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Disclaimer: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess belongs to MCA Pictures and the Renaissance company. I do not own them and wish I did. It's money making. Anyways, they're not mine, they're MCA's. The story that this story has is mine. This is part of one of my series that I currently have untitled. I am trying to think of a title for this series.

Disclaimer 2: This story dipicts the relationship between two consenting adult women, if this affends you or this type of material is illegal where you leave, please do not read it. Otherwise, come on in! This story does have a love scene, but it is not that explicit, I'm saving explicit for a later story.

With that being said, enjoy.

Part   1   2
Love & What Follows
By: XenaGabFanatic

Sundown. It is a very beautiful site to behold. The way the final rays of light from the sun gleam across the oceans are absolutely fantastic. There was something about sundown on this very day that really affected both Xena and Gabrielle. Earlier in the evening, they had just saved the lives of many people on board a ship that went under thanks to a Tsunami. Autolycus, for the first time in his mischievous life, felt respect for a man other than himself. Other people that were saved were criminals. Some willing to change, one who would never change. But this night was not about the King of Thieves or the criminals. This night was about the emotions that flowed through the hearts and souls of two women. Two women who have fought side by side and against each other at times, but still managed to find their way together.

"Xena?" Gabrielle asked, trying to get the warrior's attention.

"Yes, Gabrielle." Xena replied as they continued to walk down the beach, watching the sunset.

"What are you thinking about at this very minute?" Gabrielle asked, stopping both of their walking.

"Why do you want to know what I am thinking?" Xena asked, puzzled to as why Gabrielle would ask that.

"Well, the past few hours have really affected my mind. A lot of thoughts have entered my mind. Some of them, I can't seem to shake even if I wanted to do." Gabrielle answered, locking eyes with the Warrior Princess.

"Really. What kind of thoughts have been running through your mind, since we got out of that ship?" Xena asked, trying to avoid answering the bard's question.

For the moment, Gabrielle was not sure how she was going to answer Xena. Since they got back to the surface of the sea, so many thoughts had raced through her mind. One thought that entered her mind was that of telling Xena once and for all how she truly felt for the warrior. She knew how long she had been keeping her true feelings from Xena. Yet, something always seemed to keep Gabrielle from telling her. Every time she tried to tell Xena how she felt, there would always be some kind of distraction or interruption. Their bumbling friend Joxer would show up at the moment Gabrielle would tell Xena. If not Joxer, it would be Autolycus. After all those interruptions, Gabrielle just decided that it was a sign from the gods. 'The gods do not wish for Xena and me to be together. So, Xena can never know how I really feel.' The bard realized to herself a few days before the title wave capsized the ship earlier in the day. Gabrielle thought for the next moment and then answered Xena.

"Xena. You know what, it isn't important. The sun has fallen. Let's go get cleaned up and get back to the road. Where should we go now?" Gabrielle asked, trying to change the topic.

Xena immediately realized that Gabrielle was trying to change the subject. She thought for a moment, trying to understand why the bard didn't answer the question. She didn't understand why Gabrielle didn't want to tell her what she was thinking. Xena then spoke to answer her 'friend'.

"How would you like to go visit the Amazons again. We haven't been there in quite a while. Well, ever since..." Xena began before Gabrielle interrupted her.

"We don't need to bring that up. We'll go. And I will explain to Ephiny and everyone else what happened after we fell off the cliff. Besides, I think it's time that we let the Amazon Nation know why I continue to stay by your side. Let's go make camp." Gabrielle said as she started to run from the beach to where Argo was located.

Xena walked slowly behind Gabrielle pondering a couple of questions.

"Why did she freeze up like that when I asked her what she was thinking? What is she not telling me?" Xena thought. The next thought that Xena was thinking about was that of how she looked at her 'friend' lately. Ever since they were reunited by Solan at Illusia, Xena started to see Gabrielle in an entirely new light. Before, she just considered Gabrielle a close friend, her best friend. But ever since their visit to Illusia, she started watching Gabrielle a LOT. She would notice herself watching Gabrielle as she walked when Gabrielle would walk ahead of her and Argo. She would look at Gabrielle's backside. Starting with the top of her head where many tantalizing locks of golden hairs stood. She would remember glaring down to her back and down to her rear, loving every moment of it. She even remembering becoming aroused by the look of Gabrielle's backside. Then, Xena would remember a night where she just sat by the fire of a campsite watching Gabrielle sleep. She couldn't believe she started doing these things. She knew she loved Gabrielle, she just couldn't understand what led her to the feelings that she was having. Then, it dawned on her, 'I'm in love with Gabrielle'. Once she first realized it, she kind of shrugged the idea off because she knew Gabrielle couldn't feel the same way. But, day by day, week by week, the feelings she tried to shrug off kept resurfacing. She realized she couldn't shrug them off anymore. She tried many times to tell Gabrielle how she felt, but she couldn't because there were 'interruptions' Joxer, Autolycus, many others. So, she decided to keep her feelings to herself. Then came today, the thought of Gabrielle dying in the sea really affected her. She didn't want Gabrielle to die this way.

"Gotta stay focused. Can't let Gabrielle know of my feelings. Maybe Ephiny can help." Xena thought to herself.

Gabrielle was already at the spot at which Xena had chosen to make camp at. Gabrielle had wanted to get back to camp when she realized just how close she was to admitting her feelings.

"Can't let her know. She doesn't feel the same way. She just thinks of us as 'best friends' so, that's all we will ever be. Maybe when we get to the Amazon Nation tomorrow, I can talk to Solari about my feelings. Maybe, just maybe, she can help me." Gabrielle said before starting to get her and Xena's bedrolls out.

"Hmm, well, well, well. What do we have here?" A voice from the deep woods said. This voice belonged to someone who had been watching both Gabrielle and Xena for a while. He knew what both Xena and Gabrielle had been feeling all this time.

"If I am to get Xena back as my Warrior Queen, I can't let Gabrielle tell Xena about her feelings. Strangely enough, I think I have something that will split them apart so fast that it will force Xena to once and for all join me in Olympus." Ares, God of War, said with the darkest of emotions appearing on his face.

About ten minutes had passed since Gabrielle had gotten to camp. She had started to worry about Xena seeing that she hadn't returned yet. Those worries were gone when Xena returned with two large fish and a rabbit, for dinner.

"I've got dinner. Just need to get 'em cooked." Xena said.

"Set them down over there. I will cook them in a minute." Gabrielle said as Xena layed them down and then went to start sharpening her sword as she did every night.

"Gabrielle, have you ever had more than personal feelings for anyone other than men before?" Xena blurted out.

Gabrielle didn't know how to respond. On one side, she knew that this was the chance to tell Xena how she felt. But on the other side, she knew her heart could break if Xena did not mean her in that question.

"What do you mean?" Gabrielle asked just before a huge blast overtook the ears of both women.

"What in Tartarus was that?" Gabrielle yelled, trying to speak over the blast.

"I don't know, I will find out. Stay here, and hey, get dinner ready." Xena replied, smiling.

Xena then grabbed her sharpened sword and her chakram and headed towards the place that the sound had come from.

Once Xena was gone, Gabrielle began to cook their dinner when she heard footsteps approaching her. She looked up and saw the God of War looking at her, rage in his eyes.

"Ares, what do you want?" Gabrielle asked, a little angry.

"Hmm, let's see. You start to have strong feelings for Xena and is this close to admitting them to her. You know how long I have waited for the moment to get Xena back at my side as my queen. It has been years Gabrielle and I will not let you or anyone else stop me from having her.

"Xena makes up her own mind Ares. She has said no to you every time. What makes you think you can get her." Gabrielle said, crossing her arms over her chest.

"The one thing that keeps Xena fighting for good is you Gabrielle. You see, I have tried the seduce method many times. Each time I am nearly successful before she realizes she can't turn on you. You always seem to be able to keep her from turning back to the darker side of herself. I have put up with it long enough. You see Gabrielle, if you were gone, out of her life, my seduce method would work. Her rage would be so strong, it would overcome her 'heart' forever, making her mine forever." Ares replied.

"Too bad I'm still here, isn't it Ares." The bard replied.

"Hmm, you see Gabrielle, that's why I'm here. You may be an Amazon Queen and all. But, since you're out of the Amazon boundaries, you don't have the Amazons or Artemis herself to save you." Ares said as he jolted his hand out towards Gabrielle and released a lightning bolt that hit Gabrielle directly in the chest, sending her flying to the ground.

After Gabrielle hit the ground, she found it hard for her to breathe. She got on her knees and her hands when Ares launched a kick that sent the bard reeling further away from the campsite. Ares then grabbed her by the throat and threw into a bunch of bushes. Gabrielle was cut from the bushes and the rocks on the ground. Her arms and legs were covered in her own blood. Her face was scratched up and scarred from the jolt of lightning that hit her. She was finding it harder and harder to breathe or even move. Then, Ares made his final mark on Gabrielle. He automatically made rope form on the ground. He twiddled his fingers and the rope went around Gabrielle's hands, pulling her to a tree and then lifting her. More rope visualized tying her feet together. The rope on her hands pulled as hard as it could, wrapping around the tree, leaving Gabrielle draped on the tree.

"Give Solan my warmest regards Gabrielle. Because you'll be seeing him soon." Ares said just before he disappeared.

Xena, after going to see what the noise was, reached the beach only to find nothing but a piece of parchment with writing on it.

'Dearest Xena. You have always been the one to lead. You once led my armies through Greece, destroying all who would dare cross your path. Now, you protect the innocent. But, how can you protect the innocent when the one you trust and love the most is all alone, physically and emotionally as are you. Not to worry though, I am taking care of that little nescience right now.'

That is all the note said. Without even giving the parchment thought, Xena dropped the parchment and ran as fast as her legs would carry her, back to Gabrielle.

Xena was back at the campsite within moments of reading the note. When she got there, Gabrielle was gone.

"Gabrielle!" Xena yelled.

Xena then began to worry She yelled out again.


Xena heard nothing. She yelled again.

"Gabrielle, answer me, please!" Xena urged. Yet, nothing was heard.

A moment later, Xena heard a voice. It was very weak and could almost not be heard. Xena followed the low voice about ten yards from the campsite and found the bard roped and strapped to a tree, blood covering her face, arms, and legs. Upon seeing Gabrielle, Xena was shot with tons of emotions, emotions that sent tears streaming through her face.

Xena brought out her chakram and threw it. It bounced off of the ground, a large rock, a couple of trees, undid the rope on Gab's feet, bounced off another rock, undid Gab's arms, and returned to Xena.

Gabrielle immediately fell off the tree and into Xena's waiting arms. Xena gently placed Gabrielle down, tears streaking across her face.

"Who did this Gabrielle, who?" Xena requested. Gabrielle tried to answer, but couldn't.

Xena picked her up and took her back to the campsite. Xena immediately began cleaning all the cuts and gashes that were on the legs and arms of Gabrielle. After cleaning the cuts and gashes to the best of her ability, Xena cleaned off Gabrielle's face. Xena, now, had Gabrielle cleaned off. The blood stopped coming out of the cuts and gashes. Still, Gabrielle could hardly see or even speak anything. But, there was one word that got out before she fell into a coma in Xena's arms.

"Yes, Gabrielle, what is it?" Xena said, still crying.

"" Gabrielle finished before she fell into the coma.

Xena's glare of concern and compassion then turned into that of anger and rage. Thinking about what Ares had done to the one person she loved in this world, she said one sentence, only one.

"Revenge, Ares, revenge." Xena uttered while she pulled Gabrielle in a hug.

One entire day had passed since Gabrielle had fallen into a coma thanks to the assault that Ares laid down. Xena had used branches from the woods to make a little carrying bed like object that she tied to Argo's sides. She gently had placed Gabrielle on it and was just at the outsides of the Amazon Nation, where she hoped could help her. They were just entering the Amazon grounds when three ropes from trees lowered in front of Xena and Argo. Three Amazons flew down from the high trees, wearing Amazon masks and a spear each.

"Epinon, Solari, I need your help." Xena said once she realized who two of the Amazons were.

They then removed their masks and greeted their friend.

"Xena, it's always an honor to see you. Where's Queen Gabrielle?" Solari asked as she shook Xena's hand in the Amazon way.

"She's.......back here." Xena said showing her dear friend to the Amazons. A thought entered Xena's mind as she showed them Gabrielle. 'What if they blame me for this?'

"What happened to Gabrielle? Xena, who did this?" Epinon ordered.

"Ares did this to her. Look, I know none of the Amazon Nation knows why Gabrielle still stands by my side after what I did to her a little while ago. We were on our way back here to explain it all. Then, last night, I went to check up on some noise and when I came back Gabrielle was strapped to a tree. The only thing she could say was that Ares had done this to her. Solari, Epinon, take her to the village and take care of her. I will be back very soon." Xena explained.

"Wh....where are you going?" Epinon ordered as she grabbed Xena.

"I'm going to the Halls of War. Ares and I are going to finish this once and for all." Xena said as she pulled Epinon's hand off her arm, undid the strings that had Gabrielle's bedlike object attached and rode off toward the Halls Of War.

In the Amazon village, Epinon and Solari had just returned to the village carrying a beaten and broken Gabrielle into the healing hut.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO QUEEN GABRIELLE?" Ephiny yelled once she saw the condition that Gabrielle was in.

"Xena brought her here. Ares did this to her. Xena's off to the Halls of War. With the look I saw in her eyes, I feel real sorry for Ares is she finds him." Solari said.

"Well, let's get some food and liquids into the Queen. And let's hope that she wakes up soon." Ephiny said.

"Ephiny, what's gonna happen if she doesn't?" Epinon asked, concerned.

"If the Queen doesn't wake up soon, the Amazon Nation will be in dear trouble. Only Goddess Artemis knows Gabrielle's fate now." Ephiny replied as they began to help their Queen.

After about a half day's journey on Argo, Xena finally arrived at the mountain that Ares' Halls of War were located. She stopped Argo as she began to realize just how close she was one of Ares' many homes.

"Argo, you don't need to follow me in there. If I don't come out by tomorrow, return to the Amazons. You'll be Gabrielle's horse from now on. Got it! GO!" Xena urged as Argo began riding off.

Xena then began her walk up the hill and soon, she found the entrance to the Halls of War and entered it.

Back at the Amazon village, Ephiny and Solari were speaking with Kendra, the village healer, about Gabrielle's condition.

"So, how is she doing Kendra?" Ephiny asked, concern all over her face.

"The God of War has really done a number on the queen, Regent Ephiny. She is asleep now. She has three cracked ribs and she will have scars and bruises all over her body for days. But it appears as though she will recover. I will let you both know when she is awake. For now, the two of you need to inform the rest of the tribe. Go, off with you." Kendra said, ushering them outside.

"Ares, where are ya hiding? Come on out. We have something to discuss." Xena yelled at the top of her lungs in the Halls of War.

After a few moments, Ares showed up behind Xena without saying anything. He just watched as Xena yelled for him. Then, all of a sudden, she stepped back and layed a kick in his gut, sending him to the wall.

"Well, it's nice to see you too Xena." Ares says as he tries to get back to his feet.

"Cut the chatter Ares, you know why I'm here." Xena said, trying with all her might to control her growing anger at just the site of his face.

"You want to know why I attacked that irritating little blonde, don't you." Ares said.

"Yes." Was all Xena could say.

"Well, the truth is, I know about the feelings you have for that blonde. You see, I've been watching you hand Gabrielle for quite some time now. I've seen the way you look at her. It's not the same way as when you first started letting her travel with you. But, as you know, I continually try to get you to return to my side. And I will succeed Xena, sooner or later. But, the reason I did what I did is because I noticed something in Gabrielle. I saw the way she started looking at you recently. Ever since the trip to Illusia, she started seeing you differently." Ares tried to explain to angry Xena.

"What?!?" Xena said, getting even more furious.

"Gabrielle sees you differently now Xena. She still looks at you as a friend, but she also looks at you as more than just a friend. One thing I know is that if I hadn't done what I did, you would be with her right now." Ares finished.

"You're out of your mind. She's my friend. That's all." Xena replied.

"You can try to convince yourself of that, but, we both know that it's more than just friendship. As long as she's alive and well, you will never be by my side. Once she is outside of the Amazon village, she's mine!" Ares said with a grin on his face.

Those last two words was all it took for Xena's rage to overtake her. She launched herself at Ares. She punched him several times in the face and kicked him in the gut about a half dozen times. Xena then kicked Ares in the face, knocking him down. She quickly pulled out her sword, having the blade at a downward position. Xena tried to jam the sword into Ares chest, but he moved before she could do it. Ares got to his feet and attempted to blast Xena with a bolt of energy, but, Xena did her warcry and leapt into the air, landing behind Ares. She kicked Ares as hard as she could in the small of his back, knocking him down once again. She had her sword in position and was ready to dart the sword in his back when a memory came flooding her mind. The memory that came into her mind was that of the occasion when she and Gabrielle were talking around a campfire. She made a promise to Gabrielle that if something happened to Gabrielle, she would not turn into a monster. After realizing what she was doing, she put her sword back in its holster and ran out of the Halls of War, caught up with Argo, and began heading back to the Amazon village.

Back at the Amazon village, Ephiny was sitting next to the bard. She was looking over Gabrielle's body. No one else was around in the healer's hut when Ephiny spoke.

"My queen, you must awaken. The Amazon Nation needs a queen. Everyone in this village needs you Gabrielle. I've known you awhile now and I know that I need you to survive this. We all do." Ephiny said as tears began to run down her cheeks.

"Regent Ephiny, come quick!" Solari yelled, entering the Healing Hut.

"What is it? Are under attack?" The Amazon Regent asked.

"No, it's Xena. She's returned. We are not sure if we should let her into the village." Solari replied to the Regent.

"X....en.....a. see.....her." Gabrielle said, awakening.

"Queen Gabrielle, you're awake." Solari said, standing over the Amazon Queen.

"You heard her Solari, tell the lookouts to allow Xena into the village and YOU lead her here." Ephiny said as Solari exited the hut.

"Xena, you're back. What happened at the Halls of War?" Solari asked, still thinking back about what Xena did to Gabrielle before they went to Illusia.

"I fought Ares, and I even had a chance to get rid of him for a while, but, I didn't take it." Xena said to Solari.

"Let me get this straight. You had the chance to get rid of the God of War and you passed it up. You, the Warrior Princess, that doesn't make sense." Solari said.

"I can't explain it right now. How's Gabrielle. Is she alright?" Xena asked.

"She just woke up maybe two or three minutes ago. She's asking about you." Solari said with a look of anger and hatred at the sight of Xena.

"Solari, I know you and the other Amazons hate me for what I did. When Gabrielle is feeling better, I plan on explaining everything that happened after we fell over the cliff. Until then, can I see her?" Xena asked and explained.

"Since she is asking about you, I cannot really say no. Just follow me." Solari said as she started walking toward the village. A few feet behind her, Xena was walking alongside Argo.

Back at the Halls of War, Ares was just getting back to his feet when he felt the presence of another god enter his domain.

"Goddess Artemis, what brings you to my humble domain?" Ares asked, knowing the answer.

"Are the most ignorant god on Olympus or are you just trying to piss me off." Artemis said, letting her anger get the better of her.

"Whatever do you mean sister?" Ares replied, with a grin on his face.

"The Amazon Queen Gabrielle. She is part of the Amazon Nation, therefore, she belongs to me. By attacking her, you are waging war on me. Why make such a moronic move?" Artemis replied.

"What I did to that annoying little bard I did to get Xena back on my side. I didn't do it to wage war on you, sister." Ares said.

"I warn you Ares, if you ever use Gabrielle to get Xena again, I will wage war on you and it will be your last mistake." Artemis vowed as she disappeared in a glow of shining white light.

"Yeah, whatever sister." Ares said as he disappeared in his regular style.

Back at the Amazon village, Xena was entering the healer's hut to see how Gabrielle was doing. When she entered the hut, Ephiny looked at Xena and a look of pure hatred appeared in the Regent's eyes. Xena, of course, noticed it and just walked past her to sit by Gabrielle's side.

"Gabrielle, hey. How are ya feeling?" Xena asked, with a very concerned look on her face.

"I'm feeling better. Where were you? The last thing I remember is looking up and seeing you riding off without me. The first thought that entered my mind as a fell asleep was that you left me." Gabrielle said as she started to cry. Xena got up and gently pulled Gabrielle up and sat herself behind her, letting the bard's head rest on her lap.

"Gabrielle, I will never leave you. I only left because the rage I was feeling toward Ares was taking over my actions. I went to the Halls of War to gain some sort of revenge on him for what he did to you." Xena explained.

"Well...what happened?" Gabrielle asked.

"I found Ares in the Halls of War. I fought him. I had the chance to sever him with my blade, which would only keep him gone for a few days. But, something happened, I couldn't do it."

"Do you know why?" Gabrielle asked, concerned as she reached up to touch Xena's face. Xena gently used her hand to press Gabrielle's hand against her cheek.

"Yes. A memory from one of our most important conversations entered my mind. Remember when we were talking about Callisto. That promise I made to you. I was about to break it if I would have stuck my sword in his back I would have become the monster I promised you I would never turn into. I couldn't break that promise I made to you." Xena said as tears started to roam their down her face.

The two just stayed there, neither saying word for what seemed like an eternity.

"Xena. I have something very important I need to say to you. It's something I was debating on whether or not telling you even before Ares attacked me." Gabrielle said, ending the silence.

"Gabrielle, you can tell me anything." Xena said with more tears streaming down her face.

"Xena, after we came back from Illusia, something happened to me. I don't know if it was Solan's doing or if I had been feeling this way for a while but, after Illusia, I have started looking at you differently than before Illusia." Gabrielle began.

"What do you mean?" Xean asked, almost dreading the answer.

"Before, I just saw you as my best friend. Now, I look at you differently. I have sometimes caught myself watching things you do. I have been watching you sharpening your blade. I watch you sleep whenever I'm awake and your not. I have been feeling so many different feelings toward you this past few moons. It took me awhile to finally realize what it was." Gabrielle finished.

"Go on." Xena whispered.

"I...I think I'm in love with you Xena." Gabrielle finsihed as she looked up at Xena, who had a smile on her face and tears streaming down her beautiful face.

"Gabrielle. I have to be honest with you now more than ever. I have found myself doing many of the same things that you have just admitted doing. I sometimes catch myself watching you eat, prepare dinner, sleep, undress, and bathe. I never understood why I was having all these intimate feelings about you, but now, I know more than ever that it was because I have fallen in love with you as well." Xena said as she looked down and saw tears streaming down Gabrielle's face. The tears that were falling down both faces were of joy of being able to tell each other how they really felt.

"Xena. Even though we both know how we feel about each other, we do still have a problem." Gabrielle said, not meaning to end the happiness they were feeling.

"Yes, the Amazons hate me I know. How are you feeling?" Xena asked.

"Better. I want to address everyone in the village. If you can hold me up, I can do all the explanations to Ephiny and everyone else." Gabrielle said.

"Are you sure?" Xena asked, very concerned.

"Yes. I'm very sure." Gabrielle said, reassuring the warrior.

"Ok, I'll go tell Ephiny that you are going to address the village.

Xena then gently layed Gabrielle back on the soft fur and left the healing hut to go speak with Ephiny. Once she got outside the hut, she was surprised to see that all the Amazons of the village were already gathered and awaiting their Queen.

"Xena, how is she doing?" Ephiny asked.

"She is feeling better. Gabrielle is ready to speak before the village. I'm going to go and help her out here. She is going to explain a lot of things to you so just bear with her." Xena finished as she returned to the healer's hut.

Xena returned to Gabrielle and spoke with her.

"They're ready to see you Gabrielle. Can you walk at all?" Xena asked.

"Yes, I can stand, but, I can't walk. You will have to hold me up when we get out there." Gabrielle replied.

Xena then gently helped her bard to her feet and then led her to the outside of the healer's hut.

Once they reached the outside of the hut, the entire village of Amazons watched on as Gabrielle began to speak.

"Amazons, thank you for everything you've done for me. And I would like to thank especially Ephiny and Solari for respecting my wishes and not harming Xena. I know most of you are wondering why I am still traveling together with Xena. It started just after she dragged me out of the village...." Gabrielle started as she started, in detail, describing everything that happened to her and Xena from the fall into the water to the trip to Illusia, to their being trapped with killers and Autolycus in a ship that a title wave took underwater.

"And so, that is the reason I continue to stand by Xena's side. If there is anyone who does not agree with my standing with Xena, tell me now." Gabrielle ordered.

"Queen Gabrielle, there is no objections to your decision. We just didn't know all the facts. Xena, we understand the rage you were feeling. And we are sorry about the feelings of hatred we all were feeling toward you. We hope that there are no hard feelings." Ephiny said.

"Of course not, Ephiny. You all are my friends. I could never hold a grudge against my friends." Xena said, relieved that the Amazons didn't hold any grudges towards her.

"Good. Xena, Gabrielle. We're gonna prepare the Royal Hut for you until you are feeling well enough to be moving. Enjoy the rest of your visit." Ephiny said as she pointed to the hut that they would be staying at. Xena then gently picked Gabrielle up and walked over to the hut that they would be staying in.

Three days had passed since Gabrielle had explained why she remained at Xena's side. Gabrielle's injuries were almost completely healed. Xena was walking in the village with Ephiny to discuss Gabrielle.

"Ephiny, I want to ask you for a favor." Xena said.

"Sure, Xena. What do you need from me." Ephiny replied with a smile.

"Gabrielle told you about the feelings we share for each other right." Xena said.

"Yes, she told me that she was in love with you yesterday. I assume you feel the same way." Ephiny replied.

"Absolutely. Well, I want to make tonight special for Gabrielle. She's feeling a lot better today and I want to show her a great night of love tonight." Xena said.

"What can I do to help you?"

"While Gabrielle and I out walking, I was wondering if you, Solari, and Ephinon would prepare an excellent feast for dinner for two in the Royal Hut." Xena asked, smiling at Ephiny.

"Xena, I have no doubt that you love Gabrielle. So, yeah. I'll get Solari and Ephinon and we'll get that dinner ready while you and Gabrielle are out walking. Don't worry. Just give us enough time to get it all ready." Ephiny finished as she smiled at Xena.

About twenty-five minutes later, Xena and Gabrielle were out walking in the woods that are protected by the Amazons.

"Xena, what are we doing out here? I know you're up to something." Gabrielle said to her friend.

"Relax, Gabrielle. I'm not up to anything. I'm just happy that you're doing better and I'm glad to be walking with you." Xena replied, hoping to convince the bard.

"Fine. Then, what do you want to talk about?" The bard asked.

"I wanted to ask you if you meant what you said in the hut a few days ago. You know, about love and that you WERE in love with me. I just want to be sure that it was true and not something you said to make me feel better." Xena finished before Gabrielle grabbed her hand to silence her.

"Xena, yes I was not feeling like myself and yes I was hurt, but, what I said I meant. Ever since Illusia, I have viewed you in a different light. More than just friends. I just never told you how I felt because I was afraid that you could never have those feelings for me." Gabrielle finished.

"Gabrielle, I guess it never occurred to me how much you meant to me, you know, as more than friends until Ares assaulted you. I think, no, I know that I am in love with you. You are my friend, my best friend, my light, and after tonight, maybe much more." Xena said, getting a surprising look from Gabrielle.

"So, you did bring me out here for a purpose. Either you're planning on doing something out here or you brought me out here and Ephiny and the others are preparing something in the village." Gabrielle said, smiling.

"C'mon, let's go back." Xena said as they started on their way back to the village.

Xena and Gabrielle returned to village to find that everyone was in the Dinner Hut.

"Xena, now I know something's going on." Gabrielle said with a smirk.

"What makes you say that Gabrielle?" Xena asked, smiling.

"It's not nearly time for dinner and every Amazon's in the dinner hut. Where are you taking me anyway?" Gabrielle said just beginning to get frustrated.

"To our hut. Go ahead, walk in." Xena said as Gabrielle walked into the hut. At that exact moment, Xena was hoping that Ephiny, Solari, and Epinon had finsihed what she had asked of them.

"Oh my, by the gods. Xena, is this why you took me out of the village?" Gabrielle asked as tears of joy began to freely flow from her eyes and down her soft cheeks.

"Yes. Do you like what I have had prepared for us?" Xena asked, already knowing the answer. While Xena and Gabrielle were out walking, Ephiny and Solari and Epinon had prepared what Xena wanted. The table in the center of the hut was covered with a gleaming blue table cloth. There was a three candles lit in the center of the table. The meal that had been prepared was a nice sized rabbit fried and decorated with some veggies and a fried piece of fish. There was a small bed placed in place of where the two smaller beds that Xena and Gabrielle slept on before. This new sized bed was not much larger than the other two, but it was just big enough for two people.

"Oh Xena, I LOVE IT. But, what all do you have planned?" Gabrielle said, still wanting the answer to come from Xena. She had a pretty good idea what this was for.

"Shall we." Xena said as she waved her left arm at the table. Gabrielle nodded and had a seat. Xena sat across from her and they began to eat on the feast that was prepared before them.

"Hope you're enjoying the dinner Gabrielle." Xena said.

"I am Xena. But, there still is something you haven't told me yet." The bard said.

"Ok, what's that." Xena replied, interested in the answer.

"What is all this about? I mean, I know what we said to each other and all a few days ago, but, seeing as how I was in such bad condition, I thought you were just saying it to comfort me. Even with our talk in the woods, I just still sort of think that you're just trying to make me feel better." Gabrielle said. Gabrielle started to say something more, but she was stopped when Xena suddenly got up out of her chair and walked over to where Gabrielle was sitting. She repositioned Gabrielle's chair, with Gaby still in it, until it faced her. She knelt down in front of her bard to where she was in between Gabrielle's thighs. She looked up at Gabrielle's eyes and saw the tears that started to form in the pupils of Gabrielle's eyes.

"Gabrielle, let me tell ya something. Since we met in Potidea, everyday of my life has been surprising and full of excitement. I've laughed more since I met you than I ever did in my entire life. I've had more fun with you at my side than I have ever had in my life. There were times that I considered giving up trying to be a fighter for justice. Do you know what kept me in that circle of fighting for peace? It was you. A few moons ago, when you said that you were in love with me, I meant every word I said to you. I didn't say it to comfort you. I said it because I do love you. More than I have ever loved anyone. After everything we've been through, you should know that there is nothing more important to me than you. Nothing can or will ever come between us. Ares, Callisto, whoever may try, no one will ever come between us. I love you Gabrielle and what I did tonight was to convince you that I do." Xena finished before Gabrielle took her left hand and carressed the hair of her soon to be lover. Gabrielle took her other hand and carressed her face, using her thumb to gently carress Xena's lips. By this time, Gabrielle and Xena were crying uncontrollably.

"I love you too, Xena, with all my heart." Gabrielle managed to get out.

Xena then took her hands and gently placed Gabrielle's hands around her waist as she leaned closer to Gabrielle's face. With their faces only inches apart, Xena parted her lips and leaned in to kiss Gabrielle passionately. Gabrielle parted her lips as well as their lips met. Xena covered every inch of Gabrielle's lips with her own. Gabrielle's tongue entered Xena's mouth, not knowing exactly what to do. Xena tongue quickly found Gabrielle's and they soon were tasting each other's mouths. It wasn't until about two minutes later that their lips parted, with both of them loving what they had just experienced.

"Uh, hmm. That was......ffantastic. I've never experienced any kiss like that." Gabrielle whispered.

"Let's go over to the bed." Xena said as took Gabrielle's hand in her own and led her over to the bed which was nicely covered with fur and blankets and rose petals.

Xena then gently guided Gabrielle over to the bed where Gabrielle sat down with her eyes locked with Xena's. Xena whispered to Gabrielle 'Lie down.". Gabrielle did as Xena asked.

Xena then began to unlace her bard's boots, tossing them aside when she had them off her feet. Xena then gently lifted the bard's waist up with her knees as she pulled Gabrielle's skirt from around the silky smooth skin of her waist.

Xena then levered herself over Gabrielle to where her face was over Gabrielle's, looking into her face. She looked into Gabrielle's eyes and she saw something that confused her. She wasn't sure if it was fear or something else.

"You don't want this. This whole night was a mistake." Xena said as she got up to start tightening her boots.

"What?! What in Hades makes you think that?" Gabrielle asked, confused at why Xena stopped what she desired the most.

"I looked into your eyes. I saw what was in them. You don't want to be with me like this. So, just drop it." Xena said just as a tear began to find its way down her cheek.

"No. I won't drop it because you have it all wrong. The look you saw in my eyes. It wasn't fear or confusion of what was happening. I was loving every moment of what was happening. That look I had, I was just so fascinated from what was happening. I mean, I've been waiting months for this moment, and now, the moment's here and I could hardly believe it. The look you saw, that was what I was thinking about. That's all. I love you, Xena. And being with you tonight will seal my love for you. If anything, I'm surprised that you want this with me." Gabrielle finished, beginning to cry herself.

"Gabrielle. I thought you had changed your mind about it. That's why I stopped. I do love you Gabrielle. More than you could ever know. And I have waited for this moment for a very long time. I just want to make sure that it is what you want to." Xena finished.

"Believe me, Xena. This is something that I have wanted for a very long time." Gabrielle finished as she pressed her face at Xena's, creating a fiery and intense kiss.

Gabrielle's lips opened immediately and her tongue went searching for Xena's. It took a moment before Xena parted her lips which deepened the kiss. Their tongues met and waves of intensity and passion went surging through both of their bodies. Xena pulled away from the kiss first, causing a groan from the bard. Xena sat up and looked into the green eyes of her bard.

"Wow. Didn't know you could be so forceful, Gabrielle." Xena said.

"There's a lot of things you still have to learn about me, Xena." Gabrielle said with a wicked smile before continuing "Now, let's get those leathers off before we continue, shall we."

Xena smiled and soon, the leathers were completely stripped away, leaving Xena completely naked.

Gabrielle smiled at the sight of the warrior. She had seen Xena naked so many times. But tonight, under this moon, seemed to make Xena look so much sexier to her. Xena's voice stopped the thoughts in Gabrielle's mind.

"Gabrielle." Xena said, pleasently.

"Huh, what. I was just..." Gabrielle said before Xena stopped her by raising her hand.

"Gabrielle, my clothes are off, but yours remain on you body. We have to do something about that." Xena said with a wicked look on her face. Xena moved forward and guided Gabrielle's top off her body, exposing her bare mounds on her chest.

With both their bodies completely stripped down, they could continue their first night as one.

Xena layed Gabrielle down on her back on the furs once again. Once Gabrielle layed completely down, Xena kissed her on the mouth with a passion that topped that of the passion in the earlier kiss. A few moments later, Xena left Gabrielle's lips and left gently kisses all over the right side of Gabrielle's neck. Xena then gently nibbled on her ear, causing a soft moan escaping Gabrielle's mouth. Xena continued her journey down the bard's gentle body until she reached her chest. She kissed and licked the area in between the two breasts as her hands felt and rubbed the nipples of the bard's chest. After a series of moans escaped Gabrielle's lips, Xena lunged her mouth over one of the bard's nipples, taking all of it into her mouth.

Xena bit down on her nipple gently, being careful not to hurt her bard. After she was through with the bard's breasts, she concentrated many minutes on her most sensitive area. After about two hours of lovemaking, they layed together, naked, on the fur covered in a thick blanket, thinking about what they just experienced.

"Any regrets Gabrielle?" Xena asked, hoping the answer to be no.

"Absolutely not. I loved and cherished every moment of our passion. And I look forward to many more nights of passion with you. What about you, any regrets?" Gabrielle said.

"Just one." Xena said as Gabrielle started to say something.

"I thought so. I'll go get dressed and we can pretend that it never happened. Unless we can't, then I'll just go back home." Gabrielle said as she started crying while trying to get ot her feet.

Gabrielle couldn't get away because Xena held her down with her strong arms. Xena then said something that reassured Gabrielle that she was overreacting.

"Gabrielle, my only regret is that I didn't tell you about my feelings sooner. If I had, we would have done this a lot sooner. That's my only regret." Xena said as she placed a gentle kiss on the bard's lips. The gentle kiss instantly became more passionate as the bard slipped her tongue into Xena's mouth. Xena found Gabrielle's tongue with her own, deepening the kiss. The kiss lasted nearly two minutes, before they both released from it, trying to catch their breathe.

"Now, feel better." Xena said, smiling.

"Yes, a lot better." Gabrielle said as she kissed Xena again.

"Good, let's get some sleep. We'll say our goodbyes to Ephiny and the others in the morning." Xena said as Gabrielle quickly fell asleep in the warrior's arms. Soon after that, Xena fell asleep.

Morning came much too soon for both the warrior and the bard. Xena was the first to wake up. Immediately, she looked down to her chest and saw the Gabrielle was safely sleeping, her head on her chest and her left leg lying on top of her left one. Xena felt totally safe and calm at the realization of what happened the evening before.

A few moments later, Xena noticed that the bard woke up when her head was lifted from her chest. She looked down and saw that Gabrielle was looking deep into her blue eyes. They layed there, staring into each other's eyes.

"Good morning, my love. How did you sleep?" Xena asked, smiling at the bard.

"I slept great. I don't mind telling ya, I slept better last night than I have in a long time." Gabrielle answered.

"And why do you think that is?"

"Probably because I slept in your warm embrace. I felt so great after last night. How bout you, how did you sleep?" Gabrielle finished with a question.

"I slept....exquisitely. I enjoyed every moment of sleep with you close to me. And last night, well, that was the greatest experience I think I have ever had. But you know, now that we are together, we will have explaining to do with everyone. The Amazons, mother, and your family."

"Well, I'm pretty sure that the Amazons know about what all happened. I mean, you did have some of them prepare the dinner and everything right." Gabrielle said.

"Oh......yeah. I forgot."

"And as for my family. We can tell them in due time. And your mother, unless your in a hurry to tell her, we can wait a while. Because I just want to revel in this new piece of our relationship. But, I do have a question for you." Gabrielle asked.

"Oh yeah, what would that be." Xena asked, interested.

"After we leave here, where exactly do you plan for us to go?" Gabrielle asked as she gently pressed her nose against Xena.

"Well...I'm not exactly sure where we go now. But one thing I do know is that it doesn't matter where we go as long as we are together. Because, no matter what battles we face in the future, none of it matters if we don't do it together."

"Nice to know that's how you feel. I love you, Xena." Gabrielle said in all seriousness she could muster.

"Gabrielle, I love you too. More than you will ever know. Come on. Let's get washed up and go tell Ephiny we're leaving." Xena said as they headed towards the washing area of the Royal Hut.

Back at the Halls of War, Ares was fuming at the mouth when he saw in the reflecting pool what had happened between Xena and Gabrielle.

"Somehow, that arrogant little blonde has ruined my plans. I was sure that beating her up would release all the darkness that dwells in Xena's soul. Since violence isn't the answer, I will just have to find another way to deal with Gabrielle. And I think that perhaps I have found a way to get rid of the blonde and have Xena back in my grasp, this time forever." Ares said as he left the Halls of War in search of a woman, a particular woman who he could use to carry out his plans.

"Well, Gabrielle, Xena. We'll miss you while you're away. Just remember, you both are welcome in the Amazon Nation anytime. Both, you both know that don't you. Well, until next time you two come by, good bye, my friends." Ephiny said giving them both a hug.

"Good bye Ephiny." Xena said as they removed Ephiny from their embrace. A few moments later, Xena and Gabrielle were off. Xena was walking alongside Gabrielle instead of being on Argo, holding Gabrielle's hand. The two of them were saddened by leaving, but knew they had to confront their families, and so they were off, unaware of Ares' plans to split them apart.

To Be Continued....In Part Two!

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