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Reentering their life together after the events in "The Quest," Xena and Gabrielle heal and become lovers. New version of a first time story originally posted at fanfiction.net.
"Xena realized then what it was Gabrielle was doing… washing her body. As she had for burial.
She stood transfixed, watching her friend's expression, feeling her hands wash over her. How can I tolerate such love? Xena thought. Her heart seemed to quaver, as if fearing its own death. She had not been touched with love in so long, and so little in life, it seemed it might send her fleeing, like a deer startled upon imagining the coming of a great hunt. She would have to learn again what it was to be brave. This was her new purpose, she realized, standing in the water under Gabrielle's hands, her new quest."