Shipmates

part 7

By Azurenon & Savanna Mac

Please see part one for all disclaimers.


 

Chapter 7

"Hold still! I swear, youíre almost as bad as a child," Gabrielle grumbled.

"Yeah, well, my face is clean enough, youíre rubbing it raw," Xena retorted, as she turned her face away from the rag in the bardís hand.

"Lean down and let me get those ears, then," the bard suggested.

"My ears, oh please, Gabrielle, nothing went in my e-ears," the warrior said, drawing out the last word. "Except maybe your tongue and... we know itís clean, right?"

"Still need cleaning," the bard mumbled, ignoring the latter comment. "But, okay, I give up on that until we get to port," she added, her hand with the rag attached moving over Xenaís chest now.

"Umm, now this part, I donít mind," her lover said. "Um-hm, this oneís re-eal dirty too, see?"

"Uh-huh," the bard commented.

"Hey," Xena said, quickly grabbing the bardís hand, which was headed for her lower abdomen. "I think... I better... handle this one."

"And whyís that.?Youíre not getting shy all of a sudden, are you?" the bard teased.

"Oh no, not shy, just... smart."

"And just what do you mean by that?" Gabrielle asked, her hands on her own hips now, arms akimbo.

"I mean, if you wash that... weíll both end up needing another bath."

"Oh," Gabrielle smiled, then turned away, so she didnít have to watch her lover do what sheíd been waiting to do.

"Done," Xena said, as she handed the rag to the bard on her way over to her clothes.

Gabrielle shook her head sadly. Iíll take care of it, later, she thought. Although later may be sooner than either of us thinks, she added, thinking about how many times theyíd made love so far. And how it was never something they planned, it just happened. One minute they were teasing each other or just looking at each other and the next... never, never land. "Whew!" she said aloud, her heart beginning to beat faster just thinking about it.

"I think Iíll go up on deck and check on the weather," Xena said, adjusting her leather outfit. "See if weíre in for any storms tonight. Wanna come?"

"You... go ahead," the bard replied, "Iíll join you later."

"Is there... anything wrong, Gabrielle?" Xena inquired.

"No. Why?" the bard responded, dipping the rag in the water once again, then squeezing the water out and doing it again.

"You just... I donít know... youíre so quiet like... I donít know," Xena said shaking her head. "Too quiet, ya know. Have I... done something or said something that..."

"Thereís nothing wrong, Xena," the bard responded, rubbing the rag over her armpits.

"Hmph," the warrior grunted, as she watched Gabrielle clean the places sheíd missed in her first attempt at bathing her lover. "You will.... join me later, then?" she asked, forcing her eyes away from her lover, as she sat down on the bed and started putting on her boots. It seemed everything Gabrielle did these days, in some way or another, turned her on.

"Yeah sure. As soon as I finish my bath," the bard responded. "I think I could use some fresh air myself," she added, watching her loverís shoulders and arm muscles flex as she pulled on her boots, then started lacing them up.

By the Godís, Gabrielle thought, itís as if I havenít watched her do this a thousand times before. Umm, this hunger is so deep inside... nothing ever seems to satisfy it. Of course, I have waited a long time for this. Wonder if that could have anything to do with it?

"Umph," Xena grunted, tugging on her bootlace. Iíve never felt this way about anyone else in my entire life. I canít get enough of looking at her and... especially touching her. Great Zeus, the effect she has on me. And... she doesnít even have to do anything. Isnít the desire supposed to fade somewhat after youíve fullfilled it... several times? It used to. The mere conquest used to be the fullfilling part and after that it was just... well sex, for the sake of release. But this... Hmph, this is so-o different! I feel so... strange inside. Sheís all I can think about. Boy, I thought I had it bad before, but now... Umph. Which is exactly why I need to get out of here or else... I am gonna need another bath.

"See you up on deck, then," Xena said, as she got quickly to her feet.

Gabrielle cleared her throat. "I think you better tie your other boot lace," she advised, "before you trip over it."

Xena glanced down at her boots. "Now howíd that happen? I couldíve sworn..." she mumbled as she sat back down on the bed.

"And Iíd suggest that you run a brush through your hair," the bard added, personally liking the rumbled look of Xenaís hair, herself. "Cause you look like youíve... been rolling around in bed."

"Hmph, I canít imagine why, can you?" the warrior teased, as she turned towards her lover and flashed a sly smile, her eyes traveling quickly from the bardís face to her breasts.

"Yep, we both could use some fresh air," Gabrielle mumbled, as she turned away. Looks like Iím not the only one whose got it bad, she thought, smiling herself now.

Xena sat there staring at her loverís small, firm ,behind with her mouth agape. A small drop of spittle soon trickled into one corner. "Umph," she grunted, licking it away and then wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Iíve gotta get a hold of myself, she thought, forcing herself to turn away and complete the task of lacing up her boot.

When Xena finally left, Gabrielle sighed with a touched of longing. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself feeling so... lustful, she thought, as she put on her skirt. It sure wasnít like this with Perdecus, she mused, remembering their one night together. "Hmph," she grunted aloud, as something that had been nagging at her, finally lept into her consciousness. "I didnít love him, like I love Xena," she mumbled aloud. Matter of fact, Iím not even sure if I truly loved him enough to marry him, she thought, as she slipped into her halter and began lacing it up.

The scene from the very next morning when sheíd told Perdecus she now knew what love was flashed through her mind now. "But, I didnít know, did I?í she mumbled aloud. I just felt good that... I was making amends to him after running out on him and following behind Xena. Like some love sick puppy. she added.

It was guilt, a voice inside her head supplied. The release of that guilt is what you were feeling. Not love.

"Hmm," she murmured, moving over to the bed, where she sat down and started putting on her boots. Did I marry him out of guilt alone? she wondered.

And because you were running away from something else, the voice reminded her.

Um, yeah,... Xena. I was truly afraid of my feelings for her back then. And she was usually so aloof that...

Think maybe she was like this because she felt the same way about you? the voice suggested. After all, she didnít seem all that happy when you told her you were marrying him. And remember how she took you aside to talk to you afterwards? Told Joxer to take a hike? And that kiss... One little inch the other way and...

"And I might have known Iíd made a big mistake," the bard murmured.

Exactly! the voice added.

But, Xena wouldnít have waited this long to tell me. Would she?

People do strange things when they love someone. Look at you... you waited until you couldnít stand it any longer. And Xena, well... sheís tougher than you are in that way.

"Could she really have loved me all that time?" the bard mumbled, as she stood up, checking to make sure both of her own boots were tied properly.

You did, the voice reminded her, as the bard turned and surveyed their small cabin.

Youíre right about that. I... I think Iíve loved her from the moment I first laid eyes on her. I know I wanted to... be with her, she thought, seeing their rumpled sleeping clothes lying in a heap by her side of the bed. I just up and left home to follow her, she continued, picking up the clothes from the floor in one swoop of her arms. Strange how I did that, she mused, laying the clothes next to their packs, intending to straighten them out as best she could. Not knowing anything about the world outside of our village and... one day, I just up and leave.... to follow after this... blue-eyed warrior woman. She shook her head at the memory.

"Hmph," she grunted, as her hand grazed something hard and round inside her pants that had ended up on top. She reached inside the pants leg and came out with the peeled orange from that morning. A smile slowly crept onto her face, as she thought about taking this along with her up on deck.

The clothes were left where she had laid them, as her thoughts once again turned towards her beloved and meeting her up on deck; her feet making tracks to do just that.

When Gabrielle reached the upper deck, her eyes scanned the ship in search of Xena. There she is, she thought, spotting her beloved talking to the captain, but staring at her.

She canít keep her eyes off you, either, her inner voice suggested, as Gabrielle felt a warm glow creep up her body and settle around her heart. See, here she comes, the voice added, as Xena started making her way towards her, a warm smile lighting up her face.

"Xena!" one of the crewman called as she started by him. "Lend us a hand with this sail?"

Xena eyes darted from Gabrielle to the man and back again, the smile fading from her face. "Uh... sure," she finally agreed, with one last glance in her loverís direction.

"Hmph," the bard grunted, her hand tightening its grip on the orange, as Xena smiled, then went to help the sailors.

The dirty white sail was large and heavy and with the wind blowing the way it was, it was hard to lower. Xena joined two scraggily looking men trying to secure the sail from flapping, while the other men lowered it. Gabrielle watched as the warriorís back, arm and leg muscles flexed and rippled, working in unison to perform the task their owner had undertaken. The wind buffeted the warriorís long, dark hair, sweeping it back from her face one time and then sending tendrils fluttering around the olive-skinned oval at another; her long bangs framing her face to perfection.

"By the gods, you are so-o beautiful," Gabrielle murmured.

Look what you would have missed if Perdecus had lived, her mind supplied.

"Umph," Gabrielle grunted, not liking the implications of this statement. Would I have stayed with him? she wondered. Could I have stayed with him? Would I have missed Xena so much that... I would have left him again... for her?

Tough questions, huh? her mind asked. And whatís the answer?

Gabrielle turned away and wrapped her arms around herself, the orange still clutched in her hand, as she gazed out at the ominous looking clouds on the western horizon. She felt guilty once again; for, she knew in her heart that she could never have loved Perdecus like she loved Xena.

I got him killed, she thought, sadly. My selfishness and... uncertainty caused him his life. Oh the guilt, she thought, inadvertently tightening her grip on the orange, and then suddenly feeling the cool sticky substance as it dripped onto and quickly traveled down her arm.

Hmph, I guess I better go ahead and eat this myself, she thought, opening the orange to reveal its neatly arranged sections.

"Weíve got a slight problem," her loverís soft, husky voice said from directly behind her.

"Oh Xena," the bard gasped, her knees feeling weak. "You scared me," she added, feeling a warm hand touch her right side. "What... what did you say?"

"I said... we have a slight problem," Xena said softly near her left ear.

"And whatís that?" the bard inquired, her voice equally as soft.

"I canít keep my hands off you," the warrior said, her right hand now roaming over the bardís stomach, her index finger circling her navel.

"Xena, there are men... watching," the bard said, slightly turning towards her lover.

One dark eyebrow shot skyward as Xena calmly said. "I know. So, now you see my problem?"

"Doesnít exactly sound like a major problem to me," the bard commented as her eyes met those of her loverís and their gazes locked in an almost intimate embrace.

"Hmm," Xena sighed, as her faced started moving towards Gabrielleís.

"Uh, here," Gabrielle offered, thinking fast, as she produced a section of the orange and quickly put it to her loverís parted lips. "Chew on this," she added, popping it into her loverís mouth. "until we get to our cabin."

"Hmph," Xena grunted, as she chewed on the fruit, its pulpy juices exploding inside her mouth.

"Whe-eríd Ďoou finí this?" she mumbled around a mouthful, as she followed behind Gabrielle.

"In my pants leg," the bard mumbled over her shoulder.

"Umm... vis has... been un... Ďour panís?" the warrior questioned, following the bard down the steps to the lower deck. "Hmm... I doní... blamíem... I like it... thurí míself," she added, watching the bardís small hips, as they swayed from side to side when she moved.

Gabrielle stopped abruptly at the entrance to the lower deck and turned around to face her lover, holding up another section of orange. "I thought Iíd quieted that mouth," she said, "but, I guess not. So here..." She tried to push this slice into her loverís mouth, but Xena only accepted a small bite, easily slicing it with her teeth. "Cheater," Gabrielle teased.

"You can feed me anytime," said a male voice from behind them.

Gabrielle looked up and Xena turned, to find a rather tall, handsome, muscular crewman at the top of the stairs, coming towards them.

"I wonít cheat, either," the man continued, flashing a lascivious grin. "Iíve been watching you since you boarded the ship and... I think we could... have a fine time together."

"No fanks," Xena mumbled around a mouthful of orange.

"Hmph, well, I was really talking to the cute little blonde anyway," the man corrected, as he sidestepped Xena and approached Gabrielle. "Whaddaya say cutie?"

"Buk uff," Xena mumbled, then quickly spit out the fruit. "Ba-ack off." she repeated in that low, calm, "I mean business" tone of voice. "Sheís not interested."

The man paid her no attention, as he reached out for Gabrielleís arm. "Let the little lady speak for herself," he said, as the orange dropped from the bardís hand.

Xena quickly grabbed his wrist. "I said... back off buster!" she growled, squeezing his wrist.

The man glanced down at her hand, then up at her. "Take your hand off me," he warned, his tone low and deadly serious, "if you wanna keep it," he added, reaching for the knife on his belt.

As he pulled the knife from its sheath, Xena kicked it out of his hand. "Bugger off!" she growled, as she applied more pressure to his wrist, making him let go of Gabrielle, then quickly twisted his arm around behind his back.

Gabrielle was quite surprised when Xenaís breast dagger suddenly appeared at the manís groin area, with Xena holding the point to his leather crotch covering.

"The little lady is my... friend," Xena said in that low, too calm voice.

"Friend," the man spat. "Awch!" he groaned, as Xena tightened the pressure on his arm.

"Yes. And I believe I speak for her when I say, No thank you, asshole," the warrior growled deep in her throat. "So take it somewhere else. That is... if-f you wanna keep it," she added pressing the point of the dagger firmly against his groin.

"You havenít.... got the guts," he grumbled.

"Donít tempt me," Xena said, in that whispery hiss that always signified she meant business.

"Xena!" Gabrielle screeched, as the dagger point pierced the leather covering.

"Stay outta this, Gabrielle. If he wants to keep it, heíll go away peacefully. Wonít you?" she asked the man.

"Awch... yes... yes," he finally agreed, feeling the cold bronze point of the dagger against the skin of his privates now.

"And donít let me catch you anywhere near her again," Xena hissed. "Is that clear?"

"Uh-huh," the man whimpered, the dagger point very close to slicing his flesh now.

"Now, apologize to the little lady," she added.

"I... Iím... s-sorry," he said.

"Good. Now... bugger off!" Xena growled, as she quickly removed the dagger and shoved him away with her foot.

The man landed against the wooden steps. He quickly scrambled to his feet and glanced back at her once, as he rubbed his arm, then turned his attention to his privates, as he stumbled up the stairs.

"Come on," Xena said, as she stashed the dagger back down in the hidden compartment Gabrielle had sewn into the cleavage of her leather outfit. "Letís go to our cabin," she added, putting her arm around her loverís shoulders now.

"Xena, you... wouldnít have... actually cut him,... would you?" the bard inquired, as they proceeded towards their cabin.

"Hmph," the warrior grunted.

"You mean, youíd actually... do that... over me?" the bard further queried.

"No one takes whatís mine," Xena said, opening the door for her lover. "You should know that by now."

"Yours," the bard murmured, entering the cabin, feeling a bit scared by Xena reactions and yet very protected as well. "You mean,... if he had continued..."

"Yes," Xena interrupted, cutting off the bardís question, as she pushed the door shut behind them and slid the bolt home. "Anyone messes with you," she paused, as she quickly turned back around. "and Iíll... cut his heart out," she growled softly, as her arms encircled her loverís waist from behind. "Youíre mine now, Gabrielle," she whispered in the bardís ear. "No one better mess with whatís mine, unless... you want them to." She paused. "Did you want him?" she asked, rather dejectedly.

"Of course not. Donít be silly," the bard chastised, turning around in her loverís arms to face her. "You should know better than even ask that," she added, placing her hand on the side of her loverís face. "I just... Iíve never seen you react quite ...like that before. At least not... over me."

"Iíll do it again," Xena responded, her voice soft and whispery now. "Because I love you, Gabrielle. And I wanna keep you all to myself. No sharing," she added, lifting the bard off her feet with only a slight grunt and positioning her loverís legs around her hips. "Kiss me," she requested, holding her face up to Gabrielleís.

"Your wish is my command," the bard replied, taking her loverís face in both hands now and kissing her soundly and passionately, as the warrior backed them over to the bed.

When Xena felt the webbing of the web touch the back of her legs, she slowly eased down on it and broke away from their hard to maintain kiss in this position. The warrior then buried her face in her loverís cleavage, her tongue trying to get beneath the tight fitting halter. "This has gotta go," she murmured, easing back and holding her lover with her left arm, while her right hand fumbled to loosen the ties.

"All hands on deck!" A call went out from up above. "Storm approaching!"

"Xena," Gabrielle said, as the warrior pulled the sides of her halter back.

"I heard," Xena grumbled. "And Iíll be so glad when weíre off this blasted ship!"

"Shouldnít we... um...do something?" the bard asked, as her lover surrounded one breast with her mouth.

"N-nuthiní we can do," Xena murmured against her skin. "Excepí ride it out. Besides, we... already went through one last night and... I didnít know anything about it, did you?"

"We did?" the bard queried, the surprise evident in her tone. "There was a storm... Oh Zeus," she muttered, as Xenaís tongue flicked across her nipple. "..last night?"

"Um-hm,... tore one of the sails," Xena murmured, as she moved over to lavish the same attention on the other breast.

"By the gods, Xena, you mean we slept through a storm?" Gabrielle murmured in awe.

"Or too busy with our own storm in here," the warrior suggested.

"Oh Xena," Gabrielle giggled, then whimpered against her loverís hair. "Iím so... in love with you, I guess... nothing else matters."

"Ditto," Xena responded, attacking the small round breast with more fervor.

"Ah-h-h," Gabrielle groaned. "Then letís... ride this storm out... the same way we did the last one. No use worrying about something we canít change," she mused.

"Umm-hmm," Xena agreed.

Continue to part 8

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