return, her house had still been penetrated by his evil and because of that, she knew she’d never again be able to stroll in her front door without a sense of foreboding of what might be waiting inside. The comfort and security she’d enjoyed in that home for so long had been stolen and no matter how much she rationalized the idiocy of the fear she knew it would never go away. She may go back to that house, but the home she’d loved was gone.

Closing her eyes with the sorrow the thought brought, Gabrielle lowered her head and felt something move against her heavy clothing. Opening her eyes, she looked down at the baby nestled in the crook of her arm and pushed some of the blanket covering his body away from his face. Seeing a pair of pitch black eyes peek out at her, she smiled at them and moved some more material away until she could see his whole face. His expression one of true innocence and peace, she let her namesake’s presence release some of the uneasiness she was feeling and just stared at him, watching him work his way out of the nap he’d been enjoying. Raising her arm, she placed a soft kiss on his forehead, then lowered him again and got a huge toothless yawn in response. Chuckling at his gaping maw, she felt him wiggle inside his tightly wrapped coccoon and loosened it a bit so he could stretch his little legs. “There ya go. That’s better.” Whispering, she saw two small hands fight against the blanket and shook her head. “I give you an inch and you want a mile, huh?” Smiling at his struggle, she sighed and moved the material out of his way so he could stretch his arms along with his legs. “Okay, one good stretch, then it’s back under the covers for you, big boy.” Adjusting her hold on him, she let Gabriel have his way for as long as it took to work out some kinks, then wrapped him up again when his arms and legs sprang back. Leaving only his face exposed, she continued to smile at his changing expressions, letting it work wonders on her troubled soul.

At the edge of the promenade, Xena stood leaning against one of the large pillars with her shoulder. Staring up at the sky, she turned her head at the sound of her wife’s whispers and glanced over her shoulder to watch the pair on the throne. Smiling at the sight, she saw some tiny appendages poke out from the dark blue blanket and chuckled softly. Her own thoughts having been as deep and troubled as Gabrielle’s, she came out of them just as happy to let the newborn lift some of the pressing weight off her soul that had been building over the past days, since T and Ares had left. Watching the small battle for supremacy, she shook her head, then looked down as her hip was pushed sideways. Tugging on a furry ear, she had to bend only slightly to give Bud’s muscled neck an affectionate scratch as he rubbed his head against her. Feeling the warmth of his body on her leg, she sighed at the dreariness of the day and turned back to stare up at the looming clouds overhead.

It had already drizzled once that day, driving the moderate winter weather closer to what it should be and as she watched the sky, this native Greek warrior felt the storm brewing even without being able to see the dark clouds forming on the unseen horizon. As if her soul had somehow been tapped into, the weather mirrored her mood with it’s chill and overcast skies mimicking the thoughts in her mind. Her own sense of safety tested by the recent past, she was worried about what the future held for them and whether or not, she and Gabrielle would really ever get over this one. Though they were battle hardened veterans of far too many wars, this one had resurrected a fear in the form of the one person who got to them both and having to take Dahok’s memory back home was something she was trying to come to grips with. Unlike the old days when she and Gabrielle had wandered around fighting for the greater good on a daily basis, the world she lived in now didn’t have a clue as to what evil truly was and thought that those who said they did belonged in rubber rooms with wrap-around dinner jackets.

Lowering her eyes from the sky, she closed them as her head dropped down. Releasing a sigh brought on by her thoughts, she hung her head even further and shook it slowly. In her mind she saw the faces of the family waiting for her in that other world, who thought she was just the daughter they had raised her to be, instead of the two thousand year old warrior princess she was. She’d lived two separate lives for a long time, showing her family and the world the face they expected, while letting her true self come out only when Gabrielle was around. And it hadn’t even been hard to keep the worlds apart. She’d done it for so long, she didn’t have to think about switching from Greek to whatever language the natives spoke, the transition had become unconscious. Like walking through the portal into the Palace, all she had to do was step through one world into the other and answer to the name Grace. It wasn’t like they were two separate people, with different personalities. Grace was the name this set of parents had given her and she treated them as she had Cyrene. She loved them, respected them and found their tendency to nose around in her personal life annoying. But unlike Cyrene, Margaret Morgan hadn’t conceived a child with a new soul. She’d given birth to a body that wasn’t in her gene pool and held a soul that was feeling older than dirt. Though Xena didn’t love her new parents any less for them not being the originals, she did feel the guilt of not being able to show them all of who she was and this was never more apparent as she stood there on the promenade.

Opening her eyes, she lifted her head as the guilt of wanting to stay where she didn’t have to pretend anything, weighed upon her heart. She loved her parents and her family, but standing there, looking out over the forest, even with the overcast sky, she knew she would never feel more at home anywhere else. Greece was like an elixir and although home was where the heart is, and for her that would always be where ever Gabrielle was, the land of her birth was something that could never be substituted. It had called to her on more than one occasion and with all that had happened, she was feeling the banked embers of kinship rekindled. Having had to stand her ground and defend herself on home soil had sparked something inside her. Something she’d forgotten with all the business she’d had to take care of on her other trips there, but now that she’d had the quiet time to just relax and enjoy the peace, she was feeling that old desire come back. This, added to the fact that there was a lot of work to be done to rebuild the Palace of the Ancients and to replant the destroyed forest, was stirring deep emotions inside her. The thoughts of having to return home to be Grace again were becoming less appealing the more time she had to consider both of the lives she led. But there was a hitch in her growing desire and it was sitting on the throne. No matter how much she might yearn to stay here forever, if Gabrielle didn’t want to stay, moving back to Greece would become a faded memory with a simple ‘no’ from soft lips.

Glancing back up at the sky, she got the first glimpse of dark clouds over the tree tops and sighed. We’re gonna get nailed tonight she thought, and continued to stare out into the distance for another minute, then turned her head when she heard Gabrielle speak. Half turning her body around, she smiled and watched another struggle develop, but this one wasn’t over the need for more personal space. Instead of stretching, Gabriel was making a fuss over having to drink out of a bottle instead of getting his meal directly from the source. With T gone off to return the bodies of her Royal Guards to their families personally, her son was having to suffer in her absence and over the past two days, he’d made it quite clear that he preferred Mom to the latex nipple Gabrielle was trying to get him to suck on. It had also become apparent, to Xena anyway, that the baby had gotten twin monsters in his stomach; along with inheriting T’s incredible appetite and being named after the bottomless pit also known as her wife, the boy had become veritable eating machine. The only time he wasn’t hungry was when he was asleep and thankfully, since he was just days old, that’s what he did most of the time and these little battles were spaced fairly well apart. And, fortunately, hunger was a powerful thing and as she watched, Gabriel finally gave in to his fate and began making every effort to suck the bottle dry while making noises that definitely resembled a certain blonde when she got her hands on double chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. In other words, he was in bliss and let everybody know it.

Letting out a sigh of relief, Gabrielle could feel the eyes on her and looked up from pitch black to baby blue. Seeing the amusement in Xena’s eyes, she rolled hers and shook her head. “Don’t even say it.”

“Say what?” Shoving her hands deeper inside her jacket pockets, she shrugged and pushed off the pillar with her shoulder, rolling back to face the bard. “Like, he got it honestly, maybe?” Stepping around Bud, she walked across the marbled throne room towards the green eyed glare.

“Xena.” Using a warning tone, the bard narrowed her eyes to slits.

“Oh, wait.” Pulling one hand out from it’s warm spot, she held up a single finger. “Where have I heard that sumptuous smacking before? Hmmmm?” Flicking her eyebrows, she tip toed to close the distance to the throne and chuckled. “I know. Ice cream parlor.”

Unable to use her hands, because they were occupied, Gabrielle untucked one of her legs and swung it at the irritation. “I do not smack.”

Stepping over the lone leg, Xena trapped it with her two and leaned over, resting on the arms of the throne and smiled at her wife. “Yes, you do. Every time I do this.” Bending down, she flicked her eyebrows once more before her lips found Gabrielle’s and pressed them together for a short, but meaningful kiss.

Closing her eyes, the bard sat forward as the kiss became a little more intense than she thought it would be and had to concentrate on keeping her hands from dropping what they were doing. When she was finally released from the passionate hold, she forgot to not smack her lips and winced when she realized what she’d done. “Damn.”

Her smile smug, she gave Gabrielle’s button nose a quick tap. “Gotcha.” Leaning back, she put her hands back in her pockets and stepped to the side of the throne to avoid any retaliation from the powerful appendage.

Growling, she took her leg back, tucking it in place and chose to ignore the warrior, by checking on Gabriel’s progress.

Doing the same, Xena leaned on the side of the throne and peeked over the bottle. Seeing a pair of dark eyes turn her way, she smiled at them. “Hey, Buster. What ya got there, huh?” Tapping the end of the bottle, she got a milky smile and chuckled. “Good stuff, yea. Num num.”

Gabrielle smiled at the way Xena’s vocabulary dwindled to one syllable words when she talked to him and looked up to see the goofy expression on the warrior’s face, just before she switched back into warrior mode and cleared her throat. Preferring not to play the smug part, she let her wife get away with being caught and went back to watching her namesake, doing her the courtesy of changing the subject. “Is it going to rain?”

“Ummm.” Nodding, she turned to look out past the promenade. “We should go in soon. I think it’s going to be a gully washer and it’s going to start getting colder out here.”

“Should we try to check all the doors before it gets here?” Raising her eyes with the question.

Turning back, Xena shook her head. “T closed everything before she left and with Aphrodite off having her nails done, everything should still be secure.”

“Okay, just let him finish this and we’ll go in.” Returning her gaze to the baby, she checked the level in the bottle and smiled. “Huh! He’s got better timing than his mother.” Pulling the empty bottle out of Gabriel’s mouth, she held it up as evidence.

Xena rolled her eyes and took the bottle. “Guzzle gut. I feel sorry for the cattle population when he switches to solid food.”

Nodding, Gabrielle chuckled and untucked her legs to scoot forward in the throne. Coming to the edge, she started to stand and made a face. “Ow ow ow.” Ratcheting her body upward, she straightened with a grimace. “Either I’m getting old, or my butt is frozen.”

“Your butt’s frozen.” Announcing the lesser of the two evils a little too quickly, the warrior got a sideways glare and smiled innocently.

Disbelieving the attempt at innocence, the bard settled Gabriel in her arms then pointed a finger at the smile. “You’re older than me, just remember that.”

“Anything you say, sweetheart.” Nodding rapidly, she stashed the bottle in her jacket so she could use both hands to make a very dramatic attempt at helping Gabrielle down from the throne. Placing a hand on an elbow and the other on the lower part of the bard’s back, she smiled and urged her wife slowly. “Here we go. Where’s a Boy Scout when you need one?”

“Get your hands off me, you heathen.” Slapping the hand she could reach, Gabrielle eye’s turned as dark as the clouds on the horizon. “Don’t you touch me.” Her jaw clenched, she ground out the words through gritted teeth.

“Come on, Grandma . . . I mean Gabrielle.” Dodging the swatting hand and the storm warning, Xena was virtually bouncing as she continued to try to guide her apparent aged partner towards the stairs with a poor attempt at disguising her mirth. “Here ya go, honey. That’s right sweetie, just take your time. Take all the time you need.”

“Get the hell away from me. Don’t touch me, you snot nosed brat.” Trying to make her own way to the stairs and become a widow at the same time, she swung her one free arm as best she could without dislodging Gabriel from the crook of her arm. “Xena. I mean it!”

“One step at a time, sweetheart. That’s it. You can do it.” Ducking and weaving, she somehow kept a step ahead of the blonde fury and continued to taunt her. “Don’t worry. I’ll have T put in an elevator next week.” Backing up the stairs, her smile was very sympathetic towards Gabrielle’s plight. “We’ll make these nasty stair go away.”

“You’re going to die, do you hear me? Stop touching me!” Glaring green fire, she walked slowly up the stairs towards the balcony, her eyes glued to the blue eyed woman who wouldn’t live to see the dawn and continued to try and knock her block off. “Get away from me!”

Gabriel, who was still hungry, had a dimpled smile on his face and somehow managed to forget the monster in his tummy as he was carried up the stairs and enjoyed the show from his perfect vantage point. His eyes shifting back and forth, he watched arms fly and gave up a soft newborn giggle at the antics of his babysitters.

“Look out, honey. This is kind of a sharp turn here.” Swaying back from a particularly good swing, Xena stepped off the stairs onto the balcony and made the turn towards the chamber door, still being annoying and chuckling all the way. “Careful now. That’s it. Little steps.”

“You touch me again and you’ll draw back a bloody nub, you hear me?!” Gabrielle’s maternal instincts kept Gabriel securly in her arms while she focused all her other motions on trying to get a pair of clinging tanned hands off of her. “Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.” Slapping at them with each word out of her mouth.

“Almost there, sweetie. Come on. Come on.” Nearly working up a sweat from staying out of harms way, the warrior backed her way down the hallway with her baby blues twinkling.

“When I put this baby down, you’re going to find out just how old I am, Xena.” Making another play for those damned hands, she almost got one and growled at her miss. “Aaarrrggg!”

“Don’t strain yourself now. You know how your arthritis acts up when you’re too frisky.” Laughing, she judged the distance from the stairs and knew she was about to run out of play space, and prepared to make a run for it when she got inside.

“Frisky?” Sneering at the word. “You’re gonna think frisky when I’ve got my foot up your ass.”

“Tsk. Tsk.” Waving a finger at an angry face. “Don’t give away all our lovey dovey secrets, honey lips.” Flicking her eyebrows, she saw that face turn beet red. “You don’t want to corrupt the baby.” Slipping back an extra step, she found the door knob by instinct and had the door open in a half a second, with her body inside it with the other half.

“XENA!”

**********

Xena picked up a slice of peach out of a bowl, then dipped it in another, gathering a large scoop of whipped cream on the fruit. Smiling, she licked some of the white fluffy substance off her fingers, before lowering the combination to a pair of waiting lips. “Here ya go, Granny.”

Taking the peach in her mouth, Gabrielle sucked off all the whipped cream before she pulled the rest of the slice inside. Chewing slowly, she reached up for a brunette head, easing it down to meet hers and removed some of the left over whipped cream with her tongue. Finding the appetizer appealing, she tugged a little more and got a better meal, pressing her lips to the warrior’s.

Deepening the kiss, the warrior half covered the bard’s body with her own and blindly found the bowl of whipped cream with her fingers. Sweeping them across the top, she picked up some of the sweetness and broke the kiss to slip her fingers where her tongue had been. “Ummmmm.” Getting a warm sensation between her legs as her fingers were sucked clean, she reached for another scoop. Cocking her head down, her eyes followed the trace of cream as she slowly smeared it, starting at Gabrielle’s chin and working her hand downward to end up between a pair of firm breasts. Smiling, she slid her body downward and found the bottom of the white line with her tongue, then began consuming the cream in gradual degrees, dabbing her tongue and sucking it up in long deliberate kisses.

Her hand still firmly wrapped around the warrior’s head, the bard arched her back at the first touch of hot lips against her skin and tangled her fingers in dark hair. Closing her eyes, she pressed her head into the pillow beneath it and held her breath for a moment, then released it as a soft moan. Lifting her chin, Gabrielle turned her head slowly to one side, then to the other as her neck was seared and reveled in the feeling of intoxication. “Gods.”

Erasing the last bit of delicate foam with a flick of her tongue, Xena raised up on one elbow, leaving the cream on the tip and slid it inside the bard’s mouth as she took her in another long sumptuous kiss. Devouring all that she was given, the warrior returned the growing passion with her own, while her body tingled with the feel of the one beneath her. Needing more of the same, she glided her free hand down the side of Gabrielle’s body to her hip, as her lips continued their lustful quest and she eased her hand underneath the muscled behind, both lifting and kneading it. Shifting her own body, she drew more on top of her wife, snaking a long leg to the inside of a shorter one and lay straddling a powerful thigh.

Gabrielle moaned into the kiss and rolled her hips, feeling the fingers on her butt dig in. Rolling again, she bent her knee, rubbing her leg against the inside of the warrior’s and lowered it to bring it back up again, caressing the back of Xena’s leg with her own. Starting a slow rhythm, her body undulated with the motion of her hips, sending waves of heat across her skin as their bodies moved against each other.

Picking up the motion, the warrior countered it, rotating her hips in a circle making her body serpentine over the rolling wave. Easing her hand from it’s place, she slid it down to the back of Gabrielle’s thigh; caressing the muscle, she pulled gently upward as she went. Feeling it give willingly, she lifted slowly, moving it to the side as the other thigh between her legs rose with it. Spreading one outward, her hips jerked with the contact against her center and she groaned with the spontaneous blaze that ripped through her body. Gasping, she broke the kiss and held her breath as the pressure between her legs increased.

Opening her eyes, the bard pointed her foot, digging her toes into the blanket and pushed her thigh hard against Xena’s center. Smiling at the expression she invoked, she slid her hands around the warrior’s back, tracing her fingers lightly down the center valley. “Breathe.” Whispering the command.

Taking a deep breath, Xena released it as short pants, ending it as a sigh. “Gods.” Slowly opening her eyes, she was met with a smile and smiled back. “You’ve got a week to stop doing that.”

“Just a week?” Tilting her head, the bard lifted it to capture full lips with a kiss. “I was shooting for at least a month.” Bringing one hand up to get tangled again, she sent the other down to find a firm butt to squeeze.

“I can do a month.” Agreeing heartily, she barely had time to get the words out before her world was taken hostage in an all consuming kiss. Falling into it, her hips began moving of their own accord, as her fingers started slowly walking their way along the inside of Gabrielle’s thigh like a spider heading for a web of blonde curls.

As those fingers got closer and closer, Gabrielle began rocking her hips before they even got there and let the anticipation of what they could do fuel the already burning fire between her legs. Thrusting to meet them, she groaned when they stopped walking and felt the movement against her thigh pause.

Lifting her head, Xena’s lips pulled away from the bard’s as a soft whimper sifted through the pounding in her ears. Groaning, she heard it come again and lowered her head, not to recapture the kiss but to lay it on the pillow beside Gabrielle’s head and release a heavy sigh.

Revved up and no place to go, the blonde wrapped her arms around the warrior’s waist, giving her a gentle hug and lowered her leg. “Xena.”

“I know . . . I know.” Sighing again, she lifted her head, turning it to place a kiss on a neck that she wanted to be sweaty, but hadn’t gotten there yet. Raising up on one elbow, she brought her other hand up from where it really wanted to be and used it to roll from her place on top of her wife. “I’ll go get him.”

Feeling the loss, Gabrielle opened her eyes and sighed as her wife slipped from her arms. Laying them out to the sides, she watched Xena get to her feet and got some enjoyment from the vision dancing in the light from the fireplace.

Picking her robe up off the couch, Xena slipped it on and stepped off the blankets. Giving the bard a forelorned smile, she wrapped the material around her, tying the sash, then turned her head to give the stairs the same look. Hearing another soft whimper, she shook her head as her feet padded across the floor.

Closing her eyes, she covered her face with her hands. Sighing into her palms, she dropped her hands, opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling, while her engines took their time in idling down. Sitting up, she stared into the fire for another moment then pressed down on the floor with her hands, scooting backwards until her back was against the couch. Feeling the heat of the fire on her exposed chest, she pulled the covers up, tucking the blanket under each arm and raised a knee to prop her elbow on it. Laying her head in her palm, she slid her hand upward, dropping her head and mussed her short hair as the last strains of sexual frustration slipped away. With only it’s lingering shadows, she returned her head to her palm, cocking it sideways so she could stare at the top of the stairs.

The door left ajar, she opened it slowly and crept inside. Walking past Gabriel’s big brother, who didn’t look happy at having his little brother upset, she went over to the cradle in the corner of the bedroom, prepared to inquire if he had something against her, but then she peeked over the rail and found the most pitiful face looking up at her with a tiny tear rolling down it. “Oh, what’s the matter?” Whispering, her heart broke instantly and she knelt down to wipe the tear away. Stroking his small cheek with her finger, she saw him jump then frown. Frowning herself, she watched him do it again, then the light bulb went off in her head. “Okay. I know what’s the matter. Come here.” Reaching in with both hands, she lifted Gabriel out of his bed, cradling him in her arms. Wrapping his blanket around him, she stood slowly and walked back towards the door. “Shhhhhh, I got ya. You’re okay. Come on, Bud.”

Her last hope of getting some disappeared when she saw her wife emerge carrying the baby and a large tiger walking behind her. Dropping her head off her hand, the bard brought it back up to hide her disappointment and to inquire if there was a quick fix. “Is he hungry again?”

“No, it’s the storm.” Coming down the stairs, she kept smiling at him and brushed his hair with her finger tips.

Gabrielle had an eyebrow arched and a frown on her face. “The storm?” Glancing at the front door, she looked over her shoulder and listened. Hearing nothing at first, she noticed a very low base sound, just at the bottom of her range. “Xena, you can barely hear it.” Confused, she frowned harder and turned around. Staring upward, she reached to the side and pulled the covers back for the warrior to sit down.

“Don’t forget who his mother is.” Easing down to her knees, she rocked back onto her butt, then stretched her legs out in front of her. “T can hear a flea sneeze a mile away, so what we can barely hear, probably sounds like cannons going off to him.”

Bud made a visual check of his little brother before he laid down beside the warrior. Giving a snort, he plopped down a few feet away from the bedding they’d made up in front of the couch and closed his eyes.

“Ohhhh.” Nodding, she threw the covers over the warrior’s legs and nodded. “I never thought of that.” Sliding sideways, she turned her head to see the pitiful face for herself and had the same reaction as her wife. “He’s scared.” Making her own face pitiful, she leaned forward, placing a soft kiss on his head. “I’m sorry.”

Holding him close, she saw him jump again. “Shhhh. It’s okay, Gabriel. It’s okay.” Speaking softly, Xena put her hand over his chest and could feel his short pants slowing down. “It’s okay. I gotcha.”

Watching his face relax slowly, Gabrielle smiled. Propping her elbow on her knee again, she laid her head on Xena’s shoulder and stroked the top of his head with her finger. “I’d forgotten how good at that you are.”

“Good at what?” Keeping her eyes on her charge, she gave him a smile.

“What you’re doing now.” Lifting her head, she resettled it and sighed. “Holding him. Talking him through his first storm. You had to do that with some of ours, remember?”

“Do I?” Rolling her eyes, she leaned her head against the bard’s. “I had cramps in my legs for a week after that hurricane in Spain. I couldn’t get Maria to sleep in her own bed unless I was in it and that thing was tiny.”

“It wasn’t tiny, Xena.” Chuckling, she wrapped a hand around the warrior’s arm. “You were a six foot, seven inch tall man, built like linebacker and a three year old daughter who had you wrapped around her little finger, and I know how long your legs were cramped, because I had to massage them every morning.”

“And if memory serves, that wasn’t the only thing you massaged.” Flicking her eyebrows, she got her arm pinched. “Ow. Well you did.” Turning her head to give the bard an indignant stare.

“Do you mind? There are other people in the room.” Raising her head, she nodded at Gabriel.

Wincing, she gave the baby a smile. “Sorry about that. Close your ears. You too, Bud.” Looking up, she saw that Bud hadn’t moved a muscle and was probably asleep, though she couldn’t see his face.

Shaking her head, Gabrielle laid it back on the warrior’s shoulder. “And that’s how we got Imre.”

“Oh, gods. Imre.” Her turn to groan, Xena closed her eyes. “I’ve still got his foot prints on my forehead.”

Chuckling again, she smiled. “He was so cuddly.”

“And Rolando stunk.” Opening her eyes, she rolled them. “Wish I’d never made that stupid teddy bear in the first place.”

“Oh, you were just jealous because he liked to cuddle up to me when he slept with us.” Tilting her head back, she gave her wife a smug smile. “I was softer than you were.”

“I had to sleep with his feet in my face and that one armed fuzz ball choking me to death.” Grumbling, she scowled.

Her shoulders shaking with silent laughter, Gabrielle snuggled up to the warrior. “You were such a good Daddy.”

“Yea, well you weren’t so bad yourself.” Softening her tone. “You got your chance the next time around, although I don’t think we spent more than twenty minutes outside the bedroom. It’s a wonder we only ended up with three children, instead of dozens, the way your flag flew at full mast 24 hours a day. I think it took you a whole ten minutes after we found each other for you to get you and your twenty hands up my skirt and another ten to get me pregnant.”

“Twenty five. It took me ten minutes to get your hand out of my pants and off my flag.” Flicking her eyebrows, she tucked her lower lip inside her mouth, biting down on it with her teeth and lifted her head. Shifting sideways, she leaned on her hand once more and gave the warrior a smile, and a sidelong sultry glance.

Seeing the look she was getting, Xena shook her head. “Don’t you look at me like that with those big green eyes.” Turning away, she smiled despite her huffy tone. “You keep those trouble makers to yourself.”

Smiling big, she found the back of Xena’s neck with her hand and rubbed it.

“Gods and those hands.” Sighing, she closed her eyes for a second, then snapped out of the trance she was being put into. Turning her head, she tried to take a bite out of the bard’s forearm. “Back you lecherous hussy, you. I’m on to that move. That’s what got me pregnant with those spawns from hell.”

Gabrielle drew her hand back and laughed. “But they were nice twins, Xena.”

“Ha!” Condemning the notion, she shook her head. “Those green eyed monsters wouldn’t know nice if it ran over them. I had to put them on leashes to keep the neighbors safe.”

Remembering a little more clearly, she nodded. “Okay. Maybe they were a little wild when they were young, but they grew out of it and turned out to be perfect gentlemen.”

“Amazing what a little reverse psychology and threats can do to build character.” Letting a smile slip past her irritation, she chuckled softly as a warm hand began rubbing her neck again. Lowering her head, she stared down at the baby in her arms. He was calm now and stared back at her with a peaceful expression, and black eyes. “And you, big boy. What are you going to be like, huh?”

Leaning over, she raised her other knee, tucking them next to her chest and half turned to lay her head on a strong shoulder. Nuzzling against Xena’s neck, she looked down to the child who had her name. “I see a little boy, who’s going to grow up full of mischief like his Dad, strong like his Mom and who’s going to steal the hearts of everyone he meets with his charm, and his compassion.”

Nodding at the assessment, Xena smiled and watched tiny dimples appear when he smiled back at her. “You want one, don’t you?” Posing her question to her wife, she kept her eyes on Gabriel.

Taking a deep breath, she sighed heavily and wrapped her arm around the warrior’s shoulder, bringing her hand back to lay the back of her fingers against a warm neck. “I don’t know.” Sighing again, she closed her eyes. “The world’s changed, Xena. It doesn’t smile on people like us anymore and I’m not so sure that I’d want to put a child up against that kind of prejudice.”

“What if we lived in a place where people didn’t have a problem the fact that we’re women in love.” Opening up her troubled soul, she asked the question quietly.

Lifting her head, Gabrielle put her fingers under Xena’s chin, pulling it towards her and stared into deep blue. “You don’t want to go home, do you?” Knitting her brow, she could see the answer without the warrior saying a word. “You want to stay.”

“Not if you don’t want to.” Rolling her head, she leaned into the hand as it caressed her cheek. “My home is wherever you are, Gabrielle.”

Closing her eyes, she laid her forehead on her wife’s shoulder. Flashing back to all the thoughts that had been building over the past days, her knew exactly how Xena was feeling and felt the draw of staying put. Like the warmth she felt when she walked in the chambers from outside, it was that same sensation that made her want to stay as well. The chill of the outside world extended far beyond the season and to give it all up was alluring, but at the same time she knew that walking away from her family and what she knew would be hard. Maybe too hard.

Having laid her desires on the line, the warrior could feel the turmoil inside the bard. “Gabrielle.” Calling her wife with a whisper, she bowed her head to catch the green eyes when they opened. “It was just an idea. That’s all.”

Laying her head back, she stared up at the ceiling. “If you only knew how much I want to stay, Xena, but it’s so complicated.”

“I know . . . I know. We’re not roaming the countryside anymore and we’ve got families and jobs, and a whole lot of strings to get untangled, and I’m not asking for your answer right now.” Smiling, she sat up and kissed Gabrielle’s neck. “Just think about it.”

Groaning softly, she lifted her head, her eyes finding the warrior’s. “Even if I said yes, you know we won’t be living in the Palace, don’t you? You know T and her sensitive ears will be having none of our love making and she’s not about to be run out of her own home with Gabriel around.” Pointing to the baby as evidence to truth of the statement.

Frowning, Xena nodded. “She does get testy when she doesn’t get her naps.” Chewing the inside of her lip, her eyebrows went up and she smiled. “How about the valley? It’s close and not even T can hear through a mountain. We could build a house at the base on the other side, or along one of the slopes. You love that view.”

Tempted, she arched an eyebrow. “And what about the house we have now? It’s not paid for yet, Xena and unless T plans on building a hospital and a school in the forest, we’re not going to have jobs to finish paying for it. Or are you planning on mooching off T and eating here every night?” Ending up with a rather flippant tone.

Hurt by the implication, she turned away from the bard before it showed and stared into the fire. “Never mind. It was a stupid idea.” Pulling the covers off her legs, she got up quickly and slipped out of Gabrielle’s embrace. “We’ll go home as soon as T get’s back.”

Seeing the look on her wife’s face, her heart clenched at the pain she saw there and reached up, grabbing the warrior’s robe before she could get away. “Xena, no. No. It’s not a stupid idea and I’m sorry if I made it sound that way. It’s not what I meant.” Tugging on the material, she looked up trying to catch Xena’s eyes. “Xena, please. I’m sorry I hurt you with what I said. I didn’t mean to. Just come back down and we’ll talk about it.”

Facing away from her wife, the warrior closed her eyes. “Gabrielle, if you don’t want to move, just say no and get it over with.”

“Xena, I love this place as much as you do and you know it, and I don’t want to say no.” Sitting forward, she tugged on the robe again and smiled sadly. “I want to say yes, I really really do. The thought of going back to our house scares me now and there’s nothing I’d like better than to curl up in your arms and never leave this place, but I can’t do that. We can’t do that. We need to talk it through and figure out if it’s what we really want, or if it’s a reaction to what we’ve been through.” Giving the hem another tug, she watched the tall form turn slowly around to face her.

“You think we’re running scared because Dahok got to us in our house?” Looking down, she had a strange expression on her face that resembled confusion, but not quite.

“Maybe.” Letting go of the robe, she brought her eyes down to stare at the fire and wrapped her arms around her knees. “Maybe it’s because this is the one place we always felt safe, or maybe it’s because Gabriel is here. I don’t know. Maybe we’re just being nostalgic.” Looking up again, she smiled. “This was our first home together, Xena and it’s the first place we got married.”

Xena nodded slowly and eased back down to the bedding. “I remember that day. Somebody talked me into putting flowers in my hair.” Frowning at the recollection, she tried to remember who it was. “Lemet?”

“Latour.” Leaning back against the couch, she pulled her knees with her and chuckled. “For some unknown reason, he thought pink went with your outfit.”

“That boy was color blind.” Making the statement with a large amount of certainty and a small amount of embarrassment. “I can’t believe I let him talk me into that. I must’ve been out of my mind.”

“He wasn’t a boy and he wasn’t color blind, and you weren’t insane, Xena. You had flowers in your hair because the two of you woke up in the middle of the valley hung over from the bachelorette party an hour before the wedding. Latour just talked you into leaving them there so you wouldn’t be late for the ceremony.” Sighing, she shook her head in disgust. “I can’t believe you got drunk the night before our wedding.”

“I was nervous and nobody told me what was in that punch.” Coming to her own defense, she tried to look indignant, though her memory was a little foggy to list off details. “I thought that they didn’t have any alcohol around because of the way it affected T. How was I supposed to know they had stuff that would peel the paint off the walls?”

“I thought I was going to pass out from the fumes, just standing beside you.” Rolling her eyes, she covered them with her hand and hung her head. “What I would’ve given for a bottle of mouth wash that day. Gods.”

“I bounced back pretty quick.” Moving along to the part that she did remember. “I didn’t fall over, or stumble when I carried you up the stairs.”

“Noooo, I’ll give you that, Xena.” Lowering her hand, she turned to glare at her wife. “You made it all the way in here before you decided to pass out again and it would’ve been nice if I didn’t have to spend our wedding night in the bath tub with pillows around my head trying to keep from going deaf from your drunken snoring.”

Xena sucked her lips inside her mouth and found Bud very interesting at that moment.

Releasing her frustration as a single huff, Gabrielle clenched her fist. “I can’t believe I spent our wedding night in the bath tub! Alone!”

Making like a piece of furniture, the warrior kept her mouth shut and sat very still in hopes that she wouldn’t be noticed until her wife calmed down. Unfortunately she didn’t succeed in her endeavor and got a healthy pinch on the thigh for the frustration she’d inadvertently caused two thousand years ago. “OW!” Grimacing, she thumped her leg, trying to shake off the shooting pain, while trying to maintain her hold on Gabriel. “I’m sorry!”

“You should be.” Folding her arms across her chest, the bard did gain a modicum of satisfaction from seeing the pain stricken expression on Xena’s face. “It’s a wonder I didn’t leave you right then.”

Bending forward, Xena rubbed the spot with her elbow and felt a lump forming. Her face a scowl, she was working up to a pout as she stared at the bard. “I made up for it.”

“Barely.” Rolling her eyes, her tone implied she’d been unimpressed by the way it was made up to her; at the time she’d been ecstatic, but that seemed to be forgotten at the moment.

“You said you loved it.” Feeling some ire of her own, the warrior sat up straight and glared.

“I was being nice.” Coming down from her anger, Gabrielle caught a glimmer of the fact that the warrior’s was rising. Sensing a huge mistake coming on, she was torn between lying and losing. Thinking both options over for a moment, she sighed. “You win. I loved it.” Sounding thoroughly disgusted with herself, she turned away before she had to see a stupid grin.

Chuckling like a little kid who just found enough money for an ice cream cone, Xena turned Gabriel in her arms and raised her knees, pressing her thighs together. Laying the baby in her lap, she stretched her arms out, conveniently aiming one for a certain bard’s shoulders and let her arm fall where it may. Wrapping her fingers around bare skin, she leaned away from her wife, pulling her with her and then shifted back, so that Gabrielle was well within her embrace. “I love you.”

Hanging her head, she shook it from side to side. “That’s my problem.”

Almost giddy, Xena tugged on one of the hands folded tightly under the bard’s arms and pulled the object in question into view. Smiling at her own handiwork, she watched the silver wedding ring sparkle in the firelight. “You really loved it?”

“Yes and I still do.” Snatching her hand back, she tucked it under her arm and raised her head.

Shifting her eyes from side to side, as if checking for possible witnesses, she lowered her head so she could whisper in a reddened ear. “You love me?”

“Sometimes, quite unfortunately, yes.” Gabrielle nodded in self incrimination. “Sad but true.”

The smile stretching from ear to ear, Xena brought her other arm around to cup the bard’s chin in her hand, turning it toward her. Pressing her smile to the frown, she kissed her wife very lightly, then a little less lightly and kept it up until the frown went away.

Laying her head back, the arm around her shoulder pulled her more into the kiss and she untucked her ring bearing hand to wrap it around a brunette head. The anger gone, she knew there was no lonely bath tub in her future tonight, but she also knew that with the presence of a certain little boy, that the kiss was probably all she was going to be getting tonight, so she hung onto it for as long as possible.

Aware she was being stared at, the warrior ignored it for the time it took her body to warm up to a temperature that would otherwise lead to wondrous things, then had to pull away before she got into trouble. Regretfully, she broke the kiss and turned to find two pairs of eyes looking at her. Sighing at them, she relaxed her hold on her wife and settled back into a normal sitting position, but left her arm around Gabrielle’s shoulders, holding her close. “Why do I feel like we should be sitting in the back seat of a car at the drive-in?”

“With a flashlight in our eyes.” Smiling sadly, Gabrielle raised her head to give Bud a shrug and a smile, then she looked down at the mini chaperone. “Do you think there’s any chance he’s going to go to sleep tonight and maybe take you know who with him?”

“Asleep, yes. Us alone, no.” Sounding very disappointed about having to deliver the news flash, she smiled at the barrier between her and getting hot and sweaty, watching his eyelids droop, then pop back open. “Wanna draw straws on who plays pillow tonight?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her smile becoming less sad, she laid her head on Xena’s shoulder. “I’ve got mine.”

Xena tossed her mental short straw away and resolved herself to being a pillow for two tonight and felt a strange kinship with T for having to suffer the same fate so many times. Watching Gabriel’s eyes doing their sleepy dance, she chuckled. “Okay, little man. That’s enough peek-a-boo. Time to go nite nite.” Swinging her arm from around her wife, she slid both hands under the tiny body, placing one securely under his head and lifted him gently off her lap. Cradling him to her right shoulder, she sat forward and scooted away from the couch.

Stretching her arms, Gabrielle wiggled her fingers and yawned. “Storms make such good sleeping weather.” Smacking her chops, she slid down under the covers, rolling onto her side and fluffed up Xena’s pillow.

“Thanks.” Checking her distance from the couch, she glanced over her shoulder, scooting up another notch, then slowly eased backwards.

“Welcome.” Giving her own feather filled cushion a couple of slaps, she put her head on it and waited for the warrior to get settled so she could pull the covers up over them.

After some minor adjustments, Xena wiggled one last time, then reached for the covers, having the edge put in her hand.

Gabrielle slid over as soon as the covers were up and began cuddling up to her wife. Assuming her normal position, she did some minor wiggling also and frowned at the material under her head. “Are you going to sleep in this?” Yanking on the fuzzy white lapel.

“I intended to.” Turning her head, she dished out a smile. “Is there a problem?”

Flipping up the lapel, she tried laying her head down again, but then the material was in her face, which was deemed unsuitable. Up went a blonde head and she laid the lapel back down and tried again, but now the edge was digging into the side of her face and her head came up again.

During these maneuvers, the warrior used one hand to remove the blanket Gabriel was wrapped up in and put it beside her. With him in only a pair of itty bitty boxer shorts, she pulled the other lapel out from under him and interrupted the bard in her trials and errors long enough to move the baby over a bit, so that his head was next to her neck. Then she brought the lapel back, using that for his covers. Patting his fanny lightly, she felt two arms and two legs stretch out against her skin and smiled. “Much better.”

Arching an eyebrow, the bard spied the little boy who got to sleep on skin instead of terry cloth and frowned, because she wanted the same thing, but knew she was never going to fit under the robe. After running through some possibilities that would solve this dilemma, she finally settled on a simple solution and ducked an arm under the covers to find the end of Xena’s sleeve. “Pull your arm out.”

“What?” Returning her attention to her wife, Xena gave her a curious look and felt the tug on her arm. “Why?”

“I want what he’s got, now pull your arm out.” Giving no room for argument, she held the sleeve as the warrior sighed and removed her arm.

Rolling her shoulder, she folded her arm up as she pulled it out of the material, then dutifully held it up in the air to await further instructions. “Now what?”

A smile on her face, Gabrielle smoothed the robe out under the covers, then slid over it, taking her place on Xena’s shoulder. “Okay.”

Laying half naked beneath the covers, Xena gave her wife a second to get resettled, then she lowered her arm, knowing exactly where it should be and wrapped it around Gabrielle’s shoulders. “Are we comfy now?”

Sliding her leg over the warrior’s, she snuggled, nuzzled and sighed. “Yes.”

“Good.” Sighing herself, she let it out slowly and relaxed. Glancing at Bud, she could hear his soft purring snore and knew everybody was set, so she closed her eyes too.

Her eyes still open, Gabrielle stared at the small hand an inch away from her’s and felt herself getting more and more relaxed. Uncurling her hand from under Xena’s chin, she stroked that small hand with a finger and watched it uncurl. “I think I’ll trim his claws tomorrow.” She said softly as a quiet settled over the room.

Half way to never never land, the warrior nodded. “Sounds good.” Murmuring, she slid her hand down to the narrow part of Gabrielle’s waist, resting it on the soft skin and patted Gabriel’s back with her fingers.

Feeling her wife’s breathing become more shallow, the bard continued to stare at the little hand in front of her, stroking the tiny fingers. While her body relaxed to the point of melting into the one beneath her, she shifted her head, to stare over the covers at the fire in the fireplace. Watching the flames dance in silence, her mind retraced the day and all the thoughts she’d had. From waking up this morning in the same position she was in now, through sitting out in the throne room, giving Gabriel a bath and having to fight with Bud to keep him from getting in the tub. Each and every memory passed through her mind, making her smile and giving her a warm feeling that had nothing to do with her proximity to the fire. Coming from somewhere deep inside her, the warmth flowed up from her soul, quieting the physical desires she’d had earlier and giving voice to the questions the warrior had raised.

She felt as Xena did, that her home was where ever her wife was and as she lay there she also felt tiny fingers wrap around her single one. Bringing her eyes back to the small hand, she couldn’t see Gabriel’s face, because it was buried against the warrior’s neck, but she could see his chest rise and fall beneath the lapel of the robe. Smiling at how small his body looked against that of her wife’s, she remembered how many times she’d seen the same scene in their many lifetimes. This could be attributed to the fact that it didn’t matter if Gabrielle was the size she was now, or the larger partner, she still preferred to sleep in the same position, which led to the warrior becoming the pillow, more often than not, when their children chose to sleep with them. She’d made the exception for Imre and two of their other children, but those were special cases and just as her offspring had inherited some of her personality, almost all had also been born with a preference for sleeping on a strong shoulder, no matter what body Xena was in. During storms, with the sniffles, as the aftermath of a nightmare, or just because, they would crawl into the bed, find that shoulder then reach out for Gabrielle’s finger or hand to hold and drift to sleep. The extreme exception was Jakub, who was the fruit of the flag raising ceremony and who preferred to sleep in between them without taking into consideration the centuries of tradition he was upsetting, or the fact that the hair he liked to take hold of while he was sleeping was actually attached to Gabrielle’s chest.

Wincing with the memory, the bard closed one eye and could feel the tiny hand reach out from the past to remind her of what unconditional love really was, and how to appreciate a night’s sleep without waking up in pain. Getting goose bumps, she shook off the flashback and remembered that her son had grown out of the habit eventually, with the result being that she’d lost the mangy look by the time he turned three. That’s when his little sister came along to usurp his place, or share it, as the case may be, but even with the addition, Gabrielle never had to suffer losing a handful of chest hair while she slept again. The things we do for love, she thought and relaxed as the memory faded. Relaxing even more, she watched Gabriel’s slow breathing and listened to Xena’s heartbeat against her ear. Being lulled into slumber by the two rhythms, she closed her eyes and drifted off into her dreams with visions of children long gone making her smile.

**********

It was two more days before T and Ares finally came home. The Royal Guards had been returned to their families and laid to rest in their native homelands, and official word had been sent out relating the events that had transpired to the rest of the empire. When the news hit, the loss could be felt as a palatable ripple across the planet as clans reeled from the loss of their gods and friends. Though the storm had passed at the Palace, the next one loomed in the form of fallout from Dahok’s return. Bombarded by emails, phone calls and other forms of communication, T fielded the backlash with the help of Ares, the girls and the clan elders, delegating some of the responsibility and setting up tentative plans to begin the rebuilding process. While this was going on, Xena and Gabrielle stayed at the Palace, having already made the necessary phone calls to explain away their disappearance. Giving themselves some breathing room, they soon forgot about the thoughts they’d had days before and were caught up in the fervor of keeping the empire from coming unglued. Working alongside T, they used the skills they’d developed over centuries and provided a wealth of support to people they didn’t even know. Falling into a sort of groove, their days slipped away and before they knew it, it was time to face the prospect of going home again. As with that stormy night, they spent their last day contemplating their place in both worlds and found time to quiet their nerves before passing through the portal in the morning.

Xena walked out of their bedroom, leaving Gabrielle to finish gathering some things together and turned right, heading away from the living room. Passing a couple of closed doors, she stopped at one that was open and stood in the doorway to watch Ares make faces at his son. Shaking her head at his antics, she smiled at the God of War and his contorted expressions. “Have you seen T?” Half chuckling the question.

“She’s in the control room.” Never taking his eyes off Gabriel, Ares puffed out his cheeks.

“Thanks and if you’re not careful, your face will stay that way.” Laughing again, she turned around before he had a chance to say something snotty and went to the next door to the right. Knocking on it softly, she opened it without getting a response and stuck her head in. “You busy?”

“Is that a rhetorical question?” Chuckling at her own humor, T typed in a command then sent it off. Looking up from the monitor, she turned around and pointed to an empty chair behind her, then turned back when she got a response to the command. “Just give me about ten seconds and then I’m all yours.”

Slipping inside, Xena closed the door behind her and pulled the empty chair up next to her friend. Taking a seat, she leaned toward T, watching what she was doing, then sat back when the screen went blank. “Looks like pretty hot stuff. I can come back.”

“You know Raphel. He was born in crisis mode.” Shaking her head, the god swiveled her chair away from the console and propped her foot up on the edge of a drawer, leaning back in the chair. “What’s up?”

With T’s undivided attention, the warrior hesitated before she began. Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, she stared down at her hands. “Have you talked to Gabrielle lately?”

“This morning. Why?” Tilting her head, T lost her smile and watched her friend closely. She’d been feeling some kind of turmoil inside both her friends since before she got back and been waiting to find out what the trouble was, which she suspected had a lot to do with them going home. “Xena, if this is about the house, it’s safe. I promise.” Trying to dispel any worries the warrior might have.

“No.” Shaking her head, Xena looked up. “That’s just the heebe jeebies. We’ll get over that soon enough.”


“Okay.” Nodding, she relaxed a hair and waited.

Glancing back at her hands, she sighed heavily then sat back in the chair, as if a weight was pressing on her shoulders. “I think Gabrielle’s got baby lust.”

“Baby lust?” Her brow knitting, T frowned then straightened after a moment. “Ahhhhh. She’s gotten the baby bug because of Gabriel.”

“Yea.” Sighing the word, Xena looked up again. “It’s not the first time it’s happened. She usually get’s the bug whenever we’re around Brian’s kids for very long, but I think it’s serious this time.”

“Should I change Gabriel’s name?” She said half joking and didn’t get a rise out of her friend, which made her sober up again. “Sorry.” Clearing her throat, she folded her arms across her chest. “You two have talked about this, I presume.”

“The other night.” Nodding, she looked off to the side and lowered her eyes, staring blindly at the floor. “I brought Gabriel down to sleep with us because he was scared of the thunder and I could see it in her eyes. She said she wasn’t sure, because we’re a gay couple now, but I think she still wants one.”

“And what do you want?” Softening her tone, T sat forward and touched Xena’s knee to get her attention.

Xena turned back and smiled. “I want to make her happy.”

“Xena, that’s a given, but it wasn’t the question. Do you want a baby?” Resting her elbows on her knees, she looked up at a pair of troubled baby blues.

“I don’t know.” Rolling her eyes, she closed them. “A baby would change everything about our lives and I’m not so sure she isn’t right to be worried. The last time we had these bodies, nobody blinked an eye when we traveled with Eve, but the world has changed so much.” Opening her eyes, she shook her head. “Is it selfish to put a child up against that prejudice just because you want a baby?”

“No, it’s not selfish, Xena. In fact, it’s probably the most unselfish thing in the world to want to share your love with a child, no matter how society will look at it.” Patting the warrior’s knee, T smiled. “And you’ve raised children under worse conditions. If memory serves, some were born in war zones and all of them grew up to be strong and compassionate. I think it has more to do with who you and Gabrielle are inside that counts, not the fact that you’re both female. You two have never failed to raise children that I’d be proud to have as friends.”

Smiling, Xena shut her eyes. “Thanks.”

“And this time wouldn’t be any different.” Continuing, T cocked her head to the side when Xena opened her eyes. “Every person has to go through some personal adversity in their lives and how you raise that child determines how they’ll handle those trials. You and Gabrielle have seen more trials and tribulations than anybody and it makes you better suited than most to prepare a child to face what the world has to offer. Even though you’ve had different bodies each time you conceived a child, a little piece of your’s and Gabrielle’s soul has gone into that new life and add that to all the love you two have to give, and you’ve got an unshakeable foundation for your child to stand on.”

“That’s all well and good, T, but not this time. We can’t have a baby on our own.” Lowering her gaze, she sighed. “It’s what Gabrielle wants, I know. It’s been a dream of her’s since we had these bodies the first time. She always wanted to know what we’d come up with and I wish I could make it happen, but I can’t. I’d give the world to hold a baby in my arms and know it was all ours. Gods, I’d love that, but it’s not going to happen in this lifetime.” Sighing again, she closed her eyes. “Wishing won’t make it so.”

“The warrior and the bard. The realist and the dreamer.” Smiling she shook her head and sat back in the chair. “Each balancing out the other and combining to make an unbeatable combination.”

Xena had a half smile on her face and opened her eyes. “Are you trying to make a point, T?”

Shrugging, the god continued to smile. “Well, whatever you two decide, I think that if a baby comes into your lives, my son will be the luckiest boy alive, because he’ll get to have a best friend that rivals my own.”

The smile filled out and Xena rolled her eyes. “You’re such a smoothie.”

“One of the attributes of being King. Gotta know how to play the room.” Chuckling, she got a slap on the knee for her effort.

“Thanks.” Rolling her eyes again, the warrior got up and pushed the chair back. “And thanks for listening. I think I just needed a sounding board, Coach.”

“Always a pleasure and you’re welcome.” Flicking her eyebrows, T turned back to the console, clicked on the monitor. “Now go away. I’m very busy.” Waving a hand, she flipped it towards the door.

Picking up her foot, Xena kicked the chair T was sitting in and made a dash for the door. “Snot nosed brat!”

Growling, she scooted her chair back and went back to work, but got interrupted again a few minutes later when Gabrielle stuck her head in the door.

“Are you busy?” Smiling, she looked around the room.

“Not as busy as I’m gonna be.” Sighing, she turned off the monitor and pointed at the empty chair. “What’s up?”

**********

The End.


Epilogue: T stood on the edge of the promenade looking out over the distant horizon that was beginning to show signs of the approaching dawn. Her body still, her mind was focused on an event taking place nearly half way around the world and she listened to familiar voices becoming a slow crescendo toward the heights of passion. Closing her eyes, she softened the voices until they became murmurs and shifted her concentration to the emotions accompanying the sounds of pleasure. As they grew in strength, she was flooded with a mixture of emotions and narrowed her focus, picking one out of the many. Bringing the one to the fore, she opened her eyes and saw two tiny glowing orbs floating in front of her. One a pale crystal blue and the other a sea green, she watched them closely, seeing the orbs grow larger as the light and heat from them grew more intense. Watching them expand further, she stared into the twin blinding lights and waited. When the heat seared her skin and the lights blocked out any other vision, the orbs touched and the god lifted her hands. Cupping them against the outside edges, she brought them inward, pushing blue against green. Feeling a resistance, she increased her effort until the boundary between them finally gave way and the two souls combined into one. Holding it tightly between her hands, she watched the two colors swirl within the single orb like oil and water, together, yet separate. Then slowly the orb began to spin within her grasp as the light grew once more and she had to strain to maintain her hold as the rotation of the spin picked up speed. Inside, she watched the colors match the pace, swirling faster and faster until they became a bluish green blur, then suddenly both movements stopped at once. Wincing at the power she held between her hands, T stared into a translucent ball of deep emerald green fading outward to a shimmering indigo blue. Like staring into the future itself, she smiled despite the pain and slowly moved her hands back, releasing the orb to watch it float on it’s own. “May this bring you all the joy you deserve, my friends.” Giving the orb a wink, she pointed to the horizon and nodded. “Go to Mom.” The new soul wavered a little bit as it began to move away, then it straightened it’s course and took off like a shot, disappearing out of T’s sight just as the sun crested the horizon. Hearing a soft giggle behind her, the god turned around to find Aphrodite standing in the shadows with a smile on her face. “What?”

“Shame on you, T. TPTB are gonna have a field day with this one.” Trying hard to look like she disapproved, the Goddess of Love failed miserably and lit up the thrown room with her smile. “Ooooooo, I love it! First sweet pea and now a cutie patooty!”

In a place where night still blanketed the earth, two bodies relaxed into slumber. Wrapped in each other’s embrace, the couple drifted off to their dreams as a star fell from the sky. Guided by the warmth of an eternal love that shone brighter than the distant sun, the star filled the room with a brilliant light before it fell beneath the covers and both women flinched with the impact. Momentarily roused from their peace, Xena and Gabrielle snuggled closer and were asleep again within seconds.


Thanks for reading.


FlyBigD

 


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