The Innocent II
Disclaimers: See The Innocent part I. This is part II from Gabrielle's point of view. It is a story of love/sex between two consenting adult women. Xena and Gabrielle are owned by MCA/Renaissance pics. No copyright infringements intended. No money exchanged hands or bank accounts here kiddies. If this is illegal in your state, city, whatever or if you're under 18, read something else.
Oh, for Aphrodite's sake, Xena!!! Why do you always treat me this way? I raged to no one in particular. I am no longer a child!! Why do you feel you always have to protect me? I can take care of myself. Why do you always leave me behind?! I'm tired of it! I'm always left to wonder. Will I ever see her again? Will she leave me here? Will she die in battle? How will I ever know?
Will someone someday come to me and say..."I'm sorry Gabrielle, the person you love most in all the world is dead!?"
What happens then, Xena? Do I go back home to Potedia? Do I pretend to carry on as if the one person in my life that matters never existed? Granted, when I first left my home it was for adventure. But I was so taken with you the moment that I set eyes upon you, I knew I couldn't let you walk out of my life. You were the most beautiful person I have ever seen. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. I was infatuated, and over time that infatuation has turned to love. I love how your voice sounds, I love how underneath all that bluster and bravado you are a sensitive human being. I understand that this tough personna is only your way of protecting your feelings. I also know if I stayed in that backwater village, I would never have known that about you. I am beginning to get to know you, now, if I only knew your love. Like friends, like sisters, like lovers. I don't want to be left behind anymore. I want to be with you, by your side, in your bed, anyway you want me. I want to be there, for you and with you.
"Gabrielle?!" called Cliforicus pulling my from my reverie.
"Cliforicus?!" I replied in wonder.
"By the Gods it's good to see you again," he said moving toward me. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm waiting for my friend." I said, while walking over to hug him.
"Oh?" "And who might that be?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Ah...my friend's name is...Xena." I said waiting for his reaction.
"The Warrior Princess?!" he asked, pulling back from the hug.
"Yes." I replied.
"What are you doing running around with the likes of her?" He blurted.
"Cliforicus!" " I thought you were a nice guy." I said.
"I am, Gabrielle." "It's just that...that...she is a warlord for Hades sake!" He stammered.
"Was a warlord." I corrected. "She has given that all up and turned her life around." "She is trying to atone for all the hurt she caused."
"Well, it will take more than one lifetime for that to happen." he blustered.
"Cliforicus...I thought it was good to see you again." "Now... I'm not so sure." I said sadly.
"I'm sorry Gabrielle, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." "You always did have a soft spot for strays, didn't you." he patronized.
"Xena is not a stray." I said through clenched teeth.
"Alright, alright, Xena is not a stray." he repeated throwing up his hands in defense
"I'm sorry Clif... it's just that... so many people are always putting her down." "It hurts.""She is trying so hard, and it isn't easy when the rest of the known world can't see that." I sighed resignedly.
"Look," he said, "let me make it up to you." "Our old friend Japheus is in town, and I'd like to take you both to a bards only dinner."
"Thanks," I said smiling. "But I have to wait for Xena, she told me she would be back within the next couple of days."
"But Gabrielle," reasoned Cliforicus, "What if she doesn't return until the end of the week?" "Then you'll have missed out on some great entertainment and some fantasic food."
Laughing, I replied "Well, gods forbid I should miss out on food!" "You know me only too well Cliforicus, I guess I'll have to go just to sample the dishes."
"That's the Gabrielle we all know and love." he said smiling.
"Ok, Clif... you got me." "When and where do you want to meet?"
"How about the tavern around sunset tomorrow."
"Great, I'll see ya there."
"Uh...I just thought of something, why don't you two come over tonight and have an informal dinner at my place." "We can work on our stories together for tomorrow's dinner?"
"Ah... I don't know where you live." I informed him.h
"How about I tell Japheus to pick you up at the inn and meet back at my rooms just after dark." He said.
"Clif...that sounds like a great idea, it will give us all a chance to catch up." "How about Japheus meeting me at the tavern and we will both meet you at your house?" I reasoned.
"Sounds like a plan."
"See you tonight, Clif." I shouted as I hurried back to the village center.
That night we had a wonderful time chatting about things we've done and places we've been. It was good to see old friends again. Japheus was courteous as ever. He told lively stories and made us laugh. I had a great time. As the evening ended, Japheus walked me back and we talked of the upcoming bards dinner. He asked me if I was going to tell any of my "Warrior Princess stories."
"Of course" I replied.
"Oh." he said
"Why, Japheus?" Is something wrong?"
"Well...not everyone sees this woman the way you do Gabrielle." he said.
"That's why I tell the stories, Japheus." I defended. "So more people can see the woman I know, and not the image."
At the door to the tavern Japheus took me in his arms. It had been a long time since someone held me. It felt so good. If only it were you instead Xena. He placed a chaste kiss upon my lips and bid me goodnight. I kept wishing you were the one to do that. However, if you did, I don't know that a chaste kiss would be acceptable. More and more these days I find it hard to look into your eyes without giving away my feelings for you. I struggle each day with thoughts of you. Every time I resign myself to thinking, "I have to tell her." You walk into a room, or I find myself alone with you, and the words stick in my mouth. I keep thinking "How would she react?" "Will we lose what we have?" "Will she think me sick and twisted?" I know you have been in the Amazon village with me. You don't seen uncomfortable. I know many women have wanted to bed you there. You have never talked of it. I only know you have been with several men. I only know at the end of the day, you always come back to the hut we share while we are there. Tonight, sleep will not come easy for me.
The next morning I arose to the sounds of the village children playing beneath my window. It is a great day, I feel elated about the bard's dinner tonight with my old friends. I guess you will end up staying where you are for another couple of days. I miss you, Xena. I wish you were here right now. I know you would hate this dinner though. So I guess I'm glad you won't be back until the end of the week. It gives me a chance to spend the day shopping and working on my story.
By afternoon I ran into Clif again, he told me that Japheus was going to come by the tavern later on and escort me to the dinner. The way he looked when he said it, made me feel like he was hiding some kind of secret or something. I should head over to the tavern now to get ready.
"That tavern is usually crowded at this time of day." I thought as I walked toward the door.
At the tavern entrance, darkness veiled my eyes. I was having trouble making out who was who in the dimness of the tavern after being in the sunlight all day. My senses were assaulted by the sights and smells of the grapes and ale and food stuffs emanating from the building. I stood long enough for my senses to adjust. While the adjustment was taking place, I caught a familiar outline in the darkest corner of the tavern.
Xena! You're here! Thank the gods! You don't know how relieved I am to see you, or how hard I'm trying not to come running into your arms.
I call out to you in joy, "Hey woman!"
"Hey yourself," you reply stoically.
I love the sound of your voice. I notice your eyes are dancing. Gods! I hear that silky voice caress my ear. Everytime I hear it, I just want to touch the owner in ways I never dreamed of. Casually, I sit down next to you. Oh, if you only knew! Then again, what if you did know? How would you react if I told you I'd love to have you as a lover? You'd probably think I've been hanging around the Amazons too long.
You are speaking to me again, but I am lost in my reverie.
"Hunh?" I ask.
"Drink?" you repeat.
"I'd love one, I'm dying of thirst."
(What I'm dying of, is lust but I cannot tell you that!)
"I've got it," I hear you say.
While waiting for you to return to the table, A tall and beautiful Amazon named Lorelei comes into the tavern. I don't know if you two have met. I think she was out with the scouting party on the occassions we have been to the village. I can see now, by the look on your face, you don't recognize her. You look like you want to kill her. Is it just because she sat in your seat? Or is it something else? Was it that bad of a trip that you come back here wanting to vent some anger? I think I need to diffuse the situation. I smile in your direction and pat the seat next to me. For me, it's a great excuse to be close to you. But I know you, you like to sit with your back to the wall. Well...don't worry. I'll look out for you, and I say so.
"I gotcher back." I try to assure.
I can see you visibly relax. I'm glad to know you at least trust me that much. I smile at the thought that you are comfortable around me. I often wonder if it's just because you think I'm harmless, or that you know me so well after all this time. I don't care. Think of me what you will, as long as you think of me and keep me near you.
While you were getting drinks, Lorelei was telling me about some business I have to attend to at the village. I know you aren't really going to want to have to deal with Amazon politics. But, being the Princess, it is my duty to attend. Oh by the gods!!! Speaking of attending, I told Cliforicus I would meet him for dinner!! I forgot after seeing you here! I was so happy, I can't believe I forgot that! I hope you don't mind. I'll give you a second to regroup after the Lorelei incident. Then I guess I'll have to tell you. I hope you didn't make any plans for us to do anything.
Suddenly you change. You get totally rude. What is going on with you? I am trying to maintain an even temper, but I find your abruptness a little disturbing. I notice the way you keep looking at Lorelei. Has she done something to you? Why are you being this way? Maybe I should tell you about running into Cliforicus.
"Oh," I start, "I ran into some old friends from the academy."
Lorelei attention turns to me. "What academy."
I see that eyebrow raising, I think I better explain this one rather quickly. I tell Lorelei all about the academy, though leaving out my feelings on the subject. I know if I think about that, I will just break down and cry. I think about how I missed you. I think about the hurt and anger of being "dumped" there. I knew I couldn't stay another moment in that place. I'm so glad you came back for me. I know deep inside your intentions were good. I just wish you could have talked to me.
Just then, I saw Japheus coming into the tavern. "Oh crap!" I think "I haven't told Xena yet." So I jump from my chair to try to explain to Japheus what is going on. Japheus mistaking my meaning opens his arms to me.
"Japheus," I whisper. "Xena just got back and I haven't told her about the dinner yet."
"Tell her now." he whispers back, "We are running late."
I turn to you. You have a strange look on your face, maybe it's something Lorelei said. But you smile and pat her arm
"Xena?" I say.
But you don't hear me. You are looking at Lorelei with something other than violence. I call your name again.
"Hunh?" you reply nonchalantly.
Japheus then takes a step forward and wraps his arms around me. I wonder why all of a sudden you start to smile. Oh this isn't good. Why do I feel so uncomfortable? I really don't want to go to this gods-be-damned dinner anymore. I wish you'd say something to make me stay. Instead, you encourage me to go. Even when I try to tell you I'd like to stay with you, you pressure me into going. We agree to meet here tomorrow morning.
All of a sudden, it dawns on me that perhaps you'd like to be alone with Lorelei. Oh gods!! How could I be so stupid! I tell myself it's to work out some new battle move. But somehow, that does not ring true in my head. I resign myself to the fact that even if I confessed my love right now for you, you would be much more interested in a woman that looks like Lorelei, rather than a short, non-warrior like myself.
At that moment, Japheus takes my hand trying to lead me from the tavern. Somehow I have to convey my love for you one last time before I leave you in the company of this beautiful woman. I step away from Japheus and open my arms to you. You walk into them, and I hold on for all I'm worth. I don't want to leave you here. I am jealous, but I know I must walk away now before I start to cry.
Outside the tavern, I get teary eyed.
"What's wrong, Gabrielle?" asks Japheus.
"Noth..nothing." I almost whisper.
"You look like you are going to cry." he says. Concern evident on his face.
I don't want to spoil his good time, so I just make up an excuse about the brightness of the day as opposed to the darkness of the tavern. How sensitive my eyes are when adjusting to different lighting. He takes my hand not believing a word I said.
"I understand," he replies.
"Thank you, Japheus" I mutter.
Silently, we walk to the dinner hall. Each of us lost in our own thoughts. Finally we reach the hall and Cliforicus is there to greet us. He welcomes us inside and notices right away something is wrong. He is too polite to ask, so he dotes on my every request. At last, the hurt feelings begin to dissipate, and I resign myself to having a good time. About halfway through the dinner, Cliforicus tells us he has met a woman he feels some attachment to, and would we be so kind as to excuse him. We bid him goodnight, and Japheus turns to me.
"So...alone at last." He says smiling in his non-learing kind of way.
"Hah!" "Thank the gods!" I say teasingly. "I thought we'd never get rid of him."
"Now I have you all to myself." He teases back.
"I'm all yours baby." I say.
Suddenly, he turns serious. He looks into my eyes. I get that uncomfortable feeling again. I start to look away, when he speaks to me.
"You're wondering about her aren't you?"
I confess, "Yes."
"You love her don't you?"
"Yes," I say not meeting his eyes.
"Does she love you?" he asks.
"I don't know?"
"What do you mean, you don't know?" he presses.
"I...I've...never..." I stammer.
"What?" "You've never touched her?" he asks concerned.
"Oh, hades, Japheus!"I cry, " I've never even told her!!!"
"You should." he blurts
"Japheus, I don't want to lose the friendship I do have." "I just don't think I could live with that."
"You can't go on like this, Gabrielle." he assures. "It is tearing you up."
" I know, Japheus, I just don't know what I will say to her." "What if she feels she can't be around me anymore?" "What will I do then?" I start to tear up again in frustration.
"Gabrielle?" he asks. "Not to pry or anything...but...have you ever...you know...been with a woman?"
I laugh at the irony. "Japheus, I have barely been with anyone!"
"What do you mean?" he asks curiously.
"I was a virgin until I got married, and my husband was killed after one night together." I sighed.
I began thinking of Peridcus. How I thought I loved him. Our time together was nice, but I felt there was something lacking. I believe I married him because that was what was expected of me. I loved him like a brother, and I'm sure I could have been comfortable around him. But it was never the kind of feeling I get when I'm around Xena, or even when I think about her. She makes me tingle from my head to my toe. She is always on my mind. Her touch lingers on my skin for hours, her voice whispers in my ears long after she has stopped talking. I tell all this to Japheus, he seems to understand.
"I was married once too, Gabrielle." he confesses.
I'm surprized at this revelation. I say so.
"I know how it is to love someone with all your heart." he says.
"I'd like to." I reply with a hint of sarcasm.
"Gabrielle, it's not like you've never been with anyone." "You know the comfort it provides."
"I do." I admit.
"I may not be Xena," he says hurriedly, "But I promise to be tender."
"What!?" I say incredelous.
"I...I...can try to help ease your pain." he says.
I look him in the eye. I search for something, a betrayal of what we talked about, or how he might think that one night with a man is gonna change the way I feel about my warrior. Seeing nothing but truth in his eyes, I realize his intentions, if not his words are good. He wants to do this for me. Maybe it's the emptiness I feel inside, maybe it's the jealousy rearing it's ugly face in my mind. Maybe it's the rejection I've imagined will come if I tell the woman in my life how much I love her. I can't believe it. I have had just enough wine to loosen me up a bit. I decide to go for it. I don't know why. I smile at him and take his hand. I look him in the eye.
"Let's get out of here." I whisper.
He nods and smiles at me. He's truly a tender man, and I know he won't hurt me. He takes my hand and leads me from the hall.
At the entrance to his rooms, he turns to me. We have walked quite a distance in silence. At last he speaks
"Gabrielle, if you don't want to do this..." he says softly
"Ssshh..." I say, "I do."
Again, he nods and smiles. He turns to the door, it opens to reveal an intimate sitting area. As the door opens wider, I notice a rather large hearth to the left, and separated from the sitting area by an open partician lies a canopied bed futher to the right. I eye the bed. Japheus knows I'm begining to wonder what I'm doing here. He guides me over to the sitting area. I begin the relax a little.
"More wine?" he asks to break the tension
"A little," I say nervously.
"Gabrielle...if you don't..." he starts
"Japheus...I do...don't worry about it." "It's just that I'm a bit nervous." I confess. "It's not like I do this on a regular basis or anything."
"I know that." he says leaning over to peck my cheek.
I admit I am scared. I have never been with anyone other than Pericus. I'm not sure I know what to do.
"Gabrielle, you look like a frightened doe." "I don't want you to feel that way." "If I'm doing something you don't like or something you don't want, please, tell me." "Ok?" He says gently, searching my eyes for approval.
I nod, and feel the blush creeping over my face. Boldly, I lean in for a kiss. It is tentative at first, a gentle meeting of the lips. Our bodies begin to fall into one another, the kiss becomes more urgent. Japheus is leaning in harder trying to take control. He is still gentle, but I feel the aching of his need. I think about how I'd like you to be here right now instead of Japheus. How I would love to feel your lips pressing on mine, slipping your tongue between my lips. Oh I feel myself letting go a little. Japheus mistakes it for desire for what he's doing.
I say nothing as his hand slips to my breast. I gasp as he squeezes my nipple. Coming back to myself, I know this is not what I want or who I want it with. He slows his movements. Inwardly I thank the gods. I don't want to disappoint him, he has been so nice. But this is not right for me. I want to touch you my warrior. I don't want to touch anyone else, or have anyone else touch me. I think Japheus senses this. He starts to back off. We break from the kiss, he leans away as do I.
"You don't really want to be here, do you?" He asks.
I shake my head and say, "I'm sorry Japheus."
"I understand." He says
"Japheus, any woman would be blessed by the gods to have you."
"Except you." He resigned
"Japheus, you know my heart lies elsewhere."
"Unfortunately, I do, Gabrielle." "You are a beautiful woman, and I hope someday this will all work out for you."
"Thank you, Japheus, I hope someday the woman you are searching for is found." I say meaningfully
"I thought I found her." He says.
"I wish I could be that woman for you, Japheus, I really do." "But I can't, and you know that."
"I do." He says taking my hand.
"Gabrielle, it's late." he says. "If you want to sleep here tonight, you don't have to worry, I promise I won't do anything."
"I believe you Japheus." I say. "But I think I should just go back to the inn and try to get a room for the evening." "I think it would be best."
"Your wish is my command, Princess" he says while bowing courteously.
" If you will be so kind as to allow this lowly man the pleasure of escorting you back and securing a room, I would be eternally grateful." he says with a flourish.
"Japheus you silly goose." I laugh punching his arm playfully. "I will be forever indebted to you the way it is." "You have helped me make a decision I don't think I could have made on my own." "You helped me to give voice to my wants and desires." "I will forever love you for it." "Ah....as a brother of course."
"Of course." He smiles and his eyes turn soft. He sighs beginning to rise from his seat beside me. Reaching out to me, he takes his hand in mine. "You are a wonderful woman Gabrielle, I hope the Warrior Princess appreciates what she's getting."
Again I blush, "I think I will be the one doing the appreciating." "She has done more for me than anyone will ever know, I will never be able to repay her."
As we leave behind Japheus' apartments to begin our journey back to the inn a terrible thought occurs to me. What if Lorelei and Xena are there? What if they are together? What if I tell Xena and she rejects me? Ok, Gabrielle I think. How am I gonna handle that one? One step at a time. I think I can handle it as long as I don't see those two together. I think Lorelei has a lover. So maybe I shouldn't be worried. It seems to me she is in some kind of a committed relationship of some kind. I'm trying to be rational here, however, with the thought of me finally telling Xena how I feel, all these doubts come rushing into my mind. Japheus is watching me. I think he sees the dilemma.
"Gabrielle?" he asks
"A dinar for your thoughts?"
"Japheus, how am I going to tell her?"
"What are you so worried about?"
"Telling Xena I love her."
"Is that so hard?"
"What if...what if she rejects me?!" "What if she thinks there's a rabid squirrel running around in my brain?!" I shout at him.
"She is not going to reject you."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Gabrielle" He says as if he's speaking to a child "She loves you."
"Oh, she loves me alright, like a sister." I say hoping that isn't the case. "This is a whole new thing for me."
"Don't worry Gabrielle," he assures.
"I wish I had your confidence" I say
"It isn't confidence, it's fact."
"How would you know?" I question again.
"I saw the way she looked at you in the tavern." he tells me
"So?!" I say, through my frustration.
"I would kill to have someone look at me with that much love in their eyes." Japheus says.
"I hope you're right Japheus." I say.
"I am." he states matter of factly.
"Japheus... we walked all the way from your apartments so quickly!" I said standing in front of the door to the inn.
"It wasn't that quick Gabrielle, I think you're just nervous." he smiles "You have no reason to be." "She loves you just as much as you love her." "Trust me on this one, ok?"
"I'll try Japheus," I say, gaining confidence. "I just hope you're right."
"I am, Gabrielle." " Aphrodite smiles upon you."
"Now let's get you that room." " he laughs knowingly, "You'll need it for at least a few days."
"As nice as that sounds, Japheus" I laugh with him. "I have to be back in the Amazon village in a few days, so I guess I just need it for the rest of this night."
"Gabrielle, take the room for tonight and tomorrow." He says while paying out dinars to the innkeep."I'm confident you're going to need it."
"Japheus! That's too expensive, I only need it for tonight. " "When I catch up with Xena we'll camp " I reason.
"Consider it a gift for you and your new found love."
"Thank you again Japheus" I say meaning it as I take his hand in mine. "You are a wonderful man, and the very next beautiful warrior woman I find, I'm going to send her your way."
"Gabrielle, you know I like beautiful amazon bards better." He smiles.
"Hmmm, I'll have to keep that in mind." I say happily
"Goodnight, Gabrielle" he said, placing a kiss on my cheek.
"Goodnight, Japheus....and....uummm...thanks for everything." I add while heading toward the room.
The night is almost over. Greyness lights the night sky. Where are you? Safe? Camping nearby? I wish you were here.
Continued in Part III
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