Memories, Dreams and Schemes
by Azurenon and Savanna Mac
Xena Warrior Princess and all the characters contained herein are the sole property of MCA/Universal Studios/Renaissance Pictures. No infringement upon these rites is intended. We've merely borrowed these characters, as well as, some scenes and lines, for the sole purpose of entertainment and storyline continuity. The story itself, belongs to Azurenon and Savanna Mac.
I should also mention that this story was inspired by B.L. Miller's excellent story "The Hostage". If you haven't read her stories, you're missing out.
Warning: This story contains an attempted rape of one of the main characters. It also contains violence, though no more detailed than the series itself. There is also the death of a main character. But, as with everything in the Xenaverse, nothing is written in stone.
This story contains rather graphic details of two consenting, adult females involved in sexually explicit situations with one another. If this is not something you'd like to read about, please do not read our story. I'm sure there are even better ones, more to your liking.
Be it known, that this story is number 5 in a series we have written; a "between the eps (episodes)" if you will, which make reference to the aired episodes below. And, if you haven' t read "Dream of Choice, Dream Warrior, Crazy With Desire, and Shipmates" by Azurenon and Savanna Mac, you may be a bit lost when reading this one.
This story takes place following our daring duos adventures in the MCA/Universal Studios/Renaissance Pictures copyrighted material entitled: "Maternal Instincts" and "The Bitter Suite". If you haven't seen these episodes, I would strongly suggest you do so before reading this. If you haven' t watched "The Xena Trilogy" from the Hercules series, specifically: "The Gauntlet", you may be a bit lost as to what I'm referring to in Xena's past, as well.
It should also be noted that I have taken the liberty of making "The Bitter Suite" a dream. If this offends you, please do NOT read any further. And may it be noted that this particular idea was Azurenon's alone. Savanna Mac should not be held accountable.
Thanks go to all our friends! No need to mention each of you by name, you know who you are.
This is for all the subtextors out there. We hope we have spun an enjoyable tale. If not, then please accept our humble apology.
Gabrielle and Xena had parted ways. The former had traveled to the Amazon village, where she'd decided to undergo the "purification ritual", because she felt so guilty over the death of Xena's son, Solan. She felt it was her fault; that his blood - in a figurative sense - was on her hands.
Three days into the ritual, with no food or water, the bard began hallucinating. Callisto came to her, manipulating her thoughts, coercing her into believing Xena was the real cause of all her problems.
"If Xena hadn't abandoned you in Britannia," Callisto said softly. "None of this would have happened."
Gabrielle screamed in agony; the words sinking in, taking hold and ripping at her heart. Yes, she hated Xena for abandoning her; her lover's hatred for Caesar seemingly far greater than her concern for Gabrielle. It was all Xena's fault!
Joxer came bursting in the door, after hearing her scream. He picked her up and carried her out of the hut, where there was a commotion going on. Xena was standing in front of Ephiny, demanding to know where Gabrielle was. Ephiny reached out to stop the warrior from moving past her and Xena promptly broke her arm.
Gabrielle screamed, "No, Xena!" alerting the tall muscular warrior's attention to her own presence within Joxer's arms.
Anger flashed in the icy blue eyes, as Xena quickly flicked her chakram in their direction. Joxer ducked and put Gabrielle down, as the angry looking warrior came towards them. "Run, Gabrielle," he urged.
"Xena, no...!!" Gabrielle cried, as Xena slugged the bumbling male warrior with a powerful backhand that sent him reeling.
The steely gaze turned to the bard now and Gabrielle decided to run. She heard the warrior uncoil the whip and suddenly it was wrapping around her ankles. She went down, face first. Xena somersaulted onto a nearby horse and the bard was pulled across the ground. "Shee-yah!" cried the enraged warrior, hell bent on revenge, as she dug her heels into the horse's flanks and dragged her (apparently ex-) lover and friend, out of the village, feet first. Gabrielle was soon knocked unconscious, when the back of her head collided with a rock.
When the bard came to, Xena was holding her body above her head, evidently planning to throw her off the high cliff in front of them. "Re-e-e-ven-nge!" the tall warrior screamed, right before Gabrielle kicked back and connected with the unsuspecting warrior's chin.
They both fell to the ground. Gabrielle got up as quickly as she possibly could, every part of her body screaming out in pain. "I ha-ate yo-ou!!!" she screamed to the top of lungs as she lunged toward Xena.
Not expecting this, the warrior was bowled over and both women went off the high cliff.
They later surfaced in a strange, magical and musical land called Illusia, where they were sent to resolve their mutual hatred through song and dance. Upon finally learning that "hate" was their true enemy and not each other, they ended up on the seashore; gentle waves lapping at their behinds, as they embraced one another, expressing words of love.
Gabrielle fell back in the water, laughing, Xena right alongside her. They were so happy to be home, at last, they fanned their arms in the water, like two small children.
Xena raised up and leaned over the smaller woman. "Not exactly your idea of a good bath, is it?" she teased.
"No, but... it'll do... for now," the blonde bard responded, as the warrior laid back in the water again..
"Whaddaya think we should do now?" Xena queried, raising up once again.
The bard offered no response. No words would come out of her mouth. She was speechless. No, she was mute. "Gabrielle... Gabrielle...!"
The bard heard Xena's voice and felt the strong muscular arms around her, lifting her up. "Please, love... open your eyes. It's me, Gabrielle... open your eyes and look at me."
The bard did as she was told, finding herself gazing up into a pair of eyes the color of the sky on a beautiful spring day. "Xe-na," she finally heard herself say. She wrapped her arms around the warrior's neck, "Oh Xena,... I'm so very glad we're home. I don't hate you, I truly don't. I love you... more than anything."
"I love you, too," Xena replied. "And I'm glad you' re awake. You had me pretty worried. They said they couldn't wake you and... I feared you'd gone too far..."
"Wake me?" Gabrielle glanced around and soon realized they were no longer on the shore, as she had thought, but in the Amazon purification hut. "How did... when did..?" She pulled back. "But we were... on the beach... how did...?"
"Sh-h," Xena soothed. "You must have been dreaming."
"No, Xena." Gabrielle pulled back further. "We were there... you dragged me..." She glanced down at her clothes. She was wearing the same white sarong she'd had on when Xena drug her out of the village, but there was not a spot of dirt on the white fabric, nor a scratch upon her person. "Xena... you mean... you didn't drag me...? I didn't push you...?"
The warrior's blue eyes opened wide. "Drag you where?" she queried. "You really did have a bad dream, hmm?"
Tears welled up in the bard's sea-green eyes. "A nightmare," she murmured, grabbing the warrior around the neck once again. "Oh Xena... I thought I'd lost you... forever!" she sobbed. "You... walked away and..."
"I didn't want to leave you, Gabrielle," Xena said softly. "I just... I needed time alone... to grieve. And... I didn't want to subject you to that. I was... too angry and full of rage. And I knew that anger was misdirected. I was blaming you when.. it wasn't your fault. I needed time to.. sort that out for myself. I knew I'd take my anger out on you, if you were anywhere close by, 'cuz I'd already started doing that. So, I knew... I knew I had to get away. Can you understand that?"
Gabrielle nodded. "I blamed myself, too. And then... I blamed you... for Britannia."
Xena grunted. "I blame myself for that. That's where... it all started. If I hadn't left you alone with that..."
"No, Xena," Gabrielle objected, straightening up to face her. "That was not your fault. How could you have known?"
"I should have been more protective of you." Xena' s hand came up to caress the bard's face. "But, instead I let my hatred for Caesar..."
"Sh-h-h!" Gabrielle put her fingers to Xena's lips. "No more blame, Xena. That's what most of my dream was really about... blame and hatred. How it lives to destroy all that's good about love. No more blame," she reiterated, staring into her lover's now misty blue eyes. "Love is the answer to our pain. Love and... forgiveness."
"Yes-s," Xena murmured around the bard's fingers. "Love and forgiveness."
The two women wrapped their arms around one another and held on tightly.
"I love you, Xena."
"And I love you, Gabrielle. I'll never stop loving you... no matter what."
"Forgive me, for... lying about Hope?"
"Yes, yes I do, Gabrielle, I forgive you."
"And I forgive you for lying about Ming Te'in," the bard said, her dream never far from her thoughts.
Xena's eyes flew open and she pulled back. "But... how could you... possibly...?"
"My dream... you admitted you killed him. That's the only way you could leave Illusia with me," Gabrielle explained, her own eyes opening wider. "And it's true, isn't it? I can see it in your eyes."
Xena's mouth flew open now, as tears sprang into her eyes. "Illu-sia?" she croaked. "Solan... was there?"
"Yes, he was, but... how did you...?"
"I... I w-was there," Xena stammered, staring off into space. "I... I mean, I... had a similar dream." Her gaze quickly returned to the bard.
Both women looked upward, each lost in their own awestruck and bewildered thoughts as to how and why they'd shared similar dreams.
The "why" of it was easily solved, when they again gazed into each other's eyes. "I love you," they both said simultaneously, then shared a lengthy, intimate and long overdue kiss.
Both women heard the door to the hut open and broke away from their kiss, but not from their embrace.
"Xena, what's taking you so... Gabrielle!!" Joxer cried. "You're awake! Oh Gabrielle...!!!" Joxer stumbled over to the cot, went down on both knees and threw his arms around both women.
Xena glanced down at Gabrielle who was looking up at her. Each smiled at the other.
"Joxer... your shield... it's hurting my leg," Gabrielle grunted, when she could take the pain no longer.
"Joxer, get off her," Xena said, in a nice tone of voice. When he didn't offer to move, however, she added, "I sa-aid, get off her!" She gave him a shove with her leg.
The bumbling warrior fell back on his behind, then scrambled right back up and sat down on the cot behind Gabrielle, locking his arms around the bard's waist. "I'm so glad you're okay," he mumbled, laying the side of his face against her long blonde hair; the brim of his ridiculous hat, pushing her head forward; her face ending up pressed against Xena's cleavage.
Hmm, the bard thought, there are definitely worse places to be. She then took the opportunity presented her and placed a light kiss upon the smooth skin.
Xena moaned softly at this most unexpected, yet pleasing sensation. "Okay Joxer, that's... enough. You have to go now. Gabrielle needs her... needs to change. Joxer... Joxer!" The tall brunette slammed her foot down on top of his.
"OW-OW-OW!" he yelped, letting go of Gabrielle and reaching for his foot.
"Le-eave now!" Xena said firmly.
"NOW Joxer!" Xena growled, acting as if she were reaching for her chakram.
"Okay, okay." He got to his feet - favoring the right one - and put his hands up, palms facing Xena, as if in surrender. "I ll see you later then, Gabrielle." He backed away, noticing that the bard had not moved from her previous position. "Is she okay?"
"I'm fine, Joxer," Gabrielle grumbled, reluctantly lifting her head. "Now go, will you, please?"
When she was sure he was out of earshot, Xena whispered, "He's beginning to get on my last nerve. We need to... be alone, for a while."
"A lo-ong while," Gabrielle agreed, her lips seeking out those of her lover.
Only a mark on the sundial later, there was a scratching at the hut door. Xena raised up. "What no-ow, Joxer?" she growled, pulling up one leather shoulder strap, while Gabrielle pulled the side of the sarong over her own nude form.
"Xena, it's Ephiny. I was just wondering about Gabrielle."
The tall warrior glanced down at her lover, who nodded and pulled the blanket on the cot up around her.
"Come on in, Eph," Xena said, pulling up her other strap. She was adjusting the cups of her leathers when Ephiny cleared her throat.
"Sor-ry," the acting Queen offered, seeming embarrassed. "I didn't mean to disturb..."
"It's alright," Gabrielle offered. "I'm fine, Eph. And I want to thank you for letting me stay here and taking such good care of me."
"Yeah, I should thank you, as well," Xena commented.
"No thanks necessary. After all, you are our Queen, ya know." Ephiny glanced over at Xena, who was getting up from the bed. She noted the warrior's chakram was not in its holder on her side, but on the floor by the cot.
"No, you are Queen here, Eph," Gabrielle corrected.
"Only while you're away," the blonde Amazon countered.
Xena glanced up at Ephiny, then over to Gabrielle, a concerned look on her face.
"No, Eph, I passed the mask and mantel to you. I refused to serve, remember? So, I have no right to claim that title. It is yours... all the time."
Xena glanced back at Ephiny, relief evident on her face. Yet, this was quickly replaced with her usual stoicism. "Know of any place around here where we can... be alone?"
"You can be alone here. I'm sorry, I'll make sure that no one comes near..."
"Truly alone," the tall warrior interjected, reaching down for her chakram.
"It's not the Amazons she's concerned about, Eph," the bard offered.
"Oh, you mean... I see. So, I take it... you two have made up then?" A slight smile turned up the corners of the blonde Amazon's mouth.
"Yes," Gabrielle answered, at the same time that Xena mumbled, "Not fully." The two women looked at each other. "Yes," Xena corrected, as Gabrielle said, "Not completely."
Ephiny flashed a quick smile this time. "I see."
Xena cleared her throat. "Any caves nearby? Out of the way caves?" The warrior turned her back to the Amazon Queen, reaching for her breastplate hanging on a peg behind her.
Ephiny glanced over at Gabrielle, who was watching the warrior's every move. Her face was more radiant than the Amazon Queen had seen in a long time. "Well, there is one place where... I can almost guarantee you won't be disturbed."
"Where?!" Both women asked in unison.
Ephiny glanced between the two, who were now staring at her, seemingly waiting with baited breath. "The temple," she answered.
Xena shook her head and Gabrielle raised her eyebrow. "Eph, there are people coming and going at the temple all the..."
"Not the main temple," Ephiny corrected. "This one is strictly Amazon... hidden away. It's actually a cave we use as a temple for... a special ceremony."
"Doesn't sound like what we're looking for," Xena concluded, hooking her breastplate together.
"No," the bard agreed. "I'm sure Artemis would not take kindly to her temple being... well..." She glanced over at Xena.
"Oh, but you didn't ask what ceremony we hold there," Ephiny countered.
Xena merely frowned at the queen, while Gabrielle asked, "Which one is that?"
"One you haven't participated in. A mating ceremony," came the reply. Xena raised one dark eyebrow and Gabrielle's mouth formed a slight "o". "It's where our couples, who want to make a commitment to one another... go to pronounce their vows before the goddess Artemis," Ephiny explained.
"You did this with Phantes?" Gabrielle queried.
"Well, part of it, yes."
"Part?" the bard inquired.
Ephiny shrugged. "Once you're there, you'll see why."
"And just what is entailed in this... ceremony?" Xena questioned, obviously concerned. "Dancing and drinking, like all the others?"
"No," Ephiny replied. "It's a private ceremony. The couples merely profess their love for one another and make a commitment to stay together. They ask for Artemis' blessing on their union."
"So, all I have to do is learn some speech, hmm?" the warrior further questioned, as she glanced over at Gabrielle.
Ephiny could tell that Gabrielle was all for this commitment and she couldn't see how Xena could miss this, either. That is, unless the stoic warrior was emotionally blinded by a fear of commitment. "No speech," she corrected. "What you say to one another... or not say... is personal, between only the two of you. As is your prayer to the goddess. The prayer itself is even optional... but I wouldn't recommend not saying something to the goddess."
"Is that all?" Xena asked, never taking her eyes off Gabrielle. "It sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?"
"No catch, Xena," Ephiny responded. "I just wouldn' t stay in the goddess' temple under false pretenses, if you know what I mean." The tall warrior cut her eyes in the queen's direction. "You of all people know how the gods can be." Xena merely grunted, her gaze returning to the bard. "If there's time and opportunity, the couples often remain several days in the communion chamber," Ephiny continued, "Which is out of view of the temple area itself. And Amazons know to respect one another's privacy."
Xena and Gabrielle stared at one another. The warrior obviously not yet sold on the idea. "Let us talk it over, Eph," Gabrielle suggested.
"Sure. Good to see you feeling better, my Queen," Ephiny said, turning to leave.
"Eph, I'm just Gabrielle, remember. You are the Queen of the Amazons."
"Gabrielle," Ephiny said, turning around at the door. "You and Xena are welcome to stay here with us, for as long as you want."
"Thanks, Eph," the bard offered softly. The blonde Amazon Queen nodded and opened the door.
The bard was already pulling together her thoughts, readying her argument to convince Xena this would be a good thing for them. Yet, no sooner had Ephiny closed the door and was presumably out of hearing range, than she was stunned to find her argument was no longer necessary.
"So, what's your plan to distract Joxer?" Xena questioned, reaching for her scabbard and sword.
Gabrielle was nearly speechless. All she could say was, "Huh?"
"I was thinking of sending him for supplies from that village about a days walk from here." She attached her scabbard in place on her back. "I just haven't come up with what to send him for that we can't get here."
"You mean... I don't need to convince..."
Xena abruptly turned towards her lover, cutting her off. "No, I think it's a good idea. Especially now."
"Then... why didn't you say so when Ephiny was here?" the bard questioned.
Xena shrugged and looked away. "I didn't wanna seem too anxious. Besides, we needed to talk this over in private."
"Uh-huh. And... so you're willing to make this commitment?" Time the words were out of her mouth, the bard regretted them.
Xena cut her eyes over at her, the look on her face suggestive of someone who had just been slapped.
"I'm sorry," Gabrielle quickly apologized. "I didn' t mean..."
"Yes, you did." The tall warrior lowered her gaze. "And I deserved that. I... I know I don't tell you enough about my feelings, but... I've never been one to do much talking, you know that."
"Xena, I... I didn't mean that like it sounded. I... I was thinking about all the questions you asked Ephiny... about the dancing and drinking and all. I... I guess I was wondering if...." The bard dropped her own head now, unable to continue with her apology, since she felt she was just digging the hole deeper.
"Wondering if I'd go through with it, if I had to dance or... make a commitment in front of a crowd?" Xena finished for her, raising her gaze, watching her lover's reaction.
Gabrielle glanced up and shrugged. "Yeah, I suppose I was. But, you don't need to answer..."
"Oh, I think I do," Xena interjected, as she eased down on the side of the cot. "We... we've never discussed making a commitment before. It... it just seemed evident that..." She paused, as she reached out and took the bard's hands in hers. "But, I suppose it's time we did. And yes, Gabrielle, I would still want to do this, even if I had to say it in front of a crowd. I'm... I'm just not crazy about the idea. I mean... it's not exactly what I had in mind, for right now."
Gabrielle stared into her lover's misty blue eyes; her own clouding up, as well.
"I'm not so sure about the dancing part, though," Xena added.
A sly grin crept onto the normally stoic warrior' s face. "I'm not sure I could bear to... stand still and watch you dancing with anyone else."
"Xena... you know the only one I wanna dance with is you."
The warrior shrugged. "Yes, but... everyone always wants to dance with the bride, hmm?"
A smile turned up the corners of the bard's lips; tears threatening to overflow at the same time.
"I especially wouldn't want to see... Joxer dancing with you," Xena added, in a bit more of a serious tone, her eyes leaving Gabrielle' s and dropping to their hands.
"Jox-er?" The bard chuckled slightly. "You... jealous of Joxer... oh please, Xena." The proud warrior looked up, but there was no mirth in the expression on her face, nor in the depths of her misty eyes. "You' re... serious, aren't you?" Gabrielle questioned, in a tone of disbelief. "Xena, you can't possibly..." She paused, as her lover looked away. "Xena, look at me," she prodded, squeezing the warrior's hand. "Wh-what..? wh-why...? Xena, you know I could never... Xena...?" she reiterated, as her lover lowered her eyes again.
"He's in love with you, ya know," the warrior said matter-of-factly. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather live a normal life with..."
The bard quickly pulled her hand free and placed her fingertips to the warrior's lips. "The only person I want to spend the rest of my life with is sitting right here in front of me, right this very moment. As for a normal life... I've never been normal, Xena. Never wanted to be nor..."
"Perdi-cus," Xena mumbled around her lover's fingers.
"That... was different. I... I was confused then, Xena. Very confused. I've told you this before. I was... running away from my feelings for you. And the gods all know how much I regret that Perdicus had... to pay the price... for my mis..." The bard's voice broke and she hung her head for a moment. "But, Xena, I love you... more than anyone... ever and... I know this is right for me. I can... feel it here," she concluded, raising her other hand to the middle of her chest, her fingers still interlaced with Xena's.
The warrior's gaze fell to their hands. "Gabrielle, I..." She paused, as the bard removed her fingers from her lips and caressed the side of her cheek. Their eyes met once again. "You don't know just how close I've come to... throttling him, lately," the proud warrior admitted, a tear slipping onto her cheek. "He's always too close to you and... always flirting with you and... I've wanted so badly to tell him to get lost, that you... belong to me. But, I know... you'd rather not hurt him like that." She leaned over and kissed Gabrielle's hand.
"Oh Xena." The bard put her free arm around the warrior' s shoulder. "I didn't realize this bothered you so much or... I would have told him for your bene..."
"No!" Xena countered, raising her head, misty blue eyes meeting sea-green ones. "You're right, it would hurt him badly. And... I don't wanna hurt Joxer just because I'm so jealous. Too jealous," she added.
"I'm not complain'," the bard offered with a slight smile.
"No, but I am," the warrior stated. "I don't like feeling this way, I just... I can't seem to help it. I... I've never loved anyone like this before, Gabrielle. Never!" Her voice was soft and whispery; blue eyes darting back and forth. "I wanna be alone with you, love. I... I need to be alone with you." Another tear sprang from her left eye and slid down her cheek. "I need to love you. To share moments like this." Her index finger lightly brushed against the bard's cleavage. "You just don't know how... it makes me feel when I make love to you, Gabrielle." Her finger slowly moved back and forth over the soft skin. "It's like... nothing else in this cruel world exists, except you and me and... our love. I need you far more than you know."
The chatty little bard was left nearly speechless by the warrior's pronouncement. "Cum'mere," she said simply, pulling Xena's face closer to her own. "We'll have time alone," she murmured against her lover' s lips. "Soon, I promise," she added and sealed this promise with a passionate kiss.
Upon disengaging her other hand, the bard laid back and pulled her lover down on the cot with her. The warrior's breastplate was cool and pressing hard into the soft skin of her exposed chest. For a fleeting moment, she wished that this design would be branded across her chest, proclaiming for all the world to see, to whom her heart truly belonged. She felt she could endure this pain, if only it would alleviate Xena's suffering. And yet, she knew this was not the answer. Making time to be alone together; to share moments like these more often, that's what they needed most. And that's exactly what she would seek to bring about.
"Gab-brielle," Xena murmured, when she came up for air, her voice husky with need.
"I know," the bard whispered, as a familiar sword callused palm claimed her left breast.
"I wanna take you... right here," the warrior growled softly, near her ear.
"And I want you to, but... ah-h Xena... let's wait until... umm... 'til we can truly be alone and... oh-h... really enjoy it."
"When?" Xena hissed; her breath hot against the bard' s skin.
"Soon, my beautiful warrior princess. Very soon."
There was a scratching sound at the door. "I'm gonna kill him!" Xena hissed, against her lover's neck.
"Sh-h." The bard held her down. "I'm fine, Joxer. Why don't you go get me something to eat?" she called out.
"It's Merita," came the reply, "and I brought you both something to eat."
The two lovers breathed a sigh of relief. "I bet you're starved," Xena murmured, in the bard's ear. "Stay right there. I'll get it. And I'll make sure you eat."
Continue to Part 2
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