Disclaimer: Xena:Warrior Princess is a trademark of Renaissance Pictures.

WARNING: This story is about Xena and Gabrielle having sex. With each other. And some naughty toys. It's very kinky and pretty graphic, and Xena says some bad words. If this is not your cuppa tea, drink not. If it is, sup up! Slurping is allowed.
© May 1999 Charmer


by Charmer

'You're afraid,' said Gabrielle.

'I'm not afraid.'

Gabrielle's fingers played absently with the strips of soft rawhide. An hour ago those leather bands had been wrapped snug about her wrists and ankles. Faint, fading marks on her smooth skin showed where Xena's firm but careful knots had pressed into her supple flesh. The bonds hadn't caused the marks, but Gabrielle's struggles had done; and Xena so loved to watch Gabrielle struggle.

'Yes you are.'

Xena sighed and shifted her lazy position on the skins, placing her hands behind her head. The night was starless above them. Low cloud masked the moon, blanketing the earth in an inky, warm embrace. Only dancing firelight illuminated their sheltered, earthy grove.

'You've never let me, Xena. You won't let me because you're afraid.'

'It's not that,' Xena argued, watching as tiny sparks climbed haphazardly and disappeared into darkness with the scented woodsmoke. 'I just don't want to, that's all.'

'Don't want to my pink-striped butt,' Gabrielle said firmly. 'You're just a scaredy-cat.'

Gabrielle wasn't sure what Xena's true objections were, but she knew the warrior well enough to realise that it wasn't simply a case of not wanting. Xena wanted it all right. She just didn't know how to get round to it.

The bard adjusted the thick fur cloak on her bare shoulders and sat beside Xena's reclining form, facing her. She crossed her legs and narrowed gold-flecked eyes on the dark woman's impassive features, waiting for a response. Xena groaned inwardly as she recognised Gabrielle's new posture as preparation for a long interrogation. Her companion wasn't going to let this one pass tonight.

'Why, Xena?' Gabrielle prompted. 'Why not?'

Xena lowered her eyelids and peered through the dark haze of her lashes. She let her gaze travel slowly along her legs that were stretched out on the bear skins in front of her, ankles crossed, toes pointing towards the fire. She still wore her warrior's boots and armoured greaves; there was something truly wondrous about having legs encased in leather while straddling a nude, blonde, writhing bard.

It occurred to Xena that her feet were a little too close to the flames. She would scorch a hole in her boot if she didn't make a move soon.

'All right,' Xena conceded softly, fully closing her eyes as she stepped out into the breach. 'I'm afraid.'

Unseen, Gabrielle's jaw fell open. Not for an instant had she given her own assertions any credit. They were merely meant to be provocative, designed to manoeuvre Xena towards the truth.

'You're afraid of me?' she managed at last, her voice small.

Xena drew up her legs and rolled onto her hip. She put out her hand and began to stroke Gabrielle's knee through the fur cloak. 'Not of you,' she said hesitantly. 'I'm afraid it would be... disappointing.'

A mist seemed to descend over Gabrielle's skin. The fine blonde down on her forearms rose, as though suddenly chilled.

'Disappointing?' she repeated coolly. 'You think I'd be disappointing?'

Xena winced. Damn, that would have to come out wrong. 'No, that's not what I meant...'

'Well you'd better explain what you meant, Xena.' Gabrielle lifted one hand and pinched her thumb and forefinger together. 'Because right now you're this close to the dog-house.'

It was so bloody unfair. Gabrielle would press for an answer, and when Xena eventually gave it she'd get into trouble.

'Gabrielle, it's not anything to do with you.' Xena tried again. 'It's me.'

Gabrielle rolled her eyes, but Xena's hand gripped her knee for reassurance. 'What I mean is... I'm not the submissive type, Gabrielle.'

Gabrielle regarded her intimidating friend steadily, letting this new clarity sink in.

'Well knock me up with a turnip, Xena. I'd never have guessed.'

Xena sat up abruptly. Apart from her boots and greaves she didn't have a stitch on, and her breasts swayed gently in the bronzed glow of the firelight. 'Oh Gabrielle! You asked! I'm trying to explain. Look, it's like this. I don't kneel, I don't obey, and I never, ever beg.'

'But you do want it,' Gabrielle insisted, leaning forward so that her face hovered only an inch from the warrior's. The corner of her mouth turned up in a subtle grin, and her perceptive eyes pierced Xena's blue. Her voice lowered huskily. 'You still want it, don't you Xena?'

Xena felt Gabrielle's warm breath tickle her lips and cheeks. It was the sweetest aphrodisiac.

'You know I do.'

'So what's the problem?' Gabrielle asked gently. 'Do you think I can't command you?'

'No one can.'

Gabrielle's eyebrows raised slightly. 'You're so sure?'

'It's not as if no one's tr...'

Xena cut herself off abruptly. She pulled away, resting her forearms on her bent knees.

Gabrielle blinked, then grinned. Oh my, this was a tangent worth pursuing. 'Who?' she asked with sudden, imp-like curiosity. 'Who have you tried it with?'

Xena glared at the fire, her full mouth sealed into a firm line.

'Xena!' Gabrielle protested, her broad smile widening even further. When she got no answer she furrowed her brow in puzzled thought. Who of Xena's past lovers might have tried to dominate her? The frown deepened and Gabrielle finally came up with an unsure, tentative suggestion. 'Hercules?'

Xena spluttered.

'Ah.' Gabrielle acknowledged her error with a rueful smirk. 'Not Hercules...'

'Plenty of thrust, no imagination.'

'Okay. Lao Ma?'

'Stop guessing, Gabrielle. I'm not going to tell you.'

'Lao Ma.'

Xena pursed her lips. 'Absence of denial is not confirmation.'

'Warriors shouldn't use long words, Xena. They make you sound less convincing.'

Xena grabbed Gabrielle and spun her back into her lap, imprisoning her there with powerful arms. 'Are you trying to bait me, little bard?' she said through bared teeth.

'Are you trying to avoid the subject, big warlord?'

Xena hissed, but Gabrielle merely sneered up at her. 'Afraid the little bard doesn't have it in her, is that it? Afraid I can't whip you hard enough?'

Xena's eyes widened slightly. She managed what passed for the warrior as an almost whimpering tone. 'Who said anything about a whipping?'

'Oh.' Gabrielle pouted. 'I don't get to flog you? Now that is disappointing.'

'You don't get to do nothing, bard.' Xena's grip tightened and she smiled dangerously. 'You're not putting this warrior on a leash.'

'I already have you on a leash, Xena,' Gabrielle told her calmly. 'I just have something else in mind...'

'Does it come with a manual?' Xena asked.

They surveyed the free-standing contraption between them. Allegedly this befuddling array of carved gears, weighted pulleys, bronze buckles and oiled straps commanded an exorbitant hire fee. Xena was glad they didn't have to pay. The issue was moot, really; they could never have afforded it.

'I could've used one of these when I was a warlord,' Xena added. 'Just the sight of it would've scared a captive into spilling his guts. Could've saved some time.'

'Ah, but think, Xena.' Gabrielle smiled grimly. 'You wouldn't have got the chance to develop one of your many skills.'

Xena inspected the leather straps for signs of dried blood. 'No doubt Faustina hires it out to the garrison for just that purpose during lean periods.'

'She's not that kind of woman.'

'She's a business woman.'

'She's a fair woman. She's doing us the favour she owes us.'

'Correction. She owes me the favour. You've decided to cash it in.'

'You can back out if you want,' Gabrielle repeated for what seemed like the tenth time that day. As usual it was the kind of challenge the warrior couldn't ignore.

'I'm not going anywhere, bard,' she said stoically, having found no blood or even sweat stains, and concluding that Faustina's slaves scrubbed the thing well between punters.

Gabrielle smiled at her serenely. 'Good.'

They circled the ominous framework, their bare feet silent on the veined marble floor. Their surroundings were a far cry from the dark woods they had slept in the previous evening. Slept in, played in, teased in... those gnarled oaks and forest creatures had witnessed unusual nocturnal sounds that moonless night. Unknown to Xena and Gabrielle, a pair of badgers had uprooted their young litter in search of a safer place to build their set.

This was by most standards an impressive room. It wasn't large but rather high, with an open colonnade at the top that let in daylight on all four sides. Jars and sculptures of coloured Roman glass stood between the pale gleaming pillars, flooding the space below with rainbowed shafts of sunlight. A narrow spectators' gallery circled the smooth walls at head height, but it was empty and its doors locked shut. Xena scowled up at the balcony, imagining it crowded with senators and soldiers. A fine Roman building in a fine Roman provincial town. The bard sure knew how to pick 'em.

Gabrielle sniffed the perfumed air. 'Have you noticed how brothels all smell the same?'

Xena looked at her. 'How many brothels have you been in?'

'A few.'

Xena narrowed her eyes. 'When?'

Gabrielle's eyes glittered like emeralds held up to the midday sun. 'Xena, you're not going to get all parochial about my virtue, are you? I've precious little of it left. You've seen to that.'

'No. And no. All brothels don't smell the same. This one's clean.'

Romans. They had a thing for hygiene. Before engaging in the most depraved pleasures they insisted on a good wash first.

Gabrielle shrugged. 'It's quiet, too,' she observed, pacing about casually. She came to a halt and faced Xena squarely. 'Nice thick walls. No one will hear you scream.'

Xena's lips parted to reveal glistening white canine teeth. Her eyes scanned Gabrielle up and down, lingering over the muscled abdomen and golden curls half hidden beneath green linen folds. Both women wore thin wrap tunics supplied by the establishment; Gabrielle hadn't bothered to tie hers closed.

The warrior's voice had a low, rough texture that seemed too rich for this bright clean air. 'Not long ago I'd have slit your throat for that, farm girl.'

'Yes,' Gabrielle said in a level tone. 'A warlord's so brave with her army at her back.'

Xena would have advanced on her there and then, but a loud thumping on the door interrupted their scorn-laced banter. A moment later the ivory panelled doors swung in on well-greased hinges and a woman swept into the room.

Faustina was tall. She had nearly an inch on Xena with her chestnut hair curled high in the latest Roman style, made yet more striking by the slenderness of her limbs and the elegance of her posture. A sensually thin gown draped her body to the floor, where painted toenails peaked out in embroidered sandals. Silver adorned her neck and wrists, and the girdle at her waist clinked with shiny iron keys. Like most rich Roman women she apparently never set foot outside; her skin was as white as alabaster, and just as smooth.

'You haven't started yet!' Faustina clapped her hands together once. 'What luck.'

Xena glared at the intruder. 'Didn't we lock that door?'

'Xena...' Faustina's lip curled slightly. 'I'm the proprietress. No lock gets in my way.'

Gabrielle approached the courtesan. 'Is there something wrong?'

Faustina indulged the pretty blonde with a professional smile. 'Wrong? No, my dear. What could be wrong?' She turned to the warrior again and her sculptured eyebrows danced. 'I'm just popping in with a proposal.'

Xena remained still and eyed the woman suspiciously. 'What?'

Faustina drew closer so that she could speak in more hushed tones. 'General Aurelius has just arrived with a couple of his favourite officers. When he learned this room was in use his eyes lit up. Five hundred dinars just to watch. How about it, Xena? We do a split? Seventy thirty?'

Xena could see Gabrielle's half-smothered smirk out of the corner of her eye. She chose to ignore it.

'Up yours, Faustina.'

The courtesan hid her disappointment with practised ease. 'Sixty forty?'

Xena's eyes flashed. She opened her mouth to warn her again.

'Fifty fifty,' Faustina conceded before Xena could slip a word in edgeways.

The warrior resisted the urge to grab her by her slender, lily-white arms and rattle her senseless. 'Get your over-pampered ass out of here before I toss it in the vomitorium,' she ground out vehemently.

Faustina's eyes widened in surprise, then suddenly her jaw fell open. She slapped both palms over her mouth in astonishment and delight. 'Xena!' she squealed as the light of comprehension dawned. 'You're the one going on the rack!'

Gabrielle fancied she could hear Xena's teeth grinding. Both tall women would be spitting enamel if the courtesan didn't get out soon.

'We prefer privacy, Faustina,' Gabrielle said politely. 'Thank you for the loan of the room. We'll be sure to spread the word about the delights of your establishment afterwards.'

'Sweet Juno...' Faustina tried to control her mirth. This was most unexpected. She could have haggled Aurelius up to a thousand dinars if only she'd known.

Xena turned away in disgust, scowling at the walls and ceiling. 'I'm starting to regret helping you with your little problem, Faustina. I should've let Praxus steal your girls and buy you out.'

'I'm grateful, Xena. Really I am.' Faustina looked over at Gabrielle with new respect. Somehow the elegant woman scuttled towards her like an excited beetle and whispered conspiratorially.

'By Minerva's bust, darling. How do you expect to tame her?'

Gabrielle shook her head gently and whispered back. 'I already have her tamed to her limits, otherwise we wouldn't be here.'

Faustina gasped. Her eyelids fluttered in rapture. 'I'm going to die,' she said breathlessly. 'By the gods, she'll make so much noise...'

Xena's acute hearing was picking up enough for her to know that she wanted this conversation over now.

'Faustina,' she snarled, 'don't you have a client to go fuck?'

Faustina didn't flinch. 'Certainly not. I'm beyond that now.' Nevertheless the courtesan took the blunt hint gracefully. Silver glittered on her wrist as she waved imperiously towards the far wall.

'Everything you could possibly want is in that chest, Gabrielle,' she said, proving that she knew the blonde's name after all. 'Take as long as you need,' she added as she slipped gracefully towards the door.

'Please lock it again behind you,' Gabrielle called.

The courtesan glanced over her shoulder and winked at her. 'No more interruptions,' she promised as the fine panelling swung shut.

Xena checked the lock herself. Satisfied, she turned back to the bard.

'You will not let anyone in,' she said firmly.

'I won't let anyone in.'

'Don't think to change your mind,' Xena warned dangerously, 'or I'll flay you and that damned general alike.'

Gabrielle smiled. 'Protest all you want, Xena. I suspect an audience would turn you on.'

Xena closed the distance between them in an instant. Her long fingers closed around a handful of blonde hair. It was still damp from the steam room and felt like wet silk, soft and clinging in her grasp. Slowly and firmly she pulled down so that the smaller woman's head was forced back. Gabrielle calmly met her gaze.

'Maybe I should just strap you to that rack, bard,' Xena threatened quietly. 'Nothing could stop me. Certainly not you.'

'True, but that would only mean that I eventually submit as usual and you're not as brave as you think.'

The grip tightened on Gabrielle's scalp and she resisted the urge to wince.

'I don't need to prove anything,' Xena growled.

'Proving yourself is not an issue. This is about what you want, and whether you have the courage to take it when it's offered.'

Xena's mouth lowered to Gabrielle's arched throat. She began to torment the tender skin with swift little bites. 'I won't submit,' she whispered against the exposed pulse. 'You know I don't surrender.'

'I know that,' said Gabrielle. She had to close her eyes to the delicious assault but managed to keep her arms loose at her sides.

'You'll get angry,' said Xena, licking the tiny marks she'd made on the fair skin.

'No I won't. But you will.'

'Take it off,' said Gabrielle.

Xena made no move to disrobe. 'I told you, Gabrielle. I don't obey.'

'No matter. It can wait.'

Gabrielle placed the base of her palm against Xena's chest and pushed. Her efforts met some resistance, but not much. Xena moved back as silently directed, her eyes never leaving Gabrielle's face.

They encountered the array of straps and levers almost immediately.

'You'll never figure out how this thing works,' Xena told her.

'Are you trying to find excuses, Xena?'

Xena just gave her an arrogant smile and waited.

For the first time the quietness of the marble room seemed oppressive. Standing toe to toe, face to face, they could hear each other's breathing. Both were surprisingly steady.

Gabrielle took Xena's left arm in her hand and lifted it. She caressed the inside of the warrior's wrist with her thumb and spoke solemnly.

'Run away, Xena. You still have time.'

Xena's superior smile faltered a little. Her eyes flicked towards the supple leather and burnished buckles. It was a sound construction and she had no doubt that they could hold her.

She regarded the bard again and stood her ground.

Gabrielle raised Xena's arm horizontally, almost to its full extent, and wrapped one of the straps around her wrist. She was slow and tempered with her movements, reverent even. Carefully she drew it tight and buckled it secure.

Xena exhaled and blinked a few times. Gabrielle paused and peered up into her crystal eyes.

'You're only half-bound, Xena. You can still escape. Use your other hand to free yourself, before it's too late.'

Xena hesitated again, then almost imperceptibly shook her head.

Gabrielle moved to the side and took Xena's other arm, running her fingers along the soft skin that sealed in powerful muscles and firm flesh. She lifted it to the opposite strap.

'One shiny buckle, Xena. A bit of metal, a few stitches... a strip of leather. That's all that stands between you and this precipice. Draw back now before you fall.'

'I know when I'm falling, bard,' Xena retorted.

Gabrielle placed the band around Xena's wrist but didn't drag it tight. Her expression grew even more sober as she drew in close and fixed the warrior with a vigilant stare.

'This is your last chance, Xena. Pull away now and flee this room, because once I have you, you'll be all mine. There'll be no signal for retreat. You can stop me now but you can't stop me later. You won't submit so you'll get no quarter, and I promise I will not be disappointing. Do you understand?'

Xena did understand. She saw the shadowed chasm of her most secret desire spread out before her, and her most dreaded nightmare. Gabrielle offered her a gift that she could not dare to accept from anyone else; a gift any sane woman should refuse. There was no net to catch her in this fall, and no means for her to claw her own way back up. Gabrielle had made that danger very clear.

She drew in a shuddering breath, her decisive nature stretched to unfamiliar limits by the barbed choice before her. Movement caught her attention high above and she looked up to see a raven perched in the colonnade, black and bereft of detail against the afternoon blue beyond. It seemed to watch her briefly, then launched into flight, leaving her with only the rapid clatter of its wings as it sought freedom in the skies.

Xena lowered her head and closed her eyes. A moment later Gabrielle hauled the strap tight and fastened it in place. The warrior had chosen her fate.

As she heard Gabrielle turn away and stride towards the chest Xena's heartbeat started to quicken. What had she done? This had to be a huge mistake. She opened her eyes and watched as the bard lifted the chest's heavy lid and inspected its hidden contents. It was constructed from the same materials as this infernal apparatus, Xena noted. The same fine, polished beech; the similar iron rivets. Fastidious Faustina had commissioned a matching pair.

Xena opened her mouth, ready to shout... I've changed my mind! Release me, Gabrielle...

No signal for retreat. No quarter given.

No words came.

Gabrielle returned quickly with a small, single-edged knife. Wordlessly, before Xena even had time to shrink back from the shiny blade, she cut the sleeves of the warrior's robe and rent the flimsy garment in two. Its torn folds slipped and hung at Xena's hips, still held by the tie-belt at her waist.

That swift task accomplished, Gabrielle stood back to admire her simple work. Her gaze drifted up from Xena's strong legs, across the newly exposed belly and breasts, to the suddenly tense muscles in her outstretched arms.

'Nice,' she murmured, as if to herself. 'I think I can work with that.'

The next instant Gabrielle tugged on a pulley and Xena was yanked into the air. The warrior gasped in surprise as her wrists jerked high above her head, shoulder width apart, leaving her dangling almost off the ground. Before she could recover she was spun round to face the other wall. Breathless with the sudden violence of the movements, Xena struggled to take her weight on the balls of her feet.

'Gabrielle...' she started to protest in a strained voice. But Gabrielle was now behind her, hidden from her view.

Xena regained her balance and steadied her heaving lungs. Her arms felt as though they had been wrenched from their sockets and snapped back into place again. By the gods, this thing was dangerous. She was about to say so, to warn Gabrielle to be careful, when she sensed the whistling sound behind her.

Xena heard the crack of leather before she felt it. It took a moment for the nerves in her shoulder to register the bite of braid, and another moment for her mind to appreciate that a whip had struck her. Then her whole body lurched of its own volition, reacting to the caustic blow. She gasped loudly, knowing that sudden sting for the ruse it was, a mere harbinger of the fierce burn that inevitably followed. While it flared across her skin another landed, harder than the first, forcing her to grit her teeth. The third stroke drew an angry cry from her throat.

Just as suddenly the blows ceased and the frame spun her around again, mercifully lowering her back onto her heels. She staggered and regrouped, quickly seeking Gabrielle with shocked, incensed blue eyes. She found the bard standing to one side, arms folded, a short, fine whip coiled neatly in one laconic hand.

'What's the matter, Xena?' Gabrielle asked evenly. 'Did I hurt you? Isn't that what you expected?'

Xena hadn't decided what to expect from Gabrielle, but subtlety would have been high on the list. Now she wondered if she'd rendered herself helpless to an unbridled sadist.

'Keep that up,' she said hoarsely, 'and this will be a short session indeed.'

Gabrielle's eyebrow lifted and she reached out, testing one of the fresh welts on the warrior's back. Xena refused to flinch from her delicate touch, but her eyes widened when Gabrielle showed her the tiny red smear on her fingertip. Damn the smug little bard, she'd drawn blood.

'I wanted to see if this machine can do what I want it to,' Gabrielle said reasonably. 'And to make sure you know that I mean business.'

With that calm explanation Gabrielle tugged at the tie that held the remains of Xena's robe in place and pulled it out of the way, stripping the rigid warrior naked.

'Now the fun starts,' she said with a smile.

'I could kick you into next week while you try to put those on,' said Xena.

'No you couldn't.'

And Gabrielle proceeded to prove that there was little Xena could do as she fastened the wide buckles on her ankles. Xena kicked half-heartedly a couple of times, but the extraordinary mechanism was designed for the binder's convenience, not for the one being bound. Very soon Xena was pinned and feeling unusually precarious.

'Don't use that whip again,' she ordered.

Gabrielle straightened and held Xena's chin gently. 'I'll use whatever damn thing I like,' she said, and grinned.

For the next few minutes Xena endured the indignity of having Gabrielle experiment with the complex frame. Between them they discovered that there were few configurations it couldn't accommodate. With her natural flair for geometry, Xena found herself reluctantly impressed by its mechanical design. There were even some safety features built in.

'Thank the gods,' she muttered as she watched one foot sail over her head. 'I don't have to trust your spacial skills to avoid a crash course in contortionism.'

'Ooh, that was an unwarranted insult, Xena. You'll pay for it. Before the day is out I'll push this thing to its limits; and you with it.'

At last Gabrielle satisfied her initial curiosity and settled Xena into a near-upright position. The warrior hung at an easy angle, her back supported by smooth timbers, her arms locked comfortably above her head.

'Happy?' asked Gabrielle.

'I'll be happy when I'm free again and you're tied up instead.'

Gabrielle nodded. 'Of course. But that won't be for a while.'

Their chatter ceased as the bard leant forward suddenly and brushed her lips across Xena's mouth. She nibbled gently, tickling the thin, sensitive skin, and licked her playfully with a smooth pink tongue. Xena's lips parted quickly and they toyed with each other's mouths, competing to tease the other one the more.

'Yum,' said Gabrielle, licking again. 'I swear you taste better when you're fastened down. Must be the fear and anticipation. It enhances your flavour. Like ham with mustard.'

'I'm dinner?' asked Xena, sounding slightly perturbed.

'Darling, you're a seven course meal. And I am very, very hungry.'

'You should have eaten a bigger breakfast,' said Xena mildly, sounding for all the world like a parent admonishing a young child.

'I didn't want to spoil my appetite.' Gabrielle gave her a lascivious grin, and ducked her head to lick Xena's breast.

Xena flexed her muscles, testing the limits of her secure bonds. The bard had allowed her a little leeway, although Xena suspected that wouldn't last.

'Now...' Gabrielle drew back and contemplated the savoury spread before her. 'I need to see exactly what I'm doing.'

She carefully turned a wheel and Xena's ankles started to rise. The warrior's knees bent as her legs were drawn up to the sides, easing her thighs wide. Xena closed her eyes briefly and resigned herself to the increasingly vulnerable posture. Any hope of maintaining bodily dignity was long lost anyway.

Gabrielle continued until Xena's knees had risen above her hips, then pushed them back and secured them with two more straps. Xena inhaled deeply as her centre was exposed to the bard's wanton gaze.

Gabrielle took a deep breath as well. 'I do like this machine. I wish we had one of our own.'

'A tad impractical, Gabrielle.'

'We could stick it on wheels and Argo could pull it across country.'

'I'd stick you on it too and she could pull you both.'

Gabrielle gently raked her fingernails across Xena's inner thigh and the warrior trembled. She glanced up and raised a brow. 'You're quite tense, aren't you, Xena? That's natural, I suppose. You're not used to this. You haven't learnt to relax.'

Xena threw back her head, exasperated. 'Gods, Gabrielle! Can't you just get on with it instead of babbling like a brook? I don't put you through this much torture!'

Gabrielle's lip curled sensually and her tone grew sinister. 'You've no idea what you put me through, warrior. But you will.'

She turned away and leant over the chest. 'This reminds me of the toy box I shared with Lila when we were little. Of course our toys weren't as... nasty.'

Xena groaned.

Gabrielle returned with something hidden behind her back. She stood between Xena's captured thighs. 'Are you ready?' she asked, ominously still.

Xena swallowed, hard.

Gabrielle produced the weapon with a flourish. A small, neat, tortoise-shell comb.

Xena flinched instinctively, then her brow furrowed in puzzlement.

Gabrielle smiled. 'That steam bath we had was very nice, but it's left you a little dishevelled. I want to tidy you up a bit.'

She lowered the comb to Xena's rich dark curls.

'Oh...' Xena exclaimed softly as she felt the gentle tugs perilously close to her sex. Her wrists twisted slightly in their bonds as she tried to resist the urge to move.

Gabrielle smiled up at the self-conscious warrior. 'Perhaps a little trim as well.' She held up a small set of clippers in her other hand. 'No reason why you shouldn't be neat for me.'

A knot tightened in Xena's belly. The mischievous bard wouldn't dare contemplate some embarrassing design, would she? The warrior decided not to voice her anxiety, in case it gave Gabrielle ideas.

Gabrielle made a few tiny snips. An impish grin flashed across her face as she worked. 'Hey, warrior. How would you like some little pink ribbons?'

Xena narrowed her eyes and a low rumble emanated from her throat.

Gabrielle sniggered. 'Ah, the ultimate threat. Best to keep that one in reserve, I think.'

Gabrielle combed and trimmed with consummate care, teasing the silky curls aside to reveal the blushing contours beneath. Small noises of appreciation crept out of her throat as she worked. Eventually she stepped back to admire the result.

'You're very beautiful, Xena. I could just look at you all day.' She smirked wickedly. 'But that would be such a waste.'

She returned to the toy chest and dropped the implements inside with a clatter. 'Hmm, so what next?'

Xena began to ask herself whether Gabrielle would ever shut up. A nagging feeling at the back of her mind made her wonder whether she weren't using that trivial concern to suppress a much deeper sense of foreboding. Xena realised she hadn't a clue what the bard really had up her sleeve.

Gabrielle returned again, hands clasped behind her back as before. Gazing up at Xena with dancing green eyes and an excited smile, she looked rather childlike and cute, Xena decided. Deceptively so.

'I'm not going to have time to use a tenth of that stuff,' said Gabrielle, edging to the warrior's side. 'Too bad, eh?'

Xena tried to follow her movements as Gabrielle slid behind her, wondering what dainty trick she had planned for her now. The next instant the warrior yelled as a piece of doweling was jammed between her teeth.

Xena twisted her head hard but Gabrielle held the wooden bit in tight. 'No no no,' she repeated huskily as she knotted its ties to fix it in place. 'I warned you you'd be all mine, and so you shall.'

Xena expelled air violently between her teeth and tried to force the bit out, but it was well fastened. She snarled viciously in protest, straining to glare at Gabrielle. The bard did not look cute now.

Gabrielle stroked her cheek and spoke soothingly. 'Oh my love, did you think that only those things you might conceive would happen to you while in my power?' She smiled sensitively. 'You'll fight with any means you have. I know you can't help it, Xena, and you said yourself you never beg. So why should I leave you free to spit and curse me like the tethered harpy you are?'

Xena cursed her anyway, but with limited success. The gag did a fine job of rendering her foul words indecipherable and cutting the noise by a good half.

'It's not so bad, Xena,' Gabrielle added. 'It'll give you something to chew on when things get too much for you.'

Xena hauled on her restraints. For the first time the leather straps got a good work out, and sustained the furious struggles well. Gabrielle lifted a strip of dark cloth and bound it firmly over Xena's eyes.

'Stay strong, Xena. You know I like you that way.'

Gabrielle's soft breaths left Xena's face and the warrior collapsed against her bonds. The darkness of the chasm enveloped her, and Xena plummeted like a stone.

Gabrielle found a silken flail. The braids were crimson like the rich stripe on a senator's toga and just as soft. With it she could wield the wildest blow and it wouldn't so much as leave a mark.

Gabrielle plied the fine strands to Xena's defenceless body. The warrior moaned as the luxurious strokes swept across her ribs and breasts. She couldn't see them coming and they teased her skin to rapid sensitivity, causing her muscles to twitch in response.

'Like that?' Gabrielle asked nicely.

Xena loved it. The unseen toy felt wonderful, tickling up her outstretched arms, down to her belly, dancing to wherever next. She tingled all over and moaned again in appreciation, louder.

Gabrielle let her enjoy it for a while, leaning in to suck gently on a firm breast. She flicked her tongue across the nipple while she spun the flail on Xena's thighs. As the nipple tightened into hardness she moved to the other and gave it equal favour, until both stood stiffly to attention.

Xena grunted in protest when she felt Gabrielle move off again. That damned toy box. It was enticing her lover away.

'Hush, sweetheart. I'm coming back.'

Gabrielle retrieved three small items of jewellery, and hurried back to Xena's side with a shiny piece of silver prized between each finger and thumb. She licked her lips in anticipation, then attacked.

Xena jerked suddenly as two cold clips fastened onto her rigid nipples. She would have shouted but the bit checked her response, resulting in a guttural cry as swift jolts of pain shot through her breasts. The sensations quickly transformed into twin pressures that sent waves of warmth through her insides.

Gabrielle observed Xena's reaction but said nothing. The third clip was smaller than its sisters; daintier, with a gentler spring. But then it was going somewhere exceedingly sensitive...

The cold silver squeezed Xena's clitoris and the warrior convulsed.

Xena would have called upon Athena to spare her if she could. Perhaps even Ares, for this was a more harrowing torment than she'd ever foreseen. She wrenched against her bonds in futile distraction, trying to protect herself from the sudden spur of pleasured pain. She couldn't see the teasing little clip but she could feel it... mother of Zeus could she feel it! The chilled nip of the delicate metal sent singing shards up to her naval and down to her thighs. Momentarily lost in the sensuous torture, Xena tossed her head and writhed in abandon.

Gabrielle watched, fascinated. 'Xena, are you surrendering after all?'

She was not. Xena regained some control over her body as she steeled herself to the barb at the centre of her being. No, it had only caught her by surprise. She forcefully calmed her heaving chest and waited out the initial impact. With agonising slowness the sensations settled into a regular, throbbing pulse at her core.

'I want you to listen now,' said Gabrielle, retreating to the chest and lowering the lid so that she could sit down. 'Listen while I touch myself. Listen to me come.'

It wasn't as if Xena could do much else. She hung immobilised and blindfolded with jewellery pinching her tender extremities and a fire stoking in her loins. Gabrielle knew that Xena could hear a pin drop in a crowded tavern and now she turned that hyper sense to her advantage, slipping her hand under her own robe to slide her fingers along the slipperiness beneath.

'Ooh...' She sighed deliberately, leaning back against the wall. Gabrielle resisted the natural inclination to close her eyes as she gave herself pleasure, eager to watch her captive react. In truth, the sight of Xena aroused and bound in front of her was no impediment to her own rapid stimulation. Things moved faster than she anticipated and within seconds she squealed breathlessly as her body shuddered in orgasm.

Xena clenched her fists, curled her toes, and followed up Gabrielle's invitation to chew in earnest.

Once recovered, Gabrielle rose unsteadily and stepped carefully up to the frame. 'Wow,' she said, getting her wind back. 'Did you get all that?'

A long, low, dangerous noise rose like distant thunder in Xena's chest.

Gabrielle removed the three clips abruptly and Xena jumped with relief. New blood surged into her nipples and groin, delivering the latest shot of adrenaline. Released from their needling imprisonment, Xena tried to bank the fire within, but the clips had done their work. The pulse that had been triggered inside her was potent, insistent, charged by Gabrielle's precision attack on her vulnerability. It could only deepen as time wore on, ripening her need, swelling her desire. If Xena had lacked any understanding of her predicament before, it was brought home to her now. She was thoroughly on heat.

Gabrielle decided that Xena had been kept quiet long enough and that she'd better remove the gag before it was chewed to matchwood. Xena licked her lips fiercely as it was pulled away.

'You're a teasing little slut,' she hissed.

'A slut? Me? You're the one lying with your legs spread open and your thighs all moist, aching to swallow me in your hot, flushed lair.'

'Spare me your poetry!'

Gabrielle's smile twisted. 'That wasn't poetry, heathen. If you were any less of a brute you would know a slur when you hear it to your face.'

'Now who's stooping to unwarranted insults?'

Gabrielle nibbled Xena's earlobe. 'Sorry, love. Infuriating, isn't it?'

She began to kiss her. As soon as Xena felt Gabrielle's soft lips near her own mouth she reached for her and sucked her in. Their tongues battled, seeking dominance. Xena would have won easily but Gabrielle stole her victory, pulling away. She bathed her everywhere else instead; almost everywhere else. Xena thrust her hips forward, urging contact. Gabrielle let her fingertip circle the fluid slope where Xena wanted her most, ever present but less than enough, torturing her with the truth that she could release her if she chose.

'You're not to beg,' Gabrielle warned. 'We both like it when you fight. Remember what you told me? You don't beg, you don't obey... though I could make you kneel if I chose. How about that, warrior? With this device I can force you to the floor. You'd look just like a grovelling slave.'

Xena spat.

Even blindfolded Xena had superb aim and Gabrielle only just managed to duck. The bard's head spun as she watched the warrior spittle fly, then she turned and grinned.


This was delicious. Absolutely delicious. Gabrielle's voice was full of promise through her wicked smile.

'But that's hardly the point.'

Gabrielle lowered Xena's feet so that she stood straight again, then turned her around. The warrior seized the opportunity to shake out her joints before her limbs were drawn tight.

Gabrielle stripped off her own robe so that she could press her supple body against Xena's erect physique. A bead of sweat trickled between Xena's shoulder blades and Gabrielle licked it clear, tasting salt and wary flesh. She put her arms around Xena's waist and hugged in close, sealing the space between them with smooth skin.

Still in darkness, Xena felt Gabrielle's hair tickle her shoulders, felt the succulent mounds of Gabrielle's breasts pushing into her back, felt Gabrielle's fingers toying with her nipples and the curls below her waist.

'What do you think you deserve, Xena?' Gabrielle whispered behind her ear. 'What do you think I'm going to do to you now?'

'I think...' said Xena dryly, 'that you're going to punish me.'

Gabrielle sighed blissfully against the powerful muscles in Xena's back. She wrapped one finger in the damp curls and tugged briefly, forcing the warrior to stifle a yelp. 'I see. You think that will do you good. Help you to justify your anger. Give you something to defy.'

Xena squeezed her eyes tight under the blindfold, fractured by Gabrielle's perception. Gods, the bard knew her so well.

Gabrielle raised her hands and stroked Xena's biceps, squeezing the warrior's beautiful strength. 'Hmm, punishment. You think I'm going to take that whip to your hide, don't you? You think I'm going to give you a decent warlord's flogging for your insults. Well I'm not. You're not getting that dignity. You'll be chastised as I think fit.'

And then, to Xena's abject astonishment, Gabrielle started to spank her.

First she slapped Xena's firm, bouncing buttocks repeatedly with the flat of her hand, and when that grew tired she found a paddle and spanked her reddening cheeks again; and when Xena squirmed at the soreness and swore at the chagrin she turned the warm paddle over and spanked her some more.

By the end Xena was gasping in unabashed heat and arousal. Her face felt as flushed as her ringing backside and fresh moisture seeped between her thighs.

'Gabrielle...' She gasped, her throat tight. 'Gabrielle...'

'Do you want something, Xena?'

Xena refused to answer. She didn't want to risk losing her reward.

Gabrielle smiled at her efforts. 'Soon, sweetheart, soon.'

She chose her two toys carefully, measuring their width and length. The carved ebony was polished to a deep black sheen and the tops were gently tapered. After admiring them for a while, Gabrielle lowered Xena's wrists a few inches so that she could be manoeuvred into position.

'I've found a big one for you, Xena,' Gabrielle said throatily, and the warrior shuddered at the lewdness in her lover's voice. Something smooth and solid slid against her ripened flesh. She felt a surge of rich anticipation.

'Bigger than anything we've used before,' said Gabrielle with licentious glee. 'But don't worry, I'll make plenty of room.'

Gears turned quietly and Xena's feet were pulled wide on the cool marble floor. 'Ahhh...' Xena breathed heavily. Her pulse pounded between her legs.

'Just a little more,' said Gabrielle as the distance stretched and Xena's arms went taut. 'I haven't finished making you pay...'

A sensual moan escaped the warrior's throat. She felt a whispered taunt across her face.

'You'll have to bear with me, Xena. I need to juice up this little one first. I'm sure you can guess why.'

Something else slicked quickly between Xena's parted thighs and she cried out inarticulately. Before she had time to digest Gabrielle's words the small object slid backwards and expertly forged an alternative route inside.

Xena's head shot back and Gabrielle had to duck again to avoid a crack on the nose. The warrior yelled at the unexpected foray, tugging on the straps and fighting for breath. Her muscles clenched instinctively to expel the smooth intruder but Gabrielle held it secure, carefully easing it further in the moment the slim conduit relaxed.

'Oh gods,' gasped Xena, revelling in the carnal invasion. 'I should have had you in my army. You've got a talent for surprise assault.'

'It's not over yet.'

The larger toy returned to Xena's other opening and thrust upwards.

Xena's grimace was all awe and ecstasy. She was suddenly filled and swollen to her core. The carved shafts held still inside her while her head swam back to the surface. She was just coming round when she sensed a tickling on her torso. Hazily, she recognised the silk flail flicking across her trembling body. Her brain was awash with sensory overload and it took her several moments to realise that Gabrielle was no longer standing at her back, holding the toys inside her. Experimental pressure told her that they wouldn't budge, and with building dread Xena realised that the bard had used some device on the frame to keep them in place.

It was too much for her and she screamed.

The silk patterned her mercilessly. It couldn't have lasted many minutes but it felt like forever. The soft, harmless flogging came at her from every direction in her dark, silent world. Xena longed to hear Gabrielle's voice, and almost cried when she realised that the bard could suspend her like this for hours if she wanted... her legs spread so wide that her thigh muscles shivered, the tingling red peak of her hunger straining at the leash. She imagined Gabrielle lounging on that chest, touching herself and enjoying the view. It drove her to distraction and she whimpered in need and fear.

Gabrielle rebuked her instantly. 'You're not weakening on me are you, Xena? One more wussy noise like that and I might choose not to bring you off.'

Gabrielle's stern threat sent yet another molten surge of desire through Xena's loins. Her lips drew back from her teeth in a silent howl. Who knew the bard could be so beautifully cruel? She struggled fiercely in the frame, fighting both the leather and herself in a wild, primordial dance. Suddenly the blindfold was ripped from her eyes and she found Gabrielle standing naked before her, a harness slung ready on her trim hips.

'So command me, Xena. What is my warlord's pleasure?'

Tears of frustration gleamed in Xena's lust-crazed eyes. 'FUCK ME NOW, you vicious little WHORE!'

Gabrielle obeyed. She fitted the phallus and pumped like there was no tomorrow, rubbing Xena vigorously with slick fingers 'til the warrior's eyes rolled back in her head. Xena rocketed up the chasm, crested the ridge, and screamed so loud that the Roman glass above them shattered and came crashing to the floor.

After freeing Xena from the frame Gabrielle had to enlist some help. Faustina picked her way judiciously between the sparkling debris with a fresh robe for the exhausted warrior, then commandeered two burly slaves to carry her to her private rooms.

Now Xena lay sprawled across one of the low cushioned divans, her eyes closed, her muscles twitching occasionally beneath bronzed skin, a sanguine expression on her face. She seemed oblivious to her surroundings, including the green olives, white wine and creamy sherbet syllabubs which the slaves arranged on the small table nearby.

Gabrielle was tucking in with gusto. The bard couldn't quite get the hang of tackling the exotic syllabub; the powdery sherbet coated her hands and she had to keep licking it off. What with that and the aftermath of Xena's explosion she was getting rather sticky.

Besides, she was distracted. It was a very interesting little table. It had short walrus tusks for legs and an intricate surface mosaic depicting a red-cheeked centurion being spanked by a slave girl.

Faustina perched on a third divan between them, watching Xena with an expert's gaze.

'Gabrielle,' she ventured at last, her eyes still on the prone warrior, 'would you like a job?'

Gabrielle smiled warmly. 'No thank you, Faustina. I'm full time as it is.'

Faustina made a little nondescript sound of acknowledgement and continued to observe.

'I'm sorry about the damage,' Gabrielle added.

Faustina waved away her apology with a slender hand.

'You'll need to replace the gag too. The teeth marks are pretty deep.'

Faustina had already decided to keep it as a souvenir.

The courtesan noticed with surprise the purpling marks on Xena's wrists and ankles. The rack's broad bindings were designed to prevent such bruises. The warrior must have thrashed about indeed.

It puzzled Faustina how the girl had done it. Quite clearly Xena was spent, but nevertheless in rather good condition. But for three neat welts across her shoulders and the self-inflicted abrasions, there didn't seem to be a mark on her.

Faustina had even snuck a peak under the hem of Xena's robe while Gabrielle was busy studying the mosaic. She glimpsed a pair of very rosy cheeks but found no more than the usual signs of a good workout down there. It was rather baffling.

The courtesan sighed. Whatever games the warrior and her little friend had played between them, this was clearly too exquisite to keep from the rest of the world.

'Xena,' she said loudly, 'won't you reconsider my offer? How about a regular arrangement? Ten percent commission for the house, you keep the rest, and you get a veto on anyone you don't like the look of.'

Xena moaned softly, like someone only half awake and reluctant to leave the pleasures of an exotic dream.

Faustina glanced at Gabrielle. The courtesan's professional veneer revealed no indication that she'd noticed the blob of cream on the end of Gabrielle's nose.

'Do you think I can take that as a yes?'

Gabrielle shook her head and the cream dropped on the table, right on top of the centurion's butt. 'I wouldn't risk it.'

Faustina tossed her head and sighed. It just wasn't fair. She had a little goldmine sitting in front of her but no one would even lend her a spade.

She looked at Gabrielle again. Now the blonde had lost an olive in her wine and was trying to fish it out with her thumb. Faustina's curiosity got the better of her and she scooted towards the warrior's end of her divan on her narrow behind.

'Xena, what did she do with you? You must have enjoyed it. What's she like?'

Xena twisted on the divan and murmured incoherently. 'Nnn-um-thm...'

Faustina's delicate ears pricked up. She leant forward. 'What was that?'

Xena moaned again. 'Not...' she repeated huskily.

Faustina jiggled up and down impatiently. 'Not what, Xena! She's not what?'

Xena turned over and snuggled into the cushions. 'She's not disappointing.'

And Gabrielle smiled.


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