Disclaimers: See Part 1
Additional Note (Please Read): ): This story is tied in with, The Conqueror & Ri: A Twist of Destiny. If you have not read both story's chapters preceding this one, you should do so now. Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoy the chapter.
Xena and Gabrielle,
A Turn of Fate,
Chapter 11: Thus Regretting
A figure softly laid the resting Amazon onto the cot, rousing her.
"Xena?" Gabrielle groggily questioned.
"No." The voice clarified. "I am not Xena Sama."
Gabrielle adjusted her eyes in the dim, candlelit cabin.
Noticing that it was Kenji, she sat up immediately. "What are you doing here?"
"Pardon my intrusion, I didn't mean to wake you, Gabrielle San." Kenji bowed. "I enter all the occupied rooms, attending to everyone's needs of clean water early in the morning. When I walked into yours, I'd nearly tripped over something lying in the middle of the floor. I ignited the candle and saw that it was you sleeping there, so I picked you up to settle you on your cot."
"Thanks." Gabrielle smiled sadly.
Her disposition towards Xena was still damaging, and she dreaded the remaining voyage.
"Are you okay?" Kenji queried. "I haven't seen you since the meeting with the Shogun."
"I'll be fine." Gabrielle replied, praying it would be true and hating herself for asking, "Have you seen Xena?"
"The Shogun granted her request for new quarters. Once I had shown Xena Sama to her cabin, she stayed inside." The monk elucidated. "That was the last I'd seen of her yesterday."
Gabrielle wasn't sure how much more her heart could take. It was becoming increasingly clearer that Xena wanted nothing to do with her.
'She didn't waste any time getting another cabin.' Gabrielle thought bitterly. 'Maybe I should have gone back to Greece.'
"But this morning when I brought her water, Xena Sama practically threw me out of the room. She's probably thinking heavily on being reunited with Akemi." Kenji said tactlessly.
'God! Does everybody knows Xena's going to Akemi?' Due to perturbation, Gabrielle turned on the monk. "If that is all Kenji, you can go."
"Yes, I am finished." He acceded, nebulous of Gabrielle's emotions. "I can bring you breakfast, and if you prefer, a wooden tub to bathe. The water will be tepid if I rush, but it'll be suitable to get you cleansed."
"Hunger has left me. I have no appetite for food."
"I have to come back anyway to give you another candle for your lantern, because the one inside it is almost liquefied completely." Kenji pointed out. "I'll bring food and you can decide from there."
"I'm not hungry." Gabrielle protested.
However, the monk was out the door before hearing Gabrielle's response. She wasn't in the mood to chase him down to argue and sustenance would aid building her strength. Gabrielle hadn't eaten since Xena cooked them both the fishes she'd caught an evening ago.
'After she made love to me.' Gabrielle ruminated.
The remembrance of their coitus was maddening to Gabrielle's consciousness. She wanted to scream her anguish. To bash something or someone, until her sorrows melted into nothingness. Instead, Gabrielle opted to stare at the candle's embers, watching as its dying flame clung to oxygen for life, just like her soul wanted to cling to its other half in Xena.
The bard's chagrin became unbearable when the light extinguished to distinguish the darkness.
Xena tossed and turned, unable to reclaim the fleeting sleep that was snatched from her because of Kenji's creeping.
'Damn monk.' Xena cursed. 'I'll get my own water from now on.'
Waking up to discover Kenji with a smile on his face, setting a vessel of fresh water on the table, caused Xena to replace his cheerful expression with trepidation, whilst she yelled at his hastily retreating form to never enter her lodging again. Now she lied awake and found herself cogitating on the woman she'd destroyed. The Warrior Princess stopped her motions, giving up on sleeping, and swore no more tears could be created after the million she had already shed, while thrashing on the cot till slumber ceased her actions.
She'd quit trying to meditate whether the decision to hurt her soul mate was correct or not. Xena knew it was the right choice to make, but why did it pain her so terribly? How come she couldn't find infinite solace in the fact she was protecting Gabrielle from knowledge that would definitely break her? If the sandal were on the other foot, and Gabrielle decided to keep such a secret from her, could Xena accept it?
Xena had her answer, as she wiped the tears away and arose to walk to the table.
'I am selfish and manipulative.' She conceded, splashing her face with handfuls of water. 'I'd be devastated if Gabrielle hid something of this magnitude from me.'
That ratiocination made her feel worse, but the damage was done and there was no turning back. Having recollection of all that happened with Gabrielle yesterday, Xena almost lost her balance when she'd recalled Gabrielle's final statement.
'I renounce you.'
Though it was spoken in a softened tone, its announcement generalized a finality that cut Xena's soul thoroughly. The droplets burned behind her orbs, but Xena kept them from spilling, even while more of Gabrielle's words resounded in her brain.
'I should have known you were breaking off our bonding.'
'I trusted you, Xena.'
Xena started shaking her head, unsuccessfully halting the memories of Gabrielle's sentences, and one pedication stood out strongly.
'This is all my fault. You did warn me when I first tried to give you my heart. You'd confessed that you would use me and hurt me. That's why I married Perdicus. He'd loved me and possibly was my true love.'
Xena gripped the table's edges hard, remembering the night she had fabricated to Gabrielle about her affections. The night before Perdicus snuck into their campsite to claim the petite teen.
The night when a girl just wanted to have fun.
"Can I have the last portion?" Gabrielle asks me.
"You cooked it, so it's only fair you have it." I respond.
"But you did catch it, Xena." She grins.
"Do you want me to eat it then?" I smirk.
Her grin disappears and gets replaced with a mock pout. I roll my eyes, grabbing her bowl to fill it with the remaining venison stew. I taste a spoonful, before handing the dish back once Gabrielle's sullen countenance becomes overly exaggerated.
"Just teasing." I laugh. "I wouldn't have devoured all of it and suffer your wrath."
"Darn straight." Gabrielle playfully glares. "You know I need my nourishment."
I chuckle and watch whilst she eats. She appears so happy and content, as if our lives didn't almost end or change when we fought against Bacchus. I note my analysis of her body have shifted. I'm no longer studying the transformation the same way I use to. Gabrielle's firm abdomen and the muscles on her arms, that were once covered in baby fat, had grown on me in different ways. Fascination changed into awe, and now, it's desire.
It isn't only her well-defined physique, but her personality that brightens anybody's day, also. No wonder every village boy is smitten by the young, pretty teenager's qualities. Her laugh. Her voice. Her smile that she's giving me right this moment.
I divert my eyes from hers, hoping she haven't noticed me basically gawking at her. I rise up to retrieve my whetstone and sword. Next, I sit adjacent to the fire, a little distance away from her. Commencing my nightly ritual, Gabrielle scoot closer to me.
"Hey." She starts. "I really like my food, but I love sharing with you."
She scoop some stew in the spoon, bringing it to my lips. I become hesitant whether to let her cater me, or decline the offer. I decide to indulge her and open my mouth.
Swallowing the delectable combination of meat and liquid, I make a comment, "So, this is what you wanted to do for me... You don't have to, Gabrielle. With Joxer gone, that's good enough."
Scooping more, Gabrielle feed me again and I oblige, likewise. "No, Xena. Neither getting rid of Joxer, nor feeding you, is part of what I have planned for you."
"What are you conspiring?" I query.
"You'll have to wait and see." Gabrielle teases, putting the utensil in her mouth and pulling it out slowly, seductively.
Bacchus' effects must still be affecting me from being a bacchae, because there's no way she's implying what I think she is.
"I'll be right back, Xena." She interrupts. "You finish sharpening your sword. I'm gonna wash the pot and our dishes."
Gabrielle has risen on her muscular legs, collecting our dishware, and, before heading for the creek, she takes her saddle-bag, too. I begin using the abrasive tool once more, pondering what plans my bard is formulating.
My bard? Where did that come from?
Gabrielle isn't 'my bard'. She is my best friend. Closer to me than family, excelling beyond a sister. She's...
Incredible! Plus she is coaxing my libido to rise. How could I forget including her legs in my scrutiny. Those limbs that she has built strong muscles by walking on them. I can only imagine how thick her thighs would be wrapped on either side of my head, as I...
"What am I doing?"
I put my whetstone and blade down. Standing on my feet, I pace back and forth, scolding myself. I cannot have her. I'm under the influence of what occurred earlier. It'll pass and everything will return back to normal.
Arms encircle my waist, momentarily startling me until I recognize the scent of Gabrielle's strawberry-blonde hair.
"Did you miss me?" She inquires from behind me.
"You weren't gone that long." I reply.
I start to twirl in her embrace, but Gabrielle seem reluctant to move.
"Don't look at me yet... Allow me to hold you and say what's on my chest, while I got the nerves." Gabrielle beseech.
The tempo of my heart accelerates and I have an idea why. Nonetheless, I fear it.
She breathes in deeply. "Xena, Warrior Princess... You're always there for me, saving my life countless times, and I never showed you how appreciative I am. I do thank you, but I don't think it truly bestows the gratitude you deserve."
I can feel her small frame quivering and it makes me nervous.
"You are my best friend, Gabrielle." I want her away from me, so I won't do anything stupid. "I'll be there for you whenever you need me."
"I know you will." Then, she question timidly, "Xena, am I only a friend?"
"You're closer than family." I reiterate what I have told myself recently.
"So, I'm in the sister zone?"
I feel Gabrielle's arms loosen, somewhat, around me, creating a dichotomy to crave her warmth and escape it.
"You exceed that as well." I give her an honest avowal.
"I'm greater than a friend and family, Xena?" Her grip tightens. "What am I then?"
I regret being truthful now. I stand with her embracing me and can't fathom what to tell her. I love you like no other? Too cheesy. You irritate me sometimes, but I'll slit my wrists if you left me? That's overly dramatic. I adore you as my friend, nevertheless, I want you naked in our bedroll, writhing underneath me? Spot on! Withal, all of these affirmations suffice for how I feel, but it doesn't answer her inquiry.
What is she to me?
"I'll tell you what you were to me and what you are now." Gabrielle professes.
"Go on." I assent, grateful to gather my thoughts together.
"You were my savior and I'd hero-worshipped you. You were the most gorgeous, courageous warrior I've laid eyes on and I wanted to be exactly like you. Then, you became my best friend and the hero-worship fell away. You were placed on a pedestal in comparison to the gods themselves, but when we got close, it allowed me to learn who you are beneath your stoic persona and the altar lowered... You became human to me. By becoming mortal to my mind, I took in account of how real and astonishing your feats truly are. You are flawed, moreover, extraordinary at the same time. I began to love you and at first it was compared to sisterhood. As it grew, I realized I do not love you similar to the way I love Lila, my blood sister." Gabrielle draws in a breath, releasing it. "I'm attracted to you, Xena. You captivate me on an intimate level, and... I want to give myself to you."
It's difficult for me to get air into my lungs after Gabrielle's confession. She wants me to be her lover? Is she serious? She can't be... Gabrielle must be suffering from the remnant effects of Bacchus, too!
"Face me, Xena." Gabrielle whisper, letting go of me and taking a few steps backwards.
I spin like she requested and is graced with a sexy sight. Gabrielle's green top, including her brown skirt, and boots are gone. She's proudly erect in front of me, barefoot and adorned in a pure, white, night shift, which I haven't ever seen. I could barely breathe before, now here she is breathtaking, leaving me breathless.
"I wanted to wear this to bed when I lose my maidenhood. Do you see where I am going with this, Xena?" Gabrielle prompts.
My intelligence reach a crossroad. One trail leads to me throwing Gabrielle down and losing myself in the enjoyment of sexual conquest. The second trail led to a pathway of disappointment, knowing I couldn't do this to her.
I have to restrain my lust and deny the bard's gift. "Gabrielle, I totally acknowledge your meaning and I'm highly tempted, but I can't be the person to make love to you."
Her pout is genuine this time. "I don't understand. You don't find me attractive?"
"Gabrielle, any person would be crazy not to think you're attractive." I affirm.
"I'm not talking about other people. My concern is you." Gabrielle asserts.
She is backing me into a corner. "You are a beautiful woman, but I believe you're jumping ahead of yourself."
Gabrielle looks puzzled. "What do that mean?"
"Can't you see we are suffering from Bacchus' power. He had the ability to cause extreme sexual propensity. Surely you felt it whilst we were bacchae?" I inquire.
"I know Bacchus was the god of wine and sexual frenzy." Gabrielle proclaims, moving towards me. "I also felt his effects, along with you, but it was more than that, wasn't it?"
Gabrielle's movements become bolder and she encloses her arms around my neck.
"Shut your eyes, Xena."
With her being near me, it's hard to do what she implore, albeit, I commence shutting my irises.
"Remember the sensation when I sank my fangs into your skin. I don't have to ask if you were turned on sexually, 'cause we already know the answer. The real question is, out of everyone in Bacchus' cave, including the god whom granted us the potency of licentiousness, who did you want to make love to?"
Recalling every detail, truthfulness fly from my mouth, "You."
"Once I tasted your blood, Xena, you overpowered Bacchus' control. You were all I concentrated on, as your lifeblood coursed through me. That's how you killed Bacchus with me at your side. I wanted him dead, because I feared he was an obstacle preventing us from being carnal of each other... From loving one another." Gabrielle expounds.
I involuntarily shiver from the memory of her biting into my neck. It wasn't solely a lustful craving, but passion too, while eroticism's urge, surged within me for one person.
My eyes were still closed when a wet tongue traced the exact locale Gabrielle bit me.
"I can make it a hundred times better than when we were bacchae." She purrs. "I admit that I'm inexperienced, but with you coaching me during our lovemaking, we'll both soar in ecstasy."
Her teeth graze my skin, marking me the way she did in the cave; marking me as hers. My eyes shoot open, and I grasp Gabrielle's shoulders, hindering her from continuing the erotic task on my neck.
"What is it, Xena?" She espy me with agitation. "You don't desire me now?"
"I would love to be swept away in this rapture you got going on." I utter. "If this was just fucking, I'd be for it, but you're offering me something precious. You'll never be able to get it back and I'm not letting you make this mistake so callously because of what happened with Bacchus."
"Let me make this mistake?" I've made her mad. "This is my decision. You assume because I'm choosing to be with you romantically, it's based on callosity? I do not want to do that F-word you used. I want to make love, Xena. Don't dare say you only want to sleep with me and that's all."
"Sounds like you are bestowing your heart to me, Gabrielle. You aren't yourself at the moment. You're confusing lust for love."
Gabrielle backtrack out of my personal proximity, explaining, "This has nothing to do with Bacchus, Xena. I know what I feel. I felt lust and love on multiple occasions. Sex entered my cognition that time when I slept beside Phyleus, after I had read that enchantment and freed the Titans. He was almost my first."
Thank the gods he wasn't.
"When you and Hercules saved Prometheus, I kissed Iolaus, before we parted ways with them." Gabrielle divulges.
She kissed Iolaus? Iolaus kissed her! I'm not sure how I feel about that.
"I probably would've married Talus if his fate wasn't connected to Celesta like death in chains." She avers gloomily.
"That sickly boy?" I query.
"His name is Talus." Gabrielle rebukes me. "Respect the dead, Xena."
My stupid mouth.
Gets me in trouble when I say too much without thinking. "Forgive me, Gabrielle. His name is Talus, and he was brave... Are you finished, 'cause I'm really not interested in hearing about guys you could have-"
"Next, it was Perdicus." Gabrielle interjects, ignoring me. "I kissed him while we were in Troy. Then it fell when the Trojans got duped by the Greeks' false surrender."
The Trojan Horse that finally yielded victory to Greece. Beware Greeks bearing gifts, indeed. Wait a moment... She kissed Perdicus? I start listening to her intently, as anger brew inside me.
"I would have went back to Potidaea by his side if he hadn't chosen to travel to another city alongside Helen. Oh yea, whilst we were hanging with Petracles, a fistful of dinars couldn't keep me from being infatuated. Kissing him was nice, but once it was over, I begun feeling guilty for doing it because he was your ex-fiancé."
She osculated Petracles, also? My blood boils over at the disclosure. Gabrielle's lips been on Iolaus and Petracles'. She'd not only kissed Perdicus, but was willing to leave me for him, had he not decided to live a soldier's life. What am I? Her last option?
"I wasn't aware you got 'round like that, Gabrielle."
"I haven't slept with any of them. Not the way you..." Gabrielle abruptly stop speaking.
"What?" I become intrigued. "The way I had sex with others?"
"Never mind, Xena." She murmurs. "I sense this is going in a direction I was not striving for. I only wanted to express to you that I'm fully in tuned concerning my choice to be with you in a sexual fashion."
"Perhaps you are right." I state, cajoling a triumphant smile to form on her face and I'm eager to remove it. "We are going in a direction we do not seek. Let's turn in for tonight to shake off the remaining traces of being a bacchae and get our emotions in order."
"Stop it, Xena!" Gabrielle shouts. "The events of today has heighten my attraction to you. I can discern the difference between Bacchus' magic of lasciviousness and love. I'm knowledgable of which is which. I would have stayed with David, but he had a fiancée."
"David?" I am baffled again. "The Israelite?"
"Yes." Gabrielle concurs. "Being in his presence was amazing and it aroused me to descry how passionate he was about his Psalms. The second I started to kiss him, a girl walked in. She was named Sarah, and David introduced her to me as his betrothed, making me feel foolish. That's when I excused myself to find you."
"The night it was thundering?" I question.
She nods her head and I'm crushed. Gabrielle had intentions on being with some boy, whilst I was veritably disturbed by Goliath's decision that ultimately routed to his death; killed by the same person who Gabrielle desired. With my aid, he had become David, the Giant Killer. I'm profoundly disconcerted that Gabrielle only came to me because she couldn't have him.
I am a last option.
"I'd premised you'd found me on your own accord to give me comfort."
"I brought you amenity, Xena."
"Yeah, after you couldn't place your lips on David." I want to hurt her. "I think your preference is only for the male gender. I've heard everything you've disclosed and not once was a woman mentioned."
Gabrielle's visage displays shock. "I fell for men mostly because you're the only woman I like in that way."
"Well, I don't have time for being a test trial for you."
"Why are you doing this, Xena?" Gabrielle's despondency mirrors my internal dejection. "I'm giving you my heart and you're rejecting it?"
"It seems you give your heart to anybody." I retort.
Her astounded expression alters to grief. "I'm some easy harlot? Is that what I am to you?"
"No. You are very dear to me, Gabrielle. That is all." I apprise her. "You probably aren't under any outside clout for prurience, however, I am. If you aspire on giving me your heart with your body, I'll just use you and hurt you later. So forget about today and this night. You'll find your true mate in the future that will sweep you off your feet. They'll be far deserving of your maidenhead when they'd made an honorable wife out of you, and you will be-"
"Save the crap!" Gabrielle's pupils are agleam with tears.
She separates our bedrolls, then take the night shift off, revealing she had nothing on underneath it, before laying down under the furs.
"You are correct!" Her tirade explodes. "Someone will come and take me from you, Xena! We'll get married and make euphoric love in our marital bed! All the while, you'll think back on this night, thus regretting it!"
Silence descend in our campsite, and as I observe Gabrielle's dainty, nude body that's lying in the furs, I mumble...
"I regret it already."
'She did get that 'someone'.' Xena mused ruefully. 'The following night Perdicus would come and steal Gabrielle's heart.'
The Warrior Princess knocked the basin, containing water, off of the table in irritation of her past moronic judgment. Xena's constant obtuseness allowed Gabrielle to lose her virginity to Perdicus then, and her zeal shattered their relationship now.
Xena rubbed her eyes, vowing not to cry again, converting her sadness into superior determination. She decided on going to the armory to prepare herself mentally and physically for her noon inspection. Once her workout was done, she would find out what the Samurai could do.
And Xena started looking forward to it.
To Be Continued
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