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RUNNING

by
Gabby C.


Email: gabbycat@miaow.co.uk

I've taken liberties with the characters Xena and Gabrielle - they are the property of Renaissance Pictures / MCA and I'm only playing with them.  I guess we all want to do that from time to time.

This story is about a typical Xena /Gabrielle adventure, with a little more added in.  This includes graphic writing of a sexual nature between consenting women so, if you are offended by this, do not read on. It is merely fiction (shame) although the ideas come directly from watching the show.

The story is set between season 2 and 3.  Since it my first time writing, it is also appropriate for it to be Xena and Gabrielles' first time.  The story also
follows the 'Xena timeline' so if there are any historical inaccuracies - blame the timeline and not me!

Any comments feel free to mail me - but please be nice.  It's much easier to read these than to write them!

**********

CHAPTER ONE

"With one mighty blow the warrior princess knocked her assailant to the ground.  The fight was won and the villagers had been freed from the tyrants' grasp.  All would be indebted to her and her faithful companion, who had, of course, taken their plight seriously.  As they rode off into the sunset Xena turned to Gabrielle and said.."

".that's not what happened"

Gabrielle turned, feigning shock.  "of course that's what happened. Everything I write about is what happened."

Xena gave a quick smile. "Except for the facts that you did not believe the villagers to begin with, Thrugus ran away in fright so there was no battle and
then the villagers chased us out of town when they realised who I was. No thanks or gratitudes and certainly no-one indebted to us" Xena continued
sharpening her sword, while Gabrielle was momentarily stuck for words.

"Well, I use a little artistic imagination to make it sound better.  Nothing wrong with imagination now is there?" Gabrielle smiled shyly.

"If you say so."  Xena stood up. " So imagine us something to do"

"Well you could imagine that there's someone hiding up that tree to the left, waiting to pounce down on us" Gabrielle said nonchalantly.

"Exactly" grinned Xena. 

She flipped the catch of her chakram, twirled, and flung it towards the mentioned spot.  Ricocheting off the tree, cutting through branches like crepe paper, it found its way back to its mistress.  A loud thump followed.  Xena drew her sword and cautiously approached where the sound came from, Gabrielle kept close to her back, staff poised.  Suddenly, a lone man sprang out at them, sword thrusting forward.  Xena ducked back as their swords clashed, protecting Gabrielle, as the man flew over their heads and landed on the other side of the clearing.  Xena whirled round to face him.  Momentarily she paused, breath caught in her throat.  The man gazed back at her, his sword falling slowly.

"Hey" nudged Gabrielle " gonna finish him or what?"

"Huh?" Xena looked off guard "oh, um.yeah."  She turned to face him again, poised for the next move. As he lunged forward she issued forth her infamous
battle cry while leaping over his head and landing behind him.  Before he could react, she punched at his neck, causing his legs to buckle.

"Just to let you know, I've cut off the flow of blood to your brain.  You got about 30 seconds to live unless you tell me what I want to know."

"I will tell you nothing" he choked.  Xena looked closely at him.  He had spoken with an accent she had not heard in a long time.

"Why did you try to attack us?" asked Gabrielle.  She always prided herself on asking good questions.  Xena had even complimented her on it, once.

"I do not fear you. You people are my enemies" the man spluttered.  The veins on his neck bulged. "If I die my quest will be carried on."

"What quest?" questioned Xena 

"If I do not free the children then someone else will replace me" The mans face tinged blue.  Xena struck his neck again and released the pressure. He fell to the ground gasping, clutching at his throat.

"Where are you from?  Is it Britannia?" she pushed him upright.  She gazed deep into his brown eyes.

Sensing he was no longer under threat the man sighed and sat upright.  "I'm from the north of Britannia, from a land called Caledonia. I rode with Bodiccea for 5 years and it is with her blessing that I am here" he tried to stand but his knees would not carry him. Xena held him up, inhaling his powerful but subtle aroma.  He looked at her, paused, then smiled.  " So, if that was' the pinch' then you must be.."

"Xena" she replied. She grasped his arm in warrior fashion. She could not help but look at his face and imagine.....

"HEY, remember me?" came a voice from behind.

"Couldn't forget" Xena called. "This is Gabrielle, she... uh... travels with me." She helped the man over to a small rock and gently sat him down while he still tried to get his breath back.  "What's your name?"

"Allmun, soldier in the name and honour of Paaganis" His voice was deep and lilting.

"Paaganis, isn't that a name of the old order?" mused Xena.  " You teach and believe of a one God don't you."  She turned and saw Gabrielle stiffen slightly at the mention of 'one God' from Britannia.  " not that one" she said gently, "this is of the belief of a god that supposedly existed before even our gods. It's not a popular religion anymore."

"You mock, but we all believe in something don't we? "Allmun stood up.  "Well, it was..um...nice meeting you.  I've heard stories but they do not do you justice.  And now I bid you farewell, for I must return to my quest."

"The quest for the children?" questioned Gabrielle, noticing that Xena was not doing anything but gaze at this man.  Actually, he was just gazing back at Xena.

"Hmm?  Oh,  like I said."

"Meaning?"

"Over the past 2 months there have been fierce battles on the coasts of Britannia between our people and some savages from these lands.  They have killed many men and then stolen the children for the Maldeli slave traders.  I'm here to rescue them and get them back to where they belong."

"Why take the children?" asked Gabrielle, noticing how Xena and Allmun brushed hands as she gave him back his sword, smiling at each other softly.

"Because they cannot put up a fight and by the time they grow up all their spirit will have been sapped from them.   They will always serve their master because they know nothing else"

"The Maldeli traders often set sail from the port of Athens to Egypt and the lands of Africaans.  How far ahead of you were these traders?"  said Xena, eventually stood closely beside Allmun, but not moving away.

"About a day I think" said Allmun.  He stood slightly taller than Xena, something Gabrielle knew Xena said she'd always liked in a man, and had broad shoulders, strong arms and a packed body that tapered into a cut waist and strong muscular legs. Xena couldn't help but take a sharp intake of breath.

"Athens is 3 days from here following the roads, but only about a day and a half if we don't.  If we go just now, we could get to the port way before them and be ready for them and then, well, Xena can do her usual and the children could be free.  Right Xena?  I said right Xena?"  Gabrielle walked over and pushed against her friend.  Xena startled as if in a dream.

"What?  Oh yeah, right, my usual." Xena suddenly stopped, gathering herself together, "that is if you don't mind us travelling with you?"

"Not at all, I would very much like for you to travel with me, we could compare stories about our adventures and lives" smiled Allmun,.  "I'm sure there's lots to tell."

"Well, I do the stories around here" interrupted Gabrielle, gathering her and Xenas' stuff together. 'What on earth is going on here' she thought, 'I've never seen Xena ask a man if we could accompany him. She's acting really weird, like that time with Ulysses and that's because she had fallen...' Gabrielle stopped herself and slowly turned to look at them. They acted like Gabrielle never even existed.  There was no mistaking it, the looks, the quick but knowing touches, the smiles (Xena never smiles like that for anyone but me) the shy laughs.. "By the Gods" Gabrielle said quietly, a sudden tightening in her chest causing her to gasp.  "This can't be happening.  Not again."

Xena climbed onto Argo's back and helped Allmun on behind her.  He cautiously encircled her waist with his arms and the two of them laughed together.

"So I guess I'm walking then" spat Gabrielle, Allmun was in her spot behind Xena

"Huh, oh, Gabrielle" Xena sounded like she had just realised Gabrielle was still there.  "If you don't mind, Allmun and I need to discuss... um.tactics beating these traders."

"Yeah, right then" Gabrielle looked away in disgust 'what's wrong with me?' she mused, "it's probably just my imagination, Xena wouldn't let that happen to her again.  And she wouldn't let anything split us up surely'.  Gabrielle stopped short. "Surely not" she said out loud,  But no-one was there to hear as Xena and Allmun had already trotted off and Gabrielle had to run to catch up.

 

CHAPTER 2

Gabrielle turned the rabbit over the fire thinking to herself.  During the day, as they had rode toward Athens, Allmun had told of his life in Britannia, his religious beliefs, fighting along with Bodecia and going against the Romans.

"I can't believe the First Command built a wall to try and stop you coming down from Caledonia" laughed Xena.

"I know, Hadrian sent word back to Rome that we were contained rather than admit he could not better us" smiled Allmun.

'Wish you'd stayed behind that wall' muttered Gabrielle, but it didn't matter what she said, Xena and Allmun were too engrossed in each other to notice. In fact they had only noticed her when they had come to a river and while they had gotten across on the back of Argo, Gabrielle had been left stranded.  She had shouted for 5 minutes before they came back.  Xena had, of course, apologized and given her a big hug to show how sorry she was... and then left her to ride on again with Allmun.

"Get a grip of yourself" Gabrielle said out loud. She paused to see if they had heard her and thought into herself 'anyone would think you were jealous or something.  He's just an ordinary guy trying to help others.  There's nothing not to like about him. He's funny, smart, nice looking and he's not afraid of Xena, which is nice for a change. So why."

"Why can't you get along with him?" Xena asked gently, causing Gabrielle to jump.

"Wha... what do you mean?" stammered Gabrielle sitting back

"You and Allmun.  He's been nothing but nice to you and all you do is bark at him everytime he comes near you."

"No I don't" laughed Gabrielle shakily, "just your imagination in overdrive"

"Gabrielle" the warrior princess spoke deep and slowly in the way that made Gabrielle's' skin tingle, "I know there's something going on"

"Nothing going on here. Nope, nothing at all" Gabrielle looked away quickly and then asked the dreaded question "but what's going on between you and
Allmun"

"um, well, nothing" Xena sat beside her friend and looked down at her boots.  "Why ya asking such a silly question?"

"Oh come on.  I've been with you for over 2 years now and I think I know you pretty well.  You like him don't you.  You like him an awful lot.  Maybe as much as you liked Marcus or Ulysses and certainly more than you like..."

"Hey" Xena cut in, stiffening at the names of her past loves, "that's nonsense.  I'm just helping someone out.  We just get on well, that's all" Xena looked off wistfully

"You're blushing.  By the gods Xena, you're blushing just thinking about him.  Well fine, you go on thinking about him and I'll leave you to it.  Wouldn't want to interrupt" Gabrielle stood quickly, her heart racing against her chest.

"Whoa, Gabrielle, what's wrong with you?" Xena stood slowly and tried to put an arm round her companions' shoulders. Gabrielle knocked it away and half walked, half ran into the scrub behind them.  Xena stood silently and watched, unsure of what to do and uncomfortable about this.  Something played at the back of her mind, something she'd long repressed, but what?

"What's wrong with your friend?" Allmun asked approaching her, having finished grooming Argo.

"I'm not sure," said Xena, "she'll tell me when she's ready I guess. But here, the foods cooked.  I'll leave her some and when she wants she can come and get it." But before Xena turned to the fire she looked back at the space where Gabrielle had run, and felt pain in her heart.

--------------------

Gabrielle looked into those piercing blue eyes and saw a fire dance within. She felt her breath catch as she realised that Xena was not lusting after battle, but for something infinitely more pleasurable.  As Gabrielle felt a warmth envelope her, she leaned forward and caught a musky scent emanating from her companion.  And she wanted this scent all over her...

Gabrielle awoke as her hand trailed between her thighs - what in the name of Tartarus had she been dreaming!? She had returned to the clearing after Xena and Allmun had retired for the night, and had fallen asleep staring at the back of her friend.  Sleep had not come easy and dreams tortured her, but this... this was getting too much.  She hastily rearranged the covers and rolled over, facing away and into the night.  There was no denying it, she knew what these dreams meant, knew why she had these feelings, feared she was too late to act upon them. Gabrielle had fallen in love, just as Xena had fallen for someone else, and the pain of this nearly ripped her in two.

When Xena awoke the next day she found Gabrielle had returned during the night and was in her usual place beside her on the ground.  Xena looked at her sleeping form and thought about the times they'd had.  The fun and laughter, the pain and tears, they had seen and shared them all.  Xena smiled as she recalled how awkward Gabrielle had first been of herself when they had first met. Awkward and yet full of a passion for goodness that Xena had never seen before in a person. And so Gabrielle had developed into a fighter for this goodness, always looking to help others above herself. Sure she'd made mistakes along the way, but she learned fast, and always tried to keep cheery no matter what.  Xena knew she'd never had a friendship quite as intense as this before and probably never would again. Gods, she loved this little bard with all her heart. But something big was troubling her now, something that involved Xena and was caused by Allmun being with them. 

"I'll ask her when this is over and Allmun has left" thought Xena to herself. "We try not to keep secrets between us anymore" but something told her that she was keeping the biggest secret of them all.


CHAPTER 3

The port of Athens was over crowded and bustling with many strangers with strange tales.  The smells were almost overpowering until you got used to them - fish, beer, unwashed men and children, eastern spices added to them all. No-one took much notice of the humped over man with the crooked grin of rotting teeth as he approached a small group of men on the quay side who surrounded a tired and frightened set of dirty children.

"So you finally made it then.  No-one follow you?" he rasped at the group leader

"Shouldn't think so Pedophius.  Those Britannia scum are too stupid to think about that.  All they care about is where the next ale is coming from" Cramorn answered.

The men all gargled and croaked with laughter as the children watched fearfully from one to the next.

"So how many wretches do you have this time?" Pedophius asked

"16 little brats.  What you offering for them?"

"Wait, wait.  You know I need to check them, make sure they're strong enough to finish their journey" Pedophius approached the gaggle of children, sniffing the air.  He smacked a couple with his stick and leered at the cries of pain. "They sound well, you must be getting soft on them" he cackled, " well, you know the prices.  5 dinars for each child."

"What if I want more?" Cramorn began

"Then you're wasting my time" Pedophius turned to leave, knowing that Cramorn greed would  continue the sale. The ship was leaving soon and knew Cramorn was desperate. He stopped short when he saw the path blocked by 3 strangers.  "what you want?  You want to trade?" he sneered

"Hardly likely" said a lilting but hard voice, "Release the children. I've come to take them home" Pedophius looked amazed at the strangers' foolishness.

"Of course you have".  He turned to Cramorn and grinned.  "Well, shall we do as he asks?"

Cramorn looked at his companions and lunged forward, drawing his sword.  His group followed his lead and rushed forward at the 3 people, uttering threats and growls.

"Guess you should have said please" Xena grinned. "Oh, well"

Drawing her own sword Xena leapt over the mens' heads while Allmun thrust his sword forward at the leader. Taking on 2 men Xena swiped at their poor fencing skills, knocking the swords out their hands.  Kicking out, she shoved the 2 back into stored kegs, spilling stinking fish netting over them.  Allmun headbutted Cramorn, momentarily stunning both of them.  Gabrielle pushed at Cramorn with her staff, knocking him away from Allmun, and straight into his own men.  In the confusion they squabbled among themselves before they realised they were fighting the wrong people. Xena took advantage of their stupidity and, leashing her chakram, sailed it through the air, cutting the children's manacles. 

"Quick, come with me" Gabrielle shouted, herding them away from the docked ship and away from trouble.  She turned to watch as Xena grabbed a length of rope and deftly throw it over a jutting post from the ships stern.  Tying one end round Cramorn she attached the other end to the anchor and snapped the chain.  As Cramorn and anchor disappeared beneath the waves, Allmun grabbed Pedophius while the others ran, the fight all out of them. Pedophius twisted his scrawny body, trying to get out of Allmuns grip but to no avail.  As Xena approached Allmun tied another rope round Pedophius' hands and feet, binding him tightly.

"What shall we do with him?" asked Xena, "this is your fight after all"

"Leave him here.  When the Maldeli traders come for him, they can do what they want.  His fate lies with the hands of his gods now" Pedophius began wailing as they left, knowing what his fate would be and cursing his assailants.

As Xena and Allmun approached Gabrielle and the children, they began cheering for their friend and liberators. Allmun fell to his knees, trying to hug
them all, praising his god that they were all safe and well.  Xena smiled and looked at Gabrielle but only saw pain mirrored back at her. 

"I can't thank you two enough" Allmun laughed, slowly separating himself from the children.  "Please, why don't you come back with me to Britannia, or indeed Caledonia, where I'm sure these childrens' families would love to meet you and thank you personally"

"I'd love to, wouldn't you Gabri..."  Xena realised that Gabrielle had walked off.  This was it. Enough was enough. She had to find out what was wrong. "Get the children together.  I'll be back in 5 minutes.  Then we can get food and clothing and set off back to your homes."  Xena stepped off without waiting for an answer.  Allmun followed. 

"Xena" he called "wait" She paused and slowly turned round "Look, I don't want to come between you and Gabrielle. She doesn't look as if she wants to come, so, well, if you want to stay with her that's ok.  I shouldn't have asked, it was a bit presumptuous of me to think.."

"Think what" Xena asked, but she already knew

"I guess, I guess I think I love you and I hoped you felt the same.  If you don't, I understand. I mean we're from two different worlds and....."

Xena stopped him by pressing 2 fingers to his lips.  " I know how you feel." She paused. "I think I feel the same.  But I've been with Gabrielle a long time and I must think of her feelings first."  Xena smiled, fire dancing in her blue eyes "just 5 minutes, I promise, and then we'll go."

Allmun kissed at her fingers and watched her chase after her friend.  Smiling, he returned to the children. "Praise to Paaganis" he thought, "Praise for all that we may reach our homes safely.  And praise for Xena, may her heart lead her to true love"  he grinned widely, "and let that be me"

Gabrielle stood just inside the barn beside Argo, trying not to let the tears fall.  She knew what this heartache was, she'd realised that the night before. And now, with Allmun's offer, it was almost certainly too late.

"Gabrielle?" Xena questioned softly behind her. "Gabrielle, what is it?  I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."

"Wrong, nothings wrong.  I just don't want to go back with him."

"And if I went?"

Gabrielle turned quickly, feeling a tear fall. "Please don't go.  I never knew until now but if you go..."

"What. What happens if I go Gabrielle?" Xena stepped forward and out her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders. "Tell me" she said gently

"Then I'll never see you again, never look into your eyes or see your smile, never be beside you feeling your warmth, never touch your face." The tears flowed freely now as Gabrielle looked at Xena's face "And I'll never be able to tell you that I love you"

Xena stopped, totally unready for this confession. "I, I don't know what to say."

"Tell me you love me too.  I thought you did once, when we first met , when you saved my life, I just didn't know how I felt. Well, now I do and I need you to tell me the truth.  Do you love me Xena?  Do you love me like I love you?"

Xena could only stare at Gabrielle' tear-stained face. Suddenly Gabrielle moved forward and, cupping Xena's face, she pulled Xena's lips to her own.  Xena was off guard and could not break free as Gabrielle' soft lips brushed her own, felt their lips part,  tongues tentatively dancing.  She pulled Gabrielle towards her as she drank in every taste of their lips together, savouring and wanting more.  Gabrielle felt her heart race as her hands pulled Xena to her, realizing that this was what she had wanted all along, perhaps forever.

Suddenly Xena pushed her away, stunned at what had just happened.  Both panted as their emotions raced through them, senses pounding all around them.

"Don't push me away, not now.  Xena, you feel the same, you know you do"

"I cannot Gabrielle" Xena's deep voice was shaking "I'll only hurt you"

"You won't" Gabrielle stepped forward and brushed her fingers down Xena's face

"I will, I always do.  I bring all these dangers to you and teach you things you shouldn't know."

"I've learned how to live and that's because of you. I've learned how to love and that's because of you. What I had before was nothing in comparison to this." Gabrielle pulled back.  "Xena, you can't go. You love me not him.  I want you here with me, together as we should be."

Xena looked into her friends green eyes.  She closed her own. "I'm going" she said quietly Xena held her eyes shut as she felt a cry of hurt brush past her face.  And when she opened her eyes, Gabrielle had gone.

"I'm so sorry" Xena whispered, "I should be with Allmun" but as she left the stable she felt her own consciousness mock her decision.


CHAPTER 4

Gabrielle walked the streets of Athens.  This was her fifth night here, fifth night alone.  She spied a tavern and smiled inwardly.  A chance of a few dinars for something to eat, just tell a story about... She stopped in her tracks.  Too painful to tell a story about her, better to make one up about the Gods or something.  Easier on the pain.
- - - - - - - - - -
Xena watched the children playing 'hide and seek' in the long grass.  She remembered days when she and her brother used to do the same.  Before he died, before everything went bad for her.  But it had turned good, she had met Gabrielle and had found...no, that was over now.  She looked across at Allmun as he chased the children through the grass.  Something was missing.  What?
- - - - - - - - - -
Gabrielle studied the crowd before her.  Her reputation had grown but was it for being a fine bard or because they knew whom she used to travel with? Didn't matter anymore, those days were gone now and nothing could bring them back.  Maybe she would find happiness again with someone different but deep down Gabrielle knew there could never be anyone else.  'Why did I say I love you?  Why did I demand she stay?' she moaned inward.  'I made such a fool of myself, she'll never come back'
- - - - - - - - - -
They were less than a day away from the coast and the ship that would take them back.  Allmun had already sent word ahead and a great feast was being prepared in their honour.  Although he had asked, Xena had still not shared a bed with him, somehow feeling disrespectful to a forgotten memory.  And his lips felt, well, different to what she wanted.  But what was it that she wanted.  Her memories would not come back.
- - - - - - - - - -
Gabrielle looked at her reflection and noted the drawn look under her eyes, her tiredness from too many sleepless nights.  Alone in the night was like being alone in Tartarus.  'Perhaps if I pray to Aphrodite then she may help relieve this pain, take my love away' she thought to herself ' I can't go on like this any longer' Gabrielle looked at her belongings, a pitiful bag of clothes and scrolls and memories.  She gathered them slowly and began the long trail to the temple of Aphrodite.
- - - - - - - - - -
Xena stood at the dock and watched the excited children board the ship.  Allmun was making arrangements with the captain about the fastest crossing and how much it would cost.  Xena realised that this was it.  She would be leaving her past behind and starting anew.  Leaving her past and all the people in it.  Leaving and never seeing them again.  She cried out as a sudden realisation hit her of what she was about to do.  Allmun ran to her side and looked deep into her eyes and saw what she knew, what she had known all along, but repressed long ago.

"Your happiness is all I want" he smiled.  "You know that."  He surveyed the lands. "It is time to say goodbye" he smiled, looking towards the ship.

"I know" grinned the warrior princess.


CHAPTER 5

Gabrielle was about a day's journey from the temple. As night fell she gathered some sticks and began a small fire, setting her bedding down beside it.  She ate the last of the bread she had saved and stared in to the flames.  She had begun to feel better as soon as she had left Athens, too many memories lurking about.  Better to go the temple of Aphrodite in the forest and pray there in peace and solitude.

However, she knew she was not alone in the clearing, a shadow kept just out of sight to the left. Gabrielle moved closer to her staff, anticipation rising in her throat.  It may be Joxer following and desperately trying got be the warrior he wasn't.  It may some thieves after her food or bedding or even her!  Using her training, Gabrielle carefully pinpointed where the unseen assailant crouched, slowly stood up as if about to do something else, and thrust her staff into the undergrowth.  A satisfying clud, followed by a moan, came forward and she leap towards it, arms and hands poised for a fight.  There was no-one there.  As she stood perplexed, her assailant knocked into her, spinning her onto the ground.  Gabrielle glanced at a hooded figure standing above her before kicking out with her feet and pushing them down.  As she grabbed at them, the hood came away in her hands and she looked up... and into those sky blue eyes she thought she'd never see again.

"Xena" she gasped before the warrior princess pushed her back and silenced her with a kiss so intense that Gabrielle felt her entire body come alive.  She ran her fingers over Xena's hair and down her back, realising that Xena had taken off all her armour.

Xena pulled away, gasping at the power and heat that was growing between them.  Gabrielle could only gaze at the warrior princess, her mouth dry with anticipation, heat stoked between her legs.  She had so many questions but could not form the words as her senses took over.

"I want you" was all Xena could murmur as she kissed at Gabrielle neck and shoulders.  She ripped at her top and hungrily kissed at her breasts.  Gabrielle arched back as Xena sucked at her nipples, while slowly unfastening her skirt.

"Let me look at you" growled Xena as she pulled back. She worshipped at the sight of Gabrielle's naked body. She had seen Gabrielle naked before - bathing, swimming - but now....Xena felt her heart quicken as she watched the firelight dance across Gabrielle's full breasts, her taught stomach, her slender hips towards...

"Now let me look at you" Gabrielle ordered and Xena complied, tearing off her leathers.  Gabrielle drank in the sight of Xena's naked body - hard and yet soft, known and yet unknown to her. Tentatively she reached forward and trailed a hand from her shoulders to her breasts. She was unsure if she could continue it's descent, but felt the maddening need to do so begin to overtake her..

"You are so beautiful" she moaned as she raised herself towards Xena, aware that there was no turning back now.  Xena licked at her lips as she pushed her back, slowly trailing a hand up Gabrielle's thigh.  She parted her legs and gasped as she felt Xena's finger lightly tease her clit.  A growing fire had started in her belly and she pushed her hips towards Xena's maddening light touch.  "Please" she half moaned, half begged "take me"

"Oh, Gabrielle" Xena groaned as she slid two fingers into her moistness. She pulled back and thrust again, again, again.  Gabrielle raised her hips in time, grinding her clit against Xena's muscular arm with each thrust.  She writhed in delight as Xena added another finger, riding her hand as passion engulfed her body.  Xena thrust as deep as she could, feeling her friends, no, her lovers', passion near the edge.

Gabrielle violently arched back as the first powerful orgasm ripped through her, scratching her nails across Xena's back, her voice caught in her throat.  Xena didn't miss a beat and teased at lovers' clit, gasping at the enormous pleasure this act gave her.  Gabrielle cried out as another orgasm soared through her, blinding her in ecstasy.

Gentle tears of joy slowly crept down Xena's face, mixing with her sweat, as she slowed her thrusting, feeling Gabrielle pant against her neck.  Slowly she released her fingers and brought them up to Gabrielle's lips.  "Taste" she demanded as Gabrielle licked at her fingers "taste what love is."  Gabrielle sucked greedily as she felt her passion begin to rise again, new energy soaring through her.

Pushing Xena back, Gabrielle licked at her throat, her shoulders, her breasts, her belly.  Xena parted her legs, knowing where she wanted Gabrielle and knowing where Gabrielle wanted to be.  She moaned deep as Gabrielle reached behind her and lifted her hips towards her teasing lips, her searching tongue.  As she lapped over her sex, Xena twisted her head from side to side as Gabrielle nibbled and sucked, both for Xenas pleasure and her own.  As Gabrielle licked over her moist entrance, Xena reached and placed one of her hands towards it. She bucked forward as Gabrielle teased her with her tongue while thrusting in with 3, no 4 fingers deep into her.  Xena knew she couldn't hold back much longer, mashing against Gabrielle's face and hand.  Xena cried into the night as she felt an orgasm, stronger than she had ever known, rip though her.  Gabrielle kept thrusting as she kissed back up Xena's body, causing Xena to come again, almost breaking Gabrielle's fingers as she tightened around them.

Eventually Gabrielle withdrew and they lay arms wrapped around each other, trying to gather any senses not overtaken during their lovemaking.

Xena raised herself slightly and gazed down at Gabrielle. " I knew I loved you, but this.." she half joked.

"If you knew you loved me, why did you leave. Why did you not come with me after I kissed you in Athens?"

"Because I always run from what I want most" Xena explained sadly, "I knew that I'd fallen in love when you nearly died in that makeshift hospital.  But how could I tell you?  You were still so young and good. And I knew that I would only bring you pain with my lifestyle and choices." Xena paused, unused to opening her feelings. Gabrielle gently ran her fingers across her face, sensing Xena struggle to say her words, knowing how Xena closed herself off from them. "So I hid all my feelings deep down. Tried to convince myself friendship was all I needed.  And I tried to convince myself that I could feel for another. By the gods, was I wrong. And by the time I'd realised this, I knew I had to come back for you, no matter where you were or what you were doing."

They both grinned.  "I even ran all the way" Xena half joked.

"But what about..." Gabrielle began, realising who had been left behind.

"He knows, he understands.  He helped me to stop running." Xena murmured, nuzzling into Gabrielle's ear. "I'm never going to run away again. That is, if you still want me here"

Gabrielle pushed Xena back, pining her hands behind her head "What do you think" she grinned.

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