Disclaimers: This is a non-profitable Xena fan fic. I do not own Xena nor the characters except for my own OCs and the storyline. All rights reserved to their rightful owners. This was written for my own enjoyment, as well as anyone else that may be interested. This is the direct sequel to my first multi-chapter story, For Love's Sake.


Gabrielle sighed at her pruney fingers as she made her way back from the pool. She hadn't meant to be in there too long, but she couldn't help it. The water had been warm and relaxing, offering her the best bath she'd had in a while. It had been a surprise when Xena had suggested to stop for the night and found a warm spring not too far from where they'd set camp. She had to admit it; the bath had been the first time in weeks she had felt safe enough to relax.

Gabrielle stared sadly at the dusty ground.

After the shock of Dreyas, Xena had been quiet for days. When she did speak she would only blame herself for everything, claiming that she had turned an innocent girl evil with her past influence. Gabrielle had said everything she could think of to reassure the warrior that it wasn't the case, but although Xena nodded along with her and agreed, Gabrielle knew she didn't believe her.

Wiping the water droplet from her neck, Gabrielle tried to think of another way to distract the haunted warrior. Talking wasn't helping. Perhaps pretending it hadn't happened would give Xena the chance to grieve in her own time?

When Gabrielle arrived back in their little glade a rhythmic metallic hissing sound drew her eye to the warrior sharpening her sword beside the fire. Gabrielle smiled fondly at the familiar warrior-type ritual. Xena looked the most relaxed she had in days with her sword in her hands. Her solid face was calm, void of the torment that had plagued her expression.

Not wanting to disturb her, the bard grabbed a cloth and began to dry her hair. When a scroll rolled out of her bag, unfurling, her face filled with heat in frustration. She threw the cloth on the ground.

"Xena," she drawled out threateningly. She yanked the scroll from the ground and held it up, showing the warrior where there was a large gap absent of parchment. "What is this?"

Xena looked up, gave the scroll a brief glance and continued her task. "A scroll."

"You used it?"

Xena gave a negligent shrug, unaffected by Gabrielle's tone. "What? It's not like I used it all."

Gabrielle glared. "But you used it…without asking me first?" With a frustrated sigh, she turned and threw the scroll back into her bag. "Let me guess, there were no good leaves left?"

Ceasing her whetstone, Xena turned on the boulder to look behind her at the leafy bushes Gabrielle was pointing at. With a sheepish grin, she turned back. "It was an emergency, and those leaves are the stinging kind. Do you really think I'm going to use them on myself, Gabrielle?" She waved at the bag the scroll had been thrown in. "Besides, it was an empty scroll. You hadn't written on it."

Gabrielle stopped on the opposite side of the fire and crossed her arms. "I was planning to!"

"You haven't written since we left Dreyas," Xena pointed out and continued sharpening her sword.

"Well, maybe I wanted to try?"

Xena's eyebrows arched. "Go ahead."

Gabrielle threw her hands up. "Well I can't now, can I? That was the last blank scroll I had left!"

Xena paused, lowering her sword and stared at the infuriated blonde. She felt guilty for using Gabrielle's last scroll, but she couldn't help but watch, amused, as Gabrielle paced back and forth beside the fire, her scowl twisting her young face. Despite the bard's efforts to look angry, Xena thought the look just made her look more endearing than dangerous. She suppressed a chuckle as Gabrielle kicked at the loose stones near her feet.

Feeling her gaze, the bard frowned. "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Sorry, I can't help it. You just look…adorable when you're angry," Xena replied with a toothy grin.

Gabrielle felt a blush creep up her neck. She turned away. "Well, if it bothers you so much don't look at my face."

"Never, for as long as I live, will I ever say looking at your face bothers me," Xena said softly. She sheathed her sword and stood. "Nor will I ever get tired of looking at you."

"Don't even try sweet talking me, Xena. I'm mad at you!" Gabrielle threatened.

"Oh, really?"

Xena moved up behind the bard. She placed her hands gently on Gabrielle's upper arms, softly stroking the smooth skin there, and nuzzled the blonde's hair. The smell of earth and something else that she couldn't quite place, but nevertheless reminded her of Gabrielle whispered from the locks.


Xena let the tip of her nose trail across Gabrielle's shoulder. She smiled as a shiver run through the young woman's body. "How mad are we talking here?" she asked huskily.

"Mmm…very," Gabrielle warned, annoyed that her voice sounded so tight.

She loathed it when Xena did this. She knew how to get under her skin and force her to give in before she would. They had spent the last couple of weeks getting used to each other again. Knowing their feelings for one another changed everything, and with their newfound relationship, it felt as though the foundations of their friendship had shifted.

They hadn't been intimate. Selena had been Xena's friend and ex-lover. Finding out that she had been controlled the whole time, used by the evil goddess, Ate, who had trapped her with her guilt had been an earth shattering revelation for them both, leaving intimacy low on the list.

However, as they started to become reacquainted with each other, the lines they had never dared to cross before were explored. Whether it was because of remaining doubt or fear neither woman made the first move to take things further after Xena said Gabrielle wasn't ready. Instead, teasing and innuendo took part of their daily routine, the truth of what could finally be a thought that constantly lingered on both their minds as something very real, and though it was something they had both yearned for, it terrified them all the same.

A spark of desire ignited in the warrior at the warning tone in the bard's words. She lowered her hands, running her palms along the smooth skin of the blonde's forearms, revelling at the bumps that followed the trail she was making.

"What are you going to do about it?"

Gabrielle's eyes flashed, a carnal smile stretching her mouth. Oh, I know exactly what, she thought.

She turned in the warrior's arms until she was face to face with her. She almost lost her resolve as soon as Xena's blue eyes fixed on her own. The desire to move forward and press her lips against Xena's was almost too great, but it wasn't greater than Gabrielle's desire to get her revenge.

Pressing herself closely, Gabrielle reached up and looped her arms around the warrior's neck. Xena groaned her approval and lowered her mouth, searching for the bard's, but Gabrielle purposely evaded her, and broke away.

"Ah, ah, Xena! Turnabouts fair play. You mess with my belongings," she chuckled as she shook the whip she'd snatched away from the warrior's clip. "I'll mess with yours."

Xena narrowed her eyes. "You really don't want to do that, Gabrielle," she warned. "Give me the whip."

Gabrielle clenched the unfurled whip carefully, stroking the leather under her thumb. Power seemed to emanate from the object. It felt strong and dangerous; almost like she was holding a part of Xena in her hands.

She grinned up at the woman, arching an eyebrow. "And what if I don't?"

"Fine," Xena rested her hands on her hips and shrugged. "Go ahead."

"I will."

Gabrielle threw the slack; the whip fell heavily against the soil. The leather creaked as she tightened her grip around the handle, and when she flicked her wrist the end moved behind her, coiling like a snake. She'd watched Xena use the weapon plenty in the past, and though she'd never used it before, she had always wanted to give it a try at least once. Moving with a blind confidence established by her need for revenge, Gabrielle propelled her hand forward, thrusting the whip toward the dark whistled by her face, catching her cheek as it lashed through the air. There was a slap when the whip snapped against Xena's hand as she caught it. With one swift tug, Xena pulled the bard to her and looped the whip around her back, cutting off any possible escape route before Gabrielle could recover.

"That's a nasty cut you've got there," the warrior muttered.

Xena bent slightly to inspect it. It was no longer than her thumbnail and wouldn't scar. Gabrielle had been lucky.

The cut on Gabrielle's cheek stung, but the close proximity and the soft, teasing sound of her lover's voice numbed the pain, instead igniting a heat that travelled throughout her body, setting all her nerve endings alight.

"You're going to say 'I told you so,' aren't you?" Gabrielle asked breathlessly.

Xena pressed her body closer until there was no space left between them. She knew what she was doing; she could see the spark of desire that glazed over Gabrielle's eyes when she pushed her hips nearer. If Gabrielle thought she could get one over on the warrior, she was wrong. Still, as Xena fell deeper into her own game, teasing the bard in the same way she had Xena for the past couple of weeks, she felt it dangerously hard to keep up. Her body burned with desire at the contact; she didn't know how long she would be able to pretend that having Gabrielle so close to her didn't affect her so strongly.

"Hmm, I would never say that," Xena answered innocently. She took both ends of the whip in one hand so Gabrielle was still trapped. With her other hand now free she reached out and tenderly brushed under the thin, angry cut with the back of her fingers.

Gabrielle closed her eyes at the contact, tilting her head into her touch. Xena's hand continued until she cupped the back of her neck. She had always dreamed that she could touch Gabrielle this way, and even more so that Gabrielle would react in kind. Seeing her dream become a reality in front of her eyes never grew tiring. Instead, it excited her more than she'd ever known, and the bolt of desire that shook her body when she felt Gabrielle's hands brush over her hips, locking around her waist to bring her closer made her heart want to burst.

The kiss started off gentle, as their others had. Ones they had shared tentatively at night, or on the road. As the kiss deepened, Xena squeezed the whip tighter when the slow, torturous caress was no longer enough. She pulled Gabrielle closer, and wove the fingers of her free hand through the bard's still damp hair. She found herself helpless to hold back the moans that escaped her lips as Gabrielle pressed her own harder against her, demanding access, and as she did, letting her tongue explore her mouth, her moans of pleasure were swallowed up by Gabrielle's hungry kiss.

She couldn't take this any more. Xena dropped the whip and cupped Gabrielle's face with both hands, bringing her closer. "I want you," she whispered breathlessly. She pulled away for air, resting her forehead against the bard's.

Gabrielle's hot breath blew against her face, ruffling the hair that fell around her. "Xena."

The bard's ardour surprised Xena, but no more than Gabrielle herself. Her hands shook with agitated desire as they occupied themselves with unlatching the clasps of Xena's armour. She wanted to touch every part of Xena's body that she could, but her racing heartbeat and boiling blood made her movements awkward. She looked up when she felt the older woman's hands stay her own.

"Gabrielle, I'm not going anywhere," Xena chuckled.

Gabrielle's face flushed and she squared her shoulders with embarrassment. "I know. I just…I've never felt this way before," she explained. "Not even when…with Perdicus…" she trailed off, not wanting to go into detail.

Xena tensed at the name but took some comfort from her words. She smiled, reaching down to tug gently at the laces holding Gabrielle's top together. "I understand what you mean, Gabrielle. I feel as though my heart never loved…not until you," she said so quietly Gabrielle almost had to strain her ears to hear.

"Sweet talker," Gabrielle accused, not admitting just how much the confession of her feelings really affected her.

"I try," Xena whispered back.

Their quiet teasing always excited her, but it was when she pulled the ties away, one by one, unlacing the front of Gabrielle's top, revealing Gabrielle's buxom chest and leanly muscled torso that a jolt of desire struck her belly.

Years of training with her staff at Xena's side had benefited the bard, tightening her muscles into definition, a sight that the warrior greatly appreciated. She had seen the Gabrielle's naked body before when dressing or bathing, but only through brief glances. She'd never allowed her eyes to linger much longer for fear of discovery. Now the bard knew her heart, Xena's eyes devoured the strong beauty presented before her as though it was the last time she would ever get the chance.

Gabrielle's smile grew wider upon seeing colour rush to the warrior's cheeks. Xena was always so reserved; she kept her feelings to herself so much so that even Gabrielle sometimes found herself second guessing what the warrior was thinking. Seeing Xena's feelings laid so bare was both surprising and satisfying. Knowing that her body was having such an effect on the warrior aroused her more than she would have ever thought possible.

She laced her arms around the warrior's neck and began to unclasp the armour, slower this time, while Xena coaxed her into breath-stealing kiss.

"You're getting good at that," Gabrielle breathed into Xena's ear.

Xena closed her eyes, groaning quietly as the bard ran her tongue along the edge of her earlobe. "I was always good at that," she responded tightly, wrapping her arms more firmly around the young blonde's body.

As Gabrielle smiled against her skin, pressing hungry kisses along her jaw and neck, Xena forced herself not to take the bard the way she desired. She fought to retain self-control and fight against her more carnal need. Instead, she moved her hands slowly, seeking to lovingly caress the curves of her young bard's body, allowing the bard to move as she wanted. Not only did she not want to make Gabrielle feel rushed, or scare her, but Xena wanted to remember the feel of her lover's curves and savour what would be their first time together.

But before they could cross the line they had been dancing around for the past few weeks, the unmistakable sound of powerful hooves pounding the dirt reached Xena's ears.

Feeling the sudden tension in the warrior's body, Gabrielle stepped back, her eyes widening in concern. "What's wrong?" she asked worriedly, thinking she had done something wrong.

"I can hear shouting. Over the hill, about a minute or so away," Xena replied gruffly, nodding toward the slight incline a few paces away from where they'd camped. The glade was hidden away, tucked into the trees, but all it would take was for one of the men to pass through and they would be seen. "There's about five on horseback."

Gabrielle looked up at her as she finished tying the laces of her top back together, her green eyes still dark with desire and her dampened hair ruffled. Xena suppressed a disappointed groan at having to cut their time short and pressed a kiss to the blonde's forehead.

Gabrielle placed her hand gently on the warrior's cheek, smiling empathetically. "I know, I want this…want you, too" she said, her voice intoning the same unrelenting passion that still possessed Xena. "But the needs of others outweigh our own. Besides," she whispered as she reached up on her tiptoes to place her lips near Xena's ear; her breath tickling the sensitive flesh. "We'll have time later. I will have you eventually."

A tremor of passion sliced its way through Xena's body at the bard's heartfelt promise, and it took all she had not to forget about the men approaching. Xena grinned as she replaced her armour, ready for action as the remnants of the bard's sensuous vow rang enticingly in her mind.

Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed the chapter. It's great to be back to the Sake Series, so I'll be keeping up with the chapters. I love to receive feedback on my stories so if you can leave a review or a fav it would be muchly appreciated ;) See you soon. Happy reading!