DISCLAIMER: All named characters in this story do not belong to me, they belong to the creators and producers and studios that own Xena: Warrior Princess.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fanfic is XGR (Xena/Gabrielle Romance) and as such involves a consensual relationship with the female characters, Xena and Gabrielle. While this fanfic is hardly romantic, it still insinuates that X & G had a romantic relationship and engage in female/female sex. If this is offensive to you, or you do not wish to read about a relationship between these two, then feel free to exit the story. I would appreciate any comments and feedback/ constructive criticism (R&R), but please hold the homophobia. Please send all comments to defender.of.heaven@gmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Maturnal Instincs and The Bitter Suite.

Sacred Rite
By Lexx23


Passion, raw and unadulterated. In her youth it meant little to her: the meaning of it, the word itself, yet in the passing months and weeks since Britannia, it was her constant, a certainty to which she always returned. Fury and sorrow merged equally in her despondent gaze, fixed on the scorching fire that turned dry wood to embers. She sat motionless, feeling scrutiny upon her from across the fire.

Penetrating blue eyes dissected her still portrait: a muscular female form of youth corrupted by suffering and abuse, smooth porcelain skin illuminated by moonlight and ruddy flames. Though her body was aged and her growth completed, her face remained child-like, cherubic, imparted perusing gazes with unusual beauty that bordered on the exotic. Yet she was a native girl, born of ordinary stock to Macedonian farmers along the Greek coastline. Rejecting the circumstances of her birth, she sought to surpass her breed, wanted for adventure.

Much of the world had been revealed to her now, and she bore the fouled scars of an anguished pilgrimage. With little chance to transition into womanhood, she was quickly married and widowed, fell victim to rape thereafter. She bore a single daughter who was plagued by the evil inherent of the seed that produced her, and the Macedonian girl, experienced and wise though ill-fated, was forced to poison her only child.

She despised murder, violence. But her child seemed designed for it, greedily choked a young boy to death. She summoned his image and ached at the loss. Beautiful as the day she first saw him, the young boy, son of her best friend. She wondered how her daughter stared at him as he struggled, with his eyes rolled back into his brain and his chest overcome with spasms for lack of air. It nauseated her. Yet murdering the girl seemed an injustice, a decision too great for mortal minds.

As the fire crackled life into the silent, midnight air, the moments of her daughter's death and the wedge between herself and her friend were fortnights away in her memory. Finally, she looked up from the campfire to see Xena staring at her from across the orange-yellow flames. Eyes beckoning. It was an order.

The young woman looked down at the ground, hesitated for a moment before standing. She waited to be commanded, the quiet was unusual. A demand was always forthright: take off your clothes, lie down, stare at the fire. A performance repeated over and over, she was an object for catharsis, worshipped in silence. And by her stillness, surrender became permission, compliance became indifference. Agreement. Sorrow.

But Xena was silent tonight, bright eyes unmoving, unnerving.

A blanket lay beside the fire, waited to warm her nude body. Without a word, Gabrielle divested and lay down on the pallet facing away from Xena, alabaster skin glowing tawny by the firelight. Piercing blue eyes studied the form: the head adorned by thick wheat-blonde hair that gathered stark on the brown blanket, cream-white skin flowing in the frame of a figure-eight from the shoulders to the tiny waist that flared into curved hips and bottom: a symbol of eternity. Forever to suffer alone.

The young woman gazed despondently into the firelight; cold air irritated her exposed flesh. In a few moments, she would try to distance herself, attempt to divide her mind from her body and escape the returning ache, guilt, regret, and anger. And each time, she would fail, as she always did, betrayed by her empathetic nature: the illusory desire to see nobility and humanity in place of greed and spite.

She longed to speak, to scream from rage and retaliate, an anxious fury of confusion and festering injury. But the struggle was all inner, retired to her own consciousness. If she dared to speak, she could not fathom what it was she would say - what could heal her if she tried. Passionate resentment swept her mind into a violent, sweeping gyre, turned love and loathing upon themselves until they were inseparable and the same. The fire flickered and twisted, burned and scarred the wood, perished solid oak into fragile ashes. Destructor of life, creator of life-giving heat, chaos and death emanating a heady sweetness. Viral temptations, impulse goaded her to plunge a hand into the flames, feel for herself how much it hurt.

Cold fingertips surprised her, dispelled her introspection. They began at the curve of her waist, lingering on the smooth skin, barely moving. The fingers slowly spread, until a full palm ran back and forth across her chilled flesh, neither hesitant nor reverent. The touch was a test, a reassurance: the substance beneath Xena's hand was solid matter and she was privileged to it. Gabrielle exhaled and her breath hitched as Xena slid her arm around her, seized her and pulled Gabrielle's body against her own. Exposed skin clung awkwardly to Xena's leather garments.

Draped locks were brushed from her ear, unveiling the milk-white neck and softly curled beginnings of long blonde hair. The hand that grabbed her rested at her middle and trailed upward, lingering purposefully beneath her breasts. Gabrielle tilted her head to the side, offering her neck as the next concession. It was expected, and she knew Xena liked it. Obedient. Loyal. No one had ever enjoyed such implicit favour.

Xena's breath hovered hot and moist above her ear and she shuddered as a hand gripped her breast, kneaded it. She struggled to keep her body still. The anticipation of her release invigorated her, but she wouldn't let Xena see it. It was her knowledge alone, private and unalterable. The plea for candour was gone from her. Compromise and safety were much more tolerable, allowed her to feel more human than her mechanistic intellect. Xena's mouth closed on the pulse in her neck, greedily suckled, grew bored, and changed direction, descending to Gabrielle's collarbone, her shoulder and to the side of her breast.

Her body was angled slightly as Xena pressed Gabrielle's shoulder toward the ground between them, revealing her naked form to gluttonous blue eyes, offering greater access to what she wanted to touch. Gabrielle kept her head tilted to the side, focused on the fire. In part, she longed to look back, to see the desire in Xena's eyes, and feel herself loved and renewed. But she feared that she might see nothing. Empty, irrelevant and impulsive craving, the object worthless and replaceable. If she was indeed expendable, she would have nothing left. So she listened eagerly, participated as she was told. Devoted. Dutiful. Essential.

It was not often now, that she filled her mind with much as Xena touched her, and when she let herself think at all, she thought of few but recurrent things. She first thought of the cold, the privacy and publicity of the space between them and the greater space around them. The thought of being watched disturbed her, degrading her further. But an intimate touch dissolved her fears into others: doubt and regret, and a pervasive shame that numbed her, became dizzying fragments of forgotten time. Then Xena would come closer, and she would feel the intimacy of warm breath, or the deep physical response of pleasure quiver down her spine. And her focus became secular: her release, quiet and confidential. She would not satisfy Xena with the sight of her orgasm, the last vestige of her command.

Gabrielle's lips parted and a soft gasp escaped her. Xena's mouth was on her, exploring the valley between her breasts, searching and desperate. The hand draped over her body rested at her waist again, and lethargically journeyed downward, lifting over the side of her thigh. Gabrielle felt the evidence of her arousal, but refused to move freely. She was motionless except for her heaving chest, her breathing deep and uneven. Undaunted, Xena moved Gabrielle's leg aside, exposed her further and let a hand lazily trace all that she desired. Another wave of arousal washed over them both. Gabrielle shivered in anticipation.

The movement was gentle, deliberately slow penetration. Her breath became audibly erratic and she closed her eyes. She felt every inch of it, each unnaturally lingering second that she was invaded, filled. And as Xena began a comfortable rhythm, Gabrielle fought to stay still, the increased volume of her breathing the only sign of her pleasure. She became disoriented, concentrated on the sensations that satisfied her, little by little, compounding for an ultimate release. Her hands gripped fistfuls of dust and ash spit from the fire onto the ground. She feared she would reveal herself, and struggled to contain her physical response.

As her control ebbed from her conscious grasp, vulnerability engulfed her, and in an instant, the familiar feeling revived an abandoned need. She craved the softness of Xena's lips on her own, ached to be kissed, genuinely and simply, as they did in the beginning. The brevity of their relationship was hardly forgettable, however lost it was to them now. But she remembered, with profound accuracy, the rush with which the act excited her, the completeness it imparted to her despite its ordinary inception. She longed for that naiveté, her ignorance. And in the absence of it, she felt at once that she was tawdry, mediocre. The final moments of orgasm trembled from stiffened muscles, and a cotton-like haze dulled all function.

Her eyes flew open, vibrant green and brilliant from the excess moisture collected in them. She gasped, kept her voice from surfacing as tears trickled from her eyes to collect on the blanket and in her hair. The ecstasy of climax was transitory; it was all she had, and all she was doomed to. Physical feeling, physical response. A vain and desperate crawl toward the manifestation of sanctity.

Her weeping was resigned to stifled gasps as she felt her body vacated. Xena remained beside her long enough to discover that Gabrielle was crying, and when she found that she had nothing to offer, not words or sufficient comfort, Xena stood, still fully dressed, and walked into the darkness of the woods, swallowing the bile that wormed from her throat onto her tongue.

Gabrielle stayed on her side, naked, weeping. Still wretchedly quiet, she restricted her body as much as she could: all that her tremulous sobs permitted. The fire leapt inside the wall of rocks, stacked in a single tier to cage the destruction within. She stared into the lilting flames, lost her thoughts in the heat and colour. The wood was brittle and eaten through, the life of it hungrily siphoned by the frenzied blaze. Nothing lasted for very long. Certitude was a dark oblivion. Hope was dead, Xena was gone. And the pieces of bone and flesh that tethered Gabrielle to the earth, formed the primitive shroud that sealed the rotting within.

The End

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