Disclaimer: Xena:Warrior Princess is a trademark of Renaissance Pictures. Story mine, main characters not. RisquÈ.
© September 1997 Charmer
Gabrielle stumbled in the sandy earth as the line sprang back towards her. She narrowly missed getting swiped in the face as the fishing rod snapped in her hands.
Xena didn't bother to suppress her chuckle. 'I told you it wasn't supple enough.'
Gabrielle's bottom lip protruded just a little as she turned to face the tall woman on her left. The warrior kept her gaze resolutely ahead, refusing to acknowledge the bard's dangerous glare.
'You stole the best one.'
Xena sniggered at the accusation, her eyes carefully following her line as it floated on the gentle current. Her expression was considerably lacking in sympathy.
Gabrielle scowled. 'Just because you're taller,' she muttered. 'I was at the tree first...'
'You could've looked a bit harder, Gabrielle. I warned you that branch wouldn't do.' Xena glanced briefly to indicate the broken fishing rod, half of which hung in the dejected bard's hand while its late companion headed downstream.
Gabrielle turned and watched the shattered wood drift towards the small rapids. She looked a little sad when it was caught in the white froth and disappeared.
'I bet I had a big one too,' she sighed.
Xena arched an eyebrow. 'Hmm... I think your hook just got caught on a rock.'
Gabrielle spun round. 'I had a bite!' she said hotly.
A little crease formed in the centre of Xena's brow, and the corner of her mouth curled. 'No, I don't think so.'
'I did too!'
Xena just smiled. She drew back her arm in an elegant motion and re-cast. The tip of her line landed perfectly in a smooth stretch of water well upstream, making hardly a sound.
Gabrielle frowned and started to disentangle herself from her own line. After a short struggle she had got herself well and truly in knots.
'Ah!' she yelled in frustration, slinging the whole mess aside, and stalked up the bank.
'Don't waste that line,' Xena chided after her.
'I'm going to cut another fishing rod,' Gabrielle shot back over her shoulder. 'And this time when I find a good tree, maybe a big mean warrior won't steal the only decent branch on it!'
The warrior grinned as the bard's fierce little footsteps faded behind her. Gabrielle was so cute when she was angry.
Of course that went a long way to explaining why Xena liked to tease her.
She cast again, and luxuriated in the feel of warm sun on her face and soft earth squeezing between her bare toes. It was a quiet stretch of river with gentle banks bordered by woodland on both sides. They had made camp at a spot which was ideal for fishing, where long stretches of clear calm water were interspersed by bubbling rapids. Xena had also spotted banks of shingle in the shallows, which promised some salmon in addition to trout. She smiled to herself... One day I must teach Gabrielle to tickle trout. Yes, that could be fun...
She was interrupted from her daydream by a sharp tug. Xena instinctively braced herself and lowered the rod, taking up some of the line with her left hand.
She was almost pulled off her feet.
'Hades!' She righted herself and steadied the rod again, quickly scanning the surface of the water for the end of the line. She found it and narrowed her eyes as she peered into the depths, trying to gauge the refracted images beneath. She couldn't see what had caught on her hook, but whatever it was it was strong.
The rod bent suddenly, harshly, nearly yanking her down into the water. Xena's eyes widened. What creature could grow so big in a river this size? She was jerked forward violently again and she bent her knees to counteract the pull. Her bare heels sank into the soft ground and she skidded closer to the edge, leaving a double track in the dark sand behind her.
Xena gasped as the rod curved hard again, pulling her arms painfully against her shoulders. The line would break any second, she realised. She gripped tighter, determined to save the rod if at all possible. Gabrielle had spoken the truth; she had claimed the best branch on the tree.
And suddenly she was flying backwards. The rod and line sprang up into the air, wrenching themselves from her grasp as she hit the ground solidly on her back. Something broke the surface. Something a lot bigger than a fish.
With a mighty spray of cold water and a triumphant cry the object hurtled out of the river towards the bank. It landed on the warrior in a drop dead gorgeous tangle of glistening blonde hair and flowing silks, Xena's fishing hook gripped tightly in a pearly white smile.
Aphrodite spat out the hook with a delicate "thwop" and licked the stunned warrior on the nose. 'Ooh,' the beautiful goddess winked, 'look what the big bad warlord's caught for dinner...'
Xena gaped. Her blue eyes stared wide into Aphrodite's sparkling expression and her lips moved a few times, incoherently.
'That's ok, Xena,' the goddess grinned down at her, 'I'm not here for conversation. Although I hope you can loosen up that lovely tongue of yours...'
It didn't seem possible for Xena's eyes to get any wider, but somehow they managed it.
'Shh darling.' Aphrodite planted her perfect lips on the warrior's open mouth. Her smooth tongue wasted no time in exploiting that helpless invitation.
It took a couple of moments but abruptly Xena was on her feet again.
'Whoa...' the goddess giggled as she slid to the ground.
Xena swiftly pulled herself together, frantically dusting herself down to a point far beyond which any grain of sand could cling on. 'What in Tartarus do you want?' she demanded, not quite managing to hide her lingering shock and embarrassment.
'Nothing in Tartarus, I hope.' Aphrodite stood up gracefully. 'I thought this river bank would do fine.'
'Are you crazy?'
Aphrodite pouted sweetly. 'I thought you liked doing it near water,' she cooed. 'You're always doing it near water, or in water...'
Xena's jaw dropped a little.
'... next to waterfalls, in bathtubs, beside the sea...' the goddess rambled dreamily.
Rather stiffly, Xena drew herself up to her full height, which was considerable. 'Aphrodite,' she growled, 'I don't know what you're really after, but I want nothing to do with it.'
Mock hurt crossed Aphrodite's stunning features. 'Oh, warrior-babe, I just want you.'
Xena didn't know where to put herself. Aphrodite seized the chance to close in, sliding smooth bare arms around her leather-clad waist.
'Um, you don't,' Xena countered, backing off. She spared a furtive glance behind her.
'Mmm, I do...' the lovely blonde purred, nuzzling Xena's neck.
Xena swallowed, her eyes flicking down awkwardly to Aphrodite's silky hair. It was only very gently damp in a scented, alluring kind of way, and despite the fact that the goddess had exploded from the middle of a river her sheer garments were somehow smooth and dry, fluttering enticingly in the breeze.
Xena backed away, pushing the goddess out at arm's length. 'Stop this, Aphrodite.' Her eyes darted apprehensively towards the trees.
'Come on, Xena.' Aphrodite's tone was seductive. 'You're not going to turn down an offer from the goddess of love, are you?'
Xena most definitely was. She had a bard to think about. A moody one at that.
The goddess moved in again, this time clasping Xena in a stronger embrace so that her full breasts pressed enticingly against the warrior's armour. She ran delicate fingers across Xena's back, above the line of her tunic. Xena inhaled sharply and Aphrodite crooned.
'If it's Hephaestus you're worried about I've already had a chat with him. He's totally cool with us having a little fun together.' Her eyes danced wickedly. 'You know how men are. It's a real turn on for some of them.'
Xena felt Aphrodite's perfect curves melt against her body and she trembled in spite of herself.
The goddess laughed and tickled Xena's cleavage with her fingertip. 'I know you want me, gorgeous... So why don't we just get rid of all this metally stuff and get to it, hey?'
Xena's head snapped to her right when she heard the clatter. Her armour and weapons landed in a noisy heap a few feet away. Her eyes shot downwards and to her astonishment she found herself divested of everything but her leather tunic.
'Ooh,' Aphrodite husked, rubbing herself sensuously against the firm torso, finding Xena's helplessly responsive breasts with her exploring fingers. 'I do love leather.'
Xena grabbed Aphrodite's wrists sharply and held them away from her. The goddess glanced up at the strong hands pinning her arms over her head. Her grin gleamed.
'I see you're into it too, you lovely warlord, you!'
'Enough!' Xena dropped Aphrodite's wrists and backed away again. She couldn't help darting another anxious glance at the woods behind her.
'Xena,' the goddess stalked her prey with soothing tones, 'what's with the trees, honey?'
Xena retreated awkwardly. 'Look, I'm already spoken for so you're wasting your time.'
The goddess rolled her eyes amiably. 'Oh, don't worry about Gabby-pudding. She's off looking for a stick. I promise I won't tell her,' and she pounced again.
Xena leapt out of the way.
Aphrodite frowned. 'Way unfair. I see I'm going to have to fasten you down.' She raised her chin and closed her eyes to nothing in particular. 'Hephy-hunk,' she sang, 'a little favour for your Ditee-doll?'
Immediately Xena felt a light tug below. Looking down she saw a delicate chain wrapping itself around her leg. The tiny links glittered pinky-gold as they tightened on her ankle, from which they snaked firmly and incomprehensibly into the soft earth and disappeared. Alarmed, Xena pulled hard on the chain to find that its dainty appearance belied unworldly strength. She found herself tied to the river bank with about a foot of freedom and a problem indeed.
'Get this off me, Aphrodite!'
'No no, babe. Anyway, I can't. It's courtesy of Hephaestus.' She advanced slowly with predatory eyes.
'Then tell him to cut me loose!' Xena's voice was developing a slightly panicked edge as she tugged uselessly on the flimsy-looking tether.
'Uh-uh.' The goddess shook her head and grinned.
Xena tried backing away again and almost lost her balance.
'Oh look!' Aphrodite's eyelashes fluttered at the little chain. 'He's put baby hearts on it! Isn't that sweet?'
The warrior's stomach knotted at the sight of the tacky little charms which adorned her naked ankle. Hera's tits! I look like a cheap whore!
Xena jerked her captured leg hard against the offending jewellery but it held her secure. 'Aphrodi-' she began again, but the goddess was already upon her, leaping up and wrapping slender legs around her waist. An incredible body more versed than any other in the crafts of love went to work in earnest on the warrior princess, teasing, caressing, licking, nibbling... and inevitably Xena's knees began to weaken.
'Uh...' she groaned.
'Oh yes, Xena,' Aphrodite breathed, sliding diaphanous-clad legs down the warrior's muscular thighs. She brushed Xena's leather with her fingertips and the laces and straps fell loose. Somehow the battle-dress found itself sailing out of reach.
'Oooh...' the goddess continued in a heady whisper, hands sliding up beneath the thin linen tunic that was Xena's last and inadequate line of defence, 'I've such a thing for big strong warriors, and I'll bet my clamshell you've got more stamina than Ares.'
'Uhhh...' Xena gulped as her mouth was captured in a delicious kiss. Everything was getting a little hazy... she blinked rapidly.
Xena tore her mouth free from the incredible lips. 'No!'
The warrior pushed hard, but as she tried to disentangle herself Aphrodite simply raised her eyebrows and smiled.
'Ok, warrior-babe, if you really want it...'
A potent blast of pheromones shot up into Xena's face. The warrior's eyes instantly rolled back in her head and her vision swam. In fact she lost most coherent thought, but what little was left somehow knew that she'd had it. Aphrodite's Olympian aphrodisiac pounded through her arteries and into her loins, and though her mind yelled in protest from the back of beyond her red-blooded body just threw in the towel. Victorious lips met Xena's in a tingling dance, and the warrior's hands slid helplessly to Aphrodite's shapely behind...
And at that moment Aphrodite tensed unexpectedly. The goddess pulled back an inch.
Xena's eyes opened. After a brief pause their glaze cleared to blue and they managed to refocus, finding Aphrodite's face. The goddess was staring over Xena's shoulder, biting her bottom lip and looking ever so slightly guilty.
Panic gripped Xena by the throat and she spun around.
In the grand scheme of bad mistakes this particular move on the warrior's part ranked pretty highly. By spinning while holding the goddess in her arms she revolved their embrace by one hundred and eighty degrees, thereby giving a stunned bard a fine view of Xena's hands gripping Aphrodite's butt.
The goddess smiled a little sheepishly. 'I, um, seem to have miscalculated the time...'
Xena snatched her hands from Aphrodite's curved buttocks, but it was rather too late. Gabrielle froze and stared, a newly cut fishing rod in her hand and a rapidly building fire in her eyes. Xena swiftly disentangled herself from the goddess, but if anything her hasty movements only made things look worse.
'Gabrielle...' she began shakily.
'You vile cheating bitch!'
Both the warrior and the goddess rocked back on their heels. Aphrodite's lovely eyebrows shot up into her hairline and Xena shuddered.
The bard's features reddened with fury. She advanced a step.
'How could you do this to me?!?'
Xena raised shaky palms in an attempt at pacification. 'Now wait, Gabrielle, this isn't my fault.'
Aphrodite turned to her. 'Of course it is, Xena,' she said primly. 'If you hadn't wasted so much time on all that foreplay...'
Gabrielle's eyes blazed. Xena was sure she could see smoke coming out of the bard's ears.
Gabrielle took another menacing step forward and both the warrior and the goddess backed up in response. Unfortunately Xena was still chained by the ankle and she soon stumbled to the ground, almost taking Aphrodite with her. The goddess saved herself by sitting on Xena's head, and the warrior's face quickly disappeared between Aphrodite's pastel-shaded thighs.
The goddess of love tried a soothing tactic with the bard. 'Hey, chill out, Gabby-pudding...'
Gabrielle went rigid. Muffled sounds fought their way from beneath Aphrodite's flowing robes and the goddess appeared to realise her mistake. One look at the eruption building in her vicinity and she came to a swift decision.
'Yay, warrior-babe, maybe another time, huh?' and she vanished abruptly with a sparkly fizzle...
... leaving Xena disoriented and defenceless on the river bank.
Gabrielle's fury lost no time in taking advantage of it. Finding herself conveniently in the middle of their camp, she started throwing anything and everything at the warrior. Spoons, fish, cooking utensils - one of Xena's boots shot through the air and smacked her sharply in the side of the head. Xena struggled clumsily off her behind, only to be felled by a frying pan that landed against her elbow with a painful "thlunk!"
'Gab-' Xena protested, rubbing her screaming funny-bone as she scrambled back onto her knees, 'I can expl-'
But Tartarus hath no fury like a red-headed bard that's come to the boil. Gabrielle hopped about with rage and the curses that spilled from her pretty mouth would've made a trooper roar with approval. By the time Xena made it onto her feet again under a hail of domestic missiles, the campsite had been bounced around in four directions and Gabrielle was only warming up.
As her ammunition rapidly depleted Gabrielle realised that she was already holding a far more potent weapon. She swung the new fishing rod mightily and Xena ducked. The momentum carried Gabrielle round in a wild arc and Xena seized the chance to try to break free. Bending over, she scrabbled desperately at her chain with her fingers.
Gabrielle staggered and regrouped. With unnatural strength she snapped the unwieldy rod across her knee and fiercely slashed the tapered end across Xena's behind.
Xena shot into the air. She might have gone into orbit but for her tether and fell back to the ground, grabbing her backside as she landed.
Gabrielle didn't pause. She flailed the rod in a frenzy. Xena threw up an arm and tried to catch it but it sang across her knuckles.
'Ow ow ow!' Xena brought the back of her hand to her mouth and sucked at the pain. Another blow rang across her thighs. Gods it stung!
'Gabrielle!' she cried as the bard sprang about her. 'I didn't do anything!'
Gabrielle was having none of it. 'That's not what I saw!' she shrieked, landing a particularly painful swat to the tender flesh behind the warrior's knee.
'Ouch! You don't understand! I wasn't enjoying it!'
'So that's why you were groping Aphrodite's arse!' She slashed viciously.
'Don't you gabby me!' the bard howled, whipping the warrior's backside again.
Xena leapt into the air. 'Yee-ow! Sweetie...'
'I'll give you sweetie!'
They danced in a mad circle, Xena's range limited by the radius of her leash while Gabrielle leapt about at the perimeter raining searing swipes on the yelping woman, who for once seemed to have lost all semblance of co-ordination. Inevitably Xena's feet caught in the silly little chain and she tripped herself up, thudding to the bank where she lay wide-eyed and helpless.
Gabrielle loomed over her, feet planted wide, chest heaving with exertion. Her eyes flamed like furnaces. The wind caught her golden hair - it roared in the noon sun like fire from Olympus. She towered over Xena like some avenging war-goddess sweeping down from the skies in an ire-filled inferno, all wild wrath and brimstone.
The warrior quaked.
The bard flung her rod aside and let loose her volcano.
'Ooh, Xena! You make me so damn horny!'
And with that Gabrielle launched herself on top of the prostrate warrior and proceeded to ravish her senseless.
As evening descended Xena sat by a crackling campfire, muttering at her chain. After a few hours Hephaestus had obviously decided to take pity on her and the accursed anklet no longer fixed Xena to the ground. However the little circlet clung steadfastly to her leg and despite her efforts with rocks, sword and even chakram it looked as though she was destined to wear it forever.
Xena could forgive Aphrodite for the beating she'd received, since Gabrielle had topped it off with the most passionate love drill the warrior could remember. But she swore loudly at the goddess for condemning her to this indignity.
'I think the little hearts are cute,' Gabrielle mused.
Xena growled and picked at the links futilely.
'I've seen women in Athens wear anklets like that,' Gabrielle continued. When Xena made no reply she added, 'You know, wandering around the streets at night...'
Xena grabbed her boot and tugged it on savagely. She scowled as the chain chafed against her skin inside.
'We're heading straight for the nearest town tomorrow!' Xena's tone brooked no argument. 'I'm going to find a blacksmith.'
Gabrielle shrugged. 'I don't think a blacksmith will be able to help, Xena. That lovely present was forged by a god.'
Xena rumbled something indecipherable and began laying out their bedroll. She flung the blankets out harshly, stirring up dust.
'I don't know why you're so upset.' Gabrielle wafted the air clear in front of her face. 'No one will know it's there, it's under your boot.'
'I'll know it's there,' Xena complained.
Gabrielle grinned. 'Yeah, I guess you will.' Her eyes sparkled in the firelight like two perfect emeralds. 'And of course, so will I.'
Xena glanced up at Gabrielle's odd tone. Her eyes narrowed.
'So you'd better be very nice to me from now on,' Gabrielle continued with a wicked gleam, 'because I can always tell...'
Xena scooted forward on her hands and knees and brought her face an inch from Gabrielle's.
'You wouldn't,' she said dangerously.
The warrior paled.
'If you keep teasing me, for instance,' Gabrielle smirked, 'or keep pinching the best branches for fishing rods.'
'I found that branch.'
'I was first at the tree! I was climbing up to cut it and you...' Gabrielle jabbed Xena in the chest, 'you just reached up and stole it right from under me!'
Xena started to look contrite. Her mouth twitched. 'Hmm, well...'
Realising that this was probably the nearest thing to an admission of guilt that she was going to get, Gabrielle smiled.
'I had you good, though, didn't I?'
'You had me all right.' Xena smiled back, kissing the bard gently on the lips, and suddenly wondering whether this leash idea was such a bad thing after all.
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