I look at her over my shoulder. She's curled up into a ball, facing away from me. I think she's crying, no I know she is. I feel like a load of minotaur shit. I groan as I turn back towards the fire and run my hands down my face, bewildered about this whole damned situation. I mean I know life isn't easy, but fuck, when you throw a short-tempered Amazon Queen/battling bard into the pot, things are bound to get messy. I settle my elbows on my thighs and bury my head in my hands, thinking of all the possible outcomes. What do I say to her? Confess? Gabrielle, I have been in love with you from the moment I saw you in the horrible peasant dress. I shake my head, No, she'll probably laugh at me. Maybe I should explain my behavior. ?Ugh, what behavior, I've been acting like me. Stoic, hard-ass, cold-hearted warrior. Well, maybe I've been a little too cold-hearted. If she did have feelings for me, she doesn't now. Not after how I ran off on her. Son of a baccae! I am stupid.

Xena continued warring with herself, trying to pick the best tearless route out of this delicate situation. She sighed, blowing out her breath through her nose and stood. Her legs all of a sudden felt weak and her stomach churned like one of Poseidon's whirlpools. She could feel her dinner inching up her throat, closing her eyes, she stilled her whole body and tried to focus on the task at hand. She tried to remember that last time she was this nervous, but nothing came back to mind. Trying to take a step forward, her heart pounded in her chest with each advancement towards the bruised hearted bard. All sorts of thoughts and emotions flooded the warrior. She must have feelings for me or she wouldn't have touched me like she has, twice. But what if I am reading everything wrong and she was just being playful. I'd feel like a complete fool. Then again she did seem pretty upset when she came back into camp. What happens if I tell her and she gets even more mad? What if she leaves me? I couldn't live if she did. Maybe I should leave this whole thing alone and let it blow over. Before she knew it she got next to Gabrielle's bedroll. It took everything in her to not puke and run.

The anxious warrior squatted down next to the beautiful bard who was now sleeping. Xena thought twice about waking her precious friend before she called her out of the realm of Morpheus. "Gabrielle." she said softly, shaking her gently awake. The young Amazon Queen mumbled something undecipherable and proceeded to roll over, pulling the covers over her head. Xena snorted, shook her head, and stood up. Guess we're gonna do this the hard way. The tall warrior yelled in a panicked voice like they were being attacked. Gabrielle had never moved so fast in her life. Clearly shaking any sleep from her body she stood, poised, ready to attack with her sais. She looked all around her for danger but there was none. Only Xena, miserably failing at holding back a laugh. The bard didn't think the warrior's act was all too funny.

Gabrielle tightened her grip on her weapons and pursed her lips. Her green eyes were alive with rage, her words came out like Greek fire, "Xena! What in the name of Hades did you do that for! Scaring me half to death, thinking that you were in trouble! Only coming to find out that this is all some sick game of yours! What, what's so funny? Was this one of your ingenious tests that I didn't pass to your specifications.?! Hmm!? No? Well, If not, I'm going back to sleep. I was in the middle of a great dream." Gabrielle huffed back to her bedroll.

When the bard walked past Xena, brushing ever so slightly against her, the warrior had this wise crack comment to say, "Where you dreaming about me?"

Gabrielle stopped dead in her tracks, her stomach dropped to Chin, and the color crimson crept up her face. The bard whipped around, looking into playful blue eyes, "Xena, I am not in the mood for any of your shenanigans tonight, ok. Goodnight."

This is not going as planned. "Gabrielle, wait." Xena reached out and got a hold of the bard's soft hands. The Queen didn't let go or resist to the warrior's surprise and relief, she hadn't turn around yet. Xena sighed and stilled her unstable heart, "Gabrielle, I'm sorry I woke you up the way I did. But I did try to wake you gently." That got the short haired blonde to turn around, her features had softened but her eyes still flickered with annoyance. Xena took a deep breath and opened her mouth to let the confessions of her warrior's heart pour out, "There's something that I've been meaning to tell you, for a long time now. I'll understand if you don't feel the same way, but I need to say it or I never will and this is something that I don't want to take to the grave with me.." Xena started to ramble, something she never did. Gabrielle was getting impatient, "Xena, just spit it out!"

Xena stopped at the sudden sharpness from the bard, "Okay. Gabrielle, I am in love with you. Have been since day one." The warrior looked into the bard's eyes that had gone void of all emotion at the shocking testament that was just announced. Xena looked away from the Amazon, spirit in defeat, she let go of Gabrielle. "I understand if you wouldn't want to stay with me anymore." She turn towards the fire and began to walk back towards her log, dragging what dignity and pride she had left with her.

It took a moment for the words from the usually quiet warrior to sink into the bard's subconscious, By the gods, she finally said it. After all these years, she does love me like I love her. Crap, I haven't said anything to her, better say it before she gets too far away.

"Xena! Wait, please don't walk away again."

End of Ch. 4

A/N: So, how did yall like that? Unfortunately I must say we are coming close to the end of this little rendezvous. All I know is that I know how Xena feels. It can be freighting to tell someone that has no idea how you feel about them your deepest most sacred declarations. I am glad to see alot of yall like this. This story honestly came out of no where. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something. ;} -BlackIrish88