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Editor's Choice Award

Just the Beginning
BY: Guitar Warrior
Copyright 1998 guitar warrior

Xena: Warrior Princess and all the characters in this story belong to MCA/Universal. This story is not for profit and belongs to me.

WARNING: If the idea of two women in love with each other bothers you or you are under 18 years old or it is illegal in your state, don't read any further. If you are clear of all this red tape...Enjoy!

Xena and Gabrielle were on there way to Amphibolis to help Cyrene repair the roof on her tavern. A storm had ripped through the area a few days back, damaging half the village with violent winds.

A huge swirling cloud had been witnessed by a few villagers. Several peasants were injured and a few had lost their lives. Three homes were sucked up into the cloud, never to be seen again.

As soon as Xena received Cyrene's message, her and Gabrielle changed course for Amphibolis. "Cyrene was really lucky to come out of that storm with only a missing roof." Gabrielle spoke with excitement and animation. "I can remember hearing stories from my Uncle Symos about a twister storm that blew his whole house away!" Xena looked down at the young bard from atop Argo, with a smile tugging at her lips. So much had happened to them in the past three years that had really tested there friendship. No matter what had happened between them, Xena found herself still having strong feelings for her partner. She had wanted to move her and Gabrielle's relationship to the next step when they were in Britannia; however, there encounters with Caesar, Dahok, and all that had followed had changed her piorities. Now that things had once again calmed down, Xena started thinking that she had better make her move before anything else came up that would delay her any longer. She knew the bard had the same feelings she did. Not that Gabrielle had told her flat out that her feelings were as strong as Xena's, but in other ways that were a lot more subtle.

The way she would look at Xena when she thought Xena could not see her. Gabrielle would always insist that Xena brush her hair at night, complaining she could not get the back brushed properly. Xena knew this was an excuse to be close to the warrior and have physical contact. Little things like this had not been missed by Xena. The question was how to go about talking to Gabrielle about it.

Xena was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she was startled when Gabrielle yelled her name. "Greece to Xena!"

"Huh, what!?" Xena looked down at the bard with a quizzical expression. Gabrielle, who had been practising Xena's eyebrow technique, gave the best Xena expression she could muster. "Xena, I have been trying to get your attention since we past that stream back there! Am I that uninteresting to listen to!?" The bard began to show signs of hurt and anger as she finished the sentence. Xena recognized the look immediatlely and spoke up quickly.

"No Gabrielle you are not uninteresting to listen to, you know that! I was just thinking about something and kind of got lost in my thoughts. I'm sorry. What were you saying?" Gabrielle snorted and began to giggle.

"I wasn't saying anything. I was just trying to get your attention, that's all." Xena spoke before she thought about what she was saying. "Gabrielle, it dosn't take much for you to get my attention." Gabrielle thought about the comment, while looking at Xena with a thoughtful expression.

"Well it took more than usual to get it this time!" With the double meaning still stuck in her mind, Gabrielle walked on. Xena, thankful no more was taken from the comment she blurted out, scanned the area. "Hey, we got to Amphibolis faster than I thought we would." "Well Xena, I don't think You realized the time passage when you were daydreaming." Gabrielle smiled up at the warrior before walking on ahead to get a better view of the damage the storm had caused. Xena slid off Argo and caught up with Gabrielle, as they entered Amphibolis.

"By the god's Xena! Look at this mess." the bards eyes grew the size of saucers as she looked at a family of four trying to pick through their belongings where their house had apparently been. Xena gave a sorrowful simle to the little girl who stood by the remains her family was going through, as her and Gabrielle walked by. "They will have to start over and rebuild. Xena, will we be able to help them?" Gabrielle looked pleadingly into Xena's eyes. Xena learned long ago that she could not deny the bard anything. She had acquired one weakness and that weakness was Gabrielle! "When we finish with mother's roof we can help the others who need our assistance. This village is full of people who will be willing to help others. I'm sure they've received help." Xena and Gabrielle turned toward Cyrene's tavern to assess the damage.

"Well, it could be worse." Xena said. "Yah!" Placing her hands on her hips, Gabrielle joked. "At least she still has a building standing!" Xena smiled at the sight of her mother coming out of the building. "Xena, Gabrielle, It is so good to see you. Thank you both for coming." Cyrene engulfed both women into a bear hug. "Mother!" Xena wheezed out! "It was no problem. We came as soon as we got your message." Cyrene released her captives and smiled as she spoke. "I didn't want to get too much help from the villagers here. There are so many others who are worse off than I and need to be tended to first. I still have a roof on the house. It's just the tavern that lost it's covering." "Mother why don't you let me check out the damage and see what needs to be done?" Cyrene gave her daughter "the look" and said, "Not before you two come in, rest up and have a bite to eat. I made chicken and dumplings and apple pie." As if on cue, Gabrielle's stomach began to rumble. The bard blushed saying, "I think that is a good idea Cyrene. At least my tummy thinks so." All three laughed as they entered the roofless tavern.

After a hardy meal and some tending to Argo, Xena and Gabrielle went out to make sure those who were worse off than Cyrene had help. When they were satisfied there services were not needed, they returned to start work on the tavern's roof. By nightfall Xena had the roof completely fixed. She had sent Gabrielle inside earlier in the day. The bard had become to helpful, trying to weigh the pros and cons of the proper way to replace a roof.

Xena loved Gabrielle more than life itself, but if she had to put up with much more of the bards philosophy on roof repair she was going to end hers! She had convinced her companion to help Cyrene inside and maybe she could get her to tell her about the storm. That was all it took. Gabrielle was inside faster than you could say bugger!

Xena walked into the tavern to most unwelcoming sight. Gabrielle was setting at the bar smiling and laughing with some other young and very attractive woman. They were engaged in some silly conversation about Amazons cutting off one breast so they have better access to their weapons. Gabrielle was in a fit of giggles. "Where in Greece did you hear that rumor!?"

"Really Gab, I heard it was true. An Amazon told me." The young woman scooted her chair a little closer to Gabrielle as she spoke. Xena walked up to the couple with a look that displayed anything but humor. Gabrielle controlled herself long enough to address Xena. "Well it's about time you came in. It's been dark for some time now. Is the roof finished?" Xena wasn't looking at Gabrielle she had a cold hard stare set on the woman she thought had her chair a little too close to Gabrielle's. "Yah, the roof is basically done. I want to double-check a few things in the morning, but other than that it is done. And you are?" Xena kept her stare on the woman beside Gabrielle the whole time she spoke. The woman stood up quickly and smiled up at the warrior. She was a little taller than Gabrielle, had long dark hair, brown eyes and wore a warrior's outfit. "Excuse me." She bowed. "My name is Lana. It is a pleasure to meet you Xena." She set back down and if Xena didn't know better, scooted her chair even closer to Gabrielle. Gabrielle started giggling agian. "Xena, you won't believe what Lana was telling me. She said that, get this, that they cut off one breast so they have better access to there weapons. Is that a hoot or what!?" The bard continued to giggle as Lana smiled back at the bard with a look that was a little more than just amusement.

Xena watched painfully as Lana placed her hand on Gabrielle's knee. "Well Gab, that's what the woman said!" Xena cringed and spoke up immediately though clinched teeth. "Her name is Gabrielle, not Gab!" Lana looked up at the warrior and realized she was playing with fire. She had figured that the warrior and bard were lovers when Gabrielle had started talking about Xena, but she wasn't for sure. She liked Gabrielle when she first came in the tavern and saw her setting alone. Now she was sure that this woman setting next to her was taken.

"I apologize please forgive me." Lana gave Xena a look that conveyed she meant what she said. Gabrielle stopped laughing and said, "Don't worry about it Lana. If I didn't like it, I would of told you to begin with." Gabrielle glared over at Xena as she finished. "Don't let this intimidaing warrior bother you. She gets so over protective sometimes." Xena still had not let her glare leave Lana. "Don't worry Gab...I mean Gabrielle, I'm used to intimidation. I get it all the time. I guess I had better get back to my hotel room and get some shuteye. I have to leave early in the morning and need my beauty rest, ya know!" Lana gave a little laugh and smile before turning toward the door.

Gabrielle ran up behind Lana saying, "I don't think you need much sleep to improve in that area." Lana turned and extended her hand. "It was nice to meet you Gabrielle." She turned her head to the intimidating warrior. "You to Xena." She turned and left. Gabrielle turned back toward Xena with a look that could kill. "Gee whiz Xena, you think you could be any more intimidating!?" Xena's stoic expression turned to anger as well. "What was that all about!?" Xena growled. Gabrielle moved closer to Xena. "What was what? You come in here and scare off someone who did not do a thing to you! That's what that was all about!" Xena was seeing red, but lowered her voice. "No, that was someone who was trying to get you into their bed!" Gabrielle was ready to bite nails. "What are you talking about? Lana came in here for a meal, saw me setting here alone and decided that while she ate she would socialize a little!" "Gabrielle that woman was hitting on you! She kept pulling her chair closer to you and had her hand on your knee. As for the way she was looking at you...well she...she was hitting on you okay!"

"No, not okay! What is your problem Xena? Even if she was hitting on me, what is it to you? You are not my keeper Xena! What are you jealous?" Xena just stared at Gabrielle with an unreadable expression. "You are aren't you? You are jealous! I don't believe this!" Gabrielle sat down in her chair with a look of shock. Xena came over and sat down in the chair Lana had previously occupied. "Gabrielle." Xena waited for the bard to look at her. "Gabrielle...Greece to Gabrielle!" Gabrielle turned and looked at Xena with confusion. She couldn't believe Xena was actually jealous. She knew Xena had some strong feelings for her, but nothing like this. Stupid bard, what were you thinking!? Stupid stupid stupid!

Gabrielle's mind was racing. Xena softened her look, moistened her lips, swallowed hard and tried to form the sentence she needed to start what she had been trying to tell Gabrielle for a long time now. "Gabrielle, I didn't mean to act that way with Lana. I know I'm not good with words and..." Xena stopped to collect her thoughts. How do I tell her how I feel about her. Xena noticed that Gabrielle was staring at her patiently, waiting on the warrior to try again. "Xena, it's okay. Take your time." Gabrielle didn't know how she found her voice to speak, but being a bard she figured it just came natural. Xena smiled and nodded. A little more confident than before, she started again. "Gabrielle, you know I love you more than anything else in this god's forsaken world don't you?" Gabrielle nodded, so Xena continued. "Good, I don't ever want you to doubt that fact. For awhile now I've been experiencing some strong feelings that I haven't been able to control." Xena licked her lips and swallowed hard again. "These feelings, they've been driving me crazy."

Gabrielle spoke up immediately. "Oh Xena, don't tell me The Furies are at it again!" Xena looked at Gabrielle and began to chuckle. "That's my bard. Always getting ahead of yourself." Gabrielle calmed down and blew a strand of hair that had fallen into her face with a puff of breath. "Don't scare me like that Xena!" Xena, smiling, continued her confession to Gabrielle. "As I was saying, these feelings have been driving me crazy. I can't fight them anymore. I wanted to tell you this when we were in Britannia, but well you know why I didn't." Gabrielle smiled and taking one of Xena's hands said, "Xena, what is it? You can tell me. What ever it is, will work it out together like we always do."

Xena swallowed again and blurted out everything before she even knew she had said it. "Gabrielle, I love you! I don't just me I love you, I mean I am in love with you! You take my breath away! You are my dawn, my dusk, my moon, my sun, you are the light at the end of the cave, my saviour! Gabrielle, you are my life and without you I dwell in darkness!" Xena looked at Gabrielle closely to wage her reaction. Gabrielle sat mute. Her mind racing, body shaking, even though she was not cold. Xena in love with me! A little tag along bard from Potidea. Gabrielle didn't know what to say. This had been exactly what she had dreamed of, only she never believed it would come true.

To Xena it seemed like forever before Gabrielle finally said anything. "I can't believe this Xena! You are in love with me?" Gabrielle needed to make sure she wasn't hearing only what she wanted to hear. "Yes Gabrielle, I am in love with you! I've said it, but I don't know if I should of." Gabrielle turned more toward Xena, so she could face her properly. "Why do you say that? I'm glad you said it! I've only dreamed of you saying those words to me. I never would have imagined them coming true." Xena squeezed Gabrielle's hand a little tighter and smiled. "You really mean that Gabrielle?" "Yes Xena, I really mean that. Oh and by the way, I love you too Xena." Xena felt as if she was going to cry. She berated herself thinking about the warriors don't cry rule, but still felt as if she was going to at any moment.

Before Xena knew what had happened, Gabrielle's lips were touching hers. She almost didn't feel them. They were as soft as a feather. Xena became a little bolder and deepened the kiss a little. She didn't want to push Gabrielle too fast, but could not stop herself from brushing her tongue over Gabrielle's mouth. Gabrielle, feeling Xena's request, opened her mouth to allow Xena passage into her warm cave. Just as they deepened the kiss, Xena's hearing picked up a noise coming from the hall. Xena reluctantly broke off the kiss and turned to see her mother coming down the hall.

Xena turned back to a hazy eyed, pouting bard. "Why did you end that delicious kiss?" Xena smiled and began to chuckle at the bard's pout. "Gabrielle, mother is coming.


"So what does that have to do with the price of henbane in Greece?" the bard argued. Cyrene walked up to both women, noticing the look on Xena's face and the look on Gabrielle's face and tired to figure out what had been going on. She could of sworn she saw her daughter kissing the bard, but was sure she was seeing things. Although, it wouldn't of surprised her, knowing there was a special connection between the warrior and bard. It was something Cyrene saw even before Xena and Gabrielle saw it. However, Cyrene was sure her stubborn daughter would never fulfill that connection, and figured Gabrielle would be too shy to make the first move. "Xena, you finally came in out of the dark. I brought you something to eat." Cyrene set the plate of food down in front of Xena and turned back to look at Gabrielle, who was still hazy eyed and pouting. Xena literally fell over each word she said, trying to sound normal.

After a kiss like that, how do you sound normal, Xena thought? "Thank you mother. I am definitely hungry." OPPS! Did that come out how I think it came out? Xena smiled weakly at Cyrene, who had just confirmed that she did in fact interrupt a special moment, turned back to Xena and said, "I'm going to bed. I'm beat! Thank you so much for fixing the roof dear." She leaned over and kissed her daughter's forehead and whispered in her ear, "Now that you have her, don't mess things up and lose her." Cyrene leaned over to Gabrielle, kissed her on the forehead, said goodnight and headed toward her room. Xena sat motionless, as her mothers words sunk in. She knows, Xena thought. She was brought back from her thoughts when she heard her name. "Xena?" Xena turned toward the bard with a shocked expression. "She knows Gabrielle. She must have seen us when she was coming down the hall." Xena furrowed her brows in aggravation.

Gabrielle ended her pouting and replaced it with a smile. "So what Xena, she knows I'm your girlfriend. I think she would of figured it out eventually! Are you going to eat that food, cause if not..." "Oh no you don't Gabrielle, I'm starved! But...I will share." Gabrielle's smile widened at the offering of more food. After finishing the meal, Xena and Gabrille headed down the hall to Xena's old childhood room. They entered and went about there normal routine of getting ready for bed. Xena was in the process of placing her weapons in the corner when she looked over and caught Gabrielle unlacing her green top. Gabrielle stopped her activity and looked over at Xena, who was staring at her hands on the ties of her top. Gabrielle's brows furrowed as she picked up her night shift and headed for the door. Xena followed the bards every move. "Where are you going Gabrielle?" Gabrielle stopped stuck her head around the door at Xena. "I'm going to change for bed." It was Xena's turn to furrow her brows. "Why are you leaving to get ready for bed?" "Because Xena. I'll be right back." With that said, Gabielle was out the door. Xena stared at the door until the bard re-entered the room. "Why did you leave the room to get ready for bed?" Xena asked, walking over to where Gabrielle was turning down the sheets. "You know why Xena." Gabrielle said with a little agitation in her voice. "Gabrielle, I've seen you naked before."

"Yes Xena, but that was before." Gabrielle climbed into bed and pulled the sheets up over her.

"Gabrielle, what is the difference between then and now?" Gabrielle, not bothering to open her eyes, answered.

"Before I wasn't your girlfriend, now I am. Night Xena." Xena stood over Gabrielle with a blank expression. She finally walked over to where her night shift was and changed into it.

She walked over to the bed and said, "Well does this mean we can't sleep in the same bed?" Gabrielle turned over and looked at Xena.

"No, there is only one bed and I'm not going to make you sleep on the floor. I mean this is your bed after all." Xena grumbled something like gee thanks and stubborn bard, while climbing into the bed. Gabrielle turned back toward the warrior with an expectant look.

"What is it Gabrielle? Am I hogging too much blanket?" Xena spoke with a hint of sarcasm.

"No Xena, I'm waiting." Xena looked at Gabrielle with confusion.

"Waiting for what?" "For my goodnight kiss Xena!" Gabrielle looked at Xena as if saying, what do you think I'm waiting for! Xena leaned over and enveloped Gabrielle into her arms, kissing her deeply and passionately. Gabrielle groaned into the warrior's mouth, as both tongues battled for control over the other. Before Xena knew what had happened, Gabrielle broke the kiss with a warning look. "Xena, you keep kissing me like that and I'm not going to be able to stop myself." Xena could hardly control herself. She wanted to take Gabrielle right then and there. "Gabrielle, don't stop yourself, just let go an go with it!" Gabrielle smiled at Xena and in a semi-controlled voice said, "Xena, we just admitted our feelings. I don't want to rush things. Remember good things come to those who wait." Xena gave Gabrielle a look that was almost pleading. "Gabrielle, good things can come to those who don't wait to. Who thought up that saying anyway? It's stupid!"

"Goodnight Xena, I love you." Gabrielle rolled back over and waited for dreams of her Warrior Princess to take over. "Goodnight Gabrielle, I love you." Xena rolled over the other way, hoping Morpheus would take her to his world soon, but knowing she probably would not be able to sleep tonight. Too much had happened. Her and Gabrielle were now...what were they, dating? No, Xena didn't date. They were lovers? No, not yet anyway. They were a couple? No, Xena decided that made them sound like an old married couple. What were they then? Xena settled for bondmates, at least for tonight. This was her last thought before visions of a beautiful bard appeared and Morpheus pulled Xena into his dreamscape. It seemed to Xena that she had just got to sleep, that she was being pulled back out of her sleep by an annoying tickle.

Xena's eyes fluttered open to a very lovely sight. Gabrielle was leaning over her with a huge smile and a feather in her hand. She had been tickling Xena's nose with it. "Well finally, you must have been having a great dream Xean. Care to share what it was." "Gabrielle." Xena's voice would of been more of a warning, but the sight of Gabrielle and the rememberance of what happened last night put her in too good a mood to muster up much harshness. Gabrielle brought the feather back down to tickle Xena's nose again, but was stopped when Xena grabbed Gabrielle's wrist. "I don't think you need that anymore Gabrielle. I am awake now." Gabrielle giggled. "So you are awake, but I am not finished torturing you yet." Xena narrowed her eyes at the bard, pulling her down a little closer. There faces only inches apart. "You want to torture me do you? Well I think you have done enough torturing on me little bard. Now it is my turn." With that said, Xena spun Gabrielle down to the bed and began tickling the bard's ribs. "NO! XENA! STOP! PLEASE MERCY MERCY!!" Gabrielle was laughing in between yelling. By the time Xena stopped, Gabrielle had tears in her eyes. "Now who is being tortured, hum Gabrielle?" Gabrielle was out of breath, but still huffed out her words. "Xena,! You are going to pay for that! Just let me catch my breath first." Xena chuckled, not releasing her captive from underneath her. Xena closed the distance between her and the bard, coming inches from Gabrielle's lips. "I don't think I'm going to let you catch your breath Gabrielle. I think I will just take it away completely." Xena claimed Gabrielle's lips with her own, in what could only be described as lightning and fire! Gabrielle's moan only made Xena bolder. She released Gabrielle's wrist and placed her hands on those gorgeously toned hard abs, running her hands up and down them. This only produced more moans from Gabrielle, pushing Xena further. Xena ran her hands up closer to the bard's breasts each time, brushing softly over the bottom of them.

Finally, Xena came up Gabrielle's side, placing her hands on her shoulders. Just as she was moving them down Gabrielle's chest, two small hands grabbed hers and entwined their fingers. Xena broke from the kiss, looking at both pair of hands. Gabrielle could hardly speak, but somehow found a way. "Wow Xena! Your many skills run far and wide, don't they?" She still had her eyes closed and was opening them as she finished her sentence. Xena turned back to give Gabrielle a mischievous smile, pulling her hands up over the bards head. Gabrielle's eyes grew wide and her laboured breathing increased. Just as things were getting interesting, a knock at he door ended the moment. "Xena! Gabrielle! Are you two going to come out of hibernation long enough to eat some breakfast? Or should I just feed it to Argo?" That was all it took for Cyrene to get Gabrielle's attention. The bard flew out from underneath Xena and grabbed here clothes. "Will be right there Cyrene. Don't you dare give my food away!" Cyrene laughed and headed back to the kitchen.

"Come on Xena!" Gabrielle grabbed Xena's leathers and threw them at the pouting warrior.

"Gabrielle!" Xena said, as the leathers hit her in the face. Xena trudged out of bed and began to dress. Gabrielle didn't care about changing in front of the warrior this time. She was on a mission and that mission was breakfast! After finishing their meal, they double-checked Xena's handy work on the roof. Satisfied that it met Xena's standards, they headed out to check up on the rest of the village. Most had already begun rebuilding and repairing. Xena and Gabrielle helped the family they had past when they first entered Amphibolis. There house was finished within a couple of days. The town's people had really come together in the time of crisis. On the fourth day, Xena was getting restless and the road was calling to her once again. "I wish you could stay longer Gabrielle." Cyrene had the bard in another tight embrace. "I know Cyrene, will be back soon. I'll make sure Xena dosen't stay away from her mother for so long again. It gets kind of hard to get back this way when things start happening and people need our help."

"I know and understand. I just wish you could have stayed longer." "I'm sorry mother." Xena came up behind Cyrene with a sorrowful smile. "We won't stay away so long next time. I promise!" She gave her mother a hug and climbed up on top of Argo. Xena offered her hand down to Gabrielle, with a question in her eyes. The bard looked up at Xena and shook her strawberry blond hair vigorously, denying the request. Cyrene watched the pair until they were out of sight. She turned and went back in the tavern with happy thoughts of both her daughter and Gabrielle. She knew there life together had only just begun.

To be Continued...End of Part 1