Nearing the end of Xena's pregnancy, the two mothers to be thought it wise to spend some time with Xena's Mom at the inn at Amphipolis. Cyrene was filled with joy to have her daughter and her lover stay with her. She was thrilled at the idea to have her grandchild be born under her roof. She even offered them her own room, so Xena didn't have to climb the narrow stairs to the guestroom when she had to rest. Xena's belly was now very large and she couldn't move about with her usual grace anymore. Instead, she walked in a very dignified way and her eyes glowed with pride and happiness. Gabrielle was very considerate to her and both she and Xena's mother spoiled Xena rotten. The soft clean beds at the inn were just what a nine months pregnant woman needed, as well as frequent small meals. And a toilet nearby?
But as days went by, the baby made no signs of it's arrival anytime soon, except for the ever growing belly of its mother. Xena got more than a little bored and her mood dropped accordingly. She became grumpy and very short tempered. Being a woman of action, she couldn't bear being pampered for a long time. She grew tired of wearing the same enormous coat everyday and having to go to the toilet every few minutes.
"Isn't there anything we can do to speed this up a little?" she moaned.
"Why don't you go and see the midwife?" Cyrene asked, cleaning up after a late breakfast.
And so they did. The friendly old midwife had a few ideas. She told Xena to lie down on the table and quickly checked if the baby was in the right position to be born. She let Gabrielle feel where its bottom was, where she could feel the knees and how its little head was firmly set into Xena's pelvis. She even listened to its heart beat through a wooden horn, and Gabriele could hear it too.
"Some of my colleagues would recommend pineapple-hearts. But I don't think they work. I believe this is the only thing that works". She gave them a potion.
"Half a bottle should do it", she said. "Should work within the hour, so wait until you get home before you take it".
The couple could hardly wait, and Xena sniffed at the contents of the bottle on their way back. It smelled repulsive. It did not seem suitable for consumption at all. But she was desperate. Barely back at the inn, she swallowed the whole bottle. Work within the hour it did, but not the way they wanted? Xena had to run to the toilet and spent the next three hours there. It wasn't worth the trouble coming off. Her intestines kept working their contents out in a very ferocious way. During those long hours Xena wondered if maybe, just maybe, the potion should have been administered through another entrance?
After that she was even more irritable. "Don't mess with me, I'm ten months pregnant, get out of my way!" she shouted, throwing over a table and two chairs that were in her way.
"I was like that when I expected her?", Cyrene murmured to Gabrielle under her breath, giving the bard an encouraging look. "Have patience with her, girl!"
One fine fall morning, after a long night Xena completely lost her temper and shouted: "I want to go for a long walk. I need to go outside!".
"That seems like a good idea! We can go and take Argo for a spin, but we have to stay close in case anything happens", Gabrielle said carefully, looking at the tall woman's swollen belly. She was not entirely sure Xena would want her to come along.
"No Gabrielle, trust me, I've been through this before". Gabriele could not argue with that, so they packed everything on Argo to ensure a very comfortable day out. They set off at an easy pace.
High up in the sky a flock of geese flew southward in formation.
"It will be so nice to spend some time alone together," Xena sighed, feeling better already. "And not to bump into every table and chair at the inn for a day!"
"This could very well be our last walk together as a two-some", Gabrielle noted with just a hint of melancholy.
"We will just have to make the most of it then, won't we?" Xena said with a mischievous smile on her face. Gabrielle knew exactly what Xena implied: she had been in a permanent state of sexual arousal all through this pregnancy. Although Gabrielle was just as eager to make love as the warrior, she had been a bit hesitant, afraid to hurt Xena or harm the baby. But Xena knew what she was doing: this was not her first time around. Besides, since they had finally confessed their love to one another, they both seemed to want to make up for lost time. And that was a lot! Being at the inn only kept them from enjoying each other noisily. Xena's swollen belly was hardly in the way and was very much a part of their love-making. Gabriele would ravish Xena's luxurious breasts and stroke the soft curves of her ever growing belly in awe, trying to encircle it with her arms and feeling very privileged to witness this enormous miracle. Just thinking of that started a longing deep inside the pit of her stomach.
After some time the two came to a small pond. The water was clear and inviting. They quickly undressed and enjoyed a refreshing dive. They splashed and laughed out loud. Gabrielle was glad to see Xena enjoy herself.
"Feeling like a whale is not so bad when you are in the water!" She floated on her back, her belly well above the water, and squirted out a fountain high up in the sky.
After a while, the pair came out and dried off and relaxed on their blanket. Gabrielle admired Xena's beautiful tan. She looked gorgeous with her dark hair still wet and with her majestic posture. In no hurry to get away further from Amphipolis, the bard made a fire and boiled some water for tea. But Xena was restless, so after cleaning up, they set off again.
"This is going to be one very lucky baby", Gabrielle remarked after some time.
Xena agreed. "It is going to have two loving mothers."
"And it will inherit your many skills, and I will teach him or her mine", Gabrielle said. "I wonder what life is going to be like as a mother".
"All clichés are true", Xena answered dryly. "Our baby is going to be the most beautiful child in the world. We are going to protect it with our lives and we are not going to have much of a life of our own. For quite some time, anyway."
Gabrielle, still trying to limit the distance to Amphipolis, suggested: "All the more reason to look for a comfortable place to stop, don't you think?"
Xena agreed and towards midday they found a small deserted cave, perfectly suitable for a pair of lovers who wanted to spend some time alone.
The two women gathered wood for a campfire and unloaded Argo. They prepared something to eat and after that, Gabrielle dragged two enormous logs into the cave. She positioned them in a V, so that Xena could rest comfortably at the base.
"Time for your nap!", she announced.
Xena undressed and smiled: "You take such good care of me! Thank you! Now let me take care of you." Extending a hand, she pulled her lover close, as she lay down on their bedrolls between the logs. They shared a long and loving kiss. Gabrielle had really intended Xena to take a rest, but Xena obviously had other plans. She started stroking the bard's lovely young frame and Gabriele couldn't resist that for long. Xena knew exactly how to arouse her. Presently she was really putting her mind to it. She hungrily embraced her, inhaling her fragrance and kissing her on the sensitive spot in her neck. She got up on her knees and pushed the bard's clothing up over her full soft breasts. She took one erect nipple into her mouth, while teasing the other with her thumb and forefinger, until Gabrielle moaned and twisted with pleasure. Then Xena leisurely worked her way down the blonde's slender curves towards her intimate flesh, hidden under yet more clothing. She removed all obstacles and finally dug her nose and lips into the moist folds of her lover's sex. Gabrielle eagerly rose to meet her tongue and fingers. Xena loved driving Gabrielle crazy with lust and pleasure. With practiced skill she slid two fingers ever so slowly into and out of her lover's damp need, while sucking gently at her clit.
"Oh, Gods, Xena!" She could feel the urgency of Gabrielle's movements gradually increase as the bard's hands made intricate patterns on Xena's shoulders, urging her, needing her to go on. Xena resisted her own rising excitement and slowly led her lover towards a screaming release that went on and on. And on.
At long last, and with some regret, Xena stopped her ministrations and stretched out alongside her spent lover, kissing her and telling her how much she loved her and how much she loved making love to her.
"Oh, Xena, that was so good!" Gabrielle finally uttered in a husky voice.
"Yes, and so loud!" Xena added teasingly. They both giggled.
For some time neither of them said a word, lost in each others warmth.
"Now I think I will take that nap." Xena sighed with a fake yawn, turning over on the other side.
"Oh, no you won't" Gabrielle chuckled. "We have some unfinished business here."
She grabbed Xena from behind, cupping her opulent breasts, feasting upon their luxury. Xena raised one arm over the bard's head so that Gabrielle could smell the divine scent in her armpits, which always drove her wild. She nuzzled Xena's perfect skin and touched every lavish curve and corner of her lover's stunning frame avariciously. Her tight, sexy ass, her bulging belly, it drove her crazy with desire. They shared deep and passionate kisses. After some time the blonde got past the soft curls of Xena's sex and got a warm and wet welcome. She teased around for a while, massaging the swollen folds, until Xena couldn't take it anymore.
"Oh Gabrielle, please, come inside me", she moaned. Gabrielle was more than happy to comply, though she did so carefully. Gabrielle wanted to taste her lover's juices, got up and took her swollen clit into her mouth, relishing.
Xena sighed with relief. "Hmmm! This always feels like coming home to me." Gabrielle sucked at Xena's core slowly, while gently slipping in and out of her centre. Xena demanded more. "Gabrielle, please take me. Hard", she commanded hoarsely. The bard fulfilled the need of her lover and took her with long rigid strokes, wondering
who was giving and who was taking, until her muscles were aching with the strain. She could feel her lover come.
"Yes? yes?., oh yes?.YES?YESSS!!! OH GODS? Gabrielle!!!" Xena exploded into a gigantic wave of orgasm, that gave Gabrielle renewed strength to hold on and ride the force of nature trough without letting go.
When finally the rocking quieted down, she drifted out of her lover and remarked: "Gods, you are so wet!"
"I am, aren't I?" Xena said, raising an eyebrow. "You always do that to me. But I think my water just broke too".
It took a while for Xena's words to sink in, but then they did.
"Oh my gods", Gabrielle panicked, getting up on her knees quickly. "What are we going to do?"
"Have a baby."
"Right." Gabrielle swallowed.
Still a little shaky from their love-making, Gabrielle got up and nervously started to arrange things around the cave.
"Water, we need hot water", she thought out loud. "And cold water too."
"Relax," Xena said, with a loving smile. "We still have plenty of time. Why don't you come and lie down with me, so we can enjoy the after play."
"I will enjoy that when this is all over," Gabrielle said. "Do you think I caused this?" she asked uneasily.
"No, Gabrielle, if our lovemaking would have sped it up, I would have delivered months ago! I think it is time. Finally."
When the bard got back inside with a large kettle of water that she positioned over the fire, she found Xena having her first contraction. She was able to cope very well and relaxed when it was over. Gabrielle was fidgeting trough their belongings in search of things that could possibly come in handy, when Xena had her second contraction.
"This may not take so long after all", Xena said when the pain had quieted down. "Could you feel inside my womb and see how much I am dilated?"
Gabrielle put another log on the fire and washed her hands. After the next contraction she carefully entered Xena's warm secret place once again, on quite a different errand this time.
"It's difficult to feel, it's all so soft and tender in here. I think I can feel the baby's head! And I could probably put three fingers between the edges of your womb."
Xena nodded. "Just as I thought."
"Can I get you anything?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yes. Make me a cup of tea. I am going outside to pee." She got up, slipped into a tunic and slowly made her way out of the cave.
"Don't you want me to come with you?"
"No, thanks. I'll call when I need you."
All to herself, Gabrielle muttered: "I can do this. I can. We can."
When she came back inside, Xena told her friend that she had lost more fluid. She lowered herself carefully onto the bedrolls, leaning against the logs and sipped from her tea.
"Come and sit by my side, Gabrielle. All we can do is wait." Xena said. "I may want to squeeze your hand when the contractions get worse."
Gabrielle, who felt nervous and restless could think of nothing better to do and settled next to her lover.
"Here comes another one," Xena said. "Put your hand on my belly." Gabrielle could feel the contraction harden and transform Xena's belly and felt it change back again after it had gone.
"Is it going to get much worse?" she asked.
"Yes," Xena answered honestly. "And I may not be very friendly when that happens."
"Oh, well, I am used to that!" Gabrielle tried to break the tension. They both smiled. "You know I love you, don't you?"
"Of course I do."
"I should tell you more often."
"Yes you should."
"Now is a good time."
"I love you so much."
"I can feel you do. I love you too."
"I'm so glad to have you with me."
Gabrielle hugged her in response.
"Uhh!" Xena exclaimed. And, a while later: "I will have to stay focussed. This one caught me by surprise. It seems like the pains are speeding up."
"How bad was it?"
"On a scale from one to ten? I'd say three."
Quite some time later, Xena felt the urge to push during the contractions. She puffed it away.
"Could you feel inside once again, Gabrielle? It is essential that I'm fully dilated, before I push the baby out."
"Right," Gabrielle said. She washed her hands again and carefully determined the progression inside Xena's womb. There was no more edge. Time for the real work.
"Help me to get up on the logs," Xena said. "That way the baby will come out almost by itself."
Xena sat on the logs and leaned into the cave wall. She closed her eyes for a minute before the next pain. When it came, she was ready. She was able to push three times during one contraction and soon the reward was starting to show.
Gabrielle, who was holding one of Xena's hands, was seated on the ground before her and had a clear view. She could see the baby's crown during a contraction.
"It is blond!" she yelled. "I really think it's blond. This is truly going to be my child too!"
Xena did not respond, but a faint smile showed on her pained face.
"Gods, this must be so painful", Gabrielle said softly, noting the tension of the tender flesh around the baby's head, which did not disappear between pains anymore. With her free hand, she supported Xena's perineum.
Gabrielle grabbed the baby under it's slippery armpits and gently pulled it's body out of Xena's interior. Xena slid from the logs down onto the blanket and Gabrielle put the baby, which gave a hearty cry, on her quivering belly. She quickly covered it with a warm cloth and Xena gently rubbed it and pressed it to her worn out body. Gabrielle swallowed back the tears that welled up in her eyes and took a good look.
"Xena, it's a girl, oh Gods, Xena, we have a little girl! She is so small! She is perfect!"
She bent over to kiss the baby on her head softly and whispered: "Welcome, little one." And then she kissed Xena, who looked exhausted, but very proud.
The umbilical cord still attached the baby to Xena's inside. Gabrielle could see it throb. When it stopped beating, Gabrielle tied two strings around it and cut it between the strings with the first thing at hand: the Chakram. Only then could Xena lift the girl to her face. The baby had her eyes wide open.
"Oh, she is beautiful?" she sighed. Gabrielle noticed Xena's eyes were decidedly moist. She started to make very un-warrior-like noises to the baby.
It was not completely over yet. Xena had a few more contractions, but she did not really seem to notice, she only had eyes for the baby girl. Gabrielle did notice, however and delivered the placenta, which she studied closely before putting it aside in a bowl. When she had tidied everything up, and made another cup of tea, she finally sat down next to mother and child.
"We are a family now."
"Can I hold her?"
"Of course." Xena handed over the tiny baby to her other mother and sat back looking at her lover holding their child. It filled her with a greater joy that she had ever felt.
"Wow!" Gabrielle said. "This is overwhelming! I have the urge to offer her my breast!"
"We can do that." Xena said. "That way she will get used to your scent too."
"I would like that. But she won't get any milk from me."
"We do it after I feed her." Xena said. "But first I want to go outside and clean up."
"Yell if you need me, okay?" Gabrielle said, her gaze never leaving the baby.
"Oh, I need you all right. I need you to hold our little one." Xena said softly.
She stood up awkwardly but managed to make her way outside.
Gabrielle handed the baby back after Xena came back inside and bared her breast. The baby knew exactly what to do. It sucked greedily at first, but then seemed to tire and fell asleep after some time. Gabrielle covered them both with a warm blanket. She took in the peaceful picture of the magnificent darkhaired woman absorbed by the vulnerable and defenceless baby.
Gabrielle decided to bury the placenta next to the cave entrance. On top she planted a small oak tree that she found in a nearby bush and watered it. It had a few discoloured leaves on it. She made a mental note to show the baby her birthcave and the tree when she was bigger. There were lots of things to show her. And tell her. Gabrielle could hardly wait.