Promises Made… Lessons Learned
by Duv Lyn

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to these characters and I don't dislike Gabrielle, but there are times when she is such a royal pain in the butt and the girl just NEVER listens!! So what lies ahead is a bit of well-meant and well-deserved corporal punishment. If that kind of thing bothers you, stop here.
Tiny spoiler for the episode The Titans - Season 1.

Xena slammed the door loudly and dropped her saddlebag on the floor before turning to face the sullen form who was dragging along behind. The girl seemed to be most interested in the toes of her boots for she made no attempt to raise her head. The warrior made every effort to contain the anger about to boil over. Gabrielle stopped a few feet from her larger friend, nervously trying to quell that same anger.
"I…I said I was sorry, Xena. What more do you want?" Eyebrows arching as she looked at the warrior, innocently.
"I told you what would happen if you chose to ignore my warnings again! You made your decision. I've made mine and I want you to get over here right now." The edge in Xena's voice made Gabrielle more than a little apprehensive.
"Xeeena...." the girl pleaded.
"Gab-ri-elle. NOW!"
"But…Xena...I…you can't just…come on…Xena?" Gabrielle's eyes questioned searching Xena for some way through the anger.

"I'm waiting." Xena crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the girl. This time she would not be calmed, this time the threat would become reality.
Sighing, Gabrielle continued to stall. "This is stupid, Xena. I said I was sorry. You can't do this." She finished as she crossed the room in unsure steps trying unsuccessfully to keep the tremor out of her voice. She stopped, standing a few paces away from the warrior princess, her hands clasped behind her.
"Oh, yes I can and YES I do 'have to'. Otherwise you may forget…AGAIN! Something you tend to have a problem with, remembering what I tell you. Well I assure you little bard, this is something you WILL NOT forget." Xena glared at the girl before seating herself on the straight-back chair in front of the fireplace. "Let's get this over with, NOW!"
The girl stood her ground silently refusing to move any closer to the irate warrior. Xena crossed her arms over her chest a second time and used a tone that left no room for misunderstanding. "Gabrielle, if I have to get up and get you, you will really regret it."
Gabrielle bit her bottom lip and shook her head, looking at her feet. The girl spoke slowly and quietly already knowing the battle was lost. "No, Xena…I'm not a child and you can't treat me like one…no I'm too old for this…and you ca…" The warrior's glare silenced the girl and she swallowed hard. Xena was not kidding and she was in for a painful lesson.
If Xena hadn't been so angry, Gabrielle might have tried a quick escape. She wouldn't get very far but at least she could buy some time, perhaps force Xena to run off some of her anger. Before she had the opportunity to act on that thought the warrior's hand grabbed her by the arm and pulled her roughly across her lap. Without thinking the girl quickly put a hand over her backside in a vain effort to protect it. "Xena, this is silly," the girl protested again, in a shaky voice. "I'm too big for a spanking…"
"Oh, Gabrielle, this is not going to be just a spanking," the warrior stated firmly moving the girl's hand to the side. "This is going to be a lesson to you, something to remind you of the consequences for reckless decisions. A way for you to see once and for all that I mean what I say. I made a promise I intend to keep. Oh, and I do forgive you, Gabrielle, but this punishment is for taking stupid risks, for putting yourself in danger, for putting us both in danger, for putting an entire village in danger and for going off on your own even AFTER I warned you not to do so!"
Gabrielle turned to make one last ditch effort to verbally defend her 'position' just in time to see the warrior's hand raised high above its target. The girl closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. Her body tensed in anticipation of the warrior's wrath. Xena raised a hand an arm's length over her target then swiftly began to warm the bard's backside with brisk even strokes.
Xena landed each strike in a new spot on the girl's unprotected rear, causing her to jump just a bit with each one.
Expecting Xena to relent and once again allow her indiscretions to go unpunished Gabrielle was surprised to feel the harsh reality of the warrior's hand. She noticed how quickly her bottom began to smart, not real pain, just a lot of humiliation. She secretly smiled to herself thanking the gods for this small favor.
Although the bard's backside had probably turned a healthy shade of pink, the soft thud of the warrior's palm against the girl's chamois skirt was not making the impression the warrior had intended. Gabrielle let out a soft 'oopf' with each swat but Xena soon began to realize this was not quite the effect she had planned.
Gabrielle was relieved when the next stroke didn't fall on schedule. She turned around to look up at Xena and saw a look in Xena's eyes that she had not seen before. She was a bit surprised, and a more than a little fearful.
"You're finished?" Gabrielle was hopeful as she sprang to her feel and rubbed the sting off of her backside. Amazing how the soft deerskin could protect that sensitive area.
"No Gabrielle, we are NOT finished!" Xena's eyes began to blaze as she realized Gabrielle's amusement at the situation. "
Sighing, Gabrielle began slowly back stepping toward the door. Amazed that the warrior did not said anything to stop her. If she could just find a nice quiet hiding place until Xena cooled off a bit, she would probably be able to sit comfortable by morning.
"STOP RIGHT THERE!" The warrior commanded just as the girl turned to open the door. She froze where she stood knowing the sooner Xena got this over with, the better off she would be. Xena had turned to the stool by the bed and began to rummage through her bag until she found what she was looking for.
She tapped the large round brush she used for grooming Argo against the palm of her hand and smiled. 'Yes, this was just the thing. Now, we'll see who thinks this amusing.' Looking up, Xena saw Gabrielle slowly unlatching the door.
"Gabrielle, get_ back_ here."
The girl turned slowly, facing the angry warrior for a second time that evening. Oh, why didn't she just do as Xena said and wait for her instead of taking action on her own? She hadn't intended to cause such a ruckus with those Titans and she was only trying to fix things when she went back to the cave alone.
"Gabrielle, I decided to rethink this situation and take a more affirmative action."

Somehow she didn't like the sound of that. Gabrielle smiled weakly and replied hopefully, "I told you we didn't need it. I'll never do anything behind your back again. Xena, I'll think before trying to take over. I will never be foolish again." Gabrielle's smile faded as Xena held up the brush. "Argo's brush? W-why did you get that?"
"Let's just say it's got many skills, Gabrielle. Now…we finish this. Come here!"
Xena pointed her finger at a spot in front of her feet. Gabrielle couldn't take her eyes off the brush. She remained motionless. The warrior crossed the small room and took the shaking girl by the wrist. She led her back to the chair, but before pulling her across her knees for a second time, she ordered, "and you can drop those britches, little girl!"
The girl's jaw dropped and she shook her head slowly. She hadn't had her bare bottom paddled since her mother caught her stealing confections at the village market place. She had done it on a dare and was caught red handed. Mother wasted no time and soon she was red bottomed as well. Mother had used those same words, but then she was ten years old. This was entirely different.
"NO, Xena, please!!" She struggled frantically to pull her hand from the warrior's grip. "Come on, Xena." This was no longer funny. Xena was serious and Gabrielle's backside was in serious jeopardy.
In one swift move the warrior took the girl over her knees, tossed back her chamois skirt and relieved her of the linen britches beneath.
"Xena don't, please. Please, I'm sorry." Gabrielle wailed, begging Xena not to spank her bare bottom. She knew the spanking would be worse than any before and that Xena certainly would pepper her backside until she couldn't sit for weeks. She knew doubting the warrior and almost getting them both killed had been the worse thing she'd ever done. She knew she would be punished, but she thought Xena's stern lecture had been enough.
"I know you're sorry, but not as sorry as you're gonna be. "Gabrielle, I am going to paddle your backside for as long as it takes to make you understand I MEAN business and it is going to be the most painful experience of your young life!" Xena's decision was final. It wasn't a threat, it was a reality.
Gabrielle stayed silent. Partly because she could think of nothing to use as verbal defense and maybe, just maybe she if she was very still, very obedient, Xena would see didn't need this punishment. Maybe if…SMACK! The first blow took Gabrielle off guard and it was all she could do not to scream.
Raining down whacks on her backside, Xena noticed how quickly Gabrielle's bottom turned from pink to red. The girl began to whimper and then to cry under the castigation. She knew that Gabrielle needed to learn this lesson the hard way. Even though each strike was leaving a dark red welt across the girl's tender backside, Xena knew she deserved every one.
"Xe-Xeeeena, pl-lease!" Gabrielle begged as the paddling continued. "I'm really… OW… sorry! I'll never…ouch… do…ooo… it again…oh, ow… pleeeease. I'll…OW… think before…OW… doing anything. OW!! Oh, ow…ouch…OW!!"
"Glad to hear that Gabrielle. But I'm not finished making my point." the warrior said without halting the cadence of strokes.
Gabrielle's normally white backside was now a lovely shade of scarlet. Pausing, Xena reestablished her hold on the girl.

"A-are you d-d-done?" Gabrielle stammered through her tears.
"Not quite."
Gabrielle sobbed heavily, squirming to escape the renewed cascade of whacks.
"Oh, no, no, no, no, no, little bard…I think we need a few more in order to be convincing." Xena warned pinning the girl in position.
Giving no more hesitation, Xena began her paddling anew. Five good sound smacks fell against the girl's already scorched backside. The final two placed where her across the most sensitive area of her backside. This elicited a shrill cry from the now sobbing young girl.
"Ow, ow, ow…Xe-Xenaaa! OW!!! Sorry, I'm so sorry! I'm…oooo…I'm convinced….ow, please, please Xe…ow…no more, please" Gabrielle wailed. Her sobs were now uncontrollable.
Xena finished with five good sound smacks to Gabrielle's now crimson backside. Then stopped. Gabrielle dared not move. She tried to gain control of her tears taking deep breaths between sobs and waiting for the next wave of paddling to begin. "Please… please…Xena…no more…I…I'll …be good…I…p-prom…promise…" She tried to speak through her tears.
"All right,'s over…all over." The warrior said lifting the girl to her feet. She pulled the britches that had fallen around the girl's ankles back into place.
"I hope you know I do love you Gabrielle," she said placing a soft kiss on the girl's forehead.
"I...I know and I love you too Xena." Gabrielle said as her sobs quieted. The spanking was over but the scorched throbbing would continue for hours.
"I don't ever want to have to do this again." Xena remarked sternly.
"Me either." Gabrielle sniffed.
But just in case…." Xena placed the brush back in her bag. "Now get yourself to bed, we have a long way to go tomorrow."
Gabrielle grimaced and rubbed her tender backside. She walked slowly toward the smaller of the two beds in the rented room. She lowered herself gently on to the mattress and cried herself to sleep into her pillow. She had hoped Xena would leave her alone with her guilt and humiliation, but the warrior remained in the straight-backed chair sharpening her sword and staring out the small window at the full moon. Somehow that familiar nose comforted the contrite girl.
An hour later the warrior gently pulled a blanket over the sleeping girl. Her damp eyelashes lay on her still puffy cheeks long after she had cried herself to sleep. Every now and again she would still whimper softly. She brushed a stray hair from the girl's face and again placed a soft kiss on her forehead. 'How could this little imp get herself into so much trouble and how could she have been so angry with her a few hours ago and so touched by her penitence now?' In the morning the redness that covered the girl's backside would be faded, but in its place would be deep purple bruises that would be a constant reminder to the well-spanked bard.
She'd be sleeping on her stomach for more than a few nights and standing to eat her meals. It would be two weeks before she could ride the tall war-horse…
And months before the bard could bear to use the brush on the great golden mare without reliving the night Xena kept a promise and she learned a painful lesson.

the end

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