Title: "Love's Inspiration"
Author: Kat Lee
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Xena has an important question to ask Gabrielle.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters, names, codenames, places, items, fandoms, titles, and etc. are always © & TM their respective owners, not the author, and are used without permission. Any and all original characters and everything else is © & TM the author and may not be reproduced in any way without the author's express, written permission. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: 244. That's the number of stories that were sitting on my hard drive collecting dust because I lack the energy and time to take care of them as I once did. My betaing pattern has always been to write, then type up if written on paper, the story, read it aloud to my beloved Jack and our children, editing as I go, and then finally format and post. Sadly, this part is simply taking too much of my time and energy, and my beloved Jack and I have too little time together in person these days to be able to keep up with my stories. So what to do? Give up writing? I actually considered it for a while, tried to make excuses to myself other than the large number of stories collecting cyber dust on my computer, as to why I lacked the energy and Muse to write new tales. And then, with the turn of the new year, I decided to stop running and face the problem. The problem is, quite frankly, that once one gets so bogged down in formatting and editing that writing is no longer a pleasure but the actual posting of those writings becomes a hassle and - egad! - work, it's time to cut something out, and that will never be the writing process. So, in short, yes, there will be mistakes in this tale. Yes, it's missing about half of the header information I usually include. But I wrote it for pleasure and am posting it in hopes of sharing that pleasure with others. Do with it as you will.

They battled hard, blade meeting blade with each hot, labored breath, until, at last, Xena won as she always did and knocked the sword from her opponent's hand. The blonde was waiting for her to make that exact move, however, and kicked her staff up out of the green grass. Their horses whinnied nearby, enjoying the beautiful day, as Gabrielle firmly grasped her staff and used it to propel her forward. She jumped Xena and tackled her down to the cool ground in the shade. Her green eyes sparkled excitedly as she grinned down at her lover.

"Well played," Xena approved, running her fingers through her long, blonde hair. "You're learning to use the tactic of surprise to your advantage very well. Of course," she smiled, "I knew you were going to do that."

"No, you didn't! I've never done it before, and if you knew I was going to do it, you wouldn't have let me take you down!"

"Why not?" Xena asked. Her hand moved with a gentility of which few people knew she was capable, trailing from Gabrielle's sun-heated hair to cup her cheek and arch her fingers playfully over her neck. "Maybe I wanted you to do it." Her growing smile paused and suddenly looked troubled.

"What is it?" Gabrielle questioned. Her body tensed. Her eyes darted to the trees in search of signs of an impending ambush.

"We're alone," Xena assured her, again stroking her skin, "but I want to ask you something."

"So," Gabby replied with uncharacteristically few words, looking back down into her blue eyes, "ask."

"When I first started training you," Xena began, keeping one hand on her neck, her palm resting over a delicate pulse spot, and threading her other hand back into her sweetheart's locks, "you were . . . different."

"Innocent?" Gabby asked.

Xena nodded briefly and continued, "You wanted to fight at first, Gabrielle, because you thought it was exciting. You quickly changed your mind, but then, after . . . "

Gabrielle cut her off, her eyes darkening, "I remember." She didn't want to, but she'd never forget how Callisto had murdered her first, and only as her heart now and would forever belong to Xena, husband.

Xena skipped that part of the conversation she'd planned, no more wanting to remember those dark days than Gabby did. "What I'm getting at," she said instead, "is that you used to believe the quill is mightier than the sword."

"I still do." Gabrielle's quick answer reassured Xena, quelled her doubts, and returned her beloved's smile to her full lips.


"I know you don't," Gabrielle babbled on, "and you've saved thousands, probably more like millions really, with your sword and kicking butt, Xena, and what you do is wonderful, but the right story can reach hearts and minds all across the world and not just now, either in our lives, but for eons to come! When we're dead and gone and your name's whispered in the oldest legends, people will still be able to look at all you've done and know that, no matter what else is going on, there's always hope.

"Anybody can be a hero, maybe not a Warrior Princess who fights armies and warlords and Demon Gods, but a hero in their own right, to their own people, even if it's just their family or a few people who need them. They can save a life. It doesn't matter if they're just a little village girl, they can have adventure. They can have hope. They can have love! They can have - "

Gabrielle finally stopped talking when Xena placed a gentle finger upon her lips. "Then why," the Warrior Princess demanded, her blue eyes twinkling, "haven't you written anything lately?"

Gabrielle shrugged. Smiling against Xena's finger, she pointed out, "We've been rather busy lately, what with that army of warlords you just finished defeating yesterday - "

"We defeated," Xena was quick to amend. "Then why don't you write us something new?"

Gabby kissed her finger. "I'd rather roll with you right now." She giggled, and Xena laughed.

"Then afterwards?"

"I will, while you're tending to the horses and working on your sword, okay?" Gabrielle promised. Xena nodded, knowing that Gabrielle always keeps her promises to her now. Gabrielle was still beaming down into her eyes and had began quietly and provocatively suckling her finger when Xena suddenly rolled over on top of her.

"Hey!" Gabrielle protested, squealing with laughter.

Xena's long, black hair fell between them and the sun. "I thought I'd give you something to write about," she teased, her eyes sparkling and a big grin upon her pretty face.

"You always do," Gabby barely had time to breathe before Xena passionately, and repeatedly, kissed her.

The End