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The Key
by Erato Bard

The story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.

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Skip the cheap and/or homophobic shots, I will delete those suckers promptly!

Chapter 1

Xena opened her eyes, Gabrielle was sitting there holding her hand, Joxer was holding a wet cloth in his hand and looking concerned and tired. "Wha..what happened?" Xena asked, blinking her eyes and looking around.

"You were knocked off your horse Xena, you have been unconscious for 2 days. I thought you would never walk up!"

Xena focused her eyes, Gabrielle looked tired, and older somehow. Must have been the strain of worrying, because Joxer did too. "Gods I must have given them quite a fright" Xena thought to herself.

"Do you remember what happened Xena?" Gabrielle asked.

"Let me think for a minute or two, I feel really groggy...Okay, I was riding Argo..." She saw Gabrielle tilt her head and furrow her brow. "Okay this is where it gets fuzzy...that's strange, I usually have a pretty good memory. So... I was riding Argo and an Athenian soldier jumped me from behind. He must have hit me on the back of the head or something. Is that what happened? Gabrielle was looking down. She seemed confused, she looked at Joxer questioningly. He looked confused as well, but there was nothing unusual about that.

"Xena, where were you heading when this happened?"

"Oh come on Gabrielle, you know. I was meeting you at Sparta and we were going to go together up to Potedia to see your sister get married. I must have got caught in the crossfire between the Athenians and Spartans"

Gabrielle's eyes filled with tears. "Oh Xena..." She paused and looked down. She was stroking Xena's hand and suddenly she lifted her head and looked off into the distance, biting her lip softly.

"What is it Gabrielle? Tell me" Xena tried to sit up but she began to feel light headed and laid back.

"Xena, how old am I?"

"Gabrielle, you are 24. What's going on? Where am I, where is Argo? You're scaring me!" That was an almost impossible admission for Xena to make and Gabrielle felt herself struggle to make sense of it all before she could tell Xena.

"No Xena I'm not 24" Gabrielle replied in a soft voice, almost to herself. "I am 29 Xena, I'm 29 years old."

"What? What in hades are you talking about?"

"I don't know what is going on either Xena, but you were not jumped by an Athenian soldier, you were knocked off your horse by a rockslide while trying to rescue a shepherd and his son. Xena, my sister was married 5 years ago!"

Xena closed her eyes trying to take this all in. This was crazy, she raised her hand to her face. She saw a scar on her arm. A scar she didn't remember. It looked like an old scar, but that was impossible wasn't it? No, maybe it wasn't. She looked at Gabrielle again, then Joxer. It all made sense, Gabrielle was as beautiful as ever, but she did look older. Joxer had some gray hairs at his temples. It was true, she had lost 5 years of her life in that rockslide.

She thought for a minute...Gabrielle had said 'you were knocked off your horse' not 'you were knocked off Argo'.

"What happened to Argo, where is Argo"?

"Xena, Argo died three years ago."

Xena closed her eyes "No not Argo" she whispered. "How?"

"Xena, maybe we shouldn't talk about this right now."

"Tell me damn it, I have the right to know what happened to her!!"

"You had to kill her after she broke her leg. I never had seen you so... we cremated her and just held each other that night and cried. You cried in my arms all night."

Xena felt her face go red and she looked down as her eyes began to sting. She wasn't going to cry, at least in front of Joxer.

"I need to be alone for awhile, could you both just..."

"Of course Xena, come on Joxer."

What else had she lost. Was her mother still alive? Was there someone special in her life that she didn't know about? What was he like? How would Gabrielle feel about that? What if Gabrielle had someone else? No, she didn't even want to think about that. Someone with her Gabrielle. Damn, five years didn't seem to alter that little fixation.

Chapter 2

Xena and Gabrielle walked along in silence. Xena had wanted to hit the road so she could adjust to this new horse. Pellas was her name, she was the daughter of Argo's brother-- Argo's niece, and so much like her, that Xena took some comfort in her presence.

"She's been good to you Xena, has come through for you when you needed her. Argo would have been proud."

That night they prepared to make camp. Gabrielle updated Xena on the key events that occured in the last five years, new enemies they had made, people they had protected, births, deaths. None of them sparked a memory for Xena, it was all gone.

Xena threw a log onto the fire as Gabrielle spread the bedrolls out. Side by side as always, even after five years, apparently nothing had changed.

"Gabrielle, I have to ask you something" Xena said as she left the fire and crouched near the bedrolls.

"Sure Xena, anything." Gabrielle replied as she began to brush her hair.

"Do I have a lover? I mean did I meet anyone? Or...did you?"

"No Xena, it's just you and I." Gabrielle replied, and suddenly she seemed far away, lost in her thoughts.

"Xena, come sit on my bedroll." Gabrielle said suddenly. Xena felt nervous, uneasy in fact, but did as she asked.

"I want to try to help you remember something, okay? Just trust me."

"Okay, sure"

Gabrielle took Xena's wrist and drew her arm to her, palm up. Softly she began to rub Xena's forearm. As light as a feather. Xena felt her heart ache.

"Do you remember this Xena?"

"No...I'm sorry Gabrielle."

Gabrielle ran her hand up and down Xena's bicep and shoulder. As light as a feather.

"Do you remember this Xena?"

Xena closed her eyes, the ache was becoming almost unbearable. "No" she said in a soft voice. "I'm sorry, I don't."

Gabrielle moved in closer, her breasts touched against Xena's. Xena felt her heart pounding and her breath quickening. Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena's waist and put her head on Xena's shoulder. Then she ran her hands up and down Xena's back.

"One night I woke up and saw you looking at me. You looked so different-- so sad and so tender. I remember my heart skipped a beat and I looked away. But I looked back and you were still watching me." Gabrielle began to softly kiss Xena's neck. Xena softly groaned and closed her eyes. Gabrielle rested her head on Xena's shoulder again.

"I asked you what you were thinking and you told me that you were thinking about love. You realized that true love didn't have to be love at first sight or a lightening bolt in a single moment. Sometimes it was more like a slow melting together of two hearts until each person realizes that they are a part of each other. You realize it was there all along and you can't believe you didn't see it in the first place. It happens because the human heart is a beautiful complicated place that keeps its secrets locked away until someone comes who just fits, who has the key."

"Gabrielle, I don't know what to do, you have the key. I don't have anything..."

"Never say that Xena, you have my heart, you always will."

Gabrielle leaned in again and softly kissed Xena's lips. As light as a feather. Slowly she pushed Xena back onto the bedroll not taking her lips away. She started to pull down Xena's shift so she could look at her in the moonlight. Xena seemed so small, so vulnerable somehow. She had to remind herself, that she had five years on Xena, but this would be Xena's first time with her. While she knew every square inch of Xena, everyway to please her, Xena was unsure of how to please her.

"We don't have to do this Xena," Gabrielle said pulling back a little.

"Could we just lie together for awhile Gabrielle. This is all just so much for me to process."

"Sure Xena." Gabrielle gently replied, and let go of Xena's shift.

"Uh....this might sound kind of strange, but I want us to lie naked in each other's arms, I don't know what else I will be up for. I just want to feel you against me. Is that okay?"

"Yes that's okay."

After a few minutes they were lying side by side. Xena was on the outside, with her arm wrapped around Gabrielle's waist. Gabrielle's hair was brushing against her face and she found its scent soothing and familiar. "Gabrielle, I want you so bad, with every minute that I hold you. But I just feel like I wouldn't have the slightest clue what to do"

Gabrielle turned over and ran her hand up Xena's bicep again like before. "Why don't you let me...I mean, I love you, I'll talk you through it...Gods that sounds so patronizing, but can't we just make love and help each other make love and not worry about anything else? I just want to show you how much I love you. If you aren't ready to try things, that's fine, but let me try."

"Ah, you just want to be on top!" Xena grinned.

"Hey, I've always been on top!"

"Yeh.... I find that hard to believe!"

Both women were laughing now. Just what the moment seemed to need. Then it was silent again. Gabrielle moved in closer and wrapped her legs around Xena's, pulling their bodies tight. She took Xena's hand and placed it on her breast. Then Gabrielle drew Xena's face towards her own and started to kiss her.

Xena began to gently stroke Gabrielle's breast. Gods it was so soft yet so firm and full. Gabrielle's nipple hardened, and it was small and tight, she was sighing. In moments they were both breathing heavily and kissing very deeply, Xena began to stroke Gabrielle's breast more firmly.

She stopped kissing Gabrielle's lips and looked into Gabrielle's eyes with a hunger that was new to her but oh so familiar to Gabrielle. Grabbing Gabrielle's shoulders, she rolled the younger woman onto her back and laid on top. Lowering herself, she began to kiss Gabrielle again, while gently drawing apart Gabrielle's legs. Tucking one leg in between Gabrielle's legs, Xena began to move up and down, basking in the sounds of Gabrielle's pleasure. Now Gabrielle was holding Xena's breasts, playing with her nipples. Through her excitement, Xena began to plead with Gabrielle.

"Tell me what you like Gabrielle, anything, please just tell me."

"Kiss my forehead...

now my ear...

my neck...

bite my neck...

go lower...

Xena, go down on me, please... now!"

Xena, stopped kissing Gabrielle's stomach (was it even harder than it was before?) and moved down to Gabrielle's sex, where she gently began to kiss. Gabrielle was stroking Xena's hair, cheeks and ears.

"Xena your tongue, use your tongue, up and down, oh....inside....Gods!!"

Gabrielle arched her back and stopped all other movement, she grabbed the bedroll with her hands and cried out. Then she fell back, exhausted.

Xena climbed up to Gabrielle side and held her until Gabrielle's breathing slowed down.

"I was supposed be pleasing you Xena, and you got the best of me!" She grinned. "But the night is still young!"

In the early hours of the morning, the lovers lay entwined gently dozing. The birds began to sing, and they knew that they had to be on their way soon.

It took weeks for Xena's memory to return. Parts of her memory never returned, and in some cases it was a blessing. But there was something very special about that time. It brought a newness to their love and reminded both Xena and Gabrielle of why they fell in love in the first place.

The End

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