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GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER: Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts very minor scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISLAIMER: This story has a very minor reference towards rape. This type of depiction may disturb some readers and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.

HURT/COMFORT WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the characters Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this story.

LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This 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.

COMMENTS: I wrote this for the woman I love. I’m a very poor listener but maybe I’ll come back in another life as a cornfield. You know! All ears! Comments?

I Was Not Listening
July 1999

I really wonder where she is right now, Xena thought as she became more and more agitated, by watching the candle vaporize before her very eyes.

I knew I pushed too hard about going out to these places on her own but my intentions were good. I care about her and I don’t like it when she sits in the taverns and inns telling her tales without me. There are too many freaks out there and I can’t protect her if she’s not with me. I wonder sometimes, if I’m not a little bit jealous of all the attention she gets. No! That can’t be it, after all I get quite a bit of attention myself. I can’t help it if they all want to kill me!

"Gabrielle, where in Tartarus are you?" Xena cursed as she looked out of the front door of The Other Inn. This was the place she was to meet the Bard when the Warrior got back from picking up a new set of reins for Argo. Xena was sure she heard her correctly. There was no way she could have made a mistake.

"Listen real closely to what I say," Xena said to the barkeep. "My friend is supposed to show up here and tell some of her stories to the patrons. Her name is Gabrielle. She’ll be carrying a staff; she has blond hair and talks up a storm. Tell her that I was looking for her and make sure no harm comes to her. Got it?"

"Yea...I got it. Hey! Who are ya?" The barkeep muttered.

"My name is Xena. Can you remember that?"

"That Xena? I can remember that." He said with conviction.

Xena headed out the door trying to keep her heart from racing. This wasn’t like Gabrielle to be late or not show up at all, unless there was a problem. Xena knew that Athens was a large place to cover but she started looking anyway, checking any place that had any amount of action going on. Argo was still in the stable down the road and Xena knew that if she didn’t show up there the liveryman would just tack on another dinar or two for the additional stable time.

Xena turned into a tavern called Dorinda’s and was immediately approached by a large man smelling of ale and in need of a bath.

"Hey honey! Let’s get to know each oth..."

"Thwak!" Was the sound of Xena’s fist smashing into his nose and then....."Crash!" as he hit the floor.

"Listen HONEY, I’m not in the mood for love right now. Right now I need to know where my friend is or I’m going to bust this place up!" The Warrior said with her teeth clenched.

The bartender stepped up and said, "Tell me what her name is and what she looks like. Maybe I’ve seen her and maybe not!"

Xena gave the bartender a description of the Bard with no favorable response. For all the commotion, one flat nosed patron and a raised level of frustration, nothing had been accomplished. The Warrior shrugged her shoulders and left. Traveling down the street she looked into every tavern and inn that she came across. Some of the places were pretty crude and had a clientele that one wouldn’t find in the temples on any given day or breaking bread with the sisters of Gia. Xena started systematically eliminating streets one at a time. The thought even crossed her mind to head down toward the port of Glifada, check out the docks to see if someone had abducted Gabrielle and put her on a ship. The port was on the coast, about a candlemark from Athens.

Three candlemarks later totally burned out, feet hurting and panic knocking on the inside of her head, she sat down on the steps of the next inn on the street. Inside she heard a lot of clapping and people sounding like they were having a great time. Xena stood as two patrons were walking out and they said to her, "Best storyteller we’ve ever heard! The young Bard knows Xena, the Warrior Princess and she’s been going on with stories for at least three candlemarks entertaining everyone. Go in and have an ale. You’ll like her!"

"Ya! I bet I will." Xena remarked as she looked up at the sign hanging over the front of the establishment.

It read: Another Inn and not The Other Inn. "By the gods I heard her wrong! Artemis! Goddess of the hunt, you must have enjoyed tonight, watching me running around!"

Xena walked through the door and there on a small platform facing a crowd of twenty patrons was the love of her life. The Warrior moved around the room searching for a dark corner to hide in and found an empty seat at a table that was just what she was looking for. The seat she found would help her keep a low profile while the Bard worked her magic. The blue-eyed lover enjoyed seeing Gabrielle doing what she loved. This was her battlefield and the enemy was being conquered as Xena watched.

When the last story came to an end, the grateful patrons placed some well-earned dinars in the basket at the foot of the platform. The Bard took her bow and picked up her earnings, then walked over to Xena and said, "I was wondering when you were going to show up. What did you do, forget the name of the inn again?" Gabrielle asked with a slight grin.

"No! As a matter of fact I was shopping for a gift for you." Xena fibbed.

"Well, where is it?"

"It uh, won’t be ready for a couple of days." Xena dug the hole deeper.

"Oh great! That means we can stay longer! By the way, where are we staying tonight? I figured that you had set us up with....."

"I figured you did!" The Warrior defended her thoughtlessness.

"Well, let me talk to the proprietor. He was hinting at a return engagement for tomorrow night. I’ll try to work my magic, Xena!" Gabrielle strutted verbally.

The Bard went to talk to the man behind the bar who owned the place and secured a room for two nights at no cost to the women. The consideration was given because Gabrielle agreed to another night of story telling. He gave her a key and pointed up the stairs. The tired blonde collected her sweetheart and they went up one flight, down the hall and into the last room on the right. It was not the best room the two of them ever stayed in but for a large city like Athens it would do nicely. Firm and cleaner than most rooms, it would do for a couple of nights and the price was right.

Xena sat on the edge of the bed while Gabrielle helped her get her boots off and then they switched positions, returning the favor. The armor went over the chair as well as the sword and chakram. Xena took her leathers off and her breeches followed. She looked over at the Bard and smiled, while all Gabrielle could do was giggle as she unlaced her top, peeled her skirt off, and then relieved herself of her breeches. They stood naked across from each other and time stopped. You could hear their breathing increase as they held their positions across from each other just looking. They moved slowly, closing the gap and the Bard looked up into Xena’s eyes, kissing her easily on the lips. The Warrior shuddered and slipped her arms around her lover, removing the space between them. "I want to make love to you Xena." Gabrielle said softly. "I tell the stories and as I talk about the places we’ve been and the things that we’ve done, I realize how much I love you, then I work myself up...."

"Quiet now...and make love to me, my Bard."

Gabrielle led Xena by the hand to the bed and they lay down together. The Bard caressed Xena’s beautiful black hair as she kissed her eyelids, then she returned her lips to her lover’s lips and the fires burned high. A soft moan escaped the Warriors throat and she slithered under the touch of her Bard’s hands. She moved them over the firm curves and supple breasts that ached as her nipples rose to the attention they were given.

Gabrielle’s tongue moved independently of her body, as it explored her lover’s mouth, then moved to an ear and the tender part of Xena’s neck. Her hands never stopped moving. They were on a mission to find that special place that would bring her lover to her peak. She stroked the Warriors stomach and played with the moist hair that accented her mound and showed her readiness. The Bard worked her way toward the inevitable destination. A single finger penetrated the layers of tender folds that guarded the entrance to her lover’s opening. Gabrielle moved her herself into position and gently kissed that sensitive spot as Xena encouraged her entry, by spreading her legs. The younger lover moved her tongue over the soft skin and toyed with the Warrior by teasing certain areas. She would place her lips over Xena’s nerve center then slipped in a finger, penetrating deep inside. She ran her tongue up and down the opening and returned to the center and circled it, many times until the Warrior cried out, "Oh Gabrielle! I...Yes! Please.......Oh Yes! Mmmm..."

When Xena had climaxed, the two lovers held each other for many moments, exchanging light kisses between them. The Warrior rolled on to her stomach and Gabrielle gave her a short shoulder massage.

"That feels sooo good!" The raven-hair lover expressed to her partner. "I could get real lazy doing this all of the time, how about you?"

"Oh! I don’t know, I thought I worked pretty hard tonight and I don’t mean downstairs!" Gabrielle teased the Warrior.

"Pretty hard? Why you storytelling, blonde shit, you! I’ll show you pretty hard!" And Xena chased the Bard around the bed and finally caught her by the arm. She threw her back on the sheets and pinned her arms down with her knees. "Say you’re sorry!" Xena cooed.

"No!" Gabrielle said. "Instead, I’ll show you I’m sorry." Then she raised her head slightly and ran her tongue through those dark hairs, touching off another eruption within her lover. The love making continued for another candlemark and sleep was a necessity that night.


The sun broke the horizon, which told Xena that she needed to do some fast thinking about what the day would hold for the two lovers. She had to get away and make good on a special gift for Gabrielle or look like a fool, a liar and unworthy of such a partner. It’s not that her intentions were anything less than honest and true, she just hadn’t been motivated to find something special for Gabrielle until now! Xena left the Bard with her mouth open and her eyes closed as she slipped out the door after writing a short note on a parchment scrap and placing it on the table.

It read, ‘Catch up on your stories. I’ll be back by lunch. Went to stretch Argo’s legs. Love, Xena’

The Warrior knew she was early for the merchants but sometimes if you caught them unprepared there was a chance of working a good deal. Unfortunately, the Bard was much better at bartering and chewing someone down on a price. No matter! The Warrior got herself into this and she would get out of it.

What can I get her that will be impressive and lovely? Maybe a ring or some new clothing? I could get her some new cooking things......she’d kill me! Xena’s thoughts danced around in her head.

A jewel merchant was opening up his shop and Xena entered. He looked her up and down as if she might try to rob him but she said, "Listen! I’m looking for a gift for my friend, something nice, something precious. What do you have?"

"Look around and maybe something will catch your eye. My head is pounding from too much wine last night, so talk easy please." The shopkeeper complained.

The Warrior looked at many precious stones, pendants and rings but couldn’t make a decision, so she thanked the merchant and said she might return later but for now, she would look around. Out the door and down the street she traveled, in search of something.

There had to be something out there that would impress her love, she thought.

Xena walked through the garment area of the city and couldn’t make up her mind on an outfit, then she thought about getting Gabrielle a weapon or some scrolls. Finally she sat down near a statue of the goddess Aphrodite and rested her body and mind for both were in a panic. Across the street was a silversmith, so Xena got up and walked into the shop.

"Can I help you young lady?" The voice said. From behind the counter, a very small, old man appeared. He was no larger than the Pigmy Amazons on the Isle of Crete were. He might have gone twelve or thirteen hands. He was holding a tiny hammer and chisel. "Hello? Can you hear me?" He continued.

"Yes....Yes, I can hear you. I was just taken by your size my friend." Xena replied.

"Whether we are friends remains to be seen. My size startles many and there are some that feel they can take advantage of one who is short in stature however, long in wisdom. Once again, I would like to know if I can help you?" The miniature man asked.

"I seem to be a little short on wisdom today, so maybe you can help me. I’m looking for a gift for my friend and lover." Xena told him. "It needs to be special and unique. Something that will make her eyes get big and hug me many times."

"Yes, I understand." He replied with a smile.

Xena explained her dilemma, of all the ideas she thought of and the places she visited and still came up empty. She needed to get back soon for it was coming close to midday and the Warrior was supposed to meet her friend at that time. Basio, as he was called, told her what his idea was and Xena loved it. She wrote down a couple of things on a parchment for him and they agreed to see each other in the morning. The Warrior made it back to the stable and checked on Argo, then figured to head back to the inn and get Gabrielle. The Bard surprised her at the double doors of the stable and Xena ushered her out to lunch as quickly as she could, keeping her away from the horse. Thinking, No sweat, on the horse! It might be hard to explain if she noticed.

"Let’s go down to the Port of Glifada and find one of those quaint places that look out at the bay." Xena said with a goofy smile on her face.

"Hey! What’s going on Xena? You’re acting kind of silly. Sniff! Sniff! You weren’t drinking this morning, were you?" The Bard questioned.

"No! I’m just happy! That’s all!" Xena smiled back.

The port of Glifada was a one to two candlemark hike to the sea but there where numerous sights to stop and check out along the way. Meandering along the road, Gabrielle watched people and commented to Xena about the different types that crossed their path. She pointed out who she thought was rich, who looked dangerous and who were just regular people trying to live. They found the kind of place the Warrior was looking for to have a decent lunch. It was called Captain’s Cove and catered to the seafaring crowd.

Gabrielle picked out the seating arrangements and they placed an order with the barmaid. A couple of short conversations later, the barmaid brought two mugs of lemon water. The women then ordered bluefish with all the trimmings and waited for the meal to arrive. The Bard explained to Xena about her arrangement of stories, she was thinking of telling the crowd that night. As they looked out the window, the bay was calm and the waters were still. There were several ships of various sizes anchored in the bay. Most were merchant ships with trade goods from other countries of the known world. They were filled with silks and a variety of other materials. There were foods from other areas that were not common to this land. Herbs, exotic oils and perfumes were yet on another vessel. Weapons of all kinds were always a large commodity and were plentiful in the cargo holds, which would end up usually no further than the end of the docks. They were sold quickly and cheaply, with great profits made.

"We haven’t been on a ship in awhile, Xena. It might be fun to visit an island for a moon or so and just do some exploring. Maybe find a secluded beach and we could make love on the sand while the waves washed over us." Gabrielle suggested.

Xena rolled her eyes and told her, "Then we’d be picking sand out of our hair and our butts."

"Oh, Xena! You take all the romance away!"

"Hey! I’ll give you romance. Now eat your fish. Here it comes."

Pondering what Gabrielle had just said, made Xena think, maybe I should try to be a little more sensitive to her needs. After all, she usually is the one that comes up with the mushy stuff. Maybe I need to look closer at what is important rather than being so cut and dried with everything?

They finished a late lunch and moved through the streets, stopping at different merchants to check out their wares. The Warrior looked at armor and the latest in weaponry. Boots took a high interest but they could not find something comfortable or the color was not right. They stopped for awhile, watched a puppet show and not only enjoyed the show but the expression on the children’s faces that watched with them. It was one of those times that Xena was realizing were so important.

Gabrielle wanted to dance when she heard the sound of several street musicians, so Xena sat down next to the fountain in the market square and let the young Bard burn off a little energy. When the Bard had enough and returned to Xena’s side, she pulled up her right foot and remarked, "My boot is starting to fall apart at the toe!"

They made it back to Another Inn just after the supper hour. A bath was on the Bard’s agenda before she got ready to mesmerize the night patrons with her stories. As she told Xena, tonight she would start with her favorite adventure, The Quondam Stone. She loved to share the story because of how her heart was touched by the Cretan warrior, Eudocia and the sacrifice the Cretan made with her life.

Xena slipped into the bath just after Gabrielle but there was little time for any amorous activities. She washed the Bards hair for her then sent the storyteller on her way, so she was not late for her public. The Warrior took her time to relax in the hot water and think about how sharp she was to get the gift she had come to find. She would pick it up in the morning, excited at the thought of how the gift would be received. When Xena was finished she dried herself, put on a nice brown tunic and her old brown boots thinking, I need to find a new pair. The Warrior then proceeded downstairs to keep a close eye on the crowd that Gabrielle was entertaining.

Xena was feeling pretty good as she ordered a mug of ale and grabbed a table near the rear of the room. She always picked one where her back was against the wall. It was nice to relax at least at a warrior’s level. Four ales later, there were no problems in Greece as far as Xena was concerned, two ales after that there were no problems anywhere. For some reason Xena was on a roll and just having a good time listening to her lover tell her tales. Gabrielle talked for about three candlemarks and finally closed with the rescue of Vercinix from the clutches of Caesar. The patrons and the proprietor were very pleased and showed their gratitude by placing many dinars in the basket. Much ale and food was consumed which made it profitable for the proprietor too!

The Bard joined her lover who was pretty tipsy but not entirely out of control.

"Gabrielle, you sur are a good storycellar and I love you very mush!" Xena attempted to say with the grace of a three-legged horse.

"Well, I guess you’re not going to be any good tonight!" Gabrielle said with a bit of frustration. Pinching the Warrior’s cheek, she just got a puzzled look in her direction.

Xena tried to focus but things were just a little dizzy and having more than one Gabrielle in front of her was very confusing.

"Come on, let’s go up stairs and I’ll put you to bed." The Bard conceded.

"Need any help?" A very nice looking woman offered with a smile. She was a little shorter than Xena but looked capable of taking care of herself. Her hair was the color of autumn. It was a reddish-brown and changed as the light reflected off of it. Her eyes were very deep brown and she was dressed in a fashion that was neither of a warrior nor of a merchant. She wore a two piece outfit that was similar to Gabrielle’s but the colors were dark blue with brown trim. Age wise, she appeared a couple winters older than the Warrior does. There was sincerity in her voice and that told Gabrielle that the woman wasn’t a threat.

"No. I can manage, thanks!" And Gabrielle pointed Xena towards the steps as the Warrior turned her head to get a better look at who was talking. The Bard headed up the stairs with her disheveled beauty.

"Well, maybe you can join me for a drink after you put your friend to bed." The stranger called up the stairs.

Must have liked the stories, I guess. Gabrielle mused.

Gabrielle didn’t answer but moved Xena in the direction of the room. She opened the door and got the Warrior positioned then plopped her on the bed. Pulling her boots off, she noticed a hole starting to wear through the sole on one of them. Setting them next to the foot of the bed was all it took and the Warrior was fast asleep.

We really need to go boot shopping soon, The Bard reflected.

Mulling it over in her mind, Gabrielle pondered, Well, I’m not really tired so maybe one drink would be all right. I guess I’ll go down stairs and have a wine whether the woman is there or not. She looked kind of interesting.


The Bard returned to the bar and ordered a wine. She felt a presence on her right shoulder and turned facing the woman who had earlier suggested helping Gabrielle with Xena.

"Hello! I didn’t mean to startle you. My name is Aurislia." She said with a most intriguing way about her. "And who might you be?"

"I’m sorry, my name is Gabrielle. Weren’t you here when I was telling stories to the crowd?"

"No! I must have come in right after you finished. It’s been a rough day and I’m tired out. I just completed setting a broken leg. But I would still like to buy you that drink I promised." The woman offered.

"Sure, I’ll take another wine please. What do you do? You don’t look like a warrior or ......."

"I’m a healer!" Aurislia explained. "I have a small cottage in the hills outside of Athens, to the north of the city. I travel around the outskirts of the city, helping were I can and getting paid when they can afford it. I need to leave my home from time to time to get a rest from the endless line of sick farm animals the farmers bring to me and that’s what I’m doing in the city tonight. Thought I’d look for a few needy people to work on. I came across a lone rider that was thrown from his horse. I set the leg and left him at a tavern near the edge of Athens"

"I do a bit of healing myself. I’ve learned quite a lot from Xena." The Bard told her newfound friend.

"Xena, the Warrior Princess? I’ve heard some good things recently about her. I have also heard that she had a pretty nasty past." The healer told the Bard.

"Yes. But that was a long time ago and she has changed for the good of all. How did you become a healer, Aurislia?"

"Well, it’s quite a long story but I’ll give you the abbreviated version if you’re interested?"

"As I told you, I come from the north side of Athens. Earlier in my life, I came from a village that was northwest of here. It was called Palamas. I was married to a good man and together; we farmed a small place. We had an orchard with a variety of fruit trees. After harvest, my husband would take them to market in the larger cities and that would give us enough dinars to make it through another winter. We had chickens, a goat, several pigs and a cow. We even had a small barn that my husband built the year before his death. We had two horses also and to keep them healthy, the barn was needed."

Aurislia took a long drink of her wine and continued.

"A little over four winters ago, we were attacked by marauding warriors. They killed my husband and my two children."

"You had children? Dear gods, I’m sorry!" Gabrielle sympathized.

"Thank you, Gabrielle. One child lived for awhile and after the warriors were finished having their way with me, they left me for dead, in fact, they left all of us for dead. I went to my son of eight winters and held him while his life drain out of him before my very eyes. He died in my arms a short time later because I didn’t know what to do to prevent it. I buried all three that day. My husband, my son and my daughter of thirteen winters. I promised myself that I would spend my remaining days trying to help and heal people, Gabrielle. So I travel around the area doing what I can or they come to my place north of here for help. I really do help animals also!" The healer concluded, as she rubbed her eyes with her palms.

"You have to meet Xena when she’s in better spirits." Gabrielle suggested.

"She looked to be in pretty good spirits tonight!" Laughing, Aurislia countered back.

"It was her time to let loose tonight. Will you be around in the morning, Aurislia?"

"I might be, if you’re up early enough." The healer remarked. "I have a few things to pick up from a couple of shops while I’m here in Athens, then it’s home for me."

The Bard said goodnight and asked Aurislia if she could give the healer a hug. The woman agreed and they hugged for a moment. It was a very traumatic story to tell, even more so, to live and the Bard hurt for this woman who had lost so much. Gabrielle went up to the room and Xena had shifted over to her side of the bed, so the young storyteller crawled in, kissed her Warrior on the cheek and went to sleep.

Xena was awake early as was her nature but the head was throbbing like a couple of horses at the gallop. She headed down the stairs after hassling Gabrielle by tempting her with the sounds of food. Eggs and biscuits and tea were mentioned to try to get the Bard to salivate but she did not stir.

The Warrior walked into the bar and sat down at a table, all of her energy spent from her little joke with Gabrielle. Placing an order, she hung her head and waited in pain.

"I can help you with that head, Xena." A voice spoke from behind the Warrior’s chair.

Xena turned around and saw Aurislia standing with a leather bag over her shoulder. She gave her a look over and turned back toward the table, vaguely remembering the face.

"May I join you?" The healer asked.

"Sure, why not." Xena mumbled.

"I met Gabrielle last night after she put you to bed. She’s very nice!"

Xena’s claws came out as her head raised off of the table and focused on the voice.

"We had a real nice talk last night. I told her I was a healer. Like I said, I can help you with that head of yours, if you let me."

The proprietor brought Xena’s breakfast and the Warrior told the healer to order if she liked.

"Here! Put these herbs in your tea and if you don’t feel better in a little while, then I’ll pay for your meal."

Xena eyeballed the woman but did as she was instructed and in a quarter of a candlemark, she was feeling quite an improvement. Aurislia was easy to talk to and soon Xena was caught up with what had transpired the night before. The healer even related the story she told Gabrielle about the loss of her family and how it brought her to help people. After a candlemark or so, she said farewell but told Xena to stop in on her any time. She gave directions to her place and told the blue-eyed beauty to say goodbye to Gabrielle.

The Warrior paid the proprietor for two breakfasts and a rejuvenated brain, then headed down to the silversmith’s shop to see if the spunky merchant made good on his promise. She was desperately hoping that he had created the gift, that he himself had suggested. The shop looked as empty as it did two days earlier, when Xena entered but as she peered over the counter, there were two eyes looking back.

"Good morning Warrior!" Bosio said with a ring in his voice. "I have completed the project." Then he brought out a wooded box that was every bit of a work of art. It was finished hardwood with hinges on it and it was one hand square. Carved in the top of the box were the initials X/G. He opened the lid so Xena could examine the contents.

"Oh my, Bosio! They’re beautiful!" Xena exclaimed as she lit up with a genuine smile. She then grabbed the little merchant and planted a kiss on his head.

"You still have to pay but if you kiss me again, I’ll give you a deal!"

Xena picked him up and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Hopefully, I will return in the future for wedding rings, my friend." She said.

"Yes! We’re friends, as soon as you pay me the dinars. Twenty in all." The merchant told her.

"Are you sure? That seems way too little!" The Warrior argued.

"Hey! If you want to remain friends, never say little!" And Bosio laughed until Xena walked out the door.


Xena was excited at the thought of giving Gabrielle this special gift. After all, there was no one in the world as special as the Bard was. The Warrior wanted everything nice and romantic, so before returning to Another Inn, Xena stopped at the mineral baths and paid in advance for a private bath for two. She also made arrangements for a musician to play the mandolin as background for the interlude in the bath. The prelude was all supposed to happen in the early evening and afterward, at the Raging Sea Tavern, a light dinner was to be consumed, then, who knew what the night held for the two lovers.

The evening was planned and all the details had been worked out, so Xena went back to hide the gift in Argo’s saddlebag and to meet up with Gabrielle. When the Warrior walked into the inn, the proprietor handed her a note from Gabrielle. It read, ‘Dear Xena, Went around town with Aurislia. I will be back before evening. Love Gabrielle’

Xena went outside and sat on the steps of the inn. This was all too familiar to the dark hair beauty. A fire was starting to burn real deep and it wasn’t passion that Xena felt. Mixed with a modicum of anger was a massive amount of hurt. The Warrior returned inside and also wrote a note. It told of the plans for the evening and where Xena would be if the Bard returned in time. Leaving it with the afternoon bartender, she headed down to the stable. Saddling up Argo, Xena took a very long ride to help the afternoon to pass. She returned to the stable, brushed Argo and talked to the horse about her frustrations. "Why did she do this to me, Argo? She knew I was giving her a gift today! I know I must have said something about my plans this evening or did I? Wasn’t she listening?"

Pondering what had happened, the raven hair Warrior thought, I guess the gods are teaching me a lesson.

Retrieving the gift, Xena went toward the garment merchant’s area and browsed, picked and looked for something that might cheer her up. She did find a beautiful light green wrap that draped over one shoulder and was cut at mid thigh, showing just enough cleavage to entice the blind. An almost green-black pair of sandals that had straps that crossed up to the top of the calf, was just what she needed to compliment the outfit.

After that, it was off to the mineral baths where Xena’s surprise was ready but her partner was not. Putting away her armor, leathers, boots and weapons, she walked into the private bath and soaked away her sad heart. A tear so lonely, it was all by itself, ran down her cheek as she thought about her missing lover. The mandolin playing in the background added to her blue heart.

The Warrior could not remember the last time she was this low, with the exception of china, when she was thrown into a dungeon as a repercussion of Gabrielle’s actions to stop her from killing. In her heart, she believed that there was nothing going on with the healer and the Bard but the timing was just disastrous because of Xena’s expectations. Her skin was beginning to prune, so it was time to move on to dinner. It did not make any sense to wait longer. Perhaps Gabrielle would meet up with her there. Xena dried herself and brushed her hair with the help of a maiden who serviced the bath area.

Wearing her hair up in a twist of sorts gave the raven haired beauty added height. Xena made a grand impression, as it was when she entered a room, this would only enhance the all ready unique woman. After slipping into the new outfit and tying up the sandals, the maiden exclaimed, "You’re more than beautiful, my lady!"

"Thank you! That was very nice to say." As she smiled at the young maiden, letting her know how much she appreciated her help.

The Raging Sea Tavern was packed with people, eating and drinking. There was music and dancing in the main room but Xena had made arrangements for a quiet table on the patio area. When she entered the place, it went totally quiet for quite some time, as everyone’s eyes were on this exquisite vision. Xena was absolutely breathtaking. One debonair sailor type came up to kiss her hand and she allowed it but when he tried to put his arm around her, she locked fingers with his and brought him to his knees as she bent his wrist backwards.

The crowd cheered and eventually went back to their distractions. This luscious woman moved like a large cat across the room, then outside on the patio where she found her table.

"Wine please." She told the barmaid.

I really wonder where she is right now; Xena thought a familiar thought.

Halfway through the Warrior’s second wine, Gabrielle stood in the doorway. The Bard was dressed in a peach colored sheer silk outfit that was similar to something that the Hestian virgin’s would wear but that was not an issue in this relationship. Her eyes were sad for Xena because Gabrielle knew she had caused her great pain.

Nothing was said as she sat down. Their eyes locked on each other and the Bard spoke first by saying the only thing that really mattered. "I love you, Xena. I love you so much and I’m so sorry for messing up your surprise. I guess I wasn’t listening when you were telling me."

"It’s OK Gabrielle. You’re here now and I love you too! I have a confession to make to you. I really wasn’t listening either the other night and I looked for you at the wrong inn, then panicked when you didn’t show up and searched all over Athens for you and not a gift."

"That’s all right Xena, as long as you love me. It’s still the greatest gift of all." Gabrielle smiled and touched Xena’s hand.

The Warrior reached under the table at that moment retrieving the gift and placed the wooden box between them. "Open it, honey!" Xena directed.

The Bard lit up before she even had her hand on the box from just getting a gift. Then she opened it and inside were two silver ankle bracelets. One had Xena spelled out in silver letters, bound and connected on both sides with a silver chain and clasp. The other was identical except Gabrielle was spelled out.

Xena spoke up, saying, "You’re supposed to......"

"I know, my Warrior! I’m supposed to wear the one that say’s Xena. And you wear the one that says Gabrielle. Oh Xena, they’re beautiful! What a wonderful surprise my love." The Bard bubbled with joy.

Dinner was ordered and as they waited for their meals to arrive, they each placed the appropriate ankle bracelet on the others ankle. As they looked at each other, their eyes suggested what their lips had in mind for the evening hours. It was then that Gabrielle leaned over next to Xena’s ear and said, "Boots! We need to get new boots tomorrow."

The End

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