'A Brother's Betrayal
by Marion D. Tuttle
Standard disclaimer all apply the characters belong to Universal Studios I just took them out on loan.
There is a very mature depiction of a loving relationship between two women so if your bothered by that than this is defiantly not the story for you
I'd like to thank a new friend Paymaster for her input in this story some of the suggestions she made are what tied it all together
They rode along the path, each woman lost in her own thoughts Gabrielle
was concerned that their may be a problem with one of her parents the fear
of losing one of them had been wearing at her. When she had left to follow
Xena she had known that her parents disapproved of her choice, but she had
always taken comfort in the fact that they were always there in Poteidaia
Xena's thoughts ran along different lines, she was painfully aware that
Gabrielle's family blamed her for their daughter's decision to leave her
home and all she knew. Although she had to admit they had become much more
accepting of Xena over the past two years. It had taken time but they
seemed to treat her, if not as a member of the family at least a good friend. A few more miles and they would both have their answers.
They arrived in town and were greeted by a bustle of activity every one
seemed to be hurrying to do something. "There's only two things around here
that generate this kind of activity Weddings and Births."
Xena smiled well scince neither one of us as any marriage plans and I can safely say I don't think either one of us is pregnant I don't think this has anything to do with us."
"Oh your funny!" Gabrielle answered back
"Come on let's get to your parents house and find out what's going on."
The first sight that greeted them when the got to the house was Lila running out to meet them, followed closely by Gabrielle's mother Hexuba. Both women ran to embrace Gabrielle, happy to have her home again. After kissing her daughter on both cheeks she turned to the warrior. "It's good to see you again Xena." her voice held none of the venom it had in the past. The warrior nodded an acknowledgement. "I see Gabrielle still hasn't brought you out of your shell." Lila joked.
"Mother I'm glad to be home, but please tell me what was so urgent I've been worried about it for days." It was so fleeting Gabrielle wasn't even sure she saw it she thought a look of sadness passed across her mothers face "It isn't Father is it?" alarm suddenly starting to take over.
"No, your Father is fine, no one is sick. But there is a problem."
"Well what is it?"
"Maybe we should go inside and talk."
Xena started to take Argo's saddle off "Go ahead and find out what's going on Gabrielle I'll get Argo settled." Both women were I little bit startled by Hexuba's response.
"Could Lila take care of Argo Xena? I really think you should be there to hear this." With out a further word she handed the brush to Lila and followed Gabrielle and her mother into the house. When they entered the house the sight that greeted them was enough to shock both women
Sitting at the table with Gabrielle's father was Perducuis! Xena was
the first to break the tense silence "What is going on here? Who are you?
you can't be Perducus! He's dead!"
"I know that I'm his twin brother Barucus."
Xena and Gabrielle both responded at the same time "Twin brother?"
Gabrielle went on, We all assumed you were dead, when word had come that you had been captured at the battle of Clydemestria and we got no word we thought..."
He shifted in his chair and finished her statement, "You all assumed my death, I know. But the truth is I was badly injured and left for dead, a group of villagers found me and bought me to their healer. I was unconscious for days the infection from my wounds causing a fever. The healer cared for me, I was told later she never left my side. When the fever broke and I finally woke up I had no knowledge or memory of you I was, I stayed for months trying to piece together a new life for myself. I was generally pretty content. But a few months ago I started having flashes of memory,
nothing concrete just vague fleeting images." He paused to take a drink from the mug he held in his hands. Then all of a sudden a couple of weeks ago it was like a flood gate opened and my memory just came pouring back."
Xena had heard of cases like this when a blow to the head was sever
enough to scramble some ones thoughts, she just had a hard time believing
that was what was happening here, it all seemed to contrived, to pat.
"What do you think triggered your memory Barucus?" She was very interested in seeing what type of explanation he might offer.
"I don't know it was just there all of a sudden. I wasn't sure if I wanted to come back here and reclaim my life. I had been gone so long I thought there would be nothing left for me. When I heard of my brothers death I couldn't believe it at first, but my decision had been made for me
with Perducuis death I knew what I had to do."
"And what is that?"
"Why to fulfill the law of course and take me brothers place as Gabrielle's husband."
It was a good thing Xena and Gabrielle were sitting down or they probably would have fallen over. As it was both women felt like the air was being pushed out of their bodies. Gabrielle regained her composure long enough to ask "What law are you talking about?"
Hexuba saw the warning signs in Xena's eyes and knew if she didn't do something to head it off she would be dealing with a full blown storm of an enraged warrior princess right her in her home. This was not an idea that held any appeal for her. "There is an ancient Poteidaian law Xena, if a
married man dies without issue and he has a brother of like age with no commitments or attachments then he must take his brothers wife as is own, so that the family line won't die out."
It was her Mother's speech that bought her back to the moment "Don't I get a choice in this? What if I don't want to marry Barucus?"
"I'm afraid you have no choice Gabrielle." He stated flatly "The law is quite clear on this point."
"I don't care! I will not be forced into this!" With that Gabrielle fled the house, tears streaming down her face. Xena was out the door right behind her. She placed a hand on Gabrielle's shoulder hand guided her towards the barn so the might have a bit of privacy.
Once inside Xena drew her upset friend into a strong embrace, letting her sob out her frustrations. "Ssshhh...we'll find a way out of this Gabrielle I promise you that."
Looking up into warm blue eyes Gabrielle's tears began too flow more
freely. "What are we going to do Xena? I can't marry Barucus, I don't love
him... I love..."
Xena had known this was coming, as a matter of fact on the day the had received the message from Hexuba the warrior had been planning to talk about the changes that had been taking place in their relationship. Xena was certain of her feelings and unless she was really misreading the signals
she had been getting from the bard, she was pretty sure of Gabrielle's feelings too.
When the message had arrived Xena seeing how disturbed Gabrielle was by the possibility that something may be wrong with her family, Xena had decided to wait. She was regretting that decision now.
"Gabrielle I know what you are going to say, I've been wanting to talk to you about it. This may not be the right time or place but so be it." Xena tightened her embrace "I have felt changes in our relationship for a while now. I've struggled against it but the truth of the matter is I have fallen in love with you and my instincts tell me you feel the same way."
The bard looked up into Xena's eyes, truly speechless for the first time in her life. After a few minutes she found her voice. "Oh Xena I've wanted to tell you but a didn't know how."
"Well to tell you the truth it wasn't my intention to have this conversation under these circumstances but it had to be said."
Looking down into the younger womans eyes Xena felt her heart constrict with the love she was finally able to confess. Before she knew what she was doing she had lowered her head and captured Gabrielle's lips in a kiss that set both there souls on fire. "As much as I'd love to spend
the entire day doing this." she lightly kissed the bard again "We do have more pressing matters to attend to."
"What are we going to do Xena?"
"I'm not sure, I do know this much though. There is no way I'm going to let Barucus push this farce of a marriage onto us, I will not lose you!"
Xena held Gabrielle close to her she didn't every want to let her go. An idea was forming in her mind. She knew Gabrielle wouldn't like it but she sincerely that it was the only way. "Gabrielle I'm going to have to leave for a little while."
"What! You tell me you love me than you say you have to leave?"
Xena knew she had to find away to make her bard understand, and fast.
"Gabrielle hear me out we are not going to find any answers here, Barucus has everyone sold on his story, which by the way sounds strange to me. However the answers are out there somewhere and I need to find a way to get us out if this."
"Then I'm going to go with you."
"No you can't if we left here together now we would have the entire town chasing us down, I have to go alone."
"You think no one is going to be suspicious if you just up and leave? People are going to know something is wrong."
"Not if the think we had a huge fight and I left in a huff over the wedding."
Gabrielle wasn't sure she was following Xena's line of thought. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that the entire village needs to see us have a roaring fight over this and watch me leave you standing here that way I'll be free to poke around and find what we need."
"I don't know if I can pick a fight with you Xena."
"Allow me, bit you had better put on your best bard's face because we need to make this believable" Giving Gabrielle one final quick kiss she asked "Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be."
"Follow me then."
Slamming the barn door open Xena stalked out into the yard and turned on
Gabrielle with a cold look. The sound of the crashing door bought every one
out into the yard. As Xena spoke the words seemed to be encased in ice.
"Your just going to accept this! What are you thinking?"
Gabrielle picked up on her friends thought right away "What can I do Xena, I have an obligation to my family, I can't just ignore that. And there is the law.."
"The law! What a joke, it's awfully damm convenient if you ask me."
"Yeah, if you got tied up with all kinds of wedding plans it would keep me busy for who knows how long, and leave a lot of local warlords free reign."
"Xena I could not believe you could be that vain, this is not about you!"
The bystanders could not believe what the were seeing there seemed to be sparks flying between the two women as the argued. The next exchange left all the onlookers gasping for breath. Xena looked at Gabrielle and practically sneered "What else could it be? You don't believe its
overwhelming desire for you."
When Gabrielle drew her arm back and slapped Xena across the face the entire crowd heard the crack of palm against cheek. With out another word Xena briefly touched her hand to her cheek and turned on her heel, mounting Argo she rode out of the village without looking back.
Gabrielle stood watching rider and mount grow smaller and smaller on the horizon until she could no longer see them. She had known this was all a ruse, but after seeing the cold hard look in Xena's eyes she wondered if the slap, which had been a split second impulse to lend credibility to their act, had been to much.
Xena sat staring into the flames of her campfire trying to think back
over everything she had found out in the last two weeks she was starting to
feel an over whelming sense of dispair. Everything she had found out seemed
to back up Barucus' strory. But Xena knew ther had to be more, there was no
way she was going to give up, there was to much at stake.
Meanwhile back in Poteidaia Gabrielle was dealing with her own set of problems. The planned day of the wedding was drawing closer with no word from Xena. Gabrielle was starting to have nagging doubts if the warrior had just ridden out of her life without a second thought. She gave herself a mental shake Xena would not abandon her she would find the answers and be back.
As the fire died down Xena poked at it with a stick to stir the embers.
She had been wracking her brain for days to try and find an answer. She had
been to see elders from some of the surrounding villages trying to gain some
insight into the problem but she hadn't found anything that could help and
there still was no solution in sight.
A slight breeze stirred Xena to the awareness that she was no longer alone in the clearing. She turned to find Ares standing behind her. He noticed the slump of her shoulders as she spoke to him. "Ares you are the last thing I need right now."
"No your wrong Xena, I am exactly what you need and I'm here to help."
"I have the answer to your problem "
"Why would you help me with this Ares? You have done everything in your power to separate me from Gabrielle. I would think this would be exactly what you want."
Ares looked at the warrior princess, he had to admit when he had first decided to help Xena he wasn't sure himself why he was doing it. It slowly began to dawn on him that knowing what he did he could not stand idylly by and let this plan proceed.
It wasn't like he hadn't done his own share of interfering in Xena's life to suit is own purposes. but he couldn't let a plan continue that would lead Xena to her death.
"I know you don't trust me Xena, but this time is different. Your life and Gabrielle's life may well depend on it."
She searched is face for a hint of a lie, and to her surprise she found none. "Alright Ares tell me what you know. But I warn you if this is a trick you will come to regret it"
Coming into the circle of the fire Ares sat down across from her 'The problem stems from a grudge King Menolayos has against you for what happened in Troy He was holding Barucus prisoner when he realized who he was. Menolayos offered him his freedom and a kings ransom if he would put his plan into action. "Ares paused for a moment to let this information sink in. "Menolayos knew of this ancient law, he also knew Gabrielle's family would push her to fulfill the obligation."
"What would be the point of all this?" Xena asked
"The king is not a stupid man and he knew that once Barucus was married to Gabrielle he could control her . the plan was to imprison her and use her for bait to draw you in. When you attempted to rescue her he planed to make you watch her execution and then once you were lost in your grief kill you."
The color drained from her face. "Why are you telling me this Ares?"
The God of War regarded the one mortal on earth that he felt respect for, "We have had our problems Xena, but I won't stand by and let you walk into a trap, and then too I do still owe you and the bard for helping me get my Godhood back. This should clean the slate."
She saw the look in his eyes and knew for the first time she had ever known him she saw sincerity. "What can I do?"
"Do what you you do best Xena go fight for what you want."
Xena was not used to feeling helpless she was even less used to asking the God of War for help "What about the law?"
"There is one thing you can use The law is valid however Barucus can only claim Gabrielle if no one has a prior claim on her, Go claim the woman you love Xena and save both your lives."
"I suspected, you just confirmed it."
He left the same way he had come in a shower of light. For the first time in days Xena began to feel hope. She hurriedly packed up camp, saddled Argo and headed back for Poteidia.
Gabrielle woke up with a sense of despair, this was the morning of her wedding to Barucus and there had been no word from Xena. She could think of no way out of this, the law was on his side. In a little while her Mother would be in to help her get ready Her Mother wasn't as excited as she
thought she might have been about the impending nuptials. When Hexuba came into the room both women looked at each other with a hopeless expression. "Mother you know this is not what I want."
"I know dear," was all the older woman could say.
"Gabrielle I've been wanting to tell you, please dont think she was eves dropping....when you and Xena thought you were alone in the stables... well you weren't you're sister was in the hayloft."
The shock Gabrielle felt quickly turned to relief, she had wondered how she was going to approach this subject with her Mother, now she wouldn't have to. "Xena will be here today Mother and she will have an answer, I know it."
"I hope so dear, I never thought I would say this but it's obvious you and Xena belong together." Both women sat and talked for a while trying to find an answer to the problem.
While Gabrielle and Hexuba were talking, Xena was pushing Argo to her
limits pounding towards Poteidaia. Driven by a cold fury she had come to
understand while talking with Ares that Barucus had never been injured in
battle. He was just a cowardly foreign hunting opportunist looking to be
set for life regardless of you got hurt.
Xena came into the yard at Gabrielle's parents home just as the guests were starting to arrive. She leapt of Argo and ran into the house "Gabrielle where are you?"
Hearing Xena's voice Gabrielle emerged from the other room and ran into the warrior's embrace. "Xena! I knew you would be here. Did you find an answer?"
"Yes I did love, surprisingly enough with help from Ares."
"Yeah I'll explain it all later right no we have a wedding to stop" Xena took Gabrielle by the hand and led her out the door. Barucus was standing by the priest in front of the assembled guest waiting for the bride to appear. All eyes turned as both women moved forward. Xena climbed the steps
of the dais and leveled a cool gaze at Barucus. "There is going to be no wedding here today."
A murmur went through the crowd as Barucus moved closer to the warrior princess, stopping just short of physical contact.
"Xena what do you think you are doing?" Barucus demanded
"I'm putting a stop to this."
The man reached inside himself, trying to find the strength to stand up to this imposing woman "The law is on my side in this Xena, Gabrielle will be my wife today."
" No Barucus, your wrong. The law says a brother must assume his siblings life with a surviving spouse, but only neither one of them as any other commitments.."
"Exactly, and I have none..."
Xena began to smile "But Gabrielle does." Every one in the crowd whispered questions among themselves as to what might happen next. They certainly weren't expecting the next events that unfolded .Xena reached down and took Gabrielle by the hand and pulled her up to stand next to her on the raised platform.A quick look to the bard for reassurance told her all she needed to know.Putting an arm around Gabrielle Xena continued on "As I was saying Gabrielle has a commitment...to me."
Xena then bent her head to press a tender kiss on the bards lips, leaving no doubts as to the meaning of her words."
Barucus stepped forward, fury clearly stamped across his features. "You can't claim Gabrielle!"
"Can't I! I dont see why not, unless of course you want to challenge my claim."
Barucus saw his plans dissolving before his eyes, he knew if he challenged Xena it would most likely mean his death, the warrior's reputation was not exaggerated in the least. As much as he may have wanted the fortune Menolayos had promised, he was not about to risk hie life for it. The tension mounted with each passing second, only a moment or to had passed but it seemed like an eternity. The crowd collectively held it's breath waiting for the next move. Finally Xena spoke "Do you accept my claim Barucus, or do you intend to challenge me?"
"I have no desire to fight you Xena Gabrielle is yours." He stepped back making it clear that there would be no challenge. A collective sigh of relief rippled through the crowd, no one was ther to see blood today and if Barucus had challenged the warrior princess there was no doubt that Xena would have spilled his blood.
Only one lone figure in the shadows didn't feel the relief that had swept through the crowd. The heavily cloacked and hooded man left unnoticed to report the events of the day to his master.
Xena turned to Gabrielle, taking her in her arms "Now that I know your feelings for each other are the
same I promise no one will ever come between us again my love."
"I love you Xena."
"I love you too Gabrielle"
As they shared a sweet kiss both women were surprised when they heard the crowd start to cheer their approval. everyone that knew her sensed that Gabrielle's true love lay with the fierce warrior that was now so tenderly holding her it was just a question of when something would happen.
Walking down from the platform hand in hand Xena and Gabrielle walked over to where the bard's family stood. "This wasn't exactly the way I planned to tell you all about Xena and me but I guess we didn't have much of a choice."
Hexuba smiled at her daughter. "Our only concern is for your happiness Gabrielle,and if being with
Xena is what makes you happy then that's good enough for me." Hexuba turned to Xena and kissed a startled warrior on the cheek "Welcome to the family me dear."
Xena looked over to Gabrielle "Well what's next?"
A puzzled look came across her face, she was used to Xena being the one calling the shots . Before
she could answer Hexuba took matters into her own hands. "It's quite simple, you are both staying here for a few days. With all you've been through in the past couple of weeks you need to rest."
Gabrielle moved closer to Xena "Is that okay with you?"
"Whatever you want to do is fine with me." The bard hadn't realized just how tired she was until that very moment. she leaned against her warrior for support and Xena was more then happy to hold her.
Lila started excitedly talking to her sister "Great we can stay in our old room and catch up. It will be just like old times."
Seeing the look that passed between her daughter and the warrior Hexuba stepped in to try and curb her younger daughters enthusiastic barrage. "I think Xena and Gabrielle should stay in the loft room in the stables. They probably have a lot to talk about and need the piracy."
"Lila you'll have plenty of time to catch up with your sister but right now I think they both need to rest."
Gabrielle hugged her mother and gave her a smile filed with gratitude "Thank you for understanding
Hexuba returned the hug "I told you your happiness is all that matters to me and I have never seen you look happier than you do right now."
Xena took Hexuba's hand before leaving and said to her low enough so that only the three of them
could hear "I love you're daughter and I will never do anything to hurt her and I will never let any one alse hurt her ..."
"I know Xena." with a smile she added "Why don't you two go on I'm sure you have a lot to talk about. We'll see you in the morning."
Taking Xena by the hand she started leading her to the stables "Mother is right we hav a lot to cover."
Following behind her bard Xena couldn't stop the smile that came to her lips. She was the one used to being in charge. But she decided it wasn't so bad letting Gabrielle lead the way, once in a while. Both women headed towards the stables not at all certain of what lie ahead of them, but looking forward to it all the same. As the glimmered into the loft room both women were feeling a gambit of emotions Gabrielle sat down on the edge of the feather bed "Tell me how Ares helped you."
Xena moved forward and placed her hands on the sides of Gabrielle's face. She knelt in front of the bard
"I don't want to talk about Ares tonight I think we have much more important matters to discuss."
Clear blue eyes searched sea green for any hint of fear or reservation. Gabrielle had said she loved
Xena but did she no what she had been saying or what it entailed. Moving her hands down slowly she
traced light fingertip touches down the creamy flesh of her bard's throat bringing her hands to rest on her
shoulders. "I told you before that I love you Gabrielle, and I meant that I love you more than any words
could ever express, and I want you. Do you know what that means?"
Gabrielle reached for The warrior and pulled her closer "Xena I admit that I don't have a lot of experience in this area. But I know I love you, I have dreamt of making love with you for a long time . I want you to teach me what it takes to please you."
Tears filled Xena's eyes as she rose up to press her lips against the one woman who she loved
more than life itself. She placed a knee one the edge of the bed pushing Gabrielle back until she was
laying fully on top of her never breaking the kiss. "You do please me Gabrielle more then you could ever know."Xena began a soft exploration if Gabrielle's body she could feel her own control slipping and knew she need to slow down. Xena was aware she had a willing pupil in the art of love but she didn't want this to be a rushed affair. The tenderness she felt towards this woman made her want to go slow and bring as much pleasure as possible to Gabrielle.
She began to unlace the ties that held Gabrielle's dress together She pulled the bodice of the dress
down baring Gabrielle to her waist "Gods you are beautiful my bard." Xena said just before she captured a nipple between her lips. while she used her hand to massage the other breast. A deep moan came from the back of Gabrielle's throat Xena picked her head up from her loving task "Are you okay?
"Better then okay, Xena that feels so good ."
The warrior need no further encouragement to return to the loving attentions to desire hardened nipples. She used one arm to hold Gabrielle close while her other hand pushed the dress down off her lovers hips.Tossing the discarded garment to the floor she trailed her hand back up the bard's leg massaging muscles as she went. She finally bought her hand to rest against Gabrielle's sopping wet sex.. This bought a deep shudder of desire from the young woman.
Gabrielle's breath was coming in short ragged gasps now, her fingers dug into Xena's well muscled
back. They warrior could tell her lover was close to the edge, she sat back on her knees. "Gods no Xena don't leave me now! Gabrielle cried as she felt Xena move away from her.
"I'm not leaving you love, I just want to get some of this stuff out of the way." She began pulling her
leathers from her body, Gabrielle sat up and reached for the ties in back that held Xena's leather tunic together "Here let me help." The bard sat mesmerized as more and more skin was exposed. She felt an overwhelming desire to touch the woman before her to make sure that she was real. Pulling Xena back into her arms she kissed her with all the passion she felt. She wasn't even sure if she said the words outloud "Please tell me this isn't a dream."
Xena had heard her plea "No my love this is not a dream it's very, very real. we belong to each other heart, body, mind and soul."
Returning her lips to the kiss Xena trailed her hands back down Gabrielle's body her fingers poised
against the bards opening she bought one finger up the entire lenght comeing to rest on the very center of Gabrielle's desires "Please Xena...take me..I need to feel you inside of me."
She pushed two fingers into Gabrielle while keeping pressure on her hardness with her thumb. Xena
began moving her hand in a rythem that she knew would bring about the release that the bard craved.
Gabrielles hips came off the bed as she tried to push herself closer into Xena's hand her muscles started to constrict around Xena;s fingers making it almost impossible for the warrior to move. She felt the wave crashing over her "Oh yes...Xena ..right there..yes..yes.." Xena watched as the power of her orgasam transformed Gabrielle's face into an expression of raw desire.
Holding Gabrielle she lightly kissed her brow whispering "I love you" until the bards breathing started to slow. Gabrielle tightend her embarace on Xena Her hand began tracing patterns along the warrior's flesh. "Gabrielle..."
"I want to love you Xena, show me what pleases you."
Xena thought at that moment her heart might burst , she was overwhelmed. She had never felt such
love in her life and sent out a silent prayer of thanks to whatever Gods might be responsible. "Give me your hand Gabrielle." she gudied the bards hand down to her wetness "Feel what you do to me."
When her fingers first touched Xena she thought the heat would burn her hand, she was so hot. She
pushed her fingers into Xena trying to use the same rythem and tempo her lover had just used on her. She didn't have a very wide frame of referance to judge by, but Xena's shallow breathing and the spasmodic movment of her hips told her she must be doing something right.
Xena let out a harsh moan that almost sounded like it had been ripped from her throat, Gabrielle had never heard her make that sound before, but she vowed to hear it again and often. "Good Gods yes... Gabrielle give it to me harder." a few more quick thrust from a loving hand and the warrior tumbeled over the edge.
Her breathing still harsh she reached for the bard "Gabrielle hold me please" now that was something she had never thought she would hear or see. Here was thhe mighty warrior princess laying helpless in her arms practically begging to be held. Gabrielle was estatic that she was the one Xena asked it of. Holding Gabrielle in her arms gave Xena a sense of peace she thought she would never be able to find.
"I have wanted you for so long my bard, but I never thought you could feel the same way."
"I think I lost my heart to you the first day I saw you but ut took me a long time before I could even
admit it to myself."
"I understand, I fought it for a long time myself.... I was so afraid if I said anything I would lose you."
A small chuckle crept into Gabrielle's voice "Sorry my dear I'm afraid your stuck with me."
"I wouldn't want it any other way."
Still holding each other both women drifted into a contented sleep, blisfully unaware of what awaited them.
When word had reached King Menolayos of what had happened in Poteidaia he was ready to have
Barucus exacuted. "Bring Barucus to me I want to hear his explanation, now!"
As if on cue Barucus walked into the royal hall and bowed before the king he knew he was on
dangerous ground. But the thought occured to him Better to beard the lion in is own den, he had known if he ran he would be hunted like a dog dragged back and eventually killed. This way he had a chance, however slim of saving his life.
The King shot to his feet "How could you let such a perfect plan go wrong? All you had to do was
challenge the warriior princess. It was probablly just a ploy anyway to throw you off."
Barucus knew what he was about to say might well seal is fate but his anger won out. Would you have challenged Xena? No of course not your not a stupid man. Besides if I had so much as touched Gabrielle Xena would have run me through."
"Well you knew they were friends."
"No Sire, your wrong they are more than friends, much more."
Menolayos sat back to digest this information. If what this fool was saying was true then the plan that had just sprung to his mind would be the sweetest revenge. He had known if he held Gabrielle captive Xena would come to rescue her. But if the little blonde was really her lover this would drive Xena crazy.
The next morning the sun woke Xena, before she opened her eyes a smile spread across her face as she felt Gabrielle in her arms. She leaned over and began kissing her love awake. Gabrielle drifted to awarness with the warm pressure of Xena's lips on hers "Mmmm. I could get used to waking up like this."
"I hope so " Xena chuckeled "Because I plan on waking you up this way a lot." Rolling over so that she was on top of the bard Xena began a lazy exploration of Gabrielle's anatomy with
her hands and mouth. Trying to focus her thoughts Gabrielle tried to divert a very determined warrior from her course. "Xena we should really think about going down for breakfast."
"No need, I intend to have you for breakfast."
Every word seemed to raise Gabrielle's temprature another degree. Although this aspect of their
relationship was very new the bard recognized the tone. Once Xena was set upon a course there was no changing her mind. If she was honest she didn't really want to change Xena's mind anyway, she laid back and let her warrior have her way.
Xena knew surrender when she saw it and this one made her happier than any she had ever seen
before. Scince the had chosen to sleep naked in each others arms last night there were no clothes to
dispense with.as Xena kissed her way down her lovers body. Gabrielle was a little shocked when Xena moved her thighs apart and started kissing red gold curls.
"Xena..What are you doing?"
"Relax Gabrielle, trust me you'll like it"
"I trust you...I just never thought you would want to do this."
"Well I do, but I'll stop if you want me to." Waiting for a response Xena was gently massaging the inside of Gabrielle's thighs, careful not to touch the place she most wanted to. "Do you want me to stop love? I don't want to push you."
Gabrielle drew a shuddering breath "No Xena, I don't want you to stop."
Xena needed no further encouregment, she had wanted to take Gabriell in this way last night. But she had been worried about moving to fast for the inexperienced young woman First she slid her tounge into Gabrielle reveling in the sharp intake of breath that she heard. She used her tounge to work back and forth over the sensitive nub at the top of her lovers sex while working two fingers into warm receptive flesh. The bard clutched at Xena's sholders, trying to find an anchor in the swirl of sensations she was being caught up in. She felt as if she were floating above her own body. Xena continued kissing and liking her lover while her fingers played havoc with Gabrielle's senses. She began to shudder, the air rushing in and out of her lungs as her climax approced. "Xeennaaa .."
The power of what she felt pushed her beyond the plains of normal sensation and Xena was there to catch her when she fell. Climbing back up her lovers body Xena cradled her in her arms while she came back to earth. Gabrielle didn't think she could move at that moment if her life depended on it. "Are you oaky Gabrielle?"
"I'm better then okay, I feel great"
Xena chuckeled low in her throat. "Just what do you find so amusing may I ask?"
Gabrielle asked with just a hint of irratation in her voice at feeling she was being laughed at. Giving her lover a gentel squeeze Xena answered her "I told you , you would like it."
Gabrielle found the strength to prop herself up on one arm and look down at Xena "Remember this warrior princess, I owe you one and as soon as I get my strength back you will pay."
"Oh I look forward to it." After a final hug and a lingering kiss Xena stood up and began to dress
"Unfortunatly dear your revenge is going to have to wait. If we don't go down soon your Mother will come looking for us. And even though she knows I don't think you want her walking in on us while were making love."
The thought of the shocked expression on her Mothers face sent Gabrielle into action and she was
dressed in the blink of an eye. The sight bought a laugh from Xena as she successfully dodged a pillow playfully thrown in her direction. After putting themselves togrther they climed down the ladder and headed toward the house. What awaited them inside came as a complete surprise.
A royal messenger stood with his back against the stone hearth, when Xena and Gabrielle entered the kitchen he straightened to his full height he didn't like what he had been sent to do but he had no choice. "Xena I bring you a message from King Menolayos "
At his words Xena visabally stiffened, Gabrielle noticed her hand hoovering close to her chakrum out of habit.
"Why would Menolayos send a message to me?"
"He request the honor of your presence at his spring fesivail in three days time."
Every one was shocked by this decleration it was well known that Menolayos had never forgiven Xena for her interferance at Troy. It was also commen knoledge that Xena had little use for royalty of any kind, especally Menolayos. The thought had also occured to Xena no one was aware of the role the king had played in Barucus' apperance on the scene. Xena had hope to gloss over the extent of the information Ares had given her that had led to the stopping of the wedding in order to save Gabrielle worry. She knew that was not going to be possible now Gabrielle would have to know everything so she could be on her Gaurd
"And if I choose not to go?" she arched a brow in his direction.
"I'm afraid that wouldn't be wise."
After a few moments of tense silence Xena spoke "Tell Menaloyos we will be there."
Having gotten his answer the messenger bowed and turned to leave as he reached the door he looked briefly back at Xena. He knew more than he was saying and for a moment considered saying something but then thought better of it. The king held his family hostage and his first thoughts had to be of them. he could only hope his part in this was done and that Xena never found out the depth of his knowledge, the warrior princess was not a person you wanted as an enemy.
Xena turned to Gabrielle "I hate to cut our visit with our family short but if we are going to make it to menalayos court in time we have to leave now."
"It's okay Xena just give me a few minutes to get my things together."
The warrior nodded she spoke next to Gabrielle's parent's "We will be back as soon as we find out
what's going on I have a bad feeling about this." No need to tell them everything and have them going crazy with worry she thought.
Hexuba stepped forward and surpriesed Xena with a hug, Gods this was a toucy feely family, now she could see where Gabrielle had gotten it from. Oh well I guess I should be thankful she thought to herself. "Please keep our little girl safe, and you stay safe too Xena your part of our family now."
Barucus sat on the chamber a smile of smug satisfaction on his face he had plucked victory from the
jaws of defeat. His willingness go along with the kings new plan had saved him from the heads man's ax.
He was feeling very satisfied with himself he poured a glass of wine and raised it in a silent toast to
himself. His self satisfied smirk turned to teriffied shock when he turned and came face to face with the God of War. "Ares to what do I owe the honor?"
"There is no honor for you here mortal, you have incurred my wrath."
The blood draind from his face "What do you mean Ares I have always fought in any..."
"Don't bother! you have done the one thing that I will make any mortal suffer for no one plots to kill Xena the warrior princess without dealing with me!"
The last thing Barucus saw before blackness engulfed him was Ares' angry face.
As they rode down the trail both women thought about what lie ahead Xena had told Gabrielle everything about what had happened. At first Gabrielle had been shocked to hear of Ares involvment in their situation, but the more she thought about it the more sense it made
She could feel the tension in Xena's mucsles as she rode behind her on Argo she was just getting ready to suggest they stop when Xena had the same idea. "What do you say we stop and make camp a little early."
As much as she wanted to stop she decided to make sure Xena wasn't just catering to what she
thought the bard might want."Are you sure Xena? I know you wanted to make it to Menolayos' court as soon as possiblie."
"Yeah I know but we can get an early start in the morning, besides there is a little matter of revenge you need to settle."
A smile came to Gabrielle's knowing that Xena had remebered her remarks from this morning. They
went about their normal routines in setting up camp. They ate a quick meal of dried rabbit and biscuts, Xena stood up and streached her mucles. She was determined to let Gabrielle make the first move tonight. She had still had a nagging doubt in the back of her mind that she may have moved to fast this morning, although Gabrielle had seemed to thourghly enjoy everything that had been done to her. She wanted to be sure that anything that happened tonight was Gabrielle's idea.
Taking her armour off and lying on her back to look at the stars Xena waited. She didn't have long to
wait. Gabrielle came and sat beside the warrior talking her hand she slowly kissed each finger. She
leaned down and placed a light kiss on Xena's lips, she was met with a very entushastic response but
Xena struggled to control her mounting desire. Gabrielle was in charge tonight and the warrior wanted it to
stay that way. Streching out full length so that she was laying half on top of Xena and half beside her.
Gabrielle looked into the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen
"I want to make love to you Xena, I want to make you feel the things I felt this morning."
Reaching up and stroking her face Xena told her "Don't tell me Gabrielle, show me."
Gabrielle began by kissing her way along Xena's jawline and down her throat When her lips moved
lower and came in contact with the edge of leather where it covered Xena's breasts she decieded it had to go. With a skill she didn't know she possesed she had the leather pulled down and off Xena's body in a matter of seconds.
Having removed the obsticale of clothing she fastened her lips onto an inviting nipple. The texture of
xena's breast against her lips and tounge was intoxacating to the bard .She felt Xena wrap one strong arm around her back while the other hand cradeled the back of her head urging Gabrielle closer. "Gabrielle that feels sooo good.... oh yes.....I love it when you touch me like that."
The breathy words spurned Gabrielle on to bolder actions, while still massaging the warriors breasts
with her hands she blazed a trail of fire with her lips As she felt the warm kisses move to the inside of her thighs she felt the need to make sure this was really what her lover wanted "Gabrielle you don't have to do this if you don't want to,. Not evrey one likes it you know."
"Don't you want me to? Are you saying you don't like it?"
"Gods no I love it, I just meant not every one likes doing it." Xena suddenly felt very akward and wasn't sure what to say next. "It's only that I don't want you to do anything you aern't ready for, or that you uncomfortable with."
The light of recognetion started to dawn in Gabrielle's eyes "Xena this is what I want, you are what I want. I want to love you until I hear you shout me name. I want to feel you shake with your need when you come for me. Can I make that any clearer to you?"
Xena nodded mutley momentarily losing her breath at the unmasked desire she saw in her lovers
eyes."Now my dear warrior princess just lay back and enjoy because I plan to have me way with you."
Letting her weight fall back she gave her body up to the sensations that Gabrielle was causing in her, and decided to do just that, let Gabrielle have her way. The bard had worked her way into a position where Xena's thighs rested against her shoulders her tounge danced an ancient rythem across allready wet flesh as she brought her hand up to join with her mouth she set a pace that sent Xena into Elysia. Holding Xena she kissed her way back up to capture Xena's lips tenderly "Did I get it right?"
"Sweet Aphrodite..if you had gotten it any more right you would have killed me."
She pulled Gabrielle into a closer embrace and kissed her Gabrielle was already in such a heightened sense of desire it was just a matter of moments before she was falling over the edge. Gabrielle began to drift off to a contented sleep when she felt warm lips press against her own. "What do you think your doing? I'm not done yet."
Gabrielle couldn't believe Xena's stamina "After that? you can't..."
"I can and I fully intend to." As her warrior started kissing her again the bard knew it was going to be a long night , and she didn't care.
Barucus awoke to find the searing pain in his head had not abated Ares had hit him with a bolt that had knocked him cold he had almost wished it had killed him, but it had not been the God of Wars intention to end his life. He knew now his visions of riches gone, he knew he had no choice but to do Ares' bidding if he even hoped too save his own hide.He pulled himself together and proceeded to put Ares' wishes into motion.
The next morning Xena and Gabrielle had started with the sun, by mid morning they had arrived at the
front gate to Menolayos' castle. They were announced and bought to stand before the king "Xena I'm glad
you and Gabrielle decided to accept my hospitality."
"Let's cut the games Menolayos I don't like you and you don't like me so what's the point behind your invatation?" Xena and Gabrielle had reached a mutual desicion not to tip their hand and let the king no the were aware of his involvment in Barucus' ill fated attemted to wed Gabrielle.
"Xena I'm shocked! Aren't you the one that told me in Troy I should leave the past in the past?"
"I'd like to believe you, but I have a suspicois mind."
"Well the truth is there is more."
Xena couldn't keep the sneer out of her voice "I thought as much."
"Why don't we talk about it over dinner, for now you to probably want to freshen up please follw my steward to your rooms."
Once inside their room Xena tried to reason through what the king could be up to. "I don't trust him
Gabrielle. But until we figure out what he has in mind her better off stick close to him."
"Keep your friends close and your eniemies closer huh?"
"Something like that." Xena brushed a light kiss against Gabrielle's lips "Stay here I'm going to go and poke around a bit and see if I can find anything out."
Xena slipped quitely from the room to go see if she could find any clues as to what might be going on. She searced for anything that might shed some light on what the king might have in mind, but found nothing. When she returned to her room Gabrielle was gone.
She wasted no time in getting to the royal hall. Pushing the gaurds that blocked her path out of the way
Xena grabbed Menolayos by the throat "What have you done with Gabrielle!?"
"Why Xena whatever are you talking about?" her hands thightend around his throat "Don't play games with me, I should just kill you right here."
"Do and Gabrielle will die next!"
She relaxed a her grip a little, but she didn't let go "Where is she?"
"Xena you interfered in my life you cost me the woman I love, I have to live with that pain every day of my life knowing that every night she lays in the arms of another man. Now you will know that pain."
A lump started to form in Xena's chest "What are you talking about?"
"Even as we speak Xena Gabrielle is under heavy gaurd in my room I have told her of my intentions to make her my whore."
"You Bastard! Gabrielle will never agree to that!"
"Oh but she already as, I have given her my word that if she agrees you will be free to go but if she fights aganst me you wil die.Maybe I'll have you bought in to my room tonight in chains so you can watch, what do you think of that?"
Xena spat in his face "Gaurds take her to her cell." She let herself be led away she needed to bide her time. There had to be a way to get Gabrielle and herself out of this
Gabrielle struggled against her bonds she had agreed to Menalayos' terms to try and stale for time she had to find a way to get out of here and find Xena. She heard male voices at the door and fear began to rise until she reailized the king's voice was not among the ones she heard "I demand to see the prisoner I am on an errend from the king!"
The man was ushered into the room his face covered in the shadows of his hood "Leave us" he
commanded "What I have to say is of a personal nature from the king you are dismissed I will call for you when I'm ready to leave."
The gaurd looked at the man with nothing short of contempt, the little weasel had worked his way into the kings favor with his twisted plans for revenge against Xena. There was nothing to do but go along with it.
Once they were alone in the room the man turned around and lowered the hood
"Gabrielle, be quite I'm here to help you."
"Why should I trust you?"
"What choice do you have?" He procedded to cut the ropes that bound her hands "We don't have much time I have to get you out of the castle before anyone knows your not in this room."
"What about Xena?"
"It's been taken care of now come on lets go."
"Xena was surprised that the gaurd that had put her into her cell opened the door and let her right back
out again when the rest of the gaurds had left "Xena come with me there is a passage out of the castle
over her you need to get out now."
"Who are you."
"Lets just say I'm a friend thats in your debt."
"Why are you doing this?"
"I am Larus Helen's sister I owe you for the help you gave my sister."
She was surpised she didn't see it before the same beautifully shaped features, the same heart
wrencing grey eyes. "I need to get Gabrielle..."
"Gabrielle is safe and out of the castle, she has been bought to my home,she is wating there for you.If we're going to get out of here we have to go now." He led her down to the passage, they felt their way along in the dark until the were outside the castle walls.
"I'll take you to Gabrielle now."
"No now that I know Gabrielle is safe I have some unfinished buisness with your king." She stood out in front of the main gate "Menolayos come in face me like a man if your not afraid."
From the battelements he called down to her "Xena I don't know how you did it but Gabrielle..."
"Is safe outside the castle Menolayos I say this to you because I can appreciate your pain. This is
the last time I will tell you I did not convince Helen to leave you she never loved you. I know that's hard to hear but it is the truth. Nor did I fight at Troy to hurt you or anything politacail, I was just helping a friend. However while I can feel for you know this, if you ever come near me or Gabrielle again I will kill you."
Even from this distance she could see the fight leave his body his shoulders slumped and he suddenly looked like a very old man.
Xena stepped into Larus' house and was knocked of balance by the power of Gabrielle running into her arms "Xena I was so worried, when you didn't come right away I thought something had gone wrong."
They warrior returned the embrace untill she looked over the bards sholder and saw the man standing in the shaodows. She stepped back from Gabriell and drew her sword "What is he doing here?"
"Xena wait Barucus is the one that helped me escape."
A confused look came over the warriors face " Why would you help us after evreything you did?"
"The God of War can be very persasive he placed a curse on me that I would be basiclly a walking
corpse Unable to die unable to live unless I undid what I had begun whith you, frankly that was not the way I wanted to go through eternity."
He turned to Gabrielle "I lost sight of you I was I was blinded by the thoughts of power and wealth but the truth is Ares' curse made me see what I had become I owe you and Xena an apology for all th pain I caused. But my biggest regret is my betrayal of my brother." he hung is head in shame.
Xena said to him "We all make mistakes and you have rectified yours all you can do now is try to stay on the right path."
Gabrielle and Xena were alone in the house now Larus telling them to make themselves at home for as
long as they wanted he was going back to Troy to see his sister. Their embrace was inturupted by a
brilliant light "Ares" both women said in unison
"Xena told me what you did Ares thank you."
"Don't thank me this evens the score between us I just wanted you to know that."
And in the next instant he was gone . "
"Xena you know I never would have..."
"Sssh I kow."
Gabrielle melted back into Xena's arms "I am so glad this is over I don't care if I ever attend another wedding again."
"Oh really, that's too bad, I thought we could pay a visit to the Amazons. But if you don't want to..."
"Xena are you saying what I think...."
"Yeah I guess I am, do you want to?"
"Oh yes Xena."
Sorry if I got a little long winded ther but I got caught up in this one hope you liked it as always I look forward to any questions or comments
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