Warnings: This story contains scenes of a sexual nature between two women. If you are offended by this or you are underage please stop reading and read another story.

This takes place towards the end of the episode "Blind Faith." Xena has just defeated the bad guys and Gabrielle, dressed as the queen, is stuck in a coffin being pulled into the crematorium.......


by Zzelami


"Gabrielle?" she called, concentrating, intently listening for an answer.

"Xena?" came a whispered plea from inside the box.

"Gabrielle! Gabrielle, hang on!" Xena cried, running toward the nearly inaudible sound of the bard's voice. She felt the blast of heat from the mouth of the crematorium, reached out and touched the wooden box being pulled into it. Desperately she grabbed at it, trying to find a hand hold to stop it's progression to Gabrielle's fiery death.

"Xena," she whispered, a last prayer.

Feeling a design of some sort on the lid, Xena grasped it to drag the coffin from the fire.

"Gabrielle!" she called, wildly trying to tear off the lid and free her friend. She found the latch and heaved the cover open. "Gabrielle?"

No response.

"Gabrielle? Gabrielle?" Xena could smell the smoke rising and feel it stinging her eyes. Reaching in, she found Gabrielle's arm and pulled her up.


"Xena?" She began coughing. "I'm OK, Xena. I'm OK," she said between coughs, wrapping her arms around the warrior and burying her face in her chest.

Xena pulled her close, comforting the bard and herself with the physical embrace. "You're all right?" she asked, needing added confirmation of Gabrielle's safety since she could not see for herself.

"I'm fine," Gabrielle coughed. "Just a little smoked."

"Let's get you out of there." Xena snaked her arm around the bard's shoulders and helped her climb out of the casket.

Standing, Xena again wrapped protective arms around the bard, unwilling to let go. "Are you sure you're OK?"

"I'm fine, Xena. Really. If you'll let me breath, I'd be even better." She smiled up at the warrior, but Xena would not look at her.

"You're sure?" Xena asked worriedly, relaxing her grip slightly but not letting the bard out of her arms.

"I'm..." cough, cough, "...fine. Really," she laughed. "But you seem a little upset. Are you OK?"

Xena pulled her close again, relief softening her stance. "I am now."

With her face crushed to Xena's chest, Gabrielle observed frankly, "You're being uncharacteristically overly demonstrative, Xena."

"Uncharacteristically overly demonstrative?" she smiled. "What have you been doing? Spending time in the royal library while I've been busting heads trying to save you?"

"No" Gabrielle laughed. "But I have been taking 'queen' lessons. Watch this." She slid out of Xena's arms and stepped back a few paces, struck a pose and executed a miserable curtsey.

Xena stood with a blank expression, her head titled towards the ground.

"Hey Xena," the bard said sarcastically, "That was supposed to be funny and you didn't even watch." Gabrielle stared at her friend who stood unmoving.

Concern overtook her and she stepped closer. "What's wrong?"

The warrior stood silently, head still titled down.

Gabrielle moved up and delicately touched her arm. "Xena, look at me."

Turning her head slightly away, she took a deep breath before facing her friend. "I can't look at you, Gabrielle. I'm blind."

"Blind?" she whispered. "What do you mean? What happened?" she questioned in a small voice, confused and frightened at this information. Her hands started to flutter over the warrior's face, brushing her eyebrows and eyelids. A knot began growing in her chest whose weight, she knew, would bring her to her knees.

Xena reached up, grabbing the bard's hands to calm them. "I got some sumac oil sprayed into my eyes. It was an accident."

"Oil? Is it permanent? Can you see anything?"

"No, I can't. And yes, it's permanent."

Palaemon stepped in from the doorway and spoke up. "It didn't have to be permanent. But she chose to rescue you instead of going to Athens and getting the antidote."

"Antidote? There's an antidote? Then let's go. Let's go to Athens," she said hopefully and began to pull the warrior towards the door.

Xena pulled back and grabbed the bard by the shoulders, facing her. Gently she told her, "You don't understand. The antidote needs to be administered within one day's time or it's useless. Athens is too far away now." She paused. "It's too late, Gabrielle."

"Oh, Xena," she moaned. "Isn't there anything we can do?"

"No. But it's alright, Gabrielle. The important thing is that you're safe."

"NO! That's NOT the important thing! Your eyes..."

She yelled sternly, "Gabrielle!" Then softly when the bard quieted, "Your life is more important than anything else to me." And even more softly, she continued. "Losing my sight is nothing compared to losing you. What good would my eyes be if all I did was curse them for letting you die? I would be doomed, lost, if you left this earth."

"Xena... I... I don't..." But Gabrielle was at a loss for words. She threw her arms around her friend and buried her head in her chest, trying not to cry.

They held each other for a few moments as Gabrielle calmed herself. Stepping back a bit, the bard reached up and stroked Xena's cheek. With unshakable resolve she pledged softly, "Xena, I will always be your eyes."

"Gabrielle?" Xena whispered. "Are we alone?"

Gabrielle looked to Vidalis and the man who had kidnapped her, who now seemed to be an ally. With a tilt of her head and a raise of her eyebrows, she wordlessly asked them to leave. "We are now. What is it Xena?"

"I want you to know..." She stopped, not knowing how to express her emotions and just now realizing how hard it was to even try. "I want you to know how much I've... loved being with you the past two years. How much you've meant to me." She struggled inwardly for the words she wanted to say but as much as she tried, a simple 'I love you' would not come out. So she did the best she could. Seriously and with as much affection as she could muster, she told the bard, "You are my favorite person in this whole world," and immediately felt like an idiot for saying something so trite and stupid.

But it certainly did not sound stupid to Gabrielle. Those words went dead straight to her heart, reaching in like the loving touch she had longed for. The slight control she had on her emotions began to slip.

And Xena heard it. The hard swallow, the inhale and exhale through the mouth, the suppressed whimper. She raised her hands to Gabrielle's face and felt the tears sliding down the bard's cheek. "No, Gabrielle. Don't cry. No, nononono. Shhhhhhh," Xena soothed, wiping the tears away and pulling her close. She murmured comforting sounds and words to the bard, helping her to regain her composure.

When she seemed calmer, Xena asked, "Gabrielle? Would you do me a favor?"

"Anything, Xena."

"Would you smile for me?"

"What?" Gabrielle whispered, trying to restrain her emotions, trying not to break down again.

Xena continued to brush her hand across the bard's tense face, running her thumb over her lips, gliding over her cheeks, erasing her tears. "You see, I've always loved your smile. I would see you smile and it went right to my heart. I melted. Did you know that?" Her face lit up at the memory. "Your smile can... has... helped my soul in it's healing. I want to feel it against my hand," she whispered.

Gabrielle squeezed her eyes shut against such sweet pain. And she forced a smile, her heart breaking. Xena let a little laugh escape. "That's not quite the smile I wanted. I was looking for something that was actually, oh... happy maybe? Like, glad to see you, thanks for saving my life. That sort of smile?"

That elicited a genuine smile from Gabrielle, even if it was only because of Xena's attempt at humor.

"Ahhhh! That's it. That's the smile I wanted," she grinned, letting the palm of her hand brush the bard's lips, her fingers caress her cheek.


The warrior gasped and stiffened, her fingers poised on the bard's lips.

"What?" Gabrielle questioned. "What is it?"

Every muscle in Xena's body tensed as she pleaded softly, "Gabrielle, say my name again."

The bard's eyes widened with understanding. "Xena," she whispered.

Xena felt that breath against her fingers, that whisper of her name in the center of her chest and it erupted outward like a volcano, turning her blood into burning lava that coursed throughout her body.

Drawn, like the flaming lava to the cool soothing waters of the sea, Xena leaned in toward Gabrielle, slowly closer, her fingers still playing lightly on the bard's lips. "Again. Please. Say my name again," she breathed.

Gabrielle swallowed hard. Xena was so close, the only thing that separated their lips were her fingers.

"Please," Xena moaned.

Gabrielle could feel the warrior's breath glide between her fingers and caress her lips.

"Xena," she whispered again, as tenderly as saying 'I love you.'

And as Gabrielle said this magical word, Xena slid her fingers away and replaced them with her lips.

Caught in kiss so exquisitely impassioned, Gabrielle felt her body dissolving into dust and scattering to the winds. The touch of Xena's tongue to her lips brought it all back into sharp definition, every nerve excited, every hair standing on end. And when Xena's tongue slid tentatively into her open mouth, everything exploded into vibrant colors that fragmented, spun like a tornado then fused back together in random patterns of splendor.

Everything around them began to slip from existence. Their entire beings became locked in a kiss that spoke alternately of love and confusion, passion and fear. And when the outside world intruded on them, bringing them back to reality, they were left breathless, wanting and terrified of each other.

Vidalis had entered the room, trying to be unobtrusive. With a look, Gabrielle asked what he wanted.

"I, uh...left my robe."

"Vidalis? Is there somewhere Xena and I can go to talk privately?"

"Of course," he said, smiling. "I know the perfect room."

Gabrielle took Xena's arm and followed Vidalis into the hall. As they walked, he leaned in close and whispered to the bard, "So, this is the one who has your heart?"

She nodded, blushing.

"Well, her I would have picked out of a crowd, but you are a bit of a surprise. My guess is she is your first."

And her blush deepened.

Vidalis led them to a room close to where Gabrielle had stayed before. But this room was much larger with gold edged picture frames, magnificent tapestries, grand furnishings and the largest bed Gabrielle had ever seen.

He leaned close to her and whispered, "The queen's private chamber." Then winked and disappeared, closing the door behind him.

Gabrielle escorted Xena to the middle of the room and stopped. She turned to face this woman who was so familiar, almost a part of her. This woman who had unknowingly held the bard's heart for so long, who had kept her own fiercely protected and now seemed to be holding it timidly in her open hand.

Could it really be true?

"So tell me. What's going on, Xena?"

"What do you mean?"

"You go blind then you kiss me. Why? Why now?"

"I guess I just wanted you to know how I felt before..." She stopped, turning her face away.

"Before what?"

"Before you left me, Gabrielle. And I'm not telling you to try to make you stay."

"Leave you? Why do you think I would leave you?"

Xena shrugged and stammered. "I don't... I... I can't do... Everything is... changed. I'm blind."

Gabrielle began to pace quickly back and forth across the room, shouting. "Gods, Xena! Being blind didn't stop you from saving my life, did it? And do you think really think it matters to me? Don't you know how much I care about you? Do you think I am so shallow as to leave you? Especially now? You're my best friend, Xena. You're the woman I've spent the past two years of my life with and you just lost you eyesight. And funny, you're blind because you chose to rescue me instead of get a cure. Oh well. Nice knowing ya, Xena. I'm outta here." She turned and poked Xena in the chest fervently. "I thought you knew me better than that."

Xena's shoulders slumped as the truth of Gabrielle's words hit her. "I do know you better, Gabrielle. And I'm sorry for thinking that. I guess I'm just... scared. With nothing left to lose."

Gabrielle grabbed the warrior's arms, shaking her gently. "And I'm sorry for yelling, but Xena, you have to know and you have to believe, I will always be here. We can adjust to this. We can do it. Together."

Stepping forward, Gabrielle closed the space between them and wrapped her arms around the warrior who gratefully returned her embrace.

"So... you kissed me because you wanted me to know how you felt?"

"Mmmm-hmmm," Xena affirmed, rubbing her cheek against the bards hair.

"And how do you feel, Xena? About me?"

Taking a deep breath, Xena took a half step back, leaving her hands on Gabrielle's waist. She opened her mouth to answer, stumbling over the words she tried to say. "You are my everything. I don't know what..." but she stopped as her hands registered the strange clothes the bard had on.

A large grin danced across her face and her sightless eyes sparkled. "What in the gods names are you wearing, Gabrielle?"

Vexed by the change of subject, the bard still had to laugh. "They were making me a queen, Xena. It's a queen's dress."

"Why is it that everyone wants to make you a queen?" she mused. "Anyway, this dress feels ridiculous looking."

"And that's how it looks on me. Even worse, all these flimsy layers of cloth are see through!"

"Umm... see through?"

"Yeah. See through." She smiled in amazement as desire and passion crossed Xena's face. It seemed hard to believe, but Gabrielle felt the warrior's body trembling slightly. Could she really be the cause? Is it possible that Xena wanted her as badly as she wanted Xena?

"Come over here and sit down," she offered.

Gabrielle walked Xena backwards until Xena felt something against the back of her legs. But it felt too low for a regular chair.

"What kind of chair is this?" she asked, starting to lower herself carefully.

"It's not a chair. It's a bed."

Xena collapsed the rest of the way, as if her legs had suddenly given out on her.

Gabrielle watched in amusement as a glut of emotions raced across Xena's face. "Are you all right Xena? You suddenly look a little pale," Gabrielle teased.

"Where are we?" she blurted.

"The queen's private chamber."

Xena seemed to stop breathing.

Taking advantage of the situation, Gabrielle stepped up, reached around and began to unhook the warrior's sword belt.

"Who...What are you doing?"

"Helping you take your armor off. Like I always do," Gabrielle answered matter of factly, but she was enjoying the unsettling effect she was having on Xena. Watching every second of the warrior's growing desire also caused her own need to burn brighter.

Over time they had established a ritual process of removal. Weapons first. Then body armor and last, bracers and arm bands. But this time, Gabrielle did not follow the ritual. She did remove the warrior's sword belt and chakram first, but only out of necessity. She next took Xena's arms and slowly, sensually, with feather light touches to her skin, removed the bracers and bands. Then kneeling in front of her, she lifted Xena's foot to remove her boots.

Xena inhaled deeply. In a low voice, she offered, "I can do that Gabrielle. I'm not helpless."

The bard's head snapped up and she began to stammer. "I didn't mean... I know you're not... that's not why..." She stopped, took a deep breath of her own, placed her hand on Xena's thigh and responded calmly. "I know you're not helpless, Xena." She continued removing the boots. "I'm not doing this for that reason," she said, a smile in her voice.

"I was hoping you'd say something like that," Xena muttered, feeling a burning on her thigh where the bard's hand had been.

Gabrielle pulled slowly on the first boot, helping it off by running her hand down Xena's naked leg as the boot exposed her skin, feeling Xena's slight tremors as she did. And then repeated the motions with the other.

Standing, Gabrielle straddled Xena's thigh as she closed in to remove the breastplates, the last of her armor. Leaning over, her breast brushed against Xena's face and Xena softly squeezed Gabrielle's leg with her thighs. The complete silence in the room was only broken by the increasing raggedness of breath coming from both warrior and bard.

Gabrielle dropped the breastplate gently to the floor, but did not back away from Xena. She stood with Xena's face at chest level and placed her hand on the warrior's shoulders.

"How do you feel about me?" Gabrielle asked softly.

Delicately, Xena placed her hands on the bards hips and slowly, gently lowered her head until it rested on the bard's chest. "You are my life, Gabrielle."

A slight moan escaped Gabrielle's throat at the contact and the words before she remembered what she was after and smiled. "That's a nice sentiment, Xena, but it doesn't really answer my question."

Xena lifted her head in surprise.

"How do you feel about me?" the bard repeated.

Mouth open, Xena attempted to respond, but no sound came out. Placing her hands under Xena's chin, Gabrielle tilted her head up. "It's OK, Xena. Just tell me."

Xena's lips moved but she still said nothing. Gabrielle could feel the muscles in Xena's shoulders tightening. Reaching down, she took the warrior's hand and brought it to her cheek. Kissing it's palm, she said quietly, "Tell me, Xena. Don't be afraid, just tell me."

Softer than a whisper the words emerged. "I... I love you."

She closed her eyes in relief and wonder, pulling Xena close. Releasing her grip slightly, she reached down and tilted Xena's head up. She brought her lips to the warrior's in a delicate kiss. Pulling back, she reached around the warrior and held her tightly yet tenderly, convincing herself this was indeed reality. This woman whom she would defy the gods for, who she would follow into Tartarus and back, loved her. Really loved her.

Bending, again she brought her mouth to Xena's. But this time passion took over. She pressed forward with her body, forcing Xena back on to the bed. Crawling on top of her as she laid back, the bard's lips never left their target. Her tongue explored the surface of Xena's lips, drawing moans from deep within the warrior. And when Xena's lips parted, her tongue delved into the mystery there, seeking, then retreating, then seeking again. Conscious thought evaporated as their bodies pressed together, their mouths tasted the sweetness of the other. Ruled by primal urge and tender passion, they let the waves of emotion rise, offering their bodies, yielding everything.

Breaking free of the kiss, Gabrielle began to consume any of Xena's exposed flesh and began pulling at the shoulder straps of Xena's leathers, mumbling, "Off.. off... take this off... everything off..."

"Gabrielle! Wait... wait." She grabbed the bard's shoulders and pushed her away slightly. "Do you know what you're doing?"

She stopped. "Xena, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. But I get the feeling I'll be able to figure it out as I go."

Laughing, Xena wrapped the bard in her arms and pulled her tightly against her. "I didn't mean it like that!"

"What did you mean?"

Her laughter stopped and her unseeing eyes darkened. "I meant, do you know what will happen if we do this? If you make love to me?"

"If I do it right, you'll come?" she teased.


The bard continued, tauntingly, "I hope you'll come," and nipped at the warrior's shoulders inducing a guttural moan. "I'm going to do my best to make you come."

"Stop it!" Xena smiled. "I can't concentrate when you say things like that."

"That's OK. You don't need to concentrate on anything... Just feel. Feel everything I'm doing..." she murmured, tugging at Xena's leathers, running her tongue across any freshly bared skin.

Xena moaned, battling the urge to just give in to Gabrielle's willing mouth and body. But this was too important to her to ignore. "Wait, please Gabrielle. Wait," she mumbled

The bard stopped, understanding this was serious. "What is it, Xena?"

"This is not just physical. It's not casual to me. If we do this, it will mean... something."

The bard smiled tenderly, her eyes sparkling. "I know, Xena... I know," is all she needed to say as she met the warrior's lips with her own.

Sitting up, she pulled Xena into a sitting position also. She looked deeply into the warrior's eyes and almost gasped when she remembered they could not look back. She silently reminded herself to make the necessary adjustments, do the tiny bit extra, that would assure Xena of her feelings.

Gabrielle took the warrior's hand and placed it on her cheek. Turning her head, she brought the fingers to her mouth, caressing with her lips, tickling with her tongue and biting each one as she lowered the straps and gently removed Xena's leathers. She kissed and sucked on the center of the warrior's palm as she lifted the shift from her body, exposing everything to her view.

"Xena, you are so beautiful," she said softly with wonder and awe.

And though Xena's eyes could not see, they still expressed her feelings clearly. And right now the dark blue, almost deep gray, revealed desire and passion unleashed. She grabbed Gabrielle and roughly pulled her close, her mouth demanding, taking and Gabrielle offering, relinquishing all. Leaning back, Xena once again pulled the bard on top of her, hands touching her everywhere, never removing her lips, striving to transform two separate being into one.

Deeply involved in the kiss, it took while before Gabrielle realized something had changed. She did not feel Xena's hands anywhere on her body. And Xena's legs were no longer entwined with her own. She broke the kiss, pulled up and caught Xena completely spread-eagled, with arms and legs reaching out as far as possible toward... What?

"Xena, what are you doing?"

She froze. "Um... I... um... I'm trying to find the edges of the bed."

"The edges?"

"Yeah. I want to know.." she started saying, but her voice got smaller as she finished. "I want to know... how... big... the bed is."

"How big the bed is," the bard reiterated. "It's the bed of a queen, Xena. It's pretty big. May I ask why this is so important right now?"

"Weeeelllllll," she began, an evil grin rolling across her face and her voice dropping in tone and volume. "I have this need to feel you beneath me. I want the heat of your body pressing up against me. I need to hear you moan, Gabrielle. I want to feel your breasts under mine, my whole body covering yours. I need to know where the edges of the bed are so I can determine if I can roll you over without falling off."

She was met by stunned silence.


The bard whispered thickly. "There's room on the left."

Xena strained up and found the bard's lips with her own. Enfolding Gabrielle into her arms, she rolled them over. To the left. And with a resounding THUNK, Xena found herself on the floor.

"Xena! Are you OK?"

"I'm fine," she replied tersely as Gabrielle tried to suppress a laugh. "I

thought you said there was room."

"I meant to MY left."

Xena just sat on the floor shaking her head. "This isn't quite turning out the way I'd imagined."

"Come back up here," the bard giggled. "What do you mean not...." She paused as Xena's words sunk in. "You've imagined this? Being with me? Making love with me?"

"More times than there are stars in the sky, Gabrielle."

"By the gods, Xena," she whispered. "When? When did you realize how you felt?"

"I don't know. After we'd been traveling together for a year? The moment I met you? I can't answer that. You've become such an important part of my life. I could not imagine being without you. Perhaps it's lucky I am blind," she continued. "Now that you know how I feel, if I could see, I would surely never stop staring into your eyes."

Sighing, she pulled Xena back onto the bed and on top of her. "Xena, when did you become such a romantic?"

"The first time I laid eyes on you."

"Stop that. You are turning me into a puddle."

Drawing her finger up the bard's thigh, she murmured, "I'd say that's a good thing, Gabrielle," a sexy smile on her lips

"Gods, Xena," she moaned. "The way you say my name gives me chills."

Xena bent her head into the bard's neck and began dripping kisses along her throat, ear and shoulder all the while whispering her name like an prayer.

"Gabrielle... Gabrielle... Gabrielle... Gabrielle..."

The bard's muscles liquefied at the sound of her name whispered into her ear and Xena's hands roaming freely. She allowed herself to sink into all the physical sensations Xena was introducing to her now throbbing body. Xena's hands drifted everywhere, grazing her stomach, her face, her thighs, her breasts, her arms, her head. And suddenly stopped.


"Don't stop toughing me," she whispered fiercely.

Xena laughed quietly, causing Gabrielle to smile also.

"OK, OK," the bard conceded. "What was so important that you had to stop?"

"What is this on your head?" she questioned, bouncing her hand up and down off the strange horn like protrusions and chuckling. "Is that your hair?"

Gabrielle began to giggle and flipped the warrior onto her back. "It's my queenly doo to match my queenly gown. Doesn't it make me look... umm... seem like a queen now?"

"I would guess you looked more like a queen standing in front of my funeral pyre. And I liked the outfit the Amazons dressed you in much better then the silly thing you are wearing now."


"By the gods, Gabrielle! When you had that on I couldn't take my eyes off you." Xena sighed. "Then again, I never could stop watching you. You are so beautiful." She slid her hands down the bard's side, eliciting a shiver. "I will miss looking at you."

Gabrielle reached up and gently ran her fingers over Xena's eyes. "Then you will have to learn to see me with your hands."

Xena's eyebrow raised. "Oh? Well, it may take me an awful long time to learn something like that, Gabrielle." Her hands began to dance lightly across the bard's back, first touching her gently, then rubbing with her full palm, then pulling her tightly against herself. "But I'll certainly give it my best shot."

"Well they say practice makes perfect."

"Why, yes it does. And this may take an awful lot of practice," she murmured, letting her hands roam across the bard's body. "And speaking of the silly thing you are wearing," Xena said alluringly, running her hands slowly down the bard's sides. "I can't seem to find a way to get it off of you."

"Hmmmm." Gabrielle softly lay her cheek on Xena's breast. "It was terribly difficult to get into." She turned her head slightly towards Xena's body and began placing small wet kisses on her breast. "And once it's off, I never plan on putting it on again." She boldly took Xena's nipple into her mouth and sucked lightly to bring it to attention. Holding it gently between her teeth she calmly, seductively said to the warrior, "So just rip it off."

Xena shuddered as the electricity shot from her nipple directly to her groin.

Flipping over, she pulled Gabrielle to her knees and moved behind her, kneeling also. She pressed herself against the bard's back and reaching around with both hands, grabbed the front of the dress above Gabrielle's breasts. While lavishing the back of her shoulders with burning kisses, Xena began to pull the dress apart, slowly and steadily. As the first sounds of ripping material hit the air, Xena leaned down and bit the bard's shoulder hard enough to extract a gasp.

She continued ripping the material slowly, exposing the bard's breasts. Gabrielle pressed back against Xena, letting the warrior's body support her, moaning at the contact of Xena's mouth on her neck and shoulders and Xena's hands ripping the dress from her body.

With one final pull, Xena ripped away the rest of the fabric. Tossing it aside, she cupped one hand around her breast and reached up with the other, taking the bard's chin and tilting her head, exposing her throat. Leaning in from behind, Xena hungrily brought her mouth to Gabrielle's neck like a Bacchae after first blood. She sucked and nipped at the bard's pulse point while fondling her left breast, causing Gabrielle to twitch and moan in pleasure.

Xena lifted the bard's hair and began teasing her tongue on the nape of Gabrielle's neck producing violent shivers and gasps of breath. Her own breathing tattered, she leaned forward into Gabrielle, holding her close against her chest. "Down... lie down," she ordered thickly. Stretching the bard out onto her stomach, Xena's chest never lost contact with Gabrielle's back. Lying on top of her, Xena began to glide her hands along the bard's side. She tasted Gabrielle's skin, felt the strength of her back and shoulders as her tongue danced across them.

She moved lower, kneading the bard's firm muscles with hand and mouth, wringing soft sighs from deep within her chest. And lower still, scraping a thumbnail gently along her spine causing Gabrielle to shiver and moan in appreciation. Snaking her arm under the prostrate bard, Xena reached for and found the mound of hair and the soft flesh hidden underneath.

She slid a finger through the saturated velvet that was Gabrielle, groaning at the sensation and unconsciously licking her bottom lip in anticipation.

At the touch, Gabrielle grunted and crushed her hips down onto Xena's hand, desperate for more. But the finger slid away as Xena whispered, "Soon... soon..."

The warrior began a path of kisses and bites up Gabrielle's back and sides, her chest still not losing contact with the bard's skin. When Xena's lips reached her shoulders, she lifted her head and continued gliding her breasts higher up the smaller woman's back and ::BANG:: rammed her head into the headboard.

"Xena! Dear gods, are you OK?"

Xena grabbed the top of her head. Inhaling deeply and letting out the breath slowly she stated flatly and without emotion, "Ow."

"Oh, Xena," Gabrielle mumbled, sliding out from under the warrior and trying to fight the giggles. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine, Gabrielle. I didn't hit it that hard." she said gritting her teeth. "And I thought the headboard was at the other end." Xena sighed heavily. "I'm just not accustomed to repeatedly injuring myself during this particular activity."

The bard smiled, her eyes twinkling. "How about if I kiss it and make it better?"

"Oh that would help a great deal," Xena agreed

"So, uh... where does it hurt?" she asked suggestively. "Everywhere," Xena breathed. "Absolutely everywhere."

"Oh goody," Gabrielle murmured, bringing her lips to the top of Xena's head.

Smiling, she asked, "How about I start here," she said with a kiss, "And work my way down," she continued with another kiss on Xena's temple, "Until I kiss you everywhere," placing one more on her cheek, "And make it all better."

"Sounds perfect," Xena whispered. "Just as long as you understand some places umm... hurt more and may need more kisses than others."

And the bard willingly complied, generously bestowing kisses across Xena's face, down her neck, along her collarbone, descending towards her breasts.

Her hands marked the trail her mouth would follow, over the full curves, the soft flesh, the rising nipple. And her lips adhered to the path, but at a much slower pace. She wallowed in the feel of exquisitely soft flesh on her mouth. It felt like absolutely nothing she had ever experienced or could have ever imagined. Taking the nipple into her mouth, she moaned as she felt it responding, growing firmer against her tongue. Sucking gently, she was surprised as Xena arched up and groaned, trying to force more breast into her mouth.

Xena's hands squeezed and kneaded the bard's back and shoulders, encouraging her, letting her know her how good it felt.

And Gabrielle made use of that encouragement, ultimately to Xena's advantage, zestfully delighting in the warriors body and her responses.

As she explored this new treasure, Xena began to roll, starting to turn Gabrielle over.

"No, no, no... let me..." she begged, pushing Xena back down. "Please... let me..."

"Gabri...uunnggmm," was all she could get out as the bard slid her hand into the pool between her legs.

"Mmmm," Gabrielle teased, stroking the softness she had found. "I like the way you said my name."

"I can hear... your smile." Xena panted, reaching down and delicately touching Gabrielle's hair.

"And I can't wait to hear you scream," she declared as her fingers slid through and around saturated ringlets. "I think, perhaps, I need to taste you," Gabrielle murmured, nibbling on her hip and sliding her body between the warrior's legs.

Parting the dark curls, she tentatively brought her lips to the soft flesh and was immediately rewarded by a choked gasp from Xena. Fascinated, she began to experiment, licking lightly here, sucking harder there, stroking the same spot over and over, playing with the rigid nub, wrenching enthusiastic responses from her warrior.

"Gods, Gabrielle," Xena moaned. "How do you....uunnnmmh."

"I love the way you taste," the bard sighed and continued exploring her folds, registering each twitch or moan, noting where the most sensitive spots hid and going back there often, each time with a different stroke or caress. And each time she went back to that one spot, Xena's splintered breath and quaking body descended further into physical abandon.

But when Gabrielle's explorations lead her too far away from the direct contact now required, Xena gently guided the bard's head back, until with a hard low wail, she held Gabrielle still and pushed herself up against the bard's mouth.

Gabrielle fixed firmly on the spot that caused Xena's hips to lurch spasmodically and concentrated her attentions there. She proceeded to propel any logical thought from Xena's head, leaving her body a mass of blazing energy and undisciplined emotions. Bolstered by Xena's response Gabrielle increased her pace and found the rhythm that matched Xena's frenetic rocking.

As Xena got closer to her climax, Gabrielle began to tease a finger outside her opening causing her to moan louder and beg for release.

"Please.. Gab... brielle... please... inside... please."

Slowly she entered, her fingers enveloped by hot silk that began to constrict around them. She withdrew, then entered again and Xena growled. She began repeating the action in agonizing slow motion, wanting Xena to feel each minuscule advance her fingers made as they moved deeper inside her, until finally Gabrielle held still allowing Xena to rock back and forth on her hand. And though her hand had stilled, Gabrielle's mouth had kept pace. Each upward stroke of her tongue caused guttural noises to rip from Xena's chest and her hips to slam down on Gabrielle's fingers. The warrior's imminent climax inspired Gabrielle and she impulsively began to drive her fingers deeper, driving Xena over the edge.

With a moan that swelled like rolling thunder, Xena's body arched, stilled then crashed into the bed with release. Gabrielle hung on, feeling each of Xena's ensuing tremors in her soul and causing more with each wriggle of her fingers, each nudge of her tongue.

"No... more... no more..." Xena gasped, struggling for breath, then lurched once more as Gabrielle withdrew. "Come here," she begged softly, reaching for the woman she had just surrendered to, body and soul.

Crawling up, Gabrielle collapsed, laying completely on Xena's body. She felt the warrior's slowing breath against her chest and her pounding heart as it gradually returned to its normal rhythm. All the while she murmured softly and placed tender kisses wherever her lips happened to touch.

They lay silently, wrapped in each others embrace, each astonished and relishing the reality of the woman in their arms.

Releasing a long slow breath, Xena stated, "This really is not how I imagined it would be."

Gabrielle stiffened. Softly, in a small voice she said, "Xena... I can learn to do better. I.. I've never done this before. I... I just..."

Confused, Xena asked, "What are you talking...?" and realized the bard thought she was commenting on her performance. Wrapping her arms tightly around her love, she rolled over until her body completely covered the smaller woman. "No, Gabrielle, no. That's not what I meant at all! By the gods, you are magnificent...knew exactly... Well, didn't my responses tell you how good you made me feel?"

"I had thought so before the 'not what I imagined' comment."

"To be truthful, I had begun to wonder if you've been with women before. You seem to know exactly what to do," she murmured, placing a kiss on Gabrielle's temple. "And when," she continued, placing another high on her cheekbone. "And where," she finished as she covered the bard's lips with her own, tenderly delivering a kiss that left a smile on the bard's face.

"But Xena," she questioned, "Why the 'not what I imagined' comment?"

Xena's eyebrow shot up. "Because it isn't. In all my many fantasies of making love to you, not once did I ever fall off the bed. Or whack my head on the headboard."

Gabrielle began to giggle.

"Or kiss the pillow when I was after your ear. And not once... not once," she stated, slowly gliding a finger from the bard's shoulder to her hip, "Did you ever make love to me first. As a matter of fact, most of my fantasies ended..." She trailed her finger into the mound of hair and traced little circles in the curls. "With your release."

"..unm.." was all Gabrielle could manage to say but her body spoke clearly as it rose, desperate for more contact.

"From time to time, in my fantasies, you even fainted from overwhelming pleasure."

The bard's voice came out coarse and deep. "Maybe it's time...

"Hey!" Xena yelled, teasingly. "Who's here? Who's voice is that?"

Gabrielle smirked and cleared her throat. "I was about to say, maybe it's time for one of those fantasies to come true."

"I most definitely agree," she mumbled as she began to drop kisses randomly on the bards neck and chest.

Xena heard it first. A knock on the door that started timidly, barely discernible. Ignoring it, she continued placing kisses along the bard's jawline.

The knock became louder.

"What is it?" she growled, none too happy about being interrupted.

"It's Palaemon. We've found some Egyptian senna."

Murmuring 'so what,' Gabrielle stretched up towards Xena's lips.

"Gabrielle, it's the antidote."


"OK, tilt your head back and this time, try to keep your eyes open longer."

"I'll try Gabrielle, but it really stings. Closing them is a reflex."

"How about if you hold them open?"

"OK. Let's do it," Xena muttered, tilting her head back yet again and holding one eye open.

Gently, Gabrielle dripped the liquid into Xena's eye, again jumping a little when Xena twitched.

Xena held her eye open as long as she could before succumbing to the sting and letting it close in relief.

"Let's do the other one," Gabrielle prodded gently.

Again Xena tilted her head back and held open her eye as Gabrielle administered the solution. And again Xena left it in as long as she could before leveling her head with a grunt.

She sat with her eyes closed for a few moments as the sting dissipated and then disappeared. All the while, Gabrielle delicately patted dry the liquid that had run down her face and neck, her touch gentle and caring. Slowly Xena opened her eyes.

"Anything?" Gabrielle whispered.

Xena waited a few moments blinking rapidly then staring hard, twisting her head back and forth slowly, trying to distinguish patterns of light. But there was only darkness.

"Nothing," she said softly.

"OK, let's try another dose."

Reaching up, Xena grabbed Gabrielle's wrist. "Let's not," she said gently.


"Gabrielle, we've already done this five times. It's not working. It's too late."

"No, Xena. We can't give up. Not yet. It hasn't been a full day yet. There's still got to be a chance. Come on Xena."

"Gabrielle, it's no use."

"Look. There's not much of this solution left. Let's just use the rest of it," she pleaded. Then quietly added, "Please, Xena. I have to do this. I have to try anything because it's my fault you're blind."

"Gabrielle, it is not..."

"Yes it is, Xena," the bard interrupted. "If I had been able to take care of myself, if I hadn't gotten kidnapped, you wouldn't have needed to rescue me. We could have made it to Athens in more than enough time to cure you."

Xena sat silently for a moment, digesting the bards words and feelings. "OK Gabrielle, we'll use the rest of the solution," she stated quietly.

And they did, but it changed nothing.

"Maybe it needs a little time to work," Gabrielle said hopefully.

"Yeah, maybe it does." Xena replied.

Needing to change the somber mood for both their sakes, she poked Gabrielle in the stomach and asked impishly, "In the meantime, can we get something to eat? I'm starved!"

Laughing, Gabrielle teased, "I'm not at all surprised."

"What do you mean by that?"

"It's another one that famous writer L.N. Jamesius' theories. Ever heard of her? Anyway, she says there is a direct correlation between sex and your appetite. In other words, sex makes you hungry."

"She knows me so well."

"I doubt she was talking about you in particular, Xena."

Xena's eyebrow shot up.

"Are you saying you know her?"

"Well, I don't know her in the physical sense, but we've talked."


"And she is right. I'm ravenous!"


Xena sat with her back against the headboard, the bard curled contentedly in her arms. "Gabrielle?" she inquired carefully. "If I ask you a question, will you promise to answer truthfully? No matter what?"

"Of course, Xena."

She paused, seeming to be afraid of the question on her lips. "Did you... Are you here because I'm blind?"

"What do you mean?"

"You said it's your fault I'm blind. Are you in my arms right now... Did you make love to me out of pity, or loyalty or something like that?"

Gabrielle sat up and using her fingertips, gently guided Xena's head to face her. Then she picked up the warrior's hand and placed it on her cheek. "I know you can't see me, so I want you to feel my face when I tell you this. I am in love with you. I have been in love with you for a while now. If you had come to me yesterday or 3 moons ago, the results would have been the same."

Xena did not reply, so Gabrielle continued. "You know those dinars I wanted to squander just this morning in the market place? Well, I bought that new best-selling scroll by your friend, L.N. Jamesius. It's called "Honey, Wine and Chocolate: How to Woo Your Greek Woman." I was going to try to get up the nerve to use it, too. I didn't want to wait any longer. Do you understand, Xena? I love you." She leaned down and took the warrior gently, protectively into her arms. "I am so in love with you," she whispered.

Xena buried her face into Gabrielle's chest and fiercely wrapped her arms around the bard. Gabrielle felt her shudder softly.

"I'm so scared, Gabrielle."

The bard's heart shattered as suppressed sobs began to rack Xena's body.

Pulling her tight and wrapping the blanket around them, Gabrielle began to mummer soft reassurances, caressing her gently, allowing her her pain.

When Xena regained her composure, she began to stammer an apology but Gabrielle stopped her.

"Xena, you trusted me enough to let down your guard, please don't put it up again. You can talk to me. Tell me how it feels. Tell me what its like," she begged.

Taking a deep breath, Xena started tentatively, "You know that utter blackness that covers us on those cloudy nights? When we're deep in the woods and the fire has gone out? You wake up in the middle of the night and there is no moon, no stars, no firelight. It's so black you can't see your hand in front of your face. That's what it feels like right now. Well I can handle that. But in the morning, the sun is supposed to rise, it's supposed to be light. And I'm supposed to be able to see again. And I won't. I'll never be able to look into your eyes. Those beautiful green eyes... Never be able to watch as you tell a story and captivate an entire room. Never see if you look at me with passion. Or with pity."

The tears that had formed in the bard's eyes threatened to spill but Gabrielle knew she could not let that happen. For once, Xena needed her strength. And she would not let down this glorious warrior who owned her heart. With a clear voice that belied her shattering soul, Gabrielle tenderly told her, "I can't pretend to know what you're going through, Xena. All I can do is point out how little a difference it really makes. You still came to my rescue. You tracked me down, you infiltrated the castle, you beat up a bunch of people to get to me, you saved a whole kingdom from a tyrant. And you saved my life. All without being able to see." She paused, running her hand slowly down the warrior's arm. "I've always believed you could do anything, Xena. Now I know you can. And the only other thing I can tell you is that you are not alone. I will always be here."

Silently and with small caresses, Xena took shelter in Gabrielle's embrace, drawing warmth and strength from this tiny creature who, when it came to the important things in life, was a much bigger woman that she would ever hope to be.

"I'll be alright, Gabrielle. It will take some getting used to, but you see, it turns out that I've gained much more than I have lost. Had I not been blinded, I would have never... never let you know how I feel about you. I would have always kept you at arms length. And one day, you would have fallen in love with someone else and I would have stupidly let you walk out of my life. Again." She brought her hand to the bard's face and slowly traced each feature, each plane, each slope. "I've been such a fool, Gabrielle."

"We both have, Xena. I don't know that I would have ever gotten the nerve to let you know how I feel. I was terrified that you would send me away."

Xena took the bard's face in her hands and kissed her gently. "Never,

Gabrielle, never... I would never send you away. I love you,"

Gabrielle pulled Xena close and once again their lips met tenderly in a kiss that professed all the swirling, overpowering emotions they had just begun to admit and could not yet find the words to speak. And that kiss grew in power and desire, stirring their passions once again.

Drawing back with a sexy smile crossing her lips, Xena said, "If I remember correctly, we were about to make one of my fantasies come true when we were rudely interrupted. Is that what you remember?"

"Mmmm-hmmm," was all Gabrielle could speak as Xena tugged on the laces of her top.

And their dance of intimacy began anew.

Waking slowly, Xena's first realization was Gabrielle's body entwined with hers: legs braided together like bread, arms entangled and Gabrielle's head tucked comfortably under her chin and into her chest. The bard's soft skin pressed against hers in so many places and each spot began to tingle with warmth.

The next thing she realized was that some loud bird had stationed itself outside the window she faced and had been squawking annoyingly. She opened her eyes to fuzzy, soft, dim light and assumed it was dawn. But as she left her eyes open, things began to get brighter and come into focus. And that annoying loud bird was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. Second only to Gabrielle.

She looked down at her bard, smiling. Lazily, she began to draw random patterns along Gabrielle's arm, wanting to wake her gently.

Stirring slightly and with a drawn out, "Mmmmmmmmm," Gabrielle burrowed deeper into Xena's embrace.

"Good morning, sleepy," Xena cooed.

A content smile broke over Gabrielle's face as she mumbled, "Mmmmorning," but she did not open her eyes.

Xena thought for a moment, then asked, "Did I do this?"

"What?" she murmured happily.

"This mark on your shoulder. And these other bruises on your side."

Gabrielle smiled sleepily, still without opening her eyes. "The one on my shoulder, probably. But the others are most likely from being kidnapped."

Xena laughed to herself. The bard hadn't caught on. "Look at the beautiful carvings of this wood," she said, running her hand along the headboard.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's very nice," Gabrielle said snuggling deeper into her warrior's chest, not looking..

OK, one more try, she thought.

"You know the flower pattern on the sheets here? I think the green on this edge of the leaf comes close to matching the color of your eyes."

The bard finally opened her eyes a slit and looked at the sheets. "Are they really that color?"

"Well, let me see again," Xena laughed as she guided the bard's face around to look up at her. She stared hard into Gabrielle's eyes and smiled. "Yup. I'd say almost exactly."

"Well that's a pretty color..." She stopped, her mouth open, realization washing over her face like a soft warm breeze.

Xena slowly trailed her eyes down Gabrielle's naked body, then back up to her face. "Now that's a sight for sore eyes."

"You can see?" she whispered.

"I can see."

Gabrielle threw herself on top of Xena as tears began freely flowing from her eyes..

"Hey! This is a good thing, not a crying thing," Xena teased.

"These are good tears," Gabrielle sobbed into the warrior's chest. "Xena?

Look at me?" she asked as she picked up her head.

"Gabrielle, I am never going to stop looking at you."

And the bard began sobbing again.

"Oh, come on now, your getting me all wet," Xena chided, holding her tight.

"Oh yeah?" she sniffed, wrapping her arms around the warrior and placing a suggestive kiss on her chest. "Well get used to it! It's something I plan to do often..."


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