Memories, Dreams and Schemes

part 10

by Azurenon & Savanna Mac

Please see part one for all disclaimers.

Chapter 10


They walked back to the cave in silence, ate in silence and went about their nightly rituals in silence. The only variation being that Xena did not don her chemise before crawling beneath her blanket. The invitation was obvious and seemingly presumed to be taken advantage of.

Can't do it, Gabrielle kept telling herself over and over again, as she lay tossing and turning. I just can't. Thers no way. I've never done anything like this in my life. I'm not going over there to her. I'm scared... scared I won't kn'ow what to do.

When she felt sure Xena would be asleep, she rolled over and opened her eyes, merely wanting to look at the warrior again. She blinked. Blue eyes were staring back at her. They moved down her covered form, then back up again to meet her own.

The warrior's blanket inched downward and then was pulled up and back, revealing the brunette's nude form. "Cum'mere," a husky voice requested. Gabrielle didn't move, though her eyes perused the naked body. "Or else I'm coming over there," the voice added.

"I... I don't... re... member," the blonde stammered.

"Neither do I," Xena responded. "We'll make new memories."

"But, you... you've done this before, I never..." She left the rest unsaid.

"Never?" Xena questioned, raising one dark eyebrow. "Not even a man?"

Gabrielle shook her head. "Not that... I remember."

Xena tingled from head to toe. She'd never had a virgin before. Well, technically Gabrielle wasn't a virgin, but as far as her memories were concerned she was. And Xena couldn't help but wonder if she had actually been the first, once before.

The two stared at one another. Xena feeling unsure of what to do. But, she'd never been unsure about these things before. What in Tartarus was so different now? The fact that she might or might not be a virgin? What was the big deal?

She finally got up and gathered her bedroll. She didn't want Gabrielle to think she didn't follow through on her threats or promises, however she chose to view it. She laid her bedroll out beside the blonde's, then crawled beneath it. The little angel watching every move she made with semi-fearful eyes.

Xena laid there on her back for several moments, not understanding why she didn't just roll over and take what she wanted. It wasn't like she'd never done this before. Well, never by force, she corrected herself. And never a virgin, either. Then again, the blonde surely couldn't be virgin territory to her. At least, all the evidence suggested she wasn't. And she didn't really believe she'd have to force the blonde. It wasn't as if the little angel was running away from her. She appeared merely to be a bit scared and waiting on the more experienced person to take the lead; to seduce her into wanting what she wasn't sure she did, at the moment. Xena was good at seduction; loved the thrill of the chase. So what in Tartarus was wrong with her now? Why couldn't she just do it?

Scattered images of the blonde taking care of her while she was ill - stroking her fevered brow with a cool damp cloth, concern evident in the beautiful sea-green eyes - kept flitting through her mind. Each one draining the urge to take what she wanted. Each suggesting what Xena truly desired deep inside was the little angel to come to her. To show some sign of wanting her.

She glanced over at the blonde, who was lying on her back; blanket nearly to her chin; body seemingly stiff and rigid, as she stared up at the ceiling. Xena couldn't do it! That's all there was to it! Feeling frustrated and confused, she rolled away from the blonde. "Good night," she said brusquely.

Gabrielle wasn't sure whether she was more relieved or disappointed at this turn of events. She didn't know what she felt, except a need to talk. "I need to know more about you, Xena," she mused aloud. "I can't... just do that with... someone I hardly know."

"Don't worry 'bout it," the warrior grumbled.

"What exactly does that mean? Don't you think I have a right to know about you before... climbing in bed with..."

"Go to sleep!"

Gabrielle's temper flared up. "Ya know, I'm getting a little bit tired of you ordering me around all the time. Who are you anyway, some... princess or something who's used to snapping her fingers and having everyone jump up and..."

"As a matter of fact, I am!" Xena growled, rolling over in the blink of an eye and grasping the blonde's chin in her left hand. "Some call me the Warrior Princess. And you listen up, little missy, if it weren't for me telling you what to do and how to do it, you wouldn't be alive right now!!!"

Their gazes locked and held. Fierce blue eyes staring into frightened green ones; frustration and anger swiftly turning into something quite different.

Xena leaned over and placed a searing kiss against the ruby red lips. Upon finding this far more pleasurable and intense that even her own fantasies about it - her lips trembling from the contact - she backed up, and merely stared down at the wide-eyed blonde. Who in Tartarus was this woman? No one had ever effected her like this before. Not from just one kiss!

She was thinking about getting up, when Gabrielle reached up and grabbed the back of her head. Their lips met once again. Not quite as hard or rough this time, however, what with the little angel responding as if she did indeed know exactly what she was doing. Xena melted into the kiss, prolonging the contact, her left hand tugging at the blankets between them.

A few moments later, she was astride the blonde's left leg, her hand roaming over one small firm mound beneath the nightie. They were both breathing heavily now, gasping for breathe almost, though neither would break contact with the other's lips for any length of time. Xena couldn't remember ever wanting anyone so badly, in her entire life's experience.

Gabrielle was even more shocked at her own reactions. Something about the warrior's kiss struck a chord deep inside. One she desired plucked again and again. The fingers of her right hand entangled in the brunette's hair; her left was stroking a bare muscular back. She didn't want to let this woman go. She wanted more. Much more. Her lower body ached with longing; the warrior's thigh pressed against the needy area. Her ears were burning; her face growing hot; her upper body arching into the warrior's palm, reacting to the manipulation it was receiving. The whimpers and moans coming from the woman on top of her, adding fuel to her already enflamed passions.

Suddenly, the warrior rolled over on her back, taking Gabrielle with her. The latter's legs straddled the brunette's hips, while strong fingers grasped the nightie "Get this off!" Xena growled.

A few moments later the flimsy pink material was floating through the air behind them; the warrior's lips claiming one aching nipple, while her left hand manipulated the other; her right arm around Gabrielle's back, holding her firmly in place.

"By the gods!" Gabrielle gasped, her fingers digging into the warrior's shoulders.

Xena growled deep in her throat, lightly nibbling on one nipple, then moving over to the next, both arms around the blonde now.

"Oh Xe-na! What... are you doing to me?" Gabrielle breathed against the brunette's hair

Xena loved the whisper soft tone of the blonde's voice. It was like a cool breeze on a hot summer's day. The refreshing quality offering a second wind to her world weary soul. An image of rolling around in the grass with this little angel, sprang unbidden before her mind's eye. And she rolled the blonde over on her back. Not in their previous position, however, but crossways of the bedrolls.

She was stretched out to her full length, her legs between the little angel's thighs now. The desire to conquer and explore the riches of this new territory was foremost in her mind; the little angel's emotional virginity like a white flag waving in the distance. There was no need for attack. Victory was assured. The spoils of the battle, spread out beneath her, were hers for the taking. And she would indeed take it all, as slowly and gently as she possibly could.

The warrior slowed her movements and raised up, her long dark hair falling around Gabrielle like a cloak. Their lips met once again. Gabrielle melting this time, surrendering to the slow probing of the warrior's tongue. This felt so familiar. The dream she'd had several nights before gently insinuated itself into her mind. The warrior's kiss had been like this in her dream. And she had reveled in them then, just as she was doing now. What had she been so afraid of? This was wonderful!!! Never had anything felt so pleasurable. Having the smooth naked body on top of her own - the warrior's breasts beneath hers, strong taunt thighs lying between hers - and running her own hands over the firm, muscular back, seemed surreal somehow. Beautifully surreal, she thought; the warrior's lips attacking her neck and going directly to a very sensitive area that made her writhe and moan beneath her lover.

"Don't be afraid," Xena whispered in her ear. "Your pleasure is my pleasure." She heard herself say this, but wasn't sure why. Although, she had to admit, it sounded good to her own ears.

Xena wished she'd had the luxury of a first time like this. And perhaps that's exactly what she wanted to provide for this little angel beneath her.

Gabrielle cried out, then whimpered at the first delicious stroke of the warrior's tongue upon her throbbing center. "Oh yea gods on Mt. Olympus," she murmured, the second stroke following close behind. Whimpers, moans and complete and utter gibberish dripped from her lips, as each stroke took her higher and higher; soothing ministrations to her aching need.

Her cry was long and loud when her body convulsed into spasms. A kaleidoscope of bright colors flashed before her closed lids. She jerked and squirmed; her lover seemingly unwilling to release her. She felt the warrior's finger ease up to her pulsating sanctuary. A low rumble issued from the brunette's throat, as the warrior penetrated her inner sanctum.

Xena raised up and maneuvered half on top of the blonde. her lips attacking the tender skin of her angel's neck. "I can't let you go," she breathed. "Again my little angel. Say you want me again."

The warrior's strokes were slow and rhythmic; her hips rubbing against Gabrielle's thigh in perfect sync. "Again, Xena," she heard herself plead, hands pressing against the warrior's back.

"You're mine now," Xena hissed. "My little angel."

Gabrielle grunted with pleasure, her inner chamber now filled with the warrior; her thigh slick with the brunette's desire. Up, up, up she soared, to the clouds and beyond; the pulsating rhythm of her climax like waves crashing around her. Gibberish was now her new language. It issued forth from her lips over and over again, as she dug her nails into the warrior's back and buried her face in the curve of her neck. Greedily, she sucked, until she lay back limp and spent.

"Ah-h yes," Xena breathed, feeling the spasms of her little angel's climax. She'd let her rest now. For, surely Gabrielle would need it to keep up with her seemingly insatiable appetite for her.

Xena was soon shocked, however, when the blonde began ministering to her own burning desire. She allowed the little angel to roll her over. Eager lips latched onto a tender swollen nipple. A warm tongue flicked back and forth. This is no virgin, Xena surmised. At least, not any longer. A thigh pressed rhythmically against her hot passion, intensifying the ache and longing to be touched; to be stroked.

"By the gods, you're so w-wet!" Gabrielle murmured, raising up to face her lover. "Did I do that?"

"Without a doubt," Xena answered, taking hold of the blonde's hand and leading it down to the place she needed it to be. She covered the hand with her own and led it through the desired motions. Within a few moments, it was obvious no more tutoring was required.

Gabrielle was beside herself. The overwhelming wetness between the warrior's thighs, the whimpers and moans issuing from the latter's lips, as well as, her own were urging her onward at a rapid pace. Her finger slipped easily into the hot slick cavern, followed closely by the one next to it. The warrior's interior muscles clamped tightly around them, as she arched her hips upward. Gabrielle met these thrusts stroke for ever pleasurable stroke. She seared the warrior's lips with kisses; the aroma of her own desire upon them, causing a deep satisfying ache in her loins. And before she even thought twice about what she wanted to do, she was making her way down the warrior's body.

Eyes closed, the slight musky scent assailed her senses. She'd done this before; she knew it; she could feel it deep inside. Pure instinct took over. Her face was soon buried between the warrior's thighs, riding the arching hips; the brunette's cries and whimpers like music to her ears. Her name ran out in the cave, loud and clear and strong, reverberating off the walls: "Ga-bri-elle!!!"


Ares sent yet another scrying bowl crashing into the wall. This was not going as he had planned. Xena was crying out the little bitch's name. She never did that before with anyone else. Only this little blonde harlot!

His fate appeared to be sealed. Xena wasn't the ruthless warlord, she'd once been. Her subconscious memories were bleeding over into her conscious mind. She was treating the little brat like a friend; almost the way they had been before the test! And it wasn't even three quarters of the way over! She was falling for the blonde bitch again! Already she was content to make the best of the situation on the island; she wasn't even trying to get off!

Should he end the test now? He could hardly stand to watch anymore, as it was. A full year with no interference? How could he have made such a bet, without thinking things through clearly? What had he been thinking?

"Ares! God of War! Almighty and powerful leader... my army has been crushed!" Eurodysses cried out. "I have no army anymore because of those man-hating harlots! Help me, God of War. Give me an army so that I might trample my enemies in your name!"

Ares waved his hand over another bowl , then walked over to this throne and plopped down. Eurodysses was getting on his last nerve. For days now he'd been crying out, pleading with him. Better to send him on to Tartarus, he thought, I have no more use for him.


"And just where do you think you're going, hmm?" Xena asked, grabbing the blonde by the waist.

"I need... to go outside."

"Not without me you're not." The warrior's lips sucked greedily on Gabrielle's neck, going straight to that oh so sensitive spot she had found earlier and now exploited at her whim.

"Oh-h... but, I... I really... have to." Gabrielle mumbled; strong arms wrapped around her waist from behind and held her securely.

"Not alone. It's too dangerous out there," Xena commented, one hand inching up to cup a firm breast; her lips nuzzling a soft ear. "There's a hungry animal out there... who'd like nothing better... than to have you for her next meal."

"You mean there's another hungry animal... more dangerous than the one in here?" Gabrielle quipped.

Xena actually chucked softly. "Most definitely. You won't like the way she'd devour you. The animal in here though... you already know what she does to her prey. She only wants to please you."

"Then maybe that hungry animal in here, should go with me, because that would please me, immensely right now."

"Right behind you," Xena murmured.

The warrior snatched up her scabbard on the way by, as Gabrielle reached for her clothes. "Uh-uh!" Xena objected, drawing her sword. "I ain't wastin' time taking those back off when we get back. Now move," she ordered, waving the sword tip at the blonde.

A tingle crept up Gabrielle's spine, as she raised her hands, palms out. "Yes, my warrior princess, anything you say."

"Um, that's better." Xena lightly tapped the blonde on the behind with the flat part of the blade. "Let's keep it that way."

No hunting, no gathering, no teaching Gabrielle to use the staff was accomplished that day. Only the bare essentials were taken care of: eating, bathing, relieving themselves and striving to satisfy their insatiable hungers.


"You know you had some... pretty awful hallucinations," Gabrielle commented, her index finger drawing circles on the warrior's chest.

Xena merely grunted, inhaling the aroma of fresh flowers still clinging to the blonde's hair, from her bath the previous night.

"Do you remember anything about that?" Gabrielle queried.

"Bits and pieces," Xena murmured. "I know you took care of me. I'm sure that wasn't easy. And I don't believe I thanked you, did I?"

"Oh-ho, you have, be-lieve me," Gabrielle teased, glancing up at her lover. Sleepy blue eyes stared back at her. "You were a handful, however. Ranting and raving and carrying on."

Xena loved the sound of her little angel's voice, especially when she was curled up in her arms. It was always so soft, husky and sexy at these times, that she wanted to keep her talking, even though she wasn't really in the mood to truly listen. For, her mind had been toying with the idea of roughly taking the little angel, for awhile now, and she was deep in the throes of this fantasy, when she murmured, "And what was I carrying on about?"

"Um... lots of things... at first you seemed to be remembering things that happened here on the island like..."

Xena was only half listening, thinking of how she'd like to roll her lover over on her stomach, nibble on her neck in that particular spot that seemed to turn the little angel into a clawing little tiger and take her from behind. She had been too gentle with this lover so far and it was beginning to bother her. She was getting far too close, emotionally, she could feel it. She needed the distance a rough, quick roll in the skins usually provided. This should satisfy her appetite for the blonde. Then she could move on to other things that needed tending to.

"...fighting and killing," Gabrielle was saying, as Xena tuned back in. "Putting people on crosses... heads on poles." Gabrielle shivered; Xena stiffened. "You called yourself the Destroyer of Nations, a lot. You talked about Hercules, someone named Iolaus. Oh, and you vowed to kill some guy named Caesar for breaking your legs. Hmph, you talked about so much crazy stuff that... What?" Gabrielle asked, as Xena abruptly pulled away and sat up on the side of the bedroll. "Is this making you remember those hallucinations? Xena I'm sor..." The warrior jerked her arm away when Gabrielle reached out and touched her. "What's wrong?" Gabrielle inquired again. "You asked me to tell..."

Xena was on her feet now. "I don't wanna talk about it," she growled.

"Oh... okay," Gabrielle responded. "I'm sorry I made you remember those hallu..."

"You didn't make me remember!" Xena spun around on her heels. Gabrielle could see the anger, as well as, something else within those blue depths. They looked almost the same as they had the day they'd met, hard and suspicious, cold and uninviting.

"You said you wanted to know more about me?" the warrior asked, angrily. "Then know this... those weren't hallucinations, those things happened. They were real. They are my past. They are who I am. Who I... was," she corrected herself, in a less severe tone. "The gods alone know who I am now!" she raged. "Or what in Tartarus I'm doing here!" She turned back around and stormed off.

"Xena, what...?"

"I need to be ALONE!" the warrior nearly shouted, as she gathered up her leathers and her scabbard and strode out of the cave.

Gabrielle was stunned speechless. The implications of who Xena had been stung like a thousand tiny needles all sinking into her heart, all at once. The warrior's temper was quick, hot and furious. She could hardly justify this with the woman she'd shared a bed with and made love to, for the past two nights. For, that person was totally different; gentle and loving and even funny at times. Her humor was dry and quick, but endearing nonetheless.

Gabrielle rocked back and forth. She wished she'd never mentioned those hallucinations. She talked too much and asked too damn many questions. Questions she wished Xena had not answered. And yet, she was the one who had pushed to know more. And now she knew too much! Could she live with someone she knew had done all these horrible things? Someone who referred to herself as the Destroyer of Nations?

Xena had mounted the horse bareback. She was riding the mare hard down the beach. Tears were in her eyes, causing even more confusion in her mind. She wanted to go back to the cave. Wanted to be with Gabrielle again; the way they had been. But, she couldn't go back now! Couldn't bear to see that look of fear in the blonde's eyes. What must her little angel think of her now, knowing she had been that ruthless warrior who'd killed so many, tied them to crosses, beheaded and impaled them on poles as examples? After seeing the evidence that she was still so quick to anger and might kill in a fit of rage, she'd have to be afraid. And have every right to be. Xena was sometimes afraid of her own self these days. She didn't know who she was any longer. In her heart, she didn't feel ruthless, but the propensity for violence was still there. She'd proved that only this morning!

Suddenly, she reined the horse to a stop. "What in Tartarus is wrong with me?" she mumbled aloud. "What do I care what she thinks of me? Why should it matter?" She turned the horse around. I've seen fear in people's eyes before and loved it, wanted to see it there, so what's so different about now? she wondered, intent on heading back. She clicked her tongue, urging the horse forward. Everything is different, she thought. It does matter what she thinks of me. Though I can't for the life of me figure out why. She pulled back on the reins again and the mare started to prance around, as if she too were as confused as her master.

Xena patted the horse to calm her down, then dismounted. "Get out of here!" she grumbled at the mare and waved her hand. "Go back to Gabrielle, I need to be alone. I don't trust myself to be around anyone or any thing at the moment! Now, go on, get outta here!!" She angrily shooed the horse away, although she didn't really understand this impulse, either.

She only knew there was a war going on inside of her and she didn't want to be responsible for any casualties other than herself! And besides it would do her good to walk back. Maybe along the way she would make some sense out of this mess!

"I can understand why you'd punish me!" she screamed at the sky and whatever gods might be listening. "But why put her here? What did she ever do?"


It was past nightfall when Xena finally wandered into the cave. She'd reasoned along her walk home that if she was being punished for something she'd done, then perhaps it was time to change who she had been. And if Gabrielle was being punished along with her, then it must have been because of something she, Xena, had talked her into doing. She felt responsible for the little angel ending up here. And so, she had decided that if Gabrielle so desired, she'd take her things and leave. Or if she wanted her to stay and protect her, then she'd move her bedroll back to the other side of the fire. Either way, she would do her best to ignore what had transpired between the two of them and never bother the blonde about it again.

The little angel was curled up beneath her blanket. Xena slipped around the fire to get her bedroll.

"Tomorrow you teach me how to use the staff," Gabrielle announced, rolling over on her back and looking up at the warrior. "Pee-yew!" she added. "You need a bath. You're not getting in here smelling like that."

"I wasn't intending to make you sleep with me, toni..."

Gabrielle came out from under the cover, naked from head to toe. "You're taking a bath," she said, her tone brooking no argument, as she reached for her clothes. "We'll talk at the stream, while you're bathing."

Xena was shocked. Nothing much seemed to have changed. Except of course, for the blonde's attitude about giving orders. Gabrielle was the one giving them now. And to Xena's surprise, she found herself not minding this very much, at the moment. What mattered most was they were still together.

They had built up the fire after returning from their bath, so it was now quite warm in the cave. Gabrielle was lying on the bedroll, stretched out on her stomach, with neither clothes nor blanket covering her nude form. Long, strong fingers were lightly stroking her back. "Umm... that feels good," she commented. "I could go to sleep just like this."

Xena grunted. Sleep was the furthest thing from her mind at the moment; for, it was engaged in the same fantasy she'd been having that morning. Her eyes feasting on the shapely nude body beside her, was only adding fuel to the growing fire inside her.

"Not just yet, hmm?" the warrior said, in that husky, needy tone of voice, as one leg crossed over Gabrielle's and her hand dropped lower.

A callused palm stroked Gabrielle's buttocks; long fingers kneading a soft cheek. Chill bumps rushed up the storyteller's back, while waves of desire flowed through her lower abdomen. She felt the warrior raise up slightly and the other leg insinuate itself between her thighs.

"What... are you doing?" Gabrielle inquired, feeling the warrior's naked body come into contact with the back of her own. It was obviously a rhetorical question.

"Sh-h, just lie still and trust me, hmm?" the brunette whispered in her ear, her full weight now pressing down on Gabrielle. The warrior's tongue suddenly filled her ear, while further down hips began moving rhythmically against her backside. Muscular arms stretched out over top of hers; long fingers interlacing with her own. "I've been wanting to do this for a while now," the sexy, needy voice added, its owner moving her mouth to that oh so sensitive spot on Gabrielle's neck.

"Ah-h-h," the storyteller gasped, squeezing the warrior's fingers; her hips falling into rhythm with those pressing against her backside. The brunette growled and nibbled a bit harder.

"Ah yes-s," the warrior hissed, obviously pleased with the reaction she was getting, then going right back to her task.

"Oh Xena," Gabrielle murmured, her lower body aching, desiring a more tactile contact. She raised her head slightly and teeth nibbled at her earlobe. Then a warm wet tongue bathed her ear.

"I wanna have my way with you," Xena purred.

"As if you... aren't already," Gabrielle mumbled.

Xena chuckled softly and a bit sinisterly, as she let go of both the blonde's hands. "I haven't even got started good yet," she purred.

"Oh yea gods, am I in trouble," the blonde uttered, as Xena attacked her neck again. "Oh-h sweet Hestia," she added.

"You're not a virgin any longer," Xena reminded.

"Sweet Aphrodite, then," Gabrielle corrected, laying her head back down, as the warrior's right hand trailed down her side to her hip.

The warrior then eased off to her left side, straddling her thigh now, as she said, "Talk to me." Teeth nipped at Gabrielle's earlobe. "Tell me what you want." The hand on her thigh meandered over her buttocks. "Is this what you want?" the warrior purred in her ear, long fingers inching downward.

The warrior's left hand then moved beneath Gabrielle's arm and a strong hand cupped her chin, as a warm wet tongue left a trail from the storyteller's ear to the edge of her mouth. "Hmm?" the husky voice prodded, one finger perched upon the precipice of Gabrielle's inner sanctuary. "Tell me," lips grazing her cheek urged. "Do you want me?"

"Yes-s," Gabrielle hissed. "I want you, Xena."

"Whaddaya want me to do?"

Gabrielle wasn't exactly sure what response was being asked for. But, she knew that she would not say the "F" word, no matter how much Xena teased her.

"Tell me, Gabrielle," the warrior purred in her ear; the tips of her fingers stroking lightly around the edge of her desire.

"Take me, Xena," the storyteller breathed. The warrior growled deep in her throat and attacked that sensitive spot on her neck once again, at the exact same moment that she penetrated her inner sanctuary. Gabrielle groaned at the sudden violation. A shudder of fright, mixed with delight rippled through her insides. "Oh-h XE-E-NA!" she moaned, the warrior filling her sanctuary fully and gently sinking her teeth into that sensitive area.

Gabrielle's moans and groans grew louder with each rhythmic stroke; her body responding of its own accord, until it felt and sounded as if she were nothing more than a moaning, groaning animal in heat. This embarrassed her for only a brief moment; for, it could not negate her intense arousal. Her lips brushed against the warrior's hand lying placidly against her cheek; its owner obviously occupied with other things. Gabrielle latched onto the closest appendage - the warrior's thumb - drawing it into her mouth.

Xena growled again, much louder this time; passion and desire cascading through her body and culminating in a series of stimulating whimpers. What started out as merely an urge to fulfill a fantasy, had gone far beyond that now. In actuality it had fulfilled two. Not only was she having her way with the blonde, she'd also got the little angel to admit that she wanted her.

And now, things were proceeding much further into uncharted territory even for Xena. She could almost feel herself spinning, falling head over heels, melting into the woman beneath her. For the first time in her life, she actually wanted to experience what the other person was feeling. She wanted to take that journey to the heights of passion right alongside her lover. Be one with her. Yes, that's what she wanted more than anything at this moment. To be one with her little angel. Her lower body ached for it. And the way their bodies were moving in sync, combined with the height of her arousal, she thought it just might be possible.

The intensity of their orgasms, following so closely, one behind the other, left both storyteller and warrior spent and exhausted. And as Xena fitted her body spoon shaped against the back of Gabrielle's - her arm going around the small waist; the blonde taking her hand and placing it on one small breast - she could not remember ever feeling so totally enamored with anyone. Words of love had never fallen from her lips to anyone else's ears, nor did they do so now. But, they did flit through her mind briefly, right before she drifted off into a deep and dreamless sleep.


"We're running low on food," Gabrielle announced the next morning.

"I'll go hunting, later," Xena purred in her lover's ear.

"Don't you ever get enough?" Gabrielle questioned; the warrior's hands making their moves from in front and behind, converging on a particular location.

"Of you? I think not. Why? Are you... tired of me, already?"

"No, just... a bit sore is all," the blonde admitted.

Xena grunted and removed her arm from beneath the blonde's waist, then rolled over on her back.

"I didn't say... you had to stop," Gabrielle offered, wondering if she'd hurt her lover's feelings.

"Who said I was?" Xena purred, sitting up. "I'm just changing my strategy."

In the blink of an eye, the warrior was on top of her; hot lips against her neck and moving rapidly downward.

"Umm," Gabrielle sighed at the promise of things to come. Food can wait, she thought - and not for the first time - feeling her body being claimed and dominated by the warrior princess. For some reason, that she didn't quite understand, she liked the name Warrior Princess. It seemed to fit Xena, somehow.

There was a noise near the cave entrance. Xena's head came up and in a flash, she was moving towards her chakram.

"It's okay," Gabrielle soothed, as the warrior snatched up her deadly weapon. "It's just the horse."

"Umph!" Xena grunted. "Of all the times for her to wander up here," she grumbled.

"Maybe she was curious as to what's been going on with us," the blonde suggested.

Xena frowned at the mare who was pawing the ground just outside the entrance. She laid her weapon back down, intending to return to her previous endeavor. "Now... where was I?" she teased, easing down between the blonde's thighs.

The horse snorted and pawed the ground harder. Xena glanced around, clearly irritated. "What is your problem?" she grumbled.

"Looks like she wants your attention," the blonde suggested.

"I've got other things on my mind," the warrior purred, turning back to the tantalizing task before her.

The horse snorted once again, sounding closer and a bit more agitated, as well. She whinnied and shook her head.

Gabrielle raised up on her elbows. "She seems to be trying to tell you something," she admitted.

"Oh please," Xena mumbled. "She's just an animal."

"Animals have feelings," Gabrielle objected. "They have thoughts and..."

"Go'way!" Xena interrupted. "I'm busy!"

The horse snorted even louder, whinnied, then reared up. Xena looked up at Gabrielle. The blonde raised one light brown eyebrow.

The warrior growled deep in her throat. "Don't move. I'll be right back." She then strode over to the entrance, irritation evident in her heavy strides. She tried to shoo the horse away. The mare only backed up a step, then continued to snort. "Wh-hat?" Xena drawled. "What's your problem today? Go on now. Go find some good grass to eat or somethin'. I'll come get you later. We'll take a nice ride." The horse pawed the ground in front of her and shook her head.

"You don't think she got a hold of any of those berries, do you?" Gabrielle queried, coming up behind Xena.

"I doubt it," the warrior answered, glancing around at her naked companion. "I thought I told you to stay put."

The horse snorted louder still; one front hoof digging into the dirt, as if she were totally agitated.

"Ah, alright, come on, I'll find you some good grass." Xena reached for the reins, but the mare backed away. She then shook her head and turned to walk away. "Good, go on then," the warrior added, turning her attention to Gabrielle. She put her arm around the smaller women's shoulder.

The horse whinnied and reared up once again. Once she had Xena's attention, she took a few more steps, then stopped. She looked at the woods, then back at Xena, repeating this several times.

"I think... she wants you to follow her," Gabrielle suggested.

"Follow her?" the warrior asked incredulously. "This is an animal we're talking about here, not a..."

The horse whinnied and began nodding her head up and down.

"See... follow her," Gabrielle urged. "She may be trying to tell you some..." She paused. "Xena, look... over there in the woods."


"The cat," Gabrielle responded, her gaze riveted to the tawny head within the undergrowth.

"I'll take care of this, once and for all," Xena grumbled, heading back into the cave. "Gabrielle, get in here and build up the fire."

"I'm going with you," the blonde announced, rushing in and moving towards her clothes.

"No way!" Xena said sternly, pulling up her leathers. "You'll stay here. You don't know how to use that sword well enough yet. And I don't wanna have to worry about you and fight the cat, too."

"I don't want you going alone, either!" the blonde shot back, standing in front of Xena now, her hands on her hips in defiance.

Xena glanced up. She loved the feisty little blonde's courage. "Listen, Gabrielle, you know who I am, you've... heard what I'm capable of doing. I've fought worse things than a large cat before, believe me. Now please, build up the fire and stay inside. I doubt she'll come in here, but... you never can tell about animals. Keep that sword nearby. The less distractions I have the better. I should be back shortly." With that the warrior collected her weapons and put them in place. She then planted a searing kiss on the blonde's lips on the way by.

The horse was close to the cave again as Xena exited. The warrior's eyes were on the woods; the tawny head nowhere in sight. "Good girl," she shot over her shoulder to the mare. "Sorry about yelling at you. Stay close and take care of Gabrielle." She immediately chided herself for this. She's got me talking to the horse like she's a person, she thought.

The cat's trail was fresh and Xena was on it, following cautiously. This would be one dead cat when she found it!

The horse stayed near the entrance for a while, Gabrielle could hear her. Then everything grew quiet and the storyteller took a peek outside. The horse had obviously wandered off. Evidently the cat had been after the mare and she'd come to get Xena. Smart horse, she thought, moving back inside. She hated waiting, but Xena had a point, she didn't know how to use the sword well. And if she distracted the warrior, she might get them both killed.

After getting dressed she sat down by the fire, contemplating the meager food they had left. Xena had a voracious appetite the past few days. And for more than just food. Gabrielle felt her own desire twitch and throb at the images that flashed through her mind. She'd always wondered why other girls thought sex was such a big deal. Now she knew! She could hardly keep her hands off the warrior, anymore than Xena seemed able to control her own hands. And she had to admit, knowing Xena had been and perhaps still was, a vicious warrior, yet could be so gentle with her, was indeed a surprising turn-on. It made her feel powerful. As if she was endowed with a talent - or some such thing - that could soothe the savage beast.

She tingled at the thought of how commanding and demanding Xena often sounded and sometimes acted, nearly taking what she wanted. And the best part was, what she wanted was Gabrielle! The soft moans, growls and especially the warrior's whimpers were music to the ears of the little woman from Poteidaia. And knowing she had the power to stop the warrior with only one word - already having done so before - was even more awe inspiring. She loved it.

Chapter 11


Around midday, Gabrielle heard a noise outside the cave. She grabbed the sword, close at hand, as the mare walked into view. It was snorting and pawing the ground again. What did it want now? she wondered. Was the cat back? Had it outwitted Xena, somehow? Or worse?

She cautiously moved to the entrance. The horse stopped snorting. She proceeded outside and the horse bumped her elbow hard with its head, nearly knocking her off her feet.

"Hey, watch it. What's with you?" The horse stamped its hoof and turned towards the woods.

Gabrielle scanned the undergrowth in that direction, but saw nothing. Glancing back at the horse, she saw the mare hitch her tail and take a dump. "Oh good grief! Now I'll have to clean that up," she said aloud. Maybe Xena's right and you are just an animal, she thought. The horse whinnied and stamped her hoof, then took several steps towards the woods and glanced back.

"What do you want?" the bard asked aloud. The horse reared up, her whinny was sharp and piercing. She stomped around as if thoroughly agitated. She took a few more steps towards the woods and glanced back.

"You want me to follow you?" Gabrielle inquired. The mare's head nodded up and down. "What? Is it Xena? Has something happened to Xena?" she asked, speaking her thoughts aloud and moving towards the horse. The mare whinnied sharply, head bobbing up and down. "Okay, lead the way."

As if she understood completely, the mare started walking away. Gabrielle followed; her mind a whirlwind of thoughts and concerns for Xena.

Upon nearing the place where the cat was last seen, the horse stopped. Gabrielle walked up behind her; eyes locked on the woods. She heard a grunt and out of her peripheral vision saw hooves coming at her. It was too late to get out of the way!

Xena was at the site where they'd dressed the deer. She'd already removed the head and part of the skin. She wasn't sure what cat meat tasted like, but she was intent upon saving the tender portions. Half of the liver, she'd already consumed to give herself strength for the task ahead. The guts could be utilized and used for string. The skin could come in handy too. The cat's sinew she knew she'd use; for, she'd already been considering making herself a bow. Gabrielle might be able to handle one of those better, as well. After she taught her how, that is. And teaching could be fun.

She suddenly realized she was thinking in terms of life with Gabrielle, here. She hadn't thought much about getting off this island of late. What was happening to her? Was she becoming domesticated by this little woman? Falling in love even?

She shook her head. Nah, she was just in lust, that's all. Content for the moment only. When the bliss of the conquest was over, she'd find a way off the island. And then what? Go their separate ways? The thought of losing her little angel was not one she wanted to dwell on. She'd just take Gabrielle with her wherever she went, that's all. And where would that be? Could she take the little angel into the life she'd once led? The fighting, the danger? Make Gabrielle a target for her enemies, like her child would have been? For, she knew she could not keep this relationship a secret from her men. She liked touching the woman too much. And what would the men think of her all goo-goo-eyed over the little blonde? They'd surely see it as a sign of weakness. She might even have to fight her own men to keep her little angel safely to herself. For, if one of them ever touched her, she'd....

Xena heard the faint scream and was on her feet in an instant. "Gabrielle," she murmured. The bloody knife still in her hand, she took off in the direction of the cave.

"No-o-o-o!!!!" she screamed to the top of her lungs, cradling the limp bundle in her arms and rocking back and forth.

Ares materialized in front of his father. "Well, Dad," he drawled, looking down into the scrying bowl. Xena was still holding the bard; the left side of the latter's head crushed near the temple. "I think that pretty much wraps this one up, doesn't it? Guess we'll just have to redo the test, hmm?"

Zeus looked up at his son. "I need time to think about this," he mumbled.

"What's to think about? The brat got herself killed. End of test. We start over." Ares pulled down on his vest. "Wasn't a fair test anyway, you have to admit." He crossed his arms. "So this time, we correct the oversights and do it right."

"Oversights?" Zeus muttered, hearing the Destroyer of Nations keening.

"Yeah," Ares said and frowned. "Now, first thing we change is when they wake up... this time they'll be dressed and not sleeping together... or even side by side. We take away those... passion marks... and let's see..."

"Something must've happened to the horse," Zeus muttered. "Something it ate, perhaps? There are no horses on the island, so could it be...."

"Uh, Dad." Zeus glanced up at his son. "We'll nix the horse this time, okay. No sense taking any chances. And Toxeus... no memories of Xena killing him. Perhaps we even use someone else." Ares paused, placing his index finger to his lips and starting to pace. "Those berries were a bit much too. Although... the bitc- bard did hear how wonderful Xena really had been. Hmph, we could leave those in. Need to give Xena more people to fight, though, don't you think? She was getting a bit bored. Darphus would be a nice touch. And maybe even Marcus, as well, give her a choice of... bed partners. And I was thinking..."

"Seems you've given this a lot of thought," Zeus said suspiciously.

"I've had a lot to time to see that... I was a bit overzealous, shall we say and... didn't take the time to think things through thoroughly," Ares grudgingly admitted. "Details are important."

"Yes, brother dear, they most certainly are!" Artemis declared as she materialized beside her father, followed closely by their half sister Athena. The blonde headed goddess of wisdom was a bit shorter than Artemis, though far more formidable in her gold plated warrior attire and those gray eyes which watched the world around her with a keen eye for detail and strategic maneuvering.

Ares was not pleased to see the warrior goddess. "Um, excuse me, this is a private meeting," he said rather calmly. "So, why don't you two, just... run along. Dad and I have things to discuss. Right Dad?"

Zeus frowned and glanced up at his two daughters, then back to his son. "They've both been privy to this all along," he admitted.

"What?!!!" Ares roared. "Oh-ho-ho, now I know that wasn't a fair test!"

"Neither interfered son. Matter of fact, Artemis had as much at stake in this as you did. Athena, as usual, has nothing at stake. And both have been with your mother all the time this test was going on. Neither one even tried to save the bard."

"Not because I didn't want to." Artemis glared at her half-brother.

Ares sneered back, then cleared his throat. "Well, as I was saying," he began again.

"Details," Artemis interjected. "And you, dear brother, forgot one when you interfered down there."

"Interfered? Me? Are you accusing me of..."

"You bet your sweet immortal ass I am!" Artemis fumed. "The horse. You caused the horse to attack her!"

Zeus glanced from daughter to son.

"Dream on," Ares said, rolling his eyes. "If I had interfered Dad would know about it."

"I don't know how you did it, Ares, but you did!"

"Prove it, you meddling little..."

"The horse remembers you," Artemis interrupted. "I went down there and linked minds with her. You forgot I could do that, didn't you? And you took over her body, Ares. Argo remembers you from all those times she saw you appear before Xena. You may not have made a personal appearance this time, but she associates the feeling accompanying those past appearances, with what she knows happened today. I don't know how you got around Dad's safeguards, but I know you were there!"

"Very good my dear, I give you a hand on your brilliant performance," Ares said sarcastically, clapping his hands. "Now, let's get real, here..."

"Yes, why don't we?" the moon goddess interrupted. "Go down and see for yourself, Dad."

"Oh-h pl-lease," Ares scoffed. "Sending Dad off on one of your wild goose chases. And what's the confused mind of a horse going to prove, hmm? She could have eaten something that drove her crazy and... dreamed up this whole cock-a-mamie bullshit you're trying to feed us. Dad, you know, there's no way I could've interfered. You had things rigged so I couldn't, right? I interfere, test ends. Well, it didn't, so..." He threw up his hands. "What more can I say?"

"I'm afraid he's right my dear, I did have safeguards in place for any sign of interference." Zeus rubbed his hand over his beard.

"Then perhaps you all should take a look at this." Athena gestured to the scrying bowl, where Xena had stopped keening.

The warrior was now talking to the bard. "I never loved anyone before, Gabrielle. Not... anyone that wasn't family. But... I think... I think I could... have loved you."

Artemis gave Ares a self satisfied smirk. "Uh-uh," he objected. "She didn't say she loved her. She only said..." Zeus held up his hand interrupting him.

Artemis crossed her arms. "I think you're little plan backfired, brother dear."

"The test is over!" Ares fumed. "And she did not say she was in love with her, she said..."

"Well, son, I think you lost this bet," Zeus said.

"Lost the bet!" Ares roared. "What is wrong with you people? Have you lost your hearing?"

"She as good as admitted it, son. Who knows what she might have said, given the time and opportunity."

"What about the interference?" the moon goddess questioned. "Aren't you even going to check that out, Dad? You need to see how she'll react to Ares, yourself. It could prove to be rather interesting."

"What did you do, put some spell on her when you went down there?" Ares accused.

"Safeguards, remember?" Artemis responded, with a smirk.

"I can guarantee she didn't," Athena added, her voice strong, clear and confident.

"We'll all go down and see about this horse," The king of the gods announced. "If you got around my safeguards, I wanna know about it."

"I'd rather take my leave now, if you don't mind, father," Athena said. "I have other matters that need attending."

"Of course. Report back to me on that matter we discussed before, as soon as you can," Zeus said.

Athena dematerialized in a sparkling golden flame.

The three materialized on the island; Zeus pulling rank on both son and daughter. They appeared a short distance away from the horse, so as not to spook her; visible to her eyes alone. Argo was watching Xena silently rocking Gabrielle. The mare's head was down, her ears lowered.

"She's terribly sad," Artemis said.

"A horse... sad, oh-h pl-lease," Ares grumbled. "Dad, really this isn't necessary, you know I could not have slipped one by you no more than she could."

At the sound of Ares voice, the mare turned, head and ears suddenly erect. She snorted and stomped her hoof, then charged in their direction.

"See, she's just crazy," Ares suggested.

Zeus waved his hand, moving out of the horse's path, leaving his son and daughter powerless; Ares' sword vanishing into thin air. The god of war tried to dematerialize, he tried to throw lightning bolts at the charging horse, and when neither of these worked he reached for his sword, which wasn't there. He gaped at his father. Then he turned to run. Artemis never moved an inch. The horse charged by her and caught Ares in the back with her head, sending him tumbling head over heels.

The horse then went after him. She reared up over him. "Okay, okay, I interfered, I admit it!" Ares shouted.

Zeus threw up a protective barrier over his son. The horse's hooves bounced off it.

Frustrated, the mare reared up again. "Let me handle this," Artemis said, "I'm good with animals." Zeus returned the moon goddess's powers. She sent her thoughts to the mare. Ears pricked up and the fawn colored horse turned slightly towards her, her hooves coming down on one side of the barrier. She whinnied, then trotted over to Artemis.

"How did you get around my safeguards?" Zeus roared at his son.

"Can't reveal my sources," Ares responded, getting to his feet and brushing himself off. "That would only make matters worse."

"No," Zeus said, shaking his head. "You just made them worse, Ares. I know everything, son. I know you went to Hades and made a deal for the Cronus stone to get around my safeguards." The king of the gods paused and Ares gaped at him. "He didn't give you the Cronus stone, though. He never had it. So, I saw exactly what you did. I had hoped that you would come clean when faced with your sister's revelation about the horse. Matter of fact, I've given you every opportunity to tell me the truth. To at least be man enough to take responsibility for your actions., but... I see my hopes were misplaced."

"Yeah, well, I've never been one of your favorites, now have I, Dad?"

"You could have been, Ares. But you chose another road, I'm sorry to say." Zeus glanced over at Xena still rocking the limp bundle in her arms. He wished Ares could find true love and not just these obsessions. He was sorely disappointed in his son. Shaking his head, he remembered Athena telling him that if he gave Ares enough rope, the god of war would effectively hang himself. Which he most certainly had. Zeus held out little hope of ever trusting his son again.

"So I interfered, nothing new about that." Ares pulled down his vest, regaining his composure. "So, you knew all about it, so what? I had one shot and I took it. You'd have done the same. But, go ahead, make me mortal. It's not as if I don't know what that's like. Go on, Dad, hit me with your best shot! I know you're just dying to!"

Artemis leaned over and whispered in her father's ear. Zeus nodded. "I had the same thought myself," he mumbled.


Xena sat up abruptly, reaching for her chakram. The woman who'd been lying in her arms, groaned at being awakened so abruptly. "What is it?" the bard asked, sitting up beside her, wiping the sleep from her eyes.

"I heard something," Xena responded. "Sounded like... a horse whinnying."

There was a noise behind them. Both women turned, Xena aiming her chakram. Argo nickered at the sight of the sharp weapon. Xena lowered it. Argo leaned over between them, nuzzling the side of Gabrielle's face. She then turned to her master and did the same.

"Mornin' girl," Xena said patting her neck. "I see you decided to join us after all."

The horse returned her attention to Gabrielle and nuzzled against the back of her head. "Hey, what's that all about?" the bard muttered, turning towards the mare. A large pink tongue flicked out and caressed the left side of her face from chin to temple. "Hey!"

Argo nickered, then backed away and ambled toward the cave entrance.

"And you thought she didn't like you," Xena commented, arching one dark eyebrow. "Looks like she loves you this mornin'. You do something nice for her last night or something?"

Gabrielle shook her head, while wiping the side of her face. "She's as mysterious as you are," she said, feeling a slight pounding in her left temple.

"Keeps you on your toes," Xena commented. "At least you don't get bored." She glanced at the entrance. "Looks like the storm's over. Better get moving." She got to her feet.

"Hey! What's this? No good mornin' kiss?" the bard queried.

"I think you already had yours," Xena quipped.

"Funny, very funny, Xena."

Xena was rubbing Argo's neck when Gabrielle finally emerged from the cave. "You ready now?" the warrior grumbled.

"Yeah, I guess," the bard responded, glancing back at the cave and rubbing her temple. "I keep feeling like... I'm forgetting something."

"We've got everything, believe me," Xena grumbled once again, rolling her eyes.

"Yeah, I know, I just... I feel kinda strange this morning. I... I can't even remember my dream from last night. And you know I almost always remember them."

Xena grunted. "Yeah, well, I think we've both had enough of those for awhile, hmm?" she commented, mounting the horse. "Come on, let's get moving."

Gabrielle shrugged. "Where we going?" she asked, moving quickly to catch up with horse and rider, which didn't help her headache any. She paid no attention to how she avoided Argo's rear.

"I don't know. Got any suggestions?"

Gabrielle glanced around them at the dense woods. "Hmph, some place with open fields."

"Open fields?"

"Yeah, I'm sure Argo could use the space to run and... the grazing."

"Oh, so you two are friends now?"

Gabrielle looked at the mare and shrugged. Argo whinnied. "Yeah, I guess we are," the bard concluded, glancing up at Xena.

The warrior smiled. "Open fields it is then. Gotta keep my girls happy. Wanna ride?"


He was running through the woods, vines ripping and snagging each foot, dense undergrowth slapping him in the chest. The cat was close on his heels, he could sense and smell her. He broke into a clearing and put on more speed. He could lose her now; he knew it. His legs were fast; his strides long. All four hooves churned up the ground. He could outlast her.

"You said you would make me mortal!" he whinnied, his voice coming in loud and clear to Zeus.

The sky overhead rumbled as Zeus responded, "Perhaps you'll learn more this way. Think twice before interfering, going behind my back and lying to me. A moon is not that long. Just twice the time we set for the test." But hopefully long enough to make you appreciate your god-hood, he thought.

"Now tell me more about this Dahak situation," he said to his favorite daughter Athena. "You know I value your wisdom in situations like these."

"Dahak dares to claim he will take over our world, Father." The goddess of war and wisdom stood tall; her back ramrod straight. "He's amassing followers even as we speak, along our western borders."

"Hmm, this needs my immediate attention then," Zeus admitted. "Keep an eye on your half brother," he said, turning to Artemis. "See that no great harm comes to him, hmm?"

No great harm, like Xena and Gabrielle, the moon goddess thought, remembering how her father had refused to intervene on the bard's behalf, saying that the latter would remember nothing about it, but Ares would get what was coming to him in the end. Instead, however, she said, "Hmph. Why don't you just put a barrier of protection around him?" She placed her hands on her hips, acting as if she did not care for the job of watching over her half-brother.

"No, he'd sense that. And... I want him to... experience what it's like to... fear for one's own life," Zeus replied.

No great harm, unless it's absolutely necessary then? she thought, repeating her father's words to her concerning Xena and Gabrielle. Although, grudgingly she said, "Okay, Dad, I'll take care of Ares." Then when her father turned away, the moon goddess smiled at Athena and winked. "Guess I should be the one, since I have a way with animals, hmm?"



"Hmm?" the warrior responded, absently stroking the smaller hand around her waist and looking up at the cloudless sky, from which thunder had issued forth only a few moments before. Curious, she thought. The gods must be fighting again.

"Will you teach me that flip of yours?" Gabrielle asked.

"Nope," came the curt response. "Too dangerous."

As if we don't live with danger everyday of our lives, the bard thought, resting her head against Xena's back. Perhaps she could learn it on her own. She'd watched Xena do it enough times. How hard could it be?

The End

Note from Azurenon:

Thanks to all those who have written in, concerning the previous stories in this series. Even though we do not respond (we're both too shy), we want you to know that your comments do not go unnoticed.

To those wanting to know if there will be more: There is one more story already written in this series, awaiting editing, by myself (meaning it may take awhile). Whether there will be more is up to whatever Muse is using my hands and Savanna Mac's ideas and encouragement to tell them. I love writing them. So, I sincerely hope the inspiration will find its way to us. Thanks for being interested enough to ask.

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