Memories, Dreams and Schemes
by Azurenon & Savanna Mac
Please see part one for all disclaimers.
True to her word, Xena was back before sundown with several good sized eggs in the pack. "Breakfast," she suggested, handing the pack over to Gabrielle.
"Wash," the blonde said, a few moments later, handing Xena a bowl of sweet smelling water.
"What's this?" The warrior frowned.
"Rinse your body with it, after you bathe." The warrior's frown deepened. "It's just those flowers, I steeped them. Smells good on your skin, see?" Gabrielle offered her wrist for the tall brunette to sniff.
The warrior looked down at her through hooded eyes. She didn't have to sniff to smell the aroma of the flowers. "You smell good enough for both of us. I think I'll pass." She handed the bowl back to Gabrielle.
"Suit yourself," the blonde said, turning and moving away, as if her feelings were hurt.
"You're not suggesting I stink, are you?" Xena queried.
"No, I'm not. I just... I thought you might like it is all." Gabrielle returned to tending their meal. "I mean, you were the one always complainin' about... the smell."
Xena merely grunted. She wondered if the little angel was trying to drive her up the cave wall, by using this sweet smelling concoction of hers. If so, it was working!
Xena had already seen a patch of mint not far from the stream when she was out that day. She had considered using it and now she knew she most definitely would. If the blonde was indeed trying to tell her something, she was listening, but she'd do things her own way.
They were sitting across the fire from one another once again, Gabrielle was busy with a piece of Xena's brown shift, the latter of which she'd washed and saved to be used again for the same purpose. She was now trying to make herself a pair of underwear from a portion of the hem she'd recently removed. Xena was sharpening her own sword, or at least that' s what she wanted Gabrielle to think. In actuality, she was intently watching the little angel, who seemed quite unaware of how her crossed-leg position was affecting her companion. How, if the warrior lowered her head to just the right angle, she could see the thatch of blonde curls, nestled between two smooth thighs.
Xena was definitely becoming quite aroused by this. Her mind was tossing out fantasies left and right about how she would take this woman, she'd come to think of as a little angel. How her little angel would cry out in ecstasy, clawing at her back, begging for more of the same. Begging for Xena to take her again and again!
The warrior was licking her top lip when Gabrielle happened to look over at her. The brunette did not notice this, however, because her gaze was riveted on an area much lower. Gabrielle glanced down, wondering what was so fascinating. She blushed, when she realized how she was sitting and what view this afforded the woman across from her.
Her first instinct was to quickly change positions. Her second, however, was to watch the tall warrior's reactions a bit longer. For, there was a flame burning in the depths of those blue eyes that did not appear to be a mere reflection from the fire. And the attention the warrior was paying her was, to her own amazement, flattering. She didn't feel frightened or fearful that Xena would attack her, as she might if this were a man. No, she felt quite the opposite, actually; imbued with a sense of power was more like it. Xena wanted her, but Gabrielle sensed she would not force herself upon her. Otherwise, she probably would have done so already.
The warrior's mouth inched open, her tongue easing out and stroking its corners. Gabrielle could see her chest rising and falling, her breathing becoming audible. Xena glanced up suddenly. Blue eyes met green. Time seemed to stand still. Gabrielle's heart skipped a beat. The intensity of the warrior's gaze held her enthralled. The whetstone stopped in mid stroke.
An ember popped out of the fire and Gabrielle stabbed herself in the finger with the needle. "Yikes!" she yelped, the needle and her work, dropping into her lap. She then heard something else hit the ground on the other side of the fire and looked up.
The whetstone was at Xena's feet. The warrior was in the process of laying her sword down, her eyes locked on Gabrielle's. Uh-oh, she thought, seeing the brunette getting to her feet. Maybe I was wrong. Oh sweet Hestia, here she comes, she thought, calling the name of the goddess of hearth, home and virgins.
Xena knelt down in front of the blonde. "Let me see that." She put out her hand towards Gabrielle. "How deep is it?"
"N-not bad," Gabrielle muttered, as Xena took hold of her hand. "It just hurt a little is all."
Xena tore her eyes away from the little angel's long enough to peruse the wound. The puncture was small and hardly bleeding. She squeezed the finger, forcing more blood to the surface.
"Ow!" the blonde screeched. "What are you doing?"
"It needs to bleed or it could get infected," Xena explained, still holding onto the blonde's hand and gazing into her eyes. This injury couldn’' have come at better moment or a worse one, depending on how you looked at it. But, Xena planned to make the most of it. She knew she could use this to seduce her prey and she fully intended to do just that.
She waited until all the blood had dripped from the fingertip, breaking eye contact for only these brief intervals, then she raised the finger to her lips.
"Imph," Gabrielle squeaked, as the warrior's warm lips and tongue enveloped her fingertip. She thought to pull away, but couldn' t make herself do so; the warrior's eyes were holding her spellbound. Time seemed to stand still once again.
Gabrielle had never dreamed, much less felt anything so totally sensuous in her life. A part of her wanted more. Another part, wanted to run as fast as she could. The two feelings battled it out inside; her heart rate increasing until she could feel it drumming away in her ears. Her ears were on fire, her face burning, and her loins bursting into flames, as a hand on her leg moved closer towards them.
It was all too much, too soon! Gabrielle snatched her hand away and abruptly turned away, scrambling to her feet. "Thank... you," she thought to murmur, as she headed for the cave entrance.
The cool night air hit her in the face, feeling good upon her hot skin. The realization she was outside, in the dark, with no weapon, washed over her soon after. She stumbled over to the cave's outside wall, placing her back against it and slid down it. "Oh sweet, Hestia," she murmured.
"Damnation!" Xena growled in total frustration. She just knew she'd had the little angel right where she wanted her. What had she done wrong? Nothing. Not a damn thing! she answered herself. She's just playing hard to get, she reasoned, sitting back on her haunches. No, she's just afraid, a voice inside seemed to whisper. The warrior princess found that answer hard to accept in her present condition. A trip to the stream was in order.
Gabrielle saw Xena storm out of the cave, her round weapon on her right hip, catching a glint of light from the fire. She was headed in the direction of the stream. Gabrielle had wanted to go there, herself, but was afraid. Now, she couldn't. So, she got to her feet and stumbled back into the cave on trembling legs. She needed to lay down. She hoped to be asleep when the warrior returned and prayed the latter would not try anything else.
When she awoke the next morning, Xena wasn't there. The fire had been banked, so she knew she had been at some time during the night. Her weapons were missing, as was the saddle, but her bedroll was still there, so she'd obviously gotten up early.
Gabrielle was still flustered from the night before. Her bladder cried out for relief and her stomach growled with hunger. On her way out of the cave, she glimpsed the eggs Xena had brought back the evening before and her mouth watered. She wouldn't be able to wait for the warrior' s return.
Xena rode up, as Gabrielle was finishing off her breakfast. The warrior came in with a bloody bundle of what appeared to be rabbit's fur. She laid it by the fire.
"Good morning," Gabrielle offered. Xena glanced up briefly and grunted. Her hands were bloody. She eyed Gabrielle's plate. "I didn't know when you'd get back," Gabrielle explained, "So I went ahead and ate. But... there's two eggs left. I'll cook them for you."
"Two trout," the warrior said brusquely, gesturing to the bundle of fur at her feet, as she stood up. Their gazes locked for only a brief moment. The warrior turned and left.
When Gabrielle opened the bundle, she found not only trout, but meat from the rabbit, already cut up. The warrior had obviously been fishing and hunting. Gabrielle wondered how long she'd been out and about. And if her early rising had anything to do with the previous evenings events. How had Xena taken her abrupt departure last night? Had she hurt her feelings? She hadn't meant to. Should she try and explain?
Xena took her meal outside of the cave. It was hard being around the blonde right now. She'd seldom been turned down and her pride was wounded. And the worst part was, she still desired the little angel, no matter what she'd done. Matter of fact, she probably wanted her even more now. She grudgingly respected the woman's decision. Of course, there was still a part of her that wanted to march inside and take the blonde right then and there. After that, she was sure she would not be refused again. Yet, another part of her did not care for having the little angel being afraid of her. All her bed partners had been willing and she wouldn't change that tradition now. She'd wait and bide her time. Besides, it wasn't as if she had anything else to do or anywhere else to go. What in Tartarus were they doing here together, anyway?
Gabrielle was gathering tubers. She was almost certain the warrior wanted no part of her anymore, because she wouldn't talk to her and had taken her meal outside, without even a word of thanks.
At least she's not forcing you into anything, she consoled herself. If she were a man, she might well do so. But, if Xena didn't want from her what a man would, then what did she want, exactly?
Gabrielle pondered this question, as she wandered aimlessly looking for more edible tubers. Suddenly she gasped. In front of her, in the soft dirt, was a large paw print. Not far away, there were several more. She backed up slowly, her hand gripping the bag to keep it from moving and making noise; her eyes searching the woods.
Xena saw the blonde come racing out of the woods. She was on her feet instantly, drawing her sword. "What is it?" she asked, moving towards her companion.
"C-cat... tr-tracks," Gabrielle responded, gasping for breath.
"Where? How close?" the warrior queried, quite concerned.
"Not... far... that way." Gabrielle gestured the way she'd come.
"Did you see it?" Xena asked. The blonde shook her head. "How recent?" The blonde shrugged. "Stay in the cave. Build up the fire." The warrior touched her arm briefly on her way by.
She's coming to the stream," Xena announced upon her return. "You should stay inside. Don't go out without a weapon."
Gabrielle stared up at her. "I don't... know how to use the sword."
"Then you'll learn. Get it and come outside."
"You hold it in a comfortable grip," Xena instructed. "Not too tight, so it's easier to maneuver." She whipped the sword around in front of her, one handed, the blade slicing through the air, making a whirp-whirping sound.
"I have to hold it with two hands," Gabrielle admitted.
Xena grunted. "Then hold it like this." She put both hands on the handle. "For the cat, just the movements may keep it at bay. But, it won't be impressed by merely pointing it." Gabrielle nodded. "Now, try slashing across and back like I just did."
Gabrielle swung the sword as hard as she could, her momentum and the weight carrying her forward; her backstroke slow and off balance.
"That would get you killed," Xena commented. Gabrielle frowned. "If you missed on the first swing, she'd have you on the ground, while you were still thinking about coming back at her. It's not the force with which you strike that matters right now, it's the accuracy and quickness. Here, let me see that." She reached out for Gabrielle's sword and held one in each hand. "Hmph, take this... it's a bit lighter." She handed the blonde her own sword. Gabrielle looked up at her wide-eyed. "Just don't go practicing on any rocks, hmm? Now, try it again."
Gabrielle swung the sword, her movements a bit quicker due to the reduced weight.
"Here, let me show you." Xena sheathed the blonde' s sword on her back and moved over behind her pupil. She put her arms around Gabrielle, her hands on top of hers. As soon as she did this, she realized what this could lead to. "Relax," she said a bit softly, feeling the blonde stiffen. "You need to think of this sword as an extension of your own arms. Loosen your grip slightly.
"Now, just make a few slow passes, slashing this way and then coming back." She guided the blonde's arms in slow motion. "Keep your knees bent," she said near the blonde's ear, leading her pupil through another back and forth motion. "That's right," she deliberately purred, the aroma of flowers, as well as, the movement of their bodies in perfect sync, acting like an aphrodisiac on her already heightened senses.
Having the warrior so close was distracting. The hot breath upon Gabrielle's ear and neck was too pleasurable. How was she supposed to concentrate on learning to use a sword like this? she wondered.
"That's good," the warrior purred, in a husky voice, her breath tickling Gabrielle's ear. The brunette then let go of her hands, fingertips brushing against Gabrielle's skin, as they moved up her forearms, then suddenly ended up on the sides of her waist.
The warrior's fingertips were cool against her skin. "Need to make you a scabbard," the brunette added, then backed away, her hand grazing Gabrielle's hips on the way by.
Xena was aroused again. Seeing the little angel swinging her sword was a real turn on. Far more so than she ever anticipated.
"You really think I could kill the cat?" Gabrielle queried, as she paused in her practicing and held the blade up in front of her face.
You're slaying me, Xena thought. But she said, "At least you stand a better chance if you run up on her."
Gabrielle turned around. "I climbed a tree the last time," she admitted.
Xena frowned. "Excuse me? What last time?"
"I had to go back to the place where we dressed the deer and she showed up. I climbed the nearest tree."
"When was this?" the warrior asked, her tone becoming a bit shrill.
"When you were... delirious. It's where I found the yellow root."
"Don't go back there again," Xena said sternly, holding up her index finger. "From now on you go nowhere without me, you got that?" The warrior turned and started walking away.
"But, I thought I was learning to use the sword, so that..."
"Nowhere!" Xena shot over her shoulder, even though she wasn't sure why she was so upset over this. She just knew she was. The thought of losing her little angel was something she didn't even care to contemplate. "Get back in here!" she added, going in the cave herself and grabbing up a waterskin.
"But Xena, where are you going?" Gabrielle asked, when the warrior reemerged.
"To track her. Don't leave the cave 'til I get back!" The warrior was now striding towards the woods.
"What if I have to use...?"
Xena paused and spun around. "Then go right outside the cave. Now get in there! I should be back before sundown. If I'm not... go on and eat, don't wait on me."
"Aren't you taking the horse?"
‘"No, I can track her better on foot. Now do as I said!" she nearly shouted, pointing towards the cave. "I'll bring back the skin. Maybe you can make something out of it." Xena heard herself say this, but couldn't believe it. As angry at her own reactions, as at the blonde for always questioning her, she spun around on her heels and loped into the woods.
She was losing her focus; her powers of concentration. And she'd lost the cat's trail. All she could think about was Gabrielle and getting back to her. The desire to protect this woman was a feeling she hadn' t been privy to in quite awhile. Not since her brother Lyceus had she felt such an overwhelmingly strong instinct to keep anyone safe from harm. And she hadn't succeeded in doing so with him. Brother and sister had battled side by side to save their hometown of Amphipolis. And Lyceus had been killed while fighting one of Cortez's men. There was nothing she could have done, besides never fight to begin with, which had been out of the question.
Another day, she vowed to the feline menace. Then headed back.
Gabrielle was checking out the staff Xena had assumed was hers. She wondered what she'd done with this, if indeed it was hers. Was it just a walking stick? She liked the weight of it, much better than the heavy sword. Could she possibly use this to protect herself somehow? It really didn't seem as if it could do much damage. Probably wouldn't be of much help against a cat. The sword would do far more damage.
Xena was hot, sweaty and tired when she got back.
"Didn't find her?" Gabrielle queried, the sword and staff close at hand beside her.
"Next time," Xena replied brusquely. "Get your stuff. Let's go to the stream. I smell like a pig in heat."
"I don't believe I know what that smells like," Gabrielle mumbled. "And don't think I want to," she added, determined not to get too close to the warrior. "Xena, what do you think I used that staff for?" she queried, following behind her companion.
The warrior shrugged. "It was the only weapon that appeared to belong to you."
"A staff can be a weapon?"
"In the right hands. Why? You wanna learn how to use a staff now?"
Gabrielle shrugged. "It's lighter than the sword."
"Tomorrow," the warrior suggested.
After surveying the area carefully, the warrior stripped and waded into the water. Gabrielle was sitting on a log, sword in hand, keeping watch. Or at least, she was supposed to be. That's what she told herself she was doing, in any event, even though her eyes kept straying to the stream.
A dark head surfaced from beneath the water, a slow emanation of liquid issuing from a pair of half-parted lips, as the warrior stood up to her full height. The heavy globes of flesh seemed to bob upon the surface, while their owner ran her hands over her raven hair, slicking it back. Blue eyes met green suddenly. Gabrielle blushed and looked away.
Xena waded toward the shore. She knew she had the blonde's attention. She'd play this hand out, appearing to ignore the attention, however. Let the little angel decide for herself, if she wanted what was offered.
On shore, Xena turned sideways slightly, offering her right side for examination and so she could watch the viewer's reaction from her peripheral vision. She pulled her long hair over to this side and squeezed the water out, slowly; well aware now that she had an audience. She then flipped it back behind her and bent over rather quickly; her long hair flying over her head, then back again, as she straightened up. Her audience of one appeared captivated and she intended to keep it that way.
She ran her hands over her hair again, smoothing it down, turning ever so slightly toward the lone spectator and closing her eyes to slits. The little angel had her head cocked sideways just a bit, apparently to avoid being caught again. Xena glanced down, turning her attention to her own body and running her hands over it, removing the excess water: arms first, slow and steady; torso second, closing her eyes on the way down and then finally her legs, bending over slightly, catching sight of the voyeur from the corner of her eye, their gaze following her movements.
Reaching over, she picked up the mint leaves she' d gathered previously and left close by, crushing them in her hands to release more of their fragrance, then proceeding back up her body, working slowly.
Gabrielle was totally mesmerized. The breeze blew the minty fragrance in her direction and she inhaled the scent as if were key to her survival. Meanwhile, her mind was pondering question after question concerning what might have happened the night before, had she not jumped up and left. The hands roaming over smooth bronze skin... what might they have felt like on her own body? And that firm, smooth naked flesh... had it, at some point and time that she couldn't remember, been pressed against her own? And what might that have felt like?
The sword she had been holding out in front of her, at the ready, slipped from her sweaty palms and clanged to the ground. She quickly glanced down, snatching it up, then turned. The warrior was watching, her left hand perched above her right breast. The latter glanced down at the sword, her hand inching over her breast, then she returned her attention to her previous task.
"These things are heavy," Gabrielle said, looking at the sword now, trying to cover her embarrassment.
"Um-hm," the warrior agreed. "You'll get used to it."
Gabrielle grunted. "Maybe I should learn to use the staff. Or... relearn," she corrected herself.
"You don't have to hold it like that all the time, ya know," the brunette commented. Gabrielle glanced over at her. The warrior didn't even look up as she said, "You wouldn't hold your arm out like that, now would you? Or even a staff for that matter?"
"Hmph, I... I just wanted to be ready," the blonde responded. Xena glanced over at her now. "You know... just in case. I mean, she could come running out of those woods and..."
"Cats usually stalk their prey," Xena interrupted, never pausing in her task. "Especially in places like this. She'll expend as little energy as possible in bringing down her meal."
Gabrielle shivered at the thought of being the large feline's meal.
Xena was prolonging her task, drawing it out and milking it for all it was worth. She wasn't afraid the cat was close by, so she was in no rush to put her clothes back on. Matter of fact, the cool breeze felt good on her hot skin. But, it was getting late. "Bring the sword over here and go ahead and take your bath," she suggested, deciding they should move things along.
Gabrielle swallowed hard. Looking at the warrior' s naked body was one thing, but being that close to it and undressing as well, was quite another. And yet, she found herself getting to her feet and walking towards the tall brunette. She held the handle of the sword out to Xena.
"Just put it down here," the warrior suggested nonchalantly, gesturing to the log her scabbard was propped up against, by putting her left foot up on it. Her left hand now went to the outside of her thigh, working its way around underneath.
Gabrielle saw this movement, while bending over to lay the sword down. The fading passion mark on the inside of the brunette' s thigh grabbing her attention for a moment, before her gaze strayed over to the mass of frizzy dark hair. Droplets of water were still clinging to the very ends of the damp curls; the warrior's left cheek barely visible just beyond.
Xena moved her right hand over and slowly up the inside of her raised thigh. Most men would have been trying to hop her bones by now. Most uninterested females wouldn't be looking, at all. And most interested ones, might well be helping her with her task. The little angel, however, was somewhere in between the latter two. Xena licked her lips. Although a bit frustrating, her seduction of the blonde could prove to be quite a challenge. And she so loved a good challenge.
"Go on," Xena urged, as the blonde raised up and hesitated in removing her clothes. "Or do I need to turn my back, hmm?"
Gabrielle shook her head and turned her own back, while inching a bit further away. She wasn't used to disrobing in front of anyone. Then again, it wasn't as if the warrior hadn't already had an eyeful of her, on several occasions. She quickly took her clothes off and headed for the water.
Once the blonde was in the water, Xena realized she'd forgotten her bowl of flower concoction. And an idea leapt into her mind.
Gabrielle was trying to concentrate on bathing, keeping her back to the shore. Although all the while, she was wondering what the warrior was doing. She could almost feel the intense gaze upon her skin. She laid her head back in the water and suddenly remembered the bowl of flower solution. She turned around and nearly jumped out of her skin, finding the naked warrior standing in front of her.
"You forgot this," Xena said, displaying the bowl in one large palm. "Turn around and I'll put some on your hair."
"I... uh..." Gabrielle stammered.
"You're not afraid of me, are you?" Xena asked, taking a step closer. Gabrielle's eyes fell to the brunette's chest of their own accord. "Hmm?" the warrior further prodded.
Gabrielle glanced up. "Uh, no... course not."
"Then turn around." The warrior arched one dark eyebrow, waiting.
Gabrielle did as she was told. Xena moved closer and the aroma of flowers filled the air around them, as she poured a small amount of the scented liquid onto the blonde's head. "Tilt your head back a little," she suggested, placing her left hand on the little angel's shoulder. The latter flinched slightly, but complied.
Xena took another step forward, her left thigh briefly brushing against the blonde's buttocks, as she allowed more of the solution to pour out of the bowl. When she was finished, she reached around the smaller woman, offering her the bowl in her right hand, while her left slipped from the blonde's shoulder and moved down her back. It was all she could do to keep from grabbing the little angel and pulling her against her naked body.
With sheer force of will, she merely uttered the words, "I want you to share my bed," then turned and waded back to shore.
A lump formed in Gabrielle's throat the size of her fist, or so it seemed. She swallowed hard, several times. The warrior had now truly made her intentions known. And left behind a searing trail of heat, along her hand's previous path.
What am I supposed to do now? she wondered. Oh sweet Hestia, I can't believe I'm considering this. Considering... my hind leg, she corrected herself, the stirrings inside, irrefutable evidence of how she truly felt. The fiery arrow of desire soared down her body and struck dead center of its intended target, each time the warrior's words replayed in her mind. And they were doing so, over and over again. My body must know something I don't. Or perhaps, don't remember.
Continue to Part 10