by JD Jenkins
DISCLAIMER: These characters don’t belong to me, they belong to those nice PTB at MCA/Universal. I am borrowing for my own sick and twisted amusement. The story, however, does belong to me. It's copyrighted to the author on 4/23/98.
WARNING: This story includes many things that you, the reader, need to be aware of:
Gazing at the beautiful woman lying in her arms, Gabrielle once again thanked whatever gods were listening. With a soft touched, she brushed the dark hair off the still pale face.
"I promise, I'm not going anywhere." Xena's deep voice rose from her still body.
Giving the woman a loving grin, the bard replied. "Do you think I am ever going to let you out of my site again?"
A soft chuckle came from Gabrielle's lap as Xena relaxed a little. The Amazons had finally left them alone. Xena was still tired, her body sore from being inactive for the last few days. That sarcophagus wasn't the most comfortable place to be.
Gently kissing her lover's forehead, Gabrielle felt yet more tears fall from her eyes. "I almost lost you." She said quietly, resting her chin on Xena's head, soft hair tickling her nose, reminding that they were lucky to be together.
"I know, but I couldn't leave you." Xena's voice was tired, her entire body demanding sleep.
"Please get some sleep Xena."
"I can't," the warrior mumbled into Gabrielle's thigh as she rolled onto her side.
Smiling, Gabrielle ran her fingers through thick luminescent hair. "Do you want me to tell you a story."
"Oh please, mommy." Xena said in a sarcastic child-like voice.
Ignoring the sarcasm that bard tried again. "It might help. You can even chose which."
"Any one I want?"
"Yup. How about the one about the two lovers who lost their souls to the sea?" Gabrielle suggested. "You like that one."
"Uh huh, I want one about two different lovers. Tell me about that time you seduced me."
"I seduced you?"
"Yup, when I was in Callisto's body, remember?"
"I think you got that one wrong, you seduced me!" Indignantly, Gabrielle defended herself.
"Are you going to tell me the story or not?" Xena ignored the argument, knowing full well how the story actually went.
"Fine." Clearing her throat, Gabrielle's eyes softened when she saw two brilliant blue eyes staring into her eyes. "it all started with a dream I had the night I got married…"
***** I dreamt that I was lying in your arms; you were nuzzling your warm lips into my neck. I asked why it had taken us so long to realize what we felt, you held me tighter. You told me, your deep voice vibrating into the skin of my neck; you had been afraid.
I laughed softly, the idea of the warrior princess frightened by a little bard. You playfully bit into the flesh of my neck and my laughter turned into a soft moan.
As I turned in your arms to kiss your full lips with mine, I felt the unmistakable mist of a dream. I knew that I was waking and I tried to hold you, bring you with me. As I approached wakefulness, I felt a rough hand caressing my check, outlining my lips with a callused fingertip. I smiled, thinking my dream had been a mirror image of the path our lives had taken.
I went to place my hand on yours, about to murmur your name, when I realized the hand I found wasn't the one I knew so well. With your name on my lips, I opened my eyes, hoping to see your face before me.
As my vision focused, I saw a man standing over me and the pain between my legs came back to me almost as hard as the realization of what had happened the night before.
Perdicus leaned to touch his lips to mine, not the gentle loving kiss I had always wanted from you, but a harsh, conquering kiss. I almost struggled as he forced his tongue deep into my mouth. Finally, I was able to push him away.
Surely, Perdicus thought my blush to be one of modest, not seeing it was one of disappointment.
That night as he was grunting on top of me, all I could do was close my eyes and picture you on me. Your penetrating blue eyes looking into mine, your soft dark hair falling over my breasts. Your touch, I could imagine, would be soft, gentle. Not like the touch of the man who was thrusting himself into me.
After Perdicus had finally satisfied himself, I cried softly for you, falling asleep against a cloth wet from my tears.
I was bitter over the mistake that I had made -- the one you let me make. I realize now that I should have recognized the pain in your eyes when I told you, a mirror of my own. You should have told me that day as we walked by the surf. Instead, you said that you wanted me to be happy. All I wanted was someone who needed me, wanted me -- as much as I needed and wanted you.
When I woke up the morning after that night, it seemed as though everything had finally fallen into place within the confines of my head. My dream had been a vision of what was supposed to be. The confession you made in my dream was true -- you were afraid to admit your need for me. You were afraid of rejection. It was as much my fault, for not admitting my feelings, as it was yours.
The rest of that day is blurred. I told Perdicus that I knew what loves was. He thought I was talking about him, not seeing that your name was written on my heart.
Callisto came, my first fear being that she had killed you and come to force your death on me. Then I heard that beautiful war cry and my heart leaped from my chest.
You didn't take your eyes off of Callisto, but I could feel your love just being close to you. I knew that you had come because you loved me. Perdicus, in his own way, tried to protect me, but I knew that all the protection I needed was you. Your love would keep me safe.
I saw my childhood friend, my husband, fall before me. It was a loss to my heart. He had been a part of my life for so long and I knew that he truly loved me. But he didn't have my love in return. I saw the pain in your eyes as I held Perdicus' head in my arms, cradling his body.
The emotions felt during those last two days overwhelmed me. I cried out in the pain and confusion. I know that you thought I was crying for a lost love. You knelt by me and held me. I wanted to tell you why the tears were falling, explain to you what had happened within my head since I saw you last, but I couldn't find the words.
After it was all over, I sat across the fire from you. I sought your eyes, but you avoided that contact. We'd hardly talked. You thought I was in mourning for my heart, not seeing that my heart belonged to you.
Several times I started to tell you, but couldn't. As I lay on the ground at night I cried because I thought that you were lost to me. I knew that you heard my crying, not knowing that my tears were for you.
Many, many nights passed before I had the nerve to talk to you about what had happened. That night, the campfire was burning low. You were sharpening your sword with quick movements, not seeing or feeling my eyes on you. I pretended to be staring into the flames, but my eyes were actually on you. The shimmering of the fire caused your skin to glow, looking radiant in the light. I couldn't move my eyes from your face. The sound of stone against metal lulled me as I finally spoke out.
"Yeah?" Your expression of concentration didn't change and your rhythm never wavered. Taking a deep breath, I forced my voice to sound firm and clear.
"Can I ask you something rather strange and sort of personal?"
You still didn't look up from your sword, but you left eyebrow raised in curiosity as you replied, "Uh huh."
The next question stumbled from my mouth. "How did you feel when you saw Perdicus die?"
For a minute, you stopped the stone's trail down the sword. Not looking up, a puzzled look crossed your face. I knew that my question had caught you off guard, something that you always fought against, so I quickly followed with, "I mean, what were your initial thoughts?"
I held my breath, hoping that this would lead to the conversation I'd wanted to have since the day Perdicus died, freeing me from the mistake I had made.
You shrugged your shoulders. "He was your husband. My only thoughts were of protecting you." The stone once again met the metal and you relaxed. I knew that you thought the questioning was over.
"Then, how do you feel about me?" I asked the question with nervous apprehension, hoping your answer would break the silence. This time you brought your eyes up to met mine.
"Gabrielle, you are my best friend. I trust you more than anyone I've ever known. I would do anything for you." The last sentence was said with truthful simplicity and I could see the emotion it provoked in your beautiful eyes.
Keeping my eyes locked with yours, I rose and walked slowly to where you were sitting. I sat at your feet, facing you, and I took the stone from your hand, replacing it with both of my hands.
"If you trust me and if you would do anything for me, then why won't you tell me how you feel?" I swallowed hard, waiting to hear how you would respond. I refused to let your eyes look away from mine, and I watched as your face went through several emotions, mainly fear, as I'd already expected.
"Gabrielle, I have always been honest with you." Your eyes were wide as they penetrated my own. "What is it you want me to tell you?"
I tried to ignore the small bit of frustration that came with your avoidance. I didn't want to play games tying to get you to express your feelings. Almost bitterly, I spoke. "Never mind. Just forget I said anything!" I pulled my hands away from yours with a quick tug and could swear that for a brief second, you help my hands tightly before letting them go. I turned, heading towards the area where I had unrolled my bedroll. I could feel your eyes watching me as I flopped onto my bed for the night. Turning onto my side, I closed my eyes, knowing there would be no sleep for me.
It was after that night that you began to have nightmares. I was so hurt that you wouldn't share that which was causing you to lose sleep. There were nights when I could hear your cry out in your sleep and I wanted so badly to put my arms around you and hold you through the nightmares. Eventually, you stopped sleeping entirely. There were nights when I would be awakened for one reason or another, and I would open my eyes and saw you staring at me, a soft, unguarded smile on your face. When you saw that I was awake, you quickly looked away, but not before I saw the unveiled love in your face. And there were a couple of times I swore I felt you holding me, but when I could awaken, you wouldn't be there.
I had resolved after that night by the campfire that I wouldn't mention your feelings again, hoping you'd eventually come to me. Then, the last thing I'd expect to happen, happened. SHE came back.
Seemed that even death couldn't keep Callisto from seeking revenge on you.
I held my staff, dagger on the end, at her throat, your throat. It still confuses me sometimes. I had always known that I would love you without the physical aspects, but I had thought along the lines of disfiguring scars and lost limbs. Never did I imagine that the woman I loved would be in the body of the person that I hated the most.
It was unnerving to say the least. The silence at camp that night was almost painful. Then, you did something I'd never seen you do. You started to talk, without provocation from me.
I'll never forget what was said that night. We sat, once again, across the fire from one another. I stared into the flame and I could feel your stare, brown eyes instead of blue, on me. Without making a sound, you rose and sat next to me, very close, but not touching me. Taking a deep breath you started talking.
"Gabrielle, when events happen in our lives, events that are unexpected, you realize certain things." You paused and I realized that I hadn't really been listening to the words that you were saying, rather I was focusing on the sound of the voice saying the words. I had to tell myself that it was still you, still my best friend, still the woman I love, who was speaking.
"You asked me how I felt about you and I answered that you're my best friend, that I would do anything for you. Then I proved myself a liar by not answering you with the complete truth." You stopped talking and just looked into my eyes. As hard as it was to look into those brown eyes, I had a definite sense that the woman I loved was inside that slender body. For a brief second you looked away and I imagined that you were gathering strength. You turned once again to probe my gaze.
Somehow, during this we had instinctively moved closer together, our bodies meeting, touching. Now, as your eyes met mine, we both leaned closer and our lips met for the first time. You had kissed me at the wedding but out lips had just barely touched, much to my disappointment. This time the kiss was evenly met and I could understand what you'd been trying to tell me. It was simple -- you loved me.
Suddenly, you pulled away completely. Drawing your sword, you quickly stood up. I didn't need to ask why. Being with you all that time I knew that your senses were always ready. Closing my eyes, I listened to the sounds of the night, trying to find what it was that had diverted your attention.
After a few seconds of straining, I could hear the breaking of branches in the distance. More time passed and I could make out the sound of a distinct whistle. I sighed impatiently.
Opening my eyes, I saw you looking down at me. Quickly, you leaned down and brushed your lips against mine. "We'll finish this later, okay?" Still a bit dazed, I bit my lower lip, "Oh yeah, uh huh."
Joxer came into view a few minutes later. You had already moved to check on Argo and I had begun to gather our supplies, trying to figure out what we could spare for dinner. I had a hard time concentrating and every time I dropped something, you looked at me with a little understanding grin.
I think that was the first time I really entertained the thought of killing Joxer. Even when he was trying to kill me, I never actually thought of killing him. He had always had the worst timing and now he'd pushed my patience too far.
He visibly jumped when he saw you, reacting to the image of Callisto in front of him. I was surprised by the amount of patience you showed. Gods, it had to be difficult for you! Being in a completely different body, and not just anyone's body, but that of someone that hated you, and knowing that someone was in your body doing Zeus knew what to it!
"I wasn't sure you'd come back, Joxer." Your voice was amazingly serene and clear.
Visibly uncertain Joxer cleared his throat. "Xena?"
"Joxer, would I be sitting here with Callisto!?" As you know, it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I am annoyed, not to mention frustrated. Funny thing was, I could still feel the sensation of your lips on mine.
I guess he sensed my frustration because he quietly answered, "No."
I turned back to the food, but I could feel your warm gaze on me.
"Joxer, would you go scout and see it there's water nearby?"
"Xena, I think there's…"
"I want to know for sure. Argo needs fresh water for her wounds. Please?" The last part was strained. I knew you were trying to make Joxer feel important. he puffed up his chest in pride, thinking that you trusted him, and with a nod, he grabbed the water skins and galloped off.
As I watched him leave, I exhaled the breath I didn't know I had held in. I could hear you coming up behind me, and I felt your hand rest gently on my shoulder. "I'll figure our something for dinner. Why don't you go and do some writing. I'm sure you could get a story out of this." I grinned as I stood to face you.
"Yeah, I just might be able to."
"Do me one favor before you do that?" I looked into your eyes questioningly. "Help me get this armor off?"
It took a few minutes as I fumbled with the buckles and straps. After I'd finally gotten the metal armor off, you took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "It's no wonder Callisto is always in a bad mood, this stuff is so tight and uncomfortable!" You shook yourself and I took a moment to look over the body you now inhabited. It was smaller, more compact than the one you usually occupied, but the form was still nice. Callisto kept herself in good shape and it clearly showed.
I heard a small laugh come from you and looked at your face. "Checking out the goods, Gabrielle?" I gave an embarrassed giggle.
"One nice thing, though." I said, turning serious.
"I don't have to stand on my tippy toes to do this," I kissed you, gently at first, then more heatedly as you responded. You broke the kiss earlier than I wanted, but we both new Joxer wasn't far off.
"But, you know what?" Your turn to give me the questioning look. "I like your, uh, other body so much better."
Deciding to take it a bit further, I continued. "Oh yes, I miss that beautiful mole right here," I trailed my fingers over the top of your right breast.
"Gabrielle…" I looked into your eyes as I moved my hand over the top of your breast, I saw your eyes widen in surprise.
"And the little scar right here," I moved my hand lazily to your left breast, trailing my fingers over your skin. I could feel your breath quicken.
"Then there's the scar from that arrow wound right about…"I moved my hand down your breast, over your stomach, to your side, caressing the area, "…here."
You pulled me into your arms, embracing me tighter before kissing me fervently. Once again, you pulled away and looked at me. I flung my hands into the air, "I know, I know, go write!" You smiled and grinning back, I turned to find my scrolls and pen.
It was hard that night. As I listened to Joxer's snores, I thought about how close you were to me. To my surprise you didn't lay down across the fire from me, but instead shared my bedroll. Of course, Joxer had to put his blanket on the other side. He must have thought you were trying to protect me and decided he'd help. The idiot. I knew you needed to be close to me, just as I needed to be close to you. For that, I was grateful. As you fell asleep, you reached for my hand and held it the whole night through.
The next couple of days blurred together. We couldn't shake Joxer and he actually managed to help out a few times, but we was luck I didn't throttle him.
I was resigned to living with you in Callisto's body. I even imagined what it would be like to make love to you in that body. I knew that it didn't matter what body you were in, you would still be gentle and loving with me. Of that, I had no doubt.
Then, just as I got used to the idea, you were back! The sight of you in your own body brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't contain myself, I ran to you, holding you tightly. The sensation of your arms, the arms I had always dreamt about holding me, was close to heaven. I pulled away and leaned up, throwing my arms around your neck, and kissed you. Your lips, your beautiful lips, met mine and I melted against you as you responded.
Joxer watched. I think that we scared him pretty badly because when you told him to take the boat back for the night and come back the next morning, he didn't question you.
That left us alone to finish what we had almost started so many days before…
Gabrielle blushed a little, remembering what had happened after that. Looking down at the woman she loved, she saw a wicked gleam in Xena's beautiful eyes.
"You're stopping? What happened next is my favorite part!" Xena threw her arms over her face, defending herself from the bard's hand slicing through the air, ready to biff her.
Slowly sitting up, Xena put her arms around the smaller woman. "I will never forget how that happened, and I will never forget how it felt to know that you loved me back." Gently, she kissed the woman she loved, relishing the feeling.
"Don't leave me again, okay?" Gabrielle's voice was small as she made the demand for a promise.
"I promise Gabrielle, I won't leave you alone again."
As the sounds faded out from their world, sleep finally overcoming them both.
Let me know what you think! Comments and constructive criticism is welcome. E-mail me at GabTBard@aol.com. Any negative comments can be sent to GoToHell@aol.com
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